The Gong Blog

A Tale of Two Crises

A little more than a week after blogging about Facebook’s conspicuously tardy response to the Cambridge Analytica dustup, here I am again making much the same point: Nothing exposes a company’s core values more than a crisis. Facebook’s young CEO may like to think that the company puts a premium on speed, but that priority was exposed as a lie when it took 100 hours to utter his first words about what could fairly be called the social platform’s most consequential crisis. (If you missed that blog, you can find it here.) On the heels of that, now comes the …

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Don’t Have a Crisis Communications Plan? Then at Least Do This

Chances are, if you are like many organizations, there’s not a crisis communications plan sitting in your top drawer, one that’s been updated and rehearsed and that lets you sleep soundly at night should some emergency befall you. Undertaking the painstaking process of developing a crisis plan seems to be that task that never quite gets off the back burner, kind of like cleaning out the gutters – there’s always something more pressing or more interesting to do. But then, inevitably, it rains and, well, you know what could happen. As important as a crisis communications plan is, this is …

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The two things to drive success for your marketing and PR efforts

Like so much other advice, one of the best tips for an organization launching any sort of marketing or PR campaign is quite simple, yet at times, deceivingly difficult – define and differentiate. Let’s quickly explain both. Define involves clearly articulating who you are, what you do and whom you serve. Differentiate explains how your organization is different (and better) from your competitors. It might seem like basic advice, but it’s a step that often is rushed, fumbled or overlooked altogether. It isn’t necessarily because of negligence. Virtually every CEO, CMO, VP (you get the point) has an intimate understanding …

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A five-minute primer on Pew Research’s latest social media use survey

Every year, for as long as I can remember (since 2005), Pew Research Center has released its annual report on social media usage. The organization recently released its report for 2018. No shock here, Facebook and YouTube are the juggernauts in the social media landscape with 68 percent of U.S. adults saying they use Facebook, and 73 percent using YouTube. One key question moving forward: how will the Cambridge Analytica scandal impact American’s use of Facebook if at all, or is the social network too big to fail? And while I don’t have the answer to this question (not yet, …

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From Travesty to Triumph: Four Examples of PR Wins Following Crises

On the Gong Blog, we’ve written about brands that have done a poor job with crisis communications. (Remember United’s response to the doctor dragging? Or more recently, Mark Zuckerberg’s five-day silence in addressing Facebook’s data crisis?). But more often than not, even brands that do a decent job communicating through crises don’t get a lot of love. And that’s for good reason—because they handled it well, they are able to suppress its potential impact and even avert the crisis altogether. Then there are the communications teams that are able to go beyond simply taking the wind out of a gathering …

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How to start a podcast

“It’s a PR Podcast.” This is the answer Kelsey and I give when asked one of two questions: What are you recording? What are you calling your podcast? We’ve been super excited about this podcast for months now. From Slack side conversations to recording with microphones, the day finally arrived, and we’ve already released a few episodes in our first “season.” For anyone interested in starting a podcast, we’ve boiled down our process and a couple of lessons learned into a few steps to help get you going. Step One: Come up with a concept. We both listen to podcasts. …

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Facebook’s Costly 100 Hours

How the company abandoned its core values in a moment of crisis

Five days. That’s how long it took Facebook to respond to perhaps the greatest crisis in the company’s relatively short life. This is not a commentary piling on the company for its failure to abide by one of the core principles of crisis management – to respond early and honestly. After all, they totally blew the former and the jury is out on the latter. But the delay was more than just a strategic mistake. With recriminations flying all around them, users threatening to abandon the platform, senators in high dudgeon over this lapse of security and the company’s stock …

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Marketing Lessons from a Prussian King

That dictum from Frederick the Great, the famed Prussian leader known as one of the great military tacticians of all time, has an indisputable ring of truth, even to us civilians. Spread your armies too thinly, and you’ll not have the critical mass to mount a sufficient defense. Makes sense. The same is true of marketing. If you attempt to market to everyone, you really aren’t marketing to anyone. And for the same reason – you’ll have diluted your resources to the point where you are unable to make adequate inroads to even your most important target markets. And yet, …

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Five Ways to Take Your Proofreading to the Next Level

An ongoing request you’ll hear almost daily at The Hodges Partnership is, “Does anyone have time to proof this?” And with good reason. When you’ve spent a lot of one-on-one time with a news release, blog post or op-ed, it’s easy to overlook mistakes, and we all know how that goes – as soon as you hit send or press publish, then you notice there’s an extra word or typo. The good news? There’s hope, because there are a number of resources available (some that are right in front of you) to make your life easier the next time you’re …

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The Value of March Madness

Midway through the second half of 16-seed UMBC’s historic win over No. 1 Virginia, CBS’s Jim Nantz reminded viewers that UMBC was short for University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a top seed in NCAA Tournament history, the Retrievers were sure to be the talk of the tourney’s opening weekend. But thanks to a Twitter game that was savvy, hilarious and authentic, UMBC went even more viral. Yahoo Sports and others shined a well-deserved light on Zach Seidel, the man behind the UMBC Athletics Twitter handle. It would have been easy for …

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