Strategic Public Relations
Focused on public relations strategy within the integrated marketing communications mix.

Friday, August 29, 2003  

Blog Census

Blogcount has some interesting research on the blogosphere. It defines an active posting frequency as eight weeks.

Eight Weeks? This makes me feel better about my posting frequency, but eight weeks is too long.

Posting once to a blog every eight weeks and calling it active is comparable to showing six episodes of a TV show in a season and calling it a series. The medium simply promotes frequent posts.

Regardless, check out Blogcount to learn more than you ever cared to on blog specs.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 12:49:00 PM

Wednesday, August 27, 2003  

Chomping Loafer

A while ago, I ranted about everyone being gaga over Google.

"It's not a verb, merely a search engine!"

Since that time, I have come to realize why everyone is so effusive. So I will officially eat my words and note that I use Google News Alerts, and the Google-owned Blogger to bring you this very blog. I can also define Counter-Googling.

As my final act of penance, I will point you to this USA Today article about our friends at the Googleplex. With 75 percent of all Internet searches taking place on Google, perhaps we should consider making the word a verb.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 8:35:00 AM

Monday, August 25, 2003  

Point, Counterpoint

WIRED is still a good read after being in print for more than a decade. Its latest issue debates PowerPoint. Personally, I prefer Edward Tufte’s take that the presentation software is evil. Musician and artist David Byrne considers it an "artistic agent" and loves using it—for everything BUT presentations.

Byrne’s affinity for .ppt is no surprise. You would like it too if one of your songs was bundled into Microsoft’s XP platform. The Rolling Stones probably dig using Excel to chart investment performance and Madonna surely cannot live without Internet Explorer to stay current on Stateside news.

Trust someone who has committed some of the sins this article details—PowerPoint IS evil. The average presentation file size is reason enough to stop this software (PowerPoint is the best thing that ever happened to Intel). Clicking through slide after slide and simply reading them is brutal for everyone, no matter what is written on them.

Tufte notes PowerPoint "elevates format over content." It certainly can with everything from Word art to slide transitions.

If your presentation is concise, substantive and audience-focused, you are halfway there. Content is king, but my CEO also stresses the need for theatre when presenting. Rather than rely on PowerPoint to engage an audience, the individual must do so. Your timing and energy shows the passion you have for the work you are presenting. Passion is contagious and it will deliver your message.

Remember that you are telling a story. Make it one your audience will want to tell after the presentation.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 12:21:00 AM

Thursday, August 21, 2003  

Plan Early, Plan Often

Good news. U.S. unemployment is the lowest since February 2003 according to Reuters. This news was brought forth quickly by the government to show the blackout did not affect employment stats. Unfortunately, CNN tells us that you are 25 percent more likely to lose your job after Labor Day as companies prepare their 2004 budgets. September budget planning is a topic I have discussed in the past.

Marketing teams should already be reviewing 2003 efforts and results to fuel the most informed 2004 planning possible. You do not want a budget to define strategies.

The CNN stat is a chilling reminder of the need for a buttoned-up, research-fueled plan incorporating success measurements. This allows you to review your accomplishments during the planning process—rather than defend your actions.

In other news, P&G is launching a $100 million marketing campaign to promote its heartburn drug Prilosec. $100 million sounds like a lot, but the stakes are high for companies moving a drug from prescription to over-the-counter. Much in the way prescription drug patents are used to maintain market share, an effective product launch helps do the same.

P&G is infamous for its launches and it will be interesting to observe how ubiquitous the heartburn drug becomes—from Web banners to point of need sampling. Don’t be surprised if you are approached by a Prilosec Procurator when grocery shopping for your Labor Day barbecue. P&G is an expert at pushing your buy button.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 12:40:00 PM

Friday, August 15, 2003  

Pitching Strategy

Steve Outing touts Laura Goldberg's ability to pitch his blog over at Poynter. And while this is a very specific example, there are some overall points here that apply to pitching blogs—and any other media outlet.

Give it time: Clearly Ms. Goldberg has been keeping Mr. Outing posted on B2.0's articles for some time now.

Give it selectively: Rather than taking the "kitchen-sink approach" and pitching Outing on every article in each issue, Goldberg only sent him relevant articles to consider.

Give it specifically: By sending very specific content over time, Goldberg established herself as a source with Outing. It finally paid off.

Bottom line: public relations practitioners are either in denial about blogs, or confused on how to approach them. Rather than blame this on the fact that blogs are a new medium, I point the blame at us.

Public relations practitioners need to continually hone their media relations approach. Let's face it. This is not rocket science—the fundamentals always apply. Between that and a little extra effort, we should be able to do much more than adapt to any new medium. We should be able to capitalize on them.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 10:19:00 AM

Wednesday, August 13, 2003  

The Considered Purchase

One thing differentiating business to business marketing from consumer marketing is a product’s price tag. B to b purchases, like machine tools or enterprise software, usually start in the six-figure range. This is why the average b to b sale involves seven decision makers.

Companies do not make six-figure purchases on a whim. Depending on company size, everyone from the end-user to the CEO weighs in on the decision. This is why b to b marketers call them “considered purchases.”

Consumer goods are a bit cheaper and less risky to buy. A mentor of mine says it best. ”If you buy the wrong tube of toothpaste, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. If you make the wrong considered purchase, you can lose your job.”

And while the price tag might require different marketing approaches, one thing is universal across marketing. Price almost always weighs heavily in the decision.

Right now in the consumer arena, cheaper store-brand products are challenging consumer brands. According to Fortune's recent article, Brand Killers:
“An almost imperceptible tectonic shift has been reshaping the world of brands. Retailers—once the lowly peddlers of brands that were made and marketed by big, important manufacturers—are now behaving like full-fledged marketers.”
It will be interesting to see how the consumer packaged good manufacturers respond.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 4:09:00 PM

Think Global Act Local?

An interesting article from across the pond raises questions around global branding. It's about time.

"Think Global, Act Local" looks great on a t-shirt, but few people really do it in marketing.

I'm not surprised this article came from Europe and not the United States. Europe has surely been the beneficiary of some really bad global brand campaigns that were created in the United States before falling short in local markets.

Take it from someone who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. We are an ethnocentric nation. As a result, we are at a severe disadvantage in creating messages simple enough to be understood internationally while still being compelling and effective.

Which reminds me...does anyone know how to say "lose weight now, ask me how" in Portuguese?

posted by Kevin Dugan | 4:01:00 PM

Thursday, August 07, 2003  

The Rules of Engagement

"Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men."

David Ogilvy was one of the wise ones. His quote brings to mind a more frank observation I once made of someone.

"He knows the rules, but he does not know how to play the game.”

This person spent an inordinate amount of time following exacting procedures. He would not accommodate for unique situations or waver from his observation of the rules. He spent more time documenting why something did not work, than he would have spent merely adjusting his approach to reach his goal. If he had taken David Ogilvy’s quote to heart, he would have accomplished twice as much in half the time.

Do not let the rules stop you from meeting client’s goals. And I am not proposing you break the law, breach ethics or compromise your character and integrity. I am simply saying if you push on a door and it won’t open—give it a pull.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 10:03:00 PM

CEO’s Cuddle up to Brands

A CEO survey conducted by Identity 3.0 finds CEOs spend 34% of their time personally investing in their companies' brands on average. The survey found that 93% of chief executives identified themselves as the company's chief brand steward, and 77% of respondents placed ownership of the brand squarely with the organization and its employees.

Sound too good to be true? It probably is. This news created more questions for me than anything, so I went to Identity 3.0’s site.

My main question—which companies were surveyed? Fortune 500? How big? Which industries?

I’m curious to know which CEOs believe in the brand. How do they define a chief brand steward's role?

As of this post, there is no content supporting this survey. I’d bag on them for this, but they do have a nice piece on measuring the brand. So check it out until we learn more about the CEO research.

Identity 3.0 may make me eat my words. This won't be the first time. A coworker is slowly convincing me that Google is—GASP!—more than a search engine. Baby steps.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 9:41:00 PM