Public Communication in Retail and Sales
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Public Communication in Retail and Sales
The Relation Between Corporation and Consumer
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Blockbuster said to sell smartphones at its retail stores

Blockbuster said to sell smartphones at its retail stores | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
As Dish moves away from DVD rentals and into mobile-phone sales, could it be making moves to offer its own wireless mobile service? Read this article by Dara Kerr on CNET News.

 

Part of the nature of business is being able to stay with the times. Because of how often the public’s interests change as well as how often technology advances, in order for any business to stay profitable is if they continually find new and better ways to conduct business. Recently the struggling video rental chain BlockBuster was bought out by Dish Network for $320 million. Dish had high hopes to maintain the majority of the locations as well as keep as many as 15,000 employees, however they unfortunately were not so fortunate. Because of the loss of business and the number of locations going into the red, Dish is attempting to use BlockBuster as a means into a new market; Cell phones. BlockBuster locations are supposedly going to start selling smart phones to go along with the web applications that are becoming more available. The BlockBuster apps are already available on most major smart phones for most providers, and Dish is looking to grow in this area. There is even a rumor that BlockBuster may even provide its very own mobile service apart from the others. Although it is still in the works, most likely this service will be implemented soon.
This is a prime example of a company taking a chance and making a change. Knowing that the market is moving toward hands-free mobile control in almost everything, what better way to stay on top of the game then offering you very own service? Who better to help than PR professionals?
In a retail age, some of the original functions of PR come out in helping with marketing and business. The PR objective is to make people aware of the product or service in the first place, make them knowledgeable about the benefits and advantages of the particular product or service, and to make them constantly reminded and reinforced in favorable feelings toward the product (Et. Al. Pg 134). Dish needs to maintain a strong relationship with their PR team in this time of transition. Adding a whole new line of product and services can be hard to start, the key is going to be making sure customers are informed of the benefits as well as treated very well making Dish and BlockBuster’s stand out the most. Also in the midst of merging to companies, having strong internal communication is key for the business to thrive.
All in all this is an exciting adventure for Dish, however in order for it to be successful, they must embrace the talents of their PR team.

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Wet Seal discriminated against former black manager, EEOC says

Wet Seal discriminated against former black manager, EEOC says | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found that retailer Wet Seal Inc. discriminated against a former African American store manager.

 

Wet Seal corporate managers openly stated that to be profitable the retailer had to retain workers with "the Armani look" — meaning thin, blond and blue-eyed.

 

A recent LA Times article states that the firing of an African American manager of a Wet Seal store in Pennsylvania is blatant discrimination. After a three year federal investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it was determined that Nicole Cogdell was “subjected to a hostile work environment because of her race.” The evidence to this case was found within an email from upper management sent out to the subordinates stating that the high level of African American workers was a “huge issue.”

 

Management was also instructed to hire white skinned, blond haired, blue eyed employees, thus the firing of Nicole Cogdell upon a senior executive stating that she did not meet the requirements. Wet Seal is now undergoing a class-action law suit consisting of 250 management-level employees.

 

Adding to their problems, Wet Seal is also attempting to juggle changing board members and a year of declining sales. According to the article, shares of Wet Seal fell 5 cents, or 1.7%, to $2.88 on Monday.

 

Talk about a PR nightmare! The buyer-seller relationship concerns every public relations department and every public relations counselor (Et. Al. Pg 132) so everyone is involved! Is there anything a PR professional can do to turn Wet Seal around? It must be understood that there are legal and financial workings beyond the responsibilities of Public Relations. However, as a Public Relations professional, your responsibility still remains to save face for the company. Perhaps one of the ways to do this is to encourage the management to speak out about this issue and express how this is not the overall view of the company. Just because a few managers abused their power does not mean that the franchise in anyway supports or condones this discriminatory behavior.

 

To address the dropping in sales, now might be a good time to turn on the charm and elaborate upon all the good merchandise that Wet Seal has to offer. By steering the focus to the product itself, perhaps less light will be shed upon the negative issues at hand. A PR professional is no genie in a bottle, but one can be quite the talented illusionist.

 

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More Dads Buy the Toys, So Barbie, and Stores, Get Makeovers

More Dads Buy the Toys, So Barbie, and Stores, Get Makeovers | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
Fathers are doing more of the family shopping just as girls are being steered toward toys that develop math skills.

 

Kids are going to grow up with dads that give them baths and drive them to soccer and are cutting up oranges for team snacks…What will go away, albeit slowly, is the image or the perception of the befuddled dad.

 

In today’s day and age, soccer dads and working moms are becoming more common. This fact has inspired changes among markets everywhere. One thing that will never change, however, is the bottom line. Make money. In an effort to do this, markets are realizing the rising importance of appealing to stay at home dads.

