Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Does hacking impact your company’s brand? You bet.

Monday, March 13th, 2017

hackingIf it’s on the internet, it’s real, right? When Sony Music tweeted that Britney Spears had died, the rumor spread like wildfire. Hacker group OurMine recently hacked and then mocked NetFlix by saying, on NetFlix’s Twiter account, “Hey, it’s OurMine, Don’t worry we are just testing your security…” As noted in The Atlantic, even more disruptive was the two-hour morning outage in October 2016 of Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, Github, and many other popular websites and services that became effectively inaccessible for many American web users. What was unique about this attack was the perpetrator used a botnet composed of so-called “internet-of-things” devices—namely, webcams and DVRs—to spam Dyn with more requests than it could handle.

“The software uses malware from phishing emails to first infect a computer or home network, then spreads to everything on it, taking over DVRs, cable set-top boxes, routers and even Internet-connected cameras used by stores and businesses for surveillance. These devices are in turn used to create a robot network, or botnet, to send the millions of messages that knocks the out victims’ computer systems.” Imagine coming home to find your thermostat turned up to 80 degrees or your toaster on. It may be funny on the surface but think about the damage this can cause.” –USA Today

Fourth-Hacker-Stealing-Sensitive-Data-from-Game-Companies-Pleads-Guilty-477527-2The bottom line is that we live in a world that’s run by computers and everyone knows that hacking is a major problem. The hacking of social media accounts can range from the annoying to downright scary. For example, hackers stole 32 million login credentials from Twitter in 2016 and then more recently  there have been political attacks like the one on the Democratic National Committee and the reports of Russian hackers impacting the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Sadly, there are even YouTube videos that teach people how to hack social media accounts.

While it’s clear that cybersecurity is an issue that impacts all of us, companies need to consider how the attacks can impact their brand, and how they can prepare in advance to combat these issues. While these episodes can be embarrassing, companies need to realize that ensuring customer loyalty is critical. Most people think of this as an IT issue, but in reality it is also an important brand issue. As noted in Chief Marketer Magazine, here are five things that companies can do to prepare for a cybersecurity crisis:

  • Put preventative measures in place. Mimic access control procedures, governance, and policies that your CIO imposes on their IT teams.
  • Train all of your marketing staff on basic information security practices.
  • Change your passwords regularly.
  • Make your creative teams aware. If you incur a breach, a savvy move might be to launch an immediate campaign on improving security across the organization as a whole.
  • Get PR involved. Make sure that your internal and external PR teams are involved in developing and implementing a brand recovery plan.

Are you prepared to protect your brand from a hacking scandal? The McKenzie Worldwide team has extensive crisis communications experience and we can help you prepare for and manage through these kind of cybersecurity issues that can negatively impact your brand. Please contact us if you would like to discuss how our team can help your company.

Strengthen your brand without creeping out your customers

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) presents a great opportunity for marketing executives. As noted in Forbes, “Data analytics and IoT – two emerging keystones of the digital economy – are fueling something of a feeding frenzy of grand proportions in the tech space…Much of the action was driven by the push to adopt IoT and data analytics capabilities and intersection between the two.” While the growth potential seems to be limitless, I often wonder if technology is going too far.

customersI read an article in Business 2 Community that talked about how the IoT provides marketers “With such abundant user data and the availability of instantaneous consumer feedback, brands should consider themselves in direct, near constant conversation with their customers.” Shifting gears, I turned to Chief Marketer and read about how “The information from these devices will allow marketers to better understand how customers interact with different platforms. These insights will lead to radically new ways of capturing people’s attention and engaging their loyalty.”

Which begs the question of how do marketers leverage the IoT to improve customer experience without annoying their iotcustomers? We recently placed an article for our client, e-Spirit, about this issue in The Marketing Scope titled “Leveraging The Internet of Things To Turn Content Into Revenue.” What is most interesting to me is the idea of empowering marketers with the ability to deliver personalized content to help consumers make better decisions. For example, what if I’m in a store where my friend registered for her wedding and the location-based app points me in the direction of items on my friend’s registry? That type of service helps me spend less time searching for the gift and more time with my family, which sounds pretty good to me. Plus, I don’t consider it an invasion of privacy or badgering by the retailer.

