Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

One of my favorites:

Happy Halloween. I hope your community still participates in a fun and family oriented trick-or-treat experience.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Do not anger the audience

My father-in-law is a football fan from Montana. One of his teams (mainly because of proximity) is the Seattle Seahawks. He told me of a strange promotion for the Washington State Lottery during a Seahawks game earlier this season.

A total disregard for the audience
25,000 fans received a yellow cap courtesy of Washington's Lottery. (That's me sporting the funny looking yellow cap.) Instructions were given along with the cap that read:
Wear your lucky cap to each home game starting October 12, 2008 for your chance to be one of 30 instant winners of $500!
Sounds good right? Pretty straight forward. They even stated there would only be five winners per game.

So why is this worth noting?
How about for the simple fact that, according to my father-in-law, this made Seahawks fan mad. But why would fans be upset at a promotion that was designed to give them some cash?

Poor color choice pissed off their audience.

The yellow cap with the little green logo looks suspiciously like Green Bay Packers colors. The Lottery promotion organizers likely chose the color to match their own brand colors, which are not really that close to Seahawks colors. As I understand it, many of these yellow caps found there way to trash cans, urinals, rooftops, middle-of-the-street, etc. as a sign of solidarity for the Seahawks faithful who wouldn't be caught dead wearing enemy colors. I'm also going to bet that alcohol played a minor role in some of the more colorful options of trashing the caps. By the way, the promotion's October 12 start date happened to be the Seahawks game vs. the Packers, so that didn't help matters either.

There's a lesson here
When thinking through a campaign, it is always a good idea to view it through the eyes of your audience instead of just rolling out what might otherwise be a good idea, otherwise it just might fail or worse, make people mad.

Special thanks to my father-in-law from sharing his experience and giving me his hat. I think I'll keep it as a reminder to remember the audience.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Purpose of Influence

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty

I have been thinking about what it was I could contribute to the international Blog Action Day conversation for a few weeks:
All of these things, while worthy of reminding, reading, and researching, led me to take a look at a question: What is the purpose of influence? 

I've read Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life and have also gone through a church-wide 40 Days of Purpose plan. It is a wonderful teaching tool and it helped me start doing some things I should and stop doing some things I shouldn't be doing. But, it really hasn't clicked for me until now.

What does this have to do with Blog Action Day 2008?
It all comes down to stewardship of influence. I found a 2006 TED talk by Pastor Warren entitled Living a Life of Purpose. In it Warren describes what he refers to as the purpose of influence:
The purpose of influence is to speak-up for those who have no influence.
I think we can all agree that people living in poverty fall within the category of having little to no influence on society. This should be the reason so many influential bloggers choose to participate in a Blog Action Day, to reach millions in order to shed light on this global problem. It's not about ego, driving traffic, or SEO; it's about using the gifts we are given in order to do something good.

Think about your stewardship of influence and stewardship affluence:

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Cancelled Experiment

The natural gas online education program channel, Shale.TV has been canceled before their first show. Chesapeake Energy, citing “economic challenges” faced by the country and the industry, announced the move to abandon its online media venture.

GFW PRSA recently had Chesapeake's VP, corporate development, Barnett Shale Division, come speak to the chapter about some of the company's communications/PR tactics. She provided some excellent insights based on a wealth of experience and knowledge to listeners.

I was very interested in the Shale.TV information she touched on during th Q&A:
Q - When was announced, your quote may have been heard as demeaning to PR?
A - It was not meant to be demeaning to PR. I think news teams took it personally. I do think it is important to understand difference between corporate advocacy and mainstream journalism. Media is changing. We are doing an experiment and we'll see how it goes.
Unfortunately, we won't get to see how that experiment goes. I was very interested in how this corporate advocacy channel would do for their audience. I was looking forward to hearing about the successes and/or failures of the venture that brought in some recognizable media talent. This looked like an interesting PR challenge for the company. Now the big question for me is what is Tracy Rowlett going to do now?

Ideas Shake Things Up
I will give credit to Chesapeake for the Shale.TV idea. So what if it ruffled some feathers of some media friends. (It was probably more problematic to Chesapeake to have the local community up in arms.) It would have been interesting to see what kind of measurable impact this experimental venture could have produced for the company.

We all know media is in a state of flux as is the PR industry. With so many tools and tricks to figure out and try, I think more experimentation with creative and unique ideas will only help communications/PR pros be that much more effective for our companies, organizations, and clients.

(photo credit: confusedvision)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Live blogging is not as easy as it looks

So I tried a simple live blogging experiment on a whim today during the Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA's October luncheon.

The idea was simple (or so I thought)
We had a speaker from a top-of-mind energy corporation in the North Texas region. Julie Wilson, APR, past president of the Greater Fort Worth Chapter PRSA, and vice president, corporate development, Barnett Shale Division, Chesapeake Energy Corporation accepted an invitation to speak on the corporate community relations tactics, views and answer questions. I volunteered to conduct a live blog post during the luncheon on the chapter's blog.

Good idea at the time
I made a brief announcement before the luncheon on the chapter's blog and spoke with a few board members about the idea. (Buy-in was easy and initial positive response was received.)

Should have thought it through
I made some mental notes about the challenges of and suggestions for live blogging:
  • Since this idea was concocted the night before, it lacked the proper planning that should have been done to prepare for this type of endeavor.
  • Sitting down to type statements and audience Q&A takes a fast typist.
  • It is important to pay thoughtful attention for details and nuances from the speaker while trying to maintain a running list of important ideas to share.
  • It's ok to miss a few things here and there as long as you stay true to the speaker's concepts. (Hopefully, those in attendance will help view commenting for clarification.)
  • Next time I think I'll use a live blogging web-based program that is built for just such an occasion. (I am going to try
What would you add? Have you ever tried your hand at live blogging? Do you have any other suggestions for future reference?