Posts Tagged ‘value’


PRSA-NCC Members Told Social Media is ‘Where We Live Today’

Friday, May 11th, 2012

This post first appeared on Capitol Communicator 5.11.12 and is cross-posted with permission. 

PRSA-NCC session on Social Media

Shown in the picture, (l to r) Chris Brooks, Julie A. Weckerlein, Cappy Surette, Jennifer Mitchell and Gloria Huang. The session was moderated by Debbie Friez, vice president, BurrellesLuce.)

Five communicators made the case that social media is “where we live today” during a May 10 professional development session conducted by the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC).

The session at the Navy Memorial, “Social Media Tips and Success Stories for PR Pros,” featured Cappy Surette, director of public relations at U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; Chris Brooks, manager of social engagement at Hilton Worldwide; Julie A. Weckerlein, public affairs specialist at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Gloria Huang, senior social engagement specialist at the American Red Cross; and, Jennifer Mitchell, director of social media at BRG Communications. The session was moderated by Debbie Friez, vice president, BurrellesLuce.

Social media allows you to reach “a wider and more diverse audience than we can through the use of traditional media alone,” said Surrette. He and the other panelists said social media provides a great opportunity to attract advocates you may never have considered. These advocates, it was noted, can come to your aid when your organization is being challenged.

Brooks, who said his job at Hilton Worldwide is to put “heads in beds,” added social media allows you to build up a “community of supporters” in advance of a problem. He added , to be successful, you should consider multiple channels – such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Flickr. During his presentation, Brooks also offered these two observations: Approach social media in an organized manner and remember that “measurement is key.”

Regarding social media, Weckerlein told seminar attendees, “don’t be afraid to take calculated risks,” but use the “same voice” and present the “same message.” She also presented a case history from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showinghow cost effective social media can be for an organization. The real cost of the CDC campaign based on the Zombie Apocalypse preparedness relating it to hurricane preparedness was $87.00, but the campaign generated more than three million dollars in estimated marketing value.

In her presentation, Huang said, “you don’t have a choice on whether to do social media, the question is how well you do it.” She offered the followed social media principles employed by the American Red Cross: Be accurate, be relevant, be considerate, be transparent, be human and be compassionate.

Mitchell stated organizations do well in social media when they look beyond their own organization. As an example, she said that social media allows you to ask questions to your target audience to get them involved with your organization. In short, she said, personal relationships are more important than ever, so encourage your target audiences to interact with you. Content is king, and she reminded the audience, “People spread (share) awesome content. They don’t spread mediocre content. However, Mitchel also offered an observation that put social media into perspective: It’s an addition to, not a replacement for, “old” communications platforms.

The bottom line, according to Surrette, is that “You can’t control the sea of public opinion, but (using social media) you can at least navigate it.”

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Phil Rabin has covered trends in communications for more than two decades for a number of media outlets. Currently, he is editor of Capitol Communicator, www.capitolcommunicator.com, an online resource working to bringing together communications professionals who influence and educate the Mid-Atlantic region by providing news, trends, education and opportunities for networking. Phil also is Vice President of West Glen Communications, www.westglen.com, and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Marketing through the Web: How Information is Power

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Kelly Mulholland*

Flickr Image: Jeffrey Beall

Flickr Image: Jeffrey Beall

There are three ways consumers use the web: they search, browse and buy. Most organizations increase their site’s traffic by adding searching tools and enhancing SEO. While this helps people answer their initial question of “what,” it doesn’t necessarily go the extra step and encourage them to browse or buy.

However, if positioned correctly, encouragement to go beyond just the initial search can be helpful to the consumer… at least when it comes to expanding their knowledge and possibly influencing their buying decisions. Today’s consumers, want a site to tell them something they didn’t think to search for or think they might want/need. In the process, they may be persuaded to take some action and possibly lead to a conversion or sale based on the resources you provide beyond the original search.   

Search Mode- Provide the consumer with what they know they want
When a prospective customer is searching a site they almost always have an overall notion of what they want, but perhaps not all the details or at least a vague idea of the need they want to fulfill. This is where websites that utilize the search toolbox plug-in (usually located at the top of a webpage) come into action. The client wants to be able to search their product and be given substantial results.

For instance, when I simply type in the search box “scarves” at ShopBop—a luxury clothing retail website and BurrellesLuce client—I get an overwhelming list of over 200 results. The search function on the site even makes my quest easier by providing suggestions of related searches much the way Google or Bing might.

Browse Mode- Provide detailed information
With a list generated, a prospective buyer shifts into browse mode. What’s important here is how much information is provided—the customer wants to know more about their prospective purchase in the most organized fashion possible, no pun intended. Generated reviews from other customers should be at complete view coupled with suggestions. This will help the consumer differentiate one product’s value from another. It is also most helpful to provide organizational tools for the client to be able to sift through all the search results.

Shopbop does a great job at this. First, I can see “More from Scarves /Wraps” and also descriptions about the designer and the item itself. I have the capability to see how other customers rated each scarf. I also have the option of organizing my products in “Wish Lists” and “My Likes/Hearts” giving me time to consider my purchases without fully committing myself to placing the product in “My Cart.” I can sort the scarves with drop-down options by designer, size, color, and price. These categorizations are an aid to a consumer who might be inundated with an overwhelming amount of data.

Buyer Mode- Be your customer’s personal researcher
Now that the customer has browsed all the data, they have finally chosen the best product for them. While they may be done researching, that doesn’t mean the work of the service provider should end there. In fact, it is now your job to take on a new role: personal researcher. As Tara Gessinger, states in this Online PR Media blog post on Online Public Relations: Building Personal Relationships with Customers in the Digital Age, you need to keep the online conversation with your clients going through email as you would in real life. For instance, provide future recommendations based on previous purchases to the client. After I browse ShopBop or make a purchase, I receive an e-mail weeks later suggesting clothing that I might like based on my past shopping experiences.

Sites using this type of search and browse capability are designed to work for people who research and take a period of time before making a committed decision. In today’s market, researched buyers are becoming the norm and the buying cycle is changing. The impulsive spendthrift is a dying species. Marketers need to be a step ahead of the curve. Web marketing should not be about gimmicks to get attention from a prospective buyer – today’s savvy consumers will see through this. Instead it is about understanding the keywords that buyers are using and then positioning campaigns to engage buyers to webpages full with the content they want (or never knew they wanted). 

How are you using search capabilities on your website to influence visitor action? What are some of your favorite search features provided by your favorite sites?

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Bio: Before joining the Burrellesluce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland

How to Speak C-Suite

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Ruth Mesfun*

If you mistook the clattering of keyboards for cicadas in heat and saw your Twitter feed explode with the hashtag #prndigital, yesterday, then you were probably with me at the PR News Digital PR Next Practices Summit at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The all-day event was a smorgasbord of useful topics and speakers flinging words such as SEO (search engine optimization), influencers, engagement, and fangate pages.

However, if you have ever spoken to your boss about using social media it probably went like this:

justincaseyouwerewondering.com

justincaseyouwerewondering.com

If your digital campaign does not translate to the C-Suite language (increased sales, decreased costs, or high ROI) then it wouldn’t matter if you grow their Twitter page to 100,000 followers. They will pull the plug. 

Here are eight steps I took from the panel on Prove the Value of Your Digital Efforts to the C-Suite featuring Margot Sinclair Savell, vice president of Measurement and Analytics at Weber Shandwick, Angela Jeffery, APR and member of IPR Commission and Nick Panayi, director of Global Brand and Digital Marketing at CSC.

1.      Define organizational goals. Make sure your goals are strictly C-suite speak. (e.g., Our goal is to increase sales by 30 percent.) That way they see that you are on the same level.

2.      Research stakeholders and prioritize. This should be done regardless if you are presenting a digital campaign or not; you should always know your audience.  

3.      Ask yourself: What do they care about? I want to add in a perfect line from Margot Sinclair Savell, “Don’t just measure communications; measure the impact on your bottom line.” 

4.      Set social media objectives that correlate with their goals. Now this is where you link your social media efforts to their C-suite objectives. (e.g., With the Twitter campaign, we are launching, our goal is to increase our followers by 50 percent and positive sentiment by 40 percent which in turn will increase our sales by 30 percent.)  

5.      Choose (the right) tools and establish benchmarks. Once your campaign has launched, use tools and benchmarks to monitor how your campaign is playing out in The Media. Remember to monitor both the social media goal and the main goal (C-suite objective).

6.      Analyze, Analyze, Analyze! Be sure to use both qualitative and quantitative metrics and have these also tie back to your communications and C-suite objectives.

7.      Present to management. Remember to add charts of correlation between the campaign and the C-suite objectives. Translate metrics into the language.  

8.      Continue to build on that foundation: monitor, analyze, and improve. Review and revamp your strategy and tactics, making sure to revise as departmental and C-suite objectives evolve. 

So, how are you proving your value of your digital efforts to the C-suite? Please share your thoughts with me, here, on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, as social media specialist, Ruth worked as a marketing assistant in a kitchen design firm and, later interned with Turner Public Relations. She holds a BA in Economics with a minor degree in International Relations from Rowan University. In addition to economics, education, and finance – Ruth is passionate about understanding the business implications of social media, including how it can be used to increase ROI, find and maintain a career, and create a business. Connect with her on Twitter: @RuthMesfun LinkedIn: Ruth Mesfun Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Why Scale the Paywall?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Valerie Simon

This post is an excerpt of a guest post originally published on Spin Sucks 9.14.10. To read the full post, click here.

Valerie-Simon-photoThere’s been a lot of debate lately about free versus paid content online. All this talk leads to one simple question. What features will motivate readers to scale the paywall?

Back in college I found myself at the campus store with less than a dollar in change in my pocket. To the left of the cashier was the New York Times. To the right was an assortment of gum and candy. As much as I wanted a pack of gum, the decision was a no-brainer. I paid for my New York Times and headed back to my dorm, reading as I walked.

Fast forward to January 2011 when the New York Times will roll out a new metered model that charges users after they exceed a set number of articles per month. Faced with the prospect of losing Stuart Elliott David Carr, Cathy Horn, or other favorite columnists, what will I do? Will I reach back into my wallet? Will you?

Does anyone remember the episode of The Office where Dunder Mifflin employees agonized over whether to pay $1.99 to read a Wall Street Journal article containing information about the fate of their company? I certainly wouldn’t think twice about paying for that pack of gum, so why the reluctance over the New York Times or Wall Street Journal?

Dan Schaible, senior vice president, content management and my colleague at BurrellesLuce, shared some insights on the subject of paywalls with me. He noted that successful implementation of a paywall or subscription model is based on two things: Content and availability.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to erect a paywall in front of news everyone else has,” Dan explained. Publications that consist primarily of AP, Reuters, and other syndicated content will not fare well behind a firewall. Likewise, exclusives that will simply be read and reported/repeated elsewhere don’t belong behind a paywall.

So why WOULD someone pay for content? It’s simple really, if you consider the purpose of consumption and anticipated value… Read the full post at Spin Sucks. 

Minding Your Manners In An All Too Public Age

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Colleen Flood*
Flickr Image: CarbonNYC

Flickr Image: CarbonNYC

After seeing, hearing, and reading all the recent hullaballoo about employees publically quitting their job, I was reminded of how important manners are and how we often overlook them.

Take the case of Stephen Slater, former active employee for JetBlue Airlines, turned possible folk hero. While Slater was treated rudely by a passenger he was providing a service to that day (and he claimed, many other customers spanning his career), I don’t think, and I’m sure many agree with me, that it was necessary for him to so rudely and publicly exit his career. 

Also, I’m sure there were young children on the plane and as a parent of children under 12 I try to instill good speech and certainly don’t want them to “overhear” a flight attendant on a loudspeaker uttering curse words. Never mind having them see a grown man whisking down a safety slide when clearly there was no emergency. 

We were all taught as kids “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Then when we got older, we were taught that “the customer is always right.”  Mr. Slater forgot theses pearls of wisdom. 

Recently, I started following Jodi R.R. Smith on Twitter after reading her article, Gracious Good-Byes – Career Transitions. While Jodi has some great tips on protocol for an exit strategy, she also has periodically written pointers on manners in general, not just for the workplace. These are two that standout to me:

  • Attention Clerks: Customers who took the time to enter your store should be waited on BEFORE those calling in by phone.
  • Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.

To that I would personally add:

  • Everyone’s time has the same value – be punctual and never assume a colleague or friend is less busy than you.
  • Be courteous to family, friends, colleagues and strangers – say good morning; give a compliment; smile at someone on the street.

I also decided to weigh in with a youngster’s take on manners.  While my 10 year old was unaware of the Slater JetBlue fiasco, he did have some interesting responses to my questions on manners:

What are manners?

A. Manners are what you use to be nice to other people and let them know you are a good person.

What is courtesy?

A. This means you are aware of other people and not yourself all the time.

How do you show consideration?

A. Don’t say words that would hurt people’s feelings. Listen to them. Then when they are done you speak and you say thank you if they say something about you that you like.  Also holding doors and asking people how their day is is nice to do.

Do you think adults and kids treat each other with respect?

A. I think most people respect each other most of the time, but, it’s human-nature to ignore someone or say something mean once in your life.

Uh oh…but you apologize right??

A. Yes, you can say sorry and make it up to them with a smile.

So what has happened to manners or at least having the dignity not to act so rashly in front of an audience of onlookers?  Perhaps, the increased acceptance and need to document every moment of our lives via online and social media plays some role. Perhaps workers feel compelled to vent and unleash frustrations publically when they might otherwise have handled the indiscretions privately because they are more likely to get a response from their boss or peers. Or perhaps some aren’t as concerned with their public image as their public relations or media relations counterparts. What are your thoughts? Please share your ideas with me and the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers. 

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 *Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce