If you like it then you should put a RIBBON on it

In a previous post, I talked about how being a public relations professional helps me think on my feet to work around threats.

In conducting and updating my SWOT analysis for this wedding, one of the opportunities for the bridal party turned into a serious threat:

The bridesmaid dresses didn’t fit 40% of the bridal party!

 

Now with less than 30 days to the wedding, I had to think fast to avoid raising the bride’s stress levels. Well it turns out my solution worked!

Here is how I turned an original opportunity that changed to a threat back to another opportunity…and technically into a strength.

 

My wonderful Etsy solution!

The bridesmaid dresses are one of the most expensive items to acquire for the wedding.  Normally this would entail the bridal party to go dress shopping and place the dress on order.  In this particular instance, we decided to go the least expensive route and find a dress on a website.  Pretty dress but to our disbelief, the FIT didn’t work out for our curvaceous features.  We took the risk and lost.

It’s now less than 30 days to the wedding.  There was no way we could order dress to have them arrive in time and even if they did, the fit out would not be favorable.  With two bridesmaids not being able to fasten the hooks, I decided to throw a ribbon on it and have all the bridesmaids wear a ribbon around their waist to cover the hooks.

It was my job to break the news to the bride but I had to make sure I present it in a way that would ease her worries.  The sandwich method helped (start good, drop the bad, top it off with good):

  1. Complimented the beauty of the dress
  2. State that the dress could not be secured for a couple of bridesmaids due to the tight fit
  3. Offered a solution that would solve any issues AND compliment the colors of the wedding

After having the bride check with her wedding planner, the ribbon worked and would not clash with any other decor. Whew, crisis averted.  I Pope’ed it!  This ribbon not only solves a problem but includes the bride’s favor color more in her wedding vision.

Anyone can complain and pout but the resilient figure out a way to make it happen.  Most entrepreneurs push and strive to see their vision come to life so get out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Crisis Communication: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Edition

Could anything have been done differently?

Image Courtesy of Samsung.com
Image Courtesy of Samsung.com

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?

Motherhood and PR Part 2: Collaboration is give and take

Before February 24, 2016 I was on my own time. I did things when I wanted to do them. Now that I have a baby girl, my personal time is limited after working 8 hours, after the house is clean and once my husband isn’t working on one of his multiple companies (having multiple streams of income definitely helps with a newborn). Some things are unavoidable such as when the baby has to eat and needs a diaper change. This can be at three in the afternoon AND three in the morning with several diaper changes and feedings in between.

Knowing newborns schedules are different than their parents, the parents can better prepare for these anticipated needs of the child, especially at night. One example: breastfeeding moms could, if they prefer, pump during the day and have a safety stock of milk ready to heat up in the middle of the night so that either mom or dad could bottle-feed baby.

Publicist can also anticipate and prepare for their clients such as capitalizing off of certain events. A good example of this can be if a publicist has a musician as a client attending an awards show. The publicist could work their magic and try to get their clients featured on radio before the show and line up interviews during the red carpet walk.

Happy fashion designer talking phone in office
Photo courtesy of careersinmusic.com

Unfortunately everything cannot be anticipated such as a client losing their cool. Publicists should always prepare for a crisis to be ready to respond accordingly. Take Chris Brown for example; the R&B singer has been in and out of trouble since he was convicted to assault against his former girlfriend Rihanna. Chris Brown likes to vent/share his opinions on his social media accounts about things that he feels he “knows” a lot about … just because he has been in a sticky situation or two before. His publicist, if he has one, will have to deal with the fallout.

Babies are just as unpredictable as their little immune systems make them vulnerable to getting sick very easily. It is important for parents to not only prepare to prevent this from happening, but stop it from getting worse. Keeping the child from having sick visitors or giving the child prescribed medicine from their pediatricians are examples of unplanned things parents must do for their child.

All-nighters are not limited to students of higher education. You can give babies and clients all the prep you may anticipate but they will take up a lot of your time with their unpredictability as well. Knowing about this give and take will help you get through the hard times…as it is not a matter of if they will happen, but when.

The only time NOT to publicize your good news!

pb_logo
courtesy of http://powerball.com

 

 

With the Powerball reaching over $1.5 billion dollars, everyone is having lottery fever! It provides the winner with the small window of being an overnight BILLIONAIRE!  With the chance of winning being at 1 in 292.2 million people, you’d have a better chance of being hit by lightning!

As a publicist it is my job to help my clients spread good news about their products/services/brand. In the case of winning the lottery, I will offer some free advice from a professional level.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT tell everyone that you’ve won. Trust me you don’t want that kind of attention right away.  If you’re state doesn’t require your name to be release or you don’t have to participate in a mandatory press conference, consider yourself lucky.  You’ll have plenty of people trying to contact you as it is because eventually it may get out.

Here are some helpful tips to get you started on the right foot to being a multi-millionaire:

  • SIGNED THE BACK OF YOUR TICKET IMMEDIATELY
  • Delete all social media accounts and start fresh once you’re a settled millionaire:   it will be harder for people who don’t know you that well to contact you if your name is released in the media
  • Contact a lawyer and a financial planner to help you plan long-term: several lottery winners in the past have lost their winnings within five years due to carelessness behavior
  • Research the amount of taxes that you would have to pay if you were to give large amounts away to family members
  • Spend wisely but LIVE

Bonus (Personal) Tip: Take the lump sum! You can have all of your taxes taken out at once and then you can carefully manage how you can possibly avoid paying taxes the rest of your life!

What Rudolph can teach us about Differentiation and Image

Rudolph
Image courtesy of Syracuse.com 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.

What IS Public Relations?

When it comes to public relations, many people don’t know exactly what it entails.  Some people think it’s building social media followers…but PR existed before social media.  Others think it’s event planning however that may possibly be only one part of a publicists duties.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations as “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

Strategic is key in this definition from PRSA.  It is the job of a publicist to use their variety of  professional communication skills to communicate the RIGHT message to the intended targeted audience through the appropriate media outlet.  A media outlet is anything that provides information to the masses such as newspapers, magazines, blogs, TV, radio shows, etc.  It is IMPORTANT to have something newsworthy before contacting a publicist.

Do you need public relations?  If so, contact me today to discuss how PR can help generate sales/downloads/views for your brand, product, or service.

Cassandra
cassandrajohnsonpr@gmail.com

Differentiate

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: Allhiphop.com
  • 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 elviegprcassandra@aol.com to see what we can do for your brand/image!

 

A New ChaPteR

For a while I’ve been miserable….miserable doing something I felt like I HAD to do instead of doing something I truly LOVED.  I’ve always been unsure of myself when making a huge decision (and sometimes even small ones such as choosing a place to eat for dinner) but I’ve come to MY realization in regards to my career.

Until recently, I was the Marketing Manager of a small company, handling the company’s entire marketing efforts from social media, to public relations, to trade shows and everything in-between.  I’ve gone through so many changes in the company’s management/executives without any real training or guidance that I was burnt out.  I loved my job in the beginning.  No longer did my job duties entail public relations anymore and that really made me sad because that company introduced me to public relations.  I had to decide to continue to be miserable, or make a change…and boy did I make a change!

For the past twenty something years, I’ve been a resident of North Carolina.  NC is my home and I’ve known nothing else.  But now I will get the chance to follow my dreams.  I’m so thankful for the opportunities my previous employment gave me but when your heart is no longer into something, everyday it gets harder and harder to be enthusiastic about your work, even when you put your all into your work.  That is why I decided to resign from my position to pursue my dreams as a full-time public relations professional.

This is the scariest moment of my life thus far: to quit my job and up-and-move without securing a job.  The worst part is being over a thousand miles away from all of my family and friends.  This move will be nothing like my college move, in which I’m only a couple hours drive from my closest relative.

If college taught me anything, it’s to make sure that you can survive on your own.  I grew up  with limited means in the poorest county in North Carolina.  That’s why I made sure I could finance my college tuition by working all four years, just in case for some reason my grant or scholarship money didn’t come through for me.  I always have a backup plan just in case a plan fails. I will always have a Plan A, B, C, and D and if I really want to go after something I will make it to Plan Z.

So yes, I’m randomly moving to New York without any current job offers and limited funds. No, I do not have a friend’s couch I can crash on and yes, I would be lying to you if I said I would not think twice about moving back home if I was offered another position in NC.  I’ve only known NC and that’s my barrier right there.  It was after seeing @Iamnecole tweet on March 22, 2013 that really made me decide to take a risk and move to NYC.  Her tweet was right on time for my situation.  She tweeted: “It’s okay to be scared. Just know the greatest things that will ever happen to you in life are on the other side of the wall of fear.”  I am fearless.

