Which Social Media Conversation Are You Joining?

Solis’ Conversation Prism has been around for a while, but it is still a useful tool. It gives you a whole view of the social media universe, categorized and organized by how people use each network. One  channel that I think is picking up steam is the music conversation channel. Many users, especially young demographics are moving to streaming music services like Pandora and Last FM. With minimal advertising interuptions compared to radio and no monthly fees like Satalite they are an attractive alternative. I believe they will only increase in popularity as more TV’s and BlueRay players come with Internet connectivity built in.

The great thing about a campaign on Pandora and/or Last FM is you can really segment to your audience by format. Does your target like adult contemporary, hip hop or Barry Manilow? There’s a station for that! You can also geo target your buy by top markets or distribution regions and the nice thing about a Pandora ad is that it has both audio and visual elements.

Recently Toyota has struck a long term deal with Pandora for some of these very reasons. A company executive promised, “The campaign will be the largest in scope and span to ever run across all of the Pandora internet radio advertising platforms.” As part of a new, multi-year “Legends & Icons” advertising series, Pandora will brand stations and artists with Toyota models. The Highlander will be on the Top 40 station because the demographics of the care model match the listener demographic for the station. Different models will brand different stations with lots of customized channels, artist spotlights, exclusive releases, radio ‘mixtapes,’ and video integration. Toyota executives say they have a broad target demo of 18-49, but though different stations and content slivers they can be more segmented.  Pandora now has 80 million registered users.

Has your company joined the digital media conversation? If not find the right channel and jump in!

Does .005% Make A Difference? Ask Toyota

Manufactured products are subject to defects, they occur at random. We know that the defect rate can never be zero so a higher defect rate doesn’t cause problems if you are purchasing the product in large quantities (large sample size). If I buy a pack of 100 straws for my kids, I am ok with some having holes in them – even up to 10 (10% defect rate). I bought them at the dollar store after all! As consumers we access the true cost of the product by including the defect rate in purchase.

Problems occur when the buyer purchases the product in small quantities (small sample size). We typically purchase cars one at a time. A manufacturer may sell cars with a 1% defect rate, but we buy one car and it either works or it doesn’t. When I buy my Prius and discover a brake defect, suddenly that 10% defect rate is not acceptable!

A 1% defect rate may not be statistically significant over the roughly 2 million cars sold by Toyota in the United States every year, but ask a Toyota marketer if it is practically significant. One percent is 20,000 unsatisfied complaining consumers. An article was written about the defective brakes on Prius Hybrids based on 100 complaints – only .005%! Toyota can improve their defect rate, but never get it to zero. That is when Public Relations becomes invaluable.

GM Recall Recalls Past PR Crises

General Motors announced Tuesday that it was recalling about 1.5 million vehicles worldwide to address a problem with a heated windshield wiper fluid system that could lead to a fire. This seems like the latest in a rash of corporate blunders that calls for some serious crisis management. Other recent PR events include BP and Toyota.

Public Relations can have a big influence on a client’s public image. To illustrated I will bring up two cases where a crisis was handled properly and not properly. In 1989, Exxon faced a crisis when it spilled 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Exxon waited a long time before responding. An ad ran in the newspapers 10 days after the spill and Exxon’s chairman did not fly to Alaska until two weeks after the spill. Exxon’s spokesman first answered the press with “no comment” after the spill taking credibility away from the company and the company never took responsibility for what happened. Even 10 years after the spill people were still boycotting Exxon gas.

On the other hand Tylenol handled their crisis with good PR tactics. In 1982, Tylenol, the leading pain-killer medicine in the United States faced a tremendous crisis when seven people in Chicago were reported dead after taking extra-strength Tylenol capsules. Unlike Exxon, Johnson & Johnson immediately recalled its product and made public announcements about the suspension of its usage through various media outlets. Even though it was proven 
that Tylenol was not associated with the tampering it still immediately assumed responsibility. Johnson & Johnson completely recovered its market share lost during the crisis and reestablish the Tylenol brand as one to the must trusted consumer products in American.

Which way will GM choose in this PR crisis?