Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

Let me start by saying, I’m a big fan of RSS readers, etc. thanks to their very tangible benefits.  My iGoogle page is still the first site I go to when I get online everyday and I’ve started using TheDailyInfluence as well (this is an Ogilvy PR Reader we created with NetVibes and is a good site to consider if you want to jump start an RSS Reader).

Earlier this month, Mashable posted a story on RSS readers and their possible decline, but the poll at the end of the story showed that more than 70% of respondents still use some form of reader daily (as of May 27th).  Only 1% use something else, 5% never use a reader and 16% use it less than they used to.

The one thing I’d pose and recommend for my peers and colleagues in the industry is to not live and die by your reader and set some personal ground rules.  Early on I found myself so reliant on the convenience of the site that I stopped visiting the main pages of the publications I enjoyed reading.  RSS readers are certainly addictive thanks to their efficiency, ease of use, how comprehensive they have become, how flexible the platforms are and lets just say how flat out convenient it is to get the news from the sources I really care about (or the topics I care most about) on one screen at one time.

But, they don’t replace the good old fashioned need to visit a website.  I’ve seen quite a few PR professionals fall into the trap of just relying on their RSS reader and don’t spend the time learning about the publications, sites and, dare I say, hard-copy issues that are critical to their clients.

There is still a lot of value in spending time reading publication sites and blogs and bouncing around from section to section.  Not only do you learn about news, trends and discussions that are outside of your specific areas of interest, but often times you find something you wouldn’t normally expect to see that is relevant to your interests — maybe a new section or a new feature added to the site or a new contributor or just an interesting story you wouldn’t have read otherwise.

I found myself so reliant I created three personal rules of using my RSS reader that I thought I’d share:

1-      Keep my RSS Reader open all day, but only check it 3 times per day max. (Morning, Lunch, Evening)
2-      Visit at least 5 news sites directly per day
3-      Read at least 3 unusual stories or new sections per day

Happy RSS Reading and let me know what works for you?

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.

by lisette.paras
Category: Tech PR

Ogilvy Gives Back

In honor of the Great American Cleanup Day on May 6th, Ogilvy PR’s  San Francisco employees headed to Inspiration Point in the Presidio of San Francisco to do our part in keeping California beautiful.

Decked out in our finest running shoes, cargo pants and parkas, Ogilvy PR spent hours “giving back” while enjoying the sites of one of San Francisco’s most beautiful parks. In an effort to restore the native biodiversity of the Presidio, we set out to pull even the most stubborn and invasive weeds out of Inspiration Point’s trails. The end result? Eighteen sweaty, but happy, Ogilvy PR folks and a dozen bags of weeds we conquered.

Did you participate in the Great American Clean-up Day? If so, comment and tell us what you did!

Amy Messenger

by Amy Messenger
Category: Tech PR

Hold that thought! Yes, we want to hear from you, so please don’t lose that comment. We are about to launch a brand new look for Tech PR Nibbles*, so our commenting function will be temporarily disabled as we migrate to a new platform. Our new design (same URL) will go live in the next few days.
When you come back, you’ll find more content, more resource links, and a fresher design experience. And with the commenting function re-enabled in the days ahead, you’ll be able to tell us what you think of our new look. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

A few weeks ago I finished reading Talent is Overrated by Fortune Senior Editor Geoff Colvin. It’s a good book; the kind that makes you sit up straight as you’re reading it, as if slouching would do it a disservice.

The book makes a persuasive argument that nature is decidedly subordinate to nurture — at least in regard to concepts such as ‘work’ or ‘performance’. Pointing to a range of examples from the athletic (Jerry Rice, Tiger Woods) to the historic (Benjamin Franklin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), Colvin demonstrates that excruciating and deliberate practice improves performance in a way that no other factor seems to replicate.

As I read the book I began to wonder what forms of practice might best apply to PR professionals. It’s one thing to acknowledge that practice improves performance; it’s another to know what forms of practice are worthwhile.

I’ve given it some thought and here are some initial ideas for types of practice that might improve foundational PR skills. I don’t think it begins to scratch the surface however, and would be interested in getting ‘the wisdom of crowds’ on this:

  • Improve writing skills, general knowledge, understanding of the media: Taking a page from Benjamin Franklin, choose one article each day in a publication relevant for the industries you support and rewrite it from memory. Wait a few days — rewriting other articles in the intervening period — and compare it with the original. Analyze the differences, the strengths and weaknesses of the comparative pieces and so on.
  • Improve overall performance, ability to give and receive feedback: Mimic the military: after any half-way significant endeavor gather team members in a room and disregard hierarchy. What worked (or is working)? What didn’t (or isn’t)? Then take this a step further. Crunch some numbers. If we’re dealing with a pitch, what was the response rate from the email? What was the response rate from follow-up calls? How many calls or emails did it take to reach an interview? Force objectivity and the most excruciating level of self-analysis. Bottom-line, stay objective and reject rank.
  • Improve business savvy, writing, and knowledge of media/publicity cycles: The tool of business schools everywhere: force yourself to write one new case study — for a non-client — each month. Pick a major news maker (for good or bad reasons) and outline the entire media cycle. Include metrics when available and make strong conclusions (and recommendations). Submit to your colleagues for review and feedback.
  • Improve pitching & business development skills: Force yourself and your team to go to as many networking events not tied to PR or the industries you represent as possible. This isn’t about selling and there should be no pressure. This is about forcing yourself to make connections in a short period of time. Set goals. Make everyone responsible for making at least one connection with a plan for follow-up, at each event.
  • Improve message development & delivery: Before every meeting (internal or external) write down your three key messages and brainstorm one attention-grabbing statement. Take notes throughout the meeting to see how well you do sticking to your messages and bridging to them when the conversation takes a turn. Rate yourself after each meeting.
  • Improve something: Bottom line, we can all get better at something. Find a flaw and force yourself to confront it. For what it’s worth, my new blog: Difference Engineering, is an example of exactly this point.

I have some other ideas, but I’ll stop here for now. Let me know what you think.

Yes, I do get excited about SNW. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend nine of the last 12 ‘SNWs and it has grown to be a part of my annual plan.

Almost without saying, it has been interesting to be a part of this conference as it has evolved over the last six years. Not long ago press conferences were the daily norm, vendor news was flying across the wires, on- and off-site parties, dinners and comedy shows (it was only about 4 years ago that Sinbad was the evening entertainment – yes, that Sinbad) were all just ‘the norm’ for SNW.

This Spring the shift I’m starting to hear and feel is that social media is starting to take hold at the conference. This feels a bit overdue, and rightfully so, as social media has been engrained in almost every large event for the last two years or longer. Truth be told, there is so much great information created and shared at this conference, it will be interesting to see how much of it will be shared outside of the confines of the Rosen Shingle Creek.

Here are some interesting developments and new additions to this years’ SNW conference that may help you keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening at the conference this spring:

  • @SNWUSA Twitter feed: already sending some useful updates and gathering a bit of momentum with storage industry Twitter users.
  • It is looking like the hashtag #SNW will be used by most attendees, so be sure to use that to track the broader conversation.
  • While not everyone will be on-site, I’m confident the following active Twitter users will be worth keeping a close eye on during the show: @PariseauTT, @storageswiss, @demartek, @storagebod, @storagemonkeys, @sfoskett, @Chris_Mellor,. @Storagezilla, @storageanarchy, @storageio and @dvellante.
  • A more robust list of active storage Twitter users was posted by Stephen Foskett not too long ago, if you’re looking for a whole slew of active storage pros.
  • The SNIA has also recently started testing the social media waters with their own activities, and they’ll be cranking out some fresh content during the event. (Fair disclosure, I’ll likely be contributing to some of the content they are creating.)
  • @SNIAcloud will be a good SNIA Twitter to follow considering the first ever Cloud mini-Summit being held at SNW on Monday.
  • The Wikibon team is working on something pretty interesting once again. They are working to deliver once again on their Analyst 2.0 model by hosting a live ‘viral experience’ at the conference. To track the conversation they’re having with vendors and likely end users and other attendees, keep an eye on conversations using the #wikibon (as well as #SNW) hashtags.

So, cheers to another SNW and lets hope the social media buzz around the event avoids “Storage Smackdown” status from Byte & Switch.

Feel free to follow me around during the show as I’ll be posting live updates whenever something interesting comes my way…@dlarusso15.

At a recent PRSA Tech Talk panel, New York Times technology writers Brad Stone, Claire Cain Miller and editor Damon Darlin had a chance to put on their psychic hats and discuss key technology trends for 2009. If anyone should know, (they do get >150 PR technology pitches per day!) it’s them.

Technology Trends in 2009

1. Proliferation of light-weight applications on social networks and smart phones has created a new wave of creativity from the developers community

2. Migration to cheaper or free substitutes in technology due to the current economic climate, e.g. the popularity of inexpensive netbooks and cloud services

3. New delivery mechanisms of movies to classic (cable) and new technology devices (digital)

4. Overlap of technology into health care and education – especially given the Obama administration’s strong focus on open access

5. Green technology will continue to gain exposure in 2009

6. The news appetite for new Web sites is down unless they are real-world revenue-generating Web sites

What do you think about these trends? Are they obvious? Ground-breaking? Let’s get your thoughts.

It’s a pretty dark out there.

The economy has tanked, people aren’t buying and employees are treading on eggshells fearing they’ll be next on the dole line.

Time to dig the foxhole deeper and wait for the economic shrapnel to whizz by, right?


Fact is other smaller companies are eying your market share and thinking that you’ve gone into hibernation waiting for the new economic spring.

