Blogging Disclosure Investigation On Hyundai

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) shares their Code of Ethics which their members must follow and many others turn to with ethical dilemmas. One aspect that the code of ethics focuses on is disclosure of information. This means one should always reveal any information that the public should know but would not get from what is given to them already. Do not hold back what is to be said. Be honest with the readers and, reveal sponsors, and say those who are helping out financially.

Many times publishers and bloggers are paid with money or free products in order to endorse or write a positive review or article about a brand. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has guidelines that bloggers and publishers, anyone with the possible need to disclose information, has to follow.

Putting the focus on a blogger, he or she must provide all information about the product. Any claims that could be misleading with information being held back must be disclosed. Disclosures are there to take away any misleading impressions that can be given to the public.

Claims are not meant to be misleading or deceptive. They should be clear and conspicuous. Any disclosure that is needed for a claim should be placed right after so the consumer understands what it is about.

The FTC recently investigated the company Hyundai for not disclosing information. Hyundai’s marketing agency gave bloggers gift certificates to those who would put links or videos related to Hyundai as well as comment on the Super Bowl advertisements that were released around that time. This goes against section 5 of the FTC Act, which states that full disclosure of material between an advertiser and its endorser is needed when the public would not know otherwise. The investigation was closed and and Hyundai was not held responsible. The letter from the FTC on the Hyundai investigation can be seen here.

The reasons for this decision are as follows:

* Hyundai did not know about these incentives being given outHyundai_Motor_Company_lo

  • A small amount of bloggers received gift certificates
  • Some bloggers did in fact disclose the information

*This was not done by Hyundai employees but by a person in a media firm hired by Hyundai

  • Although a brand is usually responsible for those they hire, it goes against Hyundai’s media policy and media action was taken to address the incident afterwards

With new ways of advertising and endorsement, brands need to make sure they are following ethical standards. It is the responsibility of a brand to know that those it gives gifts to write about their products or events disclose that information to the public. It is also the brands responsibility to go about this in an ethical way. The brand knows whether or not it is being “sketchy” with its endorsement. It is their responsibility to advertise ethically. A blogger may not know the rules and codes of blogging. However, in my opinion, if a blogger is asked to endorse a product he or she should look up how to do it correctly and ethically.

The FTC did not think that Hyundai was responsible for the disclosure mishap. I have mixed feelings about this because normally a brand should know whom it hires and what they are doing, however Hyundai did handle the issue well and it went against their codes. The person working for the media firm did not follow ethical codes and caused a problem for the company he or she worked for as well as Hyundai. This person should definitely be fired and I do believe that action was taken.

If you have your own opinions on this investigation or the actions taken here please leave a comment below!

 

 

Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees Campaign

HaagenDazs
Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream created for the campaign. Honeybee product logo on the left of the flavor name.

Haagen-Dazs worked with the public relations agency Ketchum to create the “Haagen-Dazs loved Honey Bees” campaign. Haagen-Dazs noticed they did not have a way to connect to their customers. They linked this to the issue of disappearing honeybees also known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Haagen-Dazs is committed to using all natural ingredients. This threatened more than 40% of Haagen-Dazs ingredients, so they created the program to show awareness for this cause as well as benefit from engagement with consumers and change their brand perception by showing the relationship of honeybees to Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The goal was to receive a form of passion from consumers and raise sales growth by 1% and the media impressions by 25%. In order to do so, a new flavor was created in honor of the honeybees. A logo of a bee was placed on all products threatened by this issue. A website for consumer education on the subject was made along with produced print and television advertising. Public relations got donations towards research and created a street for consumers to plant bee-friendly habitats to help save honeybees.

Primary research used in the campaign was done with focus groups. The groups were to find out consumer awareness, engagement, and attitude towards the honeybee issue. Groups were also used to determine what consumers thought Haagen-Dazs role in the cause was. Consumers felt that seeing the brand help the cause created a positive feeling towards the brand and its involvement in the cause. The involvement made consumers feel connected to the brand and that they are truly involved and not doing it for sales.

Secondary research was done to show that no other brand had taken this honeybee and tried to create awareness. Haagen-Dazs then formed this issue of the bees as its own cause. Audience analysis showed Haagen-Dazs consumers are willing to support a cause that is genuine and relevant, and want to teach their children how to create a sustainable living situation.

The main stakeholder of this campaign was the consumer, specifically adults who mostly had children. The idea was to create a bond between the brand and the consumer and to have the consumer feel as thought he is part of something bigger than just filling his stomach with ice cream. Another stakeholder could be the other ice cream brands that have not looked into this cause or other causes where awareness can be helpful. Investors will see the sales growth that took place and want to invest or help the cause and Haagen-Dazs.

A business objective of Haagen-Dazs was sell the Vanilla Honey Bee flavor along with other bee dependent flavors, as well as increase sales growth from 2007 to 2008 by 1%. Haagen-Dazs had a 5.2% sales growth by April 2008 rather than the 1% and sustained growth of 4% from April until July 2008. Haagen-Dazs shows what they specifically did to create this change and the measures they took with their new products and campaign. The amount they changed was re-branding themselves to fit the campaign. They also stated exactly how long they wanted to see the effects of the change over the course of a year.

Haagen-Dazs used two strategies for this campaign. They gave the consumers an easy way to engage genuinely and frequently with the brand by making them aware and educating them about the honeybees, showing their concern for the issue, and using products that rely on honeybees. The next strategy was to become the first national consumer brand that supported this honeybee issue and educated consumers about it in a worthy way. They wanted to use the brand name to raise awareness and bring out the “all natural” image of the brand by associating honeybees with Haagen-Dazs.

To succeed in their strategies, Haagen-Dazs took on many tactics. They used donations, created a bee board to speak out, industry outreach, media outreach, broadcasts in local markets, created social gatherings,

But two big ones were the flavor launch and Million Seeds Challenge. Haagen-Dazs created the bee dependent flavor, Vanilla Honey Bee, and promised a percentage of its overall sales and all other bee dependent flavors that had the special logo, to go to research for Colony Collapse Disorder, the disappearance of the honeybees. The Million Seeds Challenge reached bee supporters through Craigslist and MeetUp.com to challenge then and help Haagen-Dazs plant one million seeds to create a place for bees to live.

The media outreach used for this campaign can be seen as an output measure. They used CNNMoney.com to get the word across mass outlets using websites, broadcast, and print coverage around the United States. They pay for this outreach, but Haagen-Dazs cannot control who listens and who does not.

The donations given from Haagen-Dazs to universities and organizations working to solve and raise awareness towards Colony Collapse Disorder could be an outtake measure in the campaign. The logo for the flavors and commercials showing the new flavors that raise money to donate are factors in this outtake measure.

An outcome measure is shown with the Ice Cream Social that took place on Capital Hill. Haagen-Dazs and The Pollinator Partnership held an event to create awareness and share ice cream during Pollinator Week. Media not connected to The Pollinator Partnership and Haagen-Dazs showed up and created more buzz for the cause. Two more nationally syndicated wire stories and a front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle came as a result of this ice cream social.

Haagen-Dazs took a very smart approach to this cause and to making more profit. They had a weakness of not connecting to their consumers, but used their strength of “all natural” to build the connection while bringing in more consumers with the issue of disappearing honeybees. Their efforts did not go unnoticed and people became educated about the cause and their sales values exceeded more than expected. One aspect that was not talked about in the campaign was the budget system that could have been explained. Almost 500,000 visitors engaged on their websites, more than 950 consumers and organizations wanted to collaborate, get more information, or compliment the program. Haagen-Dazs brand advocacy rate went from 13% to 69% bypassing its competitors. Overall Haagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees was a very successful campaign.

Media Relations Benefits and Concepts

insta writing

Getting in touch with journalists can be hard and even if it happens maybe it wasn’t done right. In order to have good media relations in this digital age, we need to make sure we have done it right. Basics for good media relations according to the book, “Cutlip and Center’s Effective Public Relations” between practitioners and journalists are:

  • Shoot straight – be honest right away so everyone understands where they are at with everything going on
  • Give service – give over what the journalists wants that is newsworthy and interesting to them
  • Do not beg or whine – do not beg to have stories used or complain about what has been done
  • Do not ask for “kills” – do not ask to have a story taken down once it has been released
  • Do not flood the media – 1) stick to what journalists agree is news 2) keep media email lists up to date 3) send to only one journalist at each news media

When we think of media relations we have to take into account the few factors that are important to this. Such concepts are search engines, owned media, syndication services, social media press release, social sharing, and hidden influencers.

Search engines

A company wants their link to come up right away when someone searches a certain word. Many will pay for their website to appear as the first link when used as a search. This is important because a company needs to have people visiting their website. Being on the 3,948 page of Google isn’t going to help with that. A journalist wants to be able to find something right away. If an interesting link appears in front of a journalist maybe he or she will write about it.

Owned media

This is media that a company controls themselves. A website or print advertising is controlled from the company. They pay to advertise whatever they want. They can control what and when it is published. It is important to have this control within a company. It can be sent to a journalist in hopes that an article is written about whatever the company has come out with. They need news to show what their company is and it usually starts with owned media, but this can be used to create something bigger.

Syndication services

Having syndicated services lets a publication be published in many different places. It lets a company branch out in different directions that usually have to do with the main companies mission. This syndication makes it easier for word to get out on many different media outlets by possibly more than one journalist. A journalist can have an article published in different places if it is syndicated.

Social media press release

A social media press release can be very beneficial. People are on their social media all the time. They can share the press release straight from their devices. The company can put l
inks on the press release that you can’t do on paper. The contact information can also be clicked on and easy to access. So too, it is extremely easy for someone to get to and read quickly. No need for a person to go out of his or her way. The difference between a traditional press release and social media press release can be explained here.

Social sharing

share

Having the ability to share something on social media makes a lot easier to do so and more likely for people to want to. A small click of a button and dozens of people can know about something that I had heard about moments ago. This can be a real pro to media relations. Word can get out in a matter of minutes to hundreds of people with out even doing much work for it. New York Times and other newspapers use their social media sharing to benefit themselves. They have a link attached to their post and their article. This way anyone can see it and it can be shared multiple times.

Hidden influencers

Hidden influencers like bloggers or people on social media are useful to have. Someone who has a big following and shares or talks about something that was posted from a company originally, can get the word out there without even trying. Journalists can be influencers for many companies. What they write gets out into the world and their followers now know about whatever was written.

According to a comprehensive annual report from the Pew Research Center, State of the News Media:

“News is a part of the explosion of social media and mobile devices, and in a way that could offer opportunity to reach more people with news than ever before.”

 

screenshot times
My NYtimes app is where I get my news

Many people now read news, press releases, advertising, and other news related events on their phones or computers. This can actually be beneficial because people who would never look at a news outlet are getting it on their social media instead. I personally wouldn’t think of picking up a newspaper, but having applications on my phone that notify me about news updates lets me be in the know quickly and easily.

Following these concepts leads to good media relations. To learn how to master media relations in the digital world look at this blog.

Feel free to share, like, or leave opinions and more information below in the comments!

 

 

Corporate Social Responsibility of Google

google
Todays fun Google logo

Many big companies or organizations share their corporate social responsibility. These companies want to show how they can do good for the people and the world.

Google states their main mission:

“to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Our company has packed a lot into a relatively young life. Since Google was founded in 1998, we’ve grown to serve millions of people around the world”

They focus on the youth and how they may better serve the world with the three main focuses of their corporate social responsibility. These three main focuses are:

  • Google China Social Innovation Cup for College Students
  • Supporting Earthquake Relief
  • Google Grants

An added part would be Google Green with the ways that Google tries to keep the environment a safe and clean place for everyone.

Google China Social Innovation Cup for College Students

The Google China Social Innovation is a nationwide competition with the goal to empower the youth of China to become agents of social change. College
students bring ideas and proposals in hopes to instill in China’s future the values of social responsibility, importance of community welfare, and the spirit of self-empowerment. Many colleges are a part of this program and the 100 that rank the top for proposal submission share 500 Google “Campus Volunteer Stars” Scholarships every year.

Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, spoke out about his thoughts on this program.
“It’s amazing to see the creative, meaningful solutions coming out of Google China Social Innovation Cup. Today’s students are tomorrow’s innovators, and the fresh perspective you bring is crucial to solving the world’s big social issues.”

In 2008 when the program started, it was more than 6000 applications from 755 schools. In 2011 after a years of having this program it grew even bigger. There were over 20 thousand proposals from over 1000 colleges and universities. 3,326 proposals from 677 schools went to semi-finals and 310 proposals from 172 schools were in the finals. The winner runs his or her project with Google awards.

Supporting Earthquake Relief

In the Sichuan province of Western China a rated earthquake of 8.0 hit in 2008. Google sent support rescue and relief efforts. Google and its employees raised over 2 million dollars and donated over 1 million dollars worth of advertising to earthquake relief organizations.

Google developed a communication platform for resource support, a search platform for families looking for lost relatives, and a global platform for charitable donations.

A new, but cool concept  of Google, Google maps, provided China’s State Bureau with access to see the areas that were hit and know what damages and better aid needed to be for rescue efforts.

In September 2008, Google funded construction of 15 Google Quake Relief Hope schools in the city of Mianyang Sichuan province helping over 18 thousand elementary and high school students go back to school. You can find a list of these schools here.

Google Grants

Google Grants is an in-kind donation program awarding free AdWords advertising to select charitable organizations. It has supported hundreds of organizations in advocating and promoting their causes, such as, animal rights and literacy, abandoned children, and HIV education.

Room to Read, is an organization which educates children in Vietnam, Nepal, India and Cambodia. This organization got the attention of a sponsor who has donated funds to support the education of 25 girls for the next 10 years.

The US Fund for UNICEF’s e-commerce site, Shop UNICEF, has experienced a 43 percent increase in sales over the previous year thanks to Google.

CoachArt, an organization which supports children with life-threatening illnesses through art and athletics programs, has seen a 60 to 70 percent increase in volunteers.

Google Green

The goal of Google Green is to use 100% renewable power to help power the world with clean energy.

Google Green is committed to purchase over 2.2 gigawatts of renewable energy which is equivalent to over 1 million cars on the road. This makes google the largest non-utility purchaser of renewable energy in the world. Google buys clean electricity directly from wind and solar farms around the world.

They are also committed to invest over 2.5 billion in renewable energy projects which makes them one of the largest corporate investors in renewable energy in the world. With this they believe they are creating a better future for everyone.

Watch the Google Green video

Google has won two awards more than once for their efforts.

  • Green Power Leadership 2011 and 2014
  • Top Rank Cool IT Leaderboard 2012 and 2013

Google commits a lot towards helping China. They give opportunities to college and university students to have their ideas impact people for the better. Their Google Green ultimately helps the environment and the people they are buying the energy from.

We can see from the numbers given that the programs are rising in numbers and getting more attention. They are helping China with new schools for youth. We see a lot of help for China. Google could get some backlash for putting their main focus in one area while others may need the help to. I think a good change or add on could be to add more countries or other areas besides China that could use similar help.

Do you agree or disagree? Have something to add? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Multiple Stakeholder Engagement of Starbucks

Everybody knows what Starbucks is. It’s the place to get amazing coffee, but do you know what else the Starbucks Company provides for the people besides drinks and food?starbucks

The Starbucks Company lists their goals as:

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.

In order to achieve these goals, Starbucks builds partnerships to benefit their employees, investors, communities, suppliers, and customers.

Employees

Starbucks offers many benefits for their employees such as, disability coverage, commuter benefits, adoption assistance, vacation, insurance, tuition reimbursement and more.

I have a friend who benefits from the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Starbucks has a partnership with Arizona State University. In order to be eligible, someone needs to have worked at Starbucks for three months. That person has to be a part time employee for Starbucks and pay a small part of the tuition to insure they continue working for Starbucks, but after every semester, he or she is fully reimbursed. My friend uses this online campus from Arizona and she thinks its an amazing benefit because she can live anywhere that has a Starbucks, work there, and attend college for free and in her own time.

Investors/Partners

 Investors benefit from the stock of Starbucks when it is growing. Those who partner with Starbucks benefit by contributing ideas, getting profit from a store, having jobs for those who need, receiving discounts on items in the store, discounts on other stores that may be needed, gym memberships, and much more depending on what partner or investor.

Community

Starbucks has many programs that help the community of where they are located. They sponsor new equipment in schools, pay for events and celebrations, but their partnership programs are what make a big difference to people.

One program is a partnership with the AAMA for the Latino community that surrounds the area. In the video shown by the Starbucks Company, it shows what they did for one woman, Anita who got a job because of the partnership with AAMA. She was educated and put into a job at Starbucks to later be given her own store to run. The store that she runs benefits the Latin community that surrounds it. It is a community store that shares the profit it brings in with the AAMA non profit organization, helping the community.

Suppliers

 Starbucks uses a Supplier Diversity Program when it comes to buying their supplies. They try to find diverse owned businesses to buy from. This way they provide profit and business to different communities and businesses. There are factors in order to be eligible to be a supplier, but this creates opportunities for small businesses to gain acknowledgement and make a profit that they normally would not have the option for.

Customers

We can probably agree that the customers of Starbucks are pretty happy with what they are getting. I talked to a customer who appears in a Starbucks store multiple times a day. He says being a customer of Starbucks has many perks. There is the Starbucks Rewards where by spending a dollar a person gets two stars and when he or she reaches 120 stars, any drink he or she wants is free. They also have promotions to gain stars a different way. Starbucks gives free refills for hot or iced coffee if someone is a gold member. Customers also love the fact that their cups used are all recycled products and benefitting the environment.

Here we see the Multiple Stakeholders Starbucks uses to benefit themselves and others. If you have a benefit to share from Starbucks comment below!