The Growth of Augmented Reality

Posted by Madeleine Bell on August 26, 2016 in Apps

PokemonAugmented reality (AR) is defined as a “live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.”

You’ve probably heard the term in conjunction with the app that took the world by storm, Pokémon Go. Released in July by Niantic, this mobile game allows users to walk around their physical world to find, catch and train digital Pokémon. The game uses a phone’s GPS and augmented reality to bring up the creatures on the screen.

Other AR games include Ingress, Life is Crime, Zombies, Run! and The Walk.

These AR gaming experiences are proving beneficial to businesses because of their advertising features. Through in-app purchases, businesses can buy more gaming activity near their physical location. According to Bloomberg, L’inizio’s Pizza Bar in Queens spent $10 on Lures–the Pokémon Go purchase feature–and reported a 30 percent increase in sales.

The pros to AR games include getting gamers to exercise and businesses selling more product. However, these AR games also have caused users to crash cars, cross highways, stumble upon dead bodies and even walk off cliffs.

Despite all of the accidents, Pokémon Go has attracted nearly 25 million people within the last month. New AR games such as Harry Potter Go are poised to enter the market by the end of the year.

In the past, games that have garnered this much attention have fallen victim to declining popularity. Words with Friends secured 20 million users when it launched in April 2012 and then lost two million players in the following month. Will Pokemon Go and other AR games also crash and burn?

The critic in me wants to say that yes, these games will lose popularity as people get bored with the platform and lack of game advancement. Personally, I thought Pokemon Go became monotonous as I walked around town completing the same task-looking for and catching creatures-over and over again.

However, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook recently declared augmented reality a “core technology” for the company, which gives me hope for the future of AR games. After all, despite my boss’ dislike of Apple (see his post on “Why I Don’t Buy Apple Products“), the company has a pretty proven track record for success.

I’m betting that AR technology will continue to grow, but the gaming companies will have to innovate and create unique experiences that change over time. As the industry develops, businesses should learn all they can about how to monetize the evolution.



Tuesday Tips: How to Create a Successful E-Newsletter

Posted by Allison Wallner on August 23, 2016 in Marketing


An e-newsletter is a relatively easy marketing tool for basically any business. It is a permission-based form of marketing, meaning subscribers MUST opt in; in other words, do NOT add people to your list without their permission. Also, keep in mind that subscribers are likely already familiar with your product or service, so talk to them that way.


  1. Keep it short. Readers do not want to be overwhelmed with too much text scattered throughout the email. Keep your content organized and short (e.g. through 1-2 sentence paragraphs and bullet points). You can always link to longer articles on your website.
  2. Make it relevant. The worst thing is to turn your e-newsletter into a series of ads. Provide value to your subscribers in the form of content that matters to them.
  3. Be consistent. Your subscribers will expect similar content in each email. Stick to a tight, consistent theme. If you need to stray from that idea, create a whole new e-newsletter with different subscribers.


Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media manages digital marketing for clients in several industries. Please contact Brian Lee, brian [at] experiencerevelation.com or 608-622-7767.



The Circle

Posted by Brian Lee on August 18, 2016 in Doing business, Personal Note

20160813_094130Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are making an economic difference in our country.

I experienced that notion firsthand while attending The Circle: The Premier Gathering of Leading AAPI Entrepreneurs last weekend in Las Vegas. I was honored to be among the select group of “millennial entrepreneurs, business and thought leaders and trendsetters” to be invited.

AAPIs have some incredible stories to share. At a networking event Friday night–hosted by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project–I met the CEO and founder of FiscalNote. In just three years, he’s landed investments from major names such as Mark Cuban, and he’s grown his staff to more than 400. Even better, he was so humble about his accomplishments.

Saturday’s agenda was a mix of professional development and figuring out how we can “advance the conversation” in terms of providing resources and assistance to AAPI business leaders. In my food entrepreneurs break-out group, I was impressed with the mantra of transparency and helping the next generation instilled by the founders of Boba Guys in their company.

Sometimes small businesses need help from big businesses, so I was pleased by the sponsorship and presence of corporations such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Verizon. Their representatives were all ears in terms of how they can further make a difference.

