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Archive for April, 2011

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April 29th, 2011

Royal wedding souvenir: host your own royal wedding

Royal wedding souvenir: host your own royal wedding

In this week’s special issue of Impromptu, we are giving away a free souvenir. Now you too can host your own royal wedding.
Royal wedding souvenir

A4 printable (UK) (2.6MB)
US letter printable (US) (2.6MB)
Get a mini file for mobiles (370KB)

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April 26th, 2011

Prompt Communications wins The Refinishing Touch customer communications program

Prompt Communications wins The Refinishing Touch customer communications program

- Prompt selected to tackle customer program from development up; Scope extended to engage end users with new customer-focused communications program -

Boston, MA – April 26, 2011Prompt Communications, a PR and communications agency specializing in innovative markets including sustainability, technology and healthcare has secured a new contract to lead a customer communications program for The Refinishing Touch.

The Refinishing Touch is a leader in on-site environmentally safe and sustainable furniture refinishing, re-upholstering and armoire modification for private and public organizations including Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Marriott, the US Executive Office of the President and the US Department of Defense. With more than 20,000 customers across the hospitality, government and university section and year-on-year growth, The Refinishing Touch is ramping up its customer communications to include a customer newsletter, written and video customer case studies, guest spots on its corporate blog, and speaking opportunities, as well as other customer-facing PR endorsements.

Ryan Riopko, Marketing Director for The Refinishing Touch explained: “We’ve been working with Prompt for three years on public and media relations, during which time we’ve seen great results and strong engagement with the press that matters most to our business. So it was a natural progression for us to extend our full customer program to the team to promote new and exciting opportunities for us to engage with our customers.”

The company first engaged with Prompt in 2007 to build a corporate blog presence, lead corporate messaging efforts and reach each of its core industries; government, education and hospitality.  Since beginning with the agency, The Refinishing Touch has seen direct evidence of the program’s success including coverage achieved in top tier titles and outlets including The Wall Street Journal and The Discovery Channel. Additionally, consistent coverage has been achieved in core trade press including Green Lodging News, Hotel Business, Hotel & Motel Management, Defense Communities and Military Club & Hospitality and an increase in web traffic through its corporate blog driven to www.therefinishingtouch.com via the regularity and relevance of blog postings.

The full program scope now includes highly targeted PR and media relations and continued blog program support to guide and drive corporate messaging, along with copywriting for corporate content development including bylined articles, case studies and press releases. Prompt worked to tailor the program to meet the specific needs of The Refinishing Touch, utilizing a blend of both traditional and non-traditional outreach, designed to gain and maintain visibility across expanding media.

“Prompt has worked tirelessly with our marketing team, to develop and maintain a communications program to maximize our exposure in the media, and get us in front of the people most crucial to our business,” said Mario Insenga, President of The Refinishing Touch. “The team itself is made up of creative, out-of-the-box thinkers – each of whom has shown that they are extremely hard-working and willing to push hard to help our company reach the next level. Our marketing team not only enjoys working with the team at Prompt, but can always count on them to be on-the-ball and acting as an extension of our own team.”

Prompt’s CEO, Hazel Butters, said: “Working with The Refinishing Touch has been an absolute pleasure these past three years, so we were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the team on this new program – under Mario’s management the company has the great blend of vision and authenticity which lends itself to great communications messages and programs. We look forward to launching this program and celebrating further results with the team at The Refinishing Touch.”

For more information about Prompt, visit http://www.prompt-communciations.com today or email info@prompt-communications.com to schedule a free PR consultation with members of its Pan-European or US-based teams today.

Twitter: @PromptLondon and @PromptBoston

Blog: http://www.prompt-communications.com/blog

Newsletter: http://www.prompt-communications.com/newsletter-sign-up/

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April 15th, 2011

Impromptu issue 300

Impromptu issue 300

Today we will be publishing the 300th edition of Impromptu, our weekly technology newsletter. It’s hard to believe that the issue count is so high—and I can assure you the team have not missed a single week since the first issue was penned six years ago on the 3rd of June 2005.

The newsletter is enjoyable to write and produce and has taken on different forms over the years. The first issue looks decidedly ‘Office XP’, although I do like to see images in the newsletter [join my campaign for more newsletter images by voting in the comment thread]. Impromtu has had a few face lifts over the years and the current design is not even one year old yet, designed by David Panaho in Summer last year to complement our then-new website design.

Do you remember the cartoons? The blog-of-impromptu-cartoons still lives on in the interweb although there is no path to it from our site any more so here is the secret link to our old website if you fancy a review of the cartoons—scroll right down and use the archive to navigate back to all your favourites. Touching the VoIP remains one of my favourites along with OLTP, iTunes and John O Groats. There was even a screensaver for the tech-toon afficionados to download (4MB).

