Prompt leads North American public relations program for a leading provider of IT security and information risk management solutions
Boston, MA – Prompt Communications, a transatlantic public relations and digital communications agency with experience in the high-tech, sustainability and healthcare markets, has been selected by Integralis Inc. to lead its North American media outreach program.
Headquartered in Ismaning, Germany, Integralis offers IT security and information risk management solutions to clients around the world. Integralis provides a complete end-to-end security solution that incorporates initial assessments, policy planning and hands-on deployment with 24×7 management and support.
The company has a rich portfolio of managed security, business infrastructure, consulting and technology integration services, combining to reduce overall business costs and risk. Integralis solutions address the needs of customers spanning every vertical sector, focusing on multinational enterprise clients.
Heather Antoinetti, director of marketing for Integralis said: “As a global provider of IT security services with a growing presence in North America, we wanted a communications agency that both specialized in high-tech and had a dynamic presence in the US and overseas. Prompt has a proven track record in these areas, and we look forward to expanding our brand presence and thought leadership through a US-based public relations campaign built around quality press outreach and rich customer relationships.”
Prompt’s CEO Hazel Butters said: “Prompt is thrilled to partner with Integralis to further its brand reputation in North America and beyond. Integralis delivers end-to-end offerings that provide enterprises in every sector with intelligent ways to manage risk. Inevitable trends in cloud, social, mobile and BYOD technology models are challenging all modern businesses to meet new and intricate security challenges with smarter solutions. It is our pleasure to be appointed by a company that addresses the complex risks associated with fresh trends in every market.”
Integralis provides IT Security and Information Risk Management solutions on a global basis. The company delivers a portfolio of managed security, business infrastructure, consulting and technology integration services. Integralis’ solutions help organizations lower IT costs and increase the depth of security protection, compliance and service availability. Integralis is headquartered in Ismaning, Germany and part of the NTT Communications Group, owned by NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation), one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. www.integralis.com
About Prompt Communications
Prompt is a communications agency that enables marketers to increase their sales and marketing effectiveness. Specializing in innovative markets including sustainability, technology and healthcare, Prompt helps its clients communicate authentically with core audiences online and offline through PR, media relations, copywriting, market and industry analysis, social media, video content and customer reference programs. Founded in 2002, Prompt has US offices in Boston and San Francisco, and European offices in London. Prompt’s current and former clients include Adeptra, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Corizon, Dell|Compellent, Foviance, GenSight, Grouptree, IBM, Ipswitch File Transfer, jovoto, KANA, Oracle Corporation, smartFOCUS and Webtide. www.prompt-communications.com
With years of experience in the technology sector, Prompt consultants know how to perfectly tailor your PR approach to garner the best results. Are you struggling to identify your target audience? No problem. Would you like to ramp up your core messaging? We’ve got you covered. Simply don’t know where to start? We’ll help you take those first steps.
After just 20 minutes you will walk away with valuable resources from our very own tech PR toolkit, which you can then customize to fit your exact PR needs. Please come equipped with any and all questions you can think of – we can’t wait to answer them!
*This event will take place at the Venture Café, located at the Cambridge Innovation Center, One Broadway, 4th Floor. Visitors must comply with Venture Cafe attendance policies (see http://bit.ly/vc-credo for more details).
Massachusetts, and the twin cities of Boston and Cambridge in particular, has been a thriving hotbed of innovation and pioneering spirit since its very foundation. From Harvard intellectuals to ground-breaking glass and ink industrialists, from the earliest computing visionaries to modern green tech and life science visionaries, innovation has always been second nature in this part of the world.
To celebrate the vibrancy, optimism and can-do determination of business and individuals that still thrives in the area today, Prompt Communications has decided to produce a series of short videos showcasing the rich talents of start-ups operating out of the Cambridge Innovation Center.
We’re interviewing truly inspiring, innovative businesses at CIC, and can’t wait to share the passion and enthusiasm they have for their products and markets with you. We’ll reveal what makes the people behind these organizations tick, what fuels their ideas, and how they became so ambitious and driven to succeed.
Join us as we showcase our nation’s greatest innovations, and celebrate the proud pioneering spirit of some of the most exciting businesses in operation today.
Peter Ryder, co-author of Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving
Here at Prompt we’re all committed PR and comms advocates, so we relish any innovative ideas designed to shake up markets, capture the attention of investors and prospects, and make a company stand out from even the toughest competitors.
While many companies still look inwardly for ideas and feedback from their own colleagues, growing numbers of successful innovations are now being driven by crowdsourcing; turning to the public for contributions in the form of thoughts, funding or critique.
This week, we caught up with Peter Ryder, a friend of Prompt and co-author of Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving. In this ‘Prompt interviews’ session, Jessica Branco of the Prompt Boston team caught up with Peter to discuss the opportunities, benefits and challenges of crowdsourcing, and to hear further details about his new book. It was also a chance to discuss why so many organizations from startups to Fortune 500 firms are now turning to crowdsourcing to share the wisdom of thousands of outsiders in uncovering new ideas and innovations.
Prompt Boston: Can you please tell us more about your background, and how you became interested in crowdsourcing?
Peter Ryder: I worked for many years as a consultant at Accenture, Computer Sciences Corporation and Deloitte Consulting helping clients improve their operations and their relationships with their customers by rethinking their processes and enabling these process changes through technology. I saw how organizations often sub-optimized their business by relying on assumptions that were no longer completely valid. Testing underlying assumptions was a first step to rethinking approaches to unlocking value. In 2010 I became President of jovoto, Inc., a start-up that connects companies who are looking for ideas with creative talent anywhere who have ideas. At that time, a number of companies were beginning to look seriously at crowdsourcing. With Web 2.0 really kicking in the mid to late 2000s massively reduced transaction costs tested why an organization needed to hire full time employees for all tasks — some jobs might be done by multiple people with expertise and perspective not found in the organization. Organizations like P&G, GE and LEGO were exploring how to access talent anywhere to help them work on some of their pressing challenges more rapidly. And new start-up companies like Quirky were building crowds into the very fabric of their business models. At jovoto, we worked on what processes, community management and technology needed to be in place for our customers to find innovative ideas using external talent. But we were also seeing a morphing of crowdsourcing from a simple focus on getting ideas from external talent to organizations developing more complex interactions with crowds asking them to do multiple tasks, not only selecting ideas but engaging with communities to get feedback on ideas and helping them select ideas. And, it was this interesting dynamic that led to writing the book.
What are the key benefits of crowdsourcing an idea, service or product?
What has been the most eye opening for companies with regards to benefits is that getting good ideas for a service or product is just the beginning. Of course outcomes are key: If your Super Bowl ad is ranked in the top 10 ads, by multiple metrics, many years in a row, your ad has succeeded; If your product is selling successfully and winning design awards, your design has succeeded. And if you find new partners that result in value-creating partnerships, you have succeeded in your business development efforts. In each of these cases, we found examples resulting from crowdstorming. These outcomes come from Pepsi, Quirky (a consumer electronics startup) and GE Ecomagination. But an additional benefit comes from providing a mechanism for evaluating ideas. Balanced with expert evaluation, you can ask crowds to help you vet the most promising ideas. LEGO gets lots of ideas from the crowd for new products. But it requires 10,000 votes from the LEGO community before the internal LEGO team will consider it for production. Finally, by posting a challenge to a crowd an organization can start a broad conversation that helps it pre-market a new product or service by turning idea creation into a conversation and a media event.
What is your advice to marketers who haven’t crowdsourced yet?
Do a little homework; look at some of the work that the organizations above have done. It is not necessary to start at Super Bowl scale. Choose a small project to test how your organization reacts to leveraging external talent. In the book we talk about the processes and some of the best approaches for doing crowdstorm projects; it is important to become familiar with these and see how they apply to your organization. If you feel like your organization would benefit from leveraging the skills of one of the many providers who are supporting crowdstorming, engage with them and tap into their experience, approaches and technology. Like any new approach, this requires that there is commitment from someone in the organization who can directly benefit from the outcome – make sure that sponsorship is in place. Finally, marketing departments who have existing relationships with traditional creative providers can weave them into the project if they choose. There are a number of different points where their expertise can help – from designing the brief to evaluating results.
How should marketers initially approach crowdsourcing?
