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Welcome to the Coyne Exchange! This blog was created to promote conversation and new thinking about taking a more creative approach to both business and life! From Account Coordinators to the President and CEO, everyone here at Coyne PR has the opportunity to participate in our blog, offering opinions, trend insight, key learnings, or just something interesting! We hope to both inspire and be inspired as part of this process. Please understand that we will not be discussing any proprietary client related topics or information. Please stay tuned and keep an open mind -- it is the key to life! 

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Sunday
Jan162011

Quora's asking the question. How are you going to answer it?

Not every question can be answered within the 140 character constraints of Twitter.  So where can your subject matter experts engage with influencers and those looking for information about what your client knows best?

The answer is Quora. This question and answer site is rapidly becoming the most buzzed about new social media platform, and was hailed by Robert Scoble as "the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years."  Billed as a “continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it,” Quora allows users to ask and answer questions on a growing number of topics.  By linking a user account to either Facebook or Twitter, a user can share their answers and expertise across their other social networks.

Quora is still in the early stages of gaining popularity, and those who are evangelizing the benefits are many of the same early adopters who realized the value of Twitter as the next big social communications platform.  But if you've already made the investment in social media with a presence on Facebook and Twitter, what's the value of being involved in yet another social network?  In a recent conversation with James Hritz, he gave the most compelling answer I've seen on the subject when discussing Quora vs Twitter within the thoroughbred racing community.  James makes a valid point that applies across all industries.

Twitter has some issues and from the standpoint of being a communication tool, its not always the right tool for the job. You wouldn't try to build a house with just a hammer right? Well, forget the term social networking for a second and just think old fashion communications. Sometimes you need to communicate short messages and other times something longer is called for.

While still in its infancy, you may be surprised to learn that users are already talking about your brand on the site and you have a tremendous opportunity to leverage Quora to engage with users to share insights about your company and your fields of expertise.  Just as the goal of traditional PR was to make you a resource to journalists, the new model of social engagement requires you to be a resource to an evolving spectrum of influencers and stakeholders.  To ignore Quora when developing social media strategies will likely drive you to the site within a year to ask how to remedy your oversight.

Here are a few ways that Quora can be incorporated into PR:

  • Get your spokespeople involved in the discussions by asking and responding to important and timely questions about their industry.  This shows media, online influencers, prospects and current clients that they have an active voice and unique insight within their field of expertise.
  • Put your clients where people are talking. Having a social media presence means being involved where people expect you to be - having a Facebook page or single Twitter profile for your company just isn't enough anymore. 
  • Raise your spokesperson's visibility with media and customers seeking information on their company and industry. As Quora's user base grows, the opportunities for engagement with traditional and social media influencers will drive media coverage, brand awareness, customer loyalty and business opportunities.
  • Demonstrate the benefits of Quora beyond a single site. Quora's SEO platform ensures questions and answers from their site surface on search engines. The more your experts contribute to Quora, the greater chance of being found in a search of questions related to their expertise.

Becoming familiar with a new platform can be intimidating at first, but if you have any questions on how to get started, I'm sure you'll know where to go for answers.

Friday
Jan142011

Detroit Auto Show in January: The show was great. The travel, not so much

I went to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week for the first time in a few years.  I enjoyed the show and the chance to renew a number of relationships, as well as make a few new friends.

I travel a fair amount and am used to a few problems or flight delays, but this trip had lots to keep me busy in addition to all of the client work that needed to be done. The trip started Sunday morning by taking a propeller plane (not my favorite way to fly) to Philadelphia and then connecting to Detroit.

I got to my hotel and found I was only registered for one night instead of two.  Fortunately I was able to scramble and secure another hotel in town for Monday.  But I had to pack all of my stuff up and drag it with me to the show the early on Monday morning.

I had the opportunity to attend a number of press conferences on a jam packed day full of press conferences.   I did not make it to Porsche at 6:30 a.m. for the debut of the stunning Porsche 918 RSR, but still managed to spend about 10 hours at the show.

   

The biggest thing I took away from the show was the optimism of the Detroit automakers.  Chrysler introduced new products including the Chrysler 300 which looks great and has received many favorable comments.  GM is getting plenty of attention for the Volt – including being named North American Car of the Year during the show.  Ford continues to build on its recent successes with the introduction of new fuel efficient vehicles.  All three still face a number of issues going forward, but good things are happening, including the planned addition of 7,000 new Ford jobs.

Green and fuel efficient vehicles were in abundance.  The Prius line is being expanded and Toyota is cleverly playing with Prius becoming plural by asking what is the plural of Prius?

 

 

I had plenty of time to walk around the show and spend some time looking at many of the new cars as I really had nowhere to be on Tuesday afternoon because my flights were cancelled due to snow in Detroit and expected snow in NJ.

 So it was on to my third hotel in three days!

I stayed in Plymouth and ran into a good friend staying there as well.  He has a client nearby and was spending an extra day following the auto show.  We shared dinner and talked cars, motorsports and travel misadventures.

 

 

Wednesday
Jan122011

Please Race the 918!!!

All eyes in the automotive community were on Detroit earlier this week at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) as the Big Three showcase their progress in coming back and the rest of the world flexes its “efficiency-muscle” with new vehicle offerings, improved engines and 8-speed transmissions.  At this point I think it is safe to say that there cannot be any disappointments.  Ford, GM and Chrysler all had exciting introductions and the number of efficient vehicles showcased were staggering… and that brings me to my point.  Before this week I was scared, terrified in fact, at the future of the industry. 

Now please, don’t get me wrong.  Efficiency is essential.  I do what I can to conserve and happily adapt new technologies to reduce consumption of all resources… but, I am an auto enthusiast.  Number one in my list of requirements for every vehicle I have purchased is performance.  I enjoy a spirited drive along a twisting mountain road hearing the engine’s note rise and fall with my accelerations and feeling the car undulate around the turns more than anything.  It is how I clear my mind and reset myself.  So naturally, the idea of driving an 80hp econo-box is fine for my practical side, but means death to my passion.

There have been plenty of initial forays into hybrid technology by a number of the “supercar” manufacturers, i.e. Ferrari’s 599 HY-KERS concept, Lotus’ Evora 414E Hybrid and even Porsche’s Cayanne S Hybrid.  But it wasn’t until just two days ago when Porsche unveiled its 918 RSR that I can finally get behind the hybrid/electric movement. 

You see, when one of the perennial favorites in motorsports positions itself to potentially field a hybrid race entry regularly that I am confident in the trickle down technology that will help me exploit my passion.  I think the initial evidence (at least from when I can remember) of that came when Audi shocked the world by entering diesel powered vehicles into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and then proceeded to kick tail with that sheer torque the car produced! 

There are plenty of technologies out there to help increase efficiency, some of which are or have been in place in top-tier racing series to increase power or add a new dimension to the event, i.e. the KERS system in F1.  I just hope that there are enough passionate car buyers out there that will also accept these technologies and pay the premium for them so that manufacturers continue to produce hair-raising vehicles that push our automotive enthusiasm further and further in the years to come.

So while I unfortunately won’t be lining up to purchase the 918 if they do produce the street version, hopefully someday I can sit behind the wheel of some various Porsche Hybrid. 

… and can I start the petition?  Please race the 918 RSR!!!

Tuesday
Jan112011

New McKinsey Report on Social Tech ROI: Holy grail or ho-hum?

A new report out from McKinsey (http://bit.ly/f6DrbN) attempts to get to the heart of the ROI debate in using enterprise-wide Web2.0 technologies.  Specifically, the new report notes high gains in market share and margin for companies who’ve implemented Web 2.0 internally and externally.

Many of the findings are intuitive.  Following some of the discussion around this report, it does seem clear that the report offers correlation between Web 2.0 and organizational benefits, but not causation.  It’s also unclear is what the researchers may, or may not have, controlled for in the study – other factors that could have impacted organizational performance; and with data from a self-reported survey, perception may not necessarily be reality.  The researchers also don’t seem to assign industry or sector to the groups of companies, so we can’t tell whether or not those companies seeing the greatest benefits are from the tech sector, and therefore more apt to be early adopters across the organization.

For me though, the greater issue has always been a debate over management philosophy.   For example, among other things the report indicates companies seeing greater benefits from Web 2.0 use likely are those that enable key decision-making lower in the corporate hierarchy.  That’s a question of management philosophy, not a technology and operations discussion.

And therein resides the true crux of the argument.  Adoption of Web 2.0 technologies across an organization is a philosophical issue before it’s an operational discussion (internal, external, etc.).  It goes to whether or not management feels confident in the individuals beyond executive row to make important decisions on their own when they are enabled with Web 2.0 technologies.  Social technologies within a business are all about empowering advocates that can move the business, which will in turn create efficiencies in the system that impact bottom line results.  But that’s a tough pill for many companies to swallow – empowerment scares a lot of people.

Enterprise-wide adoption is certainly not the first step into Web 2.0 adoption.  Instead, for individuals within companies struggling with the debate, four simple words can set you free: Test. Learn. Champion. Evolve.

And that’s where communications professionals can be the driver of change.  And it may start small – a little project, a little resource allocation.  Identify an issue – regardless of the department you reside in or support, and determine the right 2.0 technologies and platforms to apply.  Create and capture measurable outcomes (overall and in individual instances) that can be held up as proof of concept, and learn from execution what worked and what didn’t.  Champion these results to anyone who will listen – department managers, peers in other groups, whoever will lend an ear.  And evolve the approach to build on what you’ve learned.

After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Thursday
Dec302010

From Search to Share

According to new data released by Hitwise, and reported on TechCrunch (http://tcrn.ch/gC6hmJ) Facebook was the top website visited in the US in 2010, besting Google.

Data like this seems to support the notion that the mainstreaming of social media and the evolution of its use has shifted the strategic consideration from search-based functionality to share-based usage.

But hold on a second – reports like this point to where the party’s at; but being a hit at the party takes a little more thinking and insight.

Many people will see this report and begin waving the “We need a strong/stronger Facebook presence.”  That could be a critical mistake.  Simply being there isn’t enough.

Participating in the Facebook ecosystem requires more strategic thought – you have to ask yourself what people are doing there, what are they sharing, how are they sharing it, where are they getting the content they share, and how can the brand integrate into that environment.  These insights go far beyond simple traffic data.

Reminds me of college: to be a hit at the party, you need more than the address.

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