Social Cred Scorecard

Here (below) is my response to the “Big Agency Social Cred Scorecard” that Peter Himler has started to develop over at The Flack, his thoughtful blog about digital PR. In it, Peter lists some social media stats (number of followers on Twitter, for example) for people in digital leadership positions at some of the big PR firms, Ketchum included.

On a related note, I notice that Peter doesn’t count contributions to agency blogs, such as this one, as a meaningful part of our social graphs. Perhaps he might be persuaded to include them in round two.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I would have simply posted my response in the comment box below Peter’s blog entry, but it was rejected by the Blogger platform for being too long. Instead, I will comment there with a bitly link back to this post here on the Ketchum Blog.

In any case, I encourage you to take a look at Peter’s post, read my reply, and weigh in with your perspective.

MY RESPONSE:

Hey Peter,

I get the meme, and like you, I feel the weight of the emphasis so many around us place on quantity — whether that’s the number of site visits, fans, friends, followers, tweets, or even impressions or column inches, among other data points. Quantitative measures are no doubt a part of the equation – and an important part, at that. (I’m not sure how my 879 Facebook friends factor in, but FWIW, you can feel free to add them to my scorecard.) The beauty of the digital era is that we have access to just about any data point we could possibly want. It’s a quant jock’s paradise!

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The Social Media Space: Advertising vs. PR

I posted the letter below in response to an Oct. 13, 2010, Ad Age article by Tom Martin titled “Why Ad Agencies Should Own Social Media.” If you’ve got a point of view on this topic, please join the conversation by commenting at the end of this blog post. We’d like to hear from you. Thanks!

Without a doubt, expanding bandwidth and the socialization of the Web have forced a blurring of the lines between the established marketing disciplines. That, together with the ongoing demise of traditional media outlets, has compelled ad agencies to re-focus their disruptive creativity on the Web’s free and shared spaces – social media. At the same time, PR pros are strategically complementing earned approaches to online engagement with paid, online search and display ads. Digital has caused us to reconsider all the old assumptions about who does what, and it’s got everyone lathered up in a frenzied land grab.

As an optimist, I’ll bet there’s enough work, talent and energy out there for everyone to get a slice of the ever-expanding pie. I doubt any single communications discipline will ever be able to claim outright, exclusive ownership of the social space. But for either PR or advertising to be successful in social media, it’s going to have to learn a thing or two from the other.

Advertising has the corner on creativity. But — Old Spice notwithstanding — it still has to figure out how to shift from a one-way broadcast to a two-way or multi-party conversation. It’s got to learn how to seamlessly, unobtrusively seep into an existing dialogue. And it needs to bring down the high cost and time of production if it’s going to compete.

Public relations has the relationship and relevance parts nailed. And it’s got a head start in influencer marketing from years of pitching reporters to retell their clients’ stories. But PR needs to borrow the best creative, disruptive talents from advertising if it’s going to get its clients’ messages heard above the online din. And it needs to more rapidly make the leap from words to images. In a world of hyperlinks and microblogs, text is shrinking and visual storytelling is king.

It’s doubtful that any single discipline will own social media. Good ideas can come from anywhere these days. Besides, the social Web belongs to the people, right? But agencies – PR and advertising, alike — will fail if they don’t quickly adopt a more nimble, responsive, audience-centered approach, in step with the new ways people consume content and engage online.

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Hold On a Minute There Budding Filmmakers . . .

Hold On a Minute There Budding Filmmakers . . .

I could throw amazing stats at you about how many YouTube videos are consumed every day. Or how many TV shows are watched on Hulu, via iTunes, etc. And on the PR/advertising/marketing side, I could talk about the insane numbers surrounding the Old Spice commercials, YouTube videos, etc.  But guess what? Most people have short attention spans when it comes to Web videos and aren’t watching as much as you might think they are.

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Does Health = Wealth?

Does Health = Wealth?

This was the overarching question recently put to an advisory board serving the World Economic Forum – the Swiss-based organization behind the high-octane annual conference in Davos, with an ambition of nothing less than improving the state of the world.   I’ve had the privilege of representing Ketchum on this board for a few years now, and it now includes experts from the worlds of business (e.g., Accenture, Dell, and Beckton –Dickinson), academia (Harvard School of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), and international organizations interested in global health (Gates Foundation, World Bank, and World Health Organization) among others.

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Facebook Groups and New Privacy Features

Facebook Groups and New Privacy Features

What was announced? Facebook made three announcements this past Wednesday, but one of them was more important than the others by leaps and bounds. The latest game changer is the launch of a revised version of Facebook “Groups”. Facebook Groups allows you to build a space for important groups of people in your life – and share information with only them. You can now interact amongst your various groups of friends – family, work, clients, fantasy football league – and keep the conversation focused on the topics that group usually talks about. The new Facebook Groups will also allow you to post photos, chat with members, and use the group to send targeted e-mails. By default, all groups are closed (searchable but the group administrator needs to approve all members), but you can choose to make them secret (non-searchable) as well as open (fully public / anyone can freely join).

What are the business and client opportunities?

The fringe benefit of Facebook Groups is that it strengthens Facebook as a business platform. Facebook Groups now provides companies and organizations with the ability to facilitate the sharing of information with groups of individuals both internally and externally.

Mark Zuckerberg said yesterday: “‘For brands, we have Pages.” He added, “Going forward, there is nothing stopping them [brands] from making a group,” but, “Pages are much better for you to build a massive open ended community.” However, you will see companies create private, customer only groups, and use the platform as a way to share information with this group. This tool will also surely be used by companies as a way to privately share information internally.

A handful of concepts come to mind on how Groups can be leveraged for our clients and business:

Customer Loyalty Groups – Create a private Group for your most loyal brand advocates; i.e. Customer Loyalty Groups. Empower your brand advocates to meet each other and share information and opinion about your brand in a setting controlled by the brand. By doing this, brands can create an enhanced sense of community as well as a forum for idea generation and sharing amongst customers that are most familiar with their brand.Customer Focus Groups & Feedback – Leverage Groups for obtaining feedback when a brand is launching a new product or service by creating a closed customer Facebook Group and inviting loyal customers to share their feedback. Loyal customers will be see that the brand takes their feedback and ideas very seriously.Employee Community / Intranet Enhancement – Empower employees to share information within a company by creating a private Group. Companies as a whole, departments and internal committees can all create a Group that focuses on their particular agenda. Other services like Yammer and Chatter offer these services but since Facebook has such a massive user base, the employee will likely not have to sign-up to a new service. Furthermore, this group can be utilized as an enhancement to a company’s Intranet to keep employees in the loop on company information. Your employees may not remember to visit your Intranet every day, but a well-placed, well-timed update to the Facebook Group can be sufficient to win awareness. Internal Customer Service Group – A Group dedicated to logging customer service issues could assist in making sure that any issues that arise from Facebook be posted within the group. This way, the issues can be logged for follow up and will keep managers in the loop; making sure all issues are dealt with. This concept would also provide a rich archive of past issues that can be updated regularly to track recurring issues.Live Chat – As part of the Groups launch, Facebook is also now offering chat functionality that could make for opportunities to instantly crowdsource opinion from consumers as well as brainstorm with employees from branches across the world. No matter the use, chats will create further engagement within Facebook itself.

Facebook Groups can be created by going here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/

Facebook’s other announcements from Wednesday, 10/6:

Download Your Profile’s Data – You can now quickly download to your computer everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook and all your correspondences with friends: your messages, Wall posts, photos, status updates and profile information. This feature offers the ability to back-up and have a record of the entire life you’ve shared online.

Access Hub to How Applications Access Your Personal Data – Facebook launched a new dashboard to give you visibility into how applications use your data to personalize your experience. In your Facebook privacy settings, you will have a single view of all the applications you’ve authorized, and you’ll be able to change the settings for an application to make less information available to it, or you can even remove it completely.

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Content is King—And AOL Just Bought a Kingmaker

Content is King—And AOL Just Bought a Kingmaker

When GigaOm first reported the rumors earlier this week that AOL was buying TechCrunch, I thought for sure it couldn’t be true. While AOL owns a number of blogs like Engadget (tech) and Joystiq (video games) already, I just couldn’t wrap my head around why Michael Arrington, the owner, would sell.

“The truth is I was tired. But I wasn’t tired of writing, or speaking at events. I was tired of our endless tech problems, our inability to find enough talented engineers who wanted to work, ultimately, on blog and CrunchBase software.” – Michael Arrington, on why he sold.

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A Scots App Tae Ye

The last time I laughed at something in the Financial Times was . . . well, it probably goes back to those giddy days before the global financial crisis smackdown.   But that was my reaction to Lucy Kellaway’s brilliant “Business Life” column last week, in which she cited Apple as a brand that understands language can be “beautiful and easy to use. Words can be fun to read. They can look elegant. They can make you laugh.”  Case in point — the set of guidelines for apps sold at its App Store. Instead of endless pages of legalese in two-point type, Apple’s language is, as Kellaway put it, “funny, clear” and something anyone can read “effortlessly.”   There’s a lesson here.

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The Culturalist

The Culturalist

The Scoop: www.nytimes.com/thescoop/, the New York Times’ “Inside Guide” to NYC, and a nifty iPhone app, has just introduced “The Filter,” a column by Oliver Strand that shines a spotlight on notable coffee shops and cafes. Additionally, a new Home Furnishing section of the The Scoop features home shopping recommendations from Times reporters and editors. For the Culturalist’s unique take on food, fashion, technology and entertainment, check out these highlights, lowlights and headlights: www.ketchum.com/Culturalist_issue_68.

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Minds on Fire

Minds on Fire

Days when my synapses have decided to fire on all cylinders are the happy, creatively productive days, while “synapses on strike” days leave me feeling desperate and drained. The solution, I’m convinced, is the increasingly popular open innovation sites that give creative people a safe haven to kick-start those neurons.   That’s why my agency, Ketchum, just launched its own crowdsourcing site we named Mindfire (following a crowdsourcing competition to name it, in full disclosure). We wanted to create a mutually rewarding, low-pressure, high-octane online environment where enthusiastic and imaginative university students could congregate to help us come up with great ideas. We’re offering them some rewards for participating, and treating every challenge as a little competition.  

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Twitter Upgrades Its Nest

Twitter just announced it’s making a major overhaul to its user interface, which it will roll out over the next few weeks. The most important change is that multimedia will be integrated into users’ streams on Twitter.com so they can view images, links, videos, and more directly on Twitter.com. You can take a look at how this is going to work in this video released by Twitter to illustrate the changes:        Why is Twitter making this change?Twitter wants users to stay on Twitter.com so they don’t leave the site whenever they click on a link. If people spend more time on Twitter.com, the site can offer a better value proposition to advertisers as they continue to develop their monetization model. Facebook handles linked content in a very similar manner, but the typical user spends 32 minutes per day on Facebook, versus eight minutes on Twitter’s site. By taking steps to close that gap, Twitter will stand a better chance of catching up to the recognized social media juggernaut.

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