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.

Social media delivers results

Social Media campaign blogMore than 80 percent of Americans have a social media presence. If you’re not using social media as part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing out.

Social media marketing can be extremely effective, and it doesn’t have to be confusing or expensive.

There are two main ways for you to use social media marketing effectively. First, there’s the organic reach.

Organic social media marketing is content you don’t pay for. If you’re in business, chances are you already do this or have at least thought about it. These posts are generally content-driven and help keep your customers up to date with company news. They can also further your company’s brand.

But because these posts are organic, they can easily get lost in the flood of things available on the internet to the point where your followers might not even see them.

Because of that, if you choose to go the organic route, it’s essential to develop a long-term plan for your posting. It’s also important to keep your audience in mind and create shareable content so you can reach new people.

Paid social media posts, however, can help you meet your goals faster. Through paid ads and boosted posts, you can target specific audiences and have a flexible budget. Money can go a long way on social media, because, according to Moz, the average cost is about $0.25 per 1,000 impressions.

To create a strong social media campaign, it’s important to take a few things into consideration.

  • Target the right audience. Paying for posts that are going to the wrong audience can deplete your budget quickly and deliver few results. Write your posts for the specific audience you want to reach and put some thought into who your ideal target is to create an effective audience.
  • Budget your campaigns. Learn from experience which posts generate more engagement and reach. See which posts have a higher relevancy in Facebook and which ones convert into paying customers. Tracking conversions over social media can be difficult, but, over time, trends may emerge.
  • Choose the right platform. Although 18- to 29-year-olds dominate social media sites, there’s a more even spread of generations on Facebook, according to Pew Research Center. Use the platform to your advantage. For example, if you have a visual product or experience you want to promote, Instagram may be the way to go.

At Wellons Communications, we have experience creating both organic and paid social media campaigns. From the beginning, we’ll customize a plan which can help your company gain new customers and grow the relationship with your current customers. Give us a call today at 407-339-0879 to see how we can help your business grow to its fullest potential.

Let’s be clear: Why clarity is essential in your communications

With a multitude of changes unfolding as 2017 moves forward, we are increasingly seeing what kind of turmoil can transpire if communications are not perfectly clear.Clarity Image

Ask yourself “How clear are the messages I am conveying to my clients, my associates, and my potential clients?”

Are your communications immediately understandable — or is your core message lost in a sea of techno-babble that few can understand?

Are your messages consistent? Are you saying the same thing, in the same way, every time you communicate your message?

Do your communications talk to your audiences…or at them?

Communications go well beyond what you may think

In business, communications start with the usual letters, memos and emails. But it also includes informative brochures, marketing and advertising materials, publicity and public relations information, websites, logos, and anything that represents or defines your product or service.

And that’s just a part of the communications process.

Business communication also includes tone and language and nonverbal behaviors. Timing, and the context that surrounds your message, can influence whether or not your audience will even see your message, let alone understand it. How you convey your message affects clarity.

Combine the complexities of communicating simply with the number of ways messages can launched — from Twitter to texting – and the importance of communicating clearly becomes even more magnified.

The seven C’s: an old idea that remains surprisingly up-to-date

At Wellons Communications, we adhere to the seven C’s, a notion originated by respected University of Wisconsin public relations academics Scott Cutlip and Allen Center in 1952. The seven C’s include:

  • Correct: From spelling and grammar to information, is it totally accurate?
  • Clear: Do you present one thought at a time?
  • Concrete: Do you say precisely what you mean?
  • Concise: Do you get to the point quickly?
  • Complete: Do you provide a means so your audience can reach you?
  • Consideration: Can everyone understand your messages?
  • Courteous: What is the tonality of your message?

Reminder: Communications are the bedrock of marketing

At Wellons Communications, we offer only one service: effective communications aimed at helping you sell products and services.

Yes, we dutifully subscribe to all the other esoteric qualities of public relations like brand reputation management, social and corporate responsibility, and organizational leadership.

But overarching those hard-to-measure intangibles is the need to generate sales. That’s where we aim 99 percent of our efforts.

We are either trying to increase sales or remove any barriers from making sales.

And that’s about as clear a message as we can impart.

If you want to learn more about how we can help you communicate – with an eye on positively impacting your marketing program, call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com.

