Taco Bell’s Transparency

Those who do eat at fast food restaurants probably are not reading the food labels, and those who do not eat at these places probably are. If you take the time to glance over it, some of the words sound more like chemicals than things that we should be putting into our bodies. If you have ever eaten at Taco Bell, chances are you’ve consumed maltodextrin, trehalose, potassium chloride, and sodium phosphates. However, Taco Bell isn’t afraid of sharing this information. In fact, they have it right on their web page!

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Any successful public relations professional knows that transparency is the best policy. Taco Bell doesn’t want to scare away their customers if those who read the label misinterpret and then miscommunicate information to others. As a matter of fact, these so called “harmful chemicals” actually serve a purpose. Maltodextrin is a form of mildly sweet sugar used to balance the meet flavor and trehalose is a natural sugar that is used to improved the taste of the seasoned beef. Now does that sound so bad? Taco Bell’s transparency has assured customers that their product is not dangerous. (Even though Taco Bell isn’t the best food to consumer on a daily basis and may eventually lead to some health risks.)

How to Land a PR Job

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Landing your dream job out of college is probably going to be tricky. However, I’m not one to talk because I’m still in college, but hopefully I’ll remember to apply these tips when I’m ready to venture out into the real world.

Rule number one: Educate yourself on the company who’s going to interview you. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to know every last detailed thing about them, but at least know their up to date news on Twitter, their website, or Facebook.

Rule number two: Dress the part. If you look like you just rolled out of bed, you probably just should have stayed there.

Rule number three: Although you might have a million smaller jobs on your resume like waitressing or being a camp counselor, make sure you can relate the skills you learned in those jobs to the job you’re applying for now.

Rule number four: Do not overkill your past job experiences on your resume. Mowing the lawn for your neighbor does not count, and neither does feeding their fish for a week while they were vacationing in the Bahamas.

Rule number five: Don’t send the same cover letter to every job opportunity. Your cover letter should be tailored for each application letting the company know why you’re the best candidate.

Public Speaking Tips

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As a public relations professional, public speaking is what we’re “supposed” to be good at. After all, communicating is our specialty. However, three out of every four people have a fear of public speaking, including us!

Here is a spin on some classic tricks that you might have once thought were handy:

1. Bag the idea of picturing your audience naked. Instead, picture them happy! The audience will feed off of your vibes. If you smile and continue to make eye contact with people they’ll smile back, giving you the confidence booster you probably need.

2. Do not dress like you’re about to make a speech in front of the whole nation. Dress for the audience. However, that doesn’t mean wear what the smelly kid in the sweatshirt has been wearing all year. By adjusting your appearance to your audience they will find you more relatable, trustworthy, and let’s be honest a polo is more comfortable than a suffocating tie.

3. Know your material. However, memorizing it word for word is not fun for you or for your audience. Keep them interested by giving them the opportunity to engage in conversation, which may encourage them to ask questions at the end.

4. Whether it be 5 minutes to an hour, no one wants to sit through a boring speech. Triple check that your content will actually be interesting to other people than yourself or your lame coworker. If you’re well organized with interesting material to share, no one will remember if you kept your hands in your pockets the whole time or were having a bad hair day!

12 Unforgivable Writing Mistakes

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Although everyone makes occasional writing errors, there are 12 unforgivable mistakes that can make you less credible as a PR professional.

  1. Fewer versus less: Fewer- referring to things that can be counted. Less- referring to volumes or to things that cannot be counted.
  2. Affect versus effect: Affect- to influence. Effect– result
  3. Pronoun/ antecedent agreement
  4. Misspellings
  5. It’s versus its: It’s- it is. Its– possessive
  6. Misuse of the semicolon
  7. Alot versus a lot… alot is NOT a word
  8. Inconsistency with writing styles (AP,Oxford, MLA)
  9. Poorly cited stats and quotes
  10. Then versus than: Then- referring to a point in time or in addition to. Than- used for comparisons
  11. Lose versus loose: Lose- opposite of win. Loose- referring to something that doesn’t fit or is insecure
  12. Stolen content

I agree with everything on this list! However, I definitely would have included the difference between you’re and your.                    Check out other opinions and additions to this list here! 

