Communicating COVID-19 to Employees, Customers and Public
We recognize that this is a historic time with the Coronavirus impacting all plans for businesses, nonprofits, organizations — every aspect of our daily work and personal lives — all over America! And, beyond our borders.
With this in mind, we want to remind you that we are still “open” — using CDC social distance practices — and stand ready to assist with your actions to communicate to employees, customers and the public.
So, please contact us if you want to go over your actions to communicate going forward. Using our expertise to help during a crisis is not about commercial advantage or profit. It is about doing the right thing for our country and showing our company’s true values and citizenship.
Lessons learned from past experience as a senior public relations practitioner for 911, Katrina and other national crisis situations has taught me:
- Times of crisis can be confusing and frightening, resulting in an amplification of speculation, conspiracy theories, and fiction.
- Use only OFFICIAL sources for facts and information.
- Rumors and mis-information will continue to increase as the length of this unprecedented circumstances continue.
- Again, please DO NOT share information that is not from official sources, i.e., federal, state, county and city. You should start with this site:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Coronavirus.gov is the official app of the US Government and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Joint Task Force including the agencies of the CDC, White House, Health and Human Services, and FEMA.
John Hopkins University for the Number of Global Cases
Each state has an official website to get resources, updates and what you should know. Here is ours in Colorado: https://covid19.colorado.gov
Some of have asked what the US military is doing. Here is a FOX news clip that provides excellent information.
Finally, the need to provide a hopeful and caring message in your dialogue with employees, customers and the public is key as you continue to respond to this situation.
Stay safe. Remain healthy.
Michael B. Perini, USAF-Col. (Ret)
President & CEO
What Makes For a Great Business Photo
by Michael Perini, ABC
Perini & Associates
I first blogged this topic in 2013 and still believe today that we remain in a new and ever-changing age of photography.
With the continual evolution of both stand-alone digital cameras and new models of smartphones coming out for the holidays, by gosh, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight of this technological revolution!
The number of photos that you and I take in a year has gone through the roof. In fact, in a recent study by The Conversation, it was claimed that as many as I TRILLION photos were taken in 2018.
Here are couple of other interesting facts.
- 95 million photos and videos are uploaded to Instagram every day!
- As for Facebook, 250 billion is the total number of photos you will find.
So, the answer to my question, is “Yes”. Photos are still necessary as “currency”. For you wanting to use photos in your business to attract customers then that photo must be special. Picture this in your mind. A photo with two small dogs. Wearing funny hats and dark sunglasses. I would offer up to you that this photo has more than a bark! This photo generates emotions and questions.
“Aren’t they cute!”
“Where’s the red carpet?”
“How’d they get them to sit still?”
“Are those prescription specs?”
This photo of these trendy dogs begs viewers to want to know more.
In the public relations and marketing world having photos that communicate like this one are key to the success of your business, nonprofit or special event.
What makes a great photo; in a nutshell a great photo is one that helps tell your message. Here are several factors that I always remembered when selecting photos for clients:
Wow factor! There is so much competition for your personal attention. Again, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. If we are to be successful and capture your time and attention, then we need to show an image that has that “wow” factor. Immediate reaction…positive or negative, depending on your objective…is what you need to look for.
BRIGHT is right. The image needs to be visible. By that I mean a photo that expresses an emotion, view or drives you to action. A lot of vivid colors work for me and drive me to action.
Mystery with a +. The image should leave you wanting more. This photo does that for me. You?
I think this topic of photos for business is one that we need to come back to.
Bottomline is: If you want your photo to get noticed…then you need to get creative.
We would really like to hear your comments about photography. Here are several examples of great ones!
GEO-FENCING: The New Buzz Word? Facts vs Fiction
What is Geofencing? If you’ve been keeping up with the latest digital marketing tools then you’ve most likely heard of one of the latest vocabulary words in business advertising technology. Geofencing. But what is it? Why do people use it? Can it really make a difference? And perhaps the question people most want to know the answer to is… Is it ethical?
These are just some of the concerns we’d like to address with you in our four part geofencing series. So stay tuned and for now, here’s Part 1 below!
1. What is Geofencing?
Geofencing is the practice of using global positioning (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response on a mobile device as it enters or leaves a particular area.
*Geofencing technology is compatible with 92% of U.S. smartphones.
*53% of shoppers visited a specific retailer after receiving a location-based alert.
*Smartphone users are often times completely oblivious to the realities of businesses obtaining big data analytics on their whereabouts and shopping patterns through obtaining their phone’s IP address..
*Geofencing positively affects businesses by increasing sales but can have negative affects by misusing some of the data obtained.
Source: Melissa Bately, perini & associates.
Holds a B.A. in Public Relations from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN, and began her professional experience at Word Records and McClain Public Relations. She has supported and represented a wide variety of clients, and she enjoys creating special projects, activities, and events to promote and foster relationships between clients and their respective communities.
Mistakes Made by Small Business Owners
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 80% of small businesses fail* in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years.
That number might be surprisingly high to you, especially considering the commonly-held belief that most businesses fail within the first year. However, from there the number falls sharply. Only about half of small businesses survive passed the five-year mark, ranging from 45.4% to 51% depending on the year the business was started.
Beyond that, only about one in three small businesses get to the 10-year mark and live to tell the tale.
All this might sound discouraging. But, by identifying the primary causes of small business failure, adjustments can be made to allow you to place the odds in your favor.
Why do Small Businesses Fail?
Based on our experience working with small business owners since 2009 and backed up by statistical data, here are reasons small businesses fail.
Insufficient capital (money). The math just doesn’t work. If you don’t have enough cash to carry you through the first six months or so before the business starts making money, your prospects for success are not good. Consider both business and personal living expenses when determining how much cash you will need for investment in the business (employees, equipment, marketing, etc.) and also be prepared for a “business emergency”, i.e., theft, natural disasters or a similar competitor who sets up within close proximity. Additionally, you may feel like you cannot afford to give your customers something free or at a discount. But in reality, you can’t afford not to.
Believing you can do everything yourself. One of the biggest challenges for small business owners is to let go. Let go of the attitude that you must have hands-on control of all aspects of your business. Let go of the belief that only you can make decisions. Concentrate on the most important problems or issues facing your business. Sometimes, you can even tell these owners the problem, and they will recognize that you are right — but continue to make the same mistakes over and over. Let others help you out. Give trusted advisors responsibility and authority.
Failure to clearly define and understand your market, your customers, and your customers’ buying habits. Who are your customers? You should be able to clearly identify them in one or two sentences. How are you going to reach them? Is your product or service seasonal? What will you do in the off-season? How loyal are your potential customers to their current supplier? Do customers keep coming back or do they just purchase from you one time? Does it take a long time to close a sale or are your customers more driven by impulse buying? .
Failure to anticipate or react to competition, technology, or other changes in the marketplace. It is dangerous to assume that what you have done in the past will always work. Challenge the factors that led to your success. Do you still do things the same way despite new market demands and changing times? What is your competition doing differently? What new technology is available? Be open to new ideas like social media (Facebook and Instagram); online tools (website, EZ-texting and Geo-Fencing) and the explosion in the use of smart devices (phones, tablets). Experiment. Those who fail to invest in the new tools to attract and retain customers end up becoming pawns to those who do.
Marketing Mishaps. Business owners often fail to prepare for the marketing needs of a company in terms of capital required, prospect reach and accurate conversion ratio projections. When companies underestimate the total cost of early marketing campaigns, it is often difficult to secure financing or redirect capital from other business departments to make up for the shortfall. Because marketing is a crucial aspect of any early-stage business, it is necessary for companies to ensure they have established realistic budgets for current and future marketing needs..
“In life, you may have forgiving friends and relatives, but entrepreneurship is rarely forgiving. Eventually, everything shows up in the soup. If people don’t like the soup, employees stop working for you, and customers stop doing business with you. And that is why businesses fail”. — Jay Goltz owns five small businesses in Chicago.
Additional Sources: Small Business Administration*, Forbes Magazine, Investopedia, Honolulu Magazine
Is Digital Marketing Worth the Investment?
To answer this question, we must first investigate what digital marketing really is and its current impact on businesses today. Digital marketing in and of itself is a tool to use to get the word out so to speak on the who, what, where’s and other basic details of a business.
Once someone knows the basic details, digital marketing takes their audience quickly to the next level to provide much needed content such as videos, links to social media sites, and updated posts on all that is happening including events and other ways to include the audience in the current business activities, and special sales on products or services offered.
Often there are opportunities for patrons, customers, and/or consumers to comment on a particular business or give feedback such as star ratings or general suggestions on how the business could be better. A lot of times this can draw negative attention to the business if complaints are expressed online, however, there are often positive effects as well when happy customers take the time to rate and comment.
Whether or not a business wants to invest in digital marketing is totally at their discretion, but the fact that many people are being forced to face today is that we now live in a very digital world. If a business decides not to participate it does not exempt them from being discussed or even negatively impacted online.
Facebook as we know is not only a business platform and many people on personal Facebook pages are highly expressive on their latest favorite or what they view as a terrible product or service. A business owner who chooses not to engage online does not help themselves to get new customers or restore their sometimes ruined reputation by a few negative comments made on social media sites.
So, is it worth to invest in digital marketing? The answer to that question is entirely up to you. Perini & Associates’ consensus? The answer is always: absolutely!
Source: Melissa Batey, perini & associates.
Holding a B.A. in Public Relations from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN, Melissa began her professional experience at Word Records and McClain Public Relations. Having supported and represented a wide variety of clients, she enjoys creating special projects, activities, and events to promote and foster relationships between clients and their respective communities.
Do I really need a PR Firm?
|You’re probably reading this because you asked yourself, why do I need to hire a PR firm? In a world of omnipresent media and constant digital interactions, business owners can find it difficult to justify a regular public relations budget.|
The accessibility of social media, easy-to-build websites and channels like YouTube has led some business owners to believe that anyone who knows how to turn on a computer can take over the company’s PR efforts. While anyone can make a social media page and start posting, building good PR is a full-time job. Here are three reasons to consider hiring a professional PR team.
Effective public relations require careful and strategic planning. Consider the difference between taking the family on a Sunday afternoon walk in a park and climbing Everest. One requires almost no preparation, and the other involves a team of professionals to help you scale the mountain. The same is true of public relations. Building a brand, a loyal social media following, or cultivating effective search engine optimization takes time, planning, and endurance.
I once spoke with a man whose online presence earned him an international following and business from around the globe. He had been cultivating his carefully constructed online presence for nine years!
Public relations professionals strategically select the right mediums to deliver the carefully constructed messages that best convey your business to your target audience. A company should never just make a Facebook page and call it quits. Consider all of the communications mediums available today. PR professionals are trained to evaluate your business’s individual needs and audiences and distribute messages across the right mediums. A local coffee shop might benefit from a thriving social media community while a local mechanic would be better served by a strategically placed billboard. The role of PR professionals is to know your business, your audience, and how to reach them.
Real relationships are more critical to your business now than they ever have been before. Why? Because consumers have options! The days of one-way advertising are over. Consumers have the greatest fact-finding tool in history in their pocket, and they will use it against you. Have you ever been searching for a restaurant and been deterred because of a bad Yelp review, or decided to boycott a company because of their political leanings? When it comes down to the buying decision, what will distinguish your business from another? Relationship. Reputation. Good PR.