Saturday, October 31, 2009


(October 26, 2009) ESSENCE magazine received special industry recognition recently as a magazine that reaches beyond the printed page to build a future as a finely-honed media brand. The publication was ranked No.6 on the 2009 Advertising Age Magazine A-List! This honor underscores the influence of ESSENCE's audience and indicates the brand's authority as the place 'Where Black Women Come First.'

In acknowledgement of this honor, ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks presented a commentary on targeted media entitled, "In the ABC's of Targeted Media, ESSENCE scores an 'A'-List" --pegged to the brand's inclusion on the list:

"In the world of publishing, targeted media serves specific segments of the population who share a similar passion and/or mindset. There are countless niche magazines that are popular and relevant -- but are facing a myriad of challenges only exacerbated by the current advertising downtown.

"Many marketers cite a lack of a dedicated budget when deciding not to support targeted media with ad dollars and argue that they are already reaching a targeted audience --such as Black women -- by advertising in mainstream publications. With a limited understanding of an audience that's nuanced, marketers should accept the indispensability of brands like ESSENCE. As stated in Advertising Age with respect to ESSENCE, "With the 'pulse of a community' firmly in grasp, marketers benefit."

"By investing in research that enlightens our advertisers and expanding our offerings beyond traditional print to reach Black women everywhere in a way that's authentic -- ESSENCE is an example of targeted media that works. We celebrate her essence and empower her life's passions every minute of every day and we know more about this group of women than anyone else."


Can vampires sell cars? Volvo certainly thinks so. The Swedish carmaker has launched On the site, consumers can win the chance to attend the premiere of The Twilight Saga: New Moon on Nov. 16, meet members of the cast and receive their own Volvo XC60.

The contest plays off of Volvo’s product placement deal with Summit Entertainment, under which Edward Cullen drives the new crossover vehicle. “Volvo is central to Edward’s character in the Twilight saga,” said Doug Speck, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, in a statement.

The chance to win the car begins Nov. 1. Fans are challenged to answer a series of questions. Participants are encouraged to exchange hints through Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. The first one to solve the puzzle wins. The site also features a trailers, a variety of photo downloads and wallpapers.

Volvo spent $50 million on media last year, per Nielsen. It spent $18 million for the first eight months of the year. Havas' Euro RSCG 4D is the agency driving the effort. Sibling Arnold is handling TV, print and in-dealership support.

“Presumably with Twilight being a tween girl franchise, they are hoping that the message might be picked up by moms to use the Volvo to take their adolescent little vampires to soccer practice,” said Lucian James of the brand strategy consultancy Agenda.

That being said, Twilight has plenty of activity around the tween crowd, including a partnership with Burger King and the virtual world Habbo. Summit Entertainment’s president of worldwide marketing, Nancy Kirkpatrick, was named one of Brandweek’s Marketers of the Year last month.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Agency sets Guinness World Record with social media campaign

ATLANTA: In less than one week, Atlanta-based social media marketing agency Everywhere conceived and executed a one-day pro-bono campaign that raised more than $70,000 for four nonprofit cancer organizations. The effort also set a Guinness World Record for the most widespread social network message in a 24-hour period with 209,771 mentions on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.

The campaign ran from October 16 at 9am PST to October 17 at 9am PST during the BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas (October 15 -17). Guinness World Record spokesperson, Stuart Claxton said in a statement that this effort “will set a benchmark for social media monitoring moving forward.”

Everywhere cofounder Danica Kombol, said agency managing partner Tamara Knechtel, who is a cancer survivor, came up with the idea to illustrate social media's power in driving social causes and raising money.

“We're acutely aware of the power of social media to drive brands' messages,” Kombol explained. “Clients often complain that they don't understand how social media is relevant to their messages. We were going to be at this congregation of top bloggers and Twitters at BlogWorld, and we wanted prove that social media can be used to do social good and deliver powerful messages.”

BlogWorld attendees were asked to post tweets and Facebook updates promoting the effort and using the phrase #BeatCancer. MillerCoors Brewing Company, eBay/PayPal, and nutritional supplement company, Genesis Today agreed to donate one penny for every #BeatCancer mention on social media platforms, but all ended up donating more than one penny per mention.

“It went way beyond BlogWorld in one hour,” Kombol said. “We started at 9am and by 11am we were a trending topic on Twitter. It shows the power of the influencers in social media space.”

Tweets and Facebook updates were posted by numerous celebrities, including P. Diddy and Jermaine Dupri. Media coverage of the campaign included a CNN segment about the power of social media to raise money for social causes. and Mashable are among other outlets covering the story, and Kombol said a New York Times story is slated.

Kombol said the agency recruited MillerCoors because it had a relationship with the company, and BlogWorld sponsor eBay/PayPal jumped at the opportunity. Genesis Today committed sponsorship upon learning about it about the campaign at the expo. Design and development agency Slash7 donated and built a Web site for the campaign. The benefiting nonprofits—Stand Up to Cancer, Bright Pink, Spirit Jump, and Alex's Lemonade Stand—were chosen because they were BlogWorld attendees.

Robert Chatwani, director of global citizenship at eBay, said the campaign was a great fit for the company.

“We liked that it relied on a community of individuals with a clear and simple call to action and that the impact would be measured," he explained. "Those three things got us very excited about being the lead sponsor. We were very pleasantly surprised at the coverage. It underscored and demonstrated the power of social media. We broke the record in 24 hours, but over the course of the week it hit close to two million social media messages shared.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The October 2009 cable news ratings are in with a major milestone: CNN has fallen to last place in the primetime demographic, the category advertisers covet most and in which three of its four primetime shows finished last for the first time ever.

CNN fell to fourth with an average of 190,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime in October, just behind sister network HLN, which averaged 191,000 A25-54 viewers in primetime. Fox News won the prime demo with 583,000 A25-54 viewers, and MSNBC came in second with 239,000.

In total viewers, Fox News won primetime with an average of 2,234,000. MSNBC averaged 730,000 total viewers, CNN averaged 679,000 total viewers, and HLN averaged 530,000 total viewers.

In the total day ratings, Fox News won among A25-54 viewers with an average of 344,000, while CNN (142,00) and HLN (146,000) beat last-place MSNBC (131,000).

Among total viewers in total day ratings, Fox News averaged 1,255,000 for first place. CNN placed second with 486,000, MSNBC placed third with 359,000, and HLN placed last with 307,000.

In all categories, CNN and MSNBC fell to their respective 2009 lows, and the networks have taken to squabbling with each other over whose October was better.

"We're thrilled to be beating CNN in primetime, where the money is made," a MSNBC spokesperson told the Huffington Post.

