Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Future of Advertising

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

Boston Pride

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!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Grand Evening for CHEN PR Clients

The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Annual Awards ceremony was held last night. Four of CHEN PR’s clients were finalists, including Acme Packet (CEO of the Year and Company of the Year); Boston-Power (Deal of the Year and CEO of the Year); Digital Lumens (Product of the Year); and SpaceClaim (CEO of the Year).

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.

It takes all kinds

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.

On Monday Vindicia announced it has received $20M in additional funding to enable it to continue to expand to meet demand for its solution. (The news was covered by TechCrunch and VentureBeat, and picked up in the New York Times, New York Times DealBook and The Wall Street Journal Venture Capital Dispatch blog, among other outlets.)

It was a noteworthy milestone for Vindicia, and it’s fun to take a moment and reflect on all the work we’ve done together leading up to this milestone. And the best part is – the ride ain’t over yet…


Monday, November 01, 2010

Keep Pitching! and other Lessons Learned from Assignment Editors

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.

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.