Category ArchiveMarketing



Business of PR &Electronic PR &market positioning &Marketing &Media &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 16 Feb 2009 10:51 am

Sports Page PR

It’s hard to turn on ESPN these days without a report on Michael Phelps or Alex Rodriguez. Both superstar athletes have suffered massive blows to their public image in the past few weeks, but each has taken a different approach to managing their respective crisis.

Various media personalities heralded Phelps as the greatest athlete in Olympics history (a modern history dating back to 1896) after he swam to eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. Equally captivating was the recently released picture of Michael holding a bong at a college party in November. The Phelps camp has been frantically trying to save the swimmer’s reputation ever since the picture hit the internet. Strategically, Phelps management agency, International Management Group (IMG) is playing the “youthful spirit” PR card, asking for understanding and forgiveness…a very sound strategy. But the drawn out saga that has unfolded probably wasn’t in their plans. Every additional apology Phelps’ issues goes straight to the front page; every informal poolside press conference has Phelps out of breath and un-groomed. Phelps needs his character and integrity reaffirmed, but neither his coaches nor friends have displayed support to the media. More proactive PR tactics are needed in times of crisis management.

Alex Rodriguez and his PR staff were far more aggressive in handling his recent admission to steroid use in Major League Baseball (MLB). Sports Illustrated broke the story on Sunday and Rodriguez disclosed all in an interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons on Tuesday. He attacked the allegations and tried to minimize the damage by giving answers to questions sports fans were asking. Pulling a page from Phelps’ book, Rodriguez blamed his humanity for “making a mistake”. While Rodriguez’s image will never be the same, he was able to control the story, instead of letting the story control him.

These two sport-related cases offer lessons in crisis management. While the public will never forget these two incidents, savvy PR practices can minimize the damage to their respective reputations. Basketball’s Michael Jordan was able to stay in the public’s favor for years despite gambling allegations. Many businesses, company leaders, athletes, celebrities, etc. make mistakes because they are human. PR specialists must realize this fact and build a plan to emphasize the way individuals learn from mistakes.

Case Ernsting

Business and Economy &Business of PR &Clean Tech &Ecofriendly &Environment &Leadership &Marketing &Media &Michigan Public Relations Firm &Thinking Green 05 Feb 2009 05:41 pm

Bailout Fallout

Last week I wrote about including “Going Green” in business plans of the future, not only to help the environment, but also to sustain company coffers. This strategy is readily apparent following General Motors (GM), Chrysler and Ford’s visit to Congress last month and their subsequent unveilings at last week’s North American International Auto-show (NAIA).

In December, the CEOs of Detroit’s Big Three trekked out to Congress on the wheels of their newest hybrid vehicles in search of a Bailout. Although the CEOs were successful in acquiring a $17.4 Billion loan, the trip cost the automakers a great deal of credibility and public perception. GM CEO Richard Wagoner defended the decisions of the last few years as “right for the time”. GM’s resolute decision-making resulted in sluggish development of fuel-efficient vehicles; a disparaging trend given the nimble (and successful) movements of Toyota and Honda. The U.S. auto leaders needed to become relevant and responsible once again. Like many businesses both in Michigan and around the world, they turned their focus to environmental issues.

The Big Three were able to secure the congressional loan on the merits of their plan to go green and produce hybrid vehicles; an act that will benefit all three companies financially and in the public’s eye. A report in the Michigan Business Review identifies the mission ahead:
“[Chrysler, Ford and GM] face the challenge of introducing new products while convincing the public that they’ll be around to build those products.”

These new products include a more fuel-efficient, direct-inject turbocharged engine called Ecoboost from Ford…which sounds cool enough to be in a Batman movie. GM is looking for big returns on their E-Flex platform in which vehicles are battery dominant and plug-in capable. Chrysler is making the most of its new bailout bounty by promising three electric vehicles by 2010, shocking to some. Until these new innovations reach the market, PR opportunities such as the NAIA and news reports must be considered deftly. Going Green isn’t enough anymore to sway the American consumer. Companies now must to show purpose with environmental measures, especially when they are receiving our tax dollars.

Case Ernsting

Blogging &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Marketing &Media &Social Media &Technology PR Insights 26 Jan 2009 06:00 pm

Women Bloggers? A new demograhic in social media/tech?

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

Marketing &Media &Uncategorized 26 Jan 2009 05:45 pm

President Obama & His BlackBerry

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?

Amanda Deluca

About Eiler Communications &Blogging &Marketing &Social Media 14 Jan 2009 05:37 pm

How Do Companies Benefit Using Social Media?

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?

Amanda Deluca

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Entrepreneurs &Leadership &market positioning &Marketing 30 Dec 2008 03:14 pm

Ideas to Brand Yourself

We have been covering “The Magic to Brand Yourself.”

Why … reasons to do it … the necessity of having a strong “name” for what you do.

Here are some ideas of how to build your own brand.

1. As noted in the Dec. 24 blog, make a list of 20-25 organizations or people that you want to build ties with to get your name known. Like me, figure creative ways to get with these groups and people.

2. Speak to target groups of people that are important to you, on your target list.

3. Write for periodicals, blogs and other online or traditional media that are read by the groups and people you seek to reach.

4. Do your own web site and blog your ideas.

5. Don’t just join target groups. Be a DOER. Get engaged in a meaningful project that you can engage in. Such groups may be non profits, community forums, educational institutions.

Larry

Business of PR &Electronic PR &Leadership &market positioning &Marketing &Marketing Communications &Media &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 11 Nov 2008 10:11 am

Social Media Marketing and the success of Barack Obama

More than ever political candidates nowadays are seeing the huge advantages of market positioning and high tech PR via social media. Once in a while a candidate comes along and is a breath of fresh air. There was no better time for Barack Obama than now. With the 2008 election finally over, to the relief of many, we can sit back and assess the impact this positioning and PR had on candidates and nominees.
We are a society of pop culture and instant downloads where information is accessed at astonishing rates. News an hour ago is not news anymore and we are constantly searching for updates.
President-elect Barack Obama is an incredibly charismatic individual and plays well into this culture. Here is my thinking: I don’t think that policy and issue play as large a role as it should have and did in previous presidential elections. Although unfortunate, I feel image is a larger determining factor for the voting population.
Using these ideas, media relations and market positioning are just a couple of ways to build a fan base that can promote a candidates influence in multiple venues. Examples of this type of social marketing would include viral videos on YouTube, vlogs, internet forums, podcasts, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flickr, just to name a few. Videos seen on YouTube of campaign rallies were free PR on a national scale. In fact on his home website, there is a link to “Obama Everywhere”, which lists all the above and a handful more of places where you can learn and discuss Obama. His campaign took advantage of this social market positioning and used it in their strategic plan for success. He reached out to the numerous constituents and gained their attention and respect by understanding that technology is continuous and evolving.
It was in this sense that Obama was able to fundraise from micro donors (and in return allowed him to disclaim lobbyist influences in government). Furthermore, according to a CNN.com exit poll, 66% of all 18-29 year-olds and 52% of 30-44 year-olds voted for Obama. These are the same typical demographics that are familiar with and use social media as both an outlet for discussion and information seeking; the so-called “internet generation”.
The reason this is relevant in politics today is because you will not find a single candidate out there who does not have a website and/or numerous spin off sites. For example, Obama teamed up with Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes to create My.BarackObama.com, in which users could join an online community that boasted over a million members. Using these high tech venues one can find local events, contact undecided voters near you, and share stories via blogs. The thinking is this: candidates, especially at the presidential level, can be, and oftentimes are, impersonal. My.BarackObama.com removes that a little bit and makes him and his campaign feel more about you.
Obama positioned himself as a beacon for change. He spoke with an intelligence that articulated respect. He symbolized a new beginning or at the very least a fresh start from the turmoil of the last 8 years. Obama had a strong grasp of the power public relations and high tech devices to campaign in new ways. From my viewpoint, someone who understands the way people think and seems to have a direction definitely gets my vote.

Christian

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

Marketing &Technology PR Insights 18 Oct 2007 03:17 pm

Click and Stick: Successful Internet marketing strategies

Eiler Communications’ CEO, Larry Eiler, published an article on Internet marketing strategies in the September issue of Focus on Small Business, the Small Business Assocation of Michigan’s magazine. Below are our firm’s insights about how businesses owners can make e-marketing work for them. To order a copy of the magazine, contact the Michigan SBA.

The definition of marketing has recently expanded to include measurable, precisely-targeted Internet strategies that initiate dialogue with consumers. Since people use the Internet to make purchasing decisions, establishing a Web presence is crucial. Here are five ways your business can enlarge its e-footprint:

Search engine optimization
61 percent of people consider search engines their favorite tool for product research, according to a Yahoo! study, and Data Springs says 87 percent of them do not pass page one of their search returns. The demand for page-one visibility caused an explosion in search engine optimization (SEO), the business of increasing Web site traffic through natural search results.

