Viewing entries tagged
public relations

Are you relevant to today's news cycle?

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Are you relevant to today's news cycle?

Promoting your brand or yourself as the brand can be both difficult and easy. With a website and social media you can broadcast your news, information and insight to the world or specifically target your target market with the right data and resources.

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Challenging the Status Quo by Creating a Vision

Gone are the days when you found a job and stayed in that job until you retired. Today, the workforce is more mobile, in part due to the economy and the need to go where the jobs are and in party due to technology. As times change, so too must our political system and our political leaders should work harder at communicating their vision for improving their world. But that vision should not be theirs alone. It should be consensus-driven so that others can stand with the Mayor, Governor and others in supporting that vision. Once they have that vision, they can now create their agenda.  What issues will become their priority and how will they go about implementing that agenda.

So communicating that vision and agenda will be vital to seeing it through. Why is this the right thing to do now? Does it reflect reality so that I can get others to rally behind it?

To lead the conversion, our leaders need to lead the conversation, but also listen to what others have to say and adjust their plans to reflect the political and economic realities. People are looking for solutions. Solutions that are immediate but also pro-active with long-term benefits

Change is never easy, but in order to change we have to know where you are going. To help you in the process we need to understand the why, the what and the how. We need to become emotionally-connected through common values. We will help you only if we can trust you and for that we need to start developing a relationship.

Once we begin the discussion and build the trust we will come to realize that we are all in this together and we each have a role to play -- So let’s support each other.

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Measuring Progress in Social Media and Public Relations

In any marketing campaign, it is important that your team sets goals before you measure success. In creating goals, look first to your business goals. This should be done from the first meeting with your public relations or marketing agency. Your agency should provide you with results on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, depending on the structure of your agency/client relationship.

  • Measure media with quality not quantity or AVE
  • Understand how others change as a result of PR gained

Success, should not be based on the number of:

  • Press Releases
  • Byline Articles
  • Meetings/Interviews
  • Even Opportunties missed
  • Mentions
  • Likes/Follows
  • Speaking engagements
  • Events
  • Awards
  • Article tone
  • SEO Ranking
  • Blog responses
  • Competitor Comparisons

Success should instead be based if your business objectives are being met.

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The value of an apology

Saying I’m sorry or I was wrong is never an easy thing to do.  But in preserving your reputation it can mean everything.  Did we ever forgive Enron, Global Crossing, Worldcom or Madoff? ... We didn't, because the messages we heard were of blame and excuses driven by greed and arrogance. We know that no one is perfect. In fact, it is even okay to screw up every now and then.  If you do, just admit that you did and are working to restore our trust and making positive changes as a result of this experience.

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We are all vulnerable to crises....So be prepared!

There is one time you are guaranteed to get public attention – during a crisis. Within seconds your corporate and individual reputation which took years to build can be tarnished. A crisis can occur in any organization at any time with devastating consequences. After all, it is the public that defines reputation, not the company. So as long as humans work there will be mistakes, controversy and blow ups .... and crises. We all know it can’t happen to us. But it can and happen when we least expect it. So how should we respond? And more importantly, what can we do make sure IT does not happen to us. Will we ever listen…greed, ambition and ignorance will give rise to scandal, intrigue and real life drama…..Government transparency and corporate governance further pave to make us each vulnerable.  The Internet allows us to expose misdeeds or blow the whistle to millions including employees, customers, vendors and others within seconds and with photos or videos.  Nonetheless, in every crisis there is opportunity (Chinese proverb).

The best plans don’t have automatic responses, but a number of questions for the crisis team to ask, include:

  • What are the business goals in addressing this crisis?
  • Who do we need to help?
  • What information has been gathered?
  • What don’t we know?
  • Who can help us?
  • What must we do now to protect our employees, customers and shareholders?

The company needs a set of messages that set forth the company’s position in what best describes its actions, its values and its approach (No more than three). Also, make sure any investigation is thorough and independent. And while it is important to communicate to the public through the media, the general counsel must make sure any response does not make the situation worse.

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From oil spills to government inquiries and hostile takeovers, crises can be avoided

Avoiding and dealing with potential crises is critical to an organization’s success.  Successfully identifying, mitigating and managing risk in today’s business environment calls for a team of business-savvy and experienced legal and PR professionals with the insight and experience to create effective and immediate solutions in such a volatile market. Food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other consumer products are increasingly being subjected to product recalls. A recall attracts attention, affects the manufactures reputation and could result in litigation or even a class action lawsuit. And public officials are also vulnerable, not just in how they are governing, but in how much they know about what their top advisors are doing as well.

In this mobile age, where news is distributed as it happens, reputations that took years to create die in an instant. Attorneys are the first responders to help minimize the risk and help their clients  respond or react.

