PR, Social Media, Content Marketing, Awesome
Let’s review the major events of the Rutgers scandal:
Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for verbally abusing his players.
Then, the school fired it’s athletic director, Tim Pernetti.
Then, the school hired a new athletic director, Julie Hermann.
Then, it was revealed that Hermann had several incidents of student-athlete verbal abuse in her past as a coach.
Years ago, as the volleyball coach for the University of Tennessee, she apparently called her players pretty horrible names, including “whores” and “alcoholics.”
Instead of connecting the dots, Rutgers looked at their collective belly button.
This week, Hermann FINALLY spoke, nearly two weeks after her past incident was revealed.
Ironically, it was Hermann who said the words that Rutgers staff should have said immediately:
“That lesson of 17 years ago was honestly part of why I felt I was not only very qualified but uniquely qualified.”
She acknowledged her Tennessee scandal, reminded everyone how long ago it was and that she had learned from it…AND used it to say it adds to her job qualifications, instead of detracting from it.
In short, it was a perfect statement in this situation.
If the school president had said just that at the beginning, the problem wouldn’t have gone away completely, but the volume would have been turned down drastically.
The obvious conclusion here is that they truly were caught off-guard, which is a tremendous embarrassment and an epic failure.
And if they did know about Hermann’s past and waited so long to address it publicly, that’s a pretty brutal failure, too.
The only way to truly move on from this is to get out of the headlines…by being in different headlines. Develop a winning, sustainable athletic program with a ridiculously-high graduation rate and all of this will be forgotten.
Fail to do those things and this series of events will define Rutgers athletics for a long, long time.
Man of Steel, the latest Superman movie, hits theaters in a few weeks.
While the marketing team has done a brilliant job at hiding most of the plot points while building anticipation to a crescendo, it’s quite clear, to me, at least, that Man of Steel is about branding.
More appropriately, it’s about building a brand – the Superman brand.
There are three versions of the man in play: Kal-El, Clark Kent and Superman.
An alien, a human and a hero.
Who is this man going to be when he grows up? What will he stand for?
His two fathers go down this road:
Jor-El: “What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?”
Jonathan Kent: “You’re not just anyone. One day, you’re going to have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, it’s going to change the world.”
Kind of sounds like stakeholder interviews, no?
His birth father talks about being…more…and his adopted father lays out two clear paths for his son. Clark now has to develop that brand.
Much like any company going through a branding process, there is uncertainty.
Clark Kent: “My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me… out of fear. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?”
Developing a brand is difficult – when all else fails, your brand is what exists. It’s more than just your product or service, it’s your everything.
From a literal standpoint, Superman’s chest emblem provides an iconic representation of his brand.
Lois Lane: “What’s the S stand for?”
Superman: “It’s not an S. On my world, it means hope.”
After this exchange with Lois Lane, it’s quite evident which path Superman takes, as he wears “hope” on his chest. His visible brand – the mark he wears proudly – embodies everything he stands for.
Joe-El: “You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun.”
What other brands match their values and their visualization as perfectly as Superman?
UPDATE: Amy’s posted to Facebook claiming their account was hacked…several days after the rants began…and deleted the posts.
Buzzfeed called it “the most epic meltdown on Facebook ever.”
And it’s hard to argue.
Short Version: Amy’s Baking Company was featured on an episode of FOX’s “Kitchen Nightmares” show. Appropriately titled, obviously. The kitchen, staff and owners were so bad, the host, Chef Gordon Ramsay, shut down production and left the restaurant.
Clips of the episode are available on Eater.com here.
They then went completely off the chain on social media, virtually confronting all of the “haters” with…uhh…hate. And lots of it.
The Huffington Post has the blow-by-blow here.
As you can see, the vitriol was in plain sight.
How can Amy’s Baking Company save face? And even turn this situation into a victory?
As a business, you can’t antagonize customers without expecting them to leave without paying…without ever coming back. The first step to recovery is issuing a public apology to the customers they’ve wronged over the years. No ifs, buts or excuses.
2. Space Donation
Donate the restaurant space once a week during hours they are normally closed to a local Scottsdale anger management group.
The restaurant, once a den of anger, can become a zone of zen.
3. Redesign, Reimagine and Reopen
Like a snake sheds their skin, the restaurant needs to evolve.
As painful as it may be, they should take advantage of Ramsay’s advice to condense the menu. Then give the space a physical facelift – not because it’s ugly, but because they need to change the energy in the space.
A grand reopening signifies a break from the past.
4. Corporate Social Responsibility
Finally, they need to develop – QUICKLY – a corporate social responsibility program that ties their restaurant to one or more worthwhile charities.
Simply, it gives them something upbeat to talk about in the media and through their digital platforms.
I suggest a $500,000 initiative where a small percentage of profits gets sliced into an escrow account until they’ve collected a cool half-million to split between a few pre-announced charities.
It would drive traffic and convince jilted customers to give the restaurant another try.
What else do you suggest Amy’s Baking Company should do to restore their image?
Earlier this year, I wrote about how effective social media marketing requires a little bit of LOST’s John Locke and Jack Shepherd.
The show’s lead characters were so similar, but so different. Locke was a man of faith, whereas Shepherd was a man of science.
One specific instance where this is increasingly true is in Twitter hashtags.
Hashtags keep Twitter organized. They allow you to stream keywords and phrases. They make Twitter easier to consume.
They also make it easy to measure Twitter.
There are many tools that measure hashtags (with TweetReach being my favorite right now).
So where does faith vs. science come into play here?
Easily: How do you choose a hashtag?
Hashtag of Science
Your hashtag is unique and true. It accurately portrays exactly what the conversation should be about, either spelled out or as an acronym.
#ESR1256 doesn’t scare you as a hashtag.
You know that you can accurately measure the traffic on the hashtag to gain a real picture of conversations around your topic. Even if the hashtag is difficult to remember, you are OK with that, because it means you’ll get next to zero erroneous messages.
Hashtag of Faith
You want people to stumble upon your conversation.
Quoting the Jackson 5: “I wanna be where you are…oh ah oh!”
You are comfortable using a hashtag that may be used by other people, since it means more people will potentially see your content.
When to be Scientific
The “scientific” hashtags work brilliantly at events where you have a captive audience. Conferences, classes, assemblies…and even TV and radio shows. They also work well with strong communications and advertising campaigns.
When you can easily communicate how your audience should contact them, the easier it will be for them to remember the hashtag, even if it’s a bit quirky.
When to have Faith
When you are trying to flood a message out, using a relevant hashtag people are using makes the most sense.
Relevant being the key word: don’t post to #music when you want to talk about paintings. Unless a musician did the painting.
Think of it as a less-annoying version of interruption marketing, since the people you would be “targeting” are already interested in the topic at hand.
In measurement, you may get some additional, non-related posts, but that’s a risk you’re willing to take.
LeBron James is a generational basketball player.
When it’s all said and done, he will likely be in the same conversation as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and the other all-time greats.
So how do you compensate the elite?
It’s hard to figure out. And it looks like the Heat has gotten it wrong. Very, very, very wrong.
Thankfully, the good folks at CableTV.com sent over some startling stats and a fancy infographic outlining the economic impact (positive and negative) of LeBron to his teams in Cleveland and Miami.
LeBron James Is Underpaid – An infographic by the team at CableTV.com