The Art of Storytelling

A couple weeks ago I attended an Intelligent.ly class lead by Adam Sigel of Aereo. We walked through the necessary elements of storytelling and how to do it for some of the projects we were currently working on. I’ll take you through the parts of his presentation.

Part 1: Product Video

One company who is fantastic at storytelling is Google. We started off the class with one of their product videos, Parisian Love.

There are two things that make this video so powerful. The first is empathy. You feel a connection to the people in the video. You begin to care about them and what happens to them. Being able to get this emotion out of the viewer is valuable for both customer and business owner. Takeaway: The secret to every business is understanding what other people think so you can make them feeling something.

The second thing is distress. Stories have challenges, problems, and things going wrong before they are fixed. It is there stories and these complications that really make you pay attention.

Part 2: Big Idea

The Big Idea is the underlying message of everything you are saying and delivering (even if you do not verbally say it). There are 3 parts that make up the Big Idea:

  1. Unique Perspective – you need to have an opinion on something.
  2. Set the Stakes – What will happen for the main character of the story? This part makes people care more and sets boundaries for the scope of the problem.
  3. One sentence – Take the unique perspective and stakes you are setting, and put it into one sentence.

Nancy Duarte speaks about the Big Idea pretty frequently. In her Harvard Business Review article, she said:

Spell out the big idea: Your primary filter should be what I call your big idea: the one key message you must communicate. Everything in your presentation should support that message. The big idea is what compels the people in the room to change their thinking or behavior — and that’s the whole reason you’re presenting to them in the first place. It’s shaped by your point of view and what’s at stake (that is, why the audience should embrace your perspective)

Part 3: Elements of Storytelling

I encourage you to look through the slides especially for this part. The slides use Star Wars as an example to really understand the different elements of storytelling.

First, we have the heroes & mentors. At first you may think businesses are the heroes, but customers are actually the heroes. Businesses are the mentors. Everything we as marketers do should be keeping this in mind and asking ourselves the question, “How can we help the hero/our customers?” It is important to solve for the customer.

Next, define the journey. In business, there will always be competition. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it also shouldn’t be ignored. You will always have competition, and you simply have to address it.

Next, the call to adventure. Treat the first time a user uses your product or service as an exciting adventure. You can do this through a video, slogan, or other channels.

Next, enemies and allies. These are the other people you meet along the way. When you go on an adventure to use an app or service, there will be other people there competing for the service but also other people you can potentially partner with. Pretending you are the only business in an industry is just unrealistic. You need to be prepared for the research your prospects will do even before you enter into discussions with them. They will have information about you as well as some of your competitors.

Anticipate resistance. You have to win over your customers. They may not realize the benefit of your product or service. They may not even realize that they need it. It is your job to foresee that and plan how to overcome it.

Define the reward. This is where you make the promise for your product, service, or app. A reward is not necessarily what you will save. For some customers that will work, but other customers don’t care as much about that. People buy products and services for very different reasons.

Takeaway: Your product is the adventure that your users have been waiting for.

Recap

  1. All emotions boil down to pleasure and pain (Nancy Duarte). What pleasure can you create with your product? What pain can you avoid with your product?
  2. Big Idea = Point of View + “so what” all in one sentence
  3. Three things that drive people – autonomy, competence, and relatedness
  4. The best products are easy to use, social, and you know what’s happening.

Read the Slides!

For those who want to check out his slides from this presentation, they are below. I would really encourage you to do this as you will get a better sense of the takeaways by doing just that.

10 Things You Are Going to Forget For Your Next Event

As I have worked on more and more events, I have realized there are a bunch of small things that anyone who does not regularly work on events will forget to do or not realize they have to do. Even for someone who works on events frequently, there are a bunch of things that may fall to the back of my mind. Over time, I have learned (somewhat the hard way) to make sure they do not slip through the cracks. But for all of you who are first-time event planners, let’s go over some things that you will be grateful you know before your next event.

1) Ask the printer to put your name badges in alphabetical order. You may think this is really silly, but imagine if you received hundreds of name badges that you pre-printed, and they were completely mixed up. It doesn’t matter if you alphabetized them before you sent them to the printer. You MUST ask for them to be that way when they are delivered.

2) Put signage everywhere – including the really obvious locations. As the event planner, you know your conference better than anyone. You know the short cuts to get from one room to the other. You could basically go from session to session in your sleep if you had to. But for most people, it may be the first time in a particular venue, and you need to put signage EVERYWHERE. That means on multiple floors, at the top and bottom of the escalators, near the elevators, and outside of doors. Do a walk through of the venue, and put signs along every path along the route. You may think it is overkill, and that means that you put the correct amount of signage.

