Category Archives: Uncategorized

Communications Analysis: Real-Time

You’ve just reviewed the final results of your last pro-active media campaign to launch that new product or service. The numbers look pretty good: media impressions were in the millions; coverage was evenly split between broadcast and print; and a leading national paper ran three stories on the launch-pretty impressive. But could it have been better?

Analyze this
Analyzing issues or campaigns is the first big step in truly understanding any communications success or failure. With busy schedules and/or tight client budgets, more often than not, media analysis isn’t always carried out. A big investment is being made on gathering the media content, but not on measuring and analyzing the trends, successes, and areas for improvement. Stories are often filed away immediately or distributed to a limited group, never to be looked at again or analyzed at all.

If you’re already conducting ongoing media analysis half the battle is won. But if not, you can bet your client or director will demand it soon. New analysis technologies combined with increased expectations to determine communications ROI (Return on Investment) are making analysis a must, not a should.

Once you’ve determined the need or importance of analysis, what’s next? This is where the confusion can set in. As can be expected, everyone has their own definition of how media content should be analyzed based on their own experiences. And usually the issue of PR standards and formulas arise…and that is when things often can come to a stand-still.

But before you get into how you are going to analyze, you must first determine what you’re interested in analyzing. Here are a few considerations:

Track success in key publications and mediums based on demographic suitability
Evaluate key message penetration in media stories
Track quality – not just quantity – of coverage
Determine success vs. competitors
Success of spokesperson pick-up
Determine campaign ROI
Measure advertising equivalency (if you must!)
Monitor regional penetration comparisons
Tabulate media impressions/audience numbers
Compare key issues and/or product penetration
Resulting editorial or other media commentary/letters to the editor

There are endless ways of analyzing and cross-referencing the information. But you should note that you can accomplish all of the above considerations without getting into confusing PR multipliers or complex formulas. The key is to determine what you’re interested in evaluating and create benchmarks for future comparisons. And if you still want to add in PR multipliers you can, as long as you consistently keep to the same formula. So whether you’re multiplying by a factor of 3, 5, or 10, the coverage is always being evaluated in a consistent fashion and can therefore be viewed as an unbiased and accurate portrayal.

Go Electronic, Go Real-Time
Reviewing the success of a new product launch, the impact of a crisis on your organization, or a monthly comparison after-the-fact can provide valuable insight for future planning. But imagine the change you could make if you have real-time data available to you at your fingertips in an instant. Using real-time data you could monitor:

What regions are having the most success and which need attention
Misinformation being published so you can correct it
Which publications need another follow-up call
Which issues are getting the most attention
The quality and tone of the coverage
The impact on your organization
What tactics are working and which aren’t
How you can piggy-back on recent media trends or competitors’ tactics or success

The benefits of real-time analysis are endless and important. Knowing that you can have a timely affect on the final outcome of a new product launch is empowering and helps speak to the real power of PR.

A combination of real-time analysis and benchmarking will provide you with the tools to improve the results of a campaign mid-stream and properly analyze its success using a predetermined set of objectives and consistent criteria. So make 2005 the year you start benchmarking your analysis-an opportunity to learn more about the impact your communications strategies are having will pay dividends for years to come.

Finding the Right Equipment Supplier Paramount to Success in the Restaurant Industry

Most companies with any degree of overhead know that finding the right supplier of products necessary to run their business is of the utmost importance. For most businesses, it can mean a substantial savings and reduce the headaches often associated with searching for a reliable equipment dealer. For restaurants, however, finding the right equipment supplier can mean the difference between success and failure in the industry.

