Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Survey: New Technology Tools Have High Acceptance Rate in Public Relations

We have just completed a survey in conjunction with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) which shows that that new communication technology has been widely accepted by the public relations profession.

The survey, “Wired for Change – A Survey of Public Relations Professionals and Students: Attitudes, Usage and Expectations in the New Communication Technology Environment,” was conducted to gain insight into how the more than 32,000 professional and student members of PRSA and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) view the role of technology in shaping future communication practices.

You can read about the findings in the press release, and there's also a 10-minute webcast of the survey via Webmasterradio.FM.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

More hype around Corporate Buzzwords

Word Play once again gets tongues rolling, as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Management Line blogs report on some new Factiva media analysis.

The analysis looks at the frequency of terms such as "fast track", "going forward" (as opposed to "going backwards"), "user friendly", "empower", "downsizing", "multitasking", "core competency", "customer centric", "client focused" and "rightsizing" in the mainstream media, and tabulates them in charts. You can also see which publications most frequently quote these terms, althought bear in mind, it's not necessarily the publications that are the gobbledygook-touting culprits, but the spokespeople they are quoting! There's a healthy discussion going on in the blogs about what other terms annoy people.

My colleague in Australia, Chris Pash, developed the analysis using our recently launched Factiva Insight: Agency Analytics.

Factiva Insight: Agency Analytics is cool because it allows users who are not necessarily familiar with boolean search strings and power searching, to access our vast content collection and media analytics software, to create insightful charts.

The product is designed for PR agency teams who need to create quick but robust media analysis for use in pitch development, account planning and client management. For us, internally, it's a great way to generate meaningful content that gets the Factiva and Dow Jones brands out there.


Friday, July 06, 2007

New white paper available: Best Practices in Media Measurement

Dow Jones recently commissioned Professor Paul Argenti of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business to write a thought-provoking article about the evolution of and best practices in media measurement.

A key driver of the growing importance of media measurement is the increased number of C-level executives demanding accountability from their communications departments. Without
using new media-intelligence technologies, it is impossible for public relations or communications professionals to be truly accountable, comprehensively monitor media coverage, or make fact-based decisions regarding communications strategies.

This white paper is intended to help communications professionals understand how new media- intelligence technologies are changing their roles. It also provides ideas about how media measurement can be adopted to add more value going forward.

Feel free to download a copy of the article here.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cynthia leaves hospital

I was really pleased to read this morning that Aussie plane crash survivor and Sydney Morning Herald reporter, Cynthia Banham, is leaving hospital tomorrow.

It's less than four months since she somehow made it out of the horrendous plane crash at Yogyjakarta airport, that claimed the lives of 25 people including 5 Australians.

As I said in a previous post, I truly admire Cynthia's courage and strength of character - both in her survival and her ongoing recovery.

Best wishes to you Cynthia.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What price reputation: BusinessWeek article references Factiva Insight

This week, a BusinessWeek article referenced Factiva from Dow Jones as one of the vendors who can help companies get more scientific about reputation management.

It said:
"That's why companies are trying to get more scientific about reputation management. Many big companies now shell out $2 million a year on image research. This will be a tiny slice of the $4.2 billion spent on PR this year, but such research is growing fast. To get a fix on how companies are seen publicly, they are hiring firms like Factiva and Delahaye that use powerful search engines to track databases of all print, broadcast, and Internet coverage and to search for trends."

The article debates amongst other things, whether a good reputation is linked to better stock prices. This echoes the findings of a white paper Factiva commissioned in 2005, entitled Strong Corporate Reputation Delivers Shareholder Value...But Who Controls It?. Worth a read, but if you want the short answer - yes. Good reputation was found to have impacted share price positively.

It was interesting to note that reputation management was not discussed too much at last week's PR Week Forum, as it had been in earlier years. As I mentioned earlier in the week, there was more focussed on online communities - which can certainly have an impact on a company's reputation.

Anyway, check out the BusinessWeek piece!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Contiki takes advantage of facebook

I had my nose in facebook all weekend, which is proving to be way too addictive.

Interestingly, I found Contiki in a related group (though listed as sponsored) on the Explore the World group.

Does advertising belong in social networking applications? I reckon yes, if it's relevant. Contiki as a tour company is clearly offering tours that are of relevance to this particular group. so it makes perfect sense for them to be there. From a marketing perspective, they also using the site to create conversations amongst their potential and existing customers, in the very place where those users are spending a lot of time.

There's also a group for Kumuka travellers, called Kumuka Overland, although this doesn't appear to have been set up by the company - it doesn't confirm this one way or the other. Great for Kumuka if their customers are starting such groups.The rules of marketing are definititely changing.

I reckon travel companies like Contiki, Kumuka and Explore are doing a good job of using new forms of media to get to their customers. Will be interesting to see how things evolve in this space.

