A New Age of Women-Led Entrepreneurship and Innovation (One Thin Mint at a Time)

This year's Google "doodle" honoring International Women's Day

Some of you may have noticed the colorful Google doodle on your screens last Thursday, in honor of International Women’s Day.   Google’s acknowledgement rightly paid tribute to the day and what it represented: celebrating the achievements of women worldwide.  And yes, social media played a significant role in elevating the day’s presence.  In a press release, Glenda Stone, the founder of the “internationalwomensday.com,” pointed to the success of the website, which rallied over 10,000 followers to share videos and news about celebratory activities around the world.

According to Stone: “Offline large scale women’s rallies have become even larger through the use of social media.  It would be hard to find any country that did not celebrate the news in some way.”

In honor of the recent celebration, I’d like to call to attention women who are doing exceptional work in the business and entrepreneurial fields.

Anna Maria Chávez at the Launch of ToGetHerThere (January 31, 2012 - Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images North America)

The first is Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez.  For those of you wondering what your favorite cookies have to do with women business leaders: “More than two thirds of U.S. Congress women and an incredible 80% of women business owners were Girl Scouts.”  And, according to Forbes today: “Selling cookies teaches girls goal-setting, decision-making, people skills, and business ethics.”

Recently, Chávez set a goal to close the leadership gap between men and women – within one generation.  To further her goal, Girl Scouts launched a multi-year campaign, ToGetHerThere.  Thanks to strong communications (a clear call to action website and robust social media tactics including a dedicated YouTube channel), the campaign is off to a strong start.

Yes, we are entering into a new age of women leadership, one that will feature more entrepreneurship initiatives by women.   Boston is no exception.  In November, The Boston Globe featured a group of local female CEOs in Kathleen Pierce’s “The (new) old girls’ network.”  The group, known as the “SheEOs”, is helping dissolve Boston’s reputation for being an “old boys” town, meeting regularly to brainstorm, troubleshoot and network.

While men cannot join the SheEOs, Bettina Hein, SheEO member and founder of video marketing company Pixability, told the Globe: “We are not trying to put any distance between us and the male entrepreneurs. We want to make the gender issue go away. It’s not supposed to be special that women are doing this. It’s supposed to be completely normal.’’

Afghanistan's first women-only cyber cafe is a place for women to connect & communicate. Read more: http://on.mash.to/y9tvam. Photo courtesy of mashable.com

Indeed.  Hats off to the vision and leadership of business leaders such as Chávez and the women behind SheEO.  They are helping close the leadership gap, but it’s a process.  A clear voice and communications plan is critical for women looking to quite literally make themselves, and their business plans, heard.

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A Case of Ready Fire Aim at SXSW?

I posted on Facebook earlier today that, “As the expression goes, this seems wrong on so many levels,” in a reference to the controversy surrounding Homeless Hotspots at the South by Southwest tech fest in Austin, Texas.  There appears to be no one out there with a middle-of-the- road opinion about an ad agency’s decision to hire members of Austin’s homeless community as walking and talking wi-fi hotspots.

The campaign by BBH Labs, a NYC-based agency, was strongly supported by a few of my friends on Facebook and was found to be quite obscene by others.  It seems to be just about the same everywhere.  Bloggers and journalists defending it.  Bloggers and journalists decrying the promotion as foul, in bad taste and exploitative.

Defenders say the stunt draws attention to the plight of Austin’s homeless citizens. And provided 14 homeless people with a paying job for a day or two.  Defenders are making a big deal about one of the “workers” (Clarence Jones) who said he doesn’t see what all the fuss is about and that he was happy to interact with conference attendees and pick up a few bucks.

BBH meanwhile is calling the activity a “charitable experiment” and in a company blog said, “Homelessness is actually a subject being discussed at SXSW and these people are no longer invisible.”  (Though it’s a pity in some coverage this “worker” — Clarence Jones — was pictured but not mentioned by name.)

In its defense, BBH consulted with an Austin-based non-profit that works with the city’s homeless population before implementing the idea. The non-profit, Front Steps, took pause at first but later agreed the idea was sound after looking into BBH’s track record of supporting homeless people in NYC.

The noise at conferences like SXSW is fierce.  I’ve never been, but I’ve attended enough conferences like it over the years to know what it takes for a company’s message to be heard — bold creativity.  For many firms — marketing, interactive, advertising and PR agencies — SXSW is as much a “make or break” business opportunity for them as the companies they represent.  Pulling out all the stops is the norm.