 

Mattel’s and Lego’s recent joint attempts to increase the bottom line has sent them into the depths of the psychological workings of the modern stay at home dad. Dads are doing the shopping now more than ever. In order to appeal to these shopping fathers without ignoring the wants of their daughters, Mattel and Lego have come up with feminine style building toys. The Mega Bloks Barbie Build ‘n Style and Lego’s pastel construction toys called Friends were created in the hopes of awakening the inner engineer within future women everywhere. The masculinity of construction along with the femininity of Barbie allows fathers to participate while daughters learn better spatial thinking. Dr. Susan C. Levine, chairwoman of the psychology department at the University of Chicago and the co-principal investigator at the National Science Foundation’s Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, says, “Children with better spatial thinking are more likely to eventually go into mathematics, engineering, science and technology.” Marketers find this to be a critical part in both sales and the development of young minds.

 

Public Relations experts need to help their clients understand the power they hold as well as the careful considerations necessary to implement their strategies successfully. More than anything, what PR activities and messages communicate are the values and vision of the organization – for better or for worse (Et. Al. Pg 4). A simple construction toy that appeals to girls today can transform into a construction company run by women tomorrow. The same toy could also turn into a lawsuit concerning sexism if the proper PR was not executed.

 

PR Representatives hold a very important role in the shaping of the fabric of society. Abuse of this role could result in insulting both men and women and steering costumers away from the very products they hoped to sell. A proper handling of this role will bridge the gap between the harshness of the bottom line and the necessary emotional connection with the public at large.

 

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Black Friday Won’t Save Retail-As-We-Know-It - Forbes

Black Friday Won’t Save Retail-As-We-Know-It - Forbes | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
Barry Ritholtz writes Thomson Reuters tracks major retailers actual sales results — not surveys — and the most recent data was disappointing. Sales at stores open at least a year gained 1.6% increase in November.

 

                Looks like the holiday season isn’t quite panning out how most retailers thought. Statistics show that this past black Friday did no increase sales quite like what was expected. In fact, instead of sales increasing many major retailers actually experienced a percentage decrease in total sales. Forbes reports that fake reports have been making it sounds as if sales increased by 13% this year, however truthfully on average, businesses open for at least one year are closer to an average of 1.6%! Big stores like Khols, Target, Nordstrom and even Macy’s were all in the red this year with sales decreases down to -5.6%. Although this holiday season isn’t over, statistics are predicting a less than satisfactory holiday season for retailers. What does this mean for these major businesses? Is with the economy progressively getting better, what is still to blame? This is the perfect opportunity for PR professionals to start making big differences in the current retail market.

                A large portion of holiday sales success is based on effective marketing and business promotion. In order to have this, a positive relationship with the consumer must be established, and who better to make that happen than a PR team? First the step will be to establish a firm relationship between management and employees. In doing this the employees will work harder and do more for the business. The first public of any organization is its employees- the people who make it what it is…an organization is a “human community” that needs the contributions of everyone to function and be successful (Et. Al. Pg 22). Without having the “people who make it what it is” on your side, it is near impossible to expect any sort of sales success. The PR teams focus must be to create this relationship through any means necessary. One big way this can be implemented is through automation. The computer radically changes the role of the individual in many workplaces (Et. Al. Pg 23). By utilizing the technological advancement of this age, PR professionals can help establish better internal relationships for these companies. Once this is formed, businesses can only expect newer levels of success.

                In a season presumed to bring in the most revenue for most businesses, every aspect of the company has to be in top condition. A big part of this is the internal aspects. The more PR teams can do for a business, the better the business will do.   

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Store mannequins may be no dummies - they're spies

Store mannequins may be no dummies - they're spies | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
The $5,000 device has spurred shops to adjust window displays, store layouts and promotions to keep consumers walking in the door and spending.

 

     Retailers will do anything and everything to increase sales. The goal is always for just one more dollar, which means whatever it takes (ethically and morally speaking of course) businesses are going to be willing to give it a shot. Being that we live in a technological age, why not utilize what these technologies have to offer? Retail stores are now beginning to install what is called EyeSee technology, developed by Italian mannequin maker Almax, into their stores windows and mannequin displays to gather information regarding their consumers. With technology imbedded much like that of the police, this EyeSee program will have the ability to not only see people, but will actually take snap shots and profile shoppers stature, style and over-all image as well as utilize facial recognition software and log age, gender and race into a database.
     In an age where growth is slowing, man businesses are looking to use technological advancement as their means to gain as much growth as possible. The benefit of integrating this particular technology is that it is already proving effective as well as has great potential. In future years, the developer of EyeSee is hoping to add vocal recognition allowing for mannequins to eavesdrop on consumers, hear what they are saying about the mannequin or store, transmitting data to a nearby screen allowing it to present pertinent information for that specific consumer.

     What does this mean for PR professionals? Is this going to eliminate the position of PR professionals? By no means! If anything this is an exciting technological advancement for the relationship between PR professionals and all retail business. One of the roles of PR is concentrating the publicity and promotion activities on taking customers away from competitors (Et. Al. Pg. 135).This technology is a perfect way to do that. PR professionals can access this information and not only use it to restructure the image of a business in a way more appealing to its immediate customer but they can use this data to work from inside a business and help build a functionality within a company that more caters to the types of consumers that have been examined.

     In order to stay on top of the game, one has to go with the times. As technology advances, retailers are running with it, thus PR professionals need to jump on the band wagon and use these great new devices to their advantage.

