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About this blog
The Firefly blog features news, views, buzz and ideas around the PR and communications industry.
Social trends, PR and social media tools, communications strategies, attention grabbing WOM campaigns, entertainment hotspots, running integrated and pan-European campaigns, safeguarding reputations and managing crises are just some of the topics we’re talking about.
Firefly’s John Craske interviews Chloe Daniel, Co-Founder of Job Bounties, about her PR experience so far
What does Job Bounties do?
Job Bounties launched on 14th November 2012, as the first ever social recruitment site which rewards you for recommending people you know. It lets recruiters post jobs for free and set the financial reward or ‘bounty’ they want to pay only if and when they successfully hire someone for their business. Users get paid the cash bounty for successfully headhunting their friends and contacts for the jobs posted.
What is your role?
I’m Co-Founder and COO of Job Bounties. I’ve been working with James Uffindell (Job Bounties’ Founder and CEO) for a number of years on his other business – Bright Network. The idea for Job Bounties grew out of Bright Network with the thinking that traditional recruitment was just too expensive, and that social media had the potential to truly disrupt the entire industry. So we founded Job Bounties to make things more efficient, cost-effective and to reward people financially for who they know.
What are your public relations objectives?
We set out with the big ambition of disrupting an entire industry with a a fantastic idea and a ton of drive - but also as an unknown brand. We knew from previous business experience that you need to get your name, brand and business out there to make a difference. Our initial PR objectives were to make ourselves known, and now we want to establish Job Bounties as the number one referral website.
What has been your most positive PR experience/best PR result?
We’ve had some fantastic PR hits in broadsheet newspapers – in the FT and the Independent for example – which we were absolutely thrilled to get. This piece in Recruiter, however, has been our favourite so far, as the journalist really took the time to understand what’s so different about Job Bounties compared to other recruitment services, the concept behind the business, and what we are aiming to achieve. It is great to find a journalist who is really interested in this level of detail. This article has provided an excellent way for us to help more people see how using Job Bounties can benefit them. In addition, we recently got some great traction on social media around a fun news hijacking opportunity, when the team produced a mock job advertisement for the Pope’s replacement.
What advice would you give to someone new to working with a PR agency?
Getting the culture and approach fit right is essential. We had a couple of lengthy meetings with Firefly (and a number of other agencies) before signing up. We wanted to be sure that they could deliver what they were promising, and that we all would enjoy working together along the way.
Who do you admire generally in business?
I think Sophi Tranchell of Fairtrade Divine Chocolate fame is pretty amazing. Aside from running a company which produces delicious chocolate, she has taken a wonderful (and fair) idea and made it into a solid profit-making brand that gives so much back to the cocoa farmers in West Africa, as well as helping young people start out in business in the UK. Firms that set out to do good beyond their bottom lines (which we hope we can do by lowering the cost of recruitment) are a true inspiration.
What makes you mad in business today?
That more businesses are not creative and open about allowing for flexible, family-friendly hours for both men and for women. To my mind, that’s the only way we’re going to get any meaningful sense of equality in the boardroom and to carve out enough time to provide our families with the love and care they deserve.
Do you have a favourite writer or publication?
I love to read – from business books to historical memoirs. gritty novels to lighthearted magazines, so choosing one writer or publication is incredibly hard. Most recently, I was really impressed by Kerry Hudson’s novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, for its true story of surviving against the odds and for being brave enough to be different.
What is your biggest personal extravagance?
Regular subscriptions to the FT, Vogue, and the LRB … The big stack of unread papers and magazines on our kitchen table would suggest that work and family commitments don’t really leave me with enough time to consistently read all three, but I can’t imagine life without them.
If you won the lottery, what would you do?
Get some bigger desks for Job Bounties HQ – ours are a bit teeny tiny at the moment, even if we are a paperless office. Put plenty aside for eighteen years time when my children may consider going to university, because my downhearted guess is that it’s not going to get any cheaper … And the rest would go to some educational good cause because I think early years is where the biggest differences can be made – exactly which would require some research as to what would make the best charitable investment.
Firefly Paris recently turned 13 – and in 2013, no less! Some people may view this as doubly lucky, or perhaps doubly unlucky! The number 13 is often associated with the end of something and the beginning of something else. This is very much the case when it comes to the pace of the phenomenal and profound changes that have occurred in the French PR market in these past 13 years – from the building and bursting of the first internet bubble to today’s shift towards social media and digital PR strategies.
If we look back over this 13 year period we can see how much has changed in the French PR market:
- Economic crisis: We have witnessed many companies going into bankruptcy while, for those that have survived, communication budgets melt like ice in the sun. The media has similarly been affected, with the rise of more and more advertiser-privileged content that has left fewer editorial opportunities for smaller brands.
- Shrinking media: Consequently, we’ve seen a drastic change in the French media landscape, with numerous printed trade publications falling down, although some digital alternatives are now rising. Some landmark magazines, such as the 34-year old “Ordinateur Individuel” (personal computing) which we thought was impermeable, is slowly evaporating.
- New channels: It all started with the rise of blogs in the mid 2010s, at a time when traditional media was tumbling. And today some of these blogs have now become respected online sources, like Presse-Citron or Journal Du Geek. More recently, we saw the tremendous surge in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so on, which all agencies now have to include in their plans.
- New tools: Today, PRs must have an integrated ‘digital toolbox’ in their armoury; an agency will email a press release about a competition set up on Facebook, with press images hosted on Dropbox and a video on DailyMotion or YouTube, animating its community via Twitter, having its own Tumblr full of Gifs and memes… Digital is offering more choices and a faster way to communicate.
- Empowerment of the customer: We all know that the internet can provide us with tons, if not too much, information on products and services. However, more importantly, today the customer can have his voice heard publicly on social networks. The French love to protest, as seen recently by brands such as Cuisinella, La Redoute and Veet.
- Real time monitoring: There was a time when agencies would wait for newspaper clippings to come into their mailbox each morning, but the digitalisation of the channel now means that monitoring is around-the-clock. Findus has just hired an agency to “clean” the web of outrage around the horsemeat scandal, and resulting lack of trust in the brand; however that’s not to say that people aren’t still talking about them! Meanwhile Air France’s 2 man weekday digital team were caught by surprise when a crisis hit (over a weekend of course!).
- 360 PR: When Firefly Paris started, we focused on media relations for our clients. The changes above have led agencies to take a broader approach to PR by addressing all the different audiences of a company, whether in regards to its customers, investors, employees or influencers. As a symbol of this evolution, the main PR union in France recently made a small but very significant change to its name, turning “Relations Publiques” (as in “Relations IN public”) to “Relations Publics” (as in “Relations WITH the public”)
All this brings huge challenges to PR consultancies in France and only those who are able to evolve and adapt will remain. Professionally speaking, this is a very exciting time to be in the industry as you can innovate and create new ways of reaching out to audiences.
But we have to bear in mind that our raison d’être has not changed: PR is still dedicated to the reputation of an organisation or individual – it’s just the channels that are changing.
If, like me, you shunned staying up to watch last night’s Super Bowl in favour of a good night’s sleep, you may well have shared my bemusement this morning upon logging into Twitter to get the low-down on the game. Expecting to see my feed dominated by commentary on the score, the players, perhaps Beyoncé’s half-time performance, it came as something of a surprise to find that most, in fact, (certainly of those whom I follow) were talking about a biscuit!
Turns out that Oreo had taken advantage of an unexpected black-out early in the third quarter of the game, tweeting an ad captioned “Power out? No problem” within the hour.
Since retweeted over 14,000 times, the post garnered Oreo instant attention across social networks, making it one of the most talked-about brands of the night. With TV ad spots during the game being sold by CBS for between about £.24 – 2.5 million, it’s almost painfully ironic (at least to other the brands competing for attention!) that, as BuzzFeed points out – “the most powerful bit of marketing during the advertising industry’s most expensive day may have been free”!
So what can be learnt from Oreo’s success?
First and foremost, it’s the perfect example of the need for rapid turnaround in order to capitalise on these sorts of opportunities. “Wow already? Well done!” says one user in response to the ad, while another refers to the ad as “Social media rapid response at its finest.”
What’s more, in a week where the use of social media for large corporations has come into question (I’m looking at you, HMV!) it’s another, extremely slick, demonstration of the power of digital when done right.
I for one am planning on staying awake next Super Bowl – if not for the sport itself, then certainly to see how others will be looking to emulate Oreo’s social success.
We are delighted to announce that Firefly has been shortlisted for a Golden Hedgehog PR Award for our work on The Centre for Effective Distribution’s ‘Inquiry into Public Inquiries’ project.
With the ‘Public Inquiry’ very much engrained in the UK’s consciousness in the wake of the News of the World hacking scandal and the resulting Leveson Inquiry, The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) was midway through its project examining the effectiveness of Public Inquiries and asked Firefly to help raise awareness and encourage contributors to come forward to take part.
We commissioned simple omnibus research to determine the public’s level of faith in the Public Inquiry process and, as predicted, a level of discontent was discovered. The findings were offered to top tier media with the opportunity of a briefing with the project’s co-chairs, former Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Woolf of Barnes and Chief Executive of CEDR, Karl Mackie.
A media day was organised, beginning with a live interview on BBC’s Radio 4’s The Today Programme, and the co-chairs then met with journalists from national and legal press including the Financial Times, the Press Association and Legal Week. This gave the chairs the chance to get across their hopes for the project and encourage other experts to become involved.
We view the ‘Low Budget Campaign of the Year’ category as being particularly prestigious as it truly shows that effective PR campaigns do not have to cost the world. Being shortlisted is a testament to the agency (us) but also to our client CEDR, whose investment and collaboration really can’t be praised enough in making the campaign a success.
It’s not been a great month for HMV, let’s be honest, but this latest backlash from employees on Twitter is an interesting example on how not to manage your company’s reputation.
Angry employees briefly took over the feed to vent their annoyance at the current redundancy situation. Tweets with the hashtag #hmvXFactorFiring appeared saying things like 60 ‘loyal employees who love the brand’ were about to be fired and ‘the company you dearly love is being ruined’.
Once executives caught wind of these tweets, they were quickly deleted but not fast enough for them not to be captured by the Twittersphere, and then of course, the media.
This prompted an official statement on redundancies to confirm the reports. However, and more interestingly, HMV would not comment on the Twitter hijack. Was that wise? Not in my view.
The about-to-be-fired employees clearly felt very passionately about HMV and there is no doubt that it has always been a very likable brand. Instead of ignoring the comments on Twitter in media statements, HMV could’ve acknowledged the passion from their employees and sympathised with them at the situation. We all know that making redundancies is never a nice thing for anyone involved – no-one could hold that against them.
That said, four hours after the first tweets there was a tweet posted by someone else acknowledging what was being said earlier.
The key learning from all of this? Every company should have a carefully thought-out crisis communication plan in place – especially when you can pre-empt the situation, like in HMV’s redundancies case. In today’s world, this includes gaining control over and managing all social media feeds. Oh and don’t forget to change the passwords so it doesn’t get hijacked!