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PR Trend: Influencer Marketing

“Influencer marketing” is the modern day equivalent to celebrity endorsements, a marketing tactic that’s been around for decades. These days, partnering with Instagram stars and YouTube phenomenons is a whole new way to advertise.

“Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may be involved as third parties. These third parties can be spotted either within the supply chain (retailers, manufacturers, etc.) or among the so-called value-added influencers (such as journalists, academics, industry analysts, and professional advisers)” –Wikipedia

What’s the Difference?

The difference between celeb endorsements and influencer marketing is the idea that the campaign is a “collaboration” between the brand and the influencer. Everyone benefits from the deal. More of the brand’s products are purchased, while the influencer gains a few hundred new followers.

“YouTuber PewDiePie teamed up with the makers of a horror film set in the French catacombs under Paris, creating a series of videos in which he underwent challenges in the catacombs. It was pitch-perfect content for PewDiePie’s 27 million subscribers, and received nearly double the views as the movie’s trailer. Everybody won.” –Influencer Marketing

Another main difference between the two is the accessibility of influencers. These social media masters can be anyone– from a makeup guru to a gaming star on YouTube, there are more influencers populating the internet than ever before, and they’re often looking to be sponsored by brands.

YouTuber Zoella

Pros:

The benefit of this type of advertising is the humanization of a brand, which leads to an increase in sales. Influencers speak directly to their fans with their content, often personalizing their relationships with followers through interactions on social media. And what’s better than buying a product that your favorite YouTuber endorses? People want to buy products that are supported by the people they admire and trust.

  • “In a survey, 82% of consumers said they were highly likely to follow a micro-influencer recommendation on a product or service.
  • 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.”

-HubSpot.

Another pro of influencer marketing is that it allows you to target the exact audience you are trying to reach. According to Grin, “This is the reason why most apparel brands prefer to collaborate with fashion influencers and beauty or skincare brands prefer to work with beauty influencers. Because it helps them reach an audience that’s likely to be interested in their offerings.”

Cons:

It’s important to find the right influencer to represent your brand. According to Brand24, “There are some rare cases when influencer marketing campaign backfired. Either the influencer profile didn’t suit the brand, the content was ill-prepared, or there was some other type of social media crisis.” If the wrong influencer is given temporary power over your brand and it goes wrong, this can be extremely detrimental to your business and its image as a whole.

There are pros and cons to everything, especially this new concept of influencer marketing. I’m curious to see it develop further in the world of PR and advertising.

AM:PM and 7/Apps Summer 2019 Picks

As writers, communicators, readers, editors, and creatives, we find inspiration in a lot of different areas. Good books and awesome music included. Are you curious about what our team is listening to and reading this summer? Here are our picks.

Pat – AM:PM PR Co-founder:

“I’m currently re-reading I’m Right and You’re an Idiot, by James Hoggan. He’s a friend and great PR pro who’s written several books. But this one is my favorite. It’s now in its second edition, but the first edition came out in early 2016. The book’s subtitle, The toxic state of public discourse and how to clean it up, shows how well-timed the topic was. In a series of interviews with communications leaders and theoreticians, the book outlines the challenge and urgent need to drain the poison from our civic debate.

When I actually listen to music and not just use it for background noise, it’s usually showtunes. Hamilton is a favorite. So are Les Misérables and Wicked. But my intentional listening is more frequently to podcasts. Favorites: The Daily, On the Media, Post Reports, Sci Fri, Radiolab, This American Life.”

Allison – AM:PM PR Co-founder:

Becoming by Michelle Obama, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and Beastie Boys Book are a few of my favorite books.

My daughter controls the stereo whenever she’s in the car, so it’s a lot of Billie Eilish, Cardi B and, Childish Gambino and John Denver is what we listen to. I like a mix of things, depending on what I’m doing. But pretty much anything by Headphone Activist. I also love the song ‘Sunflower’ by Post Malone…I just wish it was longer. And, finally, I’ve been re-listening to this at least once a day every day lately: ‘Help One Another,’  a mixtape.”

