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Online Makeover: As Technology Changes, So Should Your Web Site. Article from PR News dated September 20, 2010 featuring Chris Gee, Managing Director of Proof Integrated Communications.

Online Makeover: As Technology Changes, So Should Your Web Site. Article from PR News dated September 20, 2010 featuring Chris Gee, Managing Director of Proof Integrated Communications.

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    Online Makeover: As Technology Changes, So Should Your Web Site Online Makeover: As Technology Changes, So Should Your Web Site Document Transcript

    • September 20, 2010 prnewsonline.com Issue 36 Vol. 66 Contents Digital PR Branding Pop Quiz Test Your Media Relations Mojo 3 Online Makeover: As Technology Case Study Insects, Influencers Drive Rebranding Image Patrol Charts Target vs. PG&E 4 6 Changes, So Should Your Web Site Tip Sheet Writing vs. Reporting More premium content at PR News’ Subscriber Resource Center 8 Public relations agency Cohn set about a total overhaul of brand, “they are & Wolfe had had it with its cohnwolfe.com, one that would now also part of a growing com- adapted for use, making whole- Web site. Its bland, static pres- make it stand out from the plex ecosystem of digital and sale changes to a Web site, ence didn’t quite communicate competition. social properties,” he continues, which often includes cumber- C&W’s year-old messaging That’s a move that’s which necessitates changes. some content management that touts the agency as bold becoming common across “A few years ago site visi- and back-end systems, can be and innovative. “Our site industries and organizations, tors were encouraged to click difficult. didn’t say that at all,” says Jill says Chris Gee, managing into a site and stay there,” says Tannenbaum, chief marketing director of Proof Digital Gee. “Today they may stay for CYBER TRENDS officer at Cohn & Wolfe. So Media, the interactive arm of a while, but they can also go In thinking about making those the New York-based agency Burson-Marsteller. join a conversation about your changes, however, it’s important “What’s happening is that brand somewhere outside of to note key trends that have organizations are starting to the site.” taken hold in the interactive ( DID YOU KNOW? ) reevaluate their Web sites,” says The problem for organiza- world, according to Gee. They Gee. Because while sites are still tions, says Gee, is that while include: Seven Things You Will the digital centerpiece of the today’s social tools are easily Page 2 Learn in This Week’s Issue of PR News 1. Target’s political donation to Image Patrol BY KATIE PAINE an anti-gay gubernatorial can- Target Is Anything But On, While didate got the company into a heap of controversy. (p. 1) Post-Explosion, PG&E Does Its Best 2. If your bounce rate is 70% or more, you need a better Web site. (p. 2) 3. A new study of minority As a continuous student of nished by a $150,000 political versial Supreme consumers shows the need for crises, it still amazes me when donation to anti-gay conserva- Court ruling companies to develop commu- companies don’t learn from tive Minnesota gubernatorial that allowed corporations to nity CSR and cause-marketing their peers’ mistakes. When candidate Tom Emmer, I was be treated as citizens. While programs. (p. 3) the egg recall crisis began this stunned. Up until this summer, Target quickly saw the error of 4. For its rebranding campaign, past summer, I wasn’t at all Target has managed to avoid its ways and issued an apology, Grasshopper spent nearly surprised to find notorious all the anti-big box controversy in this case, “we’re sorry” wasn’t $19,000 on the production of a Don Decoster, owner of the egg that plagues its rival Wal-Mart enough. showcase video. (p. 4) farm currently under inves- by essentially following the Target customers turned to 5. One person gets credit for tigation, in the headlines. He classic crisis avoidance rule: their social networks to get the popularizing pitching the media ran a scandal-plagued chicken don’t do stupid things, and word out, with nearly 100,000 via Twitter (p. 5) farm in Maine that I covered in if you do and get caught, do people becoming fans of mul- 6. PG&E established a $100 mil- these pages back in 1997, ques- something to make it right. tiple Boycott Target pages lion victim compensation fund tioning whether the Decoster Through corporate donations on Facebook and some 1.3 after a gas-pipe explosion in brand would survive. It hasn’t and policies, Target has culti- million watching the “Target California. (p, 7) in fact—the Decoster brand vated a hip, gay-friendly image, Ain’t People” YouTube video 7. Good reporting by PR pros disappeared shortly thereafter, and the donation was inconsis- (http://www.youtube.com/ makes content more relevant replaced with a series of benign tent with that image. watch?v=9FhMMmqzbD8). and compelling to target audi- sounding corporate brands. Adding fuel to the fire, the Protestors demanded that ences. (p, 8) So, when the seemingly donation was the most visible Target either take the money invincible Target brand was tar- early test of last winter’s contro- Page 6 ©2010 Access Intelligence LLC. Federal copyright law prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means and imposes fines of up to $100,000 for violations.
