March 31, 2004 by Colin
Corporate real estate executives foresee a workplace where, by 2010, over a quarter of highly skilled knowledge employees are in flexible work arrangements – whether working at home, co-located with clients or in airline lounges.
Nearly 40% of the 314 respondents say that 25% or more of their company´s knowledge workers — defined as employees whose primary work roles are white collar, technical or administrative in nature, rather than physical — will be working remotely, such as from home, a client office or a
Starbucks, in 2010. Moreover, the amount of assigned space for workers will decrease.
Their belief in this workplace trend is reflected in their long term real estate planning:
About 46% of the respondents said they are currently willing to pay a premium for flexible workplace designs, while 67% of the respondents said they would be willing to pay such a premium in 2010. And 60% of the respondents said they are willing to pay a premium for flexible leasing terms, while 65% said they would be willing to pay such a premium in 2010. (WSJ)
Does this mean we can expect less cubicle walls, more exposed ductwork, rough brick walls, and outsized ferns in our workspace? Probably not. A third of our lives will still be spent in products by Steelcase and Teknion. At least the trend towards hotelling seems to be losing traction with office managers and property consultants.
Speaking of hoteling, here’s a wonderful explanation of its virtues – in horrible business-speak.
March 30, 2004 by Colin
.. says the new edition of Folio, and in a number of categories like BtoB, consumer and specialty magazines. Building on findings in Doubleclick’s report for 2003 (.pdf), the author notes that the reader base for mags and sites is more loyal and more reliable; advertising creative has moved well beyond the static banner ad, and the “view through” rate for online ads is growing.
Ziff Davis Media is a good example of the phenomenon. While it lost print pages across its titles, its online revenue soared by 89 percent. There is no question that demand for online ads will continue to outstrip the demand for print ads, says Ziff CEO Robert Callahan. … the company expects rapid growth to continue in its online businesses. “Online demand is much stronger than print right now.” …
Forbes.com, where ad revenues jumped 60 percent last year, attracted only a few new advertisers in 2003, “but there was a very large increase in terms of total dollars spent per advertiser,” says Jim Spanfeller, president and CEO. …
It’s an “I-told-you-so” moment for online publishers. “We knew that if we had the stomach to wait and the discipline to keep costs low, the day would come when we would see substantial amounts of money,” says Sarah Chubb, president of Condénet, which includes Epicurious.com, Concierge.com and Style.com (Condé food, travel and fashion magazines).
Condénet … revenues soared 62 percent in 2003, and the company projects at least 30 percent growth this year. “There are huge numbers of advertisers in some of our categories who barely have their toes in the water,” Chubb says.
March 30, 2004 by Colin
The Online Publishers Association tells us: Report Reveals that 18 to 34 Year-Olds are More Frequent and Active Internet Users than Any Other Age Group
March 29, 2004 by Colin
As you may have noticed, the US government produced a series of video news releases presenting their “spin” on recent developments in Medicare.
Karen Ryan, who starred in the videos, has posted her thoughts about the imbroglio over at Television Week:
I’m Karen Ryan. Just in case you were in Tibet the past couple of weeks, I’m that Karen Ryan who rejuvenated the veracity of the video news release and added new meaning to the term “voice-over.” I was hired by a local Washington production company to narrate Medicare VNRs it was producing for the Department of Health and Human Services. Why me? Because I operate my own small business capitalizing on my professional career of more than 20 years in television news as a producer, news anchor and reporter.
There are far juicier points made in her article, but PR folks should really pay attention to how quickly the mainstream media turned against the issue, product, the government agency, and the professional hired to voice the VNR.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer editorialized about the Medicare VNRs nearly two weeks ago:
“Karen Ryan” is not “reporting,” as she claims. Under cover of “news,” she’s shilling for the president’s election-year political centerpiece. If you see her, don’t believe her. She should be off the air, and the bureaucrats who created her should be off the public payroll.
Where do we draw the line? Can PR staff only provide unedited “B” roll? Are we limited to preparing short documentary pieces for use on educational and specialty channels? At what point does a reporter or editor have to bear responsibility for their story?
WTVF in Nashville was publicly highlighted as falling into this ethical nether region: The Daily Show ran a clip of the VNR, with WTVF’s call letters clearly visible in the corner. The news director’s explanation:
”We do three hours of news in the morning,” [WTVF-TV news director Mike] Cutler said. ”I suspect that the producer of the 7 a.m. hour probably said, ‘Well let me see if there’s something fresh on the feeds that we haven’t already run in the last two hours’ and, in searching, said, ‘Well, here’s a Medicare story. Let me plug that in,’ and didn’t look at the header that probably said VNR — and didn’t say, ‘Oh, well, let me back off.’ ”
Hmmm. Makes it sound like the news room has a stack of unlabeled tapes on a desk and in drawers, sort of like your slightly strange 30 year-old cousin who still lives in his parent’s basement. Or the local cable public access channel.
Here’s “the top five VNR myths” from PRSA’s Tactics newspaper.
And here’s a really good primer on VNRs from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
There’s a very good, and very cynical, look at VNRs at AbusedbytheNews. One example of a successful VNR:
In 1999, Qantas Airlines produced a cute, koala-centric news release about the making of their Super Bowl ad. A whopping 32 million people caught the VNR at the fluffy tail end of their local newscasts, twice as many viewers than the original ad itself.
March 29, 2004 by Colin
Siemens has invested $16 million in designing, building and moving a 14 car train to target markets around the world. The promotion is intended to provide trade customers with an opportunity to view product lines and speak to technical experts about the range of Siemens products.
Jammed with technology, the 14 rail cars house 224 plasma screens and monitors, 189 DVD players, four servers, nine miles of electrical cables and almost two miles of data lines,
The train has been featured at major trade shows in Asia, Europe and North America. It has stopped in central locations like Grand Central Station and on sidings near major customers. Siemens has supported the effort with a detailed website and has drawn visitors in with giveaways like Masters golf packages, Alaskan cruise/train advertures, golf clubs, and Bose theatre systems.
But is this effort worth the investment?
As the NYT notes, Siemens has good reason to expect the trouble is worth it. In Spain, where the train made its debut, Siemens’ market share for energy and automation products spiked 3 percentage points, to 16 percent, after the train went through.
There are ancillary benefits as well. Vendors have capitalized upon regional appearances of the train to reward current customers and reinforce their sales programs: for example, one NY lighting company encouraged customers to be their guest on a visit to the train.
March 25, 2004 by Colin
If you’re in PR or Marketing face the depressing news that, at some point in your life, you’re going to have to deal with a trade show.
A veteran of way too many, Peter Shankman has exposed a few secrets:
1) Prep! prep!, prep! But not only by the book …
If you are managing your company’s appearance at the show, then you and only you do it from beginning to end. The reason I say this is because the trade show people know how hellish it is, and will try to help. They usually send along a manual the size of a Volkswagen, with everything you could possibly need, from phone numbers of the convention staff and hotel caterers to pre-printed shipping labels so you don’t lose your stuff on arrival.
Use this book. Make sure you get it. Don’t let it go to the client or to a subordinate. Don’t let it out of your sight or you’ll never see it again. Make sure it has your name on it, offer a reward if it’s returned. It actually does have some valuable information in there.
(Confused about the terms in the manual? Here’s a glossary)
2) Do your homework before booking your hotel …
keep reading »
March 25, 2004 by Colin
I’m really torn here. I don’t know if Fast Company writing about blogging does anything more than preach to the converted, since FC largely appeals to early adopters.
When BusinessWeek runs a story on corporate blogging, give me a call.
That sort of self-affirmation will make my managers much more receptive to my arguments for servers, software and staff for advanced technology tactics.
March 24, 2004 by Colin
Design Observer’s reprinted a recent article by Micheal McDonough: “The Top 10 Things They Never Taught Me in Design School.” A sample:
10. The rest of the world counts.
If you hope to accomplish anything, you will inevitably need all of the people you hated in high school …
March 24, 2004 by Colin
I recently had the opportunity to share my 2 cents on how, as a communicator, to build a positive relationship with senior management. Here are some notes:
- familiarity among colleagues, staff and management at all levels.
- ability to recognize parcels of information that may be valuable to your clients, but not yet on their radar. This means reading widely and often.
- demonstrating to your client that you have particular skills and information networks that complement their needs. Communicators always have access to dfferent sources of information.
- continuing commitment to demonstrating how your services add value.
- ready availability in times of crisis and deadline pressure.
- demonstrating that your perception of external/internal/community or political aspects of communication can complement their operational focus.
- identifying PR tools that will help you establish your strategic value to the client: regular environmental or stakeholder analysis, incisive media analysis, or increased involvement in integrated marketing campaigns.
- Awareness of corpoate strategies and goals. Get on the agenda and info email lists for senior meetings. Even if not invited, you will know what is being discussed, and what internal debates are ongoing. This will give you valuable conversation fodder for elevator and hallway encounters with senior decision makers. It will also give you information to share with your colleagues, building your worth in your own organization.
- establishing a standing offer to contribute communications advice to the corporate planning process and the preparation of strategic documents. This will lead your clients to associate your efforts with their process and progress.
- cautious use of contacts with senior decison makers to underline/emphasize positive perceptions of your work and skillsets. Present your information or advice clearly and link it to corporate programs or goals. In other words: don’t spam your clients.
March 23, 2004 by Colin
Jim Horton has reminded us PR folk to tread carefully when working with statistics – especially in attempting to interpret the results.
“How to Lie with Statistics” is a great primer for anyone interested in how to portray numbers, facts and trends accurately. The little book, first published in 1954, examines how polls, surveys and other data can be manipulated to support an observation or argument. Gee whiz graphs are just one gimmick singled out for criticism.
Edward Tufte continues to comment on how we choose to present data, and how our choices lead to confusion, misunderstanding or outright deceit. He has identified may examples of good information design, but just take a look at the graphs presented in this 1992 NYT article – they are stunning two and three dimensional representations of information.
Back when I was studying economic history, a prof required everyone to read “The Writing of Economics” by Deirdre/Donald McCloskey. Sold to us undergrads as “very short book with very few hard words,” it takes less than a hundred pages to explain how to write about difficult subjects, often math-heavy, with clarity and precision.
March 22, 2004 by Colin
Mitsubishi is the latest auto company to launch a new model online, the Lancer Evolution VIII sports car.
“As a car is a big purchase consumers want to make a considered buying decision,” says [Simon Smith, creative director of interactive agency Weapon 7, whose clients include Honda]. “For the car company, it’s all about engagement because cars have a life of their own – a unique personality and lifestyle. The web allows you to build an emotional link with a particular car in a way which other media don’t.”
… “The aim is to further stoke interest in the Evo. But you can’t claim to be a real trendsetter yourself if you go to the marketplace with a mass-market TV advertising campaign,” [StrawberryFrog creative partner Scott Goodson] says.
“So we are using the internet both to get car lovers and trendsetters to become ambassadors for the brand, and because driving this car is like driving a video game, which most of the target market for this particular car will do and probably do more than they actually watch TV.” (Media Guardian, free reg.)
Volvo recently tried similar tactics for their redesigned S40 sedan.
Car companies, through their online marketing, can cleanly target demographics, identify marketing channels focusing on the interests and obsessions of potential customers, and provide interactive features that emphasize customization and performance.
The end result: very well-qualified customer leads.
But that dedication to a customer experience falls apart once you hit the dealership. Sure, you can have a coffee bar in a Mississippi Hyundai dealership. You can even make Hummer dealers spend up to $750K to design stand-alone dealerships with test tracks.
But a customer will also get upsold on the extended warranty. You’ll have to wait in the corner of a showroom as a “manager” reviews your offer. You’ll be offered an incentive package, but “only today, and only for what we have on the lot.” You’ll have to pay $14 a day for a loaner when the recall finally does arrive in your mailbox.
Car dealerships are caught between the manufacturer’s desire for a seamless brand experience and the brutal realities of local car sales – where any number of franchises sell the same model with similar incentives.
These dealers have millions invested in their business, and they don’t see how a corporate branding program and headquarters-driven building design will help them develop a unique identitiy and dominance in their local market.
CNN’s In The Money featured Philip Reed from Edmunds.com on the conflicting styles of auto marketing:
Yes, definitely it has gotten better. And my comparison is that it’s almost like a game show, because it kind of depends on which door you choose.
What I’m saying is that if you walk onto the car lot you’re going to be greeted by a car salesman who may have been in the business for ten years or so, and there’s definitely old school and it will be the same old game.
But if you take the second door and go through the Internet or the fleet department or one of the sources that you named, then yes, absolutely, it’s a kinder gentler world out there.
Reed was drawing on the experience of one Edmunds.com reporter who lived the life of a car salesman.
March 20, 2004 by Colin
… He’s not a natural liar. … In … Glengarry Glen Ross, weak-willed insurance salesman George Aaronow tells consummate pro Ricky Roma, “When I talk to the police, I get nervous.” “Yeah. You know who doesn’t?” Roma replies. “Thieves.” Fleischer had the soul of a thief. McClellan doesn’t. Indeed, all the White House reporters I spoke with went out of their way to praise him as a human being, especially in contrast with Fleischer. “Scott is, at core, an honest man, and Fleischer is, at core, a dishonest man,” one puts it. “[McClellan] has a real handicap in this [job] in that he’s a decent guy.”
Here’s a great link: NPR fashioned a faux job interview by Fleischer, using clips from his own press conferences.
March 19, 2004 by Colin
The NYT’s running 21 questions with Lou Dobbs this weekend. He’s a little testy, and a little defensive – maybe because of the coverage he’s generating on outsourcing:
Q: More globally inclined economists insist that the creation of a middle class in poor countries overseas benefits everyone. And aren’t people in India as entitled to jobs as people in America?
A: Are you willing to sacrifice 600,000 American jobs and employees to create jobs overseas? I love India. I love the Indian people. But the idea that we can sacrifice an American family to create jobs overseas is insensitive beyond belief.
Q. Actually, you look like a senator.
A. Well, thank you very much. I wouldn’t go into politics for any amount of money. I’m not capable of being nice to people who annoy me.
And here’s Poynter’s tip sheet on outsourcing.
The WSJ argues that Lou’s a performer, not a journalist.
I think I just can’t get my head around CNN producing a “talking head” with buzz like Hannity, O’Reilly or Limbaugh. When’s the last time CNN was anything but boring?
March 19, 2004 by Colin
Their efforts reveal one thing for certain: a random group of consumers includes a lot of bad artists. The examples illustrated also confirm that brand recall depends upon the consumer’s experience with the brand and its products.
In the work collected by monochrom, the Adidas logo is represented in the context of a shoe, t-shirt or corporate letterhead. In Philip’s case, someone drew the a version of the logo from the company’s 1980s stereo line.
That produced this poster of logotypes produced from the unprompted responses of 600 Australian students.
I still haven’t found what I was really looking for – a poster from @issue magazine that spelled out the alphabet in well-known trademarks. For example, the “c” was from the Chicago Cubs.
March 18, 2004 by Colin
How to successfully market your product to young folks
1. Don’t patronize them. Just because they’re young, it doesn’t mean their lives are only about partying. Give them rational reasons to buy your stuff, not just fun times.
2. Get to know them. Spend the time it takes to build a relationship where they’ll trust you enough to offer you true insights on how to market them.
3. Make it obvious you’re marketing. Youth are a sharp bunch. If you try to hide the fact that you’re marketing, you’ll likely get caught–and the backlash won’t be pretty.
4. Assume they’re marketing savvy. These are people who wrote essays in Grade 4 media literacy classes on “The brand called me.” They understand targeting and appreciate it when it’s done in a smart way.
5. Listen to them. Set your preconceived notions aside and pay close attention to what they really think. A little R-E-S-P-E-C-T goes a long way.
Their newsletter archives have some interesting insights, like this one on youth tattoos: Not Just For Sailors, Ex-Cons or Army Vets Anymore.
What about the dark side of youth marketing, you say? An almost relevant blog reference I found led me down that path.
My brother in law, who just got a job with youthography inc., (for those of you that remember, they were responsible for the “Presto” marketing fiasco in Toronto a couple of years ago) was quick to remark how Chuck-E-Cheese was like a casino in training for little kids.
If you haven’t already heard the rumblings — or, rather, seen the orchestrated media campaign scuffed up to mimic a grassroots vibe — Presto is the Nike-sponsored art gallery/showroom/club that opened in Kensington Market a few weeks ago.
A marketer’s wet dream, the oh-so-cool raw space has already played daddy — complete with artist fees and complimentary shoes — to a slew of local musicians and artists, all in the hopes of getting alt-culture brand recognition for its burgeoning Presto line. Get the gear associated with people cooler than you.
If you read on, you’ll find a comment from Naomi Klein. Remember, someone always has an opinion on youth marketing.