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I have worked with David Kirkpatrick in the past with no issues and have always been a fan of his. And while this detailed account of events does not change my outlook on him, I must say after reading Michael Arrington’s blog post, I can only hope that David and others have a new appreciation for what PR people are up against on a daily basis. How many times have you had to go back and ask a reporter to pull something down or correct misinformation because of a miscommunication? Even if you know the reporter has a right to keep it posted or you and the publication have already agreed upon terms, sometimes circumstances require the information to be changed. And as a PR person who has had to do this more times than I would like to admit, it is never an easy process.

How did you feel after reading the blog post? Siding with Kirkpatrick or Arrington?

Nearly one third (30 percent) of Americans feel that they need to stay

connected to work 24/7, even during weekends, breaks or holiday,

according to a recent survey by InterCall, (an Ogilvy PR client).

 

While the survey cited a number of other very interesting statistics

related to workforce morale and productivity, I have been thinking

about what this means for PR professionals.

 

If nearly 30 percent of all Americans feel they need to stay

connected, this number must be even higher for PR professionals.  As

one of the major arteries to the heart of a company or client, we are

often asked to “keep our cell phone on” or “check email later” or

“dial into just one meeting while away.”  Knowing the critical role we

play, doesn’t being connected come with the territory? Or sometimes do we

have the right to unplug?

 

What are your thoughts on always being connected? Do you have trouble

unplugging or do you “power down” the first chance you get?

Emily Peterson

by Emily Peterson
Category: Technology

“ And yes Mr. Vice President, you’re right …”

If you hadn’t already seen, those were the words of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledging Vice President Joe Biden’s hiccup last month, and in my opinion, one of the best examples of someone embracing a PR nightmare.

As PR professionals, we are trained to protect corporate reputation. Whether it’s internally or externally, much of what we do all adds up to defending reputation, whether it be of an organization or brand.

So when an external force does something to harm the reputation we are protecting, we want to do everything in our power to stop it. Unfortunately (or fortunately), rapidly-changing technology and social media has made stopping this increasingly difficult. We cannot remove every Tweet, video and blog comment when something goes wrong.

So what can we do? How can we stop it?

I recently attended a three-day training session about brands, and one of the main lessons I learned was that most of the time, trying to stop someone or something from hurting an organization’s reputation is not the best path forward. We need to embrace what is coming at us and think about how we can take the bad and turn it into something good.

So while we cant always stop the bad, if we are able to take a step back and ask ourselves if the situation we’re dealing with is “a big f**king deal”, we will be able to understand how to make the best of a bad situation.


Jan 27

Stats Sell!

In today’s changing media landscape, many of us are looking for ways to make waves. Surveys can be a great way to accomplish that. I have done a few surveys in the past, but recently it seems that colleagues of mine are doing more of these and looking for guidance, so I thought I would share some best practices for developing and promoting surveys.

1. Select a topic that is not self-serving. For example, if you’re a b2b company with little brand recognition, pick a topic that a broader audience would be interested in, rather than one that answers questions about how well-known your product or solution is within your industry.

2. Write the headlines. I have found that one of the easiest ways to begin developing survey questions is to start backwards. Write a few sensational headlines that you would like to see and then work backwards to develop questions that will get you there.

3. Determine cost and 3rd party research firm. Depending on available time and resources, you may want to think through the type of survey you want to do. An Omnibus survey is an efficient, easy way to get quick results. On the other hand, if you have a bigger budget, you may want to consider an in-depth survey that polls a larger sample and takes a little bit longer. Regardless of the type of survey, you should use an independent 3rd party research firm.

4. Shop the final results around with a few select reporters early. While it seems like reporters are no longer doing exclusives these days, many reporters still like to see the information early before it’s released, particularly if they want to sift through raw data (which many of them will).

5. Ensure raw data and spokespersons are available. These are two key elements that reporters will ask for. They will want to see a full copy of the survey results (beyond what is in the press release), access to the 3rd party survey firm to validate the survey, and an expert from the company who can interpret the results.

Finally, when you and your team are ready to begin pitching the survey results, pitch, pitch, pitch! Think outside of your traditional reporters and expand your list to wires, bloggers, news services, etc. to ensure maximum reach and coverage.

Emily Peterson

by Emily Peterson
Category: Technology

Last week, Strategy + Business published an article titled, “What a Declining Business Media Means to CEOs.”

While this article was written for CEO’s, I think it’s important to understand what this means for PR professionals. The declining business media is not news to the PR industry, but as we come to terms with this change, we need to be smart on how we can help.

Basically the article argues that as cost cutting narrows the field of business journalism, it has become more difficult to put out a corporate story. And for the journalists at the remaining business publications, they are increasingly unable to offer insightful business coverage. The author goes on to say that there are basically three consequences for business decision makers: business coverage could become more negative toward profit and enterprise than it is today, corporate decision makers have less of a platform to display their company’s strategy and corporate leaders now have fewer opportunities to learn from one another’s experience, or even to know what’s going on in their regions and industries. The article offers suggestions for CEO’s, but I would like to offer a few tips to help PR professionals be effective as possible in this changing landscape.

1 – Continue to make it easy for journalists. We know that as PR professionals we need to offer journalists (especially young, inexperienced ones) all the facts. We need to build the story for them, and make it as easy as possible. Not only do we need to continue doing that, but we need to take it one step further and facilitate from A to Z. If they aren’t going to ask the challenging questions, let’s address them upfront for them. If we know others are going to criticize the company, then lets offer an alternative POV from a third-party. We need to help journalists collect all the facts so that they are able to write well-balanced, insightful stories.

2 – Don’t give up on traditional media. Do not let your CEO give up because he doesn’t understand Twitter. While the business media landscape is definitely getting more challenging and the use of social media mediums are increasing, it is not the death of business media. In this changing environment, there are still opportunities to meet with business reporters and have your story told. We need to work with senior executives to help them tell their story in a way that is relevant to a business media audience and offers a fresh perspective.

3 – Capitalize on existing communications platforms where you control the message. For example, earnings calls. If you know you will already have the attention of a group of reporters, use that time to explain how your company’s performance impacts the industry and world. Work with the CFO or CEO to tell journalists something they don’t already know or can’t get from the press release.

In this declining business media environment, we shouldn’t forget that some of the core, proven media relations tactics can still work, if executed well. However, have the conversation with your CEO and other senior executives sooner rather than later, so they are educated on what is happening. Many of them may not want to believe it or hear it. Let them know it’s a change they need to embrace but that there are ways to work together to address the challenges ahead.


Emily Peterson

by Emily Peterson
Category: Technology

CNET just released a slideshow of the decades 25 biggest tech flops.

While HD DVD made the list  since Blu-ray is now industry standard, I am not entirely convinced that Blu-ray is here to stay. A recent Harris Poll report indicated that consumers were uninterested in adopting Blu-ray Disc. However, a report earlier this week cited that consumer spending on Blu-ray discs was up by 91 percent, to $407 million. It will be interesting to see if Blu-ray is still around come 2019.

For any PR professionals out there who have helped launch a tech product, what are some lessons learned to avoid having a product on this list?

Savvis has expanded its relationship with Ogilvy PR for global communications support, expanding a U.S. market relationship in place since October 2007.
Read more….


facebook_pic

Anyone who currently uses Facebook or is thinking about using Facebook to publicize a brand should be aware of the Facebook Usernames offering coming this weekend.

I’m sure it’s going to be a mad rush for everyone trying to secure a user name and Mashable suggests securing a username may not be as easy as it sounds.

If you have not already given some thought around a Facebook Username in the context of PR, you might want to read the FAQ’s that Facebook has posted on its blog.


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Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to embed myself at a couple of my clients’ sites. In tech PR, face time is crucial to an agency/client relationship, and sitting at the client site every couple of weeks has positively changed the dynamic with my clients.

Now, I realize that not everyone has such a unique opportunity. However, if you do have the opportunity or are thinking about it, I offer a few suggestions for how both a PR professional and client benefit from this approach.

  1. Co-create on a project – Select a project or campaign that involves both the client and agency and think of how it could be advanced if both sides sit down to walk through it. This enables a true co-creation between client and agency and allows any concerns or reservations about the direction of the project to be vocalized in a much less formal environment.
  2. Have an honest conversation – It is much easier to have an honest conversation with your agency or client about how things are going in-person. You are able to talk one-on-one and face-to-face. Additionally, a casual honest conversation may spark other ideas or projects for discussion.
  3. Manage your time – Both a client and agency should be aware that the client will not spend the entire eight hours on only their account. Having a PR professional plugged in for the full day lets the client have quick access to the agency for a question or opinion.
  4. Expand your relationships – Typically, when working with a client, agencies only have access to PR and marketing folks. However, when working onsite, agencies can gain valuable insight from exposure to other client contacts and expand relationships within the company. Having an agency onsite also helps make PR efforts more visible. Often times, others in the company are not even aware an agency exists for PR support.
  5. Embrace client culture – One of the most valuable things about working onsite is that it provides the PR professional with a deep understanding of day-to-day operations at a client site, such as how they run meetings, how PR is being receive internally, other internal initiatives, and corporate structure. Embracing client culture also helps the agency feel committed and passionate about their client’s business.

Once you have successfully spent one day onsite with your client, do it again! The more time spent at the client site, the more you and your client truly reap the benefits of an agency-client partnership.


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