Caffeinated Marketing

Gettting through all the noise, one cup at a time

The Stockdale’s, Omnipure and PR July 28, 2009

Filed under: Free Ideas — jenharris @ 5:19 pm
Ryan Stockdale

Ryan Stockdale

I had lunch today with Travis Franklin from Hawley Troxell and we were talking about the public perception of Ryan Stockdale’s former company Omnipure Filter Company.

If you don’t know the Stockdale’s story with ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover, you can see it here.
If you don’t know the Ryan Stockdale’s  story with cluster headaches….here is the download from the perception of the public (me).

  • Ryan Stockdale became one of the worst cluster headache patients doctors have EVER seen
  • He lost his job at Omnipure…but still had insurance (not sure the details here-COBRA?)
  • There is a chance of recovery through the same type of brain surgery that they do on Parkinson’s patients…even though it is “experimental”, doctors (you know, the really smart ones) know this will help him live a NORMAL life.
  • Omnipure Insurance won’t cover the almost $100,000 surgery UNLESS the CEO says yes (again, this is public perception that was crafted…more on the aftermath of the PR response)
  • Omnipure CEO, Mr. Roger Reid, denied Ryan the coverage
  • The community of Boise stood up & raised the money in record time
  • Ryan & family are getting surgery.

Now, is this what REALLY happened or is this just public perception?  I heard about 22 seconds on channel 6 one night that the CEO did donate to the cause out of his own pocket.  Great…that wasn’t overshadowed AT ALL by the bigger story  that they failed to take care of their own.

We as business people know the facts of insurance and why he wasn’t going to be covered.  “Experimental” doesn’t bode well in any situation for a company.  As a CEO/HR Director you have to look at the health of the company and whether or not the company is going to be able to provide insurance to everyone after certain claims.  This is a double edged sword.

Back to public perception and that PERCEPTION IS REALITY.  Here is my take on what Omnipure should have done. (Let it be known that I am not a PR professional…but what I know are how to use web tools to reach MANY MANY MANY people and squash the perception of one story and enhance & educate the reality of the truth.)

  • Ryan Stockdale became one of the worst cluster headache patients doctors have EVER seen – Omnipure would have a great opportunity to explain this through their blog.
  • He lost his job at Omnipure…but still had insurance – this would be a great Omnipure blog explaining this.
  • Omnipure sets up a Facebook, Twitter, website, local bank and donation page for the Stockdales with the premise that the insurance company is going to deny the claim.  (saving the face of Omnipure not being the bad guy due to education of public through these pages). – educate through blogs!
  • Gathering’s take place on Omnipure stomping grounds – the hat is passed around to raise funds & awareness of what the REAL DETAILS are of the story…hmmm, think the PRESS would pick up on this?
  • There is a chance of recovery through the same type of brain surgery that they do on Parkinson’s patients…even though it is “experimental”…which we all know now is very rarely covered.
  • Omnipure’s insurance provided denies Ryan the coverage – another great blog post!
  • The community of Boise stood up & raised the money in record time along with the support of Omnipure – ooh, blog post!
  • Ryan & family are getting surgery. – blog post!

Omnipure has been made out to be the bad guy here…which they are not.  They are looking our for the entire company’s well being.

What kind of outcome would you envision if the PR agency took a proactive role in seeing the social media future of this situation?  It is going to happen again and again and again.  Proactive, not reactive will win the public perception game every time.

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4 Responses to “The Stockdale’s, Omnipure and PR”

  1. Hi Jen,

    Well done! And a very strong example of what could have and should have been done.

    Thanks!

    Craig

  2. Scott Nicholson Says:

    Great article, Jen. So often companies / people get caught up in emotional (albeit real life) issues and can’t figure out if they should respond for fear of further criticism or, should they respond, what they can even say (many employee issues are confidential & you can be sued for disclosing employee issues). When someone first told me the company had terminated his health care, I explained to them the business / legal complications they may not have considered. You’re right, the business community needs to understand how social media can help them in tricky situations.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Michael Boss Says:

    One thing we should by now have learned is that traditional media tends to do a pretty lousy job with nuance — and issues like that of your blog post are seldom as they seem on the surface. Recognizing this, social media can definitely play an important role not only in providing context and perspective, but on channeling people’s compassion toward an actionable response.

  4. Randy Says:

    I used to work at Omnipure, and I know Roger is a compassionate person. I am sorry that he did not have your advice on how to handle this as the company is a great asset for the city of Caldwell. All decisions like this are made by more than 1 person, even in a family owned operation, and it is too bad he had to be the bad guy from all this. Your option would have been a win-win-win, but we are too used to being confrontational, not working together, and we tend to get our dander up quickly.


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