Brand Haiku for You

I was invited by my industry colleague and friend, Aaron Strout of Powered Inc., to participate in a fun experiment this morning. He asked me and a handful of other amazing marketing folks to share a brand haiku based on a recent experience we’ve had – good or bad. (Remember, a haiku is: 5 syllables, 7 syllables 5 syllables.)

Well, if you follow me on Twitter and were on this weekend, you likely heard about my recent experience with Toyota and specifically, McGee Toyota in Hanover, MA. It wasn’t pretty. So here’s my haiku for you based on my weekend – if you’d like the full story, read my blog post about the experience – and why it’s crucial for your sales team to understand that customer relationships are way more valuable than customer deals.

Toyota was wrong
Happy customers tell friends
Angry ones tell all

Now that the negative one is out of the way, here are two positive ones – because happy customers should share loudly, too.

Jet Blue I love you
Thanks for TVs and smiles
You get customers

Ideeli is cool
They sell lovely things to me
And they engage me

Follow the brand haiku to Bryan Person and his tribute to Nike, and see more haikus from those amazing marketers by watching Twitter for the hashtag #brandhaiku.

Thanks for the fun, creative and great idea – and invitation – Aaron! Readers, if you have a brand haiku, please play along in the comment section and on Twitter.

 

Actually, Pay Attention To That (Wo)man Behind the Curtain

Last week Hubspot – via Twitter Grader – highlighted the The 100 Most Powerful Women On Twitter which included a lot of influential and interesting women I expected to see there, such as Ann Handley, Jennifer Leggio, Beth Kanter, and Charlene Li, and a few surprises that I wouldn’t have readily thought of, but are very interesting to follow nonetheless. Happily, we also noted that our CEO, Christine Perkett@missusp was also included within the Top 25 women on this list – of course, we’re not surprised because we know how hard she works to keep on top of the industry, as the PR and social media landscape constantly changes. But we are very proud and impressed nonetheless. (Is this a good time to ask for a raise?)

After the initial hoopla on Twitter about the list and congratulating the women we know personally, Christine asked on Twitter, “so what does it all mean.” I’ve thought about this before when lists like this come out – do they really mean anything, and if so, what? Does the general public really care who is influential on Twitter? Are these people really influential or do they merely appear to be, to those of us who are really ingrained in social media?

After thinking about it for awhile, I’ve come up with what this particular list it means to me – I would love to hear your thoughts on what it means to you or to the rest of the world.

  1. PR professionals – from “flaks” to influencers – when I started in PR, those in my profession were completely behind the scenes – like the Wizard of Oz sitting behind the curtain pulling the strings. We are in the business of making our clients stars, so naturally, we don’t make the story about us, nor should we. However, along the way, we learn a lot – about our clients, their business, the market and how it changes. We have to learn about new technologies, trends, products, and publications, giving us more than a layman’s knowledge of many different industries. The rise of social media, however, has given us a voice and has allowed us to highlight our expertise and the value we can offer to others without being overly promotional. Certainly, our clients are still the stars – we still devote 95% of our time to them, but a handful of smart PR folks are now also seen as experts who have influence in the industry. And you know what – our public influence is being asked about more and more by prospects, and evaluated by clients – if we are selling the ability to influence audiences and teach our clients how to become more influential in their industries, it makes sense that we should be have our own strong industry credibility.
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  3. Journalists and PR professionals can play nicely together – Take a look at those on this list and the other “Twitter influencer” lists that are posted regularly. They now contain reporters, bloggers and PR professionals (among others) – and because of their involvement in social media, a lot of them know and respect each other more than ever. For every blog post that fuels the journalists vs. PR “flacks” debate, there are hundreds of social media interactions every day between the media and PR that help bridge the gap and help the two get to know each other better and more personally. When you can see each other as people/friends and not the enemy, it is easier for everyone to do their job. Watching Christine joke with several of the other “top influencer” bloggers and journalists on Twitter after this list came out really drove this home for me.
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  5. PR professionals are trail blazers – at least in the tech industry. Many years ago, Christine told our staff that we needed to “figure out what these blogs are all about” then a few years later that we needed to start figuring out what social networking was all about – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Whrrl, etc. – so that we could evaluate how it should be used in our business and for our clients – and if it should be. Christine always takes the reins for our company to ensure we try out and experiment with new technologies for ourselves before we try them for clients. Often people think that it’s only the “techies or the journalists” that are first adopters of technology, but many smart PR companies are the first to appear on new social sites and are among the first with the new gadget or toy because we pay attention and have close relationships with those influencers shaping the market. If we’re doing our job right, we realize value and ROI before the public does – thanks to being privy to many start ups and innovative new advances by existing companies, working early with the reporters and influencers who evaluate them and their products, and paying attention to where the tech industry is headed. Also, because we’re responsible for counseling our clients on how what works, what doesn’t and where they should pay attention. In fact, we’re often involved in product direction and development discussions because we have a pulse on where the industry is headed.

Our discussion about this list on Twitter prompted Hubspot to offer to sponsor a meetup for the top 100 women on this list – PerkettPR is considering organizing this event, but we want it to be more than a Tweet-up – we would like it to offer value to attendees and to maybe even benefit a charity. Would you attend an event that offered insight from the Top 100 women influencers on Twitter? If so, what would you like to get out of it? Tell us here and help us create a fantastic event!

Are You A PR Influencer?

Even though 99% of everything you do in PR is on behalf of your company or your client, are you working on becoming an influencer yourself? Our own @missusp spoke last Friday afternoon at the PRSA Technology Conference in New York on the topic of PR professionals as influencers and shared her insights into how our role is changing. She highlighted several PR & digital marketing professionals turned influencers including: Chris Brogan, Kelly Cutrone, Steve Rubel, Peter Shankman, Brian Solis, Scott Monty, Ann Handley, Sarah Evans and more. You can see her full presentation on SlideShare or check out some of the key tips and takeaways below:

  • It’s about YOU – PR professionals aren’t just "flaks," we’re tastemakers — choosing to work with the best and brightest upcoming brands, products and services. Embrace your role as an influencer and share your thoughts, insights, opinions – we have a better chance than ever to show how intelligent we really are.
  • Build your personal brand – YOU are your personal brand  and guess what – it lasts forever. Put some care into making sure it’s a brand you’re proud of. Great examples of personal brands include Gary Vaynerchuk, Julia Roy and more.
  • Do what you know and do it well – especially in PR! Bad pitches are now public – often the subjects of a reporter’s wrath – so “do what you already know how to do” but do it well because the footprint you build now will stay with you forever.
  • Share, Share, Share (with your networks) — the difference between simply being a member of a social network and being an influencer is sharing valuable content. Think about how you can help others.
  • Write a book — or at least a blog! PR executives need to be great writers and that means doing it well and doing it often. Blogs also give you another platform for sharing insights and opinions – embracing that role as a tastemaker -  as do Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks where you can be a resource with answer, opinions and thoughts. The point is to write – it keeps your skills sharp and increases your credibility as a PR professional.
  • Don’t say you are (just) in PR — our role has changed and we are so much more than PR pros now. Know the new terms used to describe our profession and make sure you are referring to all of your expertise, as it has now evolved to include digital and social media marketing, for example. As a leader, you should recognize when to change your messaging to meet the growing demands of our industry. You’ll notice many of the best-known PR leaders don’t even have "PR" in their company descriptions anymore. Some do – but regardless, all the strongest marketing influencers today include terms such new media, social media and digital marketing in their expertise description.
  • Make your own rules (within reason) – be bold and innovative. Take risks. Try new things – the best PR and marketing often comes from throwing out the old rules and making your own.
  • Remember it’s all about you (but really it isn’t) — we are all well versed at building relationships online and off and we continue to find new ways to leverage our communication skills for the better good of our companies and clients. Building your personal brand is important, but remember; you are doing all of this for the betterment of your clients and ultimately positive exposure for them. Your own influence on social networks is becoming directly related to how successful you will be with generating buzz for your clients.

Thanks to all who attended the session on Friday and for all the #TechPRSA tweeting. It was a great event!

Online vs offline networking

Based on our expanded services over the last few years and the plethora of social media posts on this blog, we’re obviously huge fans of online networking. But when I attended the MarketingProfs B2B Forum TweetUp Monday evening, I was reminded how important face time is with those we connect with online.

I had the pleasure of seeing older friends/industry colleagues like Chris Brogan, Jim Storer, Jim Spencer, Patrick Rafter and Ann Handley, and I was fortunate enough to meet those who were – until now – online acquaintances such as Steve Woodruff, Diane Hessan, Mike Volpe and many others. I also received a lot of flack from Joselin Mane about the fact that I don’t go to enough TweetUps. And you know what, despite my push back about lack of time for family commitments, work and personal friends – let alone TweetUps – he has a point. There’s nothing quite like face-to-face networking. It provides the opportunity to create stronger bonds with others and discover chemistry that might not come through as quickly in online conversations. (It also keeps you “real” – here’s a funny post about how online and offline behaviors differ.)

Although I recognize the value in such events and enjoy most of them, I really don’t get to as many as I probably should. But you know what, I don’t see many other PR agency leaders at them either. So I started to wonder, is it a generational gap? Is online networking enough? Are those that don’t do both missing huge opportunities?

After a few of us listened to Brogan run through his event schedule – and wondered just how he does it – we talked about how not everyone is created equal. What I mean by that is that not everyone has the same personal or work situation – and so reasons for attending or not attending vary greatly.

@jeffglasson @chrisbrogan @fairminder

Younger workers seem much more likely to attend events on a regular basis – they often live in closer proximity to the city (here in Boston, anyway) and they usually have interest in meeting people for personal reasons as well (friendship or dating, for example). Older workers may live in the suburbs with a healthy commute both ways, and thus attend less often – and become more choosy about what they attend and why they attend. With many who have spouses or families waiting at home, the options for attending the overflow of events may be even slimmer.

Don’t forget that a lot of people who are active in online communities – such as Twitter and Facebook – physically live in rural areas and barely get to any face-to-face events at all. Are they at a disadvantage?

What’s your opinion?

  • Is there a generational gap in networking?
  • Is it a sign of career dedication (or lack thereof)?
  • Do you gain business value from every event?
  • Does it hurt to attend less events or is online networking just as valuable?