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Do Your Homework So You Don’t Get a Chili Reception

ChilisThere is an old saying in public relations that the greatest crises tend to be the self-inflicted ones.

Restaurant chain Chili’s learned that crisis communications lesson the hard way recently when it was roundly criticized for a fundraiser it planned for the National Autism Association, a benign-sounding nonprofit that has courted controversy by suggesting that childhood vaccinations can lead to autism in some cases.

It is understandable why Chili’s would want to support those affected by autism. The restaurant chain rode a wave of positive media and social media attention last year when an employee in Utah acted quickly to help an autistic seven-year-old girl who was upset that her cheeseburger arrived “broken” (i.e., cut in half).

But things went wrong for Chili’s this time just as quickly and unexpectedly as things went right a year ago. Chili’s just wanted to support an important cause, but it failed to do its homework and unwittingly stumbled into the middle of a raging cultural standoff. Politicians may be able to thrive with 49 percent of the population hating them, but businesses can’t and don’t survive that way.   Read more after the jump…

Battle Of The Sexes: Gender and Social Media

Gender and Social MediaSome have called social media the great equalizer; leveling the playing field amongst brands and giving power to the consumer. And while it may have made things more equal, consumer consumption of social media, particularly by gender, varies greatly.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise as studies have often showed that men and women consume traditional media differently, but this infographic not only breaks out in great detail just how different each gender’s consumption really is but also their motivation for engaging with social media.

Read more after the jump…

The Late-Night Changing of the Guard Continues

Colbert ReportI’ve never been much of a late-night show fan. I have been to a “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno taping and caught a few monologues here and there, but overall the Leno versus Letterman competition was always lost on me.

However, everything changed in our household when Jimmy Fallon took over the “Tonight Show.” Thanks to Apple TV and our Hulu Plus subscription, my husband and I can be found doubled over laughing when we catch up on Fallon over the weekend. As part of what NBC would consider its “younger” audience, Fallon is relevant and has hit countless homeruns on social media. The evolution of hip-hop dancing with Will Smith? Keep it coming! So it wasn’t a surprise to me that CBS and Letterman announced a similar “changing of the late-night guard” for 2015.  But is Stephen Colbert the right choice?

Read more after the jump…

The Best Things in Life are Free – Week of April 7, 2014

Reaching audiences on social media is appealing to most brands because – for the most part – participating on social platforms is “free,” sort of… While it might be free to set up a profile, you have to factor in the cost of an employee or agency partner to manage the profile, associated design costs if you want to skin the platform with custom colors and imagery, and so on. And now Facebook is seeing ad sales rise as brands scramble to stay in front of audiences while organic reach quickly diminishes.

Read more after the jump…

Great Media Relations Events To Attend

PRSAlogo1“April is Media Relations Month at PRSA Colorado.” This was the header of a recent email I received and it’s one that certainly got my attention, as that’s what I spend the majority of my workdays doing. Anyone else who does the same, or who aspires to, should check out PRSA Colorado’s April calendar of event. Here’s a quick review:

Annual Media Roundtable Luncheon – April 23 at 11:30 a.m.

This looks like a great opportunity to hear from many of Denver’s leading news organizations including 5280, Denver Business Journal, Fox 31, CBS-4, KMGH-TV, KOA and Colorado Public Radio.  PRSA says you’ll discover what’s on the minds of today’s most influential journalists; take the first step in building a lasting relationship with media members and maximize your media relations efforts and expand your media lists.

Young Pros Media Panel – April 23 at 10:30 a.m.

Young PR pros have the opportunity to hear directly from a few members of the media before the Media Roundtable luncheon on April 23. They can hear about the basics of media relations tailored specifically to them. The discussion will focus on the do’s and don’ts, tips to get your stories covered and the best way to communicate with reporters, producers and editors.

If these events don’t fit your schedule, there’s another opportunity!

The New Secrets of Media Pitching Success: Webinar – April 17 at 11 a.m.

The host of this national webinar will offer tips for creating compelling content, reporter follow-up and how to ensure your stories get the attention they deserve.

The PRSA Colorado website includes plenty of details, reduced pricing options for members and allows you to register online. Hope to see you there!









GroundFloor Media’s Gil Rudawsky Shares Crisis Response Insights in Marketing Publication

GilThe lines between public relations and marketing continue to blur as Marketing News, the monthly publication for the American Marketing Association, recently focused on creating rapid-response messaging for a crisis or opportunity.

The article, titled Lickety-Split, covered the example of Oreo and how its parent company and marketing agency quickly capitalized on the 2013 Super Bowl blackout by posting a photo of the cookie on the brand’s social media pages with the slogan, “You can still dunk in the dark.” The image was shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter and generated millions of earned media impressions. The author, with help from Gil Rudawsky, provides five tips for developing and executing rapid-response messaging.

Develop a brand voice. Oreo had been building a brand voice for years through various campaigns on social media, so when the Super Bowl opportunity presented itself, the team had the pieces in place to respond quickly (and Oreo was a Super Bowl advertiser).

Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – If you ditch Facebook, where do you go?

Many businesses work hard to identify which social media platforms their audiences are using, and then have to make a choice about which platforms to utilize based on their company’s available resources. Facebook is typically a universal choice thanks to its 1.2 billion users. But several of the articles we came across this week question that logic, and offer several intelligent alternatives.

Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – As social platforms evolve are they becoming more and more similar?

While the major social media players (for the sake of this discussion we’ll call them Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest) started out with very niche goals and differentiators, lately it seems like they’re playing a game of copycat as each round of updates yield more and more similarities.

What does this mean for companies using social media? Choosing the right platform(s) for your content and brand is harder than ever. The single most important piece of social media advice we can give is this: invest in finding out where your current and potential customers/users are spending their time and go from there.

Read more after the jump…

It’s the Customer’s World, We’re Just Living in it

At SXSW, the 400 person taxi line was trumped by an immediate Car 2 Go. Jon was a happy consumer.

At SXSW, the 400 person taxi line was trumped by an immediate Car 2 Go. Jon was a happy consumer.

Before cable television we had three TV channels, a daily newspaper (or two if you were lucky) and a couple of monthly or quarterly magazines. Then came hundreds of cable channels, tailored to our individual interests. Pretty soon, we were able to rent movies via the phone jack in our house, and then record shows for when it was convenient for us to watch and skip advertisements with TiVo.

Then blogs. Glorious blogs – they wrote about niche things we were interested in and covered details that we couldn’t read anywhere else. News began to be delivered to us at the click of a mouse, and eventually we started talking to each other and sharing even more niche ideas on social networks (i.e., Denver photography tweet up, anyone?).

Read more after the jump…

Censorship and Transparency in the Internet Age

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.17.13 AMWe conduct a lot of crisis communication work for clients at GFM, and two of our top pieces of advice always involve “honesty” and “transparency.” I’m always amazed when organizations think that they can fool their audiences in a world that includes the Internet, word of mouth and social media. Therefore, two recent news stories took the term “crisis communication” to a whole new level for me…

1) An image and article about Pakistan’s ties to Osama Bin Laden were removed from the International New York Times in Pakistan on Sunday. Completely removed, only to leave blank space on the front page. Ironically, I can’t imagine anything that would get people talking more about something than to have so obviously attempted to censor it.

Read more after the jump…