Posts Tagged ‘consultant’


Even Santa Can Use Some Good PR and Marketing

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

At the PRSA 2010 International Conference opening reception, Eric Schwartzman introduced me to Santa’s PR guy, Maj. Brian Martin, deputy chief of staff for communications at NORAD and USNORTHCOM. Ok, he’s not really Santa’s personal public relations consultant, but he does handle PR for NORAD Tracks Santa, and the program has a great PR story to share.

The history behind the 2009 campaign:

Over 50 years ago, a local department store advertised for kids to call Santa on a special “hotline,” but they accidently used the number for the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). Col. Harry Shoup, received the first call and told his staff to put the rest through. They confirmed Santa’s location via radar, and the tradition of tracking Santa was born. CONAD is now the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).  NORAD volunteers still take calls, but they also answer emails and respond to social media posts from kids all over the world who want to know when Santa will be coming down their chimney.

As of November 19, 2009, Stacey Knott, public affairs, social media officer, NORAD and USNORTHCOM says, NORAD Tracks Santa had 719 Facebook fans, and a minimal presence on Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn and YouTube. For the 2009 holiday season, they wanted to increase communication with their audiences, improve awareness, and drive traffic to the NORAD Tracks Santa website. Additionally, they looked to increase awareness of NORAD’s brand and mission notes Maj. Michael Humpreys, public affairs officer, NORAD and USNORTHCOM.

Results from the 2009 campaign:

  • As of January 1, 2010, NORAD Tracks Santa’s Facebook page had 417,608 fans.
  • 13 million unique visitors from over 200 countries visited the NORAD Tracks Santa website.
  • The NORAD NORTHCOM Facebook page went from 447 fans on October 1, 2009 to 5,911 on January 1, 2010.
  • As of November 29, 2010, there 17,579 likes for NORAD NORTHCOM on Facebook.
  • The NORAD website typically has 1,000-3,000 visitors per day. On Christmas Eve 2009, the website had over 90,000 visitors and over 85,000 of them were unique visitors.

Preparing for the 2010 season:

NORAD Tracks Santa is a volunteer operation, so NORAD relies on many partners to help create the website, keep the website from crashing, and help strategize on other tactics.  For 2010, some local Colorado schools are helping to develop games for the website. And for 26 hours over the eve of Santa’s arrival, the command staff, families, and other volunteers will run the command center phones and monitor social media to answer questions. Martin says it has been a great way for NORAD/USNORTHCOM to spread goodwill.

“The memories of NORAD Tracks Santa are a real tradition in people’s homes,” says Knott. She goes on to say, you have to believe in Santa after you volunteer to help.

For social media, Humphreys says they decided to focus on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where they have the most activity – although they previously had a presence on Flickr and LinkedIn. Since they post pictures to Facebook, using Flickr seemed redundant.  YouTube is the second most used search site, and they have a lot of activity on there.

All of the NORAD Tracks Santa social media sites and website are “family friendly.” Knott confirmed they spend a lot of time checking to ensure people are not posting mean, ugly posts, or profanity. In the video above, Maj. Martin discusses addressing issues on social media.

NORAD Tracks Santa’s Strategies, Tips and Best Practices—

  • Link back to the main website as often as possible
  • Have a consistent message across all media (mainstream media and social media)
  • Encourage interaction by looking for questions and try to respond to as many posts as possible
  • Further the conversation
  • Interact quickly
  • Have an engagement protocol and enforce it
  • Be trusting
  • Continue engagement throughout the year
  • Post pictures and videos

Humphreys says success comes from constant engagement on social media. Martin adds that NORAD Tracks Santa continues mainstream media outreach to print and web publications and with satellite media tours for broadcast stations.

I know I have great memories of watching the news to learn when Santa might be coming to my house. Do you have similar memories?

The BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers would like to hear how you’ve taken an old program and made it fresh with social media. Do you have any tips to share?

2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Paul Gillin Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE:  Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the Bulldog Media Relations Summit.  I’m joined by Paul.

