Breaking the “Brand” Rule – 1 Important Brand Voice Change in a Breastfeeding Crisis (It’s Only Temporary)

Posted by on 8:10 pm in breastfeeding incident, corporate communications, restaurants, training | 0 comments

We’ve heard so much about brand over the past several years. Experts advise that branding be consistent across all platforms and with every customer touch point. Our locations, our policies, our employee dress code, the décor and corporate offices should all mesh and give off the same vibe. But when it comes to a breastfeeding incident, you may need to alter your brand voice a little. In this case, a temporary – yet crucial – brand voice change should be considered. Before we get to that, let’s consider the details of a breastfeeding incident. The parties involve, at minimum, a mother and baby, and an employee or manager at one of your locations that wasn’t trained in federal and state breastfeeding laws and possibly invented a corporate policy on the spot. In the case of one of my private clients, there were two separate incidents in two different states within a single week! However, the cast list quickly expands from there. Depending on whether bloggers or the media have picked up the story, the players may escalate to hundreds or even thousands of mothers and families. When engaging about a breastfeeding incident, temporarily softening the edges of all your interactions will add a caring tone and much-needed warmth. As a national retail or restaurant brand, you likely have a PR firm spokesperson accustomed to using formal and corporate-sounding statements. However, when answering media questions or engaging with the public on social media, that tried-and-true approach may lack the warmth and authenticity this situation requires. What works for an investor conference call will be unlikely to work here, so adopt a softer, more caring tone that lets your customers and commenters know that you’re listening, you care about what they’re saying and you won’t ignore them. Here’s a tip: Schedule a review and update your social media response templates and press statements with the above thoughts in mind. Become prepared now so your brand is ready in the unfortunate case of a breastfeeding incident. For more helpful tips specific to social media, see The 3 Social Media Essentials in Crisis Communications for Retail and National Restaurant Brands. For insight into why breastfeeding incidents provoke the strong response we’ve seen in several national media cases read Why Breastfeeding Incidents Escalate So...

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Understanding Why Breastfeeding Incidents Escalate So Quickly: Rationale for the Retail and Restaurant Executive

Posted by on 12:55 pm in breastfeeding incident, corporate communications, restaurants, training | 0 comments

Emails from my clients tell a consistent story: shock and disbelief over the “soap opera” nature of a breastfeeding crisis; the quick spread of a negative message to hundreds or thousands of people online; a solid brand reputation derailed seemingly overnight. Retail and restaurant executives are often confused by such sudden turns of events, so I’ve put together a high-level rationale to explain the emotions and memories driving the strong response to a breastfeeding incident. It may be helpful in your team’s understanding of breastfeeding laws and your company’s corporate and training policies. Breastfeeding is a complex, emotional issue. Moms-to-be are told repeatedly that breastfeeding is the best thing they can do for their children, but culturally we throw insurmountable obstacles in their way. These may include ill-informed friends, unsupportive family, hospital staff and employers. We then make moms feel guilty when they stop nursing before they wanted to because they lacked support or resources. Those who do continue nursing likely fought hard to do so. Those “lucky” moms then feel a sense of protectiveness to other moms. In addition, we’ve now been taught the health risks of not breastfeeding: a higher risk of breast cancer in the mom, and a higher risk of obesity and diabetes in the baby, and an increased risk of SIDS. Discouraging a mother from breastfeeding impacts generational health, and social media commenters want to protect mothers’ rights and be the voice they wish they’d had. While you may not convert those commenters into fans or customers, it is important your brand come across as listening, caring and responsive, which are The 3 Social Media Essentials. For more information, click here to learn The 3 Social Media...

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The First 4 Hours: Critical Actions for National Restaurant Chains After Breastfeeding Incident

Posted by on 11:03 am in breastfeeding incident, corporate communications, policies, training | 0 comments

You’ve just received the news. One of your employees invented their own breastfeeding corporate policy and embarrassed a nursing mother. Perhaps the incident was greeted with angry responses, or perhaps with mutinous silence. Either way, you can’t stop the mental movie reel of media firestorms, social media monologues and negative reviews. These things can and do happen, especially to national restaurant chains. Because they share a widespread public image, chains tend to suffer uniformly for the actions of a single employee, which can pose a huge challenge to PR teams hoping to mitigate the damage. Plus, even if you have a breastfeeding-friendly corporate policy that follows federal guidelines (and those of some states), if you’ve never made the effort to train your employees, such incidents become more likely. The first four hours after learning about a breastfeeding incident are crucial, dictating how your brand will be viewed over the following few days and possibly weeks, and determining how easy recovery from the incident will be. The below recommendations will help guide your social media and official responses positively and proactively. Hours 1 and 2: Mobilize Your Resources Start by confirming all possible details. Contact the location general manager first thing to learn exactly what occurred and to request video footage if it is available. Make it clear to the manager and other employees with whom you speak that an honest mistake won’t get anyone fired, but covering up facts and obstructing your investigation will. Your goal is to paint an accurate picture of what happened, including the responsible employee’s actions, the reactions of guests, the manager’s involvement and any promises that were made by way of apology. Alert your crisis communications team so they are prepared when customers or media have questions, and consider bringing on a breastfeeding advocate who is trained in corporate communications and social media. Because nursing is a sensitive issue with different dynamics than other crises, it can help to have a breastfeeding professional on hand to give counsel, help mitigate damages and prevent the incident from sparking nurse-ins or other media events. Hours 3 and 4: Formulate Your Response Plan With the help of your crisis team, work to customize your social media post templates and official statements. At this time you can also figure out any early details you are comfortable sharing. The PR response to a breastfeeding incident is less formal and more personal, and can sometimes be lengthy. Steer clear of condescending language such as “It is important to note that we … ” and phrases that sounds defensive or accusatory, and aim for statements such as “We are disappointed when any guest has a less than great experience and are working to learn more about this incident.” Have these responses ready for when the first social media posts and inquiries roll in. Resist the temptation to go silent, as people will assume you’re ignoring them and increase pressure. Share all information with your crisis team and continue to make decisions together going forward. Breastfeeding crises involve feelings that are hard to come back from: anger, humiliation, confusion and hurt. Such emotions tend to magnify incidents and create division, which is why you need a well-formulated plan that involves all stake-holding parties and takes customer concerns seriously. Such a response is more...

