What History Teaches Us About Storytelling

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I’m sure you’ve reluctantly sat through one before:

A loooong, no fun, please make it stop, data-filled presentation by an entrepreneur. Or even worse, maybe you were that presenter - it happens!

While quantitative data, albeit boring, is central to any business, presentations truly come alive with stories. 

Now let’s ask ourselves why this is the case. And, why entrepreneurs should move beyond the boring business-as-usual to learn how to tell compelling stories.

THE IMPACT OF STORYTELLING

Here’s a fact: An entrepreneur with a promising business idea—but an inability to sell that idea—will rarely find success. Entrepreneurs must communicate the value of their offerings.

Jennifer Aaker, Stanford University Professor, discovered that stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone. Which means, your entrepreneurial story—and why you do what you do—may literally be the very foundation of your success. 

Creatively telling your story is one of the most powerful ways to emotionally connect with your audience. So, how does one inspire people to listen, understand and critically think about what you have to offer?

WHAT HISTORY CAN TEACH US ABOUT STORYTELLING

If we look at history, it’s easy to see that storytelling is embedded in our way of life. Humans have been telling tales since the beginning of time (at least that’s how the story goes.)

Take William Shakespeare who is considered one of the most remarkable storytellers. The language of “To be or not to be,” still resonates with us to this day. He had a knack for using syntax, humor and drama to tell his audience a story. Or consider Mark Twain, the pen name of author Samuel Clemens. Twain mastered the craft of humorous storytelling and his writing still matters more than 100 years later because it is centered on human nature—something everyone can relate to. 

History can teach us that language, form and the delivery of your story matters. And, while most of us will never reach the heights of a Shakespeare or Mark Twain, we can all do better than simply spouting quantitative data. 

MODERN DAY STORYTELLERS

We all understand that storytelling isn’t just a thing of the past. There is a lot to learn from the living as well. Picture a teacher reading to her class or friends chatting around a campfire: modern life is rooted in storytelling. It’s everywhere: with comedians like Ellen Degeneres, songwriters like Bruce Springsteen and business leaders like Sheryl Sandberg, modern-day storytellers are at the center of our culture. Some of the greatest professionals today are successful because of their ability to tell stories.

Bruce Springsteen built an entire career telling the stories of the common man. The New Jersey factory worker who scrapped to get by or the rebel teen who grew up in a time of civil unrest. His stories are played out in song and dance and have led to one of the most profound musical careers of this generation.  When you go to a Springsteen concert, the audience knows every word to every song. Imagine if your audience is able to recite your story back to you? Isn’t that the point?

Let’s look at Sheryl Sandberg, an American technology executive, activist, and author. A few years back, as Facebook COO, Sandberg planned to deliver a data-filled presentation about women in the workplace. A friend convinced her to scrap that and share the challenges she faced as a working mother. Sandberg took her friend’s advice and delivered what went on to become a viral talk, leading to an extremely successful book and movement titled, Lean In. 

Sandberg reinforced the lesson that presentations are not all about statistics. 

Both Springsteen and Sandberg reinforce the notion that people are inspired by stories—especially when they can see themselves in those stories. And, just as Sandberg discovered, studies show we remember stories better than facts and data. 

WHAT DO THE BEST STORIES REQUIRE

Stories need to be strategic, intelligent and aligned with an audience. The greatest storytellers know how to legitimize their stories with intellectual material while captivating their audience with emotion. Twain rooted his jokes in human nature. Sandberg shared relatable challenges of motherhood. The most effective storytellers determine what material will resonate with their audience and tailor their stories accordingly.

Though there are many proven ways to structure a great story, there are no quick tricks. The best stories require research, critical thinking, preparation and practice. And while it takes time to craft a business story that people remember, your ability to do so will have a direct impact on your success. How will you make your story compelling?

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This story originally appeared in Odwyer's on November 24, 2017
 

Three Hot Topics to Address Within Your IIoT Story

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IIoT promises to revolutionize manufacturing. Read any recent industry analyst report and you’ll find the experts agree - the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is rapidly gaining global traction, and poised to drive seismic change across design, manufacturing, operations, service, and maintenance in a wide range of industries. Enabling technologies like sensors, automation, remote monitoring, Virtual Reality (VR), wearables and even robotics, will be the primary drivers pushing “Industry 4.0” along a very fast track.

According to a recent Frost & Sullivan report, industrialized nations like Germany are leading the way by fully digitizing their manufacturing operations and, in the process, demonstrating IIoT’s vast capabilities in:

  • Maintaining sustainable growth

  • Expanding capabilities and

  • Helping these countries establish a prominent role in the global supply chain.

In the U.S., IIoT adoption currently lags behind Europe with 67% of companies surveyed by ABI Research responding they do not currently have IIoT solutions in place. That’s the bad news. The good news is 74% also said they are either investigating, assessing, or planning to deploy such solutions in the next 12 months. Translation? There are exciting growth opportunities ahead for those companies ready to market their technologies within the IIoT ecosystem and beyond.

So the question becomes, how will your company communicate your value proposition and reach your target audiences? Commenting publicly on the latest IIoT trends is one effective way to be sure your company’s story is being heard - and raising your signal above the noise.

Based on our research, we’ve identified three examples of “hot topics” currently being widely discussed within the IIoT community by industry analysts, media contacts and, most importantly, your competitors. We believe your company should be a part of these conversations in the coming months:

  • Proprietary Data. Protecting proprietary data from security challenges and associated risks is often cited as a leading factor behind companies being slow to implement IIoT solutions. Being able to allay those fears by having the appropriate messaging in place will inspire confidence in your potential business partners. More details are available here from Infiniti Research.

