Tag: Reputation Management

Did your Public Relations strategy lose steam this year? Or were all of your projects overwhelming successes?

As 2012 winds down, it might be time for some reflection. What went well? What didn’t go so well? What will you repeat and what will you shelve in the New Year?

Once you’ve reflected on 2012, it’s time to gear up for what’s ahead. Here are a few fresh ideas to kick-start your planning for 2013.

Give the people what they want

This one begins and ends with listening. Customer complaints, while seemingly negative on the surface, are actually good opportunities to make adjustments. Any suggestions are opportunities for improvement (and earned revenue).

If your company doesn’t have a solid feedback system in place – meaning no way to gather customer feedback – then 2013 is the year to implement that infrastructure. Add a satisfaction survey if you can or solicit client feedback online. Depending on the resources available to you, social media might be a platform you can use to engage and improve.

No matter your budget, finding a way to listen to your customers just makes sense. But it’s not just enough to hear them, be prepared to make the necessary changes (that make sense for your business) to please the masses.

Focus on relationships

Following suit, focusing on the relationships important to your company can never fall to the wayside. You may not follow the flock when it comes to social media, but whatever your strategy, partnerships are probably the cornerstone of your business.

For 2013, focus on at least 2 partnership-building opportunities. Host a customer-appreciation event (online or in person) and try reaching out to a person or business (maybe via LinkedIn) that might add positively to one or more of your campaigns.

It’s important to remember that even your most steadfast fans can’t be forgotten, but trying new things has to be part of your plan.

Gather expertise and share it

Those positive business relationships need to be used. This year, add a panel of experts to your arsenal. Build your thought leadership program.

You could arrange to have your thought leaders draft a new content series. Or maybe they’re more suited to live interaction. Maybe they can host an online event on a burning issue important to your social media audiences. You might even choose to host a live event with your thought leaders as the expert panel.

There are many options available; the beauty of partnerships and thought leadership is that you don’t have to do all the thinking on your own.

Engage with rich multimedia

With the advent of Pinterest and Instagram, it’s obvious that more and more audiences are attracted to companies who offer something visual.

This year, you’ll have to spend some time figuring out how to create or revamp your company’s visual identity. That’s the fun part.

The trick here is to stand out from the crowd. This visual marketing has been a popular strategy, so the key is differentiation. If your videos, images and infographics are flat, it might be time to call in the help of the professionals.

Try something new

Has your use of Facebook and Twitter become tired, second-hand marketing decoration? If you’re bored of the same ol’ social media platforms, why not try a new one this year?

Take the plunge: explore Pinterest or Intstagram. And maybe Lino or Twiddla could be of some use to your business? Take the time (before it’s too late) to do some research on an up-and-coming tool, or a well-known (but untapped to you) platform.

Get moving because social media will always be changing – this year and the next. Your social media strategy can make the difference for your success in 2013.

Know how your audiences are talking about you: this is a common theme in the world of reputation management.

In our last post about setting up effective searches, we spoke about spending time figuring out the terms your audiences use to talk about you. To drive home this point, we’ve got two recent examples of companies doing just that.

Here are two good examples of smart community management:

1) Delta (the airline) catches a tweet that didn’t use its Twitter handle and even misspelled “Delta” as “Detla”. We caught this on the UnMarketer’s blog. And, as he says, Delta’s tweet saved the brand day.

This is a great example of proactive monitoring. Delta clearly took the time to segment some search terms. Even more, this let Delta engage (apologetically) in an otherwise missed opportunity.

2) Taco Bell sees a tweet from Old Spice referencing its “fire sauce”. Mind you, the tweet was a dig, and Taco Bell had a comeback. But the important thing to note on this one is that “Taco Bell” was never mentioned in the original tweet. Just another example of knowing how your audiences are talking about you and your products.


So what? Don’t let opportunities to engage pass you by – take the time to really understand how your brand is talked about. And apply the knowledge to your reputation management program as a whole.

(image via AdWeek)

I try to keep up with current events. MediaVantage helps with that – but that’s not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about your personal brand. An interesting (read: awful) example in the news recently is the story of (former) Greek Olympian, Paraskevi (Voula) Papachristou. If you haven’t heard about her, you will.

What’s notable about this Twitter gaffe is that even though Papachristou represents Greece in the Olympics, Olympians are individuals competing for sport. So, each Olympian, even if they’re competing in a team sport and represent an entire nation, has a personal brand to uphold.

An Olympian’s livelihood often comes from sponsorships. After the Twitterverse erupted, Papachristou’s sponsors ran for the hills; the effects of a reverse halo effect. The same way sponsors will abandon affiliations with her, so too would an employer for me if I made as grave an error in the online space.

As a PR professional, I’m going to be responsible to coach executives in their own personal branding. It’s also something I have to balance for myself. And there are a lot of things to watch out for and be aware of.

Within the online space, having a Twitter presence, Facebook presence, Pinterest account, a blog, friends’ photos of me – there’s a myriad of information about me online. And it’s fully public. The same thing goes for Papachristou (and a majority of North Americans). She’s now set in motion a need to manage a crisis – a personal brand crisis. The difference? A global spotlight brought on by the Olympics shines on her every move.

Something to think about.

(image © Gallo Images)

Finding what you’re looking for online can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Even Google has built different engines, specific to different types of content: Google Scholar, Google Blogs, Google Images, etc. Google created different platforms because, depending on your search terms, the engine might not grab all the content that’s useful to you.



In the MV platform, setting up search terms is key. And while it’s only one part of your reputation management, it’s an important one. One of our experts recently gave the team a breakdown of how to refine search terms, and here’s what I got from it:

Optimizing search terms across different media

In the MV platform, you can select different types of media you’d like to scan. Whether it’s broadcast, print, Internet or social media, you can filter your search and tweak the keywords for each one.

When setting up search terms and keywords, consider the nuances among different types of media:


Broadcasts are built in sound bites. Closed captioning can be misspelled or adlibbed. In a crisis situation, you might be looking for a spokesperson’s full name. But a broadcast transcript might site the person’s position and company instead.


Print publications funnel out information so the less important information ends up at the bottom of the article. This is because if the publication needs to cut down the length of an article (for layout reasons), they can cut from the bottom-up without losing the meat of the story. It’s probably easiest to find content in print sources because of the obligation and tradition of writing for publications – spokespersons’ full names and companies’ legal names are used.

Internet and social media

Internet sources often carry on the print story and may end up having a bit of a social spin. The Internet isn’t edited the same way a print publication is, so the online space often sees more frequent use of synonyms, slang terms, acronyms, hashtags and variations on company names.

Ever heard of Brangelina? Do you call McDonald’s “Mickey D’s”? Do you use “iPod” and “mp3 player” interchangeably? When you talk about your mobile device, do you call it a cell phone? A cell? Your mobile? Maybe you’ve been misspelling Led Zeppelin incorrectly all these years? You can’t tell me you know for certain that it’s Walmart and not Wal-Mart. Or is it? You’re probably not the only one – why would your audiences be any different?

Adapt your search term for better results by:

  • Using media-specific tools (filters, regions, channels, program guide);
  • Test different keywords to see which combinations work best for your topic (if at first you don’t succeed);
  • Tailor search terms and keywords to each of the media categories.

Ultimately, the onus is on the user to enter appropriate keywords to get the results they’re looking for.

It’s important to listen to your audiences and perform searches using the language they speak. To dig up all of the media mentions of your brand, using your company’s full legal name might not always point you to all the useful references.

Looking for information the right way is the key to effective monitoring, so it’s vital to know how your audiences are talking about you.

You’ve made the decision to buy reporting and monitoring software. But it’s not all sunshine and roses – there are some pitfalls.

The process can be overwhelming. It’s hard to differentiate between the advantages and disadvantages of all the options. And while the platforms for gathering metrics are many and vary widely, when all is said and done, you have to pick the solution that works best for your company.

Asking the right questions (of yourself and of the provider) can help you avoid the headache of being in a service agreement that doesn’t suit your business.

Here are 5 pitfalls that can be easily avoided:

1. Short-sighted purchasing decision

Before you engage service providers, it’s important to do a bit of a self-audit. Ask yourself: “Are my requirements now the same requirements I’ll have five years from now?” What if something controversial happens in your industry? Can the platform grow with your constantly-changing business?

2. I have to be at my desk to manage my portal

Is it important to you to know when something’s happened even if you’re not at your desk? Ask the service provider how their solution supports a travelling practitioner. Maybe you want real-time alerts sent to your smartphone. Does the provider offer that as an option?

3. Unexpected transactional fees

Budget certainty is important to many businesses. How important is it to your business? After the implementation costs, what other fees might be incurred? This one’s like getting locked in a cell phone service contract where you signed up for a $45/month plan but your bill always comes in at $75/month.

4. Having to pay for extra searches

Change is inevitable and flexibility in your search terms is paramount. Things may seem quiet right now, but maybe you have a product launch in a few months. Would the number of search terms you purchased be enough to monitor an influx in chatter? Does the provider offer unlimited search terms? If not, what will those extra ones cost?

