Don’t let a reporter’s error go uncorrected

Recently Jeff Koinange and I led two days of CMR Media Consulting media training for a dozen senior executives from Stanbic Bank, including its Financial Controller and its Treasurer. Stanbic, one of Kenya’s leading banks and part of Africa’s largest banking group, Standard Bank, recently underwent a comprehensive branding overhaul. It used to be known as CFC Stanbic Bank, itself formed of the merger of CFC Bank and Stanbic Bank in 2007.
Now, to bring the institution’s identity into line with its branches in South Sudan, and Uganda, and elsewhere, it is simply Stanbic Bank.
Managing a corporate rebrand is a complex operation involving a huge number of individuals and offices within any company, led by the marketing team. To ensure that the new company name and brand identity takes hold as quickly as possible, it is crucial that everyone in your firm talks in that new single voice.
Journalists are busy people, who will never be as expert in your company as you are. They also sometimes – often?! – make mistakes. During the Stanbic Bank training, we worked a very important lesson into our practicals.
During one of the mock radio interviews, Jeff repeatedly referred to the bank as ‘CFC Stanbic’. Surprisingly, not everyone corrected him. This is a big mistake: always correct a reporter if they get something wrong about your corporate identity. Indeed, always correct a reporter if they make any mistake.
It does not need to be convoluted: “Quick correction, Jeff, we’re Stanbic Bank now. As to your question, I can say….”. That would do it. If you don’t correct the journalist, that clip with the error may run again and again through that day’s news cycles, or if it’s in a newspaper or blog report, it can be read and re-read with the error uncorrected.

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