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Talking Points Podcast: Real-Time Marketing “War Rooms” are Dying

In this edition of the Talking Points Podcast, Kevin and I talk about an interesting article by Contently last week that laid out all kinds of interesting stats about real-time marketing “war rooms” (wow–expensive!). Especially the stats around the cost per impression for real-time marketing “war room”-based tactics vs. other forms of advertising–quite eye-opening.

We also talk a bit about the trend of companies pre-releasing Super Bowl commercials BEFORE the big game. Is it worth it? Will the trend continue? We discuss.

Talking Pts Podcast

Hope you enjoy the show.


 “USA TODAY Ad Meter Results”


 “8 great Super Bowl XLIX commercials you can watch already”


 “See Which Super Bowl Ads Are Already Going Viral”


 “Does Super Bowl Exposure Matter if Ads Go Viral?”


 “Why Aren’t Super Bowl Ads Getting Buzz This Year?”


 “For Football Fans, It’s More Than Just a Game”


 “The Big Game Becomes a Month-Long, Multi-Screen Event on YouTube”


 “Is Real-Time Super Bowl Marketing Worth the Money?”


 “7 reasons PR pros should fire a client”


 “Content Strategy 2015: Marketing, Mobile, and the Enterprise“


 “How top publishers are using Snapchat”


The best corporate Instagram account from Minnesota you haven’t heard of

Sure, the Target Instagram account has more than 500,00 followers.

And yeah, the Nature Valley account is still one of my favorites with all its outdoorsy pics from the western U.S.

Even the Minnesota Zoo’s account is tremendous with all its uber-adorable furry friends.

But, the best “corporate” (OK, so it’s not really a “corporate” account, but bear with me) Instagram account from Minnesota is one you probably HAVEN’T heard of (especially if you’re from outside Minnesota): Explore Minnesota.

Explore MN 1

They may not have the most followers (OK, so they have 11,200 followers, but it’s nowhere near the big boys), but I think they’ve done a really nice job with what they have over the last year or so.

Remember, when you work for an organization that’s not really selling a “product”, but instead a “concept”, it’s tougher than you might think. I’ve had a couple clients in recent years (Bike Walk Move, the new Green Line) that fall into this bucket.

Yeah, Explore Minnesota has the advantage of a concept that lends itself incredibly well to outstanding visuals. But, that doesn’t always translate into success.

You still need creative ideas.

And you still need to execute well.

I think Explore Minnesota has done both–with just a few caveats.

Here’s what I see Explore MN excelling:

What they do well: Top Pics of the Week series

Explore MN 2

Love what Explore MN has done with this series, slowly building a community of Minnesota-based photographers (and fans) on Instagram. They’re simply curating the best shots featuring the #onlyinmn hash tag from the week. Simple, but brilliant (and effective in terms of engagement).

But, take it one step further…

I can’t help but wonder what else they use do with these IGers whose pics they feature each week. What about using them to lead their fairly frequent Insta Meetups? What if they were somehow designated as official MN Instagrammer tour guides? Could they feature them in their advertising? Just feels like there’s a bigger opportunity here to wrap these folks up and put them on an even bigger pedestal.


What they do well: Driving to specific Minnesota destinations

Explore MN 3

In the feed, you see a lot of pics of the best Minnesota spots and locations. Lots of Duluth pics. LOTS of North Shore photos. Pics from Twin Cities landmarks (James J Hill House recently). And some pics from other Minnesota hot spots (Winona and the Mississippi River valley were popular in the fall). Obviously, this is one of the big reasons they started and continue to use the account.

But, take it one step further…

One thing I don’t see a lot of in the feed–FOOD! I mean, I know the focus is on exploring Minnesota locations, landscapes and landmarks. But, what about Minnesota FOOD? Isn’t that a big part of what makes us unique? What about spots like Fitgers in Duluth? Bloedow’s Bakery in Winona, or WA Frost in St. Paul? Aren’t these restaurants, bakeries and bars a big part of the Minnesota experience? I’d feature them a bit more.