Sophie – Intern at AM:PM PR:

“I’m reading two books right now. The first is called The Last of the Stanfields by Marc Levy. It’s a drama/mystery. The other book is I Hate Myself and Want to Die by Tom Reynolds, which is about ‘the 52 most depressing songs you’ve ever heard.’

I’m really into the new album by Clairo, Immunity. That’s been on repeat for the past few days. In addition, I discovered an artist called Jealous of the Birds a few weeks ago, and I’ve been listening to her stuff non-stop. Yesterday, I listened to most of The Cure’s discography all day. I’m all over the place with my music.”

Connor – Intern at 7/Apps:

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Father John Misty & Doctor Dog lately. It reminds me of when I first started working at 7/Apps, because I actually discovered Father John Misty on the car ride over!”

 

What are your Summer 2019 picks? Tweet us!

Public Relations Is Not “Spin”

A Brief History of Public Relations

In the 1920s, Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee coined the word “public relations” in America. Back then, PR was considered to be propaganda, as it was used to promote both sides of the First World War and other controversial efforts. During the second half of the 20th century, however, the concept of PR expanded as various principles were established and it developed into a legitimate profession. According to Wikipedia, “In the early 2000s, press release services began offering social media press releases. The Cluetrain Manifesto, which predicted the impact of social media in 1999, was controversial in its time. But by 2006, the effect of social media and new internet technologies became broadly accepted.”

PR’s Many Titles

PR has had many different titles since the turn of the century. To name a few: damage control, image/reputation management, publicity, and the most hated, “spin.” This a dated word that gives the profession a negative connotation, its roots stemming in PR’s past in propaganda. But this no longer aligns with PR’s role in society.

What Is “Spin?”

Spin (noun): a particular way of representing an event or situation to the public so that it will be understood in a way that you want it to be understood. –Cambridge Dictionary

AKA…a way to save face and alter a story in order to avoid a negative audience reaction.

Why PR Isn’t “Spin”

“Spin is too simple a term for the work PR practitioners do. Sure, they seek to influence, but also counsel, market, promote, and advocate for their brands and clients. Simply put, PR is much more than spin.”

PR Weekly

In our current political climate, unfortunately, “the only time the average person sees a public relations professional is when they are advising a politician or celebrity or apologizing for a corporate screw-up.” (e-releases) But PR is so much more than that. It is brand development and building an image that showcases personality, values and talent. It is connecting with your audience and giving back to the organizations that improve our lives. It is remaining accountable, transparent and honest when something doesn’t go to plan. It is engaging users and producing excellent content. It is building lasting relationships.

Sp*n is a gross word. Let’s get rid of it for good.

The AM:PM PR Hall of Fame: 1D World

As a new member of the team at AM:PM, I’ve been reading up on the agency’s past clients and projects. I recently came across this fun 2013 campaign, and I was so impressed by it! So, without further ado, I hereby conduct AM:PM’s 2013 1D World Campaign into the agency’s official Hall of Fame. 🙂

In 2013, one of the most popular boy bands in the world, One Direction, embarked on a massive tour around the U.S. and Europe. Although hitting many major cities along the way, naturally the guys couldn’t stop everywhere. To satisfy disappointed “Directioners,” the 1D pop-up shop, known as “1D World,” was born. With this temporary store, super fans would have the opportunity to snag an array of  merch and immerse themselves in the 1D experience, even without the band there to perform.

Because Portland was one of the skipped cities, it was chosen as a test market for the pop-up shop that would open in June of 2013. The 1D World store hired AM:PM PR to generate local buzz among fans leading up to the opening, plus maintain interest during the two weeks the store ran.

