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Publicity – just one key to fame…

It’s amazing the number of times I hear from authors who announce that Oprah will remove all the barriers and make them well-known. Yeah, so that’s kind of true – About 6 million people watch OWN daily. Beyond the reach of her active and TIVO viewers, you’ve also got reverb from her network, website, magazine, satellite radio program etc. etc. There is little doubt that you would do quite well if you landed a coveted spot under the oaks. But that’s a big IF.

That said – in most cases, if you’re a professional wishing to promote your products or services  and you’re longing to make it to Oprah – your platform gives show producers the opportunity to find you, observe how people receive you, and seriously consider you for that guest seat. But the path to Oprah usually takes a detour through your local, regional and national news outlets.

If you’re attempting to build your presence online, use your press kit as a start and begin to draw attention through grassroots marketing and buzz building.


Your media kit should contain:
1. A well-written biography
2. Hi Resolution Photos of you and your products (include product logos where appropriate)
3. Questions the media can use when they interview you
4. Automated links to contact your media rep (or you)
5. Product or Service information
An excellent bio is written in a way that provides insight into who you are. A reader want to immediately gain a sense of connection to you.

To write a stand-out bio:
Share your Personal Story. 
If you are an artist, I want to hear about why you love making art; who gave you your first pencil and pen; where you grew up, and why you loved skating as a kid in your hometown. I want to learn about what motivates you to make your products or deliver your service and I want to some  of the unique detail – you know why? Because when I hear your story, it helps connect me with you and your products. A personal story will help you stand out when other people are focused on basic and lifeless information. When faced with so many choices, your personal story will help you stand out so your fans can find you.

Tell a Story about your Products and Services
Don’t just give me stats about your product. Here’s where I want to know about how you deliver your services, how you are using your business to reach people. I want to know how you started your business and what you were doing before you started. I want to know how what you do has  directly impacted your clients – describe the story to me so I can connect with you – make me crave the same results. When you describe a product or a service in this way, it automatically gives it more value. When a product/service has more value, people never question a higher price.

An Authentic Brand is Constant
Your authentic brand is reflected in your logos, avatars, packaging material, receipts, emails, photography style, blog, twitter backgrounds, etc. All of these things can change over time but your authentic voice is constant throughout.

Tell a Story with your Photos
You’ve seen them. They’re pictures that look like they were taken last summer and uploaded with a .2-pixel camera phone. Poor quality and uninspiring pictures are a bad reflection on a brand. You’ve also undoubtedly seen press photos that caught your attention.  Your images need to be high-quality and professionally taken. You will use these pictures for the next 3-5 years. Invest in high-resolution black and white and color photos to highlight you and your products. You should also include a combination of casual and professional clothes. Consider also that the color of your clothes can blend to the color of your online platform colors. Buzz builders use the power of their images, combined with their descriptions to paint a compelling and authentic picture. Your images can be re-used in all your marketing materials and press that will help further establish your company as the go-to source.

Here are a list of other considerations as you build your media kit.
These elements should ideally be defined before you create or write anything about your company. But if you’ve already published your media kit take a look at the following list of considerations and see where you can tweak what you’ve already got.
1. What are your core values – What do you believe in? How are your values made apparent in your products, policies, services and marketing materials?

2. What is your Mission – What is your life’s mission? What is the mission for your company? How do these things come together? How are you communicating this information to your fans?

3. Who is your perfect fan? – We know that your perfect fan is one that will help tell your story and add to the buzz about your success. But what else do we know about them? Where do they live? What do they drive? What do they believe in? What blogs, tweets, magazines and books do they follow and read? What will get your perfect fan to act? When you begin writing the content for your shop, website, blog and tweets, speak directly to this perfect fan.

4. What is your tagline? – Though not required, your tagline is that memorable phrase that helps further define your company, services, vision or values. One famous tagline that can almost now be used interchangeably with the company name is  “Save Money, Live Better”.  Be sure to choose a good tagline that allows for growth – as you’ll want to use it consistently in all your marketing materials.

5. Create a character or mascot that exemplifies the personality of your company. This character helps visual thinkers define their brand. You aren’t required to use a mascot in your marketing materials, though some companies certainly do. Sometimes envisioning a character makes it easier to describe your company personality and can also help you see how you differentiate yourself and your brand.

General Interview Questions:
When booked for an interview with the media, don’t be surprised if they know very little about your background. This is why it’s crucial to provide a list of questions you feel highly comfortable answering. In fact, the answers to these questions need to be delivered in concise “sound bites”. If you’re not comfortable with these questions, develop replacement questions that you can respond to quickly and succinctly.

