At Lewis Public Relations, we count it as privilege to provide counsel to our clients. But we consider it an honor when clients ask the LPR team to share public relations best practices with their clients. On May 8, LPR's Blake Lewis and Christi Chesner presented media relations tips to ALON Brands' distributor network at the Southwest Fuel & Convenience Expo in Fort Worth, Texas. After the session, Blake and Christi had a chance to talk with Donna Harris of OPIS. Below is an article Donna wrote about their presentation. Well done, Blake and Christi!

This article is being reprinted with permission from OPIS and originally appeared in Oil Express. For more information on Oil Express, please visit www.opisnet.com/products/oil-express.aspx or call (888) 301-2645.

ALON provides media relations tips

Fort Worth, Texas – The oil industry can easily get bad press when gasoline prices rise or crimes occur at gas stations. But ALON Brands believes petroleum marketers have some positive stories to tell and the refiner’s public relations representatives provided a tutorial to branded wholesalers at the ALON brand meeting during the recent Southwest Fuel & Convenience Expo here.

“We are storytellers,” said Blake Lewis III, principal for Lewis Public Relations of Dallas, whose firm represents ALON. “We owe it to customers, the brand and the industry to tell the story well.”

One example of a positive story: ALON’s expansion of a scholarship program into an internship program. The initiative provides the opportunity to sell the company and the industry to young people looking for a career and to demonstrate that ALON cares about employees, said Lewis.

At its brand meeting, ALON distributed 14 common-sense media relations tips on a laminated, wallet-size card. The dos appear on one side of the card and the don’ts appear on the flipside:

• Some dos: Gather and record the facts – who, what, when, where and why. Share the information with key team members. Designate one person to respond to the media. Deliver consistent messages. Manage expectations. Correct misinformation. Be honest every day and every time. For additional assistance, contact your brand representative. • Some don’ts: Don’t avoid or ignore the media, get angry or defensive, speculate, point fingers, reveal confidential security or personnel information, or wing it.

Next: Take a peek at ALON’s new form that helps marketers deal with a potential crisis.