Taco Bell faces Counterfeit Claims and Huge Crisis PR

taco bell counterfeit

Taco Bell is facing a lawsuit and PR nightmare due to two operators forcing underage workers to give out counterfeit twenty dollar bills. Ronn Torossian says that the fallout could severely damage the restaurant’s image and impact sales. Consumers are far less likely to continue visiting the popular chain if they are suspicious of fraud.

The family of a seventeen year old girl is filing the lawsuit against Taco Bell based on the girl’s allegations that she was forced to distribute counterfeit twenty dollar bills to customers at the restaurant where she worked. The girl spoke to the police and described how she was manipulated into pulling off the scheme.

The bills were obviously fake. They were slightly smaller than real twenty dollar bills and were most likely made on a laserjet printer before being run through a dryer to make them look used and crumpled. Despite this, many customers did not realize that the bills were fake.

Most fast food restaurants do not have a need to give out twenty dollar bills in change because they do not accept large bills. To make the scheme work, the policies at two Taco Bell restaurants were changed so that people could pay using fifty and one hundred dollar bills. This made it possible for workers to give customers the fake twenties.

The lawsuit comes at a time when Taco Bell has been far superior to other fast food chains in the area of public relations. The restaurant recently introduced a breakfast menu as well as a dollar menu that have been very popular with customers. This has gotten Taco Bell a lot of positive attention and has made it stand out from other competing restaurants. The lawsuit could cause major damage to the restaurant’s popularity.

Ronn Torossian says that if Taco Bell wants to keep ahead of the competition, then the restaurant will need to get on top of this PR fiasco as soon as possible. A public apology is needed as well as restitution. The individuals responsible for the crime also need to be identified. Taco Bell needs to guarantee that this will never happen again and that their customers have nothing to worry about when dining.

G.E. Shifts Away from a Once Core Component

g-e-coreG.E. product groups include a diverse range from aviation and wind turbines to healthcare and trains. Perhaps the most well-known product group is the appliance division. Over a century ago, they started with the electric toaster and electric range, and they were the first to introduce the electric washing machine. Consumers most readily identify G.E. through their appliance division. So why would G.E. want to sell it and shift away from that identity?

Due to the huge growth of its financial arm, G.E.’s appliance division now only constitutes six percent of the company’s more than $146 billion in revenue. The appliance division helped grow the company, but G.E. came to the realization that it needs to let it go.

Ronn Torossian understands the need for companies to sometimes shift identities. He also understands that this type of shift needs a good PR strategy. When a product or division is heavily identified with a brand, a bad or non-existent PR campaign can ruin an identity shift.

The 2008 financial crisis impacted G.E. profoundly. Jeffrey R. Immelt, G.E CEO, wants to concentrate on the core industrial businesses. The appliance division was once considered a core business, but not any longer. This shift away from appliances needs a great PR strategy so that it highlights the strengths of the shift and does not alienate consumers.

For any identity shift PR campaign, Ronn Torossian uses SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to focus on effective targets. This is a key piece in strategic PR planning and positional capabilities identification. A good plan includes positional statements, spokesperson management, and finding strategic partnerships and co-branding opportunities,

In the case of G.E., although they are looking to divest itself of the appliance division, they have formed a strategic partnership with a potential buyer. G.E. and Quirky, a five-year-old company who uses crowdsourcing to generate ideas for products, are working together to develop new products. G.E.’s shift toward its industrial core includes joint ventures with respected companies such as Alstom. G.E. will take over their gas and steam turbine business and expand G.E’s stake in the power industry. By carefully crafting the identity shift message, a company can leverage the brand and increase value.

What all Media REALLY Wants

mediaEven when Apple simply announces a press event it becomes news. Recently, several tech blogs and online news magazines led with a story announcing that, in September, Apple will make an announcement. Stop for a moment and think about that. One of the top news agencies in the country has just announced that, a month from now, you will make an announcement. How is that news? Ronn Torossian has your answer.

First, all media is in the business of attracting readers and viewers. They need the numbers so they can sell advertising. This is a key foundational fact many rookie PR people, and even some savvy business owners fail to realize. You get laser focused on what your business is doing, which is understandably exciting to you. But will it be exciting to the readers of that publication receiving your press release? You better know the answer to that question before you click “SEND.”

No media is interested in your content unless it serves their mission or vision. This is not a negative; it’s basic math. If they can’t sell ads, and in some cases, subscriptions, they can’t pay their bills. So, no matter what media outlet it is, they want content people WANT TO READ.

