PR Through The Eyes Of A Young Professional

Archive for the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ Category

Social Media PR Strategies

In Corporate Social Responsibility, Education, Lessons Learned, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized on April 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I’d like to explore a brief outline of how you can effectively use social media to accomplish your PR objectives. The social web is as flexible as you want it to be, and there is no single “right answer”. The following short outline will guide you for how to approach a social media PR strategy.


Developing your Platform

Social media is more than just Twitter

Everyone is buzzing about Twitter and it is without question one of the most influential networks among PR and marketing professionals. And while we’re fond of Twitter as well, (follow us @HowardSmithPR ) social media is far more than just Twitter. If Twitter is the extent of your participation you’re missing out. To truly be effective at using social media for PR, treat Twitter as a feeder to something larger – as one piece to a much larger and elegant puzzle.

Making the connection

Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket or network, focus on owning your niche across web platforms. There is little value in being a brand or person who is popular in network X or Y. There is far more value in being thought of as a leader of a niche. In other words:  your positioning should make you known as the definitive source for an industry. Putting a focus on a larger strategy that has nothing to do with any single web platform in particular is how you can accomplish this.

Be ready for a long term commitment

Tactics = fast, strategy = slow

If you’re able to execute on something that resonates, engaging in the social web with the goal of generating PR can see results fast. But don’t make the mistake of thinking a single tactical success is all it takes to see sustainable growth. You need to engage in continued tactics over a long period of time – and the truth is as many of them will fail as will succeed. But if your strategy is sound, in time, it will pay off and provide increasing returns.

Become referential

A social media PR strategy needs to be designed to position the company a referential brand. When the brand or company identity becomes referential, your work  will get easier.  As you contribute more, people will start to notice and your content will spawn discussions. Find a way to become referential and your efforts will multiply themselves.

How are you activating social media for PR objectives?


Prove It To Me!

In Corporate Social Responsibility, Public Relations on February 10, 2010 at 5:06 am

I like to shop, just like many other women, I also like a good deal. For this reason my frugal wallet and I graced the aisles of H&M the other day. As usual I browsed through the euro-centric apparel hoping a shirt would jump out and tell me to buy it.


I had found yet another shirt to add to my collection of “seemingly unique but similar to all my other tops” shirt. I then proceed to the register with my new find and the cashier asks, “Would you like to make a donation to help the victims in Haiti, H&M will match all donations made.” Without thinking twice I responded, “No thank you,” and proceeded to check out.  

When the cashier asked that simple but heavy question, I could just see my donation sitting on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia in a tightly tied bag waiting for recycle pick up because they had too much of it. Many of you may remember the embarrassing New York Times article about the clothing giant’s flagrant behavior toward an influx of unworn clothes.  

Money On The Ground Royalty Free Stock Images

Yes, the company made a reactionary statement to show they are in fact a very charitable organization. But, what about people like me? People who will shop at H&M but will never donate to H&M for fear their donation may be in vein or for the people will no longer shop at H&M at all. This may be troglodytic of me because everyone deserves a second chance, but here is the number one question… How do you get that second chance? How do you go back to that untainted place in the consumer’s mind when you were the best retailer ever?

This is a hard question but holds a simple answer… Maintain VISIBILITY! You may say you are a very charitable organization, but I want to see it especially after tossing tons clothes.  For example Disney’s “Give a Day Get a Day” program is a great way for people to get out and get involved to improve the communities around them on behalf of Disney.

Get out there in the local communities in which your stores or organization reside. It only takes a consumer one second to categorize your organization as untrustworthy. In the mind of a few consumers your organization may be dead forever, but in the process of building your charitable appearance you will most likely gain back the trust of most of your consumers and new consumers as well.  

We all know how important a company’s appearance is in maintaining the customer. Therefore after a big let down, we do not want to have to change the brand image of a company just to maintain the customer. I want to be able to grow tired of seeing your organization and how charitable it really is. It’s almost like having a person apologize to you a million times before you give in.

As for H&M, I will shop there but I will not give my money to H&M on behalf of any cause. Prove to me you are who you say you are!

CSR in the Face of a Crisis

In Corporate Social Responsibility on January 20, 2010 at 4:03 am

Every other Television channel in the past week has had something about the tragedy in Haiti and ways you can lend a helping hand. Driving down the street I saw billboards on ways I can help with the crisis in Haiti. You could even observe the Corporate Social Responsibility efforts of various companies on many of your news stations and the large sums of money they choose to give.

Money is always one of the best gifts  you can give anyone in the face of a crisis or just as a plain birthday or Christmas gift because only the “gift receiver” knows what he/she really needs. However, when you look back on your life and think about your parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, etc… what do you think about? You think about past times you may have spent with those people. TIME is one of the most valuable gifts you can give anyone because there simply is just not enough of it.

I recently heard the simple but very meaningful phrase “give what cost you the most.” It’s not saying give your whole life savings but rather give something that you are going to miss. When it comes to giving some people may give clothes they no longer want, year-old can goods from the pantry they never plan to eat, or the two dollars they will probably never think about again. Instead of giving the old can goods, why not include something you may plan to eat during the week?

From my personal observation the giving efforts from not only the United States but around the World has been immense in helping Haitians during their time of need. I began to think, I may not have the necessary resources to actually go to Haiti and lend my helping hand but if given the opportunity I would definitely give my time to assist with the overwhelming need.

When you think of a company, what is one of their most valuable assets? Their employees of course.  Employees keep a company running and generate income for the company they work for. As a person working in the public relations or communications department of a company one of your jobs may be using your creative juices to ponder up ways to improve the CSR efforts of your company. While watching CNN earlier in the week I saw the amount of money many organizations gave to aid the efforts in Haiti and often this money went to nonprofits that usually respond to all types of crisis around the world.

I thought why not take these CSR efforts a step further in the face of a crisis. As discussed earlier, I came to the conclusion that time is the most valuable resource, whether personal or professional. As an example many companies gave one million dollars to aid Haitians. Companies are able to take these efforts a step further if they use a small portion of the money to sponsor a few willing and trusting employees to personally go over to Haiti and contribute their time on behalf of his/her organization. As a representative of your company you may get there and do something as little as comforting a child while his family is being located or locating formula for a mother to feed her newborn. I’m sure that the individual you helped will remember you because you were there in their most despeserate hour.

 Of course this may not be the best time to push your companies brand in a country that has just experienced one of the worst natural disasters to date. However since you are in this country representing your company then you will most likely have some type of company logo visible to the natural eye to differentiate yourself from the other groups giving aid. Therefore, you never know what people know, notice, or remember about you. A person from a different organization doing a similar job as you may take notice or even the Haitian citizen standing a few feet from you watching you comfort a child may be observing you. Naturally these people will associate your positive efforts with the organization you represent. It may only be one, two or hundreds of people that take notice but whatever the number, people are associating your company with a positive image and not with just the business aspect.

If the time of your employees is one the components that makes your organization run efficiently then why not sacrifice that in the face of a crisis, especially if this could be beneficial to your company in the future. Take your CSR efforts a step further and lend that personal touch to those who really need it, not only are you helping someone but you are also helping your company to continue to prosper in the end.