Welcome to the Ampersand Blog

The peeps at Kel & Partners have a lot to say. After all we are public relations and social media zealots who thrive on sharing interesting news and great stories with the public. The Ampersand Blog is really the voice of our Peeps – the kick-ass team of people that work at K&P. Whether it’s a story about the way PR works NOW, the social media universe, our families, beloved pets or quirky travel experiences, you’ll find it all right here. You may laugh, you may cry, but the best part is you’ll leave feeling “wicked smaht” as we like to say here in Boston.

Archive for the ‘Brand management’ Category

  • Facebook

    Jayne Seward | Friday, January 24, 2014 1 Comment

    Top PR Blunder Of 2013: Lululemon’s Founder Strikes Foot-In-Mouth Pose

    While perusing through Business Insider’s end-of-the-year stories, one specific headline caught my attention: Max Nisen’s “The 5 Biggest PR Blunders Of 2013”.  From Chick-fil-A’s inauthenticity to Carnival hiding at the top, Nisen hit the nail on the head with his list. But the one blunder that really struck a cord with me was his #2 choice: ‘Lululemon: Shifting the blame’. As a PR professional and Lululemon customer, this was one communication crisis from 2013 that is hard to forget.

    Lululemon founder and chairman Chip Wilson ignited a social media frenzy last November after telling Bloomberg TV that “quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work,” in reference to criticisms that Lululemon’s pants were too sheer. Numerous media outlets picked up the story, and Twitter erupted with responses to Wilson’s “fat-shaming” comments.

    Although I think we can all agree that his statement was offensive, what made the whole situation worse happened when he released an ‘apology’ for his actions on YouTube that has since been deleted from the company’s YouTube page. Many believed the apology was insincere, and ABC News noted, “It seems like he [was] saying I’m sorry I got caught, but I’m not sorry I said it.”

    In many ways, how Wilson handled the situation showed us how not to handle a PR crisis situation. Here are a few things we can take away from this situation as we begin a new year in crisis communications:

    • Think Before Speaking – All company spokespeople should think carefully before they speak – especially in our media-happy world where anything can be shared by anyone.
    • Tell The Truth – Always be honest and speak the truth to your customers and to the public. Own up to mistakes if you’ve made them, and cite specific actions you’re going to take to remedy them. Being truthful and authentic can go a long way.
    • Tell It Fast – Wilson waited four days before issuing an apology. Responding immediately could have lessened the blow in this instance, and it’s critical to act quickly when in a crisis situation.

    Business Insider also summed up the overarching PR lesson that can be learned from this quite well: “Don’t blame customers for your mistakes, and know when to shut up!”

    Do you think Chip Wilson has made the situation better or worse by attempting to apologize for the comments he made on television?

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Wednesday, August 28, 2013 No Comments »

    Heyo! Facebook announces major changes to how contests can run on YOUR Facebook page

    Our social media Peeps could barely sleep last night. We know you’re asking “why?” In the “new changes announced every minute” world of social media, it takes a lot to get us THIS excited. But this is pretty huge!

    Late last night, Heyo broke some EPIC news: Facebook announced a loosing of restrictions on how contests can be administered on the site.  We’d like to take a moment to give solid props to Heyo on this one. When  we received the late-night email blast, we checked our fav in-the-know media sites (Mashable, TechCrunch, Business Insider) and couldn’t find the news anywhere else.  But a quick check of Facebook’s Page Guidelines confirms the news, and our world will never be the same.

    So, what’s changed, and what’s the big deal?

    Historically, in order to host a contest on Facebook, page managers were required to utilize a third-party platform. With a bevvy of affordable and easy-to-use tools out there, this one wasn’t hard to manage (unless you weren’t familiar with the rules and were penalized for hosting a contest without this important step – yikes!). By opening up this restriction, Facebook is enabling the less “socially savvy” business owners to engage with their fans in a new and exciting way on Facebook, and eliminating the need for well-designed tabs to host a cool giveaway.

    The biggest change is that no longer are page managers’ hands tied in using “Facebook functionality” as a method of contest entry. Want people to “like” a post to enter to win? Now you can! Want people to comment with feedback in order to enter your giveaway? Do it to it! And want to announce your winner on Facebook so all of your fans can see that you do in fact choose winners? THE FACEBOOK WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER!

    While you cannot use “timeline activities” for contest entry (such as  ”share this post to enter”), Facebook has given page admins a great new tool in providing meaningful, engaging content to your fans.

    We’ve already got our wheels turning on how we’ll roll out contests for clients with these new changes in place. What do the changes mean to you?

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  • Facebook

    kandpeeps | Friday, June 1, 2012 3 Comments

    Can you imagine a world without Facebook?

