Public Relations

The Myth of the PR Rolodex

RolodexI am often contacted by people who either want to hire me or they have questions about the process of hiring a public relations person. There are usually many questions, but the one that gets me rattled and moves the conversation from a Q & A to lecture is the inevitable question about wanting to find the person with the “golden Rolodex.” Continue reading

Public Relations

PR is NOT Social Media

First of all, let’s clarify one thing: Public relations professionals do no rip people’s heads off: they educate, train and explain. No ripping…and rarely any other acts of violence. No, we are an image conscious group and we’re trained to stay calm during a crisis. The only thing that might make us come unglued is to ask us if we can get you on Oprah. Continue reading

Public Relations

Can you create a personal brand?

As you know, if you have been ‘round these parts before, I have spent a fair amount of time in my career as an advisor to SMBs. I have consulted for over 100 companies and have a broad range of experiences to draw from. Between my professional experience, academic success and years on the planet, I feel like I have a fairly reasonable set of expectations for professional behavior. Probably I lean toward high expectations, but nothing unreasonable and I always take circumstances or context into consideration.

Therefore, if you have failed to meet my expectations, then you were not trying that hard. And I won’t be shy about pointing that out.

Apparently, not everyone appreciates that.

But here’s the thing. You don’t work for your company. You don’t punch a time clock. You don’t have a job. No matter what you do, you work for yourself – even if someone else writes the check. Therefore it is up to you to maintain your personal brand. You are the boss of You, Inc. You are your best client. No matter who you report to, you represent yourself – even in a sea of employees.

So when you fail, it’s on you. If you fail to deliver the expected experience to your client, your boss, your teammates and your peers – it’s on you. You are your brand and you need to know what you stand for. As your client, your boss, your teammate or your peer, I don’t care how awesome you were last week or how awesome you plan to be two weeks from now. If you provided poor service during our transaction, you lost brand value with me. Maybe you do respond to everyone else’s emails immediately – that is no consolation to me when it took 7 days, three messages, and a phone call to get a response on my question. Maybe you are super organized when your boss asks you to manage a small project, but if you make my project difficult, you have lost brand value with me. Maybe you are senior to me, make more money than I do, have a cooler job, drive a nicer car, or have better hair than I do. Doesn’t matter. If my experience with you is sub-par, then you have lost brand value with me.

It is exhausting to be good. That’s why so many brands fail. There is a tremendous amount of money spent on advertising, but nothing left for employee training. In those cases, that brand will fail. There are hours and hours poured into product development, but no clear sales plan. In those cases the brand will fail. There is huge emphasis placed on buzz or hype, but no real results to show, in that scenario, the brand will fail.

Just like a large organization, your ability to deliver consistent results, with on time delivery and smooth processing will help you to build your brand. Like a large organization, all the advertising (or in your case, swagger) in the world won’t save your brand if you fail to deliver.

It is your reputation on the line and you tell that story every day by who you are, what you do, and how you do it. Do not tell me that you are an effective communicator when I can get any information from you. What you do and how you do it have already told me otherwise.

Glenn Llopis says that “your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.” The key there is consistently. If you were awesome last week and plan to be awesome again in two weeks, that doesn’t really help me this week does it?

Yes, everyone has their bad days, but how you recover when you fumble speaks volumes about your brand. If you sputter excuses, react sarcastically, or shame the person who dared to point out your inconsistencies, well then, perhaps your brand awareness needs a little work.

Can you create a personal brand? I would say no. But you can, over time, build a personal brand. You can tell the story of who you are every day by what you do, and how you do it.

