This question continues to be the topic of a lot of conversation, but of course there isn’t a simple yes or no answer. I recently attended a PRSA event that proposed just this question with guest speaker Frank Mungeam, Director of Digital Media for KGW-NBC News Channel 8. Mungeam led into the event by answering this hot topic question, stating “yes absolutely and no, absolutely not!” From this point on we were hooked to see what his expertise would unveil.
Here are some insights into where the ever-changing industry of both digital and PR is taking us:
We all know by now that there has been a power shift from brands to customers. Yes, brands still do hold an immense amount of power. However, customers have even more as they are the decision makers, the influencers and ultimately can create a paramount of success or downfall for the brand.
The power of digital via social media (e.g., Twitter and Facebook), Google, blogs and customer review websites (e.g., Yelp) provide customers with the biggest tool: the exchange of knowledge. They are able to easily voice their opinions and make their opinions heard through digital — not only by fellow customers but by the brands they are speaking to and about.
As the value of free media is exploding, users are constantly generating fresh content and are sharing it amongst their social mediums. With this being said, whose opinions do we value the most? We value — as we always have — our families and friends, co-workers, mentors and decision makers who influence our choices. And digital mediums have made it easier for those influences to be shared. Companies are realizing this and are primarily focusing on their customers and getting them on their good side and having them stay there.
Yet, without the power and sway of PR professionals stepping in what strength would companies, brands, services and products possess? There is a dire need to have a PR team at your side to help manage the pitfalls and moments of success. Communication is key and no one knows how to finesse the power of the media and customers better than PR pros.
To all our PR professionals out there: what is the most critical component and skill to possess regardless of your occupation? Listening! Listen to your clients, customers and influencers. What are they saying about your client and/or product? They are giving you critical information: talk less and listen more. Cater to what various people and press are saying to get the message that you want out to the public. What is meaningful to them? Then use those finessing skills and personalize your message to the audience that you are appealing to. Without PR would your clients know how to elevate their brand? Storytelling is a skill that is essential in getting your information out.
Yes digital is taking over, but this just means that the PR world is adapting and finding new ways to do their outreach. Just think of us as chameleons, we are ever-changing, always listening and we will get your message out!
“The future isn’t either traditional or digital: it’s a feedback loop between the two. It’s how creative we are in engaging those fans — and keeping them connected…that will determine how potent and profitable we will be in the future.”
– Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting.
Last year Travel + Leisure featured Portland on their “America’s Favorite Cities” list. This year author Katrina Hunt is doing a spin off with an interesting twist. Hunt is featuring the winners and losers in Travel + Leisure’s ever-popular “Attractive Locals” category. So naturally, we had to submit a request to include Portland in the selection, clearly we possess the traits!
Below is our submission for our beloved city:
Portland, otherwise known as “Portlandia,” may seem like a mystical land to outsiders. Our city motto, “Keep Portland Weird,” is embedded in not only our daily routine but let’s be honest, it’s a way of life. “It’s five o’clock somewhere” is our second motto. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, the number one question on everyone’s mind is: what happy hour are we going to? Beer, coffee and food is critical to our culture. Not to brag, but we have 149 breweries and our 2013 Oregon Brewers Festival this summer drew a record 85,000 people, about 52 percent of them from out-of-town. So evidently we are quite hip with the crowds that we draw in, we love the outdoors and we value our quality of life.
Our nature is easy-going, yet we lead driven lifestyles. You will always find a friendly face, whether you are a local or a visitor — all attributes that many find attractive. But don’t be fooled by the bikes, beer drinking and hipster beards. In Portland our digital marketing community thrives with an eclectic mix of people, but we are smarter than you! We are a hub for start-ups, digital, PR, advertising and marketing agencies.
We even have our very own search engine marketing nonprofit organization, SEMpdx, that was built on the foundation of supporting local digital industry professionals and area businesses. This organization recognizes the need and importance of delving into digital and is also focused on helping out the community, which is downright sexy (we even have proof below)!
We may be “weird” but SEMpdx continually builds upon the digital marketing realm — always integrating, connecting and fostering individuals and local businesses. Our connectedness and focus on helping others is what drives people to Portland.
Let’s not forget, we all know where our food and drinks are coming from (if it’s not local and sustainable or triple dry-hopped forget about it); can easily get our fill of salt water, mud baths and crisp mountain air; and we don’t see the sun in the winter — leaving us in great shape with healthy skin. Well, that’s clearly why Portlanders are so darn attractive.
Last week’s SEMpdx event focused on a panel discussion that highlighted what is next in the fashion eCommerce realm. The event featured a variety of thought leaders to bring the audience a very interactive and engaging experience. SEMpdx and FashionNXT joined forces to bring the attendees a panel from all sides of the paradigm: fashion and SEO eCommerce, 3D modeling technology, push notification marketing and commerce via Tumblr — to answer the question of the day: “What’s Next in Fashion eCommerce?”
Below you will find some quick insights that delve into the discussion from the panel featuring; Justin Schoen, Natural Search Program Manager at REI, Ramamurthy Sivakumar, Managing Director at Intel Capital, Dan Coe of BlkDot, George Borshukov at Embodee and AJ Ramadan from Gravitational Creations:
- There needs to be a heavy emphasis on integrating — “marrying” your main website with your mobile website to create cohesion on both ends.
