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Sorry is the Hardest Word

SORRY (1)

In recent weeks, celebrities like Giuliana Rancic and Benedict Cumberbatch have found themselves in the wrong kind of spotlight for remarks that the public found to be in poor taste. While the history of the public mea culpa has long been documented, it is not solely reserved for celebrities and public figures.  At times, brands will find themselves in situations where a public apology is all but required. Whether it is the result of a customer service blunder, a product launch delay, an error in product manufacturing or simply a misguided tweet, there are moments when brands are faced with the decision of having and how to apologize to customers.

Should one find themselves in the situation where an apology is required, there are a few tactics that should always be kept top of mind. The apology must be authentically remorseful. Take responsibility for what you have done and provide acknowledgment that a mistake has been made. Transparency is a word often tossed around in the PR world, but in this scenario it is truly important for brands to be honest with consumers about the situation – what really happened, how do you plan to fix the problem and how do you plan to make sure the same problem doesn’t happen again.  An effective apology ensures that the same mistake won’t be repeated.

At the end of the day, every brand will have to consider their own unique circumstances to determine the best course of action. Not every situation calls for a public apology. However, with every mistake, there is always an opportunity for brands to learn and grow. They can and should use these opportunities to reconnect with consumers and show them why they became loyal to the brand in the first place.

Falling In Love with an Open Dog Policy

 

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Working in public relations isn’t typically conducive to having a pet. PR Professionals work tireless hours, have chaotic schedules, require intense concentration during the majority of their days and rarely find time to even grab a lunch away from their desks. So what prompted me to get a 12-week old puppy? An Open Dog Policy!

 

After spending the good part of a decade wanting a dog, the opportunity presented itself as a three pound Chorkie, whom I’ve named Penelope “Foxy” Brown. She’s a dynamic member of the GRS team and is grateful for the Open Dog Policy. Well, in hindsight, I guess I forced the Open Dog Policy on my office, but I believe we pawed the road for a very successful business and interoffice-enhancing policy update.

 

Pet policy in the workplace is a hot topic, and the benefits of pet ownership are well supported in numerous scholarly journals. From stress relief to companionship and even the effects of therapy dogs in patients with dementia. In 2010, Central Michigan University conducted a study and found that the presence of a dog in the office helped employees work more effectively together. While Penny generally sleeps most of the day, she is already our catalyst for change at GreenRoom. We occasionally pause to play or engage with her which activates our creative minds and give us lots of laughs making the workplace more enjoyable through difficult tasks. PR requires multitasking and juggling many complicated problem-solving tasks at once, it’s amazing what a quick 10 minute walk and mental break with a pup will do to reopen the mind and reinvigorate those puzzle-solving tactics.

 

While one might think having a pet in the workplace is a distraction from daily activities, this couldn’t be further from the truth. From a work-life balance perspective, with poochie at the office employees aren’t worried about the welfare of the four-leggers as they sit home all day. Plus, they can care to their canine’s welfare at the office without missing important late-night meetings or after hour events.

 

It’s evident that the vibe of GreenRoom has shifted. In the past two weeks since Penny has been on campus, we’ve laughed more often, been more active and generally more pleasant. We’ve also enjoyed working through tasks together as a team more than before. We’re a strong team of rockstar PR pros, but Penny is a constant comedic relief in our daily routines that helps reduce our workday stress and keeps us active.

Snapchat – Transitioning from nudes to news?

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It’s clear that today’s media and content landscape is more fragmented than it’s ever been. Amazon winning Golden Globe awards is a prime (Amazon pun intended) example, and it’s truly unclear where the next great story might come from. The latest entrant into the content distribution landscape is Snapchat. With the introduction of Discover, the photo-sending app is now getting into the content game. The latest addition to the platform gives users the ability to see a variety of stories from some of the biggest and most influential media companies in the world. It’s an interesting and significant move for a few reasons.

First, Snapchat understands that the novelty of sending photos will eventually start to wane, and it’s critical to maintain an active user base. Snapchat has managed to capture the coveted millennial demographic, which is both a very powerful and influential group. By offering another reason to open the app, Snapchat is hoping to maintain and grow that engagement.

Second, it’s legitimizing the app from a novelty that had some questionable beginnings, to a source of news. While the stories feature brought more meaningful storytelling to the app, it was still up to the user base to generate the content. Having thoughtful curation specifically for the platform should yield more dynamic and interesting content.

While it remains to be seen how many users engage with this feature, it’s still a win for telling stories from our perspective. Our business is telling thoughtful and engaging stories, and we always welcome a new platform with which to do so!  Find us on Snapchat!

*You can “Snap to Add” us by placing your Snapchat camera over the ghost in the photo above.

