The Internet user as we know him is dying out. He is no longer behind his desktop computer checking his email or on the couch with a notebook in his lap updating his Facebook status. From an immobile creature, he has quickly evolved into a very mobile being, like a prehistoric fish that has grown a pair of legs and has left the ocean.
Instead of legs, though, evolution has equipped him with smart phones and a 3G network that enables him to move freely, while surfing the net. He is no longer the sitting duck that was an easy target for Internet communities, media, advertisers and marketing departments across the globe. The big question resulting from this is: how to catch him while he is moving?
This is actually an easy task, because he is eager to tell you where he is. Location-based software has created some fast growing communities such as Foursquare, Gowalla, and SCVNGR that allow him to show the world exactly where he currently is located. Those communities let you to mark a place, let’s say your favorite café, with a geo tag. Other community members that come to this place can “check in” indicating to their friends where they are currently at and what they are doing.
As the popularity of those mobile location networks is growing, so are the creative juices of the marketing and PR departments in the chase to find out how to use the new knowledge they confronting them. The first test balloons have already been launched. The campaigns that we have been seeing so far are mainly trying to foster customer loyalty. The café mentioned earlier, for instance, can measure their customers’ loyalty by checking the amount of time they have checked into their place via Foursquare. If they check in ten times, they are awarded a free cup of coffee.
In the next couple of months, we will see more creative and more elaborate campaigns of this kind as the networks are growing. The question then will be what platform to use for your campaign? Those things tend to sort out themselves: Remember the battles Twitter vs. Jaiku, or Facebook vs. MySpace? Each ended with a clear winner.
There is yet one problem: Obviously, Facebook with its Places and Google with Latitude want to get in on the action, too, which could change the outcome of the race. Google for instance has already set things in motion by acquiring Dodgeball, one of the pioneers in geosocial networking, in 2005, only to discontinue it four years later. In the meantime one of the founders of Dodgeball went on to found Foursquare, which is now leading the location-based social networking pack.
Facebook’s contribution to the picture is a recently awarded patent titled “Systems and methods for automatically locating web-based social network members are provided”, which many fear could wipe out all the other communities mentioned in this post. This however still remains to be seen.
One thing is for sure. One should keep an eye on location-based social networks as they contain a tremendous communication potential. It is still quite unexplored territory and grants room for experimentation. It is still too early to say who will be the big player in this field in a year or two from now so don’t put your money on just one horse, but keep an eye on all communities out there.
And by the way, while the battle over location-based networking is in full motion, the first person just recently “checked in” at the International Space Station.
Tags: Facebook Places
, geosocial networking
, Google Latitude
, Location-based software
Posted by Martin Gleissner on October 29, 2010 at 9:32 AM
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You've probably heard it a hundred times: Content is king. It's true that a well-executed blog can establish your executives as thought leaders, improve your site's SEO and help you engage with journalists, customers and prospects. But if you aren't seeing comments on your posts, it can start to feel like all of your work is for naught.
Before you consider give up on blogging, try these tips for increasing engagement and generating more comments:
Write timely and opinionated content. Controversy can get readers riled up enough to fire back, but even if you want to avoid risking offense, your content should be thought-provoking enough to encourage a response.
Ask for help. Send posts to customers, partners, other bloggers and industry contacts with a brief note explaining why you thought they'd find the post interesting and inviting them to respond. This can be effective as long as you don't overuse the tactic.
Comment on other blogs in your industry. If you want someone to read and comment on your blog, you should be commenting on theirs. When your fellow bloggers see you as an intelligent contributor to the conversation, they are more likely to reciprocate.
Make sure your posts are seen by tweeting them, posting them on LinkedIn, highlighting them on your homepage and sending them out in your newsletter.
When someone comments on your blog, respond in your comments to keep the debate going or even just to say thank you. If your readers feel like you're paying attention to them, they'll be inclined to comment again.
, social media
Posted by Annie Klein on at 8:26 AM
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Congratulations to all the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ companies, including Schwartz Communications clients Accuray, Osiris Therapeutics, ESET, NxStage Medical, Energy Recovery, Spectranetics, and Qualys. Announced this morning, The Deloitte Fast 500 is an annual ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. The rankings are based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2005 to 2009.
Interestingly, for the 13th consecutive year, there are more software companies on the list than any other category, with 38 percent. Deloitte’s Phil Asmundson, vice chair and Deloitte’s U.S. technology, media & telecomm leader, explains, “one of the reasons software companies often grow so quickly is that their infrastructure costs are usually not as significant as other sectors.”
The next most represented group on the list this year is biotech/pharma, with 18 percent of the companies on the list. In fact, of the 87 biotech/pharma companies in the Deloitte Fast 500, five are in the top 10. These companies are Affymax, Inc. (ranked second), BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ranked fifth), Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ranked seventh), Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ranked ninth) and Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (ranked 10th).
While their representation on the list is still small, medical equipment (med tech) at seven percent and clean tech at four percent, both of these categories are expected to see continued growth.
With 57 percent of the companies publicly traded, and 20 percent of the private companies with a history of VC funding , the common characteristic among the Fast 500, regardless of category: capital. And as we may have expected, if you look at the distribution of companies geographically, West coast, especially California, dominates the list, followed by the Northeast and Southeast.
, cleantech PR
, Fast 500
, Healthcare PR
, medtech PR
, VC funding
Posted by Helen Shik on October 21, 2010 at 10:26 AM
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News release headlines are meant to convey information, draw a reader in, and aid SEO. But have public relations pros fallen victim to buzzword abuse in news release headlines?
Thankfully, the answer is no.
Earlier this month the Schwartz Communications’ Research Group released a brief that examined news release headlines and SEO. After analyzing more than 16,000 news release headlines from Business Wire, we found that more than 86% of news release headlines do not contain any of the top 20 buzzwords. Of course, that also means that 14% (or about 2200 releases/month) do contain a top 20 buzzword in the headline.
"Top" was the most overused buzzword, and it was used in only 1.9% of releases. This was followed by "solution" (1.83%). Following is the full chart.
The point here isn’t to say that you must avoid using these buzzwords at all costs, but it’s much more important to use the keywords being used in searches by your company’s target audience.
If you are interested in more information on this or other news release SEO topics, such as
• Are release headlines too long?
• PR pros in which cities write the best headlines?
You can download the full research brief here
, news release
Posted by Mark McClennan on October 19, 2010 at 8:21 AM
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In my experience as a PR professional, customers aren’t always right. We help to educate, inspire and help our customers (other businesses) to strategically aim their PR campaigns towards their target audience in a variety of ways that are considered topical and crucial. In the same way our customers also help educate their target audience, displaying how business can be made easier, increase productivity, increase quality or save money – the transfer of knowledge to do all that has been mentioned is vital to success.
The phrase ‘the customer is always right’ was championed both in the US and UK, and in both countries was meant to signify how the customer is always put first and is special, enough to be viewed as though they are always right. It wasn’t at all meant literally by Marshall Field's department store, Chicago, now Macy's, or in the UK by Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of London's Selfridges store.
Very often the term has taken on a more literal sense, because customers can pay for validation – but wouldn’t it be better to tell them how they could be better? As PRs we understand what it takes to be in the media, what tools we need and what messages need to be seen and heard, and we can advise businesses on what will work for them without promising the moon. Businesses need to look to the experts of their industry to know that they are on the right track – this comes from thought leaders who have in depth knowledge of the industry.
Thought leadership is a powerful tool that can help educate customers to make a decision that can improve their businesses dramatically. Through the channel of PR, bylines, written comment, interviews and even responses to breaking news in the media, thought leadership in multiple forms can showcase your business intelligence in a way that will encourage your customers to place you ahead of the competition.
Thought leaders can come in many forms. For example, businesses can learn from their employees’ expertise. Having spent a week with Simpler Consulting, the world’s largest and fastest growing lean management consultancy, which is helping businesses not only to increase sales, quality, innovation and reduce costs and waste, I found that many of the businesses they worked with were able to solve business challenges by listening to their employees rather than the their customers. This thought leadership was created by experience and the wealth of knowledge and loyalty that can only come from within.
In fact, by choosing to listen to their employees, these businesses were able to gain a better grip on business issues and how to solve them - soaking up valuable knowledge that a customer wouldn’t be able to provide, but would most certainly need.
Simpler acts as a thought leader that encourages its clients to become thought leaders too. The customer isn’t always right; they can tell you what they want but it isn’t always what they need and they aren’t always in the best position to tell you how to get there.
No matter how knowledge is transferred in any industry, becoming a thought leader means offering insight that is not created purely on what the customer thinks they need but more on the business’ ability to show, educate and inform customers about why they need a solution.
Tags: customer relations
, PR tips
, Simpler Consulting
, thought leadership
Posted by Deepika Bharadwa on October 18, 2010 at 10:27 AM
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Good writing should convey excitement, without the help of punctuation. A number of editors with whom we have spoken have a simple rule: you are allowed to use no more than three exclamation points in your writing your entire adult life.
While the Schwartz Research Group brief released this week looked at serious issues such as:
We also examined a few lighter issues. For example. The Schwartz Research Group analyzed the more than 16,000 releases issued over Business Wire in a 30 day period, and the good news is, only 0.5% of all releases contain “!”s in the headline. (Note, Schwartz excluded Yahoo! from the analysis, for that would skew the data).
Only 10 release headlines contained multiple exclamation points. For those who are curious, the Schwartz Research Group also found that only 0.4% of releases contained a question mark.
If you would like the full whitepaper, you can request it here.
Posted by Mark McClennan on October 14, 2010 at 10:32 AM
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The biggest trend words in B2B marketing today are: content marketing, lead nurturing and marketing automation. At Schwartz, we believe that a PR firm has the answers for making those concepts a permanent part of any communications program.
Respected journalist and marketer Bob Scheier agrees with us. While not calling out Schwartz by name, he notes how "forward-looking" PR agencies are using marketing automation software solutions such as Marketo, Eloqua and HubSpot. Schwartz recently announced a partnership with HubSpot.
Schwartz sees our services as having an ever-expanding role in marketing, and we are defining new services that connect visibility and influence to lead generation in a way that is measurable. An article in DemandGen Report that Bob Scheier refers to in his recent post quotes a director at Bulldog Solutions: “Marketers need to be able to identify new prospects, engage them effectively and hand them off seamlessly to sales. And they need to be able to prove that they did it." I could not agree more.
Beyond new services, which Schwartz will be rolling out and marketing more aggressively in the coming weeks, we are investing in skills that align directly to marketing automation roadblocks.
The same DemandGen Report article includes an infographic on the roadblocks themselves. According to an Executive Benchmark Assessment from Frost & Sullivan and Bulldog Solutions, 52-percent of respondents say that a lack of resources is the reason marketing automation has not been maximized. Forty-two percent say they don't have the right processes, and 32-percent claim they lack sufficient content.
Schwartz is investing in programs and processes that will address all three challenges. We understand fully the value of content to a marketing program. As Bob Scheier notes, a PR firm is closer to the strategic content of a given company than most audiences. We advocate for closed-loop programs that take an idea from strategy through impact, with methods for measuring effectiveness, repeating what works.
And our relationship with HubSpot (as well as Schwartz's own use of HubSpot) teaches our teams the tools available today that incorporate science and a measurement framework into the innovative and strategic marketing ideas we surmise; ideas that make full use of the multiple channels (traditional media, bloggers, search engine marketing and social media) available today.
Tags: content marketing
, lead generation
, lead nurturing
, marketing automation
Posted by Ross Levanto on October 13, 2010 at 9:15 AM
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CNN released the results of an "inaugural global research study into the power of news and recommendation." They conducted it by surveying 2,300 people around the world between June and August of this year to help advertisers understand the value of news stories that are shared via social media.
A CNN executive, Didier Mormesse, said in a statement that "the commerciality of the social media space is fast becoming apparent and this study means that for the first time, we are able to substantiate the value of shared news from an advertising perspective."
The results indicate, CNN says, that people who receive news from those they know through social networks are "19% more likely to recommend the brand that advertised around that story to others and 27% more likely to favor that brand themselves."
