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The Power of Being Infamous

Power of Being Infamous

Defined, being “infamous” is not a good thing at first glance. Being infamous means that you have an extremely bad reputation, making it a goal for many people to not be infamous.

Well, I don’t like to think that way. More to the point, I choose not to make my goals dependent on words described by vague words like “bad” or “good.”

There is power in being infamous, because there is power in perception. There is power in extremes. When someone boldly categorizes you in an extreme, there is overt power in that.

Power that gives you control (or at least the opportunity to control).

Of course, you don’t want a bad reputation for certain things. JetBlue doesn’t want to be infamous for stranding its customers on the tarmac, Tylenol definitely doesn’t want to be infamous for poisoning its customers with cyanide, and you don’t want to be infamous for basically being bad at what you want to be good at.

The power of perception, even supposedly negative perception, allows you to do several things:

  • Have a widespread conversation
  • Initiate the conversation
  • Control the conversation

This falls back on the notion that we can almost always use something bad for good. Even better, using your biggest weakness as your biggest strength as Sun Tzu would say.

I’m not speaking to striving for becoming “infamous” or some kind of antagonistic troll. What I am challenging you to do is to rethink perception when reacting to the onset of an infamous persona being thrust upon you. More plainly, when we are obsessed with trying to avoid becoming “infamous,” we may miss an opportunity while still becoming infamous in the end.

Take a note from some famous brands that have used their biggest weaknesses and turned them into opportunities:

  • Avis – “We Try Harder” campaign is famous for positioning Avis being “second best” as a good thing.
  • Barnes and Noble – The “Nook” was Barnes and Noble’s way of controlling the conversation surrounding the rise of e-books.
  • AT&T – “It Can Wait” campaign showed this phone brand’s response to cell phones being infamous for “texting while driving” fatalities that are on the rise.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

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What I Learned About Advertising from the Superbowl

Image Courtesy of whatconsumesme.com

Once I finish watching all of the commercials I missed (yes I missed a few, but that is a small price to pay when you are cooking your own wings), I will be doing a post later this week highlighting what I found to be the best ad spots this year.

Because hey, everyone loves the commercials.

For now, here are a few things I learned about advertising thanks to the hilarity and excitement the Superbowl brings to us viewers:

It’s all about the timing. Getting the laughs that instill brand recognition is impossible without a top-notch editor.

Twitter is your friend. Using hashtags to guide and track conversation is proving to be a rising (and effective trend). Just don’t pull a McDonald’s.

When it comes to music, be creative. Last year, “We are Young” was introduced to millions thanks to the Superbowl. The somewhat indie song became mainstream, making the ad it was associated with (Chevy) that much more effective.

Sex doesn’t really sell anymore. Let’s be honest, the GoDaddy commercial this year was an abysmal failure. We are now in an age where sex only sells when it is coupled with a vague self-awareness (Mercedes-Benz).

Watch the game with a computer nearby. Oreo won the advertising Superbowl thanks to some quick, creative thinking. 

5 Reasons Why Social Media Won’t Kill PR

Image Courtesy of Fourthsource.com

I’ve often heard it said that social media and public relations are merging and becoming synonymous. “The New PR” if you will.  I typically hear this either from college students or professionals speaking out of context.

Indeed, social media has become integral to public relations, and for the better, improved it. One-way-communication by means of the press release and press conference is no longer the norm. We’ve found it easier to create and sustain relationships with our constituents by means of effective control over social media outlets.

That’s the danger, though, isn’t it? Classic PR seems to be fading into irrelevancy these days, at least in the eyes of those who operate outside of the profession, especially those in advertising in marketing. Peers of mine have often regarded PR as a shell of what it used to be, and public relations professionals becoming social media managers rather than directors.

Sure, I’m a social media manager, so I get that point to a degree, but the concept of public relations being overwhelmed by social media is nonsense, and here are 5 reasons why.

5. Social Media Managers are not Publicists

Facilitating online communities is completely different from so many other aspects of PR, especially publicizing  Yes, publicists get a bad rep, but that doesn’t change how good they can be at their jobs. They are just as essential as agents, and you can’t maintain the image of a prominent businessman, politician, or celebrity without a publicist.

4. Social Media only Addresses Consumers (for the most part)

There are some exceptions to the above statement, but for the most part, social media is focused on the interests of consumers and the general public. Social media does little to foster the relationships an entity may have with  the government, investors, employees, and especially the press. For many PR pros, this is a “duh” moment, for they constantly fixate on more than just social communication.

