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Preview: a shel of my former self

Holtz Communications + Technology | Blog



blogging at the intersection of communication and technology



Published: 2018-02-19T12:00:00+00:00

 






FIR Podcast #124: Founders as Spokespersons

2018-02-12T12:00:00+00:00

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FIR Podcast #123: Tide Pods and Crock-Pots

2018-02-05T11:00:00+00:00

Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network. This week’s conversations featured Melissa Agnes on how two companies deftly handled surprise issues not of their own making, Kami Huyse on Richard Edelman’s assertion that PR needs to pivot from advocacy to education, and Sharon McIntosh on a Pew study revealing how workers feel about trending workplace issues. Also in this episode… Could Facebook be getting ready to kill the News Feed altogether? Facebook users accustomed to getting their news on the social network are going back to mainstream media for their news People are creating porn with AI, using the faces of celebrities; here’s why companies should worry Virtual Reality shipments were down in 2017; is this the blockbuster consumer product that never was? Microsoft is opening an R&D center for its Cortana AI-driven virtual assistant Jeff Bezos was taken by surprise by Alexa’s success A new app could make hyperlocal citizen journalism a lot easier You can pre-order Melissa Agnes’s new book, “Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World.” The book ships on March 6. You can find more information on “Crisis Ready’ here. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. About today’s guests Melissa Agnes is a founding partner of Agnes+Day, a crisis intelligence firm. In her role, Melissa is a crisis management consultant and keynote speaker, has developed an international reputation for crisis management, planning and training by helping large global brands prevent and manage a wide range of corporate issues and crises. Her client list includes government agencies, cities and municipalities, healthcare organizations, energy companies, global non-profits, financial organizations, the public and private sectors and many others. Melissa is an international and sought-after keynote speaker and guest lecturer. Kami Huyse is the founder of Zoetica Media. She writes an award-winning blog, Zoetica Talks, on the topic of public relations and social media strategy. Kami is a national leader in the use of social media for public relations. She speaks at social media events and conferences all over the country and her work in social media has earned her the SNCR’s 2008 Reputation Management award and IABC’s 2009 Gold Quill of Excellence Award. Kami was a 2010 fellow of the Society for New Communications Research where she pursued a study on how cause marketing in social communities can benefit companies. She is also the co-founder and organizer of the Social Media Breakfast Houston and serves on the board of CiviliNation. Sharon McIntosh is president of And Then Communications. With more than two decades of communications experience, she has a passion for creating and executing new ideas to drive employee engagement at companies both large and small. Most recently she served as PepsiCo’s vice president of Global Internal Communications, overseeing the company’s efforts to connect with its more than 274,000 employees worldwide. She and her team launched a number of innovative employee initiatives, including the company’s first social media training (SMART U), a social tool to share internal news externally and PepsiCo’s award-winning employee ambassador program. She and her team also developed a communications strategy to support the company’s first comprehensive, global and multi-year transformation initiative. Before joining PepsiCo in 2004, Sharon spent seven years at Sears. Among her greatest contributions there, she launched a marketing strategy for life events, ran user experience for the company’s e-commerce site and introduced the company’s first intranet. Prior to Sears, she worked at Waste Management, publishing more than 14 annual reports for various business units, managing shareholder meetings, drafting senior executive speeches and handling media relations. Sharon graduated with a B.A. in journalism from Marquette Uni[...]



FIR Episode #122: Hefty But Good—Trust Us, You’ll Love It

2018-01-29T11:00:00+00:00

Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network. The January installment of The Hobson & Holtz Report brings Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz together in a long-form podcast that covers the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer (including the role of influencers as influence marketing efforts move from agencies to in-house departments), the rise of live-streaming video (with 95% of executives planning to use it this year), pharmaceutical companies with strong social media presences, a department store encouraging customers to follow employees’ personal social media accounts, and the possibility that we soon will be gesturing at instead of talking to our smart devices. Dan York’s tech report covers Facebook’s effort to attract gamers, Facebook’s public library of video and audio effects, and Artificial Intelligence’s role in video surveillance. We also responded to a couple listener comments. Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. About Neville Hobson Neville Hobson was co-host of The Hobson & Holtz Report for over 10 years. For over 15 years, Neville has been a voice of experience and influence when it comes to speaking about digital technologies, disruptive change in workplaces and marketplaces, relevant trends to pay close attention to, and what it all means for your business. His experiences embrace deep understanding and subject-matter expertise in contemporary business issues that include social, digital and cognitive technologies, connecting that with a career in traditional public relations, marketing communication, employee compensation and benefits communication, and investor relations. Based in the Thames Valley some 30 miles west of London, Neville works either from his home office or from a client’s location; or from wherever he has a good network connection. Links from this episode The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Trust in U.S. institutions plunges in Trump’s first year Neville and Shel’s February 2009 conversation with Richard Edelman Influencers must work hard to earn trust in 2018 Brands are bringing influencer marketing in-house 95% of brand execs say live video is key to their 2018 strategies Live streaming as a way to establish your brand on social media Which pharma companies are winning at social? Survey says… The Pharma Social Media Ranking Neiman Marcus Encourages Employees to Interact with Customers on Social Media Soon We’ll Control our Devices with our Body Language, Not Our Voice Links from Dan York’s Tech Report Facebook lets you tip game live streams $3+ Introducing (Facebook’s) Gaming Creator Pilot Program Facebook Sound Collection lets you add no-name music to videos Introducing new resources and tools for the 360 community on Facebook Artificial Intelligence is going to Supercharge Surveillance They Are Watching You—and Everything Else on the Planet ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US [...]



