Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

As the holiday season nears its end and we gear up for a brand new year, the PR/PR family wants to extend our wishes for health, happiness and success to you and your families.  Every turn of the calendar is brimming with possibilities; be it personally or professionally.  May you ring in the New Year surrounded by those you love and cherish, celebrating the conclusion of 2011 and anticipating the wealth of opportunity that awaits in 2012. 

Happy New Year from Russell, Amanda, Lindsay, and Carter.

Monday, December 19, 2011

VisualCV Couldn't Make the Connection

The transition of the corporate realm from physical to online has been anything but business as usual.  Companies have scrambled to harmonize with an unfamiliar world that has, by all accounts, become the most important platform to recruit customers and clients, as well as employees.  The progression of the Online-Era saw the inception of scores of corporate-oriented social media websites, but two quickly established themselves as top-dogs: LinkedIn and VisualCV.  One continues to flourish and expand, and the other is quickly becoming an afterthought.

LinkedIn is trending upward in the corporate arena, with new users signing up in droves daily.  The prevailing reason for the site’s alpha-dominance boils down to involvement; along with crafting a qualifications-based profile, users have the ability to connect with others in their field; including prospective clients.  VisualCV is essentially a static online résumé which does not offer the interaction available with its strongest competitor. 

In many circles, shaking hands with the right people and corporate networking is as (or even more) important as your accomplishments and credentials.  LinkedIn is serving as an online 18th hole; where connections are made and deals potentially consummated.  VisualCV allows you to merely project your career-qualifications; LinkedIn provides the capability to discuss them with decision makers.

A tip of the cap to Visual CV, however; they trumped LinkedIn in the multimedia game, as they allowed the hosting of YouTube and Vimeo videos: a functionality LinkedIn does not support.  For those looking for self-promotion, especially for speaking engagements, there is no better evidence of your aptitudes than a video confirmation.  Unfortunately, their visual capabilities did not translate into success.

The world of social media oft acts as a world of social Darwinism, and LinkedIn’s massive popularity and effectiveness is spelling the extinction of VisualCV.  It goes to show that online success begins and ends at the ability to interact, and while LinkedIn has established itself as the destination for the corporate world, VisualCV is looking more like Social Media Siberia.

-Carter Breazeale

PR/PR Public Relations

Friday, December 9, 2011

Preparedness is Next to Godliness

A colossal determinant in prolonged success is the ability to stay out of your own way.  As far as shooting yourself in the foot is concerned, Herman Cain may as well have been at the controls of a computer-guided missile zeroed in on his own wingtips.  After dodging numerous tripwires in the form of sexual harassment accusations, his presidential campaign was driven into the proverbial ditch amidst extra-marital affair allegations.  With enough loose ends to construct a ropes course, Cain was ill-prepared for such a lofty venture as running for the highest office in the United States.  As far as PR is concerned: bookmark Herman Cain’s campaign as a prime example of what NOT to do.

In the Bible of public relations, preparedness is next to Godliness.  There is no use investing your time, money, sweat, and tears into an undertaking to be the arbiter of your own unraveling.  Fools rush in might be the appropriate adage.  Cain’s misstep was not properly evaluating every aspect of his own life (including what appears to be a Himalayan-sized hamper of dirty laundry) before throwing his hat into the ring, the outcome of which has resulted in his public political undoing.

Prior to embarking on any endeavor, brace yourself for the possibility that it skyrockets.  Sudden, overwhelming success can make unintentional martyrs of the unprepared.  When your name or business gains household notoriety, so do the crumbs and scraps you’d rather leave under the rug.  Keep your damage-control PR at an absolute minimum so you can focus on newfound success and longevity.

The bell has tolled on Herman Cain’s presidential aspirations, but by vetting yourself and your constituents you can avoid paralleling this slow and embarrassing descent.  With a concise level of preparation there should be no surprises or curveballs to impede your pathway toward success.  Do not become the pilot of your own corporate kamikaze; preparedness can keep you flying high.

-Carter Breazeale

PR/PR Public Relations

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cyber Monday's Meteoric Ascent

I’ve never been Black Friday shopping, but I like to imagine it’s something like a swarm of pre-teen girls hopped up on Redbull trying to be the first in line to purchase Justin Bieber tickets.  A swirling mass of bleary-eyed shoppers working off their tryptophan hangovers at 2 a.m. with the promise of discount televisions and ten-dollar seasons of Breaking Bad, ready to annihilate anyone who stands in their way.  Cyber Monday renders all of this rigmarole and physical danger obsolete, and in 2011 it eclipsed the profits turned in on Black Friday, hopefully spelling the extinction to the mob mentality that often accompanies this mainstay of cutthroat consumerism.

Sales turned in on Monday, November 28th were 17% higher than on Friday, November 25th, to the tune of $1.25 billion in total.  This massive number conveys the upward trend of consumers foregoing the deal-possessed hordes on Black Friday and instead conducting their shopping online, from the comfort (and safety) of their own homes.  Social media was an important player in this year’s Cyber Monday, with companies taking to their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds with discount proclamations as opposed to commercials and customary ads. 

Recent studies have indicated that social media marketing has surpassed traditional advertising; to the point that Cyber Monday’s growth actually mirrors Facebook’s growth.  This is no shock at all, as more and more corporations are abandoning the deserted marketing paths of old and adapting to more visible and cost-effective methods utilizing social media.  Allowing for customer interaction and a more personal experience, social media has proven a potent sales tool. 

Twitter trends and shares on Facebook allow for your product to essentially go viral; whether it’s a dirt-cheap toaster oven or your new book release.  Businesses’ spend an exorbitant amount on marketing themselves, and in years past most of this budget was allotted towards now near-obsolete means: billboards, radio and television commercials.  With the point and click convenience of broadcasting your product or brand via social media, you reach the customer quicker, more efficiently, and cheaper.

The success of this year’s Cyber Monday is a testament towards how the Social Networking Age has rewritten the business arena’s playbook.  Your holiday shopping can now be completed while browsing Facebook as opposed to in lawless shopping malls under the threat of a stampede.  With millions logging on and over a billion in sales on Monday, it shouldn’t be too much longer until Black Friday is finally waving the white flag. 

-Carter Breazeale

PR/PR Public Relations