Republicans and lobbyists – familiar bedfellows

The LA Times reports on a PR disaster where a Republican assemblyman is caught making sexual boasts about his dalliances with 2 women, not realising he was being videotaped and recorded. One of the lobbyists is thought to work for a major utility firm and, as Duvall discloses accidentally, wears little “eye-patch underwear”. Noice comment Mike, eh!!! And apparently lobbyists sleeping with politicians is not uncommon in Calif as the following quote suggests: “The use of sexual favors is just one more example of the tactics that energy companies and lobbyists have used to win favorable laws from lawmakers,” said Kathay Feng, president of California Common Cause. Well PRs in Oz; do you have any tales of strange bedfellows downunder (geddit, geddit??)

IABC World Conf; great, but too much SocMed?

I thoroughly enjoyed presenting my ‘Why CEOs are scared of Social Media’ session at IABC’s San Fran shindig (thanks for the pesonal compliments y’all); even my punk rock and dog poo analogies translated well (and into laughter) for the audience. Saw a good sesh from Gerard Braud, and heard one standout quote from Jerry Stevenson’s (Buck Consultants) session I really want to share now:

“Technology doesn’t solve communication problems; great communicators do”

Web2.0 might be have lots of technology and accessories, but so does a science lab; it’s chemists and doctors who administer the solutions that get the job done. Also, over several dinners, heard a few whispers of discontent that there was too much focus on SocMed – maybe worth noting, as clearly Web2.0 should be one of the ingredients, not the whole formula (he said with white science coat still on). And finally; MAN, I can;’t shake this darn jetlag!!


McCusker Social Media training with IABC

It’s under a week before I head to San Francisco to take part in the IABC World Conference; my in-depth afternoon session analyses the relationships CEOs have/don’t have with Social Media. On my return, it’s quickly onto a laptop-based practical Social Media session (10-persons max) for IABC Victoria (26 June 09); in this session, it’ll be less talking and more showing attendees how to set up essential Web2.0 systems to deliver better monitoring and understanding of the social media environments; book early as spaces are limited.

Wikipedia bans Scientology IPs from 'cleaning' CoS reputation

Wikipedia says it will block Scientologists from making changes to Wikipedia pages – in order to prevent propaganda changes and what it calls “sock puppet” attacks. Tho Wikipedia will look at blocking Church of Scientology IP addresses, I’d be surprised if it can thwart the craftiness and zeal of CoS online advocates who are fervent in their defence of their chosen brand of religion (fact, I stand by waiting for CoS people to send me unidentified comments criticising the fact that I even mention this story!) Course, CoS isnt the only org fond of tarting up or reputation cleansing via Wikipedia; step forward devotees and PR pals of the US Republican party, Democrats, Fox News, Britain’s Labour party.


Aussie Social Media expert McCusker confirmed for IABC World Event 09

Gerry McCusker been confirmed as an in-depth sessional speaker at this year’s IABC World Conference in San Francisco in June. The topic of his afternoon-long session is ‘Why are CEOs so scared of Social Media?’ where Gerry will outline the factors facing organisations trying to engage with Web2.0, including:         

Convincing the C-suite by ‘pitching them’ the value of Social Media and getting management ‘buy-in’        

Using pre-designed Social Media risk assessments to design appropriate, safe Web2.0 engagement  

Getting up to up to speed with Web2.0, without increasing personal and organisational workload    

Assuring senior management that any engagement risks can be scoped out and negated        

Demonstrating that better stakeholder engagement needn’t equate to total loss of control                        

Using Engage ORM case studies to demonstrate our expertise in Web2.0 campaign engagement



Cash-for-comment paid to Aussie citizen journos

Traditional media is getting all hot under the collar about Channel Ten(s unnamed new media advisers) paying SocMed pioneers cash-for-comment to talk up interest in TV shows. Now, Mumbrella scribe Tim Burrowes suggests it’s the tip of a grime-stained iceberg.

I’m fatigued having to write this one up, suffice to say these practices lie somewhere between ‘any publicity is good publicity’, ‘controversy management’ and ‘unethical citizen journalism relations’. To the corps involved…YOU’RE LAZY for not building cit-journo relations yourselves, to the Web2.0-spruikers – compromising your professionalism is probably a myopic game. 


Unemployed PRs to support exhausted Bushfire Comms teams?

At an IABC function yesterday, a prominent PR recruiter spoke candidly of a glut of good PR candidates being on the Oz Comms market and how orgs are tending to look for multi-skilled PR generalists this weather. I’ve had a thought…maybe it’s a query to throw out there; can ‘between positions’ Aussie practitioners/the PR industry/recruiters support fatigued Bushfire Communications Teams who are working around the clock?? Aside from cash, I’ve been feeling pretty powerless to support the emergency efforts. I know Bob Crawshaw did something like this for Canberra’s bushfires; how can we make it a goer for tired PRs in fire-ravaged Vic?

Was inept PR expert, actually a journo?

Adding to my ever-growing list of journos who make for dubious PR advisers, may be one Scarlett MccGwire, named by UK leftsheet The Grauniad as a media trainer paid a share of circa $AU50,000 to train Haringey council honchos, under flak after the death of an abused child, dubbed Baby P. The reason I say “may be”, is that Net sleuthing shows a Scarlett MccGwire (very unique spelling) to be extensively referenced as a writer and broadcaster. Haringey Council is refusing to reveal the company name of the other PRs who co-supplied the training saying: “The climate is such that at present any party associated with Haringey or the handling of the Baby P case is themselves likely to attract media interest and adverse publicity. This is considered likely to damage the commercial reputation of the provider involved and their current and future relationships.” Clearly now, Haringey has learnt some reputation management tips itself. Anyone in Lahndahn confirm the identity of Scarlett’s co-experts? Continue reading

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??