Council of 101 Hosts Festival of Trees Media Preview

The 29th Annual Festival of Trees took place at the Orlando Museum of Art. We have had the pleasure of working with Council of 101 for several years, and it was an honor to organize their media preview kicking off the 2015 Festival of Trees event.


A media preview is beneficial to any business. It can offer a promotional boost in advance of an event opening or product launch, and it gives you the opportunity to spotlight your unique angles for an audience that is equipped to spread the word far and wide.


Media events rely on having not only the proper contacts, but the right approach. A specific structure is expected for a successful media event as well. We pride ourselves on our ability to help you put your best foot forward for the most appropriate audience.


Many thanks to the media guests in attendance, and kudos to Council of 101 for another enchanting display! The organization has raised over $6.5 million dollars benefiting the arts, children’s programs, and the museum.

New Facebook Videos Will Generate Ad Revenue

Four million users a day watch videos on Facebook. The social media site now wants to cash in and more aggressively compete with Google Inc.’s YouTube.


Mark Zuckerberg talks about Facebook Video and it's plan to share revenues with it's users.Facebook announced a revenue sharing model this week similar to YouTube’s where they will share ad revenue with video creators in a move, according to the Wall Street Journal, designed to attract more polished content and more ads. If successful, Facebook is a more daunting threat to the Google owned online video site.


While many people are mesmerized by family moments and funny animal stories, the Titans of digital media clearly see your videos as a strong revenue stream. Interesting fact to note: smart phones are the source of 65% of all video views on Facebook.


For more details on the changing landscape of what you’re seeing online go to Fortune.

Tracking the Invisible – Analytics for Social Media Images

Social media has become increasingly more image-based. This fact can be attributed to why platforms like Instagram and Vine are increasingly on the rise. Here are some quick stats:

  • According to 2014 research published on eMarketer, photos accounted for 75% of content posted by Facebook pages worldwide.
  • Photos and images are also the most engaging type of content on Facebook, with 87% interaction from fans.
  • For Twitter, adding a photo URL to your tweet can boost retweets by 35%.

Knowing this is great for content marketers. However, for those attempting to track mentions from followers and engage their brand in the conversation, this is a challenge.Analytics

How do you find a great post to “regram” on Instagram if no one tags or adds a #YourBrandHere to their post? How do you respond to customers on Twitter who don’t include your handle? How do you respond to Facebook users who don’t post directly to your page? How do you track the analytics to show your boss that social media is worth the time?

Nearly 85% of posts that contain a logo contain either no text or no text that is relevant to your brand, according to Brian Kim, director of product management for ad-tech startup GumGum.

If the visual elements going on social media largely elude the tracking and analytics brands use to keep tabs on what people are saying, how can we give an accurate picture to our clients about what’s being said about them?

Our recommendations:


Enter the new social media analytics platform, Mantii. This platform is an offshoot of GumGum. Mantii looks for all or part of brand logos contained in social media posts, whether they mention the brand in text or not.

reverse google image search

Another method is to track your own images being shared through a reverse Google Image search. Google’s search by image can easily give you the information you need about your own pictures being shared by others.

curalate logo

A final method is to use the platform Curalate. Curalate applies image-recognition algorithms to social media platforms, much like Mantii. However, this platform is officially recognized by Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.

Have you used, or plan to use any of these platforms? Or are you using a different platform to track your images? Let us know in the comments.

“There is a permanent record today and it is called the Internet”

Privacy is a commodity. In today’s world dominated by the Internet, anything and everything can be posted instantaneously and shared with millions in mere seconds. David from “David After Dentist” would agree. However, privacy concerns are no laughing matter. Vigilance should be taken to ensure that the next breaking news scandal that hits the front page of Yahoo does not revolve around you, which is why we’re shaking our heads at Mitt Romney this week.

After secretly recorded comments from a private Boca Raton fundraiser leaked of Mitt Romney saying that 47% of Americans are victims dependent on the government, we can’t help but wonder why the aspiring President would vocally disparage almost half of his country. Here’s a tip for you Mitt Romney: if you are running for President, everything you say and do WILL be held against you in the court of public opinion, thanks to the Internet. The video was leaked to the press, and now everyone from Jon Stewart to Diane Sawyer is spreading the remarks to their audiences; meanwhile the Mitt Romney campaign has spun its gears to full-on damage control.

Another unfortunate recent example of the royal lack of privacy today comes from an Italian magazine publishing topless photos of Kate Middleton. The Duchess of Cambridge was simply enjoying a sunbathing session on a secluded French chateau getaway when a paparazzi photographer captured the scene. Now, the British royal family is taking the matter to court with hopes to stop further publications from printing the photos, but you can’t take back what has already been done. Amazing what a zoom lens and internet connection can do to the public image of a Princess.

Even the common person is not immune to the repercussions of online activity. Everything that you post, from Facebook cover photos to the latest Tweet about what you had for dinner, becomes fair game when you click “publish.” Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and lawyer for high-profile defendants, says that young people nowadays don’t seem to value privacy. “They put stuff on Facebook that 15 years from now will prevent them from getting the jobs they want,” he said. “They don’t understand that they are mortgaging their future for a quick laugh from a friend.”

And that’s nothing to laugh about.

Mac users steer to more expensive hotels on Orbitz

Many Mac users are fanatical about their computer and are willing to pay extra to own the brand.

Those same Mac users apparently also like to spend a little more on hotel rooms. The online travel agency Orbitz says Mac users spend as much as 30 percent more than PC users on the average hotel booking. The Wall Street Journal reports that the online travel service is showing Mac users more expensive properties.

