Originally known simply as “Peak XV,” Mount Everest, at 29,035 feet, offers views from the highest point on earth. In this blog, our leadership team brings you up-to-date and relevant perspectives on industry happenings, what’s in the media and executive insights. Read on, and enjoy the view from the top.

Friday, July 27, 2007

YouTube is our reality

If you tuned in to the recent Democratic Presidential Debate (or like me caught the outtakes on the news) you noticed something very different this year compared to eight years ago. Enter 2007: A world driven by new media—blogs, podcasts, YouTube—all in an effort to keep us connected. My applause goes to CNN for what was dubbed as “an experiment” and “something never done before”—taking video questions from 39 ordinary citizens. With 2.6 million viewers according to the Nielsen ratings, it was the second most watched debate of the campaign season.

Even more interesting was that for the first time in history this debate had the highest 18 to 30 year old viewers. This is one more example of the power that new media has to reach this niche (and quite important) target audience.

The Republican Debate will be in our backyard on September 17 in St. Petersburg, FL, and you still have time to submit your questions on YouTube. In a political world with way too much hot air, the winner here is YouTube for adding some flavor and humor, and maybe even coming up with the summer’s hottest reality show.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Similar Naymz, you must be LinkedIn or Wikied

Living in the southeastern U.S. with Jim Hunt as my name, I am surprised by the number of people that ask, "Are you THE Jim Hunt?" or they inquire if I am related to Jim Hunt. These questions were posed to me again this past weekend while traveling on business. I suppose the answer to both questions could be yes. In all likelihood the Jim Hunt they are referring to is James B. (Jim) Hunt, Jr. who served two terms as Governor of North Carolina. Lucky for all the rest of us Jim Hunts, former Governor Hunt is still very much respected and revered in the southern states.

While I may naturally think the name connection is to the former Governor of North Carolina, I could be overlooking Jim Hunt, the cartoonist, Jim Hunt, the Australian musician, Jim Hunt, the former British Racing Champion, or Jim Hunt, the retired NFL player. The list goes on even to include a Jim Hunt playing for Grimsby Town Football Club in Britain.

Well if you want to clear all the Jim Hunt confusion up, Wikipedia suggests the process of disambiguation, which does not sound like much fun. I choose to check out our same Naymz and then discovered who I was LinkedIn to.

I suppose through the six degrees of separation, many of us Jim Hunts may indeed be connected or linked to one another. I am not THE Jim Hunt, but one of the disambiguated Jim Hunts; we are indeed linked with a common but fine name. You know I have always thought about being an artistic race car driver and a rock musician, when in fact Jim Hunt is all that and more.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Leaving a City and Returning to a Region

I have not seen the movie Transformers, but I witnessed a bunch of them in action this past weekend at the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Annual Community Conference. Public officials from Taylor, Madison, Jefferson, Wakulla, Gadsden, and Leon County all committing to cooperating together to grow our region responsibly. The conference is always good, but this one was indeed pivotal with positive new direction. Chamber Chair, Randy Hanna , with Bryant Miller and Olive P.A. has set the bar high for the future, and all in a deliberate and impressive manner.

While our region begins to mature, we can't forget about our children. State Representative Loranne Ausley has to be the children's champion in Florida. Loranne gave an informative update on Whole Child Leon and legislative progress on other children's initiatives in Florida.

Economic Development Council Chair and Tallahassee Community College President, Dr. Bill Law, gave an update of how Tallahassee has positively positioned itself to continue to catch the eyes of business across the nation that are seeking to relocate and grow in a progressive community. Dr. Law is a picture of progress himself as he was the only conference attendee to be sporting an iPhone.

Dr. T. K. Wetherell, President of Florida State University, gave the conference a lesson in real math and how many of the decisions being made by the state's leaders are not grounded in solid numbers. Cutbacks and caps facing our state universities may be worth another special session.

I have been attending the Chamber's Annual Community Conference for approximately 10 years and without a doubt, this one had more insight and true action to move us forward as a united community in the future. I felt like I left a city and returned to a region.

Speaking of the region, if you have ideas for naming and branding our special area in North Florida and South Georgia, visit http://www.ourregiontomorrow.org/ and give your suggestion.

My special thanks to Steve Liner, Bob Gabordi, and the Tallahassee Democrat staff for allowing me the opportunity to blog the Chamber Conference this year. Just another fine example of how our newspaper is engaging the community far beyond newsprint. This weekend reminded me how very fortunate we are with our community, leaders, businesses and people that make our region the best in Florida.

Saturated on Saturday

The Chamber’s Community Conference is quite the draw, including Congressman Allen Boyd, public officials from all over the Big Bend region, water buffalo, and entertainment right out of the Magic Kingdom. If the day’s agenda didn’t saturate you, the humidity and afternoon raindrops at the Kim and Mayda Williams’ Annual Water Buffalo Party at pool certainly would have.