So, why is an announcement from Apple that they will make an announcement sometime soon rate as a top story? Because of the inference in that announcement. The new iPhone is coming. Even marginal Macophiles understand that Mac tends to unveil a new mobile device each fall. They know that early adopters will line up for the new toy, and they’ll be able to get all the bugs out before the holiday shopping season.

So, when Apple says “announcement” most people assume it means “new iPhone.” But no one really knows. This leads to the second reason this announcement about an announcement is news. Apple understands that the mystery, albeit thinly veiled, creates conversation, debate, and endless discussion. Media outlets know this, too. A story that will attract a built-in debate is always news because there is ALWAYS conversation. Repeat visits and visitors who spend significant amounts of time on your site is a beautiful combination for online media outlets.

So if you want to make a splash like Apple has with their news about news, as yourself, how can your messaging encourage discussion, repeat visits, and time spent on your site? How are you set up to give your target media outlet the return they need to assure you will see your content “in print?”

Hollywood’s SUMMER of Discontent

public-relations-moviesAccording to reports, U.S. box office totals are in a freefall, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Terrible news for the film industry, which has practically owned Get Out Of The House entertainment media for the better part of a century. Even with the standard slate of action adventure movies and big budget summer blockbusters playing in theaters across the country, U.S. ticket sales are down at least 20%.

Ronn Torossian says this appears to be a trend, not a fluke, and the industry needs to start paying attention, yesterday. But, it seems like, at least some of them, have their heads in the sand. Transformers 4, Godzilla, and the latest Planet of the Apes movie all fell well short of domestic box office forecasts. This means Hollywood Big Boys such as Paramount, Warner Brothers, and Fox all missed the mark and failed to meet expectations.

Some prognosticators have said moviegoers are just tiring of retread sequels, but Torossian and other consumer PR experts say there are many other causes to consider. Digital media and on demand programming have hit the theater with a solid one-two combination.

Now, not only can people get as good (or better) resolution on their home screens, they can watch titles – even some new releases – whenever they want. The former excitement of waiting till opening day just doesn’t hold the same power it once did. Plus, with films going from the box office to the on demand queue in mere months, many consumers are opting to wait a bit longer and enjoy the films in the privacy and comfort of their own homes.

Without a captive audience to depend on, Hollywood needs to make some changes or they will find their returns diminishing even further. Step one for that would be to look at where the consumer mindset actually is rather than just giving them what they always have.

How has your market changed, and how are you changing your business plan and PR campaigns in order to stay ahead of the game?

Is Tesla FINALLY Ready to make a Major Market Push?

tesla-marketingThere’s no doubt about it, Elon Musk knows how to make the news. For a PR guy, he’s a goldmine. A savvy CEO with interesting ideas, a sharp perspective, and a willingness to say things that will definitely see print. Recently, the head of Tesla Motors sent a letter to shareholders that contained this nugget of fresh-pressed PR gold:

Processed ore from mines will enter by railcar on one side and finished battery packs will exit on the other.”

That, in part, was how Musk described the construction of a battery plant Tesla and Panasonic are working on together in Nevada. That factory is intended to be the first of several, the same size or bigger, which Musk has said will be the key to delivering the electric car to the masses. Like the original automotive innovator, Henry Ford, Musk believes that mass production of his unique product will allow him to bring down the prices of his vehicles to levels consumers can manage.

However, the move puts Musk at odds with most other carmakers, including Ford. Nearly all automakers have gone to a system of using parts made by other companies and simply assembling them at branded plants. Musk has gone on record as saying he does not believe this outsourcing actually reduces costs. Particularly when you are doing something nobody else seems to think can work.

It’s an interesting approach for a company that has, in the past year, essentially not gained much ground. Sure, Tesla nearly doubled its second-quarter profit this year, but it also doubled its second-quarter net loss. That dichotomy would be getting more traction in the press but for one unavoidable fact – Musk is predicting his plants will be able to deliver more than 100,000 cars per year as soon as 2015.

That number has excited investors and, perhaps more importantly, is delighting would-be Tesla owners who have been waiting years to be able to afford the Car Of The Future. Even with the high price tag, demand has remained even higher, and Tesla is hoping to ride that anticipatory PR all the way to market segment domination.

Why Profit Sharing is Smart PR

profit-sharingAre you an entrepreneur interested in shoring up your reputation and building the best success team possible? There is nothing better for your internal public relations with your skilled workers than plain, old-fashioned compensation.

