6 Tips for a Successful Media Relations ProgramPosted by Marian Briggs on August 22, 2013 at 2:36 PM
In the era of bloggers and citizen journalists, as well as traditional print and broadcast reporters, the topic of how to work with the media is something every communicator has to revisit frequently. Given that, I recently participated as a panelist in a webinar sponsored by the National Investor Relations Institute that delved into that topic.
The other panelist and I were asked by the moderator to provide our top three tips for a successful media relations program. Here are the suggestions of Cynthia Skoglund, now with Alliance Management and before that with Beckman Coulter:
We all agreed that proactive media relations involve thought leadership, i.e., sharing a company's perspective on an issue or trend, whereas reactive often means an adverse or crisis situation that calls for a different set of tools. The best media relations specialists employ the most appropriate tools for the situation.
Brand Awareness at the Heart of RTMPosted by Dave Folkens on March 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Online and digital marketing has been particularly effective in creating new acronyms and catch phrases over the past few years. The best buzz of the moment? RTM or real-time marketing thanks to a quick, creative tweet about a cookie.
When a power outage hit during Super Bowl XLVII, Oreo made a splash with its timely "You can still dunk in the dark" effort that caught on with both consumers and marketers thanks to its rapid-response and creativity. It was a smart move that helped the brand stand-out from a crop of otherwise mostly forgettable ads that averaged $4 million dollars per 30 second spot.
Now, RTM is the latest craze in the digital marketing world with brands all over trying to capture a sense of timeliness. Companies are looking for opportunities to hop into the discussion and appear on top of the moment.
Travelocity was cute and picked up on the masses viewing the Bachelor while brands are looking to jump on trending hashtags with very mixed success.
However, are these bursts of creativity and the ability to get an effort approved rapidly worthy of being placed at the top of the brand pedestal? The answer is no. A singular timely tweet or post does not equal a new breakthrough simply by being quick to respond to an external event.
The reason the Oreo effort was such a success is because the team truly knows its brand. Understanding and cultivating a brand that is differentiated and takes on a real personality is a significant challenge that requires time along with careful strategy along with communication and training to ensure the value of that brand is embedded throughout an organization. Without that widespread adoption, there is significant risk in missing the mark with rapid response or engagement. Brands that have a sense of who they are can succeed in today's digital environment because those that work for companies like Coca-Cola and Oreo (which have done great work well before the Super Bowl) have a clear sense of what qualities are tied to their products and the audience they serve.
At the core of successful real-time marketing you'll find foundational brand values, audience insight, and a commitment to creatively share what the customer wants in a way that is meaningful to them rather than the brand. As companies evaluate how to catch the latest wave, it's important not to overlook the true elements that build a brand and quality reputation driven by strategy versus buzz.
Cruising on the Integrated Communications BusPosted by Bob Brin on October 6, 2011 at 2:43 PM
It's been a smooth ride, helping Jefferson Lines update its brand to where they're headed, versus where they've been. The refreshed brand and integrated marketing program has been rolling outta here with a road-ready new identity, a sleek e-commerce website, online advertising and publicity.
The Padilla team recently boarded a freshly wrapped Jefferson Rocket Rider for a road trip to our 50th anniversary (James) Bonding session at a super-secret location.
A Great Cause and a Cool Client - A Padilla Integrated CampaignPosted by Lynn Casey on May 20, 2011 at 10:09 AM
The links within this post are highlights of an integrated campaign launched last week for the Bush Foundation, which has engaged 14 partner universities to establish the Network for Excellence in Teaching (NExT). The goal of this research-based initiative is to recruit, train and support the next generation of highly effective teachers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The campaign, produced by Padilla's Creative team, is primarily geared toward young adults who want to make a difference -- the hallmark of a great teacher. By getting to them now, we can successfully replace the nearly 50 percent of upper Midwest teachers who will retire or leave the profession in the next ten years.
Now, the favor. Please view the TV spots, which are running on select stations and online through May, and check out the website. Think of a young person you know who'd make a great teacher. Then forward this link to them, directly or via their parents. You just might spark an interest in a next-generation teacher, a very good thing indeed.
How LeBron James Twissed* His Fans... And How Businesses Can Do BetterPosted by on July 14, 2010 at 6:26 AM
*An admittedly lame attempt at creating a Twitter term. In case it wasn't clear (which is likely), I was going for "Twitter Dissed."
