March 18, 2013
For some reason, the Public Relations industry always seems to get a bum rap… and the latest is in the UK where headlines blare that “16 Labour MPs used taxpayers’ cash to hire a PR firm run by two ex-party workers..”
While it’s true that £151,474 was spent in the last three years, it’s necessary for politicians to have PR firms – and who better than a former political secretary for the Prime Minister?
Why is it a surprise that a pro is communicating for politicians? And if they didn’t have relationships I am sure they wouldn’t be able to do the job the right way. It’s time for the media to stop attacking the hard working people of the PR industry.
March 13, 2013
You’ve probably noticed, but it seems like no sooner has a celebrity attained a certain level of fame – call it “the One Name Club” – then they decide to branch out into new markets. Some musicians try their hand at acting. Actors cut a record. And superstars from both camps often crossover into the beauty marketplace. Any of these endeavors, given the right product, placement and marketing plan, can be a resounding success. At least as long as the superstar’s PR approach gets one thing right.
Understanding the nuances of specific PR applications.
Not all PR is created equal. While there is certainly some overlap in the respective beauty PR and entertainment PR business models, these approaches are not interchangeable. To make a success foray into a completely new market, you need one of two things, preferably both – high level name recognition and a PR team that understands the do’s and don’ts of, for sake of this example, both beauty PR and entertainment PR.
Of course, the dynamic works the other way as well. If a beauty PR firm has a client, say a spokesperson, product “face” or model, interested in crossing over into music, movies or television, the transition needs to be handled by a PR agency with a strong performance record in the entertainment business. Ronn Torossian covered some ‘Do’s and Don’ts for celebrities in this article 5WPR’s Ronn Torossian What’s “No-No” for Awards Season regarding cosmetics and make-up.
One of the most common examples of this cross-market transition is the musician who lends his or her face to a new fragrance release. Cosmetic companies understand that name recognition is key to their success, hence the endorsement deal that borrows the name star power of a known brand in return for both monetary and intangible benefits to the star. Handled well, this expansion can work well for both companies. If either the beauty PR firm or the entertainment firm fumbles…both lose.
March 5, 2013
After a negative incident, some people think they can pretend it didn’t happen and hope it goes away. In my work with our crisis PR firm, I’ve seen it time and again. Here’s the hard reality, and I understand it’s a tough pill to swallow. Sometimes, no matter what you do, it just won’t go away…on its own or otherwise. And when you’re talking about celebrity PR, the negative potential is that much more amplified.
A classic example of how one bad move can continue to haunt you is the case of singer Chris Brown. After a very public domestic violence incident wi th th en girlfriend Rihanna, Brown’s fall from grace could not have been more meteoric. Overnight he went from nearly every woman’s dream guy to the face of domestic abuse from coast to coast.
My point in bringing this up is to show you what can happen when you do not call a reputable crisis pr agency in NY and opt to just do nothing hope things all go away. There are some bridges too high for water to ever get over them. You have to face the problem and deal with it head on.
After the initial incident, Brown said little and less as time went on. He kept his head down and his mouth shut, believing, probably correctly, that a public apology would not do much to heal his wounded image. Even when Rihanna publically admitted she had been violent as well, he still took all the blame. And Brown continued to take that blame in silence, even when the scenario inspired a prime time television show.
Fast forward a year. One photo was taken at the Grammy Awards of Brown and Rihanna being friendly, possibly affectionate. It immediately went viral on the Internet and social media. Suddenly pictures of an incident that happened years ago were popping up everywhere online, as if it only happened yesterday. The lesson? No matter how difficult it might be, deal with the mistake. Social media does not often forgive, and the Internet never forgets.
February 15, 2013
When Google does an update SEOs are hanging on to every last word to find out what modifications have to be done. The latest trend that is that Google is giving more weight to content that is shareable via social media channels.
At the moment it’s about social shares and you can’t fake it that easily apparently. But Google is anticipating that some will try and “fake it” by opening fake profiles.
One of the top SEO gurus Adam Torkildson tested this theory out. He created 1000 fake Facebook accounts a year ago and they all have been banned today. He confirmed that social signals are a much bigger part of the Google algorithm.
With social becoming more important, having relevant content that is engaging is more of a priority in SEO. Creating that buzz or the PR in your content will now weigh heavily on rankings. This is where mixing PR with SEO has now reaped some benefits.
A company that does this well is Dell. They have over 1 million followers on Twitter and their team answers every direct message from their community. They are truly staying on top of their brand and their reputation online.
So what does Google really want? They want content that is relevant, shareable and that engage audiences online. Interactions must be real and have community value. Those interactions will help bring a brand up in their search engine rankings.
So what does this mean? It means that in the future there will be less of a focus on traditional SEO methods. PR will become more prominent in SEO practices and social PR will rise to the occasion and become more relevant.
