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Posts tagged ‘message’

The Oatmeal Grammar Break (part 2)

English grammar is a bit tricky when it comes to writing. Of course that we are aloud to make mistakes because we are human beings not computers, but some of us abuse of non-grammar writing. For all, I’m gonna present The Oatmeal’s Apostrophe lesson.

Enjoy!

 

Source: The Oatmeal

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

 

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Social media: limit or limitless ?

As company, do you need one Facebook account connected with one Twitter account or you need more? Maybe two, three, four ? How much is too much asks David Rogers in Bnet.

What’s his answer?

By now, most businesses know they should have a presence on Facebook or Twitter. But the more digitally-savvy businesses often ask, How many? Should you have only one Facebook page? Or multiple ones?

While some brands, like JetBlue, are represented by a single corporate Facebook page and a single Twitter account, other brands, like Dell, seem to sprout new Twitter accounts and Facebook pages every day, one for every department or division. Does this make them more efficient? When is it too much–or too little?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all answer. The best approach depends on your business, customers, brands and overall media strategy.

When One Voice Is Best

The benefits of a single, unified presence on a given social media platform are clear. A single account makes it easier to build a sizable audience. It may help focus your social media efforts (especially if you are a small or medium-sized business). It will provide a clear presence for your brand, and will avoid confusion among your customers about where to go to find you online.

When You May Want to Manage Multiple Accounts

However, there are many cases why multiple voices may be more effective for achieving a business’ social media goals.

Following are 7 reasons why a business may do better with multiple accounts:

1. Different Business Units. Many larger companies are structured around distinct business units that serve customers with different needs. In these cases, it can be much more valuable to the customer to follow or connect with a social media presence that is specific to their own needs. Dell, for example, has separate Twitter or Facebook accounts for its enterprise (@dellenterprise), education (@dellEDU), and small business (@dellSMBnews) operating units. That way each account can provide content and interaction that is more relevant to the right customers. SimilarlyGE has separate accounts for GE capital, water, aviation, appliances, and lighting. And at Columbia University, where I teach, there are separate accounts for the Schools of Journalism, Law, and Business.

2. Different Geography & Languages. Businesses operating in different countries may find a need for distinct social media accounts, especially to suit different languages of customers there. Dell has separate Facebook pages for India, Thailand, and Malaysia, among others. The Johnnie Walker spirits brand has a single master Facebook page that links to 32 international Facebook pages, allowing for content that is customized and in the local language: Mexico (Spanish), Brasil (Portuguese), Israel (Hebrew), and others.

3. Different Content Topics. Media companies and other idea-focused businesses that are producing a great deal of content for their customers may want to set up different social media accounts around different topics, so that customers can select those which are most relevant to them. The New York Timesruns numerous Twitter and Facebook accounts that spotlight the content of its various sections: Politics, Science, Travel, Food, Music, or even the Crossword Puzzle. Similarly, a university may set up separate accounts focused on atheletics, arts events, career placement, or even specific events or conferences.

4. Different Local Branches. Some businesses that have a brick-and-mortar retail presence may benefit from separate social media accounts for local branches. Whole Foods combines an overall corporate presence in social media with numerous accounts for individual branches (from Detroit and Chicago, to my hometown market in Montclair, NJ). This allows customers to get localized information about events, store news, and special deals happening at their own branch.

5. Different Social Media Strategies. Separate accounts can also be valuable when a business is trying to use the same social media platform for different strategic aims. Comcast uses one Twitter account as a customer service channel, and another one to share information on its community investment program. GE’s @GEreports provides news on technical innovations to its investor community, whereas accounts like @GEresearchjobs focus on hiring. Dell has run a very successful standalone Twitter account focused on sales of discounted inventory, @delloutlet.

6. Unique Voices within the Company. For companies with social media-savvy employees, and a great many customers seeking to interact online, it is sometimes beneficial to add personal corporate accounts in social media. These are accounts that are named by the company, but identified by a particular employee (from Zappos’s CEO Tony Hsieh, to customer service specialist @ComcastBill).

7. Unique Sub-Brands with Strong Personalities. If a company’s product brands, or sub-brands, have a strong enough personality of their own, customers may be more interested in connecting with them in social media, than with the corporate master brand. (Would you sooner “like” the Dove brand, or its parent Unilever corp?) Chevrolet has its own accounts on Twitter and Facebook, but also maintains accounts for Chevy Trucks, Chevy Camaro, Corvette, and the new all-electric Chevy Volt. The typical customer for Chevy Trucks and the Volt are likely quite different.

Making Sense to Your Customer

In essence, the decision of one or many voices within social media comes down to an understanding of your brand architecture (are you seen as one company? Or a collection of exciting brands?), and of your customer base (is it relatively homogeneous? Or do you have distinct networks of customers, which don’t overlap very much?).

If you do have good reason to establish separate social media accounts, and the resources to support them, make sure you keep them clear for your customer. The goal should be to avoid confusion, while allowing for more relevant and meaningful interactions with customers that build long term relationships and add value to your business.

 

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Some PR politics

War or not, everybody needs PR. Today, according to PR Week, we found out that Muammar Gaddafi’s regime had plans to embark on an anti-Nato PR campaign in Britain.

The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that documents found in the Libya’s Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi’s abandoned office detailed the creation of a £8.8m fund to pay British and foreign campaigners to change the public perception of Nato’s intervention in the country.

The discover of the plans comes weeks after an email was sent to a host of London PR agencies by Libya’s Ministry of Information asking for PR support to improve the image of Gaddafi.

The paper wrote that the documents included plans to pay selected foreigners, the regime thought would be ‘sympathetic to Gaddafi’, up to £2m to lobby on his behalf.

Among the British officials named in the documents was a lobbyist who the Gaddafi government was planning to pay £200,000 a week, up to a total of £2m, to create an anti-war think tank called the Centre of Non-Intervention.
The paper reported that the lobbyist’s remit included releasing reports and studies, hosting lectures and conferences with ‘well-known British political thinkers’ and achieving the end goal – to ‘reject foreign intervention in Libya and around the world’.

Porter Novelli EMEA head of corporate Alex Woolfall said any agency attracted by this offer would ‘have taken leave of its senses’ and that now, more than ever, PR agencies are under ‘as much scrutiny as the clients they represent – they have their own reputations to think about’.

‘Assuming such a plan existed – I think it shows a pretty naïve view of what PR and lobbying actually is and can do,’ he said. ‘We complain about the media in this country, but they are a long way off from swallowing hook, line and sinker what they’re told by lobbyists. So, I can hardly see why they thought a few individuals would sway public opinion.’

Insignia Communications founder Jonathan Hemus agred: ‘When deciding with whom they would work, agencies draw the line at different places – and in some cases the lure of a large budget can move the line. But PR for the Gadaffi regime is way over the line for any agency I can think of.

‘In a strange way, the fact that the Gadaffi regime would consider spending such a large amount of money on PR just goes to underline the power and effectiveness of communication. It’s incumbent upon the mainstream PR industry to use that power responsibly.’

The Gaddafi regime also reportedly planned to ask Labour peer Lord Ahmed, who has campaigned for peace in Libya, to join the campaign. Lord Ahmed told the paper he had not been approached.

The Telegraph said the regime set aside an overall budget of £8.8m for the political and public relations campaign.

What’s next ?

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Buzz: Domino’s Pizza on Moon

According to AdAge, Domino’s Pizza in Japan plans to build the first fast-food outlet on the moon, revealed the pizza maker’s president in Japan, Scott K. Oelkers. The affable Mr. Oelkers appears in a full spacesuit, customized with a Domino’s patch, and displays a big picture of the Moon Branch Project he describes in an intro video on a dedicated site for the project.

The site outlines the stages of the ambitious program at great length, including an engineer’s full- length presentation of the construction plan, an extensive Q&A session and a menu of the required funding, which will amount to about 1.6 trillion yen, or $21 billion, reports Ad Age’s Creativity. Mr. Oelkers speaks in English, with Japanese subtitles and a few words of Japanese at the end, but other parts of the site are in Japanese.

