Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Marian, March 10, Make it Happen

PN Seattle doesn't have a "Chief" anything. No Chief Executive Officer, no Chief Operations Officer, no Chiefs, no Chefs, nothing.

But on the week of March 10, PN Seattle will be lucky enough to have one Chief. Porter Novelli's renowned trendspotter and Chief Marketing Officer Marian Salzman will be in Seattle to share her insights for 2009 with a select number of Seattle movers and shakers at Hotel Andra. It will be a unique opportunity for our office and for local businesses as well. The fine folks here at Fizzle Pop are going to be on hand at this event so expect to see podcasts, photos and blog posts for you to distribute to friends and associates. Also, make sure to read up on Marian’s latest book, Next Now and her Intelligent Dialogue series so you can talk-the-talk with our CMO.

Crowded Buses Are Here to Stay

Seattle bus riders have surely noticed a dramatic increase in ridership lately and may be wondering when Metro will make the necessary adjustments to meet the demand. Well, according to Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond that may not be anytime soon.

Check out this post from my favorite blog.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gamers Gettin' Drunk

We are a PR agency. We are constantly learning. We also dig gaming.

Wednesday evening, PN gamers Lincoln, Emil and Tera attended a Q&A panel about Washington’s video game industry that was hosted by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA). The panel featured the who’s who of gaming entrepreneurs including THE Alex St. John (WildTangent), Harold Zeitz (Real Networks), Paul Thelen (Big Fish Games) and Pete Parsons (Meteor Solutions).

Because we were a bit jealous of those panelists, here’s a quick Q&A with Emil and Tera about their impressions from the event. Take it away Lincoln…

Lincoln: One of you games often – you know, like plays D&D on weekends and stuff – and one of you is more of a casual gamer, how did your experiences differ?
I don’t speak fluent gaming yet–you can call me a N00B (?!?!) if you want. I’m learning about many of these companies for the first time. Hearing the panelists discuss the business and marketing strategies they created to survive in today’s economy was fascinating. What was most impressive is their confidence. Granted, you don’t run a multi-million dollar business by hiding under the covers, but these men (seriously, where were the chicas?) seemed utterly fearless.
Emil: Actually Tera, its spelled n00b. For me it was more of an affirmation of things to come. The lack of interest or support for the console market was pretty interesting to me since that’s what I’m immersed in all the time for work and as a consumer. But I can’t tell if that’s because WTIA couldn’t book anyone big from the console industry, or if the PC gaming market really is as strong as the panel made it seem. I think most of my fun was derived from quietly refuting Alex St. John’s numerous exclamations of doom… and contemplating the consequences of ripping open my shirt and reveal my PlayStation Home t-shirt underneath.
Tera: Shoot.

Lincoln: Biggest takeaway?
Culture was a big deal to these companies. Many feel the imposing threat from larger companies such as Amazon and Microsoft was weak because they could never touch the level of service and quality offered by the smaller “boutique” gaming shops. Also… next time I won’t take the mini-burger with the toothpick sign that tells everyone what they are eating. Oops.
Emil: That losing your debit card is kind of annoying.

Lincoln: Coolest person you met?
Skylar, a classic startup story; Essentially started a computer game modding company in his garage, has produced some solid content but is looking towards loftier goals. Has great ideas of where the PC market can go, but no means to get there yet.
Tera: Alex St. John’s little brother - Rex. He works for a consumer software and web services company based in Sammamish. I bet he follows his brother’s entrepreneurial footsteps.

Lincoln: What was the audience like?
Uh… hmm. Emil – you want this one?
Emil: Well, not surprisingly, the female-to-male ratio was pretty low. There certainly wasn’t any focus to who was invited so we met a wide variety of people; Accountants for tech companies, staffing agencies, small-time developers and more. Not many other Mar/Com peeps.

Lincoln: Was it worth the investment?
I think so. Many of our clients are in the gaming arena and currently face similar challenges to the issues the panelists discussed. It’s important for us to understand our client’s business climate so we can communicate on the same level.
Emil: Definitely. Those sliders were awesome. And I know that both Lincoln and I have already used some of the messages and insights from the panel to BS our way through more than a few conversations with others. It was incredibly validating to hear the importance of downloadable content and virtual worlds reiterated by many of the panelists. Also, many of them felt that Seattle is an important hub in the online gaming market, if not the most important, so that’s great considering our work, clients and expertise.

Lincoln: So, tell us, did you meet your goals?
Yes 2 and 10
Emil: Wait, Goals?!?!
Lincoln: Shooot… who didn’t I meet? I mean, between eating all the broccoli and grapes, I was a mingling machine.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kindle vs Print? Kindle Wins.

In a recent post using some publicly available numbers (mostly - they do use some estimated figures for employee compensation and benefits), the Silicon Alley Insider outlined how it would be cheaper to give every New York Times subscriber a new Amazon Kindle instead of actually printing the newspaper.

"What we're trying to say is that as a technology for delivering the news, newsprint isn't just expensive and inefficient; it's laughably so."

Will Trader Joes Leverage Their Customer WOM?

There are a lot of Trader Joe's fans out there, including myself. Some of these fans, not like myself, are so loyal they are motivated to the point of expressing themselves through music and video. One very loyal customer created a three minute YouTube video set to the Brazilian samba tune of Águas de Março that's already a viral hit with over 540 comments and 228,000 views.

If Trader Joe's were smart they'd be jumping at the opportunity to leverage this video and get involved with the conversations happening around it! A good plan of attack for any company that finds themselves in this situation is to Listen - what are people saying about the video - is it mostly positive? Learn - is there anything you can take away from this! Think of it as a free focus group! Leverage or Adapt - how can you make this a part of what you are already doing, what opportunities does this present? Lastly Respond - engage with your customers! If you haven't been doing this already consider this your invitation to the party that's been going on for a while now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Print Journalism RIP

David Brewster, who started the Seattle Weekly, Town Hall, and other local institutions may have made his best bet yet by launching last year. Covering Pacific Northwest news online he's oddly poised to again become the big name in local news.

As Crosscut reports today, Seattle is about to become a no-newspaper town--unless you count the, ahem, Stranger and Weekly.

Wonder who will get the P-I Globe?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Five PN Seattle Facebook Poses

The majority of the folks here in Porter Novelli Seattle are on Facebook and after skimming all of our beautiful profile photos, I've noticed that we typically fall into five main categories of poses (with examples).
1- The "I'm really deep. Really." shot.

Everyone knows that nothing -NOTHING- says "I'm deep" like taking a picture without looking at the camera. It speaks volumes about the depth of all the deep thoughts you're having at the moment the camera took the shot.

Personally, the only times I'm not looking into the camera when someone is taking my picture is when I want to be left alone or... when I'm not aware someone is taking my picture. And that last situation is punishable by law in the same cases.

Some examples include:

2- The "I'm doing really cute/whacky/off-beat things!" pose
What can I say? PR people are creative types and I guess that means we're always trying to come up with ways to make things (programs, campaigns... profile pictures) look, well, creative.
I mean, look how fun and crazy we are! Don't you want to get to know us better? We hide under tables and read Wired. We wear sunglasses while we work! We have an alter-ego named Jasmine Foxx.
On second thought. That last one is just Kizha.

3- We have kids/families/significant others shot
Check it out, world- I have a (insert what you will here) and I could not post a profile picture without making sure I included him, her or them. Look how cute we are/they are!




4- The "There's like, nature and stuff behind me." shot
...some of us just want to remember what the world looks like outside of 4 walls and a ceiling.

5- The "I Give Up. This picture is as good as any. I'm only on Facebook because I have to be" picture.
Because nothing says "I give up" like a picture of a guy wearing a backpack in front of a blurry background. Or a guy doing... I don't know what he's doing. Looking confused?

Disclaimer: This post was meant in good, clean fun. All images are property of the people in them, not you. They are not to be trifled with in Photoshop, Emil.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is the gov't embracing new media better than you?

When it comes to understanding, embracing and executing digital media campaigns, the communications industry stands to learn a thing or two from CDC's e-health team. We had a chance to meet with the team last week in Atlanta and were blown away by their digital media intelligence.

Case in point: Their approach to the recent national Salmonella outbreak from peanut butter.
CDC e-health partnered with FDA and DHHS to create a robust "Social Media Center" in just four days to address the recent outbreak and disseminate critical health info to the public. From a special webinar for parenting bloggers, tweets, message syndication across the Internet using widgets, badges, buttons, and more, the campaign utilized multiple digital media platforms.

Check it out:
Read more:

User Generated Content - good, bad, ugly

I'm not going to write much, as the comments to this SJMN post speaks for itself - there are some conversations you just can't control - and many of them for the video game industry come from teenage boys.

Will Baseball Recover?

These are dark times for America's past time. Clouded by scandal, baseball has fought to clear its name of alleged steroid use by some of recent times' greatest players: Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and now...Alex Rodriguez. Once pegged as the savior for Major League Baseball, A-Rod was supposed to pull his sport back to prominence as the premiere "clean" player. He was supposed to break the all-time home run record currently held by Barry Bonds without the aid of performance enhancing drugs.

That hope is now gone. With Alex Rodriquez admitting yesterday that he used performance enhancing drugs from 2001 - 2003 while with the Texas Rangers. The Seattle sports fan in me instantly thought, "Phew, at least he was out of Seattle during those times." But really this issue is bigger than local sports. Major League Baseball has a huge mess on their hands. Athletes are paid hundreds of millions of dollars to put up huge power numbers and many believe steroids are the answer or quick fix to produce.

How can baseball fix this? There is little doubt the sport has damaged its image from the steroid era. Is there any way for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to save his sport in the eyes of the public?

If you look back at history there have been scandals in major sports before: The 1919 Black Sox throwing the World Series, Pete Rose's gambling, NBA official Tim Donaghy's gambling and several Olympic and Tour de France dopers. In each instance, the respective sport had to make an example of those caught. The Black Sox and Pete Rose were banned from baseball for life, Tim Donaghy fired, and Olympic medalist's were stripped of their medals.

Why hasn't this happened during the steroids era?

Baseball needs to make a statement that cheating will not be tolerated. They need to make a sacrifice to save their sport. Granted, Alex Rodriguez used these steroids when there was no official policy on banned substances and I'm not saying an example needs to be made of him, but what he did was still cheating. Bud Selig needs to bite the bullet on this one. Records need to be pulled from any player involved in steroids and subsequently banned from the sport. Harsh...maybe, necessary...yes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A List of Social Media Marketing Examples

I was going to copy and paste all 324 of them ... but got bored when I was scrolling down the list.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

RANT: 25 Things You Probably Didn't Want to Know...

...about someone else.

There's a meme going around in blogs and Facebook called, "25 Random Things You Didn't Know About Me" that everyone and their momma is filling out. (I'm not kidding- check your Facebook, your mom probably HAS filled it out.)

It's pretty self-explanatory but if you don't get the process from the title, it's basically someone listing out 25 random facts about themselves. The viral part is the step where they have to tag 25 people to fill out the list too. This meme is now so viral that it's more common than... well, the common cold.

At first, it was pretty interesting. I would peruse these lists (not at work, oh, no, of course not) and occassionally find out a cool tidbit about someone on my FB list. For example, did you know that Noah Banning is ambidextrous? I bet you didn't!

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I listed out 10 things (I'm just not that interesting, really) about myself and I did get a thrill filling it out. After all, now was my time to show everyone on my FB list just how special and unique I was!

But it grew stale quickly.

Almost everyday, I see a notification that yet another one of my FB friends has listed out 25 random facts about themselves and I'm now at the point where I don't care anymore. I don't care that someone has one leg 2 inches shorter than the other or that they still clutch a teddybear at night. It's simply too much, all at once.

So I say- if you want to tell me 25 random things about yourself, take me out for coffee or dinner. Tell me about yourself - in person. Don't become just a random block of text.

