Monthly Archives: December 2014

Charities in Need of Media Attention

By: MJ Pedone

When I first founded Indra Public Relations, I listened to the needs of my clients and heard them loud and clear on why they wanted to hire a firm that offers everything needed to grow a business and that is why we offer a wide variety of in house services that includes, PR, nonprofit management, event planning and production, branding and celebrity integration.
Early on, I had many of my nonprofit clients come to me who were misinformed about earning press and didn’t understand why other organizations were front and center in the media. I had to explain that those other organizations have outstanding PR and marketing firms, but the ones that don’t, aren’t in the running for growing their funds as competitively as others that do.

Here are 3 reasons why your charity DOES NOT wins press coverage:

1. Those who benefit from your charity’s work are not in front of media enough. Most of the media opportunities you get should feature people your work helps. The best stories and those that drive donations to a charity, are the ones that tugs at people’s heartstrings. You need to bring a human element to the story to impact your charity’s work.

2. Your charity does too few public events. From a PR perspective, events are a key way to build relationships with the media and broader public. People (including media) like events, and there is no doubt that charity events generally have a feel-good vibe and are a nice counterpoint for journalists, because “news” is usually bad news.

3. Your leadership is not committed to raising the organization’s profile in the media. Like anything in business, very little is going to happen without real commitment from senior leaders. If your charity wants to take PR to the next level, you better have a leader at the top that understands the relationship between earned media and the bottom line.

If you want to let the world know about your amazing mission, then you need to have an experienced team of experts get the word out there for you. At Indra Public Relations, we are available to grow your business and meet your goals. http://www.indrapr.com

As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

LinkedIn Endorsements from a Real Bada**

By: Gina Mason

LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool for those looking to stay in touch with colleagues, network with new people and search for jobs. According to Businessweek, “the digital résumé network has more than 310 million users worldwide and can be a great resource for recruiters who are looking for new job candidates. Recruiters not only evaluate LinkedIn profiles by looking at resumes, but also by examining the endorsements and recommendations on each candidate’s profile. Although some may debate the power of endorsements on LinkedIn, those who receive endorsements from prominent figures in their respective industries can make their profile more attractive to recruiters or potential employers.

If you have seen either of the action-packed Taken films, you know that Liam Neeson’s character Bryan Mills has “a very particular set of skills.” His “skills” were “acquired over a very long career” in the CIA and his expertise includes interrogation, tracking, speaking foreign languages and most importantly, kicking the “you know what” out of bad guys. So what does LinkedIn, Liam and the Taken films have to do with one another?

Well, in a non-traditional stunt to promote the new film, Taken 3, 20th Century Fox has partnered with LinkedIn to create a way to engage fans and drum up some publicity before the movie is released on January 3, 2015. Playing off of the “skills” angle of the film, the publicity team of Taken 3 will select one lucky fan to have his or her “particular set of [LinkedIn] skills” endorsed by [Neeson] Mills himself,” according to Entrepreneur.com.

The contest is very simple. To enter, you just have to follow the movie’s LinkedIn page and if you win, Neeson promises to “find your LinkedIn profile, review it and record a video of himself endorsing your particular set of skills.” The contest ends on December 23rd and the winner will be announced on January 4, 2015.
I think this was a very creative way to generate some positive press about the upcoming Taken 3 premiere and was an innovative tactic to engage users/followers on LinkedIn. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have dominated the way in which movies, concerts, etc. are promoted and it was refreshing to see something new.

However, the question now becomes how powerful is an endorsement from Liam Neeson? Do you think it will pack a powerful punch with recruiters? Although, I am skeptical that it will make a huge difference (unless your future boss is a huge Taken fan), I still think it was a very interesting way to get Taken fans and LinkedIn users involved with the new movie.
To learn more about the contest, check out this video of Liam Neeson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=535J4gYXsxs

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

McDonald’s New Transparency Campaign

By: Gina Mason

They say that, “desperate times call for desperate measures,” and it appears as though the world’s largest fast food chain may be facing some hardships. With sales and stocks declining, McDonald’s has been testing out a variety of tactics in hopes to keep people coming back to the “Golden Arches.”

From changing up the way in which the food is served to restructuring their messaging, the fast food giant has been trying to keep up with the ever-changing eating habits of Americans. Today, we are living in a much more health-conscious society where people are concerned with things like gluten and want to be educated on where their food came from, how it was raised and how it was prepared. This presents an issue for companies like McDonald’s where their food items are mass-produced and they may not be as willing to share the way in which they make/create their menu items.

In an attempt to remedy this issue, McDonald’s launched a new multimedia campaign called “Our Food. Your Questions,” in an effort to be completely transparent and answer the questions of customers and critics alike. The campaign asked people to tweet their questions such as, “Why can’t I get a McRib year-round?” and “What is actually in a Chicken McNugget?” to create an open dialog. In addition to trying to engage the public, McDonald’s has been in the process of releasing a series of videos answering some of the questions that have been submitted.

This week, McDonald’s released another video that revealed the contents of their famous Chicken McNuggets. What was once rumored to be made of “pink slime” and mystery meat, the McDonald’s dispelled the myth by taking viewers “behind-the-scenes” to show them the process of the nugget-making at a Tyson plant in Tennessee (that uses real chicken, SHOCKER!). This is just one of many videos that will be released during this campaign with the goal of showing people they offer “quality” food.

However, I personally question if the decline in sales is due to the validity or transparency of how the food is made or if it is attributed to the lack of healthy menu items. While, I have consumed many chicken nuggets in my lifetime, the reason I no longer choose to eat at McDonald’s is because the food on the menu is so unhealthy. Whether you are eating a salad or a Big Mac, the calories and fat content in almost all of their items is very high. While I applaud their efforts to be transparent, I think they need to add more healthy items in order to get people coming back for more. I will be interested to see how this campaign works out for McDonald’s and to gauge the public’s reaction.

To learn more about McDonald’s campaign, check out their Our Food. Your Questions website: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/your_questions/our_food.html

What do you think of McDonald’s transparency campaign? Does it change your feelings on the brand? Do you think this is helping them or hurting them?

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

Customers as Content Co-Creators

By: Jenifer W.

Content is currency in the digital age and a great way for brands to keep content fresh and relevant is with crowdsourcing and user-generated content (UGC). User-generated content stems from the basic principle behind word-of-mouth marketing: Peer recommendations are incredibly influential and provide enhanced credibility. It makes the brand feel more personable and approachable, its campaigns more authentic and builds loyalty among its fans. Brands should welcome customers’ excitement to be co-creators, co-innovators and even evangelists by launching new campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. As per Nielsen, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 33% trust ads.

In order to achieve a deeper level of customer engagement and brand loyalty, brands need to humanize by connecting with customers on a personal level. UGC campaigns are an excellent way to collect creative material for marketing purposes, get photos of your products in use organically and drive engagement and sales.

Here are three great examples to get ideas flowing and start taking advantage of interactive social media to engage customers directly in developing more impactful and personal brand stories.

Celebrate Your Customer and Let Them Help You Tell Your Story
Consumers are already talking about you and your products online; you need to be leveraging that content. The value returned is often that people associate good things with and return to engage with the brand.

Recently, Starbucks harnessed the power of UGC to boost engagement with their “Meet Me At Starbucks” campaign, capturing real stories from real people and weaving them into their marketing campaigns. It chronicled a day in the life of a Starbucks through a mini-documentary, shot in 59 different stores in 28 countries. Starbucks said the campaign aims to show the “beautiful moments of connection between our customers around the world.” Anyone can participate by telling their story and sharing it on social media, turning the campaign into an interactive, multi-dimensional experience.

Crowd Source Creativity
All brands can benefit from added visuals in their marketing efforts. Why not run contests for your fans to show off their artistic skills? Not only will the opportunity create major buzz, but it also will inspire more brand loyalty. Personally, I really love what Creative Allies does for musicians and artists.

Creative Allies is a community of designers who enter contests to create artwork and merchandise for bands, films and festivals. A fan creates artwork based on criteria determined by the brand for posters, t-shirts, hats, lithographs or other merchandise items. They submit their design to the site, then get their friends to vote on their submissions for the chance to win prizes, sell their stuff and get their work noticed. For each contest, at least one grand prize winner is selected by the contest holder and awarded a cash prize and other goodies like tickets, merchandise and/or VIP perks. Additional submissions are selected to be sold in the Creative Allies Store even if they didn’t win a design contest. These items become official merchandise and profits are shared between the designer and the contest holder (the band, film or festival).

Inspire to Aspire
An active loyal community is very influential. Putting the spotlight on customers who live your brand, creates a “me too” response in others in their peer group. Just think of all the times you’ve seen a celebrity in an amazing outfit and feel that you need to own that dress immediately. When you find it online, it’s already sold out because your peers felt the exact same way. Smart brands are finding ways to utilize this phenomenon in inspirational ways.

Lululemon is all about living well, and to its consumers, wearing Lululemon is akin to a badge of honor, practically saying, “my body is a temple, and it can do amazing things.” They turned the positive feeling associated with the brand into a campaign, #TheSweatLife. Customers were asked to tweet or Instagram photos of themselves getting their sweat on and exploring the world while decked out in the company’s products. The images which were collected via the hashtag and posted to the Lululemon website, where they are a permanent inspirational fixture.

User-generated content is flourishing with the rise of mobile, emerging technologies, and social platforms. Building a campaign around crowd-sourced content serves as a genuine way for brands to engage with their audience and is a refreshing departure from traditional one-way messaging.

Have you run successful UGC campaigns for your brand? As always, I welcome your feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.

The Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations

By: MJ Pedone

The terms marketing and public relations seem to always be confused and intertwined. While they do compliment each other, there certainly is a difference between the two. I’m frequently asked the difference and below I have included the differences.

Marketing
Marketing is the development of an image through collateral strategies such as your website, logo, ads, writing, social media, bio and a media kit. Experienced marketing and design professionals will assist with writing and developing your marketing materials, which will save you money in the long run. Marketing professionals will brand you the way you want and in a timely fashion.

Public Relations
Public Relations is the development and management of an image. This consists of media outreach which includes print, tv, radio, digital, social media, blogging, charity/non-profit outreach, obtaining endorsements and the distribution of press releases and media kits.

The majority of people think that public relations is an area where they can save money and do the work themselves. Writing press releases and sending them to media outlets isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. The time involved in writing the releases and researching the correct contacts can take almost an entire day. Do you know the techniques involved in writing an eye-catching press release and how to obtain the correct contacts to submit your release to? Or how to “pitch” your story so that those reading it are eager to hear more and feature you? Editors today are over-pitched and hit the delete button very quickly so you will need to make sure that you don’t fall into that category.

Here are some tips when you should hire a PR expert:
• You have a solid marketing plan in place
• You want to utilize a professional who has existing relationships with the media
• You understand the value of hiring a team experienced in executing successful PR campaigns.
• You realize that although you have experience in your industry, a PR professional will brings added value to the table
• You realize that you won’t gain the earned media and awareness that you seek by just talking about it and need to hire someone who can

The power of PR can catapult your brand instantly. Start with a solid marketing plan using experienced professionals and than launch your PR campaign with a public relations team who has the experience and contacts to do so. Let the publicist do what they do best while you tend to the day-to-day needs of your business.

Do you use a publicist to get the message out for your company? Is your campaign effective? As always, we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Giving Tuesday: A Reason to Give Instead of Spend

By: Gina Mason

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are three consecutive days out the year where many of us attempt to burn off all of those Thanksgiving calories by burning through our wallets and holiday shopping lists. What used to be a time spent with family and giving thanks for what we have, has now turned into a consumer-oriented shopping frenzy, filled with long lines and discounted electronics.

However, thanks to a brilliant viral movement /international fundraising event called, Giving Tuesday, people now are dedicating a day solely to giving back to great causes instead of spending money on materialistic goods. According to The Associated Press, Giving Tuesday, “was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation to kick start the critical holiday giving season after Thanksgiving.”

As you may have guessed, Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and it encourages people from around the world to “come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.” According to GivingTuesday.com, “It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving.”

Some of the ways to give include, donating your time or money to a worthwhile cause, getting involved in your community, spreading the important message of giving back on social media or simply doing something nice for someone else. The concept is simple, give back in any way you can to make the world a better place.

I had never heard of Giving Tuesday until I recently when saw a bunch of social media posts with the signature hashtag #GivingTuesday. To my surprise after a quick Google search, I found that Giving Tuesday has turned into huge international movement which has raised millions of dollars and helped organizations from all over the world.

Here are some of the outstanding numbers from this year’s Giving Tuesday:

• There was approximately $45.68 million dollars donated this year, a 63 percent increase over 2013
• The average gift was $154
• There were 32.7 million Twitter impressions with over 698,000 hashtag mentions
• There were 68 countries that participated in this year’s Giving Tuesday including Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador and Singapore
• There were over 15,000 participating nonprofits and 20,000 participating sponsors

It appears as though Giving Tuesday has grown dramatically over the past three years and many expect it to continue to grow in the coming years. According to AP, “Ken Berger of the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator said the new annual phenomenon in philanthropy reflects a growing savviness around how to use social media to generate support for nonprofits. Giving Tuesday could become one of the top days of the year when people give, he said, though it’s not likely to trump Dec. 31 when many people make tax-deductible gifts.”

I think Giving Tuesday is a great reminder for us all to take a moment and help others in any way we can. I really hope this movement continues to gain momentum and awareness and more people can be positively impacted.

If you are interested in learning more about Giving Tuesday, be sure to check out the website: http://www.givingtuesday.org/

Lastly, mark Tuesday, December 1, 2015, on your calendars to get involved next year!

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