PR Campaigns – The blog

March 30, 2009

Word of mouth marketing is a hit

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — bryantedleson @ 10:45 pm
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Recently at my internship , I was asked to create a twitter account for the company and begin following as many people that fit our “target audience,” hoping in return they would follow us back.  In case you were interested, in just roughly 2 hours of following, we had over 200 followers in return.  This helps to better understand how many people are  tweeting all day.

We all can see how quickly social media marketing is increasing and how these wonderful tools are bringing us closer together.  Whether it be, twitter, youtube, facebook, blogs, digg or any other tool- there’s some social element out there for everyone that helps us connect with both familiar and unfamiliar faces.

However, it took awhile….

Although millions of users were rapidly flocking to social media sites, most marketers stayed away.  Marketers either didn’t know how to communicate effectively without overwhelming them with their product, or they were nervous about associating their brands with questionable content.  

In a recent blog post by Steve Rubel from Micro Persuasion, he stated, “things are changing.” Steve believes companies are beginning to learn how to leverage social media and successfully tap into the rising tide of social media consumers.  Word of mouth marketing is allowing small companies to succeed because they can actually accommodate us and our special needs we demand for every penny we spend.  

So what does this mean? It means marketers are moving to social media.

In a recent study conducted by the Aberdeen Group sponsored by Visible Technologies, the following was recorded……

Aberdeen found that 63% of the companies in their survey (defined as best-in-class) planned to increase their social media marketing budgets this year.

I’m sure the trend will continue to increase as more and more people become introduced and familiar with these social media sites. People will continue to trust the people they know rather than the ad’s they see on TV’s, websites or hear on the radio.  Since today’s consumers are getting smarter and more demanding, companies both small and big must also adapt to this change.

Are PR Agencies a thing of the past?

Filed under: Step Up Communications — kristenih @ 10:04 pm

I was researching some information for my groups client when I stumbled across an interesting article entitled “Who need PR Agencies, Exactly?”  In it the author talks about how she was shocked when she came across a software company that do not hire any outside PR agency for PR work.  Instead the company uses their marketing team to write up press releases, create feature pitches and to accumulate relationships with local journalists.  To the authors surprise the system seemed to work very well.  After all, who knows more about a company than those that actually work within it? 

The author posed a very interesting question, ” what do these companies (with internal PR) miss out on by not working with PR agencies?”

After thinking about this question for awhile I began to wonder if PR agencies are just a thing of the past.  Companies can use their marketing department to conduct a lot of the work that an agency would do, but wouldn’t that mean that they would have to take time away from marketing duties to write a press release or create a pitch?  The more and more I thought about it, the more reasons I thought of how not hiring a PR company could negatively effect a company. Here is what I came up with:

  • PR professionals are educated and trained to deal with PR tasks everyday.  The author even states that she is not an expert in what PR agenecies do.  As a PR student I have been recieving an education in this career and I would like to believe that it could not be so easily taught to just anyone in a few months.
  • Time commitment!  PR agencies are hired to protect the image and to deal with the everyday tasks of campaigning and media.  They have the time to thouroughly evaluate and commit to a campaign.  Marketing departments would be taking away from their usual duties and may not have enough time to create something that would be as carefully and creativly thought out as an agency.
  • Agencies already have relationships with local key press and media outlets and therefore can return results to a company quickly. 
  • As one commenter said it still is going to cost the company money.  If companies are eliminating PR agencies because they think it is going to be cheaper they are wrong.  Training those in PR is still going to have a price tag attached to it.
  • Outside perspective!  If you keep everything within a company you will never see the bigger picture.  I think that a PR agency brings no biases and are aware of perspectives and ideas that companies may not be aware of.  They bring awareness and originality to a company that may be stuck within the boundaries of their comapny.

I can see the benefits of eliminating the “middle man”, but  they seem to be overshadowed by the benefits of hiring the middle man.

Facebook University: Enroll Now!

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kbergeron44 @ 6:52 pm
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Social media is taking over the world.