What they do well: Using regrams to unlock Minnesota pride

Explore MN 4

One of the beautiful things about this account is that they literally would not have to produce a single pic if they didn’t want to. Why? Because there is a LEGION of Minnstagrammers that are taking great shots for them! So, all Explore Minnesota has to do is simply regram and credit the IGers of these great shots and voila–instant pics! Great way to recognize these IGers from across the state, and more importantly, to build that Minnesota pride. Go look at one of these posts where they regram a shot–it’s FULL of congratulatory notes from folks all over the state to the original IGer.

But, take it one step further…

Explore MN does such a nice job here. However, I’d probably regram #onlyinmn pics even more, if it was me. Such a great way to build that pride. And it’s that pride that’s driving likes, comments and awareness, which is obviously what they’re after. I’d also find a way to really thank these IGers for their pics and time. Who knows–maybe Explore MN is already doing this. I’d like to think they are. But, I’d set up some kind of system where I’d send IGers a postcard (using a tool like Postagram) with their pic and a signed and personal “thank you” from the Executive Director (or Communications Director). Just a nice, little personal touch that I bet would go a LONG way.


What they do well: Using influencers to help tell the Minnesota story

Explore MN 5

Some of you might remember this from last summer/fall. Explore MN asked a variety of influential IGers to document their Minnesota experience as they explored different geographic areas of the state. The “Ten Day Minnesotans” idea. Great idea, right? Turning over the IG keys to influencers isn’t really a new strategy, but in this case, I thought it made a lot of sense. It was fun to see their perspective on our great state. And, I think that came through in the pics.

But, take it one step further…

However, I’m not so sure they really needed to engage all these big-time IG influencers for this campaign. I mean, I know they’re after reach and engagement here. I also know they probably wanted out-of-state influencers as a way to draw people in from across the country. I get it. But, I also assume they had to pay these people a hefty sum to do it. Instead, why not mix in at least one of the great IGers we have right here in MN? I mean, just looking at the feed, we have a ton of those, right? Why not ask Minnesotans like Eric Wheeler, Kyle Matteson and Robert Burmaster (just a few I know and follow) to document THEIR Minnesota? Again, it’s all about building on that MN pride. Loved this idea though.


Could two professional memberships really make sense?

Last Saturday, I had the honor or presenting at one of the annual PRSA APR study sessions thanks to my friends Betsy Anderson and Julie Eastling. I opened up my presentation by saying I had sat in the exact chair these folks had been sitting in 10 years ago as an APR student. I had been a PRSA member for years. I had been on the PRSA board. I had been involved with PRSA for a long time.

And then I stopped. I needed a break.

And now, I’m on the board of directors for the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (the oldest interactive marketing association in the country!).

And now, I’m thinking about rejoining PRSA, too. I will be a dual-membership professional.

Prof ORg

And, I think we may start to see this trend grow in the years ago.

Here’s why.

We all know jobs in the creative space have been melding for years. Ad folks are being asked to do PR work. PR folks are being asked to do interactive work. Interactive folks are being asked to do PR work. Our jobs are all melding together just a bit.

So, there’s a definite need to learn about more than just one discipline, right?

Meanwhile, the list of professional organizations and groups catering to these disciplines continues to swell. Let’s look at the list just in the Twin Cities:



* AdFed





* MN Search

* Social Media Breakfast

I mean, I could keep going. There are more.

But, I think I’ve made my point. There are so many trade organizations and groups now you can join. More competition than ever.

But do you need to be a member of just ONE of these groups?

I say no.

I say it may make sense to be a member of MORE than one group, depending on your job, role and interest.

If you work in interactive, but specialize in social, wouldn’t it make sense to be a member of MIMA AND Social Media Breakfast?

If you work in PR but have a keen interest in all things digital (this sounds like me!), wouldn’t you want to be a member of PRSA AND MIMA?

