3 Branding Tips from Tough Mudder

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Photo Credit: Here

Tough Mudder is an endurance event series in which participants attempt 10-16 mile-long obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces.

Tough Mudder has exemplified what true branding is all about. More than 2 million people have attended Mudder events since its unveiling in 2010, according to the organization’s website.

Here are three branding tips as implemented by powerhouse organization, Tough Mudder.

1.) Reconstruct an Existing Business

An obstacle course is not a brand new idea that popped into Founder, Will Dean’s head in 2010. Obstacle courses have been around as long as I can remeber. Dean just added his special touch on the obstacle by incorporating a new method.

“Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finisher rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge,” the website says. This obstacle course is not like most where the primary goal is based in rank on who finishes in which order. Tough Mudder requires teamwork to finish, an element captured in “The Mudder Pledge”:

· I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.

· I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.

· I do not whine—kids whine.

· I help my fellow mudders complete the course.

· I overcome all fears.

Tough Mudder Pennsylvania at Bear Creek Mountain Resort

Tough Mudder Pennsylvania at Bear Creek Mountain Resort

2.) Have a Purpose

Tough Mudder shines the light on a cultural epidemic that is taking place in the world today. The technological era has effected the way humans interact with each other. Tough Mudder provides an event that does not require your cellphone. I would highly recommend leaving it at home! This muddy obstacle course can only be conquered with teamwork and communication.

3.) Possess Replicable Brand Qualities

Tough Mudder is a perfect example of an organization with replicable brand qualities because Mudder can always design new obstacles to keep the event fresh and new. It will entice participants by creating an element of suspense as they wait to conquer the next obstacle.

The marathon is also very visually appealing, sporting loud colors and slogans, and usefulness of the mud. The marathon audience seems really excited in all of the pictures, despite having to endure obstacles such as the  “Cry Baby,” “Sewer Rat,” “Everest 2.0” and “King of the Swingers.”

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Tough Mudder is the perfect example of an organization that has tremendous branding qualities. They provide a strong message that people can support, have transformed a pre-existing idea into a popular event, and constantly keep things interesting and new for marathon participants.

 

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Study Shows Millennial’s Prefer Human Interaction Over Digital

In today’s society, everything is online and it is evident that the technological era has taken many by storm. Everywhere you look, their seems to be someone with their eyes glued to an IPhone or laptop. Although it seems the traditional communication methods are dying out, a surprising new study shows that the millennial generation actually prefers face-to-face communication.

According to Mattersight Corporation’s recent survey of over 1,000 millennials, many in this age group preferred person-to-person interactions over those of the online genre.

“Despite growing up in the digital age, Millennials haven’t abandoned person-to-person contact,” said Mattersight CEO Kelly Conway.. “Contrary to popular belief, we found that most Millennials prefer to communicate in-person and over the phone because it allows them to have the most meaningful conversations.”

Coming from a Millennial, this was actually quite shocking. Recently, I have been noticing how dependent people are on their cell phones. Gatherings with my friends now consist of a circle of people staring at their phones. We just sit there sometimes as time passes until we realize that we are not even connecting at all personally. It is humbling to know that Millennial’s do still care about personally connecting with people. I think this technology dependence is getting a little out of control.

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Photo Credit: Here.

According to the study, 85% of respondents to the Mattersight survey said that they prefer to meet and communicate in-person with coworkers. The next most preferred means of communication at work was a virtual tie between email and phone.

The survey also showed that over half of the Millennials surveyed said that outside of work they prefer to communicate in person; and that an important characteristic of a quality conversation is having chemistry.

Do advertisers and company’s need to restructure their communication strategy? Before reading this study, I thought that big business has already figured out the key to targeting the Millenial generation. This study shows that our generation (Millenials) actually prefers to work face-to-face.

I am pleased to see these results of the study. Interpersonal communication is a beautiful thing that is absolutely more valuable than a text message or e-mail. You are able to connect and create emotional appeal to a conversation when face-to-face.