I bear in mind that CNN was looking at ads that accompany stories, not brands or companies mentioned in the stories themselves. As a PR person, I'd care more about the latter. But the study was still informative because it gives some insight into the most popular shared content (not to mention that it shows how CNN's been able to quantify the value of social media to their business). "Ongoing stories" about international or national news make up 65% of shared material, breaking news is 19% and 16% is stuff people are sharing to kill time or to provide a distraction. "Visually spectacular" stories are most likely to be shared via social media, as are pieces on science or technology.
CNN also notes that "the 80/20 rule applies to the findings. 27% of all sharers account for 87% of all news stories shared."
Adapting these survey results for PR, I think that if I can offer a compelling video or interesting photo to a journalist, it may make the resulting story more likely to be shared. In fact, you could back up a step and make what I think is the reasonable assumption that if you have images or video to offer, you may up your chances of being included in a story in the first place.
Another thing I think PR people can learn from CNN's survey results is that once the story appears, I'd want to make sure to get it to the 20% of people who push out 80% of news that travels via social media. Naturally I'd already need to know who in my industry is a prolific sharer or news and have worked to get them following me. If I can find the news just as soon as it appears and share it with them while it's still fresh and not hours old, I'd think it would up the appeal of my news to the 20%.
The Boston Globe is taking a different tack. On September 30, the Globe announced that they'll create a paid version of the site next year and make much of their content available only to subscribers. The paid approach has worked for WSJ.com, certainly. I'll be curious to see how things pan out for the Globe, although I suspect they won't if they don't offer some pretty differentiated content. (Paul Gillin takes a deeper look at what's up with the Globe with "Milking the Circulation Cow.")
I'd think the Globe will still make that content attractive to people who want to pass it around by allowing shared links to work for a short time.
To my eye, CNN's approach of showing the people who really pay the bills--advertisers--the value of sharing content via social networks, putting some specificity behind the kinds of stories that get shared and the resulting impressions that readers have of those advertisers seems more promising than sequestering content on a paid site.
That's just me, though. Which approach do you think is likely to succeed? Or are both strategies to making money smart given the companies' individual situations?
Tags: Boston Globe
, monetizing media
, social media
Posted by Laura Kempke on October 12, 2010 at 8:53 AM
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The two most important elements for optimizing a news release headline are keyword inclusion and brevity. A company’s top keywords should be included in the headline when possible and should be placed early in the headline. In terms of brevity, a full release headline must be 65 characters or fewer to be fully displayed in Google.
Many search engine optimization (SEO) experts, including our experts here at Schwartz, advise that companies try to keep the characters in the headline under 70 characters. Anything beyond that will be less effective in supporting a company’s SEO.
The Schwartz Communications Research Group, with invaluable help from Business Wire, analyzed the headlines of more than 16,000 news releases issued over Business Wire in a 31 day period (July 26, 2010 to August 25, 2010). Since Schwartz cannot know the keywords that thousands of companies are hoping to use to optimize their content and releases, the Schwartz Research Group focused on headline length as a success factor
The findings of this analysis were that the vast majority of PR practitioners are still not fully optimizing their headlines. (I am sure Schwartz is guilty of that as well from time to time.) Our analysis showed that only 18.4% of all releases have headlines with 65 characters or fewer.
While the majority of releases are under 150 characters, we did see some examples that were much longer than the recommended length. The most egregious cases were the 2% of releases with headlines in excess of 300 characters, with one headline that was over 1,000 characters. The shortest headline we found was 18 characters, which is also probably not ideal for SEO as it’s unlikely that enough of the company’s keywords were included. Overall, the analysis found the average headline length to be 123 characters.
This shows that many companies still have room to improve their press releases (even the social media releases).
The Schwartz Communications Research Group has written a Research Brief that takes a more in-depth look at this topic. If you would like additional analysis, including buzzword usage, a geographic analysis of effective headline writing and other headline analysis, you can download it here
, news release
, press release
, Schwartz Research
Posted by Mark McClennan on at 8:27 AM
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The keynote at CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2010 focused on a two-ton wireless device—the connected car.
The automobile has come a long way since Henry Ford first rolled out the first Model T. Some might even argue that providing wireless connectivity to the Internet via the cloud and mobile devices is the next evolution of ultimate automobile personalization.
GPS and telematics services can now provide real-time traffic updates, while devices connecting to the car (such as iPods) provide the same interface in the automobiles as they do on the devices themselves, and smart phone applications are delivered in the car via Bluetooth and other technologies. Even speech recognition technologies are advancing to the point where emails and text messages can be read to the driver, further eliminating distractions behind the wheel.
Today’s most popular car applications, such as GM’s ONStar rely on cellular wireless networks, and leading device manufacturers are building out business models around the automobile. Smart phone providers are empowering the development community with the ability bring new applications to market that are specifically designed for the car.
For instance, in today’s keynote, Derrick M. Kuzak, Group VP, Global Product Development at Ford Motor Company highlighted Ford’s SYNC, a factory-installed, in-car communications and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft. Sync allows users to make hands-free calls and control music and other functions with simple voice commands. Introduced in 2007, Sync is now installed in 2.5 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.
“Americans spend three hours a day in the car and 47 hours a year in traffic,” said Kuzak. “Drivers are finding better ways to make that time more productive, while keeping both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
The customer demand for mobile connectivity inside an auto is clear. Kuzak reported that 32% of car buyers say that the presence of mobile technology within a car plays a key role in their purchase. As a result, Kuzak said that SYNC and other mobile technology will be in 80% of their car products within the next five years, including the following features that allow customers to:
· Access their phone, compatible mp3 player or USB drive with voice activated commands
· Be connected directly to a 911 operator after an accident in which an airbag deploys
· Generate Vehicle Health Reports that provide vehicle diagnostics, maintenance and recall information
· Receive audible text messages
Another speaker at this week’s CTIA event, John T. Stankey, President & CEO, AT&T Business Solutions also forecasted strong growth in the wireless industry, particularly amongst enterprises who integrate mobile technology for greater productivity: “We predict the market for enterprise mobile devised- both hard ware and software- will be $50 billion by 2015.”
Posted by Thea Lavin and Keith Giannini
Tags: CTIA Wireless 2010
Posted by Kim Angell on October 8, 2010 at 8:41 PM
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The middle of this week, I zoomed off to attend the Digital PR Next Practices Summit put on by PR News. New York is an easy trip, so maybe I shouldn't have packed my "tell me something I don't already know" attitude, but that's how I approach all conferences. If I have to so much as budge from my desk, it needs to be worth it.
PR News didn't disappoint. As I sat and waited in vain for a wireless signal adequate to let me use my computer (let's not talk about why one would hold a tech conference in a building that has an anemic wireless network ... or maybe it's my computer), I scanned the attendee list. About 275 communicators from a range of big companies, including many huge consumer, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and tech brands. Plus universities, non-profits, government agencies and even religious organizations.
I had to resort to tweeting from my BlackBerry, but at that point didn't care because I was excited to be around so many other PR people. They were friendly and you can imagine just how loud a room of nearly 300 professional communicators can get.
The conference turned out to be excellent and well worth the time and money. I won't recap every session, but here are a few of my top observations.
The first panel, "Creating the Digital PR Dream Team," dug into the topic of getting the people and resources together to engage in and measure social media. The three panelists, who were from GM, the Archer Group and Kaiser Permanente, shared very specific info about who's on their social media teams and how they interact with corporate comm's, marcom, legal and so on. They talked about what they collaborate with agencies to achieve and what they prefer to handle internally.
The director of social media and digital communications from GM, Mary Henige, said they create one or two videos a week to share. This reminded me of a fantastic InsideView infographic on social media stats that I'd seen the night before. It says that Fortune 100 companies create an average of 10 videos each month to share online. I don't always think big companies lead the way in PR, but clearly they've got the budgets required to clean up in video.
Lee Mikles, CEO of the Archer Group, urged attendees to "say no to the Twitern," or cheap labor brought on to handle a company's social media interactions.
This resonated with me because I personally can't stand it when companies assume that social is free. I know they want it to be free in the same way that I'd like someone to trim my hair for free. Because darn if it's not expensive and it seems like it should be cheap. But I don't want someone who doesn't listen to me and know what they're doing to take on the job and the same holds true for companies and digital media. Just because someone "grew up online" and uses Foursquare to let the world know every time they enter a Starbucks does not mean they understand your business, your industry or your customers' preferences and problems.
Holly Potter, VP of PR for Kaiser Permanente, answered a question about hiring social media specialists by saying that she didn't find much value in "siloed expertise." Those who claim to be social media gurus almost invariably are not.
I agree that we're all learning and learning quickly and think good sense dictates that one not pretend to be thoroughly knowledgeable about something that's changing as quickly as social media. For a few years now, I've been a very interested observer as individuals or small agencies have pushed a focus on social and claimed that companies can ignore branded media. It's human to have a strong interest in the new thing, but it's shortsighted and shows a basic lack of understanding, however, when companies opt to focus on social alone.
I think the fascination with the new is giving way now and has shifted over the past year to a more balanced perspective. For some companies, it reflects a newfound understanding that digital isn't free and that social and branded media are so thoroughly intertwined that they can't be pulled apart and managed in isolation.
After panels on new social media tools and measuring ROI, I had to take a break to charge my BlackBerry. So I skipped the talk on how VW successfully launched a mobile gaming application. I kind of regret it in that I want to know as much as possible about this stuff, but I think I was also voting with my feet. I'm informed but not always impressed by successful PR campaigns that were accompanied by big budgets.
A thoughtful keynote at lunch by Sarah Evans of Sevans Strategy preceded a panel on identifying and engaging "the right" influencers. Then, on to the discussion that contained the most new info I absorbed all day--digital tactics and crisis communications.
Dallas Lawrence, managing director at Burson-Marsteller, made numerous good points, but one that really rose to the top of the pile was that it's too late for companies to get into social media when a crisis arises. (He said that crises can be brought about online by groups attacking your company or brand, by individuals who just don't like you or by external events.)
I suppose this is a bit like one of the basics of reputation management--if you work over time to develop a good reputation, you're better able to recover from crises. You may draw down your reservoir of good will, but at least you had something to draw upon and you're likely going to recover faster if people had a perception of you and it was positive. Perhaps they see the bad thing that happened as an aberration.
Mr. Lawrence noted that you can't adequately respond online if you aren't already part of online communities. Those communities may not be linked (e.g., people "following" you on Facebook aren't necessarily with you on Twitter), so it's not as if you can communicate through just one channel when things go wrong. You can't, for example, expect that if your company gets dragged through the mud in a video, you're going to be able to address the problem by communicating via a press release or corporate blog. You need to already be using the channels that your audiences choose to use in order to get through to them.
In all, I'm glad I stood up from my desk and attended the conference. What social media events have you found most informative lately?
Tags: digital media
, PR News
, social media
Posted by Laura Kempke on at 12:35 PM
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The theme for this fall’s CTIA is finding new ways that unwired devices for consumers can squeeze more productivity and efficiency out of enterprise operations.
In particular, the Tablet PC seems to take top billing as the next great hope. RIM will be showing off its Playbook, billed as the first professional tablet, while the majority of closed door sessions are devoted to development on Tablet platforms. There is a seven-hour session scheduled to focus on building enterprise Tablet apps, as well as a number of boot camps for the Android and Nokia’s Symbian platforms. In fact, developers are said to make up the single largest segment of attendees at the event, at 23 percent of all registrants.
Moreover, non-phone devices are being designed left-and-right to fit very specific application needs. Just a few examples include mobile payment terminals, package tracking scanners, advanced field force management tools and wellness monitoring for a myriad of health conditions. The show really drills down into the latest and greatest mobile devices for business users, corporate initiatives and quality of life.
But it is not all about gadgets; a certain “bolstering of the network” must likewise occur. Because, as we all can attest from experience, the niftiest wireless device is only as good as its connection. Apple has been listening. After months of rumours, they chose this week to announce that iPhone will soon be available on the Verizon network.
