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Reprise: What You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You

bhribahcqaax1h9Given the non-stop media chatter about leaked or hacked emails and recorded conversations, here is an updated blog post from several years ago with tips on how to keep yourself or your company out of the media cycle.

The scrappy Aspen Daily News has one of the best mottos in the business: “If You Don’t Want It Printed, Don’t Let It Happen.”

In the world of communications, we have a similar motto that we share with clients who are facing a pending crisis or are in the midst of one: “Anything You Say, Write, Email, Skype or iChat Can Be Used Against You.” It’s not as jocular as the News’ motto. But it just happens to be the truth in our increasingly litigious and curious world.

Clients can face all types of situations that are sensitive, controversial and deal with legal issues. While the lawyer’s role is to protect clients from and defend them during litigation, crisis communicators are focused on managing, protecting and — if needed — rebuilding the client’s reputation. They work closely with companies on strategy, messaging, stakeholder communications and media relations before, during and after a crisis.

Read more after the jump…

Creating a Seamless Online-to-Offline Experience to Improve Business Results

Even with how accustomed we have become at using websites and mobile apps to connect with businesses, sometimes nothing beats speaking to a real person.

Through a one-on-one conversation with a customer, you have the opportunity to create an emotional connection and build or reinforce customer loyalty. The key is that it has to be convenient and happen at the exact time the customer wants to talk.

As customers increasingly use their mobile phone to interact with your website, they are more likely to click on a “call” button than ever before. However, they want an immediate response and relevant answers to any questions they have.

Google breaks the process into “three pillars for providing a great caller experience”:

three-pillars-for-providing-a-great-caller-experience(Image Credit: Google)


  1. The customer should experience a seamless online-to-offline experience

You need to allow the user to choose when in their “journey” to call you. First, this means being available whenever the customer wants to speak, ideally 24/7. Second, your contact number must be visible. If your company uses AdWords call extensions, the customer has the choice of calling or clicking through to your website. Even if the customer decides to click through to the site instead of calling from your ad, make sure your phone number is highly visible on your landing page.

  1. Prioritize your most valuable callers

As an example, many companies find that their highest quality customers are intent-driven and call after viewing an AdWords ad. By utilizing a calling system that is able to detect these highly desirable prospects, they can be routed to a special queue where calls are answered immediately.

  1. Use contextual consumer insights

When answering the phone, utilizing additional contextual signals is very valuable and allows you to know what the user is interested in when you start your conversation with him or her. There are a number of contextual signals, but they may include the keywords the caller used to search for or a particular page on your website they were looking at prior to calling. By leveraging this information, you can immediately engage the customer and provide a continuation of their journey, adding personalized information to the conversation that further enhances the experience.

Following these three pillars is a great start, but it is equally important that the customer leaves the conversation feeling the experience was a great one. This may require some training of your call center personnel so that they can take advantage of every call and interaction with the customer and make him or her feel like you are there when they need you.


Media Relations at the Height of the Presidential Election

Credit: Jon S Flickr | NS Newsflash

Credit: Jon S Flickr | NS Newsflash

The majority of PR pros sunk in their chairs a little at the beginning of the year when it became a reality that 2016 would be marked by not just one, but two, long and furiously competitive news cycles—the Olympics in Brazil followed by what has become an incredibly polarizing and contentious presidential election campaign.

Weave in unspeakable national and international tragedies and it has been an extremely tough year to secure, and maintain, the media’s fickle attention.

As we kick off October there is a pretty predictable trajectory for what mainstream media will cover between now and the end of the year—barring breaking news that we cannot predict. Presidential debates and the 24-48 hour fall out, election week, pumpkin spice and egg nog everything, and holidays from every angle imaginable.

Read more after the jump…

Millennial Madness

39343492-millennials-word-written-on-a-school-chalkboard-to-illustrate-young-generation-learning-in-class-aboI’ve been in several client brainstorm and strategic planning sessions this year when the inevitable question comes up, “How can we reach and engage with millennials?” And then the second question is always, “And remind me again, who are they?”

Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use starting birth years ranging from the late 1970s to early 1980s and ending birth years ranging from the mid-1990s to early 2000s. (Source: Wikipedia) Read more after the jump…

Study Finds Americans Differ on the Value Media Provides

mediaNot surprisingly, Americans disagree about how the media cover the news, and what they believe are the media’s best and worst traits. According to a Pew Research Center study that was conducted in early 2016, Americans were asked to share what they thought were the most positive and negative things the news media do.

The most positive thing the media do, according to 30 percent of respondents, is to report the news. Next, 25 percent say the media provide a public service, like providing information or serving as a watch dog. Last, people say the media share uplifting stories (8 percent).

Read more after the jump…

Don’t Forget the Good News

superheroes“If it bleeds, it leads.” It’s the adage that the news has lived by for as long as I can remember. But I – and I know I’m not alone here – get so tired of hearing so much bad news. Yes, there are issues and crises going on in the world that we need to be aware of. Absolutely. But there are positive things happening out there that we need to know about as well.

Read more after the jump…

Keep Denver Unique

scfd_logo_c_hWhen it comes to business, Denver is a bit of a ‘tweener. We’re not as big as New York, L.A. or Chicago, of course. But we also aren’t as big as Minneapolis, Dallas or Atlanta. When it comes to the business world, we continue to occupy a level beneath all of those cities.

But in many ways, we rank better than those larger cities. For example, we have teams in all four major sports leagues – the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. And our cultural facilities are better than you might expect in a city our size. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Denver Zoo all regularly present exhibits and programs that rival those in nearly all other major cities.

And that is no accident. Nearly 30 years ago, Denver-area voters stepped up and approved the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a taxing organization that ensured organizations both large and small would be funded with tax dollars to ensure they could provide the kind of cultural experiences that would enrich Denver and make it even more attractive to local residents and visitors alike.

This year, voters are being asked to approve Issue 4B to extend the SCFD another 12 years. The initiative would maintain a tax of one penny on every $10 spent to continue to fund our vibrant arts and culture facilities. This is one of the best investments Denver voters can make, and I hope everyone will vote to support Issue 4B.

The SCFD is one of the unique things that has contributed to Denver being one of the best places to live in the country, and we owe it to ourselves and our children to continue that innovative approach to supporting culture and the arts in our region.

Reports: Denver Post Hedge Fund Owner Squeezing Profits

The Denver Newspaper Guild held a rally outside The Denver Post condemning downsizing actions by owner Alden Global Capital. Provided by Denver Newspaper Guild

The Denver Newspaper Guild held a rally outside The Denver Post condemning downsizing actions by owner Alden Global Capital. Provided by Denver Newspaper Guild

Media covering itself is always a challenge particularly among competitors. But alternative weekly Westword did a good job of detailing the changes and challenges facing The Denver Post in a long-form article this week. Also, this week 5280 magazine did a piece on the Post’s new normal.

The focus of the articles is on its hedge fund owner, and its track record of squeezing profits at the expense of a diminishing product. The Westwood piece chronicles the failed attempts by the newspaper and its owner, Media News Group, to reinvent itself in the changing media market. In case you don’t want to read the entire article on the Post, here are some highlights:

Read more after the jump…

Three Tips to have a Fun, Creative Brainstorm with a Structural Thinker

Some of the newer folks at GroundFloor Media (GFM) recently took the Emergenetics assessment to learn about our thinking and behavioral preferences. Based on answers to a set of specific questions, Emergenetics evaluated our thinking preferences (structural, analytical, conceptual and social) and our behavioral preferences (expressiveness, assertiveness and flexibility).


It was absolutely no surprise to me that the majority of my thinking preference falls under the structural category (I’ve never met a list I don’t like). According to Emergenetics, this means that I am a “practical thinker that likes guidelines, is cautious of new ideas, is predictable and learns by doing.” No surprise to me, my least favorite thinking preference falls under the conceptual way of thinking. This means that my comfort zone does not lie in being “imaginative, intuitive about ideas, visionary, or learning by experimenting.”

Read more after the jump…

Why Facebook’s Inflated Video Metrics Don’t Matter (That Much)

How long is long enough for Facebook video views?

How long is long enough for Facebook video views?

It was reported last week that Facebook had been artificially inflating the average viewing time of videos on the social media platform for upwards of two years. Obviously the news is somewhat of a shock, as indicated by the outcry of complaints by marketing professionals.

This is absolutely big news in our industry, and I’m definitely in favor of creating some form of third-party verification for social media platforms and their native analytics. But I do challenge the impact of this news a bit, and believe its something that highlights a larger issue within our industry: A greater focus on meaningful metrics.

Read more after the jump…