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Posts tagged ‘professionalism’

Branding style – Moschino Palazzo

When it comes to mode, everything is heute couture and stylish. But Moschino branded more than its clothes and accessories: a palazzo, as it is said in Italian.

Maison Moschino is situated in the beautiful city of Milan, Italy, one of the mode’s capitals. Each room has a story – “Alice’s Room”, “Life is a rose-bed” or “Sleeping wood” and every interior is designed specifically as the room name. Also, the furniture has particularities such as collars for chairs, sleeves or a dress-bed, as you can see in the images.

The restaurant has two Michelin stars, which means that eating is also a heute couture experience. You receive your breakfast in a shoe box with four, six or eight different dishes.

Delicious, tasty and wonderful. A place for your list of must-visit destinations indeed!

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Source: Hotel Philosophy

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

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Case studies for social media crisis management

Some of the crisis that companies are dealing with nowadays are coming from social media, believe it or not. We give the power to our consumers and they are responding via different social media channels, positive or negative. Today I found some interesting cases of social media crisis management via scoop.it. Again, Slideshare is a great help.

British Petroleum, Ford Motor and Nestle

Better tomorrow,
PR-Pret-a-Porter.

Bitdefender Awake Making Of

Everyone who uses a computer needs an anti-virus protection. Recently, I received this Making of Video which I find it fantastic.

But who is Bitdefender ?

Bitdefender is

 a sublime alloy of intelligence, strength and willpower. We have the sharp mind of the wolf and the sleekness of the dragon, the vigilance of the alpha-male and the indestructibility of the snake’s body. We are a unique combination of symbols that fight on Good’s side.

Half wolf. Half dragon. The Dacian Wolf was carried into battle by soldiers defending their territories in ancient times. It created fear in the opposition, and built confidence in those who carried it.

We are now the bearers of this symbol that transcends time. While the battlefield has changed, its spirit lives on. We are the defenders of the new digital world. We are AWAKE, always on guard—protecting more than 400 million users across the globe with our award-winning technologies.

Judging by its looks, the Bitdefender brand avatar borrows the spirit of our fearless ancestors. It also adds a modern layer to our historical heritage, by bringing the Bitdefender quintessence into the equation.

Bitdefender is perfectly adapted to today’s combat requirements. It possesses the necessary skills to win the digital warfare that is going on inside computer networks all over the world.

Great brand story, indeed. 

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Social media: limit or limitless ?

As company, do you need one Facebook account connected with one Twitter account or you need more? Maybe two, three, four ? How much is too much asks David Rogers in Bnet.

What’s his answer?

By now, most businesses know they should have a presence on Facebook or Twitter. But the more digitally-savvy businesses often ask, How many? Should you have only one Facebook page? Or multiple ones?

While some brands, like JetBlue, are represented by a single corporate Facebook page and a single Twitter account, other brands, like Dell, seem to sprout new Twitter accounts and Facebook pages every day, one for every department or division. Does this make them more efficient? When is it too much–or too little?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all answer. The best approach depends on your business, customers, brands and overall media strategy.

When One Voice Is Best

The benefits of a single, unified presence on a given social media platform are clear. A single account makes it easier to build a sizable audience. It may help focus your social media efforts (especially if you are a small or medium-sized business). It will provide a clear presence for your brand, and will avoid confusion among your customers about where to go to find you online.

When You May Want to Manage Multiple Accounts

However, there are many cases why multiple voices may be more effective for achieving a business’ social media goals.

Following are 7 reasons why a business may do better with multiple accounts:

1. Different Business Units. Many larger companies are structured around distinct business units that serve customers with different needs. In these cases, it can be much more valuable to the customer to follow or connect with a social media presence that is specific to their own needs. Dell, for example, has separate Twitter or Facebook accounts for its enterprise (@dellenterprise), education (@dellEDU), and small business (@dellSMBnews) operating units. That way each account can provide content and interaction that is more relevant to the right customers. SimilarlyGE has separate accounts for GE capital, water, aviation, appliances, and lighting. And at Columbia University, where I teach, there are separate accounts for the Schools of Journalism, Law, and Business.

