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November 2010

Google Cuts Press Release Headlines Down to Size

Image representing Google News as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBase

A study from PR powerhouse Schwartz Communications shows that 82% of press release headlines submitted through Business Wire are too long for inclusion in Google News.  These conclusions are based on a review of 16,000 releases.  

The majority of press releases have under 150 characters with an average of 123 characters.

Google News requires that headlines have between 65 and 70 characters (about 7 - 9 words).

Inclusion in Google News is critical, as are all things Google to SEO ranking of the release and to the career health of the PR pro that placed it.

The full research study can be downloaded from the Schwartz PR website.


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Follow in Jeff Bezo's Footsteps

Image representing Jeff Bezos as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase

A friend (thank you Jennifer) introduced me to this great video on the three core philosophies that drive Jeff Bezos and his success at  Also thank you to Nick Brisbournes blog for calling this out.

For those with ADD, here are the three principles:

  1. Obsess over customers (see end of video for discussion on Zappos)
  2. Invent
  3. Think long term and tolerate being misunderstood along the way




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Advetising Execs Need to Grow a Pair

Hyper Island Recruitment TourImage by mptre via Flickr

If advertising is the career that pays your bills, you have to be worried. Older executives (defined as anyone over age 30) quickly become adrift as new digital marketing methods age resumes faster than a banana left to ripen.

In response, twenty creative directors got down on their hands and knees, but not for the purpose so classically showcased in the TV Show Mad Men, but more to pray that they would receive the digital wisdom needed to resuscitate their careers.

The executives gathered at Hyper Island, a Swedish based school  that is known, according to Fast Company and author Daniel Sacks magazine, as producing the "most coveted digital talent in the ad industry." Of course this makes everyone else the less coveted talent in the digital advertising industry, but I digress.

The Hyper Island outpost in Chinatown is set to brainwash the advertising industry that only they have the magic touch that will lead the New York advertising industry out of oblivion.  Like the Brits before them, that came to suck the intelligence out of our account executives only to transfer it to account planners, the Swedes are now ready to do the same for digital.

According to Sacks in an interview with Andy Nibley (former CEO digital at Reuters and Universal Music), "is there any industry I get involved in that doesn't get destroyed by digital technology?"

The article aptly points out that clients are confused (what else is new) and this confusion is creating chaos at the agencies (nothing new here either). Clients such as Pepsi Sobe only want to work with agencies that are born out of digital.  

Not only are the new digital titans attacking advertising agencies, but even agency executives are attacking agencies (again nothing new, just ask Don Draper). Just look at agencies such as Genius Rocket and Profero.

Maybe the 20 creative directors are right to pray.  Or maybe, they should grow a pair and get back to what agencies do well, develop narrative that matches brands to consumer behavior.  Then you can hire all the Hyper Islands grads you want to add value to these concepts. Not only that, you can pay them $1 an hour, since they can only execute code vs. the deliver brand strategy.  Better yet, why not outsource the work to Bulgaria.

There will always be new techniques, crowd sourcing concepts, new Facebooks, and social media opportunities to tweet about. Brands are a bit more ever lasting.  And for that, they need a team that understands the current consumer environment or context, and the messaging/conversations that are needed to enable audiences to see the brand as being the best fit for whatever issue they are trying to solve.

So dust yourself off, go tweet about a new Facebook page you wrote, a blog post you placed, check-in at Foursquare,  and show clients that you know how to lead them through the morass. 







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Is Obama a Clinton or a Dole?

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 03:  U.S. President Bara...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

One of the more interesting marketing questions is the riddle as to why President Obama is not connecting with more constituents.  Television pundits are quick to blame the economy, the constant attacks by Republicans and failures of the democratic party to effectively defend his positions, but it doesn't add up.  While all are probably contributing factors, the very fact that he is able to be so easily refuted indicates that there is something fundamentally wrong in the way his positions are communicated.

This problem reminds me of the Clinton vs. Dole election where Clinton continually talked about "bridges to the future" while Dole focused on policy issues.  While Clinton provided a vision for America to embrace, dole focused on specific issues that needed to be addressed.  Dole looked small, while Clinton rose as American's embraced his view of the future.

My advice to President Obama is to separate himself from the implementation of his policies and start to stand for the vision of his policies.  For example, he should return to the vision of "universal healthcare" and leave the details to be worked out by others in his party. By President Obama continually linking himself to implementation, detractors were able to brand the policy as a negative, or "Obamacare".  This had the effect of taking a grand vision, figuring out how to provide healthcare for all Americans (the true intent of President Obama's policies) and equivalizing the vision to the negative aspects of the policy.  I'd like to see any Republican go head to head with the President and argue that everyone shouldn't have health care. 

Other visions can include:

Education: All Americans should be able to reach their potential through education.

Immigration: We invite the best and brightest to once again come to our shores. Those that are already illegally here can compete with those that are not.

Energy: We will develop the technologies to become energy independent in 10 years

Jobs: Funding of venture funds that support business growth and formation in strategic industries

Space: We will once again explore the frontiers of space and the ocean

American's want their leaders to identify and articulate the core values of the country.

Jeff Immelt, GE CEO, in a speech to West Point cadets shows what true leadership sounds like:

"While some of America's competitors were throttling up on manufacturing and R&D, we de-emphasized technology. Our economy tilted instead toward the quicker profits of financial services.

Our country was built on great undertakings that brought out the best in government and business alike. But that kind of economic vision, that kind of focus on essential national goals, has been missing.

We need a new strategy for this economy. We should clear away any arrogance, false assumptions that things will be "OK" if we stick to the status quot. Rather, we should dedicate ourselves once again to be the most competitive country in the world."

President Obama has a choice. He can dust himself off from the election day drubbing and refocus the country on his vision of tomorrow, or he can join Bob Dole and get lost in the issues of today.

Mr Obama, it's time to be President.





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Why the Windows 7 Phone Can't Succeed

Windows 7 - Longhorn InspiredImage by xazac via Flickr

This year, Microsoft will once again attempt to rescue their flailing smartphone business with the launch of the Windows 7 Phone.

I know that Microsoft says it's their best OS ever.

I know that the reviews have been favorable.

And I also know, that no one wants a Windows 7 phone.


Windows = slow loading

Windows = constant updates

Windows = Windows Vista failures

Windows = behind the technology curve

Windows 7 Smart Phone - a slow loading, always updates, sometimes failing, yesterday's technology phone.  Not a good place to start when you are competing with Android and the iPhone.

I think it's time for a new brand.

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