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New Pros Networking Event

Last night I attended a great 2009 kick-off networking event for New Pros, the young professionals’ group of GKC PRSA. About 20 of Kansas City’s young PR professionals met at Granfalloon to share some chow and chat about our individual versions of the PR world. There are those of us on all sides of the spectrum — agencies, not-for-profits, in-house PR teams, government, you name it. It was a great way to unwind on a Thursday night.

I had to laugh, too. At the office, it can seem like I’m the only one in the world dealing with a certain challenge. But last night it was back to reality. My peers are facing the same challenges. Social media came up a lot. For those of us who started life on Facebook as a way to keep up with friends and set up study groups, I think we’re all a little puzzled at the current push to make Facebook work for business. We didn’t come up with any solutions, per se, but it was interesting to see how different organizations are monitoring social media and what they’ve tried.

I also met some very smart students from Northwest Missouri State University who came to attend our event and network with potential job contacts. It’s something I never thought of as a student, to attend a PRSA event, but I think it was a really smart move on their part. Hopefully we gave them some useful information about the PR world, and we certainly took note of the students who came. I know if I see their resumes come across my desk, I’ll remember them.

All in all, a successful evening. I’m looking forward to seeing what other programs New Pros will have for us this year.

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Comments Off Posted on by lauren

Mobile Advertising

Each month I read MarketingNews, a publication of the AMA and a great perk of membership. While reading the January issue, I ran across the following statistic:

“56 percent of consumers would view ads on their mobile phones if they were granted a 25-50 percent discount on their monthly mobile bills, according to Austin, Texas-based open-source solution provider Transverse and mobile consultancy iGR.”

That’s a jump from the 80 percent of mobile users adamant about NOT wanting any ads at all, which was reported in a March 2006 Business Week article.  And if the percent of consumers receptive to mobile advertising continues to rise at that rate, it would stand that by 1014 mobile advertising will be as accepted as advertisements in print, radio and TV.

Whether we’d all get discounts on our mobile bills is yet to be seen. For me, a discount on my bill could push me toward accepting ads. However, I prefer my cell to be ad free, and if I did accept ads it will be on a permission basis.

How do you feel about receiving ads on your mobile phone? As marketers, have you tested the mobile marketing/advertising waters?

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Comments Off Posted on by Tricia McKim

A Little Laugh

This morning on Design Observer, I found a link to this New York Times blog post about emoticons and the possible appearance of one in a transcript of an 1862 speech by President Lincoln. (A New York Times transcript, to be exact.)

The post and the comments section offer a charming and interesting debate, outlining the history of typesetting during the past century or so.

I’ve been known to get into barely-above-lukewarm debates with colleagues about punctuation — this is something else. Who knew a semicolon could stir up so much?

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Comments Off Posted on by lauren

Urban Myths of Grammar and a Presidential Twist

Having grown up in a time when high school English teachers were more focused on the six traits of writing (voice is the only one I can remember) than on making their students memorize grammar rules, I was always puzzled when Word’s grammar check told me I was splitting an infinitive or ending a sentence with a preposition.

“So?” I’d think, and click “Ignore” with a little more force than necessary, annoyed at the grammar check’s attempt to make me a better writer.

Really, it wasn’t until I hit the working world that I realized those ancient rules were still in place. I dutifully changed the position of my adverbs and instructed others to do so. Then I started reading more about correct and creative uses of the English language. I’ve linked to his site in the majority of my blogs, but I think John McIntyre at The Baltimore Sun is fantastic. I especially love the entries where he tackles the urban myths of English grammar and usage, the avoidance of split infinitives being one of them.

Last night, I found this wonderful essay by Stephen Pinker, whose books I read (er…was supposed to read and instead just took notes in class) in linguistics courses. I even attended a lecture he gave once about the human brain. That was over my head, but this essay is perfect: funny, easy to understand and a clear argument for the good in splitting infinitives. Plus, an interesting theory as to why Chief Justice Roberts and President Obama goofed.

So whether you choose to quickly read this essay or to read this essay quickly, enjoy.

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Comments Off Posted on by lauren

Networking Goals for 2009

The new year is in full swing and with it comes a sea of New Year’s resolutions.  If you’re like me, one of your resolutions is “network more effectively in 2009.” To help keep this resolution I’ll be throwing out life-rafts throughout the year with tips and tricks for getting engaged and making the most out of networking organizations and opportunities.

My first topic is choosing the right networking group for you.  Last year I evaluated several networking groups before deciding which to join.

I started by researching different organizations in my chosen field and narrowing down the list to three. Then I attended several events to see where I best fit in and who offered the most opportunities.

In their book Smart Networking, Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon suggest many criteria for evaluating an organization. Among the criteria they include:
- number of members
- culture
- programming
- ease of participation

In addition to these factors, I also looked to see where I’d gain a new “footprint” for my company.  In the end, I joined The American Marketing Association.

I’m now in the process of making the most of my membership and am finding that’s the hardest part. Next I’ll share tips for getting involved and making your membership worth the yearly dues.

Until then, get out there and find a group that fits your goals and networking needs.

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Comments Off Posted on by Tricia McKim

Heroes

Posted in Executive Insights

Spiderman Obama

Almost everyone I know watched the inauguration yesterday. For many of us it was because Barack Obama was the first African American to become President of the United States – this truly was a moment to celebrate. But I believe most of us tuned in to the inauguration because we are looking for a hero to save us from the “gathering clouds and raging storms” as he said so eloquently. Kudos to President Obama for inspiring each of us to be the best we can be.

There are many different kinds of heroes. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who masterfully landed his disabled airplane on the Hudson River, is certainly a hero. Landing the plane successfully was a miracle, but it was truly heroic when he walked the plane before he escaped to make sure that no one was left behind. The ferry captains who immediately rushed to rescue the passengers are also heroes. Don Pratt and Jason Colburn who jumped into bitterly cold water to try to save a teenager who lost control of her car are heroes.

But it doesn’t take risking your life to be a hero. It simply takes putting the needs of others above your own. A business owner who saves jobs by reducing profits is a hero. An employee who comes up with an innovative way to cut costs or attract new customers is a hero.  A person who gives a little bit more to charity in this time of unprecedented need is a hero. A person who connects her former co-worker with someone who might be able to give her a job is a hero. Someone who helps their friends who are having hard times is also a hero.

As President Obama said, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

We must all become heroes.

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Comments Off Posted on by Shanny Morgenstern

10,000 hours…Practice Makes Excellence

We’ve heard it all many times before…practice makes perfect.  Well, I believe, like Michael J. Fox, that “we strive for excellence, and leave perfection up to God.”

In his latest book, Outliers, we learn from Malcolm Gladwell that success is more than just intelligence and expertise…it takes hard work and a special environment to allow that expertise to flourish.  Bill Gates had access to computers while he was in high school when others did not.  The Beatles performed for long periods of time day-after-day for several years before they got their big “break” and burst forth on the international music scene.  And there are many other examples that show that success is tied to effort and the situation that transcends raw intelligence.

In fact, Gladwell cites the “10,000 hour rule” of practice before true expertise really shines.

Have you practiced your craft for 10,000 hours or more?  Do the math…it means that it takes years of practice to develop expertise.

With more than 30 years as a marketing / communications professional, I strive to meet my Mother’s daily challenge to “learn something new everyday.”    So today, while I perform my craft, I reflect upon the power of practice and refinement.  And I’m eternally grateful for the opportunities that have allowed me to exceed 10,000 hours.

Onward and upward.

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Comments Off Posted on by Eric Morgenstern