Posts Tagged ‘communication tactics’

Using Social Media to Communicate and Market Around Natural Events

Friday, August 26th, 2011

EarthquakeThe ground moved on Tuesday, here in D.C. and along the East Coast. I happened to be the only one in the small BurrellesLuce Washington, D.C office at that time. Needing to figure-out what was happening, I turned to Twitter. posted an interesting visual of how the over 40,000 tweets spread across the US

I know all the Californians reading this, are still laughing about our reaction to a 5.9 earthquake, but this is a terrorism-scared town and coast (on the cusp of the 10 year anniversary of 9/11) and we don’t usually have earthquakes. There were a lot of funny and useless tweets, which had Howard Kurtz commenting on the media’s feeding frenzy of the event in “Washington’s Earthquake Farce” in The Daily Beast.

However, there were some organizations using new media to help communicate to the public. Concerned about my limited service, I tweeted Verizon Wireless, who answered my question quite quickly. Because many phone lines from various companies were jammed or down, people were encouraged to use social media or texting to communicate.   

Several other organizations used social media to push-out the most current service information.

Crisis Information
The earthquake caused several spires to fall from the National Cathedral, which is home to many national events and presidential funerals. The cathedral quickly created an impressive website page with a Twitter stream, information on the damage and a donation form for help paying for the repairs.

Round-up the Customers
Many stranded workers gave retailers an opportunity to offer earthquake specials or let customers know they were open via their Facebook pages and Twitter. I thought the $5.80 specials were a nice tie-in to the 5.8-magnitude earthquake.

What other creative social media marketing have you seen centered on a natural event? Are you prepared to communicate through social media in a crisis situation?

The East Coast is now waiting for Hurricane Irene to hit this weekend. I wonder what the Twitter-sphere will be saying about it and which bar will be the first to offer a special on hurricanes.

Are You Shifting Marketing and PR Plans Based on Hispanic Demographic Trends?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

by Colleen Flood*

Hola, como estan todos?  Es un placer de estar aqui. Estan todos disfrutando la conferencia? 

This is similiar to how David Henry, founder and president of Telenoticias and co-author of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations: Understanding and Targeting America’s Largest Minority, started the session “A Sleeping Giant” at the PRSA Counselors Academy Conference, which BurrellesLuce sponsored, this past weekend. Henry switched back to communicating in English and asked if we understood what he had just said. Only one or two hands went up in the group. He then related this to what Hispanics understand when they are marketed to in English.

The current marketplace in the U.S. is comprised of a diverse group. There has been boom over the past few years and by 2050, it is estimated that 30 percent of the population will be Hispanic. This is a population with a purchasing power that is progressing 50 percent faster than non-Hispanic groups. (In fact, BurrellesLuce first began writing about these trends in a 2007 newsletter entitled, “Top Five Tips for Reaching the Growing Hispanic Market.”)

This is the “sleeping giant,” according to Henry, since Hispanics seem to be more of a brand-loyal and relationship-driven community. Even though U.S. Hispanics speak English, in the home many of them are only speaking Spanish and are making buying decisions and vacation choices in a family setting. Henry explained that not enough companies include Hispanic outreach as a core part of their PR and marketing plans. If we are not communicating in Spanish or speaking to their values how are they interpreting what they will purchase? 

Henry also insists that Hispanic consumers need to be engaged via online and social media. They are the fastest growing in terms of online usage in the U.S. and to dispel any myths, Henry explained that 82 percent of Hispanics do have computers.  Fifty-eight percent of the total Hispanic population is online and 55 percent are using Spanish language sites – this is up 41 percent according to Henry. Companies who engage with Hispanics will have success – social media is perfect for the Hispanic market.

Henry offered some ways to reach Hispanic audiences:

  • Adapt to your market. Research the culture and garner an understanding before trying to market it. (This also applies to other consumer groups and niche markets as well.)
  • Take a bilingual approach. This will help to send a consistent, effective message.
  • Understand core values.  The family dynamic plays an important role in purchasing decisions, among other values.
  • Get involved in the community. Partner and communicate with Hispanic organizations.
  • Employ a fluent Spanish language spokesperson. Some larger agencies even have dedicated teams.  Just because you know some Spanish, does not mean you know the Hispanic market or their communication preferences.

