Tag Archives: planning

The Art of Taking a Step Back

Photo credit: @WiredForLego

Photo credit: @WiredForLego

This week one of our account teams held an “Intense Period Debrief” – an opportunity to assess what went well, what could have gone better and what we can do moving forward to learn from experiences once a project is complete. The irony of this particular meeting was that, in taking the time to take a step back, much of what we learned from this particular account was the importance of taking calculated steps back more often.

The marketing world moves fast – new platforms, new products, content trends (this week it’s sarcastic polls on Twitter, FYI), changes in user behavior… the list of things that change actually changes itself quite frequently.

Add aggressive deadlines and high expectations to the list, and we’re frequently working in a world that pushes forward so fast that it’s easy to forget to step back and think strategically once a plan is in place. Ultimately, the best-laid plans don’t mean much if expectations aren’t set, processes aren’t communicated, and those plans don’t evolve based on trends and ongoing data.

Read more after the jump…

Workplace Creativity: Who is in the cubicle next to you?

lightbulbI’ve worked for nonprofits, corporations and agencies throughout my career in communications. But the best part of having spent my last 13+ years working on the agency side of the industry is having an insider’s view of my clients’ workplace cultures. It’s not always the biggest brand or the smallest start up or the most dynamic leader who fosters great creativity and team synergies. It often simply comes down to team members who work well together. Read more after the jump…

Social Media Policies, Even for the C-Suite

Social media makes it infinitely easy to offend customers, partners, and even bosses.

Social media makes it infinitely easy to offend customers, partners, and even bosses.

This past week a local restaurant in a small Utah town came under fire after one of its cooks posted anti-police sentiment to his personal Facebook page. By the time restaurant owners reacted (by firing the cook and offering free meals to law enforcement officers) it was too late. Local civil rights activists and police watchdogs then joined the conversation, questioning the restaurant’s decision to fire the individual.

Read more after the jump…

Is Your Crisis Plan Ready for Prime Time?

Anyone who has ever developed a crisis plan knows what a monumental, albeit critical, task it is. At the same time, once it has been drafted and shared with the crisis response team, you never know how effective it is until it has been battle tested with a real crisis. Fortunately many companies and organizations will never endure a full-blown crisis, but for those who do, it’s not something that will soon be forgotten.

In the summer issue of The Public Relations Strategist, an article titled Crisis Communications Plans Built to Fail: 3 Warning Signs and How to Avoid Them is a great reminder of the ongoing scrutiny required to successfully overcome a crisis. The author suggests three warning signs that your crisis plan could fail.

Warning Sign No. 1:  You do not have a clear system for reporting a crisis.

The communications team is usually not the first group within a company to identify a crisis. How do you make sure that all of the employees within your organization know when to sound the crisis bell, who to notify, and how to effectively notify them?

Read more after the jump…

Unplugging on Vacation? Plan for the Worst, then Enjoy Yourself

A recent Mashable article questioned whether or not we should all be taking a break from social media during vacation. According to research cited in the article, only 26% of respondents would give up access to their smart phones or tablets during vacation and only 19% said they could manage an entire week without their smart phones.

Social media is hard to resist while on vacation...

Social media is hard to resist while on vacation…

This got us talking around the office about the importance of actually “checking out” while on vacation. For some of us, checking out means just that – ditching the devices and spending a week or more Jason Bourne-style – off the grid. For others (myself included) it means staying off email and work-related networks, but still occasionally updating our personal networks with vacation-related posts. Whatever “unplugged” looks like to you, if you play a role in your organization’s social media efforts don’t forget to plan accordingly – especially should something go wrong. Read more after the jump…

GroundFloor Media’s Gil Rudawsky Offers
Crisis Response Tips for Denver Business Journal

An integral part of a crisis-response plan is providing clear, honest messages to various audiences that might be affected by the bad news.

Yes, you need to spend time responding to allegations and working with the media. But keeping other key audiences in the loop as well often can take the sting out of a crisis and get an organization back on the road to recovery much sooner.

Read the entire article in the Denver Business Journal.

5 Social Media Resolutions for 2013

I’ve never really cared for New Year’s resolutions. My take has always been, “If you want to do something, just start today. Why wait for January 1st?” But since budgets and annual marketing/communications plans tend to start anew on January 1st, I’m making five social media resolutions for myself, and my clients.

1)   Measurement & Metrics: Put a Stake in the Ground…Today.

Most of my clients are forward-thinking enough to have some form of measurement process in place – the New Year is a good time to reassess that process. What do you want to accomplish via social marketing in 2013? Are you following the appropriate metrics to track your progress? Are you actively tracking any metrics? Now would be a good time to put a stake in the ground – we’ll all be thankful we did when we have results to celebrate in March. Think of this like your resolution to get into swimsuit shape by spring.

2)   Get to Know My Followers/Audiences Even Better

A lot has changed since January 2012. Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and even Facebook’s privacy settings have come a long way (for better or worse…), and users are constantly changing their habits. Not to mention the fact that individuals are most likely becoming burnt out on information, making it harder to have a meaningful interaction with the people in your online community. Reassess what they want to talk about, what they want to read/watch/interact with – and how those wants might be different from platform to platform. This is similar to your, “Stay in touch with my friends more frequently” resolution.

3)   Define the “Action” I’d Like My Community to Take

Conversations, engagements and page views are all great, but what action do you want your followers to take? Purchasing a product? Visiting a website, or visiting a retail location? Sharing your posts? If you define the action, your social media/content plan will become infinitely clearer. Your “spend more time with my family” resolution is a lot more attainable when you tie it to something tangible like, “eat dinner at the dining room table at least twice a week.”