The Band

One Direction were an English-Irish pop boy band based in London, composed of Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik. Simon Cowell formed and signed the group in 2010 after the guys competed on the British singing show, The X Factor. 1D has won around 200 awards over the years, completed four world tours, and ranked as the second highest-earning celebrities in the world. When the band announced their hiatus in 2015, they broke millions of teenage girl hearts.

In short, they’re a pretty big deal.

Photo by The Daily Mail

1D World: The PR Plan

AM:PM used a combination of media relations, social networking engagement and strategic advertising to execute this campaign.

Location: Pioneer Place Mall, downtown Portland.

Date: June 8th, 2013.

Target audience: Young females, (“Directioners”) ages 9-17.

Objectives:

  • Attract fans to wait in line on opening day.
  • Generate fan buzz on social networks before the store’s opening and through the duration.
  • Increase followers on Facebook and Twitter for 1D World.
  • Earn media coverage for the store opening.
  • Encourage fans/customers to share their experiences online.

Goal: Show fans that this pop-up store offered a special experience provided by the band itself.

Media Coverage

AM:PM invited media to attend the grand opening of 1D World to witness the remarkable reaction of fans. The Oregonian covered the announcement of the pop-up shop and interviewed fans outside of the store on opening day. AM:PM also partnered with Portland’s Top 40 radio stations to provide tickets to the 1D concert in Seattle and gift certificates to the pop-up shop. Fangirls across Twitter freaked.

Social Media

AM:PM interacted with Portland’s 1D fans on Twitter, offering early entry store passes to five dedicated Directioners with the most followers. They also mentioned the prizes fans could win while in the store, like signed merch.

In order to maintain excitement through out the two weeks the store was open, AM:PM created in-store posters inviting customers to share pictures online of their shopping experiences at 1D World. AM:PM also created a FB/YouTube contest encouraging fans to create music videos using the band’s tunes. This increased online buzz significantly as video entries flooded YouTube.

Research

  • Facebook and Twitter were the most popular social media platforms at the time of this campaign.
  • 1D regional fans on Twitter were hungry for any 1D-related news, gossip and tidbits, and were eager for 1D to visit Portland. (There were a ton of videos on YouTube of young girls begging for the boys to visit.)
  • The main radio stations in Portland for 1D fans were Radio Disney, Z100, and The Buzz.

The Challenges

  • AM:PM was contacted about this campaign in May of 2013 with a plan to open the pop-up shop the following month. This gave just 15 days of planning.
  • The opening day of 1D World was the same morning as Portland’s annual Rose Festival Parade. Media would be preoccupied, and the street in front of the mall would be closed off. Crowds would be difficult to draw.
  • Much of the merchandise sold at 1D World would be available at other stores and online for half the price.

The Outcome

The morning of June 3rd 2013 was insane. More than 100 screaming fans lined up for the store’s grand opening beginning at 7 a.m. The Rose Festival wasn’t going to stop them. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all blew up, resulting in an increase of Facebook interactions by 5-fold for the client. 1D world flooded with teens and tweens through out the day, all ecstatic to pose with life-size cutouts of the boys and buy a variety of 1D themed jewelry, hats, calendars and t-shirts. The campaign was a success.

“Being older than the demographic, I completely underestimated the draw of a 1D pop-up store. When our first tweet announcing the  store spread like wildfire, I started to remember what I was like as a super fan of Duran Duran. Engaging with these fans ended up being one of the most rewarding efforts we’ve undertaken. Their excitement was contagious, and when I saw the line of kids and their parents who arrived hours before the opening, I couldn’t help, but to adore them even more.”

-Allison McCormick, AM:PM Co-Founder

The Spotlight Award

AM:PM PR received an award for this campaign at the 2013 PRSA Spotlight Awards! PRSA recognizes skillfully executed PR campaigns locally and internationally each year. AM:PM’s viral social networking/ media outreach campaign, executed just fifteen days before the store’s opening, earned them this award.

9 Things AM:PM PR Loves

Happy Monday!

