Coke Is It With 3 Crisis Management O’s

Own up to it. It’s among the three O’s of crisis management. Coca-Cola has been under fire lately for trying to redirect perception away from the debate that sugary drinks help fuel America’s obesity issues. In a recent op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent said “Coca-Cola: We’ll Do Better.” Kent wrote that Coke will do a better job engaging both the public-health and scientific communities and will refocus its investments and efforts on well-being. The well-written letter put the CEO out front and made an outsized response (the other two crisis management O’s). You may click here to read more.


‘Smart’ Ways to Utilize Your Wireless Device for New School Year

School bells are ringing. Locker doors have popped open and slammed shut. Yes, it’s that time of year again that most parents look forward to more than kids – back to school.

There are many ways a wireless device, such as the Apple iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 or Samsung Galaxy S6, can help students and teachers prepare for the upcoming school year. For instance, you can easily share files between an Apple iPhone and iPad with apps, such as AirForShare, Bump, iShareFiles, Kicksend and SimpleDrop. This makes it easy to do homework from either device., Documents to Go, Graphing Calculator and myHomework are among the top free back-to-school iPhone apps.

We all want to be able to use our phones all day without charging them. Sometimes that is not possible, so the Ultra Power-Saving Mode on the Samsung Galaxy S6 assists users when their battery is running out of juice by switching the device’s screen to grayscale. Ultra Power-Saving Mode also turns off non-essential apps for maximum battery life. Evernote, Merriam-Webster Dictionary and SparkNotes are among the top free back-to-school Google Play apps.

Twitter Customer Service Playbook

According to Socialbakers, nearly 80 percent of customer service questions posed to brands social media happen on Twitter. The study also found that tweets directed at business-to-consumer brands have more than doubled in the last two years. But here is the problem: Brands do a poor job of responding. Socialbakers also found that fewer than 30 percent of those questions were answered in this year’s second quarter. Twitter wants to give brands the tools they need to fix this. Enter the Twitter Customer Service Playbook, a 122-page guide aimed to help brands improve the way they approach customer service on the platform. Twitter also has partnered with Sprout Social to offer “a new data and functionality to create an improved and transformative customer service solution for brands,” according to a Twitter blog post.

You can download the full Twitter Customer Service Playbook here.

Avoid Cellphone Etiquette Breaches

Restaurants and movie theatres.

According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, these are the two public places with the worst cellphone behavior. Raise your hand if you are surprised?

Cellphone etiquette has become critical to observe in both casual and professional settings. In honor of this month’s National Cellphone Courtesy Month, our considerate chums at U.S. Cellular have identified some etiquette breaches and offer solutions to help overcome them.

It’s Not Me, It’s You: About two-thirds of cellphone owners believe that nobody gets upset at them for their phone use – similar to the proportion (66 percent) that gets upset at others. It’s easy to overlook your own etiquette breaches and focus on others, but remember that you may be doing the same thing.

Look Away: According to the survey, 70 percent of smartphone users think it’s rude to look at a phone while you have a face-to-face conversation, while 66 percent think it’s rude while dining with others. Instead, if you have to use your phone, politely excuse yourself and try to be quick.

On a Date: Acceptable behavior includes an arrival text at a date location and using a text to work out key details of a date. Texting while on a date is a deal breaker (only 25 percent of people find this acceptable) and could turn the other person off.


Kevin Schuster, who is not guilty of poor movie theatre cellphone etiquette because he goes to movies as often as a former “Friends” character appears in a good flick, is a senior account executive for Omaha PR and fundraising firm Lukas Partners. Kevin manages public relations and fundraising for Lukas Partners’ clients, including U.S. Cellular in Iowa and Nebraska.



Here Are App-ortune Ways to Start Summer

By Kevin Schuster

“Summer, it turns me upside down. Summer, summer, summer. It’s like a merry-go round.”

I love the opening lyrics to the 1984 Cars song “Magic.” The magical season of summer “unofficially” begins this weekend with Memorial Day. When you plan your next weekend summer road trip or gathering with family and friends, don’t forget the sunscreen, your sunglasses and smartphone.

In order to add enjoyment to your summer and make the most of it, Lukas Partners client U.S. Cellular recommends the following free apps for your mobile device:

Snapseed (iOS, Android): If you want to edit and share your favorite summer memories, Snapseed offers pro-level photo editing capabilities in an intuitive, user friendly interface that is great for perfecting photos taken on your phone.

Hipmunk (iOS, Android): When you plan a summer getaway, Hipmunk can help find the best flight and hotel deals and book them immediately.

Google Calendar (iOS, Android): You can organize your busy summer schedules into one convenient place with Google Calendar.

