SMEs "get" social media while large co's miss the boat

Two reports were released today that indicates a big discrepancy in how small business and large enterprise are embracing social media: with the small guys leading the charge. One study claims that social media has become indispensable to small businesses and another claims Superbrands aren't latching onto Twitter.

According to V3.co.uk, this year’s largest UK survey of small and medium businesses was released today in the 2009 Business Pulse Report, conducted by BT and the British Chambers of Commerce. The survey indicates two-thirds of 72,000 small business respondents rated high search engine rankings as being very important to their business. And 73 per cent felt online presence was important to the running of their business.

Meanwhile over at new media age, a self-conducted study was published saying that of the 500 brands in the 2009 Superbrands list, a whopping 74 per cent had no presence on Twitter. Of the 500 brands, just 29 brands were tweeting every hour; just 50 were tweeting every day.

Certainly the most compelling story here is that big businesses, with all their resources, personnel, and fancy budgets, aren't getting the value of social media. Is that because social media is comparatively free, and they can't see value in anything that's not burning marketing budgets? Small business is benefiting from Twitter, even if the benefit is hard to quantify. One of the more interesting quotes in nma's coverage was from the head of creative at Innocent Drinks, who have built a following of 20,000 fans on Twitter, and yet who believe that by not defining a Twitter strategy, they have gotten more value out of it.

Dan Germain is quoted as saying: “If we’d had a set strategy at the start and defined some sort of ROI, then it wouldn’t be successful because Twitter doesn’t deliver on that,” he said. “For us it’s just another channel for talking to people.”

That says it all, really.


World's most marketable personality needs new publicist - stat

Since the weekend I've been resisting blogging about Tiger Woods' crash and subsequent PR "incident" but I just....can't....help....myself, especially as the mistakes keep rolling in.

It's implausible that the world's most marketable personality has publicists working for him who apparently don't understand reputation management, but that is exactly what appears to be the case. I just don't geddit.

Since his crash last Friday, it's been a catalogue of errors. Let's go through them:

MIstake 1: Lying about what happened. We are supposed to believe his wife shattered his back window to pull a 6'1" muscular man out of an SUV from the back? When the crash happened in the front of the car, not on both sides? Sorry, what?

Mistake 2: Allowing police reports to be the only source of information about the incident, when the reports pretty clearly show the couple wasn't entirely truthful about what took place.

Mistake 3: Not keeping to your commitments - if you want to show the world there is a problem, pull out of your next tournament, which happens to be your own tournament. if you want to show the world there is nothing to talk about, play in it like you were supposed to.

Mistake 4: Trying to cover up for his wife. If she shattered his back window in anger after seeing his name get trashed by the National Enquirer, causing him to crash, so what - a lot of women could relate to being that angry. It's infinitely more plausible than what they claim to have happened, so just own up it. Don't try to put all the blame on yourself, Tiger - it takes two to tango.

Mistake 5: Not being upfront about the fact your marriage / personal life is going through a rough patch, just like every single marriage on the planet does from time to time. Normal marital issues involve huge arguments once in awhile. If there are any marriages out there that are completely free of arguments, well, it's not a marriage I'd want to be in. Don't let it railroad your professional commitments though, or you do start to look abnormal. Normal people have fights and minor car crashes and show up to work in the morning.

All in all, the world can forgive and forget - Tiger is only human like the rest of us. Just look at Kate Moss's turnaround. In fact this incident could have even strengthened his reputation by making him seem more human and approachable. But basic tenets of reputation management haven't been followed. Any cover up is worse than the truth, and if you want the world to see you are on top of things, keep to your commitments.

Tiger: you need a new PR team and we happen to be available. Plus, we both really love golf. ;-)