Philadelphia-based Buchanan Public Relations LLC is a full-service public relations firm that specializes in media relations, social media and crisis communications.

home | 610.649.9292 | info@buchananpr.com

Anne-a-Grams

April 25, 2017

PR Lessons to Learn from United Airlines Crisis

By Jen Tedeschi, 12:17 pm

As most of you already know, United Airlines recently suffered a self-made disaster that left us PR pros with nightmares. What started as damning footage surfacing of a man being violently dragged off a flight, snowballed into a highly-publicized crisis that, ultimately, could have been avoided. In fact, I wrote a blog post a few months ago about why honesty is the best policy when it comes to crisis communications, and United’s situation is a perfect example.

Now that the dust is beginning to settle, it’s important for all companies to use this dilemma as a lesson on what to do, and what not to do, when facing a PR crisis. Here are a few takeaways from United’s debacle:

  • Say you’re sorry, and mean it. One of United’s biggest mistakes during this crisis was initially deflecting any responsibility for the incident. From the company’s first statement, to the CEO’s “apology” and letter to employees, United’s attempt to distance itself from the issue ended up causing more backlash. Owning up to a mistake will help the audience remember no one is perfect and make it easier for them to forgive you.
  • Get your message out quickly. When United’s CEO finally released a heartfelt apology, more than a day had passed since the news first broke. That long delay gave reporters control over the story and increased the sense of outrage and distrust among customers. Responding to a crisis right away will help you gain control of the narrative before it’s too late.
  • Show what you’ve learned from the incident. Since the news broke about this crisis, United has stayed relatively silent about what it will do to prevent similar situations moving forward. Creating an action plan to resolve these issues in the future shows that you truly care about your customers’ well-being.

Although it’s impossible to avoid mistakes completely, having a good communications plan can make it easier for your brand to bounce back from a crisis and not follow in United’s footsteps.

What other tips do you have for responding to a PR crisis?

April 7, 2017

The Story of Buchanan Public Relations

By Staff, 11:48 am

Buchanan Public Relations works with well-known clients, top tier publications, and has over a dozen employees (plus two dogs!). But it wasn’t always this way, and the road was not always an easy one. President Anne Buchanan tells the story of how Buchanan Public Relations came to be — from a one-person company operating out of an empty bedroom, to a flourishing firm in a brand new office in the Philadelphia suburbs today.

March 30, 2017

Katie and Lacey Go to Work: A Day in the Life of BPR’s K9 Employees

By Staff, 2:51 pm

Ever wonder how ruff it is for Lacey and Katie to come to work everyday? Check out a day in their life.

March 28, 2017

So You Got An Interview

By Nicole Lasorda, 10:47 am

I handle the internship and co-op programs here, and, especially for summer, I get hundreds of resumes for only two open positions.

A few weeks ago, AC Lesley wrote a blog post about some major resume mistakes we see: Why We Passed on Your Resume (Sorry, Not Sorry). She did a great job emphasizing the importance placed on an applicant’s attention to detail.

Now that your resume looks great and you’ve scored an interview, what do you do? Here are a few interview tips to help you stand out from the crowd and snag that gig!

Let’s start with the pre-interview prep:

Do your research. I’m not just talking about reviewing the website to identify a few clients to mention during the interview. Really research the company. Check out work the agency has done on behalf of its clients (Google is an amazing tool) – previous work is a pretty good talking point to bring up during the interview. It shows you’ve done your research. Read the company blog (well, I guess you’ve got this one covered, since you’re here) – see what they’re talking about. You may even stumble upon a post or two that can give you great insight into how to get hired (just sayin’). Check out the company’s social channels – you can really grasp the company culture this way. Is it laid back or buttoned up? Is this a culture you feel would be a fit for you? You can also bring up some funny or impressive posts you saw.

Dress to impress. The saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” is well-known for a reason. You’re walking into an office, trying to knock out others for a position you really want – make sure you look the part. Ladies, make sure your hair and makeup are done and appropriate for the position. It’s in your best interest not to come in with a messy bun on top of your head and raccoon eyes from last night. Guys, make sure your hair is combed and if you have facial hair, see that it’s clean and trimmed. I know you’re thinking, “Umm, obviously,” but you’d be surprised.

Now for the clothes. I know you’re on a student’s salary (aka nothing), but you just need one nice interview outfit. It doesn’t have to be a full suit (unless you plan on going into finance or law), but a pair of black pants and a nice shirt or a professional dress will make solid additions to your wardrobe that you’ll use for years to come. Stores like H&M sell some nice, inexpensive pieces.