Orbitz is experimenting with showing different hotel offers to Mac and PC visitors. The move is raising eyebrows and attracting front-page attention. The online travel agency is following a growing trend using predictive analytics to target potential buyers. Orbitz is quick to point out that both Mac and PC users can still rank hotels by price if they wish.

Companies used to just track what websites were being looked at, now they are tracking what computing system are being use.

Budget conscious Mac users should be cautious. Orbitz is likely to begin using the same algorithms to show rental cars and airline flights.

For PC users – especially those with broken hinges on their three-year-old laptop – expect to see more budget-friendly options on the front page of your online travel agency.

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.

Groupon: Accounting principles up to 50 percent off

Ok, so maybe the headline of this is tad unfair and technically incorrect. However, there is no denying that Groupon’s reputation has stung in recent days because the popular Chicago-based online coupon company overstated its financial position in its first quarter as a public company.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Groupon’s auditors discovered that the coupon company suffered a “material weakness in its internal controls” and did not set aside enough money for customer refunds.  The size of this oops-worthy mistake was more than $14 million, the newspaper reported.

For companies that are trying to polish their accounting numbers to make them look as good as possible, there is a deep downside – bad PR that travels quickly. Reputations are hard to earn and quickly lost.

The numbers might have frustrated Google’s investors if the company had recorded their financials right the first time; however, it would also not be shown in a negative light at the front page of the leading financial newspaper.

Groupon should leave the deep discounting to specials. Deep discounting on accounting practices will lead to negative publicity that will last longer than the daily deal.

Back when you had to type “”…

By Sarah Harmon, Wellons Communications Account Executive


Just about everyone is talking about today’s release of The Social Network. From NPR to Fast Company to MTV, the hype has reached (or perhaps even surpassed) Twihard status.

The movie basically chronicles a pseudo-fictional account of the advent of Facebook and its smarmy Harvard student creator(s)…although “smarmy” can easily be replaced with a certain, smarmier adjective used by Vanity Fair 8 times in the first four paragraphs…and once again at the end, for kicks.

The cause for this wide-range of interest (and ultimate media coverage) is in the movie’s layers. Sociologists can look at the broader scope of social media’s impact on society. PR professionals can reflect on using Facebook to increase brand, event and product awareness. Business execs can examine the ins and outs of a $1B+ enterprise. Psychologists can study the impacts of greed, social awkwardness, and a number of other traits exhibited by those of “smarmy” character. And a few (no names attached) will head to the box office just for a glimpse of Justin Timberlake.

Having been in college during the launch of Facebook, I started using the social networking site in 2004. Back then you had to have a .edu e-mail address and were required to type I was also only one of two from my high school on the site.

Six years later, the social network has taken over. As for the movie, we’ll grab some popcorn and see…

Death of the Internet? I think not.

Prince: “The Internet’s like MTV. At one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated.”

Prince: “The Internet’s like MTV. At one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated.”

Prince is getting a lot of headlines for proclaiming the Internet is outdated. “The Internet’s like MTV,” he said to a reporter from The Mirror. “At one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated.”

He should probably take that back – along with The Black Album. Sorry Prince, the Internet will be dead when pigs fly – or doves cry.

This is especially true for people who work in public relations. Online media provides some of the most valuable targets for media relations and PR campaigns – despite being undervalued in the eyes of some clients, who think it’s all about TV and daily papers.

Online media opportunities continue to grow as the traditional media continue to deal with shrinking space and cuts in staff and budget. Internet media offers so many terrific opportunities, probably 1999 or more, including:

· Connecting directly with customers through social media: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Yelp, LinkedIn, etc.

· Reaching out to a targeted, niche audience through blogs (some of which have tremendous followings)

· Generating brand buzz and awareness through online video: YouTube, etc.

· Posting company news through online press releases (all while building SEO)

· Promoting events through community and national calendars

· Garnering the benefits of user-generated content

Who knows what the future will bring with the explosion of smart phones, iPads and the next big thing being cooked up by Apple and Google.

The (purple) reign of the Internet will last for a long time. Make sure to seize the many PR opportunities it offers.

The only thing that’s outdated for sure is this:


A lesson in bad media relations

There was an old Saturday Night Live sketch that featured a character named Leonard Pinth-Garnell . He was an arts critic who showcased the worst in everything; Bad Playhouse, Bad Cinema, Bad Opera, etc. The audience got to witness a truly awful performance.

Today we’ll borrow a page from Leonard Pinth-Garnell for an installment of Bad Media Relations. KGO-TV in San Francisco was doing a story looking at how money in a hospital patient gift fund was being spent.

Watch as the hospital community relations director touches investigative reporter Dan Noyes a couple dozen times and then shoves his hand in a camera lens. It’s one of the most bizarre PR-media encounters you’ll ever see.

The station says it went to a community meeting to try and get an interview after the hospital ignored its phone calls. This is a standard practice, and an excellent reason to not ignore repeated phone calls from a reporter. Not calling back is basically an invitation for the I-Team to show up unannounced.

The PR person says the reporter purposely disrupted the meeting and the hospital says the story was unfair and distorted the facts. You can read statements from both here.

This ugly scene was easily preventable. Call the reporter back and find out what they are working on. Work with the hospital administrators and defend your position if you believe what you’re doing is right. Do a sit-down interview with the reporter, or at least provide a statement or written answers to his questions.

Handle your media relations properly and you have a story that you may not like on one TV station. Bungle your media relations and your story is now all over major news sites and the video of your bizarre tactics are there for all to see.

To quote Leonard Pinth-Garnell: “Stunningly bad!”