Category Archive: Uncategorized

2018 is just around the corner. How far along is your marketing planning?

It’s not even December, but doesn’t it feel like Christmas is already in full swing? And what happened to Thanksgiving?

Though the sugarplums dancing in our heads are nice, it all serves as a stark reminder that the year is almost over—and that your marketing and public relations planning for 2018 should be already be completed.

Are you ready?

2018 planningReady or not, 2018 is almost here

One reason marketers have to plan so far ahead is that competition for attention has ramped up to never-before-seen levels. And it’s not just your competitors with whom you are battling for attention.

Consumers are bombarded with more advertisements and messages than ever before.

The “white noise” that surrounds communications today means that marketing planning, and the messages that characterize your marketing effort, need to be carefully crafted to align with what you want to accomplish and what your customers want.

You need to both formulate and prioritize your objectives, narrowing them down to what is affordable, practical and realistically, possible. Once you have nailed down your objectives and envisioned the strategies that will serve as the pathways to realizing them, then (and only then), will the tactics you will employ become clear.

This approach may sound over simplified, but defining objectives, strategies, and tactics is at the heart of every sound marketing plan…and the public relations plan that supplements it.

Your marketing has to put your customer first

Your customer must be the ultimate focus your marketing plan. After all, they are who will be looking at your communications and asking “What’s in it for me?”

Asking questions about you, of course, assumes that your targets pay attention to your messages. Taken one step further, that means you need to know what your customers want and craft communications that clearly state how your product, service, or idea will benefit them.

And that’s where marketing public relations, the style of public relations we practice at Wellons Communications, enters the picture.

We believe PR exists solely to sell products, services, and ideas

We believe whatever creative ideas you develop have to arrive at the intersection of connecting with your audience while achieving your goals. But creative ideas are more than headlines, slogans, and catchy graphics.

Great creative ideas are most often based on sound research.

That doesn’t mean commissioning a costly study by a think tank…research can be informal and based on common sense, but whatever research you have that defines the wants and needs of your target audience will lead to maximizing your chances of success.

At Wellons Communications, we start with whatever research is available to contribute to strategic approaches like increasing awareness, boosting social media following, or generating press coverage—all of which are eventually aimed at sales results.

Learn more about how we practice marketing communications, not just public relations. Call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com and see how we can give your 2018 marketing plans a boost.

What companies can learn about crisis PR from the United Airlines leggings incident

On Sunday morning, a United Airlines gate attendant barred two teenage girls from boarding a flight from Denver to Minneapolis because they were wearing leggings. News of the leggings incident went viral, and within hours, United Airlines had a PR crisis on its hands.

The incident started when Shannon Watts, political activist and founder of Moms Demand Action, overheard the exchange and tweeted about the incident to her followers.

 

 

The airline responded to the public backlash with its own tweets to explain the incident.   

 

 

The company also issued a release explaining customers are welcome to wear leggings on its flights. The release explains that United views employee pass riders as representatives of the company and expects them to be appropriately dressed for flights.

 

 

Though United responded quickly to the crisis, customers, activists and even celebrities such as Chrissy Teigen and Patricia Arquette have expressed anger about the incident.

Jonathan Guerin, a United spokesperson, said himself the airline should have done a better job of responding to the situation. According to Reuters, Guerin said, “We’ll definitely take something away from today, but we’ll continue to engage with our customers (on social media).”

So what can other companies take away from this viral situation when facing their own crisis?

First, never underestimate the power of social media. Incidents today don’t stay contained, and with Facebook and Twitter, angry customers have an easy—and potentially viral—outlet.

Second, be sincere. Many considered United’s response to the issue stilted or unsympathetic. As per the Reuters article, Guerin said the company could have been more clear in its initial response to the issue.

Finally, have a plan for your social media outlets. United did a great job of responding to a potential issue quickly and telling its side of the story, but because the initial response was bungled, it backfired. Know what kinds of feedback you need to respond to, what you’ll say, and in what format you will respond.

