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Technology

‘High Tech Women’ in Underwear Promo: #PRWin?

In case you’re the one person on Earth who missed it, the technology industry faces some demographic challenges: recent reports from top tech names like Facebook, Apple and Twitter revealed an overwhelmingly white and even more overwhelmingly male industry.

The ensuing conversation is already old hat to many who work in the field, but it still presents both big names like Google (which recently named Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Clinton to promote its “girls who code” initiative) and clients that go against this trend with a way to make themselves stand out to journalists, consumers and investors.

The latest company to win media attention is the bold underwear brand Dear Kate. Its latest “look book”, released online last Friday, starred a group of female entrepreneurs who work in the field.

Dear Kate

Two basic facts about this look book: 1) it has attracted a lot of attention for an unpaid promotion and 2) responses have been somewhat mixed.

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Samsung Receives Editorial Smackdown for ALS Newsjacking Stunt

Newsjacking and the ALS ice bucket challenge were two of the big topics on this little blog last week, and on Friday Samsung and its in-house creative/marketing teams in the UK managed to combine them both in this ad (which somehow earned the “alcoholic drinks” tag on our sister site Ads of the World).

You’ll have to forgive us for failing to notice most of the ALS posts appearing in our feeds recently; they all start to blend together pretty quickly unless you happen to know the people involved. But this little play for attention was noteworthy in that it inspired something we never see: an editorial wag of the finger via TechCrunch.

Three million views is a fair number for such a large brand, but we’re more interested in two particular critiques of this not-quite-real-time-marketing stunt.

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The White House Doesn’t Care How You Nerds Dress

Did you know that the U.S. Digital Service is a thing? It is now. The White House established it in order to create “a customer-focused government through stronger IT“, aka hiring the people who helped fix healthcare.gov after realizing that the most talented programmers around do not happen to double as public employees.

One of those people was Mikey Dickerson — current title Deputy Federal Chief Information Officer, current LinkedIn status “pursuing a number of schemes“. He plays a starring role in this new “Day One” video:

While the group’s ostensible purpose is to “ improve the delivery of federal services, information, and benefits”, Dickerson wants you to know that the most important issue is the dress code — or lack thereof.

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Solar Energy Has a PR Problem: Massive Teepees of Doom are Killing Birds

Fried-Chicken-Set2Environmentalists had much to celebrate when the Ivanpah Energy Power Facility in California flipped its switch earlier this year and began powering 140,000 homes with clean energy.

Unfortunately, their joy translated into gloom for animal rights activists: somewhere between a thousand and 28,000 birds have since been fried to death in what’s been called “massive teepees of doom.”

Right now you’re probably thinking two things: first, tell me more; and secondly, that’s a pretty big range of alleged aviancide… is this truly a PR crisis for solar energy?

Credit goes to Esquire’s Michael Howard for an evocative piece describing how BrightSoure’s $2.2 billion plant is cooking birds alive when they fly through concentrated rays of sunshine:

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Why Uber Chose Obama’s Campaign Manager to Run Comms and Strategy

david_plouffe-300x210

Yes we can…connect you to an unlicensed driver using his personal vehicle to transport people around town for tips.

On one level, it makes sense that David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and one of the hottest speakers/strategists on the circuit, would join the “sharing economy” company that everyone’s falling over themselves to cover.

Still, the match strikes some as odd given the recent decision of the Republican National Committee to promote Uber as the prime example of business free from government regulation — regulation best embodied by the man Plouffe helped win the White House.

The answer lies in crisis communications and political infighting.

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Tech Giants Can Handle Their Own Mergers and Acquisitions Now

google building

A New York Times piece published over the weekend reviewed the strategies employed by massive tech companies like Apple and Google when they want to acquire smaller companies — and there’s reason for both PR and the financial industries to be concerned.

It seems that the primary issue some executives consider when determining whether to buy certain other businesses is not their potential to make money in the short-term (or even the mid-term): it’s whether consumers will really use the products they create in everyday life.

Hence what they call “the toothbrush test”: how often will the average person use this company’s product? Will they use it a few times and get tired of it, or will it be a consistent presence in their lives?

The implication: an increasing number of tech execs think they can make these decisions on their own.

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New York Closes in on Silicon Valley in Battle for Tech Gold

NYC skyline

The last few months have seen more than your usual share of “New York vs. San Francisco” articles.

A recent survey by HR&A Advisors that won coverage in the New York Post over the weekend gets at the why behind this latest sort-of trend: the Big Apple’s tech scene is quietly and consistently growing.

While New York may not play home base to headline-makers like Uber and the various social networks, the stats regarding our fair city’s tech business are impressive. E-commerce in particular looks to leave a Manhattan-sized footprint.

Some specifics below.

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Just Launched a Startup? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Hire a PR Pro Just Yet

startUP

Today we bring you a guest post by Sarah Rose Attman, president of Sarah Rose Public Relations and former staff reporter for US Weekly.

This post is presented by AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. The San Francisco-based technology company is passionate about using data to show the true impact and value of PR.

Congratulations! You just launched your startup. Welcome to the wonderful world of being your own boss, building something from the ground up, and fighting against the odds to “make it”. Every company has been where you are today, so embrace the chaos and get ready for the ride of a lifetime.

There is so much to do! Designing your logo, raising a round of financing, hiring your founding team, and of course PR, right?

Well, maybe not.

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Tech Startup Pulls ‘Sexist’ Contest After Negative Coverage

dontbesexist.0

Remember how Silicon Valley was still trying to shake its reputation as a rumpus room for antisocial geeks and overgrown fratboys?

Today The Verge reported a contest that briefly confirmed all those delicious stereotypes at once because why the hell not?

We had never heard of the startup OnePlus before today, but they apparently make smartphones in addition to planning poorly thought-out “ladies night”-style competitions on their own web forum. The idea behind the competition: ladies (and only ladies) were to draw a picture of the company’s logo on their bodies or a piece of paper and submit the resulting images. The forum’s readers would then “upvote” their favorites and the 50 top “winners” would get…a t-shirt. And a chance to buy the phone in question at full price.

In other words, it was like a public version of Tindr.

The resulting mess read a bit like a particularly awkward reddit thread until the company pulled it thanks to the Verge post.

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Can This Software Write a Better Pitch Than a PR Pro?

18gnoncgzm93xjpgPR professionals are invaluable; their ability to create a positive public image for a company stems from a detail-oriented nature, a willingness to fine-tune an approach with finesse based on past experience and the study of data, and picking up on minute cues that can help determine which publications, news sources and journalists might be most open to their message.

Crafting a successful pitch is an art form, something that can certainly never be outsourced or automated…right?

MIT graduate Dan Siegel, co-founder of Cambridge-based PR firm Spokepoint, doesn’t quite see it that way.

The company, which was founded in early 2014 as a traditional PR firm geared toward helping small startups get their names out into the world, has been using its own software program that analyzes thousands of data points to predict whether a journalist will respond positively to a specific pitch. It also allows the user to search for and contact journalists based on topics they’ve previously covered, and even tracks whether or not a pitch is successful.

Realizing the market for affordable PR services for small entrepreneurial endeavors, tiny companies that can’t afford a PR pro, and time-crunched crowdfunding campaigns, Siegel and his company made a decision – rather than just using this software to help companies write pitches, Spokepoint has made the software available directly for use by such businesses, so that they can successfully create, manage and track their own PR campaigns — no PR firm or outside pitch-writer needed.

Scared yet? Read more

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