Read how these organizations bolstered their brand, sales, and visibility with Kathy Kerchner’s media skills training:
- Global corporation encourages worldwide managers to talk to local media – the first step is media skills training!
- Large construction company’s crisis communication strategy focuses on field managers
- Company uses PR to revive its brand – and gains publicity worth millions
- To ensure a smooth transition, corporation’s outgoing and incoming CEOs participate in video interview
- Global corporation trains managers to speak about sensitive legal issue
- Thanks to PR campaign, Arizona Indian tribes win over voters
- Fortune 500 company sails through tough (and potentially risky) interview
- Kathy interviews President Bush in front of live audience
Global corporation encourages worldwide managers to talk to local media – the first step is media skills training!
Challenge: As it acquired companies around the world, this global technology distributor understood that much of its growth would come from international sales. Corporation leaders knew publicity could enhance their worldwide brand, credibility, and visibility in the marketplace, and these efforts would influence sales. The corporation asked all executives in its worldwide companies – including recently acquired companies – to adopt an open-door policy regarding media interviews. Key to this strategy: These executives must become trained experts when speaking to the media.
Result: Kathy Kerchner and two members of the PR team traveled to London, Munich, and Singapore to conduct media skills workshops. Trainings included an open discussion of the corporation’s PR policy, clarification about SEC rules and disclosing financial information, and in-depth media training with on-camera interviews. After the workshops, executives gained the insight, skills, and empowerment to fulfill the corporation’s PR policy.
Large construction company’s crisis communication strategy focuses on field managers
Challenge: As a builder of bridges, roads, and other high-visibility civic projects, this construction company luckily had never experienced a significant mishap requiring crisis communication. However, company leaders realized they needed a crisis strategy that would include training field managers in the basics of crisis communication.
Result: Kathy led media training and crisis communication sessions with on-site managers in several locations throughout the U.S. Managers received clear guidelines about what to say – and what not to say – due to potential liability issues. Field managers learned how to give the media barebones information (without saying “no comment”) until the company spokesperson could arrive. They learned the importance of sharing basic information with the media immediately, which helps prevent reporters from seeking quotes containing speculation or rumors.
Company uses PR to revive its brand – and gains publicity worth millions
Challenge: After halting all advertising, a Fortune 300 electronics distributor lost much of its visibility in the marketplace. The new CEO decided to launch a worldwide branding initiative, with publicity as a main strategy to rebuild the reputation. Kathy conducted media-training sessions with leaders in all divisions, including in Germany and Japan. A major goal was helping executives understand the value of publicity and how it directly contributes to the bottom line. And, through Kathy’s interview skills training sessions, executives learned how to clearly communicate their messages.
Result: Today, the corporate director of communications jokes that he consistently gets his “unfair” share of media coverage, which represents millions of dollars worth of free publicity.
To ensure a smooth transition, corporation’s outgoing and incoming CEOs participate in video interview
Challenge: After 13 years in his leadership position, the CEO of a $19 billion global corporation announced he was retiring. He would hand over the reins to the COO who had been groomed for the top leadership position in this fast-growing company. The corporate PR team decided to produce a video interview of the two executives, which would help ease the transition.
Result: Kathy met the two leaders in advance, discussed the video’s goals, and outlined potential interview questions. She conducted an on-camera interview with both men, ensuring information flowed naturally. Thanks to her extensive on-camera experience, Kathy was able to create a comfortable environment that encouraged interaction, allowed the leaders’ personalities to shine, and conveyed confidence and trust. (View video excerpt at top of page.)
Global corporation trains managers to speak about sensitive legal issue
Challenge: The EPA ordered this manufacturing company to clean up groundwater at a Superfund Site. Subsequently, local homeowners filed a class-action suit claiming decreased property values due to contamination. As the largest private employer in the state, the manufacturer received negative publicity about the lawsuit, risking its worldwide reputation.
Result: While the company’s lawyers fought the suit in the court system, the company asked Kathy to conduct training sessions with managers in an effort to win in the “court of public opinion.” Through these trainings, employees were empowered to talk clearly about the issue, whether to the news media, during public meetings, or with friends and neighbors in the community. Ultimately, the company won the lawsuit in a jury trial.
Thanks to PR campaign, Arizona Indian tribes win over voters
Challenge: Proposition 202, negotiated with the state, would allow Indian tribes to continue gaming operations and expand their operations. However, two competing propositions in the same election would deny gaming on Arizona Indian reservations. One of the competing propositions, supported by racetracks, had strong financial backing. The Indian Gaming Association, representing 17 tribes, hired Kathy to travel around the state, helping tribal leaders learn to speak effectively about the issues to voters.
Result: Proposition 202 soundly defeated the other two propositions and limited, regulated gaming continues on the Indian reservations.
Fortune 500 company sails through tough (and potentially risky) interview
Challenge: Dateline NBC requested an interview from a top retail company about a controversial topic. The public relations director weighed the pros and cons of appearing on the program and agreed to the interview. The company chose two subject-matter experts to appear on camera, but they were completely unfamiliar with high-pressure media interviews. Kathy conducted intensive media training sessions with the two employees, including mock interviews with hard-hitting questions and video playback.
Result: The spokespeople told Kathy they were completely at ease while being grilled by Dateline thanks to the practice and critique. Ultimately, Dateline never used the footage, perhaps because the two managers sailed through the interview with such ease.
Case study #8
Kathy interviews President Bush in front of live audience
Challenge: A large association sought a high-profile speaker for its annual conference. They hired President George W. Bush as a keynote speaker – and they had an idea. Instead of asking Mr. Bush to speak for an hour, they realized a more personable, engaging audience experience would be to hold a “conversation” with Mr. Bush on stage. The association hired Kathy to interview President Bush about highlights of his presidency, including the attacks of September 11, 2001, his decision to send troops to Iraq, and other compelling topics of interest for audience members.
Result: Kathy submitted questions in advance, so Mr. Bush would be fully prepared in front of the audience. In addition, she briefly interviewed him immediately before the live session. Kathy’s live, on-stage interview with Mr. Bush was riveting and lent much insight into the real person behind the title. Mr. Bush drew a standing ovation. Later, he sent Kathy a thank-you note, saying she asked good questions and he enjoyed the experience. Thanks to positive, resounding feedback from its members, the association has hired Kathy to conduct similar interviews with other high-profile figures.
Media & Speaking Expert
Master Your Message®
Master your message
Master the media™