Coming Soon—Standardized Principles of Digital Measurement!

26 Aug

The release of Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement, an initiative that will define and standardize online metrics, was announced last week by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and the 4 A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies). Expect to see recommended solutions and an implementation plan by the end of summer!

Principle #1 – Move to a “viewable impressions” standard and count real exposures online.

Viewable impressions will reflect the quantity of ad units that are actually seen by users and correct the inflated numbers that come from the currently-used “served impressions,” which include ad impressions that are not in the user’s viewable space or ads that are never fully loaded to the page.

Principle #2 – Online advertising must migrate to a currency based on audience impressions, not gross ad impressions.

This will help marketers understand the quality and number of exposures against their target audiences and the respective reach and frequency of those exposures.

Principle #3 – Because all ad units are not created equal, we must create a transparent classification system.

To simplify the comparison of ad units across websites and better track ad inventory, this classification system will enable marketers to identify and spotlight the best offerings.

Principle #4 – Determine interactivity “metrics that matter” for brand marketers, so that marketers can better evaluate online’s contribution to brand building.

Create standard metrics to correct the industry’s current (superfluous) volume of digital interaction metrics.

Principle #5 – Digital media measurement must become increasingly comparable and integrated with other media.

All part of cross-platform marketing!

As featured on the k-global blog, The Juice, June 2o, 2011.

Pardon My Absence

26 Aug
K-Glo Summer Interns: (L-R) Lesley Ridge (supervisor), Mark Hansen, MaKenzie Hunter, Claire Tonneson (me!), Cynthia Salarizadah, Lauren Dickinson

Claire here!

So I haven’t done the best job of updating this blog in recent months–school, internships, graduation and bi-coastal living can really take its toll! So in order to ease myself back into the blogosphere, over the next few weeks I will be featuring posts that I wrote during my internship this summer at k-global, a DC-based business-consulting firm. I had the privilege of working with some fantastic individuals and feel so lucky to have been featured on the company’s blog.



Do You Quieres Now? Taco Bell Continues Damage Control

1 Mar

Nearly two months after reports surfaced that Taco Bell’s beef products contain less than 35 percent beef and consist of extenders like “water, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent and modified corn starch,” the fast food establishment has come out with a bold new marketing campaign. Instead of hoping that January’s controversy would quietly fade from consumers’ memory, Taco Bell daringly confronts the allegations and challenges consumers to seek out the truth and taste for themselves. Check out the new ad:

It’s simple, direct and gives viewers a call to action. And the 88 cent Crunch Wrap Supremes? Clever and hard to pass up! Now compare the ad to Taco Bell’s initial video response:

In terms of Taco Bell’s crisis management plan, an immediate response from President Greg Creed was necessary, though the execution was flawed. As I already pointed out in a previous post (So what if I love fast food? Don’t judge!), Creed’s claims that the beef is “100 percent USDA inspected” does not give consumers much assurance in the quality of the product. Compared to the new ad, Creed’s response is significantly less direct, less polished and less confident.

So with a little time and a lot of money, Taco Bell seems well on its way to restoring its reputation among consumers. My Facebook News Feed has been inundated with excitement over the 88 cent Crunch Wrap Supremes, and my roommate has been texting me nonstop about hitting up the Taco Bell drive-through. So is the Taco Bell boycott over yet? Evidently for poor, hungry college kids.

So, Like, Listen To Me? I’m A Professional?

22 Feb

Image courtesy of

“And he was like, you know, ‘Helloooo, what are you looking at?’ and stuff, and I’m like, you know, ‘Can I, like, pick you up?,’ and he goes, like, ‘Brrrp brrrp brrrp,’ and I’m like, you know, ‘Whoa, that is so wow!’ ” — (Courtesy of Clark Whelton).

Anyone care to take a guess what this quotation is talking referring to? Anyone? Bueller? This woman is describing a baby squirrel that was playing in her yard. Don’t worry, I had no idea either. But is this how people today actually communicate? Unfortunately, but not too surprisingly, yes. Speechwriter Clark Whelton’s blog post for City Journal titled “What Happens in Vagueness Stays in Vagueness: The decline and fall of American English, and stuff” examines how this type of language is increasingly common. He writes that beginning in the 1980s, people have been “speaking in self-quotations, sound effects, and other vocabulary substitutes, punctuating sentences with facial tics and lateral eye shifts.” Even more frighteningly, this odd and almost primitive speech pattern is just as prevalent among young, educated professionals, claims Whelton, and it’s costing them entry-level jobs.