  • Return on Investment (ROI). For every company operating within the IIoT space, developing an effective IIoT go-to-market strategy that demonstrates clear ROI is crucial. Your competitors likely already have a strategy in place. Don’t fall behind because there’s no chance of the pace slowly down. Review this joint survey conducted by PwC and MAPI for findings and guidance on monetizing (and messaging) your IIoT solution.

  • End to End Solutions. What role will your solution play in the IIoT ecosystem? Generally, technologies either push or pull data. If your solution is a “pusher,” it’s important to take a step back and assess the smarts of your devices and data platform. If your solution is a “puller,” you need to evaluate your data analytics capabilities to accurately time your requests for data. Knowing how your solution best operates within a secured, efficient and scalable end-to-end solution, and being able to communicate its added value in the production chain, will go a long way in determining your success.

At Indicate Media, we can work with you on how to communicate on the above data points as part of a strategic, smart and successful digital public relations campaign designed to secure maximum exposure and achieve needed results.  We will work with your team to deliver quantifiable results and outcomes. Sound good? Let’s talk. To schedule an introductory call, contact us at IIoT@indicatemedia.com.

Venture Capital and Public Relations: A Perfect Union

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Entering a partnership with a venture capital firm is a complex decision. In 2016, there were 898 venture firms in the United States alone. This competitive market makes the process of choosing a VC difficult.

Entrepreneurs need to consider their investment strategy and search for investors with expertise in their market. Before agreeing to meet with a VC, the most promising entrepreneurs conduct meticulous due diligence by reading blogs, Tweets, and articles.

Which poses the question: In venture capital—where everyone’s money is just as green—how can your VC firm stand out?

VC Marketing and Public Relations Trends

Over the past three years, venture capital firms have recognized an increasing need for marketing and public relations. In 2014, an East coast team became the first venture firm in Boston to hire a Director of Platform. A Platform in venture capital is when investors offer resources to entrepreneurs beyond money and their partner’s time and expertise. Directors of Platform oversee strategic internal and external initiatives like marketing and design to support portfolio companies and the local startup community.

From a strategic perspective, these hiring decisions make sense. Firms that dismiss the power of branding, risk competing solely on price, valuation, and terms—not the most powerful differentiators.

In fact, according to Jyoti Bansal, founder of AppDynamics (a company acquired for $3.7 billion), the top three considerations when choosing a VC include:

  1. Credibility of the firm

  2. Compatibility of partners

  3. Firm’s belief in the startup

“[Entrepreneurs] want [their] key investors and board members to have a fundamentally strong conviction in what [they] do as a company and [who they are] as an entrepreneur,” wrote Bansal. A VC firm must communicate these.

Demonstrating credibility and capturing the personality of your partners requires intentional public relations efforts. So, what does effective PR look like for a top VC firm?

The Power of Public Relations in VC

Five years ago, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz proved the power of branding and content marketing for VC firms. By engaging in aggressive marketing through blogs and Twitter, these two venture capitalists appealed directly to their target audience: top-tier entrepreneurs.

To strengthen the firm’s PR efforts, Andreessen Horowitz hired Margit Wennmachers, founder of Outcast Communications P.R. firm. Wennmachers organized dinners with reporters and pitched story ideas to build a strong brand for the firm. These strategies were instrumental in establishing Andreessen Horowitz’s credibility and consequent success. In just three years, Andreessen Horowitz raised $2.7 billion—more than any other venture capital firm in that same time span.

And Andreessen Horowitz isn’t an isolated case. Some of the most successful VC firms have adopted integrated marketing and strategic PR campaigns:

  • First Round Capital leveraged the power of Camille Ricketts, Head of Content and Marketing, to grow their new publication, First Round Review.

  • Jason Lemkin launched SaaStr Annual. Two years later, the event attracts over 10,000 attendees.

  • Mark Suster, angel investor and investment partner at Upfront Ventures, built his brand by creating content for entrepreneurs on Twitter and his blog, Both Sides of the Table.

  • Fred Wilson branded his firm, Union Square Ventures, through his AVC blog and Twitter.

“Today, you will be hard pressed to find a venture capital firm where at least one partner isn’t actively producing content in an effort to position themselves as the smartest VC out there,” said Janessa Lantz, Senior Manager of Marketing at Hubspot.

The best VC firms use integrated marketing campaigns to build brands that are consistent and received by the firm’s target market. From company publications to events, blogs to Tweets, VC firms cannot dismiss the power of branding.

Why Early Stage VC Firms Should Outsource PR

While it may not make sense to hire a full-time Director of Platform as an early stage VC, investing in public relations is a smart move. VC firms that build strong brands, achieve several distinct advantages:

  • Brand credibility can lead to enhanced deal flow.

  • Platform offerings can be additional differentiators in an over-competitive market.

  • Firms can achieve better deal terms and structures.

  • Teams can leverage brand equity to attract and retain high caliber employees.

Companies tend to be most successful when they tie their vision and objectives to tangible communication strategies and tactics.

How can your firm benefit from integrated PR and strategic communications?

Drone Companies Rise Above the Swarm - 3 Ways Your Drone Company Can Stand Out

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From our years of experience in public relations, we know it can be challenging for both established companies and startups to stand out in a crowded field. Today, this is particularly true for the highly competitive drone industry. New players are jumping into the mix, and acquisitions and strategic partnerships are making established companies even more formidable. 

That’s why we’re back with even more insights and recommendations to help your drone company rise above the noise - and stay ahead of the swarm.

Let’s start with the insights - and brace yourself for some mind blowing numbers. A few weeks ago, we attended an amazing research briefing “Flying High: The State of Drone Technology” (h/t CB Insights), and heard some incredible things. For example, did you know that since 2013, drone companies have raised $1.5 billion dollars across 302 deals?  In 2016 alone, more than $450 million was invested in drone companies. 

It doesn’t stop there. According to Gartner, production of drones for personal and commercial use is growing rapidly, with global market revenue expected to increase 34 percent to reach more than $6 billion in 2017 and grow to more than $11.2 billion by 2020. Almost three million drones will be produced in 2017, 39 percent more than in 2016.

