How Not To Treat Your Customers (And Why)

Most of us have experienced a time where a company treated us poorly enough that they lost what would have been a valued customer. My cousin recently ran into this problem with 24 Hour Fitness (@24hourfitness). It gives a perfect example of how losing one customer due to bad customer relations results in a ripple effect and damages your company. I’ve placed red arrows beside the comments that show significant reactions because of my cousin’s initial post on Facebook.

How bad customer service affects your business

Names and images have been censored to preserve identities.

What experiences have you had similar to this?

Which Will You Use? [Infographic]

– #31 –

I think it’s safe to say that with the rise of social media platforms one of the biggest questions on every corporation’s mind is how they should use social media which platform will they use?

According to Howmanyarethere?, notable social media platforms number beyond 200 websites. With such option and variety, how will companies be able to decipher which of these myriad networking sites will best suit their needs?

Whether an industry is better suited for the resources offered by Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or some other site is a question for a company’s communication team to wrestle with.

This infographic provided by might serve you well if you find yourself on that communication team:

PR Scholarship And Internship Opportunity

– #24 –

Do you want an opportunity to enhance your education and develop your professional skills?

Through PRSSA, there is an amazing scholarship and internship opportunity for students who demonstrate exceptional leadership ability and a commitment to a career in public relations. If this is you, I strongly encourage you to apply for the 2012 Daniel J. Edelman/PRSSA Award.

Open to all PRSSA members, the award recognizes excellence in leadership, public relations-related achievements and activities, digital presence and recommendations from faculty members and/or industry professionals. The winner receives a $1,500 cash award and a paid internship at one of Edelman’s U.S. offices. The runner-up receives a $500 cash award and the opportunity to interview with Edelman for a paid internship position.

Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm, with wholly owned offices in 54 cities and 4,000 employees worldwide. Edelman was named Advertising Age’s top-ranked PR firm of the decade and one of its “2010 A-List Agencies” and “2010 Best Places to Work;” PRWeek’s “2011 Large PR Agency of the Year;” European Excellence Awards’ “2010 Agency of the Year;” Holmes Report’s “Agency of the Decade” and “2009 Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year;” and among Glassdoor’s top five “2011 Best Places to Work.” Edelman owns specialty firms Blue (advertising), StrategyOne (research), Ruth (integrated marketing), DJE Science (medical education/publishing and science communications), and MATTER (sports, sponsorship, and entertainment). Visit for more information.

Visit the Daniel J. Edelman/PRSSA Award page on the PRSSA website for more information and the application for this award. All applications are due Feb. 3, 2012 to Edelman’s Chicago office.

10 Steps To Take Now For Crisis Readiness

In the past few weeks, I have overheard discussion among students at BYU-Idaho about what public relations really does. One student tried to summarize the numberless “job descriptions” of a PR practitioner in two words: crisis management,

Though I do agree that professionals working with the image of companies and/or individuals have a lot of clean up in their responsibilities, I do not believe that they can be described by that oversimplified definition. However, crisis management is an important component of what public relations teams will inevitably encounter at some point during their careers.

One of the best ways to deal with crisis is to prepare for them before they come. PRSA recently identified the following 10 steps to take now for crisis readiness:

  1. Identify potential crises.
  2. Analyze your company’s state of readiness.
  3. Check the crisis readiness of your “bull’s-eye” team.
  4. Research your company’s record.
  5. Build the image of key leaders.
  6. Review your social media status.
  7. Examine and strengthen key relationships.
  8. Schedule media training sessions.
  9. Stage crisis readiness simulations.
  10. Update or create a crisis response plan, and name an ongoing crisis team.

Prepare now by taking these steps and be ready for the undesired fate that will eventually befall us all at some point in our line of work.

Read PRSA’s full article to gain further insight into each step.

Redefining An Industry

– #10 –

The Public Relations Society of America has been leading an initiative to modernize the definition of public relations. Discussions have been held through various venues to construct a definition that will highlight what public relations does as an industry.

On Sept. 29, 2011, PRSA hosted a one-day summit at its headquarters in New York to discuss the need for an updated definition and the process to undertake such an initiative. According to the official blog for the initiative, eleven organizations (in addition to PRSA) were represented at the summit or have since joined the effort, including:

Here is the current definition of public relations as stated on PRSA’s official site:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publics
adapt mutually to each other.”

According to the site, this definition was formally adopted by PRSA at the 1982 National Assembly.

What has developed from the summit held in late September was an agreement that the best definitions currently held by allied industries (e.g., advertising, branding and marketing) encapsulated four components:

  • Function
  • What
  • How
  • Why

Tied together in a single sentence, participants at the summit felt this would be the best approach to guide the process of defining:

Public relations [DOES WHAT] with/for [WHOM] to [DO WHAT] for [WHAT PURPOSE].

They also felt the modern definition should address two specific targets:

  1. How public relations drives business success; and
  2. How public relations protects and/or promotes the organization or brand.

PRSA extended an invitation to all interested in contributing to share their modernized definition on their blog.

How would you define public relations?