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June 28th, 2012

Fenway bids farewell to a favorite

Fenway bids farewell to a favorite

As most people know, Boston is a dedicated sports town. Its fans are emotional, competitive, and sometimes crazy – and last weekend, they proved all three. This past Sunday, I went to the Boston Red Sox game to watch them battle the Atlanta Braves, and although no one knew at the time, I also watched beloved third baseman, Kevin Youkilis, play his last game as a member of the Red Sox.

It was touching to see the standing ovation he received during his first at bat, and the subsequent standing ovations he received when he got on base and caught a line drive. Fans after the game (and trade announcement) expressed deep gratitude for the time Youkilis spent on the Red Sox and sadness over his depart. Even as a Boston transplant, it was a great moment to be a part of.

Prompt Communications at Fenway Park during Kevin Youkilis trade

If only Obama had practiced his comedic timing (as a copywriting and public relations firm, we *especially* appreciate timing) before his speech on Monday at Symphony Hall. Bostonians aren’t afraid to boo, even if you’re the POTUS. Although, I prefer to think they we’re giving one final ‘YOOUUKKKK’.

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June 25th, 2012

Prompt Grammar Tip: affect or effect?

Prompt Grammar Tip: affect or effect?

Affect, effect, what’s the difference? Well, the common grammar mistake could affect (or is that effect?) your entire writing style, or worse, your credibility as an author.

Fortunately, there is a trick you can remember when trying to decide which word to use. The term ‘affect’ is almost always a verb. ‘Affect’ means to impact or influence an action, or simply, that which causes an effect.

Then, there’s ‘effect’, or the outcome of the action. Beware: while ‘effect’ is not often used as a verb, it can still be used as a transitive verb, which means to bring about or make happen. The rule is not foolproof, and so you must always consider the subject and action you are writing about when using either ‘affect’ or ‘effect’.

To guide you, here are some examples or the usage of these two tricky, and sometimes interchangeable words:

– Incorrect grammar affects the quality of a piece of writing
– This Prompt Grammar Tip has had a great effect on my writing skills

For more Prompt Grammar Tips, subscribe to Prompt’s weekly newsletter by email at newsletter@prompt-communications.com, or follow us on Twitter @PromptBoston or @PromptLondon today.

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June 19th, 2012

Prompt wins account with product cost management company, aPriori

Prompt wins account with product cost management company, aPriori

Prompt Communications has been appointed by aPriori to conduct European public and media relations, including the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland (DACH), and France regions. Prompt will work on a highly focused media outreach for the company. Prompt Communications wins account with aPriori

aPriori, located in Concord, Massachusetts, develops and markets cost management software that aims to reduce the costs of products both post- and pre-production. aPriori’s management team brings experience and expertise from top manufacturing and technology companies.

Founded in 2003, aPriori Product Cost Management software platform, the first solution of its kind, allows companies to maximize savings throughout the development and manufacturing stages. The software provides real-time product cost assessments, which enables discrete manufacturers and product companies to make informed decisions that can assist in driving down product costs. With world class manufacturing corporations as customers, aPriori helps its customers stay on budget and reduce excess spending.

aPriori provides companies with software that not only reduces costs but requires minimal training to become proficient. The software is designed to help employees in engineering, manufacturing, purchasing, and project management positions make informed design decisions before spending in the production phases. With minimal training time, quick decisions can be made immediately.

Rick Burke, VP of Marketing for aPriori, said: “We are focused and strategic at aPriori, we were looking for a public relations company that would match our personality. Prompt is able to accommodate our needs and meet our goals. Prompt will be targeting relevant media audiences, focusing on a very specific range of media in the European region. Prompt has an outstanding track record with technology driven businesses, and I believe aPriori and Prompt will be able to work together seamlessly and effectively.”

Prompt is a digital PR communications consultancy with offices in London as well as in the United States in both Boston and San Francisco. The company has gained experience in the technology industry since its founding in 2002. Prompt’s PR, copywriting and marketing initiatives are in demand with clients such as Dell Compellent and Oracle Corporation, as well as with many emerging and early stage technology companies seeking to build brand recognition and increase sales.

Hazel Butters, CEO of Prompt Communications, said: “aPriori is a unique company that provides a high quality product with fantastic practicalities. Prompt is excited to work with such a focused group of people and bring aPriori to an audience that will undoubtedly benefit from its products. aPriori is a cutting-edge organization that is sure to help the manufacturing business overcome obstacles is has not been able to conquer in the past”.

About aPriori
aPriori software and services generate hard-dollar product cost savings for discrete manufacturing and product innovation companies. Using aPriori’s real-time product cost assessments, employees in engineering, sourcing and manufacturing make more-informed decisions that drive costs out of products pre- and post-production. With aPriori, manufacturers launch products at cost targets, maximize savings in re-work projects and never overpay for sourced parts. www.apriori.com

About Prompt Communications
Founded in January 2002, Prompt Communications is a communications agency with European offices in Chiswick, London and US offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. Prompt Communications offers expertise across all marketing disciplines, teaming its consultants’ extensive knowledge of start-ups, technology market with experience of pan-European and American media, analyst and marketing campaigns. Using highly targeted marketing, PR, analyst relations, social media and corporate copywriting initiatives, Prompt helps its clients gain the visibility they need to achieve their business objectives, from increasing sales to enhancing reputation with stakeholders. www.prompt-communications.com

Media Contact:
Prompt Communications
Brooke Wenrick
Tel: 617-401-2717 / +44 208 996 1650

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June 14th, 2012

Things we love about the CIC: Lego wall

Things we love about the CIC: Lego wall

Prompt team members made their mark right next to a Mario brother.

As we’ve mentioned before, there are many reasons why we love working at the Cambridge Innovation Center. As a copywriting, content creation and public relations company, the CIC provides a great environment to interact with similar companies, meet new people and perspective clients, and simply get our creative juices flowing. But, one of the best features about the CIC is that it’s constantly changing.

For example, after a fairly in-depth brainstorm last week, a few Prompt team members stumbled upon a new edition to the fourth floor kitchen—a floor to ceiling Lego wall. By the time we had found the wall, it had already been populated with exact replicas of Mario and Luigi, as well as a very intricate (and difficult) maze, among other things.

After staring in amazement at the very precise Lego designs, we left our own mark on the Lego wall—although not quite at artistic as the rest, we were pleased with our handiwork.

And after a good laugh and some fun towards the end of the day, we couldn’t help but discuss the meaning of Lego’s slogan, ‘play on’, and its seamless connection to the CIC – a place that encourages every one of its tenants to take a moment out of their busy day to do something enjoyable and just keep playing on.

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June 12th, 2012

Euro 2012: office or offside?

Euro 2012: office or offside?

We’re talking football here, not currency. Futbol, fußball, voetbal, fodbold, fotball, pêl-droed, tiki-taka – soccer.

Wherever you live and whatever you call The Beautiful Game, it can’t have passed you by that Euro 2012 kicked off last Friday – UEFA’s European Championship tournament. We mentioned it once or twice in our most recent newsletter, just in case you’d overlooked it.

The England team opened its campaign yesterday with a workmanlike 1-1 draw with well-fancied France. But due to the match’s location in Ukraine, most of the talk before the match revolved around how office-bound England fans would get to a pub in time for the 5pm BST kick-off.

Thanks to ever improving television online streaming services, coupled with far faster average broadband speeds in the UK and worldwide than even the last championship just four years ago, services like ITV Player, BBC iPlayer and TVCatchup are really coming into their own for al desko sports fans. But how are bosses reacting to it all?

Digital Spy posted a poll yesterday to discover how many of us were catching the France game on our PCs, smartphones and tablets rather than traditional telly or radio, and pointed out that a third of British workers will be staying late in the office at least once this week to watch a game, rather than miss out during a commute. An unprecedented number of offices are even buying new TVs to cope with the demand.

The only other option is to throw a sicky, or – perhaps more advisable – convince your employer to let you off early enough to give you time to get to the bar/sofa. Fans in Malta are certainly choosing the home early option whenever possible, while according to the local press, more than half of Cornish businesses are letting staff out to take in early games.

The good news is that following yesterday’s game, England now has two 7:45pm BST matches against Ukraine and Sweden to secure a place in the next round. But if the team is lucky enough to progress to the latter stages of the tournament and hit 5pm kick-offs once again, bosses and workers are surely just going to have to down tools that little bit earlier – and get the beers in.

What are your plans for mixing the Euros with work? Let us know!

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June 6th, 2012

Ray Douglas Bradbury (1920-2012)

Ray Douglas Bradbury (1920-2012)

Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

Much-loved science fiction and fantasy author Ray Bradbury has died, aged 91.

Bradbury’s daughter confirmed her father’s death to the Associated Press on Wednesday morning.

Ray Bradbury, who was born in 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, wrote more than 27 books and many hundreds of short stories, but is perhaps best known for Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

In 2000, Bradbury memorably told the New York Times Magazine: “When I was born in 1920, the auto was only 20 years old. Radio didn’t exist. TV didn’t exist. I was born at just the right time to write about all of these things.”

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June 5th, 2012

A speckle on the sun: Transit of Venus 2012

A speckle on the sun: Transit of Venus 2012

Yes, we know we are not astronomers. But as a copywriting and public relations firm, we recognize interesting, rare astronomical events when we learn of one. Today, marks one of those events – we get to witness something that won’t happen for another century or so – the transit of Venus.

The transit occurs when Venus passes directly in between the Sun and Earth. This is the first transit since June 2004, and will be the last time until December 2117. Such an event takes place every 105.5 to 121.5 years, and occurs in pairs eight years apart. This year’s transit is expected to begin at around 6:00 p.m. EST and end around 12:50 a.m. EST. Many astronomers are posting up shop in Alaska, but the transit will be visible from parts of North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

According to many of the stories we’ve read, for best results, experts recommend finding a spot on high ground facing the Northwestern horizon. Those in most areas in North and Central America will see the start of the transit until the sun sets, while those viewing in Western Asia, the eastern half of Africa and most of Europe will catch the transit’s end during sunrise.

Of course, viewing all depends on the weather and cloud condition in your area throughout the day. Here in the heart of Kendall Square in Cambridge, where we are located, the weather is too overcast to witness such a momentous event. So tonight, if you’re luckier than we are weather-wise, sit back, grab a telescope and prepare yourself for an astronomical sight.

Sources: FoxNews.com

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June 4th, 2012

MIT sculpture provides some Monday morning motivation

MIT sculpture provides some Monday morning motivation

Today is a rainy Monday; most commuters this morning clutched a cup of coffee and an umbrella while speed walking to their destination.  However, even with the dreary weather, Kendall Square is still bustling with the sound of cars, mass transit, and pedestrians.

For those of you who don’t have the pleasure of working in Kendall Square, it’s not just full of technology companies and start-ups — it’s also home to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  And one of our favorite things about the Institute is its ability to constantly reinvent itself.  Case and point — MIT’s Alchemist — the big piece of art crammed into the chaotic big city mix.

The Alchemist is a stainless steel sculpture crafted by Spanish contemporary artist Jaume Plensa, in honor of MIT’s 150 year anniversary.  As a digital communications and public relations office in the midst of all the bustle in Kendall Square, we couldn’t help but glance at the figure every time we strolled by Massachusetts Avenue and the Stratton Student Center.

And here comes the good news – the sculpture, which was originally only to be exhibited for one year, is here to stay thanks to a donation made by an anonymous MIT alumnus.

The steel sculpture is painted white and shaped as a sitting man, clutching his knees.  When taking a closer look at it, the man’s body is comprised of a series of intricate numbers and symbols.  The piece is part of a series of Plensa’s other works, Nomade (2010) and El Alma Del Ebro (2010), which feature stainless steel letters, instead of numbers.

Here at Prompt, we think the statue is both an inspiration and a sight to see.  Even with all of the busy city sights and sounds around us, the piece captures our attention and gives us enough stimulation to somehow make it past this dreary, yet still manic, Monday.

Sources:  HelloBoston.com, MIT’s The Tech

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June 1st, 2012

Americans celebrate a sweet day

Americans celebrate a sweet day

Everyone knows the big dates during the year.  There’s the first of January, New Year’s Day. Fourth of July, Independence Day.  The first of June, National Doughnut Day?

Yes, that’s correct. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the celebratory day commemorating the beloved fried dessert, which was originally established by The Salvation Army to honor the “Donut Lassies,” who served the treats to soldiers during World War I. National Doughnut Day

As a public relations and content creation firm located in the heart of Kendall Square in Cambridge, we are constantly surrounded by doughnut shops, tempting us with large advertisements of the sweet treats at nearly every block.  In Boston alone, there are 67 Dunkin’ Donuts shops.  Here are some other sweet facts and figures to get  you craving for more:

63 – the number of doughnuts an average American eats per year

1.7 tons – the weight of America’s largest doughnut (jelly-filled)

260 – the number of calories in a  Dunkin’ Donuts standard jelly doughnut

0 – the number of times Prompt consultant, Brooke, has stepped foot inside a Dunkin’ Donuts (despite living in Boston)

In honor of the national celebration, many coffee shops, including Dunkin’ Donuts, will be giving away free or reduced price doughnuts.  If you find yourself at a loss for which one to choose, just remember: Hazel’s favorite is vanilla with sprinkles.  Happy National Doughnut Day from the Prompt team!

Sources: Boston.com, The Salvation Army, Yahoo! Voices

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