All posts by Suzanne Hirsh

The Biggest Buzz from CES 2019

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CES, the Consumer Electrics Show that takes place in Las Vegas every year, has become the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years — a global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.

At the beginning of every year, consumers and tech fans alike keep all eyes on the announcements and product launches coming out of this exciting conference. Some of the biggest names in gadgetry work all year, aiming to have their products ready by the show, hoping to top their competitors in the news.

Here’s a list of some of the most buzzworthy news from this year’s show:

Google vs. Amazon

Most of the hype centered on two companies: Google and Amazon. It’s turning into an annual tradition for the two tech titans to head to Las Vegas in January to battle it out in the desert and see who can gain the most ground in the war for your smart home, smart car and smartphone. But this year Google made headlines with an over the top rollercoaster at their booth, and by plastering the words “Hey Google” all across town. Amazon was subtler in approach but made an effort to be omnipresent at the show through partners’ booths, stage presentations and loads of “Works with Alexa” tags on all kinds of products.

Apple Makes New Friends

Apple usually skips CES in favor of its own events, but this year it made a rare attempt to steal the show without actually announcing any products of its own. The biggest news is that Apple is making a bigger effort to work with third-party products and make its services accessible without using Apple devices themselves. Users will now be able to stream content from an iPhone to a Vizio, Samsung, or LG TV via the Airplay 2 standard that all three of these big TV manufacturers will be baking into their sets.

Samsung for Everything

Samsung stole the show with multiple product announcements, including a “pre-announcement” that it’ll show off its next smartphone at an Unpacked event next month.

Samsung may be best-known for its Galaxy smartphones, but TVs, laptops and appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, are a big part of its product lineup. And it typically unveils a lot of news related to those devices at CES. This year brought lots of TVs, the Apple partnership, a smarter Bixby voice assistant and its first foray into consumer robotics with: Bot Air for air purification, Bot Care for health monitoring, Bot Retail for restaurants and shops, and GEMS (Gait Enhancing and Motivating System) to help with mobility issues.

CES is perhaps best known for its spectacle, the grand showcase of the products you’ll likely never see outside of CES, much less ever purchase. This year, things were a little different in the CES news coverage. Sure, there was plenty of spectacle and unnecessary stuff — one just needs to hear about a toilet with Alexa to affirm that — but there was also a lot of useful iteration on the ideas we’ve been seeing at CES for years, and we’re looking forward to seeing how these practical products develop in the coming years.

How to Track Your Social Media ROI

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Social media is one of those tricky topics that businesses know can positively influence their revenue, but many don’t know how to measure and prove it. One of the most rewarding aspects of using social media as a marketing tool is the ability to track results in real-time, and figuring out the right social media metrics can help gauge ROI.

First off, the two types of social media measurement are:

1. Ongoing Analytics – Ongoing monitoring that tracks activity over time. Necessary for keeping up with the overall pulse of general conversation about a brand and company.
2. Campaign-Focused Metrics – Campaign or event analytics with a clear beginning and end. These help demonstrate the impact of targeted marketing initiatives and will vary from campaign to campaign, depending on the goals.

An effective social media measurement program will likely include both ongoing and campaign-specific measurement.

First step
Before jumping into measuring every single tweet, photo and Facebook comment posted, think about your company’s reasons for having social media. Social media can serve a variety of purposes, from broadcasting news and information, to answering customer questions and engaging with a community. What is your company trying to accomplish?

Second Step
Once the goals have been established, consider what metrics are necessary to support the tracking of each goal. For example, if the goal is to achieve:

Awareness – use metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification. How far is your message spreading?

Drive website traffic – track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Are people moving through social media to your external site and what do they do once they’re on your site?

Engagement – look for metrics around retweets, comments, replies, and participants. How many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating? Real effort needs to be made to engage with your audience, as well as relevant industry influencers, and lazy attempts at engagement are easily spotted. Your audience will not allow themselves to be underestimated and they’ll see the difference between a truly engaged brand and one which simply fires out the “Thanks for the RT” style tweets.

Increase Share of Voice – track your volume relative to your closest competitors. How much of the overall conversation around your industry or product category is about your brand?

Third Step
Now that you’ve established goals and metrics, you need to find the tools to track them. There are some free analytics offered by the platforms themselves, but there’s a good amount of raw data there, that isn’t very granular, and often means a fair amount of additional tracking and pulling data by hand, to calculate impact. Alternatively there are paid social media metric tools such as SproutSocial, Zuum or Quintly that can do some of the analysis for you in a report format that’s ready to share.

Final Step
The most important part of tracking the results of any campaign is applying the learnings. It’s vital to review your reports and track if the metrics are supporting your goals and, if not, what needs to be implemented to do so. Figure out what you can improve, make changes and then measure again.

It’s important to know going into a social media project that it’s going to be a trial and error process as your audience grows and evolves. You’ll need to consistently check back in with the goals you set initially and make sure your metrics actually help you address those goals.


If you’d like to know more about how to create and measure a social media strategy that will drive results, be sure to get in touch with us at Liberty to see how we can help!

Berkeley and TechCrunch Creating the Mecca for Robotics

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The robots are coming! Whether you believe they’re coming to rule us or support us, it’s safe to say that what seemed like a far off, “science fiction-y” future in terms of robots, is closer than we think. In fact, Liberty got to meet a few of them at the TechCrunch Session for Robotics on May 11 on the UC Berkeley campus.

At the show, we got to meet a range of playful and life-changing robots that have clearly been in development for years. We loved Marty from the show. Based out of the UK, Marty is a fully programmable, walking robot. Marty helps teach programming, electronics, and mechanical engineering in a fun, challenging and engaging process. The brainchild of Robotical CEO Sandy Enoch, Marty was created to help Sandy’s niece learn how to code. Sandy’s goal was to create something that was accessible to makers and educators to help support blossoming interests in robotics in STEM programs.

Perhaps the most altruistic robotics company at the show was the SuitX. They offer an array of robotic modules that strap on as an exoskeleton to assist humans in performing everyday actions, such as walking, lifting, bending over and squatting. This includes the PhoeniX exoskeleton, intended to help those with mobility disorders to be upright and mobile, and the BackX exoskeleton that augments its wearers lower back strength by 60%, and greatly minimizes the risk of back injuries among workers.

Finally we have Multiply Labs, at first look, it might be easy to confuse them for a personalized vitamin offering, creating customizable supplements based on the individual’s needs. But upon further review, the capsules (and their ingredients) have been 3D printed by one of the Multiply Labs machines. So unlike the others, the robot itself is not meant for personal use, but instead has the capacity for use in hospitals and pharmacies to create personalized supplements for individuals.

In addition to meeting and seeing all these robots (plus more) first hand, the sessions included panels and workshops from roboticists working on advanced machinery that’s going to alter our futures drastically.

But for me, one of the most heartwarming parts of the whole day was watching the demonstrations from future roboticists that are guaranteed to shake things up – some still in high school who were dressed up and set to go to their prom later that evening.

On the Day Liberty was Born

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Twenty years ago, our fearless leader Dee Gibbs decided to drop the shackles of company life and start her own agency. Thank God, she did, because that was how Liberty was born.

Let’s take a look at what was going on March 15th, 1998, a day we might consider the birthday of Liberty Communications:

The songs at the top of the charts that day were: My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion in the UK and Getting’ Jiggy Wit It by Will Smith in the US.

Two pretty drastically different musical choices if you ask me. But Liberty ourselves are pretty different on both continents, but combined we know how to get hit after hit. If these two songs combined, the mashup could be called My Heart Will Get Jiggy Wit It (probably NOT going to be a hit).

Movies & TV
On that day, the Titanic rose back up from the depths and surpassed the stars (Star Wars) to become the highest grossing film in North American box offices. And the show If I Ruled the World starring Clive Anderson was, in fact, ruling the UK airwaves as the leading show on TV.

In a somewhat, unsurprising way, the best-selling book was the Beanie Baby Handbook, 1998 edition. Why people needed a handbook for a toy stuffed with tiny plastic beans we might never know, and even more perplexing was the fact that there were yearly editions of it.

However, the publishers clearly knew what the audience wanted to read, much like Liberty stays on top of the trends that help our clients stay relevant and get their brands in the hands of the public.

At the core of Liberty, we strive to have our finger to the pulse of what news is breaking every day. On that day, the headlines were:
Bay of Pigs: the Secret Death of Pete Ray in the LA Times
FedEx Worker Trapped in Belly of Cargo Jet in the Associated Press
PBJ Takes on New Meaning for Kids; This ‘Headmistress’ is Cloaked in Surprise; Reprise of Alex Haley’s ‘Roots’ on Cable’s Family in the LA Times
I do – and Hang the Expense Wedding Bills are Soaring in the Daily Mail
A Stew of Hatred Stirred by Hacks in the Independent

Sounds like 20 years ago was a pretty interesting time. I’m personally looking forward to the day in 20 years’ time, when we look back on today’s news and wonder, “What the heck was going on back then?”

Liberty US Away Day

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This year, for our summer away day in the US office, we took a trip to Napa. The wine country escape offered beautiful views, delicious treats and abundant team bonding experiences.

We hope you enjoy our album and we already can’t wait to go back!

Getting in the News without News

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Just because you don’t have hard news doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the news cycle. By creating your own news team and developing a unique point of view around topical issues, you can generate a steady flow of news and relevant commentary between major events like funding, partnerships, product/service launches or new hires.

Contributed content– Contributed articles/bylines are a great way to gain executive visibility and brand awareness—plugging you directly in front of your ideal audience. A contributed article is drafted directly from the perspective of a company’s thought-leader, and is then published by a target publication for their readers. Not only does this build a reputation for your executives, but it also allows the company to strengthen its brand voice with a solid stance or opinion on topical industry news. However, it’s crucial not to come off too self-promotional in these pieces, as publications will be inclined to steer clear of anything that feels like an “advertorial”. To gain even greater visibility, be sure to amplify and distribute these contributed pieces via your social channels.

News hijacks– Identify top trends that matter most for your business and develop a compelling point of view on each subject. This is helpful in addition to bylines and can be leveraged to insert your company’s voice into bigger industry news. More importantly, timeliness is key, so in addition to having a unique perspective, make sure you have content ready to go once news hit. Furthermore, consistently offering prepared comment to journalists on a set of topics will help establish your reputation with them, which will lead to them thinking of you and your company next time they have a story that needs influencer insight.

Research– Make the information and insights from your organization work for you by creating a report on trends that only your company can identify, based off the data you collect. If you have compelling data or research that you can share, turn that into a campaign that hits home with broader market trends. It is even better if there’s enough data to create a quarterly report, to remind media who you are and what you can offer. You’ll want to use data that demonstrates your company’s unique selling point, as these reports act as proof to journalists that your company really is the ONLY place to obtain the information you’re supplying. And even if they don’t write about your report, it will demonstrate to them why you’re different, and what you can offer. And when there’s no news, it’ll be these relationships that will create new press opportunities.

In all, the takeaway is simple. Don’t depend on expected news, create your own. By planning strategically ahead and creating intriguing storylines, you can be in the driver’s seat of your company’s story.