American Airlines Responds to “Fake” Threat?

Yesterday, Sunday April 13, 2014, the twitter account user, @QueenDemetriax_ with the name Sarah attached to the account, tweeted at American Airlines, “hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye.” In response the airline replied, “Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.” 

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American Airlines’ reply set off a long string of panicked responses from “Sarah” claiming she was only a 14-year-old white girl whose friend took her phone and was joking, etc., etc. However, Sunday night American Airlines deleted the tweet stating that they took it down because it created too much traffic and that they wanted to focus on their customers.

The PR of American Airlines has both been criticized and encouraged. Many say that they took the threat too seriously and responded too harshly because why would a terrorist tweet a threat that includes their name and date of the planned attack. Others say that the account user, @QueenDemetriax_, got what she deserved. At the end of the day however, a threat in today’s world should be taken seriously and just because “Sarah” said she was kidding, does not make it OK. I believe the PR of American Airlines did a good job.

To check out more opinions on this article click here.

 

Taco Bell’s Interactive PR

I was shocked to hear that as a part of Taco Bell‘s new breakfast menu campaign, they decided to chose 1,000 super fans from Twitter and mailed them a Samsung T404G phone from HipCricket. The first message a phone holder would receive warned them that Taco Bell could call at any moment promising them a $100 gift card to the fast food restaurant, “even while you sleep.”

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The winners of the breakfast phones would receive calls and text messages constantly, leading them to social media challenges against other phone holders with the chance to win prizes. Some of the prizes included: Waffle Taco air fresheners, A.M. Crunchwrap bed sheets, Waffle Taco button-downs, gift cards, and even a trip to California to visit a seaside Taco Bell. 

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Taco Bell had the power over 1,000 obsessive fan’s personal lives, who were slaving over these txt messages and phone calls up to four or five times a day. However, we can’t blame Taco Bell for their intrusion, these fans literally asked for it over their Twitter accounts. Although they are using these fans to help with their social media campaign, fans may now consider Taco Bell not a company, but a friend. A friend who calls at odd hours of the day to challenge you and give you gifts, and who doesn’t like gifts? Taco Bell’s breakfast campaign was personal, fun, interactive, and made many fans.

Read more about one of the 1,000 winners here!

 

 

Tips for Handling Negative Comments on Social Media

With new technologies coming out year by year, the task of a public relations professional is getting increasingly difficult. In the past if a customer had a complaint it would usually be very private, either by phone call or letter. Today, if a customer has a problem they do not hesitate to put it on the Internet for all to see. Social media can make or break a company’s reputation, unless they handle customer complaints in an appropriate way. 

4 Social Media Monitoring and Management Tips:

  1. Track all complaints 
  2. Respond quickly in public
  3. Stay positive publicly
  4. Deal with details privately

Valid Complaints:

Valid complaints are the only complaints that must be taken into account. These are problems that the customer is having issues with and you must take action immediately. 

 

  • Document the comment so you don’t lose track of it or so it’s not deleted. 
  • Don’t be frustrated. The customer is seeking you out to give your business a second chance. Take time to think about a thorough response. 
  • Handle their issue with respect. 

More than likely if you handle the customer’s problem with respect and ease they will be forgiving and keep buying products serviced from your company. 

Trolls:

Trolls are a type of public spam that is ridiculing your business with unrelated, malicious complaints. They are hunting for attention and their comments should be deleted. 

Responses:

If you messed up, always admit to it. Remember the customer service policy that, “the customer is always right.” Publicly send an apology via social media with a playful tone to keep your business in a friendly, caring light. Privately contact the customer with the complaint, fix the problem, and give them a discount or some kind of benefit with their next purchase. Explain to the customer what went wrong and share with them how you’re going to fix this problem for the future. With these simple steps it is likely that you will have a satisfied customer who may continue to use your company’s products or services. 

 

How do you handle customer complaints?

Make a comment here!