Interviews

FIR Interviews

Sunday, November 16, 2014

FIR Interview: Philip Young, Project NEMO, on Digital Naturals

Tablet at work

With every passing day, the distinction between online and offline becomes more obscure, says Philip Young as he explains his thinking behind ‘Digital Naturals,’ the topic of conversation with FIR co-host Neville Hobson in this FIR Interview, recorded in November 2014.

Today, Young says, nearly all of us have some digital competence. “We are becoming Digital Naturals, routinely using an array of online tools in our daily lives, even if few of us are completely comfortable in this new environment.”

Young believes the phrase ‘digital natural’ is a far more relevant and accurate way of describing people’s behaviours that transcend the rigidity and barriers of two behavioural phrases in current common use and that isn’t defined by generation, sex or age:

Digital Naturals helps both academics and practitioners understand today’s world. It is a helpful and necessary step forward from the outdated and divisive labeling of Digital Natives  and Digital Immigrants.

He explains how Digital Naturals help public relations practitioners, a topic that he references in this FIR Interview, expanding further on the ideas ands concepts presented during the third NEMO conference in Helsingborg in October.

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About our Conversation Partner

Philip YoungPhilip Young is project leader for NEMO: New Media, Modern Democracy, based at Lund University Campus Helsingborg, Sweden.

He has been researching the impact of social media on PR practice for ten years, presenting findings at conferences across Europe. He is co-editor with Jesper Falkheimer, Mats Heide and Timothy Coombs of Strategic Communication, Social Media and Democracy: The Challenge of the Digital Naturals, which will be published next year in the prestigious Routledge New Directions in Public Relations and Communication Research series.

Philip also co-wrote Online Public Relations, second edition, with David Phillips.

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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(Photo via Unify on Forbes.)

Posted by neville on 11/16 at 01:32 AM
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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

FIR Interview: Roger Bolton and Matt Gonring on Authentic Advocacy

Authentic Advocacy

Gauging the latest developments in stakeholder engagement theory and practice - and understanding their implications for those leading, managing and advising the communications function - is a primary goal of Authentic Advocacy, the latest research report from the Arthur W. Page Society.

Authentic Advocacy offers an in-depth look at how stakeholder engagement strategies are evolving and how Chief Communication Officers can best undertake them within their enterprise. It includes compelling findings about the nature of stakeholder engagement in today’s environment, learned through interviews conducted with CCOs at five leading companies - Cargill, Chevron, Lundbeck, Southwest Airlines and USAA. The report offers seven action steps for CCOs to consider when devising their approach to building and maintaining these critical stakeholder relationships.

In this FIR interview, co-hosts Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz discuss the Authentic Advocacy report with Arthur W. Page Society president, Roger Bolton, and Matt Gonring, co-chair of Page’s Stakeholder Engagement Workstream, and consider some of the challenges and opportunities the report highlights for CCOs, and the transformation required in the way companies operate and engage with their stakeholders.

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About our Conversation Partners

Roger BoltonRoger Bolton is the president of the Arthur W. Page Society, the premier professional association for senior corporate communications executives. Members include the chief communications officers of the world’s major corporations, the CEOs of the most influential public relations agencies and leading academics from select business and communications schools.

Previously, he served as senior vice president of communications at Aetna, a $35 billion provider of health care benefits, with responsibility for all internal and external communications, advertising, brand management and corporate public involvement. Before Aetna, Bolton was IBM’s director of corporate media relations and director of communications for the IBM server and software groups.
 
Prior to his business career, Bolton served as assistant secretary of the Treasury for public affairs under President George H.W. Bush, assistant US trade representative for public affairs in the Executive Office of the President under President Reagan, and special assistant to President Reagan in the White House, with responsibility for the president’s relations with business and labor. He is a recipient of the US Treasury Distinguished Service Award.

Matt GonringAs a seasoned corporate executive, Matthew Gonring has a proven record of accomplishments derived from more than 35 years of experience building and leading marketing and corporate communications teams in manufacturing, consumer goods, professional/financial services, healthcare and airlines.

Matt most recently served as VP Corporate Communications with Jackson National Life, a $25 billion leader in financial services and the largest underwriter of variable annuities in the US. Prior to that he served as Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Pactiv Corporation, a $3.4 billion leader in the consumer and foodservice packaging markets. Late in 2010, the company was acquired by Reynolds Group Holdings Limited, and Matt joined Jackson.

Matt holds a Masters degree in Public Relations from the School of Business, American University in Washington, DC, and Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point. He is a member of the Graduate Faculty, Integrated Marketing Communications Program, at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and currently serves on the graduate faculty at George Washington University. He currently is on the Board of Directors of the Arthur W. Page Society, and Chairman Emeritus of the Institute for Public Relations.

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 neville on 10/07 at 05:31 AM
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Friday, October 03, 2014

FIR Interview: Chris Christensen and Rick Calvert of BloggerBridge

FIR InterviewsChris Christensen was running into an experience many of us have faced. After he had left a town he was visiting, someone would email and say, “Oh, you were here? I would have loved to meet with you. Let me know when you’re back again.” Seeking a way to let interested people know in advance he was coming, his thinking evolved to include the ability to connect content producers with companies who want to tap into both their creativity and their expertise. New Media Expo CEO Rick Calvert had the same interest from the other side of the equation: wanting to be able to connect with people who were coming to town. The pair—already well acquainted through New Media Expo and the Travel Blog Exchange—joined forces to create a service that fulfills those needs.

BloggerBridgeBloggerBridge is a service that connects companies with “relevant bloggers, writers, podcasters, videographers, and other content creators,” according to the website, which goes on to suggest that “some people should not work together. Find the right match of skills, approach, content, and style for your brand.”

In this FIR interview, Shel Holtz talks with Christensen and Calvert about their vision for BloggerBridge, their experience building it, and their plans for the future.

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About our Conversation Partners

Rick CalvertRick Calvert is CEO and Co-Founder of New Media Expo, the world’s largest social media event. he has been active in the trade show industry since 1997, serving as Director of Sales for Tradeshow Week events, including the SEMA Show, AWFS Vegas, and the DEMA Show, as well as one of the nation’s largest consumer shows, Comicon. He is also the CEO of the TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conference series. he lives in San Diego, California, with his wife and daughter.

Follow Rick on Twitter at @BlogWorld.

Chris ChristensenChris Christensen is the owner of BloggerBridge.com which is a new startup connecting bloggers and industry contacts.

He is the host of the Amateur Traveler which is a popular online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations. It includes a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog. Amateur Traveler was won both a SMITTY award from Travel+Leisure as the “best independent travel journalist” and a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award. Chris is also a co-host for This Week in Travel which has won 3 North American Travel Journalist Association awards.

He has worked for years in technology startups in Silicon Valley. He was formerly the Director of Engineering for TripAdvisor’s New Initiatives group and was the EVP Engineering at LiveWorld where his team built and ran online communities and events for companies including eBay, HBO, TV Guide, Expedia, Marriott, A&E, History Channel, the NBA, NBC, ABC, Disney, Microsoft, WebTV and American Express.

Reach Chris on Twitter at @Chris2x.

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 10/03 at 11:19 AM
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

FIR Interview: Melissa Agnes and Gerard Braud debate “going dark” with social media in a crisis

 

Dueling headlines

Social media has become a standard component of crisis communication efforts. In an August 6 blog post, crisis communications and media training consultant Gerard Braud of Braud Communications argued that there could be crisis situations in which institutions would be best served by taking down their Facebook page or other social media outposts. Looking at the flood of negative, critical, and even outrageous comments left to Emory Healthcare’s Facebook page after the hospital began treating an Ebola victim, Braud concluded, “Sometimes in a crisis, you may find that it is in your best interest to rely on conventional crisis communications tools. It may be better to take your social media sites down completely until the crisis is over. If people need information, they are smart enough to find it on your primary website.”

Melissa Agnes, president and co-founder of Anges+ Day, a crisis intelligence consultancy, took exception in a response on her own blog. “Social media presents so many powerful opportunities to communicate and build trusting relationships with your audiences,” Agnes wrote. “Just because people may vent and lash out against your organization is not a reason to hide and refuse to communicate on the channels that demand communication these days. Doing so will only hurt your organization’s reputation.”

Braud and Agnes engaged in a very professional conversation in the comments sections of their posts. In this interview, FIR co-host Shel Holtz talks with both crisis experts about their points of view, where they agree and where they differ, the role of social media generally in a crisis, and how that role could vary depending on the nature of the organization and its social media presence.

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About our Conversation Partners

Melissa AgnesMelissa Agnes, President and co-founder of Agnes + Day Inc., has developed an international reputation for crisis management, planning and training. Her client list includes government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, the healthcare industry, the oil and gas industry and a wide range of public, private and not-for-profit organizations. A sought-after speaker on the topics of crisis and issues management in this digital age, Melissa travels the world speaking to audiences including NATO, GCC, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Ministries of Defence, Oil and Gas Associations and more.

Melissa is the editor of the highly acclaimed Crisis Intelligence Blog, and the host of the globally recognized Crisis Intelligence Podcast.

