Tag Archives: Indra PR

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.

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.

Foundation of a Brilliant Brand on Twitter

By: Jenifer Weterau

Twitter and brands should go together like girls and purses or tuxes and ties. It just might be the best way ever for a brand to listen to and react to its customers. But some brands’ may find that their social media strategy isn’t generating the results they expected and they are missing opportunities. With over 255 million monthly active Twitter users, simply posting the same content about what your company does is not going to cut it. An effective Twitter strategy should be made up of a few key essentials:

Be Interactive
The majority of your feed should be interaction with your audience- whether it is answering questions, sending a thank you to brand advocates or supporting a media partner. Showing that you’re an engaged social brand will grow your audience and inspire more interaction. According to Twitter, 85% of followers feel more connected with a small business after following them. (via Twitter) Don’t just start tweeting assuming that the Twitter community is going to accept you with open arms. It’s important that you spend some time just listening and observing the behavior of those who are talking about you or your company. Understand how your customers behave and adjust accordingly.

Share Relevant Content
Providing your audience with smart, tailored content will establish you as a resource. Make sure to retweet and share articles that are aligned with your brand’s industry and personality, making use of @mentions. Tweets containing the words “right now” or “today” average higher engagement than the brand average. Remember to keep your Tweets prompt and timely—a crucial element for Twitter success.

Offer Value
Remember that every follower you have is following you for a reason: to know more about your products and services. In fact, 42% of Twitter users say they use Twitter to learn about products and services. (via Edison) Be generous with sharing tutorials, guides and new product updates.
To be a successful brand on Twitter, you have to build credibility and equity. That doesn’t necessarily refer to the number of followers, tweets, or retweets you may have, although these are important factors. Rather, it’s more about developing a reputation as a trusted source of information or being seen as an expert in a particular subject.

Promote Your Brand
Avoid going overboard with promotional messages, which will result in disengaged and annoyed followers. Brands that are too self-promotional risk losing touch with their audience. Follow the 80/20 rule: Tweet 80% helpful or entertaining content and only 20% self-promotional. Mediabistro found that over 90% say they follow businesses on Twitter to get discounts and promos. (via MediaBistro) Put your money where your mouth is and back up your promotional tweets with special offers for your loyal followers.

Show Personality
Showcase the human side of your brand. Even in our high tech world, people want to know and be able to identify with the people behind the machine. Your Twitter use can appear disingenuous and inhuman if you’re too structured with your approach, to the point where your community may be turned off. Treat your Twitter relationships the same way you would any other relationship.

Although there’s no magical length for a Tweet, a recent report by Buddy Media revealed that Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate. Similar research by Track Social also found that the perfect Tweet length was right around 100 characters. Their analysis saw a spike in retweets among those in the 71-100 character range—so-called “medium” length tweets. These medium tweets have enough characters for the original poster to say something of value and for the person retweeting to add commentary as well.

Authenticity is the golden rule in social media. We’ve known this for years, but there is another, related rule that is just as important: you and your brand need to be believable. This means spending time listening to your community, observing it, and learning about the dynamics of that community.

How healthy is your brand’s Twitter feed? Are you actively testing your content to find the magic sweet spot for maximum effectiveness?

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

Retweeting a Tweet

By Karleigh Creighton

While scrolling through your Twitter timeline, have you ever come across a tweet that really strikes a chord with you and you’d like to do more than simply retweet it? You would like to share the words of this stroke of genius and add your own thoughts to it as well.  

Twitter has the solution. The company is currently testing a new feature that will allow users to “Retweet with Comment.” “Retweet with Comment” makes the post you are retweeting an image, therefore using less characters and allowing users to add their own comments to the retweeted material. The standard Twitter picture is about 25 characters, which leaves users with approximately 115 characters to express personal thoughts along with the original tweet to their followers.

This is not the first time twitter has attempted to help users personalize a retweet. The site previously offered a “Quote Tweet” option where the original tweet would be fully quoted within a users’ post and then personal thoughts could be conveyed at the end in however many characters happened to be left. This option, however, did not leave users with a lot of room to state their own opinion. Depending on the length of the original tweet, there was sometimes no room for any additional comments.

There is much more room to express yourself with Twitter’s new “Retweet with Comment.” Currently, this feature is in an experimental phase on mobile devices only and is not yet available to all users. What do you think? Will this new feature be useful in your tweeting endeavors? Personally, I know I will use it. I can recall many times when I attempted to use the “Quote Tweet” feature on Twitter, but couldn’t, because the amount of characters the original post took up left me with no room to say what I wanted to say. After realizing I couldn’t quote the tweet and add my own thoughts, sometimes I would retweet the post anyways but most of the time I decided to simply scroll on to something else.

Whenever I want to quote someone else’s tweet, I usually like to do so because I want to tag a friend to make sure they see it. Previously, “Quote Tweet” rarely allowed for me to include the original tweet, make my own comments and tag a friend.

With the new “Retweet with Comment” I am confident that I will be able to share a post, add my opinion and tag a friend or two all within Twitter’s 140 character limit. In addition to its new “Retweet with Comment” feature, Twitter is attempting to further enhance its visual appeal by placing pictures above the text in tweets. Assuming “Retweet with Comment” is a feature that sticks and generates positive testing; I believe that Twitter’s move to place images above text is a great idea. Combining these two new features will allow users to preview the retweet first and then read any comments made about the post. It’s an order that makes sense.

What do you think about Twitter’s constant experimentation? Do the visual enhancements appeal to you or do you prefer a traditional style retweet?  As always, I welcome your feedback and if you like what you read, be social a    

Crowd Social Marketing

By: MJ Pedone

We’ve always trusted family and friends to give us recommendations. Now, marketers are finding ways to combine this age-old referral process with social media. It’s also called crowd-sourced marketing. This is where the social media “crowd” shares your content and conversations for free on a global web. According to a report by Nielsen, 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family as those are their trusted resources.

Use these social media tactics to reach prospects through digital “world of mouth”. This will amplify your leads, prospects and sales by tapping into the power of the online crowd.

  1. Go above and beyond realistic expectations

Exceeding expectations will always be the best way to earn referrals. Focus on establishing clear expectations and blowing them away before you dive into social media. Don’t promise anything that’s out of your scope or processes. A dedicated customer support staff is one way to communicate expectations. A personal connection is the best way to earn trust that will last after the buying process. Getting to the point where you discuss interests or even spend time together is the goal. This type of connection will make them feel comfortable with referring your service to others.

  1. Add Rich Pins on Pinterest

Tap into Pinterest’s 70 million users to increase referrals. Target added Rich Pins to their strategy and within the first six weeks, they had a 70 percent Pinterest referral increase, according to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Rich Pins allow additional information to be included with a pin. The most effective Rich Pin for businesses is the product pin, which includes real time pricing and availability information, interested pinners get notified if a price drops. Follow the 80/20 rule, 20 percent of pins should be products. The other material should be inspiring and useful information for your audience. These pins will be shared at a higher rate and increase word of mouth marketing.

  1. Implement a Facebook referral promotion

Facebook has implemented changes to increase referrals with the popularity of mobile usage. The changes have been effective, a report from Shareaholic revealed referrals from Facebook have grown 48.85 percent since September and represented 17.41 percent of all website referrals in November.

A Facebook referral promotion is a strategy leveraged by companies to earn referrals. A referral promotion is created by offering a base reward, like a coupon, for any user who completes a sign-up process. The user then earns credits toward a greater reward, like a gift card, as he refers more people to enter the promotion. This earns word-of-mouth referrals as people discuss the prize at hand.

  1. Share industry insights on LinkedIn

Social Sharing Platform Buffer experienced a 4000 percent increase in blog referral traffic from Linkedin over the past year. This is credited to Linkedin being the third-fastest growing social network and Buffer’s update and sharing strategy. Linkedin reported 6 out of 10 users are interested in industry insights. Offering original research and industry wisdom will get people talking about your content. This conversation drives people to your website and locks in loyal readers. A customer is much more likely to use a service if they get value from the company’s blog and social pages.

  1. Create and promote giveaways and contests

Ask customers to provide leads in exchange for raffle tickets for a gadget, tablet or industry tool. This leads to referrals from customers familiar with your service and product. A Facebook contest is another great way to create buzz and bring in leads. Dove created the Real Beauty Should Be Shared contest where entrants shared stories of people who represent real beauty. User-generated contests take away the cost of a prize item and get people talking about your brand in a positive light.

  1. Create an internal sharing network

According to Jack Morton Worldwide, 49 percent of U.S. consumers say friends and family are their top sources of brand awareness. Employees often have more robust and active social accounts than employers. Encourage employees to share company content with their personal network. This comes back to that 80/20 rule, don’t expect employees to share content if it’s constant promotion. An organized system for internal sharing is the social tool Addvocate. This makes content sharing user friendly and more effective with analytics.

  1. Update in time of crisis

The social media platform Buffer, faced a social-media crisis when their system was hacked in October. The company had to put their own social media advice to use. Users began tweeting and posting about spam and other issues. Buffer responded with a support tweet 16 minutes after the initial complaint. The reaction from customers was overwhelmingly positive and earned Buffer some positive press. When mistakes happen, be prepared to update customers of exactly what happened and what you’re doing to correct the situation. This creates a positive memory despite a negative circumstance.

  1. Ask for referrals on social media and return the favor

It’s essential to consistently ask for referrals. This seems obvious but 72 percent of marketers still don’t recognize and leverage the value of customer referrals, according to research by Loyalty 360.

Asking over social media takes little time and clients will feel more obligated to respond to keep their account looking fresh. A referral request can be attached to any email or built into a PPC ad. However, offering an incentive will increase the conversion rate. Similar to a Facebook referral promotion, offer discounts or rewards for referral traffic. Think about colleagues and friends that could benefit from your client’s services. This quid pro quo effect increases the chance of a referral. 85 percent of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others. Use Facebook as a medium to promote your clients to others and the same will happen in return.

  1. Follow and engage in social conversations

You should already be engaging with the social media audience. Positive feedback is easy to handle, but responding to negative comments is warranted if validity is there. Companies like Zappos and LifeLock make a point to promptly respond to users on their Facebook pages. This strategy provides consistent customer service while increasing the brand’s buzz.

Fans recommending brands on Facebook do so because of either the quality of the product or based on the customer experience. 

   10. Identify influencers

Reaching out to the influential figures in your customer circles is the best free promotion available. Tools like Topsy and Followerwonk show the most-shared tweets and bloggers or executives with the largest social following. Make a connection with these influencers and show how your product provides value for their followers. This will provide target audience exposure that can’t be duplicated by another method. Pinbooster allows marketers to analyze their Pinterest campaign, identifying the most shared pins and highly influential pinners.

What have you found works for you to date? Have you been researching other social strategies? As always, I welcome all feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.


Wearable Technology: Part 1 – World Cup

By Jenifer Wetterau

Wish you were in Brazil experiencing all the World Cup madness? Thanks to innovative wearable technologies it is now possible to feel and breathe the atmosphere as if you were right there!

Wearable technology is undoubtedly the future of consumer electronics, with limitless creative options. While fitness bands have become very popular, other items have been slow to adopt. I believe this will change in a big way very soon.

An exciting new product created for Australian soccer fans is Foxtel’s “Alert Shirt,” a fan jersey that uses wearable technology to take the emotional experience of watching a game into the physical world, allowing fans to feel what the players feel as it happens during the game.

Hardware, software and apparel design merge together for a unique integrated experience. Real-time sports data gets transmitted via a smartphone app to the electronics within the jersey, then converted into sensations that simulate live sports action. The effects aren’t only felt when a player gets tackled. The shirt also flutters to simulate a player’s nerves before an important kick, and amps up to imitate the euphoria after scoring. Imagine being able to practically embody your favorite athlete in real-time simply by changing your shirt!

This could be a huge inspiration to many different fields besides athletics:

Medical: hands-on training for surgeons

Science: feel what it’s like to experience zero gravity or walk on the moon

Video games: actually become your avatar!

The Alert Shirt is not the only soccer related wearable in play. For the first time, referees are using Goal Control-4D technology at every venue this year to make sure everything runs smoothly. Goal Control is a German company that aims to put an end to blown calls. The Goal Control-4D system works with 14 high-speed cameras on the stadium roof that are connected to a computer system which tracks the movement of all objects on the field and filters out everything except the ball. The system knows its three dimensional x-, y- and z-position with a precision of a few millimeters. When the ball passes the goal line, the system sends a vibration and optical signal to the officials´ smartwatches.

