Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Just what is being said about your company?

By: Cole Buergi, Vice President of Business Development

If there was ever a doubt in your mind about the importance of your company’s image on the Internet, record sales of the new iPhone 5 should be the convincing factor.

Apple sold more than five million of the new phones in just the first few days it was available in the U.S. Apple is planning to make the phone available in an additional 22 countries starting Friday.
You might be wondering what one has to do with the other? The simple answer is more and more people are moving to smart phones so they can access the Internet and utilize social media at any time, in any location that has access to cellular service or Wi-Fi.

That means they can access information about your company at the touch of a finger from anywhere. It also means they can talk about your company with equal ease. In some cases, it’s great when you have people using social media to talk positively about your company. However, depending upon their experience, they may also say things that are not so flattering.

Being proactive by monitoring social media sites and the Internet in general may help protect you business if something negative does get said. Monitoring allows you to identify problems early and respond quickly if needed. Being a part of the conversation and responding to potential negatives is much better than not knowing the conversation is taking place at all.
If you don’t believe me, simply use Google and type in your name or your company’s name and see how many links pop up. If you’ve never done this before, I’m sure you’ll be surprised at the result.
Do you know someone that has a complete disinterest in the Internet? If so, show them this article and have them do a Google search.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tried and true media relations tactics still ring true

By: Angela Raleigh, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

One of the benefits of pulling together award nominations or tidying up your desk area is you run across presentations, materials and information you may have forgotten. And as you look over the materials you might find that there are some media tips that are still relevant today, even after years of being buried in a file:   

  • How to get media's attention. Be sure to provide a news hook for information that is relevant and newsworthy. Timing is everything.
  • Role of the news media. Report on news of interest to their viewers/readers/listeners. They cover bad as well as good but their goal is to be fair, balanced and accurate.
  • What the news media needs. Sources or a news “scoop.” Provide them with the facts and be responsive to their questions.

These tips still hold true today when engaging with the media and are true practices for any media engagement, traditional or social. 

On the flip side there are the “don’ts.” Don't pre-announce information before you are supposed to. Don't promise something you can't keep. Don't pretend you know more than you actually do.

As much as the media environment has changed, there are still areas that remain the same. So, what do you think? Have the fundamentals of engagement changed over time or are the main principles still applicable?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beware of 5-year-olds in Michigan jerseys!

By: Scott Stein, Vice President of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

I can cite many examples where common sense has apparently been tossed out the window, often in favor of the “rules are rules” approach. The most recent incident to come to my attention is out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Several years ago the OKC School Board adopted a new dress code, partly in response to students wearing gang colors to school. Included in the policy was a ban on all professional and collegiate sports apparel, with the exception of Oklahoma-related college items. 

Apparently no one thought much of the team apparel ban until a kindergartner – yes, a five-year-old boy – showed up at the beginning of this school year wearing a Michigan Wolverines t-shirt. Turns out the family had recently moved to OKC and wasn’t aware of the sports apparel prohibition.   

How did school officials respond? They obviously didn’t want the student to engage in any gang activities, or recruit fellow kindergartners, and moved swiftly by telling him to go behind a tree and turn his shirt inside out. (Now, one could argue that that should be a standard request for anyone wearing Michigan clothing, but that’s a whole different discussion for those of us in Badger country.)

When this young lad’s parents heard what happened they decided to take a stand that garnered national attention. Just this week the school superintendent announced that the ban would be lifted for 60 days while a special committee is formed to take a look at the issue of gang apparel and team logos. 

Reports are that the school district’s dress code was last updated in 2005 in cooperation with the Oklahoma City Police Department as a response to national concerns about gangs using clothing from sports teams as membership identification.

One has to wonder what information the school district and police had in 2005 that led to this policy. Then to have a five-year-old singled out like this – by those who are teaching children – really has me scratching my head.

What do you think? Is common sense taking a backseat to the “rules are rules” approach? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Is Cursive Obsolete?

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
During a recent visit to my third grader’s new classroom to meet her teacher and drop off her school supplies (also called “dump the junk” day), I was surprised to learn that this may be one of the last years that her school will be teaching cursive writing. It’s not a huge surprise to me – kids have grown up using advances in technology that I never had – but I have to say I was still somewhat shocked that it could be so obsolete that educators wouldn’t see a value in teaching penmanship anymore.

If you think about it, kids really don’t write too many things down anymore. Everything is composed at a computer, like this blog, or in a text 4COL (for crying out loud)! If I write a note in cursive, my kids can’t understand all the words. My son loves to write stories and even though he was taught how to write in cursive, he prints everything and then asks to use the computer to type it out. Both of my kids are more aware of the tools available in Word than they are with how to write the tricky letter “z” correctly in cursive.

I have to admit that I was one to hold on to writing things out long hand. In grad school I would write out my papers by hand – in cursive, I might add – and then type them out at the computer. I just had trouble composing at a blank computer screen. But, I eventually conformed and once I started drafting things at the computer, it became a natural way of doing things.

Weighing the pros and cons, I’m not so sure that it’s a big deal that our children are able to write in cursive if the chances are less and less that they will really use it. Maybe that class time could be devoted to other subjects. I mean, I don’t hear anyone complaining that we don’t teach calligraphy anymore so maybe it’s just time for a change.

So is it a big deal for our kids to learn cursive? Will they use it in their everyday life if they do learn it?