5. I can’t preview my clips before purchasing them

In the end, engagement is usually what you’re trying to measure. Numbers can help tell the story, but the difference is in how your audiences are talking about you. If you’re tracking an issue, wouldn’t it be nice to preview some of the content so you can decide whether or not it’s worth including in your analysis? Ask the provider if they allow clips to be previewed before you purchase them.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Before you sign a service agreement, make sure you’re evaluating the provider from all angles. There’s a lot to take into account but you can avoid these pitfalls by asking the right questions.

What would you add?

Most companies have crisis management strategies in place that management can deploy when an event threatens its brand and reputation. However, for most companies, these crisis strategies are developed within the framework of managing its own issues. It usually sounds something like this, “If it happens to us, we’re prepared to manage it.” 

But what should an organization do when a competitor is hit with a crisis or issue? What if the crisis is significant enough to affect not only the competitor’s brand but the reputation of the entire industry?

Although these types of catastrophic events are rare, such moments present significant challenges to a company that is not equipped to deal with the situation. It’s not enough for companies to have crisis management strategies in place so they can manage their own issues; companies should also have them ready when a competitor is hit with a crisis.

On January 13, 2012, a catastrophic event took place as the cruise ship, Costa Concordia (a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation), ran aground and partially sank on the western coast of Italy. Although most of the 4,200 passengers and crew were rescued by the heroic efforts of the Italian Coast Guard, several people lost their lives and many are still missing.

Oil recovery workers pass in front of the Costa Concordia cruise ship Photo: REUTERS

Within hours of the tragedy taking place, Costa’s Communications team deployed their crisis management plan, setting up an assistance hotline and an information feed directly on their website. However, Costa has a major PR task ahead of it as it deals with the embarrassing revelation that the vessel’s Captain abandoned ship early claiming he “tripped into a lifeboat.”

Unsettling images of the tragic event have been broadcasting on TV stations, appearing in newspapers and streaming on news websites across the globe. This media coverage will have a destabilizing and potentially negative long-term effect on the reputation of not only Costa, but the cruise line industry as a whole. Consumers that were previously considering a cruise vacation may now seek the perceived ‘less risky’ choice of an all-inclusive resort or hotel getaway.

The fact is: this issue won’t just affect Costa and the Carnival Corporation; it has serious implications for all major cruise lines.

In response to this event, the Communications teams from Carnival Corporation’s competitors should be proactively communicating their commitment to safety to the media, their agency partners and their customer base. As tragic as this event is, this crisis presents an opportunity for competitors in the cruise line industry to unite, review and take group action to ensure the enforcement of safety regulations and evacuation best practices so that events like this never happen again.

A similar response was taken during BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil disaster in 2010, when industry competitors Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Shell, and ConocoPhillips, teamed up to put together $1 Billion USD in funding to develop technology and response plans for capturing and containing oil spills.

Communications teams are responsible for managing the reputation of their organization and must not ignore the impact that a competitor’s crisis might have on their reputation. In situations like the one above, Communicators cannot solely rely on media monitoring tools and clipping services to effectively manage the impact of a competitor crisis.

With a brand management solution, organizations can effectively manage multiple issues at the same time and Communicators can strategize, develop and implement an effective crisis management plan to mitigate the negative impact on their corporate reputation – even if it’s in the wake of a competitor’s crisis.

Media monitoring has evolved beyond a package of clippings that arrives on your desk the week after a launch. With online communications proliferating daily, communicators – and government communicators are no exception – need to keep their ear to the ground, listening for media mentions, social media conversations and online news.

But listening is only half the battle. Reporting on and analyzing your monitoring results can help you detect trends, nip a crisis in the bud, or adjust your communication strategy on the fly.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) uses MediaVantage for monitoring and reporting. Here’s what Mathieu Larocque, CATSA’s Senior Advisor, External Communications, had to say about why reporting is crucial to their team:

“Monthly reports that we produce using MediaVantage are an integral part of our dashboard reporting approach. We use the information to evaluate and adjust both our proactive and reactive media relations strategies. They are also used more broadly to evaluate the work of our branch. The data generated by MediaVantage is incorporated in a larger dashboard that includes many other indicators. The reports are also used at the end of each proactive campaign to evaluate reach and the overall effectiveness of a specific campaign. Likewise, we also use the reporting function to analyze a particular situation or episode related to our operations.”

For more on how reporting on monitoring results can give you the intelligence to analyze why and when to adjust your strategic communication plans, download our white paper, Continuous Measurement and Analysis.

