It Pays to Discover: Managing Issues to Regain Lost Trust

Posted on April 14, 2011. Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , , |

We’ve just released a new ebook: “Analyze & Discover: Measuring the Effect of Digital Opportunities on Reputation & Brand Equity.” The ebook offers insight into the process, metrics, and tools that can help you identify opportunities and manage risk effectively. Here’s an excerpt:

The first step in managing risk is to assess the maturity level of each issue. After all, with a constantly expanding universe of risks in social media, no one organization could (or should) react to every issue that crosses their transom. Rather, executives must categorize issues/risks according to how real of a threat they are to the brand, reputation, and bottom line. Common categories include:

• Latent: Comments by/conversations among non-influencers that are untrue, insignificant, unsubstantiated, and/or unconnected. These issues should be watched passively and are not likely to become critical.
• Emerging: Comments by/conversations among influencers and non-influencers alike that contain potentially damaging themes, but that have not yet reached critical mass. These claims, while not always entirely true, have an element of credibility that is cause for concern, and should therefore be watched actively.
• Critical: Comments by/conversations among influencers that have a consistent theme, present credible evidence, and/or express legitimate concerns. These issues have the highest potential of becoming full-blown crises and should therefore be addressed immediately.

To fully understand the role discovery plays in the new social media process, consider the financial industry’s experiences with online platforms. The effects of widespread malfeasance and a massive economic downturn have obliterated consumers’ trust in financial institutions, forcing many of them to begin rebuilding relationships with their stakeholders in the most unlikely places: social media platforms.

Social media has certainly given consumers amply opportunities to voice their discontent with financial institutions, and these companies are just beginning to engage in online conversations to rebuild the brand equity that had been demolished by a coalescence of factors. That’s not to say adoption is widespread: According to Wetpaint and Altimeter Group’s July 2009 “ENGAGEMENTdb” report, the financial industry is one of the least engaged in social media. Being hindered by government regulations is certainly a factor, but more and more companies are finding ways to engage and play by the rules at the same time. Among the most “social” financial brands:

Wells Fargo: Manages multiple blogs for different target audiences. One in particular, the Wells Wachovia blog, was launched after Wells Fargo beat out Citigroup for control of Wachovia. It became a resource for joint customers, as well as a place where they could voice concerns about the transition.
H&R Block: One of the first financial brands to begin leveraging Twitter as a customer service tool, first by monitoring the platform for issues and then responding directly to the individuals who had expressed concerns/frustrations.
Citi Cards: Leveraged social media during the launch of its Citi Forward product, specifically intended to help young consumers manage their credit; effort included blogger outreach, a Twitter presence and a YouTube channel.

Download the ebook to learn more about managing issues.

Diane Thieke is Marketing Director at Dow Jones.

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Promoting PR

Posted on February 11, 2011. Filed under: Public Relations | Tags: , , , , , , |

Just a couple of weeks ago, Dow Jones published an analysis of PR agencies. Using Dow Jones Insight, our media analysis service, we looked at the media coverage of PR agencies and identified those who were covered the most.

The story generated a lot of interest, and several readers pointed out that PR firms typically are too busy promoting clients rather than themselves. That led PRNewswer to survey its readers, asking whether appearing on the list was a good thing or not. The results are in, and nearly two-thirds said it was.

We plan to take a look at social media coverage of PR firms in June, so stay tuned.

Diane Thieke is Marketing Director at Dow Jones, based in Princeton, NJ.
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Future Proofing PR with Modern Metrics

Posted on January 5, 2011. Filed under: Measurement, Public Relations | Tags: , , , , , |

PR Week recently reported that the job market for PR professionals was rebounding, particularly for senior level positions. This is good news for the profession and job seekers. Looking into the future, what type of skills will senior PR professionals need to succeed in today’s complex communications and business environment?

Martin Murtland, VP and Managing Director, Dow Jones, shared his view with Bulldog Reporter late last month. He sees two skills as being critical: alignment with the business strategy and strong analytical skills. Those with these skills will be “winners” who will drive new metrics designed to measure brand and issues in a much more complicated media landscape.

The article is based on a joint presentation Martin did with Cindy Droog, APR, Senior Public Relations Specialist, at Amway. Their session at PRSA’s International Conference in Washington, DC, looked at new ways to measure brand and reputation, including velocity and advocacy.

Read the Bulldog article and look at both Martin’s and Cindy’s presentations below, and share with us the new metrics you’re discovering.

Diane Thieke is Marketing Director at Dow Jones.


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The Measurement Challenge: Social Media vs. Traditional Media

Posted on December 9, 2010. Filed under: Measurement | Tags: , , |

Social media has upended the world as we know it. It has changed the way we communicate, market, sell, search, share, buy and make decisions. I had a chance to ask some of our media consultants about the impact of social media on media measurement strategies. In this video, Jennifer Hoffmann, Lars Voedisch, and David Breg talk about the differences between social and traditional media. Jenn is the head of media consulting and is based in NY. Lars, based in Singapore, and David, based in Washington, DC, are both media consultants and were visiting for the day.

Diane Thieke is Marketing Director, Dow Jones, based in Princeton, NJ.

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World Cup Marketing and Media: Adidas vs. Nike

Posted on October 8, 2010. Filed under: Measurement | Tags: , , , , |

The marketing and media efforts of FIFA World Cup sponsors and advertisers during the run-up to the tournament have been discussed previously in this blog. Now that the tournament is over, it’s an appropriate time to analyze the most interesting aspect of World Cup marketing this year, which involved the intense competition between sporting goods companies Adidas and Nike.

Adidas has a long-standing relationship with FIFA and the World Cup that goes back more than 30 years. As an official partner, the referees’ uniforms and the balls are Adidas-branded, along with the ads around the playing field and on television during the matches.

Nike, which was not an official sponsor, had to be creative in order to be competitive with Adidas. The company’s approach was to launch a viral “ambush” campaign on its Facebook page prior to the start of the tournament. Its “Write the Future” ad featured players from several countries who imagined how their lives would change if they starred in the World Cup. By launching the ad on the company’s Facebook page before it ran on television, Nike created a buzz that saw its number of followers on Facebook double within the first week.

This buzz resulted in a large spike in Nike’s coverage in social media generally, as many blogs and message boards discussed the ad and provided a link to the video. An added benefit for Nike is that the ambush campaign created the impression for many consumers that Nike was a sponsor of the tournament. This was quite a coup — as well as a cost-saver — since FIFA charges $125 million for its World Cup “partners.”

The volume of coverage is of course important in marketing, but so is the quality of the coverage. Fortunately for Nike, much of the social media buzz generated by “Write the Future” was favorable, with numerous people recommending the ad in public forums or sending the link to friends.

Adidas saw its biggest spike in coverage shortly before the start of the tournament in June, but much of the coverage – both in social and traditional media – concerned criticism of the Jabulani ball Adidas created for tournament. This negative coverage is proof that the quantity of coverage doesn’t necessarily translate into advertising value equivalency (AVE).

Of course, both companies wanted the teams and players they sponsored to succeed and there’s a certain cachet for outfitting the top teams. Performance probably wasn’t a critical factor, however, since Nike generated the buzz they wanted prior to the tournament and only hard-core fans focused on the disappointing performances of such players as Wayne Rooney, Franck Ribery and Christiano Ronaldo, who were featured in the ads.

So who is ultimately the winner? It’s hard to find much wrong with Nike’s strategy, since they didn’t have to pay the $125 million partnership fee; much of the publicity for their campaign was generated by consumers; and they managed to receive more media coverage than all of the paid sponsors, except Adidas.

On the other hand, Adidas may be able to overlook all of the costs and controversies it encountered, since the ultimate image of the tournament will be the Spanish team raising the World Cup trophy – clad in Adidas jerseys.

David Breg is a media consultant based in Washington, D.C.

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The News is Better than We Think

Posted on August 3, 2010. Filed under: Measurement | Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s easy, I think, to draw conclusions from a quick scan of headlines. Sometimes what we intuit can be right on the money, but other times, a deep look at data can challenge our perceptions. Every day, I give a cursory read of several local and US national papers and web sites, and based on this, my take on the economy has been mixed. There are bright spots and not so bright spots.

Luckily, there are a number of economic indicators that can give me a more accurate read. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Economic Sentiment Indicator hit its highest level since June 2008, up a full two points from last month to 42.3. What’s interesting about this indicator is that it’s calculated by analyzing the economic coverage in 15 major daily newspapers in the U.S., using Dow Jones Insight. This is the same media analysis tool used by Fortune 2000 PR and corporate communications teams to measure their media coverage.

Dow Jones Economic Sentiment Indicator

So, rather than simply rely on my own amalgamated view of what the news says, I now have a serious – and more reliable – way to evaluate all the economic news running in these papers (more than I read, actually).  Changes I’d often overlook – for example, an increase in boat sales in Chicago – are factored into the indicator.

Neal Lipschutz, senior editor at Dow Jones Newswires, explains how this indicator works on Fox Business.

Diane Thieke is Marketing Director, Dow Jones Solutions for Communicators, based in Princeton, NJ.

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Facebook’s Public Discourse over Privacy

Posted on June 1, 2010. Filed under: Measurement, Public Relations, Social Media | Tags: , , , , |

Facebook is in the news a lot lately regarding privacy, but  it’s not new: A Factiva search reveals that for the roughly five month period from July 1 – December 8 2009, there were 3, 482 mentions of ‘Facebook and privacy.’  But this time it’s different: in the roughly five months since, there were just under 70,000. And, the tone of the discourse is overwhelmingly negative. What happened?

On December 9, Facebook issued a press release to publicize a “transition tool” to aid users in taking advantage of multiple changes they made to their service. It downplayed the changes to the company’s privacy policy and weren’t explicit about how much of their users’ information would be publicly available after the change. Close watchers of the company began to question the changes.

The press release alone didn’t cause any noticeable buzz: A Factiva search of “Facebook and privacy” for 1-8 December found an average of 35 mentions per day, while a search for the same terms from 9-31 December found 33 per day. And the chart of average daily mentions below reconfirms the chart above that January was pretty quiet regarding privacy as well.

The dramatic, continuous groundswell of mentions began on February 17 when Facebook announced a second major change to its privacy settings. This time Facebook used a blog post from a software engineer, and it appears that the change in medium helped bring different results, but the messaging also had a lot to do with it.

The company’s December release touted that the changes would help people connect and share and explained that they’d taken privacy into consideration when they engineered the new default settings and fine-grained controls. Facebook was telling users to trust them to continue their stewardship of users’ privacy. The blog explained that Facebook would now extend the December changes to third party content and again assured users that Facebook would protect them and improve their experience.

As the chart shows, there was plenty of discussion about Facebook and privacy, but more was in store. In April, days after Facebook’s spokesman explained to The Washington Post that Facebook would provide a universal opt-out, an IT security firm released a survey which found that 95% of respondents thought Facebook’s privacy changes were “a bad thing.” They also lamented that most Facebook users are unaware of safe privacy settings and the confusing nature of Facebook’s privacy controls.

While Facebook must have seen the groundswell forming, better media analysis would have allowed them to understand the nuances of the negative tone shaping their coverage. A deeper understanding of the specific conversations people were having and how they were evolving could have allowed them to properly calibrate their messages and PR strategy.

By mid-May, several major influencers spoke out against Facebook, and in the last week there have been extensive negative articles in major outlets. Predictably, this week Mr. Zuckerberg announced – in a letter to a tech blogger – that Facebook would add simpler privacy controls.

Damien DuPont is a report writer and quality assurance specialist in the Dow Jones Media Lab and is based in New York.

[tweetmeme source=”dowjonesinsight”]

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When There’s Enough Blame to Go Around, It’s Rarely Spread Equally

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: disaster response, Public Relations | Tags: , , , , , |

We’ve seen it before.

A negative event happens and the negative sentiment is attached almost exclusively to the most well-known brand involved, and not to the other brands who often should share the blame. Not too long ago we can remember the case of Dell catching all the negative press when the Sony batteries in its laptops overheated and caught fire. And does anyone know the name of Toyota’s brake supplier?

This month, the obvious example is the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. BP is the name nearly exclusively associated with the event in the public’s consciousness. But BP Plc didn’t even own the rig which exploded on April 20; it had been leasing it from Switzerland’s Transocean Ltd.

However, the still evolving story seems to indicate BP does not deserve all the blame. And it fact while it is accepting responsibility for clean up, it is pointing fingers at Transocean, one of three other companies involved to some degree in the event. Those other companies have been much less mentioned in the press and social media.

Houston-based oil and gas equipment and services company Halliburton was the company who was engaged in the now notorious well-cementing operations around the time of the explosion. And Houston’s well-servicer Cameron International made the blowout preventer device, which failed to engage completely. Had that failsafe worked as designed, this story would be gone from the front page by now.

An analysis of these four companies on Twitter, on blogs and boards and in the mainstream press shows a consistent picture. Household name BP has gotten the lion’s share of the press, arguably more than the others combined.

In Twitter comments, Cameron is virtually absent, perhaps enjoying its anonymity outside the oil industry. Only the testimony that Halliburton and TrasnOcean have had to give to Congress this week has gotten them into the consciousness of the Twittersphere.

BP, Halliburton, Transocean in twitter

Mentions on Twitter of BP, Halliburton and Transocean in the days before and after the oil rig explosion in the Gulf. There were virtually no mentions of Cameron. Source:

In the mainstream press, BP still tops the others. Halliburton, well-known for its activity in the other “Gulf” as a contractor for the U.S. governement, has gotten less than 10% of the mentions of BP, running about 5000 per day for BP to 400 per day for Halliburton of the approximately 20,000 sources analyzed using Dow Jones Insight. Transocean, is continually more than Halliburton in the press, on several days last week about four times as much.

BP, Halliburton, Transocean in press

Mentions of BP, Halliburton, Transocean and Cameron in the mainstream media, before and after the event. Source: Dow Jones Insight.

But in Social Media the name Halliburton probably has struck that familiar bad-guy chord and bloggers are talking about it nearly twice as much as Transocean.

Gulf Spill companies blogs

Mentions of BP, Halliburton, Transocean and Cameron in social media before and after event.

How have these companies reacted to the event? BP has been looking straight at the microphones. Its CEO, Tony Hayward, has for example, been interviewed multiple times by NPR and others on exactly how his company is reacting. The company has created a web site and a feed on Twitter, focused on its response to the cleanup efforts. And it has created a crisis center in Houston, according to PR Week, “staffed by communications professionals flown in from BP’s offices around the world.”

The others companies seem a bit more camera shy. Halliburton hasn’t said much more than it did its job properly and completed it hours before the explosion.

I can’t find a Twitter feed for the other companies. Though I found one called TransoceanRumor, which clearly means Transocean isn’t driving the social media conversation, they are being driven.

Glenn Fannick is the director of product development for Dow Jones Insight, a media measurement tool. He is based in Princeton, N.J.

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Return on Expertise: Changing Your Measurement Program As Brand Awareness Grows

Posted on March 25, 2010. Filed under: Measurement, Public Relations, Social Media | Tags: , , , |

For years, invariably, some presentation at a reputation conference would include a quote from Warren Buffett: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”  I began to think that the next time I saw a Warren Buffett quote in a PowerPoint, I would fake a seizure to get out of sitting through the surely tired, overplayed content.

Until I saw Chris Preuss, Vice President of Global Communications for General Motors, present at the Social Reputation Management Conference in New York yesterday.   The gist of his well-chosen Buffett quote goes something like this: “The value of information will go to zero, because of speed and variety of vehicles through which news travels today.  However, because there is now so much news to absorb, the value of expertise and the ability to interpret that information will go to infinity.”

This got me thinking about my clients over the years, and how relevant this lesson is for organizations trying to structure programs to monitor and measure “the information superhighway.”  Below is a lifecycle framework to illustrate the value of expertise for both nascent and mature brands looking to capture the effects of their PR and social media efforts. 

Lifecycle for developing measurement programs

As more is said about you online, the benefit you get from analysis grows.

So what does this mean for brands and agencies trying to measure the impact of news and social media commentary?  If you’re just starting out, there are a lot of inexpensive and even free tools you can use to start to analyze and interpret information yourself.  If your campaign generated as few as 50 mentions, it may not be worth it to invest in outside counsel.

But as your brand presence increases, your need to bring in experience and expertise grows exponentially.  In economic terms, we’re talking about “increasing marginal returns” – basically, the value you receive from analysis is greater for the next article than it was for the last.  It soon becomes vital to have a team – either third-party, in-house, or both – that focuses on absorbing, interpreting, and reporting on performance in the news and online.  Our most satisfied and engaged clients of PR measurement services from Dow Jones practice this in one of two ways: by designating a “power user” internally to deliver information to the field teams and managers that need it, or by utilizing our team of consultants to regularly deliver reports and analysis that distill news and data into usable intelligence.

For mature brands, the value gained from expertise is high, but the returns start to level off.  You need to start asking questions about the efficiency of your investment: am I leveraging the right technology to supports the experts I’ve employed?  Do I have specialized teams for analysis, or I am still expecting communicators to also be number-crunchers and analysts?  Surprisingly, many large companies cannot state the number of vendors they employ to gather news and information globally; we work with these clients to eliminate redundancies in content, integrate unique feeds, and standardize results.  This helps their investment in intelligence tools go further – which ultimately helps improve ROI.

Jennifer Hoffmann is Manager of Media Consulting at Dow Jones and is based in New York City.

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Coca-Cola’s World Cup Sponsorship Looks to be a Winning Strategy

Posted on December 11, 2009. Filed under: Public Relations | Tags: , , , |

My colleague, Inma Canti, and I recently prepared a report on media coverage of the corporate sponsors of the 2010 World Cup football (soccer) tournament.  We thought this would be an interesting topic because the event is the world’s most watched sporting event and a big platform for corporate sponsors who are willing to shell out millions of dollars to have their names and brands affiliated with the event.

A noteworthy finding in the report is Coca-Cola’s strong emphasis on marketing events associated with the World Cup and its efforts to promote these activities in the media.  For example, Coke had more than double the number of media placements for its World Cup activities than Visa, which was the company with the next highest volume of placements.  Also, Coke CEO Muhtar Kent was the executive quoted or mentioned most often in the coverage.

These results should not be surprising, considering Coke’s recent strategy that emphasizes growth in global markets.  Kent noted in the company’s 2008 annual report that, “critical to expanding our global beverage leadership is achieving balanced growth across a range of geographies. We have identified emerging markets as critical to our business growth. We are [also] taking aggressive actions to reinforce our business in key developed markets like Japan, North America and parts of Western Europe.”

Being a World Cup sponsor is an expensive proposition: official sponsorships cost $125 million, which doesn’t include the marketing activities undertaken by the companies to promote their involvement with the tournament. It’s logical for Coke to devote considerable resources to this effort, however, since the event is an ideal platform for a company emphasizing a growth strategy focused on emerging markets (16 of the 32 participating teams are from Africa, Latin America, or Eastern Europe), Western Europe (9 teams) and Japan (also a participant).  Our data show that 74% of the media coverage for World Cup corporate sponsors in Q3 came from either European or African sources, which confirms that the World Cup is probably an ideal vehicle for Coke’s marketing strategy.

A copy of the World Cup 2010 Sponsors media report can be found here.

David Breg is a media consultant based in Washington, D.C.

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