|Sun Dec 28 2014 21:00:27|
Former Head of eBay PR Shares Lessons Learned
By: Ina Steiner
Some readers have been selling online long enough to remember eBay's Kevin Pursglove, the public relations spokesperson who was tasked with putting out warm-and-fuzzy stories about the marketplace and answering questions from the media about tough issues such as website outages.
Lots of PR folk have come and gone from eBay since then, including Kevin, but it's rare to hear them speak publicly about their time there after they've left the company. John Pluhowski is the exception.
Last week, he - like many Silicon Valley executives, including eBay CEO John Donahoe - took to the business-networking site LinkedIn to publish an essay.
Of his time at eBay he states, "I didn't realize at the time that I would be embarking on a career journey that would teach me more in the next five years than I had learned in the previous twenty. As I reflect back upon my years at eBay, I am truly grateful for the experience. I learned valuable lessons that have shaped me, both as a communicator and as a person. I hope these five lessons will serve as a guide to others."
The first lesson was, be the customer - "Nobody at eBay was happy to see Amazon boxes in the mail room during the holiday season," he shared.
He also talked about eBay CEO John Donahoe and how he visited other CEOs - "from mature industry leaders to young startup founders - to gain valuable insights that influenced his own strategic thinking."
About eBay's global rebranding he said, "A healthy appetite for risk is what emboldened us to take the road less traveled and announce the global re-brand of eBay without ever issuing a press release. Instead, we decided to communicate with our stakeholders via digital and social channels. We relished the fact that we could not find another great brand that had done this before."
The result, he said: "we created a virtuous cycle of engagement that topped one billion impressions, with social media engagement representing the lion's share of our success. We took a risk, and our success metrics exceeded our highest expectations. It was an awesome moment and, arguably, one of the proudest during my tenure at eBay."
John joined eBay in March 2009 and left in June of this year, 6 months after eBay let it be known that Carl Icahn had set out to breakup eBay and PayPal, which is now on track to happen in 2015.
The end of one year and beginning of another is a time of reflection. With the beginning of the New Year just days away, John has given readers some things to think about. You can read his essay on LinkedIn - what do you think?