What gets you up in the morning? What inspires you? For us here at AM:PM PR, it’s our location, our office, and our awesome team. We are so lucky to work in such a fun, buzzing neighborhood at our headquarters on Clinton Street. Here are 9 things we love about it.

 

1. Our Lego Models

Co-founder Pat McCormick is talented in many areas, one being his ability to piece together some impressive Lego sets. If you’ve walked by our office before, you’re probably familiar with the abundance of Lego displays on our window sills. While providing a fun distraction, I mean break, 😉 from our work from time to time, we also love to see kiddos stop and admire the models. It’s so cute to see them ooh and aah over the Disney Castle, Statue of Liberty, and most notable, Millennium Falcon model.

2. Nossa Familia Coffee

A two-minute walk from our office, Nossa Familia Coffee on Division Street is one of our favorite spots to chill and refuel. They’re deeply committed to ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship and social responsibility, plus their coffee and tea is so yummy!

3. Dogs, dogs, dogs

Clinton and Division Streets are dog central, and we’re dog people. If there’s ever a shortage of pups trotting by our office windows though, no worries–our pals at EENW next door have two sweet labradoodles that we love to cuddle. Their names are Nova & Echo!

4. Our Glass Whiteboards

Designed by 7/Apps founder Juan Fernandez and built by a local welder, the glass whiteboards that divide up our work spaces in the office are one of our most favorite things. Typically covered in sticky notes and doodles, our whiteboards are a great place for us to draw cartoons or map out a project.

5. New Seasons Market

Our favorite spot for a quick snack or lunch with friends during the work day. This cozy place doesn’t feel like your typical grocery store. The staff are friendly, the food is fresh, and the vibes are good. Plus, it’s a 30-second stroll from our office!

6. The Cyrk Building

We are privileged to work in the coolest building ever. 90% of our building’s power comes from solar panels on the roof, and the indoor temperature is controlled by an underground water-source heat pump. The Cyrk Building is eco-friendly, welcoming and bright with its many windows, and decked out in cool art.

7. Our Team

We are a family-owned PR agency with a passion for what we do. Our team is driven and inspired by each other, and that’s what results in our success. Long hours aren’t a problem for us — we are motivated by our client’s victories and willing to do whatever it takes. We are a close-knit team of creative, socks-with-sandals-wearing goofballs.

8. Fifty Licks Ice Cream

Fun fact! I’m an ice cream addict.

Fifty Licks, the ice cream shop across the street, is my favorite place in Portland. They have unique flavors (better than Salt & Straw, in my opinion) and a super cute space. I go quite often, and it was during one of my frequent stops there that I discovered AM:PM!

9. Our Clients

We work with clients we believe in and on projects we enjoy, and our goal is to build long-term relationships with the people we assist. We take our clients’ goals on as our own and love seeing them flourish.

 

-Sophie

 

Finding Your Creative Niche

What Is It?

Niche (noun): a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted.Merriam-Webster Dictionary

You’ve probably heard this word before. It’s commonly used in the world of ad, business and PR…but what can it mean for you?

A niche is what you do best, what you’re passionate about, and what sets you apart from the crowd.  These days, uniqueness is essential when it comes to promoting a product, business or brand successfully. A niche brand targets a specific audience or group of people, and offers what other brands don’t.

“Niche branding, also called narrow branding, is connecting with your audience (customers and prospects) in a targeted way that focuses on their needs and circumstances, not on you or your product.” Your Brand Inc

Successful Niche Brands and Products

Finding Your Niche

What do you enjoy doing? Do you write about music? Vlog while shopping for clothes? Film your own cooking show? Whatever it is you may enjoy, you can likely make a brand out of it. Want to learn how? Check out this article on Wordstream for these tips and more:

  • Know your target niche inside out
  • Solve your audience’s problems
  • Listen to your audience

My Niche

As a music blogger, I have a lot of competition. There are countless music blogs all over the internet, so it’s often difficult to produce content that no one has seen before. So, when I first started my blog in 2014, I targeted a very specific audience: teenage music/concert fangirls. I chose this audience because at the time, I was one too! I was always looking for blogs and websites that catered to my specific interests, and never found one that fit. So I launched my own.

