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Posts Tagged ‘Todd Defren’

The 25 (Other) PR Blogs You Should Bookmark Today

BlogHere at PRNewser, we (that’s this team right here) believe we have a sweet blog full of flack-y posts focusing on the PR perspectives behind current events.

We have a firm commitment to sharing stories and objectives along with a light dose of snark every now and then. That’s what got us thinking about other like-minded blogs that feature stories from across this sometimes-great industry of ours. And while this isn’t another edition of “5 Things,” it is a premium listicle.

Here are 25 (other) blogs all PR pros should bookmark.

They are listed in no particular order, but they do have a place in our folders. They should be in yours too.

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New SHIFT Communications EVP Scott Monty on the Future of PR

ScottMontyWe’ll make a wild guess and assume that, if you work anywhere in communications, you heard the big news this morning: Scott Monty, former head of social for Ford Motor Company, joined Boston-based SHIFT Communications as EVP of strategy (he even has his own URL).

The announcement received mentions in trade pubs from Adweek to Automotive News and even inspired a bit of good-humored hashtaggery:

Scott elaborated on the #MontyDecision on his personal blog this morning, but he and SHIFT CEO Todd Defren also talked to us about the logic behind the move and their shared vision for the future of the comms industry.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

Toyota Shifts AOR Gears…

SHIFT Communications announced that Toyota has selected the award-winning firm as its primary PR agency in the Northeast Region, which includes New York, New England, Washington, D.C., and the mid-Atlantic states. The firm will also play a lead role in strategic planning for the brand, driving earned media with mainstream and social media outlets, and highlighting the motor company’s philanthropic and community relations programs.

“Toyota is a brand with deep roots in innovation,” said Todd Defren, CEO of SHIFT Communications. “That forward-thinking mindset is incredibly synergistic with SHIFT’s approach and we look forward to working closely with the team at Toyota to bring that same level of innovation to its communications.”

Two for One AOR…

The Morris + King Company announced that it has been retained by Arby’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. Over the past 25 years, Arby’s Foundation has donated over $52 million to various charitable causes across the country. Their recent partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign is working to bring meals to more American children than ever before.

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Amy Lyons Promoted to President of Shift Communications

Shift Communications has promoted Amy Lyons to president of the firm. According to a post on Todd Defren‘s PR-Squared blog, the firm’s senior staff spent two days last week discussing a variety of topics related to the state and future of the firm. Among the results, which will also be announced on the blog in upcoming posts, was the decision to move Lyons to this new role. She was previously MD of the firm’s Boston office and has had ties with the firm for more than 10 years.

Marketwire Acquires Social Media Analytics Company Sysomos

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Newswire company Marketwire said today that it has acquired social media monitoring company Sysomos. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Social media monitoring and analysis continues to be an incredibly hot space, with media companies from Dow Jones and Reuters and marketing and technology companies including Vocus and Lithium all fighting for market share.

Shift Communications principal Todd Defren and FutureWorks principal Brian Solis both endorsed the deal in a press release.

The deal makes sense for Marketwire, who will use the new offerings provided by Sysomos in an attempt to up-sell clients already working with the company for press release distribution.

Sysomos itself has generated PR recently by issuing frequent data reports on social media usage and trends.

PRNewser caught up with Marketwire president and CEO Michael Nowlan today, who did not rule out additional acquisitions.

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PR Pros To Facebook: Washington Post Good Choice For CEO Op-Ed

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made perhaps his most public of statements today regarding recent concerns about the social network’s privacy settings: an op-ed in the Washington Post.

In the op-ed, Zuckerberg said the company “missed the mark,” regarding privacy controls, while adding, “We have heard the feedback. There needs to be a simpler way to control your information. In the coming weeks, we will add privacy controls that are much simpler to use.”

We asked several PR executives what they thought of the op-ed.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

This week’s account win round-up features some notable moves.

Shift Communications has been named Sony Online Entertainment’s first PR agency of record. In a candid blog post, principal Todd Defren admits the agency almost won work with Sony’s Sr. Director of Global PR and Corp. Comm. Scott Gulbransen when he was at TurboTax. Looks like second time’s the charm.

Starbucks subsidiary Seattle’s Best coffee hired Zeno Group. We had heard about Seattle’s Best sniffing around a few weeks back, but the company kept issuing denials. The video above is something they put together when they “re-launched” the brand this past March.

Tennessee-based DuVita LLC, a direct sales company distributing all natural dietary supplements, selects Raleigh, NC’s French/West/Vaughan as agency of record to execute a regional PR campaign.

Beckerman has a busy first quarter, adding Frontier Beverage Co., Raw Foods International and several other clients to their national and regional client roster.

Cookerly Public Relations is psyched to get all up in some grills. They’ll be working with grill and cooking equipment purveyor Fire& Flavor and auto dealer behavior dynamics researcher to increase visibility via comprehensive PR campaigns.

Shift Comm. Principal Todd Defren: ‘Many’ Ad Agencies ‘Don’t Understand Social Media’

In a blog post titled, “(Many) Advertising Agencies (Still) Don’t Understand Social Media,” Shift Communications Principal Todd Defren writes, “…the new Stella Artois campaign [Editor's note: video posted above.] struck me as such a perfect example of how some Advertising agencies take a bone-headed, campaign-is-king approach to Social Media…”

Defren adds a bunch of caveats at the beginning of his post, mainly that he has friends in advertising, and that many ad agencies are good at integrating social media into their work.

So then what was the point of the post? Using one campaign to paint a broad stroke on an industry could be considered a bit much, as many commenters on Defren’s post said.

When PRNewser spoke with Defren over email today, he said that the agency landscape is a complicated environment, and that there are numerous client engagements when Shift may have worked with an ad agency, or was brought in to clean up an ad agency’s mess, or did not work with an ad agency at all.

Particularly of note is that Shift Communications recently lost a PR/Social agency of record pitch for Century 21 Real Estate to an ad agency: Mullen. To their credit, they’ve also recently won big accounts like Quiznos.

Defren’s salvo is nothing new.

Edelman CEO Richard Edelman wrote in August 2006, “I think that the presumption has been that ad agencies act as coordinators of multiple communications disciplines. I intend to challenge that notion. There are times when PR should lead.”

Let the debate continue.

Interview: Shift Communications Principal Todd Defren

PRNewser caught up with Shift Communications Principal Todd Defren at a party to celebrate the launch of the agency’s New York office last night.

The agency, which reported revenue of just over $12 million in 2009, already operates in Boston and San Francisco.

Defren, who pens the popular PR Squared blog, told us the move to New York was to help the agency service its increasingly diverse client base, which he said is now 50% technology brands and 50% consumer brands. “We need to be in the mecca of all these big consumer brands,” he said.

Also, many of Shift’s Boston employees began moving to New York anyways, so the agency thought they would provide them with an official office. Defren told employees, “You can’t work out of your apartments, we’re going to do this right and open you a nice office in Union Square.”

Shift Communications Opens New York Office

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Shift Communications announced the opening of their New York office today, which is the agency’s third office, in addition to current offices in San Francisco and Boston.

“It made sense to start a New York PR firm, since many of the inquiries we receive from consumer and technology companies stem from the New York area,” Shift Communications principal Todd Defren said in a statement.

John Carter, vice president of account services at Shift, will lead the office. The agency’s clients include Akamai, Virgin Mobile, Canadian Club, Quantum, RealNetworks, Yelp, Johnson & Johnson and H&R Block.

PRNewser will be attending the official opening party for the office next week.

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