A lot of people never heard of BBH until this week, but thanks to the likes of Clarence Jones and other “homeless hotpsots” who were hired by the firm, that has changed.  This week you can bet BBH is getting more hits on its website than ever before.

As for me, I’m holding my ground.  The rise of social media and the ubiquity of technology means that the creative services community has at its fingertips more creative solutions than ever before.  It’s up to all of us to use them effectively.  And thoughtfully.

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Six Essential Elements in a White Paper

A well-crafted white paper can position a company as a subject-matter expert and serve as a digital and print marketing tool. For example, one client had printed a white paper as an 8×10 brochure and used it effectively as a calling card to establish themselves in a new market. Others clients share white papers on their website, or a landing page while their sales and marketing teams share it electronically with customers and prospects.

white paper, sales, marketing, communications, public relationsThe Purdue Online Writing Lab defines a white paper as “a certain type of report that is distinctive in terms of purpose, audience and organization.” A white paper goes deeper, vs. broader. Think about it as an “inch-wide and a mile deep.” It explores a specific topic, offering insight in the form of a potential solution or taking a position on an issue.

Content documents like white papers can also be optimized for search with SEO, and serve as fresh/new content on your organization’s website, also increasing visibility for that site. White papers can easily be shared and are searchable, making them valuable marketing tools as individuals rely more heavily on the Internet for information.

A study by Eccolo Media found:

  • 84% of businesses said white papers were moderately or extremely influential in their purchasing decisions.
  • White papers are the most highly shared form of marketing collateral; 89% of respondents pass them along to others.  In addition, white papers were the most viral marketing collateral with nearly one in three respondents sharing them      with three or more people.
  • Readers prefer white papers between 6 - 10 pages in length.
  • While papers have been shown to be most effective in the presales process; they are the number one form of collateral at all stages of the sales process.
  • The majority of respondents felt high-quality writing is either very important or extremely influential.

Here are my 6 essential white paper components:

  1. Identify your audience – your paper should be tailored for a specific audience and their needs.
  2. Identify the problem/opportunity. (Note: This must be the challenge as viewed through your audience’s eyes, as an effective paper will be built around their interests.)
  3. Present proof that the problem exists. Cite third-party sources, quote industry experts – in this section you validate the challenge.
  4. The basic solution – an overview of how the problem/challenge could be addressed, including how others may be addressing it.
  5. Your solution – the opportunity to talk about your perspective or solution, how it’s different and why it’s compelling.
  6. Conclusion – restatement of the current situation and the need for change.

In a document this length, it’s also important to include a title page, table of contents, and references. White space is always important, as are visuals like charts and graphs and infographics. Infographics (visual representations of data or information) attract a lot of attention, are highly shareable, and convey a large amount of information concisely.

A paper of this length may seem daunting, but as with any research paper, by the time you have a solid outline in place, the rest of the paper will come more easily (again, provided you have done your research). One word of caution: as with all good business writing – keep it tight. If the paper is too long/winding, you’ll lose your reader and it won’t be an effective tool for your organization.

Send me your guidelines for white paper development, and I’ll be sure to share them!

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12 Blogs To Start The Work Day

Many others have done it before me, so I’m doing it today:  sharing with you some of the blogs I read because I think you may find several of them interesting, as I obviously do.

The only way I can keep up with my favorite blogs and news sites is through my trusted partner — My Yahoo, the start page I have been wed to for many years.  Via RSS feeds, My Yahoo lets me add and delete blogs to and from my start page with the click of a mouse.  Though historically, once a blog or news site passes my secret, super selection process, it typically stays on My Yahoo for a very long time (often until the blogger decides to stop blogging or a news site becomes obsolete).

Now that you are in a heightened state of anticipation, I’ll unleash the list of blogs you’ll see on my start page.  Hope you’re sitting down…

Altucher Confidential-  James Altucher is managing partner at the hedge fund Formula Capital and author of five books on investing.  His recent posts include Did Obama Really Say He Wants Everyone to Go to College? and  Ask James: Cheating Spouses, Spiderman vs Batman, How to get a Job, How to Write a Novel, and More.” James’ blog is enjoying the honeymoon phase on my start page. So far, so good.

The Content Marketing Revolution - this is the blog of  Joe Pulizzi, content marketing author, speaker and strategist and founder of the Content Marketing Institute and SocialTract. His most recent post is Why Content Marketing (as a term) Is all the Rage.  If you believe in content marketing, Joe’s blog is a must read.

