104 West Partners has opened a Media Relations Bureau in San Francisco to offer increased contact for its national clients with the major tech press corps based in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Alissa Bushnell, a 20-year tech PR veteran, has joined 104 West and will lead the firm’s presence in San Francisco.
104 West Partners announced that is has added Mocapay and Intermap’s AccuTerra to its client roster. Boulder-based Mocapay offers a mobile wallet service that lets customers make payments with their gift and loyalty cards using their cell phone, and Englewood-based AccuTerra offers iPhone-based information ranging from mapping content to videos, educational content to 3D views of outdoor off-road recreation areas.
AOL’s MapQuest has selected 104 West Partners as its agency of record.
By Elaine Schoch
Director of Emerging Media
104 West Partners
What typically is a slow time of year, the fourth quarter of 2009 was an absolute whirlwind. New business pitch after new business pitch to bringing on and kicking off new clients. When I looked up and it was Christmas… That leads me to my one and only true PR prediction for 2010…
My One True PR Prediction
Budgets will return. Spending will increase and there will be more jobs in PR.
I do, however, have a few other predictions on how our industry will change in the coming year:
Social Media will not be a Separate Discipline Anymore
Social media will become an integral part of the overall marketing and communications strategy and not an effort unto itself. Frankly, social media should NEVER have been a separate discipline. Social media presents several advantages to reach and engage with a target audience over traditional media but it’s simply another channel to leverage to meet a businesses goals and objectives.
A Social Shakeout
While we’ve seen a number of businesses (and agencies) leave social media to the younger generation (i.e. interns and recent college grads) who “know social media”, this will and must change. No offense to these guys and gals, but they don’t have the deeper, strategic understanding (yet) on how to reach and engage people to truly change behavior. Additionally, there are a number of issues that arise in PR that only those with years of experience know how to handle. It comes back to understanding how to look at the big, long-term picture verses the short-term.
Newspapers Won’t Die
We all know newspapers are in a state of transition or rather a ‘state of figure it out or go away’. In 2009 we saw a number of outlets close altogether but there were also a handful that went to online versions only. This will become more of a trend in 2010. More newspapers will also begin to charge fees for their online content. While I’m not too keen on paying for the content myself, I do understand why they need to charge for it. I’m hopeful the industry figures out how to create a model that actually works and will be adopted but I think there will be a lot of trial and error until they get it right…
Privacy More of an Issue
Privacy has and will remain an issue in 2010. People will be most sensitive to data gathered on social network sites since this information is extremely personal. We witnessed this last month when Facebook changed its privacy settings. We all freaked out since more of our personal information was now open for anyone and everyone to see – especially advertisers and marketers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the government put some kind of federal legislation in place this year that limits website tracking.
People will figure out how to use Google Wave effectively for real-time collaboration. I’m pretty excited about this one…
If you are devotee of social media and its implications for public relations, check out a new social-media specific blog that features posts by 104 West’s Elaine Schoch, Metzger’s Elaine Ellis, Digital Idea Media’s (and MediaOnTwitter’s) Melissa Hourigan, Turner PR’s Ef Rodriguez and me. The blog is called Social Byte – http://socialbyte.net.
Congratulations to 104 West’s Kathryn Marshall, who has been named to the advisory board of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The Board is an all-volunteer group dedicated to helping the school in its commitment to providing a quality education, creating and disseminating knowledge and supporting the economic drivers of the region, state and nation.
104 West client MX Logic has agreed to be acquired by McAfee for $140 million.
104 West Partners won two Platinum and one Gold Hermes Creative Awards for its work on behalf of BitGravity, The March of Dimes Colorado Chapter and MX Logic. The Hermes Creative Awards recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals.
- 104 West Partners won New York-based Daily Makeover, a leader in interactive media and virtual reality try-on technology.
- Pivot Communication was selected as agency of record for Castle Country Assisted Living, a nonprofit organization based in Castle Rock and Parker.
By Elaine Schoch
Account Director, 104 West Partners
Social Media Can Be the Death of PR… If We Let It
In 2009, we’re going to see more emphasis on social media, which shouldn’t come as a big surprise. This shift presents the biggest opportunity for our profession as well as the biggest threat. Those who have embraced it, adapted their business to it and are providing value for their clients with it will emerge from this economic downturn as the leaders. Those who do not or simply cannot won’t survive.
Dwindling budgets are making low-cost social media strategies look like the pretty girl at the ball. For the first time, executives are starting to see the benefits of social media and FINALLY getting on board with leveraging the Internet for communicating their message versus just for online advertising. Now, writing for SEO, blogger relations, adding RSS feeds, creating podcasts and online video interviews are vital tools to businesses and their public relations teams. The irony is that these are all basic tools that have been around for years. The challenge PR pros are now faced with is how do you leverage these tools to truly spread your message. Or rather, how do you build a dedicated community filled with influencers (press, analysts, bloggers, ‘tweeters’) and customers that work as your evangelists to build/reinforce your brand? This is the challenge the PR profession will be faced with in 2009 and for several years to come. Public relations has always been about “relationships” but now those relationships with your public will be more focused on building and maintaining a community – i.e. community relations.
We haven’t reached the tipping point for social media, in fact we are far from it. With that said, if the benefits of social media are wasted (finite budgets) and we can’t show results/ROI, as a profession we will leave our clients asking if they are working with the right professionals and/or if social media is worth it. They will stop investing in this channel and/or shift ownership to online marketing/advertising departments. So it’s up to all of us to show the true value of social media….I hope you’re up for the challenge. I know I am.
104 West Partners has picked up the 2009 Venture Capital in the Rockies Winter Conference as a client.
104 West has promoted Courtney Walsh to account manager and hired Kim Schloss as account associate. Schloss previously was with the dreaded EchoStar.
104 West Partners has added a dedicated new media practice and appointed Elaine Schoch as its director.
104 West Partners and the Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association are sponsoring a luncheon next Wednesday (Sept. 24) at 11:30 a.m. at the Denver Chophouse and Brewery. The luncheon will feature Kevin Tice and Ed Maguire of Merrill Lynch’s Global Technology Investment Banking Group who will discuss the current climate for technology firms in the M&A and IPO markets.
- 104 West Partners has added three new technology clients: HiveLive, Global Technology Resources Inc. and Transverse.
- Xstatic PR has added two new healthcare clients: Oncure Medical Corp. and Quantix. Xstatic also added Sasha Tinkham to its staff. Tinkham formerly was with Schenkein and Lois Paul & Partners in Boston.
- Voca Public Relations has added Julie Bielenberg and Riegel “Reggie” Brasseux as senior account executives. Bielenberg formerly was managing editor of Colorado Homes & Lifestyles and Brasseux formerly was at Fletcher Group.
104 West’s Elaine Schoch discusses why she quit reading the “mind-numbing” US Weekly.