Morrissey & Company Intern Emily Wienberg featured on Ragan’s PR Daily

For those that missed it, you can read our intern Emily Wienberg’s Ragan’s PR Daily blog on “Top 5 tips for PR interns—from an intern” here.

An excerpt:

“Eat lunch with your co-workers. 
It’s so simple, but many interns may not realize how important it is to connect with co-workers on a casual level. Taking a half-hour break during the day is necessary, so why not spend it with people who can offer advice and share stories about the industry you’re interested in?”

Tweet us your advice for interns!

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Leveraging Sustainability through Communications

I was traveling this week and noticed a new bus at Boston’s Logan airport branded with Enterprise, National, and a few other car rental companies touting the slogan “Working together for the environment.” I also noticed the big yellow Hertz bus, conspicuously independent and, one had to think, seeming like a blight to the environment, as Hertz ‘s one bus gave off emissions equal to that of the bus operating on behalf of a number of companies.

Communications, reputationThe buses were a good reminder that every interaction is an opportunity for an organization to communicate what it stands for. The bus branded just “Hertz” communicates only the company’s name and whatever it is you might associate with Hertz. The jointly-branded bus with the environmental slogan communicates that these companies are committed to sustainability and reducing their environmental impact (not to mention that the shared service and equipment benefits their bottom line).

In an age when consumers are increasingly interested in engaging with companies who are doing good – be it through their community involvement, environmental efforts or charitable giving – it left me wondering: What is Hertz doing around sustainability?

I was surprised to find, quite a bit. A link at the bottom of their homepage takes you to the Hertz Living Journey – a microsite devoted to the company’s sustainability efforts. Hertz talks about its sustainability efforts around smart mobility (fuel-efficient vehicles that use clean, low-emissions technology), the environment (renewable energy, operations, construction & design and resource use), their community (philanthropy), and their corporate commitment (“Our goal is to integrate sustainability throughout our business, partnerships and employee programs”).

The company tracks and makes visible its impact, too – such as 50,000 IT units recycled since 2005, more than 80% of car wash water recycled, 645,000 gallons of used oil recycled in 2010, and annual paper use reduced by 56% since 2006. You can download their summary report if you want to read more.

I don’t rent cars often, but when I do, I usually shop by price. However, that’s not the case with everything I buy (which one of my colleagues says is “a lot”), and seeing that jointly-branded bus touting the environmental message at Logan made me rethink that strategy. If I didn’t take the time to look into Hertz’s commitment further, how would I have known about their efforts? I might have crossed them off my list as a company I want to support.

This is a good reminder that, while your organization may be doing good, others won’t know about it unless it’s communicated. When Hertz’s competitors started conveying their environmental commitment on the shuttle buses, Hertz should have thought about how it could convey its own commitment, and also how that communication shift by competitors could negatively impact the company.

Hertz has the opportunity to increase communication around its sustainability efforts and build goodwill among consumers. For starters, the company could feature the Hertz Living Journey prominently on its homepage, start a blog about the company’s sustainability efforts, add a decal to the side of the Hertz bus, or better yet, partner with other car rental companies/airport services to consolidate efforts and decrease the number of buses giving off emissions. Doing good but not communicating it is a missed opportunity.

*For Akhil’s full list of tips for early stage companies, see related press release.

Stay tuned for part 2, when Akhil talks about MC’s happy hour party at SXSW (hosted by Bing and Mass Challenge sponsor Microsoft) and concludes with a significant piece of public relations advice for entrepreneurs.

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Instagram without the filter: a growing community on and offline

Emily Wienberg is currently Morrissey & Company’s PR intern. She is a senior studying public relations at Boston University.

As an Android mobile device user, I haven’t had the pleasure of personally using Instagram (yet) but have enjoyed following the company and its staggering growth through other users and its activity on social media. At the beginning of March, Instagram hit 25 million users while only employing nine team members, so that theoretically, each employee manages 2.8 million users. To give you some perspective, 2.8 million people live in Jamaica. For a start-up that hasn’t even celebrated its second birthday, that’s impressive. It’s worth noting that Pinterest, another fast growing start-up focusing on visuals, boasts almost 11 million users, and only has 21 employees on the team.

However, since early March, Instagram has hired three more employees and has most likely collected a few more million users. Of those three employees, two are cited as joining the Community department at Instagram. A few years ago, a community manager or associate position was a rarity in business, but today these jobs are much more popular and require a certain type of person, according to a description by BostonInno. Especially for start-ups, it can pay to have someone that loves your company to convince other people to love it too. Instagram’s early investment in hiring people to build community and to keep the social aspect a priority speaks volumes about the kind of company Instagram is.

And that’s just it. That’s why Instagram is succeeding and growing – they get what it means to build and foster a community. Here are some communities that have spawned from the photo sharing application:

  • In October 2011, the East Gallery at Brick Lane in London hosted the first ever exhibit of Instagram photos in the UK. The event was organized by London Instagrammers, a community of people who work to connect users in real life, and have communities all over the world.
  • Tiffany & Co. asked its community to use Instagram to take pictures that exemplified love and use the hashtag “trueloveinpictures” and then created a microsite to display users’ photos.
  • Musician Jason Mraz asked fans to snap pictures using Instagram that described visually his new song “I Won’t Give Up.” Mraz then chose 25 of his favorites and put them on display at the Animazing Gallery in New York City.

Photo by sarzola1 for Jason Mraz's Instagram contest

  • Another high-end brand, Burberry was one of the first brands to jump on the Instagram bandwagon. It posts behind-the-scene pictures of models at photo shoots, historic moments in the company’s history, shots from fashion events, and images of London.

Burberry model Cara Delevingne on set

These are just a few of the many ways people are using Instagram to connect, share, and build community. And take it from Instagram’s new community team member Dan Toffey who gets the importance of building a community to see a product succeed: “Seeing intimate glimpses of everyday life through the lens of someone not just on the other side of town, but on the other side of the world, is really exciting.”

Instagram is connecting people around the globe through photos that are constantly being shared on social networks. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Instagram to Android devices, and am looking forward to joining an already established and successful online community.

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Posted in Industry & Current Events | Tagged Amazon, Apologizing, Apple, Communication, crisis communications, Customer Service, Foxconn, Pinterest, reputation, This American Life | Leave a comment

Why Digital-Only Newspapers Make Sense (but not for me)

Every once in a while I ponder cancelling my long running home delivery subscription to The Boston Globe, the “newspaper of record” in Massachusetts — and New England for that matter — and just go digital.  Time to read it is so limited weekday mornings when getting out the door to sit in traffic on Route 93 and ultimately wind my way to 6 Edgerly Place, Boston trumps a leisurely cup of java and a flip through newspaper.

But I just can’t bring myself to do it.  At least not yet.

Today’s 24-hour news cycle and access to technology makes a very strong case for digital-only newspapers.

Among public relations professionals, for example, addiction to our smartphones, tablets, laptops and e-readers means there’s little news (at least business and breaking news) many of us aren’t aware of as it’s reported throughout the day.

If you’re in PR, chances are the last thing you do before hitting the sack is to check your smartphone’s news apps before setting the alarm on that very same device.

And earlier in the evening, following dinner, you watch TV with your tablet or e-reader or notebook PC on your lap and at every opportunity (like during commercials or whenever your significant other leaves the room) you check news sites, as well as Facebook, probably Twitter and always email.

What happens in the world while we’re sleeping isn’t going to make it into the print edition of a morning newspaper anyway. But it will be there on your mobile device. So why bother with a home delivery newspaper subscription?

The numbers don’t lie.  According to Pew Research Center, many more of us are getting our news fix on mobile devices and as a result, in the next few months we’ll see another wave of newspapers moving to a digital subscription model.

Pew also says we’re less discriminating about which mobile device we’re getting our news from –almost like whichever device happens to be nearby will do:  “people who go mobile are getting news on all their devices. … They also appear to be getting it more often… .”

  • 34 percent of desktop/laptop news consumers also get news on a smartphone
  • 27 percent of smartphone news consumers also get news on a tablet
  • 17 percent of desktop/laptop news consumers also get news on a tablet
  • 5 percent get news on all three

As for me, I’ll eventually need to be weaned away from my Boston Globe home delivery subscription.  I’ve thought about the Thursday – Sunday package the Globe offers, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

And, of course, there’s the Sunday-only option. Unfortunately, it appears that’s where all of us die-hard print news junkies may be headed. About 15 newspapers per year are shutting down their presses and some newspaper industry executives are saying that by 2017, many newspapers will be dropping a newspaper on our door steps only on Sunday — when most print ad revenue is accounted for.

Personally, I can’t — I won’t — envision a day without my Sunday newspaper.   Until then, for me, it’s home delivery 365.  Holding out as long as they let me.

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