Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Virtual Think Tank: Handling Crisis

The BrightBlue Marketing team and Narciso Tovar of Big Noise Communications had of the first of what will be monthly Virtual Think Tank meetings to discuss relevant marketing and PR topics and compelling issues in the business world. This month’s question was “From a marketing and PR perspective, how do you handle a crisis?” On our minds were the Jet Blue incident, the BP debacle, Shirley Sherrod’s resignation, the Dominos vulgar viral video, Comcast positively reacting to a crisis via Twitter and the Tiger Woods scandal.

In the face of a crisis, companies can be badly hurt if they don’t have a crisis management plan in place for eventualities. These plans should be detailed and reviewed often. Why? Just like the fire drills we used to have in school, it is imperative that companies have a plan in place to guide employees’ behavior and identify who is in charge. Tiger Woods and Jet Blue enjoyed being media darlings, but when crisis hit, their virtual silence put the situation in the hands of everyone else: competitors, consumers and the media.

We came up with five main points for a contingency plan

1. HAVE ONE! This ensures your company knows what to do, who is in charge and provides a blueprint for behavior. Explore and learn all the facts before you take action. Your response must be appropriate and made when you have all the information available and the facts completely straight

2. Move quickly and don’t hide. Be ready to speak to the press and use your online presence to put forth your message. Leverage your social media channels (Comcast/Twitter, etc.) to react in a positive and proactive way to people dealing with crisis

3. Be ready to adapt and change. Be flexible. You will be dealing with a lot of emotions from a lot of different players. Everyone is the company should have their crisis hat on

4. When you do start talking, give accurate, truthful information. Keep it real and be a resource. If you don’t know something, say so. If you can’t discuss something because of legal reasons, just admit it

5. The company spokesperson should be human and not come across as just a “suit.” Be yourself. People in a crunch respond to human beings that are both emotional and rational. You don’t want to come off as cold. You want to be able to humanize the situation and put a face to the company within the situation

To summarize, be prepared (with a crisis management plan), be honest, be sincere and be proactive.

Do you see anything we missed? Let yourself be heard and let us know!

Next month’s discussion: Getting Heard Above All That Noise. How do you make your own compelling, positive and memorable noise and how can you be heard above the rest. We will recap this call and share our thoughts with you through our social media channels.

Interested in joining our conversation? Every quarter, we will invite clients and prospective clients to be part of the Think Tank and exchange views on germane topics. Look for more information in November!

Further reading:

Dominos: The company’s step-by-step response after a vulgar video goes viral
Social media DO’s and DON’Ts: 5 hints for successful crisis-management
BP's crisis management marketing won't work without a little proof in the pudding
Wikipedia crisis management article

Monday, 30 August 2010

2 minds are better than 1

2 minds are better than 1... That’s our mentality at BrightBlue Marketing. One way I see this work is in our marketing approach of partnering. We’ve found it’s so much powerful to go in with others that can speak to your work and bring additional value with their offerings than going in by yourself. What you need to make a sale is credibility, and the right partnerships can bring it to you. Recently we partnered with Big Noise Communications, a PR and Media firm. With the power of 2, we’ve joined forces in business development, social media efforts and delivering great results for a couple of new clients! Plus we’ve come up with a few cool ideas in the form of think tanks (stay tuned for future blogs that will highlight our upcoming think tank results!)

Another form of 2 minds being better than 1 is the collaboration that can take place within your team. We work together using the strengths of everyone, the creative ideas of all to enhance our marketing efforts and client’s marketing campaigns. One of our team members is one of the world’s best event planners! And she stepped in to help another team member on a client account. Have you thought of pulling your best minds together on projects instead of assigning it to one person? When have you done some bus development together with a partner? We suggest you put a couple minds to it and get started now!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Mobile Marketing - QR Codes

This week’s guest blogger is Tom Walter, Principle of Marketing Services at Sir Speedy of Addison. They provide printing and marketing services designed to help companies grow. Products and services include traditional printing, copying and mailing services as well as value-added offerings such as web to print solutions, integrated direct marketing tools, and promotional products. Sir Speedy helps companies meet their business growth objectives from lead generation, customer retention and reactivation to brand management.


Today’s consumers are increasingly becoming more mobile. Are you effectively getting your message to them? A new and increasingly popular way to reach and measure the effectiveness of integrated marketing campaigns is with a quick response (QR) code.


