This is a week of reflection - where our technology practice has been, where we want to go, and the dynamic staff who will get us there. I think about what has changed since we got our start in the early 1990’s. Back then we were known as boutique Alexander Communications as we charged toward our Ogilvy family future, tucked in an apartment space along Union Street near Cow Hollow. Phone jacks, screeching modems, DOS mail, CompuServe accounts, insider club-styled executive conferences, and bi-annual pilgrimage press tours to the East Coast for ample Ziff-Davis and IDG pub face time was the cadence of tech PR life.
But I think what is more notable is what hasn’t changed:
-the competition for talent. Perhaps not quite as fierce as in the tech run-up of the 1990’s but certainly nearing that pace
- the constant search for ‘what’s next’ in PR and being among the first to adapt to new ways, the use of new tools, the advancement of new relationships
- the magic that happens when you partner with exceptional talent; colleagues that are naturally curious, high energy, voracious readers and consumers of media and content in the broadest sense, and
- the great work that follows some research, smart strategy and excellent execution
From our South of Market days neighboring South Park followed by our move to the Financial District, I feel excited to be moving back towards the water and the Bay Bridge. Our new space brings us back to our roots, synchronizing with the pace of our industry, but also a fresh infusion of entrepreneurialism that is the momentum that keeps technology PR consultancies thriving, whether in boutique or global agency settings.
If you know someone who sounds like my descriptor of exceptional talent, I hope to hear from you. Likewise if you are in need of our passionate, committed thinkers and storytellers for your marketing challenge.
I am so proud to partner with our team by the Bay, and can’t wait to see the impressive work to come.
Last week, Yahoo! broke the news that they are going to update their iconic logo with the launch of a campaign leading up to the reveal of their new identity on Sept 4 called “30 Days of Change.” The change, according to Kathy Savitt, Chief Marketing Officer at Yahoo! is reflective of their last 12 months of business “There’s been a renewed sense of purpose and progress at Yahoo!, and we want everything we do to reflect this spirit of innovation. While the company is rapidly evolving, our logo — the essence of our brand — should too,” she added.
If headlines are any indication, there has indeed been a lot going on at the company. CEO Marissa Mayer hasn’t been shy, and she just finished her first year as head of the company with a shopping spree that concluded with $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr. New leadership often signals big change, and what better way to make your mark than by changing the trademark itself?
As a brand-o-phile, I eat this stuff up. I love to see brands grow and change and read about the strategies behind the evolutions so I like the hoopla around this launch. Why shouldn’t brands celebrate their growth? As consumers become more savvy brand advocates and critics, it’s wise to acknowledge the change and invite them behind the curtain. My concern with Yahoo!’s launch promotion is that it reminds me of another internet giant’s much touted logo play. Google has been having fun with its logo for years, inviting designers to reimagine it on a daily basis. I feel, in fact, that they own this space. Yahoo!’s multi-logo campaign doesn’t seem like an original idea or fitting for a company who is trying to signal innovation.
Before you think I’m just another one of the Yahoo bashers, let me just add that my first email account was with Yahoo! and I still maintain that address. I’ve seen the company evolve, add features, go purple, and weather the fickle winds deciding whether it’s cool or not. As one of the very first search engines, Yahoo! set the standard for quirky company names back in 1994— four years before Google. The company may have stumbled in recent years but it’s still an internationally recognized brand and a much needed option in an online world shrinking one acquisition at a time. I don’t think they needed to borrow a page from anyone to rebrand themselves. They were, and are, the one and only (insert yodel) Yahoo!.
Todd Metrokin is a Creative Strategist with Ogilvy Washington’s Creative Studio.
To read more, visit creativestudiodc.ogilvy.com
The Technology Practice at Ogilvy PR today announced the launch of ACE (Analyst Community Engagement), a new global service designed to give technology companies an informed, strategic and measurable approach to industry analyst relations.
Why launch an AR service in 2012?
