Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

by Robin Shin
Category: Technology

Last week, Adiran Eyre and I had the opportunity to attend a PRSA event, “Inside the Newsroom,” where Fortune magazine reporters provided insight on the growth and structure of Fortune online and what they look for when developing a compelling story.  The panel included senior technology writer Jon Fortt; editor at large, Adam Lashinsky; senior writer, Michael V. Copeland and online producer Mason Cohn. 

The outlet is going through a significant amount of growth and what many may not realize is that Fortune online is hosted on the CNNMoney.com website.  CNNMoney.com also hosts CNN broadcast and Money magazine online coverage as well.  This partnership and Fortune’s online channels are continuing to grow and managing editor Dan Roth was recently added to the mix to help develop and expand Fortune’s online content.  While CNNMoney aims to provide breaking news for the website, Fortune writers are interested in providing value, analysis and the “why should you care” component to a story.  With more of their online coverage containing video, the panel emphasized the need for good visuals and a good spokesperson to increase the likelihood of getting your story on the site. 

Some of the online channels that they discussed included:

  • Tech Mate: a series co-developed by Jon Fortt and Michael Copeland where new trends and digital issues are debated and analyzed.
  • Tech Talk: a CNNMoney and Fortune video series where Fortune journalists discuss the latest tech industry topics and interview major influencers in the industry.
  • Connected: a video series by Jon Fortt and Adam Lashinsky where they meet with top company executives to discuss hot topics and get in-depth insight of what’s going on within the company.

Please let us know if you have any questions, or feel free to leave a comment below!

In public relations we talk a lot about influencers. Business press influencers, analyst influencers, trade press influencers, and at Ogilvy PR specifically, we have a practice dedicated to digital influencers. But what I have come to realize in my five years as a practicing tech PR professional, is that this job has a huge influence on the way that I look at other people…actually, the way I look at their consumer devices.

Some people notice shoes, some notice handbags, but if you talk with a tech PR professional, we notice devices. Everything from what kind of mobile phone you are using and on what network, to the type of TV you have and whether it’s equipped with the latest and greatest from CES that year. When tech PR colleagues get together, we pull our BlackBerrys and iPhones out of our pockets and purses and, without noticing, start to compare who has the newest one, giving everybody else in the room “tech envy”.

This “tech envy” stems from the reality that the work we do has a greater influence on our daily lives than most would like to admit. When you work in tech PR you learn about your client’s newest software offering or chip development, and what it means for their respective industry. You learn about what can make laptops run faster and more efficiently and the true capabilities of your BlackBerry if it uses one of your client’s products. And after learning about the product, we are tasked to communicate it as well. It becomes a part of who we are and how we talk about things. We “drink the Kool-Aid,” so to speak.

My job has influenced me to the point of becoming what I consider a “consumer technology snob.” I don’t have the best or newest technology by any means (it can be really expensive!), but I do know enough about it to want it. Additionally, when I started thinking about this blog topic, I started to notice how I look at people on the bus with older cell phones and laptops, and I wonder what is preventing them from getting a new one. Don’t they care? Why don’t they care? It is important, right?

So what I would like to know is… What about your job influences you? Have you noticed you look at people differently (for better or for worse) because of it?

I have worked with David Kirkpatrick in the past with no issues and have always been a fan of his. And while this detailed account of events does not change my outlook on him, I must say after reading Michael Arrington’s blog post, I can only hope that David and others have a new appreciation for what PR people are up against on a daily basis. How many times have you had to go back and ask a reporter to pull something down or correct misinformation because of a miscommunication? Even if you know the reporter has a right to keep it posted or you and the publication have already agreed upon terms, sometimes circumstances require the information to be changed. And as a PR person who has had to do this more times than I would like to admit, it is never an easy process.

How did you feel after reading the blog post? Siding with Kirkpatrick or Arrington?

