Category ArchiveCorporate Communications



Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Corporate Communications &Journalism &Social Media 29 Mar 2011 04:54 pm

A Big Step Forward for Newspapers

On Monday March 28, The New York Times announced that it would instill a pay wall into its online content. Content that readers used to receive for free from the paper’s website, on smartphones or tablet apps will now be charged as subscription packages. If the pay wall is successful for The New York Times, it could mean that future changes lay ahead for other newspapers as well.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s publisher, announced the launch of the digital subscriptions and explained its parameters. Home delivery subscribers will have access to all of the Times content both online and on a cellular device. International Herald Tribune subscribers will also have full access to content. Yet non-subscribers will be required to pay 4-week packages based on the amount of content they wish to access. Additionally, readers will be limited to 20 Times articles a month if they don’t have an online subscription.

In my communications class Monday, we discussed the pay wall and what it might mean for the Times and the survival of other newspapers. My fellow classmates both argued in favor and against the pay wall, some saying that they wouldn’t pay for news content that used to be free, while others said they would be willing to begin paying because of the paper’s superior qualities.

The Times appears to be targeting long-time readers of the paper and readers who value and often read its content, and therefore are willing to pay the subscriptions. The new pay wall will certainly be a test of whether the Times will benefit financially and long-term from the online subscriptions, or lose readers to other publications.

If the pay wall is successful, other newspapers and news outlets may follow suit and charge for their content. Publications that cannot retain their readership after implementing similar pay walls may fail completely, since online advertisements are no longer sufficient sources of revenue. Free access to news online may soon become a thing of the past entirely, and although the Wall Street Journal has been charging readers for a while now, the success of the New York Times online subscriptions could be a big step forward for newspapers in an increasingly online and digital society.

By Dana Prainito

About Eiler Communications &Business and Economy &Corporate Communications &Environment &Rescue &Social Media &Wildlife 25 Jun 2010 12:24 pm

The BP Oil Spill & Social Media

As oil spills into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying land, ecosystems and livelihoods, social media is in the forefront. Whether it is the general public demanding a resolution, government officials seeking containment and public support or BP trying to restore its image, social media has spread the latest oil spill news faster than ever before.

Within hours of the British Petroleum and Transocean rig explosion, media personnel and the general public used Facebook and Twitter accounts to pass word of the explosion with friends and followers. Many of these social media users wondered who was to blame, what would happen to the fish and sea creatures calling the ocean their home and what affect the spill would have on those who fished for a living. Outrage and concern has continued to resonate throughout these social media sites following the explosion on April 20, 2010.

Thousands of BP critics have launched social media attacks for BP’s failure to prevent the disaster and its inability to stop the flow of oil. Hundreds of Facebook pages exist asking the public to boycott BP, while a fake BP Twitter account making fun of the company has reached a popularity well beyond that of the company’s actual Twitter account.

At the same time, the public has been posting and tweeting ways for others to help relief efforts in the Gulf. Posts telling people where and how to make donations have circulated the Internet.

The crisis communication carried out by the company is something that should be carefully observed. BP’s president, Tony Hayward, made several statements that have caused public outrage. Hayward belittled the scope of the situation in May and suggested that the environmental impact of the spill would be minimal. The company has yet to admit to doing something wrong but claims they are taking responsibility for clean-up efforts. In public relations, the best thing a company can do is to be completely honest about screwing up. BP was not.

The lack of interest and concern BP has shown is evident. The oil spill was a fantastic opportunity for BP to use social media as a communication tool right from the beginning. The company has made some effort to be active through social media- it has a Facebook page, Twitter feed and a channel on YouTube, which cost $250,000 to brand, according to Taylor Buley of Forbes.com . However, the problem is not what outlets of social media BP is using, but exactly how they are utilizing them.

BP should be using their Twitter feed and Facebook page as a forum for discussion as well as a way to answer questions and concerns from the general public. Instead of providing customer service and giving feedback, BP merely gives updates to what’s new in the Gulf. Courtesy of BP, there are plenty of informational videos about cleanup efforts and claims made against the company, but there is no channel of communication in which the public is asked for suggestions about the oil spill.

The company’s social media outlets have become a place for bashing the corporation instead of a forum for people to voice their opinions about a possible solution.

BP’s lack of care for the public’s input is apparent in their social media campaign, and it is a taking a toll on their reputation. If social media is going to be used during a crisis, in order to be successful, it needs to be facilitated so it is clear that the company is listening to its customers.

Jaclyn Klein and Rachel Krasnow

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Corporate Communications &Entrepreneurs &Leadership 03 Jul 2009 11:19 am

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Now is the perfect time to become an entrepreneur. That’s right, I said now.

With many older, established organizations running low on capital and funds, failed business models are being washed away. There’s room for fresh, new ideas. Obviously, it takes more than an idea to make it in this economy, and Ann Arbor is lucky enough to have three economic developers poised to incubate your burgeoning idea.

