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.

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:

   

   

Why Kim Kardashian Is Still Winning

Kim K has been under a lot of scrutiny over the last week due to her “breaking the internet” after Paper Magazine revealed her…revealing her.

This article from Elite Daily states 51 questions that supposedly everyone has for Kim K after the magazine spread. Questions included, “Do you still talk to Ray J?” “Have you ever read a book in its entirety?” “Is nothing sacred anymore.” And our favorite, “Are you mad everyone thinks you’re boring?”

While these questions may have sparked some laughter. It sparked some interesting conversations on Twitter. How does a woman who stepped into pop culture after her ex-boyfriend leaks their sex tape manage to remain relevant? How did she go from Ray J’s ex-girlfriend to her name being a brand in itself?

So, we created a list of questions for Kim Kardashian, too!

1. Who handles your PR?

2. How did you put the team together?

3. What type of credentials were you looking for?

4. How did your team turn a crisis into a multimillion dollar opportunity?

5. How is your team handling all of the negative backlash from your Paper Magazine spread?

6. Did your team already have a crisis management plan in place before the release of the article?

So, why is she still winning after all of this you ask? She’s the mom of a beautiful daughter, a successful entrepreneur touching every industry from mobile apps to tanning lotion, she has a supportive family, a loyal fan base, she clearly is an extremely confident and brave woman and she’s married to Kanye West. Does life get better?

While Kim Kardashian would not be our first pick in the role model draft, you have to admit that she knows a thing or two about turning lemons into lemonade.

Instead of bashing her based on your own ideologies of right and wrong, take a deeper look into her brand. She is the prime example of how in business, and in life, you can take an unfortunate mishap and turn it into an everlasting opportunity. She has a television show, a clothing line, a shoe line and is one of the most talked about figures in pop culture.

This should be a lesson to all small and women owned businesses. Whether it be another organization or ex-employee slandering your brand, you still are in charge of your own success. You decide whether or not you fold under pressure or bite the bullet and keep moving forward.

4 Things We Can Learn from Reese’s Maggot Crisis

Being on social media, for a brand, means more than scheduling posts of the office cat and random company updates. When a brand decides to join the world wide web on a social media platform, they are opening themselves up to the harsh unfiltered thoughts of consumers around the world.

Recently, a disturbing video of maggots coming out of a Reese’s Peanut Buttercup has surfaced all over YouTube and even got a hit on popular gossip site World Star Hip Hop. The video consisted of a consumer breaking open her Reese’s only to find live maggots inside of the candy. After searching through YouTube, it appears that multiple consumers have had the same incident occur over the last year.

The video has since gone viral and caused a frenzy amongst peanut buttercup lovers who are second guessing their favorite candy. Some have even vowed not to eat the candy ever again!

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Reese’s have since done damage control on social media by responding to inquiries from consumers in a timely fashion and exemplified a great example of how to respond in a crisis situation.

As a small or women owned business, it is inevitable that you will run into mishaps here and there. Even the large companies like Reese’s have their hiccups. The worst thing you can do in a situation is ignore your consumers when they are experiencing issues with your product or service.

The best practice for crisis communication:

1. Listen to the comments and concerns of your consumers

2. Empathize with the consumer by putting yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you found maggots embedded in your chocolate?

3. Acknowledge that you are aware of the issues

4. Take preventative action so that an issue like this never occurs again

Sure, I will probably not have a Reese’s Cup for quite some time, but I admire their timely responses to consumers and their willingness to make themselves vulnerable by providing the information and working on the next preventative steps.

If you were Reese’s, how would you have handled this situation?