At the end of September, more than 140 social media, measurement and monitoring experts, enthusiasts and gurus gathered at the Third Tuesday Measurement Matters Conference in Toronto. It was a jam-packed day full of insightful commentary on the importance of developing a comprehensive monitoring measurement plan.

CNW’s Director of Product Management for MediaVantage, Charles Funk, sat on the panel Show us your ROI- Yes, we can demonstrate a return, moderated by Donna Papacosta. Check out Charles’ ROI and Uncertainty slide deck and learn how to estimate a return on investment when you don’t have hard numbers.


Also don’t miss Six Tips for Developing a Monitoring and Measurement Plan.

Third Tuesday Toronto kicked off its 2010 series with a full-day Measurement Matters conference last Tuesday, September 28. The event covered a number of measurement-related topics from how to set-up a social media command centre to how to show your social media ROI — a panel featuring CNW’s own Charles Funk, Director of Product Management, MediaVantage.

While each panel expert offered their own unique perspective and approach, they all seemed to agree that it’s crucial to develop a comprehensive monitoring and measurement plan. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter how you get there. Decide which metrics are most important to measure by looking first at your goals.

Here are six tips to help you move beyond the tools and help you develop a solid social media monitoring and measurement plan:

1. First things first: ensure everyone in your organization agrees on how to define success. This will help you decide what’s important to measure, track progress over time and demonstrate the return on your social media efforts.

2. Include a workflow in your plan. As you monitor and gather information, how will you distribute it to others in your organization?  Determine a process to funnel the information into R&D, customer service, HR, IR, and other departments who may benefit from this intelligence.

3. Determine what you’re going to monitor and where. Find out where your audience is and how they talk about your brand. This will help you find the keywords and phrases that you should be monitoring. It’s also important to find those key people, whether they are influencers or not, who respond to your material and are already engaged in your activities – they will be key as you move forward.

4. Pick your monitoring tools and set up a social media command centre that works with your workflow and measurement plan. Spread your net wide and consider using a combination of paid and free services.

5. Start monitoring conversations and measuring key metrics such as volume, sentiment, engagement, share of voice, and share of conversation.

6. Remember that it’s about more than just numbers. Find out what the stats mean. How do they relate to your definition of success? What are you going to do with this information? How can you improve or modify your campaign based on this information? How have these stats changed over time? Turn these numbers into intelligence.

Remember, social media gives us the opportunity to really listen to and learn from our audiences. Pay attention to the conversations and adjust your efforts as you go to improve your success.

Download a copy of our white paper, Continuous Measurement and Analysis, for more on how to use monitoring intelligence to make continuous adjustments to your strategic communication plans.

Social media experts warn that one tweet is all it takes to ignite a firestorm of online rumours. And it was just one tweet that brought the web’s attention to the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this week – and it had nothing to do with glitz or glam.

In case you haven’t heard – a Toronto writer tweeted that she had been bitten by bedbugs after watching a movie at the Scotiabank theatre in Toronto. A few days later her friend and movie journalist, James Rocchi, tweeted, “Bad, bad news from Toronto re: #TIFF10. Torontoian friend got, yes, bedbugs at the Scotiabank – aka where all press screenings are.”

An hour or so later the fest’s co-director, Cameron Bailey, responded. “Before bedbugs becomes today’s meme: we’re on it, we’re talking to Cineplex and are planning for an itch-free #TIFF10.” Cineplex also chimed in on Twitter, assuring their 3,000 followers that they were looking into the issue. Less than 24 hours after the Rocchi’s tweet, Cineplex confirmed that the theatre was pest-free.

If there’s anything that can outlive a bedbug it’s an online rumour. Countless blogs and newsites including all three of Toronto’s major dailies, Hollywood Reporter and Perez Hilton grabbed headlines about the possible infestation and a quick scan of the #TIFF10 hashtag reveals folks are still a-Twitter over the rumours.

Given how quickly TIFF responded to Rocchi’s original tweet, one can only assume that someone was listening closely to online chatter. For communicators, this should serve as a cautionary tale that you must be listening online for mentions about your brand.

Should you ever find yourself in the festival’s shoes, use this six-point checklist for responding to an online rumour.

Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour

  • Take action immediately.
  • Use the same media your audience uses use.
  • Respond appropriately (it can be one-on-one, or a mass communication approach).
  • Be open and transparent when you respond.
  • Stay on the high road. Don’t engage in a negative way.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes tactics don’t work out the way you want them to. But don’t give up… your reputation is at stake.