2010 FedEx and Ketchum Social Media Benchmarking Study Highlights

FedEx and Ketchum Pleon Change recently partnered on a benchmarking study with 62 leading brands, including PepsiCo, GE, and Procter & Gamble, to answer the social media questions that keep many of our clients up at night: 

How do we leverage social media to drive internal culture, brand performance and reputation management?
What is the appropriate budget allocation to support social media programming?
How do we adapt internal structures to develop and roll out social media strategies?
What is the best way to measure the ROI of social media spending?

Continue Reading

I Can Haz Conference?

I Can Haz Conference?

For the past few years, nearly every corner of the marketing world has spent countless hours and resources trying to figure out how to best use social and digital media to help brands achieve their business and communications goals. Many of these conversations revolve around self-proclaimed “social media experts,” and almost all of them focus on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and the other popular apps that are part of the World Wide Web.

Continue Reading

Those Chilean Miners. . .

Several weeks have passed now since the dramatic rescue of the 33 Chilean miners, and many of us continue to ponder the spectacle we just witnessed. One of the miners became a huge celebrity in the U.S. (appearing on Letterman and at the New York Stock Exchange and the New York Marathon), and several movies about the rescue are already being made. But beyond observing the reach and power of today’s media to focus attention on a disaster, what are the bigger lessons we should take away from this event?

Andres Saiz Kafack, CEO of Ketchum’s affiliate in Chile, ASK Comunicaciones, recently offered these perspectives:”The rescue of 33 miners trapped in the San José mine captivated the interest of the world, as it involved one of the more complicated rescues in mining. Altogether, there were 69 days of uncertainty, a time when Chileans put aside their political and religious differences to come together as one to support the safe ending of an accident that shocked the country.This successful rescue showed the world the most important values of Chileans: calmness, professionalism and hope. Though fate may deal a blow to their country, joining together, they can overcome adversity. This accident occurred the same year as the devastating earthquake in February that rocked Chile, events that have marred the celebration of Chile’s bicentennial this year. In the end, the success of the rescue, with 33 miners brought out alive, has strengthened the spirit of the Chile as few could have expected and offered a number of lessons so that never again in Chile or abroad will this type of accident be repeated.”

Continue Reading

Big Personality Newscasters and Partisan News Sites Are Fragmenting Our World

Big Personality Newscasters and Partisan News Sites Are Fragmenting Our World

Welcome to our brave new future: the only broadcast news we’ll get is from people with big egos, who are their own semi-celebrity brand and who tell us news with their personal slant, and the only journalist news we’ll get is from partisan news sites that are promoting their views of the world.This view of the future emerged from a panel discussion recently at a Ketchum Global Media Network conference. Well-known journalists were interacting with Ketchum’s media experts about the future of media. It’s pretty clear this is how things are headed generally, although the trend varies in different countries around the world. For sure, it is the current trend at present in North America.

Continue Reading

If You Haven't Checked into Foursquare, Now's the Time . . .

If You Haven't Checked into Foursquare, Now's the Time . . .

Foursquare, the mobile application that lets you check in to real locations to unlock virtual badges and real-world incentives and discounts, hit four million users recently.  What’s important to note is Foursquare went from three million users to four million in 50 days according to GigaOm. It took them about a year to hit the first million. Foursquare, like Twitter and Facebook before it, is seeing “a network effect — the more people sign up, the faster it grows,” says GigaOm.  The numbers get even better. According to Mashable, “Foursquare is now adding close to 20,000 users per day, up significantly from the estimated 15,500 per day rate near the time the startup hit three million members.” Count among their newest members astronaut Douglas Wheelock, who unlocked the NASA Explorer badge a few weeks ago when he checked in from the space station. That’s right: IN SPACE.What could some of the reasons be for the colossal membership growth?

Continue Reading

What's Old With New Business

What's Old With New Business

New business proposals can be one of the most difficult challenges in public relations writing. Not only can they involve synthesizing complex communications strategies and brainstorming knock-‘em-dead ideas under short timelines, they also can involve multiple colleagues with diverse writing styles influenced by different education and experience as well as age and geography. In my role as editor, I’m often asked to proof proposals, and I frequently come across the same grammar and style inconsistencies and errors that reflect the special challenges of new business situations. Below I’ve listed five of the most common problems that I see. Mistakes in new business materials can be embarrassing and detrimental to business — especially from people whose profession is writing and communicating. PR pros should always take care to get as many details right as they can. How many of these do you come across in your new business efforts? 1. Would you or will you?When describing a proposed course of action, you can use the conditional verb tense (would) or the future tense (will): Our team will start by developing an influencer program to identify the leading players in this space who can best disseminate Company XYZ’s message. The conditional tense is less assuming while the future tense expresses stronger intent, but either is OK. However, it’s easy to inadvertently jump back and forth between these two tenses and create a sloppy-reading document. Remember to keep this verb choice consistent. 

Continue Reading

Stop Trying to Learn from the Experts in Social Media – to Learn You Have to Plunge In

Stop Trying to Learn from the Experts in Social Media – to Learn You Have to Plunge In

Ross Dawson, an expert in global social media, presenting at Ketchum’s Global Media Network conference in New York recently, started his presentation with the statement “There is no worked-out wisdom about social media that I have and can give you as the final answer. This is all so new, it is still being worked out – no one knows exactly where it is going and how it will all turn out.” With this statement, he had immediate credibility! He made a clear point – that the only way to learn about social media is to participate in it and learn iteratively through your own experience. Just plunge in.

Continue Reading

B2B Social Media – Plus Ca Change?

Earlier this month on a balmy autumn morning, Ketchum Pleon had the pleasure of hosting a PRmoment conference on Social Media in B2B Communications. Adding to the resulting posts from Ben at PRmoment and others, I thought I’d share some personal reflections on what really stood out from the event and some quick research we did off the back of it.I was always a fan as a kid of join the dots, so can you see what picture emerges when you connect the conclusions below that emerged from the conference?

With social media in a B2B context, the critical starting point must be clarity of objectives – essentially “Why are we doing this?”
Armed with this clarity, preparation, planning and patience are everything.
Content is king, but it needs to be something at least close to creative content and must be constantly refreshed.
Immediacy, relevance and agility are critical to success – don’t bother if you’re not prepared to try to be fleet of foot.
Organisations of all kinds are purposefully deploying a diverse mix of tools – blogs, video content, multiple Twitter streams, Facebook pages – but the integration of those tools is key.
In the same vein, the consistency of social media activity with an organisation’s overall brand and cultural values is crucial.
Senior engagement and buy-in – based on ability to prove business value – are essential.
Social media is all about dialogue based on active listening, not about monologue – “The herd will be heard,” to quote one great line originally coined by Bob Garfield.
Any B2B social media strategy will be doomed to failure unless is draws on a true, properly researched understanding of your audiences and their sentiment towards you.
The technology involved is almost incidental – it’s about how you use it based on your needs and objectives.

Can you see what it is yet? Personally, I think that the conclusion smacks you between the eyes. None of this is new. These are the fundamental principles and challenges that we as communicators face every day of our lives. The only difference is that a new set of channels have emerged that have changed the nature of debates around PR. Plus ca change, it seems.I’d like to think that the calm that might stem from this conclusion explains why 78% of the respondents in a snap poll we did after the event acknowledged that their total investment in social media is “barely a whisker.” That may be a little clement, however, with fear, scepticism or late adoption probably accounting for a fair proportion of this total. I say this, because 65% of respondents also claimed they were “going shopping” and increasing their investment in social media in 2011. Demonstrating ROI and securing internal buy-in were cited as the biggest communication challenges for 2011, while 60% of the respondents claiming “engaging audiences” and “changing their perceptions” were bigger challenges than simply reaching them.So as we enter 2011, the B2B community appears to be waking up to the power and importance of social media. Excellent news, of course, but in doing so, they could do worse than remember that while the game appears to have changed, the rules may not be as different as they look at first sight.

Continue Reading

How Facebook's New "Mobile, Social, Local" Strategy Could Make Retail Marketers' Dreams Come True

How Facebook's New "Mobile, Social, Local" Strategy Could Make Retail Marketers' Dreams Come True

What Was Announced?

Facebook made three recent announcements (Nov. 3), including:

Find Deals — Lets retailers offer rewards to Facebook users.
Location Information via Places — Facebook’s answer to Foursquare is a check-in feature that lets users announce their location as a status update and tag friends. (One big difference from Foursquare is that Facebook has about 800 times the number of users as Foursquare, and so a brand’s deal will reach many more eyeballs via Facebook’s Places). 
Single Sign-On — Lets developers use Facebook credentials to authenticate users, making it easier to log in to other applications on your mobile phone. This is a sheer mobile ease-of-use feature.

What’s in It for Businesses?Facebook’s new mobile functionality could make the world’s best-known social network into a much more attractive marketing tool for retail businesses, as the new features enable Facebook campaigns to move beyond brand-building, awareness and advocacy, and focus more on driving store traffic and sales.

Continue Reading

Who Blogs on Corporate Blogs?

Since we launched the Ketchum Blog (the one you’re reading now) in June, I’ve seen a lot of great submissions and comments from contributors around the globe on a wide range of subjects, ranging from professional to personal. By my rough count, we’ve already got more than 60 posts from over 30 contributors. And based on the site’s analytics, which has measured an average of more than 40 visits a day with an average time spent for each visit of over two and a half minutes, it seems that we’re starting to get some good traffic to the site as well.Not too shabby out of the gate, I’d say.At the same time, with somewhere around 2,000 employees worldwide — most of whom, as PR pros, are strong writers and gregarious people — we’re looking at what might seem like a pretty low participation rate, with about 1.5% of employees contributing. Of course, that’s hardly surprising, given that the blog is relatively new, people are busy tending to their day jobs, and many of us already actively post content in other places on the Web, from our own blogs to the social networking sites. Still, it’s made me wonder about the psychology of employees participating in their company’s blog.

Continue Reading