Own Your Conversation

A few weeks back our class had the priviledge of hearing a lecture by SEO guru Vanessa Fox.  While speaking to us via Skype, Fox discussed several companies that failed to make themselves known through Google.  As Fox explained, it’s not enough just to have an amazing Web site, people have to be able to find it, and most people find sites by Googling.  What I found most interesting were the companies that spent millions of dollars on ad compaigns and then failed to optimize their sites.  (Apparently you have to make your Web site “readable” for Google.)   One example was the “Hang in there Jack” campaign by Jack In The Box. 

Many of us remember the moment vividly.  We were happily watching and analyzing another Super Bowl commercial when our beloved Jack was suddenly blindsided by a bus!  I, for one, was shocked and concerned.  Apparently so were others.  Thousands of viewers rushed to their computers and typed “hang in there jack” into their Google search bars, but they were all greatly disappointed.  Jack’s new Web site was not launched until the moment the commercial aired, and it wasn’t landing on Google’s top ten.  What a failure!  Millions of dollars on the ad spot and no one could Google the Web site.  While I’m still concerned for poor Jack, I’m happy to report his site is now doing well on Google.

Jack’s case and Fox’s presentation inspired me to do some of my own research.  I thought of some of my most and least favorite commercials and looked into how well their respective companies “owned” the conversation.  I’ve ranked them from least to most successful:

  • Jared the Galleria of Jewelry: He Went to Jared Campaign –  Every one of the top ten Google results when searching “He went to Jared” is a Web site bashing this campaign.  This is the opposite of what a company wants.
  • Stride Gum: Alternate Uses Campain – If you search “alternate gum uses” you’ll find Stride’s official Web site as the seventh result.  It’s safely in the top ten and it’s link is clearly labeled.
  • Dancing With the Stars Campaign – Granted this campaign does not use a tagline.  The only thing you hear over and over is “Dancing With The Stars.”  Type these words into Google to understand what it means to own the conversation.
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10 Responses to Own Your Conversation

  1. sekane says:

    I think its great how you linked SEO to what we learned in class last week. Our main job is to find out what everyones talking about, join the conversation, and lead the conversation in some way. The three campaigns you site are very well known and even when I googled them, Dancing with the Stars is the only one that brought me right where I want to be. Many times, we feel entitled to quick, immediate, and the exact result we were hoping for. I get upset if I even have to scroll down in my google search. After hearing from Vanessa, I definitely understand now what some of these website developers did not about getting into the Google stream and owning the conversation.

  2. kmmorten says:

    I am glad you researched different companies campaigns. I thought Vanessa Fox had a ton of great information about SEO. I, too, was also curious about what companies owned their conversation and what would pop up when you typed in something related to their campaign. It is very important for companies to make sure their Web site is the first thing that shows up on a search engine when someone is searching for something related to their product or campaign. It’s less work for the people and allows more Web traffic to your site.

  3. elwhite2 says:

    This is really interesting. I think its extremely for a company to own their conversation just as you said. If a company does not show up in the first page of the search then they have a problem. Also, if your bad press shows up before your company name, thats even worse. I was reading the book The Search, by John Battelle,for another class and I thought it related very closely to this. It said in the future if you cant find someone in search, it will be considered weird. If there is no press, you need to create your own press about yourself so something positive will show up. An important quote said, “you are what the index says you are.” How true is that in a situation like this? If you dont have a web presence, someone else’s opinion or press about you will be your reputation… Very interesting.

  4. tmpace says:

    This is great how you linked the various campaigns. I think SEO is so important. I never trust companies that are not in the first five results. If a company does not have web presence they are going to hurt!

  5. kbergeron44 says:

    I also got the privilege of hearing that lecture and am very thankful that I did. Never had it crossed my mind that something like SEO would be the responsibility of Public Relations person. It was my understanding that the Web developer would have this under control, but apparently that isnt the case. With the great leaps and bounds that social media and the internet are taking PR I am finding it more and more important that I need to stay as tech savvy as I can to prevent issues like “Jack” from occurring to my clients.

  6. mgjersvi says:


    That’s so true! I get upset when Google does give me exactly what I’m looking for on the first try. Now I have an understanding of what companies should be doing to get their information to me.

  7. mgjersvi says:

    kmmorten –

    This was actually a fun little experiment and it’s worth checking for your in-class client too. Dr. Gilpin suggested taking a few screen shots to include in our final presentation. I bet a lot of our client’s haven’t worked on SEO.

  8. mgjersvi says:


    That’s really interesting and very true in the PR world. I remember someone blogging on the Chris Brown situation and saying that his lack of action allowed others to step in and be heard too much. If we aren’t speaking up someone else will and we can’t control what they say about us or our clients.

  9. mgjersvi says:


    Thanks. I know I don’t like to scroll down and I rarely go to the second or third page of search results.

  10. mgjersvi says:


    I didn’t want to be tech savvy and I kind of resented the need to be for a while, but it’s just that, a need. If I want to be successful in PR I have to stay with it.

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