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Posts Tagged ‘Harvard Business Review’

GM CEO on Recall Crisis: ‘Terrible Things Happened’

Here’s a case study in double duty internal/external crisis communications via General Motors and The New York Times.

This video was broadcast to employees, but it was clearly also meant to be a public statement; it’s been published on multiple news sites today.

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The Secret to Winning CSR: Become a Better Company

Wal Mart Hazardous Waste

We just read this month’s Harvard Business Review piece on corporate reputation by former Edelman vice chairman and Walmart corporate affairs VP Leslie Dach, and it’s  worth a glance if you haven’t seen it.

To summarize, Walmart struggled to improve its reputation with better messaging, but when Hurricane Katrina struck its team had something of an “aha” moment. “No internal debate was needed” because the team knew that mobilizing its resources to provide victims with food, emergency supplies and cash was simply “the right [thing] to do”. Afterward, the path forward became clearer—Walmart would seek out opportunities and set specific objectives in areas like sustainability and “women’s economic empowerment” in order to overcome bad press.

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PR Pros: How Many Hours Do You Work in an Average (Crazy) Week?

Most of the public might not know what PR is all about, but we can spot the symptoms: we stay open longer than the corner deli, dealing with insane work weeks in which we have to be ready to address clients’ problems at any moment, whether we’re sitting at our desks or catching up on our DVR queue. We frequently turn down Friday night invites because we don’t have the energy to do anything but crash after five hectic days. Oh, and don’t even mention weekends…

For these reasons, most people in PR will identify with a study, covered in the Harvard Business Review, that paints a picture of a professional class that’s pretty much always on the job.

The survey of “executives, managers, and professionals” found that a majority of those who use smartphones for work (that’s all of us) are “connected” to their jobs for approximately 13 1/2 hours each weekday and 5 hours each weekend for a grand total of 72 hours. Yep, we’re on call for a majority of our waking hours.

So tell us, PR professionals: are you ever really “off the clock”? How many hours do you work in an average day/week?

Should Brands Pay Online ‘Influencers’ to Promote Their Products?

An article in the Harvard Business Review last week made an interesting, if not particularly novel, argument: brands should seek out independent “influencers” or “brand advocates” who have expressed support for their products in the interest of building relationships that will eventually involve the exchange of money for promotional services.

The story’s headline addresses “marketers”, but of course it’s relevant to PR pros as well. So should our clients identify and pay their “brand advocates” before it’s too late?

This issue is almost but not quite a retread of the “should brands pay for blog mentions” slippery slope debate: do we locate people who genuinely support our clients’ products and then offer them money to continue doing so?

Author Teresa M. Caro notes that brands have a lot of trouble pulling this off. Why? Because—all ethical concerns aside—it’s extremely hard to do. And proving ROI is a bit like finding the needle in that haystack.

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Facebook Has Nowhere to Go But Down

General impressions of Mark Zuckerberg’s speech at yesterday’s TechCrunch TC Disrupt conference have been mixed with good reason: The Zuck called his company’s post-IPO performance “disappointing” and hinted vaguely at the profit potential of mobile ventures that the public is obviously way too dumb to understand while acknowledging that Facebook’s mobile apps aren’t as good as they should be; still, investors have confidence in his ability to stay atop the social flock, and stock prices rose nearly 5% after his speech.

The Zuck tried very hard to convince all interested parties that he knows exactly what he’s doing. The key quote: “For me it’s not about fun, it’s about mission. I’d rather be in the cycle when people underestimate us.”

While considering whether smartphones like the brand new iPhone 5 will save Facebook, we figured that now is a perfect time to re-pose the perennial question: Has the social network already reached its peak capacity and influence?

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To Engage, Or Not to Engage?

That’s the dilemma that Forbes blogger Lisa Arthur tackled today in her marketing column, proposing that consumers want more interaction rather than less and they want it on the way they like it.

The stance is in opposition to the one taken by two Harvard Business Review guest bloggers, Matt Dixon and Lara Ponomareff, earlier this summer. In “Why Your Customers Don’t Want to Talk to You,” they cited their own research that found that companies overestimate how much customers want to interact with them.

But, Arthur writes, “Now, more than ever before, consumers need different types of interactions at different times. Plus, they’re expecting quality interactions, communication that’s designed around their specific preferences and buying behaviors… Done right, conversational campaigns can be an important element of your overall marketing strategy.”

Social Media, Like Beer, Bringing People Together

A post on The Harvard Business Review touts the fact that some companies are using blogs and other online outlets as a vehicle for diversity training. “[I]n the coming months, we could see the social web emerge as a sort of online Obama Beer Summit — a neutral place, with a knowledgeable and impartial moderator, where people from disparate cultures can get to know each other and ask questions they might not otherwise ask,” writes Roger Crockett.

Crockett goes on to point out a Deloitte study showing the continued struggle at companies to implement and staff social media sites. Diversity training is a sensitive issue that requires dedicated staff or knowledgeable outside resources. Ed Moran, a director of product innovation technology at Deloitte “suggests considering partnering with an existing diversity-recruiting community on Facebook or LinkedIn, or with an organization committed to diversity, which has already built robust social media capabilities.”