Category Archives: Social Media

Malaysia Airlines: A Lesson in Crisis Management

Malaysia Airlines: A Lesson in Crisis Management.

Happy Monday!  Interesting article about how  not to deal with a crisis following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.   — Pete E Cento, Cento Marketing Group #CrisisManagement

 

Malaysia Airlines: A Lesson in Crisis Management

Image of Malaysia Airlines: A Lesson in Crisis ManagementBy David E. Johnson,CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

If ever an airline has suffered from bad press it is Malaysia Airlines.  The airline has suffered two of the biggest air disasters in history in a period of four months – MH370 (which has yet to be found) and now MH17 shot down by a missile over Ukraine by Russian backed separatists.  Even before these twin disasters, the airline was suffering severe financial losses.  Its crisis response to the disappearance of MH370 was one of the worst in history (with no cohesive communications plan and showing a lack of sympathy for the family members of the lost passengers).  Now with this latest disaster, the questions are can the brand survive and what does it need to do?

Short term, the brand is being helped by the media coverage over the downing of MH17.  The focus is not on Malaysia Airlines but rather on Russia and the separatists who are presumed to have shot it down.  As outrage mounts over the tragedy and the way the Russian backed separatists are allowing access to the wreckage and the victims’ remains, mention of Malaysia Airlines has been in passing.  Also working in the airline’s favor is that with acts of terrorism, most people are willing to focus their attention and anger on the perpetrators rather than the airlines.  For instance after 9/11, neither United Airlines nor American Airlines suffered any brand damage despite the fact that it was their planes that were hijacked.

Additionally, Malaysia Airlines seems to have learned from its mishandling of the MH370 crisis.  This time they promptly revealed all the information they had available when MH17 disappeared.  The airline’s social media carried the same message that was being given officially.  The company also announced that they will be fully refunding anyone who booked a flight on the airline but no longer feels comfortable traveling on it.

So short term, the airline is surviving and has handled the crisis adequately.  Yet the real test for Malaysia Airlines will be in the days and weeks ahead.  As the stories begin to shift from the crisis in the Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, the West’s response to Russia, and such, the focus will shift again to Malaysia Airlines.  All the stories about MH370 will resurface and criticism about the airline will be intense as will scrutiny.

So what should Malaysia Airlines do?

  1. Bring in an outside communications agency to work on the airline’s short-term and long-term branding and crisis response.  The airline has been reluctant to do so and it has shown in some of its responses.
  2. Select a spokesperson that can so empathy and address concerns that consumers and the media have about the airline.  This person needs to show not only the airline’s record of overall safety but how they have taken the concerns about the airline seriously and the steps they are taking to correct these issues.
  3. Malaysia Airlines needs to take out full-page ads in the newspapers in their top markets addressing the latest tragedy, expressing sympathy, and outlining where the airline will go from here.
  4. Having former passengers interviewed and used in promotions expressing their confidence in Malaysia Airlines.  One of the first things I noticed after the downing of MH17 was the support that many former passengers were expressing for the airline.
  5. Having a social media strategy that reinforces the message that is being given in the traditional media.

Malaysia Airlines is in an unenviable position.  It will take a strong cohesive crisis communications strategy and branding effort to change public perception but it can be done.  Don’t write off Malaysia Airlines just yet.

 About the Author:  David E. Johnson is the CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC, a public relations and branding agency that specializes in crisis communications, branding, and media relations.  Additional information on Johnson and Strategic Vision, LLC may be obtained at www.strategicvision.biz.

CEOs Under Attack? A Lesson in Corporate Communications from GM & Apple.

CEOs Under Attack? A Lesson in Corporate Communications from GM & Apple.

Editor’s Note:  With media focus on GM CEO Mary Barra and Apple CEO Tim Cook, CommPRO reached out to our community to get their commentary about diversity in the c-suite.  

By David E. Johnson,CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

First it was Matt Lauer on The Today Show asking General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra if she could handle being a mother and CEO and was she selected as the CEO of General Motors because the company wanted a “maternal presence”.  Next it was Apple’s Tim Cook on CNBC, being publicly outed as a gay man.  The social media response towards the media was that of outrage and disgust with these incidents.  Yet in both incidents the media stood by the interviews.

Why is this?  What should corporate communicators learn by this and put into practice in response?

