Damage Control: Social Media Reversals

Corporations continue to get blindsided by social media –which of course, is just a representation of underlying customer or product issues that should be fixed. Companies respond in three ways: 1) Ignore it and do nothing at their own peril, 2) Are responsive but not necessarily in control 3) Assert themselves and be proactive –even during a crises. ¬† The following three examples highlight companies being proactive in the third effort –and analyzes their end result. AT&T Evangelist Softens Support Woes –For The Short Term Large telecommunications giant AT&T has had a reputation for ineffective coverage and support –an ailment common the bigger companies get. ¬†Recently, the iPhone community in both NYC and SF in particular have shouted out against … Continue readingDamage Control: Social Media Reversals

Future of PR: When Agencies Represent Communities –Not Brands

We continue to see that communities will continue to gain more and more power as they lean on each other to make decisions, support each other, and share their lifestyle. What happens to agencies that traditionally serve brands? Seem far fetched? Not really. We’re already starting to see bits of this: I’ve seen user innovation in car forums, Facebook groups, and networks of mommy bloggers. Or take for example UserVoice , GetSatisfaction or Ideastorms that allow communities to define what features they want with products. Imagine for a second that these communities, say bike-enthusiasts, or young mothers, or even home-theater-fans could start to define using organized innovation tools what products and features they want. What if Doc Searls vision for … Continue readingFuture of PR: When Agencies Represent Communities –Not Brands

PR Scorecard For Social Media Vendors

I really want to hear about the great things your company is doing. In fact, I’ve pretty much dedicated my life to this industry, and you can tell by efforts I’m really listening. It’s important to remember that social media vendors need to walk the talk, and that means demonstrating your social media prowess that you are claiming to sell. I’m all for press releases, they have a specific purpose, but I won’t link in my digests, regular blog posts, twitter and maybe even my reports if you don’t demonstrate how you’re part of the discussion using the very tools you sell. Engage us with a blog post, invite your clients to comment, create a video demo, walk us through … Continue readingPR Scorecard For Social Media Vendors

Data: What Happens to PR Firms in a Recession, a 2009 Forecast

Left: Access the Slides from the USC report on The Impact of the Current Economic Situation on Public Relations/Communication The USC School of Communication contacted me about their latest study based of 200 PR agencies to find out the impacts of their business during a recession. The report and press release have lots of great data and there are dozens of graphs in the presentation, so in the usual web strategy style, I’ll boil down what’s important to business folks –from an industry perspective. By The Numbers: Key Takeaways from Forecast Report of PR Firms Budgets: Half of firms to suffer from 20% reduced budgets The report indicates that “Half (51%) of responding organizations indicated their FY 2009 PR/communication budgets … Continue readingData: What Happens to PR Firms in a Recession, a 2009 Forecast

Misjudgment or Transparency? How a Single Tweet Caused a Stir With a Client

It’s entertaining to watch how the PR industry self-spins, in this latest dust up regarding a tweet by James Andrews, an executive who works at Ketchum, a well known PR agency. James is accused of bad form, and his company had to backtrack when he posted this tweet on the way to visit his client Fedex: “True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say “I would die if I h ad to live here!” it caused angst with the ‘location sensitive’ client, and they issued this comment, apparently on this blog (update: this may have been an email from Fedex to Ketchum), after it was run up the Fedex flagpole. (via David, … Continue readingMisjudgment or Transparency? How a Single Tweet Caused a Stir With a Client

Four Business Opportunities for the Evolved PR Agency

This post is a response to last night’s event at the Horn Group called Is Social Media Killing PR? Sam Whitmore moderated Kara Swisher (media), and Susan Etlinger (PR) and me (analyst) for a lively debate, which resulted in the crowd chiming into the issues. I don’t think the conversation evolved as far enough as I wanted to see it go, so here’s what I wanted to share. For years the Public Relations industry has ironically one of the worst reputations –esp since they are hired to look after the reputations of their own clients. Things only got worse as some brands got punk’d; the introduction of self-publishing tools that allowed anyone to connect to each other using social technologies, … Continue readingFour Business Opportunities for the Evolved PR Agency

Monitoring and Managing a Brand

With your brand being mentioned so many places online, it’s a difficult task to manage how it’s positioned and where it appears –in fact, in many ways, you can’t control the brand, as it’s now ‘owned’ by those who talk about it (or always has been). Now, if your job is to be the caretaker of your company’s brand, or you’ve been hired to do so as a PR firm, you should keep on eye on how it’s positioned on Wikipedia (and follow these rules on how to update it), if you’re in the social media space, also monitor and manage Tradevibes, Crunchbase, and now Appappeal. With the recent concerns about brandjacking, or getting your brand punk’d, this helpful tool … Continue readingMonitoring and Managing a Brand

How PR Can Help Some Startups: Perspective of one Industry Analyst

There’s been a lot of trash talk about the PR industry (again), this time a small group of successful CEOs (and VP bloggers) claim they don’t need public relations efforts. When you look closely, you realize, this is true, as they’ve primarily made it part of their ongoing effort as media experts –they’re using their own tools to reach out to folks. On the other hand, most companies don’t have CEOs that can afford to constantly be part of ‘the conversation’ or have time to be interacting with influencers all the time. I’m a faithful listener of For Immediate Release Podcast Series with Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, and they’ve been discussing this on the last few episodes. Having observed … Continue readingHow PR Can Help Some Startups: Perspective of one Industry Analyst

Press Releases: Content Formatting in the Age of 140 Characters

Yesterday morning, I sent over an email to Todd Defren and Brian Solis, champions of the Social Media Press Release (which I’ve critiqued in the past) offering some suggestions. Recently, I’ve been receiving some press releases where the real important news isn’t in the leading paragraph. I had to hunt and read through the rest of the content (maybe that was their strategy) to find out what was really important. I sent an email back to the PR firm, suggesting that they get their writing funnel’ tightened up, I don’t have a lot of time, and most press releases get a quick scan –few get a deep read. If a PR firms is representing a company in the social media … Continue readingPress Releases: Content Formatting in the Age of 140 Characters

When Brands Under Fire Step into the Fracas: Exxon Joins Twitter

Update: After speaking with public affairs at Exxon, it’s been confirmed that Janet is not an official spokesperson of Exxon. Alan of Exxon has given me his story here. Brands joining twitter It’s no coincidence that brands that are under public scrutiny from customers, competitors, and other social groups start to turn to the most vocal of all –right in the epicenter of dialog. Twitter is, for better or worse, a global chat room where honest, often vitriolic opinions are shared. With the recent public anointing of online support effort, Comcast Cares in New York Times “Griping Online? Comcast Hears and Talks Back” –it’s easy to see why corporation communications, and PR professionals are ready to embrace the dialog. Exxon … Continue readingWhen Brands Under Fire Step into the Fracas: Exxon Joins Twitter