I'm not much of an NBA fan, so I don't really care which jersey LeBron James will wear next season. But like so many others, I waited anxiously to see what would happen on July 8. Not on ESPN, however. On Twitter.
James created Twitter handle @kingjames just two days before his overhyped much-anticipated "Decision." Though I wasn't watching myself, I'm told that he gained some 300,000 followers in one day. With that sort of momentum, one would think James' PR team would jump on the opportunity to engage the fans who were eagerly looking to be engaged.
Yet on the night of the Decision, no tweets. Just a wasted opportunity.
LeBron James fans did what almost any company wishes their customers would do - they congregated in one place and tuned in to hear what he had to say. And he left them hanging.
And worse yet, he didn't deliver on a promise. Just a few hours before the "Decision," King James tweeted: "Good Morning! It's your chance to ask me a question about my decision, use #lebrondecision to submit and I'll answer them tonight."
Many tweets were posted using the designated hashtag, but King James' camp never responded. His next tweet didn't come until the next day when fans finally received the following: "What's up yall. Just landed in my new home. Thanks to all the fans and Miami organization who greeted me. The Road to History starts now!"
By then, old news.
When fans (or customers, as the case may be) meet you in a social media space, don't leave them hanging. Engage them. They appreciate the feeling that they are somehow part of your decisions and activities. And the interaction can lead to invaluable opportunities to hear what customer think, answer questions, fix problems, and change negative opinions.
Padilla's client, Rockwell Automation, is a great example of successfully executing a new Twitter handle. The company wanted to better reach manufacturers and trade media unable to attend its annual Automation Fair event in 2009 due to tightened travel budgets. Rockwell Automation created a Twitter handle for the event to increase the real-time coverage of the event. In the months before the event, the marketing and public relations team developed a detailed execution plan, and commissioned a team to see it through. By the end of the week-long event, the Twitter handle had 122 followers, and achieved nearly 1,000 click-throughs on posted links.
Some planning and execution tips that helped Rockwell Automation succeed include:
1. Starting early - Create your profile and begin building a following before the event, so that you have a following AT the event. Build interest by giving attendees a peek into what's going to happen at the event. Consider pre-event interviews with speakers. Also, be sure to communicate the event hashtag in the weeks prior, so that everyone knows to use it.
2. Planning a schedule - Many people find it hard enough to Tweet during a regular day at the office, let alone when they need to run across a trade show floor from appointment to appointment. Plan a schedule of what you'd like to Tweet and when. Rockwell Automation's list included things like "9:45 a.m. - Reminder about customer forum start time and location," "10 a.m. - Quotes from customer presentation," and "1 p.m. - Interesting new products showcased in partner booths."
3. Designating a team - Once you have a plan of everything you need to Tweet, you probably will realize there isn't one single person available on site who can schedule enough time to cover it all. Delegate to others as appropriate (but be transparent, i.e., don't pretend to be someone you're not). Rockwell Automation delegated the posting schedule to approved company Tweeters. These individuals were able to ensure all postings were made, as well as monitor Tweets from others that mentioned the company or event and work with approved spokespeople to respond.
Making the Culture Shift to Social Media: A4ward Social Media StrategyPosted by on June 22, 2010 at 3:34 PM
Padilla leaders Bob Brin and Tom Jollie presented a webinar today as a follow up to the launch of our A4ward Social Media Strategy process yesterday. Bob and Tom discussed some background and examples as well as the four stages of our process - including the often-missed "Activation" stage that helps ensure organizations are poised for success.
If you missed the session, a recording of the webinar is available for archived viewing:
The slides are also available via SlideShare:
If you'd like to learn more, please contact any of us at Padilla.
Altering March Madness's Secret FormulaPosted by John Scally on March 11, 2010 at 9:54 AM
Do you remember one of the most famous marketing blunders of all time happened back in 1985 when Coke altered the secret formula that had stood for 100 years and packaged it as 'New Coke?' The result: condemnation and unanimous customer revolt. Lessons learned:
- Understand your customers' passion for your product and look to nurture brand loyalty--not destroy it.
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Have you heard that the NCAA is considering expanding the basketball tournament field from 65 to 96 teams?
The proposed idea has been met with outrage from the blogosphere, confusion from fans and pure bewilderment from sports writers.