FIR Episode #121: The CEO Makes How Much?

2018-01-22T13:45:00+00:00

Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network. This week’s conversations featured Jen Phillips on CVS’s decision to eliminate airbrushing from ads for beauty products it carries and Augie Ray on Visa’s new sonic brand, a two-note sound you’ll hear when completing financial transactions using your Visa card. Also in this episode… Internal communicators need to start explaining why their CEOs are paid so much Facebook video views have plummeted in the wake of its News Feed algorithm change The biggest investment company in the world has a message for business leaders: Contribute to society or look elsewhere for funding Airbnb is promoting its properties in countries President Trump characterized as “shithole countries” Augmented Reality hasn’t made much of a splash yet, except where it’s built into existing apps A podcast network is suing Twitter over trademark infringement Artificial Intelligence has outperformed humans when it comes to reading comprehension Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. About today’s guests Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the director of marketing communications at CARMA. She previously ran 4L Strategies, consulting and providing content development for a variety of industries. She has worked in communications and public affairs for 20 years. Her background includes work in electoral politics, government, lobbying, and public affairs PR work. Augie Ray is a Research Director covering customer experience for marketing leaders at Gartner. He has had a diverse career, including leading a digital experiential agency, directing social business at USAA and managing a global customer experience team at American Express. In his present role, Augie researches and advises clients on topics such as Voice of Customer, customer journey mapping, customer experience strategy and virtual reality. Links from this episode If the CEO’s high salary isn’t justified to employees, firm performance may suffer The SEC’s guidance on CEO/employee pay ratio communication Facebook’s News Feed tweak hurts video views Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook post about the News Feed algorithm change This changes everything…or does it? How PR pros are planning for a new News Feed Buzzfeed responds perfectly to Facebook’s changes Augmented Reality is noRobots can now read better than humans, putting millions of jobs at risk longer a novelty Augmented reality is here to help you plan your Super Bowl trip BlackRock’s Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our Support CVS to end airbrushing in ads for its beauty products Airbnb spending $100,000 to promote listings in Trump’s shithole countries Visa spent a year developing a signature sound TWiT is suing Twitter alleging breach of contract and copyright infringement [...]



Friday Wrap #247: TWiT vs. Twitter, CVS and real beauty, what Visa sounds like, AR as a feature

