recent meeting of the minds, Brainstorm Tech 2010
, a panel of non-profit and foundation executives urged the technology community to provide not just educational and business-building know-how, but also consider more financial contributions.
The takeaway here is that tech companies need to be balanced when it comes to their corporate social responsibility
(CSR) programs. Throwing money at a non-profit that doesnt have a solid organizational infrastructure and business knowledge might result in squandered resources. Alternatively, dumping a large mindshare of business best practices on a non-profit without some discussion of a level of commitment for financial contributions may lead to a lot of talk about great ideas that ultimately cant be implemented with existing resources.
So in what capacity can brains and bucks converge for the greater good? One example is a program like the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund
, a giving circle comprised of Silicon Valley tech firms and local business professionals committed to leveraging their network of financial, intellectual and human capital to make a meaningful, measurable impact. I think this is a smart, engaging model because it shows that capacity building can be done through a balance of giving money and giving time, as well as sharing the wealth of knowledge that the areas entrepreneurs gain in a relativity very short time. The whole project grew organically from like-minded people looking to expand their philanthropic engagement in a smarter way. Sounds like a win-win for both sides and where CSR should continue going for the future of business.
It seems tech PR tactics are evolving with the times, according to a recent study
conducted by PRSourceCode. The study, which interviewed PR professionals in the tech field, asked about topics such as using Twitter to engage reporters, whether print media is dying and the top media outlets and reporters for the field.
Key findings included how PR professionals are increasingly seeing the value in online media. While traditionally pros relied on publications that had the highest circulation number, today they see just as much value in a series of strategic tweets. According to the survey, 68% of PR professionals use Twitter to engage with an online publication and 65% of senior level professionals reach out to publications by commenting on their blogs.
And the results are in for the Holy Grail of publications and reporters in tech-
Top Tech blogs are-
Most sought after reporters are-
1) Brian Krebs, The Washington Post
2) Don Clark, The Wall Street Journal
3) Stacey Higginbotham, GigaOM
4) Chris Kanarcus, IDG News Service
5) David Pogue, The New York Times
To see the full survey results, including top business and trade online and print publications, visit http://bit.ly/dptfE1
Spoiler Alert: the federal government is slowly but surely adopting social media practices to boost public engagement and private sector collaboration. Now that Ive blown your mind, here are five less startlingly obvious thoughts about social media in the federal communitycourtesy of Tuesday mornings Market Connections breakfast at the Tower Club: 1. First, check under the radar. Market Connections research suggests only 30% of federal agencies are implementing social media programs. But a recent GAO report puts that number at 91%. Thats quite a disparity. Evidently, the governments current social media initiatives are either highly localized, mostly outward facing or fairly insubstantial. 2. Go where the masses go. You might think that risk-averse federal employees would choose government-specific social networks as a gateway to the larger online community. But youd be wrong. Per MCs research, only 14% of federal workers use GovLoop or other government-centric social environments. This pales in comparison with government use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the other usual suspects. 3. Follow the contractors. MCs research indicates that the difference in social media adoption between federal employees and federal contractors is primarily a factor of age. So once 60% of the federal workforce reaches retirement age this decade, we can expect a measurable shift toward the behaviors and attitudes of todays contractors. That means more social media useparticularly wikisand fewer security hang-ups. 4. Be ready for a challenge. According to GSAs Bev Godwin, incentivizing public participation in government problem solving is a wave of the very near future. In fact just earlier this month, we saw the internal launch of challenge.gov, which promises a major step forward in solutions-based government/public collaboration. 5. Behold the power of Google. During the height of the swine flu scare, the CDC determined that Google flu symptom searches were more predictive of outbreak hotspots than thorough, intricate field research. So people would rather get their medical advice from Google than from a trusted source like the CDC? Id wager the CDCs info must be comparatively difficult to access, inscrutable, or maybe both.
If youre like me, then your ears may still be ringing after attending Talentpalooza 2010
, a free, one-day virtual talent management forum hosted by our very own client, Plateau Systems
. Just last week, the second annual event celebrated all things talent management
with nearly 700 registrants, keynoted by IDC analyst, Lisa Rowan
, Program Director of HR and Talent Management Services. The agenda consisted of interactive sessions (discussing case studies, best practices and trends for successful talent management initiatives) and networking opportunities, housing conversations both through live forums, as well as on Twitter
If you werent able to listen in, check out www.talentpalooza.net
for copies of the presentations, or review the #talent2010 conversations via Twitter @talentpalooza.
Thanks to everyone who participated we look forward to joining the stage with you again in 2011!
- Mary Evans
I blogged a while back about dcTechSource when they first came on the scene and was recently able to ask Chris Foss, the founder of dcTechSource some questions about why he started the online pub and the direction he sees it going. Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what compelled you to start dcTechSource? My background is in website and content development. Initially my thought was to develop a local business newsletter but after really evaluating the local media, I realized that while this area boasts some of the most innovative and successful technology companies and executives in the world, the amount of attention they get from local publications is obscenely small. Many existing publications touch on technology but none were devoted to it. Early on I reached out to the local technology councils to establish partnerships and build awareness. It is a slow process to capture mindshare but we are reaching between 5,000 7,500 with our newsletters that get pushed out two times per week, the website, and our social media outlets. It has been very clear that this technology-focused approach is working. We plan to expand into many other markets in the future.
Q: What do you find most interesting about the local business scene currently and what do you see for DC in the next few years?
I think what is interesting is how under reported the local technology scene is and has been for almost two decades. The technology community in the DC-metro area receives very little coverage, even locally, which impacts the amount of attention and respect it receives nationally and internationally.
We hope that dcTechSource.com can play a role in creating some awareness for what is happening around this region. Also, not that this is really a surprise, but the local business scene has remained vibrant in the DC area and that is largely driven by technology companies supporting both commercial and government organizations. Many major companies are migrating to this area from locations like California and the North East. I anticipate that many more companies will establish headquarters in this area in the future.
Q: What do you think it is about DC that has lends the area to be such a hot bed for technology companies? First, its the location from DC its easy to get to the West Coast and to Europe, a 1-2 hour flight will get you to NYC and Boston and it has close proximity to the government.
Second, this region has some of the smartest technology people in the world, many of them have, at some point, worked in positions where they were tasked with supporting some of the most crucial demands that any tech exec will ever face working with the federal government.
Finally, its also about serving customer demands. The federal government not only provides a consistent and continual customer base, but it also challenges technology companies to solve complex problems that could impact national security or the way programs are delivered to millions of citizens. If you can solve problems on this scale, your technology can be packaged for any number of private sector applications.
Q: What technologies are interesting you the most at the moment? I do not want to single out any technology our goal is to cover the business of technology in the DC area. Our coverage runs the full gamut from enterprise software to security to satellite and mobile technologies. It is really great speaking with up and coming companies that present new and innovative technologies.
That said, on the consumer electronics side, I like the iPad and how disruptive it is already proving to be. On the other side, I think that behind closed doors, the government is doing some really interesting things with how they are using technology to increase transparency, protect citizens and increase efficiencies.
Q: Have you seen any advantages to being an online-only publication? Ive seen some digital publications recently make moves to produce a print version, do you think thats in the cards for dcTechSource? We do not have plans for a print version. Our model is to push the news via e-newsletters and also allow people to visit dcTechSource.com where we offer vast amounts of free content. So not only are the latest stories posted but readers and can review older stories at their leisure.
Technology executives in this region are a dynamic bunch and dcTechSource was created to cater to them. Online content that can be viewed from a laptop or smartphone is ideal for this audience. They are on the move and we want to go with them.
Q: What makes a good pitch for dcTechSource? What do you look for when evaluating a technology, company, or industry professional to feature?
First and foremost, the company must be a tech company headquartered or have significant presence in the DC area. From there, its a pretty green pasture. We are looking for stories that will be interesting to technology executives throughout the region. We look for companies that might be flying under the radar, while at the same time, keeping an eye on the big guys.
If I had to sum it up, the real key would to offer us something interesting and unique. What sets your company or executive apart? Honestly, I know that your exec must be smart; if they werent they wouldnt be the CEO. And, I know your company must be filling some sort of customer need; again, if it wasnt you would not be in business. Pitches need to go beyond this and tell us why they would make a good subject to cover. What are you doing different and how is this helping the customer?
Last week, Old Spice launched a hilarious viral video campaign that seems to go along with their ongoing efforts to infuse the brand with energy and move it away from "this is your grandfather's kind of product."
The premise was actually pretty genius: consumers used social network sites like Twitter and Facebook to ask the Old Spice Guy
any question. Selected questions received short, personal video responses that incorporated the signature "smooth answers" from the Old Spice Guy (the videos feature actor Isaiah Mustafa
as the manliest man out there today.)
In the space of 48 hours, about 200 new Old Spice video responses were produced. Celebrities and notable media personalities including Ellen DeGeneres
, Demi Moore and George Stephanopoulos
sent in their questions and received tailored video responses.
What I love about this campaign is that the videos were written, filmed and posted within minutes
and really embodied rapid response via social networking sites in a way I've never seen. The videos instantly went viral and garnered buzz and excitement from fans and media alike. Old Spice's YouTube
channel became the most popular page on the site last week, garnering more than 34 million views and counting for the response videos. On Twitter, @OldSpice
now has more than 86,000 followers.
Pretty impressive numbers for a campaign with a single camera and close to non-existent wardrobe budget. But while the buzz continues around the videos, the real question becomes can they convert this into actual sales? According to Brandweek
sales of the Old Spice body wash product dropped in June (the product has been featured in the original TV ads since February). These estimates obviously don't include any sales data that might result from the current viral video campaign. Old Spice maintains they have not officially released sales figures, so only time will tell if the new incarnation of the Old Spice brand resonates with consumers enough to drive them to buy the product.
and the e-tailing group
recently released the 2010 Social Shopping Study
, a study of consumers' online shopping habits and their usage and trust of customer reviews. More than 1,000 consumers (50% male/50% female), who buy online at least four times per year, completed the survey.
Not surprisingly given the sponsors, the results show that consumers rely heavily on reviews and expect to see expert and customer reviews in addition to robust product information on an e-commerce site. A few interesting tidbits:
- Consumers consistently read reviews before making a purchasing decision (64% of consumers answered always or most of the time) and they read lots of reviews (33% claim to spend more than 30 minutes reading reviews)
- About 63% of consumers claim to trust consumer reviews; another 35% find the reviews interesting but arent sure if they are unbiased.
- The top three reasons that consumers dont trust reviews are:
- Doubt that reviews are written by real customers (39%)
- No negative reviews or limited negative reviews (38%)
The thought of opening up a company Website to customer reviews is terrifying to many marketing professionals but it might be less risky than you think. Bazaarvoice
, another provider of online customer review technology, claims most word-of-mouth reviews are positive. In fact, 80% of the reviews posted across all Bazaarvoice clients receive a 4 or 5 star rating out of 5.
Need more good news about reviews? Consumers who interact with online reviews are more likely to convert and spend more online according to Bazzarvoice and the magazine, Internet Retailer
. Just one more reason to give power to the people.
- Katie Hanusik
You made a good point. Indeed the most important world in social media is social. Sometimes, I even think that social media is quite misleading because of the word media which implies one way/broadcast when social media is really peer to peer networking. Social implies people. You can't buy people or if you can, you're not social and it's wrong. Clearly, salaries have to replace media buying in marketing. Behind those salaries, real competent people are growing their network one step at a time as you said, building trust and loyalty; It's sustainable.