"We couldn't be more pleased that both our networks (CNN and HLN) are now topping MSNBC in total day and that leads all TV news competitors on the web," a CNN spokesperson said. "As we have said for years, we measure our audience across all CNN Worldwide platforms and throughout the day, not just primetime. CNN provides quality journalism and our ratings reflect the news environment more than opinion programming does - especially in primetime."

source Huffington Post

Saturday, October 24, 2009


NEW YORK -- State Farm has tapped Steve Harvey for a series of digital comedy shorts on a range of topics of interest to car and home insurance consumers.

The first short premiered at to coincide with National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs this week. It features an animated version of Harvey going through a stand-up bit about his son’s request for a brand new Escalade. There are 48 digital shorts planned, which will roll out over the next year.

The campaign’s basic idea was to extend the Steve Harvey and State Farm brands in an unexpected yet wanted manner,” said Bob Wingo, CEO of Sanders/Wingo, the African-American advertising agency of record, which created and produced the campaign. “Everyone wants to be in social media and utilizing digital content, but to be successful as we believe this will be, it needs to be relevant.”

Sanders/Wingo and State Farm provided Harvey with broad topics, which he riffed off of for the clips. State Farm spent $387 million on media in 2008 and $230 million for the first eight months of 2009, per Nielsen.

Visitors to the site get a personal touch by entering their name, which then appears in animated marquee lights. They can also enter their ZIP code and find a State Farm agent in the area.

State Farm first began its association with the comedian and author when it made a media buy on the Steve Harvey Morning Show to support the 50 Million Pound Challenge, a weight-loss campaign sponsored by the insurance company. Harvey’s on-air discussions of his own weight-loss challenges helped engage consumers enough that State Farm partnered with him again to bring his perspective to the current campaign.

“These bits are strictly entertaining,” said Pam El, State Farm marketing vp, in a statement. “Though they address insurance and financial-services-related topics, to broaden State Farm’s brand voice in an unexpected way, they are delivered with Steve’s unique perspective and humor.”

Nielsen Business Media


On Friday morning, the White House released their first family portrait. Taken on September 1st, well-known photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the lovely photo.The First Family, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha, are seated in the Green Room of the White House for this portrait.

I am always taken aback by how sincerely happy President Obama looks with his family. The First Lady looks radiant in her black dress, and let's not get started about those lovely children. It is heartwarming to see how they grasp their mother's hands, a clutch of unadulterated love. What a beautiful family to represent the United States. Just their presence alone strengthens the values of family and love everywhere.



VATICAN CITY — A prominent African cardinal says there's no reason why the next pope can't be black.
Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana is playing an important part in a three-week meeting at the Vatican on the role of the Catholic Church in Africa.

At a news conference Monday, Turkson was asked whether he thought the time was right for a black pope, particularly following the election of President Barack Obama.

Turkson replied: "Why not?" He argued that every man who agrees to be ordained a priest has to be willing to be a pope.

He noted that, with Obama and the previous U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan, there have been several blacks in positions of global leadership.

He said "If God would wish to see a black man also as pope, thanks be to God."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Online Advertising Spending Expected to Be Down for 2009

NEW YORK ( -- 2009 was a bad year for online advertising, too. This year figures to be the first down year for online ads since 2002, the hangover from the internet-bubble years.

Spending on online advertising is expected to come in at $22.8 billion in 2009 in the U.S., down 2.9% from a year ago, due to steep declines in sponsorships, classifieds and e-mail advertising, according to a projection from eMarketer issued today. Banner ads were virtually flat with 2008.

The lone bright spot: search, which will grow 4% overall, proving itself the most resilient and counter-cyclical form of online marketing. Video also grew, but it's still too small a category to make a difference in the overall numbers.

EMarketer's latest figures come two weeks after the Internet Advertising Bureau said online ads declined 5% in the first six months of 2009. EMarketer benchmarks its figures on the IAB and uses it as a base for its projections for the second half of the year.

Analyst David Hallerman said he believed he knew enough to project the end of 2009 after seeing Google report strong earnings last week, but before seeing anything from Yahoo or Microsoft, which report their third-quarter earnings this week.

Increasingly, search drives the online ad market, and in the U.S., it is more than double the size of online display.

About a quarter of all online advertising in the U.S. flows through Google, and its strong showing was enough to fuel a slight recovery in the second half of 2009. "The trend here is clearly up and that alone will support a mild rebound in the second half," Mr. Hallernan said.

Search is both a real-time indicator of marketer sentiment and the sentiment of consumers, who are doing more commercial-related searches. Mr. Hallerman, like a lot of analysts and marketers, believes the economy hit bottom earlier this year.

Broadly speaking, the display-ad market is challenged by the economic cycle, but also because the largest Ad Age 100 advertisers are still allocating small percentages to online marketing. Online gets less than 10% of ad spending in the U.S. "The dollars still aren't following the eyeballs online," Mr. Hallerman said.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Citadel Media has informed affiliates of "Afternoons with Doug and DeDe" the show will end on December 31, 2009.

Doug Banks, has been both a morning and afternoon syndicated host with the radio network (first ABC Radio and now Citadel), since the mid-90's. DeDe McGuire has been part of the show since the late ‘90s.

Doug Banks has had a long history as a Chicago radio personality and the current show formerly known as "The Ride" airs on V103 (WVAZ). Co-host DeDe McGuire also does double duty as morning show host on KKDA-FM “K104” in Dallas.

This may be the first of Citadel's plan to shut down some other syndicated programs across the board. Currently Citadel syndicates Michael Baisden, Brian McKnight, Big Boy Neighborhood urban radio shows and "The Touch" Urban AC format along with many other mainstream radio shows.

As far as Doug Banks is concerned, he will probably be picked up by Chicago's V103 in 2010. Doug is also a contributor on the public affairs program "190 North" on Chicago's Channel 7 WLS-TV.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why Does America Leave It to NFL Owners to Tell Rush Limbaugh Where to Go?

Why was it left to the National Freakin' Football League -- hardly a bastion of liberal thought -- to call out bombastic shock jock Rush Limbaugh for his puerile racism and incessant bigotry? And why do NFL owners hold themselves to a higher standard thanthe rest of us?

Limbaugh made headlines again this week - an annoyingly regular occurrence -- when it was reported that he was part of a group attempting to buy a piece of his hometown football team, the St. Louis Rams. As is usual with All Things Rush, controversy erupted immediately.

This should have come as a surprise to no one, since the Rams play in a league where two-thirds of the players are black. Current and retired players, several owners, the head of the players union and of course professional gadflies like the omnipresent Reverend Sharpton all made it immediately and abundantly clear that Limbaugh's bid would be met with fierce opposition.

Soon National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly called out Limbaugh for making -- here's another surprise! -- "divisive comments," and it became obvious that El Rushbo was a dead man talking -at least as far as the NFL bid was concerned.

As Goodell told the New York Times, NFL owners are "held to a high standard," and "I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the N.F.L. -- absolutely not."

