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Public Relations Bloopers Lessons

Bad news can mean good news coverage….but most of the time PR bloopers just spell disaster. Funny examples of why sometimes shutting your mouth can be a good thing.

Someone has just antagonized you and instead of avoiding the pitfall, you…and me included…..fall into the pitfall of a PR (Public Relations) nightmare. Did you just say what you think you said?

This article exposes mistakes that can make us sound utterly stupid…in a humorous way. Let these bloopers motivate you to speak smoothly and succinctly.

“Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules”

Top 4 PR Mistakes Turning Good News into Bad News

  1. Reacting rather than thoughtfully speaking
  2. Unpracticed answers for potential controversial issues
  3. Arguing with the media or customers who then complain to media outlets
  4. Looking nervous – never looks good

Reactive Speech Will Damage
When you think it, maybe you shouldn’t say it. Quick example of what happens when you pretend not to hear that little voice in your head.

Reactive speech mistake examples:

”I could give a flying crap about the political process … We’re an entertainment company.”

—FOX News Channel’s Glenn Beck, Forbes interview, April, 2010

He’s on the news! (laughing) S-T-U-P-I-D statement even though it hasn’t hurt his ratings…you, as a business person, may not be so lucky with an intelligent comment to the media.

”The Cambridge police acted stupidly.”

—Barack Obama, commenting on a white police officer’s arrest of black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. who was carrying no identification while entering his home in Cambridge, Mass., at a news conference, July 22, 2009

Presidential lesson: Make sure you know the situation you are discussing. This comment triggered outcry from law enforcement officials, because they are required by law to confirm an unknown person’s identification.

Unpracticed Answers for Controversial Issues
You better know your answers in advance. A prepared answer may turn controversy into “good” a news story. But how?

  • Review controversial issues with staff prior to interviews
  • Outline and practice responses to controversies
  • Never say, “I don’t know.” Reply you will get back to the reporter with the answer
  • Even if the media interview is about a project, know about the company’s other projects and outstanding issues to be prepared
  • Avoid getting lured into a media “quote” trap and always provide positive statements

An example of reaction-based media statements is below

”I’m not a witch…I’m you.”

—Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, in a 30-second ad responding to video clips from her past in which she said she dabbled in witchcraft, Oct. 4, 2010

Uh what? (laughing) Well can you run to the store and grab some groceries before you come home from my job since you are me? O’Donnell’s public relations rep could have prevented her from being on the dumbest quotes list for 2010.

Arguing With the Media Is Just Bad
Newspaper print lasts forever, especially online, so be careful. I am the example here.

A reporter emailed me to ask why I had not sent out a press release about a park closing for part of the day. I responded that I had emailed the media to alert them but media half the time ignored press releases of unimportant issues like that. He published the email in the Naples Daily News with me saying in essence that the media ignores the press releases I was sending, which is not what I meant!

Learn from my mistake, because of course the media did publish the majority of my press releases.

Know Your Business
You could fall into a trap during a media interview with a question like, “Is that project running on time?”

You reply, “Yes we are running on schedule.” Then the reporter replies, “We talked to code enforcement today and some violations could postpone the opening, didn’t you know?”

Be prepared and know your company’s news. If you don’t know the answer, say you’ll get back to the reporter.

Acting Nervous Looks Suspicious
Even if the reporter doesn’t pick up on it, the television viewer will for TV interviews. So interview with ease, and if you can’t, get a staff member who can.

Use these tips to put your best “media” foot forward! Contact DREAMFly Marketing or post questions here.

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Dumbest News in Naples, Florida and U.S. for 2010

What made us laugh or scratch our heads – In no particular order – drum roll please…

dumbest news, world's fattest woman, leanne salt

Leanne Salt set a goal to become fattest woman, until she had to think about her children.


  • Dumbest news in Naples, Florida for 2010 has to be Jackson Labs. Collier County, Florida Government informed tax payers it was a good idea to give $25 million to Jackson Labs, a private company, as an economic development incentive without local hire and repayment requirements.Lesson: Apparently if you can promise jobs, local governments will just give you money FREE! Why isn’t every business pulling this greedy stunt?
  • Woman Tells News She Wants to the Be World’s Fattest Woman at 1,000 lbsLesson: Later the woman vowed to lose weight after giving birth to triplets. At least she realized her stupidity lol! What doesn’t sound cool really isn’t cool!

    BP CEO Tony Hayward, BE oil spill, stupid oil spill statements, stupid news

    Protestors deliver BP a message following controversial statement by former CEO.

  • BP Former CEO Tony Hayword’s dumbest oil spill statement: “We’re sorry for the massive disruption it’s caused their lives. There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.”Lesson: This is why firms like DREAMFly have clients! Think before you speak or let someone think for you!
  • LA Ranks Among Dumbest CitiesLesson: This leads us to the next “dumb news” item
  • Dumbest celebrity statement by Mariah Carey: “Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny like that but not with all those flies and death and stuff.”Lesson: Are you kidding? Did that actually sound good in her mind? If you don’t think it sounds good, don’t say it!2010 Five Fastest Rising Google Search Terms
    1. chatroulette
    2. ipad
    3. Justin Bieber
    4. Nicki Minaj
    5. friv

Google’s Zeitgeist ReportThis proves that people are searching mostly meaningless subjects and intellectual searches don’t rank high on the Richter scale of the Internet audience majority. The Internet audience is looking for resources but primarily focuses on entertainment.

Make every year a chance to learn from others mistakes so you can avoid them, and laugh while you do it!


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Recommend Us On Google

Branding Marketing Benefits or as we call it Branding Bonanza Desserts

Create a tone, an image and a thought in consumers’ minds to make your company memorable to consumers.

In this 3 part series, you’ve already learned Branding Basics and the Critters or Challenges of Branding. Now, learn about Branding Bonanza Desserts with examples of marketing successes in Naples, Florida.

What Desserts Can Branding Serve Up?

  • Lasting Impressions
  • Creates Client Stability
  • Brighter Future Opportunities

Lasting Impressions – How to Make Them
Creating a lasting impression depends on having a branding plan that includes standards for email signatures, customer service, usage of logos and business name and creation of tag lines as well as advertising design standards.

Nike is the perfect example of using branding to create a lasting impression. The company started out of the back of the trunk of its owners selling “tiger” shoes from Japan and is now considered the most recognized brand. It is also a Fortune 500 company.

Its unilateral ability to attract across color lines, country lines and athletic lines (pro versus amateur) has allowed Nike to attract professional athletes to vouch for its products. The brand owes its simple, focused messaging, “Just Sports”, for telling consumers why Nike is the top choice.

Create a lasting impression with a simple advertising message. Stop trying to cram every marketing keyword into your print or online advertising. Write for the consumer and use Nike as a guide.

Use Branding to Create Client Stability
Turn a running crowd into loyal customers.

A quick example of this is Iberia Bank, which in November 2009, took over failed Orion Bank in Naples, Fla. Orion Bank’s dominant CEO led the bank down the path of risky loans, according to Naples Daily News reports.

Stock holders lost millions. Following the takeover, customers were ready to run out of fear their deposits were compromised. Orion employees, now Iberia Bank employees, assured customers deposits were secure backed by the FDIC and managers asked customers to give the bank a couple of months to show its committment. Most customers waited to see the changes.

How did Iberia Bank keep customers?
By getting involved in the community. Advertising aside, the bank focused its efforts on community support enabling consumers to believe this time around someone was in charge who really is on their side. Nearly all customers stayed with Iberia Bank.

Branding and strategic marketing, whether in Naples, Fla. or the Midwest, is more than advertising and logo placement. Strategic marketing must include:

  • Include a goal for helping a community
  • Balance community with company branding and promotions
  • Should set benchmarks for business partnerships, community sponsorships and other opportunities
  • Must always include strategic marketing measurement – a way to measure your marketing ROI (Return-On-Investment)
  • Are you involved in your community enough? Call your local Chamber and government offices to find out how you can be.

    Brighter Future Opportunities With Branding
    It’s simple if you want to be showered with branding gifts that keep on giving – returning customers.

    Market consistently. Market to the target audience. Market positively. Be open to new opportunities willing to change your branding and marketing to meet consumer’s needs.

    Look at it this way, focusing all of your marketing and branding efforts in one basket will for sure end with less of a reward. Think outside of the Internet and used a nice balanced marketing method. Remember to manage tone standards for customer service consistently.

    This means making sure all managers on all levels understand how employees should speak to customers, how your graphic designers should create your image in advertising and brochures and how your staff should approach business. Branding is the company image, period.

    Consistent branding and promotions empowers businesses to be noticed therefore opening up greater opportunities for growth and sales!

    Subscribe to the DREAMFly Marketing Magnetics Blog by entering your information in the right column. To contact DREAMFly Marketing, click here.

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You know how when a gopher, armadillo or skunk wreaks havoc by digging in your yard you hire a trapper to eliminate the problem?

Think of Marketing Magnetics as the trapper who eliminates marketing and branding hazards in part two of the Branding Bonanza three-part series.

3 Part Branding Series – Branding Bonanza Critters: The Hazards
In part one, you learned the basic tools to brand. Now, in part two Branding Bonanza Critters learn how to avoid branding hazards. In part 3, learn the rewards of branding.

What are branding hazards?

  • Distraction by the competition
  • Fuzzy marketing goals
  • Loving advice that backfires from friends and family
  • Economics
  • News

Distraction by Competition
Think you have to do what the competition does? Wrong! Just because a competitor sends out some greater and better promotion, does not mean you need to copy them by going one better.

Trust your strategic marketing plan. Avoid being distracted by the competition. If your strategic marketing plan truly identifies your target audience and establishes solid goals, it will deliver Branding Bonanza Desserts or the prized outcomes of strategic marketing.

Fuzzy Marketing Goals Are Bad
Goals in a strategic marketing plan should do more than identify where you are advertising. Establish measurable, specific goals that make your company’s direction clear.

Having clear marketing goals means identifying how staff will answer the phone, sign their emails, and handle basic customer service to match the business’s branding message in advertising and promotions. Fuzzy goals equal devilish critters for branding.

Loving Advice That Backfires
Very simple. This can be great advice, but too often family and friends’ opinions are blind opinions because they love you. Unless you have a loved one who has experience in your line of work, leave family advice for family matters and stay ahead of your own business.

My mother has always told me I’m beautiful – that doesn’t mean I am! Although….it does put a smile on my face. The point is you have to know what’s a true opinion versus a love-altered opinion before you decide to take the advice.

Economics and News Marketing Killers
News and economics are intricately linked. One feeds the other.

Watching the news can be depressing as a business owner or manager, but it is your responsibility to know the “day’s news.” The economy affects a business’s staff, its management, the owners, payables, receivables, marketing and meeting those ever present strategic marketing plan goals.

There are ways around the business of failing in a tough economy. Keep your head up and watch the budget by using more cost effective branding measures:

  • Host thank you event for existing customers with 15-20% discount for those who bring friends
  • Partner with a business in town to split costs of direct mail and advertising
  • Submit sales as events to local newspapers by “creatively” offering a service during your sale such as having a vendor there or a lecture

Branding Bonanza Critters should help businesses avoid branding problems, empower managers to remain focused to eventually deliver Branding Bonanza’s Desserts or the rewards. Part 3 of this series outlines the rewards in Branding Bonanza Desserts.

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3 Part Branding Series – Branding Bonanza Basics: How to Begin Branding
Part one of this three-part series focuses less on the actual plan and more on the basics of what you need to create a branding plan that will offer strategic marketing successes. Part Two focuses on creating a plan and its challenges while Part 3 outlines the rewards a marketing plan will deliver to your business.

This three-part series outlines specific ways to brand your company by providing examples. Let’s start with: How do you start the process of branding and what do you need?

  • Define the target audience
  • Clear company direction for marketing and branding goals
  • Guts to try new promotion ideas
  • An appropriate budget for branding with traditional or non-traditional methods

Following Part 1, Marketing Magnetics offers Part 2: Branding Bonanza Critters (what can get in the way of your branding) and Part 3: Branding Bonanza Desserts (creating results with branding).

Define The Target Audience
Whether you like it or not, every consumer is not your audience. This is a Branding Bonanza Basic. Yes, maybe everyone with a vehicle needs tires, but that doesn’t make every person with a car a member of the target audience for a high end tire shop. Does it?

Define a target audience by performing a customer survey with your existing client-base. Another double check method for a target group is to research what others say about who shops for the service or good you are branding. The target audience definition determines Branding Bonanza Desserts or the strategic marketing plan and its measurable results.

Clear Company Direction for Marketing and Branding Goals
Clear direction requires all managers including company branding and marketing understand strategic marketing goals and initiatives and the direction outlined to reach those marketing goals.

Often executives with little to no marketing experience attempt to direct strategic marketing plans. Establish clear direction by trusting marketing experts’ advice whether on staff or a contracted marketing firm.

Know the measurements that equal success for your branding bonanza.

Have Guts to Try Something New

If you have a chance to try new methods for branding such as an innovative, local special event with cross promotion opportunities you must think carefully.

Return On Investment (ROI) is critical for measuring advertising and promotion efficiency. Balance ROI goals (say 150% return on advertising for example) with innovative promotion opportunities that might not meet that ROI goal. Are you asking “Should I advertise on Facebook?” Advertising online may or may not return your targeted ROI goal so balance the ROI drive with new endeavors.

Budgeting Appropriately

Often marketing is the first item cut from the budget even before operations and expenditures are analyzed for efficiency during a down economy. Be strategic with marketing and budgeting to ensure there is enough funding for advertising, promotions and your Branding Bonanza.

Branding Bonanza Basics includes budgeting enough money so that your promotions plan has value. A strategic marketing plan might include sponsoring community events, advertising, paying for editorial content with media outlets or blogging and online presence.


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