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New agency partnership in Germany

Monday, January 27th, 2014

One of our core beliefs here at McKenzie Worldwide is that smart, experienced PR people can do a great job for clients without the need for a lot of overhead. Rather than set up an expensive infrastructure around the world, our focus has been on working with “best of breed” agency partners.

To that end, we’re pleased to announce a new partnership with Donner & Doria Public Relations based in Heidelberg, Germany. Like many good relationships, this one will be a two-way street. We will be turning to Donner & Doria when our US-based clients need support in Germany, and Donner & Doria will be turning to us when their clients need US support.

Given Donner & Doria’s proximity to SAP AG (10 minutes down A-5), a particular emphasis will be working with potential clients in the SAP ecosystem, as well as many other high-tech clients who want senior PR representation, strategic insights, technical smarts and great execution at affordable (think low overhead) rates.

Here’s the full (English) press release

McKenzie Worldwide Welcomes Donner & Doria Public Relations to the MWW Global Communications Alliance Program

Collaboration provides both agencies with enhanced capabilities to service clients in Germany and beyond

Portland, Ore. and Heidelberg, Germany, January, 27 2014 – High-tech integrated communications and marketing agency McKenzie Worldwide and the German agency group Donner & Doria today announced they have joined forces to help clients from across the information technology landscape increase their presence in worldwide media and markets. This collaboration provides both agencies with enhanced capabilities to service clients in Germany and international clients seeking to expand their presence in the U.S. market.

McKenzie Worldwide and Donner & Doria Public Relations are independent and owner-managed public relations agencies with international experience and a strong track record of helping technology firms build brands and increase awareness of clients’ products and services on a global basis. Clients can benefit from the firms’ deep IT expertise, strategic insights, excellent media contacts as well as efficient project management. Both agencies offer strategic communications consulting, media relations, content marketing, online marketing and social media programs among other services.

“The German market has always been a key focus for us and over the years we have worked with many great clients in Germany so finding the right local partner was a high priority. Donner & Doria has a great team and we’re looking forward to working with them,” said Megan McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Worldwide. “The MWW Global Communications Alliance offers clients a community of independent agencies that share the same spirit of excellence and quality customer service for a seamless and consistent agency experience around the world.”

McKenzie along with McKenzie Worldwide Vice President Brian Edwards will be working closely with Donner & Doria managing director Peter Verclas and PR consultant Simone Schmickl to implement effective client programs. McKenzie, Edwards and Verclas have known each other for more than 15 years and have jointly advised several IT companies, including German IT giant SAP AG, on global PR activities.

“We are very much looking forward to once again working together as a close-knit team on international PR campaigns with Brian, Megan and their team,” said Peter Verclas, managing director of Donner & Doria Public Relations GmbH. “We have many years of senior-level expertise in our respective markets that we’re confident will bring our clients tremendous value.”

About McKenzie Worldwide

Founded in 2004, McKenzie Worldwide is a high-tech public relations and marketing agency providing a range of strategic integrated communication services including PR, social media, content development/marketing and interactive programs to help companies build trust in their brands. The agency focuses on providing services to the world’s leading and emerging innovative enterprise, wireless and consumer technology companies. At the core of our work is a desire to work with smart people and smart companies – whether emerging start-ups or global brands – with interesting technology, products and services.

About Donner & Doria

The agency group Donner & Doria is the competence network for brand communication. The group offers marketing and communication services including brand management, image and awareness development, content marketing, lead generation, customer loyalty and sales support, employer branding, above-the-line advertising, public relations, online marketing and social media as well as internal communication. Customers span multiple sectors including IT and SAP, public sector and pharma and healthcare. The agency group consists of Donner & Doria Werbeagentur GmbH and Donner & Doria Public Relations GmbH. Donner & Doria has 20 employees in Heidelberg and Mannheim.

Media Contact:

McKenzie Worldwide
Megan McKenzie
Phone: +1 503 625 3680
E-Mail: meganm@mckenzieworldwide.com
Internet: http://www.mckenzieworldwide.com

Donner & Doria Public Relations GmbH
Peter Verclas
Phone: +49 6221 58787-35
E-Mail: peter.verclas@donner-doria.de
Internet: http://www.donner-doria.de

 

Join the treadmill desk revolution

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

For all of us with high-tech, high-stress jobs, most of what we do involves sitting at a desk staring at computer screens.  Tools like email, Facebook, Google Hangouts and the like have made it even worse since the majority of our interactions take place at our desks.  Unfortunately, there is a price to pay for long hours hunched over a keyboard. Health experts are calling it sitting disease and it’s having a serious detrimental effect on society’s health WWW#28Revision (1) 200 pixelsas a whole.