2018-01-19T17:10:00+00:00

I choose the items to appear in the Wrap from those I have curated into my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow. To make sure you never miss an issue, subscribe to my weekly email briefing. News TWiT is suing Twitter—TWiT—Leo Laporte’s podcast network anchored by This Week in Tech—has filed a lawsuit against Twitter alleging breach of contract and trademark infringement. Laporte says he and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams came to an agreement of Twitter’s name based on the fact that Twitter would not venture into TWiT’s market. (TWiT existed before Twitter.) But Twitter is now distributing content including video, which Laporte says is a violation of that agreement. Takeaway: Laporte seems to have a solid case and ample documentation, yet it’s not likely Twitter will wind up changing its name. More likely: They’ll pay Laporte to go away. Read more The perfect ad to deal with Facebook’s News Feed change—Facebook was clear that the update to its News Feed would hit brands and publishers hard. BuzzFeed responded brilliantly, buying a paid ad on Facebook inviting users to download its own app. “Facebook is breaking up with news,” the ad’s graphic proclaimed. The text read, “Facebook is taking the news out of your News Feed, but we’ve got you covered. Download our award-winning app. No word on how many downloads the ad produced. Takeaway: Downloading the native app is the new version of drawing visits to your own website. The ad is great; getting users to regularly open the app will be another challenge altogether. Read more Facebook, YouTube removing Tide pod challenge videos—In what may be the stupidest trend ever, people are recording themselves ingesting Tide laundry pods. “Thanks to the #TidePodChallenge, a colossal flow of idiots have willingly ingested these toxic unedibles because someone on the internet passively dared everyone to do it.” The trend has led to a surge in calls to poison control centers. Tide threw together a video of an NFL player Rob Gronkowski telling people not to eat the pods. Now, Facebook will remove videos that include the hashtag and YouTube will remove them because they violate policies. Takeaway: I have no words. Read more CVS will stop airbrushing beauty shots—The largest drugstore chain in America will stop “materially” retouching photos of models in ads used for its branded beauty products. The president of CVS Pharmacy explained, “The connection between the propagation of unrealistic body images and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women, has been established.” Takeaway: This is a tangible example of a company taking action based on its values. There’s a direct connection between the value, the action, and the nature of the company’s business. Bravo. Read more Slack introduces private shared channels—You love Slack within your business but wouldn’t it be great if you could use it to engage people in other companies with whom you’re working? Such channels exist in Slack but a new update lets you set them to private. Takeaway: Slack aims to be the messaging app of choice for work and features like this make it ever more desirable. Read more More group chat control coming to WhatsApp—A feature WhatsApp is testing will let you “dismiss” members of a chat group, effectively demoting them from admin roles. Currently, you have to delete someone from a group altogether. The “dismiss as admin” feature comes as WhatsApp gives more control of chats to admins. Takeaway: Group chats could offer a viable real-time alternative to Facebook and LinkedIn groups for organizations. Read more Also… Google will punish site that load slowly on phones—Google knows people care about how fast a page loads and doesn’t want to p[...]



FIR Podcast #120: Kill Social Media and Hope It Dies

2018-01-15T11:55:00+00:00

Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network. This week’s conversations featured Deirdre Breakenridge on the ROI of ethical behavior and PR’s role in serving as the company’s conscience, Marshall Kirkpatrick on American’s love-hate relationship with social media (as documented in a new Harris Poll), and Phil Gomes on Kodak’s announcement that it would introduce a blockchain-based photography registry and a cryptocurrency for purchasing rights to images. Also in this episode: Facebook’s latest News Feed update focuses on friends and families to the detriment of brands and publishers Facebook is also introducing a local news and events section to its mobile apps Marriott International ran afoul of the Chinese government prompting a shutdown of its website Snapchat data leaks and it isn’t pretty A slew of smart audio announcements confirm that voice is the new user interface Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. About today’s guests >Deirdre Breakenridge is the CEO of Pure Performance Communications. A 25+ year veteran in PR and marketing, she is the author of six business books with her newest book, Answers for Modern Communicators to be published by Routledge in the fall 2017. Her other recent titles include, Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional,” “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations,” and “PR 2.0, New Media, New Tools, New Audiences.” Breakenridge speaks nationally and internationally on the topics of PR, marketing, branding and social media. She is an adjunct professor at UMASS at Amherst and an online instructor at Rutgers University. She is also a LinkedIn video instructor with three PR courses published in 2015 and 2016 and two more marketing courses to be published in 2017. Breakenridge hosts the podcast show, Women Worldwide and is a blogger at PR Expanded. She was named by Traackr as one of the top Social Media Engagers in 2014, awarded the Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ in 2015, and recognized on the Richtopia 250 Most Influential Women Leaders in the World List in 2016 and 2017. Phil Gomes is a senior vice president of U.S. B2B Digital at Edelman. He has more than 20 years of experience in promoting and integrating new and emerging technologies, working in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Chicago, where he currently resides. He is a founding fellow and advisory board member for The Conference Board’s Society for New Communications Research and the director of communications for the Chicago Blockchain Center, a public/private partnership. Phil has been exploring blockchain technology since 2014, open source software since 1994, and keeps a clandestine Linux machine under his desk at work, because reasons. After a successful career blazing trails in new media as one of the top tech bloggers in the world (first-hired writer at TechCrunch, co-editor of ReadWriteWeb), Marshall Kirkpatrick led the Little Bird team building software for enterprise marketers to do research, real-time market intelligence and marketing amplification. The tool for influencer marketing, content marketing, and research was recently by Sprinklr, the full-service social media management system, where Marshall now serves as product director for Influencer Marketing and Research. Links from this episode Google To Show Publishers URLs With Google’s AMP Cache Later This Year Americans prefer sharing life’s milestones with their social network than in person America’s love-hate relationship with social media, quantified Facebook is testing a new section of the app specifically for local news and events Shanghai temporarily closes Marriott website in China after questionnaire gaffe” This Is the Data Snapchat Doesn’t Want You to See Snapchat Update That Drastically Alters the App Attac[...]