And remember, you are unique... just like everyone else.

PS- I'm sure there's a lesson in all of this... or not. responds to Twitter

In trying to decide what to do with a bracelet that an old boyfriend gave me, I researched the company, which is an online site that allows you to trade in your jewelry for money. I sent in the $250 Tiffany bracelet and waited patiently for my check. When it came 3 weeks later I was floored that it was for only $15!! I immediately tweeted about how that value was not going to fly! But when it came down to it, I was happy to be rid of the stupid nostalgic bracelet and let it go. This was in early November.

Today, I got a call from the PR representative from RedSwan. The rep read my twitter post back to me and let me know that she would like to work with me to make my experience with RedSwan positive. I was so appreciative of her following up and to be rid of that stupid bracelet that I let it go and updated my post. The rep did not ask me to change my posting, but let me know that negative press is never great for a company that exists online.

Although I still don't have great things to say about the value assesment of the company and would never recomend them, I was so impressed by their reaction from monitoring twitter remarks that I had to share.

The Geek Closet Opens - TAKE THIS TEST!

Are you a geek? Are you just not sure? Let Gizmodo make the decision. Put your scores in the comments. Current scores:
Tera - 4
Jessica - 1.5
Emil - 9 (Yeah!!)

The Geek Social Aptitude Test

1. I own and wear t-shirts featuring the logos of computer/operating system manufacturers.

2. I am over the age of 22 and live with my parents.

3. I am, according to the medical definition, obese.

4. On an average day more of my human interaction happens on message boards or in blog comments than with actual other people.

To take the rest of the test and see your results, go here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Bow That Just Won't Go

While I think many of us can agree that the events of the Inauguration were historic and fascinating across the looks like one detail, blogged about by man and one that includes a fan site of Facebook of more than 90,000 members, just keeps on giving...the bow.

Whether Aretha Franklin intended to make such a bold statement on such an historic day or whether she simply thought it the most appropriate accessory for the day, the bow hat now has a life of its own. While driving into work today I heard a report on the BBC that apparently the designer received more than 5000 requests for that hat within the first hour of it's international debut...5000?!?! Really?!?! Are there really 5000 people out there that think they can pull off this one-of-a-kind creation and to what type of occasion?! Then, on my way back from a meeting this afternoon I heard that apparently, the Smithsonian has asked Ms. Franklin to donate her fashion accessory to the museum to commemorate our nation's inauguration of the first African-American president. Apparently she hasn't decided whether to give the hat to the Smithsonian or not but separate of that, I can think of handfuls of other mementos from that day that would be as fitting, if not more so, that a hat that seemed to swallow up her head. Granted, I know I'm in the minority that the hat was a little over the top (pun intended) but the Smithsonian?!?! I'm wondering what's next...Michelle Obama's JCrew gloves?! The hair spray bottle used to hold every one of Nancy Pelosi's hairs in place?! Dick Cheney's wheelchair?!


I couldn't help it... I have to post this journalist request just by virtue of the fact that it is so detailed and thorough...

A journalist writing for a major women's magazine sends the following query: I'm looking for a variety of unique experts who can explain how you can (successfully) have sex in the following locations: in the ocean/pool/hot tub; during a dinner party; in the mountains (while on a hike, for example); on the beach; in a movie theater; in a public library; in the shower. For example, what should you consider beforehand? What should you wear? When should you try it? What "props" prove helpful ? (For example, perhaps a sleeping bag is better on the beach than a blanket because less sand gets in. Also, maybe applying baby powder beforehand is a good idea because it helps remove the sand stuck to your body.) Ideally, in some of these cases, the expert had experience with this sort of thing (a former librarian, for example, can weigh in on the library scenario).

A dinner party? Really?

Super Bowl Ads On YouTube

YouTube has posted all the Super Bowl ads on their site and is asking viewers to vote for their favorites. I liked Miller's 1 second ad (genius) and's ad (punching a koala is funny). What were your favorites?

Watch them all here.