Three Strategies for Representing Your Brand to the Media

Your brand image matters, whether you’re a part of an established business or in the beginning phases of a start-up company. Your image is what attracts employees and can either make or break your future as a company.How to Talk to the Media

A key component to this is how your company is portrayed by the media. As a C-level
executive, it is your job to successfully communicate to your consumers what your company does, what you can offer them and why they should choose your services over your competition.

Interacting with the media without the right type of training, preferably from an agency, can be detrimental to your personal image as well as your brand.

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Industry Awards Have a Huge Impact on Your Company Inside and Out

In the U.S., we love to compete and win. We take a great sense of pride in our Winners Trophyaccomplishments and love to be recognized for them. We love being on a winning team as well as being fans of sports teams or individuals that are winners. It feels good when you are winning, and you earn a new level of respect as well as credibility. An example of this is the most recent winner of the Masters Golf Tournament, Jordan Speith. He is now perceived as one of the top two professional golfers in the world and ranks No. 5 when it comes to endorsement value at the ripe old age of 21.

Awards in the corporate environment are just as important if not more so. They have a
huge impact on a company’s credibility and therefore the perception of its buyers and prospects. In addition, awards create a sense of pride among a company’s employees which has a direct effect on productivity and turnover. Finally, awards also influence the value of a company, its brand and its position in the marketplace.

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Working with the American News Media: A Coast-to-Coast Guide for PR Pros

Lately we’ve been talking a lot about targeting niche audiences through all marketing disciplines. Our Media Director Sherie has written about the effectiveness of targeting audiences within varying geographic niches while VP, Creative Todd drilled down even further to talk about targeting within a niche of people who ride around in a certain type of car. On the relationship marketing side of things, our President has even spoken out in the American Cities Business Journals about using bloggers to reach customers who have specific niche areas of interest. It wasn’t so long ago that marketing was tasked with reaching the most people at the same time through one medium. But the intricacies of the Internet and insights that come with running and measuring thoughtful digital advertising campaigns and social marketing programs have narrowed our focus towards speaking to a handful of the right people in an environment and at a time that is right for them.

At the end of last year, we were given the opportunity to give this philosophy a new and different application – by looking at the members of the media we build relationships with on behalf of our clients as niche audiences we were pursuing in different regions. It all began with a Brit.

It’s been a running joke in European PR circles for years: U.S. marketers think of ‘Europe’ as a single, homogenous entity. Of course, that’s nonsense. But, if you asked European marketers how PR practice – especially influencer relations – differs between U.S. regions, it would be a short conversation.”

~Richard Fogg, managing director, CCgroup

Screenshot of the CCgroup's website highlighting the transcreation between U.S. regions.

Screenshot of the CCgroup’s website highlighting the transcreation between U.S. regions.

What Richard’s talking about up there is a little bit of the pot meeting the kettle. Richard is the managing director at CCgroup, a London-based PR firm that decided to find friends across the pond and conduct research to build a resource that would help international marketers understand the idiosyncrasies of running PR campaigns across multiple U.S. regions. M/C/C was honored to represent the West South Central region, joining nine other agencies representing the state of media relations activities in their own respective regions. After collecting input and evaluating their survey results, the CCgroup put together a website that paints an interesting picture of the U.S. media landscape; and we think domestic marketers would benefit from checking out its findings, too. Three areas of interest stood out to the researchers and participants.

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Does Social Media Affect Search?

Google’s algorithm updates have informed the public that good search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just about on-page optimization. Public relations now plays a big part in getting ranked higher in search engine results. Quality links from sites that have greater domain authority, such as top tier media outlets, produce higher rankings in search engine results.

Now that we know that PR can affect search, we want to define where and how social media comes into play. Google may place a high value on social media links, or they may not even matter. Can social media really affect search?

The answer is yes and no. I recently listened to a webinar hosted by Spin Sucks and presented by Andy Crestodina titled rather bluntly “How Does Social Media Affect SEO” that offered some insight.  Continue reading “Does Social Media Affect Search?” »

In or Out? Outside Marketing Communications Agencies vs. In-House Resources

Okay – I admit it. I may be a wee bit biased when writing on the subject of the relative advantages and disadvantages of using an in-house ad agency versus outsourcing to a marketing communications agency. You probably already suspected the bias because you’re reading this on a marketing communications’ agency blog. I do believe that outsourcing to an agency provides more advantages than disadvantages based on my own experiences and discussions with companies and clients over the last 20-plus years.

Despite that belief, there are always exceptions and hybrids between in-house and outsourced communications resources. What we’ve seen work best is when a company has strong marketing leadership within the organization combined with a marketing communications agency it trusts. The internal marketing leader should have a strong understanding of the company’s business and marketing objectives, serving as a driving force in developing marketing strategies that align with the company’s goals. This person should communicate these things to the agency frequently, especially as business goals or executive leadership within the organization shifts. The agency and internal marketing staff then work in tandem on the development and execution of programs to reach those goals.

An outside marketing communications agency provides advantages that just can’t be replicated in-house.

Marketing Agency Work EnvironmentAn outside perspective and objectivity. One of the most important, if not THE most important, advantages an outside agency has over in-house staff is objectivity. The agency’s view is not overly colored by internal discussions, politics, views, etc. Emotions and personalities play less of a role in agency recommendations. The most effective work comes not from a focus on how the company views its products and services but how the customer views them. A good outside agency should always be focused on the buyer and not be distracted by other motivations that are impossible to escape in an internal role. Because agencies are not employees, they’re not bound by the same limitations as employees. An outside agency helps you avoid getting tunnel vision from focusing only on your company or industry.

