Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"Bridging the Gulf" Event Raises $16,000

From Barb Ewen, the invaluable vowel in CHEN...

We're tired but proud.

Last evening CHEN PR and Network World sponsored "Bridging the Gulf," an event to bring together members of the high tech community and to raise funds for the American Red Cross efforts to help hurricane survivors. We had 100 attendees and raised close to $16,000 thanks to everyone's collective efforts. Held at the Doubletree in Waltham, we had live music, plenty of food and a terrific silent auction, ensuring that the evening was a good time for a great cause.

As the hurricane disaster headlines in the media have faded, so has the focus and concern for the survivors, who still are in horrible shape. Unfortunately, promises of support haven't materialized and the Red Cross has had to borrow money for the first time ever -- $340 million to date. Out of the $2.3 billion that is needed by the Red Cross, only $1.3 billion has been raised.

The Red Cross has provided financial assistance to more than 1.2 million families, which includes more than 3.7 million hurricane survivors; provided more than 24.5 million hot meals; responded with 190,000+ Red Cross disaster relief volunteers; and set up close to 4 million overnight stays in 1,100 shelters. Certainly the organization's efforts continue to be remarkable.

Even if you couldn't join us last night, you can easily contribute by visiting the Red Cross site.

If you joined us last night or sent in contributions, thank you so much. And if you couldn't join us this year, watch this space. We intend to make this an annual event.

Monday, November 28, 2005

From the WSJ: In Defense of Management by Email

It's a headline I thought I'd never write, because it's a pet peeve. And even if Jason Fry's Real Time column (sorry it's subscription only) in today's Journal points out that emailing someone two feet away does have its purpose in life, I still feel that we do it all too often. We need to pick up the phone or step out of our Dwight-style cubicles (ask any fan of The Office) more often. There's no substitute for human-to-human chat.

Fry notes:

There are a host of obvious reasons people who sit close together may choose to communicate electronically: They're too busy to get up (or at least think they are); they're too lazy to get up; one or the other is on the phone; they have something sensitive to discuss but don't want to attract attention by disappearing together; or they're being gossipy, snarky or seditious.

Fry cites email exchanges on non-controversial decisions that require input from multiple parties as instances where email can be useful, as the parties involved can be multi-tasking while inching towards consensus. I'll give him that one, but I cannot help but feel that only exacerbates this troubling state of continuous partial attention that we live in. Nathan Torkington (O'Reilly editor and Perl scholar) writes:

With continuous partial attention we keep the top level item in focus and scan the periphery in case something more important emerges. Continuous partial attention is motivated by a desire not to miss opportunities. We want to ensure our place as a live node on the network, we feel alive when we're connected. To be busy and to be connected is to be alive.

So here's to a fresh resolution to pick up the phone more often and give the person at the other end my full attention (at least until an IM starts flashing...)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

60 Seconds: Like No Other

Something on the lighter side from CHEN PR director Becky Ayers...

There is something to be said for the Sony's "Color, like no other" commercial for its new BRAVIA LCD television. In one word: captivating.

Picture 250,000 brightly colored small rubber balls bouncing down the hills of two converging streets in San Francisco. The scene is shot in slow motion, from a variety of angles, and is set to a relaxing acoustic guitar piece that is reminiscent of a warm summer day.

It's something you have to see to appreciate. And it certainly called to my inner child.

What I find so refreshing is how the segment embodies Sony's single message: color, like no other. Rather than overwhelming the senses with too many messages (which causes me to "tune out"), this is absolutely captivating. Sure, the scene could have been rendered by computer to simulate a host of bouncing balls or other items coupled with fantastic special effects and heart-pounding music. But the real thing is far more enjoyable to watch. I'm even curious as to how it would look on a BRAVIA -- I bet it's spectacular.

From a PR perspective, it underscores the point that clear and focused messaging is critical to reach your desired audience -- and more importantly, engage them. It's a shame when companies miss the big picture by measuring PR results based soley on the number of hits they receive. While I'm not saying that quantity is unimportant for a range of reasons, good PR pros know that quality of coverage is the true measure of success. Captivating your audience is far more likely to drive your business forward.

If you haven't seen the commercial yet, it is worth taking one minute out of your day. But I recommend taking a few minutes to wind down for the Thanksgiving holiday and watch the extended version.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Katrina Survivors "Nearly Forgotten"

A CNN article from yesterday reports:

"We feel like we are citizens of the United States who are nearly forgotten," said Democratic Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

"It is a very frustrating thing. People are weary. They want to move on ... It's going to take us a while. And we still need help from Washington."

The stories that come out of the Gulf continue to break our hearts. We all want to do what we can to help. For us, that translated into co-sponsoring a Red Cross fundraiser with Network World on November 29th. Because of the scope of the relief effort, for the first time the Red Cross has had to borrow funds. While $2.3 billion is needed, only about $1.3 billion has been raised.

For a $25 donation to the Red Cross at the door, you can join us and 150 friends for an evening of fun, food and frugging. (Rumor has it, there will be a band.) We'll have a raffle for an iPod nano, along with some stellar silent auction items, including:

  • Two tickets to the Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens
  • Vintage wines from local collectors’ cellars
  • A Day of Beauty at an award-winning beauty salon and spa
  • Two colorful “butterfly” chairs from renowned Archie’s Island Furniture
  • Gift certificate to the historic North Bridge Inn in Concord, with dining at Walden Grille
  • Gift certificates to fine restaurants in the greater Boston area
  • A gift basket of dessert wines and chocolates
  • Memorabilia from the New England Revolution
  • Rookie card of former Red Sox great Nomar Garciaparra
  • Italian pottery by an artisan associated with Wellesley’s Clever Hand Gallery
  • Original art and photography
All funds raised from the evening will go directly to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

We hope to see you on November 29th, from 6-9 p.m. at the Doubletree in Waltham. Kindly RSVP by November 22nd to or 781-672-3131.

Monday, November 07, 2005

How to Maximize Lead Generation in 60 Minutes

From CHEN Principal Barb Ewen...

Two CHEN PR friends, Gareth Taube and Randy Uram, are holding a Webinar on a topic of importance to many companies in this competitive market -- ensuring ROI for lead generation.

The Secrets of Turning Lead Generation into Revenue is being held on November 15 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET. You can register for free at either Market Recognition or Creating Confidence.

Gareth and Randy bring deep expertise in sales and marketing. Gareth has more than 20 years experience in high tech marketing and management with a specialty in helping early stage VC funded companies develop successful strategies. Randy is a proven sales professional with more than 20 years experience building world-class sales organizations. Together they will share proven methods for leveraging a successful lead generating process -- from creating strategies with the right marketing message to securing the sales appointment and then maximizing the return on investment.

Sounds like a very useful discussion!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Join Our Own Mr. Carleton and Friends at the Mass Software Council (aka the MTLC)

I'll get used to saying MTLC soon -- honestly I will.

Next Thursday November 10th, my partner Chris Carleton will moderate what promises to be a very interesting roundtable: Dominating Your Industry - Marketing Tools that Drive Mindshare and Market Share. Chris will kick off the session and will be joined by Vicki Brown, VP of marketing at IntelliReach and our client Ted Julian, VP of strategy and marketing for AppSecInc.

The discussion will cover the changing media environment as well as the role of additional tools in the marketing mix, including advertising, Webinars, direct mail and email marketing. Ted will then present a case study on establishing and expanding a sector within the crowded and highly competitive security market.

Prior to joining IntelliReach last year, Vicki led IDC's worldwide marketing for 7 years, capping off a 15-year career with IDC. Earlier in her career she held product marketing roles at Sun.

Before AppSecInc., Ted was chief strategist and a founder at security startup Arbor Networks. He was also a company founder and VP of marketing at @stake, the security consulting firm. Many of us know Ted from his days as an analyst at IDC and Forrester.

We hope you'll join us for the session, which will be held at the IBM Solution Partnership Center, 404N Wyman Street, Waltham (North Entrance), from 8-10 a.m.

Our thanks to Sherri Dorfman of Stepping Stone Partners and to the MTLC for this opportunity.