 

 

Are you asking yourself “What changes do I need to make for 2017?”

With 2016 rapidly running out of days, it’s that time of year when one starts asking “How well is my business doing?” and “What kinds of changes should I be considering?”nov-18-change

You may want to start by asking yourself these tough questions:

• Am I retaining my customer base?
• Am I attracting new business?
• What customers have I lost? Why?
• Am I meeting my financial goals? Why? Or why not?
What do I need to change for 2017?

Take a close look at that last question—and consider what kinds of changes you might need to make.

If you don’t think you need to change anything, think again. Jack Welch, recognized as one of America’s great businessmen, espoused the notion “You have to change, preferably before you have to.”

You have to change to keep up with the changes.

Nothing in business remains static. New products come. Old products go. New attitudes emerge. Old beliefs drop by the wayside.

Even if you believe everything is going great and you don’t need to change anything, consider this: changes outside of your business will necessitate that you make changes to adjust to an ever-changing business environment.

Need some examples? Ask companies like Kodak, Sears, Blockbuster, Pan-Am, and Borders how they fared when they failed to adjust to changing business environments.

Start change by examining your communications strategy.

Change can begin with something as simple as auditing your communications strategy. Ask, and answer, questions like:

• Is my message still relevant to my target audience?
• Am I using the right tools to reach my target audience?
• How does my target audience perceive my message?
• Am I reaching the correct target audience?
• How has my audience changed?

While you are revising your communications strategy, ask yourself one more important question:

Am I using the correct resources to craft and implement my overall communications approach?

That’s where we can help. We provide an objective and fresh look at how and what you are communicating and how it might need to change.

Our approach: We don’t just look for changes. We look for opportunities.

Our firm lives in a communications-centric world, and we know and understand how to create strategies and execute tactical programs that use the right message to reach the right audience at the right time. We know how to change your communications approach to make a meaningful, positive change in the upcoming year.

Before 2016 runs out, call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com. Talk with me about taking a look at your communications approach and how we might be able to help you change for the better.

Communication Checkup 2016

As business owners, many of us assume that our customers and potential customers know what we do. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Only a small fraction of clients fully comprehend the scope of the services that your company can provide. In fact, if you polled your own family members, only a small percentage understand what your business does.

What does this mean?

You have to keep telling your story. You have to tell it so many times you’re probably almost sick of it yourself. It’s an uphill battle – it takes multiple engagements with your audience before they grasp the message. communicate

As we start a new year, it’s the perfect time for a simple checkup on your company message:

  • Does the “about us” section on your website actually reflect what the company does?
  • Are your services up-to-date?
  • Are you actively engaged in your social media or blog?
  • Do you have news that you think everybody should know, but nobody does?

In 2016, be committed to telling your story. Toot your own horn. Communication leads to sales. Most businesses grow best by word-of-mouth, but after you get that positive referral, people hustle to your website or your Facebook page to confirm what someone told them and find out more.

If you’re looking to get your communications in top form, we’d love an opportunity to help.

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.

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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

Domino’s: Using digital and social media to change the way we order pizza

Domino’s latest ad has the usual big brand flair of celebrities, bright colors and social media. Richard Sherman tweets a pizza emoji, Eva Longoria orders a pizza from her TV remote, Sarah Hyland texts the pizza emoji to place her order and Clark Gregg orders with his smartwatch. In short, Domino’s wants to change the way we order pizza.

dominos logo

While fans have been able to order via phone and through Domino’s website for some time, they can now order through Twitter, Samsung Smart TV, Pebble or Android Wear smartwatch apps, the Ford SYNC AppLink and through voice ordering via a smartphone. Even the pizza emoji can be texted to DPIZZA (374992) to complete an “Easy Order.”

Pizza emoji

This marketing move, coined as “AnyWare” ordering is set to rival Pizza Hut, who has more digital awareness than Domino’s. These new ordering capabilities have secured Domino’s brand association with smartphones and social media ordering.

This new form of ordering is set to take a hold on brands everywhere. The average millennial checks their mobile device 43 times per day. Millenials also value brands that have positive social interactions. These statistics are growing by the day, and with Domino’s new way of ordering pizza, the use of social media and digital media devices is sure to continue to rise.

#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!

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:

mantii_th4

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.