Social Confusion

January 27, 2016

by Roger Pynn

As social media companies struggle to figure out a sustainable business model, this word from Fast Company that Twitter may be treating its “most valuable” users to an ad-free environment adds to the perception that media companies are wandering in search of a “promised land” rather than sticking to their knitting.

How do you explain to me, as an advertiser, that the people you say are really important are off limits to my paid messaging?  Has it struck Jack Dorsey that exposure to those eyeballs is perhaps the most important asset he can sell?

Are online giants like Twitter going the way of newspapers … chasing their tails to attract new members to their tribe and abandoning the most loyal warriors?  Newspapers long ago tossed their print subscribers to the side of the road.  Will Twitter be next?

To the Extremes

October 7, 2014

by Kim Taylor

I think I missed the memo where it said that if you aren’t doing some sort of extreme work experiment, nobody will believe how tough it is to do your job.

First, I read this Newsweek post from writer Zach Schonfeld, where he led readers through the weeklong journey of reading and answering every PR pitch he received.  I’ll save you the time:  he received a lot, some were good and some were not.  Thanks, Zach, you’ve really enlightened us.

And, then yesterday I caught wind of this piece from Fast Company on saying no.  Unlike Newsweek, the staff at Fast Company is saying no to “everything” for a week to “get more done.”   Sure, we’re all guilty of interjecting ourselves where we could’ve easily bowed out.  And, no doubt we could all use a little more discipline in the art of saying no.

But, just how realistic are these experiments?  Not very realistic at all.

We run a public relations agency serving clients in numerous capacities.  We’re fielding requests from clients, media and partners all day long.  But you know what?  That’s our job.  One we wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the clients we serve.

I, for one, am grateful for those opportunities and don’t need some hair-brained extreme work challenge to remind me to re-prioritize every now and then.

Swiss Money?

April 17, 2014

by Roger Pynn

I’m a fan of Fast Company.  It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, there’s always something to learn from FastCo whether on design, technology, marketing, workplace issues, leadership or dozens of other topics they cover so smartly.

But this piece on how to get the press to cover your startup company fails to deal with a gut-level issue that every startup exec needs to understand:  that before you start pitching your company to the media, you have to have done something that makes an impact.

The Q&A format item by Gannett CMO Maryam Banikarim, and Maxine Bédat, co-founder of the fashion site Zady, has some great practical advice.  But this preface is, I’m afraid, apt to make startups focus on the wrong objective:

“It’s not enough to have a great business if no one knows your company exists, but getting the media to pay attention to your startup can be tricky.”

In our experience, too many startup leaders want that exposure before they are ready for primetime.  To the authors’ point, our question is often, “What have you done to make sure you’re ready?”

The point is that many of them forget market research that confirms there is pent-up demand, that their product or service provides the features the target audience wants and that they’ve actually developed an answer the market will buy.

We’ve been working for a couple of weeks to develop a relationship with a startup that appears to have done everything right.  They’re anxious to get to market, but patient like what savvy real estate folks often call “Swiss money” … investors who know when it is finally time to sell.

So, long before they take the tactical advice Ms. Banikarim and Ms. Bédat prescribe, they are doing the due diligence necessary to make sure their pitch is based on a market-ready concept.  Swiss money.

On Modesty

February 10, 2014

rpynn by Roger Pynn

How often do you find yourself in a “conversation” with someone who’s doing all the talking?  There’s a big difference between talking with people and talking at them.  I don’t know about you, but I’m truly self-conscious about it and find myself stepping back in some conversations worried that I’m doing too much of the talking.  Often with good reason, I’m afraid.

This Andi Teggart article at Fast Company’s shares some great insight into public perception about how brands are sharing their stories.  It appears from a Yahoo!/BBDO study that people want more of a conversation and less of a lecture.

Said Teggart, “More than ever, brands need to quit chattering AT their audiences and instead showcase how their brands share each audience’s values, and can seamlessly enhance their day-to-day lives.”

Amen to that.  We often refer to the four questions you should ask in solving a communications problem – one of which is to determine what your audience already knows – or, perhaps more important, doesn’t know about you.

There’s a lot to be said for making it easy for them to find out what you want them to know, rather than force-feeding them.

Are You Part of the 83 Percent?

January 17, 2014

jhall by Julie Hall

I came across this Fast Company article, “5 Reasons to Never Eat Lunch at Your Desk Again,” coincidentally, while I was eating lunch at my desk today.  The story quotes a study that found 83 percent of American workers regularly eat meals and snacks at their desk.

The author outlines some undeniable benefits of leaving the office for lunch, which can have a real impact on work, such as being more productive when back in the office and having a better sense of work-life balance.

I try to take at least a short lunch break most days, but sometimes it just seems impossible to break away in the middle of the day when work starts piling up or you’re in the middle of a client crisis.  I don’t know that I’ll totally banish eating at my desk, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind when you consider the benefits to productivity and well-being.

What do you think?  Do you eat at your desk or do you regularly take a midday break?

Friday Finds | September 21, 2012

September 21, 2012

by Kim Taylor

Here are some goodies I found online this week:

The Temperature of Your Office Affects Employee Productivity – No really.  This Fast Company article tells the whole story, but apparently cold employees are uncomfortable and distracted costing employers 10 percent more per hour, per employee.  Yikes!

Twitter Profiles Are Starting to Look a Lot More like Facebook – Your profile page now has a Header Image in addition to the standard Avatar.  Sarah Evans shows you how to update your Twitter Header here.

Preparing For a Brainstorming Session and Need Some Creative Inspiration?  Look no Further than Google’s Creative Sandbox.

Murally Murally, is a new creative collaboration platform that’s being touted as “Pinterest for Pros.”  Give it a whirl for your next vision board or creative project.

Slickplan – The team at Slickplan made creating sitemaps for your next website a cinch.  Even better … you can create your first one for Free.

And, just for fun … Wednesday was International Talk like a Pirate Day, and even our Commander in Chief got in on the action.

Honorable Mention goes to the U.S. Navy for their Facebook Post, though.

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