Buchanan PR is pretty laid back, but nothing speaks, “I don’t really want this job” more than showing up  for an interview in jeans.

All right, you look great and you’re dressed to kill. Here’s what to do when you arrive at the office:

Greet everyone with a smile. It’s pretty obvious you should always treat everyone you meet with respect, but this is extra important during an interview. If you’re rude to the person who answers the door, there’s a 99% chance you won’t get the position. Companies, especially those on the smaller side, will ask every person what they think of a potential candidate. If one says, “She was rude” or “He ignored me when I spoke,” you’ve pretty much guaranteed someone else will get the position. Also, your use of good manners will make your grandmother proud.

Ask questions, please. We’re PR people, we love to talk. If you don’t have any questions, it makes us think you’re uninterested in our company. Be sure you have at least three non-position-related questions – the kind that won’t get answered while the interviewer does his or her spiel (how many hours, what the position entails, pay, etc.). Remember all that research you did beforehand? Now’s a good time to start asking about that. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • How did you get started in PR?
  • What do you like most about working here?
  • What do you like least about working here?
  • How would this internship differ from others in the area?
  • What are the most important qualities you’re looking for in an intern?

You did it! You rocked the interview. Now what?

Send a thank you note to each person who interviewed you. This is something that can really set you apart from other candidates. Drop each person an email expressing your interest in the position and thanking them for taking the time to interview you. Bonus points if you can add in a personal item that you remember from the interview. Extra bonus points if you send a handwritten thank you note, too.

If there are two equal candidates and I’m trying to decide between the two, the one who sent the thank you note usually gets the position. But what if you realize the position isn’t for you? Send a thank you note, anyway, and let the interviewer know you feel it’s not a fit.

Finally, the PR world is very small. If someone reaches out to you to schedule an interview, always respond, even if it’s to say, “Thank you, but I’ve already found a position.” And if you don’t get the internship or job, be polite and thank the messenger for letting you know.  You never know when and where you’ll encounter that person again.  Plus, your grandma will be proud of you, again.

Though these tips were geared toward interns, they definitely apply to all interviewees.

So, now that I’ve gone through my tips, what about you? Do you have any suggestions? Also, interviewees, this is a two-way street, what advice do you have for interviewers?

March 22, 2017

Yoga Ball Power Lunch at Buchanan Public Relations

By Staff, 3:03 pm

That one time we all decided we needed to have yoga balls instead of chairs. It’s probably a good thing we’re all a little weird.

March 21, 2017

New Type of Creative Professional: Thoughts on Being a “One-Man-Band” in Video

By Staff, 11:18 am

–Angie Alpizar

A new kind of creative professional has emerged in the video production world over recent years. As cameras and software have become cheaper and more user friendly, the face behind the equipment has begun to change. Previously, anyone involved in film or video production would have a solo discipline. If you were the cameraperson, operating the camera was your only job due to the complex nature of operating such large and expensive equipment. Rarely, if ever, would you venture into another role, on set or off.

Today, that is no longer the case. The creative professionals who make up the world of video must operate as a “one-man-band.” The knowledge and skills for all things video are expected to be – and need to be – a mile wide and a mile deep. Not only must videographers be creative, they must also be technically literate and able to use both sides of their brain simultaneously.

As the video department grows at Buchanan Public Relations, I’ve noticed just how many hats those working in video need to wear. My main job, as well as my supervisor Amanda’s, is to execute our clients’ vision in video. The road to the final product is often a long and winding one, and the journey to the end can feel like a marathon. Whether our client has a clear idea in mind or a vague concept for her video, the steps to reach the final product are always the same.

Pre-production

Pre-production is the foundation for any and every project. Organization is key as it can make or break your entire production. If you are looking to get into the world of video, I would suggest learning  about effective video pitches, project organization, storyboarding, creating and maintaining schedules, budgeting, and location scouting to name a few necessary competencies. Good communication skills are vital, as well as being a good listener, having an eye for detail, and the ability to balance multiple projects at one time.

Production

An effective, creative video professional needs to understand basic camera operation for correct exposure such as aperture, ISO, and shutter speeds. Having a grasp on cinematography, including framing, camera movements, and set design, will separate your work from that of an amateur. Lighting is an important element that dictates what the final picture will look like, so knowing how to light specific scenes is a must. Proper sound recording techniques, effectively directing talent and making them feel comfortable, having a running knowledge of the various equipment on set, as well as the ability to stay on a tight recording schedule will make you a valuable member of any team. (Even if the team is just you.)

