Ericka Stachura

    • Member Type(s): Communications Professional
    • Title:Senior Associate
    • Organization:InkHouse
    • Area of Expertise:Public Relations, Social Media

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    Image & Politics: Key PR Takeaways for Businesses

    Monday, March 12, 2012, 11:23 AM [General]
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    Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, primary season teaches us all some lessons in public relations. In honor of Super Tuesday, we’ll take a look at how the political image industry is making headlines this week and highlight key takeaways for businesses.

    Romney remaking image ahead of Super Tuesday

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is a case study in branding. The Washington Examiner, complete with a picture of Romney wearing faded blue jeans and an open-necked Oxford shirt, writes this week that Romney is trying to “erase his image as an out-of-touch elitist.” Yet his efforts to show his human side ahead of Super Tuesday have painted the opposite picture (i.e. Romney saying he doesn’t follow NASCAR but has “some friends who are NASCAR team owners.”)

    Business takeaway: Always keep your audience in mind when going off-the-cuff. Share only personal stories that can further develop a connection.

    The Ann Romney advantage?

    Lucky for Romney, he has what the Wall Street Journal has dubbed “The Ann Romney Advantage” in his wife who—until recently—had arguably been the most effective at softening Mitt’s image. In an interview Monday, Mrs. Romney was asked about criticism that her husband’s wealth can make him seem out of touch with average Americans. The message she intended was quite eloquent yet the sound bite that made headlines was simply, “Ann Romney doesn’t consider herself wealthy.” Here is Mrs. Romney’s full response, as printed in the New York Daily News:

    “We can be poor in spirit, and I don’t even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing. It can be here today and gone tomorrow.”  She added: “How I measure riches is by the friends I have and the loved ones I have and the people that I care about in my life, and that’s where my values are and that’s where my riches are.”

    Business takeaway: Be prepared for the worst possible questions and practice the answers. Be conscious of what could become a sound bite, because comments are often used out of context. Do take a cue from Ann Romney in being understated and authentic, yet confident in expressing your point of view.

    Kid Rock endorses Mitt Romney

    Romney’s campaign theme song is Kid Rock’s “Born Free” and the politician scored a coup by persuading the rock star to perform it live at a Michigan campaign event. According to CBS News, the two met at Kid Rock’s Michigan home where they spent an hour discussing topics of shared interest, including commitment to country, Detroit and the troops. Kid Rock wanted assurances that if elected president, Romney (also Michigan native) would help him help the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit.

    Business takeaway: Align your brand with endorsers your audience relates to. While Romney seemingly has nothing in common with Kid Rock, somehow their relationship makes Romney’s aspirations to help Michigan more credible to voters.

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    Learning from 5 Unlikely Twitterers

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 8:57 PM [General]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Twitter is full of surprises. Usually I’m surprised by what people are tweeting – wild rants ala @CharlieSheen or breaking news I’ve seen on Twitter before anywhere else. Lately I’ve been surprised by certain Twitter handles that I never would have expected to find here – those seemingly without a clear product or consumer brand to promote.


    Following are some of the unlikely Twitterers I’ve encountered recently and the key learnings I took away based on each one’s messages:


    Manage multiple twitter accounts carefully. The Secret Service (@SecretService) is a good example and got my attention recently for all the wrong reasons.  An errant tweet, “Had to Monitor Fox for a story. Can’t . Deal. With. The. Blathering” was sent from the handle by mistake prompting this Washington Post story and an apology. Needless to say, I was surprised to learn that the Secret Service was even using Twitter. Isn’t Twitter bad for keeping anything “secret?” Turns out they are mainly tweeting about news releases and recruiting events, nothing clandestine, unless there are more errant tweets to come.


    Satisfy brand loyalists. Flo from Progressive (@ItsFlo) tweets using #teamflo and #floism and brings the zany character from the commercials to life. The company’s main corporate handle @Progressive sends out news and handles customer service issues, while @ItsFlo seems to be purely for brand loyalists who want a daily over-the-top floism fix such as, “Live every day like it's the final scene in Dirty Dancing. #floism.”


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    5 Tips for Cultivating Brand Engagement and Avoiding Mayhem

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 3:12 PM [General]
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    We live in a non-stop communications world where content creation, 24-hour news cycles and constant social Web interaction are the norm. As a marketer, I know the rules about creating meaningful content, distributing it and finding quality interactions with audiences that matter. But following the rules is only going to get you so far.


    When brands are competing for consumer attention amongst so many other messages, how can you help your clients rise above the noise when creating content? It helps to take a step back and start by asking yourself what messages get your attention as a consumer. Then work backwards and decipher the elements to figure out what makes the message resonate with you. For me, it’s all about the Allstate Mayhem commercials. The TV spots are memorable and have strong brand association – there is no chance I’m going to forget who the commercial is for after it is over.


    So what does this mean for smaller brands without big advertising budgets? Your client may not be prepping for their next big game commercial but there are valuable brand engagement lessons to be learned here for marketers and content creators of all types. With Mayhem in mind, here are some tips to think about next time you are developing content for your clients.


    • Make content relatable. All of the Mayhem commercials are centered on situations any typical car driver may face, including a distracted teen driver and an out-of-date GPS. The commercials are exaggerated examples but the main point is simple. No one is going to listen to your message if they don’t think it relates to them or their business. So get to know your audience and speak their language.


    • Capitalize on a pain point. The “Recalculating!” GPS in this Mayhem spot is the perfect example of this. It happens all of the time and Allstate knows it. If your content offers solutions to common problems faced by your audience, you will establish an instant connection with them.  In this case, Allstate is offering a solution to a GPS gone bad so it still works.


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