What’s Next: Five Industry Trends for 2017

 

By Shae Geary- Senior Communications Strategist

Industry trends are always a great place to mine for story ideas, especially when working with travel and hospitality clients. Some trends, like Pokemon Go! getaways, are short lived. Others, such as eco-travel, tend to define a whole generation and can change the nature of the industry forever. As the year draws to a close, we can’t resist looking ahead and seeing what’s in store for 2017. While none of us claim to have a crystal ball, here are a few trends (W)right On is keeping an eye on for the new year.

People in social networking Free Vector

Smart Technology: Mobile technology will continue to play a significant role in making travel more convenient and streamlined. Smart companies are embracing the technology and enhancing the visitor experience by putting decision making in the palm of your hand. Expect activities such as checking in to your hotel, controlling the temperature of your room and booking activities all from your phone to become the new “normal.”

Digital Detox: While technology may be making travel more convenient, there’s also a backlash to the digital overload of daily life. The response? Innovative programs and services that allow travelers to get off the grid for a while. Wellness-focused offerings such as digital detox spa retreats, as well as activities like forest bathing, which encourage visitors to completely disconnect and revel in the natural world, will give travelers the peace and rejuvenation they seek.

Hipster Holidays: Thanks to the millennial generation, more travelers are choosing to explore lesser known cities and destinations. Along with the desire to go to unique places, this group also seeks authenticity and genuine, local experiences. While not a new trend for 2017, hyper-local activities and edgier, undiscovered venues will continue to appeal to this highly influential, independent traveler.

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Beer-cations: Craft beer is having a moment. For the travel industry this has meant an increase in travelers who specifically seek out destinations with a strong craft beer vibe. Taprooms, beer events and other tasting experiences are the cornerstone of the beer-cation experience. However, look for the theme to show up in unexpected ways, too. On your next vacation, don’t be surprised if you are tempted by a beer-infused spa treatment or a “beer-tail” that features a unique blend of craft beer and traditional cocktail ingredients.

Solo Travel: At a recent media event, I was surprised when not one, but two female writers admitted that they enjoyed camping alone. It turns out that this may not be as surprising as it seems. According to Lonely Planet, a recent survey of 300 travelers indicated a majority of respondents planned to take a solo holiday in the coming year. Easy access to travel planning resources and the ability to stay connected while on the road are thought to be key influences in this current travel trend. Solo travelers like that they can set their own itinerary and feel that the experience enables them to more easily meet new people and immerse themselves in the local culture and surroundings.

What travel trends have you noticed that seem to be gaining in popularity? Drop us a note and let us know!

Make My Social Media Post Go Viral

By Kat Beaulieu, Communications Strategist


“Make my social media post go viral”

It’s what every client wants and the gold standard for measuring social media success. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be the genius behind a post that goes viral?

And yet, it is an elusive goal that faces many challenges, not the least of which is that most clients tend to want to promote their products and services, which is in stark contrast to a site like ViralNova, whose whole raison d’être is to produce “the latest interesting, hilarious, and mind-blowing stories on the Web.” Additionally, many clients are risk adverse, so what is interesting, hilarious or mind-blowing to social media consumers can be terrifying to clients.

Nonetheless, it is important to at least sustain high levels of interaction with your content and to aspire to make hitting the viral jackpot a regular mission. In the metrics-driven business of PR and marketing, raising your clients’ numbers in social media likes, engagement and “People talking about this” will rely on your ability to generate engaging content. Even if none of your posts go truly viral, getting some reaction will be critical to maintaining and growing your social media page’s engagement.

Since most of us have clients who are not ViralNova, I humbly present a formula for generating engaging social media content that fits you, or specifically: FITC U

The FITC U formula can help you create content that is relevant to your client or brand and also hits on something that is:

  • Funny
  • Intelligence massager
  • Truth
  • Cute
  • Unbelievable

To elaborate:

  • Funny: Most people share posts online that are humorous. Reinterpret your product or service in an unexpected or humorous way. Sell socks? Use a sock monkey puppet. Sell stocks? Create a faux investor report about an impending IPO for zombie repellent. Be creative, but know your audience and what will resonate with them.
  • Zodiac Pool Systems combined humor and popular culture in this relevant, funny meme.
  • Intelligence massager: You’ve seen these—“75% of people will get this wrong!” People love to let their friends know how smart they are. Create a simple puzzle or quiz that begs people to answer. By answering, they’re engaging and their engagement will get shared on friends’ feeds. Tie your quiz in with #TriviaTuesday for added visibility.
  • The Weather Channel cleverly tied in the names of winter storms with this quiz.
  • Truth: this follows similar psychology to the ‘Intelligence massager’ in terms of tapping into people wanting to share their wisdom, but instead of being formatted as a puzzle or quiz, it is a statement or set of statements. I use the term “truth” here to imply more of a personal truth than a factual one. Think of celebrity quotes or meme-friendly statements like “Not all those who wander are lost” and “Successful people forgive others.”
  • Cute: babies, puppies and kittens, plus goats in pajamas. Need I say more? #caturday #sundog
  • Tri-City Hospital Foundation’s video of Leo the dog driving an electric car was a hit.
  • Unbelievable: Think of incredible, mind-blowing things that will prompt people to use the “wow” emoji, like “A ball of glass will bounce higher than a ball of rubber” or “In 616, King Rædwald of East Anglia is conquering Northumbria (Northern England) at the Battle of the River Idle while The General Grant tree is born in Kings Canyon National Park.” Incredible photos work too.

What’s the secret to building a viral social media post? Make your post hit three or more of the formula’s elements.

And remember, if you’re having trouble creating content that FITC U, you can always switch things up a little, in which case you may end up deciding to FUC IT.

Need help killing it with social media that FITC U? Don’t give up, reach out, we can help.

The Buzz About B Corps – Why You Should Care

Photo Credit: B Corporation https://www.bcorporation.net/
Photo Credit: B Corporation https://www.bcorporation.net/

By Kat Beaulieu, Communications Strategist

Remember when you were back in business class and it first dawned on you that the system is rigged against people who want to do good AND make money? I do. It was one of those “Wait – what?” moments where I felt another shred of my ignorance/innocence slipping away.

My big “a-ha, well-duh” moment followed this obvious nugget of truth: corporations are legally obligated to make money for their shareholders, so their decision-making is necessarily driven by profit. Non-profits on the other hand, are legally forbidden from making a profit, so they’re actually discouraged from creating wealth for their employees.

In my own selfish way, I remember thinking my choices were to either embrace a life of poverty working for a non-profit, or cobble together some financial comfort by turning a blind eye to some of my ideals and working for the big, bad corporation. I suppose I’d had enough of the starving student scene and a martyr I am not, so off to the corporate world I went.

I’m certain I wasn’t the only person faced with this decision, and fortunately there are some smarter and more committed people than me who have been working to change the system, so that now (since 2010 in Maryland and now in 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia), there IS an alternative to choosing between non-profit or for-profit. It’s called a benefit corporation, or B Corp, and it is both shaping and shaking up how business, employee recruitment and consumer spending are going to look in the near future. Why? Because Y and Z.

Generations Y and Z, that is. Unlike prior generations, Y and Z haven’t had to sever that part of their conscience that chooses between “good” non-profit and “evil” for-profit, because they’ve grown up with companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Seventh Generation showing us that companies can be both for-profit and good. That’s exactly what B Corps are – they are people using business as a force for good™. They have shareholders, but they’re not exclusively tied to them—they’re also legally obligated to serve their mission, which can be anything from delivering shoes to third-world children to achieving world peace.

 

The B Corp movement is one of the most important of our lifetime, built on the simple fact that business impacts and serves more than just shareholders—it has an equal responsibility to the community and to the planet.

Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia

 

Y and Z can choose to give their money and their brains to “good” companies, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. What this means for traditional corporations is that in order to remain competitive for Y and Z’s brains and share of wallet, they’re going to have to start upping the ante in terms of the “good” they’re doing inside and outside of the organization. And these are the stories that need to take priority in press releases. These are the stories that are going to capture media attention, get shared on social media, and ultimately drive Y and Z’s choices.

Why (or Y) is this important? Because Ys, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) in the US.

Are you panicked yet? You should be! The B Corps are coming and if your PR strategy has been focused exclusively on profits and growth, it’s time to change tactics. Talk up the great initiatives your employees have been collaborating with non-profits on, and the positive impact your organization has had on your community. Turn your eyes to measure the social good you’ve achieved each quarter, rather than earnings alone.

So whose wallet and brains is your organization targeting and what mediums are you using to get those stories out? Is it time to YZ up?

Kat Beaulieu would love to repent for some of her ideal-stomping past and help you craft a YZ targeted communications strategy that profiles the social good you’ve been up to. Get in touch.

Don’t Be Guilty of the Two Worst PR Writing Habits

By: President, Julie Wright

Twitter: @juliewright

If I read another Tweet, Facebook post or quote in a press release that starts with “We are excited…,” I’m going to shoot myself.

