August 19, 2016
by Kim Stangle
One of the most important client success stories we’ve told in the last decade has been about our work for South Walton (the Tourist Development Council) on the heels of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. With tourism as its main economic driver, the destination faced a crisis of epic proportions when news of the spill hit and visitors feared the pristine white-sand beaches they loved would be covered in tar balls.
Our team worked alongside the TDC’s communication staff to develop a crisis communication plan that would ensure visitors would continue booking trips as they’d done for so many years before. The plan included scenario-based messaging; a blog that was updated daily to show real-time images of beach conditions; and, a variety of other communication tools.
Ultimately, the drop in bookings was a fraction of what initial research indicated was possible and they rebounded dramatically in the years to follow.
It’s hard not to immediately draw comparisons to the latest news coming out of South Florida—Miami Beach, specifically—where the latest Zika outbreaks are crippling an otherwise bustling tourism spot.
While an oil spill is hardly the same as a mosquito-transmitted virus, the communication challenges are similar. Perception is a powerful motivator of fear and communicators must work to provide a constant flow of accurate information if they seek to separate fact from fiction.
For help with crisis communications and other public relations issues, check out our case studies and white papers.
August 15, 2016
by Roger Pynn
I got a big kick out of the dustup last week about John Oliver’s view of the state of the newspaper industry. Remember, Oliver is a comedian, but people like Newspaper Association of America really let his humor get under their skin. Said NAA President and CEO David Chavern, “newspapers need solutions, not petty insults and stating the obvious.”
I’m a recovering journalist. I say that because far too many people claim to be practicing journalism when in fact they are practicing commentary. I’ve had a hard time finding degrees offered in commentary, but I can tell you that when I studied journalism we were schooled to never, ever offer our own opinion. That was for those folks who produce editorial pages where the newspaper was to express its “corporate opinion.”
“I would just ask Mr. Oliver to spend more time talking about what the future of news could be, and less time poking fun at publishers who are trying to get there,” begged Chavern.
I would just ask Mr. Chavern to spend more time standing up for the practice of real journalism … and, less time letting a joke get the better of you. Learn to laugh.
August 15, 2016
by Roger Pynn
I’m just back from the 78th Annual Conference of the Florida Public Relations Association, which I’ve had the honor to lead as its president for the last year, and I’m reminded of the critical importance of continuing education for professionals.
From the tremendous insight into leadership communication by senior Ketchum executives Jamey Peters and Chris Thorton to an incredibly candid opening keynote presentation by SeaWorld Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Jill Kermes to an inspiring closing session of pick-up basketball with Gainesville Police Department Public Information Officer Ben Tobias on the power of viral video, PR practitioners had dozens of opportunities to gain valuable takeaways to improve their professional value from these general sessions to breakout talks and workshops.
And we didn’t just listen to fellow public relations people. Florida Trend Publisher Andy Corty recruited Duke Energy Florida President Alex Glenn for a discussion called “Listen to the C-Suite,” with this powerful Florida business team exploring what our employers and clients expect of us. Glenn’s belief in the power of public relations was refreshing.
To me, it is about public relations. To others it may be about accounting, law or engineering … but my takeaway from these past few days was that we must never stop learning. If you consider yourself a professional, align with an organization that can fulfill the need we all have for knowledge.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the Florida Public Relations Association in my life since 1974. It has shaped my career in more ways than I can count. If you consider yourself a professional, align with an organization that can fulfill the need we all have for knowledge. You’ll get a lot more than you pay for and if you take the time to become involved, you’ll get a lot more than you give.
March 21, 2016
by Roger Pynn
This probably won’t earn me any friends at Crain’s, but when this first edition of the much-awaited CRAIN’S ORLANDO arrived in my inbox I have to admit to scratching my head. A lot.
The first four offerings in this “curated” news service are from either Florida Today, the Orlando Business Journal or the Orlando Sentinel.
Perhaps someone ought to tell them that Florida Trend has been doing an excellent job of this kind of news aggregation with its Florida Trend DAILY PULSE for years now.
Unless CRAIN’s elects to do some original reporting this could quickly become nothing more than clutter in your inbox. Not what you expect from this respected publisher of such titles as Advertising Age, Automotive News, AUTOWEEK, InvestmentNews and many more.
February 17, 2016
by Kim Stangle
Marketers use a number of tactics to increase the open rate on emails they send to customers—and, with good reason. In 2015 alone, some 205 billion emails were sent per day. With those numbers, it’s easy to understand why perfecting the subject line is as critical as the content of the email.
Most email platforms even offer tips and tricks to help along the way. MailChimp gives step-by-step best practices; MyEmma has an interactive “split test showdown” to help users pick winning subject lines; and, companies like Mequoda offer great resources like this list to help perfect your copywriting skills.
With all of those resources, I’m left scratching my head about an email tactic that I’m quite certain is not a mistake. I’ve opted in for emails from retailer West Elm and, generally speaking, they didn’t seem anymore offensive than any other. But, then yesterday I received this:
At first, I was thinking, “Ooh, a discount code.” But, then I remembered that email seemed vaguely familiar. Sure enough, a quick search of my inbox yielded this:
And, you guessed it … no sign of that “old email.”
Business is built by building trust, not by cheap marketing ploys. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
December 7, 2015
by Heather Keroes
“Welcome to Moe’s!” Just hearing that phrase makes my mouth water and my stomach grumble as it yearns for burritos, chips and queso. I subscribe to Moe’s Southwest Grill’s text alerts, which keep me informed of important burrito deals. On Black Friday, for example, I would fully expect to receive (and did) a text offering me amazing burrito savings to help fuel my shopping. But today marks the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. This isn’t a day when I would expect to receive the following text alert: “Pearl Harbor Day got you HUNGRY? Swing by Moe’s for Moe Monday.” Uh … yeah. Pearl Harbor Day has me FAMISHED.
I could write much more than this about holiday exploitation and misinterpretation, but for some reason I thought Pearl Harbor Day escaped that fate. This isn’t a day to vie for savings on a big screen TV, let alone a burrito. As I write this, it is lunchtime, and I am indeed hungry, but I’m not craving Moe’s.