Monday, October 26, 2015

The Golden Arches Just got Sweeter

As the saying goes – there’s nothing new under the sun. And for McDonald’s, that’s kind of true. Sure they are testing out Sweet Potato fries in 18 locations in Amarillo, Texas. And they also have “Create Your Taste” locations throughout the U.S. where customers can build their sandwich just the way they want it – type of bun, toppings, condiments, even the meat/poultry choice. So the specifics are new.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Athletes Return the Favor

A recent article in the New York Times shed light on a topic often assumed but less often discussed - athletes showing love to their alma mater. While Universities consider campaigning for wealthy alumni’s help to finance their efforts – particularly in athletics – it’s not as often you hear about famous athletes giving back to the schools that helped their rise to superstardom. That may be changing.

Recently, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green gave $3.1 million to Michigan State’s athletic department, a massive sum and one of the largest amounts ever given by an athlete. Green is not alone. The Times reported that Miami Dolphins tackle Ndamukong Suh gave Nebraska $2.6 million from his first NFL contract. Also, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson offered $5 million to the University of Illinois at Chicago, an amount totaling roughly half the Flames’ budget for a new baseball stadium. Saints QB Drew Brees has made two seven-figure donations to his alma mater, Purdue.

Green told the Times his gift was a thank you. “I went to Michigan State as a boy, a boy who really didn’t know where life was going to take me, really my own identity. I left Michigan State a man.” From a public relations perspective, having a famous athlete as an alumnus is a gift that gives both ways. Sure, like Green, most of the young men who come in as talented freshmen athletes are relatively clueless about life and all its various opportunities.

They bring with them drive, determination, and untapped opportunity. As life on campus teaches them lessons, they need to learn to move to the next stage in life, their efforts on the field or floor put butts in the seats and money in the coffers. Education and opportunity for fame and notoriety. It’s a fair trade. Then, a fortunate few athletes go on to huge paydays in professional sports.

Paydays that would not have been possible except for the opportunity to shine they had in college athletics. Many realize the connection, and more are saying “thanks” for their big opportunities with signatures on big checks.

Friday, July 31, 2015

AT&T to buy DirecTV: How will this shake up the tech industry?

This past week AT&T won its bid to purchase satellite TV provider DirecTV. One of the conditions reached in the deal was an agreement from AT&T to increase its broadband reach to a greater number of homes and businesses. In a single move, the combined company is now the largest pay-TV provider in the United States. The Justice Department said it would not challenge the deal because it doesn’t “pose a risk to competition.”

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lessons From a Top Social Media CEO

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner recently spoke at Wisdom 2.0, a business conference in San Francisco. He talked about lessons he’s learned on his rise to the top. We can all learn a lot about management success from what Weiner had to say.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nintendo makes Bowser VP

Nintendo just hired Bowser to be its US Vice President of Sales. In a match made in tech PR heaven, Nintendo just got a tremendous Vice President with a name that no media outlet – or Nintendo fan – will be able to resist. There’s a story here that everyone will want to read.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Self-driving Semi: Wave of the Future?

So, the media is buzzing about new “self-driving” semis, and some people are asking: “Didn’t they make a horror movie about this?” The one certainty about technology is that it will try to accomplish the impossible. Just when you think you have seen everything, the World of Tomorrow completely changes. Yes, people have been talking about driverless cars for years, but most folks imagined small single vehicles, not necessarily Optimus Prime.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cracking Under Pressure

When the iPhone 6 hit the market, it was The Big News in tech for weeks. Then someone tested it, and the phone failed to hold up under the pressure. About nine customers complained about “bent” phones after the first week of sales. Nine. But, it’s the iPhone so of course it was big news. Then a couple of British kids videoed themselves bending an iPhone 6 Plus and posted the video on YouTube.

Views stacked up, and It Became Fact: iPhones will bend, and then break. But what about the competition? Well, Samsung, purveyor of what would have once been called absurdly large handheld devices, now has a similar problem. According to reports, the new Galaxy S6 Edge can be permanently deformed when bent with 110 pounds of pressure.

So who has the edge? Well, no one, it seems. The iPhone 6 bent when the same amount of pressure was applied. Then again, it held up a bit longer than the Galaxy did before being irreparably destroyed.

What’s the PR result of all this bending and breaking? Well, the smart money is on “don’t bend or break your phone,” but the consumer takeaway will likely only reinforce previously determined personal preference. Each side will say: “see, they both break, but mine is still better.”

Some people are asking if Bendgate is the beginning of the end for “bigger and thinner” phones. Probably not. When smartphones first arrived on the market, accessibility was the name of the game. They mimicked the size of current cell phones but added features. Now experience is the name of the game in the market – the name has even changed from phone to “mobile device.”

Smartphones are, once again, tools to deliver an experience…an experience that increasingly includes visual-based entertainment and information. For that, bigger screens are better. So bigger screens are what consumers will be offered. How to deliver the best experience with the best resistance to damage (without hurting new purchase numbers) is the Holy Grail challenge right now for mobile engineers.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Branson vs.Tesla

Richard Branson loves it when you travel with a Virgin. He’s winning fans in so many transportation spaces—trains, planes, spacecraft. It’s only natural that a man who made his billions with innovation would set his sights on other means of getting people from here to wherever they would rather be. And, with a move into the cruise ship sector already announced, where else is there for Branson to go? Passenger cars, of course.

And, because this is Branson, you know he will do it with style…and enough difference to make a splash wherever he lands. Perhaps telegraphing his intentions, Branson recently joined his racing team in Miami, where Virgin Racing was competing in the all-electric Formula E race. Yes, it’s a competition of entirely battery-powered racecars, all capable of going from zero to sixty in about three seconds.

In case you missed it, Formula E is billed as the “world’s first international, all-electric racing event.” Organizers said the event’s purpose is to “push the edges of electric car technology.” Races have been held in popular Formula 1 locales from Beijing to Monte Carlo. According to reports in Bloomberg, the vehicles currently reach top speeds of 160 mph, but they can do so in virtual silence. Can you imagine a race where all you could hear is the scream of the crowd?

What’s that you heard about the inherent performance limitations of electric vehicles? Well, friend, they were wrong. Just when you were wondering what he would say next, Branson dropped this bombshell on the press: “We have teams of people working on electric cars. So, you never know, you may find Virgin competing with Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business.”

Hey, Elon Musk, that sound you just heard was a gauntlet landing at your feet.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Why Marketing is the Secret Ingredient

The difficulty most new business owners find is understanding precisely what marketing is and what it is not. Marketing is the basic structure of how products and services will be presented to the target market. Before creating a marketing plan, there is a bit of marketing research needed to define and refine the marketing plan to be implemented. Marketing research basically consists of studying your target markets, your potential sales prospects, your suppliers and your competitors. This creates the basis of your marketing profile.

It's far easier to implement a marketing plan after a thorough investigation of these elements is comprehensively researched. A well-defined marketing plan is the secret ingredient in a structured business plan and business success.

Marketing - The Secret Ingredient in a Successful Business Plan

Ways Marketing Can Help Grow and Boost Business

There are several ways marketing helps grow and boost business. These include:
. Products and services are directed at specific sales prospects
. Advertising and promotions in structured marketing plans increase visibility
. Event planning and special marketing strategies boost the number of clients

Marketing Your Business for Best Results

There's more to marketing a business than creating a sales campaign. Marketing isn't sales. Marketing is the engine that drives sales, increases the number of clients and promotes the image, brand and visibility of the business. When businesses think of marketing and sales, the intermingling can result in mediocre strategies. When singularly defined as a business mechanism, marketing easily adapts to changing business trends and help sales remain stable. For example, a marketing plan for a manufacturing business needs enough flexibility built into the plan to withstand the impact of higher costs of raw materials needed to produce products.

Another example in the service industries is when a marketing plan for financial consulting allows wiggle room for stock market corrections. This is why marketing is the secret ingredient in long-term business success.

The All-Important Market Plan

Small businesses can develop their market plans based on the scope of the business in relation to the overall industry within which the business fits. Larger businesses that wish to enjoy steady growth often employ market researchers to help structure an annual marketing plan that is generally implemented at the beginning of a fiscal year. A marketing plan should be completely compatible with sales initiatives to help grow and boost your business. It should be based on business scope, target markets and buyer need.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Your First Public Relations Internship

The public relations industry can be a rewarding place to start a career, but there are a few things you should know before you start your search. If you are interested in finding your first public relations internship, the first thing you need to understand is what the internship will most likely entail.

Public relations internships are intended to support the business of generating goodwill toward a company, product, cause, or individual. Your responsibility will generally be to aid in developing a positive image for the organization that hires you. This includes a wide variety of tasks to accomplish the goal of positive publicity, from writing press releases to representing clients at events to contacting media outlets and planning events for your organization. Because of the nature of your tasks, it is very important that you have good writing and speaking skills before you apply to a public relations internship.

Take a writing course if your writing skills are lacking. Being capable of producing high-quality press releases in a short period of time is vital in a public relations, and professional writing and editing skills will help you stand out from your peers. Organizational skills are also a must in this industry, as you will be relied on to ensure that events are run smoothly and on time. Do not apply for a public relations internship if you cannot keep calm under pressure. There will be hectic moments during the internship, especially on the day of big events, or when you are in a time crunch. The ability to keep your cool will serve you greatly, and will show your bosses that you have the resolve necessary to be successful in the business. Make sure to study tactics that make a PR person successful. Understand how companies deal with crises, as well as how they promote their cause through positive publicity.

You need to know how to shine a positive light on any situation. Lastly, once you have landed an interview for a public relations internship, it is important that you thoroughly research the company or organization your interview is with. Business acumen is vital in the public relations industry, and you need to understand the functions of your prospective hirer inside and out.

Being knowledgeable about the inner workings of a company or organization will show them that you take your work seriously, and are dedicated to making them look better. This will increase your chances of being hired. Good luck with the search for your first PR internship!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Snapchat Founder to Become Billionairs with new Investment

In early 2015, Snapchat announced that it had recently raised $485.6 million from 23 investors. The company, currently valued at $10 billion+, has grown in importance as concerns about security and the use of photos and other media sent over the Internet loom larger. The founders of this growing company, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, can expect to be the next billionaire giants in the tech community.

The Rise of Snapchat

Launched in 2011, Snapchat quickly became one of the most popular photo-sharing applications in the marketplace. The app allows the user to send images and video via the Internet to other users. Many applications do the same thing, but Snapchat also makes the images disappear in a few seconds. By 2014, Snapchat had 200 million users implementing the application. In 2013, Snapchat’s founders turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook and a $4 billion offer from Google, preferring to keep the business in their own hands for the time being.

Snapchat Founders

Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown were the developers of the concept, which was originally called “Picaboo.” They brought in Bobby Murphy to do the coding on the project. Brown left the group in the early days, but filed suit to protect his financial stake in the company when he learned that Facebook made an offer for it. The legal wrangling was eventually settled, and CEO Spiegel publicly acknowledged Brown’s contribution to the founding of the company.

The Snapchat Business Model

Some experts have been doubtful about Snapchat’s ability to make money when its most valuable asset, information on its users, disappears in seconds. In late 2014, Spiegel explained that ad money will be generated from untargeted advertising, essentially spam. He will have to overcome users general reluctance to view spam in some way that is, as yet, undisclosed. Making spam cool and appealing will be a significant challenge for these young entrepreneurs.

After Snapchat

The future will be bright for founders Spiegel and Murphy. If they follow the pattern of PayPal founder, Elon Musk, they could get involved in developing a new alternative fuel automobile like the Tesla. Or they could found a company that runs supplies to the International Space Station, like Musk’s SpaceX company. Ebay founder, Pierre Omidyar, who became a billionaire at the age of 31, went on to found online investigative journalism sites and a philanthropic organization. Whatever Spiegel and Murphy decide to do with their billions, the public is sure to hear more about their endeavors in coming years.