Monday, September 10, 2018

Abbott Media Group Launches Funding Campaign For Abbott News Service

NEWS RELEASE
Abbott Media Group
www.abbottmediagroup.com
Monday, September 10, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today, Abbott Media Group is launching a campaign seeking seed funding for Abbott News Service, the next stage in the evolution of news coverage of global politics and social trends.

THE PITCH:

The Abbott News Service will finally expose Americans to unbiased coverage of international politics, elections and global social trends, using multiple online media platforms.

When fully funded and operational, The Abbott News Service (TANS) will feature original reporting and photography and concise news stories of under 250 words. We’ll seek exclusive, local reporting and interviews with influencers.

Using its website, social media platforms and a mobile app, TANS will disseminate original news content in ways that are innovative, interesting and engaging.

BACKGROUND:

The Abbott News Service is the next step in the evolution of the World Politics News blog (worldpoliticsnews.blogspot.com) which Abbott Media Group owner Stephen A. Abbott has edited nearly every day since 2012.

Our mass media is failing us. It's failing to give us the news we deserve about the political events and social trends that, in a Globally interconnected world, could soon reach our shores and drastically impact our lives – both in positive and negative ways.

We need a revolution in Mass Media to ensure that we’re aware and alert to these trends, before they reach America’s shores. The Abbott News Service is the start of this revolution.

We're building the Abbott News Service to take on Big Media and fill the huge gap they’re leaving in international news coverage. We'll bring Americans the news they’re missing, and will insist on news that's accurate, unbiased and unfiltered.

This will not be “advocacy journalism,” since it will not serve as a mask for partisanship disguised as journalism, from the Left or the Right. The only thing TANS will advocate is the expansion of Americans’ knowledge of politics and social trends around the world.

THE DRIVING FORCE:

The Abbott News Service will be overseen on a daily basis by World Politics News Editor-In-Chief and Founder Stephen A. Abbott, a veteran journalist, blogger and communications consultant from Central Florida.

TANS will seek to contract with American and native citizen journalists both overseas and in the US to report on international politics and social trends, paying them by the story. TANS will consider extending internship opportunities to qualified journalism students.

The Abbott News Service will eventually seek to license stories produced by its reporters to outside media organizations, functioning, in part, as a traditional wire service.

FUNDING:
Abbott Media Group is seeking $20,000 in initial/seed funding, using a GoFundMe account and other fundraising methods. For more information and to support the Abbott News Service, go to https://www.gofundme.com/abbott-news-service 

ABOUT:
Abbott Media Group was founded in 2008, the successor to Stephen Abbott Communications (2003-2008.) It relaunched in 2015, with a focus on online media, reputation management, social media management, and ePublishing. They can be found online at www.abbottmediagroup.com, on twitter at @abbottmedia and on facebook at facebook.com/abbottmediagroup.

Founder and owner Stephen A. Abbott graduated with a BA in Communication Arts with a concentration in Public Relations from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida.

###

Friday, September 7, 2018

4 Ways To Fix Our Broken Network Newscasts [Abbott Media Group]


Network news - news programs shown on the original Big Three networks and other, newer, upstarts - is broken. Below are four examples, and what I believe they need to do to fix their news programs to better serve the American people:

More International Focus - A "world news" program that focuses solely on domestic news is not worthy of the name, and international celebrities getting into trouble or the latest plane crash overseas doesn't count as "news." Americans who are insular and insulated from the news of the world are suddenly surprised by trends both friendly and ferocious when they hit without warning. When that happens, that's a failure of the "world news" programs we watch. Network newscasts must rededicate themselves to covering the entire world.

More International Politics - Political trends are also vital to our full and complete awareness as voters and as citizens. It may not, at first glance, seem important that a new anti-American party is rising in the polls in a nation traditionally friendly to the USA, or that a certain governor was elected in a prefecture in Japan. But if that nation turns hostile, or if that governor is more hostile to Americans remaining in a military base there than his predecessor, then that indeed is a problem that will have regional and international repercussions. Network newscasts should commit to covering international politics, because it's relevant.

