Perspectives

Perspectives on communications management in a socially-connected world
News and announcements from Integrated Media Strategies

Do an annual password audit

PasswordHackCalc

For millions of people, password management and online security is opaque and maddening. Websites with password requirements tell you they have to be a specific number of characters long, be upper and lower case, have numbers and sometimes even special characters - like $#%^1mpo55ibleToRemember! So many people have scribbled passwords in the backs of notebooks shoved into their desk drawer. In many instances, these books or pieces of paper include passwords to sensitive accounts like bank and .gov accounts. In others, the accounts are associated with social media and other public-facing accounts. In the event of an account breach or a fire, the loss of these passwords can lead to firing or even loss of control of online accounts that directly impact how one makes ones living.

Some sites, to reduce the pain of creating an account, may let you choose your own. Users then often choose a 'difficult' password they can remember and use that same password over and over.

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SEO Snake Oil

SEO Snake Oil

One area of the work we do is helping small and micro businesses as a digital communications service provider and coach.  Having been involved in more than a dozen startups over my career, I know that money and resources are usually tight at startups. So nothing irks me more than getting the type of call I did recently from a client saying they were going to work with a 'SEO specialist' who had told them the web platform their site was built on was unsuitable for SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, and that it needed to be redone and then they could get them page one rankings in a week. 

The platform on which their site was built is a leading open-source solution well-suited to the application for which it was built. For small business owners, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

So let's look at the changing landscape of SEO and whether a technical solution will produce the results promised.

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Keeping video services operating efficiently

Keeping video services operating efficiently

One place where organizations may be able to get more bang for their buck is in how they are producing or procuring video. Video is an expensive medium and video services departments are often hard-pressed keeping up with the multiple demands they face.  

This is because more and more media-rich information is online, smartphones play video, and video is a key element in digital communications, social media, marketing and customer retention. Given this, it makes sense to evaluate how organizations' video services departments are meeting strategic communications needs - or not.  

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Twitter Impersonator

Twitter Impersonator

I discovered on Twitter today that Integrated Media Strategies' account has been impersonated.  Our account name is @coherentmedia. The impersonator is @zobugelexuci.  I have reported the fake account to Twitter both in my personal capacity - because the tweets on that account are mine - and in a professional capacity, because that account is contravening my copyright through the use of my logo and tagline.

It brings up a few points - the first is to do a regular review of your accounts.  At least annually is a good idea. We do so more regularly, but many small businesses don't build the time in, period. The second is to check if you are receiving unusual email.  The internet can turn up strange activity, but by this I mean if you are getting out of the ordinary requests to connect on social media, follow up and check to see the source, or why. Often it will be innocent, but if not, it's worth catching it before it can do real damage. 

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Progress on Advanced Manufacturing Alliance site

Progress on Advanced Manufacturing Alliance site

Integrated Media Strategies has been assisting the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance for the past few months with their branding and helping them establish their communications infrastructure.  The alliance's website made a significant leap forward at the end of August, with the addition of most of the content to the site.

The alliance is an ambitious initiative using $18 million in DOL funding to significantly upgrade the quality of training for the advanced manufacturing industry in North Carolina.  It comprises 10 community colleges offering a range of certificate, diploma, and associate degrees aimed at producing graduates who can be hired by companies using advanced manufacturing for their products.  The website acts as an important bridging tool for the 10 community colleges, which are scattered statewide across North Carolina, as well as a powerful marketing tool for the state and a recruiting site to students interested in a career in advanced manufacturing.

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Integrated media biofuels public education campaign showcased

A powerful, integrated media, public education campaign I led that cost-effectively reached more than 80% of North Carolina has received a write-up by the NC Department of Commerce.  It's being held up as a shining example of a ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment) energy project.  The biofuels education project was accomplished on a relatively tight budget and ran for a year.  At the time, I was the Communications Director of the Biofuels Center and I was responsible for concept, budget development and management, and implementation of the campaign. One example is embedded below.

It was launched in the Green NC tent at the 2010 State Fair. The fair attracts about a million people over a 10 day period.  The campaign included a dedicated website about biofuels answering the three main questions asked by the public - what are biofuels; where can I get biofuels; and, can my vehicle run on biofuels?  In the Green NC tent, we gave people the opportunity


to show their support for home-grown biofuels by starring in their own green-screen video which we edited on site, uploaded to Youtube and embedded in the website.  A Facebook page and twitter feed were also created to share information about the videos and to highlight fun and interesting videos.  By the end of the 10 days, more than 500 video endorsements had been shot and posted.  Those provided the basis for a traditional TV PSA campaign that was scheduled to run during March Madness and with a promotional piece done in conjunction with NC-based Novozymes, by the end of the short run, the Facebook page had attracted more than 2,000 fans.  Over the course of the next  eight months, working with a freelancer, the fanbase grew to almost 2,500.

The campaign is an excellent example of how the public, digital video, social media, traditional media, and informational content can be woven together effectively for high awareness about subject.  Integrated Media Strategies is doing similar projects for small businesses with brand and market development.

Read more about the project at the NC Department of Commerce.

 

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Leaving a biofuels startup, now mature

About 1,500 people I know received an email about my planned departure from the Biofuels Center at the end of June.  Four and a half years ago, I helped start up the organization.  Earlier this year, I led the search for my replacement and provided transition support and change management assistance to the communications team and the Center.  Since its startup, the Center has grown to maturity and strategic communications efforts have resulted in its being widely seen as a credible, technical and economic development agency for biofuels globally.  For those who haven't subscribed to my news email list, it follows below. 

Biofuels Center website header

Norman Smit to Leave Biofuels Center

Oxford, N.C. - 26 June 012.  At the beginning of July, I will have left the Biofuels Center of North Carolina to devote myself fully to yet another startup; this time, my own communications company.

It seems just a short while ago that I joined five new colleagues for the first meeting of senior staff to start up the Biofuels Center, but four and a half years have passed.  Since then,

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