Monitoring your brand mentions

Posted by Tom Gavin on October 2, 2015 in Branding, Social media

MentionRecently, Eveready’s marketing team was criticized for not seizing the opportunity when their company’s name was mentioned during a live presidential debate. Knowing what people are saying about your brand is important, but expecting marketing teams to monitor and respond to live TV the same way they respond to mentions on social media is just not possible.

Regarding the latter, there are a number of different tools marketers can use to make monitoring and responding to mentions on social media much easier.

One of the simplest things marketers can do is just remember to always check their social media accounts. All platforms have notification options that let marketing teams know what their brand is mentioned almost instantly (e.g. via email or text message).

Perhaps the best tool for monitoring mentions is the aptly named Mention. This is a paid service that allows users to monitor brand keywords across the Internet. The service will notify you when someone is talking about your brand in real-time, allowing you to take action and interact with your brand base. Mention makes it easy to see where conversations are happening and what people are saying about your brand.

Keeping up with what people say about your brand online is key to understanding your customers and responding to any mentions.



Uber’s unethical behavior

Posted by Taylor Thomas on September 23, 2015 in Public relations

new-uber-logoSince it is PRSA’s Ethics Month, I thought I’d share an example of how a national company violated its business ethics.

Uber, the mobile app that instantly connects customers with drivers, knows how to use aggressive tactics (while taking it too far) against its competitor Lyft. According to CNN, since 2013, Uber employees ordered and then cancelled 5,000 Lyft rides, forcing customers to subsequently use Uber’s services. This not only hinders the company but hurts Lyft drivers’ income and time.

Also, in the same article by CNN, Uber employees in New York are being told it’s against city regulations to work for both companies, even receiving text messages forbidding the action. However, according to the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, this is false.

Whether you’re a part of a startup or a company with a net worth of $3 billion, one of the first things that needs addressing is providing your employees (and management, in this case) with a compliance/ethics training program. That’s because your credibility is directly tied to your ethics.



Ethics Month

Posted by Brian Lee on September 21, 2015 in Public relations

RaganChatThis year, I’m serving as the PRSA liaison to the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS). September is Ethics Month, and as part of the long lineup of activities, I co-hosted a #RaganChat on the topic.

Here’s a transcript of my answers:

Q1 @CaptBNL @KirkHazlett: Why are ethics important to the public relations industry? #RaganChat

A1 We at @PRSA believe the success of the PR profession relies on the ethics of its practitioners. #RaganChat

Q2 @CaptBNL @KirkHazlett: How have PRSA ethics guidelines changed throughout the years? #RaganChat

A2 @PRSA ethics guidelines evolved from enforcement to inspiration. U r in charge of ur “ethical destiny” #RaganChat

Q3 @CaptBNL @KirkHazlett: What are some common ethics violations PR pros have committed, and how has it affected them? #RaganChat

A3 I’ll answer it this way: some big issues today are native advertising, sponsored content, use of interns and social media. #RaganChat

Q4 @CaptBNL @KirkHazlett: What should PR pros be aware of re: native advertising, “pay to play” campaigns and “influencer” marketing? #RaganChat 

A4 Disclosure is crucial! Here’s an Ethical Standards Advisory on the topic: http://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/Ethics/EthicalStandardsAdvisories/Documents/PSA-09.pdf #RaganChat

Q5 @CaptBNL @KirkHazlett: Where’s the line for a conflict of interest, and how can PR pros avoid them? #RaganChat

A5 Again, disclosure is key, in this case to avoid conflicts of interest and even *perceived* conflicts of interest. #RaganChat

Q6 @CaptBNL @KirkHazlett: What are the guidelines for reporting unethical behavior? How can one avoid “looking the other way?” #RaganChat

A6 Please report to @PRSA’s BEPS group. beps [at] prsa [dot] org. #RaganChat

Q7 @CaptBNL @KirkHazlett: What should PR pros keep in mind when using images or videos in brand campaigns? #RaganChat

A7 Always seek approval in using images and videos. When in doubt, don’t use it. #RaganChat

Q8 @CaptBNL @KirkHazlett: What is a “phantom experience,” what can it do to reputations, and how can PR pros avoid it? #RaganChat

A8 Phantom experiences will give u a new rep, and it won’t be a good one. Find outside sources that can corroborate your story. #RaganChat

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Utilities companies and social media

Posted by Brian Lee on September 15, 2015 in Social media

NG&EI have a published article titled, “Utility Use of Social Media in Siting” in the October 2015 issue of Natural Gas & Electricity. In addition to siting for public projects such as wind farms and generating plants, I also discuss how utility companies can use social media in day-to-day PR, marketing and community relations.

Want to learn more? Contact me anytime for a friendly chat about social media usage.



Welcome Tom!

Posted by Brian Lee on September 10, 2015 in Revelation

Our newest intern is UW-Whitewater senior Tom Gavin, who will be graduating this December with a degree in communications. Tom spent last fall studying at Assumption University in Thailand, and he just completed a summer marketing internship at a manufacturing company.



Getting a job in PR/marketing

Posted by Brian Lee on September 3, 2015 in Doing business
Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I receive requests for information interviews on a regular basis. I enjoy helping students, recent grads, people who moved recently, former reporters and the like. However, “help” is the operative word.

It saddens me to find out that after laying a complete roadmap–where to network, who the players are, how to build experience, etc.–some of the people I meet with don’t follow any of my advice and consequently don’t end up working in PR/marketing.

