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Public Relations: Be Honest, Be Authentic

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In the past few years, we’ve seen a whole bunch of public relations disasters. Hollywood has been wracked with them, from famous celebrities to powerful executive producers. Some were handled quickly and with compassion, while others not so much. We have also seen major corporations suffer the fate of PR mismanagement. Some are still trying their best to regain consumer confidence.

You may be wondering why all of this matters. Well, it’s because consumers say authenticity is important when choosing the brands they support. This means that any missteps by their PR departments can derail their fiscal goals. We’ve got some great examples that any business, big or small, can learn from.

 

The Need to Be Honest

In 2016, Wells Fargo had a crisis of major proportions. When the public learned about employees at the bank creating over 2 million fake accounts, customers and shareholders felt betrayed. What made this crisis worse was the PR nightmare that followed. Executives tried to cover up the problem. Then, they couldn’t get their story straight. It was obvious that they were lying to our faces. Today, the bank’s stock is rated as “Sell” and their current campaign to build trust is having little impact. Too little too late.

Had the company been open and more transparent about their problems, they could have stopped the bleeding immediately and worked quickly to gain consumers’ trust. When a company appears to be covering something up, or being dishonest, that’s when the media really takes an interest and starts digging into the story—often making more trouble than usual. Honesty and authenticity are the best policies in public relations.

 

The Need to Be Authentic

In April of this year, Southwest Airlines suffered an enormous setback to their reputation when an engine blew up mid-flight, killing one person onboard. Luckily, the airplane landed safely and the entire fleet was grounded.

At the time of the accident, the Southwest crisis communications team went into action, communicating brief statements on social media and online networks. When they had the complete story to share, they provided the media and the general public with a written statement and a heartfelt video statement by their CEO. Both have a conciliatory tone and avoid the boilerplate tones we so often hear in media coverage. Both are authentic and reassure future passengers that they care about getting them safely to their destinations.

 

The Same Goes for Smaller Business

Reputation management is much the same for small and midsized businesses. There will always be threats to reputation from within as well as outside the company.

One of the best ways to prevent a PR nightmare is to be proactive. This means showing all of the good things that happen in your organization on a regular basis (not just as a reaction to a crisis). Show how your employees engage with clients and the community, because these can help drown out that one, unexpected bad thing that comes along to damage your hard earned reputation.

When a crisis does occur, take a hint from Southwest Airlines’ CEO. Respond as soon as possible after you are completely informed about the situation, respond in a sincere manner on an appropriate platform (sometimes video makes sense, sometimes written), and promise that you are doing your best to rectify the issue and prevent future issues (because you are and you should be).

The Pinstripe PR team can answer any questions you may have about PR crisis preparedness, so reach out if you are interested in planning ahead.

Marketing with Video Content

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Engaging your audience with video content is essential in today’s content rich, image rich environment. It’s also important to note that our workplaces will soon be flooded with true digital natives—people who grew up with smartphones and tablets. These communicate in a seemingly endless array of images and videos on platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and using emoji, sometimes without any words at all.

It’s not likely that a professional services or B2B business will ever communicate to its audience without text, but we need to approach marketing from the perspective of an image rich background in order to capture the widest audience. And, when all is said and done, image and video rich content is simply more interesting to digest – we can all agree on that.

Video marketing comes in an array of styles and forms. Below are just a few types of video content that will contribute to a well-rounded video marketing campaign.

 

Video Interviews

Planning is essential when filming video interviews, so it’s recommended to work with a marketing agency to strategize about the goals for these videos, especially the final edited clips and multitude of applications for them. Plus, organizing a media library with your video content can maximize its potential.

You will need a list of questions that garner answers to generally describe your business and some deeper questions to cover the more complex aspects of your business. These will speak to the segment of your audience who is most knowledgeable and deeply engaged. Covering as much ground as possible during these interviews will pay off in the long run. You will spend a day or more of setup and filming, but end up with many options for arranging different interview clips for different purposes.

 

Environmental Video

Also known as “b-roll”, these short action clips are of your employees at work, interacting with clients, product demonstrations and applications in the “real world,” and your office as well as the city in which you are located. These capture the personality and essence of who, what, and where your business is, so plan on brief, dynamic shots that will captivate your audience. These clips can be used for website headers (without sound or music is recommended–it can be annoying to visit a website and have unwanted music blast suddenly), in conjunction with interviews to create more interest (rather than just a talking head), and as brief clips for social media ads or posts.

