Veteran PR pro and former journalist Arthur Solomon continues his series of communications lessons pulled from 2017 news headlines. In this edition, Solomon concentrates on lessons learned from crises that involved Equifax, BP and the White House.
The fires in California have brought devastation to people, property and animals in the Golden State since the beginning of the month. While some fires continue to rage, those in the area of the Ojai Valley Inn have been contained. Faced with a large clean-up, the Inn refused to cut corners and instead will remain closed into 2018, resulting in a large financial loss as it will miss prime holiday weeks. Its decision to remain closed is firmly rooted in its brand promise.
The veteran PR pro Arthur Solomon begins his annual review of lessons for communicators pulled from the year’s headlines and news reports. In this initial installment, the lessons involve crisis communications, media relations and internal communications. There’s also advice about the best way to handle a difficult boss.
Crisis management, our author argues, is itself in crisis. The causes of this crisis in crisis PR include challenges in philosophy, technology and ethics, not to mention that some crises (see Lauer, Matt and Rose, Charlie) begin and end so quickly that crisis PR barely has time to roll up its sleeves. What’s a company or a brand in crisis to do?
With U.S. consumers spending up to 5 hours daily on mobile devices, social media usage patterns are a goldmine for marketers. Yet social media alone is not enough. Shoppers are more than their mobile Facebook or Twitter profiles. Other sources should be added to social media data, our author argues and provides 3 easy steps to augment consumer insights to create more data-driven, research-backed campaigns.
Letters, digital or sent via U.S. mail, are likely to make direct contact with customers. It’s important, then, to be certain they reflect your brand’s well-crafted messages. We offer many tips on how to make such letters more effective, but most important is that they burnish your company’s reputation with all stakeholders.
With the firings of Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor, the face of crisis PR has been changed, for the moment at least. When your client is fired before he can even say, “I need crisis PR,” what’s left for crisis PR people to do? On the other hand, perhaps all these men still need crisis PR. Look at Charlie Rose, who was ambushed on the street and gave a very inappropriate response to a question.
Is your company adding to the problem of content pollution? It is if the stories and video you produce fail to engage their intended audiences. Of course, should you avoid measuring for engagement and share of voice, for example, you’ll never really know whether or not your content is resonating. Fortunately, measuring is easily done today. The hard part is stepping out of your comfort zone, abandoning flawed vanity metrics and aligning measurement with goals and targeted audiences.
Measurement is said to be PR’s albatross. Heck, many PR pros entered the field specifically so they could avoid working with numbers. Fortunately, measuring and mining data for PR insights are far less complicated operations than measurement naysayers would have you believe. Advocating for measurement programs, our author says you can begin a measurement effort simply and inexpensively.
All politics is local. Our author argues all digital storytelling is, too, with local translating to familiarity. He also urges communicators to spend more time shaping story ideas instead of expending a lot of effort on deciding what digital medium will best convey their stories.