8 December 2010

PR Christmas Preparations - Key to Good Costumer Relations

Christmas time for many PR agencies begins in September and is probably the longest period during a year for PR promotions. But Christmas is not the only time for PR people to prove themselves. Yet, it’s the best time for most PR companies to get back in touch with clients and customers they haven’t spoken to for a long time.

17 June 2010

Women in Orange - how an outfit can get you arrested

I just came across something rather interesting, something I’ve never actually heard about before, but I assume it was only because of my ignorance - illegal advertising at sport events (or maybe any sort of events).

Dutch women dressed in orange outfits who appeared at Wold Cup game Holland vs. Denmark were arrested on the grounds of so called ‘ambush marketing’. When I heard about this my first impression was: well, they didn’t do anything wrong. They just wore colours of the team they supported.

12 May 2010

Child's Power - Pester Power

Targeting parents through Children

In the past marketing and PR industry tended to overlook children as a demographic audience. It is changed today as advertisers believe that young people’s spending power in the family is growing. They ‘have become the most marketed-to generation in history’, write Media Awareness Network.

30 April 2010

BP’s oil spill crisis - How well will they handle it?

It’s a fresh news so no wonder newspapers and new media are beaming with articles about it – BP’s oil spill in Gulf of Mexico. I heard about it today in the news and then read an article in Evening Standard about the complications and costs of cleaning the mess BP will have to sponsor (it’s a lot of money I must say, 6 million pounds a day), about how people in local areas (especially fishermen) might lose their incomes because the sea-life is endangered.

18 April 2010

The Newest New Consumer

A short history of new consumer generation

Every 20 or 30 years a new consumer appears. But who is he and who created him? Well… Lets have a look at history of modern consumer.
60’s and 70’s in the Western World were significant times not only for its major musical appearances (artists of Woodstock generation) but also because of historical breaks through, and changes in the way people lived.

Over 40 years ago the world went through so called ‘flower power experience’, with rebellious young adults rejecting consumerism their parents tried to bring them up in. This rejection resulted in a worldwide ‘human transformation movement’, which had a significant impact on creation of nonconformist new consumer. 

10 April 2010

Whereabouts of PR in UK and PR in Poland

Comparing The Two
I looked at Consumer Public Relations in Britain and then searched through Polish websites about PR; and I came to a conclusion that the tern PR in Poland is still not very popular and often hidden under different names.
In the UK Public Relations industry is widely practiced and as many practitioners and specialists say it is a very competitive occupation. 

In Poland on the other hand, many people have never heard of public relations. 

2 April 2010

Scary vs funny. Which one is more appealing?

I just came across a video that I couldn't place in any of UK public campaigns. I started digging a bit deeper and I found UAMK Road Safety campaign for Czech Republic government. 

My assumption is that this is something similar to UK government's campaign THINK! However, the viral videos of the two public campaigns are different. While UK's ads appeal for safe driving is presented in a dark and scary way, Czech Republic is reaching out to people using humour.
Is it because of cultural differences?
What do you think? Which one is more appealing? Does it depend on target audience?

But see for yourself:

1 April 2010

Starbucks Twitter Campaign - When the enemy hijacks your social media campaign

It's exactly what happened to Starbucks in the summer of 2009. Activist, Robert Greenwald, who tried to raise awareness about Starbucks policies on employee unions, spotted a perfect moment to take over Starbucks Twitter campaign.

I came across this news when I was researching for my own social media campaign and it struck me when I read about this ‘hijacking’. Maybe it will sound naïve but I didn’t think people actually do such things. I thought maybe sabotaging the campaign, but not taking control over it.

30 March 2010

Stress is contagious, but so is good mood. So take your time and Relax

Viral Campaign - Slow Down For a Moment

This campaign is just a theory. It is one of my New Media assignments. I’ve decided to prepare stress awareness campaign for the government where the target audience are working people aged 24 to 35. Below is the executive summary and rationale for the campaign as well as the viral video I prepared for it.

Executive Summary

The government has planned a social media campaign addressing stress issues caused by modern life. The campaign is using such new media tools as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and viral videos presenting moments worth slowing down for.

22 March 2010

How Not To Manage a Crisis

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Case study: Crisis Management of Cadbury and Odwalla 

"There are two kinds of companies: those that have had crisis, and those that will.” 
(PR Week 1999)

In this post I’m going to focus on two particular case studies of crisis management, the Cadbury’s Salmonella Scare in UK and Odwalla E.Coli outbreak in USA. These cases aren’t new anymore but they give opportunity to compare two similar situations which were approached in two very different ways. Below is a video presentation on these two cases.

