News & Events

W Austin Hotel: glass shattered, reputation intact

By Ashley Goode

W Austin Hotel

By now, we’ve all heard about the falling glass at the W Austin Hotel. Needless to say, with three incidents in a matter of weeks, it was front-page news for quite some time. Although the hotel developers are not completely out of the woods just yet, this situation could have been much more catastrophic had the luxury hotel line not handled it so well.

Stratus Properties, developer of the hotel, followed the cardinal rule of public relations: don’t play the blame game. They took full responsibility for the falling glass, and they seemed genuinely upset by the occurrences.

Stratus CEO Beau Armstrong was quoted by the Austin American Statesman on June 28 as saying, “the entire team here at the W couldn’t be more devastated that this has occurred.” In another quote in the same story, Armstrong said, “we will make this right,” which offered the Austin community comfort in knowing that the developer was going to do everything it took to fix the problem.

Stratus made another suave PR move by taking full financial responsibility. The developer paid for the replacement of about 1,000 glass balcony faces, along with four off-duty officers and a patrol car to keep pedestrians away from areas where glass could have fallen.  Additionally, they paid for the temporary relocation of their tenants and continued to pay their employees during the hotel’s closure.

Although they obviously had issues with faulty building materials, Stratus clearly did everything right in terms of crisis management. Their earnest regret for the situation can be seen in a quote from Armstrong in a July 1 article by the Statesman:

“‘As this very challenging week draws to a close, we greatly appreciate the invaluable cooperation from the city, support from downtown business owners and the patience and understanding from the citizens of Austin,’ Stratus CEO Beau Armstrong said in a statement Friday afternoon. ‘We have experienced an outpouring of support from all corners of the community and will never forget it.’”

Stratus wouldn’t have received such support from the Austin community had they mismanaged the crisis. In the end, glass was shattered, but their reputation remained intact.

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Estilo gains two new clients

MACMcCallum Fine Arts Academy
We are excited to announce that we will be working on the grand opening of the new campus for the McCallum Fine Arts Academy. This state-of-the-art facility was a part of the 2008 AISD bond election and provides McCallum High School with a whole new level of artistic prowess. The event will be held at the new facility on Friday, Sept. 30. Stay tuned for more details!
IT Gonzalez Engineers

IT Gonzalez Engineers
Estilo Communications is working in conjunction with a Web designer to create a new website for IT Gonzalez Engineers. The owner is a great friend of ours, and we’re very excited to spruce up his online space!

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Imagine Austin: Community Forum Series #4

The fourth and final phase of community engagement for the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan gets underway in less than a month. The plan, once implemented, will be used every day by the City of Austin to guide how it does business, makes decisions and invests taxpayers’ dollars. Essentially, it’s absolutely critical for the Austin community to be involved in this final step before the plan is adopted.

Outreach will commence in August and run through October, so keep your eyes peeled for updates from Estilo!

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Posted in Client News on 08/04/2011 12:36 pm
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Company News

Historic Home Tour

Estilo office a part of historic home tour
The Victorian house that serves as the office of Estilo Communications was included in the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Home Tour on May 22. Attendees enjoyed the sites and learned the story behind four historic East Austin homes.

Kids at office

Travis County hosts “Next Generation Business Bus Hop”
Travis County hosted an event for Allison Elementary 5th graders called “The Next Generation Business Bus Hop.” The Estilo office, which houses three other businesses, served as one of the stops. The children went in groups to visit all four businesses to learn about being a successful small business in Austin. Thank you, Travis County and Allison Elementary, for sculpting our future small business owners!

Launch787

Ashley gets published!
Our very own Ashley Goode is now a contributor for a local news and culture website called Launch787. Her second article was published just a couple of weeks ago. Take a look at her work, and feel free to leave a comment!

Marion Graduation 2

Thanks, La Voz!
A recent issue of the local newspaper La Voz de Austin included a snippet about our agency principal Marion graduating from Huston-Tillotson University. Thanks for the kind words, La Voz!

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Smear campaigns: when PR gets ugly

By Ashley Goode

You know you’ve hit bottom when your main tactic is fabricating a story to smear your competitor. Spreading rumors and lies, though they may cause the public to doubt your competitor in the beginning, will always, ALWAYS blow up in your face. Journalists, however hungry they may be for a scoop, usually do fact-checks before releasing a bombshell – or at least we hope they do!  They will inevitably find err in your “facts,” and then they’ll probably publish a story about your shotty PR skills. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Smear campaigns are usually tactics used only by the greenest of PR specialists. However, based on childish behavior we witnessed in May by a well-seasoned agency and its high-profile client, smearing obviously isn’t just reserved for the novice. Burson-Marsteller , an international agency that’s been playing the PR game for more than 50 years, undertook a nasty scheme to deface Google’s new social network on the command of social media giant Facebook.

The deceptive plot was completely unnecessary because, according to techies, Google’s budding social network is somewhat of a dud. Facebook took a major misstep by hiring a PR agency to spread lies. But despite the fact that Facebook was the one attacking, Burson-Marsteller is the one at greatest fault in this situation. They should know better.

It may be a simple concept, but as I said before, lying is the one of the biggest guffaws a public relations specialist could make. Just as anyone – even non-PR people – could have predicted, the scheme imploded. One of the reporters who was contacted by Burson-Marsteller knew their claim about the Google social network was fictitious. Within a matter of days, the secret was revealed and embarrassment ensued. That’s precisely why you don’t go breaking a Golden Rule. You’ll get caught!

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