Thursday, June 30, 2005

Rumors

You may have read in the NY TIMES or CNET that one of SHIFT's clients, Claria Corporation, is "in talks" with Microsoft.

Before you read any further, please note that I will NOT be dropping any hints about this particular rumor. This post is about how you DEAL with rumors.

  • You could say "No comment." Maybe that is all you are allowed to say. But that either makes ya sound like a crook, or, like an admission that "it's true but we can't comment."
  • You could stop picking up the phone or answering emails. That's actually a little bit preferable, in my mind. I'd rather see "Company representatives were not available for comment at press time" than, "No comment." ... 'Cuz if you were "unavailable" then you were probably busy doing important deals and such, eh?
  • How about the ol' "Embrace & Extend" approach? I like this one the best. Acknowledge that the rumor exists, without coming close to confirming/denying it, and then extend beyond the rumor and use this as an opportunity to tout your value.
For example, "Yes, we heard that rumor, too. It's not our policy to comment on marketplace speculation. However, as you can imagine, a company like ours, with pace-setting technology and a strong customer roster, gets a lot of inquiries from all sorts of potential partners. When and if anything significant happens, we'd be happy to call you directly. May I take your number, so I have it handy at my desk?"

What you've done here is: covered your ass, because you did not add to the speculation... reminded the reporter that your company is hot as a comet... and, made the reporter feel like an important stakeholder!

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