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Posts Tagged ‘The Wall Street Journal’

Coke Clarifies: Social Buzz Complements Long-Term Sales

You’ve probably heard that everyone’s talking about Coca-Cola‘s social media reveal this week. According to the soft drink giant, the fact that more people are discussing its brand on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube doesn’t necessarily mean that more of them are buying Coke products. But maybe “How many people bought a Coke after retweeting a call to action?” is the wrong question to ask.

In an effort to clarify its points and counter the media’s collective freakout, Coke’s SVP of integrated marketing Wendy Clark wrote a blog post arguing that social does, in fact, play a large role in boosting brand perception and audience engagement–which leads to more sales.

Her point, of course, is that the fact that data can’t directly link the number of comments on a Facebook post to the number of people buying Coke does not diminish the value of said content. This kind of “buzz” is only one part of Coke’s extensive branding/PR puzzle, which uses earned, shared, paid and owned media to encourage the brand’s ultimate goal: driving consumers to buy more soda in the long run.

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5 Ways for Journalists to Build Better Relationships with PR Pros

Yesterday our friend and PR veteran Peter Himler wrote a Forbes article with an intriguing headline: “The Journalist and the PR Pro: A Broken Marriage?” Given the chatter over Monday’s guest post by a former journalist turned PR master, we thought we’d explore the idea a little further.

Himler’s main point: a significant number of the students in the journalism program where he spoke last week don’t want to write for The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal–they want to go into PR and advertising. They want to write sponsored content, not investigative journalism. Of course this makes sense, because journalism can be a very tough and often underpaid pursuit.

Himler, like many in the industry, believes that the always-challenging relationship between hacks like us and pitchmen/women has taken a turn for the worse. Yet we agree with his conclusion: this marriage may be strained, but it’s hardly broken.

On Monday Lindsay Goldwert called on her journalist friends to make a list of “do’s and dont’s” for PR pros. Himler’s piece includes both sides of the equation, so we’d like to flip the script: how should journalists and bloggers interact with PR folks? Himler’s suggestions and our comments after the jump:

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Pinterest Introduces Free Analytics Tools

Pinterest Web AnalyticsWe’re going to take a wild guess here: many of our readers have felt some pressure to more fully utilize Pinterest as a PR tool but hesitate due to a lack of the quantifiable ROI stats that mean so much to clients in our Big Data era. Fret no longer, social brand managers: you have no more excuses!

Today everyone’s favorite pinning site launched Pinterest Web Analytics, a free data management tool that mirrors the ever-popular Google Analytics and Facebook Page Manager tools. What will it do? It will give page runners (not personal pinners) the numbers that matter most: how many users re-pin your pins, how many view each pin and how many visit a given company’s site from its Pinterest page.

This is all part of Pinterest’s long-term plan, and it’s a natural next step after the service introduced company pages last November. In fact, if we had to guess we’d say the Pinterest team is laying the groundwork for a public offering–and they’ve learned from the great Zuckerberg’s mistakes. Last month company founder Ben Silberman told The Wall Street Journal about his plans to “monetize”, and facts like “Pinterest leads to more referrals than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Bing and Google” and “Pinterest users are 10% more likely to make a purchase from an ecommerce site” than surfers who arrive via other sources are sure to make the service even more attractive to all those Wall Street all-stars who are still trying to get rid of all their Facebook stock.

Here’s the most important question, though: will you, as a PR pro, be more likely to use Pinterest to promote your clients now?

More Authors Hiring Firms to Buy Up Their Own ‘Bestsellers’

Lauren ConradWe can all agree that promoting books is a difficult and often thankless job complicated by the public’s rapid move away from paper and toward the digital model (which is less profitable but more efficient and far more agreeable to spouses who really don’t care for the dust and clutter of a big bookshelf).

For authors and publishers alike, the very ability to claim “bestseller” status can significantly increase sales in addition to related speaking and consulting fees (especially relevant if you write about business). Unfortunately, it seems that more authors are now responding to the PR and financial challenges of writing for a living by simply buying their way onto bestseller lists.

Here’s how it works: The Wall Street Journal outs a marketing firm called ResultSource which buys thousands of copies of books in bulk before their publication dates to create a false “sales bounce” and then returns them to the seller. (All for a significant fee, of course.)

Can you guess how we feel about this practice?

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Psst: The Pope Never Actually Wore Prada

When reading today’s fascinating story on Pope Benedict XVI‘s pending transition into private life, we learned a few interesting facts:

  • The Pope will not go back to using his legal name, Joseph Ratzinger. He’ll be Benedict from now on. He will also be known as “Pope emeritus” and retain the honorific “His Holiness.”
  • He will continue wearing all-white outfits but will no longer rock the velvet capes, “fur-trimmed stocking caps” or those famous red shoes.
  • Finally: despite widespread rumors to the contrary that began around 2005, Prada does not make the ruby red slippers and never did–they came from a tailor shop in Rome that will also be making clothes for his successor, whoever that may be.

