Thanks for a Great Year at PerkettPR

With the close of 2008, I wanted to take this time to thank everyone who has contributed to a great year for PerkettPR. From our clients and partners to the very supportive community we’ve engaged with through social networks like Twitter, we have received an amazing amount of support and recognition this year. Our network has extended farther than ever before and we’ve learned so much from the relationships we’ve been fortunate enough to establish.

PerkettPR and Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV

PerkettPR - Christine Major, Lisa Dilg, Stephanie Trussell, Michele Campbell and Christine Perkett - with Gary Vaynerchuk of Winelibrary TV

I’d also like to thank our firm’s employees – both past and present. The people who come to work for us are what make this company the respected and successful entity that it’s become. Our staff is an eclectic and strong mix of accomplished individuals. At work, they amaze me every day with the creative ideas they come up with for clients and the value that they deliver as a result. Outside of work, their tenacity – in achieving both personal goals and overcoming life’s obstacles – continually inspires me. I feel very fortunate to have met them all.

PerkettPR at The New Marketing Summit, October 2008

Christine Perkett, Claire Spina-Russell, Stephanie Trussell and Mariana Pinner at The New Marketing Summit, October 2008

We’ve had comedians, jewelry designers and marathon runners on staff. Multiple cancer survivors, musicians who sing in bands and hard working moms and dads. A deejay, die cast car collector and world traveler. Together, they’ve all helped our clients make their mark on the world. Individually, they’ve left an imprint of one sort or another on our company and on me.

The American Business Awards, June 2008, New York City

Christine Perkett, Christine Major and Johanna Cappello at The American Business Awards, June 2008, NYC

As we move into another New Year, the world remains nervous around our economic outlook and relationships are more important than ever. I am confident that PerkettPR will continue to grow and prosper with the support of the tech and business community, loyal clients and whip-smart staff. If you are reading this blog you are to thank as well. We appreciate your insights, involvement and feedback.

May 2009 bring prosperity and successes we’ve all yet to imagine. Happy New Year!

Heather Mosley and Jeff Glasson - Boston TweetUp

Heather Mosley and Jeff Glasson - Boston TweetUp

Seesmic 1st Anniversary Party, San Francisco, September 2008

Greg Wind, Heather Mosley and Crystal Macaulay at Seesmic's 1st Anniversary Party, San Francisco, September 2008

Journalists are People Too – a Q&A with Jennifer Leggio of ZDNet

Yesterday Michael Arrington of TechCrunch created a big amount of buzz – as he has been know to do – with an angry blog post about the PR industry and its failure to do right by embargoes. This blog post is not about that – but it is our first in a series that we’ve been wanting to start, focused on personal Q&As with journalists, bloggers and industry analysts.

You see, there continues to be quite a snarky relationship between the PR world and the world of journalism. There are valid gripes on both sides but one that continues to be mentioned by journalists is that most PR folks don’t build relationships correctly. So this Q&A series is based on getting to know the journalists as the humans they are. No hidden agendas – just good, clean fun.

Thankfully, Jennifer Leggio, a blogger for ZDNet, agreed to be our first interview. You’ll learn things here that might surprise you or give you pause (favorite vacation spot – Long Island?!) but that will definitely make you laugh.

But we can’t guarantee it will help your pitching.

(Oh – and if you are a journalist or blogger that is game to play along and be interviewed, please let us know!)

PPR: You have  multiple roles listed on your Twitter bio – for ZDNet and Fortinet – what do  you do for each and how do you balance it all?

JL: For ZDNet, I write about what I call “social business” — everything from  enterprise 2.0 technology to marketing-focused social media issues. For Fortinet, my official title is director of strategic communications, which  includes managing global industry analyst relations, digital media, security research communications and community engagement. I’m a pragmatist when it comes to balance. My role at Fortinet is always my first and foremost  priority. It’s not only my day job, but I’m passionate about network security  and I take a great amount of pride in my company’s many wins. Which leaves my ZDNet work largely to my personal time and I am happy to make the sacrifice because it’s such a tremendous opportunity. I’m also a heck of  a multi-tasker.

PPR: How  did you become a blogger?

