A blog to complement the Web site of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi-Central Chapter Web site at www.pramcentral.org.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

E-mail marketing use and trends

Link - MailerMailer recently analyzed permission-based e-mail marketing among 2,000 of their customers - and released a report on the data.

Three ways to turn vague attributes into compelling copy

If you have clients who want you to write about who they are, you probably have clients thrusting a list of attributes in your face. On the list, you'll find the usual suspects: quality, commitment to service, out-of-the-box this and proactive that. These attributes will be deemed attractive to customers and, indeed, the client may even legitimately embrace them. But while clients would be content, even thrilled, if you were to literally and liberally spackle these words into your headlines and body copy, you're hesitant. With good reason. Big attributes have little credibility. In any industry or category, the same claims are made by multiple competitors, diluting their impact. Worse, big attributes are large abstractions-foggy, ethereal ideas that don't have the concrete physical presence that evokes emotion. As a corrective, this article offers three techniques for transforming vague attributes into compelling copy.

Read the full article from MarketingProfs.com (free registration required).

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Blog to the Future

Link - Web diaries are moving from the personal to the professional without losing their personal touch, and it's that inherent chatty format that makes blogs the ideal way to build credibility with customers.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Public relations survey: Take part

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ten Ideas for Corporate RSS Feeds

Link - Here are 10 ideas for corporate RSS feeds to (mainly) external audiences. Most of these reasons are good ones for deploying RSS internally as well as part of your employee communications, knowledge management, content management, and other systems.

Blogs Force PR Pros To Put Their Journalist Hats On

Link - There's a fascinating article on PR and blogging in today's Globe and Mail. In the piece, Richard Edelman comments extensively on how blogs and other on-line tools that enable companies to speak directly to consumers are pushing the news media out of their central role in public relations.

"We Are Pleased..." An Overused Press Release Expression

Link - How sick are you of the press release expression "We are pleased.." It's been a staple of every press release quote since the PR classic "Man Discovers Fire, Unga Bunga" and even my personal favorite, "Meteor Kills Dinosaurs."

The Difference Between Internal And External Blogs

Link - After eight months of internal blogging Dennis Hamilton writes about how internal blogs differ from their external cousins.

How to succeed as a citizen media editor

Link - There's a new animal in online newsrooms -- the editor in charge of citizen journalism and blogs. These pioneers share best practices and tips.

Study: Local Online Search Will Soon Overtake Newspaper Classifieds

Link - The Kelsey Group revealed figures last night showing 70 percent of U.S. households now turn to the Internet to find local products and services. That's up 16 percent in 2004 over the previous year, putting the Internet on par with newspapers which are likely to fall behind the Internet very shortly, according to MarketingVox.

Exit Strategies

Link - "I quit!" Admit it: Those two simple words are on your mind and maybe even the tip of your tongue at least some of the time. And apparently you're not alone. According to a recent poll conducted by CareerPath.com, 40% of the 1,400 workers surveyed said that they planned to change jobs within a year. In these days of megamergers and startup mania, we'd be less than honest if we said that we rarely think about taking off.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Gillmor: Blogs Replacing Trade Publications

Link - Blogs and other online media have almost replaced trade magazines, Dan Gillmor, told a writer for the Society of Professional Journalists. Gillmor said this trend is likely to spread across other media genres as well.

Marketing as creativity

Link - Of all the slams on marketing, one of the biggest is that it is, in a word, guesswork. That distinctly pejorative view of our shared business discipline is that it is without any discipline at all. Images abound of marketers with Aquafina bottles in hand, brainstorming amidst riotous laughter, in conference rooms wallpapered in ad concept sketches. The authors of this article protest that this is an uninformed, almost-Hollywood-tainted view of marketers. That, far from being the job of creating first-quality BS and strategic initiatives based on wild guesses, marketing is an occupation of knowledge and information. The authors want the world to understand that marketing is a series of rational decisions resting on solid and carefully researched fact. They strive to soundly disabuse our engineering and sales and finance cousins of the view that marketing is just a bunch of guesswork. Only problem is: it's true.

