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All I Need to Know about PR… My Daughter Learned in Kindergarten

24 Aug

Lisa blog photo

By Lisa Gillette-Martin

My esteemed colleague Brian Fisher recently wrote a post on a day in the life of a PR pro, which I found both interesting and enlightening. I would add, however, that being a PR pro with school-age kids poses a whole additional set of challenges – which comes as no surprise to those living this reality every day! Scheduling meetings and conference calls, completing projects and meeting deadlines alongside drop-offs, pickups, lunches, homework, craft projects, music lessons and all the other everyday parenting “stuff” (especially when you’re a single parent) can require some serious juggling skills.

With that said, I’m especially glad that I made being a kindergarten room mom part of my schedule last year. Not only was it fun to be a part of the many, many activities and to get to know other room parents, it was eye-opening to watch the kids’ interactions. It struck me that much of what they were learning resonates in the world of PR and communications.

With the new school year getting under way, I thought this would be a good time to share these principles:

  1. Talk less, listen more – We tend to think of PR as a socially oriented profession, and part of our job is to articulate our thoughts and recommendations about a company’s positioning, competitive stance and other factors. However, as my very socially oriented daughter has had to learn, the more you talk, the less you hear what someone (teacher, client – parent, heaven forbid) is trying to tell you. Putting on your “listening ears” is essential to making sure you really understand what is wanted and expected of you – and what isn’t.
  2. Wait your turn – This is somewhat of a corollary to the above. It can be highly tempting to jump in and begin course-correcting the second you feel a client (or your company, if you are an internal PR rep) is straying off the path they should follow to optimize their communications efforts. However, if you don’t take the time to ensure you’ve gathered all the relevant information before you take your turn to offer opinions or recommendations, you may be “cutting in line” and missing some critical data.
  3. Play nice with others – The old “Golden Rule” still applies. As a service-based profession, one of the most valuable skills you can learn when working in PR is diplomacy. Not every person with whom you work is going to be easygoing, reasonable, responsive, etc. Learning to deal with the difficult folks means treating them as you’d like to be treated, even if they’re not necessarily following this rule themselves.
  4. But don’t tolerate bullies – Difficult is one thing; abusive is another. Sometimes, you have to draw the line. If you work in PR long enough, eventually (unless you’re extremely lucky) you’ll find yourself in the position of having to extend some “tough love” or, in extremely rare cases, an ultimatum. Life is too short to work with people who not only make your life miserable but don’t really care. (This applies to personal relationships, too, but that’s another story.)
  5. Learn to share – This pertains to all your professional relationships. Share your best thoughts, ideas and counsel with your client (internal or external), but also, share with your colleagues. Share your abilities with them to help address their challenges, and also share what you need so that you can tap each other’s strengths. Don’t hog the glory, and don’t try to do it all yourself.
  6. Learn to tell a story – This does NOT mean fibbing (as I’ve had to explain to my daughter on occasion!) Storytelling is the cornerstone of successful PR efforts – and it doesn’t just apply to telling a company’s story. You need to be able to tell your own story, too. Know your strengths, develop and define your brand, and understand how it meshes with that of your company or agency. As MCA’s founder used to say, PR people can be like the shoemaker’s children – making great shoes for everyone else while we go barefoot.
  7. Look at the big picture – When you’re putting together the components of a PR campaign, launch, or components thereof, it’s essential that you not just see the trees, but look at the forest, as well. Many companies, especially large ones with multiple divisions, sometimes behave as though they are completely disconnected, with messages that don’t complement each other, or may even be contradictory. You need to be able to…
  8. Connect the dots – Help your audiences grasp how your company’s or client’s messages mesh together, how they link to the topline corporate branding/messaging (as appropriate), and how they help fill gaps or flesh out needs within your industry and served markets. Sometimes you have to help the company itself understand how these dots connect – corporate myopia can be a powerful thing – before you can get buy-in and support to explain it to external audiences.
  9. Stay inside the lines…sometimes – One thing you always have to keep in mind when developing PR strategies and recommendations is corporate culture. There will be some ideas that you will instinctively know aren’t going to fly given internal belief systems, personalities and politics. However, if the company is truly planning something groundbreaking or game-changing (yes, I know those phrases are overused) that calls for an equally bold PR strategy, pick your battle and step outside the lines, making sure you have cogent, compelling arguments for your position.
  10. Have fun – My daughter is quickly learning that a lot more is expected of her in first grade than was the case in kindergarten. However, one thing hasn’t changed, and I hope it never will: school should be fun. Not just lunch and recess, but learning itself. She loves to learn, and right now, that’s her job. Like any job, PR presents its share of challenges and headaches, but don’t forget how to have fun doing your job. At its best, PR is a great profession that allows you to be both creative and strategic, a dreamer and a problem-solver. Always strive to make sure both sides of the equation are in balance so that you can enjoy what you do each day.
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The Day in the Life of a PR Professional

