For some clients, the competition is a lot like Lord Voldemort – he who must not be named.

Certain companies have a hard and fast rule that employees must never publicly mention a business rival by moniker – whether it’s during a media interview or speaker presentation, or in a submitted guest column or contributed article. Some even won’t permit naming a competitor when casting them in a negative light, let alone in an objective, vendor-neutral matter.

But what does this “see no evil, hear no evil” approach accomplish? Where is the empirical evidence that a quick matter-of-fact acknowledgement of your competitors results in a flood of potential customers suddenly gravitating to those companies instead of yours?

The truth is there are times when it’s perfectly acceptable, and ultimately beneficial, to cite your competitors publicly. In fact, media outlets that accept guest columns or contributed articles, and conferences that accept speaking presentations, are much more likely to approve a client’s content submission if they are willing to paint a comprehensive portrait their own competitive landscape. At Voxus, we’ve run into instances where editors have literally demanded this of our clients.

So, I ask to all companies seeking publicity, what’s your preferred scenario: 1) briefly referencing your competitors in a vendor-neutral manner and consequently getting story placement in a top-tier publication, positioning you as a thought leader? Or 2) declining to name names, and thus earning no publicity at all when the story is rejected?

Realize that even if you don’t mention a competitor by name in an article, any responsible businessperson interested in your company is still going to do due diligence and research your competitors — something that only takes a mere Google search.

Also, what’s more likely to happen? 1) A reader reads your thoughtful, intelligent column, and immediately contacts your list of competitors? 2) A reader reads your thoughtful, intelligent column and thinks: “What an interesting story, and it didn’t even read like a typical sales pitch. I must look into this company further?”

In the end, refusing to acknowledge competitors when the situation calls for it is a surefire way of denying yourself the elite coverage that you deserve.