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 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

“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 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

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

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

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

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 (, 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

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

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