26 Jul

By MCA Public Relations

His interests range from historical anecdotes, to obscure geographic references, to the in-depth analytical discussions of modern day. He travels, cooks, remains well-versed in current events. He’s the General Manager of a long-standing public relations agency in the Silicon Valley. He’s the most interesting man in the world…well, at least at MCA Public Relations. Strategizing on all aspects of public relations, staying current with the new and interesting technologies and all the while, pestering his coworkers to remain fresh and innovative, he handles a lot. Read on to find out a day in the life of Brian Fisher, a PR Professional.

6:00am: I wake up and turn on the news to have in the background as I get ready for the day. I drink about 4 cups of really good, Peet’s coffee in the morning to get my brain running. Otherwise I tend to just stare-off into space.

6:30am: Checking on emails first thing is important, especially with many clients on the east coast or even international. I make sure there isn’t anything immediate or nothing I’ve missed from the night before.

7:00am: I shower and get ready for work. Since I work from home, I like to visit the nearby empanada shop and grab a coffee and make myself available for meetings throughout the day.

8:00am: I get on calls with clients in Europe or on the east coast.

coffee

9:00am: Calls are usually done—so it’s time to start working on writing projects or setting up media interviews with clients and pitching story ideas.

11:00am: On Tuesdays, the entire staff checks in with each other. This is especially important since we all work remotely. Usually I’m looking for help or advice from a colleague.

staff meeting

12:00pm: I usually have a lunch meeting with new business, coworkers, former colleagues. I believe the best ideas comes from good old-fashion brainstorming, so I take any opportunity I have to talk through some of my more brilliant ideas—and to keep my contacts well-polished. Networking is the key to life in the Silicon Valley.

1:00pm-3:00pm: I save the afternoons for more strategic work. Ordinarily, we have a press release for any one of our clients going out or articles being written about them, so I tend to keep checking coverage in my peripherals. Despite what I am doing, checking coverage is a fluid part of my day.

6:00pm: The collaboration continues as I am eager to find insight in speaking with coworkers and former colleagues. The evenings are also good times following any events we attend to stop by networking events or take visiting clients to the local watering holes after a well-deserved work day.

cheers

9:00pm: I tend to watch the evening cable news. I have my phone buzzing all day with alerts, but I like to make sure I am checking multiple resources and filling in any information gaps mobile may not allow.

11:00pm: After catching up on Homeland or unwinding with an episode of Better Call Saul, I head to bed. The mental break serves well to relax the mind and push the day’s agonies out of my head.

5 Tricks to Help You Think Like a PR Professional

26 Jun

lightbulb and paper

By Meagan Hardcastle

Although I’m still considered a “rookie” in the public relations industry, I must say I have learned quite a bit over the past three years ‒ accredited to my coworkers, yes, for challenging me daily, but also to my own eagerness to learn and succeed. As an introvert at first meeting (my colleagues might claim otherwise), I took the opportunity to sit back and observe the tricks of the trade. MCA Public Relations offers a full spectrum of marketing communications approaches, taking advantage of the variety of strengths on our seasoned team. Don’t worry! I’ve vetted my colleagues thoroughly to verify the tricks I’ve picked up along the way are nearly foolproof.

Coming from a marketing background and prior internship with MCA, I wasn’t foreign to the strategic thinking of a PR professional. However, upon increased interaction and engagement in the industry, you start to notice trends, just as you would in any industry. Notice, no stereotypes, only trends in thought process. So, here they are! Whether you are aspiring to be one or seeking to better understand them, here are five tricks to help you think like a true communications professional:

  1. Are you talking to me? Know your audience and how best to resonate with them. MCA is in the business of storytelling, so you need to understand what your audience values. Think about the motivation each audience has to read the respective article, blog or press release. Hint: self-promotion and how your product is the “best ever” isn’t a strong motivator.
  2. Messaging is most important. Headlines and sound bites run through your head during sourcing calls or reading through press releases. Always think about consistent messaging. How can you best summarize this product? How to capture the essence of an event? What’s your elevator pitch? Help your audience identify what’s most important.
  3. Think in track changes. You tend to edit everything. Press releases and articles go through many editing processes and require an eagle eye. Soon enough, your eye will be drawn to grammar or punctuation errors everywhere. Think of these random opportunities as a way to keep your skills sharp.
  4. Being on brand. How should the company respond to a media or analyst question? How does the response contribute to the overall messaging? The mantra of “putting yourself in their shoes” could not be truer when in this situation. In an agency setting, you work with a variety of clients, so being on brand is critical. As much as you play a part in helping strategize the company message, you also play a part in continuing to deliver that message and ensuring that its reflected throughout all communications efforts and vehicles.
  5. Keep in check with the latest trends. Whether it’s the newest social media trend or the updates in your industry, be in the know! Google alerts and Facebook trends are a good place to start. Following your favorite influencers on social media or a newsletter by your favorite bloggers, there’s a different way for everyone. Basically, be eager to learn and curious about the latest and greatest in your field.

While there are many more ways to train your mind like a communications professional, I certainly can’t give away all the family secrets. Some of these skills come with practice, but others come with great mentorship. Can’t quite master the PR mind, don’t worry, we have you covered at MCA Public Relations.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY?

12 May

tech on desk

By Lisa Gillette-Martin

Hidden Figures, the best-selling book and recent hit movie about the contributions to the U.S. space program made by three female African-American mathematicians – or “computers,” as they were called, for their ability to  hand-calculate complex equations that allowed astronauts to safely travel to space – has rightly widened interest in the roles that women can play in the high-tech arena. It’s also caused some to seek out further information on women who’ve had an impact on technology developments.

Scientific American publishes an annual list of women in science and technology who’ve passed away in the previous year, bringing new awareness of their work to those who may not have known of it previously – I encourage you to read the full piece to learn about these brilliant women – many of whom were outspoken advocates for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Examples of those memorialized in 2016 include much-honored Canadian physicist Ursula Franklin, who used her expertise in material science and engineering to co-develop the science of archaeometry (applying scientific methods to analyze archaeological materials); Ruth Hubbard, a Harvard biologist best known for her work in the biochemistry of vision, i.e., illuminating how the eyes turn light into information; and Irish biotechnologist Jemma Redmond, a pioneer in 3-D bioprinting, which uses a specialized 3-D printer to create living, tissue-like groupings of cells suitable for organ repair and transplantation. In early 2016, her startup firm Ourobotics won the influential Silicon Valley Open Doors Europe competition.

Speaking of Silicon Valley, those of us who live and work here and in other technology hubs are well aware that far more women are working in technical roles than was the case 20 or even 10 years ago – walking a tradeshow floor is a very different, and far less daunting, experience these days! And more schools, supported by corporations and non-profits, are emphasizing STEM programs than ever before. In 2016, Dartmouth graduated more female than male engineers, while such schools as Northeastern, Tufts, and Sweet Briar – to name a few – are making efforts to close the STEM gap.

However, there is still work to do in securing the female tech leaders of the future. A recent Microsoft survey of young European women between the ages of 11 and 30 revealed that, at 11, girls are excited by STEM subjects, but by the time they reach 15, that interest has waned. Another survey, part of a joint effort by Accenture and Girls Who Code, indicates that, while junior-high/middle-school girls are more likely to be interested in computer coding, once they reach high school, they become less likely to express the same level of interest.

How to address this issue? Key strategies: promote, and increase mentoring by, female role models working in STEM-related areas.

The Society for Information Display (SID) is doing its part with respect to promotion by hosting its first-ever “Women in Tech” forum on Wednesday, May 24, at 4:00 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in conjunction with the annual Display Week conference. The forum will comprise a diverse panel of women leaders from industry, government and academia providing attendees a glimpse of the insights these experts have garnered through their experiences in the tech world.

Moderating the event will be Rashmi Rao, senior director, advanced engineering for leading automotive electronics supplier HARMAN International. The panelists (whose responsibilities and backgrounds can be found at the link above) will include:

  • Niaz Abdolrahim, assistant professor, mechanical engineering and materials science, University of Rochester
  • Julie Brown, senior VP and CTO, Universal Display Corporation
  • Candice Brown Elliott, CEO, Nouvoyance, Inc
  • Heidi Dohse, VP, product execution, DTI Holdings
  • Laura Rea, senior technology program manager, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

This event promises to be a highlight of Display Week, which runs from May 21-26 – if you haven’t already registered, you can sign up here. Don’t miss your chance to contribute to the global conversation about broadening roles and attitudes for women in STEM fields.

10 Signs You Should Invest in Public Relations

21 Apr

man-coffee-cup-pen

By MCA Public Relations

Business is tough, competition can be ruthless, and by all accounts, communication with each other has drastically changed. Whether you operate under a B2B or B2C structure, communicating to your customer, investors and the press can be challenging. Additionally, social media has challenged the immediacy of news and its proliferation, whether good or bad. So, how do we manage our own information or find some sense of control?

Public relations (PR) may be the solution. According to the Public Relations Society of America, public relations is defined as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” It can be a momentous task to properly develop a communication process. Here are some signs you might need to invest in public relations to create the best opportunities for your company.

