Category Archives: Media Relations

iPad – What’s in a name?

Today’s launch of the iPad created some serious hype, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the initial launch of the iPhone. While there have been some mixed reviews about the device, the product’s name itself has drawn quite a few snickers and been the butt of a few jokes.  Even the Wall Street Journal reported on it.

This got me thinking about how (or if) I would respond to the silliness surrounding the product name if I were on Apple’s PR team. On one hand, having the WSJ write about the issue does raise some concerns; but on the other hand, the product name is not going to change and people will ultimately pay more attention to the news itself and product reviews. Without overthinking it, I would let the whole thing blow over.

I asked my Twitter followers what they would do, and it seems my thinking is spot on. Of course, I’m curious to see what approach Apple takes. 

One thing is for sure, while some folks take pot-shots at the iPad’s name, those of us in PR and marketing can use this as a reminder about the steps we can take to try and avoid similar situations. These are the two most basic approaches that come to mind:

  • Use focus groups or surveys during the planning stage to get feedback about a product’s potential features, naming conventions, etc.
  • Embrace social media monitoring tools like Radian6 or Sysomos leading up to a launch. Whether it’s a movie, a product or a service that you’re bringing to market, gaining insight into consumer sentiment before you launch can help guide your marketing plans; provide some direction on product features/functions to add/remove; help you tweak your messaging, etc.

What would you do? Would you also let the storm blow over?

~JE

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#journchat LIVE Toronto

I recently provided some info on the concept of #journchat LIVE and am now very happy to share details about the Toronto event:

Date:  Monday, August 17, 2009

Networking:  6:30 – 7:30 p.m. ET

#journchat LIVE:  7:30 – 10:00 p.m. ET

Location:  Huge thanks to @thornley for providing boardroom space and Internet connectivity for #journchat LIVE Toronto. A total of 14 people can be accommodated in the Thornley Fallis boardroom.

Address:  Thornley Fallis, 21 St. Clair Ave. E, Suite 800, Toronto, ON, M4T 1L9

Refreshments: The generous folks at Marketwire will be sponsoring refreshments and snacks for #journchat LIVE Toronto.

Cost:  There is no charge for you to attend. The only commitment you need to make is to show up, share your thoughts on the topics being discussed, and enjoy connecting in person with your fellow PR peeps.

As space is limited, we encourage you to register ASAP if you plan to attend. 

You can register online at http://journchatlivetor.eventbrite.com.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Happy birthday to us!

It’s hard to believe, but eight years ago today Echo Communications was born. For those of you that don’t know the history, I’ll give you a quick run down…

After many years of  handling in-house PR for technology companies – namely Delrina, MGI Software and Delano – it was time to go out on my own.  I had just been laid off from my job at Delano along with the rest of the marketing team (the company was faced with a huge dose of reality after the dot.com bubble burst) and figured that no one would hire me in my pregnant state (I was about four months into my second pregnancy). That’s when I made the decision to accelerate my plan (by five years) to work as an independent PR consultant.

After a month of networking, there was no going back. And on July 23rd, 2001, Echo Communications (a play on my name, of course) was officially registered.

Before long, I signed up my first client for a writing contract, and was given the opportunity to work as a PR consultant for a network-based PR agency.  It was in this role, as a white-labeled PR consultant, that I formulated the model for my own consultancy:

  • As a virtual agency, I wouldn’t have any overheads in my business(no employees, no offices, etc) and could therefore lower the cost of services provided to clients;
  • Consultants on my team would have no less than 10 years of PR experience (it didn’t matter if it was in-house or at an agency);
  • Flat rate billing would means no surprises for clients. Regardless of who on the team would be involved in an initiative, expertise would be guaranteed and the rate would not scale based on that expertise;
  • We would establish budgets for our clients, not retainers. Rather than being billed a set amount each month, clients would only pay for actual time used;
  • I would be involved in every client account.

Eight years later and I’m happy to report that I’ve never looked back. I love what I do and look forward to the challenges and opportunities that each day brings.

Of course, Echo Communications wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for the amazing clients we work with (current clients include Anyware Group, A. Farber & Partners, BlackBerry Partners Fund, Capital C, Descartes Systems Group, Farelogix, Iristel, Jazinga, Schenker of Canada, Wishabi, and Xenos Group) and the incredible team of virtual consultants who put their hearts and souls into the accounts they work on. I’m also extremely proud of the fact that all of our business (yip, every single client we’ve worked with over the years) has come to us through referral – perhaps a testament to the model we’ve embraced, the service we provide and the results we deliver.

Thanks to everyone for making the last eight years so memorable. Here’s wishing that the next eight years continue to provide each of us involved in Echo Communications with an opportunity to: achieve our goals; learn more; teach others; set new benchmarks for success; and work in an environment that is stimulating and rewarding both personally and professionally.

The Tweet Pitch

Inspired by the 140 character limit imposed by Twitter, one of the consultants on the Echo Communications team (Kevin Morrison) came up with the idea for the ‘Tweet Pitch’ (not to be confused with Stowe Boyd‘s #Twitpitch for Twitter).

Here’s the idea: While our typical pitch abstracts run about 350 – 400 words (we use these abstracts to back up the top level story ideas we send to media, bloggers, etc.), Kevin’s idea was to start using pitches that are really short by traditional media relations standards.  For example, two of his most successful pitches were only 90 words long. He was even complimented by a journalist for a well written, well thought-out pitch.  Given that we need to be smart about what we say in each tweet because of the 140-character limit, why not apply the same approach to pitches?

This article written by Amy Jacques for PR Tactics and The Strategist Online (a PRSA publication) focuses on how to make the most out of 140 characters. I think there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t apply some of those guidelines to the pitches we send by email to media.  I imagine this is an approach that would be especially well received by the blogging community.

I’m interested to know if others are already using Tweet pitching as a strategy, and if the results they’ve seen are better than with the traditional abstract. And if you’re not already Tweet pitching, I challenge you to give it a try.

~ Jodi Echakowitz (Twitter: JodiEchakowitz)