Posts Tagged ‘opportunity’


2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Matt Harrington, Edelman, Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the media relations summit for Bulldog. We’re joined by Matt.

Matt, will you please introduce yourself?

MATT HARRINGTON: Certainly. I’m Matt Harrington. I’m the U.S. CEO for Edelman.

BURKE: Now, Matt, you just did a panel on the future of public relations, and you were talking about skills and attributes that you’re looking for. What are you looking for in your future PR practitioners to separate your business from others?

HARRINGTON: Well, for me it’s still very much the fundamentals: the inquiring mind, the ability to write well, and to have an understanding of the broad aspects of a client’s business, as well as the particulars of their business. But it’s now–there are added layers of complexity, if you will. There are more opportunities, more channels, more stakeholders that we all have the opportunity to engage with and build relationship on behalf of our companies, and so you need to just have a very wide view on the world. And the best access point is to be digitally savvy and understanding the channels online, whether it be the blogosphere or the world of Twitter, but also, more importantly probably, is the emerging technologies that are enabling us to help get our stories told. I think this is easier, actually, for the folks just entering our industry now because they actually are digital natives. So they don’t know another world. So the fact that they’re living in a three or four-screen world, that’s the way it’s always been. So their ability to manage that sort of attention deficit world is easier, perhaps. But at the core, it’s still about communicating. And more now than about telling the story or pushing a message, it’s about engaging an end audience and building a relationship with them. And that, I think, is the really exciting opportunity for our industry.

BURKE: Great tips for all of the public relations professionals. And where can people find you in social media?

HARRINGTON: On Twitter @mharring, as well as by edelman.com and on Facebook at Matthew Harrington.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much.

Relationships and Referrals: Making the Most of Your Two Most Important Business Assets

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Early on in my career I received a phone call from a client who began the conversation with, “Hey Valerie, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine…”

I very much enjoyed and respected this client and was thrilled that he wanted to introduce me to his friend. In my mind I fantasized about his intentions. Perhaps we would all go out for dinner, or maybe he was setting me up on a date… my thoughts were interrupted by the words “director of corporate communications” and “in charge of media monitoring.” My heart began to pound as I realized what was happening. I was getting my first referral!

Today I regularly receive such phone calls, but the thrill has yet to go away. While Relationships and Referralsreferrals add up to quantitative results of your efforts to build relationships, they also offer bona fide proof that your relationship is one of trust and confidence (Cue Sally Fields, “They like me, they really like me!!!)

In order to earn new business, you’ll need to invest both time and resources and maximize your opportunities in the most efficient manner. Below are 5 steps to help you become more strategic in your relationship building and increase the number of referrals you receive:

1. Perform a SWOT analysis. Identify your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and then clearly identify the organizations you are targeting. As you consider different prospects and prospect categories, evaluate the customer needs against your analysis. Brad Douglas, vice president of sales and marketing with Shipley Associates, offers some excellent considerations to help you better assess your opportunities for targeting the right customers.

2. Determine the influencers you need to reach. As mentioned in this post from the Harvard Business Review, you may think you know the decision maker, “the one that is described in the RFP or articulated by those who actively participate in the formal decision-making process.” However, there are often key influencers within the organization who carry informal power as it relates to your opportunity. Take the time to uncover and develop those relationships.

3. Utilize ALL of your current relationships. While most organizations have a sales team or business development group, I am a firm believer that everyone in an organization, regardless of title or department, should consider themselves a member of the sales team. If you are proud of your organization and even if you are not (though you may want to ask yourself why are you working there?), it is your responsibility to help your company grow. Communication and collaboration between the sales team and other departments is essential. Beyond your organization, consider your vendors, partners and affiliates, clients, industry contacts, and even personal networks. If you aren’t actively using LinkedIn it is a great place to start organizing and expanding your network.

4. Ask for the referral! It is interesting that many people shy away from asking for a referral when they need/want it. Consider what’s stopping you. Are you afraid of creating an uncomfortable or potentially annoying situation? If yes, then that is good because it means you are thinking about and potentially being considerate of the person you wish to ask. And that is what distinguishes a “pushy salesman” from a friend you want to help. So be professional to and respectful of the person you are asking, their relationship, and their reputation. But don’t let that stop you from asking. After all, if you have real relationships, qualified targets, and a product/service you believe in, the person you’re asking should have no issue referring you and the person you’re introduced to will soon be thanking your friend for making the introduction.

5. Beyond ABC’s… ABH. While I certainly understand and appreciate the need to “Always Be Closing,” my personal philosophy is to “Always Be Helping.” In sales, and perhaps maybe in life, your reputation is everything. So be the person you want to be perceived to be – whether or not it meets an immediate business goal. In this case, that person is one who is helpful and informative and acutely aware of the needs and goals of his/her clients, prospects, colleagues, friends and family. In other words, take every opportunity to add real value and help them achieve their goals.