After all, the best way to handle a crisis is to prepare for it before you’re facing it. If you need help crafting your plan, give us a call. At Wellons Communications, we have experience in social media and in handling crisis situations, and we can help you put your best foot forward. Give us a call today at 407-339-0879.

Are your communications really getting through?

In the history of communications, there has never been so much competition for the attention of consumers.

communicationThe onset of the Internet, along with the explosion of e-mail, tweets, text messages, along with new ways to connect, like Skype and GoToMeeting, has turned basic communications into the Wild West.

There are so many messages…and so little time to listen to them, let alone contemplate what the messages mean.

The net result? Communications overload, which places a premium on getting your message right the first time, every time.

Author Jocelyn K. Glei, on 99U, an online magazine for creative types, addresses the communications overload in detail in a thoughtful article:

http://99u.com/articles/7002/stop-the-insanity-how-to-crush-communication-overload

In particular, Ms. Glei thoughtfully addresses organizing communications and establishing protocols that rank what’s important…and what’s not.

Public relations communications should help you sell

At Wellons Communications, our service is public relations, which we interpret as helping you sell your product or service.

Sales begin with clear, simple statements that identify the needs of your target audience and how you can help them resolve that need.

Because of communications overload, your target audience has less time than ever to absorb what you are saying. You owe it to them (and yourself) to present your thoughts clearly, concisely, and consistently.

Clear, simple, direct communications will cut through the clutter. They make it easy for your target to understand that you recognize their needs and why you are the best resource for resolving them.

We recognize that the only reason you want public relations assistance is to help you sell something. In that same spirit, we are knowledgeable, experienced, and well-prepared to help you create effective ways and means of cutting through the “white noise” that exists in today’s marketing environment.

Give me a call at 407-339-0879 or e-mail me at will@wellonscommunications.com and let’s talk about how we can simplify your communications and make it easier for your marketing to work harder on your behalf.

Communicate your Benefits in “Plain Speak”

george-bernard-shawSuccessful communication is not about doing more. It’s about maximizing what you are already doing.

Here’s an example:

Take a look at your website and your brochure.

Ask yourself “Will readers immediately understand what I do?” and “Does my website clearly state the benefits I deliver?”

If the answers to these questions are unclear, it might be time to rethink what you are telling people.

The three C’s

There are three C’s in communication that can strengthen what you say about your business and your services:

  • Be clear: Say exactly what you mean. Write like you speak. Avoid jargon.
  • Be concise: President Franklin D. Roosevelt used to start his Cabinet meetings with “Be sincere; be brief; be seated.” Good advice for wordy politicians and also good advice for business communicators.
  • Be consistent: You may become bored saying the same thing over and over again, but your audience needs to hear the same message as many as seven times before it registers.

Get to the point

Today’s fast-paced, Internet-based communications allow you only a few seconds to get your point across.

The average person hears between 20,000 and 30,000 words during the course of a 24-hour period. Most people only remember about 17 to 25 percent of the things to which they listen.[1] [2]

According to research conducted by productivity software developer

Boomerang, emails between 50 and 125 words had the best response rates at just above 50 percent. Short and direct emails resonated best with prospects and earned a response. The same study also showed emails written at a third-grade reading level had the highest response rate.

Do those findings strike a familiar chord? Simple. Short. Consistent.

We practice what we preach

At Wellons Communications, we follow the same principles we preach.

We keep our communications simple. We keep messages short enough to easily remember. And we place a premium on maintaining a consistent message.

If your communications are becoming too wordy, too complex, or inconsistent, it may be time to step back and get some help in shaping exactly what you want to say about yourself.

Impartial third-party communications assistance is an important component of our services. In the spirit of what marketing is all about, we help you sell things.

When you are ready to start selling more things, give me a call at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com. We are ready to get to work on helping you be yourself…only better.

[1] Listening Statistics: 23 Facts You Need to Hear, Rebecca Lake, Creditdonkey.com
[2] International Listening Association, www.listen.org

Online reading: Changing the way we think

In today’s society, it’s getting easier and easier to reach for our phones and tablets to read the latest news story, article or book. Businesses and classrooms are turning away from mail-outs and textbooks in favor of marketing emails and ebooks. But what does that mean for the way we take in information?

Digital reading Apparently, a lot. According to The Washington Post, your brain doesn’t comprehend the information you read online the same way it does in print. Digital screens seem to cause people to focus on the information they are reading at the time instead of how it fits in a broader context.

Researchers from Dartmouth College and Carnegie Mellon came up with different experiments that could compare the effects of reading on different platforms. In one experiment, a group of participants read a short story online and another group read a printout of the story. A pop quiz was given to the participants once they were done reading, and it revealed that the physical-copy readers scored better on questions requiring participants to make inferences, while digital-copy readers scored better on concrete questions about the text.

According to the researchers, the results of the experiments show that our reading comprehension is changing as it is becoming more typical to read information on a digital platform. Our thought processes may slowly be evolving so that we will have to make an effort to look at the bigger picture.

So what does that mean for PR? Even though communications professionals will likely still make use of digital tools, the study shows the key is to try and make digital audiences think more abstractly. When writing an article that is going to be consumed via screen, try to challenge yourself to put in context which will help readers think critically along with the facts of the story.

Why You Need Reviews

In an age where consumers turn to social media and the internet for so much of their buying needs, reviews are more popular than ever. Reviews bring credibility to your business. Whether it’s a book, a product or a restaurant, consumers want to buy something they can trust. According to Marketing Land, when customers see positive recommendations, they’re more likely to buy it. Reviews can help erase any doubts of potential customers, and bring peace of mind with a purchase.

90

Source: Business 2 Community

Besides the obvious benefit to consumers, reviews can help improve social media for a business by generating content.

Perhaps most importantly, from a business perspective, the word of mouth marketing effort will increase sales. As the graph above shows, reading reviews influences buyer decision. Many consumers read reviews before making purchasing decision. Reviews lead to more sales.

has-reading-online-reviews-impacted-your buying decision
Source: Marketing Land

Turn to a team that knows how to get reviews in digital and traditional media, Wellons Communications.

Have a Laugh: Use Humor on Social Media

Dr. Seuss once said “From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” This couldn’t be more true for social media. When brands get in on the humor, social media is even more fun. Here are 3 reasons why your brand should consider using humor on social media:

Attention Grabber: We all mindlessly scroll through our social feeds during the day, sometimes it’s the same information, over and over again. When a funny video, picture or post pops up on the screen, you can bet we’re going to stop, read it and like it.

Old Spice TweetRelatable: Humor shows that brands have a human side. They don’t always take themselves too seriously, and can laugh. Relating to your audience is a guaranteed way to increase engagement.

Taco Bell Tweet

Memorable: When your audience sees a funny post, they’re more likely to share it and remember it when it comes to making a purchasing decision. Take advantage of this by creating memorable content. Take this Virgin America post from Thanksgiving 2014, for example:

Virgin America Tweet

Taylor Swift: Always In The Spotlight

Taylor Swift Bad BloodTaylor Swift is everywhere. She’s won countless music awards, her songs play on almost all radio stations and her photos can be found online and in magazines. Clearly, she’s hard to miss.

Now it seems that Swift keeps getting into disagreements with other fellow musicians, such as Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, although her feud with the former is ongoing.

So what’s the big deal? Why do people keeping “picking” on Swift? Are these musicians really jealous of her and her achievements? Or is there something underneath all the flustering?

Could it all be due to a typical Hollywood hoax, to stir up public attention for these artists?katy perry vs taylor swift

No information has been found to support such a theory, but the constant “hate” Swift gets seems somewhat intentional and timed.

For example, recently Nicki Minaj posted a tweet in which it was very apparent she was talking about Taylor Swift. Katy Perry decided to quickly jump in with a tweet to not so subtly offend Swift. Swift then responded by sending a tweet of her own basically denouncing Minaj for what she said. Minaj again tweeted a response to Swift saying that she wasn’t actually talking about Taylor and that she was still in her good graces, and Swift did the same. All in the same day.

These ladies all have PRtaylor vs minaj teams who monitor everything they wear, say or do, so wouldn’t these professionals stop them whenever these stars post controversial tweets or photos?

Or is it all part of the plan?

Every time a celebrity gets into a feud with another celebrity, it always becomes news. These “feuds” garner public attention, as well as admirers. Everyone loves a good show, and these situations provide just that: a good show!

If this were true, their PR teams show that they know what “sells”. They know how to get the public’s attention and keep it. This is an important skill for any PR professional. These artists’ PR teams know who they are targeting and will give them exactly what they want. Likewise, in other types of PR, it is also crucial that professionals know their target audiences and give them what they like, in the manner that want it, i.e. social media to reach millennials and younger generations.

Donald Trump: Promoting his Brand

donald trump photo

We’re all aware of the media circus surrounding Donald Trump these past few weeks. It seems that every day Trump makes yet another statement offending a specific group or person, such as those towards illegal immigrants and John McCain. Just yesterday he read aloud Republican presidential opponent, Senator Lindsey Graham’s private cell phone number. Traditional PR would condemn such practices, especially when a prospective candidate is trying to make a name for himself in the political arena; however, according to several political polls such as the Washington Post-ABC News polls, he is currently the GOP frontrunner.

People Love A Good Show

As a part of a good PR strategy, one must be able to attain and keep the public’s attention. No doubt Trump is doing that. His controversial statements seem to occur more and more frequently as time moves forward, ensuring that he is in the news constantly. All this attention is contributing to his early support.

Donald Trump is a business man. He knows how to market his products and services well. He knows how to promote his brand.  He has been able to keep himself in the public spotlight for many years, which is no small feat.

And while the Trump route is not the recommended path, it seems to be working for him for the moment.

The real question is will Trump’s recognition as a prospective political candidate for 2016 continue to increase? Or has he peaked in popularity?

#CharlieCharlieChallenge

Have you heard of the #CharlieCharlieChallenge that overtook social media the past few weeks? It’s a challenge that mixes childhood superstitions of “Bloody Mary” and the Ouija board to summon a Mexican demon named Charlie. It might sound a little ridiculous, however, that didn’t stop the phenomenon spreading across social media.

How Does It Work?

According to the Huffington Postcharlie4-3

“Take a piece of paper and draw a single horizontal line and a single vertical line that meet in the center. Put a “YES” in two opposing sections and a “NO” in the other two. Place two pencils across the middle of the drawing in a plus-sign formation, with one balanced atop the other so that it can spin.

“Ask aloud, “Charlie, Charlie, are you there?” or “Charlie, Charlie, can we play?” and the top pencil will likely move at some point because of how it’s balanced. However, some players believe it’s a sign that “Charlie” is in the room and ready to take questions.”

Consequences:

Some people became genuinely scared, recounting stories of hauntings and attacks by demons. The torment is especially awful if one stops playing without first asking “Charlie, Charlie, can we stop?” without getting a “no” in response.

The challenge trended on Twitter and Instagram almost immediately, with many posting videos and photos of their results.

The_Gallows_PosterTerrifying as it was, it seems this trend was just a giant marketing campaign for a new horror movie, The Gallows. The movie is about a boy named Charlie who was killed during a high school play. Years later, the high school tries to honor Charlie by recreating the play. A few students decide to break into the school at night in an effort to stop the play’s production; to dire consequences. The #CharlieCharlieChallenge is featured in one of the movie’s scenes.

While the #CharlieCharlieChallenge was a smart marketing move, generating conversation and action, it was also incredibly terrifying. I’m sure many more movie theatre goers will be seeing The Gallows now!