Tag Archives: fact

Our survey says… more please!

7 Jan

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Welcome Prime Timers – to the first blog of the new year.

If you’re struggling with the thought of the five-day working week, then this blog probably won’t help. I’m going to get underneath the skin of a recent survey and debate the PR-Journalist-Consumer relationship. That’s right folks, we’re exploring a three-way relationship.

The Energy Saving Trust has commissioned a survey which reveals that more than half of consumers prefer to see advertising claims backed by facts and figures. A further 41% are more likely to believe ideas supported by a third party expert organisation.

‘This is interesting’ I hear you say. But you’ll be even more surprised when I say just 1% said celebrity endorsement would increase their product loyalty.

So, judging by this report, big brands such as Nike, Pepsi and L’Oreal should scrap Ashley Cole, Beyonce and Kirsten Dunst and re-invest their budget elsewhere, because apparently it doesn’t work!

PR
From a PR point of view, what avenue you go down to get coverage depends on who your target audience is. Top titles such as the Metro and the Daily Mail are packed with survey stories, but you can’t have a conversation with a lifestyle journalist without a celebrity partner as back up.

That’s because celebrities don’t just push product, they market an experience. Are the research respondents actually telling me that when they’re looking for trainers they’re turned on by Which? statistics rather than the thought of looking like a model?

Which sectors should prioritise stats?
1. Financial
2. Technology
3. Healthcare

Consumers
I’m not expecting consumers to believe everything celebrities say. We’re in the middle of a sponsorship era. Do well in youe field, you get offers. Lie, cheat or fail to perform and those offers are taken off the table. So, media savvy readers will know that celebs will agree with almost anything as long as it pays well. These endorsements are PR through and through.

In some cases, celebrities can’t even uphold an exclusive sponsorship deal. In the Evening Standard tonight I saw that in an interview with the Radio Times, actor Ben Miller has admitted to fancying Typhoo Tea opposed to PG tips. He’s rocked the boat and put his personal opinion above his cash cow.

Which sectors shouldn’t prioritise stats?
1. Fashion and beauty
2. Arts and culture
3. Media

Journalists
But, when it comes to securing coverage, it takes far longer to explain your headline stat and sample size, compared to uttering the words ‘Gwyneth Paltrow‘. And, more often than not, she adds more weight.

I’ve actually had a journalist put the phone down on me, not because he wasn’t interested in my pitch but because he simply didn’t believe the figures.

There’s a time and a place for numbers and percentages. When they’re unusual, fool-proof and complement the product or service, they sit well with all everyone involved. But, if in doubt, find someone who will communicate your messages without the hassle.

What do you prefer?

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Costco begs for forgiveness after being caught out on Twitter

25 Nov

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I’m normally an advocate for social media silence, but national retailer Costco was quick to repent for its sins with a statement – after the brand was caught out last week.

To put it into context, a Californian pastor noticed that a stack of Bibles were labelled as fiction in one of its stores. Now, you might not believe that this book contains the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but there’s no need for the brand to potentially offend the 246m Christians in the US.

So how did Costco respond after the pastor blasted the company on Twitter? With a watertight crisis management statement that followed the classic ‘get out of jail’ formula:

The formula
Shift blame + Take blame + Olive branch solution = Peace is restored

What Costco said
Costco’s distributor mislabelled a small percentage of the Bibles. However, we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake. We are correcting this with them for future distribution. In addition, we are immediately relabelling all mislabelled Bibles. We greatly apologise for this error.

By the time this was issued it was too little too late. Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach’s tweet had already shocked his congregation, who questioned if Costco was guilty of religious discrimination. And 1,466 followers, 253 retweets, 88 favourites and a flurry of national news stories later, it got so out of hand the pastor had to calm his flock down by claiming he wasn’t angry, just interested.

The one thing Costco didn’t do was use its social media channels to defend itself. Perhaps it was trying to bury bad news or take the approach that what its customers don’t know won’t hurt them (or the business). But failing to maximise its 1m reach on Facebook seems strange, especially when its Twitter pages are such a mess.

Well, at least Caleb has a pinch of inspiration for his next sermon and has successfully engaged with his audience. But the moral of this story is that if you’re truly sorry for your actions, God will forgive your mistakes.

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