It’s a given that top sales people make their careers on commission, but why not share some of that love with your skilled workers, you know, the people that get up every day to help you turn your business idea into a commercial success?

Some would caution that if profit sharing is not common in your industry, it’s best to steer clear of it. Now, that may be solid advice, but first you need to know WHY it might not be done in your line of work. First, is it legal? Incentivizing certain positions may violate your industry’s compliance or ethical standards. Be sure to check that out well before you start passing out dividends.

Also, you need to consider where your company is within your growth paradigm. Are you established? A startup? A venture capitalized business? Profit sharing should always be subsequent to any loan repayment or other investor agreements, and startups may not have the ready cash reserve to feasibly offer these perks. Profit sharing does no one any good if you bankrupt your savings to make it happen.

And, it should be said here that we are strictly talking about profit sharing, not equity offerings. Unless your company is being prepped for sale, or you are on a meteoric rise and looking to go public, equity offerings might as well be empty promises. Annual profit bonuses, however, are another story altogether.

If you can afford to, profit sharing can be a tremendous vehicle to increase corporate morale and a solid long-term investment in your internal PR.

Bose Sues Beats Over Noise-Cancelling Headphones

bose-sue-beatTwo giants of the headphones industry are going head to head. Bose sued Beats Electronics this past week for allegedly infringing on five of their patents related to noise-canceling headphone technology. Bose is seeking to block U.S. imports of Beats noise-canceling headphones with their lawsuit filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, DC. The company also filed a smaller lawsuit in a federal court in Wilmington, Delaware. This lawsuit makes the same claims and will likely be put on hold till the large case is solved.

The Massachusetts-based Bose had the rights from 2004 to 2013 to their inventions related to the active noise reduction technique they use in their noise canceling headphones. Originally developed for the U.S. Air Force and Army, the noise-canceling headphones work by using a microphone to detect unwanted ambient noise, and then the headphones make a second noise that cancels out the first by having sound waves of a reverse phase. Bose’s lawyers stated Beats electronics did not license Bose’s technology even though they were informed they were infringing on Bose’s patents for their active noise cancellation technique. They want to protect their proprietary technology. Bose claims that they have lost headphone sales to their competitor Beats because Beats is using their noise-canceling technology.

Beats sells headphones with an adaptive noise-canceling feature. However, many other headphone companies also produce noise-canceling headphones. It is a fairly common feature in higher end headphones. Bose has filed other patent lawsuits against other headphone makers. The California-based Beats Electronics, founded by Andre “Dr. Dre” Young and Jimmy Iovine, has released a statement that the company does not comment on pending litigation.

The time of the lawsuit likely has to do with Apple buying Beats in May for $3 billion, in its largest acquisition so far. It is not unusual for lawsuits to come after takeovers. Ilya Kazi of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys says, “When companies are in the process of being taken over they don’t want the uncertainty of litigation. So, they are more likely to be inclined to settle.” Apple’s deal to buy Beats is expected to close soon. When it does, this legal fight could be another headache for Apple which is already fighting patent battles in other arenas with Samsung and other companies. Apple has said they plan to operate Beats as a standalone brand.

How to Market Your Mobile Technology Company

mobile-tech-firmMobile technology is technology that is portable. Any company that manufactures or sells a mobile technology device fits the category of being a mobile technology company. Marketing for a Mobile Tech company becomes crucial, due to the nature of their intended audience. These consumers are most likely tech savvy and do most of their research into new products on the computer. This is a huge oppurtunity to leverage where these people gather, to generate interest in your product, company or idea.

Mobile technology tasks are performed via PDA, cellular phones and laptops etc. Mobile devices have gone a long way from being a two-way pager and are now classified as GPS navigation systems, web browsers, video gaming systems and more.

Marketing Programs for Mobile Technology Programs

Create press releases

Press releases are one of the most influential and crucial activities that can be used as a marketing tool. A press release can be the first step in endorsing a new product or service.

Create mobile friendly websites

More and more consumers are accessing their websites through cell phones and other mobile devices. Marketers who optimize their websites for mobile search will realize increased sales.

Employ SMS (Text) alert reminders

SMS has a lot of applications that mobile technology can exploit. Alerts and reminders can reach and influence customers with text messages that are convenient and non-intrusive. Examples are when banks use technology to update customers about their balances, or when retail stores alert customers about available discounts.

Leverage mobile applications

There is an app for everything and companies across the globe successfully use apps to increase sales and brand awareness. Apps can provide critical data such as account information and product information. Apps can also provide service to users who prefer mobile games, maps, music and social media.

