Category Archives: Media

How these top tech brands are helping fight terrorism

tech brands fighting terror

When the Obama administration wanted help in countering the success ISIS is having online, they didn’t call the CIA or the Defense Department. They called in the experts – Apple, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Government officials want to be able to monitor and track ISIS communications on the ‘net, and they need answers on the best ways to do that.

While this is not the first time major American brands entered a war, it does signal a sea change in how moderns wars are fought.

In the early days of America’s fight against Fascism in Germany, Italy, and Japan, U.S. companies such as Ford and General Motors turned their factories into productions companies for the war effort. Nowadays, the DOD has its own go-to suppliers, and the war has shifted into new terrain – cyberspace.

ISIS, far from being only a few ignorant Middle Eastern peasants, has done an incredible job using the internet – particularly social media – to connect with sympathizers, recruit fighters, and radicalize others, even in the west. While western coalition forces may be beating ISIS in the field, they are struggling against the radicals’ social media PR efforts.

White House officials expected at the meeting, either in person or by teleconference, include Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The guest list details just how serious the administration is taking this threat.

Officials want to know how they can make it harder for terrorists to use the ‘net to benefit their cause. Tough challenge there.

The second purpose of the meeting and the more important one from a tactical standpoint is how those fighting ISIS can develop and disseminate their own counterprogramming.

staff_sergeant_david_firester_2010

Staff Sergeant David Firester

Propaganda has been a part of every war in recorded history. Armies use it to pump up their own troops, discourage the enemy and win the hearts and minds of non-combatants on both sides. There is both an art and a science to propaganda messaging. Sometimes it is as sharp as a scalpel. Other times it is as subtle as tossing a flaming torch into a fireworks factory. Counter terrorism expert David Firester, founder and CEO of TRAC Intelligence, said, “Knowing when, how, and how much to employ each of these tactics is a vital operational necessity. Hopefully, these top tech companies can help the U.S. do a better job”.

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Filed under David Firester, Juda Engelmayer, Media, Technology

PR How To Guide: Marketing to Women

marketing-women

Today’s woman feels pressure to do it all – raise a family, be a great spouse, run a business or succeed at their job, stay active and healthy, participate in the community, keep a home organized and clean… it’s overwhelming! Marketing efforts that are directed at women have to keep this “do it all” mentality in mind. Here’s how…

Give a percentage of revenue to a cause that women care about.

This is new type of marketing called “cause marketing.” By lining up your values with the values of women, which primarily lie with family and the community, you can appeal to their principles while marketing your business. Women want companies to be sustainable. Share with your audience how your business has gone green and the sustainable practices you’re proud to use. In the end, your company, products and services will be associated with doing good in the world, which puts you in a great light and can lead to customer loyalty.

Find people who “speak their language.”

For example, are you mainly marketing to mothers? Hire moms to write blog posts instead of finding a fresh faced college kid to pen your articles. Authenticity will come across in the writing, social media or other marketing avenues and your audience will learn to trust your content.

Avoid overhyping a product – old ways of marketing don’t make a dent today!

Instead, tell women what your product is and how it would benefit their extra busy life. Sell messages aren’t a great marketing ploy anymore, especially the more women get bombarded with advertising. Show them how your company can help them, their families and their life – they’ll get the message that in order to improve things, they’ll need your business.

Show that you value every woman’s time by responding to their questions and problems quickly and personally.

When you take too much time to deliver customer service, you’re telling your customers that their time isn’t important to you. Even if your product is priced higher than your competitors’, though, women will go with your company if they know they can depend on your fast, efficient service.

Sell the personality of your company more than you sell the products.

The products are secondary to reputation, service, atmosphere and visual appeal. One excellent way to sell a style instead of a product is to create an e-zine. Create an overall branded style to communicate to women that if they want the life you’re showing, they need to put faith in your company.

Brand yourself in your market, even if you’re a new business or a small business.

Many women prefer to buy brands, even if the other unrecognizable company has a better deal. The more clients you gain, the more recognizable your brand will be.

