Pick a side.

It’s 2018 and the tides are changing once more. We can check our history books and speak to our elders for proof that when injustices are brought to the horizon, eventually, you have to pick a side. In some cases, there is a very define line between the right side, and the completely wrong side. While in others, it is not.

Let’s take a look back at a moment that will certainly go down in history…

It’s the 2016 NFL season and Colin Kaepernick begins to take a knee during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality and the injustices that people of color face on a daily basis. (Fun fact, he first started sitting during the anthem but was told by a U.S. Veteran that kneeling was more appropriate. I also want to note that Kaepernick is not the first athlete to make a “political stance” but for the sake of my point, we’re going to focus on him.)

I’m sure at this point you’re wondering, “why is this your tip of the month and what does this have to do with my business?”

I’m glad you’ve asked…

Yesterday, it was announced that Colin Kaepernick alongside Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr., and Shaquem Griffin, are the faces of Nike’s 30th Anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. The internet was clearly divided on this and some even threatened to boycott the brand. While others, including myself, applauded them.

Nike has clearly taken a stance on how they feel about Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem. This “decision” has even sparked a statement from the president who has made it clear he is not a fan of Kaepernick or any other athlete who decides to kneel during the anthem.

So what does this mean for Nike?

They have made a very bold move that essentially has divided their customer base. Do I believe they will take a loss? No. Do I believe that they TRULY are riding for Kaepernick? I don’t know.

One thing we can probably agree on, is that they did their did research, pulled numbers, and came to an informed decision where they understand the pros and cons about how this could impact their market share. We can conclude that overall, this was a good business move for the brand that majority of leadership has agreed on.

What does this mean for small businesses?

I’m not saying that you need to shout from the rooftop your political views. However, I am telling you to pick a side.

If someone is wearing your brand and posts a video of themselves kneeling during the anthem, how would you feel? Or what if they were protesting a Planned Parenthood? Or what if they were arrested for a hate crime?

It may sound outrageous to think of all of these scenarios. But let’s remind ourselves what happened to Pepsi and Dove. A small “mishap” could truly become a bad press day for your company.

Why do you need to pick a side?

You shouldn’t need to think too long and hard about what you would do if any of those scenarios were to occur. I know we all want to keep politics a secret and out of business and sports alike, but the reality is, we cannot. You should have a clear understanding of your personal values.

Our customers truly WANT to support businesses that care about them. If you want to play it safe and down the middle then please, be my guest. But you may be involved in a scenario where you will be forced to pick a side and I hope you are ready to do so with pride.

As for me, I’ve chosen a side.

TJE Communications and it’s subsidiaries has not and will never tolerate discrimination or disrespect of any kind amongst its event attendees or clients. TJE Communications also will never support or work with those who believe in the discrimination of others.

I challenge you all to make a list of all of the things you value, and find ways to incorporate it into your business model. If you need help, you know where to find me!

Have a question that needs an answer, email info@tjecommunications.com.

Yes, PR Matters.

I love social media and the digital world like any other millennial marketer. But before Facebook and iOS Press Releases (only millennials will get this joke, sorry) there was good ol’ fashion public relations – aka PR.

Yes, PR matters and it should still remain a vital piece of your overall business strategy. If you don’t currently have a PR strategy, here are a few things you should think about to get started.

What’s the difference between PR and marketing?

Public relations is EARNED media, marketing is PAID media.

Why should I care about PR when I can pay for media placement?

Sure, you could pay for media placement. But wouldn’t you rather earn your full page article in that top magazine than pay for it? Would you trust a media publication that let you pay for good publicity?

If you want to be authentic, you have to earn your stripes. PR allows you to do that.

What exactly can PR do for my business?

Having a great PR strategy can help you earn media placement on a local, or even national level. This can help you extend your reach and potentially gain new customers.

What are some key items that should be apart of my PR strategy?

There are three keys items that should be apart of your public relations strategy:

    1. Media Kit: This should be updated per product release, new service, or new business venture.
    2. Media Contacts: Don’t abuse your contacts, and don’t be too general. Your pitch should align to the interests of the person you’re reaching out to.
    3. Crisis Communication Plan: If something goes wrong in your business, (i.e. someone gets sick from your product, your product malfunctions, someone slanders you or your company) you should have a plan in place to mitigate potential issues. Your plan should include scenarios that are relevant to your industry. For example, if you own a makeup line, you should have a plan in place for the possibility of someone getting an infection or rash from your products.

Technology will continue to advance and we will gain more and more access to one another. However, the basics are what they are – the foundation. You should find a creative way to incorporate “old school” ideas into your new age strategy.

 

#PRCrisis: The Internet Slams Dove for Racist Advertisement

We’ve looked at many PR crises before and the common theme between them all is poor execution of ideas.

Saturday, I saw a tweet of a Dove advertisement that I felt had to be fake – these days, Photoshop can make anything look real. The next day, I saw Dove tweeted an apology.

 

 

You would think after Pepsi x Kendall, brands would understand that being insensitive when it comes to issues of race and discrimination, is a sure way ruin your reputation and credibility. But what happens when brands miss the mark more than once?

As a woman of color, I am completely shocked by this Dove campaign and very confused as to how this made its way from design to publish. I have been a loyal customer to this brand but my moral compass is making me question if I will continue to do so.

Can Dove recover? Probably. They have the money to launch a nationwide campaign to fix their reputation. We’ve seen it happen multiple times. How many people even talk about Pepsi’s crisis anymore?

Two simple ways something like this can be avoided:

1. Speak Up – If you have a seat at the table, you need to speak up. It is your duty to ensure that advertisements and campaigns that are racially insensitive, sexist, or targeting a particular group of people or religion do not make it out into the public. By sitting in silence, you are just as guilty.

2. Diversify the Table – Every team should have people of all ages, races, gender, sexual identity, religion, etc. to ensure that your company is properly represented. If you do not have this kind of diversity on your team, you need to implement ways to gauge of the opinion of those people with focus groups, surveys, test groups, etc.

It’s not rocket science marketing pros. Think before you print.

Here’s Why Pepsi Got It Wrong

Pepsi is under a lot of fire today after they released a new commercial starring Kendall Jenner that aired on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s untimely assassination.

The commercial shows a crowd of various ethnicities, protesting/parading through the streets when they reach a police line. At first, the officers look angry at the protesters. Until, sweet Kendall gives one of them a Pepsi and all is saved.

From a marketing/PR standpoint I can clearly see the intent of this commercial. However, here are 3 reasons Pepsi got it wrong and guidelines for you to follow to avoid the same PR crisis.

1. Why Kendall Jenner?

I love the Kardashian/Jenner clan just as much as the next twenty-something year old woman. However, Kendall Jenner is the last person that should have been chosen for this commercial. According to Pepsi, their intent was to display unity, peace, and understanding. There are plenty of young, well known activists who could have been a great lead for this commercial.

Takeaway:

If you’re going to use current events to market your brand, make sure you have complete understanding of the issues and ask yourself: Would someone be offended by what I’m doing? Who would be a great fit to get my point across?

2. Check the dates

MLK is by far one of the most prominent persons in not just black history, but American history. He was fatally shot on April 4, 1968 but his legacy continues to live on. I want to truly believe this was an honest mistake by the team at Pepsi. Bernice King also had some words for the company.

Takeaway:

Before launching a major campaign or planning an event, check the dates. Make sure there are not any other major or annual events happening during the duration of your campaign or event. If there are other things going on that would conflict with your campaign, change your date or reach out and try for a collaboration.

3. If you’re going to do it, do it.

What exactly are the protesters in this commercial protesting or marching about? According to Pepsi it was unity and peace. If the company truly wanted to touch on these issues, why not have signs in the commercial that say “Black Lives Matter” or “Love is Love”? Seems like the company was afraid to truly go for what they were trying to say. If that was the case, they should have left this topic alone all together.

Takeaway: 

As a brand, touching on social issues is not a bad thing if you are prepared for the consequences. Yes, you may lose some of your fan base or your customers. But if it is something you truly believe in, why do you care? If you aren’t going to truly embrace a social cause, then it is best you don’t speak on it at all.

Take it from Giuesppe vs Nicki Minaj – once the internet gets involved, there can be major issues for your brand. Be mindful when launching marketing campaigns and be sure respect others in the process.

TJE Communications is a digital marketing agency set out to level the playing field for small, women owned businesses. For business inquiries, please contact tje@tjecommunications.com

Popular brand in deep for fat-shaming photos

Yesterday I was filled with an overwhelming amount of positivity for sharing my story about my jean purchase from Lane Bryant. Even Lane Bryant saw my picture which really made me feel great.

Today I took a step back as I see Twitter users tweet about the popular Lilly Pultizer company under fire for fat shaming. Their excuse? It was an employees personal workspace. 

This makes me wonder: How important is company culture? Do companies take company culture seriously?

It is important to make all of your employees feel comfortable in the workplace. I have personally worked in environments where I felt I didn’t fit in with the company culture and it had an impact on my work ethic and my overall happiness at the job.

How can we make sure our company’s culture is a reflection of all employees? Simple: Ask your employees what they want the culture to look like!

It is important for staff to have an understanding of one another. They don’t have to be best friends, but they do have to respect one another and their differences.

Staff retreats or staff outings is a great way to be sure employees are interacting and communicating well with one another.

