PR Campaigns – The blog

April 6, 2009

“Toxic Talk” in Social Media

Filed under: Fidelis — mlmyers @ 8:50 pm
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While surfing around the blogosphere I came across a post by Crisisblogger Gerald Baron  about “toxic talk” in social media and whether its effects should be taken as seriously as they have in the past. The example brought to light was how reputation management dealt with the backlash of a Motrin Ad that struck sour with mommy communities across the web. Did they respond well to the situation?

We’ve talked about this case in PR class a couple times, but the notion that Johnson & Johnson (the distributor of Motrin) may have overreacted hadn’t really crossed my mind. The post by Baron referenced an article in Advertising Age that suggested we shouldn’t be so worried about viral outrage online. It is clear to us that social media matters, so what is trying to be said here? Well…there is definite controversy.

The article on Advertising Age suggested:

  • Internet and conversations don’t directly impact everyone.
  • For those who aren’t exposed to the message, it is more likely the controversy will drive them to seek answers and go check out what the fuss is about. (which is positive)
  • The overall impression of a company won’t necessarily have dramatic altercations.

Crisis management is extremely important, but are cases where company’s overreact becoming more apparent?

Another blogger, Shel Holtz, pointed out that people don’t have to see the message to get caught up with the outrage. He also noted that small issues online can blow up into mainstream coverage like well-known newspaper publications leaving company reputations extremely vulnerable.

These two perspectives got me thinking. I have come to the conclusion that each situation should be evaluated individually to determine and develop proper methods of solving the problem. Any thoughts on what may be a better way of dealing with crisis in social media?

March 29, 2009

C.R.E.A.M.

It is a sad fact, but money controls the world. People and organizations may try to fool us, but the ones that do not care about the bottom line will cease to exist in a capitalistic society.

Public relations people often forget about money. They think in terms of reputation, crisis management and brand loyalty. What do companies with excellent reputations, crisis management and brand loyalty all have in common? They make money consistently.

Let’s take a recent crisis management example from the sports world (sorry ladies).

The Denver Broncos recently hired a new head coach, Josh McDaniels. McDaniels, a former assistant with the New England Patriots, had an opportunity to trade for his old quarterback, Matt Cassell.

The trade fell through for whatever reason and the news got back to current Bronco quarterback, Jay Cutler.

Cutler was upset. He has demanded a trade after finding out he was almost traded (ironic, I know).

The Broncos admitted they considered trading their quarterback, but now claim Cutler is their man (for now).

Now Cutler has decided to not attend some non-mandatory work-outs and his cocky attitude has other teams concerned about his mentality (who could potentially trade for him).

People in football understand that winning is everything. Cutler may have gone to the pro bowl last year, but the Broncos were mediocre and missed the playoffs.

Cassell (the man Cutler was almost traded for), lead his team to a 11-5 record. That mark would have earned the Broncos a playoff spot. The Broncos would have been able to receive more players or draft picks in a Cutler/Cassell trade and would have been able to improve the team in other areas of need.

The Broncos saw an opportunity where they could have a winning quarterback and address other issues with the team quickly. This move could have gotten the Broncos back to the playoffs quicker and won them more games.

This would bring in additional ticket and merchandise sales, making the franchise more money.

Cutler needs to toughen up and realize his actions probably will cost him money when his contract is up. No one likes a whiny quarterback, especially one who can’t see reasoning behind winning faster.

The Broncos admitted their actions and their reasoning.

A blog from Yahoo Sports writer Charles Robinson claims the ball is in Cutler’s court and the Broncos have made their position known (Cutler is our man unless something better comes along).

Although the true winner of this PR mess is yet to be determined, it reaffirms that smart companies will try to do what it thinks is best for itself. These actions may be at the expense of some stakeholders, like employees.

February 16, 2009

We are PR Practitioners, Not Ambulance Chasers

Filed under: 3's Company PR — lmdavis2 @ 7:58 pm
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Charlotte Risch made an interesting post  in last week’s Valley PR Blog, she claimed that PR practitioners may be the new “ambulance chasers” replacing lawyers, who were previously attached to nickname. The derogatory term, in short, is defined by TIME magazine as a lawyer who persuades an injured person to hire them to sue for personal damages.

Risch made this comparison to ambulance chasers after Nadya Suleman, who gave bith to octoplets in early February after already having six previous children, hired a publicist instead of a nanny. I understand why Risch made this comparison, Suleman should be more focused on her 14 children rather than her relationship with the media. However, Suleman became an overnight sensation in the media.

At first it was positive attention but the headlines started turning against her when the truth behind her controversial pregnancy was revealed. The situation changed from a sensation to a crisis and who better to handle that than a publicist that specializes in crisis management. An ethical PR practitioner should serve as a mediator between Suleman and the media  and advise her on actions she could take to improve her reputation in the public’s eye.  However, if a PR practitioner acts unethically by drawing more attention to the client by making her out to be a “victim,” that would be the “ambulance chaser” that Risch is referring to.

