Monthly ArchiveJuly 2008
Uncategorized 29 Jul 2008 11:19 am
With gas on a constant rise, it has put many workers in a bind with long commutes to work. Many have turned to carpooling/vanpooling or technology. Commuters are now able to be just as productive from home as they would be from work due to constant technological advances.
These new means for commuters have greatly helped many workers trying to save some of their paycheck for themselves and not the pump. Companies such as VPSI INC, Zipcar, and sites such as Goloco.com are flourishing due to the high demand of vanpooling services. Commuters have reported cost savings of $150-$200 a month, and now the government is even helping commuters save on gas. Through the Internal Revenue Service’s Tax-Free Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits, commuters are now eligible to receive as much as $115 per month in non-taxable benefits for commuting to work or for vanpool services. Another bonus with the fringe benefit program is that it can provide up to $220 a month for commuters to deal with parking fees. Employees can be eligible for both of these, which equals up to $335 a month for commuting/parking costs.
As if these commuting services weren’t enough, companies are now providing the option of a four-day workweek due to the rise of gas. Near the end of June, Oakland County, Michigan approved the four day work week. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson proposed the idea in May as a way for employees to cut their commuting costs by 20%. With this, employees work four days a week for ten hours rather than the traditional five days a week for eight hours.
Technology in the computer field has clearly made telecommuting more efficient, but lately the advances made with cell phones and PDA’s have made things even more convenient. A lot of workers who need e-mail and information on the go have turned to devices such as the Blackberry, Treo, iPhone, etc. Most of these cell phones/ PDA’s come email ready with accounts from their service provider. Whereas others can simply use the Internet and check it off sites such as google, yahoo, etc. Perhaps the most technological advanced phone, the APPLE iPhone 3G, has 3G speed and can give employees the feeling of having everything they need for work in their pocket. It also includes Microsoft exchange, which allows one to integrate their phone into the enterprise in which they work. This allows IT professionals to flawlessly integrate iPhone into their corporate environments. Due to its support with Microsoft word, Excel, and PowerPoint, PDF, JPEG, and iWork attachments can be viewed how they would on a computer.
These new means of technology and transportation is helping businesses and companies all over the U.S. maintain their workers. As gas prices continue to rise, alternative methods will continue to develop so workers won’t feel pain at the pump.
To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing when I first started blogging… (judging by my lack of comments maybe I still don’t…) but, I’ve come to realize the importance of blogging to a Public Relations firm for 3 main reasons:
1. To get attention. Well, that’s the obvious purpose right? The number of journalists and editors who are reading blogs on a daily basis for content is increasing. In fact, according to a study sponsored by Novelli and Cymfony, “the majority of companies surveyed (76%) indicated that they have noticed an increase in media attention and/or website traffic as a result of their blog(s).” Interest in your PR firm blog helps both your clients and your company, a win-win situation. Blogs are an easy way to get your site noticed by search engines. It’s always exciting for me to hear that my blog has popped up on Google alert, meaning that somewhere in the vast World Wide Web I’ve written something that may be of significance to someone. You can also track the number of people who visit your site and where they come from through Google Analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/).
2. It takes one to know one. A PR Firm can’t claim to offer or specialize in social media unless they are part of it. A blog should demonstrate their knowledge in the social media and in the public relations industry. Prove to reporters and clients that the social media is a tool you are quite handy with.
3. Provide insight to your firm. Blogs are more than just facts, links and numbers. They are written with opinion, analyses, and contain a more personal touch. From a blog, you can capture the character of the PR firm. Blogging really let’s readers get a sense of who we are, as individual people and as a part of the PR firm.
I’m still relatively new to being part of the social media, meaning that I’m still learning, but I hope in time that if I can generate attention from readers, demonstrate my knowledge in a specific area of public relations, and provide insight to Eiler Communications agreeable to their public image, I know that I will have achieved my goals as a PR firm blogger (and maybe start to get some comments…).
Biotech 25 Jul 2008 04:08 pm
My daddy is a science man. I’m on track to become a business woman. It’s easy to think that we might clash but actually we go hand in hand.
Last night on T.V, my dad and I watched the Japanese scientist Dr. Yamanaka talk about how he discovered how to turn skin cells into stem cells which then created red blood cells to fight sickle cell anemia in mice WITHOUT using embryos! Truly Amazing.
My dad and I couldn’t stop talking about it. My dad was excitedly explaining to me and marveling over the scientific aspect of this discovery, genes, knockout mice, DNA, CRE..etc. Meanwhile, I was ecstatic about all the opportunities that Dr. Yamanaka had just unleashed.
