Imagine that you’re the PR Director for a small, private company that is preparing for its Initial Public Stock Offering and hoping to secure the attention of institutional investors. What would constitute a home run is a glowing, front page article in the Wall Street Journal touting the numbers and the euphoria surrounding the next most anticipated Wall St. debut since Facebook. Today, it happened. Twitter, the latest social media darling received a glowing endorsement from corporate news editor Dennis Berman. The numbers appear to add up and seem rather convincing if you believe his analysis. Certainly some investors don’t share this enthusiasm, particularly after the miserable stock performance of Facebook following its own IPO. However, the significance of this positive news article in arguably one of the nation’s most respected business newspapers can’t be overlooked. What do you think is the value of this single article?
An essential element of PR planning involves research. Primary and secondary sources of information are helpful in setting benchmarks for PR plans in order to effectively evaluate the success of your PR efforts. When evaluating products or services or even new ideas, a new business trend dubbed “crowdsourcing” has appeared. A cross between brainstorming and croudsourcing, it is a new method of quickly testing ideas with a large number of people. Consider this article about crowdsourcing. The authors claim that this new method is the future of innovation, ideas and problem solving. In their recent book, Crowdstorm, they lay out a compelling case for getting advice from the smartest people in the crowd. It’s worth a look.
Rats in Manhattan: “Peoples nightmares are a good day for us.”
Hurricane Sandy brought out the rats. According to this CNN story, the floodwaters in New York subways drove these underground residents out of their homes and into the city: http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_t2#/video/us/2013/02/20/tsr-rats-invade-ny-post-sandy.cnn
The county health department, city officials, residents, local business owners and pest departments all have something different to say. For pest control companies, one owner put it this way: “Peoples nightmares are a good day for us.”
This was a PR opportunity for entrepreneurial companies who want to get featured in the news. Business is booming and one way to take advantage of the news cycle is to promote your services when the opportunity presents itself.
Another example is when the maker of Oreo cookies tweeted a response to the temporary power blackout at the recent Superbowl, “you can still dunk in the dark,” and almost immediately tens of thousands of followers retweeted the message earning instant media attention.
Can you think of any other recent examples of businesses taking advantage of current events?
Men Gab More Than Women on Cell Phones
One new study reveals some interesting data about cell phone usage, particularly by men. Click here. The data reveals some interesting tidbits, particularly that men talk longer and speak faster than women. While this has huge ramifications for mobile commerce, it presents some interesting opportunities for marketers who want to attract and or influence mobile phone users. Perhaps all those gender based assumptions we make have been wrong all along! This presents an opportunity for PR people and numerous related tech businesses. What do you think?
Reading for the News vs. Reading for Pleasure
I love to read. A time-honored tradition in my home growing up was reading the San Jose Mercury News daily newspaper. I watched my parents do it and enjoyed reading it to stay abreast of current news. This habit branched into a love for reading short stories from the Reader’s Digest Magazine and Condensed Books. I still enjoy pleasure reading and staying current about the news. As I examined my daily media habits today, none of my choices involve the printed newspaper. Nowadays I used various aggregator tools such as Google Reader, FlipBoard and online newspapers such as the Columbian, USA Today and various customized news sources to stay up to date. On my drives around town I listen to music and National Public Radio. I also enjoy reading various excerpts from the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, news magazines and online regional business journals. As a bit of a news junkie, I will read catch up on news excerpts or breaking news on my iPad or iPhone from sources such as the NY Times, Yahoo! and more. When I watched this video about a baby mistaking a magazine for an iPad, I laughed out loud.
Then I wondered, what are young people reading, if anything, today? This recent survey gave me some hope that Millenials, in particular are still engaged. See here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/gofigure/2012/05/02/151547286/millennials-and-print-newspapers-a-surprising-story
This made me think about what my own children are learning from my example. They don’t see me read a printed newspaper or magazine. Do they wonder if I’m playing games on my electronic devices? If the perception (or reality) is that “you are what you eat,” can it be true that “you are what you read?” In an election year (and soon-t0-be-aired Summer Olympics), it seems to me that people are more engaged. It makes me realize the power of PR to influence the media and what we hear, watch and read. Where do you get your news?
A few years ago I was in the mode of shopping for a new car: a MINI Cooper. Suddenly, I noticed how many MINI Coopers were sharing the road with me. This concept, known to researchers as “selective attention,” refers to our brains hardwired tendency to focus on one thing at a time. A fascinating article in the Wall St. Journal discusses this idea further by relating it to listening in on select conversations during cocktail parties or even talking on the cell phone vs. talking to a passenger while driving an automobile. Relatively few members of the population are effective at multitasking (2.5 percent) and even students who are using Facebook in school classes are not learning effectively–which bring consequences when it comes time for exams. For marketers and PR people, it means we rarely have someone’s undivided attention. What does it mean for you?
Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?
Just finished a very interesting article from Atlantic Magazine, that not only has implications for marketers and public relations people, but perhaps is a more telling commentary on the state of human relationships. Naturally, the conclusion among researchers is that the technology does not make us more lonely, but it is how we use these tools. There is some fascinating research about social and human interaction that speaks directly to the issue of loneliness and the feeling of connectedness. I’m particularly interested in this subject since I have felt that Facebook legitimizes narcissism. What do you think?
The Hacker Way
In the wake of the anticipated $5 billion Initial Public Stock Offering (IPO) for Facebook, a revealing portrait of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s management and company philosophy is found in an open letter to future stockholders found here: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2012/02/01/text-of-mark-zuckerbergs-ipo-letter.html?page=all
The letter is alternatively forward thinking and snarky. Perhaps his mantra that “done is better than perfect” symbolizes his engineering-focused rule of computer programmers. Their stated company code to break it down and reinvent, otherwise known as the “hacker way,” seems troubling because of what it does not say. I did not find a long-term philosophy about building a great company. Perhaps this is an archaic business philosophy in a world where get-rich dot-com companies come and go. As a potential investor, I did not find anything reassuring about the company’s attempt to protect consumer privacy or to provide a long-term return on investment for shareholders. Does this sound like a nurturing place to work or one in which confrontation rules and no-holds-barred engineering trumps the value of the people who work there. What do you think?
Emotional Vacancy–and other problems with e-mail
Ever try to communicate sarcasm, friendship or affection via e-mail? How about being corrected for misbehavior by a supervisor via an e-mail exchange? The problem is that e-mail is a poor communications tool that lacks the subtlety and formality of face-to-face communication. Without proper tone or the nuances of body language, sometimes there is a gap in communication. A recent study summarized in this article: http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/communication-mistakes-every-office-makes-alana-horowitz explains some of the inherent problems with the misuse of e-mail. Afterall, it’s difficult to listen to someone via e-mail. What do you think?