Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tyson Foods & Hunger Relief Programs

Cause marketing is a hot topic these days. Consumer companies seek alliances with causes for a variety of reasons. Tyson Foods’ Director of Community Relations, Ed Nicholson, APR, presented a synchronous partnership between Tyson Foods and a multitude of hunger relief programs around the one of the presentations at the 2010 PRSA International Conference in Washington D.C.

Tyson’s early efforts to embrace hunger causes were campaign-centric, according to Nicholson. The company looked for publicity opportunities when assisting community causes. Like many companies, Tyson’s executives had many favorite causes which dominated early community efforts.

When Tyson started formally working in hunger causes in 2000, they found a very enthusiastic community working in the area and they found that this community was not recognized for their work. As Nicholson recounted, “acceptance into the community takes time; you can’t buy your way in.” Over time, the organization found that the more they gave in a genuine way to the hunger relief community, the more they became engaged and the more Tyson got back.

In 2005, Tyson reviewed and revised their strategy. They began to engage their 104,000 employees, their customers and the one hundred communities in which they have a presence. They followed a model from Jane Austin’s book “Collaboration Challenge” and used a traditional four step process: research, planning, execution and evaluation.

Here’s what they did:
• Sponsored a research project with Feeding America to discover who is hungry in America
• Surveyed the 100 communities where they do business for sources of hunger information
• They went beyond the publicity of annual food donations –they give 8-10 million pounds of food annually – and began telling the stories of people who help defeat hunger
• Launched the Tyson Hunger Relief blog in 2007 to highlight these stories and invited guest bloggers from the hunger relief community
• Used Twitter and Facebook to connect with others on the issue of hunger
• Created the “Hunger All-Stars program” which allows public to nominate someone from their community for their work in hunger; Tyson foods donates a truckload of food to their community every time a winner is named
• Supported local & regional events with organizations like Share Our Strength, RAGBRAI, LULAC and others, often matching food donations.

Now, as the program gets more ambitious and increases in sophistication, Nicholson is hoping to reward Tyson employees who participate in relief events, create a measurement strategy and is pursuing tie-ins with other food companies who are committed to the cause of hunger relief.

The bottom line, says Nicholson, “most people are invariably surprised about hunger in their own community.” How does he stay motivated? On his Outlook calendar, he has a daily reminder which says: “Do one thing for the community.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mining Search Trends

Keynoter Bill Tancer told participants in PRSA’s 2010 International that PR practitioners need to “become aware of the possibility of search.” Bill is general manager of global research at Hitwise and author of the book Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters.

He shared stories of how he analyzes and monitors search data. By looking at the volume of searches in the United States on specific search terms, you can uncover seasonality spikes, such as an unsurpising increase in searches for “diets” in January.

A surprising find he described was a spike in “prom dress” searches in January, suprising because proms are typically held in May. He investigated further by talking to companies that make and sell prom dresses who told him their big sales are March through May. So why the spike in January? The mystery continued until he relayed the story in a conversation with some fashion magazine publishers. They weren’t surprised. In order to increase circulation in their slower months, they publish stories and fashion shots of prom dresses at the beginning of each year. Those in the prom dress business were missing a huge opportunity by waiting until March to start their season.

Tancer said, “Public relations is one of the best uses for this data, and that’s listening to the conversation and making the business case for what we do in public relations.”

Read more and see a video interview on the PR Tactics blog.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Creating Measurable PR Objectives

If a PR program is designed to “generate buzz,” how would they know if it was successful?

Objectives, by definition, must be more clearly defined than that. By developing objectives early, you’ve given yourself a way to measure your success, and you set expectations for your client or employer.

I attended a session today at the PRSA International Conference entitled, “Setting Quantifiable Objectives – The Key to Proving PR Value and Building the Business Case for PR,” presented by Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research North America.

He explained that PR objectives should be “meaningful, reasonable and quantifiable.”

