In Blog, lessons

Popular stories in the media often originate from a press release. Each week we pick one of those popular announcements and distill down key PR lessons that you can immediately apply in your own business. This week: the appointment of a new chief executive officer at Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg Co.

Kellogg Looks To Wellness Market For Corporate Health; More CPG Brands Must Follow – Forbes

The announcement by the global cereal and snack company was picked up by news outlets Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as trade publication Food Dive.

What made this story unique and what can this announcement teach us about an executive appointment press release?

What Works:
  • Strong News Hook.  Kellogg is hiring new CEO Steven Cahillane because of his strong background in the natural and wellness industry. Growing demand for natural foods is a popular trend, which many journalists write about. Kellogg is obviously keen to capitalize on Cahillane’s experience in this sector, an area where the maker of Froot Loops and Pop-Tarts and other sugary foods hasn’t excelled.
What Doesn’t Work:
  • Big Missing Element. Kellogg failed to explain the new CEO’s agenda. What will be his top priorities? We know that Cahillane has a strong background in the natural foods industry, but what else is he bringing to Kellogg besides his resume? Generic quotes leave us unfulfilled and yearning for answers on his strategy and how he plans to tackle Kellogg’s problems. The media was critical of the “struggling cereal maker” and Kellogg could have pre-empted this.
What We’ve Learned: Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Tell a Bigger Story

The press release does a good job at telling us what Cahillane did previously in the natural and wellness market, but almost nothing about what he has in store for Kellogg. The Kellogg press release didn’t say enough about what Cahillane will do to capitalize on the natural foods trend. So the media created their own narrative, calling Kellogg a “turnaround” story and a “struggling” cereal maker, and some media focused on the former CEO’s failures.

In your next executive announcement, ask yourself: What are the new executive’s key objectives and how can we include this in our press release? How will the CEO incorporate his or her expertise to drive immediate growth and organizational change? Ask tough questions of your new executive so you can control the narrative. Otherwise, the media will tell you what your CEO needs to be doing.

Check out the Kellogg Company announcement here and let us know in the comments below why you think the media was so critical of this executive appointment. What lessons will you apply in your next press release?

Alex Armitage is co-founder and CEO of Publiqly, whose step-by-step systems help small and mid-sized companies write press releases that journalists and bloggers can’t ignore. Were you forwarded this post? Sign up to receive our weekly press release lessons directly in your inbox.


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