Jim Calhoun, the well-respected coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies said the proposed 96-team field is a transparent money-grab that would do nothing to enhance the sport. Case in point, that short-term gain is not winning strategy for long-term success.
If the NCAA pushes through with its expansion plans, they may just bump Coke from its top spot in the Marketing Blunder Hall of Shame.
Don't Try So Hard to Fit In When You Were Born To Stand OutPosted by on February 10, 2010 at 7:27 AM
Why do so many companies say, "we're just like [main competitor]," or, "we do the same thing as [industry leader]," when they know there are important differences between their company and the one they're comparing to? While a point of reference can be helpful, it assumes the audience understands the value they could receive from the other company. That's a dangerous assumption ... and one that positions your competitor first and your company second (at least in your audience's mind).
We have a sign hung in our home near a collection of photos of our kids. It's placed in the stairway they take up their rooms so they see the reminder often. The sign offers advice for our kids but this morning it struck me differently as I considered this blog post:
In the spirit of teaching kids, please take out a piece of paper and a pencil....
1. Draw a line down the center of the page from top to bottom.
Take your time; this isn't an easy exercise. Don't make this a one-time event. Just like children grow and change, our companies develop new capabilities and ways to impact our clients' businesses AND new competitors (or those we're compared with) emerge.
How will you introduce your company differently in the future?
Stickiness in 2010 ... Or 2010: The Attention OdysseyPosted by on December 21, 2009 at 3:21 PM
"It's impossible to get noticed."
Familiar complaints? Yeah - heard 'em a dozen times at least. The bad news is the situation is not getting better ... for most people. My challenge to communicators and marketers in 2010 is to rethink your messages.
What are the things you remember? They're stories, not list of facts. They're simple, surprising, real (or based on something real), believable and make us feel something. In other words, what people remember are compelling stories.
Some people get it - many don't. It's because of those who don't get it that we feel like the world is full of meaningless garble that's impossible to hear and remember.
It doesn't have to be so difficult to be heard ... or to get people to pay attention. Chip and Dan Heath offer advice in their book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Other Die to help craft messages that people will remember: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credentialed, Emotional Stories (SUCCESs). It's an easy read ... go figure!
Once you start telling stories, not only will be people listen and remember them, but they'll become curious. Curiosity leads to questions, engagement and ultimately a relationship that is capable of moving your business.
What's your story? How are you telling it?
Story...More Important Than EverPosted by Lynn Casey on November 12, 2009 at 5:05 PM
I'm sharing the next few days with 250+ of the most successful emerging-growth CEOs in the U.S. They're competing for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award, of which Padilla is a sponsor, and listening to the likes of Howard Schultz of Starbucks, the head of newly public Rosetta Stone, and a who's who of investment bankers and VCs about what's in store on the growth curve. Their energy and optimism is impressive, especially in light of the economy. So maybe I shouldn't have been surprised to see the two sessions dealing with initial public offerings so well-attended. I was there because investor relations has been a core competency of our firm since we opened our doors more than 40 years ago. Partnering with investment bankers and attorneys to take a handful of companies public was business that we could count on year over year, most notably in the go-go '90s.
Not so today. Money is tight, investors are conservative. We celebrate every new IPO client that we're fortunate to support - not only because we get to flex our expertise muscles, but because we know they'll be economic growth engines for the future. If you can believe some of the best brains in the business that were on stage today, the money is coming back, although it's still very cautious capital. How to get a piece of the smaller public-offering pie? Act like a public company in every way at least two years prior to your target date. Choose your advisors wisely; not by their brand name or how many people they send to a meeting, but whether your gut tells you they'll support you throughout the deal and after it's done. And, whatever else you do, perfect your story. Nearly every panelist emphasized the need to make your company's story simple - really simple - to understand. Concise. Compelling. Crystal clear. And - as any good IR counselor will tell you - for heaven's sakes don't bury the lead! (I will, with a certain amount of bias, submit that this last piece of advice is critical no matter how your company is funding its growth. Even more important if you're turning your employees into brand evangelists or selling products and services in crowded markets.)
Gotta go. Magic Johnson's up next. "Not only is he big," says our emcee, "he THINKS big..."
Client Service - Part One: From the Boss - I'm not the most important person you servePosted by on October 16, 2009 at 11:45 AM
This week our family visited a well-known, 30-plus year old restaurant in the Twin Cities. We anticipated a nice meal, but it didn't end up that way. This isn't a rant about a dining experience, but a reflection on the impact of "the boss" on customer service, unless expectations are set between employer and employee.
To set the stage, another party "took" our reservation though we were seated after some confusion. We ordered wine, it was opened, I tasted and it was poured for the others. My glass was almost forgotten (not a big deal, really). The soup delivered was different from my selection. The main course was not what I ordered. To make amends, the server offered to discount the meal by the $5 difference in main courses - oh, and offered dessert on the house. (They later offered to remove the entire cost of my entree).
When the check was settled, I saw the founder and owner - a prominent restaurateur - thanking the manager for a great meal and heading out the door.
True or not, his gratitude shows me he had a very different experience from me.
So, how do you keep from repeating this situation with your clients? As a manager, be good, be honest and be approachable. If your people fear you or feel like their behavior has to change when you're around, they're focused too much on serving you and not enough on serving your clients. The result impacts your brand and your business: without our clients, we don't have a job.
Here are a couple points from Liz Ryan on the "10 things your manager wants you to know":
For the manager, take a look at the "5 Traits of the New Creative Leader" HBR offered this week as advice to help get the results leaders want.
What suggestions do you have for "Shared Commitments" between managers and those they manage?
foursquare: Because Twitter Has No Stinking BadgesPosted by on August 4, 2009 at 9:42 AM
Twitter has gotten the vast majority of social media wonk love in the past year, but another application has caught hold with the cool kids recently -- foursquare. By "cool kids," we of course refer to the same 18-34 year old tech-savvy group with a ridiculous amount of disposable income that jumpstarted the Twitter frenzy. And by "caught hold," we of course mean it has done for them what World of Warcraft has for obsessed shut-ins with social anxiety disorder and adult acne.
foursquare's premise is simple - where Twitter asks "What are you doing" and gives you 140 characters to answer, foursquare asks "where are you," using SMS, the web, and an iPhone specific application to allow users to check in at various places. Billed as an "urban mix-tape," the idea is to help people in the 21 metro areas it's available in find new places to go and things to do, similar foursquare's precursor, Dodgeball. Like Twitter, you follow a set of friends and are kept updated on their movements through the service. In practice, here's how it works:
1. You check in (as shown in the screenshot below)
So far, it's nothing you can't do with a little extra typing in Twitter, right? That's where the insidious nature of the service starts - the points and badges. Yes, the same tactics that keep Boy Scouts going back for just one more clove hitch or sheet knot have caught the attention of hipsters throughout the U.S. You don't just use foursquare, you play it. Every time you check in on foursquare, you get points. And you can compare your points against your friends' on a personalized leaderboard, showing who has scored the most that week. Even more addictive, by accomplishing different feats involving checking in, you can score badges such as:
- The Explorer Badge - 25 check ins to unique venues
While this is only a small sample, the potential for marketers is enormous. First, foursquare allows you to identify the "mayor" of a particular venue - the person who checks in there the most. Many venues are already offering special deals for their respective mayors - from free drinks to discounted tickets and other perks. Partnering with foursquare on special badges associated with events, such as movie premieres, block parties, and other elements is certainly within the realm of possibilities as well. Plus, Twitter has proven that humanizing executives, especially at consumer products companies (Zappos being a great example) ties consumers closer to the brand and enhances loyalty - foursquare can provide an even more intimate window into the lives of company figures, creating tighter associations between a brand and a consumer's identity.
Social media and the approachable brandPosted by Bob Brin on February 25, 2009 at 7:59 AM
Social media goes beyond marketing and networking. It's an opportunity to create or amplify an approachable brand. It's all about opening up and letting people in. Show your personality (even your multiple personalities). Expose yourself and let go a little. That means you're vulnerable. And with vulnerability comes mistakes. Those, in turn, become opportunities. What great personality isn't flawed? The approachable brand has a personality that is human, able to show humility and has a sense of humor (even about its own hubris). Recovering from missteps is easier and faster with those components to your personality.
Best and Worst Brand Names of 2008Posted by Bob Brin on January 15, 2009 at 2:51 PM
Our good friends, the naming wonks at Pollywog, got a nice article published in the this month's issue of Twin Cities Business Magazine "Best and Worst Brand Names of 2008."
Names like Intel® Dual Socket Extreme Desktop Platform, make me think of our spoof for Jim Beam on the worst that could happen if Wrigley Stadium were re-named.