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Action, Interaction and Reaction from the Ritz team

Hold the phone!

Posted: December 13, 2012 - 6:00 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Are you tied to your smartphone 24/7?

Maybe you’ve used it to look up some statistics about our obsessive-compulsive relationship with our phones …40% of Americans have checked their phone while on the toilet … 30% of our British friends would rather give up sex than go a week without their phones … 50% of Americans sleep with their phone next to them … 66% percent of us suffer from “nomophobia” – a fear of being without our mobile phone.

Maybe you’ve even read the research that says our brains aren’t really wired to be constantly engaged and technology is changing our personalities. We multitask ineffectively … post narcissistically … withdraw from face-to-face interaction … act and react more rudely based on a perception of anonymity.

Have you asked yourself what’s so important? Why it’s so urgent? How it’s impacting your priorities (your work and the time with family and friends, not to mention going to the bathroom and sex)?

Have you asked yourself whether you manage your technology or it manages you!

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What motivates you?

Posted: May 3, 2012 - 3:45 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Is it compensation?

Or appreciation?

Is it something more?

Fulfillment? Amusement? Accomplishment?

We want to hear (actually to read) your favorite quote … those words of inspiration tucked under a corner of your desk, tacked to a bulletin board or jotted on a notebook page … your own fighting words or a deep thought by a famous mind … the sentiment you look for in that moment when all seems lost and you don’t know how you will ever go on … or, you know, when you just need to get all fired up!

Our favorite submission will receive a little recognition and a big reward in the next blog post.

Okay, maybe not so big … but you can dream … and all it takes to win is the click of a mouse!

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Social media marketing … are you buying it? Or selling it?

Posted: March 22, 2012 - 3:30 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Photos and videos captured on smart phones, opinions on everything and everyone … you can post them on your Facebook page, tweet them or blog about them. You too can be a citizen reporter or a pundit of the run-of-the-mill.

If you’re wondering what’s next, you’re already behind.

Today, you can be a connoisseur of … well, anything … on Pinterest. It turns out you can be a marketing guru too!

Earlier this month, American Express introduced a “Tweet your way to savings” program; cardholders can tweet current AmX promotions using hashtags and receive savings when they make a purchase. I guess it’s not so different from the online stores that offer you credits for referring friends … except that you’re telling the world, not just a few confidantes who like the same brand of shoes or electronics.

Privacy issues aside, I’d love to hear what you think about this variation on the theme of marketing through third-party endorsements.

Are you ready to move from “iReporting” to “iRecommendations”?

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Finding my voice

Posted: February 9, 2012 - 4:00 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Some time ago, I wrote about “finding your voice” in response to a blog by Seth Godin on “quiet customers who are unhappy but not making a big deal out of it.”

It reminded me that sometimes I am the quiet customer who has left a store, restaurant or even a relationship with a service provider without voicing my displeasure. I may have vowed never to return! As a business owner, I hate to think of my own clients doing that.

The question I asked my readers was “are you listening to what customers are saying to and about you?”

The question I need to ask myself is “why aren’t you speaking up?”

Why is it sometimes so hard to find my voice? I could blame context – one meal in a restaurant is different than the years-long relationship we establish with clients and there are thousands of restaurants to choose from. I could blame complacency – it stunk; it’s over; I want to go home and forget about it. I could even admit that sometimes I’m kind of a wimp about complaining.

But the truth is … sometimes I don’t know what I want and, therefore, I’m not clear and direct about my expectations.

Some of my clients are a great example of how important it is to know what you want. My team and I spend time with them before we begin a project to ensure that we understand what “moves the needle” for them. The best clients give us a balance between good direction and room to be creative. They have a sense of what they want to achieve and the sense to let us help them achieve it. We’re trusted to help clarify – even quantify – objectives; we’re given the latitude to bring our knowledge and experience to the assignment; and we develop a plan based on our capability and insight.

And there you have it … from the very people we counsel on communications comes a critical lesson! Lucky for me, I have this blog to speak up and share it.

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What do Socrates and content marketing have in common?

Posted: November 17, 2011 - 9:30 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Years ago, I did some consulting work for a public relations agency assigned to launch a new prescription medication. The head of the team proposed a “Socratic dialogue” to the client.

I couldn’t help myself … I laughed and said (unfortunately out loud) that unless Socrates was coming, I thought we could call it a debate. I couldn’t think of a more pretentious description for a few medical researchers discussing the benefits and risks of a new drug. Did we have to exaggerate the importance of the discussion to sell it? We had real science and important findings to discuss.

I recognize the power of a well-defined concept, but public relations is straightforward … and to quote Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Yes, there’s strategy and creativity and lots of planning, but I believe our clients see value in what we do without jargon and fancy phrases to describe it.

So, I’m just going to come out and say it: I can’t get my head around the concept of “content marketing.” Content helps market your product or service; for example, your newsletter is the means to the end, not the end result … and if you’re a writer, you’re creating “news,” “information” or “entertainment” not simply “content”?

I’m not all that thrilled with “reputation management” either. …and I think “storytelling” diminishes what communications experts do.

That definition we learned way back in PR101, “building relationships between an organization and its publics,” says it just fine. All those other phrases are functions under the umbrella of PR.

I’d love to hear from some of you: How do you define PR? … and what do “content marketing” and some of our other industry’s terms mean to you?

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