Krispy Kreme’s Alliteration Blunder

Kimberly N. Alleyne

There is nothing like a fresh, hot glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut (Bow down Dunkin’ Donuts). And if you’re a genuine fan, then you know well the happiness that flashing red light evokes.

Krispy Kreme and I go way back. Since I am always exceptionally satisfied with the product, and can’t recall a negative customer service experience, we’ve had a great relationship. So I was quite disappointed to read of a UK Krispy Kreme’s recent promotion snafu. The franchise ran a promo using the letters KKK in the text. It was intended, according to the franchise, to stand for Krispy Kreme Klub. The franchise swiftly removed the promo from its Facebook page after followers called them on it, and then issued an apology. Perhaps, it was an innocent oversight, or maybe it was a dumb oversight; maybe someone thought it would be a clever play (KKK does have international branches).

Krispy Kreme KKK Promo

I won’t speculate on the intent. However, there a lessons PR pros can learn from this alliteration accident:

1. Incidents such as this are reminders of the importance of diversity–and inclusion–of public relations, marketing and communication teams. The same goes for  newsrooms. In an age where one in five Americans will be foreign born by 2050, it’s critical that public relations practitioners be cognizant of the diverse audiences/publics they often speak to and engage.

Today’s practitioner must be adept at studying and accommodating the unique needs and sensitivities of population segments — there really is no excuse for the, “We didn’t know,” excuse anymore. Corporate, nonprofit and government teams that are responsible managing the face, voice and reputation of organizations must be comprised of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, races and ethnicities. No excuses.

2. Sometimes it is wise to get points of view of colleagues outside of the pr/marketing space. You might have spent hours thinking of the perfect phrase or wording, but that does not mean that more due diligence isn’t in order. Step outside the ego box and solicit opinions; you never know what you might be overlooking.

3. Market testing, though not always plausible, is valuable and worth the effort. Testing language and potential promo campaigns on a select audience can prevent crises.

Screenshot of Hull, England Krispy Kreme Facebook page

Screenshot of Hull, England Krispy Kreme Facebook page

A short round of applause to this UK Krispy Kreme for quickly removing the offensive promo and issuing an apology.

   “We do believe this was a completely unintentional oversight on the part of our longtime franchise   partners in the U.K.,” according to a statement by company spokesperson Lafeea Watson.

Blogging to Build Your Brand | Podcast Interview with Benet Wilson

Blogging to Build Your Brand
Kimberly N. Alleyne

Image by Cristina, Flickr Creative Commons

Image by Cristina, Flickr Creative Commons

I spoke with blogging extraordinaire Benet J. Wilson to discuss her experience, best practices for blogging, tips, personal stories, and more. Though this interview focuses on building a nonprofit brand, the same rules apply for building a personal brand.

Wilson says, “It is a good idea for nonprofits to write a blog and be active on social media because it gives you a different reach. You need to plan it effectively – you need to make sure you have the right team overseeing it. And organize yourself in a way that it is not going to overtax you and your team. Start slowly, you don’t have to do everything all at once. But definitely do it and have fun with it!”

Listen to the podcast and take your blog to the next level!

Key highlights include:

  • Once you start a blog you have to keep it going. It is a beast that has to be fed.
  • Use pictures and videos, sometimes a blog post can be only pictures.
  • Videos do not have to be broadcast quality – sometimes short raw clips come across as more transparent.
  • Interview people – from your organization, the community, your industry.
  • Repurpose content.
  • You don’t have to blog every day. Pick people from your organization that have a strong voice and create a schedule.
  • Use your other social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) to promote your blog. Focus on the platforms that your audience uses.
  • Don’t just throw information up there; you have to interact with your community. Social media, including your blog, is not only for broadcasting – you can use it to start conversations, testing, listening, polls, and more.
  • Share the space! Highlight great work from other related groups and organizations.

Do you blog to build your brand? What other tactics do you use to lift your brand profile? Let me know at Kimberly at kimberlynalleyne.com

Happy blogging!

#Great tips: How to Increase Your Blog Post Shares

I am always hunting for tips and tricks to increase traffic to my blogs at The Harvest Magazine and Reporting on Disparities, and if you know me, I’m obsessed with infographics—visuals are always a great add. The following infographic from Canva is a jewel!  If you’re not familiar with Canva, make time to learn about it. It’s an easy-to-learn tool for creating graphics—you won’t believe how intuitive it is and you don’t need an iota of design competency. Trust me.

I think many of these tips are doable for my blog(s); I plan to try a few of them such as Socialoomph and Pinterest. Let me know what you think about these tips and which of them you might try, or are already incorporating in your publishing strategy. kimberly at kimberlynalleyne.com

By the way, I found this on Razor Social blog, which is written by Ian Cleary. Stop by for a visit, you’ll find other great blogging tips and tools.

infographic_final-3

FAIL: Epic Missteps in the City of #Ferguson’s P.R. Strategy

Kimberly N. Alleyne
http://www.kimberlynalleyne.com

#FERGUSON

The civil eruption in #Ferguson (Missouri) has quelled since the Aug. 9, 2014,  shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer though the conflict that’s tearing an already divided community rages on, if silently.

Photo by Blue Cheddar

Photo by Blue Cheddar/Flickr Creative Commons

Varying accounts of what actually precipitated the fatal shooting of the unarmed recent high school graduate still mottle accounts offered in print, broadcast and cyber media: Brown attacked Darren Wilson (the officer who shot Brown); Brown was fleeing; Brown had his hands up begging Wilson not to shoot him; Brown didn’t have his hands up…the truth will eventually manifest during the trial.

