What you can learn from Khloe Kardashian’s Twitter trauma

Khloe-Kardashian-Kim-Kardashian-Critics-Choice-Awards-01171113-580x803Khloe Kardashian has stopped tweeting. Oh, the humanity!

It turns out she’s tired of being bashed in the Twitter-sphere. “The negativity that I see, hear, or read today is out of control.”

Clearly Khloe and her merry band of reality TV clones (khlones?) attract at lot of negative attention because they seem to find every paparazzi and TV camera in the free world. But the Kardashians are also a very popular brand – and one that is being forced to deal with Twitter fans turning on them, rather than tuning them in. With more than 2 million fans, there are a lot of eyeballs at stake.

The same can hold true for any business using social media. One negative Tweet can spread far and fast. What do you do when the masses turn on you?

First, learn as much as you can about the negative Tweeter. Look at their feed. Someone who regularly complains about anything and everything isn’t going to carry as much weight as someone who doesn’t make a habit of going negative via Twitter. In the worst case, it could be a journalist, blogger or very loyal customer.

Next, contact them directly, hear them out and see if their problem has an easy fix. A hotel might give them a free room in the future, a restaurant may offer up a free meal. Making it right can often make the problem go away quickly.

Do not – under any circumstances – decide to engage in a Twitter war. This is neither a battle you want to engage in nor a war you have any hope of winning. Your social media war of words will just attract an even bigger audience as people retweet.

Done correctly, your Twitter nightmare may land you a loyal customer and let others know that you genuinely care about your customers.

And you can rest easy – Khloe has started tweeting once again.

Wellons welcomes a new member of the PR team

headshots 009We would like to welcome Cori Pope to the Wellons Communications team.

Cori is a veteran TV broadcaster from Texas who moved to Florida to pursue new career opportunities.  As a PR Specialist, she will manage accounts for the hospitality, health, education and technology industries.

Prior to coming to Wellons Communications, Cori worked at the NBC affiliate in Midland, Texas.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Texas Tech University.

Cori continues our commitment to hire former journalists to provide PR, media relations and content support for our nationwide clients.  Her strong broadcast background and her work on the station’s website were key elements in bringing Cori onboard.

Welcome, Cori!

Tucson tragedy provides insights to solid media relations

The series of press conferences after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others at a congressional meet-and-greet over the weekend was a study in proper media relations and crisis communications.

Especially well done were the media briefings from the University Medical Center in Tucson . The doctors walked the fine line between giving the facts, but also respecting the privacy of the patients.

Business owners can learn a great deal about media relations by watching breaking news and how it is handled. The briefings handled key point of media relations very well, including:

  • Stick with the facts
  • Protect the business. In this case, the medical center protecting the privacy of the patients was masterfully done.
  • Answer the questions. In the press conference I viewed, never did the words “no comment” come from any spokesperson.
  • Well-briefed spokespeople. The spokespeople also kept control of the media by keeping the briefing to a limited number of questions.
  • Keep everyone informed. The hospitals and law enforcement agencies promised updates as events changed.
  • What is next? Each of the briefings ended with announcing the time of the next briefing so the media can plan schedules.

Briefing the media takes balance, but winning media friends starts with giving the facts of the story in a timely manner.

Tucson Tragedy Raises PR Issues for Many

This weekend’s tragic shooting in Tucson is a reminder of why being prepared is so important in PR. Just like a fire station tries to prepare for any situation, so too should PR professionals.

Consider just some of the issues that came from this incident:

Sportsman’s Warehouse has to defend its position that Jared Lee Loughner passed his FBI background check before one of its employees sold him the gun that was used kill six people and injure 14 more.

Pima Community College has to determine if it did enough when Loughner was a student there, as classmates and at least one instructor were disturbed by his bizarre, threatening behavior.

Gun rights supporters must defend their stance that Arizona’s lenient gun laws are in the best interest of the public.

Gun opponents will ramp up their efforts at changing laws and swaying public opinion.

All political parties must examine their use of rhetoric and its possible impact on individuals and society.

Lawmakers must defend legislation under consideration that would expand a ban on symbolic threats from just the President to congress.

Congress will have to consider new levels of security for all its members, and how to deal with issues of extreme importance while one its own lies in a hospital bed fighting for her life.

These are just a handful of the societal issues that will be dealt with and an important reminder as to why you always plan for the best and prepare for the worst when it comes to PR.

Taking Risks

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I keep reading stories about Oprah Winfrey taking a risk because she’s starting her own cable network.  In the back of my head I can’t help but say, “Come on!”  When you’re worth billions of dollars it doesn’t meet my definition of taking a risk.  Yes, there is a risk involved in launching your own cable network and stepping away from your record breaking talk show you’ve had for 25 years.

However, taking a risk as a small business person trying to make the right marketing decision will make the difference between whether the business wins or loses, whether their family gets food, and whether their employees can survive in a difficult time.  I want to wish Oprah Winfrey all the best in her risk but my biggest concern is helping people who are actually taking bona fide risks, who have something to lose and something to gain.  Their livelihood is truly at stake.  Whether Oprah Winfrey’s cable network works or not I doubt her lifestyle will change dramatically.  Whether a good entrepreneur’s investment wins or loses is a totally different matter.

At Wellons Communications, we work to develop communications, public relations and social media plans for people who do take risks and want to see real return on their investment.  We understand what’s at stake.

Reputations can change in the blink of an eye

Haywood branding blog imageA week ago Mike Haywood had the reputation as a great young football coach with a very bright future. After all, he was the first choice to be the next football coach at the University of Pittsburg – a top program in the Big East Conference.

Now, Haywood’s professional career and personal life is in shambles. He was arrested in a domestic dispute and shortly thereafter fired from his prominent job before he even had a chance to coach his first practice – let alone his first game for Pittsburg.

What happened? The brand Mr. Haywood had built on the field did not match the actions he is accused of exhibiting off the field.

We must all keep in mind that carefully worded messages generated from high powered branding sessions pale in comparison to the living court of public opinion. The lessons businesses can take away from the actions of the now former Pitt football coach – brands are built by the everyday actions of every member of an organization.

The University of Pittsburg is back to square one with its football coach search and a little bit of its reputation of a quality athletic program has a been tarnished.

Having a brand statement, mission, vision and values are all extremely important. At Wellons Communications, we have helped craft these messages for ourselves and our clients.  But the most important step is backing up your brand both on and off the field.