Friday, April 16, 2010

Week in review

A few notables in the PR world this week:

BIG CHANGE of the Week.
My journalist background, which included being an editor of a newspaper, meant I was a stickler for grammar, spelling and the AP Stylebook. "AP Style" settled all disputes, including difficult ones I encountered as a PR professional. ("Why can you capitalize Our Energy Program?"). One change I frequently made in copy was The Associated Press' insistence to call it a "Web site." (Capital "W" and two words.) On Friday, AP changed the phrase to lowercase and one word. So, everyone, it is now "website." You win.

SURPRISE of the Week.
The amazing lack of continued analysis of Tiger Woods' emergence. Sports writers did a fair job analyzing (attacking?) his mood after finishing 4th in The Masters. One of the best analyses was here. And, there was some attention given to the announcement of his next match (April 29 in North Carolina). But for all the attention given Tiger in advance of his return to golf, the silence after the match was unexpected. As written earlier, the Woods saga is a great case study for public relations. Perhaps Tiger is not as big as some of us predicted. For all the PR analysis dumped on us since last Thanksgiving, the post-first-game-back analysis by PR professionals was severely lacking. Often I and my colleagues will counsel clients through a crisis, saying it just will be a matter of time before the crisis is over and "yesterday's news."

Of course, this is a personal tragedy and the question is whether Tiger can be forgiven to the point that he can gain back some portion of his incredible pre-scandal popularity whereby sponsors use him again to pitch their products. Sorry, Tiger, but you are a lab rat in this study. The question now is how much longer with the science experiment - the analysis - continue?

LATE BREAKING news of the Week.
The old saying in PR is to break bad news on a Friday. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission did just that in charging Goldman Sachs with fraud. Aside from losing $12 billion in shareholder value at the end of trading Friday, Goldman Sachs - previously a Wall Street darling - now has a major public relations situation on its hands. No doubt, teams are working overtime in crafting statements, preparing for continued bad news, and developing a counter-attack. So, yes, another case study in the making.

YAWN of the week?
Water is big news in California in 2010. So, when two big groups came together to set up a series of public meetings this past week in Southern California to discuss (sell?) the $11 billion water bond on the November ballot, why was attendance so low and why did the news media not show up? Expect this attention deficit to end after the June primary, when pro-bond publicity engines fill their tanks and increase the noise level.

Social Media's biggest news
Twitter's announcement that it will, finally, make money was one of the biggest stories of the month, if not the year. Promoted tweets add a new dimension to how others already making money off of Twitter. (See a story here about an indie band earning some cash.). Twitter is rolling out slow with this one, but look for PR folks to go into overdrive on the creativity front because of this new dimension (threat?). Twitter's dramatic rise in popularity made for some very clear PR and marketing strategies to promote clients. With Twitter now offering an advertising platform, look for new strategies from the PR side to remain relevant.