Helping Buff City Soap Slide to Success During the Pandemic

Thread Marketing Group is excited to be providing public relations and marketing support for Buff City Soap’s Holland location, which has had a successful and impressive first year of business.

 

Buff City Soap focuses on creating and selling handmade products that avoid harsh ingredients and are full of nourishing plant-based minerals that satisfy their customers and their skin. Ranging from hand soap to shampoo bars, from bath bombs to facial cleansers, from lotions to laundry soap – their products are guaranteed to make you feel and smell clean.  

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Learning More About My Capabilities During the Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact companies, schools, and individuals, it has also changed the summer, work, and school plans of college students throughout the country. Students already had to accept the unfortunate news that they wouldn’t be finishing their spring semesters as planned and that they wouldn’t be having the summer they expected, and now they will need to learn how to face the unique challenges and excel under the new guidelines and restrictions for this upcoming school year.

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Connecting Local Nonprofits with Vital Financial Support

Blog Series #2: Media Relations Key Role In Fighting Coronavirus Pandemic

Last week’s blog regarding the central role media relations is playing during the coronavirus pandemic generated a lot of interest, so I’m going to continue sharing my timely client experiences in a blog series. I’ve been in the thick of things – meaning real-time issues making major impacts on lives, business and community safety – every day since Ohioans were instructed to shelter in place by Governor DeWine. On a daily basis I’m facilitating clear, instrumental communications to people and organizations in northwest Ohio as they seek timely financial support … healthcare support … or just old-fashioned support in solidarity. We’re all navigating these uncertain times together – sharing resources, talking to each other, and connecting is of paramount importance.

This week, I had the pleasure of supporting my friends at the Greater Toledo Community Foundation (GTCF), and the important work they are spearheading alongside local philanthropists, businesses, and corporations. GTCF’s newly created COVID-19 Response Fund has granted $330,000 in funding support to over 50 local organizations in need.

Keith Burwell, GTCF’s President explained, “We are pleased to help immediately fill the gap in funding for basic human needs of some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community, but we can do more. Every day, we’re working to connect more local organizations with the vital funding they need to continue supporting our community and those facing the most hardships.”

Media Relations in Action

Helping spread the word about this important COVID-19 Relief Response Fund, AND ultimately connecting local nonprofits with crucial funding support, is where I come in.

This week, I worked with the media to generate two widely consumed news stories featured in the Blade and on Channel 13 ABC. Powerful stories like these clearly showcase the impact of grant funds, which are assisting dozens of key nonprofits such as the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, Center of Hope Family Services, Inc., and Connecting Kids to Meals. But, there’s room for more help … more donations … more connections.

GTCF’s program department and Board of Trustees are reviewing applications and approving grants at record pace. One hundred percent of the generous donations to the Fund are made to local nonprofits that are vital community resources on the front lines during this pandemic.

Organizations in need of financial support can apply here, and those looking for ways to contribute can visit the Greater Toledo Community Foundation website.

For media relations support and help spreading the word about information the public NEEDS to be aware of, please feel free to connect with me.

Connect with Whitney

 

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Media Relations Plays Key Role In Fighting COVID-19

Sharing client insights on timely topics – such as consumer fraud due to Coronavirus outbreak – is a public service.

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10 Core Principles of Crisis Management

Having a Plan is Crucial

It is important to have a developed plan in place before a crisis appears. When in the middle of a crisis event it is easy to be overwhelmed with stress, which may cause tunnel-vision for some and emotional, not strategic thinking. Having a plan in place in advance will allow your team to focus on strategy and rapid execution of crisis management procedures.

These 10 principles will remain consistent through any crisis and will act as your road map as you handle the situation:

  1. Be available and act swiftly.
  2. Be honest and proactive with all key audiences.
  3. Make sure your staff hear any news from you directly (before the media).
  4. Be responsive when working with the media.
  5. Be of the mindset that “perception is reality.” It does not matter who is right or wrong.
  6. Disclose all bad news upfront.
  7. Put a quick end to the crisis and eliminate controversy. (This may take the form of a press conference, public apology, etc.)
  8. Have empathy for those affected by the crisis.
  9. Emphasize what you’re doing to correct the situation, as well as what preventative measures will be used in the future.
  10. Never have or say, “no comment.” If you need to refrain from commenting, use language such as: “We are still investigating at this time and have not reached a conclusion.”

We know that many of our clients and friends are dealing with or anticipating potential crises. We've also developed a Thread Marketing Group Orange Paper on the ABC's of Crisis Communications with additional information for handling a crisis. This helpful document is available for download via the link below.

Crisis Communications Download CTA

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Crisis Planning. Danger or Opportunity?

Sometime in your life, you’ve probably heard the old canard that the Chinese symbol for crisis is a combination of the symbols for danger and opportunity. 

It turns out to be one of those things that isn’t true but should be.

That’s because too many leaders have a one-sided view of a crisis. You can tell by the kind of language that’s used. Leaders want to:

  • manage a crisis
  • mitigate damage
  • survive the situation

While those things are certainly important, at Thread we think they lead to companies and nonprofits thinking defensively during crisis planning.

Two Sides to Every Story

Our counsel is to remember that there truly are two sides to a crisis situation in our times, if not in ancient Chinese typology. Beyond merely avoiding damage to a brand, we believe that a well-handled crisis can actually increase the trust a brand has and improve it’s overall reputation. Further, that philosophy should be baked into every part of the planning process.

My favorite example came when I was working for a local retail business with a high profile in our region. One of the company’s employees had been caught fraudulently providing an add-on service to customer’s orders. He was due to be charged by the County Prosecutor following a thorough investigation.

By traditional measures, there was no reason for my client to be damaged. An employee was cheating the company as well as the customers. The company had discovered it, reported it to authorities and cooperated with the investigation. As long as we told that story, things were likely to be fine.

Even so. our counsel was to think bigger. As with any situation, you want to tell your own bad news and not leave the key details in the hands of others, if at all possible. Our recommendation was to mail a letter to every customer, self-report what had happened, take responsibility and then offer a small gift to compensate. Timing was key: the letter had to hit between the time when the employee was notified of his indictment but before the media found out. What we told the client:

“If we do that, your trust will not just be protected. People will trust you more.” 

We executed that plan and were pleased with the results. Because we told the story and told it first, we were credited by consumers for having nothing to hide. We weren’t concerned about a lurid headline sidetracking public opinion. And we had done the right thing—all the way down the line—and people were going to see it.

The feedback to the company was excellent. Numerous people said that they believed more in our client than they had before. Just as important was what didn’t happen: customers who walked in the door didn’t mention the story…customers didn’t leave…and business didn’t take a hit.

Not all crisis situations are as well set up as this one. In some cases, the company or non-profit might be more culpable than my client was in this case. I’d argue that even if that was the case, a company that makes a mistake and owns up to it and offers to make it good is well positioned to realize a long-term gain in public reputation. People understand that mistakes are made—what they don’t tolerate is spin, evading responsibility, or callous behavior.

If you’re interested in seeing how we create crisis plans that seek benefit as well as damage mitigation, let us know.

 

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Thread Wins 2019 PRSA Silver Anvil Award

Last evening in New York City, Thread Marketing Group was awarded the prestigious 2019 Silver Anvil Award by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the nation’s largest community for public relations professionals. Thread is thrilled to take home this award on behalf of all those who contributed, sponsored and supported the firm’s work with Toledo Jeep Fest, an annual community event that celebrates Toledo as the HOME of the Jeep. Thread has handled Toledo Jeep Fest’s public relations initiatives since its inception in 2016.

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Thread Named 2019 PRSA Silver Anvil Award Finalist

Thread Marketing Group was recently named a 2019 Silver Anvil Award finalist by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the nation’s largest community for public relations professionals. Thread is being recognized for the firm’s work with Toledo Jeep Fest, an annual community event that celebrates Toledo as the HOME of the Jeep and the all-American workforce that has made it all possible for eight decades. Thread has handled Toledo Jeep Fest’s public relations initiatives since its inception in 2016.

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How Divided Government Will Impact Business in 2019

On November 9, 2018, we welcomed divided government back to Washington.

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Bringing Community Leaders Together to Combat Child Hunger in Northwest Ohio

Connecting Kids to Meals (CKM) is one of the largest hunger-relief organizations in Northwest Ohio, having served more than 5 million nutritious meals to children in over 15 years in operation.  Thread Marketing Group started working with this community organization in 2017.  In fact, Whitney Rofkar, one of our team members is a CKM board member and helps keep this important issue and organization front and center in Northwest Ohio.

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