2. Different Geography & Languages. Businesses operating in different countries may find a need for distinct social media accounts, especially to suit different languages of customers there. Dell has separate Facebook pages for India, Thailand, and Malaysia, among others. The Johnnie Walker spirits brand has a single master Facebook page that links to 32 international Facebook pages, allowing for content that is customized and in the local language: Mexico (Spanish), Brasil (Portuguese), Israel (Hebrew), and others.

3. Different Content Topics. Media companies and other idea-focused businesses that are producing a great deal of content for their customers may want to set up different social media accounts around different topics, so that customers can select those which are most relevant to them. The New York Timesruns numerous Twitter and Facebook accounts that spotlight the content of its various sections: Politics, Science, Travel, Food, Music, or even the Crossword Puzzle. Similarly, a university may set up separate accounts focused on atheletics, arts events, career placement, or even specific events or conferences.

4. Different Local Branches. Some businesses that have a brick-and-mortar retail presence may benefit from separate social media accounts for local branches. Whole Foods combines an overall corporate presence in social media with numerous accounts for individual branches (from Detroit and Chicago, to my hometown market in Montclair, NJ). This allows customers to get localized information about events, store news, and special deals happening at their own branch.

5. Different Social Media Strategies. Separate accounts can also be valuable when a business is trying to use the same social media platform for different strategic aims. Comcast uses one Twitter account as a customer service channel, and another one to share information on its community investment program. GE’s @GEreports provides news on technical innovations to its investor community, whereas accounts like @GEresearchjobs focus on hiring. Dell has run a very successful standalone Twitter account focused on sales of discounted inventory, @delloutlet.

6. Unique Voices within the Company. For companies with social media-savvy employees, and a great many customers seeking to interact online, it is sometimes beneficial to add personal corporate accounts in social media. These are accounts that are named by the company, but identified by a particular employee (from Zappos’s CEO Tony Hsieh, to customer service specialist @ComcastBill).

7. Unique Sub-Brands with Strong Personalities. If a company’s product brands, or sub-brands, have a strong enough personality of their own, customers may be more interested in connecting with them in social media, than with the corporate master brand. (Would you sooner “like” the Dove brand, or its parent Unilever corp?) Chevrolet has its own accounts on Twitter and Facebook, but also maintains accounts for Chevy Trucks, Chevy Camaro, Corvette, and the new all-electric Chevy Volt. The typical customer for Chevy Trucks and the Volt are likely quite different.

Making Sense to Your Customer

In essence, the decision of one or many voices within social media comes down to an understanding of your brand architecture (are you seen as one company? Or a collection of exciting brands?), and of your customer base (is it relatively homogeneous? Or do you have distinct networks of customers, which don’t overlap very much?).

If you do have good reason to establish separate social media accounts, and the resources to support them, make sure you keep them clear for your customer. The goal should be to avoid confusion, while allowing for more relevant and meaningful interactions with customers that build long term relationships and add value to your business.

 

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Tips and tricks: social media for companies

I know for sure that many companies would like to understand better how does social media work for them and their products. Many of them are using the basics, meaning the website, the blog company, some Facebook and Twitter. Mashable presents us some case studies which can help a company to improve its social media impact by showing different media channels. 

  • Narrow your focus to responding to customer complaints, as Comcast does on Twitter.
  • Build brand loyalty, as Bisnow does with e-newsletters, as Skittles does on Facebook, and as the Wine Library does with its podcasts.
  • Issue blog posts and tweets instead of news releases, as Google does with its blog, and as its now-former CEO did with Twitter.
  • Re-purpose your existing content, and thus enlarge your audience, as The New York Times does with Twitter, as the FBI does with Scribd, and as Dell does with SlideShare.
  • Manage your reputation, as countless companies do — or try to do — with Wikipedia.
  • Conduct crisis communications, as Johnson & Johnson does with its blog.
  • Hold contests to improve your algorithms, as Netflix did with the Netflix Prize.
  • Crowdsource your challenges, as the U.S. Army did with its field manuals.
  • Demonstrate thought leadership, as recruiter Lindsay Olson does with her blog.
  • Research free advertising opportunities, as Allstate does on YouTube.
  • Showcase your wares, as Zappos does with its blog, and boost your sales, as Dell does on Twitter.
  • Recruit employees, as Booz Allen does on LinkedIn.
 