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Filed under Media

Christopher Burch, Richard Branson and Marlen Kruzhkov On Success

quotes-on-success

  • “Work hard and you shall do well.” Jonah Engler
  • “The golden rule for every business man is this: “Put yourself in your customer’s place.” Orison Swett Marden
  • “It takes more than capital to swing business. You’ve got to have the A. I. D. degree to get by — Advertising, Initiative, and Dynamics.” Ren Mulford Jr.
  • “Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.” David Rockefeller
  • “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” Thomas Watson, Sr.
  • “The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do.” Roy L. Smith
  • “In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.” Harold Geneen
  • “To succeed in business, to reach the top, an individual must know all it is possible to know about that business.” J. Paul Getty
  • “In business, I’ve discovered that my purpose is to do my best to my utmost ability every day. That’s my standard. I learned early in my life that I had high standards.” Donald Trump
  • “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.” Richard Branson
  • “Be Positive and keep your head up.”  Marlen Kruzhkov
  • “Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking. Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading: buying and selling.” Anita Roddick
  • “If everything came easy in business everyone would have a business and be millionaires. It takes hard work, consistent effort and courage to keeping fighting the monster of failure.” Delaine Robbins
  • “Always consider who you’re learning from. Don’t listen to people who are not experiencing the success you want.” Ehab Atalla
  • “Rejection is one step to get you closer to the destination if you simply stay persistent.” Sarah Tse
  • “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” Sven Goran Eriksson
  • “Success must be earned – it is not a given.” Christopher Burch
  • “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” Jack Welch
  • “Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.” Mark Cuban
  • “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
  • “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” Zig Ziglar
  • “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Tony Robbins
  • “Success is about creating benefit for all and enjoying the process. If you focus on this & adopt this definition, success is yours.” Kelly Kim
  • “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” Albert Einstein
  • “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” Dale Carnegie
  • “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs
  • “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi
  • “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” Ray Kroc

 

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Filed under Juda Engelmayer, Media, Politics, Public Relations

Beyonce: Bootylicious or Business Genius?

beyonce-marketingPop stars trading on “pretty” is nothing new. Since video killed the radio star, pop icons have separated themselves from also-rans by being prettier, edgier, or more visually interesting and entertaining. Production became not only a tool, but a necessity of the trade. Better production meant better sound, and that dynamic made celebrities out of both top producers and the hitmakers smart enough to work with them. Brands were born, and the music industry created bidding wars for top names. Since Madonna and Cher, all the best single ladies dropped their last name and put their first name up in lights.

When Destiny’s Child burst onto the scene, you didn’t have to be an industry insider to know who carried the most star power. After the eventual breakup of the superstar “girl group,” Beyonce’ rocketed to fame on her own.

Initially, her inherent sex appeal, camera love, and stage presence carried her, but pop music has a lot of good looking women who love the spotlight. Friends, associates – even critics – say it is  Beyonce’s business acumen that keeps her at the top. (And I’d argue marrying Jay Z has helped both of them.)

Even Harvard Business School has taken notice. According to Businessweek, HBS is offering a new class unit that asks students what they would do if they were working for Beyonce’.

The class is based on a marketing strategy case study co-authored by Anita Elberse, a professor of Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries, who asks students how they would handle the “surprise” release of Bey’s latest album. The recording was downloaded more than 617,000 times in less than three days. Not bad for tracks that were released exclusively on iTunes.

Now, not everyone could manage that. You need a massive amount of market presence and name recognition to get there, but the question is … how would you handle it? That’s a key question in any industry. Too many focus entirely on getting to the top, without any idea of what to do to stay there. A lesson, it seems, they could start learning from Beyonce’.

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Filed under Juda Engelmayer, Media, Public Relations

Great Phones & Giant Robots

When you think of South Korea you likely think of cars, smartphones, and flat screen TVs. But what about robots? Well, with the advent of a state-sponsored 735 million dollar theme park featuring futuristic rides, as well as R&D labs, robots are fast becoming big business in South Korea.

The park is not set to open until 2016, but it is being reported that the country will be investing more than one trillion won into its national robotics industry, an industry that has doubled in size in the past five years. In 2012, Bloomberg reported that the nation’s robotics industry had revenue topping 2.1 trillion won. Now, the government is working to increase that number to more than 7 trillion won by 2018. The projection calls for 600 domestic robotics companies employing more than 34,000 workers.

