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    Online observations of public relations, marketing, advertising and social media; the occasional frivolity; and The Rundown show notes. Jump in, the water's fine.

    Please Note: Everything posted on this blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or its constituents.

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Friday FAIL – PR Fail and PR Win

To pay homage to the twisted twins PR Fail and PR Wins set up by Jonathan Hopkins and Brendan Cooper (a new overseas FH colleague) respectively, I’m turning this week’s Friday Frivolity into Friday FAIL. Actually, it’s also just an excuse to highlight some of the hysterical things that brighten my day from the Fail Blog (Pictures and Videos of Failed moments).

So in honor of PR Fail and PR Win…

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

I actually have my own thoughts about PR Fail and PR Win and they boil down to:

  1. I’m tired of PR people getting bashed, but
  2. I understand why some of us deserve it

I know a lot of great PR people who are trying to turn that image around – and I hope I’m one of them – but it’s a big, dumb boat to turn.

Incidentally, here’s a REALLY provocative and interesting post from Sweeney, bashing Michael Arrington bashing PR folk – definitely worth a read. Also, for more information about PR Fail, visit Brendan’s PR Fail commentary and the subsequent conversation he had with Jonathan.

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Social Media is NOT a Free for All

For too long I feel we’ve had folks on both sides of the issue of social media. One side blindly pushing for the adoption of new media tools as tactics and even as the new order. On the other side – and it’s interesting since we don’t see them much out here – are those who flat our refuse to accept that social media and all it apparently represents has no business in, well, business.

I am oversimplifying the issue quite a bit, but you can draw a line in the sand and form sides around much of the blogosphere and certainly around business lunches, professional groups and in the C-Suites. The divide gets worse when you move geographically around our country and into certain industries.

The truth is, social media is not a free for all. Business is business. And you can’t join the two all willy nilly. So it’s nice when you see a strong advocate of social media who puts on his business hat and reframes the picture for you.

Shel Holtz wrote a strong post called Business adoption of social media: It’s not about employee rights that I will share with any communicator who will listen, social media fan or not. Business is not a democracy and organizational leaders do what is best for the company. As communicators, our jobs are to provide counsel that allows them to do that. Sometimes that advice employs tactics like social media, sometimes it doesn’t. One thing I have learned about Public Relations is that there are more publics out there than most people realize – and you have to relate to them all. What are you saying to all of your publics? Even if it’s nothing?

Shel writes:

My position on employee engagement in social media is based on my belief that doing so will produce far greater benefit—in the form of enhanced constituent relations—than risk, particularly when it is managed strategically. There are many dimensions to these benefits, some of the most important of which include the following:

  • Recruiting and retention
    • Employee engagement
    • Increased customer satisfaction
    • Improved brand experiences

      And he goes into great detail. Shel also writes “There’s probably a whole book in this topic…” and he’s right. And I hope he writes it, cause I’ll buy it. I come from the academic side of Public Relations and this is not the first time Shel has echoed my thoughts and put them into words in a way that I wish I could. But I can’t, or at least didn’t, so read the post.

      Live Forward Podcast 12/15

      I’ll be hosting Forward Podcast 37 “What Are You Doing to Address Globalization?” over at BlogTalkRadio on Saturday. We put out podcasts on the 1st and 15th so this month we’re doing a live show about globalization.

      Show goes live at 7 p.m. GMT / 2 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. Pacific on the Forward Podcast Channel. Since it’s live, we’ll be taking your calls at US +1 (646) 716-9941.

      Who: Richard Bailey, Robert French, Paull Young, Luke Armour and YOU.
      What: Forward Podcast 37 Live
      When: Saturday, December 15th 7 p.m. GMT / 2 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. Pacific
      Where: Forward Podcast channel on BlogTalkRadio

      Tentative topics of discussion:

      • Learning of languages
      • Work experience overseas and in minority communities
      • Issues like trade, aid, labor, climate change and religious fundamentalism
      • What are you reading and watching?
      • Whatever’s on YOUR mind

      Join us live or catch the archive on the Forward Podcast Channel archive or through the Forward Podcast RSS feed.

