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August 7th, 2013

Hazel Butters

Astroturfing: What it is and why tech vendors need to stay far, far away

Astroturfing: What it is and why tech vendors need to stay far, far away

Astroturfing is about a different type of fake grass — when vendors or any organization or body tries to deceptively engage with users at a ‘grass roots’ level and influence public opinion.

Astroturfing is about a different type of fake grass — when vendors or any organization or body tries to deceptively engage with users at a ‘grass roots’ level and influence public opinion.

Ah, the last week has seen news about ‘astroturfing’.

Not familiar with astroturfing? Well you’ve probably seen it in action. Though the term was coined way back in 1985 by US Senator Lloyd Bentsen, the practice is still very much with us today.

It’s got nothing to do with synthetic indoor soccer playing surfaces. Astroturfing is about a different type of fake grass — when vendors or any organization or body tries to deceptively engage with users at a ‘grass roots’ level and influence public opinion.

For example, writing and posting your own reviews online would be considered a type of astroturfing. Considering it’s such a potentially, well, to use a British phrase — dodgy — thing to do, it seems to occur with wearying frequency.

While it may be at the forefront in technology circles, astroturfing is certainly not new nor something dreamt up by the tech industry. For example, take the creation of the National Smokers’ Alliance in 1995 — which was purported to be funded by Philip Morris and launched by its well-oiled (and I’m guessing well-paid) PR machine. There’s an amazing(ly shocking) array of examples of astroturfing across geographies, industries and company types.

In the digital world, accusations of astroturfing include a marketing agency working for Apple that was posting fake reviews and a letter-writing initiative from a seemingly grass roots organization that was linked back to Microsoft, trying to wrestle out of its 2010 anti-trust woes.

The most recent case that has everyone blogging and commenting and shouting is the unfortunate case of Samsung, with the Samsung Smart App Challenge 2013 being tarred and feathered with astroturfing allegations. Allegedly it offered developers $500 to ask the developer community four “casual” and “organic” questions on Stackoverflow, a friendly and  accessible developer community for professional and amateur programmers.

A developer that was approached flagged the activity to Stackexhange, the organization behind Stackoverflow, which alerted Samsung and the activity has halted. But the damage has been done. Whatever happens next, we’re at the juncture where this:

–        Smacks of desperation

–        Got the hackles up in open communities like Stackoverflow and made members weary about vendors / marketers / us PR folks

–        Made Samsung look like it doesn’t understand its own target community — developers — and how they want to be approached. The original blogger who called it out, Delyan Kratunov, even stated: “Had they approached me to ask that I promote the competition legitimately, I would’ve been happy to do it out of goodwill.” To me, that says it all.

Samsung said it didn’t know about the activity. In my experience, vendors that say: “Here’s a sack of money, go and do whatever you think is right with it,” are rare. Albino unicorn-rare. [Sidenote: Any tech vendors that are unsure of what their marketing budget is being spent on, come and work with us. We’ll even let you know what we’re doing before we do it. It’s under the cunning codename “plan”].

Furthermore, as a consultancy, you are compensated for your ideas, creativity — and ability to execute programs that are in line with the company’s objectives, and their values. I’m pretty sure that “being known for astroturfing” isn’t on any company’s PR objectives.

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May 31st, 2013

PromptLondon

Remembering London’s colourful past

Remembering London’s colourful past

LondonLondoner Claude Friese-Greene was the inventor of an additive colour film process called Biocolour, or the Fries-Green Colour Process. In 1927 he filmed one of the first coloured motion pictures ever made, documenting London life when the city wasn’t just capital of England, but remained the centre an enduring British Empire accounting for more than a fifth of the world’s population.

This remarkable film captures a snapshot of hatted Londoners enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the city between the wars. Interstitial captions point out that more than ‘4000 motor busses’ now patrol London’s streets, and that “more than one American has offered to buy our Tower and erect it on Palm Beach as a bungalow!”

By exposing alternate frames of black and white film through a different-coloured filter, then staining the resulting prints either red or green, Friese-Greene was able to project an illusion of genuine colour. The British Film Institute (BFI) has now used the very latest computer techniques to clean up the nostalgic film and reduce flickering so it can be enjoyed by a modern audience.

The results, which we first viewed courtesy of PetaPixel, are fascinating for anyone like us here at Prompt London who work in the city daily, and still walk the same streets, only with very different views. Still, some things haven’t changed – Petticoat Lane market is still impossibly busy, Hyde Park and St. James look just as inviting on a sunny afternoon, and we’re still winning Cricket test matches!

