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Why some brands are hesitant to use Periscope and Meerkat

I realize everyone is writing about Periscope and Meerkat right now.

To the tune of 3.65 million responses when I Google “Periscope app.”

I realize I’m not contributing to the content marketing vortex.

Yet, when I read most of these posts, I don’t see too many people talking about the realistic implications for brands.


Sure, I see the upsides. I’m excited. I get all the opportunities.

Livestreaming events.

Livestreaming trade shows.

Livestreaming product launches.

Livestreaming puppies (see: Barbox).

But, with everyone urging brands to jump in, I see very few people (as usual) talking about the nuts-and-bolts of what this means on a corporate level.

For example, as with any new tool, on the corporate side there can be a resistance to try something out right away (contrary to what people think about the “shiny object syndrome”). Convincing companies to experiment with a new tool can be tough (not everyone is Mtn Dew or Red Bull). So, you have the adoption issue right off the bat.

But, I see a handful of other issues I’m sure midsized and larger companies will struggle with when it comes to Periscope and Meerkat, too.

No archiving capabilities.

Meerkat and Periscope use “ephemeral” video (I can never say that word). It’s here one minute. Gone the next. Cool for kids and people who love tools like Snapchat. Not so great for brands who like to actually see something they’ve worked hard to create for more than 30 seconds. Brands want to show off. Brands want content they can stick in an archive and refer back to at some point. Brands want content they can stick on the web and make searchable, so people visit their site and buy stuff from them. The archiving aspect of this is a big turn-off for brands, I think. Note: Periscope does offer brands the chance to save a video for 24 hours.

Here one minute. Gone the next.

So, you take the video, You stream the video on Twitter. You interact with fans. Then, it’s gone? Isn’t that the conversation marketers are having with management right now? The “ephemeral” video component of this should not be under-played–that’s a big issue. Sure, for people who use tools like Snapchat, this is second hand now. But remember, not all brands are using Snapchat. And, most brands have egos–very large egos. So, if they put a lot of time and effort into creating video content, they want that video content to then live on their YouTube channel where people can like, comment and share it. They want to use it in e-newsletters. They want to point to it from advertising. The “ephemeral” aspect of video can actually be a huge turn-off for brands.

Some brands still over-think video.

For many brands, video is still a big production affair. Videographres. Assistants. Full-day shoots. That’s video for a big company (not all, but I’d say many). It’s also costly since they typically don’t have the resources to do video in-house. So, along comes Meerkat/Periscope. You can now livestream video on your iPhone. Cool! But here’s the thing: Most brands may think that’s “cool”, but it’s not remotely “doable.” They’re simply not comfortable with it yet. Again, I’m not talking about ALL brands here (I just saw Target do some interesting things with Periscope for a product launch this week). But, I do think this is a big issue for a LOT of brands. This involves legal. This involves management. This involves governance. Once brands can dot all those is and cross all those ts, we may be in business. But, that’s going to take a while.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m just as excited about the possibilities for brands around livestreaming video as you are. But, I also want to be realistic. And, as someone who’s worked for big companies before, and as someone who consults with big brands now, I can tell you–there are hurdles. And, they are very real.

So, maybe we just need to be a bit more realistic about how this all unfolds. Brands and marketers are excited about livestreaming video, sure. But implementing it might be a bigger challenge than most people think.

photo credit: Twitter’s Periscope App TODAY Show NBC via photopin (license)

7 connectors who transformed my career

Last week, I was down in Winona again speaking at my alma mater. It’s a tradition of sorts for me, as I go down once a semester to speak with students.

After my day was complete, and I was driving back to the Twin Cities, I started thinking about how I got reconnected to my Winona State family.

It began with one person–Shelli Lissick–making a connection. Shelli is a college friend who’s a partner over at Bellmont Partners these days. Years ago, she sent a note to Dr. Tom Grier, professor in the Mass Communications Dept. at WSU recommending he have me in to speak to his class.


That led to an invite to speak, which led to multiple invites to speak (twice a year now). Since I was going to Winona to speak to one class, I my as well speak to a few classes, right? That led to me speaking at classes led by Dr. Muriel Scott, another professor in the Mass Communications Dept. that I’ve enjoyed getting to know.