Domino’s is known for its wacky marketing efforts in Japan, and the news spreads fast. The U.K.’s Daily Telegraph ran an oddly straightforward story today that starts “Domino’s Pizza has announced plans to conquer the final frontier by opening the first pizza restaurant on the moon.” The story is the most-read in the newspaper’s science section and garnered lots of comments, ranging from people playing along and wondering about whether Domino’s “free if not delivered within 30 minutes” rule will apply to orders placed on the moon to complaints about the publicity stunt.

Domino’s stepped up the stunts last year to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary in Japan. The company offered an entertaining online “Pizza Tracking Show” that invited online pizza order placers to register to see the progress of their pizza in real time through the final step of delivery on a scooter, with some added bells and whistles.

That effort, by Japanese agency Asatsu-DK and local digital shop Bascule, won a bronze award at last year’s One Show in New York.

In December, Domino’s took applications with great fanfare for a part-time job for one lucky hire at the rate of 2.5 million yen, or $31,030, to deliver pizza. The job was only for a single hour, but applicants poured in. In another promotion, all babies born last year on Sept. 30 — the exact date the first Domino’s opened in Japan 25 years earlier — are entitled to a free pizza on their birthday until they turn, of course, 25.

 

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

How to sell social media

An image that makes more than 1000 words. Excellent via Johnatan Rick.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Crisis management: Toyota case

Today I found an interesting case study about crisis management: Toyota. Mashable is presenting the facts and the story of Toyota via social media:

In January 2010, Toyota faced a nightmare situation for any brand, but particularly for one that staked its reputation on safety and quality: The company had to recall 2.3 million vehicles because of faulty accelerator pedals.

Suddenly, Toyota was trending on Google and Twitter on a daily basis, but for all the wrong reasons. Auto brands had faced similar crises before — Audi in particular grappled with a gas accelerator recall in the 1980s — but none had done so under the 24/7 scrutiny of social media.

But Kimberley Gardiner, Toyota’s national digital marketing and social media manager, saw an opportunity as well.

“Right away, we were seeing a lot of conversation and getting a lot of people who were using social media to reach out to us,” she says. “We didn’t have a lot of answers at the beginning.”

Toyota’s social media team, which was only a few months old at the time, decided to address the situation head on, but in a novel way: via Digg.

Before Digg’s disastrous Version 4 hit in August 2010, the site had a lot more social media influence. Recall that in 2009, Digg’s traffic ranged from 37 million to 44 million unique visitors each month. Plus, the site had outsize influence on Google News searches. At the time, it seemed like the best place for Toyota to get its message across.

On February 8, Toyota served up Jim Lentz, president of Toyota’s North American sales operation, to the masses in the form of a Digg Dialogg. In many ways, the appearance was a stroke of genius. For one thing, Lentz didn’t actually appear on Digg, but on a dedicated video site. The questions, which were voted on by fans (the ones with the most votes rose to the top) also wound up being pretty softball. “They were mostly general questions, like ‘What kind of car does Mr. Lentz drive?’” says Florence Drakton, social media manager. (“That’s a great question,” a clearly relieved Lentz answers.) Lentz’s interview, which ran 28 minutes, is still available on YouTube:

It was hard to beat the reach Toyota got from the appearance. Within a week, the Dialogg had received 1.2 million views. “Probably the biggest indicator of interest was there were 3,200 questions,” says Drakton. “Only celebrities have gotten that much.” In addition to reaching a fairly big audience, the Dialogg gave Toyota theappearance of achieving social media branding nirvana: Transparency. Though there were other factors at play, like news fatigue, researcher YouGov’s BrandIndex, which polls 5,000 Internet users daily, saw a bottoming out around the time of the Dialogg. Note: YouGov’s scores are based on consumers’ perception of the brand. A positive is +100 and negative is -100.

The best news for Toyota, though, is the company’s brand perception among those in the market for a car within the next six months is high. In YouGov’s most recent survey, Toyota was second only to Honda among that audience; the brand had leapfrogged Ford sometime in August.

Looking back, Gardiner says although the Digg Dialoggs (there were two more in July and August of 2010) were successful, if the same thing happened today, she’d probably use a TweetChat on Twitter instead. In fact, the medium is a favorite of Toyota’s, which has held several such chats in the last few months. Facebook, Gardiner says, is a great way to reach out to Toyota owners, but Twitter addresses those consumers who might be skeptical about the brand.

