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Marketing Imperatives: Center Everything Around Your PR Strategy

I have a longstanding working relationship with a CEO who recently changed jobs. Coming into his new company, he told me that his mantra was this: He intended to center every marketing initiative around PR strategy. In virtually every industry, I’m seeing many wise marketing industry leaders endorsing this idea. Another prominent example from the past several years comes from Jason Harris of San Francisco- and NYC-based Mekanism, where in an interview with HubSpot.com, he described his agency’s framework for creating shareable content.

“Our approach is to always think about the PR headline. Why will the idea, content, innovation, etc., travel? Why will people care, and why will they want to talk about it and share it? If there is no PR headline, the idea won’t be shareable. That is our goal on every project.”

The video I’m embedding with this article perfectly demonstrates the increasing focus on PR, presenting the 47-minute “Content & Storytelling: Is the PR Landscape Shifting?” session from the 2014 CDO Summit in NYC. Read more

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Sharing Secrets: Public Relations Expertise

The publishers of Campaign, a leading business media brand serving the marketing, advertising and media communities, offer an editorial on their website entitled “What’s the secret of a long ‘marriage’?” In that, former Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO chief executive and current CEO of Girl Effect Farah Ramzan Golant offers these wise words: “The key to long-term client relationships is constant reinvigoration…. You should constantly be looking at how you can do things differently, keep freshening the account teams and stay ahead of the game.” As a communications consultant providing ongoing, dedicated counsel to a small roster of clients, I firmly believe in these vows. Among many activities aimed at ongoing education and innovation, I regularly participate in webinars being presented by industry thoughtleaders, adopting the best ideas and lessons into my arsenal. One in particular, presented by five-time published author and entrepreneur Deirdre Breakenridge entitled “Eight Techniques of the New PR Champion,” began paying dividends immediately. Read more

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Feature documentary “Kickstarted” readies for World Premiere

If you attend the 13th annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Montana next week, or the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs in late March, you will have the opportunity to see the first motion picture in history where I am listed as an executive producer. That’s right: 26 years after graduating from film school, I have added to my scattered IMDB profile the role of Co-Executive Producer for a documentary feature film. “Kickstarted” was co-directed by my friends Jason Cooper and Jay Armitage, and I’m guessing that my unique contributions to their film are probably characteristic of the EP title.

Essentially, Jason and Jay engaged me during the film’s Kickstarter campaign to help them generate more press coverage, and happily, that worked out rather well. The film was ultimately funded thanks to many factors; chief among them were the resourcefulness, skills and determination of the directors, as well as producers including Kim Sherrell, Chris Gartin, JP McMahon and Tristan Drew. In all honesty, I take pride in knowing that I helped, too. Read more

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Sharing secrets: How to write stories for The Associated Press

Back in 2000 when I was working for The Terpin Group in Los Angeles leading PR campaigns for dot-com companies with extremely high aspirations, my colleagues and I knew that there was absolutely one way of hitting a home run, and that was placing a story with The Associated Press. AP stories generate massive exposure, as they are syndicated in major media outlets across the country and around the world. And of course, if you have a story that’s good enough for the AP, it’s good enough for everyone. With this in mind, imagine how powerful it would be if you had the chance, today, to meet with Paul Caluori, the AP’s Global Director of Digital Services, and Philana Patterson, the AP’s Small Business and Breaking News Editor, to learn what they look for in story submissions. Thanks to Business Wire, it’s on.

Back in February of this year, Business Wire hosted a webinar featuring Paul and Philana, where they shared exactly these types of insights. I am embedding the webinar here, and I’ll also pass along a few of the bullet points from the secrets they shared. Read more

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Best-case scenario: Kathryn Hempel, Cutters Studios

Generally speaking, on the best days, my job breaks down to a careful balance of art and craft. I’m hoping that this art/craft angle will be an interesting way to talk about some others I admire, and what we’re achieving together. Due to the uncommon success of our joint efforts, I’m choosing Kathryn Hempel and all her colleagues at Cutters Studios as the perfect subjects to explore a new variation on the classic case study, which I’m calling a “Best-Case Scenario.”

With love to director Brad Tucker for putting us all in contact, a lot went into making Cutters Studios a solid fit for me when we joined forces last year. The very first “Cutters” commercial editorial facility had opened in Chicago 34 years earlier, but by January 2014, the parent Cutters Studios group was also operating studios in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City and Tokyo… spanning all aspects of commercial production, post-production and creative development. Relatively soon after partnering up, I learned about the Always #likeagirl campaign that Kathryn was editing for Leo Burnett and Chelsea Pictures director Lauren Greenfield, and I had a chance to counsel everyone on all the ways we might use PR to promote the work and everyone behind it.

