Budgeting for 2016

Plan-to-FailBy Gerard Braud

For many of you it is budgeting season. You either ask for it now or you don’t get to do what you want a year from now. For others, it is that time of year where you have to spend unspent funds or lose them.

That being said, I’m standing by to assist you with your needs. If media training or a crisis communications plan is on your 2015 or 2016 wish list, please send an e-mail to me at

In short order you can have a quote. Plus, if you need assistance to make a business case for media training or crisis communications planning, I am happy to give you the best expert advice possible.

And don’t forget, if you need a speaker on either of these topics for an association meeting, conference, or convention, I’m happy to help you plan a program. Many of my program titles can be viewed at

Social Media Collides With Mainstream Media: The Changing Landscape of Media Interviews in Good Times & Bad

By Gerard Braud

InterviewsAs social media and smart phones expand their reach, we are seeing a seismic shift that is sending tremors through the mainstream media landscape. This is creating both new challenges, as well as new opportunities for media spokespeople. Capitalizing on the opportunities requires you to adopt new approaches, learn new skills and be open to new realities.

If you are bold enough and brave enough to try something drastically new, then I’d love to meet you at the upcoming World Conference for the International Association of Business Communications in San Francisco. I’ve prepared an all-new special presentation for Monday, June 15 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Club Room. It only seats 100 people, so make plans to get their early.

This is not a lecture or a class but a do-and-learn workshop. You should come ready to write in the first hour, as well as to discuss the challenges you and/or your spokespeople have faced in previous media training classes or in previous interviews. If there is a problem, the first hour is dedicated to solving those problems so they never happen again. In fact, I’m ready for you to contact me outlining problems you’ve faced that you’d like to solve. Send an e-mail to me at with the subject line IABC Question.

Our focus in the first hour will include:

  • Discovering why the media landscape is changing
  • Learning the 4 things you must be ready to say in every interview
  • Rethinking your approach to media training

In the second hour you will be up on your feet unlocking the futuristic power of your smartphone, learning how to do remote interviews. Please make sure to bring either your smartphone or your iPad.

While many spokespeople complain about how the media operate, the reality is that you can learn to be an expert every time either you or an executive within your business speaks to the media.

Social media is one of the biggest trends changing the media. Free content is competing with professional content. The reality is news stories are being told by eyewitnesses with a smartphone faster than the story can be told by the mainstream media and faster than a corporation might be willing to tell the story of their own crisis.

As social media grabs more of the media’s audience, the media are watching their profits disappear. That means there are fewer reporters and photographers employed to tell your corporate story in good times and in times of crisis.

Where problems exist in the media we hope you see opportunities.

The greatest opportunity for someone who is a professional business communicator or public relations expert is, on one hand, to improve your own interview skills, and at the same time, learn new skills for doing interviews and creating videos that are as good as or better than the ones being supplied by eyewitnesses.

If you crave a chance to walk away with new skills that you can immediately use as soon as you are back at work, I look forward to meeting you at this workshop.



“I Cannot Tell A Lie” — If George Washington’s Quote Applied to Social Media and Public Relations

By Gerard Braud

georgewashingtonYet one more group of public relations and marketing professionals has asked me to speak at their PR & Marketing conference about the wonderful ways social media will allow them to connect and sell to their customers. I love to speak at conferences, but I cannot tell a lie, especially about social media and the return on investment (ROI) for companies.

I cannot tell you to use social media for positive ROI without talking about the negative ROI.

Too many PR and marketing professionals still mistakenly think social media is their magic bullet. The truth is, one size does NOT fit all. One company may get great ROI through social media while other companies will generate zero buzz or attraction.

The reality is, one should never talk about the positive side of social media for sales and marketing without talking about the negative effects of social media. It can destroy an organization’s reputation, which then negatively affects the revenues. Social media is a dangerous double-edged sword that cuts both ways. I’ve spoken at many conferences which focus too heavily on social media marketing, without full consideration of the “the big picture.”

Some organizations and brands are a perfect fit for social media. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Chobani Yogurt, which benefited from a huge love fest on social media from people who first discovered the product when it first appeared on store shelves a few years ago. Their following developed organically and company benefited from the loyalty of their customers.

This might not be as true for a bank, hospital, electric company, oil company, etc.

One needs to consider the demographics of the social media audience. Chobani is a darling for the social media active 18 – 32 age group, especially among females.

facebook-like-buttonMeanwhile, many of my clients in the rural electric cooperative sector are in communities consisting of primarily older residents who are less active on social media and who are not constantly using their iPhones for calls, texting, and social media. Many are farmers and ranchers who are working the fields all day and not sitting in front of a computer, laptop, tablet or phone. Also, the rural residents who are young and active on social media don’t want to talk about, or follow, or “Like” their rural electric company, their bank, their hospital, or any of the other industries that don’t understand the true nature of social media.

Despite the success of Chobani on social media, when Chobani had a product recall recently, their brand got beat up by their detractors. Meanwhile, my rural electric co-ops, which get little traffic in good times, get a significant increase in traffic during their crisis events, especially when there is bad weather and a power outage.

In the world of social media, too much focus is on Facebook and Twitter, with not enough emphasis on YouTube and videos, which then requires photographic skills and trained spokespeople. In the world of social media, younger folks are leaving Facebook for Instagram and Pinterest. These forms of social media are even more difficult to use for ROI and sales for service industries, while it might be the best marketing for chic consumer brands. In the world of Twitter, only 16% of the population uses it, which makes it hard to use to reach customers, yet it is widely used by the media during a crisis.

Gerard Braud Audience 11In talking about social media one must be careful that young sales, PR & Marketing professionals who use social media daily, think the entire world is ready to embrace social media. The hypocrisy is that they want to market and sell their companies using social media, while the reality is that they have no personal desire to follow a bank, hospital or electric company on social media. A sales, marketing or PR person is doing a disservice to their organization to think they can significantly generate new customers and spread the world about new lines of business without recognizing that:

a) the demographics may not support their belief

b) the “sexiness” of the product may not support their beliefs

c) social media may have a greater negative impact on ROI than it has a positive impact on ROI.

The reality may be that they cannot justify the investment of their time in social media.

So… yes, I can customize a program for your conference if it is focused on all aspects of social media – the good, the bad and the ugly — but I cannot do a program that tells the audience social media is a rosy, wonderful world.