Reputation Management – What Is It and Why You Should Do It

Reputation Management – What Is It and Why You Should Do It

Technology has made the world a much smaller place than it used to be. Before social media and the invention of the Internet, a company’s reputation was based on primarily local reception and word-of-mouth within the community. Now, a 24/7 media cycle and fast-paced social media environment have raised the stakes. This is a double-edged sword. Terrible, unethical companies can finally get the boot. But good companies also can have their reputation dragged through the mud. And once you’re in the mud, it’s an uphill battle to get clean again in the eyes of the public. Take a great example from Taco Bell back in 2011. The fast food joint faced heavy scrutiny over claims that their “seasoned beef” was actually only 35% real beef. It went public and the backlash was severe. Even though the suit was dropped soon after, the company was still left reeling in the aftermath of such negative coverage. Their reputation had taken a serious hit. Kudos to the PR professionals over at Taco Bell who devised this ad campaign as a response. The “Would it kill you to say you’re sorry?” campaign included full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and other local papers. Few companies can afford such a huge paid media push, however, and often it’s not worth the effort to draw so much attention to negative news. Instead, companies need to think strategically about how they manage their reputation. Have a stockpile of goodwill Reputation management isn’t just responding to bad publicity when it happens. It’s preventing it in the first place. Build up your company reputation as...
Best Practices in Community Engagement

Best Practices in Community Engagement

As a firm, Novitas is experienced and adept at building community engagement campaigns, especially surrounding issues facing the energy industry. Novitas founder Michelle Lyng was recently asked to present best practices for community engagement for other PR professionals at the Public Relations Society of America’s 2018 Western Regional Conference along with Janice Rooney from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lee Boughey from Tri-State, and Rick Curtsinger from Cloud Peak Energy. This blog is adapted from her presentation. Although this presentation originally focused on the energy industry (our home base of Colorado employs over 200,000 people in energy!), these best practices for community engagement apply across all industries. — Industry innovation means that companies around the world are growing faster than ever before and community engagement offers powerful opportunities to empathize, educate, and engage with key stakeholders. Energy production – or any other big industry project or effort  – can sometimes seem sudden and startling to communities. With appropriate communication and preparation, entering a new community can present an opportunity to forge new relationships and deepen existing relationships. Over the past four years, Novitas has worked to encourage community engagement from David vs. Goliath grassroots initiatives here in Colorado to sustainable energy efforts in Puerto Rico.  We’ve built our company around the belief that, regardless of the industry, positive engagement with communities helps to establish trust, build respect and understanding, and open lines of communication. So, what does community engagement look like? At the highest level, any communication framework should identify, involve, and inform the community about ongoing projects. Companies can start by: Building or identifying their group of key...
I Don’t Need PR (and Other Misconceptions)

I Don’t Need PR (and Other Misconceptions)

  Occasionally, we are brought into a crisis communications situation. Some are minor, but others are pretty major and threaten a business’ ability to operate. Once the dust settles, too often the CEO or communications leader reflects and says, “We were keeping our head down, performing well for our clients and, then, we were blindsided by this issue. I didn’t think we needed public relations.” The truth is that almost every business needs public relations before they need public relations. Here are five misconceptions about public relations that we hear – and our response. We have nothing to spin. Hold up. Stop right there. There is a misconception that public relations professionals “spin” information. That’s false. If you’re doing it right, it’s really about radical transparency and showing your audiences who you really are and what you stand for. It should never be about pretending to be something you’re not simply because you think that’s what people want to hear. The public sees through spin and they’re looking for companies and their executives to be human and to walk the walk. If your actions don’t align with the messaging you’re distributing to the public, you will lose credibility. United Airlines is a great example. Need we say more? People who need to know, know we’re great. At some point, your company must expand beyond your network, beyond your clients, beyond your friends. It’s critical to create new communications channels. That’s where public relations can play a role. A quote attributed to a former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassee sums up PR as “…PR is getting someone else to say you’re...
Tips and Tricks for Content Creation

