Author: Bonnie Harris

IMCI'm always amazed at the ability of PR people to accomplish things in about a third of the time it would take the rest of us. But I think it's a necessity. News moves practically at the speed of light these days. Trying to stay ahead of that cycle (which is what public relations professionals have to do) takes a giant amount of energy, alacrity and mojo. I was incredibly honored to be asked to speak at the PRSA International Conference yesterday. True to form, the staff asked me to present an overview of Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC. In an hour. I did a webinar version of this talk in August, and the general consensus after that session was they wanted less "what and why" and more "how to." Makes sense right? There's very little time to look at the pretty train and enjoy the comfortable seats. No my friends. The train has left the station and PR people are leaping on the roof, dashing into the cars and at times hanging onto the caboose with their fingertips.  I love that energy! I'm not entirely sure I delivered what they needed yesterday. Technology was not on my side and I probably tried to present way too much information. (Here it is on Slideshare if you're interested) It's hard to say. Here's what I'm really hoping they took away from all my mumbo jumbo:

downloadThe power of marketing has really been proven by the amount of awareness, funding and treatment advancements in breast cancer since this whole pink ribbon thing started. All the #pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month may seem a bit tiresome, at least it was to me until I reaped the benefits this past summer. And it brought home to me the fact that marketing is a GOOD thing. That marketing drives the conversation and helps promote not only sales (which is good for the economy) but awareness and funds to help save lives. In May of this year I went in for a routine mammogram at the University of Minnesota Breast Center. Although I hadn't had one since a false positive several years earlier, my mom was being treated for lung cancer and I felt it was time. Also, I had a weird burning sensation in my left breast. One diagnostic mammogram and subsequent biopsy revealed I had high grade DCIS, which some call Stage 0 breast cancer and others precancer.

Death is often temporary and perplexing in the world of search and Google, a fact only further proved when John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools announced that Google would no longer support rel=author markup. Consequently, SEO professionals who preached authorship as the future of content ownership and recognition are losing trust from online marketers and authors who dutifully followed suit to maximize their content marketing strategies. But the loss of trust is premature; when you separate Google authorship from Author Rank, a path for managing your digital content becomes clearer and just as impactful.

Why Should I Still Care?

As Search Engine Land describes, Author Rank is derived from Google's 2007 agent rank patent and its relevance was renewed after CEO Eric Schmidt's comment in his 2013 book. "Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top [verified] results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance." We now know that authorship markup and Google+ will not be a catalyst in identifying content ownership.

[gallery ids="5939,5940,5941,5942,5943"] By Jocelyn Cunanan Jocelyn is a Creative and Quality Improvement Manager at Display Creatives. She loves keeping up with all the newest technology innovations as well as attending as many tech shows and events as she can. She strongly feels incorporating technology into any business is essential for productivity, marketing and customer service-plus its fun! Building displays for trade shows here at Display Creatives for years has taught us one important thing - truly impressive displays are what draw traffic and generate buzz. A well-designed display can dramatically increase the ROI that a company receives from attending a tradeshow. Whether through word of mouth, social media, or simply visual beauty, innovative displays can gain attention that a normal display would not. So there’s little surprise that companies are continually finding innovative ways to design displays. They want to impress attendees and competitors that are attending the tradeshows. Futuristic trade show displays have been particularly impressive at trade shows, raising the bar regarding what can be accomplished within the specific parameters.  Here are five futuristic trade show displays that have really raised the bar: One: WorldSpace Display Based in Silver Spring, Maryland WorldSpace was a satellite radio network that had most of its subscribers from Asia. Their trade show display had an innovative design that utilized a combination of materials such as metal and wood. The futuristic shapes added to the innovative presentation. Other features of the display included a conference room, and a dynamic setup that showcased the brand values and story of the company in an immersive environment. Two: TLC Tradeshow Display TLC (The Library Corporation) is a company that services libraries with technological products. Based in Inwood, West Virginia they built an innovative trade show display with a lit arch structure that was composed out of ethereal, lightweight materials. At the front was a curved and streamlined receptionist desk and sleek stools. The display also featured a backlit wall and demo stations. The TLC tradeshow display sought to present themselves as technologically advanced and elegant. The lightweight materials along with the excellent lighting created a calming environment with an elegance suited to a company that services libraries.  Three: NASA Display

Social Media Usage in the MidwestSome time ago I was happy to participate in the Social Scene Midwest study of social media usage in the Midwest. In exchange, they promised us participants a copy of their final report, which they recently delivered. The results were quite revealing, particularly from a regional marketer's perspective. First, a little background about the survey:
  • 10 Midwest states were included
  • A total of 1,339 responses were collected
  • Conducted by two firms (Brand Driven Digital and Vernon Research Group) with an interest in both individual and business usage of social media throughout the Midwest

customer reviewsCultivating a steady stream of positive customer reviews is a surefire way to set your business apart from competitors. Many companies even gain an edge by incentivizing their customers to leave a positive review after service or orders have been completed. According to SearchEngineland.com, 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews, and most of those people believe positive reviews enough to make online purchase decisions based off that brief snippet of information. Here are some other things to keep in mind as you consider how to take advantage of positive customer reviews.

Benefits of positive reviews

Because customers have demonstrated trust in online reviews, they have a measurable impact on converting potential leads into sales. In fact, Unbounce.com reports that some surveys have shown that customer reviews boosted online conversions by as much 35 percent. “Nothing breeds trust quite the way an unfiltered customer review stream does, but that doesn’t mean you should just add a template review form to your site,” Unbounce.com’s Pratik Dholakiya advises. Companies still need to have more control than just opening an online forum for people to post whatever they’d like. Angie’s List and Yelp still top the list for trusted Internet sites for customer reviews. These types of sites require some attention to drive customers to your business.