Presenting Yourself…And More – lots of great public speaking hints from Joyce Newman, founder of The Newman Group. Being at Your Best on a Book Tour When You’re Dead on Your Feet is Joyce’s most recent post.  Lots of useful info on speaking in public, presentations skills, etc.

TechCrunch – the well-known blog about tech start ups.  Lots and lots of posts from reporters each and every day. Several posts per hour is the norm. But if you’re a tech start up junkie, it’s a must read.

Man of the House – Here’s how this blog, or magazine, is described: Man of the House is the real man’s magazine, a guide for the jack of all trades trying to be better – at work and at home, as a father and as a husband. … (A great mag, especially if you’re a guy).   Priceless posts like 5 Essential Kitchen Tools and Know How:  Clean Gutters.

And another great “lifestyle” blog is Get Rich Slowly, which describes itself as being “devoted to sensible personal finance.” TIME named it one of the best blogs of 2011.  If  you’re an individual investor, you might take a look. The latest post is How Retailers Manipulate Consumers.  

A few others that have earned a home on my start page are Both Sides of The Table, a blog by Mark Suster, a venture capitalist;  Chris Brogan.com (Chris is a content machine and is very insightful and honest); HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog (their eBooks and daily posts on inbound marketing are priceless); Agency New Business, a blog by RSW/US, a professional biz dev agency;  and marketing and social media blogs such as iMediaConnection and Social Media B2B: Exploring the Impact of Social Media on B2B Companies.

I know — there are so many other worthwhile blogs to read for business and pleasure. But these are my daily reads.  There are only so many hours in a day.

Feel free to share a few of your favorites.

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Crisis Communications: 6 Simple Steps To Apologize

Most crisis communications experts, like our own Peter Morrissey, will advise clients to say “you’re sorry” as soon as it has been realized an error has been committed.   While it seems like a common sense response to many of us, to others in industry, government, media and sports — and to the ordinary person — saying “I’m sorry” is often the hardest part of the execution phase of a crisis communications plan.

Typically, however, it’s the only right place to start.

Perhaps its Spring fever, or perhaps the message is finally seeping in.  Whatever the reason, recently it has been raining apologies.

For example, last week President Obama apologized to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai because American military personnel burned Korans in Afghanistan.  In an official apology letter to Karzai, Obama said those responsible will be held accountable.

Here in the U.S, ESPN editor Anthony Federico has been fired from his job after posting the headline, “Chink in the Armor” in a reference to New York Knicks Asian-American point guard Jeremy Lin.

“I’m so sorry if I offended people.  I’m so sorry if I offended Jeremy. … My faith is my life. I’d love to tell Jeremy what happened and explain that it was an honest mistake,” said  Federico, who also said he understands why he was terminated by ESPN (unlike the opinion of my colleague Aimee Charest, my view is ESPN over reacted and putting Federico and other ESPN editors in a sensitivity/diversity training program would have been the right prescription vs. destroying the career of a 28-year-old).

In what is one of the most bizarre stories involving an apology in recent memory is the story of a Cincinnati man who was ordered by a judge to apologize to his estranged wife for 30 consecutive days on the same Facebook page that he criticized her on over their pending divorce; or serve a 60-day jail term.  Apparently, Mark Byron took the 30 days and has been apologizing ever since.

And finally, at least for this round of apologies, Denver Broncos backup quarterback Brady Quinn apologized last week to starting quarterback Tim Tebow for telling “GQ” that much of the team’s success last season was luck and that Tebow’s very public expression of his faith doesn’t “seem very humble.”   Naturally, Quinn says the magazine misquoted him and via twitter says he “reached out to Tim to clear this up. … I apologize to anyone who feels I was trying to take anything away from our Team’s or Tim’s success this season.”

There are as many perspectives on “the apology” as there are apologies themselves.

Quote machine and 1950′s author Margaret Lee Runbec says, “Apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift.”

And cartoonist Lynn Johnston echoes Runbec’s sentiment with,  “An apology is the superglue of life.  It can repair just about anything.”

But opposing views on “the apology” are abundant.  Take legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach who said:  “The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology.” 

Or British humorist P.G. Wodehouse who offers, “It is a good rule in life never to apologize.  The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.”

An apology doesn’t always invite, or earn, forgiveness.  Nonetheless, when a wrong has been committed, it’s usually the right — and smart — thing to do.

