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People Don’t RSVP Anymore. Here Are Tips To Keep Events Running Smoothly

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For anyone planning an event, the RSVP list are the most important sheets of paper (if you’re still using paper) in the whole building on the day of. Unfortunately, more and more people aren’t responding with a yay or nay for their attendance.

According to Lizzie Post, a spokeswoman for the Emily Post Institute and the great-great-granddaughter of the woman who wrote the book on etiquette, Emily Post, the speed of the latest technology is to blame.

“We want to be able to decide that morning if we want to go that night—we have forgotten how to simply commit,” she told the Wall Street Journal.

In all cases, the non-response is rude. But at least when it’s a cocktail party that might be marginally acceptable. Everyone is standing, schmoozing, having one or two drinks. It’s a little easier to plan in terms of refreshments and swag bags. There’s a margin of error.

When you’re talking about a sit down dinner, it’s terrible.

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A Blueprint for Keeping Brands Relevant During Renovations

Cooper Hewitt Museum Orange Scaffolding  SignThe holiday season turned brighter on east 91st Street and Fifth Avenue in New York on Friday, when the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum‘s Carnegie mansion reopened to the public after a 3-year hiatus. The goal was to “provide cutting edge digital experiences,” as director Caroline Baumann said at the official ceremony.

To stay competitive, most museums now are redesigning, but renovating isn’t exclusive to the art world. Many companies, like hotels, banks, stores, and other retailers can look to Cooper Hewitt’s approach if they undergo branding, communications and design changes.

The mission of Cooper Hewitt’s multifaceted program was to “renovate and reinvent” the museum, Baumann noted. That entailed coordinating 13 design firms to refresh the landmark mansion and grounds as well as a concerted PR, marketing and merchandising effort.

Keeping various audiences informed was a key part of the plan. Cooper Hewitt did so through media outreach, member e-newsletters and mailings, a blog highlighting daily objects, social media updates, and clever building signage with messages about the redesign progress.

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Can SantaCon Reform Its Drunken Rep?

 

If you live in or around New York City, you know what SantaCon is: an annual holiday tradition in which a bunch of people set upon the boroughs dressed in Santa costumes getting progressively more drunk and gross as the afternoon wears on. Perhaps you’ve woken in the morning to a puddle of vomit on your front stoop, a care package from a pub crawling St. Nick who doesn’t know his limits.

This weekend, the organization behind this yearly bacchanal sought to take the first steps to dispel this reputation with a press conference on Saturday morning reaffirming what SantaCon is really about: a protest against the commercialization of Christmas. Really? Had no clue. Thought it was always just a chance to get your drink on while wearing a costume, like Halloween but a couple months later. So what’s this protest you speak of?

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Media Outlets Angle for Coverage During the British Royal Couple’s New York Visit

British Tea Shop Inside Final2Will and Kate, aka Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in New York City with great fanfare on Sunday for a 3-day visit. Their stay represents a pleasant diversion from the recent sad news and protests that have enveloped the city, though a continuation of the traffic jams. As media outlets converged on the Big Apple, we witnessed different types of stories emerging.

During a walk in the Meatpacking District and West Village on Sunday afternoon, we came upon Tea & Sympathy, an English-owned restaurant and shop. There NBC News was in the middle of interviewing the owner about the Royal couple. “The whole city erupts, and it’s great for my business”, she said. By the time we left, local newspaper reporters had also arrived.

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Retailers’ Mobile Products Get Smarter

Lowe's Iris System Final“Smart is becoming the synonym for connected, and data is the new currency. There’s a shift towards digital data and having products doing things on our behalf. We’re moving towards a post smartphone era of having 50 billion connected devices, where siloed data streams will be combined for a seamless customer experience”, said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research for the CEA, Consumer Electronics Association, and author of the book Digital Destiny.

DuBravac was speaking at ANA/Association of National AdvertisersMobile First, Mobile Everywhere Conference recently in New York. “Approximately 65% of mobile use now is non-communication, such as shopping”, he added. Presenters from retail giants Walmart and Lowe’s discussed how their brands are keeping up with homeowners’ and shoppers’ growing mobile demands.

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Consumer Brands’ Mobile Products Get Smarter

Heineken Share the Sofa“Mobile is the closest you can get to consumers. Our positioning is based on mobile’s personalization, pervasiveness and proximity to users.”

So said Greg Stuart, CEO of MMA (or the Mobile Marketing Association). He spoke at ANA/Association of National AdvertisersMobile First, Mobile Everywhere Conference on Tuesday in New York.

“Now consumers expect that they can fulfill more needs via mobile. During ‘mobile moments’ throughout the day and night, their wishes are met through mobile devices”, said Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research Inc’s SVP of idea development and author of The Mobile Mindshift. Consumer brand presenters from Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Heineken USA and Timex detailed their companies’ smart mobile initiatives that address customer’s desires 24/7.

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YouTube Food and Lifestyle Personalities Share Branding Tips

YouTube Truvia Baking Contest Final“Mix, taste, frost, yum and done” – those were among the steps that a contestant used to bake brown sugar cupcakes. She was competing at an event this week to be a baking star sponsored by Truvia, a natural sweetener. Four YouTube food and lifestyle stars judged the desserts and offered insights on how they each rose to video fame.

While the baking techniques were straightforward, the path to becoming a YouTube sensation isn’t as clear cut. As moderator and YouTube beauty channel host Rachel Talbott noted, it takes time. As the judges concurred, it also takes resourcefulness and an ongoing, concerted effort to stand out from the crowd. The panelists included:

Byron Talbott: professionally trained chef, Byron Talbott channel
April Moore: online foodie, mom and lifestyle expert with 3 YouTube channels
Gaby Dalkin: cookbook author, food/lifestyle writer, What’s Gaby Cooking channel
Joanne Ozug: recipe developer behind Fifteen Spatulas channel

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Pinterest Media Partnerships Exec Talks Stats, Updates and Priorities

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Pinterest has captured the fancy not only of skiers, gourmet cooks and brides-to-be, but also media executives thanks to its high referral traffic. Robert Macdonald, an avid skier recently hired to head Pinterest’s media partnerships said the platform’s dynamic reminds him of when he used to find and clip ski images from magazines, then saved them for future reference. In his new role he’s focused on ecommerce and monetization plans for Pinterest.

While those programs are still a work in progress, Macdonald spoke recently at Association of Magazine Media/ MPA’s Audience 2.0 event in New York. There he discussed Pinterest’s mojo, key statistics and analytics, latest and planned features, how it’s different from other social platforms, and future priorities, such as video.

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A Bunch of Entertainment Journalists Will Give You Free Pitching Tips Tomorrow

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Do you want to hear tips on securing media coverage in top national entertainment outlets from people who actually work at those outlets? What about more “dos and don’ts of pitching” pointers? And do you know how Google+ works?

If you answered “yes” to those three questions, then you may want to check out a bi-coastal “hangout” happening tomorrow at 3 PM EST/12 Noon PST and facilitated by the New York and Los Angeles wings of the PRSA. Back in Februrary we posted on the PRSA-LA’s tech journalist gathering, and while this one is not a “Happy Hour,” it is the organization’s first bi-coastal event — so no one will judge you for attending remotely with cocktail in hand.

The event will be moderated by famed PR man/author/TV commentator Howard Bragman of 15 Minutes Public Relations, and the panel will include (click links for Twitter handles):

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TD Bank’s Social Media Balancing Act

TD Bank ATM Machine Cropped“TD Bank has a subtle approach as a consumer-facing bank. In July we turned ATM’s into “thanking machines” to reward customers. We also offer coin changers, lollipops and dog treats”, said Albert Raymond, TD’s head of U.S. privacy and social media compliance. But as part of the regulated financial industry, TD Bank takes serious measures with social media.

Raymond discussed TD’s social media programs and the tradeoffs involved at a recent BDI Summit on the future of financial communications in New York. “Compliance and social media are now higher profile topics, but financial companies take an inherently conservative approach to the use of technology and social media since there’s a strong trust factor involved”, he said.

“FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) offers guidance on social media, though there haven’t been major changes from the offline world”, Raymond said. “We still must monitor and retain customer communications. Financial orgs have a playbook with 7 areas serving as a social media reference point so financial companies don’t need to create programs from scratch.”

Other selected comments from Raymond provide clues regarding how TD Bank handles social:

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