Category Archive: Wellons Communications & PR

Building your brand one step at a time

Marketing agencies like to tout their wins for big companies. We applaud those wins, for we know how hard they are to garner.

Yet, what about small companies? Don’t they deserve the same services as the big firms? Emphatically we say yes!

Sometimes when you’re a small company just trying to make your way in the world you have to start somewhere. That somewhere might be a single press release, or media pitching, or social media campaign.

We have had the privilege of working with national companies in multiple markets.  Our firm takes an equal amount of pride in the work we do to promote smaller businesses. We are happy to provide project work – a single press release if needed – to bring companies the publicity and business they richly deserve.

In just the past few months we’ve announced restaurant openings, worked with dance companies, app developers, window shade manufacturers, and even horse farms to help promote small business owners.

We’d love to tell your story!  Reach out to us at 407.339.0879 or emailmystory@wellonscommunications.com to discuss your PR potential.

Mobile Movement

Ask Americans for the one thing they can’t leave home without, and we’ll bet most of them name a smartphone or tablet.

The popularity of mobile devices isn’t anything new, but a surprising number of entrepreneurs don’t consider how it affects their business. Smartphones and tablets have changed communication in ways that dramatically affect the business world.

With that in mind, it’s vital that business owners consider the mobile implications of any marketing initiative – the most important being a mobile version of your current website.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • Average smartphone usage grew 81 percent worldwide in 2012.
  • In 2012, the number of mobile-connected tablets increased 2.5-fold to 36 million, and each tablet generated 2.4 times more traffic than the average smartphone
  • Last year’s mobile data traffic was nearly twelve times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000
  • Mobile network connection speeds more than doubled in 2012, opening the door for easier and more frequent surfing

So, take a critical look at your company website. View it on multiple devices and consider the ease of navigation. For a real perspective, ask someone who has never viewed the site to take a look and share their impressions. You may not like what you hear, but it’s a window into the potential revenue losses that come from a less-than-stellar web presence.

Data from Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast
Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Social media + politics= loss of friends

Most of us are aware to shy away from political discussions at family gatherings or cocktail parties.  However, one of the latest trends in the social media world is to discuss politics. This can lead to bruised feelings, loss of business, and in some cases, quickly being removed from social media fan bases if you take a different view than your friends.

 

USA Today pointed that Facebook is becoming the new battleground state for politics. Entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to serve the entire political spectrum should proceed with caution before putting their views online even in personal social media postings.

Facebook frenzy in the Zimmerman case

Social media sites have transpired past our everyday lives and into the courtrooms. Just look at the Trayvon Martin case and current trial against his killer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s team of lawyers has now entered the social media fray by creating a blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts to interact with the public, sparking interest and conversation. Recently, the George Zimmerman Legal Case shared a link on their Facebook to a blog article about Zimmerman’s abandoned Myspace page. In just four hours, the post had one share, seven “likes” and 93 comments.

With that said, the Zimmerman defense team may have bitten off more than it can chew. Media exposure has made George Zimmerman a household name and the face of evil. Their tactic of trying to shape public opinion of the most vilified man in the nation is an admirable effort, but the consequences have revealed that these social media labors can be detrimental to their cause. With dozens (sometimes hundreds) of comments popping up every time something is posted, we can see that the perception of Zimmerman continues to spread and swell. The handler of the Facebook account is threatening that any discussion or speculation on the facts of the case will be deleted, but that is not enough to control the catalyst of negative opinions brought on by every post.

Only time will tell how George Zimmerman’s legal defense team will handle such heightened criticism of their high-profile client and whether their online efforts will pay off. Either way, this case has certainly proven to be an interesting experience showcasing the evolution of social media.

Reputation Management in a Modern World

“Glass, china and reputation are easily cracked and never well mended.”
- Benjamin Franklin, “Poor Richard’s Almanack”

Long gone are the days where figureheads of corporations remain in the shadows. Now, news outlets and the public are putting the spotlight on these bigwigs, often exposing their misdeeds in the process.

Best Buy is a recent example of this. Two weeks ago, the CEO of the consumer electronics giant, Brian Dunn, resigned after the company opened an investigation into his “personal conduct.” There was speculation that he misused company assets to contribute to an alleged relationship with a female subordinate.

Another high-profile case involves University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino, who was recently fired from his multi-million dollar gig for violating a morals clause. The crime? He had a secret affair with a recruiting coordinator for the Arkansas football team.

These examples highlight two important lessons related to reputation management and the media. First, political leaders are no longer the only ones to have their personal lives catapulted to the front page; no one is safe from the scrutinizing eyes of the customers or shareholders. In fact, everything from financial records to emails to cell phone text messages can sometimes be fair game to the press thanks to the Freedom of Information Act.

Good reputation management involves being aware of the fact that nefarious activities in your personal life can easily cross-pollinate to news outlets and spread like a virus. It takes just one blow to your credibility to dismantle the years of hard work building that reputation.

Secondly, we learn how personal reputation is not the only concern in these scenarios. As shown from the Dunn and Petrino issues, organizations believe their image is tied to that of their employees. This is nothing new, as noted by Cees B.M. van Riel and Charles J. Fombrun in their 2007 publication, “Essentials of Corporate Communications.” They termed the phrase “media mania” to refer to this trend of how companies and their top executives now perform in the media spotlight. The book also states that chief executive officers in particular act as spiritual and emotional symbols of the organization, so it is especially important that these figures adhere to the same values and ethics of the companies they represent.

