6 Tips for a Successful Media Relations ProgramPosted by Marian Briggs on August 22, 2013 at 2:36 PM
In the era of bloggers and citizen journalists, as well as traditional print and broadcast reporters, the topic of how to work with the media is something every communicator has to revisit frequently. Given that, I recently participated as a panelist in a webinar sponsored by the National Investor Relations Institute that delved into that topic.
The other panelist and I were asked by the moderator to provide our top three tips for a successful media relations program. Here are the suggestions of Cynthia Skoglund, now with Alliance Management and before that with Beckman Coulter:
We all agreed that proactive media relations involve thought leadership, i.e., sharing a company's perspective on an issue or trend, whereas reactive often means an adverse or crisis situation that calls for a different set of tools. The best media relations specialists employ the most appropriate tools for the situation.
Cruising on the Integrated Communications BusPosted by Bob Brin on October 6, 2011 at 2:43 PM
It's been a smooth ride, helping Jefferson Lines update its brand to where they're headed, versus where they've been. The refreshed brand and integrated marketing program has been rolling outta here with a road-ready new identity, a sleek e-commerce website, online advertising and publicity.
The Padilla team recently boarded a freshly wrapped Jefferson Rocket Rider for a road trip to our 50th anniversary (James) Bonding session at a super-secret location.
Jokes Aside: 10 Signs You Work in Public Relations at Padilla Speer BeardsleyPosted by on August 4, 2011 at 11:11 AM
As I read the August 2, 2011, Ragan article, "10 Signs You Work in Public Relations," I related to many of the humorous admissions outlined below by David Brimm, president of BrimmComm Inc., -- but wanted to personalize a short list that describes tell-tale signs you're a Padilla Speer Beardsley PR pro.
Brimm's list: "10 Signs You Work in Public Relations"
10. During a date you are tweeting a reporter about a new pooper scooper.
10. During a date you are tweeting a reporter who caught your check-in on Foursquare and wants to join you for a drink.
Please feel free to add your reactions or contributions to the list in our comment box.
"Traditional media is not enough," said Katie Couric. Do you agree?Posted by on December 7, 2010 at 2:40 PM
Watch new media thought leader, Brian Solis' short video interview with Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, a correspondent for 60 Minutes, and host of "@katiecouric", her new webshow on CBSNews.com. Solis questions Couric about her experience working with new media, such as YouTube and Twitter, to reach and engage with audiences and viewers who want to consume the news and participate in the reporting process on channels other than TV broadcasts.
Couric commentary takeaways - here are a few journalism insights that we thought apply well to public relations' use of social media:
1. Don't expect your friends to be able to watch you on the news.
Takeaway: Your friends, and customers, need to be able to access you (your brand/products), and your information, where they are. Maintaining a strong presence on a company website is essential, but branching out into social networks can make it easier for people to reach you and engage with your brand/products on a more consistent, and sometimes personal, basis.
2. Take the digital learning curve in stride. It's a learning process.
Takeaway: Everyone is a student; the whole industry is experimenting and developing best practices and processes along the way.
3. Being human opens the door to connection and engagement.
Takeaway: Don't be too stiff, and then expect your friends and customers to open up.
4. Solicit questions from Twitter and Facebook followers. You can get too close to a story and miss key questions that should be asked and that your audience want to know.
Takeaway: Engage with your audience in the questions process--not just answers sharing.
For more on this interview series, visit Brian Solis TV.
About: Brian Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. Brian has led interactive and social programs for Fortune 500 companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups.
Millennial Comm-marketers Blaze the Digital Way...Posted by on September 9, 2010 at 5:14 AM
Digital savvy Millennials, when working alongside seasoned colleagues, can help ignite and invigorate how organizations engage with their customers and other people who can impact their success. We are transforming our industry and clients' businesses and redefining customer relationship management and return on investment.
Relationships Remain King in the Digital and Real World
(click image or here for full size invitation)
Crisis Management Wins and SinsPosted by Matt Kucharski on July 22, 2010 at 4:42 PM
Not since 9/11 have we seen this much interest among clients and prospects in crisis preparedness and management. As a direct result of BP (Exxon owes you a big thank-you, by the way), it only seems natural that boards and senior leadership teams are asking the "what if it were us" question.
While the BP situation is in many ways unprecedented, a lot of the "lessons learned" so far are really not new at all, but simply variations on the errors and best practices that should already be in place at progressive companies.
Here's a summary of what we've been using to help educate our clients on common errors and best practices:
Oh, and by the way, here's one I saw coming a mile away -- a bumper sticker on the back of a car that said "BP -- Beyond Pathetic"
Can't think of a more poignant example of a brand irrevocably damaged by a crisis...
Cruising Toward Social Media Success with a Customer Advocacy ProgramPosted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on July 15, 2010 at 10:38 AM
I had the opportunity to sail on the inaugural cruise of the NCL Epic last week with a travel agent friend. (The ship's first sailing is reserved for travel agents and their guests, who all travel free). It's a smart influencer relations and awareness building strategy - wine and dine the people that are going to sell your stuff. Show them first-hand what a wonderful experience they'll be selling their customers.
The fact that people are making the effort to form communities in this way fascinates me, but it also got me thinking about what Norwegian Cruise Line could be doing to engage with these folks and tap into their excitement about the brand. They're basically being handed a plate full of social-media savvy influencers eager to talk about them in a positive light. It doesn't get much better than that!
How would we advise our clients to get started? We'd recommend they tune in via social media monitoring and identify the people talking about NCL. Then they could sponsor the planned tweet-up and create a social media ambassador club (with a cute name, of course ... The Social Skippers, Cruise Crew, NCL Socialites, etc) for attendees to join. While cruising, offer this group some exclusive perks that will encourage them to share information about the ship after they've landed. From there, elevate their experience and help them get social:
What else would you suggest they do?
Photo credit Ell Brown
How LeBron James Twissed* His Fans... And How Businesses Can Do BetterPosted by on July 14, 2010 at 6:26 AM
*An admittedly lame attempt at creating a Twitter term. In case it wasn't clear (which is likely), I was going for "Twitter Dissed."
I'm not much of an NBA fan, so I don't really care which jersey LeBron James will wear next season. But like so many others, I waited anxiously to see what would happen on July 8. Not on ESPN, however. On Twitter.
James created Twitter handle @kingjames just two days before his overhyped much-anticipated "Decision." Though I wasn't watching myself, I'm told that he gained some 300,000 followers in one day. With that sort of momentum, one would think James' PR team would jump on the opportunity to engage the fans who were eagerly looking to be engaged.
Yet on the night of the Decision, no tweets. Just a wasted opportunity.
LeBron James fans did what almost any company wishes their customers would do - they congregated in one place and tuned in to hear what he had to say. And he left them hanging.
And worse yet, he didn't deliver on a promise. Just a few hours before the "Decision," King James tweeted: "Good Morning! It's your chance to ask me a question about my decision, use #lebrondecision to submit and I'll answer them tonight."
Many tweets were posted using the designated hashtag, but King James' camp never responded. His next tweet didn't come until the next day when fans finally received the following: "What's up yall. Just landed in my new home. Thanks to all the fans and Miami organization who greeted me. The Road to History starts now!"
By then, old news.
When fans (or customers, as the case may be) meet you in a social media space, don't leave them hanging. Engage them. They appreciate the feeling that they are somehow part of your decisions and activities. And the interaction can lead to invaluable opportunities to hear what customer think, answer questions, fix problems, and change negative opinions.
Padilla's client, Rockwell Automation, is a great example of successfully executing a new Twitter handle. The company wanted to better reach manufacturers and trade media unable to attend its annual Automation Fair event in 2009 due to tightened travel budgets. Rockwell Automation created a Twitter handle for the event to increase the real-time coverage of the event. In the months before the event, the marketing and public relations team developed a detailed execution plan, and commissioned a team to see it through. By the end of the week-long event, the Twitter handle had 122 followers, and achieved nearly 1,000 click-throughs on posted links.
Some planning and execution tips that helped Rockwell Automation succeed include:
1. Starting early - Create your profile and begin building a following before the event, so that you have a following AT the event. Build interest by giving attendees a peek into what's going to happen at the event. Consider pre-event interviews with speakers. Also, be sure to communicate the event hashtag in the weeks prior, so that everyone knows to use it.
2. Planning a schedule - Many people find it hard enough to Tweet during a regular day at the office, let alone when they need to run across a trade show floor from appointment to appointment. Plan a schedule of what you'd like to Tweet and when. Rockwell Automation's list included things like "9:45 a.m. - Reminder about customer forum start time and location," "10 a.m. - Quotes from customer presentation," and "1 p.m. - Interesting new products showcased in partner booths."
3. Designating a team - Once you have a plan of everything you need to Tweet, you probably will realize there isn't one single person available on site who can schedule enough time to cover it all. Delegate to others as appropriate (but be transparent, i.e., don't pretend to be someone you're not). Rockwell Automation delegated the posting schedule to approved company Tweeters. These individuals were able to ensure all postings were made, as well as monitor Tweets from others that mentioned the company or event and work with approved spokespeople to respond.
Be careful what you (don't) tweetPosted by on July 12, 2010 at 8:52 AM
CNN fired a 20-year veteran of the network last week over a controversial tweet she posted, according to The New York Times.
Read the article for all the details, but the issue started with a tweet posted by the editor, Octavia Nasr:
Critics were quick to point out Ayatollah Fadlallah's writings and preachings inspired the Dawa Party of Iraq and a generation of militants, including the founders of Hezbollah.
CNN responded to the issuing saying the tweet did not meet CNN's editorial standards. Nasr said people were misinterpreting her tweet.
Either way, there were real world consequences that may be a direct result out of Twitter's 140-character limit.
The lesson? Be sure your tweet tells the whole story. And if it can't, be sure the tweet includes a link to a page that unpacks what a 140-character tweet cannot.
Be More Social than Media: 5 Strategies for Diversifying Social Media MonitoringPosted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on June 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM
We talk a lot about listening in social media. Why it's important, how to start a listening process, who should be doing the listening, etc. Those are all important questions. But don't forget to ask one more seemingly simple question: What am I listening for? Company and brand mentions, most certainly. But you shouldn't stop there.
1. Industry trends
Look for conversations related to your industry, company growth areas, new products areas or technologies where you're investing.
Seek out discussions related to events where you're presenting or attending.
3. Research results
Keep an eye out for research that's relevant to your company or business unit, especially if it supports the work you're doing.
4. Company content
When you appear in a media article, distribute a news release or complete a case study or white paper, look for related conversations where this content may be of interest
People often turn to social media to answer their questions, however, questions may not mention your brand specifically, instead they'll probably ask a broad question - looking for a new cable provider, any recommendations? What are the latest developments in business intelligence software?
"Social" is the crux of social media, and people want to hear from people. As you broaden the scope of your monitoring program and social media interactions remember that it's important to be approachable, helpful and transparent about your company affiliation.
