I was once pulled over by a police officer as I was driving along a busy road. When he approached my truck window, he was very stern and gruff. He explained that he pulled me over for speeding. As he spoke, I had a million thoughts running through my mind, from “I want to crawl into a hole and die because people are driving by looking at me like a common criminal,” (or so I perceived) to “Ahhh! Why is this officer so scary?” to “How am going to explain this to my safe-driving-stickler husband?”
When the officer handed me the nausea-inducing slip of paper that was the speeding ticket, the only thing that I could think of to say that made me feel somewhat decent was “Thank you.” Yes, I gathered myself up enough to quickly realize that any excuse for speeding would be pathetic and that being flippant, defensive, or mad would just make me look like a fool. So I said “Thank you.” It was then that the officer looked me with surprise in his eyes and dropped his hard core demeanor. He softened his tone, bid me a gentle goodbye, and went along his way. (more…)
One PR Fix, or communication upgrade, that I learned at the beginning of my career, is to replace using the word “but” with “and” to soften unfavorable language. While this has come in handy in business, it’s also been useful in my personal communication as well.
Before I learned this, I never really considered how the terms “but,” “however,” or “yet” can actually be negative. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that they are mainly used in contrary to something and have a subtle way to bring down a conversation. Why? Because many times, “but” is used as an excuse or a crutch. Over and over people use “but” to take the accountability off of their shoulders. For example, “I did my homework, BUT I don’t have it with me because my dog ate it.” Or “I would have been on time, BUT I got stuck in traffic.” Even though this is not the case for all uses of “but,” the frequency of using a “but statement” as a justification for a mistake has dirtied the interpretation of the word. (more…)
There is always a way to graciously address any situation, no matter how uncomfortable. Plain and simple: ignoring the truth or being phony feeds into the discomfort of the most awkward situations and makes them worse. (more…)
The following is an excerpt from “The PR Fix for the Everyday Person” © 2014 by Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte.
Being a host conjures up visions of throwing a party. That may be true but in general, being a good host is about making people feel comfortable, not only when you are a formal host of a gathering, but in everyday situations. When you’re the type of person who makes people feel comfortable, you become very attractive. People will literally flock to you because they feel at ease in your presence. These connections are great for building new relationships or deepening old ones. (more…)
We often encourage our clients to collaborate with other businesses or organizations to expand their reach, leverage positives, and produce win-wins. We came across an article on TODAY.com that features how a wine company saw an opportunity to maximize the popularity of the hit TV show “Downtown Abbey” and created a “Downtown Abbey” wine. This is exactly what we mean by collaborating to win. How can your business collaborate or form a partnership to benefit both parties and increase sales, visibility, loyalty, etc.?
When considering a collaboration, remember:
- The collaboration can be short term, such as co-hosting an event, or longer term such as a product collaboration like the “Downtown Abbey” wine.
- Be open to collaborating with others outside your usual circle. Collaborations don’t have to stay within industries or between like organizations. As long as both parties will benefit, go for it!
- Only partner with organizations that hold fast to the same values as you do, such as great customer service, fair pricing, etc., so that you maintain your brand and reputation.
- Put everything in writing so that each party is clear about expectations and responsibilities and to ensure a successful partnership.
Read the full article “Debut ‘Downtown Abbey’ wines are fit for a lord” on TODAY.com.
The following is an excerpt from “The PR Fix for the Everyday Person” © 2013 by Jenny Fujita and Joy Koerte.
We always tell our clients that when they’re asked questions about a situation involving several parties, they must only answer for their own company. The same goes for you. If you’re asked a question about how another person may feel about a situation, pause and then say, “I can’t answer for them but I know that I…” (more…)
It’s that time of the year when people start delivering their holiday cards, gifts and well-wishes for the new year. And every year, it seems to be a struggle when it comes to figuring out what you are going to give or send. When you feel like you have exhausted every option out there, do you ask yourself, “what can I do differently this year?”
By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations
Mahalo to all those who applied for the FMPR scholarship. We will announce the recipient in May.
In the next few months, teenagers from all over Kaua`i will be receiving acceptance letters from colleges and their parents will begin preparing to have empty nests. It will be an exciting time for many, and for some, a time of apprehension. Students will wonder what the new school year at college brings for them in terms of academic challenges and social situations. Parents will wonder how they will pay tuitions, especially in this challenging economy. But still, those who have the opportunity to pursue higher education will find a way. Fujita & Miura Public Relations would like to join those families investing in education by awarding one $1,000 scholarship to a Kaua`i student pursuing their bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree.
The selection of FMPR Scholars is based upon Kaua`i residents and students who:
- Are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees, preferably in communications or public relations.
- Are interested in owning or working for a small business and/or home-based business. – Are engaged in entrepreneurial activities.
- Have the intention to come home to and pursue their livelihoods on Kaua`i after undergraduate or graduate school.
- Are engaged in community service and wish to advance the Kaua`i community after college.
- Have proven intellectual and academic achievements.
- Show integrity of character and an interest in helping others.
- Have the ability to lead and the motivation to use their talents to the fullest.
Applications as well as detailed instructions can be found at www.fmpr.net. Completed applications are due by March 30, 2009, and the FMPR Scholar for 2009 will be announced on May 1, 2009.
We are looking forward to learning about applicants’ aspirations and plans for the future; about how they plan to make an effective contribution to the world around them, and to Kaua`i in particular; and how they will blend their intellectual talents and concern for others to play an influential role in the betterment of society, wherever their careers might take them. When we award our first Fujita & Miura Public Relations Scholarship it will be our honor and privilege to wish that student well as they head off to college, and to demonstrate our great optimism for the future of our youth and our island.
By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations
We have a client for which budget cuts have severely restricted their ability to serve their consumers as usual. In response, they are fighting to find funding from other sources, to build up their budget to what it was, so that they can continue doing what they’ve been doing in years past. We sat and listened, perceiving a bit of scrambling and panic on the client’s part, and finally said, “Maybe you could evolve instead.”
Our client’s dilemma is all too common in today’s economy. Kaua`i has been through economic hardship every decade on average, each time a major hurricane hits. When this happens, we hunker down, assess the damage, rebuild, and then the momentum gets our island going again. Resilience is American and local but it does require evolution, the ability to morph a bit according to the situation. And we will have a lot of new situations in the coming months, not the least of which is a new president and a new mayor.
The question is how to evolve logically. Start with relating to your publics. Find out what you’re consumers want, what they like and don’t like about your products and services, and what will make it easier for them to patron you. You can gather this information for free, or virtually free, by talking to your customers informally and recording their answers, conducting focus groups and providing refreshments and discounts for your services, or sending out an email survey. Once you cull the responses, develop some actionable items, and most importantly, begin implementing the tactics. Finally, tell consumers what your new plans are. In other words, let them know how you and your company will evolve to serve them.
By Rahel Kramer
This month’s column is brought to you by Rahel Kramer, an exchange student from Hamburg, Germany. Rahel is pursuing her master’s degree and interning with Fujita & Miura Public Relations through the first quarter of 2007.
Living in Germany and coming from a different cultural background makes me realize how German versus Kaua`i businesses operate, are structured, and how they relate to their publics. One striking difference is the degree to which Kaua`i businesses care for the local community. Kaua`i can teach the world a lot about why this makes good PR and business sense.
There are probably a myriad of reasons why Kaua`i businesses are so community focused. This “caring” trend or tradition certainly has to do with Kauai’s unique location and rural character, and also with the host culture’s concept of aloha. For example, Hawai`i Community Foundation’s 2002 “Hawai`i Giving Study” showed that “Kaua`i led the other counties in terms of the percent of the households that contribute at 97 percent.” This is astounding.
Whatever the reasons for this high level of caring, Kaua`i businesses, which are composed of these charitable people, seem to be aware of their responsibility to do something good for the community, and they clearly have a high pretension to serve. They create jobs for local people (and now Kauai’s unemployment rate is at 2.5 percent, just under the state level of 2.6 percent according to First Hawaiian Bank economist, Dr. Leroy Laney). They sponsor events and give generously to charitable organizations, they purposely diversify the economy and strengthen industries that can flourish on Kaua`i, and they protect the environment and the beauty of the island. Kaua`i businesses are made of you, and you are exceptionally caring.
German companies have some unique challenges, like the growing international competition in the European Union. This is why many German businesses outsource their labor to different countries. This is also why the concept of “local” takes on a very different meaning. It gets lost. While German businesses need to make certain choices to survive in the European and global markets, it would bode well for them to care for the people living in their local and regional communities. This is where their bonds are and where their PR work can touch people directly. It’s also where they can make long lasting, positive impacts.
Businesses caring for the publics in their own backyard may not sound special to Kaua`i residents, but from a German perspective, I assure you it is. Is it worth it from a business sense? It seems so. 2006 it will mark the state’s and Kauai’s 10th straight year of growth. Sounds like good business, and good PR, to this visitor.
By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations
“August unemployment in Hawai`i fell two tenths to 2.8 percent, restoring the state to the lowest jobless rate of any state in the nation,” Howard Dicus reported recently for “Pacific Business News.” The article continued with some particulars about Kaua`i quoting Dr. Leroy Laney, the consulting economist for First Hawaiian Bank who spoke at the Kaua`i Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly dinner in September. “Traditionally, neighbor island jobless rates are higher than Oahu’s, but that gap is closed now for Kaua`i,” said Laney. “Everyone everywhere on Kaua`i mentions not being able to find employees,” he continued. “Kauai’s rate drop in unemployment has been even more dramatic than the state as a whole.”
That said, it’s critical for today’s employers to think out of the box and be progressive in both recruiting and keeping employees. One of the most effective PR moves businesses can make today in meeting their workforce’s needs is to support their employees who are parents. That might mean having flexible work hours that coincide with school schedules; allowing employees with small children to telecommute; permitting parents to bring their children to work and providing a child-friendly workplace; or subsidizing child care costs. All of these ideas won’t work for all workplaces or all employees, but even implementing one concept might enable a business to attract or keep an employee, which today, is worth a lot.
Here are a few real-life examples: a hotel that has an on-demand virtual concierge. The concierge is actually at home with her children and when prompted, goes to her computer and is available to hotel visitors when they need her. A radio station that has a play area set up at the station so employees can bring their children to work; the same station allows sales representatives to work from home. A utility that has a paid, merit-based internship program that allows employees’ children to spend their summers and holidays gaining job experience where their parents work.
If you do implement one of these ideas or a unique way to support employees who are parents, tell the world about it because a workplace that embraces its employees’ children is likely to be one that has a stable workforce and a loyal customer following. Include the benefit in your classified ads, company newsletters, news releases, and the like and reap the PR rewards.
NOTE: This column was inspired by the birth of Talen Koerte, who came into the world on Sept. 22, making Joy Miura Koerte a proud new mom. Congratulations to the Miura and Koerte families on their new addition!