Monthly Archives: October 2014

Creating A Unified PR Strategy

By: Jenifer Wetterau

In order to deliver the most impactful campaigns, every part of your team should be on the same page, working in tandem under a unified strategy. Communication and transparency are key to ensuring success, since there’s no point creating a brand story that then exists in a vacuum.

To set the foundation for a cohesive approach, begin by defining the following:

A vision statement should outline what your company wants to be and should be clear to your entire team. If you were to meet one of them outside the office they would be prepared to deliver a concise elevator pitch.

Having a shared vision will motivate and empower your employees, as they are the face of your organization and key to engaging with and supporting your brand story.

Questions that should be answered by your company vision include:
What do we do – and for whom?
What makes us different?
How do we excel?
How do we measure our success?
What is our ideal future?
What values that we hold inspire our customers?

These can be broad at first, but make sure they are actionable and measurable. They may include:

-Share content relevant to your industry. Bonus points for informational that helps the reader out in some way.
-Reveal the unique personality behind your brand, inviting your customers to want to know more.
-Get the word out about new products to tastemakers and brand champions.
-Promote upcoming events and appearances.
-Demonstrate your company’s philanthropic side.
-Test out new product and marketing ideas on your core fanbase and get helpful feedback.
-Nurture your current relationships and build your audience.
-Drive traffic to your website, landing page, promotion, etc.

Once you figure out what is working you should experiment with narrower objectives.

Craft personas for your target audience (friendly, professional, educational, inspiring), to gain insight into who they are. This is not just age, location or income, but rather the psychology of your consumer. Understand what they need and want, their habits and personal views so your content can speak directly to them.

*Language: Fun, serious, insider, complex

*Tone: Direct, personal, scientific
*Purpose: Educate, entertain, sell, engage

-Develop an editorial calendar to be shared with your team and an action plan for who will deliver what, and when. Using a mix of content is essential to keep your readers interested and coming back for more. Tap into the strengths of each member of your team and have them deliver the type of content they do best, whether it be fun, informative or promotional.

-Decide on a tone and style and use it consistently. All messages should sound like they are coming from the same person, whether you have two, ten (or more!) employees creating content for the public. Make sure anyone writing for your brand (press releases, ads, social media posts, etc.) adopt and use it exclusively.

Mix it up! Try out images, photos, polls, interesting facts, social commentary, etc. Regularly evaluate your analytics to see which posts resonate the most – and least- with your audience. You may want to compile all team members’ posts for the week to be evaluated by a cross-functional team. This gives the rest of the company a chance to weigh in and catch any typos.

What do you find works best to unify your team? I welcome any thoughts and suggestions.

Princesses with Potty Mouths

By: Gina Mason

Have you heard? Apparently, f**k is the new word. Thanks to a new advertisement created by Synergy Media you can now see pretty little princesses with potty mouths sharing some truths sexual assault, society’s expectations of beauty and pay inequality. You may be thinking, “Wow, those are big topics for little girls to handle,” but believe me when I say these little ones don’t give a f**k.

The two and a half minute ad for FCKH8 showcases five sassy little girls in tiaras addressing some major issues all while dropping f-bombs and a few other obscenities along the way. The statistics about pay inequality, sexual assault and sexism that are mentioned in the ad are almost as shocking as hearing those dirty words come out of their mouths. The girls ask powerful questions such as, “What is more offensive? A little girl saying f**k, or the f**king unequal and sexist way society treats girls and women?”

Here are some of the jaw-dropping lines in the video:
-When addressing pay inequality: “Women who graduate from college with straight A’s get paid the same amount as men who only got C’s. Bad grades equal more bank? Just because you’re a boy! Pay up mother f**ker. I shouldn’t need a penis to get paid!”

-When addressing sexual assault: “Another f**ked up fact: One out of every five women will be sexually assaulted or raped by a man.”

-When addressing beauty expectation: “My aspirations in life should not be worrying about the shape of my ass! So f**k focusing on how I look and give me a book.”

So why would a company choose to have sweet little girls using such offensive language? They did that because shock and awe tactics get people talking and evoke action. Although the campaign utilizes these little girls who “use bad words for a good cause” to bring awareness about social injustice, the intentions for FCKH8 are not so pure. FCKH8 is a for-profit company that is a selling t-shirts that range from $14.99 to $36.99 and is donating $5 from every t-shirt sold to some “kick-ass charities” which have yet to be determined.
On top of the foul language, this campaign is very controversial for many people. Some feel as though the company is profiting by exploiting social issues and the little girls. Also, there has been mixed reaction from the public to these little girls swearing up a storm. Some people are appalled by the use of offensive language from a child while others find it to be completely hilarious.

From a PR standpoint, the video has done its job. It has created an immense amount of attention around the company and some of the issues that are mentioned in the video. If awareness for FCKH8 was the goal, then they have clearly achieved it. I would be interested to see some of the website traffic and sales analytics since the video has been released.

How do you feel about these princesses dropping f-bombs? Do you think the campaign is effective or offensive? When you watched the video, were you offended or amused?

As always, I welcome your thoughts and if you like what you read be social and share.

Hello, Ello?

By: Jenifer W.

Everyone is buzzing about Ello, the anti-Facebook social network. Why? It promises to never advertise to you or sell your data. If you value complete privacy, this may be the network for you. But what is it exactly and is it worth investing your time and energy into yet another social network?

Judge for yourself:

Selling Point: No Ads
The creators describe Ello as … “a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers.” If you’re tired of the persistent, invasive ads and weird algorithm of Facebook, an ad-free digital zone run by artists seems pretty fantastic.

Reality Check: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other popular socials started out ad-free too.

Selling Point: No Data Mining
The company also states that it won’t sell data about you to third parties and calls the collecting and selling of your data “creepy.”

Reality Check: Again, Facebook, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and others also started out this way and now collect everything about you, {from the pages you visit to what…} so that advertisers can sell to you

Selling Point: Exclusivity
Ello is super-private, transparent and stripped down to basics. It may appeal to people seeking authentically attention-grabbing and share-worthy material in their industry.

Reality Check: Ello is currently invitation-only. To join Ello, you need to know someone that is already on the network.

How will Ello make money?
Users will be able to purchase small, specific features that will help people create their own customized version of Ello, such as adding a GIF as your profile image.

Do you think Ello is here to stay, and will it remain true to it’s manifesto? What, if any, opportunities do you see for marketers?

As always, if you like what you read be sociable and share.

Stat: Between fall 2014 and spring 2014, Facebook use among teenagers aged 13 to 19 plummeted from 72 percent to 45 percent. In other words, less than half of the teenagers surveyed said “yes” when asked if they use Facebook. []

Ebola and the Breakdown of Internal Communication

By: Gina Mason

The glaring and most obvious discrepancy of the Ebola outbreak in Dallas has been the lack of internal communication on all levels. Stemming from the top, it is clear that the CDC did not effectively communicate or prepare hospitals and medical workers well enough (or at all) to handle a potential patient with Ebola in the United States. This misstep resulted in a trickledown effect through our healthcare system and is an example of why communication is vital in times of crisis.

There has been a myriad of communication issues through this entire situation from not communicating the severity of the disease to changing the protocols daily. However, the biggest and most important communication breakdown of the whole situation was the handling of “patient zero” Thomas Eric Duncan. Duncan went to the hospital displaying Ebola-like symptoms on September 26th and was sent home only to return two days later and be diagnosed with Ebola. This was a crucial communication mistake and one that may have changed the likelihood of Duncan’s survival and also the nurses who have now been infected with the disease. According to a Modern Healthcare article, “Texas Health initially said staff miscommunication was responsible for doctors not knowing the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, had recently been in Liberia, a hot spot of the current Ebola outbreak in Western Africa.”

When examining the situation from an internal communications standpoint, we cannot blame this incident solely on the worker who sent Duncan home when he was exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms. We have to look at the bigger picture and see why he or she was not informed/alerted about the Ebola risk and why hospitals did not have the proper training and equipment stocked in case a potential patient came in. After all, we have known for months that Ebola was rampant in several African countries and there was good possibility that it could come to the U.S. It appears as though, the CDC did not communicate the risk and prepare hospitals for an evitable outbreak, which left hospitals, their employees and patients vulnerable and unprepared.
No matter the crisis or company, it is vital to have a system in place and always be prepared to handle any situation that may arise. Not only is it important to be prepared to handle the media and public, but also to be able to efficiently and effectively communicate with all parties involved with the crisis internally. Being prepared prior to a crisis, addressing any dynamic changes in the situation quickly, having a unified communications system in place and constantly communicating with the employees is the best way to handle a crisis internally. Preparation is key and usually is the biggest oversight when it comes to crisis communication.

It will be interesting to see what some of the internal investigations reveal in regard to how Texas Presbyterian Hospital and the CDC actually handled the outbreak and protocols prior to Duncan coming into the hospital. Also, I think this glaring communications oversight will completely revamp our healthcare system’s communication process when it comes to dealing with deadly diseases and disasters. Hopefully this negative situation will result in a positive outcome and will make our healthcare system more prepared for scenarios like this in the future.

How do you think this is going to affect out healthcare system’s communication efforts?
As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what your read be social and share.

Men’s Health Mishap

By: Gina Mason

William Congreve got it right when he said, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a scorned woman.” With that in mind, I don’t think Men’s Health thought one of their recent articles through when it discussed women and sports. However, the men’s wellness magazine witnessed just how quickly the tides can turn when it comes to insulting women.

On Monday, Men’s Health had a major lapse in judgment when they posted an article that was titled, “How to Talk Sports with Women.” If the title did not slightly raise a red flag, the photo below with a blonde and a foam finger will.

Obviously, not all women are sports fans, however, the magazine had a major oversight when it came to publishing this one. This article, which has now been deleted said, “Not all women share your passion for sports, in case you hadn’t noticed…The reason? They need story lines.”

