How Harvey and Irma Proved the Power of Corporate Philanthropy

By Alex Altman They rushed in from all corners of the country, hauling boats, medical supplies and drinking water. They knocked on doors, waded through contaminated water, and put their lives on the line to help complete strangers. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma provided another forceful reminder that calamity brings out the best in people. And apparently, Corporate America, too. Over the last month, businesses of all sizes have stepped up in a big way, collectively donating an estimated $157 million toward the hurricane relief efforts. At least 30 companies have pledged $1 million or more. While humanitarianism is all the […]

A 6-Point Checklist for More Shareable Press Releases

By Alex Altman You’ve crafted the perfect headline, finagled the just-right quote, triple-checked your spelling, and scored client approval. By all traditional measures, your press release is ready for life in the wild. But how long will it survive? While quality content is important, it hardly matters if the press release isn’t sufficiently “shareable.” This wasn’t an issue 10-15 years ago, when generating awareness was as simple as sending an advisory to local media. But today, creating a buzz is more of a self-starting enterprise — one that requires both social media savvy and an understanding of how your audience […]

PR For Small Business

By Brian Murnahan (This article originally appeared in the July edition of FW Inc. Magazine) Utilizing public relations in business is often seen as a big business luxury, but in reality, even smaller businesses can use basic tools for successful PR campaigns. PR is defined around key pillars that encompass audience, message, relationship and strategy. Businesses that put a communications strategy in place based on these pillars can find it to be extremely effective. Step one involves taking the time to research and define key characteristics of your intended audience and what value points matter to that group. Use research drawn […]

How Sorry Apologies Doomed Pepsi and United Airlines

  By Alex Altman, contributing writer More than a month later, the bruises still shine bright. No matter what they do, Pepsi and United Airlines can’t outrun the ignominy of their recent PR blunders. In an age where attention spans are as limited as airplane legroom, that’s really saying something. At this point, pretty much every aspect of these mistakes has been unpacked. And what’s interesting is that while both situations transpired in completely different ways, they’re bound by common themes: including weak apologies that only made matters worse. When you make a mistake, an immediate, thoughtful and thorough apology […]

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 […]

Travis Kalanick’s Uber PR Problem

By Alex Altman It’s been a bumpy ride for Uber so far in 2017. In January, the company was excoriated for not disavowing President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order — a decision that spurred 200,000 customers to delete the app. But in some ways, what happened a month later was even more damaging to Uber’s reputation. On February 27, dash cam footage showed CEO arguing with Uber driver Fawzi Kamel over prices. In the video, Kamel complains that the company’s oft-changing policies had caused him to go bankrupt. “I lost $97,000 because of you,” he told Kalanick. “I’m bankrupt because […]

Food Giant CEOs Gather in Houston for Global Food Safety Conference

GFSI Press Advisory  North American icons Tyson, Cargill and Wegmans join with international peers in top industry event   WHAT:  Press conference to launch the 16th Global Food Safety Conference, the industry’s flagship global food safety event, bringing together over 1,000 food industry representatives from more than 60 countries. Announcements at Tuesday’s press conference are expected to reveal groundbreaking strides in public-private collaboration, with the outcomes of the G2G and G2B meetings (government and business) hosted by GFSI just ahead of the conference. This is a unique opportunity for governments to speak amongst themselves and with business leaders on how […]

War of Words: Trump’s Feud with Press Reaches Boil

By Alex Altman Mere hours after the inauguration, Time reporter Zeke Miller unwittingly gave President Donald Trump the ultimate gift. Standing in the Oval Office, surrounded by fellow members of the press corps, Miller made what he thought was a stunning observation: the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was missing. On January 20, Miller shared the scoop with his 150,000 Twitter followers without first verifying with the White House that the bust was no longer there. Not surprisingly, the missive uncorked a tidal wave of anger about the apparent omission. The reaction was none of Miller’s concern. It’s […]

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 […]