Posts Tagged 'Public relations'



SHIFT Brings Home TWO Bulldog Awards

Here at SHIFT, we pride ourselves on not only our creativity, but also our ability to bring extraordinary ideas to fruition. This is why we were all ecstatic when we recently received word that SHIFT had been awarded not one, but TWO Bulldog Awards. That’s right, on the heels of SHIFT’s recent honor of being named the 2012 Digital/Social Agency of the Year by the Holmes Group, the agency took home a Silver Bulldog Award for “Best Campaign under $10,000,” along with a Bronze Bulldog Award for “Best Technology Campaign – Business Category.” Check out details around both winning campaigns below.

Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?

It’s no surprise that the war for talent in the Bay Area is heating up more and more by the second. SHIFT’s Appirio team saw a PR opportunity to bolster Appirio’s recruiting efforts at Dreamforce by capitalizing on the media presence at the event and latching onto a recent U.S. jobs report. Realizing that free food and an event filled with hungry software developers was a match made in heaven, the team coordinated for a taco truck filled with free food to be parked just outside  conference doors.

The campaign, which cost less than $2,000, resulted in 8.7 million impressions and coverage in Bloomberg Businessweek, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Palo Alto Daily News, CIO and broadcast coverage on KTVU and KGO. Major Kudos to SHIFT’s Appirio team for rocking it out on this campaign and claiming the Silver Bulldog Award for “Best Campaign under $10,000.”

Getting into the game

There is no denying that the gamification space is hot right now, but this was not always the case. In a budding industry, SHIFT was determined to make Bunchball the pioneer and market leader in online gamification solutions as well as the go-to resource around the industry and any/all related trends. How could the team accomplish such a task? By starting from the ground up. SHIFT worked to educate reporters about the ROI of gamification and to make sure that Bunchball and gamification were associated as closely together as Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie, Jay-Z/Beyonce, John Mayer/Jessica Simpson/Jennifer Aniston/Taylor Swift – well, you get the idea.

In a nine-month period, the SHIFT team secured 170+ original media hits in top-tier tech and business outlets such as Forbes, Dow Jones, The New York Times, Forrester, AllThingsD, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable and USA Today. At the end of the day, the team helped to increase Bunchball’s competitive share of voice to more than 40 percent. Congratulations to SHIFT’s Bunchball team for bringing in a Bronze Bulldog Award for “Best Technology Campaign – Business Category.”

As the only awards judged by a panel of professional journalists and bloggers, SHIFT could not be more happy to add the Bulldog Awards to our list of achievements. It is further testimony to the agency’s commitment and dedication to providing our clients with stellar work on a daily basis.

By Annie Meenan (@anniemeenan)

SXSW: What I Learned Navigating Through Nerd-topia

By @rockegan

Every March for the past 20 years, movie buffs, music connoisseurs and tech nerds have taken over Austin, Texas. To some, the 20,000 extra people swarming the streets would be overwhelming. If you look past the lines, crowds and lack of sleep, however, you begin to realize that you are in a world where being called a “geek” or “nerd” is cool and everybody surrounding speaks the same language as you, and that language is Tech. What you experience for that week is nothing that you have ever experienced before or will ever experience again.

South By Southwest (SXSW) is focused on developing and expanding on innovative ideas for new products and services and because the main focus is technology, no two years are the same. With the rapidity at which the tech world advances, the things that were important this year may be considered archaic by next March.

According to the conference website, “SXSW’s original goal was to create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas.”

Walking through the trade show in the Austin Convention Center, I stopped at booth after booth and asked for a quick pitch of whatever the company was marketing. Although I was somewhat overwhelmed, a lot of the things that people presented to me blew my mind. I kept finding myself thinking, “Oh my gosh, Client X would love this!” or “This would be totally great for Client Y’s next launch party.”

As I pushed my way through the crowds, waited in endless lines for free food (like Do.com’s bacon truck where I tried pickles wrapped in bacon) and did my best to meet all the people around me at any given time I realized something. Even though just about every single booth had some sort of swag, the companies that did the best with regards to being noticed were those that really knew how to reach their demographics. Sure, they may have handed out a sticker or a pin (or five), but what really caught my attention was when a representative from the company would ask me a question and alter their sales pitch to cater to my specific interests/needs.

Even though I flew back to San Francisco with a severe lack of sleep, three new canvas bags for my groceries, a foldable water bottle for my purse and about 23 branded t-shirts (why do they even make SXSW shirts to sell? If you just walk into the Convention Center you get a lifetime’s supply for free!), some of the companies I remember most (even just two days out) are the ones that I walked away from with only a business card and a handshake.

