Thursday, December 23, 2010

Things I learned in 2010…

By Chris Daley

2010 has to go down as one of the quickest years of my life. But looking back, I added some new experiences in my personal and professional life that I learned from which will help me in 2011. I think it’s important for everyone to reflect on the past year and apply what you’ve learned to the year ahead.

Below are four important lessons I learned this past year.

Relationships are critical: We always say here at Maroon PR, “we’re in the relationship business.” In fact our company mission statement is “we drive growth through relationships.” It’s developing and fostering relationships with media, clients, corporate contacts, etc. that make all the difference. Try your best to stay top of mind with these people. Say hello for no reason, send a thank you card, say happy birthday on Facebook. In life you can’t control a lot of things, but being nice and respecting others is something you can control. And, the more experience I gain, the one thing remains the same, at the end of the day it’s not how many contacts you have in your rolodex that counts, it’s the quality of relationships you have that does.

Social media isn’t just for nerds: I created a Facebook account a few years back, and certainly understood the value of re-connecting with old friends. Twitter was different for me, mostly because it took me a while to grasp the concept of the site. I created a Twitter account in March this year and learned this is a great way to keep up with the day’s news, stay connected with people in a relaxed way and nice outlet to promote my work/client work. Although I do feel there are people out there that abuse social media -just like anything else in life –for the most part I think social media can be an important business tool. I’m excited to see where social media goes in the future and I encourage everyone to learn about it and how to utilize social media sites in an effective way. Those who haven’t embraced social media, it really isn’t just for nerds, I promise.

Don’t sweat the small stuff: A negative/incorrect news story, an angry client, co-workers having a bad day. These are the types of things that affect public relations people throughout the year. I learned this year that one of the most important things in business (or life) is to not sweat the small stuff. You will be a much better person and colleague if you take the high road and understand that not everything is going to be perfect. As long as you work hard, control what you can control and respect other people’s ideas, things will work out and fall into place. Poverty, natural disasters, cancer, war… these are the real terrible things in life.

Embrace change: The world of the public relations changes every day which is probably the main reason I entered into this industry. Add to that the world of a public relations firm, and you will really know how things can change quickly and sometimes dramatically. This year I learned that change can be a really good thing and that people/companies should not be scared of change. Embrace change and look at it as on opportunity to start fresh with something new, open your world up to new people and a way to try some new things.

What did you learn in 2010?

Chris Daley is a Senior Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact him at Chris@MaroonPR.com or follow him on Twitter @CDaley43

Monday, December 20, 2010

NY Post Crosses the Line

By Tim Richardson



Tim Richardson is Executive Vice President at Maroon PR. Contact him at Tim@MaroonPR.com

“Local” Media Is Still Powerful and Gaining Momentum


By John Maroon

Sometimes in PR circles, local media is looked upon as second tier or as not having as great of an impact. There are so many reasons to disagree with this and there is a national trend towards more local coverage happening across the country.

Here are a few things that show the value of local media hits …
  1. Market To Market … Several of our clients run events and programs in various markets across the country. While they, and we, always want that great hit on a national morning show or in the NY Times, having success in key markets across the country with their respective local media outlets impacts that particular market just as significantly.
  2. Media Is Local Only If You Let It Be … As everyone knows, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are changing the way people receive and process news. As a result, when an organization, company or PR firm lands what might be considered a smaller or more local hit they, should be taking it national and worldwide by posting it on their website and placing links on their Facebook and Twitter pages. This instantly and dramatically increases the number of people who are now reading, watching or listening to your news story.
  3. Local Is In …. Last year AOL purchased Patch.com…Patch is a network of hyper local websites currently in over 100 communities. According to PR Week, they are now the nation’s top hirer of journalists. As Patch grows and markets itself, its impact will only grow. The Washington Post used to be a national newspaper, and when it comes to its coverage of world affairs and politics it still is…however, the rest of the paper is very local in nature and their editors and reporters are looking for local news almost exclusively. They are noticing that their readers want more local news, local business information and local high school sports so they are filling that need.
Now this isn’t to say that we all don’t want or need the national media attention…we do! But local can be very important in the spreading of your message. The challenge now, as a PR firm, is to help your clients and their respective boards understand this and place a greater value in your local successes.

John Maroon is President of Maroon PR. Contact him at John@MaroonPR.com

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Greatest Ever…Why Label?

By Tim Richardson

In high school, I would smirk when a kid in my class was recognized for perfect attendance. But when that type of feat translates to a professional athlete and their commitment to their respective sport, there’s nothing funny about it.

On December 13, Minnesota Vikings’ QB Brett Favre’s streak of consecutive game starts came to an end as he was inactive against the New York Giants. After 297 consecutive NFL games, a span of almost two decades, Favre finally met an injury that he could not play through… as he did for the majority of his NFL career.

Favre’s streak is often compared to the 2,632 consecutive games played streak of baseball’s all-time Iron Man, Cal Ripken, Jr., an accomplishment that spanned from 1982-1998. Ironically, both streaks ended against New York teams (Ripken vs. the Yankees, 9/20/98)

Since Favre’s streak ended, the sports talk airwaves, bloggers, newspapers columnist (yes, they still exist) TV personalities and others debated which streak is more impressive or should go down as the greatest in sports. Here’s my question…why does either have to be labeled? Are they both not amazing in and of themselves? Does the physical pounding encountered in Favre’s sport outweigh the grind of a grueling, 162 game baseball season or Ripken’s longevity…or vice versa? My point is that you can’t, and shouldn’t, compare these two feats. Instead, why not just marvel in both of them and, if you were lucking enough to witness either or both play, be thankful for that opportunity…these level of achievements do not come around often (in Ripken’s case, probably never again).

This recent debate reminded me of a phrase that makes me cringe each time I hear it - “greatest of all-time.” Every sport seems to find it necessary to assign a ranking to its players. Recently, the NFL Network revealed The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players as determined by a “blue-ribbon panel.” Once the results were in, wide receiver Jerry Rice was ranked the greatest player in NFL history.

No disrespect to Jerry Rice, as I think he was an amazing player, but I don’t understand how you can rank players of different eras and classify one as “the greatest ever.” Look at how the sports changed over the years. In the days of players like Johnny Unitas, defensive linemen could literally clothesline the quarterback and try to rip his head off. In today’s NFL, if a defender sneezes near the quarterback it’s a 15-yard penalty and/or a $25,000 fine. Uhm, when did football become a non-contact sport? Plus, there was no instant replay, face shields, elaborate game films to study, etc. in the game’s early years. I’m not saying that players such as Peyton Manning and Troy Polamalu aren’t as good as the likes of Unitas and Deacon Jones. I’m actually saying the opposite.