Tips and Tricks for Content Creation

                  One of the keys to a fantastic social media presence is, well, content. But if you’re a small business or working in a specialized industry, creating content for social media can be a Herculean effort, especially when companies have so many other, more tangible metrics to manage. Today I’ll walk you through five strategies for building a perfect content calendar. Start with the easy stuff. Do hashtags take you by surprise? Sometimes it seems like everyone else in the world knew about something before you did and were completely ready for it. Occasionally, hashtags do take off for no discernible reason or because of current events. But if you don’t have time to become a news junkie like us, there are other ways to keep your social media presence relevant. Two words: Google Calendar. One of our favorite social media tools, Sprout Social, has a curated calendar of Hashtag Holidays freely available. Simply add this calendar to yours and you’ll never miss another #hashtag opportunity for your brand. Know your industry. Be aware of your brand and niche market when running social media accounts for companies or coalitions. A restaurant probably won’t tweet about the latest Iphone release. And technology companies probably tend to stay away from the latest postmodern re-enactment of Shakespeare. Why? Because their target audience wouldn’t enjoy it. A joint study from Georgia Tech and MIT found that the number one reason people liked a tweet is because it was informative. People like the content that they care about. Originality is (occasionally) overrated. Time is a scarce...
Blending Social Media Skills to Bolster Great Results

Blending Social Media Skills to Bolster Great Results

The public relations industry continues to evolve rapidly and the balance between earned media and paid media continues to shift as new technology emerges. How can you use earned media and paid media to stand out in a crowded field? Let’s break it down. Earned media is gained through promotional efforts and community relationships. Although earned media has a lower overall cost to the client, there is less control associated with the campaign. Alternatively, paid media will cost more, but provides greater control over the campaign and message. The tradeoff for less control with earned media is third-party validation. When you tell your target audience your company or your product is great, they think, “Sure, of course you would say that.” When a journalist or third-party says you or your product is great, that’s noteworthy.  What if you could get the best of both worlds? Traditionally, public relations firms typically excel at earned media. At Novitas, earned media is a large portion of our public relations efforts. For example, during our campaign, Spot the Pot, Smart Colorado founders appeared on local talk radio shows as well as television networks (e.g. HuffPost Live, The Today Show, and others) to talk about the dangers of edible marijuana lookalikes. Paid social media is a booming aspect of public relations and Novitas is no stranger. We take social media campaigns to the next level by developing creative sponsored content campaigns that produce strong metrics through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google AdWords. Through these platforms, firms and companies have the opportunity to create a target audience based directly on the consumer. For example, a...
New Year, Exciting New Challenges

New Year, Exciting New Challenges

Last year was a challenging and exciting year. We expanded our team, we moved and renovated our office (for the record, I don’t recommend doing it in this order), we brought on new clients, and we learned new skills (hello, digital). Internally, we revamped the processes we had outgrown to position us for greater and faster growth. We hosted a rockin’ holiday-themed grand opening of our office. It was an unforgettable year for us as a company. In partnership with our clients, we reached new heights in our company’s success and delivered some of our most innovative projects to date. We were a ColoradoBiz Top Company finalist, which delighted us immensely. I’m incredibly proud of our accomplishments and of the difference we made for our clients and their stakeholders. More importantly, we are making a difference in the lives of people and we are deeply honored to have this responsibility. We helped open a new power plant in American Samoa that could bring greater economic growth to an area that badly needs more opportunity. In the wake of the devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean, we are working with the team that is restoring power to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in a sustainable, resilient, and forward-thinking way. We helped educate Coloradans about the importance of school options because we know that a great education is the building block of an inspired life for our kids. We defended one of Colorado’s largest industries to preserve jobs, opportunity, and security in Colorado and abroad. We were thrilled to help bring greater access to insurance through technology. Looking forward, we’re in a...