My first few, niche posts (please keep in mind that I wrote these posts more than five years ago, haha):

Although my blog’s content has changed a lot since my fangirl days, one thing has stayed the same: I strive to produce music-related content that readers/music fans can’t find anywhere else. That’s my niche.

AM:PM PR’s Niche

Strategy is our niche. Good communicators are first good listeners. No two clients are the same. We work with your objectives in mind and build strategies focused on results. Whether you want to position your organization, connect with your audiences, sell a new product or need help managing a crisis, we believe effective communications are rooted in such timeless principles.

-Sophie

Meet AM:PM PR’s Newest Intern!

Hello!

Sophie Cettina here, AM:PM’s newest intern. I’ll be managing the agency’s blog and social media over the next few months. I’m thrilled to be here! 🙂

Bio

I graduated from the University of Oregon last month, where I earned a B.A. in Journalism/PR. When I wasn’t studying, I spent my time as a DJ at KWVA, UO’s college radio station. On the air, I played my favorite music and then discussed it as my alter ego, “DJ Vu.” (It’s a spin on the word “déjà vu”…haha, so punny!) My show, The Half Moon Tavern, was live every Thursday afternoon. My favorite part of being a DJ was receiving phone calls from listeners–sometimes, people would call to let me know how much they enjoyed the music I’d picked, or they’d call just to chat about artists and records. It’s pretty fun to share your music with the world in that way.

4 Fun Facts About Me

  1. I have a pet cockatiel named Quincy and two backyard chickens. (#PutaBirdOnIt!)
  2. My favorite movie is School of Rock starring Jack Black. (Stick it to the man, dude.)
  3. I write poetry and short stories.
  4. I have a tattoo of a chicken (that I drew myself) on my left ankle.

My Personal Blog

I’m a huge music nerd, and I love to write. My music blog, A Perfect Playlist, launched five years ago, and it’s grown so much since then! I post interviews with artists from around the world, concert and album reviews, tips and tricks on how to meet your favorite artists, and other music-related content. (Follow A Perfect Playlist on Instagram to stay up to date!)

Why PR?

I’m a storyteller with a passion for public relations, content development and music. I’m often asked, “you’re so excited about both music and PR. How do those two connect for you?” The answer is easy: I believe in the idea that songs are stories. As an avid storyteller, I know the power of words and connecting with an audience, just as songs do.

I’m so excited to help AM:PM tell their story.

-Sophie

Connect with me:

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn

Generation Z Protestors

AS GEN Z COMES OF AGE, ITS TIME TO GET TO KNOW OUR NEW COHORTS 

Millennials are now fully integrated into society as adults and the culture has come to a better understanding of what makes the tech-savvy, diverse generation tick. We’re only just beginning to learn about Generation Z – the oldest of which is joining the workforce this year. Early research reports are helping to paint a picture of what this generation values, what motivates them, what they expect of employers and how they are decidedly different from Millennials.

What Defines Generation Z

Born between 1996-2012, members of this generation are true digital natives. They’ve never been without access to the internet or smart phones. They’ve never known a world where social media wasn’t fully integrated into their lives or unrestricted access to information wasn’t readily available.

Beyond technology – environmental issues, terrorism, global refugee crises, and corporate greed have all been part of Gen Z’s formative landscape. 

They are brand-savvy and socially conscious and are set to be the most racially and ethnically diverse population in U.S. history. 

They understand the impact of their decisions; they will make choices that serve their needs, while still contributing to the greater good. This will be a generation that will make a difference.

Generation Z’s Top 3 Priorities:

  1. Enjoying Life
  2. Finding a great job
  3. Becoming a better person 

Millennials vs. Gen Z

generation z vs millennials

 

  • Millennials emerged alongside technology advancements, but Gen Z was born with internet access.

