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Can You Hear Me? How Communicators Can Help Good Brands Avoid Making Bad Decisions

July 11th, 2016 by

After a reported two years of testing recipes, researching and listening to consumers, PepsiCo admitted June 27 it had goofed regarding artificial sweeteners. The result: Not even one year after spurning aspartame and launching Diet Pepsi with sucralose, the soft drink brand was forced to reverse course. Amid falling sales and consumer outcry, it said Diet Pepsi with aspartame will return shortly. Adding a touch of confusion to the situation, PepsiCo also will continue to offer Diet Pepsi with sucralose. Importantly for communicators, this sour episode occurred when it’s easier than ever to gather information about customer preference via social media.

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How to Hone Your Message-to-Influencer Match

July 11th, 2016 by

You know how bloggers have invented a writing subgenre of mocking the PR pitches they get? Recently I saw a lengthy takedown of a PR firm’s effort to publicize what the blogger felt was a hollow startup. The blogger portrayed the PR firm’s pitch as comically superficial. I’ll forego linking to the post because I prefer to avoid boosting ad revenue for crass blogs that bully people. Admittedly, the pitch material was superficial. It went against every principle of clear writing that I teach. All things being equal, the PR firm’s staff should have pushed back on the startup to get more concrete facts about the new company’s goals, what it does and why it’s credible. But that wasn’t the main problem, and it didn’t prevent the startup from ultimately succeeding elsewhere; more on that below. The biggest problem is where the startup’s material landed: in other words, where the material was pitched. Granted, the pitch was directed to a blog that’s well read among the startup’s target market: millennials. But this particular blog also is known for snarky opposition to PR outreach. It was like putting red meat in front of a gaunt, stray dog.

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What’s on Deck After Snapchat?

July 8th, 2016 by

Just this week, Snapchat added a feature called Memories, which enables users to save their snaps and stories and find them again easily. PR News’ followers on Twitter have been complaining that Memories is just one more step in Snapchat’s transformation into a Facebook wannabe. The ephemeral fun’s gone. For some, it’s time to move on to—what, exactly?

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How to Brainstorm, Build and Break Down Your Next Visual Campaign

July 8th, 2016 by

No matter how great the current state of analytics is, the experience of putting together a visual campaign on social media may bring back nostalgia for the days when data was harder to come by. There’s just too much to measure. With the various types of media available—video, still images, infographics, etc.—the task of developing a fitting measurement framework at the beginning of a campaign can be uniquely tricky.

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‘Memories’ Update Puts the Past at Snapchat Users’ Fingertips

July 7th, 2016 by

On July 6 Snapchat began rolling out Memories, a new feature that, depending on your point of view, adds to the app or chips away at something unique to the platform: impermanence. Users will now be able to save their Snaps and Stories to Memories, find them again by opening Memories (located under the camera button) and scrolling or typing keywords, and re-Snap them to your friends.

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How Walmart Made the Transition to Brand Storytelling

July 7th, 2016 by

First and foremost, you have to understand your audience, says Chad Mitchell, Walmart’s senior director of digital communications. Not even a brand as big as Walmart can boil the ocean when it comes to audience. So you have to ask questions like, “Who wants to hear from us?” or “Who needs to hear from us?” and then build a content and channel strategy that’s tailor-made for your audience.

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4 Guidelines for the Data-Enhanced PR Pro

July 6th, 2016 by

PR News’ Measurement Hall of Fame members have a thing about data or, rather, a thing about the casual disregard of data in the PR discipline. Few things aggravate them more than a PR professional who worries openly about proving the value of communications efforts yet shies away from taking the first steps toward using data to inform their work and show the effect of their work on an organization’s goals.

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7 Tips to (Almost) Guarantee a Successful Media Pitch

July 6th, 2016 by

There is no secret recipe that will ensure good press—or even coverage. But executives still want their companies to be written about, so there has to be a way to improve your chances of getting picked up by the media. Media pitching is hard. It takes equal parts knowledge, skill and luck, but there are still new and engaging ways get the kind of coverage that’s sure to make the C-suite salivate.

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Dreaming of Living Abroad as a Communications Pro? 5 Things to Know

July 5th, 2016 by

For many the idea of living abroad is appealing. There’s the challenge of the unknown and anticipation of exciting experiences. Those in the communications profession are often fortunate to work on global campaigns from their home countries. However, crafting culturally sensitive messaging and working with foreign colleagues from home, while helpful, isn’t the same as living abroad.

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How NASA Made a Star of Juno on Social

July 5th, 2016 by

If you’ve been following Juno’s historic launch into Jupiter’s orbit, you’re not alone. Along with the consideration of multiple demographics in its presentation of content, NASA has mastered successful coordination and cross-promotion on social throughout Juno’s approach. While making excellent use of the public’s recent acceptance of live stream into the mainstream, the space agency has been driving traffic to its websites and video streams via coordinated, cross-promoted social media campaigns.