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Ignite X is a recognized, integrated marketing agency in Silicon Valley that delivers content marketing, executive branding, and public relations services.  


Ignite X specializes in helping technology startups grow their market visibility and brand. We bring expertise, connections and tenacity to helping brands break through the noise. Here are some of the things we've learned along the way. 

Filtering by Category: Public Relations biz

President Obama Writes New Page on User Engagement

Carmen Hughes

092707-obama-2001.jpgPresident Obama promises to usher in a new era of openness based around three priorities: communication, transparency and participation.  President Obama’s theme of open communication and transparency was carried out through Facebook, SMS and Twitter updates on his campaign trail; YouTube video addresses during his transition to the Whitehouse; and user engagement post-inauguration via the new makeover of the website.  By continuing to apply a wide range of social media tools, President Obama is bypassing mainstream media channels and opting instead to reach out directly to his ardent supporters to continue engaging with them. 

There’s a big takeaway in all of this for big companies and startups alike looking to build their own communities and leverage social media tools: start incorporating a digital social media strategy to accompany traditional PR efforts. For a great example, take a look at how successful has been with their company-wide embracement and use of Twitter as a new communication channel with their customers.

Twitter, SMS, YouTube, Facebook, blogging, Digg, Delicious, Flickr, etc. are cost-effective communication channels that are quickly becoming mainstream, enabling companies and people to reach out to their constituents and network of friends faster and farther than ever before.  Social media initiatives enable companies to quickly communicate with existing customers or prospects, enhances a company’s transparency with customers, and encourages user feedback, ultimately building trust, loyalty, and goodwill. 

Tough Times Forge New Opportunities for Media & PR

Carmen Hughes

Today’s economic downturn is affecting not just banking, housing and automotive, but all industries. As businesses adjust to weather this severe economic storm through reduced spending and layoffs, expensive advertising budgets are among the first to get slashed and the media industry is being hit hard.  Print advertising at newspapers was down 16 percent in Q2 and it is steadily contracting.  While more ad dollars are still being spent online versus print, Q3 experienced for the first time a slight decline in online ad spending.  Print media in particular is being impacted; Time Inc. is undergoing significant layoffs across its multiple titles such as People, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated.  Condé Nast was recently forced to let go of staff from its newly launched Portfolio, and Forbes underwent a restructuring to combine its web and print operations. 


Given the climate, print media has had to make tough decisions.  With the bleak outlook, some are testing out new approaches and introducing innovative changes.  The Christian Science Monitor and more recently PC Magazine, the bellwether of tech journalism, announced plans to start publishing in a 100% online-only format.  There is a small silver lining for online ad revenues; the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers recently reported that internet advertising rose slightly in the third quarter, up 2% from the second quarter, an 11% rise from the same period last year.  Yankee Group predicts that the online ad market will reach more than $50 billion by 2011.


Traditional publications are also realizing the benefits of delivering content online to supplement print issues.  The New York Times's Pogue O'Matic and Time's Channel Podcasts are great examples that continue to operate and produce print issues but have started to post supplementary angles to their print stories in their online outlets.  The online sections are giving journalists additional space, where they can write a follow-on piece, include new perspectives, mention other players in the space, incorporate product information, post a video interview, etc.


With more ad dollars moving to the web, news outlets still have to carefully balance the mix of interactive features within their news content so that readers’ overall experience is kept in check.  Incorporating various interactive, multimedia formats and social media tools (podcasts, video chats, streaming video, photo slides) enables media outlets to engage readers and push their content out to a broader audience of readers.  Increasingly, online news sites are catering to a growing number of readers who want to share, vote, comment on or blog about the article; thus new social media buttons increasingly accompany the articles to support readers’ needs. As print publications expand their news coverage online and include new ways of engaging readers, high tech PR agencies will be afforded extended opportunities to collaborate with their clients on how they too need to leverage these expanding channels of communication, information sharing and reader engagement. 

The Rebirth of PR

Carmen Hughes



I attended the Girls in Tech / Horn Group event that examined the notion of whether social media tools are killing PR.  The event was in part to address the ongoing backchannel blogger chatter, which is essentially asserting that PR is dying on the vine.  Kudos to the Horn Group and Girls in Tech for taking the opportunity to move beyond the negative bickering and look forward to the role that social media tools are having and how PR must harness them.  I agree with the stand that Sabrina Horn took in noting that, no, PR is far from dying and the industry is, in fact, on the cusp of being reborn. In other words, there is opportunity on the horizon for those agencies that choose to transform for the future.  The panelists were fantastic, each bringing a different and highly relevant perspective: Sam Whitmore of Media Survey served as the moderator and did an excellent job of prodding the audience for feedback while trying to cover a number of areas and keep all participants on track.  Susan Etlinger, from the agency-side, Jeremiah Owyang, provided the analyst and blogger perspective, and BoomTown’s Kara Swisher lent perspective from her traditional media experience.  Unfortunately, the 90 minutes didn’t afford the time to really dig down into how different social tools are enhancing PR or could be integrated more successfully.  Nevertheless, the exchange was positive and fruitful, providing some good take-aways.  Kara Swisher was vastly entertaining and provided a dose of reality related to the drama and antics some bloggers are exhibiting.


A few folks from the crowd provided a client perspective, noting that they want their agencies to be more expert at product marketing and SEO and web analytics.  Jeremiah was spot on in his assessment that today the PR industry has to build out core competencies in SEO, web analytics, product marketing, viral marketing and beyond in order to be able to offer a new brand of PR services and expertise to clients; This new brand of PR is one that will blend core practices of traditional PR with online marketing -- while harnessing existing and future tools that disseminate information faster and farther. There are indeed new revenue streams to be realized here for PR firms.  PR is at a crossroads in its need to evolve and become savvy in online advertising and other marketing competencies so that we can help clients navigate how they can most effectively apply their marketing efforts and dollars to drive company revenues. 


Like the auto industry’s need to retool their manufacturing plants, now is the time for the PR industry to also retool.  Future core services that we begin to offer clients need to be creative and closely align with how to leverage the expanding communication channels and the different avenues in which content and services and conversations are being disseminated, shared, and consumed.