PR agencies in Ireland and how they interact online

We’ve created a page listing PR companies in Ireland. It’s one long flat page right now but we hope in time to create a proper directory listing all of these and their various presences online. If we’re missing some or some of the details need changing, leave a comment, send an email, arrange a photoshoot outside our office…

Yes your business and you can screw up in public

A good point was made to me of late and that is of companies afraid to join the online web community for fear of the reaction. They highlight the bad cases. For some that’s just an excuse. It’s the headache to avoid sex, right? And? Here’s the sad fact of life: Even Mother Theresa was hated. The cow.

A good point was made to me of late and that is of companies afraid to join the online web community for fear of the reaction. They highlight the bad cases. For some that’s just an excuse. It’s the headache to avoid sex, right? And? Here’s the sad fact of life: Even Mother Theresa was hated. The cow. That’s just humans for you. Hiding from this though means you hide from the 99.99% of people that will be neutral towards you/like you/love you. If you want to mix with the real world then you need to stick your neck out.

If there are negative comments there are going to be positive comments too, probably way more. Being afraid of potential negative comments ore reactions and allowing them to dictate online reactions will poison your company.

Dangerous
Photo owned by Phillie Casablanca (cc)

Maybe companies should have more faith in not screwing up? However if they do mess up, they need to realise that being genuine about what happened and communicating it will help an awful lot.

There are tonnes of cases of companies getting the crap kicked out of them online. I’m an example myself for having a very short fuse with companies that invade my email or online space without having manners. People think life is too short to get worked up, I think life is to short to let some fucker walk all over you and let them off because they’re thick or invariably, lazy. That’s me, not you.

Anyhoo… a subtlety about being online is that while a screwup can cause an online riot, it can cause just a mild stir too or nothing. Bloggers screw up from time to time and sometimes there are outcries and threats of hate-sites and then people move on, something else happens to catch the magpie eye. People understand screw-ups and if t can be relayed to those online why the screwup happened and that there is genuine regret, most people will say “That’s grand so”. It also helps if you are already active online and are known to people before the screwup. That’s the biggie. Before you do anything, try and not be a stranger. Be known by being there in some way. Emails to people complimenting them on what they do, comments on their blogs. Genuine commentary, not commentary to tick a box next to “Being there”.

Warning Soft Mud
Photo owned by Bitterjug (cc)

Another way of being there is to start interacting on Boards.ie or create a space on IGOPeople and gently get involved there.

Dominos and the issues with staff doing horrible things to their pizzas got worldwide attention within hours due to the virality of YouTube and Twitter and Dominos responded quite quickly with their own YouTube video. Dominos were not on Twitter or YouTube or had much of an online presence before this, that’s now changing. Were they online and had a presence they probably would have known of this sooner and reacted sooner. The event would still have happened but maybe it would not have spread as much. Imagine if Dominos just released a press release?

For very large companies/brands, your first adventures in opening yourself up to the world might end up with lots of people shouting at you for years of crappy service or that 1% of crappy service when 99% of it was great. Think of the tech support hotline where you might get someone ranting and raving at an agent about some computer issue and then they end it with thank you. Initially your customers might need to vent.

At the recent blogging event in the EU Commission’s office EU Commissioner Margot Wallstrom spoke via video to a load of bloggers and talked about her first few blog posts got hundreds of negative comments from anti-europe people. She addressed some issues and ignored some of the madder stuff. She kept blogging and slowly more and more of the comments became more positive. The people that ranted for probably not being listened to up to now realised they were being listened to and became more constructive.

If you as a company realise a percentage of your customers are pissed off at you and so this is a reason for not opening up, then maybe the transparent nature of the web is not for you. Ownership is changing, copyright is changing. People feel loyal to brands and companies and give over energy to support their following and so feel they have a little ownership of the entity. Owners look after what they own.

We live in a prudish world where what we do on our free time and then stick up on Facebook might be used against our employers and so our employers don’t want you to do this. Imagine if instead they said “so what?” and told anyone complaining that they fully back their employees. Online, we, the ones that play around here a lot, we do say the “so what’ bit.