Twitter and Facebook have forged an unholy alliance to slowly take over the lives of everyone on the earth in an effort to create a race of pod people to enlist into an online army hell bent on global conquest.

The first bullet has been fired and it is aimed at graduating college students.

In his blog on Mashable, Stan Schroeder reveals Birmingham City University‘s plan to incorporate a masters program dedicated strictly to social media.

“The one year course will earn you a master’s degree at the cost of 4,400 pounds (6,239 dollars). “During the course we will consider what people can do on Facebook and Twitter, and how they can be used for communication and marketing purposes,” says the course convener Jon Hickman, adding that “There has been significant interest in the course already, and it will definitely appeal to students looking to go into professions including journalism and PR.”

When I first read this I thought it was a good idea.  I am constantly told in my public relations classes that knowledge of social media is going to be one of my best assets when I graduate and enter the work force.  Furthering my education in this phenomenon would make me even more appealing to potential employers.  But wait a minute…

Do I really need formal education to learn how to tag a picture of my friend’s drunken escapades?  or create a group to get friends to attend my Graduation party?  or even how to describe to the world “what I am doing?”

I’m aware the course will go a lot deeper than that, but at their base, Facebook and Twitter are just tools for people to interact with others; and if the telegraph, the two-way pager, smoke signals and pay phones taught us anything, tools change.

Twitter and Facebook could be obsolete in a matter of years and at that time what will this degree be worth?  It seems to me like this university is just trying to milk this social media cow for some extra cheese by offering a course in a popular social phenomenon.

Am I alone in this?  Or do those of you already recruited by the Facebook/Twitter army see more value in this?  If this becomes a trend and other colleges pick up this program, what should be included in the teachings?

March 29, 2009

C.R.E.A.M.

It is a sad fact, but money controls the world. People and organizations may try to fool us, but the ones that do not care about the bottom line will cease to exist in a capitalistic society.

Public relations people often forget about money. They think in terms of reputation, crisis management and brand loyalty. What do companies with excellent reputations, crisis management and brand loyalty all have in common? They make money consistently.

Let’s take a recent crisis management example from the sports world (sorry ladies).

The Denver Broncos recently hired a new head coach, Josh McDaniels. McDaniels, a former assistant with the New England Patriots, had an opportunity to trade for his old quarterback, Matt Cassell.

The trade fell through for whatever reason and the news got back to current Bronco quarterback, Jay Cutler.

Cutler was upset. He has demanded a trade after finding out he was almost traded (ironic, I know).

The Broncos admitted they considered trading their quarterback, but now claim Cutler is their man (for now).

Now Cutler has decided to not attend some non-mandatory work-outs and his cocky attitude has other teams concerned about his mentality (who could potentially trade for him).

People in football understand that winning is everything. Cutler may have gone to the pro bowl last year, but the Broncos were mediocre and missed the playoffs.

Cassell (the man Cutler was almost traded for), lead his team to a 11-5 record. That mark would have earned the Broncos a playoff spot. The Broncos would have been able to receive more players or draft picks in a Cutler/Cassell trade and would have been able to improve the team in other areas of need.

The Broncos saw an opportunity where they could have a winning quarterback and address other issues with the team quickly. This move could have gotten the Broncos back to the playoffs quicker and won them more games.

This would bring in additional ticket and merchandise sales, making the franchise more money.

Cutler needs to toughen up and realize his actions probably will cost him money when his contract is up. No one likes a whiny quarterback, especially one who can’t see reasoning behind winning faster.

The Broncos admitted their actions and their reasoning.

A blog from Yahoo Sports writer Charles Robinson claims the ball is in Cutler’s court and the Broncos have made their position known (Cutler is our man unless something better comes along).

Although the true winner of this PR mess is yet to be determined, it reaffirms that smart companies will try to do what it thinks is best for itself. These actions may be at the expense of some stakeholders, like employees.

Skittles, a leader in social media??

Filed under: LAM Creative — allund @ 2:57 pm
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Skittles everyones favorite candy has been the topic of talk lately on Twitter, Facebook, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, FOXnews and Adage…in fact last week they were the top trending subject on Twitter!

So whats the deal? Did they introduce a new flavor or something? No, they introduced a new website that is one of the first of its kind. The new interactive Skittles website incorporates all facets of social media. I suggest you check it out

In short Skittles took their website and turned it into one big Social Media site. The homepage has a navigation bar which includes a combination of social media sites.  The most popular so far is the Twitter feed which shows anyone who uses the word Skittles in their tweets.  One of the most interesting things about the site is that it has no filters. As far as I can see you can say anything you want and view anything that you want about the Skittles brand. They are not censoring what people are saying. You can write something positive or negative about the Skittles brand and Skittles is just letting you put it out there. The new site is getting people to talk about theirproduct whether it is good or bad.

The web site also includes a Facebook Fan page with 585,000 fans, Youtube page with over 26,000 views, Flickr page with 16,500 items and of course a information based Wikipedia page. All you have to do is click on the navagation box and it will lead you to each site.

The large number of views, items and fans are all positive numbers for the Skittles brand and has made Skittles the buzz word in the web and media world.   As I listed above this new type of interactive site has already been blogged about in the blogosphere and has caught attention from nationwide media outlets.

This site is not only innovative but daring as well. The risk is paying off for the Skittles brand.  They are reaching out to their consumers and engaging them with the tools that they have provided but in the same way they are not controlling what they are saying.

Do you think this new type of site would work for most companies? Or does it just work with Skittles because they are a candy brand?

One of the annoying things about the site is that they require you enter your age before you enter the site. Do you think this is a good or bad thing? I personally don’t care and I think it is kind of smart on their part to see what age groups are viewing their site. However some people have a problem giving up their age.

Do you think that this interactive social media based website will be the future template for company/brand websites?

One thing that we know for sure is that Skittles has created a large social media forum with this site that has caught fire! This can become a revolutionary way to interact with your consumers in a positive and non threating way. Only time will tell if it will be effective for a prolonged period and if this type of model will become a website standard for companies but for now lets just enjoy the revolutionary idea of tasting the rainbow from all angles.

March 28, 2009

Bite your tongue online

Filed under: Fidelis — jsaxarra @ 12:17 pm
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So we’re always told to watch what we put on any and all of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) because of the potential consequences. In fact, the last discussion we had in Business & Future of Journalism covered this specifically. Opinions flew all over the board as this is a pretty touchy subject, and rightfully so.

A little over two weeks ago, an example of basically a worst case scenario occurred. Some of you are probably familiar with this story. Six years after die-hard Philadelphia Eagles‘ fan Dan Leone was hired as the security chief for the team’s west gate, he was fired over a Facebook status.

The Eagles were unable to sign safety Brian Dawkins, who then signed with the Denver Broncos. Leone’s status soon after read, “Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. . .Dam Eagles R Retarted!!” Okay, so this status is a little over the top if it’s about your current employer. Yet on the other hand, it really is freedom of speech as a loyal fan.

I’m not taking one side over the other but I do think it was pretty heavy to fire a guy that’s been working six years for you without at least telling him to take it down first. ESPN featured a live chat with Leone where users were able to ask him questions about the matter…and one, in particular, stood out to me the most:

Farhan (Milpitas, CA): Has Brian Dawkins contacted you? He should offer you a job. You clearly got his back.

Dan Leone: Actually, I did here for one of his representatives and he said that once he gets back in the Philadelphia area in April, he would like to sit down and talk to me. Maybe help me out with some things.

This doesn’t mean Leone is going to get a better job with his favorite player, but it does mean that someone of significance didn’t think it was a justified action/reaction.

Nowadays, not landing an interview or job offer (or getting fired, I suppose) over something of this nature is becoming more and more of a reality. We’re told to watch what we say and do for a reason, but honestly, where do you draw the line? I know we all have our personal barriers, some extending WAY past others, but do you make everything of yours professional and private? How do these sites maintain the personal life appeal? In Leone’s case, the choice of language wasn’t too smart. However, if you would have explained the story to me and not the outcome, I wouldn’t have guessed that he was fired.

I’m more curious than anything as to what you all do with your personal accounts. Do you have separate personal and work accounts? Do you make everything private? Do you refrain from allowing any potentially risky content go up? Personally, my Facebook is ‘private’ to those I’m not friends with and my pictures are ‘hidden’. Yes, I know that doesn’t mean things can’t be accessed and I do allow my ‘wall’ to be viewed by friends. Also, how do your boss or professional colleagues think your sites should be maintained?

March 26, 2009

Twitter vs. Facebook

Filed under: Spirals — kmmorten @ 9:00 am
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Everywhere I go it seems like I can’t get away from this social media frenzy- it’s haunting me. I have a Myspace account. I have a Twitter account. I have a Facebook account. Although there are hundreds of other social media sites, these three are just about the only ones that I can keep up with on a daily basis. Each of them has their own unique features, which is why I use them for different reasons.

Bill Sledzik’s blog, How do you use Facebook? And does it really Matter? discusses how he uses Facebook. He has fun with it and doesn’t over think it, which is exactly my outtake on it as well. I use mine as a personal space where I can talk to my friends that I know personally. I don’t accept random strangers or professors because I think school and work should be separate from your personal life.

I started my Facebook account when I was in high school so mine is mostly a collaboration of my crazy college years. I must admit my page isn’t exactly what you would call squeaky clean and isn’t something that I would want future employers looking at. Luckily, Facebook has the option of setting your profile to private or a limited view.

Now that the older generation is flocking to Facebook, I’m starting to debate whether or not I should clean my account up. Just last week I had a friend request from my aunt and uncle. Weird? Yes. However, whether I like it or not, the older generation is jumping on the social media bandwagon.

On the other end of the social media spectrum, I use my Twitter account as a professional tool…well, kind of. I do post personal tweets, but I make sure they are always clean and won’t come back to bite me in the butt. I don’t post tweets about how hungover I am, how much I hate work/school or how drunk I got last night. I follow my professors on Twitter, and they follow me. It’s interesting to see what mentors like your professors are thinking or doing outside of class.

So there you have it. This is how I manage two social media sites for two very different reasons. I get to talk to my friends on a personal level on Facebook, and talk to everyone on a professional level on Twitter. I get the best of both worlds.

March 24, 2009

A Branding Challenge to Write Home About

Filed under: Precision PR — laurenmac87 @ 8:23 am
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While reviewing PR blogs I came across a post by Dan Wool in the Valley PR Blog that surprised me and directly relates to my current PR internship. I work at a local alternative rock radio station as a PR/Promotions Intern and member of the street team.  While I have only been working there since January I have been an avid listener of the station for all four years I’ve been attending college here.  

In April of last year the station underwent a huge shift as they replaced their local morning show host with a much less expensive syndicated host. This caused an uproar from station fans and habitual listeners of the host that I still feel the backlash of as a member of the street team today.  

Fast forward to today, where the media has taken an even bigger dive and in reorganization of their company, CBS fired the syndicated host. For our company this meant an entire re-branding process of the station, and with it thousands of dollars and hours, completely wasted, and no morning show host to boot.  

So when I read this post, indicating that our old station favorite has resurfaced on the airwaves of a competing station, I was baffled.  How, with no morning show host, are we supposed to keep morning listeners once they find out that their old favorite is back on the radio on ANOTHER station?  How do we position our station and brand our morning show with enough vigor to keep our morning listeners? I hate to sound bleak but this is the first time this economic crisis has really hit home for me. It looks to me as though the road ahead is going to be an bumpy one.

March 23, 2009

President or Celebrity?

Filed under: 3's Company PR,Uncategorized — cconeder @ 11:32 pm

So for the past year(at least,) we have all been hearing news about Barack Obama. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always constant. While my intention is definitely not to cause a political debate or to rag on our president, I find the stories about his “celebrity” status very interesting. The most recent news I’ve been hearing about regarding Obama is relevant to most of us in JMC 417, because as you all know, he’s speaking at ASU’s graduation. There has been plenty of talk regarding this event, mostly relating to why he, of all people, would be giving a graduation speech to a school he never attended. Many people seem to think it has something to do with trying to “win over” AZ because of the past election, and plenty of others think it’s another publicity stunt in trying to further his popularity.

