Kathy Klotz-Guest

Fun PR Puts Company at Top of Press Heap

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Hey, it’s in the word, right? Even b2b marketers want to be creative. When it comes to pushing the envelope in practice, they recoil into their conservative shells again. Here’s the thing I’ve opined about ad nausem: don’t force funny; aim for starters at just having fun. The lightest touches can make a big difference to your audience. Funny is great if it’s well executed and funny doesn’t have to be risky. So if your comfort level with humor isn’t where you want it to be, start with a lighter touch. Have fun. It will surprise and delight your audience because it’s unexpected.

A creative colleague, Andrew Fowler, blogged about this not too long ago on http://www.newsvetter.com. The company SonicMule, venture-backed maker of audio applications for Apple mobile devices, issued a press release that had an editor at the Venture Capital Dispatch blog of The Wall Street Journal post the following headline (and story) on his blogThank You, SonicMule, for Having Fun with a Press Release

The WSJ actually thanked the company for lightening up a bit and creating something people actually wanted to read!

According to a survey by the PRSA, over 80% of press releases are never read! This isn’t shocking given the fact that most are poorly written, boring, full of jargon, and few offer truly newsworthy details. Just think how a little clever, low-risk humor not only helped this company stand out from the pack in a sea of aspirational mediocrity, it also catapulted the company to the top of the newsworthy list of a popular Dow Jones blog generating even more buzz. Now, that’s great publicity – the reward for standing out from the herd!

Here’s the full release:

Smule™ Names Sunil Pareenja Chief Financial Officer, Scott Bonds Vice President of Engineering, and Jim Routh Vice President of Business Development

New Executives Add Industry, Functional Expertise to Management Team

Palo Alto, Calif. – May 25, 2010 – SonicMule, Inc. (Smule), a premier developer of expressive audio applications for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, today announced the appointments of Scott Bonds as vice president of engineering, Sunil Pareenja as chief financial officer and Jim Routh as vice president of business development.

“Sunil can’t sing for his life, and while Scott will at least tinker on the piano now and then, it’s safe to say that Julliard is not in his future,” said Jeff Smith, CEO and co-founder of Smule.  “Jim?  There is no hope frankly, and I worry if that’s true even using Smule products.  Yet our goal at Smule is to bring creative expression to the masses, and so some diversity on our management team is desirable.”

“On the positive side,” Smith continued, “Sunil has proven himself time and again in finance and planning.  Scott is a serious rock-star-engineering leader.  Jim’s business development career started at Apple over two decades ago.  As a result, we’ve substantially upgraded our experience and skills in the company.”

“I agree with Jeff,” added Dr. Ge Wang who is the chief creative officer, chief technical officer and co-founder of Smule, as well as an assistant professor at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).

Pareenja brings extensive leadership and financial experience to Smule, previously serving as vice president of finance at Engine Yard, Inc. and as vice president and corporate controller at Tumbleweed Communications Corp., where he managed all aspects of finance for the global enterprise software company. Additionally, Pareenja has held positions at Hewlett-Packard Company and Arthur Andersen LLP. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from UCLA and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

Bonds brings more than 15 years of experience of leadership and software development to Smule, most recently serving as senior development director at Electronic Arts, where he supervised the software development of Pogo.com and created the company’s long-term technology roadmaps. He has also founded several companies including BridgePath and Kyber Systems. Bonds has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley.

Routh has more than 20 years of experience and leadership in business development to Smule and spent the first seven years of his career at Apple.  His career includes director of business development at NetObjects and more recently, vice president of business development at Tumbleweed Communications Corp. Routh has a bachelor’s degree in Operations Management from Michigan State University and a MBA from Boston College.

Smule has distinguished itself from the myriad developers vying for App Store real estate. With top ranking applications like Magic Piano, Glee, “I Am T-Pain”, Ocarina and Sonic Lighter, Smule has captured the imagination of millions of users around the world and connected them to music in ways previously unimaginable.


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