Archive for June, 2012

Social media lifted from the sandbox

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 by Jon Clements

The days of social media activity residing alone in an organisation – enshrined in mystery like some sort of digital Pandora’s Box – should be numbered if not over altogether.

As John Gordon of New York’s Fenton Communications put it memorably in yesterday’s Social Media Today webinar: What are the metrics that matter in social media, “Social media should not be playing in its own sandbox”.

Gordon emphasised that any social media activity should fall in line with overall organisational goals. In other words, mixing the “yellow” of social media goals and blue of organisational goals should make the “green” of integrated goals; any other colour signifies potential chaos.

This is helpful especially when an unexpected event arises and an organisation’s response needs to be centred, consistent, coherent and in keeping with its corporate purpose. Such an event put the US organisation, Planned Parenthood’s social media approach to the test.

The provider of reproductive healthcare was faced with the withdrawal of breast screening funds from the Susan G.Koman for the Cure cancer foundation, following pressure from anti-abortion groups.

Heather Holdridge , director of digital strategy at Planned Parenthood, described the ensuing campaign, using Twitter and Facebook to inform its audiences of the cancer charity’s decision. The story went, literally, viral through social media channels, resulting in a user-generated Tumblr blog featuring women’s stories of how Planned Parenthood had helped them. Social media drove the debate for two days – during which time Planned Parenthood’s messages were consistent – and ended with Komen reversing its decision to cut funding.

John Gordon added: “Komen thought it could direct messages downwards but didn’t recognise people were going to respond in the way they did and didn’t have the channels or the relationships to respond.”

Fenton neatly sums up Planned Parenthood’s social media strategy as “See, Say, Feel, Do”:

See:

Who is your audience?

Where are they?

What do you want them to do?

What do they want from you?

SAY:

Messages, stories and insights that can be shared online quickly.

FEEL:

User comments, Twitter re-tweets personalised – described as the “gold dust  created when people have internalised and endorsed your message through their own voice. It needs the right content to elicit that effect, such as the Tumblr blog in the Planned Parenthood example.

DO:

The actions your users take as a result of the above.

Such a (deceptively) simple approach is worth adding to the overall debate around meaningful social media measurement, not least the work done recently by AMEC.

Ultimately, the artificial line that may have existed between digital communications activity and everything else in an organisation can’t be allowed to persist. Never mind playing in its own sandbox; digital needs lifting from the sandbox to play with everyone else.



About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

New Law Turns Legal Eyes to Marketing & PR

Thursday, June 21st, 2012 by Rob Brown

The arrival this year of Alternative Business Structures (ABS) for UK law firms feels like a typically dry subject for a profession that has a reputation for upright and conventional.

The truth is the change has the potential to be revolutionary – changing the way we use and access lawyers and introducing brands to the market.   Previously law firms had to be owned by lawyers, now any organisation can provide legal services with non-lawyer involvement at management level or as an owner or investor, so long as it is granted licence by the Law Society or other approved awarding bodies.

It has been labelled the Tesco law despite the fact that Tesco have shown no interest in entering the market.  The Co-operative Group on the other hand was one of the first organisations to be granted a new ABS licence.  This means that law firms will have to adapt to withstand the pressures of competition from organisations that know all about effective marketing.  They will have to review their business models and can’t continue to rely on word of mouth recommendation as their only route to new business.

Getting to grips with online and digital will also be vital for the larger firms.  Let’s be honest most people don’t use solicitors on a daily basis so when they do and they enter “solicitor+my home town” into Google they might see some local firms in the top results, but not for much longer if the new national players have their way.

 

 

 

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

North West has good neighbours in the BBC

Friday, June 1st, 2012 by Gemma Ellis

In 2011 the BBC relocated all of its staff from Oxford Road in Manchester and a significant chunk of its workforce at White City in London to Media City, Salford Quays.

One year on, Staniforth was invited to see how its neighbours were settling in.

The fanfare of publicity surrounding the move – both good and bad – could not be easily ignored, so we were keen to see if the scaremongers had any ground in their criticisms. We’re pleased to report that the corporation is functioning very well at its new location in the North West, thank you.

News editor, Fiona Steggles led Staniforth on a tour of the BBC’s impressive premises and was able to shed light into how the set-up at Media City better suits the news process. Being a public service broadcaster, the BBC continually looks to provide the best possible programmes to consumers and this is evident at Media City.

The purpose-built studios mean that newsrooms, production suites and recording studios sit neatly together, making for a more efficient operation, while cross skills training and easy availability of state-of-the-art equipment means many reporters can and do self-shoot, present and edit their own bulletins.

The newsroom itself is designed to be a hub of creativity. An expansive floor plan allows easy integration between flagship programmes BBC Breakfast, North West Tonight and The Politics Show, as well as sports and Radio 5 Live. News sharing is fluid and this ensures that a story is placed where it fits best.

BBC Breakfast has really made itself at home since its first broadcast from Salford Quays in April and has not, as detractors cried, suffered from a dearth of high calibre guests in relocating, having played host to Young Musician of 2012 Laura van der Heijden, actor Will Smith and gold medallists Darren Campbell and Ellie Simmonds in recent weeks.

For PROs, opportunities for spokespeople who are locally based, flexible and able to provide relevant and impartial commentary do exist and this can be a good platform to help with interview guests. In the past the BBC has drawn on the expertise of academics from Manchester University and some of the country’s leading law firms, doctors and politicians who have their base in the North West.

As a national broadcaster, it’s important that the BBC represents the whole of the UK, its regions and diverse communities and the move northwards is certainly allowing them to do this.