Public Relations

50 Shades of Marketing

Like it, love it, hate it, or love-to-hate it, Fifty Shades of Grey is coming to a theater near you. I personally can think of few things more irritating than a baby-faced 26-year-old bossing me around in the bedroom, but billionaires are hot, and 21-year-old college girls can be clueless, so I get it. I tried to read the book, but I was deterred by the prospect of one of my children finding it lying about. Then I tried it listen to it on Audible, and having a different voice than I had imagined (more irritating, more gratings, and dare I say it, more stupid) for the main character, Ana, was unbearable. And frankly, I am a grown woman. Despite the fact that my spirit animal is a cougar, I have so much work to do and in my precious spare time, drooling over an imaginary man-child is not on my list of things to do. However, listening to the Beyoncé song, is on my list. Continue reading

Public Relations

Maturity in Marketing

hammerI have been dealing with and thinking a lot about mature companies versus immature companies. This is important stuff to know if you are an investor or financial type, but it is also important in marketing. Like a teenager, an immature company leaps before it looks, over estimates its contribution, stumbles over the smallest inconveniences, dreams big but does not support the dreams with research and fact finding, develops poor or lazy habits that will affect them later in their growth and generally needs more hand holding than their overdeveloped egos allow them to accept. In What’s Your Score? Assessing Your Digital Marketing MaturityMatt Langie notes the following (the teenager analogy abounds):

Continue reading

Public Relations

PRedicting a crisis

Originally posted on Public Relations Nation:

The_Interview_2014_posterI don’t think that anyone at Sony Pictures ever conceived that their $40 million film “The Interview” would be derailed by a cyber-attack from North Korea. I would guess no one said, “We better be careful or our executives’ email will be hacked and internal gossip will become fodder for the media.” I bet no one thought that the cyber threats would spread to the movie theater operators, who decided that fear and caution should preempt the showing of this particular film. And they didn’t anticipate that Barack Obama, George Clooney and others would be publicly critical of SONY’s decision to kill its release.

I wonder if some savvy public relations person was at the table at Sony when it was first decided to produce “The Interview.” Would she or he have thought to present a “what-if” by saying, “You, know, if you release this comedy, you risk raising the anger of the North…

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Public Relations

7 Things Your PR person will not say to you, but should.

Are you familiar with the scene from Jerry Maguire where Tom Cruise’s character is battling with his client and he moans and begs, ‘Help me help you!’ The desperation and genuine desire is expertly acted by Mr. Cruise.

That scene pretty much sums up my life as a public relations professional. I spend most of my days living and breathing some form of a call to action – moving, pushing, prodding, enticing, eliciting, and engaging executives to move forward with their communications plans. Most do, because I am very persuasive, but some do not. And I wonder about that… Continue reading

Jules Rules, Public Relations

Advice: Starting Social Media

As a professional, getting comfortable with social media is surprisingly hard and some never make the transition. Many people want to spend 10 minutes a week, but then find that they receive little results or traction. Some use it as a social tool and regret it later when it becomes an issue professionally.

For a business owner, entrepreneur or successful professionals, full immersion is required. My formula is this: 90/60/30 for 30/60/90. Meaning create a 90 day plan, divided into three 30 day periods. For the first 30 days, spend 90 minutes per week; for the next phase (through day 60) spend 60 minutes per week, and for the last phase (days 60 – 90) spend 30 minutes per week and maintain that as a minimum. 

This is not enough to launch your company’s marketing, but it is a perfect formula to get your professional profiles up, running and maintained.

And if you are not happy with your personal online brand thus far, I offer suggestions in this article: Got A Bad Online Rep? How To Clean Up Your Virtual Image.

Do you have a secret for success? I would love to hear your comments or complete the poll below. Give me a call if you need help! ~ Jules

:: Jules Rules for Social Faux Pas ::

Shut it down: If you are concerned about your image, remove the profiles or change all of your privacy settings to the most strict setting. This will keep most ‘visitors’ out while you do some housekeeping.

Delete, Delete, Delete: Once on lock-down, go through and delete any unprofessional content, comments or tags. If you have liked or followed something questionable in the past, go back to unfollow, unlike or remove it.

Do some blocking: There may be some people you will need to block. If you are worried about specific people, i.e. your mother-in-law, boss, or coworker and they do not expect you to engage online, block them. That way they cannot stumble upon something that was meant for friends. If they do expect to be online with you, create groups or lists for different categories to keep your content separate.