A QR code is one of many mobile tags used to bridge the gap between offline and online media. QR codes are two-dimensional “bar codes” that can transmit several types of information such as a Web URL, a phone number, email or simple text message. QR codes trigger an action such as launching a browser to a web page, video, or special offer. A smart phone equipped with a 2D bar code reader (app) and Internet access are all that are required to experience the advantages of mobile tagging with QR codes.


The opportunities for QR codes are endless. You can incorporate them across a variety of media—business cards, brochures, fliers, direct mail, print ads, posters and signs, car wraps, t-shirts, websites and more. QR codes can be used alone or with personalized URLs, coupons and other response tracking methods.

QR codes can:
•Deliver an integrated marketing experience for your targeted mobile audience
•Measure the effectiveness of various media and your ability to reach mobile users
•Better integrate offline and online campaign components
•Improve the perception of your company and brand as a progressive marketer


Whether you use one general QR code for a campaign or media type or several, personalized for each of your prospects and customers, we can help you instantly track and measure the responses you’re sure to get from using QR codes to reach mobile users.

For further information, contact Tom Walter at tom@sirspeedy4043.com

Monday, 9 August 2010

Your customer has embraced social media. Have you?

To aid BrightBlue Marketing’s efforts to continue to enhance and improve our social media presence I’ve been knee deep in research about this rapidly changing and constantly growing addition to the marketing mix. By now you and/or your company have some sort of presence on the big three: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Shama Hyder Kaban, the author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing (a book I highly recommend) has found them “to be the best for marketing purposes.”

If you haven’t already jumped on the social media bandwagon, now is the time. As Michael Mothner of Inc. so aptly puts it, “Social media is no longer an option; it's a necessity.” Check out his complete article “How to make a Social Media Marketing Strategy" here).

The study What Americans do Online, released last week by The Nielsen Company, backs up Mothner’s statement. According to the study Americans spend 22.7% of their time on social networking sites and blogs, up from 15.8 percent just a year ago (a 43 percent increase). For more details, check it out here.

As BrightBlue Marketing is B2B focused, I’ve been looking at best practices in social media for a B2B business. Here is a link to an extremely informative guide that will help you if you’re just starting out in social media or looking for concrete examples of how to take your social media marketing to the next level.

J.J. McCorvey of Inc. has some great tips on using sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to market your services and establish industry contacts. Check them out here.

Tony Bradley of PC World shares some informative tips about using a Facebook Page to promote your site including a great explanation of the recent switch from “Fan Us” to “Like Us." (Article here)

The bottom line is that, whether you’re just joining the conversation or you’re right in the middle of it, always remember to really listen to what’s being said around you and enter the discussion when the time is right. Respond with content that adds value, be nice (i.e. don’t spam), be helpful, and be yourself. After that, everything will fall into place.

Join our conversation about how you’ve integrated social media in your marketing mix. We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Fine Art of Stock Photography

A company we know recently got in trouble with a VERY large stock photo agency for using one of their images without purchasing the proper rights to it. I highly recommend NOT doing this. Stock photo agencies do take usage rights seriously, so it is important to purchase your images and read the usage rights thoroughly, particularly when dealing with some of the larger agencies like Corbis and Getty. Corbis and Getty are the “Grand Poobahs” of stock photography, and their image banks consist of photos shot by professional photographers. Images can sometimes cost upward of 100s of dollars.

Other options cost far less than images on your Corbis & Getty-type sites AND can help your company from getting sued. A favorite around here is iStock photo, which is owned by Getty images. iStock offers an almost staggering amount of choices in just about any subject matter. Taken primarily by amateurs, iStock offers a strong selection and wide variety. Most images will run you about $15 for a reasonable print-size image. Just watch out for those VETTA images, they can get pricey. Morguefile.com has a pretty decent amount of FREE images, an especially good choice if you don’t need a very large file (i.e. you’re not printing a HUGE poster or anything like that) and is great for web use! Dreamtime, Shutterstock and Bigstock are some other very low-priced options, with enough image choices to make your head spin!

Having trouble finding the perfect image? Think abstractly, stretch your creative muscles...think of the feeling you want the image to evoke, the idea behind the kind of image you are looking for. Think of the larger, more abstract concept you are trying to convey rather than being too literal. Have a sense of humor, don’t be so serious. Apply this theory to your stock photo searches - and to everything in life for that matter! - and you’ll be in good shape.

Questions about photography purchasing rights? Contact us and we’ll be glad to help you.