Check out the slide show to see some of the pictures I snapped while making my way through the streets of Austin:

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Inside the SHIFT Studio: Alex Brooks

@abrooksshiftcom

1. Name:

Alex Brooks

2. Hometown:

Dallas, TX. As we say, American by birth, Texan by the grace of God.

3. Where did you go to college?

Williams College– go Ephs!

4.  How long have you worked at SHIFT:

 3.5 years

5. Use four words to describe yourself:

Witty, loyal, old soul

6.  What made you enter the PR industry:

I graduated from college in 2008, right when the recession was starting. I was an art history major, but cast a wide net in my job search since there wasn’t much available, and pursued opportunities in marketing as well as the art world. SHIFT hired me as an intern and then as an AC about a month and a half later. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to start my career at a company where I’ve learned so much and worked with fantastic people.

7.  When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up:

Ridiculously enough, when you Google “Alexandra Brooks,” the first search result is the website of a psychic who shares my name. Apparently, she is a Healer who works with Pink Light, a gentle healing light that resonates to the energies of love, harmony, and peace (verbiage taken from her website – I can’t make that stuff up). As I tend to embrace an “insert sarcasm here” credo, this coincidence is pretty epic.

8. What blogs or Web sites do you read every day:

Real News: WSJ, NYT

Fake News: People.com

10-Minute Break: Amy Atlas’ blog, Sweet Designs (she’s a dessert stylist)

Every Friday: Charles Krauthammer’s weekly column in Washington Post

9. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it:

My ideal cocktail already exists – the French 75 (champagne, gin, lemon juice, and sugar). What can I say? I love my bubbles. Also love the classic cocktail nostalgia; I can see Coco Chanel knocking these back in Paris.

10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you:

My dad’s Jewish and my mom’s Catholic. I was converted to Judaism as a baby. One of my mom’s relatives, Andre Bessette, was canonized in October 2010. That makes half my genes Chosen and the other half saintly. In the words of Bill Murray (aka Carl Spackler), “So I got that going for me, which is nice.”


Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages: What’s the big fuss?

The social media world has been abuzz since last week’s official launch of Facebook Timeline for all brand pages. Timeline has been available for personal users for a few months, and while it’s been optional, it’ll ultimately be the only choice for people and brands alike. I’m now accustomed to seeing the new look on my friends’ pages: huge cover photos of sunsets, babies or pets (I’m guilty of at least two. See for yourself.), but how will Timeline actually transform a brand’s presence on Facebook? After speaking with reps from the site, taking an online webinar and reading up on all of the official Facebook documents, I’ve come to the conclusion that Timeline can enrich a consumer’s view of a brand. How can it do this? By creating a page where consumers might spend more time and by allowing brands to seem more human.

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Personal uses of Cover photos are often sunsets, babies or pets.

Here are some details about how Timeline works:

Cover Photo vs. Profile Picture

The new cover photo seems like a simple concept. It’s like a profile picture, but bigger. But Facebook claims that it’s more than that – and they may be right. The suggested use of this space is for an image that captures the essence of your brand. Not a logo, not a promotional photo, not just text. The cover photo is the soul of the brand page, and should convey the soul of the brand. On the other hand, the profile picture should convey the facts: the logo, the label, etc. Facebook chose a few brands as guinea pigs for Timeline. Among them were Coca-Cola and Manchester United and not surprisingly, their pages look great (I’m guessing their sizable Facebook advertising budgets didn’t hurt). The Manchester United page is the perfect example of the Cover Photo vs. Profile pic discrepancy. Their profile pic is just the Manchester United logo. And yet their cover photo is of an emotional, uplifting photo of the victorious team, evoking immediate emotion from any user. Even from me!

What it means for brands: Emotion sells.

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Manchester United gets it right with an emotion provoking cover photo

Pinning Your Posts

Another new feature for Timeline is the ability for brands to “pin” a post to the top of the page for up to 7 days. This is all about the first impression – any user landing on a brand page will see exactly what the brand wants them to see. The days are over when negative customer feedback live at the top of the Facebook Brand Page wall. This gives more power to the brand over all headlining content on their page. And while users are still encouraged to post on brand pages, Facebook has introduced a new option for consumers to privately message brands. This should cut down on some of the customer service type questions that are often prominently displayed on Facebook walls. Barack Obama’s profile is a great example of keeping the positive message up top, including user photos of reasons why they support Obama, positive videos and quotes from the President himself.

What it means for brands: Choose your pins wisely. They’re the introduction line in your consumer conversation, and you now have the power to control it.

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Obama pins positive posts. And check out his great cover photo.

Views and Apps

Here’s a big change: Brands can no longer select a landing page for their users to view first. Everyone will land to the brand’s Timeline. The only way for users to go straight to an application is through a paid media buy. Facebook has also changed up the way applications are displayed – they’ve said goodbye to the text links on the left side of the page and opted for pretty thumbnails at the top of the page, right next to the Photo and Like images. Brands will be able to move the thumbnails around, displaying which applications get top priority, although the Photo and Like thumbnails are stationary. This results in a nicer presentation, but a more top-heavy page, where users will need to scroll down below the fold to get to the real meat of the page.

What it means for brands: Brands can no longer dictate for users to arrive on welcome pages, “like to enter” tabs or apps. So, create thumbnails to make your apps pop.

Milestones

On to the main course: And here’s where brands can really show their personalities. The milestone function allows brands to chronologically add in the opening day of their business, the day they made your first dollar, when they expanded globally, etc… The actual timeline on the Timeline allows brands to expose their history to their users. Do consumers care? Brands are tasked with injecting their milestones with fun, interesting facts – otherwise the Timeline will fall flat. Starbucks started their Timeline with opening their first store in 1971, and for a company that has grown so quickly – it’s a fun read. Obama also gets this right. His milestone posts bring us back to the 1970s with fun facts such as: “Obama gets his first job working the counter at Baskin-Robbins” or “Obama moves in with his grandparents in Hawaii”. But then there’s Coca-Cola. Their first milestone on their Timeline is the company’s start in 1886. A brand with such a long, rich history should be fascinating to read about. But do consumers have time to scroll though their entire history? I’m not so sure. Especially since the Timeline functionality is still very sluggish. Once we see improvements with the speed, it might become a more attractive read.

What it means for brands: Keep this section short and sweet, with punchy and interesting facts. Brands want users to find your brand charming and inspiring, not just read a history text book.

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Coke’s milestones take us back to pre-Facebook times in 1886.

There’s no question – Timeline is pretty. And it will allow brands to speak to users in a whole new way. I just hope that Facebook doesn’t lose sight of the importance of the consumer to brand and consumer/consumer conversations, both of which seem to take a back seat with this new look. If the goal is to make brands seem more human, then human consumer engagement should still be a top priority. But as we’ve seen with Facebook in the past, there’s certainly more change to come.

Why Authoring a Blog May Be My (And Your) Best Career Move

By @JohnCassillo

If you’re in public relations, chances are you write. A lot. Yet, I’d bet many of us try to check out from one of our most common daily activities once we leave the office. If you were a biologist, it’s probably unlikely you’d be doing lab work on your weekend, so why would (should) PR folks be expected to take pen to paper – or finger to keyboard – when they don’t really have to? Well, included below are some of my own rationalizations for spending three-to-four extra hours per night writing… about college football:

  1. Entering the minds of the reporters you’re pitching – If you’re wondering what the reporter on the other end of the phone could potentially find interesting, blogging’s one good way (of many) to get additional insight. Whether you post just once per week, or every day, blogging puts you into the editorial mindset and allows you to see the news you’re pitching much differently.
  2. Gaining valuable editing experience – If you’re just starting out in your career, it’s unlikely you’ve done a lot of copy editing. But if you run a blog, you become your own editor and develop a more critical eye toward your own writing. Say you happen to join (or start) a blog staff, now you get to develop editing skills for other styles of writing beyond your own, too.
  3. Become more accustomed to urgent deadlines – Writing at night, the deadline is usually when I’m too exhausted to think anymore, but by placing sleep as a deadline, I’ve increased the speed at which I write things so more posts get done. This also applies to point number-two.
  4. Building a portfolio – Junior-level staffers may not have the most extensive experience writing client materials, so the best way to grow your portfolio early-on is blogging. Coming out of college a few years ago, nearly every interviewer asked if I had writing samples or a blog. Rather than some senior class projects (or as younger professionals, a pitch or two), I had a URL full of work to hand over. The fact that you enjoy the subject you’re writing about will also shine through, and allow readers (be they managers, clients or prospective employers) to see your best work.
  5. Crafting a voice – An important part of writing for yourself, or your clients, is creating an appropriate voice. By setting the tone on your blog early, it establishes a personality and brand which visitors will start to associate with both the site and you. Sounds an awful lot like our jobs, doesn’t it?
  6. Developing relationships through social channels – Clients are pushing more and more for active, respected social channels, so why not develop your own experiences in this regard, with relation to your blog? Take a look at what space your blog inhabits (sports, music, food – whatever it may be) and build relationships with influencers through blog commentary, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. Knowing the ins and outs of how to get content and opinions shared around the web makes you look great to your clients and managers, and allows for better results for your team.

If you already have a blog, congrats! You’re probably doing most of these things naturally. If not, there are plenty of easy ways to get started. Just think up a topic you like, and post as little as once every week-or-so to an aptly-named Tumblr, WordPress or Blogger site (of course there are other services as well). This all may seem daunting at first, but in the long-run, your quality-of-writing and future-self will thank you.

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Leslie Grant

1. Name:

Leslie Grant

2. Hometown:

Lemoore, CA

3. Where did you go to college:

UC Santa Barbara

4.  How long have you worked at SHIFT:

  One year

5. Use four words to describe yourself:

Optimistic (sometimes overly), ambivert (it’s the Gemini), easy-going (always along for the ride), dreamer (fancy spin on ADD :))

6.  What made you enter the PR industry:

I wanted to find a career that was social, creative, innovative and different from day-to-day. After doing my homework, I took a chance on PR and it has yet to disappoint.

7.  When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up:

Google+ telling me to complete my Google+ profile. How convenient!

8. What blogs or Web sites do you read every day:

Mashable and People are my go-to resources for all things social media and celeb – Twitter helps me weed through the rest of the clutter.

9. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it:

The Chatty Cathy – a few of those suckers and I’ll talk to anyone who’ll listen (beware).

10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you:

My great grandmother and her family originally sailed to San Francisco by way of Tahiti – her name was Ella Elisa Hedwig Tetuanui Terroro Hinatua Kramer Brown… seriously. Obviously, I got the Western European genes (hence the general disbelief).

11. What do you feel is your greatest personal success in PR thus far?

Securing a feature story in Fast Company! Excited for more to come!

The Power of Pinterest: Why Everyone Should Join the Pin-sanity

By Donna Ho (@donnatho)

So what’s with all the hype around Pinterest? As cliché as it sounds, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard of the virtual pin board and social photo sharing website. Or you’ve been asked just a few too many times, “Are you on Pinterest?”

While it may have initially been an online spot for food lovers and wedding hopefuls, the site has become much more as a number of brands, businesses, and influencers have joined the Pin-sanity. The site was recently named one of the top 10 websites within the Hitwise Social Networks with nearly 11 million total visits in a week. And according to a study by Shareaholic, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.

Everyday People Pin

Just a few months ago, I was that person who didn’t get it. Why was this virtual pin board so cool? After taking another poke around the site, I quickly became a Pin-somniac. What’s not to love about bookmarking and organizing you favorite photos and feeling creative? Being able to click through images to other interesting links made the site even more addicting and exciting, which brings to me to why others are catching on to the social media network trend.

Brands Pin

As brands have become comfortable with Facebook and Twitter and are learning the ins and outs of Google+, they are now adding Pinterest to their social media repertoire. The ability to pin and share photos through links helps drive traffic and therefore, increase visibility and sales. A marketer’s dream, right? Chobani and Mashable are just a few examples of some who are successfully pinning their own product/content. Marketers are even thinking outside the box, using Pinterest for contests, adding a Pin-It buttons to their site and using hashtags.

Brands are not only using the site to promote their own product, but create a brand personality online that will engage users.

Take for example, InStyle Magazine created a board for a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, in which its 4,000+ followers most likely re-pinned, liked and purchased these products.

Influencers Pin

Just like Twitter and Facebook, people follow personal brands and enjoy seeing what their favorite guru’s inspiration. Fashion Director for Marie Claire, Nina Garcia, an expert in the fashion trend, for example, is very active in the Pin world with more than 240,000 followers interested in the upcoming seasonal fashion.

Whether you’re using the social network to spark ideas for your clients or for your own personal enjoyment, Pinterest is a fun and easy-to-use social tool that I believe has the power to stick around for a while. Although the site’s user base is mostly female, I have a feeling the guys won’t be too far behind to catch onto the trend. Are you convinced of the pin-sation?



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