It is also intriguing to note up-and-comer Lightsquared’s efforts to pre-empt Verizon in the LTE game, even if it's in words only. Lightsquared made it a point Monday to announce a move to get additional spectrum resources and enhance the capacity of its own 4G network. It will be especially interesting to see if Lightsquared succeeds in becoming a household name, or if its best intentions get swallowed up in the maelstrom. I am skeptical. The last time a “new” Tier 1 wireless operator succeeded was when Bell Atlantic Mobile changed its name to Verizon Wireless.
CTIA’s fall show has taken on new relevance with the focus on what wireless can really “do” for business.
By Rob Skinner, Senior Media Strategist
, RIM Tablet
Posted by Carol McGarry on October 7, 2010 at 5:24 PM
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Some of the brightest minds in public relations research and measurement today gathered for the first day of the Institute for Public Relations’ North American Summit on Measurement. They are here to share their best practices on research and measurement, and to discuss the future of PR measurement.
It was great to hear so many research professionals recommending the types of benchmarking that the Schwartz Research Group does as a matter of course our clients.
The summit began with @kdpaine and Dr. Don Stacks reviewing a number of core measurement best practices. Some of the things that jumped out at me were that:
• 66% of time if people say will do something, they will
• PR campaigns that address and engage values can make a seismic shift when it comes to behavior
• Research without proper analysis is just pretty charts
• You must benchmark at the beginning of an engagement to identify if you met your campaign goals and objectives
While much of this was common sense, there were also very engaging discussions on the evolution of online surveys and best practices for increasing response rates and avoiding accidental bias; seven steps to measurement perfection; and new ways of measuring social media engagement.
To me, the highlight of the afternoon was the opportunity for us to speak with Dr. James and Larissa Grunig, two of the deans of PR measurement. I remember learning about Grunig’s two way symmetric communications model more than 20 years ago, and it is great to see how social media is causing the death of other models, and driving more companies to engage in true dialog (what Dr James Grunig has advocated for decades).
Grunig rightly pointed out many of the growing pain social media is going through, but is confident of its continued evolution and ability to drive deeper connections. He made a point that I have been evangelizing for a while – the core principles of good public relations have not been changed by social media. It has made symmetry, strategy, and engagement even more crucial.
One of the key themes that came across during the discussion was the role PR needs to play in corporate social responsibility and sustainability. While CSR has been a core element of public relations for quite a while, Grunig is seeing some of the largest companies internationally start to want to measure not just at the program level, but at the societal level.
Grunig opined that companies need to beware the CSR trap. CSR does not equal publicity for charitable giving. True corporate social responsibility projects align with the needs of the organization and will positively benefit all stakeholders. Some companies Grunig spoke with in Brazil are starting to consider both the environment and the next two generations of humans, animals and plants as stakeholders.
Overall, an excellent start to the summit. Tomorrow will look at global digital communications measurement, measuring influence and other topics.
Follow updates throughout the day at @mcclennan or #iprmeasure.
Posted by Mark McClennan on October 6, 2010 at 9:13 PM
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In my last post, I focused on how you can go about identifying the main trends and issues in your industry as you start working with social media or work to focus your program. In this post, I’ll discuss how to find out where your target audience is getting information and how to understand what your audiences are saying about you.
Where are your target audiences getting information?
Your industry has its own community and much of it is probably talking at places like Facebook, LinkedIn Answers, Twitter, Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, YouTube, forums and mailing lists or other places. Alternately, you might check out the social news and link aggregation sites like Digg and delicious.
This might seem simple, but have you asked customers what they read online and in print? Are there specific trade publications or journalists they follow? Bloggers? Trade shows? Webinars? Are they on Facebook and Twitter? If so, let them know that you are, too. Displaying it on your website, put it in your company's email signature, add it to press releases, hang signs in your trade show booth and include it in lead gen or online marketing campaigns.
iGoogle is another news aggregator that lets you create a personalized homepage that contains a Google search box at the top and your choice of any number of gadgets. Gadgets come in different forms and provide access to activities and information from all across the web, without ever having to leave your iGoogle page. Here are some things you can do with gadgets:
- View your latest Gmail messages
- Read headlines from Google News and other news sources--use it to track what the media and others are saying about your company
- Check out weather forecasts and stock quotes
- Store bookmarks for quick access to your favorite sites from any computer
- Design your own gadget
What are your customers, partners, employees and the media saying about you?
Monitoring your reputation is critical. Again, one of the most direct ways to find an answer is to ask. Find out if there are any discussion groups or forums in which you appear. Getting customers to put their thoughts in writing on a questionnaire or survey is one of the most well-established feedback techniques.
As you know, Twitter is a real-time conversation between thousands of people in a public forum. Twitter Search lets you filter those Tweets and find the information you’re looking for. Using the tool’s Advanced Search, you can craft your queries and find out what people are saying about your company and brand. Just type in the word or phrase you want and from there you can find which Tweets contain it.
Take it a step further and set up columns in TweetDeck, your personal, real-time Twitter browser, which allows you to view several contacts you are following at the same time. By connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google Buzz and more, you can better monitor the people you are following on a daily basis. This is extremely valuable during product launches, for example.
You can also set up Tweetbeep to send you a daily email with a list of all the mentions of your defined brand on Twitter.
As with Twitter, there are many ways to evaluate media coverage. Was it the right sort of press coverage? Did it reach the right people? You can judge the tone (positive, negative or neutral) and volume (how much your company was included or quoted). Did the article include your core messages? Or did your competitors dominate the article?
One informative graphic to help you understand the most commonly used words in a blog post, article or other piece of writing is Wordle. Simply paste text into the Wordle engine and see what words dominate. For advanced users, Tagxedo can create dynamic, easy-to-read and customizable word clouds. If Wordle is the average four-door sedan of word clouds, then Tagxedo is your high-end mini-van with options. The highly versatile tool allows users to control to font, color, orientation and even shape of their cloud.
Trying to impress a client? Word clouds allow us to present literally any quantitative data we can imagine in an illustrated format. As humans, we are drawn to visually stimulating graphical representations, and spending the extra few minutes to create a powerful visualization of the words most relevant to your client can go a long way.
Social media…online networking…or whatever we call it…is constantly evolving. Finding your place in this etherworld takes time and there is no one right or wrong way. What works for one launch might not work as well for another. The important thing is to start experimenting with a couple of tools and building up your network…or whatever you’d like to call it.
Tags: Advanced Search
Posted by Davida Dinerman on at 7:29 AM
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CTIA Enterprise & Applications starts Wednesday so we decided to take a quick, visual look at blogger buzz leading up to the show.
Our word cloud shows lots of blogging about broadband, spectrum and the FCC, as the Net Neutrality debate continued in high gear. Last week, CTIA provided its comments on net neutrality to the FCC, stating that the rules for the wired Internet don’t apply to the wireless ecosystem. No surprises here. Lowell MacAdam, president and CEO of Verizon, is keynoting at CTIA Wednesday morning, so attendees will likely hear more on this topic, in the vein of Verizon’s joint statement with Google in August.
Bloggers picked up on another piece of news that involved the FCC and CTIA. Researchers at the University of North Texas Health Science Center studied traffic data from the Fatality Accident Reporting System and texting data from the FCC and CTIA. They reported that accidents caused by texting while driving ended the lives of 16,141 Americans between 2001 and 2007.
This is a sobering statistic. Massachusetts is among 30 states that have clamped down on texting by teen drivers with a ban that goes into effect this month. Boston.com reported on another study last week, which claims that these laws have not yet lowered the accident rates.
RIM shows up prominently in the word cloud, too. Last week RIM made a big spash with its announcement of the Playbook tablet. With a slew of cutting-edge hardware features for business users, the Playbook also boasts one of the world's most robust and flexible operating systems, from our client QNX. The BlackBerry Tablet OS is built on the QNX® Neutrino® microkernel architecture, one of the most reliable, secure and robust operating system architectures in the world, used to support mission-critical applications in everything from planes, trains and automobiles to medical equipment and the largest core routers that run the Internet.
We'll be blogging about the buzz at CTIA all week, so stay tuned.
, CTIA Enterprise
, Net Neutrality
Posted by Carol McGarry on October 4, 2010 at 10:06 AM
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