Chick-Fil-A—A Social Media Crisis

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Chick-Fil-A experienced a Crisis due to a statement they released to the Baptist Press saying, “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family—led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that” (Agnes, 2012). This statement ignited a huge debate particularly on social media sites such as facebook and twitter. The comments shared on social media sites were definitely not positive towards chick-fil-a as a company.

A social media crisis is especially unpleasant because it tends to spread and intensify at an alarming rate. People can easily share posts and comment their opinions on the topic. This caused Chick-Fil-A to quickly lose control of their social media sites.

The debate hit the streets when many people decided to boycott the restaurant as well as protest in front of many locations. For example, “The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), meanwhile, is promoting a National Same-Sex Kiss Day to be held at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country on August 3” (Aarthun, 2012).

There are many ways Chick-Fil-A could have improved the way the crisis was handled. First and foremost the rule is to be very cautious when sharing your religious views, that doesn’t mean that you can’t share you religious view it just means that when sharing it make sure you are cautious. Secondly, In order to gain back control of their social media sites chick-fil-a should have wrote a well thought out apology to anyone they may have offended to share on their facebook, twitter and to share public on a news station.

Angnes, Melissa. (July 30,2012). Lessons to Learn From Chick-Fil-A’s Social Media Crisis. Retrieved from

Aarthun, Sarah. (July 28, 2012). Chick-Fil-A wades into a fast-food fight over same-sex marriage rights. Retrieved from


Why research at all?


“Why Research at all?” is quite the silly question when pertaining to Public Relations, mainly because research is EVERYTHING in PR campaign planning, okay well not everything, but almost!  Without research we wouldn’t have the basic understand on which we would plan the campaign. “Research provides the information required to understand the needs of publics and to develop powerful messages” (Wilcox, 2013, p. 90).

There are multiple different types of research conducted in order to have a successful campaign.  For example, formative research refers to the research done prior to the campaign, this educates and gives a basic understanding on which to build the campaign. Next, the research done during and after the campaign is known as evaluative research. This helps us understand “what went right?”, “what went wrong”, and how to do better next time , as well as, distinguishing if the campaign was successful in terms of meeting the objectives. Social media is often times used in evaluative research “in social media it’s key to find where members of your target public are interacting on a relevant topic. That’s where you should be and what you should measure” (Wilcox, 2013, p. 93)

Why is research important for a company’s public image? “Research, when conducted properly, eliminates bias and gives the leaders of a company a realistic picture of how various members of the public perceive the organization” (The Houston Chronicle, 2013).  If the company didn’t look outside their own biased opinions to research how the public might see the organization they wouldn’t know how to improve the organization.  In order to find out what is most important in the eyes of the public it’s essential to research to find out feedback.

It’s clear that research is imperative so why isn’t more research done, because research is incredibly time consuming and expensive. “Studies show that public relations departments typically spend 3-5 percent of their budgets on research; however, some experts argue that this share should be as much as 10 percent” (Wilcox, 2013, p. 91). Overall, in order to have a successful public relations campaign it’s effortless to recognize the relevance and importance of research.



Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., Shin, Jae-hwa. (2013). THINK: Public Relations. Upper saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.

The Houston Chronicle (2013). How is Research Important to Strategic Public Relations Plans? Retrieved from

Evaluation in Public Relations

How does evaluation improve Public Relations? According to Dennis L. Wilcox, author of Think: Public Relations, “The desire to do a better job next time is a major reason for evaluation public relations efforts, etc” ( 2013, p.127). In order for the evaluation process to benefit a Public Relations campaign there are a multiple “measurement questions” to touch on after the campaign (2013, p.127). For example, did the planning of the campaign go as planned? This question seems to be the most basic but it also very vital in the evaluation because if the campaign didn’t go as planned something substantial went wrong. Next, did the target audience grasp the main idea of the campaign? In order for the campaign to be successful it is necessary that the target audience recognized and followed the essence of the campaign.

Another important question to ask would be if anything unanticipated happened that affected the campaign in a positive or negative way? Obviously life happens and there is almost always something unanticipated that happens but what I believe to be most important is how it was dealt with in the heat of the moment. If it was negative, did the campaign group handle the situation in a calm and efficient manner? Next the question that everyone dreads, did the campaign stay under or at the set budget? “People want to know if the money, time, and effort expended on public relations are well spent and how those efforts contribute to the realization of an organizational objective” (Wilcox, 2013, p.127). This can be difficult depending on what type of budget you’re dealing with, obviously it’s more difficult with a smaller budget and even more important to be accurate.

Last but not least, what can you do better next time? If anything, making mistakes can help you learn and do better the second time around. Another way to measure what could be improved is to do survey involving the participants of the campaign. This way you receive another perspective to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign. “Evaluation should be a proactive, forward-looking process of continuous systematic gathering of information used to plan future activities more effectively”(IMPACT, 2013) In order to fully understand what went wrong and what you can improve next time, evaluation is necessary.

Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., Shin, Jae-hwa. (2013). THINK: Public Relations. Upper saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.

IMPACT.  Evaluation Public Relations Marketing Campaigns. IMPACT! Reputation Management and PR. IMPACT!—Public Relations & Reputation Management.  Retrieved September 11, 2013 from

Advocacy and Public relations

    Advocacy and Public Relations are more associated with one another than one might initially assume. As said by the authors of Think: Public Relations “Non-profit organizations, which are also referred to as charities or not-for-profit organizations, make up a broad area of public relations work” (Wilcox, 2013, p. 370).  In order for non-profit organizations to stay alive they must constantly work to raise money, usually through fundraisers which consists of volunteers and paid employees.

      Although, Public relations in the non-profit community can be different from public relations in the conventional business world, they can also be very similar.  They both organize campaigns to help encourage interest in their programs. While the conventional business world receives funding through taxes, non-profit organizations must rely on fund raising to finance all of their needs, which has proven to be quite the challenge for many groups. “Most nonprofit groups have fewer economic resources at their disposal than business and government organizations, which can explain their more limited public relations programs” (Bronstein, 2006) On the contrary, the use of social media is an “instantaneous and inexpensive” way to bring light to a particular non-profit organization (Bronstein, 2006).  The use of social media in the non-profit organization is represented by goodwill who, for instance uses a website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest to reach their many vast and diverse target audience.

            Sadly, raising money can be so difficult for nonprofit organizations that many are forced to compete with each other rather than work together to finance themselves. “Nonprofit organizations have a willingness to cooperate but must also compete for limited or scare resources” (Wilcox, 2013, p.372) In order to counteract this issue some nonprofits have entered partnerships due to similar interests. For example “Licensing use of an organizations name to endorse a product and receiving payment for each item sold, such as the American Heart Association’s endorsement of lean beef” (Wilcox, 2013, p. 375). Concisely, although somewhat different from the business world the use of public relations has a very important and necessary presents in the nonprofit world.



Bronstein, Carolyn (2006).  Responsible Advocacy for Nonprofit Organizations. Retrieved from

 Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Rever, Bryan H., Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2013). Think: Public Relations. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. 

Pre-Public Relations reflections and Impressions

What exactly is Public Relations? My first impressions of Public Relations I have found that it is incredibly difficult to define because it is hard to differentiate from other categories of communications.  Eventually, I’ve begun to understand that Public Relations and the other categories of communications share similar goals and ideas although they take different approaches when tackling a task. Therefore although very different they are all important in the grand scheme of things.

According to Dennis L. Wilcox, author of Think: Public Relations, although well-defined differences exist among the fields of advertising, marketing, and public relations, there is an increasing realization that an organizations goals and objectives can be best accomplished through an integrated approach, not just through marketing-but throughout all communication functions  (2013, p.17).

For example, in my experience in seeing PR and marketing work together in real time would be at my job as a barista at Sip Organic juice bar. There we use different social media sites to reach our target audience. For example, we have a Facebook, Instagram and twitter account as well as a website and blog where we can update our customers on new products and events.  In order to reach more target audience we also have a drawing. When customers come into the store they can upload a picture to instagram, twitter and facebook of anything they choose at SIP then they use our specific hashtags. Once they do that they are eligible to put their name in a drawing to possibly win a free 16 oz drink. As you can see both marketing and public relations at work here. Marketing is attracting the customer while Public relations is maintaining that positive image. I have found this to be a fun and ingenious way to help get Sip’s name out there.

What sets PR apart from the other communication functions? What exactly does a PR specialist do? Well, throughout the day a Public relations specialist is responsible for monitoring the news, constantly checking emails and scan blogs and other social media sites that are covering the industries they represent. It’s important to keep up with all of the items mentioned above in case the news or media are putting out something that could potentially harm a client’s reputation. Also in a crisis situation a Public relations specialist is there to take the steps to help manage the situation.

Overall, I have concluded that a public relation position consists of a person who oversees a company or person’s image using media and research. It creates a positive image for the company while serving the needs of the customer. According to The Public Relations Society of America “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics” (2013).  A Public Relations specialist has to understand the object of what they’re trying to achieve and their target audience so they can use the right medium in order to reach them.  A Public Relations specialist tries to direct the conversation to meet their objective while also using the tools of marketing and branding to help shape peoples opinions. Generally, although all fields of communication have very different and very important roles the ways in which they can all succeed best is through working together.

Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Rever, Bryan H., Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2013). Think: Public Relations. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.

PRSA society (2013). What is Public Relations. Retrieved from

Claire alden Johnson


My name is Claire Johnson. I reside in the state shaped like a mitten, more specifically the city of Grand Rapids.  I am currently a student studying Communications at Grand Valley State University.  I work as a nanny to a family with seven children under the age of seven, yes, seven. Also as a barista at an Organic Juice bar called SIP.

 I have aspirations to do many things in life. Professionally I would like to work for a company that is aligned with my interests, values and passions.  I would love to be in charge of social media, communications and work as a creative consultant.  As I continue my education, I would like to have a personal travel and food blog.

As a personal hobby I’ve enjoyed following multiple bloggers and using many social media sites for my own personal use.  With this experience I am a step ahead and could bring a different perspective to companies in the social media realm.

A few of my other personal hobbies include taking photos of anything and everything… especially of my travels and  experimental vegan/health-nut foods. Follow along on my instagram

I love to travel anywhere and everywhere. I love spontaneous trips because I feel the most sense of adventure when I have no agenda. I’m the obscure person who gets butterflies in her stomach when its still snowing in April because any chance I can get to snowboard I take full advantage of… on the contrary hot yoga keeps me sane.

I have always seen the world a little differently.  I am not crafty or “artsy” in the most general way… I’m not particularly skilled at drawing or painting. But I believe creative expression can be expressed in many unexpected ways. I love to take photos, make beautiful meals and put together a fashion forward outfit, my eclectic taste and sense of design appears in almost all aspects of my life.

I consider myself to be an extrovert because I enjoy being around people. I thrive off of the energy of others and I work best in groups. I believe my people skills are one of my greatest strengths. Stick around and lets get to know each-other!

Connect with me!