The Changing Crisis Management Landscape

Reputation is undoubtedly one of a corporation’s most valuable assets. Organizations invest millions of dollars and many years of effort to build their brands and develop trust among their stakeholders. But in today’s lightning-fast, hyper-connected world, a crisis can occur in a heartbeat and destroy a hard-earned reputation at Internet speed. With so much at stake, effective crisis communication and issues management require companies to gain a new understanding of who their audiences are and what they expect and share about a brand. In a new podcast I just recorded for an audio series by American Airlines called “The Executive Report,” I discuss how new demands for corporate transparency and new channels opened by social media are transformng the way companies must prepare for and respond to crises. I invite you to listen to this discussion below and let me know your thoughts on this topic.  http://newsroom.ketchum.com/multimedia-center/podcasts/changing-crisis-management-landscape

Continue Reading

The Fearful CEO (or the Branson Effect)

The Fearful CEO (or the Branson Effect)

Even though study after study shows the positive effect a likable CEO can have in the success of a company and how he or she can put a face on a company’s values and attitudes as no other person can, PR pros increasingly face a challenge of getting some of their client CEOs in the media spotlight.

Some have a strong entourage that will only grant an interview with the most elusive and sought-after journalist, shunning the best media along the way. These handlers care for the CEO as if he or she were a rock star or Oprah Winfrey, and their excuses for ignoring media requests fall flat. “He doesn’t have the time” (well, think again, CEO duties should include communications). Or “That outlet is not worthy of our CEO” (definitely not, that outlet is one of the most respected and powerful in the country, and your CEO is just a country manager of one of many companies).

Continue Reading

That Time of ‘Year'

That Time of ‘Year'

How to Write Expressions With the Word “Year” and Other Time PeriodsWith the end of 2010 and the start of 2011, the word “year” will be coming up a lot in our communications in the next few weeks. Here’s a rundown of helpful guidelines related to some common gremlins with “year” expressions as well as other time expressions that can trip us up. Do any of these cause confusion for you? New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s and new year – “New Year’s Eve” and “New Year’s Day” are capitalized proper nouns for the names of a holiday and a preholiday period, and “New Year’s” can refer to either, but the “new year” is simply the new year and lowercased.

Paul is off on New Year’s Day.
What are you doing on New Year’s Eve?
Elyse is going to a New Year’s party.
Happy new year!

Continue Reading

2010 FedEx and Ketchum Social Media Benchmarking Study Highlights

FedEx and Ketchum Pleon Change recently partnered on a benchmarking study with 62 leading brands, including PepsiCo, GE, and Procter & Gamble, to answer the social media questions that keep many of our clients up at night: 

How do we leverage social media to drive internal culture, brand performance and reputation management?
What is the appropriate budget allocation to support social media programming?
How do we adapt internal structures to develop and roll out social media strategies?
What is the best way to measure the ROI of social media spending?

Continue Reading

I Can Haz Conference?

I Can Haz Conference?

For the past few years, nearly every corner of the marketing world has spent countless hours and resources trying to figure out how to best use social and digital media to help brands achieve their business and communications goals. Many of these conversations revolve around self-proclaimed “social media experts,” and almost all of them focus on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and the other popular apps that are part of the World Wide Web.

Continue Reading

Those Chilean Miners. . .

Several weeks have passed now since the dramatic rescue of the 33 Chilean miners, and many of us continue to ponder the spectacle we just witnessed. One of the miners became a huge celebrity in the U.S. (appearing on Letterman and at the New York Stock Exchange and the New York Marathon), and several movies about the rescue are already being made. But beyond observing the reach and power of today’s media to focus attention on a disaster, what are the bigger lessons we should take away from this event?

