According to Singer, a comment appeared on one of his posts promoting “PR-Tools from Cision” and signed “Meri A,” who ended the comment with the statement “Meri A is an advocate for Cision.” Shortly after Singer tweeted that he would be using the comment in a post, he received another comment (though it wasn’t posted) also promoting “PR-Tools from Cision” and also signed by Meri A.
After an email exchange with Cision and a little digging by Singer (who is also the social media practice director at Lewis PR), Singer discovered that Meri A. works with a company called Vivid Ascent.
Vanessa Bugasch, SVP of global and product marketing at Cision, confirmed with us that Cision does work with Vivid Ascent — “They are one of the agencies we work with,” she told us over the phone — and posted the following comment on Singer’s post about the situation:
Reading your blog post has encouraged us to reevaluate the marketing mix Cision chooses to employ on a regular basis. As a large brand, we are continually working with a number of agencies and experimenting with different marketing tactics. In this case, the tactic was not executed well and as a result, we have elected to drop it from our marketing approach. Your blog pointed out the need for authentic, honest and meaningful engagement and the comment in question fell short of these standards. We always strive to maintain the closest possible oversight over engagement and we will continue to work diligently to embrace the best practices you regularly champion.
“If you’re going to leave a response to a blog comment, it should be relevant to that blog and this wasn’t,” Bugasch also told us today. “We should’ve had better oversight over this clearly.”
Singer thanks Bugasch for her comment, writing, “I think readers here very much appreciate when a brand is willing to reevaluate their approach to the web and share lessons learned.”
Indeed. This situation also reiterates, as Bugasch said, that monitoring the activities of the outside companies you hire is critical. Your name and reputation could be on the line.