www.tineye.com help track where your graphics appear

Let’s face it, “borrowing” images off the Internet has become rampant. It’s bad enough for photographers to find their images posted (without credit) but what if you found your logo gracing someone else’s site?

I read about this happening to someone recently and when she contacted the designer of the website that had illegally used her copyright protected logo, the designer had the balls to respond:

I received this graphic hrough a graphics group I was a member of. I made a logo for xyz.com out of it unaware of the copyright. I was recently informed of this and wanted to contact you and ask if they can continue to use the logo since it’s been over 2 years. Here is a copy of the log [sic] so you can see it.

No apology. No contrition. Just a request to keep using the logo!

After several more exchanges, the owner of the logo got a bit more of an apology but revealed something more concerning. He had received this logo through a graphics group at Yahoo where, it appears, people have been stealing artwork off of website for several years and then distributing it to their membership. Not an excuse in my book. Any web designer worth his salt should not be using artwork with unknown provenance.

I did not take this off your website. I received it from a yahoo graphics group a long time ago. There are literal thousands of people who have this and are using it. I am sorry for using your graphic, I did not know it was copyrighted. As soon as I found out I wrote to you so hopefully we can work something outs o my friend can continue to use her logo. I am sure you are upset and it is understandable. I hope you will see this truly was something that I had no idea about. I have approximately 10,000 graphics on my computer that I have collected over the last 10 years of graphics design. Unfortunately yours was one of them that was given to me through tube-time@yahoogroups.com Please, forgive me for this infringement as it was totally unintentional. I was given the graphic with the understanding that it was not copyrighted. Again, I am sorry for all of this.

So what can you do to protect your graphics? Apparently specifically forbidding the use of the image doesn’t help (it was on the original site). But there is a search engine for images that you can use to see if it appears anywhere else. It’s called http://www.tineye.com and it works!

Ford’s Social Media Success with Fiesta Launch

Here’s an interesting interview I read in Larry Chase’s newsletter. It really underscores the power of social media when it’s used correctly. Below are excerpts from the interview.

Using Social Media to Pre-Launch a Car in the US

Larry Chase: I saw a statistic about the upcoming US launch of the Ford Fiesta. It said there’s already 37% awareness among those in Generation Y, even though you haven’t spent any money promoting it via paid media. How are you getting that kind of awareness without any media spend?

Scott Monty: The current number is 38% awareness of a vehicle that is not in the market, which is equivalent to the awareness level of vehicles that we have had in the market for two to three years.

Our 100 “agents” out there have produced over 700 videos total. [Note: “Agents” are the 100 people, called “Agents of the Fiesta Movement,” whom Ford chose to drive a Fiesta and to blog about their experiences and create online videos.]

We’ve had over 4.8 million views of the agents’ YouTube videos, over 600,000 views of their Flickr photos and over 3.2 million impressions on Twitter.

LC: How did you get the word out? Did you give these cars away?

SM: They were lent to people for six months. We did a grassroots effort where we used connections we had and connections our agency had and basically got the word out online.

We got over 4,000 applicants for those 100 slots. We narrowed it down, using a number of factors to determine whom we actually selected.

LC: What were your criteria for choosing them?

SM: We looked first and foremost at their ability to create a monthly online video, because that would be a requirement of every agent.

We looked at their “social vibrancy:” how connected they were across a number of social networks and how many connections they had within those social networks. We also looked at the geography of each person.

In reality, this is not just an online campaign. These people are out driving on the street. We needed to think about where they actually were around the country so that we had a pretty good spread out of home as well as online.

LC: How do people find out about these first-person videos about the Fiesta in the United States?

SM: We have aggregated them on FiestaMovement.com. As you can imagine, each of these agents has a significant social network. They all know people who know people who know people. It’s a matter of word of mouth just working its way around.

Cumulative Effect of Paid Media, Earned Media and Owned Media

LC: Tell us about the cross-pollination of Ford’s digital media spend and how the social component is folded into that.

SM: We look at the social component through three forms of media: Paid media, earned media (blog posts, news items and whatnot) and our owned media, material that we produce on a regular basis.

If we can get the three of those interplaying together, it’s going to have a much more powerful effect than relying on social as a grassroots, bottom-up kind of approach and relying on PR and paid ads doing their own thing.

Measuring the Social Media Investment

LC: How is Ford measuring its social media? Are they asking, “Are we getting a proper bang for the buck based on the amount of money we’re paying Scott Monty and his staff and the time and attention of our employees worldwide? Are we getting more out of it than we’re putting in?”

SM: I was the only social media staffer here for a year, so the notion of a global manufacturer having this huge effort is not necessarily the case.

Yes, we’ve had agencies support us, but ultimately, 90% of social media is just showing up, to borrow a phrase from Woody Allen.

A lot of the credit we’re getting for social media is because we (Ford) are showing up. We’re present.

Our social media activities are really geared more around awareness and changing perception and the broad end of the sales funnel rather than the narrow end. It’s not that we put out a Tweet and we sell a car although we have had instances of it.

Humanizing Ford

LC: Somebody bought a car because of Twitter?

SM: In one Twitter conversation, one person says, “I only bought a Ford because of Twitter.” And then he goes on to say, “I bought the Ford because my interest was piqued because of Twitter, and a relationship was created, and they make a great Escape.” And then he responds to someone, “… They built a relationship with me, and I trust Ford.”