Nearly one third (30 percent) of Americans feel that they need to stay

connected to work 24/7, even during weekends, breaks or holiday,

according to a recent survey by InterCall, (an Ogilvy PR client).


While the survey cited a number of other very interesting statistics

related to workforce morale and productivity, I have been thinking

about what this means for PR professionals.


If nearly 30 percent of all Americans feel they need to stay

connected, this number must be even higher for PR professionals.  As

one of the major arteries to the heart of a company or client, we are

often asked to “keep our cell phone on” or “check email later” or

“dial into just one meeting while away.”  Knowing the critical role we

play, doesn’t being connected come with the territory? Or sometimes do we

have the right to unplug?


What are your thoughts on always being connected? Do you have trouble

unplugging or do you “power down” the first chance you get?

Anna Hughes

by Anna Hughes
Category: Technology

Friedrich Nietzsche said that the future influences the present just as much as the past… but what about Twitter?

A new study shows that on Twitter, followers don’t necessarily equal influence. Researchers found that “follower count is not sufficient to capture the influence of a user (i.e., the ability of a user to sway the opinions of her followers). It only shows how popular the user is (i.e., the size of her audience). But, as we showed in our paper, retweets and mentions, which measure the audience responsiveness to a user’s tweets, do not correlate strongly with number of followers.”

A surprising finding of the study was that only a fraction of Twitter users actively tweet and it is this small group of active Twitter users who initiate retweets and responses. The majority of Twitter users read other users’ messages but don’t generate many new messages themselves. So what does this mean for your clients and their Twitter accounts? Encourage them to engage their followers directly. Monitor direct messages and retweets closely. Identify followers who tweet actively and take steps to engage them. Make sure you’re engaging your audience in relevant topics.

The researchers believe that “businesses, rather than trying to put emphasis on the follower count, could try to increase audience responsiveness in their fields.” Instead of using a Twitter account to push out news on a regular basis and nothing more, try taking a more active role. Besides, a comprehensive Twitter engagement strategy is much easier to wrap your head around than a Nietzsche quote!

The following is guest post from Craig Badings of Cannings Corporate Communications. It originally appeared at www.thoughtleadershipstrategy.net/

There is a lot of a commentary flying around the web at the moment about content, optimising that content for search engines , content curation (filtering and aggregating relevant content) and how best to deliver content to your publics.

But…and this is a big but – content alone does not make you a thought leader.  It may help a company’s publics, it may make their lives easier, it may drive traffic to a site and it may position that brand as a trusted source of particular information.  But does it make that company a thought leader?

No it does not.

Let’s have a quick look at my definition of thought leadership:  Thought Leadership is establishing a relationship with and delivering something of value to your stakeholders and customers that aligns with your brand/company value. In the process you go well beyond merely selling a product or service and establish your brand /company as the expert in that field and differentiate yourself from your competitors

Key to thought leadership is innovative content

The key to being a thought leader is offering something of value, insights that position you as the expert in that field.  By that I mean stuff which frames the debate and conversations on a particular issue or issues.  Content that challenges the paradigms and the thinking of your own staff as well as your publics if not an entire industry sector, and content that delivers deep insights around a particular issue or sector.

Content that doesn’t do this cannot and should not be labelled as thought leadership.  It is merely information.

This is not to say that it’s not useful but it doesn’t make you a thought leader.

Content curation

HiveFire has produced a thought provoking e book on content curation.  You can download it here : http://info.hivefire.com/eBook.html  and I suggest you do.  It is a good read and raises some very interesting questions about how you manage your content.

But as they say, competitors are drowning in a sea of information overload and they are challenged to decipher what information is relevant and which sources are trustworthy.  My view is that it is particularly because of this that to be a thought leader, the content you deliver needs to differentiate you from the crowd, must be different and challenge insights and should position you as the pre-eminent company/commentator in that space.

