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Friday Five: Authenticity Matters

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Corporate philanthropy can be a wonderful way for a company to relate to its publics in a truly human way. Whatever the reason for the altruism, charities or organizations that truly make a difference can benefit from these donations. Often we will see offerings made to seemingly random charities; however, I believe that the best corporate giving occurs when a company uses their resources and assets to help those in need, as Anheuser-Busch did this week.

In this week’s Friday Five – PRSA’s take on the week’s biggest news stories – we will take a look at how Anheuser-Busch lent a helping hand to Americans in need. We’ll also discuss viral philanthropy and how brands still are trying to emulate the “ice bucket challenge” with little success, among other stories.

Here’s what we learned this week:

 1) Anheuser-Busch Gets It

The southern continental states have been hammered with bad weather and flooding has left at least 25 people dead in Texas and Oklahoma. Many companies have signed up to help and Anheuser-Busch is doing its part. The beer company stopped production of beer at its Georgia brewery to instead produce emergency drinking water.

Anheuser-Busch is working with the American Red Cross to produce 50,000 cans of water for those who were impacted by the storm. When asked about the efforts by NBC News, brewery manager, Rob Haas said, “It’s something we’re uniquely positioned to do in a very timely period.” Good job to all those involved.

 2) Telethons Lack the Authenticity of Social Movements

NBC also aimed to help those in need. Last week they premiered a three-hour event to raise money for poverty-focused charities through the “Red Nose Day.” Celebrities sang and danced and comedians performed skits. While the event raised over 10 million dollars, Hilary Milnes of Digiday noted that it lacked the “authenticity” of social movements such as the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Matt Waghorn, director of communications planning at Huge, told Digiday, “The telethon has been replaced by the individualized community experience. The Ice Bucket Challenge connected individuals the way the phone-in did, but it allowed people to do so on their own terms and interpret the medium as they wished. Phoning in and donating money doesn’t allow for that.”

 3) FIFA May Have a Sponsorship Problem

After 14 people, including eight FIFA executives, were indicted this week on corruption charges, many are watching the soccer organization closely to see how they will handle their sponsors who have invested millions in the sport. Jason Blake, vice president of MEC Access told PRWeek that sponsors should apply public pressure to the organization so fans understand that they do not condone the corruption.

PRWeek notes that five brands – Adidas, Coca-Cola, Russian oil giant Gazprom, Hyundai, and Visa – are listed as FIFA partners on the organization’s website and Budweiser and McDonald’s are World Cup sponsors.

4) Before You Let the Media In, Make Sure You’re Ready

Fashion mega brand Lilly Pulitzer welcomed New York Magazine into its headquarters for a sneak peek. What they did not anticipate was a firestorm over one employee’s personal sketches.  According to USA Today, “pinned up were two sketches fat-shaming overweight women. One of the images reads, ‘Just another day of fat, white and hideous. You should probably just kill yourself.’ Another read, ‘Put it down, carb face.’”

After the social media backlash commenced Jane Schoenborn, vice president of creative communications at Lilly Pulitzer said, “While we are an employer that does encourage people to decorate their space, we are a female-dominated company and these images do not reflect our values. We apologize for any harm this may have caused.”

5) Bitly Shares Even More Analytics with Users

This week, Bitly has unveiled its new analytics platform, Audience Intel. Bitly explains, “Audience Intel lets you see how customers and potential customers pass around your content without you knowing. This tool gives you an unparalleled peek into how your customers interact with the content you share, as well as a look into how your customers shorten and share your content on their own.”

The new platform will help public relations professionals:

  • Strengthen their mobile marketing strategy
  • Optimize their social media marketing
  • Perfect their publishing schedule

What do you think about Audience Intel? Let us know in the comments section below.

About the author

Rosanne Mottola, APR

Rosanne Mottola, APR, is public relations manager for the Public Relations Society of America. She is an adjunct professor of public relations at St. John’s University, Staten Island. Mottola obtained a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from New York University in 2010. You can connect with her on Twitter @RoeMoPR or on LinkedIn.

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