For marketers the IoT presents a great way to share relevant information with customers without overloading them with worthless information. At McKenzie Worldwide we work with a variety of technology companies that help improve the customer experience. Can we help boost your company’s marketing power?

How successful marketers turn content into revenue

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Delivering the right content to the right person at the right time on the right device is a big challenge for marketers everywhere. With so many channels available to reach customers—desktop, mobile phone, tablet—it’s hard to know which technologies are the best for delivering your message to your target audience. Another important issue to consider is which channel a customer likes to receive content on. Personally, I’m a big fan of email but many people I know prefer to receive content on their mobile device. What’s a marketer to do?

For one of our clients the growth in this area offers a huge opportunity. e-Spirit recently launched FirstSpirit CaaS which allows companies to streamline content delivery across multiple channels. As noted in a recent article in CMSWire, e-Spirit’s Andreas Knoor stated that, “Companies that rely solely on traditional content management will sooner or later find themselves unable to take advantage of the enormous business opportunity the Internet of Things (IoT) presents, or keep pace with app and smart device innovations. The result will be an inability to satisfy the needs of today’s digital consumer.”

iotSo why all the hype around the IoT? Some people feel it’s just a buzzword, but those people are missing an important point. According to research firm Gartner, the IoT is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. The growth of the IoT is incredibly important to retailers because personal electronic devices can receive fresh content from retailers which opens up a huge channel to connect with customers. How big are the stakes here? Gartner estimates that by 2020, more than 20 billion connected things will be in use across a range of industries and the IoT will touch every role across the enterprise.

As mentioned in InformationWeek, Gartner says that the growing importance of the IoT and how connected devices, along with the data these devices collect, are changing the way IT is viewed within large businesses and enterprises. Gartner also states that “business analysts and developers of information-centric processes need to have the expertise and the tools to implement IoT aspects that play a role in their systems.”

So the question becomes, how can today’s marketers provide their customers with the content they need on the right device at the right time? At McKenzie Worldwide we have extensive experience working with some of the world’s leading Web content management, enterprise content management and customer experience companies. We can help you navigate through the complex worlds of these markets and provide the best communications strategies to help you take advantage of the IoT opportunity.

Don’t forget the strategy when it comes to your Content Marketing program

Monday, May 16th, 2016

e-Spirit logoOver the past year I’ve seen quite a bit of coverage devoted to Content Marketing. Many people I’ve spoken with and articles that I’ve read highlight the importance of having a content distribution machine in place to deliver content to the masses. However, the reality is that while many companies talk a good game, most don’t have a content strategy in place and many don’t follow up on the plans they do implement.

According to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 55 percent of B2B marketers say their organization is unclear on what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like. The same report indicates that only 44 percent of B2B marketers meet daily or weekly to discuss the progress of their content marketing program. The bottom line is that while many companies continue to crank out content to share with their customers and prospects, many don’t have a plan in place designed to ensure success.

One of the companies we work with, e-Spirit, just recently had an article published in CMSWire that our team wrote and placed in the publication that focuses on the CMSWire logoimportance of having a content marketing strategy in place. In addition, the article highlights the importance of being able to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time.

Does your company have a defined content marketing strategy in place? More importantly, does your company regularly check to see if it’s following that strategy?

Strike when the opportunity is hot

Friday, May 13th, 2016

One of the more important aspects of public relations is being able to uncover opportunities and being agile enough to ensure the best outcome for your clients. When an opportunity to help a client presents itself, you need to move fast. But it’s not just about turning around something quickly, it’s also about knowing the company’s audience, understanding market issues, and presenting a coherent discussion. Being smart, agile and quick can lead to great results.

For example, when a busy reporter was about to decline a time-sensitive story idea about the Portland CyberPatriot Camp recently, we seized the opportunity to offer up a guest column instead and drove hard to get it turned around in a day. Since many of us at McKenzie Worldwide are former journalists, we know what makes a good article or guest column. We quickly identified one of the leading companies in cyber security (Galois, Inc.), discussed the opportunity with the company’s marketing team and quickly wrote up the guest column for the CEO.