Two main reasons:
We are launching ACE because Analyst Relations is the most global of all marketing functions, and we believe we have the global coverage and expertise needed to support any kind of company on their AR needs. With a global team based in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore and Sydney.
Ogilvy PR has a unique PoV that can really help AR and PR work better together and speak the same language, making AR a strong asset for marketing, sales and, why not, corporate communications as well. We believe that the analyst world consists of “Deal Makers” and “Perception Makers”, and that the true value of AR is in knowing how to distinguish between the two, and tap the right ones to influence sales cycles as well as shift market attitudes and perception. In other words, in the first instance, AR support sales, while in second one, AR supports reputation, and therefore PR.
I’d love your comments on this and what you see at your firm, regardless of whether you are in-house or on agency side.
Tech innovation and enthusiasm is clearly alive and well in our nation’s capital. Last Thursday, I attended the Digital Capital Week 2011 Core Conference, an all day affair at the Artisphere, where entrepreneurs, creatives, developers, marketers and communicators from around the world came together to network and share information.
One of the highlights for me was the Disruptive Entrepreneurs panel, where Ruha Devanesan introduced us to PeaceTones, a nonprofit that supports talented, unknown artists from developing countries build their careers while giving back to their communities. PeaceTones trains artists on their legal rights and marketing techniques, and helps them distribute their work internationally.
The music industry has changed so much in the past decade. Music today is digital and easily shared, making it difficult to monetize less direct consumption—even for the big record labels and well-established artists. For musicians from earthquake-ravaged Haiti or the impoverished favelas of Brazil, the struggle to “make it” is nearly impossible to overcome.
PeaceTones leverages the power of social media platforms to spread these artists’s work globally. They film personal narratives and create music videos for their artists and then teach them how to self promote using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other platforms. PeaceTones also uses Kickstarter, the world’s largest platform for funding creative projects, to raise funds to launch the artists’ albums. This effort has been tremendously successful in helping these artists share their music with a global audience. And the best part is that 90% of all product sales go directly to the musicians and their community’s development goal.
Later in the day, I attended the Responsibility in Media in a Global Age panel where Alex Howard of O’Reilly Media declared identity to be “the biggest issue of the digital age.” The group discussed how, when working a story, today’s journalists need to be “data scientists” and know how to tap into the ever-evolving tools that help verify someone’s identity. Food for thought: networked identity – what qualifies as an individual in a new media environment? What happens to self-identity when presented through networks of social connections? For example, does an enterprise Twitter account with multiple authors presenting a single “voice” qualify as an individual? I’ll let you chew on that…
We all know that it’s increasingly challenging for media to manage breaking news and fact check for accuracy, but as this panel discussed, the social tools being used to share information in real time (i.e. Twitter and YouTube) are having a massive impact, especially in areas of extreme conflict, as we saw with the Arab Spring uprising. Anthony De Rosa of Reuters shared, “especially in the developing world, the notion of responsibility is changing. You need to know when to burn access in order to get the story out fast. You either report what’s happening now or you get left behind.”
Also in this session, Google’s Caroline McCarthy (formerly of CNET) shared one of her favorite Twitter handles: @MrDisclosure, a whistleblower who tweets when investors don’t disclose their investments in their tweets – check it out!
Toward the end of the day, I attended the Winning Mobile Campaigns, hosted by Ogilvy client, Ford. Panelists agreed that it’s unclear if QR codes have a future. “It’s a bridging technology, not the final destination.” They also shared their thoughts on some of the exciting technologies we can expect to see used in mobile marketing campaigns of the future. Some of my favorites:
I was delighted to see one of my very favorite startup CEOs on the Winning panel – the mind-blowingly brilliant Brian Wong, of kiip, a company that offers marketers an entirely new model for in-game advertising. Kiip’s long-term goal? To “own every achievement moment on the planet.” For example, people are rewarded for exercising for a certain length of time or for leveling up on a game they play on their smartphone. As Wong says, “we think of happiness as a resource. We’re trying to mine happiness rather than create it. We’re learning more every day about how to tap into those key moments and create affinity for a brand.” Pretty impressive thinking for someone who isn’t yet legally old enough to rent a car!
