8 Books and Podcasts To Make You Smarter This Summer | eNews from OWC

Business leaders like to “pick the brain” of powerhouse players for insight and to learn from their mistakes. What’s the best way to engage leaders like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Arianna Huffington? Read what they’re reading. As Bill Gates has famously revealed, getting to know 50 new books a year has helped make him who he is. Here are our staff picks:

“Radical Candor” by Kim Scott
Recommended by Tracy as a study in candor with clients, reporters and your team.

Scott uses engaging and hilarious personal stories from her experiences at Apple and Google to illustrate her approach to effective management – radical candor. She theorizes that effective leaders must “care personally” and also “challenge directly.” More than just a management book, radical candor informs how we communicate with one another while remaining compassionate and empathetic.

“The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli
Recommended by Trish, an avid reader and firm believer that “one must be a fox.”

“There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.” A classic and one of the most impactful books on power. Ruthless? Yes. Yet this book contains tremendous insight on the importance of controlling the narrative. Machiavelli’s debate on which is more valuable to a leader, being feared or being loved, fits right in with today’s “Game of Thrones.”

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
Recommended by Ashley, who uses every party she attends as practice for Carnegie’s tactics.

Every high school student should read this before graduation, and so should we all. After 80 years, this book still has a cult following. Warren Buffett said “it changed my life.” It’s one of the best public relations reads because when you are genuinely interested in what others say, you create a bond. Carnegie also presents useful insights on the psychology behind social interactions and great tips on how to approach people.

“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek
Recommended by Wes, who says its take on establishing core values can serve as the guideline for every decision.

Born from his 2009 TED Talk on his book Start with Why, the third most popular TED video of all time, Sinek speaks to a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. His theme is that leaders who’ve had the greatest influence all think, act and communicate in the same way, which is the opposite of everyone else: they start with why, not just how, their company is different.

“Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences” by Nancy Duarte
Recommended by Paulo, OWC’s content creation guru, who says the book is visual and informative, making it a great mix of concept with how-to instruction.

Creating a presentation can be a daunting task: How many words are too many for one slide? Does this image make sense here? Am I boring them to death? Duarte’s answers can help wake the sleepers and lead to better and more entertaining communication.

Our staff commutes from Simi Valley and Pasadena to Silver Lake and Santa Monica, so podcasts are the medium of choice for getting our daily dose of news, insights and learning:

“The Moth”
Recommended by Trish, who listens to at least five podcasts every day to maintain sanity while driving “the highway of the damned” (aka the 405) during her 3-hour daily commute. See Trish in The Wall Street Journal.

Communication requires an effective storyteller and what better way to learn than to follow the examples of the most skilled. The Moth podcast is a collection of people telling true stories in front of live audiences. Topics and lengths vary, but the level of excellence is consistent.

“The Intelligence Squared Podcast”
Recommended by Ashley, who says it sharpens argument skills and helps us incorporate witty, well-reasoned positions into conversation.

If you love a good debate, this is the podcast for you. It’s like eavesdropping on the brightest visionaries and most intelligent leaders from around the globe as they deliberate hot topics.

The New York Times’ “The Daily”
Recommended by Paulo, who recommends it as the ideal podcast for a quick news fix during the morning commute.

Hosted by Michael Barbaro, each 20-minute episode is a deep dive into the latest news, all told by the Times’ award-winning staff. It summarizes the day’s hot-button headlines with original reporting from those covering the stories from the front lines and commentary from policymakers and interviews with persons involved.

We’d like your book and podcast recommendations. Please share them with us on Twitter @owcpr or via email, and we’ll include them in our next newsletter.

July 3rd, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , |

The Oprah Effect: What Others Say Matters Most | eNews for OWC

It’s not a secret that having a solid reputation instills trust or that a bad reputation travels faster than a good one. How do you get the word out about your credibility? The answer is third-party endorsements. They include customer and user testimonials, expert and celebrity endorsements and all news articles.