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Macy's -- A Great Partnership with The Finish Line - Forbes

Macy's -- A Great Partnership with The Finish Line - Forbes | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
I am very excited about Macy’s exclusive arrangement with Finish Line, whereby athletic shoes will be merchandised in exclusive shops in more than 450 full-line Macy stores on a lease basis starting in the spring 2013.

 

As the holiday season inches closer, businesses are making the necessary arrangements to accommodate the needs of all the customers. New products are being revealed, new locations are being opened and even existing companies are merging together to form a better shopping experience for the guests. Macy’s, the well known department store throughout the country is partnering up with the athletic retailer Finish Line. The partnership is presumed to be a huge step for both companies allowing for a wider range of clientele as well as much more variety for the customers. Business is expected to boom this holiday season and Finish Line is looking to generate sales of $250 to $350 million dollars. Now that this partnership has formed, and the anticipated dollar amounts are set, how must these companies go about achieving these goals?

                In order for this merging to be successful, first the word must get out to the consumers. If the average customer is unaware of the new options available in Macy’s locations via finish line, than the only customers that will be aware will be the ones who accidently stumble across it when shopping there to begin with. In order to overcome this, Macy’s and Finish Line must begin reaching out to the media with their news of partnership as well as build stronger relationships with the existing customers ensuring that their benefits will only increase and their options will also increase. PR is going to play a huge roll in this relationship building process. The consumers need to be aware of the changes and the word needs to get out which are both specialties of a good PR team. In additions to building that relationship PR professionals will need to concentrate the publicity and promotion activities on taking customers away from competitors (Et. Al., Pg 135). In doing this, the customer not only looks forward to the new options available in this particular retail market, but it also has a sort of tunnel vision focus on Macy’s and Finish Line specifically preventing them to be swayed by other retail competitors.

                All in all the success of this business transition is likely to happen if the base level relation with consumers is implemented. If the clientele feels informed and comfortable with the new change to the company, and excited to spend money there then the goal has been achieved. But this can only happen with a strong PR team, helping get the news out as well as helping the employees of both companies work well together.

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Toy Makers Go Back to Furby, Ninjas for the Holidays

Toy Makers Go Back to Furby, Ninjas for the Holidays | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it

"Toy Makers are Making Toys for a Whole New Age."

 

               The Holiday season is fast approaching and many retailers are beginning to stock the shelves and prep the store for all the mayhem that is an American Christmas. As the store locations begin making the necessary preparations, what might the producers of product be doing? Being that we live in an ever growing technological age, the creators of consumer goods are having to find new and innovative ways to attract buyers to their product. What better way to attract buyers than to make goods that cooperate with the goods consumers already own? Toy makers this season are looking to re-launch some of history’s most remembered toys such as “Hot Wheels” and “Furby” with a new twist. These toys are going to have integrated chips allowing them to sync with existing iPhones or iPod touches in order to control and interact with them allowing for a more user friendly experience (as if just using one’s imagination isn’t enough). Other toys will include embedded sensors allowing for games to be played on the iPads.

                What does this mean for PR? Well this is the perfect example of the technological age that PR professionals are forced to work in. Being that Jobs aren’t necessarily the easiest to come by anymore, when you land a job with a retail company, much of the success is dependent on how well you can relate with your buyers. In this sense, finding out what is most popular and finding new and exciting ways to integrate that in the business. Now for the most part marketing will be doing most of the advertising for the product itself, but the PR professionals will have to play a role in learning what the clientele for a company is doing with their time and money, and figure ways to make product and the values of the company fit into the lifestyles of the clientele. PR professionals must also adopt customer satisfaction programs in which the entire organizations are focused on delivering not just a product or service but also the quality and personal interactions consumers expect when making a purchase (Et. Al., Pg. 135). This is what will set companies apart.

                As product and design forms and molds to a new age and generation, so must the PR team that is a part of any company. Change is required for success in a business based on people, and effective communication is key to achieving that success. 

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How Retailers Are Reinventing Shopping - Harvard Business Review

How Retailers Are Reinventing Shopping - Harvard Business Review | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it

"Shopping as we know it is changing"

 

Our entire Country is experiencing change on multiple levels. The Economy is not doing so well, politically we are in transition of leadership, national debt is through the roof and everyone is affected. Because of all these changes, people’s mentalities towards their everyday lives are changing as well. This means business and the entire market system as we know it is forced to undergo changes as well.

      In order for businesses to thrive they must accommodate the clientele. If customers are unhappy or unwilling to purchase or partake in what is being offered by the business, than the business is destined to fail. On the retail level especially, immediate interaction with customers is directly related with the success of the entire company. This article talks about all the changes that retailers have to make in order to accommodate the needs and demands of the consumers while keeping up with the trends and technologies offered by this generation. Because of the widespread use and dependence on internet and instant access, many companies are faced with either adopting cyber-expansion, or crumbling to the ground. Other companies such as eBay, who already hold a huge role in the cyber market, have to change their ways of doing things in order to accommodate the customers who prefer not to auction on line and prefer a more hands on experience with the product before they choose to purchase it. This then leads to the question, how are retailers going to be able to effectively communicate the intentions of the company as well as put to practice the changes that customers desire?

