#SOcialpr: Brand Apologies on the Rise. Implications for your biz, brand, and future

With social media usage the new societal norm, we’ve developed a hyper-connected culture, where what we do and what we say is publicly broadcasted in a matter of seconds. Social media has opened up a whole new world of opportunities, many of which should not be taken recklessly, considering the presence of such a mass audience.

Every day, 50 million Twitter users and 9 million Canadian Facebook users log on to the web to check the latest news, see what their friends are up to, and check in with their favourite brands. These considerable numbers represent a public that is ever vigilant, always watching, listening and sharing – evoking a new culture of social policing.

This summer, we saw a proliferation of public apologies issued by businesses and celebrities, including Twilight heroine Kristen Stewart, Olympic athlete Voula Papachristou, online fashion retailer Celeb Boutique, and even social network giant Twitter. All of which attracted considerable controversy.

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Social PR: It’s Sink or Swim in the Age of Instant News

Scary Fact: Did you know that 56% of top brands did NOT respond to customer comments on their Facebook page in 2011? — A.T. Kearney

PR has awesome power to build, maintain and protect brands, especially now, with the ever-expanding social universe at our fingertips. This has spawned an entirely new, but totally related, subcategory to the practice of public relations that we like to call #SOcialpr, here at Strategic Objectives.

It used to be that PR Pros targeted the mainstream media to make (or stifle) news for our clients. Today, thanks to the rapidly proliferating presence, and usage, of social networks, our sphere of influence must now reach out to widely diversified communities including social influences and bloggers/citizen journalists, employees, customers, shareholders, stakeholders and consumers themselves.

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Bald Barbie: How Mattel Lost Out on a Huge Opportunity and Allowed a Competitor to Move Into the Dream House.

In early January 2012, a small Facebook page made big news when it suddenly went viral. The page, “Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made” was conceived to ‘move’ Mattel to produce a bald Barbie doll to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania with self-esteem issues; or to help girls who have trouble coping with their mother’s hair loss due to chemotherapy.

By mid-January, the page grew from a couple of friends with a cause, to a movement of 100,000 plus. Naturally, the mainstream media picked-up on the story and by January 13, our Google News search for “Bald Barbie” generated more than 450 stories from news outlets around the world. This was amazing good news for the cause.

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Fashion with Compassion: #Cashmere BT Couture for #SocialGood

The perfect intersection of PR meets Social Media and Social Good, The White Cashmere Collection showcases the power of PR to build an awesome brand platform and a campaign with legs strong enough to thrive for eight consecutive years and form the centrepiece for a brand’s fully integrated marketing program.

Strategic Objectives created the White Cashmere Collection for Kruger Products back in 2004 as a unique showcase for Canada’s top design talent and to launch new Cashmere Bathroom Tissue. Pure, soft and luxurious, it’s the softest feeling next to your skin.  Unique in the world, the White Cashmere Collection is entirely crafted in Cashmere Bathroom Tissue (BT), Canada’s best-selling brand.  More than 87 top Canadian fashion designers have participated in our first-of-its-kind collection to date.

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Everything you Need to Know about Twitter

If only Mark W. Schaefer and his excellent book, The Tao of Twitter, had been around when I first took up with Twitter a year and a half ago! I’d have saved a whole lot of time, frustration and energy and done a far better job on Twitter right from the get go!

A short and sweet, handy-dandy, how-to guide that’s chock full of friendly, easy to understand tips and advice, The Tao of Twitter is an absolute MUST read for anyone and everyone getting ready to dive into the social network’s rapidly flowing stream of news, information and salutations.

An internationally respected marketer, university prof and behavioral scientist, Mark Schaefer’s book humbly and humorously recounts his deep dive into the Twitter fire hose and how he lived to thrive and tell his story.

The Tao of Twitter focuses on business benefits derived from providing the Twitterverse with three key elements — targeted connections, meaningful content and authentic helpfulness. The book carefully explains how to meet and befriend like-minded tweeps; build and maintain a Twitter community through providing useful, authentic, meaningful news and information based on P2P – person to person connections; and the importance of human interaction that leads to valuable relationships, awareness and spread.

A joy to read and loaded with simple, actionable lessons on how to start, build and maintain a Twitter community, The Tao of Twitter should be required reading for PR and Social Media college students as well as shared with every CMO and Marketing VP you know! HIGHLY recommended!

Deborah Weinstein


President, Strategic Objectives

Deborah Weinstein: My Most Excellent Entrepreneurial Adventure

Last November I was asked by my dear friend Guy Gal to be a Keynote Speaker at The Biz Media’s Global Entrepreneurial Week Meet up. It was a distinct pleasure and unique opportunity to talk about my journey from feisty CBC reporter to PR maven. Our entrepreneurial spirit is still alive at Strategic Objectives, and I was excited to share my story with my fellow digital marketers. The crowd was warm and eager, the refreshments delightful. Here’s the video from of my speechification. I hope you enjoy my story as much as I enjoyed telling it.

