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

Wednesday, December 31, 2003  

More to the Point

David Byrne may be the best thing that ever happened to Power Point. Case in point: CNN updates us on Byrne’s use of Power Point to create modern art (emphasis on modern).

We first learned of this back in August from Wired magazine’s point/counterpoint.

When CNN wonders if Power Point makes us stupid. Google’s Peter Norvig notes that people, not Power Point decks, drain the life from a meeting. I agree, but still offer up B 2.0’s helpful tips on how to make 2004 more Power Point friendly.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 11:34:00 AM

Round out the Old, Round up the New

It gets pretty quiet in between Christmas and New Years…even in the media. At year’s end, we see a lot of roundup stories. From the "best of the year" to the "year in review," it is interesting to look at a year's worth of news and comment. Not to mention, it makes wrapping up a year's worth of work easier in an otherwise slow news period.

In the trades, on the other hand, we see supplier listings. Supplier listings are editorial-free, advertising-driven phone books that no one really references in the coming year—despite what the ad reps might tell you.

But I digress. This year’s roundup stories are mostly product-related. This is a boom and a bust for public relations folk, depending on who you are.

Boom: Ad Age singles out the top ten product launches of 2003.

Bust: Fortune singles out 2003’s best technology, as well as a product of the year (which is also tech-related). But Fortune then goes on to name the worst technology of 2003?! eek. This helps show that all publicity is not good publicity.

It is a shame Fortune singles out Diebold's paperless voting considering the impetus for creating this technology was more intense than a million hanging chad bonfires. But this article is unfortunately the calm before the storm for Diebold. After this article ran, USA Today reported on some security flaws with the paperless voting system.

Self-Policing roundups of note: LA Times journo, David Shaw, conducts a review of his industry. And Tom Murphy at PR Opinions has created a comprehensive public relations year in review.

This rounds out your roundup of, uh, roundups? Enjoy.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 9:38:00 AM

Monday, December 22, 2003  

Holiday Miscellany

As the holiday winds down, so does the traffic at work-related sites. Posting here will continue through end of year, but it will be spotty. It is my hope that you are all so deeply engaged in your own "Rockwellian" Holiday that you have no time for the Internet—much less sites like this one.

Santa Strategy: Larry King will be chatting with Martha tonight about her "saddest holiday ever." Stewart is pulling on holiday heartstrings so people will characterize her as a normal person. But she goes a step too far in my opinion. This from CNN:
Though she grew up in a modest household in New Jersey, the daughter of a schoolteacher and a pharmaceutical salesman, Stewart said her subsequent wealth has not changed her much.

"My priorities have kind of remained the same. And other than having a few more luxuries than I might have had, my life is the same.
A few more luxuries? You rang the bell on the NYSE when you took your company public. If anything, you are doing yourself a disservice by saying nothing has changed since you grew up in the middle class, hard-working world. Fine, your hard work ethic has not changed, but your life? One look at your sprawling country estate says different.

Bookish on Blogs: This playful piece from blogger on getting a book deal out of your blog is interesting. So-called star Wil Wheaton did it, why not you?

I'll tell you why. This idea further inflates the egos of A-List bloggers and puts delusions of grandeur into the heads of the B-, C- and D-Lists. It is not surprising to see this as Blogs are an extension of the publishing world. We'll probably even see some public relations tomes evolve from this section of the blogosphere. For those of you that are Accredited in Public Relations with the Public Relations Society of America, you can actually maintain your accreditation by authoring a blog. Check with national. It is a fact. But even so, does your content merit a book?

Happy Holidays.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 7:04:00 AM

Wednesday, December 17, 2003  

Movie Marketing

Movies provide us with an endless supply of word-of-mouth and viral marketing best practices. You've all noticed movie theatres pushing the preview profitability envelope. The slide show ads start even before the previews and now the previews include everything from public service announcements to plain old ads. Surfing past "Cat in the Hat" banner ads, plush toys and cleaning supply promotions, this post is about Spiderman 2 promotions.

The savvy promoters at Sony are using blogs to promote the movie. The movie does not hit theatres until July 2004, but you can already read the production assistant's blog, check out 360 degree pics of the production set, see the usual teaser trailers, and download blogger templates to turn your blog into a Spiderman ad.

Templates bypass the promotional pitch taboo and bloggers' ad-posting aversion. The Spiderman templates let people show their affinity for all things Web (groan) while subtly promoting the flick—more than a simple screen saver or wallpaper download.

Leave it to a property with comic book roots to take advantage of blogs in a completely visual fashion. We've always focused on promoting ourselves in blogs through plain old text.

Now you can go back to your Lord of the Rings marathon, complete with useless comparisons.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 7:51:00 AM

Tuesday, December 16, 2003  

Seth Godin on Blogs and RSS

Per usual, Seth Godin encapsulates a hot topic into quick quotes. The author of Purple Cow was asked in this Reveries interview if Blogs were a fad.
The 'hey let me tell you about the flowers in my garden' model of blogging is not long for this world. I do believe, however, especially when you start adding RSS to the equation, that you can use a blog to engage large numbers of people in conversations that may not have the impact of permission marketing, but don't have the annoyance of interruption marketing.

You can say to people: Look, I'm not going to show up in your e-mail box every two days with something that you may not want to hear about. But what I will do is create an ongoing monologue that's focused on you. Whenever you believe it's appropriate to take some time catching up, this is a good, cheap way for both parties to have that interaction.

When you add an RSS feed to it, people can have a little aggregator in their windows where they can stay current with the information they want, whether it's brands or writers or journalists. They can create their own private channels.
Speaking of channels, remember when they said the Internet was the next CB Radio?

"10-4 Good Buddy."

posted by Kevin Dugan | 2:11:00 PM

Tuesday, December 09, 2003  

World-Class Marketing

Ah, there’s an oft overused phrase for you—world-class marketing. I’ll note that world class’ initials also stand for waste can, water closet…you get the idea.

World-class marketing sounds great, but what does it mean?

CNN takes a stab at defining it in their annual Global Influentials special section. Selling to the World covers the obvious need to customize marketing strategies based on local lifestyles, cultural differences and more. One of my favorite passages notes why companies usually fail at doing this:
Arrogance or ignorance can foil a company's bid for global success, especially those who fail to understand what worked in the past, or in its home country, might not work everywhere.

"The issue is knowing what your product stands for, while being flexible in terms of what the local culture can accept," said Peggy Mitchell-King, a senior consultant with Morgan Anderson. "You may have to step back and say, gee, we are not the center of the Earth."
The key is having a well-defined brand and the willingness to customize your marketing strategies—and sometimes the product itself—to fit the location. How well defined is your brand?

It reminds me of an idea from veteran marketer Jim Taylor on product positioning—"instead of a product differentiation, focus on a product's point of distinction. Customers will make the safest bet and buy the product with the least amount of risk. Rather than make your product appear different—read: an unknown quantity—make it stand out from its field of competitors. Make it the best at what it does."

You might say, make it world-class? Or perhaps industry-leading? Insert your favorite buzzword here.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 12:38:00 PM

Monday, December 08, 2003  

Blog Police

To help curtail the rampant blogosphere navel-gazing, I offer the following articles.

Bill Thompson brings up some excellent points in Blog eats blog.
"...any group with influence needs people outside that group who will criticise it. In the real world of politics and society, journalists do that - proper journalists who know what having principles means, who aim for objectivity while accepting that it is unattainable, and who are open about who pays them and who they work with. [snip] Yet the blogeoisie and their acolytes dismiss 'journalism' and those who practice it, arguing that the direct reporting of events is the only thing needed. As Dave Winer says: 'The typical news article consists of quotes from interviews and a little bit of connective stuff and some facts, or whatever. Mostly it's quotes from people. If I can get the quotes with no middleman in between - what exactly did CNN add to all the pictures?'

This isn't about not liking blogs. It's about not liking unaccountable concentrations of influence, about believing it is still true that 'the first duty of the press is to obtain the earliest and most correct intelligence of events of the time and instantly, by disclosing them, to make them the common property of the nation' - and about noting that 'most correct' does not mean 'what the blog says'. What is happening…in the world of the bloggers, needs to be reported and commented on by those who haven't bought into the worldview. Sadly, this does not seem to be an acceptable activity."
Part of our inflated self-importance comes from the free ride we are taking with Google. The next article, How bloggers game Google, has a conspiracy-theory tone to it, but I guarantee you that my traffic has been boosted by high Google page rankings. This is depressing considering my traffic. However, I do not think this phenomena has anything to do with Google owning Blogger. Google’s algorithms were already kind to Weblogs before the purchase.

These articles were written in May and April, respectively, and I just found them. This is noted as more evidence that I too commit blogging sins.

Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to create content that has substance, structure and meaning.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 10:40:00 AM

Thursday, December 04, 2003  

Celebs, the Web and Public Relations

Marketing Wonk points us to a great article at Online Journalism Review on how Martha, Michael and others are using the Web as a spokesperson. OJR expands on the topic and offers additional insight into how the tactic blends legal and public relations strategies.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 12:28:00 AM

Tuesday, December 02, 2003  

Change is Afoot

If you're reading this, Blogger is back up. The service outage is a sure sign that Strategic Public Relations needs to move. So I have signed up with a new blog hosting service to upgrade and offer you an RSS feed.

Once the new house is in order, I will unveil the new address so you can update bookmarks, edit links and subscribe to my feed as you see fit. Until then, keep your browser pointed here.

Strategic Drift Begets a Blog

I'm also creating a sister blog for all of my Martha Stewart public relations content. The Stewart thread was taking on a life of its own and impacting Strategic PR's focus. So I have two new blogs I am working on. Both should debut prior to the Martha Stewart trial beginning on January 12. There is nothing quite like a deadline to motivate.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 11:03:00 AM