Signage at HubSpot Event (Photo Credit: Zac Wolf)

Signage at HubSpot Event (Photo Credit: Zac Wolf)

3) Order giveaways weeks in advance to avoid rush charges. Events get expensive. We know that. So avoid paying extra fees as much as you can. Even though there may be more important things to think about then what giveaway you are going to give out, think about it as soon as possible because it takes a lot of time to order materials and personalize them. Leave yourself at least 3 weeks for basic giveaways, and even more time if they are a bit more unique (you never know what is only produced internationally!)

4) Get on people’s schedules as soon as you can. Everyone’s schedule books up fast. And not everyone can rearrange their schedule because of an event. Do you need your executives on the event? Book them first because executives often cannot rearrange their schedules last minute. Do you need assistance from other people in your company to setup or breakdown? Make sure you block off their schedules. Do you need to set up information sessions to inform your company about the event? Get on their calendars a few weeks in advance too!

5) Ask the hotel or venue if you can set up early and test EVERYTHING. Sometimes a venue will let you in early if they do not have another event blocked off the day/night before. Setting up the night before (or the day before if you are lucky) will allow you to fix a lot of mistakes that may not be fixable when your event starts. Test your presentations on the presentation screens before your event begins. If you have any custom fonts, make sure they are working on the venue screens. Test the wireless. Test the sound. Test anything you can think of!

6) Find out if there are charges for shipping what you need to the location and condense, if possible. Most venues have drayage fees that charge the event planners extra for shipping and/or storing supplies before the event. Find out what these fees are (they are often per pound), and figure out if you need to ship everything or if you can condense multiple boxes.

7) Get extra staff for registration, directions, timing, etc. It is always helpful to have more people helping out at your event than you expect. Plan carefully for registration as that is the attendees’ first impression of your event. Have a lot of people running registration to avoid long lines. In addition to your directional signage, have floaters helping people from session to session or even when they first walk in the door. Have people dedicated to making sure the speakers stay on time for their sessions.

8) Communicate the final agenda weeks in advance to attendees. Have your agenda ready to promote to attendees and potential attendees 2-3 months before your event. Not only will it allow you to promote to new attendees, but it will answer many questions from your current attendees. People who sign up for events want to know what they will get out of it and how to prove its value to their boss. The agenda will be your best tool to assist in this question.

9) Give the venue some personality – spice it up with your brand! A hotel or convention center can be somewhat bland before you bring in some aspects of your brand. Think past putting your logo all over the place, and think about your brand colors and personality. How can you bring your company’s culture to an event? How can you spice up a room to give your attendees a feel for your event?

HubSpot's Executive Playbook Event - San Francisco

HubSpot’s Executive Playbook Event – San Francisco

10) Create a project plan. The first thing you should do before beginning any work on an event is create a project plan. The plan should include every small detail you need to do from signing contracts to sending in name badges and printing signs. No matter how big or small the task, it should be on your project plan. Even better, you can use it for multiple events in the future.

What other details do people typically forget when planning events?

SXSW 2013

I think it is every marketer’s dream to get to go to SXSW. I know I have been dreaming about it since college. And my dream came true this year!

SXSW was an incredible opportunity to see a much larger conference and figure out how they manage thousands of people. I was honestly surprised that it wasn’t the largest conference I have been to (Dreamforce has close to 100,000 attendees). But it was still an amazing experience.

A few highlights for me.

BLOGGER LOUNGE

Samsung sponsors a blogger’s lounge where bloggers or other people who want to get work done can come, sit down, and most importantly charge their devices. It isn’t huge – there are about 7-8 tables that fit 10-12 people each. But there are food and drinks, and it’s a comfortable space. There is also a daily web show that goes on, and they bring in influential people to interview. Some examples of those people: Tony Hsieh from Zappos, Brian Solis, and Shaq. Samsung also has an area where people can try out all of their devices (tablets & phones) and other promotional materials along the side.

