End of Net Neutrality Boon for Direct Mail

If experts are right, net neutrality's end will crimp e-marketing dramatically—and boost marketers' reliance on direct mail.

"The impact on digital marketing from the elimination of net neutrality will be profound," says Ryan Singel, a fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society and an expert on net neutrality.

The elimination of net neutrality ends a level playing field in terms of web access.

That means marketers will have difficulty delivering tried-and-true promotions, including blog content, white papers, video, podcasts, ads, news releases and webinars.

It will also cripple the "freemium."

We predict direct mail will surge, as a result.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, give us a call today.

As far as we know, the USPS is still in business.

Why You Need This 8-Point Crisis Management Checklist

Edward Segal, CAE, contributed today’s post. He helps publishers and associations generate publicity about their events and activities.

Robert Baden-Powell was the British Army officer whose work inspired the creation of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts. He said that their famous “Be Prepared” motto means that Scouts should think through how they would respond to any accident or emergency and practice their responses. The goal of being prepared, Powell said, is to ensure that Scouts are “never taken by surprise” and can respond immediately to an unexpected situation.

The “Be Prepared” motto is also excellent advice to help your organization prevent, mitigate, and manage an emergency or disaster that could damage its image, reputation, operations or bottom line. Based on my years of experience as a CEO and crisis management consultant, I created the following basic eight-point checklist to help ensure that organizations are “never taken by surprise” and can respond immediately to a crisis, because, as we all know, a disaster can strike anyone, any time.

The checklist is organized around four familiar sayings.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

1. Identify all possible causes and scenarios for different types of emergencies and disasters. Take reasonable steps to prevent or mitigate them as much as possible.

2. What you can do now depends on the nature of the potential crisis, whether it is a finance-related problem, an HR-related issue, an accident due to negligence, a catastrophic failure, product tampering, criminal behavior, a natural disaster, etc. Check with your CPA, attorney, state and federal agencies, and other resources for recommendations on how to prepare for and recover from these and other situations.

If You Fail to Plan, Then You Are Planning to Fail

3. Prepare a basic crisis management plan that you can implement immediately. Seek input and suggestions from all parts of your organization, outside legal counsel, public relations consultants, advertising agencies, etc.

4. Create additional individual customized plans to meet different crisis scenarios such as allegations of sexual harassment, embezzlement, hostage situations, evacuations, criminal behavior by employees or corporate officers, etc.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

5. An organization that is going through a crisis needs to ensure key audiences that it is handling the situation in an effective and speedy manner. But don’t just talk about it–show and demonstrate what you are doing, how you are doing it, and your progress in managing the crisis.

6. Identify or create visuals (photo ops, pictures, charts, graphs, etc.) that show what you are doing. Draft complementary messages and talking points for the visuals that address each potential crisis scenario and your progress in managing it.

Practice Makes Perfect

7. Hold unannounced exercises to practice your organization’s response to different crisis situations.

8. Adjust your crisis management plans to reflect lessons learned from the drills.

By implementing the basic steps outlined above, you’ll also be following another familiar saying:

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Edward Segal is a crisis management and communications expert, PR consultant, spokesperson, trainer and former CEO and communications director of trade associations. Edward offers a one-day crisis management workshop he can bring to your organization. Reach him through his website at www.PublicRelations.com.

When the Culture Wars Come Home

What will you do when the culture wars land on your doorstep?

Are you ready?

Are you ready to be dragged into issues like immigration, diversity, and climate change, because customers begin criticizing you on line?

Are you ready to handle public charges of sexual harassment at your workplace?

Organizations report they find themselves spending an ever-increasing amount of time on high-level issues unrelated to their markets. That wastes a lot of expensive resources.

And the bigger challenge? Most organizations are run by straight, white men, unaccustomed to navigating a fast-changing, multicultural America. They're used to a long-gone time.

But any organization that cares about younger demographics must ask: Would I buy from a tone-deaf, clueless or vile organization?

Social media only exacerbates and accelarates the problem: it lets anyone with a cell phone sully an organization in a few hours.

Axios CEO Jim VandeHei suggests a new way to think of your situation.

"Think of your brand as a political candidate," he says.

"You need to be hyper-aware of how you're seen by your core constituencies (employees and customers) and by the broader public. Be vigilant for signs of erosion in your base; or failing to respond forcefully to negative attacks; or under-utilizing technology to connect with your people in authentic, compelling ways."

If becoming embroiled in the culture wars gives you goosebumps, give us a call.

We can suggest reasonable ways to plan.