Tide Loads of Hope- Good PR

After seeing a commercial about Loads of Hope by Tide, I decided to research a little further.  I quickly found out that Tide trucks with built-in washers and dryers drive to places that have recently been hit with a disaster.   The trucks let disaster victims do loads of laundry for free.  These energy-efficient machines can clean 300 loads of laundry every day.  Tide promotes Loads of Hope through its Web site, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and has multiple videos on YouTube. 

The videos are positive testimonials of people who have used Tide’s services and machines.  They list places the Tide trucks have visited as well as how many loads were completed and how many families were helped.  Below is an example of one of the YouTube video testimonials:

The Tide brand is looking like saints to the disaster victims.  When disasters occur, I usually hear about organizations donating money to help out the victims.  By helping with a task that seems so trivial, Tide is helping victims as well as helping themselves gain great publicity.

C.J. Spiller for Heisman- Good PR

Clemson University fans have a spirit for their school that is hard to hide.  As painted tiger paws on the road lead you into the town of Clemson, it is instantly easy to tell the color scheme of the esteemed university: ORANGE, ORANGE, ORANGE!  Orange shirts and orange overalls are worn by every fan.  Orange flags are hung from fans’ cars or houses.  Orange tents are stationed at every big tailgating spot and orange tiger paws are painted on the side of fans’ faces.  Often referred to as “The Clemson Family”, fans, students, and alumni are connected through their love of the Tigers.  One Tiger in particular is currently a contender for the biggest award in college football.     

C.J. Spiller is a nominee for the Heisman.  I understand that as a Clemson fan (and soon to be alum), I am bias, but I think that the Clemson family has given Spiller great PR over the past few months.  In July, 4,000 “C.J. Spiller for Heisman” posters were distributed at limited grocery stores, realtors, and quick-stops.  Other posters were sent to media outlets all over the country to promote the campaign.  Clemson’s Web site mentioned the poster campaign in an article about it on their site, along with The State , The Greenville News, The Anderson Independent and other well-known publications.  The posters were given out very quickly and pumped up fans.  It raised national awareness that C.J. Spiller was ready to fight for the big trophy. 

Clemson’s football coach, Dabo Swinney, has also been promoting Spiller for Heisman through student-wide e-mails.  When Dabo sends e-mails about game days, he also reminds the student body to vote for Spiller at this site.  He also mentions Spiller’s Heisman nomination in his press conferences.     

I think that the Clemson students and fans have also given Spiller good PR through social media.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see a Facebook status or tweet that says something about the Spiller Heisman campaign.  Although I don’t frequently read TigerNet, the Clemson sports discussion board, my guy friends tell me that it is a subject that is constantly discussed.  YouTube videos of Spiller’s greatest plays are also posted by Tiger fans with reference to his Heisman nomination.   

With Clemson University, Dabo Swinney, and Clemson fans promoting C.J. Spiller, he has a very large number of supporters that are giving him great publicity.  This is great PR.  I really hope that come voting time, all of this publicity pays off and we’re see our very own tiger bringing Clemson its FIRST EVER HEISMAN TROPHY!

Employee Engagement and Social Media- Best Buy

After watching a YouTube video (below) about Best Buy and employee engagement with Jennifer Rock, director of employee communications for Best Buy, I realized the importance of employee engagement.  Jennifer explained that instead of just communicating AT your employees, now organizations are communicating WITH their employees.  With two-way communication, employees become more involved with the company because they can share their ideas, information, and problems.  Jennifer explained that Best Buy engages employees in many different ways.  Employees are engaging on discussion boards, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and are ranking and commenting on stories that Best Buy submits to the public.

To me, the most interesting part of Jennifer’s video interview was when she was asked how Best Buy deals with negativity from employees.  Jennifer said that when communicating with employees, the first things that usually come out of employees mouths (or fingers via the web) are complaints.  After working out the kinks and communicating on a regular basis, employees start contributing more constructive ideas.         

“‘One Store, One Team’ at Best Buy” shows how engaging employees and taking their feedback into consideration helped unite a Best Buy in Manchester Connecticut.

Employee Guidelines for Social Media

This week in Lauren Vargas’ public relations course, we were asked to watch this presentation on how to use social media and employees.  After doing more research on employees and social media, I found a few guidelines that experts say employees should follow while joining in the social media conversation. 

In the Chicago Tribune times story, “Employees linking work, social media“, three rules were given:

1. Don’t tell secrets.- I think that it’s important to keep new ideas, products, and services that are private to yourself until it is officially released to the public.  If an organization knows that its employees spill everything online, they won’t let employees in on as many “secrets”.

2. Don’t pick fights, be the first to correct your own mistakes, and don’t alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.- Picking a fight while representing your organization can get your organization negative publicity.  I think that people are also more forgiving when you own up to your mistakes.  Letting people know that you’re changing information on a post will hopefully make readers realize that you’re not trying to trick them.

3. Don’t be a mole.- Be transparent.  I think that it’s important for people to know who is the person behind the avatar.  When people know exactly who is blogging or tweeting, it is easier to contact that person with specific questions about the organization.  


REEF Sandals- Corporate Social Responsibility

My neighbors, Sam and Alex are addicted to their REEF sandals.  They wear them year-round and have multiple pairs of them.  Sam even sports a bumper sticker on the back of his truck to show his love for the brand. 

After researching REEF Sandals, I found out that they have a program called Reef Redemption.  This is their form of Corporate Social Responsibility.  The Reef Redemption Program is categorized into three components: Product Series, Culture of Giving, and In House Efforts.  All of these components are practiced in order to help the environment. 

REEF has brought out new products that use recycled and organic materials in order to help the environment.

REEF also gives 1% of the sales of their new products to non-profit environmental foundations.

REEF employees have jumped on board and introduced environmentally savvy ways to reduce the use of energy and materials.

What’s interesting is that REEF has appointed 3 “Team Ambassadors” to help raise awareness of Reef Redemption.  These ambassadors are  well-known surfers that travel to surf in exotic locations and spread the word about making the environment a better place. 

It makes sense that REEF has targeted environmental issues using CSR because their customers are ones that usually spend their time outside enjoying the environment.


Public Relations Practitioner’s Role in Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the way that organizations operate when they take into consideration their publics with the practices that they implement.  A public relations practitioner’s role in corporate social responsibility is to make sure that the practices of the organization are well-communicated between the organization and its publics.

It is also a practitioner’s job to make sure that the communication between and organization and its publics is one that makes sense.  For instance, part of  Ben and Jerry’s mission statement  is “To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.”   It makes sense that they focus on the environment because that is where their products come from.  They also donate money to children’s organizations… what child DOESN’T love ice cream!?  It would not make sense if Ben and Jerry’s focused its practices on something that was not relatable to their corporation. 

Another role that public relations practitioners in CSR play is making sure that publics not directly related to the company, take an interest in the company.  For example, if Ben and Jerry’s donates money to a children’s charity, they should also donate free coupons for the children to have a scoop of ice cream.  That way, parents who usually take their children to Bruster’s or Baskin Robbins may be more inclined to buy from Ben and Jerry’s. 

Ben & Jerry's Mission Statement

Social Media Ethic Guidelines

 David Meerman Scott, an online leader, strategist, and author of five marketing books formulated a list of 5 different guidelines for ethical Social Media Marketing.  The list below was gathered from this post from Marcom Professional.

 1. Transparency– If you aren’t open with your consumer on exactly who you are, it can come back to bite you.  Consumer’s don’t like to be lied to and with social media, it could be easy to hide your identity.  Showing the real person behind the ideas coming from the computer screen is key.

2. Privacy– If you’re given inside information, don’t let the whole world know through social media.  Once a secret’s let out… a whole campaign could be ruined!

3. Disclosure– Let people know truthful information that they may find trouble with in the future.

4. Truthfulness– Always, always, always tell the truth.  Don’t fabricate or elaborate anything.

5. Credit– Give recognition to those who help out or contribute to your ideas.  Giving others credit makes your ideas seem more like a team rather than a single opinion.  Teamwork makes the dream work.   

To give you more insight on David Meerman Scott, I’ve posted a video where he explains his path into social media.