The Magic in Apple’s Devices? The Heart

carrjump1-master675During the last seismic Apple announcement, in 2010, I was at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco as Steve Jobs unveiled theiPad, a device he said was so singular it would create its own landing strip.

When the expected reveal came, there was a huge roar, and I looked around to see many of my fellow journalists clapping their hands red. I was an interloper in the land of tech announcements, but I was surprised that a group of cynical-by-nature reporters had been so completely won over in the moment.

I didn’t attend last week’s Applemageddon of multiple product announcements — new phones, a watch and a mobile payment system — but I saw more of the same when I checked the coverage. And while I may not have been clapping, I found myself rooting for Apple to unveil something extraordinary.

A lot of the subsequent coverage has been ecstatic, much of it tinged with palpable relief that a Jobs-less Apple can still set the bar in new and unexpected ways.

Read the full story here.


Why Facebook and Twitter Are Embracing Ecommerce

moneysocialLikes and retweets are fine, but the new buzz word at Facebook and Twitter seems to be “buy.”

Facebook announced on Thursday that it has begun testing a Buy button that appears on ads and Page posts from a select group of businesses in the U.S. In effect, that means users can now purchase products advertised by these businesses without leaving the social network.

Just a few hours later, Twitter announced that it had acquired CardSpring, a payments infrastructure company, to help with its goal of bringing “in-the-moment commerce experiences to our users.”

The fact that both announcements were made public so close to one another may have been coincidence, but it highlights the overlapping commerce ambitions of Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook has experimented with payments in the past with mixed results. It briefly offered a virtual currency called Credits and launched a gift shop only to kill it off and re-open something similar in 2012. Facebook also accepts payments in games.

Read the full article here. 

Dan Snyder Says PR Campaign to Defend “Redskins” Is Not PR

RedskinsFacts-1024x525Does The Washington NFL team owner’s latest attempt at sincerity falls flat? 

Dan Snyder gave a rare interview yesterday when he appeared on WTEM-AM after a day spent at his NFL team’s training camp in Richmond. After spouting off some optimism about the team’s chances in the upcoming season, Snyder’s conversation with tight end-cum-radio yakker Chris Cooley turned to the ongoing criticism about the name of Snyder’s team.

“It’s honor. It’s respect. It’s pride,” Snyder told Cooley. “And I think that every player here sees it, feels it, every alumni feels it, and it’s a wonderful thing, it’s a historic thing. It’s a very historic franchise, it’s been a pleasure.” 

Snyder also said that criticism of his team’s name, which most dictionaries define as a racial slur against Native Americans, overlooks the outreach he’s been making this year to native communities through the team’s new “Original Americans Foundation,” which he says has included several visits to reservations around the country.

“What I did see that got me and touched me and really moved me, and I think you know because you’ve visited a lot of reservations yourself, is the plight of Native Americans,” Snyder said. “Things that people don’t talk about. You know, it’s sort of fun to talk about the name of our football team, because it gets some attention for some of the people that write it, that need clicks, or what have you.”

Once again, Native American leaders who have been whaling on Snyder since the last NFL season took issue with the Washington owner’s latest statements.

“Washington team owner Dan Snyder’s comments are proof that he is living in a bigoted billionaire bubble,” the National Congress of American Indians said in a press release. “For him to claim that a racial slur is ‘fun’ is grotesque. There is nothing ‘fun’ about his desire to continue promoting, marketing and profiting from a term screamed at Native Americans as they were dragged at gunpoint off their lands.”

Before ending the interview yesterday, Snyder insisted again that it’s all sincere:

“And this is not PR, we don’t have PR people doing this stuff, this is really genuine, and from that standpoint, just like our foundation here locally, it’s 16 years running that we’ve been doing this. You talk about the millions of dollars this year, it’s been every year, and we don’t really brag about it, it’s not something that we’re going out doing.”

Last week, the Washington Post highlighted that the Washington Redskins have been paying for ads promoting a new Web site,, which supposedly sprung up organically from frustrated former players who wanted to defend the team’s embattled name, which many find offensive. (Slate turned up evidence that the Web site is tied to public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, which was later confirmed by the team.) Read the full article here. 


Apple Hires Nike Social Chief as Digital Marketing Director

appleAs 9To5Mac reported yesterday, Apple just gave its social media marketing department a big boost with the addition of Musa Tariq as its new head digital marketing director.

Tariq arrives at Apple from Nike, where he served as global senior director of social media and community since October, 2012. Before that, he was global director of social media, digital marketing, at Burberry — a position he held for about one year before jumping to Nike.

The hire follows Apple’s recent addition of a pair of Nike FuelBand engineers to work on its own wearable technology and continues Apple CEO Tim Cook’s penchant for poaching talent from Nike. Tariq also reported directly to Apple retail and online stores chief Angela Ahrendts while they were both at Burberry, where “he was instrumental in working with Ahrendts on growing Burberry’s global brand,” according to 9To5Mac.

Of course, this move also follows Apple’s recent decision to take more of its production work in-house. Some might see it as yet another step in the brand’s plan to take greater control over its own identity.

Apple is a bit late to the social marketing game, as it spent years taking a hands-off approach. Until recently, its strategy seemed to be to just ignore social media (the @apple Twitter feed has 28,000 followers and not a single tweet). It wasn’t until this March that the company launched its first social campaign on Tumblr to promote the iPhone 5c. That campaign was handled by TBWA/Media Arts Lab, with whom Apple’s contentious relationship is well-documented.

Tariq’s addition seems to signify a drastic shift in Apple’s approach to advertising, as the tech giant finally focuses more heavily on digital and social media. As 9To5Mac points out, his addition also “could tie into Apple’s marketing push for the upcoming fashion and fitness-oriented wearable band.”

Tariq worked closely with athletes on social media campaigns while at Nike — experience that will help him market Apple’s wearable band device. With Tariq on board, it seems likely that Apple will (finally) build its social media presence in the near future.

The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends Dominating 2014


Late last year, I made some predictions for online marketing in 2014. If you missed that post, you can read it here. Given the clear shift toward inbound marketing methods, I considered how trends in SEO, social media, and content marketing were likely to impact businesses over the coming year.

As we’re around the mid-way point of 2014, I thought it would be useful to evaluate how my predictions fared: what I got right, and what I got….well, wrong.

Following are the seven online marketing predictions I made, and how they compare with what we’re seeing so far this year.

Prediction #1: Content Marketing Will Be Bigger Than Ever

In my original article, I predicted that content marketing – using valuable content to attract customers and clients, and to gain authority and trust – was the way forward for businesses in 2014. Using blog posts, newsletters, social media, videos and other inbound marketing techniques, businesses can build relationships, authority and trust with their audience; and ultimately, increase sales.

Midway through 2014, we’re still seeing budgets shifted away from traditional marketing methods like TV and magazine ads, and towards inbound marketing strategies. However, according to a study by Forrester Research, businesses are struggling with achieving business results through their content marketing strategy. In fact, only 14% of businesses reported that their strategy was ‘very effective’.

Businesses also continue to struggle with measuring the ROI of their content marketing campaigns, making company-wide support for the strategy a particular pain point for online marketers in 2014. Businesses need to continue to find ways to tie their content marketing in with their overall business goals, in order to measure and prove its effectiveness within the wider goals of the organization.

Read the full article here.


20 Social Media Tips To Rule In 2014

If you’re in charge of social media management for your company, it’s time to up your game in 2014. It requires more than the random postings about your great sale, latest product or a shameless plug in the local paper. Social media marketing is easily a full-time job, and for good reason. Here are 20 ways to optimize your social media strategy in 2014 and beyond.

1. Choose the right platform

There are hundreds of social media platforms, which means there are many options beyond Facebook,Google GOOGL -1.61%+, Twitter TWTR +0.83%, Instagram and YouTube. Take some time to see which platforms are best for your business and limit them to five max. No full-time employee has time to manage anything more, and you may find you’re a better fit for an underdog platform than Pinterest.

2. Use analytics

There are also hundreds of tools to analyze your social media campaign success and failures. Use them. Many are free and part of the site itself, while others provide a third-party analysis. Don’t just collect reports; read them, translate them and turn them into action.

3. Post timely

Know the best days and times to post for your industry and demographics. For many businesses, this is Monday through Friday at around 10am and 4pm. However, this will vary depending on who you’re targeting. Do your research.

4. Build a relationship

Don’t just preach at your audience, but engage them, get them involved and always promptly reply to outreach. Social media isn’t a soapbox, but a tool for engagement. It’s a two-way street.

Read the full article here.

What Is The Value Of Social Media Engagement?

There is a near consensus that social mediamarketing is valuable because it allows companies to directly engage with their customers, build brand presence, and ultimately sell more products.

However, justifying the value of social has been a conundrum for brand marketers over the last 10 years. Even in the most straightforward cases of ecommerce, there’s still the attribution question.  How much do you attribute to the relationship with the brand versus the last click?

What makes measuring social ROI so difficult is not a lack of data, but identifying which pieces of data matter.

The metrics for social media used to be all about likes and followers. That was the first step. Now social media enables core business objectives and provides so many different metrics and new data streams on customers and their behavior.

I wasn’t surprised to find that there are some really smart people already working to tackle this social ROI problem; in an attempt to get educated on the topic, here’s what I found.

Social media measurement shifting towards measuring conversations

The CMO Survey ran a study that asked CMOs to share the metrics that they were using to evaluate social media. You can see an interesting breakdown of the results below:

Measuring Social Media ROI: Companies Emphasize Voice Metrics

The different metrics range across the board from true financially based numbers, such as “profits per customer”, to social media specific actions like followers & friends. In addition, according to the study, ‘voice-based’ metrics such as net promoter scores and text analysis are quickly becoming strong indicators of success.

As Gary mentioned in his Inc 500 speech, word of mouth is a currency that affects your bottom line, and social media allows word of mouth to scale. Thus, it makes sense that companies want to measure conversations about their brand.

Read the full article here.

The Top 7 SEO Trends Dominating 2014


In September 2013, I wrote a post where I predictedthe top 7 online marketing trends that would dominate 2014. Now that we’re reaching the midway point of 2014, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at where we’re at, particularly in terms of SEO.

Google has been busy over the past year, and traditional SEO strategies, tasks and roles have changed considerably.

Let’s take a look at what we’re seeing thus far in 2014.

1.    Google Authorship is rising in importance

More business owners are realizing the importance of Google Authorship and are taking Author Rank more seriously; as they should, particularly since Google has confirmed they do use a form of Author Rank – at least in terms of ranking in-depth articles.

The end of 2013 saw Google reducing authorship snippets by 15% in an effort to increase clickthroughs to only the highest quality content. This has meant an overall reduction in the total number of search results being accompanied by authorship info, and increased competition among authors.

We’re also seeing a tiered system in terms of what’s displayed next to search results: some search results are displayed with full authorship details, while others are displayed with only a byline.

Factors that continue to determine whether authorship snippets are included (or what tier is used) include the reputation and trustworthiness of authors, as well as the website on which the content is published.

There has been speculation that those who don’t establish some degree of authority via Author rank will become irrelevant (i.e. their content will no longer rank). While we’re not there yet, it’s a strong reminder for writers and marketers to get Authorship set up now before we do reach that point. For help with that, see “Google Authorship: How to Dress Up Your Search Results to Demand Attention.”

2.    Brands are realizing the necessity of social media, as it plays a major role in website traffic referrals and content dissemination

So far in 2014, social media seems to be a major factor (if not the major factor) in terms of referral traffic and content dissemination.

According to recent research released by Shareaholic, Facebook continues to lead the pack in terms of social media referral traffic. In March 2013, Facebook drove 21.25% of all traffic sites receive. Pinterest came in 2nd at just over 7% of all traffic, although its share of traffic has grown by 48% since December. Twitter continues to trail behind with a 1% share of all website traffic.

With many sites struggling to earn even mediocre rankings in the search engines, brands are increasingly seeing social media as a quicker way to get their content in front of their target market, and to increase website traffic.

3.    “Content marketing” is beginning to replace the term “SEO”

Most experts would agree that it’s no longer enough to simply have an SEO strategy. In fact, I’ve noticed the term ‘content marketing’ starting to become used synonymously with ‘SEO’. While the two should certainly be differentiated on many levels, many argue that content marketing is the ‘new SEO’.

Read the full article here.

Facebook Introduces Video Ads, Promises They Won’t Be Spammy

Ads that look and feel like TV commercials but are targeted like display ads: For Facebook, that’s long been the holy grail — the chief hurdle being how to introduce them without annoying the bejesus out of its users.

After many months of tinkering, Facebook executives finally think they’ve got it right. Today the company officially introduced what it calls Premium Video Ads.

Nothing much has changed from the version it’s beentesting in users’ feeds since December. The 15-second ads still start playing automatically, without sound, as soon as they come onscreen. Tapping on an ad expands it and makes it start over from the beginning, with audio.

Read more via 

Welcome to the New PoweR Connection Column!

By Candice Nicole of Fox News and Candice Nicole PR

CandiceHeadShotWelcome to the PoweR Connection! Hello BPRSDC + Guests! My name is Candice (also known as Candice Nicole) and I hail from the DC Metropolitan area (MD to be exact). A brief despriction on me: I am the owner of Candice Nicole Public Relations and I started my boutique PR company in 2007.  By day, I work at WTTG Fox 5 News. 

It is with great excitement that the “PoweR Connection” column has a new home.

It was about 3 years ago, when I began something that I called the PoweR Connection conference call. It was a weekly call that joined leading Public Relations and communications professionals from around the globe. The call welcomed many amazing individuals, including the late great power publicist Dee Dee Cocheta.

With that platform, many individuals were connected throughout the world and all shared valuable information with a growing community of experienced professionals. Well, life happened and became extremely busy and I let the calls fall by the waist side. However, many kept asking me when was I going to bring back the conference call. I thought about it, thought about it and then thought about it again (SMILE). I said “You know, it would be great to bring the conference call back but so many are busy these days, why not revive it in a blog form?”. I reached out to some websites and they politely declined or wanted to change the format in which I wasn’t too keen on because I have a vision for PoweR Connection and I wanted to honor that vision. I was then invited by the Black Public Relations Society (BPRS) DC Chapter to host a workshop on branding yourself in the digital age.

pr connection logoWell, that changed my life as that was the first time hosting a workshop solo and that is when in talking I mentioned my idea and Faye Hyslop and Alana Hill said SURE! It was no selling, they simply heard what I had to say and said “Lets do it!” So here we are today (SMILE).

With the PoweR Connection column, we will highlight many publicist throughout the world as well as new industry trends and best practices for industry professionals. If there are any topics in particular that you would like me to cover, please feel free to email me directly at

Again, I am so very excited to have this opportunity to blog on the BPRSDC site and to bring this vision of PoweR Connection back to the forefront! It is most important that we support one another because this can be a very unforgiving business at times. Hope you have a great reminder of the week and I look forward to sharing my first post!

PoweRfully Yours,

Candice Nicole