Automation Alley
This driver of economic growth relies on collaborative efforts to build workforce and development initiatives. Automation Alley hosts networking events and skill-building exercises. Every level of business leader can find opportunities at Automation Alley. The Alley has created the Entrepreneurial Initiative of Southeast Michigan (EISEM) to highlight regional entrepreneurs. EISEM holds a bi-monthly forum with keynote speakers and local startups in order to extend each business’ message with customers and investors. The next forum will be held at Detroit’s TechTown on August 13. Please visit automationalley.com for more information and events.

SPARK
This heavily lauded economic development corporation, headquartered in downtown Ann Arbor, strives to realize the tremendous amount of potential pouring forth from surrounding communities (U of M, EMU, tech groups, etc.). Like many economic developers, SPARK hosts networking events throughout the area and looks to educate and refine start-ups to their maximum potential. Entrepreneurs can open an account with SPARK and set up a profile to advance their networking potential on their website: www.annarborusa.org.

The Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest
The GLEQ extends their economic vision throughout Michigan, inspiring venture capitalists and entrepreneurs throughout the state. GLEQ provides a tremendous database of educational resources to member companies. Unique to the GLEQ is the competition they hold for new participants in two categories; New Business Idea and Emerging Company. Cash prizes are awarded to top finishers. Read more about the GLEQ and their competition at www.gleq.org.

Many other economic organizations exist in Michigan with the mission evolving from education purposes to inspirational efforts amidst these economic downturns. While the auto-industry reassembles and reinvigorates, the work of economic developers and venture capitalists cannot be overvalued. Ross Perot said, “Most new jobs won’t come from our biggest employers. They will come from our smallest. We’ve got to do everything we can to make entrepreneurial dreams a reality.” And for that reason, the time to explore your entrepreneurial spirit is now.

Case Ernsting

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Clean Tech &Corporate Communications &Ecofriendly &Entrepreneurs &Environment &Marketing Communications &Sustainable Transportation &Technology PR Insights &Thinking Green 17 Jun 2009 10:02 am

Festival Season Goes Green

On June 12, 2009 Main Street played host to the 9th Annual Mayor’s Ann Arbor Green Fair. Underneath the lush green leafy canopy of Ann Arbor’s city center, local eco-friendly vendors and businesses gathered to discuss, exhibit, explain and sell all things Green. Booths lined both sides of downtown Main Street between Huron and William with companies both large and small, profit (Whole Foods) and non-profits (Friends of the Allen Creek Greenway) encouraging visitors to focus on environmental-sustainability for the future. BikeFest, with tutorials and ideas on bicycle transportation was also included in the festivities.

The annual Mayor’s Ann Arbor Green Fair signifies the growth and opportunity the Green Industry represents in our current economic climate. The traditional preservation communities made their appearance at the Fair, but also notably present were industries that do not immediately suggest “environmentalist”. Examples of these include: The Bank of Ann Arbor, Amtrak and Ann Arbor division of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). As a casual onlooker and job seeker, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of activity towards Green initiatives. Also particularly interesting is the governmental support of eco-sustainability. In addition to the Mayor’s continued backing of the Fair (scheduled in the heart of Festival season by the way), Washtenaw County showed off their ecological commitment with exhibitions on weatherization, water resources and environmental health. More on Washtenaw County’ s Green initiatives can be found at their homepage.

“Going Green” is no longer just a fad, but a serious consideration for any business leader or those looking for business or jobs. The sophistication of green-centric organizations was on display at last week’s Fair. A list of companies and businesses that appeared at last week’s Fair can be found here. The city of Ann Arbor listing for the event can be found here. In order to take eco-friendly businesses to the next step in terms of impact and economic stability, I believe it is time for these businesses to enlist traditional marketing and public relations expertise. The audience is ready to listen. Attendance of the Green Fair was bustling and curious. Each booth attracted three to four visitors and musical acts entertained at each corner. The Green Fair even out-paced the turnout of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s First Night gathering just 5 blocks north. “Going Green” is no longer simply the way of the future, but as the Green Fair showed, the future.

Case Ernsting

Business and Economy &Corporate Communications &Electronic PR &Journalism &Media &Social Media &Writing 19 May 2009 04:55 pm

Journalism on the Silver Screen

Moviegoers were graced with a glimpse into the world of journalism in April with the premiere of two top-notch press-centric films; State of Play and The Soloist respectively. The investigative reporting and journalistic flair of newspaper writers drive the two films. State of Play and Soloist are just the latest in a long line of movies centered on the cunning investigations pivotal to the newspaper world. Remember All the Kings Men? Citizen Kane? Or The Pelican Brief? While the most recent cinematic journalism adventures are far from the first to feature press writers, might they be two of the last?