 

Making the Move with PR

“Don't worry about a thing,every little

One of the benefits of working in public relations is the flexibility to live and work virtually anywhere. While moving can be daunting, the benefits of following your career are limitless. I never thought I would find myself moving away from home, but I saw an exciting opportunity to grow and move forward. After accepting my role at GreenRoom Social, I had less than a week to pack most of my life, drive from New Orleans and find a place to live. Yes, it was a bit overwhelming but it can be done, trust me! If you’ve just moved to a new city to start or continue your career, here are some tips to help you get settled:

1. Media Introductions: Remember, journalists are people too. Introduce yourself and become someone they want to work with. If you’ve just started your career or starting a new venture, be sure to introduce yourself to media contacts across all vertical markets. You never know what type of brand you’ll be working with! Cultivate relationships that will turn into possible opportunities in the future.

2. Professional Organizations: Explore what professional organizations are available in your new location. Professional networks provide a foundation of colleagues, friends and learning that can help in all assets of your professional and personal life.

3. Get To Know Your Industry: After all the moving, unpacking and settling in, take some time to actually get to know what clients you will be working with. Follow them on social media, research previous media coverage and start tracking coverage as soon as possible. Immerse yourself as much as possible in competitive brand research, dig into relevant trade publications and conduct a communications audit.

4. Social Media: From Facebook to LinkedIn, start following marquee media outlets on their social media channels. You’ll stay connected with the media and it provides an addition conversation piece.

5. Finally, just DO IT! : Make the move and create your own path. Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a veteran public relations pro, you will never know unless you take the plunge

While PR isn’t rocket science, it takes relentless, passionate and hungry professionals to move forward in this industry.

 

4 Steps to Beating Writer’s Block

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A huge part of PR is writing about diverse clients, products and use case to the media. If you’re as fortunate as we are to have an incredibly interesting roster, that process is generally not too difficult. However, there are times when you’re just struggling to come up with something that persuasively articulates your point in the most effective way.  When that happens, it’s important to take a step back and regroup. Following are a few of our favorite ways to beat writer’s block:

  • 10-minute writing prompt – To help clear your mind, spend 10 minutes writing about something completely unrelated to your work. Start with a sentence like “The brick crashed through the window” and see where your mind takes you for the next ten minutes. Other starter sentences include
    • “I can’t believe it,” she said.
    • He opened the check made out in his name, and it said $1 million.
    • She hadn’t laughed that hard in months.

** A twist on this is to step away from the computer and pick up a pen and get old school with it!

  • Plug in – If your office is anything like ours, there can be a lot of noise between phone calls with journalists and clients, lively brainstorming sessions in the conference room and water cooler discussions about Jimmy Kimmel’s latest viral video. Getting out the headphones and either putting on your favorite music or just blocking out the noise can be the remedy for writing a dazzling pitch or press release.
  • Clean – The life of a PR pro often means that there are slide decks, spreadsheets, fact sheets, notes and a sea of post-it notes on your desk. Your inbox is also probably full of client and journalist correspondence, competitor’s newsletters and Google Alerts. Take a few minutes to file the physical papers and the emails you don’t need anymore. The literal and figurative “clean house” will also let you approach your writing with a clear mind.
  • Chew gum. Yep, it’s science.

Happy writing!

Increasing Kickstarter Campaign Awareness with Social Media

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One of the key components missing from most brands Kickstarter campaigns is a fully integrated social media campaign. In order to avoid losing out on these opportunities use these checklist items to help your social media strategy stay on course.

  1. Amplify messaging about the campaign utilizing all social channels! Are you promoting your campaign on every social platform at your disposal?
  2. Curate engaging and fun content: fun taglines, user generated content and real time photos. Keeping your audience engaged and your content shareable can help expose your campaign to new potential backers.
  3. Your content should be consistent and timely. Social media gives you the opportunity to tell a story. Use daily posts as a portal of insight to make fans feel like they are taking the journey with your brand. You’ll find this can lead to an increase in backers.
  4. Use your social media channels to highlight your team (behind the scenes photos). People want to know who they are helping. An emotional bond will help boost brand affinity.
  5. Tweet a lot & remember that it’s ok to repeat a tweet. Most fans may have missed the tweet the first time around.
  6. Real time engagement is very important. Jump into relevant conversations and introduce your campaign to new eyes.
  7. Submit your Kickstarter campaign to sites and Twitter handles that promote ongoing campaigns
  8. Add CTA’s (Call to Actions). People need to be told what you need them to do with your content.
  9. Introduce extra incentives to encourage backers to share that they’ve contributed to your campaign with their audience.
  10. Feature backers on social channels. You can create an entire campaign highlighting your social backers.
  11. Create short Facebook, vine or Instagram video content featuring the products. Video is just another tool in your social media tool belt to help you reach potential backers.
  12. Reach out and connect with influencers on relevant social channels to introduce them to your product and potentially support & promote your campaign.
  13. Host mini contests outside of the Kickstarter to get fans ramped up. The contests should encourage them to Share, Retweet, Like, Comment and Favorite for chances to win relevant prizes.
  14. Give fans weekly-daily updates to let them know how close you are to reaching the goal. A visual is even better to include.