.BIZ Builder Magazine The Decline of Trust in Corporate America – June 2012 by commprobiz

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									.BIZ BUILDER

                                              June 2012
                                              Premier Issue

                           In This Issue:
                           Apple’s Marketing Magic:
                           Brilliant Ideas to Borrow from
                           Steve Jobs

                           Epic PR Fails: Belvedere Vodka
                           F**ks Self Over Agency’s Date
                           Rape Ad

                           Netflix to Customers: Up
                           Yours—Why Phony
                           Corporate Apologies Backfire

                           in Corporate America
                           Stephen M.R. Covey &
                           Greg Link on Rebuilding
                           the ROI of Trust
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                                                            .BIZ Builder...Vol I, Issue I June 2012

                                                            Published by:
monthly online e-magazine dedicated to sharing              CommPRO.biz
what’s new and what’s working to grow your business
using PR and integrated marketing communications.           Editor-In-Chief
                                                            Brian Pittman
Each issue reaches thousands of business
professionals.                                              Chief Creative Officer / Designer
                                                            Todd Fabacher
You’ll find plenty of advice, tips and more—ranging
from our exclusive interview with Stephen M.R. Covey        Publisher
and Greg Link on the value of trust to a nearly a dozen     Fay Shapiro
articles showing you how you can win more positive
                                                            Chief Strategist
press, publicity and marketing value. The best part?        Bruce Merchant
The digital magazine is just one part of our .BIZ
Marketplace...check out:                                    Contributors
                                                            .BIZ Channel Partners
                                                             • Agile Engagement: From PR Newswire
         Marketplace                                         • Critical Now: From Critical Mention
                                                             • Marketing Nightmares: From
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                       micro-projects and gigs. View        .BIZ Bloggers
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                           A no-fee RFP and project
         Project Bidder                                      • IR Therefore I Am - Gene Marbach
                           bidding site. View                • Social Media Zone - Vick Flaugher
                                                             • The Pulse
                       This new online directory connects
                                                             • Great Marcom Minds
         BIZ Finder    buyers and sellers of integrated
                       marketing communications. View       .BIZ Blog Contributors
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9           14

18          24


                  {6-7}                                       { 18 - 22 }
HOT News Trends:                              Trust Inc.: The Decline of Trust in
Six Top “News You Can Use” Headlines of the   Corporate America - And How to Fix It
Month                                         (an Exclusive Interview with Stephen M.R.
                                              Covey and Greg Link)

                 { 9 - 11 }                                   { 24 - 25 }
Appleʼs Magical Marketing Prowess:            Trust or Bust: Edelmanʼs Trust Barometer
3 Brilliant Ideas to Borrow from Steve Jobs   Shows Trust in Media Trumps Trust in CEOs -
                                              And What to Do About It

                { 12 - 13 }                                   { 26 - 30 }
OWS Infograph: Occupy Wall Street Is          PR Primer: Everything You Need to Know
Back - Is Your Corporate Reputation Ready?    to Successfully Pitch the Press

                { 14 - 16 }                                      { 32 }
Marketing Nightmares Channel:                 Great Marcom Minds: Cause Marketing
Belvedere Vodka F**ks Self Over Agencyʼs      Works: Tideʼs “Loads of Hope” Program Is a
Date Rape Ad                                  Good Model for Companies

                                                              { 34 - 35 }
                                              .Biz Marketplace Advice: RFP FAQ for
                                              Businesses: How Do I Create a Strong RFP
                                              for Stellar Agency Work?
                { 37 - 42 }                                   { 58 - 61 }
Cool Tools: 10 Favorite Social Media          Critical Now Channel: Local News
Tools for Business                            Beyond 6 and 11 - How Business Can Benefit

                { 44- 47 }                                    { 62 - 64 }
.Biz Marketplace Advice: Six Must             IR Therefore I Am: Learning from Honest
Have Qualities to Look for When Hiring a PR   Abe: Six Leadership Lessons from a Model
Firm                                          Communicator

                { 50- 52 }                                    { 66 - 68 }
Say Hello to the New Marketing Mix:           Social Media Zone: 10 Social Media
Why PRʼs Role Is Increasing In Todayʼs        Must-Doʼs for the Rest of 2012

                { 53 - 56 }                                   { 70 - 71 }
Agile Engagement Channel: Why                 Hiring Hub: Difficult Conversations: 5
Arenʼt Businesses Listening to Target         Steps to Help You Manage Them at Work and
Markets Online - Why It Matters & How Itʼs    Beyond
                                                              { 72 - 76 }
                                              Netflix to Customers: Up Yours!
                                              Why Phony Corporate Apologies Backfire
37   48

61   72
HOT News Trends
  CEO Reputation Greatly Impacts Consumer Images of
  Companies, Weber Shandwick Survey Finds
  Two-thirds (66% ) of consumers say their perceptions of CEOs affect their opinions of
  company reputations, according to Weber Shandwickʼs “The Company Behind the Brand:
  In Reputation We Trust - CEO Spotlight” research report. Execs, like consumers, also do
  not overlook the importance of a leaderʼs reputation – they attribute 49% of a companyʼs
  overall reputation to the CEOʼs reputation. Executive leadership is critical to burnishing the
  overall reputation of organizations today, particularly when it is estimated that a large 60%
  of a companyʼs market value is attributed to its reputation. The report explores the
  importance of executive leadership and communications to helping reverse the tides of
  waning trust in companies.

  Report Reveals 60% of Companies Say Social Media
  Marketing Improves Customer Service
  A report from thinkJar and Sword Ciboodle found that 60% of companies in the U.S. and
  the U.K. are using social in part to improve their customer service. In addition, 60% of
  companies polled are using both Facebook and Twitter to answer questions from
  customers and address feedback. A full 85% use at least one of the two channels. Larger
  companies that field a substantial number of queries from customers have found that
  social can help alleviate the strain of call centers or other parts of the business dedicated
  to customer service. And 40% said they have been using social media marketing as part of
  customer service for at least two years, while 53% said they have implemented it in the
  last two years.

  2012 Media Survey: Journalists Expect to See Online
  Newsrooms on Company Websites
  Social PR Scoops
  TEKGROUP released the results of a national survey highlighting the importance of
  creating a content rich and up-to-date online newsroom. Close to 100% journalists said
  online newsrooms are a must. More than 50% of journalists said they are visiting your
  online newsroom once a week and 64% on a monthly basis, that number should motivate
  company newsmakers to deliver fresh content and package it in a way that is organized
  as well as user-and social media friendly....

Mobile Marketing Boosts Profit for 84% of Small
Business 2 Community
A study conducted by Web.com (Network Solutionsʼ parent company) among 500 small
business owners showed an overwhelmingly positive response to mobile marketing. of
those surveyed, 84% saw an increase in new business activity after engaging in mobile
marketing, and 69% “somewhat or strongly agreed that “mobile marketing is key to my
small business growth in the next five years.” The top two reasons business owners invest
in mobile marketing, according to the study, are: to provide better service to existing
customers and to attract more local customers. The study also found that 61% of small
businesses are not currently promoting their business through mobile search.

Google+ a Ghost Town as Brands Decamp for
Ad Age
Google+ launched brand pages six months ago. But rather than challenge Facebook and
Twitter for mindshare, Google is a distant fourth to Pinterest, with its “pin it” button now
appearing alongside Facebook, Twitter and email buttons on prime web real-estate such
as eBay and Amazon product pages. Even the platformʼs “best” brands havenʼt put a ton
of effort into building out the pages. Nissan was lauded late last year for having one of the
best new Google+ brand pages. But its content is pulled from Facebook. “The bottom line
was that it was pretty bleak in its traffic,” said Brandon Kleinman, director of social media
and strategy at TBWA/Chiat/Day. Consensus is that Google+ is an empty city where the
masses go to set up a profile but seldom return.

CEOs Gone Wild: Rise of Corporate America Scandals
Tied to Perceived Lighter Corporate Governance
Four years after the financial crisis exploded and resulted in a regulatory clampdown, bad
behavior is back in corporate boardrooms and C-suites, generating embarrassing
headlines and posing the threat of even more rules. Whether itʼs resume-padding at
Yahoo, improper relations with female subordinates at Best Buy or questionable loan
dealings at Chesapeake Energy, several high-profile CEOs have helped bring back
memories of PR scandals past that destroyed companies and hammered investors.
For some experts on corporate governance, the rise in scandal comes as executives
mistakenly think the coast is clear after the increased corporate oversight following the
credit implosion in 2008.

  Appleʼs Magical
 Marketing Prowess:

3 Brilliant Ideas to Borrow from Steve Jobs

                    By Mark Faust, Founder, Echelon Management

No doubt about it: Apple is the brand of          team. People don’t come into their
the decade. Even after the passing of             positions and say, “Here is what I’ve
Steve Jobs, Apple retains an emotional            learned in B-school” or “This is how we
connection with consumers. So what is             did it at my other company” they innovate
the magic behind the companyʼs                    solutions to compensation, motivation,
marketing prowess? As a growth                    customer responsiveness, financing,
                                                  inventory…you name it, they innovate it.
consultant and executive coach, Iʼve
worked with Apple as a client and have
                                                  Every brain at Apple has a Jobsian ability
some insight on these questions.                  to see the greatest constraints of the
                                                  process over which they are responsible.
For starters, Apple uses three key                Just like classic innovation strategy, they
strategies that any business leader or            prioritize the top constraints to growth.
marketing professional can implement.             They always have the top two or three
These strategies were borne out of Steve          opportunities prioritized for improvement.
Jobsʼ relentless pursuit of innovation.           Next, the Jobsians facilitate a team-wide
They are: 1. “Innovating Beyond                   cooperativeness around generating a
Product,” 2. “Service Impression                  great quantity of ideas/solutions and the
Management,” and 3. “Brand                        leader or a solutions team prioritizes
Experience.” Letʼs explore each of these          ideas for action and standardizes
and review some takeaways for helping             improvements in rapid fashion.
to grow your own business:
                                                  Is anything about this innovation process
                                                  really new, or distinctly Apple? No. Peter
Strategy 1: Innovating                            Drucker penned this process down a half
                                                  century ago and warned us that it isn’t
Beyond Product                                    about the personality at the top, but the
A plethora of print exists around Apple’s         character and belief that there has got to
innovative products, but what is just as          be a better way…and most importantly
important yet infrequently discussed is           that the key is your implementation of the
Apple’s strategy of applying the                  simple, scientific process, of
principles of innovation into every other         identification, prioritization, collection and
aspect of the business. I’ve worked with          implementation; i.e., innovation.
Apple as a client, I’ve interviewed dozens
of execs and dozens of their larger
customers and distributive channels and           Strategy 2: Service
what struck me as the theme that is so
often missed by the media is that Apple
                                                  Impression Management
innovates on business and management              The second Apple strategy that you can
as much as they do on product.                    employ in your company is continuous
                                                  improvement in Service Impression
Jobs’ attitude of “There has got to be a          Management. The fact is that your
better way” permeates every facet of his          service can stink, but with excellent
                                                  management of the process,

communication, honesty and focus on               experience when interacting with your
the customer you can still out impress            company? How can you create themes
the competition. You probably have more           and commonalities amongst these top
service challenges at your company than           touch points? Create commonalities
you would like, and while someone                 around sounds, color, shapes, quality of
needs to focus on reducing those                  voice, emotion, and every modality you
challenges, take a note from Apple and            can identify. Set up innovation teams to
innovate on how you can turn every                improve and meld these touch points into
service disappointment into an                    hooks that connect to other high quality
opportunity to lock your customers into a         experiences.
relationship for life.
                                                  If you apply the science of innovation to
The fact is that managing the impression          all areas of your business the fact is that
around service quality is more important          you can probably create millions of
than the competitive advantage or                 dollars of value for only tens of
disadvantage that your service quality            thousands of investment. I consistently
actually has. While Apple doesn’t tolerate        see our clients go through
poor service, they do leverage the                transformations that improve their bottom
Service Impression as a manageable                line when they apply principles that
process and as a part of their brand              Steve Jobs and Apple apply in business.
experience. You should set up teams to            Send us a note or give us a call and we
analyze and innovate all the possible             will send you our book that is a
service impression points that your               Presidents List of Innovation Ideas and
customers have. Focus on where your               Opportunities for Growth.
team can create moments of wow, even
when they may be around your handling             The Apple magic isn’t Jobs or anything
of a complaint process. You don’t have to         else that can’t be duplicated; it is the
be the best service provider, but you do          process of innovating ALL of the
have to make the best impression.                 business, not just the product. What top
                                                  areas of your business need innovation

