The Gong Blog

CSR 101: Corporate Social Responsibility

Forbes recently announced the companies with the best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reputations, and Lego earned the No. 1 spot on the roster. How did they get there? According to the study compiled by the Reputation Institute, Lego behaves ethically, conducts business fairly, operates transparently, protects the environment and supports worthy causes. What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? There are seemingly infinite definitions for CSR. Here are a couple: CSR promotes a vision of business accountability to a wide range of stakeholders, besides shareholders and investors. Key areas of concern are environmental protection and the wellbeing of employees, the community …

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Preparing CEOs for media interviews: Do’s and Don’ts

If you work in media relations, you’re familiar with the unabashed glee that comes when a reporter positively responds to your pitch, and before you know it, you’re scheduling an interview for your CEO. While your first instinct might be to prop your feet up on your desk and call it day, the reality is that your work is just getting started. Tight deadline or not, planning and preparation is key. With decades of experience preparing CEOs and other C-suite leaders for media interviews, we’re sharing our Dos and Don’ts that will help your CEO to make the most of …

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How to Write a Killer Press Release

Every so often these days, our industry asks if the press release, a staple in the communications toolbox for businesses and communicators for 700 years, er, decades, is dead or alive. I’d argue that aging might be a better descriptor, as in the press release as we know it is aging. I’ll admit there are plenty of reasons not to announce your news or opinions in a press release (hey, maybe that would make for a good blog!), but to say that the press release as a communications tactic is dead is a lot like saying the newspaper industry is …

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Five Examples of Media Interviews Gone Wrong

When it comes to on-camera flops, the most cringe-worthy fails arise when a company spokesperson is drowning during a live interview. With the nerves, cameras and tough questions, it’s easy to do. But that doesn’t make it any more acceptable. Here are five examples of media interview fails, and some tips so you’re never the one flopping: 1. Knowing your key messages, but not really knowing them. The briefing: In this 2015 soundbite, LBC reporter Nick Ferrari interviews Green Party leader at the time Natalie Bennett on affordable housing… and Bennett seems to have no idea how to make it …

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The PR Watercooler – Trust, Local News and Impressive Person Edition

Welcome to the “PR Watercooler” a semi-regular series where I scour the web for interesting PR trends, news and people. It was a schizophrenic January full of snow and 60-degree weather in Richmond. Much like me at the end of a House Hunters episode, the first 31 days of the year couldn’t make up its mind. Here are a few PR-related stories I’ve enjoyed recently – just as easily read in a sweater or a short sleeve shirt. 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Reveals Record-Breaking Drop in Trust in the U.S.: Trust me, this isn’t good. Edelman released its annual Trust …

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Stifling Communication Is Not a Public Relations Tool

Sydney Pollack’s masterful 1981 movie “Absence of Malice” holds for me a memorable scene. Without giving away the plot (cause if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and download it on Netflix), a character confides some deeply personal and scandalous information to a reporter, who begins scribbling notes for the next day’s front page. Anxious as to how the story will turn out, the woman spends the night on her front steps, nervously awaiting the dawn’s paper boy. When she retrieves the paper from her dewy lawn and opens it, she is crestfallen. And then she does something …

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FOIA in the Age of Ephemeral Communication (Snapchat and Instagram Stories)

“’Cause we are living in an ephemeral world, and I am an ephemeral…” OK, maybe we stop there. But in all seriousness, ephemeral communication – meaning communication lasting for a short time (e.g., Snapchat, Instagram Stories) – is becoming more and more common. People, particularly younger demographics, love the idea of sending messages and content that disappears after a day or less. In fact, teenagers prefer Snapchat over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter combined. If you’re a brand targeting teenagers, such as a university perhaps, you might be rushing to sign up for a Snapchat profile if you don’t already have …

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10 Reasons Why Your Media Pitch Is Failing

You don’t get it.  You pick up the paper, and there’s an article on a business that you might have a passing interest in, and you think, “Why them?  Why not me? My company is so much more interesting than this firm specializing in inventory management software.” You could be right, but even so, your outreach to the paper over the years has consistently had the same result as those amorous emails to Elle Macpherson so many years ago.  Zippo response. Chances are, you could be making one (or more) of the following pitching mistakes. 1. Wrong publication Make sure …

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PR, where now?

So Josh beat me to the punch on his crystal ball for 2018 and while I share most of his sentiments please allow me to take a more global view of the public relations industry as we begin 2018. The last two years has seen us drink water from a fire hose as we learned how to marry media relations, social media, content marketing, brand journalism and all their associated measurements. We have come through the other end well positioned to bring a strategic eye to these disciplines to maximize clients’ budgets and help them achieve their goals. What has …

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Three Tips for Your Google My Business Listing That Will Help Your Customers

When we talk to our clients about the best way to interact with customers, the familiar social media platforms often come to mind – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. But we also often advise clients to meet people where they are – and very often, that’s Google. For many of us, it’s the first place we go when we are looking for helpful information about a change in hours, an address or contact information for a business. To make the point, here’s an example of something that happened to me just this past week. I was using Google Maps to find the …

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