Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Can Tiger Come Back?

By: Susan Finco, President / Owner, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Can Tiger Woods come back after the scandal? Will he ever be marketable again? What about damage to his brand? Every one of us at L&F have been asked these question a number of times during the past month. Because of our extensive work in reputation and crisis management, they’re very good questions.

But, there are no simple answers. A lot will depend on what happens next. Generally, over time, the public has been willing to forgive (and to some extent forget) public figures who “do wrong.” The problem in Tiger’s case is that he dug in hard when things started to unfold. He asked, actually demanded, that the media and the public give him and his family privacy. He totally underestimated today’s media culture, not to mention public interest. His story just didn’t add up, so none of us at L&F were surprised when the original story started to unravel and seemingly got worse literally every day.

What’s amazing to all of us at L&F is that he was able to live a double life for so long. We’ve all heard the saying “nothing good happens after midnight.” Change that to: “Nothing good happens after midnight when you’re a married superstar and you’re out partying at Las Vegas night clubs with porn stars.” It’s the ultimate “What was he thinking?!”

So, where does he go from here? He’s going to have to live through the ugliness for a while. This will dog him for a long, long time. He has to man up and take the criticism; working to prove he’s worthy of a positive superstar status again. Getting back on the golf course – and winning – will certainly help. If his wife doesn’t divorce him, he needs to be squeaky clean and repentant; keeping a very low profile. Even if he gets divorced, he needs to clean up his act. Did he really think the type of women he was having affairs with weren’t out for something more than sex? Stop texting, emailing and leaving voice mail for women you don’t really know, or be prepared for TMZ to be running a series of stories on your exchanges.

Yes, with time, it is possible for Tiger to gain back his reputation, but it will never be quite the same. There won’t be an asterisk in the records book, but in many people’s minds there will always be an asterisk when they hear his name. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What are your company traditions?

By: Angela Walschinski, Account Assistant, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

We tend to think of holiday traditions as part of our personal and family lives, but building and sharing holiday traditions in the office is a productive concept. Let's face it, most workers are caught up in the glow of the season. Working together, preparing to celebrate a holiday tradition in the office means building team work, cooperation, drawing workers into the group and giving everyone a sense of community. You may find that what you do as you share a few holiday traditions in the office will give everyone a new respect for one another and a better sense of congeniality that will last through the work year ahead.

If we look closely, most companies have traditions and they bind staff to the company and to each other. Here at Leonard & Finco, we’ve developed a set of traditions. These traditions include: a summer outing, recognizing one another’s birthdays with an in office celebration, playing an active role in the community, and a holiday party…this year we decided to add some fun to the holiday party by having a pot luck with an ugly sweater theme.

The traditions have become part of our culture and we continue to add new traditions. It’s part of what we as staff have come to expect. Traditions are a fun way to bring the office staff together to celebrate the season or event. I, for one, think that businesses ought to recognize their office traditions, no matter how small, and celebrate them, for they make work a better place.

How about you? What traditions does your company observe? What do they mean to you?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Remember what the season’s all about

By: Scott Stein, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

It’s the holiday season and everyone is busy running from here to there. Whether it is Christmas shopping, checking out a client’s holiday get-together, the office Christmas party or planning a family gathering at your house, there’s so much to get done.

We get so busy that we often forget that the holidays are really about giving. That’s especially true this year as many people continue to feel the sting of the down economy. Yes, there are signs of improvement, still we all know someone who’s out of a job and local non-profits are feeling the squeeze with increased demand and declining support.

Promoting charitable giving is a great way to celebrate the holidays. Simple office discussions about Bell Ringing or the impact a local charitable organization is having may spur others to donate or help out in some other way.

Even in small office, there are simple things that can be done…

  • Volunteer – Supporting a charitable organization doesn’t have to mean writing a check. Volunteers are the key to success in helping others for most non-profits. The Christmas season is a great time to ring bells for The Salvation Army. Giving your time and energy is a great gift during the holidays and at other times of the year.
  • Collect food or toys – Many organizations are looking for non-perishable food donations or toys during the Christmas season. If everyone in the office donates a can of food or a toy, those items can collectively make a difference for a less fortunate family’s holiday season. But don’t limit yourself to the holidays, food pantries need your help throughout the year.
  • Plan an office fundraiser – How about an office bake sale or even a silent auction to raise money. Or even a special weekly or monthly lunch can be a good fundraising activity. If everyone gets involved, then the nickels and dimes can add up to a healthy donation to a needy organization.

Charitable efforts in the workplace can lead to improved teamwork. You’ll also reap the benefits of knowing that you’ve done something to help those in need. What types of things are you doing this holiday season or in 2010?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Send the Right Message - Internally

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

In the world of communication and public relations, we spend hours upon hours building up a positive image of companies to the general public and customers. (That’s the ultimate goal, right?) While it make sense to continually promote your company and make its abilities known to the public, sometimes we forget to include our biggest fans (and sometimes our biggest critics), our employees.

Internal communication with a company’s employees is essential. In an economy where individuals are hesitant about spending, it’s their friends’ and neighbors’ opinions they trust. Your employees have the power to spread positive messages or negative images just as easily as the company can. With the holidays here, many of us will be spending time with our friends and family and ultimately, sharing our opinions about a variety of matters. My point is that your own employees are great spokespeople for your organizations and sometimes we forget that.

So how do you ensure your employees are speaking positively about your company?
  • Share information with them – good and bad. If your firm is struggling financially, be sure the employees understand that and know why. A lack of information will only fuel rumors.
  • If your company has cut back on nonessential spending, including, holiday gatherings or bonuses, let them know far in advance. Last minute surprises never go over well. Give some thought about non-monetary things you can do to show your appreciation. Or maybe let employees hold an afternoon, at-the-office pot luck gathering.
  • Ask for their input on how to improve process and procedures. But, if you’re going to ask, be ready to implement ideas that have merit. Nothing turns off employees faster than asking for their input and then ignoring all of it.
  • Do the little things that matter to employees. Whether it’s recognizing their birthdays or celebrating a business success, people like to know they’re appreciated.

The moral of the story is, no matter what situation your organization is in, it’s important to remember to communicate efficiently and effectively with your staff. What do you do, or what does your organization do, to ensure your employees are speaking positively about you? What low-cost ideas do you have to show employees appreciation?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Interview Ready?

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

Have you ever watched someone being interviewed on TV only to cringe at their awful answers? Or what about when someone answers a question by talking and talking, not realizing that they are making things worse? Chances are they weren’t as prepared for the interview as they should have been.

Whether you have done several interviews or are a novice, the key to a successful interview is being prepared. We work with our clients every time they have an interview so they are sure to state their message clearly, logically and consistently. We review talking points, discuss the interview location and suggest visuals to use if appropriate. No detail is too small, so we also review things like what to wear, how to sit and how to project your voice properly.

So, are you interview-ready? Take a moment and complete the pop quiz below to find out. Don’t worry, it’s not too hard, but it does get the point across that the details do matter when it comes to effective PR. Proper planning and practicing in advance will get you the results you are looking for.

1. When doing an interview, it’s always a good idea to have ____ messages (or points) you want to make.

A. 6
B. 3
C. 25
D. 1

2. When preparing for a radio interview a key thing to keep in mind is:

A. Don’t talk too fast – watch your pace
B. Just wing it
C. Mumble
D. Radio interviews really aren’t that important

3. For a television interview it is best to:

A. Try out a new hair style
B. Wear a crazy patterned shirt
C. Dress professionally, but appropriately
D. Wear all black – better to be safe than sorry with colors

4. When asked a difficult question or a question you are not sure how to answer during an interview you should:

A. Say “no comment”
B. Tell the reporter they are crazy
C. Repeat a previous answer
D. Be honest and tell the reporter why you can’t answer the question or that you will have to get back to them with the answer

5. When preparing for an interview it is important to consider:

A. Opportunities to discuss with the reporter such as ideas for b-roll footage and additional people they could interview
B. Just focusing on the facts
C. Prepare? Who prepares?
D. Setting extra time aside to meditate before the interview

So, how did you do on the quiz? Are there other questions you think should be included? Any answers you would argue with? Let me know!

Answers: 1.) B; 2.) A; 3.) C; 4.) D.; 5.) A.