Before the internet, small businesses relied on word of mouth to gain trust with the public. While that may have evolved to fit our world today with online reviews, it certainly hasn’t died. The first thing overwhelmed consumers do before purchasing is read customer reviews and recommendations on company websites, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and more. Surveys rank legitimate customer reviews as more persuasive to buyers than advertising or paid celebrity endorsements.

Reviews Validate and Legitimize Your Brand

Ninety-three percent of online review readers seek to determine the quality of a business, and 85 percent say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. People naturally distrust what they aren’t familiar with, and positive reviews—and even positive company responses to negative reviews—instill confidence. Third-party endorsements are the lifeblood of a political campaign with candidates seeking backing from school boards, law enforcement and civil rights groups as well as their own parties.

People today are alert to advertising in all its forms. Third-party endorsements come from sources with nothing to gain and attain the highest level of public relations effectiveness. In fact, almost all such high-credibility endorsements can be solicited without detracting from their value. For example, an Oprah book endorsement often means the best-sellers list and is seen as a powerful third-party authentication.

Building relationships with reporters who cover your market earns street cred too. Being quoted as an expert in a news article is interpreted as an endorsement by the publication and positions you as a credible source.

Highlighting Third-party Endorsements

Adding a tab to your company website with testimonials, reviews and endorsements makes your site active and useful. Testimonials are made even more impactful by interviewing your clients and posting a short video of their success stories.

Professional execution is important. Vagueness, paraphrase and gush are less effective than direct communication. Verifiable information is the currency.

Ineffective testimonials lack names, dates, locations and identities of the reviewers. Fake reviews are destructive to reputation and should be avoided at all cost. Most clients are comfortable being named if given a chance to confirm and approve. The more specific the citation, the more powerful the credibility.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a review.

Your competition probably already has reviews, considering that 74 percent of businesses ask customers to share their experience online. Surprisingly, 68 percent of consumers have left a review after a business asked them to, so make it a policy to ask for these testimonials each time you develop a relationship with a client or have a big win. They help marketing, build reputation and tell you what you’re doing right.

Third-party endorsements are critical to B2B buyers. In fact, 97 percent say that “user-generated content such as peer reviews is more credible than other types of content.” Other third-party endorsements include industry awards, speaking at industry events, being included in research analyst reports, earning news coverage, getting ranked on “best of” lists and customer reviews online through sites such as Google and Yelp as well as active social media platforms. Get employees to tell the world what a great place to work the company is at Glassdoor.com. These sites also further enhance your SEO scores on search engines.

Take some time this summer to make third-party endorsements a part of your marketing efforts.

June 5th, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , |

5 Crisis Management Tips We Can Learn from Zuckerberg | eNews from OWC

There’s no question that over the last decade Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has grown from a flip-flop wearing startup bro into a full-blown tech tycoon and astute businessman to be reckoned with. There is, however, a debate on how well he’s handled the recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytica debacle. While Zuckerberg’s initial absence and radio-silence approach is ill-advised during a crisis, it’s clear he spent his time out of the spotlight when the fiasco first broke getting some much-needed media training. There were several ways he handled the congressional hearing surprisingly well, and a few where he faltered. Here’s what we can learn from the latest PR disaster taking the world by storm:

Be transparent … quickly and of your own volition.
Before attending the congressional hearing, Zuckerberg was relatively absent from the conversation, allowing a news vacuum to open and anyone with a theory to fill the void. Don’t let others create fake news to explain your story. Get in front of controversy by being as transparent as possible, disclosing all the facts as quickly as possible and making yourself available for questions from the media. Answering “no comment” is an unacceptable response. Get the facts out and get them out fast.

Control the narrative, not the reporters.
Don’t threaten to sue The New York Times and the Guardian for publishing the facts. This is a sure-fire way to turn your most important potential allies against you. Covering the news is a reporter’s job, but the way they frame a story is a choice – and your interactions with them influence that choice. Are you making their job easier or more difficult? Are you dodging their questions or creating an open line of communication?

Guide the interview and stick to your messages.
One thing Zuckerberg did particularly well during the hearing was control the interview. He stuck to his talking points and stayed on message employing a few strategic tactics, like:

  • Building a bridge. If a reporter starts to wander into areas you don’t want to talk about, answer the reporter’s inquiry briefly, then build a bridge back to your key points. When Zuckerberg was pushed on certain sensitive topics, such as defining what Facebook is, he took control of the conversation by bridging to a topic he felt was relevant and supported his messaging.
  • Rephrasing tricky questions. It’s important not to let anyone put words in your mouth, but don’t argue. To avoid getting stuck in a semantics war, restructure loaded questions to guide back to your talking points and where you feel comfortable with phrases like “I think what you’re asking is …” A great example of this is when Zuckerberg addressed regulation questions with a question of his own: “I think the real question, as the internet becomes more important in people’s lives, is what is the right regulation? Not whether there should be or not.”
  • Flagging key points. Emphasize that the statement you are about to make is one the reporter should remember. Zuckerberg did a great job of illustrating this tactic when responding to Sen. Leahy’s question on Facebook’s role in violence in Myanmar saying “Yes, we’re working on this and there are three specific things we are doing…” He then proceeded to list the three actionable tactics, along with the reasons behind them, succinctly in only 36 seconds.

Be prepared.
This is another area where Zuckerberg shined. He arrived calm and collected with soundbite messages prepared and his key objectives defined. He even brought a now-notorious binder of notes to help him answer tough questions about hot-button issues should he get stuck. Preparation goes a long way to helping you feel more in control and at ease.

Say ‘sorry.’
It’s important to humanize your brand by being sincere and apologetic. Apologizing doesn’t have to be synonymous with admitting fault; it’s about expressing concern that the crisis occurred. Express concern for any victims and their families. If a mistake was made, apologize. There’s a common saying: “People buy people, not products.” It means that people choose to do business with people they feel connected to, like and, above all, trust. Zuckerberg has spent 14 years as the face of Facebook, yet when the news broke, he was missing from the conversation and so was his public apology.

While crises are inevitable, we can choose how we respond when they do happen. Let Zuckerberg’s reaction to the recent troubles Facebook is facing be a lesson to you. Remember: don’t delay, apologize, be transparent and be accountable.

April 20th, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , , |

The One Thing You Need To Know About Reputation Management | eNews from OWC

Year 2018: Every Reputation at Risk

What is the lesson of the radically altered reputations of 2017? It is that bad news travels faster than ever before, and there’s nowhere to hide. For companies and their leaders, the need for preparedness has never been more relevant. For every reputation that crashes, so does a company’s market value. It doesn’t take a major scandal to bring disaster, every business is vulnerable to a misleading sentence in a report, a disgruntled employee or consumer on social media or the malice of competitors. As we enter 2018, take heed and be ready.

The five roads to preparedness:

  1. Reputation Management Plan:Short and actionable, ten pages max with all the team players’ cell numbers and social handles at the ready.
  2. Vulnerability Audit: Assess all risks with the team including litigation, data breaches, misconduct of any executive or employee and political climate.
  3. Team Timekeeper: When reputation is at stake, the pre-assigned crisis team and their backups need to convene immediately. The timekeeper knows when thinking time is up, and it’s time to start talking.
  4. Ready Response: There will be only minutes to respond to Twitter and Facebook crises, and not much more for a reporter on deadline. Find words in advance and clear them with the company attorney.
  5. Event Simulation:Surprise your team to see if you’re prepared to hit the ground running. Make it as real as possible using simulation tools that mimic your social channels. Is your response authentic and in keeping with your brand?

In today’s climate, unexpected blows are to be expected. The good news is that successful crisis response can actually enhance reputations. A leader at the helm prepared to speak with conviction and authenticity is not an accident, and can turn accidents into opportunities.

Best wishes for the new year.

December 29th, 2017|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , |