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As a part of PR crisis management techniques, Toyota has come up with marketing campaign showing “real” Toyota owners defending the auto company and telling tales of their allegiance to the company. As most of you know, Toyota came under fire after calling for a massive recall of their vehicles for having acceleration problems. Now, they have released a new advertising campaign, called “Toyota Stories.” These testimonials can be seen on television, heard on the radio and viewed on their youtube channel. What is concerning about this, is the validity of the testimonials. Are these actual Toyota owners or are they paid actors, paid off to tell how much they love all Toyota vehicles and how their “next vehicle will be a Toyota?” On their Youtube channel, there is an expansive list of comments, mostly critical of this new campaign. Some comments, according to Youtube user autoresearcher, have been removed by Toyota because of the critical and negative nature of the comments.
This brings up some interesting questions:
- Is this type of marketing campaign ethical?
- Should Toyota have the right to remove comments and if so, is that ethical?
- Should Toyota focus more on correcting the problem then spreading these pleasant, optimistic testimonial commercials?
Here is one of the commercials in question. What are your opinions on it?
Podcasting can be very beneficial for PR firms and other companies. It provides companies the opportunity to outreach to it’s consumers and the general public, giving them an in-depth look at current news within the company. Podcasting can also prove to be beneficial when PR firms are dealing with crisis management. For example, companies like Toyota and Sea World, who are both facing PR crises, can use podcasting as a way to broadcast their voice to their customers and concerned citizens. They can address the problems they are facing as well as offer solutions and assure the public that they are doing everything they can to correct the problem or crisis.
Aside from businesses, podcasting can be a great tool and resource for students. Students who listen to various podcasts can stay up-to-date and educated about what is going on in the world as well as keep informed with different businesses and PR firms. PR students can especially utilize podcasts, as there are numerous podcasts out there that focus on PR objectives and practices. Two PR podcasts that I personally found interesting are Inside PR and Strategic Public Relations. I suggest that PR students as well as anyone in the PR industry check these podcasts out.
Finally, shownotes, which are a list of points that are addressed during a podcast, are very important, because they provide an information breakdown where listeners can either follow along or check back to see the recap of anything they may have missed or are unclear about.
Here is a video I found that explains how to create your own podcast:
And here is another video about casting. It may not be very useful, but it is certainly entertaining:
Foursquare is a website that tracks users by using social media technologies. In a way, it is a way to consolidate all of the social media sites out there. This a new version of social media that has never been done before, because whereas sites like Facebook can show where you are only if you put it in your status update, Foursquare allows users (using mobile technology) to show where you are at and allows users to connect locally with friends as well as give them the ability to meet new people.
For example, someone who has foursquare on their smart phone (iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, etc.) can use the app to track where they are and different businesses that they frequent. Now even people without smart phones can use this app by utilizing SMS shortcut code technologies. When users arrive at a destination, they can “check-in” to Foursquare and let all of their online friends know where they are. The Foursquare website says to think of it as an “urban mix tape,” where users can compile lists of things they like to do and places they like to go and share that with their friends. Furthermore, the more times you “check-in,” can earn you “awards” like badges and the ability to become the mayor.
What’s the mayor in Foursquare terms?
To become the mayor, means that you frequent a certain place more than all of your other friends (at least as far as Foursquare knows). This can earn you special benefits as some businesses give special deals to a “mayor” of their shop or restaurant.
The benefits that this can have on businesses are obvious, as it will provide a “competition” between friends and in turn gain business for companies. However, this new social media technology brings concerns for individuals.
For example, it could be dangerous for people to “broadcast” where they are or where they are going to be. With other social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, you have the choice of whether or not you want people to know where you are, but the whole point of Foursquare is to track where you are.
This could turn out to be very dangerous and will be something to keep an eye out for in the future as this site and other sites like it continue to grow in popularity.
After listening to “Social Media: Friend or Foe?” I began to put in perspective some things that I previously knew and a few things that I didn’t know about social media. For example, I had been aware about the benefits of social media when it comes to businesses, i.e. outreach to consumers, interactivity, easier marketing techniques, etc. However with these conveniences and advantages comes implications. For example when a company does something good or wants to promote a new product or service, social media can be very beneficial, however when a company has a PR crisis, social media might prove to be more of a disadvantage.
For example, Toyota and their PR crisis with the massive recall on several of their vehicles. This was a big enough PR disaster, but because of social media and Web 2.0 technologies, it was easier than ever to spread this bad publicity. SItes like Facebook saw groups that called the auto company out for producing unsafe cars, Youtube videos showed upset customers and numerous blogs allowed Toyota owners and critics to criticize the company for acting irresponsibly and slandering their name.
Another case that has developed as of late that can be credited to this is the PR disaster of Sea World. After one of the killer whales killed a Sea World Orlando trainer, Sea World quickly tried to calm down concerned patrons and past and future guests. However, once again because of social media, there was just as much negative publicity about Sea World than there was positive publicity done by Sea World themselves, in order to restore their good name.
Another point that was addressed in this podcast was the effect of social media in the workplace. Employees neglecting work to check their Facebook accounts or surf Youtube for funny videos is becoming an ongoing problem for employers.
The key to this dilemma of how to utilize social media as a beneficial tool and not as a negative entity, is to hold conversation internally and externally and keep an open mind when it comes to social media, because when all is said and done, there is more positives when it come to social media than negatives.
The Georgia Legislature has asked the University system of Georgia to prepare for a $300 million dollar reduction for the 2011 fiscal year. This means that Georgia Southern University will be cut an additional $14.7 million on top of an already $11 million dollar cut.
What this means?
- 6 more furlough days to be taken in Fiscal Year 2010, starting in July
- Elimination of state subsidy that is used to support the Division of Education, Performing Arts Center, Wildlife Center, etc. These will have to become self-sufficient.
- Elimination of one-half of all temporary faculty (63 full-time temporary faculty and 54 part-time temporary faculty).
- Elimination of 67 staff positions.
- Unspecified cuts to athletics.
- Consolidation and elimination of academic programs.
Although this is a terrible dilemma that we are all about to face here at GSU, I found it interesting how both faculty, staff, students and even new President Brooks Keel have utilized social media techniques to not only spread the word, but also to ask for help.
Here is a video from President Brooks Keel further explaining these cuts and how we can help:
Here is a list of links to Facebook groups, events and notes that deal with these new budget cuts. While all similar, each offers a different look and different options of how to take a stand against these proposed cuts.