5 PR Tips My Dog Taught Me

106hThree years ago I rescued an eight year old black lab named Leo—and as the adage says, he rescued me right back.  He was a 65 pound anxious wrecking ball who, when briefly left alone, ate my desk chair, raided my walk-in closet, and brought out and destroyed all my stored paper products. After the first few weeks, we were able to sort things out and develop a truce whereby I would help him get his mojo back and he would show me the wonders that are a dog.  Through him, I’ve learned the merits of unconditional love. I’ve also picked up a few important life lessons that can easily be applied to the workplace.  Here are five PR tips my dog taught me:

  1. Be loyal. Boy, when it comes to loyalty, Leo certainly scores high marks. But historically, there have been quite a storied dogs including Japan’s Hachiko, an Akita who is remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner which continued for many years after his owner’s death and Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier who supposedly spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner.

In business, loyalty is a huge asset. I have had both staffers and clients who have remained loyal to my company for many years. As part of the equation, I find myself rewarding their loyalty. For the staffers, the rewards manifest themselves in promotions and pay raises; for the clients, it manifests in extraordinary personal time and results.

  1. Trust your instincts. On a very basic level, Leo has an instinct that runs like clockwork.  If I am not out of bed by my usual 7AM, he gently jumps up and nuzzles me at exactly 7:30. He also reminds me daily that it is time for his 4PM walk, or Heaven forbid I am late for dinner, there is the nuzzle under my arm as I sit by my desk.

Just like Leo, trust your business instinct.  You’ll know if the client is asking too much, if the editor is really on a deadline, and if your colleague is drowning and needs some extra encouragement.

  1. Perseverance. Leo likes nothing more than the nearly empty jar of Skippy peanut butter as a treat. He holds it between his paws and uses him long, snake-like tongue to patiently lick every remaining drop. The process takes him several minutes but by the time he finally relinquishes the jar, it is clean enough to be plunked into the recycling bin.

Perseverance is a quality that all good public relations professionals must acquire.  As with any PR agency, you need the ability to go after that new business lead, follow-up with that elusive journalists, pursue that client for input, or mentor that less experienced colleague.

  1. Be enthusiastic. Leo’s enthusiasm sometime just makes me laugh. He’ll run for the ball with such gusto as to run right passed it. And when eating, he gulps each meal as if it were his last. Not to mention when I return from a brief outing without him, his jumps for joy make me love him even more.

Now I am not asking you to love your client, but I’ll tell you that a client will surely love you if you show enthusiasm for their company, product, ad campaign, and even children’s photos that are lined up on the desk. For a client’s birthday I once sent a humongous helium balloon with a small bucket dangling beneath filled with champagne and chocolate kisses. Everyone in the company wanted to know who their PR agency was.

  1. Go outside and play. Even though Leo spends most of his time curled under my desk on his comfy dog bed, at the end of our day, we are both ready to go out and play.

I tell my colleagues that working in public relations is not like operating in a hospital. No one dies as a result of our profession. Therefore, take a minute or two, unplug from your computer and cellphone, and go out and play. Have fun!

6 Ways PR Helps Drive Sales

Sales figures
A well executed public relations program can build brand awareness and help develop/increase sales.

A well developed and well executed public relations program can do wonders in helping to develop and drive sales. Here are six ways:

  1.  Earn credibility. The big difference between public relations and advertising is that PR takes a lot more effort. It is often referred to in the marketing industry as “earned media.” Nielsen’s 2015 Trust in Advertising report shows that people trust earned media (i.e. editorial articles and posts) and owned content (i.e. social media) more than any other formats. The dynamic partnership between these two elements plays an important role in understanding and realizing sales growth.
  2. Generate interest. A successful new product or service launch for your target audience will help develop and stimulate interest. It will also serve as a platform for introducing your brand to new audiences. Successfully breaking through the enormous clutter of available information to the average consumer is overwhelming and sometimes confusing.  Working with the media to convey your brand’s message and values so that interest in piqued, is the job of a good public relations agency.
  3. Educate prospects. A well executed public relations program can not only help to educate consumers about your products and services, but it can also influence potential shareholders and business partners. The more they read, see, and hear about your brand, the more engaged and excited they will become.
  4. Create a buzz.  What makes a good public relations campaign is its ability to create buzz through both traditional and new media outreach–earned, owned, and purchased outlets. By connecting them all, a client soon realizes the value of a well integrated marketing plan.
  5. Door opener. OK, which would you find more credible: Receiving a link to a sales pdf or a recent news article?  This should be a no-brainer. The more newsworthy a company or brand is, the more likely an audience will find it more believable,important, and credible. That’s the power of public relations.
  6. Good content is recyclable. Good content, whether it be for a blog, social media site, or a press release, should be recycled and reused time and time again. After all, what are you paying a good PR agency for, if not to have them create content you can recycle?  It’s not only time efficient, but also cost efficient. It’s a way of getting more bang for your buck.

6 PR Tips That Help Build a Brand

Getting through the maze of sales tools
Here are some useful public relations tips for building brand and increasing sales.

Building your brand and maintaining its presence is a full-time job. Sometimes this job can be handled internally, but other times, the best solution can come from an external public relations agency.

Here are 6 PR tips that help build a brand:

  1. Public relations. As a demand-generation tool, nothing beats a well crafted and strategically implemented public relations program.  For developing credibility and garnering brand awareness, a PR campaign can hone messages, build brands, develop prospects and avert crises.  Talk to a public relations agency and learn what it has to offer.  Your brand will thank you…so will your bottom line.
  2. Social media outreach. Be careful not to discount millennials. Like it or not, they are the newest and most passionate group to jump onto the social media bandwagon. You can’t be late to dinner for this one. Your public relations agency can easily develop and maintain your social media pages, but so can your internal marketing department.  Bottom line is, make sure someone is minding the store.
  3. Blogging. Again, a good public relations agency can assist you in the development of your company blog. You should spend some time figuring out your point-of-view.  This will make it easier for you, your PR agency, or your marketing department to feel comfortable writing in your style and voice.
  4. Research. Before any outside agent can assist you with your branding, you better do your own initial research into your marketplace.  Who are your competitors? Pricing? Potential controversy, such as ingredients, pricing, sourcing? Know your audience and know it well. Consumers can be a fickle bunch.
  5. Reputation management. In the current climate, reputation matters more than some appreciate. Protecting, as well as enhancing, your reputation is important for your bottom line. Strong sales can be the result of strong leadership and an innovative sales department. But, it can also be the result of a strong reputation.  Make sure you take the time to not only create your reputation, but to learn to protect it.  One bad online review that goes unanswered can lead to a potential viral disaster and an end consumer confidence.
  6. Promotion. There is a fine line between enticing promotion and bombarding your customers with unwanted emails and promotional materials. Balance and timing is everything. Choose your targets and messages carefully. Realize that a well positioned promotional pieces or event, selectively placed and strategically developed, will do a lot for your brand sales and growth.

What My Mother Told Me Relates to Your PR Image

newspaper
What My Mother Told Me Relates to Your PR Image

I remember when I was a kid my mother telling me, pharmDon’t sign your name to anything that you wouldn’t be afraid of appearing one day on the front page of the New York Times.” How true these words of wisdom were.

Today, buy with the advent of the internet, it seems that everyone is obsessed with themselves—and others—from constant social media updates, including those ubiquitous snaps of what they’re eating, to selfies.  But heed the warning of my mother and beware of the following:

  • Photos–The next time you go to post photos of your awkward encounters, including drinking, carousing and canoodling, think about what mother said—and don’t do it.  It can come to haunt you in the future.  Today, employers often ask not only to view your social media sites, but also ask for passwords so they can take a closer look.  Don’t risk it.
  • Social sites—The same warning goes for sites like Facebook and Twitter where people often vent their hostilities towards people, places and things.  Mom would tell you to inhale, breathe slowly, and take a minute to rethink posting hostile posts.  Like those irreverent photos, they too have a life of their own.  And in the corporate world, where you may go to seek future employment, well, this just may be a hindrance. But, on the other hand, a little reverence may go a long way by posting comments/opinions/complaints on company social sites, such as their Facebook or Twitter, and often will engender a rapid response.
  • Emails—Need I say more than these two words: Hillary Clinton.  Be aware that emails too have a life of their own and a strange way of never disappearing. They are like that stray piece of dog hair that sticks to your clothing and try as you may, never gets pulled off.  That’s what happens to emails. After you write them, again, think about taking that extra breathe, inhale and then fully contemplate the possible ramifications of the content in your email appearing on the front page of the New York Times.   In another point of interest: Be aware of that reply all button, and try NOT to hit it, especially when replying on personal matters.  Everyone remembers at least once occasion when that button got them in trouble.