The Reality of Being a Publicist

Spinning TopRemember when you were a kid and had all these aspirations of success when you grew up? An astronaut, the president, a chef, a cashier, the sky was the limit. However, it really isn’t until the senior year of high school where reality sets in and you have to figure out what your path will be. Lucky for my generation and future generations we have something called “Reality Television” which can give us good insight to what we want to do. From Ice Truckers to Cake Boss, there are reality shows for almost every profession these days.

What was my calling? Powergirls. Remember that show? The show of a small PR Firm in NYC run by Lizzie Grubman? What a cool job they had. Planning events, hanging out with celebrities, always around pretty people…I would fit in so well. I was too short to be a model, so I decided to become a publicist and declared my major. Continue reading

PRSA: Unethical Product Reviews Have No Place in PR

Judge Striking the GavelLast Thursday (Aug. 26), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Reverb Communications had settled charges alleging that the public relations firm had engaged in deceptive advertising practices by having its employees write and post positive reviews of clients’ games in the Apple iTunes Store, without disclosing that they had been compensated to do so.

The settlement brings to a close the Commission’s first case under its revised “Guidelines on the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” which took effect Dec. 1, 2009.

Those guidelines state, in part, that advertisers (in this case Reverb) are subject to liability for failing to disclose material connections between themselves and their endorsers. In a section entitled, “Disclosure of Material Connections,” the guidelines state that: Continue reading

Real-time vs. Benchmarking: Which Measurement Style is Right for You?

Business colleagues, man pointing and woman writing on sidewalkMeasurement, measurement, measurement. It’s all we can talk about lately, right? With all the discussions about complex metrics and the ever elusive ROI, some of the more basic concepts of PR measurement have been drowned out.

Once you’ve come to terms with the idea that you absolutely must be measuring, where do you start? One of the first questions you should answer is whether you want to measure in real-time or whether you want to focus on measuring against a benchmark. Both satisfy rather different needs, but they could be paired to create a more robust measurement program as well. There is also some unavoidable overlap because, after all, measurement is measurement.

Real-time measurement

First of all, real-time is more aptly described as monitoring, though there can be some more quantitative aspects involved. The focus here is to gain an understanding of what is being said, where and about what right now. Continue reading

Out of Office: Vacation (Finally)

Hi All –

So, for those of you paying really close attention, you already know we’re approaching our 1 year anniversary.  Our first post was published (for the business day of) August 30th.

In that time we’ve had 505 posts (including this one), over 3,200 comments, hits from all of North America (YES, we got Greenland!), a decent set of pageviews as well as some speaking gigs and other great opportunities.


And so it is that we’re going to take our vacation week starting….now :).  We’ll be tweaking some of the behind the scenes stuff, redoing the storefront (if you’re lucky and keep on checking the site you may get a glimpse of some new stuff) and coming back (with a tan) the week of August 30th.

Try to stay out of trouble while we’re on hiatus 🙂

In Full Public Disclosure, HP Recognizes Value of Reputation, Good PR

Gary McCormickOn Aug. 6, HP announced that its Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Mark Hurd was resigning from the company. The announcement followed an investigation conducted by HP’s internal and external legal counsel into a sexual harassment claim lodged against Hurd and HP by a former HP contractor.

While the investigation determined that Hurd did not violate HP’s sexual harassment policy, it nevertheless uncovered a related offense, which ultimately prompted his dismissal. Hurd, according to HP, breached the company’s Standards of Business Conduct by making inappropriate payments to the contractor and charging personal expenses to his corporate expense account. Continue reading

Quoth the Lion King: Remember Who You Are: “Social Media Identity and the Real You”

Padlock and chain locked together on white background, close-upI fully expect this post will stir up heated emotions. Let the venom spewing begin because I’m going on a ledge here. I’m asking a question, looking for feedback and pointing out my own experience. Feel free to sound off.

Here’s the thought: Beware the identity “lockdown” in your social media identity.

In my undergrad I was subjected to lecture after lecture about the social media “lockdown” I must partake in or risk being ostracized from the job market for a pic of me with a beer, or *gasp* the fact that I have opinions.  I, like many of my young impressionable counterparts, cowered and said – okay  – immediately playing damage control.  Continue reading

Can non-profits lead the way for mass-adoption or geolocation applications?

Compass on mapAs geolocation applications, like foursquare, Gowalla and SCVNGR, continue to gain integration with the general public and retailers, we are going to see a lot of cool things from companies benefiting retailers; however that is still a ways away. Sure it can be argued that broadcasting check-ins to existing networks like Facebook and Twitter adds to brand affinity, however as my friend Arik Hanson aptly put it in this post, people simply tune them out.  I know I do, at least unless there is a cheeky comment making me want to check out the location, but I still use the applications.

I don’t think it will be long before more brick and mortar stores embrace the platform for customer loyalty and acquisition however it will still take time. With that said there is one group that is ripe to set the standards for geolocation check-ins – non-profits. Continue reading

A Chat with PRSA’s Arthur Yann, APR – Part 2

USA, California, Los AngelesRecently, we featured part one of our two-part interview with Arthur Yann, APR, vice president of public relations for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). This week, we wrap up the interview with Arthur’s thoughts on why PR has gotten a bit of a bad reputation in recent years, the Society’s Business Case for Public Relations initiative and other topics.

Keith Trivitt: We addressed one of my biggest beefs with the PR business, the bashing the industry often takes from outsiders, in a recent PRBreakfastClub post. You weighed in with some great insight in the comments. Can you give us a bit more color into that? What’s PRSA’s stance on why PR has gotten a bit of a bad reputation in recent years, and how can the organization help professionals overcome this?

Arthur Yann: I can think of several reasons why the industry does not enjoy the reputation it deserves.

It starts with Continue reading

Is a Social Media Contest Right for You?

Two people playing a pick the straw guessing gameIn last week’s #PR20Chat, there was a great conversation about social media contests. I have run four of these contests for my company and I see them as an opportunity to increase buzz and exposure to potential customers. With that said, social-driven contests are not a good fit for every company.

Is there an audience?

Any good contest needs an audience that is interested in the prize offered. Large brands and companies with established social presences have communities that they can tap into. Brands that are out of the limelight, charities and small businesses looking to add a contest to their repertoire need to determine if there is a strong enough community for the contest. Continue reading