PR Winner of the Week: Eat24

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Ever since food delivery site Eat24 posted their hilarious Dear John letter to Facebook, marketers have been waiting for the site to come crawling back to reinsert food photos in between baby pics and your high school frenemy’s mom’s status updates. But that’s not happening just yet. Eat24 recently posted another witty post about life post-Facebook, and it all seems to be just fine.

What those people who are weirdly furious about Eat24’s shunning of Facebook don’t seem to grasp is that Eat24 has not, and is not, suggesting that all brands leave Facebook. They’re just saying that their $1m strategy didn’t work for them. Marketers like to post comments in articles about Eat24 that it must be because their strategy was flawed. They cannot seem to understand that Facebook advertising simply does not work for every brand. We’ve seen that firsthand ourselves. Yes, it takes time. A lot of time. And yes, it takes money. Now it takes a whole lot more money. But the whole point of Eat24’s anti-Facebook strategy is that it’s not the right platform for them, and it’s not the right spend of that money that they clearly have. And that’s totally okay. Relax, marketers, this isn’t indicative of any larger trend and you’ll still get to bill your clients for your strategic Facebookery.

While we’ll still argue that Facebook continues to remain the top platform to reach the biggest audience, it’s not for every brand. The changes to the “algorithm” and the way that fans can now see (or not see, as it were) brand pages means that strategies have to change, and those new strategies might not include this particular platform. Instead of decrying Eat24’s marketers as “not strategic enough,” they should be praised for recognizing, via their own data, that their Facebook strategy is simply not the best fit for them and exploring other ways to engage their customers.

Facebook is clearly not going anywhere. Brand advertisement spends will likely increase due to Facebook’s changes. The big, major brands will keep spending and the upstarts and emerging brands like Eat24 will explore other options. Even if Eat24 does come crawling back to Facebook, it doesn’t mean that their experiment shouldn’t be lauded. They’ve got lots of people talking and their business seems a-ok. They’re disrupting the marketing status quo by going against the top advertising platform without making any absurd proclamations. Their blog posts are funny, never defensive or offensive, in line with their brand identity and engaging their users. And that’s how you do PR right.



PR in the Age of Transparency

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The Public Relations industry has often been viewed as a manipulative, ethically murky one, filled with puppet masters that resemble Roger Ailes. The PR industry written about in the excellent book Toxic Sludge is Good For You still exists, certainly (just look at how much Monsanto continues to accomplish) but the industry itself has shifted into a much more transparent one. Social media hasn’t given it much of a choice to do otherwise.

Look at it this way. How often have you looked at your Twitter feed, or on your friends’ walls on Facebook, and seen some kind of scandal? Whether it is a food chain that has been found guilty of having nasty ingredients in its food (it took me a while to eat a $5 Footlong after Subway’s food had the same ingredient as yoga mats in it) or a married CEO dating an employee, you usually hear about it through friends before you read the actual news article. Once news is out, it’s out, and with the wide spread use of smart phones, social media and technology in general, people find out about things immediately. Because of this, the general public often knows things before anyone in the PR industry has time to do “damage control” or to “spin the story,” therefore making it more transparent than ever before.

The prevalent use of social media and the need to know news the second after it’s released has changed the industry of PR. Back in the day, PR professionals had at least some time between when they found out about a crisis and when it was released to the public, and they could figure out how they wanted to handle it. Those days are long gone. Reporters are constantly racing to have the story out before anyone else, and once that is done, the world of social media blows up, leaving PR professionals little to no time to react.

While many people commonly assume that a large part of PR is “spinning the truth,” in today’s social media era, it is an industry being taken over by transparency. Few things can be hidden in our world today. Quite frankly, it is impossible for PR professionals to hide anything, and if they do, people would undoubtedly figure it out right away, which would only be harmful to their respective client or brand. Social media is now playing a pivotal role in keeping PR straightforward and transparent, as it should be.

By Jacquelyn Matter