My Summer Research on CEOs and the Media

Over the summer, I spent six weeks at PRIME Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. thanks to the Grunig PRIME Research Fellowship. Although a wonderful opportunity, splitting up the Blake and Nicole bestie duo was difficult! I was able to get over the short separation and, as part of the fellowship, I did a research project on CEOs and media relations. Below is a snippet of a column I wrote for the Institute for Public Relations about it. Click through to read more, it’s short and written for practitioners, not academics (a.k.a you’re going to understand it and it may be useful!):

Me with my award in my living room since the Nor’easter a few weeks ago cancelled my flight to NYC ūüė¶

CEOs are often the face of a company, but having a visible, or even well liked, CEO may not help a company’s reputation in all situations. This is a topic I explored over the summer with PRIME Research thanks to the Grunig PRIME Fellowship. Specifically, I looked at how the tone and visibility of CEO media coverage is related to the tone and visibility of overall organization coverage.

The first big takeaway is not all publicity is good publicity… {Read more.}

If you want to dive into the numbers and check out the full paper, you can download it here.


From the Field to Social Media, Chargers Fans Can’t Win

As if losing to the Broncos on the field wasn’t bad enough this past Sunday, Facebook has been particularly insensitive to Chargers fans this week. Fans of a particular sports team may seem like a great audience for brands to tap into (being known to be¬†intensely¬†brand-loyal), but like any group, it is vitally important to know what is important to them and be aware of what is going on in that subculture. A few brands failed miserably at this in the past week while trying to market to Chargers fans.

The first example comes from Sprinkles Cupcakes La Jolla (which I hate calling out because I love their cupcakes). Sprinkles often posts specials on Facebook where customers are given a certain password to say at checkout and they will receive a BOGO deal. You can see how that worked out for them this time…

Friday before a devastating loss on Sunday:

Monday after the devastating loss:

Now I was lucky enough to catch this “epic fail” before they deleted it. Yes, they simply deleted the post along with these scathing comments. And no, they didn’t do anything to right their wrong. A simple Google search would have told whomever runs their Facebook that the Chargers lost and that this post would upset fans, but even after the mistake, they had the opportunity to give away consolation cupcakes or SOMETHING (even one of the upset commenters had an idea of a new “password”)! But no, they just pretended that you can erase things from the Internet. Wrong.

The next example illustrates once again how stupid it is to schedule posts. The people over at Funky Garcia’s got lucky because apparently their fans have had enough margaritas to ignore the fact that this post popped up a day AFTER the big game. “Even if the Chargers lose” huh? Yea, we’d have no idea how that’d feel.

The final OOPSIE of the week goes straight to the Chargers fan page and their team store who is having a 15% off Black Friday sale. Now, if these people were remotely in-tune with their frustrated fans, it would be clear that this could have some negative backlash. It did. Enough so that UT San Diego covered it.

For sports fans, the successes and failures of their teams are a very real and important part of their lives. So, social media types, don’t be stupid. Know who you are talking to, and please, know what you are talking about.

Blake’s hacking note on Nicole’s post: Yes, this post had us reliving horrible Chargers game-day¬†memories. But we have a love for our hometown-team. Even though Nicole is a Niners fan (if an NFL fan at all) we both enjoy¬†game-day fun. Especially if it¬†involves¬†painting our faces! If you’re a diehard fan and will still be supporting the bolts this weekend at the Q, Tweet me at @blakedelhoyo, I’ll be there! #BoltUp

A Recap of Be Business Awesome

Despite being busy and poor, we’ve been trying to get out on the town to attend fun and informative events and expand our networks. Last week, we attended A Night at the Cotton Club at the San Diego Symphony and on Tuesday, we attended Be Business Awesome: An Evening With Scott Stratten (aka @Unmarketing). The Be Business Awesome Event was put on by Social Media Club San Diego and hosted by¬†San Diego REP.

Going into the event, Blake had an idea of what to expect since she had listened to a couple of Scott’s webinars (¬†“The Business of UnAwesome: How to Avoid the Flipside of Awesome Business”¬†& ¬†“The Business of Awesome: How to Make Your Business Boom”)¬†and already had his book, ¬†The Book of Business¬†Awesome¬†sitting on her coffee table (even if it was unread). Nicole, on the other hand, was following Blake’s demand that we attend this event and had no idea what to expect.

After getting our¬†complimentary¬†drink, signed books, and forced Scott to get up and take a photo with us, we headed into the event. It was at this point that we noticed Scott was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and mandals that clearly said, “IDGAF” – we even had an intense Twitter debate about the mandals (see the Tweets below).

Here’s a few of our favorite takeaways, in both text and Tweet form:

  • Passion + Knowledge=Profit
  • The best way to improve your bottom line is through your frontline
  • Twitter is a conversation, not a dictation
  • Viral=unconditional sharing
  • Marketing is not a task
  • We don’t define our brand – our customers do
  • Hire based on personality, not only the “experience” on a resume (REJOICE fellow new professionals! Scott’s out there spreading the word!)
  • Ask customers & clients what your business should “Start, Stop, and Continue”
  • It would take 4,500,000 “pigeon craps” to damage a Smart Car’s tridion safety cell*

*Info taken from one of the webinars, see the infographic here

All in all it was a great night and we even got to see our good bud, Katie Rowland!

Color Run Fun!

Starting line

The San Diego Color Run took place last Saturday and I’m still finding tinges of blue and green in my ears. Both Nicole and I participated for the first time in this fun event, but on different teams. Nicole and her team, Hell on Heels,¬†ran early at 8:30 a.m., while ¬†I ran with team Colorly Love during the 1:30 p.m. race.

