Apology not accepted

Situation

In 2017, The Guardian and a workspace safety organization published investigations on the injury rates in Tesla’s northern California car factory.

In response, co-founder and CEO Elon Musk said,

“No words can express how much I care about your safety and wellbeing,” Musk wrote. “Going forward, I’ve asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform.”

There have been reports that those injured have never met with Musk personally. Those who work in the factories also say he has come into the factory only four or five times.

Musk sent his apologies and told the public what he would do to make it right, but it seems he is not delivering on his promises.

What did PR do?
Musk’s statement included all the things an apology from a CEO should. It was also bold. In public relations, you have to know what you need to say to make things right, but there could be a fine line. If you make promises you can’t keep, you risk backlash from the public which could lead to loss of trust and therefore loss of sales. It’s a slippery slope, my friends.

Analysis

gettyimages-489769706.jpg

Elon Musk, an engineer, businessman and investor, is the CEO and product founder of Tesla. He is also the CEO of SpaceX and Neuralink. Needless to say, Musk has a lot on his plate. Public apologies and “this is what I’ll do to make it up to you,” statements are a great way to ease the public. However, the most important part, to me, is about whether or not the person can keep those promises. I appreciate the bold statement because he promised to do something no other CEO who runs factories have offered to do before. It was new and refreshing! But he wasn’t able to deliver. I think he simply took on too great a task. However, there’s no way this will affect sales within Tesla, so I wouldn’t consider this a crisis yet.

Musk might be a jack of all trades, but he could use some public relations help. This is a good example of making promises as PR move and not fulfilling them.

Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/13/tesla-workers-pay-price-elon-musk-failed-promises

 

 

Advertisements

Behind the Logo

Situation

When was the I Love New York logo created and why? As it turns out, we have public relation to thank for one of the most popular tourist logos in the world. In the 1970s, New York City was struggling with a bad public image. The city was riddled with crime and they were on the verge of bankruptcy. The public opinion, in general, thought NYC was dirty and dangerous.

What NYC needed was a new reputation.

What did PR do?

A department in the city hired an agency to create positive publicity for the city. What they came up with was a campaign called “I love New York” and it was targeted to the whole state. Originally, there was no logo. The campaign had a song and was televised and broadcast on the radio. Eventually, an employee drew up a logo while he was in the back of a cab which became the logo we know and love today.

I love NY

Sometimes in public relations, we need to find the opportunities different situations bring us. The PR firm hired to help New York with its public image did just that. They were able to market the city in a new way which helped improve the public image. Now, the logo is licensed for multi-millions.

Another way the city seized an opportunity was after the 9/11 attacks. The logo was updated to say, “I love New York more than ever.” It was a positive way to b

ring light to a horrible event.

milton-16279-93

Analysis

The PR firm who created the campaign only expected it to last a few months but was surprised when people grabbed on to it and turned it into something bigger than it was supposed to be. I think this is the goal for most PR companies and their campaigns. They want the public to embrace the campaign and make it their own to benefit the company and increase public image and relationships with the consumer. I also think the campaign was successful because the firm took all the right steps to get the information to the public. They broadcast it on television and radio and eventually they created a logo. The logo could be compared to hashtags or taglines in more modern PR campaign

The “I love New York” campaign is an incredible example of successful public relations.

Sources:

https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/new-york/articles/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-iconic-i-love-ny-logo/

 

Hashtag McNightmare

Situation:

In 2012, McDonald’s released a twitter campaign meant to focus on their commitment to fresh and quality foods. The campaign used two hashtags, “#meetthefarmers” and “#McDStories,” to allow the company and twitter users to share their experiences with the store. What McDonald’s didn’t anticipate was the different ways in which the second hashtag, #McDStories, could be interpreted.

Image result for McDStories

Soon enough, users were sharing brief stories of their experience with the food chain, and it was not positive. The hashtag completely backfired. Within two hours of release, McDonald’s pulled the #McDStories hashtag from their twitter, but not #meetthefarmers.

What McDonald’s did achieve was reach. The hashtag is still being used almost six years later.

What was at stake here was the reputation of McDonald’s and the effectiveness of their social media presence. What did they do to come back from the hashtag horror?

What Did PR Do?

The social media director at the time, Rick Wion, released a public statement through the L.A. Times and said, “As Twitter continues to evolve its platform and engagement opportunities, we’re learning from our experiences.”

In addition to the public statement, Wion also sent out an email which included information regarding the effect taking down the hashtag had.

“Within an hour of pulling #McDStories the number of conversations about it fell off from a peak of 1600 to a few dozen. It is also important to keep those numbers in perspective. There were 72,788 mentions of McDonald’s overall that day so the traction of #McDStories was a tiny percentage (2%) of that.”

Analysis:

In 2012, Twitter was just starting to become popular. It had only 100 million users compared to the 336 million today. Twitter was new and exciting and people, businesses and companies were testing the social media waters.

We can see just how important it is to consider and bounce ideas off colleagues is to avoid vague meanings of, say, hashtags associated with an important campaign.

The wording Wion used in his statements were strategic. Saying, “we’re learning from our experiences,” shows that they acknowledge their mistakes and want to improve.

I think at the time, what McDonald’s did by pulling the hashtag was appropriate. And they only pulled one of the hashtags used in the campaign, showing that they still cared about what they were supporting. They could get away with pulling one hashtag. If they did that today, it would probably receive more backlash from users.

