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.
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.
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.
With tech publications and online media warming to the idea of vendor generated content, the opportunity to garner coverage and increase the visibility of your brand, products and services through channels such as videos, infographics, slideshows and podcasts are on the rise. Although many of these outlets will accept content in the form of bylined articles, guest columns, and white papers, they require significant time commitments from our clients, which can oftentimes be a challenge. Video is quick, easy and requires a relatively low investment in time and resources, all while providing yet another medium for showcasing thought leadership.
Video has seen enormous growth online over the past few years, which can be attributed to increased broadband adoption and the proliferation of video sharing sites such as YouTube, Blip.TV and Yahoo! Video. With these sites attracting hundreds of millions of eyeballs per month, and with tech media and bloggers scrambling for content, the opportunity to broadcast your company’s message can seem just about endless.
We (Ogilvy PR’s tech practice) often hear from business to business technology marketers and tech PR professionals looking for a better understanding of Government – selling to it, benefiting from stimulus spending, and how the regulatory environment may evolve. I want to share a great piece that our Ogilvy Government Relations team has developed. Having access to thinking like this is one of the things I love about working at a full-service firm that knows tech PR but thinks far beyond.
For any of you with an interest in marketing products and services to the federal government, please take a look at these tips on how to build a stable and thriving federal sales market.
Selling to the Federal Market: Complications and Opportunities
With declining commercial sales and an uncertain economic climate, many tech and IT companies are looking to the one certain growth market in today’s economy – the federal government. Given the growth in federal spending projected over the next four years in every area from healthcare to border security, there is no doubt that federal agencies will continue to procure record amounts of IT services and equipment.
However, selling in this market can often be a frustrating dead end for companies not attune to doing business with the government. Most adventures in government sales for the uninitiated bear little fruit for many years. The most frequent refrain from disappointed vendors is that the government could not “see the wisdom or merits of their technology or services.”
There are ways to build a stable and thriving federal sales market, but it takes commitment, time, money and savvy to realize that goal. Below are a few tips for those looking to break into the federal market or to significantly expand their presence.
1) Know Your Market and Capabilities – Whether it is health IT, communications, data storage and retrieval, or complex systems integration, you must have active intelligence of federal opportunities before word hits the street. This task requires active knowledge of agency plans for future budget cycles, agency requirements and Executive Branch and Congressional Initiatives. Furthermore, you must know whether your technology aligns with that particular need and is either competitive or can represent best value to the government.
2) Be in Your Market – Simply coming to Washington from the home office, armed with minimal intelligence to meet with a government official is totally ineffective. At best you will get a meeting. At worst, you will be regarded as an outsider with an unproven track record. Government purchasers are loathe to trust the untested and unknown. Without a consistent physical presence in Washington, you will never gain the trust of careerists whose futures depend on making the right decisions.
3) Staff Up – To be successful at both step one and two, a company must have a dedicated federal sales force and a lobbying team to open doors and provide intelligence on an almost daily basis. In addition, the company must have employees who have experience in the complex world of government contracting and requirements, and relationships with agencies that they have worked for or with in the past. This is a particular type of expertise that is no different from that of a software engineer or other technician and it can prove invaluable in winning contracts.
4) Team Up – Often the easiest way to win government business is to team with larger corporations or trusted government service providers who already have large, flexible contracts in place with agencies. Going after large contracts with major players as a sub can get the company in the door and begin building relationships for future opportunities.
5) Brand, Brand, Brand – As noted above, lack of familiarity in Washington breeds contempt. A company in the federal market must be able to tout not only its name and technology, but its past and present performance as a government contractor. Again, without the commitment to advertise and use public relations in the federal sales arena, few government purchasers will feel comfortable enough to take a chance on an unknown vendor.
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?
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.
The hot topic at the moment is the uncertain economic environment – something that is rearing its head in all industries and all walks off life today. As I have mentioned previously, I am keen to explore over time what impact this changing landscape will have on the PR industry next year.
As PR/ comms. budgets are typically the first to get stripped in organisations, will we see PR evaluation and measurement become an even more crucial tool for reporting in this uncertain economic time? Will we increasingly use it as a means for us, as PR professionals, to justify our worth?
And as Graham White, MD of Ogilvy PR company, Howorth, and Tech PR Nibbles blogger put it nicely: “More than ever we need to be accountable and in a recession, PR has to be part of the effectiveness mindset.”
I’ll be interested to see if the big agencies create, brand, package and sell PR measurement methodologies unique to their businesses and to their clients. If PR agencies are not already using PR measurement as a fundamental tool for evaluation and follow-through on client campaigns and projects, surely it is something they will look to in the coming year.
Despite the importance of PR measurement in the uncertain time, I would have to agree with many wise people before my time that historically, PR measurement has been (and still is) elusive. The complexities of measuring PR are never black and white.
I am interested in your take on this topic? Will we iron out the problems we had historically had with PR measurement? Will evaluation become second nature for PR professionals in their daily work (if it isn’t already)? Will PR take a hit or rise in the economic downturn?