The Weather Is NOT "news" - It's snowy in the winter in the Northern half of the United States. It's a fact. It's not, however, news. It's exciting to show cars skidding off the road, rivers frozen and, in other climes, wet summers, minor hurricanes and tornadoes. But aside from in-depth analyses of how slowly the aid got there after the storm, or how we are adapting to changing weather patterns, it's not "news," and besides, that coverage is being done already on local TV. Network newscasts should stop wasting time covering routine and expected weather, and blowing storms out of all proportion.

Fewer YouTube Videos - What's truly shocking about today's American nightly "newscast" is the inclusion of actual YouTube videos. ABC News includes these (and the "look at the unique playing on a ___ team" videos) in its "Index" segment near the end of the program. It literally shows YouTube videos of animals doing funny things, near-miss car accidents and other hilarity, which we can see with better justification on shows like "America's Funniest Videos" or its cable show equivalents. The YouTubization (tm) of Network news must end. 

"If it bleeds, it leads" was the old saying about the nightly news and the local paper. National Network newscasts shouldn't fear though. There is plenty of blood in the political turmoil around the world to drench their viewers' hearts. There are also demonstrations, corruption, trade deals, hard-fought elections, coups and uprisings, and much of it with very real and sometimes immediate consequences for American voters and consumers.

That's one of the reasons why I founded "World Politics News," a news aggregation service that points American readers to the news they're missing on the nightly network newscasts.

American news organizations owe it to us to bring us the world, and to show us accurately and fairly what's happening THERE before it happens HERE. And if they begin to do this again, the nightly "World News" programs will once again be true to their names.

Stephen Abbott
Abbott Media Group
www.abbottmediagroup.com

Friday, July 13, 2018

How #PR Can Subvert The Traditional "Marketing Funnel" [Abbott Media Group]

Public Relations is not Marketing, nor is is it Advertising. It's actually better. The traditional "Marketing Funnel" consists of leading people to an Awareness of a brand, then to their Interest in it, followed by Conversion (a Purchase) then Brand Loyalty, which leads to Advocacy of your brand by the loyal customers.

Which is all good, and it tends to drag customers through the process effectively, when implemented correctly.

Advertising is also different from Public Relations, and from Marketing. For example, advertisers often want to go from Awareness directly to a quick sale, which can lead to crass, high-pressure appeals.

Note that I'm not saying there's anything WRONG with Marketing or Advertising as concepts or business practices. Both are critical to understanding consumer behavior and directing them towards becoming happy and loyal customers.

But with Public Relations, we have a way in which we can "short circuit" this process, and possibly make it more effective. If such a system existed, wouldn't businesses want to employ it, alongside traditional methods?

Here's how:

In PR, awareness of your brand's Good Deeds and/or its commitment to its Mission and Core Values can lead directly to people becoming brand Advocates, especially online, leading to them become Loyal customers.

We've seen this over and over again online, in which a poster on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram reacts to a positive action by a company, and says, "Great move! I want to do business with a company like this!" When the poster is a known figure, you have achieved a degree of social proof - an influencer who directs others to buy and support a brand. This is priceless, and can do more for a brand than a thousand TV or radio ads.

Consider letting Abbott Media Group use social media and PR communications tools to build positive awareness of your brand!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Creepy #PR Job Ad Seeking "Youthful" Female To Be The "Face" Of A Company Is All That's Wrong With PR [Abbott Media Group]

A recent job posting illustrates EVERYTHING that's wrong with PR today, or at least the growing perception of PR as a damaged profession with a reputation problem.

The ad, on the popular job search site "Glassdoor," read:

"We are looking for a youthful, energetic, personable, presentable, female for an overseas Public Relations position," it began, "The candidate will be the face of our Asia operation. Please send details and photo if possible."

It's signed - rare for an ad even on Glassdoor - by the male president of this company, which I've blacked out to avoid holding him up to public ridicule. Both his first and last name were included in the original ad.


