October 20, 2006

More Walmart Flogs Written by Edelman Employees

By Li Evans

Moreedelmanwalmartflogs Just when we thought this was done and over with, Walmart & Edelman "Flogs" make the front page of CNN.  It makes Richard Edelman's apology a little hollow and WOMMA's acknowledgment seem like "egg on their face."

I stated that the apology seemed to be enough, how wrong I feel now.  I wonder what Scoble's take on this will be and I wonder what kind of response Steve Rubel will have for this?

Steve has a post on Edelman's next steps, and points to his boss' post on what Edelman is doing.  I wonder if they knew this would hit CNN's front page?

It's Friday night, I'm heading out for a beer and to chew on these thoughts before I continue on with more thoughts on FLOGGING.

WOMMA however is encouraging bloggers in the industry to join the debate in a forum they have setup, I just might after thinking on this a bit more.

searchmob | digg it

related:  Reflections: Edelman, Walmart & Flogs, Edelman Takes Ownership of Walmart Blogging Mess

October 16, 2006

Edelman Takes Ownership of Walmart Blogging Mess

By Li Evans

Edelman Two thumbs up for Edelman, they are taking ownership of the Walmart blogging fiasco.  This will go a long way in with reputation management on the web.  Although the response time is not what the blogosphere would have liked (they let this simmer way too long till they got their game plan together), the fact is Edelman owned up, and is engaging the conversation.

Steve Rubel also is remarking on his involvement with the project - NONE.  I really question why Edelman did not invole Steve in a project of such a high visibility. Steve's the blogging guru and it's why Edelman hired him - talk about a big misstep.  I have no doubt Steve shook his head the entire weekend while the blogosphere churned with this story.  As a commenter on Micropersuasion said to his post, Edelman would be wise to make Steve their ombudsman for the blogosphere.

Edelman is a great PR firm, navigating their way through the Internet and all the ways it can touch the consumer.  Managing your client's reputation on the Internet is no easy task these days.  There are so many avenues big clients like Walmart traverse down from paid and natural search, to social networking and blogging - clients touch a lot of consumers.  But, perhaps Edelman should have taken the time to get a road map and plan the trip first with help from Steve to guide them in places there clients got lost in before.  I guess that's just my "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" analysis, and remember I'm just a small blogger.

Kudos though to Edelman, for reaching out to bloggers like Scoble and apologizing, taking ownership and engaging the conversation.  Not many companies would take such steps, by doing so, they are teaching us all a lesson.  Like Scoble said, they apologized, that should be enough.

Edelmantechnoratisearches10162006 Edelman's #2 now on Technorati searches, hopefully this will be positive for them, not like over the past weekend.


October 15, 2006

Edelman's Walmart Mess

By Li Evans

Edlemantechnoratiranking101506_1updated:  This has FINALLY hit Techmeme, thanks in part to a post on Shel Holtz' blog.  I'm surprised that Scoble's post didn't make it hit Techmeme first.

The silence is deafening.  So much so, Edelman is now ranking #4 on Technorati for searches today.  Why?  Because as one of the companies that "gets it" when it comes to blogging and reputation management on the Internet, right now appears as if they don't get it.

Whatever is going on with their client, Walmart, they have to realize now that it is doing more damage to Edelman than to the big box giant.  After Walmart's last blogosphere fiasco, no one is really surprised about this fake blog ("flog") - although a lot of people are talking about it (here's just a sampling).

Everyone's waiting to hear from Edelman.  What is the explanation for this apparent "flog"?  Steve Rubel (disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Steve's blog Micro Persuasion) has been incredibly silent, which has a lot of people wondering just what the heck is going on.  Steve's usually the first one to report on these types of issues in the blogosphere, and now that this has happened with his employer, a lot of people are asking "Where's Steve on this?"

Walmart's got a reputation problem in the blogosphere, they obviously just don't get it at all.  That is why they hired Edelman.  There's things about the blogosphere as a company you need to understand but at the top of the list, you need to real & upfront.  Walmart keeps trying to manipulate the blogosphere, and it's backfired every time.  This time, along with backfiring at Walmart, it's backfired right at Edelman.

searchmob | sniff it

Related: More Walmart Flogs Written By Edelman Employees, Reflections: Edelam, WalMart & Flogs

September 26, 2006

Internet Marketing - The Good & The Bad - Who Gets It & Who Doesn't

By Li Evans

After researching and writing about Hewlett Packard (HP)'s lack of knowledge around Internet Marketing, I decided to compile a list of what other companies that just don't get how to use the Internet as a marketing tool and how that affects their name, brand, products,etc.

