social media ronn torossian

Using Social Media to Support Global Initiatives


Social media campaigns that launch on a global basis require a significant amount of experience and skill to succeed. While brands and agents might have wonderful ideas to creatively connect with their customers, if they don’t have a solid system to deliver the same voice and marketing strategies worldwide, then global campaigns can quickly turn into an inconsistent mess. Managing your global campaign means adapting the right framework and strategy. For instance, the “hub and spoke” model for social media delivery is often one of the best options, as it allows large companies to take a central approach to global communications, while adapting each arm to suit the needs of individual regions and countries.

The “Hub” of a Global Campaign

The “hub” component of a global social media campaign is the command centre of the whole experience, where a brand and their agencies come together to define strategic goals for implementation and management. The central team will create the overarching strategy for the campaign, along with social media guidelines and creative concepts. This ensures consistent quality throughout each channel.

A global hub can also ensure that each part of a company’s social media team knows which metrics they should be gathering for long-term success.

The Spokes of Global Campaigns

While the hub is the heart of a global social media campaign, the spokes are the local teams that exist in diverse geographical locations. These spokes are responsible for implementing the overarching strategy created by the hub, but they also need to provide consistent feedback so that the organisation can continue to evolve.

Spokes in a global social media campaign need to check the content they’re sharing against local guidelines and expectations. These professionals must judge how their specific audience will respond to and engage with a campaign. What’s more, the spokes of a global social campaign will also need to be ready to ensure the consistent success of the campaign or project.

In a worldwide initiative, each team must know the escalation process involved in addressing issues with their central hub, and who they can contact at certain times of the day. The spoke teams are responsible for measuring success in a campaign against the objectives that are set by the overarching hub team.

Localizing and Optimizing Global Campaigns

While companies launching a global initiative need to maintain a consistent personality throughout all their dispersed social channels, they also need to customize each spoke in the campaign to ensure that local audience respond as well as possible. After all, local legislation and different cultural attitudes can come into play when brands need to make important decisions on how to communicate with their customers.

Importantly, once a campaign is up and running, companies need to make sure that they’re ready to listen to local teams around the world and respond accordingly. From this point onwards, the hub team can give customized responses on how to structure regional content. If the central hub doesn’t know enough about regional content, they won’t be able to offer new ideas for business growth.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.

charity public relations

Are you prepared for the donation drop? 

In any recession, most charities experience a drop-off in donations. Doesn’t matter what segment you’re in, you will likely see less in your coffers when people believe the economy is in the toilet.

Well, we’ve come out of the Great Recession and, for a while, giving has been on a steady incline. Market prognosticators are saying that’s about to end. According to the Atlas of Giving report, donations in the U.S. are going to drop about two percent this year … and that may just be the beginning.

Now, this is not about some Chicken Little fear mongering. This isn’t even a wake-up call or a warning. This is a question – if they’re right, are you ready? Because you can be.

Time and again, polls and reality have proven that committed donors will continue to give even if they’re struggling. So, your job – your primary job – is to develop and strengthen your relationship with your donors. So, what are you doing about that?

The program is more about mindset than it is about function. Charities that suffer the most when things go bad in the economy are those who view donors as a source rather than partners worthy of respect. Yes, you are doing “good work”, but they are funding that work. You can’t exist without them, so act like it. Build relationship, and then nurture that relationship.

Connecting once at some fundraiser isn’t enough. Neither is bombarding them with emails and direct mail request cards. Donors want to know they are making a difference. They want to believe it, not just hope that maybe something they did worked. And they want to enjoy the experience.

Do you know what motivates your most likely donors? Do they want fun community or physical challenges? A mix of both? Do they enjoy parties and galas or golf outings? What brings them the most connectivity and value?

Value. Have you ever thought about it in those terms? Yes, they want to do right by your cause, but they want it to be their cause too. Plus, they have limited time – and they realize it – so they are set on “no” before you even ask. So, you need to find a way to connect with them. And that requires knowing your audience. Learning about them as people, not just wallets you get to reach into from time to time.

The bottom line in all of this? When it comes to charity PR, the question should not be, “How can we get them to give?” It needs to be, “Who are these people, and how can we connect them with this cause in a way that keeps them coming back?” This is a much deeper, more nuanced question, and the answer will deliver much better results for you.

Wounded Warrior Project head in hot water

It’s not been a stellar week for the top executive at popular military-based charity Wounded Warrior Project. Fred and Dianne Kane, two top donors have called for Steven Nardizzi to resign or be fired after it came to light that the charity may have been overspending on “lavish” office parties and staff meetings.

The Kanes, parents of two Iraq War veterans, donated about $335,000 to WWP in the past seven years, through their charity, Tee-off for a Cause. When CBS News reported that barely more than half of those funds actually went toward benefitting veterans, the Kanes went looking for answers. They were not happy where that search led.

According to various media reports, tax forms showed massive expenditures, such as $26 million on conferences at luxury hotels in a single year. Conference and travel spending have grown substantially year-to-year, and these donors are fed up. CBS News reported the Kanes started an online petition demanding a public audit of WWP, and they canceled a planned benefit tournament. About the same time, Charity Navigator put WWP on its “watch list” of nonprofit organizations suspected of less than stellar conduct.

Former employees, some combat veterans, have come forward to express similar disgust for the way WWP spent their funds. When your cause and your brand are built around American heroes, to have those heroes calling you out and casting aspersion on your work, you have a major PR crisis on your hands.