20160813_123638Finally, my trip was made possible by The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF), which generously sponsored me and two fellow former scholarship winners to attend. Words cannot express my gratitude. In addition, I was happy to reconnect with Bill Imada, who sits on the board of the Foundation and is the Chairman and Chief Connectivity Officer of IW Group.

Bill Imada and TLF Chairman & CEO Kim Hunter have done so much to put minorities in positions to succeed, and I hope to continue their cause.



Tuesday Tips: Two Scheduling Tools to Make Social Media Management Easier

Posted by Madeleine Bell on August 16, 2016 in Social media

EdgarDo you ever feel overwhelmed with creating a new post for each of your social media accounts every day? Perhaps you find that you don’t have the time because you need to finish a deadline-sensitive project or you have a case of writer’s block, and you ultimately end up posting something that you nor your readers care about. These two tools can help you manage your social media posts days, weeks or months in advance so you can stay on top of your social media game.

  1. HootSuite: this scheduling tool allows you to upload posts from multiple networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare and Google+. You can post updates and reply directly from the platform—no more keeping 10 tabs open for all your social media pages! The software includes tracking and data analytics features to help you gauge post reach, engagement and other audience data. HootSuite also has a mobile app for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry to help you schedule and analyze posts on-the-go. HootSuite costs $14.99 per month to use or $9.99 per month if you pay yearly.
  1. Edgar: you can consider this your “social media recycling tool.” Edgar allows you to create a library of social media posts for Facebook and Twitter that can be randomly posted or recycled on a weekly, biweekly, monthly or annual basis. For example, let’s say you run a restaurant’s social media and have a “Friday Fish Fry” or “Tuesday Extended Happy Hour” every week. Instead of creating a new Facebook and Twitter post every week, you can simply write one post that Edgar will post for you every Friday or Tuesday. Edgar costs $49.00 per month for the starter plan, which allows you to connect 10 social media accounts and queue up to 1,000 posts. Although pricier than HootSuite, Edgar gives you two months free if you pay for an annual plan.

Which one is for me?  Restaurants and other retailers that may have weekly, monthly or seasonal promotions that use the same (or very similar) Facebook/Twitter posts on a semi-regular basis will love Edgar, but for everyday unique posting, HootSuite will be your tool of choice.

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Forward Festival Continues to Grow

Posted by Taylor Kennedy on August 11, 2016 in Client news

Aug. 11, 2016

Molly Walsh

Forward Festival Continues to Grow

—Thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and like-minded professionals are expected to attend the seventh-annual Forward Festival, which has more than 40 events taking place Aug. 18-25 throughout the city, organizers announced today.

“Forward Festival, now with the most events to date, could not thrive without our community’s support of entrepreneurs,” Laura Strong, festival committee member and president of Quintessence Biosciences, said. “That’s why we’ve made the festival as accessible as possible, as all events are open to the public and many are free.”

The festival’s main event is the Forward Technology Conference (Aug. 23), which again is paired with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s neXXpo and Pressure Chamber events. Amy Africa, e-commerce expert, and Jordan Eisenberg, entrepreneur and venture partner, will be the keynote speakers.

Other highlights of the festival include the Black Entrepreneur’s Summit (Aug. 20), the Badger Startup Summit (Aug. 22 featuring Keith Witek from Tesla) and the inaugural Mini-preneurs event (Aug. 20), which aims to inspire children to start thinking of their dream business.

On Wednesday, Aug. 24 UBER is running an event at this year’s Festival as attendees can request a 15-min. ride with an investor to pitch a startup or business idea.

The Forward Festival is sponsored by local companies including American Family Insurance, MG&E, Neider & Boucher, WEDC, The QTI Group, Urban Land Interests, Associated Bank, M3 Insurance, AlphaTech, Isthmus and Ideas that Evoke.

For a detailed listing of events taking place during the Forward Festival, please visit www.forwardfest.org.


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3 Communication Tips for a Successful Merger

Posted by Brian Lee on August 9, 2016 in Public relations

M&AMergers and acquisitions (M&A) are common in many industries, including tech, financial services and healthcare. Following are some communication tips for making sure your combined brand is positioned positively before, during and after the M&A:

1. Look within. While you may initially want to focus on what to say to the public, your first priority should be to internal audiences, such as the staff of both companies, shareholders, etc. These will be the people who help promulgate your messages to external audiences, such as customers and community leaders. If layoffs will occur, you want to tell employees directly and help quash the rumor mill.

