Can Social Media help struggling Aussie retailers?

Stateside blogger Kevin Dugan flags suggestions from Twist Image’s Mitch Joel on how (Yankee) retailers can harness/leverage Web2.0 smarts to help them handle recessionary times. Thing is, the distilled notes work just as well for service and other orgs as it does for retail biznissez: Tips include; creating ‘tribal’ web-based communities/forums (relatively cost-effective/do-able in online environment); integrated marketing isn’t really integrated if it doesn’t have a SocMed component; see Web2.0 engagement as a long-term commitment rather than short-term campaign (just like PR, folks!!); brace for “warts ‘n’ all” conversations; age, as R.Kelly sleazily claimed, ain’t nuthin but a number – Web2.0 talks to cross-generational groups, not just skater-types with ill-fitting drainpipes; AND finally (the inevitable consultants catchcry) get (sic ME) involved sooner rather than later.

Ta to Kevin and Mitch for the thought starters.

Social media not cheap, nor a joke

As a contributor to (Aussie) Marketing magazine, the following story piqued my interest. A CMO Council survey of 400 executives had 56% admitting their companies have no programs to track or build positive word-of-mouth, and 59% don’t compensate any employees based on improvements in customer loyalty or satisfaction. The (overall) message for marketers, according to CMO Council, is that by creating a corporate culture of listening, learning and limiting hassles, companies can “improve product uptake, reduce market friction, increase customer responsiveness and identify new monetisation opportunities”. But if they don’t resource this, then they ain’t gonna pay for it are they?

This kinda dovetails with some recent experience of pitching to clients, some of whom expect all digital activity to be dirt cheap, yet highly effective. Client organisations must never overlook the thing that makes ‘social media engagement’ work, is the dollar value of the intellect that advises you how best to engage in this fast-evolving arena; praps to some extent Social Media exponents are being undone by the myth of e-DM; that it’s an easy design job, followed by repeat running of e-lists. It ain’t!! The skill is considered engagement, and that’s the result of developed expertise and (to me) seasoned PR judgement!! Am I grumpy or is it just hot in Melbourne??

Belkin blushes after cash-for-comment cock-up

Aussie techster and mate o’ mine Leigh Mannes, flags a techy PR disaster where Belkin was caught ‘incentivising’ favourable blog comment ($0.65 a go). After being outed, the PR response was swift with a Belkin honcho insisting it was an isolated incident. Errm…maybe not says further online digging.

From PR disaster management 101, effectively responding to an incident isn’t just about being swift, it’s about being as accurate as poss in your response. Especially in cases involving suspicious practices, to erroneously address the incident can just look like a further cover up. And that don’t help ‘restore the trust’ President Reynoso. That’s exactly what’s not happending in this not-so-isolated incident it seems.



Best blog job campaign undermined by agency numbnuts?

Nice to be able to report of a really neat bit of PR, instead of the usual blundersCongratulations to the PRs at Tourism Queensland for a corker of a PR initiative. Read comments below!! Looks like Cummins Nitro (the concept agency) stuffed it by faking an eager job applicant!!!!!! Faaaaahhhrrrkkkk! They’re offering some lucky soul the chance to promote the Great Barrier Reef primarily via Social Media tools such as weekly blogs, a photo diary, video updates, plus ongoing media interviews. The PR idea is already (unsurprisingly) generating strong global PR interest. The salary is $150,000 for a six-month stint; interested, anyone?

The PR disaster 08 shortlist takes shape

If your memory for reputation-bustin’ PR gaffes isn’t serving you very well, perhaps the names Sarah Palin (for being herself), Elliot Spitzer (for his dalliances), Sam Newman (for his MP-slating innuendo) and Wayne Carey (for his Police encounters in Melbourne and Miami) might jog your nomination memory? If that don’t work, here are some more corkers from last year:


Julie Bishop’s book chapter:

Belinda Neal’s Iguanagate:

Collingwood stars’ DUI car crash:

J&J sue Red Cross:

Troy Buswell seat sniff:

Gerry McCusker delivers keynote at crisis conference

Wednesday next week, I’m delighted to be giving the opening keynote address at an Issues and Crisis Summit in Sydney. I’ve also be invited as a panelist for a highly-interactive Q&A session. The focus of my keynote will be the new rules of reputation management and exploring the impact of Web2.0 and Social Media on issues and crisis management. Glen Frost has put together another sterling program, and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some of you up in Sydney.

Does China pay an army of astroturf bloggers?

Writing in The Guardian, Malik Fareed claims that the Chinese government is payrolling opinion shapers and influencers 50 Chinese cents or five mao per blog post, to refute and replace negative online coverage about China and related issues (better rates than blogging for Fairfax then?)
While astroturfing is seen by some as ethically dubious, it is still growing in popularity, thanks, in part, to the ease with which web 2.0 technologies – the likes of Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube all feature heavily – can be employed to sway public opinion using the elusive power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Blogger spams bank; attempts to exhume NAB PR disaster

In a week where NAB PR Felicity Glennie-Holmes won’t have had too much time to twiddle her thumbs, Marketing mag – an Aussie publication I contribute to – features footage of a blogger spamming a NAB branch; it’s not very funny, but does say a lot about how one blogger approaches self-promotion.



PR disaster over Jagermeister's dwarf drinks dispenser

A stripped, buffed and top-hatted person of seriously challenged height, strutted along a bar top freely dispensing shots of Jagermeister alcohol directly down patrons throats, in a Melbourne bayside bar. At a time when the whole of Australia is alarmed over problem and binge drinking, do you think this might’ve been a bad judgement call by the brand and its promo agency (who remain un-named in media reports).
Jagermeister Brand Manager John Howells is named, says no-one at Jager had knowledge of the promo, promises to investigate after this particular shetland pony has bolted, and agrees that while not illegal, this could be seen as irresponsible. He don’t say??

If this was such a great promo idea…maybe the agency would like to identify itself??