Although he may actually have taken a principled stand, it's more likely that Goodell was simply recognizing reality. A successful ownership bid by Limbaugh & Co. was never really in the cards. For one thing, despite Rush's recent $400 million dollar contract extension, there might not have been enough money on the table to ensure a successful bid. But the real reason is that NFL owners were rightly worried that letting Limbaugh join their exclusive club would be akin to asking for a stink bomb to explode in their clubhouse.

After all, The Grand Poobah's previous NFL foray was a public relations fiasco. While he was employed by ESPN as a commentator, Limbaugh announced on air that Eagles star Donovan McNabb was consistently overrated by a news media anxious to see a black quarterback succeed. "They are polarizing comments that we don't think reflect accurately on the N.F.L. or our players," Goodell said. "I obviously do not believe that those comments are positive and they are divisive. That's a negative thing for us."

Given the overwhelming likelihood that Limbaugh would fail to pass muster as an NFL owner - something he surely anticipated -- the uninitiated might well wonder why he even entered into the futile exercise in the first place Well, wonder no more It's long been apparent that Limbaugh likes nothing more than to drive the mainstream media agenda -- something he is quite adept at. As he told NBC's Jamie Gangel on the Today show, "I know how to yank their chain. I know how to send them into insanity. I know how to make them spend the next two days talking about me."

Limbaugh said he anticipated the media frenzy over his bid to buy the Rams. "They're just gonna go nuts," he said. "This is the kind of stuff they've been trying to make sure doesn't happen with me. All this stuff is the mainstreaming of Rush Limbaugh from off this far-right fringe they've tried to put me. I just keep tiptoeing into the mainstream. And it just irritates them."

Most of my critics don't even listen to me; they are clueless," Limbaugh continued. "They just go to Web sites that report what I say out of context. I'm amazed at the Democrats and the media who do not know what's going on in my world. I know what's going on in theirs. I study 'em. I watch 'em every day."

Despite Limbaugh's belief that -- as he whined to NBC's Gangel -- "There's a cliche about conservatives: racist, sexist, bigot, homophobic. Now, you announce you're a conservative, you're automatically all those things to the critics," it's clear that you can still be a conservative -- and even an NFL owner -- without being labeled "racist, sexist, bigot, homophobic." It's simple, really; just don't act like one. And as Zirin also pointed out, "This has nothing to do with Limbaugh's conservative politics. Most NFL owners are to the right of Dick Cheney. Over twenty years, officials on twenty-three of the thirty-two NFL clubs have donated more money to Republicans than Democrats."

It was never about right and left -- and maybe was about right and wrong. Congratulations are due to the Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL for doing the right thing -- even if it may have been for the wrong reasons. The only remaining mystery is what David Checketts -- the former Madison Square Garden executive who is leading the group hoping to purchase the Rams -- was smoking when he asked Limbaugh to join him in the first place.

By Rory O'Connor


Tragic story or hoax? TV media and the press for hours covered the saga of a 6-year-old boy who allegedly climbed into a homemade balloon aircraft in Colorado and floated away. Live TV showed the balloon coming down miles away and rescuers rushing there, expecting the worst. Instead, no boy was found inside.

Some of us weren't surprised--I'd been tweeting that likely outcome for almost an hour, noting the lack of sourcing and the floating of the craft which suggested no payload.

Did the boy--improbably named Falcon--fall out en route? Or was it all a hoax perpetrated by his father, who is "storm chaser" and appeared on the reality TV show "Wife Swap"?

Now the boy has been found--in the attic of his home.

Just before that, CNN was focusing on a deputy sheriff's claim to have seen an "object" fall from the craft at one point early on. They even posted a photo that some said may have shown that.

In any case, the press and news agencies reported for over an hour that a boy was in the balloon, without any qualifiers, even though the only witness was a sibling who saw him climb inside.

The AP stories and updates opened with: "A 6-year-old boy climbed into a homemade balloon aircraft in Colorado and floated away Thursday, forcing officials to scramble to figure out how to rescue the boy as the balloon hurtled through the air."

Even when the craft came down, and some doubts about boy's presence had begun to be aired, AP sent a bulletin: "Balloon carrying 6-year-old boy slowly descends into Colorado field; child's fate unclear."

Reuters had reported: "A 6-year-old boy who climbed into a small homemade helium balloon at his family's home was flying out of control above Colorado Thursday as authorities scrambled to try to rescue him."

At least the BBC had added, "reportedly."

Only after the crash did TV hosts stress that reports of a boy in it were "unverified" and raised the possibility of a hoax. Few had raised the issue of whether such a balloon could even lift off with a 50-pound kid inside, and then float the way it did. Some did later. CNN had an expert do the calculations. But, of course, the experts could be wrong.

Shep Smith on Fox repeated referred to the craft as like a "Jiffy Pop" container.

But it was the media's credibility that popped.

UPDATE: Tonight on CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked the boy why he didn't come out of hiding when he heard his name being shouted. He replied that he had been told "it was for a show." His father then appeared extremely uneasy. Meaning unclear.

Greg Mitchell is editor of Editor & Publisher. His latest book is "Why Obama Won."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


It's safe to assume that a couple of weeks ago was not one of David Letterman's top 10 weeks. Still, he's done a pretty respectable job of following many core tenets of good crisis communications. The fallout is far from over, but on the eve of the first week of his coming clean, let's take a look at how the late-night funnyman fared.

Rule No. 1 in crisis communications is frame the news before someone else does. Letterman did that. Like any CEO should, he took responsibility for what he did wrong and did so in front of a national TV audience. In a very transparent way, he controlled the message, and released the information on his own terms and on his own turf—behind the desk. And he portrayed himself as a victim in the extortion attempt.

He said “I'm sorry,” and he seemed to mean it, especially when apologizing to his wife. There are countless examples of athletes and executives who have faked their way through apologies in front of a bank of cameras. Dave was contrite and credible.

You get tried in the court of public opinion before a court of law. So far, the court of public opinion has ruled in Dave's favor. There are still lines around the corner of the Ed Sullivan Theater waiting to get into the show. The night he confessed, his show had the highest ratings of the late night lineup.

In general, he's done a good job of walking a fine line between humor and humility. The one exception: he made jokes about having sex. There's nothing funny about sexual misconduct in the workplace, and he needs to steer clear of any attempts at making light of what he did. For years he made jokes about the sexual exploits of others, including former president Bill Clinton, New York's Eliot Spitzer, and Gov. Mark Sanford to name just a few. Now he's part of the club. He should forgo the sex jokes and leave them to other comedians.

So he got through the first week. Excerpts from diaries are surfacing now as other former staffers allege they had flings with Dave. Inevitably, if there is more dirt, it will surface. One other important principle in crisis communications is to get it all out early on to avoid death by a thousand cuts. That will be Letterman's test in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


TORONTO (AP) -- Oprah Winfrey was so taken by Sapphire's novel "Push" that she read it more than once.

Yet even though the talk-show host has made best-sellers of unknown books, Winfrey didn't think even her staggering influence could make "Push" - the story of an obese, illiterate black teen who suffers unspeakable abuse - something that millions would want to read.

