The law against bad buzz

April 18, 2008Comments Off on The law against bad buzz

I prematurely dismissed this bill on Wadd’s PR blog.

I recommend every PR/Social Media agency in existence read Andy Senovitz’s post: Can Word of Mouth Marketing get me in trouble?

2. WOM marketing without disclosure is illegal.

Any form of deceptive word of mouth campaigns are illegal. This include any program where you are:

  1. Asking buzzers to recommend your product without disclosing that they are part of a campaign or received and incentive.
  2. Falsely representing your employees/agents as consumers.
  3. Asking buzzers to claim they like your product when they don’t, or never tried it.

Will it be strictly enforced? Combined with a few more ‘whistleblower’ hotlines I wouldn’t bet against it. How many rival companies wouldn’t take the opportunity to point out a patently false viral campaign?

Your competitors are buying your brand!

April 17, 2008Comments Off on Your competitors are buying your brand!

Very soon your competitors can bid for your company’s name on Google (and you can bid for theirs).

Your efforts to ensure that when a customer wants a product, they type your name into the search engine, might be usurped by a paid ad.

Really aggressive companies can have the advert link through to a page on their website delivering message solely about why they should be picked rather than you.

Are you going to play defense or offense?

Dove TV

April 16, 2008Comments Off on Dove TV

Marketing Week reports Dove are creating a digital channel.

Well isn’t this the ultimate content challenge? It’s effectively non-stop adverts (like Steve Jobs’ keynote speech) and it’s going to take some very, very, good content to attract people.

Will it work?

Not many companies can get away with it, Apple can, Microsoft can’t. Harley Davidson can, Volkswagen can’t. Dove? Maybe. Their real beauty campaign was a phenomenon, but attracting and keeping an audience concerned with real beauty is to begin treading on the turf of some very experienced media.

Fortunately, it really shouldn’t cost much, and it’s certainly worth an experiment. Football teams have had branded TV channels for years, whether more corporate companies can manage it will depend upon the quality of their content.

If you had the choice, how much would you pay?

April 15, 2008Comments Off on If you had the choice, how much would you pay?

David Maister points out a satisfaction guarantee I love:

"If you’re interested in seeing whether we are right for you and your team, try us on a matter. What separates us from our competitors is that you have our value promise on every invoice. If you don’t think we’re worth the amount you agreed to pay, you make whatever adjustment you think is necessary. If your other firms don’t walk that walk, it’s time to try Valorem.”

Can this be taken further? "Pay as much as you think we’re worth."

If you like the work you’ll have to pay enough to retain the firm, otherwise other clients will buy their time. In effect, clients could bid for the agency’s time.

…if the Agency is good enough.

Who’s feeling brave?

I’m in the content business, so are you

April 15, 2008Comments Off on I’m in the content business, so are you

You know, I think I’m in the content business.

You probably are too, it’ a big industry. It’s that thin line where our business cousins intersect and scrap for clients. In fact, it’s the industry that crushed public relations, SEO, copywriting and social media.

The content business is good. It’s competitive, sure, but it’s growing. Almost anyone that has a campaign to run, needs some content for it. Leaflets, websites, press releases, social media, it’s all good content.

“How do I get my hairdresser onto the first page of results for Cheltenham?”
“Why is my website not working?”
“How can I get journalists to write about our charity gala?”

Content, content, content!

It’s a deceptive business, content. Many would have you believe that creating content is easy, and they are right. The tricky part is attracting people to that content. Your content needs to form part of a larger movement than transcends you. It needs to stand for something. Bob Dylan was a terrible artist, but formed the core of an important movement. That’s perhaps the best way to think of us, we’re movement facilitators.

Where are the discussions about pitching for new business?

April 14, 2008Comments Off on Where are the discussions about pitching for new business?

A major part of blogging is thought leadership. When you share useful advice you become an expert, and experts are in demand.

As such, agency bloggers are happy to discuss how to score hits, how they are using new technology for their clients and an array of others topics, like recruiting methods. Indeed, they’re happy to share everything except how to pitch for new clients.

That makes sense. We’re all great big collaborators on the internet, striving to make the world of marketing and PR a better place. A rising tide lifts all boats. But sharing secrets about winning competitive pitches, with the very agencies you could be pitching against, is madness.

Or is it?

Is their an advantage to being perceived as an expert on pitching? Isn’t it about time their was a decent discussion about how agencies are pitching for new business? Are you more likely to be invited to pitch if you’re perceived as an expert on pitching? Once you share a pitching tactic, doesn’t it force you to raise the bar even higher?

I don’t know, but I’d love to hear some opinions. Is it ok to discuss pitching?

Strange sources of inspiration

April 13, 2008Comments Off on Strange sources of inspiration

I don’t think anything is more fun in PR than brainstorming. For starters, the food is great. You have a variety of biscuits and doughnuts to nibble on and, if you’re really lucky, chocolate!

There is a lot written about how to brainstorm ideas. The common rules include: don’t criticise ideas – just come up with better ones, be clear about the problem you need to solve to begin with, and set strict time limits for coming up with that idea.

But where does your inspiration come for great ideas come from. I’ve found, more so than anything else, that my ideas have come from the most eclectic mix of sources possible. This ranges from Supermarket Sweep, Thomas Crown Affair, a video of a kitten on YouTube and new twists on successful campaigns I’ve heard about in other countries. There’s a lot to learn from the success of others.

So from which wells do your ideas spring from? Anything especially bizarre?

How many small businesses really fail?

April 4, 2008Comments Off on How many small businesses really fail?

Half of all UK small businesses fail within the first three years, 80% fail within the first five years.

That’s a statistic I’ve heard fairly often. Which would be fine, if it were true. Only it isn’t.

8% of businesses fail to survive more than one year, 28% cease trading within three years and about 40% fail to survive more than four years. *

Mark Pinsent recently noted anti-alcohol lobby groups increased statistics about French drinking habits to suit their cause. It became accepted knowledge. So I wonder who was trying to sell small business consultancy/services to double this statistic?

Now if journalists checked their facts, they would have discovered this mistake and this rumour wouldn’t have spread (Cue: Churnalism).

Anyone else curious about drug-related deaths, online piracy levels or the threat of terrorism?

* Statistics i’ve discovered doing my dissertation.

YouTube Stats

April 4, 2008Comments Off on YouTube Stats

I sincerely hope that no marketing agencies out there were using ‘views’ as the measurement of success for a YouTube video.

Now stats for videos are available. Clients can demand to see how many people are watching the video (not just repeated views) and where those people are from.

You weren’t just getting everyone in your agency, and their families/friends to watch it were you?

On the positive side, those that are producing great viral videos, now have plenty more data to analyse.


April 1, 2008Comments Off on Cheating

Brian Clark drops a real humdinger of a question.

Is it to start your marketing campaign yourself? If you want people to join your Facebook group, is it ok to get your friends to join first – you know – make it look popular?

If you want people to participate in a UGC campaign, do you and your friends create the content at the beginning?

If you want your article to rise up the DIGG charts, do you persuade all your friends to DIGG it?

If you want your blog to appear popular, do you write a few anonymous comments to get the conversation going?

How far can this go? If you want to have a bestseller, is it ok to buy enough copies to make the bestseller list in the first place?

I know a lot of people that would advocate all these. They will do anything so long as they succeed for their client. It might work once, it might work twice, it might even work every time you do it.

However, in the long run, surely the time is better spent understanding why your target audience wont participate in the first place?

A first class upgrade

March 28, 2008Comments Off on A first class upgrade

I was upgraded to first class once. It was on the way back Texas. A young girl’s tray table had broken and she wanted to stay sitting with the rest of the family on my row. So I was upgrade to the empty first class seat.

I hated it, and two people complained – I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and reading PCGamer Magazine.

I read today that most business-class only airlines struggle. I’m not sure that’s really surprising is it? Most business airlines fail because they don’t really understand their customers. They think their customers want star-studded treatment, and they’re absolutely right.

The problem is they want this star-studded treatment compared to someone else. They want to know that they’re getting something better than someone else, they want to see some getting the standard economy treatment.

If you take away the economy class, they have nothing to contrast their treatment against. Even worse, if you take away the economy class, all they can contrast themselves against is the first class, the really rich folk.

Has first and business class really ever been about comfort? This year my parents paid a lot of money to fly business class to Canada and back. The comfort is less than they have in their living room, and it lasted a less than half a day. I think just once, they wanted to be the people that the economy class want to be.

Google Webmaster Page

March 28, 2008Comments Off on Google Webmaster Page


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