MavenSay What?

Every now and then, I come across a product or service that makes me ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?” MavenSay—a new social networking app– is no exception.

mavensayWith this app you’re able to share your lifestyle with a trusted community of enthusiasts and local taste makers. What pair of running sneakers do you love? Where do you get the best coffee heath bar ice cream? Where should I get my eyebrows waxed? What’s a new song I should download?

At its heart MavenSay is about knowing what’s good by sharing the latest trends — fashion, food, music, shopping — through reliable and trusted recommendations. With a soft launch in October, the six month old app is making huge strides in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. More than a location based guide, MavenSay wants to be the community for lifestyle curation.

mavensay2So how does it all work? Well, one of the best things about MavenSay is how easy it is to use. Simply, find you friends through Facebook and Twitter to see their recommendations. You can also visit the weekly “Discover” section to find a curated collection recommended by MavenSay. or use the nearby map feature to view favored local finds.
And with a spokesbear named Fred the Honey Maven ¬and creative video ads like this one¬ http://vimeo.com/58834365 — it’s hard not to appreciate this bright company’s creativity to attract Mavens.

It will be interesting to see if MavenSay will stick. Are you a Maven? What are some of your favorite features? What could MavenSay do to enhance their app? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

PR Advanced: Be The Change – What Advice Would You Give?

Last weekend I was invited to be a speaker at PR Advanced: Be The Change event at Boston University. I was excited for the opportunity to sit on a panel with executives from other PR firms, notably Fleishman-Hillard and Edelman. Other speakers included executives from the likes of IBM, MTV, APCO Worldwide and the Boston Celtics.

The first thing I noticed about the event was the energy from the students. I sat in on a few working sessions before I spoke, and I was impressed with the students and their ideas. In one session, the students were divided into groups and assigned the task of designing, with as little resources as possible, an out-of-the-box campaign for Of Rags, a sustainable fashion organization. I watched the students brainstorm together and then present in front of the judges – and I was impressed with the number of ideas, the professionalism of the presentations and the ability to show creativity and solid plans with only a half hour of prep time. In addition, none of the students in the room had ever met each other before, and yet they presented as cohesive groups. Some professionals don’t even work together that well!

During my panel session, the moderator asked some basic questions about a career in PR, what the Boston PR industry is like, hot upcoming markets for PR and so on and so forth. Students asked questions and we answered them with both large and small agency viewpoints. Questions came through about how agencies decide who to hire, what would get the attention of a recruiting manager, what a typical day is like (answer: that’s the best part about agency life, there is no typical day), etc.

It was a pleasant panel and I think that the students appreciated the insights – or at least, the follow up conversations and thank you notes I received indicated so. If you’re a student or a new professional entering the PR industry, what questions do you have that we can help answer? If you’re already a professional in the industry, what’s one piece of advice you would give to students and new recruits so they can indeed “be the change” our industry needs to survive and thrive?

 

Christine Perkett’s “Hurricane” chat with Mike Volpe on HubSpotTV: PR, Ping, fashion, JetBlue, Twitter faux pas’ and more

Thanks to your votes (nearly 40% of the total votes!), Christine Perkett (@missusp) co-hosted this past Friday’s episode of HubspotTV with Mike Volpe (@mvolpe). Another highly entertaining and informative episode of the weekly video podcast, Christine and Mike discuss – among other things – the following topics:

  • Big brands and customer engagement – from customer service to product development, what are today’s expectations? Who’s doing it right?
  • Is PR Dead? What is social media’s impact on the industry, and how can it compliment traditional PR/marketing strategies?
  • Managing your inbox – with the arrival of Google’s Priority Inbox, will e-newsletters and email blasts still make an impact?
  • Marketing Tip of the Week – tune in to hear it!

You can watch the full episode via the player below if you missed it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! If so, give Hubspot a 5-star rating on iTunes, won’t you? If you have additional questions or comments for Christine, please share them in the blog comments below.


Jumpin’ on the Sex and the City 2 ‘Brand’ Wagon

Unless you live under a rock, I am sure that by now you are very, or depending on who’s reading this, painfully, aware that Sex and the City 2 hits theaters nation-wide today.

It’s virtually impossible not to know that this movie is out in theaters as you’ve probably seen the overly-hyped movie trailer, one too many “SJP” interviews or read a barrage of articles on “How to get Carrie’s six-digit look for less.” Marketing and promotional campaigns tied to movies aren’t new they just continue to get bigger and broader with the impact of product placements and social media. With its fashion-forward audience it’s not at all surprising that the SATC2 marketing engine is in overdrive – but what is surprising is how many different types of consumer brands are capitalizing on what one LA Times reporter has described as “not just a movie…(but)… a lifestyle,…”

I can’t think of another franchise that has sparked as many give-aways, makeovers, and vacation sweepstakes. It feels like every time I turn around, another, and, in some instances, unexpected industry is jumping on the SATC2 ‘brand’ wagon.

Of course the obvious players, retail brands like Macys and high-end fashion publications like Vogue, would be missing the boat if they didn’t create buzz around such a fashion-forward experience. It’s also understandable to see the hospitality industry getting in on a piece of the action by offering high-end New York City SATC2 weekend getaway packages . It fits with the movie’s backdrop and isn’t that much of a stretch. But when brands like HP, hype their “2010 Spring Collection” with their SATC2 Sweepstakes and Lipton Ice Tea promotes a “Manhattan Makeover” I think it only further reinforces, what many already know, that women ages 30-45 have some serious buying power, or as my husband says we are “a marketers dream.” After seeing the brand campaigns launched over these last couple of weeks I wouldn’t be surprised if Black & Decker were to launch a SATC2 sweepstakes featuring its 12-Volt Variable Speed Cordless Drill, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t at least check out the prize package. Are you paying attention Black & Decker??

What do you think about unexpected brands coming up with creative ways to get in front of this powerful demographic? Talk amongst yourselves, while I get back to completing all my SATC2 sweepstake forms!

ShopUp Proves Social Media Value to Fashion Retail World

Over the last year I have sat across many-a-Starbucks table from social media and marketing consultants of all types. I have given advice on job hunting, standing out from the competition and more, and I’ve asked a lot of questions, such as, “What makes you an expert above and beyond the next guy/gal?” A lot of times, the answers were vague.

But one of those times, I sat with Rachel Levy (@bostonmarketer). Rachel has a very interesting story to tell – she recently became the Director of Marketing and Social Media for Second Time Around, a chain of contemporary, designer, consignment clothing & furniture stores. But prior to that, she spent a year off – networking, job hunting and ultimately, with the intelligent use of social media (as well as some tenacity), reinventing herself. (See her recent blog post about this.) In our conversation Rachel stood out – she’s smart, insightful and most of all, she was enthusiastic about finding the right position with the right company.

I’d say she’s found it.

Last night I attended #ShopUp, a shopping event that Rachel planned to help raise awareness of Boston’s Second Time Around (the company has 21 shops in cities around the U.S.). Now, I’m a rabid fashion fan and involved in the industry as a Board Advisor to New York City’s Style Coalition, but last night I wasn’t paying attention to the fashion. I was paying attention to the social marketing of this event – Rachel did an amazing job.

I sat down with Rachel today to ask her about the event. I was so impressed with it, I wanted to share it as a great case study in how social marketing can help any business – when done well. I’ve heard a lot of people claim social media expertise – but anyone can pull off tactics like running a Twitter account. Integrating them into an overall strategy is a different story.

PPR: What was your overall strategy for #ShopUp?

RL: Mainly, I wanted to spread the word about who we are and what we do – specifically, create regional awareness for the Boston store through word of mouth. A specific part of that goal was to get people to interact with the product. Having a party and getting them into the store was the best way to do that. Consignment shopping is a different experience than shopping for new retail – I wanted people to experience it first hand. Lastly, while this event was held in Boston, I also wanted to use it to create national awareness for our 20 other stores – creating curiosity for shoppers to find out about the store near them.

PPR: What was the event?

RL: ShopUp was an evening of shopping and schmoozing. We encouraged shoppers to come by for appetizers and drinks, a little shopping and, in honor of New York Fashion Week, a fashion show. Held at our store, we provided shoppers with 20% off during the event, and handed out 10% off coupons for future shopping. We also encouraged shoppers to bring in any designer clothes to consign that evening.

Christine Perkett (@missusP), Michael Durwin (mdurwin), Carissa O'Brien (@carissao)

Christine Perkett (@missusP), Michael Durwin (mdurwin), Carissa O'Brien (@carissao)

PPR: How did you use social media to promote and run ShopUp?

RL: Pre-event promotion included a community contest through Twitter, where our followers nominated the models for the fashion show part of the evening. We created the hashtag #ShopUp for easy tracking of the conversations taking place around nominations and the event itself. Once we had nominees, we had people vote for the four models who would be in the show. This process proved to be very viral – people were really interested because they had a part in creating the show. We also posted news about the event on Facebook. During the event, we had guests vote for the best outfit and model – again, via Twitter. The model who received the most votes for a specific outfit got to take the clothes home. To share the event with those outside of Boston, we streamed live video through UStream, Twittered during the event (using TweetDeck and CoTweet) and we’ll be featuring a compilation video of the entire evening on YouTube. Our photos are also up on Flickr, and many people sent TwitPics during the event as well. Lastly, today we issued a post-event survey through a BostonTweetUp twtpoll.

The runway (photo by Pamela Rosenthal)

The runway (photo by Pamela Rosenthal)

PPR: What was the ROI? Did you reach your goals?

RL: Oh yes! About 75 people attended the event and our sales were positively impacted. We experienced a positive return on our investment in regards to revenue vs expenses as well. Although I don’t yet have figures to share around the specific number of impressions driven by the event, I can say that we drove new business – 50 percent of the people who attended had never shopped here before… but either did last night or intend to return, I’m sure. (PPR: Rachel incorporated a smart strategy to ask attendees two questions at the registration table; 1) Have you shopped with us before and 2) Can we add you to our mailing list?)

Congratulations to Rachel and Second Time Around on a terrific event – and to the lucky model/winner (Manolo Blahnik shoes, Escada sweater, jeans & accessories!), Carissa O’Brien.