Read Melissa on Twitter at @melissa_agnes.

Gerard BraudGerard Braud is a 20-year veteran in the field of crisis communications. Prior to that, he spent 15 years as a journalist. He prides himself not on the crises he’s managed after they went public, but through the vast number of events that never reached the crisis level. his strategy is to help organizations write an effective crisis communications plan on a clear sunny day so they can communicate at their best on their darkest day.

Gerard is author of a crisis communications blog.

Reach Gerard on Twitter at @gbraud.

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 08/20 at 11:05 AM
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

FIR Interview: Outbrain’s Jeff Pyatt on Outbrain, Content Marketing, and Native Advertising

OutbrainAmong the various classes of native advertising as defined by Edelman’s Steve Rubel, you’ll find “paid syndication,” in which “sponsored posts, articles, videos, slideshows and information graphics from corporations appear within the news section.” Rubel includes Outbrain among the examples of companies that “sprinkle sponsored links into a company’s earned or owned media in the footer of related news articles.”

Indeed, that’s precisely Outbrain’s approach. With dozens of algorithms that analyze user habits, Outbrain delivers a list of recommended links at the end of stories appearing on sites like CNN, Mashable, and Slate. Outbrain claims its links appear on 100,000 websites. The company serves over 150 billion recommendations and 15 billion page views per month, with a reach that extends to over 87% of the U.S. online population, not to mention international readers.

In this FIR interview, co-host Shel Holtz spends half an hour with Jeff Pyatt, head of Outbrain’s PR initiatives; he also addresses direct response clients. In this wide-ranging talk, Pyatt explains Outbrain’s value to PR practitioners and the kinds of content PR agencies generally pay to promote. The conversation also covers the ethics of native advertising, among other topics.

 

An example of Outbrain's recommendations

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About our Conversation Partner

Jeff PyattJeff Pyatt is the Head of Global PR Initiatives at Outbrain. In this role, he leads Outbrain’s content discovery business across all industries with a special focus on public relations. As such, Jeff has become an advocate for the PR industry within the company. He is passionate about the power of good storytelling and content-based journalism to develop brand loyalty. Prior to joining Outbrain, he worked in publishing and politics, including editorial and business development roles at RealClearPolitics, Yahoo! News and Health Central, and communications roles in the office of Sen Harry Reid and Sen. Jim Webb’s winning 2006 campaign.

Jeff’s a vocal advocate for expanding the role of the PR in brand journalism and believes they will win at content by leveraging their best asset: journalists and great communicators.

Connect with Jeff at @jeffpyatt.

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 08/13 at 01:49 PM
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FIR Interview: Photographer/Social Activist Angus Malcolm on Online Communication and Fundraising

Warwick Rowers 2012 calendarAngus Malcolm has been behind the creative force behind the Warwick Rowers naked calendar, Warwick Rowers describes itself as a large and highly active sports club with substantial ambitions. This year the club is attending over 20 competitions across the length and breadth of the country during a 40-week racing season. Whether novice or experienced, male or female, as a member of Warwick Rowing, athletes can expect to participate in a determined and enthusiastic rowing programme.” The Naked Calendar is a fundraiser, with calendars featuring nude pictures of rowers that have been a viral success.

In this interview, FIR contributor Harry Hawk interview Malcolm about the role social media played in the calendar’s success among other topics, including fundraising, online communications, and helping to fight homophobia.

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About our Conversation Partner

Angus MalcolmWith a background in social activism, healthcare and media production, Angus Malcolm now specializes in promoting personal empowerment and social change through innovative approaches to communications. In particular, he focuses on how we can use viral media as both consciousness-raising and fund-raising tools.

His best known project at the moment is the Warwick Rowers range of calendars and films, which he produces.  These feature a group of predominantly heterosexual male college athletes in the UK’s equivalent of the Ivy League. For six years, rowers at Warwick University have been stripping naked for calendars and films that are popular with gay men as well as women.  The athletes undress to prove the point that we can all be comfortable with a diverse sexual culture that embraces all sexualities.  Alongside production of the Warwick Rowers products, he is currently focusing on establishing Sport Allies, a charity to challenge homophobia that is being funded from the sales of Warwick Rowers products.

Malcolm divides his time between homes in London and Southern Spain, and also travel regularly for his work.  Recent projects have taken him to South Africa, California and Australia, where a Sydney gallery hosted an exhibition of his photography.

Connect with Malcolm on Twitter at @Angus_Malcolm
Connect with Harry Hawk on Twitter at @hhawk

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 07/29 at 04:28 PM
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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.

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

Posted by shel on 05/29 at 09:00 AM
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