[I’ll be talking about this as a PR point of view]
So much hoohah has happened within a span of 48 hours.
[The background] Ladyironchef (from now known as the food blogger) was invited by a PR girl from Private Affairs for a food tasting session some time back and he was unable to make it. The food blogger then informed PR girl on another date where he will be able to make it. PR girl then asked if he would be bringing another guest in which the food blogger said yes and he would be bringing another two guests. PR girl acknowledged him.
How come PR girl didn’t tell the food blogger that the two additional guests would have to pay? While it might be industry standards to just bring a +1 to a food tasting session, shouldn’t PR girl not assume that the food blogger might not know the industry standards? She could have gently informed the food blogger that.
OLD MOTHER STORY: Last time when i was working in a PR agency, my colleague Jiayi and I were incharge of both the traditional and digital media for a certain beauty expo. I had invited a beauty blogger and she had asked to bring 3 additional guests.
Did I say no? I did not. I checked if they were beauty bloggers too, they were! I saw it as more mileage (but never to assume that you’ll get guaranteed publicity okay!) and to my advantage and I told her to bring them by all means. Jiayi and I were more than happy to host them. Hey, why not? I get more bloggers to add to my “database” (such an ugly word but you get what i mean) and I might even get more coverage out of it.
And you know what? All of the guests blogged about the event. It was a win-win situation.
In any case, if the restaurant could not (or would not) be able to cover the costs (or include two more guests), gently tell the food blogger (or any other blogger) so. [If it was me, I would have gently told him the restaurant could only cover him and his guest but we’ll be more than happy to offer a 10% discount to his 2 other dining companions.]
[My (as a blogger) take] Many a times when I was invited for events, I would ask the PR person if it’s possible to bring a guest or two. I have had situations where the PR person would gently tell me it isn’t convenient to bring said guests. Did I take offence? Not at all.
[Okay, back to PR take] So not only was this not handled well, (I’m not saying the food blogger has no fault in it, he does too. He should have clarified with said PR girl if it was fine bringing the two additional dining companions and not tossed his credit card on the table), the PR girl FAILZ by not informing said food blogger and did not do her job well to ensure such negative publicity is not “leaked out”.
The question is: How did the (other) food bloggers and media find out about the whole situation? A PR person’s jobscope is to manage reputation, and salvage the brand image and name, no?
What I see is that this is a huge misunderstanding. While the PR girl has FAILZ in not informing the food blogger about the additional guests and the food blogger may not have have responded in the most desirable manner, shouldn’t this NOT be publicised? Naming (or shaming in this case) the food blogger (or any other journalist) isn’t going to help you gain cookie points with them. You’ll never know when you might need/meet them again.
Well, unless this kind of publicity is the kind that Private Affairs like to have about their restaurant? And here I thought publicity about one’s food was supposed to be the best kind of publicity for a restaurant.
Perhaps I should add this in my How to engage a blogger? post.
p/s: I’m not going to talk about how the other food bloggers posted about Ladyironchef. They probably did not know better after hearing just a one-sided view from the restaurant or whoever who spoke about the incident.