News today does not break in the morning paper, it happens in the blink of a tweet. That’s where the traditional news gets their news. People trust the opinions of their peers rather than a reporter reading a teleprompter. Even news anchors ask for opinion over twitter. As a result, what would have been a minor news story that went away over night, now becomes a national phenomenon that is being discussed on the Tonight Show, The Colbert Report or on Perezhilton.com.

How can companies protect themselves in the age of mobile media? How can they be prepared to respond for the next crisis? What can they do to avoid a crises. How can companies keep up on the instantaneous news cycle?

Lawyers are uniquely positioned to deal with crisis and only one firm in Michigan is experienced to handle the media. Learn from our experience. They can help you avoid, manage and recover from very difficult situations.

Lawyers with experience in working with the media, can work with in-house and outside counsel to help develop an effective communications strategy that supports any legal strategy.  They should work with organizations to manage every aspect of a crisis, from initial response to corrective action, investigations and if needed, representation during civil and criminal and legislative actions.

But the best defense is a strong offense. Knowing where an issue can bubble into a problem, knowing who to go to in the media to help share your story and who among your friends, colleagues, co-workers and clients you can turn to for public support and advocacy, can go along way in minimizing any crisis that gets out of your control.

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Preserving a company’s reputation in the wake of bankruptcy

*This article first appeared in the August 15, 2011 edition of Michigan Lawyers Weekly. In bankruptcy, there is more at stake than who gets paid first.

Should a company file for bankruptcy or even begin the discussion, it is important to address the public’s opinion as much as it is to deal with the legal issues.

After all, reputation matters.

Corporate failures today are front-page news. In the first quarter of 2011, 366,178 companies filed for bankruptcy. This was down 6 percent from those filed in the first quarter of 2010.

Today’s economy puts many companies and individuals in difficult positions where they must choose what needs to be done for their economic survival.

Should a company choose to file for bankruptcy, it does not mean they are going out of business or up for sale. In most cases, bankruptcy means restructuring the company to be smarter, leaner and more efficient.

An effective communications strategy provides critical information to key stakeholders at every step in the process and can help minimize risk. Therefore, managing the message as to how a company got to this point, what they are doing to address the problem, and what they plan on doing when they re-emerge are all critical to how people will perceive the company during and after bankruptcy.

In filing for bankruptcy, it is important to prioritize key constituencies and determine the best way to communicate with them. For example, communicating to investors or shareholders may be different in how you communicate with vendors or customers.

Investors want to know how sound their investment will be, if the company plans on staying public, and the plans for emerging from bankruptcy. Customers want to know if their warranties will be honored, where they can go for service or who they can call if they have an issue with the product or service.

Also, vendors want to know their place in all this — if they should continue with their current production or performance and if they will get paid and when.

In communicating a company’s approach to file for bankruptcy, it is important to carefully communicate the reasons why and possible outcomes as to avoid any misunderstanding of the company’s true intention. As a result, transparency and honesty in one’s financial situation is vital to making sure that key constituencies will not read into the companies actions.

Instead, the company must be forthright as to everything they file with the court. That’s because many people following the company — particularly a public one — will likely go online and read the documents surrounding the bankruptcy.

Once the company does file, it is equally important to constantly be in touch with your core constituencies. For example, GM and Chrysler each took us along for the ride as they filed for bankruptcy, announced their restructuring, and emerged as a new company.

Earlier this year, Borders filed for bankruptcy and sent out notices to their customers and investors, ensuring business will go on and service will continue, but changes will have to be made.

And on the day United Airlines filed for bankruptcy in 2002, its CEO flew to Chicago to meet face-to-face with employees. Other executives did the same in Denver, Washington, San Francisco, and other hub cities to reassure the public and their employees that the airline is, and will always be, a viable company.

They did not just send out a news release. After they filed, they took out full-page ads in major papers explaining what they were doing and why. Once they emerged from bankruptcy, they were a new company with their reputation intact.

In communicating messages during a bankruptcy or wherever litigation is involved, lawyers should be given the opportunity to sign off on what is being communicated. At the same time, attorneys must be able to see the big picture as to why the PR counsel is even involved and why they must communicate through the media.

Attorneys need to be open about what is being communicated with the idea that they are working to protect and, at times, enhance the public perception of their client.

At the same time the message is crafted, companies should actively monitor the online chatter about their company and their industry, and work to quell any misinformation being communicated about the company or its employees.

Today, an individual and a company are only as good as their reputation. In general, with the economy the way it is, we understand that in tough economic times, companies as well as individuals may have to file for bankruptcy.

As long as there is honesty and maturity in how you communicate your problems or situation, people will understand. Being upfront and proactive in your actions will help position your company for future success and go a long way to bolstering your individual and corporate reputation, while putting to rest any potential negative ramifications from the filing.

Lawyers savvy enough with the how the media works, and in protecting and enhancing their client’s reputation, understand the interplay between the law and legal process on one hand, and public opinion and business strategy on the other.

And there is benefit to working with experienced PR professionals in creating and delivering the right message publicly, without jeopardizing the legal process or strategy. In fact, the messages that are communicated may lead to successful settlement or reorganization.

A Few Pointers

• Tell your story first.

• Know what you want to communicate  and why.

• Call in third-party supporters to support you.

• Put a human face on the situation.

• Use all the communications tools at your disposal, such as social media and web, as well as traditional.

• Make the story about recovery, not liquidation. For example, focus on jobs and service.

• Focus on what you want the expected outcome to be and stay on message in getting there.

For the full article, visit http://milawyersweekly.com/news/2011/08/12/preserving-a-company’s-reputation-in-the-wake-of-bankruptcy/.  For more information, please contact Daniel Cherrin, an attorney with Fraser Trebilcock, at 313.965.9039 or dcherrin@fraserlawfirm.com.

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Preserving a company's trust and reputation: Communicating the right messages in wake of bankruptcy.

Today’s economy puts a lot of companies and individuals in difficult positions where they must choose what needs to be done for their economic survival. Should a company choose to file for bankruptcy, it does not mean they are going out of business or putting their company up for sale. In most cases, bankruptcy means restructuring the company to be smarter, leaner and more efficient. In communicating a company’s approach to file for bankruptcy, it is important to carefully communicate the reasons why and possible outcomes as to avoid any misunderstanding of the company’s true intention. As a result, transparency and honesty in one’s financial situation is vital to making sure that key constituencies will not read into the companies actions. Instead, the company must be forthright as to everything they file with the court since many people following the company, particularly a public company, and industry will likely go online and read the documents surrounding the bankruptcy.

As a result, perhaps companies should set up a special website or hotline to assure customers and vendors that their products will still get services, their contracts will still get honored or where they can go to learn more information in general. It also will help assure employees that the company will continue to operate.

In filing for bankruptcy, it is important to prioritize key constituencies and determine the best way to communicate with them. For example, communicating to investors/shareholders may be different in how you communicate with vendors or customers. Investors want to know how sound their investment will be; if the company plans on staying public and the plans for emerging from bankruptcy. Customers want to know if their warranties will be honored, where they can go for service or who they can call if they have an issue with the product or service. Vendors want to know their place in all this. If they should continue with their current production or performance and if they will get paid and when?

Once the company files for bankruptcy, it is equally important to constantly be in touch with your core constituencies. For example, GM, Chrysler and the federal government each took us along for the ride as they filed for bankruptcy, announced their restructuring and emerged as a new company. Yesterday, Border’s filed for bankruptcy and send out notices to their core constituency, ensuring business will go on and service will continue, but changes will have to be made. (See the attached email to Border Reward members.)

Depending on the situation, this can be done through regularly scheduled news conferences, Twitter updates, Blog postings, investor conference calls, media conference calls and the like. However, in communicating with shareholders, debt holders, investors, vendors, customers and employees, it is important to determine what the key messages will be and how you will follow up with them. In today’s social and mobile media age, companies need to often trump their own announcement by getting the information out fast and first.

Regardless of the messages, it is important to be in periodic communication with key publics. This includes before filing, during and after the bankruptcy. A company should not want key stakeholders and casual observers to read into their actions or lack thereof. As a result, communicating will be crucial to the company’s sustainability on they re-emerge form bankruptcy.

For public companies specifically, in communicating to external audiences, they are communicating the market, which can impact stock prices and the market as well as have the potential to dramatically alter the image the public has of the company. As a result, PR counselors must work with the company’s attorneys in crafting the right message and a message legally permissible under securities laws and regulations. There also is a certain protocol in communicating those messages to particular audiences.

In communicating messages during a bankruptcy or wherever litigation is involved, should be given the opportunity to sign off of what is being communicated. At the same time, attorneys must be able to see the big picture as to why PR counsel is even involved and why they must communicate through the media. Attorneys need to be open about what is being communicated and with the idea that they are working to protect and at times, enhance their public perception.

In addition, companies should actively monitor the on-line chatter about their company and their industry and work to quell and misinformation being communicated about the company or its employees. This also includes actively maintaining relationships with vendors, consumers and others and working with them throughout the bankruptcy.

Today, an individual and a company is only as good as their reputation. In general, with the economy the way it is, we understand that in tough economic times, companies as well as individuals may have to file for bankruptcy. As long as there is honesty and maturity in how we communicate our problems or situation, people will understand your situation. Being up-front and proactive in your actions will help position your company for future success and go along way to bolstering your individual and corporate reputation, while putting to rest and potential negative ramifications from the filing.

Filing for bankruptcy is not the beginning of the end for a company. It is a new beginning and a second chance for the company to better serve its customer. It also presents the company with the opportunity to re-evaluate its’ business and to re-emerge as a new company. In emerging from bankruptcy, companies also have the opportunity go back to its core, re-focus, re-brand and re-emerge leaner but stronger and refreshed to create a new beginning.

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Border's Bankruptcy - Communicating the right messages

Today’s economy puts a lot of companies and individuals in difficult positions where they must choose what needs to be done for their economic survival. Should a company choose to file for bankruptcy, it does not mean they they are going out of business or putting their company up for sale. In most cases, bankruptcy means restructuring the company to be smarter, leaner and more efficient. In communicating a company’s approach to file for bankruptcy, it is important to carefully communicate the reasons why and possible outcomes as to avoid any misunderstanding of the company’s true intention. As a result, transparency and honesty in one’s financial situation is vital to making sure that key constituencies will not read into the companies actions. Instead, the company must be forthright as to everything they file with the court since many people following the company, particularly a public company, and industry will likely go online and read the documents surrounding the bankruptcy.

As a result, perhaps companies should set up a special website or hotline to assure customers and vendors that their products will still get services, their contracts will still get honored or where they can go to learn more information in general. It also will help assure employees that the company will continue to operate.

In filing for bankruptcy, it is important to prioritize key constituencies and determine the best way to communicate with them. For example, communicating to investors/shareholders may be different in how you communicate with vendors or customers. Investors want to know how sound their investment will be; if the company plans on staying public and the plans for emerging from bankruptcy. Customers want to know if their warranties will be honored, where they can go for service or who they can call if they have an issue with the product or service. Vendors want to know their place in all this. If they should continue with their current production or performance and if they will get paid and when?

Once the company files for bankruptcy, it is equally important to constantly be in touch with your core constituencies. For example, GM, Chrylser and the federal government each took us along for the ride as they filed for bankruptcy, announced their restructuring and emerged as a new company. Yesterday, Border’s filed for bankruptcy and send out notices to their core constituency, ensuring business will go on and service will continue, but changes will have to be made. (See the attached email to Border Reward members.)

Depending on the situation, this can be done through regularly scheduled news conferences, Twitter updates, Blog postings, investor conference calls, media conference calls and the like. However, in communicating with shareholders, debt holders, investors, vendors, customers and employees, it is important to determine what the key messages will be and how you will follow up with them. In today’s social and mobile media age, companies need to often trump their own announcement by getting the information out fast and first.

Regardless of the messages, it is important to be in periodic communication with key publics. This includes before filing, during and after the bankruptcy. A company should not want key stakeholders and casual observers to read into their actions or lack thereof. As a result, communicating will be crucial to the company’s sustainability on they re-emerge form bankruptcy.

For public companies specifically, in communicating to external audiences, they are communicating the market, which can impact stock prices and the market as well as have the potential to dramatically alter the image the public has of the company. As a result, PR counselors must work with the company’s attorneys in crafting the right message and a message legally permissible under securities laws and regulations. There also is a certain protocol in communicating those messages to particular audiences.

In communicating messages during a bankruptcy or wherever litigation is involved, should be given the opportunity to sign off of what is being communicated. At the same time, attorneys must be able to see the big picture as to why PR counsel is even involved and why they must communicate through the media. Attorneys need to be open about what is being communicated and with the idea that they are working to protect and at times, enhance their public perception.

In addition, companies should actively monitor the on-line chatter about their company and their industry and work to quell and misinformation being communicated about the company or its employees. This also includes actively maintaining relationships with vendors, consumers and others and working with them throughout the bankruptcy.

Today, an individual and a company is only as good as their reputation. In general, with the economy the way it is, we understand that in tough economic times, companies as well as individuals may have to file for bankruptcy. As long as there is honesty and maturity in how we communicate our problems or situation, people will understand your situation. Being up-front and proactive in your actions will help position your company for future success and go along way to bolstering your individual and corporate reputation, while putting to rest and potential negative ramifications from the filing.

Filing for bankruptcy is not the beginning of the end for a company. It is a new beginning and a second chance for the company to better serve its customer. It also presents the company with the opportunity to re-evaluate its’ business and to re-emerge as a new company. In emerging from bankruptcy, companies also have the opportunity go back to its core, re-focus, re-brand and re-emerge leaner but stronger and refreshed to create a new beginning.

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