United Airlines – A Communications Case To Be Forgotten

United Airlines – A Communications Case To Be Forgotten

By Daniela Dalio

It has already been a year since the scandal were an United Airlines passenger was dragged out of the aircraft, which generated negative response for the airline company all over the world. It is one of the worst examples of communication and crisis management in the history of PR and  an example never to be followed.

Just for us to remember what actually happened: Due to an overbooking of the flight and the refusal of any of the passengers to voluntarily leave the plane, the company itself “elected” the passengers who would have to leave the aircraft. As one of the chosen passengers refused to comply, the crew called for assistance to remove the passenger by force. The drama was filmed and quickly spread on social media and all over the press.

The first responses from United Airlines, with the active participation of its CEO Oscar Munhoz, were disastrous and the defense of the employee involved and the forceful removal of the passenger. Rather ironically, this all occurred just one month after Munhoz having been elected as “Communicator of The Year” by PRWeek. Specifically for having a serious and transparent communication with the media.  

So, what went wrong this time? Not acting rationally. Moments of crisis affect everybody involved emotionally. However, it is entirely necessary that you act rationally, especially when we are talking about the main leaders of an organization. Declarations to the press guided solely by emotions should not be made. Here, the role of the communications professionals is extremely important, working consultatively and orienting towards the correct action.

A case such as that of United Airlines can ruin the credibility of a company forever. Years of effort are needed to create respect among consumers and clients. But it is enough with just one mistake, one wrongful attitude or speech, moved by emotion, for all that effort to go out the window.

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Negative SEO

By Lívia Caixeta

SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, optimizes the mechanisms for keyword searches in search engines and is an increasingly important tool for content managers to improve the positioning of sites and blogs in the organic (unpaid) search results on Google. This strategy promotes visibility and credibility to the site or blog in the online context. Negative SEO, in its turn, is a tactic used to damage this strategy.

This type of attack is done with the sole purpose of worsen the positioning of a site, usually a corporate such, and in many cases it is done by competitors who wish to improve the positioning of their own site by affecting negatively the positioning of another. With the recent updates of the Google algorithms the discussion about this practice has received dueful attention.

So, is negative SEO a form of hacking?

It depends.

Insofar as a tactic changes how a site looks or operates, or gives you unauthorized access, it may be considered hacking depending on one’s jurisdiction. Depending upon one’s culture and national laws, the application of the definition may vary considerably. For instance, some countries may take a stricter approach to what constitutes unauthorized access, and some may have a more laissez-faire attitude as it pertains to information tampering.” (Joe Sinkwitz – Search Engine Land)

The practice of negative SEO can cause damage such as:

  1. It can damage the duplicity policy of search mechanisms, particularly Google’s, which can result in sanctions;
  2. It can affect the links on your site negatively, resulting in poor quality or a violation of the directives;
  3. Hacker invasion.

For these reasons, it is important to keep your site safe:

  • Avoid programmes that can allow for virus or malware;
  • Beware of duplication of information so that it is not done in an inappropriate manner;
  • Be careful with mentions in social networks;
  • Don’t forget to check your Backlink list;
  • Monitor the velocity of your site.

In other words, good content management planning is an important ally in a corporate site avoiding punishment and maintaining itself, not only on top of the search results, but also, free of negative SEO attacks.

Learn more about the services we offer in content production and SEO.

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The Pharmaceutical Market and The Segmentation of Media Relations

By Filipe Andrade

Media relations are not all the same! There are many different sectors and markets, all with their particularities and different opportunities. One example is media relations for the pharmaceutical market, an area that is rather specific, and with great potential to be explored.

Within the pharmaceutical market, generally speaking, we can say that there are, at least, four subdivisions – pharmaceutical companies (laboratories), distributors, chains and/or independent pharmacies and organisations representing pharmaceutical professionals. Consequently, the media relations professional needs to define his or her space in these contexts.

Being a market in the health sector, there are, obviously, a series of requirements, legislations and rules that define the work on this market and, consequently, the communication needs to be planned according to these criteria. For example, the promoting of new products (drugs) to the public is only authorized when these are so called over the counter drugs (medication that does not need a prescription). In all other cases, according to the legislation, the promotion can only occur directed exclusively at media outlets specific to the health segment, with clear information about indicated use, contraindicated use and dosage.