As a Millennial myself, I remember fighting with my parents because someone was on the phone and I couldn’t use the dialup internet. Motorola Razors were the common cell phone used “only in emergencies” and the internet was charged by the minute. While Millennials adapted to the rapidly evolving technology of smart phones, constant connectivity and on-demand entertainment, for Gen Z these innovations are largely assumed. 

  • Millennials own their social media addictions, but Gen Z is detoxing.

While Millennials know they’re addicted to social media and sharing everything online, mostly, they can’t be bothered to unplug. Gen Z, on the other hand, has witnessed the negative affects of social media on the older generation and trying to combat it at an early age. Nearly 34% of Gen Z have deleted their accounts and another 58% are actively trying to take a time-out from the feelings of stress and anxiety that social media is perpetuating. 

What does this mean for marketers? Invest in relevance over reach. The landscape has changed. Organic reach has fallen so low for social platforms that it has become less viable as a tool to reaching Gen Z. However, it has become one of the best ways to deliver one-to-many or one-to-one branded content. Today’s approach on social should be focused on engagement and conversation.

  • Millennials want original content, while Gen Z responds to authentic and ethically sound content.

In a world where negative content and fake news seem to be flooding our timelines, Gen Z wants posts from brands to be factual and ethical. Millennials respond to original and catchy branding, but Gen Z’ers have higher expectations and a carefully tuned radar for being sold to. Corporations and brands need to take a stand on social issues to earn their trust. Social values are very important to this young generation and they want to support companies who believe in a bigger picture beyond a bottom dollar profit.

Shifting the message and how its delivered in response to Gen Z values will be key to marketing success.  While influencers have been effective with Millennials, Gen Z has started to see through them. Friends and family have the most impact on Gen Z’s purchase decisions. Successful brands will engage the new generation and earn loyalty through authenticity and the right messengers. 

  • Millennials brought tech-savvy and fluid lifestyles to the workforce and Gen Z is expected to combine those traits with the work ethic of Baby Boomers and independence of Gen Xers.

Generation Z as a whole is full of enthusiasm and optimism. They are wise beyond their years, because they have learned from previous generations’ mistakes. They know what they need to do to get ahead, and they aren’t afraid to do the work. They are well-rounded, with their feet on the ground, while still being able to dream about a great future. They have many traditional goals such as secure employment, long term loyalty, a house, a car, and money for retirement, but they also say they plan to strike out on their own and build a future that aligns with their values. 

As Gen Z enters the workforce, they want:

  • A great boss; 
  • Stability;
  • Flexibility to work where and when they want; 
  • An invitation to be part of a team; and 
  • A diverse and inclusive workplace. 

Looking Ahead

Overall, we as a society, have never had a generation born into a technology boom like today’s. We don’t yet know the impact this will have, nor the impact of Donald Trump as the first president most Gen Zers know as they turn 18.  

Though we don’t yet know how this generation will shift our society, their ability to be heard and fearlessness in standing up for what they believe in hint they are a generation to look up to.
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Mike Phillips - World Traveler

Mike’s Euro Travel Adventures

« NEW BLOG SERIES »

I spent the past month traveling around Europe on an extended vacation. In my blog series I’ll share some of the more interesting adventures and discoveries I had along the way. The discoveries relate to public relations, industries we work in, communication, and history, too. Scroll to the bottom now to check out some of my wild photos!

Stop 1: Frankfurt, Germany. 

I spent the first two days of my trip in Frankfurt, Germany –  though jet lag made it feel like a week. Still, I managed to cram tons of activities into those days.

I admit I didn’t have high expectations for Frankfurt, mostly because I didn’t know anything about the place. But I’m happy to have discovered that it’s a wonderful multi-cultural melting pot with people from all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa calling the city home. I don’t speak a lick of German but it didn’t seem to matter much as everyone spoke enough English to get me fed and to help me navigate the city.