This is an even bigger issue for me with baseball since that sport’s records are revered so much more than any other game. Using straight raw statistics to compare a player from 1910 to a player from 2010 is just illogical. Barry Bonds hitting 762 homeruns does not make him better than Babe Ruth, who first set the home run record with 714. Their styles of play were just so different.

Instead of always analyzing who’s “the greatest,” just sit back and appreciate sports for the enjoyment they bring to our lives.

Thanks Cal. Thanks Brett. Both are amazing feats!

Tim Richardson
is Executive Vice President at Maroon PR. Contact him at Tim@MaroonPR.com.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

By Matt Saler

Bernie Eccelstone is a man who knows how to make the most out of a tough situation. Eccelstone, the head of Formula One Racing, was mugged right outside of his London office in October. He was badly beaten and had all of his possessions stolen from him, including his Hublot watch, which is valued at over $300,000.

The 80-year old businessman decided not to be seen as a victim, but rather show the world that he is a brilliant marketer who knows how to rise above and make the most of a bad situation.

The watchmaker Hublot is a major sponsor of the F1 series.

The following day, instead of remaining out of the public spotlight, Ecclestone reached out to the luxury watchmaker and asked them to use his post-robbery headshot – showing him as a beaten man with a large blackened-eye – in their next featured print advertisement. Sure enough, Hublot used the disturbing photo, accompanied by the phrase, “See what people will do for a Hublot.”

Not only did the premier sponsor of Formula One Racing get their message across in the ad, but they got a ton of positive publicity all over the world.

Bravo, Mr. Eccelstone. Get well soon.

Matt Saler is a Senior Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact him at Matt@MaroonPR.com

Friday, December 10, 2010

25 Laptops Were Harmed in the Making of this Video

By Pete DeLuca

Once again, Google is pushing the boundaries of creative advertising. Today, the company released a six-minute video promoting their new user friendly notebook, Google Chrome OS.

How is it different from the past? Well, instead of purchasing a Dell computer and spending hours to correctly set up Windows, owners of the Chrome OS notebook sign in with a Google account and (within 60 seconds), have immediate access to an entire web-based operating system. Everything is online and owners have access to a variety of features, including tons of applications and Google’s recently launched Web Store.

The focus of today’s six-minute video is to promote one of the unique features of the product – “cloud computing”.



What you just witnessed was essentially a six-minute commercial – but it didn’t feel like it. There is something fun about watching each laptop get smashed into pieces. It draws you in and keeps your attention. The content is light and Google was able to easily relay key features of their new product to an audience that devoted their undivided attention.

During the making of this video, Google destroyed 25 computers but they may have gained millions in publicity.

Pete DeLuca is an Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR. Email him at pete@maroonpr.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Celebrity Twitter Campaign Fails to Raise $1 Million for Charity

By Andrea Kunicky

On December 1st, a host of celebrities declared themselves digitally “dead”, silencing their Facebook and Twitter accounts until their fans would donate $1 million to an AIDS charity.

The pop idols Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, and reality-television star Kim Kardashian, were among several stars who “signed off” last Wednesday, World AIDS Day. Their efforts were part of a fund-raising appeal for Keep a Child Alive (http://keepachildalive.org/), a charity founded by the singer Alicia Keys to aid children and families affected by the disease.

As part of the campaign, several posed in coffins for photographs posted online, and made videotaped pleas for their social-media fans to “buy my life back,” as the actress Jennifer Hudson put it.

After only a few days though, frustration set in with the time it was taking as just $450,000 was raised in six days. The celebrities convinced Brooklyn-born billionaire pharmaceutical executive Stewart Rahr to donate $500,000 so they could resume their digital habits.

"It's the worst mismanagement of star power I've ever seen in my life," Fox News quoted a source close to the program as saying.

People are now going back and forth about why this campaign didn’t work.

A source cited in The New York Post blamed crashed servers for slowing donations, lack of proper promotion and an overestimation of the celebs’ Twitter power.

More to the point, another source said, "Some stars thought the money would be raised in 24 hours and were embarrassed by criticism that nobody particularly cares about their Twitter presence."

Regardless of how things turned out, Keep a Child Alive raised $1 million for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India… so everyone should be proud of that.

In my opinion, I believe in this day and age and with celebrities, they need to work in giving something back to the fans participating in campaigns…as in if someone donates to the specific cause, they have a chance to win an interview with their celebrity of choice, autographed merchandise, a chance to meet them for a day…the list can go on and on.

In the future, it will be intriguing to see how celebrities and their star power will affect other social media campaigns they choose to pursue in the future.

Andrea Kunicky is an Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at Andrea@MaroonPR.com

Monday, December 6, 2010

Social Media & Customer Service


By Courtney Carey

As the number of people using social media tools continues to grow every day, it is important to recognize all of the ways that social media sites can be utilized. In a recent article from the San Diego Union Tribune, Teresa Siles – Manager of Social Media for a San Diego Public Relations firm, discussed how social media can be a powerful aid to customer service.

Since so many companies and brands have a strong presence on social media sites, it is only natural that customers are beginning to take service-related issues to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media platforms. The article states that “consumers create 256 billion impressions on one another each year by talking about products and services within social networks.” With this number being so high, it would be a huge oversight for companies to ignore the need for customer-service issues to be handled online.

In this article, Siles provided tips to help companies effectively tackle this growing trend:
  • Train your staff on tools and philosophy - Showing someone how to send a tweet is easy, but making sure they understand the nature of social media and the customer-centric philosophy behind it is far more important.
  • Have a policy in place - Develop a social media policy that reflects your company’s code of ethics and brand promise and acts as a guide for employee engagement in social media, ensuring tools are used ethically and responsibly.
  • Toss out the scripts - Authenticity is key. While employees should have a guide of common questions and answers, the guide should be just that — a guide, not a document from which to cut and paste. Each interaction should be tailored and unique, and the conversation should be organic.
  • Don’t be afraid to say I’m sorry - Being humble within social media and owning up to mistakes will go a long way toward earning consumer trust.
  • Thank your most loyal fans - While it can be easy to focus on the negative, don’t forget to thank your fans. A happy customer is your greatest endorsement.
  • Empower your reps to make a difference - Actions speak louder than words. It’s critical that your reps can provide real resolutions to customer issues.
Social media is all about building relationships on an intimate level. By following these few tips, companies can begin to build stronger relationships online while increasing their credibility and earning the trust of their followers.

Courtney Carey is Manager of Social Media at Maroon PR. Contact her at Courtney@MaroonPR.com

Friday, December 3, 2010

Qatar Wins 2022 FIFA World Cup


By Katy Fincham

Yesterday millions of Americans, including myself, watched in disappointment as Qatar was awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup over the United States. Qatar won the hosting duties with 13 votes, while the U.S. received only 8 votes from the FIFA Executive Committee.