JL: Ironically, I started microblogging before I began blogging. I was on Twitter and thought,  “I should get one of those blog things.” I launched up my Mediaphyter blog and really started digging into social media trends, security and social media, and then launched the  Security Twits, a community of security professionals on Twitter. After that everything is a bit of a blur. I met Ryan Naraine, a ZDNet security blogger at SOURCE  Boston earlier this year and we became friends; stayed in contact via Twitter. ZDNet saw a need to bring in content similar to what I write and Ryan patched me through. I should note that this all started only a year ago; just goes to show the speed and impact of social media. Take that, naysayers.

PPR: We  see you love hockey – do you watch, play or both?

JL: Oh goodness, I can’t play hockey! I can’t even ice skate! I’m one of those know-it-all fans who sits in the stands and screams at my team. I am very passionate about it,  however. Until about four years ago I had never been a fan of any sport. A  co-worker at the time dragged me to a San Jose Sharks game and I fell in absolute, unequivocal, irreversible love.

PPR: What’s the  last book that you read?

JL: I just  finished “SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate” by Joel Postman, which I actually got as a prize at a Silicon Valley tweet-up last week after co-winning a karaoke contest. The humiliation was  worth winning this book. It was a fabulous, educational read. On a more personal note, I read the entire “Twilight” saga from Stephenie Meyer in five days over Thanksgiving. I am such a sucker for handsome fictional  vampires. I’ve now moved onto the “Uglies” series from Scott Westerfeld, thanks to a recommendation from Kevin Marks.

PPR: What’s the coolest tech gadget that you own?

JL: OK, don’t  tell the folks over at ZDNet this, but I am not much of a gadget geek. I am a cyber nerd, Internet geek, and enterprise technology fangirl. So I suppose my  coolest tech gadget is my TomTom portable GPS. I am considering buying a Kindle, though. Does  that count?

PPR: If  you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?

JL: I know I am supposed to wax intellectual with this type of question, but I can’t get away from my honest answer. James Spader. I have had a crush on him since I was  about 12 years old. Something about geeky, cocky eccentricity. If I were to  wax intellectual, I would say Bob Woodward. Like many former journalists (I  worked at daily newspapers from 1993-2000), he was the reason I began my news career pursuits in the first place. I’ve had to settle for being his Facebook  friend, along with 3,000 other people. That’s closer than I’ve gotten with Spader.

PPR: How  many hours a day do you spend in front of the computer?

JL: Let’s see, I wake up every morning between 5-6 a.m., wash up, get on the laptop and write my ZDNet blog of the day, check into work email, then take a shower, get  ready, feed the cat and head into the office. I usually work through lunch at my desk and leave between 5-6 p.m. Come home, pet the cat, make or order dinner, then get back online and catch up on email, and begin outlining my blog post for the next morning, plus miscellaneous day job work. I go to bed  about 10-11 p.m. and read until I fall asleep. I’m afraid if I really add up  the hours I’ll cry. Not every day is like this, of course. I do make it out  for social events every now and then. If I am not  asleep.

PPR: What’s your favorite vacation destination?

JL: For the last couple of years, most of my vacations have been spent in beautiful Long Island, New York. Ah, paradise. I had the fortunate experience to discover some unknown family members a couple of years ago and I take every opportunity I can to immerse myself into their culture (“Old World” Italian) and learn as much about my heritage as I can. What’s funny to me is that I find it easier to relax there than say if I were on a beach somewhere, wishing my BlackBerry were nearby. My family’s quality of life and appreciation for quality time is contagious when I’m around it, and I love the disconnection from chaos  that I experience when I am there.

PPR: What do you  do for fun?

JL: See questions #3,  #4 and #8. Other than reading, hockey games and blogging, I play Wii (wait, is  that a tech gadget?), I like to go wander about trails in the Bay Area with  friends, I play every two weeks or so in a No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em poker tourney, I’m a huge music fan and I like to go out and see live shows (mostly of the rock persuasion) and I get my laughs at the Improv. That’s about all I have time for right now. In 2009 I hope to bring back some of my other hobbies. Especially those of the outdoor, active variety.

PPR: What’s the coolest thing that’s come your way as a result of  social media?

