Posts Tagged ‘brand ambassadors’

2012 Counselors Academy Conference Keynote – Groovin’ to Your Own Beat: How to Build Your Business by Merging Your Personal and Professional Selves

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Colleen Flood*

The 2012 Counselors Academy kicked off on Sunday, May 6, 2012. The evening’s keynote session featured Jay Baer, president of Convince and Convert, and Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich. The duo asserted that “it’s difficult to tell a client they need to be using the Web if an agency principal doesn’t believe it themselves.”

How to Build Your Personal Brand into Your Professional Brand
During the session, Baer and Dietrich discussed “how revenue follows capabilities and capabilities follow beliefs” and presented agency leaders with best practices to “finally ‘get off their duffs and start becoming social’ in order to build their businesses.”

Here are some key takeaways from the presentation:

  • If an agency has several employees, why not tweet under the agency name?
  • Videos create a human being behind the brand. We remember personal stories and want to do business with the people we know.
  • Network – social media connects you with people you cannot connect with in 3D and helps with national recognition.
  • Agencies need to spend time on leadership campaigns (e.g., blog posts). Tech has made us all self-servers of information and we want to find the answers ourselves when it’s time.
  • Can a junior staffer handle social media? Social media is not something you should delegate and you can’t outsource your voice.
  • People will remember your “branding.” So, give away what you know. Remember, “giving away a list of ingredients doesn’t make you a chef.”
  • Figure out your circles. Listen and find opportunities to be helpful. The best way to be helpful is to setup searches. People buy from people they like and trust. Your client wants to work with you!
  • Commit to social media regularly – say, 20 minutes a day – and fill in the “tiny gaps in your day.”
  • How do you measure social media success? Understand how it pays off in terms of leads, new business, and client retention. Listen. Assess the conversation. Engage. Measure and then improve.

The audience also had the opportunity to ask a few questions. One question focused on “what PR firms should stop doing and start implementing instead.” The answer? Stop chasing the hot new thing and start having policies in place for brand ambassadors.

How are you “groovin’ to your own beat” and “merging your personal and professionals selves to build your business?”


*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce 

You Say You Want a Revolution… in 140 characters or less?

Monday, February 14th, 2011
by Rich Gallitelli*
Image: CNN @piersmorgan Twitter Revolution
Image: CNN @piersmorgan Twitter Revolution

Egypt is the hot button topic and we are all witnesses to what some want to describe as a 21st century revolution.  On CNN, last week, the network repeatedly displayed a large screen showing in real time the social media posts that were related to Egypt.  It was astonishing to see. The board could not keep up with the updating posts, so the board basically resembled something like an amusement park ride’s flashing neon lights. And just like those flashing lights, social network postings at a meteoric rate can be encapsulating.  But can the intrigue last, or better yet, sustain an entire movement?  

It can no longer be surprising that social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the many countless blogs are being viewed as the forefront of this revolution. They have become what is the fulcrum of our collective “interconnectedness.” In my previous post, I discussed how email responses and phone etiquette, in today’s service orientated business world, are allowing employees to act as company brand ambassadors and, in turn, become the company’s brand. On the flip side of that, these company brand ambassadors are instantly accountable for their actions. Having a bad day?  Better not let that show up in your service industry work. The public’s demand for real time results has an agent of technology with new media to enact a change in dynamics in the moment and maybe even a change in social dynamics for an industry.  A waiter who gives poor service is no longer a regrettable experience between a few people.  Neither is a rude representative on the phone. Nor the president or parliament that fails to support its people. In today’s real time world, the negative experience instantly becomes online fodder for hundreds and potentially thousands to see.  Word of mouth, still the industry standard by which all companies build their reputations, no longer requires a face to face meeting for a poor review to be disseminated; it’s tweeted, it’s posted on Facebook, it’s blogged about and becomes part of an online community, with information that passes far beyond your own circle of contacts. 

Before the advent of social media, your reputation was built on the hundreds of positive reviews and one negative review didn’t fully transcend that reputation.  Now, that negative review becomes a flashpoint by which people will now effectively brand your reputation.  Think, did restaurants and hotels pay attention to comments and blogs about service in their establishments even just two or three years ago? I am sure they do now.  But can social media dispel the good reputations many service industry companies have accrued over the years?  Or is it just a flashpoint quickly brushed aside after it’s been tweeted and read?  Is it as lasting a movement, as say, the picture four activists sitting at the Woolworth counter in Greensboro, North Carolina? Hardly! Four students quickly grew to 600 protesters and in a few days, sit-ins had spread to Winston-Salem, twenty-five miles away, and Durham, fifty miles away. The day after that, students at Fayetteville State Teachers College and at Johnson C. Smith College, in Charlotte, joined in, followed on Wednesday by students at St. Augustine’s College and Shaw University, in Raleigh. On Thursday and Friday, the protest crossed state lines, surfacing in Hampton and Portsmouth, Virginia, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Sound familiar?  No social media at the time. Malcolm Gladwell, recounts in this New Yorker article, “why the revolution will not be tweeted.” It’s the cause that rallied the people together, not someone updating their Facebook status while eating lunch.

The change and demand for freedom in Egypt is truly remarkable. It is something entirely different than what many generations have grown accustomed to.  No army.  No invasion.  No secession.  No strong victimizing the weak (for the most part).  And yes, we have one tweet at a time, one Facebook posting at a time, one woman’s bravery for a call to a common cause on YouTube.  One has turned into thousands and then millions, with billions of the world’s citizens watching events unfold in real time. But it all started in real-life, real-time.

February is Black History Month and I am reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. I am, as ever, amazed by the picture of all the people standing in the Washington Mall, demanding, peacefully, the equality rightfully given to them in the Constitution.  Imagine if that speech with the historical implications was given today. Would people attend or steam the video live at their computers?  Would people make the trip to Washington, D.C. or just comment about it on Facebook?  While social media has the ability to rapidly organize people to an event or a cause, it hasn’t shown that it can continue to extol its influence beyond that.  As Andrew K. Woods wrote in his recent op-ed for the New York Times, “Of course, great movements require great leaders. That’s why the leadership vacuum in the Middle East is so politically electric, and why Tunisia is still a mess. The crucial question, in Egypt as in Yemen and Tunisia, has little to do with Twitter’s availability. It is whether a galvanizing figure will step forward and seize this opportunity to lead, or remain in the crowd, just another decentralized node in the network.”

So while I am here, I will gladly and proudly proclaim “Viva La Revolution” and hope for a better Egypt. Yes, I am astonished at that screen of social media posts.  The question is, will the masses be listening, or better yet, tweeting, long after social media’s initial impact has been felt and the state of Egypt is left in the hands of the Egyptians? Or is social media just another hyped-up PR tactic?


*Bio: Richard Gallitelli brought a wealth of sales and customer-service experience when he came to BurrellesLuce in 2007. His outstanding performance as a sales associate and personalized shopper for Neiman Marcus (he also has worked for Nordstrom) earned him a nomination by Boston magazine as “Best of Boston” sales associate for high-end retail fashion stores. Rich’s talents also won him praise and a profile in the book, “What Customers Like About You: Adding Emotional Value for Service Excellence and Competitive Advantage,” written by best-selling business author Dr. David Freemantle. Rich majored in English Literature at William Paterson University, and is a published poet and short-story writer. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce


Yes Virginia, There is a Company Brand in that Email

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

by Rich Gallitelli*

Yes, Virginia - CBSWe just concluded yet another holiday season full of new widgets which most of us didn’t even dream about a generation ago.  Yet, despite all these technological advancements, I am still drawn to the famous editorial that appeared in the New York Sun way back in 1897. “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” is the famous line in Francis P. Church’s reply to young Virginia O’Hanlon’s question, a reply which has become the most reprinted editorial in history. 

The Sun was the main rival of the New York Times for more than half a century. Its famous masthead was featured in the Oscar-winning movie “The Godfather.”  It was even the first newspaper to hire a full-time fashion editor, Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd.  And its “Crime on the Waterfront” feature, by Sun writer Malcolm Johnson, won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting and became the impetus for another Oscar-winning movie: 1954’s “On the Waterfront.”  But, what is most synonymous with The Sun, more than anything else accredited to the newspaper, was that charming, reassuring editorial.

“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” inspired among other things, a 1974 Emmy-winning animated television special, the Virginia O’Hanlon Scholarship from the The Studio School in New York City, Macy’s 2010 Christmas campaign, and the countless hearts of our inner-children. In effect, the editorial became synonymous with The Sun’s brand. And that got me to thinking… In this age of emails, tweets, blogs, and general interconnectedness, client services and their interactions with their clients have now become their company’s brand and how it is conveyed to others. 

In my previous blog post, I extolled the virtues of product knowledge.  And, while product knowledge does instill the trust between the client and the client services representative, how you answer your emails and the questions posed to you over the phone is just as important. The manner in which you convey your knowledge through your speech and grammatical tone promotes and broadens or hinders the appeal of the company brand. In essence, employees serve as brand ambassadors. If you are armed with product knowledge, take ownership of problems, and convey ideas politely – you can easily take on the challenges of today’s interconnected business world and exceed the expectations of clients. Now, think for a moment, how many times you have dealt with not just a rude representative, but a curt representative, an unsympathetic representative, or someone who passed you along to various individuals. How poorly did that affect your opinion of that company? Not a company you want to deal with, right?  Yep, I would be dreading that phone inquiry too!

Anne Sauvé of Anne Sauvé Marketing Communications has stated, “I’ve always believed in the sheer power of ‘living the brand’ internally, which is where effective employee communications can play such a powerful role.” She goes on to say, “No matter how good a job you do at building your brand in the marketplace, it will all fall apart if your employees are not engaged and part of that brand – without them you have no brand.”

Perception is reality.  And the reality is that a company’s client services is an extension of the company’s brand.  It is not the first line of defense; rather, it is the arm of diplomacy after the company’s marketing and sales efforts have taken hold. Today’s companies have to be more than what they offer. It may sound insignificant, but a half-hearted email or a lousy tone on the phone becomes the reality by which the company will be remembered.  Yes, we all have bad days and we all suffer from stress.  Yes, we even deal with a client or two that we can’t possibly please.  Hard to believe, isn’t it?  But, the client isn’t just going to remember the bad or rude employee; they are going to remember the bad or rude employee from “company X.”

So the next time you reply to an email or phone inquiry, remember, you are not just an employee; you are the company’s ambassador for its brand. Take an extra five minutes to go over that email that addresses a difficult problem.  That response and the manner in which it is written is the company’s solution, not yours, and embodies the company’s brand when the client reads it. In essence, the brand takes a journey through cyberspace to build itself up further in the marketplace.  The same thing applies when addressing the difficult problems on the phone.  Perception of how warm you are is the reality of how you are as a representative and how a company is as a whole.  Because, “Yes, Virginia” … as the ambassador for your company’s brand, your actions greatly affect how your clients feel about the company. Simply put, would you want to speak to you on the phone?


*Bio: Richard Gallitelli brought a wealth of sales and customer-service experience when he came to BurrellesLuce in 2007. His outstanding performance as a sales associate and personalized shopper for Neiman Marcus (he also has worked for Nordstrom) earned him a nomination by Boston magazine as “Best of Boston” sales associate for high-end retail fashion stores. Rich’s talents also won him praise and a profile in the book, “What Customers Like About You: Adding Emotional Value for Service Excellence and Competitive Advantage,” written by best-selling business author Dr. David Freemantle. Rich majored in English Literature at William Paterson University, and is a published poet and short-story writer. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce 

2010 PR News Media Relations Conference: David Warschawski interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PR News Media Relations Conference. And I’m here with David.

David, will you please introduce yourself?

DAVID WARSCHAWSKI: Yes, I’m David Warschawski. I’m CEO of Warschawski. We’re a full service marketing communications firm.

BURKE: David, can you please share the tips with organizations on how to avoid losing money?

WARSCHAWSKI: That’s a great question, just finished talking about it. Let me give you four main tips. The first is, number one, get clarity of what your brand is, what makes you highly unique and relevant for your target audience, and create marketing communications around that. But until you have clarity of that, it’s hard to make sure that you’re using your money wisely.

