Ten Years Gone

26443819376_b8099eaa61_k Ten years is a long time. Ten years of blogging? Well, that seemed unfathomable back in 2006, yet, here we are. This week marks my tenth full year of blogging. Things have changed so much since I began. Back then it was edgy, then it become profitable. Now, it seems passé and marginalized. In 2006, writing something new and cool excited me. In the 2008-9 range, blogging was majestic, an exhilarating experience that brought attention, notoriety and opportunity. By 2011, it became a grind. Feeding the beast to stay relevant forced me into a daily blogging discipline. Then after a series of private disappointing events related to my last business book something happened. I stopped giving a damn what other people thought of my blog. Relevancy, topic, edgy, not edgy. It just didn’t matter to me anymore. Perhaps I realized what a fool I had been.

The Joy of Blogging
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A New Blog and Approach for 2016

23480576931_90140aa48e_k You’ll probably notice a new simple blog design on the site. The revised geofflivingston.com reflects a greater focus on photography, and less on books and writing as a whole. This reflects an anticipated larger strategic shift with my own activities online in 2016. Next year will bring a professional change. With it will come a reduced focus on marketing personal consulting services. I will reveal more when I can. As a result, at some point during the next year I anticipate letting myself off the hook for a weekly post, and will simply blog when I have something to say. I know people like to interpret these things and go off and write posts about bloggers quitting and riding off into the sunset. This is not that. It is not a resignation, nor the end. Instead, it represents a maturation and an evolution. There are two drivers behind
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How the “outsiders” upped British creativity in marketing as well as music, literature and film in the 1960′s and ’70s

I am indebted to the brilliant contemporary British historian and storyteller Dominic Sandbrook and his excellent new history of British creative industries, “The Great British Dream Factory” (Allen Lane) for this post on creativity through diversity. 61b4DvnEM1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ I, we, talk a lot about diversity in our PR industry. A lot of our focus, rightly, is on greater gender equality. Indeed my firm has just published (embed link to the research on the .co.uk website) new research which looks at gender as a new driver of corporate reputation. In advertising The 3% Conference  – see below – has highlighted that until recently only that tiny percentage of advertising creative directors were women, and now thanks to their campaigning that’s up to 11% and rising. I am also focused on racial and social diversity, the subject of previous blog posts and action by the PRCA, The Taylor Bennett Foundation and others. Sandbrook
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Links With History

This week I attended the funeral of my neighbour Dick at our West Sussex ancient village church. Dick had reached 95 – a good innings as they say – and until six weeks ago had been a regular sight to us heading off in his car for his morning paper and taking a walk down the lane. It was as much celebration as sadness. When we got to the church we were handed the order of service. On the front was a picture of our familiar friend, smiling. On the back was a sepia picture of him in his army uniform. It was almost a shock to connect someone we knew to real, world changing history. Dick had been born in 1920, two years after the end of WW1 and into a Britain struggling to recover from the decimation of a generation. WW2 broke out when he was 19. One Continue reading "Links With History"

UNSPUN

I must have attended around twenty Labour Party conferences over the years, first as an activist, then as a party staffer and spin doctor, and then as a lobbyist. Not an evolution that will play well with the average member clapping delightedly at Jeremy Corbyn’s speech yesterday and celebrating “getting our party back”. (Back from who? The Blairite control freaks? The voters? Worth bearing in mind that Labour members may have elected Corbyn, but voters elected Labour MPs, most of whom regard Corbyn and their potential political oblivion with horror.) While he was speaking back home in the UK, I was giving a speech on public relations, truth telling and reputation at the excellent IPRA Congress in Jo’burg. Big themes of the event and the many great presentations were the death of spin, and the need for authenticity, dialogue and real engagement by business and business leaders. One senior
Britain's leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn delivers his keynote speech at the party's annual conference in Brighton
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The Roundup: PR News for the Week of May 11

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Why Does LinkedIn Remain the Overlooked Stepchild of Social Media?

Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog – May 4, 2015

Did you know that 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social presence? This includes Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn. A regularly updated LinkedIn profile carries numerous business and personal benefits for C-level executives and this article discusses tips and tricks on how to build your presence.

4 Twitter Assumptions PR Pros Commonly Make

PR News – May 5, 2015

How often do you use Twitter to engage with key influencers? This article discusses ways you can maximize 140 characters using one of the most powerful tools in PR – Twitter!