Corporations would be wise to build the following apology basics into their crisis communications plans.  Peter Morrissey, who developed them, will be pleased you did –and so will your company.

6 Simple Steps to Apologize

  • Apologize to victims and families first – privately and publicly.
  • Issue a blanket apology.
  • Have the CEO issue the apology and empower employees to do the same.
  • Keep the channels of communication open – keep restating the apology at every opportunity.
  • Keep the public posted on the progress to solve problem.
  • Restate the company’s intent to take responsibility; fix the problem and do what is right.

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Why ESPN Had to Fire Anthony Federico

ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports

There are few things in this world that get people riled up more than sports.  Sports can bring us together as easily as it can polarize.  For those of you that don’t follow basketball, the New York Knick’s point guard and former Harvard basketball player Jeremy Lin has been receiving widespread media coverage for his exceptional play over the last few weeks.  Recently, one headline in particular made headlines itself for its offensive nature referencing Lin (read more here).

Enough has been said about the recent headline incident, and what was behind the ESPN editor’s choice of words.  The focus here is on ESPN as an organization and its response to the unfortunate – and in my opinion, unacceptable mistake – that one of its employees made.

Over 30 years, ESPN has built a reputation as thepremier sports news organization.   It invests both financial capital and human resources into ensuring that the network’s coverage is the best in the world.  Like any top tier organization, ESPN has high standards, for which it is respected.  If ESPN is quick to throw stones at those about whom it reports (ex. fire this coach for this transgression, send this player to the minors for this mistake), then it must also be quick to react when the tables are turned, as witnessed by the dismissal of Anthony Federico, who has been with the company for 5 years and claims the headline was an “honest mistake.”  By doing so, ESPN held its employee to the same high standards it demands from the sports world.

This year's Super Bowl victory by the NY Giants led to several witty headlines (A 'Giant' Leap Forward for Manning, Extremely Lucky? Incredibly Close) - all inoffensive, unless you are a Patriots fan. Photo by Tom Hauck for ESPN.com

In all jobs, there are certain things that are grounds for firing.  It is up to a company or organization to determine what is unacceptable.  It was Federico’s job to make sure that the headline didn’t happen, but it did. Therefore, ESPN’s reaction was not an overreaction, but an appropriate reaction.

It is natural to feel sorry for Federico.  It’s always sad when people lose a job or ruin a promising career and have to start over.  But letting people go because of transgressions happens every day and it’s not national news.  It wasn’t because it was Jeremy Lin; it was because of an editor’s job performance.   When you are a multi-billion dollar organization, and your mistake causes a public relations disaster as this was, dismissal is entirely reasonable.  Even Federico has said that the move was what ESPN “had to do.”  There are consequences when you make poor decisions in life and mistakes of this magnitude; you may lose your job or the reputation that you worked to build. Thankfully, we live in a country where second chances are largely granted.  For people like Federico, if you are humble, apologetic and work hard, you can have a fresh start.

Leading up to the incident, ESPN’s focus was on Lin and his rising star.  Caps off to ESPN for sticking to its guns and standards, and here’s hoping they can move quickly from this onto sports news coverage.  This incident will pass and ESPN’s reputation will remain in tact.

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Kodak’s (Unfortunate) Arrested Development

The evolution of Eastman Kodak Co's logo (Kodak.com)

For many, the news that American photography pioneer Kodak had filed for bankruptcy last month came as a surprise.  Surprise or not, it was certainly a depressing announcement.

Founded by George Eastman in 1880 (a high school dropout with big ideas), Eastman Kodak brought “toys” like the $1 Brownie and Instamatic to the mass market.   The company dominated the photography industry for years, building a strong reputation for innovation in the U.S.and abroad.   This strong reputation was enjoyed by employees as well, as the company pioneered motivational HR tools such as a “Wage Dividend”, which gave bonuses to employees based on results.  In 1975, Kodak invented the world’s first digital camera. Even Apple’s QuickTake 100 digital camera – the first consumer digital camera – was produced by Kodak with the Apple label.