We ended up developing a guest column on behalf of Galois that focused on hot trends in the cyber security space and also promoted the Portland CyberPatriot Camp (an event that McKenzie Worldwide is sponsoring) which was published in the Portland Business Journal within two days. We also promoted The Galois Foundation’s sponsorship of this cyber security camp for high school students while highlighting their focus on supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

It was a win-win for Galois and provided great exposure for the event.

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The two-headed monster that is social media

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

“Nelson Mandela’s memorial service Tuesday was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime event where dozens of world leaders join thousands of South Africans in a massive stadium, all to honor the anti-apartheid icon. Instead, it turned into a media sensation…about a selfie.” CNN 

SAFRICA-MANDELA-MEMORIAL

Social media has changed the whole ballgame. While it’s fun to share photos with friends in real-time on Facebook and call attention to company announcements via Twitter, marketing leaders need to think clearly about what their goals are and how social media can help achieve those goals. It makes me sad that a celebration of somebody’s life, somebody who helped change the world, can get pushed aside by the uproar of taking a picture.

Remember the old adage that any PR is good PR? Well, that’s not always the case. When our team develops a PR plan and considers the social media activities to include, we think about the negative consequences of what might happen on our blog, or on Twitter and Facebook. Obviously we consider all of the potential actions we take, but who’s to say what is or isn’t potentially harmful. I’m not offended by the photo of the three world leaders, and obviously the three of them didn’t have a problem with it, but they need to realize that the reach of social media is everywhere.

The bigger issue to me is more about the yellow journalism/tabloid infected world we live in. Why is a selfie taken by President Obama, Danish Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt, and British Prime Minister Cameron considered newsworthy? To me it’s as interesting as headlines in tabloids about the Kardashian sisters.

So back to the original topic. When designing PR plans, how much emphasis do you put on social media? Do you consider both the positive and negative repercussions of social media activities for a campaign or do you only look at how many people you might reach? Do you incorporate ideas about how to react quickly using social media if something goes wrong during a launch?

Just remember that what you consider a safe move might come back to bite you…and it’s in your best interest to be prepared.

Content, Content Everywhere…But Is There A Plan?

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

I read many industry publications each week to make sure I’m up to date on my clients and their markets. Lately I’ve been reading quite a bit of marketing pubs and Content Management Systems websites and I must say that I’ve seen a ton of discussion about content marketing. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute recently wrote an article called “34 Essential Research Reports for More Effective Content Marketing”. You read that correctly…there are 34 reports to check out solely about content marketing.

5-Link-Building-Strategy-EssentialsOn the one hand the growth of social media has given companies new channels to tap into to reach their customers and potential customers. Yet at the same time, it’s important to realize that simply pushing out content across many different channels can be annoying. What’s important is that your PR and marketing leaders understand that simply publishing vast amounts of content isn’t going to move the needle. You must build a strategy which clearly defines your goals so that you can use your content to support those goals.

As our client, e-Spirit, discussed recently in their blog – When It Comes To Content, Don’t Simply Throw Darts At The DartboardDarts_in_a_dartboardSuccessful marketing executives are the ones who understand that content cannot be created in a vacuum and a well thought out content marketing strategy can mean the difference between success and failure.

Transparency and Social Media Puts CEOs on the Defensive

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Over the past few years we’ve seen some pretty amazing examples of the power of communication, specifically, the ability to share events in real-time on a global level. Protests like the ones in Tahrir Square in Egypt and now in Gezi Park in Turkey clearly demonstrate that the Web’s ability to share information in real-time truly empowers people in David vs. Goliath situations. Closer to home even President Obama’s call for government transparency has helped show people that transparency promotes accountability.

Don-Thompson-of-McDonaldsBut when companies implement social media strategies, are they truly ready for what might come their way? Did McDonald’s CEO really think that a question from a 9-year old during its annual shareholder’s meeting would cause such a headache?