Strategy 3: Brand                                 in order for you to grow?
                                                  View on CommPRO
You’ve walked into the Apple store and                            Mark Faust is the
called service support and you notice a                           founder of Echelon
certain consistency around every aspect                           Management. A growth
of the experience. From the color of their                        consultant, executive
t-shirts, to the tone and confidence of                           coach and national
their voice, there is a uniqueness and                            speaker, he is the author
quality that makes you feel good. It’s all                       of “Growth or Bust:
been said a half dozen ways from here to          Proven Turnaround Strategies to Grow
Sunday, the question is, what are the top         Your Business” and can be reached at
two-dozen touches that your customers             Mark@EM1990.com.

            p y
      c u
o c
              Tweets are actually INCREASING

       IBMʼs approach to its 100th
       Anniversary is an example of
       aligning CSR with business goals.

                       Click Here to View

                           November 22, 2011
                             May 22, 2012

                          69.7 million
                        Total Media Mentions
Occupy is not going away. Quite the opposite, considering the
elections will give OWS a boost. It continues to grab traditional
media headlines and gain support online—with OWS related
tweets actually increasing since last November to 271,7333
tweets a day about OWS, according to recent Sysomos data.

                       ...and so are traditional Media Mentions.

     This means corporations who may
    be targeted must now add OWS
    contingencies to their corporate
    crisis communications plans.

                    Consider Wells Fargo. When
                    OWS hit it on Oct. 11, 2011, its
                    positive sentiment rating was
                    55%. It now has a 85% favorable
             sentiment in social and traditional media.
             Watch Videos
Belvedere Vodka F**ks Self
 Over Agency’s Date Rape Ad
     By Steve Lundin, Chief Hunter and Gatherer, BIGfrontier Communications Group,
                                                     Author, Marketing Nightmares

Need proof that corporate trust,                   played of “who hid the salami” is
reputation and revenues are inter-                 indicative of the backbone most
connected? Look no further than this               agencies display when it comes to
classic example of another corporate               owning up: nonexistent.
reputation gone south.
                                                   It didn’t take long for Omnicom Group’s
Poor Belvedere Vodka – they learned the            Arnell, Belvedere’s Agency of record, to
hard way that while sex sells, rape                make it clear through an Ad Age
doesn’t, when they green lighted an ad             statement that they “did not do that
that ran in March featuring a woman                ad.” Hmm – one less person of interest
being choked because she wouldn’t “go              in the “investigation.” The New York
down smoothly” on a (presumably)                   Observer asked the question: “Who is
vodka lovin’ kinda guy. The backlash               responsible for Belvedere Vodka’s sexist
against this ad was predictable – and              ad?” And then answered it with the
fodder for a week of discussion by all             theory that all signs point to Last Exit,
the advertising pundits and “correctness           Belvedere’s digital marketing Agency of
watchdogs” who were offended –                     Record. Last Exit couldn’t even gasp out
outraged – insulted – demeaned –                   a “no comment” on the issue, in step
dismayed and disgusted; everything but             with Mission Public Relations, Belvedere
what the ad intended: amused. But                  Vodka’s PR agency. 
that’s not the issue here – offensive ads
get published every week. The issue is             Mission not only wouldn’t confirm if Last
where the ire-fueled public spotlight              Exit was involved – but whether or not
always seems to fall: on the client who            any of its Agencies were involved; given
paid for the ad and not the agency that            enough time they might even deny that
thunk it up.                                       Belvedere itself was involved.  Maybe
                                                   the whole thing was an April Fool’s joke
True to form, within minutes (or was it            by a competing vodka company.
seconds) of the Twitter and media
outburst over the ad, Belvedere Vodka              Well, nothing loosens a stiff upper lip
yanked the offender and fell on its sword          faster than a lawsuit – and to make
for a very public evisceration. Company            matters even more interesting, the
President Charles Gibb stated, “It should          creative geniuses (aliens maybe – at this
never have happened…I am currently                 point) behind the crime misappropriated
investigating the matter to determine              the “forced sex” photo used in the
how this happened and to be sure it                ad. The image was lifted from a video
never does so again.”                              that actress Alicyn Packard and her
                                                   boyfriend posted on “Funny or Die”
Investigation? How about asking the                under their Strictly Viral Productions
CMO which of the Agencies thought the              channel.
ad up and the CFO how much it cost?
You don’t need CSI here – this should be           Try and make it through video, anti-viral
the shortest investigation in history.  But        is a more appropriate description. The
it’s not, because the shell game being             only thing forced in Strictly Viral’s

production was the humor: In the year it            the agency skulks around in the
had been posted it received a 53%                   background – waiting to peddle their
rating – with 14 die votes. It’s quite              stellar services to the next willing
possible that it was actually seen by less          victim. Sometimes, they are flushed, like
than 30 people until the incident; this             Asian Longhorn Carp, to the surface,
puts it in the realm of not  so funny,              and the world gets a quick peek at their
antiviral, and virtually un-watchable. I            scaly backs and pasty, quivering
would imagine that most of its views                underbellies. Agencies tend to shy away
(outside of friends and family) probably            from the light of day, preferring to
came from the publicity raised by its               practice their arts in a dark corner –
misuse. As a matter of fact – that may be           rising only to trumpet success while
the only reason to watch it  (spoiler alert)        keeping a shovel handy for the failures.
– you have to wait to the end to catch
the “rape” scene.                                   Whoever penned and published the
                                                    Belvedere blunder could probably garner
The lawsuit charges “infliction of                   a brief modicum of respect were they to
emotional distress,” (wait a second  –              stand up and take the public lashing,
that’s the viewers) along with image                giving the client a respite from the
thievery. Alicyn will probably receive              whipping block, before heading into
more publicity for her 53% funny work               court.  If the  lawsuit actually moves
by virtue of someone else turning it into           forward, and isn’t settled behind closed
what she couldn’t: viral. She should                doors, we may get to witness a
send Mission PR and the currently                   discussion of the aftermath of a
anonymous Agency a thank you check                  marketing disaster as told by all
from her settlement with Belvedere. It’s            participants involved.  A carnival like that
good karma to remember those who                    should be run live on the “Daily Show,”
helped you on your way to the top.                  with commentary by an appropriate
                                                    expert. I nominate Homer Simpson, only
While no Agency is named in the lawsuit,            he would be on an equal plane with all
it’s just a matter of time before an                the parties involved.
attorney deposes someone at Belvedere
who will finally give up the name of the             View on CommPRO
culprit. But why hasn’t this “media
criminal” turned him/her/themselves                                     Steve Lundin is the
in? The heat from the witch/man/creative                                chief hunter and
hunt is just going to build – can wanted                                gatherer
signs on the USPS site be long in                                       of BIGfrontier
coming?                                                                 Communications
                                                                        Group, a Chicago
At the core of every marketing nightmare                               based media strategy
is a marketing person/team – either in-             firm. His new book, “Marketing
house or out-house, who sold someone                Nightmares,” is slated for publication in
with a checkbook on an idea. Invariably,            October 2012.
it’s the client that takes the bullet while

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  The Decline of Trust in Corporate America
                             – and How to Fix it!
                    An exclusive interview with Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link, by Brian Pittman

Can you put a dollar value on trust? Can
lack of trust sink a business? Is
Corporate America facing a decline in
trust? Absolutely, asserts Stephen M.R.
Covey, recently featured in Trust Across
America’s “Top 100 Thought Leaders in
Trustworthy Business Behavior” list.
“Lack of trust kills a company’s
productivity, perception and profits,”
says the co-founder of CoveyLink
Worldwide and son of Stephen R. Covey,
author of the Seven Habits series.

“A perfect example is Enron, which lost
its market value and reputation due to             Stephen: A command-and-control
misdeeds that led to public distrust in            approach, for starters. It leads to
the company,” adds Covey, co-author                decreased speed and increased costs,
of “The Speed of Trust” and “Smart                 as well as less energized, engaged and
Trust” with Greg Link, his partner at              happy people. Ironically, it also leads to
CoveyLink.                                         less control. But when an organization
                                                   creates a high-trust culture, it becomes
Here, the two discuss the declining state          self-monitoring and reinforcing of trust,
of trust in Corporate America in general,          weeding out violators, and can become
and share how businesses can rebuild,              a more effective form of “control” than
protect and promote their valuable                 additional rules and policies.
reputations as the economy turns
around:                                            Which brands have high-trust
                                                   corporate cultures?
Is this apparent decline of trust a                Stephen: Warren Buffett of Berkshire-
legitimate concern for business?                   Hathaway operates on a premise of
Greg: It should be the primary concern             “deserved trust,” which allows for faster
for any business owner today. Take a               deals at less cost, and helps them
look at the Edelman Trust Barometer and            operate at a higher efficiency—with what
you’ll see we are experiencing the lowest          two Stanford professors called “the
level of trust in the 11 years since it            lowest ratio of corporate overhead to
started. Last year, there was a 20% drop           investor capital among all corporations.”  
in the level of trust Americans had in
business!                                          Tony Hsieh, of Zappos, operates with
                                                   trust, both with customers (free shipping)
The financial crisis was a big contributor.         and employees (no call center scripts).
Before that, the Enron crisis kicked the           They grew from $0 to $1 billion in
century off wrong. Corporate                       revenue in the same decade that
malfeasance became a big part of the               everybody else had bankruptcies and
news and it hasn’t gotten better. Madoff           problems. I asked how he did it. He said:
and more recent examples of fraud and              “I trusted my employees and my
misuse all of have conspired to create a           customers.” He wrote a book called
heightened crisis in trust. The result is a        “Delivering Happiness” that illuminates
fear-based economy. Consumer                       how he developed a high-trust culture.
confidence drives the economy—and                   My tip to all business owners is to read
that’s driven by trust. To rebuild that            the book and apply those principles.
trust, we must focus on changes within
our corporate cultures.                            Similarly, Nordstrom’s policy and
                                                   procedures manual is a post card. One
What fuels low-trust corporate                     side offers one simple rule: “Use your
cultures?                                          best judgment.” That high-trust culture
                                                   translates to happy customers who