So, as¬†incredibly¬†fun and hilarious as this event turned out to be, we learned a few tips and tricks we will be employing during next year’s run.

Race Packets

GET SOMEONE TO GO PICK THESE UP PRIOR TO RACE DAY! The lines were edging on 2 hours long and you don’t have time for that on the day of the event! To be nice you should probably send a group, and possibly a little flask of Shiraz or something of the sort (I mean, not that we’d ever do anything of the sort, that’s only a joke, I mean we don’t even drink). However, remember that the sucker (ahem, BEST GROUP MEMBER) that goes to pick up the packets must have a signed document saying they’re allowed to pick up race packets for someone who is not present. We did hear¬†whispers¬†of people forging signatures and text messages being accepted in place of documents – not sure if this would work in every city since we here in the beach cities are pretty laid back ūüėČ

Face Masks

If you’re sensitive to breathing in dust or other types of particles, I would recommend running with a mask. Your pre-race packet will also recommend that, but since our team was primarily worried about looking “cute”, we didn’t pay attention to this part. Along with having multi-colored Kleenex for a few days, breathing in the dry powder may hinder your fun on the day of the event – remember with ANY slight breeze and this stuff billows into huge¬†clouds¬†that you cannot get away from. To ensure that your team still has a cute “uniform” you can use some of these ideas we saw floating around:

  • Painter’s Masks: These folks really stood out, plus since these masks are meant to be worn for a while I assume they¬†weren’t¬†as hot as some other options.
  • Bandannas: This option looked cool (a very robber-esc look) but I’m not sure it worked in the long run since it seemed that the colors were attracted to moisture – which I assume would accumulate with the breathing.

Eye Wear

Before and After

Same issue as above, the billowing power can get into your eyes and cause irritation. Plus, some of those color sprayers don’t quite adhere to keeping it below the neck (I will let some of it slide because they were little kids and their aim may not be quite up to par). Our teams both just wore glasses (both sunglasses and clear¬†lenses), but we also saw some people wearing goggles, both the swimming type and science lab type!

Team Uniform

Obviously if you’re running this race, you and your team must determine an outfit strategy. However, remember that EVERYONE will be

Team Hell on Heels

wearing white, TONS of people will have on the event T-shirt, and there will be rainbow-colored tutus in masses. Many people opted to keep their cellphones safe from the color, so if your team is separated, it was almost impossible to find each other. Find SOMETHING that will stand out…¬†whether¬†it be little horns like Nicole’s team or matching headdresses.


At the post-race event dance party there is a special dance set aside for those wearing tutus. If you want to shake your stuff while everyone looks on be sure to be wearing one!

Becoming Colorfied

Team Colorly Love

We were slightly¬†disappointed¬†that we weren’t more color-ific at the end of the race. If you just run the race and dance around in the color packets they give you, you will NOT be as¬†intensely¬†colored as all those pictures on the event website – you need to strategically color yourself. We found that the damp spots made the color stick to your clothes better,¬†whether¬†it be sweat or the cups of water we dumped on ourselves. Also, try and position yourself to be¬†colored¬†with the “pretty” colors. Yellow and orange give you a weird dirty look while the pretty pink is soon covered up as it is the first color-station of the race (at least for our’s). When you pick up your race packets and your 1 free
color-pack make sure you get the pretty colors: purple, pink, blue – the rest soon turn you into a brown mess.¬†When you’re throwing your color-packs ensure you have DIRECT contact with a team member, I’m talking a handful of color literally smacked on there and rubbed in for maximum color saturation.

We also saw evidence of people bringing in their own color (we’re talking empty¬†Ziploc¬†baggie proof)!!! Team Colorly Love decided that our next go-around we’ll be smuggling in our own colors, and making sure they’re the pretty colors (no ugly yellow or orange!). I found a website with a recipe to make the colored powder. I haven’t tried it yet but feel free make some and leave us a comment on how it worked!

What do you Think?

Any other tips we missed? Could we have had an amazing inside experience and missed it? Let us know in the comment section so our next 5k or next Color Run is EPIC!

(We’d also like to give photo credit to team Colorly Love’s photos to Little Miss MBA and her “good-sport-bearded-photographer-boy friend”)

Reddit from a Non-Redditor

Yesterday, Mashable posted a story¬†stating that Reddit is valued at a whopping $240 million. Reddit is one of those things where I had heard the name over the years, but didn’t quite know what it was. Then, I read this article in New York Magazine over the summer that kind of piqued my interest, but with my busy schedule, Reddit once again crawled to the back of my mind. It wasn’t until PR Daily posted this infographic that I finally decided I should give this thing a chance and I have over the past few days.

As a newbie, Reddit is pretty intimidating. Redditors speak their own language and have their own rules or “Reddiquette.” These rules can vary from subreddit to subreddit. Subreddits are Reddits dedicated to a particular topic where you can submit a text post or a link. The biggest thing with Reddit is it is a community where you are supposed to engage in conversation, read, comment and share valuable information. Reddiquette states that very few of your links should be from your own blog or website, if at all. Or at least that is what I read on one list of rules.

I spent a little time on a couple subreddits, reading and commenting. I also submitted a couple blog posts that I thought would be interesting and relevant to the particular subreddits. I definitely got a lot of clicks and some up votes (oh yeah, Redditors can give you up or down arrows on posts). However, I also got some really nasty comments about my Coffee Shop Etiquette post from a barista subreddit. As a former barista, I thought the community would find it funny, but of course people get really brave on the Internet.

I’m still not sure if I will ever be a Redditor or if I want to be. But, if you’re gonna give it a try, this video might help: