Tag Archives: Business

Is Kodak the Next PBR?

Could a flavor for the vintage be a win for Kodak?

Kodak-PBR LogoFull disclosure: my first camera was a Kodak, both in film and digital. And their business allegory is one for the ages in terms of a Shakespearean rise to dominance and a spectacular fall from greatness. So it was with keen interest I noted this story at Marketplace on modern film directors wanting to shore up Kodak film for motion picture production. Similar to the way Pabst Blue Ribbon is a long-standing brand that has developed a retro-cred cachet, or the way General Motors is evolving the Cadillac brand — an iconic namesake being reworked for modern relevance — the thought is that there’s enough of a desire for “the way things used to be” to make this happen for Kodak. As one with an active creative pursuit involving photography and image-making, as well as an understanding of corporate communication and PR, I think this could happen, but only, as Marketplace notes, if investment indeed goes toward innovation, rather than propping up the status quo. Personally, I have great nostalgic fondness for brands like Kodak, and have to respect the call of talented creators like Quentin Tarantino and J.J. Abrams furthering this cause. Good on those guys, who, like me, have appreciation for the past and feel that some things are worth keeping around, especially in the name of art.

What do you think? Do you have a preference for anything being done “the old-fashioned way?” Are there any brands you immediately think of as nostalgic yet still with us? Let us hear from you in the comments.

PR and Social Media News: Ragan and PR Daily

PR DailyA couple of my favorite sources for news and happenings in both public relations and social media are PR Daily, and Ragan Communications (PR Daily is part of Ragan). I’ve been following both sites for years, have attended a couple of Ragan events, and have even been quoted as a source in their reporting. I’ve found their coverage of the news cycle from a PR perspective to be consistently informative and entertaining. Ragan’s daily headlines is one of the few email newsletters I read daily, and in itself, it’s a study in crafting winning headlines with engaging graphics that make readers want to click through to your content.

Stories I’ve enjoyed there recently:

If you’re into PR, social media, – or grammar, online trends, and any of the communication-related other areas they cover – definitely give these sites a visit and consider signing up for the newsletters.

What do you think? Are you a Ragan.com or PR Daily consumer already? Or have you never heard of these sites? Do you have a personal or business interest in PR or social media? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Is There Really No Such Thing As Bad Press?

You know the saying, “there’s no such thing as bad press?” Only to a certain extent do I believe this. The phrase would be more accurate if tempered with two qualifiers:

Potentially, eventually.

Lady Gaga, Oscar Wilde

Lady Gaga, Oscar Wilde.
Both adept at capturing press attention.

This is because in the event of bad press, it can be manageable to varying degrees – but it always takes deliberate, meaningful effort, and it definitely takes time.

I absolutely don’t believe, “hey, there’s no such thing as bad press, so let’s just go for it all…” is wise PR strategy, unless the goal is simple notoriety along the lines of Paris Hilton or Lady Gaga. In these cases, I’m reminded of what could be the inspiration for this concept: Oscar Wilde’s quote, “There is only one thing in the world that is worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

The problem with the idea of no bad press is that with today’s A.D.D. news cycle and the everlasting searchability of the Internet, missteps can take an extraordinary effort to overcome, although it can be done. National Strategies Public Relations CEO Jennifer Vickery sums up the concept: “While there is such a thing as bad press, the main take away should be that good press can come out of it, provided the situation is handled properly.”

Proper handling would mean execution with transparency, honesty and consistency over an interval long enough to shift focus to the present and future more so than the past. In this way, and if done right, bad press can become a real opportunity and cataylst, not just in terms of spin, but also toward doing the right thing.

What do you think? Is there truly no such thing as bad press? What are some examples of bad press being handled properly? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Citigroup Eliminates 11,000 Jobs in History’s Most Corporate-Jargony Paragraph Ever

Hoo boy, this is some incredible corporate-speak – as in, “repositioning” out of the company… (via The Atlantic):

Cittigroup Layoffs Image

Image and link via: Citigroup Eliminates 11,000 Jobs in History’s Most Corporate-Jargony Paragraph Ever – The Atlantic by Derek Thompson.

My heart kind of goes out to the person/team who had to draft this statement – an unenviable task, ripe for ridicule, no doubt subject to hours of agonizing revisions and edits. My heart goes out even more to the newly “repositioned.” But the fact that this missive captures this much attention (mentions on The Atlantic and Twitter, for example) says something – somehow, a nerve has been touched…

Citigroup Jargon on Twitter

It Is What It Is

This is just a lose-lose all around. The company has to do what it has to do, and no amount of careful wording will lessen the blow. Companies can’t stay alive if they have more staff than they need – that’s just a reality of business. And it’s a lousy reality for the newly-jobless that isn’t helped at all by corporate-speak. Maybe there would be less flak coming in if Citigroup at least expressed some kind of gratitude or regret – but would that really have made a difference? Maybe there would be fewer blogs or tales of PR about it, but the repositioning just “is what it is.”

Man, do I hate that phrase.

What do you think? Ever had to be the bearer of grim corporate news? What are your favorite corporate-speak phrases? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Foursquare: Do or Die Time?

Here’s something interesting: I often look to the media for blog post ideas, but this time it seems to have happened in reverse. Case in point: a few weeks back I heard a broadcast from Marketplace Radio speaking to Foursquare’s CEO. Amazingly, just a few weeks prior I asked this very question on LinkedIn: “Has Foursquare’s time passed?” There were several good answers and a general consensus that it’s too early to tell.

Not long after I posted my question, Foursquare released a major update to its mobile app and got its PR machine cranking. What’s interesting here is that both Marketplace and I shared the same thought: Foursquare was introduced in 2009, gained massive popularity, and has been gradually cooling off ever since. Is that a sign of its having peaked already or just the fleeting attention span of the digerati?

Life After Death of the Check-In

“Life After Death of the Check In” -Jon Mitchell via ReadWriteWeb

Earlier this year, months before any of this, Jon Mitchell of ReadWriteWeb did this excellent and provocative article on the death of the check in. He rightly notes that it can be overkill:

…it’s a mundane performance of “I’m at the grocery store!” which is annoying noise to one’s friends and followers.

I started using it in early 2011, out of curiosity and to have something to do – like taking photos – while waiting in line at places or making art out of routine trips to places like, well… the grocery store. Hey, at least I try to make my activity interesting – but I sure as heck do NOT post every single update to Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Businesses Could be Using Foursquare Better

Here’s the secret ingredient: Photos. Include fun photos of your storefront, employees (smiling, preferably), specials, or a behind-the-scenes view of what’s going on. These kind of unique details draw people in, and it can certainly be endearing to customers. I’d love to see an “ask us about this photo” post at some place I check in, then feel like an insider when I take them up on the offer. I’d be getting to know the business better, and maybe even getting a special deal.

I’m glad to see Foursquare innovating and I look forward to what’s next. The real test will be adoption. It won’t be genuinely interesting  until more businesses and users get in on it and get creative. I just hope the next major developments don’t take as long – and with any luck they won’t. I’m sure Foursquare itself has also surely noticed its buzz decline, like Marketplace and your humble author.

What do you think? Are you on Foursquare? Have you been on it and lost interest? Have you ever gotten a deal somewhere because through the app? Let us hear from you in the comments!

How to Talk About Social Media In Business: 5 Points, Video Interview

Social Media Business Talking Points

Image created on iPhone with Decim8 & Photoforge2 apps

So I’m reading “9 Tips That Will Change How You Use Social Media” by Jay Baer, and I go to his Google+ page (that’s one of the tips, btw). There, I see this video interview from Blogworld with Bryan Elliott of Behind the Brand and Amber Naslund of Brass Tack Thinking.

 

Social Media Jobs

If you see social media as part of your career, consider the points Naslund makes. As a new media enthusiast, I relate to what Ms. Naslund shares here: direct talk about making the business case for social media, along with general advice on getting buy-in. If you’re in the social/new media world – or if you’re looking for a career there, or if your career now involves understanding social media, check out this video to hear it described in plain English by one who knows of where she speaks. Ms. Naslund is formerly the VP of social strategy for Radian6. Her book with Baer, The Now Revolution has structural guidance (rather than tactical, as many other books do) for businesses considering social media.

What is Social Media?

According to Naslund: “If I had to encapsulate it in something, it is…

Reducing the friction in individual communication. 

“That has long reaching implications. Think: Arab Spring, Occupy Wall St. We’ve removed barriers to communication and information in a way that is completely unprecedented. So now geography and circumstance aren’t part of that equation anymore. People can communicate and connect with each other halfway around the world in an instant, and it has profound impact on the decisions, choices and actions we take.”

5 Social Media Business Talking Points

Credit: Amber Naslund of Brass Tack Thinking

  1. Advice to many businesses getting into social media: Slow down. It’s important that you do this, but put together a strategy first.
  2. On ROI: If you’re doing something new, you have to look at success differently. We take hugs to the bank all the time in business. Because we don’t demand necessarily that every effort turn a profit from day one – not that it shouldn’t eventually. When you’re talking about innovation, disruptive technologies, or rethinking a new business model, you have to think of success in different terms.
  3. Incremental change makes up the big change. You have to be willing to settle for – sometimes – small, tiny shifts toward the right direction. Everyone wants to change the world, but not everybody wants to take the first step.
  4. We as new media enthusiasts see a future no one else sees quite yet.
  5. Collaboration is a word we’re good at giving lip service to, but aren’t as good at putting into practice. It’s about making people feel invested in the outcome, and that they’ve got a collective reward from the result.

BONUS POINT (from me): Item #5 also applies to customers interacting with brands, as well as employees feeling a part of something bigger and seeing the rewards. How rewarding is it for a superfan to interact with a favorite brand? Ever met a celebrity or one of your heroes? Exactly. There’s value in all interactions.

What do you think? Is this a reasonable way of talking about social media? Or are we just in the “Summer of Love” at this point? (credit to Brian Solis for that). What is YOUR definition of social media? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Looking for a Job in PR? Know Your Social Media.

You gotta’ walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Click to view video

In this video, Mark Ragan talks with Weber Shandwick VP of Digital Communications, Jason Wellcome, about how social media is playing an important role in the hunt for Public Relations talent.

Social media is changing how résumés are viewed in the PR industry

Wellcome says, “this whole transition to social media and the earned side of the pie has bode well for communications and PR, but there’s still a lot PR folks have to consider in their businesses to optimize that change.” I’d say that applies doubly if not more so for job seekers — and not just in PR, but across industries.

As LinkedIn has all but made it their goal to be nothing less than a deathblow to the paper résumé, our digital selves become ever more relevant. As far as going totally paperless, I don’t think we’re there yet (and the Wall Street Journal agrees) but having your digital act together is mandatory. Even if you aren’t in the PR industry, you’re definitely in it for yourself if you’re looking to get hired — so be your own best representative.

As Wellcome says, “Everyone’s media now.” And if you claim to know more about “the space” than what your activity actually shows… you ain’t getting the job. Best part of what he says about PR candidates here:

Three things that make PR candidates stand out:

  • Passion
  • Curiosity
  • Not fearing the trial & error of finding out what works.

I say these are great qualities to have not just for PR, but in any industry.

What do you think? Do these apply to your field? Have you recently been on the job hunt, and did social media play a role ? Have you ever screened candidates’ social media presences when hiring, or been screened yourself (that you know of)? Let us hear from you in the comments.