I'm not a video gamer, and wouldn't be commenting on the online fuss over the reception of the game Duke Nukem 3D, except that it gets at the essece of what public relations is about — relationships. No matter how upset you as a game's publicist — or any other organizational manager — might become over comments in the media or elsewhere, never lose your cool. That's it — all you really need to know about PR in one word, "Never."
Video game companies send out review copies of their new games, and that costs more, obviously, than an envelope and stamp. But never tweet, as Jim Redner of The Redner Group, a PR firm, did after becoming annoyed by some Duke Nukem 3D reviews: "Too many went too far with their reviews...we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn't based on today's venom." Venomous some of the reviews may have been, but Duke Nukem looks like a pretty gross product, and what would you expect? Good PR operatives will keep their emotions to themselves and continue servicing the marketplace in a manner to maintain, and ultimately build, relationships, not nuke 'em. If I can recall, that came in about the first five minutes of APR training, and is as valid now as ever.
Even if you're in a highly fragmented community, like gaming apparently is, keep improving the quality of your product, but treat all the reviewers as though they matter, for they do.
Relationships matter. It's PR's role to build them, endure them, do anything but poison them with threats or even publicly expressed disdain. Jim Redner apologized in an attempt to quell the uproar his irritation set off. By now, he must realize that he shouldn't have vented it in the first place. Especially today, when taunts travel at the speed of tweets.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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