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May 13th, 2013

PromptBoston

Introducing the IT press

Introducing the IT press

Part three of six in our new blog series,

Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing

At Prompt Communications, each of our PR consultants and copywriters is passionate about technology and, thanks to our work with industry leaders such as Sogeti UK, well versed in the realm of software testing. Inspired by our successful media outreach, we’ve fashioned a six part blog series highlighting the best practices for securing targeted coverage as a software testing firm.

In our most recent update, we stressed the importance of appealing to your niche and recapped the quirks, angles and spokespeople that most appeal to the specialist press. This week in ‘Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing’, we broaden the scope a bit and welcome a different kind of press: the IT outlets.

IT press

IT publications, such as Computer Weekly, Computing and Information Week, have a readership encompassing all those within the technology and IT industry, expanding far beyond the software testing professionals. Therefore, the articles tend to take a somewhat different, less detail-oriented form than would a specialist placement. However, procurement of coverage within these publications is vital, as more IT managers who hold the buying power are reading them. In many ways, getting in front this audience can be the first step in turning passive readers into promising prospects.

To land coverage in IT outlets, you must know what will attract your new-found readership and tailor your pitch accordingly. Successful angles would include broad topics such as news, analysis and opinions relevant and of interest to the global and national IT community, all subtly relating back to your expertise: software testing. Inform IT professionals and users of the role that software testing and Quality Assurance (QA) can play in improving their own fields.

While immersed in your industry, it may seem difficult to get a firm grasp on the broader picture. When planning your IT press pitches, just be sure to keep these topics in mind:

– New tools, product and services

– Customer wins, especially those big name, household names

– The benefits of thoroughly tested software for IT managers, administrators, and end-users – all of whom will be reading

– Fear, uncertainty and doubt related to poor software testing and QA

– Fresh developments and trends in the software testing industry

– Dead-ends, obsolescence, misunderstandings and failures in the world of software testing

– Expert insights that improve the software testing knowledge of IT professionals in broad roles

– Further insights that enable IT managers to improve planning, strategy, and purchasing decisions

– Innovations in the world of software testing, and an understanding and empathy with the challenges and pain-points facing IT professionals today

Stop back next Monday for another informational round-up – where we’ll cover the benefits of the even broader business press.

To discuss your specific situation, targets and how to gain valuable traction with relevant press as a software testing thought leader, please email us today. To speak directly with one of our tech PR consultants, please feel free to dial us at (US) +1 617-401-2717 or (UK) +44 20 8 996 1650. Let us help you get in front of the press – and gain the momentum you need to advance in the software industry.

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Posted in Communications consultancy opinion, Copywriting, PR Practices, Software Testing | Comments Off on Introducing the IT press

 

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May 6th, 2013

PromptBoston

Meet the software testing press

Meet the software testing press

Part two of six in our new blog series,

Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing

As a group of public relations and copywriting professionals, we are enthusiastic about our work in the technology industry, especially when it comes to software testing. Whether we’re writing press releases, ringing top-tier testing journalists, or simply picking up the latest issue of SD Times, the fast-paced software testing market is something that excites us – and even more exciting is the role PR can potentially play in it.

Last week, we noted that your software testing firm does, in fact, need PR, so it’s only right that our second edition of our ‘Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing’ will begin with a coverage tutorial, taking you on a journey through the world of the software testing and specialist press.  When committing to a targeted media relations program, you’ll need to know who to target, and how to capture their attention.

The idea of specialized press often leads professionals to believe that they will simply be handed their media opportunities on a silver platter. Unfortunately, the truth is that no matter how relevant your high tech firm is to the software testing publication you’re hoping to appear in, you’re still going to have to try for that coverage.

Here are some considerations to make the uphill battle a bit more bearable. When reaching out to aforementioned specialist press, be sure to:

– Remain as up-to-date and relevant as you can: Editors and readers alike need to know that you truly understand the challenges facing software testing employees, and are providing information that will realistically better their practices. Learn as much as you can about the organizations implementing your services and their employees’ needs.

– Offer only your most knowledgeable, confident spokesperson: Each editorial opportunity is different, but one thing remains the same – the editors are looking for an insightful spokesperson, one that is capable of being a though leader within the sector. With this in mind, choose your spokesperson carefully each time a briefing is secured. Professionals featured must be able to handle any questions thrown their way, and therefore, they should be an expert on the topic at hand.