Restaurant owners, perhaps more than any other business owners, rely on their equipment to ensure that they will be open for business each and every day. Because most kitchens are limited in space, there is usually only room for one piece of each major type of equipment. If an ice machine or oven goes down, it can cause problems that will affect the entire operation. Restaurant equipment is made to endure the ravages of everyday use, but will eventually break down often enough that it will need to be replaced. While replacing a piece of equipment in and of itself seems simple enough, like most things in the restaurant business, it isn’t. Restaurant owners often rely on their equipment dealer to determine whether a new piece of equipment will meet the growing needs of the establishment. They may also rely on the equipment dealer’s product knowledge to determine what will and won’t work in their particular setup. With most large scale restaurant equipment costing thousands of dollars, considerations of this nature are rarely left to chance.

A good equipment supplier not only carries a wide selection of products for the restaurant industry, but can also provide information on how those products can be used to streamline kitchen areas for maximum efficiency. Restaurant owners have long known that while anyone can sell equipment, only the best equipment dealers are able to sell the right equipment that will help restaurateurs by adequately addressing their individual needs. Finding a resource for information along with a competent and reliable supplier of equipment is never an easy thing to do. Most restaurant owners who establish a good working relationship with a credible equipment supplier will maintain that relationship throughout the life of the business.

Change Your Tone

The world of PR is benefiting from dramatic changes in the way media coverage is being delivered electronically to your computer desktop or PDA of choice. Perhaps the nuisance of ink on your fingers is being replaced by a bad case of “BlackBerry thumb” — but nevertheless getting your media coverage electronically has never been easier or more mobile.

These changes now drive the development of new tools from content providers, and new software programs to help better manage and analyze media coverage. The automation occurring at the database level and through the real-time delivery of organizational news, to internal and external stakeholders, is now almost taken for granted. And the holy grail of PR — to automate media analysis and measurement — is already under way; but where should software stop to make way for human analysis?.

Media analysis programs can save countless hours quantifying and sorting media coverage in an unlimited number of ways, including by circulation, region, ad equivalency, company programs and services, and competitive brands. However, do you really want a computer program qualifying how each story affects your organization? It’s a gamble with little upside.

Just Say No
The automation of tone and sentiment has already been incorporated into some software programs, but how accurate can it be? Every story, across every medium, will have a dramatically different meaning or impact for various organizations and their stakeholders. Behind the news emerge both winner and losers.

For instance, if a negative story breaks about a strike at one bottling plant it will be a boon for its competitors. The ability to determine which companies are negatively affected by the news is very limited. Furthermore, understanding the actual tone or possible ongoing bias of the reporter on an issue is impossible to automate. News is as much about delivering the facts, as it is provoking a reaction or emotion from the reader. Media analysis solutions can certainly help decipher the facts, but the rest should be left to a team of communications professionals.

Too Subjective?
The argument against toning media coverage has often been it is too subjective — if the news can be interpreted differently by each individual, won’t this skew the results in the end? True enough — but this can easily be solved with the introduction of a tone standardized ‘scorecard’ that is consistently applied to each story.

These scorecards can really vary, depending on the type of analysis you want to deliver in the end. Many organizations will chose to tone stories by ranking them as positive, neutral or negative.

The use of these 3 words alone is where subjectivity problems can creep in. Along with team brainstorming and training sessions on how tone can be applied, one quick fix is to use the C.B.S. Scorecard instead:

Use Critical (in place of Negative.)
Use Balanced (in place of Neutral)
Use Supportive (in place Positive)

After reading an article, it is much easier to answer the question “Was that story critical, balanced, or supportive of our organization?” Instead of: “Was that story negative, neutral or positive?”

When it comes to tone it won’t always be black or white, but I’d rather leave the grey zones to a trained communications professional rather than to the guesswork of a software application.

When it comes to tone it won’t always be black or white, but I’d rather leave the grey zones to a trained communications professional rather than to the guesswork of a software application.

Beyond the ranking of articles by tone using the C.B.S. Scorecard, other metrics and meanings can be used in tandem to create and even stronger analysis. The following scorecard uses a scorecard range, from – 5 to + 5, to provide a more in depth analysis.

Rating Criteria
+5 Supportive Mention + four of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+4 Supportive Mention + three of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+3 Supportive Mention + two of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+2 Supportive Mention + one of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+1 Supportive
0 Balanced
-1 Critical
-2 Critical Mention + one of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue
-3 Critical Mention + two of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue
-4 Critical Mention + three of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue
-5 Critical Mention + four of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue

Once each story is toned, the rest of analysis can be automated by your software solution. The tone can be used independently to determine the success of the campaign by percentage of C.B.S. stories, but the tone can also be used alongside the rest of the analysis to identify possible media bias or problem areas by region or publication. The media is always analyzing your organization…why not return the favour?

New media monitoring and analysis technologies are certainly changing the face of media relations activities and provide immense return on investment, but determining the impact of a news story on your organization should be kept in human hands for the time being.

All can go well in business with a criminal record check

The people’s need to obtain more information about their future employees is driven by the lack of certainty and safety in a society with an increasing number of criminal offences. The criminal records search, however unethical it may sound, is a necessity for today’s employers. The big risk of hiring the wrong person for one’s business has turned this issue into an important one for any company. Employers have to make a criminal record check of future employees otherwise they can get sued in case the person they hire breaks the law affecting their business. On the other hand a very important issue is whether persons with criminal records can be turned down on job applications because of their criminal background. The criminal record check may seem quite difficult to conduct and might even rise up problems of immorality, but one has to balance well the decisions regarding the future of his company.

Criminal offence has grown a lot over the years. This has led to a very big uncertainty when it comes to meeting new people and choosing who you’ll be working with. Employers (all over the world) have confronted with this problem when hiring someone. They have to verify this person’s background, but the criminal record check can be quite limited. When pursuing a criminal record check, employers don’t have access to governmental information. The first step of the process is to view that person’s job application. The criminal records offer information regarding the applicant’s past problems with the law. Then, they can consult the credit bureau’s registers from which they can find out addresses and social security numbers and check the past jobs as well. This way the employer finds out what the future employees have done before and whether there are any intentionally left out details in the applications. Many companies resort to hiring special services to conduct the criminal records search, but only if the applicant has given his written consent. If there are criminal records to be found, the employees should be given the chance to elucidate their case. The job applicants must be informed upon their legal rights before any decision to reject the job applications is made.

In the Internet era, the most accurate help you can find consists of the online services. Most companies offer their help in criminal record check, but their efforts are made using the Internet as well. These companies can give detailed information on how a criminal record check can be conducted. They know how a person can pursue a criminal record check by obtaining the information they need from the local courthouse and which criminal records can be granted by the specialized web sites in the criminal record check. Even so, this doesn’t mean it is the easiest or cheapest way to obtain the information you want. The problem is that criminal record check can’t be 100% accurate, because criminal records may suffer corrections along the years. There are also some limitations on how much information an employer can obtain about an applicant’s criminal background. Nationwide, the criminal database has a lot of lacks. But this doesn’t mean the employer’s strive to obtain a criminal background is useless, because most of the companies specialized in criminal records search have been book keeping all the changes conducted in one’s criminal records.

Another important issue may be whether the applicant with criminal records has a chance in being hired or not. An employer can not reject a job application due to criminal records search because it would be considered a discrimination against this category of persons. Nevertheless, the employer can check whether that person’s criminal background could interfere with the future job, whether they are related and how the applicant’s behavior has been ever since. This remains a very controversial matter because it is very difficult to prove that a person has been rejected for employment due to his criminal record check, which is in fact illegal.

In spite of all these issues, criminal record check is a very important step in hiring someone because of the problems that may occur in the future. Hiring someone can influence how your business will develop, so risks are involved. The employer should be able to conduct a criminal records search to minimize the risks, but he should not make a decision basing it only on the criminal records. There are web sites or companies specialized in criminal records search, which can offer you the most accurate information you need in the shortest period of time. Qualified personnel can simplify finding an applicant’s criminal background and the information obtained will help you make a balanced decision regarding your future employees.

