Corporate real estate planning for extensive telework

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 […]

Online mag advertising going up

.. 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, […]

Masters of the Obvious

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

VNRs – the good, the bad and the ugly

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 […]

Takin’ the ‘A’ Train – to increased sales

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 […]

Talkin’ Smack About Trade Shows

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 […]

When is corporate blogging going to break through to the mainstream?

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 […]

Top 10 Things They Never Taught Me in Design School

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 …

Success as a coporate communicator

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: Success requires: 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 […]

Writers working with numbers

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 […]

Great marketing – but a lousy sales experience

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 […]

McClellan vs. Fleischer Smackdown

The New Republic takes a hard look at Scott McClellan‘s performance as White House spokesman. He doesn’t compare favourably to Ari Fleischer, let me tell you. … 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 […]

Anchor or Commentator?

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 […]

Sure, you’ve got a logo. How is it interpreted?

Austrian art/culture/experimential group monochrom asked a random group of consumers to sketch 12 popular brand logos freehand. 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 […]

Canadian Business profiles the president of Youthography, a Toronto consulting firm specializing in reaching the 13-29 bracket. Here’s an excerpt: 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 […]

Canadian Business profiles the president of Youthography, a Toronto consulting firm specializing in reaching the 13-29 bracket. Here’s an excerpt: 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 […]

How to place letters to the editor

… if you’re a crotchety retired chemist. Nelson Marans wrote 880 letters to the editor in 2003 alone, and managed to have 101 of them published in papers, magazines and trades in Washington, New York and nationally. Here’s a good .pdf on how to write an op/ed piece. Some more handy hints can be found […]

A visual explanation of branding

The WSJ’s question and answer session with Bill Ratcliffe (President, Millward Brown Canada) produced an easily understood explanation of brand properties: WSJ: How do you explain brand positioning to your clients? Mr. Ratcliffe: I often use an analogy. Think about the positioning of your brand as street intersections. If your brand at the corner of […]

Does this count as opinion or reporting?

Take a look at the flash project the Guardian has prepared in response to the U.K. Budget announced today: Gord of the Rings. (alternate link)

Not that you haven’t heard enough about Mel Gibson

The Viral Marketing Blog points to a detailed article on the viral aspects of Passion’s marketing campaign. Oh, and gives me a good jab.

Excerpts from Dan Gillmor’s new journalism book

Dan Gillmor’s got the second chapter of his book “Making the News” up for comment. To me, it’s a very useful assessment of how new technology and software is going to affect basic communication, not just how journalists conduct their work. He’s posted the fourth chapter for comment as well. You REALLY should take a […]

Proof we’re all too uptight

Apparently, the kids around Washington aren’t taking their kindergarten seriously enough. “Nap time needs to go away,” Prince George’s County schools chief Andre J. Hornsby said during a recent meeting … “We need to get rid of all the baby school stuff they used to do.” Seabrook Principal Marvel Smith is more supportive of Hornsby’s […]

That’s not viral marketing!

The Today Show ran a little panel this morning discussing the runaway success of Passion, the film bankrolled by Mel Gibson. One Hollywood authority (I think it was Peter Guber) kept mentioning viral marketing as the key to the movies’ pulling in nearly $250 million so far. Passion has benefited from controversial subject matter, the […]

Working the “message” into your event

Waaay back in 1992, Bush 41 held a tortuous dialogue with voters at a New Hampshire primary meeting: … “Two things. One, I know you’re hurting; two, I care about it.” Still nothing, until, in his frustration with yet another unfriendly question, he let go finally, desperately, deathlessly. “But,” he said, “the message: I care.” […]

Funky beats and smooth treats

Arthur Russell, as Slate tells us, … was a musical wanderer best known as a disco producer, but understanding his place in the history of disco calls for a renegotiation of terms. … As opposed to the well-fed anthems of the uptown sort, Russell’s disco subsided on an unwholesome diet of false starts, wobbly rhythms, […]

Shopping malls – delivery systems for lipstick

Victor Gruen was the designer of the first modern enclosed shopping mall, Southdale, outside Minneapolis (the original news release can be found here). Malcolm Gladwell has profiled the architect and his impact on North American consumer culture in the most recent New Yorker. Fifty years ago, Victor Gruen designed a fully enclosed, introverted, multitiered, double-anchor-tenant […]

Text-messaging the ’04 election

Rock the Vote is launching a mobile campaign aimed at getting voters 18-30 engaged and involved in this fall’s election. As Wired reports, it will … offer information on candidates’ stances on issues. Users also could request voter-registration forms. And the service will offer a candidate matchmaker quick quiz, which asks users for their opinions […]

Good old fashioned record promotion

Avril Lavigne’s turned to some tried-and-true promotion tactics in support of her new album. She has announced a whirlwind live performance tour, featuring six song acoustic sets at venues easily accessible to her core audience – malls. The promo people at Arista are even trying to give her tour an air of immediacy and exclusiveness […]

Repurposing the astroturf

I ran across a piece with that title a while ago, and it’s prompted a few thoughts about “astroturf” – the practice of creating an apparent grass-roots movement through subterfuge, careful marshalling of opposition, and the construction of apparently independent third-party coalitions and organizations. Of course, whether it’s Kentucky bluegrass or astroturf is in the […]

When retail renos ruin your brand

There’s one in every city – a big name retail or fast food outlet that’s undergone a quick and shoddy conversion. A letter’s been changed in the name, the ubiquitous “arches” are cut in half, the drive-thru sits unused – but the window still advertises $5 pizzas. In Scarborough, people don’t seem to have a […]

Sony’s AIBO – how to frame failure

The Sony AIBO, a tiny robotic dog, has been a popular item in Japan (although it has found limited success in the US and Europe). This month’s HBR outlines the design and marketing strategy behind the release of the expensive toy. (sub. req.) “… Sony made a conscious decision to manipulate the framing of its […]

Mercer takes a look at strategic planning

Mercer’s just released a white paper on “Strategic planning redux: but this time linked to funding and everyday execution.” It’s a quick read with some frank and useful observations about the strengths and weaknesses of strategic planning processes. Thanks to the FC blog for the pointer.

Taking a risk in online communications

Kettering University has approached its online communications the right way: instead of targeting alumni perceptions when preparing its online recruitment material, it has commissioned School Daze, a flash cartoon (like it was drawn by kindergardeners) aimed at undecided high school students. It’s irreverent and engaging, and the script is lighthearted and amusing. It even appeals […]

Dummies guide to online PR

If you’re new to this whole online environment, Revolution magazine has published a handy guide to the aspects of online PR, including positive and negative case studies. (sub. req., sorry)

Social anthropology and Norwegian Farmers?

Kitchen Stories focuses on the life of a single reclusive Norwegian farmer living in the 50s, and how he deals with the constant but incommunicative presence of a bland observer sent to live in his kitchen by a home-science company. (Here’s a picture of the ridiculous situation) The company hopes that this observer, and many […]

Why not throw caution to the wind – one day at a time?

If you’re relatively lazy, unimaginative, or are looking for an “unusual” present for a friend, this website will apparently change your life. There are some imaginative features, like “is your name on the net?” and “change your life NOW!” The site’s an online companion to This Diary Will Change Your Life, which came out late […]

Keepin’ it real: Jon Stewart

Okay. I admit it. I get the large part of my news analysis from Jon Stewart and his bunch of late night lunatics. Apparently, there are a lot of people like me. The Pew Center’s tracking has revealed that 21 % of youth aged 18-29 learn about the presidential campaign at 11pm, from the Comedy […]

The original Harlequin novel

Heavy words lightly thrown is a new book produced by a London university librarian which exposes the seamy and laviscious history behind many children’s nursery rhymes. While people already know that Ring a Ring o’ Roses refers to the rash displayed by sufferers at the time of the Great Plague, it is less well known […]

Buzz-snatchers: the new lingo

Folio reveals that Rachel Lehmann-Haupt has coined a new term: buzz-snatcher. What is it? That community of writers “who shamelessly glom on to somebody else’s buzz” to increase their own notoriety. Prime example? Henry Blodget, who has crawled out of the bog of Internet shame to reprofile himself as a judicial and financial insider by […]

Minister of Finance, and Chess Club Vice President

Rick Mercer, Canada’s pet political satirist, is asking any and all viewers to submit yearbook photos of prominent political figures. Be aware that we also accept photos of said individuals drinking beer in meadows when they were 18, in full drag at Halloween and or standing around watching mom’s silverware heat up in the burner. […]

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