1369333180000-hannah-with-chart-1305231917_4_3_rx404_c534x401“I don’t think it’s fair when big companies try to trick kids into eating food. It isn’t fair that so many kids my agare getting sick,” she said — blaming McDonald’s for unfairly targeting kids with advertisements for food that isn’t good for them.

Nine-year old Hannah Robertson to McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson

Or what about Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries, whose insensitive comments about the company’s target market back in 2006 in Salon Magazine recently resurfaced?

104738_story__9ba“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” Jeffries said in the article. “We go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong (in our clothes), and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Sure, most people have figured out the power of social media and the ability for any piece of news to go viral. As noted in a blog post on Forbes about A&F, “But unfortunately, with the internet, embarrassing articles do not die – they just go into hibernation until they are resuscitated.”

Of course, corporate leaders and politicians still seem to stick their collective feet in their mouth—check out Oklahoma state representative Dennis Johnson’s recent comments—by not being prepared when information is posted online or goes viral via YouTube.

Most executives we have work with understand that systems must be put in place to not only field inquiries via social media channels, but that damage control and crisis communication plans must be in place as well. The transparency of the Web has empowered people to share information on a global level. Sometimes the information is positive, sometimes it’s negative. But I’m sure that the VP of Marketing at McDonald’s or A&F have realized that following the Boy Scout’s motto, be prepared, has to be taken seriously.

So when your company dove into the social media world, did you map out a lines of communication diagram to up-level feedback to senior executives in real-time? Thinking this through ahead of time can not only save your company, but it might save your job as well.

Question-“When did Noah build the ark?”

Answer-“Before the flood.”

 

 

 

 

Shifting the Story?

Monday, May 20th, 2013

“I am not a crook.” President Nixon

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman” President Clinton

“We promise not to screw it up.” Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer

Well, you can’t fault Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer for being honest and upfront. Earlier today Yahoo! announced that it had paid $1.1 Yahoobillion for microblogging service Tumblr. Nice acquisition, big headlines and all that. However, when I read a number of articles about the announcement the thing that jumped out at me was Mayer’s comment. While CEO’s, especially in the tech sector, are known for hyperbole and hype, I found it refreshing to see such candor from Mayer. But I’m curious to know what led her to issue such an off-the-cuff remark? Could it be that social media has become such a big part of our world?

Her comment appeared in numerous articles but it seemed to first appear on her Twitter account. I realize that we live in a 24 hour news cycle world full of sound bites and infographics, but her self-deprecating humor felt to me as one of those “what have I got to lose” moments. More important, I feel that this is a perfect example of how social media has changed the game. In the past an acquisition like this would have a press release (politically correct language approved by corporate lawyers) and a series of interviews for the leaders of the two companies. But now, with social media, news and comments are out there for public consumption immediately.

To me this is an example of the PR tactic of shifting the story. I believe that people will be talking about Ms. Mayer’s comment more than about the news itself. Yes, Yahoo! has had its fair share of screw-ups and has made some poor decisions, but by making fun of itself, Yahoo! has bought time to make the acquisition work and has helped to shape its image. The question is…is this an image that the company wants?

 

Channel Surfing

Friday, May 17th, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I find it overwhelming to channel surf on my cable system. As I tell my son, “hundreds of channels, nothing to watch.” But when we’re talking about marketing and we say “channel”, it’s a whole different ballgame. Traditionally the channel refers the various outlets you use to share your product or message with potential customers such as the retail channel, reseller channel, or mail order channel, just to name a few. But in today’s world, thanks in part to social media, the channel has grown.

It used to be that you could get a story published in a magazine or newspaper about your company or product, but now there’s the world of online media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. For marketing and PR pros it can be overwhelming.

If you want to learn more about how to manage all of your marketing channels, take a few minutes to read an article that one of our clients, Oliver Jaeger at e-Spirit, recently published. The article recently appeared in Marketing Executives and it’s titled Six Ways to Improve Multichannel Marketing.

Marketing and PR pros often wear many hats and, at times, managing so many channels can feel like you’re drinking from the fire hose. The key is having a strong Web Content Management system in place to not only manage all of your online marketing materials, but to help improve your customer’s experience.


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