Given all this industry activity, we wanted to share some proven tactics that can help you stand out in a crowd, even if you’re not involved with something as cool as a flame-throwing drone. We discussed a few in our last post, and pulled together three more tips to help you keep moving in the right direction: 

  • Make it easy to find you. (Search Engine Optimization) Just to put things in perspective, a simple Google search on the word “drone” brings up 176,000,000 results. So how can your drone company move up towards the top of that pile? The most effective way is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - the process of enhancing your website’s pages with “keywords” that summarize who you are and what you do, and will attract the attention of search engines and in turn boost your rankings - making it easier for prospective customers, business partners and investors to find you. Now take it a step further by adding those same keywords to blog posts along with links to high-traffic sites. The combination of both will not only improve your search ranking, but also help maximize the number of visitors to your website, and increase awareness of your company across all search engines. Now that’s what we call a win/win/win. Just don’t “overstuff” your site with keywords. Search engine algorithms are smart and will know what you’re up to.
  • Don’t just socialize among yourselves. (Paid Social Media Ad Buying) Making an investment in paid social media ad buying across platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram presents unique opportunities to reach your targeted audiences with valuable and engaging content. The companies who do this most effectively speak to those audiences with one authentic and unique brand voice that resonates across all channels. Monitor the words your customers use to describe your products - hopefully nothing NSFW - and incorporate them into your ad campaigns.
  • Publish or perish (Content Management, “Content Clusters”). We touched on this tactic in the SEO tip, but it’s worth elaborating on here. Publishing a steady drumbeat of engaging content on your website blog is an effective way to share company news, present thought leadership positions and attract more visitors. But don’t stop there. Create a “content cluster” by leveraging a topic across text, audio and video media. Blog posts can be edited and submitted in the form of bylined articles to media outlets and other blogs that accept contributed content (review submission guidelines first to be sure your topics are on target). You can also turn those topics into podcast segments, online videos, and more.

At Indicate Media, we can work with you on all of the above as part of a strategic, smart and successful digital public relations campaign backed by powerful data analytics that will deliver quantifiable results and maximum outcomes. Sound good? Let’s talk. To schedule an introductory call, contact us at drone@indicatemedia.com.
 

Drone Companies Take Flight: 3 Tips for Effective Storytelling

When it comes to storytelling, we always counsel our clients to keep it short and sweet, and condense “elevator pitches” down to 90 seconds or less, but today, we’re going to drone on a bit…only we promise it won’t be boring! Quite the contrary.

Based on recent industry analyst reports and market research firm predictions, plus our own independent research, it’s clear the future of the (you guessed it) drone industry is as bright as a clear blue sky. Forecasts indicate nearly endless opportunities hovering on the horizon across land, sea and sky (remember - drones don’t just fly).

Drone companies prepared to maneuver through obstacles, rough waters and inevitable pockets of turbulence (see what we did there?) - also known as consolidation, regulation, and increased competition - will undoubtedly be a part of the expected industry growth in the years ahead. So that’s the good news.

Public and government perception of the drone industry, however, isn’t all sunshine, calm seas and rainbows. For example, recent media coverage of dangerous close encounters involving drones and jets near Newark Liberty International Airport and London Gatwick Airport raised serious public concerns. It also captured the attention of government agencies now considering increased regulations for drone operators both here in the United States and abroad.  

Given the heightened media attention on the industry, and no matter what sector or sub-sector you’re operating in, it’s absolutely crucial to nail down the stories you want to tell and the messages you want to convey. To help you get started, we pulled together three tips for telling your story in ways that will separate your drone company from competitors in the public eye:

  1. Break it down (storytelling). Drone technology can be complicated. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that your company’s story is broken down into easy to understand language when communicating with the media, potential business partners, investors and the public. Work on your “elevator pitch.” You should be able to describe your company and business model in three sentences or less. If you see eyes starting to glaze over when talking about your business, use analogies and real-world examples to wake ‘em up and truly bring your drone story to life.

  2. Hot topics (messaging, thought leadership, media training). Consolidation, safety regulations, industry legislation and increased competition are the hot drone-related topics in the media. If you want to be out there joining in on these discussions, brainstorm as a team, and get your message down. Keep your target audience(s) in mind at all times. Ask yourselves, who do we want to reach with your messages? What do we want to say to them about these issues? What impact will our statements and positions have on the value of our company’s brand and public perception of our business? Those are the questions you need to answer as you begin to formulate your messages. And once you’ve nailed down your messaging, you’ll need to train your spokespeople to communicate them effectively.

  3. Every picture tells a story (video production and data visualization). Based on YouTube views alone, people LOVE to watch drone-related and drone-generated videos. The good news is you don’t have to break your marketing budget to film one. Heck, you can even use a smartphone. When you’re ready, share it via your company’s YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, SnapChat and Instagram accounts to drive traffic back to your website. Data visualization tools like infographics can also help tell your story. Use them in your website blog posts and marketing materials. The old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially relevant for the Drone industry.

Suffice it to say, there are many exciting opportunities ahead for your drone company that you should prepare for - and we will be watching closely. Let’s work together on them. At Indicate Media, we can help you formulate a winning communications strategy. We will be creative and strategic, and assist you in building brand equity that drives business results.

Sound good? Let’s talk. To schedule an introductory call, contact us at drone@indicatemedia.com

Indicate Media Captures The News: Monday, April 17th, 2017

Now that baseball season and the NBA playoffs are officially underway, we at Indicate Media, haven't been able to sit still for a mere second! With that being said, we've compiled the top three stories we found productive, worthwhile, and invigorating to suit your adrenaline-filled month.