JL: Besides this interview? I’m fortunate in that it’s hard to pick just one. My ZDNet blog, for one. I never thought I’d again have a chance to write for a news organization after jumping the fence into marketing eight years ago. Book authorship-lite, is another. Julio  Ojeda-Zapata asked me to write the foreword for his “Twitter Means Business” book, and I’m currently writing a chapter for Tracy Tuten’s “Enterprise 2.0″ book series due out in 2009. Top that all off with the icing of fabulously talented new friends I wouldn’t have otherwise met. I shudder to think where I’d be without social media. Is that sad? Nah. I think it’s spectacular.

PR Agencies Should Not Have to “Return” to Client Service in a Down Economy

We’re excited and proud to welcome our two newest clients – Contactual and Litle & Co. We’re particularly proud of this announcement not only because it caps off another year of growth for us, but because Contactual’s CMO, Karen Leavitt, has returned to PerkettPR for the third time in her career. There is no better testament to our ability to deliver solid business ROI than when clients become repeat customers and continue to hire us as they move along to new companies over the years. Thank you, Karen!

While new client wins are certainly a reason to celebrate, the news also brings us back to a core value that should always be top-of-mind: client service. If we didn’t provide excellent client service we wouldn’t have repeat clients like Karen. I’ve read several articles over the last few months about the “return of client service” in a down economy. While I understand this mantra might be relevant (we can only hope) in consumer-facing businesses such as retail, travel & tourism or restaurants, it seems irrelevant for the PR industry.

If it takes a down economy for you to be treated right by your agency, then you are with the wrong agency. I know the situation – it’s part of what drove me to start PerkettPR over a decade ago: the economy booms, agencies get more incoming business calls than they can handle, they want as much revenue as possible and it drives them to take on new clients without having the proper account teams in place to deliver great client service. Staff is stretched too thin and as a result, service suffers.

In a down economy, when the client roster begins to shrink a bit, agencies are almost, by default, “right sized.” A smaller client roster can enable them to spend more time on each account and clients see an uptick in attention to detail, senior involvement and results. In addition, agencies can take a moment to reflect on what could be improved, what overall client health looks like and which services are delivering the best ROI – to the client and the agency.

So how is your agency relationship? What do you wish PR agencies would do better – now and in the future? Have you taken the time to assess if client service is consistent? Has your agency asked you how they can improve, or offered new ideas for what is certain to be a tumultuous year?

Agencies – use this time to focus on top-to-bottom client service improvements – and make them a part of your ongoing culture. Ask your clients if – and how – their priorities have changed for the year and how you can subsequently redirect communications efforts to ensure they meet their goals. Have you asked clients their assessment of the economy’s effect on their business? The industry? Are you helping them to focus on the most cost-effective campaigns, or have you been moving forward business-as-usual?

Excellent client service should be your staff’s number one priority at all times. If you’ve strayed from this focus in the past, take the necessary steps now to get back on track – and ensure such changes last well beyond the economic rebound.

Join us in Boston tonight for open party to benefit The Staley Foundation

The holidays are here, times are uncertain and budgets are tight. But you can maintain your financial prowess and still help a good cause just by showing up at a party tonight.

The PerkettPR team has helped organize an informal, open holiday get together in an effort to raise funds for Alicia Staley’s Staley Foundation. Just by showing up and giving your name to us (find me and sign a list), $2 will be donated to Alicia’s new foundation.

The Staley Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization based in Boston. TSF raises money for patient programs at Tufts Medical Center and United Medical Memorial Hospital in Batavia, NY, through education, advocacy, and immediate financial assistance. Alicia is a three-time cancer survivor working to make a difference in other cancer patient’s lives.

If you’ve been looking for an affordable opportunity to give back this holiday season, please join us tonight. Bring your friends – the event is free and open to anyone* – and includes a 50/50 raffle. Alternately, if you cannot attend in person but still want to help, you may donate online here via ChipIn!

Special thanks to Charise Glasson of CPG Interiors and Mark Williams of The Social Net for their generous donations.

The Event:
Monday December 15, 2008 from 6:00pm – 11:00pm

25 Union Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
*cash bar