With the moral issue of stem cell research evaded, there is bound to be an exponential increase in stem cell research. Stem cell research could lead to cures in diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and cancer. The impact of Dr. Yamanaka’s discovery on both the science and the business world will have a profound effect.
On the business side, this means an opportunity for huge advancement in the field of biotechnology. With this scientific discovery comes more research and with more research comes an inevitable advancement in biotechnology. This advancement will lead to more jobs ultimately leading to more business in this biotechnology! A great example of this is Genetics Squared. They are actually developing tests that can help doctors to determine how to treat cancer faster and quicker. Biotechnology is and forever will be on the rise!
After the T.V show had ended, my dad and I sat around the table talking until 11 pm, mixing science with business.
Finding a job in Michigan may be challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Matt Roush, editor of the Great Lakes IT report and technology editor at WWJ News Radio 950, gave a presentation July 17 to Automation Alley and the Entrepreneurial Institute of Southeastern Michigan highlighting some of the positives in the Michigan economy today.
Although large companies and manufacturing industries are consistently losing jobs, small entrepreneurial companies are slowly gaining jobs. The challenge is to know how to encourage more of this kind of growth. Some of the things Michigan has going for it in this area include: engineering talent, great research universities such as the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University and a welcoming environment for business.
There are some steps that can be taken in order to create a healthy environment for these businesses to survive. They include: increasing entrepreneurial K-12 education, increased acceptance and understanding of the risks associated with entrepreneurial businesses and a better understanding of the role of public relations in these ventures.
Many companies in the high-tech, healthcare and problem solving industries are growing and hiring. NSF International, a public health and safety company, is one of those companies. In 2007, NSF hired 117 people in the United States. So far 68 people have been hired in 2008. The company is averaging 31 open positions per month. NSF employees also have opportunities for internal moves – 46 employees were promoted or transferred through the month of June.
High-tech players in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Linux Box and Genetics Squared have also grown and hired this year.
“It’s simply not true that tech jobs are moving to India and China,” Roush said. He went on to say this is what some high school students are hearing from their counselors, despite the inaccuracy of the statement.
The companies who are experiencing growth are often the ones who are able and willing to adapt to the changing economy.
Plexus Systems, a company that provides business software solutions, added 30 jobs in Michigan in 2007. In 2008, the company will create more than 100 more positions.
Want another example? Meditrina Pharmaceuticals Inc., Velcura Therapeutics, NanoBio Corporation and ProNAi Therapeutics have all moved some of their business to Michigan. These pharmaceutical companies have also been adding jobs.
Creativity, high-tech skills and willingness to take an entrepreneurial risk may be one path to success for Michigan.
Social Media 17 Jul 2008 02:08 pm
It’s growing, it’s wild, it’s unpredictable, it’s… the social media!
This article just reinforces the great magnitude of powers the social media and social networking have today. Is this form of communication dangerous?
“As many surveys have suggested, fear of public speaking is one of our strongest anxieties, often ranking above the fear of dying. The following won’t help: These days, the audience could be skewering you on blog sites — not after your presentation, but during. And just about everyone in attendance could know about it, except you…”
Maybe, but use it to your advantage! Social networking and the social media are powerful tools that can help build great buzz for your businesses when used the right way.
Business of PR 15 Jul 2008 11:37 am
Everything on my resume screams pre-med. I think I was bred and expected by my parents to become a doctor but as soon as I entered college, I took control of my own future and chose to fulfill my desire to learn about public relations and the social media.
Now why would any parent-loving child want to do that? Because I think one of the most important things in life is building relationships with other people, and as we all know, communication is the key to element to any working relationship. I wanted to learn how to better communicate, professionally.
It’s tricky. PR builds relationships with a range of professionals, analysts, trade, businesses and regional media. You have to know how to reach the right media outlets –specific writers and editors- with the right message at the right time. It is like the liaison in between the company/business and the media. The way I see it is this, in order for a company to get it’s product/service to its buyers, they need to go through the media and it’s not always easy to get the attention that you want. In today’s world, there is so much media and news going on it’s hard to create an identity and finding your niche market for yourself/company/product/technology/service/etc. but that’s where PR comes in.
I’m finding out that there is much to learn about communication in this field, we communicate through so many different channels such as blogs, search engines, phone, social networks such as facebook, my space, linked in, and twitter, e-mails, news releases, newsletters, and basically, if information can flow through it, we use it.
Developing skills for communication is exactly what I’ve come here to learn about, therefore, I couldn’t be happier interning here at Eiler Communications, a PR firm that specializes in media relations, social media and professional writing.