In this day and age, technology has allowed media outlets to report and deliver news instantly, which means they are quick to pounce on breaking scandals in politics, corporations and even football fields. Organizations have certainly taken notice and become more critical with media monitoring and reputation management, showcasing how they may react to threats by removing scandal-plagued employees from payroll, like what Best Buy and the University of Arkansas did to their offenders.

It also helps if the immoral acts weren’t committed in the first place, either.

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s know how to spice-up their brand image

With so much advertisement constantly being produced, it can be difficult to target a specific demographic and receive the response your advertisements look for – difficult, that is, for everyone except Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

Known for their racy ad campaigns featuring young female pop-culture icons, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s once again proved that they know who their target audience is, and they know how to capture their attention.

In the most recent Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s campaign, Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton appears in a classic drive-thru setting, eating a spicy Southwestern Patty Melt. The ad features Upton reacting provocatively to the “hot” sandwich, prompting many ad viewers to feel the heat.

Considering that the fast-food chain ads are targeting men ages 18-34, it’s no surprise that the campaign generated a lot of internet buzz. In fact, the campaign has been so popular that Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have enjoyed more than 120,000 new Facebook fans, a 104 percent increase in website visits and more than 5,000 Upton-and brand-related Tweets since the campaign launched.

The success of the campaign is an excellent example of how knowing your target audience and establishing your brand can propel any company into superstardom. What Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have accomplished is the difficult task of successfully targeting a very specific audience in such a well-developed way that a small portion of the population generates the most social and website traffic.

Without an understanding of their target audience, the amount of success Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have received as a result of the campaign would be impossible. Establishing a brand and staying true to that brand also factors in to the success of the campaign. The inclusion of young pop-culture females in their advertisements has become a staple in the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brand, and it is created quite a buzz.

Wellons Communications helps tell your story in 2012

The New Year is right ahead. Have you drafted your story/vision for the coming year? WWC Logo 2011 - small

It’s likely that you have a story to tell and may not even realize it. Many businesses have stories about their progress, new programs, expansions or cool new ideas of how to get things done.  Journalists, bloggers and even your Facebook fans love to learn what you have planned.

Communicating often – whether to your employees, your customers or your future customers – pays consistent dividends.

One of our clients recently remarked, “I had no idea what we were doing was even remotely newsworthy.’’ The comment came after she was profiled in the most highly sought after trade magazine for her industry.

Stories worth telling net business results, either with direct impact to the bottom line or a priceless boost in credibility.

We are experts in developing and promoting businesses’ stories.  So if you don’t know your story yet, let us help.

Marketing to Mommies

Besides the usual suspects of Facebook, Twitter and traditional outlets, two big time fast food giants are marketing to the person who knows best – mom. We_Can_Do_It!

Recently McDonald’s rolled out a down-sized French fry portion and added apples to every kid’s meal. Burger King just announced a new ad campaign focusing on fresher and healthier food options.

Both of these chains are refocusing their messages to mom. Now, mom bloggers are regarded as key influencers with the ability to spread news quickly. According to the BSM Media, moms are the family decision makers for everything from food products to cars and electronics, spending trillions each year.  Another study revealed 96 percent of moms value the recommendation they find on blogs.

In an age of social media, as marketers we have to embrace non-traditional media, because some mom bloggers have more readers than city newspapers.

In short, mommy dearest is a force to be reckoned with.

Babies being served booze

boozing babesIt’s a parent’s nightmare and an instant public relations crisis.

This article on USA Today looks into a couple of these restaurant mishaps – babies being served booze! Something most of us never thought would happen is now front page news and on the minds of a lot of parents.

Within one month two different incidents were reported at two of the nation’s largest casual dining chains, Applebee’s and Olive Garden.

So how do these restaurants win back the loyalty of worried parents? Well, they can either ignore the issue and release statements like this one made by Applebee’s.

“In an industry that serves more than 150 million meals every day, these are two extremely rare occurrences. However, we believe that even one incident like this is too many.”

Or they could face the issue, react quickly and positively. A couple of suggestions from restaurant operators: retrain staff, rethink alcoholic drink policies, limit bar use, be forthcoming and involve consumers in new regulations. Concerning communications get your messaging clear – from the hostess and servers on the front line, to your media statements.

After all, this juicy story is out and now diners want to know, what restaurants will do to ensure their child will never be served anything more to drink than a soft drink.

Google filters out SEO cheaters

By Will Wellons

UntitledThe Wall Street Journal this week had a story on how Google is revamping the secret formula it uses to rank web pages in order to keep people from cheating.  Those dastardly cheaters are companies fighting for search engine optimization positions.  Google’s closely held secret formula has always created the need for SEO, marketing and public relations firms to generate tons of content in hopes of getting pages ranked higher and higher.  It’s much more complex than that, but that’s the simple form.

Here is our stance on SEO and the Google formula:

  • Worry about your message.  If you worry about your message and get your message out consistently, your audience and the Google formula will take care of itself.
  • You know your business better than anyone else.  Tell your story.  Tell it again.  Tell different elements of your story – educate your consumers.

If you take the time to follow these steps and some other easy steps, you will consistently rank fairly well in Google searches (assuming other SEO tactics have been taken care of when you built your website).  But the message here is: consistent, positive, educational content goes a long way – no matter what Google does to its secret formula.  To read more, visit The Wall Street Journal.