4 ways to tell if your PR campaign was successful in 2018 | eNews from OWC

For 2019 planning, here are the four ways to gauge whether your marketing and public relations investment paid off as it should:

  1. Engagement Growth – Take a hard look at the numbers.
  • Were social media engagements up or down?
  • Was the sales team getting leads as a result of media coverage?
  • Did the PR and marketing team come to you with new ideas that challenged your thinking?
  • Did you have full visibility into what the marketing and PR team was doing?
  • Did you ever feel “blown away” by a result?
  1. Impact on Sales Funnel – Public relations should feed the bottom line.
  • What were the web traffic report numbers prior to, during and post news announcements? There should have been spikes of traffic during and after an announcement or media coverage.
  • What was the unique visitor count and average visitor time?
  • Did you have the ability to collect incoming emails to develop an email response to drive them down the sales funnel?
  • Did public relations turn interest in your company into a conversation?
  1. Media Coverage Quality and Quantity – When you’re a hammer, all the world is a nail, so of course we are hyperaware of the amount of coverage over a year. Here’s what our clients want to see:
  • How much coverage and who did it reach?
  • Were you in the right media outlets? If not, why? You can’t improve what you don’t know.
  • How did the stories trend online? Which got the most likes or comments?
  • Were you the primary source, a secondary or a mention?
  • Was the coverage positive, negative or neutral?
  • Did news stories get re-purposed in all marketing touchpoints such as newsletters, sales decks, emails to prospects and social media channels?
  • If not, it’s time for all of marketing to get together for some holiday cheer and start brainstorming the best ways to work together to make more of your marketing and PR spend.
  1. Talent Impact – In this zero-unemployment market, it is more important than ever to attract and retain top talent. Have you been getting the A-Players you want?
  • Did you have a recruitment component in your PR and marketing agenda?
  • Were new key hires announced? Did coverage help to open doors with recruitment efforts?
  • What have your employees and ex-employees said about you on Glassdoor? Most job applicants look there first.
  • Have you been effectively communicating your company’s culture and core values to attract talent?

As the holidays approach, we’ve begun preparation of one of the most radically transparent acts our agency performs … Media Hit Books. People love to see how fat the books are and peruse at their leisure. Clients show them off in their conference rooms, lobbies, with investors and major prospects. This is a great reminder that public relations is the least expensive, most effective marketing tool and it makes your mothers proud.

 

December 1st, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , |

The six steps you need to rebuild your reputation | eNews from OWC

Last month, we discussed reputation and business risks in today’s amplified and weaponized social media world. Here’s six key steps you need to take should you experience a reputational hit:

  • Be first, be fast and be sorry. Companies and executives establish trust and confidence from stakeholders when they address issues immediately. ‘Scandals’ are born from trying to hide information. To get ahead of an issue, set the record straight quickly, schedule conference calls with the investment community including analysts. Have a call sheet with top clients and phone them directly. Since social media moves constantly and within seconds, check all channels, know the right hashtags and post your side of the story.
  • Prioritize the audiences. There is a common misconception that if you’re a public company, your first duty is to your investors and the analyst community. But there are some situations where it may be more important that your employees don’t walk out the door because when they leave, you’re really out of business. Where’s your biggest danger? Get there first, then move on to the next leak in the system.
  • Drive knowledge-based actions. If you don’t have one, get a monitoring and tracking system for company news, social media channels and any other touchpoints you have with customers, investors and employees. You and your team need to have visibility into the reporting and be empowered to act and use the pre-drafted and approved holding statements, which are no doubt in your crisis communications plan, right?
  • Build a reservoir of goodwill. More than three-quarters of business executives (76%) feel an organization’s role as an ethical company and good corporate citizen has a very strong impact on the brand’s reputation. Positive news about new customers, executives, initiatives, offices and community outreach programs creates friends and generates goodwill with customers, business partners and media. Some of the simple things, such as reporting your good news with press releases can be overlooked in the heat of the moment. Paying to have them posted on wire services like Business Wire and PR Newswire (approximately $800 to $1,000, depending on word count) is well worth the money in SEO and online visibility. Also, post on social and pay to boost posts.
  • Activate third-party explainers. Whether it is research analysts and industry influencers or an employee, a second opinion on an issue can provide credibility. In fact, employees are the first line of defense for a brand. They’re an important advocate. Weekly or monthly Q&A sessions with all employees can dispel rumors and create buy-in for all external touchpoints. We have clients who have “Ask the Founders” meetings where questions from employees are drawn anonymously – nothing is off limits. True transparency is a strong reputation management tool.
  • Put a face on the brand. Nothing can tell the story like a well-trained spokesperson. Typically, the company CEO is the spokesperson. They need to speak honestly, openly and authentically with no room for interpretation. Clear, concise and compelling messaging can be converted into Op-Ed articles and byline stories in business and trade outlets that may also result in media interviews.

We can’t hide from a crisis in 21st-century communications. A change in your company’s market value is just a tweet, online petition or viral photo away. The story will be told, written or broadcast with or without our cooperation. But, nearly three-quarters (73%) of business executives are not as ready as they could be to react to an unexpected crisis even though more than 25% of a company’s market value is derived from its reputation.

Stay ahead of future crises by doing a thorough reputation risk assessment to see what threats your company is facing. Only 50 percent of companies have a ready-to-go crisis plan. Don’t let that be your company.

November 1st, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , |

How to Manage Your Reputation in a Weaponized Communication Culture | eNews from OWC

As 2019 approaches, “business as usual” is over. Social media has been weaponized to amplify anyone who opposes your actions or opinions. The status quo is under assault from every side. And it’s worth considering that every successful business is the status quo, by definition. Our very success now guarantees we’ll be watched, tested, probed and challenged.

That’s good, since we intend to win. But it means reputation management and crisis communication planning is not just smart, but critical to a company’s very existence. We need to be prepared to respond to issues from customers, shareholders, investors, employees and the media that would otherwise take us by surprise.

The new awareness is beyond dispute. According to consulting firm Mercer, “boards are now holding executives to higher standards, looking not just at how they treat people but also how they talk to and about them.” The Wall Street Journal reported that a group of venture capitalists is pushing a standard clawback clause proposal. The clause would make it easier for big investors to extract fines from companies embattled by controversy.

A company’s reputation is its bottom line. If your company’s reputation takes a hit on social media, your very existence as a company is in mortal peril.

Hundreds of individuals and companies have been destroyed or damaged due to negative brand reputation. Over 700 high-profile executives and employees across fields and industries have been called out by the #MeToo movement in the past year. By June, 190 of those accused were fired or left their jobs. Another 122 have been put on leave, suspended or are facing investigations since December 2016.

A study from Stanford showed that the fallout from bad behavior displayed by chief executives was long-lasting. The study looked at 38 incidents, which generated an average of 250 news stories each with media attention lasting almost five years. Shares suffered and, in a third of cases, firms faced further damage, including loss of major clients, federal investigations, shareholder lawsuits or proxy battles.

Our clients are on the front line of these battles and are well prepared to answer questions about their values and how they live by them because they’ve thought through their vulnerabilities and addressed weaknesses.

We use the following reputation risk management assessment tool to identify areas of vulnerabilities and help companies develop a C-Suite level response plan that is ready to communicate to every stakeholder.

We are our reputations, in business and in life. Good risk management lets us sleep well, and not wake up to bad news.

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: , , , |