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Few PR activities are as important as corporate reputation management, but lots of organizations are having trouble shifting to the customer-centric mindset their publics increasingly demand from them.

The truth is, bad corporate reputation management is quite common, and often comes from forgetting to think through the customer’s likely response to certain activities.

Banks making it harder on struggling seniors while posting record profits? As consumer reporter Ellen Roseman points out, that didn’t go over so well with seniors or anyone who has ever loved one. Neither did the case of the energy retailer that made every mistake in the book while trying to roll out news of additional cancellation charges, including by burying the news underneath improvement announcements.

In both cases, the companies backed down, which begs the question: how necessary were these changes in the first place if each company could abandon them so easily?

It’s human nature to not want to have to tell people things they aren’t going to like. But when a corporation appears to hide changes or news consumers won’t like behind complicated language or other distractions, the public loses trust and business runs on trust. No amount of corporate reputation management can immediately build that trust back up.

Marketing departments sometimes launch corporate reputation management initiatives that fail in interesting ways. Rogers recently had a doozy when it launched a new service with a promoted hashtag on Twitter called #Rogers1number.

Customers used the occasion to attach their complaints to the hashtag and vent their anger at the company, which looked blissfully unaware of how many perceive them in the marketplace. To their credit, Rogers was quick tell the Twitterverse that they were listening to the complaints and trying to learn from them. Whether that will result in a cultural shift within the organization or was simply a PR crisis communications move to deflate this situation remains to be seen.

That may have been dissent by convenience but as a rule, by the time someone takes to Twitter to complain about a company, they’re pretty angry. Social Media speaker and author Jay Baer ties together a couple of related studies in this blog post, and notes that only about 29 per cent of companies even respond to complaints on Twitter. That means 71% don’t extend their corporate reputation management into social media, even though that’s where some of their most dissatisfied customers are.

Of the customers who have dealt with the 29% of companies that do deal with Twitter complaints, there is certainly anecdotal evidence to suggest they get better results. Many, myself included, have found satisfaction via Twitter when calls to help desks and 1-800 numbers went nowhere. Some companies, it seems, are a bit more responsive to complaints in public than in private.

I’d like to hope that most companies would want to have employees who will champion the customer’s point of view when someone new is suggested.

But I’m not sure.

Companies aren’t always good at hiring those who aren’t afraid to ask the harder questions internally before they get asked externally. But they should be; a company of “yes men” will ultimately lead to mediocrity and complacency.

It will also lead to a workplace incapable of hiring the best and the brightest. An emerging generation of worker has been raised to assume their opinions matter and they simply won’t stay where they don’t have a say. Some will go to where they will be heard. Others may go out and invent something new, perhaps even a competitor capable of reinventing the industry all together.

And at that point, not many will weep for those left in the dust, choking on corporate reputation management theory when really they needed to start with the customer and work back from there.

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Amber Naslund has some great advice about Social Media Engagement and how to use it to foster better relations with donors and clients. Amber blogs about social media engagement at Brass Tack Thinking and is the author of a wondeful book with Jay Baer (an interview coming up with him in the coming weeks too) called The Now Revolution.

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Steven Rosen is a business coach and mentor specializing in sales and performance. He coaches executives and emerging executives into achieving much greater results for themselves and their companies, and has coached whole sales teams to greater profitability.

Steve has provided invaluable coaching to me over the years, and swell guy that he is, he jotted down a few thoughts that both he and I hope will be helpful to you too.  

The Focus Factor: Achieving the Success You So Desire

By Steven Rosen, MBA,

There are two concepts that I would like to share with you that I believe can help you achieve greater success in your life. The first concept is focus and how many of us are suffering from a lack of focus. The second concept is about understanding what success really means.

In today’s highly demanding technology driven world, many people are expressing feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed, depressed and unable to focus. Like most busy people you get sucked into the daily minutia. The day to day demands of business, emails, meetings and phone calls get the best of us. This constant flow of “stuff” coming at us often interferes with that “good” feeling of achievement. The reality is that this is all busy work. What percentage of emails and voice messages actually impact our goals?

As a result of continuous information overload and multiple demands we lose focus on what is truly important to us. The people who can stay focused are the ones who are going to achieve greater success and lead more fulfilling lives. Therefore the ability to stay focused is the key factor for success in today is rapidly changing and increasingly demanding world.

We are all interested in being successful, yet many of us don’t really know what success means or how to achieve it.

The question then becomes, what is success? If you define success by the amount of money you earn or the type of car you drive, there is always someone who is making more money than you, some who has a bigger house, a more expensive car or the latest high end gadget. Success when measured by material things is very empty. You can never really feel successful if you compare yourself to others.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines success as “The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.”

In my opinion, success is about achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Based on this definition we can all achieve success.

I have created a simple yet effective formula for success. I call this the Focus Factor.

The Focus Factor is made up of 5 simple steps that can help you live the life you desire and allow you to feel the emotions that come with achieving the success you desire.

Step 1: Define the What

What is success for you? Is it:

  • Living a healthy and long life.
  • Doing what you love and looking forward to the daily experience of doing it.
  • Achieving lifelong dreams and ambitions, working towards something you are passionate about.

