Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How Social Media Shapes Corporate Reputations

By Thomas Murrell International Business Speaker, Author and Investor Relations Specialist

Social media has turned consumers into producers of media.

This means every corporate action by a company, individual or supplier can be recorded and shared with the world.

Take this recent example of a Qantas flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.

The flight turned back because of a medical emergency and was re-routed to Brisbane.

This was how it unfolded.

"Qantas fuel dump medical emergency" was the title of the email with the following movie attached.



Then another email.

"You can send this on if you want. The plane was on route Syd LA two hours plus we went back to Brisbane 5 mins ago to help a passenger in premium to hospital @ cost to Qantas $500,000. Might be interesting"

And the following photos.







So did the actions of Qantas enhance or detract from its corporate reputation?

Well, that doesn't matter what is important is that this case study highlights the risks of social media.

There are two types of risk those that are generated internally or those that are inflicted by others.

In the Qantas case it is an internal risk because they initiated and controlled their actions.

Was this in a manual? Yes.

Does this enhance their flawless safety record? Yes.

Has it enhanced their reputation for dealing with emergencies? Yes, especially if you are a family member of the critically ill person.

Is this more important than the cost of $500,000? Yes, reputations take years to build up and can be lost in seconds.

Here's some lessons on social media and risk.

1. Always have a clear social media policy to drive decision making at all levels of your organisation.

2. Be Honest

3. Be Respectful

Remember the world is watching your corporate actions.

Need help on social media? Contact us for a free initial discussion.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Top 10 Marketing and PR Lessons from the Royal Wedding

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker

Whether you are a Royalist or not, you have to admire the flawless execution of the recent Royal Wedding, the global media frenzy surrounding it and the generally positive buzz it created.

The Royal Wedding (Photo by Max Nash - WPA Pool/Getty Images) was a Marketing and PR masterstroke that has reinvented Brand Windsor at a time when support for monarchies globally is generally dwindling.

Estimates put a world-wide television audience at three billion viewers. Given there's around seven billion people in the world that's just under one in two people watching.

Research also shows internet traffic was down by a tenth on the Royal Wedding day because people were glued to their TV screens.

That's a lot of people interested in a couple who met at University and got married.

Of course it was a magnificent event made for live TV and choreographed every second of the way.

But from a marketing and PR perspective what are the lessons to be learnt for business? Here are my Top 10 tips:

1. Relentless Planning

As every bride knows they want the big day to go flawlessly.

The planning involved was breathtaking in its detail - even to how they would move the crowds.

Just the transportation logistics alone within the strict security, protocol and timing required around the event took months of meticulous planning.

How can you better plan your marketing and PR efforts?


2. Visuals
The visuals before, during and after the event were stunning.

Always invest in good visuals for your business and brand.

The image of the bride and groom leaving the reception in his father's blue Aston Martin was very staged and clever in providing a great picture opportunity that was also warm, authentic, down to earth and fun.

This was unexpected and a good alternative to all the more formal visuals.

3. Breakdown into a Tagline
The most effective messages are the simplest.

"Wedding of the century" is a simple tagline to describe the event and while you could argue you can never prove this it is a line that sticks with the public.

What is your tagline in five words or less?

4. Provide a Platform to Share Expertise
Smart marketers use the media momentum created by topical events such as the wedding as a way of positioning themselves as experts.

Every business involved in the wedding industry could have used the event as a platform to share their expertise.

Everyone from wedding planners, to florists and photographers could have used the wedding as a way of gaining visibility and credibility.

There was a wedding feeding frenzy for current content and anyone involved in this industry could have offered their views to current and potential customers using the Royal Wedding as a reason to share their knowledge and expertise.

What topical, upcoming or seasonal events are happening around you which you can build your expertise and thought leadership platform?

5. Media Access
Some 8,000 media were officially accredited to cover the wedding.

If you want positive media coverage make it as easy for the media as possible to do their job.

Be available, be accessible and be prepared to deliver your message in a professional way.

Media training and rehearsal prior to media engagement is essential!

6. Media Control
Releasing information to the media in a controlled way stops speculation.

This is how the media was controlled at the all important service at Westminster Abbey.

TV: Footage provided by the BBC and ITN was pooled to other global broadcasters who took a live feed and then did their own commentary.

Pictures: There were fixed positions inside the Abbey and directly outside on Broad Sanctuary with images taken and distributed by major national and international agencies. There were no facilities for individual newspapers or independent photographers inside the Abbey or on Broad Sanctuary.

Journalists: There were extremely limited seats for media to attend the service. Media centres were established elsewhere.

7. The Pageantry of the Event
Events are great ways to control the messages, images and values of your brand.

It provides a focus in a time sensitive way for your marketing efforts.

How can you create a dramatic event to showcase your business, product or service?


8. The Emotional Hook
Every brand needs an emotional hook. There's a saying that facts tell and emotions sell.

The kiss on the balcony (picture source News) was the emotional hook and defining moment of the wedding.

How can you create an emotional hook or "kiss moment" with your customers?

9. The Fairytale

Fairytales, myths, legends and stories help connect customers to your brand or business at a very deep level.

What stories about your company, products and brands can you tell? How can they be unique to your business?

What history, legends, hardship or attributes can you use to make your story memorable?

10. Social Media
This was the wedding that really embraced social media.

The official photographs were shared on Flickr.

There was an official website, rss feed, Facebook Page, page to offer gifts and an official twitter feed. There was even an official channel on YouTube.

The use of social media signified a generational change in the way "the firm" engages with its subjects.

Do you need media training, speech coaching or a keynote speaker for your next event? Call Thomas today.