You don’t have to be a fan of bees to dig Buzzphoria, but, if you know anything about PR, you will soon understand that you are dealing with a rather obscure hive. To generate buzz about their own, these busy bees use HARO (Help a Reporter Out), where I actually found them two days ago. And because Buzzphoria promises to generate “buzz” I went on Google to see what the buzz…
First, a few words about the website: a cute design, appealing, warm and personal, almost enough to grab the attention of the first time visitor and make him/her spend enough time on site to actually matter; but a site that, in the current state, is probably losing more than gaining. The information, although adequate, is incomplete, and unfortunately, the pages that matter the most are those that break the sale.
For example, the “about us” page, doesn’t actually say anything about the company – it’s filled with marketing lingo and claims that are by no means supported by the site itself. There is no information about the people behind the business, and things get even worse.
Among the specialties claimed by the company, there are at least two that should never be even mentioned: SEO and blogging. The blog’s SEO is inexistent, which is strange, considering that WordPress is by far the most search engine friendly CMS (with a number of plugins that make SEO a breeze).
Things don’t stop here: the most obscure page of the site is the “case studies” page, where you’ll find nothing but empty words. No concrete example, just theoretic scenarios and some proposed solutions that could (or not) work in a given situation. These could be real-case studies, however, in the absence of at least a customer name, they look like something thrown on the page to fill the space. There is no real value for the potential customer. Everything presents itself under a veil of secrecy hard to break.
But I am not the average Joe. I can break the secrecy if I want: it takes some time, some effort and some thinking outside the box. The point is: if it’s online, I’ll find it.
Who Is Behind Buzzphoria?
The president is Adrienne Lenhoff, whose LinkedIn profile is far more relevant and complete than the site that should bring her business. No doubt, a fine professional, warmly recommended by customers and colleagues. Aside Buzzphoria, Mrs. Lenhoff is also the president at Promo Marketing Team LLC and the owner of Shazaaam! Marketing & Public Relations. She is an award winning PR professional, information that should actually be present on Buzzphoria and Shazaaam! rather than on a third party site.
It was the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure website that gave more information about this PR exec:
Lenhoff Wise also serves on the board of Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology. She co-chairs the Marketing & PR Committee of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and is on the Small Business Advisory Council of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The information above is dated 2005, but although outdated, it is enough to reflect the professionalism of the president of Buzzphoria.
Instead of Conclusion
I wanted, and hoped to be able to provide a more positive review, I couldn’t this time, for obvious reasons. I can only hope that Buzzphoria will take this feedback and correct the issues that make its online presence obscure, and untrustworthy. The agency launched in 2009, and the negatives followed almost instantly. They used then, as they use now, HARO to attract new customers. But HARO is a strong community of professional PRs and journalists. In 2009, Scott Allen, who is a popular, and respected, social media expert, criticized with harsh words Buzzphoria’s lack of coordination and utter ignorance in things social media. Basically, Buzzphoria launched with an incomplete website, no about page, and a Twitter profile with no tweets. This happened March 27, 2009. Buzzphoria responded almost immediately to Allen’s critique, with a blog post called “The Buzzphoria End Game” where the company claims that the poor launch was on purpose, to create a “case study”:
We figured the best way to illustrate what brands and corporations often do wrong (without pointing fingers at brands and corporations that are doing it wrong) was to create a case study and example.
A witty PR twist, but in the light of the current state of their online presence, nothing but a twist. Buzzphoria still has a great web design, but it’s almost impossible to learn anything concrete about the people behind it. The case studies are still just blabber, and the social media presence (other than Mrs. Lenhoff’s on LinkedIn and Twitter) is inexistent. So Scott Allen’s opinions stand today more than yesterday:
“Social media is about people. Your case studies sound very impressive, but if I don’t know who you are, if I can’t check out your background, and if you don’t name your clients by name, for all I know, it’s bullshit. I’m not saying Buzzphoria is – I’m just saying I don’t have any way to find out.”
So if we believe that Buzzphoria launched poorly on purpose, are we to believe that they keep on making mistake after mistake for new case studies? Are we so naive? Buzzphoria’s facebook page has three followers, no updates, no information. Buzzphoria’s twitter account is suspended. The Buzzphoria blog is still a dead blog…
Sure, Buzzphoria would like to be contacted via phone or email by journalists and bloggers who want to write about them. However, this is not a must. The journalist’s time is valuable, and more often than not, a story is based on the written information already available online. In this particular situation, calling the subject is not mandatory, since all the information in the story is taken directly from the source: Buzzphoria’s own website. Namely, to avoid any misunderstandings, Buzzphoria has the responsibility to provide complete information about themselves on site. Buzzphoria has also to understand that this particular journalist was, in this review, much kinder than Soctt Allen, out of consideration for Mrs. Lenhoff, whose professionalism is beyond reproach. If only Buzzphoria reflected her excellent credentials, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
As a potential customer, what you have to look for in Buzzphoria, is that your account is managed directly by Adrienne Lenhoff, whose professional ethic and professionalism were praised by many customers and business partners.
Final note: Everything PR will continue to profile PR companies, in an effort to create a database of credible resources for our readers. If you know a PR company you’d like us to profile, feel free to recommend it in the comments box, or contact me directly (you can find my email address in the author box below). Note that all Everything PR authors might, at any point review a PR company, and that the reviews will be as impartial as humanly possible. We will, as usual, point out pros and cons (if any). We know that no one is perfect, in fact, we are still developing our own online presence as we speak. We welcome your constructive critique as well. There is only one way to grow: by accepting advice, and correcting our errors.