The Vatican took nearly three years to clarify the Prada rumors via its official newspaper after The Wall Street Journal printed a story about Pope product placement that mentioned marketers “praying” to see the pontiff wear their own brands in public.

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The New Yahoo Prohibits Telecommuting, Irks Communications Team

Yahoo CEO Marissa MayerLast week Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer unveiled the property’s new look and features. But one aspect of her rebranding that escaped our attention was an absolute refusal to allow employees to work remotely. As an internal memo put it, “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.” In other words, come to the office every day or you’re fired.

Some of Mayer’s team members didn’t appreciate this change; a group of “very irked Yahoo employees” leaked the note to The Wall Street Journal on Friday, turning the whole thing into something of a PR headache. As Edelman PR notes in this tweet, lots of people are talking about “working from home” right now–to Yahoo’s detriment.

The reasoning behind the decision makes sense: The company found that many of its telecommuters, in departments from marketing to engineering, weren’t actually getting much work done. Yahoo didn’t even seem to realize that some of them were still getting paid.

We get it–that’s bad news. But we wonder whether “no working from home, ever” is really the best solution.

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More Companies Go Public with Hacking Stories

Dick Costolo Twitter CEO It’s a perfect 21st century PR conundrum: You’re a big company. Your servers got hacked. Now you have to make a decision: Go public? Hold back? Deny everything? More and more big-name brands are taking the “strength in numbers” approach by admitting that they were “compromised”–as long as their competitors do it first.

Google was the first big brand to call itself the victim of cyber hackery back in 2010, and since then others have joined the growing chorus: Earlier this month it was Twitter, followed by Facebook, Apple, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times. (Burger King and Jeep had their Twitter feeds hacked this week, but that’s a different thing entirely.)

Some brands, like Bloomberg, continue to issue less-than-believable denials. We understand the desire to avoid saying “Yes, we were hacked by China”–but this kind of stubbornness can make brands look worse, especially when third-party sources confirm the reports.

Should companies go public after being hacked to get ahead of the story? Or should they hide in the shadows and issue no comment until the time is right?

Can Licensing Save the Playboy Brand?

Hugh Hefner PlayboySay what you will about Playboy, notorious purveyor of softcore smut and reality TV (which are pretty much the same thing)–Hugh Hefner‘s creation remains an iconic American brand synonymous with “the good life” and a healthy serving of old-school misogyny. Unfortunately, the company isn’t making much money these days–and now it’s hoping to find second life by lending its name and logo to the highest bidder(s).

The Internet’s endless collection of erotica all but ensured the failure of Playboy magazine’s once-solid business model. While the website’s search description still promises “…hot girls, nude girls, naked women in sexy pics and videos”, Hefner and his new CEO Scott Flanders hope to help the brand live on by spending less time on half-dressed ladies and more time slapping the Playboy label on consumer products.

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Apple’s PR Team Gets More Aggressive with the Message

Apple CEO Tim CookFor a long time, it seemed like Steve Jobs and the team at Apple saw traditional PR approaches and tools like press releases as ancient relics. They were over it.

Things are different now, though. The Wall Street Journal tells us that, in the light of recent stock dips and disappointing sales numbers, Apple has decided to “subtly [increase] some of its PR—at least for now.”

What does that mean? Well, the team issued an honest-to-God press release to mark the all-but-meaningless evolution of its operating system from iOS 6 to iOS 6.1–and this was “the first time Apple has issued an official press release for a non-major mobile software” roll-out since way back in 2010.

That’s not all: In addition to posting an uncharacteristically large number of press releases so far in 2013, the company has also been more active about sending positive third-party media mentions to journalists. One of the pieces circulating is a study predicting that, by 2014, Apple will be “just as accepted in the enterprise as Microsoft“. Wait, a study predicting that your company will be as much a part of the status quo as your biggest, lamest competitor?

This is not the Apple we know and love.

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Whole Foods CEO Backtracks on Obama ‘Fascism’ Remark

Whole Foods CEO John MackeyWe know that a PR professional’s job often includes telling powerful people what to say–and when to say it. Today we feel fairly safe offering this little nugget of wisdom to every client: Unless you’re a left-wing Eastern European politician, never use the words “fascist” or “fascism” to describe your opponents, no matter who they may be. It’s never appropriate, and it always makes you look like an ass. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey recently learned that lesson.

Mackey stepped into the national health care debate back in 2009, when he penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that President Obama‘s signature health care overhaul was a form of “socialism” that would ultimately lead to complete government control over our nation’s health care system.

Now he’s hitting the various media outlets to promote his book Conscious Capitalism, which apparently details the ways in which certain businesses (his own included, of course) make the world a better place without the interference of the big, bad government. While visiting NPR‘s “Morning Edition“, he turned his previous criticism on its head, arguing that:

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