Archive for May, 2009

"Quick! What's the Future Look Like?"

IStock_000006451839XSmallLong-time Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner is moderating a cool panel discussion on June 25th called “What’s Next in Tech: Exploring the Growth Opportunities of 2009 and Beyond.”

I am hoping to attend,but a raft of up-in-the-air commitments have kept me from clicking on the “Hell, yes, I’m there!” button.  Meanwhile, in Scott’s original blog post about the #whatsnext09 he rattled off some of the technologies he’s watching closely, and which I am excited about, as well. Here is a partial list:

Healthcare IT and electronic medical records … Digital video … Mobile apps … New forms of media/reporting/content creation … Online payment and micropayment … Better management of e-mail … New ways of interfacing with computers (touch, speech, thought, etc.) …

Meanwhile, this week we saw the emergence of the Bing search engine from Microsoft and the Google Wave collaboration/email platform from the Masters of Search.  The White House is hunting for a Cybersecurity Czar.  The Kindle ebook reader broke sales records.  The upcoming Windows 7 operating system is actually getting good buzz.  The iPhone OS 3.0 is going to make my favorite new device even more handy-dandy — and did you know that the fastest-growing cadre of iPhone converts earn $25,000 to $50,000 a year?

Even as the current economy judo-chops any & all attempts at optimism in the Business sector, the Tech Wizards continue to create cool stuff. 

This makes me happy.  Not because I like tech for tech’s sake (I do). Not because I think it’s critical for a taxi driver to own an iPhone (it’s not – though the GPS would help sometimes!) …  It makes me happy simply because it confirms that the spirit of innovation is intact.

If you are in Boston on June 25th, I sincerely encourage you to attend Mr. Kirsner’s event

Meanwhile, can you name ONE technology that you feel is “most promising” in the next 18 months?  I’d love to know your thoughts and will set up some Google Alerts for the best of the bunch, so we can monitor progress on your picks!

Poll: Are You the "Right" 5,000?

I noticed that on any given day lately, the number of RSS subscribers to this blog hovers near 5,000.  First off, thank you!  Blogging for almost 5 years has taught me the importance of each and every reader.

What I wonder, though, is whether the 5,000 regular subscribers to PR-Squared are the “right” 5,000 people.

We blog for a reason, eh?  My reasons are: 1) to generate new business for SHIFT Communications and, 2) to attract great new talent to the employee roster.  Of course, I am also happy to find new partners, too!

So this is a blog about Acquisition.  I am GIVING my knowledge and ideas in the hope that I will GET your business, your partnership or your skills.  It’s the karma strategy.

Are you a current or potential client, or a potential employee?  A potential partner?  A competitor trying to destroy me?

If “Other,” well, why are you here?

I ask because I am curious; because I want to do a good job for you.

Meanwhile, yea, while we are on the subject, selfishly I’d like to see the number of RSS subscribers grow — so regardless of your own “role” here at PR-Squared, I hope you’ll tell your friends to subscribe, if you think they’d have an interest in our conversations here.

NOTE to those reading in RSS, you’ll likely need to click through to the original post to take then survey. It will take literally 2 seconds.  Thanks!

Welcome to the Agency World

I wish this was a joke. It’s not. This is what it’s like in the world of marketing agencies right now.

Uncampaigning

NannerpussEarlier this week, ZDNet’s Social Business blogger, Jennifer Leggio (a.k.a. Mediaphyter on Twitter) posted a list of 2009’s worst Social Media failures (thus far anyway).

Among the listed examples were Denny’s “Nannerpuss” Super Bowl ad (pictured); the oft-discussed Skittles campaign; and Burger King’s “Whopper Sacrifice,” which called on socnet users to unfriend 10 people on Facebook in return for a free hamburger.

These types of initiatives remind us of how Advertising needs to continue to evolve to match the unique dynamics of Social Media.  That’s not intended as a rebuke of Advertising, rather it’s a call to action to the industry, to either a.) put community ahead of cleverness, or, b.) to embrace outrageously good (but interruptive) campaigns that don’t pretend to be about building up a “friendbase.”

The focus of Social Media Marketing should be on the organic growth of long-term relationships.  When you have a long-term relationship with a brand, you’ll give them the benefit of the doubt when they pull off a stunt; you are likely to enjoy it; you might even pass it along.

When a brand with which you have no online relationship attempts to jumpstart a Social Media following via a stunt or campaign, you will usually be skeptical.  You might be wowed initially — the advertising ideas are nearly always fun and innovative! — but, you are not likely to embrace the brand in the long-term.

For example: even if you enjoyed their clever launch into the Social Media sphere, when was the last time you visited skittles.com?  How much more often do Skittles enter your consciousness while in the checkout line?

(Not recently, not often, eh? — See what I mean?)

Long-term relationships don’t start with short-term campaigns.

But short-term campaigns are readily supported by long-term relationships.

Before You Hit "Send"

IStock_000004059811SmallClients make many requests of their PR agency.  The need for monitoring, reports, ink, etc. are various, sundry and frequent.

Ironically, those many tactical requests are never the reason an agency is hired.  You never hear, “We want to work with your agency because you presented the best coverage report … the best weekly update … the best competitive monitor … etc.”

Rather, the agency wins a new piece of business if it comes to the table with “the best ideas.”

Ideas win.

So when a client asks for our opinion and counsel on a Strategic Communications Issue — when they need a Big Idea — it’s important that we step up and deliver value.  While the day-to-day PR tasks are relatively mundane, we can shine during these opportunities.

That’s why it bothers me — a lot! — when I see a team shoot over a thoughtful, strategic document in an email that merely says, “Let us know if you’d like to discuss” (or somesuch).

If this Very Important Document is sent over to the client with the same level of fanfare as a weekly report, why should we expect the client to pore over it and marvel at our comprehension and ideas?

Before you hit “Send” on an important message on which you’ve spent considerable energy, take the extra 2 minutes to call the recipient in advance, to preview the concepts and arrange for a time to discuss the issues.

It’s not about checking off a box.  It’s about showing the value.




Show some social media love would ya?





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