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

Tuesday, January 27, 2004  

Soft Launch

Well, I wanted to unveil the new site with some kind of fanfare, but I fear this will stop me from ever switching over to Strategic Public Relations' new home.

Goodbye Blogger and Hello Typepad.

You can now subscribe to my RSS feed. All SPR posts reside at this new site, but it will take me awhile before I completely shut this one down. Change is hard.

So be sure to update your links, bookmarks and the like. There is a new post waiting for you.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 12:36:00 PM

Tuesday, January 20, 2004  

Brand Play

The battle for customer attention continues as marketers seek out new ways to grab your attention and traditional approaches bring diminishing returns. New approaches range from conventional—finding new ad real estate and new tchotchkes—to controversial and fun.

We’ve all seen the Orbitz banner ads that encourage you to belly flop into the pool, hit the baseball or throw the snowball. Gartner analysts see this blend of advertising and entertainment increasing. Advergames are a new advertising option and an extension of edutainment. Our agency has created edutainment games designed to reinforce key messages in a fun and engaging way. An example might be a game designed for a client’s sales force to conduct new product training. It is no surprise to see this tactic extended to customers, as traditional advertising gets noisier, and seemingly nosier, than ever.

In fact, PhaseOne Communications has quantified the ad clutter on television in a new report. The research shows that the number of primetime commercials nearly doubled in the last 20 years. For every three hours of programming, nearly an hour of this time is filled with ads. Wow. TiVo will be glad to hear these statistics.

And this saturation will escalate. In fact, advertisers are now placing these costly television spots online to leverage their investment and fully surround specific audiences.

These "advancements" increase the public relations challenge and its importance. More paid advertising means less room for editorial content. Our pitches are now competing for an even smaller piece of real estate. This does not mean ads are taking our place—quite the contrary.

Third party, editorial content (media relations) is key to bringing credibility to advertising. This content serves as a brand's credentials—proving out advertising messages with specific examples. And as any disciple of integrated marketing will tell you, these tactics work best when they work together.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 12:22:00 PM

Tuesday, January 13, 2004  

Blogs: Grass Roots Power

Finally, we see a positive news article showing the possibilities of blogging. It is no surprise this piece comes from the Online Journalism Review.

In the article "Iranian Journalist Credits Blogs for Playing Key Role in His Release From Prison," Mark Glaser interviews Sina Motallebi. Motallebi credits his release from prison to "Iranian and American blogospheres coming together to get publicity and thousands of signatures on an online petition."

Here's the bottom line from Glaser: "Call them self-referential. Call them elitist. Call them blowhards. Call bloggers whatever you want, but you can't deny that they can make a difference, especially when they band together for a serious cause."

posted by Kevin Dugan | 10:01:00 AM

Martha Stewart & Public Relations

The mini-blog is now live. So click here for more information on Martha Stewart & Public Relations. Or, sigh in relief as there will be no more Martha Stewart-related posts on this blog. It's a good thing.

I suspect the new Martha blog will be temporary. Once the trial ends, I will certainly stop updating it.

The new Strategic Public Relations blog, complete with RSS feed, is currently in beta testing. You'll hear more about that yet this month. In the meantime, stay right here for current posts. Now I have to go register the two new sites with about 40 gajillion blog search engines. Oy.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 7:02:00 AM

Friday, January 09, 2004  

Search Engine Strategy

Tired of the G-Word yet?

Well, the nifty tool known as Google is keeping public relations interesting. In fact, several public relations blogs recommend we learn search engine strategy. This tactic is part art, part science and ALL moving target. The rules dictating which sites appear high in search results change as quickly as search engine strategists learn how to bend these rules in their favor.

But there are several approaches to Web content a public relations person can take to ensure their client's site appears higher in search results. Some of these tactics involve more formatting than editing, but they are critical as paid search engine listings are increasing.

Paid search engine listings make an already competitive piece of real estate—the first page—an even tighter space to appear in. As these pages show more paid listings, ads and sponsored results, search engine strategy will help attract target audiences to Web sites.

This is just one more reason to make friends with your agency's media planner. Work with your media planner to determine if paid listings make sense for your search engine strategy.

The media planner overseeing your clients' ad buys can prove invaluable to nearly every public relations effort. They offer the media advertising revenue—online and offline. As a result, they can negotiate value-added services along with ad space. From research and event sponsorship to use of an opt-in mailing list, the value garnered through a media buy can boost the effectiveness of public relations tactics.

I'm not referring to media relations, rather, access to publishers' resources that help promote public relations efforts. "Church and state" should remain separate.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 1:08:00 PM

Thursday, January 08, 2004  

Trade Show Gravity

You will likely find a trade show at the center of the business to business marketing universe. Trade shows bring an entire industry—from manufacturers and customers to media and industry influencers—into one spot to learn what’s new and what’s next.

Trade shows hold more influence on the b to b purchase decision (56 percent) than even the Internet (46 percent) according to Hill & Knowlton research. In my experience, trade shows are usually one of the top three lead generators for b to b marketers. It is also one of the top three marketing expenditures.

Why are they so important?

Brand Awareness: Think about it. To sell our products and services, we employ an array of tactics to reach each specific target audience. A trade show brings nearly every audience—external and internal—together for a few days. It is key that your brand is represented at these shows.

Product Development: Trade shows drive product development. It offers you the chance to unveil a new product in front of the entire industry and give customers, and prospective customers, another reason to purchase.

Lead Generation: Trade shows offer the best opportunity to narrow the purchase decision. Complex, considered purchases are made by an average of seven people. A high level of evaluation and due diligence is conducted to ensure the best choice is made. Trade shows allow customers to do all of this at once and in person.

Sales: Depending where a customer is in the purchase decision cycle (from awareness, interest and evaluation to preference, trial and maintain), they may be at the trade show to make the purchase.

We’re seeing an increase in trade show marketing—hopefully another sign the economy is recovering.

A colorful example is this year’s Auto Show. This leviathan is three-weeks long, with each audience segmented into specific attendance schedules. GM realizes it takes more than a slick tchotchke to generate booth traffic...especially at a show of this magnitude. GM began promoting itself well before the show, first with the American Revolution campaign. Then it went all in, announcing a $50 million car giveaway billed as the “largest in industry history”.

GM is clearly being aggressive to stand out from competitors at the show. Brand awareness will be high, but will new, and free, cars stimulate sales? Clearly GM hopes so. As we discussed before, car manufacturers face a unique set of marketing challenges and opportunities. The Auto Show offers impressive examples of how they respond.

posted by Kevin Dugan | 11:59:00 AM