Tag Archives: reputation management

Has PR Become a ‘Lightning Rod of Mistrust’?

Lightning © by veggiefrog

Lord Tim Bell, head of the U.K.-based PR firm Bell Pottinger, thinks so.

That’s what he told a crowd gathered in Dubai for the recent IPRA Public Relations World Congress and reiterated in an excellent interview with The Holmes Report.

Lord Bell is asked why he feels that public relations has become a “lightning rod for mistrust.” His response is intriguing inasmuch as it provides a nuanced view of a much broader issue afflicting the profession: its reputation within business and society.

Lord Bell sees “no solution to [the] issue,” of public relations’ reputation challenges, he tells The Holmes Report’s Arun Sudhaman, believing that “We [have] become the lightning rod for that mistrust. It is something we have to learn to live with. That makes us an easy target for the media.” Continue reading

Friend or Foe? Online Reputation Management Firms

As many people know, I’m a vocal advocate for the value of PR. Hell, I wouldn’t be doing my job at PRSA if that weren’t the case, and it’s something I sincerely believe in. Yet from time to time, like most folks, I get down about certain aspects of the business. This is the story of one of those moments.

And it has to do with the growing use of online reputation management firms and the increasing prevalence of spurious tactics some of these firms are using. I point to two recent articles in The Times of London (sub req’d) as exhibits A and B. But you don’t have to look far to find other examples. Continue reading

The Brand Minders

Aside from the hoopla over the Royal Wedding, one thing was pretty evident last week: big international events often bring out the worst in brand marketing.

From silly tie-ins like Royal Wedding sliding doors from Spaceslide.co.uk (Hey, you never know when you need to see Wills and Kate’s smiling faces while walking in and out of a room!) to the utterly ridiculous £500 pizza from Papa John’s made to look like the happy couple to constant debates about whether Kate’s dress would be a boon for fashion PR, marketers were out in full force last week trying to hock just about anything that could possibly … just maybe … be connected to the Royal Wedding.

All of which left many annoyed and ready for the whole show to finally come to an end.

Thus, two recent op-eds in MarketingWeek could not have come at a better time. While neither dealt directly with the marketing/Royal Wedding mashup, each made its point plainly clear: brands need to be especially careful when trying to tap into the cultural zeitgeist of the moment or teaming up with potential partners. Continue reading

In Full Public Disclosure, HP Recognizes Value of Reputation, Good PR

Gary McCormickOn Aug. 6, HP announced that its Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Mark Hurd was resigning from the company. The announcement followed an investigation conducted by HP’s internal and external legal counsel into a sexual harassment claim lodged against Hurd and HP by a former HP contractor.

While the investigation determined that Hurd did not violate HP’s sexual harassment policy, it nevertheless uncovered a related offense, which ultimately prompted his dismissal. Hurd, according to HP, breached the company’s Standards of Business Conduct by making inappropriate payments to the contractor and charging personal expenses to his corporate expense account. Continue reading

Complaining Vs. Whining

Man Buying ClothesI believe that the ability to be a salesman is innate.  You’re born with it or you’re not.  I come from a family that could sell a red popsicle to a socialite dressed in a couture white sundress.  Because of this ability to make people feel welcomed, cared for, and a priority, I always found myself working in retail.  I worked the customer service desk at Marshalls when I was 15 years-old and as assistant manager of a sneaker store at 18 years-old.  My retail career ended only a couple of years ago to focus on my career in PR.  What I learned from working in retail and handling customers has always translated  into my daily work as a PR professional.

Recently I came across an interesting article by Sarah Nassauer for the New York Times, “I Hate My Room,’ The Traveler Tweeted. Ka-Boom! An Upgrade!” The article discussed how customer service is changing now that we have a million eyes at our finger tips.  This isn’t new information as we all know that a company’s reputation can be hurt by a simple tweet, status update, Flickr image, YouTube upload, or TripAdvisor review.  And that’s only naming a few of the various platforms we use on a daily basis.  In the article a guest tweeted about his unsatisfactory room.   The front desk employee was watching and immediately went into damage control offering an upgrade.  Kudos to the front desk for monitoring the social network.  But does every guest that complains/whines about service need to receive compensation or a resolution? Continue reading

Madison Avenue Goes Back to the Future

Laney Cohen HeadshotThe Wall Street Journal recently reported on NBC’s allowing marketers to tack products on their programs promoting a cause, health or social issue, citing Campbell Soup as an upcoming sponsor for Today Show health segments in November and February.

This got me thinking – is advertising blurring the space between product placement and advertising? A throwback to days of yore? Continue reading