Secondly, make sure you have clarity of who your target audience is. And not just clarity of your primary, but of your primary, your secondary and your tertiary target audiences. That way you can allocate your spending wisely, making sure that you’re hitting them with your key messages to move them to action so that your brand becomes resonant for them.

Third is make sure you’re not jumping on the bandwagon. Don’t follow the latest and hottest topics. So if social media isn’t right for you, you can’t sustain it or do a great job, as one example, don’t do it.

And last but not least, everyone has a great resource that should be used, and that’s your internal communications team, it’s your internal team in total. Turn them into brand ambassadors for you. Use them and leverage them. Make them the folks who on a day in and day out basis represent your brand in the most positive way. Fantastic four simple steps to make sure you’re spending your money wisely and getting the biggest bang for your buck.

BURKE: Thanks so much. And where can people find you online?

WARSCHAWSKI: Best is go to our website, I’ll spell it for you. It’s W-A-R-S as in Sam C-H-A-W-S as in Sam K-I-dot-com.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much.


Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

by Crystal deGoede*

There are a lot of us that follow people on Twitter whom we have never met or heard of just because everyone else is following them. “They” must have something good to say, right? We should trust them. Or we like a brand on Facebook just because they are giving away an iPad, or friend someone from high school merely to see their photos. Yet, we never even talked to them – then or now.  (I know people that have over 2,000 friends on Facebook…come on. That number might be ok for Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. because we are “networking” with peers and colleagues, but these Facebook accounts are mostly personal.)  

In reality, we all are just building our personal brand. In fact, regardless of the Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?network, these people may not really be our “friends” or even acknowledge our tweets but when we update our status or link to an interesting article, they are seeing it and vice versa.  Our own word-of-mouth marketing is taking place with every post, generating a buzz for ourselves, company, brand or clients.

Since the 1980s, when word-of-mouth marketing became the big craze, the continuing efforts of companies trying to create a buzz, by having people endorse their products, has increased. And with social media, it is easier than ever. All marketers know that the ability to generate word-of-mouth advertising is not something that can be purchased, or so they’ve been taught.

However, that may no longer be the case. Celebrities, along with other influencers are receiving compensation to tweet and blog, mentioning certain products to their millions of followers. Can you imagine getting paid $10,000 just to tweet?

Sponsored Tweets, a new Twitter advertising platform, connects advertisers with twitter users. Advertisers can create sponsored conversations on Twitter. Tweeters can earn money for spreading the word. Along with advertising on Twitter, the company also has a sister site Pay-Per-Post, which pays influencers to blog about certain products. Currently they have 400,000 participating bloggers and tweeters, and over 40,000 advertisers.

Besides paying people to tweet and generate a buzz around your brand, you can also gain followers or friends by simply buying them. One way to gain “fake,” “targeted” friends is Twitter1k, which offers several options for the quantity of followers. If you need Facebook friends/fans, well you can buy them too. (Interestingly enough, the use of such friending or advertising services could potentially get you banned from a given social network – though some claim that they are less likely to do so then their competitors – unless of course you are using a service affiliated with the network. Then it seems to be more “ok.” Go figure.)

Why are companies doing this? Well most of us trust a brand that has a higher number of followers, fans, and YouTube views. If a brand has this, many “friends” and most of those friends are speaking positively about them, then we assume they must be engaging or influencing.  We are also more likely to recommed the brands (personal or business) that have lots of friends and followers.  Those artificial friends that are doing your word-of-mouth advertising have real friends that trust them, and that allows your brand to reach different verticals without much effort. Therefore, for some marketers, the incentive to fallaciously drive-up those numbers is very attractive.

If you found out that a brand you trusted had paid for their followers or for praise from someone that doesn’t even use their products or service, how would you feel? Does the ability to buy friends or pay people to be brand ambassadors go against the etiquette for transparency in social media? How does that reflect on the brands and companies who legitimately build their following, slow and steady, over time? Would you ever consider purchasing friends and followers for your brand? Share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce and our authentic Fresh Idea readers. 


*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce