May 28, 2010

Keeping up with the changing landscape

As we began plotting out some possible speakers for the September 30 Professional Development Conference, one of our members mentioned Sree Sreennivasan, Columbia University, as a possibility. Several of us had heard him at a conference earlier this year, and we thought he could be a perfect fit for this conference. Although he is not available to speak to our local chapter of PRSA, you might still find his resources useful.

You can read his Social Media Guide, see his perspective on the changing world of journalism and get any number of tips from following him @sreenet.

May 18, 2010

Nestle's crisis communication

In public relations, the need for crisis communication is a dreaded scenario. Due to the usage of traditional and social media, word spreads like wild fire. Each organization's approach to crisis communication is going to differ depending on their mix of traditional and social media, but we as professionals can learn from case studies and situations like the one detailed in the article below.

Read full article
Nestle has been forced to change its environmentally-destructive business practices after a social media coup; what can netroots activists learn from the victory?

After it was revealed that the Swiss food giant sourced its palm oil through Sinar Mas—a company whose operations contribute to the destruction of the Indonesian rain forest—Greenpeace produced a video comparing eating a Kit Kat bar to eating an orangutan. The video certainly makes its point with graphic imagery, but such shock campaigns don't always translate into tangible action. Nestle really started to feel the heat, however, when they ordered the video taken down from YouTube for copyright infringement. Then Greenpeace sent out their call to action: supporters sent emails, made phone calls, and, most importantly, posted angry comments on Nestle's own Facebook page. I say "most importantly" because, unlike emails and phone calls, the Facebook comments didn't just reach the company, they were public for anyone to see. Nestle's PR department only made matters worse by responding rudely to aggressive commenters and also by trying to delete certain comments. Anyone who has tried to moderate a website's comments section knows that nothing can deter some users from posting.

Eventually, the criticism became too much, and Nestle announced Monday that it has begun a new partnership with The Forest Trust to ensure that all their palm oil comes from sources practicing sustainable forestry. As the Guardian points out, this kind of partnership is a first for the palm oil industry, so kudos to Greenpeace.

Read the full article

May 13, 2010

Engagement Matters

How many times have you heard, “the more you put into it, the more you get out of it?” Or maybe, “the more lines you have in the water, the more fish you catch?” Seems pretty basic, right? Well, it holds true for reaching your audience through social media too. How much return (ROI) you see with social media engagement depends on the depth and breadth of that engagement. This can be measured and quantified according to Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang), Altimeter Group. Owyang was a keynote at PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference in NYC, May 6-7.

Check out to see your company or organization’s brand stacks up to other “engaged” brands. To improve your ROI and “engage-o-meter,” Owyang says you have to focus on your Rings of Influence which include prospects, customers, employees and your overarching brand. None can be overlooked. To do so limits your ability to share and engage.

Here is a break-down of each ring and some tips on how to engage each ring. (from smallest reach ring of influence to largest):

Brand – enable your top execs and CEOs to speak on their own (ie: blog, twitter, etc.), BUT supply them with talking points, help, etc.

Employees – establish guidelines that encourage social media interaction, but protects both the brand AND the employee.

Customers – they are already talking about your brand, so develop an advocacy group to recognize and reward your top customers (Note: do not reward with cash, do not pay for positive word of mouth); and realize that criticisms can make your product better.

Prospects – this group includes those aware of your brand AND those unaware. Monitor what is being said about your brand. To engage prospects, go to where they “hang out” on the web and engage them there in conversation (not a sales pitch).

How do you quantify your social media engagement in numbers? I’m finding this to be essential in gaining the understanding and respect of top-level executives or those who just don’t understand this “new” way of communication. If you have some a budget, check out evolve23 , it has a truly comprehensive suite of social media analytic tools. At the Digital Impact Conference, Scot Wheeler with evolve24, discussed the ways they measure social media.

To simplify, Evolve24:
1) Weights scores of brand-specific sentiment, influence and reach (formerly known as circulation)
- Wheeler says each social media tool is given a reputation score and then they are added together as well.
2) Starts each day counting these things at zero
3) Then uses equity to add each day’s score to get a total reach

I use a much less in-depth system for calculating total social media reach at my workplace. My research is usually topic-specific. For example, I pick a story that I published out on a variety of social media sites, then I track how many times it was Tweeted, re-tweeted, posted on Facebook, blogs, etc. I consider my Twitter followers, Fanpage Likers and LinkedIn group members, blog subscribers to be among my “circulation” which I refer to as “direct reach.”

Each time my post is shared with others or re-tweeted, I consider this “indirect reach” because it was shared by another person, hence not directly. Direct reach has a lot more credibility than the indirect reach. I clearly make separate mention of those in my final report. To get my “total reach” I add both the direct and indirect reach. Also, aiding my efforts is a url tracker ( to support my numbers. Contact me for a sample of what I’m talking about or to share what you are doing to track and measure your social media efforts. I’m happy to share and am always looking for ways to improve my qualitative research. Contact me at: or @clairefaucett on Twitter.

May 11, 2010

May Membership Special

When new professionals with less than two years experience join in May, PRSA will waive their $20 New Professionals Section Dues! If you know of any graduating seniors, feel free to pass this along to them. For more information visit:

May 7, 2010

There's no going back . . .

The lines have blurred between what is traditional, digital and social media.

Here’s the revelation: It’s all the same. Traditional is now the digital media and now all digital media is social. Sharing is going on everywhere. The web KNOWS you-- your likes, dislikes, what you like to eat for breakfast. Facebook recently saw to that when they developed “like” pages that are being implemented on websites everywhere.