"I would never even think of presenting that book as a book club selection because people would think I had lost my mind," Winfrey said in a recent interview.

So when Winfrey heard producer and director Lee Daniels had adapted Sapphire's book into the acclaimed movie "Precious," with an all-star cast including Mo'Nique, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz and others, she was so impressed that she decided to lend her coveted endorsement to the film by signing on as its executive producer, along with hit filmmaker Tyler Perry.
That is why we are both here, to applaud the brilliance of Lee because I can't imagine what kind of brain thinks that they can bring that to life," she said. "Who thinks you can take that book and turn it into a movie?"

"Precious" stars unknown actress Gabourey Sidibe as Precious, who endures an abusive mother, an incestuous father and extreme poverty in a journey of redemption. Though Winfrey and Perry acknowledge the subject matter may be too grim for some, they hope their backing will get more people to see the film when it is released nationwide on Nov. 6.

In a joint interview, the two spoke about why "Precious" moved them, what message it sends and why more stars should pay it forward.

AP: In an age when the world now sees images of African-American young women such as Sasha and Malia Obama, why is it still important to tell the story of girls like Precious?

Winfrey: For as many stories as there are hues and colors and variations of colors in the African-American race, this is just one. I feel about this story the same way I felt about "The Color Purple." It is now 24 years ago that we did that movie. This feels like a modern-day "Color Purple." Precious feels like a Celie who lives in Harlem. The story of abuse in our community and in many communities is still a taboo subject. The story and the arc of hope and possibility and empowerment is an evergreen, timeless story that I think this generation, the generation before us and many generations to come will also be entertained and inspired by. This story has no limitations.

Perry: This story has not been told yet and it is still going on. It is still present in our society and I think that somebody had to do it. I am so glad that Lee Daniels did it and I just wanted to support. He had already told this story so we are just here for support.

AP: Oprah, wouldn't you have wanted to play the role of Mary (the abusive mother, played by Mo'Nique)?

Winfrey: I don't know an actress who wouldn't have wanted an opportunity to play that role. I think that is a wonderful character to play. I also don't know an actress in existence who could have done a better job (than Mo'Nique).

Perry: I agree but I think you would have knocked it out of the park.

Winfrey: That is irrelevant because she already did. ... She knocked it out of the park and then built a new playground. She was amazing.

AP: You're both successful. That being said, what makes you want to continue to give back to others when you could easily just focus on your own projects?

Winfrey: One of the reasons why I am still doing what I am doing and we remain the No. 1 talk show for the past 24 years is because I stay connected to the essence of who I am. I make a living out of being myself. You can't turn your back on who you are nor where you came from. I have great respect for that. I have not only a respect, but a sense of reverence for that.

AP: Oprah, you said this movie split you open. What about it resonated with you?

Winfrey: What struck me is that you can live in those circumstances and still find hope. You can't do that on your own. Somebody has to show it to you. For every one of us who have made it, someone has to show it to you. For me it was teachers. That is why I love the character Ms. Rain (played by actress Paula Patton) because Ms. Rain allowed her to see that in herself. Nobody can make you see it, but you have other people to help bring that to you.

Perry: That woman (Mary) is my father, so I know it well. They can exist and they are real. What it did for me as I was watching the film and I got to the end of it, I felt such relief, such a weight off of me because I made it, and that is what I think people who have been through it. When they see it, they are going to be like, wow. I made it through. That is what is so powerful about it.

AP: I cannot end this interview without asking the two of you about your close friendship.

Perry: It is surreal. I pinch myself every day I wake up in the morning. This is such a cool life. I look back on all of the things it took to get to this place. I wouldn't trade any bit of it. I am grateful. I am completely grateful to God. At this point, to have friends like Oprah who can help me navigate through the craziness of what this business can be, it is another blessing.

Winfrey: It can get crazy when the whole world is telling you one thing. You are bombarded by all of the stuff coming at you. You have more money than you ever dreamed in your life. You know how to spend $29.95 but you don't even know what $29 million is. What does that mean because you can't see it. You need someone to help you figure out how to handle that stuff and who to go to. Just how to stay centered.


On the Net:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jackson Single 'This Is It' Released Online

By Chris Richards
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Since Michael Jackson's passing on June 25, grief has dovetailed seamlessly into commerce, and album sales have skyrocketed accordingly. But now fans have the opportunity to hear an unheard Jackson tune for the first time since his death -- and for free.

In Washington, the new song arrives as a city continues to mourn the King of Pop. An empty Adams Morgan bar pumps the classic "I Want You Back" from its open doors in hope of snaring a weeknight patron. Memorial issues of Time and Entertainment Weekly refuse to cede their positions on drugstore magazine racks. At Ninth and U streets NW, promotional posters for the forthcoming Jackson documentary film "This Is It" cover an abandoned liquor store -- advertisement masquerading as memorial.

The documentary's title track premiered at midnight Monday on, where it continues to stream in anticipation of the film's Oct. 28 release. It's a dawdling love song that dissolves into a sweet, middling mush -- halfway between the up-tempo sunbeams we hoped for and the dishwater balladry we expected.

Jackson counts the tune off in the diminutive speaking voice that belied his supernatural vocal agility. "This is it, here I stand/I'm the light of the world, I feel grand," he coos in the song's opening verse, as if basking in the affection of a lover (or perhaps an audience of millions). Fans may have wanted This Is It! But the result is more This Is It?

Jackson's brothers provide the backing vocals, evoking the Freon-cool harmonies that populated some of the singer's finest work. Imagine the carefree melodies of "The Girl Is Mine," unfurling at a much breezier tempo. Pianos chime, guitars strut, violins surge -- all to the beat of Jackson's snapping fingers.

There's more where this came from -- a whole lot more, according to the managers, family members and label honchos wrestling over Jackson's unreleased material. In August, Jackson's manager Frank DiLeo told Rolling Stone that the singer's family had obtained a trove of more than 100 songs, including demos, outtakes and recent collaborations with with Will.I.Am, Akon and Ne-Yo.

"This Is It" marks the first drops in what could be a flood of unheard material. Let's hope future trickles aren't so treacly.

American Airlines to launch African-American social network

DALLAS: This week, American Airlines (AA) announced plans to launch, a social network targeting African-Americans travelers, as part of a larger effort to increase brand loyalty within multicultural segments. The company hired Burrell Communications 18 months ago to help develop a strategy for the African American segment.

Stacey Frantz, strategy lead for African-American communications, explained that focus groups independent of customers and employees influenced the idea for a largely unbranded network.

"The AA research showed us that [heavy branding] would overshadow the social media outlet,” said Frantz. “They're influenced by word-of-mouth from peers more than any other channel.”

The site will feature content related to black culture through discussion boards, blogs, videos, images, travel stories, tips, and contributions from author and filmmaker Nelson George. Some of the content will link to related fare information from AA.