The Score (iOS, Android): NBA and NHL playoff and Major League Baseball action is hot right now. You can keep track of your favorite sports teams and players wherever you are with this sports app.


Kevin Schuster, who loves 1980s music as much as summer, is a senior account executive for Omaha PR and fundraising firm Lukas Partners. Kevin manages public relations and fundraising for Lukas Partners’ clients, including U.S. Cellular in Iowa and Nebraska.



It’s Easier to Be Green Than We Believe

We can all hear Kermit the Frog singing,

“It’s not that easy being green.
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold or something much more colorful like that.”

But he’s wrong!  Around Earth Day each year, many people want to be green in an effort to protect the environment.

Recycling electronics can make a significant impact. For every 1 million smartphones recycled, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered and reused, according to the EPA.

In honor of Earth Day, Lukas Partners client U.S. Cellular encourages people to trade-in or recycle old electronic devices. U.S. Cellular also recommends a couple apps that can help people become more eco-friendly:

– The 1800Recycling app identifies nearby recycling locations based on ZIP code and provides directions to the recycling centers and lists which materials they will take.

– The Freecycle app allows people to give away their unwanted but reusable stuff to people in their local community who can use the items. You can post items to give away or make requests for items on this convenient app.



— Kevin Schuster, whose favorite Muppet characters were The Swedish Chef, Gonzo and Fozzie Bear, is a senior account executive for Omaha PR and fundraising firm Lukas Partners. Kevin manages public relations and fundraising for Lukas Partners’ clients, including U.S. Cellular in Iowa and Nebraska.



Wireless Technology Can Assist When Skies Turn Stormy

By Kevin Schuster

It is 6:30 p.m. on a sunny, late spring evening. Kids are playing baseball, softball and soccer. Families are eating dinner. Suddenly, the wind increases. The skies quickly darken. Severe weather is on the way.

People continue to rely on their wireless devices to learn about pending storms, prepare for severe weather and recover from disasters. Last year, 92 percent of smartphone owners used their device to check the current weather or forecast once a month or more, according to a U.S. Cellular survey.

During severe weather, smartphones and tablets provide quick access to a host of free apps. These devices also easily pull up websites and emergency information that can help keep you and your family safe and connected. It’s a good idea to have a few key apps downloaded on your device to make sure you are prepared when a storm hits.

In recognition of Severe Weather Awareness Week through Friday in Nebraska and Iowa, U.S. Cellular suggests the following tips and free apps to help families prepare for thunderstorms and tornadoes.

• Stay App on Changing Weather Conditions: The Weather Channel, AccuWeather, WeatherBug, MyRadar Weather Radar and Yahoo Weather are among the leading free apps available on iTunes and the Google Play store to help keep people ahead of storms. These apps offer a variety of services that include past, current and future radar conditions, notifications and alerts, as well as interactive weather maps. This information is at your fingertips in a matter of seconds with a 4G LTE network.

• Get Emergency Alerts: U.S. Cellular customers with CMAS capable smartphones, such as the 4G LTE iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5, can receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) – also called the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS). This is a free service created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

• Texting Time: If phone service is impacted by a high volume of calls during a storm, try to send a text message. Because texting takes up less network bandwidth than calls, customers can often text successfully even if they can’t place or receive calls.

• Prepare, Recover: The American Red Cross has a free app to help people prepare for storms, track the weather and request assistance during and after a storm. The Red Cross app also has a section where people can learn how they can help storm victims by donating items and listing volunteer opportunities.


— Kevin Schuster, who knows plenty about severe weather from his Grand Island childhood and can tell you what an EF4 tornado sounds like, is a senior account executive for Omaha PR firm Lukas Partners. Kevin manages public relations for Lukas Partners’ clients, including U.S. Cellular in Iowa and Nebraska.




April 15 Does Not Have to Be Taxing Day

The winter and early spring can be taxing for many reasons, including Tax Day on April 15.

The federal tax filing deadline still looms for many. On the bright side, the Internal Revenue Service has forecast higher tax refunds for the average American thanks to the recent extension of many tax breaks. According to a Saving to Invest story, the average 2014 tax refund was $3,116. It is expected to reach $3,295 in 2015.

How can you get your billions back (sorry H&R Block, I could not resist)? The IRS reported that 27 million people e-filed their 2014 taxes. The right mobile device and apps can help people become organized, plus file their tax return efficiently and accurately.

To stay on top of your deductions, estimate your payments and monitor your filings, Omaha PR firm Lukas Partners’ client U.S. Cellular recommends the following free tools for your mobile devices:

• H&R Block for iPad: Prepare, print and e-file your federal return with this app specifically designed for the Apple tablet. H&R Block will double check your return for accuracy and provide free audit support should the IRS come calling.

• MyTaxRefund by Turbo Tax: This iOS and Android app allows you to quickly check e-file status of federal and state returns, so you can count the days until your refund arrives. This app requires an electronic tax filing.

• Slice: Are you an online shopper? This iOS and Android receipt and package-tracking app scans your Gmail or Yahoo account for emailed receipts. You can track and sort purchases and stay on top of tax deductions throughout the year.


— Kevin Schuster, who needs an accountant app to help him finish the family 2014 tax return, is a senior account executive for Omaha PR firm Lukas Partners. Kevin manages public relations for Lukas Partners’ clients, including U.S. Cellular in Iowa and Nebraska.




Wearables Are New Techno Fashion Wave

Who does not want to be trendy?

Wearables are a hot new trend for 2015. They blend fashion, technology and function to help people stay active, healthy and connected.

According to a recent ABI Research report, wearable health and fitness devices are expected to hit 169.5 million in five years, a huge jump from the nearly 21 million devices sold in 2013. Experts attribute this tremendous techno tide to the expansion of companies that have joined the wearables marketplace, such as online service providers, consumer electronics companies and mobile handset vendors.

Industry experts also predict a rise in wearable technologies with additional functions, such as managing chronic health conditions and monitoring your home when you are away.

Lukas Partners client U.S. Cellular recommends the following wearables to help keep you connected and healthy in 2015. Not to mention, these wearables will keep you hip.


– iWatch: The new Apple Watch takes the most innovative technologies and moves them from the palm of your hand to your wrist. Apple’s first wearable gadget allows users to access emails, texts, social media updates, apps, navigation and Siri. It also features health sensors and notifications for easy, hands-free fitness tracking.

– Polar Loop Fitness Band for Apple: You can use this custom fit device for 24/7 tracking of daily activities, such as calories burned, steps taken and sleep cycles. The activity benefit associated with this device provides great feedback on daily, weekly and monthly goals.

– Moto 360: Motorola brings functionality to your wrist. You can strap on these high-tech watches available with leather or stainless steel bands and a Corning Gorilla glass face to help prevent scratches. Users can take hands-free calls, listen to music, track mileage, take pictures and videos and check texts, emails and social media.


The techno fashion-less Kevin Schuster, who does have the Runtastic app on his Samsung Galaxy S5 to help him stay fit, is a senior account executive for Omaha PR firm Lukas Partners. Kevin manages public relations for Lukas Partners’ clients, including U.S. Cellular in Iowa and Nebraska.



Resolutions Can Become Routines with These Apps

By Kevin Schuster

Eat healthy food, get fit, lose weight, manage stress and save money are popular New Year’s Resolutions.

The opportunity to achieve your goals has been enhanced thanks to today’s technology and smartphones, which offer apps and products to help keep you on track and increase the likelihood of sticking with a resolution throughout the year.

If you need help sticking with some common New Year’s Resolutions, our U.S. Cellular friends recommend the following free apps for your smartphone and tablet:

– Get fit: Do you want to get back in shape, eat better or workout more in 2015? Consider the Runtastic Six Pack app. This app allows users to work out from home by creating custom exercises with a virtual personal trainer. You can pair the Runtastic Six Pack app and its 50 workout videos with the UP by Jawbone fitness wristband to track what you eat, your activities throughout the day and your sleeping habits.

– Get organized: In today’s society, it can be hard to keep things in order. The app is an award winner that is perfect for enhancing a to-do list. allows users to create lists of tasks that need to be completed and organize them by category and importance. An alarm can be set for any task.

– Spend more time with family: Many people make a resolution to see more of their family throughout the year. The GroupMe app allows everyone in the family to stay in touch and make plans, no matter where in the United States they are located. GroupMe allows users to create several groups in which each member can share events, photos, videos and texts.

– Manage finances: According to a U.S. Cellular survey, 43 percent of smartphone users made the resolution to save money in 2014. In 2015, smartphone owners can accomplish that with the Check app. The app allows users to link bills, bank accounts and credit cards. The Check app then notifies users of when a payment is coming up and even lets users set up automatic payments.

This week is an ideal time to reflect, set goals and decide what you really want to accomplish in 2015. A great first resolution is to explore how using your smartphone paired with these great apps can help you achieve your goals in the new year.

Kevin Schuster, who can’t remember his broken 2014 resolutions, is a senior account executive for Omaha PR firm Lukas Partners. Kevin manages public relations for Lukas Partners’ clients, including U.S. Cellular in Iowa and Nebraska.




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