Wireds Eliot Van Buskirk
wrote a great post for Epicenter
last week about how marketers can rig social media
to their advantage. Its a great read, and I highly encourage you to check it out but do not use it as a manual for social media marketing. Although ShareThrough
s model (mentioned in the last section on YouTube) seems pretty aboveboard and straightforward as a marketing component, the rest of the services described by Eliot, from paid status updates to selling Twitter friends/followers, should be avoided like the plague, particularly the latter.
Whats so bad about paying for Twitter followers? To crib a bit from Eliots article, social media is built on trust and loyalty, which means a heavy emphasis is placed on organically growing your network based on those facets. Growing your follower base with one of the services named in the article makes a mockery of social media and turns it into just another advertising platform.
So if you cant pay to go grow your followers quickly, what can you do? I would ask, whats wrong with growing your follower base slowly and organically? Dont you want your corporate Twitter account to be a trusted resource in the community? Or would you rather it just look like some kind of mouthpiece spewing offers and press releases?
Slow, thoughtful growth allows for more meaningful conversation with followers and means that your follower base is full of actual people (potential customers), not other corporate handles, bots or marketers. And besides these benefits, Twitter frowns upon using a paid-for follower service if youre caught, your account is suspended.
Social media isnt Vegas. Dont try to game it.
In the aftermath of the Kings selection
of the Miami Heat for the next stop of his basketball tour de force
, I thought I would take a step back and examine exactly what happened, with special emphasis on the PR ramifications. Keep in mind, I am a basketball-neutral I have no allegiance to a particular NBA or NCAA team (I didnt even know Penn State had a basketball program until after I graduated. Just kidding
kind of) and Ive observed LeBron James career to-date with the objectivity of a interested watcher, not a fan.
Lets break down exactly what happened, shall we?TV Special
As SI.coms Richard Deitsch
and many other sports analysts have noted, this was nothing more than reality TV. The only thing separating LeBrons special from Breaking Bonaduce or Being Bobby Brown is that hes never had a substance abuse problem (that we publicly know of) and he plays basketball. The fact that most of the advertising dollars are going to charity is great (fantastic, even), but it doesnt change the fact that the show came off as heavily self-promotional and that it accomplished the exact same thing as a 15 minute press conference would have, minus the airs.The Interview
Interview Pro Tip: Never, ever, ever refer to yourself in the third-person
, especially during a television show that only exists to promote you. When youre already known as the King, adding the last bit of verbal grandeur with third-person references is the crap-icing on the garbage-cake. Bad move, LeBron.The Selection Process
Where to begin? Its not that King James selected Miami its his career and his choice, ultimately but rather the manner in which he made the choice. He instantly went from being a well-regarded, coveted sports figure to the NBAs Antichrist in several major markets (Chicago and New York, most notably
not to mention all of Ohio
). I expect LeBron is moving the vast majority of his property out of the Cleveland area to keep it unscathed. Even Clevelands majority owner
stepped up and hammered the King, making the decision to keep all of the ownership groups in the dark
about his destination look even worse than it did before.
I know LeBron has a well-oiled PR machine, and he should. He has a global brand and sponsorship deals, all of which require a heavy attention to detail and a massive level of precision to execute properly. But the TV special? Who in Gods name on his PR team thought that this was a good idea? If the end goal was to raise money for charity, mission accomplished
. They probably even raised awareness of his brand.
But if the end goal was for positive press? Holy failure, Batman.
Thanks to Matt for the Radian6 shout-out! I'm always surprised to see how customers/fans/the community at large is talking about a brand v. how the brand thinks they're talking about them. There's often a big difference!
Community Manager | Radian6
The Hill annually publishes a list of Top Lobbyists that is always a whos who list of big names on Capital Hill. Developed based more on word of mouth than a scientific formula, Dow Lohnes Rick Kessler and Stephen Sayle caught the eye of editors landing themselves on the 2010 list.
Each boasting over 20 years of experience on Capital Hill and backgrounds with the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rick and Stephen have worked diligently to gain recognition for the growing firm. This is a great win for Dow Lohnes solidifying them as a big fish on K Street.