Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Planning Options for 2009

I'm in the middle of strategic planning for some of my clients. Like most companies - my clients are taking a hard look at which trade shows, conferences, etc. to attend and how to make the best use of their time and money in a tough ecomony.

I'm digging deep, evaluating opportunties and creating plans that include speaking opportunities, show books, editorial ops and more. If you are going to put out an effort, why not make the most of it.

Traveling and big booth fees may be out of the picture for some companies no matter how good the opportunity. For those companies I'd like to remind you that media relations and direct electronic mail are good cost saving options to stay in front of your customers.

Don't overlook the bloggers and other influencers in your industry. They have more power that you may think.

When the economy is tough - it doesn't mean that you don't have options.

Call your PR Pro.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year......

While that line may make some think of a holiday song, it makes me think about one of the things I love the most in my job - planning. Woo Hoo. I realize I'm one of the few people this year who are getting excited about planning. How do you plan for a future that is so unknown and unpredictable?

This weekend a had a call with a client with the goal of creating a plan for 2009. With all the economic uncertainly he is a little hesitant to plan. He doesn't want to put all his eggs into one basket and miss out on an opportunity. Feeling this way is perfectly understandable but all successful businesses plan - and this guy is smart enough to know that. So we made a loose plan with room to move around and make changes.

I'm sure there are many other business owners who are afraid to set out a course for 2009. I would like to encourage those people to take a deep breath and ask for help. Your plan doesn't have to be so rigid that you can't make changes according to your business needs. If you don't plan, you won't go forward.

You wouldn't jump onboard a boat without a chart, course, fuel, sails, paddels and a lot of food and water. Don't enter the New Year that way or you may end up floating around the ocean hoping that the tide to bring you to shore. We all know that rarely happens.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'd like to thank all my fans.....

Today I received a fat letter in the mail saying that CoreComm PR has won an award from the Association of Marketing & Communications Professionals. We won a Gold and Platinum award for our work and development of a press kit for GILA Window Film.

I must admit that it was an exciting project just to work on. We worked closely with the client and graphic designer to create a press kit for the GILA decorative window film line. The kit actually had windows with the window film placed in it. Reporters had to open the windows in order to access the press releases. We also developed something we called "visual" press release/sheets. These sheets visually communicated how we envisioned consumers would work with the product.

I'm working on updating my website and it will contain a detailed review of the project. I've also uploaded an image of the kit.

Hard work pays off.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Reality Check

Yesterday my Dad asked me if I'd seen any fallout from the economic turmoil with my clients. Happily I was able to tell him that I'd seen very little.

While I read the headlines and realize that things are bad for many, those with great ideas and sound business practices are still very competitive. Over the past weeks I've asked my clients how things look for them. Every single client is positive. Some of their comments include:

"We've had the best sales year to date."
"Our products are taking off."
"We have lenders coming to us because they feel our company is the next big thing."

Others have recently had an influx of capital or were well ahead of the housing curve.

My conclusion is that either I'm a genius at choosing clients who are on the cutting edge of the next big thing or that things aren't as bad out there for the mid-size company as some reports are leading us to believe. It's probably a little of both.

In this economy it's the leaders like many of my clients who will persevere and be triumphant in the future.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


First, I can't believe that its October. Its been a while since my last posting but I have no idea how time passed so quickly. I guess I just didn't notice because I was so involved with my work. It may sound corny but I feel I'm lucky that I actually found a career that I love, I'm good at, and I get to work with some amazing people.

Just take a look at one of my clients, the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. At first glance some may think that working with this group would be boring but it is actually life changing. I actually get to work with people who are trying to make a difference in the world for the better.

Today is the last forum they are holding on trauma care in Georgia. I've been working with them to publicize the problem and increase public awareness. I've worked with media across the state. When we first started making media calls and talking to reporters about this situation many of them didn't seem to grasp the magnitude of the problem. A few months many press releases later, they all seem to grasp the problem and are on board with trying to help find a solution.

I realize that I'm not the only PR person out there calling this reporters and sending them information this situation but we really are all on the same team.
Its personally rewarding to know that you are part of a team that can really make a difference in people's lives.

Yes, I'm lucky. Many years ago without psychological testing and the Internet, I somehow stumbled into a career that is fulfilling, rewarding and at times - life changing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Everyone Does It ?

No I'm not talking about the same "It" your parents were talking about when you were 15.

Yesterday a client commented to me "Who doesn't send out press releases?" As the owner of Atlanta's K-9 Coach dog training she might not at first appear to be as marketing savvy as a multi-national company with layers of marketing folks. News flash --- she is MORE marketing savvy than most business owners with thriving companies with full marketing departments.

There's all this buzz going around now about how companies are expected to cut marketing budgets in 2009. It happens folks. Smart marketing pros and business owners will turn to public relations to increase their exposure for less cash. You can't sell anything without marketing. And you've got to sell to stay afloat.

Want to sell more for less... let's talk.

