Ashton’s Twitter Snafu

Ok, so is anyone else horrified by Ashton Kutcher’s inability to control himself on Twitter?

Ashton Kutcher has reportedly handed over control of his Twitter handle to his management team after tweeting inappropriately one too many times.  While i don’t disagree with him being monitored a bit by his publicist and others responsible for maintaining his brand, i do find fault with the way he has gone about it.

Why the big anouncement?  The announcement came on the heels of his tweet expressing regret over the firing of the Pennsylvania State football coach during an embarassing sex scandal involving student athletes.  Apparently Kutcher was unaware of the allegations at the time of his tweet.  Fan backlash forced him to cut and run.  Kutcher should have quietly handed over the reigns and faded into obscurity, resurfacing every now and again to tweet personally on more benign topics.  Announcing that his tweets are no longer his own only serves to alienate him from his followers.  No one is interested in what his management team is thinking at any given moment.  No, the fans want to know what Ashton is thinking and doing and feeling.  His original tweets have a voice and tone specific to him.  This cannot be replicated by a bunch of suits in an office.  Come On Guys!!

Perhaps he announced this to demonstrate to the public that he was trying to become more responsible.  Maybe he thought he would be forgiven in the public eye if he abandoned ship.  i will be interested to follow this for the next couple of months and see if this decision has made an impact on his fan base.  i believe it is only a matter of time before he bounces back from this awkward situation to reclaim his position in the hearts of his adoring public.

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Crisis Management – Tiger Woods Style

 

An important PR function, crisis management is essentially the strategic diffusion of situations that may cause damage to a brand and/or client’s reputation in the public eye.  PR proffessionals are responsible for controlling the image and perception of their clients.  For this reason, it is important to brainstorm and have a plan in place in the event that something dire and unforseen occurs.

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to public perception is that honesty and transparency is key.  After all, the public is willing to forgive and even forget as long as one is honest about their mistake and takes steps to remedy the problem.  Especially with the wide spread use of the internet these days, if there is questionable behavior or lies being perpetuated, they will be sniffed out.

Let’s use the Tiger Woods debacle as an example.  After the revelation that he had been carrying on copious affairs with multiple women over many years, and after news broke regarding the altercation that he had with his wife, Tiger Woods continued to exhibit what i like to call “Studio Silence”.  Rather than addressing and diffusing the situation in the media with a press statement, Woods’ team chose to ignore the situation and try to remedy it behind closed doors.  Bad strategy my dear.  Although it was a personal matter, Tiger Woods is a very public figure and the assumption of privacy in those situations, unfair or not, is almost non-existent.  i believe Tiger Woods, like Kobe Bryant before him (one could almost forget his Colorado rape snafu – almost . . .) should have quickly released a statement acknowledging the situation and then have asked for the public to respect his privacy during this difficult time (how many times have we heard that statement before?!).  Without a public statement, the media had free reign to run wild with the story and increase speculation that would prove to irreparably damage his image.  And now look, Tiger can’t win a tournament to save his life anymore and has becoming the laughing stock of the golf world.   Was his publicist of vacation or taking a nap during that whole embarrasing situation?  Seems like it.

Perhaps i should give them the benefit of the doubt.  After all, PR firms have even been known to drop high profile clients when they refuse to adhere to their advice.  PR professionals have a reputation to protect as well and cannot be associated with embarrassing situations that they cannot control either.  When R&B singer Chris Brown chose to wreak havoc on the Good Morning America site after an interviewer asked questions he did not want to answer, his publicist Tammy Brook dropped him like a hot potato.  Apparently Tammy didn’t want her good name to go down with that sinking ship.  Smooth move.

My Top 5 PR Blogs Revealed

As a new blogger, i have been trolling the blogosphere for inspiration and guidance from the most popular PR blogs.  There are hundreds of blogs dedicated to PR related topics.  Many public relations firms have their own company run blogs that serve as a platform for disseminating information about their clients products and services.  While these are interesting to read about new product launches, i am more interested in blogs that offer tips and strategies geared toward seasoned and new PR professionals.  Below i have compiled a list of some of my favorite and most influential PR blogs that everyone should be familiar with.  Since the fashion industry remains my primary interest, i have sprinkled in a few fashion PR blogs throughout this list.  Get to reading folks!!

My Top 5 PR Blogs:

  • Footprints –  A shoes-off, barefoot blog, aiming to help public relations students and young professionals find their paths in the industry.
  • PR Couture – One of my favorite PR blogs, PR Couture explores the ever-evolving role of public relations, marketing and social media in the fashion industry.
  • Pierce Mattie – This blog attempts to stimulate “fuel for thought” about the luxury lifestyle industries and those interested in public relations, branding, new media, marketing and event planning. Their goal is to give bloggers access to the same content and attention that we give mainstream media.
  • PR-Squared – Written by Shift Communication principal Todd Defren, this blog explores the business side of social media and marketing as well as changes in communication strategies.
  • The Future Buzz – The Future Buzz is a digital marketing and social media blog run by communications professional Adam Singer and updated by the entire site’s community of contributors. This blog will help you become successful in spreading buzz online for whatever you’re doing on or off the web. Readers are inspired to think creatively about leveraging the web for their business, art or clients.

For a comprehensive list of the top 100 PR blogs visit Blog Rank.  For a short list of fashion related PR blogs, visit PR Couture.

Create Your Own Persona through Personal Branding

It’s amazing how much bolder we become when obscured by a computer screen.

Have you noticed that some people’s blog comments can be venomously critical and scathing?  Oftentimes, because some people think that they are anonymous online (and this is so clearly not the case. Check out my post about the myth of cyber anonymity), they have the tendency to exhibit awful behaviors that they would not normally if engaged in a face-to-face interaction.  There is definitely a dark side of the internet, but it also allows you to brand yourself however you would like which is pretty cool.  This is the case for a lot of bloggers who have made themselves into an authority on certain topics such as celebrity gossip (think Perez Hilton and Necole Bitchie) or tech products (Michael Arrington- founder of Tech Crunch, Larry Dignan – Editor In Chief of ZDNet.com), or celebrities like Kim Kardashian and her hangers-on.  Even if you aren’t famous or aspiring to be, it is a good idea to create a public persona online.

The important things to think about when creating your personal brand online:

  1. Have a definite direction for your brand and be consistent.  Be sure about what image you want to portray and tailor all communication towards this image.
  2. Control the message at all times.  It is important not to communicate anything that may damage the brand you are creating.
  3. Treat your persona as a business.  Have fun with it but always be cognizant of how it is being perceived
  4. Google yourself (don’t forget Google Image) and find out what is already out there about you.
  5. Have strategies in place to combat anything that may tarnish your image

It is also important to be aware that someone is always looking at you.  That is not meant to be creepy but it’s true.  Many professional recruiters troll the internet looking up potential job candidates by perusing their Facebook pages, etc.  When creating your personal brand, be sure not to create a persona that is at odds with your professional goals.  For example, if you want to spend your days mentoring children it is best not to brand yourself as a sexpot.  I must admit that i am still trying to figure out exactly how I want to brand myself.  My hobbies include all things fashion and entertainment, but how does that exactly translate into a personal brand?  We shall see I guess . . .

