Hodgepodge: McAfee vs. NSA; Instagram Builds Brands? Twitter IPO?


Hodgepodge: McAfee vs. NSA, Instagram branding; Twitter IPO

There’s word that John McAfee is building some type of affordable device to block the NSA from accessing your information…

McAfee Takes on NSA Infiltration
There’s word that John McAfee is building some type of affordable device to block the NSA from accessing your information. Mashable has the full story. In summary, if you use the device on a small private network it will block the NSA from accessing your personal data stored on devices, including smartphones. This includes the NSA knowing who or where you are.

So, what’s the PR point to this? It’s well known Mr. McAfee is under investigation for a shooting death and has some bad PR surrounding him due to this. So, when a guy with this much bad PR around him decides he can launch a product to beat you – the NSA – well, you can just imagine how much worse the bad PR is for the NSA. It probably doesn’t get much worse for almost any company than the negative publicity the agency has at the moment. In fact, any company would not survive such bad PR. Fortunately for the NSA, it doesn’t operate it operates to make a buck.

Fortune 500s Using Instagram to Build Brands?
There’s another recent story I read, that I will not reference, with the title alluding that big companies can use Instagram to build their brands. While social media can certainly help hurt or ruin brands, they don’t build brands. They can help to reinforce established positions or perceptions. They can help promote specific campaigns and so on. But, only PR coupled with an innovative product or service can build and sustain a brand identity. Marketing helps reinforce what PR establishes and social media plays a role in this reinforcement. Going about it another way is just going about it with difficulty.

I have yet to hear about a company that went public because they had a killer Facebook page or awesome Tweets.

Speaking of going public…

Twitter to Go Public
There are plenty of stories about a Twitter IPO filing being made public this week. I can’t help but chime in that I always cringe at hearing about a well-known successful company going public. It usually means a move away from a focus on innovation and towards profits at all costs. As I always say to myself when I read news of a pending IPO, I hope Twitter is one of the rare few that somehow manages to keep innovation at its core. Now, that being said, Twitter has really not innovated lately. And, it still has a lot of room to grow just in increasing its user base. It will probably try to leverage its IPO into establishing more advertising revenues but, it should consider innovation to grow its user base. There’s probably a user-based reason why more people aren’t using Twitter – even if a whole heck of a lot are, there are still a whole heck of a lot more that are not. The user reason can probably be addressed by an innovation to attract more users as opposed to advertising them to death before you attract them. After all, the more users it can continue to bring on, the better its advertising platform plans will become.