Ben Bernanke became Federal Reserve chairman intent on making the central bank less personality-driven than it was under Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker. But as he confronts an economic crisis that has pushed the Fed to shatter precedent and lend trillions of dollars, Mr. Bernanke is waging a public-relations offensive that casts him in the starring role.
Tag: public relations
The recently acquisitive MDC Partners is at it again, with a deal that is indicative of the growing recognition along Madison Avenue of how much more interested marketers are becoming in using public relations to reach consumers. Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners in New York, which is owned by MDC, is acquiring a majority stake in Kwittken & Company, a public relations agency in New York with annual revenue approaching $10 million and clients like Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, McGraw-Hill and Thomson Reuters.
I watched with growing dismay and disbelief as Steve Jobs struggled through his press conference last week about the iPhone 4 dropped calls. It's a classic example of how not to conduct public relations.
I know. This probably isn’t a real trend (yet), but fake PR cases seem to be on the rise. The most notable of course have been the following: the fake BP Global PR Twitter account, the General Mills press release hoax, and now, the fake PR account for AT&T. Although fake PR is not a new phenomenon, I believe PR professionals need to start preparing for more cases of it for three reasons:
Search any of these phrases on Google: oil spill, BP, or Deepwater Horizon. Take a look at the sponsored link on top of the page. It doesn't direct you towards, say, an oil disaster recovery group or news about the spill's impact on the Louisiana economy. In each case, the sponsored link goes to BP's Gulf of Mexico response page--essentially, BP's propaganda page about the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Toyota has toughed its approach to critics in recent weeks, including the implementation of SMART units -- Swift Market Analysis and Research Team -- that quickly examine reports of equipment malfunctions. They have been successful in discrediting several high profiles cases, but the effort has backfired in at least one instance.
We’ve reported before on the use of contests in naming. The maker of Crayola products, for instance, urged crayon enthusiasts to help rename an old color, and name suggestions poured in. For the first time in its history, Boeing encouraged people around the world to name its newest airplane. In the process, the firm reaped a public relations windfall. After tallying 500,000 votes in more than 160 countries, Boeing announced the winner at the Paris Air Show in June 2003: “Dreamliner” will be the name of the Boeing 7E7 aircraft.
Gaining share in a business growing at a double-digit pace is awfully good anytime. Doing it during a recession, as Brita has, is that much more remarkable. At the same time, the Clorox Co. brand believes it's doing well by doing good. Its growth comes from urging people to replace bottled water with filtered water, thus reducing packaging and energy use. That concept, which grew so big it became the centerpiece of Brita's advertising earlier this year, started with a request from the city of San Francisco to develop a filtered water bottle that could replace bottled water. That led the Oakland-based company into a partnership with Nalgene and the "Filter for Good" PR and online program, which urged people to pledge to replace bottled water with filtered water.
One of the reason why public relations firms are ill equipped to deal with bloggers and new media is that they were built to deal with traditional or mainstream media. Many agencies are still stuck in pushy mode. Don't be so quick to deny it, I get dozens of poorly targeted press releases a day - and from big name agencies, too. Those that set up listening posts and target the outreach still fail in coming through with the follow up.
The role of influence is changing and diversifying and with it, the rules and responsibilities of engagement are also reshaping. While PR, analyst, and investor relations were clear yesterday, the rise of new influencers, tastemakers and authoritative users and customers becomes both pervasive and uncertain. As such, new opportunities for engagement emerge; creating new opportunities for cultivating distributed relationships. However, each new connection requires management, a support infrastructure, including a dedicated host.
True public relations is a fundamental and helpful part of the communications mix. The issue I have with the question is that it usually comes from the marketing side - those people who have been pushing messaging at us in the first place. Raise your hand if you did PR the spammy way; in that case you need to reinvent yourself and your relevance to the business community. For the rest of us - we are and have been on the value side of the conversations for a long time.
This week, I moderated a session at SMX about real-time search. Personally, I find the convergence of social and search to be perhaps the most significant trend of 2009. Social adds an entirely new dimension to search. Traditionally search has been used to find "what" you wanted to know more about. Social adds the dimension of time. Suddenly, relevance isn't the only measure. Search now needs a "stale date," a measure of the freshness of the results.
Justin Breton, a 21-year-old senior public relations major at Boston University, spends a lot of time talking about PUR, a water filtration system from Procter & Gamble. Breton is among 100 college "ambassadors" P&G is paying to pitch the company's brands--namely, PUR, TAG deodorant and Herbal Essences hair products--at 50 colleges and universities year-round. Through a program P&G calls ReadyU, these students create their own marketing plans for promoting the company's products to fraternities, sports teams, and extra-curricular groups.
