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Deadly Spin – Wendell Potter’s dizzying revelations on Corporate PR and the Health Care Industry

27 Feb

For my Communications Law & Ethics course we had to write a review on Wendell Potter’s Deadly Spin. I highly recommend reading this book, but be careful about taking it too literally. Like the Bible, sometimes it’s more important to understand the message behind the stories than to believe them word for word.

Wendell Potter's Deadly Spin

In his Whistle-Blowing novel, Deadly Spin, Wendell Potter routinely gives examples of “spin” he was asked to create for problems or situations facing the Health Care Industry, and he was good. I was fascinated to discover that even though he sets up these samples as examples of horrible and almost blatantly dishonest spin, I found myself buying into them. His knowledge of Public Relations tools and the insides of the Health Care Industry are truly astounding. I was concerned when stating this book that it would be a tell-all, slanderous, hate-filled rampage of an embittered ex-employee seeking to win some fame for himself while bashing his former employers. I was happy to discover that this was not the case. While the book is tinted with Potter’s current emotional and ethical state, it comes across as a straightforward explanation of what he saw and did for the good of his company. Some may criticize Potter for citing few outside sources, especially when making comparisons to other industries that he is not a part of. I did not see this as detrimental to what he was trying to accomplish since the book is presented primary as a personal reflection.

After a brief and interesting, if a bit unnecessary chapter on his background, Potter jumps into the dirty secrets of the Health Care Industry’s PR professionals. He uses Michael Moore’s movie Sicko to describe how the industry prepares preemptive strikes on potential troublemakers. Potter explains how a team of top insurance executives paid an informant to report on the premier of Sicko both for the content and the reaction of the audience. Before the movie was even available to the general public, the Insurance industry was creating plans to attack the movie and to undermine Moore’s credibility. The movie did not live up to the success of Fahrenheit 9/11 and the insurance companies ended up not needing many of the tools they had in place. Potter explains that they did not consider their plans a waste, because it was a warm-up to the health reform debates that would take place after the (2008) election.  While this chapter was very interesting and a great way to get the book moving, the Mission Impossible feeling that Potter gives to the Industry’s actions may be a bit overboard.

Aside from the Sicko example, Potter gives at least three other important case studies highlighting the devastating impact of the Health Care Industry’s greed on American citizens, and their great skill at making Americans believe that the industry is on the side of good. The example chapters are a little less cohesive than others as Potter seems to wander through his memory of the experience. While interesting and important to his main arguments, these chapters take on the feeling of a memoir tinted by the author’s current perspective. Especially given his obvious strong feelings regarding the job he was doing and the terrible things that he was in essence “covering up”, it seems surprising that it took him so long to reach this the ethical and moral epiphany. This makes the writing seem a little bit less credible. Potter writes about some of his experiences as if he were an outsider, writing about someone else’s life. If Potter is trying to absolve himself of his “crimes”, this might be better done by taking the time to give more details on the thoughts that he had at the time and to really explore his mindset and how he had bought in to the company’s propaganda, instead of just telling the readers that the further along the path he got, the more he drank and pretended it didn’t happen. While this is a difficult area for an author, painting his past self so black and his current self as so virtuous can be off-putting to the reader.

While some readers may not find Potter’s recounting of his life or his detailed history of the healthcare industry necessary, the chapters Perception Is Reality, It’s All About The Money, along with his concluding chapter, Spinning Out Of Control are full of valuable information and warnings to all of us. In these chapters, Potter gives the reader a drive-through lesson in the more sinister PR tools, gives more examples of them in use, and describes how the decay of the print newspaper has helped contribute to the rise of spin. Those working in the newspaper industry might be a bit outraged by the claims Potter makes regarding their profession. In his final chapter he talks about how easy it was for him to pitch reporters a story and get them to write exactly what he wanted. He claims that because newspapers are in decline and have less staff, reporters have less time to fact check and verify information on their own; that they were always grateful to him for providing information that was so easy to make into a story.