reward them with the highest customer           In the old days, you could squelch bad
satisfaction scores in the industry.            news. For example, you might withhold
                                                facts from the press in a product recall.
Pierre Omidyar founded eBay on the              That doesn’t work anymore. Social
premise that people are good, enabling          media and the Internet are holding
them to create a business in which              leaders accountable. This is illustrated
buyers and sellers have learned they can        by “The Arab Spring.” That dynamic is
trust a complete stranger. Leaders from         happening in organizations where
Google, SAS Institute, Southwest                customers and employees have
Airlines, Virginia Mason Medical Center,        information and can communicate
W. L. Gore, IBM, Whole Foods, Four              instantly with companies. That’s part of
Seasons and other businesses also               what’s driving the “voice of the
operate on the explicit premise of trust        customer” movement.
with employees and customers.
                                                Can you give me an example?
How do customers reward these                   Greg: The “United Broke My Guitar”
companies?                                      YouTube video is an example. He kept
                                                asking United to pay his claim, then he
Greg: They vote with their wallets. If
                                                wrote the song and it has seen almost
you’re not practicing trustworthy
                                                12 million hits.
business and embracing CSR ideas,
you’re in trouble. We found 91% have                            To keep this in perspective,
refused to do business with a company                           that is over one million
they don’t trust. Also in our book is a                         more than the population
stat showing 87% of people have sought                          of Greece.
out a company they trust. They’re
looking for reasons to believe in your          The game has changed for the better
business.                                       and social media has given people a
                                                voice by which they can express who
Can social media help build that                they want to buy from (businesses they
bridge to trust?                                trust) and who they don’t want to buy
Greg: Social media is a dramatic driver         from.
of this behavior of seeking out
trustworthy businesses. The business            What have been PR and
mindset in the past was informed by a           marketing’s role in all this?
military command-and-control mindset.           Greg: In the past, senior execs and
Despite all of the examples of “release         communications departments worked
style” management where you empower             hard to manage the story and all
and trust people, many tend to revert to        communications. It was all overly
command-and-control and try to                  controlled. Nothing is more detrimental
withhold information. You see that when         to a brand than getting caught managing
companies face crises.                          information. For example, it wasn’t the

Watergate break-in that cost Nixon, it          PepsiCo and Amex are taking the charge
was the cover-up.                               on this. They’re good examples.

Not many businesses are dealing with            But we all have a responsibility in
break-ins and cover-ups.                        business to help create and
No, but when you abuse your employees           communicate credibility, which will help
and customers, the communications               build trust in business overall.
department is on its heels in damage
control trying to spin bad news and             How exactly do we do that?
mitigate it. Bad news spread faster than        Stephen: Building trust comes down to
good news. This is the downside of              your credibility and your behavior, as
social media for communicators. We              Greg said. In the book, we identified five
saw it with the FedEx Christmas delivery        actions shared by high trust
video, in which an employee threw a             leaders. One is extending trust to others.
packaged computer monitor over a                The first job of any leader is to inspire
customer’s fence. That video saw 8+             trust. The second job is to extend trust.
million views.                                  Leaders need to be smart about it,
                                                because there is risk in trusting. But
                                                there is also risk in not trusting—in fact,
                                                not trusting is often the greater risk.
                                                What we call “Smart Trust” helps us find
                                                the sweet spot and develop the
                                                judgment of how to wisely extend trust
                                                in a low-trust world. 

                                                Greg: Let me add some more detail.
This reinforces why it’s important to           Here’s a snapshot from the book
respond with open communications—as             outlining steps for building trust:
FedEx did with its YouTube apology.
                                                1. Build a platform of personal
Why is CSR is becoming                          credibility. It all starts with YOU. Behave
increasingly important?                         in trustworthy ways. Talk straight. Be
Greg: Communications doesn’t drive              transparent with employees, customers,
behavior. Instead, behavior drives              external communities and beyond. If you
communications. Recently, there has             build a platform of personal credibility,
been a push for businesses to be more           you become a model of trust for others.
of a corporate citizen. People are more
aware now of environmental, employee            2. Influence stakeholders to take the
and other abuses. The expectation of            same stand. The best way to influence
behaving in trustworthy ways is                 others is to make the economic case for
spreading, and CSR is becoming the              trust and social responsibility. We cite a
repository for that. Companies like             Watson Wyatt study in the book that
                                                reveals: High trust companies

outperform low trust companies in total            How does this apply to small
return to shareholders by THREE times.             businesses and entrepreneurs?
                                                   Greg: The only difference is the
Also, in the last 13 years of Fortune’s            segmentation of roles. With small
“Great Places to Work” listings, 67% of            businesses, you are the corporate
the criteria to get listed involves                communications department and
employee and customer surveys tied to              marketing and operations and the CEO.
trust. In that time, Fortune’s “Best Places        But the same principles apply.
to Work” have outperformed the market
by 286%.                                           Can you give an example of an
3. Declare and then act on your intent.            entrepreneurial company that
You build trust when you tell                      practices “High Trust”?
stakeholders what you intend to do and             Greg: An example is Zane’s Bikes, which
then do it—versus just issuing a PR                had $13 million in sales. He did it by
statement. So declare you’re committed             trusting customers. He doesn’t ask for
and then behave consistently to that               ID when people tested bikes. He said, “I
declaration.                                       trust you.” Sure, there is a risk to trust.
                                                   That’s why we call it “Smart Trust.” The
Too many PR statements tie themselves              risk for Zane’s Bikes is he loses five
to CSR, for example, when there are                bikes a year. But he sells 5,000. Again,
actually no programs in the company to             the same principles apply regardless of
support them.                                      business size:
                                                           ✓Believe in trust
How can we contribute to what                              ✓Start with yourself
the book calls a “Renaissance of                           ✓Declare your intent
Trust”?                                                    ✓Do what you say
Greg: It starts individually as business                   ✓Lead by extending trust
owners and managers. The more
                                                   These steps apply to CEOs, corporate
companies behave in CSR ways, the
                                                   communicators, small business owners
more confidence people will have in
                                                   and even politicians. Follow these
doing business with them. That can help
                                                   actions and you will build—and rebuild—
create a “Renaissance of Trust” globally.
                                                   trust. View on CommPRO
This can be challenging when you
consider other business cultures. For                             Brian Pittman is a partner
example, in India, it can be customary to
pay bribes. You have to draw a line in                            at CommPRO.biz, where
places like that and not pay them.                                he focuses on editorial
Ultimately, it comes down to avoiding                             and content issues while
“spin” and instead “behaving out” in                              helping to build the
high trust ways.                                                 community.

Click Here to Learn More
Trust or Bust
Survey Shows Trust in the Media Trumps
Trust in CEOs - And What to Do About It
Edelman earlier this year released the global findings from the 2012 Edelman Trust
Barometer – the firm’s annual trust and credibility survey. The results show an overall decline
in trust globally, with steep declines in the levels of trust in government and business.
Incredibly, trust in the media topped trust in all other institutions except NGOs, and the
media was actually the ONLY institution to see an increase in trust.

So what does this mean to you? Sure, business experienced generally less severe declines
in trust, but has its own hurdles to clear – notably that CEO credibility declined 38
percent, its biggest drop to date.

The good news is a rise in credibility and trust of regular employees, at its greatest increase
since 2004. The lessons for businesses:

• Don’t rely on your CEO to be the only face of your organization, particularly during times of
• Instead, look for ways to activate your employees and connect them with customers and
  the community via ambassador programs, social media, featuring them in media and ad
  content, and engaging them more deeply.
• Work to rebuild trust in the CEO through candid, meaningful dialogue via internal
 Credibility returns to low of 2009

Business: from license to operate to license to lead

           Source: The Edelman Trust Barometer. Methodology: Online survey in 25 countries.
           30,000+ respondents. Ages 18+. College-educated In top 25% of household income
           per age group in each country report significant media consumption and engagement
           in business news and public policy. Informed publics were surveyed online.
  PR Primer
  Everything You Need to Successfully
                      Pitch the Press

By Ann Voorhees Baker, CEO, Publicity Pros

Media relations doesn’t always have to             services, and perhaps industry-specific
be the purview of seasoned PR veterans.            websites or e-list services, as well.
There are basics that any business                 Requests from the press go out via tools
owner can review to help drive publicity.          like Profnet and HARO (Help a Reporter
Much of media relations best practices             Out). A request is likely to generate many
are based on common sense, but the                 more fit-the-bill responses than the
rapidly and constantly changing nature of          reporter needs. In fact, on some of these
online publicity demands periodic                  services, we occasionally see a request
reassessment. Here’s Part 1 of “A                  summary appear for a second time one
Review of Media Relations Basics.”                 or two days after it was first posted, with
Newbies will find tips and tricks that they        the notation “FULL STOP” added.
may not have learned yet. Old timers can           Meaning, “Everybody, enough! Stop
check their known skills and practices             sending me information. I’ve got what I
against this review, and possibly pick up          need!”
some new info or exorcise some bad
habits along the way:
                                                        Proof and rehearse your
FIRST THING FIRST:                                      media pitch at least once.
                                                        Consider setting it aside
DEADLINES                                               and then revisiting it later
Honoring deadlines is something we                      before sending it.
learned about with grade school
homework assignments, but in the world
of publicity, the rule of thumb is slightly        So it’s not only important to be on topic,
different: Never stick to a deadline –             courteous, concise, and provide the right
BEAT it. Beat the heck out of it!                  information or expertise that the
                                                   reporter’s looking for – it’s also important
Just like everything else in this world,           not to be the twentieth person to do so.
competition for publicity gets stronger            A reporter will stop searching after he’s
every day – and avenues of                         found what he seeks. All others who
communication multiply and broaden.                follow, even though they might have
Whereas a reporter in the old days used            submitted on point and before deadline,
to put out a few phone calls to find               will lose out because they weren’t the
sources, now he posts his search on                first to hit the mark.
private services that PR firms scan
multiple times a day, plus public online           So be smart and be quick. As soon as
                                                   you possibly can, after you get notified of
                                                   a PR opportunity, send your pitch on to
     Use sites like ProfNet
     and Help a Reporter Out                       the reporter. The early bird gets the
     (HARO) to be a source                         worm, and a whole flock of birds is
     for stories reporters are                     swooping down behind you at all times,
     working on.                                   so strive to be not just early, but first.

