Industry Research

Make Headlines, Not Make-Believe: Consultant Gives Small Businesses A Big Voice

Posted on April 6, 2011 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

The Media Consultant Group provides clients with digital media, marketing and press outreach communications services, including a “Crisis-Management-In-A-Box” toolkit for operators.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – When a high-profile crash involving a commercial vehicle occurs, whether it’s a chauffeured sedan or a motorcoach, operators must be prepared to handle unexpected interviews by the media. Even if the accident happened on the other side of the country, an operator can be seen by the local media as the voice of the industry simply by virtue of being the “local guy” in the industry and having a vehicle similar to the one involved. When this happens, will you be prepared?

SMALL BUSINESS, BIG VOICE

Many large corporations have entire departments geared specifically toward handling media relations and communications, but what about smaller companies who do not have that type of budget?

THE MEDIA CONSULTANT GROUP’s goal is to provide small businesses with access to the skills of a communications, marketing and media relations expert at an affordable cost without the overhead of having an in-house staffer.

ONE-STOP SHOP

Eron Shosteck, founder and CEO of The Media Consultant Group, draws from a deep well of media experience to provide his clients with media training, compelling marketing pieces to grab consumers by the lapels, news hooks for their products or services; he helps clients craft pieces for Capitol Hill and offers other specially requested services. “I never thought I’d be designing or building websites for folks,” Shosteck says, “but I’ve had a couple of clients who have been successful in small business for decades but have never had a presence on the internet, so I take care of that for them.”

Shosteck has experience working on both sides of the media which has given him unique insights into how newsrooms work. His credentials include working as a journalist, as director of communications for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, at a public relations agency representing the Diesel Technology Forum, and most recently as senior vice president of communications, marketing and media relations for the AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION. He also has had a novel published to critical acclaim. “I’m taking these different components and combining them into a one-stop shop for small businesses in the transportation sector,” he says.

Shosteck also worked as a press secretary on Capitol Hill for a future Speaker of the House, and he uses this knowledge to help associations make their messages resonate with legislative bodies. “Having served on Capitol Hill and being on the other side is an advantage I can provide to my clients in terms of knowing how to break through all the noise that’s out there,” he says.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN A BOX

One area THE MEDIA CONSULTANT GROUP has been focusing heavily on lately is crisis communications training. Shosteck will be offering a “Crisis-Management-In-A-Box” toolkit that is designed to help responsible operators who are in danger of being besmirched as the industry is painted with a broad stroke in the media over high-profile motorcoach crashes involving irresponsible rogue operators.

According to the National Safety Council, there is a greater risk of someone dying from a dog bite than from being a bus crash fatality. Motorcoach travel is the safest form of service transportation, yet this fact is something that is largely ignored by the media.

“What is playing out in the press now is really giving an unfair depiction of what this industry has done in terms of making safety its number one priority, and this is justifiably frustrating operators who are trying to get the message out that they are doing everything possible to make it safer,” says Shosteck. “What I hear and get a sense from the operators I talk to, they don’t want to be in the position of being, by proximity, the closest operators to the local TV station or newspaper and having them knock at the door with questions like, ‘What do you have to say about the safety of buses given recent incidents?’ Although it’s the truth, it’s not enough to say, ‘It wasn’t my [vehicle],’ and slam the door. An operator needs the tools, the talking points, and the backing material to show that he or she is responsible, like the majority of the industry. They need to show to the media the difference between responsible operators and rogue operators, ‘bus pirates.’"

Like it or not, this is a challenge operators have to accept, embrace, and turn into an opportunity to act as an ambassador for their industry. The “Crisis-Management-In-A-Box” toolkit will provide items every operator needs in order to deal with unexpected media ambush interviews. It will include a checklist of questions that the media will most likely ask operators, examples of how to answer some of the questions, and other tools operators need to have on hand to distinguish themselves from the illegal operators.

THE MEDIA CONSULTANT GROUP primarily focuses on ground transportation and travel, due to Shosteck’s background, but he has already had the opportunity to work for clients in different areas who share the same need for the types of marketing and press outreach services that they cannot afford to do themselves. “We make headlines, not make-believe.”

-- Michael Campos, LCT assistant editor

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