Friday Wrap #246: Tinder vs LinkedIn, grim Snapchat outlook, audio trends, Kodak’s blockchain play

2018-01-12T21:53:00+00:00

I choose the items to appear in the Wrap from those I have curated into my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow. To make sure you never miss an issue, subscribe to my weekly email briefing. News Facebook News Feed will focus even more on friends and family—Like it’s not hard enough getting your company’s posts to appear in a Facebook user’s News Feed, the company is introducing “sweeping changes” to what its members see, prioritizing posts and comments from friends and families “while de-emphasizing content from publishers and brands.” Takeaway: Later in this update, you’ll read that Facebook is the overwhelming preference for people who share their life’s moments, and social media is the preferred channel, more than texts, the phone, or face-to-face. You cannot ignore Facebook, but increasingly, you must either make your page or group a destination or pay to be seen. Read more LinkedIn’s newest challenger: Tinder—The group that owns hookup app tinder is taking on LinkedIn with a new professional networking app called Ripple. “With a familiar swiping action and the focus on the person’s photo (something LinkedIn has always shrunken down so small you wonder if you’re connecting with the right John Smith sometimes), Ripple feels more like a messaging app than LinkedIn as you set up and start using your account. It’s linked to your phone number, then your personal profile first and foremost. Only later does your CV come into it, something LinkedIn started with.” Takeaway: LinkedIn has held domain over professional networking for years and Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn seemed only to solidify that lead. Maybe it’s time for a competitor, though Ripple faces huge challenges (the network is only as good as the number of users it has). I’ll give it a try, though. Read more Users aren’t happy with Snapchat redesign—The changes Snapchat promised last year are rolling out and users are complaining that the redesign has made the app more confusing. “One of the biggest criticisms surrounds the redesign of the old Stories page, which you used to be able to access by swiping left on the main camera screen.” Takeaway: Snapchat’s stock has already earned some terrible ratings from analysts even as some features continue to prove valuable for brands. The NBC News show on Snapchat’s Discovery is attracting a healthy number of views, for example. Still, Snapchat is in trouble and the woes it’s racking up will continue to outpace its wins. Read more Facebook testing local news section—Facebook is testing a section of its mobile app called “Today In,” which will be filled with local news, events, and announcements. The company is employing machine learning to identify content for the section, with local news publishers whose content appears in the feed will be approved and vetted by the Facebook News Partnerships team. Takeaway: If this takes off, the new media relations hack will be pitching news that meets the algorithm’s criteria for making it into the section. Read more The politics of geography can bite you in the ass—The Chinese government punished Marriott International by shutting down access to its website for a week after the chain listed Tibet and Taiwan as separate countries in a customer questionnaire. Takeaway: I was doing work with an Asian company and found a generic map of Asia to use as a background for a PowerPoint deck. It showed Taiwan as a separate country, and I was called on it. It hadn’t even occurred to me to look. If you’re working internationally, these kinds of issues should be top of mind. If you’re doing business in China, awareness of the political sensitivities around Taiwan and Tibet should n[...]



FIR Podcast #119: New Year, New Format

2018-01-08T20:38:00+00:00

Cross-posted from the FIR Podcast Network. This is a landmark episode of “For Immediate Release.” It’s the first show of 2018, the beginning of our 14th year of podcasting, and the introduction of a new, faster-paced format with a shorter overall runtime. Joining host Shel Holtz for some quick conversation are Gini Dietrich (on Snapchat’s new feature that lets you embed Snapchat Stories anywhere on the web), Paul Barton (on the increasing focus companies are placing on employee experience, or EX), and Olivier Blanchard (on just how much chatbots and smart audio will become part of our daily lives in 2019). Also in this episode: Text descriptions for images shared on Twitter The ROI of denouncing sexual harassment An Augmented Reality version of the printed edition of TIME magazine A surge in the use of QR codes, notably in mobile coupons In Dan York’s Tech Report, the Meltdown and Spectre bugs; the rise of esports; the apparent demise of niche-oriented online communities; and Mark Zuckerberg’s personal project of the year Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. About today’s guests Paul Barton, ABC, is business communications consultant who combines fresh thinking with decades of experience. Before beginning his solo practice as Principal Consultant at Paul Barton Communications and Phoenix Public Speaking, he had a successful 20-year career leading internal communications at six fast-growing Fortune 500 companies in multiple industries. Those experiences led him to write the book Maximizing Internal Communication. Paul is a long-time and accredited member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), and he is a frequent workshop presenter on internal communication, crisis communication, and public speaking. Paul also is a “serial adjunct-preneur,” teaching courses in business communication and public speaking at several colleges in the Phoenix area. When not working, you can find Paul enjoying life with his family and playing guitar. Olivier Blanchard is a French-born, American-based Brand Management and Digital Marketing consultant, the author of two best-selling books, and an acclaimed keynote speaker. As a Senior Analyst with Futurum Research, Olivier helps organizations better understand the crucial role that emerging technologies like Cloud computing, Big Data, Virtualization, Augmented Reality, Smart Automation, IoT and AI will play their industries and markets over the next 10 to 20 years. Though based in the US, his geographic range extends beyond North America to Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Olivier is the author of the best-selling #1 social business desk reference for digital managers and business executives: Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts In Your Organization (Que/Pearson). Olivier is also a sought-after subject-matter expert and corporate trainer. Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm.  She is the lead blogger at the PR and marketing blog, Spin Sucks, is co-author of Marketing In the Round, and is co-host of Inside PR, a weekly podcast about communications and social media.  Her second book, Spin Sucks, is now available! She speaks, she writes for Crain’s Chicago Business and other publications. Links from this episode Twitter lets you describe your pics for the visually impaired How speaking out against sexual harassment benefits the bottom line Snapchat Looking to Publish Content on Third-Party Websites With ‘Stories Everywhere’ Sonia Speaks: How IC Professionals Step Up to a Leadership Role TIME’s AR issue Surge In QR Codes In Mobile Retail 2018 Will Be the Year of Employee Experience Amazon’s Alexa [...]



Friday Wrap #245:Stories Everywhere, WOMMA acquired, opposing sexual harassment pays off

2018-01-05T12:38:00+00:00

Happy New Year! Let’s kick off 2018 with the first edition of the Friday Wrap. As always, I choose the items to appear in the Wrap from those I have curated into my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow. To make sure you never miss an issue, subscribe to >my weekly email briefing.. News You’ll soon be able to embed Snapchat Stories on your website—Stories Everywhere is a new program that will let third-party publishers embed Snapchat Stories on their websites. Takeaway: Stories was so massively popular a feature that Instagram copied it, then WhatsApp, then Facebook. Several other apps adopted the feature, too. It wouldn’t be hard for the same appropriation to happen with embeddable stories. Whether it’s Snapchat or someone else, though, this could be a huge deal. Companies struggling to add fresh content to their websites could now have content that’s updated several times a day, offering behind-the-scenes and other images and videos. Gini Dietrich and I talked about this for Monday’s “For Immediate Release” podcast. Read more The battle to reinstate net neutrality is underway—Since the FCC’s repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules, several efforts are ramping up to resurrect the restrictions on Internet Service Providers that prevented them from blocking, slowing down, or favoring content. These include court challenges, efforts to implement rules at the state level, and Congressional action. Takeaway: Given that three out of four Republicans opposed the FCC decision and grassroots protests are likely, I’m hopeful we haven’t seen the end of net neutrality. Read more ANA acquires WOMMA—The Association of National Advertisers will acquire the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. WOMMA was a groundbreaking organization when it launched 13 years ago in the early days of social media. ANA’s chief executive said the acquisition will enhance the organization’s “already robust benefits portfolio. Takeaway: Color me skeptical. Word of mouth is about far more than advertising, but this acquisition strikes me as a way to absorb the concept into a pure-advertising play. It may not work out that way, but I’m sad to see WOMMA lose its independence. It did some great work in its day. Read more Microsoft will push Stream—If you’re an Office 365 shop and you’re looking for an internal YouTube, you may already have it. Stream—which replaced Office 365 Video—hasn’t gotten a lot of attention and you may not even know you have access to it. That could change. Microsoft’s CMO told a podcast he sees Stream as one of the company’s “hidden gems.” Stream includes an auto-captioning option and will let users search within a video for information like a person’s name, then “take the searcher directly to the place in a video where that name is mentioned.” Takeaway: The number of Office 365 features that are only sporadically used by employees who chance upon them is undoubtedly huge. Communicators working in Office 365 companies should familiarize themselves will all of these tools and employ those that serve their communication strategies, ensuring they are quickly accessible and that employees are broadly aware of them Read more Also… NBC News launched a Snapchat Discovery show, “Stay Tuned,” back in August and now has 4 million subscribers. The show airs twice every weekday and once daily on weekends. The show is attracting “tens of millions of unique viewers every month.” The show has a staff of 30 producers, writers, editors, and graphics people. Read more Instagram is testing a feature that lets users post their Instagram Stories directly to WhatsApp as a WhatsApp Status[...]