Specialized media relations consultancy, such as that of the pharmaceutical market, also requires extra attention to the language and to the interpretation of technical terminology and technical topics. It is important that the media relations professional has a good capacity of “translating” the technical and scientific topics to a more casual language, suitable both for the journalist as well as the public.

One of the conditions for the media relations consultancy, generally speaking, is the increasing segmentation of content, including content related to the pharmaceutical market.

Important: when speaking of segmentation of media relations consultancy, this does not mean that mainstream media should be downgraded to a plan B status. Quite the contrary, they should be a central part of the communications strategy, sharing the space with segmented media.

For this reason, it is worth exploring the inumerous health blogs, YouTube channels, Instagram profiles and other social media channels, which the democratization of the digital communication made possible, in order to make messages accessible to the end consumer.

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Why Do Integrated Communication?

By João Pedro Andrade

Integrated communication is a marketing strategy which has become popular over the last decade. The concept is rather basic: Planning the communications actions for a brand or for a specific campaign in a way that they are carefully connected and communicates aligned messages. In other words, integrating all the communications tools so that they coexist in harmony.  

To understand the importance behind integrated communications, it is enough to just use simple logic. When communications actions converse harmoniously and in one unison voice at all times, it is much more powerful than the actions separately.  

One good example is the campaign Like a girl, by the personal hygiene brand Always, in 2015. With a focus on reaching girls in puberty, the brand promoted a positive redefinition of the prerogative expression “like a girl”, which assumes that men who do things like girls, hold to an inferior standard.

 

The campaign was promoted in print media, social media and television, with its main appearance in the Super Bowl commercial in 2015. Apart from promoting the brand, the campaign promoted the elevation of adolescent girls’ self esteem, who started viewing the expression ”like a girl” as something positive and as a source of pride.

 

A good communications campaign usually involves a fair amount of work to be elaborated in an effective manner. However, once the hard part is done, this can be turned into profit by contributing to increased sales and a competitive advantage in relation to competitors.

Last but not least, if we consider that successful communication is that which is done with a minimum of interference (that is, with as little unwanted external filters that difficult the interpretation as possible), integrated communication becomes a strong ally, considering that it is developed with the purpose to act on several fronts and in an integral manner.

 

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The Impact of GDPR On Companies Outside of The EU

By Malin H. Teles

No one has escaped the information that the GDPR (The General Data Protection Law) came into effect on May 25th. It has a huge impact on businesses in the EU and EEA, but what does the regulation mean for businesses outside Europe?

To be able to understand this, we first need to understand what the GDPR is.

The law aims to provide citizens of the EU and EEA with better control over their personal data. Personal data in this context are considered any information related to a person such as, for example, name, photos, email address, bank details, updates on social networking websites, location details, medical information, or a computer IP address.

Companies need to offer the possibility for people to find out exactly what personal information the company has stored about them as well as demand that the information is permanently removed.

Moreover, the company needs to ask for permission to use the personal information every time the data is processed. A given consent can also be withdrawn at any time. This means that the company has to be able to prove that the individual agreed to the action in question – for example, to receive a newsletter.

So, what does this all have to do with businesses outside the EU or EEA region?

Well, quite a lot, it turns out. The regulation applies not only to EU based companies but to all organisations selling to and storing personal information about citizens (customers and employees alike) in Europe, including companies on other continents. The GDPR applies regardless of whether the data processing takes place in the EU or not. In other words, as an example, if you are a Brazilian based company that keeps a mailing list of customers in Europe, you will need to comply with the GDPR.

For companies that don’t comply with the law there are harsh penalties to be paid. The fines are estimated to up to 4% of annual global revenue or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater.The Impact of GDPR On Companies Outside of The EU

In practise, the GDPR changes many marketing and sales activities for a company. For example, the possibilities for prospecting, creating leads, mailing lists and the sending of newsletters and email marketing. Not even if you buy marketing lists from an outsourced provider are you free from responsibility. You must make sure that the information has the proper consent from the user.

 

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Owned Media and Its Advantages

By Evelyn Spada

Every single day is like a championship final, where the competition for the best positioning in search engine rankings is increasingly fierce. Making a purchase decision, be it to buy a new mobile device or hiring a new communications agency, normally does not happen spontaneously, but after conversations and research on the best options available. For this reason, for any business the goal is to be the answer to what whomever is searching is looking for.

However, for this to happen in an efficient manner, it is necessary to offer relevant, high quality content. Here is where the owned medias come into play: why not create your own channel to distribute content?

Today, many brands and companies dedicate part of their communications efforts to creating owned medias. One good example, are cosmetics companies that invest in portals, videos and even tutorials to provide their consumers with beauty related content. Other companies transform their sites into electronic magazines.

For the communications professional João Pedro Andrade, investing in owned media is a great way of building a relationship with your public. “ To be successful, it is necessary to invest in content production and in building channels. Moreover, the team behind the channels need to be experienced and very professional. Since everything surges in the digital environment, being a source on the subject that you master can be a great possibility.”

Regarding the content, João Pedro has a word of warning: “Just as in the production of journalistic content, content for owned media can not only bring up institutional or commercial topics, such as promotions of products. Those consuming the information are searching for reliable and independent sources.”

Would you like to know more about the possibility to create owned medias for your company? Talk to us at Race Communications!

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4 Reasons To Work With Radio Pitches In Media Relations

By Ana Carolina Lima

Created in 1896 by the Italian Guglielmo Marconi, radio revolutionized distance communication. Because it’s such an old communication channel, the idea of using radio pitches today in a world full of cutting edge technologies may seem somewhat old-fashioned. Don’t be fooled! It’s worth rethinking the efficiency of this more traditional resource when constructing and positioning a public figure or an organization.

  • Reach

According to research conducted by BBC radio in the UK, if you have a message broadcast on three different radio channels in the morning, you can reach about a third of the population of the UK before the end of breakfast. Analysing the routine of Brazilian society, which wakes up early and faces daily traffic jams in cars and packed subways, the numbers may be even higher in a Brazilian context.

  • Multiple platforms mean multiple results

With innovative technologies being developed daily, the radio reaches traditional audiences and generates views. Some radio stations, besides broadcasting news, record on their YouTube channel, which often have impressive numbers of 1.8 subscribers. Imagine then having your message in a podcast? It’s like a radio show, but its difference is the advantage of content on demand. Thousands of young Brazilians subscribe to receive daily podcast updates from opinion leaders.

  • Control

Live on the radio, a client’s word cannot be taken out of context. We cannot ignore the risks of recording live, without editing, but with an excellent preparation, the results of a good interview can be immediate.

  • Show your skills

Some radio stations always look for experts at certain recurring subjects in the media to give their opinion and to comment on the subject in programs or newspapers. This allows you to put your client on the air to show their knowledge and skills, creating a fantastic and free marketing opportunity.

Interested in the topic? Click here and see more information about this and other services offered by Race Communications.

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How To Create Integrated Communications

By Filipe Andrade

Establishing corporate communications, whether internal or external, is by itself a huge challenge; when well executed, it makes all the difference to an organization. When it doesn’t, it can have a tremendously negative impact.Creating integrated communications, by integrating both internal and external communications, forming a synergy between them, is a separate challenge. The result of an integrated communication, however, is substantially higher than any result from them separately.

To understand how to do internal and external communication in an integrated way, we need to first understand the specifications for each one of these ways of communicating in an organization.

Internal communications are commonly understood as a process of exchanges between the employees of an organization, involving all the team in the communicative process and the informative contents, whether vertically or horizontally. There are several internal communication tools and many ways to use this type of communication in a strategic way. The important thing is that this communication  needs to be taken seriously, and even more importantly, it needs to be considered as strategically relevant by managers.

External communications on the other hand, has an even more institutionalized and hierarchical character. This because, in these cases, there is a second filter inside the organization – not everything that’s relevant to the internal public is relevant to the external. And, unlike internal communications, which aims to integrate the team, the external aims to bring the organization to public attention, to be seen and recognized as such. This communication often happens through the work of the press office.

Integrated communication goes beyond. “[…]It presupposes not only a productive dialogue, but a joint planning. The decision-making process, which should include other instances of the company or entity apart from those specifically related to the communication/marketing, must be shared, even if there is a boss, a superintendent, or a general director to whom everybody reports to”, as argued by authors Cláudio Silva, Flávia Schroeder, Luciana Costa, Mariana Cumming and Ticiana Diniz, in the article ‘Comunicação Integrada como Ferramenta de Gestão’ (‘Integrated Communication as a Management Tool’).

The result of the integrated communication is a company image that is much more aligned, more global — as the authors mentioned above point out –, highlighting each sector of the corporation, its activities and specifications. And, even if it’s something new in the market, this is not just an option, but a necessity and a distinction in an organization. A trend that points to the future.

