Bad PR..Don’t Let It Happen to You

Standard

Social media has made it far too easy for the public to highlight and criticize other’s mistakes.  I am sure most everyone has heard of at least one PR mistake that has hurt certain individuals or companies.  The PR gaffe I am going to focus on took place at  The London 2012 Olympics.

     

Image Credit:  Google Images

     A series of PR gaffes took place, taking the attention off the launch of tickets for the world’s biggest sporting event, and leaving Olympic officials embarrassed.  Sales were delayed for thousands of potential spectators, though the London 2012 officials denied their booking system had suffered a “glitch”.  Those trying to purchase tickets online with Visa cards, which expired before the end of August, were unable to purchase tickets because the ballot website could not process their orders.  Visa is an Olympics sponsor and is the only way to pay online for the tickets.  The expiration date problem had been known about for several weeks and was included on the ticket.  However, many spectators were still unaware they would be unable to use their cards when they logged on at midnight on the Tuesday tickets went on sale.  A London 2012 spokesman explained that the expiration date was made clear in all of their materials that if your Visa card expires before August 2011 the application would not be able to be processed.

     Not only was the company hit with the blunder of the tickets, another gaffe took place which caused more embarrassment.  The showcase Olympic countdown clock in Trafalgar Square suddenly stopped.  Both of these events resulted in bad PR for the Olympic officials and some very unhappy prospective ticket buyers.

     In order to solve the problem, prospective ticket purchasers were able to visit a Lloyds TBS branch in order to fill out an application and pay by either card, check, or cash.  I have mixed feelings on how I would handle this situation.    I believe that the proper steps in order to fix the problem were taken.  Though the information about the expiration date was properly documented, I think if I had control over the situation I would make more of an effort to let customers know about the expiration date and draw more attention to the situation.  If more information had been drawn to the expiration date, I feel as though less people would have been effected by the situation and the Olympic officials would have a better reputation from these people who encountered the problems.

For more information on the Olympic PR blunders, see London 2012 Olympics.

Be Prepared For Whatever Crisis May Come Your Way

Standard

As much as we want to avoid crisis, we cannot completely avoid it.  At some point in time, crisis will come our way.  Though we are never fully prepared to take on crisis, the only thing we can really do is to be prepared on how to handle the situation in the best way possible.

As being a PR major, I am aware that not everything will not always flow smoothly.  The public relations field is ever changing.  There are many things such as natural disasters in life that we are not able to avoid.  Crisis communication plays a huge role in disaster preparedness.  For example, most recently mentioned in the news, Hurricane Sandy.  Crisis communication is vital because in a situation such as Hurricane Sandy, time is everything.  The public needs to be aware of where to evacuate, where shelters are located and how to stay safe.

Crisis communication can also take place in the sense that a business could encounter a crisis.  Crisis communication is used to help companies respond to and recover from a crisis.  There are many important aspects of crisis communication that need to be examined in order to respond in the best way possible that will hurt your company’s reputation the least.  First, express empathy.  Whether or not it is your company’s fault, recognize the tragedy and express concern.  Not expressing concern just makes it seem like you simply do not care.  Next, respond to the message rapidly.  Because of social media, rumors and misconceptions are spread so fast.  Preferably the company should respond to the crisis within the first six hours.  The internet makes ducking from problems nearly impossible in today’s time.  Another way to handle crisis communication in the best way possible is to train the company’s spokesperson.  Having an untrained spokesperson speaking for the company to the media can be damaging to a company.

Though we cannot avoid crisis, what we can do is prepare ourselves enough to handle crisis communication in the best way possible.  For more information on crisis communication, visit Bloomburg Businessweek.

Photo Credit:  Google Images

Racing to Fight Breast Cancer

Standard

Since October is breast cancer awareness month, it only makes sense to blog and research different breast cancer organizations and the different methods they use in order to spread the word about breast cancer awareness.  When deciding an organization to focus on, it was an easy choice for me.  I picked the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  Though this may be a very common foundation, I chose to focus on this organization because it really hits home to me.  The foundation started when Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Sisan G. Komen, to do all that she could in order to inform others and try to end breast cancer forever.  Though she was not able to end breast cancer forever, she was able to found the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation.  The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation is making quite possibly the biggest impact in the fight against breast cancer.  Each year, the foundation holds many events such as the Komen Race for the Cure raising awareness for breast cancer.  They have invested over two million dollars in working to end breast cancer in the United States and throughout the world.  The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a race that takes place all over the world in many, many different cities.  It is used as a fundraising event to raise awareness for breast cancer.  It is recognized as the world’s largest and most successful series of 5k run/walk events designed to raise public awareness of breast cancer.  This event hits home for me because a close family friend of mine passed away from cancer.  She was a very strong Susan G. Komen advocate and even participated in many of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure races.  When evaluating the success of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, I would say they definitely have succeeded in raising awareness for breast cancer.  I think the foundation has done a great job of bringing cancer survivors together and helping bring an end to cancer through research and breast cancer awareness.

Image Credit:  Google images

Information from above and more on the Susan G. Komen Foundation can be found on the Susan G. Komen Foundation website.

Do Your Press Releases Have What It Takes to Succeed?

Standard

Photo Credit:  Google images

 

 

Press releases serve as one of the most effective ways to inform and keep the public updated on events and other things going on within the company.  However, what makes a press release succeed is the format and the content in the press releases.  There are many things the composer of the press release can do in order to make their press release succeed.  A successful press release that works must pass the test in involving all the content necessary for an eye catching press release.