In response to Risch’s frustration with people asking what PR is and questioning its involvement in cases like Suleman, I think we should take this as an opportunity to explain to people what crisis management is. If we explain that when crisis management is done properly and ethically it can be benefical to all parties involved and something good can come out a bad situation.

I understand the resoning behind Risch’s analogy, but we should be hesitant to associate the PR profession to more derrogatory terms than it already is. As long as practioners stick to the ethics the profession is based on (PRSA Ethics), critics will have fewer opportunities to attach it to derogatory terms.

February 9, 2009

“Horizon Management”

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — viancavv @ 2:10 am
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As a public relations senior at ASU, I can’t help but frantically question my career opportunities after graduation, especially considering the state of the economy. Comprehension.prsa.org  had a somewhat insightful post about the challenges of PR professionals at a time when clients are pinching their wallets and cutting public relations budgets. The post, “Long-range vision and leadership leads to long-term clients,” had a relatively self-explanatory title.  It outlined various tactics to fulfilling the immediate and long-term needs of a client insomuch as drawing them a vision of “sailing together toward new and beneficial destinations.”  They called it “horizon management.” Cute.

The post outlined the following ideas for agencies to achieve an interactive team process:

  • Hold regular meetings every Monday to update client activities
  • Use the meeting to brainstorm new ideas for clients on a rotating basis
  • Have team leaders review background information in advance of the session
  • Visualize the flow of activities and critical deadlines and plot your plan on an Excel spreadsheet

The ideas continued, emphasizing that agencies should create both current and long-term plans for the clients to prove their significance and long-term value.

As I read through this, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Shouldn’t you have been doing this from the very beginning anyway?” Why is this information presented as the solution to maintaining a client during the recession? Why isn’t this expected at any and all times?

If you establish a significant relationship with each and every client from the beginning, you should be confident that they wouldn’t be too quick to question whether your contribution to their company is within their budget. If you know that you have gone above and beyond their wildest PR dreams from the very beginning, then you won’t be cringing in anticipation of whether or not they’ll consider cutting you.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just a naive college student who awaits corruption of the real PR world. I don’t like to think so. All I know is that with the current state of the economy, I’ll be more than satisfied with any PR position sent my way, and I like to think I’ll be able to represent my client to the best of my ability from the very beginning…not just when I fear the separation notice. 

“Horizon management” is a great theory, as long as it’s utilized from the get-go. If you wait until you start seeing budget cuts, you’ll probably be thrown off the boat before the sun sets.

November 7, 2008

PR and the public good

Filed under: Sparkle Media — esimarsk @ 10:46 am
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With so much emphasis on Public Relations as “spin,” only used to make bad situations appear better than they are, I found an interesting post about Public Relations being used to contribute to the public good. On the PR Studies blog, Richard Bailey discusses his attendance at a police public relations conference. As Bailey says, these PR practitioners work everyday on crime reduction and don’t have to go chasing headlines. He discusses some of the work that was impressive to him, such as a broadcast journalists video of a victim with fireworks burns. The video received thousands of hits when it was uploaded to youtube. In my opinion, PR is constantly used in ways to contribute to the public good. Many times, these uses of PR are overlooked. Somehow people emphasize the ways in which they think PR was misused or abused. Do you think PR is used frequently enough for the public good? If so, why is it not shown in this light and what could be done to change the public’s perception of PR?

September 27, 2008

Perception of PR Practitioners

Filed under: Sparkle Media — ksorensen19 @ 3:24 pm
Tags: ,

I know that ABC PR recently published a post regarding how PR professionals are viewed and I wanted to delve into that a little further. I recently found a somewhat shocking article that discusses the negative side of PR. The article, The Truth About PR Disasters, discusses the role that PR specialists play in crisis management. However, the article theorizes that whereas once our role involved managing any client crisis, in today’s world PR practitioners are, “increasingly being ‘outed’ as the perpetrators of the catastrophic errors of judgment and ethics that create or catalyze PR disasters.”

In my mind it is astonishing how often PR practitioners are viewed as “spin doctors”. This idea really hit home with me when I was at a car dealership the other day. My mom was talking with a car salesman about financing and during their discussion he asked what I was studying in school and my mom said public relations. His reaction was one of astonishment and judgment. Why would I want to go into THAT particular field? My mom agreed with him right away. It was amazing to me how quickly a car salesman passed judgment on me and my future profession.

The question now is, how do we change the negative image that those in the PR field have? Is it enough to adhere to an organization’s code of ethics, or hope to follow our own ethics? Personally, I believe that the bad choices of a few have lasting effects on the rest of us and it is going to take a lot more than simply making good choices to clean up our image.

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