Sunday, November 18, 2012

Penny for my thoughts?

Comment #4

The article I commented on can be found here.

We now have the means to discover the validity behind everything we are told.   Social media makes businesses and people accountable for their actions.  Same token, this makes the PR professional accountable.  The reason why transparency and the image are important to the younger generation is that those things are of fundamental importance to our publics.  Standardized measurement tools are important because we work to create relationships and deliver messages via mediums where quantity, anonymity, and popularity (trends with a shelf-life) reign supreme.   

You hit the nail on the head when you talked about the need for senior professionals to share their knowledge and expertise with young practitioners.  Mentorship is essential to help focus us so we don’t waste time and energy trying to recreate the wheel.  Changing priorities and focus require us to be adaptable, otherwise we get left behind.  Luckily if any profession is adept to change, it is PR. 

This study isn’t surprising at all; we define ourselves through our environment and experiences.  There is always a divide between generations – even as a relatively young Generation Y member I am not immune, as so crudely exemplified in this satirical video.  We need to stop fixating on differences and work together to create relevant communication strategies that transcend those gaps to shape the future of PR.


Comment #3

The article I commented on can be found here.

"I wholeheartedly agree that everything you post online becomes a reflection of yourself, nothing you post is private or can be taken back, and safety should always be paramount.  The rest of the items on this list I don’t agree with.  Thinking about this Swedish proverb may provide some perspective as to why people post the items you find annoying. 

What would you do if someone in your office were acting in a manner you did not like?  If it weren’t worth mentioning you wouldn’t and would change your behaviour, to likely avoid him/her.   If you were the only offensive person in your office it would be really unrealistic and selfish to expect everyone else to conform to your behaviour.  Much is the same here.  If you find nothing else, there is one thing all these posts are good for - what better way to discern whether you have much in common with an old friend/acquaintance/classmate and promptly delete them if you feel you don’t.  Even if you do not want to go to the extreme and delete friends, there are myriad of other mechanisms you can employ to ensure you only have posts that you find interesting in your newsfeed.  

When you comment publicly about your dislike for these posts you now become an offender of the very actions you’re condemning.  The parents and happy couples are just being positive about it, and regardless if it’s actually how you feel, you look bitter.

Much like Jennifer Elliot’s comment, I am personally way more put off by reading someone’s impending divorce unfold, unintelligent bantering with people, obnoxious opinion pushing/ignorance, chain letter(esque) items, and grammatically incorrect memes than anything on this list."    


Comment # 2

The link to the article I replied to can be found here.

Image credit

"Almost as bad as not responding is asking your fans to forward their questions on to a medium no one is monitoring.

I was on a Facebook page and there was a company representative responding to wall posts requesting the user send a private message for an answer.  On more than one occasion the user mentioned he/she had previously and never received a response.   Seeing this reminded me of being on hold and having that lovely monotone recording say, “Your call is important to us, please stay on the line…”  You look like you’re either feigning interest, or you’re just insincere.
It's completely understandable that companies get inundated with messages/mail asking the same questions, making the same comments/complaints, or just saying fluff.  It's impossible to respond to everything so that's what a company's "About" section, FAQs, and links are for.  You can also reply to the fluff ones much like Bodyform did – what a brilliant way to engage your audience, but I digress.

It’s important for companies to realize if they’re going to promote their brand on social media they can't pick and choose aspects of it to suit them.   Much like prior posters have lamented in their comments; companies are missing a solid opportunity to improve their brand, garner interest in products, and potentially get their next big idea."



Comment #1

The link to the article I replied to can be found here

"I have just started learning about PR and it’s refreshing to read about philosophies from almost 100 years ago that are still completely relevant today.  Having studied a lot of outdated and incomplete theories (both important in its own right) - it’s something to behold seeing a theory transcend that realm and become practical application.  Sadly, that does not happen very often.

I believe it was Bernays's amalgamation of ideas/theories from various disciplines that allow his philosophy to pass the test of time.   The way you do business evolves as markets and technology do, but the premise of the PR professional remains constant.  Completely agree with Nesima  - Berneys’s definition leaves no room for ambiguity.        

It is very unfortunate that to this day many associate negative connotations to the profession because of campaigns run almost 100 years ago.   Creating the shift in perception is made more difficult by the ‘background’ functions of the profession, along with the difficulty in (I believe) defining it.  

Thank you for sharing this article, it has opened my eyes a bit more to the profession."


