Category Archives: PR

Good Work - Public Relations Well Done

Crisis Communications videoIn the day-to-day of sensational news and shock value information, it is refreshing to see the way crisis communications and public relations experts Hennes Paynter Communications crafted this video with dignity and grace.  It is a “Thank You” announcement from the three women who are kidnapping survivors.

When each of the women read their prepared statements, it was apparent to me that they wrote their statements themselves and that each spoke from their heart.  The messages felt very authentic and provided a very meaningful and appropriate thank you to the donors of the Cleveland Courage Fund and their supporters.

I liked the choice of wardrobe, the lighting, and the factual way the “about” information was written below the video.  It all helped to set the tone and feel of the content, making the women and their families come across poised and relaxed, but also real.

By posting the video at midnight on YouTube, they made it easy for news stations and media to link to it or embed it onto their websites. Very good use of social media.  I wish there was a way to edit the automatic English transcript that Google provides… if anyone knows how to do that, please leave your message in the comments below!

Kudos to Hennes Paynter Communications.  Public Relations well done!


Full Disclosure: Hennes Paynter Communications is a former client. My company helped them create their marketing website several years ago with a content management system so that they could make their own updates and changes to the content.

5 Tips for Branding and Marketing in the New Year for 2013

Are you ready for 2013?

Do you have your marketing plan in place? Outlined your stair steps to sales for new clients to existing products or existing clients to new services?

What are the tools and tactics you’re going to use? Are they the most effective - both in results and cost? Easy enough to implement or easy to make a mistake?

Here’s my 5 tips for branding and marketing in the 2013:

1) Don’t give up on Direct Mail just yet: While no one can argue that print media has taken a nose dive, you may not want to discount all the “old school” direct marketing techniques just yet.

Bonus Don’t forget at the start of the new year, new US mail postcard rules go into effect with new postcard rules for smaller sizes and address orientation go into effect from the USPS.

2) Test something new: Do you have a new years resolution for marketing? I’ll bet that mobile is top of the list. However who really wants to see an “ad” on your little phone screen while you’re trying to reply to a text, an email or shoot out a photo for another post?

But there’s lots of ways to use a mobile phone for marketing that don’t involve advertising!

3) Media matching: Make sure you match the media with your target market.

Is it just me, or has some of the social media hype lost it’s shiny halo for marketing? I find that more and more, people are looking for something that works, not just the latest “cool” thing.

Facebook, while hitting 1 billion accounts, often still doesn’t deliver the marketing results that companies want… and can be confusing to implement — even to those in the know (like Mark Zuckerburg’s sister Randi!) with confusing settings.

4) Consider using PR over Ads: PR has the implied endorsement of the media vehicle. Getting free publicity that has some legs can be more cost effective than advertising and last longer too. Looking for some “free” publicity? I’m “regifting” Joan Stewart’s Best Tips of 2012:

5) Write down your marketing plan: It seems like a no-brainer, but written marketing plans have a much high opportunity for success. Even if it’s on the back of a napkin. Who’s your target market? What’s the message you want them to take away? How will you reach them? What the measure of success so you know it was effective?

I’m looking forward to a great 2013 — it’s going to be a fantastic year.

What’s your branding and marketing tips for 2013?

New Pizza Product Introduction Success Uses a Variety of Non Traditional Marketing Tools

Cut Pizza into Equal PortionsA few weeks ago, I met Greg Getzinger when I was talking with a group of about 35 entrepreneurs as part of a business speaker series to help new business owners learn more about branding and marketing their business.  Greg is the owner of Portion Padl, a new product that helps people cut a pizza into exact sizes.

He has used a number of innovative techniques to market his unique product (which has been submitted to the patent office) to other businesses who are in the Pizza delivery industry.

