Top 3 PR Articles of the Week: Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Friday! At some point in our careers, we’ve probably all heard the phrase, “all PR is good PR.” Well….I could definitely argue that this is not always true. While a good PR person may have the ability to turn bad news into a gain, there are some reputations that once tarnished, have a difficult time bouncing back. Therefore, the top 3 articles from this week are all about reputation management. Enjoy!

USA Today
Brian Williams’ unmitigated disaster Read>>>

Fast Company
What Uber needs to do to fix its reputation Read>>>

Bloomberg Business
Harvard lures a record 37,000 applicants by milking social media Read>>>

Kristin Rabas (@krabas)
Sr. Public Relations Advisor
Aurora Health Care

A Westerner’s Tales of PR in the Wild, Wild East

Ni hao! Fellow Milwaukee Communicator Matt Wisla has written two articles related to his PR experiences in China for the PRSA national publications The Strategist and Tactics. Check them out here (you’ll need your PRSA membership login & password to log into the national site):

Wisla is a Marquette Journalism graduate and spent some of his early career in Milwaukee at Bader Rutter and Nelson & Schmidt. More recently he worked with Fleishman-Hillard as a vice president at that agency’s Beijing office, and has also served as the vice president of Communications at the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China.

Chinese Dragon

Xie xie (pn. “shay-shay”) for the very interesting articles, Matt! We’re betting you’ve got some great cocktail hour anecdotes about your experiences in China beyond what’s in these articles! Looking forward to hearing more when we see you at PR Palooza in a couple of weeks!

You can contact Matt Wisla at


Bottling lightning: How to build a winning campaign

The basic elements of winning at any sport are preparation, execution and a little bit of luck.

Turns out, those are largely the same components that go into a marketing, PR and social media campaign that capitalizes on sentiment around these successes. It’s how a brand can bottle lightning.

Bottling lightning: 1) Capturing something powerful and elusive and then being able to hold it and show it to the world. 2) Performing a rare feat. 3) A moment of creative brilliance. 

At yesterday’s PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin luncheon, Jockey and Hanson Dodge explained how a huge amount of hard work and planning, a plan to follow through and a bit of serendipity raised the profile of their brands when opportunities presented themselves.

Jockey and Tim Tebow

Jockey's website campaign

Mo Moorman, public relations director for Jockey International, shared the wild ride that was Tim Tebow-mania, who the company sponsored starting when he was a relative unknown. But that changed suddenly and dramatically.

During the Broncos quarterback’s rise to stardom and playoff run, Jockey’s numbers included:

  • 700 media placements with 500 million impressions
  • A Tebow ad that went viral and was covered by national media
  • 14,000 new Facebook likes
  • More than 100,000 views on YouTube
  • A Twitter campaign that benefited from a topic that saw the most tweets-per-second in Twitter history.

Those a just a few statistics that translated to more than buzz. It resulted in 21,000 new customers opting in for marketing, the second most single-day visits to the site ever, and increase in key brand metrics, such as “Jockey is for someone like me.”

Wilson Sporting Goods

While phenomenons like Tebow don’t happen every day, some major events like the Super Bowl occur on a more predictable schedule. But they still require planning and coordination to take advantage of the buzz for the purpose of a specific brand.

Dave Racine, director of social media and PR at Hanson Dodge Creative, explained how Wilson told its story with the “More Win” campaign and behind-the-scenes mini documentaries of a small town football-making factory. This requires a more pro-active initiative than focusing on responding to a spontaneous event like Tebow-mania.

When no community exists, Racine explained, build one. And build one they did, through user-generated videos as well as media placements through the Wall Street Journal, CBS and others.

At the same time, they jumped at the chance to hitch their star to Derrick Wilson during his quest for NBA MVP. In the same way as their longer-term campaigns, media placements and community-based crowdsourcing helped raise the profile of the Wilson brand basketball.

Hanson Dodge Olympic Sponsorship

In another example at Hanson Dodge, Social Media Strategist Mike Wisniewski saw a quirky opportunity to sponsor a potential Olympic athlete with a temporary tattoo of their company on his arm. London Olympic Games hopefully Nick Symmonds was offering up the opportunity via an eBay auction.

There were many questions and unknowns — not to mention a ticking auction clock — but the agency decided to move quickly and decisively on the opportunity. As Hanson Dodge Partner and Director of Marketing Al Krueger shared, they won the auction, flew to Oregon to organized a press conference, and publicized the move via their website and social media.

To tell their larger story, Hanson Dodge positioned Symmonds on a new active lifestyle advisory board to complement their goals with all brands, beyond running. Results included their top three biggest website traffic days “by a long shot,” as well as major placements including Sports Illustrated and Runner’s World.


One key takeaway from all three speakers is that “hard work goes hand-in-hand with opportunity.” You have to put in the hours and move quickly when an unexpected or high-caliber chance arises to move the needle. You don’t know when something similar will come along again.

How can you bottle lightning?

View the slides for the Jockey, Wilson and Symmonds presentations on Scribd.  

— By Tim Cigelske 

Meet the Members: Shana Pawlowicz

Each month, on the PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin blog, we will feature one of the members of our fine organization. Get to know a little bit about who they are, why they joined and what they are most looking forward to about being a part of the PRSA SEW Chapter. And maybe a few random facts here and there. 

This month, we are featuring Shana Pawlowicz!

Name –  Shana Pawlowicz

Most of your experience falls in the in non-profit sector. What’s motivates you to work in that field? I have volunteered with several organizations now for over 7 years. While I am quite open to working in a variety of different markets within the creative field, I really do enjoy the sense of good I feel when not only I see all of my hard work pay off with a successful event, but also the joy from those in attendance who will directly or indirectly benefit from my hard work.

One of you recent positions was with ABCD and their event Date with a Plate that just happened last month. How’d the event go? The event went great! We had about 18 different stations from local restaurant groups who donated fabulous food for everyone to try. Our silent auction was also a big hit with over 100 items that help to raise over $26,000 for that section alone!

With many professional organizations available, what drew you to PRSA? In college I was a member of PRSSA and not only did I find the knowledge I received during that time rewarding but also the camaraderie of my peers who were also excited to start their careers. So I knew out of college that PRSA would certainly be a great place for me to belong and now that I have moved to Milwaukee and ready to establish my career and home here, I am very excited to be apart of the local chapter.

As a new member of the organization, what aspects are you most looking forward to (luncheons, newsletters, networking, young pros, awards)? Can I say all of it? haha. But really I am a very outgoing person and a person who loves challenges and learning daily. What’s great about this organization is that I am surrounded by individuals who feel the same way. PRSA offers so many opportunities to be able to continually learn and grow in this field, and I hope to continue to do so through PRSA.

What’s your favorite aspect of the Public Relations industry? (Media relations, special events, social media, crisis communication, community relations, ect.) And why? I feel so many of those areas tie together well that you can’t really choose one in order to do your job effectively. While I’m still looking currently for a full time home with a local company, I hope that in my future position I am able to tackle each of these areas. I think what is most intriguing to me right now however is social media, for the simple fact that it is changing at such a fast pace and is so cutting edge. Well that and the fact that I just (and finally) got an iphone to putz around on all my social media avenues with!

What’s your favorite blog that you follow? I’m a huge foodie! Everyone who really knows me knows the way to my heart is with a good meal. So as much as I hate to give this little hidden gem away I will, so that others may enjoy this amazing website and create scrumdiddlyumptious treats too. Check it out…she’s a food genius!

Tell us something we don’t know about you? I am a former Miss Oshkosh with the Miss America Organization and during my year of service I made 82 volunteer appearances. During that time I was able to raise thousands of dollars and volunteer for various non-profits which includes: St. Baldricks Day, Children’s Miracle Network, American Cancer Society, Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee and many others. And while I do get lots of flack from people about this, I am very proud of the accomplishments that have come from it and just goes to show, “You can never judge a book by its cover.”

Next time you see Shana at a luncheon, be sure to introduced yourself. Or you could connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

– Andrew Wiech (@AndrewWiech)

PRSA President Mary Scheibel on the future of PR

Interview by Jenna Kashou

Welcome to the new blog for PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin, which will focus on news from the chapter, social media and the future of public relations.

For our first blog we interviewed Southeastern Wisconsin PRSA President Mary Scheibel, who provides her perspective from 30 years of PR experience. She started her career with The Sara Lee Corporation in Chicago, and in 1991 she founded Scheibel Halaska.

