PR Industry Trends

In Defense of Publicists

Recently I sat across from some restaurant “publicists” at a dinner and as I listened to them and fed them ideas for promoting their client, I was amazed (appalled?) at the lack of understanding. I asked myself, “Does anyone think they can write a release, get it out on PR Newswire and call themselves a publicist?” It suddenly occurred to me why my industry has such a lack of empathy from the world: People who don’t put in the effort expect a grand pay off. Is that a Millennial thing? Naivety? Or idiocy?Public relations concept in tag cloud

Needless to say, I was annoyed, upset and a little shocked. When people ask what I do, I say public relations for alcohol. I’m sure many think I just drink all day and tinker around. OK, sometimes. But in all seriousness, I consider myself a fantastic publicist, and yes, I say PUBLICIST, and I’m not ashamed. And for those naysayers out there, it’s considered one of the hardest jobs in the U.S.

Public relations is about perception. It’s all about how one perceives the topic of conversation and approaches the situation…

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Healthcare

Oscar Winning Health

As I was sitting in the movie theater watching previews of the many Oscar-nominated flicks that came out this winter, I noticed a theme: health has again made its way into our movies.

Still AliceMovies like Cake, Still Alice and The Theory of Everything are offering glimpses into diseases and conditions which many of us have never seen. These powerful stories allow us to deeply understand things like chronic pain, Alzheimer’s and ALS from the patient’s perspective. And, these actors can’t help but get Oscar buzz when portraying such raw and honest emotion, often doing major research and even meeting patients in order to bring real authenticity to their performance.

In fact, a new series on cancer research set to release in March is deeply personal to those involved in the project. Ken Burns, the filmmaker, lost his mom to cancer. Sharon Rockefeller, the project’s initiator, is a colon cancer survivor. And, Edward Hermann, the narrator, died of brain cancer shortly after completing work on the film. I’m not sure you can get more personal or genuine.

Even more than a blog post or video that claims…

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Branding

2015 Food Trends: What we love, hate and can’t wait to start

Each January is jam-packed with trend analyses and predictions, and the food/beverage/nutrition world is no exception. Here, instead of restating what was or professing to know what will be, our cross-category team of food marketing experts shares its hopes and dreams for the good, the bad and the not-yet-developed trends.

FOOD MEDIA – Max Martens

A trend I hope to see continue:  

Printed recipe illustrations

Seeing recipe ingredients deconstructed and laid artfully side by side demystifies complex dishes and gives us publicists a way to gain awareness for ingredients that aren’t always visible in a finished dish.

HappinessIs (Source: HappinessIs blog)

A trend I hope to see fade:

Listicles

They aren’t unique to food journalism, but in this genre I’m tired of seeing the likes of “the five pancakes to eat before you die” and “top 20 restaurants with secret menus.”

A trend I hope to see start:

Some sort of reconciliation between the extremes of typical eye-grabbing consumer food headlines

Deprivation and decadence. Diets vs. deliciousness. Let’s face the fact that food can be really good ­AND good for you if you do it right.

 

FOOD + SOCIAL MEDIA –…

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Digital Marketing

Beyond impressions – key PR metrics for 2015

The New Year provides new opportunities to do great work for your clients.  In the wine industry, success is measured by the number of cases sold and marketing, sales and PR are ultimately evaluated by how much they contribute to the “bottom line.” At the end of the day, the main question is: How much was sold?

As communication professionals, we appreciate a good challenge. How PR contributes to sales and how to measure that connection is an evergreen challenge.  A recent PR Newswire survey proved that the most common PR goals are (still) outputs, not outcomes. Who doesn’t want media coverage (an “output” goal), but how do media hits translate to very real outcomes, like web traffic, conversions, sales leads, etc.? PR measurement guru Katie Paine is known for her opinion that “HITS are How Idiots Track Success.” While I wouldn’t go that far, there are great metrics to complement your target number of impressions when creating 2015 goals for your client.

Earned Media

A media placement is the result of hard work, but don’t stop at reporting the number of impressions. Observe…

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PR Industry Trends

5 Lessons Learned from ‘Frozen’

FrozenYou’d never know over a year has passed since the theatrical delight ‘Frozen’ skated its way into our hearts. In that short time, ‘Frozen’ has gone from a holiday box office hit to a pop culture icon with female lead, Elsa (played by Idina Menzel), paving the way. TIME even named her the “Most Influential Character of 2014,” and her merchandise has topped the Christmas lists of little girls everywhere. Here are five PR and marketing lessons we can learn from this Disney masterpiece:

1. Appeal to multiple audiences Audiences across American quickly fell in love with Frozen. Even I have to admit I crank up the volume and rock out when “Let It Go” comes on. Not only do kids love it – the obvious target – but parents also enjoy the catchy music and pithy dialogue. Even dogs love it! By appealing to such a wide variety of audiences, Frozen got full market penetration and immense success.

