Reputation

There has been much talk (online and off) about how Kayne West created a scene at the Video Music Awards recently. Apparently, Kayne stormed the stage when Taylor Swift was accepting her award for video of the year, grabbed the microphone and announced that he thought Beyonce should have won the award. You can read more about the incident on Rolling Stone.

Then, ABC news reporter Terry Moran tweeted that, during an interview with his network, President Obama called Kayne a “jackass” for his outburst. Turns out, the part where (allegedly) Obama called Kayne a “jackass” was off the record. ABC quickly pulled the tweet down, but not before it had been picked up by Politico.com. You can read a piece on it here and see the tweet here.

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There is a very thought-provoking blog post by Lauren Fernandez that created some interesting discussion here at the AHA office. At the heart of it is the question – do we conform to social media standards or should they conform to us?

The challenge that Whole Foods is facing is an example; social media became a big part of this issue. Thanks to blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other tools, more people learned about the letter and could weigh in, making their opinions known.

Should the CEO of Whole Foods NOT have written the letter to the editor because it could create a backlash, especially online, even though this was how he felt? Is the personal opinion of the CEO inextricably tied to the brand? Does “authentic” mean different things to different people and would keeping his opinion to himself, because of the risk to the brand, mean that the CEO isn’t authentic?

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Gerard Braud has an excellent article on the fallout of Whole Foods CEO (U.S.) John MacKay’s position on health care reform in the U.S.

There has been a huge backlash to MacKay’s letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal. There is now a movement to boycott Whole Foods – there is a Facebook page, a blog and you can follow the boycott on Twitter.

MacKay is entitled to his opinion. However, publishing that opinion in the Wall Street Journal might not have been the best use of his profile.

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I have spent a lot of time in my professional life pitching story angles either as a journalist with an idea for an article, where I had to get my editor’s buy in, or as a PR person putting forward a pitch to media about a client’s organization. Since many of my colleagues and friends are either journalists or communicators, I also spend a fair bit of time discussing what makes a good story, even when it isn’t about a specific pitch.

One of the things that AHA clients rely on us for is to help them with media and blogger relations. In the new world of communication, it is important to understand how to pitch both mainstream media (most of which now have some kind of online component), as well as online media, which includes bloggers. At the core of a good pitch is the story.

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There has been a great deal of coverage on the acquisition of online retailer Zappos.com by Amazon. I had the privilege of hearing Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh speak earlier this year at the Ragan Social Media Conference in Las Vegas.

I have to admit that when I saw Tony’s name on the program as a keynote and realized he was speaking about corporate culture, I wasn’t that excited about it. However, you can’t deny that Zappos.com has a great reputation as does Tony, so I went to see him speak because, well – he was there and so was I.

His keynote changed how I view the world.

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