Wolfstar has won the UK’s Best Use of Social Media campaign award

This post is by Stuart Bruce from A PR Guy's Musings - Stuart Bruce

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CIPR Best Use of Social Media

We’ve been celebrating in the Wolfstar office today as we’ve just found out that we’ve won the Chartered Institute of Public Relations President’s Grand Prix Award for Best Use of Social Media Award for our campaign to support the global launch of Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1 mobile phone. That makes it officially the UK’s best social media campaign. I didn’t do it on my Wolfstar blog post, but I want to do so here and say a massive thanks to Sony Ericsson for being a brilliant client and being brave enough to not be afraid to push the boundaries of what’s possible with social media and for really ‘getting’ that it’s an integral part of corporate communications strategy. I also want to say an equally massive thanks to the brilliant team that I’m privileged and humbled to have working with me at Wolfstar.

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Where’s Scoble When We Need Him?

This post is by Peter Himler from The Flack

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I'm dumbfounded. It's one thing to keep under wraps or selectively leak tantalizing details about its game-changing, new category-creating tablet, to allow viral buzz grow to deafening volumes.

Yet, here we are at the moment of truth. The time has arrived. It's zero-hour and every media, tech, marketing and business reporter, plus the myriad Apple enthusiasts, and every other gadget guru on this planet (aren't we all) are either witnessing the Steve Jobs-hosted event live in-person, or are sitting in front of their screens desperately trying to soak in the news.

Except one thing: there isn't a single clean video and audio feed of this monumental media event. WTF! I'm confused. Doesn't Apple's vaunted PR team recognize the immeasurable value of feeding video of the launch of its new iPad directly to the rest of us? We'd even accept a single fixed camera!

The seemingly semi-official video stream, from Ustream (pictured above), is being captured on a cell phone, for goodness sake. HuffPost's touted a live video stream, but instead has Leo LaPorte and someone else chatting it up on a talk show set with blurry (but perhaps the best video of the bunch). Engadget has still images and texts. TechCrunch is inaccessible on my iMac. CNN's feed had fits and starts. And the Twitterstream is just that: short text bursts only.

I'm baffled. Didn't Apple learn from rival Google's recent launch of its category-killing Nexus One Andorid phone? If it weren't for Scoble's altruistic video stream for that one, we'd have been lost. Alas, Mr. Scoble is at home at Half Moon Bay with another commitment.

BTW - Glad to have tweeted this a few days ago:

@PeterHimler Some evidence for the name iPad RT @crunchgear Apple further tips its hand about tablet name http://bit.ly/5hEnjO (by @frompkin)

The Socialization of Email Marketing

This post is by brian from Brian Solis

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Follow me on Twitter! Become a fan on Facebook!

It seems that everywhere you turn, businesses, media properties, and brands are asking us to connect with them in the social Web. Whether it’s on TV, in press materials, advertising, or email, brands are vying for our “friendship.”

In July 2009, Bill McCloskey in partnership with StrongMail, analyzed the email marketing campaigns of top brands and how they integrated social profiles into the marketing presentation. McCloskey observed that top brands were reviving email campaigns with the inclusion of links to social profiles, specifically Facebook, Twitter, and also MySpace.

McCloskey reported that top brands such as Nike, Intel, The Gap, Pepsi, Sony, HP, Home Depot, Lane Bryant, Circuit City, Saks Fifth Avenue, Polo Ralph Lauren, Lands’ End, and J.C. Penney included Social Media within email marketing messages. As expected, since 2007, the number of email campaigns that contained links to Facebook and Twitter dramatically increased, becoming the two most prominent links integrated in all email marketing initiatives in 2009. As of June, the number of campaigns that included a link to the branded Twitter account grew to 41,399, with 41,052 for Facebook.

As 2009 gave way to a new decade, the StrongMail team published an updated report, “2010 Marketing Trends.” The survey documented that nine in 10 planned to either increase or maintain their marketing budgets in twenty ten (2010).  And what was at the top of the list? Email marketing… What was second? Social Media…

Reviewing the list of marketing programs that will benefit from increased commitments, it seems that almost every element for generating presence through outbound and inbound marketing is set to expand this year – and most likely over the next several years. The democratization of media and the equalization of influence require brands to reassess their strategies and objectives for earning attention, steering perception, and growing a community of loyal customers and advocates.

Marketing Programs Expected to Receive Increased Budgets

69% – Email marketing

59% – Social media

42% – Search

28% – Advertising

22% – Mobile

21% – Direct mail

20% – Tradeshows and events

19% – Public relations

While marketers believe that customers will increase their spending in 2010, conservative and skeptical executives are also reducing programs that don’t align with adapted ambitions…

The socialization of email marketing will continue to fuse social networks and the inbox until one day, they become one. After all, email is technically the largest, untapped, social network in the world.

According to the report, over 40% of executives plan on integrating social and email marketing in 2010. How that expands beyond the obvious “follow me” or “become our fan” on Twitter and Facebook intrigues me.

Thankfully, StrongMail asked the question that needed to be asked…

Are you planning to integrate Social Media into your email marketing campaigns in 2010?

27% – Yes, we have formulated a strategy and have already implemented our program

24% – Yes, we have formulated a strategy and are researching tools for implementation

18% – Yes, but we don’t know where to start

11% – No, but it sounds intriguing

5% – No, I don’t see the value in integrating email marketing with social media

11% – I don’t know

4% – Other

Once integrated programs are deployed, measurement dictates the future of our social programming. 42% of executives reported a lift in email campaign performance after integrating social and email, 35% realized zero improvement, and 23% aren’t sure how to measure their results.

Clearly, there is room for growth, education, and evolution. Over 50% of marketers believe they are on the right track and already either have plans to execute or directives to discover solutions to place into effect. But again, simply asking people to friend or follow us is not enough. We must convey a sense of purpose and define and spotlight the rewards for clicking through to our points of designation. There must be life beyond the connection. We must package and deliver an experience, cultivated by a series of calls to action. It is through the definition of action that provides us with the foundation to establish and measure activity.

And as we’re already realizing, traditional email isn’t the only form of “email marketing.” Many service providers are automating the ability to mass-broadcast content to the inboxes of fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

With Social Media comes great responsibility…

Sometimes the ability to connect and inspire action is driven less by quantity and cultivated through an informed, targeted, and genuine outreach program where less is indeed more.

Connect with Brian Solis: Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Plaxo, or Facebook

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We are all liberal Conservatives now

This post is by Colin Byrne from Byrne Baby Byrne

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2 months since I blogged. I’m a bad blog-boy. That said, with a busy job and five kids, it is possible to be “too busy to blog”.

 Today’s British Social Attitudes Survey, basically showing that we are more liberal on homosexuality and “living in sin”, but are increasingly seeing ourselves as Conservative sympathizers and don’t want to pay (even) more taxes, is reported by many papers as counter-intuitive. Not to me.

I spent a lot of time around Labour activists and trade union folk in my past. Some were very liberal. Some were verging on homophobic and racist. One gay friend of mine suffered a virtual witch hunt during his Labour selection process. Some of the most illiberal people I have ever known were my Trot fellow travelers in my yoof, who used to describe sex and inter-personal fun as “a diversion from the revolutionary struggle”. Snappy slogan huh?

I know some very liberal Conservatives on private life issues, who are still hawkish on tax and spend. The Left has always confused the stereotype of the Blue Rinse Tory Lady with the reality of changing social attitudes among people whose vote is swayed by issues like crime in their neighbourhoods and how much of their hard earned dosh they get to keep. And by increasing access over the past few decades to higher education. The Turnip Taliban and Little Englanders are still out there, but they are no more representative of the people now considering voting Cameron than Militant were typical of hard working Labour voters twenty years ago.

 David Cameron will want to learn from the “back to basics” mistake and hypocracy of the last Tory PM, John Major.

 One paper notes the liberalising impact of Tony Blair. Quite rightly. As Tony prepares for the Chilcot enquiry and gets skewered in the papers again over his speaker fees, it is surely time to remember that there is more to this great statesman’s legacy than the divisive issue of Iraq. Time for a rehabilitation of Tony I say.  A Blair Revival is overdue.

Behind the Spin, March 2010

This post is by Richard Bailey from PR Studies

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Big Ben There are two themes for the next major update of Behind the Spin (in March).

  • Political communications (guest edited by Darren Lilleker of Bournemouth University), timed for the imminent UK general election. Please contact the guest editor if you're interested in writing on this topic.
  • PR and social media: please contact me (editor@behindthespin.com) with your angle or idea if you'd like to write on this topic.

In addition, we are always looking for news of interest to or from PR students and graduates (news@behindthespin.com), or for book reviews (particularly of recent books covering the two main topics outlined above).

Deadline for articles is end of February.