We may still have hope for this generation. I am sure corporate America is not thrilled to learn of this study because they will have to restructure how they disseminate information and work with their public’s, but I for one would enjoy a more personal connection to the company’s I invest in.

Which do you prefer? Digital or personal connection? Leave a comment!

 

Texas Rangers Fire Social Media Guy After Insensitive Tweet

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When using social media, it is a principle rule to separate your personal lives from your work. Well, this social media representative obviously does not play by the rules. The Texas Rangers’ social media department fired an employee after he mistakenly tweeted “Fire charlie.# bye” from his work account.

According to ESPN, the matter was resolved before the 9th inning of the Rangers game.

“The Texas Rangers wish to apologize to the University of Texas and its head coach Charlie Strong for the very inappropriate and insensitive message that was briefly posted on the team’s Twitter account this afternoon,” the release said.

“The tweet was posted by a member of the team’s social media department who was neither working for the Rangers nor was at Globe Life Park today. Effective immediately, that individual is no longer employed by the Rangers,” executives said.

This has been a big deal on social media, with plenty of users expressing their displeasure with Head Coach, Charlie Strong. This representative apparently forgot to log out of his work account during this media frenzy, and let the public know his two cents from the @Rangers account . After Saturday’s blowout loss for the University of Texas, 50-7, by the Texas christian University, the search for a new coach is not such a far fetched opinion.

A word from the wise, make sure that you are logged in to the correct account before posting insensitive material on social media. This was an easily avoidable mistake.

There seems to be little trust for Coach Strong from the lone star state; and I am interested in seeing the route that Texas takes after this incident. The Longhorns are currently 1-4 which is not a good place to be for a football team in Texas. To Texans, football is everything. I would not be surprised if they began searching for a new coach relatively soon based purely on that.

Although this unfortunate occurrence resulted in a man’s unemployment, it’s more common than you would think. Accidents happen, but it is important to know your company’s social media policy and how to properly manage your accounts. It is much better to be cautious and safe than unemployed!

How do you feel about the Rangers  decision? Do you feel this individual deserved to be fired for the tweet? Leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

Thin Mints, and Samoas, and Do-si-dos; Online!

The Girl Scouts of America have thrived over the years by selling millions of delicious cookies to grateful consumers since 1917. Now, instead of anxiously waiting a month for your Thin Mints and Samoas, your order can be delivered within 3-5 business days through the Girl Scout website. When your local troop is selling cookies, get a code from a Girl Scout and you are ready to order the cookies you crave.

According to PR Daily, the organization did exceptionally well when the organization introduced the online service last December. They reportedly sold over 2.5 million boxes-$10 million worth-of cookies.

This has created much hype on social media with plenty of excited media users.

 

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The Girl Scouts have a fantastic and stable organization. It is almost becoming a tradition to order cookies around this time of year. Another observation I have made is the fact that they are never involved in bad PR situations where they need to call in their crisis management team. The organization is transparent and well trusted among consumers.

Even the media experts for their organization are keeping up with the times to promote their cookies. The new Star Wars movie is being released soon, and The Girl Scouts took advantage of a little free publicity. Why not?

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Boxes of these cookies are $3.50 plus shipping and handling costs; which eventually results in a $5.00 purchase at the end of they day. Although you can receive double the amount of cookies for more than half the price at your local groceries store, Americans still order insane amounts of these cookies every year.

During this holiday season, I may be buying a couple boxes myself as stocking stuffer’s for the family. This is an incredible time to unveil this service to the organization’s public’s. It was only a matter of time before these cookies were sold online. Do you think that the online transition was a smart move for the organization? Some feel as if this is taking away from the history of the organization when door-to-door sales was the only means of funding. Let me know your stand on this topic. As always, leave a comment!

 

 

 

 

 

LA & NY Crisis Management: Who made the right call?

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(NBC News) LA United School District closes after threat.

 

Two U.S. school systems faced the same terrorist threat Tuesday after receiving an email detailing an attack with assault rifles on “every school” with “bombs hidden in backpacks and lockers.” The New York and Los Angeles school system faced a similar threat, but their crisis management teams were not so coinciding.