Join Tougaloo College For Third Annual "Two Rivers Gala" Fundraiser

Join Tougaloo College for a magical evening of musical entertainment, food, and fun during their 3rd Annual “Two Rivers Gala” fundraiser. This year's event will be held on Saturday, April, 2nd, 7:00 p.m. at the Jackson Medical Mall.

Headliner entertainment includes R&B superstar Jeffery Osborne, Grammy nominated Jazz Saxophonist, Najee, Soul diva, Shirley Brown and comedian Reynaldo Rey. Local acts include Jessie Primer III and His Quartet, the Mo-Money Band featuring Henry Rhodes, Compozitionz, Andy Hardwick and Friends, Hunter Gibson and the Gators and comedy featuring Tim “the Poet,” Alice Marie and Rob Jay.

There will also be great food from some of Jackson’s best restaurants and other surprises. Corporate sponsors include Time-Warner Cable, PRAM Central member BellSouth, Roy Irons, and Herbert Lee and Associates. Individual tickets are $100 and can be purchased at Cellular Connection in the Jackson Medical Mall, Be-Bop records (all locations), on the Tougaloo campus at the Alumni House and the Office of Institutional Advancement or on-line at www.tougaloo.edu. For more information call 601.977.7871.

Geiger MPI Show of Ideas & Specialty Advertising Product Show

All Marketing & Promotional Buyers: Come visit the Geiger MPI Show of Ideas for all of your promotional needs. This is a professional Expo to help your company achieve new and fresh business promotion ideas.

Bring your business card for admission and enjoy fresh promotional ideas, food, & prizes! (Business Buyers Only Please. No Children. Your Business Card is required for Admission.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
MS AG & Forestry Museum
Sparkman Building
1150 Lakeland Drive
Jackson, MS

Visit www.GeigerFreshIdeas.com for more information.

Prospecting in the P.M.

A Small business trade show sponsored by the Tri-County Council of Chamber representing chambers of commerce in Hinds, Madison, and Rankin counties

Tuesday, June14, 2005
12:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
MS Trade Mart
Deadline to register: June 1, 2005

Past exhibitors are eligible for a $25 discount, but must register before May 25, 2005.

For more information contact: Lynda Raines @ (601) 948-7575, ext. 260 or e-mail lraines@metrochamber.com.

MetroJackson Chamber Annual Golf Tournament

Reunion Golf and Country Club
Monday, May 16, 2005
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Join the MetroJackson Chamber once again for a fun filled day of golf!!!

Deadline for Sponsorship: April 15, 2005

Deadline for Registration: April 22, 2005

Contact Lynda Raines at lraines@metrochamer.com or Hope Kennedy at hkennedy@metrochamber.com for more information.

That Sinking Feeling

Link - To avoid slamming into a Brand Iceberg, CMOs must align the corporate message with organizational standards and behaviors.

Running the Numbers

Link - Do you know how to tie your marketing investments to shareholder value (or member value)? It might help you to get your CFO to see marketing as a business driver instead of a cost center.

Bribe a Scribe? Don't Bother...

Link - Only creativity-impaired chumps have to pay journalists for favorable coverage

As PR pioneer Edward Bernays understood: The key to successfully co-opting journalists requires fostering within them a spirit of true belief. As chronicled in a biography of Bernays, The Father of Spin, by Larry Tye, part of Bernays's genius lay in his unparalleled ability to impart points of view favorable to his clients without making targeted editors and writers feel manipulated or sleazy. It's always better that way; conviction, unencumbered by guilt, is free to shine through.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Analytics and E-mail Are Most Likely to Be Outsourced

More than 40 percent of marketers say that Web analytics, business intelligence and e-mail delivery are the three technologies most likely to be outsourced by their companies. Consumer goods companies are more likely to outsource customer data warehouse, business intelligence and marketing automation than direct-to-consumer industries. (Source: Forrester Research)

What's the difference? The gap between how senior executives and managers look at the business world

Link - Over the course of more than a year of research, the authors of this article have noticed a difference in the viewpoints of senior executives and managers on a host of workplace and business issues. The differences are not necessarily negative, but they do reflect a disparity of view of parts of the business world and how each level functions on a day-to-day basis. For example, 38 percent of senior executives (CEO, chairman, president, senior vice president, general manager, etc.) say their workload has increased significantly compared to two years ago. At the same time, 53 percent of managers (assistant vice president, director, manager, supervisor, etc.) say their workload has increased significantly. So more managers feel they have taken on more of the burden.

Logos: what makes them work

Link - Developing a great logo is a strange mix of art, science, psychology and (in most cases) a good amount of luck. First, let's make one thing very clear. You logo is not your brand. Your logo only represents your brand. If you're thinking that changing or creating a logo is the same as changing or creating a brand, someone's been feeding you some very bad information. Branding and logos are totally separate discussions.

Your logo is nothing more (and certainly, nothing less) than a visual mark that represents your brand. And while your logo is not your brand, its design and consistent use will effect how your brand will be perceived. A great logo can give you incredible leverage and contribute directly to your bottom line. On the other hand, a lousy one may very well be the kiss of death.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Blog to the Future

Link - Web diaries are moving from the personal to the professional without losing their personal touch, and it's that inherent chatty format that makes blogs the ideal way to build credibility with customers.

The Digital Divide

Link - Andy Lark points us to an article in The Economist on the digital divide. Important for every communicator thinking about social responsibility programs.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Why Attention.xml Could Change PR Forever

Link - Attention.xml is a new technology standard that's being proselytized by influencers like ...

Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

Link - Being at or near the the top of your organization, everyone wants a piece of you. So they send you e-mail. It makes you feel important. Don't you love it? Really? Then, please take some of mine!

Blogs... What you need to know as PR Pros

Link - Andy Lark offers his notes/mini-transcripts from a gathering at The Publicity Club of New York.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Design That Touches the Heart Awards

This year, instead of entering the latest and greatest competition, B L A N K is proposing that we collectively focus that time on a project where design can touch someone's heart. They will post what your doing on B L A N K to encourage others. There are no ground rules and no entry fees, just send them what you are working on that you think touches the heart. It can be something you've been working on or something you wish to start. Send your Design that Touches the Heart entry to B L A N K at frank@b-l-a-n-k.com and they will post it.

KDPaine's PR Measurement Blog

Link - "If you've ever wondered how to measure public affairs, media relations, internal communications or even blogs you're in the right spot. In this space I'll be regularly ranting and raving about news, techniques and development in the world of pr research and evaluation. "

Burson-Marsteller blogging

Link - BM writes e-fluentials, a blog for online public opinion leaders and viral marketers (but it has no feeds and you don't know who is writing the entries...strange)

Mississippi Leadership Conference for Women

The Mississippi Leadership Conference for Women, April 24 and 25, 2005, has been organized by the Delta Business Women and is being hosted by Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, to provide to the women of Mississippi and their organizations affordable, highly professional and motivational leadership training. The conference is designed to provide new experiences, leadership skills development, networking opportunities and goals assessment. Attending the conference will be motivating, inspiring and challenging.

Monday’s lineup includes four dynamic and nationally recognized keynote speakers. Celeste Jonson of Celeste Jonson International, Inc., Atlanta, GA, will lead a seminar entitled “Empowering Yourself.” Elizabeth Ola Martin, formerly of Greenwood, MS, now of Atlanta, GA, is an executive coach. Elizabeth will present a seminar on “The Authentic Leader.” Fern Silver, Fern Silver and Associates, will close the conference with a dynamic seminar on “Maximizing Who You Are.” Additionally, Fern Silver will conduct a one day workshop at the Capps Technology Center in Indianola, MS, the day following the conference, April 26

During the conference, workshops will be conducted by Celeste Zepponi, “The Creative You;” Sally Paulson, “Your Personal Image;” and Gayden Metcalf and a panel of published authors, “So You Want to Write a Book!” These accomplished ladies will deliver a lively discussion on the perils of writing, publishing and marketing your written work.

Additionally, a Leadership Panel of Excellence, moderated by Dr. Myrtis Tabb, Delta State University, will reveal the challenges encountered on the road to success. Guest panelists are: Dr. Frances Lucas, President, Millsaps College; Ms. Freddye Webb-Petett, Clinton Center on Public Service; Ms. Ann Shackelford, Vice President, Delta and Pine Land; Kay Cobb, Mississippi Supreme Court Justice and Carolyn Shanks, President, Entergy. These accomplished women will host a lively and candid Q&A session after opening remarks.

Sunday evening, April 24, in the opening ceremonies, the endowed Lucy Howorth Award will be presented recognizing a Mississippi woman who has achieved significance in her chosen field of endeavor. Constance Curry, author, will deliver the presentation. The Nellie Nugent Somerville Guest Lecturer, Dawna Markova, President, Professional Thinking Partners, will be the banquet speaker on Sunday evening. Dawna is known for her groundbreaking research in the fields of learning and perception.

To register for the conference contact Dr. Myrtis Tabb, Delta State, mtabb@deltastate.edu or 662 846-4023 for a registration form. The cost of the conference is: Sunday evening session, 4:30 PM – 8:30PM, $25; Monday conference, 8AM – 4PM, $45; and Capps Technology training on Tuesday, April 26, with Fern Silver, $25. Registration forms must be postmarked by April 11.

Sponsors for the event are: BellSouth, Entergy, Viking, Delta Regional Medical Center, Guaranty Bank, Delta State University, Planters Bank & Trust Company, Dawkins, Mississippi Business Journal, James Ceranti Motors, Mississippi Delta Community College, Shamoon Advertising & Marketing, and Delta Business Journal.

That sinking feeling

Link - The majority of branding efforts are spent determining the "right" words and images with which a company wants to be associated. Companies use positioning statements, key messages, mission statements-all words-as the basis for their sales, marketing and communications programs. Using these words, companies then spend millions of dollars to develop ways to project their image visually, through corporate identity programs, advertising campaigns, retail displays and their websites. By concentrating so much effort on words and images, however, companies only focus on the tip of the "Brand Iceberg." The foundations of the iceberg, those larger issues lurking below the surface, are a company's own standards and behavior. These are the elements most often missed in the typical branding conceit but, in the end, those that will affect the long-term success of the entire effort.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Next Frontier in Advertising

Link - Quick! Name the fifth largest TV network in the US. Surprisingly, it is not Fox, or one of the cable giants. It is the Wal-Mart TV Network.

10 tips for producing effective VNRs

Link - Tips from Leaping Lizard on producing effective video news releases

Startling Survey Results: Sales Execs Rate PR's Importance Much Higher Than Marketing Execs Do

Link - Marketers -- if you want to really impress your sales department, perhaps the answer is adding more PR to the mix. Although this survey was conducted by a PR firm (who you might guess have some stake in the matter), we think the results are worth noting.

Turns out sales pros are much more likely than marketers to rate PR as being very helpful for shortening sales cycles, impressing prospects, and even generating new leads.

Taming the Uncontrollable

Link - In a recent Eastwick eNewsletter, the lead was entitled, "Taming the 'Uncontrollable."

Meeting face to face or remotely: evaluating the options

Link - Wondering whether you can have a successful meeting by meeting eye to eye? Here’s a checklist to help you assess the likelihood of success.

Making the Case for a Stronger Internal Comms. Organization

When the going gets good, the good get going--that's the outlook for the U.S. job market according to Priority Magazine. With the economy gaining momentum and unemployment down, recent studies show that employees may be quietly looking for greener pastures.

The reasons are simple: during lean times, management pressed employees to go the extra mile while cutting back on benefits. Often, the only avenue employees feel they have to escape their current situation is to move on to another position, one that might present new opportunities, more alluring responsibilities, and more support from within the organization.

Here are some vital statistics to hold onto when convincing your management that a stronger employee communications program is needed to help keep employees onboard and ultimately save the company from spending the loads of cash that would be needed for re-staffing:

Cost of Replacing an Employee -- Recruitment, Training, Relocation, and Salary/Bonuses (1)Executive Level -- 300% of current employee's salary (e.g. $180,000 vs. $60,000)
Non-Management -- 200% of current employee's salary (e.g. $80,000 vs. $40,000)

Disengaged Workforce Issues
Percent of workforce estimated as being ready to switch employers: 60% (1)
Percent of workforce who say they received no meaningful rewards or recognition for their efforts last year: 61% (2)
Percent of workforce who consider themselves clock-watchers who can't wait to go home: 71% (2)

Employees Who Would Recommend Their Company to Others as a Good Place to Work (3)Loyal employees: 90%
'Trapped' employees: 36%

Employees Who Would Resist Job Offers from Another Firm (3)
Loyal employees: 55%
'Trapped' employees: 26%

Employee Loyalty by Industry (3)
Insurance: 40%
Financial Services: 33%
Government: 28%
Manufacturing: 27%

Sources: 1) Priority Magazine, March-April 2004 edition.2) The Wall Street Journal/Gallup Poll 3) Potentials Magazine, January 2004 edition. (from LACP SPIN, March 2005)

Communicating through Color: How the Medium is the Message

Link - PR pros are typically renowned for their writing, speaking, and strategizing capabilities, not graphic design skills. While it's important for us to delegate the graphic arts craft to those with the appropriate talent, training, and experience, it's nonetheless important to understand how color can influence your message and how it's interpreted by your audience.

Painting Yourself into a Corner

Link - A fundamental communications tenet is to never make a statement that you're likely to contradict in the future. Classic examples of breaking this rule include President Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" assertion as well as Nixon's "I am not a crook" proclamation.

Converting a Corporate Cause to a Grassroots Campaign via the Web

Link - One of the most heralded aspects of the World Wide Web's proliferation is how anyone can now share their message around the world at virtually no cost. Reaching across borders, cultures, and ideologies, the Internet has become the ideal soapbox through which to exercise free speech.

For some corporations, this has become somewhat of a liability: boycotts against companies are now easier to organize; messages from opposing organizations can be more clearly defined and disseminated; and control over which messages are reaching the general public about an organization drops substantially.

The upside is that there's no reason for companies not to embrace the Web in a similar vein as home-grown activists in order to promote their own causes. Setting up stand-alone web sites that clearly define issues affecting both companies and their respective customers is proving to be a rather successful strategy. Even better, web sites are excellent platforms through which to get visitors involved by offering and managing a fully planned Call to Action.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Blogs Keep Internet Customers Coming Back

Link - Small Firms Find Tool Useful for Recognition, Connecting With Buyers

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Do your users know WTF you're talking about?

Link - "This is just the kind of synergistic, customer-centric, upsell-driven, out-of-the-box, customizable, strategically tactical, best-of-breed thought leadership that will help our clients track to true north. Let's fly this up the flagpole and see where the pushback is." (an excerpt from Why Business People Speak Like Idiots...)

Online Courses for Writers and Editors

Link - The Editorial Freelancer’s Assoc. (EFA) is offering several courses for writers and editors this spring. Most of these are traditional classroom courses held in New York City, but some are offered online.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The coming crackdown on blogging

Link - Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

Make a List, Check it Twice

Link - Can you check off all the items on our list? If not, fine-tune your business skills with these insider tips from entrepreneurial guru Guy Kawasaki.

Hazardous Road Ahead: the 'Scenic' Career Route

Link - Can women who opt out of the workforce ever get back in? That's the great unanswered question lurking behind many of the past year's stories about women ditching their corporate jobs and heading home.

The art of the press release

Link - With one typographical error, Liz Miller became a legend in the public relations world. As communications manager for a skin care company based in San Jose, Calif., Miller writes about 40 press releases a year, e-mailing them mostly to trade publications read by dermatologists and spa owners. One item touted special deals on glycolic-acid products and encouraged readers to call a 1-800 number for more information. But when readers dialed the number, they got much more information than they expected. Miller, it turned out, had typed in a single incorrect digit and provided the number for a phone sex line. Not surprisingly, she was soon flooded with calls from editors, angry customers, and laughing colleagues. To be sure, Miller is not the first -- nor will she be the last -- person to blow a press release. Writing and sending an effective press release is more challenging than it seems.

BellSouth assists Delta State Honors Program

From left, Gloria Harvey, Carolyn Manning, Dr. Greg Hospodor and Dr. John Thornell.

Carolyn Manning, Regional Manager for BellSouth, a PRAM Central member, and Gloria Harvey, Manager, External Affairs in Jackson, presented Dr. Greg Hospodor and Dr. John Thornell, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, with a $5,000 gift from BellSouth in support of the University's Honors Program. The newly initiated Honors Program is under the direction of Hospodor who most recently directed a similar program at LSU.

"BellSouth is committed to excellence in education in Mississippi and seeks to support in a meaningful way opportunities to provide students with the leadership skills and knowledge base they will need as tomorrow's leaders," said Manning. "BellSouth is very proud to be among one of the first to support the newly formed Honors Program."

"We currently have seventeen recipients of Honors Scholarships who have an average ACT score of 28 and high school GPA of 3.75," said Hospodor. "BellSouth's gift will allow us to enhance the academic component of the program and build experiences for students from that curriculum," he stated.

Hospodor presented Manning with a commemorative Honors Program shirt inscribed with the word "Areté". "Areté was the most articulated value in ancient Greek culture," said Hospodor. "Often translated as 'virtue' or 'excellence,' the word actually means something closer to being the best you can be, or reaching your highest human potential. The Honors Program will encourage students to pursue areté," he stated.

The program is designed to accept a maximum of 20 new students per year. Hospodor, serving as a mentor, will personally work with each student. Students accepted into the Program receive full tuition, room and board for four years. For more information contact Hospodor at 662.846.4173. To make a gift to Delta State University contact George Miller, Director of Development, at 662.846.4708 or gmiller@deltastate.edu.
Posted by Hello

From left, Gloria Harvey, Carolyn Manning, Dr. Greg Hospodor and Dr. John Thornell.
 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Command, Control

The International Database of Corporate Commands is an intriguing roundup of slogans and sayings.

A Corporate Command is an instruction work, a call to action in the form of an imperative: "Just Do It", "Turn on the Future", "Live without Limits", "Tap into great taste", "Think different", "Ride the light".

Recent examples include HP, Keds, and Coca-Cola. What other examples are there? What do you think corporate statements like those listed accomplish?

[via bBlog]

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Experts say casual approach to e-mail may be costing you

Link - With e-mail growing in importance and volume in business communication, proper e-mail etiquette is becoming more important. According to a January survey by the Radicati Group, a California-based technology marketing company, the average corporate e-mail user received 94 e-mails a day in 2004, up from 81 in 2003. Ginny Simpson, the owner and president of Simpson Business Communications in Winston-Salem, NC, says as e-mail use increases, more companies are getting reports of poor spelling and bad grammar in their employees' e-mails. Many of these companies are mandating training in writing e-mails, Simpson says, because they know how crucial e-mail can be in the impressions recipients form about the company.

Tutorial: finding information for marketing research

Link - One of the most difficult aspects of researching a market is locating hard numbers such as finding market share figures, sales growth rates, sales margins, etc. Marketing professionals, academics and students alike face this difficult and often frustrating problem and are often at a loss in terms of what direction to take to find what they need. This tutorial offers suggestions to aid those who find themselves in need of market information.

The Latest Initiative in Congress: Blogging

Link - Representative Mike Pence of Indiana is one of the few members of Congress who have a blog. He has posted entries on President Reagan's funeral, a trip to Afghanistan and his son's meeting with the former astronaut Neil Armstrong.

The nonprofit Congressional Management Foundation, which helps educate Congress on running its business, says at least four members - Mr. Pence; Representatives Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, and Katherine Harris, Republican of Florida; and Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont - have taken up the task on a continuing basis. (Others have used temporary blogs to document trips, said Brad Fitch, the foundation's deputy director.)