Monday, October 12, 2009

University PR at it's Finest!

Let us all take the time out to congratulate The University of Maryland on a job very well done. They've launched a campaign, targeting students, with a game where they must find turtles hidden throughout campus.

Playing off the college's tagline, "Fear the Turtle," and referencing the school's sports teams, dubbed the Terrapins, Red Tettemer hid 569 ceramic turtles, a mere three inches in size, in the middle of the night.

Using an agency-coded blueprint of the campus, turtles were hidden outdoors, in classrooms and buildings. Who doesn't love a good scavenger hunt?

The game was teased on-campus using chalk-stencils, posters and stickers of turtles and the web address The college also took to its official Facebook page to further spread the word.

The microsite features a campus map with green squares depicting the location of as-yet located turtles. Red boxes signify turtles that have been found and claimed by students.
Once a turtle is found, students flip it over to find an attached code that unlocks a prize for its owner. Prizes range from ice cream cones, gift cards to Starbucks and Applebee's, T-shirts, tote bags and iPods.

Currently, 486 turtles have been found and 84 remain hidden. There's a limit of 10 turtles/prizes to be collected per student, which isn't bad -- unless you're lactose-intolerant and you win 10 free ice cream cones. But what are the odds?

Once most of the turtles are found, additional clues will surface to help lead players to the golden turtle. This grand prize stands to be more difficult to find than other turtles, and the agency and university won't reveal what the prize is. Yes, I'm intrigued, and I'm sure students are revved up, too.

The university hopes to make this scavenger hunt into an ongoing tradidion and will use the microsite to house content once the game concludes.

So why advertise to students already enrolled in the university rather than reach out to potential students? To boost school spirit and campus pride -- and maybe some late-night trips around campus, armed with flashlights and turtle maps.

Source: MediaPost

Building Better Business with Social Media

Gary Vaynerchuk re-branded his family's wine business in New Jersey, calling it the Wine Library and building a loyal clientele with his high-energy online videos on wine. Host Scott Simon speaks to Vaynerchuk about his new book, Crush It, a guide to using social media to build a business.

SCOTT SIMON, host: Late on holiday season, Gary Vaynerchuk realized his nationally famous New Jersey wine shop had mixed up a simple order of white zinfandel for an older woman who lived three hours away. She wasn't a big customer. Gary's time in the busiest commercial season was precious, but when he discovered the error, Gary put a case of the wine in his trunk and drove six hours round-trip to deliver it.

Why, Gary?

Mr. GARY VAYNERCHUK (Author, "Crush It: Why Now Is the Time to Cash In On Your Own Passion"): 'Cause caring is the differentiator in business.

SIMON: That's our friend Gary Vaynerchuk, who joins us every now and then to talk about wine, sports and other human spirits. He joins us now to talk about his new book, "Crush It: Why Now Is the Time to Cash In On Your Own Passion." Gary, of course, is the man who's turned wine green by comparing certain wines to the hind quarters of a sheep and recommended the right wine to serve with Cheerios.

His wine library TV blogs made Gary into a national brand name so he could kevel and kvetch about the New York Jets. Gary, thanks so much for being with us.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Scotty, thanks for having me again.

SIMON: This book isn't really about a wine, is it? It's about passion though.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yeah, it's about why I was able to build my brand, monetize it to, you know, seven figures plus, and all I did was talk about the one thing I loved the most and why I know the kind of listeners you have right now love cooking, love gardening, mountain biking, parenting. And they could do the same thing 'cause the world's changed.

SIMON: Now, you think the sluggish economy notwithstanding, that business has never been more open because social media has opened up so many routes for people.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: The cost of creating your voice over the thing you're most passionate and knowledgeable about is zero. I mean, that's crazy, Scott. I mean, you know, the fact that you can create a blog or a community for zero, you can put out videos for zero, and now because of things like Twitter and Facebook socialize and network, you know, kind of like working a cocktail party, build your business.

Word-of-mouth is how all the businesses have always been built anyway, and that costs zero. Well, now it's time. Now it's no excuses. Put down the Nintendo Wii paddle, stop watching "Lost," it's time to build a brand around yourself.

SIMON: Well, what did you learn from your baseball card collection when you were a kid?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I learned a lot of things.

SIMON: I mean, you'd get a pack of baseball cards with some - let's put it this way - with some players that, you know, weren't the most promising or most sought after.


SIMON: I'm going to assume a lot of them were Cubs.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: And Yankees in those days.

SIMON: Yeah…

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: During the bad Yankee years.

SIMON: Okay. All right. Cubs and Yankees. And you figured out a way to make people want them.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: What's storytelling, right? So potential in athletes is always exciting. You know, so everybody wants to buy Ken Griffey, Jr. and Frank Thomas. I made a big bet on a guy by the name of Kenny Lofton, who ended up becoming a pretty big star. So you know…

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: …you've got to look in different places. You have to fish in different ponds. Right now everybody's so focused on Twitter and Facebook, but what about Tumblr and what about Daily Booth? What about these different platforms and playing fields? They're out there.

SIMON: You have a stunningly practical bit of advice for people who are interested in building a brand. You say: use the predawn hours.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Scott, do you know how many people complain or are worried or not happy? A lot. You know, if you're really not happy, I just don't understand why you wouldn't get up at 6:00 a.m. and hustle and do a couple of hours of community work, meaning Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, all that stuff, around your passion and then go to work. You've got to pay your dues, do your thing.

But slowly but surely, you know, if you have eyeballs, advertisers and marketers and businesspeople are going to come to you. Opportunity comes. Everybody says, how do you monetize? Don't worry about monetizing so quickly. Get the 100,000 listeners, get the 30,000 listeners, get the 20,000 viewers, and you will be stunned how many brands are going to want a piece of that.

SIMON: We're big into some of the social media platforms, as you know.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yeah, those are great.

SIMON: And, you know, we hear from people who are uncomfortable with that.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Listen, I don't want anybody to do anything that they aren't good at. You know, you read the book. I scream about owning your DNA. If you're not comfortable and you don't like people and you don't want anybody to know anything, well, then this is not for you. You know, I'm not going to convince you. But I feel like even if you're an introvert, you know, it's not something that you need to stay away from.

Don't forget: you control the message. You put out what you want to put out.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Right? I mean, well, I don't want anybody to find out. Well, don't say it. It's not very difficult.

SIMON: You're quite open in this book about declaring that you want to make enough money to one day buy the New York Jets.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I've been pretty open about that statement my whole life.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Well, but, you know, now you're, I think you're on a route as a matter of fact. I have a memory that you weren't a big Mark Sanchez fan when (unintelligible)…

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: That is correct, that is correct. I booed on draft day. Now…

SIMON: And we'll explain to people, I mean, he's had a sensational rookie year with the exception of last week.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I did boo the pick prior to knowing the details of the trade. But by then the television images and the damage has been done.

SIMON: Television images of you, right?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Of my booing, yes.


Mr. VAYNERCHUK: That's correct.

SIMON: You get back to a bit of very fundamental advice, which is love your family.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I just think about everything from the basis of I'm 95 years old and I'm laying on my deathbed. Am I thinking that I wish I made more money? I want to live my life in a way that I look back and I'm proud of it. Legacy is greater than currency, and that's just kind of how I live it.

SIMON: So what wine is best for serving with Cheerios?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: You saw that. Yeah, so recently I did a Wine Library TV where I paired wine with cereal. The great, great combo out there is Riesling with Cap'n Crunch.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: You know, if somebody's got some Cap'n Crunch right now, go grab a Riesling.

SIMON: Gary, always a pleasure to talk to you. I hope you can come back soon.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I appreciate it, Scott.

SIMON: Gary Vaynerchuk, his new book, "Crush It: Why Now is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion."

Source: NPR

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

9 PR Rules Learned in Kindergarten!

Richie Esovedo of Next Communications posted a blog about his daughter's kindergarten class and how they learned 9 Rules about how to treat one another. He took that list and applied it to public relations. It's very interesting to see how the rules carried over to our industry (it's amazing what he did with rule #6!).

9 pr rules:

  • Say please
  • Say I'm sorry
  • Be friendly
  • Share
  • Play fair
  • Don't litter
  • Never hurt others
  • Say excuse me
  • Listen to others

  • 1. Say please
    - This rule speaks to a sense of decency and politeness. Some days we get so caught up in our work and we forget to be thoughtful with our co-workers, clients, and unfortunately, other members in our community. Forgetting this rule can cause tragic disconnections that are sometimes difficult to mend.

    2. Say I'm sorry - If you screw up, own up to it. The sooner, the better. This is true for individuals as well as organizations when things go wrong. Your community will be more likely to forgive mistakes and missteps if you can express honest remorse when needed.

    3. Be friendly - Public relations professionals had better like people. I don't mean the "I'm a people-person" platitudes that so easily get thrown around. I mean PR people need to have others' interests in mind when planning, preparing, and implementing in order to be the stewards of information and counsel our community expects us to be.

    4. Share - I appreciate this rule for the facets it represents in the professional life of a PR person. Sharing is another word for communicating. Being effective communicators is in my opinion the basis for the work we do. The share rule can be the difference in being a part of a community and being apart from the community.

    5. Play fair - The PRSA Code of Ethics includes fairness as part of the core values: "We deal fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media, and the general public. We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression."

    6. Don't Litter - I'll be honest, I wasn't exactly sure at first how I was going to fit in this rule as a relevant rule for public relations. However, then I thought about what litter was: trash. So for PR people, this rule is simply to not leave your garbage lying around. Clean up after yourselves. If you make a mess of things, clean it up. Not every idea is a winner. That's ok. If your idea gets turned down, learn from it. That's how we grow.

    7. Never hurt others - You might think that this is just an extension of being friendly and saying your sorry. In reality, this rule is different. Hurting others takes a certain level of intention. What this rule is saying is never proceed with plans that you know will do widespread harm.

    8. Say excuse me - In addition to fairness, PR people should be held to a standard of advocacy: "We serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent. We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and viewpoints to aid informed public debate." Sometimes I think we need to add the word polite to this notion of public debate. Being civil is never out of style.

    9. Listen to others - There is an interesting duality to this rule. A.) You don't know all there is to know about public relations. You need to continue to learn and hone your skills through discussion, research, and professional development. PR is an ever-evolving field and being able to adapt and change is what will make you stand out. B.) You don't know all there is to know about your organization or clients. Active listening within your work environment, on behalf of your organization and through monitoring will mean the difference between taking shots in the dark and making educated and informed communication decisions.

    Source: Next Communications Blog