George was expected to speak about the initiative at a Blogalicious event in Atlanta, October 9-11. AA is also planning an official launch event in New York on October 14.

In addition to Burrell, AA is working with Lagrant Communications, and its AOR Weber Shandwick, on media relations targeting travel and multicultural blogs and general interest publications. Promotional platforms also include Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

AA will also promote the site through a traditional ad campaign

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I was invited to attend the Maxwell concert at the United Center this week. I was not a major fan of Maxwell but did enjoy his music in the 90's.

After knocking out his third straight million-selling album in 2001, Maxwell took most of the decade off – the equivalent of a lifetime in the fickle world of pop culture.

But the years have done nothing to diminish his appeal. If anything, he’s bigger than ever. At the height of his success in the ‘90s, he was touring mid-size auditoriums, but on Thursday he headlined in front of a near-capacity crowd at the United Center.

By the end of this concert I was a big Maxwell fan! He was great singing his new songs and old songs - especially my song "Til the Cops come running' - Maxwell had the women screaming - if any man who was there did not get lucky that night - there was something wrong with him :) Maxwell heated it up!


There’s no question that in Good Hair, Chris Rock brings the funny. (Trolling the streets of Los Angeles, peddling “black hair” that no one wants.) There’s no question that he brings the outrage. (Showing a preschooler submitting to the “creamy crack”—a chemical relaxer.) There’s no question that he brings the dirt, getting celebrities to tell it. (Nia Long on her fake hair: “Weave sex is a little awkward.”)

But while Rock’s foray into the tangled web of black women and their hair, is indeed very, very funny, very, very outrageous, and at times very, very revealing, there are two things that he does not bring to the conversation: Context and compassion.

Which is too bad, considering that Rock’s stated purpose for doing his documentary was his shock at his young daughter’s plaintive question, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” Good Hair as in, “blow hair,” “silky,” “nice,” “wavy,” “relaxed and nice hair,” the type of locks not typically found on the heads of folks descended from south of the Sub-Sahara. The hair thing is a question that’s long bedeviled black folks living in a post-colonial world, the subject of doctoral dissertations, books and yes, documentaries. (And if you think that only African-American women struggle with the good hair meme, then you’ve never set foot inside a Dominican beauty parlor.)

In his quest to get to the—ahem—roots of the good-hair obsession, Rock travels the world, from the Harlem beauty parlors to the Olympics of hair shows to Hindu Temples in India where devotees shave their heads in a ritual of purification. And along the way, he unearths some startling revelations: Human hair is India’s No. 1 export; thieves cut off the hair of unsuspecting women and sell it on the black market.

Black hair is a $9 billion business, but only a handful of the companies that cater to that market are black-owned. Salt-n-Pepa’s asymmetrical ‘dos from the “Push It’’ era happened when Pepa came out on the losing end of chemical straightener. And back in the day, Ice-T willingly underwent the “torture” of the creamy crack because he thought he needed good hair to dominate his women. Apparently, it’s hard out there for a pimp.

Except for a few passing remarks from actress Salli Richardson and Long, on how the pursuit of good hair is about being “the lighter the brighter the better,” Rock doesn’t delve into the historical context of good hair. He doesn’t bother to tell us that the straight hair fixation has everything to do centuries of slavery, forced miscegenation and the resulting intra-racial caste system within the black community. Not every black woman has a weave or a relaxer; and not every weave or perm is evidence of self-hate. (Actress Tracie Thoms of Cold Case is the only one holding it down for the natural sisters in Good Hair.)

There is an undercurrent of misogyny at work here: Black women come off as desperately vain, using layaway to pay for weaves and hitting up their men to finance their wallet-busting habit. It’s interesting to note that while Rock’s adorable daughters make silent cameos, his wife does not appear in Good Hair.

I would have liked to have heard from her about Rock’s Good Hair obsession; that would have added some context, maybe even some compassion.

Teresa Wiltz is The Root’s senior culture writer

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Consumers' move to online news

Newspaper use is down, online use is up: The data from our new survey isn't a surprise, but it does reinforce what the media and PR industries have known for a long time. And, most important, it provides an opportunity for marketers who are prepared to take advantage of it.

The second year of the media use and credibility survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by ARAnet found that daily newspaper usage dropped 4.1 percent from last year's study, while online usage increased 1.9 percent.

Not exactly a shocker, but it does put a finer point on the notion that Americans are continuing to change the way we consume media. Traditional media isn't going away anytime soon, and we need to continue to reach our audiences through these powerful and broad avenues. But we also need to appreciate that we're in the middle of a media evolution as more and more consumers are going online for information, and it's becoming more important to make the case for online strategies and tactics, and to allocate our – and our clients' – resources accordingly.

It gets even more intriguing when you drill down to specific, in-demand demographics. The affluent – people who make more than $100,000 a year – college graduates, people 18-to-34 and Hispanics all reported that they rely on and trust online sources considerably more than the general population.

So what does that mean to PR professionals? Opportunity. With their focus on telling brand stories and reputation-building, PR pros are uniquely equipped to embrace this increasingly valuable digital opportunity to reach consumers directly through online articles, blog posts, social networking outreach and video and audio. Many of these digital tools also do double-duty by lending a hand in SEO, helping your key audience find you online.

It's increasingly critical for PR pros to not only provide credible digital content, but to hone their online media relations skills, as well, especially as more and more traditional media outlets move online. It's no secret that effective marketers use social networking – blogs, Facebook, Twitter – to engage and connect with the media, as well as bloggers.

If this trend toward online news and information holds up, and we have every reason to believe it will, next year's survey will likely identify a continued shift in consumer preference. For those of us in marketing communications and reputation management, we increasingly need to meet the consumer where they're living – online.

Scott Severson is president of ARAnet, a media company that provides digital consumer communications solutions and content-based advertising.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WHAT DO YOU THINK?? Sexist!? Misogynistic!? Chauvinistic!?

Jozen Cummings is a former editor at VIBE - asks is it Sexist to have Serena Williams naked on the cover of ESPN? WHAT DO YOU THINK?

I am a man of tradition. I like women. I like sports. So when I saw that my favorite tennis player (admittedly, I only have one), Serena Williams, was one of six athletes photographed naked for ESPN the Magazine’s “Body issue,” and she was clad in nothing more than lipstick, I applauded their brain trust. As a fan of beautiful black women, second as a sports fan, and third as a former editor at the now-defunct King magazine—I’m well aware of both Serena Williams’ appeal and the controversy her cover may cause.

When I was at King, plenty of black women (and men, for that matter) would douse me, and the publication for which I worked, with criticism. Sexist! Misogynistic! Chauvinistic! I heard it all—usually in much harsher and less than polite tones. I heard similar remarks last year when, during my time as an editor at Vibe, we released a controversial cover of R&B singer Ciara wearing no clothes. But what a lot of critics failed to understand is how little the black woman’s body is celebrated in the mainstream. Prior to the success of men’s magazines like King, Black Men and Smooth, the only publication where I could get my beautiful-black-woman fix was reading, or rather looking at, Jet’s Beauty of the Week.