Bizarrely, the layout and “feel” of the city is reminiscent of Portland in a way that was both similar and completely foreign at the same time. They don’t have the perfect north/south/east/west layout – but there are several streets crammed with places to imbibe and enjoy culinary adventures – much like our neighborhoods including Division, Alberta or Mississippi. The Main River flows through the center of town, dividing the city like the Willamette in Portland. Frankfurt is incredibly bike friendly too – and on my second day I explored a food cart festival and met a craft beer enthusiast named Max who was obsessed with IPA’s. Nearby a bike race and some kind of running competition meandered through the main platz. In the afternoon I caught an American Football game between the Munich Rangers and Frankfurt Galaxy.

The fans were wild and took their soccer-style noise-making antics to the football stands. They’d surely love a Timbers game. When I got back to my hotel in the evening, I had a conversation with the hotel bartender Stefan about infused liquors and he shared some of the šljivovica that his boss is making in small batches.

Does it get any more Portland?

I’ll admit that I spent some time later that evening Googling to see if Frankfurt has a sister city relationship in America. I discovered that in July 2015 they cemented this relationship with Philadelphia, the city of “brotherly” love. This could be unbridled enthusiasm speaking, but I am thinking our friends in Philly need to alter their pact to a “brother city” relationship and let PDX step in to create a much needed partnership between two cities that love bikes, beer, booze and the convenience of a direct international flight thanks to Condor Airlines.

Unfortunately, the low point of my day came when I went out of my way to try to do something work related after I stumbled across a sign that translated to “The Communication Museum.” I naively thought it would be an homage to the craft of public relations, strategic communication and crisis communication in Germany, but it was a large room devoid of visitors with a bunch of displays showing the evolution of phonographs, telephones, computers and other bits of technology.

communication museum

Click the image for an exclusive look at the communication museum!!!

Anyway – that concludes my first dispatch. Here’s what to expect from upcoming posts:

Stop 2: Gamescom. Cologne, Germany

Having a stepdad working in one of the Northwest’s hottest tech towns has its advantages. In July I was invited to join him for the Gamescom gaming conference in Cologne, Germany.

Gamescom is Germany’s biggest convention on digital games and also serves as an interface between the world of gaming and other cultural and creative industries, as well as the digital economy.

I’d hoped to pass my AM:PM PR business cards to communication-challenged gaming companies across Europe, thus legitimizing future travel adventures and hopefully clearing a path to bring my AM:PM PR colleagues with me next time – but I discovered a different reality altogether. To be continued!

Stop 3: Sarajevo International Film Festival. Sarajevo, Bosnia. 

Just 20 years ago the first Sarajevo Film Festival was held during the middle of the longest siege of a European city since WWII. Attendance projections were low as a result, but 15,000 risked sniper bullets and mortar attacks to see 37 films from 15 different countries.

I’m happy to say my experience was a bit less harrowing, and I had the pleasure of seeing the debut screening of a film from a local Portland duo titled, “Finding Bosnia.” I look forward to sharing more soon.

Stop 4: Exploring Lineage in Ireland. 

Blood lineage to my great-great-great uncle Sean Mac Diarmada is probably shared by thousands of other McMorrow’s, McDermott’s and Mac Diarmada’s across Ireland, Canada, Australia and the United States – but that doesn’t stop my family from laying a firm claim to this Irish hero from 1916.

Mac Diarmada will be getting his time under the spotlight as the Irish nation celebrates 100 years since the Easter Rising of 1916, an event he helped orchestrate with Thomas Clarke and that eventually led to the creation of the Irish Republic (and gulp, a bloody civil war).

I visited his statue in his hometown with my grandfather and father – three generations! I never thought I’d see the day. I spent some time with my grandmother in her ancestral village in County Mayo where I was able to reconnect with distant relations. We also had interesting experiences exploring mystical Celtic wells and catching jam sessions and visiting renowned pubs.

That is a quick overview of the trip – more blogs to come.