In a Client’s Words: Working with UVa Intramural-Recreational Sports

By Communications, Marketing, Social Media

I am, of course, proud of all of my clients, what they learn, how they apply what they learn to every day work and how they follow through on the execution of a strategic communications plan. However, right now, I’m extra super proud of Carol Spry at the University of Virginia. Carol is in the Intramural-Recreational Sports marketing department and what we’ve done together is take that program from a very print-focused, traditional marketing world to a very social, web-friendly, responsive and interconnected (read: UVa student friendly!) platform, and Carol is right at the core of making all of that happen.

In this video, produced by the HR department of UVa, Carol talks about her job at the University. See if you can spot my cameo!

My UVa Job – Carol Spry from My UVA Job on Vimeo.

Jaggers Communications on CBS-19: More about the Reinstatement of UVA President Teresa Sullivan

By Communications, Crisis Communications, Media, Public Relations

Did you catch Rusty Speidel on CBS-19? So much of the ousting and reinstatement of UVa President Teresa Sullivan has been about the public relations efforts that accompanied the story. Rusty provides commentary on the story as the Newsplex shares the latest poll confirming Sullivan’s approval rating. Watch here.

How Bad PR Tactics Can Damage the Industry

By Communications, Crisis Communications, Public Relations

I’m concerned. The whole situation with the ouster of UVa President Teresa Sullivan by, among others, Board of Visitors Rector Helen Dragas has turned into one of the biggest PR headaches I’ve ever seen a university battle. And then . . . news that Dragas has hired PR firm Hill + Knowlton to represent her and “burnish” her image was released.

As a PR professional, is this a job my firm would take? Hell, no. We’re firmly in the camp of taking only clients who agree to be transparent; who have a prayer of repairing damage done; who  agree to and act on recommended counsel.

That being said, witnessing how Hill + Knowlton is handling the work concerns me further. Evidence of their counsel, thus far includes:

  1.   A letter to the editor published by Dragas’s sister; not an entirely credible source in mending the Rector’s reputation.
  2. Some suspected blog lurking and commenting from unidentified sources offering support for Dragas, sometimes out of context.
  3. A terribly written statement (that was, later, translated into plain English by Waldo Jaquith, underscoring the lack of clarity and, yes, SPIN, the firm is attempting).

I’m puzzled over how a firm could allow their client to walk, unescorted from the Rotunda to her car at 3:00am, facing media and protesters and enabling this:

“As reporters urged Dragas for comment, she replied, “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers.” — as reported in The Hook

A responsible firm with a client in this kind of crisis should be glued to her side for the duration of the engagement. I can’t imagine letting a loose cannon like that out of my sight for a minute.

Come on, Hill + Knowlton; either have the guts to fire an indefensible client or bring your A game and get her to do the right thing. You’re giving the public relations industry a bad name.

I Get Jazzed Talking About Social Media

By Uncategorized
Talking Social Media, Business and Academia at the LSP Conference at UVa

Talking Social Media, Business and Academia at the LSP Conference at UVa

I am one of those odd people who truly enjoys public speaking. The bigger the crowd, the better. I do quite a bit of speaking about social media, social networking, public relations and reputation management. Last week, I participated in a panel on behalf of Standing Partnership and Social Media Club Charlottesville. The topics were social media, business and academia and the session was held at the University of Virginia for a group of IT professionals who support the University’s technology needs. With me (and pictured above, left to right) were Darah Bonham, the director of Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) and the infamous Steve Whitaker, director of technology at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning/Curry School of Education.

As you can tell from the totally geeked out look on my face, the discussion of social media and its possibilities is my favorite topic. I love being before a group and fielding questions on the topic and can, for hours, talk about the uses of social media and networking for building business, for relationship development, for customer service, for promotion . . . I frequently get the “finger drawn across the throat” signal to shut up already because we’re out of time.

If you can’t tell by the content of this blog, I thought a look at my jazzed up, goofy grinning face above would be more proof of how much I love what I do.