Perception and Behavior

The Conversation Group occupies an interesting niche. Our clients come to us because we understand social media. They value our ability to uncover the new influencers and engage them on blogs, social networks, or other digital venues. Their objectives often require a mix of media relations and marketing initiatives. This split between pr and marketing can be difficult sometimes.

A client may have a BHAG like “increase our valuation by 50%.” In part, that’s a matter of perception and thus a job for public relations. PR deals with people’s perception of events, brands and products. It’s a difficult discipline to pin down in terms of ROI yet most everyone can point to examples of artful PR initiatives, even if they are unaware that an agency was behind the article or TV spot.

Marketing is about influencing behavior. Another client’s BHAG may be something like “let’s increase sales in our online channel by 50%.” In order to achieve that goal, marketing strategies and tactics are employed to influence behavior. A successful marketing campaign will cause more people to purchase the product online.

What happens when you integrate the two practices? Can behavior and perception be influenced by the same agency? I believe the answer is yes. This is a new take on integrated communications. At the end of the day, this is what our clients are asking us to do. Integrating pr outreach with marketing programs has the potential to drive consumers in the direction that a brand desires.

Public relations and marketing each have their strengths and weaknesses. Together, they augment the weak spots of each discipline. Such augmentation is difficult at best when two teams handle PR and marketing separately. That’s why I think The Conversation Group will continue to deliver real results for our clients. We are able to move the needle on perception and behavior all under one roof.


Brogan on Utterz Board of Advisors

Utterz has added Chris Brogan to their Board of Advisors. Chris’ insight and passion for new media is sure to add value to the Utterz platform.In Chris’ own words, “I’ve always been drawn to new technologies that can dramatically enhance communications and conversations. Utterz does just that by letting anyone communicate in whatever form they want, whenever they want, as easily as picking up their mobile phone. I’m looking forward to working with the team at Utterz to realize the huge potential of their service.”Utterz is a client of my employer, The Conversation Group, and I’m glad to see them bring a social media guru like Chris onboard. Great things ahead for all.  

The Conversational Media Landscape

parc.jpg  I’m speaking at Xerox PARC’s Intelligent Systems Laboratory next week about socially rich media. I’m focusing my presentation on former client BlogTalkRadio and my current Conversation Group client Utterz. I’m very excited about this since it was an encounter with a Xerox Alto at Stanford in 1979 that redirected my career from analog to digital communications. I plan to record the presentation and share it on BlogTalkRadio. I’ll even create a few multimedia blog posts with Utterz before, during and after the event. Here’s my abstract: 

2007 was a watershed year for media consumption in the United States. Americans spent as much time online as they did watching TV and the trendlines are clear. The Internet will displace TV as America’s favorite media pastime in 2008. The implications for this trend for media creators, advertisers, marketers, and consumers are profound.

The democratization of media access and content creation tools has been accompanied by the rise of the “new influencers.” These are not the well coiffed heads seen on TV. Rather, they are ordinary people that have discovered that the new tools engender dialog not monolog, narrowcast not broadcast, free not expensive. 

We’ll take a look at two platforms build on similar telephony/website technology stacks but with very different positions. BlogTalkRadio has chosen to appropriate an old media metaphor that everyone understands, i.e., talk radio. Utterz has similar technology roots but has embarked on inventing a new media format that enables mobile multimedia blog posts and multimedia threaded conversations. They are in the vanguard of accessible media creation tools that will change the shape of our media landscape.  







The new new year


The year is new of course, but the new, new thing for me is the next step in my career. I’ve joined The Conversation Group. It’s a new agency in San Francisco with the people, relationships and tools to make a difference for major brands as they try to engage people online.

The rise of the digital lifestyle has bubbled up a new crop of influencers who don’t watch tv, read newspapers, or listen to the radio. They hang out online. The Conversation Group helps brands understand, listen to and communicate with consumers in new media venues. I could not be more pleased to be working with such a smart group of folks.

I enjoy the earliest stages of new ventures. It’s a clean sheet of paper unhindered by legacy and powered by new ideas. The big idea here is that old media’s share of attention has been on the decline for years. Last year was the first time that Americans spent as much time online as they spent watching tv. You don’t need a math degree to extrapolate the trendlines between old media and new media. It’s one of those immutable trends.