A big thank you to @GuyGal and The Biz Media for hosting me and our @SO_PR social crew.

Deb Weinstein

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Unlocking the secrets of UnGeeked, bringing the online world to the real world

Last Friday I had the distinct opportunity to attend, present and mingle with some of the “who’s who” of social media at UnGeeked Toronto, a three day social media retreat. The speaker list was extensive and reflective of the professionally social atmosphere. Guest speakers included:

Mark Bowden @truthplane

Marsha Collier @MarshaCollier

Amanda Hite @sexythinker

Jason Falls @jasonfalls

Jason Weaver @mixdown04

Jeffrey Willinger @jwillie

Erin Bury @erin_bury

Bruce Powell @IQPartners

Tom Tentoglou @tentoglou

Katie Felten @KatieFelten

Karima-Catherine @karimacatherine

Heather Taylor @heatherAtaylor

Stéphane Poirier @exopoirier

Alan Lepofsky @alanlepo

Michele Price @prosperitygal

And me! @DebWeinstein

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Vote Couture for the Cure ~ Breast Cancer Fundraiser Links IRL to Social Good

Ask any PR! It’s a challenge to reinvent and reinvigorate an annual program year after year and to generate incremental, ever-expanding news-value and coverage with what might be perceived as the same old, been there, done that story… told ad nauseum.

Such could have been the case with the Seventh Annual White Cashmere Collection 2010: Fashion with Compassion. (Video). A unique and breathtaking fund- and awareness-raiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF), the world’s first and only BT (bathroom tissue) Couture collection took to the runway, the airwaves, the Twitter-verse and Blogosphere from Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario on Wednesday, September 22.

Starring a top tier line-up of 15 Canadian designers; Canada’s Next Top Model, Meaghan Waller; CTV Canada AM anchor, Bev Thomson; and ET Canada’s Angie Smith, the one-of-a-kind fashion show featured Cashmere BT Couture creations ranging from swimwear, hats and jewelry to cocktail, bridal and ballgowns. Crafted entirely in 100 per cent pure, soft and luxurious Cashmere Bathroom Tissue, Canada’s best-selling brand, the collection celebrates the annual return of limited-edition Pink Cashmere, a fund- and awareness-raiser for the CBCF with twenty-five cents from the sale of every package going directly to the foundation.

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Fashion with Compassion Ready to Roll in Toronto

Canada’s Next Top Model, Meaghan Waller, will headline a unique show of Fashion with Compassion at the White Cashmere Collection 2010 at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Wednesday, September 22 in Toronto.

An awareness-raiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the international award-winning show, now entering its seventh successful year, features Cashmere BT (bathroom tissue) Couture created by 15 established and emerging Canadian designers. The exclusive Media and VIP Fashion Show will be hosted by Canada AM anchor and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation spokesperson, Bev Thomson and will reveal breathtaking designs inspired by the courage and strength of women affected by breast cancer, all crafted in 100% pure, soft and luxurious Cashmere Bathroom Tissue, Canada’s best-selling brand.
Conceived and produced by Strategic Objectives, the high-fashion collection features limited-edition Pink Cashmere. Specifically-designed to raise funds for the Foundation, twenty-five cents from the sale of every package of Pink Cashmere goes directly to the Foundation. A unique, socially-engaging fund-raising initiative will be revealed on the Cashmere Facebook Fanpage, at the event.

Canada’s Annual Celebration of Fashion with Compassion

One of Canada’s most-anticipated annual fashion events, the White Cashmere Collection 2010 is curated by Serge Kerbel, Fashion Director of LUSH Magazine, and features an astounding array of BT Couture ranging from eveningwear to swimwear.

Event attendees will be the first to see this year’s White Cashmere Collection photography by international fashion photographer Christopher Wadsworth. The photos, starring Canada’s Next Top Model, Meghan Waller, will be posted on Cashmere.ca and on Facebook.com/whitecashmerecollection to celebrate October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, following the show on Wednesday, September 22. Check out the White Cashmere Collection 2009 video on You Tube.

Deborah Weinstein

The 5 Ws and How To Build your Social Brand

What’s in a name? Everything, when it’s your personal brand; and perception is reality in the virtual world.

Your name in the socially-networked universe defines your brand — your essence, what you stand for, your reputation and your three second BLINK, all in 140 characters or less!

So, how do you differentiate and elevate your personal brand, your on-line identity, in a social world teeming with thousands, no millions, of individuals calling out to be heard?

Warrior Photo

For proof of the bottom-line importance of asserting your personal brand you need look no further than:

• A recent poll* of 2600 North American Hiring Managers that revealed 45% of those surveyed use social media background checks to vet prospective employees; and

• 35% of respondents said they’d found something social that caused them NOT to hire the candidate. *Careerbuilder.com

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