We Live in the Age of Groupon

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Jackpot winnerSome of you know that one of my favorite pastimes is dining out. It’s obvious when you see the anti-Situation abs that I sport nowadays. [I’ve been doing a lot of GTL lately though minus the T so I’m expecting to get my washboard abs back.] Sorry, I digress. :)

In any case, one company that seems to be thriving in this awful economy is Groupon. I don’t have hard facts. My opinion is simply based on word of mouth, social media buzz and earned media coverage that I’ve seen for the company in the past couple of years. Most recent was Groupon’s first national launch with Gap where it likely garnered more in free publicity than the amount of Gap Groupons it sold. The company has transformed the way the average consumer saves by featuring mainly half price deals that change daily. The concept is attractive because it builds anticipation from its users on a daily basis, which I believe is a key factor, in developing any successful social media program. It has also changed the average consumer’s purchasing behavior, but it’s also fueled other companies to follow its business model such as Living SocialHalf Off Deals, and many others. Continue reading

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Using Metrics to Reduce Uncertainty

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Ruler with imperial and metric measurementsSometimes we all get too caught up in perfection. If you work on that report 10 minutes longer, will it be closer to perfect? If you search one more time, will you find every single mention of your brand or company across the Web? There’s a point at which additional effort isn’t worth the reward.

I often find that there is a misconception about the purpose of measurement. Whether in PR or social media or physics, for that matter, the purpose of measurement is to reduce uncertainty. Note the word “reduce.” Continue reading

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Exec Chat: John Bliss, Founder of BlissPR

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Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting over breakfast with someone I have great respect for in the public relations field—John Bliss, the now semi-retired founding principal of BlissPR. I had been wanting to meet John for quite some time, having met several BlissPR employees, including his daughter (and one of three managing directors at the agency), Elizabeth, among others. I had always been struck by just how nice everyone from BlissPR seemed to be, which has been backed by the company being named one of the top-30 PR agencies to work for in the U.S. by The Holmes Report.

John fully lived up to his billing and was quite generous with his time and insight. Over breakfast at the Princeton Club (his alma mater), we discussed numerous topics affecting the public relations industry, including what BlissPR execs look for in new hires, the openness BlissPR has with its employees regarding the company’s financial standing and how technology and social media have impacted his business, which primarily works with clients in the B2B space.

Below are a few of John’s thoughts. Enjoy! Continue reading

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Agenda-free networking

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Crowd raising arms at party in night clubPublic Relations and communications is largely about shaping perception. But how do we control our own? How do we make sure that we are being viewed as a valuable member of our community and not as the annoying flak?

Now, this isn’t a post about personal branding, which despite my dislike for the phrase, is a real aspect of our lives that we need to be aware of as we actively broadcast nearly every aspect of our lives online. How we carry ourselves and how we interact with a wide range of people affects how we are perceived as communications professionals. Continue reading

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Gap’s Marketing Lesson: Don’t Mess with A Beloved Logo

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Man walking between two large rocks, Rear view, elevated viewEver since the debacle of Gap  unveiling its new logo last week, I’ve been a rather outspoken critic of not only the design, but Gap’s somewhat bizarre and poorly articulated attempts to make it appear that the rebranding effort was all part of one big crowdsourcing exercise or a PR stunt. (Why is it every time a brand does something odd in the digital space, we have to label it a “PR stunt?”)

It wasn’t.

News this week that Gap was abandoning its new logo—after just seven days on the market, and before the new logo had even hit stores or merchandise (the new logo was rolled out via a “soft launch” on Gap.com—left me wondering one thing: Does Gap even realize how badly it’s hurting it’s brand right now? Continue reading

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The Social Marketing GAP

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Mind the Gap warning on a subway platformI’m guilty; I’ve been making fun on The Gap and their new logo.  It is an ugly, half-assed, badly designed misstep from a brand that hadn’t made a logo change in over 20 years.  In our little world of Social Media, we are having a field day and The Gap is taking a heck of a licking for their latest new design.  As if that were not enough, now I’m taking things one step further and making fun of their mind-numbingly poor decision to leave the design up to the crowd and invite people to suggest better logos via Facebook.  I cannot help but mock their “Fine if you think we screwed up that badly, you do better” mentality.   They are really going to regret ever posting the follow up to what was already a fairly massive branding gaff.

That said, I am done talking about it and I think you should be too.  Here’s why: Continue reading

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Brains on Fire: a Video Book Review

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Young man sitting in chair resting feet on second chair using laptopI read a lot of books and am always looking for a good recommendation. So when I saw Mark Schaefer’s plug for Brains on Fire in his post entitled The Spirituality of Social Media, I figured I’d check it out as I respect Mark’s opinions and the term “profound admiration,” is pretty serious.

After reading the book by Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church, and Spike Jones I can safely say that Mark’s description was well deserved. Instead of focusing on tactics to increase engagement within social networks, the Brains on Fire team creates movements.  The book encourages readers to embrace their core audience and find out what they are passionate about in order to build a true movement for their company or cause. Continue reading

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You’re doing it wrong….

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Wrong WayWe’ve all seen the horrible horrible examples of things done wrong in the digital world.  You know the things I’m talking about – bad policies, bad designs, just bad bad bad stuff.  Below, you’ll find my own list of the worst of the worst and those of some other contributors crowdsourced from Twitter.  Do chime in with your own net horror stories :)

Continue reading

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You’re Only as Good as Your Clip Book…

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Full 3-Ring BinderTrue or False?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been discussing this statement with a bunch of people in the industry. From entry level to senior level. A lot of people in the PR industry have differing views about it. I’m not exactly positive of which way I lean, as I’m relatively new in PR…but I sure do have a hell of a clip book – not the point of the post, but had to throw that in there…

What is the perfect clip book? Bulk? Features? Mentions? A clip book is a great representation of a person’s skills (or luck in some cases) as a publicist. Someone I spoke with mentioned that a good balance and variety is really the best kind of clip book there is. It shows that someone can handle almost anything and be able to know how to pitch a feature, a commentary, placement, etc. Some people I spoke with even judge people entirely on their clip book. Obviously quality is way better than quantity, but is a clip book really that important? Continue reading

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Is Your Media List for Sale?

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Hands writing grocery listNothing irks me quite like receiving SPAM touting the fact that the e-mail sender has media lists for sale. Now, I’m not talking about companies like CISION and Vocus, which are tried and true media databases. What I’m referring to are these “companies” that are selling already-formulated media lists. Let’s see, you can buy a family/parenting list – or, how about a technology list?

Let me just say this: You can buy a media list but the relationships aren’t for sale.

Supposedly, these media lists are for people that can’t afford a publicist. I understand a publicist can be pricey, but you are paying for more than their media lists. You are paying for their knowledge, guidance, relationships, creativity, strategic planning – things that a pre-made media list lacks. Just because you purchase a media list, doesn’t mean that you’ll magically get publicity from it. Continue reading

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