Posted by David Oates 4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Let me gush over one of my clients for a minute. I'm a big fan of Jerome's Furniture. While I have been for some time, my man crush has elevated over the past few weeks. It came about because of their willingness to work on a story that most companies -- and PR people for that matter -- would have avoided.

Here's the background. The San Diego NBC Station was producing a news segment centered around issues that a viewer raised to the consumer watchdog team about recent purchases at one of my client's locations. The individual was to represent a line of similar complaints many of the network's local stations were getting about a particular product line. The story wasn't unique to Jerome's. All furniture retailers were getting targeted. Every single one of my client's competitors opted for the more mainstream response by not allowing their executives to be interviewed, preferring to answer only in writing or not at all.

My client thought otherwise. They saw the news piece as an opportunity to educate the public on what the product is and what's required to care for it. Jerome's CEO Brian Woods welcomed reporter Bob Hansen and his team to one of their showrooms and answered every question posed to him. He also pointed to a 90-second video that the company produced to reach as many customers as possible. 

In the process, Jerome's demonstrated a sincere commitment to not just the person who voiced the complaint, but the community at large. Mr. Hanson made mention of that in his closing comments that the anchors also noted. In short, Jerome's was able to turn what was going to be a negative news segment into a positive one for them.

Other organizations can learn from Jerome's. While interviewing for such a story may be uncomfortable, working with the media on a negative piece instead of stonewalling them may often be the best course of action.

Visit NBC7's site to see the entire piece yourself.

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