Deadly Spin is a book that should appeal to almost any reader. It does not go so deeply into details of the Health Care Industry as to alienate those who do not have an interest, nor does the reader come away from it feeling that it has no meaning to their life. While some people may not be concerned about Health Care, in any industry at any company, similar tactics are being used to persuade public opinion. At the end of the book, Potter offers as a rule of thumb for spotting spin “The cliché that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably I, is generally true.”   This cliché could possibly be applied to Potter himself. While the book did educate me in a fairly pain-free way on an industry that I had little prior knowledge or interest in, it is highly unlikely that all the answers are presented here, in this one text, in a perfectly unbiased manner. Given the information about his past and ethics (or lack thereof) that Potter himself explains in the book, I would not advise readers to take this book as a literal, unbiased “telling it like it is”. Instead I would suggest they use it as a warning that these “spinners” are so good at spinning, that even while writing about the evils of it, they’re doing it!


Google-lytics: Part 1-Using Google’s FREE search features to find your audience.

29 Jan

I’m taking a Social Media/online tools class at DePaul this quarter and one of the things we’ve worked on is using free Google searches and tools to help businesses select their target audiences and find the best point of connection with them. I’m going to call this series “Google-lytics”  but I’m hoping to make a small series of posts on this and related topics. One of my Delta Gamma sisters, Sarah Eutsler, has a small business she’s just started, On a Good Note Designs, and I’ll be using her as a case study.

Part 1 is all about something you think you know how to do: Search. Yes, you open your browser and start typing away, letting Google autocomplete help you out, but there’s so much more you can do.

Sarah’s company specializes mostly in cute notecards, some personalized cards, and more recently wedding invitations/save the dates. When you type “note card designs” into Google, you get this. Notice over 83 million results, what does that mean to Sarah?

Screen shot of a google search for notecards

What Sarah can do is click “more search tools” on the bottom left and select “related searches”. This will help her learn how people look for note cards online.

Screen shot of related searches for "note cards"

So instead of just looking for “note cards” people look for things like “custom note cards” or blank or personalized note cards. When choosing keywords, this will be important information for Sarah to have. (but we won’t get to that until my post for Part 2.)

Now that she knows what some of the terminology out there is, Sarah wants to know what the online note-cards community is like. Who is her competition, who are note-card enthusiasts she can reach out to, and what words are these people using when discussing note-cards? (do they even use “note-cards” or “note cards” or “notecards”?)
When you’re in Google you can scroll to the bottom to find “advanced search”. Here you can enter in specific phrases to search for, things you want to exclude, and keywords. Here I decided Sarah does not want to know about people selling templates or giving “how to” advice so it was removed from the search results. With the words I chose (and by playing around with others) Sarah can see who else is using the same words she has in her name and on her website and how they’re using them.

Screenshot of Google Advanced Search Results for Note Cards

Once you submit the search, you can expand the options on the left sidebar to specify what kind of content to search for. Sarah can search for blogs that fit this criteria and pitch them public-interest stories related to her business. One of my blog results was this site which is a blog of an artist/writer with an interest in cats who just happened to write a post on Valentine’s Day cat cards. Since Sarah includes pictures of her cat on her webpage and sometimes writes anecdotes about cats in her blog, this could be a perfect connection for Sarah to make.

In Part 2, we’ll look at Keywords to maximize search optimization and how to use Google AdWords to select the best keywords with the lowest competition.

If you want to do some searching on your own, there are a number of free tools that you can use. (and some of them that I’ll be posting about) Here’s a list, courtesy of my professor Ben Foster.

Google Search options

Thirsty Gobble Thursday

24 Nov

I decided I need to add some sort of regularity to this blog, and instead of feeding it a Jamie Lee Curtis-promoted yogurt, I came up with Thirsty Thursdays. On Thursdays I will post any interesting blog posts, tweets, articles, or anything else that people thirsty for marketing/PR insights would (hopefully) be interested in reading.
Happy Thanksgiving! This is one Thirsty Thursday where, per tradition, I will definitely be playing up the thirsty side. I am done with my first quarter of grad school, yay! I don’t know what grade I got on my advertising presentation but go ahead and check out the awesomeness of our I-Go Plans Book. Sorry you have to download the pdf, but it’s just too huge a document to put on here.

