All Posts By

Marijean

United’s PR Opportunity

By | Communications, Public Relations | 2 Comments

Some people like to play fantasy baseball. I play fantasy public relations.

By now, you’ve heard about the doctor who was forcibly dragged from his United flight to Louisville, Ky when a flight was oversold and seats needed to be made available to United staff.

 

In the wake of the incident, the airline’s CEO released a statement that surely, no PR professional touched.

 

There’s universal agreement among PR pros and the general public that this was a PR failure of epic proportions.

What United Should Do Now

  1. Apologize for the mistreatment of a passenger and take steps to insure nothing like this ever happens again.
  2. Stop overselling flights, and lead the industry in changing policies to make air travel humane, courteous, and pleasant again. (This is where the fantasy comes in because airlines will always oversell flights, hedging against no-shows and missed connections, to make the most money possible on every flight).
  3. Ask the CEO to step down. This guy is a disaster in a crisis. Not what you want in an airline.

If United does this, and puts in place a new CEO with a strong relationship to their PR team, they will be on track to salvage what has become a terrible reputation. The likelihood that any of this will occur is small, because, realistically, our attention span for this kind of thing is short. As passengers, we have limited choices of airlines going to the destinations we seek. We need to select the least expensive option when we shop for airline tickets and our morals will only last so long when we need to fly somewhere. We will keep flying United, even if, for now, we’re determined to do otherwise.

The Importance of Asking for What you Want

By | Marketing, Public Relations | No Comments

In 2010, after working remotely from Virginia for a firm in St. Louis for five years, I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore. The flights, often delayed, once a month back to Missouri, the isolation of being the only person on the team not in St. Louis, and the lack of control over the client work had taken a toll. I knew I could continue my local client work as an independent and began to consider opening my own firm.

There was one big problem. Like most people working for PR firms and agencies, I had signed a non-compete agreement stating that the clients belonged to the firm. Most such agreements require a one-year period in which the former employee steer clear of the firm’s clients. I was prepared to do this, if necessary, but hoped it wouldn’t be.

Since I moved to Charlottesville, every local client I’d gained had a relationship with just me. They knew other members of the firm a little bit, but I was the one who met with the clients regularly, who corresponded with them, and provided the bulk of the deliverables. If I left the firm, who would continue to take care of those clients?

I took a deep breath and I asked my boss to be released from my non-compete. I asked to take my clients with me, allowing me to start my own business. I promised to continue to serve other clients as a subcontractor to the firm and to ease transition.

It was a crazy thing to propose.

But she said yes. That client work gave Jaggers Communications a healthy start. Clients said they didn’t care to what account they wrote their checks, all they knew is they wanted to continue working with me.

Just ask.

True LinkedIn Confessions

By | Social Media | One Comment

I just got a notification that read, “Christopher Long would like to connect with you on LinkedIn.”

Now, it’s not completely ludicrous that Superbowl winner, New England Patriot, and former St. Louis Ram Chris Long would want to be connected to me. We have met, after all, when I worked on the media relations for Champion Brewing Company’s collaboration Waterboys IPA.  We live, in the off-season, in the same town. I saw him at the gym just last weekend.

If you’re still not sure to whom I am referring, this guy:

 

Chris Long

 

Still, I saw the notification and I said …

Get. Out.

GET. OUT.

And, like a SCHOOL GIRL, thought, “He remembered me!”

And then I clicked through to LinkedIn.

Not him.*

Sigh.

 

 

*Apologies to this Christopher Long, whom I have not met. He probably gets mistaken for the other guy all the time.

 

Does Blogging Still Work for Business? Marketers say Yes

By | Social Media | 2 Comments

I spoke to the local chapter of the American Marketing Association last night. Many of the people in the audience represent small businesses and are often the sole marketers in their organization. There were varying levels of experience with blogging, but for the most part, they were all trying to get a handle on how to get the work done.

I’ve had business owners question whether blogging or as I prefer to call it, publishing your own content online, is still worthwhile and relevant. I really believe it is, based on measurable evidence of client engagement, traffic, and lead generation. In the research I did for the most up-to-date statistics, I found the following infographic from Digital Information World.

  • Small businesses with blogs see 126% increase in generation of leads
  • The average company that blogs gets 97% more inbound links
  • 78% of businesses that blog daily (I KNOW) have acquired business through their blog

Part of what we do is help businesses figure out the best blogging strategy for their business and a way to get the work done. I’m interested in learning what other people think about blogging for their business, what successes they’ve had and what challenges they face.

Beware the Default Message When Building Local Business

By | Social Media | One Comment

There’s a new business development and professional networking tool on the scene: Alignable. What makes the tool different from LinkedIn or other social tools is its focus on connecting local business representatives. Here’s the message I received today to connect with someone on the platform:

 

This is a fine message, in general. The problem is that I’ve known the sender for about ten years. We’re connected in about a dozen ways and have done business together before. That’s a pretty common story for the majority of people in business in my local network. This message comes across as not only ridiculous but offensively impersonal. The default settings of these tools ALWAYS make it easy to blanket your contact list with the same default introductory message in an effort to build your network quickly. Don’t do it. You run the risk of having the opposite effect.