Tweeting About the Super Bowl

30 01 2009

mb-headshot31While we’re all bummed that the Pats didn’t make it, the Cardinals won’t be the only birds in the game on Super Bowl Sunday. The Twitter universe will be tweeting about the advertisements in real time and all of the play-by-play commentary will be compiled at “Trash Talk from Section Twitter.”

mulltwit1301

To participate, get a Twitter account and type #sb43ads in your tweet plus your canny commentary.

As the Boston Globe just reported, Mullen, as well as “a group of ad agencies and Boston University students are looking to get a real-time Twitter debate going on the merits of Sunday’s Super Bowl ads.”

According to the Globe, “the ad agency group is looking to harness the social networking technology of Twitter.com as a way to get folks to post instant and pithy critiques of ads they loved or loathed – even as they are watching the game.”

Edward Boches, Mullen’s chief creative officer, said of the upcoming Twitter experiment on Super Bowl ads, “We’re looking to use a new medium to comment on an old medium. The idea is to get the whole community more familiar and comfortable with the concept of social networking as another option in the marketer’s tool bag. And if we’re lucky the comments will be funnier than the ads themselves.”

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How to spark creativity (literally)

21 10 2008

I think today’s post was meant to be. I was looking at some of my favorite Web sites for inspiration and came across this post on CoolBusinessIdeas.com about a product that can increase creativity. An Australian scientist has developed a thinking cap that zaps the left side of the brain with magnetic pulses. In the trials, some participants showed increased levels of awareness and creativity.

*Image courtesy of CoolBusinessIdeas.com

So the next time you’re struggling in a brainstorm, or are working to develop an attention-getting, non-traditional PR campaign, maybe you should slip on your thinking cap for a quick zap of insta-creativity. Because who wouldn’t want to look like this at the office:

*Image courtesy of Engadget.com





RSS: Really Simple Stupid

15 10 2008

mb-headshot3a>You are not stupid. You are smart. I am stupid.

I say this because for a long time I was using Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and I didn’t know it. I have a Google gmail account because I grew tired of my Hotmail address at about the same time they started asking for money for more storage. Also, I thought that “@hotmail” was kind of amateurish, along with my “@yahoo” address. I am neither a Bill Gates fan nor a Yahoo, and I wanted to be elitist, eat arugula, and show my love of Google.

Gmail got me to start using iGoogle, a service for those with gmail accounts to have a customizable landing page. My iGoogle site gives me what regular Google.com gives me, but it also enables me to display widgets (the weather, a world clock, my horoscope) and news items of my choosing (Slate, The Onion, Politico, New York Times, Newsweek). Grabbing the top stories from the publications that I read is very easy with iGoogle, and because my iGoogle page is my homepage in my browser, I am up to speed on all major global news that I care about.

Then, after years of envying my friends and colleagues, I bought an iPod. Not a touch — I’m not that tricked out yet. And I started using iTunes to download podcasts for free (National Public Radio’s “This American Life” is one of my favorites). The iTunes interface easily helped me find free podcasts and subscribe to them so I can listen to podcasts and view videos whenever I like.

OK, so as I was using iGoogle and iTunes, I didn’t realize that subscribing to news, podcasts and videos was only possible because of RSS. (Like I said, I was stupid.) But I want you all to know that I am getting smarter. I’ve even started to use RSS to get news updates in my Outlook email folders.

If you practice PR and you haven’t gotten into RSS yet then now is the time. If you’re relying on Google alerts to get news about your clients and their competitors, that’s great. But what if you want to read the latest articles as they come online from your target publications? In that case, you can either set up an iGoogle account, or you can do what I have done with Outlook.

First, do some web searches and find the publications, sections of publications, blogs, or whatever you want to read on a regular basis. Then, in Internet Explorer click on this symbol:

When you click on that symbol (sometimes called the RSS Chicklet) you will see an address pop up for a new URL in your web browser window. Copy that URL (control C).