– Fit the mold: Software testing press is most keen to see collateral in the form of customer case studies, controversial opinion pieces, authoritative thought leadership pieces, hard news or analysis. Approach the journalist equipped with one of these angles from the beginning and set yourself apart from the competition.

– Keep an open mind: Remember that these publications and their readership come from many different backgrounds. Customer successes and case studies can hone in on any market, so dig deep and find the best one in your arsenal.

Popular software testing titles in the US, UK, France and Germany to keep in mind for targeted media outreach include: Professional Tester, TEST Magazine, SD Times, Software Test Professionals, Programmez!, and ITSecCIty.de. The topics generally covered by these specialist publications are the following:

Software testing

Join us next week for an in-depth look at how to land yourself a spot in the top-tier IT press, including Computer Weekly, Computing, Computerworld, Information Week, and TechWorld.

To discuss your specific situation, targets and how to gain valuable traction with relevant press as a software testing thought leader, please email agile@prompt-communications.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Posted in Communications consultancy opinion, PR Practices, Software Testing, Technology | Comments Off on Meet the software testing press

 

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May 3rd, 2013

PromptBoston

Innovation Nation: Celebrating a proud pioneering tradition

Innovation Nation: Celebrating a proud pioneering tradition

Massachusetts, and the twin cities of Boston and Cambridge in particular, has been a thriving hotbed of innovation and pioneering spirit since its very foundation. From Harvard intellectuals to ground-breaking glass and ink industrialists, from the earliest computing visionaries to modern green tech and life science visionaries, innovation has always been second nature in this part of the world.

To celebrate the vibrancy, optimism and can-do determination of business and individuals that still thrives in the area today, Prompt Communications has decided to produce a series of short videos showcasing the rich talents of start-ups operating out of the Cambridge Innovation Center.

We’re interviewing truly inspiring, innovative businesses at CIC, and can’t wait to share the passion and enthusiasm they have for their products and markets with you. We’ll reveal what makes the people behind these organizations tick, what fuels their ideas, and how they became so ambitious and driven to succeed.

Join us as we showcase our nation’s greatest innovations, and celebrate the proud pioneering spirit of some of the most exciting businesses in operation today.

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April 29th, 2013

PromptBoston

Software testing and the PR opportunity

Software testing and the PR opportunity

Part one of six in our new blog series,

Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing

software testing PR

As a transatlantic PR and copywriting firm, we’ve worked with high tech clients spanning the globe, from Boston start-ups to key players like Dell and Oracle. Since 2005, we’ve worked with Sogeti UK, one the UK’s leading provider of software testing services, to deliver a powerful media outreach programme, securing coverage in popular titles like Computerworld, ComputerWeekly, Tech World and TEST Magazine.

From our experience in working with high tech clients, in particular the software testing industry, we’ve compiled a Prompt blog series highlighting key tips when reaching out to various types of press covering the sector. Consider this your weekly inside scoop when it comes to PR and software testing, compiled from our media relations expertise dating back to 2002.

Why software testing needs PR

If you manage, market or work for a software testing or quality assurance firm, then you are on the reputational frontline. Your customers operate in increasingly competitive markets and know that the quality and speed of software delivery can be the difference between success and failure. They depend on you to make their businesses work, because when technology fails and transactions stop, business processes halt and customers get frustrated. And when today’s customers get angry, they talk about it online; on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

Your opportunity to comment

Business managers are painfully aware of the need to ‘get up to speed’ with testing tools, applications and processes that are of critical strategic importance. This is the opportunity for you to educate, inform, prove, and even entertain – with fresh ideas, expert insights, real authority, fun and enthusiasm for your business.

The media opportunity

Prompt has worked with the media in the US, the UK, France and Germany. These are the countries where our clients operate, where we employ consultants to work in local languages, and where we know the press. We regularly work with all areas of the media in these territories to protect and reflect our clients’ objectives and interests. Join us next week, as we take our first look into some of the different print and online influencers that we advise and target for software testing vendors. We’ll start our series off with the specialist press, which includes the SD Times, Programmez! and Professional Tester.

To discuss your specific situation, targets and activities that will get you traction with relevant press as a software testing thought leader, please email agile@prompt-communications.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Posted in Communications consultancy opinion, Copywriting, PR Practices, Software Testing, Technology, UK press | Comments Off on Software testing and the PR opportunity

 

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April 18th, 2013

PromptBoston

Commenting on blogs: Advice for the active listener

Commenting on blogs: Advice for the active listener

With all of our talk about WordPress and the all-importance of blogging, we thought we should spend some time focusing on external blogs, and its importance to your site. One of the best ways to increase site traffic, click-through rates and overall SEO, is one you probably hadn’t thought of: commenting.

boost in web traffic

Boost website traffic and SEO by commenting on external blogs.

Take some time to explore pages other than your own, and to contribute to said sites with your expert input. Why? Aside from the fact that it’s a great way to stay up-to-date within your field, it will increase visibility and engagement while providing a platform in which to position yourself as a thought leader. When you allow yourself to answer questions being asked by the writer and readers, you are giving yourself a chance to be seen as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source for industry news, information and advice.

The more places in which you can insert your company’s name, the more optimal your SEO will become. As if you needed more reasons to begin commenting, the opportunity to network and make meaningful professional connections is very prevalent through regular external blog comments. Making connections with industry thought-leaders leaves your company in the fore-front of their mind and can seamlessly lead to guest blogging opportunities.

As you can tell, we love blogging, comments, WordPress and all things digital. So, if you were looking for our advice for crafting the perfect comment, we leave you with the following:

– Be sure to take the time to find outlets within your niche – your conversion rate will be non-existent if you’re targeting the wrong audiences

– Act fast, but not too fast – you may eagerly leave your opinion, only to find a few minutes later that 20 other people passionately disagree. Stay timely, but let the dust settle just long enough to gauge popular opinion

– Don’t comment just to comment – be sure that you have something relevant to say. When you add valuable content to a conversation, the conversation may seamlessly be moved to your own site

– Remember, slow and steady wins the race – higher SEO rankings won’t pour in overnight. These things takes time so don’t allow yourself to be discouraged. Just keep posting!

For more information on how to comment on an external blog, please contact us today. To register for our London-based WordPress training courses, please click here and reserve your seat.

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April 17th, 2013

Hazel Butters

A PR perspective: An American in South Korea

A PR perspective: An American in South Korea

Today we have a blog post from Vicki Kim, who works as an extension of the Prompt PR team in South Korea. If you subscribe to our Impromptu newsletter (if you don’t, you can sign up here), you may be interested to know that Vicki is the person who diligently puts this together for us. With the recent escalating threats from North Korea, we’ve all been keen to know that Vicki is okay and to hear her view on the situation. Here she generously shares her thoughts:    

An American living in South KoreaA lot has been said in recent weeks about the state of the Korean Peninsula, specifically about the recent threats from North Korea. The whole world seems to be on high alert, especially with the 101st anniversary of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-Sung’s birthday. As an American living in Seoul, it’s been surreal to read the news coming from all over the world where the reactions have ranged from derision to veiled panic.

The view from Seoul, however, is entirely different. Locals go about their days as if it’s business as usual, almost entirely unaffected by the threats and rants of their northerly neighbor. Nuclear missile hitting any second? No worries. Korean citizens still go to work, their children continue to go to school (and then academy after academy for a total of 12 hours a day), and they spend their weekends taking walks along the Han River while enjoying the annual cherry blossom festivals. Plus, there’s no way they’re going to let a silly nuclear threat get in the way of a Psy concert.

But the recent string of threats has not been totally ignored. South Korean and US armies have increased the frequency of their joint drills, and it’s much more common to see military helicopters making the rounds above the city. The North continues to set deadlines (first April 11 and then Kim Il-Sung’s birthday) that have us on edge, if only in the backs of our minds.

Many ex-pats (foreigners living in South Korea) have begun to head for the hills. Every day we hear more news of a friend or friend-of-friend who has decided to return home. Watching them go is both sad and worrying, but South Koreans have an uncanny ability to see themselves through a lens that magnifies their abilities tenfold. They are an incredibly proud people, and while this can be extremely irritating and unrealistic at times to us foreigners (oh the stories I could tell…), their lack of fear and their unwavering belief in their own country’s strength is not only admirable, it’s comforting.

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April 9th, 2013

PromptBoston

Why you should blog with WordPress (and attend our London-based training courses)

Why you should blog with WordPress (and attend our London-based training courses)

Last week, we blogged about the importance of establishing a company blog. You may now feel ready to set up webpages, push out engaging content and ramp up your blogging efforts – but stop! Before any of this begins, you must make the critical decision as to which platform will host your webpage. We recommend your answer be WordPress – and here’s why.

Blog with WordPressWordPress really has come a long way since it was considered a basic blogging platform. With plug-ins, new features and other enhancements, it has become the premier content management system, with over 62 million pages on the Web run on WordPress today.