I work in Asia-Pacific and it’s here that the next breed of up-and-coming companies will come from to steal market share from today’s incumbents. Many of these companies are extremely successful in their home markets, where they have honed manufacturing and supply chain management into sharp, competitive weapons.

Their weakness is in marketing and understanding cultural, societal & business nuances outside of their core market.

I remember one large Asian IT company trying to engage in channel development and marketing in Australia — unsuccessfully (with similar results and experiences replicated in the US and Europe). Their experience in engaging with third parties and stimulating demand through that channel was rudimentary to say the least. It took a while for them to understand that the the channel itself did not generate demand for itself and that it was the task of the vendor to aggressively brand its products and services for end-user awareness, consideration and hopefully purchase.

They also failed to connect the dots when it came to understanding that because they were foreign, they had no brand equity and their local positioning and messaging was highly undifferentiated in a more highly competitive, open market.

So the company defaulted to winning business on price. After a few years, it realized that it could not sustain its offshore business profitably and that domestic sales were propping up overseas expansion efforts that could not pay for themselves.

No HBR study needed here: the company was on a fast track to a major crash and burn.

So it changed tack: it decided to outsource marketing and communications to Western companies that could help it overcome these challenges and it started to re-engineer its business operations as well as marketing.

It’s now starting to expand more aggressively as a result — despite the economic downturn. And guess what, it’s expanding in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and then the US last of all. But it’s taking share from US and EU companies in those other geographies, taking significant bites.

With the global credit crunch, US and EU companies have dug their foxholes deeper, but in the meantime they are being surrounded by smaller, more agile, higher efficiency Asian companies.

If you want to take a look at the planet’s next IT powerhouses, a quick scan through the Deloitte Asian Fast 500 is an illuminating read (http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/article/0,1002,cid%253D239357,00.html).

So the message here is that now is not the time to shut up shop, now is the time to reinvigorate your brand, your products, messages and positioning because you’ll be ready to take on all challengers when the market swings back into the black.

I recently listened in on a panel discussion at a PRSA Tech Talk event with New York Times staffers. Tech editor Damon Darlin, Internet reporter Brad Stone and venture capital reporter Claire Cain Miller sat on the panel and discussed their take on the Times’ tech coverage.

Tech coverage at the New York Times has evolved in the last few years, according to Damon. First, there’s no such thing as a 6 p.m. deadline anymore. When a story is edited, it’s ready to be posted. Thus as digital media evolves – getting faster and more crowded – so do journalists’ approach to story gathering. Secondly, readers have come to expect fresh content that still has some depth. If they don’t find it on their favorite news site, you better be sure they’ll go someplace else.

Still, the Times isn’t entirely focused on being the first to publish; albeit reporters will absolutely consider exclusives provided that they’re genuinely exclusives. Brad Stone had an interesting perspective on the paper’s changing role: People are probably going to get their breaking news about a new iPhone app from someplace other than the New York Times, maybe even a wire service or Gizmodo. The Times may use the news as a peg, but only for setting the context for a larger, in-depth story. “Even though The New York Times covers breaking news, we’re becoming more like a magazine in our story-telling style,” Brad said. This is a good thing for us PR folks as we’re looking to secure seminal-type stories for our tech clients.

Funny enough, even these seasoned “techsters” said they have a hard time maintaining the rate of digital consumption that is demanded of them – which makes me feel almost entirely less guilty! Keeping up with Twitter, Techmeme, Facebook, MySpace, RSS feeds, MyYahoo! and so on comes with a heavy time burden. As a result, these reporters say they’re staying in the office more and more, and forgoing out-of-the-office briefings. The opportunity for PR pros is simple: if they won’t come to you, bring a high-level exec to them! According to Damon, they love when a CEO comes to the office to talk about industry trends, and not just their most recent product release.

By the numbers

  • Did you known that NYTimes.com is the largest online newspaper, exceeding WSJ.com’s online circulation by nearly three-fold?
  • It’s also the fourth largest online news site worldwide, following, Yahoo! News, MSN.com and CNN.com.
  • The tech section on NYTimes.com is the third most popular on the site, next to politics and the wellness section.

What? New reporters to pitch?

The New York Times has added four new writers to their technology section over the past year demonstrating its resilience to a shrinking media landscape. Examples include Ashlee Vance’s joining the publication from The Register giving the Times someone who has an aptitude for, and will write about, B2B / enterprise hardware and software stories. Claire Cain Miller’s joining the NY Times last summer from Forbes now gives the publication someone who is dedicated to the venture capital beat, which they’ve not had previously. Jenna Wortham, the most recent addition to the tech team, came from Wired’s Underwire and covers Internet business and lifestyle – namely how people are using the Internet to change the way we live.

Does anyone have experience with these or other New York Times tech reporters that they’d like to share?

I’ve been meaning to post this for a long time.  I give you, in all our glory, members of Ogilvy PR’s DC tech practice.

And for the record, while I am scary good at the Wii tennis, next time someone asks me that question, I’ll remember the correct answer.






Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide