Understanding Public Relations

By Jenny Fujita and Joy K. Miura, Fujita & Miura Public Relations, LLC.

We hear the term public relations, or PR, a lot more now days, whether about bad PR surrounding former President Clinton’s scandals, the PR war waged over Elian Gonsalez, or the PR-infused plots in NBC’s The West Wing. But PR isn’t just for politics or entertainment. So what exactly is PR?”Public relations” is as it sounds: it’s about organizations or individuals building and keeping relationships with their publics. In the PR world, the term public refers to any group of people that do, or may, interact with an individual or organization, for example, customers, potential customers, employees, other businesses, the media, legislators, etc.

What is the purpose of PR? Northwestern University Professor Dr. Clarke L. Caywood describes PR as “the profitable integration of an organization’s new and continuing relationships … that create and protect the brand and reputation of the organization.” PR covers two basic, yet essential, concepts: communication and image. PR is usually conducted by an organization using an in-house public relations staff, or an outsourced PR firm. Either way, the PR process begins with research and detailed strategic planning, and ends with implementing and evaluating a plan.

In the past, PR professionals have themselves suffered from bad images, and have been referred to as “spin doctors” who brush negative situations under the carpet, or distort the truth about controversial issues. Like every profession, PR has its good and bad eggs. However, in 1948, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) was formed to address PR issues and uphold the profession to the highest standards. Today, many PR professionals abide by the PRSA Code of Ethics.

Think Before You Speak

Think Before You Speak

The following is an excerpt from “The PR Fix for the Everyday Person” © 2013 by Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte.

“The trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven’t thought of yet.”
– Ann Landers

Thinking before speaking seems obvious but most people don’t do it consistently. We have become a society of blurting out things without regard for the consequences.  We see it in politics when politicians put their foot in their mouth in front of a news camera. We see it in the grocery store when impatient people berate the cashier.  We see it at public hearings when people yell out their opinions.  We see it in high-drama reality TV shows and think, “Can you believe she said that?” (more…)

Why PR Matters to the Everyday You

Why PR Matters to the Everyday You

The following is an excerpt from “The PR Fix for the Everyday Person” © 2013 by Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte.

Have you ever been caught up in a drama with family, friends or co-workers? Those incidents usually boil down to what someone told so-and-so about someone else who told the next person, and so on.  In the midst of it, you feel like you’re back in high school, where everyone is acting pouty and impulsive.  One of the reasons we celebrated our high school graduations was to be done with those shenanigans! (more…)

Are You Linked?

LinkedInlogoThere are so many social media options these days, though for professionals, few have the benefits of LinkedIn, without the downsides.

LinkedIn started out in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in 2002 and the site officially launched in 2003. At the end of the first month in operation, LinkedIn had a total of 4,500 members in the network.  As of February 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 150 million members in over 200 countries and territories.  To us, this makes having a LinkedIn profile as basic as being a member of your local Chamber of Commerce. (more…)

What Are You Waiting For?

What Are You Waiting For?

We’ve been in business for 11 years now.  We’ve had our share of ups and downs but overall, we’ve been very fortunate to have a thriving business that has met both our financial and personal needs. One of the greatest lessons we’ve learned, especially recently as we move into our twelfth year, is that to achieve your goals you have to have a “make it or break it” mindset. In other words, go for it, all out, no regrets.  Give it everything you have now.

This is important particularly when it comes to PR. Public relations is often one of those things that comes second to business operations.  And yet, relating to your publics well must go hand-in-hand with your everyday operations.  If you’re not forging good relationships and improving the ones you have every day through every interaction, then your business may eventually fizzle out and your operations will be for naught.

If you have a list of PR or promotional ideas for your business, either written or in your head, pick the top three and implement them. Be clear about your goals, do the best job you can, and enjoy the process of building strong relationships with the people that matter most to your business success.

So what are you waiting for? Your public is waiting. Reach out to them today.

5 Reasons to Have a Fact Sheet

number_5There inevitably comes a time in every client interaction in which we recommend that they create a fact sheet, also known as an information paper or white paper. The fact sheet is one of the most simple, effective pieces of corporate communication. Why? Here are five good reasons.

