And…we’re back! Happy 2016 to everyone, thanks for tuning in to Episode IV of Reply All. We’ve been busy Skimming the headlines, previewing spring fashion, checking out alternatives to our pricey skin/body care products and reading about Jeff Spicoli’s secret meeting with Mexico’s most notorious drug cartel leader. Oh, and sidenote: WE LOVE BREAD!
You might have passed on Jaden Smith’s “Karate Kid” reboot, but you can’t miss his new modeling campaign with Louis Vuitton. Jaden, who’s the son of actor Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, is part of the brand’s womenswear campaign and this was too intriguing not to lead off “What’s The Pitch?”
Our HARO of the Month comes from The Globe and Mail and seeks women who use men’s skincare/hair products. We share our experiences, and as a bonus, Brittney shares her preferred brand of deodorant (below). #WhatsYoSecret
Over the years, we’ve seen millions of otherwise perfectly normal humans “plank” and senior citizens “dab,” but we’ll be the first to admit we didn’t see this one coming: “breadfacing.” Haven’t heard of it? Read all about it here, and then check out @breadfaceblog on Instagram. Clearly this is the stuff our “On Review” segment was made for, so we tested it out ourselves. #Carbs
Happy holidays from the Pod Squad! It’s hard to believe the year is nearly over. We hope you’re soaking up the remaining days of Starbucks red cups, Star Wars mania and an Instagram feed full of ugly sweater Christmas parties. Thank you as always for your support and feedback on our podcasts, we appreciate it.
For many people, including several in our offices, Christmas came early this year as the hugely popular “Serial” podcast began its second season on December 10th. This time, host Sarah Koenig and the creators of “This American Life” take us through the incredible story of Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. Soldier who was a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years and was released in May 2014. Within days of his return, people began saying he shouldn’t be celebrated; some soldiers from his unit called him a deserter and that he had deliberately walked off their outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into hostile territory. The case is still going on now, as Bergdahl was arraigned on December 22nd on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
What’s the pitch? Well regardless of whether you listen to “Serial” or not, you can’t deny its popularity and we discuss some of the reasons why we think that’s the case. Check out the Serial website here and get hooked: http://serialpodcast.org
Our HARO of the month comes from The Levo League, a career resource website for Millennial women, and it touches on a somewhat personal subject – explaining to people what we do for a living. Believe it or not, there are still a lot of people who don’t understand PR. We break down our experiences while singing “Two Princes” by Spin Doctors (just kidding…or not). Take a look at the article that was based on the inquiry here.
(But really though, did you know Spin Doctors has a new album out?? Stay up to date and follow @SpinDoctorsBand on Twitter)
It wouldn’t be the last On Review of the year without a little breakdown of the year in review. We take a trip down memory lane with some of the news stories and events that made a big splash.
And Sidenote: Adult coloring books are a thing so we tested them out. Great stocking stuffer, right? We’ve got more ideas. Also, Kimye’s new baby, Saint West, has joined Twitter. We ponder the serious questions: when are Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds going to share pictures of baby James? Do we really need to reserve Twitter handles and Instagram names for babies now?
We’re excited to see what the new year brings, and we’ll be back with Episode IV in January!
Wishing you a happy new year,
Megan, Mariel, Brittney, Stephanie, Olivia and Jackie
First, we want to thank everyone for hitting “Reply All” and supporting our podcast! It’s been a really fun learning process, and we appreciate all of the feedback and support.
This month, we’re tackling a major debate that has quietly been sweeping the nation, and it’s not the Ben Carson rap song. Hint: it involves condiments, toppings, fillings and soup.
We also pay tribute to Lucky Magazine and Grantland.com, two great media outlets that met their demise far too soon, and Lucky’s former editor in chief Eva Chen, whose signature #EvaChenPose will live on. Wait, you’ve never heard of the Eva Chen pose?!
In the spirit of great women changing the world, we also talk about the new Barbie ad that is pulling at our heartstrings.
We’re always on the lookout for great HARO inquiries, and this one definitely doesn’t get “brushed” under the rug. Check out reporter Phil Mutz’s article that was based on his inquiry:
Recently, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the long requested “dislike” option for Facebook posts and comments was in the works. Despite Zuckerberg’s caveat that the button would convey empathy, rather than negativity, the announcement has caused rumblings among individual users and organizations, alike.
Since the launch of social media, users have expressed displeasure, disgust and even anger with ideas, photos, and articles that other users post on newsfeeds and public pages. Many brands have learned, sink or swim style, the sheer power that social media has given consumers.
Dealing with such harsh criticism has resulted in the rise of two schools of thought regarding brand response to negative sentiment. The first, which is widely being phased out, is the idea that negative content and sentiment should be removed from pages immediately.
The problem with this approach is that it often leaves customers feeling ignored, as if their concerns or displeasure don’t matter to the company. Frustration can build, and loyalty lost.
The second school of thought is that brands should address negative posts head-on and engage the dissatisfied customer to fix the issue of contention.
While many argue that the Facebook dislike button is a step in the wrong direction when it comes to bullying, my brand-specific recommendation is as follows:
Talk it out: While the dislike button will express a sentiment, brands need to learn the root of the displeasure so that they can address it head-on.
Make it count: We’re all guilty of view the number of “likes” as simply that— a number. Brands need to make sure not to step on the same landmine by instead taking a quality over quantity approach to responses.
Remember that sentiment can spread: Because dislikes are more a more anonymous option than comments, consumers may feel more compelled to express displeasure through the feature – especially if they see the number of dislikes growing on a post.
Happy, engaged customers are loyal customers. Social media has provided brands with tools to be transparent and engage with their audiences. Facebook’s new dislike button is not evil in and of itself – rather it is a tool that your target audience may soon use to express their displeasure.
Shrink not away in fear; rather, use the negative sanction as you would with any other expression of displeasure as a point of negotiation. Address the matter with clarity, transparency and work with consumers to find a common ground resolution that upholds the brand’s vision, mission and values.
As communication professionals, we’re constantly scouring the press and social media for trends and storylines in which to insert our clients. We are the frontlines between the public and the perceptions of the brands that we work with everyday. We are also tirelessly acting as newsrooms for clients by crafting curated content and media releases to announce significant milestones for the brands.
So, what happens at times when the news is slow from our clients or perhaps the very opposite, when there has been a negative saturation of these brands in the media yet we still feel the need to deliver results? This is where, as professionals, we should start thinking outside-the-box and focus on the company our clients keep.
Learning that an “In Good Company” piece has the power to help achieve either of those goals when original news is sparse, the little extra legwork on your part is definitely worth it. Every press outlet loves a positive story; one that makes everyone just feel good talking about it. This is about thinking beyond a typical client newsroom and finding ways to solidify them as a player on the scene when news can be slow. Ask yourself the following questions to mine news about your client: Are there local art walks, events or innovative site activations that the brand or other local third parties are doing that would garner some press attention? Are there any interesting sustainable initiatives taking place in the area? Are there local events that neighbors are attending where you can help in promoting the client to the press? Does your client do any educational outreach; can you do a profile on it? How about neighboring restaurants, stores and shopping districts; are they making any impacts and can your clients somehow get involved in crafting a larger area story?
“In Good Company” pieces are a great way to build alliances and to help cement your client as a leader to their neighbors, local politicians, customers, charity organizations and press. From a communication professional’s perspective, any small inroads you can make in building the brand’s reputation through strengthening its ties to its locale, are great steps to a job well done.