This is wrong on so many levels. Aside from being an illegal job ad (gender-specific, which is forbidden by employment law) it's a bit creepy for a male president/CEO to be asking for a photograph - akin to a dirty personal ad in the back of a magazine or on the old "Backpage" or Craigslist personals, it sends a horrible message about the profession. One plausibly may wonder if he hopes to travel with her.

The ad's descriptions are equally troubling.

"Youthful, energetic" is "code" for "no one over 30 need apply. Age discrimination sucks, but it's a reality in the business world. And tolerated.

"Personable," well, of course a PR person will be personable - someone who is likable and generally likes people. Though that's a child's definition of "public relations," and every store clerk or auto show platform model can't be said to be in "public relations," just because they interact with the public - though that's a vital component for business success, for sure.

The final two descriptors, "presentable, female," are at the heart of the problem with this ad. "Presentable" seems to be a code word for "pretty." Now, there's nothing wrong with being pretty, or presentable, so long as the latter means how a person presents oneself, in dress, demeanor, and especially verbally and in writing. If THOSE were the criterion used by the CEO here, that would ELEVATE the profession, not demean it or raise ludicrous stereotypes as this ad does.

Let's also mention that the ad apparently breaks the terms of service Glassdoor has published on its own site, which state, "You may not post any job ad that ... gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other ground(s) prohibited by applicable law."

CEOs of corporations should never use the tactic of pushing a "pretty face" in front of a news conference, so stakeholders and the general public will more easily forget the bad news about a company or CEO. That plays to the basest of negative stereotypes about PR.

This amounts to putting supermodels on catwalks wearing corporate logos. Corporations should be educated by real PR pros that this won't motivate any but the creepiest of men to patronize their businesses and buy their products and services. And it won't be enough to distract the media from a company's missteps.

A bit of a disclaimer. A search for the company on Google on July 7, 2018 at 8 pm (Central) produced no results. A Linkedin profile mentioning his name and company produced a blank page. It's unclear whether the ad, posted on July 7, 2018, is for a legitimate operation. If so, shame on the company's president. If not, shame on Glassdoor for facilitating this gross person's fantasy.

----------------
Stephen Abbott is the principal of Abbott Media Group. He's not "pretty" nor "young." He's a male over 50, and has over two decades of actual experience building brands and reputations. Abbott Media Group can be found online at www.abbottmediagroup.com.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

4 Ways To Build #Trust With Your Customers [Abbott Media Group]


People will do business with those that they trust. Public Relations can help to build that trust.

There are several ways a business can begin to build trust with their customers and future (potential) customers. Among them are Consistency, Courtesy, Care, and Community Involvement.

Being Consistent is critically important to a business' future success. There's a reason why restaurants, pet stores, hotels, and hardware chains, among others, are so popular. Ideally, they offer consistent service and products offered professionally in multiple locations. Customers know they can get the same products and services offered for about the same price, wherever they go. For some, that may seem "boring," but customers actually yearn for boring over the alternative: inconsistent service and the inability to get their favorite products. Public Relations professionals can guide a business to accept and disseminate internal policies and standard graphics and messaging that will help create a consistent experience for customers.

Courtesy is also an important factor in building Trust. If service is offered in a cold manner, or worse, in a rude manner, the bond of Trust between a customer and a business is broken. This is even the case in a long-term relationship. There's no such thing anymore as a small incident of discourteous conduct. Even one incident in which a customer is treated poorly can ruin a company's reputation in this era of instant online reviews. A Public Relations professional can help isolate and identify areas in which internal standards aren't being met, and can, once those are addressed, help repair and rebuild Trust with customers who experienced a lack of courtesy during a business transaction.

Care is shown in a multitude of ways by a business, and customers recognize when it's not there, contributing to a lack of Trust. Products or services offered in a sloppy, slapdash way can instantly signal to the customer that the business doesn't really care about them. Caring isn't a small thing, it's a major thing, and in fact, should be the top concern of any business. If you're not in business to care for the customer, why are you in business at all? Care can be demonstrated by proper training and internal messaging that makes it clear that business owners have high expectations of their employees. PR can deliver those messages in a compelling and clear way that leaves no doubt that Care is required from everyone.

