Pass the Mic Blog

Strategic Communications for a Changing World

Archive for April, 2012

Pinning Is Winning

Posted by Jon Bloom under Public Relations, Tools, Trends

April 30th, 2012

I, like many of my friends, have a slight obsession with Pinterest[]. I wouldn’t go so far to say I spend hours upon hours on the new social network, but I do like to pin craft ideas, try new recipes, link to travel locations and give kudos to some of my favorite websites or brands. (Disclosure: I do not have a pretend wedding or unborn child board on Pinterest)

For those that don’t know, the website has a very large female demographic, appealing to women ages 25 to 44. It actually does have a growing male following, with men rounding out the users at 32 percent. The site gets about 1.36 million users a day, and has grown by 2,702.2 percent since May 2011. (Take a look at this neat infographic from Mashable for more fun facts about Pinterest) Bottom line: Pinterest is growing, growing quickly, and has a nice demographic of users for marketing potential.

Using the site to link back to original photos, products, blogs, and more is a great way for businesses to engage with the users and get pinning. One thing to keep in mind though is the core demographic. This isn’t a site for B2B marketing. It is a social medium that B2C businesses can utilize, so long as they understand the audience and aren’t trying to sell table saws or hand knives.

While the majority of brands on Pinterest have a focus in interior design, crafts, travel, fashion, food, event planning, etc., there is also a handful of online publications, non-profits, and even consumer facing tech brands that have pages on the site. This is a social medium that when used correctly and creatively can be a significant aspect of marketing campaigns.

If you are a consumer brand then pinning is winning and I encourage you to explore the opportunity for your business. I’ve seen some brands that are utilizing Pinterest really well, including GE, Glamour Magazine, Nordstrom, Panera Bread, Southwest, the Today Show, the Travel Channel, and Whole Foods.

What are these brands doing right and what should you do to achieve a similar level of pinning success? It’s a mix of the things. Here are some tips on things to do to effectively engage on Pinterest:

> Pin items from around the web, and do not just self-promote your website
> Connect with top brand evangelists and utilize guest Pinners for alternate perspectives
> Correctly attribute images and include original descriptions on all pins
> Know what your customers are looking for and tailor boards accordingly
> Engage with your audience by re-pinning and hosing contests
> Showcase the lifestyle of your brand and represent the brand promise, not just the products
> Use high quality images and videos
> Tell a story through themed boards

–Katie Peterson

(Editor’s Note: Please check back on Thursday for an alternative view of Pinterest)


McGrath/Power Named Finalist For Consumer Electronics Campaign Of The Year

Posted by Jon Bloom under Clients, Public Relations, Strategy, Tools

April 17th, 2012

As some friends of McGrath/Power know by now, we are proud to have been named a finalist in the Consumer Electronics Campaign of the Year category by The Holmes Report Sabre Awards for our work on behalf of Fusion Garage.  The Sabre Awards receive more entries from agencies and in-house communications teams around the world than any other public relations award program.

We are one of five finalists in the category and made the short list for our entry “Bringing a Brand Back From the Dead.”  The campaign, which ultimately enabled the embattled tablet manufacturer to receive a second chance in the market after an initial false start, was based around “TabCo,” a snarky, opinionated parody tablet company.  The program captured the industry’s imagination by promising a breakthrough new tablet through a gradual unveiling of features and associated teaser content.  TabCo also offered market commentary from the brand’s fake CEO, viral-esque video content covering everything from a remake of Apple’s legendary “Lemmings” commercial to the stolen iPhone caper involving a tech industry blogger, “special deliveries” and Twitter Tweet Chats.  The campaign opined that the tablet market had become stale, was about to receive something completely different and get people asking the question “Who is TabCo?”  And, wow, did they ever.

The campaign kicked off with professional sky-typing planes hired to spell out “Forget the Fruit” above the Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference as attendees cued for entrance.    From that point, the market’s attention was captured.  Millions of consumers hit the TabCo website, Twitter followers surpassed 70,000 and TabCo TV videos received widespread views on YouTube.  The media followed the campaign as well with Fast Company, AllThingsD and numerous trade publications covering TabCo.  Consumers speculated online about the brand behind the brand (Nokia was often mentioned) and contemplated the new features of Fusion Garage’s then forthcoming Grid-10.

We also had to conceal Fusion Garage’s identity during the campaign.  As all activity would take place online, hacker attacks on TabCo digital properties were expected to unveil the brand behind the campaign.  To combat this, we retained one of the world’s foremost “white hat hackers” to cloak the campaign in an attack-proof cocoon.  We also implemented a Tor browser to enable email communication and content uploading/distribution without leaving “digital tracks.” Tor is a network of private virtual tunnels developed by the U.S. Navy to protect online government communications.  To also conceal our identity during phone communication with media and analysts, we implemented “drug dealer phones.”  These disposal phones had diverse area codes and no user name or ID associated with them.  Thus, they weren’t traceable.   Thanks to HBO’s “The Wire” – a popular series focusing on a drug dealing gang – for that idea.

We had a great time with the TabCo campaign and look forward to learning the decision of the Sabre Award judges in early May!

—Jonathan Bloom


Welcome, LiveOps!

Posted by Jon Bloom under Clients

April 12th, 2012

How many of you out there are on Twitter?  Facebook?  Pretty much of you, right?  And, how many of you have ever had a lousy experience trying to communicate with a brand?  Lots more of you, I know.  It seems as if some brands out there have seen the light and gone social in their communication with customers and fans while others still don’t get it.  Unfortunately, the ones that don’t get it out number the ones that do and that is why McGrath/Power Public Relations and Communications is proud to welcome LiveOps as a new client.

As PR Week reported today, LiveOps is the leader in enabling cloud-based customer engagement across multiple social, mobile, and traditional channels. The company is fundamentally changing the way brands interact with consumers by joining cloud, social, and mobile together within customer care centers.

That is cool stuff to anybody who wants to communicate effectively with a brand on their own terms instead of being relegated to solely to 1-800 purgatory.  For communications professionals like us, it is also pretty darn cool.  It blends our Agency expertise in mobile, social and enterprise with the opportunity to transform how a market views a brand interaction.

We’re looking forward to working with LiveOps and driving this brand and consumer interaction transformation!

—Jonathan Bloom