Stories by Seth Arenstein

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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.

11 Cost-Effective Tips for Using Online Video to Build Engagement With Your Brand

June 27th, 2016 by

In one of social’s least-surprising developments, video is booming. Exclusive data Shareablee has provided PR News is evidence that consumers are engaging with brands’ video at unprecedented levels. And with online video having an estimated ad revenue of $10 billion in the U.S. market, even Instagram, created to highlight still photos, added a whopping, by its standards, 45 seconds to its stingy 15-second video limit for non-brands; brands were granted a full minute early in 2016 to preview Super Bowl ads.

Mobile Tech Lags Behind for Company Intranets as Pressure Builds for IC Pros

June 27th, 2016 by

We live in a mobile world, so mobility is ubiquitous, right? Not so fast. While it’s true that many things are done via mobile apps, it’s not been the case with internal communications (IC). Even some top-flight technology companies are only just now introducing mobility to their intranets via smartphone apps in response to employee demand.

How Team Starfish Won PR News’ Crisis Team Championship in Miami

June 20th, 2016 by

When Volkswagen sputtered in September with dieselgate, we had little trouble finding PR pros to opine about how VW could use the crisis to remake the brand through trust and transparency ( PRN, 9/28/2015). Similarly, trust and transparency were in play during a crisis management competition at PR News’ Digital PR & Marketing Conference on June 8 in Miami Beach. Crisis pros Pia De Lima, VP, corporate communcations, Western Union, and Allison Steinberg, communications strategist, ACLU, formulated a fictitious crisis scenario (below) and judged several teams’ crisis plans. The teams had 30 minutes to concoct their plans in pursuit of a $1,000 prize that PressPage—a sponsor of the conference, along with Business Wire, Cision and LexisNexis—provided.

Engagement, Frequency of Nonprofits’ Video on Facebook Soar in Q1; Number of Posts Fall 6%

June 20th, 2016 by

Nonprofits may have more in common with B2B and B2C brands than one might think. This installment in our series detailing consumer engagement with U.S. brands on social platforms finds patterns similar to those seen earlier when the focus was engagement with B2C and B2B brands on Facebook (PRN, May 30 and June 6). Examination of exclusive data provided to PR News by Shareablee shows the most engaged B2B, B2C and nonprofit brands seem to be emphasizing quality over quantity as the number of posts in Q1 2016 was down compared to Q1 2015. As a result, consumer actions, which is defined as the sum of likes, shares and comments, also fell.

Communicators See Strong Possibilities Through Integration of LinkedIn and Microsoft Products

June 20th, 2016 by

You have to hand it to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella. When he goes shopping, he comes heavy. Nadella plunked down $26 billion June 13 to acquire LinkedIn as a way to energize both companies. His hope, of course, is that the deal will be a win-win, with LinkedIn gaining cachet, scale and technology and Microsoft obtaining access to information about the mostly white-collar businesspeople who are LinkedIn’s stock and trade. Arriving at a stagnant Microsoft two years ago, Nadella has been pushing the brand to become friendlier to corporate customers. In this respect, LinkedIn and its 105 million monthly active users seems a good match. In all, LinkedIn claims 433 million members, or 433 million resumes, a juicy target for brand communicators.

The Week in PR

June 20th, 2016 by

Scrap the App:We seldom get a pitch like the one we received June 15. An email promised that a new study contained “qualitative and quantitative data” revealing “that women would rather forego sex AND makeup… Continued

Revenue Grows, But Labor Costs Stop Firms From Reaching 20% Profitability

June 13th, 2016 by

Confucius said, “Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” The same holds for PR firms and profitably. Data supplied exclusively to PR News Pro by Gould + Partners reveals none of the 106 PR firms, which were grouped by net revenue, reached 20% profitability, the industry benchmark. Individually, some firms polled for this 2016 study had 30% profitability, others were far less. The groups failed to reach 20% profitability in the ’14 and ’15 surveys, too.

Snap to It: Tips for Brands to Get Started on Snapchat or at Least to Think About Now

June 13th, 2016 by

Like all social media platforms, Snapchat is tweaking itself, and the social community responds with changes of its own. Just weeks ago it was accurate to say Snapchat contained no e-commerce ads, that it averaged 8 billion daily views and that curated content on the evanescent platform was strictly verboten, a liability for brands intent on having maximum control of the message. Each of those statements now is untrue. Quickly to the first two: Snapchat began accepting e-commerce ads May 1 and it now says it is averaging 10 billion views daily. While those first two points are important to brand communicators, especially those interested in speaking to a millennial demo, the curated content piece may be the most important.

PR News Salary Survey: Despite Modest Raises PR Pros Satisfied With Pay, Career Choice

June 6th, 2016 by

39% of PR pros told us their salary increases were modest (1%-3%) (Figure A). In addition 32% received no salary increase or said salary increases did not apply to them. As in 2015, most PR pros (87%) in 2016 said they were very or moderately satisfied with their occupation and, believe it or not, their pay packages (68%) (Figure C).