Post-production

You’ve made it through pre-production and your project has been shot. Congratulations, you’re almost at the finish line! The only step left is post-production (my personal favorite). But, don’t be fooled. Post-production is a frustrating and time consuming process that can get the best of even the most seasoned professionals. Similar to pre-production, organization is imperative. Asset management will be your best friend when dealing with the hundreds, if not thousands, of video and audio files you need to sift through for editing. I suggest creating a strict file organization system early on and diligently sticking with it. To the layperson, editing footage may seem like an easy task where specific shots are placed together on the timeline, but it’s much more involved than that. Editors are storytellers and good editing is often invisible editing. To be an effective editor you should know how to craft an interesting story, make connections through your edits and edit for continuity. Other skills an editor/post-production supervisor must possess are sound design and audio mixing, color correction and grading, graphics and animation, along with the various software and applications that make all this post work possible. On an even more technical side, knowledge of video codecs, compression, storage, encoding, and appropriate delivery systems will round out your skills nicely.

As in any profession, having multiple skills makes you a valuable resource. The more versed you are in various production roles, the better equipped you are to develop videos for clients. So if you’re interested in becoming a creative video professional, be prepared for a lifetime of learning and adapting. There is never a boring moment!

 

 

 

 

March 17, 2017

Luck O’the Irish? BPR reveals luckiest moments in PR

By Staff, 4:53 pm

The staff at Buchanan Public Relations has had their fair share of lucky moments; but instead of a pot of gold, our rainbows end in top tier media placements, unlikely connections with celebrities, and even the opportunity of a lifetime. Take a look, and may the luck o’ the Irish be with you!

March 14, 2017

Why Your Office Should Embrace March Madness

By John Reynolds, 12:09 pm

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas – March Madness.

According to a recent study by Office Team, 32 percent of managers say March Madness activities are not welcomed in the workplace. And while 57 percent are okay with allowing it in moderation, only 11 percent of managers truly welcome the tournament in their offices.

As a Villanova alumnus, last year was magical, and I was lucky to have a boss in that 11 percent, as I celebrated Villanova’s first championship since 1985. I think it’s important to remind everyone that Buchanan PR President Anne Buchanan went to North Carolina, the team that lost to Villanova in the National Championship. Was it a bad career move to mention that? For the record, she was a very good sport about it!

President Anne and AAE Johnny hours before the 2016 National Championship.

While I’m admittedly biased about March Madness, it’s a once-a-year event that can increase morale in the office. This USA Today article offers two reasons employers should embrace March Madness (everyone will be paying attention, and it creates a more positive workplace), but I want to add a few more.

It’s a stress reliever. March Madness comes near the end of the first quarter, which often includes the busiest few months of the year. The games are played Thursdays through Saturdays (with the exception of the National Championship, which happens on a Monday night), so it doesn’t take up the full work week. Of course, I’m not suggesting that clients and work be pushed aside so everyone can slack off for a few weeks, but allowing employees to get into the spirit for a couple days over three weeks will give them time to relax a little before gearing up for the second quarter. After working hard to kick-off the year, it’s a nice way to unwind before swinging back into high-gear.

*DISCLAIMER: This strictly applies to work stress, and does not apply to the stress of watching your team in a single-elimination tournament.

It fosters office camaraderie. Almost everyone who follows the tournament will fill out a bracket. This presents an opportunity for employers to create an office tournament. You don’t have to follow the traditional format – you could go through an online challenge or even assign each person a school to root for. The winner doesn’t necessarily need a monetary prize, either. For example, last year for the National Championship, Anne and I made a friendly wager. If North Carolina had won, I would have had to make cheesesteaks for the office, but when Villanova was the victor, Anne made the office Carolina Barbeque. It’s little things like this that all employees enjoy, and can create fun and memorable team bonding experiences.

It builds trust and alleviates lack of productivity. Did you know that distracted employees could cost employers $4 billion this March Madness? Anyone who cares about it, including employees working for the aforementioned 32 percent of managers, will find ways to check scores and their brackets during the day. However, instead of making them feel the need to hide this, employers can incorporate this into the workday. Whether you have an hourly score check or allow employees to watch the final minute of a close game, employers can create perks to allow employees to feel part of the madness, as long as productivity remains high during the rest of the day. Trust between managers and their team should increase as well, as managers shouldn’t feel the need to snoop on their employees, and workers will be trying hard to earn those perks.

March Madness is a once-a-year phenomenon, so instead of fighting to keep it out, let the excitement and team spirit permeate the office. Go Cats!

 

March 7, 2017

What is the New Definition of Fake News?

By Megan Keohane, 12:03 pm

I can’t stress enough how important it is to us – and our clients – that we work with trusted news sources. We rely on them to disseminate our clients’ announcements, quote executives as credible expert sources and provide us with the most up-to-date facts and current events.

