It’s not a question for the ages, but it’s a head-scratcher. Why does a 27-year-old athlete without a college education know that the best way to head off a potential PR crisis is to be honest, while highly experienced CEOs and heads of multinational corporations, who’ve had the benefit of media training, fail to learn this lesson?
We recently surveyed attendees for the upcoming Social Shake-Up, asking them a couple of basic questions: which social media platform is their main focus in their work life, and what do they want to learn about most at the Shake-Up. Judging by the responses to the first question, the past—in the form of relatively ancient social media platforms—has a pretty firm grip on the professional communicators who responded to the survey.
“Dying is easy, comedy is hard,” has been attributed to different people, from the actors Jack Lemmon and Gregory Peck to thespians Edmund Kean and Edmund Gwenn. Perhaps we can augment that aphorism: “Dying is easy, communicating is hard.” Examples abound why this is so. United, Pepsi and Wells Fargo are only the latest.
Forget about Business-to-Business or Business-to-Consumer marketing for a moment. Instead, consider Human-to-Human. If you treat your customers like the humans they are and communicate with them in human ways, you are more likely to succeed on social media. Whether you are tweeting, posting, gramming or snapping, your human customers expect to be educated, enlightened or entertained.
If economics is the dismal science, then measurement surely must make a compelling argument for being PR’s grim discipline. There are plenty of tools for PR measurement, but which one to choose? And then, what should you measure? Yet there are ways around these issues and many of them probably are well within your means and abilities. More than that, measurement actually can be an upbeat exercise. And while we’re at it, the connection between dismal and economics may be faulty.
It was an effective pitch: brief, tailored to the media outlet that received it, clearly and cleanly written. It pitched an essay about a relevant topic: best practices for small companies and startups seeking to obtain media coverage. That’s why the pitch, from a PR firm representing a communications director at a brand, and its attached essay made it through several layers of editors until it reached your blogger, with a message affixed from a PR News colleague: potentially usable content. It went downhill from there.
For those of you who are dealing with customers and stakeholders (who isn’t?), a little customer service goes a long way. Little, as in, call someone back (text or email is also fine) within a reasonable time frame. Treat them like you don’t want to lose them. Bad customer service experience can not only inconvenience you, it can change the whole way you feel about a brand.
Brand communicators can’t afford to lock away their smartphones for three-hour chunks during workweeks, however you define a workweek. They’re paid to stay connected, monitor brand sentiment, protect and enhance their brand’s or their clients’ reputations. Yet the requirements of their jobs put them at risk of addiction to digital devices.
This was supposed to be a blog about another topic entirely. Yet the news we received late last night from a PR contact has prompted a different blog. To set the scene: your blogger had just returned from visiting a friend, hospitalized early Monday with an asthma attack that turned out to be heart trouble, which resulted in a triple bypass. Then, as your blogger sat down to finish writing the blog that should have been here, we received word from a PR friend that Anne Glauber, subject of a blog posted on this site months ago passed, aged 60, after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
In our personal and working lives, relationships get frayed; friends, colleagues, competitors and customers get angry at us. We have to decide when to just let things blow over, and when to reach out to the angry party. The same holds true for organizations. The only thing that’s different for organizations, perhaps, is today’s heightened political climate and the speed of news cycles.