Happy Holidays from Rosetta

Every year there is a round of agency e-cards that intend to dazzle – digital holiday cards that serve as a promotion vehicle about an agency’s capabilities and culture.  This year’s holiday card from Rosetta, my employer, is no exception.  In our case it shows a lot of our core values: work hard/play hard, have fun, and make it count.  Throw in a couple of inside jokes too, why not.  It gives some insight as to who we are.  In a year that saw us merging offices in New Jersey, New York, Denver (all Rosetta) and Cleveland, Chicago, Boston (all Brulant), this was a great way to show off the team working together.  Not to mention providing a few good laughs to our clients.

Have a very happy holiday and enjoy our Rosetta eCard… Take a look around the fireplace too.

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A Quick Snapshot of Old vs. New Media

In late October, I got a first hand glimpse into how the web is taking on traditional newspapers.  While in Dallas for Forrester’s Consumer Forum, I was grateful to be invited to drop in at the offices of the Dallas Morning News to talk about how retailers are using Facebook.

A Somber Scene

At first glance, the floor where most of the reporters sit is very much like the stereotypical movie sets.  I expected Perry White (Jackie Cooper, in my head, anyways) to come screaming out of his office at any moment.  The major differences:  PCs everywhere instead of typewriters, and most of the desks were empty.  I visited them on a Monday – the prior Friday they had been through a series of layoffs, and the mood was somber.  As the paper takes on challenges brought on by Web 2.0 and the shift of advertising online, ironically a blog solely for former employeers of the paper cropped up and has some very passionate people engaged. 

Challenges for Traditional Newspapers

Three major challenges for the paper are apparent.  First, the cost of advertising.  Simply put, ads cost a lot less and are far more measurable online.  This directly competes with ad revenue for the paper, and was a deciding factor in the recent Chapter 11 filing at the holding company that owns the Chicago Tribune and LA Times.

The second challenge is the proliferation of other media sources.  I heard the phrases “reading blogs” and “did you see the blog post” several times.  The lines between traditional media and new media are blurring and anyone who can publish a story could conceivably trump a reporter at a paper.  Clearly reporters are paying attention.  The lines are blurring between official reporters and passionate folks who like to write.

A third challenge for newspapers is really understanding the digital channel.  I’ve seen recent discussion on Twitter with Bryan Person and Aaron Strout around how newspapers don’t understand search engine optimization (SEO).  Both have pointed out examples of articles in Boston papers where the authors failed to include links in the online version of the story to either personal blogs or corporate web sites.  “Sharing the link love” is a key piece of making the digital channel successful and accessible through search. 

Understanding a Slice of New Media

The main purpose of my visit was to discuss my agency’s recent study on retailers using Facebook.  Several big name retailers, including J.C. Penney, are in the Dallas area, and the retail reporter for DMN was trying to get a better understanding of Facebook and other tools.  I spent a couple of hours with her explaining how Facebook works and gave her a demo of Twitter (thanks to many connections there for helping out).  It was clearly an eye opening experience for her, and we reviewed what several local-based retailers were doing with Facebook fan pages.  The net result, including much of her hard work looking at viral marketing, interviewing a variety of sources and adding insight to what the companies are doing, is this well-written piece published Tuesday called, “Retailers find Facebook friends in hopes of finding sales.”  No doubt the folks who are reporters are talented in their research and writing – she did an excellent job tying in the recent viral successes of J.C. Penney and Victoria Secret’s Pink brand to our discussion on retailers using Facebook pages.

Clearly the Dallas Morning News is getting the digital channel – the page where my article lives had (as of my last view) advertisements for Ford, Cars.com and Netflix.  The article also had the ability to share via social bookmarking sites and allowed comments.  Unfortunately the article had no link here or to our agency’s site, Rosetta.com.  But 2 out of 3 ain’t bad right?

In the end this was a real world microcosm example of how the old media industry needs to adapt in order to thrive.  Thanks again DMN for including me in the article and I hope we both continue to learn from the experience.

Photo via IMDB.com

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What Does Your Blog Say About You?

There are lots of posts out there about personal branding and the significance in one’s career – plenty of great advice to be found.  While having an account on Facebook, Twitter and other networks and platforms is important for building a social media presence, a blog is one element of a personal brand – an outpost of sorts – that is completely personal in its representation.  Even a business focused blog is defined by the content (and to some extent the layout and look/feel). 

Similarly, there are lots of personality tests and web-based tools to help measure how effective writing can be.  I’m not sure many of them are too helpful yet, but two tools that have popped up recently in conversations are Gender Analyzer and Typealyzer.  Each can provide some insight as to writing style, although since they are automated I’ll take their feedback with a grain of salt.  Gender Analyzer says there is a 100% probability that my blog is authored by a male.  Well, they got it right.  But what does that mean?  Is my writing style alienating or offending half of my potential readership?  Not sure it would influence my writing style but I’d like to understand if gender of content is important to you.  What do you think?

Typealyzer has more insight to offer.  Rosetta colleague Paul Ferris wrote about Typealyzer recently, as did Doc Searls.  The warning at the top of Typealyzer’s page says, “writing style on a blog may have little or nothing to do with a person’s self-percieved personality.”  That’s true, but I found the site useful in understanding how I write.

My blog’s Typealyzer result:

INTJ – The Scientists
The long-range thinking and individualistic type. They are especially good at looking at almost anything and figuring out a way of improving it – often with a highly creative and imaginative touch. They are intellectually curious and daring, but might be pshysically [sic] hesitant to try new things.

The Scientists enjoy theoretical work that allows them to use their strong minds and bold creativity. Since they tend to be so abstract and theoretical in their communication they often have a problem communcating their visions to other people and need to learn patience and use concrete examples. Since they are extremely good at concentrating they often have no trouble working alone.

The site also provided a map of my brain activity while I write:

I think they hit a lot about me right on.  I don’t typically use my blog “spiritually” or wear much emotion on my sleeeves here.  I try to provide insight or share thoughts and learnings that don’t fit in 140 characters on Twitter, and tend to think a lot before I write or publish.  Maybe I think too much.

What does your blog say about you?  If you don’t have one, that says something too – why?

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