Morton’s Recent PR Success and the Reputation-Reality Gap Reply


I have to agree with Shel Holtz when says that "PR stunts rock."  And this was a good one.  In case you missed the story from Peter Shankman, The Greatest Customer Service Story ever Told, he joked over Twitter asking that Morton's please deliver a steak at the airport upon his arrival….and they did!  Shel captures the key lessons quite well.

  • Good PR stunts generate a lot of conversation and earned media.   Just do a quick web search and see how many media outlets have picked up this story.  This is a great instance of PR generating favorable impressions.
  • Talented PR and marketing people know how to use the channels, listen, and respond. 
  • Great customer recognition.
  • Who cares if the gains are short term…isn't that simply part of our job as communicators?

Seriously, this is a great example of capturing an opportunity with the right person and then earning the goodwill and coverage that follows.  In this case, a hat tip to the team at Morton's for a job well done.

I only wish that the commitment to customer service were globally scalable.  At a purely personal level this story boomerangs with me because of what I, in my opinion, has been horrible customer service I have received in Singapore.  If Morton's can be this good in the States, then why not take your international markets a bit more seriously and work to ensure that we have great experiences outside of North America?  No, I am not asking for a steak.  Frankly, I find Morton's service levels so frustrating that I would probably refuse the famed meat. 

What I am talking about is a reputation–reality gap.  This story highlights one thing Morton's is famous for beyond the meat–great service.  The reality outside of North America, only in my personal experience, appears to be exactly the opposite.  While the Morton's team in Newark should be congratulated for a job well done, I would be more inclined to care if the management at Morton's seized this opportunity to ask how they might challenge service levels at outlets which perhaps might not be so newsworthy. In this case, a great story contextualized within my disappointing experiences with the brand does not serve to reduce my frustration–instead, it amplifies it.

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