Why Major Tech Companies Turn Their Backs on Trade Shows for Product Announcements

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The Verge published an interesting piece the other week about the lack of major product announcements at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. The article points out that many of the major players announced their products elsewhere: “Samsung decided that every hero Galaxy device deserves its own event, HTC followed suit with its One unveiling a week ago, and Google’s Chromebook Pixel got its launch completely separately from MWC.” The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas shows a similar trend with Microsoft pulling out last year and many of the most significant tech products announced at separate media events throughout the year. Apple pretty much set a trend for this when it dropped out of Macworld in 2009, a trade show entirely dedicated to the company’s products: “Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers,” explained the company’s press release back then.  [Read more...]

Book Review: PR Lessons Learned from Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan

“Either erase the story, or we’ll erase you and your family.” This is how Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan begins. Author Jake Adelstein is the only American who has ever worked as a reporter at Japan’s biggest daily newspaper, the Yomiuri Shinbun. In his book, he tells us the incredible story of how he started as a police reporter in Japan and how he descended into Japan’s underworld to explore their most notorious gangster organization, the Yakuza. At the peak of this amazing tale, he reveals how several Japanese Yakuza received liver transplants in the US. Before he wrote the book, he originally published an article on this in the Washington Post – a move that put his and his family’s lives at serious risk. [Read more...]

Save the Date: Burson-Marsteller Shows How Fortune 100s Use Social Media

Global PR firm Burson-Marsteller is holding a webinar on February 17 at 11 AM EST to present the results of its second social media study. The research focuses on how Fortune 100s use social media across the globe. The agency’s first study from last year showed that 79 percent of the companies participate in the social sphere, but only a fraction actually engages with stakeholdes. Interesting for international PR pros is that Burson-Marsteller takes a global perspective and looks at the developments on different continents and what’s changed since last year. The webinar features experts from Asia, Europe, Latin America and the U.S. What were the dominant strategies and tactics? Did more companies actually engage with their audiences? Let me know what you think in the comments. I’ll definitely follow the webinar and report on the results.

Tweets over Coffee: Qualcomm’s Social Media Walls at CES

After working the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for hours, would you say no to a free gourmet coffee? Certainly not! That’s what I thought when I came by the Qualcomm booth at this year’s CES, where they had a full-fledged coffee bar. While standing in line, I recognized several screens, leveraging feeds and aggregated content from numerous social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Why not send a quick tweet or write a Facebook post while standing in line and waiting for that café latte?

From Twitter to Social Media Wall

Twitter walls are a great way to reach a global audience beyond the constrained walls of an event. Qualcomm took this concept a step further by integrating several elements into a full social media wall. “Qualcomm and Digitaria sought to highlight the broader social footprint while tactically melding the unique features of the various outlets as well: visuals via Flickr, wall posts and conversation from Facebook,” said Greg Zapar, senior account strategist at Digitaria, the digital media agency behind the social media walls at the Qualcomm booth. Even better, there was an extra column for Twitter hashtag polls. This was a great way to survey booth visitors and show them real-time results. Questions were related to Qualcomm technology: “Do you use data more than voice on your phone?” was one example. Everyone at the booth was able vote yes or no via Twitter and the results were displayed in percentage on the screens. By integrating #snapdargon in their tweets, show attendees were also able to enter a contest for a chance to win a Windows 7 phone. Furthermore, touch screens invited people to have their pictures taken, select their moods or feelings, and then send the images and words for display.

How to Set-up a Social Media Wall

The social media walls at the Qualcomm booth were custom Flash applications developed by Digitaria. When implementing several platforms and elements this effort is necessary. But there are several tools out there that can be used to set-up a simple Twitter wall, ranging from free solutions like Twitterfall or fully customizable but paid offerings such as Wall of Tweets (disclaimer: in my role as a PR manager for NAVIGON, I’m a customer of Wall of Tweets). The Twitter wall pulls all tweets including a certain hashtag or keyword, so they become visible to everyone at the event, spurring conversations and reactions.

Monitoring Results

As with any social media or PR program, monitoring results is imperative in order to demonstrate the impact and reach. Metrics could for example include total tweets, re-tweets, link clicks, new followers, among other factors.  “For the social wall, Qualcomm uses a variety of tools for social measurement including Google Analytics, Radian6 and NetInsight,” explains Zapar. While Qualcomm and Digitera haven’t released any stats on their social media wall at CES yet, they are planning to do so in a forthcoming case study. Once the results become available, I will report them in a separate post.

Have you seen any other creative forms of integrating social media at events? Let me know in the comments.