2. Take a modern approach Frozen has been acclaimed as the most progressive Disney movie ever, and the strategy obviously worked. Disney decided to roll with the times and created…

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PR Industry Trends

Warren Buffett on Reputation – The Dude Gets It

Late last week Berkshire Hathaway leader and perennial investment rock star Warren Buffett sent his bi-annual letter to the “all-star” leaders of the more than 80 different companies that Berkshire owns. The central theme?

Reputation.
We can afford to lose money – even a lot of money.  But we can’t afford to lose reputation – even a shred of reputation.
The dude gets it. One of the most influential business leaders and financial minds of the last century is telling his top managers that money can be recovered much easier than reputation. And this nothing new for Buffett – he said it back in 2010 when he took over as Chairman and CEO of Solomon Brothers. Back then he said “lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.”

reputation moneyCharacteristic of Buffett, those two quotes say more about reputation than thousands of reputation management, brand and image consultants (me included). A few key points:

It’s all about actions. Buffett makes it pretty clear that it’s what his management does – not just what it says – that will…

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Healthcare

Nobody Needs the Doctor’s Office

Convenience is the most important aspect of the new healthcare world.

These days, a sore throat doesn’t always warrant a call to your primary care physician. Instead, a quick search on your favorite health site can give you the information you seek and you don’t even have to leave your desk. Ever heard of WebMD? (Uh, yeah).  The last place any of us want to be is in a doctor’s office, waiting to be seen, waiting to get an answer and just waiting to catch what the guy next to us has.

At the Virginia Society of Healthcare Marketing and PR (VSHMPR) Fall Conference, I learned consumers are no longer accepting the traditional patient-doctor relationship. We are empowered. We are informed. We are connected. And we’ll take drastic measures to avoid a doctor’s office.

One medical groupThat’s why One Medical Group is reinventing the doctor’s office. If you ask them, they prefer not to be categorized as a doctor’s office at all. They don’t treat patients, they engage with members. Appointments are not only guaranteed to start on time, but also last longer and offer a higher quality interaction. They also…

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PR Industry Trends

Top 3 Beverage Alcohol Trends for 2015

It’s not even December, yet the web is already buzzing with predictions on what’s hot in the wine and spirits industry in 2015. Maybe someone took their cue from Walmart, which started selling Holiday decorations the day after Halloween.

Like it or not, trend reports, much like holiday decorations, no longer wait for sweater weather. Jumping on the band wagon, here are three emerging beverage trends for 2015.

The Boilermaker Celebrates a Comeback

In 2015, craft cocktails will share the spotlight with simpler, more straight-forward drinks, such as a shot and a beer, known as a “boilermaker.” Case in point, The New York Times recently published a full-page feature on the classic pairing. Some of these pairings are the usual cheap-whiskey-and-cheaper-beer marriages one expects, but more sophisticated duos are making their way into bars across the country.

Wine Pairings Go East

Asian food will continue to be a huge trend next year, so think about how to educate your audience on clever pairings for your alcohol beverage brands. For the best pairings with Ramen noodles, Vietnamese Pho and Korean street food-inspired grub, Wine…

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PR Industry Trends

Why We Love Halloween (Trick or Treat!)

Co-authored by Emily Valentine

 

It’s our best guess that this weekend, you will either a) attend an epic costume party, b) hear about an epic costume party, c) see pictures of said epic costume party or d) all of the above. If you answered “d,” congratulations; your weekend will clearly be black, orange and “basic” all over. It’s not a bad thing. Adults these days LOVE Halloween. They really get into it.

The National Retail Federation predicts that this weekend, some 75 million adults will put on costumes. Americans are expected to spend $2.8 billion on costumes, according to NRF’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey. Specifically, consumers will spend $1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes and $350 million on pet costumes. Moreover, total Halloween spending is estimated to reach $7.4 billion this year, with the average person spending $77.52 on indoor and outdoor décor, costumes, and candy. That’s a whole lot of money for one little weekend. Don’t get us wrong. We’re not hating; we just wonder… why?

Is it because it’s the one time each year we can get away with dressing in scary, outlandish or downright inappropriate costumes… in public?

(Maybe Cady Heron…

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Healthcare

Survey Says: Using Survey Data in Consumer Health

If you work for a brand that doesn’t necessarily have news to report on a regular basis, sometimes you have to create your own news. And, survey research is a great way to do that! After the award-winning success of our last public education campaign with the American Physical Therapy Association where we identified the Top 10 Fittest Baby Boomer Cities in America using survey research, we decided to use the strategy once again in a campaign for National Physical Therapy Month. APTA staff worked with members to determine 7 common myths about physical therapy that may discourage consumers from experiencing the benefits of physical therapist treatment. From those myths we developed a survey to determine the extent to which they exist among their target audiences. We used various tactics to debunk these myths, including media relations, advertising, a webpage and an infographic. Here are the four best practices I learned for effectively leveraging survey research:

APTA Infographic PortionCreate an Infographic

I know this one may seem fairly obvious, but when used correctly, infographics can be a wonderful tool, especially in consumer healthcare. Infographics take detailed, sometimes boring information…

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