But none of these titles have ever had the mainstream cachet of, say, Sports Illustrated, which didn’t feature a black woman (Tyra Banks) on the cover of their annual swimsuit edition until 1997—30 years after they premiered their first swimsuit edition. Playboy would also wait close to two decades before finally putting black model, Darine Stern on their cover in 1971. Let’s face it, when it comes to the relationship between beautiful women of color and mainstream publications, beautiful women of color get no love—which is why Williams’ ESPN pictorial is a game changer.

ESPN editors are going to hear their fair share of criticism—the roars of those who say the last thing we need is yet another magazine exploiting the black woman and her body are going to be loud, but Saartjie Bartman this is not. Unfortunately, with black publications folding left and right (there is no more King, Jet (and its sister publication, Ebony) looks to be on its last leg, Vibe just received a second wind), the onus is on mainstream publications to celebrate this fact.

I hope other magazines with a largely white, male demographic will follow the lead of ESPN the Magazine and feature more beautiful women of color photographed in ways a man like me can appreciate. For sex to sell in 2009 and beyond (and make no mistake about it, that’s one of the principles the ESPN brass is abiding by with “The Body Issue”), it has to come in more colors than just white.

Jozen Cummings is a former editor at VIBE and lives in Harlem. His new blog is Untiligetmarried.


I live in Chicago and was able to attend the taping of Jay-Z on Oprah and thought it was a great show. I was glad Oprah was excited about Jay-Z and his rise to fame. I did become a big fan of Jay-Z the nite before the show as I attended his concert at the House of Blues.

This blog post I added - found it very interesting - enjoy - - Dionne

If I write a book on hip-hop history, Jay-Z’s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show will be in a timeline of the culture’s high points. I enjoyed it. It made me remember a lot of other hip-hop/Oprah moments. Oprah and hip-hop haven’t been the best of friends.

I remember when Ice Cube took the talk-show mogul to task for having never invited him on the show. "I've been involved in three projects pitched to her, but I've never been asked to participate," Cube told FHM magazine. “And if I'm not a rags-to-riches story for her, who is?" Cube had a point.

I remember when Chris "Ludacris" Bridges appeared on Oprah alongside his fellow cast members from the Oscar-winning film Crash—he was reprimanded by Winfrey for his music’s lyrical content. Ludacris later accused the show’s producers of editing out a lot of his comments. I believed him.

And of course, I remember Oprah’s infamous, two-episode Hip-Hop Town Hall of 2007, a smear campaign waged against the music that Don Imus blamed for his “nappy-headed hoes” remark about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Seeing Oprah Winfrey and other critics accost geniuses like Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons and the rapper/actor Common for the music’s misogynistic and crime-ridden lyrics was, in my opinion, a definite low point for the culture.

Two years later, though, Oprah is singing a very different tune. Having Jay-Z on her show wasn’t just cool, it was awe-inspiring.

Cool was when I found out Jay-Z was appearing on her show in the first place; awe-inspiring was finding out she invited him to appear on the same day as Barbra Streisand—who is to Middle America what Jay-Z is to my bicoastal America. Cool was when Jay-Z—decked in a cardigan, crisp white T-shirt and dark blue jeans—sat center stage in Oprah’s Chicago studios; awe-inspiring was when the cameras followed Oprah to meet Jay-Z at his old stomping grounds, Brooklyn’s Marcy Housing Projects. There the two of them were, sitting on the stoop of his grandmother’s house, which was also where they did their one-on-one interview that appears in the current issue of Oprah’s O magazine. Cool was Oprah welcoming Jay-Z with open arms on her show and respecting all he'd accomplished. Awe-inspiring was Jay-Z recognizing the gravitas of the moment: He greeted Oprah in front of his old housing project with “I’m going to faint right now.”

For all the Jay-Z fans who tuned in, Jay-Z's answers to Oprah’s questions about his father, or about what he said to Rihanna after the Chris Brown incident—those remarks were old hat. I was tuning in for moments like at the end of the interview where Oprah asks Jay-Z to teach her how to freestyle and over a basic beat he rhymes, “Little boy from Brooklyn, made it from the ‘Stuy/girl from out the South made it to the ‘Chi/Only goes to show that the limit is the sky/if life give you lemons then you make lemon pie.”

I never thought that hip-hop would take it this far. And you know who I'm quoting.

Jozen Cummings is a former editor at VIBE and lives in Harlem. His new blog is Untiligetmarried.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


NEW YORK ( -- Measurement has long been a thorn in the side of the PR industry, which has still yet to settle on an industrywide standard, although the Public Relations Society of America announced it will issue a set of recommended metrics and approaches this fall but is first seeking industry input. And since marketers are much more likely to cut an agency's budget than they are to increase it, the ability to prove their worth has become all the more important.

"The notion of marketing accountability and how it relates to spending, effectiveness and efficiency has been taken to another plateau over the last 12 months as the economy has turned," said Joseph Russo, head of global research and measurement at Omnicom Group's Porter Novelli.

Integrated results
He said one of the biggest shifts he's seeing is clients calling for more-integrated measurement solutions. "It's not acceptable to say here is what was generated on the print side, and here's what we got on the digital side," Mr. Russo said. "We can't treat them separately, so measurement offerings tend to feature more integration of the results irrespective of the source."

MS&L's Ms. Hugley agrees and said the idea behind integration is explaining how the results from the various channels -- traditional and new media -- drive one another by demonstrating the impact each one has on the overall success of a campaign. She said while analyzing traditional, digital and social-media measurement data from a consumer client's campaign, the agency determined the majority of site traffic was driven by entertainment, paid and earned social-media activities, while only a small percentage was coming from search.

"So based on the outcomes and learnings from last year's measurement activity, we are not only incorporating more social media activity into the campaign," Ms. Hugley said, "but we are modifying the search terms this year to boost traffic."

Along with the notion of integration, Tim Marklein, exec VP- measurement and strategy at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Weber Shandwick, has seen two other adjustments occur in the measurement space -- the "cycle times of measurement" and a transition from impressions to engagement.

"It's moved from rearview measurement to decision-time measurement," Mr. Marklein said, noting that there were two advantages to this for the agency. "You're getting data in a timely enough way to make decisions and impact the program. And tracking data in the same time frame that businesses track sales and web traffic data allows you to better correlate PR's impact."

He said getting clients to understand the benefits of engagement over impressions is the biggest challenge agencies have. "The beauty of engagement is that it's a deeper level of involvement with a brand than you had in the eyeball or impressions world," he said. "People were comfortable knowing the value The Wall Street Journal had for whatever vertical they are in. But with the number of blogs out there and traditional media putting more emphasis on web properties, marketers are unsettled on the traditional things they believed in but now know they need new approaches to figure this out."

