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Reputation

News Producers to PR Professionals: ‘Live Up to That Name Please!’

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Some of us aren’t crazy about the moniker “flacks.” Even more are adverse to being called “spin doctors.” The term many embrace in this profession is “PR professional.”

The reason? Public relations people want to be considered pros at their jobs. They do much more than pitch and play. They want to convey expertise in a title and hope our colleagues in the media will see that professional ability every time. One catch: being professional in the process. 

That’s fine but if you are going to use that title, I have a request on behalf of many assignment desk editors and news producers: “Act like it!” Apparently, there have been issues.

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Restaurants With ‘Xtreme’ Menu Items Are Doing Long-Term Damage (To Their Business)


The Center for Science in the Public Interest has released its 2014 Xtreme Eating Awards and topping the list with a 3,540 calorie meal consisting of a “Monster” double burger and milkshake with a bottomless order of fries is Red Robin.

“[I]t’s the ‘single unhealthiest’ meal the group could find on more than 200 chain restaurant menus it reviewed…” says USA Today.

Also on the list three times is The Cheesecake Factory. And there’s Chevys Tex Mex with a combo plate, a seafood platter from Joe’s Crab Shack, ribs from Famous Dave’s and a deep-dish ranch pizza from BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.

Restaurants appearing on the list that spoke with the newspaper counter that there are low-calorie options on their menu for those that want them. Red Robin’s SVP and CMO, Denny Marie Post, says that colossal meal is a mixture of their menu’s “most indulgent” items.

All of this might be true, but that’s not what’s getting the media attention. These chains are making a name for themselves for having the most fattening and unhealthy dishes. That can have a negative long-term effect.

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Market Basket Parody Account Masters Investor Relations

Remember Market Basket? They’re the company that amazingly did not take our wise (in retrospect) advice about not firing the executive that everyone likes.

The firing was so unpopular that at least three separate Save Market Basket/People of Market Basket Facebook pages now exist; the most popular has more than 75,000 likes.

That’s not all: this morning Boston.com alerted us to the activities of a certain individual/individuals so invested in the future of Market Basket and its terrible PR decisions that he/she/they set up a parody Twitter account mocking the company’s board of directors.

More tweets after the jump.

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Q&A: Separating Business from Personal Politics

In case you missed it, venture capitalist/Silicon Valley money guru and Y Combinator founder Paul Graham–who helped startups like Dropbox and Airbnb achieve their impressive valuations–received a bit of negative attention from others in the tech scene over the past week for tweeting news stories about the Gaza conflict currently dominating headlines around the world. Here’s an example:

The tweets didn’t go over well with some Israeli members of the tech world. VC and sometime TechCrunch writer Roi Carthy wrote a blog post protesting Graham’s tweets and announcing his decision to stop working with Y Combinator in Israel. He spoke to Kevin Roose of New York magazine and compared Graham’s actions to those of Brendan Eich, who resigned as CEO of Mozilla after reports revealed his donations to the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 campaign:

“Due to mandatory army service, the tech industry and the army in Israel are intertwined…If you don’t recognize that, you shouldn’t be doing business with Israelis.”

The question: how can executives and other public figures avoid this potentially toxic meeting of politics and industry thought leadership?

We spoke to Stan Steinreich, CEO of Steinreich Communications, for his take.

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Meet the Top 10 Brands That Will ‘Disappear’ in 2015 While You Can

24-7-wall-streetFrom CEOs with the worst reputations to the worst places to work in America, the happy-happy-joy-joy-listicle fun people at 24/7 Wall St. can’t (and won’t) stop. This time, they offer an apocalyptic countdown for 10 beleaguered brands across this great land of ours.

While many of the ten here have suffered due to a lack of a coherent crisis comms strategy, some of these haphazard brands made the list because of the ever-growing mergers and acquisitions market. In short, those brands may not have a choice about disappearing.

And so, here are 10 brands those subjective observers believe will be gone by this time next year.

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Redskins’ Newest Comms Advisor Quits Amid Political Uproar

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington RedskinsThe Washington Football Team may have ended 4 of the past 5 seasons with a losing record, but they’ve appeared near the top of many “least desirable clients in the world” lists for far longer.

Last night we learned that Dan Snyder‘s latest attempt to improve his team’s public standing failed in quiet, Twitter-induced fashion.

The team’s basic strategy was to hire Ben Tribbett, a well-known political blogger who has long supported the Democratic Party, to help sway the public.

It didn’t work, though: last night Tribbett announced his resignation, appropriately, on Twitter after about two weeks on the job.

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Q&A: What’s the Best Way to Respond to Bad Reviews?

These chefs might seem to be reading their negative Yelp reviews for the first time, but anyone adept in the reputation management field knows how to gauge sentiments online.

We all know that such reviews have great influence, even though many are written by amateurs who may have had a few too many before deciding to bring down a business’s rating over one proverbial fly in the soup.

So what’s the best way to respond to these negative reviews? We spoke to Karan Chaudhry–CEO of “leading provider of instant feedback solutions for restaurants and retailers” DropThought–to learn more.

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Corporate ‘Fact-Checking’ Blogs: Trend or Fad?

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In the wake of aggressive corporate communications moves like America’s biggest company “fact-checking” New York Times op-eds, we thought we’d check in on BlackBerry, the former best friend of Alicia Keys.

Last week, the company’s SVP of marketing announced the launch of its own “fact check portal”, which is usually the kind of thing reserved for politicians whose enemies will never believe that they have, in fact, seen the birth certificate.

So how is the portal doing so far?

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Google Now Ready to Begin ‘Forgetting’ Europeans

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Last month, several of our favorite PR experts weighed in on a European Union court’s decision to force Google to consider “forgetting” individual Europeans when their search results include unflattering links. The general consensus held that, while this decision could greatly affect European clients, it would almost certainly not spread to the U.S.

Yesterday, however, Google announced that it was ready to begin the process of forgetting. Details after the jump.

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5 Tips for Creativity in Times of Crisis or Controversy

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Today we bring you a guest post by Howard Bragman, founder and chairman of Fifteen Minutes PR.

This post is part of an ongoing series.

Like many in our profession, I sometimes feel like the guy at the circus juggling plates on the ends of sticks. It looks precarious, but like the guy under the big top, I am happiest when there is a lot going on.

Over the past several years, I’ve had three primary jobs: 1.) Chairman and Founder of Fifteen Minutes, a Los Angeles-based PR firm that specializes in consumer brands, entertainment and crisis/controversy clients; 2.) Vice Chairman of Reputation.com, the largest and category-creating online reputation management company; and 3.) Network and cable broadcast news contributor, providing my take on the reputational events of the day.

My PR and crisis work often involves people and companies seeking to prevent or assuage a whirlwind of damaging press.

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