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Is Social Media Really Social?

Is Social Media Social-09

Today we bring you a guest post by Paul Bernardini, Senior Associate at Eastwick.

Call me old school, but no, social media isn’t social.

To be social or to socialize means having one-on-one conversations and contributing to the rumble of small talk at gatherings. It demands that one be physically present. Speaking out loud, understanding body language, learning how to listen, respond, retain and relate are the constructs of socializing and foundational skills that deserve time and attention.

However, it’s not lost on me that social media is redefining the term “social” and the lens through which corporate America views it. The number of followers or connections that reporters, job prospects or companies have is becoming primary criteria in earning clout. Social media has built a world in which Twitter dominates the news cycle, LinkedIn can build careers and Facebook does the impossible by interlinking the world.

It’s a big deal.

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Why Labor Day Needs Public Relations Assistance

Labor-DayThis weekend, everyone is ready to get their grill on and enjoy the extended weekend to commemorate Labor Day.

This day is usually celebrated in the company of a body of water, a gaggle of friends, and a trough of adult beverages (none of whom are certain as to why they have the day off). The most prescient reminder that we don’t have to go into the office is the “closed” sign in the window of our local bank.

The problem is that the day was not created for a telethon or an excursion to the beach, but rather to celebrate the true laborers in this country way back in 1882.

The day was created to recognize the little man — the person who worked 10 to 12 hours each day, received very little pay, lived with an extremely compromised quality of life and never received anything in the way of thanks for a day of hard labor. 

Sound familiar?

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ALS Association Wants to Trademark ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

ice bucket

Can you blame them, really?

Yet some attorneys call the move “shameful”, comparing it to last year’s attempt to trademark the phrase “Boston Strong” in the wake of the bombing that shook that city.

Everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Anna Wintour, a robot and a smartphone poured water over themselves for advocacy this summer. Pamela Anderson and several big fashion names even sparked some ethics debates by co-opting the meme for their own purposes.

But this move undermines the campaign.

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Abercrombie Drops Logo from Clothing, Deprives Bros Everywhere of Identities

abercrombie-and-fitch-clothes-for-womenThanks to changing tastes of the teen demographic and the landslide of bad press the company has received over the past year, the Abercrombie & Fitch brand no longer wields the same power it once did. With sales continuing to flounder, the clothing retailer has decided to abandon its time-honored tradition of plastering its name and logo on virtually every piece of attire it sells, effectively robbing rich frat boy types of their identities.

“In the spring season, we are looking to take the North American logo business to practically nothing,” Mark Jeffries, CEO of A&F told investors on a conference call.  And in a note to investors Thursday, Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, noted that “it’s taking time to win back customers.” But he believes that the merchandise changes are “gaining traction.”

While much of the brand’s weakening can likely be attributed to the recent Abercrombie-only-wants-pretty-and-cool-kids-wearing-their-clothes controversy, this branding shift is also about keeping up with the changing preferences of teens, who are more interested in standing out as individuals (while all wearing the same trendy top from H&M or Forever 21) than fitting in under a universally-recognized logo. Read more

Newspaper Publishers’ Arch-Nemesis Is Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage

MaineQuit blaming the economy, newspaper publishers. Stop accusing the Internet, National Newspapers Publishers of America (NNPA). Hey, International News Media Association (INMA), slow down on your blog hate.

Your vitriol should be aimed in one clear direction — Augusta, Maine and the office of Gov. Paul LePage.

He was at a recent GOP rally celebrating the new RNC headquarters in Androscoggin County. Sounds like a happening place, right? I suppose the sauce was flowing as he got a little randy from the lectern and shared that he hates your wretched, ink-stained guts.

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Roll Call: MWW and Grayson Emmett Partners

MWW  announced that Nicole Bott has joined the firm’s corporate communications practice as vice president. Bott, who will be based in the New York office, brings more than a decade of experience leading integrated account teams across media relations, content development, creative and digital disciplines for a variety of financial services and corporate communications clients. In her role at MWW, Bott will use her integrated project management and strategic media relations skills to help clients implement strategic communications campaigns.

Prior to joining MWW, Bott served as a senior manager, client relationships at Peppercomm, where she was responsible for providing strategic counsel and leading integrated account teams across the agency’s various service offerings. Her client work focused on leading the account teams for one of the Big Four, with a particular focus on the firm’s financial services practice and strategic growth markets business. While at Peppercomm, Bott also worked on a variety of corporate communications and crisis programs across a variety of industries, including professional services, financial services, technology, consumer and sports. Previously, she served as vice president at Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc., where she specialized in generating high-profile media coverage in targeted national outlets for clients in professional services, transportation and real estate, among others. During her tenure at Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc., Bott also served as a key member of the public relations team that advised on two acquisition announcements. (Release)

Keith Burton, who left his role at Golin to become a partner at Brunswick New York last year, announced that he will leave his position to start his own firm to be known as Grayson Emmett Partners. Burton officially left Brunswick in May but just announced the formation of his new firm to PR Week yesterday. GEP will focus on employee engagement for clients in the “banking and finance, manufacturing, and consumer products” industries. Burton told the magazine that he plans to continue consulting with Brunswick in the employee engagement space. (PR Week)

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Spin the Agencies of Record

red lobster1

  • MWW will handle PR duties for Red Lobster, winning the account following the chain’s separation from parent company Darden. The company chose Publicis Kaplan Thaler as its new ad agency after announcing that split in July and picked MWW after a review (Edelman previously served as AOR). While the firm won’t handle social media, it will be responsible for corporate communications, executive visibility, issues management and brand positioning. As for why the company announced its new ad agency nearly two months before its new PR despite signing them at the same time, ask the guy above.

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NFL Promises to Crack Down on Domestic Violence

This afternoon the NFL attempted to fight back against one of its biggest reputation challenges by issuing stricter punishments for domestic violence among players.

Will this move pay off? Some details from commissioner Roger Goodell‘s letter to team owners after the jump.

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Is Sponsored Content Really More ‘Transparent’ Than PR?

To be honest with you, readers, many conversations about “content” alternately lull us to sleep and make us want to tear our hair out. Like most in the media, we have mixed feelings about the move toward a universal adoption of sponsored stories as a source of revenue for news outlets.

We have friends in the journalistic community who now write such stories for clients. They tell us that they see their role as supporting the work performed by their employer’s editorial team while managing to create content aligned with causes they support. (This is an ideal scenario, really.)

Still, we’ve noticed several people this week debating whether sponsored material is somehow preferable to “traditional” stories that involve a bigger role for PR. One anonymous “native” journalist interview by Digiday even went so far as to ask how PR-driven stories are “any different from native advertising, at the end of the day.”

The question begs for an answer.

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