Inside PR 399: Don’t put a Target on your back

Target Canada got itself into big business trouble in Canada. And it got itself into even bigger reputation trouble with the way it is leaving the country.

It has become commonplace for companies to care about being seen to be responsible corporate citizens. And this involves both doing and being seen to exercise their corporate social responsibility. To make the communities in which they operate better places. To give back as well as to receive.

We expect that corporations will want to be seen to be doing more than the bare minimum they can get away with. And perhaps that’s why Target Canada has garnered so much bad media in the wake of their decision to pull out of the Canadian market. They were perceived as doing as little as the law required them to do in order to get out of the country.

Whether this was justified or not, the company seemed almost to be playing rope a dope, absorbing the blows without attempting to fight back.

Did Target give its employees, its suppliers and its partners a raw deal? Were they inept or calculating in their communications? Will this affect their reputation in the United States?

Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I explore these questions on this week’s Inside PR podcast. Give it a listen and make up your own mind. Does Target deserve the target on its back?

Context

Here is a selection of the media coverage and commentary around Target’s retreat from Canada.

Target closes all 133 stores in Canada; Seeks creditor protection

Target Canada owes more than 5 billion to creditors

Target Canada owes advertising, marketing and PR partners

Top Target Canada Managers get big cash payouts as stores close

More must be done to help laid off target employees 

Target closure causing crisis for independent pharmacies, owners say

Target Canada patient records sold

Ontario pharmacists fighting Target Canada

Target Canada liquidation sales draw crowds and mockery

 

What do you think?

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

We’d ask one favour of you. If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 398: Is blogging over or has it morphed into something else?

Martin here. On today’s show it’s Joe and me. Gini’s on the road but she’ll be back next week.

Our topic comes from a post by Mathew Ingram about the state of blogging and how it has evolved. We’ve noticed a number of people who were active bloggers have slowed down their output, moved away from the platform or started publishing somewhere else.

So is that a trend? Are we entering a post-blogging landscape?

Joe starts off by mentioning a series like Sherlock that looked edgy and new a few years ago, yet seems a bit dated today. He thinks the same may be true for blogs.

I always considered blogging more of a publishing platform rather than an unedited stream or conversation. And as a PR person who wrote for clients, I found my voice again when I started my blog.

Joe thinks blogging has become more of a place for personal journaling. It hasn’t gone away but now it has a specialized purpose.

Joe also noticed that for a number of years we were fixated on the river of news and that’s not the only way for information to be organized. New apps value content that doesn’t carry as much weight and that the search engines can’t grab and data mine.

It’s a bigger range of content. And it’s about distinctive voices – columnists. In many ways, it always was.

And before we go: I noticed, as I was listening to the episode and writing the notes, that I said, ‘The Snapchat’. Yipes. Honestly, I didn’t mean to. Let’s chalk it up my affinity for the old Triple-W… and (hopefully) leave it at that.

Is blogging simply publishing? Are you moving to something more ephemeral like chat? Do you want your ideas archived or would you like your comments to be delivered and disappear?

Many of you listen to us on iTunes and it would be great if you could leave us a review.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 395: The chat app is the medium

Martin here.

Happy New Year and welcome back! We hope you had a fun and restful holiday.

In 2015, we’re planning to reinvigorate IPR by making it more topical and dealing with an issue or two a week. Stay tuned…

We start by congratulating Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson on the 10th anniversary of For Immediate Release! Here’s (hears?) to many, many more! We’re thrilled to be part of the FIR podcast network.

We also have some sad news. Michael Herman, a senior PR agency leader we know from Counselors Academy, passed away suddenly on Saturday at his home in North Carolina. Michael was the consummate PR pro, received PRSA’s highest honour, the Gold Anvil award, taught PR and never stopped learning, asking questions and helping people. Gini shares a personal memory of Mike on Pinterest and how they used to trade recipes. Here’s a moving tribute from Peppercom founder, Steve Cody. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Mike’s family and friends. 

Now onto this week’s main topic. Over the break I noticed a number of what’s ahead roundups – including TechCrunchAdAge and GigaOm – highlighted the renewed interest in chat apps as a key way for people to communicate and connect.

Which leads to the question: how can professional communicators, who participate in public conversations, navigate in the world of chat?

Gini: A big issue is anything you post online can and will be used against you. In other words, private isn’t necessarily private, anymore.

Joe harkens back to the early days social media where you had people talking to people versus brands talking to people. Now that marketers are monitoring public interactions, he believes ordinary people, who may not trust commercial accounts, are turning to messenger apps as a way to communicate.

Private or public messages? Which will be your default in 2015? We’d love to hear what you think.

One last thing. Many of you listen to us on iTunes and it would be great if you could leave us a comment or rating. Thanks!

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 392: The algorithm called journalism

We start this episode with a burning question from Gini: Is lasagna pasta – yes or no?

Joe and I both say yes. And so Gini, armed with the information she desperately needs, is ready to take on her dinner menu. That is, unless you, our listeners, think otherwise. Please let us know.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Joe starts the show talking about the notion of who makes news decisions – editors or algorithms. This was sparked by an Emily Bell speech and spawned a discussion online as well as several posts, including one by Jeff Jarvis.

In her talk, Bell contends journalists, who once controlled the determination and distribution of news, have lost their hold or maybe they’ve been supplanted. Their replacements? In digital channels, many editorial decisions are made by people fine-tuning algorithms or the algorithms themselves.

Martin says on the editorial front, we’ve traded one concentrated group of publicly-traded companies (media) for another (social networks as new media).

Gini says there’s so much info out there that until something’s been confirmed by the fourth estate, we tend not to believe it. Traditional media is the filter.

Joe contends PR is in an ideal position to bridge the gap between journalistic decision makers and the way algorithms pick content. And by seeing both sides of the coin, we can still help get news in front of people either though media or their feeds.

And that’s where understanding influence and influencers comes into play. Martin mentions a new type of influencer: a young video game player with an engaged audience who was featured in an article in the NYTimes. And the profession needs to refine its approach to public relationship-building to take this into account.

Are algorithms the new equivalent of editors – we don’t know who/what they are and yet they make many decisions? Is that a good or a bad thing? We’d love to hear what you think.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 391: Ch-ch-changes at F-F-Facebook – again

Martin here and apologies to David Bowie but Facebook’s at it again and I couldn’t help myself.

Earlier this month, the company announced that in January, 2015 people will start seeing fewer promotional posts from brands, that is, things that push you to enter contests and sweepstakes, install an app or buy a product.

Joe and Gini think this is a positive shift because it puts the onus on brands to earn their way into a user’s news feed with relevant and useful content.

I say this goes well with the way Facebook lets folks mute brands and friends we may not want to hear from so often. Then I wonder about coupons. They’re both commercial and yet important to some people. Is Facebook treating coupons as pure promotion too? We’re interested if any of our listeners have insights on that.

We switch gears and Gini talks about Facebook’s Rooms app, which is trying to connect people through a common interest and not necessarily their social graph. Gini likens it to the early days of Internet communities and anonymous posting. Here’s a blog she wrote about it and why you may not be as anonymous as you think.

Joe says Facebook’s two recent changes – offering a less commercial newsfeed and simplifying their privacy offerings – are driving more value to its business. He thinks they’ve got their mojo back.

I close off by talking about the latest meshmarketing conference and some highlights, including Ann Handley’s fun and informative keynote.

What do you think about Facebook’s algorithm tweaks? Will it improve your experience and, as a result, will you be spending more time on the platform? Will you be changing your privacy settings? We’d love to hear what you think.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 382: Considering Native Advertising

This has been the summer of native advertising. More and more of it is showing up on more and more outlets. And it’s even broken through to our consciousness via mainstream media, thanks to John Oliver.

This week on the Inside PR podcast, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I talk about native advertising and the questions that have been raised about it. Is native advertising simply “disguising your ads to make them look like new stories?” Is it something insidious? Is it something with a short lifespan or a permanent fixture of the new media economy? How do we do it in a way that preserves the integrity of the news organization and the trust that we can place in it?

Yes, this week we’re all about native advertising on Inside PR. We hope that you’ll listen to and enjoy this full episode discussion.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

 

IPR 378: The news you may never see

It’s just Gini Dietrich and me on this week’s inside PR. Martin Waxman is in Las Vegas for SXSW V2V. He’ll be back next week.

We talk about Facebook’s communications response to the controversy around their mood altering experiment. Gini gives them marks for being consistent in their position. I question whether you can ever win if your position is bad.

Facebook’s manipulation of our newsfeed leads to our second topic. Are we getting a complete picture of the world around us if we rely on our social networks to bring news to us? Tom Krazit wrote a must-read post about this on the GigaOm blog. And Gini and I use it as a point of departure for our conversation.

Finally, we talk about the information we don’t want to receive – SPAM. Canada is several weeks into the implementation of CASL – the Canadian Anti-Spam Law. And we talk about its impact on companies trying to reach out to potential new customers.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR 376: A Native Advertising No-No and Panda Preys on News Release sites

In this episode of Inside PR, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley discuss two news-related topics: one newspaper’s reported intent  to assign staff reporters to create native advertising; and the impact of Google’s Panda 4.0 algorithm changes on news release sites.

Reporters required to write native advertisements?

First, we give a shout out to Jesse Brown‘s Canada land podcast. In a recent episode, Jesse interviewed Giga Ohm’s Mathew Ingram about an apparent move by Toronto’s Globe and Mail to require regular reporters to make themselves available to write native advertisements. If you care about the state of journalism, the Canada land podcast is a must-listen.

Panda 4.0 preys on news release sites

Google has never really been happy with the news release and news release services. For some time, Google has advised content creators to put no follow tags in the links in their news releases. They view this as a paid link, not an organic link, and do not want authority to transfer via such paid links. It appears Google decided that voluntary action was not sufficient. Shortly after its Panda 4.0 algorithm changes were implemented, news release sites such as PRWeb, PR Newswire and Business Wire experienced a significant sharp decrease in the traffic they received via search engines.

How are you adjusting your promotion programs to compensate for Google’s moves on the news release sites?

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR 374: Scott Monty will not be forgotten

This week on Inside PR, Gini Dietrich and Martin Waxman talk about the implications of the European Court’s right to be forgotten regime and Scott Monty’s classy announcement that he has left his role as social media head for Ford.

In the past two weeks, requests by European citizens have flooded Google with requests to delete information about them from the search engine’s results. Gini points out that the European Court’s decision requiring that Google takedown information upon request does not sit well with Americans, who see this as undermining the right to free expression. Nevertheless, she advises clients with operations in Europe and elsewhere to take note of this move. It points to the need for companies operating globally to be sensitive to different values in different places. Martin is uncomfortable with the potential that this ruling holds to rewrite and obfuscate history. Where do we draw the line between someone wanting to remove a hurtful or hateful opinion and someone who wants to remove or obscure facts? The true impact of this ruling will only be known over time.

And kudos to Scott Monty for the classy way that Scott announced on his blog that he had left his role as social media head at Ford. Scott praised his team, praised the company and praised the work that they did together. Others who are announcing a move would be well recommended to look at Scott’s departure announcement as a template for the right way to handle yourself when announcing a career change. 

Finally, Interesting factoid or fiction? Martin says that Canada is the only country in the world that still celebrates Queen Victoria’s birthday as a national holiday. With fireworks no less. Is that true? Are we truly unique in the world?

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.

 

Inside PR 3.71: New makeovers for Google+ and Facebook

MartinGini, and I are back together again for the first time since we got together in Toronto for the launch of Gini’s new book Spin Sucks. (And by the way, if you haven’t had a chance to get your copy, I recommend that you do. It’s an excellent read.”)

This week, we ask, “Would you care if Google plus disappeared?”

Martin likens Google+ to vitamins. He knows that they are good for him, but he must remind himself to use it. It’s not part of his daily routine.

While agreeing with Martin that Google+ is not her first-choice social network, Gini says that Google plus is a large driver of traffic to the Spin Sucks website. So while it’s not necessarily a preferred site for its consumer experience, Google+ definitely does drive benefits to a content marketer.

As I look at my top four destinations, I see a real differentiation between Twitter and Facebook on one hand and Google+ and Feedly on the other hand. Twitter and Facebook are ideal for awareness. They tell me something has happened quickly after it does happen. Feedly and Google+, on the other hand, provide me with more in-depth and thoughtful analysis and commentary on developments that lead to better understanding.

We also talk about the FB newswire.

Gini sees its content as typical of citizen journalism – delivering reports on what people are seeing or experiencing in real time. Martin suggests it may be a lifestyle feed, not a news feed.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Would you care if Google+ disappeared?

What about FB Newswire? Have you looked at it? Do you find it useful?

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.