    My eyes were glued to the TV as I watched Mark Zuckerberg ring the NASDAQ opening bell and expose his company to further public scrutiny. For many looking to make a quick buck off of the IPO, Facebook has thus far looked like a dud. With stocks plummeting, critics of Facebook are proclaiming “I told you so” and quickly writing off this American success story. I can’t wait to tell the speculators “I told you so.”

    See, I’m a child of the social generation. I’m not a financial advisor, nor am I an expert on everything tech. However, when Google went public in 2004, I could have told you it would be a great investment. When Apple was on the brink of collapse, I could have mentioned that they had the capability of really kicking butt. And with Facebook going public now, I’m telling you that Facebook will be around for the next 50 years.

    The Criticism

    The main critique of Facebook is that it’s just a social networking platform that won’t be able to deliver real value. It’s an understandable stance. After GM ended its agreement with Facebook for paid ads, the very prospect of Facebook ads being worthwhile for businesses came into question. If a large company can’t profit off of its advertisements, how can a small business?

    With 85% of Facebook’s revenues coming from advertisements, weakness in the system is undoubtedly a bit scary.  The roughly 1 billion unique users inhabiting the Facebook-world are still hard to monetize.

    With news of Facebook’s overvaluation, investors are reasonably skeptical towards Facebook’s exact worth. But should they bet against the 800-pound gorilla?

    The Future (my fearless forecast)

    If we take a moment to remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” then we appreciate that Facebook is still gaining its legs. Facebook has already shifted the world.

    After all, it was Facebook that piqued my interest in Public Relations and later Social Media. It was Facebook that filled my college days with event invitations to parties. It was Facebook that started revolutions and unified people against tyrannical governments. When a government completely forbids their populace from using a social networking site, there is definitely something special.

    It is Facebook that is working to determine presidential elections. It is Facebook that connects family members worldwide. It is Facebook that allows users to actively participate in conversations around the World Wide Web. It is Facebook that will continue to change the social landscape for years to come. And it is Facebook that does not yet know its own potential.

    And how will Facebook do it?

    The potential of f-commerce (Facebook Commerce) to track data and optimize it for individual users is mind-blowing. Businesses will be able to reach ~1B users and sell merchandise directly through Facebook. Slowly, users are accepting that Facebook caters advertisements to interest and search history. Once Facebook finds a way to remove the taboo of being a social media site and harnesses its mobile potential, it will explode financially.

    With all the comparisons to Myspace’s gigantic fall from grace, there is one big reason that Facebook won’t fail. It has time.

    Facebook has what all businesses seek: a user base that is incredibly loyal. As much as people dislike the changes that Facebook makes to its platform, they always stay. The prospect of a gigantic user-base and technological advancements prepare Facebook for future progress.

    This preparation for the future will work well as Facebook emerges as much more than a website. Think once again of the two tech companies that come to mind first, Apple and Google. Apple is now much more than a computer company (iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac) and Google is much more than a search engine (Android operating system, Google+, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Glasses).

    Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, told investors that ‘the one company closest to being like Apple is Facebook. And just today, Apple announced a partnership to build Facebook into their iOS 6 software.

    So why are we betting against Facebook?

    If you are a business owner, you probably would love the ability to do these things at a fraction of the cost

    • Cater ads by interest and location
    • Sell items to interested parties
    • Create promotions
    • Find new customers
    • Interact with happy and disgruntled users
    • Send messages to followers

    However, Facebook does not just help businesses; it also educates the user on new products and allows for feedback that traditional media do not allow. After all, we trust our peers much more than we trust advertisements.

    In the end

    I’m putting my eggs in the Facebook basket. I’m no financial advisor, but I do see the potential of Facebook to continue to drastically change the worldwide business environment. Does this mean that Facebook will transfer into immediate justification of the $38.00 per share? Absolutely not, but I’ll leave it at this: I’m not betting against the social giant.

    It may be a hunch, but can you see a world without Facebook?

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Monday, December 12, 2011 6 Comments

    Klout, schmout

    In the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of negative backlash directed at Klout, based on an algorithm change that caused a lot of people’s scores to plummet. As for me, I’ve been a skeptic since I got my first Klout score. Now, I’m no Ashton Kutcher (gratefully) but I’ve been on Twitter for nearly 4 years and consider myself something of a Twitterholic. Imagine my surprise when I got my Klout score -– a meager 30- – and learned that I’m considered “influential” about…real estate?

