What “The Interview” taught us about public relations

 
Sparking controversy has historically helped increased attendance at, and revenue generated by, theatrical movie releases.

TheInterviewFrom North Korea threatening action against the U.S. should Columbia Pictures release The Interview, to being hacked and having private employee information (and embarrassing emails) leaked, 2014 was a year of controversies for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Not only did these events generate publicity for Sony, but also elevated the anticipation for the theatrical release of The Interview.

Now experiencing overwhelming digital success, The Interview’s eventual release has presented many lessons in public relations. We’ve identified three (of many) key takeaways from The Interview’s controversial launch and how media monitoring can help you leverage these points:

1. Scandal will always spark conversation.

Controversy can increase the revenue generated by your product, much like it did with The Interview, but it can also increase the earned media your launch campaign generates. Regardless of whether this earned media is positive, neutral, or negative, each new article, blog post, or comment is another opportunity for potential customers to see your product or service and create their own opinions (which hopefully they will share with others).

Now, it’s hard to keep track of all these conversations because they can be happening over traditional media (like print or broadcast), or using digital mediums. But media monitoring via software can keep track of all these conversations regardless of where they’re taking place, and identify your influencers.

Word of mouth is one of the most influential ways to raise awareness of a product, and media monitoring and analysis can help you leverage public opinion to continue generating buzz around your product or service.

2. If customers can’t have something, it makes them want it more.

It’s human psychology that if we can’t have something, it typically increases our desire to have it. Besides being a fundamental storyline in many romantic comedies, this compelling truth is also, in part, what made The Interview a huge success. We thought we wouldn’t be able to see it, so it made us want to see it more.

Use social media to hint at your product launch, and use media monitoring to gauge your target audience’s sentiment towards it. If, after careful analysis, the sentiment is extraordinarily positive then wait a bit to release your product.

Let the anticipation build, but make sure that you don’t wait too long (you don’t want your potential consumers to get frustrated). But if sentiment is underwhelming, neutral, or negative, tweak your product and launch plan to reflect this feedback—and make your product more appealing to the customer.

3. Making your product directly accessible from nearly anywhere can increase your ROI exponentially.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get your product directly into the hands of consumers, but if you can, there’s great success to be had. In this respect Sony made The Interview easily accessible to their consumers by releasing it on video on demand (VOD), accompanying the limited theatrical releases.

Not only did their VOD releases dominate their theatrical releases in sales, but it also allowed their customers to access the movie whenever they wanted, wherever they wanted, increasing its viewing potential.

Using social media monitoring can give you great information about your target audience. From psychographics to demographics, you can use this information to pinpoint what outlets would be best when looking to launch your product.

Did The Interview teach you any interesting lessons about public relations? Let us know in the comments!

Posted in Industry – PR and Marketing, Media Analysis, Public Relations, Social Media | Leave a comment

Twitter wants the Ottawa Senators to move downtown

Before we get into the meat of this blog post, I’ve got a couple disclosures to make.

Firstly, I’m not a Senators fan. But like most who live in this city, I fully appreciate the importance of the hockey club to the city and its residents (both economically and spiritually). It’s part of the fabric.

Secondly, I absolutely think the Senators need to move their rink to Lebreton Flats.

Why?

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It’s simple, really. As a Leaf fan who has attended dozens of games at the ACC over the years, I’ve grown used to taking the half-hour subway ride from Yorkdale down to the ACC.

It’s easy, it’s cheap, there’s no traffic and no stress. Parking isn’t a worry. The rink is centrally located and close to hundreds of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Compare that to sitting in traffic and interminable parking lots for hours coming and going from a Sens game, the choice to me seems obvious (and yes, I realize Ottawa doesn’t have a subway. But light rail is coming).

So I wanted to gauge the sentiment of interested Twitter users.

The result?

I’m encouraged to say that, according to our analysis at least, most of the opinionated tweets seem to favour the move as well (see chart above).

After looking at tweets from mid December to Jan. 5 mentioning the NHL club and “moving”, “Lebreton”, “flats” or “downtown”, we found that a bit less than 50 per cent were in favour of a move.

Around 53 per cent of tweets were neutral, ie. retweeting the news, while just three per cent were against such a move (and I’m pretty sure I can guess which part of town they all live in).

