Friday, August 26, 2011

Sloth: The Deadliest Technological Sin

Our own in-house grammar-guru Lindsay Durfee made reference earlier this week to a recent article that was littered with misspellings and various errors.  Although corrected, the post was met with a litany of user comments as to the carelessness of the media outlet releasing something without a simple proofread.  Their solution: disable the comment functionality, correct the errors, and enter damage control mode.  Was this occurrence a mere aberration or the symptom of a greater problem sweeping the business world?

The Internet Age tore across the globe like a bullet-train through Grand Central Station.  Many adapted to its advent, and many unlucky individuals let it pass them by.  Those who got on board early are reaping the benefits of its capabilities, and those who remained stagnant are trying to retain a firm grasp on their professional lives in this exciting and unfamiliar time.  There’s no doubt the Web has revolutionized all that we do, but in instances as described above, it may prove a hindrance as opposed to an advantage.

One glaring observation is the infiltration of “Internet shorthand” into the business sector.  While appropriate for your Twitter account or a quick text message, “LOL’s” and “U’s” have no place in the email subject line to your CFO.  A lackadaisical approach to the simple matters in business will simply cause your constituents to doubt your abilities and cast you in a negative light.

Our most recent blog post outlined the importance of using social media to craft your brand notoriety and maximize your Internet presence.  There is one other critical facet to this: use your brain!  Smart social media trumps a flood of nonsensical, inaccurate Twitter blasts and Facebook status updates.  Aside from providing a public forum for your potential clients to view your mistakes, it denigrates your message and broadcasts an image of inattentiveness to your affairs. 

With the world at your fingertips, it’s entirely too easy to drift into autopilot and allow technology to do all the work.  As USA Today learned the hard way this week, spellcheck is no substitute for attention to detail and a copy editor with a keen eye.  Rein in every aspect of your corporation that is visible to the public: from pitches and press releases to blog posts and business emails.  The Internet is a magnificent tool; allow it to work for you and not against you.

-Carter Breazeale

PR/PR Public Relations

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Key to Social Media: Thinking Outside the Box

Amid allegations of fraud and misuse, on August 14th Starbucks put the kibosh on Johnathan’s Card, the latest social-phenomenon to ignite the Internet.  Working on the long-held, but woefully infrequent practice of ‘paying it forward,’ Johnathan’s Card allowed folks across the country to utilize Jonathan Stark’s Starbucks card to buy each other a cup of coffee.  As drinks were purchased, the account was drained and replenished by its users and the available funds updated in real-time via Johnathan’s Twitter handle: @JohnathansCard.  The coffee conglomerate was silently rooting for the endeavor to succeed, but unfortunate circumstances forced their hand in canceling the account.  Albeit short-lived, this thought-provoking experiment was a testament to the global impact of social networking, and how far-reaching the Internet’s information-rich tentacles can truly be.

By far, the best example of viral Internet marketing is Old Spice’s ‘Mano A Mano in El Baño’ campaign.  The ‘Old Spice Guy’ answering Twitter users’ random questions in the form of a personalized commercial on YouTube cemented Old Spice as ahead of the curve in employing the web for marketing and brand recognition.  Personally, I found myself ignoring all other products on the deodorant aisle and heading straight for the Old Spice.  When an ad campaign compels you to purchase a product simply because you appreciate the commercials, someone in the PR department is doing it right. 

The fact of the matter is that the game has changed.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media websites have turned the advertising game on its head and shifted the way we all conduct business.  Gone are the days of supermarket circulars and cold-calling.  Obsolete and arbitrary are many of the practices once considered the standard in the world of sales and marketing.  Your prime objective should be widespread visibility, and in terms of crafting your brand and name-notoriety, the old way of doing things simply doesn’t suffice. 

Focus on your social-media footprint and maximizing your online presence.  Make a mental note that you are the artisan of your own future successes and profitability, and take advantage of every possible avenue for enhancing exposure.  We are waist-deep in previously uncharted waters in terms of publicity, and the possibilities are virtually endless.  Don’t wait for the ship to sail: take a cue from Jonathan Stark and Old Spice and dive right in.

-Carter Breazeale

PR/PR Public Relations

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Up and Running!

Welcome to the brand new PR/PR Public Relations blog!  Check back every Friday for updates on all things publicity.