(1) Fact sheets are short. The rule of thumb is to keep a fact sheet to one page. One page is all you need to communicate the key messages about your company or one of your company’s products, services or issues. One page is also all that people will read. No one has the time or wants to read long content. If your fact sheet is bleeding over to two pages, revise it and revise it again until it’s one page.  Take out all unnecessary points and words.  If you’re finding it impossible to get your fact sheet to one page, chances are good that you need another fact sheet to tackle a portion of the information.  Whatever you do, don’t make the font miniscule to pare down the text. (more…)

Collaborate to Win

Collaborate to Win

Recently we provided an exclusive auto insurance deal for all FMPR friends and their employees in Hawai`i.  With this deal, they could get special rates, exceptional coverage and unique policy enhancements. And, anyone who acted on the offer and received an estimate by specified date (June 30) would be entered to win a free, brand new 4th generation 32 GB iPod Touch sponsored by FMPR. (more…)

Event Promotion Packages

events collageThe success of an event greatly relies on its marketing and promotion. In fact, in our previous blog post, we discuss the recent article about the Philadelphia Orchestra’s bankruptcy filing, the organization’s President Alison Vulgamore said, “…We actually have not marketed our concerts very well, and not spent sufficient funds on marketing.”

We want all businesses and organizations to succeed with their events. To that end, we offer Event Promotion Packages ranging from $1,500 to $5,000. If your event needs a larger-scale, customized PR plan, we can do that as well, or add services to the set packages (priced separately). Depending on your budget and staffing, our job ranges from guiding you through the implementation to coordinating all of it.

Contact us today at info@fmpr.net to request our Event Promotion Packages price list and to find out how we can help you meet your event’s attendance and financial goals.

Harnessing the Spirit of Giving in Business

moneygiftThere’s a trend these days in corporate charitable giving, and it’s being led by the biggest of the big guys. Take Pepsi, Starbucks and Disney.

Pepsi’s Refresh Project is a social media/philanthropy hybrid that funds important initiatives from improving schools to building parks and playgrounds, and supporting new business ideas. In fact, in 2010, Pepsi gave up its Super Bowl ad and allowed small budding companies to advertise in its place. Pepsi defines the Refresh Project as “The New Pepsi Challenge.” In the process of helping causes through millions of dollars of donations, they attract millions of fans to their social media sites to vote on which projects get funded. Everyone wins. (more…)

Target Publics: What’s the Janitor’s Name?

my name isA while ago, we traveled to Oahu with a friend and client who is also a local college culinary arts professor. We were eating at a restaurant and as soon as the waitress approached, our client looked at the waitress’ name tag and addressed her by name. After Kara took our order, our client explained, “You know, I always put this question on my students’ test: what’s the name of the janitor who cleans here?” He said that students in the service industry need to understand that everyone in a restaurant is important, from the dishwasher to the chef, and should be recognized for making the business work. (more…)

Hiring a PR Consultant: How it Works

contractThe one thing all of our potential clients, large and small, want to know when they’re considering hiring us is, “How does it work?” Hiring any consultant is an investment so it’s important to be prepared before jumping in. We can’t tell you how all consultants work, but we can give you an overview of what happens before we sign a contract with a client. (more…)

The Email Blast – Quick, Cheap, Easy, Effective PR

The Email Blast – Quick, Cheap, Easy, Effective PR

We hear it time and time again…a business needs a quick, cheap, easy, effective way to reach out to customers. One solution is doing an email blast, or eblast, which is an email message that is sent to a mass recipient list. An eblast can be sent once-in-a-while or regularly, such as a monthly e-newsletter. We recommend doing eblasts via online email marketing companies, such as Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, or Vertical Response. These companies allow you to upload and maintain your contact list on their websites, and their programs have the ability to send your email to hundreds or thousands of people safely and effectively. In some cases, if an individual sent an email to a lengthy list of recipients from their own email account, their recipients email servers could automatically block the message as spam, or junk mail. With Constant Contact or Vertical Response, you can rest assured that all the hard work that you put in your email message was worth it and your email will get to your customer. Let’s delve more into the reasons that eblasts are quick, cheap, easy and effective. (more…)

Email Best Practices to Boost Your PR

Email Best Practices to Boost Your PR

Information is moving at the speed of light these days, and while email can be a quick and convenient business tool, it’s worth it to take the time and care to use them well.  Your customers’ perceptions of your business are not only derived from your store front or offerings, but by all the different ways you put yourself out into the public.  Good email etiquette is just as important as having a good product, service, or return policy.  Below are a few common examples of business email best practices that can give you a PR advantage: (more…)

Timing is (Almost) Everything

Timing is (Almost) Everything

One thing’s for sure, you realize how important timing is when it’s bad. Like when you have a nine-pound fully-cooked ham and you think it’ll only take 15 minutes to warm up until you realize the directions say 15 minutes per pound. Or when you buy a load of stock and the next day the price falls $10 per share and isn’t expected to recover for the next few years.  Well, it’s the same thing in PR. Timing is critical. (more…)

How to Write a Press Release

Press ReleaseHow do reporters know about all the important things happening in the community? One of the most common ways news stories are generated is through press releases. A press, or news, release is a document that is issued to the media and highlights a newsworthy topic about an organization or individual, in hopes that the media will print or broadcast the story. While social media and other emerging methods of pitching stories to reporters are increasingly available, the traditional press release can go a long way for many businesses.  (more…)

How to Get What You Want: Ask

How to Get What You Want: Ask

Do you know what the first rule is of getting what you want? Ask. Yes, that’s it. We have been intrigued over the years at how often nonprofits simply forget to ask for a donation. By the same token, prior to the recent election, many candidates whom we know, some very well, never asked directly for our vote. Whether it’s fundraising, political campaigning, or selling a product or service, you must connect with your potential donors, voters, or consumers and ask them to do what you want them to. The PR key is asking the right people in a gracious and effective way, at the right time. (more…)

Keep Your Current Customers

Keep Your Current Customers

We’ve all seen those promotions that companies use to try and attract new customers – gifts, cut rates, special offers, etc.  Those kinds of efforts are great and there is a place for recruiting new business, for sure. But what about your current customers, those folks that have stuck with you through all the economic ups and downs, those donors who give a little each year? They are your most valuable assets, and they deserve stewarding and attention. (more…)

Did You Hear About…

The following scenario and script is part of our ongoing series about how to respond in difficult situations. One of these days, when you find yourself in an awkward situation, you just might be able to hearken back to one of these scripts and use the right words that will help smooth out the situation.  After all, that’s the basis of public relations: having good relationships no matter what the scenario.  So here goes.

Scenario: Jean is busy at work in her cubicle and her office mate, Dan, peeks around from his workspace and says, “Did you hear?” Taking the bait, Jean asks, “Hear what?” Dan rolls his eyes, “You know, Teri, in Customer Service, she’s messing around with Harry Beefe.”

Script for Jean: Jean furrows her eyebrows and says, “Gosh, I hope they don’t get married because then her name would be Teri Beefe.  Jean and Dan laugh uproariously.  And, Jean adds, “Seriously, I once knew a woman who got married and her new name was “Candy Korn.”

And, the conversation continues about funny names.

Jean could have been righteous and exclaimed that she doesn’t engage in rumor mongering at work, making Dan feel like a jerk for bringing up the rumor in the first place.  Or, she could’ve been pensive and said nothing, leaving them both in a state of discomfort.  But what she chose to do was respond with a bit of diplomatic humor, which diffused the gossip session.  Then, she immediately bridged the conversation to funny names, which took the focus off Teri and Harry. Handling the conversation this way left her and Dan friends, and yet sent the message that she wasn’t going to run in the rumor mill.

If you have a difficult situation for which you’d like us to produce a script in our column, send it to us at info@fmpr.net.  Of course we’ll tweak the wording so that you and your business remain anonymous.