01/7/14

Don’t Be Afraid to Re-Evaluate Your 2014 PR Planning After Q1

Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

2014 is now in full swing. Your 2014 communications goals are set, your strategy vetted, and the program started like clockwork. You are on track for a successful first quarter.

Communications Programs Need a Quarterly Review to Ensure a Tight Alignment with the Business Strategy

Communications Programs Need a Quarterly Review to Ensure a Tight Alignment with the Business Strategy

But what happens after the end of March? Business strategies change throughout the year and are often altering a company’s communications platforms and priorities.

While dealing with the unexpected has become a daily routine for communications professionals, it does not mean that executing communications plans has become a thing of the past. On the contrary, a fast changing business environment just changed the communications planning cycle.

Like financial and sustainability reporting, communications programs need to be re-assessed on a quarterly basis to stay aligned with the business and the news cycle.

Expedition PR offers instant access to senior PR counsel. We can help to review PR programs on a quarterly basis to keep it aligned with the business strategy and help achieve department goals.   

You can book consulting services on demand directly via our website by following this link.  

12/3/13

Innovation and Technology for Social Enterprises

By Patricia Martinez, Expedition PR

Social enterprises and profit are not mutually exclusive anymore. An increasing number of for-profit organizations have been embracing this new paradigm and started incorporating the social enterprise mindset in their operations and strategic objectives. In November, UN’s Social Policy and Development Division (DESA) published a report on Innovation and Technology for Social Development[1].

One of its chapters, authored by Julius O Akinyemi (entrepreneur in residence, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Media Laboratory), John Dilyard (Associate Professor, Department of Management and Information Technology, St. Francis College), Dennis Anderson (Professor and Chairman, Department of Management and Information Technology, St. Francis College) and Katja Schroeder (President & Sustainability Consultant, Expedition PR), discusses how today’s generation of social enterprises drive social and economic value.

The authors argue that both not-for-profit and for-profit institutions “understand the social improvement and profits can be complementary”. But the path is not without challenge.

Social enterprises include financing, the right messaging and  misleading measuring the social enterprise’s return.

Even with these challenges, there are opportunities on this change of paradigm that could benefit all the organizations involved, and how innovative technologies are contributing to the construction of a new model of social commitment.

Please click here to read the entire chapter.



[1] United Nations. “Innovation and Technology for Social Development. Lessons Learned”, by Mr. Amine Lamrabat, Expert in Innovation and Technology, UNDESA-DSPD. November 2013.

10/24/13

Sustainability and Financial Reporting in the Age of Transparency

Companies are using integrated online reports to engage stakeholders

By Patricia Martinez, Expedition PR

Sustainability reporting has evolved from a “nice-to have” to “must-have” for Fortune 500 companies, in addition to the obligatory financial reports. While tracking and disclosing sustainability data can be cumbersome, disclosing sustainability information has evolved as welcomed channel to build trust with stakeholders.

According to the report 2012 Corporate/ESG/Sustainability/Responsibility Reporting – Does It Matter?” , published by the New York based Governance & Accountability Institute, “an increasing number of corporate managers and boards are recognizing the many benefits that measuring, managing, and disclosing their strategies and performance on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors can have for their companies.”

Stakeholders and consumers are more demanding companies to demonstrate their commitment to socio-economic and environmental causes. The Nielsen study “Global, Socially Conscious Consumer 2012” , a survey that included more than 28,000 online respondent from 56 countries around the world, found the following information:

 

  • Two thirds (66%) of consumers around the world say they prefer to buy products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society.
  • They prefer to work for these companies (62%)
  • They would invest in these companies (59%).
  • 46% say they are willing to pay extra for products and services from these companies.
    Building trust through transparency

How can existing and potential consumers, employees and investors know about a company’s sustainability commitment ?

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10/10/13

Communications Planning 2014: 3 Steps to Start Planning Next Year’s Program

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Fall is here. The leaves are turning. Yearly PR programs are heading into their final quarter and marketers soon will turn the final page in their 2013 play book.  It’s time to start seeding and planting ideas on how to advance next year’s communications programs.

Here are three easy steps to start the planning process.

Conduct an honest review of the past year

Every new plan starts with a critical assessment of what has been achieved in the past year. While achievements deserve recognition, the review should not be a pure exercise of shoulder clapping. Looking at encountered challenges – and even failures – can be tremendous beneficial. The review should include asking questions like:

  1. Were the overall communications goals met? If not, why not?
  2. What communications strategies and channels were the most effective, and why?
  3. Did we expand and strengthen the relationships with key influencers?

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10/3/13

To Win Your Film Audience, Think Like a Content Marketer

By Katja Schroeder, President, Expedition PR

 The 51st New York Film Festival is in full swing and today is also the first day of the annual Bushwick Film Festival, we take a look at how film makers and producers can put a spotlight on their movies.

 

In a recent Seed&Spark #filmcurious Twitter chat the question was raised how people find out about new films. The idea behind was to identify the main information sources that people trust to make the decision about the next movie to watch.

Chat participants, with many of them being filmmakers, referenced Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, as well as trade magazines like Indiewire and Indiewood/Hollywoodn’t as their go-to sources.  Some mentioned using YouTube, Vimeo or Twitter to scout for new indie films. Most agreed that they trust their friends to tell them about a good movie.

Not mentioned during the chat were ticket sites like Fandango and Moviefone. Eager to turn movie browsers into ticker buyers, both sites offer news and trailers about films that are or will be coming soon to theaters. And there is more.

A Google Social Research study from December 2012 concluded that on average moviegoers consult 13 sources before they make a decision about what movie to see. The study said that although the number of movie titles released declined 9% in 2012 vs. 2011, movie searches on Google were up 56% during that time.

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09/12/13

Achtung! German Startup Supermodels Coming Your Way

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Today five German startups will strut their stuff on the New York stage for the second German Innovation Showcase, hosted by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany New York and ifridge & Company. Among the line-up are Kisi, The Peak Lab, Fundcuisine, Henrichsen and Qumram. They will pitch to a panel of experts from Gotham Ventures, Venture Capital and VentureOutNY with the goal to gain valuable feedback on how to wow U.S. investors.

Since the ‘Wirtschaftswunder’, small and midsized businesses have always been a stronghold for Germany’s economy. But for long there has not been an entrepreneurship culture à la Silicon Valley. Sometimes German entrepreneurs ventured outside of the country to pursue their business dreams. In 2012, an article by the Economist stated that there are about 50,000 Germans in Silicon Valley. Times have changed since. Opportunities have increased for German entrepreneurs that stay in Germany to start a business.

In fact, Germany is emerging as a major hub for tech startups. According to Startup Genome Report in 2012, Berlin ranked 15th on the global startup ecosystem ranking. Germany’s capital attracts the most foreign investment than other German cities according to the results of the German Startup Monitor 2013,[1] published by the German Startup Association and the Berlin School of Economics and Law together with its partners, including Google and KPMG. Every second VC-funded startup in Berlin was able to bring foreign investors onboard. As a result, startups in Berlin tend to be bigger and hire employees faster compared to startups in other parts of the country.  For example, Berlin startups employ on average 15.3 employees, a 50% higher hiring rate than the rest of the country.

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07/5/13

Brooklyn Eats: An exciting showcase of locally-produced food and drink

By Emily Kuo, Expedition PR

Last week I attended Brooklyn Eats, Brooklyn’s first food & beverage trade show. Organized by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce the event brought together 100 manufacturers who produce at least one of their products in Brooklyn. In addition to vendor booths at the trade floor – with lots of sampling, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce also hosted speaking programs and cooking demonstrations.

Brooklyn Eats showcased the robust local Brooklyn food scene. There was everything from soda to chocolate, baked goods to hot dogs, and ice cream to cornbread.

One of Brooklyn’s well-known gourmet chocolate makers, Jacques Torres aka Mr. Chocolate, discussed his new project in the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Moreover, he encouraged listeners to stay local, and produce within Brooklyn. Torres told of his history, starting out as a pastry chef and moving to the US to make chocolates. His first location was in DUMBO, which he says at that time was not as safe or developed as it is now. As his business grew, Torres was able to watch the entire neighborhood grow alongside it. The positivity he experienced in DUMBO has led him to stay in Brooklyn, showing his passion for and loyalty to the local food scene.

