January 18, 2013
It never fails that a celebrity client or sports star is involved with an after hours brawl, run in with the law or other PR nightmare. At 5WPR, our team members are sometimes called out of bed in the middle of the night – literally – to put our heads together on some scheme to snuff out negative chatter. Our PR clients rely on us as their go-to PR firm to drag their reputation out of the gutter when bad publicity explodes throughout the online newswire. But we didn’t earn our outstanding reputation in the aftermath of just one or even 20 widely publicized catastrophes.
Take, for instance, the different individuals and NFL teams involved in the fallout from the bounty program. From the player level, to members of the coaching staff, to entire organizations, the scandal hit the league like a ton of bricks. Careers were devastated by the potential suspensions and penalties that might be handed down, well before final decisions were ever made regarding the punishments that would be levied. Some sports pundits wondered if the players and other staff would ever rebound from the controversy, even after fines had been paid and suspensions were served.
As a top PR firm, our team reacts to a crisis like this particular scandal with a swift move into reputation management mode. Going on 10 years in the public relations industry, the damage control frenzy surrounding the bounty controversy is commonplace and we have seen our fair share of media disasters. With every publicity snag that befalls one of our celebrity clients, we learn and apply the techniques to future catastrophes.
When it comes to reacting to a crisis and restoring a reputation, you have heard my adage “content is king.” While I don’t want to dilute that point, I also want to stress that rapid response is also key. Attack the blogosphere with an aggressive campaign that serves to weakens the impact of negative press. Use newswire resources to distribute press releases to mitigate the bad impression left in the public’s eye by a starlet’s wardrobe malfunction or a sports figure’s too-candid comments about a coach. Your goal is to counter every dent in the client’s reputation with a post that pounds it right back out.
Reputation management in a crisis situation is less about contradicting the media reports, and more towards distraction. Arguing against the incident or scandal will only draw more attention. Our goal as a PR firm is to shed an upbeat light on the positive traits and selfless deeds of our clients, and saturate the online distribution outlets with as much feel-good content as we can circulate.
January 14, 2013
In the industry of alcoholic beverages, there is not much room for an entirely new liquor. It’s true that unique recipes for rum, vodka and whiskey are rampant, and companies are promoting new cocktail combinations at an extraordinary rate. I’ve recently seen releases of legal moonshine concoctions, which tend to ride on the coattails of popular reality shows. But as far as new hard alcohol being developed and introduced to the market, there’s nothing left that truly innovative.
So when clients come to 5WPR and want to hear how a leading PR firm will help them clamor on top of the heap in an intensely competitive industry, we can’t send them back to the lab to devise a new chemical combination. My position on this topic is that it’s more important to boost a brand’s breadth than to deepen their marketing budget. Through use of these marketing tactics, one of our top beverage PR clients was able to extend its roots in the industry without having to throw a ton of money toward a less profitable campaign. While our partner had their foot in the door in the enormously lucrative vodka business, they needed help broadening their brand.
Our solution: introduction of flavored vodkas as an adjunct to their unflavored product. The flavored liquor trend has been taking hold of the industry for the last few years, and it seemed a natural progression to draw visibility to their original premium brand. In this way, the client could increase its market share in the flavor trend while strengthening its roots in its main (unflavored) product.
It’s true that I have used re-branding tactics as the foundation of a marketing campaign when the product has become stale in its industry. This is not always the most advantageous strategy, as it can be expensive and lose ground in a cost-benefit analysis. An example would be a well-known vodka producer that invested millions in an ad scheme that involved manufacturing personalized bottles for packaging its liquor. This type of tactic really only reaches a small target audience, and so doesn’t broaden the brand’s presence among its competitors. Of course, every promotion strategy must be focused on serving the needs of the individual client. Not every tactic is perfect tailored to the size, budget and goals of the customer, and my job is to cull the out the most effective methods.
January 9, 2013
Boosting morale within your business is becoming something that more and more business owners are becoming concerned with. From Casual Fridays to free donuts in the break room, there are several approaches to making your employees happier and, in turn, creating a better work environment for all involved parties.
However, one of the morale boosters you should seriously consider is incorporating a corporate wellness program. After all, what are the reasons for people missing work? Reports indicate that that it comes down to illness, stress, and lack of sleep—all brought on by rigorous working conditions. Therefore, incorporating a wellness program of any kind not only tackles this problem head on, but shows your employees that you do indeed care for them.
The goal of corporate wellness programs is to promote health and wellness throughout an organization. This extends beyond simply physical health, but also incorporates emotional and mental health as well. These types of programs can either provide employees with a very basic package of services or much more comprehensive packages.
There are ultimately two significant roles for a corporate wellness program:
1 – They promote and lead to a healthier lifestyle for your workers. Any companies will create events or contests that are structured around their wellness programs; these include things like mock Biggest Loser contest for weight loss or contests for the tastiest and healthiest recipe.
2 – They result in a decrease in health care expenses while also drastically improving worker morale. The sense of community and healthy lifestyles ties in with these decreases in spending, making everyone happier.
In addition, a well-planned corporate wellness program includes several levels of participation. A few suggestions include, but are certainly not limited to:
· Health risk evaluations
· On-site diagnostic screenings
· Meal planning,
· Screening and planning for disease prevention
· Educational tools related to the health improvement of workers
Larger business may also want to look into creating a space where their employees can work out and distress during breaks or even before and after work. Larger businesses are already doing this and showing great results in worker performance and attitude. Of course, this area or facility doesn’t need to be anything elaborate. After all, there is a fine line between promoting your corporate wellness program and allowing workers to take advantage of such good graces.
The important thing to get across in this entire process is to let your workers know that you view them as more than just a production unit. By beginning a corporate wellness program, you are showing that their health and well-being comes first.
As a business owner, you will see an increase in productivity and employee attitudes and satisfaction. A corporate wellness program can quickly become a staple if your business and can actually cause more than just increases in worker productivity—it can also paint your business in a new and more positive light. So while the program is geared towards the betterment of your employees, your business will see huge results as well.
January 4, 2013
Your business is your lifeline and you devote enormous amounts of time, energy and money towards making it the best. Despite your best efforts, unfortunate incidents can hit your company without warning and beyond your power. You need to stem the flow of negative publicity before things spiral completely out of control, and direct attention elsewhere to put your company back in the positive limelight.
Unless you’re completely disconnected from pop culture, you know that the best PR companies for celebrities often have their hands full cleaning up the regrettable moments of their clients. Fortunately, you can incorporate some of their tactics when faced with less than stellar chatter about your business.
You can’t turn back time to erase a disastrous episode, but you can turn the spotlight on a more positive picture of your company. Monetary donations, dedication of time, and other efforts to charitable causes can be coordinated to defeat bad press – or at least distract some attention away from it.
Taking first the concept of financial contributions, I want to stress that these are important only when used in conjunction with other measures. After all, we’re talking about making a swift and immediate impact to divert eager cyber minds away from negative chatter. Your money is obviously a generous gesture, but 5WPR has seen firsthand that writing a check is not going to buy a shiny new image.
The truth is that donations of time toward charitable causes go further than money alone. You don’t necessarily need to spend a year abroad with Doctors Without Borders to draw interest away from your medical practice that got hit with a malpractice suit. But a presence of some sort at popular, local events with a charity angle is easy and can be accomplished on a modest budget.
Even before you have the need to work out damage control, it’s wise to cultivate and develop relationships with charities. You will be first in line when they consider which company is the right fit for their silent auction or event sponsorship.
Participating in a meaningful way to charitable causes has an impact that will resonate with the online distribution channels when properly focused. The best part is that the charity itself usually takes the lead role in publicity of an event, whether it’s a gala for community leaders or plunging into a frigid lake in the middle of January. Society websites in larger cities and social media events pages are filled with pictures of the past weekend’s fund raiser and announcements of upcoming festivities. This visibility is priceless to your company’s image.
You’ll also need to do your part to circulate your company’s charitable contributions. Post your involvement on all of your blogs, and include links to the charity’s page of sponsors and participants. Take your own pictures at the event, and upload these to your website and blog posts. Of course, charity events are perfect newsworthy pieces to include in a press release. Focus your content on how your company is generously invested in the community and involved at a local level.
January 1, 2013
If you have spent any time at all on social media recently, you probably ran across something sponsored by ListChallenges. The website is a clearinghouse of surveys that works overtime to capture users’ attention, and then their information. Ronn Torossian says this list building tool is also a tremendous PR tool taps into several factors that humans tend to find irresistible.
The premise is simple, you go to the website and complete a quick “click if you’ve seen it” survey list. There are also “heard it” or “know it” options. Your answers are scored against the entire list. When finished, users are given the option to “share”, or “post” their results. Or invite their friends to play. It’s almost irresistible. But why? Torossian explains:
#1 – We want to test ourselves
Humans love to see how good we are at stuff. Particularly if there’s no one there to see, or hear, or critique. It’s why we sing in the shower, or dance when no one is watching. These tests are also completely meaningless. We won’t have to “remember” anything, and there’s literally no way to lose.
#2 – We want to belong
Hey, this invite was sent to you by a friend, presumably a friend that you are about to discover something in common with. This is a massive need for the vast majority of people in the world. We desperately want to belong to something. Anything.
#3 – We want to be better than others
Now, this is a funny one. See, for the most part, we don’t want to think we are superior, or better. We want to feel like we are, silently…and we don’t want to feel like a jerk for wanting to feel this way. These surveys allow us to harmlessly “prove” our superiority in a way that, we all know, “really” doesn’t matter. But it does.
Taken together these psychological experiments can be incredibly effective at capturing people, and getting them to volunteer information they would NEVER offer to a stranger.
December 20, 2012
If you don’t have an online presence across several media channels, you and your brand suffer. Whether or not you have a brick and mortar business, it’s no longer enough to utilize direct mail tactics, or take out an ad in the in the local yellow pages. Even if you have a web page, you are only passively sitting out there in cyberspace, waiting for the right user to type in words that trigger your domain name or meta tags.
To really drive traffic to your site, you need to aggressively attack online marketing channels and force your company to the top of the Google hit list. There is nothing passive about hard line tactics, and simply updating your webpage to announce a new product or service is an unsuccessful approach. In order to propel your brand and your company to the forefront of the results page, you need to inundate online media channels with stories that relate to your business.
However, even those companies that have a grip on the concept of “content is king” tend to focus it in one direction. It’s wise to have a blog, better to have several blogs. Perhaps your business relies on a public relations company like 5WPR to churn out press releases to get your name and brand in front of users as they meander through online distribution outlets. 5WPR is not like the other PR companies: it picks up where these let off by providing the necessary internet content as support to drive traffic. Manipulating content across multiple channels of distribution is the priority of reputation management.
Don’t me wrong, the blogosphere is an enterprising – and necessary – way to maximize your online presence. But in the new age of online marketing, businesses that have just begun to comprehend the importance of having an online presence have not yet grasped the idea of diversified marketing on the internet. Adding a press release or two on a regular basis doesn’t pick up the slack. Think of your business is being at war with your competition. Would you make the mistake of attacking from one front and facing your enemy from a one dimensional stance? No great general would find this acceptable. From a reputation management standpoint, you need to elevate the battle and command the assault from several fronts.
Such a strategy would command countless hours, time that should be spent dedicated to your business’ specialty. A more shrewd investment is to retain a company with expertise in maximizing your online presence and manipulating content to direct attention to your site. 5WPR engages a multi-dimensional methodology to successfully accomplish this goal for its clients and position them among the highest ranks. Anything less would be medieval.
September 12, 2012
Ronn Torossian’s Book For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations reveals how public relations can do just that-while also defining brands; helping companies and individuals court the press or avoid it; growing business without alienating loyal customers; resolving crises quickly; and improving first page results on the most powerful search engine in the world.
- “In the long run it is the daily actions of a brand that determines its overall image.”
- “If you are the boss you often have to be the face of the crisis and the source of the apology.”
- “If the people you’re addressing like you, your problems will be less severe in the long run.”
- “Speak passionately and honestly, and don’t pretend to be on a higher level than your audience.”
- “The right kind of charity, timed well, can help restore a tarnished image.”
- “Optimism breeds optimism and that in turn breeds success and happiness”
- “When charity fits with a brand and comes from the heart of a company, it works.”
- “PR has been and will always be about building relationships”
- “Understand the value of communicating properly, particularly in press releases because they will often be used in verbatum”
- “Under-promise and over-deliver: consistently exceeding expectations builds loyalty and great word-of-mouth PR.”