Products and Tools this week

The PRWeek Products & Tools newsletter provides news, features, and campaigns delivered direct to your inbox. Here are certain featured sections from the weekly newsletter.

The PRWeek Products & Tools newsletter provides news, features, and campaigns delivered direct to your inbox. Here are certain featured sections from the weekly newsletter.

This Week

OTTAWA, ONTARIO: dna13 has updated its suite of PR, communications, and stakeholder management software suites to include additional monitoring and measurement tools.

NEW YORK: Business Wire has appointed Laura Sturaitis to the newly created position of SVP of media services and product strategy.

PARIS: Publicis has acquired Paris-based Phonevalley, a European agency specializing in mobile marketing and communications.

The End User

Ged Carroll, Account Director, Digital Strategies, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide

What helpful product or tool have you discovered?

With the rise of Web 2.0, gadgets are no longer only cool items that fit in the palm of your hand. The gadget that I love the most after my coffee machine is a free web service called Bloglines. It allows me to be widely read, managing content from 300 different RSS feeds from a variety of publications and blogs to my favorite searches on eBay from one web page. It has a three-pane view that would be familiar to anyone who has used an email program like Microsoft Outlook.

It is easy to scroll through and I can just read the articles that are interesting to me. With a click I can save an article for later and if I have to travel for work I can even read the Bloglines from my cell phone, making the mobile web a cinch.

Expert Q&A

Jim Nail, chief strategy & marketing officer, TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony

TNS Media Intelligence acquired Cymfony in February. Please talk about some of the changes that have taken place in the past months.

JN: As in any acquisition, a lot of the initial focus is on back-end integration processes. We're through that and we've begun to develop integrated sales strategies with a number of divisions across the TNS portfolio. We're getting a very good reception from clients as we present new capabilities that integrate additional marketing information sources with Cymfony's core traditional and social media monitoring offering. We're deep in 2008 planning and have a number of initiatives to take this integration further.

On the TNS/Cymfony site, when discussing the two-way conversations that companies and brands are now having with consumers, one line reads: "Companies need to capture the richness of the dialogue among people to understand how a message evolves." Please explain the "richness" that's mentioned here.

JN: These conversations include people who both agree and disagree with a particular point of view, and explain their opinion in detail. Analyzing these perspectives reveals detailed, specific points that a PR person can use to sharpen their messaging by emphasizing where your supporters agree and rebutting where detractors disagree with your position. The recent iPhone price cut is a good example where the positioning of the price cut and the subsequent rebate offer to early buyers was not received well and could have been improved if Apple had analyzed the discussions and tuned their response.

Companies are struggling to find the most accurate ways to measure their efforts. What tips can you offer?

JN: First, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. By that I mean don't approach measurement from the standpoint that if you don't capture every single clip, there's no value. Be sure you have a content strategy that captures the most important sources, and collects a good sampling across the media spectrum, then focus on learning from that sample set. The time, effort and money to acquire every last scrap of content isn't going to add significant incremental understanding.

Second, be sure your management buys into the metrics you are presenting. That means before you set up a system, educate yourselves on what is important to management and educate management on how your metrics are going to help them understand their important issues.

Third, get beyond measurement to learning. Measurement only tells you if something succeeded or failed. The more important dimension is why it succeeded or failed. When your report results to your management, be sure and include lessons you learned and how this learning will help you be more successful in the future.

What are some of the tools and techniques that PR professionals must have in their measurement and analysis arsenal?

JN: I see more companies embracing sophisticated statistical techniques like market mix modeling. PR professionals need to understand at a high level how modeling works, seek out the group in their company that is conducting this measurement, and get their PR data into the process.

Second, social media is exploding in importance so they must have ways of tuning in. Many companies aren't ready yet to invest in a system like Cymfony's Orchestra platform and that's OK. Get started even if it is as simple as setting up RSS feeds to a couple of dozen blogs and sites that are most relevant to you. This will help you get a feel for what's going on and help you convince your organization that a more comprehensive approach is needed.

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