Online Resources for PR Professionals

With the rapid development of new technologies, it is no wonder that PR professionals have been seeking new tools to help them communicate and maintain relationships more efficiently.  A quick Google search yields many websites and services that the modern PR professional must not only be aware of but well versed in too.  Many of these sites offer their services for free.  Culled from web searches, articles and blog posts on the subject, here are a few of the websites that I believe are most useful:

issuu.com

This free website allows you to create digital look-books, portfolios and media kits with magazine quality.  You can publish your work on the website and browse other publications as well.  issuu.com puts an end to creating and downloading large PDF files and allows you to share your creations on social media sites.

pitchengine.com

Create and distribute pitches for your clients.  This site allows you to add multimedia to your pitches, convert them into a mobile format, and share them on social media websites. According to the company “Your sales flyer, press release or announcement will ooze class. It’s like sexy, stylish business attire for the modern communicator.”  Click on the link to watch a short and informative video about the merits of this site

rapportive.com

Rapportive.com allows you to view your contact’s latest information accross multiple platforms including recent Tweets, Facebook posts and the like.  This description comes directly from Rapportive’s website:

Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox.  You can immediately see what people look like, where they’re based, and what they do. You can establish rapport by mentioning shared interests. You can grow your network by connecting onLinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more.  And you can record thoughts for later by leaving notes.  Imagine relationship management built into your email. For free.

Do you know of any other good PR websites and resources?

Please check out the following articles for more useful websites:

5 Free Digital Tools No Fashion PR Should Be Without

10 of the Best Social Media Tools for PR Professionals and Journalists

Further info on Twitter and PR

This week my CPR 590 partner and I gave a presentation on micro-blogging and its function with respect to public relations.  For this blog post I wanted to add some additional information and links that were not included in that presentation.

Although micro-blogging has become a very popular form of social media thanks to Twitter, it is not only used for fun interactions with friends or following your favorite celebrities and news outlets.  Twitter and other micro-blogging sites are being used by PR professionals to monitor their brand perception, identify and solve customer service/product issues, and to interact with their customers.   Because this is still a relatively new PR outlet, many practitioners are not sure how to use this tool most efficiently.  Mary Fletcher Jones, PRSA member and the owner of Fletcher Prince, a social media consulting firm, wrote a best practices guideline for PR practitioners using Twitter and other micro-blogs.  The most important points that I gleaned from her blog post were:

  • Keep focused on your message by posting only relevant updates
  • Respond to customers complaints, comments and praise
  • Post links to articles and blogs related to your industry/product/expertise
  • NEVER post negative comments
Mary Fletcher Jones has several interesting blog posts related to PR.  Follow her posts on the PRSA-NCC Blog
Here are some more links to interesting articles outlining how and why to use Twitter for business purposes:
-Nyasha Kimoy-

Did Social Media Kill the PR Star?

A topic of debate for many a PR professional is whether Social Media has rendered public relations obsolete.  I recently came across a video posted by Kara Swisher, a technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal and popular internet commentator, regarding a panel held in San Francisco to address this very question.  The panel was in response to Jason Calacanis, Robert Scoble and Michael Arrington, three controversial bloggers who had stirred the pot by suggesting that,
with the advent of social media sites, pr is no longer a necessary field/tool.  The conclusion that the panel ultimately came to was that times change and pr tactics change with it.  Of course a room full of pr people are not going to make a statement that their industry is dead, after all it is their bread-and-butter, but there is evidence to support their conclusion.

In an article entitled ‘The Nine Lives of Public Relations’, Don Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, who is a professor of public relations at Boston University and editor of PRSA’s peer-reviewed PR Journal, mentioned to the author in 2009 that he estimates about 70% of all social media programs are driven by pr professionals.  One can only imagine that that number has held steady or even increased over the years.  Remember, public relations professionals are the guardians of the all-important message, and their purpose is to get the message, whatever it may be, to the right people in the right way.  The benefits of social media with regard to public relations is that it allows one to bypass the traditional media outlets and disseminate a message directly to one’s target audience.

I believe social media will cause public relations professionals to become even more creative in how they operate and will produce even more employment opportunities for the tech savvy among us.  15 years ago companies were not concerned with hiring young professionals to exclusively manage their image online image.  Now they are employing more and more young people as social media managers, essentially hired to tinker about on Facebook and Twitter for a living (of course their roles are more involved than that but you know what I mean!).

Social Media certainly hasn’t killed the PR star, in fact it may have given it new life.

-Nyasha Kimoy-