Pick a side.

It’s 2018 and the tides are changing once more. Where do you stand? #TonnishasTipoftheMonth

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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.

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.