Mr. Marklein said the need to shift from a pure impressions mind-set to an engagement mindset was highlighted while recently working with one of Weber-Shandwick's biggest consumer clients. While evaluating which type of media coverage -- traditional or online -- drove web traffic and converted visitors into customers more successfully, the agency determined that more topical, social-driven and service-oriented outlets drove higher engagement and conversion rates. The measurement analysis caused the brand to alter its media strategy, refocusing its investment on the higher-impact outlets that drive higher conversion rates, Mr. Marklein said.

MS&L's Ms. Hugley said clients aren't alone and that the rise of digital and social media has caused everyone to rethink their approach to measurement.

"We had to fine-tune our approach to measurement not as something that happens at the end of the discussion but from the beginning and throughout the process," she said. "And we have to make sure we are clear on how clients define success within their organization and that we are tailoring our measurement approaches appropriately."

Three keys for effective PR measurement:
Measurement is still very client- and industry-specific. But PR professionals say more and more they are finding commonalities across verticals that allow them to standardize a majority of their measurement programs. Here are three components an agency and client need to have in place in for effective PR measurement.

Client and agency must hammer out a clear understanding of the campaign's objective and what it is intended to affect (sales, reputation/brand equity, employees or public policy) to establish exactly what needs to be measured -- media impressions or engagement.

Find a "fit-for-purpose solution," as Joseph Russo, head of global research and measurement at Porter Novelli calls it, or an approach to measurement that takes into account the size of the PR program so that the measurement approach can be sized accordingly. The goal is to avoid spending more on measurement than the overall cost of the PR program.

Establish a clear communication of impact and results with the target in mind.


All BPRS members: BPRS-Chicago and Burson-Marstellar PR Are Proud To Present:

PR Job Preparedness in a Down Economy: How to Be Ready for the Coming Upswing - A Panel Discussion and Networking Reception

Thursday, October 8th, Beginning Promptly At 6:00 p.m.

Confirmed Panel Members:

Dena Linker Gellmann – US Recruitment Manager, Burson Marstellar
Alexandra Daleo – HR Assistant
Erin Hendricks – Manager, Technology Practice
Karen Mellen – Director, Media Practice

Where: Burson-Marsteller
233 N. Michigan Avenue, 17th Floor

When: Start time 6:00 (reception, refreshments)

Panel Discussion – 6:30

· PR and the Economy
· How to best be prepared when the market turns around
o If you got laid off – what have you been doing since?
o How have you maintained your skill set?
o If you are currently working – how to compete in a saturated market

· Tips on how to go about job search
o Use business networks
o Be focused and specific about what you are looking for

· What hiring professionals look for in the resume
o Strong client management skills
o Media relations
o Writing
o Networking via outside organizations and activities

· What recruiters look for during the interview process
o Personality
o Ability to back up what you say with specific examples
o Ability to go above and beyond and think outside of the box

· Facebook and MySpace Pages...Be Careful!?

7:15 - Open discussion with the panel
7:30 - 7:45 – Open Networking
8:00 – End Time

Note: All attendance MUST be R.S.V.P.'d to gain admittance. E-mail Ronald E. Childs of Flowers Communications Group, at: to confirm your attendance.

Thank you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Today's PR student must learn a completely new vocabulary - PRWeek US

Today's PR student must learn a completely new vocabulary - PRWeek US

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Unfortunately, the old adage of "I'm a good people person" remains a reason for students' interest in PR. What does that really mean these days, though?

With 24/7 news cycles, an ever-more connected world, and increasingly divergent public opinions, PR as an education major has undergone a metamorphosis.

Basics like writing and media relations skills remain vital. However, that's simply a fraction of what PR students are taught today. Professors are preparing tomorrow's business executives to have a strong grasp of global and cultural nuances, while delivering superior skills in writing, technology, and social media.

Yes, we're developing cultural anthropologists who understand P&L statements, don't mind mixing their business and social worlds on Twitter, and know exactly how to communicate with key audiences by writing well and succinctly. Not exactly your basic definition of a regular "people person."

Many professors are teaching "online" at some level because social media has changed how and what we're teaching, and specific instruction on professionalism and ethics given this context has become incredibly important. But audience segmentation and cultural preferences are also adding to the challenge. There is no longer a "general public" in America. In fact, when someone refers to the "mainstream," I often wonder what that really means.

Publics of different ethnic and religious backgrounds are finding common interests or lifestyles as the drivers behind their socialization. Geography no longer limits our communications efforts.

Behavioristics and psychographics are almost more important than demographics, making communications more personalized. The "mass" in communication has become nearly condemned by sophisticated audiences; therefore, new PR pros must understand what makes people behave and believe exactly how they do.

Today a student must leave a PR program with the basics, but also with a clear understanding of social, economic, and lifestyle preferences and how these affect communication, consumer behavior, culture, and technology usage.

It's not just about 140-character messages. It's having the right words at the right time, said to the right people through the right medium, in the right tone and sentiment - all the while keeping in mind the importance of the public interest.

Rosanna Fiske is associate professor of PR and advertising at Florida International University.

From the October 01, 2009 Issue of PRWeek


As black culture moved closer and closer to becoming the mainstream of American culture, as issues pertaining to black people began getting more and more attention from all sectors of the mainstream press, Ebony and Jet stood in place. Soon these two publications started to look old, stiff and severely out of touch. I remember Ebony running ads for skin-bleaching cream throughout the 1980s. To say that Ebony and Jet came to be stuck in a time warp is a massive understatement.

Ebony and Jet are most certainly cultural symbols of historical importance. The magazines represented the pioneering vision of John H. Johnson, who built a publishing empire out of thin air and who, along with Berry Gordy, came to embody the image of the black media mogul at a time when most black people couldn’t even get a drink of water in a public place. Johnson’s magazines served a mighty purpose, documenting the lives of people for whom invisibility had become the norm. The magazines often cast black life in a uniquely glamorous light that was very much ahead of its time, and they also featured news about everyday black people who would have never made anyone else’s pages. Where else could you read about black people who had won the local lottery and got buried in a coffin made to look like a Cadillac? Yet, as with many black institutions from that era, when the walls of segregation began crumbling and then falling, Ebony and Jet struggled to keep up with the new pace.

Like historically black colleges and universities that once had a lock on enrolling most of the best black athletes, desegregation meant that these perpetually underfunded institutions suddenly had to struggle to compete for talent that had been theirs by default. Many would complain about how desegregation robbed these schools of their own resources. But such whining undermined the massive gains that access to mainstream educational institutions afforded future generations.

While the old heads were still crying over what they lost because of desegregation, black culture was slowly seeping into previously hostile sectors of American culture. From the 1980s forward, black culture imposed itself on the mainstream in such a way that would make publications like Ebony and Jet obsolete.

The potential sale of Ebony and Jet is really not that big a deal. Though many may bemoan the sale, it’s time to come into the present. In the era of the first black American president, such heirlooms need to be put to rest or at least viewed in a way that is consistent with the times in which we live. In that sense, the potential sale of Ebony and Jet signifies not so much a loss as an opportunity.


How to Mobilize Your Social Media

Recently, Advertising Age reported on the 400% surge in mobile video uploads to YouTube, attributed to the new iPhone 3GS. Beyond the implications of what that may mean for the value of ad inventory on YouTube, one thing is clear: There is an inseparable link between social media and mobile devices.

As the capabilities of these devices expand, we can expect that updating social-network sites via mobile will continue to increase and may eventually even surpass the wired web. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook are remarkably dependent on mobile access for the value they provide to their users. I would also argue that mobile status updates are, by their very nature, timelier, more relevant and potentially more interesting to their readers.

Today, every major social network offers its users a range of mobile services, from mobile web access to downloadable mobile applications. Although consumers with high-end devices may be the primary users of these mobile services, some social networks also offer a number of SMS-driven features that allow consumers to stay engaged by text, even on low-end mobile phones. This represents a big opportunity for brands to maximize their efforts and move consumers easily between their mobile and social media experiences.

While social media campaigns are becoming more common, we often see that when agencies and brands begin their engagement with social networks, they act as if their entire audience is on a computer -- the mobile aspects of social media are frequently neglected. And the reverse can also be said about many brands' initial mobile marketing efforts: They often neglect to effectively integrate the power of mobile social-media elements (even when these elements already exist) to further engage consumers and fans of the brand.

Twitter is a great example of the power of mobile and social media working together. According to Nielsen, more than 3 million Twitter users in the U.S. alone regularly access the service via the mobile web. Additionally, many consumers are frequently using Twitter through SMS and a range of downloadable mobile applications for iPhone, BlackBerry and other mobile devices. This makes Twitter an easy and seamless way to drive consumers to mobile content.

If you're already actively using Twitter for a brand, consider how mobile-friendly your tweets are. If you're including links to content on YouTube, Flickr and many other social-networking sites that automatically redirect users to their mobile versions of pages, you're doing great. But if you are sending Twitter users to a page on your all-Flash website or content that could potentially crash a phone's browser, you should consider posting both mobile-friendly and non-mobile links to important content that you want to share.
Also, if your brand has a mobile site and a Twitter account, then why not invite your mobile users to click over and follow your tweets right then and there? I've only seen a handful of brands take advantage of this easy integration point.

According to Nielsen, Facebook is the No. 7 mobile website in terms of reach. About 15% of Facebook users (11 million) in the U.S. regularly access the social network's mobile web version (not to mention various downloadable versions and the roughly three million users who use SMS). Users visit the mobile web version an average of over 18 times per month and each visit lasts about 10 minutes.

At the time of this writing, Facebook fan pages are just beginning to be supported on the mobile web, and hopefully soon on mobile applications as well. Once they are fully supported, that will open up mobile social-media integration opportunities. Already, the Facebook Connect service is allowing brands to link their iPhone apps to users' profiles, and Facebook Connect has potential for mobile websites as well.

Facebook recently launched a new feature for fan pages that allows users to subscribe via SMS. This is a free service that essentially gives any brand with a Fan Page the ability to send targeted SMS updates to their fan's mobile phones if they have opted into the service. However, only a few brands have effectively used this new feature, and more work needs to be done to actively engage fans with it by including content that is relevant to mobile users.

YouTube is a powerful social network and content site, and by far the most ubiquitous in terms of the number of platforms and devices that it can be accessed from. Even on mobile, there are a number of distinct ways that users can access the full range of mobile content. The native versions of YouTube that come pre-installed on iPhones, Android phones like the G1, and the Palm Pre offer the best mobile user experience. However, the mobile web version is also outstanding, and has well over 4.6 million users that log in many times a month.

Any brands that are on YouTube and are also doing mobile, but are not integrating the two, are missing an important opportunity. Your mobile site is just a click away from lots of video, and you can add links to video descriptions that can be used to drive users back to your brand's mobile site for more. Also, consider the power of video to influence consumers at the point of sale. Virtually everyone who walks down a store aisle these days has a device in their pocket that gives them the ability to get to your brand's video content. You just need to take a few simple steps to connect the dots.

Quality vs. Quantity
Both mobile and social media are more about reaching niche audiences and getting them actively engaged than they are about massive reach. They are about getting personal with the consumer, which makes both social media and mobile impressions more valuable. These consumers are fully engaged. They have raised their hands and want to know more. And once they've told you they're interested in more, they will be disappointed if they don't get it.

Some who look at social media and mobile through marketing goggles question reach and how these channels can be used to sell consumers more stuff. But in the era of Web 2.0, part of the selling process is increasingly becoming about the art of being there for the consumer in the always-on environment of mobility- charged social media. It's about offering something of value, creating movements that build over time, engaging with passionate fans and giving them the tools to influence others.

By using a multichannel approach to social media that fully leverages mobile communications, you will have a much greater likelihood of gaining critical mass for your social media initiatives. You'll gain even more valuable social media impressions, and most importantly a growing list of brand fans that you can continue to communicate with. It will allow consumers to digitally participate in this brand movement anywhere -- and anytime.

Webster Lewin is senior VP-director of digital innovation and strategy at MS&L.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

@ Journalist Did you get my press release?

@Journalist Did you get my press release?
{ Tags: journalists, online pr, pr, twitter \ Jan7 }
The last few weeks I’ve started noticing some PR people I follow on Twitter give a heads up to twittering journalists about a press release they’ve sent them. It usually goes something like “@journalist Just sent you a release. Let me know what you think.”

Now, not going to name names because that’s not the point of this post, and besides no one’s saying this is bad etiquette. However, it does smack a little of old school PR tactics.

From this small sample journalists are relatively for the approach. That said, just like in social media, you’re dealing with different views and preferences and no one-size-fits-all approach will work. This doesn’t mean that all journalists on Twitter want to be @followedupped. You still run a risk of being blocked. Also, as @charlesarthur and @jimboeth say, an @followup should be instead of a follow-up call and not as well as.

The responses from PR people are on the whole against such such tactics. If this is a true representation of PR people on Twitter then it’s certainly a good thing as it shows that we’re being more cautious when networking online. Maybe too cautious judging by the journalist’s responses?

Considerations when @followupping journalists about news releases:

Make sure they’ve clearly stated that they don’t mind @followups
Make the choice: @followup? Or follow-up call? (personally @followups seem better)
Understand that you could be blocked from said journalists and ridiculed online for all to see
PR’s competitive – understand that your competitors can see what you’re up to (if they’re Twitter savvy that is)
Stephen is managing director of 3W PR, a UK based online PR consultancy. You can connect with him on Twitter or check out his LinkedIn profile. | Email Stephen

Group Mentality: Twitter to Debut Lists

Group Mentality: Twitter to Debut Lists