Sadly, our summer interns' last day was on Friday. Charlotte is finishing her last year at American University
and Sarah will be heading back to Virginia Tech
in a few weeks. Before they left, however, Sarah showed us her beatboxing
skills one last time and we couldn't resist putting the video on YouTube
I know Im a little out of the target market for it, but I will be picking up my copy of the newly-released Harry Potter book
at midnight tonight. I also know I probably deserve to get made fun of a little for being in my mid 20s and spending my Friday night at a childrens book store (I swear Im not staying for the party theyre having) but I dont want to be any where near a Barnes & Noble
tomorrow for fear that the ending will be ruined for me.
The July 21, 2007 release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is being billed
as the biggest book release of all time and was the no.1 seller on Amazon and Barnes and Noble after just one day of pre-ordering. Scholastic
is planning a 12 million copy first run, many books have been reserved
and paid for, stores are throwing midnight release parties
and people are planning to hole up this week and finish the book before they are confronted with a spoiler. I chalk all of this hype up to a great plot line and great PR.
Starting with signings that barely drew a crowd, the PR campaigns grew as each book was released. For Deathly Hallows
they sent a triple-decker Knight bus
across the US allowing fans to record messages to be shown on the Harry Potter website
, started discussion forums asking the 7 questions of Harry Potter and planned the book release to fall right after the Order of the Phoenix
movie release all to create a buzz. Also, J.K. Rowling
herself is instrumental in the campaign by peaking curiosity in an interview or on her website by revealing a secret, without giving too much away. Scholastics team uses every form of the media to get the ball rolling and then it cant be stopped. It is a reverse situation for the PR team, normally with a childrens book you are begging them to read, with Harry Potter the kids are begging you for more.
I know Im not a child but I have bought into it. I love those kids and the trouble they get into and I cant believe this is the last one but in the back of my mind Im thinking the same thing every person over 20 thinks when they read the books
Why didnt I think of it?
Earlier this week, I read a very interesting article
in The Wall Street Journal
about an employer-employee relationship transitioning to the virtual world. When asked by his boss to befriend him on Facebook
, an employee was smart enough to strip his profile of any questionable content before accepting the invitation, but was then unpleasantly surprised to find the boss had his own inappropriate photos online.
Then on The Today Show
yesterday, Miss New Jersey
felt compelled to reveal what she characterized as private photos to the world, originally posted on Facebook yet sent to Pageant officials
in an alleged blackmail attempt. While her photos might have been entertaining for friends, she obviously did not intend for them to promote or support her professional image.
These news stories got me thinking
does ones online identity really fit all relationships? Should you participate in the social networking community if your online persona is contradictory to your professional image? In the real world, you wear different attire for weekend events with friends than you do during business meetings with clients. You adapt an alternate writing style for personal IMs versus an email pitch to a reporter. You speak differently in an interview than you do with your family. But online, do you or can you have both a professional and a personal profile? Does one size really fit all in social networking?
I dont know the answer, but I think this is a timely trend that sparks an interesting debate. I do know that as a business professional, you have got to have the utmost respect for yourself and your image. My mantra is not to say anything in an email that I wouldnt mind being forwarded or shared with any of my colleagues or clients. I recommend to my clients that they never go off the record in a media interview, assuming that anything they say can be sourced. While I have a very active LinkedIn
profile, Ive chosen not to
at least for now
participate in Facebook or MySpace
, and I honestly cant really put my finger on why. But I think this online relationship, square peg/round hole issue might have something to do with it.
Interested to know what some of you think
- Julie Buckley
When you read the title, you were probably hoping for SpeakerBox's list of "100 Blogs We Love", but you'll have to wait for that.
In the meantime, if you're looking to shake up your Google Reader, check out PC World's 100 Blogs We Love
. Described by PC World as, "everything from high tech to low comedy and all manner of pursuits in between". There's something for everyone.
- Meredith Bove
The June 11, 2007 issue of BusinessWeek
ran an interesting survey
that references the demographics of "what people do online" which outlines the age-related demographics of who lives online and how they participate. It provides an interesting perspective, because as PR pros, we run up against Web 2.0
-savvy marketing professionals all the time, and yet, we also work with more traditional marketeers that still believe in the press release and good ol' fashioned media outreach.
We've found there needs to be a mix to the approach we need to take in communications. What was missing from this age-based assessment was the other critical factor in determining how customers get their information to buy our client's products, such as industry and job function.
For our clients selling IT operations solutions, their customers primarily live online. For those selling services to the government, it's a very different mix of print and online information. For clients sellling solutions for physical security--a rapidly growing sector--their customers get their information in very different ways. Not all of our client's customers have adopted social networks, collaborative environments, online communications with constituents. Don't get me wrong, it's coming, but not at the same pace for all parties.
We're not wholy Web 2.0 in our world, but it is our job to help our clients get there when the time is right. Our strategies, tactics and goals of a communications program are ever-evolving, making our jobs exciting, challenging, and often times, downright nutty! It's tough to resist the sexy push of online communications, but we need to remain rooted in what continues to actually work.
If our client's customers straddle a Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 world, what does that make them? Web 1.5?
- Elizabeth Shea
In an age where an understanding of the customer is seen as central to business strategy, how can companies proactively address the disconnect between marketing and the executive suite in order to get closer to customers? A recent Harvard Business School (HBS) Working Knowledge newsletter discussed this topic
and recommended closing the divide via a marketing metrics dashboard that would facilitate discussion among C-levels, boards of directors and the like. But isnt this easier said than done? And does closing the gap drive value in the form of increased sales and revenue?
According to Gail McGovern, a professor of management practice at Harvard University, the seemingly ever-widening gap between marketing and the executive suite is partly attributable to cost cutting measures, a focus on corporate governance and the proliferation of the CMO role. McGovern argues that the marketing-CEO disconnect can be bridged via a marketing metrics dashboard that provides C-levels insight into customer segmentation, competitive landscape and the like.
But is it really as easy as a dashboard? And does healing the internal rift between marketing and the executive suite do anything for the bottom line?
Probably not . . . a metrics snapshot can help to catalyze discussion among C-level executives and enable leaders to ask the right questions, but a dashboard is just a pretty picture at the end of the day. It takes more than a dashboard to inform business strategy in a way that impacts customers and, ultimately, the bottom line.
To successfully close the gap between marketing and the executive team, both must collaborate to select the right measurements and develop processes for accurate collection, reporting and analysis. And obviously the right metrics for each company will differ. Once youve got the right measurements in place, youve got to see how they work for you over a period of time AND figure out how to turn them into actionable insights that will drive business strategy.
Turning insight into action is a tall order . . . that cant be filled with a dashboard alone. Its got to be the right people using the right processes to execute on the right strategies. The dashboard can be used to facilitate asking the questions about the right people, processes and strategies, but won't work magic for a company expecting a quick fix.
- Meredith Bove
Yesterday, Google announced yet another purchase
, a company that provides services for managing your voice (home phone, cell, Blackberry, etc.) communications.
Simply put, GrandCentral is an online tool which allows a customer to link phone numbers together.
This acquisition makes number 11 this year alone and 20 since January 2006 for Google. So what? Google has a lot of money and a vision for the future? Think nothing of it for now.
Just wait, five years from now maybe 10, maybe 20 Google buys Second Life
and the WWW as we know changes in a big way. Check out the concept by Wade Roush of Technology Review
in this article on Second Earth.
The merging, intentional or not, of Google Earth
and Second Life would create a true Metaverse. Roush explains, the term Metaverse comes from Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash
the Metaverse was a planet-size virtual city that could hold up to 120 million avatars, each representing someone in search of entertainment, trade, or social contact.
And thats just the tip of the iceberg; Roush goes on to give more details.
But what does this all mean? Just get keep an eye out for the press release about Google acquiring La-Z-Boy
, because you may never have to leave your computer again. And cross your fingers that mobile devices improve between now and then.
- Seth Petersen
Sidebar - Im still waiting for Google to announce its candidacy for the 2008 Presidential Election