PR 101: Don’t Make Major Announcements on April Fools Day

innovative and Polaris Announce stuff on April Fool's DayDon’t make major announcements on April Fools Day … or your customers might just think you’re a fool.

So, apparently Innovative Interfaces acquired Polaris Library Systems – two major ILS vendors (and yes, Polaris is my library’s ILS vendor).

When did they decide to announce this? On April 1, better known as April Fools Day. The day when companies large and small … make up stupid stuff on purpose. Just to be funny.

Many of us “online types” know that Google does this every year (this year’s Shelfie was pretty funny). Other companies do this with varying levels of success.

So when a major announcement from your ILS vendor springs up from out of the blue on April Fools Day? It makes you think twice, to say the least. That’s certainly what happened over at ALA Think Tank (a Facebook Group for librarians) – much discussion – none of it about the actual merger.

I tweeted about it, and Polaris answered:

So – Polaris and Innovative Interfaces:

  • I get that you have to announce it. It’s probably a legal thing.
  • But – the purchase happened on March 31. That’s when you should have announced it.
  • If you really HAD to announce it on April 1, you should have mentioned that at the start of your press release (which they did finally add sometime late afternoon yesterday).
  • The email I received should have gone out on March 31 – not April 1.
  • That’s besides the whole “talk to your customers” thing. I’m lookin’ at YOU, Polaris (who tried to sell us an early release beta version of their new LEAP software. No way now – not until the dust settles with the merger).

I’m pretty sure you guys both have some PR types on staff – use them next time, please?

  • eileenk

    I’ve been down this road more times than I care to count. While I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt we Polaris customers better get something more in the way of a welcome from III than a webpage you can’t get to from the website!!! I think someone at III needs to take a lesson from the Polaris culture and try to make what becomes a big chunk of their customer base feel more like a sacred cow than a cash cow!!!!!!!

  • lectiodifficilior

    I dunno. I think the date gave the announcement extra wings…

  • swhite58

    Such grumpiness. I don’t think they announced it on April 1 just to annoy you.

  • davidleeking

    I’m sure you’re correct. Thanks for the comment!

  • Allen D. Tate

    They may not have made the announcement on April 1 to annoy anyone but they failed miserably. There are plenty of us Polaris library folk who were annoyed and felt like we’d been punched in the gut.

  • Rupert Giles

    It certainly did not help that for the first several hours after the announcement, during which time I received no less than 4 emails from Polaris, each with a link to the iii page, the link did not work. It was the 5th email where the link actually went to an Innovative page.
    This should be talked about in future MBA classes where they discuss epic fails in customer communication, such as Coke II.