When Companies Try too Hard

Occasionally while scouring the Internet or going to trade shows you see companies that just make you laugh. As PR pros we know a little goes a long way and you don’t have to shove your message down the public’s throat to make your point. Unfortunately, not everyone got that message, and they go way overboard when it comes to PR and marketing. 

target_your_customersYou’ve seen them – the Twitter account that’s full of “please look at me!” tweets or the press release that promises customers the moon even though there’s no way the company can follow up. Luckily these poor companies can teach us quite a bit…about what not to do. Here are some classic examples to avoid.

The Endless Self-Promoter 

As mentioned above, you’ve no doubt seen this person on Twitter or Facebook yelling about how awesome their company is all day. Their feed is just chock full of “CHECK OUT OUR NEW PRODUCT LINE!!!” and “1% OFF IF YOU VISIT OUR WEBSITE TODAY!!!” messages. There’s no outside info, no interaction, and no interest from most of the planet.

It happens in other areas, too. Media outlets get press releases all the time that are basically advertisements for respective companies. It’s not a news item, or an interesting story, although they make it out to be one.

These companies would do good to remember it’s not just about bringing people into your store. PR is all about talking with people, and not just about your company – about anything they like. If you have similar interests they will care more than if you just yell at them all day.

Promising Too Much

There’s bait and switch, and then there’s the company that just wanted to win your love so much they went a little too far. Last year a friend ordered from a company that promised to give out 1 million boxes of their product. A million! For free! Clearly this company had good things going for them and they were ready to tackle the world.

Except that wasn’t the case at all. They overreached by quite a bit and ended up angering a ton of people who just wanted the box they were promised. Even worse, there was a slip up with the billing and everyone was charged for their “free” box. It was a total nightmare.

This company didn’t do it on purpose (as far as I know). They got too big for their britches and thought they could handle a huge giveaway. They couldn’t, and paid the price.

Not Acting Their Age 

I don’t mean a company has to act like their literal age, as an Internet full of baby-talking entrepreneurs would just be silly. But haven’t you seen a company that tries to act “hip” and “cool” when it just doesn’t suit them?

Imagine if Bank of America started posting stuff on Facebook like “Yo, come check out our online savings accounts, they’re poppin’ fresh sick!” Would that make you feel comfortable putting your money into their system? Probably not, as it comes off as a desperate attempt to appeal to a demographic.

You have to use the language that makes the most sense for your business. If it’s “hip” language so be it – but if it’s not, don’t force it!

What’s a prime example you’ve seen of a company trying too hard?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download Five (5) Free PR and Press Release eBooks ($67 Value) here:

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