When negative news, such as a recall or a possible E. coli outbreak, hits the headlines, how should brand communicators handle it? And since most PR News Pro readers are outside the food sector, let’s broaden the discussion: How should communicators react when negative items about their brand make news? We’ll use food as a jumping-off point. The tactics and strategies we’ll cover apply to most sectors.
So here you are: You’ve landed your dream summer internship. Look at you! Being an ambitious, forward-thinking go-getter, you’re already wondering how to convert it into a full-time job. We were in your shoes not long ago. Below are the most important things we did as interns to land full-time gigs. To add perspective, we’ve invited our boss, Becky Boles, to add her thoughts on what it takes to get hired by a major communications firm.
In case you hadn’t realized, video is no longer a fad. It has become a fait accompli. As we’ve seen in this series, which has examined Shareablee data made available exclusively to PR News, consumer engagement with U.S. brands—B2C and B2B—on social media in Q1 2016 has grown year over year. Tremendous increases in consumer engagement with video posts have powered the bulk of the growth. Consumer engagement, or actions, is defined as the sum of retweets and likes. The same pattern seen with B2C and B2B ( PRN, July 11) holds true for nonprofits, the subject of this week’s Data Dive. In Q1 2016, U.S. nonprofits generated 5.3 million actions on Twitter, a 49% improvement compared with the same time last year. A 125% increase in engagement with video content on the platform was responsible for the growth. Actions rose 49%, from 3.56 million to 5.3 million.
There are myriad lessons for communicators related to transparency, monitoring the social conversation and when and whom to engage from two recent news items. The first item has the Republican Party being forced to shut down its live chat on YouTube July 18. The party had urged viewers to chat while it streamed its convention live on YouTube. The reason for the shut-down were anti-Semitic comments posted on the live chat as former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle was addressing the convention. The other involves the nasty messages sent via social to actor/comedian Leslie Jones, a co-star of Ghostbusters.
The root cause of most scandals is institutional belief in infallibility. For the Catholic Church, papal decree established it in 1870, and as the award-winning movie Spotlight so clearly illustrated, it is still a part of the Church’s culture. For politicians, winning elections seems to convince them that they can get away with anything (think John Edwards and Mark “hiking the Appalachian trail” Sanford). In corporations it generally comes from a narcissistic CEO. We’ve noted this corollary in numerous columns: the more ego-driven the leader, the more likely the corporation is to suffer a PR crisis.
Full Court Press (Release): It’s almost become de rigueur for sports superstars to take a retirement victory lap: Announce you’re retiring the following year and spend your last season being showered with gifts and accolades from opposing teams when you visit their venues for the final time. It’s fine when you’re no longer at top form. It’s a different matter when you club a home run or sink a basket to defeat your opponent, which hours earlier presented you with a custom-built rocking chair and a Harley. 40-year-old David Ortiz has done that all season. His 22 home runs and league-leading 34 doubles have given the Dominican his best first half in Boston. Basketball star Tim Duncan, also 40, would have none of the swan song hoopla.
When a company does something good and no one notices, what is the impact? Companies create philanthropic or charitable initiatives as part of their CSR programs for many reasons. Because there is the notion that CSR campaigns are created to cover up bad behavior, some corporations shy away from publicizing these efforts to stakeholders. They worry that if they do, they are signaling that there is a reason behind the strategy and will come under attack.
Many internal communicators have an idea of how to define a remote worker, but a consistent definition often is hard to find. While some believe a remote employee is anyone who does not work at headquarters, this is not really the case. Those who work in a company building, owned or leased, remain highly connected to the brand. The ability of internal communicators to reach them is relatively easy. Remote employees typically are telecommuting from home, embedded at customer sites or working in remote parts of the country. Reaching these employees can be tricky. It certainly is not impossible. A few simple and inexpensive tips will help internal communicators reach them.
It’s rare when significant parts of business, government or sports change dramatically. Incremental change is far more common. Yet we find both incremental and significant change in a new Nasdaq Corporate Solutions/ PR News survey of nearly 400 communicators regarding press release distribution and SEO. Nearly 75% of those surveyed last month said the most important objective of sending a press release is to “generate media interest and/or press coverage.” That’s a traditional reasoning. Yet a full 25% said their top priority in sending out a release is “to be seen in web search results” [see infographic and chart on page 4]. That finding about SEO seemed inconsistent with another result: nearly 40% said they fail to consider SEO when it comes to allocating time and resources for press releases. In other words, while PR pros want their press releases to be found in web searches, nearly half are ignoring SEO when they prepare their releases.
One of the most polarizing topics in PR generally and among the measurati in particular is advertising value equivalency, commonly known as AVEs. And yet, notwithstanding the controversy and despite efforts promoting professional standards to the contrary, AVEs remain among the most common form of measurement in PR. Why are they so popular with the masses? And why do so many PR experts hate them? Essentially, advertising equivalency is an easy, accessible way to attribute a dollar value to media coverage by calculating print column inches and TV/radio time factored by the cost of that space and time on an “if-purchased basis.” But does it represent value? And if so, is it the best way to demonstrate PR’s unique contribution to the enterprise? Let’s explore the history of AVEs, detail reasons against their use and shed light on the current state of AVE measurement to provide a balanced view along with a moderate’s advice on a better way forward.