Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Selling in social media is not social

Friday, January 16th, 2009 by Jon Clements

Social media provides a conundrum for advertising.

Some advertising campaigns have talkability, but rarely – if ever – fit comfortably into a social environment. Ads sell, they do not socialise.

Hence the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has commissioned a report into how the advertising industry needs to adapt its way of working in light of the social media explosion, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The FT’s digital media correspondent, Tim Bradshaw, fingers the problem precisely when he notes that users of social media sites “are logging in for communication rather than commerce”. The traditional advertising model – even adapted for the web as banner ads and click-throughs – is considered intrusive in social media. My colleague, Mark Hanson, refers to it as “like sticking a billboard in someone’s front room while they’re watching TV”.

Where advertising’s “telling and selling” struggles in social networking, PR should flourish for a number of reasons: firstly, it’s about creating content that’s useful, portable and shareable. Also, there should be a better appreciation of the need for two-way communication and an understanding of what goes and what doesn’t go in a particular social situation online. From our own experience at Staniforth, a PR-led approach is also good for persuading senior executives to get involved directly when there’s a crisis in customer confidence being played out online.

That said, Todd Defren over at PR Squared has rightly questioned the dubious practices that some PR people are bringing to social media, and this blog has also visited the topic recently, but seeing more encouraging signs that PR is cleaning up its act in time to claim a worthy place in the social media sphere.

Companies and brands will continue to advertise, but in thinking about how to unwrap the riddle of marketing to people who are pre-programmed to resist your advances, a closer collaboration with PR is essential.

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 ''

2009 under the media microscope

Monday, January 5th, 2009 by Jon Clements


Hello again and Happy New Year!

After a short hiatus, PR Media Blog is back on the beat.

And what better place to start than today’s Media Guardian, whch gives a pretty exhaustive forecast of the new world facing the media in 2009.

Here is a sample of the most interesting views from the massed media commentators. Have they got it right? PR Media Blog will be keeping an eye on things as the media circus rolls on into another year.

“Leading web thinker” Clay Shirky with his media forecast for 2009: “Newspapers are going to get more and less elitist…a small, niche publication that says: ‘We’re only opening our mouths when what we say is demonstrably superior to anything else on the subject.’ The populist model is: ‘We’re going to take all the news pieces we get and have an enormous amount of commentary. It’s whatever the readers want to talk about.”

Gareth McClean on TV programmes: “As money becomes scarce, ratings will become more important…drama finds itself under siege from light entertainment – and factual entertainment and anything else that’s cheaper, which is basically everything – like never before.”

John Plunkett on Radio: “If ever there was a time for commercial radio to strike back in the ratings war, then surely this is it…expect more commercial stations to go to the wall, expect BBC radio to be less sure of itself, expect uncertainty over DAB to continue – expect a bloody battle.”

Roy Greenslade on newspapers: “The importance of online journalism cannot be stressed too often. It is foolish to call it the future because the future is now…the fight that counts in 2009 is the one for online eyeballs seeking news and informed comment, not for the passive audience handed a freesheet with the minimum of journalistic merit or public benefit.”

Peter Wilby on journalism: “Mass market journalism – short, snappy news items alongside gossip, glamour and articulate prejudice – is by definition doomed…serious journalism will triumph by default.”

Oliver Luft on magazines: “Business publishers may look at greater innovation online to find revenue that goes beyond the blunt approach of either subscription or open access…consumer titles will focus on ways to deliver more audience to print advertisers they want to bring over to the web.”

Danny Rogers on PR: “PR helps organisations create ongoing dialogue with their audiences. The growth of blogs, social networking and Google made this essential if today’s companies, products, governments, celebrities and charities were to impress and thrive. And despite the current recession, this underlying trend remains.”

Jemima Kiss on Digital media: “One of the most powerful technology trends of 2008 was the shift from sites as destinations to open, sharing platforms…Big media needs to start thinking like this…it’s about being resourceful and flexible in order to survive.”

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 ''

Customer shmustomer

Monday, December 1st, 2008 by Jon Clements

And so, it’s nearly over. Barring the handover of some details that will set me free to forge a new life with a new partner, a relationship stretching back nearly 10 years draws to a close. Yes, I’m leaving my mobile phone provider.

But it hasn’t been easy: not because of some peculiar affection for a company which enables people to track me down at any time of night or day. No, it’s literally been the most difficult contractural arrangement to extricate myself from, ever.

Up to now, the service given by this household name has been quite acceptable (they let me make and receive phone calls – hard to mess up if you’re a mobile phone operator). I paid my bills on time by direct debit, so it’s the very least you’d expect. But dare to close your account and be prepared for the full force of corporate inertia to be unleashed.

The minutiae of the case is too painful to recount, but when Tory leader David Cameron referred last week to the Government as “Stalinist”, it suggests that he clearly hasn’t tried to swap his mobile phone number between networks.

After two months of endless phone conversations with an array of chirpy call centre staff promising to phone back with answers, trips to one of the company’s high street branches which bears the same name but might as well be a cheese shop for all the help it’s been, the pain should soon be over.

But anyone who lives within a radius of at least five miles will have heard me talking about this company in a way that would make Gordon Ramsay blush. It’s an old adage about the unhappy customer telling hundreds of people, but the level of customer service displayed sometimes by companies hints that they really don’t care. For all the investment they throw at advertising, PR and clever sponsorship deals, they are undoing it all at the point of delivery. 

Astonishing to note, but there is actually a British Standard Code of Practice for Customer Service, which is clearly being used to prop open doors or support coffee mugs across the nation. Elsewhere there is some pretty comprehensive advice to be had for free on the subject.

With the cost of winning new customers far outstripping that to retain existing ones, it’s curious that nobody yet at the mobile phone company has asked me why I wish to leave or what they could do to make me stay. Maybe they were about to dump me, but just got fed up of being put on hold.  

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 ''