Zoe Turnbull is a co-founder of Serious Business, a boutique new media PR agency that helps clients deploy innovation and creativity in telling their stories online. With a background in fashion, art, design, media and technology, Turnbull is relentless about creating content and strategies that create digital headlines and get results. Named for image macro hacker meme “The Internet is Serious Business,” the agency was launched in late 2009 and has since worked with clients such as Aol, Cole Haan, Partners & Spade, Edun, Moleskine, Roll & Hill, Mr. Porter and Nissan Creative Labs.
What’s hot right now?
Brain-wave controlled media devices, technology and artworks. Rave dancing, lasers and lightshows—especially those enabled by interactive devices such as Wii remotes and Kinect. Affordable/disposable party decorations of increased tastefulness and availability. High-quality paper products and well-designed printed materials in general are already becoming collectors items. Couture millinery and vertiginous headpieces: the last fashion accessory requiring true balls to pull off without feeling the teensiest bit self-conscious.
What’s the most important new media movement we should pay attention to?
New media movements grow around the technologies that first enable them, obviously. In tablet/iPad publishing, for example, this means we should be paying far closer attention to the publications that are first conceived and developed exclusively for the medium than the titles that are adapted from other media, even though they seem to receive the lion’s share of our attention.
On a separate tangent, 4Chan continues to be a reliable way to get a true read on hive-mind internet culture at any given time. You don’t necessarily have to agree with what 4Chan users are doing or saying, but you can appreciate the message boards’ lawless, borderless, preserves of internet freedom and general hacker LULZ.
How is your work different than someone who is print focused? Do you think most PR companies should adopt a digitally minded approach?
Serious Business has been deploying digitally led PR programs for a relatively long time now (five years and counting). Compared to other PR companies, we are early adopters born out of the technology, leaving us better adapted to know how to let the medium or new media drive the message. We don’t only provide PR services in the typical media relations blogger outreach sense, in fact, about 50% of the work we do is in a consulting/strategy role where our client’s house PR or agency will then execute the communications around the resulting project. We help clients do things digitally that have never been done before to create press attention for their brand, product or story. We believe this is what sets us apart from other companies.