When Journalism and Brand Management Collide

Recently, PadillaCRT hosted a “meet the journalist” breakfast that invited a local magazine editor to our office to discuss their role and answer questions regarding how we can provide relevant content and news ideas on behalf of our clients. During the conversation, we were reminded of what most of us in the PR industry already know – editors are busy, their outlets are understaffed and their inboxes are often flooded with hundreds upon hundreds of unrelated email pitches from PR professionals assuming that their audience will be interested, which is a huge pet-peeve!

But, as I walked away from that meeting, I was left thinking about the relationship between brands and media. Given the shrinking number of journalists reporting for publications and the onset of owned content, the landscape and connection between journalist, brand and PR agency is changing. Journalists are up against native advertising, eBooks, videos and more that are not usually distinguished as advertising or marketing and further blur the lines between editorial and paid content.

Getty Images

Similarly, the PR industry is being impacted by these changes. Fewer media opportunities mean more occasions to self-publish and syndicate. Some brands are…

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Digital Marketing

Finding balance in a digital world – it’s complicated!

In April, I attended the ClickZ conference in NYC. The conference centered on the topics of paid, earned, owned, shared and integrated media. Keynote Randi Zuckerberg shared her message of the Dot Complicated world in which we work, live and innovate in our daily lives. She even has a children’s book out called “Dot,” soon to be turned into a cartoon by the Jim Henson Company. She challenged us to find ways to have technology in our lives while still finding time to shut down, be polite and balance.

But bedtime without my Kindle?

How can we find balance and turn off those devices as digital innovators and still keep our jobs in this industry? It’s no secret that to be digital means continually learning. Skills, trends, innovation and relevancy are ALL critical to our customers, our competition and us. But how in the HECK can you get any sleep? I challenged myself to think of a few things I could not live without, and how I could get these things done better and in less time, so that I have more time to enjoy life. Here’s what I came up with.

But wait, there’s more!

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Digital Marketing

Why Beverage Brand Campaigns Have To Take An Integrated Approach

While we don’t completely understand the long-term impact of the communication revolution yet, one thing is certain:  the advent of changes such as smartphones and social media have profoundly shifted the fundamental principles of human communication.  Consider, for instance, that many schools don’t bother teaching kids how to write in cursive anymore.  What does this have to do with booze you ask?  Well, everything we do as professional beverage communicators must continue to evolve accordingly.   This truth, coupled with the U.S.’s position as the world’s most crowded marketplace for beverage alcohol brands, leads to an unavoidable reality…a brand has to be dynamic or die trying.


So how do you do it?  Especially without spending $10 million a year which, let’s face it, only enormous spirits brands can afford. Traditional PR campaigns with a few tastings and occasional lifestyle partnerships sprinkled on top are a thing of the past.  For growth and long-term positioning, even a basic promotional campaign strategy has to include all elements of engagement with beverage alcohol consumers and those who supply us them.  Media relations, social media, event production, retail promotions, on-premise partnerships, branding, advertising and…

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Digital Marketing

Combining Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned Media for Sweet Success

Last year was our first foray into digital marketing for Sunshine Sweet Corn. We saw some excellent results with our efforts, won some awards for our work and our client sold a ton of Sweet Corn. Based on that success we knew that digital would continue to deliver solid results. We continued down the digital road this year and below is our story. (For more background info on challenges and goals for Sunshine Sweet Corn, check out last year’s post.)

Paid Media

Focus: Google AdWords & Bing Advertising
Strategy: Our focus was on Google but we experimented with Bing this year to hopefully offset some of our higher CPC terms. All in all we didn’t go after many broad match terms as we wanted to keep a pretty dialed in approach to our PPC ads.

Earned Media

Focus: Blogger Relations
Strategy: Network the sites recipes and useful content to raise awareness, referral traffic and raise our site’s authority.

Shared Media

Focus: Pinterest
Strategy: Deploy a pinterest contest and network our Pinterest friendly site and recipes with top influencers.
Read More

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Digital Marketing

Have We Had Enough of the BuzzFeed Quizzes on Facebook?

BuzzFeed to Facebook

I should be living in Cape Town, South Africa and the State of Rhode Island. Yet, I’m 100 percent Southern.

If I were a Founding Father of the United States, I would have been Ben Franklin.

My true career destiny is to become a college professor.

And Mulan is the Disney princess who should be my BFF.

Such is the wisdom I’ve gleaned from just a few of the myriad quizzes that have populated my Facebook newsfeed this year, mostly from BuzzFeed, a social news and entertainment website.

What has made these mini-personality and knowledge quizzes so popular?

“We find that when people take one quiz, they want to take more,” said Melissa Rosenthal, director of creative services at BuzzFeed in a Mashable article. “People love to share things that kind of represent who they are and say something about who they are.”