He suggests conducting an “executive audit,” with questions like: “What is management trying to achieve and what will help or hinder our success?” and “What barriers have hindered our meeting objectives in the past?” (Details are in his book, Unleashing the Power of PR: A Contrarian's Guide to Marketing and Communication.)

Three areas to cluster objectives are: outputs (e.g., total mentions, reach, media mix), outcomes (i.e., awareness, comprehension, attitudes, behavior), and business results (e.g., market share, employee retention).

I really liked his summary points:
  • “Objectives are not fate; they are direction.
  • “Objectives are not commands; they are commitments.
  • “Objectives do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future.”

As the Q&A portion of the session was coming to a close, one participant commented that this session alone, made her trip and registration worth it, which was followed with applause.

A Good Communication Plan Can Feed the World

The Opening Keynote at the PRSA International Conference 2010 was Bettina Luescher, the chief spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). As the largest aid organization in the world, the WFP reached out to 100 million people last year alone. They are charged with going into the world’s most impoverished places like Darfur and Somalia, as well as places hit hard by disasters, like Haiti and Afghanistan.

Luescher spoke about the amazingly difficult conditions of her job nonchalantly. Recalling the conditions after the Asian tsunami of 2004, she shared the grueling schedule of 20-40 television interviews daily, sharing a leaky tent in the rain with 20 others and a shower with 200 plus the logistics of delivering food by helicopter as casually as we might discuss our morning commute.

As well, Luescher told several funny stories about working with actor George Clooney in recent fundraising efforts – a light-hearted note to an otherwise thought-provoking presentation about hunger in the world today.

The biggest takeaway I got from her keynote was how the simplest act, if communicated well, can effect great change. Here are two examples from her presentation:

Darfur: Women who leave supervised camps to gather wood are often raped. The men cannot leave the camps at all, because they will be killed. The WFP made a case for providing women in these camps with a more environmentally efficient stove so they wouldn’t have to gather wood as often and they could better take care of their families.

Afghanistan: Traditionally, Afghan girls did not attend school. The WFP can feed a child for 25 cents a day or about $5.00 per month. If the WFP can keep the children in school and fed, this takes the burden off the parents. But, they went one step further: to make sure that girls got to keep attending school, the WFP gave girls a ration of cooking oil, elevating the value of the girls who brought the oil home and encouraging parents to keep them in school.

Luescher’s presentation was a reminder of how hunger can affect so many and how easy it can be to communicate in the name of change.

The World Food Programme has numerous partnership and donation plans on their web site.

Reporting from the PRSA International Conference

Representing the San Antonio Chapter at this year's PRSA International Conference and Assembly are Fran Stephenson and Christie Goodman, APR. Yesterday the team served as the chapter delegates to the Society's Assembly and beginning today, will bring you news of the speakers, keynotes and workshops.

Special thanks to esd & associates for sponsoring the PRSA San Antonio Chapter's delegates to the conference. Watch for more news throughout the week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

PRSA National Assembly Maintains Status Quo on Board Service Requirements

This year, the PRSA Assembly had a smaller agenda than last year’s conference in San Diego. Two amendments to the Bylaws were somewhat housekeeping in nature. Defining terms of Board service and softening the language on the Code of Ethics. Both passed without debate.

Another amendment, dropping the proposed requirement of the APR credential for service on the national board, was far more contentious. The debate was civil, with many speakers citing the pros and cons of the amendment. A similar amendment was proferred at last year’s assembly and on other occasions. All those amendments have failed.

Those in favor of the amendment cited opening up board leadership to those who serve but who have not taken advantage of the accreditation credential. A number of APRs and Fellows spoke in favor of the amendment, urging the group to separate governance and certification. Others who spoke in favor of the amendment sought the change to eliminate the divisiveness among membership about what the meaning of an APR credential really reflects. They also cited the rigorous process by which a member who is seeking national office must undergo to make that happen.

Assembly delegates speaking against the amendment spoke about the need to maintain standards and expectations among our national board. One speaker against the amendment said “anyone can take that test,” for the APR credential.

