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    Online observations of public relations, marketing, advertising and social media; the occasional frivolity; and The Rundown show notes. Jump in, the water's fine.

    Please Note: Everything posted on this blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or its constituents.

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Interactive, digital, whatever – it’s here. Will your agency survive?

4asdigi.gifI mentioned some time ago that I was on my way to attend the 4As Digital Conference for Agencies of All Kinds in NYC in mid June. I hopped an early morning flight with my CEO and our web and creative directors to Manhattan for the day. The conference was well done except for this – no wireless. What kind of digital conference doesn’t have wireless?! Although, I was probably one of maybe five people there with a laptop.

Some unsurprising, but healthy headlines from the conference included:

  • Agencies need to be willing to try things and be passionate about the online space. Creativity in strategy, creative and analytics are a must.
  • Silo-free is the agency of the future. Look at every campaign from every angle. Look across all channels of outreach that best fit the product. Digital does not replace traditional, it complements it.
  • Agencies must find creative ways to reach that lost audience and they must allow the consumer to engage with the brand on his own terms. Find creative ways for that to happen.
  • Additional web-based interactive complements traditional campaigns. Feedback from consumer and analytics are critical. Pay attention and use them well. Chicks fighting can be a popular interactive campaign (don’t ask).

A nifty panel discussion on the Ad agency of the future wrought some interesting comments. Claims that boutiques will not survive, like the small web agencies of yesteryear. Slowly clients start to realize that boutiques don’t have the communication experience necessary. Digital boutiques are making a lot of noise, and making a lot of “cool” things, but are they fulfilling the goals of the client? Agencies will need to develop their own in-house digital to survive. You cannot NOT know the digital space, but you also have to know traditional communication strategies and tactics. I don’t know, what do you think? Will the digital, interactive advertising agencies of today wane?

 

 

Chris Weil of Momentum Worldwide presented on how digital works in experiential marketing. Pretentious, but really fun to view. Great presentation. He said digital is not about agencies or a tactic that you add on. Digital embodies everything we do in marketing. Customers don’t segment experiences. We need to understand and orchestrate the experience that the consumer has with the brand across all channels. We must inspire consumers to lift their heads, to disengage their digits and get engaged with interaction. Effectiveness of brand experience plus the stickiness of brand interactive is huge. Number one for all consumers is experience; number two is word of mouth.

John Bell, managing director & executive creative director at Ogilvy PR Worldwide, was understandably my favorite presentation. Hey, what can I say, I’m a PR guy. I was impressed with Ogilvy’s 360 Degree Branding approach, but will have to keep an eye on what they do to see if it’s walking the walk. John mentioned typical things like authentic conversations with consumers is critical, is engagement. People are resonating with other people, they don’t trust corporations or marketing or advertising. Ogilvy is following trends in the digital space and tying messages to those online trends. Same as traditional PR, just in a different space, stripped of the corporate speak and hype. Conversations are ruling this space.armour-young.jpg

Other special highlights of the day were meeting John January from American Copywriter and having lunch with the infamous Paull Young. Funny story, I called Paull on my lunch break and said “I’m done, where do we meet?” He was like, “I don’t know, just walk down the street you’re on and we’ll meet up.” Mind you, I haven’t been in NYC since I was 5 and Paull just moved there a month ago. So, it finally dawned on us, where would be a good place to meet up on NYC that we could both find? How about the Empire State Building!? D’oh…those silly country boys.

A Virtual PR Murder Mystery

Virtual PR Murder Mystery Logo

dagger_1.jpgA beloved PR blogger sends a cryptic warning through the blogosphere and disappears.

Upon his request, a handful of international communications professionals gather in a stereotypical, dank castle in eastern Europe to solve the mystery.

The only problem: one of them is guilty!

Who did it?

Why?

Is the beloved PR blogger still alive?

How will it all turn out?

What’s with all the lists?noose_1.jpg

Find out!

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Starring Luke Armour with Unwitting Guests:

pc_1.jpgWell, I did it again. Last November I had this idea that wouldn’t leave me alone (here). After receiving positive feedback from the roasted, as well as numerous other people who a laugh or two, I decided to do another. In the works since January, this came about from some late night Skype and IM chats with Mr. Paull Young. Fleshed out over a historic visit with Youngie and Ms. Caldwell, it has evolved into this. It got a little out of control partway through, as happens when you try to add plot to a ridiculous idea, it runs exactly 30 minutes. Download, listen and enjoy. Or don’t, I don’t care. I didn’t make this for you anyway.

