Nurturing your LinkedIn connections

September 29, 2011

LinkedIn can be used as a simple ‘business card holder’ where all you do is connect with people so you can have their up-to-date contact details at all times. Or, on the other hand, it can be used as a powerful connection channel to create new contacts, deepen relationships and open the doors to business opportunities.

In both cases, as LinkedIn is a network of professional connections, there is a fundamental need to nurture your contacts.

I was invited last week to speak at the CEO Institute on the power of LinkedIn for business and below is my ‘P-E-R-M’ principle on ‘nurturing your LinkedIn connections’ which I shared with the group.

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PR Mentor – Training & Mentoring for Small Business PR

August 9, 2010

Every organisation has a good story to tell and must tell that story to its customers to grow the business and increase market share in a competitive environment. Public relations is a marketing investment that will help raise the public profile of your organisation over time to create a position of market leadership.

At Dennis Rutzou Public Relations (DRPR), we have often witnessed the great PR potential of small businesses and start-ups, yet see them suffer the frustration of not being able to commit to a full public relations program at a time when PR can make a significant contribution to their future. For this reason, we’ve developed PR Mentor, a cost effective 12-week group training and mentoring program specifically tailored to small businesses and start-ups.


PR Mentor provides you with the knowledge and small business PR tools required to start raising the public profile of your organisation, in an interactive collaborative environment.

PR Mentor find out more!

Social media censorship – Can companies control what employees are saying about them?

July 22, 2010

I was meeting with a client recently who raised the issue of staff’s interaction on social media and whether the organisation should have a social media policy that would ‘forbid’ its staff to comment about the company on their personal social media profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Although this may sound like an appealing way to avoid any ‘damage control’ situation, it may well bring more problems then solutions…

• In this day and age, people are used to expressing their opinions and ideas and sharing information on the internet. Trying to ‘forbid’ them to do such a thing could backfire and create just the opposite, i.e. having them whinge about the company’s new rigid (to be polite) social media policy

• Unless your CEO and/or managers are ‘Facebook friends’ of every employee, it can be practically impossible to monitor what your employees are posting on their profiles

• By forbidding any comment about the organisation, you are not only stopping any derogative posts, but also all the possible praises your employees might like to share about your organisation.

Although I wouldn’t recommend such a strict social media policy, I would certainly encourage organisations to develop ‘social media guidelines’ that look at the use of social media in the workplace and educate employees on the repercussions various comments made on their personal profiles can still have on them and/or the organisation.

Personally, I believe the first step should be to speak to your employees about their involvement on social media. Ask them if they are using any of the channels. If they do, they might even have incredible ideas on how the company could benefit from engaging on social media to raise its profile among potential customers or even simply to create an ‘employee community’ through a Facebook page, for example.

I believe the key is for organisations to remain open-minded. Whether you like it or not, people are talking about your organisation online and a culture of ‘transparency and openness’ towards your main stakeholder, that is your staff, might well turn in your favour!

Have you come across organisations who have implemented a social media policy or guidelines? I’d like to hear about the benefits and shortcomings of such a policy.


CitizenTube: Is this the future of television news?

June 17, 2010


A year ago on the DRPR blog, we debated the future of newspapers which seemed to be doomed to extinction, making place for their online counterparts.

More recently, editor of Human Capital Magazine Iain Hopkins also questioned on the PRinks blog the future of his profession based on the fact that the internet and social media have opened up the way for basically anyone to publish anything.

Print media is having it tough… and I can only assume this debate will keep on going. But what about television news? Is it also threatened by amateur film makers in search of the next breaking news?

The launch earlier this week of YouTube’s CitizenTube might be just what will spark this debate.

CitizenTube selects and aggregates the latest ‘citizen news’ footage uploaded onto YouTube. Making the best use of social media, CitizenTube asks YouTube viewers to suggest videos to be uploaded onto CitizenTube via Twitter.

What will be interesting to see, in my opinion, is how fast the afternoon/evening news programs will be at picking up content from CitizenTube. Many morning and ‘soft news’ television programs include sections on most viewed YouTube videos and I can only assume the 5, 6 and 7pm news will follow that path with CitizenTube.

This being said, I can’t really see how CitizenTube would completely steal the spotlight over television news. At the end of the day, after having spent eight hours in front of my computer, sitting down on the couch and switching the ‘big’ screen on sounds quite appealing to me.

What do you think? Will social media and news sites like CitizenTube have a fatal effect on our evening news? Will television news also join their printed friends to the list of endangered species?


The Outback waving protocol

May 13, 2010


I recently came back from a two-week trip in the outback where a couple of friends and I travelled aboard our hired 4WD campervan AKA beloved Bessy. We drove 3,532 km from Broome to Darwin, stopping in national parks and towns (the few towns there were…) along the way.