Here are some sample questions that we recently created for one of our clients:
1. What are the top three things we need to know about the diagnostic process?
2. Why do you suggest that parents act as independent and skeptical observers?
3. What are some alternatives to medication?
4. What types of support systems are available through the school system?
5. From your own experience, give me an example of what your son was like when he was on harmful medications? How has that changed now?
6. What are the long term side effects of these medications?
7. What are the top 3 questions you must ask your child’s health care provider on your next visit?

If you would like to schedule your Free Strategy Session or you have questions about managing your PR program please let us know.

Expanding Your Brand when you’re on HGTV. A Case Study on Fixer Upper, Magnolia Market and Chip and Joanna Gaines

Expanding Your Brand when you’re on HGTV. A Case Study on Fixer Upper, Magnolia Market and Chip and Joanna Gaines

I am in the process of scaling back my consumption of Reality TV while I ramp up my intake of news stories I’m researching for this project. I have to tell you that whenever I find myself taking in too much negativity I must find balance somewhere.

Enter HGTV – my largely positive and favorite special interest channel.

One of my favorite shows – Fixer Upper revolves around Chip and Joanna Gaines. They are a super-cute and very talented couple that create wonderful new spaces in older homes for families in the Waco TX area. They are awesome at the transformation process.

Brand Insights:

Chip and Joanna are engaging, funny and have very good energy. Their out-takes are everything. Their expertise, along with Chip’s really funny (and sometimes really gross) antics, will pull you in. Even if you’re not a fan of her specific design style I’m going to predict that before long you will Google them and… you will discover that they have their own website featuring their work with local real estate, a silo project, and an online retail component Magnolia Market.

They are in demand. Social media shows that they people want them to be cloned because they don’t want to move to Waco, but instead come to them to build and design their personal projects.

 

Geek Notes:

Here’s a quick peek at what their website is doing as of today:

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My Quick Insights and Analysis:

  • They are ranking pretty high in comparison to their local competition, no doubt due to HGTV’s influence.
  • I’m not surprised to see that people are searching for Joanna, but I am surprised to see that Chip isn’t ranking on that keyword list. Chip has an opportunity to strengthen his part of the brand.
  • Perhaps their e-commerce component is the weakest link? Recently, their shop was temporarily lagging behind in delivery times which suggests (though I can’t be certain) that with their current team they can’t keep up with the amount of traffic that HGTV is pushing their way.
  • It’s a pretty intense undertaking to scale e-commerce when you consider all the details like buying, customer service, technical support, shipping and logistics, returns, etc. And that’s without all the other ongoing business ventures. This is why DIY e-tailing is not my first choice especially when you have a large media following or smaller budget. But, if they wanted to stick with product sales, I would choose to license their brand, and negotiate the outsourcing of the whole retail enterprise to someone who has the infrastructure to handle everything really well.
  • Given all this – they might want to explore other less resource-intensive revenue streams. My long-term choices for Chip and Joanna would probably be paid public speaking gigs, classes and/or workshops and a series of lifestyle books that incorporate the energy they bring to their show each episode. Specifically for Chip, I would suggest doing his books on transforming old homes and building new ones, with his insights on how to be a great husband to a great wife.
  • There are a few takeaway’s on Sarah Susanka’s brand expansion in this building/design area.

I hope they capture and hold onto their raving fans and consider their long range plans while they dance with a medium that is always changing (I remember Susie Coelho, do you?)

Wishing them much joy, great adventures, ever expanding circles and time to do more of what they really love.

Cheers!

Lise

 

 

Branding Reality : Will Arranged Marriage Become a New Business Trend? Ask the Love Doctors.

I am fascinated by both the instant controversy and the disruption opportunity sparked by Married at First Sight – a new reality TV show on the FYI network. Promoted as a social experiment, complete strangers are first matched by experts, and then subsequently married without so much as a handshake or first glance. The show’s concept met with much skepticism and outright criticism prior to its debut; many feeling that it made a mockery of traditional marriage and family values.

Now that a few episodes have aired I see the tide changing. Throughout my Twitter feed, Married at First Sight is now widely praised as relatable, authentic and different from “regular” reality TV.  The experts on the show include: Chaplain Greg Epstein and Drs. Joseph Cilona, Logan Levkoff, and Pepper Schwartz – each of whom are very well positioned to launch the next eHarmony.com. Founded by clinical psychologist Neil Clark Warren, eHarmony.com has topped over a billion dollars in cumulative revenue by focusing on compatibility questionnaires without the benefit of its own reality TV show.  I think the Married at First Sight concept could be expanded to give tired daters immediate access to their end goal – making me wonder whether this is the new multi-billion dollar success formula for dating marriage sites.

This social experiment has the ability to be an influencer in the wider matchmaking market as well. So even those companies and experts outside the show in any matchmaking, wedding planning, coaching, or love-connection company can maximize on this reality TV trend by entering the conversation socially or by adding a new twist on their marketing campaigns and/or service offerings.

Though we are only a few episodes in – should successful relationships emerge between the couples – I can foresee that there will be plenty of consumers who long for the same type of service.

Forget The Bachelor/Bachelorette concept – I think FYI is onto something. Let’s see who rides this reality TV trend…

 

Launching Luxe Using the Married to Medicine Platform

Launching Luxe Using the Married to Medicine Platform

I am a dog person. And though dogs will never rank up there with my kids, I can definitely relate to having a well-groomed pooch. But Quad Webb-Lunceford of Married to Medicine fame, is taking this concept to an altogether different level. She’s launching a new line of couture clothing for dogs called Picture Perfect Pup. And of course I’m fascinated by her brand concept and how reality TV will impact her launch.

First let me just tap into Twitter demographic mode for a moment… This morning I read a tweet from her design partner Reco Chapple….
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I adore this man’s energy! And industry numbers have even better news.  Overall US sales in 2014 for all pet supplies (within which doggy clothes fall) are forecasted at $13.72 billion dollars. That’s billion with a big ol’ B. So while not all of this segment is about puppy clothes – it is a pretty sizable market.

At the same time, the pet industry is contracting a bit. This market now includes fewer dog owners overall; and even fewer who will ever make the investment in a luxe doggy brand – no matter how adorable or well promoted. Luxury brands are always exclusionary. My thought is that they should take a look at the well-executed examples of “Affordable Luxe.”  You do remember the collaboration between Target and Neiman Marcus for the myriad of designers that they’ve launched at Target stores? I bet this would be a very viable angle for Quad’s team to consider because it can convert more of the viewing audience delivered by BravoTV into customers. For Married to Medicine the average number of weekly viewers for their new episodes is about 1.8 million people.

So Quad can thank both Bravo and Mariah for making her relevant. (I’m completely kidding about the Mariah factor – but Mariah has a great brand concept brewing too if she’ll take note. I’ll discuss that in my next post.)

I digress…

So here’s what I love about Quad’s new venture. First, it’s an extension of who she is. She personally comes off as likable, charismatic, driven and original and that bodes well for her emerging brand.

I also love how she’s added a non-profit to the mix to raise money and awareness for Canine Companions for Independence. This was a really good move. Her argument that she’d purchased school supplies just didn’t lend enough credibility to counterbalance the “superficial factor” raised by her husband on the last episode.

I think her brand will also scale really well. She can extend her line beyond clothes and offer accessories and other products.

There is definitely a market for her brand if it remains a pure luxury offering.  I can envision this in boutiques frequented by the pet-pampering, disposable income set. However, I think “Afforable Luxe” branding concepts are the way to go for bigger profits.

I’ll be watching to see how Picture Perfect Pup is ultimately rolled out to retailers. I can’t wait to see the particulars.

Stay very busy Ms. Quad.

Cheers

Lise

The lure of publicity and the first 9 areas you need to focus on before you send that press release!

It never fails…  publicity, press release generation, and media placement topics are the first things my new clients want to discuss with me. But I have yet to find a new client who is actually ready for PR the first time we meet.

It’s easy to understand the thought process and the lure of publicity though… They think “If I get enough visitors to my website, I’ll be famous and rich.”  But so much more goes into the virtual business process ahead of engaging the press.

Here is my condensed list of the top 9 areas that need to be on point before sending out a single press release:

  1. Ensure you have someplace to send them. This seems obvious, but many clients simply want to have the press call them directly. Umm no. Your virtual platform needs to be available and ready for visitors. Make sure you have your…
  2. If you want to talk with the press, set up your electronic media kit. Very often one media placement leads to additional placements. The reporter or producer that you didn’t initially contact will need more information, so make sure that your media kit is where they’ll find all the information they’ll need about you, your company and your services/products.
  3. Make sure you have a social media presence and a plan for routine communication and engagement.
  4. Is your back-end covered? Can the server that hosts your website handle a large amount of new traffic? You don’t want to find out it can’t handle the traffic after your press release has been sent out.
  5. Do you know where the traffic is coming from, what they’re reading, how long they are staying? If not, set up an analytics system to track important data so you can begin to test and segment your visitors and understand their needs.
  6. Anticipate a bunch of new visitors and make sure you have a unique offer tied to an autoresponder that will follow-up on all leads.
  7. Ensure you’re talking to all of your visitors. Not all of your readers will be customers, some will be potential partners, affiliates, or even the competition. How do you handle each of these segments? What do you want to tell them? What is your screening process?
  8. Create a launch plan. A press release should be one component of your overall communications strategy and launch plan, not the entire strategy.
  9. Because all of your press releases should have a call to action. I strongly recommend creating a unique sales landing page, mini-site or squeeze page.   What is the point of sending the press release? Have something to say AND ask them to take the next step.

Cheers!

Lise