Friday, May 29, 2009


#followfriday - for blogs

Here's a #FollowFriday Special Edition for you. Instead of profiling specific people, this Friday I'm going to profile a blog.

Little Pink Book

One of the main reasons I participate in #journchat is to find other like-minded folks to connect with. Each week, I usually walk away with at least 2-3 solid people to follow. A few weeks ago, I came across Florida native @SashaHalima with whom I quickly connected. She's possesses all the characteristics a successful and intelligent PR person should - engaging, thought provoking, ethical and passion. We have a lot of similarities in our thoughts and opinions, but it's a great compliment for me to hear the reasoning behind her views.

What I like about her blog is the fact that not only is it filled with high-quality information, it's visually appealing as well. For me, layout is an important aspect of a blog - her design blows mine away. But as we all know, flash only gets you so far. The Little Pink book is constantly updated with new & fresh posts touching on a variety of topics. In my opinion, it's clear that Sasha is very passionate about PR, current events, politics - it's a nice blend of intriguing information.

So go check out her blog, you'll learn quite a bit. For me, she's been a great "follow" and her blog is one of the first reads each morning. If you like it, head over to Arik Hanson's PR Reader's Choice Blog Awards and give her the recognition her work deserves.

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Top 5 YouTube Videos - #2

Top 5 YouTube Videos - #2 Susan Boyle

Video can be seen here.

The reason this video is so amazing is the fact that it spread to more than 64 million views. However, the original video disabled the embeded feature. So people had to actually visit YouTube to watch the video, thus why I'm unable to post the actual video in this post. It shows the power of YouTube, but also shows the weakness - no one was able to capitalize on it.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009


Ethics - They still apply

News travels fast. With the number of people online, your voice and message has a global reach the minute you hit send/post. The benefit of this is a 24/7 society that feeds on the immediate availability of news. But with anything, the risk has the ability to outweigh the reward. Case in point - NBA PR "fail"

What have we learned in the PR world recently?
- We've seen Dominos' image tarnish in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.
Respectfully, here is their response.
- The KFC mess via Oprah.
- And my personal favorite, KFC attempts to prank El Pollo Loco. Ouch, KFC has had a rough 2009 thus far!

With all these, we learned that word spreads fast. Especially when it's negative. But let's focus in on the recent PR stunt that the Golden State Warriors' PR head pulled.

Raymond Ridder, a 10+ year PR veteran, decides that public opinion about his employer (GS Warriors) isn't very positive. Forget the fact that they only won 29 games this year, but that's another issue for another time. So, what should a PR pro do? Let's go to the source of this negative opinion and try to "spin" the community's thoughts. That's ethical, right? After all, it's up to the brand (again, the Warriors) to shape public opinion. It's the job of the PR department to shape how our community (in this case NBA fans) is talking about us. We determine the message, we determine the response. That's how PR works, isn't it?

I understand that PR has changed over the years. Heck, it's changed drastically since I graduated five years ago. But I'm pretty sure this was Rule #1 in that 'Ethics 101' course I took. You know that class you dreaded because it talked about all those boring case studies. *Professor Menke, I really don't think the ethics course you taught was boring. I actually enjoyed it.

What this guy did (I won't refer to him as a PR pro anymore) is basically take all the work us honest and ethical PR folks are doing to clear our industry, threw it to the ground and spit on it. It's people like this Ridder character, and his actions, that cause our industry to be referred to as "flacks". Mr. Ridder, if you prefer to be called a "flack," by all means, we can arrange for that.

You've heard of Intel, right? Pretty big company. Let's take a look at their social media guidelines. Skip over the first section, although it is important, and go to 'Rules of Engagement."

#1 - be transparent. You failed there.
#2 - be judicious. He said he did it on his own, so maybe it didn't violate company policy.
#3 - write what you know. Ummm...I'd say you failed here too.
#4 - perception is reality. Ah, here we go. I like this rule. Well, you had no chance at following this basic guideline, err rule.

I think you get where I am going here. How can a so-called leader of an organization blatantly try to mislead and lie to its community and expect any sort of trust and support from said community? Posting anonymously and trying to "guide the conversation in the 'right' direction" is basically like telling your audience that you think they're stupid. That's what it comes down to.

If the PR industry has any chance of finally getting rid of the "flack" label that is associated with it, actions like this MUST stop. It's scary how often basic ethics are often overlooked in an effort to advance an organization's message. PR folks, you need to realize that the public will eventually call your bluff. Quit trying to be sneaky. Your audience will call you out. What Mr. Ridder should have done is engage his community, acknowledge the concerns and find methods to cure those concerns. Instead, the Golden State Warriors have a bigger issue than their losing record to solve.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009


Thank you

We all lead busy lives. We live in a fast-paced society that is constantly on the move. We demand information that moves quickly. But for a few days this weekend, let's step back and give thanks to those that have made all of this possible. Let's remember those who gave their life so we could enjoy freedom and choice. Often times we have a sense of entitlement and take for granted that we wouldn't have what we do, or be where we are, without those who protect us each day.

To all the soldiers and those families that have a loved one serving, thank you. To those currently serving, be safe and remember that you are in my prayers.

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Friday, May 22, 2009


Top 5 YouTube Videos - #3

Top 5 YouTube Videos - #3

I present to you "Charlie Bit My Finger." This is one of the most viewed videos on YouTube. The best part is Charlie's reaction toward the end of the video. Hilarious.

*Video courtesy of YouTube.