February 13, 2013
Crisis communications is the quintessential “difficult but necessary” topic. None of us like to think about worst-case scenarios. But, if you maintain your success long enough, you will eventually face a crisis.
How you or the PR firm you hire chooses to handle that crisis could make or break the further success of your business. Unfortunately, here at 5WPR, we have seen far too many business owners or executives make the fatal mistake of trying to “get out ahead” of the crisis without a workable approach to their crisis communications.
That impulse is understandable. One glance here and it’s obvious that I understand exactly what it feels like to encounter a crisis and immediately want to attack it, fix it, mitigate the problem as soon as possible. That’s a trait common to everyone committed to business success.
Unfortunately, it can be exactly that passion that can be a detriment when crisis communications require a more delicate, reasoned response. In my work with 5WPR, I have observed people too close to a crisis situation make tragic mistakes, simply because their proximity precluded objectivity.
Let’s take a look at a recent communications crisis in the pharmaceutical industry. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, makers of the industry-leading acetaminophen product, Tylenol, was faced with the immediate recall of nearly its entire brand line. On the surface, the issue seems simple. Remove tainted products and let the public know you are “on top of the issue.”
Here’s the problem for them. Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers deal with these issues on a daily basis. They are intimately connected with the standards and practices that govern their industry. The average mom buying Tylenol for her toddler is not. She hears “recall” and goes all “mama bear.” An otherwise reasonable mom may take one look at the empty spot above that Tylenol shelf tag and make the snap decision to never buy another Tylenol product.
A savvy PR firm must connect the precision response of the company with the emotional response of parents across the market segment. The power of crisis communications in this example is exemplified when the consumer is cognizant of the efforts of the company to correct the issue and the company’s communication reflects empathy for the emotionally distanced consumer.
February 12, 2013
Recent news about the unfortunate handling of a public incident by Applebee’s has many companies going back over their corporate rules and policies, looking for anywhere there might be a fissure in their PR approaches.
Sure, we’d all prefer to not have to deal with such a situation. But none of us are perfect and it’s better to be safe than sorry. That being said, here are 5 key tips taken from some of the best crisis PR firms to follow in order to properly handle a PR crisis.
1 – Be Honest With Yourself. All reputable crisis PR firms will tell you that a crisis arises mainly because a company has ignored an issue. To prevent this, be willing to honestly identify your own issues. Do what you can to fix them before they get out of hand.
2 – Be Accessible. You need to be easy to reached by your customers and target audience. This means keeping a social media presence via Facebook, Twitter and innumerable other places. This is key to keeping tabs on the public’s opinion of your company.
3 – Prepare for the Worst. Take the time to have a frank conversation about what type of a crisis could befall your company at any given moment. Think outside of the box and make sure all bases are covered. Based on what you come up with, create approaches to stomp out that crisis and keep it stored away should that crisis ever arise.
4 – Be Fast. If you do find yourself in the midst of a crisis, there’s no sense in wasting time to see how the cards will fall. Respond right away. This is easier if you have followed Tip #4.
5 – “No Comment” Does Not Exist. Never under any circumstances should you answer any question with “no comment” no matter how bad the situation may be. It makes you look foolish and makes the public assume the worst.
Having taken all of this in, ask yourself if your company is prepared to follow all of these tips. If not, you need to take action or you may find that the next public crisis is your own.
February 8, 2013
It seems you can’t sit down in front of the TV, commute to work, surf the internet or read the newspaper without being faced with food ads. Some marketing messages are encouraging you to eat out, and inviting you to head to their restaurant. Other commercials are reminding you of the benefits of dining in your own home, the comforts of your own kitchen and the sense of accomplishment when you’ve prepared a gourmet feast.
With all the restaurants that pop up overnight and new food products that hit the market every day, consumers are literally bombarded with print and online media content competing for their attention. They are overwhelmed with the information being put out there, whether they intend to eat out or dine at home. Obviously, some of the messages are going to get lost in the fray.
When it comes to our food and beverage clients at 5WPR, we are not willing to let that happen. It’s our responsibility as a top food PR firm to ensure that consumers hear our message; moreover, we want to read their minds to know what they want to hear. We want to be that voice at the back of their head that says, “You know, I kind of feel like making dinner at home tonight and Italian sounds perfect.”
The major client players at a PR agency like 5WPR rely on our team to put together attention grabbing content and prepare it for widespread distribution. As consumers are assailed from all angles with marketing messages for a wide variety of food and beverage products, our content needs to stand out. If it’s not memorable enough to make an immediate impact, there’s no way it will ever last long enough in a consumer’s mind to inspire them to buy.
Fortunately, our team at 5WPR has some tactics up our sleeves that we use while developing the marketing campaigns of our clients. Often, we’ll introduce a new spin on a previous strategy that was successful in optimizing brand visibility. Other times, we’ll have brainstorming sessions when content has gone stale. It’s important for our team to press on when other PR firms might have run out of ideas if we want to stay at the top of the game.
February 6, 2013
No matter what the Ground Hog tells us every year, it always seems like winters in the NYC area last well beyond the six weeks he predicts if he sees his shadow in the Punxsutawney morning sun. Even though the days are officially getting longer, the grey and dreary weather takes its toll by the time January and February roll around. We’re getting sick of bundling up, frustrated with the cold, and weary with being stuck inside all the time.
By mid-February, most residents of the northern states are casting their gaze south if they’re able to get away for a few days of warm vacation bliss. The last thing potential travelers want to is go away on a trip to a spot that’s even more bitterly cold that their own neighborhood. If they’re going to spend money on a getaway, it’s difficult for a travel PR firm like 5WPR to convince consumers to head somewhere with the same – or worse – weather than what they have at home.
Our team is constantly faced with challenges where we’re forced to persuade consumers to spend money on something when they’re inclined to do the exact opposite. And encouraging tourists to visit a cold weather destination toward the end of winter might be considered a losing battle. Of course, we could always use monetary incentives such as offering deep discounts at unpopular times of the year. But these tactics force our travel public relations clients to give up profit.
Instead, successful PR agency will make it their responsibility to find a new approach and use innovative concepts that make a cold destination cool. We must make it appear like an overwhelmingly attractive option even at a time when consumers are looking for sun and fun.
While you may not know it, you have seen this work before. Think of the ice bar and hotel concept, where the excitement is based entirely on the frozen atmosphere that welcomes the visitor. Ski resorts tout the fun of sleigh rides, bonfires and hot tubs in the snow. Even the seemingly impossible can be accomplished with ingenuity and thinking outside the box.
January 29, 2013
Even back when the main media sources were the printed news, television and radio, the competition among public relation firms in New York City has been stiff. There are countless agencies in the city, from the one person shop to the mega PR companies with hundreds on staff. Each of these firms tends to concentrate on different specialties, such as clients of a certain size, businesses in a particular industry or geographic target. There are factors that a company will need to keep in mind when choosing a PR firm, but many business owners choose 5WPR because we offer a well rounded portfolio.
In my experience, I have seen that a PR agency can be successful by offering innovating marketing ideas and providing premium customer service to its clients. But if that’s all you’ve got, you’re not going to separate your company from all the other public relations firms in New York City who are effectively doing the same thing. I’m not suggesting that they need to pigeonhole themselves into a niche, but there are ways a PR firm can stand out.
One concept where I focused my efforts to enable 5WPR to step away from the pack was to specialize in complementary industries. Covering several different consumer areas that are interconnected in some way enables a company to rise above other firms if they can effectively increase visibility for one client while promoting the interests of another. A secondary advantage is that it allows the 5WPR team to become specialists in the multiple industries we represent.
There are many opportunities to use a strategy in connection with one client, and be able to carry over the concepts for use with another client in a different industry. With a few examples, you’ll be able to see the advantages for 5WPR operations and the benefits we are able to pass on to our clients. Obviously, the fashion and beauty trades share common interests in visibility at industry events, online media channels and other outlets. 5WPR’s efforts in any one of these spheres on behalf of our fashion client serves to heighten awareness of our beauty industry partners, and vice versa. Likewise, our representation of a celebrity requires us to promote and draw attention to various endeavors. Conveniently, we can accomplish this during one of the social events as we’re handling the PR for our charitable organization client. That’s why it makes sense for 5WPR to multitask on behalf of multiple clients.
January 24, 2013
For a while it was thought that Google didn’t pay that much attention to social channels and what bloggers were writing about in the web space.
Times have changed and Google is placing greater emphasis on social signals and the same way Google rewards sites for relevant links to your site, they will reward you for having the relevant followers from Twitter and likes from a Facebook page.
According to Google, a signal isn’t the same as a ranking factor. This is what Google had to say in late 2010 in regards to retweets, “Yes, we do use it as a signal. It is used a signal in our organic and news rankings. We also use it to enhance our news universal by marketing how many people shared an article.”
Google can’t rank a page if it isn’t indexed, so the engagement on social channels will have little effect if this is the case.
Engaging in social channels whether directly or indirectly helps with search optimization overall. It provides wider visibility which in turn leads to more links and social signals, further boosting your site’s web authority.
The thoughts on social signals are this, engage in social channels the same way you would approach SEO. Don’t start spamming on social channels; this could ultimately hurt your rankings. Having a strategy in place where you can start sharing content with relevant followers. It’s about quality first, not quantity.