March Twitter Chat Highlights: Crisis Communications

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the March #NPPRSA Twitter chat focused on crisis communications planning. We discussed what is required for any thorough crisis communications plan, which departments to include and how to prepare employees.

PRSA Twitter Chat Highlights: Crisis CommunicationsSpecifically, we’d like to thank Valerie Merahn Simon, senior marketing executive and Director of Marketing Communications for Plymouth Rock Assurance. She is also the co-founder of the #HAPPO and #PRStudChat Twitter chats.

Join us again on April 3 for our next #NPPRSA chat and stay up-to-date with PRSA New Professionals on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Review highlights of the chat below. What did you learn from the March chat? How can you plan for unanticipated events for your brand? What methods can you use to prepare co-workers and executives for dealing with the public? Who can you collaborate with or who should you include in a crisis plan?



Lauren Rosenbaum

Lauren Rosenbaum is the PRSA New Professionals Social Media Co-Chair and Co-Founder of Soversity, a public relations and digital marketing company. You can connect with her on Google+LinkedIn or Twitter.



February Twitter Chat Highlights: Real-Time Marketing

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the February #NPPRSA Twitter chat by discussing the opportunities and challenges of real-time marketing. This month we discussed ways that brands can be authentic when engaging in real time and also addressed some the of risks that can come with real-time marketing.

Real-Time Marketing Twitter Chat Highlights

Specifically, we’d like to thank our two special guests for February: Adam Naide and Ken Burbary. Adam Naide is the Executive Director of Marketing for Social Media at Cox Communications, where he leads overall strategy for the company’s social media presences including fan engagement, customer acquisition & retention, social commerce and Social TV. Ken Burbary is the Chief Digital Officer at Lowe Campbell-Ewald. Ken has over 20 years of marketing experience with a focus on digital for Fortune 500+ brands.

Join us again on March 6 for our next #NPPRSA Twitter chat and stay up-to-date with PRSA New Professionals on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

Review highlights of the chat below. What did you learn from the February chat? Should brands attempt real-time marketing? Is it worth the risks? How can brands authentically engage with consumers?


Amy BishopAmy Bishop works in digital PR and marketing for DigitalRelevance, a content distribution and promotion agency. She is also Social Media Co-Chair for the PRSA New Professionals Section.  Read her insights on customer experience and social business on her Marketing Strategy blog. Connect with Amy through Twitter, Pinterest or Google+.

If You Don’t Tell Your Organization’s Story, Someone Else Will

Typewriter with Once Upon a TimeIn an age when practically everyone carries the latest model of a mobile device, when breaking news is always a glance away and one company’s misstep can spread like wildfire across the country in a matter of only minutes, it is essential that organizations can effectively communicate their stories, before someone else does for them.

Find Real Stories

The foundation of telling your organization’s story well is to start with finding a story: a real story. Every organization has a story to tell. Even the smallest or seemingly mundane organization has some unique attribute hidden in its history, conception, product, obstacles or successes. As public relations professionals, our job is to unearth these stories and nuances that set organizations apart.

Often best captured by simple anecdotes that reflect organizational values, character and image, your story needs to emulate who you are and what sets you apart. If these stories do not automatically surface, it’s up to you to discover what those differentiations are and effectively communicate them to your audience through authentic communication.

It is important to note, that while a particular instance or fact may seem like an excellent beginning to your brand’s story, even the most interesting tale can stop you in your tracks if it is not consistent with your brand message or values. If you cannot directly link your story to your brand, the message will quickly become diluted and serve as a detriment because of inconsistencies and confusion about who you are and your values. If your story lacks brand consistency or clarity, it’s time to revisit the purpose of finding your story.

The most successful brand stories are not fabricated or over exaggerations of the truth. They are authentic, true and a direct reflection of what the brand values.

Use Real People

Perhaps the simplest way to find a good story that emanates your company’s core character is to find real people who have real stories to tell. Be authentic while creating and refining characters in your story whom your audience will champion. These stories could come from any of your stakeholders, including people from within your organization, one of your clients or even someone in your community. A plethora of compelling content is not necessary in order to communicate your story well. A few unique anecdotes can be more than enough to convey everything about your brand and company culture.

Once you have the story that captures the essence of who you are, what comes next? The mistake many organizations make is convoluting the clarity of their story by hiring an actor or appointing a spokesperson to tell it for them. Consider the purpose of why you originally chose to discover and tell your story; this solution produces the opposite effect.

Did your retired co-founder inherit the shop location of your now nationally recognized bakery chain from a famous pastry artist? Bring her back in for an interview. Make her and what her story means for your organization the focus of your next campaign.

People connect to real stories that evoke authentic emotion. The more willing you are to humanize your stories, the more you can relate to your audience and your audience can relate to you.

Be Authentic

Bottom line: there is trust in transparency.

In this day and age, nothing is hidden. No bad business decision, unethical practice or poor treatment of customers can be concealed. It is only a matter of time before the truth is revealed, and when it is, who would you rather have controlling the conversation: you, the public or even your competition? An honest apology or explanation of the truth can earn the respect of your audience and has the potential to deter ruthless scrutiny, even if that scrutiny is unfounded.

When crafting your story, be as open and honest with your audience as you can be, because openness is equal to trust. Actively disclosing information to your constituents about your company and its products or services is perhaps the most powerful means of establishing and building trust with your audience. Don’t forget to ask yourself the hard questions and answer them before others have the opportunity to answer them for you.

In the end, the key element to telling your organization’s story well is simple: the truth. The most powerful and meaningful brand stories are derived from honesty and openness. When you tell your story by using authenticity and real people to tell those stories, you will establish more than just trust with your stakeholders—you will create passionate brand advocates who believe in your brand and its mission.


Kristen SyndramKristen Syndram is a public relations graduate from Illinois State University and a public relations and communications professional in the central Illinois area. She has gained professional communications experience by working with both Fortune 50 companies as well as boutique agencies and specializes in public relations, media relations and social media. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter

Summer Book Club Discussion: Putting the Public Back in Public Relations

As a part of the PRSA New Pros Blog Summer Book Club, our first book was “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations” by Deirdre Breakenridge and Brian Solis. The book had good insight on the future of public relations, where we are now and how public relations and social media work together for the PR 2.0 era. Both have since released updated books on public relations and business since this 2009 release.

Here are a few highlights of the book and things to note.


  • The book is really about how social media is putting the public back in public relations and has “reinvented” public relations and how the industry has to change and evolve.
  • We have a lot of issues facing the public relations field, and some even say our industry needs a PR makeover. Traditional PR tactics aren’t always as effective anymore.
  • We have to a part of the story and the actual conversation now more than ever. It’s not about us, it’s about the consumer and the consistent messaging and dialogue.
  • There are so many social tools out there, but the tools will change and the people using social media will not.
  • Rather than focusing on the need to get brand information out there, the focus should be on the social factor of social media. Facilitate conversation and relationships; do not just broadcast, and change from spin to influence.
  • Social media is not just public relations, it affects the entire organization/company.
  • The future of public relations is about community and community building (they also throw in a lot of tips and guidelines for community managers here).
  • New titles in the PR industry include: chief social officer, community advocate, community builder, community relations manager, social media evangelist.
  • The past of PR meets the future of PR by embracing changes brought on by social media and incorporating strategy for marketing, analytics, customer service, crowdsourcing and more.

Things to note:

  • A lot of this book is based on opinion and does not necessarily have data, polls, research, case studies, etc. to back up what is proposed.
  • Social media is not new anymore, and the content of this book is beyond basics at this point in 2013; it could be more for late adapters of social media.
  • Public relations changed with social media, but a lot of the basics still remain the same, and social media is just a tool in the entire box.

Did you read the book? What are your thoughts?


  • What do you think is the future of public relations? If social media was PR 2.0, what will PR 3.0 look like?
  • Is social media really a new thing anymore? What brands are using it best?
  • How do you get the community involved more in your brand conversation?
  • Do you think social media has put a focus back on ethics in PR with its need for transparency?
  • How do you win leadership support for your social media tactics, or do you face little push-back?


Lauren GrayLauren Gray is a junior associate in digital at Finn Partners in New York City and also serves as the PRSSA immediate past president for the current National Committee. Connect with her on Twitter: @laurenkgray.

PRSA New Professionals Brown Bag: Evolution of the Prototype Marketer

The lines between marketing, public relations and technology departments are blurring, as digital platforms have revolutionized the way we communicate. Employers struggle to recruit and retain professionals qualified for positions that did not exist even three years ago.

The job market is changing, and new professionals need to change with it if they want to succeed in a new world of marketing. More and more, organizations are seeking hybrid professionals who are highly proficient writers, analytical, creative and tech savvy, with strong competencies in business, IT and human behavior.

The PRSA New Professionals Section invites you to join Paul Roetzer and Tracy Lewis of PR 20/20 on Monday, March 25 from 12 to 1 p.m. EST for a lively discussion highlighting how new professionals can become hybrids and keep their skills sharp in emerging core marketing disciplines such as email, mobile, analytics, social networking, web, search and content.

This brown bag seminar is free for New Pros Section members. It’s not too late to register here. We hope to see you there!


Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer) is founder and CEO of PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency; author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint (Wiley); and creator of Marketing Agency Insider—the hub for a more open and collaborative agency ecosystem—and Marketing Score—a free assessment tool and marketing intelligence engine.

Tracy Lewis (@Tracy_J_Lewis) is a consultant at PR 20/20 where she is involved with client services and account management activities. She is also the community manager for Marketing Agency Insider, the hub for a more open and collaborative agency ecosystem. She joined the agency in March 2009 after graduating from Ohio University, and is a Certified Inbound Marketing Professional.