Facebook fights back

It looks like Facebook has pulled a PR rabbit out of the hat in double quick time with a little help from my friends as the Beatles sang. In a previous opinion piece on the Facebook IPO saga I commented on what I see as poor communication from FB which is a weakness when compared with some of their closer rivals.

In today’s Financial Times FB’s PR team have managed to get the lead story on the media page. It is a classic Virgin pr approach as it talks about FB ‘preparing’ to launch a system for measuring advertising ROI.

However the more interesting  slant on the story is how they have managed to get two seriously heavyweight industry names to endorse the move. First off is David Jones, CEO of Havas and a member of FB’s ‘Client Council’ where he says “What I have seen Facebook working on in ROI is very compelling. They know they need to prove it. You will see that come out in the future.”

Second up is Keith Weed, Unilever’s CMO and another member of the ‘Client Council’ who says he was “very happy” with the results his brands have gained from FB, adding Facebook was making “good progress” on calculating its clients’ ROI.

Very good structure to the release. It has the key ingredients; announcing something new and good, in the future, backed up by a big advertising name and a big advertisers name, i.e. it isn’t FB saying these things which would have far less gravitas in the current circs.  In one brief story it addresses the key issues covered elsewhere in the world’s press.

A very good start but it isn’t helped by the headline adjacent to this story. The ‘Inside Business’ column screams ‘How Facebook’s IPO went from triumph to disaster’. Never mind, at least FB did get the bigger headline.

In the previous FB piece I applauded Apple for its outstanding marketing where one of the strings to their propaganda bow is to tease upcoming events. This feeling of yet another gob smacking product about to be launched gives Apple the attribute of movement and progression, from memory BrandZ calls this ‘brand momentum’.

Although I did suggest in the previous piece that marketing isn’t the answer to all of FB’s challenges, I am minded to believe today’s story is a big and important step in FB wrestling back the pr initiative in their favour.

Six months of good, robust stories about FB’s development might just see the IPO saga disappear, just like the T5 opening drama at Heathrow. Maybe we will see the stock price get past the $38 offer price after all.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/doktorspinn/2307921375


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