Do you know what you need to do to be successful? The challenge for many of us is that we know what we need to do but we don’t follow through. Have you taken time to think about your goals for the next year, either career or personal?  How would you describe your personal grand slam? What would make you the MVP in your organization? Please take a couple minutes, close your eyes and consider the successes you would like to achieve in the next year. Visualize how you would feel achieving these successes. Now, commit to the process and write these successes down on a piece of paper. Decide on two or three outcomes you would like to achieve.

Now that you have decided what success looks like for you, go on to step two.

Step 2: Understand the Why

Why are you motivated to achieve your success goals? What are the reasons, the burning desires that make these success goals important to you? You need to tap into why these goals are so vital.  I am not talking about financial successes and what they can buy, but about your psyche. What internal feelings or needs would be fulfilled by achieving your success goals? Is it recognition, sense of pride, praise, rewards for success, a feeling of self-competence and effort, a desire to be effective or to make a difference?

Step 3: Figure out the How

You know your success goals, why they are important to you and what motivates you to achieve them. The next question is the tough one. How are you going to achieve your goals? These are your tactics:  What two or three things must you focus on to achieve this success? What are the most powerful actions that will lead to your success? When it comes to expending energy and effort which activities will provide you with the greatest return towards achieving your goals?

The most important piece of this focus reflection exercise is to write down all your thoughts and communicate them to someone on your team. The act of writing turns your plan into action.

How do you create the impetus to achieve your goals? The time you take to write down your successes, internal motivation and actions will all contribute to your success and you will have a 50% chance of making it happen.

Step 4 Establish a completion date

We all need deadlines. The key here is to establish the date you would like to complete each of the “how’s”. This will help keep you on target. Executing your plan with a sense of urgency and avoiding the many daily distractions is critical. Procrastination is the nemesis of success.

Step 5: Commit! Commit! Commit!

Commit your goals to paper.

Commit your goals to someone who will keep you accountable to achieving them.

Commitment is key.

To increase the likelihood of achieving your success goals you should commit them to a colleague or supervisor.

If you are really motivated, hire me as your coach and I will hold you accountable to the process of staying focused on achieving success.


Success is a function of achieving goals we set for ourselves. Deciding and achieving the outcomes we truly desire is the definition of success.

Wishing you all the success you deserve and desire.

Steven Rosen, MBA is a sales management expert who helps companies transforms sales managers into great sales coaches. Steven’s works with sales executives to; hire top performing sales reps and managers, develop their team into top sales managers and achieve greater personal and professional success.

He is the CEO of STAR Results, author of many articles in the areas of sales management coaching and sales management training. He is a member of Top Sales Experts. Steven’s mission is to inspire sales leaders, managers and sales people to achieve their full potential. He can be reached at or 905-737-4548.

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Chuck Hester is a long time PR consultant and a social media authority who believes that Linkedin is the best social networking sites for business out there. But there’s another reason I like Chuck. I like him because he’s a big believer in paying it forward, in other words, helping others who haven’t helped you. He is a public speaker and he  frequently speaks on the subject of paying it forward.

But back to Linkedin! In this two minute interview, Chuck talks about why Linkedin truly is one of the best social networking sites for business and he has a few tips to help you really make Linkedin work for you.  I have more than 10 additional tips for you in this follow up post. Enjoy!

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More than 100 million people have a Linkedin account (can you believe that?) but most people only scratch the surface of what Linkedin for b2b can look like. If you’re one of the folks who has neglected your account, or you haven’t even gotten around to setting one up, now is as good a time as any to get your head wrapped around using Linkedin for b2b marketing and PR.

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions (with answers) I get asked about Linkedin.

1. Should I accept the invitation of anyone who sends me one? 

There are those who will disagree with me but I’ll say no. Sure, it may seem that if you’re using Linked in for b2b efforts, the more contacts you have, the merrier. Yes, it’s good to have contacts, but you want your contacts to be quality contacts. Linking your name with someone is a kind of endorsement for that person, and you want to make sure that an association with them will help and not hurt you.

2. Should I make my contacts public to those I’m LinkedIn with?

Yes you should. The vast majority of people will not rifle through your contacts madly trying to link in with them as they go. They might have tried that early on in their exploration of Linkedin, but if they did, probably got a whole lot of nothing at best, and they will have abandoned it. People who don’t make their contacts public are secretly resented by others who do. It’s like inviting people to your party and telling them you’ll be counting the silverware when they leave.

3. Should I try and link in with as many of my colleagues’ contacts as possible?

Many people are relatively thoughtful about which invitations they accept online, and they approach a Linkedin the way they might about answering their door at home by first trying to figure out who’s there and if they want them in their house. You really want to be knocking on doors you’re welcome. Knocking where you’re not wanted isn’t going to help you anyway – because no one will answer!

4. Should I pay for the premium profile?

I have tried it on a trial basis and didn’t feel it was something I needed. Most people are just fine with the free account.

All that’s well and good, some of you might be saying, but you’ve been there, done that. What you really want to know is how to use Linkedin for b2b communications and PR. Okay, you b2b types, I like how you think!

