Monday, January 31, 2011

QR Codes Used To Track Historical Objects

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Today I read an article by Curt Hopkins on ReadWriteWeb.com, "Spain Pioneers QR Codes to Track Ancient Artifacts" that piqued my interest; not only because I lived in Spain, but because the article showcases the marriage between history and the development of technology.

Hopkins reports, "The Center for the Studies of Archaeological and Prehistoric Heritage (CEPAP) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona have developed a process using QR codes to ID and track ancient artifacts, from kraters to potsherds." In the past, ID tags have been easily rubbed or scratched off an artifact and there was the risk of defacing the object through handwritten tags. The QR codes are two dimensional bar codes that can be scanned and pull up information like the inventory number of the object and its geo-location.

The process of using these codes has been testing for over two years. "CEPAP has managed to reduce artifact coding errors to 1% with this process." Amazing! This is just another example of the use of technology in discovery of the past.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Facebook's Instant Personalization Shares Your Public Info

The new Facebook Privacy setting called "Instant Personalization" has been launched.  It shares your data with non-FB sites. The sites that have partnered with Facebook so far include TripAdvisor, Bing, Clicker, Rotten Tomatoes, Docs.com, Pandora, Yelp and Scribd

To control your settings go to Account>Privacy Settings>Apps & Websites>Instant Personalization>edit settings & either check or uncheck "Enable".

For more info, go to: http://www.facebook.com/instantpersonalization/

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mobile Is Coming! Some Interesting Statistics

photo credit: mobilestorm.com
Posted by Amanda Walsh

Hard to believe we are mid-way through the month of January in a brand new year. Many recent reports have been foreseeing big changes in the media landscape for the coming year. A recap, "Marketing in 2011" in the January American Marketing Association (AMA) publication focuses on mobile marketing. Some interesting predictions and statistics include:
Julie Ask, VP and principal analyst at Forrester said, "Between the end of 2008 and end of 2009, we saw smartphone number grow from 11% to 17% of U.S. adults and I would expect to see similar growth in 2011."
“Spending on mobile advertising is expected to grow more than six fold between 2009 and 2014, reaching nearly $2.55 billion," according to eMarketer.
"In the third quarter of 2010, worldwide mobile phone sales grew 35% and smartphone sales grew 96% compared with the year-earlier period," according to Garner, Inc. "Tablets such as the iPad will reach 54.8 million units in 2011."
comScore, Inc. provided some statistics: "82.6% of smartphone users used apps as of October 2010, and the number of apps and the devices on which they're used are expected to reach new heights in the next few years."

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about QR codes. Experts say this type of technology still has a "way to go" before it becomes mainstream. Over time, better communication of how to scan and why will likely make these codes more popular.

In addition, some companies have been promoting special phone numbers where consumers can send a text for discount deals, recipes, etc. Specialized applications for Apple products play a big part in mobile marketing and  I'm sure we will be seeing more development of those this year. As a non-Apple product user, (not by choice but simply because of the hefty price tag) I haven't tapped into those so I can’t talk about the user experience.

As an Apple fan and iPad user, Laura Powers, the Vice President of Marketing at Furia Rubel, brought up some critical points to consider. Mobile marketing may be the future for Business to Consumer (B2C) companies, however, in Business to Business (B2B) companies, TV and computer are still the top screens to garner news and share resources. Much B2B research is done while on the job. B2C research on the other hand is done more frequently at the point-of-purchase. It all depends on the time and place - if you are at a store or social gathering, you are more likely to use a smartphone to research information.

The future for Apple is being widely talked about in the news as we speak with the recent medical leave announcement of Steve Jobs. In other news, the recent merger between NBC and Comcast, has many predicting "a change in the entertainment and communications landscape."

Many times when reading marketing industry trade publications, I feel that the articles are "preaching to the choir" in the sense that of course, many marketers and public relations professionals can recognize that "going mobile" is the way of the future. However, as an agency we work on the behalf of our clients and believe it or not, it is difficult sometimes to convince some professionals in other industries to get involved on social media, the value of SEO or to launch a new website. All in all, I appreciated the statistics provided in the AMA article and I'm anxious to see what 2011 in store for all of us.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Social Media For Competitive Business Analysis

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Photo credit: currencyxchanger.net

"How to Gain Competitive Insight With Social Media" is a Social Media Examiner blog post by Kristi Hines that provided some tips for business professionals in various industries to consider when engaging in social media.. Hines outlines some great tips for competitive analysis on three of the big social networking platforms, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Social media allows us to connect with our target audiences. With this type of connectivity, we are able to monitor our competition more closely as well.

On Twitter
Twitter can be used to find a competitor, follow and analyze their tweets, and research who they follow and who is following them. Keep in mind, the number of followers the account has and the amount of interaction between the competitor and their followers.

One tool that Hines writes about is called, Tweepi. This Twitter tool "allows you to see follower details all on one screen, including bio information, number of followers, what they last tweeted, etc."

To dig deeper into a competitor's social media strategy, check out their responses/mentions on Twitter. Topsy is a search tool for Twitter. By utilizing this tool you can see "what content on a website gets the most retweets." This is valuable information to consider for your own social media strategy.

On Facebook
Find your competitors through the Facebook interface or a simple Google search. Consider how they are using their page. Perhaps they are generating leads to grow their business. Is this something your business should think about doing also? An important question to research is, how is the fan page used for interaction?
How much activity is on their wall? Is there positive or negative feedback? Page owners can display their other fan pages on Facebook. This is a particular area worth checking out on your competitor's page.

On LinkedIn
LinkedIn has company pages where employees are listed. If you have no connections with the business or employees at the company, you will have limited access to profiles.

Be careful with your personal settings! Default profile settings enable users to see who has looked at their profile recently. Be sure to check out your own LinkedIn profile settings before targeting competitors on LinkedIn. any important question to research is how are others boosting their profiles and adding more connections?

To read more about competitive analysis through social networks and some useful tools to help, check out the article on Social Media Examiner.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Epic Fail Mama Grizzlies! Banished Word List 2011

Posted by Amanda Walsh

The American people FAIL to REFUDIATE VIRAL and EPIC A-HA MOMENTs when we FACEBOOK and GOOGLE the BACK STORY of our BFFs for the WOW FACTOR. Just MAN UP MAMA GRIZZLIES.  LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST. I'M JUST SAYIN'!!

We just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Buzz word overload? Have no fear, if you think these words are overused and abused, you are not alone. Today, we are highlighting Lake Superior State University's 2011 List of Banished Words. Some of the top choices for banished words were "epic", "viral", and "fail".

Improve the way you communicate and give us all a break by checking out the list here. What are your top choices for words that should be blacklisted?

Photo credit:  http://rcayao.com

Friday, January 07, 2011

Alternatives To The Traditional Press Release

Posted by Katie Noonan

It seems that just about every few years a PR doomsayer comes along and declares the death of the traditional press release. Heather Whaling argues, and I agree, that the press release continues to be a great tool for sharing clients' news with their target audiences and the media. What has become apparent with the rise of social media though, is that it's not the only tool.

Whaling shares some great alternatives to the traditional press release- here are a few from her blog on Social Media Today:

The Social Media Release. Social media releases are a Web 2.0 take on the traditional news release. They feature links, video and photos and are perfect for use on Facebook or other social media sites. Whaling recommends PitchEngine, I would add that if you have accounts with Marketwire and PRWeb they also have social media release builders for targeting online audiences.

Calling all bloggers. When you have big news to share Whaling suggests organizing a video meeting and inviting bloggers in addition to traditional media. Instead of pitching traditional media, you might also consider straight pitching to bloggers with whom you have or are trying to cultivate a relationship. Granting exclusivity on breaking news to bloggers whose sites receive lots of hits is a great way to cement relationships and make sure your news is seen by the masses.

DIY on YouTube. Don't wait for members of the media to contact you for a statement from your company on a recent announcement. Instead, consider shooting video of your CEO or a company spokesperson and upload it on YouTube. Then, promote the link on your website, social media pages and share a link with members of the media.

Tweet It. If your company or client has a strong Twitter network, Whaling urges PR pros to consider bypassing the media altogether and crafting a 140-character news brief. If you have reporters who follow you on Twitter, I would also suggest tweeting the news @ them. If it's specific to their beat you just made their life that much easier, if it's not, you run the risk of annoying them a creating a reputation for yourself as a spammer, so beware.

Check out Whaling's full list of press release alternatives.

Photo credit: Wat Blog

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Is Your Communications Plan Hitting The Target?

Posted by Amanda Walsh

With the 2011 getting underway, I have been reading a lot of articles regarding PR/Marketing trends to watch out for throughout this year. Many people are foreseeing increased usage of tablet computers like the IPad, growth of mobile marketing and coupon programs like Groupon.

Today's PRSA ComPRhension blog article, Strategic Communication – Ready, Aim, Fire Or Fire, Fire Fire by Peter Hollister, reminded me of the importance of strategy behind any communications plan. With trends, coming and going, effective public relations needs to be conducted within the scope of a plan.  Sometimes the urge to jump on the latest trend, results in a "we have to do this, right now" mentality or "Fire, Fire, Fire" mode as Hollister explains. With a haphazard way of engaging in public relations, how will results be measured? How will you know what works and what doesn't work? Most importantly, how did this campaign effect Return on Investment (ROI)? In a well-rounded, strategic plan, these questions can and will be answered.

Communicators need to help bring the team back to a “Ready, Aim, Fire” mode by conducting the planning/research and identifying goals, objectives, key audiences and messages. Ultimately, trends can be here one day and gone the next, but strategic planning will always be a key component in a successful communications campaign.

Illustration by Leo Blanchette

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Gina Rubel Contributes to JD Supra Legal Blog

Our friends at JD Supra reached out to a collection of legal professionals to pull together a year-end blog post around two questions:


1. What surprised you in 2010?
2. What should lawyers expect to see in the new year?


Gina Rubel, Esq. President/CEO of Furia Rubel Communications weighed in with her thoughts below.

1. I still find it surprising that many law firms in the U.S. are either 1) blocking social media and/or 2) do not have social media policies in place. In the age of digital communications, it is important for law firms to understand how to harness the power of social media for networking, business development, public relations and marketing while still understanding the ethical and legal implications. Social media impacts the practice of law, legal matters and litigation at almost every level. From employment matters to communicating with witnesses,
 and discovery to juries, providing the proper rules and tools for lawyers will make their social media experiences more fruitful.

2. I predict that social media is going to continue to play a substantial role in how law firms conduct business. Law firms will more readily adopt social media policies for their firms, will educate clients on how to use and not use social media, be more proactive in monitoring the use of social media by their staff and clients, and engage in the online dialogue that dramatically affects their marketing and public relations efforts.

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