The upperhand in PR
Notice how so many personnel changes “unannounce” the departure of the old guy by simply announcing his replacement? Look at the Jeremy Lile press release from Daywind. Unless I missed something, this is the first official mention of a replacement at the bass spot for BFA, and there is simply no reference to Keith Plott. It’s as if he doesn’t and never did exist. Keith who? Plott? Nope. No Plott here. Wrong number. And this happens all the time.
At best, this kind of unannouncment may include a very brief line toward the end of the sort that the Kingsmen used in their recent changes:
Bryan has most recently been with the Blackwood Gospel Quartet and will be replacing Tony Peace, who left the group to pursue other interests.
Apparently it doesn’t go without saying that the unannouncement of a member’s departure is a pretty crummy way to handle things. It’s wildly disrespectful of the person who’s leaving, under no matter what kind of circumstances (if you’re going to engage in PR play-pretend anyway, you can just as easily pretend the old guy left on good terms as you can pretend he simply dissolved into thin air).
And it’s more than a little condescending to the rest of the world. Unannouncing one half of a big personnel change assumes either A) no one cares, or; B)your fans already know the story through unofficial channels (which these days includes the blogs that so some artists like to self-righteously disparage), which groups seem to interpret as a license to avoid fully acknowledging or taking responsibility for their decisions.
Note to departing artists: Get out in front of your own PR. If you leave a group, nothing’s stopping you from releasing your own statement describing your departure. You don’t have to get into gory details if you don’t want (though see here for what happens if you do). You don’t have to burn bridges. You can even just say that you’re going to spend more time with your family etc. But the key is that YOU’RE SAYING IT.
The first lesson of PR is that you always want to define the terms of the discussion before your opponent does. Yeah yeah, I know, Christians are all brothers and sisters in Christ, not opponents in a PR battle. And God checked all the egos at the door of the Nashville Homecoming too.
But back on earth, artists who let their departures from groups (such as BFA, the Kingsmen, Florida Boys, or whomever) be “unannounced” by the press release trumpeting their replacement are needlessly letting a fat slow pitch glide across the sweet spot without swinging at it (How’d I do with that sports metaphor? I’m not so good at them, alas).
So whoever ends up being the next Keith Plott or Tony Peace (that’s you Gene McDonald), beat your former boss to the punch and release your own statement announcing you’re leaving – and then you’ll be doing so with the upper hand, which may be the only severance package you get.Email this Post