Thursday, April 12, 2012

From the Journals: Ad Avoidance, User-Generated Content, Nonprofit Twitter Use

Continuing my periodic review of academic journal articles for public relations students and professionals who read my blog, I found three articles in recently published journals that I think will be of interest. Here are citations and key finding summaries:

Lovejoy, K; Waters, RD; Saxton, GD. “Engaging stakeholders through Twitter: How nonprofit organizations are getting more out of 140 characters or less.” Public Relations Review , 38 (2):313-318; JUN 1 2012
A review of 4655 tweets from 73 nonprofit organizations showed that the nation's largest nonprofits are not using Twitter to fully engage stakeholders. Instead, they use social media mostly as a one-way communication channel.  Less than 20% of total tweets demonstrate conversations;  only 16% demonstrate indirect connections to specific users.

Baek, TH; Morimoto, M. “STAY AWAY FROM ME Examining the Determinants of Consumer Avoidance of Personalized Advertising” Journal Of Advertising , 41 (1):59-76; SPR 1 2012
People concerned about privacy or simply irritated by ads in personal media are more likely to avoid ads altogether. But, if they perceive the ads have been personalized to their needs and interest consumers are less likely to avoid ads. In other words, it’s not the channel of mobile or social media, but the ad content itself that makes a campaign successful or not.

Christodoulides, G; Jevons, C; Bonhomme, J. “Memo to Marketers: Quantitative Evidence for Change How User-Generated Content Really Affects Brands” Journal Of Advertising Research , 52 (1):53-64; MAR 1 2012
The findings indicate that when consumers perceive they are co-creating brand content, part of its community, and have a positive self-concept they are more likely to be involved in user-generated content (UGC.) This in turn positively affects consumer-based brand equity. They key is building deeper relationships between consumers and brands in the age of social media.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Good PR of Happy Employees

First, a self-disclosure: I worked for a brief period at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. But I'm not writing about them now because of that connection.

Rather, it's a response to an article in MLive about GRCF being named number 6 on a Nonprofit Times list of "50 Best Nonprofits to Work for in 2012."

I'm always a little dubious of national publications generating "best of" lists, or lists of any kind. They tend to read as "Desperate Attempts to Get Attention to Boost Our Flagging Subscriptions and Ad Sales."

But this list, and the justification for it, caught my eye. The article this list generated gives GRCF some publicity, but that's not the real PR value. Essentially, it shows why and how employee relations is good public relations.

Public relations is about establishing mutually beneficial relationships with ALL publics. Too many in the communication profession think all publics are customers, or that PR is all about media. But that's a simplistic view.

Employees are the face, the brand, the essence of organizations. They meet the public face to face more often and in more ways than the top management does. If they come off as less than happy, less than knowledgeable, less than affects the messaging, the branding, the operations, the reputation and the success of an organization.

As many men say about marriage--"Happy wife, happy life"--the same is true of employees and organizations.

Add to that the fact that good employees with the right skill sets and personal attributes can be hard to find. Any organization should have as one of its objectives to be seen as "an employer of choice" so that when they are in a position to hire, their reputation as an organization--not merely the job opportunity--helps them attract the best employees.

GRCF shows that they are doing things recommended by PR professionals and academics who specialize in employee or internal communications. President Diana Sieger speaks of the intentional effort to make every employee feel they are an integral part of organizational success. Employees speak of GRCF valuing innovation, encouraging work-life balance, involving everyone in strategic planning, and maintaining open relationships with management.


Congratulations to GRCF, and thanks for the positive example.