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Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

February 12th, 2016

Voce Client Coverage – 2/12/16

Every week the Voce team works tirelessly to secure important coverage for clients. Below is just an example of the results of this week’s work and you can see more on Flipboard.

Armor, BeyondTrust, Micro Focus, Rook, Palo Alto Networks, WhiteHat Security

CSO Online, What to love about your IT security job

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, security experts from six Voce clients share why they love working in information security in CSO Online. 

palo alto networks logoPalo Alto Networks

LegalTech News, New Skype Malware Mimics E-Discovery on Unsuspecting Users

Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 finds T9000, an advanced modular backdoor that uses complex anti-analysis techniques. T99000 allows the attacker to capture encrypted data, take screenshots of specific applications and specifically target Skype users.

Federal Times, Industry sounds off on tech, cyber in Obama’s budget

President Barak Obama’s federal budget request for fiscal 2017 included a significant increase (35 percent) in cybersecurity spending. Ryan Gillis, Vice President, Cybersecurity Strategy & Global Policy at Palo Alto Networks, provided commentary and highlighted significance of the cybersecurity initiatives over the last few years.

BeyondTrust

SearchSecurity, Social engineering attack leads to leaked info on 20,000 FBI agents

BeyondTrust’s Morey Haber commented on the social engineering aspect of the latest federal data breach, which compromised information belonging to thousands of federal employees.

armor logoArmor

Government Computer News, 5 Principles to ensure CNAP success

Armor’s Dr. Chase Cunningham published a bylined article in a government vertical outlining the ways to ensure President Obama’s newly announced Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) is a success.

Rook Security

Indianapolis Business Journal, 2016 Forty Under 40: J.J. Thompson

J.J. Thompson, the founder and CEO of Rook Security, was named to his local business journal’s Forty Under 40.

Filed in Voce Clients

February 12th, 2016

What I Love…Or What I Need?

Voce Nation kicked off a Valentine’s Day-inspired blog series aptly titled “What do you love?” Throughout February, Vocians are challenged to wax-poetic about the things that inspire love and passion in our lives. Quite the tall order for a working mom who barely has time to think between struggling with elementary school homework and washing soccer gear.

Alas, I never deny a challenge, so I decided to take a moment to reflect, think and write. What do I love? Well, I love my family, friends and good red wine. I love CrossFit, my adorable Westie and traveling. That was easy. Too easy. So, I decided to ask myself what do I need? That was much harder.

What does a 40-something year-old working mom need in 2016? Sigh. Sounds so cliché. Can defining what I need help me define what I love? Ugh, now I sound like Elizabeth Gilbert.

Turns out, it just took a glass of wine and another birthday to make me understand what I need: This seasoned communications professional needs to light a fire in her gut strong enough to conquer the back half of her career. She needs to be pushed, challenged and inspired. She needs to surround herself with people who are smart, accomplished… and searching for excellence with her.

Fortunately, my timing is kismet… I am about to embark on an exciting journey with 5,000 women who also are looking to be pushed, challenged and inspired. That certainly is something I need… and love.

Watermark Conference for Women

watermark conferenceI recently joined the social media “street team” for the Watermark Conference for Women in San Jose on April 21, 2016. At first, I volunteered because the social media director is a stud… and then I did my homework. The Watermark organization seems amazing. Watermark is a community of executive women in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose mission is to increase the representation of women at executive levels to drive innovation, human development and economic growth.

Perfection.

The Watermark Conference for Women is designed for women seeking professional development and networking. It offers community and connection, information and inspiration, motivation and momentum. It is designed to help people discover what they want and achieve it. The conference features A-list speakers who share wisdom and expertise on a wide range of personal and professional development topics, helping attendees find clarity on personal goals and what is needed to accomplish them.

Learn from the Best in their Business

Once I signed up for the street team, I looked at the conference keynote speakers and nearly fell out of my chair: Mindy Kaling, Abby Wambach, and the CEO of Life is Good. Oh. My. Heart. Here’s my take on the keynotes and why they inspire me:

Mindy Kaling: Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

Favorite Quote: Why not Me? (It’s also the title of her latest book.)

