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Posts tagged ‘Public relations’

Social Media + Celebrity: Taming the Wild, Wild West

2011 was a year of epic celebrity engagement on social networks. Lady Gaga became the undisputed queen of Twitter and fans around the world follow her tweets; waiting with bated breath the see if the twitter queen will reply to or retweet their digital adorations.

Taming the Wild West on April Lynne Scott's WordPress blogSocial media cannot be denied as a viable and effective channel for celebrity branding. Enter WhoSay, a new social platform already boasting more than 900 celebrity members. WhoSay aggregates content from a celeb’s social media accounts on his or her WhoSay Profile. The content on the site is copyrighted by the celebrity making it a useful way to disseminate statements, photographs and other breaking news. The Associated Press has recently formed a partnership with WhoSay so celebs can license content directly to the media through the new platform.

Social applications like WhoSay are popping up everywhere giving celebrities even more reason to engage through these new media channels… and they are. Hollywood’s A-List stars (Justin Timberlake, Bono & Lady Gaga to name a few) are devoting time & money to social business while celebs like Michael J. Fox are devoting their use of social media to drive awareness to causes like Parkinson’s research and other charitable organizations. Like any other business in today’s world celebrities know that they have to embrace new media to survive.

Even with these positive advances in the social world for celebs, 2011 was also been a year of epic celebrity failure on social media. Celebrities can’t stop themselves from spewing an inappropriate social stream of consciousness resulting in bad PR and a big mess for their publicists and managers. Celebs are using social media the same way the rest of us do, but their reach is far greater… and the damage far more costly.

From the novice celebrity tweeter to the Twitter-maestro himself Ashton Kutcher, celebrities are guilty of sending the wrong message. These social faux pas have proven costly both in terms of their finances and their reputations.

Social Media is PR in an instant. Celebrities like Ashton Kutcher have realized their brand can be damaged by a single tweet and have taken themselves of the social game. As much as fans and media crave these intimate, candid moments, social tools have to be used properly and with the same care and discretion given the other areas of their careers to be beneficial. What we must understand is that a celebrity’s brand can be damaged just as much by inappropriate management of their social brand as it can by handing over the management of that social brand to a handler.

Celebrity social media Paparazzi April Lynne Scott WordPress blogThe goal of social interaction is to connect with media, fans and friends and create stronger relationships, increase fan engagement and keep the star relevant  n the media. These social relationships will not be effective if they are not delivered (at least partly) in the celeb’s own voice. The celebrity’s personal interaction must be carefully balanced with those of the handlers & managers monitoring their social channels. So, how can celebrities and PR professionals walk this fine line?

I have to wonder why celebrity social media has been left unsettled and ungoverned – dangerous & deadly – much like the wild west. Celebrity managers and publicists would never consider leaving any other part of a client’s business unplanned or without strategy. Social media is no different.

Social media is a real, viable, critically important channel for the world of entertainment and it’s time we start treating it as such. Fans & media already understand that managers & publicists play a large role in every aspect of the celeb’s brand… why not this one? We must be well-versed in the tools of new media. We must be completely aware of the risks involved and prepared to handle the consequences in real-time. News is made and reputations are damaged in a social instant. It’s high noon and there will be a shootout. Are you armed with a plan?

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Much Ado About Nothing: PRSA’s #PRDefined Contenders Fall Flat

Embarrassed on April Lynne Scott's blog

Photo Credit: Matt King

Wednesday, PRSA unveiled three candidate definitions for their #PRDefined campaign, one of which will form the basis of a new, modern definition of public relations. PR professionals and the general public are invited to weigh in on the options to help PRSA in choosing – or creating – this new, modern definition of public relations. The “comments period” lasts through January 23 – you can through your thoughts in here. Without further ado – the contenders (plus added commentary):

Definition No. 1:

“Public relations is the management function of researching, engaging, communicating, and collaborating with stakeholders in an ethical manner to build mutually beneficial relationships and achieve results.”

I have a strong negative reaction to the word “stakeholder.” This word is not representative of all PR professionals in what should be a current definition of PR – not a limited description that defines few situations in the field. As well, it is unnecessary to include a laundry list of functions in this redefinition of our profession. And, if we need to state “in an ethical manner” in our definition we have a larger problem with our profession than the need to redefine it.

Definition No. 2:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that develops and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics.”

Definition No. 3:

“Public relations is the engagement between organizations and individuals to achieve mutual understanding and realize strategic goals.”

