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Friday, 22 March 2013

Social Media: In-house or Outsourced?

In-house or outsource social media?


As part of our offering is support services for social media, I was initially interested in a long thread about in-house vs outsourcing social media on a Linkedin group for marketing professionals today. By the end of the thread I was so cross, I left the group and I don't do that very often.

Most agreed the ideal solution is in-house to deliver the authentic feel of the company. I agree.
Several pointed out that's not always practical and well managed external help, combined with in-house handling of direct customer engagement and strategy provides a good solution to delivering a consistent service. Well, we are hardly unbiased on this one!
Most posters on the thread agreed that strategy should be driven by the in-house team's deeper understanding of the company's vision, values and business objectives. So far, so good.
I was somewhat amused to see several postings that were blatant adverts, thereby immediately disqualifying themselves from involvement in any serious social media work.
There were also plenty of spelling mistakes; "shouting" block capitals and grammatical errors in the postings - again seriously undermining confidence in the quality of their work and posting judgement.
I was already doubting the wisdom of being in this group -  I must have evaluated it on a good day.
Then I found one person proudly announcing they had created a fictitious person and standard log-in in for all their social outlets to ensure continuity in their social engagement. While I can see the usefulness of this approach to the company (real staff are such a messy inconvenience :-) do they seriously believe that basing customer communications on a deception is the right way forward in building relationships with people?
It's just too easy to be found out. Linguistic researchers have long known that we all use words in ways that are as unique as our fingerprints.
A quick comparison of two texts run through natural speech analytic programs will tell if two pieces are written by the same person. My guess is: if a machine can tell the difference, a human will easily smell a rat. Especially if they get 'engagement' couched in differing word patterns, all purporting to be from the same person. Even if they can't put their finger on it, a real live customer will have an uneasy feeling that something's not right. An uneasy feeling is a long way from the ideal warm glow generated by empowered staff capable of genuine human engagement.
Then my eyebrows really disappeared into my hairline as one chap posted that collaboration between the in-house team and the outsourced company meant allowing the employees to get stuck into their work while they outsourced the socialising! This reminded me of an international banker I worked with many years ago. He was complaining about all the amazing feasts he was attending while he was drumming up business in the Middle East.  I jokingly offered to do his eating to let him get on with the business - a solution as patently useless as getting someone else to do your socialising online - or am I just an unrealistic idealist?
My eyebrows repeated their assent into my hairline when a lady (who claimed many years in professional marketing) argued (with shouting capitals) that smaller companies can't do their own social media because they are not marketing experts and wouldn't do it right. So they should outsource it all.
I grant that small businesses often need support and counsel, but would it make sense for a small business owner to fully outsource their social media to someone who stridently shouts in social media posts? Not to mention clearly holding a very low opinion of her small business clients' abilities? It doesn't look like a happy win:win  to me. I believe business relationships need to be forged on a certain amount of respect for each other's capabilities.
Another 'professional' thought the purpose of social media was to "beat the marketing drum".
They clearly have years of catching up to do, starting with David Meerman Scott's excellent New Rules of Marketing and PR book.
Interestingly only one of the 28 respondents in the thread mentioned monitoring for any form of business  ROI.
In the legendary words of News of the World reporters at swingers' parties: "I made my excuses and left".


PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Sunday, 10 March 2013

Edinburgh PHPR News Round-up







PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Saturday, 9 March 2013

Edinburgh PHPR News Round-up







PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Friday, 8 March 2013

Edinburgh PHPR News Round-up







PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Thursday, 7 March 2013

Edinburgh PHPR News Round-up







PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Edinburgh PHPR News Round-up







PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Edinburgh PHPR News Round-up







PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Monday, 4 March 2013

For PR's Sake, Think Like a Publisher and Employ Editing Skills

I was astonished to see various reports that Amazon had been selling T-shirts emblazoned with the message: Keep Calm and Rape Them.

Also on sale was:
Keep Calm and Knife Her 
Keep Calm and Hit Her
Keep Calm and Choke Her 
Keep Calm and Grope On

The T-shirts are an adaptation of the popular revived and oft tweaked World War II poster slogan: Keep Calm and Carry On. The offending T-shirts were made by the unfortunately-named Massachussets-based company, Solid Gold Bomb. Given their extensive apology, the company would probably be the first to admit that they have indeed bombed (in the sense of having done really poorly as opposed to the more recent slang meaning which is currently the opposite) with this one. The company has since withdrawn them and apologised, but it was their (long) explanation which you can read for yourself here that I found really gob-smacking.

Apparently the slogans were part of a computer generated series of Keep Calm and ... parodies.
Their apology says:

"The ultimate file-list generated created the base data and the core of the problem was certainly the fact that certain words both individually and in combination were or became offensive. This was culled from 202k words to around 1100 and ultimately slightly more than 700 were used due to character length and the fact that I wanted to closely reflect the appearance of the original slogan graphically."

To me, this raises more questions than answers because, according to the above, the list was twice culled. Even if the lists were not manually culled (I have no idea whether they were or not - it sounds as if they were just checked for their visual appeal by character length), by the time they got down to 1100 and certainly at 700, surely it is not particularly difficult to get a responsible thinking person (for example, an experienced editor) to manually check for aberrant meanings?