Photo: Joe Sharp

Adding new depth to communication planning

This post is by Caroline Wilson from GoodGreenPR

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A new guide for communicators produced by the COI would be useful to anyone working in PR wanting to get to grips with how social psychology theory can be incorporated into behaviour change communications.It reviews lots of behaviour change theories from social psychology and behavioural economics and gives practical examples of campaigns which have been guided by these theories.The five step

Facebooking the Flock

This post is by Peter Himler from The Flack

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As few as three or four years ago, the tech cognascenti would have led with today's news that the leader of the Roman Catholic Church is urging priests to blog and embrace digital media. But in today's Twitter time, that was eons ago. Some social media evangelists may still run with this story, just as the AP has, though most will say it pales in comparison to news of the first real tweet from space (or one from President Obama).

Still, the papal digital edict points to more evidence that engaging constituents can no longer take a top-down, pulpit-driven approach, as Josh Sternberg noted in his HuffPost piece on religions' (versus religious) use of social media.

In his message delivered to flag the 44th World Communications Day this May (who knew there was one?), Pope Benedict XVI, now with his own social media-enabled site, said:
"The spread of multimedia communications and its rich 'menu of options' might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web," but priests are "challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources."
The Catholic News Service first flagged the Pope's call to digital arms last September. The Holy See saw (forgive) how other religions, ministries and radicalized religious movements have successfully embraced digital and social communications to re-energize (and re-populate) their respective flocks to evangelize and, for some, terrorize, on their behalf.
"If used wisely, and with the help of experts in technology and communications, the new media can become a valid and effective tool for priests and all pastoral workers for evangelization and communion that are true and full of meaning."
I wish Pope Benedict well in his mission to join the 21st century. With 1.1 billion Catholics worldwide, and just 23,000 of them registered on the largest "Catholic Church" Facebook page I could find, he and his disciples clearly have their work cut out for them.

Superconsumption debate now mainstream

This post is by Caroline Wilson from GoodGreenPR

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Quite a lot of environment campaigns, those run by corporates and even by governments, suggest business as usual is fine, just use a bit less energy.So we can carry on owning a car, just drive it a bit less. We can have a new plasma telly or two, so long as we don't leave them on standby. For many people who are really into climate change thinking, this isn't very convincing, and they're looking

CSR does add to the bottom line

This post is by Caroline Wilson from GoodGreenPR

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A post of a few days ago started with the opposite view, and summarised a point made in an article I was reading.I've not researched it but my gut instinct is that in many cases, good CSR will help a company's financial performance, it's just hard to compare two things you often use different criteria to assess.So it was handy to come across this piece which points to the alternative view - that

Canadian Social Media Wiki

This post is by Boyd Neil from The Intangibles Blog

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My colleague David Jones started a wiki in late 2008 that is intended to be a collegial site in which to share examples of how Canadians are using social media.

Although 57 organizations and consultancies have shared their work, the pace of uploading examples has eased. 'Doctor' Jones as he is known on Twitter has put out a call for Canadian social media professionals to reinvigorate their contributions. I think the wiki is worth reviving, so I am doing my small part to encourage you to do your part.

If all you want to do is review some of the work, take a look at the navigation bar on the left on the wiki.

Reaching out to Generation Connectivity Online

This post is by Kristen E. Sukalac from PR Conversations

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Public administrations have a reputation for inertia, so it’s always refreshing to see innovative counterexamples. The French Office national d’information sur les enseignements et les professions (ONISEP) is tasked by the Ministry of Education to help students, parents and educators to learn about existing professions and various opportunities for training or further studies. ONISEP has been making a number of changes to increase their appeal to a generation of students for whom connectivity is a natural state. This is a great example of knowing your publics and adapting to their needs.


Wispa it quietly

This post is by Richard Bailey from PR Studies

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It's been ironic reading so many positive comments about Cadbury, in a batch of essay assignments, in the week its directors recommended the proposed acquisition of the business by Kraft.

Wispa One comment in particular seems worth revisiting. The now-famous bring back Wispa campaign was cited as a good example of relationship management (in the way the company apparently did a U turn and responded to its customers' wishes). The same campaign is also named by Phillips and Young as a good example of  'groundswell' - using social media channels for campaigning purposes.

What if it's neither of these? What if the bring back Wispa campaign was an example of an old-fashioned PR stunt out of Barnum & Bailey, or from Grunig and Hunt's bad old press agentry/publicity model.

You see, our transparent age of social media is meant to make the old-style PR stunt ineffective (unacceptable too). So it's awkward to find an example of it working so well - and the source of the campaign being able to cover their tracks.

So, based on a nudge and a wink more than hard evidence, I name Borkowski as the PR brains behind the Wispa campaign. (He continues to deny it publicly but he's probably made the commitment to do so to the client). Let's please stop using it as an example of the crowd versus business. It's an example of PR orchestration simulating (and stimulating) public opinion. We think we're so sophisticated, but it seems we're still suckers for the old gags.

Freddie Starr ate my wispa.

Talibans implementing an apparently effective public relations campaign in Afghanistan, reports the New York Times.

This post is by Toni Muzi Falconi from PR Conversations

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This morning’s edition of the New York Times carries on it’s front page an enligthening article by Alissa Rubin on the Taliban’s public relations campaign in Afhganistan, casting a well informed and brilliantly reported portrait of how the Taliban’s are increasing in their effort to gain the support of the people.
In reading the description of the policy paper (code of conduct) and particularly in the sentence ‘Creating a code of behavior is one thing, enforcing it another’, I was instantly reminded by how many times we public relators involved with professional associations around the world have echoed a similar thought.
Very interesting and excellent food for thought.

One-Time Mad Man

This post is by Peter Himler from The Flack

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"Since 2006, one out of every 17 novels bought in the United States was written by James Patterson. He is listed in the latest edition of “Guinness World Records,” published last fall, as the author with the most New York Times best sellers, 45, but that number is already out of date: he now has 51 — 35 of which went to No. 1."
These are remarkable stats from this Sunday's New York Times Magazine profile of the most prolific and successful novelists writing today. Reporter Jonathan Mahler relayed his experience sitting in...
"...on one of Patterson’s regular meetings with Little, Brown to discuss the marketing and publicity for his coming titles. The meeting was held not, as you might expect, at the publisher’s offices in Midtown Manhattan but in the living room of Patterson’s Palm Beach home, a canary yellow Spanish-style house on a small island in Lake Worth."
I did in fact meet James Patterson in his office, but well before his name was synonymous with the beach-reading crowd and well before he lived on a "canary yellow Spanish-style home on a small island in Lake Worth." Don't get me wrong. He was hugely successful at the time and quite well-known in his chosen profession -- just not as a novelist. I found him to be an affable, yet no-nonsense kind of guy.

It was the early or mid-eighties and Mr. Patterson served as chairman of J. Walter Thompson, the venerable advertising agency straight out of "Mad Men." At the time, I was the go-to "back-of-the-book" media relations guy at JWT's sibling PR agency Hill and Knowlton.

I remember being summoned from my cubicle to a meeting in Mr. Patterson's office in the Graybar Building. (So which JWT client had its ass in a sling today? I wondered.) It didn't take long before I learned the real reason for my visit. Jim's new (2nd?) novel was poised to come out and he was thus far non-plussed by the publicity effort. (Who even knew he was novelist?) Apparently, the previous PR guy incurred his wrath and was shit-canned off the project.

We talked for a while during which time I nervously probed him on the book and what he felt was unusual or newsworthy. Out of the blue, he let on that he named all of its characters after his current and former advertising clients. Huh? He proceeded to rattle off the characters' names and their real-life positions.

I loved this, and crafted a note for Richard Johnson, the then newbie editor of the New York Post's "Page Six." The item ran a few days later virtually unchanged.

Mr. Patterson was elated, not because he made New York's most influential gossip column, nor even that book sales perked, but rather because his mother called to say that she saw the item in her hometown newspaper. I guess I earned my keep, though I imagine the author's threshold for PR success sits much higher today.

CSR doesn’t add to the bottom line

This post is by Caroline Wilson from GoodGreenPR

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There's a thought-provoking article about the bid to take over Cadbury and what role its CSR reputation has played in the battle on Ethicalcorp.None really. Mallen Baker writes that despite the good record of Cadbury, all that matters today is how much money is on the table.A reminder to all of us about targeting messages to key audiences and their concerns. And a powerful argument for why good

Deceptive PR Practices

This post is by Peter Himler from The Flack

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That pink sheet for New York's media cognascenti -- The New York Observer -- yesterday published an internal New York Times email sent from standards editor Phil Corbett to the newsroom.

In it Corbett points out the "pitfalls" of quoting "consultants" whose financial ties to a story are murky. He writes:
"This is not a new problem, of course, but it seems to be on the rise. Consulting arrangements and other such deals are more and more common for doctors, academics, former policymakers and other experts. And unfortunately the sources are not usually quick to volunteer that information."
He's right. This is not a new problem. Here's a related post from this blog in 2006. Also, who'll forget how the Bush admin incentivized all those former generals to advocate for its doomed policies?

The practice of retaining "third-party spokespersons" as issues advocates or simply as promoters of commercial products or services remains a mainstay of the PR industry. Geesh. Who didn't think that Polaroid had shuttered its doors until the company last week announced the name of its new creative director -- Lady Gaga? (Nice hair, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta!)

Making celebrity or expert spokespersons available to journalists is not what's at stake here. Rather, it's the opaqueness of these newsmakers' paid affiliations that taints the editorial process and can mislead the public.

We're not talking about Sarah Palin joining the "fair & balanced" network. Everyone knows where she and her new employer stand in relation to the so-called "news" content wafting from FNC into America's living rooms.

This issue really blew up a few years back after some movie star with irritable bowel syndrome began describing her preferred treatment plan live on a network morning show. She was paid by a drug company to do so...without the program's cognisance. The producers went ballistic, and from then on, every talent booker required the publicist to fess up commercial affiliations in advance of the booking.

Still, deception abounds in our industry. We see Exxon Mobil with its massive advertising campaign touring clean energy when it funds lobbyists and organizations that advocate for an extension of the fossil fuel act. Even less consequential consumer product marketers, and their agencies, devise viral-wannabe videos without proper disclosure. And then I wonder whether bloggers and more recently Twitterers will reveal the names of those who pay-for-their- play.

I commend The New York Times for so publicly (re)articulating its policies regarding using "sponsored" sources in its news hole. More importantly, it is up to the PR industry to press harder so that astroturf not be allowed to take root in the everyday conduct of our profession.

Update (January 17) - New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt elaborates further.

Forrester Research’s new Social Technographics ladder

This post is by Stuart Bruce from A PR Guy's Musings - Stuart Bruce

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Forrester Research has released a new version of its Social Technographics ladder to include those who use Twitter and Facebook status updates. The new category, dubbed Conversationalists, are at 33%. At the moment Forrester had just provided figures for the USA and hasn’t updated its Profile Tool.

The other interesting fact about Conversationalists is that they’re 56% female, more than any other group in the ladder. They are also among the youngest of the groups, but 70% are still 30 and over.

What intrigues me is that Conversationalists sit above Critics, which strikes me as odd as the effort required to be a Critic appears to be greater than the effort needed to be a Conversationalist. Hopefully Josh Bernoff will comment to explain the reasoning behind this.

New Forrester Social Technographics Ladder

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Not Ready for PRime Time Players

This post is by Peter Himler from The Flack

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It's natural for us as PR pros to Monday-morning quarterback a prominent PR gaffe. After all, we have the advantage of not being at the table as the beleaguered PR consiglieres assess the myriad mitigating factors that would inform a communications strategy.

As outsiders, we can simply take notice of the ugly aftermath and postulate on how we could have done better. To this I say: maybe, maybe not.

As the first tweets on the Leno affair breathlessly scrolled down the screen of my iMac, I felt compelled to take to the microblogging platform with this:
PeterHimler 1st bit) Leno to work on affiliate relations 2nd) NBC considering re-slotting him 3rd) Leno in, Conan out. NEWS CONDENSED!
6:41 PM Jan 7th from Power Twitter
I found it curious the rapidly evolving and seemingly contradictory positions that emanated from NBC at the outset of this sensational story. It soon became clear (to me, and others I'm sure) that the the network's communications smorgasbord could have benefited from more time in the oven. It emerged uncooked and unready for consumer consumption.

The always astute David Carr, posting on The Times's MediaDecoder blog, opined on the futility of trying to reign in the two conductors who have since commandeered the runaway NBC message train:
"There are some things even the best communications strategy can’t fix and angry-talent-standing-in-front-of-a-pile-of-smoking-rubble-that-used-to-be-a-programming-schedule is one of them."
It elicited this response from a PR consultant who formerly repped NBC (and hopes to again):
"I wouldn’t have any good answers for them. There is a pain threshold here and we moved past that a while ago, but the network can’t muzzle them. The problem is that the carnage just seems to keep coming: Then you guys have things to write about and the hosts things to talk about."
Perhaps. But, in my mind, this is not an issue of muscling in with a message to mollify the men with the microphones. It's an operational issue that NBC should have resolved, but didn't, last decade, and for which it is now paying a dear price -- both to the NBC brand and ultimately Mr. Zucker whose conspicuous absence through this mess is deafening.

Is the communications situation hopeless? It sure seems so, but again, I do think Mr. Zucker could take his head out of the sand to try to silence the schadenfreude crowd with a contrite mea culpa. In the end, however, it'll be a programming solution -- if one can even be found -- not a PR plan, that will put this tempest to bed. Then again, there's Haiti.

Update (January 19) - Jeff Zucker emerges in interviews with New York Times and Charlie Rose.