Cleaning up with the Kardashians

As more companies, organizations and even government offices get into the social media act, we were given another reminder this week of why it’s important to have some safeguards in place to ensure your communications on social media are being handled thoughtfully and responsibly.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water learned this lesson the hard way when an intern posted a Tweet promoting the new “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” app where people can join Kardashian on their own Hollywood red carpet “adventure.” Perhaps the intern meant to use his or her personal Twitter account rather than the agency’s account, as it’s easy to forget to toggle back and forth. In any event, while the Tweet was taken down after about three hours, the buzz was already off…

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One big challenge between you and content marketing success

This just in… media matter more to the success of content marketing than anyone imagined.

What makes this not just surprising but perhaps even stunning is that it was the changes in the media that gave rise to content marketing to begin with.

Now, instead of relying totally on the media to tell a story, more companies are beginning to tell their own stories.

The problem is, most companies can’t even come close to telling all the stories they have to tell.

Here’s what I mean…

First, to be honest, content marketing didn’t just arise from the changes in the news media.

Content marketing also came about from the realization that what customers in particular want from every company or organization is answers to problems.

That is, what you sell is less important…

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Take the Crisis Stress Test: Are You Prepared?

Would your company’s reputation survive a major product failure or recall? A serious social media blunder? Major litigation? The death of an employee or customer?

A company’s ability to bounce back after a crisis often comes down to one key factor: how well it prepared before the crisis. Unfortunately, we see companies – too many companies – wait until after a cataclysmic event strikes to create a crisis communications manual, train top executives for speaking with media or set up a “dark” website.

Crisis preparedness is not necessarily a pleasant task, and it’s easy to put off for another day when there’s no looming crisis on the horizon. But, despite the reluctance or procrastination of some organizations, investing in crisis preparedness remains a critical…

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5 questions to answer before committing to a company name change

A name change is a rare opportunity for many organizations. It’s one of those events that creates a spotlight, capturing the attention of all stakeholders and causing them to take a fresh look at the company. It’s also one of the few such events that can be managed proactively to have the desired impact.

At the same time, a corporate name change is a daunting event. No matter how well it’s managed, it’s expensive, takes a ton of time and is a major distraction – and the stakes are high for getting it right. It’s important to begin with well-informed expectations and a good process. And to answer some fundamental questions before committing:

  1. The main reasons to change a company’s name are to eliminate a problem or unlock value. What is the problem or opportunity…
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Outliers and broken windows – SEC vows closer scrutiny of financial reporting and audit fraud

After several years of focusing primarily on litigation and other actions stemming from the financial crisis, the Securities and Exchange Commission has indicated that it will now be looking toward other areas, including financial reporting and audit fraud. Andrew Ceresney, the SEC’s head of enforcement, recently commented to the Wall Street Journal CFO Network that his agency’s watchdogs will be looking more closely for red flags at corporations as well as audit firms that could indicate fraudulent activity or cover-ups.

And SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White has stated that one of the commission’s goals is to see that the enforcement program is everywhere, both in actuality and perception, “pursuing all types of violations of our federal securities laws, big and…

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