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.

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: , , , , , |