But first, a little bit of basic background on crisis management (mostly for those who don’t know anything about it).

20 March 2010

Political PR, did it ruin the trust in politicians and is threatening democratic system?

The answer to this question isn’t easy (as to any of the questions people in my PR course had to face in debate battles). There are people who blame PR for government propaganda, for manipulating information and spinning it, for trying to control the media. People I’ve met who think PR is responsible for lack of trust in politicians are, however, a minority. Most individuals rarely think about PR as a cause of mistrust towards the government or politicians, because PR is rarely visible to them (unless they investigate on articles or study on PR issues for example).

While researching the reasons behind public distrust towards politicians and government, I came across a few statistics that showed that nearly 70% of UK population doesn’t believe public institutions. In his blog post "Trouble With Trust", Mark Thompson (director of BBC) explained that the media are responsible for the lack of this trust in public officials. Media always portray politicians in a negative way and even if they say the truth there always will be suspicion that he/she might be not telling things as they are. “Hardly ever a politician who does a good job hits headlines in the press or TV“, wrote one of the commentators of Thompson’s blogs.

19 March 2010

Social Media Means of Life

People describe new media as modern revolution. Is it true?

Social networking is the biggest shift since industrial revolution, claim new media experts. In only four years it took over developed countries beating up traditional media such as TV, radio and newspapers. It is now number one online activity leaving behind porn and web surfing. 

It is gradually overtaking the way we shop, socialize, work and do business, learn and fall in love. Statistics show that 1 in 8 married couples in America today met via social media. Though it might not sound new to us, as there were internet chat rooms long before social media existed and people tended to meet with someone they have never seen any way, social platforms offer different things that online chats don't have.

18 March 2010

Does ethical PR exists only in NGOs?

Since we started our Contemporary Theory in PR class I often catch myself thinking about ethics in public relations profession. The more I read about PR work for corporations and governments the more I thought that probably only NGOs and public relations for charities can be ethical.

But recently my thinking diverted from that preliminary thought. I still don’t actually have a simple yes or no answer to the question whether only NGOs or voluntary sector can practice ethical PR (answers to questions about ethics and morality are hardly ever black or white), but I have a broader idea of what methods NGOs use to influence people. And they not always are fair play.

9 March 2010

Cover Letter YouTube style

In my previous post I wrote on how twitter and other social platforms can cost you a job. But now I want to show you, how such content sharing sites as YouTube for example can get you a job if you do it in a creative and smart way.

This is exactly how Alec Bedrzycki (woohoo, he has Polish roots :), fresh marketing graduate, used social media to find an entry level position in marketing industry.
Here is his cover letter that actually got him a job:

5 March 2010

Watch what you’re Tweeting!

How social media can cost you a job

As social media is now a significant part of many careers out there (such as public relations for example), knowing how to use social platforms for professional purposes can be a big advantage. Being active on facebook and twitter seem to be ‘a must’ nowadays and there aren’t many people left who don’t actually have an account on one or two networking sites.

Popular among individual people at first, social media now are now also necessity for many companies and corporations (just have a look around facebook for instance; there are facebook groups with Starbucks, Ford Motor, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and many more). As Howard Bragman PR professional and writer said, social media is the future for brands and if none of them wants to fall behind, they have to be active on social platforms. This however makes it difficult for individuals to take part in this online part of life, mainly because of limit forced upon their freedom to express themselves.
See here, how...

3 March 2010

Why women might never run PR?

 And why they will…

For weeks now one of my PR modules have been hosting debates about contemporary issues in public relations. Today debate concerned female input into the industry.

Statistics show that today there are more women in PR than men. They outnumber male professionals significantly becoming 2/3 of the employees in the industry. However, dig these numbers deeper and you will find that though females outnumber males 60 to 40%, there are still more men who run the business. Why?

This topic isn’t new. Most people who had contact with public relations at some point of their life had probably noticed that there are mostly women who deal with most errands in the offices, who work on presentations and who organise things. Even in my PR course there are mostly women (we have only four guys).

