Thursday, May 22, 2008

PR Moral and Ethics: Will Yours Ever Be Called into Question?

Those of us in this particular service industry have, for years, been looked upon unfavorably and have even been called some ugly and not so encouraging names, such as: ambulance chasers, spin Dr’s, flacks, and plain ‘ole liars. Not nice, but in many cases, very true. After many years in this industry, I have personally witnessed the moral and ethical meltdowns of many of my peers after temptation has gotten the best of them. The temptation to succeed, continue to grow, compete in the market place, make more money, remain positively visible, you name it.

Temptation got the best of them and the best of them stumbled, only never to get back up again.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be perfect to beat temptation as well, it is not wrong to desire a successful business, but you MUST have a moral and ethical compass by which your standards of doing business and success are set. What are yours?

This business of PR, Marketing and Branding should never be given the power to dictate who you will or will not become morally. The lure of obtaining the best coverage for a client has ensnared those who have left themselves wide open and vulnerable to the trappings of the media world. There are media folk who will do anything for a story, which in turn can sometimes feel like a justification for you to do the same; at an extremely high cost.

If you’re in a corporate environment, your employer is the one who calls the shots about how far they want you to go for exposure; that’s quite intimidating. You either do as they say or jeopardize your job. On the other hand, if you're the owner, no one can compromise your ethical code of conduct unless you allow them too. If you’re ever put in that type of position, quite honestly, that should be a deal breaker for you. Never be afraid to stand up for the morals and ethics you have set for yourself and your company otherwise, you may need to redefine who really owns the business.

This Part #1 of a 2-part Blog. Part #2 - Setting the PR Moral and Ethics Standard

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Church of the Customer - Creating Customer Evangelists

Creating Customer EvangelistsBen McConnell & Jackie Huba--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blog Writing Speaking About Contact Books: Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force
Overview Contents Examples Reviews Buy it
What is customer evangelism?

When customers are truly thrilled about their experience with your product or service, they can become outspoken "evangelists" for your company. This group of satisfied believers can be converted into a potent marketing force to grow your universe of customers.

Authors Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba explain how to convert already loyal customers into influential and enthusiastic evangelists. The year-long research project that led to "Creating Customer Evangelists" outlines the framework for developing evangelism marketing strategies and programs. The ultimate goal is to create communities of influencers who drive sales or membership for your company or organization.

From their research into the best practices of some of the most forward-thinking companies with legions of evangelists who spread the word, McConnell and Huba outline and explain the six basic tenets of creating customer evangelists:

Customer plus-delta: Continuously gather customer feedback.
Napsterize knowledge: Make it a point to share knowledge freely.
Build the buzz: Expertly build word-of-mouth networks.
Create community: Encourage communities of customers to meet and share.
Make bite-size chunks: Devise specialized, smaller offerings to get customers to bite.
Create a cause: Focus on making the world, or your industry, better.
McConnell and Huba profile highly successful companies to illustrate these tenets and prove how solid customer relationships build and sustain companies through good and rocky times. These in-depth company profiles provide real-life examples of evangelism marketing at work, including the opportunities and pitfalls of specific campaigns.

"Creating Customer Evangelists" explains how organizations as diverse as Southwest Airlines, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, The Dallas Mavericks, IBM, and others successfully built their customer base and created targeted marketing programs to involve their biggest fans. These programs have produced legions of unofficial salespeople and a cost-effective and powerful marketing force.

By deepening customer relationships, successful organizations create communities that generate grassroots support and value for their products and services. "Creating Customer Evangelists" focuses on this ultimate marketing approach. McConnell and Huba demonstrate how you can convert good customers into exceptional ones who willingly spread the word.

The book is intended for marketing managers and directors, entrepreneurs and customer champions inside companies large and small. It's also intended for students and professors who require case studies for their research.

For regular updates about customer evangelism concepts, ideas and research, follow the customer evangelism link in the categories column to the right.

Testify: The CCE supplement

Organizations that focus on building word of mouth into full-fledged evanagelism grow faster, are more profitable and have big-picture ideas that somehow change the world. It's fun, exciting stuff.

So we asked organizations to tell us how they're creating evangelists for their cause, product or service. From the submissions we received, we selected examples from companies that represent software, sports, education, non-profits, training, and free agents.

"Testify! How Remarkable Organizations are Creating Customer Evangelists" is the result. There are two ways to read the book:

Buy the paperback version
Download the free version (PDF, 472KB)



Visit Society for Word of Mouth

Essential reading
All about customer evangelists
All about citizen marketers
7 reasons why small businesses should blog
Exposing stealth marketing
The 1% Rule
Understanding the 1 Percenters
Citizen marketers
Companies behaving badly
Customer evangelism
Social media
Word of mouth
Our tag cloud


For extra credit, read our transparency policy. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

Brand Distinction

Brand Distinction – 5 Basic Steps to Create Strong Brand Identity

By: Lenore Duda

Brand identity is an essential component of a successful life of anything you sell these days. Brand identity is the visual and verbal expressions of a brand. As the consumer market becomes increasingly competitive every entrepreneur must understand the dynamics of brand identity, its components, and how to apply them to their business. Whether you are the actual product, producing a product, or offering a service, you must know how to set yourself apart. How are YOU setting yourself apart?

