Technology! It’s exciting! It’s eye opening! It may be hurting your brand! Technology is moving at…modern-day computer speeds; it’s getting faster with each passing moment. Yesterday, I wrote upon Apple’s newest iPad and analyst forecasts of mobile devices killing the ‘PC star.’
In Apple’s case, advanced technology is modifying the brand, filling iPad revenue streams and drying paths stemming from PC sales. For the Ford Motor Company, technology may have lost it revenue as well as reversed the brand a few rungs on the ladder of reputation.
Two years ago, Ford began producing vehicles with the MyFord Touch system (developed with Microsoft). Great idea, Ford! Align your brand with a bastion of technology. Was the maneuver beneficial? Not presently. Ford’s customer ratings plunged along with brand reputation. It’s time to check under the hood, Ford.
Of course, MyFord Touch was an ostensible implementation of progress. A touch screen (where are our traditional buttons going?) replaces traditional knobs and buttons. Wise men say only fools rush in… From a New York Times article:
“I think they were too willing to rush something out because of the flashiness of it rather than the functionality,” said Michael Hiner, a former stock-car racing crew chief in Akron, Ohio, who bought Ford Edge Limited last year largely because he and his wife were intrigued by MyFord Touch.
Ford needed to rev up celebration of its nascent touch technology. A major upgrade attempts to resolve issues related to fickle systems (crashing and rebooting), slow touch screens, and questionably-keen voice recognition systems.
What I personally celebrate about Ford’s endeavors to remedy the situation is their direct contact with customers. Upgrades are being sent to customers (the new software is installed via a USB flash drive in about an hour). Are you amongst the 300,000 Ford customers awaiting a flash-drive upgrade in the mail this week?
The horn was initially blown on MyFord Touch last week by Consumer Reports (Ford is now parked at 10th place on the 2012 Automaker Report Card). J.D. Power & Associates drove Ford further from its accolades; the former dropped the latter from 5 to 23 in its most recent quality survey.
Is your brand moving too fast? We hear about the mishaps of the big brands but I’m sure a lot more brands are frustrated regarding the insurgence of technology and the anxiety to produce bigger, better, and faster. Can your brand keep up? If not, when do you say when? When your consumers begin turning on you? Isn’t it too late then (especially for a smaller brand)? Ford has a long-standing name and is likely to brook this reputation storm.
Citibank got itself into similar trouble with smartphone applications recently. Similarly, Citi is a big brand, likely to leverage its already standing reputation to move past the mishap. SMB owners, whether related to online platforms or offline technology, are you chasing tech toward a reputational cliff?
Anthony, does this relate to SEO? Yes, I think it does. WebiMax’s Todd Bailey recently posted on Search Engine Guide about Google’s numerous updates. Our search engine optimization industry warrants daily-to-hourly perusal in order to stay up-to-date with Panda updates (Kevin Gibbons), new SEO approaches, Google privacy changes, ( I could go on but it’s likely I’m missing industry news as I type – I gotta go)…
There are a lot of smart minds out there; please contribute. It makes my post better.
Are you winning with your PR pitches or missing the mark, like an inexperienced pitcher from the California penal league? Remember Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn from Major League? You may know him from his present-day role as Charlie Sheen (but I digress). Rick had the ‘heat’ behind his hurls but his approach needed tweaking. A customized pair of Clark-Kent glasses and a music-filled montage of highlights later, Vaughn comes around, rallying the once-trailing Indians behind him.
What does your PR ERA look like? Are you winning? I read a great PR post (filled with 92 ways to get press coverage )by Chris Winfield yesterday. He addressed an array of PR-related topics including research, working the phones, and contacting members of the media.
The last topic is especially important; you don’t want to balk when approaching a media source. Building relationships is a cornerstone of PR; throwing wild pitches at media sources can have your brand sitting the benches (out of fan sight).
I noticed a ‘management tip of the day’ from the Harvard Business Review (Reuters synopsizes here), addressing how to communicate with colleagues. The points provided echo some of Chris’ regarding contacting media sources:
The Business Review suggests quickly getting to the point. Media sources embrace concise brevity; it’s likely yours is not their only email of the day to get through. I like Chris’ suggestion related to personalizing an email, referencing a source’s body of work; it frames the impetus for contact.
- Next, is this solicited or unsolicited, meaning is a media source actively searching for related news or is your brand being opportunistic? If the media source is actively looking, help them expedite. Give them all necessary information in your initial email.
- Also, who sent the email, the industry expert (PR client) or third party (PR service)? Media sources prefer direct contact with industry experts. Be direct. Be concise. Help them save time however you can.
Why the Contact?
This is huge. Every brand wants exposure but not every brand has something of value to add. It could be a matter of timing or it could be a matter of poor quality. Patience can help you with the former. You need to do a lot more than read this information if your brand is in the latter group.
The Business Review asks, “What prompted you to deliver it (the message)?” If you’re pre-skull/crossbones specs Vaughn, you’re throwing wild pitches, hoping to get attention in any way. If you’re throwing strikes, you’re pitching like the reformed ‘Wild Thing,’ seeing things more clearly.
It’s about adding to the conversation. Here are some of my observations (in comment section) regarding Chris’ post:
Be direct and confident, knowing you have something to offer. The number-one tip I would direct a client’s attention to is “know what you’re talking about.” Obviously, the sentiment is subjective and you may have some viewers on the other side of the fence, but a reporter, editor, blogger, reader, can instantly understand whether contributing or exposure is your primary concern. I understand the endgoal of PR is exposure but it’s important to shop for windows of opportunity. Being selective and shopping for quality and the proper fit is essential; but, (very often) clients expect/want results yet must accept ongoing PR is more of a ‘quiet storm’ which strikes when most befitting.
There’s a wild and guile way to pitch to media sources. What brand of game is in your PR bullpen? Finding your PR strike zone is crucial; it could mean the difference between winning and losing.
How’s your brand getting attention today? There are in-house and external ways to beckon attention. Seek search engine optimization information; vendors offer an array of choices, addressing technical, social, and copywriting needs. Do you want ongoing commerce from customers once you have their immediate attention? While SEO offers opportunities to drive traffic to your site, your company has the power to make your brand a ‘regular hangout,’ enjoying endless attention. That’s what you want, right?
I read a Search Engine Land article this morning by Myles Anderson; he gives good ideas regarding improving local business commerce. His notion of the death of traditional PR caught my eye. I agree; some things have changed. The approach has been tweaked, but the end goals of public relations initiatives remain worthy of pursuit.
Traditionally, PR initiatives spread awareness about a brand, conveying internal and external news. That’s still highly valuable and will always be (it’s a part of ‘branding’); while SEO and online marketing get attention, relating to the public (your brand’s customers) helps maintain commerce, offering (free) marketing via word of mouth and other ways consumers communicate…like through social media.
Press Release Exposure
While a press release gets brands mentioned in several news sources, the price of ongoing releases can add up. There are alternatives. Does your brand leverage Facebook? CEOs and executives want press releases to get read and spark brand-associated conversations. Brands can do that on a weekly (or more often) basis using Facebook. Why direct fan attention toward a static page when you could direct attention toward your brand’s dynamic Facebook page? While some platforms allow you to upload images and video along with your release (usually at an extra charge), your brand can implement all the media it desires directly on its (free) Facebook account.
While a brand can garner attention from emulating a press release from a social platform, the additional exposure a press release could attract should not be completely put to rest; additionally, getting an inbound link from a high-authority news site helps SEO. Read this Neil Patel post on attracting authority links for additional insight.
PR spreads word about a brand, encompassing its services, products, and messages as well as the people behind the brand. Is your brand introducing its team ‘players’ to its public? Are your executives writing guest posts, speaking at conferences, and offering insight on major news stories? Great Web sites ask for contributions all the time. Do research in your respective industry, finding guest post opportunities. You could find guest post opportunities using Twitter, as featured in this Ethan Lyon post.
Companies use press releases to better familiarize the public with the respective brands. This can be performed from a company blog or a dynamic ‘about us’ page. Let’s face it; competition is fierce in all verticals. How is your brand different? No, not your services and products; how is your brand different than that of competitors? I often encourage brands to make copywriting selfless, to address the consumer rather than the brand’s vanity, but the ‘about us’ sentiment is the exception. This is where you want to sing your company’s praises, where you want your consumers to ‘get to know’ a brand’s personality and the people who comprise it. Be genuine and transparent. Why should consumers champion and revisit your brand? Address those questions for them via one or a series of dynamic, ‘about us’ sentiments. Read how transparency helped the Domino’s brand.
Do you have something to add to the conversation, or just calling attention? I would address high school students in this manner who were temporarily ‘off task’ during class. High school students are socially savvy; most got the point and understood the difference elucidated by my question; were they serving the good of the community or engaging in personal endeavors at the moment?
Does your brand have something to add to the ‘conversation’ or just desiring attention and exposure? The latter sentiment is shared by all brands (what brand does not want attention?!), yet the former sentiment is really the most effective means to the latter’s end. I read a good post today on bootstrapping and brand awareness. The author addresses ways to formulate an effective PR campaign.
Increasing PR is a lot like search engine optimization efforts. It takes time, effort, and methodology. While many of us know how a brand can get into trouble on the Web in its quest for better SE rankings, there are no direct ‘PR Panda’ updates; however, calling attention without ‘adding’ is likely to leave your brand bewildered, inert, and possibly ‘blackballed’ by reporters, amongst other violations.
Update your in-house PR sentiments with these ‘PR Panda’ updates:
Update 1 – General PR Campaign – PR or Link Building?
In modern times, public relation work is a lot like link building. In the past, what were the main goals of PR efforts?
- Spread brand-related info
- Gain consumer attention
- Build brand authority
- Attract future interest
Link building efforts, complemented by modern-day social media engagement does all of the above. Many of the same ‘do not’ and ‘best-practice’ sentiments of link building apply to PR efforts. Before making a PR move, think about your brand’s intentions because ulterior motives are transparent and don’t make much traction.
Update 2 – Press Releases – Is.It.News.?
This is a bitter pill for many press-release hopefuls to swallow; is the release sharing ‘worthy’ news? Of course, ‘worthy’ is a relative term, but think outside your brand when asking yourself this question; think like a consumer; would you be intrigued by the news? Unfortunately, this ‘PR Panda’ update is not going to be applied by news sources; it’s going to be applied by readers (consumers) and your release’s traction (or lack thereof).
There aren’t many obstacles obstructing a brand from orchestrating and distributing a press release to the masses; however, dispersing a release, offering very little news of value, is deserved of ‘PR Panda’ penalty and may hurt your brand’s reputation or future efforts to call attention to ‘news.’
Update 3 – Reporters – What are you doing for them?
Do you want to contact a reporter about your brand? Ask not what this reporter can do for you, but… I know – the irony of it all! That’s right; if you’re going to contact a reporter, you should be contacting them because you have something for them and not vice versa. Sure, contributing to a story or adding insight is likely to get your brand mentioned; you’ll get credit for your work.
Are you just looking to arrive at the PR party with nothing in your brand’s hands? You’re likely to put the kibosh on any future relations with the respective reporter (and likely their brand too).
Google, Google, Google! Are you trying to dominate the SERPs on such major search engines as…well, Google?! There’s been a lot of talk about the brand lately. Buying links, being unfriendly to Twitter, hiding owner reviews…despite best intentions, some brand behaviors have been weighed and measured…
Aside from the obvious irony regarding the Google+’s inclusion and Twitter’s mysterious disassociation from SERPs, I was impressed by the sleuthing and “truthing” performed by those in the SEO industry. It’s important to establish this fact, important to online marketers, clients, and all users of the Web: No entity is above SEO, meaning we the people won’t be denied the ideal service promised.
The last couple of days brought plenty of reactions from search engine optimization professionals, some humorous. One of my favorites was a Danny Sullivan tweet, “Oh dear. My Twitter app & my Google+ app are no longer talking to each other. Maybe my Facebook app will broker a peace.” He also wrote an immediately humorous, but very honest and serious post about what we as users should expect from a search engine.
I think many people are reacting with emotions right now, but it’s understood. Can you blame some in the industry for calling shenanigans on the source that so readily slaps Web masters on the wrist due to ongoing algorithm changes and Panda updates? It’s human nature to desire to uphold the “law,” even when those assumed to create and implement it seem to commit transgressions or forget what it’s like to be a consumer.
Google is sure to keep our attention in the near future, as the brand works out the wrinkles in the Google+ modification and quells the concerns of search engine optimization practitioners, business owners, and users alike. One thing I believe we can count on this year and in evolutions of the Web to come is more sleuthing and “truthing” by those in the online marketing industry and other savvy individuals who identify and spread awareness regarding transgressions and “ironies.”
Coincidentally, collective use of social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, help balance the powers of the Web. I constantly rove Twitter for updates from those in the SEO and other industries.
Information equals awareness, and I’m glad I have such timely and effective outlets to access and share information. Isn’t that what we want our search engines to do, provide relevant, timely, and authoritative information to enrich our minds and lives? Google wants us to understand no one or brand is above the laws of SEO and the objective mission of SEs. I believe as of late, it’s been our duty as well to enforce those laws, ensuring NO ONE is above the SEO code or can obstruct our right to an objective SE experience.
The leader in online Reputation Management has launched a new website, aimed at explaining the reviews process that is so integral to online marketing. WebiMax Reviews include the processes used that make the company the #1 rated Reputation Management firm by TopSeos.com. It takes more than just sitting back and waiting for customers to post positive remarks about your company and brand. Proactive measures need to be taken to add a sort of barrier around your company. Would you build a fort without a defensive wall?
Read more about how WebiMax manages reviews
Since the internet is ever changing and provides a 24/7/365 store front for your company, there is no day / night sequence with the internet. Somewhere in the world, there is a consumer awake reviewing your products. It can be very beneficial, or it can be extremely detrimental.
In the same way that the best PPC company continuously surveys the landscape to see what the going rate is for keywords, the best Reputation Management firm can, at a moment’s notice, adapt their clients strategy to stay ahead of the curve.
Innovation and proactive measures are what helps distinguish WebiMax above the rest. Without it, the internet can change as can consumers reviews, leaving outdated strategy and products in the dust.