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Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Luca Penati

by Luca Penati
Category: Technology

This morning I woke up to a full inbox of messages congratulating me for my new job.

Apparently, while I was sleeping, PRWeek UK published a brief article, which addressed the global LG communications account. It reports that “Penati shifts from a previous role heading Ogilvy PR’s global technology practice.” Not so!

I will continue to serve in my current role as Managing Director of Ogilvy PR’s Global Technology Practice.

In this role, I will serve as global strategist on LG One, a multiagency team created just for LG.  I will continue to be based out of Ogilvy PR’s San Francisco office and serve as senior global advisor for my beloved technology and consumer technology clients around the world.

View more presentations from Luca Penati.

Last week I spoke at Santa Clara University about the changes in the media industry and the impact these have on PR. It was my opportunity to speak about Tech PR, Social Media, “Socialized Media”, Visual Storytelling and of course about Content, and the key role it plays – has always played – in everything we do.

Here is a link to a great blog post on the event.

Just like everyone else, I am following with interest and a smidgen of anxiety the swine flu epidemic (my in-laws live in Mexico City).

As a tech guy, I started to look at some of the technologies that can be used or have been used to help contain the flu and solve this global threat.

This is what I have found so far.
First of all, Internet technologies have been tapped to track the spreading of Swine Flu. Here an article on this topic from IHealthBeat. This is a Google map. And this is the CDC Twitter feed so you can follow the updates real time.
As Ogilvy PR we have developed a simple aggregator where you can follow the latest news as well as some interesting information.

But what about technologies that prevent or that can help cure the flu?

I found a press release of a company, Qualsec, that says to have  a technology that can screen individuals for Swine Flu and provide instant results.

So apparently not much from the tech community to help solve this potential pandemic . Much faster and more creative is the professional spanner. Read this blog post on the LA Times  on how spammers are using celebrities such as Salma Hayek to get the attention of  recipients. Maybe Diego Luna and Santana are the next ones? And according to McAfee computer viruses may be the next part of the swine flu outbreak. Virtual world and reality coming  together?

Tech PR in 2009 and beyond.

A new year. A new American President. A bad recession. There are many reasons why I have been thinking about the future of Tech PR, not just through 2009 but beyond. What is the role PR agencies play in this new world? I am an optimist by nature, and cautious by experience.

What can we expect to see, in the short term and the long? Is PR going to suffer as an industry?

I see seven major trends:

1.    Smart companies continue to invest in PR during recessions because this is the time to gain market share, differentiate yourself from your competition, build your brand and protect your reputation. I like the way Craig Barrett put it “You can’t save your way out of recession - you have to invest your way out.”

2.    PR agencies who can provide a seamless, integrated approach to tech companies will survive better than tech specialists. This is the time where you need to provide your clients with counsel on different issues, so you need to have a team of people with different backgrounds that you can pull from. Corporate reputation, crisis and issue management, consumer marketing, public affairs, government, and vertical expertise…the list goes on. The agency who can deliver a seamless, holistic mix has a huge competitive advantage (and will prove most useful to clients.)

3.    Tech companies need to learn how to better integrate PR and marketing. In a media world that is becoming more complex, fractured; where the difference between earned and paid media is blurry, companies that will develop a strategic, integrated marketing approach (we call it 360) will go beyond mere survival. It’s not about channels; it’s about how you engage with your stakeholders. The Obama campaign is an excellent example. Agencies that can deliver on that will hugely benefit from it (and so will their clients.)

4.    Social media is not killing PR agencies; on the contrary. It’s giving us more opportunities. We all read posts about social media killing PR… well, anyone who thinks PR is  just calling media doesn’t have a clue about what we actually do. As I mentioned above, the complexity of the environment is only adding square feet (and toys) to our already really fun sand box.

5.    Chief Content Officer. Content creation is key. With the media shrinking (every day we hear of layoffs at very prestigious media outlets) creating your own content and distributing it through different channels is critical to the success of building a powerful brand. Is it time for a new position? Chief Content Officer, anyone?

6.    The world is flat, yes. But it is also hot and crowded as Thomas Friedman pointed out. Two trends here. Global and Green. Let’s start with global. Clients need PR agencies to work with them on a global basis, but it’s not about “Think Globally, Act Locally” anymore. It’s about idea creation and sharing those ideas globally, efficiently. It’s about understanding the sensibilities of different markets and cultures.

7.    Green. As I wrote in my post the opportunity for working with green tech companies is huge. But the skill set needs to go beyond pure tech PR. You need to combine b2b tech with experience in public affairs, energy, government relations and corporate reputation.

PR is here to stay. Paraphrasing Neil Young’s “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)” song, PR can never die, there’s more to the picture.

my my, hey hey
rock and roll is here to stay
it’s better to burn out
than to fade away
my my, hey hey

hey hey, my my
rock and roll can never die
there’s more to the picture
than meets the eye
hey hey, my my

Here is to a new era of responsibility.

Luca Penati

by Luca Penati
Category: Experience, Global

Not a bad way to start 2009 :)

More at http://podcasts.prweek.com/

Happy New Year to everyone!!!

I met with Richard Jalichandra, CEO of Technorati, at the Ogilvy PR offices in San Francisco. He shared with me his thoughts about what’s new in the blogosphere in 2009.

PRWeek is turning 10 in the US and I was asked to write a brief post for their blog. You can find it here. Below the ”longer”, original version.

Happy birthday, PRWeek!

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I first arrived at  Silicon Valley 10 years ago, almost to the day. Most people were still using Altavista and Netscape. The word “social” was rarely used, and never before “media” or “networks”. But at every Starbucks - from Santa Cruz to Pleasanton — everyone was talking about the next big thing. Everybody had a business plan. Everyone was able to “get funding.”  Companies were changing their names, often adding a .com to the brand so their valuations could go up. Apple was launching the iMacs, then the iPod. It was “boom” time. Things were crazy. I had just arrived from Italy and my country had never seen such madness, at least not since the Renaissance! (we would a few years later, with the World Cup in 2006.)

Most of the PR professionals I knew left their “boring” corporate or agency jobs to join a dotcom. The mirage, the hollow promise of becoming an instant millionaire was just too tempting to turn down. I was new to this market, loved my job, and was not interested in putting it at risk. And then, the bubble burst. And were in the middle of it. People who a few months earlier had left to get rich were calling me to get their jobs back.

What did we all learn? The strategic importance of PR during a downturn. It can help companies gain market share and end up much stronger than before. From an agency perspective, obsessive client service and compulsive focus on your talent base - all these things helped us get through that difficult time. And they’ll help us again.

And at every Starbucks now, I still hear about innovation, about the next big thing. The difference is that now I’ll tweet about it before draining my coffee cup.

Luca Penati

by Luca Penati
Category: Tech PR

In this Ogilvy PR video nibble, Genevieve Haldeman, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Symantec, speaks about how important metrics and measurement are in PR and how she uses them to make smart and strategic decisions on priorities and allocation of resources.

Today, watch 60 seconds with Genevieve Haldeman, VP of Corporate Communications at Symantec, on how to get into tech PR.

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide