Category : Top Five

Apple Introduces iPhone 4, Mayhem Ensues

“This changes everything. Again.”

During Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference held last week, Steve Jobs (re-)introduced the world to the new iPhone 4, set to be released on June 24, 2010. According to Jobs, the latest incarnation is “the biggest leap since the original iPhone,” and with over 100 new features and an overwhelming number of new fans, this just might be true.

Arguably, The Top 5 new features on the iPhone 4:

  • At a mere 9.3mm, it’s the thinnest smartphone ever.
  • While the screen remains 3.5 inches long, iPhone 4 packs 4x as many pixels (960×640) as its predecessor. At 361dpi, it has a display denser than the human retina can distinguish at arms-length, thus Jobs dubbing it the “retina display.”
  • iOS 4 = multi-tasking abilities. Many.
  • A major camera upgrade: 5 megapixels, 5x digital zoom, backlighting, an LED flash (finally) and the coolest 2way camera concept ever…
  • Front and back-facing camera lenses, allowing for the debut of Apple video calling, or “FaceTime”, which will run on Wi-Fi and allow everyone that calls you with an iPhone 4 to see you (through the front lens) or see what you are looking at (through the back.)

So how do you get your hands on one of these fabulous little gadgets? Good luck.

With pre-ordering opening to the public yesterday, June 15, Apple out did themselves yet again by selling a record breaking 600,000 iPhone 4’s in one day, subsequently selling out, and then shutting down. With debut pre-order sales reaching 10x what they did last year with the debut of the iPhone 3Gs, both Apple and AT&T have been forced to suspend pre-ordering indefinitely.

Check out this slideshow of the 14 best tweets about the iPhone 4 FAIL.

Information Overload!

by Pam Maloney @pmaloney

I was recently out at lunch with a favorite client, (Hi Frank!) and we were having a friendly discussion about information overload. You know:

  • 500+ email in your inbox. (or worse the mailbox is over it’s size limit)
  • 1000’s of unread posts in your RSS reader
  • The voicemail light is always blinking
  • You are watching television – laptop on lap, iphone in hand – in case the connection is too slow.
  • Can’t decide what to cook for dinner even with a boat load recipe books, Epicurious.com and Mark Bittman’s iphone app.

So I thought I’d take the time to address some of the problems we face in this super accessible world and  offer some ideas on how to get through the summer, a little smarter, and a little dumber…

Condition: Work-Dizzy: Your head is spinning. There is so much stuff on your desk. Your inbox is full. The phone is ringing. You don’t know which task to accomplish first/next. Part of you wants to smash your computer. Part of you wants to go back to bed.

Solution #1: Clean your desk off. Reduce the pile of stuff. Throw away what you don’t need. File what has already been accomplished. Make a priorities list.

Solution #2 Take a lunch. (I know you don’t) Walk away from the desk. (I don’t care what time it is) Ignore the email. Leave the mobile behind.

Condition: Unread Anguish: RSS Reader has thousands of unread items in it! Email is full; Inbox has a million f*%$^ng things in it.

Solution #3: Get an RSS reader account. Google Reader is great. Now scan you emails for e-newsletters, blog subscriptions and Google alerts. Set them up in the reader; Unsubscribe to the email. Wait one month. Refer to Solution #5.

Solution #4: Accidentally click the “Mark all as read” button.

Solution #5: Put some time aside to manage Your RSS Subscriptions: Get into the reader’s settings and organize!

  • Delete. I know you have things in here that you never read. I also know you have probably never done some basic spring cleaning.
  • Categorize your subscriptions. Start simple. A folder for delicious food blogs. A folder for industry hot topics. A folder for local news. A folder for your Google Alerts. A folder for the competition.
  • Now do it again. Get a little deeper.

Condition: Mobile Addiction: Your eyes hurt from squinting and your pointer fingers are sore. Also, your family/kids/husband/wife is/are looking at you rather crossly. When asked, you have no idea what time it is.

Solution #5: Ask yourself, why am I doing this? Unless you are a doctor you can probably afford to put down the crackberry/iphone/smart whatever and leave a few unattended emails rather than a few unattended loved ones.

Condition: Brain To Mouse Finger Malfunction : OMG! I almost sent the newest Lady Gaga video to a client.

