PerkettPR Turns 15 – Thank You!

ppr_15_anniversaryIt’s hard to believe that this month, PerkettPR has been in business for 15 years! I started the agency with a vision to deliver a unique and valuable experience for companies seeking a better marketing and PR partner. Although we started with a focus on VC-funded startups, we have expanded our expertise over those years to include servicing some great public companies as well – Fleetmatics, Constant Contact, WebEx, Time Warner Telecom, Juniper Networks and many more. We continue to work with startups that need creative, effective and amazing market launches – and to build crediblity, awareness and engagement for more established companies around the world in the tech, higher education, health care and consumer lifestyle industries.

Like any 15-year-old, we’ve got the energy and excitement to continue with unbridled enthusiasm and a belief that we’re unstoppable. Unlike most 15-year-olds, we know who we are, what we want to be and where we’re going. That’s not only a nice feeling, but a great place to be in order to deliver tremendous value to our clientele. We don’t need to be the biggest, but we do strive to be the best. We don’t need to be the most popular, but rather we’re grateful for the network we do have. (We take great care to support those who support us.) Our corporate vision is to be the most innovative, creative and effective communications partner that our clients have ever worked with.

Thank you to everyone who has believed in that vision – especially clients who have hired us repeatedly over the last decade and a half. To have folks move on to other companies and hire us over and over again is always the best testament to our ability to deliver ROI. I’d like to specifically thank people like Karen Leavitt, John Burnham, Donna Parent, Greg Shenk, Mark Pascarella, Mike Doyle and Jonathan Tang – clients who have not only hired us more than once, but recommended us to others. Thank you to so many industry friends like Jon Swartz, Michael Krigsman, Morris Porter, Stephen Hultquist, Ann Handley, Christen Rice Gentile, Marie Domingo, Mike Pratt, Stephen Dill, Jeremiah Owyang, Rick Faulk, John Jantsch, Joel Libava, Terry Frechette, Robert Scoble, Tyson Goodridge, Sarah Austin, Chris Selland, Aaron Strout, Karen DeWolfe, Dayna Verstegen, Diane Hessan, Kate Brodock, George Hulme, Russell Mix, Jennifer Leggio, Don Dodge, Ramon Ray, Mitch Wagner, Tory Johnson, Michael Arrington, Rachel Happe, Laura Lake and others who have worked with us in various ways over the years – whether writing with or about us, inspiring us through engagement, sharing their opinions on our clients or our campaigns, serving as pseudo mentors and advisors, or simply speaking up on our behalf during times when we could not. Your support – subtle or blatant – has helped us to continue to work with great people and companies, and to learn and grow in a myriad of ways.

There are so many other people – family, friends and of course, current and former employees, even industry “frenemies” – who I am eternally grateful to for helping us reach this 15th year. I have learned from each of you – both good and hard lessons – and I am grateful for such a strong network of intelligent people to learn from every day. I am also very blessed to have such a great group of employees – many of whom have stayed with PerkettPR for more than half of its life! And anyone one who knows the typical retention rate of an agency, knows why that’s such an amazing attribute.

Speaking of our employees, a few of them thought it would be funny to celebrate 15 years by sharing awkward teenage photos of us at that age. Click here to Like us on Facebook and see them – and to find out “What we know now that we wish we had known then.”

Here’s to another 15! Thank you!

The Enterprise Still Confused by Social Media – Marketers, Where Are You?

A couple of years ago, we were hired by a global security software company to plan, write, distribute and implement a social media policy for their company – not a small job for an enterprise with employees in more than 100 countries across the globe, and products and technologies for over 300 million users worldwide.

Since that time, we’ve written a lot of social media policies for clients – and trained their employees on proper social media use in various divisions, but I still remember sitting in the board room during our initial kick off, going through questions to help us determine how much work was needed, when one answer shocked me: “We don’t know and it’s impossible to find out.”

This was the answer to the question, “How many social media accounts does the company have and where are they – who runs them?”

Now, while the answer stood out back then – considering social media was a bit of the “Wild West,” and companies were still struggling to buy into its value – I would imagine that today, businesses have a much better handle on who is representing their brand, where and in what way.

I’m wrong.

According to a report by Altimeter Group released yesterday, many of the challenges that we were navigating clients through years ago still exist. Jeremiah Owyang blogged, “Many companies have launched social media efforts with little planning. As social media spreads beyond corporate communications and marketing, business groups are deploying social media without a standardized process. In fact, enterprise class corporations (those with over 1,000 employees) have an average of 178 social media accounts and this number will only grow if left unchecked. Companies that don’t control these accounts are at risk of having abandoned accounts, lack of consistent experience, or untrained employees creating a crisis.”

Wow.

I’m shocked that the enterprise hasn’t caught on yet. How can companies be so lackadaisical about who is talking for them in a public form? How did employees feel the freedom and right to go create branded accounts without some sort of process or checklist? Are companies aware of non-affiliated accounts that have been established (read: hijacked) in their name? (One of my favorite examples I use in my conference speeches on this topic is Chapstick.) And what do these businesses do now in order to reign it all in and get a handle on smart social media for business?

Altimeter Group’s report – and pending webinar to review it – is a good start. It covers market trends, industry problems and data – as well as a buyer’s guide for some monitoring tools – but I’d like to ask one other question. WHERE IS MARKETING?

