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Marijean

Why is it so Hard to Define Public Relations?

By | Public Relations | No Comments

PR people themselves have a tough time defining their own industry for ages. There are blurry boundaries between PR, marketing, advertising, and other disciplines. No one knew where to fit social media when it exploded on the scene fifteen or more years ago, and now it fits under the PR umbrella in some ways, as well.

It’s not that complicated, if you think of PR as the deliberate management of shared information about a person, brand, corporate or nonprofit entity and the public. 

Tell your story (correctly, in a way that influences action) by hiring a PR firm, consultant, or employee. HOW it is done, is where all those other disciplines (media relations, social media, grassroots outreach, networking, etc.) come into play.

Stop it with the Spin Already

“Spin” is a word that makes ethical PR practitioners cringe. Spin is propaganda. It is the practice of pushing a biased interpretation to your audience, to influence outcomes. This is quite common in politics. If a prospective client were to ask us for this kind of service, we’d turn them down. It’s not what we do.

We work with people who have stories to tell about their business, what they offer, who does the work, and what audience they serve. We’re honored to help our clients tell these stories, to connect with the right people, to engage and build relationships, and to grow in their success. That’s good PR, and that’s what we do.

Walking Your Talk: Nobody Does it Like The Ritz

By | Communications | No Comments

The Ritz-Carlton has their messaging down pat.

“We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” reads their motto, and I’ve always thought that was just lovely.

Employees of the Ritz carry wallet cards called Credo Cards. On them, the essence of the brand is printed, including the credo, the motto, the three steps of service, the brand’s values, the “sixth Diamond,” and the employee promise. They call all of these elements The Gold Standards and I highly encourage you to go take a look — it is most impressive.

I’ve long used the credo card example to demonstrate to clients what is possible in clarifying what is true about their brand, the promises they make to their audience, and what commitment they make in serving that audience. We work with clients to distill those messages down to a framework not unlike the Ritz’s example. I always think it’s great if we can get an organization to create a credo card of their own.

What’s good about the credo card example?

Consistent messaging throughout an organization means that everyone is on the same page. The experience your customers get is universal. There’s a kind of security in that kind of consistency, and when customers trust your brand, it inspires loyalty.

If you are able to create such strong messages internally, that points to a pretty healthy company with a well-defined set of values and goals.

Does your brand have its messages down pat like this?

I think I need a visit to the Ritz to do more research!

How to Use Instagram for your Business

By | Social Media | No Comments

With every new social media tool, there’s a learning curve to using it to benefit your business. It might be intuitive to use it personally, but if it’s not, the business angle can be a bigger leap.

Here are five tips to help you make the jump:

  1. Establish or convert to a business account. Here are the detailed instructions from Instagram. 
  2. Create a strategy for capturing or gathering photos of your work. What’s the most visually compelling way to share the story of what you do?
  3. Follow your intended audience, and others in your space. With whom are you trying to build relationships? What relationships already exist? Make sure, as you move forward, that you are tagging and engaging with your community.
  4. Use hashtags to make sure you show up in the feeds of people following a hashtag. For local business, I follow the #charlottesville and #cville hashtags. This is a great way to find new people to follow.
  5. Remember that Instagram is a very different platform from Twitter or Facebook. I don’t recommend automating because links in posts on Insta do not work (you must put a link in a bio or create action buttons to enable linking for users) and generally, linking to content on other platforms is a good idea! It’s more work, to be sure, but I still recommend posting customized content to the platforms you choose to use for your business.

How about you? Have you been using Instagram for your business?

Congratulations! You Have a Transgender Employee

By | Communications | No Comments

Do you know anyone who is transgender or gender nonconforming? I do. And they are some of the bravest, most resilient individuals I have ever met.

Our culture is more supportive and affirming of people who are transgender than ever before. That’s why it’s possible, and even likely that you will work with someone who is gender nonconforming or transgender. More people who are transgender feel comfortable living as their true selves.  Here are three things to know:

  1. As with ALL employees, it’s important to use the right name and pronouns. If you are unsure, ASK what pronouns to use. Say, “My preferred pronouns are (and state yours, which could be he/him, she/hers, or they/them/theirs). What are your preferred pronouns?”
  2. It’s so important to use the correct name. If your employee has transitioned while in your employment, support them by making the name change on your website, order new business cards, name plate or other printed materials to support them in their transition.
  3. Let all employees know that you do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, including gender discrimination. Take a look at the guide produced by the Human Rights Campaign for Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace. How are your HR policies written? Are dress codes gender-neutral? What about restrooms? Take a look, and make changes where needed.

There is an opportunity here, to expand your diversity training to include information on gender identity and expression.

We’re here to help — email me at marijean@jaggerscommunications.com if you want to discuss or learn more.

Quick and Dirty Interview Prep

By | Media | No Comments

Say you’ve decided to a) run for office b) accept a high-profile job c) step into the spokesperson role for your organization.

Alert the media! But maybe you’ve never talked to a reporter before. Yikes, right? Here’s a quick checklist to help you prepare:

  1. Write out the most important items you want to cover in the interview.
  2. Identify the core theme of your message — are you serving kids? Immigrants? Tech gurus? What people do you serve? Make sure all your messages are about them.
  3. Practice — enlist a friend to pretend to interview. No friends? email me: marijean@jaggerscommunications.com
  4. Is this a TV interview? Prepare what you will wear. On camera, make eye contact with the reporter. Slow down, and engage with that person as if there is no camera.
  5. Anticipate difficult questions, and take extra time to prepare for them.

Break a leg! You’re going to be just fine.