The Persuasive Power of … Uncertainty?

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I recently listened to a fascinating, but somewhat counterintuitive, interview on the powers of persuasion via the Harvard Business Review podcast. In it, Stanford marketing researcher Zakary Tormala details findings of his recent study on influence and persuasion from experts and non-experts. What was of particular note was this eye- (and ear-) catching finding: experts who offer a degree of well-timed uncertainty when trying to persuade or influence others are often more successful in their impact than those who bloviate or come across as all-knowing.

Interesting . . .

As Tormala explains it, when someone who is considered an expert, whether that be a newspaper movie critic, a restaurant reviewer or even a CEO, displays a degree of uncertainty or humility in their speech or writings, people often listen to them more. It’s part of the surprise factor, Tormala notes, and it works, despite being counterintuitive to almost everything we think about persuasion. Continue reading

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Snow Day PRBC-style

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For those of you that are enduring what seems to be the never-ending onslaught of snow, then you are probably becoming increasingly familiar with the “snow day.”

Perhaps you live in the suburbs and all forms of public transportation have been shut down – or, maybe schools are closed and you have no childcare back up – whatever the case may be, you find yourself in quite the snowy predicament.

Yet, even when Mother Nature comes screaming, we still need to work. What does this mean? It’s means working from home.

As some of us here at PRBC find ourselves snowed in and forced to work from home, we thought we would put all of our heads together and share our best tips for getting the job done…even on a snow day. Continue reading

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Coulson Resignation Isn’t Death Knell for Journalists-Turned-PR Pros

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Talk waxes and wanes throughout the year in the PR industry about what makes a good public relations professional, who can rightly lay claim to being a part of the profession (Are digital PR gadflys who seem to do more for to boost their own personal brands than those of their clients really PR pros?) and what’s next for the profession.

One area that has taken up a significant portion of that discussion in recent years has been journalists coming over “to the dark side” (as they would put it) and working in PR. While Bad Pitch Blog and its ilk tend to take a dim view of reporters seeking to make an honest living by doing honest work in PR, the general consensus in the business seems to be that so long as they understand the basics and respect our work, journalists are welcome to our ranks.

But can this trend go too far? And if so, what might that look like? Continue reading

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Location-Based Marketing for Newbies

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I’m first and foremost a publicist, but as you know these days, we need to know a lot of stuff. I spend most of my energy focusing on trends in public relations and social media, and I understand the basic gist of mobile marketing, but it’s definitely an area I’m a bit fuzzy on.

Why do I need to know about mobile marketing? Well, when you are strategizing and creating campaigns for your clients, you need to think about the “big picture.” I’m not a developer by any means; however I do need to understand the basic concepts about what would work for my clients.

Last week I attended a fantastic panel “What’s Hot in PR: Brand in the Hand — How Location-Based Marketing is Shaping the Future,” sponsored by AWNY. The panel included the likes of Jack Bamberger (Apps Savvy), David Berkowitz (360i), John Puterbaugh (Nellymoser), Jared Hopfer (Mobext) and Barri Rafferty (Ketchum). Continue reading

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Corporate Disclosure Takes a Hit with Goldman-Facebook Deal

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The headline in The Wall Street Journal said it all: “Facebook Flip Riles Goldman Clients” A more apt headline, though, would have been: “Facebook Flop Exposes Goldman Disclosure Issues.”

Harsh? A bit, perhaps. But in reality, it’s likely closer to truth than fiction. For if anything over the past two weeks has shown us, let alone the past two years, it is that some large corporations continue to struggle with the modern standards of corporate disclosure and transparency, even with their own clients.

To be fair, Goldman has made a number of well-publicized attempts in recent months to thoroughly review its client services and its level of transparency with the public and government regulators. Just last week, the company unveiled a 63-page report that examined its business practices. Included in this report was a 39-point plan of action for ensuring ethical standards and best practices are utilized throughout its business. Continue reading

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Top 5 Posts You Probably Didn’t Read Last Week

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Since I know all our PRBC readers are devout and only guarantee enough time each day to read our posts, I thought I’d direct all y’all to a few gems from last week you may have missed but definitely deserve some attention.  Please note there’s plenty of sarcasm in that last sentence :).

And so with no further adieu some fantastic posts from last week that you should spend some time with: Continue reading

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A Conversation Economy

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In the olden days, public relations was a one-way channel where communication professionals would share information while the public and media would consume it. The channels of engagement were tightly defined and controlled by brands and brand mouthpieces. If X brand wanted it so, well darn-it, X brand got it like so. Suffice it to say, since then, times have changed, the industry has evolved, and the consumer got smarter.

Audiences that were once spoken to are now Continue reading

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If You Don’t Have Something Nice To Say…

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As many of you know, I speak my mind, sometimes without censorship, but I speak it.  Whether it is an attack on someone, talking about bodily functions, making fun of public figures, whatever, sometimes I have diarrhea of the mouth. It’s a blessing and a curse I guess, but I am learning to calm it down a bit. (I guess old age is setting in…)

I say it how I see it, regardless of what it is, and regardless of who is around me.  Sometimes that gets me in trouble, sometimes it doesn’t, but it always sparks a conversation, which is the point 99% of the time.

In the generation that we are currently living in, with Internet and blogs at our fingertips, sparking a conversation is easy. There are a plethora of people out there that probably feel the same way that you do or completely disagree, which is awesome. There are some posts on this blog that have sparked conversations for days and it’s amazing and only helps us all grow. Continue reading

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Do You Have A Groupon Strategy In Your Communications Plan Yet?

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Get a table of friends together and it’s likely that most of them have tried Groupon at least once. And if you’re in my circle of friends, it’s a near guarantee that at least one of those friends is addicted to a group-buying website- Groupon or otherwise.  That was definitely the case recently, when a friendly conversation turned into story after story about the lure of huge discounts, and how those discounts seem to so effectively blur the line between a want and a need.  There are a few companies that we hear about a lot – Groupon, Living Social, Capital Dish – as well as so many others who offer strikingly similar good deals and fun bargains, but not so similar levels of service.  It seems everyone has a bad story to recount about the experiences in redeeming something purchased from a group-buying site.

And it’s not just the buyers complaining. The stories on the seller side of the group-buying transaction are often the same.   I talked with the owner of a spa recently who confessed that she doesn’t get repeat business from these sites and from an owner in the food industry who remarked that he doesn’t think these “discount seekers” will become his main customers. Continue reading

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Flack Wanted – Department of Winter

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Over the past few months, you may have noticed that the weather outside has become increasingly colder. While it might seem alarming, it is actually one of the year’s four seasons, albeit one that comes with some detractors.

Unfortunately, the season has been hit by a lot of bad press lately and has not done a great job marketing or branding itself. For every great story, ad or video on a ski resort or some outdoor hockey game, there are three or four negative mentions. These range from a NYC plowing fiasco to newscasts reporting accidents and the Twitteratti claiming the end of humanity as we know it with hashtags for #Snopacolypse, #snoloko or #snowmaggedeon.

Reading the paper during the latest storm in the Boston area, I came across an interesting job listing for a PR person in the Department of Winter that read: Continue reading

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