Archive for January, 2011

Ever wonder what it takes to become a great PR pro? At Strategic Objectives we all worked our way through college and paid our dues as interns, but that’s not where our secrets to success come from.

In fact you probably learned everything you ever needed to know about being a great PR from your mother.  No, seriously! Here are five PR essentials that should sound very familiar — they’re likely the same mantras your mother began preaching to you way back in pre-school:

1)     Say please and thank you – of course this goes without saying and quite often, it may even go unnoticed; but failure to be polite and show appreciation will be remembered. NEVER take somebody’s hard work for granted and be sure to display gratitude in appropriate measures, whether with a gift basket, quick email or personalized note. Think of every relationship as longstanding, because it is.

2)    Be nice – don’t raise your voice or lose your patience. PR is stressful, deadlines loom and work days are never long enough. Colleagues and journalists are just as
stressed-out as you are, and whoever is doing the yelling is only slightly more stressed-out than you are, already. The moral of this story is nobody needs extra flack. We all make mistakes at some point in our careers, and just like Murphy’s Law, “If it can, it will go wrong.” When cleaning up the mess remember, being mean may win a battle, but it never wins the war; and the way you deal with a critical situation will make or break your reputation in a very tight-knit industry.

3)    Don’t lie – somebody, somewhere knows the truth and to quote Shakespeare, “The truth will out.” Your chances of being found out increase tenfold when the media catch hold of a tall tale. If your product isn’t the best solution for getting stains out of whites, don’t make the claim. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with being ‘one of the best.’

4)    Mind your appearance – sit up straight, comb your hair and clean your ears. Alright, nobody at the office is going to remind you to clean your ears, but a neatly groomed appearance speaks volumes about you; and sitting up straight and paying attention demonstrates attentive, enthusiastic and energetic body language.

5)    Be persistent – Excellent PR results depend on persistence and since we weren’t all raised by the same mom, I’ll share a dirty little secret from my own mother, “If somebody is saying no to you, it’s because you’re asking the wrong person. Keep asking until you find the right person.” Venues must be booked, spokespeople hired and news delivered. Just get the job done! Phrases beginning with “I couldn’t find somebody to . . .” are best left unsaid to your boss, team and clients. It’s our job as PR pros to find Smart Ideas and Better Solutions for every challenge.

Laura and her Mom

Laura Petramala is a Senior Consultant at Strategic Objectives with a specialty in Media Relations.


Last November I was asked by my dear friend Guy Gal to be a Keynote Speaker at The Biz Media’s Global Entrepreneurial Week Meet up. It was a distinct pleasure and unique opportunity to talk about my journey from feisty CBC reporter to PR maven. Our entrepreneurial spirit is still alive at Strategic Objectives, and I was excited to share my story with my fellow digital marketers. The crowd was warm and eager, the refreshments delightful. Here’s the video from of my speechification. I hope you enjoy my story as much as I enjoyed telling it.

A big thank you to @GuyGal and The Biz Media for hosting me and our @SO_PR social crew.


Strategic Objectives enjoyed SO much success taking brands into the social media sphere in 2010 that we don’t see things slowing down one bit in 2011. It’s no secret that technology will play a major role in social media marketing and affect how brands communicate with their online communities in the year ahead. But how? Which technologies will reign supreme and which will miss the mark?


Here are my predictions for 2011.Videos, pictures, status updates, crowd sourcing, mobile: We’ve seen a huge increase in social sharing over the last year and it will speed up in 2011 with photo, video, crowd sourcing and status update services like Daily Booth, Quora and Twitter achieving more of a critical mass.
Last year I predicted that online video would hit mass, which it has, and I’m eager to see what happens when connected set top boxes enter the majority of people’s homes, bringing online video into everyone’s living rooms this year.
2010 was also the year that online coupons and group buying took hold and I predict 2011 will be a great year for online shopping. It will be very interesting to see what happens with Groupon “Stores”, which has the potential to become the Amazon of deals.


Facebook changed its policies so often in 2010 it made our heads spin, but I think they are now loosening their reins and won’t be as controlling in 2011. This will offer huge opportunities for brands to grow their online communities and offer more exciting applications and contests without the headache it once was. Oh, and did I mention mobile? It’s definitely on the fast-track so prepare yourself to keep up!
Last year, I said QR codes and the mobile web would take off. While they didn’t go as far asI thought they would in 2010, I hope we’ll see it happen in 2011. This may also be the year of Apple TV/ Google TV. I’m still not sold on 3D TV being anything more than a novel idea, since I don’t know if there is a place for it in everyday TV (or even every movie), but 3D technology could be huge in the gaming industry.


Location based services (LBS) are going to evolve. I predict the decline of Foursquare  and gowala. The popularity of Facebook Places shows there’s a place for LBS with regular people,not just social media power users. But we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg on how we can use them. LBS has a lot of room to change and evolve in its use/advertising ability and has the opportunity to become something quite different from what it’s being used for now. We predict a surge in experimentation with Location Based Advertising through LBS services. Can you say “test budget”?
I also believe there will be a huge change in the way we share online. We’re going to make some great progress on the road toward the semantic web and the beginning of the connected devices revolution. Data will rule: new ways to collect, share, buy, sell… New ideas on what to track, how, on which devices, and how to optimize data collection per device… It will be the age of information: less social, more data. One of my wishes for 2011 is to see more free and open information, but the wikileaks backlash and net neutrality talks could create a challenge.

My other wish for 2011 is more standardized social media and online disclosure of free products, relationships, sponsorship and the like. I want to see integrity preserved online. I would also love to see an industry standard set for blogger relations — earned and paid.

The three questions I’ve been asking myself all year have been: a) are we approaching a social media bubble burst? b) Will there be an industry standard set for blogger relations and what would it look like? and c) how will our behaviours change/evolve? I see myself continuing to ponder that in 2011. There has been a LOT of noise and I question whether our over-sharing behaviours will stick around in the long-term. We could begin to see ourselves become desensitized  to all the messages being thrown at us (bubble burst?).
2011 is going to be an amazing year with a lot of exciting opportunities for our Strategic Objectives team and our clients to do BIG things in the social media space. We’ll share key learnings with you along the way, so please be sure to subscribe!


Melissa Smich is a PR Consultant specializing in Social Media programming for Strategic Objectives clients. Be sure to check out her prezo and IRL presence at #SXSW this spring. Follow Melissa on twitter @smichm

What did you do for New Years? Oh we worked it!

What do you get when you mix: the HOTTEST social media mobile; Canada’s most popular bloggers; some rowdy contest winners; a VIP experience P Diddy would be proud of; and our awesome Strategic Objectives PR team? … An EPIC wild night out to remember!

A PR pro might normally hesitate when asked to work New Year’s Eve but this was certainly not the case for me and here’s why. Our client INQ Mobile 3G, Canada’s hot new social mobile phone wanted to throw a party, create mega buzz and earn awesome social media coverage.

Our @SO_pr solution was to create a fun Facebook contest for INQ and Canada’s party-loving public. Our program invited socialites to join and “like” the INQ Canada Facebook page, upload their most legendary party pix, and get their online peeps to vote, vote and vote again for their fave party crew. We also recruited top Toronto bloggers, Raymi The Minx and Casie Stewart, to help promote the contest online.

Our mega prize was a fully-loaded VIP New Year’s Eve party in Montreal, that would make even a Kardashian PRoud.  We would equip our contest winners and bloggers with a Twitter hashtag (#INQNYE) and set them loose in Canada’s most exciting party city.

Once the votes were tallied and our winners, John Wilkinson and Jean-Philippe Boudreault, selected (each with three friends in tow), it was time to get’er done! Off to Montreal we flew. A fleet of Escalade limos were waiting at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport to whisk us off to our chic boutique hotel. Our stay included two nights at Montreal’s luxurious and trendy W Hotel, with an all-expenses-paid shopping spree for our contest winners and bloggers at Style Exchange. After that it was off to hair and makeup at a trendy downtown salon, for tout le monde, in prep for our luxe night out.

We partied like rock stars on New Year’s Eve with a fully-loaded VIP experience at Bainsdouches, a very cool and exclusive club, with bottle service and burlesque performances. The dancers were chic and cheerful and the staff made sure we all had a fab time! Needless to say, everyone was late for brunch on New Year’s Day. Here are some photos from our epic INQ Wild New Year’s Eve Night Out 2010/11.

By: Andrew F Stewart