Current Conversations

Current Conversations

Rupert Murdoch’s Bid for Time Warner Shows ‘Content is King’

Posted in Industry Trends, Uncategorized

Many media industry insiders predict Rupert Murdoch’s pursuit of Time Warner Inc. isn’t over, despite his recent announcement that 21st Century Fox pulled its $80 billion merger offer. Others believe that if Murdoch doesn’t end up acquiring Time Warner, another media or tech company inevitably will. Whatever the fate of the media company, Murdoch’s interest in it and the attention the deal has drawn is another powerful illustration of the value of content. Continue Reading

‘Disrupting the Press Release’ Report Directs the Conversation

Posted in Industry Trends

The “Disrupting the Press Release” survey and report announcement has created quite the buzz within the PR community. We’re happy to have started a much needed dialogue on a fundamental tool that’s used by our profession to communicate our client’s news and perspective with the media.

It’s been interesting to see the discussion that’s developed within news articles and across social media. Here is a sampling of the recent news coverage on the report:

Communication World – “Survey of journalists gives tips for better press releases,” July 22, 2014

Bulldog Reporter – “”You Had Me at the Subject Line”: New Reporter Survey on Press Releases Offers Best Pitching Practices as 100 Journalists Weigh In on How to Disrupt the Press Release,” July 21, 2014

The Holmes Report – “Keep Press Releases Direct And Succinct And They Still Have Value,” July 20, 2014

Mediabistro’s All Twitter – “46% of Journalists Open to Using Twitter for Press Releases [STUDY],” July 18, 2014

Mediabistro’s PR Newser – “STUDY: Journalists Spend Less Than One Minute Reading Each Press Release,” July 17, 2014

JD Supra Business Advisor – “Empathy, relationships and press releases,” July 17, 2014

PR Week – “Greentarget: Seven in 10 journalists spend less than a minute reading press releases,” July 16, 2014

PR Speak – “Hold the presses: The press release is dead; long live the press release,” July 16, 2014

Empathy, relationships and press releases

Posted in Industry Trends

One of the things we PR professionals must try to do is empathize.

With our clients, of course, and with one another — we believe that empathy is a vital ingredient to effective collaboration. Of course, we also collaborate and empathize with journalists. To do our jobs well, we’ve got to understand the reporters and editors we work with. That means knowing what they’re trying to accomplish, what they’re up against and what they need from us. Continue Reading

A Lesson from Taylor Swift on the Power of the Op-ed

Posted in Industry Trends, Social Media

Taylor Swift surprised the world yesterday when she dropped her first op-ed. News of the lyricist’s piece spread like wildfire generating more than 150 comments on The Wall Street Journal website, in addition to more than 20,000 Facebook posts, 10,500 tweets, and 600 LinkedIn posts about the article. And that’s not even counting the other media outlets that wrote about her op-ed. Continue Reading

The media didn’t die, but not for the reasons you’re thinking

Posted in Industry Trends

The news media is enjoying a renaissance today after fears of imminent death. It’s not reviving because a new business model was found. It’s reviving because the persistent need for news finds its own business model. We need to learn about our current events somehow — and the newsrooms and money coalesced around new ways. Continue Reading

‘The Late Show’ Heir Must Rebrand Before Taking the Chair

Posted in Industry Trends

Corporate and personal brands alike should generate broad appeal and loyalty among key audiences and also evolve in order to withstand competitors and the test of time. But what happens when a celebrity brand, one that has been built upon a satirical persona and generated a small, yet dedicated following over a 10-year period, must quickly revamp itself to improve its market share and influence? We will soon find out, as it has been announced that Stephen Colbert will succeed David Letterman as host of “The Late Show” on CBS. Continue Reading

Managing a Company’s Online Reputation Doesn’t Need to be Risky Business

Posted in Industry Trends

Research shows that positive reviews on online review sites such as Yelp are actively driving consumer’s buying behaviors. And there’s no surprise that negative reviews have also have an impact.

What is surprising, however, is that despite the impact these reviews have on a company’s revenue stream, there have been very few laws to protect a business from fake reviews, especially those done anonymously. An Internet free speech case that will be litigated in the Virginia Supreme Court later this month may change this.

