The Monday After – Playing a different PR game in Fife

Danick Gauthier in action for Fife Flyers (PHOTO: Jillian McFarlane)

Imagine you’re a player sitting in an apartment on the other side of the world, scrolling through your social media feed and seeing your face on a club’s Twitter announcing your return.

Now imagine what’s been posted is three tweets with quotes that may or may not be attributed to you about how you’re pleased to be back, but it’s a stock quote that seems to come from all signings.

Also imagine that accompanying those is a really poor out of focus picture that you would see on a police feed or even Crimewatch rather than a glorious action shot from your last two seasons with the same club.  

There’s also no link to a full story on the website or anything from the coach about how great you’ve been for the last two years and that they just had to have you back.

That must surely how Fife Flyers’ Danick Gauthier must have felt on Saturday morning (or Saturday night in Sydney for him) when he saw possibly one of the worst announcements of a signing in recent times.

Now, I don’t know Gauthier enough to know whether or not he cared enough about the lack of fanfare he got, but you’d like to think he would have been left very disappointed by that.

Understandably, so did the Flyers fans who posted in their droves, with one such example below, about how poor an announcement that was and adding their complaints that this sort of strategy is what’s letting the club down.  And they were right.

First of all, knowing who usually takes care of the Fife signing announcements, it definitely wasn’t them.  They’re currently on holiday and I have to be honest, even if it was them left to deal with this shambles, I wouldn’t have blamed them for this.

From what I’m led to understand, this individual is a volunteer so does this for their love of the club and their enjoyment of being involved.  The flack they’ve taken is completely out of order, especially considering they aren’t even in the country.

But it’s a malaise that’s set in that has to be addressed or risk the club continuing to be a laughing stock among the fans.

Knowing Tam Muir and Jack Wishart, they can’t be happy with the amount of criticism they’ve had over this and Todd Dutiaume and Jeff Hutchins will have been embarrassed and angry over this as well.

It’s simply not good enough for a team playing in a professional league and whoever heads up their PR and media strategy, needs to take a look at themselves.

Gauthier is currently playing in Australia with AIHL side Sydney Bears (PHOTO: Jillian McFarlane)

Now, I’m not going to lecture on what clubs should do.  That’s entirely up to them, but I’ve been around enough PRs and signing announcements to know what passes for a good bit of news about the new or latest arrivals.

It doesn’t need to be a flashy two minute video showing them signing their paperwork, but actually hearing from the individual about why they signed, engaging with the support instead of repetitive platitudes is what fans want.

Fancy graphics for social media helps as well, but the formula is a simple one.  Posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc should always be the teaser for a full story on the website.

As long as the piece or the video contain actual quotes from the player and the coach, then that’s more than enough to get the fans salivating over what’s to come.

It’s not rocket science and so much about what Fife did wrong on Saturday is there for everyone to see.  I mean, who posts signing news at 6am on a Saturday morning?

I know the guys involved in the local media in Kirkcaldy have offered their services by way of advising and pointing them in the right direction.  

Whatever you think of them, they and others genuinely want to help and this debacle must force the management to even consider it now if they really have the desire to bring their club up to date in this department.

Fife Flyers have often been accused of selling the fans short and this is probably the best example of it yet, especially considering the esteem in which they hold Danick Gauthier in.

If the announcement is anything to go by, they clearly don’t and that has to change.  For a club that’s big on tradition with the proud history they have and doing things the right way, they’ve scored a spectacular own goal here.  

Fife’s fans, players and coaching staff deserve much better than this.

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