It is no longer even remotely possible to separate your worlds like before. So, I propose that all journalists, public relations, marketing and communications professionals EMBRACE IT. Figure out how to make it work for your business model because it is here to stay. The tools will evolve and new more flashy ones will be created, but the concept of globalized sharing is here to stay.

Now, all you writers out there thinking, oh this is just another PR person saying that journalism/writing is dead, it is absolutely not dead. All those things you learned in J school can be shaped and reused in this evolution. In fact, I maintain that all those “traditional” theories and methods are usable and SHOULD be used. Just tweak them for the “tool” you are using. A prime example of a traditional media outlet that has evolved is the New York Times. At PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference in NYC, May 6-7, Jennifer Preston (@NYT_JenPreston), NY Times social media editor, said that they were among the early adopters of digital and social media. As a result they have seen their readership level jump from around 1 million to over 20 million since 2007. Preston said it takes a measure of trust and the willingness to try something new without fear of making mistakes. Were mistakes made, she says “Absolutely.” But they do have guidelines. “If you wouldn’t say it on the Today Show, or a live radio show, don’t say it on Twitter.”

At the Digital Impact Conference we delved into topics such as developing social media policy and the best techniques and tools used to reach target audiences. One of my favorite topics was how to inspire brand ambassadors to tell your business or organization’s story. So, stay tuned as I plan to blog about them over the next couple days as I decompress and let all the great things I heard take hold.

Honestly evaluating your work

Here's an interesting Q&A with a chief marketing officer from Yahoo. I think she brings up some interesting points that we should all keep at the top of mind as we evaluate the return on investment, effectiveness of our work, reach of our plans, goals and call to action.

Below I've pasted the first few questions from the interview, but you can read the entire article here.

paidContent: How did the first phase of the campaign perform?

Elisa Steele: It was planned to get Yahoo back in the conversation. In the U.S., we were on a multi-year downward trend on brand-health metrics, particularly “Likely to recommend.” We’ve been monitoring those health metrics since the launch of the campaign and for the first time in a number of years those metrics have stabilized for Yahoo so we’re pleased with the performance of the campaign.

It was not designed for an increase in traffic. There are many outside publications that are evaluating it on that.

Looking back, is there anything you would have changed?
The video we played on broadcast. It was highly likeable. Consumers really liked the video. We didn’t do as well with, ‘So Yahoo, now what do you want me to do?’ What was the specific call to action in that spot? So they highly liked it but we didn’t give them enough call to action. So that’s one thing we’ll definitely do better this time.

How will you be measuring the effectiveness of the new phase?
We’re not abandoning brand-health metrics because it’s not good enough to stabilize. We need to actually move up and to the right. In addition to that, because this campaign is far more social, far more experiential, we’re going to be looking for feedback from consumers on how much more willing they are to try Yahoo products and in fact (whether) they actually do—(the) download of new apps that we put into the market, (the) time spent on the Yahoo network.

We’re not looking to increase new (unique users). People like to measure us on that and they probably will but that’s not what the campaign is designed for. It’s designed more to help current Yahoo users to find more experiences on Yahoo that they want to test and trial.

Read the entire article here

May 6, 2010

Info on Ad Trivia Night

The AAF has extended an invitation to our members:

What: Annual Ad Trivia Night - companies or groups of friends may enter in teams of six to show off their knowledge of advertising campaigns, personalities, terminology and minutiae. Teams compete for prizes and a giant traveling trophy.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 24
Where: Coyote’s Adobe CafĂ©
How much: Cost is $12 per person; a yummy appetizer buffet is included in the price.

RSVP by June 18 to

May 5, 2010

Share the errors

Since copy editing is part of what we do on a regular basis, I find myself noticing errors in publications as well as websites I read. When I stumbled across these two sites, I found them fascinating:
  • - a site to report errors in the news (specifically in the California area)
  • - a site to start a dialogue between website readers and website content providers

Catch the creative bug

AAF of the Ozarks has invited PRSA members to attend a showcase of local student ad team presentations:

When: Wednesday, May 12, 11:30a.m.-1p.m.
Where: University Plaza, 333 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway
Cost: $13 members/first-time guests; $18 repeat guests; $5 students
RSVP: by May 10

Each May, AAF of the Ozarks is pleased to showcase the Drury University and Missouri State University student advertising teams. Their presentations are the culmination of months of research, strategy and campaign development, encompassing marketing, media, PR and visual communications.

This year, the Drury Student Ad Team will present an integrated marketing communications plan for State Farm Insurance. This proposal was the team’s entry in the 2009-2010 AAF National Student Advertising Competition, first presented at the AAF 9th District competition in St. Louis on April 30.

The Missouri State University Ad Team will present their research-based awareness campaign to increase seat belt use among “tweens” (ages 8-12). This campaign was developed for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and presented to federal officials on May 4 in Springfield.

Support Advertising’s Future!

You’ll be impressed and inspired by the marketing savvy, creativity and professionalism of these dedicated young people. AAF of the Ozarks supports their efforts with a $500 annual donation to each student ad team.

You can help by participating in a special May door prize drawing. Each dollar you give to the Student Ad Team Fund equals a chance to win a two-book set donated by our March speaker, Linda Girard of Pure Visibility. Each of these up-to-date, must-have reference guides retails for $39.99: Website Optimization by Andrew King and Search Patterns by Peter Morville and Jeffery Callender, both published by O’Reilly Media, Inc.

May 4, 2010 finds ways for you to give back

Check out this relatively new website,, where you can support your favorite philanthropic organization by donating your time or talents (to be auctioned off), or you can bid on auctions to benefit nonprofit organizations that you support. It's a great way to give!

Read more about how it works