5 Aha! Uses for Thank You

5I 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…)

‘But’ Out, ‘And’ In

Laakea Eating CakeOne 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…)

Be a Host in Any Situation

OprahThe 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…)

Collaboration: ‘Downtown Abbey’ and wine

red_wine_glass_clip_art_13203We 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.

Speak for Yourself

THE PR FIX LOGO FINALThe 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…)

You’re On a Mission

THE-PR-FIX-LOGO-FINAL1-590x166The following is an excerpt from “The PR Fix for the Everyday Person” © 2013 by Jenny Fujita and Joy Koerte.

You plan meals for your family, build a resume to get a job, and make shopping lists to go to the store. Do the same for yourself and take the time to make a big picture plan for your life, a mission statement. (more…)

The Holidays Are A Time For Giving

donationIt’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:

  1. Are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees, preferably in communications or public relations.
  2. Are interested in owning or working for a small business and/or home-based business. – Are engaged in entrepreneurial activities.
  3. Have the intention to come home to and pursue their livelihoods on Kaua`i after undergraduate or graduate school.
  4. Are engaged in community service and wish to advance the Kaua`i community after college.
  5. Have proven intellectual and academic achievements.
  6. Show integrity of character and an interest in helping others.
  7. 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 Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

A few weeks ago, we traveled to O`ahu with a friend and client who is also a KCC professor. We ate at Side Street Inn and as soon as the waitress approached, our client looked at her nametag and addressed her by name. After Kara took our order, our client explained, “You know, I always ask 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 in and should be recognized for making the business work, from the dishwasher to the chef.

That lesson really struck us, partially because we could relate to it so well. In the eight years that we’ve been in business, we’ve come to know how important it is to have a good relationship with our clients’ administrative assistants. After all, they control the schedules, mail, email, phones, and much more, even critical decisions. Often, they are the face of the company in the community.

The other reason we liked this lesson from a public relations perspective is that it acknowledges that every business has many publics, within and outside the company, and that each of those groups are comprised of many individuals. All of those individuals are significant to the success of the business. So next time you embark on a communications campaign, pull everyone into the loop from the janitor to the boss.

And never underestimate the importance of all the other not-so-obvious publics as your potential ambassadors, from the FedEx and UPS folks to the AC repairperson, the solar contractor, the business supply order rep, etc. Your interactions with all of them are a reflection of your company’s image and level of service. If those interactions are negative or even forgettable, that will be the impression these publics have of your company. Likewise, if those interactions are positive and special, so will be your company’s image, which will trickle down to repeat sales, referrals, and profits.


By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

Businesses are working harder and more creatively than ever for their piece of the profit pie. And rightly so, as we are all living in a global economy where almost anyone in the world can become our competitor. Consumers are shopping around for the best quality and service they can find, even if it means buying online. Thus, companies are now thinking outside the box, maximizing their assets, and at the same time providing unique added-value to their customers.

Some examples include a high-end retailer acquiring museum-quality pieces and displaying them to attract increased traffic and longer visits. Or, a store that gives children free balloons to help parents maintain a pleasant shopping experience. Or, a restaurant that showcases an edible garden and uses its harvests in its gourmet selections, offers public tours, and is available to rent for special events.

This value-added, experiential approach to boost sales takes many cues from public relations in terms of considering and addressing your target publics’ needs, interests, and overall experience with your company, above and beyond the product or service they seek. Kaua`i businesses can make note of this and apply them to their own operations. Think big, add your Kaua`i twist, and “raise the sand bar” to give your competitors from afar a run for their money.


By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

We once had a potential client who, when we informed him how critical relationship-building and being a part of the community on Kaua`i was, told us, “I’m not a joiner. I work alone.“ And alone he did work. Not with us, and not on Kaua`i. Kaua`i is a small business community. We are collaborative, definitely generous with our charitable time and money, and we thrive on social connections.

If you’re new to business on Kaua`i or if your relationships need strengthening, consider joining some of Kauai’s membership organizations. Choose the organizations that serve your industry and that will provide you value; enable you to form relationships with potential allies; help your business fulfill its community service vision and maximize your and your employees’ good intentions; and provide opportunities for your business to serve and shine.

There are many solid Kaua`i organizations. A good listing of them is available at http://kauainetwork.org/directory. Some of the organizations we repeatedly recommend that our clients join include the Kaua`i Chamber of Commerce, Contractors Association of Kaua`i, Kaua`i Visitors Bureau, Kaua`i County Farm Bureau, Kaua`i Planning and Action Alliance, Kaua`i Economic Development Board, The Nature Conservancy and other environmental stewardship groups, regional business associations (e.g., Lihu`e Business Association), service organizations (Rotary, etc.), and many others.