(The awesomeness of the ads/layout of the book needs to be credited to Jen Wright)

So browse through it and enjoy, while I go stuff myself with Turkey and Vodka.

Chicago Theatre District: Broadway in Chicago “Student Scene” PR Campaign

21 Nov

This is the paper for the group project/final for my intro PR class at DePaul. We got an “A” so I thought I’d share.

BIC Student Scene PowerPoint Presentation

 Chicago Theatre District

PRAD 555 Final Campaign

Broadway In Chicago Student Scene Logo

Alina Blackford, Katie Denton, Lauren Dixon

 Situation Analysis:

Broadway in Chicago was founded in July of 2000 and throughout the past ten years has become one of the largest locations for traveling performances in the country. “Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well over 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Bank of America Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and just off the Magnificent Mile, the new Broadway Playhouse.”[1] While Broadway in Chicago reaches a large number of people every year, none of their marketing efforts are geared specifically towards one or even a few target audiences. Broadway in Chicago seems to be trying to reach everyone with their campaigns and out of that target of “everyone,” BIC ignores the thousands of Chicago University students who live and play right next-door.

Subscription purchases are always preferable to theaters than single ticket purchases. Customers purchasing subscriptions commit to a certain number of performances and are more likely to purchase again in the future than single ticket buyers. Theaters aim to make life-long partnerships with subscription buyers, hoping that a feeling of loyalty to and ownership of the theater will keep them from straying to other entertainment sources. BIC has a members club in which subscribers can receive points for performances they attend but offers no additional perks for students, not even student rush tickets. Broadway in Chicago does not manage its own box office but uses Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster records can be accessed for tracking subscription and single ticket purchases.

Broadway in Chicago theaters host touring performances in an array of genres ranging from traditional musical theater, (West Side Story, Marry Poppins, South Pacific) to new modern musicals (The Book of Mormon, Rock of Ages, American Idiot). Broadway in Chicago Theaters are right in the heart of the loop surrounded by a variety of restaurants and nightlife options. Many loop restaurants offer a prix fixe menu where anyone with theater tickets can get an appetizer, dinner, and desert for a set price.

SWOT Analysis


  • BIC presents nationally touring Broadway shows
  • BIC has a wide variety of performances to choose from
  • BIC is the 5th largest tourist attraction in Chicago
  • BIC theaters are surrounded by restaurants and nightlife


  • There is a lack of a target audience in Broadway in Chicago communications.
  • There is a missed opportunity in targeting students and creating discounted programs to encourage their attendance


  • BIC theaters are located in the heart of the Loop near 4 major arts schools
  • There is room to target students at these colleges with an interest in art, but a lower budget
  • Liberal arts students offer a large target audience


  • Chicago is home to a large number of arts organizations that have similar performances at the same time as BIC theaters
  • Chicago has a dynamic nightlife that attracts students on the weekends
  • School theaters offer lower prices to their students than BIC shows


Broadway in Chicago Theaters

  • Oriental Theatre-24 W Randolph St
  • Cadillac Palace Theatre-151 W Randolph St.
  • Bank of America Theatre-18 W Monroe St.
  • Auditorium Theatre-50 E Congress Parkway
  • Broadway Playhouse-175 E. Chestnut Avenue (Water Tower Place)

Loop Schools

Columbia College Chicago- Private Arts and Media College

  • 600 S. Michigan Ave (about 15 minutes away from the theatre district)
  • 11,400 undergraduates and 522 graduate students
  • 2,200 students live in four residence centers – all located steps from our main campus

DePaul University- The Theatre School

  • 135 N. Kenmore Ave (about 20 minutes away from the theatre district)
  • One of America’s oldest and most respected theatre conservatories
  • 330 students (very small program)

DePaul University- Loop Campus

  • DePaul Center 1 E Jackson Blvd (right in heart of theatre district)
  • Upperclassman and graduate loop housing at the University Center (UC).
  • 25,145 students total

○        16,052 undergraduate students, 8,017 graduate students and 1,076 law students.

