30!

30!

This week, Ketchum Greater China is marking its 30th anniversary in the Chinese public relations market. With more than 150 employees in five major cities across the country, Ketchum Greater China is one of the keystones of the Ketchum’s global network in one of the world’s most rapidly growing markets. Among the special events that have been taking place this week, a 30th anniversary celebration was held in Beijing that included more than 50 Ketchum colleagues and over 40 special guests including clients, members of Ketchum Greater China’s Asia Pacific affiliates, and members of Ketchum’s parent corporation, Omnicom Group. This has been followed by three days of a series of special media and educational events and seminars focusing on such topics as corporate social responsibility and social media. The other night, I had the great honor to join our colleagues in Greater China to celebrate the occasion of their 30th anniversary in the PR business. It was a great moment in time to join with clients and friends of the agency to look back at the tremendous impact our colleagues there have had on the growth of PR in China and to look forward at the opportunities that lie ahead for us there. During the festivities, I had the chance to share some thoughts about the great work being done by our colleagues in the region as well as to toast Ketchum Greater China’s founders, Kenneth Chu, Partner and CEO, Greater China, and Betty Lo, President, Greater China, and reflect on their contributions to the industry. Below is my speech. 

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The Culturalist

The Culturalist is thrilled that NYC burger institution ShakeShack is expanding throughout Manhattan, with outposts in Midtown, and the Upper East and West Sides of the city. Still, we were a bit flabbergasted when Pat LaFrieda (the genius butcher who created ShakeShack’s burger blend) appeared recently on a home shopping channel (ShopNBC), selling 16 six-ounce burgers for $85. We’re certainly not beefing about Google’s latest freebie, a new version of Google Earth that sports an under-ocean mapping feature. Looks like we’ll finally be able to find Nemo. For more about what’s new, what’s hot and what’s popping up in the Big Apple, check out the latest edition of the Culturalist. . .

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The Five Most Confusing Digital Media Terms

“She Tweeted the news” or “She tweeted the news”? “IPads are on sale” or “iPads are on sale”? “He sent an email” or “He sent an e-mail”?  The fast-changing world of digital media has generated as many new terms as it has technologies. Yet PR pros and business communicators have no easy resource they can turn to that can keep up with the special capitalization and spelling of these words. What’s more, a lot of older digital media terms continue to cause confusion and aren’t fully explained in stylebooks.  In my role as editor, I frequently come across mistakes related these terms, and here are five I see as the most common. Do any of these terms cause confusion for you, too?  The Five Most Confusing Digital Media Terms  1. BlackBerry – This trademark has a capital “B” in the middle and, because it is a trademark, its plural is formed with as minimal change as possible and not the same way as other words ending in “y” —  with “ies.” For this reason, the plural is “BlackBerrys” and not “BlackBerries.” This is an easy mistake to make, as can be seen on this New York Times page about halfway down on the left side under the headline “Texting With Terrorists.”

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BlogHer Business 2010: What We Heard

BlogHer Business 2010: What We Heard

As an attendee and active participant in BlogHer Business and the BlogHer conferences, I can describe them in one word: power. Power as in the power of the blogger as an influencer and consumer and the power of the enthusiasm and energy that the conferences radiate.

According to BlogHer’s Social Media Matters Study 2010, which was co-sponsored by Ketchum, blogs are second only to Internet search when it comes to influencing product purchase. So, marketers need to be listening, paying attention to and leveraging the trust that bloggers engender among their followers. And, while at the BlogHer Business Conference, ROI analytics are still in great demand, companies are jumping in to social media with two feet and trying to develop analytics along the way.

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Buzzwords

Buzzwords

I grew up in a one-stop-light town in rural New England.  So it came as something of a revelation when I eventually made it to the bright lights, big city, and in my first class at university, the Journalism 101 professor opened things up by announcing the newest entries in the Oxford Dictionary of English.   It hadn’t occurred to me that the dictionary was a living, evolving record of the way we talk, not just a freshman’s most valuable resource.   My instructor was the classic, crusty, cantankerous news editor type, and that must be why I so distinctly recall the way he lit up as he revealed the one he loved best — “uptight.” His face squinched up with exquisite expression as he said it. He smiled.  That memory came flashing back this morning when my morning radio show announced a selection of the latest 2,000 entries, to be published today. 

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My Dad Should Stop Clipping Coupons on Friday Night and Just Go Online

My Dad Should Stop Clipping Coupons on Friday Night and Just Go Online

“What if we give away 500 of these to consumers on launch day?”  “Let’s give coupons to a couple bloggers for their readers for 10% on that.”  I’ll admit it: I’m guilty of presenting ideas like the above in brainstorms or in PowerPoint decks. Sometimes just giving something away for free is the easiest way to “make news,” especially on social media. Of course, though — I mean, who doesn’t love getting something for free AND then talking about it?  There’s an increasing rise in specialized social media platforms and mobile applications that are allowing us to develop coupons and deals in unique ways for our clients and brands. Plus, those campaigns are allowing us to tell interesting social media stories and even get a little “traditional” press out of it.  Groupon, for instance, is a global phenomenon. If you’re unfamiliar, the site allows consumers to buy coupons for shows, restaurants, etc., together. In other words, for the coupon to become active, a certain amount of random strangers from around the world need to buy that discount together. For instance, Groupon is great for brands with retail stores that are looking to unload excess inventory, drive in-store traffic, etc. Foursquare, if you believe the media, is also becoming a phenomenon. (I’m in that camp, too, as an avid user.) Foursquare is a mobile application that allows you to check in to locations ranging from a subway station to a retail store to your own apartment. You unlock virtual badges and earn rewards like becoming the “mayor” for checking in the most to a particular place. A number of top tier brands offer discounts to drive in-store traffic. RadioShack last week began offering 10% off to anyone who checked in, and 20% off to the mayors. Gap this past Saturday offered a whopping 25% to anyone who checked-in; originally supposed to last the day only, Gap is apparently considering keeping the promotion going longer. Gap not only apparently saw high sales, but high news volume, too — resulting in millions of impressions.  Postabon is a relatively new one. It’s a community-shopping platform where users find and share the best nearby deals that other uses can then find either through the mobile app or website. They launched first in New York but will expand with time.    Twitter is even using the deal trend as a way to test one of their first business models. Recently, they launched @earlybird, a Twitter profile that posts deals Twitter has with various business partners. It’s a business model option that makes a ton of sense, since posting about unique deals is something Twitter users are already doing — except this time, it’s easier to track. Most of @earlybird’s deals haven’t been buzzworthy yet, but it seems like Twitter is just getting started.  The days of my dad clipping coupons Friday night before going to the supermarket the next day are long gone. Platforms like Groupon, Foursquare, Postabon and Twitter are definitely changing the way brands not only offer deals to customers and potential customers, but also are changing the way those deals are shared out within your own social circle.  Do you have a favorite site or application you use for finding local deals? Leave it in the comments below, or as always, hit me up on @adanzis. I’m always looking for a good deal.

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Facebook Changes Coming August 23

Facebook Changes Coming August 23

Facebook, as you no doubt know by now, is more than just a toy for teenagers. The ubiquitous social media king recently celebrated adding its 500 millionth user, and with its’ “Open Graph” protocol gaining massive popularity, Facebook is no longer confined just to the www.facebook.com URL. Facebook is, in many ways, stamping its influence on the entire internet.


Of course, you also know that Facebook, never content to run in place, is always adding changes and features. If  the recent firestorm over user privacy issues is any guide,  Facebook’s biggest problem isn’t the way in which it maintains its site, but the way in which it communicates (or just as often, doesn’t) to users about them.


It’s with that in mind that we share with you that rumors which were originally heard back in 2009, and supposedly supposed to take place in early 2010 but which never did without any explanation, have finally come to light. Earlier this week, Facebook announced two seemingly minor changes which could have major repercussions on your brand’s Facebook property, and which will take effect on August 23.


1) Tab widths will change from 760 to 520 pixels. For the “standard” tabs, like the Wall, Photos, & Videos, this won’t be an issue you’ll need to worry about too much, as Facebook will automatically resize them.


However, this may present a problem is if you have any custom (or FBML) tabs on your site, such as the CooperVision “C What I Mean” widget or the Hunt’s “High Five” tab. As you can see, many such tabs feature an eye-catching design, fully utilizing all available space. In the coming weeks, those tabs will be losing 240 pixels of real estate with which to work.


In order to aid with the transition, on Tuesday Facebook enabled page administrators to see what their pages will look like in the new design scheme. Tabs which exceed the new 520 pixel limit are simply cut off at that point. In order to avoid that, tabs will need to be redesigned to fit within the new design scheme before August 23rd, though in some cases it might be a good opportunity to think about the next phase of a page’s life rather than trying to rework a previous idea.


2) “Boxes” on profiles and pages will be removed. At first glance, this seems like a necessary move. We’ve all seen the cluttered Boxes tabs on various pages, which serves mostly as a dumping ground for all sort of applications and tabs installed on a page; the layout never works and 99% of “Boxes” tabs are rightfully hidden away in the “more” section of the tab navigation.


However, there is one little-known but quite important feature of Boxes, and that’s the ability to add a custom box on the left-hand side of the Wall tab. This does not apply to “standard” Facebook features like Fans, Photos, and Favorite Pages, but to custom areas where many pages add links to Terms of Use or graphical callouts like coupons. As an example, the Terms of Use section of the Clorox page is shown at right.


With the new changes, Facebook has confirmed that these custom boxes will no longer be available. The information contained within will need to be moved to a tab or elsewhere on the page. Facebook hasn’t accurately explained why they’ve taken this step – they claim it’s to aid with “ease of browsing”, though that seems vague at best – but it could have major repercussions for pages which use that area regularly.


In the coming days leading up to August 23, each account team and page administrator will need to work together on a client plan on how to handle these two new changes. If left untouched, your page will look quite different than you expect once the switch happens.


 

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Buy-curious

Buy-curious

Should I live to see 100, or even more optimistically, the 80-90 range (I have good bloodlines, but that is neither here nor there; and I promise no more about the hereafter thereafter), I shall never live long enough to match the wide and diverse international travels of the man who normally owns this space. Jon Higgins (a man with not one but TWO country passports), has tasted port in just about every port of call on your global map app.

My travelogue is quite modest by comparison, with three continents still to be visited (I’m waiting for my invitations, Gustavo and Chris Gray). As I have traversed the other four during the last 25 years, it seems practically everything has changed about international travel in ways we can all recognize — somehow while the planes got bigger, the legroom got smaller; not to mention the growing lines, shrinking courtesies and an endless array of absurdities, gratuities and indignities. It’s like someone put the Coen Brothers and Tim Burton in charge of air travel.

But it’s actually not the travel itself that I have found most confounding.

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Supporting the United Nations Global Compact

Supporting the United Nations Global Compact

Among the many corporate social responsibility efforts that Ketchum has undertaken in the past decade, one I’ve been particularly proud of is our commitment to the United Nations Global Compact, an initiative for businesses committed to aligning their operations with 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Led by the efforts of Ketchum’s Senior Counsel, John Paluszek, Ketchum was one of the first PR agencies to become a member of the Compact, in 2001, and since then we’ve been putting the Compact’s 10 principles in practice through both colleague and company activities as well as through the promotion of the Compact to our clients and other prospective members.  Each year, Compact members are required to submit a Communication on Progress report to document their efforts in support of the Compact, and we at Ketchum are proud again to have just filed our latest Communication on Progress, our fifth. I invite you to check out our report and consider some questions:

What do you think are the best ways that a PR agency can give back to its community?
How do you think businesses can do more to strengthen their CSR commitments and help the world?
What do you think are the most important CSR areas (environment, education, healthcare, poverty, race and gender equality, etc.) that companies should focus on?

I look forward to your thoughts.

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Tips to Mitigate and Respond to Workplace Violence

Tips to Mitigate and Respond to Workplace Violence

When workplace violence hits your company or community, statistics do not matter. The community of Manchester, Connecticut, and employees of Hartford Distributors probably know that all too well after yesterday’s tragedy.  For the rest of us who follow these situations and wonder if lessons are evident, the statistics provide some context. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workplace homicides have fallen 52% between 1994 to 2008. Yet, nearly 2 million U.S. workers still fall victim to workplace assaults. And 70% of U.S. workplaces do not have a formal program or policy in place to address the problem. (See page 14: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/osch0033.pdf). Thus, while most experts concede that workplace violence cannot always be prevented, there is clear room for improvement from the private sector. 

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