Despite the calm that is now reclining on the St. Louis County town, a emotional unrest persists among the residents and there is a notable chasm-like void in the City of Ferguson’s public relations approach — to date, it’s been near indiscernible. Here are reasons why the strategy, whatever it is, has been ineffective.

1. Late to the game — By the time the City of Ferguson retained an agency of record (Common Ground PR), civil unrest on both sides had exploded; the shrapnel bred additional crises, such as Michael Brown’s autopsy report, that compounded the situation. The City failed to get in front of those crises–or to respond quickly enough.

2. Lack of community engagement — There are deep divides in the public opinion, primarily along racial/ethnic and socioeconomic lines. A smart strategy would be to focus on engaging the community via town halls and listening tours. You cannot communicate with an audience if you don’t know what they’ll respond to. Lack of engagement–and understanding–blows targeted messaging out of the water.

3.  Insertion of personal opinion — The City of Ferguson announced that Common Ground PR would assist with crisis management by “fielding media inquiries,” and soon after, the racial/ethnicity composition of the firm’s staff was questioned (Not unreasonable since they’re handling an intensely racially-charged situation). Denise Bentele responded, umm sort of, to the criticism in a statement in which she shared her dismay about negative online comments. What?! … Why? Regardless of what the public thinks, Bentele should have never offered personal commentary. And coming on the defensive about the racial make-up of her staff actually heightened suspicion about the firm’s capabilities. The crisis is not about her, and her opinion adds no substance to the public dialogue.

Denise Bentele, CEO of Common Ground PR,

Denise Bentele, CEO of Common Ground PR

4. Not responding on social media – So it looks like Common Ground is not very social. Despite the plethora opportunities to engage media and community members online and on social, the PR agency has also been criticized for not engaging on social, Twitter in particular. Not a tweet out of them so far.

5. No clear spokesperson (s) — Who’s running the show? A spokesperson has yet to emerge. There are too many people talking in this situation. The airwaves are far too crowded with opinionated voices soapboxing boxing about the tragic incident, and not one of those voices includes a City of Ferguson spokesperson. What gives? An essential, and basic, PR strategy is to establish a spokesperson and to equip she or he with a substantive message. That’s not happening in Ferguson. Fielding media inquiries is a back-burner priority in relation to this.

6.  Missed storytelling opportunities –In the face of the widely circulated images of an incensed community standing against police/military, rallies for Michael Brown, and rallies for the Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, there have also been displays of unity that transcend zip code, income, race and ethnicity. The City of Ferguson and Common Ground PR should seize those storytelling opportunities to flip the frame and show another view of the picture.

Also, a PR agency should be an extension of and a complement to a brand, more like a silent partner, not a replacement of its voice.

Common Ground PR should revisit its approach — the nation is watching.

 

My Week in Twitter — Thanks #BECornerOffice!

These Twitter activity recaps are great. Not a bad week:

My Week in Twitter_8.22These numbers were boosted by participating in an @blackenterprise #BECornerOffice Twitter chat with @EarlButchGraves. Great #leadership insights! I’ve already calendared the next one, which is scheduled for 9/8 with the 1st African American winner of “The Apprentice.”

Looking forward! Twiiter

Great Social PR: #Every Main Street

Every Main Street 2Our Great Social PR features highlight great public relations or media campaigns that utilize social media to amplify awareness and calls to action. This post highlights the #Every Main Street campaign presented by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO).

AEO is the national trade association for U.S. microbusiness and microfinance. The D.C.-anchored nonprofit and its 400-member and partner network provide research and market insights about microbusiness, and advocate for policies that deliver capital solutions to #Main Street.

Background: Each weekday, 8,000 requests for business loans are declined. Accessing capital and business support services is a particular challenge for America’s 25.5 million microbusiness owners, who often need “micro” capital–amounts less than $250,000. Because microbusinesses make a substantial contribution to employment (41.3 million jobs in 2011), systemic roadblocks to capital–such as 8,000 daily loan declines–impacts job creation. Read more about capital access for microbusinesses here.

“In the land of the great American Dream, 8,000 daily business loan denials are symptomatic of a massive market failure. Our analysis shows it’s a failure to deliver an estimated $44 billion to $52 billion in critical capital to Main Street. Each time business owners are denied requests for capital, it hinders their ability to start, grow or hire,” says Connie Evans, AEO president and CEO.

 

What’s great: AEO uses a different photo every two weeks to capture the vibrancy and diversity of Main Street USA. They’re also asking folks to submit photos of the Main Streets where they live. Very cool, right?!

Key message: #Every Main Street needs fair and affordable access to capital.

Call-to-action: Like, Re-tweet, and Re-post the #EveryMainStreet photo on Facebook and Twitter using the #EveryMainStreet hash tag.

Campaign Goal: Increase awareness of the need for equitable and affordable capital and services. Metrics: likes, re-tweets, comments, shares, requests for information and photo submissions.

We’ll check in soon with Matt Crandall, AEO’s marketing manager, to learn how the campaign is going. Meanwhile, you can join AEO’s #EveryMainStreet campaign here: @aeoworks and https://www.facebook.com/AEO.

 

Let me know what you think about the #Every Main Street campaign.

Every Main Street1