“Achieving a high search ranking takes time and commitment,” said Linda Girard, co-founder of Ann Arbor Internet marketing firm Pure Visibility. “Successful sites are well-written, informative and easy to navigate. You are writing for search engine algorithms that comb the “key words” of your site for relevance by matching the search terms.”

Search engines don’t always recognize photos, graphics or music files; they care about relevant text. Are the terms “Michigan dentists” in your URL, page titles and site map text? If not, your chances of showing up in related search results are smaller.

Web site links are another important ingredient in SEO. Get listed in the top online directories in your industry and consider linking to companies in related industries on your Web site; they will return the favor. Every few months, evaluate the effectiveness of your key words, value of online referrals and which Web pages get the most visitors.

New media
Blogs, podcasts and content-sharing sites matter because people use them, sometimes more than traditional media. Hitwise finds more people visit the video-sharing juggernaut YouTube than the sites of all major TV networks combined. Journalists, too, read blogs to stay up on trends and story ideas.

Initiate conversation with customers by starting a blog on your Web site with a service like WordPress or TypePad. It will increase Web site traffic and bump up search engine returns. Blog about relevant articles, trends and products, and let readers post comments. Link to other relevant blogs and they will link back to you; join their online conversations and they will join yours. Make sure to officially claim your blog Technorati, a blog directory.

Create company podcasts, digital audio or video files, on your computer and uploaded to your Web site for viewing/listening. Pick topics you can educate others about. Virtual tours are popular with universities and builders; “how-to” demonstrations or executive interviews work for almost any business.

Post commercials on YouTube to establish an initial presence, but use the site to dialogue with others through interesting, interactive content. Blendtec, a company that sells blenders, did this with its viral video series “Will it Blend?” The series invited viewers to nominate new, ridiculous things to blend (like marbles). The initial campaign, which cost about $100, prompted high-profile media attention and increased sales.

Social networks
One in four people Americans use MySpace, a social networking site that accounts for a significant percentage of online retail referrals. Use popular social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn, to connect with people in your local market. If you own a restaurant or boutique, invite people in your area to join your network for updates on sales and new products.

Online advertising
Paid online advertisements, or pay-per-click (PPC) listings, are purchased through major search engines and allow you to reach customers searching online for your services. PPC ads show up when a customer searches for the terms you’ve selected for your campaign. You pay when customers click on your site; ad impressions are unlimited. PPC programs allow you the freedom to set your own budget and track campaign success.

“Regardless of company size or budget, PPC is an effective marketing tool,” said Google AdWords Strategist Matthew Neagle. “Because ads are displayed alongside search results, a key benefit of Google AdWords and PPC marketing is the ability to target customers who are seeking your products or services when their need is top of mind.”

E-marketing collateral
Newsletters and marketing collateral have digital forms now, which are often more cost-effective and make it easier to measure effectiveness. Graphics and flash animation make e-collateral visually stimulating, and all traffic ultimately leads customers back to your Web site. Distributing via e-mail allows you to track who opens your mail and takes action.

The best way to maintain an e-marketing campaign? “Stay informed,” said Girard. “Research industry trends. Knowing about opportunities is the first step toward making them work for your business.”

Marketing &Social Media 18 Oct 2007 11:52 am

Unmeasured events grow rapidly as firms turn ad dollars to services for consumers

More examples of how companies are using the Internet to reach consumers directly came in a recent New York Times article, “The New Advertising Outlet: Your Life.”

Several large companies were cited as creating new web sites to appeal directly to their consumers, chief among them Nike with its Nike+ site.

The idea is to use events, contests, internet search ads—all long-considered unmeasured, to reach consumers directly.

In Nike’s case, it increased traditional advertising with media by three percent to $220.5 million while growing non-media ad spending 33 percent to $458 million in the period 2003-2006.

This is a fundamental change in the way Nike views advertising and non-media activities such as contests, in-store ads and product placement.

Ads are no longer aimed primarily at seeking to get people’s attention while they are doing something else. Rather, they are taking the form of reaching people while they are participating in workouts, participating in online communities or active in sports competitions.

And such events, like running clubs, races and online communities, provide a home to trade information for those people interested in a specific subject.

This movement bodes well for PR because it includes using all forms of media to reach consumers—or specific audiences targets—and engender their participation directly. That is what the Internet means for PR today: new ways to reach consumers directly using the new forms of delivery it makes available.

Posted by Larry

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