Welcome to the Ampersand Blog

The peeps at Kel & Partners have a lot to say. After all we are public relations and social media zealots who thrive on sharing interesting news and great stories with the public. The Ampersand Blog is really the voice of our Peeps – the kick-ass team of people that work at K&P. Whether it’s a story about the way PR works NOW, the social media universe, our families, beloved pets or quirky travel experiences, you’ll find it all right here. You may laugh, you may cry, but the best part is you’ll leave feeling “wicked smaht” as we like to say here in Boston.

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

  • Facebook

    kandpeeps | Friday, March 14, 2014 2 Comments

    Open-Office Design Concept to the Next Level – Meet the Superdesk

    Imagine working in an office with a continuous, sprawling 4,400 square foot communal desk. New-York creative agency Barbarian Group just upgraded their office with a newly designed, indoor half-pipe looking superdesk. It was designed by Los-Angeles based architect Clive Wilkinson.

    superdesk photo 01

    Copyright the New York Times, Michael Moran

    “It’s actually a lower cost than if we had done standard cubicles and desks,” explains Benjamin Palmer, Chairman of Barbarian Group, on the company’s web site video.

    Superdesk photo 02

    Copyright the New York Times, Michael Moran

    The superdesk encourages multiple departments of the agency to collaborate and share ideas easily since it’s one unbroken desk. As a shared space, it also promotes organic collisions and interactions as people move around the office. If you want a smaller gathering, there are little spaces and archways people can escape to. Employees seem to like it – and the Barbarian Desk even has it’s own twitter handle @barbariandesk.

    At K&P, we also have an open office design concept. You can see clearly across the modern, industrial space in Boston’s Innovation District when you walk in. In addition to a glass-walled conference room, there are multiple lounge areas with comfy leather chairs and couches where the team can go to relax, concentrate, or chat and brainstorm with co-workers. The open floor plan greatly influences the K&P culture by creating a community where people can connect, slow-down, gather to share ideas, or just catch-up with each other – which is so important in the fast-paced work environment of PR and Social Media.

    Beyond the office design, one of the biggest perks of the office is the scenic view of the Boston skyline, harbor, and airport – which provides a beautiful backdrop to admire. (You can often see K&P peeps posting Instagram and Facebook photos of the gorgeous sunsets with hashtags of #notyourtypicaloffice #viewnevergetsold). The Barbarian and K&P offices both demonstrate how office design is moving away from private offices, partitions, and cubicles to enable people to connect, gather, share ideas, and spread #happiness.

    The view from K&P - #viewnevergetsold

    The view from K&P – #viewnevergetsold

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  • Facebook

    Alexis Eliopoulos | Friday, February 21, 2014 No Comments »

    Beyoncé Changing The Way of Music?

    Each morning I stroll through my emails and check social media for any overnight excitement. One particular Friday morning while strolling through Instagram, I saw Beyoncé’s name in pink with the caption, “Surprise” and proceeded to watch the video announcing her latest album including 14 songs and 17 videos. I’m sorry – is this real?

    It was real, and Queen B decided to launch her album on social media without any advance warning. According to Mashable, the surprise album generated 5,300 tweets per minute and spiked more than 1,300% mentions on Facebook. As a PR professional, my immediate thought was, “Beyonce just took traditional PR and Social promotion to the next level…and killed it. Typically before an album release, artists drop their single on the radio and begin media tours for at least 2-3 months prior to the release. They hit the national TV circuit, appear on magazine covers, and try to maximize publicity for their upcoming album with tactics including highly-visible PR stunts. For example, Miley Cyrus gave a memorable VMA performance in preparation for her “Bangerz” album release. However, Beyoncé wanted to do something different.

    In the only press release issued after the album went on sale, Beyoncé said the following, “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it, I am bored with that.” Beyoncé – and her genius team – took control of the power of social media and made a direct connection with her audience. The album sold 80,000 copies in the first three hours and continues to dominate sales. While the initial shock of this “surprise” release has subsided, it has earned its spot in history. It will not be soon forgotten, and should serve to inspire others brands to “kick it up” when it comes to how they approach product promotions and leverage social media as much as possible.

