Bald Barbie: How Mattel Lost Out on a Huge Opportunity and Allowed a Competitor to Move Into the Dream House.

In early January 2012, a small Facebook page made big news when it suddenly went viral. The page, “Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made” was conceived to ‘move’ Mattel to produce a bald Barbie doll to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania with self-esteem issues; or to help girls who have trouble coping with their mother’s hair loss due to chemotherapy.

By mid-January, the page grew from a couple of friends with a cause, to a movement of 100,000 plus. Naturally, the mainstream media picked-up on the story and by January 13, our Google News search for “Bald Barbie” generated more than 450 stories from news outlets around the world. This was amazing good news for the cause.

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Marketing, Digital & PR in the Social Media Blender

These are exciting times, because Social Media takes “Will it Blend?” to a whole new level with marketers. And for those of us who’ve been in the business for a while—it’s about time!

For years, marketing people and PR folks wore separate hats—had different skill sets, different agendas—even though they share a common purpose. It’s like the FBI and the CIA not talking to each other and sharing information about terrorism—dumb.

Even the birth of digital communications didn’t turn on any light bulbs at first, even made it worse by adding another silo, but the power and exponential growth of social media shows us why it is vital to string it all together.

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Social Media and the Need for New Business Models

Who owns social media? Is it marketing, customer service, public relations?

Looking at a recent study conducted by the Pivot Conference, the top four departments where social media is currently run are as follows:

1. Marketing
2. Public Relations
3. Sales
4. Customer Service

Perhaps, it’s the wrong question to ask however. It’s not unlike asking who owns email. But, here’s another question and as we think about it, let’s broaden our perspective as the answer may not appear immediately.

Who owns the customer relationship?

The short answer is everyone.

If that is the case, then examining how social media is run today is not at all how businesses should think about it tomorrow. A not so long answer to the original question is “any person or department affected by outside activity where public interaction impacts decisions.”

Businesses tend to have a single or narrow view of the customer and as we’re learning, they’re connecting with one another and sharing experiences that transform their roles from prospect to advocate to adversary to influencer and everything in between.

Social media is not about conversations on Twitter and Facebook nor check-ins on Foursquare or Places, or flipped videos on YouTube. It’s about using this opportunity to build bridges to a new genre of customers and the people who influence their decisions. Our mission now is to pave paths to future relevance. The reality is that we are as much competing for the future as we are for the moment. And as a result, we are perpetually competing for relevance.

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PR and SM According to The Social CMO PR Divas

The Crew here at @TheSocialCMO is a diverse and unique group of individuals. Lately we’ve been looking at some areas of expertise and interest that have garnered significant coverage from our bloggers such as the recent Everything you wanted to know about influence but were afraid to ask pulling together posts on a number of themes surrounding influence including Trust, Relationships, Social Capital and of course… Influence. Now we turn our attention to PR and social media and the divas who make PR magic @TheSocialCMO .

So who are @TheSocialCMO PR Divas? Well the first to join us was Amy @HowellMarketing who’s agreement to contribute to this blog with me was the first step in Lighting the Social Media Fire at The Social CMO and had she declined who knows if we’d even be blogging for you today.

Shortly after this @AnneDGallaher Owner/CEO of the Deeter Gallaher Group LLC, a Pennsylvania marketing/PR firm came on board providing insights and introductions into PR and social media as it is applied in some of the largest and best known brands in the world.

The next of @TheSocialCMO PR Divas to join us was fellow Canadian @DebWeinstein who is an internationally acclaimed PR Pro, President and Co-founder of Strategic Objectives, Canada’s most award-winning PR agency.

ReneeWarrenAnd last but not least an interesting post on How Social Media is Changing Public Relations was also contributed by our very own Renee Warren @Renee_Warren founder of Renee Warren Communications and now Spark Boutik.

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Deborah Weinstein: My Most Excellent Entrepreneurial Adventure

Last November I was asked by my dear friend Guy Gal to be a Keynote Speaker at The Biz Media’s Global Entrepreneurial Week Meet up. It was a distinct pleasure and unique opportunity to talk about my journey from feisty CBC reporter to PR maven. Our entrepreneurial spirit is still alive at Strategic Objectives, and I was excited to share my story with my fellow digital marketers. The crowd was warm and eager, the refreshments delightful. Here’s the video from of my speechification. I hope you enjoy my story as much as I enjoyed telling it.

A big thank you to @GuyGal and The Biz Media for hosting me and our @SO_PR social crew.

Deb Weinstein

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How Social Media is Changing Public Relations

In 2010, facing the biggest public relations crisis in recent history, oil company BP turned to the one medium that could instantly address public concern: social media. Nearly six months after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill occurred, BP has nearly 48,000 Facebook fans, over 19,000 Twitter followers and more than three million YouTube channel views.

Social media updates describe cleanup efforts, research projects targeting impacts of the oil spill and calls for volunteers.

While the success of BP’s social media efforts is debatable, few people can argue the need to monitor and address online comments and feedback. As BP has shown, the biggest change may be the new challenges in reputation management. With these challenges also come new opportunities – opportunities to mitigate bad press, connect with customers and reach potential influencers in the media.

New Threats, New Opportunities

Reputation management isn’t just necessary for big corporations. Small businesses also benefit from monitoring social media chatter, whether or not they have social media profiles. Simple searches on Facebook and Twitter reveal valuable information about customer satisfaction, competitor weaknesses and new market opportunities.

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How to add Twitter to your PR mix in 9 easy steps

On December 6, 2010, I was privileged to be a guest on #MMChat (Marketer Monday Chat), hosted and created by @JeffAshcroft of @TheSocialCMO fame. My esteemed PR colleague, Amy Howell, owner of @HowellMarketing Strategies, was featured with me and our topic was The Impact and Value of Social Media in PR. You can find the transcript here and glean some amazing insight from practitioners around the world. Not only was it a fun and exhilarating online experience, it also prompted this post on Twitter and its PR potential.

The digital channels can be consuming, and it’s important for those of us in business—whose first goal is to run a profitable company to sustain our employees and our clients—to stay abreast of communication trends. To make sure that we achieve optimum PR health for ourselves and our clients, here’s a quick Twitter primer. No more excuses for PR colleagues who say “I don’t get Twitter.” If the government is using social media for PR, and the business community is not, there’s a disconnect.

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Unlocking the secrets of UnGeeked, bringing the online world to the real world

Last Friday I had the distinct opportunity to attend, present and mingle with some of the “who’s who” of social media at UnGeeked Toronto, a three day social media retreat. The speaker list was extensive and reflective of the professionally social atmosphere. Guest speakers included:

Mark Bowden @truthplane

Marsha Collier @MarshaCollier

Amanda Hite @sexythinker

Jason Falls @jasonfalls

Jason Weaver @mixdown04

Jeffrey Willinger @jwillie

Erin Bury @erin_bury

Bruce Powell @IQPartners

Tom Tentoglou @tentoglou

Katie Felten @KatieFelten

Karima-Catherine @karimacatherine

Heather Taylor @heatherAtaylor

Stéphane Poirier @exopoirier

Alan Lepofsky @alanlepo

Michele Price @prosperitygal

And me! @DebWeinstein

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BP’s PR and Lessons to Learn

When a crisis comes knocking-no matter how prepared companies may think they are-generally speaking, the first 48 hours will set the stage for how a company will respond and deal with the crisis. Clearly, in the case of BP and its recent disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, nobody was prepared for the magnitude and impact of such a horrific accident. Not only were there human casualties, the environmental and economic casualties continue to mount-likely for a long time. A few things make this crisis unique: first, it is not a single event that is over quickly like a hurricane, earthquake or on-land explosion which passes in a relatively short timeframe.

Secondly, the “fix” is miles beneath the ocean so access has proven to be challenging. It is also unique in that it will impact the Gulf of Mexico’s natural habitat with unprecedented damage to the environment-maybe permanently for some areas but it’s still too soon to tell. Finally, this crisis could have long term, devastating economic implications for the entire coastal region from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama to Florida. These states are the “coastal playground” for the entire Southeast and are dependent upon tourism, fishing and recreation.

In short, so much devastation paints a nasty picture for BP and its Top Brass. It’s what I call “bet the company” crisis communication and it requires immediate, transparent and straight forward strategies from day one. BP has done the exact opposite, waiting until last week to unfold their high profile (and expensive) ad and messaging campaign which I believe will be wasted on a large population of angry people whose emotions will run high as the consequences of the spill continue to lap onto the beaches, the marshes and wetlands and creatures of the sea.

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The Strategy and Tactics of Social Brand Building

I was recently asked to lead a Round Table at Humber College PR’s Personal Brand Camp here in Toronto. Participants included University post-graduate students taking a one year Certificate Program in PR, with an emphasis on Social Media. My assigned discussion topic was, “What are simple Social Media Routines I can use to Build my Personal Brand.”

Deb Weinstein at Personal Brand Camp

Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am not a techie. While I adore the instant access to info and the joys of power sharing on the Internet, I’m hardly a guru when it comes to SEO and SMO optimization. Plus, my personal use of Social Media is so heavily focussed on Twitter, that my LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook (I’ve already folded MySpace) languish, sporadically tended to and virtually ignored.

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