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May 31st, 2013

Remembering London’s colourful past

Remembering London’s colourful past

LondonLondoner Claude Friese-Greene was the inventor of an additive colour film process called Biocolour, or the Fries-Green Colour Process. In 1927 he filmed one of the first coloured motion pictures ever made, documenting London life when the city wasn’t just capital of England, but remained the centre an enduring British Empire accounting for more than a fifth of the world’s population.

This remarkable film captures a snapshot of hatted Londoners enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the city between the wars. Interstitial captions point out that more than ‘4000 motor busses’ now patrol London’s streets, and that “more than one American has offered to buy our Tower and erect it on Palm Beach as a bungalow!”

By exposing alternate frames of black and white film through a different-coloured filter, then staining the resulting prints either red or green, Friese-Greene was able to project an illusion of genuine colour. The British Film Institute (BFI) has now used the very latest computer techniques to clean up the nostalgic film and reduce flickering so it can be enjoyed by a modern audience.

The results, which we first viewed courtesy of PetaPixel, are fascinating for anyone like us here at Prompt London who work in the city daily, and still walk the same streets, only with very different views. Still, some things haven’t changed – Petticoat Lane market is still impossibly busy, Hyde Park and St. James look just as inviting on a sunny afternoon, and we’re still winning Cricket test matches!

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May 29th, 2013

Prompt Communications wins Equiso public relations account

Prompt Communications wins Equiso public relations account

Prompt Boston to lead US media relations campaign for maker of streaming, gaming and browsing SmartTV Stick

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Prompt Boston, the Massachusetts office of Prompt Communications, a public relations and digital communications agency specializing in innovative markets including high-technology and green-tech, has won a new contract with Equiso, the developer of the SmartTV Stick.

Equiso’s SmartTV Stick transforms televisions, screens and projectors into web-connected Android 4.0 devices with access to a range of popular media channels and apps, including HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix, Crackle and Vudu. Along with streaming movies, TV shows and sports, the low-cost ($78), high-quality stick gives users unrestricted access to the Google Play store, with 500,000 games and apps.

EquisoThe company is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its SmartTV Stick was launched via a Kickstarter project which received the support of nearly 3,000 backers, who collectively more than doubled the company’s initial $100,000 goal.

Prompt is a digital PR consultancy with offices in Boston, London and San Francisco. With extensive experience in high-tech, including applications, services, software and hardware, Prompt has worked with start-ups to global software and technology companies including Oracle Corporation, Capgemini and IBM.

Prompt Prompt will work to increase recognition of Equiso as the company distributes its SmartTV Stick online and increases its presence with retailers. Working with Equiso’s management team, Prompt will drive a targeted PR campaign based on media outreach and analyst relations to support and demonstrate Equiso’s sales, market position and thought leadership.

Adam McBride, CEO of Equiso, said: “Prompt’s proven record of successfully working with high-tech start-ups, coupled with its Cambridge-based office that allows for desk-next-door communications, made selecting a PR firm an easy choice. Consumers across the US are looking to cut the cable cord, and the momentum we are seeing is testimony to that. With Prompt’s PR strategy, we hope to continue reaching new audiences while transforming the future of streaming, gaming and browsing.”

Hazel Butters, CEO of Prompt, said: “Equiso has a fascinating Kickstarter background, a talented management team, and a strong, relevant product. Consumers want to access apps, the internet and new programs over their TVs – the dumb TV’s days are numbered. Equiso’s SmartTV Stick gives consumers an affordable alternative without any extra cable boxes or cords. Prompt is looking forward to driving media recognition and consumer awareness around such an innovative product.”

About Equiso
Equiso.com, Inc. is an innovator of digital media platforms that leverage the convergence of internet and entertainment. Its flagship product, the Equiso SmartTV Stick transforms televisions, screens and projectors into fully-featured web-connected Android devices with access to media channels and apps including Crackle, HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix and Vudu. The device gives users full access to the Google Play store and its 500,000 games and apps, while the affordable and intuitive open platform accelerates consumer adoption of new media by lowering barriers to access. www.equiso.com

About Prompt Communications
Prompt is a communications agency that enables marketers and entrepreneurs to increase their sales and marketing effectiveness. Specializing in innovative markets including technology and healthcare, Prompt helps clients communicate effectively and authentically with core audiences online and offline through PR, media relations, copywriting, webinars, market and industry analysis, social media, video content and customer programs. Founded in 2002, Prompt Communications has US offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California and European offices in London. Prompt’s experience includes Adeptra, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Aperture, Corizon, Dell|Compellent, Foviance, Genesys Telecommunications, IBM, Integralis, jovoto, KANA, Oracle Corporation, smartFOCUS and Webtide. www.prompt-communications.com

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May 22nd, 2013

Prompt Communications appointed by Integralis to drive US media relations

Prompt Communications appointed by Integralis to drive US media relations

 Prompt leads North American public relations program for a leading provider of IT security and information risk management solutions 

Boston, MA – Prompt Communications, a transatlantic public relations and digital communications agency with experience in the high-tech, sustainability and healthcare markets, has been selected by Integralis Inc. to lead its North American media outreach program.

Integralis logoHeadquartered in Ismaning, Germany, Integralis offers IT security and information risk management solutions to clients around the world. Integralis provides a complete end-to-end security solution that incorporates initial assessments, policy planning and hands-on deployment with 24×7 management and support.

The company has a rich portfolio of managed security, business infrastructure, consulting and technology integration services, combining to reduce overall business costs and risk. Integralis solutions address the needs of customers spanning every vertical sector, focusing on multinational enterprise clients. 

Heather Antoinetti, director of marketing for Integralis said: “As a global provider of IT security services with a growing presence in North America, we wanted a communications agency that both specialized in high-tech and had a dynamic presence in the US and overseas. Prompt has a proven track record in these areas, and we look forward to expanding our brand presence and thought leadership through a US-based public relations campaign built around quality press outreach and rich customer relationships.”

Prompt’s CEO Hazel Butters said: “Prompt is thrilled to partner with Integralis to further its brand reputation in North America and beyond. Integralis delivers end-to-end offerings that provide enterprises in every sector with intelligent ways to manage risk. Inevitable trends in cloud, social, mobile and BYOD technology models are challenging all modern businesses to meet new and intricate security challenges with smarter solutions. It is our pleasure to be appointed by a company that addresses the complex risks associated with fresh trends in every market.”

About Integralis

Integralis provides IT Security and Information Risk Management solutions on a global basis. The company delivers a portfolio of managed security, business infrastructure, consulting and technology integration services. Integralis’ solutions help organizations lower IT costs and increase the depth of security protection, compliance and service availability. Integralis is headquartered in Ismaning, Germany and part of the NTT Communications Group, owned by NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation), one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. www.integralis.com

About Prompt Communications

Prompt is a communications agency that enables marketers to increase their sales and marketing effectiveness.  Specializing in innovative markets including sustainability, technology and healthcare, Prompt helps its clients communicate authentically with core audiences online and offline through PR, media relations, copywriting, market and industry analysis, social media, video content and customer reference programs. Founded in 2002, Prompt has US offices in Boston and San Francisco, and European offices in London. Prompt’s current and former clients include Adeptra, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Corizon, Dell|Compellent, Foviance,  GenSight, Grouptree, IBM, Ipswitch File Transfer, jovoto, KANA, Oracle Corporation, smartFOCUS and Webtide. www.prompt-communications.com

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May 20th, 2013

How software testing scores big in business publications

How software testing scores big in business publications

Part four of six in our new blog series,
Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing

Over the past month, the consultants here at Prompt Communications have been working hard to provide software testing firms with the resources necessary to obtain the media coverage your company needs and deserves.

With years of experience in the field of high technology PR, including work with software testers, QA firms, apps and more, you can rest assured our how-to will pave the way towards effective public relations.

We’ve walked you through the basics of press outreach, and the specifics behind the specialist press and the IT press thus far. Now, we’d like to introduce you to a whole different breed – the business publications. Although it may not sound relevant, this type of press is a significant target for your firm since business journalists are required to understand the challenges, opportunities, trends and potential business impacts brought on by software testing today.

Business mediaHowever, the nitty-gritty details will rarely be what these journalists are writing, and even if so, any copy that is too technical will surely be cut or ‘dumbed down’ by business editors. Here, as the spokesperson for your software testing firm, you need to think of the ‘bigger picture’. By discussing the technicalities of software testing in a wider context, you are allowing yourself to be clearly understood while reaching a far broader audience – an ideal niche for any brand.

Some angles to get you started can include:

Differentiation – how will your approach help businesses stand out?

 Global – how are other countries benefitting from software testing and QA, and how can we do the same?

 Success – how can a company easily emulate your successes, and how can they avoid potential disasters?

 Innovation – flaunt the ROI and early-adoption of your software testing services to turn heads.

We know that business angles can be hard to grasp, so here’s some to try on for size:

– Measurable business benefits – Be sure to highlight how your tool will affect the bottom line; business owners will be interested in anything that promises a healthy return on ROI

– Disaster avoidance – Use hooks that will make business owners pause to consider the financial, legal and brand implications of poorly tested software

– Use cases – To make business owners better understand your industry and its importance, utilize existing use cases or showcase new studies of customers that fit the profile of an average reader

– Relevancy – Make your case to a specific industry, one at a time. Target a bank, university or telecoms company discussing what software testing can do for them, specifically to curate new customers

– Problem solving – Demonstrate an understanding of the software testing related problems business owners face day-to-day, and be the one to offer the solution

Next Monday, we will continue our PR lesson by teaching you exactly what it takes to land coverage in regional newspapers and the national press, so be sure to check back.

To discuss your specific situation, targets and how to gain valuable traction with relevant press as a software testing thought leader, please email us today. We look forward to working with you, and getting on the fast-track to PR success.

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May 17th, 2013

Dr. Who becomes a new kind of practitioner (the PR kind)

Dr. Who becomes a new kind of practitioner (the PR kind)

Doctor WhoGood PR stories are not hard to find – whether it’s a great crisis management strategy or a dreaded PR fail, they are all out there. Every day, companies, organizations, celebrities and public figures coordinate with consultants to ensure they’re putting their best foot forward, in PR terms of course. This week, we’re taking a look at Dr. Who’s PR footsteps, and why there’s no need to backtrack.

It’s no secret that Dr. Who’s fan base is gigantic – the hit BBC science fiction program is broadcast in 48 different countries. Given the large international fan base, Dr. Who’s producers and PR team pulled off an impressive campaign after a pre-order crisis. Essentially, the problem boiled over when this season’s DVD compilation was sent out too early to pre-order customers, and included the not-yet-aired finale (oops!).

Now, as this finale is set to unveil some pretty heavy plot-twists, you can imagine the crew’s horror at the mass effect of today’s social media driven world. All of the secrets would be revealed before the finale, resulting in dangerously low ratings for the long-standing hit show.

In a swift effort to combat the problem, Dr. Who successfully turned the crisis into an opportunity. Using social media to reach fans, the television program’s producer has urged viewers to hold off watching, or to at least keep quiet, about what they’ve seen. In return, they will be rewarded with special clips featuring appearances by past Doctors, which to ‘Whovians’ is a pretty big deal.

The true genius behind the plan is this: it doesn’t matter if the producer’s plea succeeds or fails. The full finale could be bootlegged and put onto YouTube for the world to see but the show, regardless, has gained significant engagement and respect for not only owning, but compensating for, its mistakes.

Not to mention, those who have never watched Dr. Who want to know what all the fuss is about, and that already-aired finale will have more viewers than it would have sans-crisis.

To find out a bit more about how Prompt Communications can offer you this kind of effective PR, but without the need for a crisis,  visit our website today. Better yet, let one of our high-tech clients, Ipswitch File Transfer, tell you by reading our latest testimonial.

Will you be one of the many Whovians watching the ‘finale that will change everything’ on Saturday? Let us know – tweet us @PromptBoston or @PromptLondon!

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Posted in Media, PR Practices | 2 Comments »



May 16th, 2013

Pitch it perfectly with Prompt: Come visit us at CIC’s Venture Café Office Hours

Pitch it perfectly with Prompt: Come visit us at CIC’s Venture Café Office Hours

Venture CafeAre you looking to spark genuine, valuable, press interest and conversation around your technology product, app or service? It’s certainly not an easy task, but we’re here to help.

On Thursday, May 23, 2013 Prompt Communications will be hosting ‘Office Hours’ at the Cambridge Innovation Center’s Venture Café event, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. We’ll be ready to discuss what you need to do to gain the media and audience visibility that your company deserves. Come along for a 20-minute tech PR consulting session with Prompt CEO Hazel Butters and get to grips with the objectives, strategies, and tactics that work best for catching the eyes of the press.

With years of experience in the technology sector, Prompt consultants know how to perfectly tailor your PR approach to garner the best results. Are you struggling to identify your target audience? No problem. Would you like to ramp up your core messaging? We’ve got you covered. Simply don’t know where to start? We’ll help you take those first steps.

After just 20 minutes you will walk away with valuable resources from our very own tech PR toolkit, which you can then customize to fit your exact PR needs. Please come equipped with any and all questions you can think of – we can’t wait to answer them!

To put us on your calendar or to learn more information about the Prompt Communications office hours, please visit the Venture Café website.

*This event will take place at the Venture Café, located at the Cambridge Innovation Center, One Broadway, 4th Floor. Visitors must comply with Venture Cafe attendance policies (see http://bit.ly/vc-credo for more details).

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May 13th, 2013

Introducing the IT press

Introducing the IT press

Part three of six in our new blog series,

Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing

At Prompt Communications, each of our PR consultants and copywriters is passionate about technology and, thanks to our work with industry leaders such as Sogeti UK, well versed in the realm of software testing. Inspired by our successful media outreach, we’ve fashioned a six part blog series highlighting the best practices for securing targeted coverage as a software testing firm.

In our most recent update, we stressed the importance of appealing to your niche and recapped the quirks, angles and spokespeople that most appeal to the specialist press. This week in ‘Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing’, we broaden the scope a bit and welcome a different kind of press: the IT outlets.

IT press

IT publications, such as Computer Weekly, Computing and Information Week, have a readership encompassing all those within the technology and IT industry, expanding far beyond the software testing professionals. Therefore, the articles tend to take a somewhat different, less detail-oriented form than would a specialist placement. However, procurement of coverage within these publications is vital, as more IT managers who hold the buying power are reading them. In many ways, getting in front this audience can be the first step in turning passive readers into promising prospects.

To land coverage in IT outlets, you must know what will attract your new-found readership and tailor your pitch accordingly. Successful angles would include broad topics such as news, analysis and opinions relevant and of interest to the global and national IT community, all subtly relating back to your expertise: software testing. Inform IT professionals and users of the role that software testing and Quality Assurance (QA) can play in improving their own fields.

While immersed in your industry, it may seem difficult to get a firm grasp on the broader picture. When planning your IT press pitches, just be sure to keep these topics in mind:

– New tools, product and services

– Customer wins, especially those big name, household names

– The benefits of thoroughly tested software for IT managers, administrators, and end-users – all of whom will be reading

– Fear, uncertainty and doubt related to poor software testing and QA

– Fresh developments and trends in the software testing industry

– Dead-ends, obsolescence, misunderstandings and failures in the world of software testing

– Expert insights that improve the software testing knowledge of IT professionals in broad roles

– Further insights that enable IT managers to improve planning, strategy, and purchasing decisions

– Innovations in the world of software testing, and an understanding and empathy with the challenges and pain-points facing IT professionals today

Stop back next Monday for another informational round-up – where we’ll cover the benefits of the even broader business press.

To discuss your specific situation, targets and how to gain valuable traction with relevant press as a software testing thought leader, please email us today. To speak directly with one of our tech PR consultants, please feel free to dial us at (US) +1 617-401-2717 or (UK) +44 20 8 996 1650. Let us help you get in front of the press – and gain the momentum you need to advance in the software industry.

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May 10th, 2013

Technology PR with Prompt: An interview with Ipswitch File Transfer’s Sophie Pellissier

Technology PR with Prompt: An interview with Ipswitch File Transfer’s Sophie Pellissier

Earlier this year, Ipswitch File Transfer, a provider of trusted Managed File Transfer solutions, had the task of finding a public relations firm that would accelerate media outreach, coordinate and streamline an effective customer communications programme, and enhance the company’s thought leadership within the industry for its international region, starting with a focus in its UK and DACH markets. Ipswitch File Transfer chose Prompt to drive such momentum.  We caught up with Sophie Pellissier, Director of International Marketing for Ipswitch File Transfer, to find out what her experience of working with Prompt has been to date, and the changing role of the marketing manager. 

Thanks for working with the Prompt team!  Can you share some of reasons that made you choose Prompt for technology PR?

SP: We needed a comms team that held a firm understanding of the IT industry and one that could accurately grasp the types of services we provide and Prompt proved to deliver with over a decade of experience working with high tech clients. Being a global company, we also sought an agency with international expertise to help cater to the EMEA, APAC and Latin America regions. With offices in the US and the UK, and native German speaking consultants, it was clear to us that Prompt was the perfect fit.

You’re still in the first quarter of your new contract with Prompt – what’s it been like?

SP: Right from the start, Prompt quickly jumped on board, suggesting activities and driving a PR plan that consisted of press releases, bylined articles, media pitching, case studies, and the launch of an international customer communication programme and more. They introduced great ideas, pace and momentum –  they’re strong and skilled across the board: copywriting, generating ideas, story communicating with customers, coming up with ideas, pitching and securing opportunities. They’ve been a great addition to our team. I know they have my back.

What are some of the challenges facing international marketing managers today?

SP: Every marketing manager, whether local or global, faces a challenging competitive landscape and has to work quickly and effectively to meet timely news and trends.  The number of communications channels available demands careful planning of how to approach different audiences, and prioritize activities in line with the overall business objectives. As an international marketing director, you face all those challenges, and you have to take into account varying political and legal policies, along with differing customs and culture. You need a good support team, which is why I work with Prompt.

For more information on Ipswitch File Transfer, please visit the company’s website. If you’d like to discuss maximising your own PR efforts, please contact a Prompt consultant at info@prompt-communications.com or (US) +1 617 401 2717, (UK) +44 20 8 996 1650. 

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May 6th, 2013

Meet the software testing press

Meet the software testing press

Part two of six in our new blog series,

Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing

As a group of public relations and copywriting professionals, we are enthusiastic about our work in the technology industry, especially when it comes to software testing. Whether we’re writing press releases, ringing top-tier testing journalists, or simply picking up the latest issue of SD Times, the fast-paced software testing market is something that excites us – and even more exciting is the role PR can potentially play in it.

Last week, we noted that your software testing firm does, in fact, need PR, so it’s only right that our second edition of our ‘Prompt PR Snapshot: Software Testing’ will begin with a coverage tutorial, taking you on a journey through the world of the software testing and specialist press.  When committing to a targeted media relations program, you’ll need to know who to target, and how to capture their attention.

The idea of specialized press often leads professionals to believe that they will simply be handed their media opportunities on a silver platter. Unfortunately, the truth is that no matter how relevant your high tech firm is to the software testing publication you’re hoping to appear in, you’re still going to have to try for that coverage.

Here are some considerations to make the uphill battle a bit more bearable. When reaching out to aforementioned specialist press, be sure to:

– Remain as up-to-date and relevant as you can: Editors and readers alike need to know that you truly understand the challenges facing software testing employees, and are providing information that will realistically better their practices. Learn as much as you can about the organizations implementing your services and their employees’ needs.

– Offer only your most knowledgeable, confident spokesperson: Each editorial opportunity is different, but one thing remains the same – the editors are looking for an insightful spokesperson, one that is capable of being a though leader within the sector. With this in mind, choose your spokesperson carefully each time a briefing is secured. Professionals featured must be able to handle any questions thrown their way, and therefore, they should be an expert on the topic at hand.

– Fit the mold: Software testing press is most keen to see collateral in the form of customer case studies, controversial opinion pieces, authoritative thought leadership pieces, hard news or analysis. Approach the journalist equipped with one of these angles from the beginning and set yourself apart from the competition.

– Keep an open mind: Remember that these publications and their readership come from many different backgrounds. Customer successes and case studies can hone in on any market, so dig deep and find the best one in your arsenal.

Popular software testing titles in the US, UK, France and Germany to keep in mind for targeted media outreach include: Professional Tester, TEST Magazine, SD Times, Software Test Professionals, Programmez!, and ITSecCIty.de. The topics generally covered by these specialist publications are the following:

Software testing

Join us next week for an in-depth look at how to land yourself a spot in the top-tier IT press, including Computer Weekly, Computing, Computerworld, Information Week, and TechWorld.

To discuss your specific situation, targets and how to gain valuable traction with relevant press as a software testing thought leader, please email agile@prompt-communications.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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May 3rd, 2013

Innovation Nation: Celebrating a proud pioneering tradition

Innovation Nation: Celebrating a proud pioneering tradition

Massachusetts, and the twin cities of Boston and Cambridge in particular, has been a thriving hotbed of innovation and pioneering spirit since its very foundation. From Harvard intellectuals to ground-breaking glass and ink industrialists, from the earliest computing visionaries to modern green tech and life science visionaries, innovation has always been second nature in this part of the world.

To celebrate the vibrancy, optimism and can-do determination of business and individuals that still thrives in the area today, Prompt Communications has decided to produce a series of short videos showcasing the rich talents of start-ups operating out of the Cambridge Innovation Center.

We’re interviewing truly inspiring, innovative businesses at CIC, and can’t wait to share the passion and enthusiasm they have for their products and markets with you. We’ll reveal what makes the people behind these organizations tick, what fuels their ideas, and how they became so ambitious and driven to succeed.

Join us as we showcase our nation’s greatest innovations, and celebrate the proud pioneering spirit of some of the most exciting businesses in operation today.

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May 2nd, 2013

Prompt interviews….

Prompt interviews….

Peter Ryder, co-author of Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving

Peter Ryder

Here at Prompt we’re all committed PR and comms advocates, so we relish any innovative ideas designed to shake up markets, capture the attention of investors and prospects, and make a company stand out from even the toughest competitors.

While many companies still look inwardly for ideas and feedback from their own colleagues, growing numbers of successful innovations are now being driven by crowdsourcing; turning to the public for contributions in the form of thoughts, funding or critique.

This week, we caught up with Peter Ryder, a friend of Prompt and co-author of Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving. In this ‘Prompt interviews’ session, Jessica Branco of the Prompt Boston team caught up with Peter to discuss the opportunities, benefits and challenges of crowdsourcing, and to hear further details about his new book. It was also a chance to discuss why so many organizations from startups to Fortune 500 firms are now turning to crowdsourcing to share the wisdom of thousands of outsiders in uncovering new ideas and innovations.

Prompt Boston: Can you please tell us more about your background, and how you became interested in crowdsourcing?

Peter Ryder: I worked for many years as a consultant at Accenture, Computer Sciences Corporation and Deloitte Consulting helping clients improve their operations and their relationships with their customers by rethinking their processes and enabling these process changes through technology.  I saw how organizations often sub-optimized their business by relying on assumptions that were no longer completely valid.  Testing underlying assumptions was a first step to rethinking approaches to unlocking value. In 2010 I became President of jovoto, Inc., a start-up that connects companies who are looking for ideas with creative talent anywhere who have ideas.  At that time, a number of companies were beginning to look seriously at crowdsourcing.  With Web 2.0 really kicking in the mid to late 2000s massively reduced transaction costs tested why an organization needed to hire full time employees for all tasks — some jobs might be done by multiple people with expertise and perspective not found in the organization.  Organizations like P&G, GE and LEGO were exploring how to access talent anywhere to help them work on some of their pressing challenges more rapidly.  And new start-up companies like Quirky were building crowds into the very fabric of their business models. At jovoto, we worked on what processes, community management and technology needed to be in place for our customers to find innovative ideas using external talent.   But we were also seeing a morphing of crowdsourcing from a simple focus on getting ideas from external talent to organizations developing more complex interactions with crowds asking them to do multiple tasks, not only selecting ideas but engaging with communities to get feedback on ideas and helping them select ideas.  And, it was this interesting dynamic that led to writing the book.

What are the key benefits of crowdsourcing an idea, service or product?

CrowdstormWhat has been the most eye opening for companies with regards to benefits is that getting good ideas for a service or product is just the beginning.  Of course outcomes are key: If your Super Bowl ad is ranked in the top 10 ads, by multiple metrics, many years in a row, your ad has succeeded; If your product is selling successfully and winning design awards, your design has succeeded. And if you find new partners that result in value-creating partnerships, you have succeeded in your business development efforts. In each of these cases, we found examples resulting from crowdstorming. These outcomes come from Pepsi, Quirky (a consumer electronics startup) and GE Ecomagination. But an additional benefit comes from providing a mechanism for evaluating ideas.  Balanced with expert evaluation, you can ask crowds to help you vet the most promising ideas.  LEGO gets lots of ideas from the crowd for new products.  But it requires 10,000 votes from the LEGO community before the internal LEGO team will consider it for production. Finally, by posting a challenge to a crowd an organization can start a broad conversation that helps it pre-market a new product or service by turning idea creation into a conversation and a media event.

What is your advice to marketers who haven’t crowdsourced yet?

Do a little homework; look at some of the work that the organizations above have done.  It is not necessary to start at Super Bowl scale.  Choose a small project to test how your organization reacts to leveraging external talent.  In the book we talk about the processes and some of the best approaches for doing crowdstorm projects; it is important to become familiar with these and see how they apply to your organization.  If you feel like your organization would benefit from leveraging the skills of one of the many providers who are supporting crowdstorming, engage with them and tap into their experience, approaches and technology. Like any new approach, this requires that there is commitment from someone in the organization who can directly benefit from the outcome – make sure that sponsorship is in place.  Finally, marketing departments who have existing relationships with traditional creative providers can weave them into the project if they choose.  There are a number of different points where their expertise can help – from designing the brief to evaluating results.

How should marketers initially approach crowdsourcing?

As I said, education and sponsorship are critical to success.  Determine the scope of the project you initially want to work on.  Something well defined where the outcome can be measured or compared to a traditional approach can be helpful.  For example, when Victorinox designed a new limited edition of Swiss Army knives using crowdstorming, they benchmarked sales of the new product against previous launches. They fixed as many variables as they could and found that the crowdstormed limited edition knife resulted in a 20% increase in sales.  Marketers can also source a new campaign from a traditional provider and evaluate it against the same campaign sourced through crowdstorming as a test – the evaluation can come from experts and crowds in order to benchmark.  There are many ways to get going.

CrowdstormCrowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving is now available at all major bookstores and Amazon.com. The book covers all topics of crowdsourcing, including patterns (search pattern, collaborative pattern), processes, recruitment, creative problem solving techniques, management of crowds, social media, analytics, evaluation and much more.

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Posted in Boston, Innovation, Technology | 1 Comment »