So, what are you listening for? Do any of these "types" stand out as opportunities? What's missing from your list?
Photo credit totalAldo
Making the Culture Shift to Social Media: A4ward Social Media StrategyPosted by on June 22, 2010 at 3:34 PM
Padilla leaders Bob Brin and Tom Jollie presented a webinar today as a follow up to the launch of our A4ward Social Media Strategy process yesterday. Bob and Tom discussed some background and examples as well as the four stages of our process - including the often-missed "Activation" stage that helps ensure organizations are poised for success.
If you missed the session, a recording of the webinar is available for archived viewing:
The slides are also available via SlideShare:
If you'd like to learn more, please contact any of us at Padilla.
Don't Let Tony Hayward Write Your Social Media PolicyPosted by Matt Kucharski on June 21, 2010 at 5:53 AM
Tony Hayward, BP's CEO and up until recently spokesperson for spill response, went from oily water to hot water this past week when he was seen cheering on his yacht at a high-brow race back home in the UK. His latest gaffe is a great example of why companies with traditional corporate communications strategies are having a difficult time getting their arms around social media policies. It seems like a good thing to discuss on the day we're launching Padilla's A4ward social media strategy product.
Every good company needs to have -- or at least discuss -- the nature of their social media policy, and where the lawyers and conservative corporate communications folks get hung up is on this concept of the spokesperson. Most got their experience in an envrionment where you had your three key messages and your handful of trained spokespeople who were the only ones authorized to speak on behalf of the company. As companies introduce social media policies, that concept gets a little fuzzy, and we've seen it be the main point of contention in the review process.
Look at it this way -- there's no policy in BP's manual that says that Tony Hayward couldn't go to a yacht race, but in many people's eyes, this was worse than his "I want my life back" comment to the media and his Joe Friday performance in front of Congress. He may not have been a spokesperson for BP at the time of the race, but he certainly was a representative.
And that's the important point -- your social media policy needs to distinguish between being a spokesperson for the company and being a representative of the company. Spokespeople are authorized to speak on behalf of the company on a wide range of issues from financial performance to market position to response during a crisis. Representatives of the company are those individuals who by the simple act of going about their daily routines reflect positively or negatively on a company's reputation. That includes spending time on social media sites. That doesn't mean you can't mention the company or talk about what you do there -- all it means is that as a representative, when you're online, you're wearing a company golf shirt, so act appropriately.
And if your company is under seige, stay away from yacht races.
Print vs. Electronic - the tradeoffsPosted by on June 18, 2010 at 5:23 AM
Five years ago, a contributor to The Lead said in their post, "news is news, and increasingly, communicated in multiple ways through multiple venues and technologies." As prophetic the author was, many of our clients still place a high value on seeing their message in a print publication, despite the many technology and social media advances.
1. Editors are given more flexibility to expand their content and link to additional resources through their web content and electronic newsletters. They feel this is a great service to their readers.
What do you think? What are the values you place on the electronic word--or printed word? Where is your highest value?
A Gushing Oil Spill and Blathering SpokespersonPosted by on June 14, 2010 at 2:30 PM
Friday marked Jacques Cousteau's 100th birthday, perhaps a numbing affirmation of the cumulating marine travesties from BP's copious, ongoing oil spill in the Gulf. Everyone from BP CEO Tony Hayward and President Obama to you and me are at their wits' end on how to stop the leak. One can only imagine how "Captain Cousteau" would react to the reckless regard for this environment, and inability to act accordingly to a human-caused disaster. As we near the two-month mark of the spill, how effective are BP and Hayward in managing the crisis and communicating?
Hayward is providing our worldwide community mixed messages, and statements that too often contradict third-party scientists and the government. BP's smorgasbord of answers, "on the fly" attempted solutions and perplexing communications have worsened its credibility - and stock price. Last week's Newsweek looks one step further: Considering Hayward's gaffs and lack of leadership, why hasn't he been fired?
Could BP's credibility be better off today if it had practiced proactive, accurate and sound public relations? Consider some missteps:
• On May 30, among other instances, Hayward contradicted independent scientists and researchers, asserting there were no oil plumes. BP's lack of depth and breadth of the leak demonstrates to media, stakeholders and other constituencies that it doesn't have a handle on the situation. Moreover, Thursday's New York Times reported the U.S. government projects the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf is now double BP estimates.
• As reported on The Daily Show on June 10, BP is buying search terms on search engines, resulting in BP-sponsored links appearing as the top results for searches on the oil spill. I give them credit for the offensive play, but also question where social media ethics interject.
• Also on June 10, BP issued the following news release: "BP is Not Aware of Any Reason for Share Price Movement." Really? What correlation do BP's substandard communications have on its plummeting stock price?
Accidents and the unknown are absolute. Take-aways from the BP oil crisis reminds us to be thorough in communications planning, including crisis communications. It's essential to be honest with stakeholders and the public, to manage one's issues and messaging, and to proactively engage appropriate audiences.
Crude Crisis - Commercials vs. Customer CommunicationsPosted by on June 4, 2010 at 5:45 AM
Reputations are built in years but can be destroyed by a single event.
Frankly, I'm tired of hearing updates about failures to end the leak in the Gulf of Mexico. The following news story identified what's missing: BP's vision for what the end looks like (and when).
When things go wrong - and ideally well before a crisis occurs - companies depend on the advice of Padilla's Crisis Communications Team. Paul Omodt leads that team and offered his perspective in last night's Fox story about the recent BP apology commercial. In short: BP should go directly to customers with messages at the pump and email updates.
