Inside PR 379: An Anonymous Marriage Proposal?

This week, Martin WaxmanGini Dietrich and I are  back together for the first time in several weeks to record the Inside PR podcast.

Martin talks about his experience at SxSW V2V. Martin says, it has much of the vibe of the early SXSW, with lots of opportunities to network and a program packed with strong content. One of those that left the strongest impression on him was John Maeda’s keynote “From design to DE$IGN.” Maeda talked about the central role of design and how it can be used to “make sense of chaos.” Martin was struck by his observation that a good design “is both familiar and new.” Maeda also emphasized the importance of baking in design from the outset of every project, not viewing it as an after-the-fact tack on.

And of course, Martin also delivered a presentation, “Supercharged Storytelling for Startups,” in which he talked about how anyone can use storytelling to break through the noise and clutter.

We also turn our attention to the recent move by Google+ to remove restrictions on user identities.

Finally, we extend our discussion of online identity as Martin points us to an article he read that warned us against a misplaced faith in incognito mode in our browsers to protect our privacy.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR 377: Big clients squeeze marketing companies and Facebook’s hold on youth

On Inside PR this week, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I talk about two very different topics: the squeeze large clients are putting on their marketing partners and Facebook’s hold on young users.

The Big Squeeze

Gini kicks off the discussion about the growing number of large companies that are taking longer to pay their marketing partners. In the case of some companies, such as P&G and Mars, advertising agencies, marketing and PR partners will find themselves waiting up to 120 days – four months – for payment. And that can be crippling to a creative business. Gini has some thoughts about how PR agencies can avoid being caught in the slow payment trap. In the short term, it may come down to this: If you don’t want to play the big client game, extending your credit to people whose credit rating is is probably much better than yours, you may just have to say no. And if they won’t attempt to find a workable middle ground, you may just end up saying no to working for them.

Martin believes that this would be bad for creative agencies and for marketing itself. It used to be that creatives would be constantly breaking off of the larger agencies they worked for in order to form new ventures. And with a fresh creative perspective, many of them would land a large account that would enable them to build an agency in their own vision. Heck, that’s how Terry Fallis and I started Thornley Fallis. A couple of guys with a fresh perspective on the business working on folding banquet tables in borrowed space. But we landed B.C.E. (Bell Canada Enterprises), then GlaxoSmithKline, and then Molson. And from there, the business took off.

Is that still possible in this current environment? Martin asks, “How can you compete to win clients like this if the financial terms would put you out of business before you have a chance to grow?” Yes it is possible, but ever more difficult. In order to succeed, small agencies need to keep a focus on what has always been the most important factor. Creativity. If we can do something that’s truly remarkable and memorable, we still can thrive.

Facebook’s Hold on Youth

Recently, some have suggested that Facebook is past its prime with teens. A  study from Forrester Research indicates that Facebook still remains young people’s favorite social network. Martin agrees that Facebook may still be used by teens. But he suggests that we look at an intangible factor that may point to the future. Do teens still consider it cool? Or are they there because they have to be because their friends are there? If that’s the case, Gini suggests that teens will not remain reliant on Facebook. Older people who have left school, moved away from their hometown, and are in mid-career, rely on Facebook to keep them connected with the people that they knew at an earlier time. Teens, however, are surrounded by their social network. They don’t need Facebook to stay in touch with friends. They know who their friends are and they can easily use different media, including texting, to stay in touch with their friends.

I think there’s a different between these two questions, “Do people use it?” and “Do people feel cool when they use it?” The first question finds its answer in past behaviour. The second question points the way to future behaviour. And if that’s the case, don’t count on Facebook keeping its stranglehold on youth. For now, young users are still on Facebook. But where will they be next year?

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR: Special show on SXSW V2V with Christine Auten

Martin here.

And today we have a special episode where I talk to Christine Auten, producer of SXSW V2V, the younger, brasher sister festival of SXSWi. I say that because V2V is held amid the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas and focuses on startups and entrepreneurs.

