The Newest Way to Shout

Have you ever found yourself heated about a certain topic and just want to shout it out? Well, now you can with Shout Roulette. The new website has a variety of topics such as “Mitt Romney is an idiot,” “people should not own dogs in crowded cities” and “job interviews are horrible.”

Then you choose a topic that you are fired up about and either agree or disagree. The website takes your opinion and places you in a video chat with someone with an opposing view. When you are sick of talking about one topic you can move to the next and yell at random strangers over the internet.

The site reminds me of the controversial ChatRoulette but for folks who want to get upset and debate. Would you use this site as a place to let go of frustration? Or do you think this is a new way of communication?

I would love to see what happens on Shout Roulette during the presidential debates tonight. It’s probably a better idea to get upset at someone that you don’t know than to cause controversy in your own household. What are your thoughts on this new website and communication tool?

Ruffled Feathers

Who wudda thunk it?  That Big Bird would become a political hot potato in the home stretch of presidential election season?  Only in America could that big, feathery, loveable symbol of childhood get caught in the crossfire.

There’s no debating it, ever since Big Bird was named as a target for cost-cutting by Romney last week, the yellow guy has never seen this much ink.

It all started when Mitt took the mitts off and ran over poor Jim Lehrer while he was asleep at the moderator chair.  Hard-hearted Mitt told the global audience that he would actually cut PBS, Big Bird and poor Jim if he’s elected the next prez.  (I got very nervous about my Masterpiece Mystery! addiction).  But, hey, folks, that’s at least one cut he’s telling us he’ll make.  When it comes right down to it, Mitt is showing us he can make the tough choices.

So, what did Big Bird do?  He goes on a media tour and appears on SNL with Seth Meyers.  Quite a coup for the bird on the street.

But, now the candidates are flippin’ the bird all over the place.  Obama is now using Big Bird in an Anti-Romney ad and in stump speeches, and Romney countered with none other than the Count to show that 2 can play the same game!!  It’s obvious these guys are playing hardball.

This might sound funny, but Sesame Street is NOT laughing.  They do not want to be seen as endorsing either party and want all Sesame-Street-related ads pulled. The Obama Campaign is thinkin’ about it.

Guess that means Big Bird is down for the Count.

YouTube Generation

YouTube is blowing up and it is no surprise. Anyone can create an account and upload fun videos to gain attention. YouTube is quickly becoming a resource for people and brands to express themselves. There is more video content uploaded to YouTube in a 60 day period than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years. That is a lot of content especially for a company that was only founded seven years ago. With so much content being uploaded daily you might be wondering how you make yourself or your brand stand out.

First, identify your target audience. Are you a brand? Who is listening to your message? Once you pin down the identity of your audience you can then choose how you want your YouTube branding to be. Is YouTube a resource to help get your business message out there? If so, then your content should help describe your business and showcase the company culture.

Second, you want to keep your content fresh and innovative. Once you have built an audience you don’t want to lose them by posting irrelevant information and not sticking to your brand identity. The best way to keep an audience engaged is by making your channel personal, posting often and incorporating your channel with your other social media platforms.

Last, ask for feedback from your audience. What do they like that you are posting? What are the video’s with the most views? Another way of asking for feedback is on your other social media sites. Once a video is up you can post a Facebook message saying “Check out our new video. Click LIKE if you want to see more videos like this.” This also helps your audience feel engaged with your channel and helps you gain insight for future videos.

Now that you have all the tools needed to create a successful YouTube channel you can get out there and test the waters! Don’t forget to have fun and for old times’ sake check out the first video ever uploaded to YouTube here. Have fun YouTubing!

Spanish Spoken Here, There and Everywhere

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Claire discusses the importance of knowing your target audience.

If you’ve been living under a rock, you may be surprised to learn that America’s Hispanic population has grown to more than 50 million people, meaning nearly 17% of the country is Latino.

What’s more, Latino buying power this year is estimated at $1.2 trillion.

And if you’re not specifically targeting these consumers, chances are your brand is not relevant to them…a study on advertising effectiveness showed that 38% of Hispanics surveyed found English language ads less effective than Spanish ads in terms of recall and 70% less effective than Spanish ads in terms of persuasion.

But creating a Spanish-language campaign is only the beginning.

Researching your Hispanic audience to gain understanding and insight into their culture and lifestyle is key.

I’ll illustrate the importance of getting to know the unique needs of your Hispanic target audience with two examples, one about lifestyle and another about media consumption habits – – –

While in college, I attended a presentation by a Hispanic Marketing specialist that discussed the vitality of going beyond English-to-Spanish translation in your Hispanic campaigns.

To highlight this point, she told us the story of a client that came to her agency confused as to why their product was not seeing increased sales among Latinos, even though they had created new commercials in Spanish and placed them on Univision and in key TV stations in Hispanic-heavy markets.

Initially, the presenter’s firm wasn’t sure either. After conducting some research, however, they realized that the problem was a scene at the end of the commercial where the family dog jumped on the bed, the Latino owners petted him and he rested at the foot of the bed.

…Nothing out of the ordinary here, right? Wrong. While many aspects of the English commercial translated over, one cultural difference was a major turn-off for Hispanic consumers and affected their purchasing decision: allowing a dog on the family’s bed.

This example illustrates the importance of going beyond just translating your message from English to Spanish, and really delving into the culture and lifestyle of your Hispanic audience.

When customizing your communication to Latinos, it is also important to consider the way that they use and engage with media.

Here at zcomm, we deal primarily with broadcast and new media, so the staff understands the listening/viewing habits of many different segments of our population. While working on a radio promotion for one of our clients, I learned that, while Hispanics consume every type of media, radio is the most effective way to target this population.

Did you know that Latinos listen to the radio, on average, for 26-30 hours each week? To put it in perspective, that’s more than 13% more listening than the general population.

TV is another heavily-consumed media – with the growth in our Hispanic population, Univision has become the #5 television network in the US.

I could go on and on with these examples, but I think you get the gist, and since studies show that people only read about 28% of the text on a webpage (this percentage decreases as the amount of text increases!), I’ll stop here…I know my audience 😉

My Thoughts On Instagram

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Hailey discusses the social media platform Instagram and how to use for your brand.

Instagram is pretty cool. I can’t deny that. It takes ordinary pictures and makes them look extraordinary, maybe. It’ll turn a sunset into a sunset with a sepia tone, or a plate of pasta into a plate of pasta that just looks a little cooler. All joking aside, that’s what has made it so popular. It lets us feel creative and allows us to see things a little bit differently. It brings out the artist in all of us.

I don’t use the app very often, but my Facebook and Twitter feeds are flooded with Instagrammed shots. Some of them really are neat, but others just make me want to eat and then go on a de-friending spree. I think some people abuse Instagram and take WAY too many pictures of their meals. Last night while I was out to eat with my mom, I watched the girl at the table next to us take and upload pictures of her drink, her appetizer, her entre and then her empty plate. Unnecessary. I personally don’t really care what other people eat, but for those who do, check out my InstaGRAHAM CRACKER.

In just two years, Instagram has acquired more than 50 million users. Although many of these Instagrammers use the app for their own personal pleasure, many brands and companies use it as well. Hosting an Instagram contest is a good way to use the app to interact with users. For example, almost weekly, Red Bull runs contests asking users to use a specific hashtag depicting that week’s theme. This week happens to be #SummerIsComing. To win, users must:

  1. Find the week’s theme
  2. Snap a photo
  3. Tag the pics
  4. Rack up the votes
  5. Win prizes! (The grand prize is a trip to X Games 2012)

Brands obviously don’t have to run a contest to engage with Instagrammers, but it’s definitely a good idea. Even simply uploading Instagrammed pictures of products is a step in the right direction. TJ MAXX does a good job of re-tweeting consumers who have tweeted Instagrammed pictures of their finds.

Like most of the other social media sites we’ve already been introduced to, this one is also great. Brands and companies should take advantage of it, but keep in mind that like other platforms, they need to use it appropriately and consistently. And unless you’re a chef or food-related business, please refrain from making me drool by uploading dozens and dozens of filtered pictures of mouth watering food. Thanks.

PR in the 21st century from a student’s perspective

This post is the first in a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. Our newest intern Justin describes public relations from a student’s point of view below.

The first electronic mail was sent in 1971 between two computers sitting on the same desk.

That is simply amazing.

Forty-one years later we can text every single person in our address book with a phone the size of a credit card, “Happy New Year,” and it doesn’t matter if they are standing right next to us or if they are in the middle of China. The growth of technology has been non-stop and it is crazy how far it has come since 1971.

Continue reading

2008 PR Trends

It’s always good to stay on top of the PR trends so here are a few standouts to help you better spotlight your clients in 2008.

Hope they help and Best in 2008!
Risë

BLOGGERS
Blog is the name of the game these days – you can monitor stories about your clients and their competitors and/or pitch and place valuable content.  Consider distributing your client messages to independent bloggers as well as corporate blogs through a credible third party.  In terms of market penetration, blogging is definitely creating “word of mouth” buzz in the marketplace.  A few of the top blogs are gizmodo.com for tech/gadgets, tmz.com for Hollywood gossip, huffingtonpost.com for politics and treehugger.com for eco/lifestyles.

ONLINE VIDEO
You’ve probably heard that online surfing is the thing to do while doing lunch at your desk and more folks are surfing than eating these days!  So, take whatever video you’ve already produced for your client, or produce new video, and think about placing it online on websites that already attract your target demos.  For example, for moms there’s iVillage or Ladies Home Journal, or smaller sites that, when added together, will still generate a solid audience.

Speaking of video, think funny and think offbeat to really get the YouTubers and other onliners to click on and then forward to their friends.  If it’s viral and video, it’s healthy.

GO MOBILE 
Mobile gizmos and gadgets can generate a whole new audience for your client messages.  Breakthrough technology in mobile websites can target the growing audiences that are attached to cell phones and mobile e-mail daily.  Your client will need a version of their website that is tailored for displays on mobile screens and we anticipate a spike in the number of companies/clients who will have their sites mobile-ready in 2008.

The top ten mobile sites include Google.com, WashingtonPost.com, Ask.com, Yahoo.com Flickr.com, Live.com, Facebook.com, Overstock.com, Weather.com and USA Today.com.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING 
We’ll soon be in full-tilt presidential election mode and that will tighten up traditional media programming and inventory for 2008, especially in battle ground states.  So, strategic story placements for your clients are key.  Look for election-related hooks for radio and TV such as the economy, housing, healthcare, the environment, etc., but also think outside the box to include online audio and video and e-mail marketing where there’s literally “more room” to deliver your message to target demos to pump up those audience numbers.

SOCIAL NETWORKING
It’s just good business to create a name for your clients online as well as offline especially on the off the hook social networking sites.  Think about placing promotional banners, client content or actually joining online communities (YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, iSaveSmart, Bebo) to promote your client message.