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Facebook..what's all the hype?

I'd heard of this facebook thing, but with the proliferation of similar thingies like LinkedIn, Plaxo, Myspace, and all the others, I'm trying to limit what I sign up to, and how many places I have to maintain ALL THIS STUFF!

Anyway, over the weekend, I signed up to facebook. And I can see how people become addicted to this stuff. After adding a few friends and colleagues, suddenly I can see what they're up to, what they're interested in outside of what I may know about them, who their friends and colleagues are, and god knows whatever else they want to share about themselves.

It can be anything from the minutae of their lives (XX is chilling out, YY is going down to the pub to watch the rugby etc), to the big, important "Which is better: Gymea Pub or Northies?" That's an in joke for anyone who knows anything about THE SHIRE. But I found this scintilating question on the group Sutherland Shire: God's Country.

There are bwzillions of other groups - professional organisations, groups by activity, interest, region, age, languages etc; groups about beauty, beliefs and causes, dating and relationships, friends, gardening, health and wellness, pets and animals, travel and the list goes on.

Travel is a passion of mine, so I signed up to a couple of travel groups that cauhgt my eye. This is where I could begin to see the commercial potential of these sites...

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What was hot at PRWeek's Summer Forum?

It was a fast and furious few days at PR Week's Summer Forum.

Ed Vaizey MP opened the conference with a pleanry session about PR & politics. He gave some hints about how PRs should engage with politicians, stressing that the best approach was to ensure the issue was relevant to the MP's constituency. You could do this by engaging local businesses or individuals from the constituency to approach the MP on your behalf, he suggested.

During his speech, Ed had to battle with extremely gusty winds that threatened to lift the marquee right off the green at the Forest of Arden golf course. The weather was truly disgraceful, but the wine and conversation flowed freely.

After dinner, we took part in a trivia quiz. My table led the competition right till the last round, before we were pipped at the post by the table with all the Haymarket execs. Hmm. Me smells something fishy…

Tuesday and Wednesday, and it was down to business, with a packed schedule of workshops and 1:1 vendor meetings.

Nicole Lander, Communications Director at Dairy Crest led the first workshop, Payment by time vs payment by results. She discussed whether agencies should be paid on retainer or on a project/performance based approach. The room seemed fairly divided about the approaches. She cited an interesting dilemma about where an agency had planned a huge product launch on a particular day, only to be wiped out the next day by the breaking news of the 7/7 bombings. Should they have been paid for what they had achieved to that point, or not ben paid the full amount, because they had not achieved actual agreed outcomes. I think that was a particularly extreme example, and most people would reasonably expect payment for investing time in the project. We collectively liked the idea of a hybrid payment approach, consisting of a monthly retainer with a performance-based component to it.

Julian Pike from legal firm Farrer & Co then discussed Legal battles and the role of PR. Sometimes good PR can involve keeping a company out of the media. He discussed the impact of social media like blogs and chatrooms on PR, how orgnisations had to be ever-vigilant about what was being written about them, and what some of the recourses were if their company was being slammed in those environments. ISPs are generally obliged to take down defamatory material, so he suggested going straight to an ISP and requesting that they remove offensive material about a company from the blog/chat room. In some case the ISP can be compelled to shut down a blog or website that it hosts.

Antony Mayfield from Spannerworks discussed Engaging with online communities. He mentioned the latest social networking phenomenon – Myspace and facebook. Ok, ok, they’re not so new, but few people in the room had profiles on these sites (though I suspect most of will sign up in the next few days, just to see what all the hype is about). He used interesting case studies about online communities like Catster and Dogster to demonstrate the popularity of sites that allow people to share similar interests. Our CMO, Alan Scott uses the example of Nikonians to illustrate the same point. These communities are huge and have tremendous user loyalty!

It seems that most people in the communications industry are still trying to get their heads around how to engage with online communities and how to incorporate them into their marketing and PR programs. Watch this space…

Tom Whitwell, Communities Editor at the Times Online (and blogger at spoke about the changing newsroom and what he had learned in his 7 months in the role. He encourages Times reporters to try things with their blogs and stories. He said the internet affords us with instant measures as to whether something is working or not. He also pointed out that he gets far less contact from PRs in his current role than he did when he worked on magazines. That started a debate about whether PRs valued print or online coverage more. I reckon it completely depends what industry you’re in and what you’re trying to achieve. It was a great debate in any case.

The 1:1 meetings with the vendors were generally useful. It’s always good to see what the various PR agencies and media monitoring companies are up to. And most useful, as always, was the time chatting with other delegates. It’s always helpful what challenges PR professionals in other companies and industries face.

Overall it was a valuable few days and well worth attending. Thankfully we were able to get back down to London by train, than the ark we’d been secretly building.

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