I thought about this after reading an anecdote about golf in the John O’Hurley interview in Tactics. I can teach you how to golf, but you’re the one who has to actually swing the clubs at the end of the day–the ball isn’t going to move itself, and no one is going to hit it for you.

Sure, it may take you a few more swings than someone else, but eventually, you’ll get the ball in the hole. So don’t just sit there and hope a job falls in your lap–go hit the links!


The selfie bandwagon

Posted by Taylor Thomas on August 27, 2015 in Marketing

Sometimes there’s a product or service that seems outrageous but for some reason, the public falls in love with it. A recent example is the selfie stick.

GIGA SelfieThe stick itself is part of a larger trend of people taking selfies, and Tourism Australia is taking advantage in its new “The GIGA Selfie” campaign.

The oversized selfie service is part of the upcoming campaign that’s trying to attract more Japanese tourists to Australia (the Japanese market is Australia’s sixth largest in terms of tourists). Tourists stand on a specific spot and use an app to set off a distant camera. Afterward they can download a short video that begins as a closeup but expands to reveal the surroundings.

This weekend will be the first opportunity for tourists to take the highly anticipated selfie. Future locations will be announced through social media outlets.

For companies, there’s no shame in jumping on the bandwagon in your marketing campaigns. Not only will the public be aware of the trend, but they may be more willing to use it.



Annual Forward Festival to Highlight Inclusiveness

Posted by Brian Lee on August 18, 2015 in Client news

Aug. 18, 2015

Molly Walsh

Annual Forward Festival to Highlight Inclusiveness

(MADISON, Wis.)—The sixth annual Forward Festival, taking place Aug. 20-27 in various locations in the city, will feature events for entrepreneurs, foodies, music lovers and now parents, organizers announced today.

“We’re looking forward to showcasing the incredible evolution of innovation around Madison at this year’s festival,” Bryan Chan, festival co-founder and president of SupraNet Communications, said. “We’re excited to include a wide range of entrepreneurs in different ages and industries while also focusing on the challenges families and parents of entrepreneurs face. Therefore, this year we will be providing free childcare all day at the Forward Technology Conference.”

The festival’s main event is the aforementioned Forward Technology Conference (Aug. 25), which is now paired with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s neXXpo and Pressure Chamber events. Kevin Conroy, President of Exact Sciences, and Josh Levs, a CNN reporter, will be the keynote speakers.

Other highlights of the festival include the Edible Startup Summit (Aug. 24), the annual Madison Ruby Conference (Aug. 21-22) and the inaugural Parentpreneur Night (Aug. 21), an event to connect entrepreneurs who seek work-life balance.

Originally started in 2010, the Forward Festival was created by Chan, Nathan Lustig of Magma Partners and Matt Younkle of Murfie to bring together professionals from a wide range of disciplines. That is evident in events such as the Social Good Summit (Aug. 20), Yum Yum Fest (Aug. 23) and Cool Jazz with the Badger Fund (Aug. 26).

For a detailed listing of events taking place during the Forward Festival, please visit www.forwardfest.org.


Resulting media coverage:



Timing is everything

Posted by Taylor Thomas on August 14, 2015 in Public relations

USATodayPR practitioners should revise the old real estate expression about the three things that matter in property: “location, location, location” to three things that matter in public relations: “timing, timing, timing.”

As seen in a recent article in PR News, St. Baldrick’s Foundation used its relationship with its agency partner, FleishmanHillard, to pitch a targeted story that ended up landing the organization on NBC’s The Today Show.

Knowing St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s message would resonate better on television than print, FH targeted their message accordingly. In FH’s research, it found out “The Today Show” was doing a week-long segment in which people were trying to break Guinness World Records. Subsequently, FH developed a pitch in which St. Baldrick’s would try to attempt to break the record for the most heads shaved in an hour, being broadcast live on TV.

The segment was extremely successful, earning more than 20 million media impressions and raising almost $36,000 for the foundation.

St. Baldrick’s pitch to “The Today Show” was the right idea at the right time. This is just one example of how timing is extremely important in this industry. If you get it right, you can reap many benefits.

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Joey’s Seafood Changes to North and South Seafood & Smokehouse

Posted by Brian Lee on August 12, 2015 in Client news

Aug. 12, 2015

Keith or Erin Stoesz

Joey’s Seafood Changes to North and South Seafood & Smokehouse

(MADISON, Wis.) – Looking to further improve upon its menu offerings and differentiate itself from the former franchise of the same name, Joey’s Seafood is now North and South Seafood & Smokehouse, owners Keith and Erin Stoesz announced today.

In addition to its award-winning seafood (according to Madison Magazine and Taste of Madison), North and South will offer smokehouse items such as pulled pork, ribs and brisket as well as homemade BBQ sauces. Also, Three Count Beverage Co. revamped the bar menu.

“We want to make sure our customers have the best smart-casual dining experience possible,” Keith said. “The new menu reflects the cuisines that Erin and I have enjoyed throughout our lives, and we’re hopeful that diners will appreciate the additions.”

Nightly specials range from a smoked chicken dinner to fish fry. Happy hour takes place from 2:45-6 p.m. each weekday.

Keith and Erin opened the restaurant in 2005. The franchise system dissolved in 2007, but local owners were allowed to keep the name.

North and South Seafood & Smokehouse is located at 6604 Mineral Point Rd. It is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

More information can be found at eatnorthandsouth.com.



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