Wednesday, June 09, 2010
PR Day at The K
PRSA Day at The K from Mike Ekey on Vimeo.
Mike Swanson, The Royals Public Relation chief is passionate about what he does ... but then again I guess that is like being passionate about polishing a turd.
That probably sounds harsh, but I don't mean disrespect toward Swanson. He genuinely seemed like a good guy. He was great presenter, funny and harshly honest about what it means to be a Public Relations person for The Royals and other MLB clubs around the nation.
Swanson giving us a tour of the clubhouse and stadium.
But he is also a great example of where old school communications - newspapers, PR, marketing all of it - stumble when they don't at least attempt to learn how their audience or community or ticket holders are really talking about you.
Swanson was not shy about talking about former coach Buddy Bell, but he even went into some of the details of the firing of Trey Hillman. If I were an honest reporter, I might even share with you some of the... choice words... he used when telling those stories. But I am not... so you only get the video above about him talking about how the press box at Kauffman is right behind home plate and has no netting or protection from foul balls.
But when I asked Swanson about social media, blogs or anything online to reach out to fan besides the drivel coming from The Star or Jack Harry, he bristled and called them all "a distraction". He explained how he warns players about social media and how to be careful and protect themselves when it comes to fans using social media...
It's an odd contrast to this article that talks about how the whole UFC sport has grown as a direct correlation with its owner recognizing how sports and social media need to be going hand in hand.
Maybe it is apples and oranges, but The Royals sound like they want to build up their walls and do nothing but protect themselves from The Interwebs - and more importantly critical fans. This IS the same ball club that banned players from talking to blogs not to long ago.
In the same clubhouse, though, The Royals are pushing a ton of non-game promotions as a way to entice fans to come to the ball park. You think you would see a kiddie playground or put-put course in our stadium if we were genuine pennant contenders each year? Not at all.
So it seem counter intuitive that The Royals clubhouse (the team) is not embracing every online community, blog, twitter account and other outlets in an attempt to drag fans to the ballpark kicking and screaming.