Let’s get down to business with a few tips on how to use Linkedin for b2b growth:

1.Make sure you set up a company page in addition to your personal profile(s). And make sure you keep it updated and have all necessary contact information there.

2. Ensure everyone in your company has their Linkedin profiles fully or close to fully filled out as possible. You’ll present a better face to the world and more opportunities to be found by people looking for services or products like yours.

3. Like Chuck Hester said in this video, keyword your Linkedin profile (company and personal). Think through what someone looking for what your company does or sells would put into the Linkedin search window in order to find a company that does or sells what you do, and then ensure that your profile features those keywords and themes. Here is a short explaination on what are keywords, and here is an article that will help you understand how keywords work.

4. Linkedin lets one person with your name grab the vanity URL with your name in it, just like mine is. If you haven’t already, try and grab it. It helps you return higher in the search when people are searching those with your name, making it easier for people who are looking for you to find you.

5. Think visually. If you have a paid Slideshare account, you can drop a video onto one slide and then insert that into your Linkedin profile. You can also drop in any kind of slideshow, including a powerpoint presentation. Slideshare, incidentally, is a very cool sharing site for slide presentations of all kinds. You can actually do a fair bit for free but if you do a fair amount with powerpoint or slides of any kind, you will likley find you want the paid version.

6. Get active in groups. Linkedin has 1million groups – at least one of them is bound to be helpful to you. To the left of the search bar is an arrow. In the drop down menu, you will see a number of choices, including “People,” “jobs,” “companies” and “groups.” Anyone of these categories will help you research companies or people you’d like to do business with, so spend a little time nosying around in there.

And make sure you jump into some of the groups that fit your business. Unless you are in a very niche business, you should find a number of groups that will be helpful to you. Make sure you listen first, look around and get a sense of where the conversation already is before you try and steer it. If you have helpful thoughts about a question someone else has asked, chime in.

Same goes if you have something helpul to share with the group, say an observation, a great new tool, a blog post that will given them info or insights they need. Linkedin for b2b is all about being helpful.

7. Start a group. Don’t do that until you’ve explored how other groups work. Once you’ve determined the need for your group and figured out how your group will be different, go for it!

8. Look up in the “More” tab at the top for the menu option that says “Answers” and search the questions for those you can answer. The more you answer helpfully, the more people will see you as a thought leader.

I hope that helps you in using Linkedin for B2B. None of this works if you don’t use it, so go on, jump in. You know you want to…





B2B, sometimes written as b2b and less frequently as BtoB and btob, is simply short for business to business. A b2b company is more interested in selling its goods or services to another business entity. Conversely, a b2c enterprise is more interested in selling its services or products to consumers. b2c stands for “business to consumers.”  Please feel free to check out other Online PR, Public Relations, Journalism, Social Media and Marketing terms.


Slideshare is a site dedicated to letting people share slides. Often, those slides have been created in Powerpoint or Keynote, however, Slideshare has other handy uses. For example, you may want to put a video on your Linkedin page. You actually can’t do that right through the application, but you can drop in one slide housed on slideshare that has your video as the content of that one slide. To do that, you must have a paid Slideshare account.

To check out the meanings of other PR terms, please click this link to PR Terms, Glossaries and terminology.

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I caught up with Chris Baccus of AT&T who had some great advice about social public relations, including through customer relation management and content marketing through blogs, social media and even email.

Social public relations is a brave new world and Chris Baccus definitely knows which way it’s spinning. Many companies fail miserably when it comes to customer service via social media, appearing to be helpful when really all they do is push you back to a 1800 number you’ve already dealt with.

AT&T does it right.

Chris Baccus blogs on subjects that interest him. They help keep him interesting and well rounded. His other blogs include one on automotive marketing and another on food.


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Social Media has moved from being something organizations “should do” to something many now understand they “must do.”With it comes great opportunity, and whenever there is great opportunity, there is also crisis. And there is no crisis like a social media crisis.

Before social media, all corporate communications really went one way: out. Now, of course, with social media, it is very much a two way street and customers and donors don’t just want to tell you about their experience with your brand. In many cases, they want a seat at your board table.

If they do not feel that they are being heard, or if they feel you are acting not in their interests, they will one of two deadly things:

  • ignore you
  • push back

Either way, it means fewer sales or donations. Even brands with lots of money get it very wrong as this infographic from Frugal Dad demonstrates:

social consumer






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I’m sure you’ve seen them but you may not be familiar with the word and may be asking yourself “what is an infographic?” An infographic is a graphic dipiction (picture) of facts and figures, meant to make stats and bits of research more digestable. You can expect to see many more of them over the coming while.


They make it easier for us to scan information, and online, our brains are now trained to scan not read. Pictures are increasingly important on the web as we try and make as much understandable in increasingly shorter periods of times. And you know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words.

Pinterest, the social sharing site which curates pictures users pin to virtual boards, is tapping into our growing love affair with pictures, and is growing fast. It even has an app called Piktochart that lets you build your own from their templates.

Here is an example of an infographic.

To check out the meanings of other PR terms, please click this link to PR Terms, Glossaries and terminology.


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