This effort must include a shift in presence and presentation for a country famous for its tiny electronics—semiconductors, sensors, and modern automotive computing equipment. One market PR challenge may stem from a transition in end user, from public defense to private consumer. This is because much of the technology being used to “commercialize” the robots comes from Hyundai Rotem, a defense subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group.

In fact, one of the robot products already in use includes a robot sentry, equipped with a gun and grenade launcher, that has been tested on the border with North Korea. For many westerners, this application offers unsettling images of ED209 the “Bad Robot” from the Robocop film.

But the transition from military to consumer applications may not be as difficult as one might think. The country is taking the right tack in its transition by employing robots in places frequented by kids. Machines are helping to teach students English and others interact with fans at baseball games. Connecting with kids on two different fronts, the robotics industry is establishing a tried and true – and highly effective – PR program.

This is a vital step in continued growth, even as neighboring Japan has countered with robotics investments of its own. If South Korea wants to establish itself as a competitive player in this industry, it cannot discount the power of consumer expectation and strategic public relations.

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Filed under Branding, Media, Public Relations

Frampton Comes Unglued

peter-frampton-throw-phoneWhen something happens, it has immediately happened and cannot happen exactly the same way again. Unless someone captures it on video, and puts it up on YouTube. Then the same incident can be viewed over and over again, dissected and debated until all context is destroyed.

In the PR business, Ronn Torossian says he has seen this happen to individuals and brands time and again. A momentary incident suddenly attains a life of its own, and a context completely divorced from any comparative reality.

Just ask classic rock superstar Peter Frampton. The “Comes Alive” guitarist recently came unglued at a concert where one oblivious and obnoxious fan was ruining the show for everyone around him.

Even though the venue specifically forbade flash photography and video, the fan took it upon himself to continue videoing the show. Now, this is hardly uncommon at concerts, but it is rude. Particularly if the venue has specifically requested concertgoers not do so. But the fan felt special. Forget that the raised arm and bright light was obstructing the view of the fans behind him, he was going to capture this moment (and probably illegally post it up on YouTube).

Then, Frampton got involved. He requested the fan stop videoing and stop taking flash pictures multiple times. The fan agreed, but went back to it time and again. Finally, Frampton had enough. He stopped the show and asked the fan to show him the shots he’d been taking. The fan obliged. Frampton glanced through the pictures and then pitched the phone into the rafters. Audience members cheered, and the offending fan was escorted out by security. Message, hopefully, received.

In past decades, it would have ended there, but in the Internet age, people are still talking about this incident ad nauseum online. Suddenly Frampton is more relevant than he’s been in years, and he has become a symbol of polite concert behavior. Like that time Axl Rose leapt off the stage and punched a fan, people will be talking about this incident for years. But they will be doing so with a much larger number of people.

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Filed under Media, Public Relations

Bitter pill – California Counties Sue Drug Companies

health-care-public-relationsIt may be one of the most necessary “unfair” questions ever asked in a courtroom, and it certainly has people lining up on both sides of the issue. Are drug makers responsible for the “epidemic” of prescription painkiller abuse? This situation is causing quite a Healthcare PR uproar.

 According to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek, Orange and Santa Clara counties in California have filed a suit alleging that pharmaceutical companies intentionally set out to turn rarely prescribed painkillers into “commonplace remedies.” The companies, according to the suit, downplayed the risk of addiction, and promoted the benefits of “chronic relief.”The suit goes on to allege that the drug companies intentionally deceived consumers, and even tried to undermine and reverse the common medical understanding of opioid drugs.

 Both sides of the argument understand full well that this case will reach well beyond the courtroom. With expected wall to wall news coverage, the consumer PR angle is vitally important. Many people already suspect they are being treated more like consumers than patients. To find out it is literally true would create a firestorm of backlash. Whether or not the California counties “win” the case or the drug companies in question have to pay any sort of penalties, there will be an extensive and very public conversation about this case. And, whether or not the drug companies are found liable in the court, they will be held to account in the court of public opinion. Of course, they knew this, and are likely prepared, but it will be interesting to see how and when each side releases PR in an attempt to control the public opinion conversation.

 There is no doubt that this fight will get ugly, and that both sides will end up playing both offense and defense. Motives will be loudly questioned, and accusations will be leveled. Should be interesting – and informative – to watch it all unfold.

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Filed under Corporations, Crisis Management, Media, Public Relations