Events Provide Great Exposure, Must Be Significant Part of Your Public Relations Plan

What can your small business do to create newsfeed worthy events?

Events must be a significant component in any small businesses public relations plan. When joined with social media companies and brands may earn (social) media placement. Target’s recent #SummerGlowSalon event in New York’s Flatiron Plaza created awareness and got thousands of social mentions. The brand made news and trended. By creating their own news, they went directly to their consumers.

A new report from Vocus observes,

Events provide an interesting context. While events are a traditional tactic, they continue to be extremely worthwhile endeavors for both traditional and digital PR professionals. Seventy nine percent of PR, marketing and advertising agencies and 58 percent of nonprofit respondents surveyed rated events as successful distribution channels.

People can rally around live events. Photos, discussions and speeches provide fodder for online communication. Hashtags allow attendees to follow conversations and trends, and let PR professionals measure impressions, engagement and reach. Follow-up emails turn attendees and stakeholders into  potential customers whose relationships can be nurtured through targeted and traditional marketing.

When planning social media worth events, consider your customers. Design the event to appeal to those who use social media. Create moments which have oomph for Instagram, re-tweetable quotes for Twitter and visually rich environments which compel guests to photograph and pin set-ups to Pinterest.

Have a specific goal or goals for the event. Identify the experience you want to create, the feelings you want attendees to experience, the stories you want them to take away.

Engage with your social media followers in the days leading up to your event to increase awareness of the event and the official hashtags. Remember when selecting your hashtags, you will want to be sure no one else is using that hashtag.

Consider delegating “reporter” duties to a staff member who can photograph, and capture content and to help make sure there is content streaming into newsfeeds.

Broadcast at the event by having screens with live feeds of event hashtags, photos and more. Services like Snapcastr allow you to bring everyone’s news feed into the event as an element.


The eyes have it—and experience events first

Don’t stint on your environment. Flowers, props and podiums will all find their way into the news feeds of attendees and their friends. Give them photo-worthy eventscapes to share. In Charleston, Mitchell Crosby of JMC Charleston worked with our public relations client Susan Hull Walker of  Ibu Movement to create a luxe pop-up shop which set exactly the right tone for Ibu’s astonishing wares and wearables (see photo above).

Be engaging, not boring

Limit traditionally boring things like speeches. Instead, think theater, creating moments which not only entertain, but transmit essential brand messages.

Ribbon cuttings and Grand Openings are an old-fashioned tactic that still get eyeballs, but amping them up with unique opening activities provides memorable experiences.

When planning an auto service company grand opening, we staged a classic car show on the company lot, bringing in many enthusiasts to see amazing cars. And of course, they learned the location of the business in the process.

Put your imagination to work and you may be amazed with the creative ways to bring attention to your brand you dream up.

Having trouble dreaming up interesting events? Call us, we’re here to brainstorm and plan. And we’ll help you assemble a team to stage an incredible event.

Corporate Apologies Must Be Sincere

So, you’re in the doghouse

When you were a kid, did you ever get angry? Of course you did. Did you ever do something to hurt someone when you were angry? Sure you did. Did your Mom make you apologize for it? Absolutely. What was the fastest way back into the doghouse? Apologizing without sincerity.

As a business, there will come a day and time when you disappoint someone. Or when you under-deliver after over-promising. You will need to make a sincere apology and to regain trust.

Corporate insincerity and apologies

Despite not being people, brands are run by fallible people who provide products and services to other people. So, it is obvious to me and others that brand apologies must be sincere, or risk additional complications by their equivocation. It seems that those who run corporations would have learned this same lesson at their parents’ knees too.

Saying you’re sorry

According to a Business Insider article authored by Joshua Brustein, corporate Twitter accounts apologize more than individual Twitter accounts. This is based on an analysis of 1183 apologies completed by Ruth Page and reported in “The Journal of Pragmatics.” Page analyzed both corporate and individual apologies and made observations about both.

Brustein notes that sincerity is missing from brands’ apologies,

Apologetic social-media messages from brands are often stilted and mealy-mouthed. Companies rarely restate what they’re apologizing for, which Page interpreted as a way to obscure the initial offense, and are likely to stop short of accepting blame. Companies often pointed out someone else who was at fault or used “adverbial constructions” to avoid taking full responsibility, bending their regret into strange sentences. (Incidentally, companies also used apologetic emoticons at one-fifth the rate of individuals, with frowny-faced 🙁 being the most popular choice by far.)

In place of sincerity, companies offered action. While only 10 percent of apologies from individuals included an offer to right the wrong, the study found that 30 percent of corporate apologies did so.

Accepting responsibility

If I hurt you, it’s expected that I offer soothing words and try to rectify the wrong, but regaining trust and respect come with acceptance of full responsibility for the injury.

Making an apology not only includes saying you’re sorry, but admitting that your judgment was flawed or your understanding of the consequences of your actions was short-sighted: that you hurt someone. You must demonstrate sympathy for those injured. You must not hedge your words. And you must provide evidence of how you will avoid all such future damage.

Preventing the need for apologies

Brustein continues his article by noting the volume of apologies issued by brands via Twitter might be due to the use of Twitter by consumers as a place to air customer grievances. However, he also observes that corporate Twitter accounts might just tweet more than they need to or make comments that invoke the need to apologize.

Corporations tend to spend so much time apologizing on social media because that’s where people go to complain. But the rate at which they seem to stir up trouble is also striking, and it’s pretty much because brands don’t know what they’re doing.

If you are engaging in social media and interacting with your brand’s customers, you may say something that is taken the wrong way. When you do, accept responsibility, apologize with appropriate actions and words and make them sincere.

And let’s hope that your customers, like humankind’s best friends, have short memories and are long on affection, accepting your admissions of guilt and remorse as well as your repairs.

If you find your firm in the doghouse because of something you said, did or failed to do, and which is now or could in the future create a crisis, call us. Our crisis communications and crisis management consultation may help you avoid future injuries.

Public Relations Stunts Work


If you had any doubt that public relations stunts work, just look at all the cool social media love that Microsoft UK received when they set up a giant Surface in London.

Public relations stunts work when they amaze and take people by surprise; they support brand goals; when they create a conversational buzz (which this certainly did) and when they demonstrate a brand or product’s features. I’d say that Microsoft scored pretty well on all these counts.

Note that the brand created a special hashtag to use in their promotion which kept Tweets organized. They also re-Tweeted the best images and content to keep the buzz stoked. (Scroll to the end of this post for more top Tweets from the PR campaign.)

There were lots of tweets and RT from the Microsoft UK Twitter stream and some very clever images by others–demonstrating the buzz created by the promotion (heck, we’re even writing about it so yes, it worked.)

Microsoft had people making Skype calls (which is an embedded function in the Surface)

And jumping on the keyboard demonstrating their math skills

And using provided Surface tablets to create their own art.

What types of public relations promotions has your business done and how have they worked for you?

More from the #GiantSurface PR stunt