3 Ways to Measure Genuine Online Engagement

PR Daily – May 6, 2015

Why is measuring engagement more important that measuring page views? Page views tend to be a false metric because it’s difficult to determine if the reader was fully Continue reading "The Roundup: PR News for the Week of May 11"

A Nine Year Rant

Last week marked my nine year blogiversary. Actually, it’s nine years of blogging, but this blog came afterwards. I sold my first one, the Buzz Bin. So one might ask why am I still blogging and what have I learned? Here are nine mini-insights and rants about blogging and content as a whole to celebrate.

1) Blogging Is Not Everything

When I was caught up in the social media wave, blogging and the online presence it created was everything. It was an incredibly freeing tool that sent me on a wild writer’s journey, one I had always dreamed about. Over the last few years, I’ve come to see that blogging as little more than a tool. Blogs, photos and social media in general are very useful, but they ALL have their place. When I see content marketers and other communicators prioritize their blogs as most important, I shrug. Maybe it’s
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Pub Club Recap: Analyst Relations is More Than a PR Quote

The analysts sector is brimming with new firms popping up every day to share their expertise, advice and analysis of the technology industry. No longer is the analyst game being played by just the “big three” – Gartner, Forrester and IDC. Analysts are bridging the gap from strict research-focus to become more mainstream “journ-analysts,” contributing to blogs, media sites and more. Others have built out followings on Twitter, Facebook and are staples at some of the most forward-looking industry events. Yet even as analysts relations has evolved in scope, the need for that third-party validation remains central to drivanalyst relationsing sales for technology vendors. And, it’s something that can, at times, seem unattainable to new vendors on the market (or even older giants looking for a refresh) to break into the next “quadrant” or next “wave.” This week the Publicity Club of New England hosted an exclusive event to tackle this topic with industry veteran Charlie Guyer. Principal and Founder of the Guyer Group, Charlie shared insight based on more than two decades of experience working in strategic communications roles in the technology industry. Here are some of Charlie’s keys to the analyst game:

1. Analyst relations IS a game

Each firm functions differently. Some of the bigger firms can appear difficult to work with at times given strict rules and contract obligations. However, there are some firms whose analysts have just as much experience, but they may have a different format or approach than the bigger guys. A quality analyst relations program looks at the whole picture of who is doing what, where and why.

2. Analyst relations is worth playing the game

It always benefits vendors to establish relationships with industry analysts. Buyers still weigh analyst opinion as one of the key drivers, if not the top factor, that influences their purchasing behavior. Analysts have the power to influence potential customers and drive sales, so it’s a no brainer that every vendor should be investing now to become a better player.

3. Analyst relations can be opinionated

When working with a variety of analysts who spend every day meeting with a vendor’s competitors and customers, it’s natural to run across experts who are swayed toward one product or service over another. That doesn’t mean that newer vendors shouldn’t connect with those analysts. It just means that vendors will need a strategic approach to their program. Frequent briefings and regular communications will help analysts get to know a vendor better and even possibly sway their opinions in a new direction. Analyst relations may be more misunderstood than even PR sometimes, but the benefits from integrating a strategic program into a vendor’s communication’s approach should be clear. If you’re still not sold, just ask Charlie! Read More: How Analyst Relations Programs Build Brand Awareness
Want to learn more about how to leverage PR for marketing – and vice versa? In The Evolution of PR, Content Marketing and Blogging, we cover: – The ongoing changes in the world Continue reading "Pub Club Recap: Analyst Relations is More Than a PR Quote"

Pub Club: Analyst Relations in the Tech Sector

Guyer_Group For companies selling products and services in the technology sector, a strong industry analyst relations program has the potential to provide a host of benefits, in terms of visibility and revenue growth.  However, understanding how to run an effective, measureable program capable of providing strategic value is still a mystery to many companies and communications practitioners alike. Industry analyst like Gartner, Forrester and IDC, as well as niche firms, are crucial influencers and need to be a part of a technology/B2B communications and PR program. On Wednesday, March 18 at 6 p.m., join Charlie Guyer, Principal and Founder of the Guyer Group, and The Publicity Club of New England (Pub Club), for an informative and exciting deep-dive into the world of analyst relations. Charlie has more than two decades of experience working in strategic communications roles in the technology industry. He has held executive-level positions at the industry’s most prominent companies, including Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and Goodman Networks, and has worked in both agency environments and at venture-backed start-ups. The program will be held at Wayfair’s corporate offices, located at 4 Copley Place. To register, please visit the Pub Club’s programs page.

CONTROL

I have been having some interesting conversations with senior political journalists, new media leaders, digital & social media managers for press and broadcast organisations and social media political consultants in recent weeks. It’s part of a study I am doing, with The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, on how social media might be used to engage people more in political debate and the forthcoming general election. I will be looking specifically at engagement, as opposed to the media using social as just another channel to broadcast their coverage. A dominant theme is control. Or loss of control. Pre social media powerful media brands told us which way to vote. Who The Sun would back was almost as important an event in politics as the outcome of the election. sun

Source: Wikimedia

I still expect press & broadcasting to be a major influencer of how we make up our minds, but given the woeful state of political disillusion at the moment, it would be nice to see the media engage and inform more – and social media is ideally suited for that. An early good example is Sky News’ #Stand Up Be Counted, where the main party leaders faced questions live both from a studio audience of young voters and via Twitter and Facebook, and was produced in collaboration with Facebook. There was huge buzz on social media, from reactions to Ed talking about his career to Dave’s bafflement on tampon taxes. asd

Source: Twitter.com/skySUBC

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PR isn’t dead, spin is dead, and the future of PR is female.

I have been doing a lot of university talks and panel discussions recently, broadly on the “Future of PR” theme. I have debated with my friend Robert Phillips, whose crowd-funded book “Trust me, PR is dead” is out soon and worth buying. I have made some statements that have caused disagreement, concern, alarm and pained expressions, and been retweeted without the supporting evidence. So for the record, let me elaborate.   PR isn’t dead If anything, it is growing in numbers and influence and “beyond traditional PR” reach. It is evolving, not dying.  62,000 professional PRs in the UK alone and rising. Attracting talented young people who previously would have gone into law or finance or management consultancy. With digital and social media changing everything, it is moving beyond the media relations silo that it has been in for most of our profession’s lifespan. We were not created as a profession of press release writers, but print and then broadcast media were the main channels. That is no longer the case. There is a lot of debate about whether, in a post (traditional) media world, “Public Relations” is an adequate descriptor for what we do. I am less concerned about this navel gazing.
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If I Could to Start Social Over Again

Looking online at the top social media news articles, it is amazing how Facebook and Twitter still dominate conversations. Yet, if I could start over from scratch — I would not use Facebook and Twitter for both professional and personal online efforts. I have been online in social networks for a long time now. These days when I speak on panels I am the old guy, which is a bit weird. There are others who have been around longer than me or who have walked the earth for many more days, but nevertheless history and legacy are a burden. The past can prevent you from moving forward unless you make a conscientious decision to embrace change. Consider that online media giant AOL still has 2.3 million dial-up subscribers, yet their business is moving towards online video programming. AOL manages to innovate, but where would they be if they hadn’t been bold and moved towards online content as their primary offering with the acquisitions of Engadget, the Huffington Post and TechCrunch years ago? The same could be said for how you invest time online. Today, because I have shifted much of my content production to photography, I spend more time on Flickr and 500 Pixels than I do Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Google+. When I do participate on those sites, more of ten than not it’s either for business or to post a picture. I look at the interactions with my customer base, and believe in some instances that I am wasting my time. So given my customers, passions and the interaction, where would I start?

Separate the Person from the Business

15613366809_b43688c5f6_k In the mid 2000s, everyone associated their personalities with their blogs. It was the age of personal brands, and like many others — in spite of my protests about personal branding as a movement — I weaved my personal social media activity and blogging for business together. As a result, it was harder to scale prior companies, and my own personal adventures and missteps impacted business. Tenacity5 is different (I hope). I have a role as president, and while I am the front man, but it isn’t a personality vehicle. It is a business. For example, T5 does not promote my personal projects. It is a brand that allows people to provide services, people that are more than me. As the company grows, this will be essential. I increasingly try to create separation between the business and my interests. It is only on LinkedIn that I allow the two to completely merge, and largely because I see LinkedIn as a business only network.

Facebook Is a Waste of Business Time… Sort of

6869272119_89578c0923_b I’ve blogged before about how Facebook is almost a zero-sum game for pure marketing posts. Analytics continues to reaffirm that when posts are marketing centric they fail. When they are personal, they tend to do well. Though I caught a lot of grief back then for not marketing on Facebook, I am no longer the only one experiencing this. I feel like this is particularly true of marketing agencies. We are experimenting again with the Tenacity5 Media Facebook page, but I have sincere doubts. Unless your friends are all marketers or you have a serious ad budget, people don’t want to read crap about content marketing on Facebook. What Facebook is good for is my customers seeing photos, but I doubt they are hiring me because I post nice pics. In my mind Facebook is a place to post my photos, not to talk shop. And my photography hobby benefits greatly from it. Google+ is definitely in the same vein. People love photos and tech talk and not much else up there, at least in my feed. I would say that Twitter, though not the most liked or popular network, is a primary driver for business traffic, so I would continue to invest in Twitter. I do find the conversations to be lacking personally. Then I must admit — as much as it irks me a times — that LinkedIn has successfully become the place for B2B conversations. And a marketing agency is a B2B play. So from a business perspective, I see LinkedIn as important. So much so that we need to find ways to better engage there in the future. I don’t think much of Instagram or Pinterest right now. The results have been fun at times, but I fail to see the value. I am keeping an open mind, though.

Not Blogging

15318314777_0f9d935c33_k Today, I wouldn’t waste my time blogging as a primary business activity. In fact, for the most part I have slowed down significantly. I still post once a week here, mostly because I believe that a blog still has a role in my online life, even if it is for the fewer. But the topics are stream of conscious now. There is no editorial mission outside of what I think, and no real business goal outside of supporting personal projects. Why? Because you cannot succeed as a marketing blogger without these two necessary components: High quality posts that are clearly focused and a frequency of at least once if not twice a day. Without consistency, precision and excellence, the marketing blogger game is a loser. There are too many branded blogs and too many consultancies publishing for it to be as effective as it used to be. I do not have the wherewithal to commit the necessary resources to blog as a primary outreach mechanism today. So, while it was a big deal back in the day, without the ability to commit the necessary resources, blogging is not a primary mechanism. In the future, if Tenacity5 grows beyond 20 or 30 people I will recommit to daily content for the sector. Until then, there are other actions that yield more awareness, personal content (e.g. photos and books) that fares better than blogs, and marketing activities that are more profitable for the time investment. What do you think? Sign up for the monthly marketing mash-up. You won’t find these tips on a blog!

PR by numbers?

I was pleased last week to be a speaker and panelist at an excellent PR Moment session on big data. This post is based on my research, talk and interactions. When I first heard the topic I was kinda surprised – prior to a PR agency I worked in politics where research and analytics were a core currency. Been there, done that. But the more I talk with clients and PR practitioners, the more I look at PR industry evolution and talk to the (often woefully underprepared) PR people of tomorrow, the more one grasps the scale of the data & information avalanche, the more I see this discussion is live and urgent. Hence, post Cannes, a timely issue for PR Moment to tackle. So here goes…. CAN YOU DO PR BY THE NUMBERS? Like many other phenomena from the digital revolution, the emergence of big data is often described in a plethora of big statistics and ‘blimey!’ gee-whiz facts that illustrate its incredible growth. For example, KPMG reckons the total volume of business data in the world increased by 30% between 2010 and 2011. Eric Schmidt of Google claims that every two days we produce as much information as had been created since the dawn of time and 2003. We also heard scary stats like the fact that 48 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every second. Likewise 100,000 tweets generated. Etc etc. The growth of mass information has been a catalyst for, if not the source of, a degree of introspection and self-doubt, if not occasional blind panic, within the PR industry. There are some legitimate fears. How we best incorporate data and data scientists into our industry, an industry not widely known in the recent past for a hunger for numbers? How do we measure and sift this mass of data and where are the industry standards that measure this information? These are some of the big issues perplexing PR industry thinkers and leaders. Despite all this, a recent survey by Ragan showed that 54 percent of public relations professionals didn’t really know what big data is, let alone what to do with it. SCIENCE & ART IN HARMONY If data is the ‘science’ and creativity the ‘art’, we have to get the right balance between the two – they are mutually supportive, not at odds. Using data to create efficiently targeted ads that inspire no one is not progress, and neither is a piece of zany creative designed just to win an award as opposed to truly engaging people. Our clients are not in the Gutter Bar – they want our help to look at the stars (sorry, been wanting to use that gag for ages). Big data should be an opportunity for us to improve our offering, not a threat to our creative instincts. In the words of my chief creative officer Gabriela Lungu: “Creativity is not the fruit of lucky inspiration or a one-off stroke of creative genius, but rather the result of an entire operating system; this is how we make sure we deliver creative, innovative ideas, fuelled by deep insight and analysis, over and over again”. It’s an attitude that my firm Weber Shandwick, which has always focused on engagement, has long fostered within the business. This was part of the thinking behind the development of our Science of Engagement brand health tracker tool. Using sophisticated research gathered from experts in the field of psychology, neurology and anthropology, the Science of Engagement offering gives brands the opportunity to explore how effectively they are engaging with their customers and the wider world, through understanding behaviours and analysing the numbers. In advertising, data and concrete evaluation methods – along with creativity – have always been at the heart of the business. The only real restriction on a firm operating in an environment with so much data is its capacity to collect and analyse that information effectively. But it is not just a matter of asking more questions. It is about asking the right questions. As the economist Ronald Coase once said “torture the data, and it will confess to anything.”. An over-reliance on data, gathering the wrong data, or twisting it to suit your objectives can be disastrous for a brand, company or organisation. As I stressed in a previous post clients look to us for creative bravery. You can do PR by the numbers but the results are likely to be thoroughly disinteresting. At the core of what we do are our “incites” – the original creative thought and call to action at the heart of a campaign, based on deep and thoughtful insights. Science + Art. Image: Jackmalcolm.com

How to Run a B2B Marketing Campaign on LinkedIn

LinkedIn can help drive traffic to company websites. In fact, it drives the bulk of it. Recent research shows that the professional social network is responsible for sending 64 percent of all social media referral traffic to corporate websites. That’s a clear indicator that LinkedIn users, on the whole, are a little more professionally-minded than users across other social channels. So, naturally, LinkedIn is a great place for marketers to run an effective B2B marketing campaign. But how can you reach your target audience? And… does it really work? March recently ran a B2B marketing campaign on LinkedIn, so we thought we would share what we did, how we did it and how well it worked:

1. Create a Sponsored Update.

Sponsored Updates help a company get a targeted message out in front of prospects. They’re easy to make and pretty affordable. All you have to do is set a budget and select an update to sponsor. We cover this process in a lot more detail in our eBook, “How to Use LinkedIn for Lead Gen.” The most important part of a Sponsored Update is the content. Most companies verify their digital marketing success by clicks, not impressions. If you get a prospect to click to the company website, you can consider the campaign something of a success. Of course, for a B2B marketing campaign to really take off, companies need to have something more in place when prospects arrive at their website.

2. Offer Something of Value.

As with all content marketing, engagement is heavily reliant on the kind of content that you offer. March decided to run a Sponsored Update that promoted our latest eBook. Incidentally, an eBook about how to generate leads for LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a pretty robust analytics engine that keeps track of how prospects interact with the update. You can monitor impressions, followers, clicks and more in very prominently displayed green numbers.

3. Establish What Success Looks Like.

Success from a B2B marketing campaign on LinkedIn has to be defined by more than clicks. What’s a lead worth? Do you have a way to capture lead information when they do click through a LinkedIn Sponsored Update? Premium content should be gated behind an email form that collects company information, first name, last name and email. That will allow you to qualify the leads that come in from a landing page. If you want to see the exact effect LinkedIn has on downloads, create a unique landing page and use that as the link within the Sponsored Updates.

Is it Worth It?

March’s first LinkedIn campaign was small. We spent $50 and targeted marketing executives in tech industries who were only on the East Coast. In the end, we had 14 people click through to the link, seven of whom downloaded the eBook. Two were qualified leads. As a nice bonus, we got two new followers on LinkedIn, so they’re guaranteed to see our future content. At the end of the day, getting leads really means gaining a new way of staying in touch with your audience. To test how to run a B2B marketing campaign on LinkedIn, all you have to do is set up a Sponsored Update and see if that happens. Read More: Want More Engagement on LinkedIn? Find Some Champions.
Want to learn more? In How to Use LinkedIn for Lead Gen, we cover:
  • The right groups to join for tech B2Bs
  • The “champion” strategy to encourage employees to engage
  • How to set up & run Sponsored Updates and LinkedIn Ads
  • How to optimize a company page for sales & lead gen
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Easing Up on the Blog Throttle

A tension exists in my business life. It’s the tension of new business development versus client work versus blogging. Then there is the creative tension of wanting to finish writing The War to Persevere (3/4 of the way there), shoot more photos, and develop better, more visual blog stories. Oh yeah, I have a finite amount of time to invest because I insist on being a present father first. So I’m going to blog less. Crazy? Maybe. 13176497103_cd8f6f7772_b But what would you say if I told you that my photo blog on Flickr gets as much traffic in a week as my regular blog does in a whole month? Perhaps you and others who follow me online are telling me something. After talking with a few peers who have been around for several years and who enjoy good reputations, I made the decision to ease up on the blogging throttle. I am giving myself permission to blog less. What does that mean? Usually, you will still find a couple of posts here a week. But you won’t get three posts at 7 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Only one of them will be guaranteed at a certain time, which is the Monday post. There may be a week here and there where that Monday post is the only one on this site. I understand the consequence of this decision. I know that frequency drives readership and search indexing. If the blog was driving new business like it was five years ago, I would not make the move. But, I find leads are coming through my networks these days. Credibility within my circles has been established. Moving forward, online credibility will come from major initiatives like xPotomac, novels, books, photos, events and certain social networks. The written blog is a part of the recipe, it’s just not the primary ingredient anymore. 13176649964_ab7d18dd08_b Having built a couple of other more successful blogs in the past few years, I know that even with three or four posts a week, I can’t compete with marketing blogs that post two to three times a day on a pure traffic basis. The content shock era demands frequency to win. There is one exception, and that would be if I were to start blogging about social media marketing again three or four times a week. However, that’s just something I cannot make myself do. I’ve tried before, and the topic drives me crazy after a few months. Frankly, I struggle writing one or two social media posts a week on the Vocus blog and here. Nor do I think that would be a smart business decision for Tenacity5 Media, and how I envision media evolving. I could make this a content publication filled with guest posts and different voices. However, that would require ending discussions on many topics, including science fiction and personal thoughts. I don’t want to do that. It may be done in the future somewhere else, but not on geofflivingston.com. There is still a need to talk, share great ideas, and remain present. When I’ve got something to say, I am going to say it. But I don’t want to blog because I have to or at the expense of other works, a new business opportunity, or client work quality. At a minimum, it should be enjoyable. So there it is. Expect less frequency here.

Fun Facts Friday: Meet Becca Crouse, Operations Manager

For this week’s Fun Facts Friday, we talked to Becca Crouse, Operations Manager at March Communications. 1. Where were you born? I was born in Cambridge but raised in Framingham. I just bought a house in Framingham because I love the town and can’t picture living anywhere else! Living close to my family has been a great perk.  2. Where did you attend school? I attended the University of Rhode Island. When the time came to make a decision on which school to attend, I chose the one that had the prettiest campus and was closest to the beach – priorities. 3. Where did you work before March? This was my first professional job once I graduated, but I’ve had previous internships at a non-profit organization for children and adults with disabilities. 4. What do you like to do for fun? I like to read, hang out with my friends, family and puppy and travel. My newest obsession is Pinterest. I never actually follow through with what I pin though, so I guess you could call me a Pinterest hoarder. 5. Where was your last vacation? My last mini-vacation was Cape Cod to be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding! Before that, my last lengthy vacation was Miami with my family. 6. What’s your favorite book? I don’t have a specific favorite. My favorite genres are romance and mystery. Yes…I’m that girl. 7. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? I traveled to Newport, RI last year with my sister to see my friend from URI, and on the way there, we decided to get an impromptu tattoo. Why not? 8. What do you like the most about March? The amount of value and trust placed in each employee, regardless of level or experience.

Samsung’s Oscar Product Placement: Is All PR Good PR?

Whether or not you watched the Oscars on Sunday, by now you’ve probably seen Ellen DeGeneres’ Twitter-crashing, record-breaking Oscars selfie, taken with Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 smartphone.

It seemed like every time Ellen was onstage during the awards ceremony, she was wielding the massive Galaxy S5, taking selfies and live-tweeting while hosting the show. A celebrity endorsement is great PR. A celebrity using the product in front of millions of people? Even better.

In their latest ad campaign, Samsung advertised their newest phone model through the Oscars almost seamlessly. Almost.

 

Backstage Blunder

Unfortunately for Samsung, the whole thing seemed a bit forced after the first few photos Ellen live-tweeted using the phone. The blurry, discolored results of almost all Ellen’s S5 photos (aside from the viral selfie) didn’t exactly generate the kind of PR for the S5 that Samsung probably hoped it would. Especially in comparison to some of the photos Ellen tweeted backstage with her personal iPhone.

The difference is almost embarrassing. Since Samsung failed to take into account the use of personal smartphones backstage at the Oscars, they ended up dealing with the consequences of several unintentional comparisons to their biggest competitor, Apple.

Slate sums the situation up well: “Samsung shelled out big money to sponsor the Oscars and still managed to come out of the event looking like the brand that people only use when they’re forced to.”

Despite this law of unintended consequences, Samsung showed that with a bit of clever strategizing, product placement can definitely work more effectively and more memorably than most traditional advertising, as long as brands remember to cover all their bases.

Samsung’s unique strategy, in collaboration with Ellen’s comical acts onstage, gained a lot more interest than a traditional smartphone ad would’ve.

According to USA Today, the viral selfie Ellen tweeted boosted consumer “consumption” of the Samsung name by 27 times, with Samsung mentions topping 900 per minute during the stunt.

Combined with the creative meme-based content posted by Ellen through selfies and social sharing, Samsung was able to recover from iPhone photos taken at the Oscars by being a part of the most retweeted photo in the history of Twitter, as well as one of the most seamless product placement ad campaigns in recent years.

Read More: 

Caribou Coffee: Pinning the Way to Success


In The Evolution of PR, Content Marketing and Blogging, we cover:

- The ongoing changes in the world of PR
- The principles of content marketing for tech companies
- Important blogging strategies
- How to use press releases for more than just brand-building

Download

 

The No Fly Zone (Except Exodus)

We are in the midst of that rare holiday season when Christmas and New Years both land on a Wednesday. People are enjoying vacations throughout the two weeks, forcing many non-retail businesses into a no fly zone. Little can be done until the new year begins and folks return to work.

Like most entrepreneurs, my business will be coasting through these weeks with one exception. I’ll be giving Exodus away for free on the Kindle from December 24 through the 28th.

Last year I gave away Twitter header images as a holiday giveaway. This year, it’s the novel.

If you haven’t picked up Exodus yet, this is your last chance to do so for free. If you bought Exodus on Kindle prior to this giveaway, you can get your money refunded, too! I hope you enjoy the book!

Downtime is Hobby Time

During the slow period, I will attend to year-end accounting, xPotomac and basic business needs, but there’s plenty of down time. So I will work on some novel promotion, and continue drafting the next novel in The Fundamentalists, The War to Persevere.

It’s funny, writing novels is definitely a hobby. They don’t pay the bills, and they certainly aren’t related to my marketing consultancy. I find myself treating my novels as a noncritical task.

Yet, they are creative fuel. I thoroughly enjoy working on them, so this is a bit of a treat to have time to work on the next one. A bit of a present, if you would.

Perhaps this is a time to count stars instead of making dollars.

During this time, I will blog on a reduced schedule (I doubled posted today, see Marketing Automation is Anything but the Machine). Expect another post on the 30th and again on the 3rd. Until then, have a Merry Christmas!

Will you be working during the holidays?

Photo by Defence Images.

2013: Agency Reflections

As 2013 draws to an end, we want to thank all of our clients and staff for making it such a tremendous year for the agency.

The last 12 months have seen the transformation of many aspects of our business to enable us to deliver more sophisticated and multi-faceted campaigns for the larger programs we are now delivering for our clients.

This morning, we announced the official launch of three new services – Content Marketing, Video Production, and research and analytics through March Insight -and highlighted the nine new clients we have added to our existing roster.

You can also check out our featured article in PRWeek, written by Lindsay Stein.

In 2014 we look further steady growth, both in terms of the team here in the Sunshine Biscuit Building and in the breadth of services we are able to offer our clients.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.