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IBM’s Co-Investment Plan
Here goes IBM’s dwindling reputation, spiraling further downward with their new hair-brained idea. This time they are talking about a forced employee “co-investment” – new word for pay cut.
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Are You Sure You Need That New Website?

This week, one of the best web firms I know just told me that they’re getting out of web design, “because we can’t compete with the high school kid in his parent’s basement, and we don’t want to.”

Instead, they’re shifting to high-end application design—most of which may never be seen by anyone but the users.

And we’re going to recommend them, even if no one asks us for a UX expert.

Until we talked, I wasn’t giving enough weight to the look-and-feel of the complex applications that drive our clients’ customers’ businesses. We know about creating urgency, of course, and how to get messages across so people take action, especially on web sites. But what if the application design isn’t cutting it? Is it worth the investment to just “make it look better”?

Yes, it is.

Chances are, the average business buyer won’t even—or ever—‘see’ the difference. But as buyers, we’re also consumers, and we’re influenced by every slick user interface out there, whether it’s showing up on our phone, the plant floor, or in our living room. If the interface is hard, or clumsy, or confusing, it can deaden the deal.

I’m willing to bet that this is a hidden vulnerability for most companies, because most prospects won’t tell you that the reason your software went from ‘interesting’ to ‘maybe next year’ is because it just wasn’t good enough to use, every day.

So this is why our clients need to care a whole lot more about their application’s interface. And yes, this is also part of the new PR.

Because our kind of PR is really about sales.

That means almost everything that touches the buyer, or the user, shapes their experience—whether it’s a great email or a lousy 800 number response. Experience is what builds reputation, and reputations drive revenue.

So the new PR? Add user experience to the list.

Want to see what an award winning UX looks like? Check out the winners of this year’s User Experience Awards below.

UberConference National Geographic LUSH SAP Labs Volkswagon Virgin America


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3 Ways to Turn Pinterest Into a B2B Lead Gen Machine

PinterestWhen it comes to B2B marketing with Pinterest, the main idea is to drive quality traffic back to the company website, with the ultimate goal of converting those visitors into leads. This happens through providing high quality content and strong visuals to engage your current and prospective customers. Here are some key strategies for making your business Pinterest page a lead generating machine:

Share Infographics

Many flock to Pinterest in search of these materials and it shows you know your stuff! So why not get more for your money and pin any research, data charts or infographics you have created. When pinning original content, brand it with your company logo for extra points.

Get the customers involved

Showcasing your customers is a great way to convey that people already love your product and brand. Constant Contact’s board “Tips from Successful Constant Contact Customers” has 6,155 followers and unveils some of the successful marketing tactics their customers are using with their email service. Why not take customer endorsements to a whole new level and create a board with pictures of customers using your product?

Convey the essence of the company

Pinning executive headshots, footage from company outings and images of the office space are some small ways you can give some insight into what your company culture is like. Businesses want to see that you are not only professional, but human, too. Conveying the company in this way helps to garner a trust and interest in the people within the organization, which may ultimately generate leads.

Pinterest is often thought of as a B2C goldmine, but General Electric (GE) is capitalizing on its use for the B2B marketplace by showcasing the human element of the company. With over 22,000 followers, this B2B powerhouse proves that although you may be marketing to other businesses, you don’t necessary have to make everything you post to be formal and strictly business.

In both the B2B and B2C space, social media marketing is about engaging your audience. You need to engage businesses just as you would consumers. The difference lies in what is of interest to them. In the B2B realm of marketing, trust in the company is just as important as trust in the product. Pinterest is a great tool to assist firms in capturing the interest of their customers and lead prospects back to the website.

To learn more about leveraging social platforms for B2B, check out our market brief: “Does Facebook Count for B2B?

 



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Going Mobile With Employee Communication
By 2015, the global mobile workforce will reach 1.3 billion or 37.2 percent of the total labor force, according to International Data Corp. In many ways, communicating with employees who rely on receiving information via a mobile device is no different than communicating with employees in an office. The same basic rules apply: communicate frequently, keep your messages clear and consistent, and be timely and relevant. But, employers aren’t communicating well with remote employees. According to Fortune Magazine,...


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9 Lessons After 25 Years in the Business

happy 25thTwenty-five years ago this week, I found myself out of a job. It wasn’t planned, and it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me (thank you, PC Week.)

Of course, I’ve made hundreds of mistakes, and fortunately, I’ve forgotten most of them. But here’s a short list of what I learned along the way, and sometimes, I didn’t have to get it wrong first to get it right.

Join a CEO group. Actually, I’ve been in about 4 over the years – and I consider this the best thing an entrepreneur or leader can do. It’s four hours of separation, with built-in accountability, and if you’re really lucky, a place where you can get new ideas, admit what isn’t working, or is scaring you out of your wits, and be asked to confront what you are choosing not to see. I’ve learned more here than I can remember — with insights from peers on how to avoid bank fraud, manage costly audits, and hold trusted employees accountable, just for starters. Some are expensive, some aren’t. But it’s rarely about the money.

Pivot the business. (or… Do the 90 degree change…or even a 180 degree change.) We usually do every few years. And fortunately, consistently at least a couple of years ahead of everyone else. The hard part is keeping the right connection to yesterday, while jumping into tomorrow, without the pendulum swings that drive everyone nutty. Because as with any new market, just a tiny percentage of targets will be ready to innovate, and it’s just plain foolish to ignore everyone else, who still count on you to do the right thing, for who they are, and where they are today.

Hire a coach. A tough one. Someone has got to tell you when you’re getting in your own way. And chance are, it won’t be the people whose paychecks you sign.

Consistently ask clients – and staff – what they really think. Customer satisfaction surveys can be big fat lies. But done right, people will tell you what they aren’t willing to say to your face. We adopted the Net Promoter Score model about eight years ago, and it has changed our business. We also use it internally. The truths we hear are not always pretty, but they are vitally important. These often-anonymous answers are a bet-on-it read of where the market is today, what people really need to know, and where it’s likely to be heading. Then the hard work starts, because getting the responses is just the beginning.

Fire the people that can tear you down.  Most people figure I’m hard-core, but I hate confrontation. So when I hired a #2 who told me to be quiet and not interrupt her in a client meeting, I was shocked, but said nothing. Big mistake. Then I learned she was building her own alliances. She was gone the next week, because I figured out that without trust, there’s nothing to build on. Lessons learned: It’s important to give people a chance, even more than one. But check your motives. Patience is good, within reason.

Take a sabbatical. It’s really easy to work, not so easy to stop. So I did it twice, both times, to learn something new. I came back from the first one –12-hours-a-day of yoga training  for 22 days–  with a pretty cool handstand, and a new understanding that being honest – even when it goes against convention – works out much more often than not. The biggest reason to avoid the truth is fear.

Decide not to play by anyone else’s rules. We hire people who are really smart, and really smart people want to know what’s going on. It plays out in the work they do, and how they think about it. So we share a lot of information, and always have, across all ranks. Every time I smell tension, it’s because something isn’t being said. So much easier to say it. I just start out thinking, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ and plan for it. The worst-case has never happened.

Embrace paranoia. It’s way too easy to become complacent, and appreciate your own efforts. Over- studying the competition is mostly a waste of time, but understanding how a client views what we do – or didn’t do any particular day, or week, or month – is critical. Working hard isn’t the same thing as delivering outstanding results. And every time a client pays the bill, they’re making a choice between us, their staff, and profit. So in my book, a healthy amount of paranoia is just good, respectful business.

Celebrate. The opposite of paranoia. Sometimes, we rock it. Sometimes, we don’t. Either way, we work hard, and we need to recognize it. It still takes effort to remember that not everything needs to be better. Sometimes, it’s just fun. So here’s to the first 25, which have been much more fun than I ever would have imagined, and whatever comes next.



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Successful Change Starts With Communication
Change bombards us all day every day, or at least that’s how it feels, and in the workplace, the overall success of any given change initiative rides on the effectiveness of your communication with the employees touched by it. This makes when, how and what you communicate to your employees critically important in successfully implementing a change initiative. When Waiting too long and communicating too little are the most common change-related communication failures. This is especially true in...


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Five Ways to Rethink What a PR Firm Can Do for You

“The Times They Are a Changin” is a good theme song to represent the past two decades in the public relations industry. The digital age presented a new set of tools, which led to a shift in approach and an intensified focus on two-way communication. Organizations gained the ability to communicate directly with important audiences…

The post Five Ways to Rethink What a PR Firm Can Do for You appeared first on LinhartPR.



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Effective Content Drives Communication Goals And Desired Behaviors
Clients consistently tell us they’re not sure they have enough content to share company news or updates on a regular basis with their employees. Certainly, company news and updates are important. But, they make up only a small piece of employee communication content. If you know your communication goals and the behaviors you need to cause, there’s a rich array of content at your fingertips. In our August 11th post, we talked about planning and the importance of...


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5 Tips to Break through the 12,000 Emails Reporters Receive–and Delete–Each Year

How do you cope when the reporters you want to target get 12,000 emails a year – and spike most of them? That’s our job–hitting it over the fence. And shaping new markets with the kind of coverage that drive company value – like one, in the WSJ last week.

Another survey from last week warmed our hearts – because it confirms the truths we play by:

Great media comes to those who listen, understand what’s needed, and aren’t afraid to be creative.

That’s we’ve been doing for 25 years, come next week.

Check out this survey from Fractl Marketing, it confirmed what we’ve known for a long time about the media:relationships still count–and nothing trumps creative, on-point story ideas. The average reporter writes five stories per week, and the competition for placements is fierce. Most journalists receive nearly 12,000 emails per year, and double that for top-tier business reporters. Only 11% of pitches make the cut, converting to published stories. pitches-per-day-fractl Although media relations by the numbers looks harder than fitting an elephant through the eye of a needle, our tried and true approach of writing smart pitches with fresh data, creative subject lines and, most importantly, building solid relationships, is still a winning combination.

Selfishness doesn’t have a place in PR—it’s about making your pitch a win-win. One way to do this? Don’t just tell reporters what to write. 70% of publishers prefer to collaborate on a project rather than receive an unrequested, finished asset. Use this time to learn more about the reporters preferences, writing styles and how to best work with them is critical in establishing a working relationship. Even better? Take the time to learn about them before you even start pitching them. content-relationships-fractl According to the survey, 64% of respondents said establishing a personal connection before pitching ideas is at least moderately important. Sometimes, the relationship doesn’t exist. You can still win. A standout subject line is a winning ticket: 85% of reporters open emails based only  on the subject line. pitch-email-subject-line-fractl A few other tips?

  • Keep it short. If your pitches are hitting over 200 words, you’re probably losing the attention of 88% of reporters.
  • The early bird catches the worm. 69% of writers preffer to receive pitches in the morning hours.
  • Don’t just use your words. Go beyond articles and share some visuals or mixed-media pieces. 80% of respondents wish they received other content, including infographics and images. Just keep it on topic!

This September, Corporate Ink celebrates its 25th birthday, and one thing is for certain: We left “pray and spray” behind decades ago. If you want to keep up, take a deeper look at Libert’s data, including some facts on grammar, subject line suggestions and other tips straight from reporters’ keyboards: http://marketingland.com/500-publishers-weighed-content-marketing-best-practices-research-90603.



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Outside the Linhart PR Office: Three Questions with Courtney Brunkow

In our ongoing series, here’s what Courtney Brunkow, account executive, told us about her life outside of the office: Where is the coolest place you’ve traveled? Any travel plans coming up? Last year, I traveled to Montezuma, Costa Rica, for a yoga retreat at Anamaya Resort. The remote location, friendly locals, beautiful scenery and delicious…

The post Outside the Linhart PR Office: Three Questions with Courtney Brunkow appeared first on LinhartPR.



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Make Managers Better Communicators
Anyone who has been a manager knows it’s a tough job. Managers are constantly stuck between the demands of upper management and the often conflicting needs of employees. With everyone pulling in different directions, effective communication isn’t the manager’s most pressing issue. Consistently, studies on employee engagement over the last 20 years report that employees prefer to receive work-related information from their immediate managers, whom they often trust more than senior management. Given that this middle layer of...


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The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

Managing your company’s social media accounts is fun and easy, right? A few posts here, a few “Likes” there, what’s the big deal? But are you sure you’re not falling victim to one of social media’s seven deadly sins?:

  1. Not using social. First and foremost, if your business isn’t active on social, you’re already committing the worst of sins. Social puts you front and center in the public eye, and offers a direct line to you customers. You can bet your competition is already taking advantage of social media, so there’s no time to waste in getting you accounts fired up.
  1. Acting before thinking. Social media allows businesses to share with millions of people instantly. Unfortunately, too many brands get themselves into hot water by sharing something without thinking through the possible consequences. In most cases, this manifests itself as an insensitive tweet—for example:

CelebBoutiquePart of your social strategy should involve keeping tabs on what’s happening, and thinking through your posts before they reach the public.

  1. Getting off topic. There is an important distinction to be made here: your company’s social is not the same as your personal accounts. Don’t fall into tweeting unrelated, inspirational quotes, or the funny joke you heard that morning. Putting personality into your posts is a positive thing, but don’t forget your brand’s overarching goal when it comes to social posts.
  1. Automatic posts. Another note on personal touches: keep your posts original. Replying to customers with the exact same message makes your brand look lazy and unorganized. That goes double for auto posts that aren’t relevant to the audience, in the case of UK retailer, Habitat:

Capture

  1. Picking fights. No one has ever won a fight over social media, but that hasn’t stopped some companies from mudslinging with competitors or even fighting with customers in the case of Uber’s NYC manager. There should be no blurred lines here—it’s never a good idea to argue over social. If there’s a real issue, pick up the phone and make it right.
  1. Ignoring customers. If a customer (or prospect) asks for support or files a complaint through social, don’t let it slide or ask them to fill out a formal request online. Social offers you and your customers a direct, two-way communication pipeline. Use that to your advantage, and start offering troubleshooting through those accounts.
  1. Infrequent posting. The line between posting too much and not enough is pretty wide, and dependent on your marketing goals. But one thing is for certain: don’t let your accounts go cold. Large gaps between posts make your business look inconsistent to prospects. It doesn’t take long to schedule posts or even retweet something relevant, and doing so can go a long way.

Twitter will have you believe that social media success is largely dependent on the amount of cute animals you post on a daily basis—@CuteEmergency’s 1.22M followers, for example—but there’s more to it. Check out “Harnessing the Social Power of Your Biggest Fans” to learn how your customers can help you achieve social media fame.



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Aggreko’s New Service Center in Salt Lake City to Support Mountain Region’s Commercial and Industrial Industries


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Linhart Public Relations Promotes Emma Garten, Adds News Digital Team Member

DENVER, Colo., August 12, 2014 – Linhart Public Relations, a national public relations, digital media and corporate communications counseling firm based in Colorado, promoted Emma Garten to senior account executive and hired Kathryn Miller as digital coordinator. Garten, who was previously account executive, will continue to provide communications counsel and media relations support to several…

The post Linhart Public Relations Promotes Emma Garten, Adds News Digital Team Member appeared first on LinhartPR.



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Revenue Versus Principles

The Guardian's recent article entitled "World's top PR companies rule out working with climate deniers" brought to the fore again the dilemma that all agencies face at one time or other -- courage to turn away revenue (business) or confront a collective conscience angst, with a shrug. (Read More->)


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Outside the Linhart PR Office: Three Questions with Ashley Campbell

In our ongoing series, here’s what Ashley Campbell, account supervisor, told us about her life outside of the office: What is your favorite hobby and why? It’s hard to pick a favorite hobby – assembling ‘Thomas the Train’ sets, reading Dr. Seuss, running through sprinklers, playing with monster trucks…I guess I should mention my two…

The post Outside the Linhart PR Office: Three Questions with Ashley Campbell appeared first on LinhartPR.



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Linhart Public Relations’ Kelly Womer to be Inducted into PRSA’s Esteemed College of Fellows

DENVER, Colo., July 22, 2014 – Linhart Public Relations’ vice president and partner, Kelly Womer, APR, ABC, has been elected to the prestigious Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) College of Fellows. The College of Fellows, founded in 1989, is a community of more than 300 senior PRSA members who have advanced the public relations…

The post Linhart Public Relations’ Kelly Womer to be Inducted into PRSA’s Esteemed College of Fellows appeared first on LinhartPR.



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The Blurring Of Journalism, Again…
Since time immemorial, sharp reporters/editors would basically stop at very little to get a scoop on a breaking news story for their publications.
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Klondike Launches “The Best Ice Cream Bar Ever Conceived”


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lynda.com appoints Kaizo to support expansion across EMEA
Kaizo has been appointed by lynda.com, a leading online learning company, to deliver an integrated communications programme and support the company’s growth plans outside the United States. In 2013, lynda.com received $103million of private equity funding to expand globally. Kaizo’s …
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Kaizo helps Imago Techmedia to build IT infrastructure show IP EXPO Europe
Kaizo has been appointed by Imago Techmedia, the cutting-edge event organisers behind IP Expo EUROPE and Connected Business. Kaizo will initially support the team in delivering a bigger, better IP EXPO Europe show for 2014. With backing from London & Partners, IP …
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Kaizo Summer Sizzle 2014
The sun shined, the drinks flowed and a great night was had by all! A massive thank you to all those who attended and made it the best Kaizo Summer Sizzle yet. We hope you enjoyed the night as much …
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Kaizo helps raise online profile for Society of Biology
Kaizo has been appointed by the Society of Biology, to raise the online profile of the Society’s Degree Accreditation Programme, which highlights the degrees that have the potential to educate the life science leaders and innovators of the future. The Society of …
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Movebubble finds a home at Kaizo
Kaizo chosen to help launch the Shoreditch property tech start-up New online platform for property rental, Movebubble, has appointed Kaizo to help launch its service to landlords and renters in the UK. Movebubble, which offers a range of free tools …
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Starbucks Trail Blazes Education For Its Employees
As the battle for raising the minimum wage rages on in Washington, DC, with not too much hope for a resolution for the underemployed to get out from under, along comes an innovative corporation with an idea that trumps Congress’ endless battle. (
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