Provide mobile coupons

Scanning a phone for 20% reduction in cost is a good thing to offer customers. Mobile coupons can be made available through search advertising, mobile websites and countless other ways.

Utilize SMS rewards and short codes

SMS rewards and short codes allow consumers to text a number and receive a free voucher for free food, a round of golf, or tickets to a local event and more. This method lets companies reward customers who participate in short code communications via SMS. These codes can appear on print publications, television, radio and billboards.

Employ QR codes

UPC codes and QR codes are similar in that they contain information that can be used to send a text, visit a website or make a call. QR codes on a product allow the customer to scan with a mobile device and link to a video, gather information or browse products on a company’s promotional website.

A Clear PR Message for Lasik Doctors

For millions, public-relations-lasikLasik Eye Surgery has been a complete life changer. No more waking up and struggling to find the clock, or read your phone, or make it to the bathroom without your glasses. In fact, no more looking for your glasses – period. No more worrying about losing a contact at the beach or in the pool, or forgetting your solution when you travel.

LASIK delivers clear vision safely, and effectively. And yet, tens of millions who could benefit from the procedure still worry about potential issues. They are so afraid, fearful in fact, that they are reluctant to even make an appointment with their doctors to talk about it. Ronn Torossian has some suggestions to help docs get out ahead of this message, and maintain control in the marketplace.

Why Public Relations and Lasik go hand-in-hand

For all intents and purposes, LASIK is a safe and overwhelmingly effective procedure. That said, are vision care specialists taking the initiative to control this conversation, or are they allowing fears, misinformation, and rumors to keep patients from coming to them for answers? What could these doctors be teaching their potential patients?

First, they could be talking about how safe, simple, and effective – thanks to advanced procedures and equipment – the procedure really is. Then, they could talk some more about how LASIK is often a permanent solution to vision issues.

But, how long will the surgery take, and how long will it take for me to recover? These are two vital questions every potential LASIK patient will have. And, if the doctors could explain that the actual procedure only takes about fifteen minutes, and they could be seeing better within a half hour, would more people be interested? You bet!

And when it comes to questions, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Yet, too often, professionals are too passive in getting these messages out to potential patients. The idea here is to create and control the conversation, while encouraging the prospect to get every question they have answered.

If you offer LASIK services and are not taking full control of the messaging with regard to these aspects of the procedure and the benefits, then you are definitely leaving money on the table. Isn’t it time you reached out and connected with all those people too reluctant to start the conversation?

Pickups Losing Ground to Luxury Cars

automible-public-relationsIs America beginning to see the swan song of the all-American pickup truck? According to some reports, luxury cars are beginning to not only gain ground, but to surpass pickup trucks as the American vehicle of choice. But, not just luxury cars… FOREIGN luxury cars. Drivers are choosing BMWs, Audis, and other foreign luxury makes in record numbers. Even the stalwart Ford F150 is beginning to lose ground. Yes, truck sales are up (again), but Ronn Torossian says that doesn’t mean US automakers should not be paying attention.

Any time a brand holds market supremacy for an extended period of time, there is a tendency to get complacent. This complacency offers new market players an opportunity to sneak in and gain market share. In this case, it may be that Ford, content in its supremacy over other American automakers after coming out ahead of the auto industry issues a few years back, was not anticipating encroachment from European automakers. Sure, Honda and Toyota continue to lead in the midsize car market, but pickups are so inherently American, it may have seemed inconceivable that they might slip in popularity.

On the plus side for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge, they figured this out fairly quickly and acted even faster. Consider the recent barrage of truck-centered advertising from the Big Three U.S. brands. It began at the Super Bowl and hasn’t stopped since. And, one thing each of these promotions has in common? They are tied to story. The American farmer. The American builder. The stalwart patriarch. The all-American guy, tough and strong and independent. Each of these archetypes resonates deeply with the target demographic, an excellent strategy for engaging in strength.

The “strong sell” formula is an important aspect of this strategy. When losing ground to a competitor, you cannot afford to look desperate or frustrated. The best strategy is to come back at them with a powerful, compelling story your fans will love and want to talk about. A comprehensive strategic PR Campaign would be the best course of action for these automakers.

Best Ways To increase Sales in the Food and Beverage Industry

food-beverage-sales-tipsThere has been a definite decision by most consumers to ignore the vast majority of advertising that comes into their homes. This has hit especially hard in the food and beverage industry. With new companies popping up every business cycle, both established companies and up-and-coming businesses with good products sometimes get lost in all of the noise. Below are just a few of the promotional methods that still work for the food and beverage industry.