1 March 2010

New Media Overload – Google has it all

I wanted to share with you something I came across while I researched social media for my class. There is so much talking about social media and as if there wasn’t enough of networking sites, there constantly seem to appear new ones (Bebo, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Hi5, Nasza Klasa, Google Buzz, etc. It’s unending competition among them, and honestly some of them are so similar it might seem like a waste of time to even consider joining them).
What I wanted to share with you is this cartoon, which I’m sure reflects confusion of many people out there who perhaps struggle with grasping all new media products appearing nowadays.  Watch it here:

27 February 2010

Video: Social Media Brand Compilation

PR Geek Blogger created a webcast explaining social media use for brands.

The 7 minute long video “Social Media and Brands” covers such questions as:
   1. What is social media and why it is called social?
     2. Cultural and sociological concepts behind social media
       3. What are the negatives of Social Media for Brands?
       4. What are the positives? What’s in it for me? 
    5. How to prepare Social Media Strategy for business?

19 February 2010

Social Media good for brands. Is it for us?

This webcast was produced for studying purposes. It explains what social media is and why it’s called social. Its positives and negatives for business and it’s relevance to PR and social media and brand connection. 

It is my first webcast and I used Camtasia Studio to make it. I had a few technical difficulties during production process of Social Media and Brand which you can probably hear at some point of the video – Camtasia refused to fix them even after several of my attempts.
But I hope you can still  enjoy it… 

11 February 2010

PR pollution

The work of PR professionals is to identify audiences and create campaigns which could influence them by changing their attitudes, habits, perceptions or raising their awareness about particular issues. The most popular and current issue that comes to my mind now is human footprints we leave on the environment. Almost everywhere we look there’s a news story reminding us about it. We pollute Earth with trash and so PR people created social campaigns to warn us about dangers of rising litter or amounts of carbon we produce.

Now reporters created campaign, An Inconvenient PR Truth, targeted at PR people to stop them polluting journalists’ work environment. Apparently public relations industry is contaminating newsrooms with trashy press releases which are irrelevant to reporters and make their work more difficult. 
See the campaign ad here:

10 February 2010

CSR – a little bit of good, a little bit of bad for the society

To CSR or not to, that would be the question for our PR debate. I was always interested in corporate social responsibility because I saw it as a chance to do something good for the community by a company. Perhaps most of us see corporations as evil and up to no good, carrying only about their profits and thinking how to manipulate us to get some of our earnings. But there are good deeds that big companies did and still do.
Avon, for example, which is in partnership with such organisations as National Cancer Institute, has established Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade which helps to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Also Avon Foundation for Women, which is helping to fight domestic violence with Reese Witherspoon as its ambassador is donating big money to tackle the problem. This sounds as very good deeds company is doing.
Another example here is Whirlpool Corporation and its Philippines branch which joined non-profit organization Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) in sponsoring surgeries for Pilipino children with cleft lips and cleft palate. And there is more to the company. Since 1999 Whirlpool partners with Habitat for Humanity by helping fight poverty in USA. Corporation helps build homes for those who are in need of one but can’t afford it (for example single mothers with children). Their message is “Every Home… Everywhere, with Pride, Passion, and Performance”. If you want to read more about Whirlpool CSR have a look at its Sustainability Report.
There are many examples of companies and corporations which do good for local communities or wider society. This not only works well for their reputation but also brings profits to them. Many experts claim that good reputation is very important for the success of a corporation; they consider reputation “a company’s asset” because it is connected to corporate brand equity and it adds to the value of that company (write Schwartz and Gibb in ‘When Good Companied Do Bad Things: Responsibility and Risk in an Age of Globalization’).
There is yet another side to CSR. In my PR class some of my fellow students believe that corporate social responsibility is merely a window dressing for corporations that want to avoid paying tax or just hide their harmful to the environment activities. One of my colleagues brought to our attention example of Shell Corporation. To gain public trust and gain their positive attitude towards the company, Shell made promises to build schools in Africa as a part of its CSR program. But children are still waiting for those. Are they just dressing the window with its CSR plans?
Mallen Baker in his blog wrote: “If the arguments for a socially responsible approach were widely accepted, nobody would be even using the label "CSR" because everyone would be doing it”. And I agree with him. I think many corporations wouldn’t be doing CRS if they behaved ethically and morally in the first place. I don’t believe that Nike, for example, would be trying any of its CSR programs if it didn’t use child labour to make its shoes.
What do you think?