Once you join, participate. Get involved with the organizations’ activities and be a contributing member. Build relationships and make friends. Join ’em! That’s Kaua`i-style.


By Jan TenBruggencate of Island Strategy LLC
This month’s column is brought to you by Jan TenBruggencate of Island Strategy LLC, an associate of Fujita & Miura Public Relations, which provides business and environmental strategies and planning.

An environmental approach to business increasingly serves as a selling point, as customers and business associates are more sensitive to green issues, and kids are coming into the workforce from colleges where deep recycling, local supply purchasing, organic food and alternative energy are the rule.

Someone who hasn’t kept up may never know about clients lost because they found another firm’s environmental approach to business preferable, or were turned off by an agency’s obvious lack of commitment to conservation. Whether the owner of a business is environmentally conscious or not, often the employees are (who set up your office’s recycling bins?) and the clients are, too.

A number of techniques and terms have entered the language recently regarding refocusing a company onto a conservation path. Most folks are familiar with the environmental assessment and environmental impact statement, which generally are required by government agencies. But many firms do environmental assessments of various kinds voluntarily, using systems that have names like sustainability accounting, ecological economics, carbon footprinting, and ecological footprinting.

Such assessments can be simple or complex, can take a generalized approach or one tailored to the firm under study, and can end up with anything from mere greenwashing to serious top-to-bottom reshaping of a firm’s relationship with the environment. Greenwashing is a “where’s the beef” kind of environmentalism — claiming a conservation ethic without actually having one.

Environmental consultants can assist in determining where an organization stands with respect to conservation. Their approaches will often involve a wide-ranging review of the current situation, followed by an assessment of what systems and technologies are available to improve things, and finally the creation of a guide for moving a company in a greener direction.

There is no venture—service or manufacturing, a big company or small—that can’t benefit from green consulting. It can reduce your company’s impact on the planet, improve the way in which potential clients and employees view you, and even save money. One example: In a time of amazingly high energy costs—whether at the power meter or the gas pump—a thorough review and refocusing of a firm’s energy situation can cut costs as it also cuts carbon emissions.

In many ways management of your environmental consequences is often simply good business, and it’s definitely good PR.

Jan TenBruggencate, whose firm Island Strategy LLC provides business and environmental planning services, is as an award-winning journalist and author. His work has received awards from the Hawai`i chapter of the American Planning Association, Hawaiian Academy of Science, Society of Professional Journalists, Hawai`i Audubon Society, Hawai`i Book Publishers Association, and the Conservation Council for Hawai`i. His geology book, “Hawai`i, Land of Volcanoes” has been approved as to content for sale at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Jaggar Museum at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. His science blog, raisingislands.com, covers environmental issues and new scientific research statewide. TenBruggencate trains in Shotokan karate and outrigger canoe paddling, and has served as a watch captain aboard the Hawaiian voyaging canoe, Hokule`a. For more information about Island Strategy, contact Jan TenBruggencate at (808) 639-9900 or email him at hawaiiwriter@gmail.com.


By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

These days, it seems like everyone wants to know what’s popular. Not only do search engines list the most popular search terms, but retail outlets list their bestsellers, news websites list their most emailed articles, and blog sites list their most viewed strings. Popularity has become easier to track, and the resulting information easier to use in this era of the world wide web. But all businesses, even if they don’t have an online presence, can make popularity work for them.

Think about your company. Why are people seeking you out? If you look at your records, whether in the form of website statistics or sales, you should be able to determine what’s popular with your customers. You may even figure out the most popular days and/or times that your customers visit you. Developing “bestseller” lists like Amazon.com or Sephora.com to help customers purchase gifts or even creating special sales around popular products are just a couple of ways to use what’s popular to your PR advantage. But remember that the key to using popularity indicators is to communicate them well. Promote them on your website, on-location, in advertising, and in-person through your sales associates.


By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

Over the years, there have been several invaluable resources that we’ve turned to again and again to help us create PR plans for our clients, and to assist us with our own business. We wanted to share those with you because we believe they’ll help you, too. They are:

1) Hawaiian Dictionary by Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert Whether you’re creating a Hawaiian program name or need to translate a Hawaiian word or concept, this is the definitive guide.

2) Place Names of Hawai`i by Mary Kawena Pukui
A good way to honor our host culture (Hawaiian) is by using the proper Hawaiian diacriticals in place names. If you need to hear proper pronunciations, listen to KONG Radio’s Ron Wiley who makes a point to get them right. For example, it’s not Poipu, it’s Po`ipu. You need the `okina or glottal stop in there to say it correctly. To make things easier when you’re creating written pieces on your computer, open a new Word document and write all the most common Hawaiian words you use with the `okinas in the right places, and then add those words to your dictionary. That way, you don’t have to stop every time to add the `okina And please note, an `okina slants from left to right and a symbol similar to a proper `okina is found on most keyboards on the top left. It is not an apostrophe.

3) The Kaua`i General Plan
Read this document and have your managers read it, too to learn about the Vision for Kaua`i 2020 and the resulting themes from Caring for Land, Water, and Culture to Developing Jobs and Businesses; Preserving Kauai’s Rural Character; Enhancing Towns and Communities and Providing for Growth; Building Public Facilities and Services; Improving Housing, Parks, and Schools; and Implementation. The prelude to The Kaua`i General Plan explains, “The themes emerged from public discussion and development of the 2020 vision statement.” It is critical that businesses small and large understand how the local community collaboratively visualizes Kauai’s future so that we can all align with that vision and make it happen. Read the Kaua`i General Plan for free here.

4) The Kaua`i County website
Go to www.kauai.gov and you’ll find almost everything you need to know about what’s going on in Kaua`i County from events to job opportunities, County Council and commission agendas and minutes, e-services, licensing and permitting guidelines, emergency information, and much more. The website has been lauded as one of the best government websites in the state so take advantage of this resource.

5) The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism describes itself as being “Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages.” Access the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism for a plethora of information.

6) FMPR.net
And of course, for seven year’s worth of free PR tips, visit our PR Tips section of our website. New public relations tips are posted monthly so visit often for information that will benefit your business. We have also added links to Google as well as Amazon.com to enhance your web experience and connect you to items that are relevant to topics on our website.


By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

Pssst. Have you heard the secret? Probably. You and about a million others who have purchased “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne making it number one on “The New York Times” bestseller list for 10 weeks. The secret in “The Secret” is kind of like the secrets we tell on Kaua`i that loop their way around the coconut wireless until they come back to us full circle, in pretty much the same way as we told them originally. In other words, most secrets, including “The Secret,” are anything but. And there lies the brilliance of it.

The title, “The Secret,” denotes something exclusive, which makes all those who have read it or know about it feel special in some way. However, the beauty of the concept is that it achieves exclusivity without leaving anyone out. After all, “The Secret” is hardly a secret. According to “USA Today,” in one year “The Secret” DVD has sold 1.1 million copies and there are now 1.2 million copies of the book in print. In the same article, the book’s publisher, Cynthia Black said, “People are finding out about it from other people.” So the PR lesson is, if there’s something you want everyone to know, call it a secret or at least make it seem special, but in an inclusive way.

There’s a PR story of a CEO who wanted his employees to know something and after failing with several communications efforts, he sent out a “confidential” fax to each department. As one would expect, the news spread through the company like wildfire. You don’t have to be quite that manipulative in your company, but if there’s news to tell, tell it in a way that makes your public feel like they’re the recipients of a gift. Take your time to think about the method and tone of your delivery and you’ll surely attract some good PR.


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.

Since it was founded in 2005, YouTube has become the most popular free video sharing website on the world wide web. So popular that Google bought it in Oct. 2006 for $1.65 billion. So popular that over 100 million videos are airing now with up to 70,000 more each day. So popular that it has been noted as “Time” magazine’s “Invention of the Year 2006.”

YouTube has made video sharing easy. Users can upload, view, and share video clips without downloading any software or registering. This means that anyone can make and distribute their own videos or movies. Plus, users can contribute actively by rating the videos, which means YouTube offers a two-way method of communication.

The concept of authenticity seems to be the key of success for YouTube. Also, people want to produce their own media products, as with blogs and podcasts. Additionally, people have become used to deciding how and when they consume, and YouTube allows them this freedom. YouTube is successful for all of these reasons, because it serves our new consumer culture.

With the commercialization of YouTube and other video sharing sites, the concept of free video sharing is something to consider if you’re looking for a new way to communicate with your publics. If you haven’t already, go to www.youtube.com to check it out. Try a search for the kind of company you work for and see how others in your industry are using free video sharing. For example, when you type “real estate” in the search box, up come home tours (among other things). If you type in “retail” you get a range of items from presentations about innovative retail concepts and window dressing to tours of cities’ retail districts. Think of all the ways you could utilize free video sharing as a communications and marketing tool.


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!