Receive the complete article by emailing your request to

Monday, May 12, 2008

A MWPRInsight Find: Burson's Perspective on PR's origins

Sam Adams knew value of good PR
Phil Rosenthal Media (Chicago Tribune)
May 11, 2008

The United States of America was born a spin zone.

That's what Harold Burson thinks, at least.Burson hasn't been in public relations quite that long. But the co-founder of Burson-Marsteller 55 years ago, who still goes into the office every day at 87, obviously has given the matter some thought."People regard public relations as a 20th Century phenomenon," said Burson, in town to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday from the Publicity Club of Chicago. "Public relations existed and was practiced from ancient times, when people started interfacing with one another. It just wasn't identified as a commercial function until the 1900s."

To hear Burson, Samuel Adams was the great public relations person of the American Revolution."He started the first grass-roots committee, the Committee of Correspondents," Burson said of Adams. "He set up the Boston Tea Party [although] the tax on tea was like one pence on the pound, which really wasn't that onerous. He wrote the op-eds that fomented people ... toward separation."The Boston Massacre, Adams referred to it as the horrible Boston Massacre to make it seem bigger; six people were killed. So public relations has been used all this time. … This is our history.

"The American public, weary and wary of manipulation, has grown suspect of public relations, so much so that people who do it for a living often want what they do to be dubbed "strategic communications" instead, much to Burson's chagrin. "It really diminishes the totality of the function," he said.Burson traces the semantics shift—probably the brainchild of another PR exec—to Richard Nixon, who, on the Watergate tapes when faced with a need to explain away one inexplicable misdeed or another, "had a penchant for saying, 'Let's PR it' or 'Let's call in the PR flacks,' so PR took on a pejorative meaning.

"Public relations, strategic communications or whatever it's called, is neutral in and of itself. "You can use it for good. You can use it for evil. When a government uses it to sway people, it's called propaganda," said Burson, who, before entering PR, covered the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals after World War II as an Army news correspondent.Burson, despite criticism, believes he has nothing to apologize for in representing Union Carbide through the Bhopal disaster, saying "there would have been chaos getting information out of that place" if not for the "two Brits we sent over there to do a basic reporting job" and three months of daily news conferences.

As for the New Coke fiasco, on which he advised Coca-Cola, the lesson he learned was "the American public is extremely forgiving if you eat enough" crow.Today's new media world has information—accurate or not—racing throughout the globe in an instant, and groups of one view or another can coalesce almost as fast, requiring those in Burson's line of work to respond immediately no matter the locale or time.Yet he sees the basic role of PR as essentially unchanged, helping companies not only articulate their views but advising them on how to act consistently with their messages. "It's a function of customer service," Burson said.And it's as American as, well, America.Sell block: The CW Network, having failed to do much business on Sundays dating all the way back to its earlier incarnation as The WB, is turning over its Sunday-night prime-time block this fall to an outfit called Media Rights Capital, which will develop programming and sell ad time.

It's anticipated MRC will aim for a broader appeal than the young female-oriented programs CW has favored to date. This is likely to be welcomed by those CW stations that follow its programming with older-skewing newscasts, such as Chicago's WGN-Ch. 9, one of more than a dozen CW affiliates owned by Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co.

Sam Adams knew value of good PR -- --

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lawdy... Black Folks Fighting, Winning Primaries ....

Good people, how are you?
I must say what is going on in the world?
Civil Disobedience rally in NY led by Rev. Sharpton, cops beating folk up in Philadelphia and yes, O-B-A-M-A winning in North Carolina and almost in Indiana. Lawdy...
What's happening is people are using the media to empower themselves and get the message out. Are you?

The Ladies of the PR Distinction are talented, educated, super connected PR Experts/Strategists here to serve, empower and assist you in crafting a "message." Learn more about us by clicking on the respective website.

Getting the correct message out is key ...
1) Define your mission -what are you about?
2)Be a student of the media - learn how the media works
3)Be prepared for the opportunity - have your tools ready when God, luck, and timing provide favor
4)Think linearly -Act with a plan. Identify what you want to promote
5)Promote yourself- Brand yourself.
6) If you want more...
Check out my eBook - You Want Caviar, But Have $ for Chitterling - A Smart PR Guide for those on a Budget.