Better tomorrow,
PR Pret-a-Porter.

Crisis management: Toyota case

Today I found an interesting case study about crisis management: Toyota. Mashable is presenting the facts and the story of Toyota via social media:

In January 2010, Toyota faced a nightmare situation for any brand, but particularly for one that staked its reputation on safety and quality: The company had to recall 2.3 million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals.

Suddenly, Toyota was trending on Google and Twitter on a daily basis, but for all the wrong reasons. Auto brands had faced similar crises before — Audi in particular grappled with a gas accelerator recall in the 1980s — but none had done so under the 24/7 scrutiny of social media.

But Kimberley Gardiner, Toyota’s national digital marketing and social media manager, saw an opportunity as well.

“Right away, we were seeing a lot of conversation and getting a lot of people who were using social media to reach out to us,” she says. “We didn’t have a lot of answers at the beginning.”

Toyota’s social media team, which was only a few months old at the time, decided to address the situation head on, but in a novel way: via Digg.

Before Digg’s disastrous Version 4 hit in August 2010, the site had a lot more social media influence. Recall that in 2009, Digg’s traffic ranged from 37 million to 44 million unique visitors each month. Plus, the site had outsize influence on Google News searches. At the time, it seemed like the best place for Toyota to get its message across.

On February 8, Toyota served up Jim Lentz, president of Toyota’s North American sales operation, to the masses in the form of a Digg Dialogg. In many ways, the appearance was a stroke of genius. For one thing, Lentz didn’t actually appear on Digg, but on a dedicated video site. The questions, which were voted on by fans (the ones with the most votes rose to the top) also wound up being pretty softball. “They were mostly general questions, like ‘What kind of car does Mr. Lentz drive?’” says Florence Drakton, social media manager. (“That’s a great question,” a clearly relieved Lentz answers.) Lentz’s interview, which ran 28 minutes, is still available on YouTube:

It was hard to beat the reach Toyota got from the appearance. Within a week, the Dialogg had received 1.2 million views. “Probably the biggest indicator of interest was there were 3,200 questions,” says Drakton. “Only celebrities have gotten that much.” In addition to reaching a fairly big audience, the Dialogg gave Toyota theappearance of achieving social media branding nirvana: Transparency. Though there were other factors at play, like news fatigue, researcher YouGov’s BrandIndex, which polls 5,000 Internet users daily, saw a bottoming out around the time of the Dialogg. Note: YouGov’s scores are based on consumers’ perception of the brand. A positive is +100 and negative is -100.

The best news for Toyota, though, is the company’s brand perception among those in the market for a car within the next six months is high. In YouGov’s most recent survey, Toyota was second only to Honda among that audience; the brand had leapfrogged Ford sometime in August.

Looking back, Gardiner says although the Digg Dialoggs (there were two more in July and August of 2010) were successful, if the same thing happened today, she’d probably use a TweetChat on Twitter instead. In fact, the medium is a favorite of Toyota’s, which has held several such chats in the last few months. Facebook, Gardiner says, is a great way to reach out to Toyota owners, but Twitter addresses those consumers who might be skeptical about the brand.

The choice of the exact form of social media may be beside the point, though. Like Dell, which became a social media poster child after its Dell Hell debacle, Toyota’s recall situation forced the company to embrace social media. “Toyota is an organization that is not used to being on camera and in the spotlight,” Gardiner says. “It was new to many people in the organization. It’s not something you plan for. We’re learning as we go.”

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

 

Message for Apple employees

oana vasiliu10 days ago the wonderful Steve Jobs resigned from the Apple Company. The new CEO is Tim Cook, who served as Apple CEO for two months in 2004, when Jobs was recovering from pancreatic cancer surgery. In 2009, Cook again served as Apple CEO for several months while Jobs took a leave of absence for a liver transplant.

In January 2011, Apple’s Board of Directors approved a third medical leave of absence requested by Jobs. During that time, Cook was responsible for most of Apple’s day-to-day operations while Jobs made most major decisions. Following the resignation of Jobs, Cook was made CEO of Apple Inc. on August 24, 2011.

The email sent to Apple employees:

oana vasiliuTeam:

I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity of serving as CEO of the most innovative company in the world. Joining Apple was the best decision I’ve ever made and it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve’s optimism for Apple’s bright future.

Steve has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the entire executive team and our amazing employees. We are really looking forward to Steve’s ongoing guidance and inspiration as our Chairman.

I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.

I love Apple and I am looking forward to diving into my new role. All of the incredible support from the Board, the executive team and many of you has been inspiring. I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is.

Tim

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Presidential reading list

oana vasiliu

I just found on the Internet what president of US, Barack Obama, has read during these years of presidency. Let’s take a look: (more…)

News releases – press releases via Public Relations for Dummies


In “Public Relations for Dummies” 2nd edition , authors Eric Yaverbaum and Bob Bly explain extremely simple the basics of PR for everyone who wants to understand the concept and the need of public relations services.oana vasiliu

Eric Yaverbaum has more than 25 years of experience in the practice of public relations and has earned a reputation for his unique expertise in strategic media relations, crisis communications, and media training. Eric has amassed extensive experience in counseling a wide range of clients in corporate, consumer, retail, technology, and professional-services markets and in building brands such as Sony, IKEA, Domino’s Pizza, TCBY, Progressive Insurance, and American Express, among many others.

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter specializing in traditional and Internet direct marketing. He has written lead generating sales letters, direct-mail packages, ads, scripts, Web sites, Internet direct mail, and PR materials for more than 100 clients, including IBM, AT&T, The BOC Group, EBI Medical Systems, Associated Air Freight.

News releases

Editors get hundreds of press releases weekly, all typed in the correct format,  and they throw out 99 percent of them. A professionally prepared release is important — the editor probably won’t read one that is handwritten on a scrap of grocery bag — but content is what makes your release the one in a hundred that actually gets read and used.

The following factors can help your release stand out from the crowd and actually make it into the publication or program:

  • Make sure that the subject of your release is important to the publication’s readers. If you were the editor and you had dozens of releases but could publish only a few, would you select your own release? Are the information and story in your release really important — not to your business, but to the publication’s readers? If not, forget it and look for a new angle.oana vasiliu
  • Make sure that your release is really news and not just an advertisement in disguise. Editors aren’t in the business of publishing advertising. Almost all will immediately discard publicity that is really advertising in disguise. Of course, most publicity has some advertising value or purpose, but write your publicity to give news or helpful information only.
  • Write your release so that the publication’s readers benefit from it. Your publicity will get published more often if it contains important news that will benefit the publication’s readers. This could be new technology that the readers will be interested in, helpful information, or an emerging trend.
  • Keep it short and to the point. Editorial space is very limited, and busy  editors don’t have the time to sort through irrelevant copy and cut it  down to the main points. Write clear and crisp sentences using only the important, relevant information. Tighten the writing. Keep paragraphs and sentences concise. Avoid jargon and repetition. Use strong verbs. Create lively, but accurate, text.
  • Include what the editor wants in your press release. That is, does it have facts to back up your statements? Include the who, what, when, where, how, and why details.
  • Use subheads in longer stories, at least one per page. A subhead is a smaller head that divides documents into sections, as do the smaller subheads throughout this book. Subheads in a press release help the editor grasp the entire story at a glance.
  • Consider adding a tip sheet for details that would otherwise clutter your release. For example, a new restaurant, when sending out a press release announcing its grand opening, included a separate tip sheet listing five specialty dishes along with the ingredients and recipes.
  • Make the release stand on its own. Don’t include a cover letter. If you feel a cover letter is needed to explain why are you sending the release or why an editor should be interested in using it, then your press release isn’t strong enough. Go back and rewrite your press release until it’s irresistible to editors.
  • Get all the facts and establish perspective before starting to write. Adding and rewriting later costs time and money.
  • Keep the news up front, not behind the interpretation or buried in paragraphs of analysis.
  • Cut out puffery; stick to newsworthy information.
  •  Put opinion and interpretation in an executive’s quotation. For example: “Within a decade, file transfer between different computer platforms will be seamless and device-independent,” says Bill Blathers, CEO, MicroExchange Software.
  • Use straightforward headlines. Forget the cute headline that forces an editor to dig through a paragraph or two to discover the who, what, when, where, and why. The headline should summarize the release so that an editor quickly understands your point.
  • Leave plenty of white space (blank space). Doing so is especially important at the top of page 1 because editors like room to edit. Doublespace and leave wide margins. Never use the back of a page.
  • Write for a specific editorial department: news, lifestyles, real estate, financial, new products. Similarly, provide separate story slants (in separate releases) for different categories of magazines. To publicize a directory of free information, for example, press releases could highlight the free information resources of interest to different editors. A press release featuring free information on gardening, real estate, and do-it yourself tips could be aimed at home magazines. A different release featuring free information on starting your own business could target business editors.
  • Create separate, shorter releases for radio and, at minimum, color slides and scripts for television.
  • End releases with a boilerplate paragraph that explains the organization or division. Many press releases include, before the closing paragraph containing the response information, a standard description of the company and its products. This information is helpful for editors who are unfamiliar with you or want to give their readers a little more description of who you are and what you do.
  • Consider editing the news release copy for product bulletins, internal publications, and other uses.
  • Write to gain respect for your organization and your next release. Be accurate and honest. Present clear and useful organization. Deliver value to the reader. Avoid hype and blatant self-promotion.
  • Streamline the clearance process so that only two or three executives approve each release. Doing so saves time and minimizes the chance to muddy the text.

The information is entirely copied from “Public Relations for Dummies” just because I consider it essential for everyone interested in writing not only a press release, but also any type of material for the mass-media.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

How to be a businesswoman in a men’s world

From today, Christine Lagarde is officially in charge of International Monetary Fund and she is also the first woman who was nominated for this function.

Who is Christine Lagarde?

Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde was the Minster of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry of France. She was appointed to her current position by President Nicolas Sarkozy in June 2007. Previously, she was Minister of Agriculture and Fishing and Minister of Trade. Lagarde was the first woman ever to become minister of Economic Affairs of a G8 economy, and is the first woman to ever head the IMF.

A noted antitrust and labour lawyer, Lagarde made history as the first female chair of the international law firm Baker&McKenzie. On 16 November 2009, The Financial Times ranked her the best minister of finance of the Eurozone. In 2009, Lagarde was ranked the 17th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.

What’s more ?

In 2010, Charles Ferguson directed a film called Inside Job about the financial crisis, a film which won an Academic Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2011. Christine Lagarde was interviewed for the movie and this is what she said:

I  truly recommend the film, it is one of the best resumes of what economic crisis means.

And a short video description of what she’s been doing since now:

Personally, I wish her good luck and wise decisions. As far as I am concern, I could only hope that she will become one of my role models.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Journalists vs. PR practitioners: trick questions

oana vasiliuDays ago, I wrote an article about do’s and do not’s for media interviews, from Crisis Communications A Casebook Approach written by Fern Banks. Today, I’m going to write trick questions that journalists use to obtain more spicy information.

