By Elissa Huck
Public relations professionals wear many hats and must be able to multi-task in order to fulfill several duties; they maintain media relations, internal and external communications and marketing functions. One significant responsibility of today’s PR professionals is crisis communications. A crisis is a major occurrence that could negatively impact a company. Any company in any industry can face a crisis and this week, American Airlines had to deal with an unexpected turn of events on Twitter.
A possible terrorist threat
Sunday, April 13, a 14-year-old girl with the Twitter username @QueenDemetriax and named “Sarah” tweeted at American Airlines, “hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye.” American Airlines responded, “Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.” Feeling threatened, Sarah posted a frenzy of sporadic tweets expressing it was a prank and pleading for the company not to take legal action.
Her “social media meltdown” portrayed both her fear of getting in trouble along with insincere and questionable updates about her growing number of followers and more. American Airlines removed its response, and Sarah’s Twitter account was suspended, but not before garnering nationwide attention. “We took it down basically because it generated a lot of traffic,” American spokeswoman Dori Alvarez told the New York Daily News. “We took it down so we could better focus on our customers.”
The next day, Sarah turned herself in to the police in the Netherlands. She is being interrogated, and the exact intention behind her prank threat is being investigated. Many who witnessed the intense Twitter exchange believe that American Airlines was too harsh on the young girl, and others believe that she rightfully deserves her punishment. The public has taken to Twitter to fervently defend and condemn Sarah’s actions.
Evaluating the threat as a developing crisis
I learned in my strategic crisis communications class that crises have five stages: detection, prevention/preparation, containment, recovery and learning. Examining the situation from a crisis perspective, American Airlines detected the threat as a prodrome, or warning sign, to a potential terrorist attack and worked to prevent the crisis by responding in a firm, deliberate manner.
The company made efforts to contain and recover from the developing crisis by deleting the Twitter responses to stop people from encouraging the behavior so the posts would not get out of control. American Airlines can learn from the situation by evaluating the positive and negative outcomes in order to be prepared for a similar occurrence in the future. Whether or not the terrorist threat was real, the company took immediate necessary action in order to keep its customers out of harm’s way.
Photo courtesy of: http://www.PRdaily.com
by Jessica Smith
I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, bored with what I saw until I encountered a tweet from Aerie, the sister company of American Eagle Outfitters. Aerie announced that there will be no more supermodels and no more retouching its girls in its advertisements. Anti-Photoshop? Suddenly, I am intrigued.
Will I no longer have to stare at Barbie-esque women who inevitably make me jealous as I feed my online shopping addiction? I made it my mission to discover if this was as real as Aerie claimed and indeed it was. “We left beauty marks, we left tattoos, what you see is really what you get with our campaign,” Jenny Altman, Aerie brand representative said on Good Morning America. “We’re hoping to break the mold and that real girls everywhere will start to embrace their own beauty.” Aerie definitely broke through the clutter of flawless supermodels with lingerie ads that feature real women with curves, wrinkles, stretch marks and a little belly fat.
These minor flaws can have a major impact on young women. Flipping through typical lingerie catalogs (ahem, Victoria’s Secret) can ultimately have damaging effects on young women’s body image. Aerie has given young women the opportunity to see people like themselves labeled as beautiful and sexy. The campaign is focused on instilling self-confidence in young women. After all, isn’t that how it should be?
Shop for the #real you
Aerie introduced a bra guide to accommodate online shoppers. All you have to do is click on your bra size and the guide will show real women wearing bras in your exact size. This new addition to the website is great. Ultimately, we want to purchase lingerie that looks great on us, not lingerie that looks great on supermodels. But wait, that is not the only new addition to the website. Women from across the U.S. now have the opportunity to be featured on the website. All you have to do is share a photo through Instagram or Twitter using the #AerieREAL tag.