Here’s just some of the reasons Prompt is run on WordPress (we wouldn’t have it any other way):

Ease of use:  The best advice has always been to keep it simple. WordPress does this fabulously – allowing users to post content in visual or HTML text version. Whether you’re a diehard coder or an amateur, these options are designed to cater to all levels of experience.

Enhancing SEO:  WordPress’ blog code attracts Google robots and other magnets, helping boost your SEO and webpage traffic. With the right setup and plug ins (we like Yoast SEO), the platform will tell you just how high you rank when it comes to search terms and keywords, and where you can improve.

Seamless with social media:  With the right plugins, WordPress can post new content directly to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. As a PR firm with experience in social media, we can’t stress the importance of cross promoting on social networks, and this WordPress feature now makes it easier than ever to do so.

Sharing new media:  Sure, any blogging platform can post photos to accompany text. But how great would it be to incorporate new media to blog forums, like MP3 videos and audio recordings? WordPress makes this possible, with seamless integration and clean playback compatibility.

Improved security:  Many shy away from using plugins, fearing the risk of hackers and cyber-attacks. With the proper WordPress installation, your site can be hacker-proofed; a major benefit in today’s heightened threat landscape. According to Here Next Year, there is an actual process to ‘hardening’ WordPress installation to ensure maximum security at all times.

Scheduling: With offices in London, Boston and San Francisco, it’s no question why we love WordPress’ scheduling feature. If you’re like us and working in different time zones, or if you just want to maximize efficiently by scheduling future content, WordPress now makes it easier than ever. Not only does this prevent location-based error, but it also helps reach audience during peak web browsing times – or early afternoon.

For more information on why WordPress is the right choice, please contact Prompt’s technology consultant and experienced WordPress trainer, Malachy McConnell. For more on Malachy’s expertise, please go here, or click on this link to enroll in his future WordPress training workshops – held right in Prompt’s London offices (in the heart of Covent Garden).

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April 8th, 2013

PromptBoston

Prompt’s content marketing Monday tip #9: The value of video

Prompt’s content marketing Monday tip #9: The value of video

Now that you’ve taken the time to re-learn the laws of traffic with the Green Cross Man, you know how to find and engage your audience effectively. So, naturally, it’s time to take engagement to a new, more in-depth level – through video.

Video takes some skill – after all, you need someone in front of the camera as a confident spokesperson, and a director filming behind the scenes. But, thanks to the rise in smartphones and portable camcorders, a camera doesn’t have to cost you big bucks – meaning engaging marketing materials are now more affordable and attainable than ever before.

Camera to film video

And it’s not just cost-effective; it’s beneficial too. Hosting videos on your site will bring a 200% to 300% increase in unique monthly visitors with each person lingering on the page an average of 100% longer in time. Cisco predicts that in by the end of 2013, a whopping 90% of web traffic will be driven by video alone.

Still reluctant to jumpstart your filming efforts? Here are even more reasons to break out the video camera (or iPhone – it really is that simple):

– Establishing a personality – Having your audience read your messaging is great, but letting them hear and see it is even better. When you let the charisma of your organization shine through verbally and visually, the connection with your customer base will strengthen astronomically.

– Easy (and free) sharing services –In addition to hosting a video on your company blog, external blogs, social media outlets and YouTube, other video sharing and hosting sites are all over the web.  Some of our favorite free services include Vimeo, Vivo, Shutterfly and Flickr – the options are endless. There is no shortage of outlets for your video, so you can rest assured that it will be seen by a variety of audiences.

– Consumer preference – We’ve already told you how imperative it is to know what your consumers really want, and be the one to give it to them. And in an age where tablets, smartphones and social media dominate, your audience most likely wants a short, engaging video that’s easy to view, and even easier to share. In a study done by Eloqua, CMO.com and Software Advice, it was found that internet users prefer to ingest information via video, especially when discussing case studies, in person-demos and even free trials. So, why not give them what they want!

You may be ready to shine in front of the camera now, but aren’t quite sure where to start. As a reference, be sure to view some of Prompt’s own videos by visiting our YouTube channel here. And remember, great content doesn’t always have to be written – oftentimes, it is most effective when spoken.

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April 5th, 2013

PromptBoston

Apple apologizes to Chinese media, authorities and consumers: PR lessons for international businesses

Apple apologizes to Chinese media, authorities and consumers: PR lessons for international businesses

Earlier this week, Apple once again grabbed headlines around the world – but the news wasn’t about a new product release, iOS updates or an annual report. On Monday, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook delivered his biggest apology since the Apple Maps controversy, this time addressing the company’s warranty policies in China.