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The 3 Social Media Essentials in Crisis Communications for National Restaurant Chains

Posted by on 8:10 am in Breastfeeding, breastfeeding incident, corporate communications, policies, training | 0 comments

National restaurant chains have many advantages, but a significant disadvantage lies in the fact that what happens in one restaurant reflects on all. If you’ve watched helplessly while breastfeeding crises at other restaurant chains exploded into media firestorms or weeks of negative press, you might wonder how you would handle such a situation yourself. You’d be right to wonder, because how a restaurant responds to a breastfeeding crisis may have far-reaching repercussions for its brand image and future success. Whether an employee actually violates a nursing mother’s rights, embarrasses her, or puts the company in an awkward position by inventing a “corporate policy” on the spot, it benefits national restaurant chains to be able to respond proactively to breastfeeding crises that might otherwise damage the brand. The best way to do this is to institute guidelines before disaster strikes, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to handle it. Whether you have breastfeeding and employee lactation policies or not there are social media guidelines that can help you focus on managing your reputation and moving on. In the following three steps, you will discover how to show your customers, employees and investors that you value the 3 Essentials of Social Media: you are listening, you care and you are responsive. When your customers get this from you, they will repay you with continuing loyalty, even in the face of scandal. 1. Respond Immediately Although it is tempting to go silent while you piece together what just happened and try to figure out how to respond, don’t. This gives anyone who wants to make you look bad a golden opportunity to trash you and your brand while you seemingly sit idly by. Instead, use your social media networks to become intimately involved in the conversation. By responding immediately, you respect the First Essential of Social Media and show that you are listening. Rather than simply checking out and expecting your customers to keep giving you business no matter what, you need to show them you care about what they think, how they feel, and the ways they respond to your actions. 2. Respond Authentically Although having a response template in place will help you figure out how to quickly respond to negative comments and questions on social media, use it naturally to inform your responses rather than cutting and pasting. Respond to individual comments, refer to commenters by name and don’t fight dirty. This is your opportunity to show that you care, and if you fail to communicate that, you will only prove to your detractors that you are as cold and unfeeling as they claim. Keep in mind that breastfeeding is a sensitive issue and that comments concerning mothers and babies should come off as gentle yet casual, lest you be accused of taking too firm a stance. Consider hiring a breastfeeding advocate trained in crisis communications to help you strike the right tone. 3. Respond Often A lack of engagement on your end, even if you’ve already shared your company’s policy and feelings on the subject, will be correctly interpreted as unresponsiveness. The Third Essential of Social Media demands that you prove the opposite, that you are responsive. Instead of posting a comment or two and calling it good, or only surfacing when you have new information, check back...

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Protected: Presentation Materials from Best Baby Shower Nashville Sept 2012

Posted by on 2:59 pm in Breastfeeding, Events | Enter your password to view comments.

Hello everyone! I hope you have checked a few things off your preparedness stepping stones list this week. They will make a difference with establishing breastfeeding. I’m sure you all will remember skin-to-skin and rooming-in! I hope all of you that won items are enjoying them. As a reminder we gave these items away during the main presentation: 24 Boppy Travel Nursing Pillows 24 Boppy Nursing Covers 10 “Organic Nanny” books 3 PumpEase prize packs – hands-free pumping bras 3 Gymboree Green Hills Music and Play 3-month passes 3 Joovy BabaSlings (remember to use your coupon code “bss2r6” to get $25 off!) 2 Medela Pump In Style Advanced double electric-pumps Joovy Nook high chair (Remember to use your coupon code “bbcoh6” to get $25 off this item!) Joovy Room2 play yard (Remember to use your coupon code “bbcoh6” to get $25 off this item!) Joovy Caboose double tandem stroller (Remember to use your coupon code “bbcoh6” to get $25 off this item!) Joovy ScooterX2 double stroller (Remember to use your coupon code “bbcoh6” to get $25 off this item!) Here are the presentation materials I promised from last Saturday’s Best Baby Shower event. Included (click below): ExhibitorSheet Julie’s Village Conference Curriculum Thank you all for a great event! Best wishes to you and your individual breastfeeding pathways! Julie Hamilton, CLC Founder, CEO Julie’s Village, Inc Note: Only attendees received the Stepping Stones information, binder, the help sheet and goodie...

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