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  • Tag Archive: Qualcomm Wireless Reach

    1. Storytelling at a Massive Scale

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      Telling an early-stage startup story is fairly easy…

      Co-founders Jane and John Smith raised $20 million for their AI-powered application that does X, Y, and Z. They employ a team of 50, have 1,000 customers, and have earned more than $2 million in revenue to date.

      You get the point — there’s a template of sorts for sharing startup news.

      But what if your job is to shed light on a global company that is the tech behind the tech? This is the PR challenge some gargantuan companies face, and startup PR folks can learn a lot from them. Let me explain…

      Earlier this year, I was interviewed for Mashable’s Small Business video series, which was intended to highlight AirPR’s outlook on everything from leadership to fostering innovation.

      In my usual rush to prep, I attached my microphone to my collar with a teeny piece of strategically shaped adhesive, used Scotch Tape to hold the mic wire inside my dress, and jotted some stats I wanted to remember onto a few Post-it Notes.

      Later, I discovered that all of those items were designed by 3M. That little piece of adhesive I’d used to secure my mic is called 3M Adhesive Transfer Tape, and it’s also used to attach your car’s gauge graphics to your dashboard, your metal nameplate to your office door, and a billion other things you’d never think twice about.

      Yet when most of us think of 3M, we think of a paper or tape company instead of a science company that is, quite literally, the glue that keeps our product-driven world together.

      Qualcomm is another company that’s practically everywhere without us even realizing it. Its technology drives the brains and internet connectivity of your mobile phone. You’ve probably never heard of them, though, because it’s not like you receive a brochure about the science behind your smartphone when you pick one up at AT&T.

      These types of ubiquitous companies impact our lives on a daily basis in thousands of unseen ways, but they get a fraction of the buzzy headlines that are usually reserved for the hot-to-trot startups with outspoken CEOs.

      So what can young startups learn from the less-touted global companies that are changing the way the world works?

      For starters, they can study what it takes to tell a story for a global brand; because if you understand how to do this, telling a single story in a way that’s actually attractive to journalists will be a piece of cake.

      Storytelling at a massive scale

      When asked to explain what 3M does in a nutshell, Paul Acito, vice president and CMO of 3M, said, “(We) use science and tech to solve problems and make your company, home and life better, easier, and more complete — no matter where you are in the world.”

      To help show the breadth and depth of 3M products, the company launched a dozen videos meant to explain how “3M applies science to life.” One of the videos shows how self-sharpening, precision-shaped metal grains enable a metalworker to get to dinner with his family sooner than expected (thanks to technology). “Yup,” says the video’s protagonist, “I’ll be home in time for dinner.”

      The series bridges the gap between abstract scientific concepts and applications to everyday life. The products span from the brightness enhancing film on your phone screen that helps the device stay bright without draining your battery to the material used to make IV dressings more comfortable.

      “We all know that successful disruptive companies like Uber are going to be recognized,” said Acito. “They’ve shifted how people view mobility. That’s a pretty simple, but compelling story to tell. We have compelling stories to tell too. It’s just that we have 55,000 of them.”

      Generating press for behind-the-scenes brands

      Ready for another challenging one, PR pros? Take a spoonful of Qualcomm, the company responsible for the wireless technology powering your mobile device (a.k.a. tech that’s used by virtually every person with a smartphone on the planet). Again, the company doesn’t get the street cred’ of some of the flashier technologies it helps fuel.

      “Qualcomm flies under the radar because we’re not consumer facing,” said Angela Baker, director of corporate social responsibility and social impact for Qualcomm Wireless Reach, a wing of the business which brings wireless tech to underserved communities. “The irony is that nearly every consumer uses and is positively impacted by our technologies without even knowing. Our inventions may not always be visible, but people feel our impact everywhere, making life simpler for seven billion people,” she adds.

      If you didn’t catch it, “seven billion” is roughly the current population of the world.

      What might the world look like without the company you represent?

      For instance, a morning without Qualcomm or 3M would look a bit like a half-done puzzle. Hypothetically, your microwave keypad may not work so you couldn’t warm up that day-old coffee. When you accidentally cut yourself while shaving and need a bandage, you’d have to search for another remedy. And forget calling in to let your boss know you’ll be late, because your smartphone won’t work without Qualcomm and 3M.

      What might the world look like without the startup or company you represent? Who would be at a loss because of it, and how can your PR campaigns better answer the vacancy of those needs?

      At the end of the day, even if you have thousands of products to tout to billions of people, the best storytelling is always rooted in human stories and how technology makes lives better. That’s the simple science of PR, whether you work for a startup or big brand.

      This article originally appeared in Inc. Magazine

    2. In PR? This is all you need to know for 2016

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      Ahhh, the new year. A time for resolutions, preparations, and perhaps my favorite: bright-eyed predictions.

      Our propensity to look toward the future through lens of the past is as necessary to the human experience as breathing.

      Not wanting to be left out (FOMO alert. BTW that word is so last year. What you really need to know is the correct usage of “On Fleek.” Thank you Meredith Fineman for keeping me relevant), I have pulled together everything a PR person may have done in 2015 that they don’t need to do anymore, while giving y’all some guidance for 2016.

      Here’s whatchya don’t need to do anymore…aka not On Fleek:All PR needs to know for 2016

      1. Call journalists you don’t know out of the blue thinking they will call you back or be happy that you called. They won’t.

      2. Report “headline impressions” or “AVEs” as key metrics. This is a spank-worthy practice. Very bad.

      3. Be afraid that what you offer as a professional isn’t as important as other aspects of the marketing function (did someone say advertising, digital, social?). It is so so so important. I promise.

      4. Write masturbatory press releases for the express purpose of making some key executive happy because (s)he likes the sound of her own voice or likes to see his name in quotes. Blech. Stop it, puuhlease.

      5. Believe that you are supposed to like analytics and numbers, when in fact, you probably never will. That’s ok. But it’s an important part of the PR function so figure out a hack for it. Hire someone. Find someone to partner with who likes this aspect of it. Then soar to the moon with data in hand.

      Now for the goods.

      Here are a handful of trends to be aware of in the coming year. I cannot take credit for coming up with these. I simply stole narrowed down themes based on this Hotwire Communications Trend Report.

      Here’s what is On Fleek for 2016:

      1. For B2B, LinkedIn Pulse and Medium are a boon for marketing and PR and will continue to gain traction as leading publishing platforms.

      2. To compete against all the noise, go for depth and targeted campaign content. What? I know, being deep rules. Being superficial doesn’t.

      3. Brands are shifting focus to “Association” rather than “Advertising”. The argument here: LIFE by association.

      4. Influencer endorsements will become even more important. If you can’t get them organically, brands will have to pay for them. TIP: Check out our friends at Thuzio or any of the incredible PRTech companies playing in this space.

      5. Culture is shifting to “Ephemeral Content” and not needing to keep a lasting record of everything. THANK GOD.

      6. Hyperlocal content and hyperlocal reporting will gain even more traction as this type of content tends to attract specific (subset) audiences. EXAMPLE: BuzzFeed’s model of 22 things you’ll only know if you’re from X.

      7. Data first: PR pros need to include data in the content planning phase then track all the way through outcomes. Execs are demanding this.

      8. Virtual Reality heats up and meets the desire for data as well as brand experiences. Survios is sooo on this. #ShamelessBigSisPlug.

      9. Corporate Social Responsibility and brand activism continue to lead company messaging: “Values don’t (or shouldn’t change) and have a tremendous effect on the growth of a company.” Just ask Qualcomm Wireless Reach.

      10. Transmedia branding: The reinvention of PR through creating unified and coordinated experiences (CAVEAT: the ability to engage audiences and negotiate relationships is still a central skill).

      11. Mobile, Wireless, and Cordless take all, as the future is about streaming (rise of Netflix, Spotify, etc.), and consumers want to be free to move from place to place over space and time. Trippy.

      Let’s see if I got it right. We’ll circle back in 12 months. 🙂

      Any other emerging trends you’re keeping an eye on in 2016? Please do share in the comments below.