As I said, education and sponsorship are critical to success. Determine the scope of the project you initially want to work on. Something well defined where the outcome can be measured or compared to a traditional approach can be helpful. For example, when Victorinox designed a new limited edition of Swiss Army knives using crowdstorming, they benchmarked sales of the new product against previous launches. They fixed as many variables as they could and found that the crowdstormed limited edition knife resulted in a 20% increase in sales. Marketers can also source a new campaign from a traditional provider and evaluate it against the same campaign sourced through crowdstorming as a test – the evaluation can come from experts and crowds in order to benchmark. There are many ways to get going.
Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving is now available at all major bookstores and Amazon.com. The book covers all topics of crowdsourcing, including patterns (search pattern, collaborative pattern), processes, recruitment, creative problem solving techniques, management of crowds, social media, analytics, evaluation and much more.
As PR and comms consultants we have a keen interest in the spoken and printed word. So, it’s no surprise that at Prompt Boston’s office there’s been a great deal of discussion about the potential sale of The Boston Globe. Current owners, The New York Times Company, are looking for bids for the New England Media Group, which includes the Globe as well as the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
If you have a spare $100 million or so, these great papers could be yours. The most likely interested parties, Heberden Ryan and Richard Daniels, certainly have a difficult decision to make. Should they even be entertaining this investment when the future of paper-based newspapers has never been so uncertain? In a statement, Ryan and Daniels couldn’t hide their love for traditional professional journalism, (“Our intention is to give these news organizations the economic viability they need to bring great journalism to their consumers and their communities.”) but only while underlining the importance of a strong complementary online presence (“the best and most important newspapers and digital media sources in New England.”)
What futures do newspapers as we know them really have? No-one would argue that print publications are suffering from declining fortunes. When the New York Times Company bought The Boston Globe back in 1993 it paid $1.1 billion. Since then, our news reading habits have changed dramatically, as we casually graze a far broader range of sources including websites, social media, pushed news feeds, mobile apps, and ever slicker and more competitive electronic versions of our habitual daily newspapers. Perhaps understandably in the face of such fierce competition, the readerships and advertising revenues of traditional papers have declined steeply.
Towards the end of 2012, Pew Research Center discovered that just 23% of Americans read a daily print newspaper, compared to 41% just a decade earlier. The same research revealed that 55% of regular New York Times readers now prefer to read it on a computer or mobile device, as do 48% of USA Today and 44% of Wall Street Journal readers. Britain’s much-loved broadsheets have fared no better, with the Telegraph’s daily readership dropping from over a million each day in 2000 to 555,000 today, the Independent falling from 222,000 to 71,000 over the same period, and the Guardian from 409,000 to 209,000. Tabloids have gone the same way, with the Sun going from 3.5 to 2.4 million, and the Mirror from 2.07 to 1.06 million.
In the US there are already clear signs that revenues lost in print sales and corresponding display advertising must and can be reeled back by various forms of paid digital channels. According to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), print advertising remains the largest source of revenue for newspapers at 46%, but its value actually fell a further 6% year-on-year in 2012. Newspaper circulation revenues were actually up by 5% in 2012 at $10.4 billion – the first gain since 2003. This is all down to growing subscriptions to digital editions. Industry-wide, advertising spend was $18.9billion last year, supplemented by a growing $3.4 in digital ads.
NAA president Caroline Little said: “America’s newspaper media are transforming themselves… …they are finding new ways to serve audiences and local businesses.”
How do you see the future of the printed newspaper? Will it continue to thrive in niches, serve traditionalists, dominate regional and specialist markets? Will printed papers complement digital editions? Or are all printed newspapers fated to fold?
It’s hard to believe that only a mere 24 hours ago we were learning of the terrible events that were unfolding at the Boston Marathon. And while the Prompt Boston team, like many others in this great city, is still trying to sort through the emotions and grief that comes with such a tragedy, we are also proud of how strangers, neighbors, friends, and an entire city have come together as one.
Yesterday, members of the Prompt Boston team were filming near the finish line at the Boston Marathon, and while unharmed, we have decided, out of respect for those affected by this senseless act, to not create the video we had originally planned. For the many individuals and families that participated in our video, we greatly appreciate your support and contribution, and hope that you agree with our decision on how to move forward.
