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Tag Archives: PR

Update on my book: “Chat Republic”

It’s official, and I’m now ready to announce the title of my book, which is in its final stages.

It’s called Chat Republic.

Angelo Fernando, Chat RepublicI’ve been covering the intersection of technology and business; technology and culture for more than 18 years. More recently, I’ve focused on digital media and our social media-centric lives, and I wanted to put my ideas into perspective.

Chat Republic is more than a fictional country. It’s about the spaces you inhabit.  Those online and offline communities you move in and out of: conference rooms, Google Circles, IM lists, Facebook, online forums. I think of it as a ‘country’ whose fluid borders take the shape of a giant, invisible speech bubble.

The conversations and opinions pouring in and out of our republic, in real-time, are what make our communities more civil, more vibrant. Our chats are certainly not friction-free! But absent these conversations we would be one dimensional citizens, won’t we?

As of today, I am planning to launch the book in two time zones, in June.

Some specs:

  • 25 Chapters – Divided into 3 sections
  • Case Studies from the U.S. and Asia
  • Interviews with non-profits, tech companies, activists, chief execs, editors, citizen journalists, PR consultants, podcasters, government officials

More information here at ChatRepublic.net

 

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Wanted: A new formula for PR!

FT Online, Angelo Fernando writes a Bi-weekly column

FT Online | Bi-weekly column

I don’t think there’s a single waterer-proof formula for PR.

No matter how much we love the Social media Press Release, (basically an enhanced press release, with some great links and embedded media to create a richer story), it seems like too much work for companies to build these.

Then there is the quest for that secret sauce of Public Relations that might involve a more integrated strategy. Translated: the PR agency works with the ad agency which works with the promotions company. Good luck with that!

So in a bid to stir up things I came up with my own formula for PR. Here it is in a nutshell. C + C + E = Tn.

Got it?

You need a decoder ring for this one, so here it is. Context plus Content plus Engagement equals Trust to the nth degree.

Continue reading…

This was the subject of a newspaper column, in a series I have been writing on, published in FT Online. Until the web site has been updated, this is a link to a PDF.

 
 

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Could PR industry do some crisis PR in post-BP mess?

Now that the BP oil leak has been stopped –or so we hear today – has anyone considered that it may be time to create some good juju for PR, after what BP has successfully done in maiming the industry?

Many of us PR and non PR types have railed against the dark stain that BP’s oil spill is leaving. I have tremendous respect for those who handle corporate PR whether they are consultants or internal PR folk. It’s a tough job getting the organization to say it as it is, and to stop publishing mindless statements just for the sound-byte effect.

So I was hoping to see a coalition of PR agencies coming together, perhaps under the umbrella of PRSA, and the CIPR (British PR association), to bring in some of the largest booms (thought leaders) and heavy equipment (smart technologies) to stop polluting our pristine beaches (er, reputation).

PRSA’s mantra is “Advancing the Profession and the Professional.” Looks like the industry has been mugged by flaks who are effectively planting land mines along this path. Search for BP at PRSA’s web site and you see articles such as “Can the BP brand survive Tony Hayward?” I was hoping to see some folks come out say why “BP’s PR has been toxic for their business.”

Meanwhile BP continues to write about its wonderful response about how it is “Flying higher to get closer to spill response,” and its sea bird rescues.

And nobody in the PR industry seems to mind.

 

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Oil, tweets, and the gushing blogosphere will drown BP

There is no such thing as a ‘top kill’ procedure (the attempt BP made to put a huge concrete dome on the leak in the Gulf of Mexico) to cap off the gushing anger at BP  in the blogosphere.

Each day brings a new wave of voices –comments, creativity, social media channels –to shame the company that has caused the worst environmental disaster here in the US. Like this logo attack.

This one, a blog called Apologize To BP taps into the collective wisdom of anyone who has a twitter account, or some time to add some content to the site.

A post contributed by one David Diehl, alongside this picture, is titled ‘Sea Of Contrition.’ He apologizes to the captain of BP this way:

“Thanks again for inviting me to the yachting excursion this last weekend. I’m so very sorry I ate up all of your delicious shrimp during the preliminary revelry on Friday. The staff did indicate it was the last of the Gulf shrimp…”

Apologize, is acerbic and funny, obviously, but content like this (and there are hundreds of tweets being fed into the web site every minute) create a virtual gusher that intentionally or not contaminates anything that BP tries to do by way of PR.

I know, most PR people tend to say that it’s inappropriate to even use ‘ BP’ and ‘PR’  in the same sentence; the company has made so many PR blunders it’s not even funny.

The site urges readers to submit  “videos, photos, quotes, whatever you want, as long as you apologize…”

The feed of tweets into the site is a smart way to keep content flowing through the pages, even while it feeds the tweet-hungry searchers who only see it on the micro-blogging platform. The hashtag #ImSorryBP

At the time of writing, this Twitter account has had just 213 followers. I’s one more way that people will channel their frustration.

There are more. Check these hash tags that are being used to aggregate the comments and conversations:

#BP (of course, usurping the brand initials)

#oilspill

#gulfoilspill

So, despite the news that BP is trying to clean up its online rankings using SEO tactics such as buying keywords, it’s quite apparent that the groundswell is not going to be more powerful.

 

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Should BP spin its wheels on its pesky little PR problem?

I bet this will be question that many presenters on crisis communications and PR turn to –at the IABC World Conference in Toronto this week, and many other events.

Variations of this question could come range from “can social media rescue a company’s reputation,” to “Is this a warning shot for corporations dabbling in social media?”

You could say BP which has the  nation’s largest environmental crisis on its hands should ignore the PR disaster they have inherited (as Len Gutman at ValleyPRBlog noted, “There are some things PR can’t fix”) and stick to fixing what it has wrought. It’s near impossible for them to address the ‘wisdom’ of the passionate crowd leveraging new media.

Take these responses to the oil spill:

BP Logo

  • The BP Logo Redesign Contest. I’ll don’t need to tell you what this means in a Web 2.0 world where images are shared, commented on and archived forever.
  • Wikipedia edits. Lots of activity on the discussion pages of BP’s Wikipedia page, where editors this week seem to be dredging up –still unpublished– unsavory details of cancer etc.

In the face of all this, what in the name of crisis communications is the value of the full page ad in the New York Times, and some of those TV spots? Is there any value in using old media Tylenol-type tactics to fix the situation BP is in? I recall BP used to run a great series of ads, when it was re-branding, that said things like “It’s time to go on a low carbon diet.”

I think its time for BP to go on a low PR diet!

 

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How to fly (through social media turbulence)

Airlines frequently fly into turbulence –not always the kind they are used to.  Just ask United. Better still, just ask Southwest Airlines. Over the years since they began embracing a slew of social media tools, Southwest has done a grand job of listening and responding. Sure, they’ve made their mistakes, fixed them fast, and moved on.

There may be a huge difference between an airline and an airplane, but I thought of juxtaposing them because of some common lessons they have for all of us –not just people who communicate about objects with wings.

If you missed this case involving Boeing, it’s worth a second look. The setup:

  • Child draws lots of pictures of airplanes.
  • Child sends one drawing to Boeing.
  • Corporate office sends him a standard letter saying it does not accept unsolicited designs, and has destroyed the letter.

Sad? Legal? Damaging to brand? All of the above?

The boys father was crushed/confused. He writes a blog so he asked his readers what to do.  Word got out. People came up with creative answers (including one that suggested writing the letter Boeing should have sent his son!) Boeing was forced to join the conversation at the late stage, and respond.

There are many lessons here. The first is about a canned response and a genuine response. So easy to do the former. But it’s out-of-place in a world where we make a huge din about being better at communications, great at listening yada yada.

To cut to the chase, Boeing Corporate (which uses this Twitter account that’s different from the one that talks of its engineering stuff) responded with aplomb, and thanked everyone for ‘supporting’ Harry Windsor, the child artist/airplane designer. “Supporting Harry,” as you might suspect is code for Punishing Boeing. Loosening them up. Humanizing them…

But we all live and learn. Boeing is a great company. They may have never in their wildest dreams of crisis planning imagined an eight year old would teach them a rapid lesson in communications. Neither do many organizations. So here are my takeaways from these two examples:

  • Plan  for the unplanned: Social media adds a lot more turbulence, often the kind that cannot be anticipated by the most sophisticated ‘tracking’ tools on board.
  • Know your audience’s audience: No matter who your end-users or customers are, your audience –and your ‘followers’ are always larger than you thought.
  • Put humans in charge. A professional response is not as good as a human response. Many of us/you are trained in the former. Don’t check your humanity at the door when you walk into your office.

Social media is nothing special. It has no secret ingredient. It is nothing more than humanized communications, for a world that has done an awful job at it.

 

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Quotes for the week ending 20 Feb, 2010

“This award celebrates the fact that, in today’s world, a brave bystander with a cellphone camera can use video-sharing and social networking sites to deliver news.”

Judges for the George Polk Awards in journalism who honored a work produced anonymously, in a new category (videography) the video, of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot during antigovernment protests in Iran. This was the first time in the 61-year history of the awards that an anonymous person was recognized.

“You won’t be set up to follow anyone until you have reviewed the suggestions and clicked..”

Google. in a blog post on the buzz about Buzz. It said the company had heard the feedback –outcry, really– loud and clear about what Gmail users thought of the new social media feature. Google immediately changed the ‘auto-follow’ model to ‘auto-suggest’ and apologized.

“misleading, confusing and disingenuous,”

Plaintiff’s claim against Facebook’s new privacy settings –in a lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco

“My real apology to her will not come in the form of words; it will come from my behavior over time.”

Tiger Woods in his ‘press conference’

Ask etymologists who work for any common language dictionary … and they will tell you that all dictionaries cannot Prescribe means, but instead only Describe meanings that are already being ascribed through common usage.”

“For those who don’t find that good enough or revealing enough at this point, well,  maybe they have their own issues.”

Michael Wilbon, sports reporter for the Washington Post about, commenting on Tiger’s apology, calling it ‘pretty powerful stuff.’

Russell-Oliver Brooklands, responding to a discussion in Melcrum’s Communicators’ Network (via LinkedIn) about the use of the word “fulsome”

 

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