Then, one time during my visit, I mentioned to Dr. Grier that I’d be interested in sitting on boards. Next thing you know, I’m joining the Winona St. Alumni Board (which also had a lot to do with my friend Debbie Block).

So, that one connection made by my friend Shelli led to:

* A great relationship with a professor I’ve gotten to know quite well over the years.

* A new relationship with a new professor.

* And, a spot on the Alumni Board, which has already led to a whole host of new relationships.

Life-changing. Career-changing.

So, I got to thinking: What other people–or, connectors–have changed my career trajectory through their introductions and efforts? I’d like to publicly thank these people as they’ve made a HUGE difference in my life, and in my career progression.

Candee Wolf, owner, Wolf Olson Communications


Candee is probably the sole reason I became more involved in PRSA years ago. I distinctly remember getting a phone call from her asking me to head up a committee. That’s all it took. One call, and I was hooked. I headed up that committee. Got my APR. Joined the board. And, from that came an entire legion of people I’ve met that have become clients, referral sources, and most importantly, good friends.

Lindsi Gish, owner, Gish & Co.


Much like I have Candee to thank for my involvement in PRSA, Lindsi’s to thank (or blame :) for my involvement with MIMA. And so far, that one introduction has led to: 1) Cultivating a whole new marketing committee made up of some very smart people including Jamie Kvamme, Lyndsey Danberry, Andrew Tewksbury, Alex Masica, Kait Cox, David Jungers, Whitney Johnson, Andy Whisney, Lindsey Heffern and Erica Hanna. Some of which I knew before, but many of which I did not; 2) Getting to know fellow KU rube, Jamie Plesser much better, which probably never happens if we’re not on the board together; and 3) Doing exactly what Lindsi did with me and inviting Holly Spaeth, Bryan Vincent, Brad Spychalski and LeeAnn Fahl to the board (some of my very favorite people). Again, one introduction paved the way for all that to happen.

Greg Swan, vice president of basically everything, space150

Greg Swan

This one’s a bit tougher to nail down. You see, I can’t draw a lot of direct lines with Greg like I can with Candee and Lindsi above. ButI believe in stuff like “cosmic forces” and I think they are likely at play when it comes to Mr. Swan. Since meeting Greg years ago, we’ve spoken at conferences together, attended conferences together, and I’ve even asked him to speak at events I’ve organized. I’ve also been camping with him and his kids. Again, can’t pinpoint any direct relationships as a result of knowing Greg, but I’m pretty sure connections have been made just by Greg mentioning my name from time to time.

Jason Falls, senior vice president-digital strategy, Elasticity

Jason Falls

About six years ago now, I remember first reaching out to Jason Falls. At the time, he was helping coordinate the social media business track at BlogWorld, one of the bigger social media conferences at the time. I wanted to attend, but didn’t have the “wherewithal” (for multiple reasons). I asked Jason is I could help, and, if in return, BlogWorld would take care of my expenses. He said yes! That led to me taking the reins from Jason the following year and organizing the track with friend, Chuck Hemann (which allowed me to get to know Chuck a bit better). It also allowed me to meet a number of incredible people at BlogWorld during that three-year stretch including: Todd Defren, Valeria Maltoni, Dennis Yu, Jay Baer and Maggie Fox, just to name a few. One phone call turned into a wealth of new introductions.

Valerie Simon, chief of strategic marketing, Plymouth Rock Assurance


Years ago, Valerie and I came up with this crazy idea called #happo. The idea: To help people find jobs, connect with others and learn more about the PR industry (keep in mind, 5-6 years ago, the job market was not nearly what it is today). It was a big success, thanks to our HAPPO champions across the country–people like Heather Whaling, Shonali Burke, Nikki Little, Jen Wilbur, Mike Schaffer and Justin Goldsborough. And that right there was it–through Valerie I got to meet some incredible PR people. Some of them I already knew, sure. But, she was the catalyst to introducing me to a number of uber-smart people (Deidre Breakenridge, for one). She also became a client late last year. So, there’s that, too.