First, you must attach your product to something larger than itself. A face sells. There is a reason that this short phrase has lasted for as long as advertising – it is true. Many commercials that are successful for companies today will attach their products to a celebrity. Instead of simply eating a product, you give the impression that this food or beverage will somehow increase the popularity of the user. This must be done in a subtle way including humor in order not to seem overbearing.

Second, sell the sizzle, not the steak. For instance: If you are looking to create and market a product that is aimed at the health community, it is much better to talk about the results of using the product rather than the weeks of work that it will take to achieve those results. The ability to focus on the most positive aspects of a product is essential to sell that product. It also shortens the marketing pitch to a link that the average person can handle. Again, humor is essential for helping to lower the defenses of the consumer who is trying to keep out as much advertising as possible.

Third, you must attach your product into the wider fabric of the culture that you are marketing to. In order for people to accept your product most readily, they should feel as though they made the decision instead of having it forced upon them by advertising. This is done by creating the impression that a product is a natural choice based upon a certain lifestyle or in a certain environment.

In order to accomplish the above three goals, an excellent public relations campaign must be in place. Public relations is slightly different from marketing in that it attempts to create impressions and conversions for product without directly advertising what may be the true advantages of that product. As such, proper public relations is not necessarily selling a product – it is creating the environment in which a product is most readily consumed as well as personal goodwill for that product.

Of course the buzz on a product must increase in order for sales to increase. How much easier is this to do if your beverage or food product is sold in a highly reputable or popular restaurant? This is the kind of thing that only public relations can accomplish – it is built on personal relationships with the people who can take your brand forward in the eyes of the public without directly advertising to them. A good public relations company will be able to help you form these relationships based on the features of your product.

Getting your product placed in the right areas and used by the right people will certainly increase the buzz on the product; however, good public relations does not stop here. In order for sales to increase, this presence must be constant in the eyes of the general public. Your public relations company will be able to place your brand alongside others in the background, ensuring its visibility without having to directly advertise it. You need the company that will have the famous actor drinking your product in a movie casually rather than a salesman going door to door selling it.

Facebook Social Experiment Issues

facebook social media experimentIt appears that Facbook purposely manipulated news feeds for hundreds of thousands of its users PR Executive Ronn Torossian 5wPR CEO says. The reason was to study emotional reaction over various social networks. This is the ultimate social media social experiment for facebook.

Study

The individuals responsible for the study were from Cornell University as well as California University in San Francisco. The goal was to find out if showing fewer positive message would make people less likely to post positive content. They also studied if negative message cause more negative content to be posted. The algorithm responsible for putting posts in the news feeds of Facebook members was changed. A program identified happy and sad words. Some members were given happy information from friends, and others were provided with sad information. The resulting posts were then studied.

Problems

The study showed that social networks can create good and bad feelings for its members. The problem is that Facebook intentionally manipulated the emotions of thousands of its members. Many people have found this type of study quite unethical. Others feel they may have crossed the line of federal law and human rights declarations. Some believe that such a study should only be conducted with informed consent from participants.

Serious Matter

Unknown and intentional manipulation of people’s emotions is a serious matter. Some believe that since Facebook does not receive any federal funding, they may be exempt from Common Rule. These are federal rules that protect human subjects during behavioral and social science experiments. There is now a move to have the Common Rule updated to cover studies such as the ones conducted by Facebook.

Permission

There is a section of Facebook’s data use policy that may be interpreted as giving consent to research. It does state that Facebook can use information they receive about its users for internal operations. This use is identified as testing as well as research and service improvement. Many people don’t feel is the same as giving informed consent to be part of a research experiment.

Reaction

Adam Kramer was one of the people responsible for the research. Once the research was published by the National Academy of Sciences, Facebook users were quick to provide Mr. Kramer with comments on his Facebook page. The comments covered a wide range of responses. Some had no problem with how the study was conducted. Others were enraged, and many people closed their Facebook account. There were even many who felt Facebook should donate money to assist individuals with mental health problems. Many people believe this has decreased the level of trust for participation in Facebook. Experts believe this has damaged their brand identity. Only time will show to what extent.

Dove continues to Promote a new Definition of Beautiful

beauty-prThe Dove campaign to remind every woman why she is beautiful in her own skin continues to roll full steam ahead. The empowering message has resonated with women across the nation, and Dove has played into the popularity well, creating social media PR tools for their fans to share, and inviting their customers to help spread the message of love and acceptance.