And do not submit after the deadline,
even if you have your own seemingly                   Here are five quick tricks of the trade to
very legitimate reason for submitting late.           make sure your pitch is letter perfect:
It’s just bad form to send in a pitch after a
stated deadline. Plus, you sound                      1. Make sure your spellcheck function is
apologetic no matter how you couch your                  turned on, even if you feel you don’t
excuse. You’re likely to annoy the heck                  need it, and force yourself to look over
out of the reporter, and bottom line –                   the draft for those wiggly red and
you’re being disrespectful of his time and               green underlines. Fix the errors
process. Not a good way to build a good                  highlighted for you.
relationship. Better luck next time. Let              2. If you know you tend to miss errors
this one go.                                             when they’re on a computer monitor,
                                                         print out your pitch on paper and proof
AND NOW, THE PITCH ...                                   the paper copy.
                                                      3. Read the pitch aloud when proofing.
PROOFREADING IS A MUST                                4. A good practice is to proof and correct
So, ideally, you’ve found a great                        the pitch once, then set it aside and do
opportunity for yourself or one of your                  some other work for 10 or 15 minutes.
clients, you’re way ahead of the stated                  Then proof again. You’ll be more likely
deadline, and now you’re sitting down to                 to see errors with your fresh eye.
write out your fabulous pitch. But before             5. If spelling, grammar, or punctuation
you hit ‘send,’ make sher you’ve checked                 are not your strong suits, ask
it owt.                                                  someone else to proof your pitch
                                                         before you send it off.
Jarring, isn’t it? When you see a glaring
typo, it really distracts you – and let’s be          GIVE YOUR PITCH SOME
honest, it colors your opinion of the
writer, does it not?                                  PUNCH
                                                      What about making your letter-perfect
Typos and misspellings and grammatical                pitch stand out among all the others?
errors are common, human mistakes, not                One way is to tell a story, not just relay
the biggest deals in the world, but when              facts. Here’s an example of a storytelling
you’re sending a pitch to a journalist, you           pitch that caught one editor’s eye:
should do everything in your power to
avoid them. Your pitch is like your
                                                         “She strode into his office, extracted a
resume, business card, or the sign on
the front of your office; it’s your first face           document from the files on her arm,
and your first attempt at making a good                  and wafted it onto his desk, her
impression. On top of that, you’re                       elegantly manicured fingers trailing
sending your pitch to a journalist, by                   across the paper. Looking down at the
definition a wordsmith more likely to                    folders and papers strewn over his
notice these errors. Do take the time to                 desk, she curved her lips in an ever-
proof your pitch before it goes out.                     so-subtle, glossy red smirk, one

   eyebrow raised just a touch. Languidly
   she raised her gaze and met his eyes.            The pitch went on to describe a scene
                                                    where a surveyor, on a job, had stepped
   He drew in his breath.                           around a city corner and into the middle
                                                    of a dope deal. He went instantly from
   No! He couldn’t take it anymore! He              working to trying to talk his way out of
   swept his arm violently across the               being shot. This was the beginning of a
   desktop. Papers, files, notebook,                pitch about an engineering firm’s safety
   phone – all crashed onto the floor.              training for its urban surveyors.

   “Alexis!” he hissed, rising up out of his
   seat, nostrils flaring, heart pounding.               One way to make your
                                                         pitch stand out is to tell a
   He reached for her, grabbed her by
                                                         story, not just relay the
   the arms. He shook her. “Alexis! I                    facts. This is called a
   can’t stand it even for one more                      “narrative pitch.”
                                                    If you can write about a real person or
   His mouth inches from hers, he stared            incident to highlight your product or
   straight into her eyes.                          service, go ahead and tell your story, like
                                                    a story. Just get the subject’s permission
   “Alexis… Alexis. No more paper, for              first, or change the names to protect the
   the love of God! No! More! PAPER!!”              innocent!

This was a lead-in for a pitch about a              BE HONEST
professional organizer. It told the story of        In an effort to be interesting or eye
one client, an exec who couldn’t stand              catching, sometimes publicity
the mess on his desk and in his office              professionals kinda-sorta end up
anymore. One day he snapped. After his              stretching the truth. Don’t get caught in
outburst, he called the organizer and is            this trap! Repeat the following mantra: I
now happily efficient and nearly paper-             am what I yam and that’s all that I yam.
                                                    That’s what Popeye the Sailor Man used
Here’s another example, a one-liner that            to sing. He wasn’t handsome, rich or
told a story in a heartbeat, and caught a           glitzy, but he was honest and true and
reporter’s interest:                                strong and whaddaya know, he was the
                                                    star of the show! And – he always ate his
   “The lone surveyor stared down the               spinach! (I know, anyone younger than a
   barrel of a gun.”                                Boomer is scratching her head, asking,

what the? Popeye the Sailor Man was a                crowd” came to your store opening, or
cartoon character of the 50’s.)                      that you are a “leading expert” in your
                                                     field? Can you back this up? If a
                                                     reporter were to ask you “Really? How
     Even though the running                         many attended your opening, exactly?”
     joke is that PR is all                          or. “So how many books have you
     about spin, remember
                                                     written on your topic?” Could you
     that it should spin the
     truth and nothing else.                         answer with the truth and still feel OK
                                                     about your claim? If so, fine. But if
                                                     honestly you’d feel a little ashamed,
Popeye’s mantra was and is a good one                then tone it down a bit.
– don’t try to be what you’re not, don’t
posture, and do be proud of who and                 • Use the sweat test. Lawyers employ
what you actually, really are. Good for               this when crafting their arguments for
life, and yes, good for morally powering              an appeal: If saying it makes you
your PR activities at all times.                      sweat, it’s a no go. People won’t
                                                      believe you if they can see Nixonian
Remember this cardinal rule when you’re               beads of perspiration popping out on
drafting a PR pitch and it’s threatening to           your upper lip.
slide down the slippery slope from
positive optimism to positive bull. Don’t           Editor’s Note: There are more tips in Part
cross the line and pretend to be more or            2 and Part 3.
different from what you really are. Even
though the running joke is that PR is all           View on CommPRO
about spin, always remember that it
should spin the truth, not anything else.
Here are some good ways to test your
pitch to make sure that a positive spin
doesn’t turn into a “Twisting of the Truth”:

• Look for absolutes in your pitch: Do
  you say words like “best” or “first” or           Ann Voorhees Baker is CEO of Publicity
  “most popular?” If so, ask yourself if            Pros, specialists in “All Things Publicity”
  you can back up your claim. If so, fine.          for small business. For more information
  If not, substitute a more truthful word.          about Publicity Pros, contact
                                                    Ann@PublicityPros.net or visit http://
• Look for overly enthusiastic                      publicitypros.net.
  adjectives: Do you say that a “huge


Cause Marketing Works:
Tide’s "Loads of Hope" Program a Good Model for Companies
By Lisa Williams President, MEDIA Forte Marketing
If you’re looking for wider reach, online    follow a similar approach, is a
engagement and positive brand                campaign that helps a major brand do
building, then cause marketing efforts       well by doing good—and if the program
can be a great way to complement             has a robust online presence, it will also
your wider branding program.                 contribute greatly to your search engine
                                             marketing initiatives.
For example, one campaign we like
here at MEDIA Forte Marketing is the         Click through to see how Tide is pulling
Tide “Loads of Hope” campaign, in            this campaign together on its microsite
which Tide representatives and               here. The campaign is also doing a
employees go into communities—such           great job in social media, with over 2.6
as those with Hurricane Katrina victims      million Facebook likes here and over
or wherever there have been disasters        94,000 talking about Tide and the
—and do people’s laundry. They also          program at any given moment online.
give a dollar every time a Tide bottle is
                                             View on CommPRO
sold to that particular cause. In
addition, they sell T-shirts and donate
100% of the proceeds. The end result
for Tide, and for your business if you

RFP FAQ for Business:
How Do I Create a Strong
RFP for Agency Work?

                                    By Laura Alvarado, Director of Marketing, O’Neill and Associates

A request for                                      exercise will help inform the components
proposal, or RFP, is a                             and language in your RFP. Feel free to
document drawn up by a                             share your objectives within the RFP, as
company that wants a product or                    well.
service and outlines the specific criteria
it is looking for. As a result, the company        2. Organization is key
will receive proposals from vendors or             It is imperative that you lay out the
firms that are interested in the work.              components of your RFP in a logical and
                                                   understandable way. For example, if you
Sending out an RFP for communications              are looking for public relations support,
or public relations work can be a great            digital marketing implementation and
way for organizations to find a firm that            graphic design help, outline the specifics
can address these needs expertly and               of each in three separate sections. The
cost-efficiently. However, if it is not done        benefit to a well-organized RFP is
correctly, a company may miss the                  receiving well-organized proposals. This
opportunity an RFP presents – finding               way, you can truly compare apples to
the best fit and most qualified agency to            apples and the selection process will be
get the job done. Following these eight            a lot less stressful. Sections of your RFP
simple steps will allow your company to            should include:
put together a strong RFP that will yield
fruitful results:                                  Introduction – Explain why you are
                                                   publishing the RFP and what you hope
1. Know your needs                                 to accomplish.
Before you begin putting together your
RFP, figure out what your company                   Qualifications – Lay out your specified
wants to accomplish and how an agency              criteria for the firm and its expertise.
can help. List your business goals and
lay out how you see a communications
program furthering those goals. This

Scope of Services – Be clear and                   time when it comes to evaluating the
realistic about what you need (public              submitted proposals.
relations, social media, etc.).
                                                   6. Know your budget
Process – Share the steps you will take            Many companies do not feel
in the selection process and the timeline          comfortable stating their budget in their
you will follow.                                   RFPs. Even so, you need to keep your
                                                   budget in mind when compiling your
3. Be concise                                      RFP, and be aware of the “going rate” for
When it comes to RFPs, the shorter the             communications services. If you cannot
better. Be explicit and direct with what           afford “everything but the kitchen sink,”
you are asking for. Include enough                 don’t ask for it. Make sure you are being
background and explanation for                     realistic with your request and set
clarification purposes. If an agency is             priorities. If you ask for more than you
doing its due diligence, it will dig deeper        can afford, be prepared for sticker shock
into your company history, philosophy,             and be ready to sacrifice certain line
products and services and anything else            items.
it needs to know to submit a
comprehensive proposal.                            7. Be rational
                                                   In addition to keeping your budget in
4. Set realistic timelines                         mind when detailing the strategic scope
The larger the scope of services you are           in your RFP, be aware of your current
requesting, the more time an agency will           resources, you staff availability and
need to respond. If possible, give                 timeline limitations. For example, if you
agencies at least three weeks to submit            ask for media training services for your
their proposals. Also, give yourself               senior staff, make sure they have time in
enough time to thoughtfully evaluate               their schedules.
each proposal that comes in. If you have
a hard and fast start date, work                   8. Be available
backwards and figure out the best time              Make sure you include your contact info.
to issue your RFP.                                 If an agency is considering your RFP, it is
                                                   likely they will have questions.
5. Be explicit with your selection
   criteria                                        View on CommPRO
Decide internally what the winning                                        Laura Alvarado is director
agency will look like. In the RFP, share                                  of marketing at O’Neill
the criteria that is not negotiable. For                                  and Associates, led by
example, if you want an agency that has                                   former Massachusetts Lt.
proven successes with national public                                     Governor Thomas P.
relations campaigns for nonprofit                                          O’Neill III, and serves
organizations, say so. This way, you can                                  clients in energy, financial
automatically exclude companies who                services, transportation, healthcare, hospitality,
                                                   education, technology and real estate
do not fit the qualifications and save               development.