CEO of Eiler Communications Larry Eiler recently gave a presentation at Eastern Michigan University entitled PR in Marketing: How the Lines Are Blurring as Technology Grows as a Driver. The presentation discussed how the methods of gathering information and conducting research are constantly evolving and how PR technology is changing. Larry discussed how people rely on the Internet or “Emedia” for news/information. People no longer have to go to the library when doing research most have the technology to do the research from their home or office, and some can even do it on the go through a cell phone or PDA. As a senior in college, I strongly believe that no one uses e-media or social media more than high school and college students. As of lately e-media and social media has broke its way into the PR and advertising world. Major firms and corporations are now using technology such as blogs, podcasts, and some businesses have even used social media outlets such as myspace or facebook for advertising and electronic PR. People are now turning to the Internet for news, research, and information.
E-media has not only helped me tremendously for daily tasks but it has also taken a huge load off of my shoulders. For example, I am 6’10 tall and it used to be impossible to find clothes that would fit me properly. It is funny now that I look back on it because most of my outfits probably looked like I was stuck in the 70’s or 80’s for a good part of my junior high years. When stores started to implement online shopping it was then that I could actually dress normal and try to fit in. With the new online shopping craze, many stores started to carry plus size clothing that would fit me. Not to mention the development of search engines such as Google, this helped me tremendously in my quest for big & tall clothing. Instead of looking through different clothing brand websites, I could now just search big & tall and numerous sites were provided by a single search engine. This was great, not only could I start to dress presentable but the convenience of shopping from my couch rather than spending the whole day at the mall watching my mother shop.
Social media has not only done a lot for me but others as well. Sites such as facebook and myspace have helped a lot of people keep in touch with friends/acquaintances from their past. Blogging has been incorporated into almost every corporation or business website. This helps businesses tremendously because they get live feedback from everyday people. If these businesses receive negative criticism, they get the chance to apologize directly to their audience and state not only their solutions but also an alternate point of view. The main gist of this presentation is that e-media and social media are constantly evolving. In the closing of the presentation, Larry compared these breakthroughs to the Industrial Revolution but in comparison, this is the Information Revolution.
CEO of Eiler Communications Larry Eiler gave a presentation at Eastern Michigan University entitled PR in Marketing: How the Lines Are Blurring as Technology Grows as a Driver. Here is a brief recap…
I. PR in the Marketing Mix
• PR has always been a key component of any quality marketing program
• It has some inherent advantages that gain it recognition as an authoritative independent source
• Third-party veterans of user, analysts
• It use to be one separate element in the mix
• Now it is everywhere because technology has made a new breed of journalist
• The content may be used in any marketing technique
• The Lines between advertising PR and other techniques have blurred
• A company’s reputation depends on trust. Truthful PR stories can build that credibility
Continue Reading »
Business and Economy 10 Jul 2008 03:43 pm
Ann Arbor, Michigan
I was born here, grew up here, go to college here, plan on staying here for at least another 7 years to finish graduate school here and I’ve never had the desire to leave for three main reasons.
First of all, this city’s 27.7 square miles with a population of 114,000 residents is just the perfect size for me. Its clean streets are lined with trees and one can easily tell from living here that it’s always thinking green. It’s not over crowded nor over polluted, you can easily walk all over downtown, ride a bike, or take the Michivan as an easy and eco-friendly means of transportation.
Secondly, I love the diversity here. I’ve never been bored by living here because I meet people of different cultures every day. Downtown offers a wide range of restaurants, shops, and performance venues as well as a wide range of people.
Last of all, I am highly optimistic for the future of this city.
Although Michigan’s economy was declining, (but because of Michigander’s positive attitudes is now back on the rise), Ann Arbor has always been the city that thrives. Ann Arbor’s economy is shaped mainly by the University of Michigan but it is also influenced by high technology, health services and biotechnology. When the Pfizer plant closed down in 2007, everyone thought the city was doomed. While many of the ex-employees relocated to different states, many like my father, stayed. And Ann Arbor keeps on thriving. It attracts all sorts of companies and businesses such as Genetics Squared, Mich Bio, and Ensure Technologies.
There are plenty of opportunities for businesses to bloom here. Why? Because there is a ton of highly educated people that live here. One of the main reasons why high tech firms such as Google decided to locate here is because of the high quality employees that make up a successful business. According to MSNBC, Ann Arbor ranks as the 3rd smartest city in the nation based on the percentage of the population age over 25 with at least a bachelor’s degree. This is no doubt due to the excellent education system that we have here in Ann Arbor. Not only is this city lined with trees, it’s filled with smart people and smart people lead to better businesses which leads to a better economy!
So, will I live here my whole life? No one knows the future for certain, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 years down the road I found myself living here with a secure job in this beautiful tree-lined city that is booming with opportunities and just perfect for me.