The brand also became part of American pop culture.  Remember Paul Simon’s 1973 “Kodachrome”?  And “Kodak Moments”?  As a child, I recall sitting in front of the TV entranced by Kodak’s commercial featuring Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” In recent years, I bought a few Kodak point-and-shoot cameras as I wasn’t interested in committing to a new digital camera (I think it actually makes for better photos because there is something about real film that makes it stand apart from digital + you don’t spend your vacation with your nose to a camera).  But I digress…

Kodal's Instamatic 104 - over 60 million sold by Kodak alone (courtesy of http://camerapedia.wikia.com)

Nostalgia aside, nothing changes the fact that Kodak didn’t, or couldn’t, compete in the digital camera market, despite the fact that they were “there” before anyone.   For Kodak, digital was an afterthought (see Forbes.com’s recent “No More Kodak Moments”), and the company chose instead to continue its focus on film and developing materials.  While all evidence pointed to the growth of digital, it seems that over the years the company simply lost touch with what consumers wanted, leading to its present day situation.  Instead of continuing to innovate, the company fell behind.  After filing Chapter 11 on January 19, it eliminated its digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frame products, and will now focus on photo printing and licensing its brand name to other manufacturers.

The future remains uncertain but Kodak’s fall from grace offers specific lessons to learn – namely that even companies and organizations with the greatest of brand equity must never fail to evolve and to listen to its consumers.

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Valentine’s Day: How Are You $pending It?

This blog usually tackles subjects the team at Morrissey & Company is passionate about: public relations, social media, reputation communications, mobile marketing and media relations, among other related topics.

But tomorrow it’s Valentine’s Day, so I’m throwing caution to the wind, setting aside convention and counting on your sense of fun to permit a temporary detour from the norm to share a few thoughts on ways to spend the most romantic of holidays.

For most of us (and I’m talking about us guys), each year it’s the same deal.  How much of a fuss should we make out of Valentine’s Day.  Most guys over think this holiday.  And it doesn’t matter if your newly dating or been married for a long long time.  Guys definitely feel the pressure and our significant others definitely measure our treatment of Valentine’s Day with the progression of the relationship.

My advice?  Relax.  Try to not read too much into this holiday.  After all, it’s meant to be a fun, romantic holiday.

So, as a public service, I’ve digested and then sorted out some of the best professional and informal advice on how to enjoy this Valentine’s Day.

Here goes:

Many of the articles and promotions I’ve seen encourage us to dine out on Valentine’s Day.  Duh.  For this reason, many restaurants will be jammed tomorrow night and you’ll wind up waiting for your table — reservations or not.  Actually, without reservations, I’d reconsider.

And to be honest, dining out — at least in a formal, full-service restaurant — isn’t for everyone on Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a new relationship, reconsider your plans to dine out at a formal restaurant because a Valentine’s Day dinner is brimming with pressure and future expectations.

Instead, consider a movie.  There are a number of “couples” movies playing at your local AMC Loews.  Check out “The Vow,” based on the true story of a newlywed couple recovering from an accident and how their love is tested as a result.  Or “The Artist,” an Oscar-nominated film about a silent movie idol and a star-struck extra and aspiring actress.

For the more adventurous and if you and your date are reasonably athletic, consider an ice-skating date.  The Boston Common Frog Pond is a great take and you and your better half are on the ice for $10 (+ $9 per skate rental).  And here’s a listing of other rinks in case you’re not in Boston.

Following a movie at the AMC located at  175 Tremont Street in Boston, or once your lower back is aching after a few trips around the Frog Pond, you might head toward nearby Boylston Street for a delicious and affordable bite and refreshment at Four Burgers — comfortable surroundings without the pressure of white linen.

For those of you who, like me, are in a serious relationship (longer term dating, engaged or married) remember that you don’t have to save Valentine’s Day to treat your special someone in a special way.  A friend of mine (now divorced, so perhaps he learned the hard way) said, “Always assume it’s your first year of marriage and that EVERYTHING matters.”

Dinner out is almost always a good idea on Valentine’ Day when you’re in a longer-term relationship.  You don’t need to re-mortgage the house and dine at The Ritz, but wherever you decide to go, use OpenTable to make reservations.  It’s fast and easy, you don’t have to look up a restaurant’s phone number and you can read what others are saying about previous dining experiences.  If a table is available, OpenTable will let you know.

Like so many of our holidays, Valentine’s Day has been commercialized to excess. Companies who stand to gain a spike in Valentine’s Day sales — purveyors of sweets, flowers, jewelry and now smartphones, etc. —  have turned to social media and other forms of digital marketing, in addition to traditional media channels, to guilt us into spending more than necessary.