A refreshing step outside
Aerie took a brave step outside of the lingerie drawer with this campaign. Women from all over the country have applauded and shared their excitement on Twitter (including me). Every woman is beautiful in their own unique way; it is refreshing to see this acknowledged by a popular lingerie brand. I have my fingers crossed that other brands will decide to follow in their footsteps.
Photocredit: Huffington Post
by Amanda Moore
Every time the Super Bowl comes around I begin to mentally prepare myself for the commercials. I love watching them and deciding with my friends and family who had the funniest, most creative and inspiring. My personal favorites are usually the Doritos commercials, with their fan-made ads, but this year another company caught my attention. Coca-Cola’s ad was different than anything I had seen before.
Coca-Cola aired their new ad, “It’s Beautiful”. The 90-second ad featured a diverse group of people and families enjoying themselves while “America the Beautiful” was sung in the background in nine different languages: English, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres, Mandarin, Sengaslese-French, Spanish and Tagalog. What seemed to be a heartfelt ad about America’s citizens was interpreted in many different ways. Watching the ad, I knew that there was a potential for backlash, so I immediately went on Twitter to see what the overall reaction was. I was shocked to say the least. Thousands of people were attacking Coca-Cola via Twitter. Many of the tweets were about how if you live in America you should speak English. Some went as far as saying that “America the Beautiful” was sung in “terrorist languages.” Here are a few examples of the tweets that were sent to Coca-Cola’s twitter.
What I was most surprised with was Coca-Cola’s response, or lack thereof. With many negative tweets, Facebook posts and threats to not buy their products, Coca-Cola has not responded to any of it. They have continued to promote their #AmericaIsBeautiful tag and have posted more tweets and Facebook articles featuring behind-the-scenes videos of the ad. I was wondering to myself, “Why are they not responding to all of these negative things?”
That’s when it hit me. Coca-Cola is promoting love in their ad; love for our country and for one another. It wouldn’t make sense for them to put out an ad filled with love and pride for our country and its citizens to then respond to the negativity. It says a lot to me about Coca-Cola as a company to promote such a positive message and to ignore the hate they arereceiving. It takes a lot to stand by something when so many people disagree with it, but to me it shows that Coca-Cola really means what they say.
Photo credit: Coca-Cola Twitter
by Katie Johnson
Living with nearly 20 women can sometimes dictate what television shows that we watch. That means when last Sunday night arrived, there was a mad dash for the TV room, and choice was between the Bachelor’s Wedding and the 56th Grammy Awards. I was fortunate to get to the TV first, therefore I decide which program we would watch. This was a great privilege, however, I couldn’t decide between just one show. The logical decision was to flip between both programs and, luckily, we did not miss Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performing “Same Love” at the Grammys. This was a performance that would go down in history, according to some entertainment reporters.
An unprecedented eventAfter a few moments, Macklemore and Lewis were joined on stage by Queen Latifah and Madonna. Nothing like this performance had ever been done in Grammy history; maybe even television history. As the “Same Love” song concluded, Queen Latifah acted as an officiate for 33 gay and straight couples who married. Once Latifah pronounced them newlyweds, Madonna began singing one of her earlier hits, “Open Your Heart.” At this time, the couples were shown dancing and crying with each other.
Social media backlash
Gays and lesbians have been allowed to marry in California since 2008, with 17 other states legalizing gay marriage. This didn’t stop the anti-gay comments from blowing up social media during the show. People opposed to gay marriage will continue to share their opinions about the performance, wedding, and the Grammys as a whole. For a show that lasted for three and a half hours and had a two-hour red carpet event before it began, it was still halted by the anti-gay social media feedback, simply for one performance. On one hand, it is great that technology has evolved so much so that people are able to submit their reactions about events as they occur. However, some people lose their voice when it comes to the comments published on social media. Unfortunately, when my friends were watching the Macklemore performance they immediately turned to Twitter to see the reactions before they shared their own opinions.