During this blissful journey, we came across many cars, trucks, campervans, motorbikes and so forth and ended up developing an ‘Outback waving protocol’ including ‘Golden rules for waving at a driver’, ‘General observations’ and ‘Types of waves’.

Before I go on, you are probably thinking: ‘what has this got to do with this blog which is meant to provide you with insights into the PR world???’ Two things. First, when you are driving in the middle of nowhere for over 3,500 km, waving at other drivers coming your way becomes a very important method of communication… and I have to admit, also an exciting moment in your day! Second, well, let’s not take ourselves too seriously for a moment and just have a bit of fun!

So I thought I’d share with you part of our Outback waving protocol in case some day you are faced with the most important question: ‘To wave or not to wave?’.

Outback waving protocol – Golden rules:

  • A 4WD shall wave to another 4WD (dirty or not… but dirty is better!)
  • Hired campervans shall wave to each other
  • You must return a wave – not returning a wave is plain rude or snobbish
  • Don’t wave at the last second – leave enough time for a return wave
  • The further you are away from a town, the more essential it is to wave.

Outback waving protocol – General observations:

  • Although women are generally good communicators, I’m sad to say they are not good wavers (except for my friends and me, of course). They might just be too busy looking at other things while they are driving
  • Although friendly and normally wavers, grey nomads will unlikely wave on 130 km/h roads… it could be too fast for them J
  • Truckies are ambiguous – they generally can’t see you… but try your luck!
  • 2WD cars are not wavers (and don’t deserve a wave in the outback)
  • Locals generally don’t wave at tourists
  • Those in WA wave more freely than those in the NT
  • Last minute wavers can be power players
  • There are exceptions to all rules and observations.

So, whether you go for the one-finger lift, the peace sign, the still hand across the wheel, the full off-the-wheel hand lift, the pointing finger, the full-on wave, the out-the-window wave (this one’s got so much dedication!), the head nod, the thumbs up, the wave across the wheel or the whole Mexican wave with your passengers, make sure you observe these rules (or not, as there are exceptions!).

We’ve become very passionate (at times delirious!) about our ‘Outback waving protocol’, growing our list to pretty much the size of a book. So if you’ve made other observations than the ones mentioned here about waving while driving, fire away! I’ll be soooo happy to add them to our list.

By Kim Larochelle @KimLarochelle


2009’s most successful gum launch

March 8, 2010


The last 12 months have seen their fair share of social media campaigns for fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands. In Australia, we can remember the Pepsi ‘Refresh project’ and Crust Pizza’s #CrustFreePizzaFriday Twitter campaign among others.

Chewing gum is not typically what I would call the ‘hip’ thing in consumer land so launching a new gum would probably be quite challenging. However one company has managed to cut through the clutter successfully.

Wrigley launched in Australia its ‘5’ gum in mid 2009. According to a Wrigley ad featured in Convenience World (February/March 2010 issue), the company claims it to be ‘the most successful gum launch in 2009’ with the gum delivering $8.7 million in sales since the launch. It became the #2 brand in the gum category after just 11 weeks in the market.

This is what, in my humble opinion, made this launch so successful: 

  • The gum’s packaging is black (with a vibrant colour on the side for each flavour). This packaging really stuck in my head as it was the first black packaging for chewing gum I had seen. A few months later, Mentos launched it’s Aqua Kiss gum – with black packaging as well – and a small presence on Facebook (312 fans at time of writing)
  • Wrigley used a good marketing mix including advertising (see YouTube clip below), sampling, in-store point-of-sales and an online campaign called ‘5 Feed’

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Setting 2010 up for growth

January 27, 2010


It’s now time to turn the page on 2009 and focus on the year ahead: 2010, year of the Tiger. In Chinese tradition, the Tiger is smart, determined and socially oriented. It doesn’t mind a challenge and is thrilled to be in new places.

So with this in mind, the start of the new year is a great time to review your business plan and explore areas of growth for 2010. One way to do this is by bringing your team together and looking at what is called a ‘blue ocean’ strategy.

Explore the blue ocean

The Ansoff growth matrix (below) is a tool that helps businesses decide their product and market growth strategy. Businesses located on the left hand column compete in an existing market where they have to constantly beat the competition and exploit the existing demand. It can be a comfortable and safe place to be.

On the right hand column, the blue ocean is a space of innovation and little competition. It can help build brands. Businesses in that space are creating and capturing new demand and making their competition irrelevant. Although more challenging and risky than working with existing products, the blue ocean can bring most rewards when executed well.



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