The internet is permanent. Even though they pulled the tag, people still use the tag in their twitter posts today. Social media users are smarter now and they can see through those who try to con them in any way. It’s important for social media directors and public relation professionals to be educated.

I think McDonald’s could have found a way to create an opportunity from the hashtag to better focus on the issues of different stores and locations rather than take it away completely. But overall, what they did was the best immediate choice to defend their online brand and presence.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/01/24/mcdstories-when-a-hashtag-becomes-a-bashtag/#70bb615fed25

http://www.businessinsider.com/mcdonalds-twitter-campaign-goes-horribly-wrong-mcdstories-2012-1

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/mcdonald-meetthefarmers-twitter-campaign-met-snide-comments-bad-reviews-article-1.1010980

 

 

 

 

 

Wells Fargo Creates Corporate Fiasco

Situation:

In September 2016, a scandal broke within Wells Fargo. It was discovered that employees were creating fake accounts and had been doing so since 2011.

An investigation revealed that over 1.5 million accounts were created using fake emails and PIN numbers without customer knowledge or consent. Employees did this to boost their figures and therefore increase their pay and bonuses.

To add to the disaster, Wells Fargo was guilty of firing employees who tried to call out the company on ethics regarding the creation of fake accounts.

Since then, the company has been involved in various court cases and settlements involving the employees as well as customers of the bank. Other scandals have surfaced as well, creating a PR nightmare for the company.

What did PR do?

As their initial response, Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees who were involved with creating these accounts and the company fined a hefty $185 million.

A few weeks after the scandal broke loose, head executive, Carrie Tolstedt, was the first to step down. Tolstedt was the head of the department which created the fake accounts.

The company also promised to stop promoting unrealistic sales goals – saying that these goals lead employees to create fake accounts.

In early October, the CEO, John Stumpf, stepped down and announced his immediate retirement.

In March of 2017, Wells Fargo announced a settlement of $110 million for customers whose information was used for fake accounts. The settlement later increased to $142 million.

The company has paid more fines in other cases involving different areas as well.

PR for Wells Fargo has had to work hard for a company with many internal ethical issues. Have they taken the right steps?

As an added PR bonus, Wells Fargo released a video on how they will earn trust back.

Analysis:

It has been almost two years since the scandal broke, and Wells Fargo is still paying for it (literally). From what I have learned, the timeline of scandals and amount in fines charged to the company, alone, shows that public relations can only do so much for a company with substandard behavior.

Image result for wells fargo

I think that within the first few months of the break, Wells Fargo performed all the normal and necessary procedures such as firing all guilty employees, paying the fine and having the CEO step down. The greater problem is that illegal activity and scandals kept being uncovered. Over the next year or so, the company was accused of various illegal practices over and over and it didn’t seem to stop. Not only were the employees involved in illegal practices, but top executives in the company were involved as well. This tells us that ethical practices and their corporate social responsibilities were largely ignored. Good ethics in public relations is important, especially in regards to corporations and companies.

It seems as though Wells Fargo is going to have to keep paying fines and take part in settlements until the internal workings of the company are fixed, otherwise they will keep losing customers. I can imagine that I would want to switch banks and take part in the settlement if my information and account was used. This scandal really is a PR nightmare and I think there a lot of lessons to be learned from the company’s mistakes.

It takes years for a company to build credibility and a good reputation and just one moment to ruin it all. Wells Fargo and its public relations are going to have to work to the bone to regain the trust of their customers and will need to for a long time.

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/24/news/companies/wells-fargo-timeline-shareholders/index.html?iid=EL

http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/08/investing/wells-fargo-created-phony-accounts-bank-fees/index.html?iid=EL

https://www.barrons.com/articles/wells-fargo-growth-on-hold-1525967026

 

Is Your Ad Creative?

Advertisements are everywhere, it’s how word gets out to people. It’s a way of communicating and selling an idea to someone. So if ads are everywhere, they have to stand out to really capture attention from the audience. This is where “creative ads” come in to play. Creative ads, when done right, can make a plain product into something exciting. It can help the audience visualize what the product can do for them.

I was assigned the task of creating a creative advertisement for a boring household or office product and to use symbolic or non-literal ideas and concepts. The ad is supposed to be appealing and convincing to the target audience.


 Target Audience 

The first step is to determine a product to advertise. After that is to determine the demographics of the audience. I used a project specifics generator to determine my product, the gender, age, relationship status and media consumption of my audience. I got assigned to create an ad for an air freshener for single 18-24 year old males through a blog or magazine ad. I decided to go with the idea of a nature-scented air freshener. This appeals to most audiences, so I thought it would be appropriate for single 18-24 year old males. My ad also includes a male in the photo and he’s sitting in the comfort of his own home. This would appeal to 18-24 year old males.

CreativeAdFinal

(All images were pulled from https://www.pexels.com/)


Design 

For my design, I decided to use non-literal and symbolic ideas. Obviously there wouldn’t be real mountains and trees in your living room, but it’s the idea of it, capturing what the air freshener would smell like. I found two pictures that had similar colors so they would complement each other rather than clash or not blend well. I used photo shop to blend the two images together and to bring in the text at the bottom. I used a simple old faced type text and the color of the type is an off-white which blends and matches with colors already in the ad.

Although there are millions of advertisements out in the world, it is still possible to find a way to capture attention in a creative way. They make a plain or boring product into something exciting that people actually want to purchase or use. Knowing the essentials of design and knowing your audience is important. Take a moment to notice all the creative design and advertisements around you and why they appeal, or don’t appeal, to you.