PR's role in M&As, what to expect in radio in '08, more

PR's role in M&As, what to expect in radio in '08, more

PR TOOLBOX

M&As
What is PR's role during mergers and acquisitions?

While growth through acquisition is one of the best methods to bolster offerings or tackle a new vertical, there is always a risk, notes Julie Litzenberger of Sage Communications.

"Proper communication is frequently an afterthought to the legal and financial activity," she says. However, the ability to develop an effective PR plan and tell a compelling story
to each of the company's audiences is often what makes or breaks a successful integration.

"Acquisitions can often present a time of great chaos and upheaval to both employees and customers, and a large exodus of either of these audiences would be detrimental," adds Litzenberger. "However, a clear communications strategy that serves to inspire audiences about benefits and opportunities can generate a tremendous payoff."

It's also vital to have a proper crisis plan is in place. "Being transparent is critical to preventing customers and employees from 'jumping ship' after bad news, such as a layoff," she points out. "It's important to reassure all company stakeholders and never forget to speak to the 'what's in it for me' factor."

Radio
What radio trends can we expect to see this year?

The last few years have seen the introduction of many new technologies in the radio industry, reports Lynn Harris Medcalf of News Generation. And while radio listening
remained steady from 2002 through 2004, according to Arbitron's latest study from 2005, stations who adapt to new technologies are in the best position to maintain their listening audience throughout the day.

According to Medcalf, a recent study News Generation conducted with stations in the top-50 markets found that 56% say that high definition will impact the radio industry, with more than 64% citing "higher sound quality" as the primary reason for this influence. When asked what the next trends in radio would be, 18% said "integrated radio system" - incorporating Bluetooth, wireless, HD Radio, and satellite radio in one unit. In addition, 16% cited "satellite radio" in particular as a big influencer in radio trends.

One interesting note, she adds, is that only 12% of stations listed "loss of younger listeners because of iPod technology" as an impact on their station's listenership, despite much uproar surrounding the impact that iPods and other MP3 players would have on radio listenership.

Wire services
What should I know to get the most out of a wire service?

"I recommend PR pros do a little Q&A of their own to ensure they are getting the most out of their wire service," says Paolina Milana of Marketwire. Suggested questions include: "Who will be a part of my team?" and "Do you leverage all of today's technologies to maximize my efforts?"

Make sure the people with whom you'll be working are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable, she adds. Technology today plays a key role in how far your message gets.

"Make sure your wire service seamlessly interacts with the Internet," Milana suggests. "And make sure the team takes the time to help you better understand just how they can maximize your communication efforts, especially with search engine optimization and social media."

Finally, it's vital that your wire service eases your workflow, not add to it, she says. Make sure the team walks you through their entire submission process. You should be able to automatically navigate it with just a few click of your mouse. It should be easy and intuitive, but still accurate and secure.

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