Paul, will you please introduce yourself?

PAUL GILLIN:  Hi, I’m Paul Gillin. I am a writer, speaker and a consultant in social media.

BURKE:  And, Paul, you were just on the panel about social media and the future of social media marketing, and I think that a lot of the viewers here are probably still just getting started or maybe don’t feel like they have the traction that they need in this space.  What are some tips that they can apply tomorrow as far as making their programs better?

GILLIN:  Well, first of all, I would get–if you’re not on Facebook, which almost the entire world is at this point, be sure you’re on Facebook, be sure you’re on Twitter and you have the basic groundings in those areas.  I think the important thing is to listen.  The first thing you want to do is listen.  And for that, become familiar with Twitter search.  Start looking for your company name or the names of your clients on Google.  But also become familiar with some other search engines, such as Boardwatch.  These are—or Twitter search.  These are ways to see what people are saying about you in forums that aren’t necessarily being indexed by Google. 

Build a dashboard. And, I mean, go to–go to Google and become familiar with Google Reader and learn how to take the feeds that are coming in from search.twitter.com and from a lot of Google alerts are available through a–through a feed reader. You can also go to a site like Social Mention, which indexes strictly social market–social networking areas, and you can create feeds that you can capture in Google Reader, and you can sort of build yourself a dashboard so you can see, any time you look at your dashboard, the latest information about what people have been saying about you and your company.

So I’d say spend, you know, a couple of months really getting comfortable with listening and understanding how the back and forth works, the way people talk to each other, and some of the–some of the behavioral standards of social media, and then, you know, dive in as a participant, but only once you understand how people really like to interact with each other.

BURKE:  Thank you so much.  And where can people find you in social media?

GILLIN:  Well, thank–I’m glad you asked.  I am @pgillin, that’s P-G-I-L-L-I-N, as in Nancy, on Twitter.  And I’m at gillin.com.  And I’m also pgillin on Facebook.  So I sense a pattern there.

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.

GILLIN:  Thank you, Johna. 

2010 Bulldog Media Relations Summit: Aedhmar Hynes, Text 100, Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Transcripts –

JOHNA BURKE:  Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the Bulldog Media Relations Summit, and we’re here with Aedhmar.

Aedhmar, please introduce yourself.

AEDHMAR HYNES:  Hi, I’m Aedhmar Hynes and I’m the CEO of Text 100.

BURKE:  Aedhmar, you were just on the panel talking about the future of public relations, and I loved how you incorporated and said, you know, we really have to step away as PR practitioners from those tactics that give us that feel good that we’ve done a good thing and align our goals with the business objectives.  How do you counsel your team on how to be a bold–be a good consultant and align their PR objectives with the business objectives?  What you’re trying to serve?

HYNES:  Well, I think to a large extent, much of what we’re doing and have always done is really move a story based on the position of a brand or based on the positioning of a corporation.  And for me, I’ve always felt that it’s critically important to understand the context of what you’re doing in relationship to the overall corporation.  So really understanding what influences the success of that brand, which is much broader than simply the success of its product or the success of its people.  And looking at the context of that and making sure that as a communications professional you understand the influence of government, you understand the influence of Wall Street or finance.  Really, all of those things at a global level, even the understanding of cultures across multiple markets is critically important.

And a depth of appreciation and understanding of that as a context setter for what you’re trying to communicate, I think, is critically important.  And in knowing and understanding the context within which you’re working, I think, gives you the opportunity to be much more effective not only in communications, but in being able to counsel your executives in their own effectiveness in communicating their brand.

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.  I think those are amazing insights that we all need to keep abreast of and take our ego out of the equation.  Where can people find you in social media?

HYNES:  Well, I’m pretty easy because I’ve got a very complicated name. And the spelling of my name is A-E-D-H-M-A-R.  And so if you use that as your search, then actually all of the places that I am in the social media pop up straight away.

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.

HYNES:  You’re welcome.