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Company markets protective blanket for school shootings

bulletproof-bodyguard-blanket-protecht_school-shootings

The shooting at Reynolds High School just outside Portland, Oregon, was the 74th school shooting since the tragic death of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

The prevalence of school shootings prompted one company, ProTecht, to take action. It has unveiled the Bodyguard Blanket, an orange, bulletproof pad with which children can cover themselves if an armed attacker comes into their school. (The company says the blankets can also be used to protect kids from debris from tornadoes, which is why they’re orange, making them easier for first responders to see.)

In a Tuesday post about the blankets, Jezebel characterized the company’s efforts as profiteering. Here’s what writer Madeline Davies said about them:

It’s entirely understandable that a parent would want to protect their children from tornadoes and mass violence, but there are better ways to do that than by buying a $1,000 Bodyguard Blanket. Instead, let’s increase school budgets so administrations can afford adequate natural disaster shelter for their students and ban all guns. Treat the disease, not the symptom.

Commenters on Facebook seem to have mixed opinions. One, Michael Koruniak, simply wrote, “It’s hard to imagine a society where an industry like this can flourish.”

Others said they believe the blankets are a necessary for child safety, while still others offer suggestions for making the blankets more effective. One said they should have flaps on the sides that kids could pull down.

Source:prdaily.com

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Report: 1/4 of top online retailers fail at digital marketing

fail-test-grade

Internet retailers that find themselves on the list of the Top 500 Retailers likely got there through hard work and a good product, but a quarter of them can’t credit their marketing department.

A new study from Wpromote found that 124 brands among the top 500 online retailers deserve a failing grade when it comes to digital marketing. Only two percent of the companies on the list deserved an A, according to the study.

“Digital marketing has leveled the playing field,” said Mike Mothner, founder and CEO of Wpromote, in a recent statement. “You don’t need to be a retail giant to be a successful digital marketer, but a holistic view of the customer experience differentiated the winners and losers. Retailers can’t provide a seamless e-commerce experience without organic traffic, for example, and still be successful.”

The study judged these online retailers based on the following categories: paid search, SEO, social media, E-commerce, email marketing, blog and mobile.

Don’t feel too badly for the 25 percent. They certainly have failed all the way to the bank.

Source:prdaily.com

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State of the Internship report finds PR positions are most popular

If you’re a public relations intern, you’re not alone—very, very far from it.

Across all industries, PR internships are the most popular, garnering almost 37 percent of the vote in the recent 2014 State of the Internship Report:

The InternMatch study polled more than 9,000 students from around the country.

Some key findings in the study include:

  • It’s a tough market for graduating seniors. Only 16.6 percent of seniors had full-time job offers as of April 30
  • Interns want to work at for-profit companies that aren’t too big or too small. About 43 percent prefer midsize companies, and 67 percent want to work at a for-profit firm
  • The majority of internships are unpaid. Only 48.3 percent of interns were paid.

Check out the infographic below for some more insights from the study:

State_Of_The_Internship_2014_InternMatch-infographic

Source:prdaily.com

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The ABCs of online marketing

Pay attention, class.

Below you will find the ABCs of online marketing. Each letter not only represents an important characteristic of successful Web marketing, but also contains hyperlinks to associated articles that might be helpful for your future efforts.

OK, are you ready? Let’s review our ABCs:

Authenticity: In case you’ve missed our recurring theme, Spin Sucks. Authenticity is key for successful Web marketing.

Branding: Make sure yours is consistent across all your digital channels.

Content: High-quality content leads the way. Refine your skills as a content creator, and encourage a culture that recognizes its importance.

Details: They matter. In everything you do, whether it’s your content, social, SEO, media outreach, or crisis communication plan. Take the time to pay attention to the little things—they have a huge effect on your brand.

Education: This field changes constantly. Therefore, must learn continuously so you can keep up.

Focus: We have a zillion and three distractions coming at us every minute. This is especially true when dealing with Web marketing. To be successful you must learn to focus, to prioritize, and to recognize when to take a break.

Grow: To expand a business is hard. It often requires not only the right digital strategy but also an associated strategy to get the financial resources you need.

Humor: Those who laugh with you buy from you, according to an increasing number of studies. Learn to use humor strategically to boost your Web marketing strategies.

Integrity: Integrity and reputation are the most important assets that you and your organization have. Guard them fiercely, and choose to work with others who do the same.

Journalism: Brand journalism is an exciting new area when it comes to digital marketing. It can take many forms, but it offers a big return on investment if executed correctly.

Klout: OK, we all know your Klout score isn’t the be-all and end-all, but what it stands for, influence, is an important part of Web marketing. Influence and thought leadership (not the buzzword version, but real thought leadership) in your industry are important components of a successful digital strategy.

Limits: Know yours. You don’t have to be everywhere at once. Figure out what channels make the most sense for your brand and for where your target customer is.

Mobile: Consumers are using mobile devices more and more both to interact with your brand and to make purchasing decisions. Do you have a plan to take advantage of this important communication channel?

Navigate: Navigate the business seas informed, but fearless. Have a plan, but don’t be blinded by it. Be aware of change, and recognize when you should change course.

Own: Why rent when you could own? Build a strong owned media presence, both in the content you develop and the community you build.

Paid: With social media platforms (we’re looking at you, Facebook) increasingly working to find ways to monetize, you can no longer ignore looking at how paid media fits into your strategy.

Questions: Engage your community with questions. Ask them what they think, what they like, how they feel. They want to tell you. Listening will strengthen your business and their trust that you are truly interested in their needs.

ROI: Sure, you might have 10,000 Twitter followers, but that isn’t necessarily going to translate into a strong return on investment relative to your business goals. Create a digital strategy that provides a ROI.

Strategy: You must have a well-researched, targeted, and actionable strategy to be successful. This reaches across all parts of Web marketing, whether community building, media relations, or content development.

Time management: Time management skills are crucial. Cultivate practices that help your productivity.

United: Effective communication is about how to unite all the divisions of your organization to work together. No more silos.

Video: Making video part of your strategy continues to rise in importance. It’s not just about going viral; video helps tell your story in a personal way to help your customers connect with you in a manner that no other digital channel provides.

Winning: That’s what you are doing as part of this community. Go, you!

X: The artist formerly known as integration. Imagine the four media types represented by the tips of the X. Build a successful strategy to bring them together. After all, every pirate knows X marks the spot.

You: You are an important part of your brand. Let your personality show, as well as that of the rest of your team. People want to connect with people, not with nameless, faceless brands.

Zebra: Who wonders what a zebra would tweet? I know I do.

Source:prdaily.com

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4 elements of your social media policy that may be illegal

A study from Proskauer, a business-focused law firm, revealed that companies routinely take action against employees for their behavior on social media platforms, even when it’s their own account used on their own devices on their own time.

Although the infractions that prompted the disciplinary action may have been consistent with the companies’ social media policies, the policies themselves could be illegal. It’s time for companies to revisit their social media policies.

According to the Proskauer report, more than 70 percent of companies reported taking disciplinary measures over misuse of confidential information (80 percent), misrepresentation of the company’s views (71 percent), inappropriate non-business use of social media (67 percent), and disparaging remarks about the business or fellow employees (64 percent).

Read through just about any company’s social media policy, and you’ll find that the document spells out employees’ obligations in these and other regards. But in a sweeping ruling last week, an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board ruled these and other policy elements could violate workers’ protected speech.

To begin with, the judge ruled on a provision in Kroger’s policy (Kroger is a U.S.-based grocery store chain) barring employees from online behavior that would be inappropriate at work and that would reflect negatively on the company, deeming it overly broad. It could, the judge said, bar protected speech such as criticism of the company’s treatment of employees or discussion of wages, hours, and terms of employment.

I always look to IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines for best-in-class policy language. The eighth plank of that policy cautions employees not to engage in any “conduct that would not be appropriate or acceptable in IBM’s workplace.”

Between companies that used IBM’s policy as a template and those with like-minded lawyers and HR staff, a lot of organizations will have to consider whether they can retain this clause. But we’re not done yet.

The third item on IBM’s list instructs employees to “make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of IBM.” Kroger had a similar rule, also struck down by the judge. This, according to the ruling, “unduly burdens employees’ rights because it would be likely to chill employees’ willingness to engage in protected communications.”

The judge didn’t dispute that Kroger has a valid interest in not wanting it to appear that employees are speaking on its behalf, but did assert that so few employees’ social interactions could be confused with official Kroger statements that the company’s interest cannot override employees’ rights.

IBM’s 12th and final policy forbids employees to “misuse IBM logos or trademarks and only use them if you have the authority to do so.”

Not so fast. The judge found this provision overly broad, as it prohibits a lot of non-offensive uses of the company’s intellectual property that employees might be inclined to use as part of their protected communications.

The final IBM plan you’ll find in almost every social media policy reads, in part, “Don’t provide IBM’s or a client’s, partner’s or supplier’s confidential or other proprietary information.”

Again, the judge turned policies upside down by ruling that this restriction violates Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act because it prohibits employees from having conversations about personnel matters and business plans, which are also protected under Section 7 of the act.

These four components often serve as the foundation for company social media policies. Each has been found illegal, at least as they apply to Kroger’s policy. If your U.S.-based company’s policy contains any of these elements, it’s time for a meeting to determine whether a major rewrite is in the cards.