I’m disappointed. It seems a committee selected words from the past century of PR definitions and crammed them into 3 new definitions. This is not at all how I imagined this process. This is much ado about nothing. These are not modern or new in any way, but simply a regurgitation of former definitions.

 

Let’s take a closer look:

In the early 1900′s Edward Bernays (some say the founder of public relations) originally defined PR as:

“A management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organisation with the public interest, and plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”

Doesn’t this sound a lot like Definition No. 1? Should we want a laundry list that is in neither concise or all-inclusive PRSA can apologize for the hubbub and return to the original definition from the early 1900’s.

After several other revised definitions, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) again re-defined PR In 1982 as:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

Doesn’t this definition also sound too similar to our “new, modern” definition contenders?

In the beginning, I struggled to get on board with redefining my profession, forced myself to take part in the process and am (to be blunt) embarrassed by the outcome.

I was under the impression the goal was to create a concise description defining our profession in a modern way that is easily understood by the general public. Why did PRSA not throw out the old, tired words we’ve used for more than a century and begin fresh? We need a new, modern, concise definition defining the uniqueness of the profession while allowing for the intricacies of technological advances and the wide-ranging environments serviced by PR professionals.  I hoped this effort would unite those in the profession and educate those outside of it. To the contrary, we have again put ourselves in an awkward position best described by Doc Searls (@dsearls):

“PR has the biggest PR problem of all: people use it as a synonym for BS.”

This was an opportunity to change the negative opinion of our profession. This was a opporunity to start the process of regaining respect. We have failed miserably. We owe it to ourselves to be a bit more innovative with our “new, modern” definition. Back to the drawing board, PRSA.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: 7 Ways PR can Take care, TCB (and Regain Respect)

7 ways PR can regain respect

There’s been a lot of talk lately about public relations. The death of PR, the redefining of PR, and the stress of the profession. PR is getting a lot of negative press. It’s time to stop debating the past and take action to regain respect.

“PR has the biggest PR problem of all: people use it as a synonym for BS.”

Says Doc Searls (@dsearls),

“It seems only fair to defend the profession, but there is no point to it. Common usage is impossible to correct. And frankly, there is a much smaller market for telling the truth than for shading it. Maybe it is time to do with PR what we do with technology: make something new — something that works as an agent for understanding rather than illusion. Something that satisfies both the emperors and their subjects. God knows we’ve got the material. Our most important facts don’t need packaging, embellishment or artificial elevation. They only need to be made plain. This may not win prizes, but it will win respect.”

7 Ways PR can regain respect

1) United We Stand; Divided We Fall
Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, says,

“Our goal will be to elevate public relations as a management discipline that sits as a full partner alongside finance, operations, legal, marketing and strategic leaders in the C-suite. We need to offer coherent strategy. We must work together or we will fall short.”

Integration between all communications, marketing and business channels is key to the success of a brand. Working side by side, strategies should touch on elements of each channel to form a united front. Small start-up or a publicly held corporation, mom & pop business or international celebrity; the road to success is paved with integration. Just do it!

2) Too Little, Too Late
fashionably late doesn’t exist in PR! Time is of the essence. Long lead? Forget it. This is a digital world where information moves at the speed of light. This means having the right people in the right place at the right time with the right knowledge and authority to respond. Without it you will be late to the party and doing yourself and your client a disservice. Timing is no longer negotiable. TCB.

3) More Than Words
Content goes far beyond press releases, speeches, and pitches. Today content is audio, video, podcasts, webcasts, email, eBooks, blogs, and social media posts (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg). Think about your story in a digital way. Multidimensional content marketing is the way to transform your words into content capable of reaching a larger audience. But, don’t expect them to come to you – communicate to them where they are in a language they understand by diversifying your content.

4) A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words
It’s time to update traditional writing skills with digital mindsets. Words are more important than ever. SEO and SEM are as important as the story you’re telling. All content (pitches, releases, video, photos – everything) should be optimized for search engines. SEO shouldn’t take away from the facts, story, or pitch, but it will help get your story in front of the right people.

Make the story visible; make it easy to find. Learn about keywords and SEO. Use this knowledge to enhance your writing and to bring your images to life.

5) Get Real
Richard Edelman calls this “Practicing Radical Transparency.” Being authentic starts with strategy, extends to clients, and doesn’t stop until it reaches employees, shareholders, media and anyone else listening.

In a speech delivered the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) Edelman said,

“We are the last line of defense for the truth, because our material is increasingly used as primary source data. We also must be scrupulous about policing our own behavior and even what we pass along in social media.”

Transparency builds trust.  Trust builds relationships.  Relationships build respect. Be real, be truthful, be scrupulous – no exceptions.

6) Free Your Mind
Expand imagination. Expand creativity. Expand your strategy. PR is guilty of living in the past; of being chained to traditional rules.

In “The 2015 Digital Marketing Rule Book – Change or Perish” Avinash Kaushik (@avinash) says,

“How good can it possibly feel to do unimaginative things that barely even worked on TV/radio/magazines/catalogs? Whether you are the Marketer/CMO or the Web Analyst/Ninja, it is imperative that we unleash imagination. Why doesn’t everyone do that already? I know that this sounds utterly simple but we, people and companies, don’t always realize that the “rules” have changed.”

The rules have changed. PR has spent the past 100 years arguing with itself about what the rules and definitions are anyway. Public relations professionals are doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Why not free your mind and venture into a world of truly creative and innovative PR?

7) Deadly Sins
Gone are the days when journalists waited by fax machines and office phones for leads on the latest news. They are searching the internet, connecting on social networks, using smartphone apps and getting the latest headlines in realtime. All of this actually makes it a great time to be in PR. According to Amanda Marsh (@AmandaNMarsh) there are “Seven Common PR Sins to Avoid.” Her post is a must read and stresses respect.

Marsh writes,

“Respect my inbox, and make both of our jobs easier.”

To regain respect, respect others. Brush up on your R-E-S-P-E-C-T and see if some of it doesn’t come back your way.

PR is dead and so is Social Media

How you – yes, you – can raise them from the dead

The new year is right around the corner and it’s time to get in touch with our healing powers. How many times do we have to rehash this argument anyway?  PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) is hurriedly connecting life-support by attempting to revive and redefine PR. Seriously? PR has had more lives than Felix the cat and, in fact, does anyone really care if PR in its original form has to die a terrible death?

I’m just going to say it – PR is not dead.  But, it must reinvent itself. Some believe PR has been reinvented through social media… as social media. But let’s get one thing clear – New PR is not Social Media. And even if it was, unfortunately, social media is also, well, dead. Social media too has run its course – it has been pulled away from its “social” roots and is also in need of its own resurrection.  Dear friends, let us not mourn for the loss of PR and social media for we are the guilty. We have turned social media into no more than a tool to shove our products, marketing messages and opinions down the throats of our once loyal friends and followers. And because we haven’t been good stewards of the medium the relationships are dying and so is the medium.

What happened to the conversations?  Where are the relationships?  Having a Facebook page or a Twitter account just isn’t going to cut it – we are going to have to work harder to add value, create a buzz and form relationships (just like in real life).   Social media is, after all, building relationships through meaningful conversation and in essence being “social”. The same goes for “public” relations – creating valuable and loyal relationships with your public. You can’t have a conversation with something that’s dead. So, how are You breathing life back into this beast?

As publicists it is time we look forward into 2012 with this as our #1 resolution – the breath of life: Integrate.

But how?  First, Stop holding onto the past. The traditional foundations of PR and marketing are not being called into question here – we had to know the rules in order to break them… or expand them. So let’s start expanding.  Second, we need to stop fighting with each other… this traditional vs. new media tug-o-war. Can’t we all just get along? Give up the fight! Integrate! (Yes, that was two exclamations in a row.)

We have to begin working hand in hand with each other. Marketing, sales, advertising, analytics, development, communications – online and traditional… It doesn’t matter if you’re a small start-up or a publicly held corporation, the road to success is paved with integration. Sharing is caring and this year is the year. Just do it!

And while we’re at it learn to do it better and faster (this is resolution #2) – time is of the essence.  Publicists and marketers no longer have the luxury of time. The future of PR, marketing and media is real-time. Think, react, respond, relate – instantly… or risk being left for dead.

We will not mourn for you, beloved traditional PR and young Social Media, but instead we will celebrate your resurrection and transformation into something new and beautiful – something loved and nurtured. In 2012 let’s all resolve to evaluate, manage, communicate, execute, socialize, strategize, analyze, identify, engage, market, and disseminate as we all join hands and sing kumbaya… together. From social media to multimedia, PR to marketing, mobile to print, SEO, CRM, web, e-mail and  everything in between. can you feel the love?

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