Now, start your Outlook email program and do the following:

1. On the Tools menu, click Account Settings.
2. On the RSS Feeds tab, click New.
3. In the New RSS Feed dialog box, type or press CTRL+V to paste the URL of the RSS Feed. For example, http://www.example.com/feed/main.xml.
4. Click Add.
5. Click OK.
   
Now, you will begin to see in your Outlook Mail Folders articles popping up under the RSS Chicklet folder. Those new RSS feeds you’ve subscribed to will be filled up with news that you care about the minute the news is posted to the Internet.

If you care about getting news from the outlets, reporters or bloggers you track, then you have to try setting up RSS feeds in Outlook.

Now, you probably feel a whole lot smarter…I would love to hear how it’s working for you.

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Tattoos & Brand Devotion

10 10 2008

Recently, in an e-mail from HARO, I saw an inquiry about people who have tattoos of their favorite brands. The inquiry made me smile because months ago one of my colleagues brought up this idea, saying she believed it would become the next trend in demonstrating brand loyalty.

In a recent article in Fortune magazine, J. Crew’s CEO stated he believes there will be a departure from the branding trend and a return to simplicity. Perhaps this is true with clothing: people currently display brands on their clothing, cars and accessories, and are running out of empty space – a natural next step is to get a brand’s logo tattooed on your body, right?!

Getting a tattoo of a brand’s logo is the ultimate demonstration of brand devotion. Yet this is not a new idea: Harley Davidson loyalists have been getting the brand’s tattoos for years and the rest of the world is finally catching up. This taps into a sociological phenomenon called social cohesion. Social cohesion refers to developing communities of people who share similar ideas, values, beliefs and norms. Today, brand tattoos are a permanent and physical way to show one’s allegiance to a particular group.

43% of women say they have fallen in love with a brand. It’d be interesting to see what percent of these women have displayed their love via permanent ink.

How far will you go to demonstrate your brand loyalty? What can your brand do to create such deep and lasting relationships with its consumers that they are inspired to tattoo your logo on their bodies?

Image shared by LJ Fox III

Image shared by BellaSugar





If a blog post falls in the woods, will anyone hear it?

1 10 2008

There are too many blogs.

 

I say this with neither good nor bad overtones. If you are interested in macramé, LOST, Borat, Chinese gymnasts, or any one of the presidential candidates, there is a blog for you. Certainly this citizen journalism poses a threat to mainstream media, and that’s why CNN is now Twittering and featuring iReports from Joey and Jane Sixpack.

 

And it stands to reason why there is a proliferation of blogs – we Americans are obsessed with ourselves. How else can we explain the impulse to put our most private thoughts, videos, up on the Internet for millions to see?  Twitter enables the truly self-obsessed to post about their lives – tweet – minute by minute.

 

Never mind if these tweets are actually factual. You can have a lot of fun at your friends’ expense by making up tweets: “Michael is now doing macramé with Borat, some Chinese acrobats and Sarah Palin in Honolulu.” 09:30 AM October 1, 2008 from web

 

That’s the fun of blogs. It’s mostly opinion and rarely fact (It’s what we want). What would happen if someone was writing fiction about you? Or writing fiction about your brand? Or, if not fiction, then something mean. Finding those tweets, videos, flickr images, and blog posts online, and sifting through them to find the really juicy ones, would be very time consuming.

 

I’ve recently started using Radian6, which provides me with an omniscient view on all of the chatter in the online world with a cool interface. I like Panera’s sandwiches and Chipotle’s burritos, so I decided to evaluate the level of online chatter about these brands. Panera had more than twice as many posts as Chipotle in the past 30 days, and I was able to see when there were spikes in posting activity that mentioned these brands (see the graphic below). I was able to drill down and read the posts that connect Panera with things that are part of the company’s DNA, like freshness. I was able to see what people who visit these chains actually think about the company.

 

While reading all of this content, I felt like I was listening to trees falling in the woods. These desperate souls, all intent on sharing their every thought with friends and random strangers, were being seen by me. If I felt like it, I could have made comments on their posts and tell them that I too like the Frontega Chicken hot panini. Like some sort of deity, I could answer their prayers to be heard, or I could just listen in and move on. If I worked for Panera, I could have given those who wrote favorable reviews a coupon to buy more sandwiches. Now, that would certainly be playing God.

 

I’d like to know if you think that there’s a value in hearing what the great unwashed masses think, or if the taste-makers in the mainstream media are the only ones that matter. And, given that a blog post’s value is mostly measurable by how frequently people comment on any given post, should we care about a blog post on which no one comments? And, if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?





Direct-to-Consumer PR: Are you speaking directly to potential customers?

19 09 2008

As online tools like search engines and social media have become more mainstream, a growing number of consumers look beyond traditional media when it comes to learning about products and services. This trend has created a big opportunity for companies to speak directly with consumers instead of having to rely solely on media gatekeepers to share their messages.

Search Engines are a PR Pro’s Best Friend
No offense to dog lovers, but search engines have become a PR pro’s best friend. Why?

  • 88 percent of internet users said search engine results are a factor that drive them to visit a web site. (Deloitte and Harrison Group, Jan. 2008)
  • 78 percent of consumers with internet access said they now use the internet to find a local business more than they did two years ago. (WebVisible and Nielsen/NetRatings report, Oct. 2007)
  • 74 percent of internet users turn to search engines to find local business information – the #1 source used. Print Yellow pages come in second at 65 percent. (WebVisible and Nielsen/NetRatings Report, Oct. 2007)
  • 48 percent of consumers are prompted to conduct online searches because of news articles they’ve read. (BIGresearch’s Simultaneous Media Survey 10, August 2007)

Press releases can be search-engine optimized using keywords that consumers are using to search for solutions to a particular need on Google or Google News – such as “high-speed internet providers” and “discount name brand fashion.” Drafting news releases with important keywords in mind can help raise your release’s ranking with Google searches, which makes it more likely to get clicked on and read directly by consumers.

Corporate Newsroom as a Hub, Not a Destination
The social aspect of social media gives brands the opportunity to increase their visibility by creating easy ways for its advocates to share its news and messages with their own connections. To do that, you have to think about creating content for journalists AND consumers.

One way brands can take advantage of the sharing nature of consumers is to think about its online newsroom as a hub instead of a destination. Ford, for example, has done an amazing job of creating a newsroom that enables its advocates to help spread news for each of its major vehicle launches.

Some of the features companies can include in a consumer-friendly newsroom are downloadable high-resolution photos and embeddable videos for bloggers, quotes from executives, social bookmarking buttons, links to additional online conversations about the brand, fleshed out story/blog post angles, the option for visitors to subscribe to future news by RSS and more. This creates a place for consumers and advocates – in addition to journalists – to gather information and pass it on to others.

Traditional Media Relations Isn’t Dead. It’s Evolved.
Traditional media is as important as it has ever been in the past. But to continue growing our clients’ businesses in today’s marketplace, PR pros will need to understand how they can also reach out directly to consumers and show up where and when they need our clients’ products and services.

What other ways can we build relationships with consumers that add value to their lives and to our brands? How else can we empower advocates to help tell their friends about the product of service they just have to try?





More Than 35 Examples

9 09 2008

In late July, Aaron Uhrmacher, posted 35+ Examples of Corporate Social Media in Action at Mashable Social Networking News. I’ve been meaning to write about this post for awhile now.

This is an extremely valuable collection of stories you may find very helpful in sharing with clients and prospects. Most of us have few examples, if any that we can share, of how companies have used social media to their benefit. What’s more, this post offers a wonderful range of ways companies used it to underscore their particular brand.

If you have clients who are hesitant about engaging in social media, send them the link. No pressure, just send it as an FYI and see how they respond. For the PR agency pros out there, read the examples, commit your favorites to memory, and use them to illustrate your point the next time you’re speaking to a prospect or client about social media. Finally, and arguably most important of all, send this link to your colleagues and schedule a brown bag lunch to discuss the content, identify your favorites, and shape your own point of view.

What are your favorites?

Cross-posted from Client Serivce Insights…(CSI/Season 2)