Perks Consulting Founder and CEO Lauren Perkins Accepted to Banco Santander W50 Program at UCLA

By Perks |

Lauren Perkins

Perks Consulting is pleased to announce the acceptance of Founder and CEO, Lauren Perkins, to the Banco Santander W50 Program at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.  The program has invited 50 women globally to join in an intensive Executive Management and Board Leadership program designed for emerging female business leaders.

Lauren was one of two women to be nominated by her alma mater, Northeastern University, and one of 50 globally to be selected for the program.  As part of this summer’s Executive Management program she will join a week-long on-campus immersion experience onsite at UCLA Anderson in June 2011 with fellow female executives selected from an international roster of nominees.

From the Banco Santander W50 Program:

Women are at the center of a profound paradigm shift in the workplace as globalization, the economic crisis and talent demand converge to create new and powerful bias (varying by country and region), thereare many changes on the horizon that will change permanently women’s experiences at work

Banco Santander has created the W50 Program in partnership with UCLA Anderson Executive Education to equip our next generation of global women leaders for service as board directors. Santander’s purpose in launching this program is to strengthen its relationship with the Santander Universities Network, and to establish Santander as an advocate of higher education providing women with career development and psychosocial support. Participants selected from the Santander Universities Network will be provided with developmental tools, training and knowledge to improve productivity, and the skills to retain talent and ensure the future success of organizations.

Key Topics

  • Strategic Leadership
  • Organizational Savvy
  • Introduction to Corporate Governance
  • Strategy, Structure, Succession
  • Key Accounting Considerations
  • Business Acumen
  • Bringing Your Whole Self to Work
  • Mentoring and Networking

Program Objectives

By successfully completing this program, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the skills and experience required to become a board member and leader of an organization
  • Develop a stronger sense of self-awareness and appreciation for diversity in leadership styles
  • Gain awareness of the skills required to effectively navigate organizations
  • Build networking capabilities and develop a plan for growing mentor relationships

The Experience

The six day on-campus experience is the hub of this three month leadership journey, with extensive pre-work and assessments, and in-dept post-program analysis that reinforce insights gained, gauge participants’ progress and drive home the workplace applicability of what they learned.

Who Should Attend?

Designed for young alumnae – approximately 30 to 35 years old – who possess substantive professional work experience and significant direct accomplishments. The high potential of these women can be recognized in their strength of character, motivation and commitment to both personal and organizational goals. Their current career trajectory gives a strong indication that they will develop the leadership capacity and executive acumen required to sit on a board later in their professional lives.


Unique Viral Sony Advertising Campaign Launches Cybershot Above The Rest

By Perks |

Sony has taken two iconic photos – one of Albert Einstein & the other of Marilyn Monroe – and used them in their new Sony Cybershot ad campaign for their panoramic camera. Done by Saatchi & Saatchi out of Argentina, these two video ads add humor and intrigue to two well known subjects.

The beauty about this ad campaign is that while entertaining the audience through suspense with multiple unveilings, Sony keeps the focus on the product all throughout. They show how much better photographs can be when they’re taken in panoramic. The message of how much you are missing by only shooting a limited area is conveyed in a fun and artistic way.

The main purpose of any integrated marketing campaign is to convey the value of the product as well as make it memorable enough that the viewer converts to a consumer at the point of purchase. Sony has just about done this by turning their product advert into something viral that will be talked about at water-coolers, shared on social networks and written up in blog posts much like this one.

The main thing to remember here is that while you may want to come off funny and witty in your advert you also want to clearly tie it to your product otherwise it will have the opposite effect with viewers. Relevancy and timeliness make your engagement that much more effective.


Why did Einstein stick out his tongue in that iconic photograph? Sony Cybershot takes you behind the scenes, offering a never-before-seen (and fictional) panoramic version of the shot. Check it out below, along with a related Marilyn Monroe spot after the jump. Both ads, created by Argentina’s Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, are reminiscent of Samsung’s recent ads about viewing art masterpieces in 3-D, which unfortunately have been removed from YouTube. Hat tip to The Presurfer.

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OneResult Joins the Perks Consulting Client Roster!

By Perks |

Perks Consulting’s long-standing history with athletic and fitness clients continues with the signing of OneResult to the roster.  OneResult.com is an etailer for athletic health supplements founded by Rob Pietroforte and Jesse Jahr in 2010.  In addition to selling proven and effective health supplements, OneResult uses tailored training and nutrition plans to help customers look and feel their best while achieving their fitness goals.

OneResult was started out of a need for a definitive resource on NCAA-approved and safe health supplements without the use of banned substances, where other supplement retailers have been criticized due to lack of FDA oversight.  The OneResult product roster includes no more than 100 products to ensure strict quality control and management, while the etailer provides a bevy of both fitness and nutritional information from NCAA strength coaches and top nutritionists so supplements are used appropriately and correctly to help achieve the intended results.

OneResult is the supplement industry’s safe alternative with access to the top coaches and registered dieticians for the weekend warriors, beach bodies, and aspiring athletes.


10 Secrets of Super-Effective Networking

By Perks |

These 10 points should always be kept in mind when going out to events to network. A great way to meet new people is to partner up with someone and introduce each other to new people. This breaks the ice and sets the stage of you being someone who wants to give introductions or be introduced. Compare that to going up to someone who you don’t know. Some of their first thoughts could include, ‘Why is this person talking to me?’ and ‘What do they want from me?’

Tip #2 is one of the most valuable tips. Being introduced by a mutual acquaintance is instantaneous social proof. You now have a point of reference to call back. You also skip the vetting process because your mutual acquaintance has done that for you.

The other key tip is #8. Following up within 24 hours is a major must as you will still be fresh in the person’s mind. Email, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook – it doesn’t matter what the method of contact. What matters is that you follow up in a timely relevant manner. Make sure to include some #6 and then #7.


Spring is in the air, or at least it will be once all this darn snow melts away. Maybe it’s the good weather (all relative, Bostonians), or maybe it’s the graduating seniors/MBAs, but I always feel like I meet tons of brand new networkers this time of year.

I typically spend 3-4 nights a week meeting new people at networking events, so I figured I’d share a few best practices I’ve acquired over the last few years.

Warning: For some of you, this post may seem a bit stalker-ish. That is certainly not the intention. Entrepreneurs need to work hard to get in front of the right people, and being meticulous will put you out ahead of your competition. Happy networking!

BEFORE THE EVENT

#1: Comb through the guest list and identify your “targets.”
Many events publish guest lists beforehand, or you can simply ask the event organizer for one. Compile a short list of your targets for the evening.

#2: Find mutual acquaintances.
Use the power of social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) to find people with whom you and your target are mutually acquainted. If your acquaintance will also be at the event, make sure you request an intro in person. If not, request an intro beforehand to give your target a heads up.

#3: Do your homework on what your target cares about.
You should read as much as you can (bios, blog posts, interviews) about your target and get to know what he does and how he thinks about the world. (Let’s arbitrarily assume your target is male to avoid the whole he/she pronoun issue.) This is relatively easy with a little Googling nowadays.

After digesting this info, form your own opinion about what your target is working on, or views he’s expressed publicly. Make sure you have one topic where you agree and one where you disagree (more to come on this later).

DURING THE EVENT

#4: Show up on time and check the name card desk.
Most important people show up late to events. That’s just the way it is. They’re running from one thing to another, and they can’t help being late. You, however, can show up on time and have the benefit of checking the name card desk when few of the name cards have been taken. That way, if you had any doubts as to who would be in attendance, you can now be relatively certain.

#5: Know the hotspots, i.e. “the 3 B’s.”
The 3 B’s are Bar, Buffet, and Bathroom. These are the places your target will hit at least once in the evening. If you hang out by one of these, you will probably bump into him.

#6: Display knowledge and value.
Have your mutual acquaintance make an introduction at the event, or alternatively introduce yourself. Be polite and lead with the piece of your homework that you agree on. Let the conversation take off from there. If you get into a deeper conversation, bring up the piece of your homework that you disagree on. This will show that you have some gumption, and that you’ve thought through the relevant issues deeply. Again, be polite. No one likes a know-it-all.

Throughout the conversation, if you can add value to the relationship (an intro, your expert opinion), feel free to offer. Often to “come bearing gifts” is the best strategy.

#7: Exit gracefully.
Your interaction should typically last no more than five minutes. If you find your target’s gaze wandering, it’s time to finish up. Express that you enjoyed the conversation and that you’d love to follow up. It’s ok to ask for a card and to give him one yourself if you’ve had a meaningful exchange.

AFTER THE EVENT

#8: Follow up within 24 hours.
Send a follow up email within 24 hours of the event. After 24 hours, you may be forgotten. Make it short and sweet, and make sure you have an “ask” that’s specific and actionable.

Before you press the send button, ask yourself the question, “Can [the target] read this on his blackberry without scrolling?” Obey the http://three.sentenc.es methodology for the body of the email. And, keep in mind, the target may not remember you.

#9: Don’t do any of the following:

  • Fire off a LinkedIn invite. (You haven’t “done business together”…yet.)
  • Friend your target on Facebook. (You’re not friends. Sorry.)
  • Send a file attached to your email (unless explicitly asked).
  • Leave a voicemail with your email. (It’s just annoying and never gets listened to.)

#10: Play it cool.
If you send 3 emails in one week, you will get ignored. Don’t look desperate. My rule of thumb is one email a week if you don’t hear back for up to 3 weeks. After that, it’s a lost cause, my friend. Start from #1 and cycle through again.

Overall, your goal in any networking interaction is to create the illusion of serendipity where none exists. What does exist usually is a thoughtful, meticulous process that connects you with the people who can help you most.


The Big Winners At South By Southwest

By Perks |

SXSW Interactive 2011 logo

Damien and Lauren recently got back from SXSW with some major takeaways at what was big down there. GroupMe, Foursquare, Gowalla, Pepsi, Fast Company, CNN, Chevy and Apple all came out on top as they all had physical presences. Yes, the big technology to come out of SXSW this was advertising.

It’s true that the group texting was the actual technology that shined at SXSW this year. Overall, the companies that made a big impression were the ones that were always in your face with advertising and a physical presence. The brands that made an impact were the ones that actually did something.

GroupMe took over a grill in front of the Convention Center, called it the GroupMe Grill, and gave out free grilled cheese and beer between 12 and 2 to people that could prove they had GroupMe on their phone. They won for best placement as you always saw them considering they were opposite the front of the Convention Center. Ultimately they also came out on top of all of the Group Texting apps as well. Coincidence? Probably not.

Foursquare partnered with Pepsi for the Pepsi Max Lot, which had an actual foursquare court to play foursquare with Foursquare, a bar, a ping pong table, a photo booth, tables with outlets, a couch lounge area and free Pepsi Max. Foursquare also partnered with Big Boi and Pepsi to release 2,000 Golden Tickets that were randomly unlocked as you checked in all over Austin during SXSW Interactive. If you unlocked the Foursquare badge you showed it at the Pepsi Max Lot for a physical ticket to a show with The Sounds and Big Boi. They also partnered with American Express to tie a limited amount of retailers into their social rewards program. If you tied your AmEx to Foursquare and paid at one of their retailers you unlocked a special Foursquare badge.

Gowalla had their classic Airstream trailer where they were giving you physical Gowalla Passports that you could put stickers of the places you checked into on Gowalla. This was a great representation of their service, as their app has a digital passport that you get digital stickers of the places you go. Their “there” was everywhere. After collecting 5 stickers you went back to the Airstream to get a bracelet for VIP access to their party headlined by Matt & Kim. After collecting 15 stickers you got a premium quality Gowalla t-shirt. While Gowalla’s physical footprint was smaller their takeaway was larger. To have a physical version of what you’re digitally doing really hits home their message of what they’re trying to do.

Pepsi also had their usual Pepsi stage area, which focused on the sustainability of brands you may not know that PepsiCo owns, like Sun Chips and Sabra. This year they launched an augmented reality game that was just like how Kinect for X-Box functions. A camera captures your movements as you are the controller that moves a shopping cart through an obstacle course collecting PepsiCo products. Our own Damien Basile launched this product and went up against Gary Vaynerchuck and Baratunde Thurston, and beat the both of them! In addition to all of this Pepsi had a separate stage in an adjacent room for free alternative programming, where Damien was interviewed about his new app Addieu.

Fast Company took over a restaurant behind the Convention Center where they provided free meals to people who were lucky enough to be on their guest list. They had a table with chargers that was a welcome break from having to sit by your phone and an outlet. In the back of the grill Zazzle had an area set up where you could create and pick up your own custom iPhone 4 cover. They showed off their custom printing abilities by showcasing sneakers, skateboards and other gadget cases.

CNN took over a grill opposite of the Pepsi Lot. They took off the restaurant sign to put up their own rotating CNN sign. It seemed the big thing this year was taking over grills with your own branding and custom offerings. Ironically, the restaurant was called Max’s which was located across from the Pepsi Max Lot. That irony was lost on the fact that CNN changed out the signage 1 day before SXSW officially started.

Not to be outdone, Apple launched the iPad 2 during SXSW on the 11th. Most people were willing to go to the Austin mall to line up, which was about 3 miles away. Apple decided that what they would do is open an iPad popup store in downtown Austin for the duration of SXSW Interactive. The environment was fun and festive, as the employees would dance to exuberant music as you came in and clap as you left. Apple didn’t need to pull a stunt. It’s product and culture of product became the stunt. Business as usual but definitely something to experience as I don’t see Apple doing a popup store in it’s near future again.

Out of all of the brands at SXSW with prominent advertising, Chevy turned out to be the most useful and thoughtful. Free food and swag is great, but at the end of the day all you really wanted was to not be walking anywhere anymore. Chevy took care of that. In addition to their yearly Chevy Volt lounge where you recharge all of your dying devices, Chevy had a pickup area outside of the front of the Convention Center. You could either test drive a Chevy in a closed course around town or Catch A Chevy, which would take you anywhere in the downtown Austin area for free.

To recap: In order to make a huge splash at SXSW now you have to have a big branded engagement that is useful to the festival-goers. SXSW Interactive has become so huge that your presence needs to be huge. The best engagements gave you food, battery power, a place to rest and transportation – the necessities of SXSW. In order to succeed next year at SXSWi think about what your customer would want there and give it to them. Swag is nice but a comfortable experience is nicer.


Best Popup Ever aka Thanks Constant Contact

By perksconsulting |

Picture_12

More businesses should thank their customers every now and then. Doing this unscheduled surprises a customer and engenders more customer loyalty. Constant Contact’s positive sentiment went up substantially with me because of this. All too often we’re bombarded with offers from the company, effectively spamming their best customers. Instead, follow in Constant Contact’s footsteps by doing something nice and unexpected every now and then.


The Ins And Outs Of Group Text Messaging

By Perks |

Communication is all over the place with Email, Twitter and Facebook. Recently a surge in the group messaging market has given us many options to solve the problem of being able to communicate with people quickly, efficiently and reliably. The competitors are many but the winner is clear: GroupMe.

Group Messaging works by connecting many different phone numbers to one random phone number that everyone texts to. The group messaging company figures out who is texting by their registered name and number and posts their message to the random group number along with their first name in front so you can identify who is sending the message.

But before we get to why GroupMe is winning, here are some other companies in the group text messaging space:

Beluga recently was purchased by Facebook for obvious reasons. Facebook launched their messages platform that links your email and phone number to your Facebook message inbox. Facebook sees the need to provide their users a way to communicate with each other like they do in messages but easier. It’s no secret that Facebook’s mobile app isn’t up to snuff. With the purchase of Beluga Facebook bought both team and technology. For now Facebook said they’ll leave Beluga open and running, but who knows how long that will last? Facebook cannibalized the last two companies they purchased (Hot Potato and Drop.io) and they left Friendfeed all for dead when they kept it open and took the core team into Facebook to work on their own products.

