In our society, we focus too much on our short-term goals that we do not realize the long-term consequences we are creating. The United States is often guilty of immediate gratification. A term, in which, I can be found acting out when I am shopping. I’m someone who prefers to try-on clothing and buy it on the spot. I like to buy a product and bring home my purchase on the same day. There are few times I have added something in my virtual shopping bag and gave my credit card number. Though, the point of this post isn’t to point out my issues with immediate gratification. It’s the fact that business owners are asked: where do you see the company in 20 years – and their answer is to be successful. Well, obviously, you don’t want to fail.
The questions to have answers to are: Do you see your business having more than 50 employees in 5 years? How much revenue do you expect to have earned by 2030? Are you planning to provide more environmentally sustainable products in the upcoming years? and so on.
Instead, we find powerful companies that choose to provide fossil fueled energy (*cough cough* Warren Buffet) rather than research alternative ways to compete with solar junkies like Elon Musk. We need to find new ways to earn money that can encourage good long-term affects. Before Buffet knows it, Berkshire Hathaway will no longer be in the energy business because they’ve used up all of the Earth’s natural materials and Musk will be the one running across the finish line.
Edit, April 2018: We and Amazon has come a long way. Free 2-day shipping? Yes, please!
Since I spent over three years with the American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) brand and the company has worked hard to remove the media’s idea of a “perfect body” – I thought it was worth the post to mention the company’s recent successes. Towards the end of my Aerie career, the company launched their Aerie Real campaign.
As a woman, it was empowering (men included). It was amazing to see displays of women untouched by photo shop and the spread of inspirational quotes on mirrors like “the girl in this mirror has not been retouched” – along with the dispersion of promotional materials such as shopping bags and stickers relaying a similar message. Aerie’s ongoing campaign has not only increased the company’s brand image but revenue, too. American Eagle has, also, been doing well. Regardless of the retail industry’s decrease in revenue, the company has been able to increase its sales. How? The organization changed with change. Ideas of beauty and style were altering and AEO decided to change their clothing according to the consumer tastes unlike their competition, Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch.
I will never regret working for the company because they treated their employees well, I gained a work family, adored the management team and received some of the best work experiences.
See American Eagle’s success HERE and HERE
Professional sports have been known to fail in the public relations world. Commissioners are boo’ed at Championship games like they are Illinois’ former Governor Pat Quinn at Chicago sport ceremonies. I still remember when the Chicago Blackhawks won in 2010 and Quinn spoke at the rally, only to receive negative attention from the 2 million-plus attendees. I continue to laugh when I think back to the last couple of Stanley Cup Final games when NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, presented the cup to a stadium with cries of disapproval from hockey fans. Of course, the most infamous PR blunder (of the 21st Century) award of professional sports goes to the Roger Goodell and the NFL for the Ray Rice scandal and continued mishandling of deflategate (click HERE for updates about the ongoing battle). The NFL has much to recover from and may not until Goodell is out of commission.
Even though the sports world continues to struggle in the PR department, progress is being made. Most recently, the NHL and Chicago Blackhawks had to deal with the rape accusations of their player Patrick Kane. Unfortunately for Kane, he was removed from the the NHL 2k16 game as soon as allegations hit the media – only to receive much backlash from hockey fans. Bad move for the NHL because the accuser dropped charges, the mother of the accuser lied about tampering of evidence, witness testimonies didn’t contain any incriminating content, and Kane had one of the best seasons of his career. The Blackhawks remained neutral, responded quickly with a press conference as soon as allegations surfaced and performed their own investigation – which found Kane not guilty of accusations. So, who really lost? The NHL. Who thrived? The Chicago Blackhawks organization. The lesson? Do not act on such situations without an appropriate investigation; release a statement or hold a press conference in a timely (but quickly) manner; and make sure the organization speaks as new information is discovered and not respond rashly.
For future reference: learn from your peers and do not hide or attempt to destroy/conceal evidence. Be open, speak in a neutral tone and be honest. Lying only injures a team/organizations image. In the name of PR, take control and retain credibility.
I just had a conversation with a friend’s uncle about how much social media has become more of a strategic pathway for companies to strengthen their market share. Organizations can no longer create a profile for the sake of saying they have one; they must utilize and take advantage of the ability to create a page and interact with fans/followers. This is the time for firms to employ millennials (like me!) for their great knowledge of social media and attract the audience.
Here are a few articles with good points/ideas companies should abide by or keep in mind when creating a page: