3 Tips to Build Your Reputation on TripAdvisor

tripadvisor DavidPR.comTravel website TripAdvisor aspires to be a complete online travel resource, offering the ability to research destinations, compare prices on accommodations and book that dream vacation. However, its core offering is user-generated content in the form of ratings, reviews and photos – to the tune of about 350 million unique monthly visitors and 320 million reviews and opinions covering more than 6.2 million accommodations, restaurants, and attractions.

Owners of some hotels and restaurants love it because it has cost-effectively leveled the playing field between small and large destinations and attractions. An executive told me that he has met owners of hotels and restaurants who have literally wept tears of joy when he met them in person at conferences. At the same time, some business owners feel like reviews on TripAdvisor are not reflective of the actual business. As is the case with all review sites, some folks will be unhappy.

I spoke with Brian Payea, head of industry relations at TripAdvisor, and he outlined key ways that business owners can get the most from the site.Read More

Solving the Yelp Puzzle to Build Your Business

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Founded in 2004, the online review site, Yelp, often confounds business owners. It is, without question, one of the dominant review sites and one that often outperforms company websites on search results. What that means is that a search for a particular restaurant on a search engine, for example, could pull up a Yelp listing ahead of the restaurant’s actual site. Now, if the reviews on Yelp are positive, this may increase the chance of a customer booking. However, if reviews are largely negative, the opposite could be true.

A 2011 Harvard Business School study found that each “star” in a Yelp rating impacted sales by between 5-9 percent. Another study suggested that increasing a star rating from 3.5 to 4 on Yelp would increase a restaurant’s chances of being booked during peak hours by 19 percent.

Some businesses have seen dramatic marketing results from actively working with Yelp and engaging the community.

If handled correctly, Yelp has the potential to help generate business for companies with listings, but the site has some idiosyncrasies that need to be addressed and managed.Read More

Deeper Dive Into Changing Customer Experience: 5 Questions with Brian Solis

Experience vs. DesignLate last year, I met author and customer experience sage Brian Solis.  My blog post about my conversation with him, Is Customer Experience the Next Killer App?,was one of the most widely shared, liked and tweeted blogs that I have ever written.  And since then, you can’t swing a dead cat without hearing a marketer chime-in about improving the customer experience, or CX, as we cool people like to call it.  I had a follow-up call with Brian recently as he transferred from car to plane on one of his many worldwide speaking engagements and workshops discussing CX.  Here are five questions and answers with Brian which will assist any business owner or executive who wants to improve the customer experience in their business. 

John P. David: When did you realize that customer experience is the new brand?  Did it hit you in the shower or was it an evolution? 

Brian Solis: I definitely see it as an evolution.  I have tracked and researched customer relationship trends for many years, and when I looked at the iconic brands, I believed that their successes were bigger than the products and bigger than the brands themselves.  Iconic brands like Apple and Disney offer more.  I have been studying the issue for more than seven years and spent the last three years working on the book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design.

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Yes, you can get a book deal

how to protect or destroy your reputation onlineBack in October, I wrote a post about my efforts to write a book, my take on the publishing industry, and my desire to get a book deal.  The reaction was fascinating and in some cases, very emotional.  First, I learned that there’s a tremendous amount of underlying bitterness about the publishing business from unpublished authors.  Second, many folks believe self-publishing is the way to go because traditional publishing is broken, and self-published authors can get a better share of the profits.  And third, many folks believe it’s impossible for an unknown writer to get a deal.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to get a publishing contract because I did it.  Career Press in New Jersey will publish my book, How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online, and it will be available in bookstores, online, and “wherever fine books are sold” by the end of the year or shortly thereafter.

Here’s how I did it

First, literary agents are the primary gatekeepers for the publishing industry.  So, if you want to get a book deal as a non-fiction author, you first need to find an agent.

How do you get an agent?  I didn’t know any, so I asked a few author friends to make introductions to theirs (an idea from my friend Bruce Turkel).  I also researched and cross-referenced my LinkedIn contacts, looking for agents and any of my contacts who knew agents.  I also joined Publishers Marketplace, a website where literary agents congregate and publicize book deals.  From there, I started targeting agents who I thought might be interested in my book.  I tackled it like a marketing campaign.Read More

Your Challenge: Think Big, Act Bigger

Time to Think Big | David PRIf marketing whiz Jeff Hayzlett ruled the world, one of the first orders of business would be to outlaw the words “I can’t.”

A former chief marketing officer at Kodak, turned consultant and entrepreneur, Hayzlett stands firm that nearly anything can be accomplished in the business world if you put your mind to it.  I interviewed Hayzlett recently and found his take on marketing to be both motivating and thought provoking.

Hayzlett’s book Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless could vie for shelf space somewhere in between self-help and autobiography, but it belongs in the business section.  He offers a glimpse into the blueprint that led him from growing up in South Dakota, to Kodak and to hosting a show on Bloomberg TV, which he then moved to an online platform as the C-Suite Network.  He’s built a little empire and isn’t shy about telling us how he did it – not because he’s bragging, but because he believes the rest of us can do it too.Read More

Five Questions about Newsjacking with David Meerman Scott

NewsjackingA few weeks back, I interviewed David Meerman Scott about his book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, and one area I promised to revisit is known as newsjacking. Scott describes it as the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate media coverage, get sales leads, and grow one’s business.

Following are five key questions and answers about the subject.

John P. David (JPD): Has your definition of newsjacking changed since you first coined/started using the term?

David Meerman Scott (DMS): Yes, the definition has changed. When I first invented newsjacking, I focused on the idea of getting your ideas into news stories. My main consideration was to teach the technique of getting you quoted in the stories being written by mainstream media reporters at newspapers, magazines, and in broadcast stories on radio and television.

But as I’ve spoken with hundreds of people who have successfully implemented my ideas, I’ve realized that many of them were generating sales leads, adding new customers, selling products and services, and growing their business — all from newsjacking!

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Intimate Brands Explained

Intimate brands David PR GroupWe all have emotional connections to brands, whether we care to admit it or not.  If you always buy a certain brand of toothpaste, religiously order a call brand at a bar or ritualistically check the same app every day to get your sports scores, then you have an emotional connection of some depth.  And some brands are more intimate than others.

Think of folks who go to Starbucks every morning, only use Apple devices, drink Coke products exclusively, only drive Hondas, or who can’t imagine their lives without Amazon.  These represent some of the most intimate brands in America.  If you discuss this with Mario Natarelli of brand agency MBLM (“emblem,” get it?), he will tell you that such relationships are measurable, achievable, and produce quantifiable benefits for companies.

For the past five years, his company has been researching brand intimacy and sharing some of the results, typically with an annual listing of the most intimate brands.  I spoke with him about the most recent study and why this is important for marketers, business owners, and reputation managers alike.Read More

Communications Strategy 101: Get your GAME on

Communications Strategy from David PR GroupOne thing that I often hear from executives is that they want to improve their corporate communications, marketing and public relations, but they don’t know where to start. Perhaps the conversation begins with an executive saying they want a presence on social media, or they want to blog, or they just want to “get their name out there.” How do you do it? How do you develop a communications strategy?

The answer: Get your GAME on.

While developing a complete communications strategy takes research and in-depth planning, one can make the first moves fairly easily and can quickly point the ship in the right direction. This process, which can take a few hours for a cursory approach or several weeks for a deep dive, focuses on four areas: Goals, Audiences, Messaging (and tactics) and Evaluation. “GAME,” get it? (Don’t feel the need to be snarky about the “T” in “tactics.” It’s my process, so I’m calling it “GAME.”)Read More

Preeminent Book on Marketing and PR Gets an Update

David PR Group PR and Marketing book gets an updateIf I’m being honest, I have never had much use for books about public relations.  When I was studying marketing and PR in college, much of the information in textbooks was dated and offered in a rote, dull manner.  As time passed and new books were written, few could capture what I was experiencing firsthand as a professional PR guy, particularly as the industry had shifted dramatically in recent years.

Yet there’s one book which caught and kept my attention; it also happens to have been recently released in its fifth edition.  The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, first published in 2007, remains one of the top books about the industry.

When offered an opportunity to speak with Scott about his book, I jumped at it for a number of reasons.  As I mentioned, I think his book is the preeminent authority on PR out there. But he’s also a pioneer of “newsjacking.”Read More

Is Customer Experience the Next Killer App?

design is artEveryone in service businesses talk about it. Amazon.com lists more than 100,000 titles on the topic. Sometimes it seems like it’s a quest that challenges every business owner in America. I’m talking about the concept of “exceptional customer service.” If I had a nickel for every business owner who ever said that they wanted to emulate how Apple engages customers or how Disney treats its guests or how Ritz-Carlton does anything and everything, then I would be able to spend the rest of my days fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with the singular care of bagging a bonefish. We all talk about improving the customer experience, but it remains incredibly elusive as many businesses continue to struggle with maintaining consistent service. Oftentimes, acquisition and retention efforts trump the ability to even consider such a nebulous concept as “customer delight.”

I recently attended a presentation by author Brian Solis, skeptically wondering what mysticism I might get on this topic.  According to Solis, not only are most businesses failing at the customer experience, but they are failing by design. As an analyst and anthropologist, he has researched the problem and offers an interesting and credible perspective. His book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, not only details why Apple and Disney kick ass in the experience department but also explains how the key to their success is understanding their customers on multiple levels. Thankfully, Solis isn’t a consultant trying to push a particular system on customer engagement and whatnot. Instead, he outlines how customer experience is the new differentiator and how every business can make meaningful changes. To date, Apple, Disney and the Ritz are ahead because they have designed their products around the customer experience. But fear not. The rest of us are not yet out of the race; we can all catch up.Read More