Google just launched a new website that can turn your doodles into surprisingly good artwork
Ever wanted to finally be able to get your drawing chops up to par with the rest of your creative friends? Well, Google has recently launched a new website that turns your Paint-level drawings into fun, engaging, and most importantly, recognizable drawings by using artificial intelligence to determine what you were trying to draw. This Business Insider article explains this amusing new update that won’t turn your drawings into a Mona Lisa, but will exponentially improve the doodles you were making before.

Snapchat to let US advertisers track when customers visit their stores
As everything is seemingly on mobile these days, almost every brick and mortar store has some sort of digital media strategy. Trying to improve such companies’ efforts, photo-sharing giants Snapchat have developed a new tool called Snap to Store, where advertisers with physical stores can actually track how their in-store traffic correlates with their respective Snap campaigns. This The Drum article goes into further depth on how the new Snap update (currently in beta testing) will improve efforts of companies who are interested to see a return from online marketing.

PR Insight of The Week
Don't ignore the little guy, and other lessons from #NuggsForCarter
After a somewhat tumultuous week for big name companies around the globe, including controversies from different key players,  we see how easy it is to tarnish a company’s reputation with one wrong move. However, in the midst of these events, PR Week has written an article showing how brands can easily gain positive repercussions by focusing on their individual followers. Square burger pundits, Wendys, has everyone on social media erupting over their amicable conversations with a 16-year old teen from Nevada over an opportunity for a full year of free chicken nuggets. This PR Week article uncovers the importance of humanizing your brand by direct customer interaction.

That's it for today and we better not catch any of you trying to score an endless amount of fast food.

Catch you again next week!

Indicate Media Captures The News: April 10, 2017

The big Apple wakes up bright and early this April 10th and we at Indicate Media, have compiled the top stories we found valuable, insightful, and compelling to begin your week in the most productive way possible!

A Swedish start-up has started implanting microchips into its employees
If you grew up in the 90’s, you most likely watched the Terminator movie series and certainly found amusement in reciting Schwarzenegger’s iconic, “I’ll be back!” catchphrase. Fast forward to 2017, as we see new technology emerge nearly every day, the idea of human-like machines roaming the world doesn’t seem too far off. And it’s not, because a Swedish startup hub has begun to inject their employees with microchips to function as swipe cards. This alarming CNBC article dives into what could be the start of an apocalyptic cyborg revolution.

Facebook will distract you at work with its latest tool
As if smart phones and constant notification alerts weren't enough to steer your attention away at work, social media giants Facebook are unleashing a new feature that will surely put a grin on your boss’ face. Looking to further dip their feet into workplace services, Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild will soon offer a free version of their Workplace service, a tool businesses can use to connect their employees, giving them the ability to chat and connect right on Facebook. This brief Mashable article, explains the new features of what could potentially be a new trend in offices around the country.

PR Insight of The Week
How PR pros can reach journalists
For decades, journalists and PR professionals have been in a constant struggle to find a common ground. With personal interests from both ends, the transitions and conversations between each counterpart have failed short in being as smooth and fluent as everyone would desire. From different stances to erroneous methods, there are countless explanations as to why the process was always such an arduous one. Kevin Allen from PR Daily provides us with a handy article accompanied by an infographic on multiples ways how PR professionals could better cultivate their relationships with reporters.

Have a safe week!

 

 

Indicate Media Captures The News: April 3, 2017

Good morning “Capture The News” readers! Now that March is finally over and done with, we are officially a quarter of the way through 2017. Time really does go by fast when you're working hard. Here are the top stories we compiled to start your week in the most productive, engaging and motivating way.

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5 ways to protect your internet privacy now that your information will be for sale
At a time where unlocking your phone via facial recognition and having your “aid”, Siri, reminding you of your Friday night plans is just another day at the office, it sure feels like we are finally living in the future. Even so, it might be hard for some to grasp the fact that our online privacy has changed significantly now that Congress has officially voted to eliminate online privacy rules set forth by Obama and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). What a time to be alive, right? In an effort to help their readers retain the most amount of privacy they can, Mic.com provided this practical list with multiple ways in how we can protect our internet privacy now that we are seen as price tags for Telcom companies everywhere.

Lyft to let passengers round up their fare and donate the difference to charity
Whether you are an optimistic free-spirit or a solemn debbie-downer, 2017 surely has a demographic where you fit right in. Transportation app Lyft decided to play to the more open-minded crowd with their new donation feature. In an effort to pick up some traction while their head-to-head rivals, Uber, are going through a seemingly never-ending existential crisis, Lyft is now offering users the option for their passengers to donate a portion of their rides to the charity of their choice. TechCrunch gives a nice overview of the generous new feature in this article.

PR Insight of The Week
The New Marketing Mindset

With social media and tech developments happening faster than we can attempt to keep up with, the marketing professional of 20 years ago would be more lost than a kid in an amusement park today. It’s crucial for marketers (or any professional for that matter) to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world if they want to land prospering opportunities for their clients. Martech columnist, Justin Dunham did us all a huge favor by putting together a list of effective ways to enrich our strategic content-market toolkit.

Stay safe and have a productive rest of the week!

Indicate Media Captures The News: Monday, March 27, 2017

If you are anything like us, you also hate rainy Mondays. What a drag to start the week with umbrellas and wet shoes. As the popular saying goes, it can only get better from here, right? Here are the top news stories we found interesting, relevant and valuable to start your week.

Instagram Is Now Allowing Users to Save Their Live Videos
With the live-content mania raging stronger than ever, most social media platforms have rolled out new live streaming features for their users. After introducing their 'Instagram Live’ feature last year, the Facebook-owned photo-video giants announced that users are now able to save their live streams directly from their phone to their camera roll. This AdWeek article covers the ins and outs of this new feature that promises to add more spark to the way we share our stories.

Disputed by multiple fact-checkers: Facebook rolls out new alert to combat fake news
After one of the most interesting presidential races in US history, few topics have been talked about as much as “fake news.” As validity concerns topple over what we share with our peers on a daily basis, Facebook announced a new initiative intending to put an end to fictional stories over issues that really matter. This Guardian piece further explains the advantages of this new fact check.

PR Insight of The Week
How Advancements In Artificial Intelligence Will Impact Public Relations

As technology advancements move forward, human value is being progressively overlooked as each day goes by. And there might be a good reason for that. In a field like PR, human validity and intuition still play huge roles in securing leads and successful results for your clients, but how long will that last? This informative Forbes piece illustrates just how much time we have left until machines start REALLY making their impact in the PR world.

Have a safe and productive week!

Indicate Media Captures The News: March 20, 2017

Happy Monday “Captures The News” readers! The sun is out, it's the first day of spring, the snow is melting and many of us are still recovering from St. Paddy’s Day activities (we hope you didn’t spend too much of your pot of gold!). To celebrate spring, check out these three top stories we found interesting, relevant, and valuable to businesses today. 

YouTube launches Uptime, an experimental app for watching videos with friends
Do you remember the first time you saw that one hilarious YouTube video you just had to share with your friends? Social interaction has come a very long way since then, and in fact, it’s only a matter of time until we can integrate ourselves into actual videos. Think about that for a minute. However, for now, Area 120 (part of the Google team) has developed the Uptime app that lets you and your friends all rejoice while watching videos simultaneously. The app’s dynamic design even includes “reaction” features inspired by today’s live-streaming services (e.g. Periscope and Facebook live). TechCrunch wrote this informative piece on the new app, and if you want to join in the party they even included an invite code to get you in!

The way people are talking about something in the world is in itself news. … Increasingly, the conversation itself is driving that news cycle.
Trends come and go, and so does technology. Who even remembers MySpace? Most of us hardly do. While social media continues to be reinvented with the next big thing, Twitter has remained constant. In the last few years, the 140 character social media platform has found a new home for journalists and politicians. From finding reliable sources to newsgathering via TweetDeck to reading the President’s tweets and finding trending hashtags, Twitter seems to have it all. Andrew Fitzgerald (Twitter’s Director of Curation) was featured in this NiemanReports piece on how the social media platform is changing social media’s role in disseminating news.

PR Insight of the Week
Five Common Pitfalls and Best-Practices of Measuring Marketing and Advertising Performance

One could argue (and some do) there hasn’t been a more exciting and invigorating time to be alive than the world we live in today. For marketers, this feeling is amplified. Due to ever-evolving digital advancements, marketers now have insurmountable access to audiences, data and cloud platforms like never before. However, with the positives, there is always the negatives. One wrong move can tarnish a brand’s entire reputation sending all leads and customer loyalty out the door. Thankfully, MarketingProps understands the importance of measuring performance and has compiled a list of five common pitfalls to think about, along with tips to avoid said pitfalls.

We hope you enjoy the rest of the week and remember, never iron a four leaf clover. 
You don’t want to press your luck!
 

Indicate Media Captures The News: March 13, 2017

Just when we thought winter was about to wrap and 75-degree weather was right around the corner, we are now preparing for a blizzard tomorrow. And not the one you get at Carvel. Get out your shovel's everyone, this one is expected to be big. Here we go again. Below are our three top weekly stories to accompany your hot cup of joe while we wish for warmer days.

 

Cinnamon Toast hoverboards and other sad marketing ploys to make cereal cool again
When’s the last time you woke up with a craving for that tasty bowl of cereal? Unless you’re a devoted cereal enthusiast, it’s probably been a long time. Millennials are eating less and less cereal and it’s not because they aren’t getting an awesome little prize at the end of the bag. This generation has been identified as one of the top health-conscious bunches out there, which explains their hesitancy in trusting Tony the Tiger and his Frosted Flakes. In this witty article, Mic.com shows some of cereal companies' saddest marketing ploys to make cereal cool again and why Cinnamon Toast hover boards are making millennials the “cereal killers” of the 21st century.

Most consumers not being turned on by connected home, study finds
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably noticed in one way or another how we are rapidly progressing into the digital age. From Apple Watches to self-driving cars and VR gaming, you name it; the future is happening right before our eyes. But just how comfortable are we humans, when accepting this futuristic (tech) revolution into our everyday routine? The folks at TechCrunch wrote an enticing article highlighting the public’s initial rejection of fancy tech gadgets being implemented into their homes. Just don’t go telling your friends Siri and Alexa about this!

PR Insight of the Week
Tools For Mastering Public Relations 2.0

Expanding on the notion of technology inevitably changing the way we work, think and act, it’s almost impossible to think of an easier way of delivering a message out to thousands of listeners other than through the internet. This presents an advantage to the common man or woman who is trying to promote their new small business or innovative idea. The Huffington Post put together this slick mini-list presenting the top digital tools to optimize your social media buzz. You can Tweet @ them later with your gratitude.

Stay warm and don’t forget to eat your cereal!

Indicate Media Captures The News: March 6, 2017

With spring right around the corner, it’s almost time to start putting your gloves and winter hats away and start bringing out your shorts and running sneakers! But before the flowers start blossoming and the birds start singing, we still have to make it through these last remaining frosty days. We at Indicate Media compiled these three top stories we found fascinating, engaging and worthwhile to stimulate the rest of your winter.


Music Will be Made by Robots in The Future, Investors are Betting
Ever listen to an electronic remix of a song and think to yourself, “Wow, this sounds like it could’ve been made by robots!” Well, although you’re partially right, (they were most likely created using digital instruments) there was still a DJ or a producer who was there orchestrating and putting the final touches to that Exclusive Hot Club Mix. However, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to progress, investors are starting to predict that AI technology will not only be producing these virtual instruments and song-recognition apps but robots will be composing music entirely from scratch! That’s right, your child’s “Symphony No. 9” might be completely stemmed from the inner boards of a computer system. Check out this story from Mic Network explaining why Beethoven might be turning over in his grave.

Amazon’s Massive AWS Outage was Caused by Human Error
If you were having a hard time finding access to that GIF to send to your pals in your Tuesday morning group chat, you can rest assured you weren’t the only one. That’s because GIPHY, along with dozens of other Internet giants such as Buzzfeed and Pinterest, were all down due to an outage at Amazon’s AWS cloud computing division, causing hundreds of websites in the World Wide Web to momentarily shut down. While it didn’t exactly break the internet, it certainly provoked a lag that left us all wondering just what exactly was going on. In this Recode article, reporter Jason Del Rey takes us through the cause of the outage and how Amazon was able to put their servers back in place.

PR Insight of the Week
A Look Back at The 2016 Public Relations Winners and Losers

From the Oscars’ Best Picture fiasco to Lady Gaga’s show-stopping 13-minute Super Bowl Performance, it’s safe to say that 2017 has already produced several astounding moments, reminding us the indispensable need for having a good PR team. In this article, The Huffington Post takes a look back at the PR winners and losers of 2016. For what it’s worth, it’s always crucial to keep in mind not only how you perceive yourself but how you transcend your image out to the public.

Have a safe and lag-free rest of the week!
 

Why 'On Time'​ Can Make or Break Your Brand

“Running late. Be there soon.”

We’ve all gotten some variation of this text message at one point or another. And it’s not just individuals running late; when was the last time a doctor’s appointment actually started on time? Tardiness – once a black mark on your grade-school report card – has become the norm in civil society and standard business practice.

You may have heard that we got an extra “leap” second on New Years. That probably wasn’t enough to make us all punctual again, but in the spirit of 2017 new beginnings, let’s make it our resolution to not be late.

But why, you ask? When we’re on the waiting end, we can’t be very annoyed, because let’s be honest: We all do it too. It’s not even our fault; it’s life as we know it. And besides, what’s a few minutes between friends and colleagues or businesses and clients?

In fact, there’s a lot at stake when it comes to business. E-commerce sites live and die by the “3-second rule,” which is based on research that shows online shoppers will bounce from your website if it doesn’t load within that time frame. A three-second threshold may seem extreme, but in this on-demand, instant-gratification world we now live in, you keep customers waiting at your own peril.

And it’s not just about sales conversions online. I would go even further and say that for any professional service business, being on time is essential to your brand. Every email that isn’t returned promptly, and each additional minute someone has to wait on the phone, can devalue your brand. Personally, I follow the “3-minute rule”: I show up on calls 3 minutes ahead of time. I’ve grown to enjoy hold music.

A writer for the BBC not long ago observed that being on time is “a dying art” except in pockets of punctuality around the world, such as Switzerland (home of those master timekeepers) and Japan (where one bullet train’s average delay is 36 seconds). But after a stint in Switzerland, where he felt peer-pressured into being on time, the author found himself agreeing with the British author Evelyn Waugh, who said, as only Evelyn Waugh could, “Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.”

Oh, Evelyn. Imagine how he would feel now, with the Internet, smart phones, and VR to keep him from ever being bored – or on time.

In the time Before Mobile Phones (B.M.P.) – and here I risk sounding like a grumpy old man – people would, generally speaking, show up at the appointed place, at the appointed time. There was simply no way to get in touch with the person you were meeting to change course or push an appointment back once that person was en route. (Unless you happened to know the number of the pay phone right on that corner where you were supposed to meet, and your friend was inclined to pick up ringing pay phones. Honestly, that’s the stuff of a 1950s spy movie.)

Even if you grew up B.M.P., it can be hard to remember what it was like not being connected 24/7, not being able to change plans on a dime. Seriously, how did people manage to get anything done back in the old days?

The convenience of technology, of course, can be a double-edged sword. Mobile phones mean you don’t have to be chained to your desk – just to your phone.

Which brings me back to sitting at a coffee shop at the appointed time, waiting for the person I’m meeting, who’s running late and will be here soon.

There are people who set their clocks and watches 5 minutes fast to try to trick themselves into keeping on schedule. Do what you must, but the point is, if late is the new norm, then it’s worth making “on time” the new standout. What if being punctual becomes an important part of our brand and image, a reflection of how we value other people’s time and, in fact, our own too? It would be refreshing.

Maybe we can start a (really efficient, really timely) revolution. We can be the change.

Gotta go – I have an appointment to keep.

Looking to Boost Your Business with PR? 5 Tips from a Pro

Public relations is a vital component of any brand’s marketing strategy. Through consistent, deliberate, and strategic storytelling, it builds a brand’s awareness and credibility, as well as strengthens relationships.

But brands sometimes use PR as a one-stop marketing strategy to fix whatever ails them, assuming that in eliciting the aid of an agency, their name will be splashed about in the press and revenue will suddenly skyrocket. And it’s just not that simple—this gap between expectations and reality doesn’t benefit either side of the PR firm/client relationship.

In an attempt to strengthen this relationship, let’s add some transparency to the conversation about how PR firms and brands can best work together.

1. Approach PR as part of a larger strategy

Most brands understand that to generate results and maximize ROI, they need to use PR, marketing, and advertising to generate leads and sales.

Frequently, prospective clients approach my firm with goals like driving sales or announcing a capital raise, asking what we can do. Before we can answer, the potential clients need to fill in blanks about upcoming news, how their products are innovative, and whether customers and investors will go on the record. Only then can we thoughtfully consider how we can work together.

PR can reinforce a brand’s presence and message, but rarely does it build one from scratch. PR is a formidable weapon in your campaign arsenal, but in the digital world, a brand shouldn’t stop there. They should also think about ad campaigns, email marketing, SEO, and social media, to name a few.

2. Understand why your company exists

Before a PR firm can begin a communication campaign, the brand must have a well-defined image, story and values. Brands that can’t identify what they stand for, where they come from, and who they’re targeting need to do some soul searching before anything else. While PR firms can help you think about and capture these things, they can’t pull these elements out of thin air.

3. Tailor your message

Like many things in life, there isn’t one PR campaign template that applies to every company. Today, brand communications is all about authenticity, which means messaging should be tailored to your unique brand and audience. The right PR campaign for your brand may not be right for your widget-producing neighbor, the biggest brands in America, or even your competitors.

4. Define and agree on objectives

While we have metrics to measure lots of data today, very little exists to standardize whether a PR team is doing a good job. You can look at traffic numbers, you can benchmark media coverage month-to-month, you can leverage Google Analytics and other platforms, but because there are no standardized metrics, PR firms and clients need to align upfront about objectives, communicating and collaborating from there.

5. Work as true partners

A PR firm should be an extension of your brand. That means clients should include PR firms in strategy meetings and work together like true partners. Without regular collaboration and insight, you’re doing PR (and yourself) an injustice—you can’t just hand dollars over to a PR firm, ask for some media, and reappear a few weeks later to assess progress. It’s not the best use of your spend, and it won’t yield the best results.

Indicate Media Captures The News: September 12, 2016

Alas, Labor Day is a distant memory and it’s back to a full work week. Who's ready for next summer? We kid, the fall is also a great time of year. Anyway, to kick the post summer season into high gear check out these three top stories we found interesting, relevant, and valuable to businesses today. 

How Algorithms Rule Our Working Lives
If you’re anything like us, you are greatly intrigued by algorithms. That’s right - algorithms. The reason is because when you dig just under the surface, you quickly begin to see the ‘not so sexy’ side of algorithms. And while algorithms have become the norm for so much of how we live in the digital world, it’s very important we identify any harm they may be causing, in addition to identifying their needed place in the world. In this article that originally appeared The Guardian, reporter Cathy O’Neil takes an extremely interesting look at algorithms and both the upside and downside to using them. This is a fascinating read. 

The FCC Has a Plan to Free Us From Our Cable Boxes
While most of us probably still have cable in some form or another, it is a safe bet that almost none of us actually follow what is happening in the cable industry. And, if you already decided to unplug from cable, why would you even care. Well, for all of us here’s why: The FCC has announced a proposal that would force pay-TV providers to offer apps that let you bypass set-top-boxes altogether. Instead of plugging a cable box into your TV, you could just use cable through a device of your choice. This not only means no more paying useless dollars to rent a cable box but also that freedom to choose has prevailed. That may be a too simplistic overview but either way, check out this story in Wired explaining the who, what, where, when and why. 

PR Insight of the Week
Why Digital PR Means More to CMOs Today

Hard data is the name of the game these days. A channel that doesn’t produce solid data is a broken channel in the digital world. Yet, PR has traditionally been a channel very hard to measure. Can you see the disconnect? In this article, Website Magazine takes a smart look at digital PR and data and gives a nice overview on ways PR practitioners can think about data. All in all, this is a good read for those of us in the industry. 

Enjoy the week ahead!

 

 

Indicate Media Captures The News: August 29, 2016

One week left until Labor Day. Begrudgingly (to at least some of us) we are about to turn the corner on summer and head into the fall. If you are one of the unlucky few working inside this week, check out these three top stories we found interesting, relevant, and valuable to businesses today. 

The Unfortunate Truth About Requesting And Providing References
If you are a service firm like Indicate Media, your references are likely a key strategic component to your new business initiatives. Yet, many times when courting potential customers they’ll ask for references early on in the process. This always creates a conundrum for us. On one hand, we understand why a potential customer would like to speak with a reference to get a better sense of our style and ability to generate results, on the other hand we can’t just give over our client references to any old company who may or may not be serious about a working relationship. What do we do? Here is an interesting article by Ian Altman in Forbes that nicely sums up the unfortunate truth about references. 

'This format has arrived' – The virtual reality revolution comes to news at CNN
We have long heard the rumors of how technology will revolutionize journalism. Of course with the advent of social media and the 24/7 news cycle, one could legitimately argue it already has. True. Yet, we have also seen many broken technology promises in journalism like the adoption of 3D or even the impact on citizen journalism. However, it looks like the next big journalistic revolution is here to stay and its name is ……. virtual reality. While you are probably not surprised, you may be shocked of exactly what this means for the relationship between the audience and stories they consume. You have got to check this out.

PR Insight of the Week
Five of the Coolest PR Strategies from Around the World

Doing business around the world usually tends to require multiple strategies. What might work in the U.S. may fall flat in say Malaysia. Kara Alaimo, an Assistant Professor of Public Relations at Hofstra University took a look at this very concept in her new book titled, “Pitch, Tweet, or Engage on the Street: How to Practice Global Public Relations and Strategic Communication”. While this blog series isn’t designed to promote books, we did think Kara’s research was extremely interesting and worth sharing. Here is a sample of how PR professionals focus on specific audiences around the world.

Enjoy the week ahead!

Indicate Media Captures The News: August 16, 2016

“I love walking outside and sweating before I get to work,” said absolutely no one ever. It remains hot outside here in New York City. If you are staying inside to beat the heat, check out these three top stories we found interesting, relevant, and valuable to businesses today. 

It’s About to Get a Lot Easier for Apps to Talk to Each Other
There is a big trend in the digital world called IFTTT. For those of you who don’t know, that means ‘if this then that’ and it refers to connecting one thing to another. An example would be when you take a picture on instagram, it automatically uploads to your dropbox or if your fitness tracker knows when you wake up, it can automatically turn on your lights. Today’s exciting news is that developers can now embed IFTTT within apps enabling users to connect hundreds of apps together. That means that the world of apps is about to become more like the web as apps readily exchange info with other apps. This is a game changer. Check out why by reading here.