How can marketing divisions in these companies not be concerned with public discussions of their brand, company and industry – even if they are not the ones running the accounts/updates? Even if other business groups are deploying social media accounts, shouldn’t marketing – as the brand police – know this and help to manage the messages? I blogged on a related topic a few years ago – that with social media’s rise, we are all now in PR, all now brand ambassadors and customer service reps. Because of this, marketing should now – more than ever – be setting, defining, monitoring and managing those messages, regardless of which business group is using social channels. How did marketing departments and PR executives let this slide?

Are we still that far behind? I like to think not. But, if you’re working with a PR or marketing firm that hasn’t yet audited your social media presence – and provided strategic recommendations for improving it – now might be the time to find out why.

Yes, we are all continuing to learn as the industry evolves and new tools are introduced, but this is marketing 101, folks. You monitor who is saying what about your brand and where – and you put a plan together that includes some action around these conversations. There’s no excuse anymore – social media is a part of all business marketing – if not customer service, HR, business development and more. But at the very least, marketing should know about the “on average” 178 “brand” accounts – and reign them in. Reports like Altimeter’s can help you choose the best tool vendors for strategic monitoring and measurement in the future. Get the right vendors, hire the right PR and marketing partners or executives and get your employees trained right – but don’t ignore it any longer. I don’t think the proliferation of vendors is any excuse for letting your brand go wild while you try to make a choice.

 

Persuasive Picks for the week of 07/27/11

Steering WheelInfluencers
Chris Brogan dives into the true definition of an Influencer – and no, it has nothing to do with your Klout score or the price of your Empire Avenue stock. Be sure to read through the comments for even more points of view.

8 Ways to Maximize Your YouTube Marketing Results
Rick Brooks from Flyte New Media shares 8 great tips for getting the most out of your video production and distribution efforts when posting to Youtube. Each tip is packed full of great information that even seasoned YouTuber’s can benefit from.

Could Social Media Flub Cost You $4.3 Million?
David F. Carr highlights some jaw-dropping dollar figures from a recent Applied Research survey (sponsored by Symantec) that revealed potentially negative and more costly consequences of bringing your brand to the social space.

Number of Corporate Social Media Accounts On Rise: Risk of “Social Media Help Desk”
Altimeter‘s Jeremiah Owyang shares some interesting stats on the number of social media accounts that larger brands are maintaining, along with some helpful advice for Social Media Strategists to help prevent their roles from turning into “the ever reactive sanitation role of social media helpdesk.”

15 Google+ Sites & Services for Power Users
As companies sit and patiently wait for the launch of Google+ features for brands, active users of the service with their personal accounts might like Amy-May Elliot‘s list of Google+-related websites and services compiled in this post on Mashable.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 04/04/11

Chrysler TweetThe 7 Worst Twitter PR Fails
The Huffington Post‘s Catharine Smith compiles an entertaining list of the top Twitter-based PR blunders to-date. Prepare to cringe and learn!

Managing elephant-sized social media blunders
Reuters small business writer Deborah Cohen shares an informative Q&A with global brand strategist Jonathan Salem Baker that contains helpful tips on managing social media blunders like this week’s “elephant hunting” video released by GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons.

Top Companies Still Bashful About Social Media Presence
Frank Reed, managing editor for the Marketing Pilgrim, starts off a new blog series with this entry that highlights a recent Ad Age report that revealed less than half of Fortune 50 companies promote their social presence on their corporate homepage.

Report: Social Media Worth the Time
There’s no doubt that executing a well thought out social media strategy takes time. However, you need to stick with it and be consistent in order to reap the rewards. Inc.com‘s contributing editor Courtney Rubin shares some interesting stats around this topic and small business.

Getting real about social media budgeting
This post from Rich Karpinski on BtoBOnline suggests that Salesforce.com‘s recently announced acquisition of Radian6 might be a turning point for marketing teams to really focus on their social spending, and he provides highlights of last year’s Altimeter survey from Jeremiah Owyang to show what an aggressive social budget looks like.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 02/28/11

Social Media Cycle

Understanding the Social Media ROI Cycle
The 60 Second Marketer‘s Jamie Turner shares some excellent insight into Social Media ROI and the various phases of a social campaign via this guest post on Mashable.

Lessons From a Corporate Insider: Dream Big, but Think Small
Leading the charge to convince corporate communications of the benefits of moving into the the social space can be a tremendous challenge. This post from Mark Ivey on MPDailyFix.com provides some good tips, along with a personal experience story direct from Mark. As an added bonus, additional advice from the community continues on in the comments section.

Proof of Life: 4 Reasons Why B2B Marketing Lives On
MPDailyFix turned up this other great pick by way of this Pro-B2B post from Carlos Hidalgo who shares “our reasons why B2B marketing is still alive and kicking.

Expand Your Social Media Mix: Twitter Alone is Not Enough
This excellent post from Jeremiah Owyang hits the nail on the head by urging readers to add a little more “steak” (more substantial content) to their social media mix. Several social tool alternatives are shared to help get you away from focusing on Twitter as your primary content sharing vehicle.

Why the digital agency will never die
In this iMediaConnection.com post. JetSet Studios CEO, Russell Scott shares his take on why digital agencies are here to stay and how the “story” is at the center of it all.