Corporate social responsibility and brand building

Far from being the novel concept it was in the last century, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is now being integrated into the business models of most companies. For those unfamiliar, the basic premise behind CSR or corporate conscience activities is for businesses to extend their presence from being mere commercial entities into companies with positive social impact.

Corporate social responsibility can be done through social entrepreneurship where a company’s practices, products, and services are developed in order to solve social problems. Some successful social enterprises are the Grameen Bank, a microfinance organization dedicated to the financial empowerment of the poor; Newman’s Own, actor Paul Newman’s salad dressing company which gives 100 percent of profits and royalties to charities; and Toms, which gives out one pair of shoes to a person in need for every one pair sold. Company policies that espouse environmentally sound initiatives in developing products, support job creation, and contribute to economic improvement are also considered socially responsible.

Image Source: www.thinkinc.com

In addition to benefiting the communities being served, having policies like these could also benefit the companies themselves. For instance, many investors offer support to companies with well-developed CSR programs precisely for the reason that values-driven businesses are more attractive. Now that people are becoming socially aware, it’s become imperative for people to incorporate this consciousness into their buying attitudes, as seen through the proliferation of companies who proudly display their fair-trade, local-sourcing practices. Media outlets are quick to recognize businesses with philanthropic endeavors as they are to chastise those on the other end of the spectrum. CSRs create goodwill and shine a positive light on companies that include such programs in their operations.

Image Source: beansouptimes.com

Furthermore, many workers find that companies with high regard for values consistent with CSR are generally positive working environments. This leads to improved productivity and employee longevity.

The necessity of corporate social responsibility only increases with time. As more people begin to realize the importance of knowing how one’s actions affect the environment and society, CSR programs become truly essential to a company’s image and lifespan.

Atomic PR believes that social responsibility is essential in brand building. Visit AtomicPR.com for more ideas on brand development and public relations.

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REPOST: PR 101: U.S. training Arab militaries in ‘public communications skills’

The United States will be offering a five-day seminar to the armed forces of Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Lebanon to train them not in the art of war, but of communication strategies.  This aims to improve the Arab militaries’ image in the international press.  Read more about the program as detailed by the World Tribune.

WASHINGTON — The United States has been helping Arab militaries improve their image.

The U.S. military’s Central Command has administered a program to teach Arab militaries communications and public relations. Officers said the U.S. effort, launched in 2011, has been offered to a range of Middle East countries, including Egypt, whose military overthrew the nation’s first Islamist president.

Egypt is among several Arab states to receive military public relations training from the U.S.

Image Source: www.gettyimages.com

“The intent is not to create public affairs experts, and it would be impossible to do that within the time frame of the training,” U.S. Army Col. John Robinson said. “We are sharing basic public communications skills that they will be able to use.”

Robinson, Centcom’s director of communications, said the military has drafted a five-day strategic communications seminar for Arab states. He said the seminar has been offered to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen.

“The course work covers a range of public affairs topics, including media operations, communication planning, message development and social media capabilities,” a U.S. military statement said on Aug. 20.

“Participants also learn about the importance of engaging key leaders and get practical experience serving as military spokespersons during mock interviews and news conferences.”

Robinson said the seminars were taking place at Centcom’s headquarters in Tampa, Fla. He said the Arab participants have been selected by U.S. embassies in the Middle East.

Centcom reported that Jordan’s military attended a seminar in 2013. Officers said the seminar helped Jordan’s military arrange for media coverage of its annual Eager Lion exercise two months later near the border with Syria.

“There was a real opportunity for misinterpretation if you didn’t understand what Eager Lion was about,” Robinson said. “This was about U.S.-Jordanian partnership. It was not about Syria. But to make that known, you had to have trained spokespeople who could communicate with the press.”

Another seminar was held for Yemen. Officers said the Yemenis included representatives of the Defense Ministry in Sanaa.

“Having the opportunity to learn from other military members who come from a background similar to mine was a great experience because of their knowledge in journalism and operations,” Yemeni Brig. Gen. Ali Al
Harazi, deputy director of moral guidance at the Defense Ministry, said.

Officers said Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have expressed interest in the Centcom program. They said the program was also building links between U.S. and Arab militaries.

“And as a combatant command we gain relationships — people we can reach out to again and again,” Robinson said. “At the end of the day, we have helped develop trained communicators in partner nations who already know us
and have dealt with us, by name.”

 How will PR for political imagery change industry strategies?  Compare this model with established branding practices through the website of Atomic PR, a leading PR specialist with a successful campaign portfolio in different areas of PR.

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Product flops that showed the importance of good PR

It takes more than offering a good product to achieve success in business. Oftentimes, a good publicity campaign is also in order. Over the years, a number of products have proven this to be a fact, as even their supposedly brilliant concepts failed to bring in the profits.

Image Source: ruthlessreviews.com

Super-Size
What’s better than a McDonald’s meal? A super-sized McDonald’s meal of course. In 1993, the fast-food giant began offering super-sized servings of its products. Naturally, customers enjoyed them. However, a documentary by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock put a slow end to the super-size profits in 2004. His film showed him eating McDonald’s products for a month, and recorded the negative effects on his body. Without a good countermeasure, McDonald’s gradually ceased serving super-sized servings of its meals.

Image Source: businessinsider.com

RJ Reynolds’ Smokeless Cigarettes
Smokeless cigarettes would have been a perfect solution to the dangers of second-hand smoke. This was what Camels’ creators intended to do when they released their smokeless cigarettes in 1988. However, rumor circulated that these could be used to hide crack cocaine. The bad impression remained etched in the public’s mind. That and the cigarettes’ less-than-appealing flavor led to the product’s failure.

Ford Edsel
There was much hype surrounding the Ford Edsel in 1957, and people crowded showrooms to see it. But the car’s mediocre design and features did not live up to the high expectations, showing that even the best intentions in PR are oftentimes just as good as the product being sold.

The last example, though a bit circumstantial, shows the benefits of good PR.

Image Source: fastcoexist.com

DeLorean Car
This car was a certified flop during its time, selling just 9,000 units in all in 1973. More than a decade later, a movie gave it a cult following. In 1985, Back to the Future hit the big screen. The movie featured the DeLorean car as a time machine, effectively granting the automobile an iconic status. Though phased out, its demand remains significant enough to cause limited reproductions.

Atomic PR’s website offers insights about PR and how it helped shape today’s markets.

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Apple eyes bigger iPhone and iPad screens

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Image Source: businesstoday.intoday.in

Apple Inc. is reportedly attempting to keep up with the trend and competition set by its major rival, Samsung, by tinkering with larger screens for its key products. According to the Wall Street Journal, the California-based company and its Asian suppliers are subjecting to trials screens as big as 13 inches for the iPad and smartphone displays larger than four inches for the iPhone. The news spurred speculation on whether or not a bigger iPhone or iPad is imminent because the tech giant routinely tests product variations. But by dabbling on screen size options, Apple could be showing a renewed effort to expand and maintain consumer base through product diversification and innovation.

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Image Source: dailytech.com

While Apple still has a stranglehold of the tablets market, Samsung leads the smartphones market with a 33.1% market share in the first quarter. Samsung has seen a rise in its market for phones with larger screens because of the growing numbers of consumers using their mobile phones more for the applications than for making calls – a trend which Apple had long underplayed because of its belief that mobile phones are supposedly for one-hand use. Tim Cook defended Apple’s choice of screen size for the iPhone5, saying that it has a larger screen without sacrificing one-handed use. Click here for more of the reasons Apple hasn’t made a bigger iPhone screen yet.

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Image Source: businessinsider.com

That said, improvements in battery and processing technologies would encourage the tech company to rethink its policy, said Kuo Ming-chi of the Taipei-based KGI Securities Investment Advisory Co.  Kuo added that the next thing Apple needs to resolve is the ideal weight of the iPad, should the company push through with bigger screens for the product line.

Take a closer look at how smartphone companies campaign for an upcoming product release by reading this blog on Atomic PR.

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Apps: A growing PR battleground

Buying the affection of the masses is a tenuous way to build brand influence, as proved by the jumping loyalties of consumers and fierce business competition. Some PR strategies have put no object on samples and giveaways, which are instant catch-ons for even the most disinterested passersby.

snappette

Image Source: prcouture.com

For brands that have built global influence and near-stranglehold on demand, a couple or a dozen from the assembly line go a long way. But in industries where a handful of samples is too little and an entire warehouse unlocking is financial suicide, this strategy is expensive. Hence, companies are hard-pressed to give consumers other ways to experience their brands, apart from product freebies.

NARS-Andy-Warhol-Holiday-Facebook-app-image

Image Source: ageistbeauty.com

NARS, a beauty and cosmetics brand with growing international presence, stamped its identity on consumer consciousness another way. A lipstick blitz couldn’t have drowned out its competitors in the saturated industry nor improved its sales margins after campaign costs have been accounted. Without a single giveaway, the company relied on the low-cost virtual platform to diffuse a feel of its products. It developed a Facebook application that simulates and applies Andy Warhol’s style in cover photos to promote the company’s line inspired by the pop artist.

Web-based apps have been driving significant traffic even before the word “app” had been coined. Beauty and style magazines launched virtual makeover programs on their sites, which demonstrated the results of products that were advertorial partners.

Video Source: youtube.com

The effective turn in NARS’ strategy is in its penetration of social media, as opposed to the locked-in enjoyment of apps in company websites. Taking advantage of Facebook’s quick-sharing features, NARS diffused its brand identity every time users changed cover photos using the app. That this PR strategy is also demonstrated rather than stated in tiresome Facebook status updates or Twitter hashtags adds to its painlessness.

See more examples of clever PR strategies by visiting the website of Atomic PR, a leading PR agency with a number of memorable social media campaigns for prominent brands to its credit.

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From ultras to virgins: The different types of social media personalities

With the information age continuing its reign, every netizen has become best friends with social media. Whether it is on Facebook or Twitter, Internet users make updates in large volumes on a daily basis. And just like any other universe characterized by a particular culture, the virtual world is able to produce “peoples of various personalities.”

A survey by UK-based online bank First Direct showed that the Internet is able to produce 12 different social media personalities. While each personality is distinct from one another, it is possible that users may actually identify themselves in one or two of them. “Most people using social media will display a combination of those personality types, and they may even behave differently on Facebook, for example, to how they behave on Twitter,” explains Dr. David Giles of Winchester University, one of the study’s analysts.

Image Source: prdaily.com

The following are brief descriptions of each social media personality:

1. The Ultras. These are people who are fanatically obsessed with Facebook or Twitter. They have smartphone apps, and they check their feeds several times a day.

2. The Deniers. These are people who claim that social media don’t control their lives but can actually become anxious or feel ‘isolated’ when they are unable to access their accounts.

3. The Dippers. These netizens access their pages infrequently, often going days or even weeks without tweeting or posting an update.

4. The Virgins. These are people who just recently signed up to social networks and have the potential to become “ultras” in the future.

5. The Lurkers. Also called “observers,” these people rarely participate in social media conversations because they fear that their opinions may be considered irrelevant.

6. The Peacocks. Easily recognizable, these people love to flaunt anything that could boost their ego.

7. The Ranters. Gentle and timid in face-to-face conversation, these people are highly opinionated online.

8. The Ghosts. These Internet users create fake usernames to stay anonymous, fearing that their privacy and security might be compromised.

9. The Changelings. Like the ghosts, these people disguise themselves in fake names but can also shift to several “alter-egos” to further strengthen their anonymity.

10. The Quizzers. These people often start forum-type conversations by posting questions to avoid the risk of being left out.

11. The Informers. By being the first to post interesting (and brand-new) information, these people are able to earn kudos and—just as important—more followers and fans.