Twitter and other social platforms have a real influence on the way we perceive current events. Many of the tweets were negative, focusing on people’s opinions that gay marriage is an insult to God and the Church. When these opinions are shared, people take them at face value and can’t think critically to form their own opinions. People should understand the limitations of twitter and not rely simply on tweets by other individuals as their sole source of information.
By Megan Maher
It’s Thanksgiving and many of us will gather around the turkey (or tofurkey) with loved ones and friends to reflect on the things that we are truly thankful for. Many of the answers might be having food to eat, a roof over our heads, and being surrounded by loved ones. However, a question has to be asked… What are we thankful for as PR practitioners? Of course having family and friends who actually understand what PR is and what we do is a huge thing to be thankful for in our field (and no, it’s not hiring and firing people), but what about the things that help keep us sane and make our jobs run smoothly?
What We’re Thankful For!
We dug deep, racked our brains in search of the answers, and came up with is a list of nine things that every PR practitioner should be thankful for this year:
- We’re thankful for social media and all of the analytics-related tools that help us measure it. Social media continues to bring us more and more ways to stay connected to our publics and stay informed.
- Our AP Style Book is huge. Anytime we’re in a stylistic jam we can refer to it for help.
- Our peers provide an extra set of eyes to edit our work and an extra brain when ours, seemingly, ceases to function. It’s always good to have a friend edit our work and keep us on top of things.
- We mustn’t forget smartphones for keeping us connected to everyone and everything. The computerized personal assistants and all of their apps keep us in check.
- But then again, we are secretly thankful for the times we don’t have cellphone service. It’s nice when we’re able to escape from the technological world and enjoy an ever-so-brief moment of solitude.
- We’re thankful for Google Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, Alerts–okay… everything Google! How did we even function before it? Seriously, how was it possible?
- IT and computer savvy people are there to tell us to put the monitor down and that throwing our computer across the room is not the answer for a faulty machine. Without their help, there would be a lot more computer casualties.
- Photographers, graphic designers, and videographers help us bring our creative visions to life.
- And last but not least, we’re thankful for coffee, coffee, and more coffee. It’s always there to wake us up and keep us going. Let’s face it, deadlines can seem close to unbearable without a cup, or 10, of joe.
Enjoy your holiday!
By Jeremy Noble
Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing that dream job. However, not many people know what information to include on a resume. For a person looking for a job in public relations or the communications field, relevant skills are valuable to the job searching process. Having the skills to construct an outstanding resume provides the applicant the opportunity to showcase their skills to the employer.
What to include in your resume
- List relevant experience you have that applies to the job you are applying for. When listing previous job experience it’s important to research the prospective company and figure out the duties and responsibilities of the position you are applying for. Then it is beneficial to list your experience that excels in that area.
- Decide whether your resume is functional or chronological. A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience, rather than on your chronological work history. A chronological resume lists your most recent position first then your others in reverse chronological order.
- Include an objective statement that shows how you can benefit a company. Make sure your objective statement highlights your skills and experience to show how much of an asset you are.
- Include links to your LinkedIn and other social networking profiles. Employers are going to do an extensive search of your social networking profiles before scheduling an interview. Linking your LinkedIn account will provide them with easy access to your profile.
- Include keywords that stand out to the employer. Using communication terms such as target audience or third-party endorsement is a way to stand out to potential employers.
What not to include in your resume
- An unprofessional email address. Be professional with your email account, it is recommended to use your first and last name.
- A lengthy gap in employment. Showing a lengthy gap in employment is a negative sign. If you have a major gap in employment, make sure you have reason.
- Don’t be overly creative with the resume format. Many organizations have automated resume systems, and special formatting sometimes will make a resume unreadable.
- Don’t use fancy fonts that become difficult to read. Don’t go crazy with the fonts. Though it may look beautiful on your end, if the recipient doesn’t have the same font on their computer, it can get ugly real fast.