By then, I already had a very good sense of what sets Cutters apart: Read more

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Case Study: Changing Stares

Last Updated May 13, 2015: Scott Darnell Wins Top Mobility Industry Engineering Award, Brings Custom Mobility Solutions to Market

Creative and Communications Campaign Designed and Executed by The Darnell Works Agency Supports Growth For Ambitious Entrepreneur
See also: WEBSITE

Through Changing Stares, Inc. (CSI), adaptive mobility expert Scott Darnell is a consultant and developer of innovative solutions for wheelchair users.

Executive Summary
In 2003, DWA began its role as the creative and communications agency of record for Changing Stares, Inc., a privately held start-up focused on creating important new mobility options for wheelchair users. With Scott Darnell (brother to DWA principal Roger Darnell) unveiling his first product at the 2006 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, DWA took responsibility for all facets of brand communications for the company’s successful launch. In 2009, Scott was invited to attend the annual conference for the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, where Adaptive Driving Alliance leaders presented him with their New Technology Award for innovation in engineering and technology for the physically challenged. As the venture has progressed, it has tapped DWA’s expertise to cost-effectively advance essential facets of its business, including sales and customer service. Thanks to Scott’s perseverance and DWA’s ongoing support, CSI has earned vital media exposure and consistently expanded dialogues with industry experts and customers through adept communications that include dynamic use of social media. Read more

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CDO Summits set for NYC, Amsterdam, Toronto, London and Sydney

Seven months ago, I wrote a story discussing the rise of the Chief Digital Officer and the activities shaping-up from the CDO Club. Since then, I’ve kept a close eye on other announcements from CDO Club founder David Mathison, and in summary, he has been very busy. At present, the CDO Club is gearing-up for the Chief Digital Officer Summit in New York City, which is set to take place this week on April 29. After that, there are four more CDO Summits in the works:
. Chief Digital Officer Summit Amsterdam, set for July 29, 2015
. Chief Digital Officer Summit Toronto, set for Sept. 16, 2015
. Chief Digital Officer Summit London, set for Oct. 21, 2015
. Chief Digital Officer Summit Sydney, set for Feb. 24, 2016

The video I’m presenting here courtesy of David and the CDO Club allows you to experience the fascinating “Entertainment Ecosystem” session from last year’s CDO Summit in NYC. There, on April 22, the CDO Club united some of the entertainment industry’s most prominent architects of change Read more

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Case Study: ATTIK

Last Updated Aug. 18, 2014: Global Creative Agency ATTIK Evolves, Continues Delivering Spectacular Client Returns

Dynamic Public Relations Campaign Effectively Positions Company and Its Key Customers, Sustains Growth
See also: ATTIK MEDIA COVERAGE

Established in the mid-1980s in northern England, ATTIK Ltd. quickly earned a worldwide reputation for sensational design, and by the late 1990s, had successfully expanded across the U.S. and into Sydney, Australia. In 2001, the company scaled back, refocused, and soon emerged with a boldly expanded approach — and an extraordinary new client: Scion. Acquired in 2007 by Dentsu, today ATTIK is a global creative agency successfully engaging customers with some of the world’s most phenomenal brands. Read more

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More branding and communications essentials

The Blake Project is a Los Angeles-based brand consultancy that helps companies design, manage and build brands that drive profitable revenue growth through differentiated customer experiences. Publishers of the book Brand Aid, the group also regularly stages Brand Positioning Workshops, and its principals share their considerable knowledge through their Branding Strategy Insider blog and newsletter. I highly encourage you to explore everything they have to offer.

Several years ago, I published an item on this blog entitled “Roger D’s tips for superior public and media relations: Getting started.” Although I do feel like entrepreneurs need to have a good handle on brand management and the types of counsel The Blake Project and other leading industry consultants offer, I also realize that very often, the desire to act takes precedence over planning and education. That’s one reason why I shared my action-oriented prescription, but it was also a response to my experiences working even with MBAs and well-established business leaders who very often don’t have practical, recent experience managing public relations campaigns. While the business world continues to change, I still feel like my “getting started” outline is a great primer, but of course, it does require diligence and raise important questions. For example, I mention Marketing Plans often in that document; to get a better sense of what goes into good ones, check out Anatomy of a Marketing Plan from Branding Strategy Insider. If you have other questions, I look forward to hearing from you.

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Business and brand strategy alignment

For his recent post on BNET entitled “The Death of Branding and the Scam of Storytelling,” ghostwriter and author Jeff Haden reached out to the illustrious David C. Baker, whom I have written about before. David is the head of ReCourses, which provides consulting services and educational events for marketing firms. In Jeff’s story, David says a lot about branding and storytelling, including this.

“Alignment is simply telling the truth: To your customers, to your employees, and to yourself. When you do that everything else falls into place. Then your brand makes sense and the stories you tell support your brand — because your brand is you.”

Personally, I have long admired the dedication of my clients at global creative agency ATTIK focusing in on these critical areas of business. I believe their work for Perkins+Will featured above is a solid example of David’s ideas at work. I hope he agrees with me.

To learn more, Read more

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