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.

 

 

Make a realistic New Year’s resolution for your business

Around this time of the year, we are bombarded with reminders to prepare New Year’s resolutions.

Many of us dutifully scribble down five or six resolutions, and by Jan. 3, have already buried them among the papers on our desks and totally forgotten about them.

According to British psychologist, Richard Wiseman, more than 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. Wiseman’s explanation is very practical. He points out that we have considerably more things to worry about than New Year’s resolutions.new-years-resolutions

For 2017, consider keeping it simple. Make only one New Year’s resolution.

While you are at it, redefine how you view your resolution. And stick with it.

If you define your New Year’s resolution as an objective, it takes on an entirely new meaning. All of a sudden, you have a tangible goal that, in the end, is measurable.

Our single New Year’s 2017 resolution is brutally honest

At Wellons Communications, our only resolution is focused on where it counts: our clients. Our resolution is:

Generate measurable results for our clients.

Results are the only reason our clients retain us.

Our clients expect results. It is our job to deliver them.

That meshes with our sincere belief that our clients come first. Without clients, we do not exist. And without results, we do not have clients.

We strive to not only produce results, but quantifiable results. It’s one thing to generate positive noise about products and services. But we want that noise to work. And measurement is how we know that the results are working.

We aim is to generate results to either sell things or create an environment where it easier for our clients to sell things.

Whether it’s widgets or something more abstract, like ideas, notions, and concepts, selling things is, in fact, the only reason any of us are in business.

Best wishes for a successful 2017

With that underlying philosophy, our resolution makes sense (at least to us…and probably you, too).

However, wishing for success or even jotting down a New Year’s resolution is not going to help you sell more.

Successful selling requires recognition of consumer needs and wants, a carefully thought out plan, sufficient budget, and resources that will help you execute your plan.

And when it comes to the right resources, think of Wellons Communications. Because we have the same objective you do: create success through increasing sales.

Now that 2017 is near, find out more about what we can bring to the table. Pick up the phone and call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com and ask “How can you help us improve our business in the upcoming year?”

Happy New Year and best wishes for a prosperous 2017.

Get real: In a world of fake news, authentic content is king

If you’ve been reading the news recently, you know that the news itself has been making headlines—specifically so-called “fake” news sites and their effect on the election.fake-news

Google has been called out for algorithms that allow fake sites to rise to the top in results, and Facebook has been called out for its part in allowing fake stories to spread via the social network. Both have responded by tweaking algorithms and updating ad policies to make it more difficult for fake news to gain traction.

What it all really speaks to is that the general public is becoming more attuned to what is authentic content and what is not. And that discerning attitude can mean big things for your business—namely that capturing true content is becoming a highly valued commodity.

At Wellons Communications, we specialize in generating authentic content that tells your story. We work hard to get your news out to trusted, professional journalistic sources, to create genuine social content and to build relationships with trusted influencers. The result is news stories, blogs, and social profiles you can take pride in—because they’re accurate and honest.

So if you’re tired of faking it, give us a call today at 407-339-0879, or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com. And do it now. Because as the communications landscape changes and your audience looks at everything with a skeptical eye, real content will become increasingly important. And that’s something you can’t afford to miss out on.

How to get more love out of your social media marketing

Chances are you’ve seen a celebrity or public figure singing the praises of a certain product, only to be followed by a #sp or #spon. The rise in popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have changed the way brands market themselves and their products, making sponsored posts all the more common.Marketers and Influencers

But though working with people who have social media pull can have many benefits, it can also pose challenges that marketers are just starting to navigate.

A recent Digiday article goes so far as to call it a “love-hate relationship.”

First, there’s the love. Marketing through influencers can be a great thing for a brand or business. If you have a product related to fitness, for instance, an influencer who has popular fitness-related posts opens the door for your product to be seen by many followers who are into fitness.

But then there’s the hate.

As Digiday points out, because influencers have a lot of power these days, they often charge a lot—and the more followers a person has, the more money they are able to charge. Prices can even reach into six-figures for a campaign across several platforms.

You also might not be sure you’re getting anything for your investment. Linking likes, shares and views to the number of sales they caused is tricky.

Finally, as many marketers have found out recently, brands can’t always control what influencers say or post. This recently came to light with both Scott Disick and Naomi Campbell. Disick accidentally posted part of the instructions for his promoted post for Bootea, and Campbell did nearly the same with her post for Adidas. While both of these gaffes brought in huge attention, such posts take the focus off the product and take away from the authenticity of the influencer and their posts.

So how can you take advantage of the best that influencers offer while avoiding risks? For one, it is extremely important to do research before you reach out to influencers. Find out the demographics of their followers, how many likes and shares their posts receive, and what the influencer will post for the price. While you can never know 100 percent what an influencer will do, doing the legwork and having the information goes a long way to taking advantage of the latest places consumers are going for information.

At Wellons Communications, we deal with influencers on a daily basis. We have the knowledge and resources to properly vet them, and we can help share your product and get results. Call us today at 407-339-0879 to see how we can help you.

Pokémon Go marketing lessons: You gotta catch ‘em all

Pokémon Go is less than a month old, and there’s almost no chance you haven’t heard about it.

The game became an overnight sensation, quickly topping Twitter’s daily users and grabbing at Facebook’s engagement. Some millennials have been calling it their “second childhood.”

Brands and companies haven’t been far behind, using the game as a point to launch themselves into the conversation. And it’s not surprising. The game is loaded with lessons for the PR and marketing worlds. Here are a few we see:

Don’t underestimate the power of pop culture.