The cure isn’t to combat the symptoms of sitting disease, but to attack the real problem of having to sit around while working.  What if you could stand or even better walk while working?  That simple concept is the driver behind the under-desk treadmill. While the concept of a treadmill desk is straightforward enough, as always the devil is in the details. The difference between success and failure with treadmill desks starts with proper knowledge about configuring your workspace and selecting the right desk and treadmill base, among other factors.

Looking around the Internet, you’ll find plenty of information about treadmill desks, but it’s hardly convenient or well-organized. Recognizing this void, one of our long-time friends in the tech industry and serial entrepreneur Ron Wiener and his team have launched a new site called WorkWhileWalking.com that puts everything you need to know about treadmill desks at your fingertips. Ron’s lively new site serves up reference information and in-depth product reviews combined with frequent reports on the latest industry developments. What’s more, Ron will be launching a new e-Book so you can read up on treadmill desks on your Kindle, smartphone or tablet.

If you find that you’re sitting more than nine hours per day, chances are you are already suffering from sitting disease to some degree. Using a treadmill desk for just 2-3 hours per day at a pace slow enough that you can still work at a desktop or laptop PC has been shown to boost health, help with weight control and increase energy levels.  More and more companies, business leaders and celebrities are starting to embrace treadmill desks, and sales are growing steadily. We strongly encourage everyone to take a look at WorkWhileWalking.com or download the e-Book and get started. You’ll be glad did.

Let’s do some infographics!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

One of the tactics we often recommend to clients is to create infographics. These graphic images pull together a lot of information on a particular topic and present it in an attractive way that can be easily shared. Editors and bloggers love them because they drive click throughs to stories, while the infographic sponsors get their names and logos splashed across the Web.

A problem for vendors is that publications might see their infographics as overly self-serving. An effective way around that, as in the example below, is for vendors and industry organizations to work together to create the infographic. In this case, Hyland Software/OnBase worked with the government community site GovLoop to build a nice infographic on how governments are using enterprise content management software. Naturally, given how much publications dig infographics, it landed on Government Technology’s site as a news item. (Full disclosure: we did not work on this one, it’s just an example of some good work.)

At McKenzie Worldwide we enjoy turning on the creative juices and brainstorming concepts for infographics that help build your brand. Hope to hear from you.

 

ECM in government infographic
ECM in Government infographic example

 

Shareholders, stakeholders and Apple

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

There’s been a long, raging debate among business school types about whether a business should optimize for shareholders or think more broadly about all of its so-called stakeholders like employees and the local community.  The argument on the shareholder side goes something like whatever is good for boosting profit is ultimately good for the business.

While there’s no doubt truth in that statement over the long term, a short-term focus on optimizing shareholder value can have negative consequences. That’s not really shocking news, but unfortunately it’s still happening.

The most recent victim of myopic, shareholder-first thinking was – of all companies! – Apple. I’d submit that most people when they look at the cute Apple logo on their spiffy iPad or iPhone want to think of Apple as a happy company, sort of like the Disney of computing.  Sure they can cost an arm and leg, but there’s a lot of value in gadgets that look cool and work like a dream.

Apple stores boom — employees not so much

But the reality of Apple is much different. Underneath that shiny veneer lurks a shareholder-centric greedy beast. This was exposed with a NY Times report that Apple works it retail employee hard while paying moderate wages at best (but reaping enormous profits from each store).  Similarly, Apple squeezes its suppliers in China so hard that factory workers face the type of conditions that have been outlawed in the US since the ’20s and ’30s. 

 What Apple is doing, of course, is perfectly legal. It might even be good business for a normal company. But this is Apple. It’s possibly the most successful and profitable company to date.  It’s also the happy company we all want to love.  It’s bad PR not to spread the wealth and fail to make the world a better place.  Especially when it could be so easy. Ironically, the shareholders might not even have noticed.

The shareholders will notice when people start thinking twice about buying Apple products, however.  After hearing a story about Apple factory workers on NPR’s This American Life, my wife was disinclined to purchase Apple products in the future, although I’m not sure workers at Samsung or Dell factories are much better off than those at Apple plants.  Most consumers probably don’t care in any case about a rotten core if the fruit is ok.

From a PR perspective – and here’s where you want to listen to outside counsel – perhaps the biggest loss for Apple was the missed opportunity.  By giving lowly store workers nice salaries and making life better for Chinese factory workers, Apple could have created a massive perception boost – one far greater than the comparatively minor incremental cost of doing the right thing. Apple isn’t completely tone deaf, and recent reports indicate that nice pay raises are due to store workers.  It’s a step in the right direction, but it never should have come to this in the first place.  We expect better Apple.