       In order for success to happen in the retail industry, the PR professionals are going to have to not only communicate intentions of the retailers, but also build the relationships with the clientele in order to receive a message that most accurately portrays the most prominent desire of the customers. If the company is only receiving a foggy message as to what the customers really want, the company will be unable to accommodate those needs. This is where the personal aspect of PR is so important as opposed to the very generic form of Media. In today’s environment, people want to be served, not sold; involved, not told…Build relationships, make internal publics top priority, consider an “under the radar” approach to bypass media, use accountable, focused, measurable programs, and expand research (Et. Al., Pg. 166). With this 5 step strategy, retailers will most effectively be able to find out what exactly the customers want, implement it, and achieve success for both themselves and the economy. 

 

 

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GlobeSt.com - Hhgregg Vs. Best Buy - Counter Culture Article

What is Hhgregg doing right that its larger competitor Best Buy isn t managing right now?

 

         Most commonly, when asked, the average person will assume Best Buy to be the electronics retailer of choice, but is that reputation in jeopardy? Best Buy is coming up against another electronics retail store that is proving itself to be a noticeable threat. This company is HHgregg.

          Initially at the company’s take off, for the most part it was not considered much of an issue for a large company such as Best Buy being that HHgregg only had a few stores. However, the company has significantly grown and proven to be in a pattern of even more growth to come. Best Buy was sitting pretty for a period of time once retailers such as Circuit City, Ultimate Electronics and Ashley Furniture closed but the competition was brewing with Amazon.com and HHgregg. Best Buy is being criticized for its strict focus on Amazon.com that it didn’t exactly see HHgregg coming, thus allowing for that company to begin to steal the in store customers.  Now with HHgregg having over 200 locations opened up, this holiday season will be a true test for each company as to which has the consumer’s best interest in mind and which company has a brighter future. Being that 200 stores in comparison to Best Buy’s over 1,100 stores is hard to even call competition, if the customers enjoy the shopping experience better in the locations that HHgregg is present, who’s to say HHgregg doesn’t eventually come out on top?

          From a PR stand point, which of the companies is doing a better job? Can HHgregg or Best Buy do something different in order to help their progression and growth as a company? I do truly believe that both the companies can make a move in a positive direction with the help of a strong PR team.

          HHgregg has been doing very well in that they are becoming a big threat for a major electronics company. As of now, whatever the company is doing, is working and they are continually gaining momentum. Best Buy however seems to be needing a little help with communication. Best Buy needs to make a more primary focus on the individual in store customer and create a shopping experience that is worth the trip. This can only be done by building a stronger relationship with the clientele. PR supports sales to the customers, but also is concerned with relationships with all other stakeholders of the organization (Et. Al. Pg. 135). The view of Best Buy needs this broader perspective and must embrace a more personal aspect to business, yet still maintaining a watchful eye on the online sales threats like Amazon.com. This will lead to success and potentially blot out the opposition in HHgregg. Only time will tell as the holiday season approaches. Who will come out on top?

 

 

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Why The Apple vs Samsung Verdict Is A Big Mistake - Forbes

Why The Apple vs Samsung Verdict Is A Big Mistake - Forbes | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it

"Should the law have protected Apple, the world's richest company, or should jurors have made a stand for the consumer? Why the Apple vs Samsung case should make us question its credentials as a design icon."

 

Let Icons be Icons

 

"The Apple vs Samsung lawsuit based on image"

 

When it comes to retail, there is much to be said about establishing an image. Most companies strive for iconic familiarity with the general public due to the massive amounts of advertisement that is brought about. Think about when you have a stuffy nose, how many times have you asked for a "Kleenex"? Why not ask for a "Puffs"? The concept of branding is huge in retail and Apple has been proving to the public that they will protect their name and design even if it means going for the throat of another electronics retailer. 

 

For those unaware, recently Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung for 7 different cases of copy write infringement based on the design of a few of the Samsung Galaxy models. Apple claimed that Samsung violated the design copy write for both the iPhone and the iPad on multiple levels. Apple won this lawsuit against Samsung for over 1Billion dollars. In this article attached from Forbes, the author is making the point that Apple may have made a huge mistake in attacking Samsung so harshly over something seemingly so minor. The argument presented is that, although there are specific sleek physical attributes of the iPhone and iPad, the majority of iPhone or iPad owners have some sort of case over it covering the very thing Apple is fighting to protect. Thus, it seems to make Apple look more aggressive and "cut throat" then simply defending their name because it is a massive lawsuit for something that a common customer would not have really noticed. Could this put Apple in a negative light to consumers? Might this lawsuit force an aggressive retaliation against apple from Samsung or other electronic manufacturers? Issues such as this can strongly aid from a Public Relations Specialist.

 

Although issues and controversies such as this arise quite a bit, it isn’t a matter of the problem at hand but more so how do the companies come out of the problem. Both Apple and Samsung will have to bounce back from forming tainted reputations with their consumers, and this can be done using effective public relations strategy. Johnson & Johnson for example experienced a tragedy in 1982 when Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide were discovered to be the cause of seven persons’ death in the Chicago area. (Et. Al., pg. 147) However, once public relations strategies were implemented, the company was able to experience a complete turnaround not only making up for lost ground, but also receiving an “American Corporate Conscience Award.” (Et. Al., pg. 153).