As a former editor, I find it is second nature to check material before posting, and to double check before expensive printing compounds an error. As a human being, I can't say that I am totally 100% perfect, but I think most experienced editors would manage to spot five offensive slogans in a list of 700.

They don't say if the computer generated slogans also led to a linked computer generated Amazon ad, or if the pictures of the tee-shirts were also automatically produced. Seems to me that, the more you rely on automation to produce and advertise anything involving words, the more reason there is to have an experienced human back-stop as a final check on the wording.

Words are devilishly slippery little things, and it's very easy to fall foul of them.

Good on fellow Edinburgh PR, Donna McGrory for actively raising awareness of the T-shirts on Twitter.


 PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Sunday, 3 March 2013

Edinburgh PHPR News Round-up







PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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Friday, 1 March 2013

Copacetic

Today's word of the day!

As a former journalist and editor, I love words. I spontaneously collect them. Ever since I was a child, I particularly delight in words that roll around the tongue in a satisfying way.
That's why I enjoyed discovering copacetic (kōpəˈsetik) this morning.
Try saying it aloud. To my ear it has a pleasing, precise, staccato quality.
It's an adjective meaning "In excellent order" , "Cool, OK, excellent".
I found it used by Andrea Drennen, an inbound marketer from the Florida area - on the Inbound Marketing group at LinkedIn - in the context of discussing blog copy. There's a nice alliteration in copacetic copy.
My research into its meaning produced another felicitous find: Michael Quinion's site World Wide Words. He writes from the British perspective on international English. Apparently copacetic is " rare to the point of invisibility outside North America." 
So now I don't feel so dumb for not knowing what it meant.  

He continues: 
"People mostly become aware of it in the sixties as a result of the US space program — it’s very much a Right Stuff kind of word.
The first stages of the flight of Apollo 10, like most of the flights that led up to it, have gone like clockwork. In the words of ground control at Houston, everything has been “copacetic” — a term of undetermined origin which means perfect.
Chicago Tribune, 20 May 1969.
But even in the USA it doesn’t have the circulation it did thirty years ago."
Maybe it's making a come-back? Or was that just a lone sighting I stumbled over?

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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UK Mobile Recyclers, Redeem Trade-Up to Bathgate



Mobile recycler Redeem's new HQ at the Pyramids Business Park, near Bathgate
Redeem Ltd, the UK’s fastest growing recycling company, has moved its headquarters from Falkirk to the strategically positioned Pyramids Business Park just off Junction 3a of the M8 near Bathgate. 
CEO Claes Svensson said, "The new offices provide us with high quality office accommodation situated at the heart of major travel connections to Europe. That is important as our company continues to expand overseas".
Redeem is a leading specialist in environmental marketing and recycling electronics and mobile phones for mobile network operators and other major corporate clients. In the rapidly developing world of smartphones, Redeem extract the maximum value from traded-in older mobile phone technology to help network operators retain customers by making it affordable to trade up to the latest models. Around 95% of the mobile phones recycled by Redeem are re-sold after being security and theft checked, data cleansed to US government standards and sold in accordance with current WEEE directive regulations
The company entered two new overseas markets in the last six months, Slovakia and Israel, plus had major contracts extended to manage the recycling of traded-in mobile phones for both O2’s business and their consumer customers.  This strong business growth has been recognised by the announcement in December that Redeem is now in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list of the fastest growing companies in the UK. Redeem now also tops the Chartered Institute of Waste Management’s Fast 30 list as the UK’s fastest growing recycling company.
Redeem’s new neighbours at the prestigious Pyramids Business Park site include HMRC, Quintiles and DRS. With an on-site local bus service plus crèche facilities, a 450-seat restaurant, gymnasium and boardroom, Redeem believe the move will help them attract the best talent from across the industry as they continue to expand.


About Redeem

The Redeem group, founded in 1991, is an international environmental marketing services company.
With 150 employees in Scotland, England and Hong Kong, the group provides sustainable, data secure, recycling services to MNO and corporate clients in nine European countries, and Israel.

Redeem’s international clients includes mobile network operators, wholesalers, retailers, charities and direct consumers.

Redeem refurbishes and resells or recycles high volumes of a wide range of IT and electronic equipment including mobile phones, tablets, mp3 players, sat navs, digital cameras, consoles, laptop computers, printer cartridges and games.

All devices are reused or disposed of in accordance with the WEEE directive. Re-used items are security and theft checked, data cleansed and sold in accordance with current legislation.

Redeem has certified ISO 9001 & 14001 compliance as a specialist waste carrier.
Redeem has won a number of local and national business awards, the most recent being named the UK’s fastest growing recycling company in the Chartered Institute of Waste Management’s Fast 30 list.

Redeem is also on the 2012 Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list which shows that it is the third fastest-growing private company in Scotland and 41st in the UK. 





PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.uk PHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv PHPR Ltd on LinkedIn Follow PennyHaywood on Twitter

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