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The Strategy Room

The Most Powerful PR Phrase, Public Apologies and Instagram Invades

By: Ashley Durkin-Rixey

Lunch Break: March 14

Quick PR Reads You Can Tackle Between Bites

Hi Lunch Breakers! Have you made your NCAA Tournament Bracket yet? Over the last few years, analysts have tracked the admissions bump teams get after the tournament, with the bump most felt for the “Cinderella” schools. Here’s hoping my West Virginia Mountaineers make it out of the Midwest region.

This week we bring you an examination of the power of “stepping out,” Instagram’s continued push into Snapchat territory, and an eyebrow-raising South by Southwest® panel on trolls (Not the Justin Timberlake song-singing kind) and more.

Feed the Trolls, Reap Benefits?

This week a panel at the 2017 South by Southwest® (SXSW) Festival challenged some conventional wisdom on how brands, organizations and public figures should approach “trolls,” i.e. those sneaky little angry or mischievous Internet accounts that can turn a Tweet into a typhoon of controversy. The answer may lie in engagement and not simply ignoring trolls. One of the panelists, Alicia Trost, communications manager and chief spokesperson for BART, said breaking away from their social media policy of ignoring trolls, and instead giving them the same direct communication they would to a media member has won them new respect from skeptical customers.

Have You Stepped Out Lately?

The Ringer brings us a curious analysis of what may be the post powerful phrase in celebrity and tabloid media, “stepping out.” To “step out” in tabloid speak, is to make an all-important (and likely orchestrated) public appearance after a major event such as a new album, a divorce, a baby or, in the case of the former First Couple Barack and Michelle Obama, after you leave the most important address in America. These photos are the life blood of glossy mags and online sites because of a desire to see stars in the wild and for a publicist to make sure they are seen at their best, perhaps toting the latest bag or shoe from a fashion house endorsement.

Sorry Still Seems to be the Hardest Word

Brands make mistakes. It’s almost unavoidable. But it’s how you recover that matters, according to Hubspot. The art of the public apology isn’t easy at all (see: Uber, who seems to be apologizing for something weekly lately), but a few brands have done it right. It’s not just the full-scale apologies taken out in newspapers or on Twitter, but the direct apologies to customers via email or other personal correspondence that can help a brand turn things around.

Take a Selfie, Get a Sticker

Instagram is stepping up its Stories feature by adding geolocated stickers, first made famous by their biggest rival, Snapchat. This could usher in yet another advertising option for the powerful platform and its influential users. Snapchat hasn’t had the easiest run with their stickers and filters since a 2016 story found the visual giant was copying artists’ work, without credit or compensation, for their own filters.




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