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Listen Up! M/C/C’s Moms Connection Leverages Influencers To Talk Headphones This Holiday

Animalz by Retrak Kids Headphones Monkey DesignOver the holidays, M/C/C and ReTrak brought the technology accessory manufacturer’s Animalz children’s headphones to the masses, just in time for the busiest shopping season of the year. Available in six loveable, soft fabric animal designs with a volume-limiter for lil’ techies, these headphones were ready to fly off the shelves. To help build awareness and interest to ignite sales with moms, the target audience, M/C/C recommended a comprehensive public relations campaign, including blogger and media relations.

Why target moms through blogger and media outreach to increase awareness and interest while driving sales? M/C/C understands their significant influence in decision-making. According to Technorati’s Media & Digital Influence report, blogs are the third most influential digital resource when making purchases, trailing behind only retail sites and brand sites. In fact, the report went on to say that consumers believe smaller communities have greater influence than larger ones. Therefore, M/C/C was sure to engage with moms on blogs of all sizes, since one in four moms reported purchasing kids’ products based on an online recommendation.

Continue reading “Listen Up! M/C/C’s Moms Connection Leverages Influencers To Talk Headphones This Holiday” »

How To Use Outreach and Content Marketing for Buzz-Worthy Campaigns

Content and Outreach MarketingWhen considering how to tell brand stories, there are many differences when it comes to marketing, public relations, advertising and branding.

But two more recent buzzphrases have been cropping up lately: outreach marketing and content marketing.

Similar to public relations, these communications methods create and maintain relationships with an organization’s key audience. Also, these two phrases can oftentimes be public-relations strategies. Here’s how to decode them:

Outreach marketing

This tactic focuses primarily on bloggers and key social media influencers who already advocate for your brand. Similar to what is used in media relations, a brand’s contact reaches out to these advocates and finds ways to incorporate the brand into the advocates’ everyday lives. These are not just people who can talk about the brand, they are extensions of the brand.

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A Few Lessons in Integrated Marketing

IMG_3275Here at M/C/C, we’re no stranger to integrated marketing for clients and have experienced great results from converging digital marketing with IRL experiences for clients like FairLease and the promotion of the company’s “Random Acts of Fairness.”

FairLease is not your average car dealer. They’re more interested in helping people which is why M/C/C helped them launch a “Random Acts of Fairness” campaign around Dallas offering free food to the masses. For this campaign, we utilized several tactics that include: spreading the word through FairLease’s social media accounts that we built and managed, teasing the events to influential news sources and nearby businesses, providing event management and onsite support, generating real-time event updates, leveraging popular Twitter users and hashtags, capturing social photos and producing videos from the events. For many, it was their first interaction with FairLease, and thanks to M/C/C it wouldn’t be their last. As a result, more than 1,600 new friends engaged with FairLease like never before, and FairLease received almost 20 leads directly from this successful campaign.

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1. Over-Promise and Over-Deliver
Listen to customer feedback and decide what works, what doesn’t and how you can improve what you offer. Depending on your businesses, you can use various social media and review sites like Yelp to hear from customers. Focus on customer service above all; constantly surprise customers with how far above and beyond you’ll go for them.

2. Mix Your Energy with Commitment
Look at the big picture by taking a few minutes to write down what your goals are for the next year. Think about the skills and support you’ll need to attain them and then a few small ways to start working on achieving your goals. Don’t let a little success distract you from working hard on your business.

3. Be Open, Real and Flawed
When it comes to social media and customer reviews, don’t delete what your customers have to say. No company is perfect or has a 100-percent satisfaction rate, so don’t hide the few unhappy customers. Admit your mistakes when they happen, and in general, conduct your company’s dealings with honesty and candor. Your customers will notice and love you for it.

4. Care About the Little Things
Focus on the little things your company can do to surprise and serve your customers. Don’t take an immediate ROI or bottom-line look at this one. Happy customers will lead to gains in the long-term.

5. Stand Out and Find Your Niche
Think about your target market, look at what your competitors are doing and embrace your uniqueness! There’s only one of your company in the world.

Now that you know what others are doing as well as what we can accomplish for you, get up and give us a call! Remember, we’re experts in everything integrated.

A Little Less Content and A Lot More Marketing

Content is KingI’m sure you’re as tired as I am of hearing that, “Content is king.” I’ve talked about it in a previous blog, and the phrase has been around for several years with companies continuing to invest more time and money into content marketing. Many times what I see from companies upon implementing a content marketing program is putting too many resources towards the content development but not enough towards the marketing of that finished product. Jonathan Perelman, VP of agency strategy at BuzzFeed, has said numerous times including in a feature with Forbes, “Content is king; distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.” I love this statement because it is so true. Companies are building out large teams focused on executing content – articles, white papers, video, graphics, etc. – but fail to put the similar investment into circulation of that content.

When considering content distribution, my tip for you is to identify “homes” for your content that will contribute value towards reaching your marketing and business goals. You can categorize these homes in a few different ways: owned, earned and paid. Continue reading “A Little Less Content and A Lot More Marketing” »

Knowing the Differences Between Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising and Branding

Marketing and Advertising DifferencesBusiness owners often hear different promotional buzzwords — marketing, advertising, public relations and branding — passed around when it comes to selling a service or product. Each of these facets has its own unique identity and will produce different results.

Depending on what is being sold, the business may only need one of these strategies to target the right audience, but more often than not, it’s an integrated approach that leads to the best results.

Marketing
The action of promoting or selling products or services. This involves market research. Marketing involves anything from choosing the right location of the business, to knowing how much it costs to produce each product/service, deciding where to advertise and deciding who to advertise to. This also includes all marketing material, or “owned media,” such as brochures, websites and pamphlets. Think of someone named Brandon telling you, “I’m a wonderful fisherman.”

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