The Purpose-Driven Show Rolls On

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

We had another successful event in San Francisco featuring John Seely Brown as part of the OpenText Purpose-Driven Speaker Series.

Brown is a visiting scholar at USC and the independent co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge. During the talk he shared his thoughts and research on intrinsic motivation, incentive systems, learning organizations, organizational design and facing new challenges.  He had a touch of laryngitis, but was able to carry on. His voice isn’t normally quite this gruff. The video below contains a few highlights.


 
 

Portland AMA talk slide deck

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Here’s the slide deck from the talk Megan Mckenzie delivered at the Portland AMA’s monthly lunch meeting today. We had a great time meeting many of the smart marketing folks from around the Portland area and look forward to hooking up with you again at future events.

Stop social media madness from McKenzie Worldwide

 

65 million iPads – A New Era in Digital Media Arrives

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Although the excitement level for iPad 2, which probably should be iPad 1.5, is nowhere near the level that it was for the original iPad, the availability of the iPad 2 in stores today generated a notable news cycle. 

What’s also notable is the complete dearth of anything remotely credible as a competitive tablet, as the AP’s coverage emphasized, noting:

Competitors such as Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. can’t seem to match the iPad’s starting price of $499. Tablets that are comparable to the iPad in features cost hundreds of dollars more, while cheaper tablets are inferior to the iPad in quality.

I’m beyond baffled by this given that the PC and mobile phone boys have had plenty of time to simply follow Apple’s example of what a tablet should look like.  Microsoft says it won’t ship a tablet until 2012 which, given MSFT’s track record of late, will be more like 2014.

In the meantime, the iPad is plenty good, with Gartner expecting 65 million tablets (mostly iPads obviously) to be sold worldwide this year.  They’ve even gone so far as to predict a decline of PC sales in the face of the table onslaught.

ipad2

As tablets reach critical mass, how will they impact the way we in PR and communications do our jobs?

Unlike laptops that are too clunky and smartphones that are too small, iPads let people consume digital media in all forms – eMagazines, news, radio, social media, video, music – anytime and anyplace. Worries about battery life or connectivity are fading fast.  

And while the emphasis is on digital media, many argue that there will be room for more in-depth content such as books and thoughtful articles.  As the success of the Kindle demonstrates, people are comfortable reading thousands of words on their tablets.  What’s more , the tablet can help bring in-depth content to life with videos or slide shows and interactive demos.

For those of us fretting over the demise of daily newspaper and the perceived collapse of journalism, the rise of the tablet is a godsend.  Most likely it will lead to a population of consumers and customers that is better read and more informed than those of us addicted to newsprint.  (I admit, I still get a paper delivered to my door; can’t get over that just yet.)

Overtime, the rise of tablets will lead to a much more successful and healthy news media as business models and licensing issues get sorted out.  This in turn helps those of us in the PR, and will force us to become adept at the art of cranking out digital media content quickly and cost effectively. I can see the day when almost every press release includes a video element, not just the photos we provide today.

Thanks to Steve Jobs, a much improved way to consume digital media is here to stay. To Microsoft, Google, Motorola, et al, come on, get your act together!

Is the Future of Brand Building Mobile?

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Over Thanksgiving my cousin and daughter talked up an iPhone and Android game called Angry Birds.  It’s a very simple game where you launch birds from slingshot to take out egg-stealing pigs hiding behind various structures. Simple in concept…and absolutely addictive.  Believe me.

On iPhone it sold something like 12 million copies for $.99 largely through viral word of mouth and has been the best selling app for many weeks. More interesting, from a brand-building perspective, the game is free on Android and supported by advertising.  The game’s maker Rovio is reportedly making approximately $1 million per month just from advertising and it has already hit over 8 million downloads.

The ads, for things like search engines or cosmetics, are pesky but since the game is so fun and addictive you just skip over them and keep playing. To be sure, you do notice them.  And, hey, if they keep the game free why not? Do they work? Probably too early to tell, but I were a media buyer and wanted to get eyeballs on my message, I would definitely not want to pass this one up.

As smartphones become more and more pervasive, 20 million downloads will seem like nothing. Future games will be in the 100s of millions of downloads globally – turning them into powerful vehicles for building brands. Rovio has cracked the code for how to do it with games.  In this video, put together by Google’s AdMob team, Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka offers some interesting insights on how it’s done. Is this the future?


Tapping your (big) partner’s brand – six strategies that work

Monday, November 29th, 2010

In almost any tech industry segment you’ll find a few very large companies surrounded by dozens to hundreds of complementary smaller companies that do everything from filling in functionality gaps to adding industry specialization or providing service and support. This ecosystem is important to the big company’s success and most, to varying degrees, works to grow and nurture their ecosystems.

But if you’re a small- to mid-size company, being part of a big company ecosystem is anything but a free ride to success.  This is especially true from the PR and marketing side.  Many times I’ve heard small company execs talk about how signing a deal with Oracle or Microsoft will lead to instant credibility and visibility, followed shortly by big sales. They are usually crestfallen when it doesn’t materialize quite the way they thought.

Gold PartnerBig companies have a lot going on. Their PR teams and product managers are invariably overworked, and have a huge number of mouths to feed.  That joint press release you wanted? Not going to happen.  Maybe a quote, if you’re lucky. And the response from the media is worse?  Reporters and bloggers simply do not care that you’ve become a Gold Certified Platinum whiz bang partner of the year. Not only do they not care, but will get pissed if you even send them the press release.

For sure, there is huge brand-building potential from partnering with a big company. How do you tap into that potential, and ride the coattails of your big-brand partner?  Here are six strategies I’ve found to be way more effective than issuing a press release about your partner status.

Target the partner’s bloggers – Most big companies have a thriving cadre of bloggers at various levels within the company. These are not professional journalists. They are looking for ideas and content assistance.  By educating them about how you fit in the big company’s ecosystem and help boost sales or increase customer satisfaction, they may be inclined to write about you in their blog, or you could even supply a guest post.  Be sure to read the relevant blogs and comment often.

Create compelling content – As noted, big company marketing types are typically very busy.  That means they won’t be doing any work on your behalf. However, if you come up with some smart contributed articles, they will often be willing to be quoted, are even add their name to the author byline.  Editors will be much more interested in the article if there’s a big name on the byline.

Support initiatives – Most of the time, the major players won’t give small upstarts the time of day. That can change when the big company has a major product launch.  They are often looking for endorsements and quotes to show how the industry is backing the new initiatives. Be ready with Johnny-on-the-spot press releases, quotes and spokespeople.

Partner events – The big partner events can be a good opportunity to make some noise.  Ideally, you can work your way into one of the keynote speeches.  If that doesn’t work, be sure to place as many of your customers, technical and product experts on panels and workshops as possible, and then funnel information to reporters and bloggers covering the event.

Partner beat reporters – Media outlets, whether online or print, devote inordinate amounts of space to big companies.  Many, such as the Wall Street Journal for instance, have reporters fully dedicated to only covering IBM or Microsoft.  It’s worthwhile letting these reporters know how your company fits into the space. They won’t write a dedicated story about you, but you can get mentioned in other coverage.

Self-publishing and social media – Scrapping for coverage in a brand-centric world is hard work. As a supplement, you can control your message and build your brand on your own.  By using social media tools, and publishing articles, videos and podcasts on your websites you can create significant buzz. This is where engaging the partner can be useful to creating more exposure and building your credibility. For example, you could interview the partner for a news podcast and use that as the basis for a thought leadership, brand building effort.

Working with big partners is never easy. It takes real organizational commitment to building the relationship in the first place and developing product and sales opportunities. The same goes for trading on the partner’s brand name. Done right, however, the payoff can be significant.

What communication strategies have you found to be successful on the partner front?

Become a Digital Native

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Much has been made of the Millennials, or digital natives, about to descend on the workforce. These are the next generation of workers, typically those born after 1985, who have grown up in a connected world.  Numbering some 78 million in the US alone – more than the 73 million baby boomers – this group will have a profound impact on the world of work and entertainment as it ascends to prominence, much as the baby boomers have had.

One of the big concerns is that this generation will kick the daylights out of previous generations because of their inherent proficiency with technology.  This group, so the story goes, is more social and connected and just better with technology then the boomers. This will give the up-and-comers a big advantage over the rest of us.

There’s no doubt that advanced ways of communicating and collaborating like Facebook, texting, video chats, etc. trump snail mail and email. But the social tools aren’t that hard to use. It’s more the set-in-my-ways mindset that distrusts technology and blocks meaningful collaboration. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I would submit that anyone can become a digital native.  I know that in my case I’ve been using digital tools – some very primitive – since the 1970s. As every new generation of technology came along, I immersed myself in the tools and embraced the new way of working.  Email was a radical shift from the world of paper memos, and certainly just as significant as going from email to social collaboration.

Android

My message to everyone 35+, go get yourself an Android or iPhone,  set up Facebook,  set up a Twitter feed, or collaborate on a Wiki page.  And open up. Speaking of which, I just upgraded from a BlackBerry to an Android.  While I still need a laptop and email, the real-time always-connected, always-located nature of the latest devices is a revelation.  Go ahead. Become a digital native.

The author of this post downloading social media apps for his new Android.


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