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Archive for the ‘PRGN’ Category

Describe Yourself!

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 by John Mallen

I have just been led to a compelling piece “How the Leading Social Sites Describe Themselves” by Steve Rubel. Steve’s piece is worth reading, but his view applies to far more than the social Web, and touches on a favorite peeve of mine.

Rubel’s blog follows his return to the City from the Bay Area where a high penetration of Digerati (I love that term) is accompanied by a parochial focus of these tech-savvy folk, as evinced by how popular social Web sites introduce themselves. It really would be difficult for someone who is not a member of the cognoscenti to make an intelligent choice from among Twitter, digg, Friendfeed and others.

I find the same condition far too often in too many places. Take trade shows, where in my experience the more high-tech the exhibitor the more undifferentiated their presentations. Glitzy to be sure. Clarity of what they are, not much. The same carries over to brochures, videos, Web sites and other marketing materials. You really need to dig to understand just what they’re about.

I’m with Steve Rubel. Describe yourself! It’s job No.1 for any customer facing activity.

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Something Old Something New

Friday, January 9th, 2009 by John Mallen


Earlier in the day, one of the clients pounded the table. “Out! Push the message out! I want to get the message out. I want to get people behind this!”  Visions of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking services danced in my head.

“We need ads! ” said the client.  Nothing in the county has a greater impact than does Ulster Publishing,  independent producers of  six weekly newspapers. Read that to mean the dominant Daily Freeman and it’s companions dailies, The Poughkeepsie Journal and Times Herald Record are not seen as driving opinion. 

“Let’s talk about on-line social networking,” I said. 
Later today, a link to a friend and colleague’s blog landed in my e-mauil in-box.  It’s all about setting up meetings with media people, include influential boggers. It’s by one Kelly, a senior account exec at Landis PR in San Francisco. Nice job. The piece has solid tactical points. I’m thinking of “borrowing” it for a series on PR basics.

Next comes an email from another friend and colleage in PRGN, our network of independent PR firms.  Jay Van Vechtan  emailed a compelling e-mail responding to Kelly’s post.

Says Jay: “In days gone by I loved them, but over the years the opportunities for booking a client on a locally produced TV talk, news or radio show has waned at best.  Locally produced morning talk programs have been replaced by syndicated shows.  Morning, noon and drive time news programs have been cut to the bare minimum, all but eliminating time for live, in-studio guests.  Newspapers are in a free fall, with staff cut backs and reduced circulation.  The magazine industry is floundering.  And so where does that leave us?”

Jay moves along with sound, practical suggestions for conducting a media tour in the new Millenium. He recommends outsourcing the work to a group that does satellite media tours, hitting mainly the second rung ADIs.

All the preceding is fine and good. But are those of us in professional communications hanging too long on mainstream media (MSM) and too little on  Web 2.0 social marketing? Sometimes I want to jump up and down waving red flags and say, “HEY it’s changed!”  Sure we have MSM on the one hand and social media with long-tail marketing on the other. 

Listen to Robert Scoble, one of the top bloggers (and representative of Microsoft) talking about social media back in 2007:   “When I say “social media” or “new media” I’m talking about Internet media that has the ability to interact with it in some way. IE, not a press release like over on PR Newswire, but something like what we did over on Channel 9 where you could say “Microsoft sucks” right underneath one of my videos.

“I don’t really care what you call this “new media” but you’ve got to admit that something different is happening here than happens on other media above.”

I’m reacting to messages from clients and colleages at both ends of the day. Yes I really like MSM; indeed grew up as a reporter for The Providence Journal-Bulletin. But Web 2.0 Internet is bringing a tsunami of creative distruction to MSM. Many of us in professional communications find ourselves working harder and harder to get any exposure we can in MSM outlets that are reacing fewer and fewer people with vehices that have less and less content.

Meanwhile Internet communications continues to get larger and larger, more and more focused, faster, slicker, more compelling and tunable than any other media. Individuals can talk back, even have a conversation with one another as well as news makers.  

With all the foregoing passion, I admit that as professional PR and comms resource too many are way under-engaged in social media. It’s not iinertia or blindness, not really. We’re all doing some. What we need is a full-blown process, spec development, and  execution that’s easily managed. Something easy tha all of us can use.

Photo with permission from Full Code Press

Using New Media and Relying on Old Media

Friday, October 5th, 2007 by John Mallen

Tonight’s premier of the opera Appomattox by Philip Glass will be an interesting test of the junction of very old media (opera), mass media (news) and new media (Web). The opera is presented by The San Francisco Opera

David Gockley, general director of the San Franciso Opera, is on somewhat of a "populist" campaign to bring opera to a wide range of audiences, which is part of a larger strategy to maintain the organization in an era where traditional support by business is declining and, to the degree this support continues, is much more commercial. Today’s business underwriting is given with an expectation of positioning a brand or reaching underserved customer groups.

Gockley was speaking this morning with members of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), where I’m gathered with other operators of PR and communications firms from around the world. Since coming aboard as the sixth general director, David has developed high definition video which he’s using to bring opera to people who don’t have the financial capability to attend. Good stuff.

Beyond revitalizing the opera, David and his team are building new, diversified audiences with free screenings in parks, Giant’s stadium, all kinds of innovations leading to tonight’s debut.

The renaissance has, to a great extent, been supported by generating news coverage in the mainstream media that reach the richly diverse community of San Francisco and the Bay area, says Karen Ames who handles communications for the SF Opera.

While the opera has been working intensively with the traditional media, new Web sites have arisen that cover the arts, and they’re adding a new voice to how the arts are presented and interpreted.  The Opera has received remarkable coverage in the media, with, I might add, great support from our host David Landis, founder of  Lanids Communications, Inc.  Meanwhile, about five local Web sites that cover the arts have appeared on the scene.  "It won’t be long before our promotion people begin using quotes from these sites," Karen adds.  Karen says these Web site critics "may be more welcoming" to the opera than the traditional critcs, especially given the Opera’s outreach to multiple audiences and the edgy nature of tonight’s program.

Historic Moment

"We’re really at historic moment with tonight’s opera," says David. Philip Glass, who has developed performances for a wide range of audiences, approached him several years ago about setting an opera in the last days of the Civil War. It’s set in the last battles of the war, as messages are going across between the Union and Confederacy. The opera focuses on how both generals were united in a belief that lives had to be saved. It shows Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee as men of high moral standards who were committed to saving lives and reuniting the country.

Act two introduces a "confrontational approach" to unfinished business that has contributed to separation since that war. It is not only about the legacy of rour relations with African Americans but also to people of various ethnic and racial backghrounds.

How the traditional media and the "new" Web sites respond will be telling, says David.