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Friday, April 30, 2010

Breaking ground for growth and new jobs

PCL construction crews officially broke ground on Baldinger Bakery’s new $30 million, 130,000-square-foot facility that will help the 122-year-old company modernize and expand its operations in Saint Paul. Baldinger is known for baking hamburger buns for McDonald’s and Famous Dave’s restaurant chains. All of Baldinger’s 72 employees will move to the new facility, and the bakery expects to hire 42 new employees over the next 10 years.

State and business leaders joined city officials to celebrate
the Baldinger Bakery project that is part of the
new Beacon’s Bluff development in Saint Paul.

The bakery will be part of Beacon’s Bluff Business Center. The Saint Paul Port Authority has been redeveloping the complex since 3M moved its operations from the site. Ultimately, this project will help increase Saint Paul’s industrial tax base and revitalize the city’s East Side, stimulating job growth and economic investment.

Construction on the new bakery, which is expected to be finished in about nine months, will be completed by PCL Construction, Inc. Operating out of a branch in Burnsville, PCL has built many other notable Twin Cities landmarks, including the Mall of America and the Science Museum of Minnesota. The company’s experience working on similar food manufacturing facilities helped make this exciting project a reality.

We are proud to be a part of PCL’s team. Congratulations!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pentagon PowerPoint enemy: You read it here before you saw it in the mainstream media

A month and a half ago, I noted the PowerPoint slide cognitive corruption which passes for Pentagon thinking about the interconnectedness of military operations and political “affairs” in the war in Afghanistan.

Yesterday’s New York Times and today’s Daily Mail (UK) now have stories about it.

Just remember: In the world of communications, come to The GH Spin before “the Gray Lady.”

Those who have studied Edward Tufte will smile when reading the British article’s statement: “PowerPoint has become public enemy number one for many US officers who find themselves battling slide presentations rather than insurgents.”

Franken faces off against Facebook

Facebook’s new privacy settings have many people, including Senator Al Franken, concerned. In an effort to enhance users’ ability to share information and expand its reach to other Web sites, Facebook is allowing select third-party Web sites (e.g., CNN, the Huffington Post, and ESPN) the ability to access and store some users’ personal information. For example, if you order a pizza from Dominoes online, Facebook will publish information on your profile and Dominoes will track your purchase.

While Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg touts this new service as “transformative technology,” critics don’t like the invasion of privacy. Yesterday, Franken and three other senators wrote a letter to Facebook executives asking them to allow users to opt-in to the new privacy settings. Currently, the default privacy settings permit third-party access to users’ information.

While I appreciate Franken’s fight against Facebook’s sudden Big Brother mentality, the social network’s new technology reinforces what I already knew about the Internet: the virtual word is not private, so you need to be careful how you use it and what you share on it.

Click here to read more.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rock Head PR Move: Freshly Ground Proofreader

A proofreader for Penguin Group Australia must have been snoozing on the job when he or she missed an incomprehensible and grievous error. A recipe in the cookbook, the Pasta Bible, called for “freshly ground black people” instead of “freshly ground pepper.” What the publishing company called a “silly mistake” will end up costing it 20,000 Australian dollars ($18,500) in reprinting costs and thousands of words of international bad press.

Penguin Group should have hired a better proofreader, like ours.

Click here to read more.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Non-traditional ads beat out primetime ads

Advertising is an industry based primarily on statistics. But with more advertisers placing ads in non-traditional locations, it’s becoming harder to measure how successful these ads are.

The Nielsen Company recently developed a way to measure the reach of what they called “fourth screen” advertisements. (“Fourth screen” refers to video ads in places other than television, computer, and mobile devices). The results are surprising. According to its inaugural report, an advertisement in a non-traditional location reached 61.7 million adults, while its counterpart on primetime broadcast TV reached only three million adults, meaning it would take 20 primetime ads to reach the same audience as a month-long non-traditional advertising campaign.

These new advertising mediums are shoving more content at an already over-saturated public because we watch less TV, listen to less traditional radio, and read fewer magazines and newspapers. While this situation might annoy us, it also complicates the equation for advertisers trying to decide the best venues to place their ads.