Thank you very much for your understanding. We extend all of our well wishes and support to the city of Boston, its residents, and foremost, the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy.
Marathon: Battlefield in Greece from where legend says Greek messenger Pheidippides set off to inform the people of Athens that the Persian army had been beaten
490 BC: Year (roughly) that the Battle of Marathon took place
26.2 miles, 26 miles and 385 yards, or 42.195 kilometers: Official distance of a modern marathon
1896: Year the modern marathon was introduced at the Athens Olympics
1897: Year the Boston Marathon started, making it the world’s oldest annual modern marathon
18: Runners in the first Boston marathon
27,000: Runners in this year’s Boston Marathon
500,000+: Expected crowd of spectators at this year’s marathon
0: World records recognized at the Boston Marathon, which the IAFF considers ineligible due to the drop in elevation from start to finish
02:03:01: Current Boston Marathon record for the men’s open race made by Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) in 2011
02:20:43: Current Boston Marathon record for the women’s open held by Margaret Okayo (Kenya) since 2002
1908: First time a marathon was 26 miles and 385 yards. The course was the 26 miles from Windsor Castle to the London Olympics stadium, with an additional 385 yards added so that runners would finish in front of the royal box. In 1921 this distance was adopted by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) as the official marathon distance
500: Average number of marathons organized worldwide each year
1974: First wheelchair marathon held in Toledo, Ohio
To me, the answer is, and will always be, no. It takes one second to glance over the opening sentence that wished you a good afternoon, and even less time to get through a sign off. At the end of the day, being nice won’t cause any harm – in fact, it will most likely bring a small smile to your contact’s face.
So, the next time you’re writing an email, take a moment to consider just how you’re responding. If the sender took his or her time to ask how you were doing, don’t just respond with a snappy demand or request. Yes, email communication exists to accomplish tasks remotely, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your personality along the way.
Most marketers know all too well that one of the biggest challenges of great content marketing is developing that great content.
There is always high demand for compelling content, and while we would naturally recommend partnering with a professional PR and content creation agency such as ourselves, we know that outsourcing isn’t always an option for everyone. However, we also realize that internal bandwidth in any expanding businesses is generally limited, and any wishes you may have for a few more hours in the day – or for a time machine – are probably falling on deaf ears.
So where to turn? How about to other like-minded businesses? Partnering up for the exchange of ideas and content will not only expand your ideas and your audience, it should also prove a fun thing to do. At the end of the day, business is about exchanging ideas and opportunities, and you should never be too shy to collaborate.
For example, we’ve been working with MarketMeSuite, a company that we met just by chance – a benefit of working in a space like the Cambridge Innovation Center, located right in tech-savvy, booming Kendall Square. We really liked the company, its product and its vision, so we got to know them better. We talk about the markets we both work in, areas that interest us, and trends that we both see.
From experience then, here are a few tips on how to create the perfect content marketing partnership:
Find a good partner. Think of people and companies that you like, respect and are sure would be fun to work with. MarketMeSuite has a really engaging team with great ideas, so we knew it would be enjoyable, and mutually beneficial
Think about what you each bring to the table, including content ideas, company visions, ideals and audiences. You need to make sure that any content you are developing is relevant to your partner’s audiences. Yes, it’s an opportunity to expand horizons, but not to alienate
Set deliverables. Just like any business partnership, it’s best to have it all agreed and laid explicitly. If you think that you’re writing something for a partner’s newsletter but your partner doesn’t plan on including your content, then you’re going to run into problems. Keep things clear from the outset
Consider how to approach numerical goals: This is business, so it’s not out of the realms of possibility that one party may be thinking strictly in terms of the number of unique views, downloads or even sales queries your reciprocal arrangement might generate. Be clear and realistic – if you’re just starting a content partnership then you need to get content out there, see what the reaction is and then determine your next steps
Be collaborative. Brainstorm and share ideas, look for overlap
Have fun. These are great opportunities to exchange fun ideas, new ways of thinking and to engage with someone new. Have fun with it!
