Interviews

FIR Interviews

Thursday, May 29, 2014

FIR Interview: Betterific Co-Founder Micha Weinblatt

BetterificBetterific has been described by many as Reddit for customer feedback. On the social site, users complete the statement, “Wouldn’t it be better if…” Otis, the elevator company, might be intrigued by the suggestion, “Wouldn’t it be better if, when you select the wrong floor in the elevator, you could unselect the floor you clicked by mistake?”

Coca-Cola campaign on BetterificAs on Reddit, users can also comment on suggestions and vote them up or down. (The elevator idea had amassed eight upvotes, for example.) Companies can monitor references to their own products and services, but they can also mount campaigns. ConAgra Foods brand Redi-Wip, for example, asked for suggestions on how to improve both the product and marketing. A current campaign, from Coca-Cola, asks users to share ideas on what kind of promotional items the company should give at McDonald’s with the purchase of a Combo Meal.

In this FIR interview, co-host Shel Holtz chats with Micha Weinblatt, the co-founder of Betterific, about the company’s origins, its community, its relationship with brands, and the focused campaigns that have become a recurring feature of the site and how they can serve as a different and better approach to focus groups and customer insight panels.

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About our Conversation Partner

Micha WeinblattMicha Weinblatt is an entrepreneur from Washington DC.  He graduated Magana Cum Laude with a Government and Politics degree from the University of Maryland in 2005, where he launched his first enterprise, Crooked Monkey T-shirts.  The brand has since been carried by over 500 retailers including Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Pac Sun, has been worn by celebrities Ryan Seacrest and Miley Cyrus.

In 2011 he was recognized for his efforts by CNN Money, which named him one of the top 10 entrepreneurs to watch.  Along the way he was named one of the Washington Business Journal’s 40 under 40, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and was selected to be a member of the Sandbox Community.

After running Crooked Monkey for 7 years, in June of 2012, he co-founded Betterific, the digital suggestion box that crowdsources innovation, out of the DreamIt Ventures accelerator.  In January of 2013 TheNextWeb named Betterific one of the top 13 east coast startups to watch in 2013. Since launching, they have grown their user base significantly and have partnered with Coca-Cola, ConAgra, the Washington Wizards and others to help them connect with their customers over ideas and innovation.

Connect with Micha on Twitter at @CrookedMonkey

FIR Community on Google+Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future podcasts, in the online FIR Podcast Community on Google+.

You can also send us instant voicemail via SpeakPipe, right from the FIR website. Or, call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments. You can tweet us: @FIRpodcast. And you can email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you wish, you can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Check the FIR website for information about other FIR podcasts. To receive all podcasts in the FIR Podcast Network, subscribe to the "everything" RSS feed.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

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Posted by shel on 05/29 at 10:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FIR Interview: Scott Monty on Leaving Ford Motor Company

Scott Monty sent shockwaves through the social media marketing community when he announced on his blog that he had resigned as Ford Motor Company’s top corporate social media director. His gracious post credited others rather than focusing on his own accomplishments, but there is no doubt that Scott’s profile rose as he innovated attention-grabbing approaches to employing social media on behalf of one of the biggest and oldest big-iron companies in the world.

Scott Monty speaks at NMX13

The commentary that followed Scott’s announcement painted his decision as a kind of turning point, a symbol of a significant shift in marketing’s adoption of social media—and not necessarily a very positive one. Writing for Forbes, Shel Israel said Scott’s decision was a great loss for Ford, then added, “It also heightens my growing fears about how big brands will handle social media in the coming years.”

Others speculating on the deeper meaning of Scott’s decision included Social Media Today founder Robin Fray Carey, former Dell social media director Richard Binhammer, Coca-Cola social media marketing chief Ashley Brown, and Citibank social media director Frank Eliason. Among publications reporting the move were AdAge, Adweek, and PRWeek.

In this FIR interview, co-hosts Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson talk with Scott about his reaction to the conversation about his resignation (hint: He doesn’t think it’s all that big a deal), his accomplishments at Ford, the future of social media, and his own imminent plans (but without a revelation about his next career move).

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Scott MontyAbout our Conversation Partner

Scott Monty is a communications and marketing executive who focuses on the nexus of creative and strategy within the digital industry. Scott speaks and writes about business, technology, communications, marketing and the vast changes in the industry that impact leadership and can be found at scottmonty.com.

Connect with Scott on Twitter: @ScottMonty.



FIR Community on Google+Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future podcasts, in the online FIR Podcast Community on Google+.

