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Apple’s Brand Hangs in the Balance of Its FBI Standoff
Apple’s showdown with the FBI over access to an encrypted iPhone has been hailed by privacy advocates as a bold idealistic stand against the U.S. government’s overbearing mass surveillance system.
You Won’t Grow Your Business Relying on These 3 Marketing Myths
There’s a lot of money to be made online. In 2014, more than $300 billion dollars was spent online according to The Internet Retailer. The Internet offers opportunity.
Branding in the Age of Social Media
(Harvard Business Review, 01.03.16)
In the era of Facebook and YouTube, brand building has become a vexing challenge. This is not how things were supposed to turn out. A decade ago most companies were heralding the arrival of a new golden age of branding. They hired creative agencies and armies of technologists to insert brands throughout the digital universe. Viral, buzz, memes, stickiness, and form factor became the lingua franca of branding. But despite all the hoopla, such efforts have had very little payoff.
6 Ways to Capture and Keep Your Audience’s Attention Online
(Search Engine Journal, 29.12.16)
With nearly a billion websites online, there is a lot of competition vying for your audience’s attention. Granted, many of those websites won’t be your direct competitors, but they do create plenty of distractions you need to break through if you want to capture and keep your audience’s attention.
“Best way to sell something—don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect and trust of those who might buy.” —Rand Fishkin
[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]
Even as trends reports for the coming year have all been wrapped up and shared around, a trendspotter’s work carries on. Scouting what’s next requires always keeping an eye open and an ear to the ground, and pattern recognition helps a lot—who or what is getting buzzed about where?
Creating Insight-Driven Experiences to Build Brands
(The Huffington Post, 19.05.15)
A buzz-worthy and breakthrough ad campaign can seem like pure magic, belying the rigor behind the concept. Account planners and strategists mine the psyches of their target audiences to unearth insights that the creative team uses as the foundation to inform their ideas. However, this same kind of rigor doesn’t always extend to other marketing disciplines. When it comes to experiential marketing, many brands and agencies spent a lot of time and energy thinking through the experience they want to create and neglect to give equal weight to considering the experience their consumers want to have. Tapping insights can help architect an experience that feels like a moment of kismet, adding dimension to the brand and bringing it to life in a way no other medium can.
Interactive Ads Are Not Gimmicks but ROI Boosters
(Marketing Week, 12.05.15)
Recent ‘interactive’ poster campaigns from Birds Eye, Carlsberg and Pepsi haven’t just been gimmicks, but are part of a strategic move to get greater exposure and returns from outdoor advertising investment.
Small Business Best Practices for Generating Brand Awareness
(Small Business Trends, 08.03.15)
Small business digital marketing, and specifically display advertising, is about more than just generating immediate clicks. Marketers now have the opportunity to develop campaigns to specifically brand services and products for generating brand awareness.
Hiring for Cultural Fit at the Top
(Strategy Business, 02.01.15)
Bringing a new C-level executive on board is always fraught with risk: Any misstep can be expensive and embarrassing. As a result, companies may play it safe by looking for someone with just the right CV or perhaps a recent stint at a high-flying competitor. Who does the board like? What will the analysts think?
“On what high-performing companies should be striving to create: A great place for great people to do great work.” —Marilyn Carlson
[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]
[This is the fifth in a series of six posts about trend sightings for 2015 and beyond.]
Communications, businesses and expectations today shift at lightning speed. If we want to succeed—marketers especially, but anyone in any industry—we have to constantly rewrite our best practices. We also need to be aware of what we’re doing now and what to expect for the future.
Another successful summer intern class has graduated from @erwwpr after totally energizing our offices. In New York City, we salute Lauren Carson (St. Anselm), assigned to our consumer Buzz Group; Joshua Johnson (Penn State), who worked on consumer accounts; Ally Norton (Boston College) and Audrey Schnell (North Carolina), who worked with healthcare clients; and Kate Urbach (James Madison), assigned to new business and marketing. In Pittsburgh, Cassie Lenski (James Madison), Anne Merrick (Pitt), Shay Myrick (Point Park) and Alexandra Salerno (St. Bonaventure) were tasked with various projects to help promote One Young World, which is headed to Pittsburgh in October.
[Originally posted on the Huffington Post.]
Behold the velocity of change, where technology has enabled a Mach 11 approach to spreading and receiving information. And as an outcome of all this now-or-now business, the rumor mill is not only buzzing but also shouting down the lane. It’s not at all unlike the virus portrayed in the new blockbuster Contagion. As PR pros, we are often asked to run interference when it comes to clearing up false myths, and with everyone talking and millions listening, we are living in a stage beyond beta, where living for the new is becoming the norm.