Being within a few feet of Shaq was really cool too. ;)

Shaq at SXSW

Shaq at SXSW

Samsung Blogger Lounge

Samsung Blogger Lounge

KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS

I attended four of the keynotes: Elon Musk, Al Gore, Dennis Crowley, and Michael Inman. The first three were interview style, and Michael spoke by himself. The format was 45 minutes of either interview or presentation and 15 minutes of Q&A. They asked the audience to submit questions via Twitter with the hashtag #AskMusk, #AskGore, #AskCrowley, #AskInman. I loved how well the Q&A portion was integrated with the audience. I’m also a bit of a Foursquare nut, as you may know if you read my blog, so I was excited to see Dennis. I hadn’t seen him speak in about 3-4 years so it was interesting to hear about the change from check-ins and mayorships to emphasizing the importance of data. Also, Michael Inman was the funniest, most engaging person I have ever seen speak.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Al Gore

Al Gore

Dennis Crowley

Dennis Crowley

Michael Inman

Michael Inman

AUTHOR’S ROOM

There was a small room (maybe 50-100 people) where author’s could give a 20 minute presentation on their book. There was also a small cafe in the room. Right outside the room was an area for them to sign books right after the presentation. Immediately to the right of that was a store where Wiley was selling books including HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing book!

Author's Room

Author’s Room

Book Signing Area

Book Signing Area

CHARGING STATIONS

There were charging stations EVERYWHERE – I LOVED it!. At parties, in the blogger’s lounge, in areas that sponsors took over, and even just at random places in the hall. In the picture below you see what looks like closed lockers. AT&T (the sponsor) would position someone at the lockers, and there were chargers inside. You could give them your phone, they would lock it up, and you could come back later to get it back. Or you could stand there for awhile as your phone charged. AMAZING!

Charging Stations

Charging Stations

TRADE SHOW

The trade show was a typical exhibition area. But there were a lot of companies who did some pretty cool things including Post-It!

Post-It

Post-It

There were also a ton of t-shirts given out, which I was a fan of ;)

T-shirt collage

T-shirt collage

MY FAVORITE PART: ALL THE PEOPLE

Putting aside all of the great sessions and parties that literally went all day long (from early in the morning to late at night), my favorite part was meeting all different kinds of people and also re-connecting with some other friends. It was a great opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other and meet new people.

Two PRSSA friends, Amy Bishop & Harrison Kratz

Two PRSSA friends, Amy Bishop & Harrison Kratz

With the founder of Weather Puppy (An app you MUST download)

With the founder of Weather Puppy (An app you MUST download)

Reconnecting with the RVIP Ladies I worked with at Dreamforce 2011

Reconnecting with the RVIP Ladies I worked with at Dreamforce 2011

But the Angry Birds party was pretty cool :)

Angry Birds Party Decoration

Angry Birds Party Decoration

Was anyone else there this year? What did you think?

HubSpot’s INBOUND 2012 Conference

Wow time sure does fly when you are having fun! After publishing 1-2 times a month on this blog, it has been awhile since I have published a post. Definitely shame on me. But I’m back, and I’m here to tell you what I have been doing for the past year over the next couple of posts.

INBOUND 2012

This time last year I was gearing up for INBOUND 2012. I managed the logistics for the conference including sponsors, vendors, internal communication, registration, customer service, speaker coordination, budget, and reporting. We exceeding our goal of having 2,000 attendees and had 2,800 attendees with 60+ speakers from about 20 countries around the world. Our keynote speakers included David Meerman Scott, Rand Fishkin, Susan Cain, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

The conference kicked off with certification classes for HubSpot customers. They were able to get certified in top of the funnel and middle of the funnel practices. We certified about 150 people within the first day.

HubSpot certification class

HubSpot certification class

The following day, the conference officially kicked off with an exciting entrance by our co-founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

Then they walked into the conference and welcomed the attendees.

HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah's entrance

HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah’s entrance

Over the next 2 1/2 days, attendees had their choice of 60 breakout sessions within 6 tracks. They also had the chance to go to 5 keynote sessions.

David Meerman Scott

David Meerman Scott

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin

Susan Cain

Susan Cain

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk

There was also a special announcement of our latest product, HubSpot 3.

On Tuesday night, we also had a very special guest at INBOUND Rocks, Cyndi Lauper!

Cyndi Lauper at INBOUND Rocks

Cyndi Lauper at INBOUND Rocks

On Wednesday night, the last night of the conference, we had a few parties along Boylston Street with some of our sponsors. They were SXSW style so you could travel from party to party throughout the night.

Unlike other conferences, we had a pretty unique sponsorship exhibition area. Instead of having your typical booth setups, we gave our sponsors lounge areas with lounge furniture so they could have engaging conversations that did not come across as too promotional. We also had what we called the Prodigy Bar to allow customers to ask HubSpot consultants questions about the software.

HootSuite's Sponsorship Area

HootSuite’s Sponsorship Area

Another video of HootSuite's space

Another video of HootSuite’s space

Lounge areas in Sponsorship Hall

Lounge areas in Sponsorship Hall

HubSpot Prodigy Bar

HubSpot Prodigy Bar

And finally, a recap of INBOUND 2012, so you can really get an idea of what the conference was like.

Was anyone there? What did you think?

I’m Still Here!

Time flies when you are having fun! 

It may seem like everything has slowed down since I haven’t written a post in so long, but that is far from the truth. 

Last month, I published my first ebook for HubSpot called “Reinvent Your Event Marketing for Higher ROI.” It takes you through the planning process of setting goals for your trade show and creating a detailed strategy to make sure you achieve those goals and ultimately get higher ROI for being at the trade show. Sometimes it may be difficult to measure your trade show results, but it gives you details on how to do that!

Image

Cover for Reinvent Your Event Marketing for Higher ROI

I have also written a ton of content for the HubSpot Marketing Blog. One of the awesome things about this blog is that as soon as there are new marketing developments (Google+, Pinterest, etc.), we have an article posted about it. Though it may be hard at times to keep up with all these advancements, this blog is definitely an awesome start!

My last 5 blog posts include:

But probably the most exciting news is the conference I’m planning at HubSpot, Inbound 2012. This conference is from August 27-30, 2012 at the Hynes Convention Center for 2,000 marketers. You may have read about HUGS 2011 last year that was for 1,000 HubSpot customers. Inbound 2012 expands that conference to twice the size, three times as long and for any marketer, not just HubSpot customers. There will be keynote speakers including Gary Vaynerchuk and Rand Fishkin, certification and training, more than 50 sessions, a live band karaoke party and a sponsor pavilion different than anything you may have seen before. Stay tuned for some exciting updates on that!

What have you been doing lately?

A Look Back on 2011

As the end of the year approaches, it seems that most of the articles are reflecting on the last year. Journalists write about the best campaigns of the year, and the worst campaigns of the year.  They write about the most memorable parts of the year, and the most painful moments of the year.  Last year I wrote a post called the Final Post of the Year that went month by month through the best parts of 2010.  I really enjoyed writing that post and looking back on my past year so I figured I would do the same thing for 2011.

January

In January, I went to the Dolphins/Patriots game in Foxboro which is something I have wanted to do since I moved to Boston.  The Dolphins obviously got killed, but it was still a great time.

I also started my last semester of college at Boston University.  They had a few celebrations for seniors.

With Dean Elmore and John Battaglino

February

I had some exciting trips in February.  First, I went to Chicago for the first time.  I went to DePaul University’s PRSSA conference.  I wrote about it on an older blog post.  Then I spent the rest of the weekend exploring the city with my awesome tour guide, Nick Lucido!

Sky Deck!

The Bean

Deep dish pizza!

A week later I went skiing for the first time at Mont Tremblant.  It was definitely scary learning how to ski at first, but by the end of the weekend I was getting the hang of it.  But I have heard that your first time skiing should not be on this mountain.

March

In March I did something I had been looking forward to since I heard it opened.  HARRY POTTER WORLD!

April

This month started off bittersweet.  I went to Seattle for the PRSSA National Assembly.  I always looked forward to my PRSSA trips, and this one was my last.  The next committee was elected, and I was so excited and proud of them.  But it was also (potentially) the last time I was with everyone in my committee at the same time.  PRSSA continues to mean the world to me and truly made a huge difference in my life and my career.  I was also awarded with the Elaine Averick Outstanding National Committee Member Award.  Oh, and I caught a fish in the Seattle fish market!

The 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 PRSSA National Committees

The 2010-2011 PRSSA National Committee Saying Goodbye

Elaine Averick Outstanding National Committee Member Award

May

In May, I graduated from Boston University with a degree in Public Relations from the College of Communication and a degree in Business Administration from the School of Management.  I also received the Gerald Powers PR Scholarship, Blue Chip Award and Scarlet Key.

Scarlet Key

Blue Chip Ceremony

June

Even though I officially starting working on May 31, my new hire training at HubSpot started on June 6.  After six months of working, I can still say I love my job!

July

In July I spent a lot of time working and a lot of time enjoying Boston and getting together with friends.

BSMA Brunch

August

In mid-August, I co-founded a Young Professionals Network for the Public Relations Society of America in Boston.  Then at the end of August, Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual conference that included 45,000 people this year, began.  My responsibilities at HubSpot all summer consisted of working on our presence at Dreamforce and planning for our HubSpot User Group Summit.  David Kirkpatrick of MarketingSherpa wrote a case study about our presence there.  It was memorable, exciting and turned out very well despite Hurricane Irene’s attempt to keep the HubSpot team in Massachusetts.

September

September was the HubSpot User Group Summit (HUGS) in Boston with 1,000 customers.  It was inspiring hearing many of the HubSpot customer stories and seeing how excited the customers and HubSpotters were to meet each other and learn from one another.  And I cannot leave out the balloon sprocket at the opening reception.  I had honestly wanted to do this since my first day at HubSpot!

October

October started off by going to Maine for the first time!  I have wanted to see more of New England since I decided to stay in Boston after graduation, and this was the first step.  I also had lobster for the first time.

Then all my dreams came true, and I FINALLY got the Verizon iPhone!

And I, of course, had to highlight it on my Facebook Timeline:

November

This month was busy, but at the end of the month, I went with HubSpot to Cloudforce.  It was great to see everyone who I had worked closely with all summer for Dreamforce.  And it is always fun to meet HubSpot customers and talk to other people about the company!


December

At HubSpot, not only are we around some of the greatest marketing professionals in the industry, but they constantly take the opportunity to teach us as well.  HubSpot, therefore, set up a program called HubSpot Fellows.  The CEO and co-founder of HubSpot, Brian Halligan, teaches a bunch of classes on leadership and helps us become better leaders at HubSpot.  It is an awesome chance to learn from Brian but also interact with other HubSpotters who are part of the program.

Happy New Year to everyone!

5 Must-Have Mobile Apps for Black Friday

There are two things that people do on Black Friday: get all your Christmas shopping done or hide in your home to avoid the crowds.  But for those who take advantage of the deals that kick off the holiday season, here are a few mobile apps that will help you identify where the deals are and even avoid the long lines at check-out.

Old Navy’s Snap Appy

Old Navy took their app to the next level and placed Old Navy logos around the store that are scannable. Once you scan them, you can unlock discounts and other surprises.  But even before you set food in the store, you can peruse through some of their most popular styles and upload some of your own once you get in the store.  And if a store runs out of a particular style or size, which can often happen on Black Friday, you can order it online right from your phone.

Fatwallet.com’s Black Friday

On Black Friday, shoppers are overloaded with thousands of choices from hundreds of stores. But the problem is, how do you decide who has the best deal?  Where do you get your new TV or toys for your kids?  This app sorts your choices by store or categories and even allows you to add filters to make your search easier such as brand, price, free shipping eligibity, and whether or not it is a door buster.  Before braving the hectic malls, this app prepares you to use your time wisely.

Amazon Deals

Whenever you are about to make a purchase, you cannot help but think, “Can I get this cheaper?  And with free shipping on Amazon?”  Even though there is an Amazon app, the Amazon Deals apps works especially well for Black Friday to track deals that are running out. Many stores will only have certain details in the early hours of the morning.  Instead of running to your nearest Best Buy to get the latest electronic and an even lower rate, Amazon Deals helps you pinpoint the discounts and purchase online.

ToysRUs

ToysRUs is notorious for its’ success, crowded lines, and sales on Black Friday.  This store will even open on Thanksgiving before the start of Black Friday just to handle the influx of people looking to purchase toys.  The app is vital for anyone who has to buy for a child.  The app lets you search by keyword or item, check out daily and weekly ads, and highlights the top sellers and new arrivals.  And the best part?  You can buy right from the app and avoid the store completely.

tgiBlackFriday

Though similar to Fatwallet.com’s app, this app will help you keep track of the deals you want to capitalize on.  Once again, you can search by store or categories, but the app shows you how many deals are available at each place and allows you to add items to a list.  Come Black Friday, you can knock out all your purchases much quicker and be aware of all the available details.

What are your plans for Black Friday?

Life as a Full Time Employee

When I first started at HubSpot, I had no idea what I was getting into.  I knew my summer was going to consist of working on 2 events: Dreamforce and the HubSpot User Group Summit (HUGS).  But I never imagined that every day I would be blown away by the intelligence, motivation and positive attitudes that emanate from the walls of HubSpot.  The people who work at HubSpot are truly changing the world of marketing It has been confirmed in the last few months that my decision to work at HubSpot was the greatest decision I could have made.

So let’s go back a bit.  I had experience planning events in college with PRSSA, but I never worked on events that were larger than 200 people.  At Dreamforce, 42,000 people attend.  At HUGS, 1,000 people attend.  It was definitely going to be a different experience.  But instead of focusing on how scary that was, I decided to focus on how much responsibility I was given.  At HubSpot, your superiors empower you by giving you confidence.  They show that they trust you and know you will be able to accomplish your tasks.  And they guide you when you have questions and help you achieve your goals.  So I took the challenge of working on these events as exciting.

For those who don’t know, Dreamforce is the largest cloud computing conference in the world put on by Salesforce.com.  They have speaking sessions, a trade show and parties at night.  HubSpot had 11 speaking sessions and four booths in the trade show area. We created an iPad app for Website Grader and gave consultations to anyone who visited our booth areas.  We were very visible since we all wore orange track suits (see the pictures below or on HubSpot’s Flickr).  We also gave away free unicorns to anyone who stopped by our booth. Many people came up to the booth asking, “Why unicorns?” (which I am sure you are asking right now too).  At HubSpot, we are fact based.  You can see that through the webinars, blog posts, videos and other content we produce.  The unicorns were a reminder that you should not listen to marketing fantasies but listen to the facts.  Marketing has changed a lot in the last decade, and it is important to change your strategies as the world changes.  The messaging, iPad app and speaking sessions were very successful, and HubSpot had a great time there!  HubSpot also sponsored the RVIP Lounge, a karaoke lounge on wheels, to take people around the city at night.  It was branded with everything HubSpot (and also included a few unicorns!)

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Two weeks later, we had the HubSpot User Group Summit (HUGS) as part of FutureM right after the Inbound Marketing Summit (IMS).  During IMS, we had an Inbound Lounge where our consultants gave Website Grader assessments.  Attendees also had the chance to play ping pong or just sit and relax at our tables.  After IMS, we had our opening ceremony which included a 15-foot sprocket structure made out of balloons (see picture below) and a video thanking our customers.  HUGS was all day on Friday and involved different tracks to learn about different parts of the software.  But the most rewarding part was listening to the customers talk about the way HubSpot has changed their business.  They were so excited to go to the different sessions and hear more about what was to come in the future months.  It really shows you how much your job means to other people.  Pictures from HUGS show some of that enthusiasm.

So now that these events are behind me, I’m only looking forward to more events and PR at HubSpot.  It is so rewarding doing something you love with people who are as passionate and driven as the people at HubSpot.

What were your experiences with your first job?

Chris Brogan

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to hear Chris Brogan give a presentation about branding at Boston University.  He was extremely entertaining and informative and provided the audience with a lot of information about marketing and public relations.

He started off by asking everyone who was a marketing major, public relations major (there were only four of us, surprisingly), etc.  Then he asked who was in sales and few people in the audience raised their hands.  Then he told us that if we were in these fields, we were all in sales and customer service.

He told us a world class brand has velocity, distribution, relationship skills and true measurement.  Nobody cares how many Twitter followers you have or what your Klout score is.  These four items are what matters when working in these disciplines.

As companies adjust to using social media in their marketing strategies, it is also important to remember some of the older tactics.  Citibank conducted a survey of people 18 and older to see how they had a relationship with brands.  Four percent said their relationship was through Twitter, 15 percent by Facebook and 93 percent still claimed that they used e-mail.  Brogan did say that if e-mails from companies are sent from a “do-not-reply-I-don’t-want-to-talk-to-you” address, they are not doing e-mail marketing the right way.

When pitching a product, service or brand, remember that brevity rules.  200-500 words in a blog post and e-mail works.  People do not want to hear everything that exists on a topic through these mediums.  And they most likely won’t read everything.

Marketers often forget to LISTEN to what people are saying.  Brogan said to stay topical and current, you have to listen to what people are saying they want.  Comcast did a great job of this through their Twitter handle @ComcastCares.  They listened to customer complaints, responded to them, fixed many of them and had increased revenues as a result.

Many people think marketing campaigns can be measured by how many people like a page on Facebook or follow a company on Twitter.  The real opportunity is to make the next thing happen after the like.

In terms of networking, Brogan referenced the Dunbar Effect that says that you only have 150 people in your network.  He said to try to be part of everyone’s 150 network.  And the best time to keep your network alive is when you do not need the person’s help.

Marketing should never be safe.  The best campaigns are often the most risky ones.  Brogan said the cool, awesome thing with many of the new tools out there is being flexible and trying something new.  Coke had a very successful campaign with user generated videos, but they will not be able to do something again.  Marketing is about fresh, new ideas and keeping a brand alive.  He did admit though that Geico’s Gecko can be used repeatedly without being stale.

When keeping in touch with people, interact with them through multiple mediums.  Brogan has a huge network and keeps in touch with people by posing questions at the end of his blog posts, commenting back to comments on his blog and even commenting on other personal blogs.

Some other interesting facts he said included:

  • 40 percent of business do not have a web presence.  They live by what other people write about them.
  • The #2 search engine in the world is YouTube.
  • 1 in 6 Facebook users is a Facebook fan of Disney.
  • The Will It Blend campaign was created by the person in charge of the agency (not an advertising agency) and led to a 500% increase in sales.

Thank you again to Chris Brogan for an informative and entertaining lecture.  What did everyone else think?

PR Advanced: Be the Change (Boston University’s Regional Activity)

Every year Boston University hosts a conference, and every year I have been impressed by the dedication of the conference committee, caliber of speakers and involvement of professionals, agencies and professors.  This year my expectations were completely surpassed under the leadership of conference coordinator, Ginny Soskey.  I have had a different perspective of the conference this year as I worked with PRSSA Nationals to oversee the Regional Activities across the country.  But it was nice to be at Boston University to see the process throughout the past few semesters.  I saw as Ginny dedicated her life and put her heart and soul into this event.  Not a day went by without her working to make it a success, and it was better than I could have imagined.  I’m truly excited to see all the wonderful things Ginny (who is only a sophomore) is going to do in the future with BU PRSSA and beyond.

For those of you who were not able to attend PR Advanced: Be the Change, there were many fantastic speakers who I was able to listen to.

Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM


Jon Iwata started off by discussing the strengths of public relations: listening and adapting.  He then spoke about the marketing funnel:

He then split his talk into four sections: Forge a shared belief, Spur people to act, Sustain Behavior and Enable advocacy.

In this digital age, people find out about things almost instantaneously.  During his presentation, he admitted that people were probably posting about his presentation, and he didn’t know what they were saying.  It could be bad things, but he has no control over that.

He spoke about why belief is important.  He used a scenario about bottled water as an example.  It used to be the belief that bottled water was better than tap water, but we now know that isn’t true.  He said, “We ought not to confuse fact with what people believe.”  Belief matters in the public relations field, and it is over predetermined by customers.  It is the job of public relations professionals to distinguish beliefs from fact.

People don’t like change.  Iwata suggested to not try to convince people to change but eliminate the inertia that is preventing them from changing.  He gave the example of hotels trying to convince people to reuse towels.  There was a 26% increase in people who used towels in hotels for more than one night when the signs said “Hotel guests use towels more than once” instead of telling people to use towels more than once to help the environment.

He continued by quoting The Social Network:

He spoke about the multiplier effect and how Facebook was able to grow so quickly.

Finally, he spoke about something everyone was waiting to hear about: Watson.

He told us that he actually competed against Watson (and lost) before they went public with him!  We watched a clip from Jeopardy and spoke about the benefits to Watson.  During questions, he said the next step for Watson would be health care to help physicians stay on top of all the literature.

And did I mention “Jon Iwata” was a trending topic in Boston almost immediately?

The conference continued with two breakout sessions.  I attended both agency panels.

Session 1 – Opportunities Worldwide

This panel covered topics from skills and personality traits to getting your first job to client relations.

Barri Rafferty, Senior Partner and Director, Ketchum New York

She spoke about the importance of being able to translate social media skills to the corporate role.  You might be able to use Facebook and Twitter, but can you use it in a professional setting?  You also need to be a good communicator verbally and orally.  Finally, be open to trying new things.  Don’t be afraid of doing something you have not previously worked on.

Meaghan Smith, Senior Account Supervisor, Edelman New York

When you start a new job, you need to learn other people’s working styles and be organized.  Keeping up relationships when searching for your ideal job is important.  Something may not be available right away, but in a few months you could get something you are looking for.  It is also important to give a business case to clients to convince them it is worth investing in your company.  That’s where business classes come in handy.  Finally, there is not a line between personal and professional social media.  You always represent your company so be careful what you say about the company and its clients.

Katherine Wilburn, Consultant, Gagen McDonald

Resiliency is important.  You may finish a plan for a client and have to redo it.  It is important to try to make clarity out of chaos in an agency setting.  Remember to listen and ask the right questions to arrive at a solution.  Keeping in touch with people is important.  If you see an agency is in the media, show that you saw the article and congratulate them (if appropriate).  Take as many business classes as possible, especially negotiations.  It may come in handy when working with clients to tell them what the consequences of their decisions may be.

Session 1 – Opportunities in Boston

This panel focused more on the Boston market.

Sarah D’Souza, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, Edelman

Agencies never know when they will need to hire so it is important to keep in touch with people.  They are looking for interns who will get their hands dirty and work on multiple accounts.  It is important to learn to juggle multiple projects at the same time.  Internships are like long job interviews so it is important to show your best work.

Jason Glashow, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Fleishman-Hillard

The Boston market has an entrepreneurial environment that creates a lot of opportunities.  There is an untapped opportunity as some of these companies try to figure out their social strategies (which will be very important in the future).  Things change very quickly and constantly which is important to get used to in an agency.

Christine Perkett, Founder, PerkettPR

The ways you can reach reporters are now different.  Twitter may be a great resource, but sometimes reporters want to be reached in the “old fashioned ways.”  It is important for interns to learn how to juggle multiple clients.  Interns should take initiative and walk in with ideas.  If you can talk through a strategy for a class project and show you understand strategic thinking, that is great!

Margery Kraus, Founder, President and CEO, APCO Worldwide

The afternoon started off with another keynote address.  She told us about the way APCO has survived and made a name for itself.

  • Be the partner of choice with clients.
  • Push the boundaries of communication.
  • Provide a global service, culture by culture.
  • Do not build an organization by yourself.  Build it with a team of people.
  • Help companies, organizations and governments build, defend and monetize their reputation.

Clients often are looking for a solution but do not know how to get there.  It is the job of the PR agency to think about what they need and how it can be achieved.

The formula that APCO lives by is ROR (Return on Reputation) + ROI (Return on Investment) = Market Share.

They also live by the word passion.

  • Passion provides the fuel for our souls and minds.
  • Passion makes us work better and smarter.
  • Passion makes it more than a job.
  • Passion builds relationships that live beyond the project.
  • Passion is our secret weapon.

Ginny Soskey, Regional Activity Coordinator

I then had the honor of recognizing Ginny for all her hard work on behalf of the National Committee.  Mike DeFilippis recognized her on behalf of the conference committee.

I should also mention that by this time #pradvanced, Jon Iwata and Margery Kraus were all trending topics in Boston on Twitter.  And #pradvanced was a trending topic in the United States on Twitter.

Career Panel

Stephanie Deitzer, Founder and President, Style at Work

She gave advice about what to wear in an interview.  Know your audience when deciding what to wear.  Think of it as a first date.  What impression are you trying to make?  And she said you can never fail with the blazer!

Kate DiChristopher, HR Manager, Marina Maher Communications

When you go into an interview, show that you are passionate about the agency.  She is looking for people who know a lot about the company and are digitally savvy.  Also, be prepared to talk about the ways you consume media.  You should be able to name a few blogs you read and talk about why you read them.

Eric Leist, Emerging Technology Strategist, Allen & Gerritsen

When people come in for an interview, they are asked three main questions: Are you curious about technology?  What are you curious about?  How do you fulfill your curiosity?  It is good to ask questions that show you know what’s going on in the industry.  Look at your skills and passions and think about what you want before choosing a job.

Maggie Van der Leeuw, Manager of Human Resources, Burson-Marsteller

Show your personality during your interviews.  Does your personality online match with your personality in person?  It should!  It is good to show that you have a life outside of the industry, but also show you have industry knowledge through Twitter.  During the interview, show that you went beyond the basics of the website.  Don’t settle.  As an employer, they want to know you are going to dedicate yourself to your job.

Other Parts of the Conference

There were also many other speakers that I did not get a chance to see including Mariana Agathoklis, Director of Communications, MTV, Peter Stringer, Director of Interactive Media, Boston Celtics and Jamie Thompson, Founder and CEO, Pongr.

Additionally, Twitter was a constant throughout the conference.  Students were tweeting the entire time, but they also were asking questions of the panelists through Twitter.  Questions were answered by people raising their hands but also taken right off Twitter.

The day ended with a career fair with companies including 360 PR, Allen & Gerritsen, Boston University College of Communication Graduate Program, Burson-Marsteller, Cone, LLC, EMC CorporationFleishman-Hillard, Hill Holliday, Ketchum, Lewis PR, Marina Maher CommunicationsMSL Group, NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Porter Novelli, PRSA Boston and the Publicity Club of New England.

Once again, congratulations to Boston University and the entire conference committee!  Another job well done!