The aftermath of United Airlines’ overbooking blunder

By Cesar Valdes Blog 2/2

On April 9, one of the worst non-plane emergencies took place aboard a United Airlines flight. With the click of a randomized computer test, Dr. David Dao was the unfortunate, paying-customer to be asked to leave a flight that United Airlines themselves overbooked.

However, when Dao refused to give up his seat, what resulted was a major public relations crisis for United Airlines.

As everyone has probably seen multiple times, Dao was forcefully dragged off his flight.

From the moment the video recording of the incident was released, it was clear that United Airlines was in a dire situation and Dao may be in line to receive some big bucks.

Indeed, Dao and United Airlines agreed on an undisclosed settlement, but the effects this incident had not only on airline policies across the country and their perception have become clear.

On April 27th, United Airlines raised its limit on payments to customers who would voluntarily give up their seats in case of another overbooking. United will now offer up to $10,000 to a passenger for their seat.

It’s a smart move for United to do. It shows their customers and the public that they are actively revising their policies to prevent another similar incident from occurring, but it will take more than that to move on from this blunder.

Speaking of prevention, Southwest Airlines – the favorite airline in the United States according to Airfarewatchdog.com – decided to stop the practice of overbooking flights, which was how United’s incident occurred. Now that’s a PR/marketing team working to avoid future problems.

Although United did drop in the stock market, as of today, the airline company does not rank as the least favorite airline in the U.S. according to Airfarewatch.org. In fact, United ranks ahead of Virgin America, Frontier, and Spirit. But then again, that doesn’t really say a whole lot of good about them either.

Sources:

United Raising Limit On Payments To Bumped Flyers To $10,000

Southwest Airlines To Stop Overbooking Flights

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-least-favorite-airline-is-not-united-airlines-2017-04-26

Top Three Biggest Business Mistakes on Social Media

By Catalina Uriarte

As our world becomes smaller and social media is becoming the primary way of communication businesses are rushing to invest in social media platforms. Social media is a unique platform of advertising because it allows the consumer to interact with companies like they never could before. As consumers we focus on the experience. We want to feel special and connected with our brands, social media allows us to do that. While Social Media can be a great tool for building loyal customers it can also be a double edged sword. When used improperly it can be insulting and you can lose customers. Here are some of the biggest business mistakes made on social media and what we can learn from them.

  1. Not choosing hashtags wisely

Hashtags can be a great way to start up online conversations about your company and grow awareness. As a general rule of thumb, before posting any hashtag check to see if that hashtag is already trending. Make sure your hashtag can’t be tied into current

#notguily example 1
Off the Casey Anthony trail, many were upset with the verdict tweeting out #notguilty 

events unless that is your intention. Lastly, make sure if your hashtag involves more than one word that it spells out only the intentions you are going for and NOT something that will get you fired. Hashtag hijacking may be more difficult to dodge, but these examples are totally avoidable

 

4.-Susan
This tweet is created to promote British singer Susan Boyle’s new album. Unfortunately it looks like it spells out. . . something else. 

2. Trying to profit off tragedy

Many companies like to make ties based on current events. It adds to relevance, emotion, and resignation. With that being said, companies should never commercialize off of

example 2 kmart
Kmart sends their prayers to Newton Connecticut shooting victims yet ads a hashtag advertising.  

tragedy. No matter how good the intentions this shows to backfire time and time again. The most recent example being Pepsi.

3. Making flat out stupid or insulting comments

bic-womens-day example 3.jpg
Sexist advertisement tells women to act like a lady but think like a man. 

 

While all these examples are awful these ones are just down right stupid. Always make sure what you are posting sends a positive message to all genders, races, ages, and individuals. Social media is worldwide, be culturally sensitive!

 

 

 

 

 

All and all be smart to avoid a social media PR crisis. Happy posting!

References:

Read, M. (2012 December, 14). K-Mart Uses Its Stupid Spammy Hashtag in Tweets About Shooting. Retrieved April 16, 2017, from http://gawker.com/5968602/k-mart-uses-its-stupid-spammy-hashtag-in-tweets-about-shooting

Stevens, H. (2015 August, 27). SheKnows Media uses Bic ‘Act like a lady, think like a man’ ad to teach. Retrieved April 16, 2017, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-sheknows-media-bic-ad-teaching-opportunity-balancing-20150827-column.html

Vgenopoulos, K. (2016 June, 22). The 10 Worst Twitter #Hashtag Fails of All Time. Retrieved April 16, 2017, from https://miappi.com/10-worst-twitter-hashtag-fails-time/

 

 

The Essentials of PR and SEO in Real Estate

By Mackenzy Hand

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A few choice essentials in both public relations and the concept of search engine optimization go hand in hand with real estate and real estate marketing plans. It is easy to say that it’s all about who you know when it comes to bringing in leads, and that may be true with some of your pre-existing clientele. But what about new leads? Yes, you as the agent want to get to a point where the majority of your business is referral based, but it’s never a bad idea to rake in outside sources. That’s where PR and SEO come in.

The main thing that you want to concern yourself with when it comes to PR is gaining exposure for your real estate brand. Everyone needs a little help now and then. Generally, what we mean by “help” in the real estate world is getting referrals from other agents. What you can do to help your business and your brand even more is to enlist other professionals such as TV and radio personalities, bloggers, social media analysts, and other professionals in the real estate field, as well as publications like local, state, or national magazines, newspapers, and blogs to aid in making your brand more recognizable.

What is important to understand is that no one knows about your brand until you bring it to them. Where PR is applicable in this situation is bringing your brand into the right light. You may be interviewed by a radio or TV personality where they ask you to yield some of your expertise live on the air, which will make prospective clientele more comfortable working with you. Someone might recognize your face from an article they read in their favorite magazine or local newspaper. Another important thing to remember is that PR is a two-way street. By helping you expand your brand, publications are helping themselves as well. The name recognition you will provide for them will lead to more traffic on their sites, which in turn leads to revenue. It’s a win win situation, and that is the power of public relations.

Brand start up: Machines building brand-word.            As mentioned before, SEO is another powerful tool in regards to a real estate marketing plan. Done properly, your advertising, social media strategies, and email marketing plans will help your website get found on SERPs (search engine results pages). The goal of SEO in real estate is to guide the right clients to your website and generate leads for your business. The main things you should be doing to increase your SEO are to blog good content regularly, advertise, advertise, advertise, build up your social media presence, and secure lots of links on other websites. The idea behind SEO is simple, but it does take time. However long it may take, I promise it will be worth it in the end. The thing to remember is that in being a real estate agent or broker, you aren’t just working for a business, you are your own brand. And in order to truly be successful, expansion of your brand is paramount. PR and SEO are the keys to successful brand expansion.

Sources:
Placester 1
Placester 2

Images:
Berbay
BoomTown!

Public Becomes Artificial Relations?

By: Donald Smith

 

chat-bot.jpg
[Robotic hands over a keyboard] By, letzgro

Two weeks ago while browsing Twitter I saw several public relations agencies share content discussing chatbots and artificial intelligence, or AI, impact on PR. A chatbot is a conversational interface, usually seen as a messaging application, which is developed through artificial intelligence. They are developed to carry out mundane tasks such as customer inquiry or personal assistant actions on a smartphone (i.e. Siri, Cortana or Alexa).

Now, this impacts PR because publics have been trending toward messenger apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. As PR practitioners it is our job to communicate with our publics and keeping their attention with engaging content. Therefore, we have to go where they go. However, it is messaging bots, not humans, who excel in this new electronic terrain.

Lucy Allen, head of Bay Area Edelman, goes on to list multiple areas where the bots will excel such as becoming the dominant news source, automating social media tasks and simplify data insights. But it is her last point that is the most prevalent, “experienced media.”

“In my mind, experienced media is any media that offers real-time interactivity that is experienced in a highly personal way,” said Allen. “[Experienced media] deliver[s] a true experience to its audience [where] the audience actively participates in emotionally, physically and intellectually.”

That is the final goal of a PR plan. To create an experience and memories that are memorable and draws the target public closer to the brand or organization.

However, there is a considerable risk that goes with this tactic. It involves the fact that a chatbot is mostly autonomous and drives itself based on AI. It is imperative that it does not go rogue. Microsoft’s Tay is a case where an AI chatbot went “rogue” by tweeting racist and other harmful statements. This happened because AI learns from those it interacts with. Thus, it is up to the PR and Tech departments to monitor and maintain the chatbot so it learns the right information.

It may be a bit too soon to add chatbots to a communication plan, but it is a worthwhile investment to keep tinkering with.

The Truth Hurts: How PR Professionals Should Handle the Social Media Climate

“Things just don’t be like they used to.” You may have heard that sentence from a grandfather or other senior member of your community. Most of the time, they’re wrong, for the most part. Even Socrates talked about how the younger generation is running amok, disrespecting elders and such. But here we are, hundreds of years later, still functioning just fine. Every generation thinks that the next generation in line is ruining everything, and the end of the world is just around the corner. Fortunately, it probably wasn’t. But lately, these grandpa’s may be less wrong than usual.

The explosion of social media really is changing everything. While the expansion is still occurring, social media has been around long enough that we can, to a degree, reflect on its impact on society. And boy is it changing things.

Before the internet, the bulk of a person’s interactions and knowledge came from what they experienced or from interaction with people who experienced something. In the age of social media, knowledge and experiences can be shared with someone across the globe in seconds. Because of that, anyone can find someone who agrees with them on just about any topic.

However, this means that anyone with a wrong idea can find people who agree with their sentiment, and use that agreement to create a self-perpetuating echo chamber. This leads to less developed conversations overall, and blatant hostility towards those who disagree. People lose their desire, and dare I say ability, to think critically. They get so caught up in groupthink that they lose their sense of balance and reality.

One example is the wage gap myth. People form their own opinions such as “women are at an extreme disadvantage in society.” This statement may in fact be true in a lot of ways. But whether or not it is, the idea will get bolstered by blatantly false information until the cows come home. Women do not earn 77 cents to every dollar a male earns. Many economists agree the gap is closer to 6.6 cents, and probably lower. Even people with the best intentions can still cause harm to an idea or movement. One thing to note, every group, popular opinion, or “side” is affected by the phenomenon.

What does this mean for PR professionals? They must hold themselves accountable to distributing truthful content. A person is smart, but people are dumb. Specifically journalists and trusted organizations, they must be careful what they post. It must be objective and true, and if it contains an opinion, it should be marked as such. PR is in part conveying information to the public. This issue of being objective in touchy topics may not come up every day. But when it does, a PR professional must be able to be objective, and know that whatever they say, it is true and good. For everyone’s good.

References:

For information on the wage gap- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-hoff-sommers/wage-gap_b_2073804.html

For information on Socrates sentiment- http://www.bartleby.com/73/195.html

For information on group think- http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm

Photo credit is from this article- http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/thousands-protest-media-restrictions-poland-161217033552767.html

PR Transitions with White House

By: Donald Smith

On January 20, the inauguration for Donald Trump to assume his presidency was held. However, a controversy followed shortly after the event. The topic of the controversy was the size of attendance at President Trump’s inauguration being substantially smaller than Barack Obama’s from 2009. The comparison was characterized by this photo tweeted out by the National Park Services.

[A composite image showing the presidential inauguration comparison for Obama (left) and Trump (right)] By, Barnes
This comparison created a negative outlook on President Trump’s administration. In order to curb this reaction press secretary Sean Spicer held a non-conventional press conference the following day. In the press conference Spicer scolded the media for purposely engaging in false reporting. Later, Spicer referenced several statistics that were reported as false afterwards.

Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to Trump, then proceeded to back up Spicer’s claims in a separate broadcast interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” In this interview she stated that Spicer was not using false information, but “alternative facts.” This statement has created a hashtag on Twitter called #alternativefacts where people post comedic material satirizing the political situation.

Now, both Spicer and Conway are seen as public relations professionals. Therefore, by them making false claims on the inauguration attendance size, they have created a distrust between the public and the profession, as if the public did not trust us already. In an attempt to try and conduct some PR for the profession, Public Relations Society of America has stepped into the fray and made a statement rejecting the new White House staff for breaking the code of ethics held up by those in the organization and profession with the “alternative facts.”

Not only have these events caused distrust, but due to Trump consistently discrediting national mainstream media outlets (i.e. CNN) and criticizing large name corporations (i.e. Boeing) professionals will have to differ in tactics in how they go about interacting with the media. So, they will have to be on their toes for the next several years as trust level and relationships among the White House and the media determine effective ways to reach publics.

Podcasts in PR

On a recent solo five hour drive across the flat, dry expanse that is West Texas, the only way I maintained my sanity was through my arsenal of podcasts I have saved up on my phone. There always comes a point where music gets to be too much, and the sound of humans talking about something interesting is the only way I can focus without veering off the road.

I embarked upon an internet quest to see how others felt about this choose-your-own-adventure radio, and I was not surprised to see that I was not alone. An article from Vanity Fair described it as “essentially radio on the installment plan, a return to the intimacy, wombed shadows, and pregnant implications of words, sounds, and silences in the theater of the mind.” Though my feelings about podcasts are not nearly as poetic, I do find that the lack of interruptive commercials and the frequent focus on longform storytelling to be refreshing.

2743534799_e1c988d6be_b-1
Image from Forbes

 

It occurred to me that podcasts have the potential to be useful tools in public relations. I stumbled upon this interesting article from PR News Online that expounded upon the advantages of podcasts in public relations, which include branding and marketing, thought leadership, and relationship building. They can be relatively cheap to produce and adapted to whomever professionals want to reach. The article describes how the amount of freedom a podcast offers to an organization in terms of content creation makes it a great tool for distributing information in a well-developed, creative way.

The emergence of new technology and the growth in popularity of tools like podcasts makes this an amazing time to be entering into the public relations profession, or for that matter, any profession related to digital communications or marketing. Podcasts give us an opportunity to bring our words to life in a whole new way, and offer consumers a more interactive, holistic experience. As for me, I continue to listen to Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight until I get the chance to use this in my own career.