 

Although the logistics of the lawsuit with Apple and Samsung are still being determined, the public relations professionals are going to have a lot on their plate for the next few months. However, turning crisis into something creative is what we do in PR. 

 

 

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 sales reach $1 billion in 15 days

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 sales reach $1 billion in 15 days | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it

Most companies do everything they can to establish a good reputable name for themselves. It is this name that most often develops consistent clientele and makes for a long term success rate. Treyarch is one of those companies that have done this. In a matter of 15 days, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has grossed over $1 billion!  In comparison, that’s hitting the $1 billion mark before even the movie Avatar did in its first few weeks. What is it that makes this so popular? The answer is that Treyarch has made a legacy with their game that is practically unparalleled. This being one of many, they have consistently designed a game that beats out the previous one making for high anticipation every single year. But what good is designing something if nobody knows about it? Because of this question, Treyarch has had to promote their product quite a bit in order to create the hype that they have today.

Consumers respond to creative advertising and gripping visuals, and Treyarch has done just that. They have created theatric trailers and well designed advertisement that brings the customers back to them. Even with these tactics however, these are not the only reasons they have a great reputation. Success is an outpouring of internal success which is directly attributed to PR professionals. Treyarch has a reputation for good business and have not been a company to be known for scandal or discrepancy. This makes for better business. Also, they have been doing very well releasing information at the appropriate time which is also thanks to the PR team. All of these characteristics are what make something so popular it brings in over $1 billion in 15 days!

There are five major influences on buying habits (1) product quality, (2) the company’s method of handling consumer complaints, (3) the way a company handles a crisis in which it is at fault, (4) challenges by a government agency about product safety, and (5) accusations of illegal or unethical trading practices (Et. Al. Pg 134). Treyarch as well as many other successful companies with outstanding reputations have utilized these concepts well in order to get to where they are today, and much this can be credited to the impact that the PR professionals have had. Handling a situation well makes for great business as well as product so always know that a PR team is a must for big businesses success. 

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Small Companies Seek to Push Sales and Marketing With Own Apps

Small Companies Seek to Push Sales and Marketing With Own Apps | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
Consumers now expect nearly every brand to have its own app, and small businesses feel pressured to create and publish them.

 

This app was on a mission to change 100 years of shopping habits, where the in-store experience is bringing your items to a cashier.

 

An experiment was conducted in Boston during the summer of 2010 when Sheri Gurock, co-founder of Magic Bean, a retailer specializing in toys and baby gear, by agreeing to partake in retail testing. The experiment consisted of the deployment of a mobile app, which was given to her by the creator in return for her agreement to the experiment, that allowed costumers to skip the checkout line and simply pay using their mobile device. Armed with high hopes, but poor timing Gurock was disappointed to discover that only five percent of her costumers took advantage of the app. She remains convinced that this and similar apps are the future of retail. She is currently phasing out the use of the app but intends to revisit her endeavors at a later date.

 

According to the New York Times, she does this with good reason. It is estimated by eMarketer, a digital marketing firm, that there will be 116 million smartphone users in the United States by the end of this year. Cisco, a visual networking index, reports that at that point the number of mobile-connected devices globally will exceed the number of people. Based on that information and the amount of apps we already have, this is a vast market to tap into.

 

A wise Public Relations expert will make sure his client is kept up to date on this next step in retail. Today this approach has become the rule: People want to be served, not sold (Et. Al. Pg 133). It is easy for an app to go unnoticed since there are now apps for just about everything.  As a PR expert, it is your responsibility not only to make your app be known but for its superiority to be shown. As technology continues to grow, so does fear. Your job is to alleviate that fear and show that it is just the next step in convenient service, a step that could lead to the betterment of consumerism.

 

Whilst executing the responsibilities of PR, don’t let the fears of the general public stop you from preparing for the future in retail. When a new product in debuted when costumers are not willing to accept it, the product’s failure is often blamed on bad timing. However, with proper PR there is no such thing as bad timing.

 

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Small Business Blog - You're the Boss Blog - NYTimes.com

Small Business Blog - You're the Boss Blog - NYTimes.com | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
You're the Boss offers small business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to compare notes, ask questions, get advice, and learn from each other’s mistakes.

 

There are far too many self-proclaimed gurus of online marketing, but Mr. Flynn seems to have figured out some things that could help just about any small business.

 

In today’s modern world the Internet is becoming more and more crucial. Online, you can have conversations, go shopping, or even order yourself a spouse! The Internet provides millions of possibilities, and users, right at our fingertips. So why not put our flanges to work and turn those users into costumers?

 

That question must have come across twenty-nine year old Pat Flynn’s mind. He did not leave it unanswered though; he went from being unemployed, to four years later, owning one of the top business podcasts on iTunes.

 

Announced in July 2010, Flynn’s podcast, “Smart Passive Income Podcast”, has received outstanding ratings and has been downloaded in great multitudes.  His podcast is not the only one out there that gives advice about online marketing and sales strategies, but this one in particular stands out. As expressed in the above quote.