You can also send us instant voicemail via SpeakPipe, right from the FIR website. Or, call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments. You can tweet us: @FIRpodcast. And you can email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you wish, you can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Check the FIR website for information about other FIR podcasts. To receive all podcasts in the FIR Podcast Network, subscribe to the "everything" RSS feed.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

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Posted by shel on 05/27 at 11:22 AM
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Friday, May 02, 2014

FIR Interview: Howard Greenstein and David Mitnick of domainSkate

FIR InterviewsHundreds of new top-level domains are being released by ICANN, the international organization that oversees Internet names and numbers. New domains like .guru, .london, .photography and .sexy are now available. And while companies aren’t exactly falling over themselves to pay the fee to register their trademarks and brands, other entities are reserving and registering domains—and they could be registering trademarked names.

According to a February Adweek story:

According to data from the Trademark Clearinghouse released Friday, unknown entities have prereserved their interest in registering domain names for every one of the nation’s 50 most valuable brands, as compiled by brand consultancy Interbrand. Research found that brands in the food and beverage space have left themselves most vulnerable with domains like pepsi.us, kfc.in, and kelloggs.net in the control of entities not affiliated with the brands.

domainSkateHoward Greenstein—one of the co-founders of The Social Media Club—and attorney David Mitnick have just launched domainSkate, certified by the Trademark Clearninghouse to helpcompanies protect their brands and trademarks in the world of New global Top Level Domains (New gTLDs).

In this FIR interview, co-hosts Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson talk with David (the CEO) and Howard (the COO) about the need for reputation protection (including some cases of infringement that have already occurred), how domainSkate works, and how the launch of the business is going.

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About our Conversation Partners

David MitnickDavid K. Mitnick is the Founder and President of DomainSkate, LLC, an Internet company that focuses on online brand protection. Mitnick created DomainSkate when he saw the potential in the expansion of the global Top Level Domain space. He also shares his expertise in the area of Internet Domain Law, having written for, or been quoted in, CircleID, Mashable, VentureBeat, Inc. and Digiday.

Prior to starting DomainSkate, David spent ten (10) years as an intellectual property lawyer with Amster Rothstein & Ebenstein LLP in New York, working in all phases of intellectual property law including trademark licensing and prosecution, patent and copyright litigation and Internet law. Previously, David worked as a Finance Associate at the Sanwa Bank in the International and Project Finance Groups. He serves as the Advisory Board Chairman of the Brooklyn Law School Trade Secrets Institute.

An avid hockey fan and player, David is a volunteer coach for Ice Hockey in Harlem in the wintertime. Mitnick earned his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

Connect with David on Twitter at @domainSkate

Howard GreensteinHoward Greenstein has a deep understanding of both the technology and marketing worlds, and sits at their intersection. He has worked with clients from small businesses to the Fortune 500, Cable Networks, and Wall Street, as well as major non-profits and advocacy groups, helping them create their online presences. Greenstein also teaches social media in the Masters Program at the Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at NYU SCPS. He is currently contributing editor for Inc. Magazine, writing the weekly Startup Toolkit. He has been on the board of directors of Social Media Club and is currently president of the NYC Chapter. Howard earned a B.S. from Cornell University, and a MPS from NYU’s world-renowned Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).

Connect with Howard on Twitter at @HowardGr

FIR Community on Google+Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future podcasts, in the online FIR Podcast Community on Google+.

You can also send us instant voicemail via SpeakPipe, right from the FIR website. Or, call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments. You can tweet us: @FIRpodcast. And you can email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you wish, you can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Check the FIR website for information about other FIR podcasts. To receive all podcasts in the FIR Podcast Network, subscribe to the "everything" RSS feed.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Podsafe music - On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

Posted by shel on 05/02 at 12:10 PM
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Saturday, April 26, 2014

FIR Interview: Jill Rowley Social Seller

Jill Rowley Social Seller
In this FIR interview our correspondent Michael J Procopio interviews Jill Rowley a long time social seller who has just started her own business.

Jill explains what senior executives should learn from her being let go from Oracle, how social selling work and the power of a sales persons network. Jill describes the problem with cold calling and the solution social media in general and LinkedIn in particular bring to the toolkit of a salesperson.

Jill has consistently been a top performer in her 52 quarters in sales – closing over $30 million in revenue across more than 400 companies, including Salesforce.com, Square, Concur, Covidien, McAfee, VMware, Wells Fargo, Avid, Trend Micro, JDSU, SuccessFactors, Sybase, Ariba, Riverbed, DocuSign, ArcSight, Informatica, Synopsys and Seagate. Jill is an evangelist for Social Selling – she’s spoken at numerous events, done dozens of interviews and webinars, is on Social Selling University’s Top 15 Professionals that Utilize Social Selling list, and was featured in the October 2012 issue of SUCCESS Magazine as a Top Sales Star. She also won the 2011 Eloqua Employee of Year Award. Jill believes in the ABCs of Selling – Always Be Connecting – because the Connections lead to the Close.

You can connect with Michael at MProcopio.com, on Twitter:@MichaelProcopio; or LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/in/MichaelProcopio.

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FIR Community on Google+Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future podcasts, in the online FIR Podcast Community on Google+.

You can also send us instant voicemail via SpeakPipe, right from the FIR website. Or, call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments. You can tweet us: @FIRpodcast. And you can email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you wish, you can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

To receive all podcasts in the FIR Podcast Network, subscribe to the “everything” RSS feed. To stay informed about occasional FIR events (eg, FIR Live), sign up for FIR Update email news.

FIR presents Thought Leadership with Mitchell and Michael is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Posted by Michael Procopio on 04/26 at 08:47 PM
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FIR Interview: JerryGarcia.com developers Mark Silverman and Amy Haiar from Critical Mass

JerryGarcia.com

The websites of most musicians adhere a highly predictable template. There’s a bio, a page hosting some music, another with photos and video, a tour schedule, and a merchandise store. In developing the recently launched Jerry Garcia website, the team at global digital agency Critical Mass were anxious not only to explode the traditional artist’s site, but to take the website experience to a whole new level.

The site is a wonderland of content for fans of the iconic Grateful Dead front man, as well as a place to share their own experiences and content, and connect with friends…all within the site without reliance on third-party social networks. The concept is transferable to any brand that has a history, a lot of fans and a lot of content.

The site has earned high praise. When the site launched early this year (without the Parking Lot, where fans can share their own content), Rolling Stone‘s Mike Ayers wrote that the site features…

a massive set of archival material for fans to explore, including 15,000 hours of recorded music and 3,450 shows, as well as timelines and information about 26 of Jerry’s bands and 77 of his musical collaborators. Fans will also be able to “follow” 10 different tours undertaken by Garcia’s bands. ...Garcia’s family provided the site with a wealth of unseen photos, concert material, ticket stubs and even Garcia’s own artwork to augment the experience. Currently, there are no plans to charge fans for access to the site’s material and the experience has been optimized for mobile devices as well.

From MusicTimes:

The sheer amount of recordings available isn’t even the best part of the deal. Fans will be able to trace ten of the tours Garcia embarked on with various bands throughout his career. For example, you could follow the entirety of the ‘77 Grateful Dead tour, listening to every concert set included. Nine of the included tours are from the Dead, but the ‘93 Jerry Garcia Band tour is included as well.

In this FIR interview, co-host Shel Holtz speaks with Mark Silverman and Amy Haiar, who headed up the Critical Mass team that developed the site after Silverman’s outreach upon discovering the sorry state of the domain. (A big shoutout to original Inside PR co-host David Jones for letting us know about the work Critical Mass was doing on the site.)

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About our Conversation Partners

Mark Silverman, Planning Director, Critical MassMark Silverman, Planning Director—A culture-loving, creative problem solver, Mark is a user experience strategist focused on delivering extraordinary, results-driven, digital experiences for some of the worlds biggest brands. With a background in science and technology, sociology, social psychology, and cultural studies, Mark joined the Critical Mass team in 2008. He is inspired by the ever-changing digital landscape and all things geeky. Mark has covered various roles during his tenure at Critical Mass, including UX strategy, brand planning, analytics, content analysis, and account management.

Connect with Mark on Twitter at Mark_Silverman

Amy Haiar, Creative Director, Critical MassAmy Haiar, Creative Director—With over 15 years of interactive experience, Amy has delivered thought leadership and award-winning experiences for brands like Harley-Davidson, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Vail Resorts, USAA, and United Airlines. She also led the creative effort for the first ever fully responsive, fully accessible heath care website for Humana. With an eye for innovation and pixel perfection, Amy believes craftsmanship is critical to the art of web design, and lives by the overarching philosophy: make beautifully simple work.

Connect with Amy on Twitter at Amy_Haiar

FIR Community on Google+Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future podcasts, in the online FIR Podcast Community on Google+.

You can also send us instant voicemail via SpeakPipe, right from the FIR website. Or, call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments. You can tweet us: @FIRpodcast. And you can email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you wish, you can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Check the FIR website for information about other FIR podcasts. To receive all podcasts in the FIR Podcast Network, subscribe to the "everything" RSS feed.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

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Posted by shel on 04/15 at 12:29 PM
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Friday, April 04, 2014

FIR Interview: Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, co-authors, The Power of Visual Storytelling

The Power of Visual StorytellingFIR co-host Shel Holtz talks with Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gilglio, who are out with a brand new book from McGraw Hill, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand. The publisher’s description of the book notes:

  • Human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
  • Web posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without.
  • Viewers spend 100% more time on web pages with videos.

Filled with full-color images and thought-provoking examples from leading companies, The Power of Visual Storytelling explains how to grow your business and strengthen your brand by leveraging photos, videos, infographics, presentations, and other rich media. The book delivers a powerful road map for getting started, while inspiring new levels of creativity within organizations of all types and sizes.

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About our Conversation Partners

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio

Ekaterina Walter (left in photo above) led strategic and marketing innovation for brands such as Intel and Accenture, and is currently a CMO of Branderati. She is an international speaker and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg” and co-author of “The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand.” Ekaterina sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). Her thought leadership was featured on CNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, Forbes, TechCrunch, CNN, WSJ, Inc., Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, and more. You can find her on Twitter: @Ekaterina. Her blog is at ekaterinawalter.com.

Jessica Gioglio (right in photo above) is the social media manager for Dunkin’ Donuts and the co-author of, “The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand.” Prior to joining Dunkin’ Donuts, Jessica held roles at TripAdvisor, State Street and Comcast. Reach Jessica on Twitter at @savvybostonian.

FIR Community on Google+Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future podcasts, in the online FIR Podcast Community on Google+.

You can also send us instant voicemail via SpeakPipe, right from the FIR website. Or, call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments. You can tweet us: @FIRpodcast. And you can email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you wish, you can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Check the FIR website for information about other FIR podcasts. To receive all podcasts in the FIR Podcast Network, subscribe to the "everything" RSS feed.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Podsafe music - On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

Posted by shel on 04/04 at 04:45 AM
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FIR Interview: Therese Manus and Stine Jarmund, Norwegian Communication Association

#komdagen selfieAttracting record attendance to an annual conference is no small feat, but is one achieved by The Norwegian Communication Association (NCA) which saw the highest number of its members take part in Communications Day, its annual conference in Oslo at the end of March.

What attracted 600 NCA members to take part in Communications Day 2014 is one of the topics discussed when FIR co-host Neville Hobson - who was an invited keynote speaker at the event - sat down with Therese Manus, managing director, and Stine Jarmund, training and events adviser, of the NCA to talk about the communication landscape in Norway.

The conversation addressed hot topics that concern communicators and professional associations everywhere - professionalism, for example, ongoing education and training, transparency and trust - that are issues that the NCA is also debating and discussing with its stakeholders in Norway, and on the broader international stage via its affiliation with the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management.

The final part of the discussion looked to the future of communication - the theme of this year’s Communication Day conference - and the profession, and what that might look like in Norway during the next five years.

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About our Conversation Partners

Therese ManusTherese Manus is the Managing Director of The Norwegian Communication Association. She has previously worked as Head of Section at the National Library of Norway, Communications Advisor at Energy Norway and Journalist and Editor at Budstikka Media.

Therese has a Master of Management module in PR Management and Strategic Communication from BI Norwegian Business School, a Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from the University of Westminster, and has several subjects from the University of Oslo.

Stine JarmundStine Jarmund is an Advisor for training programs and conferences at The Norwegian Communication Association. Stine has previously worked as a Consultant for SHL Norway and as an Advisor for JCK Communication.

Stine has a Master’s degree in Social Sciences with a specialization in psychology from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and a Master of Management module in PR Management and Strategic Communication from BI Norwegian Business School.

FIR Community on Google+Share your comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future podcasts, in the online FIR Podcast Community on Google+.

You can also send us instant voicemail via SpeakPipe, right from the FIR website. Or, call the Comment Line at +1 415 895 2971 (North America), +44 20 3239 9082 (Europe), or Skype: fircomments. You can tweet us: @FIRpodcast. And you can email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). If you wish, you can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

Check the FIR website for information about other FIR podcasts. To receive all podcasts in the FIR Podcast Network, subscribe to the "everything" RSS feed.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

Podsafe music - On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

Posted by neville on 04/04 at 01:01 AM
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