This was a little confusing to me….Sports have no story lines? If so, why do they call teams “Cinderella “ stories? What about all of the human-interest segments they run about the players/teams/staff during every major sport broadcast? Sports are all about big plays and story lines, which is why every major newspaper has a daily sports section.

The article even went on to quote co-author Andrei Markovits of the book “Sportista: Female Fandom in the United States” who generalized an entire population of women by saying “most women don’t care about stats.” Lastly, it finished the article with a classy touch of, “Just don’t expect her to wear the foam finger.”

Once faced with backlash, the magazine quickly tried to recover by posting two tweets to apologize for this indiscretion. “Apologies for our “talk sports with her” story. It missed the mark and the negative feedback is justified. We’ve deleted it. [part 1] It wasn’t meant to suggest that women are in any way inferior to men, in sports, or anything else. But … we’re sorry that it did. [part 2].”

The article not only generalized females, but also insulted men and women alike. It will be very interesting to see how this will affect Men’s Health sales over the next few months and what will happen to the brand in general.

Interestingly enough, here are some stats about women and sports:
• According to Topsy, the two hour timeframe that the tweet was posted, @MensHealthMag had more than 4,800 mentions a majority of which were outraged readers.
• Female sports fans make up about 35% of fans in each league. This makes one out of every three sports fans a female, according to Nielson.
• The ESPN Sports Poll and the U.S. Census said that 44 percent of all football fans are now women.
• According to a study by Big Research Media Study, over 60 percent of women watched sports regularly versus 42 percent who watch soap operas regularly.

What did you think of Men’s Health apology? Did you think they were out of line? What should they do to repair this misogynistic image that they have created?

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

Is Jeter the Next Jordan?

By: Gina Mason

For the last twenty years, the world has watched Derek Jeter make some incredible plays, perform under immense scrutiny and always maintain his composure. Throughout his entire career the man who many lovingly referred to as “The Captain” has been able to successful thrive on the world’s biggest stage that is New York and build an empire of devout fans from all walks of life. Although #2 played his last baseball game on Sunday, his name will not be long forgotten.

What Jeter has established over the last two decades is so much more than just a name in the record books or on the back of a jersey. His name, Derek Jeter is a brand that is now much greater than the individual and arguably even more valuable. Built on the foundation of his playing days, Jeter Inc. is on its way to being the next “Jordan” brand.

Striking while the iron is hot, Jeter Inc. is already in the process of building its empire and cashing in on all of the farewell attention. On Tuesday, Jeter Publishing released the first children’s book, “The Contract” which is a fictional story about a boy named…you guessed it, Derek Jeter. This is just the first of many ventures that we can expect from his multimedia company Jeter Inc. and I have no doubt that his brand will continue to grow into something as big as the Big Apple.

Here are a few reasons why I believe the Jeter brand is going to succeed:

When you think of Derek Jeter, what qualities come to mind? For me, Jeter has always possessed class, was extremely hardworking and driven and was consistently respectful to his fellow players, the fans and most importantly, the game of baseball. Jeter established a reputation not just with Yankees fans, but also with fans and players from around the league all of which had a mutual respect for him (hence the Farewell Tour). From a PR perspective, reputations don’t get much better than Derek Jeter’s and miraculously he was able to live, play and date in New York City while keeping his reputation intact (thanks to a great publicist, some fantastic media training and his charming, quick wit). His personal reputation is the cornerstone of the Jeter Inc. brand and is the most critical factor of the brand’s success. After all, reputation is everything when branding a company, which is why Jeter Inc. is off to a great start.

Established Brand Loyalty:
Over the last 20 years, Derek Jeter came into the homes of millions of baseball fans from around the world and cemented himself as a household name. Jeter has not only been loyal to the Yankees, but to the game of baseball and that is what keeps people coming back for more. Take his Farewell Tour for example, the fact that thousands all of the people from all over the country made trips near and far to get a final glimpse of “The Captain” speaks to the loyalty people have to him and his brand. If his Farewell Tour is any indication of how his brand will fare with sports fans, I think it is going to be a huge hit.

One thing that Jeter has always been known for is his clutch performances and staying cool, calm and collected in high-pressure situations. When the game was on the line there was only one player who Yankees coaches, players and fans trusted to come up big in a tight spot and that player was #2. When all else failed, people trusted Jeter to lead them through the tough times and that trust he earned throughout his career will translate into Jeter Inc.

Following in the Right Footsteps:
One of the smartest moves that Jeter has made is following in the footsteps of arguably one of the most iconic and successful retired professional athletes, Michael Jordan. Jordan was not only incredible on the court, but he has been able to monetize his name and success to build an empire with Nike. Aligning himself with “His Airness,” will only make the Jeter brand stronger and more successful.

I’m anxious to see what the future has in store for “Jeets” and Jeter Inc. I’m sure that if he invests himself into the brand the way he did the game, he is going to be extremely successful (and very rich!).

Do you think that Jeter will be more successful off the field? Do you think Jeter Inc. has the potential to be as big as Jordan?

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.