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Archive for the category “Just Some Thoughts”

Mary J. Blige: More and More Drama

This year, Burger King dropped to the third largest hamburger chain behind Wendy’s and of course, McDonald’s. This drop has caused BK to break into a new marketing campaign to recover their lagging sales. As part of their new marketing campaign, they have enlisted celebrities including Jay Leno, Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara to endorse certain menu items in commercials. The most popular commercial starring David Beckham.

Photo courtesy of theweek.com

Unfortunately, BK seems to have hit a snag in their rebranding trail. In their most recent commercial, BK received some help from the Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul, Mary J. Blige. Considering Mary J. is one of the biggest singers of this generation, that’s not too bad. What is bad, is that BK can make even Mary J.’s loyalist fans turn their backs on her for her singing!

About a week ago, BK released a small clip of the commercial to local TV stations and then posted it on their YouTube channel. In the clip, Mary J. Blige was shown standing on a table singing about the new crispy chicken wrap. The new fried chicken crispy wrap to be exact. Within a few days, the controversy began. Many called the ad racist and stereotypical of the black community.

Fans were hitting up blogs and their social networking accounts to express their disappointment and anger towards Mary J. and the burger chain.  Mary J.’s career was attacked with comments saying how low she’s sunk to get publicity. Other comments questioned her morals in signing on to do a controversial ad such as this one. While Mary J. was getting backlash from fans, BK was taking a hit from fans, customers, critics, advertising experts and everyone else who had an opinion.

Photo courtesy of eurweb.com

Last week, the ad was removed from TV and the Internet. While most say the ad was removed because of the backlash, BK citied “music licensing problems” as the reason. After the video was removed, Mary J. finally released a statement to address the controversy. She had a slightly different view on what happened with the ad:

I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip, so I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw to go out.

OK. BK says their having licensing problems and Mary J. says the spot was unfinished and that she would have never approved it…

So clearly there were some communication issues with the releasing of this ad. You would think BK’s marketing team would make sure everything was settled and approved before releasing a video that connects their brand and a big name artist such as Mary J.

Burger King eventually released a statement the same day and go as follows:

We would like to apologize to Mary J. and all of her fans for airing an ad that was not final. We know how important Mary J. is to her fans, and we are currently in the process of finalizing the commercial. We hope to have the final ad on the air soon.

Connecting to the younger generation seems to be the route for a lot of fast-food chains. We have McDonald’s trying to use Twitter to connect and failing completely, not to mention they also have questionable commercials showing African-Americans singing about chicken nuggets.

These brands need to take a step back and educate themselves. With the help of social media, this generation has the power to damage a brand and its reputation, which shouldn’t be taken lightly. You can’t just jump in and hope you float. Learn how our generation communicates so that you can effectively join the conversation at the right time with the right tools.

For more on the story check out this article on Yahoo!News.

Google’s At It Again…

Photo courtesy of prdaily.com

Google is always evolving and as a result, we’re always learning so we can keep up. Well, now Google has created a new feature that may have PR professionals left in the darkness. According to Michael Sebastian’s article, “3 Ways to Prepare for the Changes to Google Search .” Google’s revamped “search results, and the changes will likely affect brands.” Now when users search for certain things, the direct answer will show up on the search results page. The new search method is aimed to keep more people on Google’s page rather than sending them to other pages.

So how can PR professionals and their brands survive the change? Follow the three tips from Nick Papagiannis, director of interactive/search at Cramer-Krasselt, below:

1)      Start monitoring search results more closely. Brands should keep a constant eye on where their brand shows up in the search  results. This is important to monitor because Google’s information may begin to crowd out the official websites of brands.

2)      Consider investing more money in paid searches. Paid searches are the results at the side or top of a Google results page. Papagiannis said companies may want to invest more in this component of their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

3)      Use the changes as an impetus to build a dedicated search team. The best way to monitor these changes is with a dedicated search team. If the new Google results kick out negative information about a client, or push websites further down the page, this team can respond quickly.

While no word has been said about when the changes will take place, at least now you have a starting point.

So what does this say about Google and their ‘neutral search engine’ title? Is it greedy for Google to want just a little more love?

Let me know!

Check out my blog post on the Susan G. Komen crisis and join the conversation!

emupublicrelations

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is not only the nation’s largest breast cancer charity but one of the most well-known and well-loved nonprofit organizations. So what’s got its longtime supporters quitting the race and calling them a disgrace? Read on.

On Tuesday, January 31, 2012, Planned Parenthood broke the news that the Komen Foundation would be cutting their funding to their Planned Parenthood affiliates. The $680,000 in funding being cut would have been used by Parenthood to provide breast cancer screenings for 170,000 low-income women. Komen then revealed that the new policies they were putting in place would not allow them to fund any organizations under investigation. Planned Parenthood, the country’s most prominent sexual and reproductive health care provider, is currently in the middle of an investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-FL regarding government money possibly being spent on abortions.

Background Bit: Last December, rumor spread that Komen and Planned Parenthood were in…

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The Cover Page to Your Brand’s Story

Photo courtesy of Facebook

Since Chapter 12 of “Engage!” focused on companies creating their online identity, I thought Christine Erickson’s article, “20 Facebook Page Cover Photos to Inspire Your Brand,” would be a nice follow-up blog topic. Facebook recently unveiled the new Timeline for brands and companies are wasting no time in implementing new strategies. Now, when a potential consumer goes to a brand’s Facebook, their first impression of the brand is going to be their cover picture, right? Yes, so that means companies now have another opportunity to make a social media impression. Companies have to ask themselves: What do we want to show our page visitors in the first 45 seconds we have their attention? While the timeline cover photo is not the most important thing to a brand’s identity, it can make the difference on whether the viewer is intrigued enough to go further.

These are some of my standouts from the list.

Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola

Photo courtesy of Coldplay

Photo courtesy of Toyota

Photo courtesy of Lexus

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

Photo courtesy of Kate Spade

Photo courtesy of Sports Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty cool pictures, right? Tell me your favorite in the comments.

My message to the brands out there: Get creative and make those 45 seconds count!

 

China to Apple: Pay Up!

Came across an interesting article about the Apple Ipad …Pad?

Photo courtesy of techcrunch.com

So what’s going on:

Apple is currently in a dispute with Chinese company Proview, over the ‘iPad’ trademark. In 2001, Proview trademarked ‘iPad’ in several countries before Apple bought it from them in 2009 for $55,000. Proview is now demanding $2 billion from Apple in compensation.

What the companies have to say:
  • Proview claims that the complete sale of the trademark to Apple was not authorized, but Apple has documentation refuting that claim.
    • Although Apple does have documentation, they still may have made a mistake. There are two Proviews: Proview (Shenzhen) and Proview (Taiwan). It seems that Apple may have bought the trademark from Proview (Taiwan) when Proview (Shenzhen) is the company that actually owns it. If this is the case, then Apple has potentially juiced themselves of billions of dollars.
  • After the case being suspended in China, Proview has moved the case to the California courts.
    • Now they are claiming that Apple approached them as a fake company called IP Application Development Ltd., or IPAD. It is under this name that Apple supposedly applied for the ‘iPad’ trademark to be used as an abbreviation of the company name. If this is true, Apple could lose their rights to sell iPads in China, a huge market for them.
  • Apple is turning the tables and going after Proview for defamation and copy infringement.

This story sheds light on the other crisis Apple is currently facing in China regarding the working conditions of its Foxconn factories in correlation to the string of employee suicides. You can read more about that crisis here.

Proview IPAD (Photo courtesy of allthingsd.com)

My thoughts:

It seems like Proview may be regretting their earlier decision to sell the trademark for a few thousand when it has generated millions for Apple. I mean, I can’t blame them for trying to make up some (well all) of the money they lost but it just looks desperate now that it’s eight years later.

Now, if Apple really did use a fake company name to buy the trademark, then that’s even worse. Apple just beat out Google for the #1 spot of ‘Most Respected Brand,” so something like this would definitely bring some negativity to their title. This could result in losing their China market, which would definitely negatively impact their sales. This just shows that you have to honest from the very beginning because the truth will eventually show its face.

Not to mention the potential that they may have been the ones who made the mistake of buying from the wrong company. As I mentioned above, they’re already facing a crisis in China and it doesn’t seem to be getting them anywhere positive. I guess I’m just surprised that all of sudden Apple is attracting negative publicity.  Has their PR team been slacking all these years and we just haven’t seen it or does China just want to take a big bite out of Apple this year?

Another great question is: will Apple settle or ride it out to the very end?

Hear What the Veteran Has to Say

If you’re into technology news and updates, you should definitely follow Tech Crunch. They update continuously and the articles are always pretty interesting.

OK, now on to an article that caught my eye. It’s called, “From College to Silicon Valley: Tips From a Veteran” by Pedram Keyani. I believe the primary audience is college students with engineering and other technical experience; however, the information in the article can be applied to other areas.

Photo courtesy of techcrunch.com

As the title hints to, the article is about making the transition from college life to the business world. I’ll begin with an interesting statement.

 Companies, like people, have distinctive personalities.

I thought this was a good mindset to have during the job search. The author explains that just like you don’t get along with every personality, you may not be compatible with every company that offers you a job. Keyani really stresses the importance of the fit between you and a company. It’s the same mindset I had when picking out a college.

The next piece of advice the author gives is to sample the buffet. What surprised me is that Keyani said you should never intern in the same place. I thought that if an internship went well and continued to go well, you would have a better chance of moving up in the company. It does make sense when the author considers internships as appetizers. Basically, you should try ‘mini-servings’ and get as well-rounded as you can as far as experiences and skills.

Another really important tip was about the negotiation part of a job interview. A lot the time we may be too intimidated to ask about the offer or not even thinking about it. It’s a natural feeling, but the author says you should be prepared for it any way. Another thing is that you should never just throw out a number, especially if you don’t have any prior experience with negotiating. Tell the employer that you haven’t thought of any specific amounts but would like to see what they have to offer. Just be sure to listen for the keywords, “Our final offer.”

Photo courtesy of readersandrootworkers.org

The last one I will share involves the first 100 days of the job. The author states that there will be difficulties and you will make mistakes, but you have to look ahead. Keyani actually suggests talking to a mentor or manager about the issues they came across on their first job. I think this is a great idea because more than likely they have plenty of experience to give.

Overall, I thought it was a cool article with good advice that can be modified to fit any career. On that note, I will leave you with an encouraging quote:

Instead of agonizing over your stumbles, focus on doing what you enjoy and give it your very best shot.

Who Run the World? Women!

I have to say, I was really excited to find this blog. It’s one of the first blogs I began following after I created my own blog. I came across it while doing research on a product and I just loved the content. The womeninpr blog was created to help empower women practitioners in the field. They offer plenty of resources for people just starting their career and even some resources for those with experience. As a young woman looking to break into the field, this blog serves as a nice ‘starter up’ manual. The blog doesn’t clearly state who the creators are, but looking around the site you can see that several women contribute to the discussion. The two that stand out to me are the Wright sisters, owners of YES Productions & Concierge, and Danita King, principal and founder or PR Noir. The Wrights and King all seem pretty established, but they also make the point that they are continuously learning and growing in the field. I think it’s this reason why the information on this blog is so relevant to people who may just be starting out.

Photo courtesy of twimg.com

In Chapter 4 of “Engage!”, Brian Solis said that a, “blog is your hub for demonstrating expertise, sharing vision…and hosting dialogues to further the company’s values and principles.” He went on to say, “It requires continuity, cadence, and a voice that readers can connect with.”  I think this blog is a great example of that. Womeninpr is updated 2-3 times every two days, which is surprising to me compared to other blogs I’ve seen. It’s a great routine that I think users have come to appreciate.  Sometimes they are written by one of the women in PR and other times they’re written by guest bloggers like Abbi Whitaker, president and founder of Abbi Public Relations. The topics range from general PR topics like the Jan. 31 post of, “10 Ways to Build Strong Relationships with Bloggers and Reporters,” to various entertainment PR topics such as the Feb. 10 post of, “How to Begin a Career in the Entertainment Industry.” The topics are pretty relevant and will still be when I begin my career, so the information is very helpful.

A majority of the topics posted in the last week have dealt with the entertainment industry and working as a publicist, which is probably why I like the blog so much. I would like to work in entertainment PR, so it’s awesome to read insightful blogs from people who know the field.  Another great thing about the blog, is that the posts are pretty conversational. An example of a conversation blog I read is the Feb. 3 blog post, “Celebrity Representation.” The author talks about the top celebrities they would and wouldn’t want to represent. They used their own commentary which made it seem like you were just having a conversation with a friend. Even if you’re not looking to work in entertainment, the wide variety of topics can still be useful to any PR student or newcomer. Solis says, “The best corporate blogs are genuine and designed to help people.” I think this blog does a good job of helping and being genuine with its relevant and conversational content.

With such regular updates, I was happy to find that they had an archive at the bottom of the page. There was also a calendar that highlighted days that blogs were posted as well as a ‘recent posts’ section. It makes it very easy for people new to the site to navigate to earlier posts. They also have their Twitter and Facebook feed along the sides of the page to keep readers updated on all fronts. I also loved that the blog had a links page. The links included press release distribution sites, related blogs, among other cool resources to know about.

Engagement wise, the blog does a pretty good job of responding to commenters. Even the guest bloggers respond in the comments, so that’s nice. Overall, I think the blog is a good resource for students in PR, especially those going into the entertainment industry.

Where They Went Wrong…

I came across an interesting article on Clinkz.com that related back to Chapter 3 of Brian Solis’s book, “Engage.” The article highlighted the five biggest mistakes businesses make when using social media in marketing. I wasn’t surprised to find that every one of the mistake identified had been brought up in my social media class and Solis’s book.

The first thing that caught my attention was that the author brought up the major difference between traditional marketing and social media marketing that companies seem to forget.

“It involves speaking with people instead of at people.”

This is the biggest issue with some companies who try social media; they don’t understand the ‘social’ aspect. All they see is another easy way to bombard a large audience with more of their ads and specials. Solis mentions in his book that social media backfires on so many companies because they don’t take the time to recognize the difference between mail advertisements and Twitter. Until companies realize understand that difference they won’t see the true benefits of a powerful tool like social media.

Photo courtesy of jonhoward.typepad.com

While some companies are having difficulties understanding social media, there are plenty of companies who have done the research and are doing well. Let’s take a look at the top mistakes of companies who don’t do their homework and what the article suggests to fix it:

5. Talking at People and Broadcasting Versus Engaging – Don’t just follow the conversations, initiate them.

4. The “If You Build It They Will Come” Mentality – Just because you join, doesn’t mean they’ll come running. “Create a plan to attract and retain them.”

3. Obsessing Over How Many Fans/Friends/Followers You Have – I think this is very common with companies and people in general. A PageLever study showed that only 3 percent to 7.5 percent of Facebook fans actually see your posts. Rather than focusing on how many likes your page has, focus on quality relevant content and moving the engagement up.”

2. Not Being Prepared for Questions or Issues – Most companies wait to be surprised by consumers who actually ask them question or have complaints regarding their products. Don’t be that business. “Make a list of the top 10 questions you’re asked on the phone. Also make a list of the top 10 PR crises that you have had in the past five years. Be prepared to handle these on social networks.”

1. Not Having a Clear Plan – Once again, just having a Facebook page as another place to post ads and things is not going to bring much success. Know who your audience is and target their wants and needs.

Of course there are more mistakes being made, but I think the mistakes discussed in this article are a great starting point.

Cherese

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