Monthly ArchiveJune 2009
Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Clean Tech &Corporate Communications &Ecofriendly &Entrepreneurs &Environment &Marketing Communications &Sustainable Transportation &Technology PR Insights &Thinking Green 17 Jun 2009 10:02 am
On June 12, 2009 Main Street played host to the 9th Annual Mayor’s Ann Arbor Green Fair. Underneath the lush green leafy canopy of Ann Arbor’s city center, local eco-friendly vendors and businesses gathered to discuss, exhibit, explain and sell all things Green. Booths lined both sides of downtown Main Street between Huron and William with companies both large and small, profit (Whole Foods) and non-profits (Friends of the Allen Creek Greenway) encouraging visitors to focus on environmental-sustainability for the future. BikeFest, with tutorials and ideas on bicycle transportation was also included in the festivities.
The annual Mayor’s Ann Arbor Green Fair signifies the growth and opportunity the Green Industry represents in our current economic climate. The traditional preservation communities made their appearance at the Fair, but also notably present were industries that do not immediately suggest “environmentalist”. Examples of these include: The Bank of Ann Arbor, Amtrak and Ann Arbor division of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). As a casual onlooker and job seeker, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of activity towards Green initiatives. Also particularly interesting is the governmental support of eco-sustainability. In addition to the Mayor’s continued backing of the Fair (scheduled in the heart of Festival season by the way), Washtenaw County showed off their ecological commitment with exhibitions on weatherization, water resources and environmental health. More on Washtenaw County’ s Green initiatives can be found at their homepage.
“Going Green” is no longer just a fad, but a serious consideration for any business leader or those looking for business or jobs. The sophistication of green-centric organizations was on display at last week’s Fair. A list of companies and businesses that appeared at last week’s Fair can be found here. The city of Ann Arbor listing for the event can be found here. In order to take eco-friendly businesses to the next step in terms of impact and economic stability, I believe it is time for these businesses to enlist traditional marketing and public relations expertise. The audience is ready to listen. Attendance of the Green Fair was bustling and curious. Each booth attracted three to four visitors and musical acts entertained at each corner. The Green Fair even out-paced the turnout of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s First Night gathering just 5 blocks north. “Going Green” is no longer simply the way of the future, but as the Green Fair showed, the future.
Uncategorized 10 Jun 2009 12:54 pm
Bing it! Does it have the same ring to it as “Go Google it?” Microsoft’s latest attempt at competing with the popular search engine Google- Bing is now live.
Bing is more than a search engine, it’s a decision engine. The site was created for questions that have more than one answer. Bing helps users overcome a search overload and find the best choice faster. It organizes results into logical categories, not in order of popularity. For example, I searched for “Michigan”. My results were sorted in the following categories- maps, zip codes, newspapers, facts, attractions, and images. This made it much easier to find exactly what I was searching for in less time.
On the left hand side of the Bing homepage there is a guided search for shopping, health, travel and local information. The shopping feature brings price comparisons, images and reviews for what you are looking for to help you quickly find the best product at the lowest price. The health feature brings together results from top medical sites ensuring that you are getting information you can trust. The travel feature allows you to enter dates and locations then finds the best deals. There is even a price predictor that determines when fares may be cheaper. The local feature allows you to search for things like restaurants around your area. You can then refine the results by parking, price, atmosphere or reservations and get one-click directions.
What is the difference between Bing and Google? The biggest difference is how the results are sorted. For example, I searched for “Detroit Redwings” on both search engines. On Bing, the official team website came up as the first result, on Google, news results (Stanley Cup etc) for the team were displayed first. Bing also pulled up a schedule for the team listing upcoming events. Google didn’t.
Another difference is the spell check feature of each site. When I misspelled a word while searching on Google, a notification asking if I meant the correct spelling instead came up. When I misspelled the same word on Bing, it automatically changed the word to the correct spelling and searched for that.
Google pulls up almost double the results that Bing does.
Some say Bing is more interesting to look at with images on its homepage while others prefer Google’s simple and classic background.
I think which search engine is a better depends on your own personal preferences. Personally, I’ve been happy with my results using Google and don’t see the need to switch over to Bing, at least for now. It’s a nice option to learn about though.
Social Media 04 Jun 2009 12:50 pm
Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign was historic not just politically but also because of his use of the Internet to promote awareness and create a loyal following. Obama and his campaign strategists realized that on top of public appearances, rallies and speeches the Internet was another effective medium to connect with the people of the United States. President Obama’s use of social media in his Presidential campaign will be the template to inspire future Presidential campaigns and be a beacon for how businesses can use the multiples of new media to reach customers on the Internet.
Obama was successful in realizing the true potential of the Internet as a way to raise $750 million dollars and support for his Presidential campaign. The youth vote played a major role in his landslide victory. Obama was able to earn the support of many first time voters largely because of his use of social media.
Obama needed to raise money and bring awareness to the people of the United States that he was running for President. The message to get across was that America needed a change and for this to happen, Americans needed to elect Obama as President.
To reach every demographic with the one message, “In order for change, you must elect Barack Obama.” AND if you want him to win-you must join the campaign and donate. The initial strategy was to reach the audience by using technology and reaching the donation goal by the majority of donations being under $200.
The site was created with help of Chris Hughes, one of the three Harvard students who founded Facebook. This site allowed Obama’s team to take the use of the Internet to a whole different level by allowing masses of volunteers to self-organize and communicate through their own social networking site. The site enlisted thousands of supporters for his blog, to get the word out about voting in elections and to get “buzz” going throughout the campaign.
By the time the campaign was over, volunteers had created more than 2 million profiles on the site, planned 200,000 offline events, formed 35,000 groups, posted 400,000 blogs and raised $30 million on 70,000 personal fund-raising pages.
The blog was updated frequently to keep members coming back, interested and engaged. The blog was fun and encouraged feedback.
Obama on Flickr
The campaign constantly took pictures and uploaded them to Flickr. Pictures were from throughout the campaign including the 82 posted that showed Obama and his family awaiting the election result and celebrating the victory. Most of the pictures were not staged and allowed people to feel like Barack was a “real” person- not just a political figure.
Obama’s YouTube Channel
Obama’s campaign took advantage of YouTube for free advertising. These videos are said to be more effective because viewers chose to watch them or received them from a friend instead of their TV show being interrupted.
The campaign’s official videos created for the site were watched for 14.5 million hours. To buy that much advertising time on TV would cost $47 million.
The most famous speech was “Yes, we can.” The video was viewed 1.8 million times on YouTube.
Barack Obama on LinkedIn
Obama’s presence on LinkedIn helped him connect to an older, professional and more politically motivated demographic. His homepage featured links to several web-based tools such as his YouTube videos and his Facebook profile.
Obama used the Q&A feature to pose a question to the LinkedIn audience: “How can the next President better help small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive?” The question generated over 1,500 responses from all types of small business owners and entrepreneurs. The Obama campaign then used the responses to formulate policy initiatives.
Twitter & Obama
Obama used Twitter to announce the various campaign stops and rallies throughout his campaign. His posts were encouraging and always contained a clear call to action.
He had his profile set up for whenever a person followed him he automatically followed them back. By Obama following supporters, he was sending the message that he wanted to communicate and he cared about what they had to say. This created a community and wasn’t limited to just getting others to see what he had to say.
Obama & Facebook
Facebook is home to more than 200 million users and is the most crowded place on the Internet today, making it an easy way to convey messages to millions in very little time.
Obama’s Facebook page listed his interests and provided supporters with interaction by giving them the ability to upload pictures & videos and post comments.
The campaign created an Obama application that supporters could add to their personal profiles. The application put a box in their profile and published stories to their news feed. There was also a plug in that asked users to pledge to vote for Obama and invite their friends to do the same.
Barack’s campaign was everywhere in social media networking sites. Everyone was included: faith based, race based, age based and even event based social networks.
Ultimately, Obama won the Presidency and raised $750 million dollars, primarily through the Internet.