Change Your Tone – Media Coverage Shouldn’t Be Toned By Software

The world of PR is benefiting from dramatic changes in the way media coverage is being delivered electronically to your computer desktop or PDA of choice. Perhaps the nuisance of ink on your fingers is being replaced by a bad case of “BlackBerry thumb” — but nevertheless getting your media coverage electronically has never been easier or more mobile.

These changes now drive the development of new tools from content providers, and new software programs to help better manage and analyze media coverage. The automation occurring at the database level and through the real-time delivery of organizational news, to internal and external stakeholders, is now almost taken for granted. And the holy grail of PR — to automate media analysis and measurement — is already under way; but where should software stop to make way for human analysis?.

Media analysis programs can save countless hours quantifying and sorting media coverage in an unlimited number of ways, including by circulation, region, ad equivalency, company programs and services, and competitive brands. However, do you really want a computer program qualifying how each story affects your organization? It’s a gamble with little upside.

Just Say No
The automation of tone and sentiment has already been incorporated into some software programs, but how accurate can it be? Every story, across every medium, will have a dramatically different meaning or impact for various organizations and their stakeholders. Behind the news emerge both winner and losers.

For instance, if a negative story breaks about a strike at one bottling plant it will be a boon for its competitors. The ability to determine which companies are negatively affected by the news is very limited. Furthermore, understanding the actual tone or possible ongoing bias of the reporter on an issue is impossible to automate. News is as much about delivering the facts, as it is provoking a reaction or emotion from the reader. Media analysis solutions can certainly help decipher the facts, but the rest should be left to a team of communications professionals.

Too Subjective?
The argument against toning media coverage has often been it is too subjective — if the news can be interpreted differently by each individual, won’t this skew the results in the end? True enough — but this can easily be solved with the introduction of a tone standardized ‘scorecard’ that is consistently applied to each story.

These scorecards can really vary, depending on the type of analysis you want to deliver in the end. Many organizations will chose to tone stories by ranking them as positive, neutral or negative.

The use of these 3 words alone is where subjectivity problems can creep in. Along with team brainstorming and training sessions on how tone can be applied, one quick fix is to use the C.B.S. Scorecard instead:

  1. Use Critical (in place of Negative.)
  2. Use Balanced (in place of Neutral)
  3. Use Supportive (in place Positive)

After reading an article, it is much easier to answer the question “Was that story critical, balanced, or supportive of our organization?” Instead of: “Was that story negative, neutral or positive?”

When it comes to tone it won’t always be black or white, but I’d rather leave the grey zones to a trained communications professional rather than to the guesswork of a software application.

When it comes to tone it won’t always be black or white, but I’d rather leave the grey zones to a trained communications professional rather than to the guesswork of a software application.

Beyond the ranking of articles by tone using the C.B.S. Scorecard, other metrics and meanings can be used in tandem to create and even stronger analysis. The following scorecard uses a scorecard range, from – 5 to + 5, to provide a more in depth analysis.

Rating Criteria
+5 Supportive Mention + four of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+4 Supportive Mention + three of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+3 Supportive Mention + two of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+2 Supportive Mention + one of the following: Key Message; Interview; Photo; Call To Action
+1 Supportive
0 Balanced
-1 Critical
-2 Critical Mention + one of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue
-3 Critical Mention + two of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue
-4 Critical Mention + three of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue
-5 Critical Mention + four of the following: Negative Executive Mention, Positive Competitor Mention; Consumer Direct Complaint; Ongoing Issue

Once each story is toned, the rest of analysis can be automated by your software solution. The tone can be used independently to determine the success of the campaign by percentage of C.B.S. stories, but the tone can also be used alongside the rest of the analysis to identify possible media bias or problem areas by region or publication. The media is always analyzing your organization…why not return the favour?

New media monitoring and analysis technologies are certainly changing the face of media relations activities and provide immense return on investment, but determining the impact of a news story on your organization should be kept in human hands for the time being.