  • speculative questions begin with if – “If an earthquake had happened during business hours, how many people would have been killed or injured? “
  • leading questions imply that the reporter already has the answer – “You do agree that the company could have avoided this tragedy, right ?”
  • loaded questions are designed to elicit an emotional response – “Isn’t it true that you knew there was asbestos in the ceiling and failed to do anything about it ?”
  • naive questions indicate that the reporter had not done any homework and does not know what to ask – “Tell me, what does your company do ?”
  • false questions intentionally contain inaccurate details in them – “You fired half of over-50 staff, right ?” where the public relations professional, knowing the statistic is wrong, could counter with “No, only 40%”, not realizing the reporter was aiming for that information all along.
  • know-it-all questions begin with “We have the story. I just need a few wrap-up facts.” The reporter may want you to merely confirm an already formed viewpoint.
  • silence is used by reporters who want you to spill your guts, to talk on and on.
  • accusatory questions are designed to force you to blame others
  • multiple-part questions can be confusing to you as well as to the public. Ask which part you should ask first, then answer each part as separate question.
  • jargonistic  questions are those in which technical words or professional jargon are used.
  • chummy questions are those in which the reporter, pretending to be your buddy, may ask – “Say, pal, off the record, what do you think … ?”
  • labeling questions aim to make issues negative or simplistic by seeming to ask for clarity – “Would you call the company’s work schedule stressful ?”
  • good-bye questions are posed at the end of an interview and may even come after the camera or tape recorder is turned off – “By the way …”

If you want to discover what these trick questions can do, I highly recommend you to watch All the President’s Men , where two journalists Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon’s resignation.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Office dress code

It’s summer time for a while now. And it is gonna be much more hotter than these days, so we have to dress properly for the office, not for a walk on the beach. I know that Forty-degree weather and a suit jacket don’t exactly mix and match, but neither do guys in shorts and corporate boardrooms. Not to mention the fact that, at any given point during the summer, it’s about 20 degrees cooler in the average office building than it is outside.

I think it is possible to create a summer work wardrobe both comfortable and professional. Resume Bear offers us some great tips:

1. No flip flops: Ladies, this faux-pas is typically committed by you, so listen up: “Flip flops are beach wear which transpired into ‘commuter-wear’ and then slowly into office wear,” says Lizandra Vega, author of “The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want.”

Not only do they look unprofessional, but their namesake “flip-flop” noise is an easy way to drive your co-workers nuts every time you walk by their desks, so opt for strappy sandals, espadrilles or ballet flats instead.

oana vasiliu

2. Choose light colors: “Lighter color garments help you keep cool during hot summer months,” Vega says. “Dark colors absorb heat, while light colors reflect heat.” That said; make sure the color isn’t too light. See below.

oana vasiliu

3. No peep shows: Summer clothing is often made of lightweight, lightly colored fabric. This can make for a comfortable commute, but it can also make for awkward over exposure. “Avoid apparel in fabrics that are so lightweight that they are see-through,” Vega says.

oana vasiliu

4. Wear an undershirt: It may seem counter-intuitive to add an extra layer when it’s hot out, but (men especially), if you don’t already wear an undershirt, you might want to start now. The extra layer will help absorb sweat during a mid-summer commute.

“Wearing a cotton undershirt actually helps men feel cooler as it will absorb perspiration,” Vega says. “[Plus],if a lighter fabric shirt is chosen, the undershirt will prevent it from being see-through.”

oana vasiliu

5. For women, dresses are best: Women are at a serious advantage when it comes to dressing for summer at the office for one simple reason: They can wear dresses.

“Dresses are a great option because it avoids having to wear a jacket,” Vega says. “A wrap dress, a sheath or shift dress are appropriate options.”

If you will be forgoing the jacket, look for styles with short or three-quarter length sleeves, even sleeveless if you feel comfortable. Tank-style dresses are too casual for the office without a jacket or cardigan, though.

oana vasiliu

6. Keep an extra layer at work: Women can keep a wrap or lightweight, neutral-colored cardigan in their desks in case the air conditioning is kicked into overdrive. Men can do the same with a blazer or sweater.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Big city lights

oana vasiliuI just discovered Stumble! , a wonderful online bookmarks website.

StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. As you click Stumble!, they deliver high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended by your friends or one of over 15 million other websurfers with interests similar to you. Rating these sites you like () automatically shares them with like-minded people – and helps you discover great sites your friends recommend.

What I found …

Was this amazing motion photographer, Dominic Boudreault. Enjoy his art!

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Crisis management – do’s and do not’s for media interviews

“Being interviewed is like playing Russian roulette. You never know which question will kill you.”

That is the impression most PR specialists have when they deal with a crisis and they have to answer press questions. Today I’m going to note do’s and do not’s for media interviews, from Crisis Communications A Casebook Approach written by Fern Banks. (more…)

Crisis management: Titanic case

oana vasiliuIf something can go wrong, it will“, says one of Murphy’s laws.  A crisis is a major occurrence with a potentially negative outcome affecting the organization, company, industry, publics, products, services or good name. A crisis interrupts normal business transactions and can sometimes threaten the existence of the organization.

Almost 100 years ago, in 1912, the British had to deal with one of the well known crisis: the sinking of the Titanic.

As everyone knows, Titanic was one of several ships of the White Star Line. In that time, the first competitor of White Star was the Cunard Line, which had two ships: the Luisitania and the Mauritania. White Star placed itself as the best ship-building company; the size, elegance, sumptuousness and safety were its main characteristics.

In 1910, White Star Line had three ships to launch – the Olympic, the Titanic and the Gigantic. Great publicity was made to promote these luxurious ships. Titanic was called “the largest moving object in the world”. A promotional brochure claimed the Olympic and the Titanic “designed to be unsinkable”.

Titanic personnel were chosen to appeal to a celebrated and wealthy clientele. The Captain, E.J.Smith, was the highest-paid captain on the seas.

With such a fully equipped ship and the best personnel, they didn’t find necessary to develop a crisis management plan (CMP) or a crisis communication plan (CCP). The ship couldn’t sink, as they said, and nothing could possibly happen. There were medical facilities, for a worst case scenario and if help needed, personnel could radio other ships.

What would have happened if it existed that time a CMP ?

oana vasiliuA CMP would have detailed what would be done in the event of fire and other tragedies-how evacuation would take place, how to conduct practice drills for the crew and possibly passengers, who would lower the lifeboats, who would ensure that passengers were guided safely to the closest lifeboats and ships, who would contact persons ashore by radio, when crew members would save themselves, and so on. A CMP would also include making sure effective insurance policies were in place.

The CMP would include the crisis communication plan. This means it would include notification of the home office, where personnel acting as public relations professionals would in turn notify the press, White Star Line executives and employees and passenger’s relatives. The CCP would also include the details about who would be the spokesperson. In Titanic case, Capt. Smith could have been the best person if he had survived, but Smith went down with the ship. However, the managing director of White Star, J. Bruce Ismay, was abroad, survived, and was rescued from a lifeboat sent from the Carpathia.

As media communications, there were two persons involved from White Star. Harold Bride, a radio operator on the Titanic who worked for Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, one of the survivors picked up by Carpathia. He wrote the first account of the tragedy that he sent to the New York Times by wire from the rescue ship. Phillip A.S. Franklin, who had been hired to head White Star’s New York office, called together a kind of crisis communication team.

Headlines after the tragedy

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The morning before the sinking, New York Times ran a story announcing that the “The New Giantess Titanic” would soon arrive in New York, as part of a PR campaign of brand-awareness.

Other newspapers’ headline indicated that the editors were much less aware of accurate details of the story. Many newspapers assumed that the passengers were rescued, if not everyone, the majority. After the first press conference, the journalists were so amazed of the official news that the Titanic sank, that they all left to call the news and not hear the rest of the details.

Beyond the tragedy and the impressive amount of lives lost in the accident, after 100 years, the Titanic still remains an interesting subject to discuss, from many points of view.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

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