Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It Just Takes Time & A Little Effort

Last night after work I stopped by my neighborhood pub for dinner and a drink.  A few minutes after I sat at the bar a former client sat down beside me. 

This gentleman is an accomplished attorney, very intelligent and ambitious.  He also has dedicated his life's work to helping the little guy. (I love those kind of clients). About three years ago he hired me to gain publicity for his clients who had all fallen victim to prescription drug error. 

The budget was small but I was able to secure a couple of interviews for him - one with a local news station and the other with the major daily newspaper.  They both were prime placements and very timely.  His money and time was well spent.

The newspaper placement resulted as a phone call I placed to a reporter immediately after the client walked out of court.   He had worked on a big case with some attorneys from a tony firm who were too busy going on vacation to talk with a reporter.  My client was ambitious, did a terrific interview from his cell phone and secured quotes in the newspaper.

Of course the client wanted more placements but wasn't in a position to pay me to be more aggressive. He wanted to be on 60 Minutes and Dateline as soon as possible. He is passionate about his cause.  I assured him that his story was newsworthy and it would just take time. Still he passed on my services because of financial reasons.  It happens. I understand these things.

It just takes time and money I guess.

Sitting at the bar sipping a beer the former client proceeded to tell me that how from those two placements he is still receiving media calls from reporters looking for experts and cases to profile.  He told me that even though he hadn't been quoted in many articles, that he had offered important information that helped form a story and hopefully saved peoples lives.  (Gosh I love clients who really believe in what they are doing.)

He told me about a recent "situation" with FOX where he had been interviewed, didn't appear in the segment but somehow his exact words came out of the anchor's mouth.  Thankfully he wasn't bitter. He also told me that he was currently working with the producers of a major national nightly newscast on a story.  He was happy and proud - as he should be.

It has taken three years but he's getting where he wanted to be.  I think I could have gotten him there faster by being proactive - but reality faces us all. I'm proud to be part of the story that will potentially save people's lives and maybe change the way an industry operates. 

So many times clients want to rise to fame and notoriety quickly. They become frustrated because it doesn't happen overnight.  I tell them it takes time, a good story and some cash helps.  It does happen for my clients and I'm part of it.

Its not a microwave dinner - its PR folks. Give me some time and I'll produce results.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dogs, Balls & Social Media

While driving to work this morning a client called to share a recent story from the office. Of course there's lesson to be learned and so it is going to be titled "Dogs, Balls & Social Media."

My client was looking to forge a business partnership with a gentlemen in another country whom they had not met. In preparation for the meeting they were searching online for any information on the man outside of his business website. (A practice I encourage by the way.)

They stumbled upon the soon-to-be-associate's personal Facebook page which was not secure and personal. His profile picture was of his dog's balls. And not the kind that you see in this picture.

Everyone in the office immediately pulled up the man's page and began laughing at his sense of humor. While they found out that they in fact had something in common (a warped sense of humor) the question is: Is your dog's genitala the first impression you want to make? In most cases the answer is NO.

This senerio could have easily gone the other way and a prospective business associate could have been turned off and the meeting even cancelled. As it is now - everyone from the accountant to the president of the company will first think about dog's balls when they think of this man instead of the fantastic product that he developed.

The lesson is that nothing online is private or personal. Absolutely everything you post will be seen. Please make sure to cover your balls next time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Put One Foot In Front of Business too

Its one of my favorite songs from holiday cartoons..."Put one foot in front of another and soon you'll be walking out the door" - from Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

We all do it when we learn to walk...put one foot in front of another. We even fall, stumble and tumble down stairs at times. Children learning to walk don't let the unknown, wobbly legs or a few falls keep them from learning to walk because they know they want to go somewhere.

Businesses need to apply this same concept to their marketing strategy. All too often I talk with CEOs who are afraid about the next step. They want to stand in place and look longingly at where they could go - where they should go. Their fear of failure or not meeting expectations holds them back.

I was reminded this week about accounts I've worked on that were just the beginning of what could have been an excellent and successful marketing strategy. Instead of following through with the plan and reaching customers on multiple levels, multiple times with consistant messages to build a relationship - they freeze in place after the first communication.

Do you marry a person on the first date? No, of course not. And neither do customers. Businesses need to court the customer. They will take you home to meet the parents after a little stroll or a dance or two.

Give a marketing plan a chance. See it through.

Walk hand in hand with your marketing professional.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year, New Ideas about Your PR/Comms Plan

2010 - The world has changed. Life has changed. Communications has changed. How you keep up with these changes? How do know exactly what you should do to move your business forward or just to catch up?

My favorite quote a professional mentor suggested when I was in my 20s was is that we all have to close our eyes and jump at some point.

2010 - the year when you've got to get back in the game BUT the game as changed while you were gathering the bats & balls on the sidelines. (or sticks & pucks, clubs & tees, etc)

Public Relations, Advertising, Social Media, Online Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility, Mobile Marketing, Guerilla Marketing, Integrated Strategic Marketing Plan.....heads are spinning by this point. Many who aren't in the communication and marketing game just end up burying their heads in a brochure, updated website and attending a few tradeshows - knowing that the old stuff won't work these days but not knowing what to do.

Businesses jump - They jump into the same pile of leaves that has left them smelly and wet in the past. They are afraid of strapping that parachute on their backs and free falling into the new communications world alone.

Good News...They aren't alone. A brief meeting with the friendly neighborhood communications professional (ME !) can offer insight into new, inexpensive (yes you read that correctly) and effective (gosh, that IS possible) tools and tactics that can get a business on the scoreboard.

Please folks, don't just open a Twitter account, post on it three times and give up. Give me or one of my colleagues a call and find out what's possible. Its painless.

Then maybe we can work together - that new brochure might not be necessary. And you look better when you aren't pulling your hair out anyway.

Happy New Year...Happy 2010.