We saw it with the dress. We’re seeing it with Pokémon Go now. We just can’t always predict what will capture the attention of the nation. If brands want to make the most of the opportunity, it’s important to act and act fast.

Many business have been doing just that with Pokémon Go, looking to see if they are a spot gamers will want to visit or taking matters into their own hands and setting up lures to get more Pokémon to come to them. There’s even a startup, LureDeals, dedicated to attracting gamers to businesses. Knowledge on pop culture phenomena is power, and in this case, money.

Have a little fun on social media.

Pokémon Go is a game, after all, and it should be fun. Social media is the perfect place to take advantage of that. Many brands have put up clever posts that tie into the game and promote their services or products.

Best Buy Pokemon

Even police departments are using Pokémon Go humor to talk about safety issues.

Pokemon police

See more examples at PR Week.

Don’t try to force it.

But while social media can be a fun place to tap into the craze, media pitches aren’t always the best way to do it. If your company has news related to the trend, sure. But don’t force it. Grasping at straws can have the opposite effect, angering journalists.

Know that new technology won’t be perfect at first.

You’ve probably already heard some of the concerns about Pokémon Go. Gamers have caused accidents driving while hunting for Pokémon. Girlfriends have broken up with boyfriends. People have targeted and robbed players.

There are probably other issues that will arise, as well. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use the game to help your business. All new technologies have some unexpected bugs. Just keep up to date with the news and use your judgement.

Be ready for more.

Pokémon Go is the first taste of what augmented reality can do in the gaming world, but with its meteoric rise, it won’t be the last. Brands and companies should be ready to use the lessons learned from Pokémon Go in the future. If the game proves anything, it’s that marketing and PR strategies are always evolving.

Using consistency to break through to your target audiences

When you communicate what you do and how you do it, how consistent is your messaging?

When you describe your business – and the benefits you provide your customers – do you say the same thing every time? Is your message loud and clear? Is what you say understandable at a glance?

The competition for attention

Pause for a moment and think, “What do I really remember from everything I have seen this morning?”megaphone-150254_1280

In all likelihood, what you recall is a jumble of images, headlines, and thoughts.

That’s because from the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed, you (and everyone else) are subjected to a never-ending barrage of emails, telephone calls, tweets, news reports, commercials, ads and face-to-face communications.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of aiming and distributing your message toward your target audience without the context of what surrounds your message.

The fact is that your message – what you say about yourself and your product or service – competes with everything else in the world, not just within a bracketed marketing segment.

The value of staying on message

We encourage simplicity in communications. And one manifestation of simplicity is remaining consistent.

We believe that you need to say the same thing over and over to gain attention and be understood. Simplicity helps to cut through the clutter. And consistency helps to make your message understandable.

What needs to be consistent in communications?

Everything.

What you say. How you say it. How you visualize it. When you time your communications. Where you place your message. How you place your message. What materials you employ to project your message.

Won’t my target audiences get tired of “same old, same old?”

You may get tired of saying the same thing over and over again, but you can bet that your target audiences will not. In a kaleidoscopic world in which communications overload has fragmented attention spans, your message, delivered consistently and in an easy to understand format, will seem like an old friend; comforting, reliable, and approachable.

We subscribe to the notion of establishing a unique “voice.” Once you establish it, keep using the same voice. Your customers will come to expect a consistent voice in every marketing communication piece you deliver.  And when you achieve that kind of relationship with your customer, you have successfully crossed that bridge that separates “noise” from effective communications.

So how do I develop a consistent and effective messaging?

That’s where Wellons Communications comes into the picture.

We provide an independent, marketing-minded point of view that examines and analyzes what you are currently communicating and provides candid, forthright feedback that positively identifies opportunities.

Allow Wellons Communications to respond with simple, consistent and affordable solutions that will help you cut through all the noise and positively impact sales.

In the spirit of simplicity and consistency, all you have to do is give me a call at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com.

The value of keeping it simple

It has never been more challenging to be a consumer than it is in 2016.

Today’s channels of communications are so numerous and pervasive that they have become annoying. Your content now competes with about 30 trillion other indexed pages on the Internet. Throw in e-mail, social media, robo-calls, and more cable channels than one can remember (all supported by more television commercials than one can absorb) and you get the picture.

The sheer volume of communications has reached point of communications overkill.KISS maze

Which brings us to simplicity.

KISS still works

We’ve all heard the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” rule throughout our business careers.

That we remember KISS is a direct reflection of its simplicity. In fact, it may work even better today because of the multiplicity of communications messages that bombard us daily.

It takes seven impressions before your message begins to stick

Marketing research studies underscore the importance of redundancy. A general rule of thumb is that it requires seven impressions before your message actually begins to make an impression on a consumer.

With that in mind, one of our tenets at Wellons Communications is “tell ’em what you are going to tell ’em … and tell ’em again and again.”

That’s not necessarily an original idea (there are scant few original ideas). It’s an idea borrowed from one of the pioneers of modern marketing, William Wrigley Jr., who built one of the most successful enterprises in American business history by adhering to the maxim “Tell ’em quick and tell ’em often.”

So, what happens when you combine simplicity with consistency?

When you keep your message simple and consistent, you can break through the clutter. It’s an approach that has been effective for our clients. And it’s a simple approach that can work for your business, as well.

How simple?

Simply give me a call at 407-339-0879 or e-mail me at will@wellonscommunications.com. Share what kind of marketing challenge you are facing and allow us to come up with an affordable, simple solution that can help you sell your product or service.

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.