(image) We've had a lot of fun with our client Vindicia this week!
To help spread a little holiday cheer, we've worked with the company to partner with several of its top clients -- including Mind Candy and Curse -- to offer specific promotions to their services through Twitter.
Follow @Vindicia from now until Christmas Eve and join in on the fun!
A great article in Fast Company today examines the Future of Advertising and asks whether today’s creative revolution will ultimately leave the industry behind. Is too much lost on the Internet’s road to everywhere, or will its first real reinvention since the 60s make the industry stronger than ever before?
Admist the digital doom and gloom and fear of the unknown, from Facebook to Foursquare, many interviewed believe that these technological disruptions inherently offer up many new and lucrative opportunities. A pitch beyond expensive TV buys and 30-second spots includes YouTube, Groupon and Twitter and marketers who can spread their message for free.
Much like the news and music industries before it, advertising is reexamining its place in the world and redfining what it means to meet the needs of a 21st century CEO or CMO.
What do you think? Join the conversation at http://advertwitter.fastcompany.com/.
I'm not a native New Englander. I purposefully chose to settle here after going to college in the area, and have grown to love just about everything (OK, fighting the traffic on 128 every day ain't so fun) about living here. I take a lot of pride in being a Bostonian and New Englander.
So I was particularly proud yesterday morning to be in attendance at the WBZ Business Breakfast with the CEO and founder of CHEN PR client Boston-Power Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud. Christina joined Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman, Life is Good CEO (that's Chief Executive *Optimist*) Bert Jacobs and EnerNoc President and Co-Founder David Brewster on a panel to discuss how and why their businesses have succeeded in Massachusetts, and what other Mass.-based businesses can learn from them.
It was refreshing to hear words like "optimism," "opportunity," and "idealism" used frequently by all four panelists. Of course I'm biased but I was particularly struck by Christina's comments because not only is she, like myself, not a native New Englander, she's not a native American. So when she talked eloquently and passionately about her decision to become a U.S. citizen, and to settle her family and locate her company in Boston (the importance of this decision to her is of course even reflected in the company name) -- well, let's just say I was feeling that Boston pride!
Acme Packet won Company of the Year for Publicly Held Companies and Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud as CEO of the Year for Privately Held Companies. Christina and Andy Ory (CEO and President of Acme Packet) were gracious and compelling in their acceptance of the awards.
The event was very well attended, offering a great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and meet new ones. MassTLC created their own version of American Idol with attendees voting on the product of the year (Aurora won).
The evening reinforced the notion that sometimes it is a very good thing to step outside the day to day and have a relaxing, fun outing with clients and friends.
One of the fun parts of the agency model is that you get to work with all types and sizes of companies. Working with larger, publicly traded clients definitely has its perks and advantages, as does helping companies who are at that threshold grow into those companies. Earlier this week I was reminded of the fun that comes from helping hot emerging companies stake their fair share of PR.
Our agency has been working with online billing platform provider Vindicia, out of Belmont, CA, for coming up on three years now. It’s been very rewarding to work alongside this team as they build an ever-expanding, successful business focusing on providing a solution to digital merchants -- such as Symantec, Activision Blizzard, Intuit, and Atari/Cryptic -- that employ a recurring payment commerce model.
Recently Kyle, Bryan and I represented CHEN at a Publicity Club of New England event where we learned what resonates with and how best to approach pitching broadcast media. “Securing TV Coverage in a Major Market,” moderated by Fred Kocher, an ex-ABC anchor and news director, featured managers and editors from local television stations providing insights on how to make news stand out in a competitive market.
During a question-and-answer forum, Jack Auresto, planning manager at FOX 25; Lauren Bettencourt, managing editor at Local News Service (WBZ and FOX25); Linda Olsen, news assignment editor at NECN; and Joe Roche, news assignment manager at WCVB; discussed what public relations professionals can do to effectively secure media interest and coverage. One helpful tip that the speakers offered was to ensure a unique and interesting subject line. The panelists noted that they spend a huge chunk of their time wading through hundreds of daily emails and though many may contain terrific story angles, subject lines that just read “Press Release” won’t garner the attention – and perhaps the coverage – they deserve. (image) Some other themes that were touched upon were: keeping emails succinct, but content rich – i.e. contact, location, date/time and brief summary; editors maintain and rely on a database of expert sources; continuing to pitch – even if you’ve never gotten a hit (“you really never know when we might need your news!” said one of the speakers); and building a relationship/establishing name recognition is key. The ultimate message that the panelists conveyed was that they really do appreciate and depend upon PR, but they are often barraged with so much information that they can’t possibly respond to every pitch.