- Don’t include your high school education. If you’re in college, it is more than safe to assume you graduated from high school.
An employer sees a countless number of resumes for a job listing. Having a resume that stands out is important to landing the first interview.
by Jonathan Haile
There aren’t a ton of people who have $1,500 to drop on Google Glass. No matter how steep price, it’s going to be strange seeing people walk around with it on. Equally as strange as it looks, hearing someone say, “Ok Glass, record a video”, is going to be an adjustment for those who aren’t wearing it. Google, however, seems optimistic that Glass will be a hit, and I must admit, there are things about it I find very appealing.
Even though the Glass probably isn’t in my future anytime soon, I think it has some benefits once you get over it’s oddity. Instead of looking at computer screen while you “hangout” with someone on Google, they appear in the heads up display and can see what you see. Giving them your perspective allows you to share the experience. That’s why I think Glass and future examples of wearable technology have huge potential in the world of public relations and marketing.
Demos, How-Tos, Etc.
I’d never thought of product demonstrations, walkthroughs, or how-to videos as parts of PR until my first internship, which required me to blog a ton for various companies, their customers and followers. If you can, somehow, get over the price, Google Glass has to potential to be a great asset for demos, giving the customer or viewer the perspective of the demonstrator. It could create a more personal experience for those who want to learn how to do something. Maybe using a toolkit to fix something is made easier when you see it done from a first person viewpoint. Similar experiences can be seen through the lenses of GoPro cameras, which are becoming more popular every day.
Likewise, companies that are trying to sell experiences and locations could use Glass to show the product from a potential customer’s perspective. What will a tour of Paris be like when you visit France? Well, let a French travel company show you. And say you’re pitching an idea to a company. You could use Glass to show that the experience will be like. I’m not going to say there are limitless possibilities for wearable tech, but the number of uses in PR could be big.
Wearable tech isn’t limited to glasses
Wearable technology isn’t a new idea, but it’s finally starting to take off. We’re seeing Google give a lot of focus to it with the Glass, while Samsung and Apple prepare to square off in the smartwatch arena (basically watches that do everything smartphones do). Applications, marketing campaigns, demos, and so much more for these devices are going to give PR practitioners and marketers a lot more responsibilities. There might even be social media-related contests centered around this tech. And don’t expect Apple and Samsung to be the only ones involved. Wearable tech startups are going to see growth as well.
Imagine these wearable devices being able to monitor your health, your heart rate, and your fatigue. That’s what it’s coming to, and any healthcare-related entity is going to be in a very good position once they grasp that concept and run with it.
The future is wearable
For marketers, advertisers and communication professionals, getting people’s attention is becoming more difficult. It it isn’t enough to show a commercial on television or place a print ad anymore. It’s about creating positive experiences, sometimes fun experiences, for the publics that matter to us the most. Wearable technology will allow us to continue creating new experiences. It will also be a fun to see how it influences social media in the future.
By Jonathan Haile
Vine is one of the coolest mobile apps out there. Developed by Twitter and now available for Android users, Vine gives people the power to do make amazing videos that last just six seconds. (RED), a company dedicated to raising AIDS awareness and the eradication of the disease, has partnered with the website Mashable, in hopes of setting the record for most videos that support a single cause.
“Being a part of the Vine world record is simple. All you need to do is create a Vine video and share it with the hashtag #REDworldrecord.” – Mashable
Be quick if you want to participate. (RED) is trying to set the record today. Being the first campaign of its kind, we like their chances for setting a high standard. This doesn’t mean that today is the only day to use the hashtag, as AIDS awareness needs to endure until the disease is finally eliminated.
This is one of the reasons we love about social media. It’s not just about connecting with your friends or sharing photos of good times. It gives us the power to support causes more intimately and make positive changes for ourselves and others. AIDS isn’t going away fast enough, but if we continue to be aware of the dangers we can learn how to prevent it. And who knows? Maybe a cure is on its way in the future.