Ultimately, we want to break through that barrier of trust. If you look at the Edelman Trust Barometer, it shows that 77% of people trust corporations less in 2009 than in 2008.

Whom do they trust? They trust third-party experts such as Consumer Reports and The New York Times, and they trust people like themselves.

This whole notion of humanizing Ford is to show consumers that there are people just like them at Ford who are intelligent, talented and passionate about the company for a very good reason.

Resource List

Follow Scott Monty on Twitter: @ScottMonty.

Read his personal blog, The Social Media Marketing Blog.

Add your own images!

WordPress templates make creating a blog or a website incredibly easy. There are many choices available at WordPress.com and even more at wordpress.org (.com represents sites hosted by WordPress; .org is where you can download the platform for self-hosted sites).

However, just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean you should be lazy. A fairly high percentage of the blogs I see using WordPress still have the template header photos intact. The whole point of these templates is that you can upload your own images! Talk about making your site generic. Every person who has browsed through the WordPress templates knows what you’ve done.

One of the worst abusers I saw was a self-styled social media maven who left the lovely image of a Caribbean island as her header.  Come on. If you’re going to preach the benefits of blogging, at least learn how to upload an image. Or, if you prefer, use a template without one.

Who needs traditional advertising when YouTube is available?

First Frito-Lay eschewed the Superbowl and started running commercial contest on YouTube, Crash the Super Bowl.

Now, Ray Ban is taking viral video marketing to to the next level. If you haven’t seen the most recent video in Ray Ban’s campaign, Guy has Glasses Tattooed on his Face, then you are rapidly becoming one of the minority.

The video was posted just a week ago; already there are 1,099,435 views! Not to mention the media coverage this has generated. Did he? or didn’t he?

Actually this is just the latest in Ray-Ban’s campaign. The videos are posted on Ray-Ban’s YouTube Channel under the moniker Never Hide Films.

Each of their videos is clever, entertaining and gets people talking.

So, what do you think? Is the tattoo for real? or is it a well done fake?

Weber describes YouTube as a “juggernaut”

Thank you, Larry Weber, for helping me sell the idea of corporate YouTube channels. With your new book, Sticks & Stones: How Digital Business Reputations are Created Over Time and Lost in a Click, and your subsequent tweets, you’ve given the stamp of credibility to YouTube and made it an acceptable tool for corporate America.

For the past year I’ve been talking to my clients about the necessity of managing their on-line reputation by taking control of such viral elements as video. Now that Larry has chimed in and devoted an entire chapter of his book to YouTube perhaps they’ll pay more attention.

Maybe now people will understand that YouTube is no longer just college students lighting farts. Okay, that’s still part of it, but in general there has been an on-going shift on YouTube to more professional content that is an integral part of a company’s (or college’s) outgoing message.

Maybe now people will understand that by not participating in YouTube they are giving the control of their online reputation to the masses. Just because YOU haven’t put anything about your company on YouTube, don’t assume that there’s nothing out there.  Type your company name into YouTube and see what you find. I did that for a client of mine and showed them that there are three videos that come up. The first two were a rant from a former employee that started with the statement, “They want to shoot the president and black children at my job.” Just what you’d like your customers to find when they are looking for information about you, right?

Then there’s a college that I’ve been talking to. Type in their name and one of the top five videos was of a student, drunk, with his friends writing all over his body with black magic marker. It perhaps did not accurately convey the image of the college that they had intended.

YouTube should be evaluated and handled as part of every organization’s public relations strategy. Because, guess what? Every day more of your “public” is finding their information right there.

The Power of PR in the Social Media Environment

In today’s economy, maintaining a company’s good reputation is essential.

Over the past week, I’ve watched the power of PR and social media combine to achieve results that a single person found impossible. The issue was a custom made saddle for a professional rider. The rider had ordered the saddle from a “high end” French saddle maker at a cost of $4K.

Unfortunately for her, when said saddle was delivered, it didn’t fit her horse, despite the fact that the manufacturer’s rep had measured the horse. You’d think that in the interest of customer satisfaction, the manufacturer would take the saddle back and make it work. Well, they did take it back, but when it was returned to the customer it still didn’t fit. Two years later, the company had neither fixed the saddle or given the customer a refund.

In an act of frustration, the rider posted the story on a popular equestrian bulletin board. Watching the post expand was an interesting experience. Some readers expressed their outrage at how the rider had been treated by the custom saddle manufacturer; some shared their own customer service nightmares with the same company; and many people talked about the positive experiences they’d had with competitive companies.

After 37,868 views the company finally offered the rider a settlement. But at what cost? At least 10 writers said flat out that they would now look at other manufacturers, losing the company at least $40K in sales . . . and the long-term effect of this negative publicity is incalculable.

What Happens When Someone Types Your Company’s Name on YouTube?

Many corporate PR types and agencies still overlook the newest (and most dynamic) medium for managing their brand (or customer’s brand) on line: YouTube.

YouTube videos are flying under the radar and creating impressions that may (or may not) support your corporate identity. This is particularly an issue in the educational environment where user-created videos abound and where the creative content is well . . . different.