[Infographic] What Big Data & Your Kids Have in Common

[Infographic] What Big Data & Your Kids Have in Common

Big Data is changing the game for strategic marketing programs. More data is available to marketers than ever before, and intelligently using this data is driving huge increases to the bottom line.

As a marketer, I’m always looking to improve campaign conversions. Show me the data, and I’ll start asking questions with the curiosity of a child. Check out some of the top questions our customers are asking of Big Data, and some of the corresponding questions that might be asked by a curious child.

Props to the curious, to the driven and to the ones asking the questions. The answers will drive your company forward.

A Tribute to Steve Jobs: Great work = Loving what you do

Today, I am both saddened and inspired by the death of Steve Jobs. While growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s in Northern California, three words continually characterized the lexicon of the South Bay: “silicon;” the growing “Valley;” and this little company that conjured images of the season’s most delicious fruit: “Apple.”

Back then, I was certainly unable to foreshadow and “connect the dots” about the impact of my favorite Apple, the Macintosh, on my career. For as Jobs himself once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking back…”  So, today, in looking back, it’s plain to see the connection between my field of choice—technology public relations—and the influence his innovation had on me and countless millions around the globe.

With Apple, and, I believe especially due to Steve Jobs’ passion for technology, and fearless, unequivocal ability to change the game and our world, technology became pop culture—synonymous with cool, hip and fashion forward.  And it intrigued me immensely. It was with this innate curiosity that I pursued my first positions in technology marketing—and ultimately—accidentally fell into a public relations role for one of Apple’s original hardware developers. Apple was one of the first companies to help define tech PR, and not only did I love partnering to introduce complementary product offerings, I found my true calling! I had fallen in love with PR and soon began to realize that the steps leading forward would ensure a career of lasting satisfaction and exciting work!

Twenty-three years later, I am pleased to say that Steve Jobs was right: “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” I am very proud of the great work my team and I do and the passion with which we do it every day for our clients.

Thank you, Steve, for inspiring and touching so many people in ways formerly unimaginable. And for the continuous innovations you’ve brought to our industry and the world. The impact of your digital footprint will be felt forever…

The Power of Community Service

For over five years, MSR Communications has partnered with The San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, (SFCAPC), to help take a stand against child abuse and neglect by promoting healthier families through education and prevention. The MSR team actively donates our time and resources on a pro-bono basis to help raise awareness about the SFCAPC—its free programs and services—because we understand the profound impact it has on such critical issues that affect our entire community—no matter the economic strata.

Every spring, the Center holds its Blue Ribbon Luncheon, and this year’s took place last week at the Fairmont Hotel. With over 500 community members in attendance, patrons were treated to an interactive presentation by Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block. Known for his coveted techniques that help parents and care takers successfully calm and support crying infants and toddlers, Karp showcased his fierce passion and expert knowledge about the well-being of children. In addition, Dr. Moses Grossman was honored for founding the Center and his influential role in improving the lives of children and families as well as inspiring generations of people to take action against child abuse.

Each year in San Francisco, over 6,000 cases of child abuse are reported. Such abuse not only endangers a child’s physical and emotional health, but also affects their development. That is why providing emotional, social and financial support for children and families is so important. MSR’s role is to ensure these issues are continually raised on behalf of the Center throughout the community and beyond. With awareness and education, each of us can help make a difference in the lives of others.

The MSR Team is extremely honored to represent an organization that is held in such high esteem and whose dedicated staff and tireless efforts play such a vital role in the city in which we live and work. We congratulate the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center for improving the lives of community members and hope you’ll help join us in the fight to continue this important dialogue. http://www.sfcapc.org

The Iterative PR plan

Through our work in the IT space, I’ve become familiar with a new spin on a traditional term – “iterative.” While the classical definition of this term indicates repetitiveness, in IT, the word connotes making small changes to your processes and technology so that you can stay focused and adapt to an ever accelerating business cycle.

This is a cornerstone of the increasingly popular concept of “agile” business transformation. It essentially says that instead of following the traditional model of coming in, identifying everything that is wrong, and attempting to completely reshape it according to your vision, you strategically identify business processes that are feeling pain points and begin aligning, one step at a time, those processes to your overall strategy. In this way, you maintain your foothold so that you can more quickly adapt to changes in the business environment. You incrementally bring the organization in line with your overall vision in a non-disruptive way that doesn’t leave you out of the game when the unexpected occurs.

It’s no major imaginative feat to begin to see how this philosophy applies to the cornerstone of our work – the PR plan. Too often PR plans are formulaic and rigid, offering an approach created without regard to the needs of those whom it serves, or the ability of those involved to carry out its various tactics.

It was only a few years ago that Jeff Wofford asserted that “The Business Plan is Dead.” Of course planning will never be “dead,” but our approach should change with the times. Am I offering a new model upon which to base the new PR plan? No. In a way, that’s the point. There’s no formula that holds up universally in 2011 – the hyper-evolutionary communication landscape has seen to this.

I do suggest, however, that we keep a few things in mind when creating our plans:

  • The plan serves the organization, not vice versa
  • It’s better to have something workable with realistic goals, than a dazzling vision that will ultimately leave you and your client unsatisfied
  • Like on-demand content, you need to be able to leave the plan as new opportunities (or crises) arise, and then come back to it when you’re ready to resume

I know this doesn’t lend much in the way of specific action items, but I’d hesitate to get more detailed without knowing your business. But, if you want a takeaway, try this: make your plan a living breathing document by physically placing it in a location where everyone can tweak it simultaneously, in real-time, such as Google docs. This serves not only the purpose of allowing it to grow with the reality on the ground, but also keeps it from becoming what most PR plans seem to become: irrelevant.

–Michael Burke, MSR Communications

The Hill of Self Discovery, Creativity & Employee engagement

Genuine self-fulfillment and happiness lead to increased creativity and productivity in the workplace. But how can we apply these principles to improve our business?

Start by going outside and lying at the top of the nearest grassy hill.

Then slowly roll yourself down the hill. When you reach the bottom, beleaguered and smiling, covered in grass and dirt, you’ll begin to understand how increasing employees’ happiness and fulfillment maximize the most valuable assets within your company.

As companies invest in making their employees happier they must also realize that the workplace environment is just as – if not more – integral to increasing worker output than financial rewards. Studies have shown that employees who are actively engaged in their jobs outperform people who don’t feel the same connection. This is the “big picture” aspect to the analysis: an employee who either does not have a genuine interest in his/her job or has not been correctly assigned interesting work will not improve a business’ bottom-line. Businesses should not strive for merely satisfied employees – they should create a positive, challenging and engaging environment in which employees who care about their role in their business can truly bring the company to new heights.

Our work with Dr. Ken Thomas, creator of CPP, Inc’s Work Engagement Profile assessment and the author of Intrinsic Motivation at Work, has taught us invaluable lessons on intrinsic employee motivation’s relationship to meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress.

Anything done well starts with a purpose. The realization that the Hoover Dam would provide a stable water supply for millions of people gave construction workers and engineers motivation that pay raises could not attain. If an employee understands the end goals of a business, the 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete poured becomes more than just busy work. As PR practitioners, we must remain focused on the underlying reasons behind our work. We should constantly be asking ourselves how the service/product we’re representing improve peoples’ lives, and letting the answer guide our actions.

Beyond establishing purpose, employees must be given the independence to choose their projects as well as to make decisions on how to accomplish a task. It is important to note that while employees should be unified with a common vision, they should also be given the opportunity to choose what role they play in attaining it. The positive effects of choice cannot be understated, evident in Dr. Thomas’ statement that, “[choice provides a] feeling of being a responsible decision maker, of driving your own train.”

Quality is the end result of an employee who takes pride in and ownership of their work. Consequently, as Dr. Thomas points out, a feeling of competence is directly related to the level of satisfaction an employee receives from their work. Companies, therefore, are wise to invest in training initiatives that enable their employees to continually sharpen their skills.

Increasing motivation in the workplace is not solely about inspiring independent employees— it is, in the end, about producing innovative and productive leaders who positively impact the bottom line.

Nothing written here is theoretically revolutionary. In practice, however, these principles are rarely applied. We are one of a growing number of companies who understand and apply the principles of employee appreciation and intrinsic motivation. I hope your business, and your employees, take the tumble down the hill and become more creative, happy and productive.

Jordan Hodgson, MSR Communications