Take the whole Radiohead concert rumor at Occupy Wall Street, for instance. Even though the band’s spokesperson tried to quash the Internet-spread rumor, scores of fans gathered anyway, and I can’t help but wonder if the rumors themselves hold more weight than the PR people trying to counter them? In this age of truth and transparency, it’s hard to know what’s real, what’s fabricated, and which voices are credible and which are simply false.
Back in August, the Los Angeles Times wrote an article about how China is cracking down on Internet rumors, as its leading microblogging outfit, Sina Weibo, was asked by the government to send out a warning to its users to “ignore false reports.” In a bid to make nice with the powers that be, Sina Weibo even threatened account suspensions for those who spread lies. A tad much, perhaps, but not for a communist nation where the government is prone to policing the Internet and not exactly promoting freedom of speech.
On our own shores, an Internet frenzy ensued as talk of Ashton Kutcher’s marriage to Demi Moore was rumored to be dunzo. And as both parts of that pairing are avid tweeters, it was interesting to get their reaction to this flurry of information, which fell like digital acid rain—silence, then a link to Public Enemy’s song “Don’t Believe the Hype.”
And products and services are not immune to some TMZ-style rumoring that would be sure to piss off Chuck D. In August, Whole Foods, the bastion of PC eating, was rumored to be boycotting Israeli products, which it most definitely was not. And how could we ever forget that McDonald’s rumor that spread like digital wildfire about how the company was going to charge African Americans a $1.50 “transaction fee”? Plus, just this week, Kodak denied that it is going bankrupt, a rumor started when it was announced that the company was retaining Jones Day, a firm famous for bankruptcy protection cases. As a result, Eastman Kodak’s shares fell by 54 percent last week. Yikes.
Oh, and how about a rumor about social media on social media? Word of a Facebook pay-to-post model was the talk of the network, with users freaking out about having to pay a monthly fee to connect. Facebook flatly denied it, and we were all free, at last (or at least for now).
That very brand of hype-mongering is threatening the credibility of the Internet, and with the speed at which we’re connecting, processing and spreading information, how is it possible to check sources or intercept rumors before they start? Oh, and did you hear the one about Vladimir Putin, who is making a presidential run in Russia, using Botox? While the focus should be on his politics, the focus is instead on his face.
Is it time for a priority shift or at least an information adjustment? As “netizens” we need to somehow work to a more responsible model of speaking about others, yet preserve our right to free speech. And as PR types, we need to somehow jump ahead of the curve as all these rumors jump the shark. But be warned: If you react immediately and deny (à la Anthony Weiner), you could be viewed as reactionary and defensive (and guilty), but if you wait too long, the mill gets more crowded and it’s hard to find your way out.
Apple, notoriously tight-lipped about its launches, allows the rumor mill to build as geeks the world over speculate what the latest iLaunch will look like and feature. With the recent announcement about the iPhone 5, it’s admirable to see how Apple uses all those buzzy rumors to build momentum for its highly anticipated launches, which leave most of us simply saying, “iWant.”
Regardless of whether brands or personalities can use this warp-speed rumor spreading to build buzz is not the issue. The ability to spread information on speed speaks to our frailty not only as marketing and branding professionals but also as human beings who are lost in a sea of rumors and TMI. I think Public Enemy was right, but I won’t comment on the state of Demi and Ashton’s marriage, or whether Putin has injected. That’s how rumors get started.
Originally posted on Euro RSCG Worldwide’s Social Life and Social Media blog.
From designers and stylists to publicists and event managers, Fashion Week in New York is one of the most important platforms for fashion hopefuls. They all get a chance to make a name for themselves and obtain a following to help sell their designs or services. But like a good PR strategy, they’ve got to do it right.
Just because you’ve already got a presence online via social media doesn’t mean you’ll get results similar to your competitors. A brand can’t rush into a campaign without a clear plan. Manuel De La Cruz’s Fall/Winter 2010 show is a good example of this.
De La Cruz, an up-and-coming designer, has generated decent buzz on blogs frequented by models and stylists. His team had postings on FashionIndie’s event listings page and generated Facebook fans to help promote his show. There were even several tweets from models and stylists leading up to the show to help create buzz.
De La Cruz’s team had all the right tools, such as a huge Facebook fan base, to help establish the brand in this industry, but without proper direction, the profiles are pointless. Brands need to do more than just create social profiles. They need to engage with their followers and leverage their online presence for additional editorial opportunities.
There were a few blog posts and tweets after the De La Cruz show that focused their attention on the jewelry and after party, with little mention of the actual clothes:
The brand mentions are good to have, but for an up-and-coming designer, you want the brand messaging to focus on the actual looks, which helps lend credibility to your designs.
Here are some strategies De La Cruz’s team—and the representatives of every designer—could implement to help sustain the buzz and produce additional editorial focusing on the collection, beyond the show:
The fashion industry is definitely a difficult one to survive in. However, with the right plan and appropriate PR strategies, a brand can go from unknown to viral.
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