    • ISSN 1546-0193 Web Site Makeovers Editor, Scott Van Camp, Page 1 212.621.4693, svancamp@accessintel.com Managing Editor, Greer Jonas 212.621.4876 Mobile is booming. “IPads, won its share of Webby awards. From the research came a Editorial Director, Steve Goldstein, Androids and iPhones Incorporating ideas from goal: Visitors should be able to 212.621.4890, sgoldstein@accessintel.com Contributing Editor, Jessica Clegg, are forcing organizations both the agency and Sennep, find information in three clicks 212-621-4626, jclegg@accessintel.com to think about how they the new site certainly pushes or less. The new site divides up Events & Special Projects Manager, Regina D’Alesio, 212-621-4940, rdalesio@accessintel.com develop Web content,” says the creativity envelope both in members’ interests into four Director of Circulation Marketing, Carol Brault Gee. “Before, our clients design and content, including distinct quadrants, with plenty 301-354-1763, cbrault@accessintel.com would make the Web site the features such as: of cross links, adds Thomas. Director, Marketing Communications, Amy Jefferies, ajefferies@accessintel.com No. 1 priority, with mobile The result? Lots of compli- Art Director, Tracey Lilly second. Now they’re asking animation videos. ments and numbers that tell VP/Group Publisher, Diane Schwartz themselves if their CEO will the story (see the table for pre- 212.621.4964, dschwartz@accessintel.com Division President, Heather Farley be viewing the site on his “sameness” of communica- and post-launch metrics). President & CEO, Don Pazour iPad.” tions agencies. But when do you really PR News ADVISORY BOARD Flash may be fading. “With - know when your brand’s digital Paul A. Argenti - Tuck School of Business mobile growing, Flash is tive headshots revealing two face needs uplifting—or a Ned Barnett - Barnett Marketing Communications Neal Cohen - APCO taking a big hit. There’s a sides of the agency’s culture. transplant? Here are some tell- Carol Cone - Edelman Peter Debreceny - Gagen MacDonald seismic shift in terms of way tale signs from Gee: Chris Hammond - Wells Fargo we’ve thought about interac- “There’s really nothing Mike Herman - Communication Sciences Mike Paul - MGP & Associates PR tive and rich media content,” on the site that’s the same as Deborah Radman - Senior PR Consultant Brenda C. Siler - Best Communication Strategies says Gee. before,” says Tannenbaum. or over, you’re in trouble. Helene Solomon - Solomon McCown & Co. Social is sizzling. “More That’s because Sennep is used “There’s no value there,” says Mark Weiner - PRIME Research Mary Wong - Office Depot sites are integrating social to pushing boundaries, says Gee. PR News BOARD OF CONTRIBUTORS media, with Facebook ‘Like’ Stuart Jackson, a partner at Dave Armon - Context Optional buttons, for instance,” he Sennep. “Visitors to a Web navigation tool on your site. Andy Gilman - CommCore Consulting Bruce Jeffries-Fox - Jeffries-Fox Associates says. “Content like press site are inherently lazy—they Angela Jeffrey - VMS Richard Laermer - RLM Public Relations releases and corporate blogs don’t like to read much,” says offered in Flash. “It will be Richard Levick - Levick Strategic Comms Ian Lipner - Lewis PR/YoungPRpros integrate one-click ‘chiclets’ Jackson. “We wanted to present invisible to search engines, Katie Paine - KDPaine & Partners to share that content virally. content in easily digestible indexing and mobile plat- Rodger Roeser - Justice & Young Lou Thompson - Kalorama Partners This has caused a change in way to get flavor of company forms,” says Gee. PRN Reid Walker - Lenovo Tom Martin - College of Charleston mind-set, as these tools take without making them read the visitor away from the three graphs of text.” [Editor’s Note: Take the PR Group Subscriptions - Carol Brault, Web site.” News/BurrellesLuce Social 301.354.1763; cbrault@accessintel.com Customization is king. NAVIGATION Media Management survey Additional Copies & Article Reprints - “Sites now allow visitors to Making the content easy to at prnewsonline.com/studies/ Contact Dani Rose at 800-290-5460 x.139; prnews@theygsgroup.com customize content, so they find is another key goal, says survey/50/. For more articles can dictate what they want Mark Thomas, managing on digital PR, visit the PR News to see, and when,” says Gee. director of marketing com- Subscriber Resource Center at munications at the National prnewsonline.com/subscriber_ Published weekly by Access Intelligence, LLC 4 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville, MD 20850 But for organizations like Shooting Sports Foundation resources.html.] Client Services: Cohn & Wolfe, a change was (NSSF). The Newtown, Conn.- Phone: 888.707.5814 Fax: 301.309.3847 e-mail: clientservices@accessintel.com necessary, and a big change at based nonprofit did a stake- New York Editorial Office: that. Creativity and innova- holder survey about the site, CONTACT: 110 William St., 11th Floor, New York, NY 10038 tion were the hallmarks of the and found that while visitors Jill Tannenbaum, jill. Phone: 212.621.4875 Fax: 212.621.4879 redo. “For that, we didn’t go liked the content, they couldn’t tannenbaum@cohnwolfe.com; Subscription/Renewal Coupon to a big digital agency,” says easily find it. “You launch a Chris Gee, chris.gee@proofic. I want to subscribe to PR News for $797/ Tannenbaum. Instead C&W site, and you notice that it com; Stuart Jackson, info@ year or $1,494/2 years, and receive weekly issues plus unlimited access to the online turned to Sennep, a small starts to look like a house with sennep.com; Mark Thomas, premium content and archives. London digital shop that has additions,” says Thomas. mthomas@nssf.org Name:____________________________________ Title: _____________________________________ Organization:_______________________________ Address: __________________________________ National Shooting Sports Foundation Web Site Makeover—Before and After City: ______________ State: ____ ZIP: __________ Year-To-Date Monthly YTD Phone: ________________ Fax: _______________ Aug. 2010 Aug. 2009 YTD 2010 YTD 2009 Email: ____________________________________ Comparisons Difference % Difference I want to renew my $797 or $1,494 subscrip- Total Visits 359,203 213,611 68.16% 2,934,483 1,833,528 60.05% tion to PR News. My account number is: _____________________________________ Total Pages Viewed 449,843 194,776 130.95% 3,220,327 1,734,517 85.66% Charge my Card No.__________________________ Unique Visitors 215,630 114,720 87.96% 1,716,444 1,037,946 65.37% Exp. _________ Signature: ___________________ Return Visitors 39,265 24,659 59.23% 321,037 208,158 54.23% Check enclosed (Payable to Access Intelligence, LLC) In MD add 5% tax. Postage and processing add/yr: Average Time On Site 0:08:47 0:12:43 -30.93% 0:11:03 0:11:49 -6.49% $20 within U.S., $99 outside U.S. Fax to 301.309.3847 Single Page Visits 73,624 43,967 67.45% 491,721 349,198 40.81% For subscribers only: full access to PR News article archives at www.prnewsonline.com 2 prnewsonline.com | 9.20.10
    • Quick Study CSR Important to Minority Consumers; Orgs Lag in Measuring Productivity; CMO and Corp Comm Fissure Do-Gooder Brands: A study firms. Other findings from the Bad Alignment: More by VanguardComm finds and African-Americans, study include: that one-third of Hispanic and respectively, agreed that very do not see full alignment African-American consumers few brands and companies between marketing and cor- almost always choose brands genuinely care about the state to reach full productivity porate communications, says because they come from com- of their communities. a survey of CMOs released panies with strong CSR and Source: VanguardComm of employees from high- by The CMO Club and Hill cause-marketing programs performing firms said this & Knowlton. Other findings they believe in—compared to Employee Measurement: include: just one in five non-Hispanic According to a study of - whites. Other findings include: high- and low-performing low-performing firms. munications plan helps: organizations issued by the The Institute for Corporate many companies don’t track in place report being “fully and African-American Productivity time to full productivity. - respondents, respectively, Only about six out of 10 panies that only communi- agreed with the statement low-performing organizations organizations use this metric, cate on an ad hoc basis. “companies that make sin- report that employees often and high performers are no cere efforts to be part of the remain in positions after their more likely to use it than the metrics and rewards systems Hispanic/African-American productivity has begun to wane. average company. community deserve my loy- The same is true for only a fifth Source: i4cp Source: The CMO Club/Hill & alty.” of those from high-performing Knowlton PR News Pop Quiz: Time to Test Your Media Relations Mojo Think you know everything there is to know about journalists, publications and media outreach tactics? PR News asked the team at New York- and San Francisco-based Access Communications, which specializes in media relations, to seriously test your knowledge of all things media relations. (Answers on page 5.) True or False Multiple Choice 10. Which topic is not addressed under the 2009 FTC guidelines concerning 1. The New York Times currently 7. How many outlets comprise the blogger engagement and the use of devotes a section of its online site AP Network, the Holy Grail of endorsements and testimonials? to NYC citizen journalism. syndication? a. Definition of endorsement a. 500 2. The Financial Times has a standard b. False or unsubstantiated statements editorial calendar copy deadline of b. 30,000 c. Disclosure of material connections 30 days. c. 5,000 d. Historical relationships d. 15,000 3. In 2009, more than 350 magazines closed up shop. 11. Which of the following publications 8. Which of the following outlets no longer appears in hard copy? 4. It is not an accepted practice to currently accepts nonexclusive a. PC Magazine send pitch material to more than embargoes? one reporter at MarketWatch/Dow b. EE Times a. TechCrunch c. The Economist Jones. b. Wall Street Journal d. CRN 5. CNN correspondents have come c. VentureBeat out publicly and said they prefer to 12. Which blog has the highest monthly d. All of the above be pitched via Facebook instead of readership? Twitter. 9. Which of the following publications a. TechCrunch did not undergo a major redesign in 6. Blogger Stowe Boyd is credited b. Huffington Post 2010? with popularizing media pitching via c. GigaOM Twitter. a. Newsweek b. Bloomberg Businessweek d. Politics Daily c. Money d. Fortune prnewsonline.com | 9.20.10 3
    • Case Study Branding Social Media Media Relations Grasshopper’s ‘Multi-Sensory’ Campaign Grows by Leaps And Bounds, Creating Big Buzz Around Rebranding like an entrepreneur,” explains Photo courtesy Grasshopper Company: Grasshopper Hauser. “It’s always jumping Timeframe: May - August 2009 forward, and can jump many Budget: $68,103 times the size of its body.” Plus, adds Hauser, “grasshopper” is Grasshopper provides 800 easy to spell and to remember. and local phone numbers and Once the decision was other services to entrepreneurs made, the company embarked across North America. It didn’t on an initiative with three always have such a catchy goals: name, though; before May as GotVMail. Founders Siamak name. Taghaddos and David Hauser had long considered that name new brand. a liability. “It was hard to spell and it was not a brand name, target audience. just a product name that we could never grow with,” says Hauser. The founders talked launched what it calls a “multi- Bugging your audience: Recipients of Grasshopper’s direct mail piece about the name since starting sensory” campaign, the major found a culinary surprise inside, along with a link to a video. components being a unique decided, this is it, we have to do direct mail piece sent to 5,000 “We had interns take every usually don’t open FedEx pack- a rebrand,” says Hauser. of the most influential people big news outlet there is, and ages for their bosses—they just in North America, with a link research people who made their put them on their desks. As for BIG LEAP to a video about the power of front pages or covers,” says the contents, Butler knew it was Brainstorming sessions in entrepreneurship. Butler. “We’d also target the a gamble. “Some people could Whoa. Creating a contact person who wrote the article, be disgusted and offended, Grasshopper. Why an insect? list of the most influential and who took that person’s but the opportunity to garner “It was a name we could brand, people in America? Sounds photo.” Repeating this process buzz was too great not to do no one had really used in the like a tall order. Jeremy Butler, led to a pretty big list. “We also it,” he says. The grasshoppers past and the more we looked Grasshopper’s director of mar- sent them to every senator, the reinforced the brand and were into it, a grasshopper was much keting, describes the process: president and tons of “celeb- controversial enough to spark rity entrepreneurs,” including conversation, added Butler. P Diddy and Oprah Winfrey. So, a supplier of grass- Butler adds that they received hoppers was found, and Don’t Cut Corners, and Other Key calls from national security Grasshopper the company Online Video Strategies departments asking why they picked a particular type of targeted every U.S. senator. green-colored chocolate to coat While phone system designer Grasshopper delivered chocolate- covered insects to get influencers’ attention during its rebranding COCO CRITTERS packages were sent to the list effort, the more traditional video component was key, says Jonathan But how would the team attract of influencers. Once opened, Kay, the company’s ambassador of buzz. The video, featured on both the Grasshopper site and YouTube drew on the history of the attention of movers and targets found a glossy white entrepreneurship, and suggested that entrepreneurs had the power shakers? A FedEx package bag with an attached hang tag. to serve as innovators. At its peak, the video drew over 8,000 views would be delivered to each The hang tag had a URL that per day. Here are some key video strategies from Kay: influencer. Inside the package directed recipients to a landing Promote the video before the campaign hits. Kay personally would be a smaller package page, where they could click on reached out to bloggers a week before the packages were sent. that put the brand name front a video made to inspire entre- and center—inside would be preneurs (see sidebar for more Make sure your viewers are quickly drawn in. Grasshopper’s five chocolate-covered grass- on the video). The copy on the video was not just visually appealing. Carly Comando, who has hoppers. Yes, real ready-to-eat packaging appealed to the “risk- written music for the NBA, wrote music specifically for the video. taking” spirit of entrepreneurs, Don’t skimp on the production. The video cost Grasshopper Butler and the team knew says Butler. It also urged them to $18,708 to produce; the company considers it money well spent. that FedEx packages often side- take an unconventional risk and step office gatekeepers, who try eating the grasshoppers. 4 prnewsonline.com | 9.20.10
    • BUZZ DOES IT just got a FedEx with chocolate It was at this point in the cam- grasshoppers—should I eat Grasshopper’s Growing Buzz Appendix B - YouTube Statistics paign where communications them?” Entrepreneurial guru Exhibit
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YouTube Views & Campaign Timeline came to the forefront. Jonathan Guy Kawasaki and Internet INC. MAGAZINE TWEET KEVIN ROSE TWEET JASON CALACANIS TWEET Kay, Grasshopper’s ambassador legends Kevin Rose and Jason GRASSHOPPER.COM LAUNCH of buzz, went to work reaching Calacanis commented on the VIDEO GOES PUBLIC GUY KAWASAKI TWEET out to the influencers, and grasshoppers to nearly a mil- 8K FIRST BLOG POST reacting to people who were lion of their followers. already talking about the grass- Tweets and retweets Unique Views 6K hoppers. abounded, as the chatter about “Balancing my time Grasshopper increased. Once 4K GRASSHOPPERS ARRIVING VIA between the two was really a the company Grasshopper 2K FEDEX CONTINUES TO AVG challenge,” says Kay. Yet finding was identified as the sender of 2K VIEWS PER DAY that balance, he continues, is the packages, the team began what allowed Grasshopper to receiving hundreds of unsolic- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 May 2009 keep the conversation going for ited videos and images of people months. eating the grasshoppers, says
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 A look at the number of YouTube views of Grasshopper’s video on Kay. entrepreneurship shows the exponential growth of the company’s MEDIA MUNCHERS viral campaign. As social media mentions kicked in—with tweets Grasshoppers were sent to every WINNING STATS from key influencers Guy Kawasaki, Jason Calacanis, Kevin Rose media outlet in the U.S. con- By any measure, the campaign’s and others—viewership skyrocketed. Even a month after launch, the sidered to be influential. Not numbers were impressive, video was averaging 2,000 views per day. surprisingly, says Kay, “some including: ignored it while others really Source: Grasshopper had fun with it.” Kay contacted nearly every ABC, NBC, Fox was one strategic oversight: and our message,” says Butler. and CBS local affiliate and “We didn’t keep our current “But I’m sure there were some “egged them on to have their customers in the loop about people who, upon realizing we news anchors eat them,” he says. the rebrand as much as we sent them grasshoppers, never Kay says seven or eight news should have,” he says. “We were even noticed the video or our anchors ended up eating grass- - so worried about keeping it a message. hoppers live on the air. secret, that we did surprise and Hauser makes it clear - upset a few of them—I think that the campaign met all SOCIAL SPREAD we could have found a more of Grasshopper’s objectives. But it was social media, says reasonable middle ground in “We wanted to clearly tell the Kay, that was most responsible articles: 119 our outreach.” market and our customers that for the campaign’s viral success. Kay also makes a point Grasshopper equals entrepre- Upon receiving the package, “How it Works” on about brainstorming ideas for neurs or entrepreneurship,” he recipients did not know who viral campaigns: “Think about says. “The messaging was very sent it or why, which drove what is interesting to you, and clear in everything we did with people to start asking questions LESSONS LEARNED what you might go home to the rebrand, and we’re con- via Twitter and Facebook like While the numbers indicate the tell a friend or relative about,” tinuing with that messaging.” “Did anyone else get chocolate- Grasshopper team scored well he says. And though it sounds Hauser adds that because covered grasshoppers?” or “I in execution, Kay says there corny, having fun with an of the campaign, orders are idea “is very contagious to the up, new products are being people you’re trying to connect launched and the company has ANSWERS TO THE PR NEWS POP QUIZ ON PAGE 3 with,” says Kay. greater visibility. PRN 1. True: The New York Times does 6. True: Unfamiliar to most, Boyd have a NYC Citizen journalism is a business strategist and IT GIMMICK OR BRAND [Editor’s Note: For other “appe- section. consultant. BUILDER? tizing” case studies, visit the 2. False. 7. d, 15,000 While the idea of sending PR News Subscriber Resource grasshoppers to people may Center at prnewsonline.com/ 3. True, unfortunately. 8. c, VentureBeat have been fun, what did that subscriber_resources.html.] 4. False: It’s OK to pitch to multiple 9. c, Money underwent a redesign tactic do to spread the busi- reporters at MarketWatch/Dow in 2009. ness value of Grasshopper the Jones. 10. d, historical relationships company? Butler realizes it’s a CONTACT: 5. True: The lesson here is know fine line. David Hauser, @dh; Jeremy 11. a, PC Magazine “Without the risky piece to Butler, @jeremyrbutler; journalists’ preferences. 12. b, Huffington Post it, people might not have ever Jonathan Kay, @ had any exposure to the video grasshopperbuzz. Send your Pop Quiz ideas to: Scott Van Camp at svancamp@accessintel.com prnewsonline.com | 9.20.10 5
    • Image Patrol Page 1 back or donate an equal PG&E not only apologized, immediately took to Twitter tions world, good guys can be amount to a progressive but immediately set up a $100 to get the word out and bad, and bad guys can learn candidate. It did neither, and million victim relief fund answer questions, following from others’ mistakes. PRN this lack of any action has tar- after a 30-inch gas pipeline up its initial crisis mitigation nished the company’s reputa- exploded in a suburb of San strategy (we’re here, we’re CONTACT: tion permanently. Francisco, I was amazed. answering questions, we’re Katie Paine is founder This corporate amnesia Back in the day, when I concerned and we’re investi- and CEO of KDPaine & of successful crisis mitiga- was covering the utility for gating) with the bold action Partners, a communications tion happens so often that the San Jose Mercury, the of proactively setting up a measurement agency. She I’m actually surprised when company was notorious for “rebuild San Bruno” fund. can be reached at a company actually does its “no comment” policy Just goes to show you that in kdpaineandpartners@gmail. something right. So when with the media. This time it this topsy-turvy communica- com. Target Criteria Grade Comments Advice Extent of coverage D It could have been worse. While the There are no lines between traditional and social national papers picked up on the story, media anymore, so assume that whatever is online coverage was relatively short-lived. Most will appear in traditional media and vice versa, of the viral boycott activity was online. although the intensity may vary by medium. However, the fact that this was the first case of a corporation taking advantage of the Citizens United Supreme Court deci- sion ensured that the crisis got more than the usual level of coverage. Effectiveness of D Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel wrote an Apologies alone are no longer sufficient to assuage spokespeople apology to employees that was both self- an angry flash mob. Consumers, employees and now effacing and ultimately ineffectual. He investors expect more than just words when a CEO needed to do more than just apologize and makes a mistake. then leave the scene. Communication of C This is the one area in which Target had The one silver lining in a cloud of controversy may be key messages some success. Most of the coverage the length of time in which you have the attention of included statements about Target’s long- the press. In this case, Target used it wisely to make standing support of the LGBT community sure that reporters had a good understanding of the and its long history of good works. company’s culture. Management of F While the company’s explanation appeared Just because the CEO has issued an apology negative messages in stories surrounding Steinhafel’s apology, doesn’t mean that the problem has gone away. it was subsequently lost in coverage of Social media and search