Hey Amber I have news for you... success is in your future simply because you are smarter than most. Sit. Stay. Bark loudly for your PR.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Videos Up

Today I created a cool video from the Nitrolingual Pumpspray event in St. Louis. Check it out.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Get the Party Started

Let's Get the Party Started......
We are in St. Louis for our client Sciele promoting Nitrolingual Pumpspray. Last night I was reminded just how important it is to get out there and actually meet the consumer and find out what resonates with them.
It sounds like PR 101 but with our hectic schedules away in our offices we always are looking for "inside" or "authentic" knowledge so we can effectively communicate. Many times the professionals forgets to simply get out there and have a conversation.
We did our homework. We created a booth that definitely gets the Nitrolingual noticed. We learned that our key messages are on target. We learned that much of our target market has on blinders and just doesn't want to talk about their health. They actually walked away while their wives got the information for them. We learned that there is more interest in starting a conversation about heart health than we ever imagined.
All the surveys and marketing intelligence in the world can't replace the look on a person's face when they learn something that will impact their life. While working until 4pm wasn't easy for me - it was rewarding to talk directly with the consumer.
We got the party started.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Tomorrow is July 4th - Independence Day. Most people have already started their long holiday weekend. Good for them. Good for all of us to have a holiday fall on a Friday.

Lately I've been thinking about marketing and communications during "tough economic times." It seems that some businesses are using this excuse to take a holiday from marketing their business or products. I firmly believe that the companies who do that now will not be around for much longer.

On the other hand....I've been fortunate to cross paths with visionaries who realize that now is the exact time to get out there and hustle. I've had some pretty brillant ideas cross my desk that just might sell that condo (or other product) that's been sitting empty (or in the warehouse) for the past year.

Now is the exact time to think outside the box. Communicate with your customers. Jump up and down and wave your arms.

Happy Independence Day. Celebrate the holiday and then celebrate yourself and your business.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Day

Tomorrow is the last day at my "old" office. I'm really happy to close that chapter in the life of my business and my personal life. CoreComm PR is moving to a high-rise building in Buckhead.

Recently the "old" office was burglarized. Yes, they took computers, checks, food and the last ounce of patience I had. I hate to say it was a turning point but it was. I'm more determined than ever to achieve my dreams. Those crack heads can't stop me.

The burglarly was followed by an absolutely fantasic conference for old pr folks who have an agency. I was reviatalized - envigorized - rePRized for the future. Things are looking up and I'm not afraid to say it out LOUD.

PR is the BEST job in the world. I love my work, my agency, my clients, my employees.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Follow Through or Threw

Since my last blog I've sat down with several of my clients (and potential clients) to map out a plan for the coming year. (I prefer to do that the 4th quarter of the previous year but at least they did it.)

While planning is great, its the follow through that is most important in order to achieve the desired results. I've often found that the annual marketing and communication plan is something that's just thrown out the window by second quarter.

I'll always agree that we need to stay flexible in order to take advantage of opportunities BUT its important to stay on target and follow through with annual communication plans.

Over the years I've heard all the excuses....
- Too busy to provide information and feedback
- Other areas of the business are too demanding
- Budget has been eaten up by another marketing project
- Overnight the company has suddenly become well-known and respected

and then there's my favorite......

- Business is good and we really don't need more customers

Inevitably a few months goes by and then the client calls in a panic wanting to know how I can help. Of course they remember the plan we discussed and they threw away. They hope that I can drop everything and get the business back on track. I wish life was that easy.

My advice is to continue with the plan you map out at the beginning of the year and allow for changes in the business. A business needs to be proactive and take control over how its perceived by the public, customers and potential customers. Most of us want more customers.

Three newsletters a year instead of four is okay. Fewer press releases is better than none. Choosing one big project or issue to publicize can often make a larger impact than 10 smaller ones.

Be flexible. Follow through.

Don't be one of those companies who's looking in the bushes for the communications plan they threw out the window. It will be too late.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year - Make a Plan

Over the years I've found that clients (and even some of the corporations I've worked in-house for) really don't want to plan. They act like they are going to have an anxiety attack if they have to view it all on a piece of paper.

What I've learned is that with the marketing function you MUST plan in order to propel a company forward. This doesn't mean that you can never deviate from the plan. Us marketing folks in fact do understand quite well that business life is much like personal life - the unexpected happens. Like in personal life, we deal with things as they arise. But you must have a plan on how to deal with the situation, keep it under control and keep the business on track.

In the public relations arena we know all too well how important the "plan" can be.

Crisis communication -- you better have a plan in a crisis or who knows who will say what to that reporter.

Messaging -- there should be an overarching message in every communication to employees, media, stakeholders, etc. You want to instill confidence after all.

Calendar -- take control and plan a calendar of outgoing communication. Every organization can take control of their image by initiating regular communication to the media and to their stakeholders. Newsletters, press releases, blogs are all good ways to plan to take control. Otherwise its up to reporters or even worse -the rumor mill - to spread the news about the organization.

My New Year's advice to anyone looking to utilize communication and marketing in order to have a positive impact on their business or organization -- Plan, Plan, Plan.

And then be flexible.

Happy New Year.