Welcome to the August edition of “Curation Corner,” my list of the best July articles on marketing, branding and public relations!
Click on the titles in blue below to read the articles themselves.
The New York Times, July 27
I wrote about Unilever’s surprising $1 billion acquisition of 5-year-old mail-order razor company Dollar Shave Club here.
Just a few days later I discovered Steven Davidoff Solomon’s analytical piece in The New York Times’ Dealbook that highlights the dangerous precedent of that sale:
“The deal anecdotally shows that no company is safe from the creative destruction brought by technological change. The very nature of a company is fundamentally changing, becoming smaller and leaner with far fewer employees.”
Specifically, Dollar Shave Club was able to leverage technology to effectively challenge shaving giant Gillette without spending millions of dollars on advertising or the salespeople required to get their product on the shelves of grocery and convenience stores nationwide.
It also outsourced almost everything but its branding, meaning it employs fewer than 200 people.
“Dollar Shave Club has over three million subscribers but only about 190 employees. Its razors were made in South Korea by Dorco. Distribution was initially handled in-house but eventually was contracted to a third-party company in Kentucky.”
This piece is worth reading because it demonstrates how new advances in technology – from cloud computing on demand to the ubiquity of smartphones, have allowed companies like AirBNB, Dollar Shave Club and Uber to disrupt industries at a massive scale – costing American jobs in the process.
Forbes, July 14
Contributor Fernando Alfonso III details the explosive growth in Pokemon Go-related side jobs – mostly Craigslist-advertised offers to:
- help train people on the game;
- go running with their smartphones (building up the necessary distance required to hatch the game’s egg); or
- chauffeur them by car in order to find rare pokemon.
The asking price for all of these services? Approximately $20 per hour.
While Pokemon Go may turn out to be a passing fad, this article simply underscores entrepreneurship at its best: where there’s a popular new product, enterprising people will seek to monetize it in new and creative ways.
Harvard Business Review, July 27
Author Cameron Craig details five lessons for public relations he learned by working from Apple for 20 years, from 1997 – when the company was a loser beset by the recent failure of the early Newton PDA — through the company’s massive turnaround with such products as the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
- Keep it simple – 4th grade reading level or lower for all press releases, articles, etc.
- Value reporters’ time – only contact them when you have something compelling to offer.
- Be hands on – guide and tutor reporters and reviewers in how to use the products, so they have their questions answered and understand the best features before they write.
- Stay focused – focus only on the media opportunities that further your company’s mission and products. This means refusing opportunities to comment on industry trends, etc.
- Prioritize media influencers – quality over quantity.
Craig’s post received so many reactions that he published a follow-up on LinkedIn:
The Washington Post, July 26
Caitlin Dewey explores why Vine is dying.
“5,000 of Vine’s top 9,725 accounts — including media outlets, professional athletes, brands and celebrities — have stopped posting to the platform” this year, in favor of competing video platforms including YouTube and Facebook.
This post, and several related articles, inspired my own post The Decline of Vine.
Buffer, July 11
The title says it all. Brilliant curation by Courtney Seiter. Well worth a read.
Did I miss anything? What were your favorite articles in the areas of branding, marketing or public relations in July?
Let me know in the comments below.