Posts Tagged ‘Public Relations’

Social Media: Advertising Vs. PR

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Most of us working for the media have taken note to the recent activities in the social media space in the last one year. Twitter grew more than 1500% in mid-2009, Facebook has almost caught up with Google in web traffic, while the once-popular social network Bebo is on the verge of shutting down. In the meanwhile, marketers and agencies have been coping to keep up with this fickle, evolving industry. The power of communication has landed in the hands of the consumer, and instead of a traditional business to consumer marketing model, we are now faced with consumer to consumer conversations, pondering what are the best ways to insert our brand in those conversations. In this shifting ecosystem, roles for agencies has changed and the question has surfaced – who will handle the social media marketing for a brand? Is the traditional advertising agency, the digital shop or the PR agency?

Traditional ad agencies are not competing for this business. Most Americans still watch TV and the need for TV advertising will continue. The real competition remains between the digital agencies and the PR shops. During the recession, marketing dollars were reduced and companies scaled back on building fancy websites and expensive online media buys, affecting digital ad agencies’ business.  Social media marketing factors accountability, measurement, monitoring, impacting the Share of Voice – disciplines that online public relations excels in and have been doing so for a while. Brands are realizing that. In industry movements – Starbucks assigned most of it’s social media to their PR agency – Edelman. PR agencies are also welcoming those changes by staffing. To keep up with their client’s creative demands, Edelman’s Digital team bought David Armano on board, a creative advertising veteran, who created large scale web builds for ad agencies such as Digitas and We are going to start seeing these changes more frequently. And specific PR industry hires from the advertising field, brands rewarding their social media businesses to PR agencies are just the beginning of this change that has started to shake things up.

Coming from an digital advertising background myself (in fact – Publicis Modem and, as Mr. Armano), I’m nervous that business model is losing to its PR counterparts. If brands need to focus on creating and measuring conversations and effectively execute social media programs – that is not the traditional advertising process. Sure, agencies for decades have been creating mind blowing creative campaigns, building brands, turning commercial jingles into household tunes – but while are approaching a Generation Y era, powered with Web 2.0 and iPhones and GPS mobile applications like Foursquare, the need for communication channels focuses on audience engagement and activation. Finding and recruiting influencers and making them brand evangelists are the true form of viral marketing. Being a digital marketer, everyday I encounter questions from our clients asking newer ideas on reaching their audience in unique and innovative ways, using social media. And in all honesty, I think a PR angle is far better equipped to answer that question than the standard advertising rationale. Communication and interaction will win over one-way messaging in today’s social media strategy.

Once A Day: Going Offline to Stay Sharp

Thursday, October 1st, 2009


Above is the original notepad that inspired IBM’s storied ThinkPad laptop computer line (via Merlin Mann).  Being digital professionals and our worlds moving a mile a minute online – what are some things, as PR professionals and trusted communication counselors, that we can do to help focus ourselves?

Switching from e-mail and phone call and conference room to really helping keep the big picture in mind not just for your team but your clients as well can be helped by simple, daily exercises that will take less time than you think and – hopefully – reward you down the line.

  • Talk to every person on your team – what is everyone working on?  Maybe it impacts some of your projects?  Or sharing what you’re doing can help someone think about their work differently or offer different perspective on your own.  This isn’t a formal meeting, this doesn’t have to be face-to-face but it’s important to look up from the grindstone and check-in with your team.
  • Double-check a budget or goals/objectives for a program, campaign, etc. – what comes next?  Is what you’re working on the right thing that needs to be done?  Often, when projects are launched into, everyone focuses on the immediate next steps without managing the finish line – doing this will not just help deliver a great product to your client but help you think strategically about the program, campaign or project you’re working on.
  • Take 5 minutes to think – as easy as this sounds, you’d be surprised about how few of us do it during the course of a day.  Focus on a new skill or a topic you want to know about, or try to connect ideas between clients and trends.  The small savoring of mental focus might just give you your next big idea!

Want more?  Check out The 99 Percent.  A think tank from the awesome folks at Behance (which inspired this post), it’s a great site that focuses on what happens after your team walks out of that brainstorm – when it’s time to put ideas into action and all the things to take you from point A to B.

MWW and Nikon: BlogHer Lessons Learned

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Nikon’s recent participation in BlogHer illustrates the power, speed and influence of the blogging community. Nikon, a conference sponsor, also hosted an invitation-only event Friday night, designed to engage a variety of women, including style, design, food, technology and parenting bloggers. Their common bond was a shared enthusiasm for photography.

The buzz was incredible; the event a major triumph; the response from the attendees overwhelmingly positive. To everyone on-site in Chicago, the event was a smashing success.

Yet to the outside world, a slightly different story was being told, one which adversely comments on both the Nikon and MWW brands. Because misinformation is being communicated, we wanted to share the facts of the event and more importantly, the outcome.

As many of the women who attended the BlogHer conference came with their families, two women wanted to attend the Nikon Night Out event with their young children.  While we politely informed them that they could not bring their babies to the cocktail event, one woman, in what she thought was a joke, tweeted #nikonhatesbabies from her Twitter account. This resulted in a storm of tweets and some misinformed blog posts from women who did not attend the event nor knew the full account of what happened. This is really unfortunate as the anticipation and excitement leading up to the event by those invited was tremendous.

These are the facts:

  • Due to the time of the event, the noise level, the availability of alcohol and the proximity to water, we determined that from a safety perspective, children should not attend.
  • During the event on Friday night, two people tweeted about not being able to get into the event with their babies.
  • On Saturday morning, MWW and Nikon planned to contact the two women about the prior evening’s events, and the #nikonhatesbabies chatter made that even more timely. We contacted both original bloggers and asked them to stop by the Nikon booth to discuss the situation.  The woman who first tweeted said it was a joke and that she did not mean any harm to Nikon.  She said that her tweet had been taken out of context as a bad joke (indeed). The second expressed her dismay and embarrassment that the situation had become so inflated.
  • A few marketing bloggers – who did not attend the event – started blogging about best practices while blaming Nikon and MWW for not understanding the audience.
  • Following conversations with MWW and Nikon, the two women tweeted about their discussion and apologized for their impact.
  • Once the corrected tweets appeared and began to circulate, other bloggers, fans and event patrons posted similar stories with the facts, and complimented Nikon on the personal response and engagement.


Clearly, some people, who did not attend either the conference or the party, used the incident to elevate themselves and their marketing expertise without bothering to confirm the facts.

We felt strongly that these two women deserved a face-to-face, personal discussion. We could have simply taken our version online and debated in public, but in doing so, would have focused on the people this DIDN’T affect, rather than the ones it did. We had great conversations with both women, walking away hopeful we had just formed a future valuable relationship with two great bloggers. There are a few interesting lessons here, including:

  1. Know your audience: We invited people who were interested in Nikon, cameras or photography, not exclusively moms or women with kids. Had we planned an event for only mom bloggers, the location and other logistics would have been different altogether.
  2. Relationships: We hosted this event to extend and continue those engaging relationships we have with blog communities. The vast majority of the online and in-person feedback about a well-received event has been positive and gracious. Knowing we built stronger ties with the bloggers because of the event, we’ll continue to do so in years to come.
  3. One-on-One: We learned that talking with people, hearing what they have to say, learning the facts, and questions they may have about Nikon products is one of the best ways to grow as a company. We also learned that there are many people out there who don’t listen and will jump-to-conclusions without the facts to spread misinformation.

What now? Should this scare big brands away from the increasingly real-time digital world? Not at all. In fact, this should encourage it. There was learning on both sides of the fence. Real-time opinion is just that – real-time. And it’s important to tell the whole story when all the facts are available.

In one post, a mommyblogger suggested this year’s conference had the theme of “not all bloggers are like that.” We agree and believe that the Mom in question isn’t either. We had multiple conversations with Liz Gumbinner of Blog with Integrity, and support the badge that she’s encouraging all bloggers to consider. In a real example of the blogger community policing itself, #nikonlovesbabies popped up with photos and statements as well.

Will this deter MWW or Nikon from continuing to engage and conduct open, honest and transparent dialogue with the blogger community? Of course not. We achieved our original goal to have meaningful conversation and personal interaction with bloggers and will continue to do so.

We recognize this BlogHer conference was a tipping point for corporations and bloggers to slowly come together on the same playing field. Together we should commit to letting the facts surface and put accusations on the back burner. Together, we can learn from one another and appreciate the influence and voice each of us has.

An Open Dialogue with Laura Halsch, Digital Strategist for MWW Group’s DialogueMedia.

Monday, June 1st, 2009

laurahLaura Halsch is the newest Digital Strategist on MWW Group’s digital media team, DialogueMedia, having joined our team in May 2009. Laura will help develop and execute strategic online communications programs for a number of our top clients. Before joining our team at MWW Group, Laura was a digital specialist in the 360˚ Digital Influence Group at Ogilvy Public Relations, and also served as an account executive in Olgivy’s Washington D.C. office. Laura is a graduate of Georgetown University, and can also be found on Twitter at @lauraah. – AB

DM: My first question is the class job interview question: Why did you want to become a PR professional? Was this something you always wanted to do?
LH: I always liked writing and was interested in art and design, but I was an English major in college and didn’t really know where that would take me. My Junior year, I started taking journalism and marketing courses and that set me on track to work in PR. While I do have a traditional PR background, I’ve always liked looking at the intersection of PR and other marketing disciplines.

How did you get into social media? Were you on Facebook in college?
For me, social media was always a part of my online experience. I remember getting all these emails inviting me to join Facebook during my semester abroad in college, and it became this great way for my friends to keep track of each other while we were all around the world. I read blogs, watched online video, and joined local social networks, but it was always just for fun.

When I started in the Consumer Marketing group at Ogilvy PR, I was drawn to the work being done in the Creative Studio and the Digital Influence Group. By hanging around their team, and picking up work when they were over-capacity, I started to learn about creating social media programs as part of PR efforts, and was eventually invited to join the team full time.

What do you like about working in digital media, versus traditional media? Why do you think it’s important for companies to be involved in social media?
The reasons I like digital media fall in line pretty closely with the reasons for companies to get involved, so I’ll answer these together. It allows companies to connect directly with the people who are passionate about them to create additional value, reward their fans, and help their detractors. It is constantly changing and evolving, which creates a challenging work environment but a huge opportunity for companies to try new things and grow and evolve with the landscape. Especially as younger generations age, digital media is becoming the primary source of information, and it is our obligation as PR practitioners to make sure our clients are represented there. Кредит наличными или кредитная карта онлайн за один день.

You’ve also worked in Washington D.C., when you worked for Ogilvy. Do you notice a difference in how social media or public relations are approached between D.C. and NYC?
Government organizations and partners obviously have a big role in everything that’s happening in DC. It was exciting to be a part of and watch as government organizations started getting involved in social media and really began to see results from their efforts. In DC, I had the opportunity to work on more issues-driven projects, whereas here in NY my work has largely been in the consumer space.

What advice does Professor Halsch have for all the newly-minted graduates about to start working in public relations, especially when it comes to landing a job?
The job market is definitely different now than it was when I started out. Recent grads need to work to stand out among their peers and demonstrate their passion. The best advice I’ve read recently was from Charlie O’Donnell, over at Path 101. If you follow these steps, you’ll be more than set.

What are three blogs you think everyone should visit?
For quick-bites on WOMM and Customer relations, Church of The Customer.
For technology, healthcare and social media, and just a really passionate guy, Andre’s Blackman’s Pulse and Signal.
And to get some laughs from a smart social media enthusiast: Catch-Up Blog.

An Open Dialogue with Melanie Notkin, Founder and CEO of Savvy Auntie

Monday, April 27th, 2009

melanienotkinMelanie Notkin is a relative newcomer to the social media space but has already made an impressive name for herself as the founder and CEO of Savvy Auntie, an online community and web magazine for “Aunties by Relation (ABR), Aunties by Choice (ABC), Mommy Aunties, Great Aunts, Godmothers, and all women who love kids.” Melanie has made appearances at Mashable’s Social Media Hub: New York and NextWeb and and been featured in the New York Times, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post. Besides the Savvy Auntie community, you can connect with Melanie on Twitter and on Facebook. – AB

DM: What inspired you to start Savvy Auntie?
MN: I was a senior level beauty executive, traveling to Paris for work, meeting with the CEO often, and winning awards. I was a savvy, New York City executive. But when it came to the most valuable part of my life, my nephew and nieces, I didn’t know my Dora from my Bob the Builder. I was not a Savvy Auntie.

I felt it was time to develop the first online community for aunts so they could become Savvy Aunties. has become like a parenting guide for non-parents. It a modern resource for the cosmopolitan aunt.

You became a social media sensation since the launch of your website. What do you think have been your most successful social media tactics?
First of all, thank you. I appreciate the compliment and am honored. I think the first think to admit is that I didn’t really think of social media as a ‘tactic’ at all. Rather, I woke up one day with the decision to be an ‘auntrepreneur,’ and was rather desperate to gather as much information as I could. I started following tech and social media blogs in the summer of 2007, and heard about Twitter. I joined, dipped my toe in, and realized that the access I had to brilliant industry experts was invaluable. I was learning a lot. And the more I learned, the more I was able to share… and I also shared my story….of how I was launching my business…which inspired me to launch a blog about my auntrepreneurial journey. Listen, add value, repeat.

My presence in social media has always been authentic. I’ve shared the highs and the lows and everything in the between. Keeping it real, which is authentic to my brand and to my personality, is what I believe has helped me gather a wonderful group of followers.

You have worked with many PR professionals as editor of Savvy Auntie. What have been some best and worst moments?

Every moment is a thrill. I mean a year ago, I was praying I’d be on your radar. So every PR inquiry is a good thing.

Of course, when the inquiry or pitch is off topic, it’s a waste of my time.

On a few occasions, I’ve been called “Dear Mom” which is bad on a number of levels: The point of my site is for the non-mom; I’m not a mom; I wish I were a mom; time wasted.

I also have really bad visceral reaction to the word ‘blogger’ and ‘blog’ as it refers to me and to Savvy Auntie is an online community. It’s not a blog. I’m Founder or Editor in Chief, not a “blogger.” Why must we ‘dumb-down’ ourselves by calling all online media “blogs?”

The other thing Savvy Auntie is not is a review blog. I don’t review anything. So don’t pitch me to review your product. Yes – I want to know about the latest gifts and trends for kids. That’s good! But I don’t know want to know about great maternity wear or home décor.

Also – I’m pretty cosmopolitan, so pitching me the opportunity to meet with a “celebrity” when the product is off topic, still won’t get me to go to the event.

Great pitches are ones that add value to my readers. Not to me.

Were you involved in social media before you started Savvy Auntie? How did you get started?
My entrée to Facebook was in May of 2007. My first tweet was in August of 2007. That summer and since, I began reading social media blogs (Mashable, Jeremiah Owyang’s blog, etc) to get up to speed. I spent a lot of time reading books like The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. Then I read his blog and followed him on Twitter… and so on…

As a woman in business and in social media, what tips do you have for other women in an otherwise heavily-male influenced industry?
Think of it as an advantage, not a disadvantage. You stand out in a crowd. Plus, women inherently do better in social media because we are more social. Leverage your inner Socialite.

Graduation day is forthcoming for many public relations students. What is one lesson or piece of advice about public relations that Professor Notkin would like to impart?

Listen. Never stop listening. When you stop listening, you stop learning. And when you stop learning, you fail. Your education is just beginning… that’s why they call it a “commencement.”

What three blogs do you recommend to someone just getting started in social media?
Sorry –can’t stop at just three….. it was hard to stop at 7!

Mashable, Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Strategist, Chris Brogan’s blog, Going Social Now, Citizen Marketer 2.1, The Social Media Marketing Blog, and What’s Next.