PR Campaigns – The blog

April 6, 2009

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kbergeron44 @ 7:17 pm
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Social media is the new popular kid at school.  The one whose dad just got a big promotion prompting his family to move in a couple houses down.  He has the coolest bike, the newest video games, the nicest clothes and a trampoline! All the girls love him and all the guys want to hang out with him.  Except brands.

When it comes to the world of social media, brands are the cool kids who have been dethroned by the new kid at school.  They used to run the show through means of traditional marketing and brand management, but have lost the spotlight to the internet and social media.

In his post, “A Control Freak’s Guide to Social Media Influence,” found on Mashable, Paul Worthington talks about the inability for brands to fully utilize social media as a means of influence because they are unable to relinquish their illusion of control.

Worthington explains that brands have always sought to control the thoughts of the perspective audiences when the key has always been influence.  This false belief is what has a lot of branding managers jealous of the new kid on the block and reluctant to embrace social media.

In these new times where social media is reigning supreme in the world of online influence, brands need to change their strategy and give up the ideal of control.  Worthington tries to help them by providing three principles that good influencers demonstrate:

1. Listen then respond– “Before engaging with the conversation it’s important to first listen to it, see what is being said and interpret what this means.”

2. Be comfortable with ambiguity– “Conversation is messy, real time, and often capricious. At first what you see will appear chaotic, unmanageable and intimidating. The reality is that it isn’t your job to manage or control it – but to respond to it.”

3. Filter through your purpose– ” Here, having a strong brand purpose is a crucial tool – it becomes the tangible filter through which you listen and respond.”

I think that all companies would be wise to apply these suggestions to any social media influence that they hope to attain.  I am an active user of social media and, to me, it seems like too many brands are trying to use social media for marketing and public relations means, but are doing so ineffectively.  They are too stuck in their old ways to fully embrace the new kid and try out his trampoline.  Times are changing quickly with new social media applications coming out daily and I think for any company to be successful they need to quickly change their attitudes about social media and dive in head first or they will be left behind.

What do you think?  Are brands not applying themselves enough when it comes to social media?  Is this trend going to be around enough for companies to invest a lot of attention into?  What are some successful branding techniques that companies have been using on social media?


March 29, 2009

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 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.

November 6, 2008

What Does a Logo Say About You?

Filed under: Iris Public Relations — knish21087 @ 11:36 am
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There is a lot of emphasis put on storytelling in PR.  So how do you tell a story?  Can a logo tell a story for you?  I think it really depends on how you decide to display your logo to the public, especially if it is a new logo.  The Pepsi rebranding campaign, referred to by bloggers as the “Pepsi 25”, is a good example of how to present a new logo in a fresh and interesting way.  Pepsi decided to pick 25 bloggers and send them empty cans that progressed from the oldest logo all the way through to the newest one they have just come out with.  Since there are so many different media outlets nowadays, the only way to truly get across to your audience is to create an experience or a story behind your campaign.  In Seth Godin’s blog Your Brand is Not Your Logo he expresses that it is far more important to put your time, money, and effort into creating the experience instead of an expensive logo.  Pepsi basically created a timeline of their logos and the change the Pepsi can has endured throughout the years and sent them to some of the most influential bloggers on the Web.  This campaign not only got bloggers attention but also told Pepsi’s story in a very interesting way.  Bravo.

November 3, 2008

This week’s posting ideas

Filed under: posting ideas,Prof. Gilpin — drgilpin @ 9:57 pm
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I will be coming back to this post as I come across more suggestions, so check back here if you’re looking for ideas.

I would love for someone to post about the Pepsi rebranding campaign, which is being discussed all over the PR/marketing blogosphere. Be sure to follow at least a few of the links in that post to get a variety of perspectives (read the comments, too: very… enlightening).

Still on a branding theme, Frank Shaw over at Glass House reflects on brittle brands, especially related to political campaigns. (Warning: political content, although not heavily partisan.)

Kami Huyse at Communication Overtones reminds us that social media are not the be-all and end-all of PR practice: strategy is the key to communication success. Make sure to watch her SlideShare presentation as well: one of you is quoted (and linked, of course, for attribution).

Clemson PR student Cara Mitchell uses stakeholder theory (which we have also discussed in class) to examine the way Comcast uses Twitter. Definitely worth reading, and an excellent example of a student blog post.

Slate Magazine lists the 9 worst press releases it received on Election Day.

September 15, 2008

Weekly roundup

JMC417 students have explored quite a range of topics this past week, as they dip their toe into blogging. Cast Communications looked at propaganda, which tied into last week’s classroom discussions as well. How can we keep PR from devolving into propaganda, fulfilling the low expectations of public relations critics? ABC PR continued in a similar vein. Both teams cited videos by PR Watch. The Agency posted on the related topic of credibility.

As I mentioned in comments, I think the Center for Media and Democracy (the source of PR Watch) does some important work, and I sometimes teach from their books. However, they only present one side of the argument, and often fall into the ideological trap of equating any form of advocacy with propagandistic bias. Considering the importance of the public information role played by PR practitioners, it’s important to critically evaluate each case on its own merits. Throwing out the baby with the bath water does a disservice to the public at large, as well as the profession.

Sparkle Media broached instead the issue of international PR, which we’ll be discussing in class this week. As a matter of fact, one of the readings comes from the case book they cite in their post. They frame the question as a matter of “the evolution of PR,” which can be construed in a few different ways. Are they suggesting that social responsibility is the latest trend in public relations? Or that other countries are somehow “underdeveloped” in terms of their PR approaches? The latter view is certainly problematic, but the post itself doesn’t elaborate on the term “evolution” in the title, so we are left to wonder.

Metis PR focused on personal brand management and professionalism. Students such as those in JMC 417, all seniors who will soon be on the job market, need to be particularly aware of the cumulative effect of their online presence. Those who have maintained MySpace pages, are active on Facebook, keep (or simply comment on) blogs, or participate in online communities under their own name, should take a look at what kind of impression they may be leaving with the public. Tallfore talked about another aspect of professionalism: the ability to make time for important commitments. This is always a challenge, in any profession.

Finally, I posted about the PRSA challenge to the US electoral campaigns of both major parties, inviting discussion about the utility of such a strategy. At this point, it seems that most people who have commented on this topic feel that it is more of a stunt than a useful way of associating PRSA, and by extension the public relations profession as a whole, with ethical behavior. They have also expressed skepticism as to the extent to which the campaigns would benefit from accepting such a challenge.

Ethical issues are always messy.

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