How do you think BP is communicating about this issue?
How does it compare to Toyota's management of the accelerator recall just a few months ago?
What do you think BP should do next?
It's Great To Be Here!Posted by on May 12, 2010 at 10:54 AM
How many times have you heard that? Well, today, I've heard it 113 times!
Yes, the 113 employee-owners of our firm are sharing all the reasons why they love working at Padilla ... and why we were recognized last night as "THE BEST AGENCY TO WORK FOR" in the country by The Holmes Report. Awards for client work are important, but we are most proud of awards that recognize our people and our culture.
So, aside from recognition from The Holmes Report, here's a summary of what our people think:
"What makes Padilla 'the best place to work?'"
Ownership - We succeed together and we pull together when things aren't at 100%. It's the culture of ownership that keeps people focused on what's right and what's best. Ever notice how the boss ducks out early Friday afternoons at some companies? At Padilla, early weekend escapes aren't reserved for the few. During the summer and over the winter holidays, all employees are invited to take Friday afternoons off if they've already put in their full hours for the week. This perk has been a firm policy for 21 years.
Communication - Our people are committed to being accessible to each other and to our clients. Internally, we all know what's going on through monthly all-company staff meetings to review financial performance, discuss initiatives and celebrate personal, client and firm-wide success.
Hard Work - One account manager said, "It's the people. I like working with really smart people." Maybe "work smart," describes us better ... even though I believe our clients would say we "do it right." I'm not sure it matters whether we work "hard" or "smart," as long as we live up to our brand promise for our clients: Something Unexpected. No Surprises.
Hard Play - Some mornings we arrive to the smell of pancakes cooked up in the third-floor kitchen. On New Year's Eve, there's a champagne toast at the fireplace. On Halloween, we eat a potluck lunch while perusing silent-auction items everyone donates to raise thousands for United Way. We celebrate the annual Twins home opener with a tailgate party. Throughout the year, we volunteer together to rake for seniors, donate books and supplies for school children, and serve nearly 200 other non-profit organizations. Even our children get into the action at our annual kids' holiday party each winter!
Constant Improvement - One of our values is "Keep learning." Through a mentorship program, a writing coach and regular professional (and personal) development, everyone has the opportunity to grow and achieve their full potential. This week's professional development sessions: "Staying Energized in a Draining World," and everything we need to know about life insurance.
Reputation - We devote ourselves to building and protecting our clients' reputations. That's dedicated has contributed to our strong reputation in the local community and the national communications community since our founding in 1961. As one Account Executive said, "Padilla earns the respect it gets, making me proud to work where I do."
Okay ... now on to celebrate finalists for Entrepreneur of the Year with Ernst & Young! (Padilla is a sponsor)Padilla CEO, Lynn Casey accepts SABRE Award - Best Agency to Work For
Beyond Clips, Clicks & HitsPosted by on April 5, 2010 at 9:34 AM
What's the Value of Your Marketing and Communications Investments?
During a challenging economy, every dollar spent on marketing and business communications is open to scrutiny. So measuring the effectiveness and impact of these programs is more important than ever.
Yet even with today's advanced technology and tools, many organizations aren't sure how to determine the value, effects and relative return on their communications efforts.
This presentation offers a fresh perspective on communications measurement including insights on the best strategies, methods and tools to help you calculate the value of your communications investments - and make the most of your marketing spend.
The Webinar is also archived for viewing.
The Disappearing Line Between Reality (PR) and Script (Advertising)Posted by on April 2, 2010 at 9:42 AM
Upon leaving "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!" Spencer Pratt, villain of the enormously popular "The Hills", said "I'm not a reality star...I'm a...character (emphasis added)."
In a stroke, and likely without realizing it, the loathsome Pratt actually articulated the very real issue of the blurred line between reality and entertainment, where the consumer is unable to discern between an objective, unbiased viewpoint and a scripted/paid act. The confusion between truth and propaganda takes on far greater significance in the practice of public relations than in the world of reality TV. Whether Spencer actually is a detestable snot or is simply playing one on TV has (hopefully) little impact on our lives. Whether a document is an objective news item or an advertisement masquerading as one is remarkably more significant.
The dissipation of this once "never-to-be-crossed" ad/editorial line is rapidly increasing as flailing media outlets are putting their editorial for sale to secure dollars once reserved only for ads. If it becomes more common, there will soon be no difference between public relations and advertising. Even if a news item is purely editorial, it will be looked upon with suspicion...is the reporter for real? Or is he/she getting paid to "play a character?"
Given how threatening this trend is to the PR industry, it's surprising how many of our industry peers not only fail to stop it but actively perpetuate the practice. We've all heard the stories of PR people masquerading as random bloggers to promote client products, to say nothing of communication vehicles where paid spokespeople are presented as objective news sources.
The PR industry has spent its entire life differentiating itself from advertising...promoting the value of the article over the advertisement. The idea has always been that a disinterested, unbiased, objective third party validating a company's claims is tremendously more valuable and credible than an organization subjectively talking about how great it is.
When conducting PR for your company, make sure that you and your firm understand the difference between paid and earned media...and practice the latter. Lest your company become another Spencer Pratt of the media world.
A Job Well DonePosted by on March 26, 2010 at 10:51 AM
Recognition for a job well done comes in many forms ... and the impact can be great. An "atta-boy" from a parent; a promotion at work; an award from an industry group.
At Padilla, accolades are top of mind today as we celebrate ten awards (including Best of Show) received last night at the 32nd Annual Minnesota PRSA Classics Awards.