Solution #6: Stop. Take a deep breath. You are in multi-tasking hell. You need to focus. Refer to solution #1 stat.

Condition: Hungry : You have so many options, you can’t decide what to cook for dinner.

Solution #7: Pizza.

Send us your chronic problems / solutions –  we’d love to hear them!

Diary of a Loser by an All-Around Winner

Diary of a Loser by an All-Around Winner by Adam Cupples

Success stories are a dime a dozen – but you’ll have to go somewhere else for one of those tales, because today you’re hearing from the loser.

It’s bittersweet. Our agency went through a two month review process against 10 other agencies for a prospective client (who shall remain nameless for their protection from my many, many fans.) Proudly we made it to the final two (spoiler alert: we didn’t get the account). And then I got the dreaded phone call of rejection.

I’m not looking to be consoled. I’ll hear none of the classic “you’ll get them next time Adam” or “I’m sure you did your best” or “what were they thinking, you guys are awesomely talented” (I know that already). I know … we all know, that losing sucks and winning is fantastic (you’ve seen the video on our website I assume – wink wink) I want to give a soap box to the losing side today.

From this experience I took away the following:

1. “I will get them next time” 14 years ago I would have cried (yes, I’m sensitive!), threw things (like a toddler) and cursed out the decision-makers. I would have thought it was the end of the world career-wise. Today, as I write this I am energized. We will be #1 next time. Wow, I think I have matured – or I’m really old.

2. “We kicked ass” November marked Strategis’ 10-year anniversary and I’ve ridden the ups & downs the whole time. Looking back – some of our earlier pitches make me cringe. (Please don’t email me for examples – I’m too embarrassed. Or maybe I’m saving that for a future blog post). This time was different. I rocked – the agency rocked – I am proud of the presentations we gave for this review. And, I’ll admit, this un-client really seemed impressed by us from the first meeting to the last. End of story.

3. “This was NOT a waste of time” Neither ours nor theirs. I try to put myself in their shoes. As it would be for most clients and un-clients, this was a hard decision for them to make and these folks put in a lot of time on their end. I can walk away knowing that despite not getting the account, I have developed some great relationships with their marketing teams. I’m confident that they haven’t heard the last from us, and we haven’t heard the last from them.

4. “There’s always next time” I know we made an impact. Who knows – maybe they’ll refer us to someone because they think we’d be perfect for that company. Or maybe the review winner will royally screw up.

5. ‘The rollercoaster is a lot of fun.” Even after 10 years, the ups are still really exciting and the downs still feel like a challenge.

So there you have it and the next time I write a post like this it will be me showing off my first place blue ribbon, pictures of Gatorade being dumped on me and popping some Champagne

What you don’t know…

Pam here. I don’t have a fancy name like “Scoops” Braga. I’m wondering if I need one.

It amazes me how many people I talk to don’t understand the power and necessity of social communications. I always refer back to your overall online presence. As a business owner, think of all the places your customer can find information on you or your company. Your website. Review boards. Directories. Social networks. Your blog. Other people’s blogs. News. Articles. Video. Pictures.

Not knowing the scope of your online presence has you missing out on opportunities for growth and networking. Regularly monitoring web presence can offer a company information on their audience, their brand, their competition.

Your online presence takes into consideration the following:

1. Your Website – First impressions mean a lot. Does your website look good? Is it user friendly? Can it be found easily? You might have an easy to remember URL, but if it takes 6 separate searches to find your company on the eleventh search engine results page – that’s not easy

2. Your Brand – How does audience interact with your brand? Are people talking about you? Where are they talking about your company? Are you in the news? Are there reviews?  Maybe people aren’t saying anything? Is that a good or bad thing?

3. Your Message – How is your message being delivered? Are you on social networks? Do you blog or Twitter? Do you interact with your audience? Are you transparent? Do you allow customers to join in the conversation? We meet lots of people for whom this is the scariest thought . . . allowing the public to interact directly with your brand. The scariest piece for them is the idea that you cannot control the online conversation, and as a result, cannot control if someone is speaking negatively about your brand. I always tell them this: The conversation is happening whether or not you choose to get involved; whether or not you choose to acknowledge it. For some companies and organizations, it says a lot about who you are and what your message is when you opt not to drive and participate in these conversations.

4. Your People – Your business is about more than just brick and mortar. It’s also about more than just your C-level staff. How do you and your staff contribute to your company’s web presence? Are you active on Social networks? How are you contributing to the online conversation? Blogging? Commenting? Are you creating content? Are you active in your communities? Are you socially responsible? Are you a Little League Coach?  You might be wondering how this is important – but think about what people might find out about you if they throw your name into Google or Bing. How synonymous is your name with your company? If you are a content generator, is it for yourself or your company? Do you blog for your company or about what you ate for dinner last night? Maybe you don’t have time to Twitter on behalf of your company, but maybe another team member can.

5. Your Audience – Are they social media spectators? Contributors? Commentator? Content Creators? Are they Blogging? Commenting? Reviewing? Are they on Social Networks? How are they active on Social networks? We have clients that engage their social networking audience in contributing content on a daily basis; others that have strictly informative relationship with theirs.

Remember this: It’s OK if it’s not all positive.

In our experience working with companies, large and small – and really, really small – the biggest fear in social media monitoring is discovering something negative and then assuming that everyone is going to see that.

Monitoring your online presence shouldn’t be scary, it should be a learning experience; a chance for you to get a deeper understanding of your audience and what role your business plays with them. Monitoring your presence should be a mandatory part of your marketing strategy as it can reveal more to a business owner than expensive, time consuming research reports.

If you ever get the chance to see Adam Cupples out and about speaking on this topic – Do it! He’s great.

Sorry Google Fans…5 Reasons to Switch to Bing!

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Scoops and Devil’s Advocate Here.

For the sake of neutrality and fairness. I will have to put my love for Google aside and discuss the reasons why many are taking the plunge with Bing. This is not all too surprising see that  Nielsen reports shows that it currently holds 10.7% of the search market (to Google’s 65%), but its month-over-month growth is 22%, which is not too shabby if I say so myself.

Microsoft has been dedicating a lot of money to Bing’s advertising and its features, according to Jennifer Van Grove they have paid off in the following ways. Below are her top 5 reason to say Sayonara to Google and pick up Bing:

1. Travel Insights: Bing’s Travel offering is a great fit for two reasons: farecast technology and airfare deals. The farecast technology works to help identify trends in flight prices. Bing also offers top cheat flight deals, record low airline tickets, last minute deals, and weekend or family appropriate options. This is perfect for those “I really need a vacation” moments.

2. Putting Cash Back Into Your Wallet: The Bing Cashback program (formerly Live Search Cashback) has been a rewarding venture for both Microsoft and searchers who benefit from bonus dollars. This program relies on the basic premise  that if you start your product/service quest on Bing, you can benefit when you go on to purchase–some give up tp 30% of the purchase price back which can help towards a new pair of your favorite jeans or those boots you just have to have!

3. Visual Search: this US-only option is one that definately sets Bing apart. The alternative user interface to search lets you conduct your search with not from text, but start with one of their pre-fabricated image galleries. This works well for those “I swear I know that guy from somewhere” kinda moments.

4. BingTweets: This is not just trend topics people! The dual search product combines the power of real-time Twitter search with Bing search results to give you a better perspective as you search. Of course, searches don’t have to be limited to trending topics so search like business as usual!

5. Enhanced Search: Bing’s search result pages have some added features. Two features that improve the search experience are the inline enhanced view options and preview windows for results.

The preview helps a searcher filter out the irrelevant noise quickly. Each search there is a small orange dot next to an individual result. When you mouse over it to view a “More on this page” preview of content, which saves you time not looking at the worng pages.

Another great feature is the “Enchanced view” option. It can be found underneath Wikipedia results and you can click it to view Wikipedia content without leaving Bing!

So there you have it some intriguing reasons to give Google the boot. I love these features, but sorry to say I am not sold yet. However, I can always applaude great innovation and search friendly options any day.

So always keep an open mind socialmedialites!

Good News!

This is our 3rd time making the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the country. This year we’re number 3747. The Inc. 5000 is an extension of their more well-known Inc. 500 list, Inc. Magazine’s exclusive listing of the top 500 growth companies in America. This year we’ve also charted at #47 on the locally prestigious Boston Business Journal’s Pacesetter’s list. This is Strategis’ second appearance on this list. Inc Logo

We attribute our growth, especially in these tough economic times, to our insight, our strategic savvy, and our really, really smart team.

Also, we’d like to introduce you all to Angela Belanger. Angela joins the really, really smart Strategis team as an account manager.

Top five things you need to know about Angela:

1. Angela comes to Strategis with a comprehensive  wide background in B2B and B2C experience in account management and strategy

2. She is a softball playing, marathon running, kayaking, mountain biking, outdoor enthusiast.

3. She could eat pizza every single day, any topping.

4. Like most of the Strategis staff (not me included) she is addicted to reality television.

5. She was born and raised in Poland Springs, ME. Yup, where the water comes from.

The In-Office Appointment v. The Coffeeshop

I need to credit Becky Dowd from Kirkland Albrecht & Fredrickson, P.C. for this post because after our meeting last week (over a cup of coffee) it got me thinking about the difference of meeting people in the office and over a cup of coffee.

1. The Menu

At your office: The water bubbler. Stale Coffee. No food except the crappy munchkins I brought you because they are a safe bet when you are unsure how many people are going to want something to eat. But I’m not eating them anyway because that is not the proper meeting etiquette (by the way, folks – if an agency or media rep comes to your office and brings food – don’t hoard them – – eat them – share them  – share them with the guy that brought them J )

At the coffeeshop: Providing we chose a decent establishment (sorry to keep knocking D&Ds): Choice of beverage: water, juice, coffee, soda etc. Eating is an activity in which all parties can participate. And sharing – I’m a big fan of sharing my food – “here try a piece of mine –  it’s great”

2. The Atmosphere

At your office: Conference room at a huge table or in a small office with a person sitting behind the desk – either one can get a bit stuffy.

At the coffeeshop: Oooh, again we’re banking on choosing a proper coffeeshop  – there will be big comfortable chairs, or cozy table set ups, sometimes even the option to sit outside –  everyone is usually happy (quite possibly because you are not in an office).

3. The Conversation

At your office: Serious, rehersed. Strategic. Forced. I open with an obvious observation – (Wow –  I love the color of your walls!) I tell you about my company, you tell me about yours. There is an exchange of questions. I try to crack a few jokes, but I don’t give it my all because I’d hate for you to get in trouble for laughing too loudly  – you get the point.

At the coffeeshop: Relaxed. Not scripted. We share some funny stories about always getting the wrong order at that other coffeeshop (I’m not going to apologize this time) – and we get know each others companies, informally, discuss some real world marketing pain points without worrying about being overheard.

 4. The Ideas:

At your office: Since the conversation never really takes off, the ideas never really get going.

At the coffeeshop: Ideas are bouncing off the walls (or cars if you’re outside).

5. The Easy Way Out:

At your office:  Your stuck! Your in the office so there is no escape if it’s not going well. All of your calls are being held because everyone knows your in a meeting and you feel rude since you invited the person if you say you have to go after 5 minutes.

At the coffeeshop: Plenty of “excuses” to call the meeting short (Sidenote— If you are someone who has met me for coffee – I have never had to use any of these). My favorite? #1 Drinking your coffee fast. Afterall, when the coffee’s gone the meeting is over.  #2 The phone call /email / text on the iPhone/Blackberry is a horrible emergency and you need to get to office – stat!

Overall, since meeting with people outside the office not only have the meetings been productive but I have gotten to know more people on a different level that I feel helps in a working relationship.

 If you want to join me for a cup of coffee let me know – I’ll buy.

Scoops Top Five Reasons She

Scoops Here.

This Friday, instead of delivering the latest popular social/ media news topic, I wanted to take a little time and reflect on why I love social media so much. So here it goes…

1. TRENDING TOPICS. I am able to make up ridiculous trending topics with the hopes of it will catch on. Being on the Top Twitter Trends is my goal, for example my latest project is #bustalyric. I started off as fun between @pmaloney and I while in the office, but now I really think it has the chops to catch on! All you do is put in your favorite lyric (characters permitting of course) and then #bustalyric. It actually gets quite addicting.

2. MIND SPEAK. What is great about social media and especially through ‘Talk Is Cheap’ I get to have a voice in many circumstances and topics to where I would not typically be able to. We all have opinions on stuff, so it is always great to have a platform to speak your mind whether it be a great recommendation or just a full out rant.

3. LOYAL SOCIALMEDIALITES. The power of social media and the effect it has on people. For example, and you know who you are, the Twitter watchers who can have a reply within seconds and a new post every five minutes. Most would believe that these people have no life and too much time on their hands, maybe for some that is the case–but for most they just enjoy being apart of the proverbial conversation. These are not just people who listen they are always contributing to it as well!

4. iGOOGLE. Not the most relevant social media contribution, but this is my post and I am going to mention it anyway. My iGoogle page does it all for me. I have my RSS Reader where I check out all the new happening among SoME blogs and bookmarking sites. Where do you think I find all my cool news stories from! Not just to keep me informed, it does so much more for me. It can tell me how to say ‘scoops’ in Turkish, what the 5 day forecast is going to be, but most importantly it is home to my virtual penguins and turtles. That’s cool.

5. iPHONE APPS. Social media is everywhere, especially when you have an iphone. My phone is just an extension of when I am not at work or in front of my Macbook at home. Thanks to the Facebook, LinkedIN and Tweetdeck applications I can stay connected on my terms—and that’s how I like it!

So there it was. It is not meant to be technical or provide any profound revelations about why social media is important. It is just some a few ways social media just does it for me.

Part-Two of Twitter Faux Pas:Scoops Top 5 local companies with Questionable Twitters

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Scoops Here. To supplement the Twitter Faux Pas I mentioned yesterday. I thought I would give some of my examples of local companies in New England with some questionable Twitters themselves.

1. http://twitter.com/TJXCo – with only 37 followers there is not much to see here. Although Twitter is a great tool for recruitment such as with clients such as @CareOneCareers and @HealthbridgeMGT, I would think that a retail-oriented company would have more things to Twitter about than Assistant Store Manager position. I love me some great deals at HomeGoods…let me hear it!

2.  http://twitter.com/genzymecorp – Cricket, Cricket, Cricket…other than the 28 followers this top 100 Best of Massachusetts business has yet to say a word.

3. http://twitter.com/idefender – This particular one hits close to home for Scoops. Before becoming the social media guru you see here, I was a Marketing Coordinator, for yes, a local cybersecurity company. Not to mention that it only has one follower, but when I went to show it some love I received the message “Sorry, the account you were headed to has been suspended due to strange activity. Mosey along now, nothing to see here.” —Ouch

4. http://twitter.com/CapeCod_Storage – A storage company will only have one Tweet to their repository. Shocking.

5. http://twitter.com/modellssports & http://twitter.com/modells – nothing better than one inactive Twitter account but than to have two inactive Twitter accounts! With a combined total of 7 followers it looks like both are going nowhere fast.

So there it was, my top local Twitter offenders. I do want to give some props to come local Twitter stars such as @DunkinDonuts, @Reebok, @EMCsoftware, @RaytheonCompany to name a few.

Et Fin.

Realtors, Home Buying and Social Media

On Thursday, Pam and I had the chance to speak to RE/MAX Paramount about Social Media and your web presence. What a great group! They had great questions and, were eager to share their success stories, and even poked fun at me regarding the general theme found in my spam box (cough…John Shea)

On our way back to the office we talked about how house hunting as changed over the past ten years. Here is our top 5. We call it “In the Year 2000” (Thanks Conan)

1.In the year 2000: Get the Sunday paper, sit down with the coffee and highlighter and plan your open house attack for the day

Now: Still got your coffee but at the computer playing on HotPadz and Trulia.

2. In the year 2000: For information on a house you probably saw one wide lens picture and a Tweet-sized description.

Now: Do a 360 Virtual Tour of a house in your pjs.

3. In the year 2000: Realtors would bake cookies and treats and serve them up at the open houses to make it smell like home.

Now: They skip the cookies and ask you for your email address so they can inundate your inbox on a daily-basis.

4. In the year 2000:  The only thing you knew about a realtor was their mugshot…whoops I mean headshot in the newspaper

Now: Thanks to Social Networking you can see everything from what they ate for breakfast to YouTube videos of their kids playing baseball.

5. In the year 2000: You had one phone number (hopefully a cell) to reach your realtor. If they weren’t there you are both out of luck.

Now: You have the office number, cell number, three email addresses, husband/wives cell phone, home address, Twitter feed, Facebook profile – you name it they will give it to you (since they’ve all bought stock in Blackberries apparently – and what? no iPhones?). If you can’t find your realtor, you didn’t try hard enough.

What did we miss?