So PR professionals, keep pitching, ensure that the editors have your expert sources and their areas of expertise on file and don’t forget to make those subject lines compelling!
Special thank you to the Pub Club for organizing an informative and fun evening.
Thanks to everyone who came out for last night’s cleantech-student mixer at Tommy Dolyle’s! What would have been just another wet September Tuesday was a great night spent on all things working and learning in Boston’s cleantech world.
In his column for the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman offers an answer to a question on the minds of many, including cleantech execs and students alike: “What is America’s core competency and strategic advantage and how do we nurture it?” His answer: “It is our ability to attract, develop and unleash creative talent. That means men and women who invent, build and sell more goods and services that make people’s lives more productive, healthy, comfortable, secure and entertained than any other country.“
The energy last night was abuzz with men and women hungry to do just that – and it was refreshing.
(image) Great stuff last night at the Mass Technology Leadership Council's (MassTLC) Award Finalists Reception. Four CHEN clients were named finalists, two in multiple categories, making for a "CHEN Slam" and a lot of proud CHENers.
Congratulations to everyone nominated, and especially to the finalists! We're all looking forward to the awards gala in November, it should be a great night.
Digital Lumens joins a long list of game-changing technology companies that have received the award including two CHEN clients Boston-Power (2010) and Phase Forward (2009) and 23andMe, Google, Kayak.com, Mozilla, Pay Pal, Sandisk and Twitter.
Selected from more than 300 nominations, the company was recognized for its industry-first LED-based Intelligent Lighting System which reduces its industrial customers’ energy spend by up to 90 percent.
Congrats again to the Digital Lumens team -- it's an honor well-deserved.
The topic for the morning focused around the challenges and opportunities that the introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) will bring to the grid – and how the grid and EVs are tied together in so many ways. Some interesting conversations were had about the importance of safe, reliable energy storage solutions in both EVs, and also to be implemented throughout the grid; the need for consumer utility incentives to encourage off-peak EV charging; and perhaps most interesting was the discussion around the impending reality of EVs in the driveways of Massachusetts residents.
With pre-orders of the Nissan Leaf filled and the car expected to be available this fall – thanks in part to an agreement signed by the Commonwealth and Nissan – there will be EVs charging on the grid in Mass. by the end of this year. It’s a great step in the right direction towards reducing our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and increasing energy efficiency, but it also means that regulators and businesses need to continue to collaborate now in order to ensure the progress continues. Solutions like helping lower the cost of EVs through tax credits and loan guarantees, upgrading and standardizing transformers and building codes to allow for maximized EV charging potential, and investing in smart meters and charging infrastructure will all help promote the adoption of grid-enabled vehicles.
Discussions like those had on Thursday play an important part in our movement towards a more sustainable future and I’m looking forward to the next conversation and the progress made as a result. A special nod to our friends at Boston-Power, and in particular Dr. John Warner – Boston-Power’s director of large format batteries – for his interesting perspective as a battery developer in the second panel on Thursday morning.
(image) (image) At CHEN PR we’ve learned to look forward to Xconomy events, and yesterday’s XSITE 2010 event (attended and blogged on today by my colleague Juli Greenwood as well) was no exception.
I was there to hear the CEOs of two CHEN PR clients present (see photos): Chris Randles, President and CEO of SpaceClaim, and Tom Pincince, President and CEO of Digital Lumens.
Chris was part of a panel entitled “Designing the Next Economy,” moderated by Wade Roush and comprising executives from the area’s many 3D design-oriented companies. As was Xconomy’s intention, the panel did a nice job of underscoring Boston as a center of innovation in this fascinating market.
Tom presented as part of the XSITE Xpo at the end of the day where a dozen executives in 3 different sectors presented their diverse companies’ business plan and value proposition. Those of us in PR and marketing talk a lot about the need to give an “elevator pitch.” Often we’re speaking metaphorically but in the case of this event Tom performed admirably in delivering a literal, 3-minute elevator pitch.
Yesterday’s event followed an enjoyable MIT Enterprise Forum event held to thank the organization’s many volunteers. Our agency has been involved with this group for years so there were lots of friendly and familiar faces. Congratulations to Trish Fleming and the entire team at the forum for another successful year of informing and engaging activities.
One of the most inspiring sessions of the morning came from X Prize Foundation founder Peter Diamandis. Perhaps best known for its first $10M aerospace contest, X Prize is committed to fostering innovation through competition.
Since its first space prize, they’ve branched out to cover other key areas like energy, education/development and life sciences. And in September they’ll award the next $10M to the team that creates the most efficient car.