Why do we enter for awards? Sure, the recognition is nice but there's one thing that really makes the difference: Showing RESULTS. The best programs are designed with the end in mind, informed by research and include metrics to prove impact.
So, while it's fun to bring home trophies, the real honor is working with clients who give us the opportunity to design communications programs that drive business results.
Congratulations to all of the PRSA Classics winners for a job well done!
Will It Blend? How to Mix Offline Efforts with Online Customer ServicePosted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on March 26, 2010 at 9:10 AM
Customer service and social media go together like Facebook and recreational stalking. Okay - maybe it's not that bad, but the web has become an open forum for customer feedback. Why wait for the next available representative when you can complain about your broken internet to a few hundred of your closest friends on Twitter? Is your washing machine on the fritz? Why write a letter to some faceless executive when you can post a rant on your blog to thousands of dedicated readers instead?
It's true. Social media can help solve customer problems. But it doesn't happen automatically.First, companies must be tuned into the social media channels where people are talking about them. They also must have an internal process in place that allows them to be helpful in their response. Only then can they can turn a potentially negative situation or dissatisfied customers into allies.
We're finding that when it comes to customer service via social media, thoughtful often means taking the conversation offline.
Padilla monitors hundreds of conversations for our clients daily. We see the good ... and the not-so-good. The trick is deciding when someone is just looking to pick a fight and when there's a real opportunity to win over a customer.
When it comes to effective customer service, the same rules of engagement apply whether you're solving customer problems from a call center, in person or from a laptop. The question you need to keep top of mind is this: Can anything be done to remedy this situation?
Recently, one of our clients had a great opportunity to test the waters when a customer posted a lengthy rant entitled "Why Does [Manufacturing Company] Hate Its Customers?" on his blog. The customer aired his frustration over not being able to access the company's online support database.
We flagged the post and recommended our client respond by posting a comment with the name of someone the customer could contact for direct help (in the spirit of Twitter feed @comcastcares). Our client (the ever customer-service minded) did us one better. They created a customer service ticket and contacted him directly - via phone - to troubleshoot the problem.
Just as our client was preparing to post a comment to the blog explaining the action taken, the blogger posted an update of his own. He gave the company kudos for listening and explained that they'd helped solve the problem.
The critic became ally. Mission accomplished!
Good customer service goes beyond resolution. Our client called the blogger a few days later to make sure the problem was fully solved. As a result, the blogger posted a lengthy account detailing the great service provided and expressing his appreciation for our client listening and making sure they took care of him.
Still not convinced?
If your customers are online, then using social media for customer service is absolutely a good idea and it's something you should be doing (hint: they are online). However, it's easy to get social media tunnel vision. Sometimes you need to step back and think about what you can do that would be most helpful. Oftentimes that means moving the interaction into "real life."
Are you using social media for customer service? How's it working?
Handling Customer FeedbackPosted by on March 15, 2010 at 11:57 AM
There are companies known for great customer service - usually those are the ones that listen to their customers. Then there are those who get feedback but may not have processes in place to manage feedback. The following is an example of not only lacking customer communications processes but also an appropriate spokesperson.
A couple weeks ago, in a city just outside Minneapolis, a customer sent a complaint to a movie theater about her experience. It included a valid suggestion (to allow for purchase by credit/debit card or keep their ATM flush with cash) and a complaint about a staff disruption for the first 30 minutes of the movie. A great opportunity for the theater - consider changing their systems, offer an apology for the disruption and perhaps earn a customer for life. Unfortunately, the VP had no "inner monologue" and no real customer communication training.
The original email from the customer and the expletive-loaded response from the theater are on the Facebook page dedicated to boycotting the theater - there's also one supporting the VP. Note: if you're easily offended, don't read the email exchange.
Beyond the Star Tribune article about the incident, the story has become a Facebook hot spot.
Are you concerned about the chance of someone in your organization responding to a customer inappropriately? Do you have a process in place to manage (or solicit) customer feedback? What's the risk to your organization if customer communication breaks down?
My father always told me that the customer may not always be right, but the customer is always the customer (and deserves to be treated so).
Stop, Collaborate and Listen.Posted by Michelle (Haschka) Wright on February 5, 2010 at 3:22 PM
In the world of social media marketing (and early 90's rappers), it's easy to get caught up in finding more followers, sharing the latest app. and getting more mentions. But all the hype is pretty worthless if you don't remember one simple rule: be helpful. That was the theme of best-selling author and social media guru Chris Brogan's keynote on digital reputation management held at Best Buy's headquarters this week.
Brogan worked his way thorough the social media framework he advocates - listen, connect, and publish - and shared a number of insights along the way (based on content from his book Trust Agents).
I've had a little time to process the event and here are my top 5 insights from Brogan's presentation:
1. Be helpful.
Being helpful isn't about broadcasting. And it isn't about control. It's about listening.
To listen well, you need to listen bigger.Think of listening as a committed long-term relationship. It takes time and effort to keep the magic alive. You have to dive beneath the surface. Get to know what's really going on. Ask all those "getting to know you" questions and then dig deeper. Where do your customers hang out online? Who do they trust? What do they like to do? What do they like about you? What are their biggest challenges? What bugs them?
It's practically impossible to figure out how you can help someone when you haven't been paying attention to the problem. And luckily being helpful doesn't always mean you have to fix the problem.
Make it all about others.
Brogan shared a little rule of thumb: for every time you comment about yourself, make 12 comments about other people. Point someone in the right direction. Give props to a fan. Share a resource. Connect people. It's the little things that make long-lasting and meaningful connections.
