Category Archives: Public Relations

Ten Quotes on the Power of PR

“The right story told at the right time can bring valuable attention to your business, even during a downturn.”Business Week

“PR — even though it is underutilized — is extremely effective when properly leveraged.”Harvard Business School

“If I only had $2 left, I’d spend $1 on PR.”-Bill Gates

“72% of senior level marketers said PR is most valuable in supporting product marketing and product launches.”Advertising Age

“You pay for advertising but you pray for PR.”-Unknown

“PR builds brands and generates awareness-fast.”Inc.

“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”-Richard Branson

“Historically, PR, marketing and advertising budgets are the first to be cut; however, that could be one of the first mistakes a business makes in an economic crisis.”-CBS Market Watch

“In a downturn, an aggressive PR and communications strategy is key.”-Silicon Alley Insider

“There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.”-Brendan Behan

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Moving Targets-A Review of Teriffic & Terrible Transit Ads

 

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I’m not huge fan of taking the subway. It’s an incubator for germs, there’s a lack of personal space, and it always seems to be breaking down when I’m running late.

Being a lifelong marketing geek, I really enjoy checking out the interior card ads and judging which ones nail it…and which ones miss the mark. It helps pass the time and makes for excellent blog fodder.

I judge the effectiveness of an ad on a few simple criteria. Did it capture my attention? Is the messaging clear and simple? Is the design bold and compelling? Do I know where to focus my eyes? And is the copy readable?

I like to think of a transit car ad as a walking billboard. Prospects are breezing by, or thinking about their 10 o’clock meeting with their boss, what to make for dinner, or how to get away from the guy sitting next to them with the unusual body odor. So simplicity rules here.

A good transit ad should include the following three elements:

  • A compelling image / photo
  • A unique, benefit laden, emotionally charged headline
  • Your name / logo / contact info

I was taking the train the other day and found some perfect examples of ads that work as well as ads that need to be improved. Forgive my photography, I was taking these on a moving train with bad lighting.

Honk

Honk

I love this ad. The photo and font immediately grab my attention. Both communicate the energy and enthusiasm of the event. And without ever having attended Honk, I want to go. The dates and URL are clearly listed and easy to find.

Boston Book Festival

Boston Book Festival

The first thing I noticed about this ad is that I don’t know where to focus my attention. Too many competing messages. And some of the copy is just too small to read.

Suffolk University

Suffolk University

This ad is at the head of the class. The copy summons my attention. It’s bold, daring, and speaks directly to commuters. The call to action is clear and concise. The colors and font compliment each other nicely.

Horizons for Homeless Children

Horizons

The photo certainly captures my attention, but there’s way too much copy. Most people won’t take the time to read the fine print. It’s way too much work.

The Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail

I love everything about this ad. Bright colors and contemporary design make this Boston staple seem new and exciting. The photo tells the story. I’m intrigued to learn more.

What say you? What are your favorite transit ads? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Peace, love and powerful press!

PR Guy

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Filed under advertising, Branding, Honk, Marketing, Nonprofit Marketing, outdoor ads, Public Relations, transit ads

Nine Ideas to Take the Ice Bucket Challenge to the Next Level

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When Kim Kardashian took the Ice Bucket Challenge last week on Ellen, I figured it was safe to assume that the campaign had “jumped the shark.” But it’s sure been a good run. In fact, as of September 15, 2014, the campaign has raised a whopping $100 million dollars for ALS research. Not a bad haul considering that last year ALS took in $1.3 million during the same time span.

And apparently Facebook was able to rake some serious cash from the challenge as well. A recent Forbes article by Jeff Bercovic reports that “Ice Bucket Challenge videos were viewed more than 10 billion times and reached more than 440 million people.” And the more views Facebook receives, the more money they make in ad sales.

This got me thinking…How can ALS raise even more scratch in 2015 and take the Ice Bucket Challenge to the next level? Here are nine ideas that could help the program grow and prosper.

Create a Brand Identity: The Ice Bucket challenge is in serious need of a brand identity. A well-designed logo would become an iconic symbol that would visually represent the program and distinguish it in the minds of donors. The identity should be distinct yet connected to the ALS brand.

Build a Microsite: ALS should consider creating a microsite for the Ice Bucket Challenge. Wikipedia defines a microsite as “an individual web page or a small cluster of pages which are meant to function as a discrete entity within an existing website or to complement an offline activity”. The microsite’s main landing page could have its own domain name or subdomain. Microsites are easy maintain to and are a perfect solution for a campaign with a limited life cycle such as the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Secure Corporate Sponsorship: This program is ripe for multiple corporate sponsors. It would provide the right brands with abundant press, consumer affinity and significant ROI. ALS should set distinct sponsorship levels that will attract a mix of small and large corporations. They may even consider securing a title sponsor such as the “Home Depot Ice Bucket Challenge.”

Feature Bloopers: My guess is that a few ice bucket challenges have gone seriously wrong, and there is some funny footage floating around out there. Why not create a series of blooper videos? People love watching outtakes of movies and TV shows. In fact, they’re often the best part of the movie.

Get Cities and Towns Involved: ALS could launch a contest where cities and towns could compete to see who can raise the most dough and activate the largest number of participants. ALS could come up with some incentive/prize for the city or town that brings in the most cash. Winners could based on population size. Mayors could challenge rival towns to go head-to-head to see who can raise the most cash. The press love municipal rivalries so you know it would generate a ton of publicity for the participating towns as well as the challenge.

Display Window Clings on Freezer Doors: Every supermarket from the Piggly Wiggly to Wegmans sells ice. And my guess is that every supermarket chain would be happy to place a window cling on the ice stall freezer door to promote ice sales and support a good cause.

Partner with a Home Improvement Chain: Home Depot and Lowes sell buckets of all shapes and sizes. ALS should forge a partnership with one of the home improvement chains so a portion of every bucket sale goes directly to support ALS.

Create a Facebook Contest: This program is clearly a big win for Facebook. ALS should partner with Facebook to offer a prize to the Ice Bucket Challenge video that receives the most views.

Design a T-Shirt: T-shirts are walking billboards. Offer T-shirts as an incentive to donors who reach specific fundraising goals. Donors will wear the t-shirt as a badge of honor. The T-shirt would also provide great brand visibility for the corporate sponsor.

So what say you? Any ideas on how the Ice Bucket Challenge can come back bigger and better in 2015? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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Filed under Branding, Nonprofit Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media

The Joan Rivers’ Guide to Better Branding

 

Can we talk? Whether you love Joan Rivers or worship the quick sand she walks on, you’ve got to give her credit —she’s a survivor.

I first saw Joan doing stand up at a Boston comedy club about ten years ago. I laughed so hard that by the end of the night my cheeks hurt. While I had a lot of laughs that night, I hadn’t thought much about Joan, until recently, when a friend recommended I watch Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. The documentary captures a year in the life of the comedienne while looking back on the highs and lows of a career that spans four decades.

The film made me realize that Joan is much more than a comedienne. She’s a marketing maven. In fact, Joan can teach us all a thing or two about marketing, perseverance, and the power of laughter. So here goes, the Joan Rivers’ guide to better branding.

Be Unique: Joan has a personality all her own. She says what she wants, when she wants.  She’s earned a reputation, for better or worse, as a loose cannon. But that’s what people love about her. She’s one of a kind. How would you describe your brand’s personality? Understanding your brand’s core personality traits will help guide all creative and strategic marketing decisions. It will also help you develop a clear and consistent voice for social networking. If you don’t know your brand’s personality, start surveying your customers, clients or donors.

Target a Specific Audience:  Joan loves the gays. “Gays were the first ones who found me, in the Village so I feel very akin to them and very connected,” says Rivers.  Today, Joan starts every live show by asking, “Where are my gays? In return, Joan has a gaggle of gays at every show.  So what’s the lesson here? Know thy audience.  Whether your targeting soccer moms, stock brokers or evangelical ministers is irrelevant.  What matters is that you choose an audience and study them like a book. Learn their nuances. What are their common bonds? What inspires them? What keeps them up at night? Learn to speak the native language and spend time wherever they congregate.

Be Ubiquitous: Joan is omnipresent. Recent sightings have included a new TV series for Oxygen, hawking jewelry on the Home Shopping Channel and a Super Bowl spot for Go Daddy. Did I miss anything? The point is, Joan doesn’t rely on one marketing method to reach her audience— and neither should you. Adopt a strategic marketing approach that incorporates multiple touch points. Think PR, social media, word of mouth, print, web advertising and direct mail.

Experiment: Joan Rivers is like an inflatable punching bag. You knock her down and she bounces back up. She’s had her share of success and failure, just like the rest of us. But what’s admirable about Joan is that she’s not afraid to try something new. There is no magic formula to executing a successful marketing/PR campaign. The trick is to take chances and dare to be different. Need some inspiration? Check out this PR pitch from the CEO and COO of CodeWeaver to New York Times technology columnist David Pogue. Pogue said it was one of the best pitches he’s ever received. I think it’s genius.

And last but not least, keep on laughing because as Joan say’s “If you don’t laugh you die.”

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Filed under Branding, Marketing, Public Relations