Crisis Communication: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Edition

Could anything have been done differently?

Image Courtesy of
Image Courtesy of

Samsung has issued a global recall on their Galaxy Note 7 cellular devices due to a battery cell issue on September 2, 2016. The model uses lithium-ion battery packs for power. The device can potentially blow up while charging. The number of exploding phones have doubled since the recall was issued by the company. Whether it’s a car or house fire, continued use of the phone can lead to extreme consequences.

This is very serious issue for the past couple of weeks and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has yet to issue an official recall. Many other companies are not taking that risk in the meantime. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has implemented restrictions for the Galaxy Note 7’s; several airlines has warned customers to power down before boarding. The phones cannot even be charged during flight and in some cases, the phones are not allowed on the plane at all. New York’s MTA has advised to power down phones before entering the bus or subway. No one wants to worry about a phone blowing up on a plane in a subway, where your risk for being affected increases greatly.

Per the CPSC agency they’re waiting to determine whether a replacement Note 7 is an acceptable remedy. Meanwhile, people are still using their Note 7’s and potentially risking not only their lives but the well-being of others in the process. Unfortunately for Samsung, it’s costing them millions as well brand loyalist in the process. Mind you, the CPSC took months to recall hover boards due to the same reason, complications from the infamous lithium-ion battery overheating.

Samsung has advised to power down their Note 7’s until a replacement is issued. Many depend on their devices to run their business. Going without a phone or going with a loaner phone case cost businesses several thousand dollars due to the time it takes to not only switching phones from the faulty Note 7, but to adjust using another loaner phone only to get another Note 7, if desired.

What do you think Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission could have done differently?

Digital Disclosure: Factoring the Law into your Branding Strategy

On the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website, it says “Protecting American Consumers.” This agency was created over a century ago to fostering competitive prices for high-quality goods or services. It may be fair to say that many marketing professional are mainly focused on company/client-centered goals, sometimes without clearing certain tactics with their company’s legal department. Thus in the digital age, sponsored mobile posts have become a lucrative business up until recently with little involvement from the FTC.

Unintentionally, the following examples references the Kardashian-Jennifer clan for sponsored posts. You can’t knock the amazing hustle and bustle from this family!

On one particular episode of her reality show, “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, Kris Jenner asked her daughters Kim and Khloe to not only do another post on Hairfinity, but fly out to London for a premiere. This made me pause because the middle Kardashian sister spoke to Adweek in 2015 stating her Instagram account was “promo-free” telling the magazine, “I know a lot of my brands might get frustrated that I don’t promote maybe as much as they would like, but I only do it if it’s authentic.”

What does this mean? If celebrities are already the “face” of a brand, should they have to disclose each post with a #spon or #ad tag?

Recently Kim’s sister, Kourtney, has promoted her Instagram with Fit Tea posts.  Many celebrities and influencers have done posts for the Fit Tea brand.  This brand may not feature Kourtney as their “face” but Kourtney made sure this post was clearly stated it was a paid post.  Many other influencers probably are now probably becoming  more familiar with guidelines to sponsored posts. Kylie Jennifer, sister of Kourtney and Kim, also posted about Fit Tea back in April, without tagging it as an ad while Kourtney’s recent July post about the brand included the ad tag.

Kourtney’s Kardashian famous ex-boyfriend/father to her three children, Scott Disick was in the news earlier this year for reportedly copying and pasting an entire email from a sponsor, Boo Tea UK, on exactly what to say in his Instagram post, without deleting the directions on what to post from the sponsor:

Scott Disick gaff
Image courtesy of Instagram via Buzzfeed

In the digital world, this is a BIG deal as it shows the secret exchanges behind this promotional posts.  It would appear that celebrities don’t have to do anything but simply post to social media.  It would appear there is no requirement of some influencers to even be a user of the brand.  Would this change the view of the people they are trying to “influence”?