  1. ADVERTISING SPECIALTY: By working with the largest national distributor of frozen pizzas to school systems he created a custom made paddle and imprinted the handle with distributor’s logo as an advertising specialty item as a prize in a rewards program for dietitians. The schools loved the product!  Next thing Greg knew, the schools were calling to find out where they could get more portion paddles.   Most important takeaway: Instead of marketing to all the individual schools all over the country, he was able to market once to the largest distributor and get sampling through an advertising specialty program.
  2. YOUTUBE: He has almost 2000 views of his product in a pizza video on YouTube that shows the benefits of using the product. Using simple editing techniques, he was able to superimposed text to point out the benefits to pizza shop owners of using the product.  (First Day Employees Cut Equal Sizes of Pizza Easily.)
  3. PRESS RELEASES: He’s used a variety of milestones as the headline for his press releases and distributed them on the internet.
  4. PROMOTIONAL PLACEMENT: The product received promotional placement by starring in a Speedway Commercial which helps build awareness of the new product.
  5. BLOG: Greg’s business partner, Andrew Spriegel, uses the power of self publishing to tell the story in his blog where he promotes his customers’ success with the product and keeps his website fresh.
  6. AMAZON- Although his product was developed for professional use at pizza shops and commercial kitchens, he sells it to consumers as well through a link on his website to his product page on Amazon.

Greg and Andrew are using all of these techniques to build their branding and marketing for the Portion Padl.

Of these six sales and marketing techniques for launching a new product, which ones do you think you should use for bringing your new product or service to market?

Has Election 2012 Affected Your Company’s Marketing?

Girl Crying Over Election HypeElection Fever Has Bumped All The Regular Ads Off The Hemisphere Here in Northeast Ohio.

Northeast Ohio, also known right now as the election swing location in the nation,  is so full of PR, news and ads about tomorrow’s election, that I’ve holding back some of my client’s press releases until after the election results are in.

And I know business who need to advertise in the fall… but with all the election publicity prices are too high right now and the competition is extremely fierce for good slots.

Tracy Smuts, owner of Capstone Media — a Northeast Ohio media buying company — estimated that a reported $177 million (as of Monday 10/29) has been spent in Ohio this fall already.  She was interviewed by CNN this past week about how it is affecting her clients advertising programs.  By Friday, I heard the figure was $180 million (the full segment lists this figure, not the online version.)

Jean Giagnafanga of Giganfanga Marketing in Westlake, also received national publicity about how the election has affected her during the last few weeks.

Another one of other friends posted on Facebook that she has decided to unplug her landline phone until after the election.

On Saturday our mailbox had 11 different political postcards.  In one day!  While getting your name out there is important to win an election, I believe that the fever pitch of the spending has caused many in Northeast Ohio to turn a deaf ear to all the telemarketing and commercials and a blind eye to all the direct mail and lawn signs. Watching the storm news from Hurricane Sandy was almost a welcome break from the election news, but guess what? Even with the hurricane we had 7 phone calls in 12 hours trying to force feed the candidate’s views.

I’ve heard it compared to a firehose and that’s how it feels. And for the companies that do try to get their message out there, many folks will not be listening because of the intensity of all the political advertising.

I’m hoping that people will resume watching ads, answering their phone and paying attention to marketing in general after all the hype is over and the election is decided.


Social Media is not the Same as PR

Marketing Tools PR and Social Media have Different Benefits and Challenges

There has been such an recent wave toward social media by many who are looking for answers to improving their marketing.  It seems now that Facebook and Twitter are so popular that it is almost too tempting to focus your marketing communications on just social media.  I think this would be a big mistake.

[pullquote]There are differences and the similarities in the strategy and the results…[/pullquote]I used to have organizations calling me to speak about how to use PR to improve marketing and sales results. Now most of the speaking requests that I receive are to present how to strategically use social media for marketing your business or how to integrate social media into an existing marketing campaign.

Social media is a powerful tool for some businesses, but I don’t think that by itself social media replaces a PR program or advertising campaign.

There are differences and the similarities in the strategy and the results from using public relations and using social media in your marketing program.

Social Media:

  • For a good social media campaign, there has to be discussion and conversation. 
  • The best social media programs use the format (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Digg etc) that most of the customers like to use. 

Public Relations:

  • You can control the content of a press release, but you can’t control what social media comments or even the news stories that are developed as a result of your release.
  • Press releases can help tell the full story, something that is difficult to do in 140 characters.
  • I see using social media as a distribution channel for press releases (as well as PR photos and promoting events as well)

Do you find that social media trying to take over your PR efforts?  And do you view this as a good thing?  Or are you just running out of time in your marketing communications so you’ve cut back on traditional PR and substituted social media.  I like this article from Social Media Examiner that compares and contracts  Social Media And Public Relations.

(I wonder if social media will ever reach the point where it’s an abbreviation, like PR?  I’ve had people ask me if PR stands for press release or public relations…  But if we just call it SM, people might that SM is short for Sales & Marketing. )