Rather than be a downer, I wanted to point out good things too.  I also compiled a list of companies who do get how to use the Internet for marketing purposes and do it successfully.  I put together a list of ten (I won't call it top ten as everyone is sick of top ten lists) - 5 good examples and 5 bad examples, not ranked in any order.

The Bad - Those Who Just Don't Understand the Affect the Internet Has On Their Company
Kryptonitebikelocks Kryptonite Bike Locks -
Although this story took place close to 2 years ago, it is still a prime example of companies not monitoring what's going on in the Internet space, reaching out to their customers and engaging them to head off major issues that could potentially threaten the lifeblood of a company. Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion has a detailed account of the Kryptonite Bike Locks implosion.   Wikipedia has a detailed entry about the company, including the debacle in 2004 that ranks #3 for "kryptonite bike locks" on Google.  The Kryptonite Bike Lock website, really leaves me wondering "will they ever 'get it'?"

Belgian Newspapers - On the heels of "winning" their first lawsuit against Google in Belgium, most in the search industry are just sitting back and shaking their heads.  Here's just another blatant example of companies (this time a group of publishers), just not "Getting it".  Danny Sullivan's got a great article on the Search Engine Watch blog about this story, and how the to these people robots.txt is just not good enough.

Trump - A few weeks Threadwatch.org discovered this little snafu in the description of Trump.com's listing on Google.  I blogged about it further here on Search Marketing Gurus.  Again, another case of how not having a search marketing team can affect your presence, your brand, your name and your company's products and services.  I'm sure someone's going to start ranking for "Trump" with terms like "small penis", "levitra", "cialis" and "viagra" that has screen shots of what happened to Trump.com.  That will live on much longer than the few days the meta description appeared in Google.

Technoratihp_mentions Hewlett Packard (HP) - Sure this company has a nice website.  I've gone to it a few times and found drivers I needed.  Their products are decent and up until 3 weeks ago, HPQ was pretty golden on the stock market.  Then this really bad stench came out of Silicon Valley from the HP board room.  I won't rehash what I wrote about HP's Reputation Management again, lets just give them the 2006 "I don't get the Internet" award now.

Coca-Cola - There's something to be said about how a company identifies its brand, and how customers identify WITH a brand.  Coke, in light of recent -FREE- buzz with the Mentos/Diet Coke experiments, just "doesn't get it."  Even their website is bland and sterile looking.  With the decline in soft drink sales, you would think that a company would be jumping at appealing to the masses - but not Coke.  "It doesn't fit our brand personality," remarked the Coke spokeswoman.  Jackie Huba at the Church of the Customer blog, has a great recap.

The Good - Those that Embrace the Internet and Utilize It to Their Advantage
Mentos Mentos - Since I just mentioned how Coca-Cola didn't embrace those really cool experiments with Mentos, let me point out how Mentos did.  The image provided is their home page.  Not only are they embracing this phenomena and incorporating it with their image, they are encouraging more of it by sponsoring a "Geyser" contest.  Traffic to the Mentos site is up, as is sales - and they didn't have to spend a dime on promotion.  Again, check out Jackie Huba's entry at Church of the Customer.

Stonyfieldblogs_1 Stonyfield- Yogurt might not be quite as exciting as soda and candy geysers, but to many parents of newborns and toddlers, the information Stoneyfield is providing is just as much of a draw.  Stonyfield's blogs promote their company in two ways, with two distinctly different voices, aimed at two distinctly different audiences.  Parents and Organic Food Buyers can find great information with both of their blogs and although the blog doesn't lead to instantaneous sales, it does help to promote the brand so that next time you're in the grocery store you'll pick up Yo Baby! yogurt or the Stonyfield brand yogurt.

Raiderswebsite Oakland Raiders - Yes - a Football team actually understands the Internet and uses it to its advantage!  How?  The Oakland Raiders website is available in German, Spanish, and Chinese.  There is also a version just for kids.  Talk about talking specifically to your audience, engaging them and promoting involvement, the Oakland Raiders have tapped into an area where a lot of other websites should be going.  Now, not only will they rank in the English speaking engines but 2 additional engines as well.

General Motors (GM) - When GM's CEO wanted to get "unfiltered" feedback straight from the customer, he found it from the Internet in the form of their Fast Lane blog started in the beginning of 2005.  Not only does Mr. Lutz post about upcoming things with GM, but they are also using to promote how GM cars (Chevies and Pontiacs) are doing in NASCAR.  Recent news of the Google - Saturn deal also shows GM's savvy when it comes to Search Marketing.  Moving beyond the Paid Search (PPC) of contextual ads, Google's bundled together its services in Google Earth and Google Video to help create buzz around its aging Saturn line of automobiles.

Southwestluvstory Southwest Airlines - When was the last time you were able to track back any sales at all on-line back to a press release?  Southwest has, and does to the tune of $3 million (Greg's last presentation at SES gave this figure) and counting, according to Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR. But Southwest doesn't stop there - they engage their visitors.  Recently they ran a contest for visitors and customers to vote on their favorite Luv Story, with over 100,00 votes cast engaging their visitors seems to be what Southwest does best.  Lastly, probably their strongest use of Internet Marketing yet - "DING!".  I'm sure everyone knows about ding now - you might know it as that familiar sound you hear when you press the button to call an airline steward for assistance.  Southwest uses it to promote its "widget" that announces new airline deals to the destinations on special, not only has it permeated to the desktop of hundreds of thousands of users - a series of commercials - very cleverly designed ones too - help to reinforce "Ding!", talk about a company being Web Savvy, Southwest can teach its own course.

digg | searchmob | sniff it

September 23, 2006

Why Hewlett-Packard's (HP) Reputation Management Sucks

By Li Evans

The headline got your attention?  Good, because Hewlett-Packard (HP or HPQ) is the best example going of a huge corporation not understanding Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WoMM), Reputation Management or the Search Industry.

I'm not going to go into the ethics of what's gone on with the Scandal at HP, the Hewlett Packard board, Patricia Dunn and Mark Hurd - for that I highly recommend checking out Robert Scoble's Blog for his take on Patricia Dun's departure. What I want to point out is the lousy job HP's PR department is doing in handling the matter.

In a world where the populations is every increasingly moving to the Internet to get the news and information, HP's PR team is failing when it comes to grasping the understanding of reputation management and how it relates to news and search on the Internet.  In all my research, between news, blogs, search engines and other sites, I found only a small inkling that HP was trying to combat all this negativity and that they were trying to get "their spin" on the story out there.

So lets start at search - since that's where just about everyone starts when they want to find information on something.  I'll post a few thumbnails here so you can see the different searches and items I've got highlighted in them to draw your attention.

Now with some curiosity I move over to news searches:

See that red arrow there - take note, it is Yahoo!'s news search now suggesting I might want to dig deeper into "hewlett packard scandal".  Naturally of course I wanted to see what would come back, but not in news search - in regular search.  I took a look at Google, MS Live and Yahoo.  What I found was the New York times buying ads to direct people to their site for articles about the scandal (kudos to them!) and the occasional HP ad that had "Get the Facts".
Google patricia_dunn_scandalGoogle hp_scandal
Yahoo patricia_dunn_scandalYahoo hp_scandal

Msl mark_hurd_scandal

I tried a lot of different versions in these searches and HP is so "willy nilly" with their choice of keywords and phrases for their campaigns in Google and Yahoo! (I couldn't find ads for them on Microsoft Live), it blatantly shows their lack of knowledge in the search industry.  Now you're probably wondering just where the ads HP has about this scandal and "Getting the Facts" leads to the HP Press Release center, in-particularly to the latest press release about Mark V. Hurd becoming taking Patricia Dunn's place at HP.

I found it a little odd that they'd lead to a specific press release and not to their news room, or even perhaps to a senior staff member's blog, who's been authorized to speak on the situation.  In the way of blogs from senior staff here's a list of who I found.
Hp blogs_list_1
I highlighted Eric Kintz blog, thinking that maybe since he was "Marketing" we just might see some reference to what's going at HP, out on his blog - Marketing Excellence.  Although I found two great entries (The Dynamics of Viral Marketing, Dissociative Identity Marketing), I didn't find "the facts" about HP's side of the story here either.

I went out to Technocrati to do some digging as well.  What you see below looks like it was tracked up until last week - and this many number of mentions isn't likely customers raving about HP products.
Technorati hp_mentions_1
Technorati uses the Yahoo! network to display ads, so some of my searches on Technorati were displaying HP's "Get the Facts" ads, but again, the appearance of the ads were so scattered on keywords it had no consistancy of when it would appear.

At reputation management and PR on the Web, HP's failing horribly, and with accusations now flying about that the new Chairman, Mark Hurd, "Knew About The Deception Campaign," and "The Plan is Egggcellent," it doesn't look like this scandal is going to end any time soon.  Maybe its time that someone over there get their Public Relations people up to speed on the "Search Marketing" because it is blatantly obvious that they really haven't got a clue how to manage their reputation on the web.  I really wonder though, who'd be up for that many headaches?

digg | searchmob | sniff it

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