Being proactive with your online reputation

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This has been the year of crisis management in PR. From Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, to ex-Subway mascot Jared Fogle’s “mild pedophelia,” companies are seeking best practices for building and implementing their reputation management strategies.

And with social media being the unforgiving beast that it is, managing one’s reputation online can be quite a doozy.

Most companies looking to keep a close eye on their virtual reputations typically have a media monitoring strategy in place. Though media monitoringespecially social media monitoringcan help identify potential crises and mitigate damage by allowing companies to respond quickly and intelligently, effective reputation management plans are proactive rather than reactive.

Understanding tone

To create a proactive reputation management plan, companies must have a fundamental understanding of their current digital audience. And media monitoring can help with this. By toning previous audience engagements, an in-depth analysis can identify which topics/corporate actions resonate poorly with a company’s audience, and which ones resonate well. This intelligence allows companies to create pre-tailored responses should these topics, or similar ones, arise in the future.

Looking to geography

Media monitoring can also help identify which geographical regions are most influential in a company’s social space. This allows companies to critically assess the area’s cultural, political and economical influences, and get a better understanding of how certain issues and topics impact this region. Again, this type of intelligence allows companies to tailor their messaging and engagement strategies to be more appropriate for their target demographic.

Comparing competitors

Closely monitoring competitors also offers further audience insights. By having a better understanding of what its competitors have done, what the public response has been, and the tone of interactions, a company can evaluate its current reputation management initiatives and how they compare to its top competitors.

Being transparent

But understanding a digital audience is only one piece of the reputation management puzzle. Another is transparency. Companies need to be as transparent as possible when it comes to engagement strategies, because hiding anything important can have a negative impact on a company’s reputation.

In order to proactively manage their reputation online, companies should strive to be honest and upfront with any potential risks, conflicts, criticisms that might come up about their product or service.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, transparency helps foster better relationships, better aligns your brand with its audience and employees, helps to quickly find solutions to problems, and increases engagement. Transparency also allows communications and public relations professionals to create an outreach and engagement plan surrounding announcements and data releases, allowing companies to stay ahead of any possible backlash.

Media monitoring and analysis can also help develop communications plans around transparency. By knowing how audiences have reacted to similar information released by other companies, businesses can build intelligent relationship management plans that can mitigate potential risks and damages that could be associated with the release.

Though some situations, even with the utmost preparation, can’t be predicted (i.e. Jared Fogle and Subway), it’s important for companies to proactively research ways to better connect with their audiences.

By finding the above insights, creative a well-thought communications plan, and assessing potential risk, companies can proactively manage their reputation online and continuously foster positive relationships with their audiences and customers.

Related articles:

The power of association: Protecting your reputation when partners go astray

The crisis aftermath: navigating your “new normal”

Why silence is not golden in a crisis


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Online and offline marketing are merging

marketing, bubbles, digital marketing,

Digital marketing is now mainstream, and digital commerce is a top priority for marketers, according to a survey of marketing executives by IT research and advisory firm Gartner. The survey also found that marketing budgets increased 10 percent in 2015, with 61 percent of respondents saying they expect budgets to increase again in 2016.

These findings form part of Gartner’s 2015-2016 Chief Marketing Officer Spend Survey that included responses from business leaders responsible for marketing—in particular, digital marketing—in 339 large and extra-large companies in North America and the U.K.

“There is little doubt that digital marketing is now mainstream,” said Yvonne Genovese, group vice president at Gartner, in a news release. “Marketers no longer make a clear distinction between offline and online marketing disciplines. As customers opt for digitally led experiences, digital marketing stops being a discrete discipline and instead becomes the context for all marketing. Digital marketing is now marketing in a digital world.”

Ten percent of marketers say they have moved beyond digital marketing techniques and are expanding marketing’s role to create new digitally led business models. The blurring of the physical and digital worlds represents opportunities for marketers to apply customer insights to create and test new digitally led experiences and business models. Digital commerce is surging, capturing 11 percent of the digital marketing budget (up from 8 percent in 2014) as marketers become more accountable for driving results.

“The rise in digital commerce is an opportunity for marketers,” said Jake Sorofman, research vice president at Gartner. “There was a time when marketing and selling were two distinct disciplines. In many cases, digital merges these two into a single, continuous activity from initial awareness, through engagement, conversion, transaction and repeat purchase. Marketers can now tie spend to revenue. In fact, it’s becoming a mandate.”