But, the best part of the entire campaign, according to Ronn Torossian, is that Dove has managed to stay on message, even when their entire message has changed.

It started with pictures in advertisements. Not airbrushed and not Photoshopped. Just real women being real women. That campaign raised so many eyebrows, Dove doubled down on video and social media PR content. Their new commercials went viral on several social platforms, shared countless times. With every share, the Dove army of natural beauties grew exponentially. Because Dove packaged their content in easy to share posts, these folks quickly became carriers of the message.

Dove decided it was time to get to the heart of the issue. They made some incredibly simple, yet powerful videos that dealt with body image and personal perception of beauty. Tears were shed, heads were nodded and more consumers continued to buy-in to Dove’s perspective on true beauty.

The next step in the campaign happened recently. Dove threw the gauntlet down directly at the feet of the beauty PR industry. The latest round of commercials directly attacks the very nature of beauty PR and advertising. To date, no competitive company has put its own industry on blast in this way. It will be interesting to see who fires the next shot in this battle for the future of beauty PR.

Public Relations Tips for Your Business

 

pr strategy Erika Kauffman

No matter what type of business you have, you’ll need to implement an effective marketing plan to let potential clients know about the products and services you offer. U
sing public relations to your advantage can help your business to gain a positive reputation in the community and could make you a significant professional force in your industry. CEO of 5WPR Ronn Torossian offers some effective solutions for boosting your business’ image and retaining loyal customers. 

 

How your business can use PR to to gain buzz and sales

 
Build Business-to-Business Relationships

It’s essential that you form favorable relationships with other companies in your area, especially the ones that also cater to your client base. Ask these businesses to provide discounts for your customers when the customers patronize their business and mention your company. Feel free to return the favor so you can build a positive professional relationship that will help both companies to thrive. This not only gives customers a more positive impression of your organization, but makes your company look great in the business world as well.

Use Social Media Wisely

When you’re promoting your company on social media networks on Twitter or Facebook, remember to engage in conversation with your clients instead of simply pushing your product onto them. Answer any questions potential and existing clients post about your services, and do so in a timely manner. You may also learn from the ideas and suggestions that people post online. Make sure that you always present your company as an organization that cares about the needs and wants of consumers. This public relations tactic will likely prompt people to use word-of-mouth marketing to promote what your business has to offer.

Organize Games and Contests

Involving the public in a fun way is an excellent public relations tactic. For instance, provide a free or discounted clothing item to the customers who promote your boutique to a certain amount of customers. Or, host a contest for patrons who want to post videos of creative ways they use the food items you sell to make nutritious recipes. Post the winner’s video on your website and offer a prize package to the winner and runners-up. These tactics are sure to get people talking about your company and could result in more sales.

Host Events for Free

You can encourage people to be ambassadors for your brand by hosting a free event. During the event, offer coupons and promotions, particularly for customers who follow you on social media or subscribe to your blog. This public relations tactic shows appreciation to those who have been loyal to your company and gives patrons a chance to interact with your business in a more direct way. For instance, each time a customers comments on your blog or likes one of your promotional photos on Facebook, send an online coupon to the customer. Or, offer the customer a discount when he/she attends your free community event. Customers love to know that you’re listening to their suggestions and value their feedback.

The more you use these types of suggestions to grow your business, the more customers you are likely to attract. It’s important to remember that stellar customer service is also one of the best public relations methods. A friendly smile, an attentive staff and prompt attention to customer complaints will help your company to thrive for years to come.

Science behind In-Flight Beverages

science-in-flight-beverageHave you ever been on a flight and ordered a drink you wouldn’t normally order? Say for example, you order a bloody Mary or tomato juice. Have you ever wondered why you order these types of drinks on a flight and no where else? This is a huge opportunity for the Beverage Public Relations industry.

Well science feels they have come up with the reason behind it. According to some authors, a bloody Mary might actually taste the way it’s supposed to, up in the air. I know this sounds a bit far-fetched and crazy to even contemplate. But there may be some validity behind it. It turns out that air-craft carriers can reduce our abilities to taste certain things. Studies have showed that our taste levels can be reduced by up to 30%.

There has also been some evidence suggesting, that it will increase the four other basic taste sensations. The four taste sensations are as follows:

 

1) Salty
2) Bitter
3) Sweet
4) Sour

But according to the fifth major taste sensation, it doesn’t feel the effects at all. The fifth major taste sensation, known as Umami, as been likened to the “Savory” sensation.