Chinese-controlled press and authorities slammed the American company after an annual consumer rights program on China Central Television (CCTV) highlighted Apple’s iPhone Chinese customer service plan which gives users a one-year warranty – a policy that differs to Apple’s guarantees around the world.  According to Chinese law, local warranty policies must cover a minimum of two years, and several media outlets labelled Apple as “arrogant” and some went as far as to mock Apple on their front pages.

Apple CEO Tim CookCook responded- making his third apology to Chinese consumers since March 15 – offering to review and alter warranty policies for the iPhone 4 and 4S, while improving its customer feedback.

In an official statement posted on Apple’s Chinese site, Cook wrote, “In the process of studying the issues, we recognize that some people may have viewed our lack of communication as arrogant, or as a sign that we didn’t care about or value their feedback. We sincerely apologize to our customers for any concern or confusion we may have caused.”

Naturally there’s speculation that this backlash from state-controlled media is a red flag for Apple to co-operate with Chinese authorities.  After all, this is Apple’s second largest market after the United States, and everyone recalls what happened to www.google.cn (don’t remember? – click and recall).

The CEO not only offered an apology, but also gave international businesses a few PR lessons to be learned:

1. Consistent customer service is a must

Whether you’re a consumer product giant or a B2B start-up, an effective, streamlined and consistent customer service network is necessary. There is nothing more dreadful than dealing with unresponsive or inadequate customer support.  The media will slam a company with seemingly lackluster service. Don’t give them a reason to. 

      2. Offer a prompt response – and get it right the first time

Timely communication during a crisis is critical. Offering a statement a few days late reflects poorly on the CEO and company at large. Once a crisis hits, respond fast and accurately  and work with your PR team to deploy a strategic apology and plan.  Having to apologize more than once makes it look like you misunderstood the severity of the circumstances – whether it’s a situation with consumers or one arising from a state-controlled media trying to make a point.  

      3. Be aware of foreign policies

When venturing into a new nation or market, do your homework. Have your support team look into local laws, policies and regulations to avoid penalties and heavy criticism in the future. If your company doesn’t have the bandwidth to do so, then ask your business partners and clients for insight into foreign procedures.  Think of one of the  Four Ps, or the Seven Ps of the marketing mix as standing for ‘politics’. 

Even with an official statement on its site, Apple has damage control to do in the Chinese market and bridges to build with Chinese authorities. To add to the pressures, the company must move fast to prevent its stocks (and shareholder satisfaction) from continuing to plummet as it struggles with state-run media in one of its largest markets.

Keen to discuss crisis communications strategies and ways to improve your company’s reputation (typically with non-state-controlled media – we typically deal with those in the United States, the UK, France, Germany, Austria or Switzerland)? Then get in touch with one of our public relations consultants.

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April 1st, 2013

PromptBoston

Why email etiquette hasn’t reached extinction

Why email etiquette hasn’t reached extinction

As a public relations consultant, I am constantly using email as a means of communication – whether I’m sending an internal note to a colleague across the pond in London, or a media pitch to a journalist in New York City.

Whatever the area code (or time zone), one thing is for certain – my email won’t be a one-liner. Almost always, I frame my email drafts to include a proper greeting and a positive sign off, even during a time when many question if such forms of etiquette are the digital definition of ‘rude’.

Last month, Nick Bilton of The New York Times expressed his thoughts on communicating during the digital era, stating ‘thank you’ emails, ‘sincerely’ sign offs and even voicemails are irksome time wasters. In an age where 140-character tweets and texting has taken over, is a lengthier, friendly email really such a bad thing?

Typing a lengthy email

To me, the answer is, and will always be, no. It takes one second to glance over the opening sentence that wished you a good afternoon, and even less time to get through a sign off. At the end of the day, being nice won’t cause any harm – in fact, it will most likely bring a small smile to your contact’s face.

So, the next time you’re writing an email, take a moment to consider just how you’re responding. If the sender took his or her time to ask how you were doing, don’t just respond with a snappy demand or request. Yes, email communication exists to accomplish tasks remotely, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your personality along the way.

After all, presenting yourself in the best light – whether by email or any other form of communication – is what public relations is all about.

Do you have an email etiquette tip of your own? Why not share them with us on Twitter, Facebook, or – you guessed it – email today.

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