Monthly ArchiveJanuary 2009
Are you going green? Do you know how to go green? At the Micro level, you might walk to the corner store instead of driving…or perhaps you turn off the lights when you leave the room. But at the Macro level, many companies have gone green in a big way. Earlier Eiler blogs have highlighted the benefits of “Green-ifying” your company and working with green organizations. I will point out the crucial role public relations plays after your company goes green.
Companies that go green are preserving the environment, but also preserving their revenues. New television commercials (IBM, Wal-Mart, etc.) are highlighting the economics of going green, but what about the beneficial public perception that goes along with these actions? As Larry as been pointing out in recent blogs, the concept of branding is evolving, but the reasons to brand remain the same.
Companies and corporations need to differentiate themselves from competitors now more than ever, and the opportunity to go green appears to be the newest source of market differentiation and corporate social responsibility. For instance, Wal-Mart is trying to wash away its less than stellar public perception by instituting long-term green alternatives. McDonald’s, in the throes of a brand shift towards healthier meal options, promote a healthy, green relationship with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Additional globally-renowned brands going green can be found here.
The public knows the value of going green due to an increase in media attention. In today’s economy, that awareness and concern can be leveraged and turned into sales through savvy public relations practices.
So if I say, Coca-Cola is going green by focusing on energy protection…do you know what they’re actually doing? Inherently, we agree with this practice even if it’s not obvious what “energy protection” means. This is where your friendly Public Relations (PR) firm steps in. PR can bridge the gap between great ideas and the customer, especially now that the economy has stifled consumer spending. Companies are investing millions of dollars in creating new technologies and innovative ideas to protect the environment, but much of these success stories are not relayed to the public effectively With PR, brand messages are recognized instantly.
In an upcoming blog, I’ll look at how General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are using forward-thinking green innovations to save their companies, as well as how the Big Three will benefit from involving knowledgeable PR methods.
I was recently reading an article in Fast Company magazine about the most influential women in technology. The article was the second in a series that was originally called,
“ The Most Influential Women in Web 2.0.” The first article became a heated debate on many social media networks, including Digg because some readers felt the article was sexist. Sexist? Come on.
This lead me to think about what a disadvantage that women have had in the technology department by any metric: average salary, top-management representation, board memberships and many geographic areas like Silicon Valley are still just a boys club. In fact, most of technology seems to be a “boys club.”
The fact of the matter is now that social media has taken off with such rapid fire, women are becoming very influential and making a dent in the technology world. For instance, look at some of the executives of large social media and technology firms. Susan Decker, President of Yahoo, Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook, Megan Smith VP, New Business Development of Google.
What about some of the fastest growing social networking sites? Caterina Fake
Co-founded the photo-sharing elephant Flickr and then sold it to Yahoo for a reported $35 million. Everyone is buzzing about her highly anticipated project called Hunch, which is in development.
Women Bloggers? Look at the site http://www.blogher.com/ and you will find over
2,200 women bloggers and counting. This site has become its own community that even has its own blogging conference. Anyone can sign up and have your blog posted. There are even large advertisers on the site such as Cover Girl and Oil of Olay. Wonder what Eilsa, Jory and Lisa (the founders of Blogher.com) made on that contract?
It’s not just about money, although that is a great perk. Blogging allows us the freedom to write and discuss things that are relevant to us and to have them published. Anyone can blog and anyone can use blogging to drive traffic to his or her site, develop their own company or just have an opinion. It has become the way of communicating these days and it would be a shame to not take advantage of this great tool in marketing and PR.
Jennifer L Peak
Last week I wrote about President Obama and the debate over whether or not he was able to keep his BlackBerry now that he has been officially sworn in as President. As of Friday, the decision had been made and it was publicly announced that President Obama is going to be the first to email while living in the White House.
It only made sense that he would be able to keep it. He had just run the most technologically sophisticated presidential campaign in our nation’s history. Then, as soon as he won, he was asked to give up what helped get him into office in the first place. The rest of the White House has email and Obama’s aids all have a BlackBerry. Members of Congress were all given the device after 9/11 when it was realized that even after cell service had failed, BlackBerrys still continued to work. If everyone else is able to communicate online, the President certainly should be able to do the same.
In order for him to keep the device, he made a deal that it would only be used on a limited basis and to communicate with friends and some senior staff members. He will mainly use the device to read incoming messages and then later respond to them once he has access to a computer. Security has also been increased on the device to prevent others from hacking into his account and information from being leaked to the public.
Now that the president can officially communicate using the technology that the rest of the country depends on, it made me think about how this could increase the popularity of the already popular communication device. The device has been mentioned a great deal lately in the media nationwide; from a Public Relations perspective, this is good marketing. All of this exposure could interest the public to get a BlackBerry of their own. I mean, who is a better individual to create interest in the device than the President of the United States?
Uncategorized 23 Jan 2009 05:57 pm
I studied a sales program that taught us how to identify people’s styles and sell to what they needed to hear because of their personal style.
The course was called Meyers and Briggs and it featured four “styles” of people: Thinker, Intuitor, Sensor and Feeler.
I have discovered over the years that if you figure a person’s style and can appeal to the kids of thinking that style contains, you often move a sales opportunity along nicely.
I recently have relearned this technique with a program run by Joe Marr, a former vp of sales and marketing for a $100 million filter company, now a savvy sales training consultant.
Joe covers personal styles with DISC.
D is dominant — decisive, competitive, results-oriented. Move fast. Take risk. In control.
I is an inter-relater — sociable, talkative, lively. Good team player, eager to help.
S is a steady-relater — stability and security, needs help with change.
C is compliant — logical, analytical, precise.
Your job is to figure someone’s style, adjust your own to match it so the person will feel comfortable with you. This will tend to make the discussion more open and honest.
You can do that simply like this:
* Assess the kinds of question someone asks. Determine what a respondent means by an answer in discussion.
* Get a sense of where the person is in a decision process.
* Check out the person’s office to see how it is decorated. Family photos. Photos of self. Graduation of other personal recognitions.
* Discuss what the person likes to do.
If you get vague or weak replies, best move on because this is likely someone who just drives hard all the time … or someone who wants to get back to work and thinks your discussion is wasting time.
We will next discuss doing business with companies that find you on the Internet – and with whom you have no face-to-face contact.
It’s no question that Barack Obama is our most technologically savvy President. From his campaign to planning the first few days of his presidency, he has used more technology than any President in our nation’s past.
President Obama raised $750 million for his campaign mainly by using the Internet; this is six times more money than any prior presidential candidate has raised.
The most effective way that the Obama campaign used the Internet was through Social Media. Many believe that his victory over John McCain in November was partly due to the use of social media. The Obama campaign was far more effective of the two presidential candidates in terms of using social media as a way to engage and motivate voters.
Start with blogs. There were close to 500 million blog postings that mentioned President Obama since the end of August while McCain was mentioned about 150 million times.
On MySpace, Obama had 844,927 friends compared to McCain’s 219,404. Between November 3rd and 4th, Obama gained over 10,000 new friends while McCain gained 964.
President Obama also held the lead on Twitter with 118,107 followers while McCain had 4,942.
Even with the campaign finished, President Obama is still using the same means of communicating that helped lead to his presidential victory. The website change.gov has the Obama administration asking the US public to share its stories and goals.
A big issue in the media is whether or not he was going to be able to keep his beloved BlackBerry. It is believed that he should not be able to use the device due to security issues. The messages he sends and receives could be intercepted; his account could easily be hacked into, no matter how strongly it is protected. The decision is not yet decided.
Obama is not the first President to question whether or not to communicate via email. Eight years ago, George W. Bush debated over the issue. He chose to stop communicating over cyberspace with the fear of his private conversations being looked at by the public.
We also have to consider when Bush made the decision to give up communicating online. Since then, the use of email has dramatically increased and BlackBerrys have become a necessity for many due to their convenience. During his campaign, President Obama’s memorandums and briefing books were rarely printed out and delivered to his home or hotel room, they were simply sent to his BlackBerry for him to review.
Even with all the controversy surrounding his use of technology, President Obama still hopes to be the first e-mailing President. He also hopes to have a laptop computer on his desk in the Oval Office; he would be the first American President to do so.
President Obama is all about change, whether or not he is able to keep his BlackBerry or have a computer in the Oval Office, he is very intent on pulling the office at least partly into the 21st century.
Uncategorized 16 Jan 2009 04:28 pm
What is the fifth era of marketing – The Wired Era – going to look like when we get well into it in the next couple of years?
This illustration depicts what a bunch of clients, friends, colleagues, students told me when asked how social media fit in business. It is like a bunch of clouds to many. All social media are emerging and not many are yet proficient at using the right forms to bolster their businesses.
Hardwired phones will be gone. Cell phones will abound even more than today.
Go back 5-10 years ago when home phones were dominant over cell phones. Then, home phone bills were expensive and you had to pay for long distance calls. Now, many people only have a cell phone or a PDA and the home phone is becoming extinct. Cell phone bills are expensive with all of the different features such as being able to access the Internet or text messaging.
Services to customers will broaden and enhance as companies try for an edge in reaching and serving customers.
There will be more research and development so that companies have services and products that people want and can get them to market very rapidly.
Brick and mortar stores will turn into warehouses to ship goods that people buy online.
If stores are to maintain customers, they will have to provide ever-better service and deals for people who visit and do not do their comparative shopping online.
Global markets will abound as Internet users will learn of products from far-off nations that they can easily get.
Many new online businesses will be founded because the cost to begin does not involve machines, factories, shipping and all else associated with traditional ways of reaching customers. Some will founder and fail and many will take off and soar.
Soon all DVD’s and games will be bought online and held in mass databases. Material goods will begin to vanish and hard drives will take over. Think about it, what takes up less space, an iPod with 20,000 songs or 2,000 CDs with 10 songs on each? An iPod can be stored in your pocket while the CDs take up an entire wall space. In the next few years this will happen with DVDs and video games.
The reduction in amount of material goods will be environmentally friendly with reduced amounts of waste.
What’s your take on what The Wired Era of marketing will bring forth?
The first four areas of marketing over the past century (per Boone & Kurtz Contemporary Marketing 2009) are:
Production Era – 90-100 years ago when companies believed “a good product will sell itself.”
Sales Era – 1940s-50s new technologies improved production and companies needed sales people to call on their market channels and end buyers.
Marketing Era – 1950s-60s saw the shift to making what people wanted, not what a company thought they wanted. Sellers had to adopt a consumer orientation and provide what people wanted.
Relationship Era – 1990s-now companies got into strategic partnerships so they could provide their products through new channels covered by their partners, or provide new products their partners made and they did not.
Social Media is the big thing these days. Although I have been using it for a couple years now, I don’t think I quite realized the extent of how beneficial it is until I started interning at Eiler Communications.
Social Media is Internet and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information with other people. There are many different forms of this; Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace and Blogging.
Lets talk about blogging. A benefit of your company writing blogs about various topics is to get your name out. It’s like a form of marketing that you don’t have to pay for. If you write about a topic and someone searches for that topic on Google, your blog is going to come up and direct that person to your website.
How is Facebook beneficial? Almost everyone I know has a page on Facebook. Companies can do the same thing. An organization can create a page saying what they do, where they are located etc. You can also link your website to your page to generate more traffic to your site.
I think Social Media is one of the best ways to get your name today and best of all, it’s free! Now isn’t that something good to hear in today’s economy?
A few weeks ago, I walked across the stage at Miller Auditorium, shook the president of Western Michigan University’s hand and received the diploma that officially made me a college graduate. As I walked back to my seat, I had a million thoughts running through my head. It all seemed like a dream rather than reality. I felt like I had just moved into the dorms with my entire college career ahead of me. I thought about the amazing times and friends I had met along the way. I realized I was about to leave this place that I called “home”. Then another thought came across my mind- “Now what?”
Like many other college graduates, I plan to look for a job. With that thought, I realized how searching for a job has changed due to the Internet and social media.
Searching for a job today is different than 30 years ago. Back then looking for a job consisted of sending out your resume and cover letter by mail and looking in the classified section of the newspaper. Today its all done online. Most companies have a website where they list their current openings. Sending your resume out is now as easy as the click of your mouse. Websites like Monster and Jobster update openings daily. These websites allow you to search by profession, location and job level or allow you to post your resume. Search engines like Google also come into play while job searching by allowing you to search for a company or for companies located in a specific area that you would like to work in. The Internet makes looking for your dream job a whole lot easier than it was years ago.
Social media has also had an impact. Websites like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to network with others. These websites can also have a negative impact on your job search. For example, on Facebook you are able to post pictures and write about interests. This makes it easier for potential employers to seek you out and learn more about you before they bring you in for an interview. If you have unprofessional information, a company may no longer be interested in you.
Trying to find the right job is a stressful time for anyone. I’m sure there are plenty of other recent grads like me who feel unsure of what’s ahead. Everything up to this point has been clearly laid out for me and now I have to decide what to do next. It’s been said that this country hasn’t faced a recession like this since the Great Depression. With the economy and job market the way that they are, I decided to do an internship at Eiler Communications to gain more experience in Public Relations while I look for the right job. Like they say; with every ending, there is a new beginning. I’ve had my ending and now I’m just waiting to find the right job for my new beginning.