So you think you have a crisis? Your data center failed and your customers are furious? Amanda Knox’s alibis failed and she faced the prospect of a life sentence staring at Perugia through iron bars.
America’s favorite foreign exchange student hired Seattle’s top crisis PR guy, Dave Marriott. Some people, including the New York Times, think it was Marriott who turned things around for Knox, at least in the court of public opinion. Dave is the go-to guy when the shit really hits the fan. Alaska Flight 261, Washington apple growers’ Alar scare, 60 Minutes story about union busting at Nordstrom, etc. I worked with Dave for three years at DDB Needham and developed crisis plans with him. Here is a short hand version:
- Identify everything that could go wrong and the impact it would have on customers, employees, investors, other stakeholders.
- Prioritize the list based on likelihood the event will happen. Impact it will have.
- Premeditate the top 20 most difficult questions that will be asked and the responses to them for each scenario.
- Identify authorized spokespeople now, before you need them. Get mobile numbers. Ditto for the crisis response team. Who is authorized to reach out to press? To respond to inquiries?
- Identify the top 10-15 editors/producers now. Get mobile numbers and email addresses lined up. One of the best things I learned from Dave is that the first one out of the gate spins the story. If something breaks, crashes, dies or otherwise fails, it’s far better that you reach out to the press and tell them what happened than for them to hear it from your outraged customers.
- Practice. Mock Q&A, on camera if possible.
That’s too brief. If you want to learn from Seattle’s grand old man of crisis PR, join me May 14 at the PRSA breakfast where Dave explains how he helped Amanda Knox.
Posted by Paul Owen on May 9th, 2013 :: Filed under Uncategorized
In March I presented a “how-to” primer on public relations to creative professionals with Creative Live. CL is one of dozens of new massive online open courses (MOOCs). The global education market is nearly $4 trillion/year. That’s a big opportunity. There are hundreds of millions of potential customers whose needs are not being met by traditional education. This is ripe for disruption.
Owen Media’s favorite MOOC is Computer-Based Training Nuggets from Eugene, OR. CTBNuggets is blowing the doors off of the enterprise IT certification training market, replacing conference-style and book-based studying methods with new forms of interactive learning, doubling in size every year.
The future is here. We can stop nodding off in lecture halls and start nodding off in front of our keyboards.
Posted by Paul Owen on April 9th, 2013 :: Filed under Uncategorized
Seattle’s remaining daily goes paywall in March 2013. More than 400 dailies in the US already require digital subscriptions. How much do Americans enjoy reading news content from real journalists? Even when its a discussion on Facebook, Twitter or email that is initiated by a news story?
Will anyone notice when it’s gone?
Posted by Paul Owen on February 24th, 2013 :: Filed under Uncategorized
Progmatic buying means purchasing web display ads by target audience irrespective of the web site he or she visits. In the good old days media buyers would identify publications for their relevance and frequency. Today buyers simply tell the progmatic buying services the audience they’re trying to reach and how much they’re willing to pay. Progmatic buying used to be just for bottom feeders, like teeth whitening and belly fat cures, but now represents about 10% of all display sales and grew 17.5% this year. The NYT reported a 2.2% decline in display ad revenue recently, mostly due to the rise in progmatic buying.
I wonder if progmatic buying will change the nature of vertical publishing. Editors formerly concerned with covering the leading issues in their respective markets become more concerned with attracting the audience of the moment.
The jury is out, but Owen Media takes an opportunistic approach. We’ve done progmatic buying but prefer to find the leading trade outlets for our highly sophisticated B2B audiences, such as iOS and Android developers, at the sites where they generally live, such as Stackoverflow and Dzone. The risk of progmatic buying for engineers and geospatial scientists risks wasting a lot of money on irrelevant sites. Unless you’re selling teeth whiteners.
