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Nancy Lazarus

10 Pointers for Navigating the Measurement Maze

High Line Punctuation Sculpture FinalSince measurement is such an integral yet complex part of PR and social media, it has merited an entire week of events in New York. Cision Vocus is hosting morning sessions as part of AMEC Measurement Week 2014. PRNewser is following suit with the continuation of a multi-part series on the topic with featured event speakers. Recently we explored measurement’s future with Rebekah Iliff of AirPR and with Peter Himler of Flatiron Communications.

Now we’re reporting on yesterday’s presentation with Mark Schaefer, author and founder of Schaefer Marketing Solutions as well as a panel moderated by Himler that included Heidi Sullivan of Cision Vocus, Shonali Burke of Shonali Burke Consulting, Chris Penn of Shift Communications and Sharam Fouladger-Mercer of AirPR. They had different takes on various aspects of measurement and metrics, as captured in selected comments:

1. Measure or perish:

In response to those who say you don’t need to measure social media: There’s an implied value to everything and you’d better measure it. (Schaefer)

2. Re-focus on dual value:

Much social media value that’s created is qualitative, not quantitative. Intangible business benefits include building worthwhile relationships and increasing brand awareness. We spend too much time on spreadsheets, not on the human pulse of social media. (Schaefer)

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Designer Veggie Couture Spices up the Runway at Project SUBWAY’s Fashion Show

2014 Onion Runway FinalWhen an onion graced the runway at Nolcha Fashion Week in New York on Tuesday, those in the front row weren’t crying. Instead they broke into peals of laughter, since the onion was a novel dress and hat ensemble designed for the second Project SUBWAY contest.

This year ten up-and-coming designers and FIT students were challenged to create unique dresses inspired by vegetables found at SUBWAY® restaurants. Among the healthy fashion creations: spinach, banana pepper, tomato, jalapeno, lettuce, carrot, cucumber and green pepper. At last year’s show, designers created dresses made of non-edible materials from SUBWAY®, like sandwich wrappers, napkins and salad bowls.

Judging the contest was a tall order, and the panel included Oklahoma City Thunder basketball player Russell Westbrook, Olympic gymnastic champion Nastia Liukin, TV personality Bella Thorne and celebrity stylist Johnny Wujek. They critiqued the designs based on creativity, originality, beauty, fit and best representation of the vegetables, and remarked about the green pepper’s ‘aggressive’ shoulders and hourglass shape, the lettuce’s see-through design and the red tomato’s sparkle.

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NYC Celebrity Chefs Hold Court During U.S. Open’s Taste of Tennis Week

Celeb Chef Tennis Players Behind Net FinalThis year Taste of Tennis has grown into a feast, expanding from a one-night culinary party into a week of food experiences leading up to the U.S. Open, which starts today. Indeed, associations between food and tennis have evolved greatly since the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza was caught on camera, face smeared by an ice cream sundae, while eating at the National Tennis Center’s food court during the Grand Slam tournament.

The 15th annual Taste of Tennis gala was the signature offering, featuring small plates prepared by several top local chefs, musical entertainment along with appearances by elite tennis players and celebrities. Among the surrounding events was the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, held at the Midtown Tennis Club. The round-robin style mixed doubles tournament paired chefs and restaurateurs with local players. At another fete, Party with the Pros, guests enjoyed food, signature cocktails and live music, while they mingled with top names in tennis.

We spoke with Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS Sports Marketing, the event management company that organizes Taste of Tennis, about the strategy behind the new weeklong ‘food fusion’ program, while we sampled the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge event. Below are takeaways.

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12 Digital Tools to Optimize Your Travel

Travel Tech Paws and Relax Alfie the Pug Courtesy of Nick Morrish British AirwaysSummer is the busiest travel season, so it’s the best time to be equipped with tips to minimize hassles and maximize the experience. But these days sorting through the maze of travel technology can be  nearly as time consuming as circumnavigating the globe.

An Internet Week New York panel of travel industry insiders gave their top picks for websites and mobile apps that assist with flights, lodgings and language translation, and we’ve come across other sources since then. The list below takes business and leisure travelers every step of the way, from planning to booking and beyond.

In-Flight Entertainment

1. “Paws and Relax” Video Channel: British Airways just launched a new channel featuring dogs and cats to help passengers unwind onboard.  It’s available on YouTube for non-BA customers. (Photo above courtesy of Nick Morrish/British Airways)

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16 New York Rooftop Watering Holes That Double as Cool Summer Event Venues

Hotel Americano La Piscine Official PhotoAfter New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ‘Roman Holiday’, it’s time for the rest of us to take a rooftop holiday. An increase in the city’s stylish boutique lodgings has led to a related rise in hotel rooftop bars. What better places to escape street-level construction noise and get together with PR colleagues and clients?

PRNewser compiled a list of rooftop venues across Manhattan where visitors are welcome in small or large groups. Some spots even have swimming pools for hotel guests or for day-use. At the Dream Downtown’s PH-D Rooftop Lounge, you don’t need an advanced degree to use the pool, just pay a steep fee. But be sure to check ahead whether any of these bars are already reserved for private evening events, or you may be lobby-bound.

Our tour of summertime rooftop getaways follows our earlier post about heated rooftop venues. Some lounges listed here serve as retreats and others are for revelry. Either way they beat lower-level summertime options. Among the newer midtown entries are Viceroy Hotel’s roof and Archer Hotel’s Spyglass bar. Since Sonny’s Soda Shoppe at Mondrian SoHo Hotel downtown features an Italian beach theme, it’s an ideal spot for Mayor de Blasio to extend his holiday.

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12 Tips From an Expert on Creating Catchy Content and Products

H & M Jeff Koons Tote Final“Sharing isn’t random, and our intuition about sharing content may be wrong”, said Jonah Berger. The Wharton B-School marketing professor conducted extensive analysis on social influence and types of content and products that go viral. His book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, offers advice on the psychology of sharing, along with examples.

“You don’t want to be one-hit wonders, you want ongoing shareable content”, Berger said during a recent MPA (Association of Magazine Media) event. He was in New York for the start of a year-long visiting professorship at Cornell Tech. If some of his comments seem familiar, that’s because he also advises media outlets like BuzzFeed and The New York Times.

“Word of mouth is a key factor behind so many purchase decisions since it’s persuasive, trusted and targeted”, Berger said. He reminded the audience of the importance of finding the core brand message that you want others to remember and sticking with it. That’s the first key to producing sticky content. Other principles evolve around social currency, storytelling, and providing practical but appealing information.

Since takeaways from his 2013 book mostly centered on positive vs. negative emotional content, we read the rest of the book and compiled his pointers along with our own related examples from commerce, sports, art, fashion and celebrities. Here are a dozen tips to consider:

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TOMS’ Chief Digital Officer Outlines Brand’s ‘Giving’ Formula

Toms Shoes Periodic TablesArgentina’s loss in the World Cup final may have hit one company personally. A 2006 group trip giving shoes to Argentine children inspired Blake Mycoskie to launch TOMS, or “tomorrow’s shoes”. For the brand’s logo, he borrowed light blue and white stripes from the Argentine flag.

“TOMS is based on giving shoes in a sustainable way, on a one-to-one basis”, said its chief digital officer, Zita Cassizzi. She was referring to their M.O. – for every pair of TOMS shoes a customer buys, the company gives a pair to a child in need. While presenting at ANA’s Digital & Social Media Conference, she also discussed TOMS’ expansion to eyewear and coffee.

Cassizzi outlined TOMS’ omni channel marketing strategy, with 5 online and offline elements:

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Celestial Couture: Premiere Catwalk at One World Trade Center

WTC Fashion Show Poster JMA“Having friends in high places” is often considered to be a ticket to business and personal success. For model turned entrepreneur Jessica Minh Ahn, it’s all about fashion in high places. She’s staged catwalk events worldwide in spots like the Grand Canyon Skywalk, London’s Tower Bridge and sky-high settings in the Middle East and Asia.

On Wednesday evening Minh Ahn assembled a global cast of designers for a first-ever catwalk event at One World Trade Center (WTC) in New York. She was undaunted by the ongoing construction at the tallest building in the western hemisphere and hosted the show on the 63rd floor. The runway was a mix of 8 brands, comprising haute couture, premium ready-to-wear and active wear. Each designer debuted a signature collection based on the landmark locale.

“Fashion is the international language and there are no more boundaries now”, said participating designer Diego Cortizas of Chula. Indeed, the show reflected a veritable World Cup of fashion. Here’s a selection of brands and images in the WTC spotlight.

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New Media Influencers on Rebranding, Expansion and ‘Obsessions’

Mic.com Logo“Voice, perspective and messages framed so they resonate with younger readers have all become more important in media now. That means having our ears to the ground in politics and entertainment, then packaging topics accordingly”, said Jake Horowitz, founder and editor of Mic (formerly PolicyMic).

Mic is among a growing number of media brands that launched or renamed recently, like re/code (formerly AllThingsD), Vox.com and Quartz. Editors from these outlets appeared on a PCNY panel on Thursday to discuss their latest moves.

While these sites generally don’t use PR-related pitches, that may change over time. Given their global focus, one could equate landing a story in these outlets to the U.S. soccer team’s World Cup game vs. Ghana: challenging but not impossible.

Here’s a brief rundown on each outlet and their approach.

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Gamification Livens Up Events

LiveCube LogoGamification has cast a wide net and has been applied to many parts of our personal and business lives. We tuned in remotely to the GSummit in San Francisco this week–and while we didn’t see anyone tackled on the conference stage as in a recent episode of HBO’s “Silicon Valley”, we did hear about the broad inroads gamification has made and the ways in which it’s used for events.

Gamification now enables motivation to be delivered digitally, said analyst Brian Burke of Gartner Group. “All the elements of gamification have been around for years”, he added, like sponsors, contests, points and prizes. The difference now is digital, which offers an improved model to incentivize people. Now with greater connectivity you can scale to an audience of any size, at any location and it takes far less time to reach one’s business or personal goals.

Events are an area where gamification comes in quite handy, especially with event hashtags. Aaron Price, co-founder of LiveCube, acknowledged what those in attendance are familiar with – there are so many distractions that event organizers need to keep the crowd focused. Price’s solution is LiveCube, accessible via website or app, that clients like TEDx have used.

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