Thanks again to the folks at Xconomy and to Babson and Olin College for hosting. I wish every day was as awe-inspiring.
Last evening was a perfect night to bring together colleagues and friends to reconnect with each other and to spend time with Sam Whitmore while he was on the east coast. The venue, one of CHEN PR's favorite haunts Joe Sent Me in Waltham. Weather made being outside a pleasure and we are fortunate to have terrific colleagues across the media, clients, former clients and analysts who know how to have fun. Several people re-found former co-workers they hadn’t seen in many years. Hey, Facebook in the flesh!
To mark the occasion and capture the moment, we shot a quick little video taste below, and one lucky attendee won a Flip Cam!
We’ll be doing this again soon, so hope you all can join us next time.
We're with Guy Kawasaki: "If you can’t explain your positioning in less than 30 seconds, you either have a crappy practice or you need to perfect your positioning statement."
Our very own Barb Ewen will lead a talk tonight on the art of positioning as part of MITEF's Start Smart Workshop series -- a ten-week series of workshops that covers the nuts and bolts of the entrepreneurial process and runs through July 13.
David Meerman Scott kicked off his session at the Simmons Leadership Conference on April 30 with a story from his wildly popular e-book, The New Rules of Viral Marketing. When Cindy Gordon, VP of new media and marketing partnerships at Universal Orlando Resorts launched the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" attraction, she didn't spend millions on ad and PR campaigns. Instead, she briefed 7 bloggers - but they were the right 7 people. They were icons in the the Potter fan base, and they in turn spread the word. Gordon estimates that within 24 hours of telling 7 people, 350 million people had heard of the new attraction.Scott then shifted gears to ask the audience a series of questions, including this one:In the last 12 months, privately or professionally, when researching a product or professional service:Has anyone answered a direct mail piece? 3% of roomHas anyone gone to the print yellow pages? 12%Used a print publication? 42%Google - everybody!Tapped your private network for an opinion? 80%Have you watched a video online? nearly everybodyTo sum up the changes in marketing, Scott shared this quote from that authoritative thinker, Yoda: "You must unlearn what you have learned."Another example of changing the way we market: Every hotel website around the world is exactly the same. Why? Because hotels focus on the product (the pillows, the shrimp!), but they don't focus on the buyer personae. Think about the different hotel customers - the independent business traveller, the corporate travel manager for a large company (one person making decisions for hundreds), the event planners, etc. It would be so much more effective if they tailored the site for different buyer personae.Don't market your products; market to your buyers! Scott used the example of Hubspot (full disclosure - he serves on the board), which has developed names for its typical buyers."Nobody cares about your products (except you). They care about themselves and their problems," Scott said.Here's another novel idea. Scott speaks in front of 50,000 people per year. While he's doing his presentations, his laptop lid is up of course. So he's selling ads on the lid of his PC; it's covered with stickers! Century21 took him up on that.Scott's encouraging us to think different (nod to Apple for this ungrammatical gift to the English language) and to move beyond the conventional marketing tools we grew up with. We can earn attention by publishing an e-book, a webinar, a blog, a great website, an ad on a laptop lid!In response to a question about the dangers of blogging if you're in a regulated industry like financial services, Scott said: "That's a fear-driven myth. 'I work for a pharma company; we can't communicate that way.' They're really saying: 'I'm scared to do this.' There's no regulation that prevents you from talking with your customers. You do it all the time!"Go to a blog called "Running a Hospital." It's by Paul Levy, who runs Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He says whatever he wants. (Of course, Levy is saying a little more than he'd probably prefer to right now about his relationship with a staffer, but he has even blogged about that.)Another question: Do you charge for your e-books? His e-book on viral marketing has been downloaded (for free) a million times. But that drives interest in his print books, such as the bestseller, World Wide Rave.Real-Time Marketing Scott observed that in marketing and PR and most businesses, we have an MBA-style planning process. We plan for stuff that's really far in the future. What the Web is allowing us to do, is to work RIGHT NOW! Suppose your biggest competitor just went bankrupt? What if your CEO was ju[...]
Go4IT--the license plate on a passing automobile--was the sign that Barshefsky was waiting for when considering the role of the U.S. Trade Representative.
During the second Clinton Administration, she served as the nation's chief trade negotiator, principal trade policymaker, and member of the Cabinet. Ambassador Barshefsky ushered in a new era of alliance-building through global economic agreements, most notably the historic market-opening negotiation with China on its entry into the World Trade Organization.
Her background and legal expertise in international relations and trade law have made her a moving force in bilateral U.S.-China relations. She believes that going back to the basics and investing in the core fundamentals of innovation, R&D and education are critical for the U.S. to regain its global position of power.
More open immigration laws and an easier path to naturalization are other areas that Barshefsky believes the U.S. needs to address to keep from losing its competitive edge. While the recession and the financial overhaul have crippled the economy, Barshefsky believes that these are bumps along the way and the competitive spirit and the resilience of the nation will help chart the course for the U.S. to become a leader once again.
In her current practice as a senior international partner at WilmerHale, she advises several Fortune 100 and other multinational corporations on their trade and investment activities in China, Europe, and the U.S. Ambassador Barshefsky also serves on the boards of the American Express Company, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Intel Corporation, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Being sold at age 12 by your own mother into a brothel; experiencing child birth at 14 years of age having been left out in the cold for the hyenas; and having a goat in Africa pay for a college education in Connecticut – these were some of the visceral images highlighted by Sheryl WuDunn as she described female oppression as the largest moral challenge facing the 21st century in her opening speech at the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston last week.
Award-winning author of Half The Sky, WuDunn provided insight into some of the problems associated with gender inequity around the globe today. Educators, business leaders and economists are rallying around the importance of bringing women into the workforce to enable sustainable growth. One of the examples WuDunn shared was Bill Gates' answer to a question about whether he believes Saudi Arabia has the potential to be one of the top 10 nations in the world. Gates stared out at his audience, two-thirds of whom were men and one-third burkha-clad women separated by a physical barricade, and said, "No country in the world, Saudi Arabia included, can aim to be one of the top nations in the world if they consistently refuse to use half their resources--women."
"Empowering women through education provides the highest return on investment in developing economies," said WuDunn as she repeatedly talked about education being the single most effective enabler of economic growth.
"Women have the capacity to compound the return on investment made in education," says WuDunn as she cited studies that have examined not just the investments made in education in the developing world, but also the spending patterns. These patterns indicate that the impact earned can be more than doubled when even one percent of the spending on non-education related expenses are funneled back into education.
While we all empathize with the plight of the unfortunate, WuDunn noted that few take action to truly provide help and support. WuDunn urged that we can all make a difference--not just monetarily but also by traveling to these regions, learning through some advancements already under way, and creating a movement by channeling groups of friends, co-workers and families in coming up with solutions to address these issues.
WuDunn's call to action ended with a powerful statement, "With great fortune, comes great responsibility. For those of us fortunate enough to be here, it's important to remember, we have won the lottery of life. It's our duty now to give back a little of what we have won."
Visit http://www.halftheskymovement.org/ to learn more.
This morning, lighting energy efficiencies took a dramatic step forward with the unveiling of Digital Lumens, another MA-based clean tech innovator. The energy costs and consumption numbers are pretty staggering when evaluating what is required to light large facilities, such as warehouses. Lights pretty much illuminate every area, whether it is occupied or not at annual costs of around $1 per square foot (and warehouses are typically 250,000 square feet or larger).
Digital Lumens by combining LED-based fixtures formed into a lighting network with system-wide intelligence and controls will drive costs and consumption down by 90%. This technological advance is great news for energy conservation and the bottom line of many large enterprises.
This is just the beginning. Imagine tying a facility’s own Smart Light Grid eventually to a metropolitan Light Grid for better energy management. Digital Lumens makes it possible to totally control where light is directed and when it needs to be on or off based on occupation. Innovation directed at a very real business and clean-tech issue is bound to be a winner.
We're hosting a "Help a PR PRO Out" event here at CHEN PR's building this coming Friday for HAPPO job seekers and potential employers. Doug Haslam is spearheading the event and we welcome the opportunity to share pizza and discussion for any who wish to attend (limit of 50).
Just click on the link and register. Hope to see you there!
(image) Just when you think they can't top last year's agenda, headlined by Diane Keaton, Simmons puts together another jaw-dropping line-up of luminaries. The school's 31st annual Leadership Conference will be held this year on Friday, April 30 at the Seaport World Trade Center Boston.
We're honored to be working with Simmons for the third year to promote this prestigious event. Here's the Globe coverage from today.
In addition to the outstanding women cited above, other notable speakers include:
Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky – senior partner at WilmerHale, formerly the nation's chief trade negotiator
Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard – associate professor at Simmons School of Management and senior faculty affiliate at its Center for Gender in Organizations
Warren Brown – founder/owner of the CakeLove baking empire and host of the Food Network's Sugar Rush show
Eileen McDargh – internationally renowned expert on organizational culture change and successful author
Dr. Teresa Nelson – professor of entrepreneurship at the Simmons School of Management and director of its entrepreneurship program
Ranjini Poddar – co-founder and president of Artech Information Systems, a global IT consulting firm employing 2600 professionals
Roxana Saberi – Iranian-American journalist who was imprisoned in Iran for five months in early 2009
Terry Savage – Emmy Award-winning commentator on personal finance and frequent guest on CNN, CNBC, PBS, and NBC
Marie Savard, MD – medical contributor to ABC News and one of the country's most trusted voices on women's health and wellness
David Meerman Scott – social media expert and author of the new hit book, World Wide Rave, as well as the bestselling The New Rules of Marketing & PR
Irina Simmons – senior vice president and treasurer of high-tech giant EMC Corporation
The early registration ends on March 5, so hit the site now for tickets.
Simmons has gotten some great accolades in recent months. In the Fall, the School of Management (SOM) was ranked #1 in the nation for "Greatest Opportunities for Women" by Princeton Review. SOM also was named "One of the Top 20 Socially Responsible MBA Programs in the World" by the Aspen Institute.
A rockin’ good time was had by all at this year’s Xconomy Battle of the Tech Bands 3 held at the Middle East in Cambridge. Whether you were a fan of electronic hip-hop, country-rock-soul, heavy metal or something in between, the face off between East coast and West coast left little to be desired as Boston bands attempted to defend their hometown honor against Seattle rivals.
The clash of guitars, drums, and tech minds led to loud noise and the winner of the third Battle of the Tech Bands, The Dirty Truckers, Boston’s own “gritty country rock band.” The Dirty Truckers, who were the 2009 audience favorite, won by a narrow margin of 182 votes to the 180 votes of electronica hipsters, Deadbeat Darling.
To kick off the party a little bit early, CHEN PR hosted an event before the Battle of the Bands at ZuZu, the restaurant upstairs at the Middle East. We were joined by clients and friends to socialize, drink and of course eat some of the great food. We had a great time and more than 60 people showed up—many of which joined us for the show afterward. Check out the pictures!
This Xconomy event was not only a fun time for those of us in local tech circles; it also helped generate some much-needed financial support for the Science Club for Girls and Year Up Boston. This year’s show raised $1,100 for each organization
(image) The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Nissan entered into an agreement this afternoon to advance zero-emission mobility throughout Mass. by promoting the development of an electric-vehicle charging network, as well as the necessary legislation to allow for adoption of such a network. The agreement was signed today at the Museum of Science, which hosted the event and featured the Nissan Leaf, the all-electric vehicle that hits the road this December. It was a promising sign for Massachusetts which, as Energy and Environment Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles mentioned, is competing hard for the top spot among environmentally responsible states in the country.
On top of the cool t-shirts Nissan was handing out, it was great to see some local companies get props for the work they're doing to advance electric transportation - including C(image) HEN PR client and lithium-ion battery maker Boston-Power, who got a nice shout out from Secretary Bowles.
The car, as you can see, looks pretty sharp and I wouldn't be surprised to see them zigging and zagging across the state's highways by early next year.
An interesting discussion was held this morning through the MassTLC on Measuring Social Media campaigns, led by K.D. Paine. Social media as we all know and experience daily has had an enormous impact on how companies communicate with their customers, future employees, prospects and competitors. Vehicles such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to name a few are an integral part of strategies to move from “eyeballs to engagement.”
Companies are effectively using social media for everything from fundraising to recruitment (Sodexo saved $300,000 on recruiting costs using Twitter) to measuring customer satisfaction. Measuring the success of a social media campaign depends of course on what a company is trying to accomplish, or what problem they are trying to solve. Katie shared her experience with setting up Key Performance Indicators and then tracking results through a combination of Web tools and human involvement (surveys, calls, etc.).
Reaching customers, prospects, friends, colleagues is moving faster and more immediate than ever. Consider:
Years to Reach 50 million Users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months…iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
Fasten your seat belt, it’s only going to accelerate.
Note: Katie has kindly sent along a link to her slides, which you'll find here.
(image) The Battle of the Bands has come to offer a welcome respite for the winter blahs. For the last few years, Xconomy has pulled together this fun event at the venerable Middle East in Cambridge, and the tech community has responded with enthusiasm. Everyone heads in to huddle from the cold, reconnect with other techies and share some brews.
This year's event has a twist - the event will pit Seattle bands against Boston bands. Privately, colleagues - who would only agree to comment off the record - have expressed concerns about this matchup. While Boston has a vibrant music scene, Seattle's record of successful bands speaks for itself. Brows are furrowing.
February 4th will tell the tale. We'll see you there.