To me, I believe there are many different parts to a press release that make it effective and successful.  First thing first, the press release must be newsworthy.  Press releases are not meant to act as marketing promotions.  If editors see that the press releases read like advertising, they will more than likely not publish the press release.  Press releases must be short and two the point. It should only be one to two pages.  If it is longer, the press release will definitely not be successful.  In order to be a successful press release, it must contain a catchy lead.  The lead is one of the first things the editor sees and if it does not stand out, the editor will not even be tempted to read the rest of the press release.  One of the most important parts of a press release is proofreading!  Though proofreading has been taught since elementary school, it still remains the most important part of writing in general.  No editor will read a press release that is not jargon-free.    The press release should be easily understood by anyone who is reading it.

All in all, there are many factors that play into have a press release that works and is successful.  I believe it is really important to follow these steps to get your press release noticed.  The catchier and more organized your press release is, the greater chance you have for your press release being published!

 

Jeanette Walls- An Inspiration to All

Standard

On October 16 at 7 P.M. I had the wonderful opportunity to see Jeanette Walls speak in Tilson Auditorium at Indiana State University.  After reading her book The Glass Castle,  I knew her speech would definitely be worth the time.  Her speech was nothing short of amazing.  She did a great job.  She had a great stage presence that really made her shine.  Being raised extremely poor and even living in boxes at times, Jeanette Walls really turned her life around and made something of herself.  As a child, she would even go days without eating at a time.  That boggles my mind to think.  At age three she was cooking for herself, which is when she got burnt and endured a long stay in the hospital receiving many skin grafts.  She had an alcoholic for a dad and a mother who was able to provide very little for the family.  Jeanette ended up moving to New York and there started her writing career.  She ended up being very successful.  At one point in time she was in a limo in New York and saw her mom on the street and ducked down and hid.  Her mom was homeless and living on the street.  This just goes to show how much hardship Jeanette endured throughout her life.  I believe it was all the hardship she endured that gave her the strength to share her story with others.  I really had a good time at this event.  It taught me to take all the hardships in life and turn them into inspirations to get through life and to share with others.  It really surprised me that Jeanette had gone through all of this.  No one would ever know.  She is such a woman of strength.  Now, Jeanette lives in Virginia with her husband and mother where she continues to be an inspiration to all.  For more information on Jeanette Walls, visit http://www.bookbrowse.com/biographies/index.cfm/author_number/1128/jeannette-walls

Image Credit:  Jeanette Walls via gradesaver

Is Your Press Release Successful?

Standard

When it comes to press releases, it is a make and break situation.  A press release can either make or break your career in the PR world.  In my opinion, I think a press release is either successful or not.  None of the in-between kind of thing.   What does it take in order for a press release to be successful?  What makes a press release fail?  When researching this topic, I found many key tactics that can be done in order to create a successful press release.  First thing is first, this maybe the most obvious part of a press release.  Always make sure to get to the point as soon as possible.  State the who, what, when, where, and why in the first paragraph.  I believe that the first paragraph should contain the who, what, when, where, and why and also the information that the press release will contain.  According to http://www.newwavemktg.com/blog/5-tips-for-a-successful-press-release/ , when writing a press release, the information that is in the press release must be newsworthy information.  Press releases are not successful if they are written solely for the purpose of building and establishing links.  Press releases will not be successful if they are just filled with junk.  Companies will not be interested in press releases such as these.  Successful press releases must use social media to their advantages.  Social media has exploded just within the last few years is becoming one of the most effective ways of marketing.  Successful press releases rely on social media.  On the site http://www.smetoolkit.org/smetoolkit/en/content/en/356/Write-a-Successful-Press-Release, I found many ways to write a press release that is successful.  An active headline needs to be used in order to grab the reader’s attention.  The headline is what the reader first will see, so it is crucial that it is attention getting.  A successful press release does not include jargon and is straight to the point.  Using language that makes the reader feel just as excited about the press release as you are keeps them interested.  With that being said, in order for the press release to be successful, it needs to be kept to two pages or less.  If the message cannot be stated in two pages, it may mean you are not getting to the point.  By putting all of these tips together, it is very likely your press release will be successful.  There are many little tips we often forget to follow and these could be the make or break in press releases.

Image Credit:  Press Releases via Organiksoft

Building a Successful PR Campaign

Standard

A successful PR campaign does not just happen overnight.  PR campaigns take months and months of vigorous and time consuming planning.  Have you ever thought about what it is that makes a PR campaign successful?  There are many factors and ideas that go into the planning of a successful PR campaign.  I think a really important part of building a successful PR campaign is recognizing the audience.  The audience in which is being targeted needs to be known in order to be able to better present the information.  For instance, PR campaigns targeted at youth would be different than PR campaigns targeted at the elderly.  I noticed when I was researching the idea of how to build a successful PR campaign, I cam across a common theme.  This common theme was to work on image building in the public.  This can be done through things such as local charities, websites, blogging, or social media.  This made me realize how important the things we are doing in  my #PR class are.  I love hearing reading that professionals are using some of the same media forms of communication as I am.  It makes me feel as though the things I do for this class are actually used in the real world and not just a waste of my time.  I found something that I think is very important to do to build a successful PR campaign.  According to http://www.slideshare.net/wendymarx/how-to-create-a-standout-pr-campaign, companies should play up what is new or different about their company.  I totally agree with this.  I think it is so important to set your company apart from the rest and make it stand out.  I also ran across an idea I though was very helpful and important.  As I read on  http://mediagepr.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/what-are-the-steps-to-designing-a-pr-campaign/ , every PR campaign should have a slogan.  The slogan should be one the audience will remember and associate with the company.  Obviously the list could go on and on to build a successful PR campaign, but these are just a few starting foundations to building a successful PR campaign!

stock photo : A man thinks of a marketing plan beside the words that represent elements of a communications strategy - advertising, research, branding, public relations and promotions

                                                                Image Credit: iQoncept via shutterstock.com