Though the threat was deemed a hoax, LA Unified School District stood by their decision to close the school for the day. However, New York officials decided to keep the schools open.

Recently, ISIS has been all over the news for acts of terror and viral videos depicting horrendous material. Not to mention, the San Bernardino shooting that consequently took place in California as well. According to the LA Times, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple, opened fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on Dec. 2, 2015. Fourteen people were killed and 22 were injured.

According to CBS, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton had the audacity call the move to shut down schools in LA a “significant overreaction” and said the decision there was made before school officials consulted with the LA Police Department.

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According to PR Daily, David Katz, a former special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, told CNN that Los Angeles Unified School District’s superintendent, Ramon Cortines, made “a big mistake”:

“You do not under any circumstance take action unless the threat is corroborated,” Katz said. “For example, if a high-rise office building gets a bomb threat in New York City, the police department is not going to come over and evacuate your building absent some credible information.”

These threats need to be taken more seriously, because I feel like we are not as protected as we once were in this country. Too often we here of rogue school shootings and ISIS attacks on our country. California is still mourning over the San Bernardino shooting, and NYPD officials are scrutinizing them for taking a precautionary action to ensure the safety of their publics.

California does not need the approval of the New York officials and I personally commend them for their decision. They did what they believed was in the best interest of their children and our future generation of this country. These threats should not be taken as lightly as New York has. It is nice to know that they would not evacuate their citizens during a threat especially as we are currently fighting against terrorist organizations.

I side with the California USD’s crisis management team because as cliché as it may seem, I would rather be safe than sorry. Especially when it comes to the safety of the children of this country. Although some may think this will be emotionally traumatizing for the children by shutting down the schools for the day, they will eventually realize the importance of the closing. I can remember back to my second grade year of elementary school when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Yes, it was indeed a scary time, but I am grateful now that I was pulled out of school because you never know where the attacks will end. We need to create more security in this country and I believe California is taking the right steps in that direction.

Please feel free to leave feedback and let me know your stand on this topic!

Goodyear Executed Brilliant PR During NORAD’s Drift Away Aerostat

Goodyear has always been known for their blimp advertisements ever since the first airship, The Pilgrim, was introduced back in 1925. It is hard to imagine a football game without noticing a Goodyear zeppelin floating around in the sky.

On Wednesday, #Blimp was trending after a military surveillance aerostat (JLENS), which looks much like a blimp, escaped from the anchor holding it down at a base located in Maryland.

Goodyear’s social media experts jumped on this opportunity for a little humorous and free advertising.

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Goodyear’s Blimp experts also threw in some input for some more laughs and interactions with their audience.

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Twitter users were loving the attention Goodyear was getting from this incident at the Maryland base. The automotive brand was also very diligent in interacting with their followers as tweets began flowing in.

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The aerostat drifted for 160 miles before returning to the ground, taking out power lines that left 20,000 residents without power.

The military has a public relations issue to face, but kudos to Goodyear for their ambitious social media team. They added humor to a problem that was not very funny for the 20,000 residents left without power, but Twitter sure loved it!

Goodyear is a leading example of how to gain free SUCCESSFUL advertising. Just like the McWhopper stunt by BK, Goodyear was recognized by all of Twitter for the time they were trending. It was once again a win-win situation.

Though the military will soon be under fire from people seeking answers as to what caused the runaway aerostat, you can still grab your $160 worth of mail-in rebates from Goodyear! Check it out!

5 Tips to Become a Great Researcher

research-2PR professionals know more than most how important research is to our field of study. I would like to extend some knowledge to ensure your research is on point for your next big assignment.

You may have a natural instinct to uncover all of the critical information needed to assist your client, or you may despise the thought of research. At any rate, it is a necessity for working on tasks given to you by your employer.

Research can be conducted in many ways. You may be in the library after class, on a lunch break looking for more details on your organization, or even in the comfort of your own home. Remember that doing research is not always fun, but necessary to be as effective as you can possibly be as an employee.

Here are five tips that I believe will work wonders for PR practitioner’s in the long run:

1.) Strategy is key.

No matter the objective, every PR campaign needs an effective strategy to become successful in the campaign at hand. Know your audience, know your objectives, and have a plan to execute your strategy.

“Extensive research can help you target the appropriate audiences, find the right influencers and determine the most cost-effective budget,” says Chrystl Sanchez of Weber Shandwick.

2.) Get to know your industry, and figure out their needs. 

Clients will not always be well-known industries that you know off the top of your head like Coca Cola. Eventually you will need to do your part and investigate your client to figure out as much information as you can possibly find.

Speaking with your client is a great starting point for your research, but you will have to reach out to other news outlets to gather more information. A fantastic way to gather more information is to complete a S.W.O.T. analysis on your client. This way, you will know the strengths of the organization. their weaknesses, opportunities in the future, and threats in the current market.

The best way to figure these elements out is by hitting the internet and searching for the answers you may have about your organization. The more information you uncover, the better. Learning all you can about an industry will help you to understand issues and challenges a prospective client may face and determine how you can help, according to Bottom Line Marketing & Public Relations.

3.) Understand which news outlets are right for your client.

It is of upmost importance to research news outlets to figure out the best fit for your organization. Finding good reporters will also facilitate the process once you have them in your favor.

Figure out the strengths and weaknesses you have worked out in your S.W.O.T. analysis and do your research on potential media outlets. When you have an issue such as a bat in your garage, you call an exterminator, not a CIS reporter. The same thing goes for your news outlet choice. make sure you are going to the right reporters to give your organization the best chance.

4.) Identify your story ideas.

This requires internet searching and other forms of research. Reporters localize a lot of stories about larger trends and national studies that may be in the field of your clients work. This is a great chance to get your client in the news.

Questions for your reporter are key in this step because you want to uncover potential story information. You absolutely have to be able to be comfortable when talking to reporters and asking uncomfortable questions because their answers may be story potential. What seems normal to you may not be seen that way through outside eyes.

5.) Analyze!

Did your strategy work?

Researching your results may be as simple as checking to see if your plan unraveled as smoothly as you thought, or it may take a little more effort.

Google Analytics, Twitter analytics, Facebook Insights and other third-party software platforms are available to simplify your analytics. This step is crucial to your employer because they will be begging to know if all your work made a difference or not! Showing that you put the time and effort in will be a plus in your employers book for the next campaign they plan to execute.

Hope this helps! Leave a comment and subscribe!

 

Playboy Undergoing Brand Reconstruction?

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The spring edition of the iconic Playboy magazine will be a shock to most subscribers when the once naked models will be covered up.

Playboy is not going to publish images of fully nude women in its magazine according to usatoday.com.The brand is reconstructing their image following a redesign that will be revealed to the public next March.

The magazine will still feature women in provocative poses, but they will no longer be shown in the nude, according to a statement from playboy.   

It seems as if Playboy is now completely flipping their initial intentions for the magazine and testing a new, modern, and reserved image. According to mashable.com, Playboy has also released an app “best articles” which includes lifestyle content and nude free pictures.

“As the on-the-go extension of the Playboy brand, our new app brings the best of Playboy with original, thought-provoking and enticing bite-sized content that captures our design-driven and discernible style, said Scott Flanders, CEO of Playboy enterprises.

I like the idea of focusing on their readership and reshaping the magazine’s image. People are not always open to others about subscribing to this particular print entertainment, but this move could potentially be a huge boost for Playboy that could give them a brand new audience. Playboy could be the norm just like any other magazine such as Star or People. That could give them more credibility and trust as a brand. What do you think?

Genius McWhopper PR Stunt Puts BK Ahead

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Burger King generously offered a proposal to call truce and join forces with burger giant McDonald’s to create a “McWhopper.”