In this interview, Mary discusses how she uses social media for business and personal, what changes the game, and what will never change.

Q: How have you seen social media change public relations practices?

A: The ability for people to generate content and participate directly in the news process really changes the game. Social media is the wave of the future and people need to embrace it. It’s important to learn how to take advantage of social media as a critical component in an integrated strategy.

Q: How has PRSA responded to and implemented social media?

A: We have been able to bring together a very dynamic social media committee that is sending tweets from our Twitter account ahead of and at meetings and uploading videos of presenters. We are also using social media as a primary communications tool to share information about the industry and chapter events.

From an educational standpoint, several of our programs have been focused on teaching our members how to best utilize social media and how to integrate social media into best practices for web, SEO and more. We also encourage members to follow reporters online and help them with story leads.

The March 25th meeting will focus on how reporters are using social media and how PR practitioners can use it for their clients and their agencies. There will be practical advice that everyone can take away and apply to their business practices.

Q: What social media tools do you use the most for business and which are the most effective?

A: Scheibel Halaska is primarily a B2B firm, so using social media is a bit different than on the consumer side. We are, however, building social media into our clients’ programs and leading by example. SH has a twitter account, a blog, a Facebook fan page and a LinkedIn group.

Our goal is to tweet a minimum of three times a week, but more actively when we have relevant information to share. Last week we attended a conference for international PR practitioners so we tweeted much more frequently. We strive to maintain a consistent presence, although our biggest focus is on relevant content. We do lots of linking, re-tweeting and driving content to our blog.

We follow reporters for all our clients, looking for story opportunities and ways we can help the media generate news.

Q: Do you use social media for personal use?

A: I have a Facebook page and like to share pictures of my granddaughter with friends and family. My son got married in La Paz, Mexico (his wife’s hometown) last fall, so Facebook was an important communications tool.

My husband John, who is the CEO of Scheibel Halaska, is one of the most tuned in people around. He never just watches TV anymore. John will follow different news feeds online while things happen.

As a board member of IPREX, an international association of PR practitioners, he’s constantly getting perspectives from people online around the world. He is able to bring European soccer fans into our living room! It adds a whole other dimension.

Q: What do you feel are some of the most common misconceptions about social media?

A: I think there are two primary misperceptions – one that social media is just a fad and conversely that social media is “everything.” It’s also a misconception that you can’t generate a return on the B2B side. The smart companies are learning how to use it effectively.

I also think that as Facebook becomes a more important business tool as well as a social tool, people will start to be more discriminatory on who they have as friends and take better care of their reputations.

Q: With all the changes brought by social media what sorts of things do you think will stay the same?

A: Social media will not replace face to face communications. Advertising will continue to have its place.

Trust and credibility will always be paramount and hopefully we will never get away from ethics. As it shifts more and more to user generated content, trust and integrity of the author will come into play more.

People that I’ve talked to believe that the market will correct itself. If someone is being dishonest online, his or her fan base will diminish. Because of the speed of the medium, people will spread the word about him/her quickly.

People are always hungry for good credible sources. That will always remain.

Q: What do you think the PRSA chapter will look like in five years? How will social media change the landscape?

A: We are building a very robust chapter and have a strong group of dedicated volunteers. Our goal is to have a robust PR community that has a positive impact:

  1. On our members and their careers
  2. Through our members, on the companies/organizations they work for
  3. In the community-at-large

I am seeing that happen in a lot of different ways. Social media will help us better understand and stay on top of what members need and want. It can enhance our value to members by allowing us to better connect members and share best practices.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice given to you about social media?

A: Be thoughtful. Understand what your goals and objectives are as an individual and for your business. Incorporate social medial and be strategic about how you use it.

Don’t be afraid to get involved. A lot of people are entering social media slowly. It’s OK to step into and move forward at pace that works for you.

Q: Anything else to add?

A: As PR practitioners, our greatest value to clients is in providing good, strategic counsel. Good ideas, good writing, good strategy – those are the things that require focus and concentrated thinking. My greatest concern is that we don’t become so tactical that we diminish our real value.

We have to careful with our time and how much of it is spent on social media. We can’t just replace research and analytical thinking with copying and pasting Google alerts.

How do we make sure we are still taking time to think and focus? Maintaining that balance is ever so challenging yet ever so important.