Perhaps it’s the little bit of pop psychology you might deduce from quizzes like, “What Does Your First Album Say About You?”  Maybe it’s the nostalgia that these quizzes can evoke from the pop culture references in quizzes like, “How Well…

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Digital Marketing

5 Social Media Marketing Rules “Orange is the New Black” Teaches Us (*Spoiler Alert*)

Although providing weeks (or days or maybe just hours) of enjoyment, season two of “Orange is the New Black” (OITNB) is more than just a series to relax with (or binge on) after a long day. Each character, event, and plot provides some interesting insight into the world of social media marketing. If you’re one of the late bloomers in the world of Netflix shows and have never seen an episode of OITNB, first, I’d say you’re missing out; second, these tips are universal so read on


1) It’s all about relationships
From the delicate and (until the finale) secret relationship between inmate Daya and prison guard Bennett, to the complicated “mother-daughter” dynamic between Vee and Crazy Eyes, to the sultry on-again off-again fling between Piper and Alex, relationships are what keep the show engaging and the audience invested. The same applies to social media marketing. Building relationships with other companies, agencies, or brands online keeps the conversation flowing, the company personable and allows more opportunities for cross promotion.

pic 22) Millennials can make or break you
Brook, without an “e” (like the…

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Digital Marketing

From Slow Cocktails to Street Food: 4 Food Marketing Tips Learned at the World Cup

brazil1(image courtesy: BenyGalvao)

 I think spiders are soldiers of Satan, but even the threat of massive, wandering ones didn’t stop me from getting to Brazil this month to experience the World Cup.  Though my time there was short, between matches, I managed to dip a toe into the vibrant Salvadoran culture outside the stadium.

After feasting on steaming hot moquecas and African-inspired acarajé, I realized just how much of that region’s cuisine is built on shared experiences. So, today, I’ll do my best to share some of that experience with you, PR pros. Here are four food marketing lessons straight from Salvador and the World Cup:

What you see enhances what you get.

Squeezed into a tented bar in the middle of a rainstorm, I got an unobstructed view of all that went into my favorite Caipirinha of the trip: 10+ freshly squeezed limes, several scoops of cane sugar, a healthy pour of Cachaca and 20 minutes worth of diligent muddling. Seeing the degree of care that went into crafting that slow, delicious cocktail gave me confidence in my purchase, heightened my respect for the man making it,…

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Digital Marketing

How to DIY Social Media Graphics that Aren’t Lame

Untitled design(5)

It’s no secret that compelling graphics are an important ingredient in a successful social media strategy. In a perfect world, we’d have access to a graphic designer available to whip up something brilliant at all times.

For most of us, that’s not reality. Luckily, there are lots of tools and resources available that can help even the most creatively challenged among us create professional-looking social graphics. Here are a few must-have tools and resources:

  • Stock images. If your brand invests in custom photography, this can be a great source of images for social graphics. If not, or if what you need isn’t a fit, there are many free and low-cost sources out there. For free images, Morguefile, Flickr Creative Commons, and freeimages are good places to start (note, attribution is generally required when you use these sources). If you have a few dollars to spend, try iStock, shutterstock and Veer. All of these sites let you set a budget range, so you can search for low-cost options.
  • Image dimension cheat sheet. If you’re going to create social media images, a sizing cheat sheet is a must-bookmark. There are lots of them out there – just make sure the one you use is updated regularly as the rules and regulations change frequently. Because the dimensions for each major social network vary quite a bit, you’ll generally want to create a couple versions of your image sized in various ways. I like this one from Media Bistro.
  • Photo re-sizer. Whether you’ll be using custom or stock images to create your graphics, there is a high likelihood that you’ll need to resize your images to optimize them for various social channels (see: image-size cheat sheet above). A good photo resizing program is your friend. If you have access to Photoshop, congrats, go ahead and use that. But for the rest of us, there are lots of free web-based programs available. Pixlr is my go to.
  • Layout tools. There are several easy-to-use layout tools available that will allow you to customize images by overlaying text, adding filters, incorporating a logo, etc. Check out Canva to start. It’s intuitive and offers many customizable template layouts, plus a library of free and really cheap stock photos to use. Other tools like PicMonkey and Sumopaint are good for adding filters and creating image collages.

But Wait, There’s More!

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Digital Marketing

5 Tips for Using Social Media for Customer Service

Etihad 777 flight

It started off as a fairly ordinary day.

On Wednesday, three of my colleagues and I were waiting at the Richmond International Airport to board our 8:45 a.m., non-stop Delta Airlines flight from Richmond, Va. to Minneapolis, Minn.

The flight was delayed.

Around 10:30 a.m., we received word that our flight would be leaving around 11:30 a.m. – maybe. We were told that the delay was mechanical, and the Richmond mechanics couldn’t do anything until they consulted with the plane’s manufacturer, Bombardier, in Canada. Bombardier wasn’t returning calls.

So we waited. And waited. And waited.

With time on my hands, I decided to test the responsiveness of Delta’s social media team. I had no expectations that Delta would be able to resolve our flight delay via Twitter, but I was curious to see how Delta would respond.

At 10:45 a.m., I tweeted:

Tweet 1 v2




Minutes later, I received the following tweet back from RB at @DeltaAssist:

Delta Tweet2




As the morning turned…

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Digital Marketing

A Teen’s Perspective: Facebook – In or Out?

Co-Authors: Mac Thomas and Garrett Vollino (with a little help from Lauren Llewellyn, AE, and Rosalie Morton, SAE at PadillaCRT Richmond)

PadillaCRT recently welcomed soon-to-be high school graduates Mac and Garrett as externs in our Richmond office. One day, a Social Media Buttonscasual conversation spurred a larger discussion about the demise of Facebook usage among today’s high school and college students. While it’s no secret that this trend is occurring in social media, we were curious to get the perspective of two true 18-year-olds in the thick of it. Here’s what they had to say about Facebook and “new” social media.

Although Facebook use is declining among 15-25 year olds because of other forms of social media like Twitter and Instagram, it’s always going to remain at the epicenter of social media. After all, it is the most popular and most-used platform out there. In our opinion as soon to be high school graduates, we think that Facebook is losing the battle as the leading social media outlet for teenagers. We have experienced first-hand the progression of social media usage from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram, and the numbers talk, too:

  • Facebook…
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