Posts Tagged ‘Media Aesthetic’

Remember that Amazing Tweet? Of Course You Didn’t…

December 29th, 2010

In the most recent issue of Wired, Clive Thompson offers a smart analysis on how long-form content is superior to much-hyped online buzz communications.  To support his argument, he cites a study showing that the most popular blog posts average 1,600 word count.

More importantly, Thompson puts things into perspective and explains that when we’re bombarded with multi-platform bite-sized communications, the missives are intended to be digested quickly.  But, for true, valued consumption, long-form content consistently wins because it engages readers for thoughtful analysis.  That’s something you can’t squeeze into 140 characters or less.

Praecere advises clients that while digital strategy is an important PR consideration, digital platform stability is never guaranteed.  Today’s Twitter could easily be tomorrow’s AOL.  The-next-big-thing in social media is always lurking around the corner, so instead of stressing about how to condense communications and media outreach, concentrate more on flattering the public with fun and interesting content.

After all, you’ll always remember a moving speech or essay… can you say the same about a random Tweet of Facebook status update?

No matter what, in PR, content will always trump the platform.

US Airways Still Hasn’t Checked in on Tech Trends

December 28th, 2010

At the Blog Aesthetic, our articles are inspired by current events, public affairs, the latest celeb flubs, or anything else with an interesting PR twist.  And, sometimes, serendipity is our muse.

Today’s topic evolved from real-life travel events, namely in trying to check-in via mobile phone for a US Airways flight.  You’d think that mobile check-in capability would be standard for major airlines today.  Indeed, American, Delta, Continental, United, JetBlue, and Southwest all offer this feature to travelers.

As for US Airways… unless you fly out of Las Vegas (see below), you’re out of luck.

This is sad for several reasons.  First, one of the earliest and prominent mentions of this technology was a USA Today article … in 2007! Right now we’re only three days away from 2011, and US Airways remains firmly grounded on integrating mobile check-in technology.

Second, every single major competitor offers this service, so it should be safe to rule out technological hurdles.  In seeking good PR, businesses must promote a characteristic that positively distinguishes them from the competition.  For US Airways, this is hard negative distinction that no company should tolerate.

Third, if an airline can’t keep up with simple tech trends like this, what does that communicate about their brand and corporate ethos?

Fourth, steer your eyes back to the image.  Tech-savvy folks will notice an iPhone 3 is the example phone, a product that is already behind the iPhone 4.  This glitch adds more momentum to the idea of US Airways being out-of-touch on tech trends.

And lastly, it’s one thing for a company to acknowledge a deficiency and take steps to correct it.  It’s another for the company to peddle a “nothing to see here” attitude, or exaggerate the truth.  For US Airways, take a gander at their Twitter feed, where a recent status update exclaims they have “mobile tools for boarding passes” – which we now know is a fib unless, of course, you are in Las Vegas.  And only flying out of Las Vegas.  Too bad the airline is rolling the dice on staying in touch.

How Crisis Stories Reinforce Each Other

March 2nd, 2010

The New York Times reported late yesterday that New York Governor David Paterson had his staff make contact with the woman who accused one of his top aides of an incredibly violent physical attack.  The victim had sought a restraining order on several occasions, and in the past few days it leaked that Patterson may have interfered to some degree in preventing the woman from gaining court protection.  In the ensuing fallout, Paterson suspended his re-election campaign but insists he won’t resign from office.

Aside from Paterson’s quixotic efforts to remain governor in the wake of these devastating claims, the actions of his public relations spokesperson, Marissa Shorenstein, deserve some attention.

Paterson instructed Shorenstein to contact the victim and urge her to keep quiet.  In doing so, Shorenstein (and perhaps Patterson himself, along with others in his hapless administration) may have violated witness tampering laws in New York’s penal code.  Breaking the law in the name of public relations is about the worst media aesthetic possible, and the crime takes on unspeakably disgusting dimensions when it’s meant to strike fear into a battered woman’s heart.

Now take a couple of steps back, and look at the narrative in place before Paterson’s ordeal.  Another New York politician, former state senator Hiram Monserrate, recently stood trial for beating and slashing his girlfriend’s face.  The similarities with Paterson’s situation – political figure, domestic violence, public disgust, refusal to resign, dubious denials – are staggering in the eyes of the press.

This is how negative narratives reinforce each other, creating a media surround sound effect.  Think, for example, about how another car company might recoil if/when a recall happens, because of what Toyota is going through.  Today GM recalled 1.3 million cars for safety issues – how do you think their executives feel about being hauled before Congress, regulators, and a firmly skeptical nation?

The reason these stories resonate is that the basic facts have already been reported – usually all that’s different is what trajectory the story is going to take.  Once the press has the basic outline of the narrative, a reporter just needs to plug in different names and facts, and voila – all that’s missing is a headline.