Comments

Comment #3:

My most recent comment is in response to an article entitled, “Speakers, turn ‘interruptions’ into opportunities” posted on PRDaily.com Here are my thoughts:

Blog Comment

Comment #2:

I responded to another article posted on PRDaily.com. This one is entitled, “5 ways to humanize your writing”. I was immediately drawn to this title because I sometimes have trouble “personalizing” my own writing. However, I found that this topic is slightly different than what I though it would be! Here is my comment:

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 5.23.30 PM

Comment #1:

I found an interesting PR article at PRDaily.com entitled, “Why controversies might be good for brands – study”.

Many companies and brands are choosing to take stands on political issues such as gay marriage and contraception coverage in order to portray a certain image and attract certain customers.

I wrote the following response:

Screen Shot Blog Comment 1

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How to Avoid a PR Disaster

When taking on a new Public Relations (PR) project, it is tempting to jump right ahead to tactical ideas. However, this can and will most likely lead to a huge PR disaster. The number one way to avoid a PR nightmare is to conduct thorough research and analyze the results before getting started on brainstorming strategy and tactics. Just remember the RACE formula:

1) Research
2) Analysis
3) Communications
4) Evaluation

Research is a critical initial step for a number of reasons. Firstly, you have to clearly define and understand your target audience. Segmenting a specific target market will focus your messaging and communication goals. What does your target market like? What are their interests? How do you reach them? You have to get to know your audience.

Secondly, research involves assessing the current market climate. Determine your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. What are your competitors doing? Is this the right time to launch a new communications strategy? What makes your company different? Why should people care?

Thirdly, the research process allows you to test messages to determine what works and what should be changed. Your key messages are essential to the success of the campaign. Make sure your messages are strong enough to withstand criticism and have a contingency plan on hand.

An example of a PR strategy that was not well researched or well managed is the infamous #McDStories Twitter campaign.

McDonald’s Social Media McBlunder

Back in January 2012, McDonald’s launched a social media campaign to compliment their Suppliers Stories marketing theme with a 24-hour promotional campaign on Twitter. Two keyword hashtags: #MeetTheFarmers and #McDStories were promoted and inserted into the streams of Twitter users[1] in an effort to encourage the public to discuss their favourite McDonald’s experiences. McDonald’s initially tweeted, “Meet some of the hard-working people dedicated to providing McDs with quality food every day #McDStories”[2]. This tweet was followed by a second tweet:

McDStories

Almost immediately, Twitter users responded. But not in the way that McDonald’s had hoped. Twitter members began posting negative remarks and jokes, leading others to follow suit, turning the well-intentioned campaign into an extreme case of “tweetjacking”. Twitter members posted the following:

Tweets

What Went Wrong?

The main problem with the #McDStories hashtag is that it is not well-defined. Consequently, consumers jumped at the opportunity to use the hashtag with negative connotations, tweeting about horrible service experiences and questionable quality of food at McDonald’s.

  • The #McDStories campaign was not very well integrated into the Supplier Stories campaign, as there was no mention of the hashtags on any other McDonald’s PR platform.
  • The hashtag was introduced without any explanation and without defined parameters of how the hashtag was meant to be used.
  • The hashtag was easy to take out of context and using the brand name in the tag set the stage for negative exploitation.
  • McDonald’s reacted by pulling down the initial tweet with no explanation, and then proceeded to ignore the problem with no response to public messages.
  • The silence on McDonalds’ part reinforced the idea that the fast-food chain does not want to engage in conversations with followers and is only interested in self-promotion.
  • Lack of research and preparation resulted in poor execution of the campaign.

Research and Prevention

In this case, McDonald’s would have benefited from conducting initial research before launching the #McDStories hashtag. They should also have prepared a plan to engage with responses.

  • Set clear goals of what you would like to accomplish and outline a target audience.
  • Create a crisis plan and guideline before launching a PR campaign.
  • Keep your messages on point and monitor the campaign in order to quickly resolve any issues.
  • Maintain engagement with responders and be prepared to engage with naysayers.
  • Acknowledge and respond to negative situations before it gets out of control.
  • Do not delete messages or posts without an explanation.

Overall, Public Relations strategies can be tricky. With the right tools, research, and preparation, every communication breakdown and PR Nightmare can be prevented and managed. Don’t be tempted to jump to tactics before doing the necessary research.

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Enjoying the Simple Things

Soup for the Soul

Back in January, I started to think about what my resolution for 2013 would be. I decided that I would start enjoying and appreciating the little things more often. Sometimes I get caught up in wanting bigger and better things and stuff. Meaningless stuff. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I want to focus on the things that make me happy. It’s the little gestures and simple pleasures that really add up to brighten your day. Treasuring and appreciating these little moments can have a big impact on you overall attitude and outlook.

Enjoying the Simple Things in the Winter:

1) Kissing in the glittery falling snow
2) Savouring the last bite of chocolate cake. Smile.
3) Warming my hands on the perfect cup of tea. Just breathe.
4) Reuniting with friends. Sharing love and laughs.
5) Dancing in the kitchen
6) Looking up to see a clear blue sky. Hopeful.
7) Cuddling! My happy place.
8) The first bite of homemade bread. Fresh and warm.
9) Wooly socks.
10) Homemade soup to soothe the soul.