3. Social Media can be Difficult to Measure

In many cases, social media is not as easy to prove effective to the powers that be. When it comes to ROI and actually driving sales, social media can be difficult to build a foundation on because it is reactionary communication. It functions in the same way that word-of-mouth does for advertisers. We create the message and pick the channels, but we can’t always see the fruits.

There are ways around this, and I’m not saying that social media is not beneficial (quite the opposite actually). I’m saying that we are not yet at a place where social media can be dissected comprehensibly on a chart, and most PR pros don’t want to take the risk of building their ROI around social media impressions alone.

2. The World is Bigger than Social Media (Right Now)

So many of us live in cities and towns, so we forget that it’s a big world out there. Even within the states, we have to constantly remind ourselves that not everyone flocks to the internet as their source of reference. People still read newspapers and respond better to billboards than sponsored stories. It’s how the world works.

In time, millennials like myself will rely on “outdated” concepts such as (who knows?) cell phones and commercials. Social Media won’t kill PR because not everyone in your audience is using social media. Simple right?

1. Good Social Media Needs Good PR

Ideally, social media is about transparency, effective communication, and relationship-building. For PR pros, that sounds pretty familiar to what is essential about PR. Social Media is more than just a tool of PR, it is a product of it. The idea of instant, transparent communication being out there for the whole world to see is working for many people because many people rely on good PR.

It’s not just about the product. It’s the image and how the image is presented. Without the fundamentals and structure of high quality public relations, social media is just another bulletin board at your local coffee shop. With the right tools, however, it can affect more than just a handful of coffee drinkers.

The two subjects need each other. Be sure to watch how social media evolves in the coming years, and we’ll see just how the profession of PR changes with it. I am confident that both have a bright future.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

What Public Relations Should Boil Down To

Image Courtesy of etsy.com

This is a crazy, roller-coaster of a profession. Though I’ve only just begun my career in the last year, I’ve delved into corporate communications, agency work, freelance, the world of publicity, and now nonprofit PR.

The job of public relations is definitely fascinating, and continues to grow as more and more people are choosing it for their career path. College students all over the world are seeing the benefits of choosing this profession, though some are honestly in it just to jump on the social media bandwagon, but let’s be real. PR is about so much more than just social media.

What is Public Relations? This is a question I hear often, though I’m confident most people who ask me already know. We are in the business of creating and maintaining good relationships with the publics of whatever organization we are working for. It’s advocacy but with a clear focus.

Yes, people confuse it with advertising and marketing all of the time, though the three are actually more integrated than you might realize. Still, there is one thing that definitely separates the profession from so many others, including it’s “cousins” of advertising and marketing. It’s the one thing that PR should always boil down to.

Love.

PR is about showing love and reacting to how it is reciprocated. We craft relationships and images out of love for our constituents: the government, investors, our own employees, and of course, the consumers of our brand.

“But Jon,” my internal conscious says as I write this, “PR really boils down to making your company look good no matter what. It’s about saving a company money and creating good press, not love!”

This is my internal reaction to the idea that PR should boil down to love. Being in the business for a short while, I’ve seen the bad side of how PR is used just as much as I’ve seen the good. That said, I’ve seen the success of PR versus the failure of PR and that leads me to the conclusion that PR needs to boil down to love.

I believe this not based on how the profession has been judged and seen by others in the past. I believe this not based on what I want out of the profession.

I believe that PR is about love based on everything I have experienced up to this point in my career. 

Yes, we write press releases, measure ROI, pester journalists and do whatever we can to increase the bottom-line for our organization. That’s the reality of our lives in PR. Everything we do, whether we do it in love or not, has to be sustainable.

All of these things, however, are just goals. They’re what’s necessary to achieve the vision of whatever organization we are a part of.

To truly find success in PR, the message has to be sent in love. It has to respond to the needs of whomever is affected. Sure, a PR professional can’t please everyone. What may be good for consumers is not necessarily good for stockholders. Not every consumer is going to like a new policy change or maybe something as simple as a new logo.

It’s the PR pro’s job to maintain balance between these opinions and concerns, constantly using two-way communication, that yes, social media has allowed us to foster better than ever before.

Is there dishonesty in the profession? Absolutely, but that’s because there are dishonest people. The good PR pros know that shortcuts and coverups are the most impractical options for how to deal with crises. This is why you will often see companies owning up to their mistakes and making them right. You know that a good PR team is behind those decisions.

PR goes by a set of rules very similar to how we operate as people. You have to show love. To your customers, to your employees, and to your partners. When an organization operates by this creed, they will find success in PR.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

Instagram Doesn’t Deserve The Hate

Taken From My Instagram

Recently, Instagram updated its privacy policy much to the displeasure of its users.

Basically, a photo you upload, while you still have ownership, can be used by Instagram for advertisements without any compensation to the owner of the photo.

Thousands of users are vitriolic over this change, mostly because it is symbolic of Instagram’s newfound relationship with Facebook, who bought them earlier this year. You think Facebook, you think privacy issues.

I, for one, will not be deleting my account anytime soon, and for one simple reason: Instagram is free.

Honestly, why should I get paid for Instagram using my photo to acquire more users? I didn’t set the service up. I didn’t put the man hours and engineering smarts into providing a totally free space for users to upload photos quickly on a popular platform.

Instagram owes me nothing. I downloaded the app for free and enjoy it daily. The least we users can do is allow Instagram to share our public photos with other people to let them know how great the service is.

Obviously, many people disagree with me on this, and that’s fine. Legally, Instagram will be fine because this policy change is transparent and you agree to terms and conditions. Those upset with the service are at least responding correctly by shutting down their accounts.

In other words, they are taking to heart the old idiom, “If you don’t like it, don’t use it.”

On the flipside, this is bound to create some negative publicity, resulting in Instagram losing more accounts than they would have gained from the advertising. So, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if they apologized and rescinded this practice. If they don’t, I won’t lose any sleep.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

Why I Love Commercials

And it’s not because other people hate commercials. I’m not a contrarian (or at least, I try not to be). Also, It’s really a coincidence that I am writing this after one of those politically advertised elections of all time–I actually just wanted to talk about this today.

Anyways, I love commercials. I haven’t always loved them, but over the past year I have noticed something very interesting about the trajectory this form of traditional advertising is on.

Think about it. The advent of on-demand television and Netflix has made commercial advertising trickier than ever. I don’t think I need to really emphasize just how easy it is for us to bypass commercials altogether. The unintended consequence of this new reality is that advertising quality and creativity have only made commercials better.

Gone are the days when commercials could just blanket every market because executives were confident their message would be seen no matter what. Here are the days when more money than ever before is being spent on market research, target demographics, and well, production.

Even over the past 4 years, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in commercial quality across the board on the same channels, especially cable networks such as FX, TBS, and Comedy Central. Compared to just a few years ago, I find myself more engaged and more likely to respond to television advertising, which let’s face it, is necessary during these changing times.

Commercials are now more interactive. They share ideas with social media. I saw a commercial the other day that made me laugh out loud, and that never happens. It may not even be that the content is that much better than it was a decade ago or the products are better. It’s really just that advertisers are doing a better job of capturing our attention.

Just look at the commercial I used as this post’s featured image (clicking on it will take you to the youtube video for the commercial). Amazing right?

How am I so sure that this is a result of more challenging advertising hurdles? Well, I’m not. Correlation is not akin to causation and all that. Still, I can’t help but believe this is a case, due to the fact that I find myself actually enjoying commercial advertising for the first time, even on Hulu.

Whatever the reason for this perceived increase in commercial quality, I find myself being a person that enjoys people trying to sell me things in-between my favorite shows. Let’s just hope this won’t have an adverse effect on my wallet.

JN

3 Ways We’re Attracted to Brands Like We’re Attracted to People

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What makes a product brandable, or rather, have the ability to be promoted effectively?

I liken the dynamic to relationships. Specifically, how people are attracted to other people. It takes three ingredients:

1. Appearance

Aesthetically, how does a brand and its product appear to the consumer? For most of us, the first thing we notice about a person we inevitably become attracted to is their looks and how beautiful we think they are.

This is a basic human process that translates into how we superficially judge a product we see in the store or on a billboard. If the product doesn’t have that attractive look to it, it will be much harder to make the product attractive to its target audience.

2. Personality

How we interact with a person is a major factor in developing a liking for them. We need to be able to have a chemistry with the person, approve of what they represent and enjoy being associated with them. Much is the same with how we utilize a product or service.

If I have a bad time with a certain brand and hate how the company interacts with me via media, advertising and my actually using the product, I will not start a relationship with that brand.

3. The X Factor

We’ve all had those relationships where we loved the appearance and personality of a person, but we just couldn’t see ourselves spending all of our time with them.

The X factor is an unseen, unexplainable aspect of our attraction to people, as well as brands. This is what truly separates the brandable products from the rest. Unfortunately, it eventually comes down to luck.

We like to think of marketing as a science, and it is to a point. Tragically, the X factor is a product of many variables surrounding a brand that can prevent a company from reaching the global audience they strive for.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me)

 

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