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05/9/13

Think in #Hashtags

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

A common practice in media and messaging workshops is to develop a message house based on three pillars, with each pillar representing a core message.  The house always has a roof and the roof has room for a sentence that describes the company’s overall mission.  Putting a company’s mission into a single sentence is  not an easy exercise. A company has many dimensions and addresses a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. However, boiling down the message really helps to focus on the essential.

Stan-01-OpinionsWe can take this exercise even one step further. Today, a company’s mission needs to fit into a Tweet, 120 characters (not 140), that can be easily shared and re-tweeted. Ideally, you should think about your company’s mission in a hashtag format. What is it that your company wants to change? Express it in 1-3 words.

For example, we work with Seed&Spark, a crowd-funding and distribution startup exclusively for independent film. They use the hashtag #stayindiefilm or #filmcurious to communicate their mission of changing the independent film industry for the better.

For more ideas on how to communicate your company, take a look at our slideshow and download our eBook on “How to Prepare for Your First PR Push“.

 

04/25/13

What Business Are You Really In? How Dancers Showcase Business Model Transformation

By Tress Fereday, Expedition PR

I’ve been working for Marketing Communications agencies for a minute or two, and have participated in my share of team building, creativity-inspiring activities. The most memorable included cardio kick boxing, disco bowling, a limo ride to a spa, splashing at a water park, and an old-school Field Day with tug-a-war and three-legged race.   The purpose of these events was to inspire and to build the team dynamic to ultimately drive business … and profits, of course.

I had a lot of fun, and it did reenergize me, and my colleagues.  So, when I saw this article about the Trey McIntyre Project, I was intrigued. Not that is was just another unusual motivating event for a business audience (it is that), but that this dance troupe has expanded the notion of what their business is.  According to their founder, “we have a real asset, which is the creative process itself. We’re selling that.”

So, it got me thinking about businesses that stick to their business model and refuse to change where others evolve and transform.

Trains vs. Transportation

So, if you were in the railway business in the last century, things were going well until airplanes, cars, and trucks transformed how people and freight were moved. Today, Amtrak and commuter rails in large metropolitan areas are the only remnants of the glory days of consumer locomotive travel.

In hindsight, we can wonder ‘why were these companies committed to the train business vs. being in the transportation business?’  As economies and technologies changed, new companies rose up to address these new demands.

Sustainable and Advancing Business Models

A company that comes to mind that has continually evolved its business model and approach is Amazon.com.  The company has been around for 18 years, and started as an online bookseller.  Since then they sell pretty much … everything!

I use the site often because of its simplicity and ease-of-use.  I joke that you can buy everything on Amazon, even an elephant!  Now maybe you can’t buy a real elephant, but their inspired entry into e-readers and tablets have set them up for success in the digital media transition.  And, analysts are touting that Amazon is positioning itself for the long-term.

What Business Are You In?

So, if asked “what business are you in” what is your answer?  Metaphorically, are you in the “train” business, or instead are you addressing the “transportation” needs of your industry?

If Amazon had answered solely  ‘the online book business’ year-over-year , things may be wildly different today. While many of the dot coms of the 90’s went bust because of unsustainable business models, Amazon has catapulted from $510,000 in yearly sales in 1995 to $17 billion in 2011.

The story is a quintessential start-up success story with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos starting the company literally in his garage and getting his friends to beta test the site.

If you are in the midst of launching your company or new product, then check out the free eBook compiled by Expedition PR “How to Prepare for Your Next PR Push.”  You’ll learn five steps that can help you get ready to unveil your startup, and perhaps become the next Amazon.

Also, take a moment to view a bio of Jeff Bezos where he laughs a lot!  Because nothing feels better than knowing exactly what business you are in.

And if you are at NY Tech Day today, stop by the Expedition PR booth. We’d love to meet you.