Today feels like a good day for expressing a personal opinion on:
“Fluff press releases”
The practice of fluff PR has often irked me. I recently spoke with an officer previously with a public cannabis company that shared my views. It was a great conversation that I feel compelled to continue here. In a roundabout way this is a plea to restore sanity in the cannabis industry where some industry executives allocate more time to share-price development rather than product development. I encourage shareholders to look closer and hold companies responsible for their statements. Many have been made with product/service forecasts often forthcoming and seldom arriving. While I run the risk of alienating myself from a few of my peers with this article, I expect more from our industry.
What 5 things do I consider to be “fluff PR”?
1) Solely expressing ones opinion
I feel this is what blogs are for, not press releases. Another fine outlet for opinions is contributing to independent bloggers or media personalities that request quotes for articles.
2) A release with no tangible information regarding progress or plans
I understand that some companies run with a strategy of pushing PR to keep conversations going. Personally, I’m ok with uncomfortable silence if there’s nothing to be said. I also enjoy suspense. The person at a party who needs to hear themselves speak may have a self-esteem issue they’re compensating for. The same holds true for companies.
Parroting a news article as a press release seems hollow to me. I would suggest instead that companies work with media contacts to release an article on important topics that include how the company is related. If it’s truly important news, people will want to hear of it and writers will be excited. If a company is connected with a news piece, writers will love to have the company’s opinion. If a company feels they absolutely must speak about it personally, perhaps they should write an article for their website. Shareholders aren’t simpletons. They are capable of following news regarding their investments.
4) Repeatedly stating what your company is “going to do”.
Ok, this is touchy territory. There are good reasons to discuss company plans, as that is important to shareholders. However, talking about industry progress (not to be confused with company progress) isn’t a forward-looking statement. Yet, if the same “going to do” statements are repeated for month or years it then becomes a fib to build false confidence. If its been said once, it’s enough. If it needs to be said more than once, tell me what tangible progress the company has made since the last time it was said. To adjust a quote from the movie Jerry Maguire… “Show me the product!”
5) Hollow intentions (LOI fluff)
Here’s a dirty little secret. There’s a selection of cannabis companies that had no product/service, but had a plan, raised capital, and then spent all the money. Now they’re stuck with no operating capital. Notably, some of them are recovering. However, some are releasing fluff PR and making speculative deals just to see if it moves their stock price. Investors should put a keen eye to due diligence on such announcements. If an LOI was announced, 3-6 months later, there should be a directly correlated product/service benefit that is publicly measurable. An LOI should be followed by a contract. A contract should be followed by progress. Progress should be followed by verifiable evidence in the form of a product, service, company data, and/or revenue. If not, shareholders should be informed what (or what did not) happen. I’d like to see a little more integrity from cannabis companies on this topic.
I publicly commit that BG Med Tech will abstain from fluff PR and will instead release news about real progress.
(I use the word “limit” because inevitably someone will challenge my opinion on what is and isn’t relevant. Note: my personal barometer is the five reasons above.)
If there’s nothing new to say, we’ll be quietly working on what we’ve already said. If a progress report is due, then one will be provided that includes tangible results. If priorities have shifted, I’ll speak to our shareholders about plans that have been revised, what shifted in the market, and how we addressed that shift with new ideas. We’ll keep a blog for highlighting relevant industry news and will keep our PR about what BG Med Tech is accomplishing.
We will continue to stand with integrity behind what we say.
. . . .
Lastly, aren’t you glad you read this opinion on a blog and not a PR?