If your company needs help developing a way to work with communication in an integrated manner, please contact the specialists at Race Communications. We’d be happy to help!

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How Many Spokespersons Should a Company Have?

By Lívia Caixeta

In e previous post we talked about spokespersons here in the blog. In the text, written by Nubia Neves, she explains how important it is to have a well-prepared spokesperson.

The subject now goes a little further. After all, how many spokespersons must or should a company have? Considering that the spokesperson is the person who will answer all questions about company matters, we can argue that according to the size of the company, it’s possible to have several spokespersons, each one responsible for a sector or for a certain subject.

The strategy of not concentrating announcements on one single person has pros and cons. The main positive point is that you will always have someone available to attend the press or to respond to other stakeholders.

However, it’s important to make sure the speech is aligned. Regardless of the number of spokespersons, it’s fundamental that all of them know how to act both in common announcements informing news related to the company, as well as in crisis situations; they must be up to date on the subjects regarding their segment and know the most important publications and professionals from the media in general and those who cover their sector specifically.

With the help of this analysis, it’s possible to define who should be the spokesperson(s).

Below follow a few general recommendations:

President: is the main spokesperson in any company. Therefore, they should always be ready to speak. However, they should only be demanded for previously defined occasions;

Directors: like the president, they are obvious choices of spokespersons and should be prepared to speak to different audiences;

Managers, Coordinators and Supervisors: must be previously selected by management to attend routine demands. They should be well articulated and confident people.

At the time of the choice it’s important to also note that the ideal spokesperson is the one who is aware of the importance of this purpose, which is not remunerated, but requires time, attention and experience.

Interested in the topic? Click here and see more information about this and other services offered by Race Communications.

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Increase Sales Through Corporate Communication

Let’s face it – corporate communication has no purpose in itself. It is not a goal but a means to an end. This end being, in most but not all cases, to increase sales of a product or a service. Now, the fact that communications is a means to an end does not mean it is not important. Quite the contrary. Effective communications has the potential to help improve the financial results of a company or organisation.

The question is – how can we prove this correlation? Is it even possible? The short answer is no. Proving a direct correlation between communications activities (being them media relations, social media or internal communications) is tricky. Sure, we can measure the amount and type of articles or mentions of the company in the press or analyse metrics on social media content. Still, this can never prove the impact it will have on sales.

So, does this mean the correlation does not exist? Again – no.

Communications strongly impacts on a company or organisation’s image and reputation, which both play a central role in (de)motivating customers to buy its products or services. In other words, to create effective communications, it is useless trying to measure impacts of communications on sales. Instead, we should focus on measuring the impact it has on the company image, its reputation and brand recognition.

 

To build communications that can  impact positively on sales, try theses tips:

 

  • Invest in media relations. The media landscape is more vast now than ever before. And not only is it vast, but it moves incredibly fast. Having skilled professionals who know how to deal with the media, especially digital media, is fundamental to any organisation. Putting your best foot forward in the press and in cyberspace can be the difference between good PR and catastrophic PR.
  • Stay up-to-date with the public opinion. How many faux passes involving clumsy statements or ads regarding gender, race or sexuality have we not seen from companies, politicians and celebrities over the past years? Countless. So, avoid making a public embarrassment of yourself or the company you represent, by making sure you know what is politically correct and what is not. And stick to the first.
  • Make your employees brand ambassadors. Having your employees on your side, is worth their weight in gold. Happy and engaged employees speak well of the company and its brand, services and products. Their word weighs heavily as it carries credibility and it can spread fast via social media and other forums. Therefore, invest in your employees, build solid and open internal communications routines and you will reap the benefits.
  • Create good relations with digital influencers. Depending on the type of business you have, investing time in relationships with digital influencers, such as bloggers, Youtubers, and Instagrammers, can sometimes generate better results than traditional media or advertising.
  • Walk the talk.  Last but not least – a good reputation and positive company image cannot be created out of thin air. It needs to be founded on actual quality and transparency. In other words – make sure you have good stuff to sell and make a conscious effort to be open to dialogue with clients and customers, as well as with media and with employees.

 

 

As mentioned before, there is no magic formula to increase sales or making your company successful. However, following the suggestions above, you have a good chance of creating effective corporate communications that can help build a positive reputation and image of your company. Increased interest in its products and services, is likely to follow as a consequence.

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