The first question is easy to answer.  Despite strides made by women and minorities, the corporate boardroom is still largely dominated by white men whose ages range from the 50s to the 60s.  The corporate mindset is to not shake things up and interviews are about the company not about the CEO’s personal life.  Likewise despite the transformation in America regarding the LGBT community, the corporate boardroom remains largely untouched in this category.  Yet this is changing, as is the concept that a CEO’s personal life is largely not part of a company’s story.

Image of CEOs Under Attack?  A Lesson in Corporate Communications from GM & Apple.This is no longer true.  Consumers are buying the story of a brand and also that of the storyteller – the CEO.  Consumers expect not only to know the brand message but also the story of the CEO, President, or Chairman of the Board who communicates the brand message.  This means all aspects of a CEO’s life is subject to media scrutiny.  Additionally, as this happens those who do not fit the corporate stereotype of old will find they are under greater media interrogation.

Is this fair?  No.  But it is the nature of our society, with a far more intrusive media operating, 24/7, social media, and citizen journalists with blogs.

Corporate communicators need to understand this changing dynamic and help affect a change in the corporate culture of companies.  Corporations need to recognize that society has changed.  The fact that a woman can be both a CEO and mother is no different than a male being both a CEO and father.  Indeed, in this post recession society, many mothers are now the primary wage winner and the father is the stay at home parent.  Corporations need to reflect and understand this dynamic.  As they do, the media questions will begin to change.  But for this to happen, the companies must reflect in their leadership and their culture the changes that are occurring in society.

Executives need to know that their lives will be examined under a microscope.  The best thing to do is address personal issues proactively.  Cook’s sexual preference should never have been outed on a national interview but the better course would have been for Cook to address this long before this, very much as football player, Michael Sam addressed his sexuality.  Sexuality will continue to attract curiosity until corporate cultures reflect the changes we see in society.  For this to happen, corporate communications must work in tandem with the executive leadership in conveying the message and new culture.

Yes, Mary Barra and Tim Cook seemed under attack this past week.  Not because of anything they had done as CEOs but rather because they don’t resemble the CEOs of old, just as America doesn’t reflect the nation it was in the 1990s.  For others who will resemble Cook and Barra, following in their footsteps, the challenge must be to communicate to the media and consumers that it’s a new culture in the boardroom.

 

 About the Author:  David E. Johnson is the CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC, a public relations and branding agency that specializes in crisis communications, branding, and media relations.  Additional information on Johnson and Strategic Vision, LLC may be obtained at www.strategicvision.biz.

Understanding Twitter’s Impact, and Commitment, to Traditional Media (And Why PR Pros Should Care)

Interesting article written by Serena Ehrlich with Business Wire about how Twitter is evolving in 2014 to become a news conduit and research tool for reporters and the public.  Ehrlich goes on to explain that despite the ability to share news quickly and in real-time, Twitter is not interested in scooping reporters. Instead, Twitter is focusing on facilitating the sharing of news between creator and consumer. — Pete Cento

Understanding Twitter’s Impact, and Commitment, to Traditional Media (And Why PR Pros Should Care).

POSTED ON APR 16, 2014 IN SOCIAL MEDIA PR 

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media, Business Wire

Last month, The National Newspaper Association kicked off their annual conference with a presentation from Twitter’s head of news services, Vivian Schiller. In her keynote, Vivian outlined several upcoming changes within the Twitter news and newsfeed services, introduced Twitter’s new local news initiative and provided tips for journalists on how to leverage Twitter to build their audience and brand.

“News is important to every person on the planet, but for each person, the definition of news that’s important to them is going to be different.” Vivian Schiller, Twitter

One of the top goals for Twitter in 2014 is not to become a news service, but to become a news conduit and a research tool.  Despite the ability to share news quickly and in real-time, Twitter is not interested in scooping reporters. Instead, Twitter is focusing on facilitating the sharing of news between creator and consumer.  In 2014, Twitter is expanding its partnerships to include local media, a big step up from previous years where Twitter focused more heavily on larger media properties. This partnership includes providing easier access to Twitter verification,  taking a second look at the follower caps placed on some accounts and even promotional assistance to outlets breaking a larger story.

Image of Understanding Twitter’s Impact, and Commitment, to Traditional Media (And Why PR Pros Should Care) “Every reporter, every editor should be their own social media editor”

To ensure media outlets can maximize their presence and reach on Twitter, Vivian also shared a series  of best practices and tips to increase reader engagement and widen the news reach.  The top tips for today’s journalists looking to build a brand on Twitter include:

Twitter lists provide a better user experience:  One of the best ways to utilize Twitter is to create lists based on industry or geography or both.  Once the lists are set up reporters can easily scroll through each list for story ideas, to see what is resonating within key audiences, and which individuals are the most influential within their core topic.  And you can add people (or competitors!) to lists without following them, allowing you to maintain the integrity of your core news feed.

Multimedia increases views and shares:  One of the fastest, and easiest ways to increase views, retweets and click throughs on a Tweet is to include multimedia.  In fact, Vivian noted that within the media community, tweets with photos and video lift engagement by 27%

Twitter Cards are a reporter’s best friend and better branding  Twitter cards enhance a tweet, especially those that include images or video by providing more than just the traditional 140-characters.  Links to articles, for example, now include the media outlet name and logo, the byline and more.  These cards are perfect for reporters!  Not only do they enhance the story being shared, Twitter cards build branding for both the reporter and their media outlet.  Did we mention they are free to use?

Twitter builds your media brand:  One of the biggest ways for reporters to increase their own impact and visibility is by building a relationship with their social media fans and readers.  To do this, it is important for every reporter, every social media platform user to take the time to build relationships with their audience.  The fastest way to build a social following is to thank those who share our your news articles, be engaging and talk to your readers, send tweets with companies you may be interested in covering, utilize hashtags to enter larger conversations and live tweet big events such as keynote discussion.  For additional ways to reporters to build their audience on Twitter, read this article by Poynter.

Twitter tracks your success:  Measuring successful tweets on social media is an ongoing challenge.  Initial metrics include follower and overall conversation counts, but those that focus actions taken by the reader, including article sharing, article advocacy and feedback provide a better story. It is these engagements that increase article shares, build loyal readership and drive the inbound traffic needed to meet most media properties overall revenue metrics.

News is going mobile:  A huge majority of Twitter users access the platform from their mobile device.  This means readers are taking journalists and news with them throughout their day. Today’s readers consume news throughout the day and night, regardless of location. Reporters who utilize and share news articles on Twitter can reach any interested party now, no matter where the reader is.

There are more than 500 billion tweets sent every day.

For the last 50 years, we at Business Wire have watched, first hand, the continual evolution of the news industry. It is in our DNA to understand that while news distribution and consumption methods are ever changing, the need for news will never abate.  We are very excited to see Twitter expanding their media partnership to include smaller, local publications and can’t wait to work with journalists and reporters as they continue to maximize their reach and presence on Twitter.  Have questions on how media outlets can better utilize Twitter to showcase articles, stories or press releases?  Let us know!

 About the Author: Over the last 20 years, Serena Ehrlich has worked closely with public and private companies providing guidance on investor and public relation trends. Serena has implemented local, national and international social media and marketing campaigns for a wide range of company and brands including Mogreet, LuxuryLink, Viking River Cruises, the unincorporated city of Marina del Rey, Kraft, Kohl’s, Avon, Mattel and more. Serena started her career in advertising where she developed an understanding of branding from a large-scale perspective, but it was her 14 years in the newswire industry that placed her squarely at the forefront of a technical, sociological and influential revolution changing the face of customer communications. In 1994, Serena was part of a small team who introduced the communications industry to the Internet via a series of first-ever conferences, Her love of technology based communications hasn’t stopped since. As the director of social and evolving media at Business Wire, Serena has a unique insight in the content lifestyle – from creation to consumption. In addition, Serena serves as the Corporate Secretary of the international Social Media Club board of directors, President of Social Media Club Los Angeles, as well as social chair for the National Investor Relations Institutes’ Los Angeles chapter and is a frequent speaker at analyst and business conferences alike on the topics of mobile, payments and social.. She can be found on Twitter (@serena)

Media Relations: What We Can Learn from the Bassmasters

Media Relations: What We Can Learn from the Bassmasters.

Interesting article by Josh Berkman, President, Piston Communications, about when and how to effectively pitch the media and get the most coverage for you and your clients. 

When I think about my greatest hits, they all have one thing in common: They embodied at least four of the main elements. In other words, the bait was tasty. There’s a science to selecting your bait and tackle, but first, it’s worth reviewing the six elements.

  1. Timeliness: Why now?
  2. Proximity: Local news is news to someone. Who is it?
  3. Human Interest: Can you tell this story at a backyard barbecue or cocktail party and expect that a crowd will gather around?
  4. Prominence: Anybody famous?
  5. Conflict: Man vs. man? Man vs nature? Man vs. himself?
  6. Consequence: Who’s life is about to change?