- Tumblr provides the ability to post text, photos, quotes, links, music and videos from your browser, phone or whatever mobile device you may be using. In your Tumblr feed you can post a picture, but a picture can say a thousand words, a video says one — giving you exactly what you need to know about the product and offers a “buy now” button. Giving the product to you instantaneously — this will change our world and the fashion world.
- Layar is going to continue to provide a bridge between the print and digital worlds and will strive on integrating the two.
- Touch technology enables wholesome experiences. For example, Burberry utilizes touch technology when you pick up a Burberry bag in the store, this triggers the whole runway experience on the stores digital TV screens. This shows you the origination of the product you are holding.
- The transition into digital needs to focus on the ease of return-ability to provide increases in online shopping and more satisfied customers while enhancing the entire shopping experience.
- In order to further revolutionize the costumer’s eCommerce experience the product needs to be projected with in-depth descriptions — providing the ability to virtually “touch” and “feel” the object online.
- Depending on the type of company, many will still want to drive the consumers in the store to provide the in-person experience.
- Search engines are now on the path of becoming “answer engines” and are utilizing what you are searching for and bringing it to your attention.
Lastly, the panel, which was sponsored by MergerTech, offered its 2014 fashion eCommerce prediction: companies need to find their target demographic and know what they want through every social platform and figure out a way to finesse customers in the personalization of the entire digital experience.
Today anything can be “newsworthy” but what the Oregon Business magazine values is — how you can tie in your news peg to illustrate a larger trend, what is the big picture here? As the magazine’s editor, Linda Baker, stated “journalism is in a state of flux — it is the best of times and worst of times because in some ways anything goes.”
I recently attended a PRSA function featuring Oregon Business editor (Linda Baker) and associate publisher (Betsy Hand). The biggest take away was the importance of PR pitches alluding to what is relevant now and how this will continually be relevant to businesses in the future. The publication’s stories must also connect with its readers, specifically targeting C-level executives.
Examining Oregon Business’ various sections offers insight into where PR ideas might fit in:
- Start-up companies — new companies are featured here
- Reboot (new products, services or initiatives are covered here) — long standing companies are featured here
- Feature stories (three per issue, this includes a personal and business profile)
- Tactics and Strategy (company feature)
- Downtime (lifestyle interview focusing on the C-level executive’s life, work and play style)
Oregon Business magazine’s focus for this year:
- 2013 Trends
- Manufacturing — bringing this back from overseas
- Crafting and building
- Technology startups
- Food and restaurants
- Food processors
- Natural resources — green business perspective
Editorial Opportunities and Strategies:
- Daily eNewsletter (85-90% of this material is curated content only available on the web)
- Online business opportunity editorial column — great way to pitch stories on clients that are business owners/leaders (e.g., personal stories , recommendations, unique approaches to solving challenges)
- Email pitches — utilize BIG picture tie ins!
- Social media pitches — utilize this tool to push out stories via twitter
- Quick social media tip: Oregon Business magazine follows real time tweets of conferences and this could lead to a story about our local leaders
To sum things up, always keep the key news pegs in mind, focusing on the “big picture” trends and the C-level executives — all of this will help you formulate a pitch worth writing that will connect with the audience and magazine.
The ability to keep track of new “news” is becoming more and more like blinking your eyes — as soon as you blink a new story is on your plate. The Oregonian realizes this and rather than disregarding the digital transition or simply ignoring it they are integrating it to its practice to “help tell stories every minute of every day,” as stated by the newspaper. This progression allows it to be in line with the audience and to continually progress with its readership.
The newspaper will continue to be a daily newspaper with home delivery on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with a bonus edition delivered on Saturday. The days the print edition is not delivered it is available in 2,000 locations around the Portland and Salem area along with a digital edition that is also accessible.
“Digital journalism allows us to tell stories in new and powerful ways beyond ink on newsprint, and we will take full advantage of the tools we have,” stated N. Christian Anderson III, president of Oregonian Media Group.
This powerful statement vocalizes that The Oregonian is listening and aware of the ever-changing market and audience and will now provide more up-to-date news with the click of our fingertips — while still providing home delivery to stick with its roots.
More changes to the paper include, a new prep sports section that will run on Fridays providing news of high school athletes and teams. A freestanding health section will run on Wednesday and Sunday, with a separate opinion section incorporating local and national commentary. Lastly Foodday will move to Wednesdays.
The Oregonian is moving with the times to continue to provide the state with relevant news that connects with its readers and keeps them informed every day of the week. Our lives are in real time and now The Oregonian is transforming to run in real time with us.
The President of SEMpdx, and Rosenberg Marketing’s CEO, recently helped our friends at 1859 Magazine with a story on social media, specifically Twitter. Here is a scan of the hard copy article about Twitter in Oregon and a link to the “Extended Interview” on 1859OregonMagazine.com.
Extended Interview: Mike Rosenberg of SEMpdx
May 1 2013
By Megan Oliver
Mike Rosenberg serves as president of of the board of directors of SEMpdx, all while running his own successful marketing firm with his wife, Amy. Mike spoke with 1859’s Megan Oliver about maximizing the potential of social media.
What are your social media tips for Oregon businesses, brands and personalities?
Be authentic, plan and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Users should also define what they are using each medium to accomplish. Is Twitter a sales tool, a channel for customer service and/or an avenue to show industry thought leadership? What about Facebook; are you pushing information about your business or providing a resource for potential customers interested in your industry/products/services?
Be social. Don’t just create and push your own information. Share information from others that you find useful/interesting (and give them credit by tagging, etc.).