So please, join, accept, return the comments, screw up, don’t screw up, have fun and benefit.

MeasurementCamp lands in Dublin, first one May 27th 2009

Analysis is like sunlight, it’s a great disinfectant. If something can be measured and analysised properly then it can have a real value. Online campaigns can be evaluated and companies and their clients need to know this. It’s not guess work. It’s not throw fifty grand at something and being told a few comments are the way to see that it worked. MeasurementCamp, the regular meetup of people who want to measure the effect of social media style campaigns now has a franchise in Dublin. Hooray for MeasurementCamp Dublin. Will McInnes is the founding father of the cult of the MeasurementCamp and now we are having one in Dublin and I hear it’ll be in more cities soon. Good.

Unlike MeasurementCamp in London, the “scene” in Ireland is still very much in the gestation period so as McampDublin gets going there will probably a lot more learning and teaching about the basics before we can up a gear. Switched-on PR and Marketing companies in Ireland are the exception rather than the rule but the appetite to learn about all these new areas is ferocious by a significant number of companies involved in communications. One of the main tasks too is to make sure and enforcing by beatings if need be (well maybe not) that people don’t try and do sales pitches. Both developers and PR/Marketing folks. It’s a habit that can be broken. We want case studies of both campaigns that worked and didn’t work backed up with how these case studies were measured. MeasurementCamp is about sharing so those coming along will be asked to give to the group.

If You Can
Photo owned by CarbonNYC (cc)

The first MeasurementCamp Dublin takes place on May 27th starting at 10am in the Odeon, with thanks to Fleishman Hillard for organising this venue and sponsoring it. There are 30 people signed up fo far, most of them from the dev side of the equation. We’ll hopefully see a rebalance with that closer to the day as the PR and Marketing companies become aware of this. Please sign up on the page above and come along if you’re interested in contributing to making the online PR and Marketing industry in Ireland better.

Present
Photo owned by Todd Huffman (cc)

D4Hotels – Great local example of Online Interactions

D4Hotels introduced a special offer back in January of hotel rooms with free broadband for just over €20 a night for select rooms at select times. News first hit about this on Boards.ie and spread like wildfire online before getting picked up by the tradtional media. It got huge attention when their marketing person appeared on the Pat Kenny show to talk about the offer and with what sounded like a rookie mistake or nerves or perhaps stupidity, she said all rooms were at that price, which wasn’t true.

D4 Hotels

She got dragged back on air the next day and got roasted by Kenny. Lots and lots of apologies and dozens of complaints. Online however, they not only got the communications right, they upped it with direct interaction with people who booked the offer and people who were considering it. Someone called Pat from D4Hotels came along on Boards.ie and started answering questions. Then switching people to better rooms and following up on stays to see were people happy.

Park Plaza Hotel
Photo owned by cherrylet (cc)(Not actual pic of hotel)

And when the special offer ran out? Well, with the momentum slowing, they introduced a special discount for those using Boards.ie. (Go here and the code is BOARDS) And the momentum kept going again. The discussion thread on the Bargain Alerts forum on Boards.ie got locked yesterday after 23 pages of interactions and 100+ posts from Pat but not before the hotel set up their own blog to keep the interactions going.

Recognition is deserved for Pat and others in D4 Hotels that did this. More of this sort of thing!

Fianna Fuckup – Government party trick bloggers into event

Update: Damien Blake who organised the “getting the bloggers and non-hacks to come along” bit has a blog post on this, apologising for the cockup and taking blame for it. He has also left comments below.

So Fianna Fáil got one of Obama’s web people to come and give a talk to the public about what he did. Or rather, an event billed to be a talk by Joe Rospars was advertised and bloggers were asked to put it on Twitter and their blogs.

