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All posts tagged PR

Really what’s the big deal?  So Facebook hired a PR firm to smear Google, and it got caught. So what?  PR firms everywhere are scrambling to make sense of this, Inside Facebook, a well know blog, called it “a spectacularly failed attempt at undermining the competition.”

So Facebook is scared that Google will be able to beat them at their own game and it wanted to defame Google’s Social Circle.  So Google’s overtures into Facebook’s world was perceived as a real threat by Facebook.  Like HuffPost, Facebook’s content is not generated by others, so any attempts by Social Circle to pull content from Facebook is perceived as an attack on Facebook’s core business.  So Facebook hired global PR giant Burson-Marsteller to spread false information about Social Circle’s privacy policies to ultimately defame it and cause doubt in the minds of current and potential users.

I’ve now devoured about 50 articles about the subject in a couple of days.  The PR world is filled with condemnations and abuzz with horror to discover that Burson-Marsteller engaged in this type of behavior.  In the New York Times, “Paul Cordasco, Burson-Marsteller’s spokesman, said that the firm made a mistake.  He said “The mistake clearly was not being transparent about the client,” He added that employees would receive additional training to make them “fully aware of our code of responsibility that emphasizes full transparency.”

Let’s make some safe inferences based on Mr. Cordasco’s statements. First, he did not apologize for the covert tactics, but did addressed “client transparency.”  Second, he talked about some “code of responsibility” that emphasizes “full transparency.”  So they will be talking to their employees about this.  No where did I get a feeling of regret or contrition about their strategies and actions?

Look, I am not condoning Burson-Marsteller’s behavior, nor Facebook’s. But this happens in virtually arena where PR plays a role. Politics, finance, medicine…and I go on.  In addition, the idea of front-running false stories to destroy a political or business opponent’s credibility is only part of a larger epidemic of content distribution, true or false, to affect search rankings along with reputation.  It’s in the DNA of of some pr and marketing firms to do this work.  Yelp, Google Reviews are only some examples where people create false identities to promote or destroy a business’s credibility. Blogs are set up under false pretenses and micro-sites too.

Business on the internet is simply business. The business of defaming the competition existed way before the internet, and will continue to thrive as long as there is a need, PR and marketing firms not withstanding.


By Abe Kasbo

In our talks with with our clients, we hear a incessant cry for “Public Relations.” What they almost always mean “is get me in the paper.” Certainly, press coverage is a great way to get the word out and to let people know about your differential advantage, people, technologies, business processes, etc. We also recognize that print articles the right media outlet has real value. Good press can attract attention, move product, and lend some credibility to young and established business alike.

We also recognize that pitching the media these days, strong relationships or not, is becoming more challenging simply because of amount of “stuff” assignment editors and reporters have to go through. Control over the message can be a particular challenge and certainly, at times, the timing of when the piece would hit the street may not be in concert with your business goals.

It’s why we ask CEOs, CMOs and marketing and PR managers, “what is your PR plan when you are not in the media?” Because for the most part, businesses are over-whelming NOT covered by the media. So what’s your plan?

Think Outside the Media for More Strategic Public Relations:

Strategic marketing and PR strategies must be business driven. Business owners and investors must be invested in strategic public relations, of which, media relations is an important component. What to do? Here are six ideas (with more to come)

1. Strengthen business relationships with your customers for continued loyalty and growth. So develop a customer relationship campaign that will engage the customer and strengthen your relationship, as well as provide you feedback on your products and services. Yes, that’s PR.

2. Be a resource for your clients and investors. There are many ways to do this including the web, face to face, conferences, etc.

3. Investor and network relations is key. Don’t skimp here, engaging your investors is key to many things including, when appropriate, next round of funding or asking for business referrals!

5. People buy from people. So your company or its representatives must have a plan to be present in venues directly related to your business – whether on the buy-side or sell-side.

6. Create or participate relevant events that involve people and can generate news.

So, by recognizing that PR is much more than sending out press releases and getting in the news, your business can implement more strategic public relations and marketing strategies that delivers a real boost to your business.

More to come…