 

Starting with a simple blog, Flynn never expected to be making $203,219.04 on his online business within his first year. His initial success pushed him to expand to a web site. Then traffic grew even more significantly and he introduced a podcast. Now Pat Flynn has more than 50,000 subscribers and is consistently rated as one of the top business podcasts on iTunes.

 

Pat Flynn seems to have tapped into a marketing goldmine and PR professionals have the responsibility to encourage their business to follow his lead.  How will PR professionals take on this responsibility? One would accomplish this task by becoming Internet savvy and intricately knowledgeable of the cyber community. A PR professional must insure that his client has the necessary information and capability to construct a successful podcast. Being a PR professional requires constant awareness of new technological advances and the statistics of what works and what doesn’t. The bottom line of public relations practice is in the results that come from putting theories and principles to work – in a way that benefits the organization issuing the paycheck and the society of which that organization is a part (Et. Al. Pg 1). Which podcast would be more successful? Current Events or How Many Cats Can I Fit in This Box? A well informed PR representative would know the correct answer.

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BP banned from new US contracts

BP banned from new US contracts | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
BP is temporarily banned from new US contracts due to a "lack of business integrity" over the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the US environment agency says.

 

Ever since the massive oil spill in 2010, BP has been experiencing tremendous amounts of push back from the EPA, most consumers and the media in general. Nobody has forgotten the unfortunate repercussions of this accident and because of this, two years later BP is under scrutiny. BP is being temporarily banned from any new contracts in the United States on the grounds of “lack of business integrity.” Although BP has spent over $14 billion dollars to date on relief efforts and clean up, the problem is that the spill has been deemed reckless and should have never happened.

                This is testament to how much a positive reputation is crucial for successful business. Even though BP has spent billions of dollars trying to remedy the problem, it will never be the same. Although the exact duration of this suspension is unknown, a lack of new contracts can hurt BP quite a bit in the long run. This is why effective communication from the beginning is crucial as well as doing everything that is humanly possible to reestablish a positive reputation after a crisis. Needless to say, BP’s PR team has quite the handful on this one.

                People tend to get reassurance concerning their physical well-being and safety largely from believable information that pierces through the uncertainty, rumors, and gossip (Et. Al. Pg 266). Establishing this reassurance with the public is a huge asset to the PR team and the company they represent. In this case, having a PR team that can communicate believable information inside and outside the company is going to be what brings BP out of this hold they are in. Because the damage has already been done, and the reputation is out there, the next step is accepting the issue and creating a new reputation that admitting there is ground to be made up but that BP has the public in mind. Once this is done, within the company the message needs to relay a positive message throughout its staff to create a positive reputation within the company.

                The role PR plays in an issue like this is unmistakable. Without a positive inward and outward reputation, companies as big and influential as BP can experience detrimental road blocks preventing drastic levels of future business. Once the tragedy happened, the company hasn’t been the same. Thanks to a PR team, however, a brighter future for BP can be on the horizon.

                

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Holiday shopping season off to record start

Holiday shopping season off to record start | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
It's estimated that U.S. shoppers hit stores and websites at record numbers over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation on Sunday.

 

The holiday season is an absolutely incredible time for retailers. American culture has molded and shaped the holiday season from the cozy time by the fire with family into a time of profit and extraordinary business. Because of the down economy the past couple years, many businesses feared a dramatic loss in business as the holiday season approached however, much to their satisfaction, they were wrong. Business is booming, and sales percentages are off to a record start. Total sales have increased by billions of dollars over last year and the shopping season has only begun!
Because of this crazy season, retailers do absolutely everything they can to promote business throughout the entire season in order to beat out all other competitors. This involves not only marketing strategies, but also a solid connection with the public. This is when the PR teams for each business have quite the handful. Being that this season is such a highly anticipated season for every retailer, much preparation goes into maintaining a reputable name with the public in order for customers to feel compelled to wait outside of their doors on thanksgiving night. In instances like Best Buy and the issues with their CEO or Nike Live strong and the issues with Lance Armstrong, the PR professionals must do all that they can as quickly as possible in order to prevent bitterness or hesitancy from purchasing their products in the holiday season which makes for a vast majority of the total years business in sales. This is an issue that separates PR from marketing and is what aids business in a way only PR can. Marketing is ultimately product-specific or service specific. Public relations is so much broader a discipline. Public relations care about noncustomer external publics and the environment in which the organization operates. (Et. Al. Pg. 131).
Due to this aspect of PR, retailers must have a firm dependence upon their PR teams looking into the rest of this holiday season. Not only relating to the public with product and sales, but also looking to the environment and the noncustomer in a way that creates a much more effective and mutually beneficial environment for all involved, PR is one of the most crucial proponents to a retailer’s success over a hectic season such as this.

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Apple’s PR coup: CEO Tim Cook apologizes for Map app | Articles | Home

Apple’s PR coup: CEO Tim Cook apologizes for Map app | Articles | Home | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
‘We are extremely sorry,’ he said in letter to customers this morning.