Roosevelt University

  • 430 S Michigan Ave
  • Home to the Auditorium Theater
  • 3,919 undergraduate students and 2,703 graduate students

SAIC- School of the Art Institute of Chicago

  • 37 South Wabash Avenue (right in the heart of the theatre district)
  • Leader in educating artist and designers
  • In addition to studio courses all students are required to take courses in liberal arts and art/design history, theory, and criticism
  • 3,246 students currently enrolled

Strategic Planning


To generate interest and increase attendance among Chicago students at Broadway in Chicago performances.


To increase subscription purchases by liberal arts students who are more than 21 years old to 1,000 in one year.



○       Students to become regular subscribers to BIC performances and to view BIC as a social event


○       By bringing BIC to the schools and forming relationships with student clubs to further promote student program


○       Through a combination of social and traditional PR techniques to successfully roll out our one-year campaign


Broadway in Chicago Student Scene

We will create the Student Scene to encourage students studying at schools with connections to the Loop to become regular viewers of productions by Broadway in Chicago. A points system will be developed allowing for exclusive member benefits. Once the students graduate, they will have the option to roll over their points to the official Broadway in Chicago Club, encouraging them to become life-long subscribers.

For further encouragement to join the Student Scene, we will position the club and theater as a social scene for this younger generation. We will choose four performances each year, one at each theater, to host a pre or post-performance event for Student Scene members. Students with a pre-determined amount of points will be able to attend the event free of charge; those with no points can pay a small fee to attend. The events will also be multi-tiered benefiting those students with more points. In October we will host a kick-off welcome party for Student Scene members.

Events for the 2011-2012 Season:

The Book of Mormon: Bank of America Theatre, Dates: Begins December 11, 2012

  • Pre-performance cocktail hour with a special introduction by the directors

The Addams Family: Cadillac Palace Theatre, Dates: December 13, 2011 – January 01, 2012

  • Post-performance costume party

American Idiot: Oriental Theatre, Dates: February 07, 2012 – February 19, 2012

  • Post-performance party with Green Day cover band

Bring it On: The Musical Cadillac Palace Theatre. Dates: March 06, 2012 – March 25, 2012

  • Pre-performance party with cast members, the Chicago Bears and the Honey Bears cheerleading squad

University Engagement

We will hire student ambassadors from each university for season-long internships. The students will act as liaisons between Broadway in Chicago and the student population. Their job will be to promote the Student Scene while bringing suggestions and concerns voiced by peers to our team to better the program. Student ambassadors will participate in information tables at competing performances or as a street team. This represents the grassroots portion of our campaign, as the student ambassadors will be required to physically promote the program. Student ambassadors will receive a free membership to the Student Scene and double points for future members referred by them. We will also purchase Student Scene advertisements in PlayBills for University Productions and partner with Marketing professors at these four target schools to incorporate the Student Scene campaign into curriculum.

Traditional Media

Our campaign team will pitch relevant local and university media with features about the kick-off party and following performances, events and benefits. We will pitch entertainment reporters at:

  • Chicago Sun Times
  • Chicago Journal
  • Chicago Reader
  • RedEye
  • The DePaulia
  • The Columbia Chronicle
  • Roosevelt Torch
  • FNewsMagazine (SAIC)

Social Media

Develop a social media campaign around the Student Scene for updates on schedules, productions, events and other news. Social media is an effective outlet with which to reach our defined audience.

  • Facebook page: Members will be invited once they join the Student Scene. Pictures and short video clips will be posted of events and performances, and updates will be listed. The Facebook page will only be open to Student Scene members.
  • Twitter account: The Twitter account will run continuous updates on all BIC performances and events.
  • Blog: Managed by student ambassadors chronicling their experiences as BIC Student Scene interns, the performances they view and events they attend. This will act as another outlet for updates and will also encourage the next round of students to apply to be ambassadors to experience the perks.
  • YouTube channel: Student Scene will post clips from their events

Measuring Success:

Success of this campaign will best be measured over time. In the short-term, BIC can compare ticket sales and subscription sales of young people ages 21-30 before the campaign to the numbers afterwards. All aspects of this campaign will be tracked through Ticketmaster with codes. For example, if a student buys a ticket because another student referred them, the purchaser’s transaction will have a specific code entered into the database, so BIC can tell how many new customers were generated through referrals.

Building lifelong relationships with these students can also be tracked in the long-term through Ticketmaster. Upon graduating from their Loop University, students can be transferred in to the regular BIC Club and their points from the student club will carry over. These BIC Club accounts will be tagged differently in the Ticketmaster system than those of regular adult members and in ten years BIC can track how many active club members originated in this student program.

The success of this campaign can also be measured by the longevity of partnerships with the Universities and student organizations. The goal of generating interest and increasing attendance among Chicago students at Broadway in Chicago performances can easily be measured by using encryptions in the ticketing software to determine why ticket buyers are purchasing. After each season we will host a focus group of Club members to ensure that the club is still meeting their expectations. After the first year, this campaign can be rolled out to include younger students and expand to more schools in the Chicago area.


Introducing: Thirsty Thursdays!!!

3 Nov

I decided I need to add some sort of regularity to this blog, and instead of feeding it a Jamie Lee Curtis-promoted yogurt, I came up with Thirsty Thursdays. On Thursdays I will post any interesting blog posts, tweets, articles, or anything else that people thirsty for marketing/PR insights would (hopefully) be interested in reading.

On today’s list:  Chapstick. Yes, instead of writing about Kim Kardashian, I’d rather talk about Chapstick…it contributes much more to society. Chapstick posted an ad of a woman climbing up over a couch with her butt up in the air and the phrase “Where do lost Chapsticks go? Be heard at”. (if you click the link above you can see the ad). Well of course some people with dry lips and no sense of humor got angry at the ad and decided to share their opinions on the FB page, which Chapstick promptly DELETED.

There’s quite a few things that make this a PR disaster, but for me the number 1 is the fact that their ad campaign is based on fans sharing their Chapstick experiences and “being heard”, which is not something you can do if your comments get deleted. As I’ve learned in my advertising class, (and what I guess we all sort of know) is that a LOT of time and thought goes into EVERY aspect of an ad. Some college kid didn’t just stand up and say “hey, let’s do an ad with a picture of a butt on it! It’ll be hilarious” Chapstick researched their audience, especially their customers on Facebook and determined that this was their type of humor and that it would have an impact and that their tagline about FB would encourage brand engagement; they just weren’t ready for negative engagement.

Someone at Chapstick dropped the ball when it comes to their social media planning. While they may have chosen the ad based on target research, they had to have known that they were taking a little bit of a risk with this ad and should have had a social media management plan ready. When people did start to really dig in with unfavorable comments they should have either removed the ad or made a statement in defense of it and let the comments be. Instead they sneakily removed angry comments and then after that made the further mistake of hiding it behind the curtain of “Facebook guidelines” on inappropriate postings and spam.  Again, once they’d made the taken the risk deleting the comments and gotten backlash, they should have stood behind their actions (at the very least, although it would not have been the best idea) or fessed up and gave their audience a real apology.

Lesson to be learned? If you’re going to push the message of “be heard with our brand” then you have to be ready to hear bad things. You can’t erase them and pretend they never existed, this is NOT transparency.

On the topic of things that I love and can’t live without (I’ve been painting my blue tube of Chapstick on my lips throughout the writing of this post), Canadian band Our Lady Peace has been getting some fan backlash after their recent participating and support of the Occupy movement. As someone who’s been obsessed with OLP for a very long time, who loves ALL of their music, I really don’t understand how a person could call themselves  a “fan” and have no idea that they’re a band with certain political viewpoints and humanitarian beliefs. I mean, have these “fans’ actually LISTENED to any of their songs??

I personally think that OLP has done a wonderful job of capturing the feel of the movement in their video and free download Fight the Good Fight available at (sorry, I just couldn’t resist a plug for them). The band has always been transparent in sharing their personal politics and organizations that they support. While some of the backlash has come from people accusing them of being part of the “1%”  but out of any musician/celebrity figure getting involved in this, OLP is the perfect balance. In 2007 they left their record label, taking a huge risk of falling into obscurity to start producing themselves on their own terms, starting with their 2009 album “Burn Burn”. Lead singer Raine Maida is a vehement supporter of  War Child and Drummer Jeremy Taggart has been very vocal in protesting the digging of a Mega Quarry northwest of Toronto that would drastically effect the agricultural and environmental wellness of the area and hurt the Toronto area’s water supply and in participating in FoodStock, a fundraiser to help prevent said Quarry.

