The Future Is Here: A Decade of Disruption | eNews from OWC

It’s been an exciting time to build a public relations firm. There are new rules, new tools and a breathtaking pace that requires nimbleness, entrepreneurial thinking and a willingness to stick your neck out. For me, the prize has been to work with savvy and exuberant people who question everything, demand innovation and bring creativity to work each day. Our clients’ businesses are changing dramatically, too. Some are industries, such as fintech and the sharing economy, that didn’t even exist ten years ago. Here are some changes that hit us all this past decade:

  • A decade ago, there was no Snapchat, Instagram or Pinterest. Today, they’re our best friends. We had MySpace and Facebook, but only 10% of American adults had at least one social media profile, compared to over 77% now. What started out as a fun way to connect with friends has spawned business-to-business marketing opportunities and turned traditional advertising upside down. Public relations has become as much of a conduit for targeting your audiences as advertising.
  • A growing skepticism in society has meant that third-party endorsements rule buying decisions. Yelp, LinkedIn, online product reviews and Glassdoor have given mid-size and small businesses an opportunity to compete for business, employees and awareness. What’s the first thing you do before purchasing? You check out the customer reviews and recommendations.
  • Public relations is expanding content development. The PESO model (paid, earned, shared and owned) refers to the different ways to communicate for successful awareness campaigns. PR firms can no longer snub their nose at the “P”’ aspect of the equation. Social media and the media’s move into social offers opportunities to target select audiences, improve a brand’s SEO and create credibility by providing insights directly to their audience without selling anything.
  • Video content is king. In today’s media landscape, the focus is on authenticity and instant, unfiltered action, and video is the perfect channel for mobile consumption. With video now accounting for more than 82% of internet traffic, PR pros and brands must embrace YouTube, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and whatever pops up next to share their brand messages. These platforms make you the broadcaster and allow for direct and immediate communication with customers, prospects, employees, partners and the media.
  • Companies’ reputations, market share and revenue are in mortal peril as never before. Customers, investors, employees and communities respond to negative reputational news within hours today. As a result, reputation management and crisis communications are C-Suite issues.
  • Thought leaders are the new superstars and celebrities. That doesn’t mean anybody with an opinion is a thought leader. A thought leader is trustworthy, not salesy. Their goal is to educate and empower others with insider knowledge and new perspectives. They inspire discussion about the industry and how to change it for the better. Their value is that they make change happen.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here. With newsrooms across the country running on skeleton staffs, reporters are focusing on in-depth stories and letting technology take the reins on earnings announcements. With AI bots spitting out just numbers, the onus falls on communicators to bring context when we can. It’s crucial for PR and marketers to adapt and embrace the chance to tell client stories in a fresh, immersive and compelling way.
  • Creating strong personal relationships is more important than ever. Innovations in technology and social media may have redefined and molded the field of public relations over the past decade, but one truth remains the same: relationships are all that matters. Communicating values is as important as describing what you do. Bonds forged with reporters, employees, clients, prospects and communities are the most valuable assets.

This week Olmstead Williams Communications celebrates ten years of success in business. I intend to make our 11th year our best. We’ve all been in it together—let’s keep it together for the decade to come.

August 9th, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , |

OWC’s Tracy Williams talks to Variety about Hollywood’s zero tolerance policy

Times have changed, writes Variety’s Gene Maddaus. In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, dozens of men have been ousted for allegations of sexual misconduct. It was a long time coming, but when it came, it was sudden. Now the same urgency and zero-tolerance mentality are being applied to offensive statements as well as deeds.

“The studios haven’t behaved well. They have been bad actors,” said Tracy Williams, CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications. “Suddenly there’s a spotlight put on them, and they realize they need to button up. Every company is moving quickly. Heads are flying; look at all the people getting fired.”

Read the full article: Is Hollywood’s New Zero-Tolerance Policy a Reaction to the Trump Era? (Variety)

July 24th, 2018|Categories: OWC News|Tags: , , , , , |

OWC names Wes Robinson as its new managing director

Wes Robinson, a 20-year veteran of high-tech public relations, has been named managing director of Olmstead Williams Communications (OWC), a growing reputation management and PR agency working with technology companies that span healthcare, finance, telecom and ID & Security. Robinson will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company, including employee development and client relations.

“Wes brings exceptional client and management expertise to our growing agency,” said OWC founder Tracy Williams. “Wes has the leadership skills to ensure great client outcomes as we implement new technologies for enhanced reporting, social engagement and the impact AI and big data is having on business.”

Read the full announcement: Leading LA Public Relations Agency Olmstead Williams Communications Names New Managing Director

March 6th, 2018|Categories: OWC News|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: , , , |