I’m looking forward to making a new list for Spring! Every time I read it, it makes me smile and remember.

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Respect Yourself, Respect Others

love

In light of recent events, I feel compelled to write about human decency and respect.

I want to live in a world where human beings treat each-other like people and not like toys, objects, blow-up dolls, or animals. I want to live in a world where young girls can voice their opinions and concerns and not be ostracized, shamed, de-humanized, or disrespected. I want to live in a world where young boys stand up for what is right and stop violence against women. I want these boys and girls to understand what abuse means, what the lasting effects are, and how to stop the cycle of abuse.

Where does this perfect world exist?

It exists within our own capable hands.

WE have the power to shape society’s views and make real changes. We have the power to change the view that “she asked for it” that “she was just drunk” that “she was a slut” into “she said no” and “she is a human being” and “she has value”. Why do we have to change our views? Because the unauthorized violation of a human body is rape. No human being should be violated in this way. No human being deserves to be violated in any circumstance. Ever.

How do we reach you? How do we teach you?

It starts with self-respect. Respect your body and your mind. Know that you are important and that you are responsible for yourself and your own conscious actions. Respecting yourself leads to respecting others. Learn how to stand up for your rights and the rights of your friends, your family, your future. Stand up against perpetrators of violence and abuse to make your voice heard. Do this because you respect yourself and you respect other human beings.

I want to live in the world that values equality and promotes human decency.

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Giving Back

rain

When I look around at my peers, I am proud to see all of our accomplishments on display. I am surrounded by filmmakers, writers, journalists, marketing associates, HR professionals, and entrepreneurs; all of these young professionals are dong great things, following their passions and strengths.

Despite negative pressures and pessimistic predictions, I believe that my generation is defying previous beliefs about a hopeless future. Instead, we are filled with optimism and creativity. In our own way, we are stepping up to the plate to create positive change in our lives and in the lives of others.

We believe in environmentalism, feminism, forward-thinking, and achievement. We believe in building strong relationships, helping others, and volunteering our time to make an impact. We make connections on a daily basis through social media and digital technology. The potential outreach is infinite. Because of this capability, social entrepreneurial efforts are growing and gaining momentum.

This optimism has shaped my own hopes and dreams. I have an undying need to find fulfillment and to do meaningful work. I believe in nourishing my mind, body, and soul. To feel fully satisfied, I take pride in giving back to my community. From well construction in West Africa, to serving in a local soup kitchen, every act counts. Volunteering at home and abroad has shown me the power of kindness and the great need for human connection and compassion.

I believe in the good in others.

I believe that we are all capable of greatness. You just have to ask yourself, what am I doing to give back?

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Left Brain, Right Brain

Colour

I have always been fascinated with the left brain versus right brain dominance theory. The traditional theory states that each side of the brain controls different types of thinking and learning. While the left hemisphere is associated with logic, analytical skills, and objectivity, the right hemisphere is largely associated with creativity, intuition, emotional responses, and subjectivity.

This theory evolved out of split-brain research during epilepsy studies in the 1940’s by neuropsychologist, Roger Wolcott Sperry. Sperry later won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

The lateralizing of brain function also greatly affects stroke patients. My personal connection with this research came about when my own grandmother suffered a stroke. She lost the ability to speak. As difficult as this was to witness, the complexity of the human brain became paramount. Despite her inability to communicate through spoken words, my granny rebounded one day, and burst out into song! She couldn’t speak but she could sing.

Fascinating. Overwhelming. Miraculous.

While some people assert that the left brain/right brain dominance theory has been largely over-generalized, stories like this bring us back to pondering about the brain’s complexity. Overall, we need both parts of our brains and both ways of thinking to be successful. As we continue to learn about the brain, we realize how important it is to harness our strengths.

C – calm vs chaos
A – analytical vs artsy
S – straightforward vs sassy
E – elegant vs erratic
Y – yearning vs yelling

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Steps to Success

First Step

Success means something different to everyone. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many different options and pressures. Yet, what it comes down to is just a few simple steps to keep you focused.

Steps to Success:
1. Define what success means to you
2. Set achievable objectives with a definitive time frame
3. Research your area of interest
4. Identify personal strengths and weaknesses
5. Write and implement an action plan
6. Assess your actions and revise your action plan

The first step is the most important. Your individual definition of success will set the parameters for your objectives. Next, the key element for setting your objectives is to establish a clear time frame for achieving each measurable goal. If you are unsure about what time frames or measures are realistic and attainable, researching your area of interest will provide you with some background information. You may discover that your objectives have changed and this provides you with the opportunity to revise your goals.

Research will also lead to providing you with a clearer understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. Identifying what you are good at and what you need to work on will tie into your action plan. I find it helpful to write down exactly what I am going to do and visualize myself in that space. You can then assess your actions and revise your plan based on your evaluation of the results. Remember that your plan is a work in progress. You should be reviewing each step as you go along.

Visualize, implement, learn from mistakes.

You don’t have to be able to see the whole staircase; you just have to take the first step.

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