As newspapers continue to search for new business models, the “Watchdog” function is changing or disappearing. New forms of social media have accelerated the public’s demand for news. Whereas reporters once had weeks to cover an in-depth story, the editorial calendar has shrunk significantly. Instead of investing in investigations guarding public interests, newspapers are forced by high print and distribution costs to watch over their pocketbooks.

Some of the best movies of this generation are marked by newspapers in some way. If newspapers continue the current downward spiral, it will definitely be reflected at theaters…but how much remains to be seen. Five years from now, Denzel Washington may be on stage accepting an Oscar for portraying a Twitter-er. Or M. Knight Shyamalan might be directing a horror flick about Facebook. Enjoy the likes of The Soloist and State of Play while you can. Journalism has been celebrated in our society for many, many years, but the changes on the printed page are usually reflected on the reel.

Case Ernsting

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Corporate Communications &Leadership &Marketing &Public Relations Tools &Social Media &Technology PR Insights 24 Mar 2009 04:26 pm

Twitter vs. Facebook Heating Up

“What’s on your mind”? With this simple query that appears on the front page of Facebook profiles, Facebook has thrown down the gauntlet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had Twitter on his mind for a while now, and struck back at the up-and-coming social networking site two weeks ago. The much anticipated and incredibly hyped Facebook profile changes appeared on browsers everywhere on March 13. How BIG were these changes? As you can see here, the evolution of Facebook’s façade earned Zuckerberg an invite to appear on Oprah. Clearly, dorm room tech geeks aren’t the only ones noticing the social media frenzy.

Where’s all this buzz coming from? Well, Zuckerberg’s changes mark the latest chapter in the clash between Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has built its reputation on simplicity since CEO Evan Williams launched the site in 2006. Zuckerberg threw subtleties aside when he joined the 6 million on Twitter with a username of his own (thezuckerberg), apparently researching the micro-blog from the inside. (For those scoring at home, add “Espionage” to the list of professions social media has transformed.) The most obvious examples of Facebook’s robbery: When users sign on to Twitter they are greeted with the eerily coincidental question, “What are you doing?”. Facebook’s revamped look helps companies develop a presence on the site beyond the traditional “Fan Pages”. With Facebook’s improved business-oriented functionality, look for Facebook’s membership to spike in the upcoming months.

In the past six months, Twitter has really found its stride attracting celebrities, musicians, politicians, professional athletes, news agencies, businesses, and even President Barack Obama (username: BarackObama). This diverse, informational, and entertaining Twitter population was growing so much (752% In the last year!!) that Facebook looked to purchase the site last year to the tune of $500million in stock. Twitter and Williams rebuffed the offer, proclaiming that “Twitter is just getting started”. Facebook’s offer and subsequent rejection is even more astounding when you discover that Twitter is not a revenue-generating machine. Perhaps these are the changes Williams’ and his team foresee.

What’s the next step in this titanic clash of social media giants? It’s hard to speculate, but definitely fun to watch. Stay tuned.

Case Ernsting

About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Corporate Communications &Marketing &Marketing Communications &Michigan Public Relations Firm &PR Firm for Economic Development &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 07 Oct 2008 09:42 am

Why is Public Relations Important?

Public relations is the art and science of establishing relationships between an organization and its key audiences. In today’s business world and economy who doesn’t need to establish long lasting loyal relationships?

It is always amazing to me that in times of hardship in a company or small business the first thing to get “cut” is public relations and marketing. When business is slow, isn’t the objective to attract more business? The pieces don’t seem to fit in the logic of cutting what drives consumers to your business.

There are many different forms of marketing to reach your audience, but the first thing that should come to mind is positioning your company. Marketing positioning strategy is when marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization. In other words, try to say something that is so profound or shocking (but true) that you clear enough space in the brain of your consumer to make them forget about all of the other competition.
Sounds pretty simple right?

In most cases, it is not that simple.

That is why it is so important to use a mix of marketing methods, one of them being public relations. PR reaches your audience in a much different way because it is not a paid advertisement. It also helps you to reach an audience that you might not have been able to reach or afford to reach with traditional marketing methods. Public relations also uses diverse techniques such as opinion polling and focus groups to evaluate public opinion, combined with a variety of high-tech techniques for distributing information on behalf of their clients to the target audience.

What if you wanted to reach the audience that reads the Wall Street Journal, but your marketing budget wouldn’t allow you to spend 40k on a small black and white ad? PR will help you to reach an editor at the WSJ with a compelling story and get it published. Wouldn’t you be much more likely to read an article written by a third party rather than a paid advertisement and find more value in that?

Think about the different forms of social media these days! Blogging, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook! If you are not staying with the changes in technology then you will be left behind. All of these groups of social media are forms of PR and a good way to reach your audience or at the very least, hear what they are saying about your product directly.

Here is one more thing to think about. What if you had a major public relations crisis in your company and no one on your staff knew how to talk to the media? Wouldn’t you regret not having a PR firm?

Jenny