While many were shocked by the final vote, Martin Rodgers of Yahoo Sports explains the extravagant efforts Qatar made during their FIFA bidding process:

“The sales pitch was one of gleaming, futuristic stadiums, a foothold in the uncharted soccer waters of the Middle East and the chance for FIFA to blaze a trail by embracing a fast-emerging economic power.”

A number of questions have been raised about Qatar’s ability to promote and execute such a large and overwhelming international event. Concerns raised include the sweltering heat, with temperatures above 100 degrees, security risks and the fact that Qatar is an extremely small nation, slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut.

“All those fears were magically washed away by the millions spent by Qatar on its slick campaign, which – whatever your allegiance – must be considered an epic achievement in public relations.”

I may not be a die-hard soccer fan, but it was unfortunate to see the U.S. miss out on an amazing opportunity, but Qatar clearly put together a pitch that the FIFA Executive Committee could not ignore. Much like the opinion of the FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, I think that everyone deserves a chance to showcase one of the greatest international sporting events. This will expose the world to a small, thriving nation, while encouraging the development and continued growth of the sport of soccer.

Katy Fincham is an Associate Account Executive. Contact her at katy@maroonpr.com.

Monday, November 15, 2010

RockMelt: The Social Browser

By Courtney Carey

RockMelt is the newest technology in the world of internet browsers, and has recently been introduced to the public. This Google Chromium-based browser is backed by Marc Andreessen who is best known as the co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used internet browser, and the co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. RockMelt combines the greatness of Google Chrome, while heavily integrating social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

A review by Jim Rapoza of InformationWeek discusses some of the unique features of RockMelt:

“When you launch RockMelt, it asks for your Facebook login. Once it starts, it automatically logs into Facebook and integrates Facebook information directly into the browser interface. This includes a list of Facebook friends (shown with small image thumbnails) that runs down the lefthand side of the browser window. This listing could be customized to show favorites, which are selected by hitting a star next to the person's image. Clicking on a friend's thumbnail displayed that person's most recent status and provided the option to chat with or post on that person's wall.”


Besides the heavy social media integration, this review goes on to talk about the impressive search capabilities of the new browser.

“By far, one of the most powerful features of RockMelt is how it has improved the integrated search in Chromium. When entering a search term within the search field, RockMelt first looked to see if it matched a friend and then performed a full search, with results displayed in a drop-down box. The box made it easy to scan results with lots of information and offered a nice site preview, essentially loading the site into the main RockMelt browser window.”


Time will tell whether or not RockMelt will become the leading internet browser or if it will be used primarily by social media enthusiasts. Since social media is increasingly playing a larger role in business and general culture, I predict great success for RockMelt in the future.

Courtney Carey is Projects Manager. Contact her at courtney@maroonpr.com.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day

By Matt Saler

Today is a day to honor for those who have served and continue to serve this country. We’re thankful to have brave people protecting the freedoms that many of us take for granted.

War is a very ugly and unfortunate part of life but it’s sadly unavoidable sometimes. When we’re forced to defend our freedom, we’re extremely lucky to have men and women who are willing to fight and serve this country, at times making the ultimate sacrifice.

So if you know someone who currently serves in the military, or a veteran who has served in the past, or even if you don’t know anyone, take a minute today and say thank you. Their courage makes us all proud.




Matt Saler is a Senior Account Executive. Contact him at matt@maroonpr.com.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marathon Fundraising Evolves

By Pete Deluca


Last weekend, thousands of runners took part in the 2010 ING NYC Marathon. With an estimated 46,000 people, the race is one of the largest and most popular running events in the world. Most participants endure months of grueling training and arrive at the starting line eager to begin their 26.2-mile trek. But one runner, selected to start dead last.


His name is Amani Toomer, former wide receiver for the New York Giants, and his run from Staten Island to Central Park took on special meaning thanks to a unique fundraising opportunity from Timex. For every person Toomer ran by, Timex agreed to donate $1 to New York Road Runner’s Club Youth program, a local charity that promotes distance running, health, and fitness. To pass as many people as possible, Toomer selected to start very last.

He finished the race in 4:13 – just outside his goal of under four hours, but still fast enough to break the record set by Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, who previously held the mark for the fastest time in the NYC Marathon by a former NFL player at 4:23. Is it estimated that Toomer passed 20,000 people on his way to the finish line.

Raising money for charity is always a great idea. Sponsoring or donating to a particular runner is certainly not uncommon, but there is something refreshing about the way Timex went about this.

It’s interesting. It’s engaging. It makes for a great story before, during, and after the event.

My hat is off to Timex for recognizing an excellent opportunity to donate thousands of dollars to a local charity while tastefully promoting their company.


Pete Deluca is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at pete@maroonpr.com.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Letter to Erin Oliver

By Carolyn Maroon

Recently there was a disturbing story about animal cruelty. The only way these crimes start is when the punishment fits the crime. This is a chance for Florida to set the standard. Here in Baltimore, Mayer Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has recently passed legislation that enforces animal cruelty laws, which is a positive step in the right direction.

Below is a letter I’d write to Florida’s Assistant State Attorney regarding the case.

***

November 5, 2010

Ms. Erin Oliver
Assistant State Attorney
P.O. Box 590
Chipley, FL 32428

Dear Ms. Oliver,

This is a request to pursue the strongest penalties available under Fla. Stat.
§ 828.12 against greyhound trainer, Ronald “Ronnie” John Williams. The state anti-cruelty statute states that a person “who intentionally commits an act to any animal which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, is guilty of a felony of the third degree” which is punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine per act.

So far 33 dogs that were in Mr. Williams care have died. Mr. Williams is being held on a $54,000 bond and has been charged on 37 felony counts for committing animal cruelty for starving nearly 40 greyhounds, and in some cases, suffocating them by duck taping their necks to cut off their air supply.

This man needs to be held accountable for his unconscionable actions and I respectfully implore you and your office to use the full power of the law to penalize Mr. Williams. By doing so, you will not only be protecting other dogs but people as well. If Mr. Williams is capable of doing such horrid things to a defenseless animal then he is also capable of doing the same to a person.

Too many times across the country and here in Maryland these acts are punished by a mere slap on the wrist. Florida has an opportunity to send a message and set a standard that other states could follow.

Thanks for your time and for fighting to protect life in all forms.

Sincerely,
Carolyn and John Maroon
(owners’ of Connie & Gabe)

Carolyn Maroon is Office Manager of Maroon PR. Contact her at carolyn@maroonpr.com.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Texting for a Cause

By Mitchell Schmale

Nonprofits are often looking for creative ways to share their message, advance their missions and also raise much needed funds to help support their organizations.