    Real estate? A happy renter that’s never even been to an open-house, I can’t imagine in what universe I’d be considered knowledgeable on the subject, let alone influential. (Editorial side note – a recent check of my Klout score now has me influential about PR, family and Massachusetts…perhaps thanks to those recent algorithm changes? More info in this article from Adweek: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/klout-faces-foes-136721)

    As our collective consciousness has evolved past the “my follower/friend count defines my SM self worth” stage of evolution (see posts from Ginny Pitcher and Chris Brogan for more on that), I think we all look for some metrics that will define our status as “rock star.” (I’ve always been a fan of HubSpot’s continuously evolving Twitter Grader –- perhaps because it gives me an A+?) Tools like Klout can either be validation, or useful for those starting out to figure out if they’re “doing it right.” I’m not so sure that Klout is an effective tool for either of those situations.

    A recent post by Hollis Tibbetts on SocialMediaToday has a nice little case study on “gaming” Klout that I think is a pretty clear illustration of what (IMO) is wrong with the service: http://socialmediatoday.com/softwarehollis/385964/exposed-klout-scores-still-garbage-after-all-these-days.

    Maybe my 30 isn’t so bad? Some interesting insights in this piece: “Why I deleted my Klout profile,” (check out the insights under #6), http://socialmediatoday.com/pammoore/389381/why-i-deleted-my-klout-profile

    With the advent of +Ks, I think there’s a chance that Klout’s “influencer” metrics may be improved by some user-generated control. While the site is still technically in beta, I’ll look to see continued improvement that makes what they’re measuring more meaningful. I wonder if by the time they get there, though, anyone will consider it so.

    What’s your Klout score? Are you a fan of the service?

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  • Facebook

    Jenna Finn | Tuesday, August 30, 2011 3 Comments

    And she’s off…

    I am not the kind of person that sits back and waits for opportunities to come to her. I go out and get them… full force. When I started my first job out of college (a mere three months ago), I was ready to kick ass. I had experience from past internships and knowledge from previous classes. I was willing to do whatever I needed to do and I was not about to wait around. Since I’m “proactive by nature”, I’m sharing my list of tools that a proactive PR girl cannot live without:

    The Five Things an Entry Level PR Girl Cannot Live Without

    1.  Cision- The Bible of media contacts. Whenever I need to stalk someone to find their email address or create a list of all the BLANK beat reporters in the BLANK area, Cision is my go-to. It cuts my research time down significantly and has my favorite, handy export feature.
    2. HARO/ProfNet- Who’s writing what. I love looking at all the different stories that people are writing and being able to connect clients with hits. Although some stories are weird (why does someone need figurine dragons for a giveaway?), there are always some great fits, which make our job so much easier.
    3. Twitter- I am MissJRF and I am a Twitter-holic. I monitor Twitter for story ideas, relevant news, and to see what is going on in the world. Twitter lets me know what the people I am interested in are doing. Not only is it a source of entertainment but also, research has shown that Twitter is now becoming a front-runner in the quickest dissemination of news.
    4. Google Alerts- What is being written. Alerts are a great way to see what is being written about a topic that you are interested in. Set up these babies, sit back, and wait for alerts to come in. It is a much easier way to “search” for the news you are looking for.
    5. Wi-Fi- Always connected. In today’s super high-tech, connected world, a place without Wi-Fi is a PR girl’s worst nightmare. Any place where I cannot get online to check my emails or research a story might also be known as hell. And I can’t check Twitter… just kill me now.

    What else do you think is a PR must have?

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  • Facebook

    Deirdre Carey | Friday, April 15, 2011 5 Comments

    Pink Toes – Oh No!

    Have you seen the new J. Crew ad called “Saturday with Jenna?” OMG – it is causing quite a stir! The ad was featured recently on the Today Show, and has taken center stage on talk shows, in newspaper headlines & blog posts.

    The “controversial” ad, which was emailed to customers, shows one of J. Crew’s top creative directors, Jenna Lyons, painting her young, toe-headed son Beckett’s tootsies hot pink.  Clearly mom and son appear to be giggling and having some fun!

    The caption below the picture reads, “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”

    So why does the pink polish have some many parents & doctors seeing red?

    “This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a FoxNews.com Health column about the ad.

    Media Research Center’s Erin Brown agreed, calling the ad “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.”

    “Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna’s indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future,” Brown wrote in an opinion piece Friday. “J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.”

    Really people? Really?

    Personally, I find it a bit comical that people are in such an uproar about this.  But we’re all entitled to our own opinions, right??

    But, I have to say, I’m with J. Lo and Gwen Stefani on this one – “it’s only paint, people!”  Let kids explore, be creative, and express themselves!  Last week I bought my 13 year old son a pink Abercrombie shirt to match a pair of very stylish plaid shorts, and didn’t give it a second thought.  You know what I think? BIG DEAL!

    So what do you think? Do you feel this ad promotes gender identity confusion in our kids?  What will become of poor pretty-in-pink-toed Beckett?

    Would love to hear your thoughts!

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