ensure that a crisis can lin- angry consumers. As a result, all the nega- ger even after the national media has moved on. tive messages about the boycott domi- nated the most recent news. Impact on F Three management firms that collectively Institutional investors are on Facebook, too, and stakeholders hold $57.5 million of Target stock have they are just as easily spooked by a blog post or a asked Target’s independent board members Facebook thread as they might be from an article in to undertake a comprehensive review of the Minneapolis Post. Target’s political contributions. The stock price is only now recovering from the plunge. Overall score D Target’s reputation will no doubt survive, If corporations act like citizens they can expect to be but its brand will be dragged through the treated to all the same mudslinging and attacks that mud until after the election unless they individual candidates suffer. If you make sizable con- take action to counter the objections. tributions to candidates, expect sizable repercussions. 6 prnewsonline.com | 9.20.10
    • PG&E Criteria Grade Comments Advice Extent of coverage F When one of your pipelines sends a plume of fire 1,000 When the news is front-page head- feet into the air that is visible from one of the busiest lines around the world, there’s not airports in America, it’s hard to keep a lid on the news. much you can do but keep on top of What is most interesting is that many of the details were it, preferably monitoring your Twitter on Twitter long before they made the local news, pre- search feed on a minute-by-minute sumably provided by local residents with cell phones. basis. Effectiveness of A PG&E spokespeople were out early and often doing The closer the link between words spokespeople damage control and emanating care and concern for and deeds the better. The fact that victims. The $100 million victims’ compensation fund it was just a matter of days between backed up their words with solid action. the explosion and when the fund was set up did a lot to enhance PG&E’s credibility—unlike BP, which appeared to drag its feet. Communication of C While PG&E was on the scene and expressing concern, In today’s crises, the truth from key messages after a few days the major message seemed to be that everyone’s perspective is just 140 the utility had old and failing gas lines that were badly in characters away. A corporation need of replacing. can say whatever it wants, but if residents can just as easily say, and prove, the opposite, you end up with mixed messages and a damaged reputation. Management of C While it took a few days for the negative messages The shelf life of a negative mes- negative messages about PG&E’s deferred maintenance to surface, they will sage is as long as anyone, not just be repeated for months to come as investigations are the media, is following the story. So launched, fingers are pointed and blame assigned. a resident of the area, a competi- tor and anyone with an agenda can keep the story going these days. Prepare for a long haul in any case. Impact on D Given the plunge in the stock price the day after the The best approach with stockholders stakeholders explosion, shareholders are nervous. My guess is that is to keep them informed at all times. the stock won’t recover until the blame is apportioned. Remember that they’re just as likely to be on Twitter as your customers. Overall score C Under the circumstances, PG&E is managing the crisis If nothing else, this particular crisis as best as possible. But like BP, a great deal depends teaches us to use all and any media on the outcome of investigations and the apportionment available to keep the public and all of blame. stakeholders informed. Introducing… Subscriber Resource Center PR News subscribers: Check out your new Subscriber Resource Center where you can access case studies, research, and the how-to’s of creating successful PR and marketing campaigns. This comprehensive resource also lets you browse articles by topic or industry. Plus, you can download your current and past issues of PR News in PDF format. Log on today by visiting http://www.prnewsonline.com/subscriber_resources.html 17727 prnewsonline.com | 9.20.10 7
