A Conversation with Jessica Gottlieb, Mommy Blogger at JessicaGottlieb.com, and Beth Mansfield, Director of Public Relations for CKE Restaurants, Inc.
By UCLA X425 Student Elizabeth Gluvna
To cover both ends of the new communications spectrum, Erik Deutsch (@erikdeutsch) brought together an empowered consumer blogger and a corporate communications expert, making for an interesting class, to say the least.
Jessica Gottlieb (@jessicagottlieb) is a renowned “mommy blogger” who got her start 13 years ago when the medium was just emerging. Jessica admits that, despite being an influential writer, she does not have a background in journalism. With business expertise and a knack for optimizing her posts, Jessica turned to blogging in order to bring in extra money while staying at home with her first child.
Over the years, Jessica has become a respected online voice. Companies, having realized this, reach out to her in an effort to get their products promoted. For example, Jessica is often given cars to test drive in hopes that she will review them on her blog. To maintain ethical standards, Jessica’s posts make it clear that she has been lent the car, or whatever product is being tested. Also, she will only share positive reviews – if Jessica isn’t a fan of the product, she won’t write a scathing post.
Jessica will, however, make it clear if a corporate message doesn’t sit well with her. She is responsible for sparking the “Motrin Moms” backlash in response to a 2008 commercial that seemingly mocked mothers who use baby slings. Although the company that packages Motrin never issued a response, the social media universe was in an uproar over the ad, all thanks to Jessica Gottlieb – the empowered consumer blogger.
Corporate communications expert, Beth Mansfield (@bethmansfield), director of public relations for CKE Restaurants, shared her techniques for defusing negative social media-generated attention stirred up by today’s empowered consumers.
Beth, who takes on the voice of a hungry male between the ages of 18 to 34, tweets for Carl’s Jr. While managing the Twitter account, she often comes across negative comments. As soon as she notices a complaint or negative post, she addresses the situation by referring the consumer to the Carl’s Jr. guest services team – but only after she checks CoTweet.
Beth recommends CoTweet (http://cotweet.com) to monitor organizational Twitter accounts. With CoTweet, before responding to a complaint, Beth can make sure that no one else from her communications team has already addressed the situation. She is also able, in advance, to prepare responses to the most common consumer inquiries.
Ultimately, when dealing with empowered consumers, Beth says the response depends on the person in question. If they have a lot of followers/friends, it is best to reach out and quickly make amends. If they don’t have a lot of followers/friends, it may be best to reach out only if the situation is severe. Simply “hating” on the brand does not always warrant a response, which could just add fuel to the fire.