If you're going to talk, say something useful.
Gone are the days of organizations relying on traditional media to spread the word about their products and services. Today, thanks to blogging tools, video platforms, photo sharing, etc., companies have the power to tell their own stories in new, unique, and low-cost ways. But just because it's cheap doesn't mean you should do it. Minimally, your stories need to be relevant to your consumers. If you really want to make a splash, you need to take the next step and write something that's actually helpful.
Keep in mind that you can make all the news you want but if you haven't connected with people willing to listen, you'll be talking to an empty room. Companies that have built a tribe of loyal followers have a unique opportunity to tell their own stories.
Make sure your helpers have the right tools for the job.
You wouldn't start building a house without talking to contractors, designers and inspectors and getting the proper permits. Nor should you dive into connecting and creating content via social media without making sure you've convened the right stakeholders and rolled out the proper policies.
Brogan didn't cover this piece, but it's an important one. Identify the people in your organization that will be affected by social media - it's probably people in marketing, public relations, HR, internal communications, IT, and legal (but it could be others like sales and manufacturing, depending on the goals of the program).
Once the group is solidified, bring them together to come up with a policy everyone can live with. For some companies, it's as simple as "don't be stupid." For others, it comes down to adjusting policies that are already in place. Getting the right folks involved and establishing ground rules early on will save headaches down the road.
How are you showing your customers that you're listening? Are you being helpful?
Using current events to fuel marketing campaigns.Posted by on January 15, 2010 at 10:07 AM
I'm all about seizing the moment and taking advantage of real life events to help enhance a marketing campaign. Several weeks ago Tiger Woods was the theme many PR firms used to highlight poor crisis communications. For a moment I thought Minneapolis-based Parasole would provide a great example. Before I Tweeted their novel approach, however, I did a little digging.
The back story - Monday afternoon two guys landed their planes on a Minneapolis lake to get lunch. Turns out Minneapolis lakes are illegal to land on, unlike lakes in most other cities. The police met the pilots at their planes after lunch and issued tickets. News reports said they got a burger, but not where they went. I actually gave it a moment's thought to what restaurants are in that area, but that was about it.Current events meet promotional opportunity - Wednesday I received an email from Burger Jones (a Parasole restaurant). The subject was "Burger Jones Honors Naughty Pilots" and offered an opportunity this Saturday to order "The Mile High Club Burger" and make a donation to the defense fund for the pilots. (Each of the two pilots face up to a $1000 fine). Creative, huh? Tweets from Burger Jones (@burgerjones) refer to many ways to get there (bus, car, plane...). I like it. I also like that it creates a way for the restaurant to help the pilots pay for a lunch that ended up being VERY expensive.
If only they'd actually given any donations to help the pilots, it could have been a very cool campaign. Timely, empathetic and a little edgy.
Instead it feels like they're just taking advantage of the pilots, doesn't it? What other campaigns could the restaurant have created? Can you think of other campaigns that successfully leveraged current events?
Stickiness in 2010 ... Or 2010: The Attention OdysseyPosted by on December 21, 2009 at 3:21 PM
"It's impossible to get noticed."
Familiar complaints? Yeah - heard 'em a dozen times at least. The bad news is the situation is not getting better ... for most people. My challenge to communicators and marketers in 2010 is to rethink your messages.
What are the things you remember? They're stories, not list of facts. They're simple, surprising, real (or based on something real), believable and make us feel something. In other words, what people remember are compelling stories.
Some people get it - many don't. It's because of those who don't get it that we feel like the world is full of meaningless garble that's impossible to hear and remember.
It doesn't have to be so difficult to be heard ... or to get people to pay attention. Chip and Dan Heath offer advice in their book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Other Die to help craft messages that people will remember: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credentialed, Emotional Stories (SUCCESs). It's an easy read ... go figure!
Once you start telling stories, not only will be people listen and remember them, but they'll become curious. Curiosity leads to questions, engagement and ultimately a relationship that is capable of moving your business.
What's your story? How are you telling it?
Story...More Important Than EverPosted by Lynn Casey on November 12, 2009 at 5:05 PM
I'm sharing the next few days with 250+ of the most successful emerging-growth CEOs in the U.S. They're competing for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award, of which Padilla is a sponsor, and listening to the likes of Howard Schultz of Starbucks, the head of newly public Rosetta Stone, and a who's who of investment bankers and VCs about what's in store on the growth curve. Their energy and optimism is impressive, especially in light of the economy. So maybe I shouldn't have been surprised to see the two sessions dealing with initial public offerings so well-attended. I was there because investor relations has been a core competency of our firm since we opened our doors more than 40 years ago. Partnering with investment bankers and attorneys to take a handful of companies public was business that we could count on year over year, most notably in the go-go '90s.
Not so today. Money is tight, investors are conservative. We celebrate every new IPO client that we're fortunate to support - not only because we get to flex our expertise muscles, but because we know they'll be economic growth engines for the future. If you can believe some of the best brains in the business that were on stage today, the money is coming back, although it's still very cautious capital. How to get a piece of the smaller public-offering pie? Act like a public company in every way at least two years prior to your target date. Choose your advisors wisely; not by their brand name or how many people they send to a meeting, but whether your gut tells you they'll support you throughout the deal and after it's done. And, whatever else you do, perfect your story. Nearly every panelist emphasized the need to make your company's story simple - really simple - to understand. Concise. Compelling. Crystal clear. And - as any good IR counselor will tell you - for heaven's sakes don't bury the lead! (I will, with a certain amount of bias, submit that this last piece of advice is critical no matter how your company is funding its growth. Even more important if you're turning your employees into brand evangelists or selling products and services in crowded markets.)