Congressman Boyd shared his thoughts on numerous items on national and region happenings from the “blue dog” perspective. Alan Matheson, Executive Director of Envision Utah, spoke on the background and history of how their regional visioning helped their region evolve and become a national model for charting responsible and smart growth. As the general session moved to breakouts, the choices of which session to attend were tough as all looked to be loaded with insightful topics and presenters. Sessions included Knight Creative Community Initiative, Workforce Readiness, Going Green, and a Regional Overview. The Regional panel was informative and encouraging – it’s not often that you can hear representatives from Audubon of Florida and the Florida Builders Association agreeing on the future path of progress for our region. Max Martinez from Gadsden County’s health department gave an impassioned talk on regional healthcare, along with Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s Bill Giudice who shared valuable insight on the healthcare facilities throughout the region.

The lunch program featured Dr. James Ammons, President, FAMU and his talk was energetic, engaging and refreshing. The new attitude and approach along with the offer to be an integral part of the community was exciting to hear. Dr. Ammons gave a realistic and honest assessment of what lies ahead for FAMU, both the good and challenging tasks to be dealt with. The entire room quickly captured his vision for FAMU’s greatest days being ahead and all of us becoming a part of the Rattler fan club.

Hit the pool…the Annual Water Buffalo Party is one of those special social events where conference attendee’s are as about as relaxed as you can get, bathing suits and a bar, thanks to Target Copy and Marpan Supply. This is Tallahassee’s social scene like you won’t see anywhere else. A quick afternoon thundershower was timely to send everyone in to rest before the reception and evening banquet.

It is always a pleasure to go to one of the community’s best dinner events and be in comfortable casual clothing. A packed reception in exhibition area provided a good opportunity for everyone to meet and greet. Tables full of guests, good food and lively conversations kept the room buzzing. From politics to teenagers, Kimberly Moore from Workforce Plus and Becky Liner with the James Madison Institute shared some good times and laughs. The crowd was entertained by the A Cappella group, Return 2 Zero, with old time favorites that had Dee Crumpler and Chucha Barber singing out loud.

If that wasn’t enough then you could follow Shelia Costigan, Jay Bostwick and numerous others down to Champ’s for the Chair-Elect’s after-dinner party, hosted by Ron Sachs. There was definitely some dancing going on, oh yeah; there were probably a few Tally Martini’s being downed by the group. This definitely was saturation Saturday – lots to take in mentally, visually and physically.

Friday, July 20, 2007

On Deck with the Creative Class

One look at the Chamber's Community Conference agenda and you realize the action and interaction that is taking place. The speed networking session was quickly followed up by social networking at it's finest, the Friday evening social hour on the terrace at Sawgrass. The overflow crowd filled the lobby, terrace and oh yes, the outdoor air conditioned enclosed tent. There were lots of familiar faces and Chamber champions mixing and meeting first time attendees.

Speaking of first timers, John and Lisa Chason, owners of Seven Hills Business Services, are excited to be at their first Chamber conference and Lisa mentioned she is already impressed. I met Freebeau Swindle today; yes that's correct, Freebeau is another first timer at the conference and he owns Custom Interior Remodeling Contractors. Custom Interior Remodeling has an impressive display of their work set up in the main reception hall in the conference center along with numerous other vendors in the exhibit area.

Tonight Access Tallahassee and community guests attended a dinner presented by the Knight Foundation with featured speaker David Miller, CEO of the Creative Class Group. Mr. Miller gave an insightful overview of what makes up a creative community - technology, talent and tolerance. City Commissioner Andrew Gillum and Michael Calienes, owner of Transplant, LLC, both of whom are young and creative enjoyed the presentation and dinner. No doubt a highlight of the evening was the group serenading Mayor John Marks with Happy Birthday as the Mayor enters a new decade next week.

With Harry Potter about to hit the bookshelves tonight, the magic that makes our city special was evident on deck with the creative class at the Annual Community Conference. Long day, good times and a packed agenda for the weekend; I am looking forward to Saturday.

The Community Congregates at the Chamber Conference

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Annual Community Conference is literally in full swing. The conference started this morning with the golf tournament participants playing the famed Stadium Course at Sawgrass. Chamber President, Sue Dick was one of the many players and she mentioned Andy Fink with GVA Advantis shot a hole in one on the 17th hole.

The speed networking session is going on and the room is buzzing all over the place. Speed networking is new to this year's conference as part of a track of events for Access Tallahassee, the under 40 members. Looking over the crowd, it is easy to see they have opened admission as Mike Pate, Lyn Stanfield, Elizabeth Smith, Jay Bostwick and Chris Jensen were all getting around the room in fine style.

The updates will be coming from the conference all weekend long, and also through Business Matters on the Tallahassee Democrat. The Annual Community Conference is truly one of best events to get a feel for the pulse of Tallahassee's entire business community, to do some great networking, and of course have an enjoyable time. It's hot outside but everything in this conference is cool.

How many geckos and cavemen have you seen lately?

One of my favorite commercials right now is the Geico campaign with cavemen. It really doesn’t get any better than a caveman in a psychiatrist’s office wanting to put his mom on speaker phone. And, I can even hear the music of the commercial with the “airport scene” running through my head. I don’t know if you call that branding or brainwashing.

At any rate, I found it interesting to learn that Geico’s $500 million advertising campaign has paid off with big dividends, according to a recent Advertising Age article (subscription required). With an increase in advertising spending by 75 percent since 2004, Geico now ranks number one in the industry for new customer acquisition. The next biggest spender was Progressive with a $265 million advertising campaign. Of the top four players—State Farm, Allstate, Progressive and Geico—Geico was the only company that achieved double-digit growth in the last four years. It is obvious that there is a pay-off for advertising spending (and having a solid brand). It is important to also remember that while advertising provides the big bang, public relations is a slow and steady course to tell the full story and build a relationship with the target audience. After the cavemen are dead we will always remember the public relations brand that has been ingrained in our consciousness. And, even a caveman can figure that out.

50 years of change

This week I had the opportunity to sit and talk with an amazing woman at the American Lung Association of Florida's annual conference. Gayle is an enthusiastic woman who has worked for the Lung Association for more than 50 years! Can you imagine? The same place for 50 years! And get this...her first office location was in a log cabin in Orlando, Florida. During the course of her career, she has seen numerous changes in the workplace, from using manual typewriters to using computers; from using carbon paper to using Xerox machines. She has seen the role of women in the organization change from being the assistant to being the CEO. But what is really amazing is the number of lives she must have touched. In five decades she has helped to educate people on lung disease, smoking cessation, asthma, air quality, etc.

I hope that all of us can look back on our careers and celebrate the changes. However, I hope that we can also say that we were able to make a difference in someone's life.

Hi, my name is...

When our children were still of an age to be seen with us in public, my family and I would go out to the mall or a restaurant and before long the whining would start. “Daaaaaaad, do you have to say hello to everyone?” Time and again, I found myself in the hot seat, with my daughter rolling her eyes in annoyance because I would stop and speak with so many people. At first, I just dismissed their complaint of “you know everyone” as whining. It wasn’t until I read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point that I realized my family was not just expressing their grievances (although they were doing that, too)—they were identifying my ability to connect.

More than knowing a lot of people, the real passion and enjoyment of being a connector comes from those momentary opportunities to put two people together that you sense will mutually benefit from meeting one another. No middle man cut, no quotas or goals, just pure pleasure. Honestly, I couldn’t list or even recall all the people I have introduced or said, “you need to meet so-and-so” to. Being a connector is like many other investments: the rewards from friendships, acquaintances and even business are long-term.

I’ve never liked being a stranger anywhere I go, so allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jim Hunt, and we just connected.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The power of social media

With social media, as with many things, practice makes progress. We are excited to take an important step forward with this blog and website, and I think Karen’s recent Tallahassee Democrat column on social media makes some important points:

Social media is all about sharing, and this can actually lead to (good) results. Yesterday I came across a video from this year’s Andy Awards, which gave an overview of Volkswagen’s “safe happens” campaign. The television ads caused a huge media stir for their depiction of shocking car crashes where the victims, in their trusty Volkswagen, would emerge unharmed thanks to the car’s impressive safety features.

The campaign extended onto the internet, where users could create custom Volkswagen Jettas and crash them into various virtual objects (trees, buildings, UFOs…)—hardly the image car makers are used to giving themselves. The media was outraged, and asked the question: Had Volkswagen gone to far? The dialogue continued, as the ad team struck back with a new ad featuring two women debating the media’s assertion that they had “gone to far”—only to get slammed into by an SUV half-way through their conversation.

Volkswagen’s campaign highlights the importance of integrating social media efforts with traditional advertising and public relations. And amid all the hype, the car maker’s previously desperate sales increased by 20 percent.

Want to know more about social media strategy? Check out Karen’s recent column featured in the Tallahassee Democrat.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

15 year anniversary

It’s funny how fifteen years can seem so distant going in, but so quick looking back. I started this company in 1992 with one computer and no office—and a determination to be the best. Many of you know we’ve come a long way since the beginning, and it feels good to be part of this community. You have helped us grow into what we are today: a nationally-ranked firm that boasts hundreds of awards for the work that we have done together.

In the past fifteen years, this firm has achieved a reputation for success in getting results, and so far 2007 has proven to be no exception. We are humbled to have completed the first half of the year with three Addy Awards and seven Image Awards from the FPRA Capital Chapter.

Looking forward, I hope that you will continue to be by our side throughout the years to come. I have a feeling we’re going to have a lot more to celebrate! Read more about Moore Consulting Group’s 15th anniversary in the newsroom.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

O’Dwyers/PRWeek rankings

It’s confirmed: there’s nothing quite like the view from the top. Moore Consulting Group was recently ranked among the top 100 firms in the nation by O’Dwyers. Not long after, we also received word from PRWeek that we had ranked among the top 110 public relations firms in the U.S.

Kudos to the members of our team, who work hard every day to make us the best, and to our clients, with whom we are passionate about working and with whom we are proud to share our success.

Read about Moore Consulting Group’s national rankings and other news in the newsroom.