If you worked in the ad space, but also wanted to learn more about social, should be you be a member of AdFed and also attend SMB events regularly?

I know, I know, the cost. And yeah, there is additional cost. But many of the membership fees to these organizations is minimal compared with the benefit. Take MIMA, for example. Annual membership is just $230 a year. But, for that fee, you get access to all the monthly events for FREE. So, if you attend six events a year, the membership pays for itself.

And that’s just one example. Cost shouldn’t be an issue, folks.

I’ve written about this before. The benefit easily outweighs the cost when you think about the long-term implications for your career.

So, is this a new trend just waiting to happen? Will we see more people taking on two professional memberships in the months/years ahead?

PR Rock Stars: Polaris’ Jamie Kvamme

No offense to the many, many people I’ve interviewed for this series before, but this specific PR Rock Star interview may be my favorite. Solely because of the heart and spirit of the interviewee: Jamie Kvamme.

Truth be told, I don’t know Jamie all that well. At least not until last year when I asked her to join the marketing/membership MIMA committee (more on that below!). Since then, I’ve gotten to know her a bit better. And, since last fall, I’ve watched her survive (and thrive) under the most adverse circumstances you could possibly imagine.

Jamie’s is a story of personal strength. Determination. Indomitable will. And joy. Plain and simple. And I’m HONORED to be able to share a bit of it with you here today. Enjoy this wonderful read from one of the most inspiring people I know.

Jamie K 1

1-You started your professional career at Supervalu back in 2008. How that first internship help shape you into the rock star you are today? What’s the one thing you learned in that internship that you put into practice today?

I loved my time at Supervalu. I sat on a team of smart and driven women and got to participate in a handful of internal communication, PR and creative services projects. It was hugely beneficial to get experience in all of those areas – it helped provide a sense of direction for my next step. Oh, and my first glimpse at amazing power-women was pretty inspiring too (can I be them someday?).

2-You then worked for two academic institutions–Northwestern College and the U of M Carlson School of Management. How did working for academia differ from working for corporate America? What was great about working for academia that many people might overlook?

It was a big shift moving from corporate to academia, but a really good one. My communication teams were smaller and therefore I had my hands on a LOT of different projects and work. There was so much opportunity and it was a bit easier to contribute in high level decision making. That, and the amount of autonomy over my work, are things that make academia (or small business) a fun space to work in.

3-Now you’re over at Polaris on the marketing team working for our mutual friend Holly Spaeth, where you work mostly in a digital role. What was it about digital marketing that drew you in? What do you enjoy most?

Jamie K 2

I was (and still am) really drawn to how fast everything moves in the digital space. I love how the landscape changes daily and how big brands can interact one on one with a consumer. I think the customer service piece of digital is my favorite. I could tweet, comment, post, ping, chat, or call consumers all day long and never get tired of it. I like helping people solve a problem. And if I can do that online, well hey, that’s pretty cool.

4-Last year, you had a life-changing accident that involved you ultimately losing part of your leg. Since that accident, you’ve unquestionably been an inspiration to many, many people here in Minneapolis/St. Paul who have heard your story (the pic of you wearing the “Still Kickin” t-shirt at one of your physical therapy appointments early on is probably my favorite pic of the year that didn’t include my own kids!). Heck, you were back to work within a few months! Where did you find that strength and what motivates you on a day-to-day basis?

Jamie K Still Kicking

I’m honored that people feel inspired by my story…and that’s a HUGE reason I feel like I can just keep truckin’ along. I’m also a big believer in that things happen for a reason. So yeah, some days it really stinks, but there have been many, many things that have happened since the accident that have been humbling and cool and mind-blowing…and it’s those things that make me feel strong and empowered (if anyone wants to hear about it, I’m always down for a cup of coffee!).

As for motivation, I find it in so many different things — people with similar injuries that are crushing it in the paralympics, working on new projects, a good conversation with a friend, or my husband telling me I’m doing great. I have to re-learn how to do just about everything, so I’ve set some lofty goals for myself. I want to be skiing in the mountains next winter. Running this summer. Lifting weights this spring. It’s those things that keep me moving forward every day. One bionic step at a time.

5-How did the accident impact that way you look at your career and your job?

The accident was eye-opening. I’m so grateful that I survived, and that has changed the way I look at work and life as a whole. Life is short. I want to love what I do and work with people that inspire me to be better. I want to make a difference at work. And I hope that I can inspire my colleagues to grow (in whatever capacity that might be).

I also want to enjoy things…my family, my friends, the world that we live in. So being able to take a breather from work to do those things has also become of significant value. (Take time off people! Seriously though. You’ll never regret it.)

6-This past holiday season, you helped the Red Cross raise awareness for donating blood. Why did you decide to help, and what, exactly, are you doing to help the Red Cross?

Jamie K Red Cross

I’ve donated blood since I was in high school (but mostly for the free cookies and pop). I knew it was a good cause, but I didn’t really know. So when I received more than four units (equal to four people donating), it gave me a whole different perspective on why it’s so important to give. During the holiday season I got to share my story on behalf of the Red Cross to help generate traffic to some significant blood drives.

7-You also volunteer your time with MIMA, as a part of our marketing/membership committee (so glad you’re a part of our team!). Why did you decided to donate your time to MIMA and now that you’ve been at it for a year, what have you enjoyed most about your volunteer experience with MIMA?

I always knew I wanted to volunteer in some capacity, but had a hard time nailing down what exactly I wanted to do. The MIMA opportunity sort of fell into my lap unexpectedly when you (Arik!) reached out about getting involved with a committee (thanks!). I was more than happy to hop on board and give it a go. It’s been very fulfilling to use what I’m good at to help MIMA succeed.

AND, one of the cooler parts of volunteering is that I’ve been getting to meet so many of my internet-friends. It’s way cool to meet a Twitter friend and become in-real-life friends.

8-Since so many people look at you as someone who inspires them on a daily basis, what advice would you give to those who may be facing struggles–whether they’re struggles at work, or life-altering changes like the one you faced in 2014?

My best advice is this: don’t quit.

Every day is a new challenge. Whether that’s learning to walk again or paying some unexpected bills or battling cancer…there is always going to be something. No one has a perfect, easy life. There are some days when I think it would be easier to just give up, but I also know that won’t make me happy. So I charge on..and occasionally let someone else do the heavily lifting when I can’t handle it. Having that network of people really helps. And if you feel like you haven’t got one, start sharing your story. It’s amazing what happens when you give people a little peak inside your world.

Twin Cities PR This Week – Jan. 30

Earlier this week, I made a post highlighting some of the biggest moves in PR/social media here in the Twin Cities in 2014. You may see a few familiar faces! It’s indicative of all the great talent we have here in Minnesota.

Judging by the number of open positions so far in 2015, I may have to expand the list next year. Take a peek at what I’ve been seeing across the Twin Cities in terms of open positions, job changes, and events in the last couple weeks.

Fenced In, Part 3



Karwoski & Courage is looking for two account people. An account supervisor to work on several ag accounts – ideally somebody with four to six years experience on the crop side of the business. They’re also looking for an account executive (generalist) with two to four years of experience. Get in touch with Tena Murphy t.murphy@martinwilliams.com if you’re interested.

Maccabee PR is seeking an assistant account executive to join its team in downtown Minneapolis.

My friends over at Bellmont PR are looking for an intern for March-Aug. Know anyone?



MN PRSA officially announced its full slate of board members for 2015–congrats to all!

Nice little profile of friend and fellow MIMA board member, Lindsi Gish, here on the Being Geek Chic blog this week.


Next Thursday, MN PRSA is hosting an event titled “What it Takes to Win the Super Bowl” at Weber Shandwick from 7:30-9:30 am.