The spin-offs of doing this right are huge as many marketers, particularly in the professional services arena will attest.  True thought leadership is one of the most valuable marketing assets in which a company can invest.  It inspires trust in your brand and in process imbues in your company and your people a perception by the marketplace that you are the ‘go to’ authorities and knowledge experts on that topic – a perception that no amount of advertising can buy.  OK maybe a bucket load could buy it but it would cost a bomb .

Publishing alone will not help

Publishing on its own is not going to help.  It’s what you publish and how you take it to market that makes the difference.

Before you become an aggregator or curator of content ask yourself the following questions:   What is our thought leadership position?  What do we stand for in the market place?  What is our differentiator in terms of leading the market?

Only once you have established a position in this regard are seen as the go to place for insights in your area of specialty is it useful to become a content curator and specifically for content that relates to and helps inform that position.

 Until then I’m afraid, you will just be a follower.

I came across the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s history of Facebook privacy statements yesterday while investigating reactions to Facebook’s new information-sharing features, and the response they elicited from legislators. It got me thinking about the profound communications problem many companies are just beginning to confront.

Privacy is being forced to evolve – yes, by companies like Facebook and Google – but also by consumers who are sharing more and more about their lives without regards to their own privacy, and now, by their growing interest in legislating the issue, by our governments.

Brands that play in this space – and these days, which brands don’t – have to find a way to maintain the trust they have with consumers while experimenting with different privacy regimes (in the case of platforms like Facebook), or with the wealth of data that social platforms can make available to them.  With so much changing, so fast, it seems unlikely that companies or consumers will willingly walk away from the potential benefits of tapping into the data, or, in the case of consumers, happily handing it over to derive some other benefit.

So while the world waits for the forced evolution of privacy to come to some sort of generally accepted conclusion, what to do? It seems to me that the only way to navigate these shifting sands is to follow some very simple communications rules:

There’s certainly more a company can and should do, but it seems to me that companies often lose sight of simple communications precepts that help them demonstrate to their audience that they care, as they invariably do, and take their audience’s concerns seriously.  At the end of the day it amounts to following the golden rule, but don’t the pressures of business life often make it seem much more complicated?

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If you’re doing business in Germany, chances are you’ve heard of XING and are probably wondering how to use it for marketing and online reputation management. In Germany alone there are approximately 3.5 million high-level personnel are using the business network XING – the European pendant to LinkedIn – to manage and expand their professional contacts.

This network has proven to be an effective social media channel for B2B communications and reputation management. Why? XING has more than 30,000 topic-related groups where members exchange ideas, thoughts and experiences concerning nearly every branch or every professional field of activity, like “Risk Management”, “Underwriting”, “Corporate Publishing”, “Construction Engineering” etc.

We include XING more and more into our clients’ communication plans. As far as planning and implementation are concerned we recommend following these best practices:

1) Basic identification of relevant groups:

  • Keyword search within the network
  • Analysis of which groups our target persons have subscribed

2) Rate the relevance of a group:

  • To what extent does a group talk about my client’s topics?  
  • How active and “alive/vital” is a group?
  • How many members does the group have?
  • What is the quota of target persons?
  • Who’s the initiator?

3) Develop a content strategy

  • How does the group work?
  • Which approach/topics/formats should be used to
    be noticed and included into conversations?
  • Which topics create the greatest response?

4) Identify and train client employees to represent the company on XING.

5) Work with these employees to develop different and relevant content to be posted within the groups’ discussion forums. Depending on the group that could contain:

  • Short expert articles by
  • Leading and initiating discussions
  • Content syndication to special topics, e.g. linking back on corporate homepage
  • Answering questions of other group members

6) As a last step we recommend founding a branded group on XING. This offers new opportunities like organizing real life group meetings or issuing newsletters. As this requires greater involvement of client employees, we recommend commencing in only after conducting 6 months of XING-relations.

Summing up, one can say that XING has been proven to be a good tool for social media B2B communications. For foreign enterprises coming to Germany it is furthermore a good way to demonstrate market knowledge and integration into German business communities.

