Category Archives: Public Relations

Kanye West’s Top Tips for Digital Communicators

Make no mistake, Kanye West is a one-of-a-kind musician, performer and pop culture icon – just ask him yourself. He has created a personal brand that is all his own and, while his attitude may rub some the wrong way, there are a few lessons we digital marketers can learn from his experience.

Define Your Brand’s Personal Style

Whether or not you dig his shutter-shades and graphic Ts, Kanye’s unique personal style sets him apart from other artists. Just as there are always new musicians trying to make it big, hundreds of consumer brands are hopping on the social media bandwagon trying to get noticed every year. To cut through the clutter, find the online medium where your target audience is already engaged. There, showcase the personality of your brand and highlight the product/service offering that differentiates your company from others.

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Filed under Best Practices, Celebrity, Internet, Music, Pop Culture, Public Relations

No Longer Singing LaLa’s Praises

While I might stand outside the majority of online music listeners who love Pandora, I’ve preferred the site LaLa.com for the past year or so. While Pandora is a great service, I always found it off-putting that I couldn’t listen to exactly the song I was in the mood for. LaLa, allows you to build a playlist with any song of your choosing – and they have a great music library of even the most obscure bands. You can listen to any song once for free and you have the option of paying 10 cents to keep the song in your collection so you can listen to it as much as you want, or you can pay 89 cents to download the mp3 track to your iPod or other music player.

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Filed under eMail, Internet, Pop Culture, Public Relations

Watch Letterman Prove How Un-Tech Savvy He Is

As a PR professional, I can’t tell you how jealous I am of the extensive media coverage Apple has scored in the past month about its new iPad. Sure, it’s is sweet, but never has there been such a slam-dunk product launch when it comes to securing media attention.

While I’ve seen and read many great features on the iPad over the past few months, last night’s Letterman Top Ten is one worth sharing with you all. So please take five minutes – it is Friday, so I’m sure you’re not really ‘working’ even if you are in the office – and check out the “top 10 questions to ask yourself before you wait in line for the iPad.”

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Filed under Celebrity, Public Relations, Trend

Surfing the Restricted Net

I attended a conference yesterday on social media for financial services companies. Despite the fact that I work with many of these types of clients on a daily basis and I am well aware of the compliance hurdles these companies face when it comes to promoting their brand via social media, I was surprised to find how much of the Internet is blocked for the employees at work.

Sure, no boss wants their employees tagging photos and skimming blogs about LOST while at work, but when you prohibit your employees from visiting sites like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other online resources, you may be missing critical information relevant for your company. There have been many instances where I have stumbled upon a relevant blog entry on an industry trend relevant for one of my clients, or a Tweet from a client’s customer who needed an issue addressed immediately. By listening to what’s being said about your company and its industry, you become smarter and more agile when it comes to responding proactively and reactively.

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Filed under Internet, Public Relations

When publicists need a publicist

Ali Wise at Dolce & Gabbana event

This past July, publicist Ali Wise was accused of hacking into the voicemail system of her ex’s new girlfriend. Despite these charges and the unflattering light that is now cast on her personal and professional life (her employer Dolce & Gabbana gave her the boot), Wise has refused to step out of the spotlight.

Just last week, she was spotted at multiple fashion events in Manhattan and while she’s keeping mum about the legalities of the situation, it hasn’t stopped her from commenting on her possible jump into reality TV. More recently, this trained public relations professional hired her own publicist—none other than Matthew Hiltzik, who has previously done damage control for

Jane Friedman, Don Imus and Annie Leibovitz.

And so we have another front page (or maybe Page 6) story about a publicist gone bad, adding fuel to the fire created by shows like MTV’s PoweR Girls, which depicts young, beautiful women in big cities planning parties, hanging out with celebrities and creating a ‘buzz’ by any means possible.

Blake Lively as Serena on Gossip Girl

Even more absurd, a recent story line on Gossip Girl depicted Manhattanite Serena Van Der Woodsen receiving a job offer to work for a publicist based solely on her ability to attract paparazzi—with complete disregard for the fact that her character has no college education and zip work experience.

Could this be why PR is still considered a “dirty word” in some circles, or why the general consensus is that “publicity” is managed by the cliché “PR girls” featured on these programs? I’ve experienced it personally, even in casual conversation with friends and acquaintances. Based on the questions I’ve been asked about my job (“Which celebrities do you represent?” “Don’t you just spin the truth?” “Do you get free stuff from companies like [enter luxury brand]?”). I’m certain that many people outside of the field think of PR as party planning and creating buzz at any cost—a no-brain job for cute girls who photograph well.

I got into the field of public relations for many reasons. I love writing and thinking creatively. I enjoy problem solving and working with teams. I have a vested interest in connecting relevant groups of people, particularly through social media. But these elements of the job are often lost amidst the image and reputation exuded by episodes of PoweR Girls and headlines featuring the likes of Ms. Wise.

So what can we do? We need to be proactive advocates for our profession. We need to value and recognize those female innovators in our field who embody out-of-the-box thinking, sound business ethics and determination to move the profession forward. Only then can we shake the “PR girls” image.

[Note: This post by Lauren Begley originally appeared on RepMan on 12.2.09]

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Filed under Celebrity, Public Relations