 

Event Video

These videos are usually a combination of both interview and environmental. For those businesses that have an annual or quarterly event such as corporate sales meetings, trainings, trade shows, workshops, etc, don’t miss the opportunity to capture video and record the event and your interactions. During events, there is usually a lot of interaction between your staff and clients or prospects, your employees collectively, and your products. These are perfect opportunities to capture environmental video of organic interactions with your business. Also consider preparing a list of questions to ask people you encounter—whether they are clients, prospects, or simply people passing by. You may be able to capture video testimonials that are invaluable.

Strategizing about the goals of your video campaign will maximize the use of your time and budget. This will help you create evergreen content that you can repurpose for other aspects of your content marketing. Pinstripe Marketing can create and execute a video content strategy that will enhance the visual content of your business and engage your clients on a deeper level. We’d love to hear from you if you have a project in mind and are interested in learning more.

Nikki Devereux Lends Newsletter Expertise in Referral Rock Story

Florida trademark lawyer, intellectual property

 

Pinstripe senior project manager, Nikki Devereux, is one of 44 marketers to give advice on creating a compelling email marketing newsletter for Referral Rock. General tips included keeping language conversational instead of a lot of jargon, Tuesday is the most popular day for distribution, and lists are always a popular content tactic.

Nikki mentioned that we “repurpose and make their newsletter fun by sending their newsletter as a series. She says, “This year we have been running a series in which we compare marketing to aspects of Wonder Woman, and it’s been really fun and people are engaging with the content, so that’s always a good sign”.

She also talks about how the information needs to be useful too. “Overall, our general guideline for content is that it has to be useful to our reader – marketing and PR tips, local events, and spotlighting our clients and vendors in fun interview-style pieces”, she says.”

Read the complete article on ReferralRock.com.

See our Wonder Woman series:

Everything I Know About Marketing, I Learned from Wonder Woman
Public Relations Needs to Be Transparent, Like Wonder Woman’s Jet
Confidence Conveys Strength in Marketing
Truth in Advertising: Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth
Wonder Woman Marketing: Her Tiara and Brand Identity
Wonder Woman’s Compassionate Leadership

Checklist for Marketers Transitioning Their Position

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You’ve been at your position for years and now you are moving on, perhaps to another job within the company or to another company entirely. This is a good time to start making a checklist as you transition out of your position and hopefully help someone new come on board.

Here is a checklist for a graceful exit and smooth transition:

  • Write your job description with bullet points of each task you perform (many will have several levels as you start with high level items and get more specific). Your list is likely much more comprehensive than anything found in the HR department.
  • Provide a list of tools and resources with accompanying login credentials, for instance:
    • Document management (Google, Dropbox, etc.)
    • Customer relationship management (CRM)
    • Web/domain management (registrar, hosting, email, etc.)
    • Social media
    • Digital marketing (Google AdWords/Analytics, Bing Ads, etc.)
    • Email distribution
    • Survey tools
    • Project management tools
    • Media subscriptions
    • Public relations/press release distribution sites
    • Civic and professional association memberships
    • Training
    • Stock photography
    • Awards
    • Vendors / Purchasing
  • Provide information about where to find key documents:
    • Marketing plan
    • Client/contact lists
    • Logos
    • Content (company/product/service descriptions, keyword lists, etc.)
    • Photo/video library
  • Current projects, status, budgets, deadlines, contacts
  • Passwords and physical keys
  • Contact your colleagues and vendors to let them know the news. This will reassure them that they will receive a new project or account manager who will do a great job. If your replacement has started and you are training her/him, take them on visits to introduce them
  • Set up a meeting with your supervisor to go over all the documents you’ve created so they can be another layer of informed support
  • Send cards to favorite contacts thanking them for a great relationship. If you promise to keep in touch, make sure to keep the promise
  • If possible, introduce your replacement to key contacts within your organization that you worked closely with or who were pivotal to your success: a passionate graphic designer who nailed projects every time, a web developer who was very detail oriented and a great communicator, and a mentor who you could bounce ideas off

Depending on your specific position, you’ll want to add to this list. You love the company you currently work for. You love your clients and coworkers. You want to see everyone succeed. The main goal is to make sure that the projects you are working on are transitioned so seamlessly, your clients won’t even know you’re gone!

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