  1. Inconsistent messaging and positioning: There is a lack of consistent messaging across all platforms—web, press releases, social media, blogs, etc. If all communication channels are not aligned, both visually and verbally, you need PR.
  2. Unprepared for crisis situations: The realization that you are unprepared for crisis situations may be too little, too late. This is often an in-the-moment realization that you are not prepared to deal with a crisis (i.e. the death of a CEO, an accusation of financial shenanigans, a shareholder lawsuit). If you do not have a preemptive strike planned for avoiding disaster, you need PR.
  3. Pushed around by the competition: The competition continues to out-position, out-message, out-market you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that their product or services out-performs the quality of yours, but they are at least communicating their benefits. They will be considered the thought leader. Big hint, when a list of the top/most innovative/best companies is listed with all of your competitors and not you, you need PR.
  4. Poor internal communication: Along with consistent messaging and positioning, everyone in the company needs to understand and be able to clearly explain the company’s value in the market. Establish an overarching corporate vision. If an executive or employee cannot quickly and clearly explain the company’s position and product within 30 seconds or less, you need PR.
  5. Unidentified company spokesperson: Although a clear corporate vision should be established, it does not mean all employees are qualified to speak on behalf of the company. There should be a designated employee that can speak to the position and product of the company, offering a valuable and credible source of information. Likewise, there should also be a designated employee for the press to contact if they want to speak to an executive. If for example, at a trade show or event, you do not have press meetings arranged or you have unqualified members of the team being interviewed on behalf of the company, you need PR.
  6. PR stands for press release: The acronym PR stands for public relations. A press release, although a good start, will not do all the work that a public relations strategy will do. There is much more to public relations than just a news release. This very Field of Dreams mentality, “If you build it they will come,” is limiting. If you are still waiting for the press to pick up your press release, you need PR.
  7. Unrealistic expectations for news coverage: There are many opportunities to receive press coverage as a company. You need news-worthy content to start. Knowing your audience and who might be interested in your news is a good way to guide your expectations of coverage. As much as you want to be in the Wall Street Journal, even some of the strongest pieces of news won’t make it there. If you are looking for the right publications to pick up your story, you need PR.
  8. Inconsistent dissemination of information: Just as we can see inconsistency of messages and positioning, inconsistent dissemination of information can be confusing.  For example, infrequent press releases (although we also don’t want too many), irregular tweets or posts on social media, a website that is outdated or needs updated posts can leave your company and your news forgotten. If you can’t remember the last time you posted on social media or published a press release, you need PR.
  9. Leaving investors and media confused: Consistent dissemination helps investors and press to follow your company story, be a part of the journey. Say for example, you have just acquired a company and you send out a press release to announce it. Investors and media are confused by your choice. It just doesn’t make sense. You have left gaps in your story; the choice to acquire a company was not communicated strategically. If you can’t remember your communication strategy or don’t have one in place, you need PR.
  10. Limited relationships with media: It is a huge misconception that you need to purchase advertisements in order to talk to the media, whether it is at a trade show or conference, or you want to pitch a recent press release. Yes, while we encourage companies to support publications by purchasing advertising and sponsorships (they are a business after all); there is a separation of church and state. Fostering healthy relationships with the media will allow you to more easily receive coverage, provide stories of interest to individual media, and avoid costly advertising. If you are spending unnecessary marketing budget to meet the press, you need PR.

Writing Tips from the PR Perspective

31 Mar

writing

By MCA Public Relations

Effective communication is a key part of any business. Although we may rely heavily on visuals these days and social media has made conversation more casual, written communication is an important skill to have—a timeless skill to have. Whether your work requires press releases, business proposals, emails or maybe a blog, small mishaps or grammatical errors, although common, can communicate laziness or a lack of attention to detail. Not to worry, you won’t be a writing wiz right away. It takes constant practice, a second set of eyes for editing, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes. In the meantime, take note from our MCA team of a few tips to have in mind and mistakes to avoid.

Angie: Wordiness

Wordiness is a nine-letter word. For most readers, it quickly becomes a four-letter word when agonizing through lines of poor word choices, jargon and clichés. Often, wordiness forces the reader to repeatedly go over sentences to understand their meaning. Respect your Reader!  Don’t waste their time.

Not being wordy and writing concisely is generous. It’s generous because you, the writer, are acknowledging that the reader’s time is valuable and you don’t intend to waste it. To be clear, by “wordy,” I don’t simply mean using a lot of words. Many great sentences can go on at length. I mean omit needless words. It’s much easier to be verbose than concise. The philosopher Pascal understood this when he wrote, “Please forgive the long letter; I didn’t have time to write a short one.” First drafts are usually wordy. Reviewing what you’ve written for needless words is tedious in itself. Once you’ve spotted them, you generally can’t simply delete them and be done with it; the sentence has to be reshaped. Good writers from the past and today, always go through the pruning process. Take time to omit needless words, review and revise. So respect your readers and be generous. Very quickly, you’ll earn your readers’ respect!

David: Spell Check

When you write an email, be sure to re-read it all the way through (not just spell check it) before you click send.  It’s easy to type “off the cuff” in an email, and in doing so one can make mistakes like misspell words that won’t get caught in the Spelling tool (e.g., “their” versus “there”).

