PR and Reputation Management

By: Sarah Copeland

Throughout this past semester, many of my classes have brought in guest speakers that talked about reputation management. After about the third speaker, I got the message: reputation is incredibly important. But whose reputation? Well, the reputation of just about anything and everything.

If a company does not have a good reputation then its business will be damaged. Anything from the quality of a product to the quality of a service is judged by the public. No matter where you work, your company or your brand needs reputation management.

A successful company is a familiar and popular company with loyal customers. Have you ever heard of top-of-mind awareness? Top-of-mind awareness is like asking what smartphone is the best and having someone respond with iPhone. It may not be true but it’s what most people would say because everyone knows about Apple products and its reputation.

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So how do you control a company, a product or a brand’s reputation? Recently, my PR courses have been working on communication plans to enhance the success of certain clients. The main issue with both these clients has been awareness. Not enough people care about what our clients do and that is a problem. Our challenge? Raise the brand familiarity and positive reputation among customers through PR methods.

The public relations aspect of reputation is important during the campaign. Key messages are created and an end goal is established all in the effort to reach internal and external audiences. The goal? Enhancing the awareness and understanding of a brand to increase its credibility and top-of-mind awareness.

There are two main broad-reach platforms that can be used in PR campaigns to help build and maintain reputation. They are media and social media. Social media is now customer service central. Why call a customer service line when social media is available to post all your disgruntled feelings about a product? Ever notice how fast companies respond when you post something negative about their services? It’s uber-fast or at least it should be.

Social media is a hotspot for companies to build their reputation. They can increase engagement with their customers and also manage disappointed customers at the same time. All they have to do is post a helpful comment to a disgruntled customer to help fix the problem. If they do it well then they have one more loyal customer to spread positive WOM about that company.

Next time a product lets you down, go to social media and complain and see how long it takes the company to reply to try and fix the problem. It’s all about reputation management in order to maintain loyal customers and a positive top-of-mind awareness.

 

 

 

References:

Leibowitz, C. (2014, June 02). Branding & Public Relations Go Hand-in-Hand – Branding & PR. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from http://www.5wpr.com/new/branding-and-public-relations/

Mikacova, L., & Gavlakova, P. (2014, January 24). The Role of Public Relations in Branding. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042813055687

Pearce, C. (2011, May 11). Why PR is good for branding. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from http://craigpearce.info/pr-good-branding/

Walkden, L. (2013, June 19). Brand Reputation Management: Your Seven-Point Game Plan. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2013/11004/brand-reputation-management-your-seven-point-game-plan

 

 

Social Media Just Got (More) Personal

By: Sarah Copeland

How controlling do you think social media is over us as we get online? I am sure most of the population does not know or simply does not care. As long as we get to use social media and stay in contact it really does not matter, right? I wouldn’t be so sure. Social media has gotten pretty creepy over the past few years.

Let’s use Facebook as an example. Have you ever noticed that you only usually see the posts from certain groups of people, groups or pages all the time? Even with well over a hundred friends, you still rarely see their posts. But that isn’t because they aren’t posting anything. It’s because of something called algorithms.

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Facebook, back when it first started out, used to be timeline based as it moved chronologically through posts as you scrolled down. Users got to choose whose posts they paid attention to and who they replied to with comments. Now, Facebook is deciding for us what we want to read.

If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed that the advertisements that have taken over your news feed have gotten more and more accurate and aligned to your preferences. God forbid you look up apartment complexes to help a friend find a new place because you will get an endless stream of real estate on your feed. (Yes, this did happen and it lasted for a month.) How creepy is that? Facebook can track what you look up on the Internet!

Facebook’s algorithm is designed to analyze you. Even though it does this to provide you with content that you may be more interested in, no one can deny that this may be just a little too personal. Facebook is technically controlling your Facebook feed.

This is how it works: engagement. If you have been interacting with specific friends, groups, pages, Facebook’s algorithm will track those actions. The more you interact, the more posts from those locations will show up on your feed. This is all about Facebook trying to find out what is most important to you and giving it to you. (Totally creepy)

And we can’t forget about the other creepy Facebook qualities that exist. Yes, I’m talking about the poke suggestions, the advertisement monitoring, the consistent plea for users to update their info and, above all else, the face recognition and tagging abilities. Facebook no longer needs to ask, it just knows.

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If you think that this is way too creepy, here are a couple ways you can try and fight the algorithm robot. I think it’s time we review how much social media knows about us and how willing we are to hand over our personal information. It can’t get more personal than it is now.

 

 

 

References:

Baer, J. (n.d.). 3 Ways to Fight Facebook’s Algorithm and Customize Your Feed. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-tools/3-ways-to-fight-facebooks-algorithm-and-customize-your-feed/

Kamps, H. J., & Constine, J. (2016, April 21). Facebook’s News Feed is changing again to prioritize sites you actually read. Retrieved April 23, 2016, from http://techcrunch.com/2016/04/21/facebook-news-is-new/

McHugh, M. (2013, October 04). 6 creepy things you might not know Facebook is doing. Retrieved April 23, 2016, from http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/6-creepy-things-you-might-not-know-facebook-is-doing/

Oremus, W. (2016, January 03). Who Really Controls What You See in Your Facebook Feed—and Why They Keep Changing It   . Retrieved April 23, 2016, from http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/cover_story/2016/01/how_facebook_s_news_feed_algorithm_works.html

Wallaroo Media. (2015, January 22). Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm Change History. Retrieved April 23, 2016, from http://wallaroomedia.com/facebook-newsfeed-algorithm-change-history/

Tweet, Tweet, Twitter Chats

By: Sarah Copeland

I always thought that the best thing about going to school was getting to learn new things. Of course, I loved school a lot more when I was younger. As you get older school stops being so awesome. Maybe that’s because it also gets a lot more difficult. I’m sure a lot of my peers will agree with me that this semester is definitely a difficult semester. I can easily say that this is the most difficult semester that I’ve had in college yet. But, I’ve also enjoyed many of the things that have been new to me. An example of assignments I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy was Tweet Chats.

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Each of my peers and I was asked to complete four Tweet Chats throughout this semester. I can honestly say, I will be continuing to use chats for the rest of my career.

Tweet Chats are incredibly useful to individuals as well as businesses. Chats give users an opportunity to engage with more people, earn new followers, receive valuable tips and have a great learning experience. There are even more opportunities for businesses.

As a business, Tweet Chats can help bring together all audiences that are targeted into one space. Chats give businesses the advantage of engaging directly with customers and the ability to increase their brand awareness. This type of conversation is meaningful and also increases a business’ authority.

Obviously, Tweet Chats should be part of the game plan for several businesses. But, as a student, I feel like the benefits are endless, especially being a PR student. Of course, chats are a sure-fire way to build connections and relationships (a must for anyone in PR). Plus, there is no lack of chats devoted to discussions on public relations, communications, marketing and social media.  The amount of tips and other educational value that comes from participating in these chats is priceless.

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It is always gratifying, especially during tough semesters, to be introduced to such a valuable tool. Though I only have one more chat to complete for assignment purposes, I will be committed to joining PR based chats as often as possible in the future.

 

 

References:

Hines, K. (2013, November 27). 5 Ways Twitter Chats Can Help Your Business : Social Media Examiner. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/twitter-chats-for-business/

Kennedy, M. E. (2014, May 8). Twitter Chats Every PR Pro Should Participate In. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.business2community.com/public-relations/twitter-chats-every-pr-pro-participate-0877086#U52hMXOd4hRPvA4O.97

Rusine, R. (2015, January 9). 10 Benefits of Twitter Chats for Your Business. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.business2community.com/twitter/10-benefits-twitter-chats-business-01119853#kuCojvLQi1Fl1u6U.97

Wright, I. J. (2016, January 20). Should You Host a CSR Twitter Chat? Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/csr-twitter-chat

 

 

 

There’s an App for That

By: Sarah Copeland

I’ve never been a very tech-savvy girl. I honestly think I was put in the wrong decade. I grew up through all the big technological leaps. I’ve watched the progression of cell phones and computers, the invention of tablets and super-thin televisions. Sometimes, when I’m faced with an obstacle, I find myself saying, “thank goodness, there’s an app I can use” because there is always an app.

For instance, there are plenty of pages on the Internet devoted to critiquing and recommending a vast assortment of different apps. I’m not talking about gaming apps, but the actual tasking apps. I recently looked at a website that suggested it had listed the best eight most useful mobile applications. I hadn’t heard of over half of them. Another site lists 25 apps that are directly targeted to college students.

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It’s not hard to understand why there are so many apps. They are helpful, that pretty much sums it up. One interesting thing I learned in a marketing class I took was that there will never be an end to people’s wants and needs. I can only assume, since apps are shortcuts to solving wants and needs, that there will be an endless supply of apps created to help us.

But there’s more to apps than just helping college students organize their schedules. Apps can help businesses too, and they should certainly take advantage of that. Mobile applications create a direct communication channel from the business to their customers, twenty-four-seven. With this type of connection, a business can build its brand awareness and improve its engagement with audiences.

When technology advanced, so did the world and so did businesses. Businesses and their communications have evolved from television to the World Wide Web and now to the individual little icons on our personal screens. It’s true that sometimes apps seem like a hindrance in the personal world, but it is very helpful for businesses that want to get ahead of their competition.

Technology will keep moving forward and businesses will constantly need to evolve to keep up. For now, the important part is to keep up with the immediacy of the flow of information in the form of apps. I’m sure, no matter what a customer is looking for, there will be an app designed especially for that task.

 

References:

Gohel, J. (n.d.). 8 Useful Mobile Applications to Simplify Your Daily Life. Retrieved April 08, 2016, from https://www.digifloor.com/8-useful-mobile-applications-to-simplify-your-daily-life-19

Haselmayr, M. (2014, November 17). Here’s Why Your Business Needs Its Own Mobile App. Retrieved April 08, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2014/11/17/heres-why-your-business-needs-its-own-mobile-app/#2e38fdb15c76

Strike, A. (n.d.). 25 Apps College Students Shouldn’t Live Without. Retrieved April 08, 2016, from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/25-apps-college-students-shouldnt-live-without.html

 

 

To Firm or Not to Firm, That is the Question

By: Sarah Copeland

I admit, I already have a bias opinion about this topic. But I promise to remain objective so that I can put forth the facts. This blog is for the purpose of providing the pros and cons of working in a PR firm or for an in-house position. And just basically, the overall differences between the two options.

Decided between a firm or a corporation is a question that all PR majors come to eventually. Do we want to apply to work in a firm or would we rather try and find a job in-house? However, it isn’t something addressed in our classes. So I went out to find my own answers.

Obviously, there are major differences between agencies and in-house roles. And there are several questions  to address before making a decision. These include: Where would it be better to work for future career opportunities? Which option has a higher paycheck? But the most important question should be: What would be a better fit for my work preferences? Hopefully, these pros and cons can help answer that.

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Corporate Organizations (in-house)

Pros:

  • -Can become experts on the industry
  • -Sense of true dedication
  • -More responsibility to promote that one brand
  • -You can market something you really believe in
  • -Better to be on site during a crisis (more info available)
  • -Traditional job with (possibly) higher paychecks

Cons:

  • -Harder to advance (to get promotions)
  • -If you don’t like a niche focus
  • -Co-workers (outside PR) don’t understand what you do

Agency (firms)

Pros:

  • -Wide range and variety of clients
  • -On-the-job learning
  • -More frequent opportunities for promotions
  • -Lively and creative culture
  • -Comradery
  • -Good training ground to exposed to everything PR

Cons:

  • -Fast-paced environment
  • -Have to take the accounts you are assigned to
  • -Juggling responsibilities of multiple clients
  • -Expensive for small businesses to afford
  • -Until you move up, limited income

From my research, it looks like the debate about which is better could go either way. So, to put it simply, the decision is yours. And the bright side is, PR professionals switch sides all the time. Therefore, the decision isn’t always final.

 

 

References:

Adams, B. (2013, January 16). 5 major differences between agency and in-house PR. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/5_major_differences_between_agency_and_inhouse_PR_13582.aspx

Dale, E. (2014, September 2). PR agency vs. in-house? Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.prweek.com/article/1309975/pr-agency-vs-in-house

Edwards, I. (2012, March 24). What are the differences between working in-house and at an agency? Retrieved April 01, 2016, from https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-differences-between-working-in-house-and-at-an-agency

Johnston, S. (n.d.). Advertising, PR — Blogs, Articles and Jobs – Experience.com. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from https://www.experience.com/alumnus/article?channel_id=advertising_marketing_pr

Nazar, M. (2016, January 26). Here’s the definitive answer to picking agency vs. in-house life – Corporate Ink. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.corporateink.com/heres-the-definitive-answer-to-picking-agency-vs-in-house-life/

Winchel, B. (2015, December 30). 5 differences between in-house and agency PR. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/5_differences_between_inhouse_and_agency_PR__18683.aspx