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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


How banks are handling the current crisis

It’s no secret right now, but we are in the middle of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. That’s obvious, right? So how is this impacting financial institutions and what are they doing to uphold their brand image?

First, let me give you a background on me. I’ve worked in the financial industry for the past five years and have an educational background in public relations and marketing. I currently work for a Top 10 U.S. financial institution. While I don’t claim to be an expert on anything in the financial industry, I feel I have a solid understanding on how things work.

From here on out, I’m going to refer to various banking institutions and financial companies as simply “financials.” Please note that this is referring to the company, not their actual “financials.”

What’s your opinion on financials right now? Pretty negative I would assume. And rightfully so. After all, they’re lying, misleading, stealing money from the government, etc. However, despite the economy going down the toilet, a lot of financials are doing great things from a PR stand point.

One thing you need to remember is the level of regulation placed upon financials. It’s this scrutiny that limits what a financial organization can talk about publicly. They have shareholders to protect, their brand, their consumers. Public or private, PR for financials is quite difficult.

With that being said, other than a few of the bigger financials (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, AIG, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan), a lot of the financials are taking a more reactive approach. Normally, this is not the approach one should take, however; it’s appropriate in this instance. Keep in mind, this isn’t a traditional crisis communication plan that financials are utilizing. Again, protecting shareholders, brand image and consumers is the number one priority.

This isn’t to say that financials shouldn’t be proactive during the crisis. Managing your reputation and promoting your products and services is still vital for an organization’s success. Financials should still be continuing their traditional marketing and communication plans, but also realize that the coverage may not be what it normally would be in more traditional circumstances.

Like everything PR, the big push for financials is social media. A number of companies are actively engaging and building an online community. A few that come to mind are Bank of America (@BofA_Help), Wells Fargo ( and American Express ( Used primarily as a customer relations tool, financials are finally realizing that reaching their respective communities is requiring a non-traditional approach. Like traditional PR, though, Web 2.0 is pretty tricky for financials due to regulations.

Overall, I think the majority of financials are doing well with their PR. There are certain topics that they can’t avoid - TARP, but these topics are also ones that shouldn’t be avoided. You’ve heard it before, but these are unprecedented times. Money is the backbone of our society (that’s another story) so managing the reputation of
financials is critical to their future existence.

What are your thoughts? How do you see certain financials? What do you think is going well? What needs to be improved upon?

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Friday, May 15, 2009


Top 5 YouTube Videos - #4

#4 - The Evolution of Dance

The guy goes through 50 years of dancing. Very clever & comical.

*Video is courtesy of YouTube.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Last call? We haven't even begun.

We heard it with Facebook and now it's the same argument against Twitter - how will it make money? You see, a lot of people don't understand Twitter. A lot of people think it's a fad that will simply go away. They don't see the benefit in Twitter. Well, I respectfully disagree.

The biggest reason I am on Twitter is the constant learning it provides. It's learning I can't get elsewhere. Stuff you can't read in a book. It's that experience you get outside the classroom.

I'm not trying to brand myself - there are folks who use Twitter to do this. I'm not proclaiming to be an "expert" - there is no such thing. In fact, networking isn't my primary objective. Let's face it, Twitter is basically an internship for me.

There are a lot of folks out there that are smarter and more talented within the PR field than myself. These are the folks who are mentoring me. Where else could I be provided a forum to connect with as many brilliant folks? What meeting could I attend where so many talented folks from all over the world freely give advice?

Quite frankly, I could care less if Twitter makes money. As long as I am able to continue my conversations with the community I build, I'm not going anywhere.


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Friday, May 8, 2009


Top 5 YouTube videos - #5

One of the most overlooked tools in social media is YouTube. So to change things up a bit, each Friday I will post a new video. These videos are my personal favorites from YouTube.

#5 - Pimped out shopping cart!

Disclosure: All videos courtesy of YouTube. Some videos may contain graphic language.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009


The Digital Age: The age of too many voices

A big debate going around social media circles is the idea of a so-called "social media expert." The common response has been that anyone who calls themselves an "expert" in social media, is in fact, the furthest thing from an expert. This got me thinking about how the increase in people's involvement online has really allowed practically anyone to become an "expert" on any given topic. To me, this is quite frightening.

Like most things, I believe variety is a good thing. Consumers like options and it forces businesses to produce quality products and services. However, with the number of people blogging and getting involved with social media, suddenly your average-Joe has turned into a credible source. One one side, it's great that the Internet has allowed such easy access to a wide array of talent. On the flip side, there are a lot of people out there with a hidden agenda and determining credibility has become a lot more difficult.

As you can see, I'm kind of perplexed with how I feel about this. The digital age has allowed me to form relationships with people I'd otherwise would have never met. From the early stages of instant messaging and online forums to more recent advancements, I've spent quite a bit of time trying to form my online identity. It's almost like my thoughts contradict my actions.

With an abundance of voices also comes the decrease in human interaction. For example, take this post. It's 7:00 p.m. on a Thursday and I'm inside on the Internet. People communicate via text, email, Facebook, etc. Again, my actions contradict my thoughts, but what happened to face-to-face conversations. Besides research, the ability to create and foster relationships is, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked aspects about public relations. I understand that the technological advancements we're experiencing are vital and beneficial; but I just wish more people occasionally went back to the traditional routes of interacting.

Like I mentioned, I love social media. I love being online. I think the Digital Age is one of those things that you're glad it's evolved the way it did, but a small part misses the traditional aspects of communicating. What are your thoughts?

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