Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, is making bold pronouncements about his company. One wonders if he has gone too far in consigning competitors like Disney to the margins. There is confidence and there is hubris. It might be hard to tell the two apart. Overall, it is smarter to maintain a sense of caution when communicating about the future. No one knows what will happen and the best plans get derailed. That is not to say Netflix is in a weak position. It isn't, but even the strongest companies can run into walls they didn't anticipate. Think of General Electric. Think of Sears. Think of Enron. It is best to remember that human planning and foresight are limited. We can't anticipate everything, and even if we did, there isn't much we can do about most of it. A CEO can Continue reading "Whistling"
TV commentators, especially, should be accurate about what they say. Otherwise, this might happen. An African-American analyst for CNN accused her radio host of having white privilege when her unseen interrogator is black himself. It was an embarrassing moment, and there was nothing she could do to backtrack. The host took the opportunity to scold her for making assumptions and then emphasized his point about the need for qualifications to rise in the business. That doesn't mean the CNN analyst was completely wrong about the point she was making but she destroyed its impact and looked stupid as a result. The situation would not have happened if someone had just looked up the host before going on the air with him. No one did. In PR, someone could get fired for a mistake like that.
Guest Post by Heather Caouette
Most companies have gone through them – periods without clear cut news. A product release has been delayed, new customers have paused in the sales pipeline and there are no plans to open a new location anytime soon.
How do you stay relevant and in front of your target audiences when traditional reasons for communicating have temporarily evaporated?
There are several ways to keep your name out there in a manner which continues to build brand equity:
1. Develop a Content Calendar
This is recommended regardless of how much your news is humming. Content calendars help you schedule a steady cadence of materials and avoid the inevitable peaks and valleys. A plan enables you to more effectively leverage evergreen content and make use of it across multiple media venues. This is especially important as companies add additional social channels or other communications outlets. Creating a
No matter how one analyzes Gillette’s controversial new campaign “Is this the best a man can get?” it’s fraught with uncertainties. And it most certainly has further divided an already divided country.
PG&E Corp, a California utility, will shortly file for bankruptcy and might be trapped by global warming. Long-running drought in the state has dried brush and trees along its power lines to the point of tinder. Any sparking from its poles ignites vegetation immediately and causes a wildfire. The company already is being sued for the Camp Fire that burned an entire town and caused a loss of life even though authorities have not yet assigned a cause for the blaze. The CEO has stepped down, and the state has said it won't indemnify the company, which is facing $30 billion in penalties. There is little PG&E can do to get out from under its burden. Clearing trees and brush from around its lines would take years and is an expensive never-ending job. Investors have already largely abandoned the company. There are Continue reading "Trapped"
Android cell phone users sometimes wonder why they can't have right away the most recent version of the software. The reason is that it must be matched and tested in multiple steps before it can be released in new phones. This graphic explains the process in a creative and fun way. It makes a technical process transparent and understandable. It also burnishes the reputation of Nokia by showing the care the company takes to get things right. It is smart PR and one hopes we can see more of it in the future.
I’m proud to announce the availability of The 2018-2019 State of Digital Transformation report.
Now in its fifth year, our annual “State of Digital Transformation” research continues to document the constantly evolving enterprise. As disruptive technologies and their impact on organizations and markets continue to progress, our research aims to capture the shifts and trends that are shaping modern digital transformation.
In 2018, strategic digital transformation is only becoming more pervasive moving beyond IT to impact competitiveness throughout the organization. Budgets are soaring. The list of disruptive technologies on the radar of stakeholders is expanding. Ownership is moving to the C-Suite and managed by cross-functional, collaborative groups. Customer experience (CX) continues to lead digital transformation investments, but as we observed in 2017, employee experience and organizational culture are also rising in importance to empower and accelerate change, growth, and innovation.
This year, it’s clear that digital transformation is
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island has reacted in the only way it can to an embarrassment. It stripped Nobelist James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, of all of his titles. Watson continues to believe and speak out on a non-scientific relationship between DNA and IQ. He says Africans are inferior as a result. It is a racist opinion coming from a person who ought to know better. The faulty logic is not comprehensible in a person of such stature, but he is definite about his thinking. From a PR perspective, Cold Spring Harbor has done all that it can do by disavowing the ideas and taking punitive measures. The distance between the organization and the individual should be enough in time to preserve its reputation. One is left to wonder how an eminent scientist can take such a wrong turn and persist in it.
Could this be the year that ‘voice’ takes over again as Alexa, Google Home or Facebook’s Portal usage becomes more widespread (remember when we used to ‘call’ people on phones) and with podcasts set to go mainstream according to some? A study referenced (improperly indexed by the author) in a VentureHarbour article called “20 Digital Marketing Stats You Need To Know In 2019”, makes the point that nearly 60% of people have started using voice for search in the past year.
The federal shutdown affects the entire region Washington, DC region, hurting our neighbors, friends, and families. Without our federal workforce, local services suffer, national air travel becomes difficult, and our Smithsonian museums and national parks close.
Federal workers have become unwilling pawns. Perhaps most dehumanizing the media and certain politicians relegate these great individuals as a blind number, “800,000 federal workers.” Teaming together, DC photographer Kirth Bobb and me are taking studio portraits of affected federal employees, whether they are furloughed or worse being made to work without pay.
We want to tell their story! Federal workers are real people trying to make ends meet and serve our country.
These studio portraits will surpass the standard evenly exposed shot featured on the average corporate website, and help show the world who these amazing people are. Photos will be shot at the Creative Hands Studio in Washington, DC, which is
Tiffany is practicing smart PR with its pledge to be transparent about the source and preparation of its diamonds. The company understands that its customers don't want to be associated with mines where workers are exploited or from countries where there is strife. So, it is telling everything it can about them and in the process, it is burnishing its image. One wonders why more purveyors of the precious stone haven't done the same. Perhaps they will now that Tiffany has shown leadership. In retrospect, it seems an obvious move, but many good marketing/PR actions seem that way. If it was so apparent, why didn't anyone else think of it a long time ago?
Guest post by Brandon Andersen
Losing a client sucks.
Losing a client because of something you could have easily addressed is worse.
But when it comes to demonstrating actual business results, many agencies scramble to pull together whatever they can to prove success. This often results in showing vanity metrics that don’t tie to bottom line results.
So brands move on to the next agency that promises them something shinier or cheaper.
Are you essential … or a commodity?
Agency life is tough. That one big client you have had for five years and makes up 50% of your business finally decides that the grass is greener on the other side, and they leave.
Or you land a big new client, only to have them jump ship at the end of a short contract for a cheaper agency.
Suddenly, you’re not worried about growing your agency, you’re worried about just
Cattlemen are upset by a new wave of vegetable substitutes for meat, and well they should be. The plant-based food is getting better all of the time and now is nearly indistinguishable from meat. Ranchers are banding together to lobby state legislatures to require labeling laws. They want meat from cattle clearly marked and vegetable-based products assigned a status that is something else. They don't like the competition. It is inevitable, however, that foods like the Impossible Burger 2.0 will cut into red meat consumption. It is better for you. Stock-growers aren't taking the challenge lying down. They have mounted marketing campaigns to tout the quality and taste of red meat, and they are trying to persuade American consumers to put more of it on the table. It used to be their foe was chicken and to some degree pork. They Continue reading "Competition"
It wasn’t very long ago when staying quiet and avoiding controversy were the tried-and-true PR rules for businesses. But the consumer-company relationship is quickly evolving, along with people’s expectations of companies.
A recent study by Clutch shows that 71% of people expect companies to take a stance on social movements.
Because this expectation is so new, many businesses struggle with what to say and when, always being aware of the risks involved.
Best case scenario? They speak out and their stance resonates with the majority of their consumers, resulting in higher revenue, an elevated brand, and greater awareness for the issue.
Worst case scenario? They speak out and their stance alienates consumers to the point of revenue loss and tarnishes their brand.
Staying silent isn’t safe either. Silence might keep the company out of controversary, but if it’s regarding an issue relevant to the company’s brand, it could hurt the
AT&T's rivals are blistering the company for its claim that it has a 5G network. AT&T apparently decided to rebrand its 4G system as 5G without installing the equipment needed for true 5G. To say that is disingenuous is understatement. The phone carrier ought to be ashamed. From a PR perspective, it could be a disaster. It confuses customers and ultimately when real 5G is installed, they will have to upgrade their phones to take advantage of it. In AT&T's defense, there is no industry-wide standard for 5G yet, so claiming it now might not seem so weasel-worded. On the other hand, AT&T is a brand long associated with innovation and pulling such a marketing ploy is out of character. One hopes the company will reconsider what it is doing and back away from the claim until it has the equipment to make it.
The US Army fell short of enlistment goals and is now moving into social media and community relations to fill its ranks. There is no guarantee in a full-employment economy that it will work but the service is emphasizing it has many job categories that do not require time on a front line. It is stressing that military service can pay for a good bit of college. The Army is upbeat about its prospects but reality has a way of crashing through. It will know by mid-year whether it can reach its enlistment goals or not. That is the continuing challenge of an all-volunteer service. In the days of the draft, the Army wasn't as professional as it is now, but it could fill its ranks. No one wants the old days to return but if the military continues to fall short of Continue reading "Will It Work?"
In advance of my February 11 Lightroom workshop, I wanted to share some basic Lightroom videos that show how I approach my post-processing of landscapes. This pond sunset was taken in Phoenix, AZ late last December.
Though the sun was behind a mountain, the clouds were still showing some lovely color, though you could not tell that from the camera’s original interpretation of the picture. This video shows my workflow that produced the above image. If you want to download the original RAW file, you can find it here.
The above Lightroom Landscape Tutorial made with Adobe Lightroom Classic addresses these topics:
And much more.
Take your landscape photos to the next level with my basic Lightroom Landscape Tutorial. Don’t miss my February 11 Lightroom workshop in Arlington, VA.
The post Basic Landscape Continue reading "Basic Landscape Lightroom Tutorial"
President Trump has committed a faux pas by demanding a wall be built across the southern border of the US and leaving no out for himself to preserve his credibility. If he attempts to declare a national emergency, his move will be tested in the courts immediately, and there is little chance of him succeeding. He needs to concede he doesn't have the votes for wall funding and to move on, but he seems unable to do that. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Federal workers are suffering without paychecks and ways to meet rent and mortgages. The affair is a PR nightmare. While Trump is intent on solidifying his conservative base, he is losing moderates, and his chances for reelection in 2020 diminish by the hour. His administration will someday be a case study in how not to manage relations with branches of government and the public.
A weekly annotated curation of significant social web platform developments from the previous week, with links and carping marginalia as needed . . . Posted every Monday morning or thereabouts.
Nothing Last Week
Even software engineers have to take a holiday, so I wasn’t able to find any new social platform update announcements last week (although I did read that the increasingly popular video app TikTok has a ‘lite’ version that is only for consuming rather than making videos — The why not being self-evident.)
Instead, I offer three things: some charts that give hints on what social media strategists should be thinking about in 2019, and links to readings about artificial intelligence (AI) that provide context for what 2019 may see in AI’s integration into social platform functionality.
‘Trust’ Will be Big in 2019
Acquia’s ‘Closing the CX Gap: Customer Experience Trends Report’ concludes that “When it comes to