Gotta go. Magic Johnson's up next. "Not only is he big," says our emcee, "he THINKS big..."
PR Pet Peeves: WCCO Meet the Journalists Part 4Posted by on October 27, 2009 at 1:38 PM
Every journalist has them -- a list of tactics or approaches that just doesn't work with them. Running afoul of these pet peeves can often mean a long dark future of being relegated to the junk pile by the reporter in question. To help us avoid this fate, we asked WCCO Reporter Jason DeRusha and WCCO Assistant News Director Mike Caputa to detail their own PR pet peeves. For their answers, watch our latest Meet the Journalist video below:
Pitching Via Twitter: WCCO Meet the Journalist Part 3Posted by on October 13, 2009 at 5:22 PM
According to what seems to be every self-proclaimed social media guru in the world, Twitter is the most momentous development since explorer Sir Francis Drake returned from his circumnavigation of the globe and discovered happy hour. Whatever its long-term impact is, Twitter certainly has made a huge difference in the way PR professionals and journalists interact. We asked WCCO reporter Jason DeRusha and WCCO news director Mike Caputa what they think of being pitched stories on Twitter and you can watch part 3 of our WCCO Meet the Journalist series to find out what they said.
And just in case you're in too big a hurry to watch a video that clocks in under three minutes, I'll sum it up -- they're big fans.
What Makes a Pitch Work: WCCO Meet the Journalist Part TwoPosted by on October 7, 2009 at 5:04 PM
During the recent Padilla Speer Beardsley Meet the Journalist session with WCCO's Jason DeRusha and Mike Caputa, the pair discussed the pitches the newsroom receives every day. They even offered their advice on what makes a pitch work. Find out their answers in part two of our conversation with Jason and Mike!
Meet the Journalist: WCCOPosted by on October 4, 2009 at 3:44 PM
Since most public relations campaigns are aimed at generating media coverage to raise awareness of an issue, product or service, it's important to have a full understanding of the needs of reporters and editors. To that end, Padilla Speer Beardsley holds regular "Meet the Journalist" sessions, bringing in journalists to discuss their work, as well as how we can work with them to help them find sources and report on the news of the day.
We recently conducted one of these sessions with WCCO Reporter Jason DeRusha and WCCO Assistant News Director Mike Caputa. We recorded video of some of their best tips for working with broadcast news outlets, and the pair discussed everything from the best way to contact a broadcast outlet, to their biggest PR pet peeves. Part one of this five part video is available below.
Twitter finds a seat on press rowPosted by John Scally on August 26, 2009 at 1:52 PM
As the traditional print media continues to shed reporters, a willing army of bloggers and micro-bloggers is eagerly filling the journalistic void. This week, a major landmark for social media sports reporting occurred when NCAA-member, St. John's University, in NYC, announced that it was credentialing Peter Robert Casey as its first Twitter reporter. As a result, Casey will be granted a spot on press row for the upcoming basketball season. You can follow Casey on Twitter @peter_r_casey. He is currently among the Top 10 most-followed basketball-related users on Twitter and most-followed basketball-related individual who is not a professional basketball player, team or coach.
Facebook Launches Vanity URLs - Do you need to grab your brand's name?Posted by on June 10, 2009 at 2:36 PM
By now, your organization probably has one or more Facebook profiles or fan pages. Here's some important news from the site:
Currently, Facebook-profile URLs are long and contain many parameters. For example, John Doe's URL might read:
Beginning Friday, Facebook members (including businesses) will be able to choose a "vanity" URL, providing an easier way to share your profile and allow people (and search engines) to find you. For example, John Doe's new URL might read:
What to Do
If your company has a Facebook profile or fan page, you should take advantage of your own vanity URL - both for branding purposes and to prevent someone else from hijacking your company's name. Facebook has provided businesses the opportunity to do this ahead of the launch. Just fill out this form and someone from the Facebook team should be in touch with you.
A more detailed overview of this topic can be found on the Facebook blog.
Ultimately, unique/custom URLs go beyond Facebook making your Web properties more memorable and findable and giving users an idea of who you are and what you're about. In a cluttered world of over 100 million Web sites, this can be a small differentiator with a big impact.
PR, Social Media and the Multi-Disciplined ApproachPosted by Bob Brin on May 20, 2009 at 8:29 AM
Social media sounds a lot like PR some days:
That's not to say it's just the same. It isn't. But the reason PR is finding a natural transition to social media, is based on evolutionary factors:
What PR doesn't always understand
In the end, what's needed, of course, is a multi-disciplined communications approach. And while PR folks need to leverage the affinity of their skill sets, we can't get lazy and think of sparking conversation as "getting coverage" in the new media or that we've done our job by getting some good hits. The conversation goes on.
Social media and the approachable brandPosted by Bob Brin on February 25, 2009 at 7:59 AM
Social media goes beyond marketing and networking. It's an opportunity to create or amplify an approachable brand. It's all about opening up and letting people in. Show your personality (even your multiple personalities). Expose yourself and let go a little. That means you're vulnerable. And with vulnerability comes mistakes. Those, in turn, become opportunities. What great personality isn't flawed? The approachable brand has a personality that is human, able to show humility and has a sense of humor (even about its own hubris). Recovering from missteps is easier and faster with those components to your personality.
Pitching Bloggers: PR Pro Kicks Butt While Pitching The PoopPosted by Bob Brin on December 19, 2008 at 11:01 AM
There is no better praise than a blogger blogging about your pitch. Blogger Peter Hartlaub, from The Poop (labeled "the Chronicle Baby Blog"), said our own Whitney Mare's pitch "made his day." But read the whole thing and don't miss the comment by a follower who wants Whitney's job. Whitney's approach included a bit o' w(h)it, respect for the blog's topic and style and messaging that is humble, yet transparent. She makes no bones that she's cheering for our client Jim Beam on a parenting site, if only because the mention of Beam's competitor compelled her to enter the discussion. A nice dialog ensues . . . It sounds like more than a few parents out there invoke the spirits when the need arises. Cheers, Whit!
Burger King's Whopper Virgins world's purest tasteless test?Posted by Bob Brin on December 8, 2008 at 8:43 AM
Crispin Porter & Bogusky, BK's agency, traveled across the globe to remote locations finding indigenous people to participate in a taste test: Whopper vs Big Mac. Participants in the study ('Whopper Virgins') had never seen a hamburger or been exposed to ads from the fast food giants. The whole concept (see Ad Age article) has been stirring up some controversy. Just do a Google Search on Whopper Virgins. Big surprise, given they're testing food that's already under fire on people who haven't been exposed to it, and shouldn't. Next, let's test dog food on Arctic wolves.
I don't know. Maybe it's just an expensive spoof on marketing and social media mania. Then let's not make the joke on people from another culture struggling to pick up a floppy slider. I'd rather see Burger King spend the money on helping those people sustain their culture and live better. I'd bet their target market cares more than they realize.
Check out the full-length viral video.
The exotic side of PR or How to get a rhino to smilePosted by Bob Brin on August 13, 2008 at 12:36 PM
Had to share this photo of Padilla zealot Katherine Brozek on a marketing case study assignment in the Ohio outback.
Blogger outreach and how not to overreachPosted by Bob Brin on August 7, 2008 at 7:55 AM
Social media good-guy Jason Falls passed us this blog entry by Chris Brogan What I Want PR and Marketing Professionals To Know. You may have heard most of it before, but it's a good reminder or something to pass on the client or boss who just wants those hits any way you can get them.
New media: a mile wide and dangerously shallow?Posted by Bob Brin on August 2, 2008 at 2:37 PM
I was in a meeting the other day with few people on social media plans and the brand manager commented that the new landscape was a mile wide and an inch deep. I think that's true if you look at social media as just media. We're facing many, many more "outlets" from blogs to Twitter to Facebook and so on . . . and on. Some have thousands of followers and some six (this blog falling somewhere in between). It's tough when you're a marketer trying to decide where you spend your dollars when you need to include this new stuff along with all of the traditional media like radio and billboards.
Of course, social media is not just another media. It's made up of societies. You can no longer just create a message and broadcast. Each "outlet" is a community. And while you can have communicators discover, monitor and -- to a degree -- immerse themselves in these communities, they can't completely broker the relationship on your behalf.
So where do you invest your dollars and your time? Well, as the media (meaning reporters) realize that much of the real-time dialog is happening in these communities, that's where they hang out to get their ideas and immerse themselves in the dialog or at least listen in. They want to be where the action is. So you too need to go where the societies are, get in and get involved. If you've got nothing to talk about except your products, you're not going to be terribly popular. Diving below the surface is where you find the opportunities.
How young people get their news shows e-mail still not deadPosted by Bob Brin on May 23, 2008 at 11:26 AM
After I officially declared e-mail not dead in a recent post, I am now seeing evidence supporting my bold claim (previously my research was based on a survey of my own e-mail inbox, some 1600 messages strong). It was only a few years ago that e-mail was called the killer application and then more recently, I've heard social media experts from other firms refer to it in the past tense. From killer to deceased in a few short years.
"Also, the survey found that 16 of the 18 participants got their news through e-mail, a medium which traditional media like newspapers rarely employ."
Then again, is a survey with 18 participants research? Okay, I'm off to delete some e-mails so that the IT department doesn't kill me.
PR and search marketingPosted by Bob Brin on April 9, 2008 at 5:05 AM
I hate to break it to you, but your Web site is not the center of the universe. Google is. I heard a presentation recently in which a Dell representative said that Google's search results page is your new home page. That's where people begin their search on your organization and what happens there is likely to stay etched in their memory.
PR (and I don't mean just publicity) is one of the most important disciplines for influencing what goes on in the search engine marketing space. PR and search marketing go hand-in-hand because your outreach efforts are vital to getting other web sites pointing to your site, as well as generating great content for your site(s). We think of search marketing as a solar system. At the center of our search engine marketing solar system is Google. How warmly this big star shines on you depends primarily on your site's popularity with other credible & popular sites and the volume and quality of content on your own site.
Go where the life forms are. Create presences on directories, Wikipedia, Facebook, etc. In addition to being where the people are, this creates more links back to your site and increases your popularity. Of course, the popularity of those sites reflects upon your popularity.
Get mentioned by the experts. Media properties are search engine magnets. Because of their vast amount of content and subscribers/visitors, you need a strong presence in the online media.
Send out your keyword probes. Use search-optimized press releases that will land on news sites and content aggregators throughout your universe. Place articles on sites looking for expert-written content. Post real commentary on other blogs.
Set up satellites and moons. Build microsites, blogs and even your own social networks. But remember it's not about tricking people or shallow content. Content has to deliver real value.
Thus the need for real, substantive content and communications efforts. Web 2.0 is the age of authenticity. And your success will depend on how well you explore and colonize the search solar system and how effectively you manage your messages and reputation out there.