    Do you think social media will change the entertainment industry?

    bey_post

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  • Facebook

    Jennifer Brogan | Friday, November 22, 2013 No Comments »

    A Cool, Crowdfunded Disruptor

    As an agency that represents low-to-no awareness, consumer-facing brands, the Kel & Partners PR team works with a number of startups who are taking on CPG industry giants and internet behemoths in order to change the status quo in their respective industries with products that are more affordable for consumers, more convenient for us, or perhaps healthier for us. They’re attempting to shake up old school industries that are ripe for change. They are “Davids” going up against “Goliaths” – the latter obviously with much deeper pockets.

    The Soma Filter System

    The Soma Filter System

    As a result, in my personal/non-work life, I like to support these types of brands – casting a vote for change with my dollar. One company that I spotted recently is a startup by the name of Soma. They’re taking BRITA head-on with a water filter pitcher with a sleek glass design and a convenient subscription model that delivers filters to your door every 60 days.

    Keeping the planet in mind, Soma filters are made from Malaysian coconut shells and are 100% compostable. And, they’ve effectively eliminated all the things that drive me crazy about BRITA – those little black carbon particles, the cheap plastic design with a detachable lid that often results in epic spills – and remembering to schlep to the drugstore to buy filters on time.

    The coolest part? Soma did it with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter – raising over $100,000 in just 10 days. Public backers enabled the founders to bring this idea to market, pledging from just $5 to over $5,000. Pretty amazing that we live in a world where someone with a smart idea for change can go head-to-head with a 40+year-old global company (BRITA) with a revenue approaching half a billion dollars. We’re no longer subject to stagnancy with the products we consume. For just 5 bucks, we can actually be agents for change and can help plant the seed to create better-for-us products with potential to transform industries.

    In fact, TIME’s “25 Best Inventions of the Year 2013” published just last week featured three inventions that were crowdfunded on Kickstarter – including a pen that actually writes in 3D. The company was hoping for $30,000 on the platform. They’ve raised over $2 million. Pretty incredible.

    Have you spotted any cool, crowdfunded disruptors in your shopping travels lately?

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  • Facebook

    kandpeeps | Friday, June 1, 2012 3 Comments

    Can you imagine a world without Facebook?

    My eyes were glued to the TV as I watched Mark Zuckerberg ring the NASDAQ opening bell and expose his company to further public scrutiny. For many looking to make a quick buck off of the IPO, Facebook has thus far looked like a dud. With stocks plummeting, critics of Facebook are proclaiming “I told you so” and quickly writing off this American success story. I can’t wait to tell the speculators “I told you so.”

    See, I’m a child of the social generation. I’m not a financial advisor, nor am I an expert on everything tech. However, when Google went public in 2004, I could have told you it would be a great investment. When Apple was on the brink of collapse, I could have mentioned that they had the capability of really kicking butt. And with Facebook going public now, I’m telling you that Facebook will be around for the next 50 years.

    The Criticism

    The main critique of Facebook is that it’s just a social networking platform that won’t be able to deliver real value. It’s an understandable stance. After GM ended its agreement with Facebook for paid ads, the very prospect of Facebook ads being worthwhile for businesses came into question. If a large company can’t profit off of its advertisements, how can a small business?

    With 85% of Facebook’s revenues coming from advertisements, weakness in the system is undoubtedly a bit scary.  The roughly 1 billion unique users inhabiting the Facebook-world are still hard to monetize.

    With news of Facebook’s overvaluation, investors are reasonably skeptical towards Facebook’s exact worth. But should they bet against the 800-pound gorilla?

    The Future (my fearless forecast)

    If we take a moment to remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” then we appreciate that Facebook is still gaining its legs. Facebook has already shifted the world.