What It Means To Me: I love mentoring and helping others reach their professional goals – and it’s also okay to help myself. I need to make my career a priority as I encourage others do the same.

Abby Wambach: World Cup Champion

Favorite Quote: “The most important thing is that sometimes you have to go through hard times to get to the good stuff.”

What It Means To Me: The phrase “hard times” is relative. As a long-time agency person, hard times typically means losing a client, finding a new client, or hiring and firing staff. I must remember that the hard times are what make the good times happen.

John Jacobs: Co-founder of Life is Good

Favorite Quote: “The only true currency in the world: your time.”

What It Means To Me: This one hits home, and not because my clients pay for my time. My time is valuable beyond 9-5. I need to wisely use my time with my work, clients, colleagues, friends and family.

The Best is Yet to Come

The keynote speakers will be amazing, no doubt, but I am most excited to explore what I can learn from other women as I embark on my journey to be pushed, challenged and inspired:

Pushed: Will I find a new mentor to push me when our paths serendipitously cross over a breakout session?

Challenged: Will I be challenged to get out of my comfort zone, overcome fears, or admit my potential is limitless?

Inspired: Will I be inspired with a new career-changing idea that never even occurred to me?

This conference is the first step on my journey to determine what I need… to define what I love. The Watermark Conference is April 21, 2016 in San Jose, Calif. Won’t you join me? I would love it if you did.

Filed in Voce People

February 10th, 2016

Twitter’s Algorithmic Timeline Is Live

Last Friday news broke that Twitter was maybe considering introducing an algorithmic timeline, rearranging updates in a way that surfaces things in a way similar to Facebook. After some sort-of denials by Jack Dorsey, including assurances that no, an algorithmic timeline wasn’t coming this week, an algorithmic timeline has started rolling out today.Twitter_logo_blue

The change is being positioned as a way to help you catch up on Tweets from the people you follow. Right now it’s a setting you opt-in to and, if you do so, the updates Twitter thinks you’re most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline, with the “rest” appearing below. So it appears to be an expanded version of the “While You Were Away” feature that’s been in place for awhile now. For the moment this is opt-in but Twitter’s post says they’ll be turning it on for everyone in the coming weeks and it’s not clear how you’ll be able to turn it off.

Twitter touts the increased engagement they’ve seen among those who have been testing out this new format, which seems to be the point: That Twitter wants to generate more Retweets and conversations around the things that people are already talking about.

The issue with that approach is that those things people are already talking about tend to be…let’s just say they’re not always the most constructive or important matters. Yesterday, for example, you might have seen everyone reacting to Kanye’s meltdown but maybe not the results of the New Hampshire primaries.Think about how two years ago the unfiltered Twitter stream was all about the racial violence in Ferguson while Facebook was focused on the Ice Bucket Challenge. Engagement based feeds are fine, but they’re designed to show you the things you want to know about, not the things you need to know about.

For content marketers the implications are pretty substantial. If the posts you put up can’t reach whatever tipping point trips the algorithm they’ll be seen by an even lower percentage of your audience than you’re currently seeing. If it does clear that line it could, on the other hand, expose your message to many more than would have otherwise seen it. Engagement begets engagement.

All this reemphasizes how important it is to have sustainable strategies, even if the tactics change. It’s another feed to figure out for content marketers who now need to be at least conversant in SEO, Facebook’s feed, Pinterest influencers, how to convert on Instagram and more. But if the strategies are sound then the tactics that follow from them should be easy to adjust as you gather metrics and otherwise evaluate how the program is performing.

Twitter’s search for user growth, something it has struggled with to the dismay of shareholders and the detriment of its stock price, now stretches beyond more and different ad products – it introduced guaranteed top-of-feed placement just yesterday – into the core Twitter experience.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Content Marketing, Microblogging, Social Networks

February 9th, 2016

How Did that Big Game Content Marketing Turn Out?

Last week I took a look at how three companies – Heinz, Squarespace and 20th Century Fox – were preparing for their “Big Game” spots. In some cases there was a lot of teasing going on while in others there was almost no acknowledgement that something larger scale was coming.

In the immediate aftermath of the game a few different narratives emerged in the press. Variety’s Brian Steinberg felt the ads were small-scale and underwhelming for the biggest advertising event of the year. Sydney Ember at The New York Times felt the ads were a textbook example of playing it safe, with brands sticking to celebrities, animals and so on. There were also plenty of examples of brands creating ads that were meant to play well on TV, social networks viewed on mobile devices and elsewhere.

In terms of actual data on overall trends, only 45% of ads included a hashtag (down from 50% in 2015), 35% included a URL and very few mentioned Twitter or Facebook explicitly, with no ads specially calling out Instagram, YouTube of Snapchat. According to UnionMetrics, Doritos, Budweiser and Mountain Dew were the most Tweeted about ads, showing the power of #PuppyMonkeyBaby. Cision had slightly different data, with Mountain Dew, Doritos and Amazon making up the top three.

The numbers were very different on Facebook, where Hyundai, Budweiser and KFC were the most-viewed ads. Budweiser was the only one of those to also appear on Networked Insight’s list of the ads generating the most positive Twitter comments. Visible Measure’s ranking of the ads accumulating the most video views was topped by Wix.com’s Kung Fu Panda ads, Hyundai’s “The Chase” and Doritos somewhat controversial “Crash the Super Bowl” spot. YouTube of course has its own ranking of both top trending ads and most-searched terms during the game.

So with some general data out of the way, let’s look at what the three companies I previously called out did during and immediately after the game, as well as how their ads were received.

Heinz

The condiment brand was pretty active on Twitter during the game. It continued to point people to the YouTube video of the full spot and encouraged people to vote for it in the USA Today AdMeter poll. It was also nicely responsive to several people who were asking when the “Meet the Ketchups” spot was going to air, telling them it would be during the 3rd quarter. It also did a bunch of “real-time” efforts such as sharing a turned-over ketchup bottle when there was a turnover in the game. These weren’t produced on-the-fly but seem to be pulled from a stock of images that could be used during the game, though obviously someone – or a team of someones – was paying attention to what was happening. At the beginning of the second quarter Crusoe the Celeb Dachshund “took over” the account, which brought with it some puns, jokes about whether “hike” means “walk-time” and more. Later on, after things had reverted to normal, there were also some fun interactions between other brands like Build-a-Bear, Petco and others who were tweeting at Heinz with dog humor. They also RTd PETA and sent other messages encouraging people to consider adopting a dog, dachshund or any other kind.

heinz meet the ketchups

 

While it didn’t make anyone’s list of the best or most memorable spots, Steinberg at Variety called it “a memorable entry” whose message won’t exactly subtle. According to Visible Measure’s video charts, this was the ninth most-viewed ad in the lead-up to and final release of the game spot.

Squarespace

Far less active than Heinz was Squarespace. The site building and hosting company pretty much just kept promoting links to the livestream of Lee and Morris’ commentary. There were a few GIFs of either Key or Peele making faces or something, sometimes in reaction to a play in the game itself. There were only about a dozen Tweets between the game starting and ending and none of them included the ad itself or anything about that commercial. The company hasn’t posted at all since Sunday.

squarespace real talk post game

Variety’s Steinberg liked the overall effort of having Key & Peele hosting online commentary but called the ad promoting that effort “a muddled affair,” That sentiment seems to have been shared by Adweek, where the spot was labeled “OK” but which praised the commentary stream. The team at Fortune was more harsh, giving the commercial an F in their roundup. But it ranked highly on a list of companies doing well integrating Instagram marketing with their advertising.

20th Century Fox (For Deadpool)

Also not that active during the game, though the studio was obviously having fun. In one Tweet it put Deadpool masks on an image from Hyundai’s commercial starring Ryan Reynolds. There was also a fun exchange between the movie and Esurance over whether or not Deadpool could enter the sweepstakes the insurance company was running. The anti-hero was ruled ineligible because he appears in the spot, part of the movie’s cross-promotional campaign.

It had been reported the movie would get a Snapchat presence during the game and part of that included a branded photo filter that included a couple different movie-themed overlays people could add to their Snaps.

