Category Archives: ROI

Politics in Search Results

I recently came upon a blog article from the New York Times, that discusses a new digital campaign technique being utilized by the campaign for Republican presidential hopeful, Herman Cain.

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After the recent sexual harassment scandal involving Herman Cain, his campaign team used a new way of drawing bad press away from the Republican candidate. The Cain campaign purchased ad space from Google to help dispel the allegations.

Screenshot taken of Google search

Just by searching for “herman cain” or “herman cain scandal”, a Google user is greeted by two sponsored websites in support of Herman Cain. This is an interesting and good strategic move by the Cain campaign. It’s easy to tell that the links are provided by the Cain campaign, but it accomplishes its task by planting an opposing idea in your head. This article also brings up a good point on how our news is being dispersed.

Political campaigns, and business campaigns to a certain extent, no longer have to go through the typical channels of media to access the public. Typically, a candidate when faced with accusations such as these, would have to make a  public appearance to dispel the rumors and the allegations. With the advent of social media and the internet; multiple channels have opened for a candidate can express his or her opinions on.

The New York Times blog also details Cain’s campaign team utilizing Twitter to reach the public. By searching for Herman Cain on Twitter, members are directed to a tweet from Herman Cain that references a Washington Post article detailing Cain’s response to the harassment allegations.

By utilizing social media, politicians have opened up new ground to spread their message. Many believe Barack Obama’s popularity in his presidential campaign was due to the extensive use of social media; specifically Facebook. The interesting thing about this story is that many companies aren’t quite sure yet how social media fits into their business plan. Political campaigns though, appear to have discovered an excellent way of utilizing social media.


Three Essential Research Steps for a Public Relations Campaign

I recently conducted research for one of my PR classes, and it made me think about my future in the public relations field. The question asked was, “What are the key elements of a research campaign?” I thought it would be a simple question, but I  stopped to think about how I would do this in a real setting.

The key elements of a research program for a public relations campaign are the examination of the client, examination of the stakeholder and problem opportunity research.

1. Examination of Client

Client research, according to “Public Relations: A Values-Driven Approach”, should be focused on “discovering an organization’s size; the nature of the products or services it offers; and its history, staffing requirements, market and customers, budget legal environment, reputation and beliefs about the issue in question.” Extensive  research is necessary to ensure a public relations campaign aligns with the client’s strengths and reputation. In my opinion, the more a public relations practitioner knows about their client, the better the campaign will be and crisis events will dramatically decrease.

2. Examination of Stakeholder

Stakeholder research concentrates on any public’s who are important to the success of the client. This is an important step because many public relations campaigns have been discredited due to poor examination of their stakeholders. An example of this is the Nestle baby food controversy, which occurred in the 1970’s. Many children in non-English speaking countries were given Nestle baby formula by their parents, who were not able to read the instructions properly and were unintentionally providing inadequate nutrition to their children. The lack of stakeholder research for non-English speaking countries, in relation to Nestle, has made the organization suffer from negative publicity in the present day.

3. Problem-Opportunity Research

Problem-opportunity research focuses on what stake does the client’s organization have on a particular issue. It essentially looks for the reason that a client should act or react in a certain scenario. Its like if an animal spots a predator. It has to decide whether the best course of action is to run, fight, or do nothing in hopes the predator will allow the animal to go unnoticed. An organization examines its course of action in a similar way, by determining what it stands to lose or gain by participating on an issue.

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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Public Relations, ROI


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Monsters, MySpace, and Viral Movie Campaigns

With the advent of social media, movie marketing campaigns have become even larger and creative than before. It used to be enough to interview the actors on late night shows and release film trailers to the public to increase buzz about a film. Marketers are now having to find new, innovative ways to draw attention to blockbuster movies. The most interesting trend, I’ve noticed in recent years, is the viral movie marketing campaign. Many films have made worthy attempts into the field,such as “The Dark Knight”, but I don’t think any have perfected the art.

The best viral marketing campaign, I’ve seen done so far, is for the film “Cloverfield”. “Cloverfield” is a 2008 monster movie, produced by J.J. Abrams. The film had one of the best marketing campaigns in my opinion, because it was built upon mystery and seeking out clues. When the trailer was first released, no one knew what to expect.

The original movie website at the time even made for an eerie viewing.

Then, slowly, more details started to come out about the plot of the film. Fake websites were made for organizations featured in the film and even fake MySpace profiles for the main characters. The use of MySpace was great because the actors involved with the film were relatively unknown at the time, therefore, it gave a feeling of realism. Their profiles are still up if you want to check them out.

This marketing campaign was fantastic because it stimulated people to actively seek out more information about the film. My favorite part about this film was two people could watch it and come out with two different experiences about what they watched. If someone participated online, the story had even more twists and turns than it did for the average moviegoer. The use of social media and websites became as important to the story as the film was.


Review of Audacity

After the presentation in my social media class on podcasts, I decided to download the program Audacity to see if I could teach myself a few things with the audio editing program. I’ve used the video-editing program, Final Cut Pro, in the past, so I assumed the learning curve for using an audio-editing program wouldn’t be too dreadfully steep.

The installation process is easy, along with knowing how to access the different areas of the program. I read through the FAQ on the Audacity website to get a grasp on what exactly the entire system is. At first glance, the system reminds me of the other freeware program Gimp. Gimp is a photo-editing tool, similar to Photoshop, that is unique for offering an intricate program that rivals high dollar photo programs. Audacity strikes me as having that same high quality at no cost.

A simple Google search for Audacity tutorials provided me with a great how-to video on Audacity for recording podcasts. My MacBook has also made a recording setup easy, as it already features a built-in microphone. Here is an example of what the main screen looks like after I uploaded an MP3 file from my iTunes.

After fiddling around for an hour or so, I found the system easy to use. I can’t do any complex tasks yet, but tasks, such as cutting audio files and restructuring, are simple to learn. Using Audacity is much easier to learn than using Final Cut Pro, simply because I don’t have to make sure the audio syncs with any other data information.  I would include an example of my audio work, but I don’t think my skills are good enough yet for it to be worth anyone’s time to listen. For anyone looking for more information on the tutorial, I would examine this website and download the Audacity program. I highly recommend at least giving the program a try. It costs nothing, is easy to learn and you will learn a beneficial skill to add to your public relations toolbox.

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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Blog, News, Public Relations, ROI


Offering Value to the Customer

Offering value to the customer, through social media, is of the utmost importance in today’s fast click society. Brian Solis discussed an interesting topic in his latest blog post related to the subject. I touched on a similar topic in my previous blog post, which discussed that people should question why they use certain social media technology. In his post, Brian discusses an idea called social “stream fatigue”. The idea is if a company or organization posts on social media networks consistently without offering value, people will stop listening or unfollow them on their social media account. I completely agree with this consensus. Many times on my Facebook account, I’ve found organizations that I follow, don’t offer a good reason for me to continue to subscribe to their page. Or their posts are so infrequent; I often forget I was following them in the first place.

The big question now is: how does an organization engage its audience, while offering value? A suggestion, offered by Solis, is that organizations simply ask consumers what they would like to see.  This could be done through surveys or by simply posing the question on the respective organizations Facebook page.

After I read Solis’s article, I looked around on Facebook to find an organization that does a good job offering value to the customer using social media. I’ve noticed clothing companies do very well with offering value to their customers, especially on Facebook. They do so by offering sales promotions and giveaways through their social media networks.  I understand not every organization can follow the same business model, but I do think it provides a good example of how to use social media. I specifically looked at Lands’ End Canvas Facebook account and found they have a fantastic system of providing customer interaction.

A unique customer service they employ is hand-written thank-you letters to customers for Internet purchases.

Lands’ End Canvas shows a great approach, in my opinion, of how to generate awareness and maintain a loyal customer base through social media. They also avoid overexposure to their audience by only posting information once a day. As marketing and public relations activities move into the online world, companies will have to adapt to prove themselves to their customers. It’s not enough to simply have an online presence. Organizations have to make it worthwhile to visit their online persona.