April 8, 2013
There was a time when a great review from the NY Times restaurant critic was the end-all, be-all for culinary PR in NYC. While a tasty review in the Times still matters, a review on a top NY foodie blog can be an outstanding PR agency win. But you have to be careful. Interactive and, often, anonymous blogs and foodie communities draw trolls like any other online forum. Plus, an online presence makes it easier for a diner who had a single bad experience to send out a scathing – and ultimately unfair – review.
As a top food and beverage PR agency in NYC, here are 5WPR’s can’t-miss tips we use to protect our client’s tasteful reputations.
#1 – Get out in front of negative reviews
You’ve probably seen those sad responses to negative reviews on culinary blogs. “We’re sorry you had a bad time. We strive to … yada, yada, yada. …” Instead of placating and being condescending, directly address the specific issue. Graciously invite the customer back and offer an incentive of some kind. Yes, some people are impossible to please. And, yes, some diners seem to thrive on negativity. But honest and conscientious responses will go a long way in the eyes of more reasonable diners.
#2 – Stay on top of social media
Social media is a potential gold mine for food and beverage PR. It allows brands to interact directly with customers. Offer time-sensitive deals or special coupons and contests for fans and followers. Turn slow times into a full house with these timely specials.
#3 – Use QR codes to encourage immediate feedback
Facebook and Foursquare offer great “locator” tools for users to tell all their friends where they are. To increase “likes,” “follows” and fun user-generated images on your own social media pages, use quick-link QR codes and other mobile apps to allow diners to offer immediate feedback.
#4 – Offer incentives for positive customer interaction
Weekly drawings for branded swag, discount coupons and other incentives can be used to increase activity on social media and review sites. The more a user posts, the more opportunity they have to win. And the more they post, the more other people interact with your brand. One simple “share this for a BOGO entrée” could earn you hundreds, if not thousands, of new fans.
April 4, 2013
Disney’s entertainment PR touting “taste of hometown Florida.” Ronn Torossian of 5WPR noted that when it comes to entertainment PR, there’s no doubt Disney has it mastered. From the top down, Disney’s corporate PR firm protects its properties and artfully manages the reputations of everything from individual child stars to cartoon characters, movie franchises and major international resorts. So it came as no surprise that Disney’s latest PR announcement generated excitement the world over. “Pleasure Island,” the central entertainment attraction in Orlando’s “Downtown Disney” would soon have a new name, a new face and a new theme.
Disney World is already well known for its themed destinations. Each “world within a world” (or “Land” in California) creates its own unique vibe and offers its own menu of entertainment venues for visitors.
These names evoke the vibe and culture of the place, giving guests easy options. Do I want luxury? Then it’s the Grand Floridian for me. Rustic vibe with a camping option? Fort Wilderness. Given this trend, it can be easy to see why “Pleasure Island” didn’t exactly feel right. Disney’s PR firm originally crafted a campaign to promote Pleasure Island as nightclub scene only loosely tied to established Disney brands. The idea had been to attract more local visitors to Downtown Disney’s shops and restaurants.
But Orlando already had the Church Street club scene. The two areas battled for years to garner the most local trade. Tourists still came to Downtown Disney to shop, but they weren’t partying in large numbers. While it’s fun to go window shopping after an all-day park trip, or cruise over to the Hard Rock for a show or Planet Hollywood for a meal, rock ‘n’ rolling all night was not on the agenda. Back in 2009, Disney officials abandoned the Pleasure Island nightclub format. They went back to the drawing board to design a free entertainment destination that would appeal to its longtime target market–young families. But the new brand would still be geared toward local guests.
Over the next few years Downtown Disney will be transformed into “Disney Springs,” an entertainment, dining and shopping venue offering “a taste of old hometown Florida.”Disney’s corporate PR firm announced that Disney Springs will more than double the current Downtown Disney attractions, both in size and scope. And it will do so while evoking the spirit of a Florida many locals fear forgotten.In its initial releases, Disney’s PR firm hit all the right notes. The new venue would be bigger, cooler and more charming. Plus the new project will increase jobs in one of the hardest-hit industries in Florida–construction. In addition, the new venue promises to add thousands of permanent jobs.
Crafted in this way, Disney’s news appealed to fans, dreamers, local politicians and families going through tough economic times and desperate for some happy thoughts.
March 27, 2013
Ronn Torossian CEO of 5W Public Relations ( 5WPR ) PR explains what you need: Four “Tricks” You Must Use Before you call me about your social media. Every day potential clients contact 5WPR, my New York PR company, to “help us with our social media.” Their pages are up, they tell me, but they aren’t attracting fans, followers, or subscribers.
Okay, we can help with that. So one of our social media PR experts logs on and finds what was described as a “ready to go” site is actually a hot mess. Now we are starting behind square one. Instead of a blank slate, their social media wall is a graffiti-covered eyesore. Our PR firm can change that. But it would be better, and more cost effective, if you do the following BEFORE you call 5WPR.
What I am about to teach you will only take 30 minutes of your time. And the value far outweighs the investment.
#1 – You need a professional photo
Sure, all your Facebook friends love your cute headshot from your Florida vacation. But, in business, that screams: “I don’t take this seriously.” Think of your profile photo as the first impression you want to make at a corporate event. That’s the headshot you should post.
#2 – Keep your headline crisp and professional
This is no place for “clever” quips and teasing titles. Your name and description should be professional and clearly stated. Say what you bring to the table in four words or less.
#3 – Stock your description with keywords
In a social media context, your “ABOUT” description is not the place for brochure text or extended biographies. Pepper the summary section with keywords related to what you do. Don’t overstuff it with keywords, but include at least two to three.
#4 – Choose your skills on purpose
LinkedIn allows users to request and offer recommendations. These “social testimonials” can be incredibly powerful. Choose several that describe your top strengths. But be selective. Too many choices and you will get fewer “recommendations.” Plus, you end up looking like a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
March 19, 2013
Issues that have MacBook buyers steaming mad were handled properly when Apple’s PR Agency Steps Up to Diffuse Rumors. In a market flooded with technology PR, Apple has managed to stay in the news with impressive consistency, though not always for reasons their PR agency might choose. Not long ago, Apple was the darling of American voters, lauded by President Obama in his State of The Union address.
The company was bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. This was exactly the sort of PR coup Mac needed to bolster consumer confidence after the death of Steve Jobs. Every competitor with a US PR firm went to work to enhance its pro-America image. But Mac’s honeymoon was short-lived. Shortly after the release of Apple’s newest MacBook, message boards and support forums were abuzz with bad news for Apple’s PR agency. Entry-level MacBook buyers complained (loudly) about an overheating issue. Mac buyers, typically very brand loyal, were not yet defecting. But they did have some questions. First, what was happening? Second, what was Mac going to do about it?
Apple’s PR team did not hide from the rumors. They stepped up and admitted a problem could exist. Then they set out about finding it and fixing it. After reviewing the complaint, Apple published an article on its main support page. Yes, some 13-inch MacBooks were running “warmer than normal.” The article explained a simple fix for the problem. “Check the rear vent of the MacBook to make sure it’s not blocked. Owners who find a plastic film covering their notebook’s rear vent should ‘simply remove and discard it.’”
Apple diffused rumors and strengthened consumer confidence by directly addressing the concerns. When facing a potential public relations problem, this direct approach is almost always the best way to proceed.
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.