Conclusion

There were obviously several different approaches taken to in-game commentary and engagement during the game. I’m sure if I looked at five other brand I’d see at least three or four more angles being taken. What’s obvious, though, is that some brands saw “prompt immediate action” as the primary point of their activity while others were going more for generating brand awareness. I’d hazard a guess that the size of the team manning the social media controls during the game also impacted activity quite a bit. As I promised last week, if the situation warrants I’ll come back next week to see if these brands have extended the conversation at all long-term.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Content Marketing, Microblogging

February 8th, 2016

Make it Simple Stupid, or You Will MISS the Point

As an aspiring, but middling writer: I constantly struggle with keeping stories simple. To me, your choice of words is incredibly important to painting a picture. Especially, when you are a horrible artist.

So while I’ll always dream of using “facetious” in a sentence – and having a client approve it – I know that what is more important is creating a story that my client’s own customers will appreciate and relate to.

That is why I know it is so important to be able to create a story that is simple to retell. Stories are meant to be relatable and human. Stories connect us and remind us to be human.

Here is a checklist that I run through every time I pitch a story to a client, a journalist or my mom.

Give Your Story a Name

Talking facetiously about a denial of service attack that can cripple a business due to an unquantifiable loss of network traffic – all while causing damage to the company brand – is a very hard task. Unless you are Marissa Meyers: as a CEO, you have to shrug your shoulders, you have too many things to worry about – until it happens to your website. This is why we use acronyms like DDoS, but we forget that the normal layman does not. That is why I use personas like Jack the Ripper, Robin Hood or Guy Fawkes. Each paints an immediate picture and helps set a stage for your story.

wang post feb

Give Your Story a Face

Big Brother, the Elephant Man and that guy on all those neighborhood watch signs have one thing in common – they do not have a face. Without a face, each and every person has to struggle with understanding a story. Protagonist, antagonist, bit player – it does not matter, there is a reason everyone always remembers who won Best Actor, but not Best Screenplay. It is the reason why Martin Shkreli’s smug face is plastered everywhere right now.

Show Your Mom Why Your Story Matters

Once you have the people, it is now a matter of setting the stage. “Finding the lowest common denominator” is a derisive term, but it works because it is relatable. We all have smart phones.* We all have to commute.* We all should not be texting while we are on the road. Once the stage is set, your audience’s imagination will do half of the work for you.

Have Fun Along the Way

I can not tell you how many times a campaign has fallen apart because the team behind it lost their drive somewhere along the way. Burn out can happen, but it does not have to. Put together the right team. Find people who complement each other. Create a team of individual thinkers that always want to learn. Hire storytellers. This is the key to success. Talking about DNS may not be “fun,” but telling the story of how my mom could not access a website to make a reservation and knew to turn to the Ticketmaster app – then describing how happy getting those Phantom of the Opera tickets made her – that is fun, and it makes people happy.

If you think about technology as a tool that makes you happier, makes life better and helps humanity better understand the world, you will go far in telling a story about technology that people will remember.

Otherwise, you are just missing the point.

*First World Problems – I know – but once again, that is why catering to the lowest common denominator is important and effective.

Filed in Content Marketing

February 5th, 2016

Voce Client Coverage Roundup – 2/5/16

Every week the Voce team works tirelessly to secure important coverage for clients. Below is just an example of the results of this week’s work and you can see more on Flipboard.

Citrix and BlueCat

Dark Reading, 7 Signs of InfoSec’s Groundhog Day Syndrome

Kurt Roemer, chief security strategist at Citrix, explains what’s behind shadow IT. And BlueCat CTO, Andrew Wertkin, explains the merry-go-round effect of network hardware purchasing and the impact it has on achieving flexible, scalable and highly resilient infrastructures.


Armor and Palo Alto Networks

SC Magazine, Debate: Cybersecurity information sharing allows network defenders to stay ahead of adversaries

PAN CSO, Rick Howard, and Armor CEO, Chris Drake, are featured in the February edition of SC Magazine in a debate about cybersecurity information sharing. 


rook security logoRook Security

Risk Management Magazine, 6 Tips to Reduce the Risk of Social Engineering Fraud

Chris Blow, senior advisor, shares his tactical knowledge of social engineering, including campaigns he performed himself. His commentary was included in the January/February cover story. 


LinkedIn

New Hampshire Union Leader, NH undergoes ‘transportation boom’

LinkedIn Economist, Guy Berger, talks about the LinkedIn Workforce Spotlight, which leveraged Economic Graph data to examine the state of NH’s economy in advance of the Presidential primaries there next week.


Micro Focus

SearchSecurity.com, Costly government cybersecurity system needs major changes

Michael Angelo, chief security architect at Micro Focus, is quoted on how encryption is changing network security.


whitehat security twitterWhiteHat Security

eWEEK, Google Discloses Flaws in Avast, Comodo and Malwarebytes Products

Jeremiah Grossman, founder of WhiteHat Security, talks with eWEEK about security flaws in Chromium browsers. 


BeyondTrust

InfoWorld, Security flaws not so critical if admin rights are taken away

Morey Haber, VP of Technology, explains the importance of removing user administrator privileges from employees to help protect companies against vulnerabilities. This subject plays right into BeyondTrust’s value proposition. 


palo alto networks logoPalo Alto Networks

LegalTech News, Survey of Cyber Experts Sheds Light on Attackers Habits, Best Prevention Strategies

In a new study released Monday, Palo Alto Networks partnered with the Ponemon Institute to understand not only what motivates cyberattackers, but also how we can turn the tables on them by taking away their financial incentives to attack. 

Filed in Voce Clients

February 3rd, 2016

Where Does a “Big Game” Ad Fit In A Content Marketing Plan?

Are you ready for this Sunday’s Big Game? Have you bought that new flat-screen TV, planned what kind of pizza and sides to order and what kind of guacamole to have for your guests? Are you ready with conversations-starters to fill in the time between commercial breaks?

Yes, as we’ve been told by countless articles and numerous studies, many viewers watch the game more for the commercials than for the game. Recently a new survey showed 77% of respondents see those commercials as mostly entertainment, even as they do realize that they’re being marketed to. But I’ve been thinking of how the commercials can or should fit into an overall content marketing plan.

For the sake of simplicity let’s say that these commercials are what we would term “Premium Content,” a big moment in an ongoing content plan that is meant to create a spike in conversations and generate press coverage. It’s safe to assume these commercials fit that definition. As we know Premium Content moments should be supported both before and after release by Core Content, or the everyday messaging that happens online and offline.

Today I’m going to look at what three brands are doing in advance of their Big Game ads, which is costing $5 million. Next week I’ll look at the commercials themselves and then the week after that I’ll review what they’ve been doing in the wake of that big moment, specifically on Twitter since it’s an easy single source to audit. So let’s dive in:

Heinz

On January 22nd they teased the audience to “Meet the Ketchups,” a family of condiments, on 2/2. A week later they introduced “Original” and then on 2/1 (what happened that  they went a day earlier than planned, I wonder) we were introduced to the whole family. That tweet said the whole family would be in “the Big Game” and linked to the full 60-second commercial the company planned for the broadcast. A 30-second version of the spot was then shared natively on Twitter the next day. After that they RTd @Someecards praising the commercial and then did the same for an @Mashable post.

The spot appears to be part of a long-running campaign from Heinz called “Heinz Ketchup Got a New Mustard” that’s meant to introduce Heinz Mustard. Anthropomorphized condiment bottles play out how Heinz Ketchup breaks up with generic mustard for the new Heinz Ketchup, which has “better taste.” This is an expansion of that to show the whole family – hence the teasers. So the company has been using #MeetTheKetchups on social. Aside from the native video there hasn’t been a whole lot of engagement on Twitter and it’s interesting to see, considering the buzz the full commercial has been getting that it’s not doing more to amplify the conversations other people have been having about how cute the wiener dogs are.

Squarespace

The website design and hosting company began teasing their involvement, which involves live game commentary by the Key & Peele team on February 1st, less than a week before the game. Since then the company has shared a few short videos and GIFs featuring Lee and Morris, the pair played by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, as they get ready for their broadcast. As usual with these two everything has their unique sense of humor attached. There are a couple posts where Squarespace has asked individuals – presumably those who have been talking positively about the campaign to date – for permission to use their Tweets on the campaign site.

squarespace super bowl

All the posts include the #RealTalk hashtag to reinforce the campaign branding and keep people focused on the the single point of conversation. Most of the posts also contain a link to the campaign landing page, which right now is counting down to the Big Game and encouraging visitors to tune in for the Real Talk commentary. It also has all the videos and GIFs that have also been shared via social. Smartly, there’s also a big call to action in the upper right hand corner encouraging people to Get Started and “Create a dope website.”

Deadpool (20th Century Fox)

Despite being one of the few upcoming movies with a TV spot confirmed for the Big Game there’s nothing on Twitter about it. No encouragements to stay tuned for the full commercial or teases or anything else. That’s all the more surprising considering reports 20th Century Fox will be making a big deal about the Merc With A Mouth in other ways, including having star Ryan Reynolds work a food truck on Friday night and holding the press junket Saturday night in a bar near the stadium where the game is being played. The studio also is said to have big social media plans, including lots of Snapchat activity, during the game itself on Sunday.

So how will this play out? How much conversation will these efforts have in execution? We’ll have to wait until after the game to measure the results.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Content Marketing, Marketing

February 2nd, 2016

Voce Student Essential Reading 2/2: Facebook’s News Feed, Public Relations and the Village People, How to Follow Up & More

feat_cox06__01_sized

Image via Bloomberg

Social Media

News Feed FYI: Using Qualitative Feedback to Show Relevant Stories

“The goal of News Feed is to show you the stories that matter most to you. The actions people take on Facebook—liking, clicking, commenting or sharing a post—are historically some of the main factors considered to determine what to show at the top of your News Feed. But these factors don’t always tell us the whole story of what is most meaningful to you.”

Voce Insight – This is proof that likes, comments and shares aren’t the only thing going into getting a post from your page in the newsfeeds of more people. It’s more complicated than that. Moreover, this shows again that Likes or generic engagement should not be the end goal of your posts. You want your audience to take meaningful action in some way, so baiting them to just hit like and do nothing else is not the answer.

Inside Facebook’s Decision to Blow Up the Like Button

“The most drastic change to Facebook in years was born a year ago during an off-site at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley, a 10-minute drive from headquarters. Chris Cox, the social network’s chief product officer, led the discussion, asking each of the six executives around the conference room to list the top three projects they were most eager to tackle in 2015. When it was Cox’s turn, he dropped a bomb: They needed to do something about the ‘like’ button.”

Voce Insight – This is something for community managers to pay attention to, as it will profoundly affect how their audiences react to content. Brands need to be ready to take more nuanced feedback to inform how they communicate.

Public Relations

Five Things Everyone Should Know About Public Relations

“Very few people can explain what people in public relations really do. If you’re a cop, a construction worker or a cowboy, everybody knows your job function. (If you’re a cop, construction worker and a cowboy who hangs out with a guy dressed in leather, you’re in the Village People.)”

Voce InsightSelf-explanatory.

8 Tips For Writing A Listicle That Will Get Published

“That said, as one of the people who reviews the freelance pitches that come into Bustle, I can tell you what I’m looking for in a listicle as an editor.”

Voce Insight – Listicles, so hot right now. This article gives you a quick introduction to listicles, how to pitch them and then, as the headline states, tells you how to write a killer listicle for publication. It’s an easy-ish way to get your foot in the door of the world of content.

Career

4 Non-Annoying Ways to Follow Up After an Interview

“You landed the interview, and as far as you’re concerned? You nailed that sucker. Or, you met with a recruiter who seemed super interested and incredibly connected with the exact kinds of companies for whom you want to work. She said, “Keep in touch!” Awesome. But a couple of weeks have gone by and nothing’s happened. So what do you do now? Can you follow up with her without reeking of desperation or looking like a pest?”

Voce Insight – If you’re applying for a public relations job, this is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your chops. You’re really pitching yourself here, so showing you know how to maintain contact after an interview is important.

10 Experts Share the Best Career Advice They Ever Received

“The best career advice I ever received was from my very first boss 30 years ago. She told me, ‘Show, don’t tell.’”

Voce Insight – Everyone needs a pick-me-up every once in awhile; reference these tidbits of phenomenal career advice for the occasional boost for inspiration.

Filed in Weekly Reading

February 2nd, 2016

Voce Presents: What Do You Love?

The month of February contains Valentine’s Day. This means that for the next month, peaking around February 14, there will be all sorts of proclamations of love, people waxing poetic about the nature of love, and probably at least a few elaborate marriage proposals well-staged for cameras and social media platforms.

via GIPHY

That’s all well and good; who are we to get curmudgeonly about a little love? In fact, we at Voce want to get in on the love action this month. (Sometimes, the double-entendres write themselves.) But romantic love isn’t the only kind of love worth celebrating, y’know. “Love” also describes extreme passion for an object or concept or abstract.

People have been known to love pizza, love a song or a movie — or if they’re lucky, love their jobs. The kind of passion for something that we describe as “love” is as boundless and varied as the kind that makes poets money and makes dreamers swoon. And embracing these passions is part of what makes life worth the trip, even if no one else really understands why you love what you love. As actress Kristen Bell has said,

“I have friends who wear Star Wars costumes and act like the characters all day. I may not be that deep into it, but there’s something great about loving what you love and not caring if it’s unpopular.”

We agree. So over the course of this month, many of your favorite Vocians (and we know you have at least one!) will be sharing with you on this blog the things that we love and are passionate about. Some of them will be work-related, some will not — and that’s as it should be. But we’re hoping this exercise may give you a little insight into what makes us tick and who we are as a company. Stay tuned to see what makes Vocians giddy.

emma watson i love this song

About the Author
Christopher Barger is Senior Vice President of Global Digital at Voce/Porter Novelli. You can follow him on Twitter @cbarger.

Filed in Voce Culture, Voce People

February 1st, 2016

Grease is the GIF

Did you watch “Grease: Live” last night? Follow-up question: Did you watch it on TV or on Twitter?

GREASE: LIVE: (L-R): Keke Palmer, Kether Donohue, Julianne Hough, Andrew Call, Carly Rae Jespen, Carlos PenaVega  Aaron Tveit, David Del Rio, Jordan Fisher and Vanessa Hudgens in GREASE: LIVE airing LIVE Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 (7:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX. Cr: Tommy Garcia/FOX

As an almost painfully avid musical fan (you may have caught my recent writeup on the incredible social media potency of Hamilton), “Grease: Live” was a Big Deal for me, and constantly refreshing my Twitter timeline throughout the broadcast was a vital part of the experience. I agree with Walt Mossberg’s recent assessment that Twitter has become “secret handshake” software, a tool bogged down by arcane rules and norms. That said, occasions like “Grease: Live” are the times when (for me at least) knowing the secret handshake pays off. While Instagram photos are carefully manicured and Facebook updates are filtered and shuffled out of order, on Twitter, it’s still OK to be verbose and overexcited and just plain weird. Better yet, that weirdness is a shared experience, exploding all over your Twitter feed without any algorithms to get you down.

Clearly, Fox was savvy to all this, because the network took steps to streamline the “Grease: Live” social media experience. Official social media channels shared looks “backstage” throughout the broadcast. (Marty’s double tearaway costume!) Meanwhile, GIFs from the broadcast appeared on Giphy with impressive speed and were promptly shared by everyone from Vulture to Broadway.com, multiplying the reach of #GreaseLive conversation even further. So even if you weren’t watching “Grease: Live,” there’s a good chance that you were still “watching” it through friends and publishers all over social media.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen GIFs dominate real-time conversation around a TV event, and Fox was smart to anticipate it. It’s a testament to the power of content strategy even in real-time scenarios. Fox couldn’t prepare GIFs of its live broadcast ahead of time, but its streamlined approach to turning around real-time conversation fodder as quickly as possible paid dividends, taking a typical TV broadcast far beyond the scope of TV.

Note: Hat tip to Chris Thilk for teeing up the concept for this post and for giving me an excuse to look at Aaron Tveit GIFs, you know, for work.

Filed in Community, Microblogging, Social Networks

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