Brave New Unwired World
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

Brave New Unwired World

Los Angeles-based Charmed Technology, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spin-off, designs and develops stylish, wearable Internet connected devices with powerful computer capabilities.

Paul Holmes

Los Angeles-based Charmed Technology, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spin-off, designs and develops stylish, wearable Internet connected devices with powerful computer capabilities.
 
The company’s mission is to incorporate the unwired Internet into fashion, lifestyle and health applications by creating inexpensive wireless mobile devices that will allow individuals to access the World Wide Web anywhere and anytime. 
 
BRAVE NEW UNWIRED WORLD
 
To showcase advances in wireless mobile technology, Charmed Technology produced “Brave New Unwired World” fashion shows in conjunction with Penton Media’s Internet World 2000.  These shows served as a vehicle to demonstrate and create awareness of the company’s “prototype” wearable devices prior to their official launch.
 
Charmed Technology enlisted Weber Shandwick Worldwide to develop a media campaign surrounding “Brave New Unwired World” shows at every major Internet World tradeshow and help turn the company into a recognizable household name throughout the world.
 
SUMMARY OF PROGRAM
 
In a climate filled with media reports on “dot-bombs,” Weber Shandwick Worldwide strived to brand the company as a “legitimate” start-up technology company.  Weber Shandwick used the company’s Brave New Unwired World as its primary vehicle for enhancing the company’s reputation.  The Agency’s aggressive public relations program attracted attention from media around the world and successfully branded Charmed Technology as a reputable technology company.
 
CHALLENGE/OPPORTUNITY
 
A majority of the products in the Brave New Unwired World show were conceptual and prototypes of future devices the company planned to deploy, which created a challenge to secure media interest and ran the risk of the “vaporware” label.  In executing a successful program, Weber Shandwick Worldwide faced several challenges.  For example, one of the company’s co-founders was a former spy for the Czech government, which only served to promote the “Big Brother” stereotype of wireless devices.  Weber Shandwick Worldwide needed to divert the media’s focus from her background as a spy and create a reputation for her as a senior, seasoned member of the executive team.  In addition, Weber Shandwick Worldwide needed to execute an aggressive global public relations plan to break through the clutter and reach press, who are inundated with public relations pitches, during the weeks prior to the Internet World shows.
 
RESEARCH
 
  • Researched industry coverage of wireless technology and analysts and reporters interested in the topic.
  • Researched Charmed Technology’s competition and their product lines.
 
OBJECTIVES
 
  • Brand Charmed Technology as the global leader in wireless, mobile, Internet-connected devices.
  • Maximize coverage of Brave New Unwired World and position Charmed Technology as an industry leader.
  • Execute a successful branding program in other Internet World markets.
 
PLANNING
 
  • Developed a core public relations strategy to be executed in each of the local markets.
  • Assembled teams of Weber Shandwick Worldwide representatives in each market, which included: Singapore, Tel Aviv, Korea, Beijing, Los Angeles, London, Berlin and Sydney.
  • Developed messaging and press materials, which would be used in all markets, positioning Charmed Technology as an industry leader.
  • Prepared company spokespeople for interviews with a full day of media training.
 
STRATEGIC APPROACH
 
  • Developed public relations timeline and release strategy for each local market and worked with teams to tailor strategy and outreach to individual markets.
  • Developed press materials and translated, as needed.
  • Hired translators in different markets to provide support during one-on-one interviews.
  • Used photography from previous events to supply long lead publications with visuals and tease press about what was to come at the 2000 shows.
  • Worked closely with Penton Media show coordinator/s to secure coverage in show daily and determine additional media opportunities surrounding the show.  Recognizing media are invited to numerous press conferences and can only attend a few, decided against holding a Charmed Technology pre-show press conference, and focused efforts on promoting attendance at the Penton Media Press Conference. 
  • At shows in which Penton Media conducted a pre-show press conference, Charmed was invited to debut their fashion show.  Weber Shandwick Worldwide invited media to the conferences and set up a table to book meetings at the show and educate media about the company.
  • Conducted outreach to local television stations in each market offering an in-studio preview fashion show for their viewers and alerting them to the debut of Brave New Unwired World.
  • Maximized Charmed Technology’s relationships with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in US-based markets by offering the Head of the MIT Media Lab, a co-founder of Charmed Technology, for press interviews.
  • Staffed the show and shadowed company executives to ensure all press requests were fulfilled.
  • Hired a professional photographer to service the national photo wire with a visual from the show, as well as offer photography to editors following the show.
  • Escorted television crews and photographers backstage to interview models and take close-up photography of products.
  • Scheduled one-on-one interviews after the fashion shows with key targets to introduce them to Charmed Technology and the upcoming product lines.
  • Utilized the Charmed Communicator and the Charmed Badge, two operational products featured in the fashion show, which consisted mostly of prototypes, to communicate the company’s mission.
 

RESULTS
 
Weber Shandwick succeeded in securing business and consumer print, broadcast and online media coverage in each of the show markets, in addition to additional global markets including Spain, Italy and India.  Below is a sampling of media coverage garnered by Weber Shandwick on behalf of Charmed Technology.
 
Los Angeles
More than one billion audience impressions garnered at Internet World Los Angeles alone with international, national and local print, broadcast and online media.
Broadcast coverage of the Los Angeles debut of Brave New Unwired World included CNN national and international, KABC TV (local and national), CBS TV (local and national), KCOP TV, KTLA TV, KNBC TV, UPN TV, ZDTV, among others.
Print coverage of Brave New Unwired world included Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Newsday, Woman’s Wear Daily, Connecticut Post, Los Angeles Business Journal, California Apparel News, Orange County Register, Associated Press, Los Angeles Daily News and The Toronto Star
Attendees at Brave New Unwired World Los Angeles included Newsweek, Time, Business 2.0, People Magazine (international), Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Digital Coast Reporter, Red Herring, Vogue, Apparel News, Esquire, Macworld, Personal Computing, Small Business Computing, Progressive Strategies, Silicon Valley Business and CNET.com.
 
International
Print coverage in major Singapore-based publications included The Straits Times. Planet-e, Project Eyeball, SEZ! Magazine and Her World Magazine.
Print coverage in Tel Aviv-based publications included Globes, Boker Tov, Information Week, Hi-Tech magazine, PC Media and Internet World.
Print coverage in major Beijing-based publications included Beijing Science and Technology Daily, PC Shopper, China Computer Market, Communications Weekly, China Daily, Beijing Market News, CEO & CIO World, and China Business.
Television coverage on Germany-based television stations such as 3SAT, Action Press, Ddp, NDR, RTL 2, SAT1 and ZDF and print coverage in major German publications included Chip, Connect, Freundin, Funkschau, GQ, Mobile Computer, PC Mobil and Vogue.
Television coverage on England-based television stations such as CNN, SKY News, BBC ONE, GMTV and CNBC and print coverage in major publications included The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times and The Independent.
Print coverage in Australia-based publications included Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald, Businessnsw, Australian Financial Review and The Bulletin.
 
Financial
Charmed Technology is a private company, therefore, financial information cannot be released.  However, as a result of media coverage secured by Weber Shandwick, Charmed Technology’s visibility with the investor market increased, resulting in additional rounds of funding.

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