When Your Customer Tells You They Want Your Business

I'm looking to make a move with my two-car situation. I'm not a typical sales target. I'm a social guy. I'm an online guy. I don't want to sit in a showroom and do the dance. However, on this particular day, I was in the mood. However, no one was listening. 

The #BostonShake: Having Fun at Work

No, this is not a post about the Harlem Shake. It's a post about how much fun I get to have at work. ​

We are a creative bunch. We pay attention to online trends. Lately, the Harlem Shake has been one of those trends we've been following.​

We've been yapping about potentially doing one of our own Harlem Shakes. After a quick brainstorm -- and I mean like :30 seconds quick -- we decided to mash up the Harlem Shake with a flashmob. ​

​I introduce you to the #BostonSHAKE:

Conceptualizing Integrated Communications

If you have been reading my last few posts, you'll be familiar with the words in the title of this post -- integrated communications. It sounds like its been around a while, but it really hasn't. Simply put, it's a mash-up of PR, marketing, digital communications and product dev/sales and what a person's role would look like if he or she were in the middle of it all. That's where I want to be -- integrated.

This is what it may look like. Excuse the finger painting approach to this as I did it with an iPad app called "Draw."

The Integrated Communicator

I've been writing a lot lately about the business I'm in -- the communications business. It's PR, marketing, social, advertising, creative, web, mobile, etc. It's everything in one. And over the course of the past month, I have been talking to various agencies and brands about what this means and how a guy with my background and experience fits into this new role -- VP of Integrated Communications (or director, manager, etc.).

Basically, I'd had my big paws in the cookie jar of each segment of this business. This is due largely in part to the fact that I feel that one component can't sail smoothly without the others. Together, they're an old clock, specifically, all the gears that run inside as well as the perception of time on the outside -- the numbers, arms, etc.

With that in mind, I started working on a MindNode that outlined what this clock might look like. As I said, it's a work in progress, but would love to get the feedback of my peers as well as those in the business.

My point: take a look at your job title. That role might not exist in the next five years. It might not even exist in a year. Who knows.

One thing I do know is that this collision of PR, marketing, social, mobile, advertising, etc. is at some point going to meld into one role for brands and will have a major impact on agencies of all shapes and sizes.

Here's the image:

You can download a PDF here.

Note: please excuse the "messiness" of the graphic. I did this fairly quickly as it's a work in progress.

Public Social Marketing Relations: Say It Twice

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December 2011 was an interesting month for me. I was closing out a pretty good year when I was slapped pretty hard by reality. I won't get into the gory details, but after 18 years of being in the communications business, I was back on the job market right before the holidays.

Needless to say, it was a tough pill to swallow.

However, everything happens for a reason, as the saying goes. And after the past two weeks, I truly believe that the saying is dead on.

Flash forward to today, and I find myself sitting on some very interesting opportunities -- all leading in different directions, yet with a very similar focus.

You see, I've built my career in order for me to be a generalist/specialist. This means, I'm good at a lot of things as it relates to Public Relations, Marketing, Digital Communications, Mobile Marketing and of course, Social Media.

I've worked for big, mid-sized and small agencies. I've worked on the client side. I've developed programs for big, mid-sized and small companies across a variety of industries.

This broad experience means that one day, I can be pitching trend stories to connections I have at the Wall Street Journal and later that hour, managing a client's social listening program in order to provide them with market intelligence via online chatter.

What this boils down to is that I'm good with people. I'm good at managing relationships. I'm good at connecting people with people, people with brands and brands with brands (in the case of B2B communications).

This leads me to my point:

Dear PR Types, Please Don't Be Robots

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I receive anywhere between 100-150 pitches a day for my role at Technorati (exec editor). I also receive a slew of others for me to write content for Wired's GeekDad blog, Every Other Thursday as well as this blog.

About 90 percent of it is fluff. While it might be a subject that I'm interested in, there's really no meat to it. Those are pitches I'll hold on to and get to at some point. Most of the people that pitch me don't know from a hole in a wall. Some try and build relationships with me, which I totally appreciate and get (as a PR guy myself).

Others, however, like to spray and pray, i.e. blast out a bunch of pitches, hoping something -- anything -- sticks.

Check out the photo I posted. This is a shot of my Technorati inbox with the same pitch, from the same person, about roughly the same thing. I usually would let this slide, but I had to call this particular person out. I emailed her and said, thanks, but as you can see from the attached image, I'm going to pass because you didn't care to pitch me. You spammed me.

So Dear PR, please get your act together. Do your homework. Build relationships. Take pride in what you pitch. Represent your clients in a way that shines a positive light on them as well as your agency. It's really not brain surgery, but there is a science to it.

Elements of a Good Story

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As I eluded to in an earlier post today, the PR, advertising and marketing business has converged. Each segment is doing social media. Each segment is trying to do parts of other segments, i.e. PR agencies doing traditional marketing work, while advertisers are conducting PR exercises like messaging training.

It's a confusing, yet exciting time to be in this business considering where the job market is in relation to the industry.

Two elements I've enjoyed of my career has been the writing and communication aspects, i.e. telling stories. And, if you think about this industry in terms of the responsibilities, a lot of what we do is rooted in story-telling.

We create campaigns that tell the story of a brand. We create messaging that clearly communicates the value proposition of a company or non-profit. We develop personas that help bring brands to life online.

These are all elements of story telling, but there are more. Here are more:

2012 Should be the Year PR Types, Mad Men and Digital Marketers Come Clean

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I've been in the journalism/PR/digital marketing business for 18 years (in that order). If you've ever worked at an agency, you know that the lines between PR, advertising and marketing has become blurred because of online communications, i.e. social media.

The space is become very crowded. Guru's are a plenty. Books are being written at a feverish pace; books on Google+, Facebook, social media in general, location-based stuff, etc.

It's never ending and to be brutally honest, it's tiring.

Here's what I'd like to see from PR, advertising and marketers in 2012:

Tell Your Story, Not Sell It

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My buddy Ed Cafasso has a great post over at his blog called Bending Light. He does a weekend roundup of items he finds interesting and one of them in today's issue includes using the words "content creation" on your resume. Basically he's saying there's no shame in doing so:

A Battle for Social Web Traffic: Brand Pages

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So Twitter joined Facebook and Google today by launching 'Brand Pages'. So what, right? Well, if you're managing a brand or doing so for a client's brand, you're going to want to jump in on the action.

You see, brand's need social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. They need to connect. They need to fuel the push and pull action that takes place between the people with products and services and the people that want them.

However, brands are very conscious about their image. They want "some" control over their presence on these networks. Brand Pages provide a false sense of brand security in that the social network dictates how your brand will be presented. There are a certain amount of spaces to fill with creative. There are certain places to put in your company info. And of course, there's always a segment of the network where you pump your sausage, i.e. your news.

This isn't control. These aren't "brand pages." They are apartments. Brands are renting these spaces and are generating loads of traffic (and ad revenue) for the social darlings of the web.

My advice is to take advantage of brand pages in order to avoid squatters, but don't forget YOUR website. Remember that thing right? The online face for your brand that you actually have 100% control over? Well, don't forget to use that and in fact, socialize it. Make your website, your SOCIAL website. Make it the center of your social hub for your target audience. Then, all those other brand pages will be just that -- pages -- whereas your website will be a brand experience.

Just sayin'.