2 February 2010

There's Something About Social Media

The Good Stuff

Though social media are not novelty any more they are still one of the hottest topics in public relations theories. It’s enough to listen to dissertation topics students pick for their final papers this year to find out that social media are still in the centre of discussions. People wonder, what kind of impact will/does it have on PR? Is this a threat or an opportunity to the industry? Is this another stage for corporate and political propaganda? How can we use it in PR campaigns?

I found out that in 2009 there were 225 million global facebook users. So far Unites States and Britain are the largest countries that use this platform and there is more female users comparing to male audience. But facebook is not the only social networking platform out there.

Pew Research Centre found out that in America “Twitter and similar services have been most avidly embraced by young adults. Nearly one in five (19%) online adults ages 18 and 24 have ever used Twitter and its ilk, as have 20% of online adults 25 to 34. Use of these services drops off steadily after age 35 with 10% of 35 to 44 year olds and 5% of 45 to 54 year olds using Twitter. The decline is even more stark among older internet users; 4% of 55-64 year olds and 2% of those 65 and older use Twitter”.

All these information is very valuable from the point of view of marketers and PR professionals. So what that such platforms as YouTube or Twitter don’t earn money. They are worth billions of dollars because of the data gathered on them: details on date of births, locations, e-mail addresses and even interests of potential consumers to marketers and PR people.

Social networking certainly gives advantages for these two industries, such as for example: reaching vast numbers of people; a chance for two-way communication between the company and its public (especially if it comes to feedback and people’s opinion on products or services); it gives an opportunity to create a buzz among certain audiences (above all young people) and make the word of mouth more effective/vast.

„Today’s public relations industry has become so pervasive that part of its invisibility steams from the fact that it is, indeed, everywhere [...]”, wrote Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber in Trust Us, We’re Experts. This invisibility is a big advantage for PR, and new media became a new stage for public relations activities where PR can be almost transparent. Who can say who is on the other side of that net where the message was sent? Who can say, what are the motives of people posting blogs on specific topics (life for instance fashion blogs)? Who is taking up discussions on consumer forums? These people can be hired professionals exaggerating some issues or trying to divert readers’ attention from others.

29 January 2010

Public Relations of War Part 2

Media Control

War and public relations - these are two inseparable concepts. The first one probably wouldn’t have place in human world if it wasn’t for the other one (though PR is often thought to be a modern profession its roots are thousands years old). And as I wrote before governments use public relations and propaganda to manipulate their audiences and gain their support in many issues; one of them is war.

Film made by BBC ‘War Spin’(2003) shows very well how US Department of Defence used public communications to maintain certain image of American and British troops and actions they were taking in Iraq. The ‘tool’ that made creation of that image possible was control of the media and messages sent into the world. I think this is one of the most important things in propaganda, to control the media: radio, TV, papers, online. After all, media are the fourth power and probably everyone heard that saying: “whoever controls the information controls the world.”

27 January 2010

Public Relations of War, part 1

Propaganda and Iraqi War

For most people the thought of going to war is something horrible, something that should be avoided at all costs. It brings pain, death and destruction; and civilians are always the ones who suffer the most. Yet, despite all of this many people either support or accept the fact that their country goes to a war against someone else (there are of course those who oppose such conflicts, yet often they are minority). But why? 

The answer that keeps coming to my mind is: PR and government propaganda. I checked a few pages with information about public support to the Iraqi war. It appears that just before the American-British invasion only 27% of UN citizens opposed to military action in Iraq. The majority of the public believed that Iraq was responsible for the terrorist attacks in America, and after the war began more than 70% of the population within UN supported the invasion (even though the weapon of mass destruction supposedly hidden by Saddam Hussein has never been found).

24 January 2010

Public Relations has many faces

About a week ago I was encouraged to start my own blog, and precisely a blog about public relations. I probably would never dare to write one about the industry on my own, but as I’m trying to enter PR world I can only hope that having a bit questioning and analyzing look at it would be helpful in discovering what this profession is really like. So, here it goes… 

To me PR was always about reputation, persuasion, creativity and changing stereotypes. I was very impressed with Edward Bernays’ successful attempt of breaking “cigarettes taboo” in 1920’s when smoking was reserved only for men, and when no woman dared to smoke publicly. He managed to change society’s opinion in favor of women who were then able to smoke cigarettes wherever they felt like, and moreover, he convinced both sexes that cigarettes actually make females look more attractive. How powerful does this sound?