Hit right on Target with tactics

Target is coming to Canada!  I have been waiting with bated breath for the day to come in 2013 when stores will open here in Winnipeg.  The brand is synonymous with quality at a great price, and their focus is on everyday people.  Whether you’re a family of five, a student, or somewhere in between there is something in a Target store that will appeal to you.   The difference between Target and other discount retailers is there is absolutely no compromise on quality just because you pay low prices.  Everyone wants more for less, and Target delivers.  

The most spectacular thing about Target, in my opinion, is that it brings typically unattainable (or impracticable) high fashion within grasp.  Target makes it possible to deck the whole family out in designer duds without breaking the bank.  They have collaborations with high-end retailers along with features from various designers (like Prabal Gurung).  The amalgamation of high-end and discount price is what differentiates the brand from its competitors.  Wearing designer clothing congers up feelings of exclusivity and luxury, and saving money brings personal satisfaction.  

Most Canadians, especially the ones the brand focuses on, are familiar with the company and likely shop at the retailer while in the United States.  There is little added value in creating a PR campaign to let consumers know about a brand they’re familiar with, but a staged event would receive wide public and media attention.  The most notable stunt Target has employed would be Marina.  Employing such stunts all over Canada would be exorbitant but fashion shows, staged in the cities where Target is opening, showcasing the items designed exclusively for the company would garner a lot of attention and pique public interest.   Displaying items for women, men, and children will illustrate inclusivity and influence shopping decision makers to make Target their ‘go-to’ discount retailer.  

Coupling the stunts with a social media campaign, aimed at consumers in cities that will have a Target opening in the future, will allow people to engage with the brand without participating in an event.  The media attention received from the campaign will have a residual effect, paving the way for the retailer to expand within the country without having to expend large future resources.

Target provides the opportunity to look great while being frugal and practical.   
 There is a reason that designers associate themselves with the brand and soon Canadians will get chance to see why first-hand, without having to worry about duty-free limits. 


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pot, I would like you to meet Kettle.

I wish it were not the case, but nothing quite makes me as anxious as not having access to the internet.   Beyond research (Google) and entertainment, I namely use the internet to connect via social media (Facebook).  I know that every piece of information I place online no longer becomes my own, nor can I ever take it back so I am pretty cognisant of what I post.  I do find it quite disconcerting that after doing a few searches or checking out a few pages most of the advertisements are related to whatever it was I was just looking at (or what I look at most often).   Nothing really drives home the aphorism, 'If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold' quite like it.  Admittedly, I do not read the fine print when I check the box accepting all of the new terms and conditions for using a site partially because I want to continue to use the internet in my semi-ignorant state.  This is a conscious choice, plus, some days I do really want to know which 8 foods can banish belly fat…

This brings me to discuss a particular PR campaign that not only failed miserably, but was quite reminiscent of a grade school politics with the two aforementioned companies.  In May 2011 it was  discovered that Facebook was behind hiring a prominent PR firm to secretly wage a smear campaign against Google.  The focus of the campaign was to highlight the collection of personal information for Google Social Circles (no longer in existence) by infringing on the privacy rights of consumers.   Here are some of the email exchanges.   Privacy concerns are a hot topic with publics, so why did this campaign fail?  

If you Google (ha ha) “Google privacy violations” it’s quite obvious that the company has a slight reoccurring problem in the department.  Facebook has the same issues respecting privacy of users, and that's where the irony of this whole campaign comes in (to be kind we won't discuss this being an issue).  If you read the email exchanges you can see that Facebook had a ton of valid information, but the way they went about ‘exposing the truth’ was haphazard.  Key issues with the campaign were that the feature had been in used for a few years but was being presented as new, the audience was inappropriate, and the medium strategy was not well thought-out.  The publics focused on were probably familiar with the feature in question.   They were also very informed and inquisitive, without doubt going to question the source before passing it on.  In the end the PR campaign did nothing but make the PR firm and their client look bad.

All of these blunders could have been prevented with more research, and planning.  It's really easy to get caught up in the action parts of a campaign when you know what you want your end state to be.  Publics are sophisticated, and much like they do not appreciate ‘newsjacking’ after a disaster, they do not appreciate a company trying to undermine them under the guise their best interest is in mind.  If you have a great product, or a valid piece of information that obviously could be beneficial to your publics don't ruin it with a poorly-planned PR campaign!