We had the joyful experience this past weekend of being present at Comerica Park when the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera got his 3,000th career hit. This was a big moment in the history of Tiger baseball. Miggy is the third Tiger to achieve 3,000 hits (Ty Cobb and Al Kaline were the others), and the first to get his 3,000th hit at home since Cobb in 1921.
So you sure don’t see this every day. You don’t even see it every century! (By the way, if you want to see it, we shot video!)
Needless to say, once the historic hit was secured, many people had things to say about it. That’s to be expected.
But of all the things that were said, one statement stood out – not so much for the content but for the presentation.
Moments after Miggy notched the big hit, the Tigers released an “official statement” from owner Christopher Ilitch. Here it is:
There’s nothing really wrong with the substance of the statement, although there’s nothing all that extraordinary about it either.
But let’s focus on the presentation. It’s got everything. The design. The logo. The corporate heading. It’s all very important and very official.
And that makes it – and him – come across as isolated and aloof.
We realize not everyone likes social media, and often for good reason. But what the Tigers offered here from their chairman and CEO – a static, bland statement that was probably written by PR staff – adds nothing of value to the discourse about Miggy’s accomplishment.
Why can’t a man in this position use the same platforms as everyone else? Why can’t he engage in back-and-forth with others? Personally? Himself? Without PR staff to guard him from mistakes?
By the way, just to be clear, yes we do help our clients with their public statements. But we don’t recommend that they issue statements like these, which would make them seem self-important and detached from others who are sharing in the joy of the moment.
We understand, in an age of predatory media, corporate leaders feel the need to parse every word very carefully lest they incur the wrath of the journalist cabal and the Twitter mob. That’s why they end up saying things that say nothing at all and try to dress up their generic utterings in official garnishings to make them seem worthy of anyone’s attention.
But at North Star we believe business executives have to find a way to be more authentic and less guarded. And if said business executives are not natural communicators, then their communication people have to do a better job of drawing out their authentic expressions and not making them sound like . . . this.