 

The moment Americans had all been waiting for. The release of one of the most highly anticipated products in centuries. This is a product that will presumably redefine the standards for any product in its class. The product I speak of is the iPhone 5. On September 21st, Apple released the iPhone 5 to the public selling millions in a matter of days. However, once the consumer obtained the product and plugged their address into the GPS system, who knows where they might end up! Apple has experienced a few issues with its new maps system leaving customers in satisfied and quite frankly lost (Literally!). Due to removing the Google maps from the iPhone, Apple has had to rebuild its GPS system from the ground up leading to a few issues. Being aware of the issue, Apple just released an apology letter in order to make peace with the public and reassure consumers that the issue is being addressed.  CEO Tim Cook stated in the letter to the public “At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.” 

                What does this mean from a public relations stand point? Clearly the company is experiencing an issue, and the issue is with a product that is flying off the shelf faster than it can even be manufactured. This creates an issue in that more people are directly affected, yet also can be a blessing in that the company is still maintaining popularity. At this point the PR professionals are doing everything they can to encourage the apology as well as preserve the high profile Apple name. Public Relations may work to stabilize or change public opinion in areas other than products (Et. Al., Pg. 132). Being that this is the case, the PR department will have the task of changing the view of the public towards Apple from negative to positive again while the company is correcting its error. Marketing will worry about the commercials keeping a good reputation on the product, but the PR team gets the dirty work of maintaining good standing with all of the customers who already have the product and are not completely satisfied.

                As Apple is quickly remedying the situation, the PR department gets to work up a sweat keeping the consumers happy. This is the beautiful relationship between PR and retail. Ultimately people are happy, the company is happy, and the PR professional are happy bringing it all together. 

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Wal-Mart cuts ties with public relations firm over impersonation

Wal-Mart cuts ties with public relations firm over impersonation | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it

"Retail giant Wal-Mart said that it has parted ways with a public relations firm whose employee was found to have posed as a reporter at an event staged byWal-Mart critics."

 

               Some much of the retail business is about image and self presentation. In order for a retail business to experience success it must be able to build a good reputation with its public and continually express why they are the better choice for provision of consumer needs. Because success weighs so heavily on this particular form of communication, a single decision made by a company in the way it presents itself publically can make or break it. Wal-Mart is experiencing some controversy due to the error of its very on public relations firm misrepresenting the values of the business.  Wal-Mart just parted ways with its public relations firm because of a poor decision made by an associate for the firm in Los Angeles, California. One of the public relations employees posed as a reporter at an event that had been staged by Wal-Mart critics. Because of this “secret agent” style of receiving information, it is reported that it is a mutual separation between the PR firm and Wal-Mart. Both recognize it was a poor tactic and leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the consumers and are putting efforts toward correcting this particular issue.

                So much can be affected in retail when one simple decision is made in order to achieve a goal. This is exactly why having a trusted and professional PR firm on your side is so crucial for success in the retail business. Now not only does Wal-Mart have to begin seeking out another PR firm to partner with for that area, but they must put the current team to work to cover and fix the error that is currently at hand. Outside of the lawsuits that could potentially occur, if a bad reputation is brought out for the company, that’s not typically an issue that the company can buy its way out of thus requiring the PR firm to restructure its tactics toward consumer approval.

                An issue that can arise in seeking the approval of the consumers is the reputation that may be instilled in the minds of the consumers due to the media. It takes a strong team to re-mold and shape the mentality of the public against what may be said by the media. In simple terms, the mission of the public relations function is to build working relationships with all of the organizations publics. When appropriate, doing so may require making use of news media when viewpoints or activities are newsworthy (Et. Al., Pg. 164). This is the mark of an effective PR team in allowing the media to do the dirty work, and then taking the initiative to fill in the blanks for consumers in the favor of the company.

                Wal-Mart can overcome this issue simply by having a PR team clean up the mess and start over by making better “public display” decisions, but the PR team that lost its mega-client will have a much harder time recovering. PR be careful, your image makes a big difference! 

 

 

 

 

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British Agencies See Opportunity in the Americas

British Agencies See Opportunity in the Americas | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
Two firms based in London are deciding to set up shop in the United States.

 

Working in retail and sales is a crazy business. It can have ups and downs so quick that a company can succeed or perish in a matter of weeks. Part of what is crazy in sales is that different companies have different markets and ways of performing sales, but worldwide sales take place. The interesting factor then becomes how to mesh to forms of market from different nations in order to exchange goods and services. This article is speaking about how British agencies are beginning to see opportunities for business in the Americas. Agencies are beginning to plan strategies to start companies and expand business to an American market place in order to reign over multiple market domains.

                One of the companies taking residence in the USA is called Frank PR. The other firm is Grace Blue. Both companies are related to media industries and advertising and will be opening in offices in New York and the West Coast. The success or failure of these companies will play an interesting role in future media and advertising business from the British in the United States being that they seem to be the candidates for a sink or swim experiment. Seemingly the research is indicating a future of success and both companies are hopeful. Andrew Bloch, the Vice chairman of Frank PR was quoted saying “We’re definitely entering in with caution and humility.” The previous record for UK companies in America have not exactly been fantastic leaving a bit of hesitancy in the minds of British business owners, but for the most part the companies are presumably making the right move.

