The Wilbert Group Blog

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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 5/23/17

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photos.medleyphoto.14115631  1. During the height of rush hour on March 30, thick black smoke swelled above Atlanta. First responders sprung to action to tame the massive fire roaring beneath I-85 in Atlanta. According to North American Properties’ Mark Toro, “This breathtaking moment was a shock to our system – a shock our city sorely needed.” In this Atlanta Journal Constitution op-ed, Toro challenges all Atlantans to use the I-85 collapse as a lesson for why we need to commit to expand MARTA and make it a part of our daily commute.

2. Change is afoot in the commercial insurance industry. The forward-looking technology landscape and the growing regulatory environment are reshaping the vital ways in which the industry engages with customers, especially in the U.S. Laura Calugar recently interviewed Franklin Street’s Ted Holler in Commercial Property Executive to discuss how his company had adapted to recent changes.

3. For investors in Amazon, the most important number to remember is 20. When online MW-FM357_amazon_20170511175400_MGsales hit 20 percent of all purchases in a given retail category, a surge in Amazon growth is sure to follow. But not all retailers are falling prey to Amazon’s business model. In this MarketWatch article, Revenue Analytics’ Jared Wiesel said, “Most pockets of retail success today have some sort of protective moat around their business that helps them fend off Amazon.”

4. Recent headlines about Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly have undoubtedly increased awareness regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. With the heightened interest amongst employees regarding workplace rights, Fisher Phillips’ Michelli Rivera says, “Metro Atlanta employers should brace themselves for more sexual harassment-related inquiries.” In this op-ed for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Rivera offers proactive steps that can better protect Atlanta businesses – and hopefully keep them out of the headlines.

5. On the heels of back-to-back grand openings of two major mixed-use developments, the Bayer Properties team arrived at ICSC’s RECon conference in Las Vegas with a fresh viewpoint on how retail is changing and what today’s consumers are seeking. In this Shopping Centers Today article, CEO and president Jeffrey Bayer said, “We are excited to be here this year surrounded by retail experts to learn from each other and discuss the future of the ever-evolving industry.”

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May Digital Updates

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Instagram continues to pull ahead of Snapchat.

On the heels of a disappointing first earnings report for Snap, a new report indicates that the photo-sharing platform is having trouble attracting new users. Downloads for Snapchat in April 2017 fell about 16 percent, while Instagram downloads were up 19 percent. This is significant because Instagram recently unveiled a stories feature its CEO openly admitted was a Snapchat copycat, and it’s proven wildly popular and pulled Snapchat’s heavy Gen Z fan base away. In fact, Instagram announced this morning that it is introducing augmented reality facial filters in yet another Snapchat copycat move.

#2 Facebook celebrates Mother’s Day with a new reaction.

Facebook launched reactions over a year ago, allowing users to let content creators know if their posts made them feel happy, sad, angry, etc. Typically, the reaction options don’t change for holidays or seasonality like, for example, stickers on Instagram, but Facebook broke that pattern for Mother’s Day. About a week ago, a sweet, purple flower emoji appeared among the reaction options, and Facebook rolled out additional options for showing Mom love on her big day, like custom photo frames.

Mother’s Day wasn’t an arbitrary holiday for Facebook to test this feature: People thanking their mothers drove more posts in one day than any other topic, with more than 105 million Mother’s Day posts in 2016. This just goes to show that more people are taking to social media to celebrate special days, and brands need to have a strategy in place to get the most out of a holiday.

#3 Twitter wants to be your 24/7, go-to news source.

 If you’re a casual user, you might not realize that Twitter is struggling, but its shareholders are very aware. In what’s being called an effort to change market perceptions, Twitter is upping its live-streaming game. This move is behind the rest of the market, as Facebook and Instagram have been urging users and brands to “go live” for months, but it appears that Twitter wanted to take its time and make the move into live video carefully, in a way that appeals to both users and advertisers. They’ve struck 12 live streaming content deals with outlets like Bloomberg, Live National and the WNBA to begin this fall, hoping to appeal to millennial cord cutters. For individual users, Twitter and Periscope recently unveiled a new analytics dashboard for live videos in hopes that brands will get on board.

April Digital Updates

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Instagram takes on yet another rival network: Pinterest.

Instagram is already encroaching on Snapchat’s territory with its popular Stories feature – which succeeded in stealing Snapchat users – so it makes sense that the photo-sharing giant is now going after Pinterest with its latest update. To the joy of its users, Instagram introduced the ability to save posts earlier this year. Now, you can sort those posts into “collections” that are eerily reminiscent of Pinterest’s boards. This update makes it more important than ever for content creators to create truly valuable, save-worthy content to allow it to live a second life for a user, whether it’s a recipe, design inspiration or a secret menu dish at a restaurant. As Engadget sums up the opportunity for businesses: “If you can create your ideal outfit by saving posts into collections, you might be more likely to buy that outfit.”

#2 LinkedIn continues to undergo a complete makeover.

LinkedIn’s facelift is in full swing. While there isn’t one noteworthy update to include here on the blog, I wanted to touch on this because, as social media managers, we’re constantly learning and relearning how to keep our client’s content fresh as LinkedIn shifts seemingly every day. Important changes for content creators include: The ability to use video, new photo sizes and filters and a new algorithm for the feed. LinkedIn also plans to revisit its publishing tools, including the ability to save articles for later and improved tagging, ultimately making the blog posts look much cleaner and full of dynamic content like photos, block quotes and graphics.

#3 Snapchat is reaching an increasingly older demographic.

Snapchat isn’t just for millennials anymore. The app – which recently made its IPO – is experiencing increased usage in those ages 25 to 44, far from its typical younger audience. Forty-one percent of users ages 25 to 34 used the app more often today than during Jefferies’ first survey last June. Forty-four percent of the 34 to 44 demographic use Snapchat more now, the firm said.

It’s not atypical for older users to follow typically young early adopters to new platforms – just look at Facebook and Twitter. However, that migration sometimes drives the younger users away because the platform isn’t cool anymore, or because grandma and grandpa are now able to view their content. This shift may be a ways off for Snapchat, but something the app should consider moving forward. Hopefully, they can continue to provide content – from news stories to fun face-altering filters – to keep their original base happy while expanding to new audiences.

March Digital Updates

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Yet another Snapchat clone arrives via Facebook.

First came Snapchat. Then, Instagram Stories. Now, Facebook Stories is rolling out to users in Chile, Greece and Vietnam. The feature was first tested in Ireland, and its expansion shows that ephemeral photos and videos resonate with users across different platforms, even though other apps already possess this service. While some users grumbled about yet another Snapchat clone arriving (and they have a point – who has time to post short clips three separate times?), it makes sense for brands constantly battling Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm. Brands can’t post more than a few times on the day on the platform if they want to keep a high position in newsfeeds, but Stories would allow them to share content throughout the day and keep constantly atop their audiences feed. If this feature expands to the U.S., it could mean that Facebook will be able to bring back their share-happy younger audience (the average age of an American Facebook user is 40) and brands will be able to up their content game.

#2 Apple throws their hat in the video ring with Clips.

Apple has unveiled a new iOS app called Clips, a content creation platform reminiscent of Snapchat, Facebook Live and video editing software like iMovie. It allows users to stitch together videos and photos and add filters to create a “story” (are you sick of that term yet?). The app’s most unique feature is the ability to insert a soundtrack, making it easy to edit higher-quality video content from your smartphone. Clips will not launch alongside its own dedicated social network, but will allow users to post their creative content on Facebook or Instagram. This is great news for brands that don’t have many resources to dedicate to video editing but need to post that kind of content on social media. Video is here to stay, and brands need to get on board.

#3 Twitter prepares to launch live video.

On the heels of the popularity of Facebook and Instagram’s live video features, Twitter is preparing to launch a live video API with more powerful integrations than the platform’s existing Periscope tie-in. This move raises the question of whether Twitter will stay committed to keeping Periscope its live video app, or if it will roll more of the broadcasting and livestream browsing into its main app.

Twitter makes more sense as a home for live video than Facebook or Instagram, so it’s important they do this right and make it easier for users to share and interact with this type of content. Journalists love Twitter, and millennials and Gen Z use the platform to get their up-to-the-minute news and for coverage of major events rather than tuning into CNN or a traditional broadcast outlet. In fact, 59 percent of Twitter users rely on it for news, so this could make it easier for media outlets to get live video content to an audience of cord cutters and smartphone addicts.

The Wilbert Group’s Trip to Gaza

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Today, our office visited Gaza.

We traveled via Google Cardboard, a virtual reality viewer The New York Times sent its subscribers in the mail.

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The New York Times has invested significantly in Virtual Reality experiences.

It was extraordinary.

We downloaded the Vrse virtual reality app and watched “My Mother’s Wing” – a short virtual reality film that gives a first-person view of a Palestinian family who lost two sons to Israeli bombing.

Virtual reality production company Vrse.works in conjunction with the United Nations produced My Mother’s Wing, a short eight-minute documentary about a Palestinian family who lost two sons to Israeli bombing.

Virtual reality production company Vrse works in conjunction with the United Nations produced My Mother’s Wing, a short eight-minute documentary.

We didn’t just see inside the family’s home, we were standing inside their kitchen. We turned to see trash overflowing in the corner, dishes stacked on shelves and the mother preparing tea near the sink. It was a powerful and moving experience as we were transported to the frontlines of this family’s tragedy.

When we removed the headset, we were brought back to the bright lights of our office. We looked at the cardboard box with wonder. Where would it take us next?

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Learning how to use our own Google Cardboard at The Wilbert Group.

Google Cardboard brings the storytelling experience to a new level. It immerses viewers inside a new reality, and the possibilities are endless.

At The Wilbert Group, we represent many firms in the commercial real estate space and we are always looking for new ways to tell their stories and drive their business goals.

And, looking at this novel technology through a commercial real estate lens, we started to think about how this changes the game.

Google Cardboard would allow:

  • Prospective tenants to “walk” around inside the future space, enhancing the ability to pre-lease.
  • Developers to win public support by walking people through virtual reality renderings, giving them a real feel for the new development.
  • Better collaboration between architects, developers and contractors as they design and build projects together.

At Wilbert, we look forward to exploring new opportunities with Google Cardboard. We encourage you to try it yourself and order one here.

If you’re a company looking to explore the world of Virtual Reality, expect a big price tag to match the big idea (approximately $20-$50k per video). However, as video and app developers become more acquainted with Google Cardboard technology, we expect production costs to drop. Click here for more information about virtual experience developers.

Some companies such as Chaos Group are ready to offer clients Virtual Reality-Ready renderings and visualizations.  Click the picture for more info.

Some companies such as Chaos Group are ready to offer clients Virtual Reality-Ready renderings and visualizations. Click the picture for more info.

#Twitter10K: Will the short-form social network expand the character limit?

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twitter10kSince Twitter’s start in 2006, one of the most defining (and often frustrating) characteristics of the platform has been its 140-character limit. Surprisingly, it looks like change may be coming to the short-form social network. Rumors have been flying since September that Twitter may be increasing its character count to 10,000. Last month, CEO Jack Dorsey took to Twitter to share his thoughts on this issue.

Note that even in Dorsey’s message, he chose to use more than 140 characters. Clearly, Twitter recognizes its obstacles and is taking people’s suggestions into consideration. This change could provide more thorough and effective communication.


However, not everyone is thrilled about this potential change.


For the most part though, it seems like most people are divided.


There has been no official announcement from Twitter yet, so be on the lookout in the upcoming weeks. For the latest news, follow us on Twitter @TheWilbertGroup, and join the conversation by using #Twitter10k.

Millennials and the news, according to a Millennial

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Bisnow is hosting a Millennial Revolution panel this Thursday to take a deeper look at the power this group commands. Forbes recently called 2016 the year of the Millennial customer. As the largest living generation (Millennials are projected to surpass Baby Boomers this year) continues to join the workforce, start families (or not), vote and make major buying decisions, it’s important to also understand how they consume news.

Here are 7 stats to know about Millennials’ newsgathering habits:

  • 69 percent get the news at least once a day.
  • 60 percent rely on social media for staying up to date with the news.
  • 73 percent visit a news brand website to get more information when they see an interesting story on social media.
  • 70 percent say social media feeds are comprised of diverse viewpoints.
  • Facebook is the most used mobile app – with platforms such as SnapChat and Instagram making giant strides (see chart A).
  • On 24 separate news topics, Facebook was the No. 1 gateway to learn about 13 of those, and the second-most cited gateway for seven others.
  • Huffington Post is the most visited source (see chart B).

As a Millennial, I can say my friends and I often find news stories (both hard and soft) through mobile apps on smartphones. When there’s breaking news, we search key words or hashtags to find the latest and greatest news story.

Millennials’ newsgathering habits reinforce the need for news organizations to build their online presence. That includes social media. It also emphasizes the benefits for companies to use social media to share the latest news, events and happenings.

Click here for more information on the Bisnow panel this Thursday, November 19, 2015, which will focus on Millennials’ impact on the “live, work, play” movement.

Chart A, Source: Digiday

Chart A, Source: Digiday

Chart B

Chart B, Source: Digiday

Wilbert Heads to CRE/Tech Intersect

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Tomorrow, The Wilbert Group is headed to New York City for CRE / Tech Intersect, the largest gathering of the CRE/tech industry. The bi-annual, bi-coastal symposium brings industry leaders together to discuss and learn about innovative technologies. The Wilbert Group, a public relations firm known for its real estate expertise, and Trevelino/Keller, a public relations and branding firm known for its tech expertise, recently created a partnership, TechRise, to capitalize on the continued growth of the CRE/tech industry.

 


 

TechRise recently released a new SlideShare about how to use social media to build relationships with CRE decision makers. LinkedIn is the most relevant social media platform for the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, with an estimated 90 percent of professionals on the platform. Twitter is the No. 2 platform for reaching CRE decision-makers. Check out the SlideShare below:

 


Digital Updates: Tech News to Know

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We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

 

#1 Brands are using Snapchat as a digital marketing tool.

Snapchat is huge with the millennial set, and brands like haute couture giant Burberry are using it to promote events and products, including their spring 2016 collection. Fans were invited to follow Burberry on the photo-sharing app to enjoy a virtual front row seat at London Fashion Week, where the line premiered. While there are sophisticated live-streaming apps like Periscope, Snapchat is a smart choice for brands seeking to give a large range of consumers a peek into their inner workings and a preview of what’s to come. With 100 million daily active users, Snapchat has a wide audience and is easy to use. Other brands frequently sharing Snapchat stories to the masses include Taco Bell and Major League Baseball.

 

#2 Facebook is trying to lure journalists away from Twitter.

Twitter has become the news platform du jour, with a whopping 62 percent of users reporting that they have gotten news from the site. As such, it’s become the social home for many journalists looking to share or hunt down scoops. However, Facebook is trying to change that trend with Signal, a free newsgathering tool that makes it easier for journalists to find the content they want. The tool offers a dashboard where journalists can follow hot topics and track public perception, factors that could also be helpful for PR pros looking for emerging trends. This initiative comes on the heels of Instant Articles, another news tool from Facebook, signaling that the social network is committed to edging out Twitter as a news source.

 

#3 Twitter users can now pay with tweets, thanks to a partnership with Square.

Twitter is aiming to increase customer engagement through a partnership with mobile payment company Square by allowing users to make political campaign donations and buy products directly with a tweet. The new feature – cleverly dubbed “cashtag” – requires users to visit a site to enter debit card information once. After that, they’re free to make payments with a few clicks. This lucrative initiative will likely bring a variety of retail partners to Twitter.

New Report Shows Americans are Increasingly Getting News from Facebook and Twitter

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I first found out about yesterday’s attacks in my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Twitter. And I clicked on stories from multiple news organizations in my feed to get additional information. I searched #Chattanooga.

 

Americans are increasingly getting their news on Twitter and Facebook, according to a new report released this week from Pew Research. Sixty-three percent of Twitter users go to the platform for news, while only 52 percent said they were doing so in 2013. On Facebook, 63 percent of users now go to the platform for news, up from 47 percent in 2013.

 

As a public relations professional, I have to ask what this shift in the media landscape means for my clients. I think it fundamentally means two things:

  • Companies can and should be their own media companies. If organizations are putting out content that is useful and engaging, people will read it. We just launched a new blog and Twitter feed for our client, Marlin, and I think/hope it will become a meaningful resource for small business owners across the United States.
  • Traditional media still has inherent credibility, but people may be reading a story from The New York Times in a Twitter feed instead of in the actual paper. When we secure good hits for our clients in traditional media, we strategically amplify those hits on social and digital channels. We launched a program this year called Wilbert Amplify focused on pushing traditional hits onto social channels; after all that’s where Americans now get their news.