Finally, Community Involvement can be a tremendous trust-building tool. While some effort should be made not to alienate a customer base with involvement with overtly political or controversial causes, showing concern for one's community is more than a gimmick to grab headlines. Instead, it shows that a business is intimately tied to the community in which they do business, and that they care about their customers' well-being, more than just as a source of cash. Public Relations professionals can help identify community activities that reflect well on a business and help show that concern that leads to stronger feelings of trust with their current and future customers.

For more information about building Trust, visit Abbott Media Group at www.abbottmediagroup.com.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Boycott Of Cafe That Posted "Anti-Gun" Message Becomes Lesson In Political Rhetoric [Abbott Media Group]

Ellen's Cafe in Dallas, Texas is finding out that words have meaning - and that not using the right words, especially in political discussions, can have severe consequences.

If their recent post is accurate, they profoundly blundered when they posted a message on the bottom of their customer receipts that they wanted to advocate for, "reasonable and effective gun regulations."

Their blunder wasn't posting such a message (they have that right, as all Americans do) But because they didn't understand that there's a certain way one speaks in politics and people want to hear "key words" when discussing "hot button" issues - be it gun rights, abortion, among others. And they apparently didn't know this before wading in.

The language they used, for instance, "reasonable and effective" are viewed as 'code words' by those on the political Right and specifically by NRA members as language the Left employs to advocate for strong new laws against gun ownership.

And that's just what happened in this instance. The message was interpreted as a political call to arms to the cafe's liberal customers.

The NRA's twitter account itself posted a photo of the receipt (at left) urging members to avoid the restaurant, which was located near this year's NRA convention site.

The receipt language went viral, of course, and calls for boycotts of the cafe spread across the internet.

The problem was, the cafe owners say they SUPPORT gun rights and the Second Amendment.

They said, in a May 4 Facebook post, their wording mistake was an honest one.

"The opposite is true. We support the Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment, 100%. And like the NRA, we also support finding solutions to the senseless killings that happen much too frequently. We believe those two things are completely compatible."

The cafe, by all accounts, meant well. The cafe held a sympathetic "round table" interview with Dallas Police officers last October about the July, 2016 shooting that killed two Dallas officers. They don't appear to be "anti-gun" any more than they are "anti-cop."

The media, of course, is focusing now on the detestable death threats and anger the errant language provoked, and there really is no excuse for that behavior.

The best lesson that can be learned from this is to use language - in politics, especially - with political sensitivities in mind. Understanding what your audience wants to hear is key to getting your message out to them - whether you're a politician, an interest group, or a cafe owner.


__________________________________________
Stephen Abbott is principal of Abbott Media Group, a reputation agency. www.abbottmediagroup.com

Sunday, February 4, 2018

"Stand By You" Budweiser 2018 #SuperBowlAd is a #PR Winner [Abbott Media Group]


Budweiser took the early lead in the "Public Relations Super Bowl" with its ad, "Stand by You," which aired early in the Third Quarter Sunday night.

The ad tells the story, in a simplified manner, of their efforts to provide cans of water to areas in need during natural disasters in Puerto Rico, California, Florida, Houston, and elsewhere.

I say "simplified," because the beer producing company clearly doesn't switch over to making water by pushing a single button in the brewing facility. But switch over they do, and the good they do is undeniable.

The ad is emotional and effective, clearly portraying the company and its dedicated employees in a positive light. And it's bound to be discussed in post-game discussions throughout the country's living rooms, as well as in the media early in the week. Those in areas of the nation they've served during natural disasters will definitely be talking about this.

This is a clear PR Win for the company, with great exposure during this high profile game.

Nicely done, Budweiser. You win the Super Bowl #PR Ad War!

--------------------
Let #AbbottMediaGroup throw a PR and Reputation "Touchdown" for your company, campaign or organization. www.abbottmediagroup.com