      Listen to the archive from BlogTalkRadio: 

      Reforestation, Great Social Media Work, Hear Me Roar

      Update: An update on the Converseon blog site has some interesting lessons learned about this project. As we pave the way in the new media landscape, we should pay very close attention to the successes and mistakes of others. One thing they don’t mention is that there were two Members Project reforestation initiatives and this one didn’t make the cut. The other one did – with surprising results after little marketing. People need very specific directions and no matter how much planning you do, one single distraction (such as registering) will derail the train.

      Paull Young‘s agency, Converseon in NY is doing some great social media work. Here’s something that’s a great cause that really shows their mad skilz. Yes, I just wrote mad skilz. His project is one of the 50 remaining American Express Members Project (you’ve seen the tv commercials) projects. If you hold an American Express card, you have to vote by July 15th in order for this project to go on to the next round. It’s (as far as I know) the only Second Life project in the remaining 50. It’s a virtual reforestation project that also plants real trees in rain forest areas. If this wins, 1 million trees could be planted. Pretty cool. Vote here.

      As an added bonus, you get to hear the melodious crackling tones of my voice through a junky mic on the embedded video (rss readers, click Second Chance Trees). I was honored to do it, I just wish Paull had given me a bit more warning so I could have had better equipment more readily available.

      Anyway, read Paull’s post about the project that has some excellent lessons on dealing in the social media space. Not only is the project cool, Paull’s really educating us about the process. Kudos. Well, good luck, remember, voting ends this Sunday, July 15th!

      Interactive, digital, whatever – it’s here. Will your agency survive?

      4asdigi.gifI mentioned some time ago that I was on my way to attend the 4As Digital Conference for Agencies of All Kinds in NYC in mid June. I hopped an early morning flight with my CEO and our web and creative directors to Manhattan for the day. The conference was well done except for this – no wireless. What kind of digital conference doesn’t have wireless?! Although, I was probably one of maybe five people there with a laptop.

      Some unsurprising, but healthy headlines from the conference included:

      • Agencies need to be willing to try things and be passionate about the online space. Creativity in strategy, creative and analytics are a must.
      • Silo-free is the agency of the future. Look at every campaign from every angle. Look across all channels of outreach that best fit the product. Digital does not replace traditional, it complements it.
      • Agencies must find creative ways to reach that lost audience and they must allow the consumer to engage with the brand on his own terms. Find creative ways for that to happen.
      • Additional web-based interactive complements traditional campaigns. Feedback from consumer and analytics are critical. Pay attention and use them well. Chicks fighting can be a popular interactive campaign (don’t ask).

      A nifty panel discussion on the Ad agency of the future wrought some interesting comments. Claims that boutiques will not survive, like the small web agencies of yesteryear. Slowly clients start to realize that boutiques don’t have the communication experience necessary. Digital boutiques are making a lot of noise, and making a lot of “cool” things, but are they fulfilling the goals of the client? Agencies will need to develop their own in-house digital to survive. You cannot NOT know the digital space, but you also have to know traditional communication strategies and tactics. I don’t know, what do you think? Will the digital, interactive advertising agencies of today wane?

       

       

      Chris Weil of Momentum Worldwide presented on how digital works in experiential marketing. Pretentious, but really fun to view. Great presentation. He said digital is not about agencies or a tactic that you add on. Digital embodies everything we do in marketing. Customers don’t segment experiences. We need to understand and orchestrate the experience that the consumer has with the brand across all channels. We must inspire consumers to lift their heads, to disengage their digits and get engaged with interaction. Effectiveness of brand experience plus the stickiness of brand interactive is huge. Number one for all consumers is experience; number two is word of mouth.