Our Lady Peace

Me and Jeremy Taggart after their 8/22/09 show at the Vic in Chicago

I think that writing a song and promoting it as a free download on their website was a perfect way to explain their involvement in the Occupy movement. The video was tastefully done and as Raine points out in the article “And Maida admits that it has occasionally been difficult for observers to figure out exactly what the protesters are opposing, noting that the “right language hasn’t gotten out there yet.””

Those are my thoughts for today, I hope your thirst is quenched for the time being. And go download the OLP song please, they really are fantastic.

**UPDATE*** Here’s a Op Ed written by Raine to the Globe & Mail .

There’s such a stong focus these days on brand transparency that a brand risks quite a bit when it tries to hide even small things. While I hate to use the word “brand” when describing OLP, they do have an image and a message that they put out in their music and their actions and movements they support are aligned with it. So if you’ve been paying attention, nothing that they do should come as a suprise.

“Navigating the Interactive Marketplace: Challenges, Trends, and Opportunities”

26 Oct

This evening I attended the “Navigating the Interactive Marketplace”Challenges, Trends, and Opportunities” panel at DePaul and I’m so glad that I did. The event was hosted by the Kellstadt Marketing Center, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) and the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA). The panel consisted of Jennifer Anton-Brand Manager for Miller Genuine Draft, Richard Hren-VP of Customer Insight Group at Razorfish, EJ Schultz, marketing report for Advertising Age, Clive Maclean, CEO at Euro RSCG, and was moderated by Diane Mermigas- adjunct new media professor at DePaul.

As moderator Diane Mermigas had the panelists address three main areas in interactive marketing Social Media: Cracking the Code, How does engagement lead to the transaction?, and Metrics-How do we identify them, apply them, and how do they lead us to the transaction. (As you can see, this was NOT a non-profit based presentation). Sorry but I don’t have quite the energy to break this down into a full discussion post, and I doubt you want to read it as such. I’m just going to write each panelists main points under each area.

Social Media: Cracking the Code

Jennifer Anton: Social Media is all about consumer engagement that is appropriate for your brand. Voice is key in successful social marketing. You have to make sure that the voice you are reaching out to consumers with is appropriate for your brand and is also appropriate for the platform. The voice that you use also has to be unique enough to set you apart from similar brands reaching out to the consumer on that same platform. Example: On a Friday night every beer company posts “Where you are going out tonight? Where’s the party at? etc.” You have to find a creative way to distinguish your brand from them.

Richard Hren: Social Media puts a face on the clique. It allows us to control, and actually have, a conversation. When dealing with brands on social media, participants (re: consumer) of different ages have differing expectations of the results of their engagements. Younger participants who interact more on social media platforms have a lower expectation of getting a response from their involvement with the brand, while older participants, who interact less frequently have a higher expectation of being engaged back.To these points E.J Schultz pointed out some of the obvious pitfalls of social media being that you can’t control the situation or what consumers are saying about you on these platforms

Clive Maclean: We now live in a “Conversation Economy.” It used to be that you wanted your brand to be noticed, now you want it to be talked about. “Conversation is mankind’s natural search engine”. (I love that one). Engagement moves the interaction to become more long-term with higher expectations. Instead of doing 1:1 marketing, we now do 1:1:many-by getting the consumer to engage their own network.

How does your organization go from engagement to the transaction?

Jennifer Anton: You need to make sure you’re not trying to do a “one size fits all” campaign -let people interact how they want to. Examples: Miller has just set up a test relationship with Yelp where when a KBD (Key Beer Drinker) searches under Chicago, any business that sells Miller/Coors products will show up first in the search. Blue Moon has an airport campaign running. If you’re a fan of Blue Moon on Facebook, when you land in any airport that serves Blue Moon (which I guess part of the campaign is that now all of them do), you get a text when you land letting you know where the nearest Blue Moon is (or something to that effect. Since I’m going to Charleston on December 1st, I’ll let you know how it works then).

