12 Months Later: Starbucks Learns from United Airlines’ Woes

By Alex Altman Caught in the eye of a PR firestorm, former Starbucks CEO (and still face-of-company) Howard Schultz took a page from the Oscar Munoz book on corporate leadership. And then he did the exact opposite. When cellphone footage last April showed a passenger being violently dragged off a United Airlines flight, Munoz delayed, deflected and even blamed the “disruptive and belligerent” victim for his failure to heed the orders of a flight crew. His regrettable handling of the situation inflamed an already outraged public, provided fresh fodder for the national media and caused irreparable harm to United Airlines’ […]

Facebook Rolls Out Changes to Combat Negativity

By Alex Altman Four weeks ago, I made a decision that once seemed unfathomable. I logged into Facebook, clicked on the settings and deactivated my account. I first registered for “The Facebook” in 2005, when membership was exclusive to college students. In the decade that followed, Facebook was more than just a site I would frequent — it was a pipeline into my social world. I’d use it for sharing pictures, crowdsourcing, connecting with new friends and other mostly harmless activities. But over the last few years, my Facebook experience changed. My news feed, once flooded with posts from social […]

The Newsworthy Rise of Late Night Comedy

By Alex Altman More Americans are turning to an unlikely source for news: late night comedy. During the 2016 presidential election, more people got their news from late night comedy than print versions of national newspapers, according to journalism.org. Among 18-29 year olds, late night comedy was more informative than network nightly news. IT ALL STARTED With distrust in the mainstream media at an all-time high, the Cronkites, Sawyers and Brokaws of the world are being replaced by the Colberts, Olivers and Bees in the pantheon of trusted news orators. It’s a trend that started in 1999 when Jon Stewart […]

6 Solutions for Combating Fake News

By Alex Altman Six months after the election, fake news continues to be a real threat. Not just to the political system, but to businesses and the PR professionals charged with safeguarding their fragile public images. If last year’s campaign season taught us anything, it’s that people will believe anything that supports their personal agendas. That’s how fibs like Pizzagate, a wild conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton and a human trafficking ring, spread like wildfire and become part of the national conversation. While most will read a story like Pizzagate and ponder the political implications, there’s another victim here: the […]

5 Companies Winning in PR and the Reasons Why

By Alex Altman From polls to social media, there are many ways to measure a brand’s public image. But trying to figure out what drove that perception in the first place is a different story. Several factors lead consumers to form the belief that Brand A is good and Brand B is bad. But study the most reputable companies in the world and you’ll find there are more commonalities than you think. Here are five brands with favorable public images, and the reasons they appeal to consumers. Rolex There’s a reason Rolex is the most respected company in the world. […]

Tips for Working with Social Influencers

By Alex Altman The relationship between brands and celebrities goes back decades. Watch TV for an hour today and it’s a virtual certainty that you’ll see Jennifer Garner hawking credit cards, Chris Paul peddling insurance, or some other famous person selling you something you don’t need. In 2017 though, you don’t need to star in sport or cinema to get paid like a celebrity for endorsing a product. All you need is a large social presence. People who wield their social clout to promote brand messages on their own accounts are known as social influencers, and they’re part of a […]

PR PEOPLE: WHY REPORTERS LOVE THEM

By: Melissa Smuzynski About nine years into my career as a television reporter, a big milestone happened in my personal life: I got married. During the months leading up to our wedding, my future husband and I planned out every small, painstaking detail. Creating the guest list was one of the hardest steps for us in the process. Together, we whittled down the list, marking off those with whom we weren’t really close until finally we had a solid guest list consisting of 100 of our closest friends and family. I’m telling you this story to make a point. On […]