With the new year upon us tomorrow, we would like to say goodbye to 2009 with a recap of this blog's five most popular communication-related posts, based on the frequency and the immediacy of reader views after posting.
"What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?"
It is probably no surprise that our call for business leaders and government officials to change their communication struck a chord with consumers and communicators. After all, if we were to pick one word to summarize a common theme in 2009, it would be fear.
The message behind the post, which was part of a three-post series, was simple: if you want real change, you need hope over helplessness. And since most "leaders" seemed to struggle with the concept, we advised our friends and readers to ignore them and set out to find their own cheese. We're glad some people did because our government continues to push fear.
Related Labels: Psychology, Economy, Leadership
The Candy Gamble That Didn't Pay Off
For all the buzz-up Skittles earned in early March, nobody is really talking about the rainbow colored candies anymore. After the initial drunken rush of excitement generated by a Skittles experiment that turned its Web site into a collection of social media streams written by consumers, most people woke up with a hangover.
Within 48 hours, 44 percent of the public was left with a negative impression of the candy for trying too hard to be "cool" and eventually demonstrating it and the agency behind it were really clueless about social media. Effective branding, marketing, and social media require much more work than simply "turning over" a brand to consumers.
Related Labels: Skittles, Social Media
Communication Measurement For A Return On Investment
With so many conversations revolving around about how to measure a return on investment for social media and communication in general, we decided to share a formula that we've put into practice in order to measure a return on communication.
[(B • I) (m+s • r)/d] / [O/(b + t + e)] = ROC
Since January, more than 10,000 people downloaded the abstract from our Web site. And, after the initial post, the ROC series that followed remains one of the most popular published here.
Related Labels: ROC, Strategic Communication
Peanut Corporation of America Poisons Public Relations
The Peanut Corporation of America's handling of public relations after causing a salmonella outbreak will forever be remembered as one of the worst crisis communication scenarios in history. For almost three months, the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) tried to spin its way out of any responsibility for contaminating as many as 2,100 peanut butter products.
The crisis eventually ended with the company filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, after the FDA and several investigations finally concluded that the PCA acted with gross negligence and was responsible for sickening over 600 people in 44 states and Canada. The contaminants were also linked to nine deaths.
Related Labels: PCA, Crisis Communication
How Publicity, Public Relations, Social Media, Marketing, And Advertising View Publics
Published in two parts, we presented a model of how publicity, public relations, and social media and then marketing and advertising tend to view their publics. Both posts seemed to hit a home run in pinpointing why there are varied views on how to approach social media.
We remain vigilant in our belief that social media is best viewed as a new environment that deserves an integrated methodology incorporating all means of communication. From our viewpoint, integrated communication seems to be the best source to develop effective methodologies.
Related Labels: Social Media, Public Relations, Advertising
Five additional topics that came close in 2009
• Where Edleman PR sometimes misses on the finer points.
• How spontaneous online debates can sometimes trip up experts.
• A satirical view covering everything silly in social media.
• The ugly truth about some online consumer reviews.
• How to demonstrate authenticity without actually saying it.
When I first started this blog in 2005, I used to lament that the biggest mistakes always seemed to overshadow the best practices. That seemed to change in 2008 as we accomplished a healthy mix of both. This year, communication models and theories have helped provide a better blend of communication-related topics. It makes 2010 seem even more promising.
In closing out 2009, I would like to extend a very special thanks to everyone who joined the conversation on this blog or across any number of social networks where the discussion tends to take place more frequently than in the comment section.
If you are one of the 3,500 subscribers or someone who visits on an occasional basis, I cannot thank you enough for making 2009 one of the best yet. It makes a difference to me, it's appreciated, and I'm grateful for having crossed paths with so many people online and in person.