It was far from transparent that it was going to be a Fianna Fáil supported event though it was obvious given Fianna Fail were twittering it themselves. It’s fine if they are getting this guy over as a consultant and then getting him to talk to the public, while here. However it seems very much that this was a Fianna Fáil event with a waving monkey for a few seconds and the rest was a party political broadcast. So Fianna Fáil without saying they were Fianna Fáil invited a load of bloggers to this with the (no pun intended) hope of seeing one of the Obamanointed ones but as I write this these bloggers are completely and utterly pissed off. Twitter is alight with their ire and it even seems Fianna Fáil are already trying to placate some journalists:

@unarocks on the phone with FF – they just called to try and control the situation.. too late guys!

Some of the ire here:

LIVID having been ambushed by Fianna Fail, lured with bait of Joe Rospars (Obama campaign director).

and here:

@fionnkidney i feel completely duped. How does FF think this is a good way to engage with bloggers?! TOOLS.

and here:

#rospars event over. People running away. Not a good event at all.

and here:

this event was NOT advertised as FF event. Recruitment was not through FF. But we went to a FF launch plus # Rospars with his FF account

When you start down the route of engaging with an online public, starting off with dishonesty won’t get you far. Events like these are meant to build trust, instead Fianna Fáil will now be even more hated and mistrusted.

More posts on this:

A very good summary from Suzy Byrne.

More on IrishElection.

And on Fionn’s site.

Green Ink on it.

Gav.

Brendan.

Irish Times coverage.

Collision Course II – Final Details – Sharing is caring

The second Collision Course is going to be on on Wednesday February 18th, again in the Edelman Offices on Stephen’s Green. We’ll start at 6.11pm and go on for an hour and half. 30 people have stuck their name down so far for this so we’re fairly full. But add your name too as there’ll be cancelations no doubt.

At this Collision Course we’re going to get the PR and Digital Marketing people to mix more with the bloggers who are attending and to share their experiences during the time we have. On the night we’ll split into three groups, each group will hopefully have the same ratio of PR/Marketing people to bloggers and each group will be given a campaign to work on. Each group will then present their ideas on what they’d do. The purpose is to cross-train/cross-share their opinions and insights and in doing so, get to know each other even more.

Last time we all went our own ways afterwards so maybe we should stick around for a while and get to know each other a bit more or head to a bar. Last time some of us went to O’Donoghues. Perhaps we can do the same again?

Police car crash
Photo owned by big-ashb (cc)

The next Collision Course is March 11th, again in Dublin. We’d like to try out another venue but to suit everyone, it needs to be in the City Centre. Offers are appreciated. The venue needs to be quiet so we can marvel at the sound of our own voice and needs to hold 30-40 people.

Collision Course II – February 18th 2009

While the first Collision Course hasn’t even happened yet, there are enough people being turned away (sorry people!) to warrant a second one. Unless we all end up doing some kind of Battle Royale thing, there’ll be a second and a third and so on. We might as well make this a regular thing. Some of the wrinkles might get ironed out by the next one too. It would also be good to see new faces at the second one. So if you’re a blogger, a PR person or someone in Digital Marketing then sign up in the comments for the next Collision Course.

If a PR or Marketing company wants to volunteer a space for 30 people or less on the evening of February 18th, let me know too.

www.Army.mil
Photo owned by Army.mil (cc)

Marketing is the quick shag, PR is the long-term relationship

In doing a video interview with Niall I uttered something like the title of this blog post. He has promised to edit the video to make me look like a tool. Minutes in the editing suite so… I don’t know is that statement correct.

From what I can see people look at marketing in terms of campaigns, short sharp jousts with the world and then they’re over and done with. Cigarette time. Look at all those “micro” and “mini” sites that are out there from marketing campaigns and they’re just gathering web dust now. Such a waste really. It’s all lust with these interactions.

Then we have the idea of PR being about building relationships between companies and individuals or people with authority and/or influence. Building those kind of relationships takes more work and time but if we keep with the analogy, don’t a lot of long-term relationships become rather boring? Even when the lust turns to love? Will a mistress pop up from time to time? Will there be a divorce?