Diane: Active Voice

We’ve all heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”  This wise old adage applies nicely to our next tip: Use the active voice when you write.

All too regularly, I review written material that confuses me and requires me to re-read the piece again, often more than once. In most all of these cases, the writer used the passive voice throughout his or her piece. Without the clarity and power of a strong action verb, it’s easy for both the reader, and the writer, to miss the point. The Writing Workbook from the University of Wisconsin sums it up better than I can.

“At the heart of every good sentence is a strong, precise verb; the converse is true as well–at the core of most confusing, awkward, or wordy sentences lies a weak verb.”

Let’s quickly review the differences between passive and active voice. In a sentence written in the active voice, the subject of sentence performs the action. In a sentence written in the passive voice, the subject receives the action. Here are two examples:

  • Active Voice: The chairman provided additional context on the financials after the meeting.
  • Passive Voice: Additional context on the financials was provided by the chairman after the meeting.

Both sentences say the same thing, but the first sentence with the active voice more clearly defines the subject and the action he or she took. With the passive voice, the reader takes longer to process the material—which is a burden, especially when a document is filled with passive language. Author Stephen King agrees.  “Two pages of passive voice–just about any business document ever written, in other words, not to mention reams of bad fiction–make me want to scream. It’s weak, it’s circuitous, and it’s frequently tortuous, as well.”

If you find yourself struggling to write in the active voice, keep with it—old habits die hard. I challenge you to write your next letter, email or message all in the active voice!

Lisa: Fluff

Never use “We are happy/excited/thrilled/etc…” in a quote for a press release, case study or similar document.  Some companies like these phrases because they think they’re “safe,” but they’re fluff. Quotes should be used to expand on facts – why the project or partnership will bring added value to customers or the industry served. A quote also a good way to make use of anecdotal data that the spokesperson is anxious to share.

Marie: Salutations

I’ll quote Allison Ford of DivineCaroline on some simple, but critical career advice when it comes to email salutation etiquette:  “When we speak face-to-face, body language and vocal intonations give our words context, but when we’re communicating electronically, we don’t have those luxuries, and it’s extremely easy for a harmless phrase to be interpreted as a rude gesture. An inappropriate salutation can discredit even an otherwise acceptable email… Most people know that some things, like emoticons or slang, are not acceptable in business emails, but few people give thought to their salutations. However, the way you open and close a message can say just as much to the reader as the email itself.”

My advice, similar to what Ms. Ford is trying to get across, is use plain common sense.  For example, some greeting no-no’s: “Hey, what’s up”; “Hey there” are just not appropriate in email communications, especially when you’re contacting a client or journalist.  On the opposite side of the coin, don’t just omit a greeting either.  Start business emails with something like:  “Dear Xname” or “Good morning/afternoon X”.

The same common sense rule applies when ending your email.  “Hugs” or ”Yours Truly” even when you are familiar with a client or journalist are just not appropriate.  “Kind Regards” or “Sincerely” are always safe bets—both warm yet professional.

I can’t say it any better than Ms. Ford, “Opening and closing emails with the proper salutation is the best way to make sure that your communications stay effective and professional, as well as personal. Emails do the talking for us … be sure you know what yours are saying.”

With that said, thank you for reading our blog today.

Sincerely,

Marie Labrie, CEO

 

 

Making Wearables Wearable

29 Feb

By Meagan Hardcastle

I love technology, but I’ve yet to embrace the wearable craze. While I am constantly amazed by what these devices can do and the new technology being integrated with them every day, I haven’t found one that has compelled me to personally join the wearable revolution. I have friends who rave about their Apple watches and Fitbits—I even bought one for a family member—so I’m well aware of their popularity and functionality. So, what will it take for me to adopt this wearable craze in my own life?

1. Seamless integration

While wearables are trendy, I’ve hesitated to don the clunky fitness tracker as it doesn’t suit my own taste. A seamless, more lifestyle-integrated design would likely catch my attention.