1. Geo-Target.Whether you’re a local business, promoting an event or just trying to get people in the front door of your brick and mortar store, you’ll be far more successful if you’re able to target in a particular geographical area. It’s easy to conduct searches on Twitter to determine who is tweeting about topics relevant to your business in a specific location(s). A simple way to do this is via MarketMeSuite’s Real-time Search.
2. Target by keywords or phrases. If location is not important, you’ll minimally want to narrow down the “Twittersphere” by niche. There are hundreds of thousands of tweets going out every minute, so cutting through the clutter has to be a top priority. Perform searches based on keywords, and reply to relevant tweets. If you can phrase your interaction as a question, all the better. You’ll have a much higher response rate when you are asking someone to respond. An example is an antiques website finding someone tweeting about an auction they recently attended. “I saw you tweeted about an auction, what did you purchase?”
This kind of proactive interaction is a perfect way to start a conversation with a potential customer. The person who attended an auction at “Phil’s Auction House,” and bought an oil painting will likely reply, and it can be taken to the next level. “Phil’s Auction house is great. If you like oil paintings I just put a few on my website you might find interesting.”
3. Be Real.When you’re having conversation with potential customers, you want to be real. Spam is one surefire way to turn people off. As in the previous example, you want to start a conversation with qualified leads, and grow the conversation organically. You don’t need 500 people to respond to you each day when getting just 5 or 10 qualified leads will add much more to your bottom line.
4. Always be there.As a SME owner you are expected to wear a lot of hats, so when your social media hat comes off for a little while, you don’t want to leave your followers hanging. Schedule up some helpful tweets so that your social presence is consistent even while you’re busy doing other things.
5. Give others credit.One big mistake often seen on Twitter is tweeting out loads of unattributed feeds. If you know of a blog you think your followers will be interested in, mark it as RT @the blog owner’s Twitter account.
There are so many collaboration opportunities in social media. Retweeting is a great way to show your followers you have your finger on the pulse of your industry. It shows your users you’re monitoring the field and curating some great content for them. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a great way to get the attention of the person whose content you are pushing. Attribution has the added benefit of showing up on the blog feed owner’s account as an “@ mention” which increases their chance of returning the favor, thereby increasing your own traffic.You can start a lot of great strategic partnerships with a simple “RT.”
6. Don’t Miss The Moonwalking Bear.We all like to think we are totally aware, and couldn’t possibly miss something that’s right there in front of us, especially if it’s important. And if you think you’re totally aware, this awareness test is worth trying!
Social media is a great way to field customer requests, support, and even research. Set up searches for keywords related to your brand and put in the time to handle requests daily.
Because social media conversations happen in real time, you can usually put out a tiny flame before it becomes a full fledged fire — often in 140 characters or less!
7. CRM is key.Twitter is a great way to handle many customer requests, especially if you can do it as close to real time as possible. Set up searches for keywords related to your brand, and put in the time daily to handle requests and escalate them through appropriate channels when necessary. A happy customer is a repeat customer.
8. Some Automation Is Bad. Does this mean you can’t streamline the process? Of course not! Some automation is okay. For example, scheduling updates and pulling in content from your RSS feed; these are great time savers. It’s fine to even have a few templates ready to reply when you see people tweeting or posting on Facebook about something, but never automate the interaction because the results could be embarrassing.
I once tried an app for my father’s antiques business that would automate replies without human interaction. I set it to look for a rare German figurine, and asked it to send people tweeting about it a specific reply if they found the figurine. Since I was not manually reviewing the matches, I had no idea that the name of this German figurine was also a well-known Pokemon character. I had a lot of confused people @replying me. Templates are fine (there’s only so many ways you can answer a certain question) but make sure you’re reviewing who you are replying to and customizing when appropriate!
9. Don’t be afraid to unfollow or unlike.You don’t have time to read posts that have no value to you or your business. Generally, if someone isn’t following you back, there’s not a whole lot of point of following them (the exceptions are larger companies or celebrities you may follow). Remember, if they aren’t following you they aren’t seeing anything you say, so the relationship is very one-sided.
MarketMeSuite is a social media management dashboard for small- and mid- sized businesses. The web-based platform allows businesses to manage and monitor their social media presence, find targeted leads & build engagement with new and existing customers. Try it Free!