                How might Public relations play a role in the success of these companies? Clearly the companies have a professional emphasis on media and advertising which reaches out to the community and potentially the world. With this being the case, both Frank PR and Grace Blue will need to pour into their PR departments for an effective way to cross-culturally communicate product and information effectively for both the Americas as well as their home front. A key in this particular scenario will also be recognizing the separation between PR and Media. The biggest misunderstanding in PR concerns the mass media: what its role and power really are in modern society and how important media relations are in building effective public relationships (Et. Al., Pg 160).

                Although seeming to be an intimidating task to enter a foreign market, both companies seem to be off on the right foot, but in order to continue that way, an emphasis in PR is a must and creating a personal relationship with two separate cultures. 

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Hollister apologizes after models mock Koreans on Twitter | Articles | Home

Hollister apologizes after models mock Koreans on Twitter | Articles | Home | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
The clothing company is apologizing after American models shared offensive pictures and remarks on social media in the wake of the store’s opening in Korea.

 


     In retail there are multiple aspects of a business that need to be monitored and addressed, one of which being the employee’s public conduct. Hollister Co. has had to make a public apology for the conduct of multiple American models mocking Asian people in photographs as well as tweets and comments during the opening of a new store in South Korea. The company stated: “On behalf of our more than 80,000 associates around the world who cherish our core values and our culture of diversity and inclusion, we sincerely apologize for the offense caused by these unauthorized, ill-considered actions.” Unfortunately even with this public apology and the firing of the models involved in this incident, the negative media reaction has not gone away creating an ongoing problem for the Hollister Co.

     This instance is a perfect example of the random incidents that can happen within a company that unexpectedly require immediate attention. So what can PR professionals learn from this? In my opinion what this boils down to is a people oriented problem, as is often the case in the field of public relations.

     I think that the key to absolving a personal offence issue such as this one is with an as-personal-as-possible response. With the Hollister Co. incident the company obviously benefitted from the public apology but additionally a more personalized apology will be in order. To whom does (Hollister) need to communicate? Prioritize each public and identify how to reach each one. Then put together a plan (strategy and tactics) that will deal with the current crisis. (Et. Al. pg 305). Without devising a plan, the apology can seem less relational and more as a reflex action leaving a bad taste in the consumers mouth. However, establishing a strategic plan and laying out each tactical step can turn a potential tragedy into an opportunity for publicity and potentially a better reputation for the company then it previously had.Often crisis events, when handled properly, lead to an even more positive result then if the event had never taken place.

     As seems obvious, the company will have to explaining to do, but as of now they are presumably on the right foot from a communications stand point. With a little bit of strategic planning and carefully thought out public responses, Hollister Co. can move on into a brighter and more positive future for not only they consumers but also the staff and management.  

 

 

 

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Best Buy Cites 'Personal Conduct' for CEO Brian Dunn's Resignation

Best Buy Cites 'Personal Conduct' for CEO Brian Dunn's Resignation | Public Communication in Retail and Sales | Scoop.it
Best Buy Chief Executive Brian Dunn resigned abruptly Tuesday amid what the company described as a board probe into his personal conduct.

 

   With a company as large and well known as Best Buy, effective communication is an absolute necessity, especially amid internal scandel. Recently the communication exports have had quite a bit on their plate as they have had to do everything within their power to maintain the reputable name of Best Buy while explaining the resignation of their CEO for 28 years, Brian Dunn. The initial response to the situation given to FOXbusiness.com from Best Buy was as follows: “Certain issues were brought to the board’s attention regarding Mr. Dunn’s personal conduct, unrelated to the company’s operations or financial controls, and an audit committee investigation was initiated. Prior to the completion of the investigation, Mr. Dunn chose to resign.”


   From a professional stand point, this response was written very well for a few reasons. First the way it was written was very non-confrontational and got straight to the point without revealing any excess of information. Additionally the word choice was respectable not allowing for hidden meanings or anything baiting trouble. Most importantly was the statement "...Mr. Dunn's personal conduct, unrelated to the company's operations or financial controls." This statement immediately answered the questions most of the general public would wonder, "Does his resignation have a connection to the financial issues with the company?" By answering a question before it gets asked, the company is able to prevent unneccessary accusations against itself.  
   

   Much like Intel during a crisis involving a faulty chip, (Et. Al., p154), Best Buy had to take a defensive stance. However Intel underestimated the issue and related to their consumers poorly causing the issue to become much worse than it needed to be. (Et. Al., p155). Best Buy however has been taking a much more sensitive stance relating to their consumers putting them first in attempts to maintain clientele while in transistion  of both leadership and restructure.  


   Learning from other businesses mistakes is crucial in order to handle crisis and transitions effectively. Best Buy so far has done a good job of preventing the issue from getting to far out of hand. However they will be under a closer watch as the general public awaits the performance of the new managers CEO. This transition has already become in question due to the amount of money that is being given to the new CEO but only time will tell how it all pans out. Look to my later posts to find out more about this professional transition. 

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