Journalists on PR: Grant Clauser

January 4, 2009

Grant Clauser

Grant Clauser

Grant Clauser is editorial director of North American Publishing Company‘s Consumer Technology Publishing Group, which means he’s the editorial leader of E-Gear (of which he is also editor-in-chief), Dealerscope, CustomRetailer, PictureBusiness, HTSA Quarterly, Home Furnishings Business, HD Living and the Official CES Show Guide (whew, that list is finally over!). All told, an obvious slacker if there ever was one.

Grant’s been covering the CE business for 10 years. Before that, he edited several publications in the allied health market and wrote about fly fishing for various outdoor sports publications. His favorite movies are Excalibur and The Polar Express; his favorite beers are Guinness, Pocono Pale Ale and Yuengling Black & Tan. He wears a size 10.5 shoe. His favorite fly is the Parachute Adams. He sucks at Rock Band (Don’t we all, though? Even the ones who are good at it?). He tried for many CESes to convince me to join him for dinner at Star Trek: The Experience, and was never successful in doing so, although I greatly admired his genuine enthusiasm about the place. As far as I know, he occasionally sleeps.

Given all that is on Grant’s gigantic plate, we’re honored he took some time out to talk to us about PR. Heck, he’s even participated in a CEA webcast on the subject, so he kinda beat me to the punch. And just in case you missed it last week, he also sent me a quite illuminating survey of 20 anonymous CE tech journalists and their attitudes about PR, which makes for quite tasty reading.

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Journalists on PR: Tips for Working with the CE Press

December 30, 2008

My friend and former colleague Grant Clauser, editorial director of North American Publishing Company‘s Consumer Technology Publishing Group (E-Gear, Dealerscope, CustomRetailer, PictureBusiness and more), sent me the following in advance of our upcoming Journalists on PR interview, which we’ll post in January.

Says Grant, “Earlier this year, I was helping a friend who teaches a class in PR by doing a survey of other editors on how PR can better work with them… [T]he answers come from about 20 people and sometimes contradict each other.”

While the respondents all hail from the CE (consumer electronics) press, the results are great reading for any PR professional, as most if not all of what the respondents have to say is largely universal. As you read through, sometimes the contradictions that emerge will make your head spin… but keep in mind that these raw, unfiltered statements provide invaluable insight into how journalists think, and about what they want and don’t want from PR people. (And, of course, like snowflakes, no two journalists are exactly alike.)

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Apple Pulls Out of MacWorld

December 17, 2008

Probably one of the biggest stories of the past 24 hours has been a rather surprising announcement made by the folks over at Apple. Steve Jobs will not be attending this year’s show, not giving his acclaimed presentation, and to add insult to injury, Apple will be pulling out of the show entirely in 2010.

Now I am not an Apple user, I don’t even have a iPod, but this came as rather interesting news to me. In an industry so focused on trade shows, Apple once again goes against the norm. Who knows, could they be starting a new trend? Companies often create their product roll-out schedule based on trade shows. Some companies will announce products three to four months early, just so they have new news at a show. Apple believes that they can market to their customers in other ways than MacWorld. Presumably the same ways we all introduce products during non-show times; by utilizing full bore PR and Marketing strategies. Once again, Apple forces other manufacturers to think differently. Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to exhibit at a trade show, is there a better, more efficient way to announce new products to the media and consumers? Some will say yes, some will say no. As an agency that has launched products in every situation, each has its obvious benefits. But when it comes to the CEDIA crowd – I think you would be hardpressed to find a large manufacturer that would pull out of that show. Whether or not they had new products.

Now I am not saying that everyone should pull out of tradeshows alltogether (although August and December would be much more bearable months! :)). Shows are undoubtely a great way to get messaging across. Where else do you have exposure to hundreds of press at one time. I just think that Apple’s perspective on MacWorld is interesting, and I’m sure will spark much debate.

To read the article, click here.

Posted by: Lauren

Embrace Change – Inspiration of the Torturous Dream

May 1, 2008

I dreamt about PR last night. I worked all night long last night, and when I was finally able get to sleep, I dreamt about PR.

As much as I genuinely enjoy work (insert brown-nosing comments here), I was less than thrilled by the special guest appearances from my “Players of the Week” infiltrating my precious downtime. I woke up mentally exhausted.

This morning, I decided to shut down the engines and (attempt to, at least) get myself back to neutral (you know I’m tired when I’m communicating in Wedding Crasher script). I decided to read-a tried and true practice that usually gets my cylinders firing, refocuses my mind, and catches me up on the world (err…the CE industry). 

Of course, I was AT WORK and the nearest thing at reach was Systems Integration Asia. I picked it up and began my mental escape. And there, in the unlikeliest of places-Editor Jeremy Tan’s foreword-was a full exploration of the topic that has been at the root of my week gone awry: Change.

Tan was commenting on the state of digital cinema systems and the distribution of content. He cited the pressures on movie theater owners, who are desperately trying to keep pace with the increasingly exciting home entertainment experience and the boom in home theater. He noted conflicts between the old and the new guards in terms of their acceptance of new methods for digital content distribution that can save time and money, as well as the reluctance of the movie theater industry to change even though it recognizes the necessity to keep up with the times and provide better options for “finicky viewing audiences.”

The piece ended with two poignant quotes that seemed to put my week in perspective:

  • “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” – Charles Kettering
  • “We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.” – R.D. Laing

I have known this to be true: Change is undoubtedly uncomfortable, and it fosters fear. Change takes time. Change often presents unexpected challenges. Change is a process.  

In every facet of my personal and professional life in the past week, I’ve found myself at an impasse and all because of “change”. There is a goal. To attain it, change is necessary. Research is done, plan mapped, groundwork laid, steps are taken, and it is set in motion. When the path veers, frustration piques, minds reel… and, in my case, dream exhausting PR dreams.

I am Type A (and I know there are a lot of you out there). I like order, it brings me comfort. A client once told me I had to shed my need for order to work on the account; I compromised. I am now a closet Type A who now only twitches occasionally when my semblance of order is disrupted. On the other hand, I am impatient. When I do embark, I expect immediate and (hopefully) successful results. What I sometimes forget in my impatience is that while I demand immediacy, I also understand the detriment of haste.

Change ignites a journey, it is often not direct nor timely.  The journey-with all of its lessons, experiences, setbacks and progress-is just as important as the final destination.

The consumer electronics industry thrives on technological advances, product development, early-adoption-CHANGE. Recessions, format wars, new market segments, and new technologies are quite simply challenges and opportunities. When we’re stuck in the moment, we can’t see past the challenges, and can’t arrive at that increased bottom line soon enough.

While Systems Integration Asia wasn’t exactly the mental vacation I was hoping for, it provided me with a welcome state of clarity this afternoon. We may not ask for change, but it is going to happen, and often without our approval.  It is not perfect, but how can it be because we who guide it are not perfect. It is an opportunity to learn from the past, to embrace the present, and to have faith that our plan is sound, that we are equipped with the tools to weather the journey, and though never what we expect, that the journey of “change” will hopefully result in success but always result in progress.

 Posted by: Katie