My column this week was on Rickrolling - and the New York Times‘ poor decision to run an article on the meme. I now realize the article made it seem like I thought rickrolling was nonsense. Actually, I love it - I can’t stop rickrolling colleagues. Have you been a victim of it? Or are you perpetrating it on your fellow employees?
When we did our Book of Lists last year, we pointed out five agency Web site we disliked. I then promised to link to the Web sites once they changed. Burson has changed its Web site, and it is greatly improved. It even includes animated Harold Burson.
IT pros get a lot of attention from Microsoft. A few weeks ago, I wrote this Launch Pad about the company’s comic book initiative that turns the IT guy into a superhero. Today, there’s this story on the site talking about how IT folks are an important target for the company’s just-released Vista SP1 software. (PCWorld recommends that IT departments wait in this story.)
Recently, I spoke with Jevon Fark, PR manager for the business online services group, about the beta launch of their SaaS (”service as a software”) for larger businesses. The intent is to offer customers the option to move the day-to-day management of minor tech problems to the Web, freeing the IT pro for more significant issues. From a communications standpoint, they want upgrade the IT pro’s status.
“Microsoft believes that the IT worker in a business shouldn’t spend his day doing routine patches and upgrades and fixes,” said Fark. “We want to take the IT pro from being a janitor to a professor and being a software advocate in his own business.”
Going forward, Fark described the PR function as “momentum” (building it, maintaining it, etc) and making sure Microsoft’s partners know there’s still a way for them to do business by customizing the SaaS offering. But Fark reiterated the emphasis on IT.
“It’s a big sea change, what’s happening with the way software is accessed and managed,” he said. “Yes, this is very much focused towards IT pros.”
Burson-Marsteller (BM) has released the findings of their Hispanic-fluentials study, finding that the most influential opinion leaders in the Hispanic community spend 30 hours per week interacting with others online, more than the 25 hours spent by the general population of US influencers. Overall, these Hispanic-fluentials were found to interact with more people in person, on the phone, or online than the general population (58 people vs. 45 per day).
Other findings: 90% are more likely to pay attention to companies offering coupons, 66% forward product recommendations via e-mail, 58% forward product warnings, and 87% are loyal to their favorite brands. Hispanic-fluentials will share their positive brand experiences with an average of 23 people and share negative experiences with an average of 28.
BM partnered with MSI International to conduct the online survey of more than 1,000 US Hispanics aged 18 or older.
Journalism by the people for the people
Last week, The Newsmarket hosted a panel discussion, “The Impact of User-Generated Content and Social Media on Marketing,” with guest speakers Nic Fulton, chief scientist at Reuters media division, Vivian Schiller, SVP and GM for NYTimes.com, and Mitch Gelman, senior executive producer for CNN.com (Jeff Berman, the EVP of marketing and content at MySpace was slated to speak as well but couldn’t make it).\
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Media make pilgrimage to Mayflower
At least three camera crews were milling about outside Washington’s Mayflower Hotel, Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s away from home, at around 11:30 am today. One was interviewing a couple of conference-goers, judging by the name tags clipped to their coat pockets. Others appeared to be simply lying in wait, perhaps for the upcoming lunchtime newscasts.
That illicit trysts go on at the Mayflower is no surprise to most people in town. Such things must go on at all big downtown hotels. Their staff members likely don’t even realize what’s going on in many cases. Presumably Gov. Spitzer’s visitor was not dressed like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
But workers at the hotel aren’t fools, either. The Mayflower has seen quite a bit of action of the years, and a few scandals at a luxurious address surely give it a bit more personality. Maybe not every visitor to Washington can be part of a scandal, but they can at least tell their friends and family that they slept near one.
Spitzer’s crisis communications plan
Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) has admitted to using a high-end prostitution service. He is currently deciding whether or not to resign, according to media reports. How would you handle his crisis communications strategy? E-mail your thoughts or leave a comment, and we will post the best at the end of the day.
Wowowow.com launches, people have comments
I am writing the media analysis on Wowowow.com and other women’s Web sites that have launched to provide a new way for women to access content. I asked Suzanne Haber, Marina Maher Communications’ managing director of media connections, to answer some questions for the article. I could not include all of them into the piece, so I will post them here. The interview was conducted via e-mail.
1) Do you think these publications (online sites) are launching because there’s a dearth of online content for woman? Or is it that traditional magazines aren’t relating to all women?
In this tailormade, immediate world of online content, women can now choicefully select what information they want to ‘pull’ into their homes/lives and can receive it on their own time. So although magazines in the hard copy form will still be a trusted source for her, the internet is a woman’s new best friend. She can have a conversation with both the online site as well as with other women who are part of the community.
As for print only magazines – it’s a monologue — they don’t allow for interaction/dialogue/way for women to get involved. There is also no “immediacy” with monthly women’s magazines.
2) What opportunities do these new sites give PR professionals targeting the female audience?
You are creating a dialogue with women and your product/service – a chance for a brand conversation. But it is critical that you become part of the conversation versus pushing information on her or you risk turning her off. If done properly, you become part of her life.
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CSR even when it’s hard
The Yankees have not yet played their first game of the season at Yankee Stadium, so the Third Annual Community Outreach Seminar took advantage of the vacancy on March 5. The event was hosted by Entergy, an energy company that owns and operates power plants across the Northeast and parts of the South. The event brought together nearly 100 nonprofits from the New York region to talk about the issues facing nonprofits, particularly fundraising. Entergy is one of Burson-Marsteller’s clients, and founding chairman Harold Burson spoke about PR and conducted a Q&A.
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AA’s green gaffe
On February 8, with a 14 hour delay due to a mechanical malfunction, all but five passengers scheduled American Airlines flight 90 were redirected on other flights. Those last five passengers got to fly from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow on what was basically a private jet, and now AA is catching some major heat from environmental groups for the carbon footprint the flight left behind.
According to the airline, the plane was needed in London to carry a full flight of passengers. Perhaps, but what’s really making AA look like a bad guy are the numbers associated with this: 13,000 liters of fuel used per customer and a carbon footprint of 35.77 tons per person. With green awareness at a high, it’s imperative that AA respond to repair its damaged eco-rep, and respond immediately.
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