    After all, it was Facebook that piqued my interest in Public Relations and later Social Media. It was Facebook that filled my college days with event invitations to parties. It was Facebook that started revolutions and unified people against tyrannical governments. When a government completely forbids their populace from using a social networking site, there is definitely something special.

    It is Facebook that is working to determine presidential elections. It is Facebook that connects family members worldwide. It is Facebook that allows users to actively participate in conversations around the World Wide Web. It is Facebook that will continue to change the social landscape for years to come. And it is Facebook that does not yet know its own potential.

    And how will Facebook do it?

    The potential of f-commerce (Facebook Commerce) to track data and optimize it for individual users is mind-blowing. Businesses will be able to reach ~1B users and sell merchandise directly through Facebook. Slowly, users are accepting that Facebook caters advertisements to interest and search history. Once Facebook finds a way to remove the taboo of being a social media site and harnesses its mobile potential, it will explode financially.

    With all the comparisons to Myspace’s gigantic fall from grace, there is one big reason that Facebook won’t fail. It has time.

    Facebook has what all businesses seek: a user base that is incredibly loyal. As much as people dislike the changes that Facebook makes to its platform, they always stay. The prospect of a gigantic user-base and technological advancements prepare Facebook for future progress.

    This preparation for the future will work well as Facebook emerges as much more than a website. Think once again of the two tech companies that come to mind first, Apple and Google. Apple is now much more than a computer company (iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac) and Google is much more than a search engine (Android operating system, Google+, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Glasses).

    Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, told investors that ‘the one company closest to being like Apple is Facebook. And just today, Apple announced a partnership to build Facebook into their iOS 6 software.

    So why are we betting against Facebook?

    If you are a business owner, you probably would love the ability to do these things at a fraction of the cost

    • Cater ads by interest and location
    • Sell items to interested parties
    • Create promotions
    • Find new customers
    • Interact with happy and disgruntled users
    • Send messages to followers

    However, Facebook does not just help businesses; it also educates the user on new products and allows for feedback that traditional media do not allow. After all, we trust our peers much more than we trust advertisements.

    In the end

    I’m putting my eggs in the Facebook basket. I’m no financial advisor, but I do see the potential of Facebook to continue to drastically change the worldwide business environment. Does this mean that Facebook will transfer into immediate justification of the $38.00 per share? Absolutely not, but I’ll leave it at this: I’m not betting against the social giant.

    It may be a hunch, but can you see a world without Facebook?

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  • Facebook

    Deirdre Carey | Monday, February 6, 2012 5 Comments

    YMNKM, but I am a SWF, and mom of 2.

    Both my children have cellphones, both text and my teenage son is on FB constantly.

    I consider myself pretty hip. I mean, I own an iPhone, post on FB and wear skinny jeans with UGGS. Yes, I text too.  However, as a writer, it is hard for me not to use proper sentence structure, grammar even when communicating through mobile devices.  I know my lengthy, full sentences (okay, paragraphs), grammatically correct, properly punctuated texts drive people nuts, especially my kids, who I know take one look at a text (novel) from me and actually read it in its entirety.  But all these text & chatting acronyms drive me crazy.

    I have no issue with the ones I’ve known and used since my youth:  BBQ, BYOB, MYOB, FYI, PDQ, TGIF, ASAP, ETC., XOXO (which, BTW, I believe I coined back in the 8th grade as a way to sign all the letters I wrote and passed to my BFF’s in class, and am now wishing I trademarked because everyone uses it today!) And of course, my three favorites: PYT & TLC (thanks to endless hours of listening to my Michael Jackson Thriller album).  And NKOTB (If you don’t know who I’m referring to, then you might not be cool enough to be texting anyway. I’m just sayin’).

    So, in an effort to up my texting etiquette, and have the ability to decode what my kids are saying when I spy on their phones & FB posts, I did what every red blooded American would do,  I turned to Google to find the top most popular text & chat acronyms.

    Here’s my .02.

    YMAK a lot of acronyms, but BM&Y, IDK many!

    KYFC I use acronyms correctly when chatting with BFF’s.

    YSIC?

    TBH IDUNNO

    U may think TPS

    SOK ICCL!

    Here are my top 11 (it doesn’t always have 2B 10) new favorites I will use often:

    1)     TNSTAAFL – There’s no such thing as a free lunch

    2)     RUOMCUMHD – Are you on medication because you may have missed a dose

    3)     FCOL – for crying out loud! (An expression my mom used on a daily basis when I was a kid.  That and “I’m going to brain you! WT* does that even mean? IDK)

    4)     GOYHH <insert name> – get off your high horse

    5)     ^5 – High-five (how did I NOT know that one?)

    6)     BISFLATM – But I still feel like a turquoise monkey

    7)     LMKITWFY – let me know if that works for you

    8)     HFAC – Holy flipping animal crackers

    9)     YYSSW – Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, whatever

    10)   RME – rolling my eyes (I will use this one the most!)

    11)   SWAK – Sealed with a kiss (since everyone stole my xoxox!)

    And here is one I’m going making up myself that I hope catches on:

    TSWCOT! – The sun will come out tomorrow! Y? Because it’s positive, it’s upbeat, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Annie the musical TYVM!

    SETE!

    What a GR8 learning experience!

    IMR

    HTH U2 :)

    10Q 4 reading my post!

    BIB.

    Have 2 GBTW now :(

    TTFN

    PS: Ne1 want 2 add?

    FF to comment.

    No TMI PLS.

     

     

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  • Facebook

    Jayne Seward | Tuesday, December 27, 2011 1 Comment

    Pinteresting…..

    pin·ter·est (n.):

    A fun reminder of the clothes I ill never afford/fit into, the home décor I will never afford/fit into our small home, the recipes and crafts I am too lazy to ever make, the saying I wasn’t clever enough to think of on my own, the photos I wish I had taken but didn’t.

    If you haven’t yet heard of Pinterest, the virtual bulletin board phenomenon taking the Internet by storm, you soon will.  The food… the party planning… the crafts… Pinterest is slowly taking over my life (but I love it). And I’m not alone in my obsession.

    The site, which launched in March 2010, is still invite-only and yet has managed to rack up over 4 million active users according to its Facebook page. If that’s not proof of an emerging social network, I don’t know what is.

    For those of you who have yet to discover the addictive power of Pinterest, here’s the 411:

    • Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize and share all the inspriational things you find on the web.
    • You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
    • People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.
    • A pin is an image added to Pinterest.
    • A pin can be added from a website using the Pin It button, or you can upload images from your computer.
    • Each pin added using the Pin It button links back to the site it came from.
    • A board is a set of pins.
    • A board can be created on any topic, such as My Style, Recipes For Dinner, or Wishlist.
    • You can add as many pins to a board as you want.

    My personal Pinterest repertoire ranges from places/countries I want to visit, sassy manicure designs, and even a board of inspiration for my future tattoo (if I’m ever ballsy enough to get one).

    So whether you want to create a board on crafty DIY projects you find online, or you want to plan your imaginary wedding, I highly recommend checking out Pinterest and requesting an invite ASAP…. Or ask me for an invite! I’m more than happy to help out a future pin-oholic!

     

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  • Facebook

    Kendyll Messina | Thursday, December 15, 2011 No Comments »

    Santa Has Elves, You Have Social Media

    With the holiday season upon us, it is crunch time for most when it comes to holiday shopping. When you consider the amount of time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, and foursquare why not use your favorite social media sites to help cross everyone off your holiday shopping list?

    It can be as easy as following the brand names you know your best friend likes on Twitter to see what is hot and new for the holiday season, to get some “giftspiration”, or getting a gift card to the bar your brother is the mayor of on foursquare. A lot of stores are also giving great coupons and discounts once you “like”,” follow”, or “check in” at a particular spot!