Prior to 2017, fake news was defined as a source deliberately publishing propaganda, hoaxes and intentionally misleading information. It could be disguised as fictitious articles intending to generate profit through clickbait, fabricated content hoping to go viral, rumors or gossip, and more. Most people with an ounce of media literacy could tell the difference between “fake” and “real” stories fairly easily.

However, since the 2016 election, the definition of “fake news” has become increasingly vague.

Today, “trusted sources” seem to be a matter of opinion. The below graphic breaks it down pretty interestingly:

Source: http://imgur.com/7xHaUXf

While a news organization may be legitimate, if it skews heavily liberal or heavily conservative, it’s unlikely to be trusted widely. And, while a publication may reflect some minimal bias, it may not necessarily be “fake” news. Whether news is real or not is not a matter of whether the reader likes or agrees with the story.

Ever see those stories shared by your friends on Facebook and wonder whether or not they are legitimate? From my unscientific, public relations-minded perspective, here is an unofficial list of what may constitute present-day fake news versus real news.

Fake news

  • Has a questionable domain or URL (may end in something like .com.co)
  • Cites only one source, or none at all
  • Stories are formulated around speculation
  • Stories are formulated around a single opinion, rather than all sides of the story’s multiple perspectives
  • Language is sensational and/or embellished
  • States conspiracy theories
  • Heavy partisan bias
  • Not reported on by any other news outlets
  • Notes an older publish date and time, or none at all

Real news

  • Cites multiple sources from differing perspectives
  • Language is straightforward
  • Facts are proven with reports or statistics
  • Does not cite “alternative facts”
  • Headline is truthful and reflects the story
  • Contains all elements of a story – not just selective components
  • Minimal partisan bias
  • Journalist has a reputable history of fair stories
  • Publish date and time is recent

How do you judge the legitimacy of news?

February 21, 2017

A First-Person Perspective on the Internship Experience

By Staff, 10:50 am

– Sean Udicious

Last week, Account Coordinator Lesley discussed several important ways you can turn your internship experience into a full-time job in Buchanan Public Relations’ new vlog.

This image originally appeared on Louisville’s Department of Political Science internship page.

As the agency’s current public relations intern, I’ve already taken much of what she, as well as everyone else in the office, has said to heart. Of course, in a world as unpredictable as public relations, you always need to be ready to adjust and adopt new practices. Here are some things I’ve learned.

Take a breath, take your time.

Initially, I would be so eager to get working on projects that I was assigned, and I would be so intent on getting them done quickly, that I would make careless mistakes, which could have easily been caught if I had spent a few extra minutes on proofreading. I’ve learned that promptness is an essential quality in public relations, but so is accuracy; no amount of speed is worth making mistakes.

But, don’t take too much time.

On the flip side, while you should never rush an assignment, you must be cognizant of impending deadlines. Pitches and releases do not have the luxury of rolling acceptance – if you miss the date on a deadline, that opportunity may be gone forever. Additionally, missing deadlines can harm the relationship with your client or a reporter. Now, I always make a point to ask the account manager for the timeline on each project, and I am sure to finish early enough to allow time for any necessary edits.

Don’t be afraid to take initiative.

A watched pot never boils. Similarly, a watched piece of news never gets pitched. During my first couple of weeks on the job, I would always ask others if they needed help with pitches rather than taking the initiative to identify topics to pitch on my own.  As time has passed, I’ve grown more confident and I’ve begun to send pitch ideas to the account leads. Even if my idea isn’t the right fit, it still sends the message that I have been following the news and am willing to take initiative.

Be open to constructive criticism.

Unfortunately, some people have a difficult time accepting criticism of their work. They see it as a personal attack rather than as a learning opportunity. Knowing that I lacked public relations experience before I started my internship with Buchanan PR, I have welcomed the advice thrown my way. As a result, I’ve improved my writing and know the type of news I should be monitoring. Additionally, I’ve shown my co-workers that I am willing to listen and apply their feedback to my work.

Get to know everyone.

At my previous internships, there were interns who were smart and friendly, but didn’t make the extra effort to build a connection with the full-time employees or embrace the workplace environment. For example, they might not have tried to grab lunch with others, or would go home at the end of the day without saying good-bye. Despite their can-do attitudes, they didn’t form lasting connections. The concept of “networking” that many interns fret about does not apply only to superiors. By being open with all of those around you, you gain connections that can pay dividends later.

Do you have any personal take-aways from your own internship experiences? Let us know in the comments.

Older Posts »
// // Commented by Jon Ericson, 29Feb2016 // // // //