The Punt: Cheerleading exercise just the latest in a troubling PR trend
When is a press conference not a press conference? It's a question that seems to be increasingly difficult to answer. Last Thursday, AirBnB invited the ladies and gentlemen of the press to a "media briefing" to detail the economic impact of the company's room-sharing service on the Irish economy. A number of presentations were made, and then the floor was thrown open to questions. So far, so normal.
However, of the six questions that came from the floor, only two came from journalists. The other four questions - which weren't really questions, more comments about how great AirBnB is and how great it is that it's in Ireland - came from representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce, Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Tourism, and an AirBnB "host".
In other words, this wasn't a "media briefing". Rather, it was a cheerleading exercise. Unfortunately, AirBnB isn't alone in running these sort of "media briefings".
They are becoming more and more common across business in general, not just tech.
A press conference should be just that. Otherwise it's just a waste of everyone's time, including the company's.