Category Archives: 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Public Relations

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

 

Leave a comment

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Branding, Corporations, Public Relations, Social Media

Effective Communication in the Healthcare Industry

healthcare-prOne of the most valued qualities in a job candidate is the ability to speak, listen and write effectively. Organizations that communicate effectively with their internal and external stakeholders benefit in many ways than those that view communication as an internal matter. Effective communication in the healthcare industry encompasses many factors.

Structure

This is one of the most important components of good communication. Professionals in the healthcare industry should organize information in a logical, easy-to-understand manner. For example, avoid using technical and medical jargon when relaying information to people who are not in the medical field.

Transparency

Effective communication in the healthcare industry should be transparent. For example, in a hospital setting, transparency refers to how much information should be revealed about the hospital, its dealings, policies and developments. Honesty and integrity are important elements of effective communication in the healthcare industry because they inspire trust between the industry and its internal and external stakeholders. Transparency in communication also ensures that everyone has the information they require to make the right decisions.

Accuracy

Many factors in the healthcare industry affect people’s lives directly and indirectly. Inaccurate information in research and other factors in the healthcare industry may even lead to loss of lives. Accuracy in communication can be enhanced mainly through research.

Sensitivity

The workforce in the healthcare industry is highly diverse. Therefore, the ability to practice sensitivity in communication is highly valued. Sensitivity in communication involves taking account of cultural differences in communication styles and adapting your messages so that they can be well received by your intended audience.

Effective communication in the healthcare industry is a broad field that encompasses many factors. Many companies are now hiring public relations managers to handle their internal and external communication. There are many benefits of hiring Public relations managers to handle communication for businesses in the healthcare industry.

• By hiring public relations managers, you receive experienced professionals who can brainstorm and tell the story of your company in a unique way.

• An external PR firm provides third party objectivity in communication. Effective communication may involve stepping back, assessing the situation and offering fresh ideas and perspectives.

• Public relations managers have the expertise to tailor creative messages that can break through misunderstandings and negative public opinions.

• PR managers have established communication with the media. While internal PR managers may be more passionate about their firms, news coming from them may seem biased and non-credible, which the media may not buy.

• Experienced PR managers work with company spokespeople and teach them how to deliver catchy sound bites, answer tough questions from the media and stick to important messages.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Juda Engelmayer, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology

Beyonce: Bootylicious or Business Genius?

beyonce-marketingPop stars trading on “pretty” is nothing new. Since video killed the radio star, pop icons have separated themselves from also-rans by being prettier, edgier, or more visually interesting and entertaining. Production became not only a tool, but a necessity of the trade. Better production meant better sound, and that dynamic made celebrities out of both top producers and the hitmakers smart enough to work with them. Brands were born, and the music industry created bidding wars for top names. Since Madonna and Cher, all the best single ladies dropped their last name and put their first name up in lights.

When Destiny’s Child burst onto the scene, you didn’t have to be an industry insider to know who carried the most star power. After the eventual breakup of the superstar “girl group,” Beyonce’ rocketed to fame on her own.

Initially, her inherent sex appeal, camera love, and stage presence carried her, but pop music has a lot of good looking women who love the spotlight. Friends, associates – even critics – say it is  Beyonce’s business acumen that keeps her at the top. (And I’d argue marrying Jay Z has helped both of them.)

Even Harvard Business School has taken notice. According to Businessweek, HBS is offering a new class unit that asks students what they would do if they were working for Beyonce’.

The class is based on a marketing strategy case study co-authored by Anita Elberse, a professor of Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries, who asks students how they would handle the “surprise” release of Bey’s latest album. The recording was downloaded more than 617,000 times in less than three days. Not bad for tracks that were released exclusively on iTunes.

Now, not everyone could manage that. You need a massive amount of market presence and name recognition to get there, but the question is … how would you handle it? That’s a key question in any industry. Too many focus entirely on getting to the top, without any idea of what to do to stay there. A lesson, it seems, they could start learning from Beyonce’.

Leave a comment

Filed under Juda Engelmayer, Media, Public Relations

Great Phones & Giant Robots

When you think of South Korea you likely think of cars, smartphones, and flat screen TVs. But what about robots? Well, with the advent of a state-sponsored 735 million dollar theme park featuring futuristic rides, as well as R&D labs, robots are fast becoming big business in South Korea.

The park is not set to open until 2016, but it is being reported that the country will be investing more than one trillion won into its national robotics industry, an industry that has doubled in size in the past five years. In 2012, Bloomberg reported that the nation’s robotics industry had revenue topping 2.1 trillion won. Now, the government is working to increase that number to more than 7 trillion won by 2018. The projection calls for 600 domestic robotics companies employing more than 34,000 workers.

This effort must include a shift in presence and presentation for a country famous for its tiny electronics—semiconductors, sensors, and modern automotive computing equipment. One market PR challenge may stem from a transition in end user, from public defense to private consumer. This is because much of the technology being used to “commercialize” the robots comes from Hyundai Rotem, a defense subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group.

In fact, one of the robot products already in use includes a robot sentry, equipped with a gun and grenade launcher, that has been tested on the border with North Korea. For many westerners, this application offers unsettling images of ED209 the “Bad Robot” from the Robocop film.

But the transition from military to consumer applications may not be as difficult as one might think. The country is taking the right tack in its transition by employing robots in places frequented by kids. Machines are helping to teach students English and others interact with fans at baseball games. Connecting with kids on two different fronts, the robotics industry is establishing a tried and true – and highly effective – PR program.

This is a vital step in continued growth, even as neighboring Japan has countered with robotics investments of its own. If South Korea wants to establish itself as a competitive player in this industry, it cannot discount the power of consumer expectation and strategic public relations.

Leave a comment

Filed under Branding, Media, Public Relations

Apple: Where no news is still headline news

apple-product-announcementWell, Apple has done it again. Once more they released a vague statement and received an incredible amount of almost completely free PR. Back in August, Apple began sending out media invitations to a “special event” schedule for September 9. What would it be? They “couldn’t say more.” Of course, “everyone” assumed it would be the release of the new iPhone 6, but the company steadfastly played dumb while everyone lost their minds. Scores of reports across major news networks, segments replaying and dissecting the few actual commercials Apple released, guesses and prognostication and predictions galore. An entire cottage industry of blogs and gurus was created simply to talk about what Apple refused to talk about. How do they do it?

Sure, it’s easy to say they’ve earned it. Apple has been masterful in their PR presentation since Jobs was on the job. Using hype, unique products and a heavy dose of exclusive branding, Apple created a culture of fans by being completely different … but also knowing exactly how to appeal to those they targeted.

The lesson here is in style, not function. It’s about creating anticipation and parlaying that emotion into mad amounts of free publicity.

And anticipation wears many faces. Sure there will be the die-hards who will buy any new toy with an Apple logo on it. But there are many others who are after certain features and benefits that Apple currently doesn’t offer. It’s no secret that Apple is losing market share to Samsung and their deliciously large touchscreens. So, when it came time to start the iPhone rumor mill, one of the first things “leaked” was the projected larger screen. Up to 5.5 inches some said.

That little tidbit ignited a firestorm of conversation. Would it happen? Is it better? Does size really matter? Was it enough? Not enough? Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Talk…

And then there were the “outsider” predictions. The less obvious bets made by purported technology industry insiders who “knew” months ago that the actual big announcement would be the long anticipated “iWatch.” Apple was more than happy to feed these rumors too.

Then all they had to do was sit back and let the anticipation build.

Leave a comment

Filed under Public Relations, Technology