Pilot Light

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Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ Category

Slice of Crisis Comms to go?

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Fast food contaminations continue....

One thing that has engulfed the blogosphere and web this week was the antics of some people with the IQ of a salami finding pleasure in flatulating on someone’s fast food order. Now this is nothing new. For years urban legends have been around about employees of Mc Dougals spitting in hamburgers or Ken’s Fried Chicken ejaculating into the coleslaw so this was no surprise that bored pizza employees would do this, but two things did surprise me:

The first surprise was the PR buzz that this created on the web. Incidents like this have been around in one form or another from the dawn of time – and well before the internet was ever invented. Imagine the PR office in Rome when they caught wind of the Semon on the Mount? The obvious thing to PR professionals is: it’s not the buzz, but the response, and in a situation like this, the speed of reply. Whether a member of your staff has soiled a burger with body fluid or your drunken employee has just sailed 1.5 million barrels of crude oil onto a reef in Alaska, getting out the message as quickly as you can is the most important thing to limit brand damage. And in situations like this no-one does it better than the airline industry.

In crisis situations I think every PR professional, regardless of industry or vertical sector, should take a leaf out of the airline industry’s book- and I’m surprised Domino’s didn’t. These people are crisis comms veterans. They have bibles of the stuff and every time a plane goes down they roll their communications out with surgical accuracy. More importantly, the airline industry has a knack of moving the focus of the story from the loss of life, which is devastating to any brand, and onto another factor in the story which takes the brunt of the blame. Whether it is debris on the runway or a hero crew member – shift the focus and the story will contain itself. This is where Domino’s missed the boat.

By focusing the story on Twitter, YouTube and social networks bringing the culprits to justice, how this was global netizens working together to weed out injustice and wrong doing, I think the story would have taken a better turn. This would have taken the focus away from the apology and turned a negative into a positive. BA did this brilliantly with the Boeing 777 that came down at the end of the Heathrow runway – focusing on the ‘heroic’ crew to distract from questions about BA’s maintenance record- and I think Domino’s should have done the same.

Their comms may still shift, but speed is now of the essence.

Matt L

Written by pilotlight

17/04/2009 at 10:54 am

An App a Day

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App developers are searching for the next killer app

App developers are searching for the next killer app

 

 

 

 But this has become almost obsolete now that everyone is writing apps in their spare time – or at least you could be forgiven for thinking they are.  Apps are appearing for the strangest things – apps to turn your mobile into a flute, apps for helping you decide where you eat out on any given night or an app that allows you to search a search engine.  Great.  But in this world of hyper-app-tivity, how many of these applications are “killer apps”, or even just downright useful?  The answer is not many, but they hold a rather more poignant element to them. 

 

 In the younger days of technology people got excited, many companies, Hewlett Packard and Dell for example, were started by young entrepreneurs from their sheds, garages or bedrooms.  Technology was exciting and something to get your teeth into – it held opportunity.  After the rise, came the inevitable fall as the bottom fell out of the dot com world, and the technology industry, especially as a career option, became something to be slightly more wary about.    The opportunities were fewer and the risks ever higher as companies struggled to tap into the latest and greater business or consumer need.

 

 The idea that now we have 16-65 year olds building applications to do something with your mobile, your laptop or your PDA brings back a certain level of creativity and of excitement to the sector.  Bringing spirit and a feeling of adventure back into the IT sector could help make the industry an exciting place to work and encourage everyone and anyone to join in – meaning more chances of finding that next elusive killer app that we’ve been looking for and once more making the industry a desirable place to be. 

 

Once upon a time in the IT world, everyone was hunting for the next  “killer app”.   A killer app would be perceived as something that users suddenly found they couldn’t do without, a browser for example, or a search engine.

Written by pilotlight

14/04/2009 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Tech, Web 2.0

View from the Street

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Focus...

 Google launched Street View last week and when I saw the article I thought it sounded cool and popped on to the site to have look. First thoughts – they could have taken a better picture of our office. So then like most of the population I decided to look for my house, and there it was for all to see with our living room windows open. It kind of freaked me out a little, which is completely irrational considering people see more of me on Facebook or Twitter.

Street View has caused public outcry and a formal complaint was sent to the ICO and although I think it’s a little dramatic I can see both sides of the coin. Like a massive Photosynth of London you, can check out landmarks, areas you might move to, offices you could be working in, or just be plain nosey. You could even pick a meeting point for a night out with friends and thankfully mine knew that the big Burger King at Piccadilly Circus, outside of which I’d arranged to meet my boyfriend recently, is now actually a bank…

So is Street View a massive intrusion of our privacy? To be honest so long as you haven’t been caught on camera in an embarrassing position, hiding from the law or the Ex, you don’t really have anything to worry about. Enjoy it for what it is, whatever that maybe.

Sherrine

Written by pilotlight

27/03/2009 at 9:54 am

Posted in Tech, Web 2.0

Tagged with , , ,

What is news?

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News-sense

There have been discussions for some time now over the shelf life of the daily papers. Now you can access all the news you want online, quicker and for free. It seems that with the advent of blogs and micro blogs such as twitter, even these online sites have lost some of their news value as people are updating on the news in real time, as it happens. The recent plane crashing into the Hudson river being a classic example.

By the time a journalist has written up a story and posted it online, there are likely to have been several tweets about it and a conversation already developed. Likewise, many of us use Google or similar search tools to find the latest information we need, but is this now also ‘old news’? Will real time search be the Google killer, and is news already considered old by the time it has been categorised and listed online? With so much content updated in real time now, Google search cannot hope to find it all. As the weekly and monthly publications continue to disintegrate into nothing, will the national papers follow hot on their heels? Will our news resource become dominated by social media channels where information can be supplied and shared by anyone and everyone, instantaneously? And what does this mean for the future and power of the media? How should we define ‘news’?!!

The fairly new concept of the Sony Reader or Amazon eBook has meant that books can be downloaded and read online via a small computer screen. Perhaps this is also how newspapers will be read in the near future? I am not a particular traditionalist and am always excited by the new and innovative ways of accessing the information around us, but I also find it quite sad to imagine a tube full of people reading the news via a machine, like a carriage of robots. Despite having someone’s elbow shoved in your side, there’s something rather comforting and perhaps quite English about seeing men in suits on their way to the office, opening a broad sheet or that smell of the crisp pages when you start a new book. I admit I haven’t been to a library in at least a year, but watching someone dust off and open a tired old book with the library stamp in the front still makes me smile with slight nostalgia 🙂

Beth

Written by pilotlight

05/03/2009 at 10:29 am

Posted in Media, PR, Web 2.0

Tagged with , , , ,

Upwardly Mobile

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Just send me an SMS...

In the wake of Mobile World Congress it’s got me thinking about the idea of this new ‘21st Century’ way of working. Mobile technology is by no means a new innovation but people are claiming that the current need to cut costs has pushed us fully into the next stage of a truly mobile workforce.

Hot stories to come out of MWC last week included the buzz around fourth generation technologies such as LTE – where mobile broadband and downloading speeds are second to none. People are always ‘on’ and available to their clients, there is no dead time wasted whilst on the train or away from the desktop. The latest smartphones, such as the Palm Pre and open OS systems like Android that enable a wider ecosystem of applications available on one platform, mean you have the latest 3G technology in your pocket, with all the applications you need, and linked to all your devices. Work has become truly collaborated, mobile and instant.

I’m currently training for the marathon so welcome the fact that I can always leave the office on time, in order to get back to go for a run before it’s too dark or late. I know I can keep up to date with emails and the team whilst on the bus or can log into the server from home if necessary. Work can fit more easily around my life and commitments. This is all good, in theory. But with the increasing economic pressures and continued blurring between home and work is it not also slightly worrying that people are now expected to be available 24/7 and able to read and reply to queries instantly?

Beth

Written by pilotlight

26/02/2009 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Business, Tech, Web 2.0

Tagged with , ,

Hordes hold (Earls) Court

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It was a tight squeeze at the TFM&A show

It was a tight squeeze at the TFM&A show

The vicious rumour doing the rounds over the past several years, since the sad demise Comdex in Las Vegas and the toning down of CeBit, is that trade shows are dead. People, so the rumour goes, no longer have the time, inclination or willingness to spend the day in what amounts to an aircraft hanger basically being sold to.

But while some tech trade shows may have had their day, it seems people still have appetite for learning. Attending the Technology for Marketing and Advertising show yesterday at Earls Court, the education seminars were not only full, but people were being turned away by bouncers at the entrance – a scene unheard of at most trade show seminars.

The Google seminar centred on website analytics was, as expected, full to the rafters half an hour before the event even begin. It seems even if Google is slipping out of favour with many, the power of its search engine cannot yet be overlooked by those with websites and e-commerce portals.

Other seminars such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing were similarly busy, even if they had slightly smaller presentation theatres. The real eye opener was that even the sponsored seminars, which are, let’s face it, are tantamount to someone selling to a large audience via a PowerPoint presentation, were jam-packed.

But what is the reason for all of this keen-bean enthusiasm? The first is the content. As with all things these days, content is king. And the content of this trade show was right on the ticket – social media, cloud computing, marketing and advertising in a recession, digital marketing.

Added to this that the show was free to enter so the only outlay for most businesses is the time of the attendee, which when weighed up with the possibility of increased web traffic, better customer engagement and more knowledgeable staff, is a no-brainer.

Another reason is that presentations and seminars are trade shows are now a lot better than they used to be. Gone are the hour-long pitches and death by PowerPoint. Instead companies have woken up to the fact that the audience wants something; that they, as presenters have to give value to their audience, whether in terms of knowledge-sharing, research, discounts or just hints and tips, no longer is it about pure selling.

A change in culture also has a part to play too. As we are beseeched by this digital and social world, employees know they need to know more in order for their companies to thrive – although this could also could be selfish reason that they want to increase their own knowledge for career progression or alternative jobs. In the tight economy people look for new ways to invent themselves and with the hype around social and digital media, becoming an advocate cannot do any harm and it enhances their personal brand.

The seminars from the show are available here

Sara Driscoll

Written by pilotlight

25/02/2009 at 3:53 pm

Wherefore art thou Iggy?

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Shine on you crazy diamond....One piece of marketing heresy I have come across recently is the latest campaign from Swiftcover Car Insurance. They have taken one of the world’s greatest visionaries and reduced him to a car insurance salesman. I’m not sure whether to throw up or start drafting a letter to David Bowie to say “With my dearest sympathies…” expressing my condolences for the death of a lifestyle born of broken glass and heavy distortion in a room in 1960s Michigan.

But who’s to blame for this punk charade? Is no ground sacred for advertising, marketing and PR anymore or has the credit crunch started to squeeze the sales of rocks last remaining legends? What next? Radiohead bin liners?

I guess the irony of the whole situation is they have someone selling car insurance who is most famous for being The Passenger.

Matt L

Written by pilotlight

19/02/2009 at 11:20 am