Two main factors are driving marketers’ interest in digital commerce: the need to point to tangible results from marketing investments, and the recognition that companies need more than a commerce platform to sell. In the past, we’ve seen digital commerce operations wholly disconnected from the marketing engine. Today, we’re seeing integration between marketing and digital commerce as two parts of a single discipline, where marketers bring everything from content marketing and brand storytelling to advanced analytics and multichannel campaign management to optimize digital commerce across channels.

B2C companies have long been considered more sophisticated in digital commerce, but we’re seeing growing appetite by B2B companies under pressure to reach customers directly with digital commerce initiatives. They are looking to engage customers directly to better understand their needs, preferences and behaviors.

As CMOs face the digital transition, the survey showed that overall marketing budgets are on the rise. This year, 61 percent of respondents said that marketing spending will be, on average, 11 percent of company revenue, up from 10 percent of company revenue last year. That one percentage point change represents a sizable increase—10 percent, year over year—in marketing spend.

“Bigger budgets, however, come with sizable expectations,” said Sorofman. “Marketing is expected to drive profitable growth through the acquisition, retention and expansion of the most valuable customer relationships. As customer buying journeys and customer expectations expand, so, too, does marketing’s scope of responsibility. As a result, the marketing remit now often includes driving broad-mandate customer experience, digital commerce and innovation initiatives.”

Download the complete report here.

Respondents represent organizations with more than $500 million in annual revenue across seven industries: financial services, high tech, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods (CPG), media, retail and transportation/hospitality. The survey took place between May and July 2015 and marks the fourth year that Gartner has surveyed marketers on spending priorities and marketing operations.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

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Hot Toys on Twitter 2015: Guitar Hero, Skylanders and a Pie in the Face


It’s Black Friday week, everyone, and you know what that means: lots and lots of videos this coming Monday morning of eager shoppers exercising the holiday spirit by being trampled and getting into fights.

But this week isn’t just about madness and mayhem. It’s also about highlighting some of the coolest toys on offer this holiday season.

That’s why in our fourth annual MediaMiser Hot Toys on Twitter Report, we’ve tracked items from Toys R Us’s Fab 15 list to see which playthings are being digitally drooled over the most.

Unlike last year, when the Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll rocked the toy world and lit up Twitter, the hottest items this year have returned to the video game realm with Guitar Hero Live ($99.99, currently out of stock on the company’s website) and the Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack ($74.99) leading the way.

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Skylanders SWAP Force was 2013’s hottest toy item on Twitter.

In fact, three of the top five items are video games when the LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack ($84.99-$99.99) is included.


It’s worth noting, however, that the top five item with the highest percentage of want keywords (keywords indicating the user wants to buy the product) attached to its tweets is the somewhat more affordable Pie Face Game ($19.99).

However, the item with the most high-octane Twitter influencers on its side isn’t Guitar Hero, or Skylanders, or even Pie Face Game. It’s the Nerf Blaster, which has gotten some big ups from both @gizmodo and @guykawasaki this month.

We’ll release an infographic later this week detailing more of our findings, with the final report to come in December.

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NYT VR: Virtual reality comes to mainstream news, and it’s unbelievably cool


It used to be that when you picked up a newspaper, the most you could possibly hope for is to be briefed on the most recent news possible (while, hopefully, being at least marginally entertained in the process).

Now, however, newspapers—and media companies in general—aren’t just in the business of simply selling news. From a financial perspective, they can’t be.

They’re instead selling and experimenting with informative multimedia experiences of all kinds, including cool projects by NYTLabs that help visualize historical language usage or provide ambient news displays you can hang on your wall at home.  

The new virtual reality app from the New York Times, launched in early November and called NYT VR, is another great example.

Described as a way to “simulate richly immersive scenes from across the globe,” and currently the most downloaded Times app ever for its first four days, the free app can be used by anyone with an iPhone or Android phone.

So how can you start enjoying virtual reality news reports, right now?

  • Download and set-up the app. You can download NYT VR for either iPhone or Android. Once you’ve got the app, the company recommends you view NYT VR’s videos via the Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer—but it’s not a prerequisite (although the company delivered more than a million Cardboard devices to subscribers recently). Simply open on your smartphone and follow the instructions.
  • Browse your gallery. Once your app is set up, you’re ready to go! Browse your gallery for the story that interests you the most (there’s really no categorization within the app, so all content appears in one long, rolling list. It’s OK, though, as there are currently only five stories to choose from).
  • Choose your experience, but beware the native advertising. Two of the five stories originally available in NYT VR are native advertising-type pieces—including one six-minute video, “Backwater”, sponsored by Mini and highlighting the Mini Connected system.

    While this doesn’t make the videos any less interesting (the Mini video is about a diamond heist), it does somewhat call into question whether the app is meant more for news dissemination or entertainment and advertising.
  • Enjoy your video.  As I don’t have Google Cardboard, I chose to run my video in smartphone mode, but it didn’t really matter—after the first 30 seconds, I was hooked on the format.

    The display responds to the position of your phone, meaning you have to hold it up in the air to see the video properly. You can also move your device around to “look around” the frame, meaning you can look up, down, side to side and even behind you (standard VR stuff, but very new for an online video or news report).

While I didn’t learn much by watching Mini’s video as far as news goes, the implications for news gathering and dissemination were obvious and are absolutely incredible.

Imagine following a reporter through Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, and being able to look around as they tour the camp? Or being able to experience being first on the ground during a natural disaster or other huge news event?

The implications are huge, and I suspect the New York Times will quickly take advantage.

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One Direction vs. Justin Bieber: Who won in online news this past weekend?

justin bieber, one direction, 1D, bieber, purpose, album

This weekend, both Justin Bieber and One Direction launched their latest albums—Purpose and Made in the A.M. respectively.

Purpose is Bieber’s fourth studio album, and Billboard has even gone as far as to say that “from a PR perspective, Purpose is the album Justin Bieber had to make.” After running around rampant over the last few years, the 21-year-old had to settle down a bit and produce a much cooler, laidback album to prove that he’s maturing as an artist. At least that’s what the media says.

Then, on the other hand, there’s One Direction. Made in the A.M. is the boy band’s fifth studio album, and the first to not feature former member Zayn Malik, who left the band in March. It is also the last album before their planned 2016 hiatus. All this is to say that there has been a lot of pressure on the boys to produce an album that resonates and appeases their loyal audience.

Now, both the Biebs and One Direction have MASSIVE dedicated fanbases—Beliebers and Directioners—and there are even those hybrid fans who identify as both. So there’s no surprise that there’s been a lot of press surrounding the decision to release their latest studio albums on the same day.

But who, according to online news mentions, was the most popular this weekend? I used MediaMiser’s patented Enterprise technology to find out.

Between Friday, November 13 and Monday, November 16, Biebs has had over 5,000 online news mentions alone, but only approximately 2,400 of these accounted for the release of his album. What are other articles talking about? Some were more positive, discussing Justin’s prayer for those in Paris at his Saturday concert in L.A. But many revolved around how he’s trying to charge $2,000 for a meet-and-greet on his Purpose tour (which, in turn, lead to #justiceforbrokeliebers trending on Twitter):

As for the beloved Irish-English boy band, One Direction has had over 2,700 online news mentions in the same time period, and only approximately 700 of these articles actually made mention of Made in the A.M. Other news mentions cited how Harry Styles met Prince Harry, Liam’s obsession with Harry Potter, and thoughts and opinions on their upcoming hiatus.

Though Justin may have won the online news battle in terms of numbers, the winner for album sales is yet to be crowned, as the numbers for both Purpose and Made in the A.M. will be released later this week.

Do you think online news mentions will predict who will reign supreme when it comes to sales? Who do you think will be the true winner?

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#ItsJustACup: Starbucks fires first shot in so-called ‘War on Christmas’


Call it the first advertising mistake of the holiday season or a genius marketing ploy, but no matter how you look at it, Starbucks is the first corporate entity to reignite the “War on Christmas” battle this year.

Starbucks sparked controversy just a few days ago when it released its newly redesigned holiday cups, a simple red design devoid of any holiday markings. The initial online and broadcast response was overwhelming, declaring that Starbucks had committed another atrocity in the so-called War on Christmas.

Major TV personalities were quick to latch on to the ridicule, with talk show hosts Ellen Degeneres and Stephen Colbert offering their own brands of satire on how to make the basic design of the new cup more festive.

Republican Presidential candidate hopeful Donald Trump also got involved, (predictably) taking it out of the joke realm and calling for a Starbucks boycott.

In response to this perceived overreaction to the cup redesign, the “#ItsJustACup” hashtag sprang up to soothe some of those holiday-themed flames of anger.

According to MediaMiser’s hashtag analysis, while Twitter sentiment toward Starbucks has been relatively balanced so far, some distinct themes surrounding the content have also emerged.


Of the tweets analyzed, 21 per cent connected the controversy to a perceived lack of focus on other, perhaps more important issues:

  Ten per cent of tweets reminded fellow Twitter users that both the price of Starbucks coffee or its taste should be the focus, and not the cup:

  A further six per cent of tweets tried to remind people that while Starbucks changed its cup design, the company features many other products that fully embrace the holiday season theme:

  Several others compared Starbucks to two of its major competitors, McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts (the former deftly avoided holiday controversy by placing brown snowflakes on its cup):

  Others viewed it as a possible genius marketing ploy by Starbucks to generate buzz:


But the overarching theme among tweets was to either address the absurdity of the controversy with humour, or simply plead to offended patrons to calm down and remember that, after all, #ItsJustACup.

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GOP debate: Ben Carson marginalized on Twitter

GOP logo

The most substantial debate of the Republican leadership race took place this week, with candidates clashing on a range of issues including immigration and the economy.

And though some news organizations claimed that the most recent debate forced so-called “outsider” candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson “out of the limelight”, a MediaMiser analysis of Twitter chatter on Nov. 10 and 11 says otherwise — sort of.

GOP, elections, donald trump, usa

We analyzed more than 5,000 tweets mentioning #GOPdebate on Nov. 10 and 11, and found that the most mentioned candidate was Donald Trump. No surprise there, I guess.

But where it got more interesting is in the next few most popular candidates: Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz, with current sensation Ben Carson bringing up the rear in fifth place.

The debate was moderated by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal, and promised to focus on more substantive issues than previous GOP debates.

Trumpeted as one that would focus on the economy, it’s perhaps not surprising that the NO. 1 issue in this debate on Twitter was that of the economy.

GOP, elections, donald trump, usa

It was followed by immigration — Trump’s mass deportation plan was roundly attacked from all sides — along with raising of the minimum wage, the media’s role in leadership debates (to be fair, a Republican-only issue), and candidates’ tax plans.

The issue of Ben Carson potentially fabricating parts of his biography also came up, but in limited numbers.

Jeb Bush, who had hoped to salvage his campaign during the more serious debate, finished outside the top five in terms of Twitter popularity.


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Top Twitter influencers of #PRSAICON: Day 3


As Day 3 of the PRSA 2015 International Conference came to an end, MediaMiser was sad to say goodbye to gorgeous Atlanta, Georgia and to all of our new connections.

Tuesday, November 10 was considerably quiet at #PRSAICON—Tweets dropped to roughly 2,500 for the entire day. Though considerably less people were tweeting compared to the previous two days of the conference, MediaMiser wanted to see who was influencing the conversations and what they were talking about!

Check below to see if you or your company made the list:

Top influencers by number of tweets

Top influencers by the number of times they’ve been retweeted

Top mentioned hashtags

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Top Twitter influencers of #PRSAICON: Day 2

Continuing to be an amazing experience, Day 2 of PRSA 2015 International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia was filled with lots of fun, insights and newly acquired knowledge!

That being said, Monday, November 9 of #PRSAICON received more than 6,500 Twitter mentions—roughly 2,500 more than November 8! With everyone ramping up their Twitter game on Day 2, who were the top influencers? And what was being talked about the most?

Check below to see if you or your company made the list:

Top influencers by number of tweets

Top influencers by the number of times they’ve been retweeted

Top mentioned hashtags

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Top Twitter influencers of #PRSAICON: Day 1

MediaMiser Team at PRSA

The MediaMiser Team: Michael Davies, Devin McGee, Samantha Lem

Yesterday was an amazing first day at the PRSA International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The MediaMiser team has already met so many wonderful and incredible people, and we’re excited to see what Day 2 has in store.

Not only was the conference venue buzzing with chatter and excitement on Day 1, but so was Twitter, as #PRSAICON was mentioned in more than 4,000 tweets on Sunday alone!

Check below to see who influenced the conversations and just what was being talked about on Day 1!

Top influencers by number of tweets:

Top influencers by the number of times they’ve been retweeted

Top mentioned hashtags

Top mentioned videos

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