How are you making the most of one of your most precious resources – your relationship with others? Do you find it easy to ask for referrals and network when needed? What tips would you add to the list? If you are having trouble, what do you think is holding you back? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Social Media: The New Solitaire?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

by Denise Giacin*

Flickr Image: The Progressive

Flickr Image: The Progressive

Lately I’ve been struggling with the social media paradox – is it good or is it bad? I use social media because it encourages me to be, well, social. You can keep in touch with your aunt halfway across the country, you can check out photos of your recently married ex-boyfriend (ah-hem), you can stay on top of current news stories, and you can even rant or rave about practically anything and cyberspace is forced to “listen.” Networking is also another plus for social media. One of my friends recently told me how he actually used Facebook to help out a friend who was laid off. The news came up in his Facebook feed, he contacted his friend for a resume and emailed it to a PR firm he knew was hiring. His friend was rewarded with an interview and an opportunity that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

All of this sounds good, so what’s the bad? Well, there is a lot of question and doubt regarding social media in the professional world. For one, some companies are hesitant to learn about these tools and apply them to their strategies. Instead, they are blocked, strictly forbidden, and grounds to send you packing in the event that you’re caught sneaking a peek at your Twitter feed.   

I recently attended a BDI conference called “Social Convergence and The Enterprise” and my mind is overflowing with all these thoughts on social media. Paul Hernacki, chief technology officer from Definition 6, boggled my mind with his perspective on social media in the workplace. He advised that we “stop blocking things internally.” Whoa! Wait, there’s more. Hernacki pointed out that while public relations, marketing, and communications departments should guide your company as your “official voice” this alone won’t be as successful as getting your organization involved as a whole.

This, my friends, is genius. Case and point: I tried to explain to my dad, who isn’t familiar with social media, what “liking” something is on Facebook. You should have seen the blank stare on his face.  My point is, how can you expect your employees to understand the power and impact of social media if they are not allowed to be actively involved?

At the same conference I also had the pleasure of listening to Jenny Dervin, director of corporate communications for JetBlue Airways. When speaking of social media, her words “you are being watched” hovered over the conference room. After all, the conference was being broadcast live over the web and we were all watching a live Twitter feed (#BDI) of our comments.  Dervin went on to further explain JetBlue’s use of YouTube and their blog “Blue Tales” as part of their strategy for taking a crisis situation head on. How much more authentic can you get than having the founder and former CEO of JetBlue Airways, David Neeleman, deliver an apology over YouTube? Kudos to JetBlue for picking up on the fact that consumers are involved in social media and for using this medium as a way to interact.

When your employees know what is being said on social media sites or how this medium is being used to promote a product, service, or idea it can only help your company. For example, if I worked at a major automobile manufacturer I might find it interesting to know that Ford is promoting the 2011 Explorer by unveiling it first on Facebook. In fact, the Ford Explorer fan page reached their goal of 30,000 “likes” so Ford will now give away a brand new Explorer! Clearly, Ford understands Facebook and the users who frequently use it.

I’m not suggesting that your employees should do nothing but surf the web all day, but there should be a balance. Encouraging your employees to understand social media and to use it wisely is an important tactic for any business plan. There are a lot of studies discussing whether or not social media decreases productivity at work. In my opinion, before social media it was Solitaire, before Solitaire it was “the water cooler.” There are always going to be distractions. If an employee is consistently not doing their job they shouldn’t be an employee of yours.  Not doing your work is a choice you make, regardless of how easily accessible any distractions are.

Social media gets people talking. If you want to be a part of the chatter, don’t block social media, incorporate it.  I’m sure you have many thoughts on this controversial topic and we’d love to hear them. Share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. How does your company feel about using social media internally? What ways have you utilized this social media phenomenon? How do you monitor social media?

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*Bio: Prior to joining the BurrellesLuce Client Service team in 2008, Denise worked in the marketing industry for three years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, where she gained experience interning in PR and working for student organizations. By engaging readers on the Fresh Ideas blog Denise hopes to further her understanding of client needs. In her spare time, she is passionate about Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s charity sports training program) and baking cupcakes. Her claim to fame: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. LinkedIn: dgiacin Twitter: @denise10283 Facebook: BurrellesLuce

The Future of Public Relations: Seizing the Opportunity

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Bulldog Media Relations Summit Virtual Conference: The Future of Public Relations Seizing OpportunityI wasn’t able to attend this year’s Bulldog Reporter’s Media Relations Summit workshop (in New York) in person earlier this month. However, I did have the opportunity to attend virtually. 

Speakers for the panel “The Future of Public Relations: Seizing the Opportunity” consisted of:

  • Aedhmar Hynes, CEO of Text 100
  • Matt Harrington, president and CEO of Edelman U.S.
  • Peter Land, SVP, communications, at PepsiCo Beverages Americas
  • Martin Murtland, VP, solutions for corporate communications for Dow Jones Inc.

I’ve listed some of the key points that I heard in the podcast. (NOTE: Unfortunately since there was only audio and no video, I was unable to keep track of exactly who was speaking at some times – so my apologies, in advance, to the panel if I’ve not credited you with your quotes.)

Hynes talked about marketing, advertising, public relations, etc. all being separate departments with separate budgets, as this is the business model that’s served well in the past. However, in reality, the future of the industry is about communicating the brand of the organization. What are the goals as a whole and what are the skill sets that match those strategic goals? This is the time for organizations to think about the fundamental concept of moving away from managing information or news to shaping and directing conversation.

Companies must influence the influencers. The concept of third-party advocacy has never been more important than it is now.

As in any discussion of PR these days, the conversation moved to changes in ROI and measurement and analytics. We all know we should get away from ad value equivalency, but what do we use in its place (aside from media value)?  How do you know your campaign is a success?  There are many tools out there that measure “online buzz.” Yet what does that really mean?  It goes back to where you start – when you set your goals, they must be measurable. Measurable goals will drive your reporting and allow you to determine which strategies were successful.   

So, what does the future look like for public relations?

  • PR now has more opportunity and voice as it relates to corporate strategy. In other words, PR professionals are gaining more access to the C-suite.
  • The future (of PR) is about confidence and being nimble. According to Land, we must be able to move incredibly fast and confident to walk into our CEO’s office and make suggestions.
  • The move away from “agency of record” was briefly discussed because corporations have multiple needs (e.g., advertising, digital, creative, B2B, direct to consumer, etc.)  
  • The next decade in public relations is predicted to be the most exciting in history thus far. It may seem like it’s “back to the future,” as some have lost sight of fundamental best practices, but we must now come back to this strategic consulting in shaping views, per Hynes.

What would you add? What does the future of PR look like in your mind’s eye? If you attended the conference virtually, what are some of the points you took away from it. Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Integrating Social and Real-Life Networking

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Valerie Simon

Integrating Social and I could not be more excited to attend the PRSA T3 conference on June 11, 2010. The co-chairs, PRSA Technology section chair Rich Teplitsky and my #PRStudChat partner, 2.0 expert and author Deirdre Breakenridge, have put together an incredible agenda of topics and speakers that are sure to excite anyone looking to stay ahead of the curve in public relations and social networking.

Here are a few of the ways I’ll be integrating social media into my conference experience to assure I make the most of the opportunity.

Advance preparation

  • Twitter: If you follow me on Twitter, you may already have seen that I’ve begun tweeting about the conference, speakers, and other attendees using the hashtag #techprsa. In addition, I’ve participated in a pre-conference Twitter Chat and started a Twitter list of T3 attendees, so that I could get to know them better outside of the hashtag. I’ve even set up a column using hootsuite.com to begin monitoring pre-conference conversation using the conference hashtag.
  • LinkedIn: I’m a longtime member of the PRSA LinkedIn Group and am watching closely a discussion posted by Nicole Zerillo, marketing communications social media manager, PRSA, regarding the conference. I also joined the PRSA technology section group which is much more focused on the upcoming conference than the general PRSA group on LinkedIn.
  • Facebook: My Facebook account is really more personal, than professional, but sometimes the lines blur a bit. For example, I’m keeping a close eye on the PRSA Facebook page and have left a comment on one discussion about the T3 conference.
  • Google Reader (RSS): I’ve confirmed that the blogs of all speakers are in my Google Reader and organized them in a special folder. Now to continue adding the blogs of other attendees I anticipate meeting…
  • General Social Media: When it gets a bit closer to the event, I plan to update my status on all social sites and share that I will be attending the event. 

As important as the online preparation is, don’t forget the value of offline communication. Many speakers are also authors; in fact, I am hoping to finish speaker Justin Levy’s book, Facebook Marketing: Designing Your New Marketing Campaign, before hearing his session!

Live attendance
When the big day comes, I’ll be there early. While a conference offers many opportunities to share information live, I don’t intend to focus on live blogging/micro-blogging. I am there to take advantage of the benefits of face-to-face networking and learning. Perhaps I’ll tweet a few of the brilliant remarks from speakers, but only if I find that it is not distracting me from making the most of what is happening in that room.

But don’t worry, I won’t forget about you, the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. I’ll bring my flip cam, in hopes of introducing you later to some of the incredible people I meet. Perhaps I’ll take a few photos to share; I’ve really enjoyed the Whrrl stories created by Perkett PR… maybe it’s time I create my own, or perhaps interview some of the speakers for a future Fresh Ideas or Public Relations Examiner post.

Conference follow-up
I am sure that I will return from the conference with many new connections and valuable resources and expect that the night (and weekend) after the conference, I’ll be very busy. In general, I make it a point to follow EVERY new contact on Twitter (and plan to add those from the conference to my T3 PR Twitter list); this allows me the opportunity to continue listening and learning from them. And I send personal LinkedIn invitations to those I have connected with, and want to be sure I keep in my network. 

I’ll also be downloading video and sifting through notes, taking some time to contemplate all that I heard and learned, before sitting down to blog. And finally, I intend to make a trip to Barnes and Noble. (I always seem to walk away from these conferences with some great new book recommendations.)

Whew. It seems like a lot, but I am a firm believer that there is a direct correlation between investment and return. What steps do you take to maximize the opportunities of the conferences you attend? What are your plans for this year’s PRSA T3 conference? How are you integrating social and real-life networking and capitalizing on the ROI?