The emotionally charged documentary “Blackfish” has gained nationwide attention and has been highlighted on prominent news and pop culture outlets like CNN and Netflix. Many viewers, myself included, would assume the video would have had lasting effects on SeaWorld’s attendance, profits and supporters. According to recent news, that has been proven otherwise.
SeaWorld Entertainment has seen a three percent climb in revenue since 2013 and is targeting as much growth as 4% for 2014. Attendance across its theme, amusement and water parks has only dipped 1.4% during the period and actually increased at SeaWorld branded parks. Rick Aristotle Munarriz, author of “SeaWorld Survives Backlash of ‘Blackfish’ Documentary,” says it is a welcomed surprise being that it is the first full quarter since the documentary has been released. “In the end, registers don’t lie. SeaWorld is making record sums of money, and that’s something that bad publicity hasn’t been able to wash away,” said Munarriz.
Many PR practitioners may not agree with how defensive SeaWorld has acted in response to the video, but at the bottom-line objective it seems to be working.
As Nicco Mele spoke to my Strategic Social Media class, he simplified something that could definitely be so complicated. He made accomplishing well thought-out crisis communication as easy as choosing 1, 2, or 3.
1. Attack the attacker. An example from Mele’s experience was when Susan G. Komen decided to cut breast cancer screenings through Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood sent out an email to everyone on its lists, saying how “shocked and saddened” it was. Planned Parenthood made Susan G. Komen take on the role of the attacker by “playing victim.”
2. Redirect the focus. You could use the example given above for this approach as well. Planned Parenthood started a Tumblr with women explaining how it had saved their lives. This redirected the focus from controversial abortions associated with the organization to much needed breast cancer screenings.
3. Refute. Mele explained when the viral email regarding Obama’s supposed Kenyan heritage was sent out, his immediate reaction was to refute the claims. After repeatedly being asked to release his birth certificate by Donald Trump, Obama finally publicized the documents to end all rumors. He even handled it with a little humor by showing the Lion King opening scene at the Gridiron Dinner, trump was an attendant.
Thanks Nicco for all the helpful tips!
Even a week after the event, top search results for Uintah Elementary include “lunches seized from kids,” “school begins damage control,” and “parents still upset over lunch debacle.” When the cafeteria manager threw away those kids’ lunches, they clearly did not realize the possibility of the situation becoming viral. With the school’s reputation quite possibly irreplaceably damaged, the faculty of Uintah and Salt Lake City School District have taken appropriate strides to try and repair it. The first of their efforts being to issue apologies and explanations of the situation on the district’s facebook page. Since the initial incident the page has posted several updates on how they will be handling the staff involved and possible new procedures for future incidents. Uintah Elementary’s principal has also issued a personal, heartfelt apology letter on the school’s official website. While social media and the Internet made this event into a nation-wide controversy, I believe it will be critical in trying to repair the damage. From the measures taken already, I think school and district staff seem to understand that importance.
It’s gonna be a quick one today. Our Girls on the Run assignment is wrapping up with our presentations this Thursday. I’ve really enjoyed my time getting to know the girls and coaches. I’ve heard some stories that I would never expect and learned a lot from this younger generation. As I conclude this assignment I just wanted to share their energy through this video I made for their team. Hope you enjoy!
Girls on the Run – Sacred Heart of Jesus School from Alli Bixler on Vimeo.
As my 21st birthday approaches I’m overwhelmed with the possibilities of how I will celebrate. Not being a huge fan of alcohol in the first place I would also like to remember the night and not feel like death the next morning. On that note I think I’ve crossed out the most obvious answer of getting wasted with my gal pals at a dingy bar in Tigerland. Once that was out of the question I was stumped. I came to realize being a college student who is often surrounded by inebriation, you have to get creative with celebratory events. Here are a few, what I think to be unique, ideas of how to celebrate the big two-one.
1. As Tom and Donna put it, “Treat yo’ self.” Get dolled up, invite your closest friends, go to that raved about restaurant and indulge. You and your friends are there to celebrate the fact that you exist, that you’re on this earth, and that you entered this world exactly 21 years and however many hours ago. What better reason to go all out?
If you’re in the Baton Rouge area I recommend dining at Bistro Byronz for a friendly yet chic atmosphere, Tsunami for an incredible view, or Juban’s for the best refined cajun food out there. Continue reading
Over the past month I have had the opportunity to shadow the very talented Audi Brown at Occasions by Audi. She is one of the most generous, kindest people out there. She spent so much time devoted to answering questions I had about her business, how she got started, and her favorite weddings she’s done. Since she shared so much with me, I am here to share what I learned on the job with you.
1. Have someone in charge of the bridal party. whether it be the maid of honor or a bridal assistant, make sure they know where to be and when to be there. Give them every little detail possible. The bridal party is the bride and groom’s closest friends and family. They have so much energy and excitement for the day, if you don’t have someone directing them you’ll lose them to distractions along the way (and there are plenty of distractions). Continue reading
Last weekend I got to spend time listening to some of the most accredited PR professionals in the country share their experiences and words of wisdom at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference. To top it off it was in the beautiful, historic city of Philadelphia and I was accompanied by some of my favorite pre-professional PR gals from PRSSA at LSU.
PRSSA at LSU members at the Innovating the Future Awards Ceremony and Dinner
The conference was filled with people passionate about the industry and what Public Relations has to offer. Every session assured me that I had made the right decision three years ago to make PR my major. Speakers repeatedly said “you never work a day, when you love what you do.” That sounds like my cup of tea.
I could tell that the professional speakers or professionals at PRSA mixers were genuinely invested in helping the younger generation. They reminded us to look for mentors, connect with them and pick their brains. Knowing that there is a network of professionals who have my back makes having to eventually go out into the work force a little less terrifying.