It is interesting to note that among the PRSA membership nationwide, only 25% of the membership are accredited. In the San Antonio chapter, the percentage is 20%. The PRSA San Antonio Board is challenged with filling board positions each year that require APR. Most of our board leadership positions do not require the APR credential, and in fact, our board could not function if it was a requirement.

As chapter delegates to this Assembly, Fran Stephenson and Christie Goodman, APR, we voted for this amendment because the board wanted more opportunities for chapter leadership to serve at the national level. Because the motion failed, the San Antonio chapter will have a more difficult road to having a voice at the national level. While we strongly believe in the power of the credential for many public relations practitioners, we see this as a governance issue, not an accreditation issue.

Watch for more as the International Conference gets underway in Washington D.C.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Learning Opportunities for Non-Profits

San Antonio-area nonprofit organizations have three new opportunities to develop expertise in public relations, planning, social media policy and social media practices at three upcoming events.

Gift of Guidance
This is the annual counseling program sponsored by the PRSA San Antonio Chapter. Nonprofits without the benefit of public relations counsel – either staff or agency – can apply to be the recipients of a tabletop planning sessions sponsored by the San Antonio chapter. The counseling session happens during the chapter’s December professional development luncheon, but chapters must apply by Nov. 5. Fill out the application online.

ActionCamp SA
On October 29, ActionCamp SA kicks off at the UTSA Downtown campus. Designed in the “unconference” tradition, “campers” will get the benefit of the expertise of the organizers on the day of the conference, as well as breakfast, lunch and a lunchtime keynote speaker. The registration is being held at $25 because of recent sponsor additions. Event will be held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Register here.


SmoochSA (or Social Media Opportunities for Charities) is a quarterly workshop series designed to help nonprofits break through the barriers of accepting new technologies into their organization. The next workshop will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health. The topic will be adopting social media policy. This event is free and runs from 9 – 11 a.m., with a Continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Watch for registration to open in early November here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PR News Round-Up ~ Octobe 13, 2010

Forbes via PR Daily Newsfeed
Study: Twitter followers more valuable than Facebook fans
Not sure which social media channel to pour your marketing dollars and time? A recent Forrester study found that — while it’s difficult to quantify Facebooks fans and Twitter followers with an absolute value — Twitter followers are “more likely to buy from brands they follow (37 percent vs. 21 percent) and recommend brands to friends (33 percent vs. 21 percent),” reported Forbes. “These two factors are the yardsticks by which many social media branding campaigns are measured,” Patrick Vogt noted for Forbes. Facebook’s big perk: The opportunity for advertising on the social network is “unparalled,” said Vogt. Read Story.

The Guardian via PR Daily Newsfeed
Survey: 27 percent of Web users share 87 percent of the content online
Some interesting and useful results from a CNN survey on how stories are shared online. Turns out most articles are shared by only about a quarter of the users, according to the survey. As you probably imagined, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube trumped e-mail for how people share links. Perhaps most fascinating is the research identifying the reasons people in different regions share news and what kinds of stories they share. In North America and Europe, users had more altruistic reasons for sharing content, the survey said (as reported by The Guardian). “The majority of shared content, around 65 percent, was major current news stories, 19 percent was breaking news and 16 percent was made up of watercooler funnies or quirky news,” according to The Guardian. Read Story.

From Communication Overtones
A Commonsense Approach to Measuring Social Media
The problem with communication and relationships, which are both the hallmarks of social media, is that their effects are often a challenge to quantify. Most people don’t know how to connect online efforts to bottom-line sales, amount of funds raised or other business results, or even to softer measures like improved relationships and competitive advantage. Read Story.

From The Business Insider
9 ways companies blow press ops
“Getting the media to pay attention to a company announcement is one part common sense, one part timing, and one part luck,” writes Beth Monaghan of IngLinks. “Luck aside, there are some things you can do to increase the chances that the media will take notice and prioritize your news over the hundreds of press releases they see each day.” How do you make sure that you don’t sabotage your press announcement? Learn from these common mistakes that companies typically make. Great advice. — Matthew Royse Read Story.

