A Logo is Not a Brand

May 12, 2016

by Kim Stangle

A brand is a promise you make to your stakeholders.  It’s delivering on who you say you are as an organization, person or otherwise.  A logo is the identifiable part of that brand, but it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have much else to do with how you operate or the promises you make.

That said it’s remarkable to me how vocal people are when companies unveil new logos.  When social networking behemoth, Instagram, introduced a new suite of logos for their products yesterday, the Internet revolted.  But, don’t you wonder exactly why they revolted?  The user experience inside the popular app only changed slightly—for the better, if you ask me.  But, still we complain.

While it’s the redesign that spawned a thousand memes, their approach was thoughtful and their execution was deliberate.  For that reason alone, I’m going to refrain from criticism.


Go Beyond the Headline

April 14, 2016

by Dan Ward

The CIO.com headline, “6 ways Twitter can help your business go beyond PR” quickly grabbed my attention.  Maybe I could learn something about how to use Twitter to go beyond traditional PR techniques.

But after reading the article, I think the headline writer may have a mistaken impression of public relations … since each of the “6 ways” already falls within the PR practitioner’s toolbox.

  1. Lead Generation/Customer Acquisition – PR pros use Twitter not only to engage with existing customers, but also to grow an organization’s customer base.  “Reward your Twitter followers with special promotions and flash sales”?  Yep, we do that.
  2. Recruiting – Our agency, and I’m sure many others, often works with clients to manage public relations strategies targeting the best and brightest future employees, and Twitter is one channel often used for recruitment messaging.
  3. Market Research – Anyone who has ever studied public relations knows that in the “RPIE” acronym used to outline PR plans, “R” stands for research.  And it always comes first.  As we say often at Taking Aim, you can’t fire until you first find your target.
  4. Event Marketing – Good advice here from author Jennifer Lonoff Schiff on using Twitter’s advertising features for event promotion, a core practice area for many PR pros.
  5. Customer Service – Yes, indeed, Twitter is a great customer service tool, and increasingly customers see it as a primary tool for communication with a company.  Companies who manage this successfully are those that involve the PR team crafting the customer service message.
  6. Media Relations – Pretty sure media relations does not “go beyond” PR.  It often begins and ends with PR, and I completely agree with the author that Twitter is a tremendous resource.  We often use Twitter not only to research and identify media contacts, but also as the primary communication channel for pitching stories. And reporters increasingly use Twitter to find resources.  Smart PR pros follow reporters who cover their areas of expertise, and regularly monitor their feeds to mine story opportunities.

Looking beyond the headline, the story clearly offers some good suggestions for practitioners to consider for future PR programs.  One hopes we can use such tools to educate headline writers about the work we do.


Careful What You Ask For

March 21, 2016

by Kim Stangle

Social media has given way to a new age of marketing where engagement is far more important than just pushing your message out.   Engagement is surely a great way to interact with your stakeholders, but doing so shouldn’t compromise the integrity of your brand or message.

Twitter has given us numerous examples of engagement-gone-wrong including two campaigns that started innocently enough: JP Morgan’s #AskJPM and SeaWorld’s #AskSeaWorld.

But, don’t be fooled.  Twitter isn’t the only way your attempts at interacting can go awry.  Some organizations are even bold enough to put their taglines or brand names in the hands of users.  What could possibly go wrong?

You could end up like the British Navy whose newest research ship is just votes away from being named RRS Boaty McBoatface.  Thanks to their brilliant “Name our Ship” campaign, the cheeky moniker leads all other user submissions.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t engage with your users, just be careful what you ask for.


Curses!

March 2, 2016

by Roger Pynn

The media love a train wreck (see the 2016 Presidential race).  The only thing they seem to love even more is a troubled cruise line (see the tribulations of Carnival and Costa).

And now they have another.

But they also love to give names to sensational stories.  My first recollection of that was Watergate, the break-in by Nixon political operatives to a Washington, D. C., office complex by that name that has since spawned countless “gates,” so named by media before the birth of the hashtag.

One has to wonder when someone will sue a headline writer for defamation.


Social Confusion

January 27, 2016

by Roger Pynn

As social media companies struggle to figure out a sustainable business model, this word from Fast Company that Twitter may be treating its “most valuable” users to an ad-free environment adds to the perception that media companies are wandering in search of a “promised land” rather than sticking to their knitting.

How do you explain to me, as an advertiser, that the people you say are really important are off limits to my paid messaging?  Has it struck Jack Dorsey that exposure to those eyeballs is perhaps the most important asset he can sell?

Are online giants like Twitter going the way of newspapers … chasing their tails to attract new members to their tribe and abandoning the most loyal warriors?  Newspapers long ago tossed their print subscribers to the side of the road.  Will Twitter be next?


‘Like’ Everyone Else

November 4, 2015

by Kim Stangle

Facebook has the “like” denoted by the ever-familiar thumbs-up.  Instagram lets you double-tap to “heart” something. And, of course, you could favorite something on Twitter with the star.

Today, that star became a heart.  And just like that, favorites were no more.  The heart now symbolizes a “like.”  Call it semantics, but the star was so much more than just a heart.  The star was a bookmark for tweets I didn’t have time to read fully … or at all.  The star was for tweets that—pardon the hyperbole—were my favorite.

This might be the end of the star, but if Twitter is listening, it won’t be the end of the favorite.  Unlike practically every other social platform, there is a case to be made on Twitter for the favorite.  Is the heart just the beginning of something new or will Twitter end up just like everyone else?


Disconnected Customer Service

June 24, 2015

by Kim Stangle

Social Media has changed so many landscapes.  One major change is how consumers communicate with brands.  And it’s proven to be a difficult landscape to navigate for many.  How quickly, if at all, do you respond to complaints and praise?  When do you take a conversation offline?  Do you respond to everything?  If not, how do you determine what to respond to?

Many advanced brands have seen the value and invested in teams to manage the process.  Laurie Meacham shared Jet Blue’s remarkable customer service strategy at last year’s Social Fresh conference.  One of their key points is collaboration between all team members, not just those in one department or another.

I was reminded of the importance of this connection when our cable modem was zapped by lightning last weekend.  Instinctually, I called the 800 number for our local provider, Brighthouse.  The call was fine, a service call was scheduled and I was on my way to a working modem the next day.  Or so I thought.

When the tech didn’t show up in the service window we agreed to, I again called customer service.  This time, I was met with a less than helpful customer service agent who couldn’t offer much assistance.  In fact, there was an overall sense that it didn’t matter much at all that we’d shelved plans to be available for the service window that they’d scheduled and missed.

Naturally, I took to Twitter.  Within minutes of my tweet, I received a response from @BrighthouseCare.  Not only were they helpful, but they were empathetic and apologetic for the misstep.  Beyond that, they rescheduled the service call for me and asked that I follow up if there were any issues.

How could the service have been so vastly different?  One left me wanting to cut the cable cord immediately, while the other deserves a pat on the back for above and beyond customer service.

Brighthouse, if you’re listening, it’s time to insist that customer service is handled the same across the board.  And, if you need some training tips, look no further than your own social media team.


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