Forget the spin, let’s talk
For those of you lucky enough to have taken the opportunity over the summer to have a break or a holiday, welcome back. Unusually, the hottest thing happening over the summer wasn’t the weather, but intrigue and insinuation in the OP industry.
The intrigue has come from announcements such as ActionEmco being divided up between United Stationers and SP Richards, the disintegration of Pinnacle Affiliates, and the news that Amazon wants to take office products seriously. I will not dwell too much on those matters here, not that they’re uninteresting in themselves, but because we explore these changes in the OP landscape in far greater detail inside this month’s issue.
For the insinuation, I draw your attention to the Office Depot Q2 results conference that took place in Florida in July. I’m going to presume that it took place in the grounds of Walt Disney World as (a hot under the collar) Steve Schmidt said something that was pure fantasy.
Surprisingly to some perhaps, I am not alluding to the company’s results. I am in fact referring to his complaint that the trade press had been printing erroneous and overly critical comments about the troubled OP giant. As I mentioned last month, at OPI we have a policy of checking all news stories or information that is passed onto us or that we uncover. I cannot comment for other members of the so-called ‘trade press’, but we never have and we never will.
I thought then that this comment could not apply to us. It would seem I was wrong. We always approach the press office at Office Depot for comment on stories. Most of the time we can rely on somebody in the organisation sticking the head above the parapet when we are talking on general subjects. However, it is noticeable that following the criticism the current regime has attracted – I will go on record and say that OPI only criticises on the advice from those in the know, and again I cannot comment on any other publication or website – that an open door has shut.
We approached Depot to offer it the opportunity to defend itself against some of the allegations that beset it across the industry and on Wall Street. We sent a very comprehensive email explaining how important it would be for the company to be able to engage with the industry with its side of the story. We suggested the best candidates would be Steve Odland or Steve Schmidt. Depot’s response was "we’ll send you some information", in other words "we will add you to the press release distribution list".
Not exactly a progressive step towards winning the "PR war" that Steve Odland believes his company is in, is it? Perhaps Depot could have used that conference to do that? No, instead there was more moaning that it was being treated unfairly and a refusal to come out from behind its closed doors.
Wake up guys, gossip abhors a vacuum and it’s time to open up and show us what a great company we really know you are. Or is that were?