From Open Forum
5 trends that will shape small business in 2011
Every “trend prediction post” I have read has included the emergence of mobile as a trend. Now that it's come true, it's safe to predict it again! Next year should also hold some much-needed cooperation between traditional and social media, online and offline strategies, and the automation of “social circle” recommendations. Take a look at what’s new for 2011. — Claire Celsi Read Story.

Lies, damned lies and statistics
The largest and most comprehensive study of the global digital consumer — ever . What if I were to tell you that you could have access to the most complete study of the global digital consumer for free — is that something you might be interested in? Show of hands? Thought so; this stuff is gold dust. Now, go soak it up! — Adam Vincenzini Read Story.

NPR via PR Daily Newsfeed
NPR releases survey results on its users’ Twitter and Facebook habits
It’s not every day you gain access to the online insights of a media outlet’s followers. That’s why I love this summary and presentation by NPR. From a purely selfish and public relations perspective, I would love to see more outlets publish this type of information on their users. If you’ve seen other outlets provide this type of information share the links with us.—Allan Schoenberg Read Story.

From Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media via PR Daily Newsfeed
Mayo Clinic announces new social media network for healthcare communicators
If you work in PR, marketing, or internal communications, sit up and take notice. The Social Media Health Network is “a group dedicated to using social media to promote health, improve health care, and fight disease,” says Lee Aase, the head of social media at Mayo and a huge pioneer in the online healthcare revolution. Members of the network will learn best practices through conferences and webinars, and by sharing training materials and resources on a new member-only website. Mayo announced the network at the sold-out Second Annual Social Media Summit, which was produced by Mayo and Ragan Communications. The website for the network,, will launch Oct. 25. (Mayo and Ragan will partner on three major healthcare conferences in 2011, concluding with the biggest event of them all in Rochester, Minn., in September. Members of the network will receive big discounts.) Read Story.

Friday, October 01, 2010

PR News Round-Up ~ October 1, 2010

by Brian Clark
The Three Key Elements of Irresistible Email Subject Lines
Email is back. Despite repeated proclamations of its extinction, rumors of the death of email marketing have been greatly exaggerated — especially since email and social media are a powerful combination. You might not reach the average college freshman, but for slightly older types (you know, the ones with the money), email is still the way to go in many lucrative mainstream niches. Read story.

From Newsworthy via PR Daily Newsfeed
New (and free) website compiles contact info of reporters and editors
Looking for a journalist’s e-mail address or phone number? Have your tried PressWiki yet? It’s a free database packed with contact information from countless media outlets. For instance, want to pitch a healthcare story at the Billings Gazette? On PressWiki you can find the e-mail and phone number for the paper’s medical reporter. Read story.

From Justin case you were wondering via PR Daily Newsfeed
Don’t hire millennials to run your social media
Remember when Pizza Hut let the interns run the company Twitter account? It made the Stupid Business Moves Hall of Fame. One year after the “Twintern” incident, as it was called, Fleishman-Hillard’s Jay Goldsborough has extracted a few lessons for other companies. He wants organizations to ask a few questions before they make big choices about social media, among them: “Why are you looking at social media as a position you have to fill?” and “What does the millennial you want to hire know about strategic communications?” Read on, and you won't end up with egg — err — pizza on your face. — Jackson Wightman. Read story.

From Adweek via PR Daily Newsfeed
The 25 most important brands to women
On Monday, Women at NBCU — which is NBC Universal’s female-targeted marketing initiative — unveiled a monthly brand index to measure the 25 brands that are most important to women. The index is based on online search data, social media buzz, and person-to-person conversations, according to an NBC Universal press release. The top five brands for the month of August are Walmart, Target, Verizon, eBay, and AT&T. Check out the remaining 20 brands. (Image via) Related The Daily Beast In terms of women and political brands, a Gallup poll shows white females are deserting the Democratic Party “in droves,” reports The Daily Beast. Read story.