      John Bell, managing director & executive creative director at Ogilvy PR Worldwide, was understandably my favorite presentation. Hey, what can I say, I’m a PR guy. I was impressed with Ogilvy’s 360 Degree Branding approach, but will have to keep an eye on what they do to see if it’s walking the walk. John mentioned typical things like authentic conversations with consumers is critical, is engagement. People are resonating with other people, they don’t trust corporations or marketing or advertising. Ogilvy is following trends in the digital space and tying messages to those online trends. Same as traditional PR, just in a different space, stripped of the corporate speak and hype. Conversations are ruling this space.armour-young.jpg

      Other special highlights of the day were meeting John January from American Copywriter and having lunch with the infamous Paull Young. Funny story, I called Paull on my lunch break and said “I’m done, where do we meet?” He was like, “I don’t know, just walk down the street you’re on and we’ll meet up.” Mind you, I haven’t been in NYC since I was 5 and Paull just moved there a month ago. So, it finally dawned on us, where would be a good place to meet up on NYC that we could both find? How about the Empire State Building!? D’oh…those silly country boys.

      Let’s Bum Rush the Charts

      The Bum Rush The Charts blog says it all. Not only is it a good idea, but Penn makes it a good cause for a different reason. Here’s a snippet from the BRTC blog:

      On March 22nd, we are going to take an indie podsafe music artist to number one on the iTunes singles charts as a demonstration of our reach to Main Street and our purchasing power to Wall Street. The track we’ve chosen is “Mine Again” by the band Black Lab. A band that was dropped from not just one, but two major record labels (Geffen and Sony/Epic) and in the process forced them to fight to get their own music back. We picked them because making them number one, even for just one day, will remind the RIAA record labels of what they turned their backs on – and who they ignore at their peril.

      I’m a fan of Black Lab, I fell for them back when they released Your Body Above Me in 1997. I’ve listened to a few newer tunes, but I still love that old record. I’m looking forward to getting back in touch with Black Lab. I’ve also found out they re-released Your Body Above Me with some original pre-label-touch-ups and tracks cut from the first release.

      You can read more on numerous other blogs by visiting Technorati here. Again, I’ll finish up with a very succinct message from the Bum Rush The Charts blog:

      If you believe in the power of new media, on March 22nd, 2007, take 99 cents and 2 minutes of your time to join the revolution and make iTunes “Mine Again”. . . Nothing would prove the power of new media more than showing corporate media that not only can we exceed their reach and match their purchasing power, but that we can also do it AND make a positive difference in the world. If we can succeed with this small example, then there’s no telling what can do next.

      Join me at Podcamp Toronto

      Join me and hundreds of other people for Podcamp Toronto this weekend!

      Not only will I be enjoying the company of some of my favorite podcasters, networking with other social media geeks, and enjoying the Canadian highlife, I’m also speaking on a panel Sunday morning.

      The 10:45 Panel Discussion is entitled Should Your Company Be Podcasting? Moderated by Mitch Joel from Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast. Panelists will be Michael O’Connor Clarke of Thornley Fallis; me; Donna Papacosta – Trafcom News; Terry Fallis – Inside PR and Thornley Fallis; and Michael Seaton – Scotiabank’s The Money Clip Podcast and The Client Side.

      Donna has written a detailed post about it too, wherein she refers to me as a “prolific blogger and king of podcast parody.” Great, wait until the attendees hear what I have to say about whether their companies should be podcasting:

      “…and so the real test is whether or not your business podcast is funny. If it’s not, don’t bother. Does that answer the question?”

      “But I own a funeral home…”

      “Were you not listening? Funeral homes are goldmines for funny. You should podcast, consult me on the side about how to make that hysterical. Next question…”

      You can listen to a few of my travel plans as detailed by the hilarious and knowledgeable jokers David Jones and Terry Fallis from Inside PR, the Canadian PR podcast on these audio clips I stole from their shows here and here.

      It’s going to be quite a weekend and I’m really looking forward to it. If you’re going to be in town, drop me an email or come to the panel discussion and lob softball questions at the panel. Actually, ask the tough questions, with this star studded cast, we just can’t go wrong. I might even ask a few questions of the esteemed panel myself!