Recent developments in wearables, as well as in displays, and in the Internet of Things, are making huge inroads into fashion. We’ve heard about wearable technology beyond the activity tracker for awhile now, but there are recent products that are even more versatile and practical—the Apple Watch, for example, doesn’t leave many features behind. Consumers want their lives to be easier. Having a product seamlessly integrated into their lives while adding function and utility is more than a perk; it’s a necessity. Companies today have the seemingly impossible task of creating a product that strikes the balance between performance, price, form factor, features, and, now…fashion.

uico wearable

Techcrunch found that advancements in technology make it possible to implement more fashion-forward devices: “This drives the development toward a one-package solution integrating multiple chips to enable smaller, more fashionable and longer-lasting wearables.” The smaller chips get, the smaller the device can get, the more fashionable it will be. While it’s unlikely someone will compliment my wearable, they may very well pay me a compliment about my bracelet or necklace, and be surprised to find out that it is a wearable. Even New York Fashion Week is recognizing the popularity of wearable devices. Tech companies will be hard pressed by consumers to implement these fashion trends.

2. Multiple Capabilities

Over the past two months, I’ve been on this paleo kick. My health is important to me, and I think the next step in this whole lifestyle change should include a wearable. Monitoring and tracking my heart rate, number of steps and hours of sleep are all capabilities I want to find in my wearable. Having the health monitoring capabilities in my wearable make sense, but can I also get one that’s waterproof? I don’t necessarily want it to replace my mobile device, but connectivity is crucial. Personal data should also be protected. I have thought a lot about what wearable I would purchase, but rather than make a purchase now only to find an upgraded solution later, I’m searching for that all-in-one product.

Strides in technology and fashion also introduce a new and important feature for women—safety. Providing wearable devices that double as a jewelry piece are providing a sense of security. These connected devices can be life saving. You can notify your friends in an emergency with a Cuff or wearing a Roar for Good.

cuff

With an alarm and GPS safety, doubling as a piece of jewelry, these wearables can offer powerful capabilities and peace of mind. These and other devices are still in funding stages, but would definitely amp up the demand as an added wearable component. I think that Sri Peruvemba, head of marketing at the Society for Information Display, said it best in ECN Magazine: “[Today’s devices are] awaiting the killer app that will move them from ‘cool’ to ‘nice-to-have’ to a true must-have technology.” I’m still waiting to think about wearables as a “must-have technology.”

3. Cost Effective

As we all know, wearables are increasing in popularity. According to Gartner, wearable devices are projected to grow 18.4% in 2016. More accessories and customization capabilities are being created. However, those accessories come with a price tag. If I want seamless integration in a jewelry piece, it costs more money beyond the already pricey wearable. The high purchase cost is enough of a deterrent just to have a “cool” technology. With all the competition in wearable devices, it’s also a strategic race of offering the most updated, versatile, and stylish product with the perfect price to match.

 

Where to Go from Here?

Not to worry, I’m not leaving this reflection on wearables hopelessly indecisive. If technology has proven anything, it’s that a solution always emerges. Two years ago, Gartner predicted that by 2017, 30% of wearables will be inconspicuous to the eye. The technology continues to offer futuristic promise to consumers. Thinking from the perspective of a consumer ─ say, a recent grad working in PR ─ what kinds of capabilities and design does she need in her wearable device? As Peruvemba notes, “For wearable devices in the consumer market to take off, designers need to create human-centric rather than techno-centric designs.”

A great place to find these future technologies will be at Display Week 2016. I’m hoping to do a little bit of window shopping, test-drive a few wearable devices, and maybe find a solution that offers the seamless integration and capabilities I desire…even if that means having to wait a while for it to hit the market. If, as Disney/Pixar’s John Lasseter has said, “art inspires technology and technology inspires art,” then, hopefully, I won’t have too long a wait.

 

 

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