Even if Nardizzi is ousted, it may not be enough to protect Wounded Warrior Project from further suspicion, and it certainly won’t be enough to repair the charity’s tarnished reputation. At this point, more people are beginning to view WWP as taking advantage of wounded soldiers to live the good life, an accusation the organization must distance itself from immediately. If they don’t start major damage control right now, the project may find itself wounded beyond recovery.


Metallica Bataclan Album Funding Charity Efforts

When über metal band Metallica came out strong against file sharing services like Napster, fans turned on them in a big way. Sure, they understood the band’s complaint in principle, but they reasoned most people were still buying albums. Why go after little kids grabbing tracks from LimeWire?

The back and forth got ugly, turning Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich into a villain figure who became the butt of endless jokes on the net and even on popular animated TV shows.

But now the baddest band on the planet may have just erased any nascent negative feelings in a single act of targeted charity.

Metallica recorded a live album at the Bataclan, the same venue targeted by Muslim terrorists back in 2015. The band’s representatives say proceeds from the album “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, Metallica! – Live at Le Bataclan” will be donated to victims of the attack.

The planned release date for the album is April 16 coinciding with Record Store Day, which promotes indie music shops. Proceeds for the nine-track live platter will go to Give For France, a subsidiary of Fondation de France, a group raising funds for survivors of the attack and the families of those who were killed.

After the attacks last November, Metallica made a point to lead the pack in resisting fear through music. The band played three gigs in smaller clubs in Paris in a single night, a direct challenge to those who had tried to instill terror in the French through the unprovoked attacks that killed more than 100 people.

Tribute albums are nothing new in music, but they are more commonly seen in the pop genre, full of easily-digested mainstream music. Metallica is decidedly not that. The heavy metal mainstays are popular not just among fans of their genre but also anyone who appreciates melodic aggression.

Unrepentant trendsetters, expect Metallica to be only one among other harder rock bands to take up the charity gauntlet typically reserved for bands like U2 and Springsteen’s E Street Band. Their music may be angry, but these guys have heart.

facebook charity

Facebook Enters the Charity Business

Over the last several months, Facebook has been adding extras specifically to help and assist non-profits and charities. Their latest addition came earlier this week with a new site full of resources for such agencies, including non-governmental organizations doing charitable work. The new site is set up to help organizations establish and enhance FB pages, teaches what an organization needs to know so they can create a campaign, write posts, and analyze the engagement of subscribers and visitors to the organization’s site. There are also success stories added to the FB page helping organizations get a better understanding of how to build their own efforts.

“We are constantly blown away by the ways people and organizations use Facebook – not just to connect, but to make an impact in their communities and around the world,” Joanne Sprague, marketing manager for Social Good wrote announcing the release, “This is especially true of nonprofits, who inspire us every day by raising awareness about their causes, activating supporters and raising the funds they need to support their organizations.”

Facebook added a fundraising tool for non-profits in November as a separate page offering a way for organizations to collect donations and tell their story. Some of the options include a “Donate Now” button, which is only available to nonprofits. The donate button can be embedded on both ads and their FB page offering a link to a website where the donation can be made. To demonstrate how well this is working, as of January, nearly eight million people worldwide used 35,000 FB groups and pages that support refugees.

It should also be noted that according to FB staff members, FB is testing tools to enable nonprofits to directly collect contributions on their FB pages. That option is being tested by a few partner organizations currently such as the World Wildlife Fund, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society among others.

What is apparent, FB has hit another one out of the ballpark as it uses the social media platform to accomplish good works. Mark Zuckerman has once again shown he’s willing to push his positive agendas forward from his and his company’s pocketbook. Will other platforms follow the trend he’s setting?

Little Bokeelia Island

How One Island Has Become a Charity Paradise

A recent article in The Economist shed some sunshine on a tiny island just off Florida’s Gulf Coast. Little Bokeelia is not exactly overrun with tourists, but those who have discovered its cascading waterfalls and resort amenities have fallen in love with this tropical haven.

Then it went on the real estate market, and everyone decided to stop caring. After three years on the market, that incredible slice of paradise sold for HALF the asking price. Tough economy, indeed.

The Economist also pointed at the Bahamas to help establish a trend. That chain, where the per-acre prices are some of the highest on the planet, hundreds of tiny specs of sand, miniature Eden for the savvy traveler, remain unclaimed.

What gives? Having your Own Private Island used to be the calling card of the mega-rich, the one true criteria for having Made It. Now, nobody seems to want one. Well, almost no one. As interest has waned, prices have fallen, leading to a shift in the market.

The new players?

Nonprofits and government agencies. For the most part, these places are being acquired and designated as preserves or designated “public” spaces.

That trend has motivated some well-heeled non-profit groups interested in preservation to snatch up islands and officially wall them off from development. In a way, these investments may seem frivolous, but, like the American National Park System, it’s not hard for these groups to find folks willing to donate to keep wild places, well, wild.

In many cases, Step 1 is the only consideration on the table. But some groups are going even further, buying up land and turning it into retreats or care facilities or other kinds of protected places for those for whom the seclusion and directed care can be exactly the balm they need. Will there be a “Club Med” for kids with cancer or couples counseling sometime soon?

Probably, yes. And why not? Sometimes, nothing is more profitable than just getting away…even when there’s no money in it.