In good economic times and bad, nonprofits will continue to utilize traditional fundraising techniques including capital campaigns, corporate partnerships and direct outreach to donors, to name just a few. But more nonprofits of all sizes are now trying to emulate the success of recent text messaging campaigns as an additional fundraising tool to help reach younger donors and build a donor support base for the future.

The New York Times’ Stephanie Strom wrote an interesting article recently on the challenges of launching and maintaining successful text messaging campaigns for many nonprofits.

Following the amazing success of the American Red Cross texting campaign to support Haiti in January of this year, other nonprofits realized the immense potential power of the fundraising vehicle. The text Haiti campaign raised more than $30 million, which was almost as much as all other nonprofit text campaigns in 2009 combined.

However, as The New York Times piece points out, the American Red Cross example is difficult model to replicate. Not every nonprofit is able to share the same sense of urgency, have the ongoing support of global awareness from news coverage, or have the support from other national organizations and high-profile public figures. Additionally, the ongoing cost of creating and maintaining a text campaign can be a costly expense for smaller nonprofits.

Nonetheless, I believe texting campaigns will become yet another traditional mainstay for nonprofits of all sizes to use as a fundraising tool in the future. With the help of corporate partners underwriting campaigns and the costs of launching and maintaining campaigns with mobile phone companies possibly declining in the future, nonprofits will tap into the texting craze for the long haul – at least until the next best technology-based fundraising tool comes along.

Mitchell Schmale is the Vice President of Business. Contact him at mitchell@maroonpr.com.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Whistle Blowers

By Tim Richardson

Two weeks ago, I read a story on Yahoo! Sports about dozens of high school football referees potentially being penalized by the Washington Officials Association (WOA) for using pinks whistles in a series of Thursday night games to raise awareness about breast cancer. The refs also donated their game checks to a nonprofit dedicated to breast cancer education and research.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society's (ACS) most recent estimates, there were over 207,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women in the U.S. in 2010. Additionally, there were more than 50,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS), a non-invasive and earliest form of breast cancer.

Another article in USA Today cites WOA Commissioner Todd Stordahl as saying the refs “didn’t ask permission and disregarded official rules for appropriate uniforms.” He continued by adding that the refs actions “set a bad example for players.” The Commissioner also said the organization might keep these refs from officiating playoff games…which would result in them losing two game checks.

The ACS estimates that approximately 40,000 women lost their lives to breast cancer in 2010…and Mr. Stordahl is concerned about whistles not being black and the refs not getting “permission” to bring attention to an extremely noble cause? What type of example is that setting for players?

Look, I get it. We live in a world that has rules, policies, laws, etc. But sometimes, rules just don’t work. Now don’t be ridiculous and say I’m calling for a world with anarchy. I’m not saying that at all. The “rules” that I’m referring to are trivial things like…well, the color of a football referee’s whistle.

This story quickly reached the masses and the outcry of support for the referees grew, while the consternation toward the WOA swelled. This is a highly sensitive issue, so within hours Mr. Stordalh’s email address and contact information were being shared via sites such as Facebook. I certainly don’t agree with posting the man’s information all over the Internet, but it makes you wonder how much the public uproar and negative attention in the media factored into the WOA’s decision not to penalize the referees.

On October 25, SeattleTimes.com posted a story in which Mr. Stordahl reiterated that the WOA's issue was that the officials “did not follow proper procedure in electing to change from the standard black whistles, considered part of the uniform.


To the WOA’s credit, they have allowed officials to use pink whistles at other sporting events, including volleyball, soccer and basketball. But their rationale for deciding against the use of pink whistles at football games was “to keep the focus on the players and games.” So they weren’t concerned about people being focused on the players at the volleyball, soccer and basketball games…huh?

The WOA did inform the referees that there were consequences for rules violations if they went ahead with their plans to use pink whistles. But the officials already had the whistles and pledged their game checks to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

I guessing the two and a half million breast cancer survivors in the United States, along with their families and friends, are thankful for people like these referees in Washington.

To me, the big picture is way more important…not to mention life altering.

Tim Richardson is Executive Vice President. Contact him at tim@maroonpr.com.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Make sure your Vision Statement Means Something

By John Maroon

So many times we hear about companies going away for retreats and spending hours and even days trying to come up with a vision statement.

Vision statements define an organization’s purpose in terms of the organization’s values rather than bottom line measurements like a mission statement is supposed to do. The vision statement conveys the purpose and the values of the organization and most people believe it should be short, simple and impactful.

Last January Maroon PR held what is now an annual one-day company retreat where we all get together and set our goals for the year. Last year one of our primary objectives was to come up with a vision statement.

I, and I suspect others, was skeptical about the value of this. So many times things like this are written and talked about during a meeting or brainstorm session…and then never discussed again. We went back and forth and talked about all of the things that are important about our company and what truly sets us apart.

What we came away with was “We Drive Growth Through Relationships.” A year later I reflect on that and I am proud. These are truly words that guide us and our actions and not just a stale line that sits on our website. It drives all that we do and everyone knows what our vision statement is.

What does it mean? Simply that.

Relationships with Media… Many media members we call friends. In addition, we have a philosophy of not badgering media members to try to get them to cover an event or write a story. Not every pitch is answered or acted upon and we respect that completely.

Relationships with Clients… In April we will celebrate our fifth anniversary. Many of our clients have been with us nearly the entire time. In fact Ripken Baseball, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and the Babe Ruth Museum have been with us since the day we opened our doors (thank God!) and others for nearly that long … USA Football, Reading Is Fundamental, CRI Solutions, Renegade and Geier Financial Group.

Relationships for Others… When working with our clients we look at ways to effectively partner them with each other or other relationships that we may have. This is a powerful tool that helps everyone.

The bottom line is that a vision statement has to mean something to everyone and has to be reinforced and embraced. Ours has been and it has made a great difference for our business and for our clients.

John Maroon is President of Maroon PR. Contact him at john@maroonpr.com.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Should Lebron James Do?

By Andrea Kunicky

The NBA season tips off tonight, but the buzz among hoops fans is about LeBron James' new Nike commerical, which addresses the off-season controversy over his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. "What should I do?" the NBA star asks rhetorically.

The commerical - titled “Rise” - consists of James pitching the audience various scenarios of what James could have done and how he might satisfy critics who think he made the wrong decision last summer in deciding to leave the Cavs and sign with the star-studded Heat.



"We're celebrating his courage to forge his own journey even when others may have disagreed with his decisions," Nike's vice president of global brand marketing Davide Grasso, said in news stories.

The reaction from the release on YouTube has been overwhelming. Well, that ad "is pretty much perfect," says Royce Young of CBS Sports. It's "candid" and allows us "to see the human side to LeBron" that had all but disappeared lately. If James' goal here was to restore his brand, then "put it this way: Mission Accomplished."

While you can argue over James' image, CNBC's Darren Rovell noted that Nike shoes are "barely mentioned in the spot."

In my opinion, this was another great marketing tool for James. If people agree or disagree with his decision, James and his popularity is so great that we can’t turn our heads away from him. People might still be upset with where he decided to play but it seems this is his way of showing that he really doesn’t care what people think of him. It’s honest and rebellious. It’s a reflection of James.

TNT will show the video tonight during its coverage of the NBA season opener between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics, so it will be interesting to see how the reaction is to this now controversial ad.

Andrea Kunicky is an Account Executive. Contact her at andrea@maroonpr.com.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Starbucks Joins Forces with Yahoo

By: Courtney Carey

On Wednesday October 20, Starbucks new digital network went live in almost 6,800 stores. The company partnered with Yahoo Inc. to deliver a free digital network exclusively to all of their U.S. based stores. This network will not only include free Wi-Fi, but also free access to subscription editions of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The New York Times. Also available for free are exclusive downloads on iTunes, as well as access to Zagat reviews and ratings, which are free for all customers to enjoy.

With a goal of attracting a larger customer base in their US stores, this partnership is not only beneficial to Starbucks, but also to Yahoo since they will be receiving a large amount of positive media exposure.

An article from the Sacramento Business Journal states –

“Yahoo’s vision is to be the center of people's online lives by delivering personally relevant, meaningful Internet experiences, wherever they may be,” said Elisa Steele, EVP and CMO at Sunnyvale-based Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO). “We’re excited to team up with Starbucks to create a dynamic online destination where their customers will find unique online content to keep them informed and entertained.”

In a blog from The Economist, the perks of Starbucks digital network are discussed in detail –

“While in the cafĂ©, using the free in-store Wi-Fi, customers now gain digital access to content they'd otherwise have to pay for. The Wall Street Journal opens up full access to its $103-per-year Web site, and the New York Times provides its $240-per-year Web app reader for free. Kids' entertainment giant Nickelodeon lets the rugrats in to the paid Nick Jr Boost, a subscription that costs about $100 per year. Apple will give away free music and videos. (And Starbucks is using iPhone- and iPad-friendly video and browsing standards.) Several American publishers will provides access to excerpts and the full text of books as part of the Bookish Reading Club. Starbucks gets a piece of subscription signups and sales.”

Will Starbucks be the first to kick off an in-store digital network trend? If so, will this eliminate the need for small or start-up businesses to have their own office space? Only time will tell, but as for now I am looking forward to enjoying the new services that Starbucks has to offer.

Courtney Carey is a Projects Manager. She can be reached at coutney@maroonpr.com


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Creative Marketing Shines Through

By Pete DeLuca

Millions of people worldwide turned their attention to Copiapo, Chile last week as 33 trapped miners climbed up a specially designed steel shaft to freedom. Hundreds of members of the media were present and the rescue made headlines across the world.


The miners, who spent the last two months thousands of feet underground, were expected to experience a number of health complications upon resurfacing – among them, readjusting to natural light. The solution… ? Oakley sunglasses.

The U.S. sunglasses manufacturer was approached weeks before the rescue about the opportunity to donate the shades. Oakley was happy to oblige – donating 35 pairs of specially designed Oakley Radars scientifically engineered with Black Iridium lenses to protect sensitive eyes.

Each pair of sunglasses costs roughly $180; bringing the company’s total investment to just $6,300 – but the media attention they received as each miner surfaced wearing Oakley’s sunglasses was worth much more than that. According to some sources, the value of the publicity is estimated at approximately $41 million in TV mentions alone. That does not take into consideration the hundreds of thousands of references online, in print, and on the radio. Not bad for a $6,300 investment.

Of course, the donation received criticism from people who questioned whether or not the sunglasses were a genuine charitable donation or a creative attempt to capitalize on the media attention surrounding the Chilean miners. Oakley did not benefit financially from the donation and insists that the story was leaked to the media.

Charitable donation or creative marketing ploy? Or maybe it’s both. The miners were at risk for permanent retina damage and eye protection became necessary. Oakley recognized this opportunity and made a perfectly reasonable donation. They seized the moment, and because of that, will be forever linked with this historical event.


Pete DeLuca is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at pete@maroonpr.com

Monday, October 18, 2010

5 Tips for Building an Effective Website

By Chris Daley

The inspiration for this blog came when I was building a website for a new client of ours. I conducted research and thought it was interesting how many sites weren’t fresh and updated, which is strange, since websites are your most important marketing tool.

It made me think of the Simpson’s episode where Homer decided to start his own online company. Who can forget these famous Homer quotes?

"Oh, they have the Internet on computers now?" or

"Where's the ‘Any’ key?" or

"The Internet? Is that thing still around?"

The Internet is still around and it has become the most popular way people get their news, according to a recent study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Everything in our lives is integrated with the Internet and your website has to look professional and be functional if you want it to be effective and represent your company in an engaging way.

With this in mind, I developed five tips to keep in mind for current businesses or new businesses wanting to build or update their websites.


  1. Create a website with room to grow it: If you are a new company, or are creating a website from scratch, don’t be so concerned with filling the website with fluff or generic photos. Keep it simple in the beginning, but leave the site wide open for adding new content and sections. You want to always be able to add news aspects to keep up with the times and keep it a living and breathing site.

  2. Avoid too much animation: It’s not the year 2000. Flash animation is not the coolest invention on the Internet anymore. Incorporate some animation but don’t have too much where it takes a few minutes to load up a web page. In general, people have little patience so in the time they’ve waited to watch your page load up, they’ve moved on.

  3. Incorporate new content regularly: It is important to continuously generate new and engaging content for your site. Update it a few times a week if possible. This does not always have to include news about your company. It can be a variety of things ranging from news within the industry you work in, blogs from you or your staff, new photos and/or videos, etc. It doesn’t look good if your site is never updated and people will never feel the need to come back to your site if the content is stale.

  4. Add photos/videos often: People love photos and video. If you were to ask a multimedia editor at a newspaper what are the most viewed sections on their website, they will most likely tell you it’s the photo galleries and videos. With this in mind, make sure you add photos to your site from recent events you attended or managed and maybe videos as well. Flip cams are very cheap and any amateur can record a nice video which will enhance your webpage.

  5. Mobile compatibility: Most people in our society are attached to their Blackberry, IPhone, etc. Nearly everyone checks the Internet on their phone when they’re on the go. This is only going to grow and soon everyone will have a phone that can connect to the Internet. So, be sure to build your site so that people can access it from their mobile devices.

Chris Daley is a Senior Account Executive. Contact him at chris@maroonpr.com.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Meet Katy Fincham

By Katy Fincham



Katy Fincham is an Associate Account Executive. Contact her at katy@maroonpr.com.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Web Coding May Lead to Privacy Issues

By Matt Saler

On the front page of today’s New York Times, there is a story about HTML 5, the new web coding that is slowly being ushered in across the Internet over the next few years. The new coding system will be much more “user-friendly,” making it easier for those who browse the web to check email offline, shop, find the closest movie theater via their iPhone, and view online videos without having to download the newest version of Flash or whatever software they prefer.

Sounds like a nice improvement, right?

Problem is, as the story states…


“The new Web language and its additional features present more tracking opportunities because the technology uses a process in which large amounts of data can be collected and stored on the user’s hard drive while online. Because of that process, advertisers and others could, experts say, see weeks or even months of personal data. That could include a user’s location, time zone, photographs, text from blogs, shopping cart contents, e-mails and a history of the Web pages visited.”


Advertisers and others could see one’s history of web pages visited and potentially read another’s emails without permission? Does anyone not see a problem with this?

While it is noted that users can organize settings on their browsers to avoid such tracking, my guess is that the majority of Internet users are not even aware that such tracking exists.

I think that the makers of these Web browsers should take responsibility and aim to eliminate all tracking capabilities whatsoever, or at a minimum, stress to all users of their software that such tracking exists.

For a country that stresses a lot of freedoms, this certainly has a creepy “Big Brother” feel to it. Hopefully this story opens some eyes.

Matt Saler is a Senior Account Executive. Contact him at matt@maroonpr.com.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bill Simmons Accidently Breaks Moss News via Twitter

By Stefen Lovelace

The latest NFL news is that mercurial wide receiver Randy Moss will be traded from the New England Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings for a third round draft pick.

Every major outlet is reporting this is a done deal. News of the deal was announced late last night, when outlets were reporting that Foxsports.com had broken the story.

The story may have actually been broken by ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons by accident. Last night Simmons tweeted “Moss vikings”. The tweet didn’t make a lot of sense, and Simmons clarified a couple of minutes later that he meant to send the tweet as a direct message, as he had heard a rumor that a Moss trade to the Vikings might be in the works. He had no intention of sending the tweet to his one million-plus followers. He deleted the tweet a few minutes later, but was too late.

Moments later, ProFootballTalk tweeted “Unintended tweet sparks rumors of Moss to Minnesota” in reference to Simmons‘ mistake. Then Foxsports.com’s Jay Glazer tweeted “Yes, vikes and pats have been working on trade that sends randy moss to vikes and r very clode (sic) but can't be done ...” Once that was tweeted, every major outlet started reporting it and credited Foxsports.com on the story. To Glazer’s credit, he later acknowledged via tweet that Simmons beat him to the story, but he had been following it all day.

Simmons has always maintained that he’s not a reporter, but rather a columnist. He hails from Boston, and part of his persona is that he writes from the perspective of a fan and just comments on what he sees. But through Simmons writing, expertise, and platform, he’s managed to make some pretty major contacts in sports. If Simmons says something about the NBA or a Boston sports team, there’s a good chance there’s some truth to it.

This is probably the first actual story Simmons has broken since working for ESPN. I’m pretty sure he never thought it would be like this though.

Stefen Lovelace is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at stefen@maroonpr.com.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Evan Williams Steps Down as Twitter's CEO

By Abby Draper

It’s been a newsworthy couple of weeks in the rapidly paced world of Social Media.

As some of you read last week, Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook.com donated $100 million to the Newark School systems; “Social Network” was released and hugely successful in its debut weekend; and today Twitter co-founder Evan Williams announced that he is turning his CEO title over to “focus on product strategy.”
In an unexpected announcement on the Twitter blog, Williams revealed that he has stepped down and asked Twitter COO Dick Costolo to take over as the company’s CEO.

In his blog, Williams writes:


“The challenges of growing an organization so quickly are numerous. Growing big is not success, in itself. Success to us means meeting our potential as a profitable company that can retain its culture and user focus while having a positive impact on the world. This is no small task. I frequently reflect on the type of focus that is required from everyone at Twitter to get us there.

This led to a realization as we launched the new Twitter. I am most satisfied while pushing product direction. Building things is my passion, and I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about what we have to build.

This is why I have decided to ask our COO, Dick Costolo, to become Twitter’s CEO. Starting today, I’ll be completely focused on product strategy.”


With the recent roll out of New Twitter, now seems like the perfect timing for Costolo to take over. I look forward to seeing where Twitter is headed.

Abby Draper is the Manager of Social Media. Contact her at abby@maroonpr.com.

Friday, October 1, 2010

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Mitchell Schmale

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) as the organization celebrates its 26 year history of promoting greater awareness of breast cancer issues and encouraging everyone to have annual exams. NBCAM has become a resource for patients, survivors, caregivers and the general public over the years as it works with numerous national public service organizations, medical associations and government agencies to promote breast cancer awareness and education.

As the brother of a breast cancer survivor, I appreciate NBCAM’s work and am grateful for the support and resources they provide organizations, as well as individuals, to help reach out to women to encourage early detection of the disease.

According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 191,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and more than 40,800 women succumbed to the disease in the same year. But, the good news is that we are winning the fight. The overall mortality rate has decreased in the past 35 years and more cases of breast cancer are being found in earlier stages and being successfully treated thanks to greater education and screening programs.

The hard work of NBCAM and other leading organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, will continue around the clock – not just in October. Numerous organizations all across the country will have fun and creative local events this October to help raise funds and fight back against the disease. Find one that works for you and join the fight against cancer.

Mitchell Schmale is the Vice President of Business. Contact him at mitchell@maroonpr.com.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

100 Million Reasons to Like Mark Zuckerberg

By Pete Deluca

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of the social networking site Facebook.com, sat down with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker on the Oprah Winfrey Show to announce his plans to donate $100 million dollars to the Newark Public School System.

The grant is welcome news to residents of Newark, who saw control of their failing school system turned over to the state of New Jersey a decade ago. Still, under the new regime, nearly 46 percent of the district’s 40,000 students failed to graduate from high school and less than half of elementary school students read and write at the appropriate grade level.

News of Zuckerberg’s donation spread quickly. In researching this topic, I expected to see thousands of articles praising this recording-breaking donation. Instead, I found story after story criticizing the move as a publicity stunt on the heels of the release of The Social Network – a film due out Friday that portrays Zuckerberg as a self-centered egomaniac who rips off his friends to create Facebook.

Either way you look at this situation, a donation of this size has the potential to dramatically change one of America’s most notoriously dangerous cities. One million dollars would have been more than enough to help teachers city-wide simply buy supplies. Five million dollars would be enough to provide new computers, after school programs, or safer transportation. Fifty million dollars would be ground breaking – allowing the city to build dozens of new schools. But a $100 million-dollar donation is unheard of. Publicity stunt or not, Zuckerberg’s grant is an amount that will change the lives of individuals for generations.

In addition to The Social Network, there is another movie in theatres on Friday entitled Waiting for Superman This documentary describes the hardships of the American public school system - the struggles teachers face every day, the poor level of education children are receiving, and how the system, which was once the best in the world, is now failing our students. The title hints to the overall plot of the film – the school system needs something, or someone, to save it.

Regardless of Zuckerberg’s motivation, Newark, New Jersey found their Superman.

Pete Deluca is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at pete@maroonpr.com.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Great Things Come Out of Difficult Times

By Carolyn Maroon

A wonderful trend in recent years that was born out of tough economic times and the public’s lack of faith in big business, has been the dramatic increase of cause marketing efforts.

So many companies have effectively used cause marketing to build their brands while, at the same time, do good work … the Pepsi Refresh Project, Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives, Box Tops for Education, Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, McDonald's and Ronald McDonald House Charities, Target and Take Charge of Education, and many more. We have come to associate strong brands with charitable giving.

These are just a few examples of how businesses and nonprofits team up in a “cause marketing campaign” where both sides benefit. The nonprofits gain national attention by associating themselves to a company that is already a big brand. Using this association in advertising creates a memorable impression by the consumers for both the charity and the business. Another advantage is that corporations have bigger budgets to invest in quality advertising, which will inevitably result in the channeling of more funds.

Additionally, embracing a cause makes good business sense. Statistics show that 83% of Americans and 94% of moms want to see more cause related marketing. Companies that commit to a worthy cause build brand loyalty with consumers. The majority of consumers prefer to do business with a company that stands for more than making a profit.

If the teaming up of businesses and charities is good for capitalism and raising awareness for worthwhile causes, I’m all for it. Statistics show that I am not alone in my view.

Carolyn Maroon is the Maroon PR Office Manager. Contact her at carolyn@maroonpr.com.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lost: The Importance of Customer Service

By Tim Richardson

For the majority of us, our jobs involve interacting with people. My occupation actually states that fact in the name of the industry in which I work…public relations. However, not everyone seems to understand the importance of interpersonal communications and I have directly experienced customer service trending downward in recent years.

BusinessDictionary.com defines customer service as “all interactions between a customer and a product provider at the time of sale, and thereafter. Customer service adds value to a product and builds enduring relationship.”

“Adds value to a product and builds an enduring relationship”…in my opinion, that portion of the definition is the key piece that many people have forgotten. Considering the poor state of the economy, you would think that those competing for our discretionary income or purchases of necessity would strive to provide a level of service that makes them positively stand out amongst the competition.

Retail is a major business in our country. It’s estimated that billions of transactions take place each day in the nation's 1.4 million stores. From restaurants to contractors, technology service provides to manufacturers, high-quality customer service has become a forgotten principle of business.

When I started thinking about this topic for my blog, the examples of poor customer service that I’ve experienced in the last six months alone easily came to mind. Since it was hard to narrow it down to one, here are a few of my “favorites”…without naming the companies directly:

  • Grocery store cashier who never said a word to me as she was texting on the phone and eating fast food while ringing up my order in the checkout line.

  • A contractor who kept “forgetting” to schedule the crew to fix my roof after a snow storm gave me a “natural” skylight that was leaking throughout my house; the company then used the wrong product and slapped on paint so shabbily that it looked like a two-year old with their first coloring book; after receiving the run-around for about two weeks, the owner finally made an appointment with us on a Saturday to come by and address the situation…only he never showed up or called with an explanation.

  • A ticket broker who told me “sorry about your luck” when a concert I bought tickets for was rescheduled and half of our group couldn’t go on the new date. When I asked to speak to his manager, he said “nope” and hung up on me.



Of course, not every company has disregarded the value of customer service. Chick-fil-A is the quintessential example on how to do things right. Think about the last time you went to Chick-fil-A, where you are not considered a customer, but rather a “guest.” After you placed your order, the person on the other side didn’t slap your change on the counter or ignore you after the transaction…they also didn’t say “you’re welcome.” They said “my pleasure.” Their pleasure? Two simple words that make you feel valued.

This mentality comes from the top as President and COO Dan Cathy stresses the importance of attentive and courteous customer service. That philosophy and commitment to “guests” even play a huge role in the decision process for opening new restaurants.

In 2008, Chick-fil-A received over 22,000 applications from aspiring store operators…they selected only 100 who they believed were in tune with Chick-fil-A’s mission.

Tim Richardson is Maroon PR's Executive Vice President. Contact him at tim@maroonpr.com.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Companies Implementing "Napping" Policies

By Andrea Kunicky

Every employee in the workforce, whether you are a teacher or a top executive, has been tired and not able to focus on work at one time or another. People usually fight it with a caffeine fix, taking a walk outside or even just browsing on the Internet.

Yet, while watching Good Morning America this morning, they brought up an unusual alternative that many companies are starting to use…taking a nap on the job with the approval from the boss. They went on to say that top companies such as Ben & Jerry's and Google have their own dedicated napping rooms. These quiet spaces provide their employees with peace and privacy to take a short snooze during the day.



According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 30 percent of workers fell asleep or became very sleepy at work during a month. And 65 percent of respondents admitted to experiencing performance issues, such as trouble organizing work and had difficulty concentrating.

Some employers though stand firm to their belief of a no nap policy, responding that their workers should get enough sleep at night and should be well-rested enough to work the full day. Napping in the workplace might sound like a strange concept to some, and even to me, but with the growing emphasis on health and wellness I can see why this issue has come up.

I can certainly see how this could help productivity in the workplace and balance the day out. At a company like Maroon PR, where there are new things going on each day, I don’t think a nap policy would be a good thing. It does seem like it is working for some other companies though and will be interesting to see if more companies institute a similar policy.

Andrea Kunicky is an Account Executive. Contact her at andrea@maroonpr.com.


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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

RE: Email

By Chris Daley

Recently I found myself turning into “That Guy” when it comes to responding to the numerous emails I receive each day. Instead of the well thought-out, professional emails, I used to write in my earlier PR days, some of my recent responses have looked like this: “Ok, will get back soon” … “Thx” … “sure” … “Pls send info.” I apologize if you are reading this and recently received one of those emails from me… it was a busy summer.

I was curious to see what some professionals thought, or if there had been any recent articles or blogs written on the subject of email etiquette and correspondence. I wanted to see if anyone had advice for how to manage my growing list of emails in my inbox and if anyone could give me a sense of what proper email etiquette should be.

I found this recent blog - Email etiquette: how long is too long to reply? - written by Amber MacArthur of The Globe and Mail, interesting. Seems she’s having the same issues as me, and I’m sure I’m not alone in a society that has us constantly having to respond to various email accounts, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I’m going to continue to work on this Email thing in my professional career. It’s not going anywhere and it’s a critical form of communication in our society, so I think it’s important for everyone to master. For now, here are a few tips I can pass along which get me through some email issues…


  • Avoid the email train. If you sense an issue arising or an email has numerous clarifying questions, pick up the phone and call the person. This stops the email train in its tracks, and usually I find there isn’t even an issue or questions to begin with.


  • Try not to get offended by a short response and don’t base a person’s personality off of email. If you are going to be short, be professional and be open to the fact that we are all very busy people. Email was invented to serve as a more casual way to communicate.


  • If a reply requires some thought and you do not have time to respond, send the person a short email stating you received the message and let them know you will respond after you’ve given some thought to their question.

Chris Daley is a Senior Account Executive. Contact him at chris@maroonpr.com


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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Meet Courtney Carey

By Courtney Carey; Interview by Abby Draper



Courtney Carey is Maroon PR's Project Manager. Contact her at courtney@maroonpr.com.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is the End Near For All Print Newspapers?


By Matt Saler

I was pretty shocked to read the other day that The New York Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said the following words: “We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future.” He did not give a specific date to this inevitability but it begs the question… if the most read daily newspaper in the country goes strictly to digital, is it the beginning of the end for print newspapers as we know it?

Clearly, a lot of folks in the media industry were buzzing about this news, as many see digital as the present and future. If the majority of the revenue generated by the Times is from its online revenue, it only makes sense that this would be the direction that they would move toward. Business Insider blogger Henry Blogget conducted some interesting research on the topic and came up with the following numbers:


“We estimate that the NYT currently spends about $200 million a year on its newsroom and generates about $150 million of online revenue. If the paywall is highly successful—attracting, say, 1 million subscribers who pay $100 a year—this will add another $100 million of online subscription revenue (assuming the company doesn't lose ad revenue). With $250 million of revenue, the NYT might be able to sustain newsroom costs of about $100 million.

Now, a $100 million newsroom budget is a HUGE newsroom budget--one that most online publications would kill for. So the New York Times isn't going anywhere. But $100 million is also a lot less than the New York Times's current newsroom budget.

So if Arthur Sulzberger is right that the New York Times will eventually have to stop printing the print paper--and we certainly think he is--his company is likely to have to be restructured.”



As one who enjoys opening up a paper and reading through the news of the day, should I be worried that these days are quickly coming to an end? Stay tuned.

Matt Saler is a Senior Account Executive. He can be reached at matt@maroonpr.com.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Google Introduces Google Instant


By Abby Draper

Through all of this week, Google has been modifying their logo in anticipation of a press conference said to announce something new in search technology. On Tuesday, the Google logo was spelled out with balls that turned into a game as you rolled your mouse over the letters. This morning, “Google” appeared grey until text was entered and it changed to its usual bright colors.

At 12:30 EST, we watched online as Google introduced “Google Instant.” Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, began the conference by discussing some of the new features of Google Search in 2010 including: Google Caffeine, Real-Time Search, timeline views, spell corrections, enhancements to its Q&A, stars in search, and the redesign of Google itself, by playing the commercial they launched during the Superbowl.

Mayer went on to explain that while these changes have made Google search much more productive, the current search time is still too long. According to Google, it takes a user nine seconds to enter a query, 800 ms for networking time, 300 ms for serving results, 15 seconds to select a search result, and most people take extra time to think. With these stats, Mayer introduced “A Fundamental Shift to Search – Google Instant.”

Google Instant, which will roll out slowly through the day, allows you to see search results as you type.

“Google Instant delivers results instantly in a way that has never been done before," said Jonathan Effrat, Google product manager, in a video about Google Instant. "Now, results appear automatically as you type, with no need to hit enter or click the search button. as soon as you see what need predicted in gray text, you can stop typing, and just look down to find your results waiting...see results instantly lets you refine your search as you type — looking for a bird? A map? A recipe? You'll know instantly if you're on the right track to finding what you want."

Mayer was joined on stage by Johanna Wright, Director of Product Management, and Othar Hansson, Senior Staff Software Engineer who took us all through several examples of how Google Instant works, proving its incredible speed and ability to predict what you’re searching for.

While Google has had a few issues in the recent past with other efforts like Google Buzz, it seems as though Google Instant has launched without a hitch. We will find out for sure today!

Abby Draper is the Manager of Social Media. Contact her at abby@maroonpr.com.


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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Social Media Mistake by Washington Post Columnist

By Stefen Lovelace

It’s a new age for journalism. Every reporter has a Twitter handle and news is distributed to readers instantly. Journalists try to beat the competition on the Internet, Twitter and Facebook rather than in the next day’s newspaper.

This new age comes with a price though. Anything you put out there – whether it be a bylined story, or just a simple tweet – will be read as fact. With so much news, readers have a hard time filtering what’s true and what’s not.

Which brings us to Washington Post columnist Mike Wise. The longtime respected columnist made one of the bigger blunders of his career on Monday.

Wise tweeted that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended for five games. Roethlisberger currently is suspended for six, but many have speculated that suspension may get reduced. The quarterback is a lightning rod for controversy right now, and diehard football fans are following any and every news item that comes out about him.

The tweet about Roethlisberger by Wise was a lie. He tweeted three times afterwards saying he had sources to back up his claim. All of this was made-up, or “a test” as Wise put it, to show how quick news and false news can spread throughout the internet.

It was a terrible mistake by Wise. I understand what he was trying to prove, but his approach was unthinkable. All a journalist has is his or her word and making up news is a cardinal sin in the journalism profession.


A journalist’s reputation “is on the line with every tweet, for better or worse,” [Columbia University Digital Media Professor Sree] Sreenivasan said. “People have a reasonable expectation that it’s accurate or the best of what you know at the moment.”


Wise was suspended for a month from The Post for his mistake. I think that’s about right, especially considering The Post is one of the most credible and well-respected newspapers in the country. Since social media is still so new, and there’s no real precedent for what to do in this situation, there was clear disagreement as to whether Wise’s punishment was just.


Yet within The Post, there was disagreement about whether the punishment fit the crime. Andrew Alexander, the paper’s ombudsman, wrote on his blog that Mr. Wise was “lucky he wasn’t fired.” Howard Kurtz, the paper’s media writer, wrote in a message on Twitter that the suspension “seems overly harsh to me.”

Twitter is a great resource for journalists and wonderful for spreading news. But this incident once again shows the importance of using caution and thinking before putting something up in the social media universe for the world to see.

Stefen Lovelace is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at stefen@maroonpr.com.

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