    It’s super easy to “like” a page on Facebook, but did you know that a lot of pages give exclusive savings and giveaways to their Facebook fans? Check the home pages of your favorite stores /brands and look for a link to their Facebook page. “Like” them, and you could get your brand name gifts for less!

    Not sure how to find the best deals on Twitter? A quick search on popular hashtags such as #deals and #coupons will show you what discounts other people are sharing and talking about. For more, just follow the professional deal seekers! A few of my favorites are @CouponTweet, @retailmenot, and @FabulousSavings.

    When it comes to foursquare, all you have to do is look up the specials near your location, check in, and reap the rewards! You will find anything from a discount off your purchase to freebies!

    By using these social media sites you can save time and money (which we all know is the goal throughout the holiday season!). With the help of social media there is no need to get involved with the masses of people doing their last minute holiday shopping, you can get everything done right from home ( you are more than likely going to be on these sites throughout the day anyway, right? )

    When it is time to open gifts you can sit back and relax while everyone receives exactly what they wanted! Santa may have elves, but you have social media ☺

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Monday, December 12, 2011 6 Comments

    Klout, schmout

    In the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of negative backlash directed at Klout, based on an algorithm change that caused a lot of people’s scores to plummet. As for me, I’ve been a skeptic since I got my first Klout score. Now, I’m no Ashton Kutcher (gratefully) but I’ve been on Twitter for nearly 4 years and consider myself something of a Twitterholic. Imagine my surprise when I got my Klout score -– a meager 30- – and learned that I’m considered “influential” about…real estate?

    Real estate? A happy renter that’s never even been to an open-house, I can’t imagine in what universe I’d be considered knowledgeable on the subject, let alone influential. (Editorial side note – a recent check of my Klout score now has me influential about PR, family and Massachusetts…perhaps thanks to those recent algorithm changes? More info in this article from Adweek: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/klout-faces-foes-136721)

    As our collective consciousness has evolved past the “my follower/friend count defines my SM self worth” stage of evolution (see posts from Ginny Pitcher and Chris Brogan for more on that), I think we all look for some metrics that will define our status as “rock star.” (I’ve always been a fan of HubSpot’s continuously evolving Twitter Grader –- perhaps because it gives me an A+?) Tools like Klout can either be validation, or useful for those starting out to figure out if they’re “doing it right.” I’m not so sure that Klout is an effective tool for either of those situations.

    A recent post by Hollis Tibbetts on SocialMediaToday has a nice little case study on “gaming” Klout that I think is a pretty clear illustration of what (IMO) is wrong with the service: http://socialmediatoday.com/softwarehollis/385964/exposed-klout-scores-still-garbage-after-all-these-days.

    Maybe my 30 isn’t so bad? Some interesting insights in this piece: “Why I deleted my Klout profile,” (check out the insights under #6), http://socialmediatoday.com/pammoore/389381/why-i-deleted-my-klout-profile

    With the advent of +Ks, I think there’s a chance that Klout’s “influencer” metrics may be improved by some user-generated control. While the site is still technically in beta, I’ll look to see continued improvement that makes what they’re measuring more meaningful. I wonder if by the time they get there, though, anyone will consider it so.

    What’s your Klout score? Are you a fan of the service?

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  • Facebook

    Alexis Eliopoulos | Thursday, September 29, 2011 1 Comment

    From PR tools to celebrity obsessions: here are my top 5 accounts to follow!

    As of today, my following count on Twitter is exactly 437 people.  Some people have said to me, “you enjoy hitting the ‘follow’ button a little too much”. However, I like following different people, brands, celebrities, and news outlets.  It allows me to get different information from all ends of the spectrum. At times, Twitter can get overwhelming, especially when you leave it open for five minutes and there are over 85 new Tweets! Since our culture is impacted by information overload, I wanted to break down my top five accounts to follow. Check it out:

    @boston – For fellow Bostonians, this is a must. @boston has constant updates about news, traffic, and weather. For me, it is especially helpful for morning and evening commutes – I’m updated at all times!

