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PR Industry Trends

Broncos or Panthers? Do we even care? How the Super Bowl consumes us all.

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superbowlAs each year passes, it seems like the Super Bowl grows in every sense.  Whether it’s more viewers, elaborate half-time shows, uptick in social media chatter, increase in ad spends or bigger guacamole bowls, we are on track for another record-setting Sunday and we haven’t even talked about the game itself! As probably the most anticipated annual sporting event in the country, the countdown to Super Bowl Sunday isn’t just for those die-hard fans, it’s also for those who quite frankly don’t know, or care, if it’s Peyton Manning or Brett Favre who will be throwing the pigskin around. The Super Bowl isn’t really about the game, it’s about everything else.

The Ad Chronicles

Let’s face it, we’re mainly watching for the advertising. As one of the priciest ad buys in all the land, brands willing to drop close to $5 million for a 30-second spot better be giving the viewers what they want. Within the first few seconds, viewers will determine whether an ad is worth their attention or if it’s time to double-up on buffalo wings. It’s no surprise that on February 7, the CBS broadcast will total a record spend of $377…

Branding

Women and Wine: What does this segmentation really tell us?

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I’m skeptical of old-fashioned segmentation: women, age groups, income levels. With so many data streams accessible and the ability to glean extensive information about consumers, we have an opportunity to reassess how we categorize affinity groups. Emerging fields like ethnography and neuroscience add layers of intelligence and new ways of approaching segments that can guide brand managers and marketers. I wrote about this in 2013 following a conference that I co-created to explore marketing themes in the wine industry, The Exchange. One example: analyzing how mothers and daughters shop together, a prevalent occasion in the Latina community, can enhance how beverage alcohol brands market to this group of potential consumers. That segment can’t be explored by broadly looking at women and wine.

Is simply halving the population enough of a segment to shed light on how to go to market? Can we glean any actionable information from this? The short answer is that it depends.

Last week, I attended a Wine Market Council research conference. The Wine Market Council has been tracking annual wine consumer attitudes and behaviors for two…

Digital Marketing

How Social Media May Determine the Next President

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AAs we await the first official results of the 2016 presidential primary to see if outcomes reflect recent polling, there is one thing that is not in doubt. Social media has had an impact on this election cycle like never before. Obama’s “Facebook Campaign” of 2008 was revolutionary, but in this year’s presidential election cycle we are witnessing social media’s impact expand in several profound ways.

Messaging: Candidates are using social media to present positions, level attacks, correct missteps and, most remarkably, to drive the news cycle. No one has been more masterful at this last point than Trump, where the media is either reporting on his latest tweet or asking another candidate to respond to it. For a space that is known to require a relinquishing of message control it is something to behold. Sanders can also attribute much of the unexpected success of his campaign to social media. Reddit got a lot of people to #FeeltheBern with a popular subreddit of over 137,000 supporters who are analyzing and disseminating information on behalf of the candidate. The two surprising New Hampshire front runners are also benefiting from the reach of…

PR Industry Trends

‘They,’ As In 2015’s Word of the Year

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A recent win for progressives may give grammar pedants pause. Gender-neutral pronoun “they” was declared Word of the Year in a landslide vote by the American Dialect Society earlier this month. The annual award is given to the most significant term or word in the past year.

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Singular “they” is already a common habit in American speech today. In fact, The Washington Post officially adopted it in its style guide in 2015. For example, you could write, “Everyone wants their own voice to be heard,” though earlier grammar rules dictate that this should be, “Everyone wants his or her own voice to be heard.”

On their decision, the society of linguists, lexicographers and grammarists stated:

They was recognized by the society for its emerging use as a pronoun to refer to a known person, often as a conscious choice by a person rejecting the traditional gender binary of he and she.

The official recognition of this term and its usage can be categorized as a win for gender neutrality. A singular “they” can be used to refer to anyone, transgender or cisgender, who doesn’t prefer gendered pronouns “he” or…

PR Industry Trends

It’s Mardi Gras: Celebrate Creole & Cajun, and Know the Difference

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New Orleans, a tapestry of history, spirituality,  tradition, culinary arts, culture, soul, architecture, music and art all in one; and a perfect place to take a trip if you want a bit of everything. At the time of my visit in late December, Mardi Gras was still about 6 weeks away but the city was already gearing up for the celebration. Now, here we are just 12 days away from Fat Tuesday when partygoers from all over the world will flood the streets of the French Quarter, a place where eating and drinking run the show.   Read More

PR Industry Trends

The Courage to Innovate: Making Good Work Great

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bowieDavid Bowie’s passing prompted me to inspire some discussion around something he always impressed upon me. It’s easy to classify him like most do as a creative genius, and just about every single one of us has been touched by his artistry in one way or another over the course of our lives. What he truly represented to me, however, was courage. To me, David Bowie constantly demonstrated the courage to explore and follow his innovative heart. And, it should be said, he did so without all the trimmings of celebrity that seems to come with the territory these days. His characters challenged us and his music was a vehicle to deliver his message that has punctuated popular culture for decades. Like all great artists, David Bowie was transformational, literally and figuratively.

I firmly believe we work in the pop culture business, too. While traditional advertising agencies are often lauded as the owners of this arena, our responsibility is also to affect some sort of change in popular belief or behavior. As I ponder what we do, echoes from many industry greats come to mind. Dan Edelman, once said, “Be creative. Strive for the big idea.…

Healthcare

Using Podcasts in Healthcare Communications

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podcast header

Last week, my colleague, Liz, and I had the pleasure of visiting the Hampton Roads American Marketing Association for a presentation titled, “How Marketers Can Win with Podcasts.” The speaker, Douglas Burdett, is the principal of Artillery, a B2B marketing agency in Norfolk and host of The Marketing Book podcast. His weekly podcast, which became the #2 business podcast on iTunes two months after launching, interviews best-selling authors about their books and marketing concepts.

Podcasts have been around for decades but ever since the launch of the show, Serial, podcasts have seen a huge growth in popularity, and more companies are starting to see the value they can have in the business world.

To add some perspective, Douglas explained to us that roughly 15% of the population is on Twitter, but 17% of the population listens to podcasts weekly. That means that one of the biggest social media platforms we utilize daily actually has less of a following than that of podcasts! The ease of being able to subscribe to a series and listen on your daily commute makes it a convenient platform and a simplified way to digest content.…

Digital Marketing

What a Real Guerrilla Marketing Campaign Can Teach Us

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Source: Mullen Lowe Group

No, I’m not talking about the pop ups we see on the streets here in New York. I’m talking about a REAL guerrilla marketing campaign commissioned by the Colombian Ministry of Defense in partnership with ad agency, Lowe-SSP3. Their goal: to convince members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) “guerrilla” fighters to demobilize and come home.

From This American Life podcast to TEDTalks, this successful campaign should be highlighted. It was born out of insight, included all the nuts and bolts a good campaign should have AND it achieved results.

Chief Creative Officer Jose Miguel Sokoloff first started with radio ads to try to reach these guerrilla fighters. Throughout the course of the campaign, he met with demobilized fighters and found that Christmas was the peak time fighters left the FARC. Dropping the ads, he went for something bigger, something bolder. With beautiful lights they decorated nine tall trees strategically set up in jungle paths frequently used by the FARC. With motion sensors, these trees lit up with a sign saying “If Christmas can come to the jungle, you can come home. Demobilize.”…

B2B/Technology

Getting Down to the Brass Tactics

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My last post about connection strategy sparked a healthy discussion recently among some of my colleagues. On one side were the strategists and creatives, who vehemently voiced that the “what” in marketing and communications is more important than the “how.” In fact, they argued, “what” drives “how” and, when done well, facilitates purposeful connections with the hearts and minds of our audiences.

The tacticians agreed, but also reminded the group that great content is all for naught if it doesn’t reach those audiences, and at scale. In the end, everyone agreed: You can’t have one without the other and be successful.

So I threw out to the group a self-made definition of connection strategy: efficiently and effectively connecting purposeful content to a specific audience through the right channels, at the right time, to bring about the desired audience behavior.

In order to deliver on that, marketers like us must understand the following factors:

  • Human behavior that determines which information channels are best for a given situation
  • Knowledge about how channels interrelate and should be synchronized
  • Best-of-breed technologies that allow us to market more efficiently and effectively
  • No. 3 is critical to understanding No. 1 and 2. In the right…

    Branding

    How to build a top-notch global marketing team

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    When I went to school for international studies, my professors never talked about how business teams functioned across global markets. It was simply a matter of mastering linguistics. However, the reality is that cultural differences can create business challenges that get in the way of doing great work.

    At the request of Felicity Carter, editor-in-chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International, I spoke on a panel called “Speaking Globally: Creating influence and negotiating deals in world markets” at Wine Vision, an annual conference that seeks to set the global agenda for the wine industry. Ms. Carter, very eloquently, spoke about direct versus indirect cultures, the significance of a strong translation partner, and how humor generally doesn’t translate well.

    I drew upon my experience in managing multi-national communications campaigns and how the concept of “glocal” – where global strategy meets local execution – has shaped effective marketing campaigns.

    A bit of background: The way we approach marketing has changed significantly in the last ten years. Gone are the days of executing one single program across the world in an imperialistic style. The phrase “glocalization,” or, in short, “glocal,” was coined…