I am unquestionably an introvert. I love people, and I love being around people… until it’s time to recharge. Then, I need to be alone. With a good book, hiking the trail near my home, or simply laying down and staring at the ceiling fan. I need to be quiet, turn my focus inward and regroup. Afterwards, I’m ready to be around people again.
As 2016 comes to a close, we take time to reflect on the year’s biggest PR disasters:
Ryan Lochte is an accomplished Olympian who in almost any era would be recognized as one of the greatest swimmers of all time. Unfortunately for Lochte, though, he swims in the Michael Phelps era. That frustration may have contributed to his decision to “over-exaggerate” – his term – the details of an alleged armed robbery at the Olympics in Brazil. After video emerged of Lochte and other U.S. swimmers appearing to vandalize a gas station bathroom, the armed robbery started looking more like a request for restitution. Lochte apologized, but the consequences were swift: sponsors Speedo and Polo Ralph Lauren dropped him immediately, and he solidified his spot as an Olympic punch line for generations to come.
SAMSUNG … What do the global electronics giant’s mobile phones and washing machines have in common? They both explode.
It was a tough year for Samsung, who twice found itself at the top of the list of the year’s biggest safety recalls. First, it was the company’s flagship mobile phone, the Galaxy 7, some of which were spontaneously exploding. It got so bad that the Department of Transportation eventually banned the phones from all U.S. airline flights. And then Samsung was forced to recall 2.8 million washing machines because they could explode. That caused a viral sensation because no one could really wrap their heads around how a washing machine could explode. But YouTube videos gave us our answer, much to Samsung’s dismay.
A while ago, I blogged about how yoga principles can be applied to PR. And then, a few weeks ago, I was in one of my favorite yoga classes, and the teacher asked us to contemplate what super power we would choose if we could have one such power. It struck me that this question suggested yet another way I could carry yoga off of the mat and into the workplace.
Here’s how I made that connection… Obviously, while we might not ever actually be able to fly, have super strength or turn invisible, the idea really was to think about how we could soar in life. Set wild and crazy goals in life – and then go for them. And, as agency practitioners, I think that’s what we can and should do for our clients.
I’m always interested to read predictions for the new year, and I found the following predictions for the PR industry in the January issue of Tactics worth sharing. As I read through each of the predictions, some were ones that our industry has been talking about and living with for some time now, but a few stood out to me that I wanted to share. Only time will tell whether or not these predictions ring true. What predictions do you have for the ever-evolving PR industry in the next year?
“Honing in on personalization with target audiences — while it should be about quality over quantity, we’re going to see companies take that extra step and personalize their message to individuals or select groups. We’ve seen this with Coca-Cola and their name campaign, but this trend is going to go further with social media content, blogs and emails catered to their receiver. It won’t be about how much and how fast we’re pushing things out, but about how we can make it unique enough to connect with its audience.”
— Rebecca Potzner, Twist on PR blogger, Social Media Strategist at Game Day Communications
I recently read a blog posted by Christopher S. Penn, vice president, marketing technology at Shift Communications, about testing your story telling skills as if you were tucking your child in – or remembering a time when you tucked a child in – at bedtime. “You were probably asked to have the lights put a certain way. Perhaps you were asked for a drink of water. You were almost certainly not asked to read them a press release.” A child just wants you to tell him/her a story.
Our job as PR professionals is to push back against clients who want to ramp up the PR machine during the holidays as they try to boost news hits before the end of the year. But pitches without strong news hooks will probably never see the light of day.
Remind your clients that shorthanded newsrooms are even more stretched during the holidays, as editors scramble to fill programs and news pages around all those holiday ads. Here are a few topics that can legitimately be sold this week:
Black Friday. You can pitch stories for clients who are part of the shopping frenzy, but clients should be ready to offer an honest take on the day’s business. Reporters and their audiences hate businesses that paint an overly optimistic picture that is not borne out by facts.
Even before the four Olympic rings were unveiled (remember that the fifth ring malfunctioned during the opening ceremonies), there were some PR doozies.
In the weeks leading up to the Games, there was a steady stream of reports about the massive cost overruns—we’re talking billions of dollars—alleged corruption, and questions about whether facilities would be ready in time, not to mention a veil of anti-gay sentiment.
And let’s not forget the packs of dogs wandering the Olympic Village.
By now, everyone has heard about the possible Velveeta shortage as it’s been widely covered by media and social media channels. Many in the press had their doubts about the cheesy shortage, questioning if it was just a marketing ploy or PR stunt. The timing of the announcement, at the height of football playoff/nacho-making season leading up to the Super Bowl on February 2, left skeptics questioning the cheesemakers’ timing. The dip dilemma story first broke in Advertising Age and was quickly covered by mainstream press and social media channels. Brilliant stunt to drive buzz and ultimately sales, or serious cheesy crisis? According to Kraft Foods, it’s no stunt but a serious national crisis. Read about the liquid gold shortage from Kraft.
What’s next? Avocado and chicken wing shortages?
I was on a road trip with my family recently and we had some time to kill. We decided to take turns telling stories and after we each had a run at it, we shared our favorite. My nine-year-old’s account of the creepy clown under his brother’s bed was my personal favorite, but the majority agreed they liked the story I shared about time travel and our cats, Gizmo and Butch. I celebrated the accolades quietly to myself, and then thought I sure hope I can tell a story, after all, it’s what I get paid to do.
Much of what we do as PR professionals is storytelling. We craft and share our client’s stories with the audiences that matter to them. That can include consumers, legislators, educators, industry groups or the media. And, as the vehicles with which we communicate continue to change, it can mean telling a story in 140 characters or 1,400 words.
I thought I’d share a few of the rules I follow when telling our client’s stories – particularly to the media. Read more after the jump…
Some of the most gratifying PR programs I’ve worked on over the years were for special events that afforded several months of advance planning. Time allows for many luxuries, and in the world of PR, time is something we do not take for granted. I guess that’s because we are often working on tight timelines.
We often jump into a campaign or situation allowing us only weeks, days or even hours to plan our activities. As a group of seasoned PR pros, the GroundFloor Media team has been through the drill of announcing news in many ways and under hair-raising deadlines. For us, it’s like second nature, as we know what to put into place and how to prioritize the assets we have to make sure we reach our communications goals.
If you find yourself in a time crunch, use the following checklist to ensure you have all of your important pieces in place at go-time. Read more after the jump…