    @mediapost – MediaPost covers a wide variety of topics such as daily, media, online, and marketing news.  The best part of following MediaPost is the constant news updates and the different blogs.

    @nycprgirls – They have become my PR bible! These 20-something PR girls in NYC hit every point whether it is PR, fashion, even TV show reviews. They were my go-to guide during post-grad interviews and had some helpful tips while prepping for interviews.

    @thoughtcatalog – There is a “follow must” for every age: Thought Catalog nails every real life situation. For example, “Lies Felicity Told Me About College,” 10 Life lessons Learned From Playing Minesweeper,” or my personal favorite,  “Things I Want To Say To The People on The Subway.” If you’re looking for a mid-afternoon giggle, please follow them! Major props to my fellow colleague, @missjrf for pointing them out!

    @kimkardashian – It’s okay, you can judge me but I don’t care. I have a Kardashian obsession. Let’s face it, she branded herself pretty well, even if it did come after a sex tape. She just hit 10 million followers, which puts her in fifth place on Twitter.

    Who are some of your favorite accounts to follow?

     

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  • Facebook

    redheadmeag | Thursday, September 1, 2011 4 Comments

    Facebook announcing music streaming through facebook.com at F8

    Madonna said it best – music makes the people come together.

    I’m something of an early adopter of “online music”. Sean Fanning went to my High School (sure, he was a freshman when I graduated and is now a millionaire…sigh…) and my addiction to LimeWire crashed my family’s computer at least a dozen times. I was the type that updated the song on my MySpace profile with great frequency, even. All told, the rise of music streaming marks one of the most significant impacts the internet has had on my life.

    A few years ago, Pandora was my jam. For the uninitiated, Pandora lets you create “stations” based on a specific artist/song. It will then serve up “similar” songs based on that selection. What a fantastic tool for discovering new music! (I owe my awareness of/love for the Black Keys to Pandora). It applied intelligence to these selections by enabling you to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the songs it played. I managed that ish like Joe Jackson – I was on it, and if any of my stations served up something I didn’t like, those songs were dealt with in the harshest way possible (that’s right, thumbs down to YOU Pussycat Dolls!) The problem is, when I gave a thumbs up to an artist, say, I don’t know, Justin Timberlake, those songs began to permeate my other channels. When you’re in the mood for Slipknot, JT mixing in just does not work.

    Craving more control, I jumped on the GrooveShark bandwagon. Now, let me say this plainly – Grooveshark has changed my life. You have access to the music collections of the estimated 35,000,000 users!! I’ve yet to search for a song/artist and not get something back – even my beloved Josh Homme’s Dessert Sessions are on there, and you should hear the Chieftans/Dropkick/assorted bagpipe/12 versions of “toura loura” mix I made for Saint Patrick’s Day.  You choose your songs, add them to a list, and that list lives forever.  The only problem – no mobile app?! (Give that a big ol’ #WTF. Come on, Grooveshark.) Of course, this left me stranded at a party a few weekends ago that needed DJ RedHeadMeag’s touch.

    Enter Spotify. Like the rest of the Twitterverse, I used Klout to gain access to this much buzzed about service. But I got there and….meh. Where was the selection? That’s a bandwagon with a personal best high bounce rate – 2 tries, and I was out.  Did I walk away too quickly? (comments and thoughts are welcome!)

    Now, I’m reading that Facebook is going to announce at F8 later this month that they’re partnering with Spotify (and others) to stream music through FB.com. Check out the Mashable story: http://mashable.com/2011/08/31/facebook-music-platform/

    Adding reco’s based on what my friends like? Hmmm. I’m friends with a pretty musically diverse group of individuals – I’m not sure that this is really going to do it for me.  Also – I like free.

    Are you excited about this launch? What is your favorite music service?

     

     

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