I know a lot of ladies who were ecstatic when Lilly Pulitzer hit Target stores and I even had a thought to try out some of her items. Not sure how I feel about that now.

With Lilly Pulitzer being as big of a brand as it is, those loyal consumers will probably still stick around despite this incident. I’m curious to see how the company recovers from this – if that all. With so many body positive campaigns coming from big brands like Lane Bryant, Dove and Always, it seems nearly impossible. 

What are your thoughts? Should employers have more control of what employees put in their personal work space? Comment below. 

Check out the full story here: Lilly Pulitzer under fire for fat shaming photos.

Fake New Balance Advertisement Causes Social Media Fire Storm

In the midst of the Baltimore Riots, New Balance is putting out its own fire storm.

Recently what appeared to be screen shots from New Balance’s company website surfaced the internet using protesters to “promote” the company. Twitter users have retweeted the fake screen shots over 1,500 times and favorited the tweet more than 700 times.

New Balance took to social media to tell users that the advertisement was not generated by New Balance and asked that users do not retweet the post:

“This is clearly not a New Balance generated post – we ask that you please do not re-tweet.”

  
“We did not regenerate the ad.”

  
Check out the fake screen shots below and tell us what you think:

   

   

When Crisis Strikes: Awkward Moments In PR

1. That awkward moment when Clorox tweeted “where’s the bleach” after the launch of multicultural emoji’s. 

   

2.  That awkward moment when the United States Postal Services launches their “Maya Forever” stamps with a quote that Maya Angelou didn’t write.

 

Yikes! Have you seen any other awkward PR moments this week? Comment below or tweet us and let us know. 

What Is the Right Thing to Say?

First things first. I must start this blog by saying that I am very thankful and pleased with the opportunity Tonnisha has provided me with! This is my first internship and I actually feel of importance to the company. In fact the only thing I knew about interns before this is the phrase, ‘in turn’…OK that was a corny joke. But seriously, I’m a rookie at this, and I appreciate her taking a chance with me.

I spent some time thinking about what my first blog post would entail. As I was brainstorming ideas, it just hit me! Instead of thinking about what I should say, I should think about what I shouldn’t say.

Many of you reading this might have just read that last sentence and said to yourself, ”Wait, what?”

Hear me out..

When it comes to verbal or written communication, the whole point is to have an impact on the audience. Whether you are a public speaker or a kid trying to convince his mom to let him have a cookie before dinner, your argument must be very convincing and memorable. To do this effectively, avoid focusing on saying the right thing, and shift focus on not saying the wrong thing.

See where I’m going with this?

Think about parallel parking. When parallel parking, you don’t focus on where the other cars are, you look at where they are not. This allows you to pinpoint just the exact angle to turn the wheel to safely park your car.

Still don’t get it?

It is impossible to focus on the car in front of you and behind you at the same time. If you tried, you would probably crash into one of them. By focusing on where the cars are not, you are giving yourself a better chance of parking successfully. Why? Because you are focusing on the opportunity of the open parking space more than the full spaces.

Every action on behalf of a company will have a positive or negative reaction. Often times we focus more on what everyone else is doing or saying and miss out on open opportunities to be innovative.

What is the right thing to say? Who knows! But what not to say is what everyone else is saying. Take advantage of open parking spots to fill. Here is where you will have the opportunity to create the new standard.

Hopefully, this post will be just as entertaining and intriguing to read, as it was to write! And of course – informative.

Until next time,

Dez, Media & Communications Intern

Crisis PR: Krispy Kreme KKK Wednesday

Krispy Kreme UK is in the middle of a PR fire storm with their recent campaign titled KKK Wednesday’s.

Apparently KKK stands for Krispy Kreme Klub and was intended to be a day for customers to come into the store and decorate donuts.

Remember, when creating PR campaigns:

1. Be mindful of how the campaign would impact others. Avoid any puns about religion, race, sexual orientation or politics. All are sensitive subjects and can be seen as offensive to some groups of people.

2. Avoid using words/phrases with negative connotations. Of course we all want to change the world and get rid of the negative. However, it takes time. It is difficult to take something like KKK and turn it into a positive, especially with all of the recent happenings in the news.

Example: Draya Michele has a clothing line named Fine Ass Girls which – we can see the obvious acronym there.

3. Keep it classy. Using offensive language should also not be a part of your PR campaign. You have to be clever and witty, yet you don’t want to offend your grandma. When creating a campaign ask yourself: Would my grandmother be OK with this as well as my target audience?

4. If you make a mess, clean it up and FAST! We can’t knock the fact the company cleaned up their mess fairly quickly by releasing a statement. At least they took full ownership and didn’t sit on it like some companies we know. *cough* BP *cough*

Nice try, Krispy Kreme. Better luck next time.