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Is your cliché meter running?

Now that GH Spin readers have put acronyms in the doghouse, it’s time to shine a light on our old friends, the clichés.

First question: How many clichés are in the first sentence? Answer: Too many.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Newspapers rethink Internet anonymity

Online comments are supposed to stimulate an “open dialog” about issues in blogs, news stories, and other Internet forums. But when comments are anonymous, they often disintegrate into a cesspool of hateful, nasty words directed at the author or subject of the article.

A Cleveland judge recently discovered that anonymous postings are not always so anonymous. After a series of offensive comments about a local attorney were posted on its Web site, a Cleveland newspaper publicly disclosed that the comments were posted from an e-mail address of a judge who was presiding over some of the lawyer’s cases. The judge’s 23-year-old daughter admitted to posting the comments, and the judge sued the newspaper for violating her privacy.

While the Internet creates new ways for people to connect and share ideas, sometimes people go too far. Newspapers are trying to find ways to regulate these interactions – something they have found rather difficult.

To read more about how the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and other newspapers are trying to regulate comment streams, click here.

What do you think about online commenting?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Facebook grows up

The GH Spin spends a lot of time thinking about Facebook. Besides checking out updates from our friends, there is another good reason. Facebook isn’t just for college students anymore. The largest and fastest-growing social media service is a way of life for the more than 400 million people who actively use it. By harnessing the energy and ideas of its millions of users, the site creates an environment where people can easily share information and connect with others. (Goff & Howard has its own page, and we also create and monitor Facebook pages for our clients.)

What’s the big fuss about Facebook? The site has the largest number of users of any social networking site. Half a million people join the site each day, and the fastest-growing demographic of users is people over the age of 30. But, what is even more significant is how often users visit the site to create and consume wall posts, videos and links (otherwise known as content). More than 200 million people visit the site daily, and the average user spends 55 minutes per day and views 661.8 pages each month (twice as many page views as its closest rival, Hi5).

So, what does this mean for you? Facebook has rapidly become one of the easiest and most beneficial ways for a business to create and maintain relationships with its key audiences. If you need help navigating this premier communications platform, let us know.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Taking a gamble on Chatroulette

Contrary to popular belief, Chatroulette is not a fancy French word. Rather, Chatroulette is the latest social networking craze that randomly connects you and a stranger via Web cam. As an avid connoisseur of Internet fads, I recently decided to give Chatroulette a whirl.

The bare Web site has none of the gimics and advertising ploys that clutter Facebook pages. Instead, it’s you, an anonymous stranger, and a Web cam. When you get bored of the person you are talking to – which you inevitably will, the “next” button will bring an infinite number of anonymous strangers to your computer screen.

While fans of Chatroulette hail its power to connect people, I think Chatroulette represents escapism at its highest level. The anonymity of Chatroulette allows users to create their own avatar. While you might think you are talking to a software designer from Phoenix, you might actually be talking to an unemployed Iowan living in his parents’ basement. And, despite rules requiring clothing, exhibitionists roam the video screens freely.

Because Chatroulette does not require you to set up an account, there is no way to foster legitimate connections that could last beyond your initial five minute video chat. Approximately 40% of people will get bored and “next” you within minutes. Even a group of professional comedians from New York City struggled to keep the attention of their video partners at a “Chatroulette Live” comedy show.

While I had fun pretending I was Ashley from Seattle, I can honestly say, Chatroulette is not the answer to my generation’s fear of human connections.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The joke’s on you April Fools

The age old tradition of playing practical jokes on the village fool (aka your coworker) may not be as funny as it used to be thanks to the economy.

April Fools jokes like sending out false termination notices to a co-worker, posting a false promotion on a company bulletin board, or pretending to quit in today’s economy can cause more stress than laughs.

A new survey says that 68% of executives find office pranks inappropriate, and HR consultants warn that playing pranks could hurt your chance for a promotion or add your name to a list of “non-essential” employees.

For those of you thinking of mischief today, the Spin offers this advice: Keep the jokes clean, not mean.

Click here to read more.