Surely though with the web and the always-on, always some kind of connection to people vibe, the fun and energy of the marketing jousts can be worked into something longer term and into relationship territory. I’m looking at the brilliant marketing concepts from Burker King of late and again and again they bring something fun out and people are anticipating them. Yet, where is the central hub for fans of Burger King campaigns? They could actually gain super fans if they so wanted by creating that hub. What powers Apple fans and the anticipation of a new product could actually be applied to BK’s odd marketing and bring it under the wing of PR.

"Lingua" by Jim Sanborn
Photo owned by dbking (cc)

The Definitive list of “influencers” in Irish Blogging

It’s all of them!

Well it is.

White Bread, 1964,  oil on canvas by James Rosenquist
Photo owned by cliff1066 (cc)

There are a few ways of measuring “influencers” in Irish Blogging.

You could measure using traffic.

Though right now unless people open up their stats (My personal blog over on Mulley.net has public stats, see bottom of the page) you can’t get accurate stats. Niall has opened up his too. Sites like Alexa might help. Paul created a list of 179 Irish blogs and their traffic estimates using Alexa so this might give you a snapshot.

Google Trends for websites can help out there too or even Google Adplanner.

You could measure using Technorati.

Ye wha? Technorati is a bit of a blog search engine and a blog ranking thingymajig. I’m not sure that it knows what it is anymore but it does rank blogs by the numbers of links that they have and gives you a rank compared to others. If a lot of websites link to you then this is a measure of value, a rough one but a measure. Google started off with the idea that links were quite important and still basically believe that.

You can use Technorati to compare the rank of one blog to another, the lower the rank, the more “powerful” the blog. Justin Mason created a handy resource a while back for Irish Blogs that allows you to see a list of the best ranked Irish Blogs. It’s here.

But in a democratic world…

Influence online is about getting your voice heard, not how loud the voice is. The truth will out, all comments trickle down, out and up eventually.

At the recent IIA Social Media Working Group feedback forum on their Blogging Whitepaper I believe someone suggested (I tuned in via Twitter) that you check out those blogs talking about you and if a response is needed (I guess if someone is complaining about your service) then create a response plan based on their Technorati influence. Picking the most influential ones to respond to and cutting off the rest. That’s oldschool thinking there.

Every single blog has the potential to be the next big player, the influencer of an influencer. If a blog has a single reader or subscriber or can be found on Google then they should get a response. Besides which, if someone takes the time to write about your product, it should be worth responding to no matter what. Naturally they are exceptions. Fools exist, giving them air wastes more air.

Someone suggested you wouldn’t have the time or resources to respond to all bloggers. Make some. Blogging is democratic and bloggers respect and enjoy opinions from other bloggers with all sizes of audiences. If you respond to the top 20 bloggers based on traffic or Technorati rank and no more, what about that blogger in the same niche you ignored? Are they subscribed to by an “influencer”? Then you’re hosed if they are, it’ll trickle up.

Anyway, surely if the world is talking about your product you’re either doing something really really good or really really bad?

Ketchup bottle, NYC, December 2008
Photo owned by mattkrause1969 (cc)

Obviously we don’t like the word “influencer”

But if it’s not responding to bloggers but working with bloggers, what should you be doing? Well, what area are you doing Online PR or Online Marketing in? Find Irish blogs that match that. You’ll find them by searching for keywords on IrishBlogs.ie.

Of course there’s a whole other blog post about the best way to work with bloggers and you’ll read it here soon but read this PDF as homework first. It’s from Shift Communications and is about the best one pager on how to work with and approach bloggers.

“We could not have bought the results achieved with traditional media” – 31 Days of the Dragon

Found this via Kerry. HP did a clever campaign giving away 31 pieces of kit and the reaction was fantastic. Here are their slides talking about the campaign:

Some blurbs from the slides:

  • “We could not have bought the results achieved with traditional media”
  • “We really know them at a personal level – we consider each other friends, not just cards in a rolodex”
  • “We spent over a year demonstrating that we were willing to do the right things for, with and by them and therefore earned their trust”
  • “They helped design the rules and manage and organise each other – this was more of a partnership than a program”
  • “By allowing the bloggers to design their own contest and then giving them a unit to give away, we removed a lot of the legal and internal approvals required for such a campaign”

Food for thought folks!