While I really don’t see the point of trying to win over a certain state after he’s been elected president, he absolutely has more “star power” than any other President in history. Is this solely because of his race??  That’s another question I suppose, but the main point of this topic is that not everybody is excited about this upcoming graduation ceremony. On the website community.tasteofhome.com, there is a community blogging section in which I found many people with a negative perspective on Obama being the speaker at ASU. Many people said it’s going to be too much of a publicity show that will take away from their student’s special night, and that he should start focusing on running a country rather than spending time touring around the country trying to “up” his popularity.

So what is his main intention? PR stint, or just good-natured President??

School, work, interning…who needs sleep?

Filed under: Authorship,LAM Creative — lehanson @ 11:23 pm

The countdown is on. With only 6 weeks left in the semester many students are counting down the seconds until graduation, lucky for me (in my opinion at least) I’ve decided to stick around Walter’s for an extra semester to fulfill the requirements for a business minor. In the meantime I’m counting down the days until summer which means finding a summer internship and job NOW. Browsing through twitter today I saw a tweet from “InternQueen” a.k.a, Lauren Berger, about managing an internship and a job. It linked to her blog, I Am Intern , which offers a plethora of information and tips for getting that super competitive internship, time lines for applying and companies hiring, perfect for students like myself.

This particular post caught my attention because I am currently managing an internship and a job and honestly, it’s not that bad. If anything it has helped me manage my time like a pro. College is a time to take advantage of being able to have a ridiculous schedule that relies on little sleep, gaining experience, making/drinking coffee A LOT, and sucking it up so we’re prepared for what lies ahead. At a recent PRSSA meeting, the past president came to talk with us about her experience entering the work force and it was intimidating. She admit how she thought she’d have no problem getting a job with 4 internships under her belt, past PRSSA president and other credible activities listed on her resume. However, that was not the case. It took her 6 months to find a job post graduation. Internships are crucial these days and because many of them are unpaid, not having a job isn’t an option. Berger offered some tips on her blog to balancing both. Here are a few that I thought were most beneficial:

– KNOW YOUR NEEDS. Make a list of what you NEED to do over the summer. If you need to make a certain amount of money, write that down. Also, tally up the amount of hours each day you must work in order to make that kind of money.

– WORK AT NIGHT. If you don’t have a summer job yet I suggest looking for a “night” job like waiting tables. If you can find a job that doesn’t require you to be there until 5 or 6pm that is ideal.

– MANAGE YOUR EMPLOYER’S EXPECTATIONS. With both your employer and you internship coordinator be very specific with them about your time commitments. Don’t say that you might be able to stay past 4pm some days at your internship if you must be at work at 5pm. Don’t over commit yourself. Decide which hours you 100 percent can commit and tell those hours to your boss.

– BE PUNCTUAL AND ALERT. Since you will be splitting your time, it’s important to be extremely punctual. You want to show both employer’s that you can juggle two things at once and it won’t cause you to be late, procrastinate, etc. If you are tired, hide it! Make sure that you are bright eyed at your internship and at your job. Both places won’t want someone that seems to be “dragging”.

– SHOW THAT YOU CAN HANDLE IT. If you excel at both places that means double the letters of recommendation, double the experience, double the number of items to add to your resume. Your parents, employers, co-workers, fellow interns will all be impressed.

Even though I haven’t settled on what type of PR I want to pursue yet, (I think entertainment) I know that I’m in the right field because of the fact that I give 16 hours a week to the firm I intern with, without pay, yet I enjoy going every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It’s not as much work as it is enjoyment or fun. I think this is something important for students and interns to take into consideration because if you’re already cursing a job you aren’t paid for, how much are you going to enjoy it when you’re bringing in the dough? Working and interning can be used in the same sentence, don’t be afraid to give up some time because once the countdown to graduation begins, it goes fast and in the end the experience will be worth every last second.  

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