Christmas Cards: How to Succeed

I loaded up my computer and like any other student immediately clicked to the internet to mindlessly browse Facebook in my down time, but I had to stop at Yahoo! to see what the front stories were. I actually laughed at my computer at one story that drew my attention about San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini, and the news of his unusual family Christmas Card.

The small write up for the news story actually had me questioning why this man’s family thought this was a good idea. Now, I expect Christmas Cards to be the usual Christmas tree or witty Holiday joke, and am not stating that every family Christmas card is perfect, (in fact we all have our little laughs from some family), but as a public figure, I would expect this mayor to present his family in a more shall we say dignified manner.

Now, the lash and social media frenzy has begun now that this picture has gone viral, so it is in this mayor’s best interest to begin damage control. I understand it’s his family and it is their choice to represent themselves as they see fit, but again, this man is in the public eye. To recoup confidence in this man as a human being fit for office, I would advise him to play the card off as a pun or satirical joke meant to draw attention and have some laughs. There really is no time to reissue another Christmas card to everyone he sent to (and how could he top that anyways?) so there really is nothing to do but just address the problem at hand head on and move from there. Over time, this will die down for the mayor, and outside his town it will be forgotten by the public, but the only thing Mayor Santini can do is just address the questions with a smile

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Mitt Romney’s $10K Bet

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Last night during the GOP debate in Iowa, Mitt Romney extended a bet to Rick Perry stating that Romney never supported a mandate for national health care. This was a terrible move by Romney. When you’re trying to appeal to the working class people of Iowa, it’s probably not best to make $10k wagers in front of them. He basically rubbed his checkbook in the faces of the millions watching the debate.  Perry did the correct thing in the public eye by saying, “I’m not in the betting business.” This debate was supposed to be Romney’s move to the front-runner spot.  Romney was supposed to go after Gingrich and basically take him out. He did quite the opposite. He made a stupid move that will lead to a decline in his support.  This isn’t a catastrophic move by Romney but it’s one that he didn’t need by any measure. 

The real winner of the debate last night was Gingrich. Gingrich and Romney were the clear front-runners and Romney took a step backward last night.  Watching this exchange between Romney and Perry made me cringe. Perry is pretty familiar with debacles such as this one. We all remember Perry’s debate debacle a few weeks ago. His mishap will go down in history as one of the worst ever.  Perry has somewhat recovered and is now making a push in the polls. Romney’s mishap isn’t the end of the world, and he still has a good chance to get the presidential nomination.  I bet Mitt Romney $10k that he would love to take that bet back.

 

“Occupy” in Need of Some PR

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The “occupy” movement has been dominating the news for quite some time now. Their main focus is shrinking the gap between the rich and the poor and ending greed in our society.  Recently the protestors in New York participated in a mass paper-airplane throwing at banks. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal in many cases, but it’s confusing why the protestors would get people throwing paper airplanes at skyscrapers in New York City ten years after 9/11. If the “occupy” protestors want to gain credibility in the mainstream media then stunts like these are not the way to go. The mass airplane throwing wasn’t widely publicized, but it still dealt a blow to the protestors in the public eye. This wasn’t meant to remind people of 9/11 or be insensitive. This was just the protestors carrying out their agenda to show people the “greed” of banks.  A problem with this is that only a handful of protestors showed up.  This was a very unsuccessful demonstration of their right to protest. Some viewers felt like this movement wasn’t serious due to the lack of organization and the strange way they demonstrated their protest.  The only thing that was affected was the public’s view of the “occupy” movement.

Lately it seems that this movement is slowly dissolving. We don’t hear too much about the movement anymore because a large part of them have been discouraged by the mass arrests during some of the protests. Maybe a better PR agenda could’ve helped.  Getting your team members together and peacefully demonstrating within your limits of the law would’ve helped the cause more.  Reaching out to the media about your message and where and what the movement will be doing also could’ve helped.  Using social media more to tell supporters where and when demonstrations will be held. Using youtube to combat all the negative videos of the “occupy” movements also could’ve helped.  This movement isn’t over and in no way do I support this movement but it will be interesting to see what comes next for the “occupy” movement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YdIRhvQW6U

PR: It’s About Relationships

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Many people think that PR is all about spinning the truth to help your client. Some think it’s more of manipulating words to seem better in the public eye. This is fundamentally not true. PR encapsulates many things and one of the most important is maintaining a positive relationship. http://prinyourpajamas.com/pr-case-study-building-relationships/

One of the relationships is between your company and the public. The way the public views your company or product is essential to your success.  Important relationships aren’t just between your company and the public. The relationship inside your company is also vital. Maintaining a positive relationship between your employees is also a function of PR that can have a significant impact on your success. Happy employees will make the company run smoother and more efficiently. These relationships aren’t built in one day. It takes a great deal of time to build a lasting and positive relationship. A way to build a positive bond is by being transparent.  A PR professional should let their employees and the public know most of the necessary information that goes through a company. Another way is to carefully plan your message that you want to give to your employees and the public.  A company is built on the reputation it has with employees and its client so it’s essential for every company to practice good PR.