UMMAMI EFFECT

Charles Spence, an author who researched this, claims this might be one of the reasons for the increased gravitation towards tomato-based drinks. What some don’t realize is, the key ingredient in any tomato drink is umami. That is why so many tend to order a blood Mary or other tomato drinks on a flight.

This activity has been going on for a long time now. Maybe scientists are starting to catch up to what the public has already known.

With the research on this hypothesis floating around a great deal right now, a umami diet could help out others too. This umami effect could help diners and chefs plan their meals more proactively. If you added more foods with parmesan cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms-all of which are rich in umami- it could be very beneficial.

Take those who dine in local eateries. They are always complaining about the noise level, especially those who live up north. The noise level might not be a big deal, if their diet was filled with more of these foods.

DON’T GO TRADING IN THE WATER FOR A BLOOD MARY JUST YET

Though the idea sounds encouraging, it’s still to early to say anything official. According to Spence, there is more research that still needs to be done.

Sony Unveils Tape Capable of Holding Almost 65 Million Songs

tech pr

For anyone who has a large music collection, having all of the music files saved onto one smart phone iPod or other portable music device can often prove next to impossible – and as a terrific Tech PR move – Sony Unveils its latest gadget. While these devices are able to hold up to 64GB worth of storage, for anyone who loves music and has an ever growing collection, it just isn’t always possible to store everyone on one device. However, Sony recently unveiled a tape that can hold almost 65 million tracks.

The cassette tape has been almost dead for the better part of two decades. Ever since the creation of the compact disc, the days of the cassette tape were numbered. However, some individuals have continued to use tape drives in order to store information on with their computer systems, although even that has started to fall by the wayside with data storage becoming more and more condensed and available to consumers. After all, the cassette tape could only really hold up to maybe 90 minutes worth of storage, with 45 minutes on each side of the tape. This isn’t even long enough for a single live album from some of the many bands that put out such releases. However, this is all set to change as Sony announced it has created a tape that can hold 185 terabytes worth of data on the single tape. An iPod is able to hold 20,000 songs if this is the only data material stored on the device.

If someone wants to store other information onto the cassette tape, it is also possible. The tape has the ability to hold 3,700 Blu-ray discs, which can allow someone to condense their entire HD movie collection for the rest of their life onto a single disc. All of this is possible because the data storage is more closely packed together on the tape then every before. The tape is so expansive that it can hold the entire contents of the Library of Congress nearly 19 times over. Maybe the library might consider saving a bit of money and just converting everything it has onto a single tape.

Of course, the nearly 65 million songs the tape is able to hold is using a three minute song as an example. Granted, most songs really are far longer than this, and more likely than not, this number is more like half the possible storage for the majority of music.

Internet Explorer’s Recent Bug and the Bad PR that Came with it

Internet Explorer, the Internet browser produced and maintained by Microsoft and the most popular browser currently on the net recently took a major hit due to a bag bug causing them to undergo a major Public Relations Crisis. This bug gave hackers the ability to take over your computer and hack other information from the computonline public relationser by simply clicking a bad link. With so many links out there, clicking a bad link is rather easy. The problem become so bad that the United States federal government actually told individuals to not use Internet Explorer at all due to the flaw. This has led to a widespread bug fix issued by Microsoft, but for many, the damage has already been done.

First, the bug has been corrected for all operating systems, including Windows XP. Microsoft had stated it no longer would provide support for the operating system several months earlier, but with so many individuals and businesses still using the software, it issued the correction for Internet Explorer. However, the major hit cam to Microsoft’s PR and although the full effects are likely not going to be determined for a few months, this issue might prove devastating for Microsoft.

Windows Explorer is still the most used brand of Internet browsers in the country. This is because it comes packaged with all Windows based computer systems, which makes up the vast majority of computer systems produced (while Apple computers are the top selling computer brand, it has no where near the numbers of all other Windows computer systems sold combined). With everyone instantly having access to Internet Explorer, most people stuck with the browser, especially as in the early years of the Internet it served as the only real options. You might have had access to a few other random browsers, but for the most part, you either used Internet Explorer or nothing.

Now days though, there are many different browsers out there. While Windows has IE and Mac computers have Safari, there are other browsers, such as Opera, Chrome and Firefox, all of which work on both computer systems (it is possible to download both Safari and IE on both operating systems, but few do). With so many other options, more and more individuals are moving from IE to a different browser. With the bug, additional individuals were forced into downloading a new browser. While some are likely to come back, others might stuck with the new browser. this can potentially mean Microsoft might lose millions of IE users due to the bug

The Power of Anonymity

staying-anonymous

staying-anonymous

In a recent issue of Businessweek, there was an article about one of the biggest mysteries in the entire nonprofit market in America. The Hereditary Disease Foundation is one of the top 5 charities in the United States, but no one seems to know where their money comes from. That is to say, there is one or more anonymous donors funding the lion’s share of the annual budget.

Reporters have been trying to determine the identity of this generous benefactor for years, to no avail. Meanwhile, the charity keeps plugging along, appreciating the donations, and the periodic celebrity the mystery creates. While you may not have the backing of some deep-pocketed donors, you can still learn something from the Public Relations success of this organization.

There are several points a savvy non-profit representative can learn from this story. First, when it comes to press relations, a definite and ongoing mystery is a tremendous leg up. The media loves a good mystery because they know their readers will appreciate it. Anything that can pique curiosity while also drawing more people into the story makes for solid – and, potentially, very good – press.

Also, this is absolutely a feel good story. Good news all the way around. A group doing excellent work, with a generous benefactor who is in no way interested in getting a pat on the back.

The story ties into another overarching theme. In this case, it is what Businessweek called the “Golden Age of Philanthropy.” Because that story is one that Businessweek is already interested in telling, it is much easier for the story that ties so well into it to get press.

The bottom line, is to pay attention to the context of the PR message, and not just the content.

Just in Time for Summer: Barbecue Bible with Special features

Food PR Barbecue Bible

Barbecue Bible

Brazilian grilling is a great activity for the great outdoors. The summer is coming and grilling is a favorite in these months. Grilling is great because you can do it on your own or you can invite friends over. Either way it is a really fun time that can be enjoyed by all. Whether you are a beginner griller or an experienced you can always learn other techniques to improve your grilling experience.

Brazilian grilling has become more and more popular and more people are participating in that type of grilling. Brazilian grilling is just like regular grilling with a few different twists and flairs. This is really easy to learn, especially if you have the bible with you.
This bible can teach you everything. It can teach you to light the fire, sharpen your knife and even serve the steak that you just cooked. Barbecue Chefs as well as those who like grilling in the back yard all agree on one thing. All of them agree that nothing useful comes out of a cook book. Most of these people don’t use a cook book, but cook from experience, or what they have learned from a parent or friend. Some cook based on mistakes that they have made in the past. Even though a lot of people have this idea there is one exception.

That exception is the Bible of Barbecue. Amazing as it is even more extreme critics agree.

This book was first created to promote the Tramontina Cookware Line. JWT Brazil only made a few copies of this book. This book teaches you how to create an authentic Brazilian grilling experience. This book has a lot of information. The information contained in this book covers the charcoal, how to light the fire and even fan the flame. The other topics covered in this book include how to sharpen knives, deals with cutting boards, how to wrap the meat and even how to serve the finished dish. Only a few mastered barbecue chefs have received this book.

However, there are plans for creating a simplified version which will be available in stores.
So now that summer is here this is a great chance to learn a new way of grilling. Brazilian grilling has always produced delicious food, and is a fun talent to add to your arsenal.

Mac vs. King – the PR battle of the BIG burgers

mcdonalds and burger king

mcdonalds and burger king

There is no doubt about it, McDonalds is the undisputed king of the fast food industry. But, the Golden Arches’ signature sandwich is facing stiff competition from the aptly named Big King.

While imitation is not only flattery, it can lead to strong Public Relations advantage. Burger King never made it a secret that they were copying the Big Mac with their Big King sandwich. It looks the same, the name is similar, and even the “secret sauce” appears similar, though it tastes much different. But, the oh so obvious gambit worked. Burger King’s sales are up, and they say they have the Big King to thank for their increased success.

The business lesson here is that, sometimes, taking something proven, and making it just a little bit different, can turn into a tremendous success. People can talk all they want about how the Big King is a Big Mac rip-off. BK doesn’t care as long as people continue to buy. And why wouldn’t they? They know they love the Big Mac, so why not get a little variety, AND something safely familiar at the same time. This best-of-both worlds-dynamic is an enticing benefit for consumers

How can your business take advantage of this marketing dynamic? Is there something you have seen out there that people love, but you can improve upon? If you can offer your market something truly unique with a comfortable foundation of familiarity, you could create an entirely new product line that will bring you new customers, and introduce them to your more signature products or services.

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