Lessons To Be Learned From The Chris Christie Crisis: You Have Responded

Lessons To Be Learned From The Chris Christie Crisis: You Have Responded.

Lessons To Be Learned From The Chris Christie Crisis: You Have Responded

Editor’s Note: CommPRO.biz encourages and welcomes debate on issues that are relevant to our community. Yesterday, the Governor of New Jersey stepped up to the podium to address an issue that in his own words “side lined” him. As the CEO of a state, that caught our attention. So we reached out to our community and posed a number of questions relating to management. They included:

  • Is Any CEO Totally In Control?
  • Should They Be?
  • How Can They Be?
  • Trust. Can We Depend On it?

CommPRO.biz is pleased to share these commentaries:

How to Stop Gov. Chris Christie’s ViralBy Adele Cehrs, CEO of Epic PR Group

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Takes Charge in a Crisis: All Eyes on Gov. as Bridge Crisis UnravelsBy Cindy Rakowitz, CEO, BR Public Relations and co-author Emergency Public Relations; Crisis Management in a 3.0 World

Unanswered Questions: Governor Chris Christie:  By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

Chris Christie’s Press Conference: Being First. My View… By Ronn Torrossian, CEO, 5W PR

Building and Losing Trust During A CrisisBy Davia B. Temin, President and CEO, Temin and Company

Own-Up and Take Control: Kudos Governor Christie!By Adam J. Handelsman, President & Founder, SpecOps Communications

Lessons To Learn In Governor Christie’s Crisis ManagementBy Mark Stevens, Author of “Your Marketing Sucks,”& CEO of MSCO

Honest Communications. A Dream?Observations from Honesty Expert, Steven Gaffney

MIA soars as an economic engine – Speak Up – MiamiHerald.com

MIA soars as an economic engine – Speak Up – MiamiHerald.com.

MIA soars as an economic engine – Speak Up – MiamiHerald.com.

Congratulations to Emilio Gonzalez and his team of professionals at MIA!!!! http://lnkd.in/bWEzAb2

MIA soars as an economic engine

 

Miami International Airport has long been Miami-Dade County’s No. 1 economic engine. As a public enterprise fund, MIA generates nearly $33 billion in positive economic impact for our community, supports one out of every four local jobs and drives commerce and trade at no cost to local taxpayers.

It’s a distinction that our airport family is especially proud of and one that holds more weight than ever before since 2013 saw our global gateway shatter records, improve service and significantly expand its international reach. MIA also has firmly established itself as an economic impact leader for the state of Florida as well, outpacing Disney World and the cruise industry in that critical metric.

Nearly 70 percent of Florida’s total international passenger traffic flies through MIA, and the airport continues to serve more international passengers than all other U.S. airports with the lone exception of New York’s JFK. Statistically, the Gateway of the Americas had its best year ever in 2013, reaching the 40-million annual passenger mark for the first time — the equivalent of the combined populations of Florida and New York.

On the cargo side, MIA continues to be America’s No. 1 airport for international freight and ranks ninth in the world. Our latest statistics show that MIA’s air trade accounts for 97 percent of the dollar value of Florida’s total air imports and 44 percent of Florida’s total air and sea trade with the world.

While numbers and statistics are one way to measure our success, MIA’s first commitment is to the people behind those figures. In 2013, we placed a renewed focus on customer service, beginning with an aggressive plan to modernize our badly outmoded local taxicab industry. I remain convinced that visitors to our world-class community deserve nothing less than world-class treatment from touchdown to departure.

Direct communication with our customers is also of vital importance, and the recent launch of MIA’s award-winning social media channels has been quickly embraced by many of travelers. Technology is also paving the way to shorter wait times for international arrivals at MIA. The November launch of automated passport control kiosks in our North Terminal is already paying dividends for travelers at America’s second-busiest port of entry. They have enjoyed shorter average wait times and a smoother overall entry process.

A hard-earned $101 million grant from the TSA for a new baggage handling system ensures that passengers’ luggage will continue to be quickly and smoothly screened, as well.

Last year also saw the addition of seven new international routes, giving MIA an even broader global network. Our patrons can now enjoy direct access to key destinations, including Calgary, Cozumel, Milan, and Porto Alegre and Curitiba in Brazil, site of this year’s World Cup. On the eve of that worldwide sports event, MIA is positioned to be the leading gateway for fans of the jogo bonito from across the world, boasting more Brazilian destinations than any other U.S. airport — a total of 10 beginning next month.

