A Tale of 2 Companies

As the unemployed college graduate, one of the biggest challenges I have is trying to keep my work-related skills as sharp as possible — or maybe even improve them — so that when the right job finally comes along, I won’t have to shake off too much rust.

Enter genyrants.com.

I’ve become an editor for the site and a weekly columnist, focusing on company’s use of social media strategy. Over the past two weeks, I’ve written about Deloitte and T-Mobile. While the management consulting firm has become an industry leader in social media, T-Mobile implemented and failed — so far– to utilize Facebook with its VoIP effectively. I encourage you to check out my latest columns below and send me your feedback.

Deloitte and Touche: Your Corporate Version of the Harvard Law Student With a Jump Shot


T-Mobile Forced to Scramble After Skype, Facebook Merger


A New Face: Why the Warriors Teamed With Former Facebook Exec

In late July, Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob promised a complete revamp of his front office on both the basketball and business side. In order to change the culture that plagued the Warriors, the Mercury News blog included staff members from the scouting department to people who had nothing to do with basketball.

The most significant change to the organization is the addition of Chamath Palihapitiya. He is a former executive of Facebook who left the organization in June and recent bought shares of the NBA franchise in Oakland. Paulihapitiya’s experience includes being Vice President and General Manager of AOL and a variety of other positions in the online world.

Even a team that doesn’t sell out every game has a terrific online presence by any normal standards. The Warriors have over 40,000 followers on Twitter and a quarter million Facebook fans. Needless to say, the question isn’t how Golden State can increase its social media presence, but how it uses it. When a team is trying to change its reputation with fans, having someone who had such an important role with a company like Facebook is a great way to start.

According to Sports Business Daily, the NBA has a strong social media position compared to other leagues (Adam Vincenzini happened to do a terrific case study on the NBA’s use of social media). In addition to daily social media sessions (assuming there is no lockout, of course), NBA players happen to be excellent at utilizing social media with 10 players in the 500 most-followed accounts on Twitter. The article goes on to state that it is the highest number of athletes in the Top 500 of any professional sports league. It makes sense that the NBA would have the highest Twitter participation since there is no other sport where individuals are as marketable as they are in basketball.

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Why You Can’t Resist Google+

The naysayers are out in full force. “Google is late to the party again” and “If Wave and Buzz didn’t catch on, why is Google+ any different?” I’ll admit that both statements are legitimate concerns, but neither understand exactly why “the +” is the fastest growing social network ever.

Don’t believe the hype, if you want. It’s true, Google+ is tapering off and at this point, the hype is greater than the promise, but only because people are still figuring out how to use Google+ and the company isn’t done adding to its features. Remember, Facebook wasn’t even available to the general public until two years after its inception and Twitter didn’t have the popularity it has now until its third year in 2009.

Google+ is going to break some serious records by next summer whether people like it or not. The applications itself are nothing special. Yes, Google lets people instant message on their phone without having a Blackberry and video chatting multiple people at one time via the Hangout is a great feature. However, it’s only a matter of time before Facebook rolls out the same features.

What makes Google the irresistible social media tool that is ultimately going to be a must have — especially for socially conscious businesses — is its search engine. Facebook is going to pair with Bing at some point in the near future, but Google still has the upper hand when it comes to where you go to find what you want. In fact, Google is so effective that it is now a verb as in “I Googled the nearest restaurant.” The same can be said about Facebook and Twitter, but when’s the last time you heard “I’m Binging person x’s name?”

Google has what you’d call a certain brand loyalty. Whether its a simple question or a quick search for directions, using Google for a search is pretty much an impulse.

Google knows this.

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Reputation Management Becoming Necessary for Company Success

Today isn’t the same promotional world you’re used to growing up in (or if you’re young enough, your parents). The days where having a big advertising budget translates into big profits simply isn’t true anymore, or at least not without other factors coming into play.

While raising brand awareness, segmenting a target market and positioning strategy are all crucial to selling a product or service, the world where companies can make their customers believe anything that’s advertised is simply no longer the case.

Just like a company can find out as much information about its customer base as it wants, customers are also open to researching the good and bad about any company they want. This gives the business owner an opportunity to either accept the challenge that comes with engaging in a two-way dialogue with their customers or assume that if they ignore bad feedback, that the problem will go away.

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Running on Dunkin: How a Donuts Company Repositioned Itself

In light of Dunkin Donuts’ decision to be publicly traded, I’ve decided to look at how the relatively new catch-phrase, “America runs on Dunkin” changed the perception of being an unhealthy donuts shop to becoming a socially acceptable coffee shop. For more information on the Dunkin Donuts IPO, you can check out the Wall Street Journal article on “Everything You Need to Know” regarding the recent decision.

Dunkin Donuts isn’t the only company that offers coffee with its junk food, but its slogan shifted the focus of its advertising from the donuts to the coffee and it is paying off. According to the quoted Wall Street Journal article on Dunkin Donuts, 60 percent of U.S. sales come from coffee and other beverages. DD only had to learn from the McDonald’s controversy where the fast food giant faced several lawsuits for selling unhealthy food in order to figure out that focusing a marketing strategy around donuts would not be wise. Whether or not you feel that the lawsuits against McDonald’s were justified, you can’t argue the amount of negative publicity the company suffered because of these lawsuits. Although McD’s now sells healthy food, the company is too closely tied to Big Macs and the phrase, “super size me,” to successfully reposition itself.

In other words, be associated as unhealthy and your brand will be damned.

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Response to Edelman on Sports Teams and Social Media Policy

I came across an article on July 25 by Edelman about how sports teams should use social media to engage in a conversation with fans without harming the team’s image. Here are some suggestions Mitch Germann, Edelman’s new Vice President in the Seattle digital office had for teams.

  • PR should consider everyone on staff to be a potential spokesperson, not to traditional media but to their friends, family, customers, prospects and partners, knowing many of these conversations will take place in the digital space
  • PR should have messages for everything relevant and distribute them internally so everyone is communicating consistently
  • Staff posts on social channels should mirror the approved messages the owners, GM, team president or other team spokespeople are using with the press
  • Create a social media policy for the organization that clearly outlines the do’s and don’ts, best practices and possible consequences
  • Conduct interactive in-person training sessions with small groups to teach the policy to the entire organization
  • Create a digital communications monitoring and response team to track conversations about the team in the social space seven days a week and flag issues for the PR team for immediate follow-up

You can read the rest of the article here. I believe that having a social media policy is crucial in any professional environment, but it’s important for staff members to not become PR pieces and actually engage with fans.

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My First Contribution to Generation Y Rants

I had the opportunity to contribute to Generation Y Rants. It’s a blog started by Justice Wordlaw, a CEO of an online marketing company. I decided to write about how social media and networking today make it possible to find a job in a field that the job-seeker is passionate about.

I welcome all feedback either on the site or in the comments section of the blog. Click here to read my post on Generation Y Rants.