Looks like, for Sens fans on Twitter at least, the choice is a no-brainer as well—although there are still some holdouts (although the below tweet is about the IIHF World Junior Championships, and not NHL hockey):

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Bulldog Reporter: a new addition to the MediaMiser family!

Christmas bulldog

The holiday season is all about family, and we are excited to announce an addition to ours!

For over 30 years Bulldog Reporter provided the PR community with news, analysis and high-level training content to public relations and corporate communications professionals — until it closed its doors in October. We are pleased to announce that MediaMiser has acquired key assets from Bulldog Reporter, reopened the California office, and brought back key staff. You can read the full press release, here.

As part of the acquisition we will be relaunching the Daily ’Dog—Bulldog Reporter’s industry-leading PR online trade journal in early 2015, with founding editor Richard Carufel back at the helm.

The popular Bulldog Awards will also be brought back in 2015, including fulfilling some of the awards that were not completed this year.

There are also some great database products and newsletters subscriptions, including Inside Health Media, produced by editor Stephen Beale, that are back online already and will be enhanced in the new year.

We are excited about building upon Bulldog Reporter’s history and providing the benefits from our combined product offerings to both MediaMiser and Bulldog Reporter customers.

2014 has been quite a year. In July we were acquired by Innodata, and we’ve followed that up with our own acquisition of Bulldog Reporter. We couldn’t be happier with our new additions to the family, and we’re excited about what 2015 has in store!

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#cdnpoli: shooting, snark and pipelines dominate fall session

The House of Commons adjourned for Christmas last week. It being the end of the year, we thought we’d do a quick checkup on #cdnpoli to see what influenced the conversation for the fall session.

There was one event that overshadowed almost everything else in #cdnpoli this fall — the October 22 shooting in Ottawa, which you can see pretty clearly on the chart below.

cdnpoli_december_timeline

Just less than eight per cent of all #cdnpoli tweets were posted on either October 22 or October 23. The top two tweets in terms of retweets were both related to the shooting.

The most retweeted was a photo of Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. from CBC’s Evan Solomon, below:

The second top retweet was a photo of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was killed in the shooting and was originally tweeted by the Toronto Star.

The top tweet unrelated to the shooting came from CBC’s Rick Mercer, criticizing Alberta Premier Jim Prentice for his government’s bill on Gay-Straight Alliances in schools, below:

This tweet fits pretty well with another common theme we noticed in the data: snarky tweets get a lot of retweets.

If you look at the chart below, other than Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema (who we’ll get to in a second) and CBC News Alerts (whose top tweets mostly related to the shooting) most of the top influencers got their retweets through snark, most of it directed at Prime Minister Harper.

cdnpoli_december_influencers

For example, the top tweet for writer Stephen Lautens — fourth on our influencer list — related to the long form census, which you can see below.

Pat Ondabak — fifth on our influencer list — also got a lot of her retweets with snark, including the tweet below.

The opposition to various pipeline projects currently under review in Canada was another key theme found in the data.

Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema had nearly twice the number of retweets as the next top influencer, and most of these related to pipeline projects especially opposition from various aboriginal groups. You can see his top two tweets below.

Listen to MediaMiser’s Director of Content, Jim Donnelly, on the December 19 Live 88.5 morning show as he talks media monitoring of Canadian politics and Holiday Toys!

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Santa tracker 2014: Sarcastic Santa just might be the real deal

Seems like people like their Santas a little snarky these days – at least those on Twitter, anyhow.

That’s right, it’s nearly Christmas time once again. That much is certain.

What’s a little more unclear, though, is the real Santa’s identity on Twitter. Which one of the many Jolly Old Elves on the social network is actually the real deal?

We attempted to answer this in a post last year, after comparing the follower counts of ten different Santas. This year we’ve done one better by looking at Twitter mentions of the same group of ten Santas over the past week.

And if our data is any indication, people love ironic and even slightly sarcastic Santas.

Though last year’s champ by followers @OfficialSanta put in a very good showing – as one might expect – the crown this year goes to @santa, an account which more than doubled its follower count since last year.

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Some of last year’s Santas didn’t even get enough mentions to make the above chart (which shows percentage share of voice of all mentions of the top Santa accounts).

This Santa also seems to enjoy the odd irreverent tweet or two, sometimes aimed at celebrities:

If this is indeed the real Santa, some kids may be in for a rude awakening on Christmas morning.

Someone needs to get this guy some milk and cookies — stat.

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LinkedIn: the Holy Grail for B2B marketers

 

LinkedInLinkedIn, the professional networking platform boasting over 300 million users, contains endless amounts of valuable information about influencers, industries, target demographics and more. But to truly leverage all of this information, it takes a heck of a lot of time and effort to manually sort through.

Yes, we know…it’s terribly unfortunate that LinkedIn hasn’t created an API that allows media monitoring and analysis companies like ourselves to automate this process. We also know that certain companies can monitor group activities.

Here at MediaMiser, we have a more grandiose vision: monitoring every aspect of LinkedIn. If we could have any gift this holiday season, it would be this.

We can always dream, right? That’s why we’ve identified four valuable ways that automated social media monitoring on LinkedIn could benefit B2B marketers:

LinkedIn Publishing: Effective Content Marketing

LinkedIn’s publishing platform has become increasingly popular since becoming publicly available earlier this year, and offers an extensive collection of professional content from countless publishers. Monitoring keywords in LinkedIn’s blogging platform could add a new dimension to online news collection, while B2B companies could see what their target demographic is saying about them and their industry, having the ability to reach out directly to influencers through the LinkedIn platform.

Companies could use the media monitoring data to leverage LinkedIn as a Customer Relationship Management platform, and use reporting to create appealing content for both their influencers and their target demographic— increasing inbound marketing efforts.

Identifying Influential Profiles: Creating Brand Ambassadors

If LinkedIn created a social listening API that could monitor and mine the platform’s data, B2B companies could use media monitoring and analysis software to identify influential profiles based on keywords. Most major influencers have complete LinkedIn profiles containing valuable information: education, interests, skills and abilities, jobs and descriptions.

Once your monitoring has found these influential profiles, B2B companies could use the information within them to convert those influencers into brand ambassadors.

Identifying Needs and Developing a Solution

If LinkedIn monitoring could be automated, keywords could be used to identify what influencers are looking for in groups and discussions. These needs and marketplace gaps could be the basis of a new marketing campaign, a sales promotion, a press release, product development or more. By identifying what it is that these influencers want from a product/service/industry, B2B companies could then tailor their offerings toward those needs. In other words, automated social media monitoring on LinkedIn could help develop more effective business development strategies.

Proactive vs. Responsive Marketing

If LinkedIn allowed for social listening, B2B companies could become more proactive with their sales and marketing strategies as opposed to responsive. Media monitoring software, like our own, can allow B2B businesses to have a pulse on what’s going on in their industry by tracking trends and opinions in real-time. Companies can then use this intel to create plans and strategies to achieve long-term goals, while responding to current trends.

This isn’t too much to ask for, is it?

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Twitter toys tracker: The Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll is driving parents insane

It has been reported that retailers have seen slower-than-usual sales on both Black Friday and today’s Cyber Monday, with Black Friday sales in the U.S. down 11 per cent this year.

But that hasn’t stopped eager consumers and retailers from tweeting about this year’s hottest toys.

From the Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack to Disney’s Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll, MediaMiser has tracked items on the Toys R Us Fabulous 15 list (in both the U.S. and Canada) to see which playful items have gotten the most play on Twitter so far.

It’s a relatively close race, but so far the Snow Glow Elsa Doll is freezing out the competition (chart is ranked by Twitter mentions since mid-November):

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Other toys making the grade so far this year are the MiP Robot, Leapfrog LeapTV and Simon Swipe (which should bring back memories for some parents).

Indeed, parents and other eager consumers seem to have worked themselves into a frenzied lather when it comes to the Snow Glow Elsa Doll (curiously, many of the most distraught tweets are from the UK and Ireland):

Although some parents seem to be having better luck in slightly more exotic locales:

Posted in Industry – Retail, Social Media | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Newspaper content battle, vol. 1: Globe and Mail vs. National Post

 

ContentBattleNewspapers of all stripes, but especially dailies, are relying more and more on cheaper, external newswires and third-party outlets to fill their pages and less on (more local but also more expensive) original reporting.

This is the first in a series of daily comparisons of various daily print newspapers, to see which outlets rely most on external content from outside wires like the Canadian Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, Associated Press and even repurposed content from other outlets like the Wall Street Journal or New York Times.

To this end, MediaMiser analyzed the Nov. 20 print editions of both The Globe and Mail and National Post. 

We included all bylined articles in the analysis, but did not include news briefs or editorials (columns were included). Staff bylined articles with “files from” outside newswires were counted as an original story, along with freelance/contributed articles and columns.

National Post (Nov. 20, 2014)

Section  % wire/other outlet content
A 32%
Financial Post 32%
Arts/Life 25%
Sports 43%

 

Overall: Approx. 33% wire/outside outlet content

 

The Globe and Mail (Nov. 20, 2014)

Section % wire/other outlet content
Section A 22%
Business 27%
Arts/Life 57%
Sports 0%

 

Overall: Approx. 27% wire/outside outlet content

What becomes immediately obvious is that both national newspapers filled today’s pages with about 1/3 non-original content, more or less (we’ll take another look at these papers in a future post).

Where it becomes really interesting, though, is in the division of sections.

Notice how the Globe‘s sports section used no outside content, while nearly half of today’s Post‘s sports content was wire-based.

Similarly, the Globe‘s arts and life section was nearly 60 per cent outside content compared to the Post‘s 25% per cent. The Post also had slightly higher percentages of outside content in its business section and section A.

Stay on the lookout for future newspaper battles in this space!

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Trillium Gift of Life: Be an organ donor and save lives

 

Every three days, according to the Trillium Gift of Life Network, an Ontario resident dies because a life-saving organ transplant is unavailable.

That’s a tragedy.

trillium

It’s also why MediaMiser’s Corporate Social Responsibility committee recently launched our own registration drive for organ and tissue donations, with a goal of having at least 30 people visit our page to register or, if already registered, check their status to ensure it’s up to date.

And though we reached our goal this week (yay!), we’re still looking for registrants until Dec. 12.

You don’t need to be a MediaMiser employee to register, and you can do it here. Joining the three million Ontarians already registered is easy and free — if you have your health card ready, it takes around two minutes.

According to Trillium, a single organ donor can save up to eight lives. The lives of 75 others can also be enhanced via tissue donation.

There are around 1,500 Ontarians currently on the organ donation wait list. Though a few million Ontario residents are registered, that’s still only around 25 per cent of our province’s population.

There’s also the deep sense of satisfaction — the “gift of life”, so to speak — that comes with being a donor or a member of a donor’s family. My former colleague Michael Curran related this sentiment in this moving piece about his family’s own tragic but ultimately uplifting experience with donation after the passing of his eldest son, Emerson.

Whatever your reasons, please consider registering today.

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Media habits of liberals and conservatives: A Pew study

 

Those who identify as consistent liberals in the U.S. prefer an array of news sources, while conservatives tend to cluster around one main news source.

liberal-conservative

Conservatives also tend to distrust more news sources than liberals, while liberals are more likely to unfriend someone on social media solely because of politics.

These are just some of the findings in “Political Polarization and Media Habits”, a recent study by the Pew Research Journalism Project examining the media habits of liberals and conservatives in the U.S.

Pew surveyed more than 10,000 adults for the comprehensive study.

In the organization’s words, it was a “year-long effort” to “shed light on political polarization in America.”

For someone who considers himself a political moderate, as I do, the results are slightly concerning — although perhaps unsurprising in many ways, as well.

Here are some of the more interesting findings:

  • 47 per cent of conservatives indicated they mainly rely on Fox News.
  • Liberals as a whole did not indicate one main news source, instead listing a disparate number of sources like CNN (15%), NPR (13%), MSNBC (12%) and the New York Times (10%).
  • Those at opposite ends of the political spectrum are also more likely to be influencers: 30 per cent of liberals and 39 per cent of conservatives “drive political discussion”, while just 12 per cent of mixed moderates do the same.
  • There’s a shrinking number of moderates and a growing ideological consistency among the general U.S. public, the study says: While in 2004 only one in 10 identified as being hard-core liberal or conservative, 21 per cent now do.
  • Check out the animate data chart on this page for a dramatic look at the U.S. public’s shifting ideological footing.
  • The report also concludes there is a growing amount of hostility between the right and left, with negative views of the other side being both more common and more intense.

It’s not all bad for moderates, though — the study concludes that the divisions, while worsening, “can be overstated” and that “it is virtually impossible to live in an ideological bubble” in the U.S.

It adds that most Americans still rely on “an array of outlets… for political news,” and that they typically hear views differing from their own on a daily basis.

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