Don’t fall for it. However you decide to spend Valentine’s Day, and maybe it’s just dinner at home then plopping in front of the TV with your girlfriend or boyfriend, fiancée, wife or husband — just remember to enjoy the moment. Cupid wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Four Communication Keys for Bruins Goalie Tim Thomas

I want in on the Tim Thomas brouhaha.

Boston Bruins MVP goalie Tim Thomas is a superstar in the crease but not in front of microphones and TV cameras.

If you haven’t heard, Thomas, for the second time in about a month, is being scrutinized for his “personal” opinions on religion and politics.  A month ago his refusal to join his team at the White House, as reigning NHL champions, for the customary photo opp with the standing president of the U.S. drew both praise and criticism from fans.  At the time, Thomas said he was protesting the U.S. government and not President Obama, but refused to elaborate and grew snippy with reporters when they pressed him.

This week, journalists are spilling ink over Thomas’s recent Facebook post in which he states his defense for the Catholic Church by quoting a known anti-Nazi pastor.  This most recent post is Thomas’ response to President Obama’s position that insurers must provide women access to free contraceptives.  This goes for insurance plans connected to religious organizations, such as schools and hospitals.

Following Wednesday’s hockey game, Thomas was engulfed by broadcast and print journalists who cared less about the shutout the Bruins suffered at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres but were salivating over Thomas’ post on Facebook.  Thomas was as consistent in front of the media as he has been in front of the net, and essentially refused to comment citing Facebook as part of his “personal life.” Of course, he said he was happy to talk hockey with the media, but when members of the media continued to press him on his religious and political beliefs, he abruptly ended the session and walked.

Is Tim Thomas seriously that naive?  Does he really think Facebook is “private” and “personal” and that his recent provocative actions wouldn’t be considered “news.”

I have zero issue with Thomas’ Facebook posting (though I think he should have sucked it up and joined his teammates on the White House boon doggle).  But any public figure — professional athlete, business leader, actor, politician — has to expect interest and questions from their followers and the media when their actions or positions run upstream.  It’s simply part of the deal of being a public figure and refusing to accept this fact typically has negative consequences in the court of public opinion.

If I were Tim Thomas’ PR counsel, I would advise him of these four communication keys:

  • as a public figure, your personal and professional lives are inextricably connected.  People read your Facebook page for only one reason:  you are a public figure;
  • you can’t be provocative and controversial and then expect to be allowed to run and hide.  Stand up to your convictions;
  • you’re a hero to Bostonians because you’re a winner.  You’re enjoying the halo affect of a career season. But like most things, halo affects have a shelf life. And they are typically shorter in Boston than in other towns, and
  • be proactive instead of defensive (not a hockey pun).  Let your fans see who you really are — the man behind the mask and the Wall.  How about a “town meeting” for your fans (and the media) after the season, where you can explain your important positions on politics and religion because you clearly have a lot to say.

But between now and then, prepare to back up what you do, say and publish — outside of the hockey realm — or just stop pucks.

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One tweet, free snacks: Pretzel Crisps delivers

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

When a company uses Twitter to give away free stuff, I’m instantly intrigued. Being a college student on a budget, I’m always looking for deals and steals online. However, what’s even better is when you don’t have to go searching and instead, the company comes to you.

My boss Jim Barbagallo tweeted that Monday, January 23 was the most depressing day of the year (studies show that this day falls on the last Monday of the last full week in January) and he received an interesting response from Pretzel Crisps:

Jim proceeded to send them Morrissey’s address and Pretzel Crisps said we would expect a delivery the next day. And they sure did deliver. Bringing about 12 bags of Pretzel Crisps, they certainly brightened our days. However, we weren’t just part of a lucky few who received hand-delivered pretzels. If you look that their Twitter feed, they’ve been responding to people’s tweets about a variety of subjects, and finding ways to give out loads of Pretzel Crisps.

Pretzel Crisps is doing two things right. First, they are generating a ton of buzz through word of mouth marketing around their brand (born in 2004, according to their website). With over 4,500 followers on Twitter and 115,000 likes on Facebook, a lot of people are talking about the yummy snacks they’ve either bought in the grocery store or sent free of charge. They even have a Pinterest board! Second, the company is making people happy. I was overly excited to hear we would be getting a special delivery of snacks, and decided to share my excitement on Twitter. And since we had so many leftover bags, I brought some home to my friends who also thoroughly enjoyed the snacks. Pretzel Crisps should keep up the great work by encouraging conversation about their treats, engaging with anyone who’d be open to free snack deliveries, and satisfying hunger needs to keep people happy.

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