Gogii has a product called TextPlus that gives users phone numbers if they don’t have one in order to text message with their friends through their app and not sms. This is good for teens who don’t have unlimited text plans, non-smartphones and have iPod Touches. Their longterm goal is to take this highly engaged group of users and get them to play social games with each other, thus transforming their conversations into conversation based gameplay.

Brightkite pivoted not too long ago from a location based checkin service that offers you badges as rewards to a group messaging platform. They saw that their group messaging service was much more popular than their checkin service so they decided to refocus on what their customers wanted.

Fastsociety came out around the same time as GroupMe. Their big seller was that you could create quick groups that expire after a certain amount of time. GroupMe now does that too in addition to keeping groups in an ongoing state.

So why has GroupMe won the group messaging market? For these reasons:

  • Get push notifications instead of text messages, thus reducing texts and consolidating where you read them
  • Checkin on Foursquare and share your location with your group to let them know where you are
  • Share photos and videos easily
  • Mute noisy groups when you need to
  • Start a conference call from the group you’re in
  • The GroupMe app is available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry

In addition to this if you go to GroupMe.com/Foursquare on your mobile phone you can see which of your friends are nearby and add them to a quick group to find out if the nearby event is hot or not and where they’re going to next.

That last out of app feature is their real killer feature. Although I’ll be using GroupMe to coordinate plans for my startup Addieu at SXSW, I’ll also be interested in what parties are hot and where to go next. The Create a Group using Foursquare feature will be the killer app at SXSW as everyone is always looking for the next hot party.

How can you use group messaging?

  • Coordinating quick messages amongst your team.
  • Collaborative real-time product feedback from your best customers.
  • Create very specific groups for very specific issues.
  • Plan events on the fly

As with any new communications, make sure that the people you are adding to your group are ok with it before you add them. Some may be familiar with the technology and fine with you adding them. Others, like your best customers, would definitely need to be asked before you add them as you don’t want to alienate them.


Style Defined NYC now accepting iPhone App Private Beta Requests for Fashion Week F/W 2011

By Perks |

Style Defined App

2.11.2011– NEW YORK, NY. — NYC’s underground street fashion guru, Style Defined NYC, announces the launch of its iPhone App Private Beta. The new iPhone application allows users to snap, submit, and share their street style or that of their friends on-the-run.

As the premiere NYC street style fashion photo blogger, Style Defined’s founder, Kayta Moorman explores the wild and provocative underground of NYC’s downtown scene, cataloguing the unique styles of real individual personalities. Consistently Style Defined NYC photo subjects dictate the style from their own personal creative curation, not mega fashion brands or mainstream style media.

Style Defined NYC offers a glimpse into the insider’s view of NYC’s emerging trendsetters and designers. The Style Defined NYC iPhone App will expand upon the fashion blog’s street style mission and open up the field to a new crop of fashion curators of New York City’s street style and fashion looks. The addition of Facebook Connect to the iPhone app allows users to easily log-in to the Style Defined NYC app to share the look type, style description, and location with their photo.

In the spirit of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011, Style Defined is now accepting requests for a limited number of invitations to get a sneak peak of the iPhone application prior to it’s world wide-public release into Apple’s iTunes Store. Invitations will be distributed to tastemakers and influencers at Fashion Week events as well as digitally to Style Defined’s Twitter followers and blog readers.

To garner exclusive iPhone App Beta access, please request an invite at: www.StyleDefinedNYC.com/beta

ABOUT STYLE DEFINED

Style Defined NYC was started in 2008 by Katya Moorman as a showcase of street style fashion in New York City. It has become one of the most highly regarded street style fashion blogs on the web according to French Vogue, New York Magazine, and Time Out New York with recognition as one of the 10 Style Blogs Worth Reading by The Huffington Post.


Mashable Awards 2011 at Zumanity Theater Las Vegas

By Lauren |

Zumanity Hoops treated the attendees of the fourth annual Mashable Awards this year at CES 2011 with a special performance. The Cirque du Soleil favorite within Las Vegas’ New York New York Hotel was a special surprise for Mashable’s many media, brand, digital and social influencers in attendance.