                                                                By Vicki Flaugher, Social Media Zone

      10 Stellar Social Media Tools for Business
We all love our online gadgets and tools.
Some help us breeze through the day.                       We selected tools due to
Some help us look like social media                        their convenience and
superstars, whether weʼre marketers,
entrepreneurs or business execs. Some are                  novelty. We like how they
just plain fun. Practical or not, tools help.              streamline social media
We scoured the Web and asked our friends
                                                           efforts and so will you .
and colleagues about their favorite social
media tools—especially those that help                looked at a few of these online resources
businesses with their marketing and                   through the lens of the Sysomos MAP
communication needs. We took the work we              listening tool to monitor some of the online
know you need to do in these areas and                buzz about them. We think work should be
looked for ways to make that easier. We               efficient AND fun—and these tools will
added in some sassy alternatives, focusing            certainly do the trick to help you grow your
on affordability and usability. And finally, we        business and online buzz."

1. SlideRocket   Make Your Presentations Take Off

                      PowerPoint presentations can get dull. Not
                      only do dull presentations lack impact in the
                      boardroom—but they also get no traction
                      online. Enter, SlideRocket. The presentations
                      you share on social media and at your next
                      meeting will never be the same. SlideRocket
                      in an online tool with free and premium
                      pricing that makes presentations more
                      engaging. We like its ability to embed social
                      media feeds and Web information into
                      presentations. It’s also mobile-compatible
                      and hosts a library of professional templates.
                      If you haven’t already, maybe it’s time to take
                      a ride on Slide Rocket.

   2. Dropbox Manage Your Files on the Go

                        Working on the go can be challenging. We
                        all like to be un-tethered from our desktop,
                        but working in the cloud isn’t a “dream” yet.
                        Security concerns can drive the legal team
                        crazy. Meet the solution: Dropbox. It handles
                        big files, a variety of media types, and can
                        be accessed from just about anywhere with
                        an Internet connection. It’s compatible with
                        Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android
                        and BlackBerry. You can be social by inviting
                        team members, clients and others to access
                        files through the secure site to a permission-
                        controlled folder. For working on the go,
                        Dropbox rocks!

          3. Sprout Social        Get It All Together

                             Multiple accounts with multiple people
                             working them can be a logistical
                             nightmare. It’s one thing to be able to
                             monitor mentions in social, but what about
                             rolling that out to an actionable client lead
                             management system? Sprout Social
                             includes features such as dashboard
                             analytics, scheduling, management,
                             mobile, location check-ins and CRM. You
                             can schedule updates, assign tasks, add
                             contacts. With a 98% favorable sentiment
                             rating, Sprout Social will help you get it

4. Socialize Your Stuff   Social Media Meets Direct Marketing

                             Ever wish it were easier to send social
                             media blurbs, posts and updates out to
                             your email list? Socialize Your Stuff
                             offers different ways of socializing your
                             stuff. You can push Facebook updates to
                             your email list. You can create and
                             manage social content. You can run
                             group promotions and you can use your
                             email list to drive social interactions.
                             Finally, you can allow resellers,
                             franchises, independent consultants, or
                             internal sales people to select and then
                             publish your end-user content to their
                             email lists and social media accounts.
                             Pretty powerful stuff, if you ask us.

      5. Loop Lingo      Monetizing Communication

                            Every pro is faced with the social media
                            ROI question. Loop Lingo just might be the
                            tool you need to present a stronger bottom-
                            line correlation to the C-suite. Loop Lingo
                            lets you offer point-of-sale incentives to
                            customers who share your message via
                            their social media networks. You can
                            integrate your e-commerce functions with
                            your campaigns, on either a product-by-
                            product basis or a multi-product program.
                            You can track your success with a few
                            easy clicks of a button. Do you think your
                            client or CEO can appreciate that kind of
                            lingo? We certainly think so.

6. Paper.li   Online Twitter Newspaper with Global Appeal

                            Want to broaden your social media
                            footprint and thought leadership? Paper.li
                            will allow you to create an online pub
                            based on a specific Twitter user, #hashtag,
                            or Twitter list. Paper.li’s are generated
                            daily, with entries pulled from sources you
                            select. It’s an easy way to compile
                            corporate Twitter accounts, aggregate
                            hashtag conversations, and become a go-
                            to aggregator of industry information.

 7. Letter Pop   Social Media Created Newsletter

                       For hardworking pros tasked with
                       publishing massive amounts of information,
                       Letter Pop can help ease the strain. It lets
                       you create beautiful newsletters by
                       importing social media content, laying out
                       the content via easy-to-use templates, and
                       then publishing the final result to your
                       social networks. It’s a drag-and-drop, click-
                       and-edit content machine that’s hard not to
                       fall in love with at first look. It’s easy to use
                       and the results look great, too—so what’s
                       not to love? You can even enable
                       comments on your publication,
                       transforming it into an additional
                       engagement vehicle for your fans.

8. Kwanzoo   Catchy Campaigns via Social Channels

                       Kwanzoo helps you put the “wow” into
                       audience engagement. If you’re looking for an
                       affordable and easy option for creating high
                       quality creative, polls, surveys and more, then
                       Kwanzoo lets you create multiplatform
                       campaigns that can be deployed on a
                       website, blog or affiliate site, or even a mobile
                       landing page. It creates code to run on an ad
                       network. Your campaign can be installed as a
                       new tab on a Facebook page or as an email
                       template and supporting landing page. Add in
                       the analytical tools for tracking your ROI
                       success and it’s hard to imagine a more
                       engaging way to put the sales back into your

                  9. ifttt.com Recipe for Success

                                You know blasting out the same thing
                                across social channels isn’t ideal. But
                                you also face restrictions on how much
                                time to allocate to social media.
                                Consider ifttt.com, which stands for “If
                                This Then That.” It lets you create
                                recipes for blurb publication that keep
                                your stream fresh across channels.
                                Simply set up sequences you prefer
                                and they launch automatically once
                                triggers and tasks are performed.
                                Channels served include dozens of the
                                big social channels.

      10. Feed Rinse       Sorting Out the Noise Channels

                                As professionals, we all read a lot of
                                media. We scour the latest industry news,
                                keep up to date on what our competitors
                                are doing, and set up feeds for our own
                                media mentions. As a result, our RSS feed
                                management system gets overloaded.
                                Enter Feed Rinse. A better, more targeted
                                choice than less filtered options (like
                                Google Reader), Feed Rinse can load
                                feeds, set up filters, “wash” the feeds, and
                                then export them. You can share these
                                feeds on your site or for your own
                                enjoyment on your mobile device. It takes
                                the noise out and lets you take action
                                worth taking based on updates that matter.
                                We like that.
View on CommPRO

Six Must
Qualities to
Look for When
Hiring a PR Firm
                             By Evan Weisel, Principal & Co-Founder, Welz & Weisel Communications

Companies hire a public relations firm           outside counsel to add or supplement
for all kinds of reasons: to build brand        what is already being done.
recognition, create awareness for its
products and services, help with                So, as you get serious about reviewing
messaging and positioning within target         prospects for the job, what do you look
markets, and ultimately build programs          for? You will likely get proposals from
that drive leads to support the sales           dozens of contenders that claim they are
force (whether direct or indirect). In          the best choice. So how do you
addition, many organizations just do not        differentiate among public relations
have the time to implement and execute          firms? The decision should come down
a comprehensive public relations                to whether the agency exhibits strong
program in-house and need to turn to            grounding with respect to six, essential

                     1. Retention                    not get caught up in a numbers game.
                                                     Too many firms still commit to X number
                        You don’t hire               of briefings and articles, X number of
                         employees                   press releases, and X number of…well
                         expecting them to           anything. What happens in this scenario
                          stay less than a           is the firm is not focused on attaining
                           year. So why              results that align with the overall
                            would you want           company objectives or have a positive
                            to bring on a firm        impact on the business.
                            that can’t keep a
                           client for any                Are there enough senior
                           longer? Let’s face            members working on
                          it: If a firm has a             your account, or is the
                         history of accounts             agency attempting to
                        that turn over
                                                         assign junior members
                       within 12 months
                      that is a negative                 after the account win?
                    “churn and burn” rate
                   you don’t want. What              Instead they are determined to hit the
                 you need is a long-term,            promised numbers, regardless if it helps
               strategic partner, not a firm          your business or not. Ultimately, a solid
             that promises the moon to               and respected public relations firm will
          prospective clients in hopes of            deliver impactful results that help your
       landing them and then promptly                organization’s brand and bottom line –
    drops the ball. Clients may not stick            both in numbers and quality.
around for decades – agreements end
for many reasons that have nothing to                3. Staff
do with performance issues. But, you do              Get to know the public relations team
certainly want to see continuity within              members who will work your account.
the client roster, as opposed to a                   Are there enough senior members on
revolving-door situation.                            board? Or, is the firm attempting to
                                                     assign mainly junior members to you?
2. Results                                           While we employ many junior staffers at
In the end, it’s all about results. However,         our firm, they’re part of a team managed
seek results that are both quantifiable               by seasoned professionals, who came to
and qualitative, with demonstrated ROI.              us with proven track records. Watch out
Getting ink and visibility in places that            for the “Bait and switch” – meaning ask
your customers do not read or visit is               for the team that will work on the
worthless. The value for a company is                account to be in the pitch meeting. Too
visibility in front of the right audience –          often in our industry firm’s bring in senior
prospective buyers. One of my pet                    talent and replace them with junior
peeves is promising a certain number of              staffers.
articles, awards or speaking slots. Do

Insist before signing on with a firm that           messaging strategy for your business
all or most team members meet with you             category.
to gain insight into their backgrounds,
especially related to your industry sector.            An agency worth its
Another important detail to ask                        retainer should offer a
prospective firms: How long do people                   broad range of services
stay at the firm? You certainly don’t want              these days.
a constant flow of new team members
working on your campaigns that cost
extra time and money to bring them up              5. Services
to speed on your account.                          Any agency worth its retainer should
                                                   offer a broad range of services. No one
4. Track Record/                                   can afford to be one dimensional in
                                                   today’s environment so the best
Experience                                         candidate should demonstrate strong
Does the public relations firm have                 performance levels in deploying
experience serving clients within your             integrated programs that include
industry? Do they know your market                 traditional public relations (press
sector (consumer, technology,                      releases, media pitches, award
healthcare, etc.)? Don’t be fooled with a          nominations, guest editorials, etc.),
proposal around the false idea that                social-media strategies, content
“Public Relations rules apply across the           development, and thought leadership
board, regardless of a client’s particular         activities.
industry sector …” because every sector            A public relations campaign can take
is very different and this type of thinking        shape in the form of Twitter feeds, blogs,
only leads to a cookie-cutter approach,            podcasts, webinars, white papers,
or worse, not getting results. For                 bylined articles, case studies, contests,
example, if your company is looking to             trade show appearances, speaking
sell into the government, does the firm             engagements and/or mega-media
you are looking to hire understand the             events, among other formats. All require
nuances of this very unique sector?                a public relations professional who
Think about it: When you’re going out to           understands how to integrate these
eat, do you pick restaurants that have             multiple platforms.
Thai, Mexican and Italian food on the              It is important to note that it is not
menu? I hope not. That would speak to a            enough for a PR person to know how to
kitchen attempting to please too many              utilize both traditional and digital media.
diverging palates. Similarly, every                A true professional can skillfully weave
industry sector is totally different so            the right messaging within so the
expertise in your industry is valuable.            resulting media reporting is on-point and
Hire public relations professionals who            elevates corporate executives quoted as
really understand how to execute a                 high-profile experts/thought leaders. Any
                                                   young public relations firm employee

can send a tweet, for example but it               competitors. If you hear a firm say, “We
takes a combination of written-word                can manage the conflict of interest issue
skills and modern-media savvy to                   as we will employ an entirely separate
transform the tweet into an outlet for             team for your company,” that simply will
optimal messaging.                                 not work well for your needs. It indicates
                                                   that the contender public relations firm is
6. Creativity                                      willing to compromise working in the
                                                   best interest of its clients simply for
We like to point out that most public              expanding its own revenue base.
relations firms offer the same basic core
services. What separates great firms                It’s not easy to find the right firm but we
from good firms is creativity – coming up           can agree that these are six traits to
with programs that are memorable and               consider before signing on the dotted
set your company apart. The biggest                line.

“hits” we have generated for our clients
through the years have come from                   View on CommPRO
proactive, thought-provoking campaigns
that we created from scratch. Have the
agency provide examples and case
studies of their creative programs.

I also have one additional point to the six
listed above which is to be sure to
screen the client roster for competitive           Evan Weisel is co-founder/principal at
conflicts. Obviously, you should never              Welz & Weisel Communications, a
hire a public relations firm already                leading tech PR agency. Follow the firm
committed to supporting one of your top            on Twitter: @W2Comm.

View On
Say Hello to the New Marketing Mix:

Why PR’s Role Is Increasing
   In Today’s Economy
By Scott Harris, President and CEO, Mustang Marketing

The business world has, by and large,              from economic instability, tightening their
responded to the recent recession with             budgets, being careful with their money
renewed enthusiasm and grit. Many                  and what is attached to the company
business owners have taken an “it’s not            name, and investing only in mediums
over ‘til it’s over” attitude and doing            that practically guarantee a solid return
whatever it takes to keep their company            on investment (ROI).
afloat and, in many cases, successful. As
acceptance that things have changed                   PR, when blended with an
permanently has grown, optimism for the               overall marketing plan, is the
future becomes more widespread.
Strong companies have maintained or
                                                      most cost-effective marketing
embraced this more aggressive                         format there is.
approach, looking to all the newest ways
                                                   PR, when blended with an overall
to make and save money while
                                                   marketing campaign, is the most
conducting good business.
                                                   cost-effective marketing format
The social media boom has been great               there is. Ads and direct mail pieces
for some businesses, but it’s not always           are easier to control – no third party
the latest developments that can bring             (e.g., editors) judging the value
your company back to a successful                  of your work and deciding if it will
trajectory. Public relations, or PR, though        run or not. PR doesn’t come with
often overlooked, is a huge facet of               the same costs, but typically comes
marketing that has seen itself move                with more credibility. Studies show that
higher on the priority list.                       most of us trust editorial (which is where
                                                   PR is classified) more than we do “ads.”
The recent economic decline marked, in             Ads are often (maybe too often) about
my opinion, a paradigm shift in American           hype and catch phrases – all designed to
business. This isn’t merely a slump we             grab attention. PR, of course, does the
are recovering from, but a directional             same thing, but often comes as more of
shift that requires a change in                    a reward – a published press release for
perspective and attitude. It is this change        a company’s new hire or 30th
that brings PR to a new, more significant          anniversary, or an editorial space
and more crucial forefront.                        because a good article was written, or
                                                   getting called for a quote because you’ve
As president and owner of a marketing              proven yourself a reputable source.
company for the past 25 years, I have
always believed in the power of PR, and            PR also captures attention in a way that
do feel that its role has only become              advertising does not – it creates content
more powerful in the last three years.             where ads are ignored, tuned out,
This is not because the rules of PR have           deleted or dismissed under the
changed – in fact, the approaches, goals           knowledge that it’s “paid media” by the
and overall value of PR have stayed                very company being advertised. Yes, PR
virtually the same. The difference comes           can be bought, but it generally comes
from the business owners, still shaken             from a third-party source: a newspaper,

magazine, radio or TV station, etc. It is         PR has the power to reach people in a
not immediately connected to the                  way ads both cannot and do not, and
company itself, giving the piece far              today, when the name of the game more
greater authority – and audience. Quite           than ever before is ROI, PR has the solid
simply, the tendency is to believe PR and         track record.
doubt ads.
                                                  When handled correctly – that is, when a
When a company is actively and                    company gets consistent, positive media
consistently visible through various              attention and not simply one flashy front-
positive PR measures, it creates an               page space a year – the result is trust
image of trustworthiness and legitimacy           and authority, two characteristics most
(this works the same way with negative            business owners would love to gain in
PR pieces, as felt recently through BP,           their audience. This has always been
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, etc.). This              true of PR, but it has never been more
translates to name recognition in your            necessary on such a widespread level.
audience, and reliability to editors who          The economy has demanded a lot of
will return to you for column opportunities       change in the way business owners run
or article quotes.                                their companies – take comfort in the fact
                                                  that this is a good change.
There are limitations, however. PR is not
“free marketing” and does not create a            View on CommPRO
direct call-to-action – it is not a sell piece.
And it can’t magically wash away big                            Scott Harris is CEO of
mistakes and it does work independently                         Mustang Marketing, a
of, or instead of, a good comprehensive                         marketing, advertising and
marketing campaign. As I said, good PR                          communications firm based
is often the result of good company work.                       in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
  Why Aren’t Businesses Listening to Their Target
  Markets? Here’s Why It Matters & How to Do It

               By Sarah Skerik, VP, Social Media, PR Newswire, for the Agile Engagement Channel

Content is the cornerstone of today’s            opportunity for communicators,
communications strategies, but if the            businesses and brands in general.
content is off the mark or isn’t seen
by the intended audiences, your
efforts were for naught. That’s why
we consider listening, targeting and             The Benefits of
distribution to be key fundamentals
for a truly agile approach to
communications. Today, we’re going               Let’s say you monitor social channels
to dig into listening. Listening is truly        for discussion about “PR” and “social
the foundation of agile engagement –             media.” The screen above is a grab
and it’s essential for ANY business              from our monitoring dashboard that
seeking attract, engage and retain               shows the popular subtopics within
customers and brand followers                    that broader discussion.
                                                 If we’re tuned into what our
Here at PR Newswire, we use the                  audiences are saying and what
term “Social Echo” to describe the               questions they’re asking, we should
way messages reverberate around                  be able to influence the direction
and are amplified by our audiences.               these conversations take. And, of
As messages enter the stream of                  course, “tuning in” really means
conversations, they’re shared by                 listening. But listening is a pretty
people in networks, sparking other               broad term, so let’s break it down a
discussions. And today, social                   bit.
conversations can make or break
brands and products. Buzz is a                   First, it’s imperative that
powerful thing. But that’s not the only          communicators and businesses in
                                                 general understand what audiences

are talking about, and what
questions they ask. Doing so will
enable you to communicate in their
context. Failing to do so means you
run the risk of being the corporate
equivalent of “that guy” with the
demonstrated knack for saying the
wrong thing at the wrong time.

Identifying hot-button issues and
recurring industry complaints is
another important exercise. In
addition to identifying opportunities
for the brand to be the hero, doing
this on an ongoing basis helps you to
either avoid risky areas or meet them
head on and mitigate the risks,
depending upon whatever is
appropriate for the objective. It
reduces surprise.

Listening will also reveal to you the
language uses – the keywords your
audiences use when discussing you
segment and services – enabling you
to literally be on the same page,
which also delivers search benefits.

Where to Listen
Twitter – In addition for specific
mentions, keep an eye peeled for
discussions around new and
established hash tags for your
sector. Making lists of key influencers
can make Twitter more manageable,             Read our new white paper, “Earned
as can a social media monitoring              Media, Evolved,” discussing how
dashboard (like our own PR                    the transformed media landscape
Newswire Media Monitoring service).           presents new opportunities for
                                              businesses they work with to earn
Forums and discussion groups –                media.
Discussion groups on places like              View on CommPRO
LinkedIn and Quora are fantastic
focus groups to which you should
pay attention. You may also find
discussion groups hosted by leading
publications or industry groups.

Search engines – Okay, it’s not truly
listening per se, but paying attention        Sarah Skerik is the VP of Social
to what results surface for the               Media at PR Newswire. She tweets
keywords your organization has                and blogs about digital PR, social
selected is a good way to keep tabs           media and search. (Free ebook.)
on competitors, influencers and fast-
moving issues in your space.

Local News Beyond
          6 and 11
     How Businesses Can Benefit
               By David Armon, President, Critical Mention,
                            for the “Critical Now” Channel

                           The economic environment
                        has mandated that newsrooms
                        operate as lean, mean news
                         reporting machines. That has
                         meant fewer feet, cameras and
                         microphones on the street for
                         many print and broadcast news
                        organizations. At the same
                       time, those lucky journalists still
                    drawing a paycheck are responsible
                    for generating an even larger
                   amount of content in a multitude of

                  Understanding how these outlets are
                  using innovative digital technologies
                 can assist businesses of all sizes as
                they search for ways to tell their story
               and attract new customers.

               Here’s an overview of what you need to
               know as a business leader to grow you
               visibility and bottom line via the press
               these days:

                                                 live college basketball games and full
THE CONNECTED                                    seasons of “Mad Men” on-demand.
Today, more than ever, broadcasters              Devices like Apple TV, Roku and game
must reach their audiences using all             consoles have made it possible for any
means possible. In the digital age,              television set to receive content from
information travels fast and consumers           Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, HBO GO
are no longer waiting for the six o-clock        and dozens of lesser known cloud-
news to stay on top of their topics of           based sources of programming.
interest; they demand immediate access           Manufacturers like Sony are also
to information.                                  incorporating GoogleTV technology so
                                                 consumers can watch YouTube from
Every successful broadcast news
                                                 their own couch. 
operation is engaging with viewers using
Twitter and the station’s web site. These        Those shopping for a new television can
additional channels – along with social          find so-called IPTV sets for less than
platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn,               $400. Right out of the box, these TVs
YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest – will be         connect to wireless networks and are
crucial for these local brands to remain         preloaded with just about every social
relevant as audiences move away from             network and video platform. Everything,
               broadcast television.             that is, except for local network affiliates
                                                 that have dominated for decades.
             Why are TV news
                                                 As if the fragmentation involving the
             operations rushing online
                                                 living room isn’t worrisome enough for
             at such a fast pace?
                                                 executives at traditional media
             The answer: Survival.               companies, consumers are now using
             Deloitte reported in                tablets and smart phones to bypass
             January that nine million           both their web browser and TV set. More
             Americans have either               than half of U.S. mobile phone owners
             pulled out their cable TV or        have watched video on their devices,
           are planning to yank cable.           reports comScore. 

As consumers stop relying primarily on           CHANGING PARADIGM
cable and satellite platforms to deliver
programming, they appear willing to
                                                 FOR LOCAL NEWS
                                                 One segment of traditional media
sacrifice those familiar talking heads            relishing these developments is print.
who deliver their local news, weather            For years, the newspaper industry was
and sports. Local news audiences will            the poster child for changing information
be impacted dramatically as consumers            consumption habits. Print executives
opt for myriad Internet-connected                readily acknowledged that names in the
devices delivering everything from inane-        obituaries mirrored their circulation lists.
but-popular stupid pet trick videos to           But print is adapting quickly, and in a
                                                 way that threatens broadcasters.

Newspapers like the News-Herald in                 more than 800 digital and print products
suburban Cleveland; the Time-News in               in 18 states serving 57 million customers
Erie, Pa., and the Saratogian in northern          per month.
New York are taking advantage of lower
video production, bandwidth, production
and delivery costs and creating video
programming that leverages their status
as a recognized – and many times the
most sometimes the most trusted –
media brand in their respective markets.           What is expected from Digital First is an
                                                   ambitious line-up of live video news to
It was the News-Herald, not local                  web browsers and mobile devices. No
network affiliates, providing long-form             word yet on whether your local
coverage of a church vigil for victims of a        newspaper will schedule their daily
school shooting in Chardon, Ohio.                  webcast at 6 or 11.
Weeks earlier, when a McDonald’s was
robbed, the News-Herald had the first
video from the scene, including
                                                   IMPLICATIONS FOR
interviews with those in the eatery when           BUSINESSES
                                                   Many of us in business want to
it was hit.
                                                   showcase our products, people and
We’ve been watching the evolution of               events in the media. Too often, we jump
newspapers into Americas next                      to conclusions about Story A being right
broadcasters. Starting with the                    for TV while Story B is destined for print.
distribution of $150 Flip camcorders
                                                   The paradigm shift toward all media
during a weekly editorial meeting,
                                                   outlets operating in real-time, engaging
reporters were asked to conduct
                                                   with their audiences on social media
business as usual – concentrating on
                                                   platforms, and generating online video
print stories – and then do a quick on-
                                                   presents more opportunity, and a few
camera interview about the person they
just interviewed. 

The videos were a hit. Advertisers                 Positive aspects:
showed their support by sponsoring
newspaper web sites. Reporters liked                •    The chance to score two hits – a
their new-found fame. News sources                       print story that spikes attention for
started thinking about print differently.                a day and an archived video piece
                                                         that can live on for weeks, months
The early success of online video for                    and even years.
newspapers sparked creation of Digital              •    Content that is eminently more
First Media, headed by CEO John Paton                    sharable than something
and including MediaNews Group and                        immortalized in ink and paper.
Journal Register Company. Together,                 •    Ability to showcase aesthetics –
this journalism powerhouse contains                      products, locations, events, colors,

     people, culture – that don’t lend                 without producers, editors and
     themselves easily to words.                       tech support teams to assist
 •   Additional outlet for company-                    novice reporters with their new
     produced b-roll (background video                 multimedia gear.
     shot by a business and provided to                Obtaining precise measurement
     news outlets to illustrate a story).              data for audience size and impact
 •   Excuse to meet additional news                    will be an added complication for
     executives at local outlets and                   many PR professionals. 	
     trades. Knowing the goals of the
     digital editor and rules of                 View on CommPRO
     engagement will help secure
     coverage and avoid missteps.
                                                                       David Armon is the
Complications abound, too:                                             president of Critical
                                                                       Mention, and a self-
 •   Executives who might not hesitate                                 described “media
     to be a source for a print reporter                               exec embracing
     can get cold feet when the Flip                                   disruptive technology
     comes out.                                  and the social web.” Follow him on
 •   Formal on-camera media training             Twitter: @daveyarmon. This article
     will be de rigueur prior to all             originally ran in the “Critical Now”
     interviews, not just the visit by 60
                                                 Channel on CommPRO.biz.
 •   Learning curves are steep for cost-
     conscious media organizations

   Be Like
Honest Abe
    Six Leadership Lessons
from a Model Communicator
     By Gene Marbach, Group VP, Makovsky & Co., Blogger, IR Therefore I Am

Regardless of your particular discipline, I        (and, of course, without the aid of
believe that there’s much about                    PowerPoint).
communications – applicable to today –
that we can learn from Mr. Lincoln:                              2. Listening
                                                                   How often do we forget
                                                                   that listening is an
              1. Getting to the                                    important part of the
              Point                                                communications process?
                The Gettysburg Address is          Clearly, Mr. Lincoln was a listener and
                one of the most famous             this trait informed his opinions and
                speeches ever delivered. It        shaped his understanding of the people
consisted of 10 sentences and took a               he was elected to govern. He spent
little more than two minutes to deliver            hours sitting and talking with people,
(by way of comparison, President                   asking questions and getting to know
Obama’s recent State of the Union                  others. He talked with soldiers, widows
address lasted well over an hour                   of fallen soldiers, common people and
including the applause breaks).  In the            more. Although known as a great
time he spoke, Lincoln invoked the                 storyteller, he was also known to take
principles of human equality as set forth          the time to hear complaints from people
by the Declaration of Independence and             and listen to their stories. It’s hard for
redefined the Civil War as a struggle not           leaders of significant importance to take
merely for the Union, but as “a new birth          the time to slow down and listen, but it’s
of freedom” that would bring true                  critically important.
equality to all of its citizens, and that
would also create a unified nation.                               3. Crisis
All of President Lincoln’s hopes to end                          Communications
the Civil War and the entire future of his                        Given that Mr. Lincoln
presidency and, for that matter, the                              presided over a war torn
entire nation, rested on his shoulders at                         country, he came to be an
that moment. Yet he did not allow the              expert at crisis communications. More
importance of the moment to complicate             than telling the public why the war was
his message, and that speaks volumes               worth fighting, he gave them a sense of
about Lincoln’s gift as a communicator.            hope during a time when hundreds of
                                                   thousands were dying in the Civil War.
By now, it is widely known that Mr.                And he gave Americans a sense of
Lincoln labored mightily with this speech          purpose, that it was their duty to honor
as opposed to the commonly-held belief             the dead by ensuring government “of the
that it was hurriedly written on the back          people, by the people, for the people,
of envelop in ten minutes. In choosing             shall not perish from the earth.”
his words carefully, Mr. Lincoln delivered
his messages cogently and succinctly

                                                      Lincoln absorbed the
             4. Learning                              biggest ideas and also
              President Lincoln’s skills              studied the very best
              as a communicator were                  communicators that he
              shaped by what he read                  could find.
              and, by all accounts, he
was a voracious reader. He absorbed the
biggest ideas and studied the best               snapped as he toured Richmond after it
communicators he could find. As a                 fell, much to the consternation of his
youngster, he steeped himself in books           protectors who feared sniper activity. As
such as biographies of George                    we know, photos tell stories, reinforce
Washington, selections from Cicero,              positions and “humanize” events.
Demosthenes, Franklin, and passages              There is indeed much we can learn from
from Hamlet, Falstaff, and Henry V.              President Lincoln, one of our greatest
                                                 presidents and a great communicator.
             5. Knowing the                      Read some of the biographies written
             Value of Gesture                    about him. Read some of his speeches
                                                 and writings as well as the books he
               The day after General             read. Of course, learn to be a better
               Robert E. Lee surrendered         listener. You’ll become a better
              to General Ulysses S. Grant        communicator and advisor, and those
on April 9, 1865, the streets were               are critical skills for any business leader
thronged with people celebrating.                today.
Crowds serenaded President Lincoln
throughout the day. Knowing that he had          View on CommPRO 	 	
a nation to heal and a people to unite,
President Lincoln offered a gesture of
reconciliation and instructed the band to
play “Dixie,” which was adopted as the
Confederate anthem, and commented
that it was “one of the best tunes I have
ever heard.”
                                                 Gene Marbach is Group VP at Makovsky &
             6. Pictures Are                     Co., and chief blogger on IR Therefore I Am.
                                                 He has nearly 30 years of experience in
             Worth 1,000 Words                   investor relations, corporate
             Mr. Lincoln was perhaps             communications, and journalism. He has
             the most photographed               counseled clients on corporate positioning,
             president of his era. He            media relations, public relations, initial
was often photographed while visiting            public offerings, crisis communications,
Union troops and his picture was                 litigation publicity and employee

Social Media Must-Do’s for 2012
#1 Add SEO keywords to your SM blurbs
#2 Add social media icons to your website
#3Create and announce a “Moon” plan
#4Product more original content
#5 Get mobile - video, video, video
#6 Drop 3rd person bulls$#%ht
#7 Partner more
#8 Show up daily
#9 Include everyone, no exceptions
#10 Do it, do it, do it...do By Vicki Flaugher, Social Media Zone

 Here at CommPRO.biz, we’re striving to                  Social media – Twitter, YouTube, your blog,
 integrate the marketing disciplines to help             Pinterest, Google Plus, Slideshare,
 businesses grow. Our audience includes                  LinkedIn, Facebook and all the other
 tens of thousands in PR, corporate                      mainstays – are either huge search engines
 communications, marketing, advertising,                 or are included in search parameters for the
 social media and, increasingly, general                 mainstay search engines. Adding more
 business. We feel there is a great                      keywords to your social media blurbs helps
 conversation to be had at the intersection of           people find you. Use them.
 all that, especially with social media.
                                                         Use words that talk about your company
 Regardless of which of these sectors you                values, customer pain points, your solution,
 find yourself in, here are ten relevant social           the niche you serve and beyond. Go here to
 media must-do’s for 2012. Apply what you                find out how many people each month are
 see here and share it with whoever is                   searching the terms you want to focus on.
 responsible at your business for driving real           Message me if you need help.
 results online ... So without further ado, let’s
 get creative and have fun doing it!                     Must-do #2 – Add your social media
                                                         icons to all pages of your website
 Must-do #1 – Add SEO keywords                           I have researched the web for several white
 to your social media blurbs                             papers and found huge worldwide

companies who have not yet bothered to
                                                        Get seen. Get followed.
add their social media icons to their
website. If this is your company, fix it.                Get social. Start here: If
                                                        you haven’t added ALL of
Add your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and
Slideshare icons where they are large                   your social media icons
enough, conspicuous, and easily                         to your home page yet,
accessible. Do it NOW.                                  you might as well be
Must-do #3 – Create and announce                        invisible. Do it. Now.
a “we’re going to the Moon” plan
The U.S. went to the moon because the                  Videos are already mobile compatible, they
President set the goal, called both industry           are fun, they add a face to your brand, and
and the citizenry to action, and would not             are inexpensive to produce. Plus, videos
take no for an answer.                                 get shared.
Follow this example with your social media
implementation. Include everyone and set               Must-do #6 – Drop all 3rd person
the bar high. Talk about it a lot and add it to        bulls$##%^ht
everyone’s performance evaluation. This                Great social media requires the personal
work won’t do itself. Lead!                            touch. Change all your bios on your website
                                                       (and all your social media profiles) to be 1st
Must-do #4 – Produce more                              person point of view.
original content                                       Not convinced that’s “professional”
Find your voice and your company voice                 enough? Let me ask you then – would you
and start producing more content. That                 consider it professional to introduce
means posting blogs by your top exes. That             yourself in the 3rd person at a business
means publishing op-eds in your favorite               cocktail party? Of course not, so don’t do it
paper or trade publication, including                  on social (…uh….if your answer is yes, you
CommPRO.biz. That means doing radio                    have bigger problems than I can solve
interviews, podcasts, and even, yes,                   here…).
building a Twitter following by Tweeting
news and views. Thought leadership is not
                                                       Must-do #7 – Partner more
typically gained by regurgitating quotes and
                                                       Reach across all boundaries – divisions,
RSS news feeds.
                                                       departments, suppliers, media, bloggers,
Be interesting. Be unique. Be quotable.                companies competitors, customers,
‘Nuff said.                                            complainers, detractors, up and down the
Must-do #5 – Get mobile (think                         Openness is a cultural value and it pays off
video, video, video)                                   in social. Be more social, share more often,
Let’s face it: It is going to be expensive to          and partner with more (and different) types
rework your website for mobile. Do it                  of people.
anyway (research the stats and you’ll
agree) ... but in the meantime, do videos.             Must-do #8 – Show up daily

Yes, consistency helps. It helps your                 You have to own and live social. Yes, you’ll
readers integrate you into their personal             make flubs – this is a new territory after all –
work rhythms. It keeps the expectation                but everyone makes mistakes. Who cares?
reinforced in you and your staff. It spins out        The home town kid who does good is a
lots of searchable content.                           classic story. People love it when you’re real
                                                      – be real. Do it, do it, do it!!
If you ignore your friends, they will go away.
They will think you don’t care about them. Is         Make Your Own List
that your company message? OK, then,                  The remainder of 2012 is looking like a
don’t do that – show up every day.                    banner year as social media adoption
                                                      begins to fight its way out of the dip and
Must-do #9 – Include everyone,                        zoom up the J curve of acceptance.
no exceptions                                         Facebook’s recent IPO is the obvious sign
Finding the social media fanatics in your             of this, but there are thousands more.
company and in your world is a good idea.             Unless your company’s brand includes
It’s an even better idea for you to find the           being a laggard, you really aren’t in the
shy fans too.                                         position to delay this anymore. Social is a
                                                      knob, not a switch. Start now, start small,
Not everyone is confident to put their hand            but start. You won’t regret it.
up as a leader, but they often have cool
stuff to say. Find a way that everyone can            View on CommPRO
                                                                      Vicki Flaugher is the "Social
Must-do #10 – do it, do it, do it…                                    Media Zone" blogger at
                                                                      CommPRO.biz. She also
do it, already!                                                       blogs at SmartWoman
Make the commitment to social. This stuff is
                                                                      Guides and was featured in
not going away. Make it clear that social
                                                                      a Forbes “Top 10 Women
media is now your way of doing business,
                                                                      Social Media Influencers.”
not just the latest fad the insane marketing
                                                      Follow her on Twitter: @smartwoman.
freaks are forcing on the employees.

Difficult Conversations:
5 Steps to Help You Manage Them at Work and Beyond

 By Marie Raperto, Blogger, The Hiring Hub, CEO, Cantor Integrated Marketing Staffing

Difficult conversations occur in every facet    everybody feels that their side of the story
of business. We can have an issue with an      has been heard.
employee, a client, or even a colleague.
Here are some steps that will make these       State your position
tough talks easier for you — whether you’re    If you’re having this conversation, you have
an employee, HR director, manager or           a position. Let the other person know what
simply someone who needs to air important      it is, make sure they understand your views.
matters with a peer:                           But remember not to diminish their opinion/
Prepare and rehearse
Prior to the conversation, know what your      Reach an outcome
purpose is for having this conversation.       Hopefully, through conversation, the
Also know: What you want to accomplish,        situation can be explained and each party
what you would like the outcome to be and      will understand what happened. You can
what your attitude is and how it may           then identify steps to correct the situation. If
influence the conversation.                     you can’t resolve the issue, work out the
                                               next steps, such as another meeting, more
Sometimes, it helps to practice. Ask a         inquiry, etc.
mentor or HR person to help you rehearse.
It can help you feel more comfortable about    Conversations like these are necessary to
the process, but it can also bring up issues   resolve situations. They are a part of
you hadn’t thought about.                      working together in business. So remember
                                               to be candid and honest. Listen and respect
Your approach is key                           the other party. Hopefully, even if the
As important as what you’ll say is how it’s    situation can’t be remedied, the working
said. Create a calm atmosphere so the          relationship will survive and even grow so
issue can be discussed. Stay on topic, as      the conversation can continue.
                                               View on CommPRO
Don’t be accusatory                                          Marie Raperto is chief blogger for
We’ve all heard the saying that there are                    The Hiring Hub on
three sides to every story: ours, your and                   CommPRO.biz, and CEO of
then the truth. You want an open meeting                     Cantor Integrated Marketing
so all points can be discussed and                           Staffing.
Netflix to Customers:               Up Yours
Why Phony Corporate Apologies Backfire
          By James E. Lukaszewski, Founder, The Lukaszewski Group

As I read Netflix CEO Reid Hastings’              When will these business types begin to
letter last year to customers, in what            understand the two crucial ingredients of
appeared to be an apology for the price           the relationship with all constituencies?
increase mess (this Economist article             Namely that:
does a good job summing up the whole
PR nightmare), my expectations were               • Trust is based on providing information
met immediately with absolute                       before the potential victims need it.
disappointment, then disbelief.                     Netflix intentionally failed here.

                                                  • A sincere apology is actually the atomic
     Rebuilding trust is based                      energy of empathy, and can prevent or
     on providing information                       at least moderate the creation of critics
     before upset customers                         and victims, while detoxifying bad
     or potential victims ask.                      news.
Here was a smart guy who shot a huge              A credible apology has five principal
torpedo into the guts of his company,             components:
watched it blow up, and, along with many
others, and was still assessing the               1. An admission that harm was done
damages. So, he decided that what his                through the actions of the perpetrator.
departing customers need to hear, rather          2. The perpetrator explains and shows
than an apology, was a bunch of                      evidence of understanding the nature
management school gibberish that fails               of the harm caused.
to answer two big questions: “What were           3. The perpetrator’s statement of
they thinking?” And, “Do they really care,           profound regret, remorse, and
anyway?”                                             recognition contains some of the
                                                     lessons the perpetrator has learned
Instead of apologizing (although                     that will help avoid similar harmful
Hastings uses the word three times),                 circumstances in the future.
working to mollify both the thousands             4. The perpetrator humbly asks for
who left, and the thousands who would                forgiveness from all affected.
leave, he wrote a letter that essentially         5. The perpetrator voluntarily imposes
says, “I love myself. I am really really             some serious penance for the benefit
smart and you should love me, too. Let               of those adversely affected, and may
me count the ways for you.”                          even invite in outside oversight to
                                                     ensure that appropriate measures
What follows is the mantra of American               have been taken to resolve the matter,
business today: Never apologize, never,              and prevent future mistakes.
never, never. If you want to look like a
sissy, apologize. If you want to look             Instead, in what has become the classic
weak, apologize. If you want to look like         style of business faux apology, Hastings
a cave-in to the lesser mortals,                  did the following:
apologize. Want to look utterly silly in
front of your business school buddies,
apologize. If you’re a coward, apologize.

• Attempted to explain what the company
  was doing and why. The question is:
  “Why we should care?”
• He talked about what was “not their
  intent” by explaining that in fact all this
                                                     “    Failure to apologize
                                                          properly destroys
                                                          corporate trust and
                                                          leaves more questions
                                                          than answers.
  turmoil was their intent, “It wouldn’t               DVD customers to take a hike to the
  have changed the price increase, but it              thousands of little red one-dollar
  (telling you about it) would have been               machines on every street corner?
  the right thing to do.” What on earth              • He pulled the same stunt so many
  does this mean?                                      business perpetrators do by issuing,
• He talked about himself throughout the               what amounts to a fourth phony
  entire letter, which was supposed to be,             apology at the end of the letter, “…And
  one presumes, to help customers                      to apologize again to those members,
  adjust to the company’s screw-up. Mr.                both current and former, who felt we
  Hastings used “I” a dozen times. What                treated them thoughtlessly.”
  incredible arrogance.
• He continued his devastating customer              Thoughtlessly? The company’s action
  discussion by mentioning that there will           caused tens of thousands of families to
  be two websites and to make it more                sacrifice a small but crucial personal
  complicated for customers these sites              pleasure due to the yet to be plausibly
  will be separate and incompatible. Why             explained greed of his company.
  didn’t he just say that they want their

                                                 quickly and permanently stained. Yes,
Failure to apologize effectively always          permanently—the consequences of this
leaves far more questions than answers.          will always be included in stories,
Yet, did Hastings respectfully invite            discussions, and analyses of this
additional inquiries and promise                 company.
additional explanations?
                                                 The lesson: Bad news ripens badly. And
His last sentence said it all: “The              this story and this product will still be
Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard        decaying for a while.
to regain your trust. [How? By splitting
the service in two and making everything         View on CommPRO
more complicated and expensive?] We
know it will not be overnight. [How many
more arrogant screw-ups do you have in
store?] Actions speak louder than words.
[Tell us about it.] But words help people
to understand actions.” [Maybe it’s time
to take an empathy course, probably at a         James E. Lukaszewski is the funder of The
small school in Minnesota. You won’t find        Lukaszewski Group, where he advises,
it in any business school curriculum.]           coaches, and counsels the men and women
                                                 who run very large corporations and
Translation: “Up yours; strong message           organizations through extraordinary problems
                                                 and critical high-profile circumstances. He is
[i.e., we only care about ourselves] to          listed in Corporate Legal Times as one of “28
follow.”                                         Experts to Call When All Hell Breaks Loose,”
                                                 and in PR Week as one of 22 “crunch-time
Rarely in the annals of a successful             counselors who should be on the speed dial in a
consumer franchise can its legacy be so          crisis.”

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