In early 2012, Joe Hadeed, owner of Hadeed in Home and Office Cleaning Services, discovered an unfavorable comment about his business on Yelp. This one comment was soon followed by several other negative comments over the next few weeks. The harsh critiques had a very apparent impact on Hadeed’s bottom line. His business revenues decreased by 30 percent, 80 employees were laid off and six of his company’s trucks were sold. As outlined in the recent Wall Street Journal article:

Hadeed sued seven reviewers for defamation and wants Yelp to reveal their true identities. The Alexandria Circuit Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals were in favor of Hadeed’s lawsuit, by holding Yelp in contempt for not releasing the names of the reviewers. Yelp appealed to the state Supreme Court by protesting that the reviews are protected by the First Amendment. This case could set precedence if the court mandates that Yelp reveal the reviewers’ identities. And it could present new guidelines on Internet censorship, which could have a lasting impact on online reviews.

While a number of business-to-consumer companies will be watching the outcome of this case with great interest, business-to-business companies should also pay close attention.

According to a recent survey published by Deloitte on exploring strategic risks, 81 percent of senior management and board member respondents cited reputation as the No. 1 risk they are concerned about. The survey also found that the need to protect reputation and its rise as the key strategic risk is reflected in senior executives and board members listing social media as the biggest technology disrupter to reputation.

A recent Guardian article confirms that the disruption social media can have on a B2B company’s brand, detailing a number of recent examples of companies including BP and Exxon Mobile that were “brandjacked” after imposters took to social media on the brand’s behalf.

So how can both B2B and B2C companies proactively protect themselves from charlatans until the laws catch up? Using Greentarget’s Client Engagement Process, here are some specific tips:

  • Discover: It’s imperative that companies have a good sense of self and understand how their brand is perceived online if they’d like to protect it and proactively manage their online reputation on an ongoing basis. In a recent blog post about how brands can clean up their online reputation, Gini Dietrich, who writes for the blog Spin Sucks, outlines some concrete examples of how companies may proceed with such an audit and suggests they move forward with traditional searches on Google as well less traditional searches on the Glassdoor. It’s also crucial that companies keep up this online monitoring process in real-time.
  • Discern: Once a company has a clearer understanding of how its brand is represented on the Internet, it can use this intel as momentum to develop a strategic approach on how it would like to manage their reputation online moving forward. Make sure that the strategy aligns with the company’s larger reputational goals. For example, say that an accounting firm has a larger goal of wanting to boost its reputation related to its “business valuation” services. During the discovery process it was uncovered that an unsatisfied client wrote a negative “tweet” about a bad experience he had with the accounting firm related to his business’ valuation, and shared this disdain with his 1,000-plus followers. As a next step, the accounting firm should think about its strategy on how it would address these negative remarks, and more broadly think about what the strategy should be to promote the accounting firm’s capabilities related to business valuations moving forward.
  • Develop: After the online audit has been assessed, the next step would be for a company to develop an integrated plan on how it may manage its online reputation moving forward. Keeping the accounting firm example in mind, one aspect of this plan may be to create a content strategy that would give the accounting firm the opportunity to create and share content related to its business valuation offerings to engage current and potential consumer bases. In addition, the plan may also include a crisis management strategy on how the business should address negative remarks moving forward.
  • Direct: Once the accounting firm has a plan for how it will enhance its online reputation and protect its brand implementation comes next. The accounting firm could be positioning thought leaders in the media on topics related to business valuations, or perhaps writing weekly posts on its website.
  • Demonstrate: Once the campaign has been up and running for a few months and if implemented effectively, results via media coverage quoting experts in the accounting firm on the business valuation topic, or direct responses from clients related to the content released on the accounting firm’s site should be rolling in on an ongoing basis, producing quality outcomes.
  • Deliver: The final step is to assess if the accounting firm was able to move the needle related to how its stakeholders view its business valuation offerings. Specific things that may be taken a closer look at, including: Have accountants from this practice gotten more inquiries from clients on the firm’s business valuation offerings following the campaign push? Has there been an increase in traffic on the practice’s web page?

Managing a company’s online reputation can be a complicated process, however having a specific plan in place will lessen the blow the next time a company is faced with a negative review online, or unfavorable comments about their brand on social media.