    • Tip Sheet Digital PR Branding BY STEVE FRIEDMAN Moving Content Forward by Backing It Up rent trends in content reveals analysts expect streaming specific audi- to be a watershed for the evolu- the new essential role that news elements to become ences. tion of editorial content. Until reporting plays in content a crucial part of traditional PR profes- recently, the PR profession had development: news sources in the future. sionals need to engage in more largely adopted a “content-is- 5. Marketers as reporters: reporting if they intend for content” attitude. This dictated 1. Content farms: Sometimes Marketers are producing the content they produce to be that we may need to write a considered a scourge because their own print publications, relevant in a world of citizen little more compactly for the of the massive amounts of often containing informa- reporters. Become the media Web or be sure to get keywords substandard articles they tion on trends in a particular and try the following: in the title and the lead; but produce, content farms are industry or business segment. at its foundation, the writing collections of writers who The process begins with basic Do not simply regurgitate varied little. And it has been develop thousands of articles reporting and news gathering what clients or customers feed writing that defines content. every day so that “informa- to create thought leadership. you. Engage with and chal- Every journalist under- tion” Web sites can sell ads Video: Video segments are lenge them the way media stands, however, that writing is around them. rapidly becoming as popular would to gain better insights. the last stage of creating edito- Content curation: Curation as written content online, Take time to learn what rial content. Many PR profes- involves people bringing for- not only because they are resonates with audiences, and sionals have all but shunted ward the most valuable con- entertaining but because they you’ll form greater connec- the most vital stage: reporting. tent that relates to sets of cri- provide “visual reporting” of tions. Interview customers, Information gathered days, teria and subject matter. The today’s stories. analysts and other influ- weeks or even months earlier TopRank online marketing 7. Smarter, more mindful encers to provide them with is recycled into bylines, blogs, blog has this to say about readers: A revolt of sorts more functional information. Web pages and e-newsletters, content curation: “Blending against hyper-consumerism Track digital and social with little or no updating. a mix of new content with is underway. Shoppers want placements, and monitor This content becomes the filtering and management more information about and respond to the resulting “writing,” but it can no longer of other useful information products and services so they dialogue. Keep up with really be viewed as “news.” streams is a productive … can make more purposeful what other citizen reporters Often, it fails even to qualify solution for providing pro- decisions. They want simpler are saying, because they’re as reflecting a trend. Search spective customers a steady content without the hype. keeping up with you. engines and sites like Google, stream of high-quality … 8. Keyword search: Even the Twitter and Yahoo publish content. process of search engine opti- By practicing good trends in near real time and 3. Hyper-localization: Hyper- mization is one of exploring reporting, you will generate they shift over news cycles. local newspapers may the habits of individuals better content—resulting in Calling the “cloud,” “green print dozens or hundreds to find what target audi- more awareness for your client technology” or “electronic of editions, relying on the ences are thinking—i.e., or organization. PRN health records” trends is wholly reporting of citizen journal- reporting—to find the most insufficient now. Trends build ists. To these publishers, popular (trending) keywords. and erupt like sudden thunder- reporters on the scene trump CONTACT: storms in the cloud. sophisticated writing skills. Excellent writing skills are a Steve Friedman is director of Today’s rapidly changing Real-time news streams: On crucial talent for any PR prac- marketing communications content demands an increased blogs, reporters are posting titioner, but good writing first at Airfoil Public Relations. He emphasis on reporting. An updates on breaking news demands good information- can be reached at friedman@ examination of eight cur- stories in real time. Some gathering that is relevant to airfoilpr.com. 17797 From leveraging social media, to building relationships with online influencers, PR News’ Digital PR Next Practices Summit offers tactics and lessons learned in optimizing the digital platform to advance your PR efforts. Sponsorship Opportunities - Contact Diane Schwartz at 212-621-4964; dschwartz@accessintel.com. OCTOBER 6, 2010 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. GRAND HYATT, NYC Questions? Contact Saun Sayamongkhun at 301-354-1610; saun@accessintel.com. Register you and your team today at www.prnewsonline.com/summit! 8 prnewsonline.com | 9.20.10