Tag Archives: public relations

Here’s to a Pretty Good Week

Sometimes things just fall into place. Personally, professionally and otherwise.  I was fortunate that this was one of those weeks.  Lots of very cool highlights professionally. And, the best part is I got to come home to a wonderful family each day.  This was a week that was not without a little drama, but it ended by hearing from dear friends and learning that a little seed planted years ago in my past “life” will soon receive national attention. More on that later. :)

So without further rambling. Here are the hits!

Applied Materials was featured on the homepage of Wired.com. Way cool.

Applied CEO was on Fox Business and I met anchor Liz Claman in person.

Applied placed #8 on Newsweek’s 2010 Green Rankings.

AND…the new and improved appliedmaterials.com launched. More on this later.

So, that was my week. Not to shabby. Hope you had a great one too. OH! And, one of the highlights from my week as mentioned above…

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Social Media Integration for Managers

This not the typical post about how to sell social media to your boss. The fact of the matter is, your boss is probably on Facebook, if not their children are. So, they already have an idea of what social media is.  They may have their own unique opinions of what social media really is, but they know. I believe we’ve moved past the education phase of social media.

This post is for managers. Communication, marketing and media managers that have to respond to the changing times. It’s likely your boss has seen an articles in the WSJ or NY Times about companies who have been burned by or are making money with social media, and they want to know what you’re thinking is. If your senior leadership is like mine you probably received this feedback via copied newsprint or faxed to you with a note: FYI, pls read and provide recommendation.

And, you know what they are looking for is: “read this and tell me what it means in case someone asks me about it.” You will probably think to respond with “another case of blown opportunity”, “trust and transparency” or “this is what I would have done.” Your personal opinion is valuable, but you’re a manger and the real question that needs to be answered is, “what’s our process if this happens to us or what’s our process so we can start doing some of this.”

Here are some thoughts on how to integrate social media into your group and how to manage it’s usage in your organization.

1. Start with the business strategy. If your communications aren’t tied to business strategy, than you already have some problems that social media will only amplify quickly. The first thing you should ask yourself is how will using different channels help me achieve my communications goals to support the business.

2. Understand the channel. Just because everyone is blogging or is on Twitter doesn’t mean you have to be. Read the research that’s out there – there’s a ton of it and it’s all free.  Understand what each channel’s medium is; what audience it impacts; what messages you can deliver through them. You can’t do all of them, so choose wisely the ones that will highlight your brand, you have the talent for and which you could easily have success with. For example, if no one on your team has ever done video editing and all you have is a flip cam, maybe YouTube isn’t the channel for you.

3. Assess your team. Understand who on your team has bandwidth or has an interest in these channels. You want to be sure your team will work the tactics for you and can achieve results. You as a manager need to understand what they are doing in order to highlight success and provide more opportunity for more social media i.e., budget, resources, political clearance, etc.

4. Build your business case. “Everyone is doing it” and “have you seen newspaper subscription rates” are not business cases. Understand your costs, the time you’re willing to spend on the new medium and more importantly what current activities you’re willing to sacrifice to engage.

Before you get to strategy and tactics, clearly state your objectives for the work. Articulate your goals in the front end and that will better inform your strategy or be enough to buy you some time to start that strategic thinking process. This business plan stage really buys you trust in the organization and allows you to show that you’ve thought it out a plan instead of just doing activities.  Your senior leadership won’t fund trends, but they’ll fund outcome-based plans.

5. Align with cross discipline champions. If you’re in corporate communications outreach to marketing, if in marketing outreach to advertising or PR.  The key is getting people out side your of  group to understand your activities and serve as a voice of support once your work starts to become real. This also allows for them to be included in the strategy development process – and that’s good politics.

6. Get help. Good help. Look to your agency or internal thought leaders for support on your plan. Agencies are great because they have probably helped other clients with this integration. Those clients won’t talk too loud about its agencies efforts in its programs and the agencies aren’t going to take blatant credit for the success their client s are realizing. Well there are some.  ;)

Also look to educate yourself a little deeper on the topics and channels by reading others’ thoughts and internalizing what they could mean for your activities.  As much as I’ve praised agencies, I always say, you can find everything you need to know about social media by getting a free Twitter account and following just a handful of people. These people either publish their own thoughts or mine the internet and share things you couldn’t find by yourself, because of time or energy.

7. Demonstrate value, showcase your team. This is like a two-f’er. Once your team has started to execute and get results, take your team on an internal roadshow to demonstrate things you’ve learned, found, done. This shows that you’ve made progress, have the right team in place and that you’re doing what you said you’d do.  Organizational anxiety starts when people are unsure who to turn to. Even if you’re a manager that know all things social media, people will have anxiety if it appears you’re the only one doing things. They need to have some reassurance that others are involved and if they’re good managers themselves, they will look in their groups to see if they have team members they’d like to pair up with your team to learn from or to find ways to participate too. Also before you call a meeting, decide what “ask” you want and the results of each roadshow stop should be.

Hope this helps. If you’re a manager and have successfully integrated social media in your team, p,ease let me know what’s worked for you.

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What Words Are in Your Press Releases

TechCrunch writer Robin Wauters explores the 10 words she’d love to see banned from press releases.  And for good reason. The list is:

  1. bannedLeading/Leader
  2. Best/Most/Fastest/Largest/Biggest etc.,
  3. Innovative/ Innovation
  4. Revolutionary
  5. Award-Winning
  6. Disruptive/Disruption
  7. Cutting/Bleeding Edge
  8. Next-Generation
  9. Strategic Partnership
  10. Synergy

If I could add a word, I’d place leverage on the list.

The list of words that would be banned from releases didn’t trouble me as much as the comments from PR folks asking what a good release looks like. Instead, I’d take the advice in good stride and see where these words are popping up in your releases.  If it’s happening too often, than you’re an offender.

Read the full list and see the commentary over at TechCrunch.

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Crisis Day 2

When I was in school and early in my career I would go to PR conferences and hear professionals discuss working in a crisis. I used to think it seemed exciting, challenging and something I’d want to do.  Day two into a crisis and I would not want to go through this again.

I’m not going to discuss the details, but the stress has nothing to with the actual work.  For a media person, taking calls from major networks to local papers from the east coast to west coast, from the western hemisphere to the eastern hemisphere in one day should be great, but in this instance it’s not.

Still praying and still sad.  Still thinking about those pilots.

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Responsibility vs. Ownership

One of the interesting and surprising pain points that I’ve seen in socializing social media through our organization, and to the broader company, has been the shift in thinking about ownership of web domains, documents and ideas. One of the interesting things social media changes is the idea of ownership. Before the implementation process of taking a wiki, blog or web site live, the question that most comes up is, “who owns what.”

Maybe it’s corporate America. Maybe it’s that during the job performance process there are objectives, goals and outcomes developed to measure against to judge the success of an individual’s year. Maybe it’s that we’re all fearful of doing work that isn’t measured or fearful people aren’t doing things that can be measured.

Social media sort of in its own organic way tears down these ideas of ownership and promotes a greater, more empowering sense of responsibility. It’s the responsibility of managing your own content on the org’s wiki versus the old way of sending every document to one person to own. It’s the responsibility to blog about topics you want to talk about and when you to talk about them versus the old way of getting time on a PR person’s calendar to develop the story already in your head.

Of course this is just my observation. Let me hear yours.

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FedEx Newsroom Takes Gold in W3 – Twice!

Got great news today that the FedEx Newsroom won two more awards–this time from W3.  The Newsroom took Gold in the News and Public Relations categories.

The Newsroom continues to do what it was built for–to tell the FedEx story in a more impactful way.  We’re using video, photos, meta-tagging and ratings for most all content.  We’ve never claimed that this is a Web2.0 newfangled site, instead just a site that’s geared to effectively report FedEx news and equipped with the tools to help distribute the content. It’s truly a 24/7/365 reputation engine and we’re happy to get some accolades for a solid team effort.

Special thanks for friends at Ketchum–Chad Latz, Rachel Janner and John Reynolds, and of course Marie Wiltz for helping to organize the chaos.

We still have an outstanding award submission in Europe for the UK FedEx Newsroom, so everyone keep their fingers crossed.

About the W3 Awards

The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning sites, videos and marketing programs. Simply put, the is the first major web competition to be accessible to the biggest agencies, the smallest firms, and everyone in between. Small firms are as likely to win as Fortune 500 companies and international agencies.

The is sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, interactive, advertising, and marketing firms. IAVA members include executives from organizations such as Conde Nast, Coach, Disney, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Estee Lauder, Fry Hammond Barr, HBO, Monster.com, MTV, Polo Ralph Lauren, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Victoria Secret, Wired, Yahoo! and many others.

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Career Advice from a Shark

My son’s favorite thing in the whole world is sharks. Loves them.  He can name about 20 different types by just looking at them and he’s 3.  We read the same book about sharks every morning, every lunch, every afternoon, when I get home from work and at night before bed.  You get the point.  Reading this book is a very hard thing to do because by now I hate the shark book, but the other night as I was reading it became apparent to me how similar my career and a shark just are.

1. Sharks were here before dinosaurs and exist today because of adaption. Surely everyone hasn’t  been working before the dinosaurs, but one thing is for sure, without being able to evolve your skill set,  perceptions, attitude and craft you could be out like a dinosaur.

2. There are over 200-300 dinosaurs in the world and they are all different. Knowing that you are part of a larger species of working class ecosystem, you are your own type of shark because of the qualities you possess. Knowing how to make those qualities work for you, instead of trying to be a different shark, will help you make your way through the crowded sea.

3. Fish have shiny scales, shark skin is tough like sandpaper. Well I think this is pretty obvious, if not cliche. You have to have some think skin in business to make.  Whether it’s the constant battering you take on a day-to-day basis or those times when nothing goes right.  While it’s the fish that have the flashy scales and glimmering appearance, it’s the sharks that sit at the top of the food chain.

4. Fish have swim bladders that allow them to float. Sharks don’t. They rely on their fins to help them glide through the water. For most sharks if they’re not moving, they sink. Sharks are always moving.  Looking for the next opportunity.  Depending on the type of shark they’re either looking for food or looking for big food.  It’s important to note that within a career it’s important to always be looking for the next project, client, opportunity or lunch.

5. When a mother shark gives birth to its pups, it’s stays in shallow, warm water to provide a safe hunting ground for its babies. When you’re beginning your career-or new job- it’s okay to take a bit of time to get acclimated to the position, the people and you’re new life.  One of the best things I was forced to do in my current job was to take my time and ease into it.  If you stick your neck out of the warm, safe water too soon, you become lunch for a bigger shark.

6.  When a mother shark gives birth to its pups, the pups get the hell out of her way–because a hungry mother shark isn’t picky or emotional and will eat its pups. So, you’re probably thinking, “I need to leave my house because my mom will eat me?” No. I look at this as go after “low-hanging fruit.”  There’s always a quick and easy meal around you.  Find out where it is and go after it.  The quick ones are usually the most tasty meals. High value, low output.

The last half of the book talks about how Great White sharks attack humans and how squid is a tasty meal for blue sharks.  Which really is appropriate reading for a night-time story. This was a very quick look into the subject, but I think there’s something pretty funny similarities between your career and the shark.  What animal could you compare your career with?  Interested to hear what you’d say.

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