Overall, a fantastic conference, and I look forward to attending again next year. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the most exciting technologies you’re looking forward to in mobile marketing campaigns of the future.
At the Pivot Conference #pivotcon these past two days in New York, there has been a great spirit of sharing and learning among social media stakeholders at major brands like Unilever, Gap, American Express, IBM, Bloomberg to name a few, their agencies and the ecosystem of technologies that serve as the backbone and analytics of this discipline. Knowing Pivot is very focused on consumer-facing brands, I was delighted to hear a few good examples from b to b technology companies and technology PR professionals too.
A few themes at the conference have stood out, such as:
Conference speaker Charlene Li of Altimeter Group acknowledged what most in the audience were thinking, that these themes are words that are increasingly thrown about, but she was focused on drilling into what do they really mean in the realm of social media.
Her message: That being online representing your brand, say on Twitter, and responding to consumer concerns is simply not enough anymore. Charlene contends that individuals want brands to know and understand them. That It’s not about technology, its about relationships.
So here is how Charlene suggests brands can prepare to do more than simply respond in social media:
There has been a great spirit of learning and humility here, acknowledging that nobody has all the answers and that to be successful in social, you need to be prepared to develop sound social strategy, but also amass the drive to champion its adoption and best practices throughout your organization. And I guess that is the point. Your company culture needs to embrace the inherent openness of social in order to be successful in social. How else can a brand be authentic? (Yes, that word again).
When trying to communicate about topics related to the green movement, companies sometimes use four or five different words to describe a strategy, product or initiative. What I am referring to of course is the many derivative words related to green. Is it green or it it clean? Is it sustainable or environmentally friendly? Is it renewable energy or is it clean technology? Are we cutting CO2 emissions or greenhouse gases?
A fascinating study published by the Yale Forum and reported on by GreenTech Media yesterday sheds some light on this. The study takes a look at advertising copy related to green in full-page ads placed in The Atlantic, National Geographic, National Review, and Time from January 2005 through June 2011 and underscores the different terms and words used and how they’ve changed. A great read as we consider how to communicate green messages on behalf of our clients.
‘The Social Media Revolution’ a phrase that has become ubiquitous over the past few years, is being used by people all over the globe. The fast-paced life we lead has created demand for easier and simpler communications. Consumers are no longer passive, but rather active producers of content. There is no doubt that the Internet is a wondrous creation, but what has generated an unexpected leap in web activity and really taken it to the next level can all be summed up in two words ‘Social Media.’ continue reading
Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak at the BLUE Mind Summit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. It was the first conference in history to bring together leaders in neuroscience and ocean exploration. It was an incredible experience and you can read more here on this initial blog post by Wired’s Sheril Kirshenbaum.
So what the heck was I doing there, you might ask. Fair question.
Inspired by our Global CEO, Chris Graves, at Ogilvy PR, we have been following closely how certain advances in neuroscience are translating into the discipline of public relations and communications.
After the jump is the presentation on Slideshare and my speech. A big thank you to Dr. Jennifer Scott for helping me in put this together (Jennifer is on the Board of SeaWeb who partnered with Ogilvy on this presentation). continue reading
Managing Director, US Corporate Practice
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
I spent the latter half of last week in New Orleans for the Reputation Institute’s 15th annual conference, Navigating the Reputation Economy. It was a fascinating few days and I wanted to share the highlights of the insightful concepts discussed at the conference.
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Ogilvy PR), Asia’s largest and most awarded public relations agency, announced the promotion of Sara Pereira to Deputy Regional Director, Technology, Ogilvy PR Asia Pacific, with immediate effect.
Since joining Ogilvy PR in 2006, Sara has been instrumental in building the technology and social media practices in the agency. Sara is currently the Director of the technology practice in Singapore and she will continue in this role.
Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility