Public Relations

Social Media & Public Relations. A 21st century love affair?

Social Media and Public Relations are without a doubt, inextricably linked in 2016. There are few international brands which do not possess some sort of social media presence. The more savvy of these, will have been using it with some skill for a few years now. But do these brands use social media for their Public Relations for their own benefit, or of simple necessity.

Social media allows a brand to communicate instantly with it’s audience without the need to go through newspapers or advertisements. Equally, it allows a customer to lodge a very public complaint and within seconds a representative on the receiving end may see it, and respond. The use of twitter has become commonplace when complaining about maybe a train delay, a flight cancellation or a product malfunction. Whilst these conversations will be public only for the opening salvos of the conversation, this public sphere forces the company to respond in some manner satisfactory to the accuser.

An interesting exchange above, note how the PR doesn’t open the compensation floodgates.

These efforts to answer public inquiries are the price a brand has to pay in order to gain instant access to its stakeholders and is something that is not optional. A company which uses social media to communicate to, but not with, stakeholders will find that complaints made may snowball and badly tarnish a businesses reputation.

Valentini highlights a keen observation in the development of Public Relations alongside social media. Valentini has observed that as brands have attempted to appear more transparent the opposite effect has instead spawned. Consumers have become increasingly skeptical of organisations whilst becoming steadily more concerned regarding the use of private information online. This will result in consumers seeing and understanding the hidden messages promoted by brands. In short, this instant access to brands has led consumers to become resistant to the thinly veiled efforts made by brands to accommodate consumers.

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Conversely of course, Allagui points out that efforts on social media continue to generate massive attention. A common example is the 360i  Oreo’s ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ which managed to gain 5x more impressions than the amount of people who viewed the Superbowl itself. This is one of many campaign pieces which have garnered media attention and audience engagement with minimal effort.

Whilst PR and social media have become nearly inseparable, problems do seem to lie in whether or not the effort made actually makes any meaningful difference towards a company’s public relations. Yes impressions are made, but whether or not consumers have become resistant to the underlying goal of these messages is in dispute and this conundrum may continue to be such for some time.

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Can the internet be suppressed? Celebrity Threesome injunction.

 

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This time, something a little different. In the digital age, it is generally believed that no story can be withheld from the cruel grasp of the internet, and that is generally quite true. Or so recent events would tell us. The celebrity hacking scandal stood little chance. Hundreds of private and personal celebrity photos (some of them very personal so reports say) were leaked by an anonymous hacker, or hackers. None of these images appeared on mainstream media, even smaller blogs that showed them found themselves approached by legal representatives. But still these images survived. But before we discuss the title case, we must realise, why they are still easily findable on the internet. Search engines. Whether or not they blocked these images at the time, I do not know. Certainly there is no attempt to do so now. The images can be found with incredibly minimal effort, that is because the search engines allow us to look.

This celebrity threesome scandal though? Google the phrase “celebrity threesome scandal” and at the time of writing, you will find no names. Not only do the mainstream media outlets follow the court ruling and continue to withhold these names but Google, Bing and all the popular search engines are actually blocking whichever websites publish these names. If you think outside the box, you might find something, even then however it is unverified if you look from within the UK.

This is a crucial reminder, that the internet is not as free as we may like to think. Here in Britain there is the soon to be passed into law, snoopers charter, which will allow enforcement agencies to view all emails and social media. Facebook censure how many people see posts if one doesn’t pay to promote them. Google, Bing etc will simply make any results disappear.

The belief that the internet is unsuppressable is swiftly fading, this is clear to all to see.

Cameron, clueless or clued up? Follow up.

Well well, it seems this Panama Papers scandal has really gone badly for DC. His handling of the revelations regarding his fathers holdings (from a PR perspective) have been truly farcical. Anyway, this is just a short follow up to my previous post.

My conclusion to my previous post was that Cameron was Clueless, not Clued up. And in the wake of his declaration of owning £30,000 worth of assets in Blairemore holdings I feel I should clarify my current position.

David Cameron hails from a family with a strong history of stock broking, that he should invest at some point is no surprise to anyone. Anyone who has investments is likely to know exactly where all their money is invested, it can be quite a complicated process. It really isn’t unthinkable that DC might have forgotten where investments he sold six years ago had been invested because the Blairemore investments were probably not all he had invested, and quite frankly just because he is the Prime Minister it’s not necessarily any of our business where he put his money a decade ago as long as he cashed in his chips before becoming the top dog.

So I stand by my Clueless conviction. If Cameron had actually realised where a past investment had specifically been he’d say so. Oh and a final point, he’s done nothing illegal. To invest in USD Shares they need to be in a USD region, you cannot invest in US stocks directly from the UK, hence if you want to do so, you need to move that cash offshore.

 

Right, until the next scandal.