One of the key differences between this year and last is that each day starts and ends with everyone together.

Mornings are for keynotes. On Monday, Ari Horie, the dynamic founder and CEO of Women’s Startup Lab talks about opportunities for women entrepreneurs. On Tuesday, John Maeda speaks about creativity and bringing Design to De$ign. Wednesday has Brian Solis interviewing Shinola president Jacques Panis on the ‘Built in Detroit’ movement and how that applies to startups.

After that come a series of breakouts, panels, inspiring 20/20 vision talks, workshops and mentor sessions. And then back for the final session of the day followed by the social program. This year, there’s going to be a film screening, music performance and for the final party, a bowling tournament – bring your socks.

The content focuses on the intersection of startups and showbiz – and there’s a special room for convergence sessions including What Rockers Can Teach Startups – that is, what lessons startups can take away from the passion-driven world of musicians and artists.

What differentiates SXSWV2V from SXSW?
Christine says the biggest thing is the size. It’s an intimate event all in one space where you can meet and chat with everyone.  And when you leave, it feels like the people you met are not just connections, they’re more like a family.

What’s Christine expecting in 2014?
“We don’t know what the show’s going to be like till we get there,” she says. “The community makes up so much of the experience.”

Interested in more info? Here’s the schedule. Or follow the hashtag #sxswv2v.

And here’s a blog post on my Supercharged Storytelling for Startups session.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR 375: During a crisis, don’t leave your customers in the dark

Martin here.

On today’s show, it’s Joe and me. Gini will be back in a couple of weeks. And throughout the summer, we’ll be having a few more two-handers when one of us is away – but we’ll keep recording!

We start off discussing the recent DDOS attacks on Feedly and Evernote that happened just before we recorded.

And we remark on how the two companies took different approaches when it came to communicating their situations to customers.

Feedly posted notifications on its Twitter feed and blog but nothing on Facebook.

Evernote updated its Twitter feed and used the same content on Facebook. But the company did not post on either of its two blogs.

Here are a few suggestions for communicating during a crisis that came out of our conversation:

  • Use your owned property – your blog or newsroom – to break the news and continue sharing regular updates there.
  • When posting updates on Twitter, link back to your blog to add details and context to the situation.
  • Personalize your message. Record a video or short series of videos to let people know what happened and the steps you’re taking to fix it.
  • By all means post on Facebook, but if you’re not buying ads, know that not as many people will see your news as on other sources.
  • Take a page from MSM and be consistent with your communications. Let people know when they’ll hear back from you. That way people will know you’re on top of things and more news will follow.

In the second part of the show, I offer my take on the 2014 IABC World Conference that was taking place in Toronto. One highlight was a talk by Leslie Quinton on the human side of crisis communications and how important it is to always remember your moral compass; that is, continue to ask yourself if what you’re doing is the right thing to do.

I also caught up with Shel Holtz who, if you haven’t seen him speak, is always a sharp, insightful and engaging presenter. He talked about visual storytelling and presented a strong case for why all communicators should move in that direction.

If you haven’t been to an IABC World Conference, it’s worth looking into because it offers you an opportunity to meet and learn from communicators around the globe. Next year’s conference is in San Francisco, June 14 to 17, 2015.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.73: Counselors Academy – Agency Lessons Learned

Martin here. This week it’s Gini and me and we’re talking about what I learned at Counselors Academy’s annual conference for PR agency owners and leaders.

We’ve mentioned #CAPRSA before – and as many of you know, it’s the place where Gini, Joe and I met in person, got to know each other and really was the beginning of the current IPR hosting team.

Over the years we’ve interviewed PR and social media thought-leaders and recorded live shows at Counselors. This time, I was there without my two compadres (Noooooo…) so it was up to me to give an update on the event.

Highlights included: keynotes by Shonali Burke and Steve McKee, a talk on creative storytelling by Rob Biesenbach and agency leaders like Brett Werner, Janet Tyler and Lynn Casey on strategies and lessons they’ve learned running successful firms.

And of course, it’s a wonderful opportunity to talk ideas with smart, articulate and friendly people and get re-ignited about agency life.

Congratulations to Tom Garrity, the conference chair, Chuck Norman, the co-chair and the entire conference committee. If you’re an agency owner/leader and you’re looking for a must-attend business event, we think Counselors is something you should definitely consider.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.

 

Inside PR 372: Mesh Conference with Mark Evans

Mark Evans is a co-founder of mesh conference, which is in its ninth year, and will be held in Toronto on May 27-28.

Roving reporter, Martin Waxman, recently caught up with him.

He began the conversation by talking about the biggest surprises Mark has seen since the conference started.

And, as a former journalist, Martin wanted to know what’s been the biggest change in media since he was writing, and why pitches from PR professionals are still terrible.

Mark handles the latter question extremely well, while providing some great feedback on the things PR pros should consider, even with the immense amount of pressure we face from clients.

They talk about the media stream at mesh, which is the brain child and passion of Matthew Ingram, about the trend toward the new media companies introducing newswires to capture citizen journalists, and the y talk about the conference.

What’s most interesting (as I listened to the interview) is Mark’s take on Neil Harbisson, Mark Little, and Stewart Butterfield.

You’ll find what he has to say about each of these speakers really interesting. He talks about how Neil’s cyborg activism will help you think differently about how you live your life and how you do your job because it gives you a different perspective. How Mark, with the help of Storyful – the company he founded – is standing in the social “grayness” to help us determine what is actually news and what is not. And how Stewart salvaged a business from complete failure by doing a strategic pivot.

It’s a good episode you don’t want to miss!

Disclosure: Thornley Fallis is helping out on the PR for this year’s Mesh conference.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.71: New makeovers for Google+ and Facebook

MartinGini, and I are back together again for the first time since we got together in Toronto for the launch of Gini’s new book Spin Sucks. (And by the way, if you haven’t had a chance to get your copy, I recommend that you do. It’s an excellent read.”)

This week, we ask, “Would you care if Google plus disappeared?”

Martin likens Google+ to vitamins. He knows that they are good for him, but he must remind himself to use it. It’s not part of his daily routine.

While agreeing with Martin that Google+ is not her first-choice social network, Gini says that Google plus is a large driver of traffic to the Spin Sucks website. So while it’s not necessarily a preferred site for its consumer experience, Google+ definitely does drive benefits to a content marketer.

As I look at my top four destinations, I see a real differentiation between Twitter and Facebook on one hand and Google+ and Feedly on the other hand. Twitter and Facebook are ideal for awareness. They tell me something has happened quickly after it does happen. Feedly and Google+, on the other hand, provide me with more in-depth and thoughtful analysis and commentary on developments that lead to better understanding.

We also talk about the FB newswire.

Gini sees its content as typical of citizen journalism – delivering reports on what people are seeing or experiencing in real time. Martin suggests it may be a lifestyle feed, not a news feed.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Would you care if Google+ disappeared?

What about FB Newswire? Have you looked at it? Do you find it useful?

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

IPR special edition: Rob Biesenbach on telling stories

Martin here. I’m getting ready to head off to PRSA Counselors Academy’s spring conference and thought I’d catch up with one of the presenters, Rob Biesenbach. Rob is a communications expert, speaker, writer and actor who is ‘fighting to end dull ordinary communications in our time’.  (But he doesn’t have a cape.)

At Counselors, Rob’s going to be talking about how to Unleash the Power of Storytelling to build trust and win business.

He says most people play fast and loose with the definition of story and don’t understand its distinct structure: a character, in pursuit of a goal, in the face of some sort of obstacle.

Stories aren’t a quote from Winston Churchill or a customer testimonial.

Rob likens our job as communicators with acting: both require you to connect with your audience, tell a story well and express yourself. Too many businesses compare themselves to other businesses – when they should be looking to and learning from show business, where the most powerful stories in our culture can be found.

Rob is also doing an Ingnite style presentation based on his new book, 11 Deadly Presentation Sins.

He talks about the three he thinks are the worst:

  • Failure to connect with an audience
  • Failure to focus
  • Doing a data dump rather than a story that’s filled with emotion.

And when it comes to PowerPoint, he cautions us that when you see ‘insert text here’ on a slide, it’s a suggestion, not a command.

Want to hear more? You can catch Rob at Counselors Academy or check out his website.

And if you’re interested in Counselors Academy and the other presenters, you can follow the hashtag on Twitter #CAPRSA.

Gini and Joe will be back next episode.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.70: Tom Garrity on PRSA Counselors Academy Conference

It’s Martin semi-solo, this week; Gini and Joe are off.

I’m here with Tom Garrity, president of The Garrity Group and chair of the PRSA Counselors Academy conference for PR agency leaders, which takes place in Key West, Florida, May 4 to 6.

Tom and I start off by chatting about how some PR specialists are also hot air specialists. Actually that’s not quite true. We got on the subject because Tom’s agency represents the Alburquerque International Balloon Festival, one of the more visually exciting events around.

If you follow Inside PR, you’ll know we’ve discussed Counselors Academy before – that’s where Gini, Joe and I met. We’ve been to the event many times, recorded a few episodes there and I was conference chair in 2012.

I’ve said this a number of times: CA is my one must-attend PR gathering of the year, a chance to meet and get to know a smart, friendly and lively group of PR agency movers and shakers.

Unlike other conferences, Counselors is focused on the business of running a PR agency and provides an opportunity to take part in top notch professional development and lots of idea-sharing over casual conversations, coffee or drinks.

This year, one of Tom’s highlights is the closing presentation at Hemingway House, with keynote speaker and ad agency owner Steve McKee, who offers insights from his new book, Power Branding: Leveraging Success of the World’s Best Brands.

Other keynotes include 9 INCH marketing founder Stan Phelps talking about branding and strategic marketing and Shonali Burke on successfully integrating research into your PR plans and pitches.

Tom’s also looking forward to the Bold Moves session – raw conversations about major changes agency owners made in order to transform their business. It’s a Ted X type format moderated by past Counselors chair and Mitchell Communications CEO Elise Mitchell. Speakers include Aaron Blank, president and CEO, The Fearey Group, Lynn Casey, chairman and CEO, PadillaCRT, startup entrepreneur Forest Featherstone and Janet Tyler, founder and co-CEO, Airfoil.

There’s a round of short Ignite presentations, breakout workshops, roundtables and a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Tom recommends Counselors because it always helps him improve his agency and fill in what he doesn’t know.

Here’s where to go for the schedule. There’s still a bit of time to register if you’re interested. Or you can follow the hashtag on Twitter #CAPRSA.

I’ll be there and will interview some of the presenters for upcoming episodes of Inside PR. Stay tuned.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.69: Behind-the-Scenes of Spin Sucks

We have a very special guest on today’s Inside PR.

She is someone near and dear to my heart, both personally and professionally.

She was with me in Toronto a couple of weeks ago for Third Tuesday and we caught up with her to talk blogging, editorial calendars, and community.

That person is the one and only Lindsay Bell-Wheeler, the content director for Spin Sucks.

Lindsay and I have worked together for nearly two years and have evolved the blog from a top 25 contender to one of the top (or the top, depending on which list you look at) PR blog in the world. She also manages the strategic content direction for our clients and coaches a team of writers and editors.

I let Joe and Martin lead the conversation, but managed to get in a few quips of my own.

She didn’t know she was going to be a guest on the show (I know how stressed out she would have made herself had I told her) so her comments, jokes, and wit are completely off-the-cuff…and brilliant.

I’m excited to introduce you to her and excited for you to learn more about the behind-the-scenes happenings of the crazy place we call home.

Enjoy!

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.