The choice of the exact form of social media may be beside the point, though. Like Dell, which became a social media poster child after its Dell Hell debacle, Toyota’s recall situation forced the company to embrace social media. “Toyota is an organization that is not used to being on camera and in the spotlight,” Gardiner says. “It was new to many people in the organization. It’s not something you plan for. We’re learning as we go.”

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

 

What can a T-shirt do ?

oana vasiliuI never thought that a T-shirt can make such a buzz. But it can and it almost transformed it in a crisis situation. JCPenney received a lesson about what social media means in terms of public opinion.

According PR Daily, on 1st of September JCP is apologizing for the message which is printed to a T-shirt that is sold on their website: “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”

The promo copy for the shirt reads: “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.”

Being smart is so last season.

Backlash on the company’s Facebook page has been swift, with people condemning the company for selling the shirt. One commenter writes:

It will be quite some time before I spend my dollars at [JCPenney]. I also question the person(s) responsible for making the decision to manufacture and sell this particular t-shirt. Are they still employed with JCP….and what will they ‘create’ next? Insulting at the very least. [JCPenney], as a corporation, should be so very ashamed of themselves.”

oana vasiliuA number of commenters also expressed confusion as to why people are getting so worked up about a T-shirt. Another commenter says: “Just don’t buy the T-shirt simple as that.”

JCPenney has agreed to pull the T-shirt from its website and has apologized for producing it. A rep from the company’s corporate communications department told the Village Voice:

“We are not happy about the shirt! We’re looking into it right now, to find out how it happened. It was only online, not available in stores, and we have removed it from the site.”

Companies, be very careful what you do. The public has more and more power in their hands so be prepared for what’s worse.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

News releases – press releases via Public Relations for Dummies


In “Public Relations for Dummies” 2nd edition , authors Eric Yaverbaum and Bob Bly explain extremely simple the basics of PR for everyone who wants to understand the concept and the need of public relations services.oana vasiliu

Eric Yaverbaum has more than 25 years of experience in the practice of public relations and has earned a reputation for his unique expertise in strategic media relations, crisis communications, and media training. Eric has amassed extensive experience in counseling a wide range of clients in corporate, consumer, retail, technology, and professional-services markets and in building brands such as Sony, IKEA, Domino’s Pizza, TCBY, Progressive Insurance, and American Express, among many others.

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter specializing in traditional and Internet direct marketing. He has written lead generating sales letters, direct-mail packages, ads, scripts, Web sites, Internet direct mail, and PR materials for more than 100 clients, including IBM, AT&T, The BOC Group, EBI Medical Systems, Associated Air Freight.

News releases

Editors get hundreds of press releases weekly, all typed in the correct format,  and they throw out 99 percent of them. A professionally prepared release is important — the editor probably won’t read one that is handwritten on a scrap of grocery bag — but content is what makes your release the one in a hundred that actually gets read and used.

The following factors can help your release stand out from the crowd and actually make it into the publication or program:

  • Make sure that the subject of your release is important to the publication’s readers. If you were the editor and you had dozens of releases but could publish only a few, would you select your own release? Are the information and story in your release really important — not to your business, but to the publication’s readers? If not, forget it and look for a new angle.oana vasiliu
  • Make sure that your release is really news and not just an advertisement in disguise. Editors aren’t in the business of publishing advertising. Almost all will immediately discard publicity that is really advertising in disguise. Of course, most publicity has some advertising value or purpose, but write your publicity to give news or helpful information only.
  • Write your release so that the publication’s readers benefit from it. Your publicity will get published more often if it contains important news that will benefit the publication’s readers. This could be new technology that the readers will be interested in, helpful information, or an emerging trend.
  • Keep it short and to the point. Editorial space is very limited, and busy  editors don’t have the time to sort through irrelevant copy and cut it  down to the main points. Write clear and crisp sentences using only the important, relevant information. Tighten the writing. Keep paragraphs and sentences concise. Avoid jargon and repetition. Use strong verbs. Create lively, but accurate, text.
  • Include what the editor wants in your press release. That is, does it have facts to back up your statements? Include the who, what, when, where, how, and why details.
  • Use subheads in longer stories, at least one per page. A subhead is a smaller head that divides documents into sections, as do the smaller subheads throughout this book. Subheads in a press release help the editor grasp the entire story at a glance.
  • Consider adding a tip sheet for details that would otherwise clutter your release. For example, a new restaurant, when sending out a press release announcing its grand opening, included a separate tip sheet listing five specialty dishes along with the ingredients and recipes.
  • Make the release stand on its own. Don’t include a cover letter. If you feel a cover letter is needed to explain why are you sending the release or why an editor should be interested in using it, then your press release isn’t strong enough. Go back and rewrite your press release until it’s irresistible to editors.
  • Get all the facts and establish perspective before starting to write. Adding and rewriting later costs time and money.
  • Keep the news up front, not behind the interpretation or buried in paragraphs of analysis.
  • Cut out puffery; stick to newsworthy information.
  •  Put opinion and interpretation in an executive’s quotation. For example: “Within a decade, file transfer between different computer platforms will be seamless and device-independent,” says Bill Blathers, CEO, MicroExchange Software.
  • Use straightforward headlines. Forget the cute headline that forces an editor to dig through a paragraph or two to discover the who, what, when, where, and why. The headline should summarize the release so that an editor quickly understands your point.
  • Leave plenty of white space (blank space). Doing so is especially important at the top of page 1 because editors like room to edit. Doublespace and leave wide margins. Never use the back of a page.
  • Write for a specific editorial department: news, lifestyles, real estate, financial, new products. Similarly, provide separate story slants (in separate releases) for different categories of magazines. To publicize a directory of free information, for example, press releases could highlight the free information resources of interest to different editors. A press release featuring free information on gardening, real estate, and do-it yourself tips could be aimed at home magazines. A different release featuring free information on starting your own business could target business editors.
  • Create separate, shorter releases for radio and, at minimum, color slides and scripts for television.
  • End releases with a boilerplate paragraph that explains the organization or division. Many press releases include, before the closing paragraph containing the response information, a standard description of the company and its products. This information is helpful for editors who are unfamiliar with you or want to give their readers a little more description of who you are and what you do.
  • Consider editing the news release copy for product bulletins, internal publications, and other uses.
  • Write to gain respect for your organization and your next release. Be accurate and honest. Present clear and useful organization. Deliver value to the reader. Avoid hype and blatant self-promotion.
  • Streamline the clearance process so that only two or three executives approve each release. Doing so saves time and minimizes the chance to muddy the text.

The information is entirely copied from “Public Relations for Dummies” just because I consider it essential for everyone interested in writing not only a press release, but also any type of material for the mass-media.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Crisis management – do’s and do not’s for media interviews

“Being interviewed is like playing Russian roulette. You never know which question will kill you.”

That is the impression most PR specialists have when they deal with a crisis and they have to answer press questions. Today I’m going to note do’s and do not’s for media interviews, from Crisis Communications A Casebook Approach written by Fern Banks. (more…)

Think outside your box – part 1

The art of manipulation has many interesting theories, commented and analyzed by theoreticians, sociologists, psychologists and so on. One I particularly like is the strategy we use to manipulate our own perceptions, as well as our public’s perceptions.

We have three different strategies, which are:

  • same box thinking: operating with the same concepts, where your message and content are within the confines of existing communication
  • bigger box thinking: breaking down and going beyond the boundaries of the original concept to provide messages and content on a bigger scale
  • small box thinking: changing an element or focusing on a small size of the existing concept.

Today I’m talking about the bigger box thinking. This means you have to cross the boundaries of the initial communication in order to place the messages and also the information on a higher level.

oana vasiliuAs an example, I chose the case of Daryl Goodrich, the Olympic Director, the one who won the competition for London 2012 Olympic Games Video.

“I was handed the opening lines of a script. It said before there is an Olympic champion there has be eight finalists, before there is a final there have to be 64 Olympians, before that there have to be 202 national competitions, before that thousands of athletes, and before that, millions of children must be inspired. We built it from here.” (Sunday Times, 10th of July 2005)

Excellent? Maybe brilliant? No, it is just a bigger-box thinking. We just have to be creative enough.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

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