Archive for April, 2007
According to the Financial Times/Millward Brown BrandZ study announced today, Google is the most valuable brand in the world, having jumped 77% from its ranking last year. GE and Microsoft (last year’s top dog) take the number two and three slots respectively. Yahoo is number 42. The ranking is calculated using a combination of consumer perception and financial data.
What got Google to the top slot? Its “single-minded determination,” according to the FT‘s John Gapper. Based on the vision of its founders, the company had a purpose and ethos from day one, and that translated into a corporate culture dedicated to being the best (earlier this year, Google was also named Best Company to Work For by Fortune magazine). Along the way, founders Brin and Page resisted “pressure to meet short-term earnings targets” and stayed true to the brand by not adding display ads to its homepage – unlike search rival Yahoo.
So can Google stay on top? Many are eager to predict a consumer backlash of the type Microsoft has suffered and the word “monopoly” is being whispered in relation to its proposed takeover of DoubleClick. The answer will depend in large part on whether the company continues to stay true to its brand and the values that underpin it.
I’ve always been a passionate believer in the power of the brand, and am often frustrated when brands are subjugated to the need to make a quick buck. I hope companies the world over heed the words below (again, from John Gapper of the FT):
“A corporate brand, like a human reputation, is something of immense value. Yet it is also intangible and there is always a temptation to do something for short-term gain that can damage it in the long term.
“Many companies have given in to this temptation by reducing the quality of their products or stretching their brands unwisely, only to spend years attempting to repair the damage. This gives those who manage to resist it the chance to develop brands of huge value both to customers and shareholders.”
I’ve just come across this interesting observation from Adam Darowski (and picked up by Joshua Porter here.) Darowski opines that you’re no-one in the tech world if you haven’t got a blog. And that reading a person’s blog is a far better way of getting to know their skills and attitude than reading a buzzword-stuffed resume. Equally, what better way to find out what makes a potential new client tick than reading his or her blog?
Of course, this can be a double-edged sword. While an insightful blog can give you a leg-up when looking for a job, your online antics can also get you into trouble. You are what you put on the web…
Question: How many people PR people does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: Can I get back to you on that one?
It’s an old joke, but, sadly, is often all too true. In an interview with the Bulldog Reporter today, USA Today’s Dan Reed spells out why it’s important for PR people to know their stuff before they pick up the phone to a journalist.
“If you have to get back to us later, then you may have missed your window. The more time you allow between the pitch and providing what we need for the story, the less we care … if it’s not all there for me in the first email or phone call, I can’t be bothered to keep tabs on it for later.”
Tech For PR reports on a new online service called PitchWire that facilitates the story pitch process for PR people and lets influencers (journalists, analysts, bloggers) specify their areas of interest and stories in progress. Tech For PR describes it as “a system for PR pros to reach influencers without getting under their skin.” The influencers in question don’t have to be signed up for the service in order to receive PitchWire pitches, but it helps…
For PR people, one of the most useful functions is that you can track your pitch history, see when your pitches have been read and (potentially) receive feedback on them. The service will only really be worthwhile, though, if it achieves a critical mass of registered influencers. It’s gambling on the fact that influencers view being pitched by PR pros as a necessary evil and are willing to participate in something that might make their lives a little bit easier – either by reducing the amount of email pitches or increasing their relevance. I’m a little skeptical about that. A totally unscientific poll of a couple of (news) journalists seemed to support that skepticism. And, of course, there are already media databases that provide (sometimes useful) info on individual journalists’ beats and preferences, as well as services like Profnet that let journalists request input on specific stories.
All that said, the term influencers is a very broad church these days and I can see PitchWire being a great way for bloggers to manage and extract value from the ever-increasing deluge of email from PR people.
In the digital music world at least, it seems that the price of freedom is 30 cents. That’s the premium that iTunes will charge for any track from EMI’s catalog that is DRM-free and – as a little sweetener – higher quality. Here’s the official press release. On the whole, I think it’s great news that a major label has finally sniffed the coffee and addressed consumers’ hatred of DRM. With any luck, others will follow suit and many are already predicting the death of digital rights management. Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling a little nagging sense of irritation and injustice that once again it is the consumer who will bear the cost of this move. Am I just being peevish?