Pinning (P)interesting Pictures of PR Pros on Pinterest

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

A few posts back, the PR Dude offered some thoughts on Pinterest, the social media platform that has generated the most ink — strike that, the most bytes I guess — since, well December of last year.

I learned about Pinterest the old-fashioned way: I read about the platform, its uses and its growth in the Business Section of the Sunday Chicago Tribune.  (Followers of The PRDude know I have fully embraced technology, but will read printed journalism as long as it’s published.)  Still a novice Pinner, I do question the design of the logo, which looks like it was borrowed from a fast-casual restaurant.

A novice Pinner, I am. But am puzzled by the logo: Looks like it was designed for a fast-casual restaurant chain.

Since my Pinterest revelation, I’ve read several provocative articles on the platform, which basically lets subscribers “pin” images from websites and those already on their hard drives to boards arranged in categories.   Here are two great articles for the uninitiated to consider:

  • In this February 7 piece, Jason Falls provides a well-written and researched overview perspective for the online version of Entrepreneur magazine.  My biggest take away from the article is the final paragraph:  “One thing is clear whether you’re on Pinterest for personal or business reasons: the best images — be they funny, beautiful or thought provoking — attract the most attention and followers.
  • Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Grant McCracken takes a more scholarly approach,  making a case for the research value of the platform:  “It’s a chance to see American culture as if from a glass-bottom boat. Yes, some of it is a little reductive. But sometimes what people stuff into the categories is a chance for us to see exactly what they mean. Pinterest is a little Rosetta Stone, a table of equivalencies.”

Perhaps I’ll craft such erudite and insightful comments after I add a few boards and pin lots of cool and awesome images. But I did add a new category today:  “Legends and Leaders of Modern Public Relations.”

Visit my Pinterest profile to see what I posted.  I mean, “pinned.”  For those who don’t want to make the journey to my profile, I pinned images of four legends of public relations.   They’re pinned — I mean “posted” below.  These three men and one woman are among the visionary communicators who helped mold the practice of public relations to where it is today for many of us:  One built on ethics and full disclosure of information, and structured around realistic goals and objectives and sound strategies.  Of course, they never imagined the impact of technology on communications, but I trust they would incorporate digital communications effectively and responsibly.

 

Ivy Ledbetter Lee

 

Edward Bernays

 

Doris Fleischman

 

Arthur W. Page

 

Do you know who these people are and what they did to help establish modern public relations? If not, google them.   If you call yourself a public relations professional, you should know what they did a century ago.

Many more could be added to this list.  Share your thoughts.  I’ll pin them.  Personally.

 

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“…That’s So (Fill in the Blank) Snarky,” Or Why I Think We’re Headed Down the Wrong Road

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

You’re familiar with the television campaign I’m about to discuss; no qualms with the message and what the company is trying to sell, but I do have serious reservations about what’s implied during the 30-spot.

Here’s the scenario: Two guys in their late 20s or early 30s are in a parking lot during a football tailgate.  But rather than do the things you’re “supposed” to do prior to game time — drink (usually beer), eat (usually something grilled), make noise (usually about how your team is going to kick the ass of the opponent) and enjoy being with friends (sometimes tossing a football back and forth) — our protagonists are slumped in folding chairs, totally enamored with proving how fast their 4G smart phone services are compared to others.

“That was so 46 seconds ago,” one guy matter-of-factly points out in the first situation.  “That was so 12 seconds ago,” he proclaims in a second.  And, “That was so 27 seconds ago,” he states in a third.   In each instance comes off like a grammar-schooler who boasts, “I know something you don’t know!  Yneah, yneah!”

Watch the commercial by clicking here.  I don’t even want to publish the name of the advertiser, but it’s company that’s been around for a while.  The announcer sums up the sales pitch with this comment: “Stay a step ahead with 4G LTE with speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G.”

Here’s some additional copy posted by the advertiser that accompanied the video, which I found on YouTube.  (By the way, YouTube has lots of other videos you can watch for free if you get tired of the one in question.)

“This spot introduces (advertiser’s) 4G LTE and its blazing fast speeds. It celebrates the possibilities that open up to our two hero tailgaters as they are able to connect at (advertiser) 4G LTE speed on the first 4G LTE-enabled smartphone from (advertiser) — the HTC Vivid. Fellow tailgaters approach the main characters, eager to share news about the football game. But with speeds up to 10x faster than 3G, (advertiser’s) 4G LTE has enabled our two tailgaters to find out everything faster, transforming the “breaking news” into something ‘so 42 seconds ago.'”

Okay, Mr. Tailgate Hero, now the gloves come off.  So you and your buddy just got some information that totals 85 precious seconds ahead of those of us who rely on 3G service.  What that leads me to believe about your character is that you need to find out that there’s more to life than learning some trivial news ahead of every one else.

But from a broader perspective, I came away with these messages:

  1. We’ve become so enamored, so dependent on technology that we can’t enjoy simple pleasures, like a tailgate party.
  2. We have to be first! All the time!  Even for relatively inconsequential information.  First is always best!
  3. We’re less than others if we don’t have the latest technol0gy, the latest gadget.
  4. And, is okay — no, it’s cool — to use self-centered, snarky jerks to help sell products and services.  For the advertiser to refer to the two guys as “heroes,” even jokingly, is an insult to the men and women in our armed forces, emergency first responders, single moms making a go of it and other true heroes.  Add the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

These thoughts should matter to us today — and 46 seconds, and 12 seconds and 27 seconds from now.  Take 46, or 12 or 27 seconds and reply with your thoughts.

A Post on Pinterest and Its Potential for PR

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Last week, The PRDude opened the door to you, kind followers, to a new online platform called Pinterest.   For the record, I learned about this resource, a place to “pin” images from websites or your browser and encourage dialogue, the old fashioned way: From a print newspaper article.

Much to my satisfaction, my request to become a Pinterest subscriber was approved.  I’m now an official Pinner, as we’re known.  I trust calling users “Pinheads” had too many derogatory connotations; plus, there’s a great song by The Ramones with the same name.

Don’t think too many fans of that seminal punk band are Pinners, but these days you never know. And, only one of the original Ramones is still with us,  and I have no way to reach him.  Perhaps I could pin a few  Ramones images and gauge the reaction.

Pinterest does have a Film, Music & Books category.  And, a fellow Pinner posted a picture of the Monkees, so there’s some precedent.  (Although, I don’t believe the Ramones copied any Monkees’ songs.)

But I digress.  Remember:  This blog is supposed to cover public relations.  So, I’ll concentrate future pins on that subject, the one that inspired this blog way back in September of 2009.

In my last post I posted a few generic “public relations”  images I found through a Google search: Two charts, a slogan on a T-shirt and a pair of dice with the headline: “Don’t leave your public relations to chance.” Of course, there’s lots more.

Don’t think these images will generate many comments or “likes,” especially since Pinterest does not yet have a Public Relations, Marketing or Communications category.  There is an Other category that has everything from a picture of an Almond Joy bar to one of a brown eyed man.

So the dilemma: What visually depicts public relations — a profession and a practice, one driven by strategy, built on research and effective communications, bound by adherence to ethics and so often totally misunderstood by the vast majority of people, including many who claim to be practitioners?

Does the Accredited in Public Relations logo fit the bill?  (Disclosure: I hold the APR and served for six years on the Universal Accreditation Board, the body that grants, administers and markets Accreditation.)

Or perhaps an image from  Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), like the Job Center  logo?  (One more disclosure: I’m a long-time PRSA member and retain membership in PRSA Chicago, my local chapter.)

I’ll try and report on any comments from my fellow Pinners. And, you, those reading this post: What are your thoughts? What images depict the public relations profession and practice?  Please partake at your pleasure.

 

 

 

A Super Public Relations Opportunity on This Super Bowl Sunday

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Kick off for Super Bowl XLVI (that’s 46 for those not familiar with Roman numerals) is around two hours from now.  So, I’ve got to work fast on this post.  Plus, I’ve got to start my homemade gumbo and still have some time to watch some of  the pre-game programming, which I believe started yesterday.

In reading the Sunday Chicago Tribune, a piece in the Business section drew my attention.  The well researched and well-written article was filed by Tribune reporter Sandra M. Jones on a relatively new internet startup called Pinterest.

The focus of Pinterest is pretty simple.  According to its website, Pinterest allows subscribers to “organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.  People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.”  And, they use “pinboards” — what used to be known as “message boards” or maybe “forums,” to promote their interests, businesses and websites.

As you can imagine, Pinterest has a big following among women, including that fast-growing and increasingly powerful online creature — the Mommy Blogger.  Full disclosure: I’ve never met a Mommy Blogger, and we don’t have kids. But I understand they wield a lot of power in the online community, especially involving the sales of things like diapers and strollers.

To be successful today online, of course, graphics and video have to be a big part of the package.  And, Pinterest is big on images. I scanned the Men’s Style Pinboard and learned that a “J.Crew Secret Wash lightweight shirt in Fallon check” received 1 Like and 6 Repins.

To learn more about this garment, go to http://www.jcrew.com.

I trust that’s a good thing for the folks at J. Crew, but I’m not sure what it does for the subscriber who posted it.  (Unless, of course, he or she works for J. Crew.)

So, on to my idea and just how to factor in public relations among the recipes and wedding plans.  First, I did a search on the Pinterest site for “public relations.”  My results did yield “pinups” (my word) for a book on International Relations, Public Spaces in Banyoles (I think that’s in Greece), an image of the New York Public Library under construction circa 1908, an image of  the Public Market Sign at Pikes Place Market and a few others.

Nothing specific here on “public relations.”  You know, stuff about strategy, realistic objectives, open disclosure, ethics and for Pete’s sake — the essence of effective modern public relations which is two-way communications.   So, maybe we need some images.

Here are four I found with a simple Google search:

The puzzle illustration of PR.

This must be used by Las Vegas PR firms.

I have a different definition of PR. It won't fit on a shirt.

This one is actually pretty good since it starts the PR process with developing strategy.

My next step will be to actually be accepted as a Pinterest subscriber.  I applied and got this message:

“Hi!

Thanks for joining the Pinterest waiting list. We’ll be sure to send you an invite soon.

In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter. You can also explore a few pins.

We’re excited to get you pinning soon!

– Ben and the Pinterest Team”

“Ben” refers to founder Ben Silbermann, a Yale graduate (according to the Tribune article) and former Google employee who launched Pinterest two years ago.  (Want numbers?  The site had 7.5 million unique visitors in December of 2011, just below Tumblr.)

Hey Ben: If you read this post, please let me know what I have to do to get moved up on the waiting list. I’m ready to start pinning.

How about you? Are a “Pinhead?”