How are you marketing en Espanol? What about in other languages or to other non-English speaking groups or niche communities? What are some of your tips for communicating and marketing to an increasing diverse group of influencers and constituents?


*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

Should You Send a Release?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
Flickr Image: josh.liba

Flickr Image: josh.liba

Contrary to some, the press release is far from dead and continues to be a useful tool for public relations practitioners.  In fact, a recent poll conducted by Ragan Communications and PollStream found nearly 50 percent of corporate communicators believe press releases are “as useful as ever.”  

By definition, a press release (aka news release) is an announcement sent to (targeted) news media for the purpose of letting the public know of company developments, events, or other newsworthy items.

My esteemed Twitter friend, Bill Prickett, APR, recently wrote some benefits of a well-planned, well-placed news release – an inexpensive way to get publicity, which includes:  building your brand/image/reputation/business, providing consumer information/education, lending credibility to your message, and driving traffic.

But the question at-hand is should you send a release?  Years ago, I attended a marketing and sales training workshop where the trainer taught us about the “so what” (or “who cares”) test. The same concept applies when determining whether your release is newsworthy enough to send.  For example, if you say the headline/topic aloud – “XYZ company opens new location,” you should then follow it up by thinking like the reporter or reader, and asking “so what?” or “who cares?”  It might mean that locals won’t have to drive so far or they will have more selection and shorter lines, etc.  In other words, if your release can’t pass the “so what” test and illustrate why the news has value, then don’t send it! 

I’m not saying that a press release is the only or best way to get your news out to the media – and, ultimately, your stakeholders. Journalistics recently reported that he believes blog posts and tweeting may be a better way of sharing news with your stakeholders.  According to MarketingCharts,’s Lindsey Miller noted that corporate communicators are increasingly using social media as a way to get around “canned” information, and to personalize, target, and reach reporters.

Every circumstance is unique and not all situations will warrant release to the media, but the press release is still an integral part of the PR toolkit.  Do you agree?  Why or why not?

The Economy and PR

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Flickr Image: DailyPic

Flickr Image: DailyPic

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has a new initiative to help PR professionals make the case for public relations and communicate with business executives more effectively. As part of this initiative, Todd Buchholz, former White House director of economic policy, commentator on Marketplace, and author, was invited to give Monday’s keynote at the 2009 PRSA International Conference. I attended his address, on behalf of BurrellesLuce, in which he helped the audience understand the state of the economy and presented ideas for recovery.

Don’t fudge numbers and use solid data to forecast.
Buchholz commented on the real estate crisis, noting how it could have been averted if the banks making the loans had done due diligence and properly reviewed the incomes of the mortgagees and if bank lenders had based loans on true forecasts not speculations.

Intellectual power of the people is the key to U.S. economic success.
Buchholz believes we need to improve our K-12 education. The U.S. is like the Jamaican bob sled team of the education Olympics. Everything works better with competition, so he thinks giving performance pay to good teachers is beneficial, enabling these teachers to continue teaching, instead of going into another industry.

There is good news about our current economic state.
We should take advantage of the discounted prices to purchase goods, stock, services, etc. For example, if you are planning a conference in two years, book the hotel now and lock in a good price.
Be patient.
It will take time to recover from our current jobless rate. We will come out, and PR can be a part of it.

How are you working to better understand business principles in order to effectively communicate to your executives? Do you have thoughts on the economy and its relation to PR and marketing?

Four Generations of Media… One Audience?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

bridgingthegap.jpgMany PR professionals like you grapple with how best to reach a multi-generational audience – who just so happens to have varying media preferences. In a recent BurrellesLuce survey, 42 percent of respondents indicated that they use generational segmentation in their media strategies. Social Media is the most frequently used targeting tactic. Why don’t you share your opinions on this topic? To help get your gears turning, check out this whitepaper.