Going back Kim’s Adweek interview, it seems now as if Kim is more actively involved with her posts to be more organic to her audience compared to Disicks’s disregarded fluke of a post on how to type a genuine Instagram promotion to his following.  Disicks’s mishap is also not a good look on Boo Tea UK’s part either.  It shows little regard from the brand about having the influencer being true advocates for their product, they are only a means of advertisement.   There is also little regard from the influencer on if they make a mistake as they’re rich they can make mistakes and “hope” no one remembers them.  Not anymore as only one simple internet search can reveal a life’s timeline.

Influencers receive so many views a day that they can leverage their profiles, or ad space with “product placements” a.k.a sponsored ads. Them doing so requires the influencer to notify their following visibility in doing so unlike actual product placements where there is a process to get a product featured on a television show or movie. This also leverages competition and informs the viewers that while influencers may post about certain brands, they are paid to do so that the public can use their judgment whether or not to purchase the product. Seems pretty fair in case an audit is done on both the brand and the influencer.

As always with changing times comes changing/new laws however we follow people based on how we like them/their content they publish for the world to see. Do you think sponsored ads would change how you’re influenced by your favorite celebrities? What could sponsored ads say about an influencer’s brand?

Here is a little digital disclosure for all of my readers: Today marks 6 months since I’ve given birth! It has truly been an amazing experience thus far, watching my baby girl grow every single day. Mommy loves you Courtney!

The “Beyoncé” of Basketball, For Now

Image Courtesy of Stephen Curry’s Twitter Profile Picture


My husband and I were shopping on vacation. Outside a shoe store were samples of the shoes they were selling inside the store. At almost every shoe store there was the blue/white/gold Under Armour® Men’s Curry shoe. After seeing this advertised at the tenth shoe store, we walked passed it only to see a huge wall ad of Steph Curry himself in uniform and a picture of the very same shoe. “In the second quarter of 2015, during the same time frame when Curry won MVP and the Warriors won the title, Under Armour’s basketball shoe sales went bonkers with sales growing by 754% in that category.” (Business Insider, August 2015).

I never took considerable notice before because I’m not a huge basketball fan however brands are willing to jump on the next “IT” player to make their own shoes/sports apparel. Now that I think about it there have been several predecessors before Curry to get their own shoe: Kevin Durant’s Nike KD’s, Penny Hardaway’s Foamposites, Shaquille O’Neal’s Reebok Shaq Attacks, Kobe Bryant’s Adidas KB8 and of course the many, many styles of Michael Jordan’s Nike Air Jordan’s; just to name a few.

All of these current/former players are, or were at some point, star players in the NBA. Some were even featured multiple times with several SKUs of shoes (i.e. Michael Jordan). They’ve set records and done it in their own style, leading shoe brands to take notice. Who wouldn’t want their shoe to be worn by the hottest/highest scoring MVP player in the league, on television?! Feet are a major ad space for a professional athlete, and rightfully so as these sponsorships are costing companies millions for a star player to be the face of a brand.

Brands will spend major dollars on other advertising avenues to make sure they make millions: billboards, TV, radio, magazines, blogs, etc. Everyone brand wants to top the Nike Air Jordan’s and Nike has to consistently stay relevant with their releases. Now that LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavilers are the latest champions, we may be expecting a different shoe on the market from one of the stars on that team.

I must give credit to my husband for coming up with the title of this blog.  Thanks D 🙂

What Rudolph can teach us about Differentiation and Image

Image courtesy of via Rankin/Bass productions


Christmastime is my favorite time of the year.  I love watching the old 1970 Christmas TV specials that come on each year such as one of the Rankin/Bass Productions’ classics: “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”.  As I watched it the first of December, it deeply resonated with me and with what is going on in society and how we can apply that to our brands.

Rudolph was born with a red nose that can light up.  His family was shocked and his father went to the extreme to cover his nose with dirt to avoid his son being different.  As he made friends and was able to participate in reindeer games, his fake nose was exposed and Rudolph lost his friends.  Even his girlfriend Clarice was forbade by her father not to hang around Rudolph.  His nose was deemed a disability by society which made Rudolph sad enough to run away from home.