How Nike Brilliantly Ruined Olympic Marketing Forever
The Rio Olympics are in full swing and so far (with another week to go) we have seen some extremely exciting competitions. Swimming, Gymnastics, Rugby, Tennis, Track - if you are into sports and/or find yourself with national pride for your home country, nothing really compares to the Olympics. That is why brands in the digital age love to capitalize on the excitement. However, this Olympics that has proved difficult. The U.S. Olympic Committee has placed ironclad regulations, backed by U.S. trademark law, that restrain non-sponsoring brands from saying anything even vaguely evocative of the Olympics. A casual mention of Rio on Facebook? A congratulatory tweet to a gold medalist? Even tweeting the term "gold medal"? It is prohibited. While we could discuss the virtues of free speech, for this article we thought you may be interested in finding out why this is the case and what incident led to these ironclad regulations. It’s a very interesting story you can check out here.

PR Insight of the Week
Changing Currency for Investor Relations Pros

There’s been a push to get corporate CEOs to become more active on social media and begin to leverage its networking power. At the same time, investor relations professional have strived to find the right balance between using digital assets vs. using operating in the same fashion as they have for years. While it is clear there are arguments for both, everyone understands that when it comes to the disclosure of financial information, all regulatory requirements must be met. The following article does a good job at explaining the current IR / PR landscape and takes a look how things may play out in the future. 

Enjoy the week ahead!

Indicate Media Captures The News: August 8, 2016

After some time off for some fun in the sun, we're back with this week's three top stories we found interesting, relevant, and valuable to businesses today. 

Disrupting ‘I Do’: 41 Startups Transforming The Wedding Industry In One Infographic
In case you were wondering, the wedding business remains a great business. According to a recent survey by The Knot, US couples’ average wedding spend has grown to $32,000+. Our calculations tell us that is one very expensive, albeit very special day. It makes sense why numerous funded companies with strong backers are paying attention. Here is an interesting infographic by CB Insights highlighting 41 startups transforming the wedding industry,

NBC Stumbles Into the Olympics With Lowest Opening Ceremony Ratings Since 1992
The 2016 Summer Olympics are in full swing and nobody cares. The opening ceremony coverage was down 28% from the 2012 London games, which isn’t a great sign for NBC and its advertisers. After the opening ceremony, social media buzzed with complaints about NBC's decision to air and stream the ceremony on a one-hour delay, and what viewers saw as an excessive number of commercials during the ceremony. NBC of course tried to defend itself blaming the low ratings on …. binge watching. Fascinating. See what they had to say here.

PR Insight of the Week
Visual Journalism is Just Journalism

In this article Vilan Trub looks at the future of visual journalism. Vilan asks the question, ‘What does multimedia mean in the future?’ and takes a look at a Reuters Institute report titled “Digital News Project: Journalism, Media and Technology Predictions 2016” to answer his question. This is a strong read for those of us in communications looking to stay ahead of the competition. 

Enjoy the week ahead!

Indicate Media Captures The News: July 25, 2016

‘It’s hot outside,’ say most of us across the country. What better time to catch up on your reading than when it is too hot to go outside?  Check out these three top stories we found interesting, relevant, and valuable to businesses today. 

These Are The Companies With The Best Work-Life Balance
We can all agree that having a good life / work balance is paramount for long term success. For anyone who runs a business or is a direct manager of employees, it’s a no-brainer (in today’s digital and distracted world) to make sure hardworking employees have the time to explore and enjoy the many other things happening in their lives. Yet, some companies understand this just a little bit more than others. Check out which companies have the best Life Work Balance according to Fast Company. 

8 Secrets Of Great Communicators
‘Closeness-communication bias’ is a term recently used by researchers at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business to explain our tendency to overestimate our ability to communicate when interacting with people we know well. In other words, even though you think you know someone well, you may have no idea what they are thinking and if you are actually breaking through to them. However, there is some good news. Check out these eight strategies that can help to overcome the communication bias that may be holding us back with everyone we encounter, especially those we know well. 

PR Insight of the Week
5 Ways to Score a Winning Media Tour

For many of us in the PR business, media tours, when executed perfectly, can be a top moment of the year. Unfortunately for most of us outside of Hollywood and the sporting world, media tours are few and far between. However, they do roll around every so often and it’s very important to be ready when they do. Here are 5 ways to score a winning media tour.

Enjoy the week ahead!

 

Indicate Media Captures The News: July 18, 2016

Check out these three top stories we found interesting, relevant and of value to businesses today. 

Leadership Lessons from CEO Coach Bill Campbell
Leadership is hard. And in our world of 24/7 365 communication, it’s even harder to get and keep someone’s attention (even if they are sitting in the same office as you).  But every now and then someone special comes along. It has even been said that a Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs type only comes around every 100 years or so. For that very reason (and without any trepidation to place him in this category), today we pay tribute to the great Bill Campbell and the numerous lessons on leadership we can learn from him. Check this out

Line goes public: what you need to know about the year's biggest tech IPO
If you are anything like us, and we assume you are if you are reading this, then you are extremely interested in knowing what the hottest companies out there are doing and if they are doing something you can even relate to (shout out to SnapChat and the dog picture my niece took of me this weekend). As we are over half-way through the year, what better time time than the dog days of summer to check the temperature on the 2016 IPO market and learn about what’s hot. Take a look.

PR Insight of the Week
5 PR Crimes Startups Are Guilty Of Committing

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at these things) it’s no longer as easy as building a business and then sitting back and waiting for people to come. The world is busy and complex and requires strategic effort to build a successful company. You have to get out there and repeatedly tell everyone who you are and what you can do for them. Today, if you try and wing a PR campaign, you risk making a series of mistakes. Click here to learn what they are. 

Enjoy the week ahead!