Richard Hren: What the consumer wants is in the moment. Mobile Devices=the moment. The mobile device will eventually become a preferred payment method.

E.J Schultz: 84% of a brands fans are existing customers. The number of fans that a brand has is not as important as the number of people who are talking about the brand.

Clive Maclean: We need to stop chasing “the next big thing” and focus on getting the basics of marketing down. When the mobile payment device does explode, the money in it won’t come from the payment aspect, but will go to whoever owns the customer interface. Mobile payments are the fight of our lives and the ownership of the data from those transactions will be key.

Metrics of Social Media:

Richard Hren: Basic “click” date (what a customer clicks on) is easy to count, but doesn’t say much. Data on sharing, repeats, etc is better. Focus on what behaviors are indicative of the final sale I.e Does a comment lead to a sale? a Like? a share? Beware of “Data Silos” in your company -where each department (sales team, marketing, etc) has statistics and a certain view of who the customer is, but they are never combined to create the whole image of that customer.

Clive Maclean: Has created a “Customer Engagement Index” that measures how you’re engaged and the spirit of the engagement. It has two dimensions covering the relationship over an 8 part scale ranging from devoted-hatred and then an engagement dimension covering what type of engagement it is. This is tough for me to explain but the link to Clive’s blog about it is available here.

I hope some of this was interesting. There was a bit more flow to the conversation and it was really very well put together, but these were my main take-aways. Just the other day I read a blog post by Martin Weigel-The Head of Planning for Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam titled: “‘Engagement’: Fashionable Yet Bankrupt” which undermined a little what some of the panelists had to say. It was a really long blog post so I won’t go into a discussion here, but you really should read it. I would love to know what these panelists would say in reaction to it.

Some cool social media listening tools

20 Oct

At my Public Relations class on Monday (the one I went to before meeting my ethics friend from the last post), we had a guest lecturer on Social Media in PR. His name is Glen Raines and his business is SocialMediaMoves. If you’re struggling to find ways to get your business into the social media flow, I’d suggest checking him out and attending any presentations he does because he really has some interesting thoughts on the future of social media, and the best practices for promoting businesses with it.

While his presentation was very informative, the best part was the toys! He showed us a few listening tools that companies/organizations can use to track how they’re being talked about on the web (or if they’re even being talked about at all).

The first one I’ll show you is Monitter. Monitter is a Twitter monitoring site (as I hope you would have gotten from the name). FYI if you want to read the screenshot, just click on it.

Monitter Social Media Listening ToolAll you have to do to get started is type in the name of the company/organization and see what’s happening. You can add a column to search for something that might fall under the umbrella of your organization (for example you might look up Kellogs in one column and ‘diet’ in another to see if anyone is tweeting about using Kellogs’ products in their diet plans.) You can let the columns scroll in real-time or pause them to give you a chance to see what people are saying. I tried searching under CSO and then individual performers, such as the Concert Master or first flautist, but came up empty-handed. So CSO if you’re listening, nobody’s talking about your players, maybe you should aim some sort of campaign at them.

Another cool tool we discussed is Social Mention. Social Mention goes more in-depth that Monitter and sort of compiles and reports on the data for you.  You type in the name of your organization and it will show you anything that’s been on the web and will need to be refreshed every so often as new stories come in. Social Mention Social Media Listening Tool

I really think this site is awesome. You can sort the results by date or source and choose how far back you want to go. The little circles before the post will be green, gray, or red depending on if the feedback is positive, neutral, or negative. Strength is the likelihood that the brand is being mentioned in social media, Sentiment is the ratio of positive to negative mentions, Passion measures the likelihood that people talking about your brand will do so repeatedly, and Reach measures range of influence. Notice that on the left side the site also breaks down the number of each type of post and the top keywords and users. Underneath top users it also displays top #hashtags and sources along with the number of posts from each source. At the very top of the screen is the option to screen different types of social media. When I set it just to blogs the results were a little different.

FYI to any PRAD students reading my blog, I totally plan on using these sites for both my PR final campaign project and my Advertising final campaign project on CTA!

Social Mention Social Media Listening Tool

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