Health-care reform? A Taliban cease-fire? Dick Cheney unloading on George Bush? The hottest story on the web today was none of the above. Burning up the blogosphere and Twitter was the remarkable "pricing error" that occurred on the website for electronics retailer Best Buy, which -- for a little while, anyway -- had a 52-inch Samsung high-definition TV listed for $9.99.
Advertising and public relations stand at a crossroads -- at once battered by recession-driven corporate downsizing and confronted with a bevy of new and often untested online platforms. Amid the uncertainty, firms have battled back with disparate strategies: eschewing general advertising to reach smaller target audiences; rushing to integrate the once separate fiefdoms of PR and advertising; and seeking to capitalize on the disintegration of multinational firms by buying up local branch offices.
Far be it from me to lament the ability for anyone to build or publish virtually anything now that the age of the consumer and age of information have intersected so gloriously. We are truly blessed to live in a day when, with a little time and instruction reading, even the tech-tarded can have their own blog or website and publish anything they want. The more adventurous and creative, or all-night code-bender freaks, can build platforms and tools and toss them out there to see if the public bites.
With the recent spate of companies such as United Airways, Domino’s Pizza and Habitat UK, being hit by negative publicity online, one could be forgiven for thinking that social media can be used as a cure-all for such issues. But in fact, social media will only ever be a band-aid for such problems, unless it’s tied into fundamental changes in the way such companies operate.
While with branding and advertising we expect a promotional approach, public relations has been held to different standards - up until now. It seems to me that in new media we have more of a blurring of the lines and that communications, whether of the promotional or informative kind happens along a continuum.
Once upon a time, there was a talented young girl in PR called Vanessa. Vanessa rocked PR: she wrote like a pro, could spin fabulous yarns and had relationships with masses of journalists and media outlets around the land. And then something scary happened... A big, bad monster called Social Media came to town.
Successful businesses are always making choices and sacrifices, strategically looking as to how they are going to prioritize their resources, including human capital, budgets, and, of course, time. As the world around them adapts, so too do they need to make changes internally to respond, or to predict where trends are going – and if they guess right, the business could catapult ahead of less-agile competition.
General Motors Co. Chief Executive Frederick "Fritz" Henderson is launching a public-relations salvo this week, activating an online suggestion box called Tell Fritz. The initiative, part of a wider assault the auto maker is waging to repair its tattered image, is designed to enable the 50-year-old executive to further distance himself from what has become known as the Old GM, or the auto maker that existed before Mr. Henderson steered the company through bankruptcy court in about 40 days.
New media has already reminded up that PR stands for public relations and not just media relations. This is still something that many organizations are navigating at the moment. Now Google is giving us yet another Wave of innovation and showing us what is possible in the browser.
Every now and again, a PR meme appears on the Web – almost to the point where you could set your watch by it. This time around, Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times sparked the conversation with an in-depth article, “Spinning the Web: P.R. in Silicon Valley.” I respect Claire and I believe she wrote an extensive article that chronicles the launch of one particular startup and also featured supporting quotes from those PR professionals who are helping to usher in a new breed of corporate communications. While an exposé makes for an interesting read, PR is undergoing a much more significant renaissance that receives almost zero attention in this article. P.R. in Silicon Valley is far more sophisticated and effective than what’s actually spotlighted in the story and it’s much more potent than most entrepreneurs, investors, and executives realize.
A pinch and a punch for the first of the month and then an introduction. Some of you will recall reading a short piece from me last month called "Journalism Rocks," making a case for why journalistic content should not always be free. Today, I'm back again and will be every other week, with a column that examines all things PR. Yep, public relations -- also known as image management, spin, publicity, and hype.
Google handles roughly two-thirds of all Internet searches. It owns the largest online video site, YouTube, which is more than 10 times more popular than its nearest competitor. And last year, Google sold nearly $22 billion in advertising, more than any media company in the world.
Integration among industries is nothing new. Throughout time, industries with similar formats, products or product-delivery systems have grown by bringing their offerings together. For instance, once-separate grocery stores and pharmacies are now commonly housed together in one supermarket, and corner drugstores are selling a wider selection of convenient grocery items. The local cable company has evolved into an internet service provider that can also hook you up with a phone package, and the phone company is offering internet and TV services, too. More recently, Facebook has incorporated Twitter-like status updates into its news feed.
A key distinction between PR and advertising has always been that public relations is earned media rather than paid. But now, just as search engines have revolutionized the way consumers access information, search marketing is evolving public relations.
Modern Public Relations was born in the early 1900s, although history traces the its roots and origins of practice back to the 17th century. Two years ago, the press release celebrated its 100-year anniversary. While the communications industry has iterated with every new technological advancement over the last century, including broadcast mediums and Web 1.0, none however, have forced complete transparency prior to the proliferation of the Read/Write Web aka The Social Web aka Web 2.0.