The website-of-the-week has run every week and now forms and interesting archive of old websites as well as a great way to lose two hours of your life that you’ll never get back. Dive into the archive and surf some old sites like Flyguy from August 05 or Retro remakes from September 05 and it’s nice to see the Hype Machine and the Broth’s Mosaic still up and running.

The January 30 2009 issue has a photo of Crunchie, our office dog. What is your favourite issue / cartoon / website-of-the-week / story / design? Here is a link to the full archive. Join us with a glass of champagne as we toast the 300th edition and take a trip down memory lane with some classic issues.

What the issues looked like

The faces of Impromptu

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April 8th, 2011

Google shutting the door to the open source party

Google shutting the door to the open source party

via App Boy blog

Android owns the majority of the mobile market and analysts at IDC don’t see that changing in the next five years. Somehow, it’s still the most scattered and fragmented platform out there. Despite my personal dislike of Apple, it has a unified clean interface across all its products. Android’s software fragmentation is scattered enough thanks to its hardware manufacturers who feel the stock Android/Google experience isn’t enough and it needs more glitter. That’s not even taking into account the dedicated Android developers’ community who also provides custom interfaces, lockscreens and in some cases completely overhauled Android firmware.

But that is the joy of open source software isn’t it? Yes and no. As Android gets more complex and offers more features, phone manufacturers have been utilizing these features in their own ways. We still get the same great functionality that Android offers, but in a unique and different perspective. Where this has caused problems is when Android does update, (it’s on a once a year schedule for major updates) these phone manufacturers must update their own code to keep whatever unique and different features working with Google’s new tool set. This has resulted in phones that can and should be running Google’s latest firmware, falling behind the times, sometimes dramatically so.

Thankfully, that’s changing. With such a large and varied user base (and one that shells out tons of cash for your product), a consistent user experience should take precedence over everything else. Google realizes this and according to Bloomberg has been making partners sign ‘non fragmentation forms’ which can slow down a phones ability to update properly. Of course manufacturers are less than pleased losing some of their clout to trick out a phone as they see fit, but when it comes to making sure consumers aren’t paying for something that has no chance of being updated and useful in the fast growing mobile world, it’s the only thing to do.

I’ll sacrifice my complete control over a phone – through normal methods anyway – for the knowledge that in six months when the must have feature in smart phones is available to me and not held back because my phone manufacturer wanted a cool Facebook widget included.

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April 4th, 2011

At least your desk is nice and safe, eh?

At least your desk is nice and safe, eh?

A new week always brings with it a new set set of challenges. I’ve got a bunch of case studies and other important projects to complete that aren’t going to write themselves, and no doubt there’s a data centre, CMS, marketing campaign or stressed colleague somewhere screaming for your attention too.

But at least we can count ourselves lucky that on most Monday mornings, whatever our trials and tribulations, we rarely have to make life and death decisions quite like the makers of these short videos. If you haven’t seen these perilous journeys before, take five minutes over a strong coffee to count yourself lucky you weren’t along for the trips.

Try them full-screen, but hang on to your desk, it’s going to be another hectic week!

ps. We hope you enjoyed our little April Fool joke on Friday. Thanks for all your messages!






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April 1st, 2011

How to live appy ever after

How to live appy ever after

Dorian: a licence to party hard?

Fed up waking each day feeling old, tired and unfit while your online alter egos always appear perfectly spritely and perky? Embarrassingly jealous of the endless energy and effortless social life of your Wii Mii, Sim or Second Life Resident? Then a youthful team of British and American research scientists just might be developing the app that you’ve been waiting for.

Already being hailed as Augmented Reality Plus by some industry observers, ‘Dorian’ is being created by a cross-Atlantic development agency based in both Cambridge UK and Cambridge MA. Expected to launch simultaneously on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Bada, Dorian will run continuously as a background application, passively recording user behavioural data such as steps taken, temperatures experienced, keystrokes made and frequency of messaging activity. This data is then combined over a two-week buffer with manually volunteered data including waking hours, calories consumed, estimated stress levels and harmful toxins ingested such as alcohol, nicotine and trans-fatty acids.

“Of course the really clever part begins after the data collection,” explained Oz Carr, co-founder of developer Wilde Systems. “The Dorian app accurately calculates the degenerative impact that user behaviour would normally have on energy levels, body mass, fitness, cosmetic appearance and life expectancy, then transfers any and all detrimental effects to a personalised avatar within the mobile app, rather than the physical user themselves.”

Genius? Mobile users worldwide think so. Although no Beta programme is currently in evidence and Wilde Systems is reluctant to demonstrate the Dorian app at this stage of development, pre-orders across all platforms are already predicted by analysts to reach 50 million globally over the next few months as European and US consumers start booking their annual vacations and sizing up flattering beachwear.

Will the Dorian app prove to be a licence to party hard without consequence? Record your interest in Dorian here, and of course tell us what you think below.


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