4)   Invest in Quality Content

I beg of you, it’s time to stop saying, “content is king” and start acting on it. Assign resources and budget to meaningful content creation in 2013. If you know what your community wants, what action you’d like them to take and what metrics you’re tracking, then spending time and budget on dynamic content to connect those dots will be more than worth it. I like to think of this as the “stop talking about it and get it done” resolution.

5)   Be More Social, Have More Fun

Don’t let all this talk about metrics/content/audiences/goals consume you so much that you forget a fact that has not changed in the past year: it’s still “social” media. Resolve to interact with people more often. Post a quick “congrats,” “cool!,” “you rock,” and “where did you find that?!?” more often. Promote colleagues, partners and friends; share interesting and useful content from others; and generally talk more about others than yourself or your company. After all, is there a more noble resolution than, “Putting others before yourself?”

Jim Licko is a senior director of social media and digital strategy at GroundFloor Media. He often has a short attention span and likes to make resolutions at all times of the year rather than waiting for New Year’s Day.

2013 Planning: 5 Tips to Activate Conference Event Sponsorships

Earlier this year, the New York Times quoted Mike Federle, chief operating officer of Forbes Media, in an article about the growth and value of conference events, “As the world is more connected digitally, it only seems to accentuate the need for personal interaction, so conferences are enjoying a real surge.”

To capitalize on this trend, sponsorships for executive conferences often begin at $50,000 and skyrocket as high as eight-figures for events with mainstream consumer exposure, leaving many organizations to question how best to plan and activate their event sponsorships to deliver value for the business.

GroundFloor Media regularly works with clients to address these questions and create activation plans that set clients apart – not only from the competition, but also from fellow sponsors. A few key considerations guide our work to identify which events deliver the best fit and value to achieve our clients’ business goals.

Question #1 – Purpose: What is the primary purpose of the event sponsorship? Brand visibility? Networking and sales? New product launch, demos or sampling?

Take time at the outset to identify why a given event or series of events is being considered. Doing so, will not only help to negotiate the right sponsorship package and price, but also ensure that you have buy-in early in the process from the appropriate internal stakeholders, who will likely influence how to activate the event sponsorship later on.

Read more after the jump…

The Speed of Crisis: 9.5 seconds

I was intrigued by a recent article in The Wall Street Journal that explained how in nine-and-a-half seconds, a company’s reputatioån can be tarnished. Why nine-and-a-half seconds? That’s how long it takes to upload a YouTube video.

In the era where citizen journalists rule and breaking news is shared in seconds via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, can reputations be destroyed as quickly? According to the author of the article, not entirely.  Is it because we’re more forgiving today than 10 years ago when “traditional” media could determine who was good and who was bad? Do we have shorter attention spans, where a crisis one day is quickly replaced by the next corporate disaster the following day? Or, is the answer somewhere in between?

Case in point – the recent JetBlue crisis. It had the makings of a perfect storm – a pilot with a “medical situation” and more than 130 passengers/citizen journalists armed with cameras and video capturing every moment while it happened – only to share their experiences on social media even before the plane landed.

The incident could’ve been disastrous for the company, but it wasn’t. Less than 24 hours after the incident, JetBlue’s CEO, Dave Barger, was thrust into the national spotlight having to explain what happened on national TV, radio and in newspapers. It certainly could’ve been an ongoing crisis and seriously damaged Jet Blue’s reputation. But, the company’s response was spot-on, including the CEO’s interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. Barger was empathetic, he repeated his key messages (without seeming overly rehearsed), and most importantly, he was sincere and forthcoming.

While I believe we probably are a little more fickle today and ready to move on to the next the next big thing, I also believe the rules of responding to a crisis have not changed, even if the speed at which a crisis occurs has changed.

Here are some basic crisis response guidelines we provide to our clients:

  • Acknowledge and accept responsibility for what occurred
  • Plan and implement changes to ensure mistakes are not repeated
  • Engage with target audiences throughout the process

Jet Blue was back in the news again last week when the pilot’s attorney said the pilot will plead he was inane at the time of the mid-air meltdown. Did we pay attention to that news or had we all moved on to the next crisis?

~ Barb Jones

How Gap Inc. connects with consumers on social media


Hipster 20-somethings swing dancing and sporting khaki pants and fitted tees used to be how mega-clothier Gap Inc. communicated with its customers.

Then along came social media, and the retailer drastically changed its strategy. Today its brands—Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta—engage in online conversations. Customers crave this back and forth and want the story behind Gap’s products, Sue Kwon said during a recent conference on crisis communications and social media. Kwon is the parent company’s director of digital media and chief of editorial.

I recently discussed how Gap engaged its 130,000 employees with a straightforward social media policy. Here are some insights into how the company and its chains describe the purpose of its various social media channels.

Facebook:

• To build a community where customers and employees interact.
• To craft online identity, seed conversations, enhance reputation, and distribute exclusive marketing content.

Twitter:

• To talk to customers in real time, share content, answer questions, and lead followers to Facebook, corporate blogs, and YouTube.

YouTube:

• To showcase brand-appropriate video content and improve search engine results.

Corporate blog (aDressed):

• To enhance reputation with conversational posts linked to press releases, leader profiles, and relevant third-party content.
• To post leader messages, highlight corporate culture, and improve search engine results for positive content.

Content on these channels includes company news, pop culture, promotions, and guest blogs. The channels are also used to address customer issues.

Gap’s social media program to encourage customers to voice their opinions came together in full force when the company introduced a redesigned logo in 2010. The social media outcry against the change was vehement and widespread. On its Facebook page, Gap’s president tried to offer some balance by giving some background on the new logo and how well it had tested with customers.

Several days later, with complaints still rolling in, Gap announced on its Facebook page that it was scrapping the new logo: “OK. We’ve heard loud and clear that you don’t like the new logo … So instead of crowdsourcing, we’re bringing back the Blue Box tonight.”