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Anna Hughes

by Anna Hughes
Category: Technology

I’ve just returned from a short trip to the West coast, where I was able to work from the Ogilvy PR San Francisco office. I enjoyed meeting many of my Ogilvy San Francisco colleagues in person for the first time, some of whom I’d already been working with for months. Less than a week after my trip, one of my Denver colleagues is in town this week and working from our DC office, where I met her in person for the first time. Meeting these Ogilvy colleagues from across the country has shown me that there’s really no substitute for a face-to-face meeting in building a network and enabling collaboration.

We live in an increasingly wired world in which a variety of technology solutions exist to connect us. But as much as we benefit from video conferencing, instant messaging, Twitter and the like, we must not underestimate the power of a face-to-face conversation. A 2009 Harvard Business Review study included over 2,000 businesses and found that over 95% of the respondents judged in-person meetings to be critical to building long-term business relationships. It’s understood that face-to-face meetings are critical in winning new business and maintaining strong client relationships; yet we often overlook the benefits they bring to our own internal teams. What may take days or weeks over email can be completed in a brief, face-to-face conversation. In fact, in-person meetings further strengthen our ability to connect via technology tools. As we spend our days and nights evangelizing new technology, let’s not forget the power of a handshake and a hello. Or if you’re Michael Arrington, a fist bump, head nod, or polite bow.

Dan La Russo

by Dan La Russo
Category: Technology

Last year, I posted a blog about SNW Spring 2009 and the blog is here.  It was somewhat of a cheerleading post, as I have been to 11 of the last 14 conferences and I do enjoy being there and have worked with great brands at the conference (Disclosure: we currently represent the SNIA who co-hosts the event with IDG).  Last year, I was pretty curious that social media hadn’t really taken off.  Sure there were some solid online conversations and interesting blog posts speculating about the conference, its future, etc. But there just wasn’t a lot of buzz about the event.

Not to say all of this changed suddenly over the last six months or that suddenly everyone has figured out the ‘right’ thing to do…but at SNW Spring 2010 this week, there was a significant uptick in activity across the social Web – and that was exciting.  Check out the activity with the #SNWUSA hashtag to get a quick look. 

I have a few theories as to why this has happened:

1-      A year has gone by and quite a bit has changed within the storage media landscape. Traditional media at the conference have all but dried up.  At SNW Spring 2010, you could count them on your fingers.  Actually the fingers on your left hand…and still have a few to spare.  Sure meeting with media, analysts and, more importantly influencers, on-site to share news, updates or just to catch up still plays an important role.  But the game started to change long-ago and in my eyes SNW Spring 2010 marked the tipping point for the industry. 

2-      Brands are realizing that having staff on-site and a booth, is a check-box.  Important indeed, but not the end-game and there are new ways to engage users and attendees.  Some are allowing if not encouraging their employees to use the tools they have available to engage with their peers and prospective customers. 

But it is increasingly apparent that attendees at this SNW were also listening to social networks and he voices on them – and at the event – like never before.  Every day, throughout the day, I’d hear, “did you see that tweet from X” or “look at this post by Y” or “get involved on our wiki/blog/site here…” 

Just because there was a lot of activity also doesn’t mean that we all nailed it or got it right.  There were rumblings of “I can’t believe this person was speaking about Social Media” and “XYZ brand doesn’t know how to spell Twitter, let alone use it.”  Sure, that’s a natural element in Social Media and most is done in with a good natured spirit. 

My point is, we should embrace new voices and opinions and help point them to the resources (if not guide them ourselves) that they can learn from and be inspired to engage online.   This may be a bit too good natured, but we’re all students…some may be in grad-school and others just arriving for freshman orientation, but we’re all learning as we go.  To me, this is all exciting and I’m already looking forward to SNW Fall.

So welcome aboard newbies, celebrate your status and jump in head first…see you in Dallas (if I don’t connect with you @dlarusso15 first!).

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide