Category Archives: Public Relations

McDonald’s feeling the heat to drop antibiotics

mcdonalds antibiotics

For a long time, McDonald’s and other fast-food franchise brands have been unwilling and unenthusiastic participants in the ongoing debate over healthier food options. Especially for kids.

It’s not really that Mickey D’s wants kids to eat unhealthy. It’s simply that the business model is not based on freshly made and prepared foods. It’s about decent quality meals at a reasonable price served fast and consistently across all locations. The latter concerns, fast and consistent are the biggest keys to the success of the franchise. That’s the model, and there is a long chain of events that leads to the cashier putting that wrapped burger in the brown paper bag. Continue reading

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Hostess Brand Goes Public this Fall

Yep, that’s right. And not only are they going public with a new IPO that will trade as HOSTESS, but they are looking at adding new treats to their lineup.

A year or so ago, a majority stake in Hostess was sold to Gores Group (GRSHU), who has raised an additional $375 million to purchase another company or key brand with similar products. They are looking to combine the two into the new Hostess brand. Continue reading

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Crowdfunding: the new Real Estate goldmine

real estate pr

Everyone knows there can be big rewards in real estate investing. But, for many, the risk was always too high. No matter which way you went – commercial or residential – there were so many variables that even the savviest investor could lose his shirt.

But crowdfunding is changing that. A startup called RealtyShares recently launched a way for investors to put small amounts of cash into larger deals. In this way, you could spread the risk out among many different projects and increase your chances of success. Better still, investors can get a piece of major projects with relatively little cash up front. For example: for projects ranging from $100,000 to well over tens of millions, the buy-in could be as little as $5,000.

This method allows beginner investors to get a piece of the larger action and veteran investors to spread the risk around. Instead of putting fifty grand into a single make or break project, investors can put the same money into ten projects. Even if half of those projects don’t turn a profit, you are still likely to cash in.

Elie Hirschfeld, a real estate developer noted, “This idea works great for developers too. Instead of going to one well-heeled investor for the cash to get a project going, some will turn to crowdfunding getting cash faster and easier.”

In 2015 alone RealtyShares built $300 million in real estate property value through 200 different projects in 17 states. According to company spokesmen, investors have been getting between 8 and 29 percent return on their investment, depending on the project. Try getting that in a mutual fund! This is just one way crowdfunding has revolutionized business and investing. What are some ways you think crowdfunding will change the world in 2016?

 

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Bad News Continues for Volkswagen

Volkswagen Crisis PR

The news just keeps getting worse for Volkswagen. After the story of the German automaker’s international emissions scandal broke, everyone in consumer PR knew it would be bad. But it’s worse. November sales plummeted more than 25 percent. In the time of year every automaker is desperately trying to clear out old inventory to make way for new models, no one is buying. Continue reading

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Filed under Juda Engelmayer, Public Relations

How will this nonprofit remake its reputation?

non profit crisis pr

Bonita Springs Assistance Office is a local charity providing emergency financial aid and a food pantry for residents facing a crisis. 39-year old Marjorie Kasell-Johnson (MJ) was the executive director and president of BSAO for about a year before she was recently fired, suspected of misappropriating funds. Continue reading

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Beau Biden Still Doing Good from Beyond

Beau BidenSometimes your good works in this life are so consistent and well-known, that they live beyond your years. For some people, those works live on in a trust, a bequest, or a foundation. For some, it’s a business built from the ground up. For Beau Biden, that means having all your campaign funds funneled into a new charity.
The son of Vice President Joe Biden and an accomplished politician in his own right, Beau Biden had served two terms as Delaware’s Attorney General before cancer took him at the age of 46. Rumors had already placed him in the 2016 governor’s race, cancer or no cancer. His campaign continued to take in donations though he had not yet officially announced his candidacy. That’s how much donors in Delaware thought of Biden. They gave so he could consider running. They knew the sort of man he was, and they wanted that man as their governor.
Sadly, Biden passed away with much left undone in his life, many dreams yet unfulfilled. Even so, he managed to do a lot more than many in about half as many years. His own father spoke of Beau as a hero – a loving husband, dedicated father and accomplished businessman, the sort of person a father can easily be proud of. Many others felt the same way, apparently. To date, roughly $660,000 had been collected by two organizations supporting Biden’s unofficial gubernatorial campaign.
Now, CNN is reporting that many of those funds will be channeled into the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children. While the principals involved have not said how much, they still have some unfinished business on the political side, any amount at all is a testament to the strength of the memory of the man.
Hallie Biden, Beau’s widow, released a media statement about the bequest. “The campaign money will be used to continue the work Beau loved most — protecting children — and the natural place to do that is the foundation.”
In a situation fraught with sadness and difficult headlines, that is one that can give everyone a reason to smile when they remember a man who made serving others his legacy.

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The Need To Be Responsive

responsive

You may have heard the word “responsive” when it comes to the internet and the public relations industry. But what does it really mean to be responsive? Catering to the needs and demands of your customers by creating a customized experience through your products and services is what it’s all about. Because of the wide range of devices and technology that is available today, it is more important than ever to make sure that your company website and digital media is user friendly across many different platforms.

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Filed under Education, Juda Engelmayer, Public Relations

Citi Fails to pay Debts

CITI DEBTS

Few things kill a reputation faster than failure to make good on legitimate debts. Particularly when you have not only committed to pay them, but also received a more lenient consequence because you agreed to pay them. That, says Ronn Torossian, is the situation in which Citigroup itself is in at the moment.

According to a recent report in Bloomberg, Citigroup failed to send settlement checks to more than 20,000 borrowers who were judged to be eligible for payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review. Media reports quoted two people “close to the matter,” saying the bank is “preparing to send out settlement checks to affected borrowers” … but they have not yet. It’s the “not yet” that is creating the extensive PR damage here. While the amount owed – reportedly $20 million – is substantial, it is a relatively small number compared to many of the others that have been tossed around in the mortgage fiasco.

Further, it’s not that high total that has people hacked off. It’s the apparent flippant view Citi seems to be taking with their money. It’s kind of like a kid who knows he’s going to be punished but refuses to accept that punishment. That’s not the time to try to save face. It’s the time to pay up and move on. If there was a time to either delay or refuse payment, it would have been BEFORE the judgment was leveled. Once the penalty was agreed to, Citi only stands to worsen an already shaky reputation by dissembling.

While Citi’s PR position is negative and bordering on a crisis, there is no need for this scenario to lead to that threatened public relations storm. The company need simply make good on its debts, treat its current customers well, and this situation could quickly dissipate. However, if the company continues to flaunt its obligations, expect there to be long-term bad blood…and expect competitors to swoop in and snap up justifiably angry customers.

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Christopher Burch, Richard Branson and Marlen Kruzhkov On Success

quotes-on-success

  • “Work hard and you shall do well.” Jonah Engler
  • “The golden rule for every business man is this: “Put yourself in your customer’s place.” Orison Swett Marden
  • “It takes more than capital to swing business. You’ve got to have the A. I. D. degree to get by — Advertising, Initiative, and Dynamics.” Ren Mulford Jr.
  • “Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.” David Rockefeller
  • “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” Thomas Watson, Sr.
  • “The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do.” Roy L. Smith
  • “In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.” Harold Geneen
  • “To succeed in business, to reach the top, an individual must know all it is possible to know about that business.” J. Paul Getty
  • “In business, I’ve discovered that my purpose is to do my best to my utmost ability every day. That’s my standard. I learned early in my life that I had high standards.” Donald Trump
  • “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.” Richard Branson
  • “Be Positive and keep your head up.”  Marlen Kruzhkov
  • “Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking. Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading: buying and selling.” Anita Roddick
  • “If everything came easy in business everyone would have a business and be millionaires. It takes hard work, consistent effort and courage to keeping fighting the monster of failure.” Delaine Robbins
  • “Always consider who you’re learning from. Don’t listen to people who are not experiencing the success you want.” Ehab Atalla
  • “Rejection is one step to get you closer to the destination if you simply stay persistent.” Sarah Tse
  • “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” Sven Goran Eriksson
  • “Success must be earned – it is not a given.” Christopher Burch
  • “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” Jack Welch
  • “Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.” Mark Cuban
  • “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
  • “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” Zig Ziglar
  • “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Tony Robbins
  • “Success is about creating benefit for all and enjoying the process. If you focus on this & adopt this definition, success is yours.” Kelly Kim
  • “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” Albert Einstein
  • “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” Dale Carnegie
  • “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs
  • “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi
  • “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” Ray Kroc

 

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Filed under Juda Engelmayer, Media, Politics, Public Relations

Ford and the F-150 – how a top seller became a PR Drag

ford-torossian

It is a fact, the next F-150 will be made of aluminum. While Ford designers and promoters are over the moon about this purported advancement in truck manufacturing, not every pickup fan is feeling the love. In fact, as CEO of 5W PR Ronn Torossian points out, the new design and supposed upgrade has triggered a chain of PR hurdles for Ford to overcome.

When the F-150’s new feature was first announced, conventional PR wisdom decided that the new shell design would be the sticking point of the redesigned F-150. The thick, heavy steel frame which so many truck guys love about the F-150 will be replaced with a lighter aluminum version. Ford claims that the aluminum frame will be equally sturdy to that of the steel frame while also offering vastly increased fuel efficiency. Will truck aficionados buy that selling line? While the jury is still out on that particular question, another PR issue looms large for Ford.

When Ford’s PR team announced their most aggressive new lineup of Ford updates, upgrades, and model improvements, pickup lovers across the country rejoiced. Who is not cheering? Dealerships coast-to-coast which are stuck with aging 2014 models that are, as of that announcement, obsolete. Of course, they may sell a TON of new Fords NEXT year, but with Ford’s sixteen new vehicle launches in 2015, most customers considering a new Ford are apt to wait for the new look.

It’s a problem familiar to that of the mobile device marketplace. The moment Apple or Samsung announces a new model, customers push pause on their desire to purchase the current model. Suddenly, retailers are faced with a conundrum. They have stacks of presently outdated stock that need to be moved, in order to make way for the latest and greatest models.

Torossian observes that it’s an interesting paradox for both the marketplace and for consumer public relations. On the one hand, discounts and fire sales associated with clearing out the old models can be a huge boon for cost-conscious consumers. However, if those incentives overlap the promotions for the new and exciting upgrades, the reasons to buy last year’s version can get lost in the cacophony of noise surrounding the latest and greatest.

It’s not a totally foreign challenge in the automotive industry, even for Ford. When the manufacturer released the new and classic inspired Mustang model a few years back, the glut of the old style model was massive. While flipping sports cars every few years is typical, truck fans are often in it for the long haul. Ron Torossian forecasts that the parallel PR campaigns Ford will have to run when it rolls out the new 2015 F-150 will be interesting to watch.

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