Kellye Crane, founder, Solo PR Pro


I first met KC during the early days of Twitter (2008-2009), but we became fast friends. Fast forward a few years, and Kellye asked me to speak at her first-ever Solo PR Conference in ATL. That required little persuading, as I was planning to attend anyway. She then invited me to speak the following year. I again accepted. And again this year, I’ll be making my way to Orlando to speak at the Solo PR event within a larger PRSA conference in Florida. Without those invites, I don’t meet people like Kevin Dugan, Greg Brooks, Karen Swim, Mary Barber and Jodi Echakowitz–all of whom have been wonderful mentors and partners throughout the years.

Missy Berggren, director-social strategy & engagement, WCG


I can’t recall how or when I first met Missy Berggren. But, I recall talking about exploring the possibility of a blogger conference sometime in 2010. In 2011, we launched the first-ever Minnesota Blogger Conference, which we passed along to Mykl Roventine and Jen Jamar just this past year. Those three years organizing the conference with Missy were tremendous. Besides being a ton of fun to work with, working with Missy introduced me to a wealth of bloggers across the state. People I probably would not have met had I not organized the event with Missy. A couple years later, Missy also introduced me to a bunch of folks at Allina Health, where she was working at the time. That led to some nice project work with Allina for a while. However, the introductions and connections Missy provided and made over the years were far more important than any client project.


There you go–seven connectors who made a substantial difference in my career.

What about you–who hare your connectors? Those people who have altered the trajectory of your career?

Twin Cities PR This Week – April 13

The MN PRSA Classics Awards are one of my favorite events of the year. Sadly, this year, I could not attend. But, it sounds like it was yet another fantastic event last week. You can see the full list of winners here on the MN PRSA site. In particular, I want to call out Maggie LaMaack who won the Young Professional of the Year Award. Happy to see deserving people get the spotlight!

On to this week’s PR news from Minneapolis/St. Paul!

Fenced In, Part 3


Huge congrats to friend Susan Beatty on her brand-spankin new role as external communications managers at U.S. Bank!


Congrats to Emily Rinde who was recently promoted to communications manager at Starkey.


Gustavus Adolphus College recently selected Maccabee PR as its PR agency. Congrats! http://maccabee.com/gustavus-adolphus-college-selects-maccabee-as-public-relations-agency/

Congrats to Maggie LaMaack at Bellmont PR who was named PRSA’s Young Professional of the Year last Thursday at the MN PRSA Classics Awards.

Congrats to Land O’Lakes and Exponent PR, who received the “Best in Show” award at the MN PRSA Classics event for the cause-marketing campaign, “Pin a Meal.”

Congrats to former MIMA board member (and all-around do-everythinger) Nora Purmort on her big new agency news this week.


MIMA is hosting “Remagining the Future of Advertising” with Google’s Vikram Tank Wed. at International Market Square. You can still sign up through end of day today.

Minnesota Women in Marketing & Communications will host “Women Entrepeneurs Making the Leap” on April 21 at 5:30 p.m. You can sign up here.


University of Minnesota is looking for a director of PR: https://employment.umn.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/position/JobDetails_css.jsp

Beehive PR is looking for an intern: http://www.mnprsa.com/pr-intern-beehive-pr/

Weber Shandwick is looking for an account supervisor in its financial services practice: http://www.mnprjobs.com/2015/03/weber-shandwick-account-supervisor.html

Boynton Health Services at the U of M is looking for a marketing and communications manager: https://www.mima.org/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=293208

The Minnesota Children’s Museum is looking for a marketing and communications coodinator: http://www.themplsegotist.com/jobs/full-time/minnesota-childrens-museum/marketing-amp-communications-coordinator

Karwoski & Courage is seeking a PR account manager: http://www.creativepr.com/public-relations-account-manager-job/

Talking Points Podcast: Do People Trust PR Counselors?

Good discussion in this week’s Talking Points Podcast about a not-so-new topic: distrust among the public of the PR profession. It’s the result of a post by PRWeek based on recent (but hardly illuminating) research. My take? Yes, and no. PRs do have a larger responsibility to the public at large. To do the right thing. To act ethically. To share and distribute accurate information. But, we also have an obligation to our clients–you know, those people who pay us money to do our jobs? It’s an interesting discussion–hope you’ll join in.

Talking Pts Podcast

SHOW NOTES – April 9, 2015

“There Is No More Social Media – Just Advertising”


“FOX Launches Social Media ‘Fear Factory’ Campaign to Promote Poltergeist”


“PR in the dock: Nearly 70 per cent of the general public does not trust the industry”


“The science behind quality content: A new study”


“10 trends shaping the future of branded content”


Go ahead, underestimate me

As an independent consultant, one joke you hear constantly from other independent consultants is around attire worn during our “day jobs.”

That is: Slippers (preferably Homer Simpson slippers!). Sweat pants. Worn t-shirts.

You know, the typical clothing most people wear while at the gym or sleeping, or while sleeping in a dumpster (OK, I’ll just speak for myself on that one).


That couldn’t be more true of my routine. Sure, I clean up well. When I’m out with a client, at a board meeting, or at a local event, I’m put together. Jacket. Jeans. Cole Haans. I can look pretty darn good when I want to.

But, the rest of the time? I look like a grub.

I probably should care more. I wear sweat pants when I drop my kids off in the morning. I show up at my local Starbucks to work for a bit with jeans and a crappy t-shirt. Sometimes I go without a shower (insert audible GASP here!).

But, that’s kinda my MO. I dress up when I have to. But, if it was up to me, I’d happily work in flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt 24/7/365. In fact, my ideal scenario would be writing from my beachfront property on St. John, USVI.

You remember that movie “The Descendants” with George Clooney? Remember how he talked about how all the successful people in Hawaii dress like homeless people? Now that’s a philosophy I can embrace!

Bottom line: I WANT you to underestimate me.

I’ve read all the research. I know I might feel better if I dress up. I know people are forming impressions about me based on what I’m wearing (I’m quite sure most of the parents at my kids’ school think I’m a deadbeat, unemployed father at this point).

But, I kinda like it that way. I WANT people to underestimate me.


Because it’s all I know, really. I’ve never been the most talented. At anything, really.

In school, I never got great grades. I had to work damn hard for that 3.3 GPA. And that was the top end of my grades throughout school.

In basketball, I was always the guy who had to outwork EVERYONE. In fact, outworking and outhustling everyone else was kinda my thing and probably the only reason I was on a varsity team that was one win away from winning the state tournament my senior year.

In golf, I had to practice more than anyone. All the time. I played more than anyone I knew growing up (that paid off–I DID go to the State Tourney as a junior, and I wound up playing one year of collegiate golf).

And, when it came to girls earlier in my life, I always had to work that much harder than the other guys to get girls’ attention. That’s just a fact (ask my wife about the story around how I started dating her for proof).

So, basically, people have been underestimating me my whole life.

And, it’s that underestimating that’s driven me to succeed.

I use it as motivation.

You don’t think I can start my own consulting business? I’ll show you (six years in).

You don’t think I can win work with big companies? I’ll show you (currently working with two Fortune 500 companies, and I’ve worked with the likes of General Mills, Walgreens, Starkey, Allina Health and Walmart in the past).

You don’t think I can make a good living as an independent consultant? I’ve made far more money working for myself than I ever did (or probably, could) working for other people.

I thrive most when people underestimate me. I LOVE proving you wrong. I LOVE shoving it in your face (in a nice way, of course).

Oh, I know. Some of you may be thinking “Arik, people don’t underestimate you. If anything they respect you.” Sure, maybe if you know me and you work in our industry here in Minneapolis.

But again, think about those parents who see me show up at school with sweat pants on. Think about the people at Starbucks who see the guy “playing on Facebook” for a couple hours in beat-up khaki shorts. Think about the people who’s brows go up when I tell them I’m an “independent consultant” at parties (believe me, what they’re thinking is: “unemployed”).

Believe me, those people underestimate me. It’s a fact. No doubt about it.

So go ahead, underestimate me.

I’ll be thanking you later on that beach in St. John.