Oct 30 13

The race to think like a millennial


The race to think like millennials

At the PRSA 2013 International Conference this week, I attended a session on building millennial leaders. I‘ll take all the help I can get in this department, but I’m still not sure anyone has really figured it out yet.

We all know the stereotypes (check out Sh*t Millennials Say), and we also know there are many exceptional millennials who are doing amazing things. We certainly have some fantastic millennials at rbb, including our own Rafael Sangiovanni, who was named one of PR News’ People To Watch in PR in 2013.

One of the most interesting points brought up was a comment from the audience. There is a theory that society is cyclical, repeating itself every fourth generation.

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Posted in: Business Thoughts

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Oct 28 13

The meat on public relations measurement part 2: Five trends fundamentally changing PR


It never ceases to amaze me how much can change in a year.

At PRSA’s 2011 International Conference in Orlando, creative storytelling was the name of the game. In 2012 in San Francisco, reigning in your customers’ passion for the greater good was all the rage.

So what’s the buzz ribboning through this year’s largest gathering of public relations pros on the planet? Mathematics and statistics.

What?! But we are PR people! We aren’t supposed to do math. (That’s my excuse every time a restaurant bill comes that I don’t feel like figuring out.) I’m in PR – I do words, not numbers.

Well, all aboard the numbers express everyone. Two words have entered the marketing lexicon that are changing how we measure, design and execute our programs: BIG DATA.

Now, more than ever, PR is being based on facts. And I’m liking it.

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Posted in: Business Thoughts, Public Relations

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Oct 24 13

Pinterest Promoted Pins: Social media advertising done right (for now)


It was inevitable that the virtual cork board/social network Pinterest was going to feature advertising sooner or later. No popular and increasingly successful social media platform can steer completely clear of having to generate revenue. (They are still businesses, after all. Right, Instagram?)

And so it was that Pinterest started a limited rollout of Promoted Pins, which allow brands to insert their own pins into users’ content feeds and search results.

Those don’t really look like ads, do they?

Here’s the thing: Pinterest’s Promoted Pins not only make sense monetarily, but they can actually better serve the needs of the community and enhance the Pinterest experience. The key thing is that the ads are seamlessly integrated so as to be about the content.

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Posted in: Social Media

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Oct 22 13

Case closed: Why the NCAA’s reputation is the biggest loser in the Miami investigation


Whether they’re college football fans or not, many Americans are aware of the NCAA’s two-year-plus investigation into the University of Miami’s football and basketball program. After all, the story had all the ingredients to captivate the general public.

In 2011, a major news outlet broke the story not only alleging that athletes took money and free drinks from a booster, but the same booster in question was a convicted felon in jail for a $930 million Ponzi scheme and purportedly paid for abortions on behalf of players (an unproven accusation).

But as the NCAA investigation came to a close on October 22, the biggest loser was not the school who was accused of wrongdoing and received resulting penalties, but the NCAA itself. Do you think if the NCAA knew the outcome two years ago it would have taken the word of a criminal and dug in to “bury” the University of Miami?

The NCAA made a calculated risk to use this case as an avenue to reclaim control of major college athletics and the big business it has become, and instead lost its reputation in the process. (This UCLA case and the Ed O’Bannon/video game lawsuit haven’t helped either).

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Posted in: Crisis Communication, Public Relations

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Oct 17 13

ESPN’s Rick Reilly, his father-in-law and the journalist’s ethical responsibilities


ESPN columnist Rick Reilly has had it rough recently, but more importantly I thought it raised an interesting question about the responsibility journalists have in including comments from sources when it may potentially contradict the tone or message of their story.

To quickly set the stage: Back in September, Reilly, an award-winning sports columnist, wrote an article for ESPN.com that discussed the ongoing controversy surrounding the use of the name “Redskins” by the Washington NFL team.

In that article, Reilly argued that the controversy is being overblown and that Native Americans aren’t nearly as offended as our society thinks they are.

He supports his point by quoting his own father-in-law (a member of the Blackfeet Indian tribe), saying that the name isn’t really offensive and shouldn’t be a big deal.

Then things got a little hairy for Reilly. His father-in-law published an essay claiming that not only was he misquoted in the article, but also important comments he made denouncing the use of the word “Redskins” were omitted from the column.

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Posted in: Business Thoughts, Crisis Communication

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Oct 10 13

The plain truth about mentors


I’ve always been annoyed by the word mentor. It conjures up visions of an elegant, silver-haired businessman patting the shoulder of a younger colleague in a fine restaurant while imparting sage advice.

In the business world, having a mentor is as much a status symbol as a Rolex. When people talk about their mentors, it sounds like they are giving a eulogy.

But when the Public Relations Society of America gave the founder of my firm, Bruce Rubin, a lifetime achievement award, I had to face facts. While it never came with a bow on it, or was part of a formal training program, I have a mentor – and a damn good one.

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Posted in: Business Thoughts

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Sep 12 13

The power of public relations, as demonstrated by Vladimir Putin’s op-ed


Opinion editorials, known as “op-eds,” can be an extremely effective tool in the PR toolbox to deliver a message in a client’s own words – often on complex or controversial issues being covered in the news.

Op-eds are often penned by C-level executives, legislators, and even famous actors and actresses. Angelina Jolie used the forum to deliver news of her preemptive double mastectomy and Anna Gunn recently authored an opinion piece on her “Breaking Bad” character.

In a way, op-eds are an opportunity to bypass the system – to ensure one’s thoughts are delivered directly and in no way adapted by a reporter’s intended or unintended media filter.

They are usually not a vehicle for foreign policy, but Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times may have changed that.

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Posted in: Crisis Communication, Public Relations

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Aug 23 13

Turn on the Bat Signal: With Ben Affleck, is the Batman brand in trouble?


The recent announcement that Ben Affleck would replace Christian Bale in the upcoming “Batman vs. Superman” movie was met with a collective “What?!?” and a lot of head scratching by everyone from fan boys to regular Janes (including yours truly, who enjoyed the Dark Knight series).

Not to say that Affleck isn’t a skilled enough actor to capture the depth Bale brought to the role, but at the end of the day one will never be the other. Could this be the end of Batman?

Of course not. The strength of Batman lies in the strength of the brand. The same can be said for major brands that have survived shake-ups in their leadership.

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Posted in: Public Relations

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Jul 26 13

How to Reach Hispanics: Communicate in English


It’s been an interesting week for Hispanic media outlets. First, the ratings reports showed Univision is on track to be the most-watched network for the month of July, beating out ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Then, the Pew Research Hispanic Center releases a study saying more Hispanics are getting their news on English television, radio, print and online outlets.  Huh?

While this sounds like a contradiction, it’s easy to explain. Telenovelas and entertainment programming are huge draws for Spanish-language TV outlets – just look at Univision’s Sabado Gigante, which has been on the air since 1962 and still draws 2.2 million viewers.

For the news, however, the study found a 10 percent drop in the amount of Spanish language news consumption, and a 22 percent drop in the number of viewers that get their news exclusively in Spanish. This can be attributed to a few reasons pointed out by researchers – there are more U.S. born Hispanics, a growing number of adult Latinos speak English well, and immigration has slowed down.

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Posted in: Media

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Jul 12 13

Upvote for quality content: A marketer’s guide to Reddit


Earlier this week, we discussed WHY marketers should care about the social news aggregator site Reddit, especially for content marketing. So, now we want to address HOW do we engage with the communities there?

Reddit is all about providing value, conversation and community. Quality content rises to the top while everything else gets pushed down. That’s why people keep coming back.

That said, Redditors have become increasingly savvy at detecting spam and obvious self-promotion. Redditors can get content removed by flagging it themselves, and every subreddit has moderators that will delete posts that don’t meet their standards.

As an online marketer, you would be remiss not to have Reddit working for you. Paid advertising is offered on Reddit, but it’s expensive ($20,000 and up). As with everything online, good content wins the day, even if it’s not easy. Nieman Journalism Lab summed it up best: On Reddit, good links rise to the top but it can take a few attempts to get there.

The first question to ask yourself is if or how Reddit fits into your overall brand strategy. Are there communities tied directly to your industry? Do you have an expert who would make a compelling Ask Me Anything interview? Does your brand have a unique how-to guide that /r/howto would dig?

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Posted in: Social Media

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