Sunday, June 29, 2014

Use Your Summer Break to Dust Off Your Crisis Plan!

As communicators, we all know and recognize that having a crisis plan in place is key for any business. With the recent data security breaches from Target, Ebay and Michaels to name a few, our agency recently attended the PRSA Dallas breakfast program to brush up on our crisis communication skills. The presentation was a great refresher for our team about how to handle a crisis situation including data security breaches for both B2C and B2B clients. In case you missed it, here are a few key takeaways about prepping for a crisis:

C. Pharr's Kathrine Brody flanked by two PRSA Dallas members
  • Be a business person first and then a communicator. Learn the language of your company, and you will have more credibility with the C-Suite and will be more adept at handling a crisis.
  • Identify BOTH the internal and external communication teams before a crisis occurs.
  • Your customers are your "North Star." Ensure you communicate with them clearly and effectively, which will help guide strategy.
  • Think through what statements and information you plan on pushing out via social media. Twitter is preferential vs. Facebook.
  • Take time to keep your internal audience informed - your employees are your most credible spokesperson. 
  • Be careful about claiming an issue is "fully resolved." 
For even more information about prepping for a data security breach, read the blog from the PRSA Dallas speaker, David Chamberlin, EVP and GM of Edelman's Dallas office.

PRSA Dallas has numerous professional development programs throughout the year for its members. This breakfast was another successful, well-attended event and the C. Pharr team learned alot!
PRSA Dallas member, Blake Lewis, APR; PRSA Dallas President, Leah Ekmark Williams, APR; PRSA Dallas Speaker & Edelman EVP, David Chamberlin

This post was contributed by C. Pharr's Leah Ekmark Williams, APR. @leahcpc


Thursday, June 26, 2014


The CPC team dressed in red, white and blue to cheer on the United States Men's National Team (#USMNT) as it took on Germany in the final game of its FIFA World Cup group. Even though Germany came out on top with a 1-0 win, the #USMNT performed well in previous games and will advance to the knockout round. CPC enjoyed a long lunch cheering them on. We're ready for the next game, which is on Tuesday, July 1 at 3 p.m. USA! USA! USA!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Digital Direction – Are you Creating or Eliminating “Social Media Nods”

You might think Millennials are the only ones who share just about everything online, regardless of the consequences. However, the business community shouldn’t be so quick to judge the younger generation’s stream of consciousness and culture of “over-sharing.” Numerous B2B and B2C companies take this same “over-sharing” approach when it comes to their own social media pages, which can hinder social media growth.

Leah Ekmark Williams, APR

Social media’s two-way, interactive communication channel has created an effective way for brands and businesses to talk “with” their audience instead of “at” them. While this online conversation and transparency breeds a high level of trust from your customers and clients – and if you’re lucky, brand loyalty – ask yourself this: How much is too much? Do people classify your organization as a social media “over-sharer?”

Business owners continually ask: “What quantifies social media success?” In a Lunch and Learn session I recently led for the Greater East Dallas Chamber, I answered this exact question. I spoke to attendees about creating effective social media and public relations campaigns, and integrating these two segments within their business’ “marketing toolbox.” The answer to social media success and growth is this – be strategic and don’t over-share messages on the wrong platform! Don’t create an Instagram account or Pinterest page just because your competitor has one. Identify your goals, do your research and know what social platform is best for your message. The “over-sharing” mentality and number of posts per week is not a measure of success and does not lead to growth.

Having a successful page requires more than just knowing how to use social media – it requires knowing when and how to engage with a digital community. Do you know who your digital audience is? Do you know what platforms are best for delivering specific messages? Whether you’re trying to boost an executive’s thought leadership platform or trying to promote a new product launch, take time to research which platform is the right channel for you message. Here is a quick cheat sheet for you:

·         Facebook – This is an obvious platform for consumer brands. However, if you’re using this for B2B, it functions better as an internal communication tool with posts aimed at employee retention/recruitment messaging.
·         Twitter – This is a great tool for both B2B and B2C industries. It can provide a quick snapshot of company news, trends a company is watching, and it enables brands to engage with influencers. It also is an easy way to interact with media and connect with them indirectly.
·         LinkedIn – This platform was made for B2B communication! Companies can amplify their messages by broadcasting external and internal announcements. It can also function as an extension of a thought leadership campaign.
·         Pinterest – The visual medium provides a great search engine for B2C companies and helps showcase new product launches. B2B companies should utilize it more for corporate culture messaging or recruitment.
·         Instagram – Yet another visual medium that is an obvious channel of choice for the B2C world.  However, B2B companies can use this tool as a way to promote and visually demonstrate corporate citizenship, which can often times be a hard-to-promote message using traditional communication channels. (Check out Oracle’s Instagram page if you want to see a B2B company that is doing it right!)
·         Vine – The perfect tool for B2C and B2B companies debuting new products, unique features or for creating a how-to video. But be warned, you only have six seconds, so be creative!

Once you have your social media audience and channel(s) identified, the other secret to fueling growth is integration. Companies leading the charge with robust communication programs take the time to coordinate and integrate social media, public relations, advertising, marketing and sales activities. The most successful companies align these business segments to ensure the same message is being communicated from each sector of its communication strategy, paid and non-paid, in print and online.

Social media has blurred the lines of PR, advertising and marketing, but one thing is for certain... “social media chatter” turns to “social media nods” when a company truly knows its audiences and integrates the appropriate pages into its marketing mix. 

 This post was contributed by Leah Ekmark Williams. @leahcpc