Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Live Television – You Decide Your Fate

By: Kristin Rabas, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Live television can be a scary and unpredictable place. Personally, I love live television. Why? Because as a viewer you never know what’s going to happen. However, if you’re on the other side of the camera, live television has the potential to make you or break you. If you do well, it can do wonders for your business and image. If you don’t do well, it can ruin a reputation or image in a matter of seconds. As I’m sitting here putting this post together, one specific live television incident comes to mind (one I’m sure everyone remembers hearing about, if not actually seeing first hand).

• Taylor’s “un-acceptance’ speech. During the 2009 MTV Music Awards, Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for best female video of the year was cut very short by Kanye West jumping on stage, grabbing the microphone and giving his opinion on who he thought the real winner should have been.

This situation has been pretty impactful – in a negative way – to West’s reputation, record label, sponsors and so on. Ok, this instance is pretty extreme but my point is that a couple of seconds can change the opinions and views of a lot of people. That is why media training is so important.

Media training is essential to any business or organization. From what not to wear to how to present yourself, media training can be the key to getting through a crisis or help you make the most of a television appearance where new products or goodwill are being promoted.

While Kanye’s outburst appeared to be spur of the moment, think about his appearance on the Jay Leno Show the next day. There is no doubt that he was coached and prepped before this live performance. Kayne was calm, sympathetic and apologetic for his actions. He was prepared and knew what he needed to say in order to restore his image and the respect he may have lost from some of his fans.

Media training can help you know how to answer the questions you really don’t want to answer, how to gain public support, how much information you should share, how long you should wait to address the public, and more. When a crisis or even a celebratory event happens, being prepared and knowing how to address the media will help make the best of any situation.

Do you have an upcoming interview or television appearance? What are some of the things you or your company does to make sure you are fully prepared? What’s your single, most important piece of advice that you would share with someone about doing an interview?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is Twitter Just Junk?

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

I came across an article in Newsweek earlier this month called “Don’t Tweet on Me” that, based on the amount of feedback it received, got a lot of people going. In the article, author Daniel Lyons writes that although some people use Twitter to share articles and thought provoking questions, the majority of what it posted on Twitter is just “junk.”

Although Mr. Lyons acknowledges in his article that Twitter can be used for good (sharing articles and photos and hearing thoughts on national issues from the likes of “serious people” such as Al Gore and George Stephanopoulos), he dedicated most of the article to saying that Twitter is popular because it is like driving by a car accident – you can’t help but look and see what is going on no matter how stupid it might be.

In the article, Mr. Lyons goes on to say that “Twitter is so stupid that it is brilliant” because it draws in millions of people who will follow every word of famous people, thereby giving a celebrity a much larger audience for themselves than if they were on a television show. In other words, “Twitter is not useful, or important or deeply revolutionary. …Twitter is entertainment.”

So, is Twitter just entertainment? I would argue that you tend to hear more about celebrity tweets because they are – well – celebrities and they are undoubtedly going to attract a large crowd. But I also know from experience in working with our clients that by incorporating Twitter into their PR campaigns it can extend their reach and impact. Whether sharing information, cross promoting a Web site, answering customer questions, starting a conversation with a larger audience, or addressing a crisis issue, Twitter can be a valuable part of a company’s communications plan. Just because you don’t read about it every day, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

So what is Twitter to you? A place where you can follow celebrities or make a contribution? Is Twitter a valuable PR resource or a form of entertainment as Mr. Lyons claims? Let’s start talking.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Once Upon a Time, Walt Disney Company Made a Very Wise PR Move

By: Beth Kneisler, Account Assistant, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Walt Disney Company recently announced it’s going to give up to as many as 1 million amusement-park passes to people who volunteer in their communities for one day. What Disney has done is team up with HandsOn Network, which is a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities and helps connect people with volunteer projects, as well as certifying the work was done. Once the day of work is complete, volunteers will be able to print out an online certificate which can be redeemed at a Disney park through 2010 (for info visit

Regardless how you feel about this promotion, or if you’d even care to spend a day with Mickey and all his friends, I think we all can agree that this is a very smart PR move for Disney.

Initially, Disney was looking for new promotional ideas that would help increase business at its parks and resorts since their profits have taken a pretty hard hit this past year. So, rather than simply discount or give away free tickets, they tied a community service component in with the promotion. The minds at Disney know that establishing community good-will by placing an emphasis on volunteering or giving back is good business. Period!

Everyone likes a business or company that is community minded and, if you’re like me, you actually choose to support certain companies over others because of this.

Think about your own business or place of employment. Chances are you aren’t giving free tickets away to theme parks, so I’d love to hear how your business or organization gives back to the local community, and what value you see from that activity. If you’re currently not doing much, remember, it’s time to start thinking like the minds at Disney, because they’re definitely on to something!