Andres Saiz Kafack, CEO of Ketchum’s affiliate in Chile, ASK Comunicaciones, recently offered these perspectives:”The rescue of 33 miners trapped in the San José mine captivated the interest of the world, as it involved one of the more complicated rescues in mining. Altogether, there were 69 days of uncertainty, a time when Chileans put aside their political and religious differences to come together as one to support the safe ending of an accident that shocked the country.This successful rescue showed the world the most important values of Chileans: calmness, professionalism and hope. Though fate may deal a blow to their country, joining together, they can overcome adversity. This accident occurred the same year as the devastating earthquake in February that rocked Chile, events that have marred the celebration of Chile’s bicentennial this year. In the end, the success of the rescue, with 33 miners brought out alive, has strengthened the spirit of the Chile as few could have expected and offered a number of lessons so that never again in Chile or abroad will this type of accident be repeated.”

Continue Reading

Big Personality Newscasters and Partisan News Sites Are Fragmenting Our World

Big Personality Newscasters and Partisan News Sites Are Fragmenting Our World

Welcome to our brave new future: the only broadcast news we’ll get is from people with big egos, who are their own semi-celebrity brand and who tell us news with their personal slant, and the only journalist news we’ll get is from partisan news sites that are promoting their views of the world.This view of the future emerged from a panel discussion recently at a Ketchum Global Media Network conference. Well-known journalists were interacting with Ketchum’s media experts about the future of media. It’s pretty clear this is how things are headed generally, although the trend varies in different countries around the world. For sure, it is the current trend at present in North America.

Continue Reading

If You Haven't Checked into Foursquare, Now's the Time . . .

If You Haven't Checked into Foursquare, Now's the Time . . .

Foursquare, the mobile application that lets you check in to real locations to unlock virtual badges and real-world incentives and discounts, hit four million users recently.  What’s important to note is Foursquare went from three million users to four million in 50 days according to GigaOm. It took them about a year to hit the first million. Foursquare, like Twitter and Facebook before it, is seeing “a network effect — the more people sign up, the faster it grows,” says GigaOm.  The numbers get even better. According to Mashable, “Foursquare is now adding close to 20,000 users per day, up significantly from the estimated 15,500 per day rate near the time the startup hit three million members.” Count among their newest members astronaut Douglas Wheelock, who unlocked the NASA Explorer badge a few weeks ago when he checked in from the space station. That’s right: IN SPACE.What could some of the reasons be for the colossal membership growth?

Continue Reading

What's Old With New Business

What's Old With New Business

New business proposals can be one of the most difficult challenges in public relations writing. Not only can they involve synthesizing complex communications strategies and brainstorming knock-‘em-dead ideas under short timelines, they also can involve multiple colleagues with diverse writing styles influenced by different education and experience as well as age and geography. In my role as editor, I’m often asked to proof proposals, and I frequently come across the same grammar and style inconsistencies and errors that reflect the special challenges of new business situations. Below I’ve listed five of the most common problems that I see. Mistakes in new business materials can be embarrassing and detrimental to business — especially from people whose profession is writing and communicating. PR pros should always take care to get as many details right as they can. How many of these do you come across in your new business efforts? 1. Would you or will you?When describing a proposed course of action, you can use the conditional verb tense (would) or the future tense (will): Our team will start by developing an influencer program to identify the leading players in this space who can best disseminate Company XYZ’s message. The conditional tense is less assuming while the future tense expresses stronger intent, but either is OK. However, it’s easy to inadvertently jump back and forth between these two tenses and create a sloppy-reading document. Remember to keep this verb choice consistent. 

Continue Reading

Stop Trying to Learn from the Experts in Social Media – to Learn You Have to Plunge In

Stop Trying to Learn from the Experts in Social Media – to Learn You Have to Plunge In

Ross Dawson, an expert in global social media, presenting at Ketchum’s Global Media Network conference in New York recently, started his presentation with the statement “There is no worked-out wisdom about social media that I have and can give you as the final answer. This is all so new, it is still being worked out – no one knows exactly where it is going and how it will all turn out.” With this statement, he had immediate credibility! He made a clear point – that the only way to learn about social media is to participate in it and learn iteratively through your own experience. Just plunge in.

Continue Reading