Posted by Paul Owen on November 18th, 2012 :: Filed under Uncategorized
A friend in the PR biz called last week about how to measure the value of an article on a news website. He’s a bit of a marketing knuckle-dragger, but still the question seemed very 1999 to me. We used to measure value by circulation and the relevance of the audience. Sometimes we’d multiply the column inches 3x the ad rate for same. In any case, that’s old math.
eMarketer recently noted more than 50% of tablet users are consuming articles from traditional print titles on their devices. My advice to my PR caveman buddy and to anyone aspiring to do PR in 2013 is to become conversant in measuring results with monthly uniques and, even better, Google Analytics and your favorite social media monitoring tool (i.e. Radian 6). I tell the kids getting started in the business to study for and pass the Google Analytics Individual Qualification.
Let’s be honest, conversion rate optimization is technical and time consuming to the point where it can diminish the creative process normally associated with marketing. But analytics is the new foundation. The most break-through creative doesn’t matter if no-one makes it to your landing page.
Posted by Paul Owen on November 11th, 2012 :: Filed under Uncategorized
I spent Wednesday across the street from the year’s largest tech PR event, the iPhone 5 launch. I was at Intel Developer Forum, the chip maker’s bi-annual conference that ironically happened the same day and practically same location as the mesiah’s press conference.
IDF seemed a little quiet on Weds. No Blue Man Group. No dancing bunny suits. Somnolent conversations about HTML5 and Ultrabook. Intel launched Haswell, it’s fourth-generation Core microarchitecture design, a 20x improvement in energy-efficiency. This type of news once rocked the tech world. Now the challenge is to get the OEMs to listen and innovate, much less the tech press and consumers.
I also demoed smartphones running Medfield, the low power Atom processor. I don’t see how ISVs or OEMs are taking advantage of the processing power. When consumers can run full x86 desktop from a mobile phone, that will be transformative.
Finally, Owen Media coordinated the Black Belt Summit for the Software Services Group again this year (see image). The best developers worldwide discuss how to capitalize on HTML5 and the next big things to set the world on fire. iPhone 5 might have consumed all of the oxygen in the room, but the spark that ignites will come from the guys across the street.
Posted by Paul Owen on September 13th, 2012 :: Filed under Uncategorized
Include security in your marketing road map for the next five years. The NYT op ed piece today kind of cements it.
The IT industry transition from energy efficiency and sustainability to security hit the tipping point some time in the last six months. Starting 2008 the industry focused energy efficiency and sustainability (see the $300 billion DOE stimulus fund). In 2010 security became part of the IT conversation thanks to the Stuxnet. By spring of 2012 the security theme become a fait accompli. It’s now included at nearly all IT conferences and editorial calendars.
I’ll see you at RSA in Feb.
Posted by Paul Owen on September 10th, 2012 :: Filed under Uncategorized
Creativity, nitrous oxide for marketing. Just when you think you’ve memorized the news cycle, some dude puts on a goat suit and takes up residence with a herd in the mountains. Hoax or nut job, he made my week.
Posted by Paul Owen on July 24th, 2012 :: Filed under Uncategorized
Will system on chip design revolutionize the smart phone industry? Today the journey begins with Xolo. More handsets, including a premium handset from Motorola, coming later this year.
AnandTech published the first review (very positive) today.
Owen Media has launched and promoted Pentium, Itanium and Xeon processors since 1995. We’re all holding our breath about whether Intel can cross the chasm into mobile. Here we go.
Posted by Paul Owen on April 25th, 2012 :: Filed under Uncategorized
NYT published an electric car obituary Mar 25, the same day Wendy and I took the kids to pizza and saw an electric car parked outside.
Disruptive change comes with hiccups. GM rushed the Volt and didn’t vet the gasoline backup concept. The battery fires aren’t helpful. But there are more EVs on the road than ever before and 100% annual growth will continue for the next few years. Every major automotive manufacturer has or will launch an EV in the next two years.
The EVs are here for good. Over the next 10 years the battery manufacturers will race against the natural gas industry. One building more efficient batteries, the other building out gas infrastructure to fuel up CNG cars. Either way, the automotive industry will never go back to gas.
Posted by Paul Owen on April 11th, 2012 :: Filed under Uncategorized