Delta Airlines Changes Perceptions

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Last weekend I flew to New York on Delta Airlines.  Delta is not normally my favorite airline to fly, but I had a positive experience with them this weekend when my flight was delayed.  On my final morning in New York I received a phone call and voice mail from Delta indicating that my flight had been delayed and to please call back for further information.  I then checked my email and saw a message that said that my 4:15 p.m. flight had been pushed back to 5:15 p.m. and to contact the airline with any questions or concerns.

When I arrived at the airport to check in and print my boarding pass, I was once again informed of the delay, the cause of the delay, and given information regarding rebooking procedures.  I had no concerns with the one-hour setback and eventually boarded my non-stop flight to Birmingham.  The following day, I received an email asking about my delay and requesting that I fill out a short survey to tell the airline about my experience.  The survey asked questions regarding both the information that was delivered to me and whether or not airline representatives were informed and helpful during the delay.

I think that this system works really well for Delta and demonstrates to customers that they understand the inconveniences that changes in flight schedules can cause.  They made sure to reach out to me in every way that they could: phone, email and in person.  Just in case I had been subjected to a negative experience, they followed up the next day with a way for me to provide feedback about what had happened during my travels.  Because of how Delta handled this situation, I’m confident that if my survey results had been very negative someone from the airline would have reached out to me to make amends.

In my opinion, many airlines today do not make customer service a priority, especially when it comes to things like short delays or checking baggage.  Delta’s process for informing delayed passengers helped me to make the most of my trip and made my delay as mildly inconvenient as possible.  In fact, I spent a little more time in Manhattan that day because I knew well in advance that I had some added time before needing to arrive at the airport.  Because I’m not a loyal Delta flyer, any bad experience would easily have caused me to have a very poor perception of the airline.  Instead, their effective communication left me unexpectedly impressed and more likely to consider flying with them in the future.

Roku Box is a Great Idea

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This weekend I had the pleasure of viewing my first Roku box being used in someone’s home.  I have read several articles about the boxes, which plug into traditional TV sets and allow you to stream online content, such as Netflix, Hulu and hundreds of other television channels.  While most of the channels are free, paid subscriptions allow users to watch a greater variety of content.  The box costs only $50 and gives any television (with A/V inputs) the ability to be connected to the internet.  Some people are even using them as an alternative to paying for monthly cable.

Roku has emerged as one of the leading streaming boxes available, though many people anticipate the introduction of an actual Apple TV set next year.  However, nobody knows for sure what Apple will unveil several months from now.  Also, Apple’s products often enter the market at a price point that only early adopters will pay.  Roku gives the average consumer access to online content and streaming services at a very manageable price.

The one downside to Roku is its lack of many regular cable channels, such as ESPN or the Food Network.  Based on the channel selection, Roku seems to work best if you have Netflix or Hulu account, and if you watch a lot of news or specialty science channels.  Roku has mentioned that they are working on increasing the variety of cable channels that are accessible via streaming on the box.

2 Found Dead at Virginia Tech

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When I first heard about this I thought that it may have been referring to the old incident that happened at Virginia Tech back in 2007 when a student killed numerous students. But as I look on my news feeds I notice it’s a recent shooting that happened today with two individuals. Although Virginia Tech has been doing everything they can in order to give the public up to date information, it still doesn’t help that another violent act has happened on their campus. This school’s reputation is tarnished and it is going to be very hard for them to gain any type of positivity. I know I am not the only person who thought back to they 2007 incident and said “not again.” I really can’t fathom what parents of students that attend the school are thinking. I understand that many schools have incidents such as racial slurs, bomb threats, and etc. But, the fact that the same incident happened to this institution more than once is somewhat unheard of. Virginia Tech needs to get ready for all the negativity that is coming their way, because it is going to be extremely hard to brand a school for incoming students when it has such a bad reputation now.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/08/justice/virginia-tech-incident/index.html?hpt=us_c1

What Did We Learn From Herman Cain

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What We Learned From Herman Cain

The country has been captivated by the drama that has unfolded during Herman Cain’s Presidential campaign. As you’ve heard, many accusers have come forward alleging that Mr. Cain sexually harassed them. Recently, a woman came forward and stated that her and Cain had an affair for 13 years.  Up until recently Cain deflected these accusations and withstood the criticism. Since the most recent accuser, Mr. Cain has suspended his campaign, saying that the media has treated him unfairly and it has taken a toll on his family. Mr. Cain still denies all the sexual accusations. 

 

What can we learn from a public relations standpoint about Herman Cain? How could he have retained the public trust after all these allegations? There is no concrete answer to how Mr. Cain should’ve handled this crisis or if he did anything wrong in handling it the way he did.  The best way to take on these allegations is to clearly state to the audience your innocence or guilt.  Mr. Cain wasn’t as clear as he should’ve been. When politico.com first ran a story about the first two Cain accusers, they gave Cain and his campaign ten days to respond. Cain failed to do so and the story ran anyway.  When asked what he thought about the article shortly after it was published, Cain seemed unprepared and unaware that such an article existed. These allegations are damaging enough, but more damage was done when his campaign failed to comment and prepare for the repercussions.  When facing something like this a candidate has to be clear, honest and straight to the point.  A candidate can’t deflect these questions if he truly believes he is innocent. Cain must have felt like if he dodged certain questions that this would all go away. That wasn’t the case. He dodged so much that more and more accusers came forward until he was forced to make a statement and ultimately forced to suspend his campaign.  Clear and honest communication to the public is always the best route to take.

 

 

Ticketmaster to Refund 11.25 million in Fees

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After 8 years, the lawsuit is finally over… Well, almost.  On November 29, 2011, Ticketmaster announced the terms of the settlement to their customers.  The lawsuit claims that Ticketmaster’s order processing fee and UPS delivery charge are both “excessive and deceptive.”

Basically the terms of the settlement are: if you purchased tickets from Ticketmaster.com between October 21, 1999, and October 19, 2011, you are eligible for a refund of $1.50 per ticket up to 17 tickets.  If you had purchased 17 tickets between that time, you would receive $25.50 in credit on Ticketmaster.com.  That doesn’t seem like that much, but it does add up to $11.25 million.

Another thing about the settlement is that Ticketmaster does not admit any wrong doing, and they do not have to stop charging the fees.  They just have to be upfront and explain them.  Ticketmaster got off pretty easy I think.  They just got a slap on the wrist to the tune of $11.25 million!  That is a lot of money, but they aren’t shelling it out in cash form.  It is a credit on their website that has to be used with them to purchase more tickets from them.  Another kicker is the credit has to be used within 4 years.  I feel like the entire settlement will benefit Ticketmaster.  In the end, it will just drive more business their way.

I am a Ticketmaster customer, and I have purchased 17 tickets during that time period.  I was totally unaware that this lawsuit was going on.  I checked on their website to see if it said anything about it on the home page.  No, not one single thing about it.  Ticketmaster is being very shady about the entire thing.  The shadiness is what got them in this predicament in the first place.  I don’t think they have a good PR person to say “Hey, maybe we should try to be more open and honest about what is going on.”  It doesn’t even have to be a PR person.  Anyone with common sense knows being sneaky always comes back to bite you in the butt one way or the other!

http://www.ticketfeelitigation.com/

Versace and H&M Frenzy!!!!

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Versace and H&M collide!! The frenzy for Versace and H&M began on November 8th in New York City. On the 8th the runway show and the launch party for Versace and H&M collection took place. Performances by Niki Minaj and Prince were held to get the party started. Versace’s line for H&M launches November 19th, however there has been some talk about a website in China that is selling the full line already. This makes me wonder if the Versace line for H&M is going to be a pr nightmare like the Missoni-for-Target line.

Versace and H&M commented on the Chinese site saying their lawyers are checking into it, and they encourage people to wait until the 19th to buy the line from H&M’s website. I will be curious to see in two days if H&M’s actual site will be able to hold all of the web traffic it will receive. I have a feeling this might be a disaster waiting to happen seeing as what happened with Target and Missoni. For both Versace and H&M’s sake I hope if they experience technical difficulties like Target, they will do some pr work and release a statement acknowledging the problem.