12. The Approval-seekers. These people worry about how many likes, comments, or re-tweets they get, constantly checking their feeds.

Atomic PR uses hard data and sophisticated analytics to drive success in its Internet-based marketing strategies. More discussions on PR and digital marketing can be read here.

Hollywood’s most powerful publicists

Celebrity publicists are professionals who build the good reputation and promote the marketability of celebrities to the public. They handle interview requests and media appearances, and work closely with celebrities and follow them on promotions and tours. They also act as spokespersons and counselors to help celebrities manage controversies.

Business Insider lists the most powerful publicists who “hold the key” to Hollywood. Most notable on the list are:

1. Kelly Bush

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Image Source: startoutlaentertainment.eventbrite.com

She is the founder and CEO of ID, a firm that represents the biggest names in Hollywood. The New York Times writes that she is responsible for the casting of Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man and reviving comedian Paul Reubens’s career after his involvement in child pornography.

2. Robin Baum

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Image Source: laineygossip.com

She is also a partner at Slate PR and represents A-list actors, including Johnny Depp, Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts, Orlando Bloom, and Dakota Fanning. Aside from having a powerhouse clientele, she is also known as the publicist whom Russell Crowe acknowledged at the Oscars during his acceptance speech for Gladiator.

3. Shawn Sachs and Ken Sunshine

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Image Source: businessinsider.com

This powerful duo heads Sunshine Sachs, a PR firm based in New York and LA. The firm represents Hollywood stars, like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Karlie Kloss, Naomi Campbell, and The Jonas Brothers, and maintains a powerful reputation in the business even without a website. Aside from working with celebrities, Sunshine Sachs also offers PR services for various corporations.

The success of these celebrity publicists suggest that to become an influential publicist in Hollywood, one must be willing to face the challenges of working for the stars in order to share their star power.

Atomic PR is a public relations agency for consumer, technology, and entertainment companies. To get updates from the industry, follow this Twitter page.

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Web trends: Tracking all the tagging

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Image Source: trackinginnovations.com

 

The growing number of techniques developed to maximize Internet presence has peaked.  Whereas hardly any firm paid attention to what their target market did online in the early 2000s, several strategies have now been developed to gain the participation of their audience on the Internet.  Tracking methods have been perfected to a point where they can even forecast the financial return.  Tagging has become so effective that Google finds itself changing its search algorithms more than once a year.  Consumers have grown to depend on information found on the Internet that smartphone sales dominated the mobile market and mobile data is now being used more than ever before.

 

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Image Source: siliconrepublic.com

 

An ever-expanding storage system, cyberspace has become very complex.  In addition to the way most website developers add tags to their content to rank high in search engine results, several others have also released different versions of means to track clicks to sites.  With so many techniques being employed to tag content and applications being developed to track them, the Internet has been increasingly saturated with marketing-heavy content.

 

BeFindable
Image Source: rapportinc.ca

 

A Global Tracker report by Evidon found 987 Web-tracking tags from ad servers, analytics companies, and social network sharing tools. This marks a 53-percent increase from just 645 unique trackers in the previous year. In a further study, Evidon found that nearly 29 percent of tracking services ran their crawls twice, while 13 percent did so thrice, and nearly 10 percent would deploy four or more times– making it evident that the industry is continually looking for ways to create, find, and monetize statistics from tagging.

 

Digital public relations is constantly evolving. AtomicPR stays on top of the trends to deliver the best analytics-based campaigns to its clients. Like this website to stay updated.

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Graph Search: The Facebook feature that everyone has been waiting for

Image Source: hearsaysocial.com

Image Source: hearsaysocial.com

Facebook recently launched the beta version of Graph Search, which is seen by pundits as the social network’s first serious search feature. The feature allows users to input plain-English search strings that use facts that the social network collected based on its users’ activities. Some of the examples given were phrases like: “movies liked by people who are film directors,” or “people who like tennis and live nearby.”

The results, meanwhile, will show Facebook pages that match the search query. It is expected that this search feature will still lead to the standard page of Web search results, courtesy of Bing, when it fails to find pages that fit the query. Still, there is a lot of potential in the feature when fully developed that users may start to interact with the site mainly by searching instead of browsing.

Image Source: technologyreview.com

Image Source: technologyreview.com

As the new search feature is further developed, observers believe that Zuckerberg’s brainchild could be sitting on something highly useful and profitable as it allows the site to tap into what it knows about its users.

People on Facebook could soon be using the site to find all sorts of things – it could start with something like their friends’ favorite movies and eventually develop into recommendations on products and service providers, which could influence their purchase decisions. As early as now, it is interesting to note just how important this feature could be for companies and how they can possibly react to the need for a stronger presence on the social networking site.

Image Source: searchengineland.com

Image Source: searchengineland.com

AtomicPR is a highly experienced PR firm utilizing social media, video, events, and other activities in its campaigns. Follow this Twitter page for updates on marketing and PR events, and other related industry news.

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REPOST: The Data-Mining Industry Kicks Off a Public Relations Campaign

Public relations campaigns are usually proactive are usually proactive, but they may also be used to mitigate some damage. This article from the New York Times shows how one million-dollar public relations campaign aims to “set the record straight” on “mischaracterizations” about data-mining. If successful, this may  prevent the regulation of consumer data-mining altogether.

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Image source: New York Times

The Direct Marketing Association, a trade group in Manhattan, introduced a $1 million public relations campaign on Monday morning with a lofty title: the “Data-Driven Marketing Institute.”

The purpose of the effort is to buff the image and forestall regulation of the consumer data-mining industry. This industry consists of business-to-business companies, known as data brokers, that collect, share, analyze and sell information about consumers’ online and off-line behaviors in order to tailor marketing pitches to them.

According to a statement, the trade group intends to promote such targeted marketing to lawmakers and the public “with the goal of preventing needless regulation or enforcement that could severely hamper consumer marketing and stifle innovation” as well as “tamping down unfavorable media attention.” As part of the campaign, the group plans to finance academic research into the industry’s economic impact, said Linda A. Woolley, the acting chief executive of the Direct Marketing Association.

The group planned to announce the campaign during its annual conference in Las Vegas. It comes as legislators in both the United States House and the Senate have opened investigations into the practices of leading data brokers. Separately, the Federal Trade Commission is also investigating certain firms and has called on the industry to increase transparency. Some legislators, regulators and privacy advocates have said they are worried that unregulated collection of marketing data about people’s personal, health and or financial concerns had the potential to result in unfair pricing or inferior service for some consumers.

Ms. Woolley said the industry’s public relations effort was intended to counteract those concerns.

“We want to set the record straight on what we think has been a lot of mischaracterization of what we do and to explain the benefits of data-driven marketing to consumers,” Ms. Woolley said.

One issue the campaign is not designed to address, however, is a recommendation from the F.T.C. earlier this year that the industry set up a public Web portal where consumers could learn about the practices of data brokers and about consumer choices for accessing or deleting information collected about them. Ms. Woolley said so many different types of companies collected or used consumer data for marketing purposes that a public Web portal would be unfeasible.

Still, when consumers learn that third-party companies may collect information about their purchasing records and tastes, at least some people say they would like to be able to see the marketing records data brokers hold about them and have some control over them, said Chuck Teller, the founder of Catalog Choice, a company that helps consumers limit the catalogs, coupons and other direct-mail pitches they receive.

About 67 percent of people who answered a recent e-mail questionnaire sent out by his company said they felt it was very important for them to be able to see the information that data brokers collected about them, while about 78 percent said they felt it was very important to be able to opt out of the distribution and sale of information about them, Mr. Teller said.

“It’s pretty clear that consumers want to opt out of the use of their data by companies they don’t do business with,” Mr. Teller said.

Atomic PR has an impressive portfolio of successful PR campaigns for clients in a range of industries. Find out more on this website.