MIA’s global reach will further expand in 2014 with new service to Belem, Brazil; Brussels, Belgium; and Doha, Qatar. These destinations represent exciting new travel options for our customers. They also represent new jobs for Miami-Dade County residents, additional visitors and tax revenue to our community and state and fresh opportunities for international trade and commerce. Furthermore, we continue to aggressively court air carriers around the world to strategically extend our far-reaching route network.

With the support of Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Board of County Commissioners, MIA stands poised to build upon last year’s achievements. The MIA family greets 2014 with a renewed focus on our proven formula for success and a strong commitment to powering the economy forward. Even greater things are in store for this leading state and community asset.

Emilio T. González, Miami-Dade aviation director, Miami

 

SeaWorld Crisis Management: The Textbook Case of What NOT To Do

SeaWorld Crisis Management: The Textbook Case of What NOT To Do.

SeaWorld Crisis Management: The Textbook Case of What NOT To Do

Image of SeaWorld Crisis Management:  The Textbook Case of What NOT To Do By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

In today’s world a crisis plays out as much on social media, as it does through traditional media.  Brands and companies need a strategy for both.  Yet many never fully consider the social media aspect.  The ongoing crisis for SeaWorld is a case in point.  They have mishandled both their traditional and social media response with no end to the crisis in sight.

Image of SeaWorld Crisis Management:  The Textbook Case of What NOT To Do SeaWorld’s crisis began with the airing of the film, Blackfish on CNN.  Blackfish exposed practices at the aquatic park, including an exposé about whales in captivity and the orca-related death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.  SeaWorld’s response to the film was to lash out at it before it actually aired by sending a critique to film critics.  Company executives had also refused to be interviewed for the film.  This was a wrong way to deal with the brewing crisis as it created more attention for the film.

Next began the online protests in reaction to what the film depicted with Facebook pages being established calling for a boycott of the sea park until SeaWorld changed its policies.  Posters on SeaWorld’s Facebook page who expressed concern or disapproval of SeaWorld’s policies saw their posts deleted.  SeaWorld wouldn’t even address their concerns.  Rather as part of their crisis communications response they began highlighting the good work they have done for animal rescues (which was never disputed).  Consumers who saw their posts deleted were outraged causing further social media commentary of the story.  Social media allows corporations and brands to directly engage consumers during a crisis.  Allowing consumers to voice their opinion as long as it is civil allows consumers to be engaged and often helps level off anger.  Explaining a company’s position on social media is critical.  Ignoring the crisis and the consumer comments or in this case deleting them, keeps the flames going, as SeaWorld found out.

Consumers began contacting musical acts that were scheduled to perform SeaWorld’s “Bands, Brew & BBQ” series, one of the park’s biggest events.  Social media petitions began with one getting over 12,000 members urging the acts to cancel.  The musicians took notice.  Barenaked Ladies, Heart, Willie Nelson and others cancelled their scheduled appearances.  Singer Joan Jett asked the park to stop using her song “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” during its “Shamu Rocks”.  SeaWorld’s response was to criticize the musical acts, attack the people using social media to protest their policies and state that park attendance was being affected.  Yet they refused to engage consumers or deal with the issues raised in Blackfish through traditional media.

Next a California school class cancelled a field trip to SeaWorld because of concerns over the issues raised in Blackfish.  SeaWorld responded by saying this was an isolated incident and disparaging the class.  Students from across the country took to YouTube calling for SeaWorld to change its policies and again SeaWorld remained silent.

The latest blow has been an online poll that the Orlando Business Journal posted an online poll asking if reader’s if their opinion of SeaWorld had been affected by the controversy.  Fifty-four percent of voters who voted no, were traced back to a SeaWorld ip address (note don’t try to rig a newspaper poll and use your ip address, the paper may become suspicious).  The result more bad press and ongoing social media controversy.

SeaWorld is becoming the textbook case of what not to do in a crisis.  Social media as much as traditional media drives narratives.  Ignoring the consumer and not engaging them on social media doesn’t make the crisis go away, rather it keeps it alive.  Now more than ever, when developing a crisis communications plan, the social media element must be incorporated into the plan.

 About the Author:  David E. Johnson is the CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC, a public relations and branding agency that specializes in crisis communications, branding, and media relations.  Additional information on Johnson and Strategic Vision, LLC may be obtained at www.strategicvision.biz.