2. Don’t work in a silo. Your public relations team should work with marketing, legal, HR, etc. to make sure everyone is on the same page. For example, you would hate to have someone post on Facebook about how much your company loves being a part of a certain community, only to announce shortly after that you’re relocating your office.

3. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Develop a contingency plan in case of new timelines, deals falling through or someone leaking information publicly. In other words, you shouldn’t be caught off-guard when the original plan goes to hell.



There are no rules to using Facebook

Posted by Brian Lee on August 5, 2016 in Social media

FacebookIn the social media class I teach, I often have students who are learning how to use Facebook Pages for business but don’t use Facebook at all on a personal level. I always recommend that they experience Facebook as a regular user to gain a better understanding of how and why their audiences use it.

That got me thinking. How do you use Facebook on a personal level? If you’ve been on Facebook long enough, you’ll know that there are no rules. You probably have friends who use Facebook for:

  • Announcing engagements, marriages, anniversaries and/or babies;
  • Asking for sympathy or encouragement (“please send positive thoughts my way!”);
  • Complaining, ranting or offering commentary (especially prevalent during political campaigns);
  • Posting selfies, selfies and more selfies;
  • Showing off their projects, cars or body (see previous bullet point);
  • Posting photos of their feet (and their feet are ugly);
  • Publishing endless photos of their kids and pets;
  • Sharing stories and memes from around the web (“hey, look what I found”);
  • Using Facebook as Twitter (e.g. 20 posts in five min.);
  • Using Facebook as LinkedIn (e.g. adding your non-friend clients as a friend)
  • Friend-ing people they just met or met only one time (see previous bullet point);
  • Sharing their workouts;
  • Posting something with the sole purpose of acquiring likes and comments;
  • Sharing the results of some random quiz (“which actor are you?”) they took;
  • Keeping tabs on exes, friends, frenemies or crushes;
  • Posting articles from their food blogs; and
  • Selling products (e.g. makeup, health, green) from their new home-based business.

Keep doing what you’re doing! That’s what makes Facebook so unique, fun and popular (and also annoying, sad and addicting).



Reason for Reform Campaign Highlights New Data Showing the Economic Impact of Immigrants in Wisconsin

Posted by Allison Wallner on August 3, 2016 in Client news

Aug. 3, 2016

George Klaetsch


Reason for Reform Campaign Highlights New Date Showing the Economic Impact of Immigrants in Wisconsin

Local leaders call for immigration reform in National Day of Action with events across all 50 states

(MADISON, Wis.) — Today, local leaders from Wisconsin came together for a Day of Action to showcase new research on immigration contributions in Wisconsin and highlight the critical need for immigration reform. The event marked the launch of the Reason for Reform campaign, an effort taking place in all 50 states today, sponsored by the Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE).

The Reason for Reform campaign brings together state business, civic, and cultural leaders to urge Congress to take action on immigration reform. Today’s Madison Day of Action event coincides with the release of new research, including data on the foreign-born population in Wisconsin, their tax contributions, their spending power and their role in Wisconsin’s key industries as leaders and job creators. Today, NAE is also launching a new mobile tool that lets users make a video telling their Reason for Reform (reasonforreform.org). Videos will be sent directly to Congress.

“Immigrant workers are talented and critical contributors to our economy, especially here in Wisconsin,” Mayra Medrano, president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County, said. “It’s in everyone’s interest that we focus on immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship or legal status.”

The Contributions of New Americans in Wisconsin shows that immigrants make up nearly five percent of the state’s population and contributed $2.1 billion in taxes, or 4.9 percent of the total share in 2014. That same year, immigrants earned $7.6 billion, or roughly five percent of all income earned by Wisconsinites.

Immigrants in Wisconsin contribute to key industries such as manufacturing, higher education and agriculture. They make up almost six percent of all entrepreneurs in the state and play a large role in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, a major component of U.S. economic growth. These and other key statistics on immigrants in Wisconsin can be found in the NAE report at http://www.renewoureconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/nae-wi-report.pdf.

“We must fix our broken immigration system to address the worker shortages of many Wisconsin farms,” John Holevoet, director of government affairs for the Dairy Business Association, said. “Current laws make it all but impossible to fill the numerous jobs up and down the agricultural supply chain.”

More information can be found at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.

About the Partnership for a New American Economy

The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnership’s members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. Partnership members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.



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Trade Show Tips for Success

Posted by Allison Wallner on August 2, 2016 in Marketing


Industry trade shows are a great tool for marketing your company. According to GraphiColor Exhibits, 83 percent of trade show attendees have some kind of buying power. With the correct strategy, trade shows can provide an opportunity to expand your company’s customer base and business sales.


  1. Advertise your presence. Face it, you will have likely have several competitors at the trade show. Use tactics such as Facebook ads and direct mail to notify trade show attendees where you will be and what you will be offering.
  2. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. A company can attract business through customers that have not even attended the trade show. Make sure to use the trade show or conference’s hashtag to insert your company into the conversation, but make sure not to use social media solely to sell, or potential visitors will be turned off.
  3. Drum up content. For example, create a free, one-page guide to the conference that can be downloaded from your website. Create videos (live or taped) during the trade show, in which you can interview key figures from your company or your company’s clients.
  4. Always staff your booth. Your company logo, free pencils and brochures is not enough to engage potential business clients. Plus, an abandoned booth looks like you didn’t care. The best way to expand your business is through you. Displaying characteristics of enthusiasm and professionalism will get you on the right track to a working, business relationship.
  5. Make it interactive. Turn your booth into an interactive experience, giving way to attracting prospects who stick around long enough to learn about the product and services your business offers. Think about running giveaways, games, demonstrations and using technology to its fullest. Make your booth the most memorable because custom exhibits that differ from the rest are going to make an impression.
  6. Measure ROI. Not only do you need to know if something worked by testing it, but the only way to know if the test worked is to measure it. Did the trade show fulfill your goals, such as generating leads or receiving press coverage?


Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media offers engineers/architects services related to media relations, crisis communications, internal communications, media buying, content marketing and social media management. Please contact Brian Lee, brian [at] experiencerevelation.com or 608-622-7767.



Local Community Banks Agree to Merge

Posted by Allison Wallner on July 29, 2016 in Client news

July 29, 2016

Mark Schellphfeffer


Local Community Banks Agree to Merge


(MONONA, Wis.) – Monona Bankshares, Inc., the holding company for Monona State Bank, announced today that it is expanding its bank and team of experienced bankers by acquiring the holding company for Middleton Community Bank. It will merge the two banks under the name Monona State Bank.

“This merger makes sense because both banks are locally owned and focused on their communities,” Monona State Bank President Paul Hoffmann said. “We’ve always believed that there is ‘strength in neighbors’. We look forward to joining together to offer more services to all of our customers.”

The holding companies of the banks signed a binding agreement on July 28, 2016. The merger requires shareholder and regulatory approval.

The signing of the final closing documents will occur in the fourth quarter of 2016, and integration of the two banks is expected to be completed by the summer of 2017.

After the banks merge, Monona State Bank will employ more than 150 associates in nine locations. It will operate the Middleton Community Bank locations in Middleton, Cross Plains, Belleville, Sauk City and Brooklyn. The combined banks will have $775 million in assets, giving them more opportunities to compete and grow.

Monona State Bank’s headquarters will remain in Monona. The merger allows the banks to stay locally owned and save jobs with no anticipated layoffs.

About Monona State Bank (www.mononabank.com)

Monona State Bank is a locally owned and managed bank that believes “together, we prosper.” Founded in 1991, it is committed to making communities great places to live, work and raise a family. Monona State Bank has grown to about $475 million in assets with two locations in Monona, and one each in Madison and Cottage Grove.

About Middleton Community Bank (www.middletonbank.com)

Middleton Community Bank has about $300 million in assets while serving more than 10,000 accounts since opening in 1995. Its mission is to provide quality products and personal service to customers in Middleton, Belleville, Brooklyn, Cross Plains, Sauk Prairie and surrounding communities in South Central Wisconsin.



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