Yesterday, Burger King ran a full page ad in two of the nations largest print newspapers; The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune. The ad contained a picture of a burger that has the bottom half of a Whopper transfused with the top half of a Big Mac. A one day only restaurant would be established and staffed by employees from both corporations to sell the McWhopper.

McDonald’s politely declined the proposition via Facebook post to their company’s page.Micky D FB

BK’s proposal actually had a great message behind the magical idea of a “McWhopper.” All sales proceeds would go towards Peace One Day, a non-profit organization aimed to raise awareness of the International Day of Peace that the United Nations General Assembly is currently lobbying for.

The goal would be to sell the McWhoppers on September 21, 2016, which would be the International Day of Peace. This was a brilliant PR stunt by Burger King and they definitely ruffled the feathers of McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook.

“P.S. A simple phone call will do next time,” said Easterbrook in his Facebook post to the company site.

BK has stepped up their game in the race for the best burger chain. Their ambitious PR tactics have proved to benefit the chains business, with the quarterly financial report noting the company’s $249.6 million in revenue. The same cannot be said for McDonald’s unfortunately. McDonald’s revealed earlier in the month that they intend to close 220 stores in hopes to cut costs, according to eater.com.

This delicious proposal was executed perfectly by BK, giving them the upper-hand in the situation whether Micky D’s accepted the offer or not.

Eastbrook’s response to the proposal could not have been anymore perfect. Burger King is in the spotlight and taking over social media. Consumers are already getting creative with their food and creating their own McWhopper’s.homemade

At any rate, both burger franchises are receiving attention and honestly, Mcdonald’s should be thanking BK for the sales they are about to receive from this PR stunt. Growing up, McDonald’s was always the number one place to go for fast food.They had happy meals and great marketing tactics that sucked us kids into begging our parents to take us to the place with the golden arches. As time surpasses, it seems that Burger King is quickly becoming the burger joint that everyone wants a piece of. Well done, Burger King. In future years, I can see BK being the new powerhouse of fast food franchises. Let me know your opinion.

General Mills recalls nearly 1.8 million boxes of cereal

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General Mills voluntarily recalled more than 1.8 million boxes of gluten-free Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios on Monday. As you could imagine, the news spread instantaneously through social media, but General Mills remained completely transparent and successfully controlled its crisis. The company issued a press release explaining the situation to consumers and media. General Mills posted a link to the press release on their corporate homepage and SVP and president of General Mills’ cereal division, Jim Murphy, posted a blog minutes after the release was published.

“As president of General Mills’ cereal business, I am embarrassed and truly sorry to announce today that we are recalling boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios produced on several dates at our Lodi, California facility,” Murphy said.

The boxes of cereal needed to be recalled due to health measures when wheat was detected in boxes of the gluten-free cereal produced in July. Murphy also added to his post that General Mills recognizes its failure in serving the gluten-free community and it “instituted additional flour handling protocols at all facilities to ensure this will not happen again.”

General Mills is widely recognized as a family brand and many of their products are popular among children. Coincidentally, parents are often extremely protective of their children. General Mills took a major hit on this crisis but their communications response team handled it extremely well. Adding the personal feel to this crisis by having the SVP and president of General Mills include a blog in addition to the press release helped tremendously. They simply admitted fault and seemed genuinely sorry for the mistake they made. Taking that extra step past the traditional news release made Cheerios look transparent, regretful for their mistake, and caring for their consumers.

Brilliantly, Cheerios also tweeted a link to Murphy’s blog, along with a post showing specific recall instructions. As of Friday, the tweet was still pinned to the top of the page. They even retweeted both posts from their own handle:

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The post was shared more than 4,200 times, received hundreds of comments, and many from concerned parents. Not only did Cheerios respond to each comment, it personalized the replies rather than copying and pasting a generic apology statement. Cheerios has an excellent communications response team. They calmed down the situation, added compassion, used a higher up to issue an apology directly, and stayed in touch with their audience while remaining completely transparent. Target should take some notes from General Mills on how to deal with a crisis situation the right way.