Karen Taylor Bass

MWPRInsight: Evidence of why "The Playbook" initiative is timely

It's academic: NCAA reveals APR sanctions
Steve Megargee is a national writer for

Seventeen Division I-A football programs face penalties for failing to graduate enough players, the NCAA announced Tuesday with the release of its Academic Progress Rates.

Orange Bowl champion Kansas and Washington State were the only programs from "Big Six" conferences to face penalties. Other schools facing penalties for football were Akron, UAB, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Hawaii, Idaho, UNLV, New Mexico State, North Texas, San Diego State, San Jose State, Temple and Toledo.

The list of major programs facing penalties is longer in men's basketball. Colorado, Kansas State, Purdue, Seton Hall, South Carolina, USC and Tennessee were among the 53 Division I programs cited.

A total of 218 teams at 123 schools will be sanctioned for poor performance, NCAA president Myles Brand said. Another 712 teams were publicly recognized last month for APRs in the top 10 percent of each sport.

Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year. The APR is based on the eligibility, retention and graduation of each student-athlete on scholarship. An APR of 925 equates to an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of about 60 percent.

The average APR for all Division I student-athletes is 961 – 951 for males and 969 for females. This year marked the first time the average eligibility and retention rates both showed increases.

"Overall, there is much to be encouraged about with the latest data," Brand said. "When we started four years ago, baseball and football were in serious trouble. There has been great improvement in both of those sports.

"We are not out of the woods, however. There are individual institutions that have seen steady decline in APR over the last four years. The situation is dire for them."

Teams that score below 925 on the APR and have a student leave school academically ineligible can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships. Teams also can be subject to penalties for poor academic performance over time.

The majority of basketball programs facing penalties recently had coaching changes. Coaching changes can be problematic for a school's APR, particularly with the transfers that can result.

No school faces penalties in more sports than Sacramento State, which was cited in baseball, football, men's basketball, men's golf, men's indoor track, men's outdoor track and women's tennis. The Hornets are a I-AA football program.

Schools facing penalties in six sports included UAB (football, men's basketball, men's golf, men's soccer, men's tennis, women's basketball), New Mexico State (baseball, football, men's basketball, men's tennis, women's tennis, women's outdoor track) and San Jose State (baseball, football, men's basketball, men's cross country, men's soccer, women's basketball).

The single-year APR has increased 12 points for baseball and 11 points for football since 2003-04, when the NCAA began collecting data on this issue. The APR for men's basketball declined each of the past two years before increasing four points this year.

This is the second year for "historical penalties." Second-year sanctions include restrictions on scholarships and practice time. Starting next year, teams that receive three consecutive years of historical penalties (below 900 APR) face the potential of restrictions on postseason competition in addition to scholarship and practice restrictions.

Every program posting an APR score below 925 is required to develop a specific academic improvement plan. Teams posting APR scores below 900 must submit their plans to the NCAA for review.

Steve can be reached at

Link to article: College Football - It's academic: NCAA reveals APR sanctions

Saturday, May 3, 2008

How to Get Higher E-Mail Deliverability with Matt Allen

Good web marketing tips!

Let's turn up our LIGHTS! We are HOPE!

Senator Obama isn't the only one with the audacity to have HOPE.

By Minister Mary Edwards

In spite of the fact that Detroit has become a laughingstock throughout the country; and in spite of the fact that there is a MASS EXODUS going on here; and in spite of the fact that I’m looking at my out-of-town friends with a hung down head, I STILL have a vision for this city.
Yes! In spite of the fact that every morning when I turn on the television I hear of more violence taking place – even overnight – I STILL have a vision for this city.
In spite of the fact that Detroit is referred to by some as the city touched by an “Economic Katrina…I STILL have a vision for this city. My late husband, Rev. Eddie K. Edwards, loved this city. He dedicated over half of his life to making this a better place to live.

In spite spite of the fact that more and more schools are closing (and some of them need to) I STILL have a vision for Detroit.
In spite of the fact that no one is safe, not even the elderly and animals, I STILL have a vision for this city.

When the Greek philosopher, Diogenes said, “Bury me on my face,” and someone asked why, he said, “Because in a little while the world will be turned upside down.” Although Diogenes was considered by many to be a cynic because he walked around with a lantern in the daytime “looking for an honest man,” he could have been on to something even then.

Without a doubt, that prophecy has come true. Indeed, we are living in perilous times according to II Tim. 3:1. All one needs to do is to turn on the morning news, read the headlines of today’s newspaper, or listen to the panic-stricken conversations from those among us.

Calamities are increasing and the world has become hopeless and hearts have become hardened. We are living in a world gone mad. We are living in a nervous society. Is it any wonder then that people need some place to turn to relieve some of their stress?
There is a whole lot of shaking going on. Unless you and I can bring a message of HOPE, the sinner will say, “If this is God’s wrath, if this is the end, and we are all headed for hell, let’s all party and go out stoned.”
But, I say to you today, WE ARE HOPE.
Church, we have to give this lost world, this lost city, more than a negative message such as “The end is near. Judgement is beginning. And we told you so.” If this is all we can say, we haven’t given them any HOPE. What the world needs now is HOPE SWEET HOPE.
When the shaking worsens, and it will, when you and I see these things I have spoken to you about earlier taking place, we need to be speaking HOPE. While others are worried and nervous and losing their minds, we must bring a message of mercy, grace and redemption. We must bring HOPE in the midst of hopelessness.
Now, in order for this to happen, there is at least one other thing we must have: JOY! For the joy of the Lord is our strength.(Neh. 8) The song says, “This JOY that I have the world didn’t give it to me and the world can’t take it away.”
So, let me ask you a few questions: Have you allowed the world to steal your joy? Are the sinners around you looking at you and saying, “What do you have that I don’t have?” How do you respond to trials and tribulations? Do you fall apart? Or do you keep the faith no matter what comes up or what goes down?
In my lifetime (65), I’ve experienced many dangers, toils, and snares – even more so as a widow. People ask me: “How can you have so much peace and joy?” My answer is this: “God has put me inside a grace bubble. Jesus is my “Grace Bubble.” And I don’t care how many times satan pricks at my Grace Bubble, he can’t get to me! Why? Because the Grace Bubble is impenetrable. It has a blood covering. Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY cometh in the morning.
Church, let me tell you: “People are crying for wine in the streets.” (Isa. 24:11). In the scriptures, “wine” is referred to as the Holy Spirit. When you look around you and you see winos and drug addicts (and I tell you I’ve seen some of the dope-smokingness people right here in Detroit), when you see these hopeless folks, you and I need to rise to the occasion. Why? BECAUSE WE ARE HOPE.
Another thing we need in these “Dark Ages” we are living in is LIGHT. The Bible says that we are the light of the world. A city set on a hill shall not be hid (Matt. 5:14) Let me ask you this question: “If we are the light, why is the world so dark?”I’ll tell you why. Because we need to turn our light up! I want you to imagine a 3-way bulb. 30-60-100 watts. Church, some of us are 30 watts Some are 60 watts. And others are even brighter. But we all need to turn up the lights. Now, look at this lampshade which covers the light . This lampshade is symbolic of SIN! It’s time to remove those lampshades. God is looking for flood lights. Are you a flood light or a candle? Is your light flickering?
In summary, what do we need to turn this city from darkness into God’s marvelous light? We need JOY and we need HOPE. Now, look in the mirror and tell yourself: “I AM JOY; I AM LIGHT; I AM HOPE!
Church, get busy and let’s turn things around!

Minister Mary Edwards is the Founder of Widows With Wisdom and The Called and Ready Writers. She can be reached at (313) 341-4487 or

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Business Owner Has to be a Servant

As I thought of what to blog about, what came to mind was: service. It was the first lesson God had to teach me when starting my company. Service is many things; it’s sacrificial, trust, fulfilling, difficult, tiring, humbling, painful etc. I suppose it was God’s desire to teach me that this is what I was really created for in order to be the best business owner I could be.

As the owner of a Christian Urban PR, Marketing and Branding Firm for 8 years our motto is: “Serving You, Serves God.” These four words could have only been given to us By God.
Personally, when starting my own company, I would have NEVER written anything like this. I wanted to be clever and creative writing the company motto; it had to represent us and the vision for the company, right? God, however, knew I needed to write it down in order to see it and believe it; because I had yet to grasp the description of a true servant and PR is about service. My mind needed to be transformed – COMPLETELY.

I had to learn that a servant: dies to him/her self daily, always thinks of others, undergoes consistent heart surgery and is identified by Christ. My definition allowed me to contractualize relationships and say, “I’ll serve you when and if I feel like it”. What I should have been saying was, “No matter what, I was created for service and I’ll serve you because that pleases God.” This way of thnking is the pinnacle of a covenant relationship . This was a totally new concept for me and I had to implement this into my daily work.

With this as my foundation, I knew God was seeking to transform the hearts and minds of those who ever interacted with us. They were going to encounter servants of God who would go above and beyond the call of duty; looking for nothing in return except to be a blessing to them. They were going to encounter a genuine Christian business, owned and operated by a Christian.

There is something to be said for making your business people-centered as opposed to money-centered. How revolutionary to know that we exist primarily to serve others/clients; to make a profit, yes, but not solely.

Each day, as a business owner, I am given the opportunity to serve God and others. I say, we should never rest on our laurels and rely simply on the fact that we are in a service industry, and let our client roster, bank accounts or anything else define our service, we must step up and step out and get excited about our purpose of serving, welcome it and live it out daily. Isn’t that what Jesus did? Wasn’t He the ultimate Servant?


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