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BJ Fischer
Works at FLS Group at Thread Marketing
Attended Bowling Green State University
Lives in Saline, MI
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The article below, which is how we can explain PR to our colleagues raises one interesting point--and a way social media has made our job easier.  In the past when colleagues wanted media for a non-media idea, we were faced with being The Deliverers of Inconvenient Truth.  Now, with social media, we can offer a blog post or Facebook post as a way to get the idea some coverage.

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/18177.aspx
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BJ Fischer

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Do you say there is nothing new in media relations?  How about this...journalists flying drones!  On the positive side, are we going to develop visuals for stories that can be seen from there.  On the negative side, it would give investigative stories a whole new...well...angle.

http://www.niemanlab.org/2015/02/new-rules-governing-drone-journalism-are-on-the-way-and-theres-reason-to-be-optimistic
They're more permissive than some had expected: "Under this regulatory framework, every newsroom will have drones and people certified to fly them. They'll just be part of the equipment."
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The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual opportunity to check in on whether the world is nurturing the fundamentals for a sustainable future. The whole thing is a must read, but here's an interesting quote: "By a two-to-one margin, respondents in all nations feel the new developments in business are going too fast and there is not adequate testing. Even worse, 54 percent say business growth or greed/money are the real impetuses behind innovation."  

For the PR industry, this represents a huge opportunity, because what it says is that we need to do a better job of helping the public understand not just the process of change but also how social benefits compliment the profit motive.  Should be right in our wheelhouse.

http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/2015-edelman-trust-barometer/
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Chipotle made big news this week when it pulled pork off its menu because a supplier was not acting in a manner that is consistent with the company's brand promise. Many people will focus on the lost sales aspect of the announcement, but the far more important thing is that Chipotle strengthened its brand with deeds and not words. Chipotle has proven that it is committed to doing what it says and their relationship with their customers will be stronger for it.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/01/14/chipotle_pork_shortage_carnitas_disappears_from_restaurants_after_supplier.html
Chipotle is in the throes of a carnitas crisis. America’s favorite burrito chain has reportedly stopped serving pork at one-third of its more than 1,700 restaurants after suspending a supplier that violated its standards. Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle, told the Associated Press that the halt on carnitas marks...
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We are all grown ups here, so we can all admit it...we're all sick of being lectured to about "storytelling."  Still, there's an insight in here that I think is worth saving...and that is the idea that we need more strong characters in our communications.  To capture reader interest, we tend to focus more on the product and the technology, and not the people who created the product and the technology.

http://tinyurl.com/kt4bxfn
Believe it or not, PR pros can take a page from The Brothers Grimm's stories and other classic texts about fantastical lands and creatures.
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Everyone in PR grew up on the idea of third-party validation. Enter McDonald's, riding a drop in sales and profits, fueled partly by concern about food quality. They hired Grant Imahara of Mythbusters to serve as the public's surrogate in examining the food. People saw right through a"paid spokesman".  If McDonald's wants to convert skeptics, it needs to show its processes to its toughest critics and let them talk about it unedited. Anything else is going to fall short.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/11/04/mcdonald_s_mcrib_mythbuster_watch_grant_imahara_and_wes_bellamy_see_how.html
There are a lot of questions about the McDonald's McRib. Is it real pork? Does it contain plastic? Will it bounce? McDonald's also isn't too crazy about some of these questions. So in an effort to dispel some of the more unflattering queries about its signature barbecue item, the company...
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Somehow I don't think "not that gross" is quite what McDonald's was shooting for here.
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Here's a fascinating marketing story about how PR created the bacon-fueled frenzy in today's food world...how pork was dying as "the other white meat."  The story is about strategy and execution, but it is mostly about listening to your customers (who said "we miss flavor") and being resourceful--taking advantage of what you have to work with.  Great case study...

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-10-06/bacon-why-americas-favorite-food-mania-happened#r=hp-ls
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The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual opportunity to check in on whether the world is nurturing the fundamentals for a sustainable future. The whole thing is a must read, but here's an interesting quote: "By a two-to-one margin, respondents in all nations feel the new developments in business are going too fast and there is not adequate testing. Even worse, 54 percent say business growth or greed/money are the real impetuses behind innovation."  

For the PR industry, this represents a huge opportunity, because what it says is that we need to do a better job of helping the public understand not just the process of change but also how social benefits compliment the profit motive.  Should be right in our wheelhouse.

http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/2015-edelman-trust-barometer/
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Some people will tell you there is no such thing as bad publicity.  As a friend of my son's says, "those people would be wrong." Case in point is Nationwide, which took a beating for its "dead child" Super Bowl spot. Nationwide intended to start a conversation...and they did, just the wrong one. They picked a very risky approach in the wrong setting and ended up damaging their "on your side" brand. In today's world, there are better ways to raise awareness and better venues in which to do it.  

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/super-bowl-xlix/nationwide-explains-depressing-super-bowl-ad-n298181
Nationwide Insurance's depressing Super Bowl ad generated so much backlash Sunday that the company issued a late-night statement explaining that the spot — w...
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The Forest Service had an image building campaign scheduled, but had to pull it back because it seemed at odds with austerity measures being taken at the Service.  I think we've all heard that before--why are you "wasting" money on branding when you cut back elsewhere. To me, there's an opportunity to get users involved, with videos and photos detailing their experience in the parks.  Either way, there's always a value in engaging with people in a way that keeps you relevant...that's never a "waste."

http://news.yahoo.com/forest-yanks-10-million-contract-boost-image-191655554.html
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service has abruptly decided not to spend $10 million on a five-year nationwide public relations campaign to brand itself as a public agency that cares about people and nature.
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One of the things that people ask us about in media training is going "off the record."  Our advice is that the safest approach is to treat everything you say as "on the record."  The story below talks about a couple examples where making a presumption about being off the record has gotten some folks in trouble...and says that if you are going to do it, at least be crystal clear about the ground rules.

Or, I like to quote Pogo.  "Nobody never got in trouble for what they never said."

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/17652.aspx
An Uber executive's remarks became big news though they weren't intended for publication. It's always important to set ground rules with reporters.
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Following up on last week's wildly popular post on the role of PR in creating the bacon-frenzy, I now offer you this Planet Money story about how Swiss cheese makers popularized fondue--a little known regional Alpine dish--in order to move surplus soft cheese.  From the entire PR industry, I say:

"You're welcome"

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/10/10/355177578/episode-575-the-fondue-conspiracy
The popularity of fondue wasn't an accident. It was planned by a cartel of Swiss cheese makers, which ruled the Swiss economy for 80 years.
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  • FLS Group at Thread Marketing
    Director of Strategic Services, 1998 - present
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