Did Howard Bragman score the biggest public relations win of this year thus far? Many seem to agree that the Fifteen Minutes PR chief did by managing and breaking the Michael Sam (who has officially announced he is gay and if drafted, will be the first gay active NFL player) story to the country.
In an article for PRNewser, Bragman shared his tips on how to handle a PR situation this big.
His first universal PR rule is to jump out in front of a story. This is to make sure that no one else can intercept the pending story and run with it. Sam chose Empire Athletes to represent him and asked point-blank if him being gay would be a problem for them. Empire then realized how big of a story this would be and began brainstorming publicists to represent him. Bragman was chosen and made it very clear that this one-time announcement would not take precedence over his career.
His second rule, which is a pretty awesome rule, is to tell the tale once. The media will do its job by taking the story and turning it viral. With all of the social media platforms that are available now, it takes such a short time for a story to reach tons of people. President Barack Obama even tweeted to Sam congratulating him on coming out.
According to Bragman, you also need to be prepared for the worst possible scenario response. You need to be ready to defend your offensive strategy.
Another key rule is stick to your trusted channels and friends. This is important so no third parties can spin your story. While sticking to people you trust, you also need to make sure you emphasize the fact that there is a person, a well-rounded person at that, behind the announcement.
Last, but certainly not least, Bragman suggests releasing your statement, making your peace and getting on with living your life. Sam made his announcement with Bragman behind him and that was it – Sam will not be an activist and this will not affect his career.
Bragman has denied any further interviews with Sam and has suggested that the “media circus” around the announcement has already started to die down. Bragman has said helping athletes come out is “one of the most rewarding parts of his job.”
Overall, I think Bragman did a wonderful job of handling Sam’s story. Once rumors started to swirl, it was best that they got ahead of the game. By denying interviews and not dragging it out, I believe, Sam will profit in the draft. It shows that as much as this is a part of his life, it’s not his whole life and I think that proves he will not let it affect his career. This is a huge win for both Sam and Bragman.
--by Trish Bradle, PRSSA General Member
The 86th Academy Awards was the most watched broadcast event since the last episode of “Friends” in 2004. Comedic talk show host Ellen DeGeneres hosted the event this year, and there was a lot of buzz circulating around her performance. As the night continued, Ellen decided to take a “selfie” with some of her A-list friends. The picture was immediately tweeted and history was made.
Ellen’s tweet not only crashed the Twitter website, but also broke the record for the most retweets of any image. Ellen’s photo received 3.2 million retweets, beating President Barack Obama’s previous record of 810,000. About 19 million tweets were sent out regarding the Oscars, which in turn increased its viewers.
Ellen’s legendary selfie was also taken with a Samsung phone, an Academy Awards sponsor. This gave Samsung millions of dollars worth of free promotion. In return for the selfie, Samsung agreed to donate $3 million to Ellen’s choice charity: St. Jude’s Hospital.
We can learn a lot from the Oscars about how social media can affect an event. Ellen’s tweet did an amazing amount for the Academy Awards. The tweet set the record for most retweets and crashed the site, increasing people’s interest in the tweet. As more people began actively tweeting the Oscars, even more tuned in to watch the show. This one tweet increased Oscar views significantly. The tweet not only increased popularity of the Academy Awards, but it also raised $3 million for St. Jude’s Hospital. The 86th Academy Awards has taught us just how important social media can be in this day and age.
--by Lindsey Young, PRSSA General Member
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.