Perspectives

Perspectives on communications management in a socially-connected world

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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New media - implications for management structures

New media - implications for management structures

"75% of PR agency owners don't know much about social media"  That's a headline from a recent PR industry survey showing the extent to which social media is impacting some of the traditional ways of doing business.  The survey highlights how 90% of Public Relations owners don't believe social media will replace traditional print and broadcast media, but simultaneously assert that 78% say it's important to offer social media services. 

Pitching a campaign with a social media component tacked on doesn't work.  It isn't culturally sustainable, and can create and expose brand and messaging dissonance with consumers and stakeholders. Tweets say this, practice says that. New media has consequences for organizations who are being caught flat-footed at the speed with which conversations can evolve and communications should be organized - to use a military phrase - to fight today's war, not the last one.

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Number #2 on Google

Number #2 on Google

I review how Integrated Media Strategies is doing on Search platforms on a regular basis and for the past few months, we have been holding steady with a #2 ranking on Google for 'integrated media', just behind Wikipedia.  For a startup company less than a year old providing media and consulting services - not some buzzworthy Silicon Valley clone, it is a significant achievement. 

It also shows that it is possible for smaller companies providing good services and who have a sound integrated marketing and communications plan to be able to compete against organizations with far larger budgets.  But it does require some attention to what I call the basics:

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Video killed the radio star - and other technology shifts

Video killed the radio star - and other technology shifts

In the late 1990s, a technology change caused a massive shift in the way in which news organizations produced prime-time news.  While most news organizations were shooting on the industry standard at the time - Betacam SP - and editing tape to tape to produce the nightly news, I helped usher in the digital revolution at a TV newsroom in South Africa called eNews.  Although we shot on tape, the digital footage was imported to servers where it was accessible easily for viewing and editing on non-linear software. Commonplace today, the evening news, script, graphics and video was compiled and broadcast from server.  Although our newscast was an hour earlier than the flagship SABC competition, our deadlines for airtime were very similar.  It meant we could broadcast the same story as the competetition an hour earlier.

Server-based, nonlinear digital video was a key factor – along with a kick-ass team -- that allowed eNews to eclipse the SABC’s audience share within just a few months, overtaking their primetime evening news audience numbers. 

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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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