Executives join social media conversation

NEW YORK: Representatives from the US Army, MasterCard, Siemens, and Lazard highlighted the importance of accuracy and expediency in a digital age at a recent Weber Shandwick event.

NEW YORK: Representatives from the US Army, MasterCard, Siemens, and Lazard highlighted the importance of accuracy and expediency in a digital age at a recent Weber Shandwick event.

Geoff Colvin, senior editor-at-large at Fortune magazine, moderated the discussion, which was the first of Weber Shandwick's Voiceboxx executive roundtable series.

Edward Walters, US Army CMO, said his organization was increasingly using new media tools to attract the next generation of soldiers.

“Things like YouTube and Facebook have become important to us,” Walters said. “Soldiers preparing their own videos has inspired our own marketing team” to use this content to reach out to others.

Walters said the Army was looking for inspiration from consumer marketers, like Apple, for ways to pursue experiential marketing beneficial to the recruitment effort.

Amy Fuller, MasterCard group executive, Americas marketing, said the company had adapted its “Priceless” advertising campaign to solicit the input of consumers.

“It's a conversation; you must join it,” Fuller said. You must figure out “how to have a conversation happen, but make it responsible.”

Judi Mackey, SVP, global communications director, Lazard, also underscored the need for companies to be responsible in dealing with the social media environment.

“Anytime I speak to someone, I think risk/reward,” Mackey said. “We have to ensure accuracy and educate more people.”

She said that PR professionals' conversations should change based on who they are speaking to, and that even a traditional journalist requires different talking points if he or she is doing a piece for the publication's blog.

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