From a personal perspective, this hit deep as I’ve seen many instances where the parents of one girl were told not to become too “friendly” to a boy of a different racial background.  Being different isn’t always a bad thing and being around the same type of people can become boring.  I’ve benefitted from diversifying my friends and the colleagues I’ve associate with as they come from different backgrounds and experiences.  Those that are different from you can teach you more about yourself than any classroom.

Now from a professional standpoint, brand managers can brainstorm ideas from watching this television special.  Rudolph left home at a young age and returned when he was older.  Those that were mean to him before apologized to Rudolph.  Even Santa realized he could not delivery toys on Christmas Eve without Rudolph’s special ability.  It is up to the brand managers and their marketing teams to understand how their product or service stands out in a sea of competitors.  Could your company’s niche be attached to a trend that could go viral if pushed on social media?  How can you best message your target audience that they cannot live without your product or service?  These are good questions to ask yourself in preparation for any pushed message or campaign you will prepare for your company.


There is a ton of talent in the world. Many want their share of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry. The problem is most aspiring artists are blending in with what is current and trending instead of trying to set a new standard that many will never get discovered. Even if the artist gets discovered, it may take longer than it would have if the artist would have had their own image. Once they finally have some shine based on the current trend, the next “trend” has already begun to work it’s way through the industry and the artist will again have to adjust to stay relevant.

This can be avoided by differentiation. The artist with their branding team will need to understand what sets them a part from all of the other talent in their category. What works for Justin Bieber may not work for August Alsina, even though both artists are truly talented in the R&B music industry. Lets take a quick look into how August Alsina’s image differs from Justin Bieber’s:

August Alsina

August Alsina
Photo Credit:
  • Starting posting on YouTube and following grew
  • Got into drug dealing before being discovered
  • Released other mix tapes previous before his official first release
  • One released studio featured album
  • Newer to the entertainment industry compared to Justin Bieber
  • Preparing for this first official tour

Justin Bieber

justin bieber
Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter
  • Started posting on YouTube and following grew
  • No released mix tapes prior to first official album release
  • Four released studio albums to date
  • Has had a longevity in the music industry compared to August having finished a worldwide tour that lasted over a year
  • Got into legal trouble after speculation of drug and alcohol abuse

As you can see these two artists are very different in their careers.  August Alsina has opportunities coming his way so he can focus on to further his career.  Justin Bieber has to deal with the legal troubles from his DUI arrest in Florida and his infamous egg throwing incident to one of his California neighbors.

The media loves to report chaos and negativity for sales and website hits.  Until Bieber resolves all of his legal issues, he will continue to be followed by the paparazzi in hopes that they can catch the next chaotic thing Justin will do.  It’s unfortunate that rising talent will have to fight to get media attention for the good things that they’re trying to do but that is the way the media world works.

Outer appearance is a part of the image, along with the artist’s story.  For Justin Bieber he was a cute 15 year old with adorable hair and everyone wanted to interview him. All talk shows wanted to have Bieber perform on their shows.  An artist’s image should invite journalists and reporters to want to get to know you better.  For August Alsina you will usually see him in sunglasses.  This could prompt journalists and reporters to ask more questions as this can be seen to some people as “hiding” from the public.  Either way, it welcomes people to ask questions to get a better understanding.  Now August Alsina is more open either wearing fake glasses or not wearing any at all.

How can an artist get more media coverage about the GOOD things they are doing?  Consider hiring a publicist to help figure out how to not only set the artist a part but how to STAND OUT from the competition.  It is important to understand what image the artist will  want to portray with the media so the media can tell the artist’s story for them.

Side note: I’m doing freelance work for Elvie G PR out of Los Angeles, CA.  Are you a musician that needs public relations work? Please contact me at to see what we can do for your brand/image!