Do you think wearable technology will vastly change spectator sports as we know them, or is this a passing fad?

As always we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, please be social and share.


Branding During the World Cup

By: Eliza Borish

For the first time in my life, I am actually interested in watching the World Cup. Maybe it’s because I am older, more passionate about sports or it’s just the idea of patriotism and supporting my country for the red, white and blue. Whatever it is, the World Cup has me hooked. I am not alone in this either; it seems that World Cup fever is hitting America. More than ever before, people in the USA are gathering together in parks, bars and in offices to watch soccer and support our Men’s National Team. Soccer, a sport that is popular in every other region and country of the world is finally reaching America. This doesn’t mean that soccer is now America’s pastime and people in every nook and cranny are joining in to watch. However, what it does mean is that slowly, yet surely, soccer is obtaining a presence here. When we think of top athletes in this country, we are consistently going to think of LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Tom Brady and Jonathan Quick, which is not going to change anytime soon. But maybe, just maybe, after qualifying for the round of 16, people will start recognizing Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Tim Howard a little more.

Tangent aside, the World Cup is an excellent time for companies to demonstrate their branding skills and not just with predesigned commercials and stories, but also with quick, witty and real-time marketing. A perfect example of this was when multiple brands such as McDonalds, Snickers, Trident Gum and JCPenny to name a few, speedily reacted to the news that Luis Suarez of Uruguay had bitten his Italian opponent, Giorgio Chiellini. Within no time, these companies took advantage of such news and used Suarez as the butt of their jokes, allowing the brands to stay relevant even in the influx of tweets that occur throughout the World Cup.

For example, McDonalds Uruguay chimed in tweeting “Hola ‪@luis16suarez, si te quedaste con hambre vení a darle un mordisco a una BigMac ;)” (Translation: Hi, Luis Suarez, if you are still hungry, come take a bite out of a Big Mac). Following suit were Trident Gum with “Chew Trident. Not soccer players #ITAvsURU” and JCPenny, “Fangs for the memories, Uruguay #URU” with a picture of a little boy dressed in a vampire costume. The brands allowed the World Cup to help promote their products with a simple tweet. My personal favorite, though, had to be Snicker’s take on the biting scandal. Snickers tweeted, “Hey ‪@luis16suarez. Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers. ‪#worldcup ‪#luissuarez ‪#EatASNICKERS” with a photo that read ‘More satisfying than Italian’ #Luissuarez”. Why is this my favorite, you may ask? This is because the Snickers slogan has consistently been “Hungry? Grab A Snickers” and utilizing that traditional slogan to embrace the Suarez controversy is brilliant. While other companies cracked jokes and promoted their brand just using Suarez, Snickers was able to crack a joke, promote its brand and do it in a way that was uniquely “Snickers”. While Suarez did set snickers up by actually biting his opponent, Snickers took advantage of that and incorporated it into their already recognizable slogan propelling their brand (and tweet) further than other brands.

Kudos to the Snickers marketing and branding people who thought on their feet and allowed the tension on the field and in the game to successfully roll over to the Internet and to your brand. While Luis Suarez now has a 4-month ban from FIFA, you, on the other hand, Snickers, have stayed relevant. People aren’t just talking about Luis anymore; people are now talking your delicious chocolaty peanut candy bars and how your tweet was both funny and current.

So while soccer hastily catches on in America, real-time marketing during sporting events, beauty pageants, TV shows and even global news is spreading like wildfire. To stay on top in business, you need to stay relevant and that requires knowing what is trending, like the Game of Thrones finale or the NBA draft. Once you know these things, you can post tweets that are in accordance with live programs and events and capture the large audience that is also watching along with you. Viewers and clients don’t have to be the only ones with opinions tweeting during and after shows. Brands have the same opportunity! And if they market that opportunity correctly by posting a witty or clever tweet in real-time, they can garner attention for their brands and ultimately, revenue.

Don’t let talk be cheap. Take advantage of real time marketing and live interactions. Gain traction for your brand now, just as Snickers did. Hey, while you’re at it, turn on the World Cup to start. If you don’t find anything usable or relevant, watch it for fun and spread it to America. What’s that cheer? I believe that we will win…and now, I believe that we will tweet!

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