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Vocus Users Conference 2010: Guest speakers harness the power of leverage

June 10: As this year’s conference continues, many of the success stories buzzing around the hallways of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Southwest D.C. are all about timing. While public relations and marketing teams plan ahead for their campaigns, there are certain unpredictable events that end up coinciding with the launch of their messages. What these speakers addressed was how to harness that coincidence, leverage it and adapt to make any necessary changes.

The last 12 months was chock full of unpredictable events. From the oil disaster, to the housing crises, the flooding and the virtually unprecedented job losses across the U.S. When John Frazier (pictured), senior vice president of Quinn & Co., launched the international search for the “Best Job in the World,” he had no idea it would happen at the peak (or bottom) of the current unemployment dip.

At a time when millions of Americans were out of work, he helped promote Queensland’s Board of Tourism campaign: find someone to blog from the beach in New Zealand for six months while staying in a luxury home and receiving a generous salary. The job was open to almost anyone and applicants were asked to submit a video resume. Their one-year goal for number of hits they would like to receive was attained in the first 36 hours. Timing, Frazier explained, is everything. Frazier admitted to not being tech-savvy as he received assistance with the playing of five top application videos.

Food awareness is also rising in popularity, especially among 17 to 24 year olds. Back in 1998, the owners of Jason’s Deli were strategizing how to remove nitrates and high fructose corn syrup from their deli style restaurant foods. Their work took hold and their brand is tied to natural and organic sandwiches and salads. As Daniel Helfman, director of media for 200-store chain explains, by using “sniper marketing” they were able to create a non-traditional online video aimed at college kids to score big with Funnyordie.com and Reddit. Jason’s Deli then went on to receive coverage in Southern Living and on Oprah.

Another tip from Helfman – use the phone. “I think too many people are e-mailing these days,” he said. “Does anyone else agree?” The 100-seat room let out a snap of laughter in agreement. Then tweeted what he just said.

— Rebecca Bredholt

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