As a public relations student and (not so distant) future practitioner, I like to consider myself a strong communicator. However, I admit that I am also guilty of soiling my conversations with interrogative inflections and “like,” my filler word of choice. My mother will actually stop me mid-story to tell me how obnoxious I sound, and the scary part is, I sometimes don’t even hear it! I usually concede that I am just a product of my generation.

That excuse simply won’t cut it anymore. If my peers and I want to be taken seriously in the professional world, we need to get over this communication handicap. Here is a list of ways to develop the skills for effective and eloquent speaking:

1. Be slow: Remind yourself to slow your speech to avoid filler words and awkward transitions. (This is my biggest oral obstacle because I have a natural habit of talking a mile a minute, and when I’m nervous, it kicks up to warp speed)

2. Be prepared: This may seem obvious, but know what you’re going to say before you say it! This will avoid losing your train of thought and making random pauses while you search for the right word.

3. Be curious: Read constantly! Google definitions! Buy a word of the day calendar! The more you expand your vocabulary, the more accurate and descriptive your speech will become, and the smarter you will sound.

These tips will strengthen the credibility of young PR practitioners and make us more confident in our communication skills. Remember, it’s not “So, Like, Listen To Me? I’m A Professional?” It’s “Listen to me. I’m a professional.”

Social Media Brands: The Break-Up

15 Feb

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

It’s not you; it’s me. Okay, no, I lied; it is you. I thought we agreed to take things slow, but you came on a little too strong. I’m just not prepared to deal with your neediness right now. I’d like for us to still be friends, but I’m afraid that won’t work either. I just don’t trust that you won’t leave me irritating messages day and night. We’re over. Too bad this letter will never find you.

No, I did not just break up with my boyfriend via blog post, what a twenty-first century cliché that would be! I did, however, draft my best “Dear John Letter” directed toward harassing social media brands, and I am getting dangerously close to ending our relationship.

Anyone with a Facebook, Twitter or e-mail account should know exactly what I’m going through. We friend, follow or subscribe to an organization we support, and before we know it, it’s filling up our newsfeeds, timelines and inboxes with excessive, irrelevant or boring information. And so comes the inevitable break-up. A new study released this week by ExactTarget and CoTweet found that more than 90 percent of consumers have “broken up” with at least one brand. Check out the findings, courtesy of the Daily Dog:

  • 91 percent of consumers have unsubscribed from permission-based marketing e-mails.
  • 77 percent of consumers report being more cautious about providing their e-mail address to companies.
  • 81 percent of consumers have either “unliked” or removed a company’s posts from their Facebook news feed.
  • 71 percent of consumers report being more selective about “liking” a company on Facebook versus last year.
  • 51 percent of consumers expect that a “like” will result in marketing communications from brands while 40 percent do not believe it should result in marketing communications.
  • 41 percent of consumers have “unfollowed” a company on Twitter.

Unlike most real-life break-ups, the organization has no idea why it lost another relationship. The end is quiet and painless, as if the relationship never existed. This lack of notification is ultimately problematic for an organization; it gets no insight to its misuses of communication and, therefore, has no incentive to change its behavior. Furthermore, social media relationships are generally not on-again, off-again; once consumers are gone, they’re probably gone for good. So how can organizations avoid a “block,” the dating equivalent of a restraining order?

  • Update sparingly
  • Establish newsworthiness
  • Convey personality

Let’s Give Them Something (Substantial) to Talk About

8 Feb

After this weekend’s Super Bowl, it seems most people are talking about the ads and not the big game, which makes the Brand Bowl a communicator’s dream. Built from a budget that could sustain a small country and accompanied by a built-in audience, a successful advertisement can generate enough water cooler conversation to satisfy upper management. But what happens when the ad loses its buzz and is replaced by some other pop culture chatter? What happens to your key message when Lady Gaga wears meat dress 2.0?

“Made to Stick,” written by brothers Chip and Dan Heath, is a compelling book on this topic, a book that I am reading for my strategic public relations communication class and would highly recommend.  I am also developing a presentation on effective lobbying techniques and found that several of the same strategies can be used in a broader PR application. I like communicator (and University of Oregon grad) Julie Lauderbaugh’s thesis titled “Lobbying Techniques for Animal Rights: A Qualitative Study of Portland Legislative Offices” and think it pertains beyond her niche. Check out her strategies for establishing a connection with your publics:

1. Employ a Professional: Is your representative credible and does he or she come with the right reputation?

2. Work with Citizens: How can you listen to and engage with your audience?

3. Make it Personal: Is your relationship mutually beneficial?

4. Show Them the Data: Can you prove it?

5. Cite the Broader Impact: What’s culturally, socially or economically at stake?

6. Become a Storyteller: How can you get your team to communicate points one through five?

7. Distinguish Your Audience: How can you target your message in the media?

I have a professor who jokes that if all else fails, use animals or kids in your strategies; they evoke those warm, fuzzy feelings that make people want to buy into your message. Therefore, in the spirit of point three, here is a video of cute, playful kittens:

Do You Still Quieres Taco Bell?

31 Jan

Taco Bell is far from a five-star Mexican restaurant, but this week the company’s reputation took a serious burrito to the face. Reports surfaced that the fast food establishment’s “beef products” contain less than 35 percent beef and consist of extenders like “water, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent and modified corn starch.” Not only is this unappetizing, it’s also apparently untrue. Facing accusations of false advertising and a subsequent lawsuit, Taco Bell is conducting damage control to reheat its tarnished reputation. Check out Taco Bell President Greg Creed’s attempt to cook up some positive press:

While I recognize the need to directly respond to the allegations, Creed hardly serves up any substantial restorations. The fact that its beef is “100 percent USDA inspected” does not offer me, the consumer, much solace. Anyone who has seen the documentary “Food, Inc.,” read “Fast Food Nation” or suffered from indigestion after a trip through the drive-through knows the quality and safety of the beef industry in the United States is far from credible.

The following day, Taco Bell also took out a full-page ad in newspapers, proclaiming, “Thank you for suing us.” My first reaction was Great! Taco Bell is going to replace its fake beef with real beef! Bring on the healthy Chalupas! Unfortunately, the company only intends to refute the lawsuit. The snide retort is essentially thanking the group of Californian lawyers for allowing Taco Bell to prove them wrong. In my opinion, the damage has already been done; from now on, when I hear, think or consume Taco Bell meat, the phrase “less than 35 percent real beef” will flash through my head. Pending the validity of the lawsuit, Taco Bell could have used this embarrassment to provide higher quality food, showing consumers that it is willing to change its business practices for the benefit of all our stomachs.

Lucky for Taco Bell, this story lacks sensationalized images for the media to grab a hold; there are no rats scurrying across the kitchen floor or employees preparing food with their boogers. So will this claim negatively affect the brand and future consumer practice? Probably not. As comedian Jim Gaffigan recently tweeted, “Learning Taco Bell meat is not meat is like finding out cigarettes are addictive.” Let’s get real; I never went to Taco Bell thinking my Crunch Wrap Supreme was healthy, but personally, I don’t think I’ll be craving a fourth meal any time soon.

Claire Tonneson’s Blog, Take Two

24 Jan

How open am I to blogging? This much!

For the sake of true transparency, let me start off with an admission–this is not my first attempt at blogging. I kept one for about a term my sophomore year, and I hated every second of it. Phew! Glad I got that off my chest! I’m not trying to start off on a negative foot but rather on a freshly manicured foot; it’s as if I’ve upgraded my attitude from Birkenstock to Louboutin. Though now that I’m a little older and arguably a little wiser, I’m still faced with the same question that I asked the first time around–What the heck do I write about?!

Fear not! I promise not to bore, confuse or frighten you with all the random thoughts that pop into my head. This is a blog about PR. My primary purpose is to share and discuss different topics related to the public relations industry. I am a PR major and president of my school’s PRSSA chapter, so I hope this gives me some credibility to write with. As to the nature of future PR-related posts? I’ll keep you posted. I have a broad set of industry interests, ranging from public affairs to crisis communication to brand management. I intend to use this blog to discover my voice as PR professional, so please stick around to read who I become.