Media Training: Hillary’s Stump Speech Stumble

October 28th, 2014

While speaking for a candidate, Hillary Clinton sparked attention with a comment about businesses and corporations. The media training lesson:  Practice focusing on two or three key messages to prevent deviating and making misstatements that might haunt you.

Media Training: Jimbo Fisher’s Fumble

October 27th, 2014

The lesson to learn from Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher:  Always brace for tough questions no matter the environment.

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WATCH: Video Production Tip #9: Don’t Strand The Brand

October 20th, 2014
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General Motors Drives Past Pink Elephant

October 17th, 2014

Public Relations

General Motors’ news release announcing the retirement of General Counsel Michael Millikin does not mention his role in handling the company’s ignition switch recalls. This is disingenuous.

Most people outside GM familiar with Millikin’s name know him due to the controversy. Some members of Congress are critical of GM for keeping him onboard despite the crisis. GM CEO Mary Barra didn’t necessarily need to defend him in the company’s news release. We infer she considers him a valuable adviser during the company’s recent problems. At a minimum, her praise of him in the release should have included the value she believes he brings to the table regarding this specific controversy. Excluding this aspect of his GM career is ignoring what everyone in the metaphorical room is thinking when hearing about his retirement.

Such news releases reinforce the stereotype that public relations is nothing than an attempt to spin reality despite the obvious. More companies must abandon this old school approach and at least acknowledge, if with only one sentence, the giant pink elephant stumbling around the room. Otherwise, the public may view other, more important company statements with skepticism.

Five Reasons You Need PR Even When Sales Are Good

October 13th, 2014

We recently had a PR prospect decide not to move ahead with a PR campaign to promote the opening of its new plant. Their reason? Orders were already pouring in before the plant even opened. Keeping up with demand was their primary focus.

For some companies, PR is just a temporary option. When sales are good, companies often become clouded with the notion that they are fine without a PR plan. Here are five reasons companies with this mindset should reconsider PR.

  • Credibility. Does your “do” match your “say”? PR representation is like the third eye that monitors your company’s moves and mouth. PR counsel can be vital when it comes to how your company conducts itself both internally and externally. Often times, employees, media, customers and investors have your company under a microscope. Some are waiting for your company to screw up.
  • Content. PR is more than about press releases and media placements. It’s about being your own newsroom and sharing this content (blogs, pictures, videos, posts) through various social media outlets. This keeps your company top-of-mind for consumers and media alike. It’s about positioning you and your company as an industry expert.
  • Community. PR is about building community via partnerships, events, sponsorships, charitable giving and memberships. People like to do business with companies that are making a difference and are involved in their communities. Employees feel good about working for these companies.
  • Crises. When a crisis hits, this is often the time when companies scramble to secure PR representation for guidance. Consequently, they have to make up for lost time by creating a crisis plan, key messages and bringing their new PR person up to speed on their industries.. Much of this should be in place before the crisis hits.
  • Creativity. A good PR rep or company will always look for creative ways to get results for your company whether it’s a campaign that generates buzz or creating content that people want to share.

Split On Dairy Queen’s Data Breach Response: Grade C

October 10th, 2014

Crisis Communications

We love Dairy Queen, but we’re split on its response to the company’s data breach incident.

Dairy Queen’s website offers a blizzard of information about the breach. The top of the company’s homepage includes the words, “Data Security Incident” and a tab to click to learn more. The president and chief executive officer wrote a letter to customers. Additional tabs show a press release and a list of FAQs and affected stores and dates. Yet another tab offers additional information. Customers can learn about free credit reports and how to handle unauthorized transactions.

At the bottom of the homepage are four social media tabs. The company’s Facebook page has more than nine million Likes. The Twitter account includes 244,000 followers. The social media combo also includes a YouTube Channel and Tumblr account. This is where Dairy Queen had an opportunity to shake things up and that’s why we’re split.

We see frequent Dairy Queen social media posts. What we can’t find are posts about the data breach. Yes, others on social media are talking about the breach. But where is Dairy Queen in the social media conversation? Isn’t social media an easy way to quickly reach, in this case, up to nearly ten million people, many of them your biggest fans?

We’ve noticed, during crisis communications, companies often neglect to order up a social media response. We don’t get it. Social media channels often are better ways to communicate than websites, and it would be refreshing if more companies didn’t leave those options out in the cold.

Four Facebook Video Facts

October 9th, 2014

Video Production

“Since June there has been an average of more than 1 billion video views on Facebook every day.” Source: Facebook

“Now more than 65% of [Facebook] video views are on mobile.” Source: Facebook

“And with an update [rolled out in Sept.], people will be able to see how many views a video on Facebook has received.” Source: Facebook

How to add a call to action at the end of a Facebook video:

Ventures In Video Production: Arizona State University

October 7th, 2014

Keith speaks to students at ASU about video production.

Video Production - Arizona State University

PR: 4 Reasons Reporters May Never Call Again

September 30th, 2014

Public Relations

Around 11am, a reporter sent me a YouTube link of a fight at an Arizona Cardinals football game. She wanted to know if a client was available for an on-camera interview to talk about limiting this kind of activity during the approaching Super Bowl that Arizona is hosting. The story was for the 5pm newscast, so she could interview the client at anytime.

The client needed time to put on a tie and shave, but he arranged the interview for 1pm. That’s about two hours after the reporter made her interview request.

If a reporter suddenly requested an interview within the next hour or two, could you accommodate the request? Do you have a tie, change of clothes or even a razor blade handy to make yourself to appear on air?

The reporter asked if the client could meet her near the stadium so it could be in the background. The stadium is across town from the client’s office, but he agreed to make the trek.

If a reporter prefers not to interview you at your office or current location, are you flexible enough to drive to another place if that location is halfway to Mars?

Around noon, the reporter emailed back, saying she needed to get another interview at 1pm. Could the client reschedule his interview for 2pm? He agreed.

If a reporter reschedules on you an hour before your interview, can you make the needed changes to your schedule?

When I was reporting, if someone said “no” to any of the above questions, I may have moved on to someone else who said “yes.” And because the second person was available and flexible, I may have never called the first person again. I compare this to a second-string quarterback who earns an opportunity to start, just keeps winning and downgrades the former starter indefinitely to the bench.

Media Training: TV Anchor Talks Nudity, Gets Mixed Up

September 29th, 2014

People often prepare extensively for news media interviews but sometimes are surprised how much an interviewer does not know. The lesson:  Be prepared for anything.

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