Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Ultimate Blogger: More Than Meets The Eye

Hello Friends!!

I wanted to share an excerpt from an article that I helped write as part of a group project a couple years ago when I was a student at Seneca College's Corporate Communications program.  The experience was incredible and gave me a great opportunity to speak to some very seasoned and innovative communications specialists.  Special shout-out to my homie Nick Poirier who was a tremendous contributor to this project.

I'm competing to win my Dream Job as Endras BMW's Ultimate Blogger.  The job, which is highly sought after with about 600 competitors, will find the most capable individual to represent this great organization online.  While there are many "bloggers" in the mix, my edge is in understanding what the following article talks about.  That all good communicators go above and beyond the call of duty. 

*quick note: I've taken out the name of the main interviewee in the article.  Their name has been changed to "SM"

Are You Strategically Important?

In a burgeoning public relations field, managers aren't just looking for technicians anymore - they're looking for communicators who can maintain their strategic value by existing outside of the box.

Setting foot inside BMW Canada's headquarters, you get a sense of the corporate image its corporate communications specialist SM works hard to promote.  The Whitby-based structure is a modern mesh of glass and buffed stainless steel with sleek leather furniture, giving its layout a certain sophisticated flow.  If its whitewashed walls could talk, they would scream out with elements of culture, refinement and forward thinking.  The building is on the forefront of contemporary architecture and exudes elements that both define the BMW brand as well as the guiding principles behind how SM does her job.

"I'm always looking at information and asking myself what's best for BMW, the brand, and I'm always cautious of how the brand is being received and portrayed by the public," says SM.

In a headquarters that displays its dynamic personality through its very construct, SM's work ethic is perfectly matched.  As the specialist for BMW's business and lifestyle initiatives, SM works on everything from environmental strategy to BMW clothing, to profiling and speech writing for the president.  Her duties require her to stay on the cutting edge.

"I'm always thinking of ways to do things differently," says SM.  In this way, I've made myself important by having others trust me because I'm always thinking contingency."

SM has made herself important by adding value to what she does.

SM is the definition of an effective communications practitioner.  Not only does she mirror her company's progressive attitudes, she actively incorporates them into her daily work ritual.  In a profession saturated with technicians, SM is constantly thinking outside of the box to keep her company ahead of the pack and maintain her professional worth in the process.

SM 'gets it.'

Get it?


The article continues for a few more pages and quotes various experienced PR practitioners including Maril Gagen MacDonald former president of the Arthur W. Page Society and one of the "50 most powerful women in PR" by PR Week, Marion MacKenzie president of CGI Canada, Heather Conway former VP of PR at Alliance Atlantis and Dr. Juan-Carlos Molleda, professor in Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida.

Including the whole article would make for a super long blog post, but to summarize and bring the Ultimate Blogger job into perspective; the ideal candidate will be more than just a blogger for Endras BMW.

The ideal candidate should know the ins and outs of the BMW brand, the history, the culture, as well as be able to navigate and effectively communicate with the organization's different departments.  The Ultimate Blogger job isn't just writing blogs about new BMW models, at least it shouldn't be, it's about being a community manager and being passionate about the brand 24/7.

I 'get it.'

Please take a second to help my bid to win this great job.  It really is my dream!  All you have to do is click the link and click next to my name:

Shawn Hawaii's Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger page

Much love errrbody!!


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Integrity and Credibility: hand-in-and but not one-in-the-same

What's up Peeps!

So Today I woke up and did my normal routine of checking headlines, first at TorStar.  The front/homepage story was a picture of two young girls and the headline "Travel microchip found in case of missing twins." This was the first I'd heard of any such story, so I clicked to read more.

Here's a screenshot of the story:

I had a tough time gathering the happenings of the story.  Who was Mattias Schepp? Ok, he's revealed to be the father of the missing twins in the next paragraph.  But who is Alfredo Fabbrocini? And who are the missing twins? When did that happen? Anyone?  I was a bit annoyed because this was front page stuff and there was really no info. [At least a link to earlier reports/stories or some type of "breaking news/this story is still developing" disclaimer]

I put out a light-hearted tweet that was a bit of a jab at Torstar.  It read"oh @ what I wouldn't do without your poorly written/researched articles, don't worry, I'll keep reading".  I'll do this occasionally when I see a major news outlet put out a story that is just filled with spelling mistakes, bad editing (cut-n-paste fail) and content.  I find this as a source of personal entertainment, but I guess it can also been seen as a sort of taking-it-to-the-man type of attitude.  

Someone on Twitter said that "as pillar of journalistic integrity" there was no one more fit to judge the TorStar than myself.  Sensing sarcasm, in 140 characters or less, I tried to relay that I thought the article's content wasn't homepage worthy.  I also tried to be funny.  I don't think either worked.  And so a debate of tweets began to flow.

My friend on twitter was quick to point out that the TorStar article was syndicated from AP and that papers often get digital feeds for breaking news.  Very true.  Still, as a front page story (at the time Sunday morning) I come to expect a little more than what was delivered.  

Twitter friend asked if the AP had any facts wrong.  I said no, wasn't my point.  I'm talking content and front page "newsworthiness" (pseudo hate this term). Twitter friend asks why it's important to convince them of what's appropriate for TorStar homepage.  I'm now confused.  Wasn't trying to convince anyone, I was just reiterating my points when they asked about my tweet.  Twitter friend says they're curious to know my reasoning for saying TorStar isn't credible.  Even more confused, never said that.

Again, having this last bit exchanged over twitter in a barrage of 140 character tweets didn't provide for the most entertaining or comprehensive conversation. 

I admit, 100% I took a jab at TorStar's integrity (in a tweet).  I think I'm entitled to do so.  In my honest opinion, when you put out a story like that, with that content, you're being lazy.  When more information is available and that's what your giving to your dedicated readership, shame.  As a TorStar subscriber and reader, I really do expect more from them.  

However, I was not attacking their credibility.  I pointed out that my comments were of a casual, funny nature (people have laughed at my TorStar cracks in the past....tough room) and that I do support TorStar.   Just because I commented on a news story and even admitted to questioning their integrity, does not mean I am attacking their credibility.  You can have little integrity while still maintaing credibility and good reputation.  And vice verca.  Again, not suggesting either applies to the TorStar, simply that the two, while similar, are not the same.

I think the TorStar is a very credible media outlet and it would take a lot more than a few lazy stories and some misconstrued tweets to chip away at them.  That said, I do think it's okay to take jabs at them when their standards drop, because as a supporter and a stakeholder in their organization, it's my right and duty to do my part and helping to keep them honest.  

In the end I think Twitter friend and I agreed to disagree.  Actually no, they offered some advice and cautions about the Lion's Den that is professional writing.  I said not to worry as I'm not a pro writer and they then pointed out that I am competing to be the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger.  And so the debate transformed like the Phoenix into a much larger question (for me at least) on whether Blogging is professional writing?  

Huge question, I don't think, with any clear answer, rather many sides and opinions to a coin.  Methinks that'll have to wait until the next blog post.

Oh, and PLEASE take 3 seconds to vote for me in the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger contest.  No sign up or emails needed, just click HERE.

Love from your Homie, 

Shawn Hawaii

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Call of Duty = New World Order

Hello Peeps!

So I'm super excited because tomorrow the latest installment of Activision's popular Call of Duty title: Black Ops, will be receiving new "downloadable content."  This content, also referred to as a "map pack" will feature 5 new Maps for multiplayer online gaming.

In case you're unfamiliar with Call of Duty or the online gaming scene, this is like crack for...well crack heads.  Let me indulge you.

Video games are quickly becoming the Entertainment Superpowers of the world.  Call of Duty: Black Ops sold 5.6 MILLION copies in 24 HOURS.  That's sales of $360 million in ONE DAY. No album or movie comes even close.  It took just 42 days for the game to reach $1 BILLION in world wide sales.

They're nowhere near done.  The new map packs were released a month earlier on Xbox 360 to the tune of 1.4 million downloads in just their first 24 hours.  Total figures to date are unknown (to me at least) but I bet its at least 4 times that.  Bear in mind, that was just Xbox 360 and you can expect PS3 to do better since I hear there are more Black Ops players on PS3.

This is a new world order.  The other week my eyes were really opened to the fact that Facebook's worth at $50 Billion dollars put it ahead of other huge businesses like BMW, Target, Nike, Halliburton, etc.

Well give it another decade or two and we could see Activision/Call of Duty right up there.  There's no telling what the landscape might be like in 20, 30, 40+ years.  I know lots of gamers playing right into 40's and 50's and the there will always be a fresh crop of kids getting old enough to start playing these types of games.  It's only going to grow like crazy.

Who knows, maybe one day we'll be watching the Super Bowl from the Call of Duty Arena of some major market city.  I sure hope so.

Oh and please take 3 seconds to vote for me to be the Endras BMW Ultimate Blogger.  No sign up or emails needed just click and vote.

Shawn Hawaii's Ultimate Blogger Page