Strategic Public Relations
Focused on public relations strategy within the integrated marketing communications mix.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002  

B to B: the movie?

In lieu of substantive, thought-provoking content I submit the following lighthearted take on which movies best portray business.

Personally, I tell people that PBS got me interested in business to business marketing. Think back to your days of children's television—there were always short snippets of manufacturing footage set to music. These short films took us behind-the-scenes to see how things like crayons and toothpaste are made. This behind-the-scene look at things always intrigued me. Now, business to business marketing gets me onto the factory floor. And at the end of the day, it is one of the things I enjoy most about my career.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 11:13:00 AM

Tuesday, September 17, 2002  

Clients for Life

Non-fiction is a tougher read for me than fiction. I admit it. Despite this fact, I just started to read Clients for Life: How Great Professionals Develop Breakthrough Relationships. If I glean anything useful, I will make a full report to SPR. If it is a few months before I report, you will know why.

The book brings to mind a classic client situation:
After reaching a particularly successful client milestone—from landing the cover of a national publication to presenting next year's integrated marketing communications plan—most teams will cringe when the client responds: "What's next?"

It's only natural to want to enjoy the moment and get a few client accolades for the hard work you have done. Everyone is inclined to spend some time reveling in his or her accomplishments. However, the bottom line is, we should expect this question.

Sure, the most obvious reasons are because clients pay for our services and our job is never done. But history shows us that if this question were not asked, we would not do our best work.

In The Father of Spin, we read about some of Edward Bernays' finest hours. Bernays' client, George Washington Hill at American Tobacco Company, wanted to increase market share with women for ATC's Lucky Strikes brand. **disclaimer: great example, terrible industry. no need to cover the dangers of tobacco here as a result of this acknowledgement.

Bernays' strategies landed cigarettes on restaurant menus as a low-calorie alternative to sweets. He got cabinetmakers to build a special cigarette compartment into kitchen cabinets. And when Lucky Strikes' green packaging tested badly with women—it clashed with most of their clothing—Bernays wisely suggested a neutral color be used instead. Hill balked, so Bernays actually worked on making green a fashionable color.

Bernays' strategies resulted in a $32 million increase in sales that year. $32 million is impressive growth today, not to mention back in the late 1920s.

Hill's response? "What's next?"

As a result, Bernays staged the Torches of Freedom march down Fifth Avenue. Arguably this was his most artful and well-known effort to date.

So clients may seem less than appreciative when they ask this question. But not only do they have a right to ask "What's next?" the timing simply could not be better. Clients push us to deliver bigger, better, faster, MORE. Our strategies improve in the process.

The next time we are asked "What's next?" not only should we expect the question, we should have an answer.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 10:25:00 AM

Sunday, September 15, 2002  

Businesses Reflect

USA Today detailed how several businesses observed the anniversary of 9/11. Personally, I took the First Lady's advice and steered clear of the television. This is not an easy task as a bank of four TV sets sit outside my office. I did notice subtle things like Yahoo's choice to turn their site black and white for the day. Overall, businesses took a low-key and tasteful approach to the anniversary of 9/11. Quite frankly this was much more than just a strategy, it was the right thing to do.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 2:23:00 PM

Monday, September 09, 2002  

low key

As the 9.11 anniversary fast approaches, it is interesting to read how companies will promote themselves on Wednesday. With our pure business to business focus, we're recommending our clients take a low key approach if they do any marketing at all that day.

The First Lady recently upped the ante by encouraging everyone to turn off their TV, light a candle in memorial and read to their children. Instead of tuning in for the various tributes and non-stop coverage Wednesday will bring, spend the day observing the anniversary in a low key fashion instead.

So, does this mean there will there be NO ads and PR on 9.11? Of course not. Thanks to Tom Murphy, I read an article that points out appropriate consumer brands might want to advertise that day. But I really like the First Lady's idea. Even with the TV off for the day, there will be plenty of reminders of what happened to America last year.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 8:52:00 AM

Wednesday, September 04, 2002  

Blog Book Burning?

Some words are being exchanged over at Slate as it applies to our fave topic.

Interesting points are made—as business tries to figure out a way to make money on blogging, do old media tactics really apply? This article also humorously nails down some stereotypical blogging personalities. Check it out.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 7:57:00 AM