Special thanks to Christopher Penn of the Financial Aid Podcast, Constantin Basturea, Brian Bradway (for the awesome graphics), Paull Young, Erin Caldwell, my wife Emily, and all those who are directly or indirectly referenced in this parody for going with the flow.

Disclaimer: This was conceived some time ago. Rest assured, I’m certainly not making light of some of the serious, unfortunate events that have transpired in the blogosphere and off recently. I’ve been told that listening to the entire show will certainly make this clear. This is parody, pure and simple.

I also don’t feel the unwitting participants really believe or do any of the things said or done in the audio file. By downloading the file you agree that you have a sense of humor and will therefore take the whole thing for what it’s worth. Which isn’t much, but it will kill a good 30-minute commute or workout on the elliptical machine at the gym. If I’ve offended anyone, it certainly wasn’t my intention, I did it because I thought it was funny. Which is why I do most things. This show was brought to you, however inadvertently, by Creative Commons and the nitwits friends who laughed when I did this the first time. It’s the absurdity that makes life fun.

SPOILER WARNING: Reading the comments before you listen MAY spoil it for you, I’ve been told.


Toronto Wrap-Up & Comment

cupcrazy.jpgMy first (real) social media meet-up and unconference was an outstanding success. Pounding the pavement in the Hockey Hall of Fame was a nice addition as well. Pictured is me and my good friend The Stanley Cup along with Terry Fallis of Inside PR and The Best Laid Plans book podcast. Terry was a perfect gentleman and chauffeur all weekend. If you need driven around town by the president of a very successful international public relations agency, I suggest him. Tell him Luke sent you.

Podcamp was a mind-blowing experience. Unfortunately I was mildly distracted by the relative star power. Of course I still learned quite a bit with the sessions I attended, but I’m incredibly grateful for the video of the entire conference posted on the wiki. To quote Mitch Joel, “I can’t believe all this content is free!”

I, for one, am going to have to revisit every session taught by Christopher Penn of the Financial Aid Podcast/Student Loan Network one tidbit at a time if I’m going to retain anything he said. Here’s a fanatical tech guy who actually understands the technology, grasps the communication aspects of the tools AND can talk intelligently about it. A rare breed of genius, that guy. He provided great hacks on increasing the podcast audience and marketing, for instance. Mitch and John Wall dropped some creative ways to SEO and Google juice your podcast in my last Saturday session.

geekdinner.jpgThe geek dinner with Mitch, Donna, Bryan Person of the excellent New Comm Road podcast, the lovely Carin, and John Wall, with a rock star cast at the table behind, fed my mind and body. Donna, in exceptional geek fashion, set up her rig and recorded for posterity. Should be on a future Trafcom News Podcast if it turned out. The night rolled right into a rocking good time at C’est What? with Uncle Seth. I’m a converted fan. Chris Clarke finally woke up long enough to steal $20 from me and keep me up way too late.

Our Sunday morning panel (photo) (video) was recorded and the audio was inserted in Mitch’s podcast this week. Great minds surrounded me as we tackled the question, “Should your company be podcasting?” Awesome insights from Donna, Terry, and the ever articulate Michael Seaton, who, by the way, is the only person I personally know getting paid to produce a podcast (okay, sure he does a myriad of other stuff, but still). He detailed some great info in his session (link to his video) on how to get buy-in from a huge multinational organization.

Without reviewing the videos, the most concrete things I walked away having are some outstanding new tools like StumbleUpon, Twitter, Mobatalk (met Michael Bailey by chance in the elevator Friday night, I love this stuff), and MyBlogLog. Too much to mention, but I hope to be using some of it soon.

Check out the tagged photos on Flickr and Chris’s blog post. Thanks to John for posting this snap. Bob and Donna both have good recaps of events as do many others.
I’m still crying myself to sleep about missing David Jones, but I hope to someday get over it. Why, David, WHY have you forsaken me?

Thanks to all those who took the time to share insights and chat about their knowledge. Shout out to Brogan and Casey & Rudy from Galacticast (a hilarious geek-focused comedy videocast) hope to see you all again soon. Apologies to the dozens of great folks I never had a chance to meet. Special thanks to Leesa and Brent Morris of The Closet Geek Show, Jay Moonah of Uncle Seth and Online Music Marketing, and Julien of the In Over Your Head hip hop podcast, and Mitch for all their hard work.

update: added a few more links to posts I missed earlier

Oh, How Small the World has Become

connections.jpgPhoto by Daycha Kijpattanapinyo

Here’s a little story that demonstrates the connections we’re all making online through this crazy social media network. It never ceases to amaze me.

Follow along closely, ’cause this is intricate.

Most of you know that being a part of the blogosphere means you’ll run into the same characters over and over again, especially in niche corners of the blogsphere’s web such as communication pros, cat fanciers, and lactivists. So I knew of Erin online about 18 months ago and met her online shortly before she started Forward. She invited me to contribute to the Forward blog not long after. Somewhere along the line I met Paull. It wasn’t long before I knew Erin and I shared the same passion for PR and social media and that Paull and I had the same questionable sense of humor.

Fast forward to my job, where we hire a young woman who finds out I’m a social media freak. She tells me not long after her hire that her former professor started a blog. So I checked it out. His name is Bill, his blog is ToughSledding. I check him out, I subscribe. I mean, he’s the only other NE Ohio PR blogger I know of.

Fast forward to Paull’s world tour, where he leaves Australia and travels the world, New York, Washington DC, Toronto Canada, Ohio, Norway, Denmark and more. He and Erin spend some time with me here in Ohio. It is amazing to think how it all transpired for them to be sitting in my living room one day. But then he and Erin headed out and things were back to normal here.

Then I get the following email from Bill at ToughSledding:

I’ve been conversing with Paull Young (through Facebook) and learned that he’d been in the area to visit his “mate” in Ohio. Thought maybe it was time I introduced myself, since we’re both blogging on PR topics and we’re both in the neighborhood.

I was floored. Kent State University is about 50 minutes from my house. Bill had made a comment to a post at Forward, started chatting with Paull on Facebook. Paull sent him a video of him speaking at a college in Toronto and Bill emailed me because of Paull.

I tried to get people at work to recognize the sheer brilliance of a medium at work when a fellow visiting the states from Australia can meet up with a guy in Ohio who works with a graduate of a school whose professor happens to have begun a conversation with said Australian, causing the professor to email the guy in Ohio who lives/works nearby. Bill understood the complexity of it. We agreed to find a time to meet up, but had never found time.

So I went to a PRSA luncheon in Akron on Thursday to watch Sage Lewis teach PR folks about SEO and Web 2.0. I got there a little later than most and there were only a few chairs left. I found a seat, went to introduce myself to the table when it dawns on me that the person I’m about to shake hands with is Bill from Toughsledding.

Absolutely amazing. It came full circle around. Bill thought it was amazing as well, and told the assembled crowd about it. It’s a medium at work. Always. Recognize it. Realize what it can do for you, your business, and your clients.

Forward Meet-up

Well, after faking a geek dinner with some of my PR heroes, I finally had the opportunity to really meet some of my PR folk face-to-face this past weekend. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. WAY more.

In what turned out to be the best Forward meet-up in Ohio this year, Erin Caldwell, managing editor; Paull Young, director of the Forward Podcast; and I, principal contributor, got together to discuss the state and future of young PR professionals; share some great dinners; and enjoy each other’s company. Forward, of course, is the on-line springboard for up and coming young PR professionals. Paull stopped by on his way back from Canada and Erin made the journey direct from DC. My ever-patient wife and I hosted the Forward meet up.

We spent some time wandering aimlessly through the rolling eastern Ohio landscape surrounded by horses, buggies, and our own voiced ruminations.

It was a great moment of social media flexing the social aspect of its name. Real people with real relationships from places in the world real far away meeting face-to-face to discuss the things that brought them together in the first place. No one knows this better in this space than Paull.

If you’ve not had your first meet-up with on-line faces, it’s all true what they say. You feel right at home. Of course, I was at home, but you know what I mean.

After a fresh change of batteries, the three of us recorded hours and hours of audio of our groundbreaking, intellectual discussion that was only interrupted by the sound of my wife pointing out that we’d been talking into the TV remote for three days. As it was too late to record any more, I dropped them off at the airport.

Thanks for the visit, Forward team, next time we’ll try to choose our recorders more carefully. Enjoyed every second. Peace.

A Virtual PR Geek Dinner

Update: I made New PR ! Thanks, Constantin.

Well, I had this crazy idea. And like a fool I acted on it. I couldn’t help it. It was driving me crazy. I had to let it out.

Since I’m in Ohio and jealous of all the geek dinners and social media events, I made one up. Yes, I fabricated a geek dinner with some influential PR podcasters and me at a bar.

And well, sure, I took a few creative liberties. But only at the expense of other people, see. Deep down, I’m sure they truly appreciate the attention.

Special thanks to the guys at Inside PR (Terry and David) and For Immediate Release (Shel, Neville) for being good sports about this (I hope). Special guest appearance by Paullscilla, Queen of the Desert.

It comes in at 11:10, and my testers enjoyed it. I hope you do to.

Link straight to the mp3 here.