From Mashable via PR Daily Newsfeed
Study: Fewer people creating content on the Web
New data from a Forrester study that tracks consumer trends and behavior broke down Web users into seven types, one of them being “creators.” In the U.S., the creator type has shrunk 1 percent since last year, according to the data. Meanwhile, the “joiner” category saw an increase of 8 percent, indicating social media is still on the rise. Read story.

From Brooke Nolan's Blog via PR Daily Newsfeed
5 reasons hyperlocal news sites should be part of your next campaign
Newspaper sales are declining, but one sector is benefiting — the hyperlocal news site. For example, there is AOL’s Patch in the U.S. and Northcliffe’s Local People in the U.K. PR Daily Europe contributor Brooke Nolan explained five reasons why you should include these platforms in your next PR campaign. Good advice. Read story.

From The Toronto Sun via PR Daily Newsfeed
Study: Quarter of all social media users are older than 65
Grandpa loves social media. Grandma, too. Citing a Pew study, The Toronto Sun reports, “A full 26 percent of Internet users over the age of 65 are now visiting social networking sites such as Facebook.” This means that you must not only focus your campaign on young whippersnappers, but also for those 65 and older. Related How AARP built a social media hub for the 50-plus set. Related MyRaganTV AARP's chief communication officer spoke with Ragan CEO Mark Ragan about the myth that people 50 and older don't use social media. Read story.

By David Kirkpatrick, Washington Post
Five myths about Facebook
Movies often have Web sites, but it's not so often that Web sites have movies. Facebook, of course, is not just any Web site; in the 6 1/2 years since founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg started the social networking service in his Harvard dorm room, it has acquired 500 million active users worldwide. It may be the fastest-growing company in history. And now, yes, it is the inspiration for a movie, "The Social Network," opening Oct. 1. Even before Hollywood got involved, however, Facebook was the subject of quite a bit of lore -- not all of it true. Read story.

From By Brian Solis - PR 2.0 via PRSA Issues and Trends
Exploring and Defining Influence: A New Study
Influence is bliss…The socialization of media is as transformative as it is empowering. As individuals, we’re tweeting, updating, blogging, commenting, curating, liking and friending our way toward varying levels of stature within our social graphs. With every response and action that results from our engagement, we are slowly introduced to the laws of social physics: for every action there is a reaction – even if that reaction is silence. And, the extent of this resulting activity is measured by levels of influence and other factors such as the size and shape of nicheworks as well as attention aperture and time. Read story.

From TopRank Blog via PR Daily Newsfeed
22 tools for social media management
For roughly the last nine months, Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, has researched and reviewed a variety of social media management tools. The result is this list of 22 management tools, platforms, and services to “help manage and scales your online marketing efforts on the social Web,” Odden writes. Read story.

From Liberate Media via PR Daily Newsfeed
3 great tools to help your social media research efforts
This is SO useful! Andy Merchant from Liberate Media describes three tools that you can use as part of your social media preparation routine. I particularly like URLAI, which can tell you the gender and age of the author of any blog. How nifty is that?!? — Adam Vincenzini. Read story.

From All Facebook via PR Daily Newsfeed
Facebook pitches its services to PR professionals with live meeting, Facebook page
PR pros from companies and agencies visited Facebook’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters last week. “A report on the Reuters Mediafile blog says Facebook officials … explained how tools such as live-streaming special events or finely targeting marketing pitches could help PR campaigns, with the formal presentation followed by canap├ęs and drinks on the roof. The social networking site has also set up a page for PR professionals with information such as how to ‘like’ any article online, using a Firefox plug-in, or tips on live-streaming. The page, set up at the end of last week, has 258 fans so far.” Read story.

From Socialbrite, via PR Daily Newsfeed
10 tips for planning a successful webinar
Webinars are a great marketing tool for your organization. They can help your brand or client share valuable information with your stakeholders. But what are the major steps in organizing one? Here are 10 ways to help you host an engaging online seminar. — Matthew Royse. Read story.