The insurance and financial services industry is so skittish from bad press fallout that some corporate communications departments have banned employees from talking on the record to reporters. It is a particularly challenging situation for the editors at ICP magazine, because our goal is to create a community of readers who share their stories — successes and failures — in our pages. And it's ironic, because the kind of publicity that our articles generate usually creates a positive buzz for the company — and the meeting planning department.
My point: We're not sniffing for scandal. We ask about challenges and how you solved them, about the details of your meeting and incentive strategies that have resulted in success stories for you and your attendees. Our mission as a business-to-business magazine is to be your voice in the industry, and your source for useful information. Case studies are one of the best ways we can do that.
We strive for accuracy, and in that spirit, allow you to fact-check your quotes when you request it — a taboo in consumer journalism, and something that not all meeting magazines take the time to do. We are also willing to work closely with your corporate communications departments. Our policy has helped to build a list of insurance and financial services planners who feel comfortable talking to us because they know they won't be misquoted. One meeting manager at a large insurance company has told me that he doesn't return phone calls from the The New York Times, but he'll always agree to be interviewed by ICP magazine. Music to my ears!
Positive Publicity Pays Off
So, if your corporate policy prohibits you from talking to the press, please think again: Consider approaching the powers-that-be with a request for permission to be interviewed by ICP. Without fail, we get terrific feedback when a story is printed, even from the most publicity-shy companies. We're often asked for extra copies of the issue to pass along to senior executives, or for artwork from the article to make into a recognition plaque for the featured meeting professional. Our stories usually illustrate your value: how you thought outside the box to find innovative solutions, or designed a meeting to achieve strategic corporate goals. Many of our featured meeting planners use the publicity to help show their return on investment to senior management. But know that if you need to stay under the radar, we will always respect your decision, and hope that you'll come to us when you're ready to tell your story.
Still skeptical about going on the record? Check out our cover story, (page 20), in which Alison Hall explains how the meeting team at Prudential Financial uses total online meeting management to create efficiencies that not only streamline their planning, but demonstrate their value to the company.
Meet Our New Staff Writer
Please join me in welcoming Michael Bassett, who recently joined us after many years in news journalism and direct marketing. Mike has immersed himself in the meeting industry with enthusiasm. “The first thing I learned” he says, “is how long it takes to plan an event — and that things are still going to go wrong.” Go to page 28 for his heartwarming account of how financial services execs were motivated by a charity event in Jamaica — organized with six-months lead time.
As always, thank you for your support of ICP magazine.