Friday, November 12, 2010

Intel Sponsors Social Media Scavenger Hunt at Moms Event in San Antonio

I finally got to participate and the annual Manic Mommies Escape when it was held in San Antonio this last weekend. In case you haven’t heard, the Manic Mommies are a couple working moms who have been hosting a podcast pretty much ever since podcasting was invented. I’ve written about their amazing online community building before. The Escape is a kind-of moms’ retreat.

Because of their large listenership and community building (one is a full-time PR person), they’ve gotten some big sponsorships. Let me tell you about a couple.

Intel used social media tools like Twitter and Foursquare with Escape participants. First, an Intel rep led a presentation with tips on how to choose the right computer for your needs or your family's needs, in this case. They have a handy tool for this online.

Then they had participants form teams of four for a social media scavenger hunt in downtown San Antonio. They had a list of 10 locations where teams would go, check-in using Foursquare, follow the instructions that Intel had set up in the Foursquare Tips section, and post a photo on Twitter via Twitpic. Teams that went to at least five spots were entered into a drawing for free laptops that were awarded the next day.

Key to this promotion was that it was integrated into the goals of the event for moms to network with each other and meet other moms as well as to experience San Antonio. And they learned a bit about Intel in the process.

Another big sponsor is Chevy. Moms were able to test drive different models, including the new Cruze and a Corvette Grand Sport (there was a big line for that one). The test drive route took the moms to see a San Antonio mission and they were entered into a drawing for free tickets to a suite at the Spurs game that evening.

Finally, there was a hospitality suite where moms could test out the new XBOX with Kinect that lets you get on your feet to play without a remote control.

So if you’re wondering how to integrate social media into a promotion strategy. Intel provides a great example.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Open Leaders Give Up Control

This was the loud and clear message from Charlene Li, founder of the Altimeter Group and bestselling coauthor of Groundswell, the keynote speaker at the PRSA International Conference.

Her latest book “Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead” was at the heart of her keynote comments.

Giving up control is uncomfortable for organizational leaders because the outcome seems uncertain and organizational leaders have been sensitized to more controlled outcomes. Li’s first example was a now well-known news story about Dell laptops catching on fire. The company bravely chose to acknowledge the story and include a popular photo of an exploding laptop in its response strategy. Li asked the audience if, (four years later) “Would your organization have the leadership and fortitude to acknowledge something as serious as a product default in such a public way?”

Li believes that strategy, leadership and preparedness are the keys for leaders to give up control but still be in command. She offered four ways leaders can do this:

1. Discipline is the key to success. Programs to develop open leadership cannot happen on an ad hoc basis. It must become part of the business process.

2. Create a culture of sharing. It’s not just about particular social media tools or using a specific technology or service, it’s about learning to share – inside and outside – your organization.

3. Ask the right questions about value. Using a quote from John Hayes at American Express, she highlighted that we often undervalue what we cannot measure but overvalue what we can.

4. Prepare for Failure. No relationships are perfect, so Li suggests using the Google mantra “Fail fast, fail smart.”

“Open Leadership” was given to early registrants of the PRSA International Conference. The book is filled with case studies of organizations of all sizes and their journeys to embrace a more open culture. Beyond the case studies, Li’s book features models, assessment tools and metrics that add meat to the message and allow organizations to have action plans for openness. Even better, Li offers a robust companion website with assessment tools and downloads which organizations can utilize to benchmark their starting points against other organizations.

In an environment where businesses are struggling to understand openness and the concept of sharing, Li offers a blueprint that even the most resistant of organizations could find useful.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Grunigs' Update on Excellence in Public Relations

Drs. Jim and Lauri Grunig have been teaching and researching public relations for decades. Their research on the characteristics of excellent public relations has been widely published. At the PRSA International Conference last month, the two presented an update on their findings to an audience mixed with educators, practitioners and researchers.

Jim presented thoughts on the value of relationships in public relations. The relationship has always been central to the practice of public relations but now we are able to measure them, using indexes of trust, commitment, loyalty, satisfaction and mutual influence.

Refreshing their findings on excellence in public relations, the Grunigs offered these eight qualities of the practice:

1. Public Relations should be a managerial function;
2. Public Relations should be strategic;
3. Public relations should be integrated, but not Into Marketing;
4. Public Relations should be symmetrical–bridging the relationship between a corporation’s interest and stakeholder interests
5. Public Relations needs to promote social responsibility
6. Public Relations should advocate for diversity
7. Public Relations advocate ethical practice in organizations
8. Public Relations should be global.

In one of the best quips of the conference, Grunig stated that “not all public relations adds value. Some of it is quite worthless.” Not an unexpected observation, given that the Grunigs have been advocating for standards in the practice their whole careers.

They also shared two observations about changes in public relations practice today. The first change is a social responsibility crisis resulting from crises of confidence and trust in our society. Citing the collapse of the financial industry, the mortgage crisis and the BP oil spill from earlier this year, Grunig believes that the sustainability of organizations has come into question.

Second, the growth of digital media is another change in public relations practice. Digital media are more participatory in nature, which has led many organizations to mourn the loss of control of the message, but the Grunigs believe we never had control. Calling this the “illusion of control,” the Grunigs assert that the public is no longer constrained by what the media report, as the power to publish is shared by all.

This was a fascinating combination of theory and practice. I wonder how many practitioners in San Antonio feel that what they do is "excellent." What's excellent about your practice?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Magic of Article Marketing

Robert Deigh of RDC Communication presented a session at the PRSA’s 2010 International Conference where he showcased a new tool for our communication arsenals. “Article marketing” is the placement of short articles on topic-specific websites that are looking for good content and then promoting them using Internet-based and traditional media.

This strategy, he says, can be beneficial for putting your expertise in front of millions of people, for getting you a higher ranking in Internet browser searches, and providing another value-added service you can offer to your organization or your clients. And best of all, it requires minimal time at almost no cost.

The process involves writing a short article (500 to 800 words) on any topic, posting it on the most appropriate web sites that accept articles and promote your work in all of your communication. The article can be new or repurposed from a speech, newsletter article, white paper or existing content on your website.

Robert explains: “The best article marketing web sites -- the ones that people read and take articles from – actually have people who review and edit the articles if necessary! They have a reputation for quality. The lesser sites will publish almost anything as long as it is not offensive.”

Another tip he shared is that these same article sites are a great source of free articles (written by other people) on any topic for your website or your clients’ websites.

Robert is the author of How Come No One Knows About Us?