There’s only one person in the world who is excited by your excitement, and that’s your mom.

What I need to know is why I should care. Why is this at least interesting to me?

Call it WIFM (What’s In It For Me) or just common sense, but your communication—be it 140 characters, a 10-minute speech or an entire campaign—must meet some basic need in your target audience for it to be effective.

The only sin worse than “We are excited…” or “We are pleased…” in a press release quote is to open your release with the awesomely redundant lede, “XYZ Company announces today that…”

A press release is an announcement so it’s quite unnecessary, Captain Obvious, to tell the reader you’re announcing something. That is assumed. Seeing this laziness makes me want to put a stick in my eye.

What if every press release followed this mundane structure? Then, I beg you, put two sticks in my eyes. (I’m sure journalists who look at hundreds of press releases each day feel the same way. If you’re a journalist, I’d love to hear your press release beefs in the comments section below!)

Sadly, a search of PRWeb’s news feed showed over 20 releases with quotes containing “We are pleased…” in just one day!

These are the bane of even mediocre, let alone good, PR writing.

So fight the urge to boast.

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Add a touch of creativity to stand out.

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And avoid stating the obvious.

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How can you avoid these writing traps? First, just try harder and think before you write!

If you are stumped, an easy fix is to pay attention to the verbs. They are the most important element of speech in your communications. What is the action you are announcing? Winning an award, reporting financials, signing a major contract, acquiring a company, advancing a cure for cancer?

Replace “announce” with that action so that the lede is focused on the newsworthy action.

Here’s another essential writing tip: Always put your audience’s needs first. This is the first commandment of good communication. And when you live by it, you’ll avoid the sin of self-serving excitement—a.k.a. press release masturbation.

Put your audience’s pleasure ahead of your own if you want a loving and lasting relationship with your target market.

This is particularly helpful when you must write about events of questionable newsworthiness but great C-suite excitement. These include industry awards, new executive hires or partnerships.

Try applying these strategies:

  • Does your news meet an emotional need in your customer? Share it in a way that makes them feel good or better. “Even Grumpy Cat nearly broke a smile when he learned about our Super Duper industry award!”
  • Tweeting about a new CEO? Rather than “Our company is excited to welcome…” try engaging your followers to welcome her. “What do you want new CEO Juanita Doe to know about our products and service? #welcomejuanita.” Share responses and show your new CEO that the company’s social media network is a source of important feedback and input from customers and employees.
  • Did you win an award thanks to the support of your loyal customers or the work of your dedicated employees? Make that your message and instead of saying “we are excited,” try “we are grateful.”

Instead of a one-off post about the award on social media, plan a series of posts over a few weeks that profile an employee or a customer who contributed to your success. Create a campaign to raise awareness about the honor as well as grow your community and build goodwill with your most important stakeholders.

This could work for a tech company’s Most Innovative Product award or a resort’s success in reaching #1 on TripAdvisor. Who helped you get there?

What creative or strategic approaches have you had success with?

Sometimes the challenge is convincing decision makers at your client or company that being engaging and interesting is more important and productive than chest beating. Ask them to share the news with mothers and then with their teenage kids. Somewhere between those two extremes is the true indicator of whether anyone cares.

I will concede there are times when your audience may be just as excited about some news as you are, and it’s valid to share in that. A San Diego company might Tweet, “We’re excited that the San Diego Chargers are going to Super Bowl.” That would be legitimately exciting to people in the local market.

Just resist the urge to Tweet, post or speak like a cheerleader—particularly if you’re cheering for yourself—unless conditions really call for a cheerleader.

And never, under any circumstances, announce an announcement. Announce your news.

San Diego Public Relations Agency CEO Joins San Diego Venture Group Board

Grant Wright joins leadership of premier venture capital community associationGrant

SAN DIEGO, March 29, 2016 – The San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) has elected San Diego public relations agency (W)right On Communications CEO Grant Wright to the Board of Directors. Additionally, Wright is leading a new sub-group of Board Directors dedicated to advancing effective communications for SDVG.

Previously Board Chairman of the Southern California Aviation Association for five years and Director for nine years, Wright was instrumental in helping grow that organization from an original small core of members to more than 600 corporate and 6,000 person members today. CEO of (W)right On Communication since 2004, he helped lead the San Diego public relations agency to become among the largest in California. In 2016, he was a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO awards.

“My goal with the San Diego Venture Group is to help steward the continued success of this excellent organization and introduce innovative communication methods to advance SDVG’s interests,” said Wright. “San Diego is home to one of the nation’s most exciting and growing entrepreneurial and venture capital environments. As evidence of the even stronger environment to come, Money Magazine just named San Diego the #1 US travel destination. SDVG is a great organization and I’m honored and excited to support it.”

(W)right On Communications, a San Diego Public Relations agency, specializes in public relations, marketing solutions and strategic communications services – ranging from social media marketing to multimedia and web development. (W)right On is exceptionally strong in technology public relations with experience working with the Internet of Things (IoT), major utilities, cleantech companies, and renewable energy providers.

“It’s an exciting time to invest in San Diego-based startups. We have an exceptionally strong and growing tech sector, in addition to one of the top three biotech centers globally. Just 90 minutes by air from Silicon Valley, we continue to exploit our proximity to the largest venture capital region on the planet,” stated Mike Krenn, president of San Diego Venture Group. “We are excited and fortunate to have Grant join the board. His expertise, passion for entrepreneurial ventures, and energy will help us build regional momentum.”

 

About (W)right On Communications

Founded in 1998 in Vancouver, British Columbia, (W)right On Communications is a full-spectrum communications and public relations firm headquartered in San Diego, California. Specializing in hospitality, healthcare, energy, technology and development, (W)right On has produced results-driven media relations, social media and promotional campaigns and programs for clients including hotels, hospitals, utilities, startups, developers and universities. To learn more about (W)right On, visit www.wrightoncomm.com.

About San Diego Venture Group

Founded in 1986, the San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) is a non-profit organization designed to bring San Diegans who are interested in new enterprise and the process of creating it together. With a mission to provide a networking forum for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and advisors in an informal atmosphere where human expertise can foster new ventures, SDVG is comprised of professionals with bright ideas to share and the practical skills required to implement these ideas. For more information, visit www.sdvg.org.

Meet the Team: Kara – Communications Coordinator

Headshot_KaraWe’re giving you the inside scoop on the entire WOC team with our “Meet the Team” series. This month, the spotlight is on our new Communications Coordinator, Kara DeMent.

Kara is known for her “out of the box” thinking and passion for the media industry. As Communications Coordinator, she supports (W)right On’s land development, energy, utility, technology, B-to-B, professional services, hospitality and non-profit clients. Before joining (W)right On, Kara served as a PR Assistant at a boutique PR firm and supported communications for the Orlando Magic and LA Clippers. She graduated from California State University, San Bernardino with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in PR and Mass Communications. As a California native, she enjoys the beach, Disneyland trips, crafting, and being outdoors.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at your current job?

I would be looking for my current job! Haha

What’s one word you would use to describe yourself?

Ambitious

Fill in the blank. “If you really knew me, you’d know ____.”

If you really knew me, you’d know that I have this dream of becoming a New York City Rockette and performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

What super power would you like to have?

I would love the power of having super strength.

What would a “perfect” day look like to you?

A perfect day would be going to brunch (I love mimosas) and going to a sporting event. Preferably, a Clippers game J

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

To be patient and know that things will happen when they’re meant to.

Best vacation you’ve had?

A family trip to Walt Disney World, followed by a cruise to the Bahamas!

What’s your most embarrassing moment at work?

There was one time I spilt coffee on Deandre Jordan before a press conference. He was cool about it, but I about died. Haha

Favorite quote?

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” –Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would be cast as you?

Jennifer Lawrence, for sure!

What’s your drink of choice?

Jack and coke.

If you were stuck on an island and could only choose 5 CDs, what would they be?

Usher 8701, Matchbox Twenty Yourself or Someone Like You, NSYNC, Bing Crosby Christmas CD, Brittney Spears (not sure which one though), and Journey’s Escape CD.

Fill in the blank. “People would be surprised if they knew___.”

People would be surprised if they knew that I have a weird obsession with everything supernatural and Harry Potter. I own a wand from Harry Potter Land.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I feel like I have a lot, but the one that really gets me is when people don’t say thank you.

What tv show/movie is your guilty pleasure?

I have a lot of these too, but if I had to choose one Vampire Diaries would have to be it.

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

Disneyland. Haha

Favorite line from a movie?

One of my favorites, “SANTA, I know him!” – Buddy, ELF

Do you have an office nickname? What is it?

No.

What’s the best/worst gift you have ever received?

The best gift I’ve received would have to be my Mustang. I love that car.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy sporting events, hiking, crafting (specifically painting), brunching, Disneyland, being with my friends and family, and Netflix.