Like I said earlier in this post, I have a backup plan.  Well, one of my plans include actually winning my dream entry-level job in the public relations industry.  Affect is actually giving people the chance to win their dream job, after a thorough interview of course!  The top three finalists will get Skype interviews and also get the chance to fly to New York for in-person interviews and one lucky winner will win a full-time job with Affect!  I need your help by getting votes for my entry.  You can only vote once but by sharing my profile with your friends after you have voted, they may just vote and also share and so on.  I started a Twitter hashtag to go along with #teamaffect: #cassandraforaffect.  Please vote and help get my hashtag to go viral so that the judges will notice and hopefully each give me all of their 200 votes (wishful thinking because there are also some other amazing candidates.)  To vote for me and to read my story click on my picture below. Make sure you are logged onto your Facebook account so that you can vote that way or you will have to create an account.  Then click on the “Vote for this entry” button below my picture.  I thank you in advance and please help me get my big break into public relations!

#cassandraforaffect

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 11.24.51 PM

ApPReciation

Washington Square Park

Be grateful for how far you have come & have faith in how far you can go!  I saw @FashionWeekNYC tweet this and it made me reflect on my journey throughout my career thus far. I recent just got back from New York.  I didn’t plan on staying in New York long, just for the day.  I was determined to meet my family that lived there.

I contacted my family member via telephone a week prior to my visit to let him know who I was and that I was visiting for a short period.  I invited him to lunch, just excited to meet  this person that came from my humble beginnings living in the big city, the same place I aspire to work.  After my appointment, we walked through the Lower East Side to Chinatown for some Thai food. I enjoyed walking the Big Apple while getting to know about my relative, occasionally getting lost for 5 seconds before my relative realizes where we are at again. (By the way, I love how all New Yorkers talk out loud trying while using hand signals trying to figure out all the stops or the best train to use when asking for directions.)

I found out that he has been through some close encounters.  My relative works in construction in downtown New York, working specifically underground building new subway systems.  He was underground working or “in the hole” as he calls it while the entire east coast experienced an earthquake two years ago.  Luckily, him and his crew walked away unharmed.

But there was one particular story of my relative that I had a hard time fighting back tears to.  My relative has been in New York for over 30 years at this time.  On the day of September 11, 2011 my relative was on the 99th floor of the South Tower when the planes hit.  He ran down all 99 floors before it collapsed and then walked 12 miles to the Bronx.  After speaking with my dad, we learned that it took hours for my relative to call his wife to let her know he was fine.  It’s crazy how fast the love forms after just meeting your relative.  After getting to know more about each other, and after returning to North Carolina, I got a voicemail from him checking to see if I had got back safe.  At the end of his call, he said “Love you, talk to you later.”  It was so unexpected but it didn’t feel weird at all.

I’m so blessed with the people in my life, old and new.  I thank God for that day of getting to know my relative while walking around New York City.  It was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. I’m now more determined to meet other family members as well as research my family history.

Get Emotions Out of the Equation

When it comes down to it, business is business.  A relationship between a PR pro and a client can be a rocky one.  There will be bad conversations and discussions along with great ones!  A client may want to do something and their publicist may advise against them doing it due to possible damage to their brand or just plain nonsense.  That client could potentially get offended if their publicist does not like their idea.

This could cause the client to feel some type of way about their publicist.  They may even consider firing them because their publicist is not a “yes man.”  A publicist job is not to tell you what you want to hear or to agree with everything you do.  Clients can hire a “yes man” to hype them up and agree with everything they say but a publicist will not do it if they have the client’s best interests at heart.

The most important thing is to emotions get in the way of potential business and potentially more exposure.  If an opportunity arises where it could help a client’s business dramatically and they are hesitant to take it because of your previous conversation, one in which a publicist did not agree with their views, then this is a huge problem.  Not only does it show that the client and publicist need to sort through any tension you have going on, the client is getting in his own way of furthering their business.  When that happens and continues to happen, it is best to let that client go.  There is no need to continue on a bad relationship in which the client hardly ever listens to their hired guidance.