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Sound Insights on Storytelling and Branding at Communications Week

Telling brand stories may seem simple, but far more goes on behind the scenes than many realize. Creating “aha” moments, integrating messages across platforms and navigating multiple agencies can often seem daunting. Just when you think all is clear, newer tools like Whisper and SoundCloud make both literal and figurative noise.

The complex art of storytelling was the topic at a Communications Week panel Thursday night in New York.

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L to R  – Moderator Patrick Coffee (Senior Editor, Mediabistro), Brendan Murphy (Senior Partner, Design, Lippincott), Tiffany Guarnaccia (Founder, Kite Hill PR), Shoshana Winter (Executive Planning Director, Digital Integration, mcgarrybowen), Pam Workman (CEO, Workman Group Communications), Tyler Gray (Editorial Director, Creative Newsroom, Edelman)Andrew Fingerman (Media Director, MRY)

The event was hosted by Workman Group, creative comms industry group ADC was the venue partner, and the entire undertaking was organized by Communications Week.

PRNewser’s very own editor Patrick Coffee moderated, and panelists represented a mix of PR, digital and brand marketing agencies:

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Communications Week Panel’s Recipes for Pitching Digital, Video and Local Media Outlets

The Better Show Candy Corn CupcakesMaking a splash in social media, having a local hook or access to experts with interesting back stories will gain the attention of digital, video or local media outlets. But don’t bother sending another pumpkin spice recipe or it will end up in a pile with all the other Halloween pitches. Those were a few of the tips producers mentioned at a PRSA NY-hosted panel on Tuesday, during the inaugural Communications Week in New York.

Four media outlets and panelists participated:
•  WABC-TV’s Eyewitness News show and 7online site – Bob Monek, executive producer, digital and social media
•  Meredith Corporation’s The Better ShowWillow Hacket, senior associate producer
•  HuffPost LiveCindy Vanegas, executive producer
•  TheStreet‘s OptionsProfits site – Jill Malandrino, product development manager

Aside from their individual takes on pitching prospects, they also gave detailed rundowns of their outlets, including content, types of guests who appear and their social media approach.

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Parisian Christmas Tree/Sex Toy Vandalized by Mystery Elves

paris christmas tree

Quick quiz: What in the Yuletide halls is this?!

No, it’s not a unique pawn in a really large game of chess or an oddly colored wine-bottle stopper for the world’s largest jug of fermented juice.

From The Atlantic’s CityLab, we learn this piece of contemporary something or other is a sculpture by the American artist Paul McCarthy called “Tree.” It’s supposed to serve as the centerpiece of the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC).

It also looks like a certain sex toy…and now it’s flat as a pancake. Bad PR for the global art community.

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10 Lessons in Monetizing Content from Digital Publishers

Gear Patrol Sunglasses Beach TowelGenerating revenues from content is a tricky and even risky business, but it’s also essential for media companies’ long-term viability. While some digital publishers integrated the commerce side from the start, others have been busy catching up. Selected media brands shared their stories from the trenches at the Content to Commerce / C2C Summit in New York on Tuesday, hosted by Skimlinks, a content monetization platform.

Publishers large (Gawker Media) and small (Gear Patrol) dispensed advice ranging from the types of content that drives traffic to different format options and logistics. Interestingly, while Gawker has extended from content to commerce, Gear Patrol has evolved in the opposite direction. (Image above courtesy of Gear Patrol)

Below are 10 key takeaways.

1. Create commercial content that benefits readers:

Gawker’s priority is relevance to readers, and they use various methods to source optimal products, according to Erin Pettigrew, VP of business development. They utilized crowdsourcing and user-generated content when they asked readers for their picks of the best luggage carry-ons. Then they compiled the list and readers voted for the top five. They also feature tech deals on their sites like lifehacker.

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Should PR Pay Attention to Derek Jeter’s ‘The Players’ Tribune?’

Derek Jeter FinalLast Wednesday’s launch of the Derek Jeter-founded The Players’ Tribune, a digital forum for athletes, scored a home run from a media coverage standpoint. Later that day, key editorial and marketing executives involved in the venture –along with Jeter’s agent — appeared on a panel at Advertising Week New York to discuss the platform further.

The Players’ Tribune may be a worthwhile outlet for PR firms with clients whose business is associated with sports, since the site plans to feature branded content in addition to athlete-contributed content. Here’s the inside track:

What The Players’ Tribune is…

  • “It’s like the Go Pro of sports journalism, offering an inside first-person perspective”, said Jason Marks, executive creative director.
  • “We’re giving the athletes that fans know and love a voice. This is longform social, to tell stories with content in a natural way”, added Mark Grande, VP content strategy.
  • “It will be a platform where athletes control their own voice. It’s meant to complement what’s out there and provide opinions, POVs and perspective”, said Jaymee Messer, CMO, Excel Sports Management, Derek Jeter’s agency.

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11 Pointers for Demystifying Celebrity Marketing

Eagles Concert MSG Video Final4Celebrity marketing has become even more complicated since the rise of social media, with new players and platforms at every turn. So it was a hot topic during the opening day of Advertising Week in New York on Monday. Two panels provided not only the vantage point from marketers and agency talent pros, but also the view from a couple celebrities.

Celebrity Storytelling in a Social World: moderated by WhoSay’s CEO Steve Ellis, with panelists Peggy Walter, celebrity services, Leo Burnett, Orlando Jones, comedian and actor, and Anson Mount, actor from AMC’s Hell on Wheels.

The New Science of Celebrity Marketing: moderated by Nina Tsang, editorial director of Celebrity Intelligence, with panelists Jeff Chown, president of celebrity acquisition, The Marketing Arm, Thomas Burkhardt, VP global marketing, Coty Prestige, and Rob Gregory, chief revenue officer, WhoSay.

Their takes on the many facets of celebrity marketing provide a 360 degree perspective, and below are selected takeaways and comments:

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TripAdvisor’s Jetsetter Brand Soars into Hashtag Heaven with #Jetsettering

Jetsetter Image FinalCatchy hashtags aren’t new to Aaron Clossey, social media manager at Jetsetter, the travel arm of Gilt Groupe that TripAdvisor acquired last year. After all, his personal twitter handle is #clossboss. So when he needed an evergreen hashtag for brand users to rally around, he used the simple yet action-oriented #jetsettering. Members of the site have responded in force with tweets and photos of activities ranging from snorkeling to canal rides in Venice.

Clossey presented recently at BDI/Business Development Institute’s Food, Beverage and Hospitality Social Media Marketing Summit in New York about Jetsetter’s efforts to harness visual social media content. The brand’s initiatives have involved contests, partnerships and influencers, all in keeping with its whimsical, irreverent persona.

While Jetsetter got its start with exclusive flash sales in the luxury travel segment for its invitation-only upscale subscriber members, the brand has evolved since then. “We’re a lifestyle brand, not just an OTA”, [online travel agent] Clossey said. Now Jetsetter also does personal travel planning, for trips like honeymoons. In addition, the brand offers a trove of content on its site that’s accessible to more than its current 20 million members.

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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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Peter Himler on The Future of Measurement

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In case you missed it, the newly united Cision/Vocus is hosting a big event in New York next week to discuss the topic that won’t go away: measurement.

Earlier this week we asked friend of the site Rebekah Iliff, CSO at AirPR, for her opinions on the future of the practice.

Today we have another take on the same topic from veteran Peter Himler: blogger, influencer, industry veteran, Balthazar fan and founder of Flatiron Communications.

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Did U2 Get Upstaged By The iPhone?


For those with iTunes, Beats Music and iTunes Radio access, you’ve probably noticed something new and interesting floating around: a new U2 album. Hey now! This is big news. It’s been five years since U2 had an album of new songs. And this is the band that made “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” easily one of the best songs ever. But it hasn’t been met with quite the fanfare one would expect.

That’s not a comment on the music, but rather on the release. U2 both announced and released the album during yesterday’s big Apple event. This was an event that featured the iPhone 6, the Apple Watch, Apple Pay and this guy. There’s only so much information that we can digest at one event.

As a result, the album release for one of the biggest bands in the world has been a little muted.

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