Monthly ArchiveAugust 2007

Marketing 22 Aug 2007 11:15 am

Left brain expands to show marketing/PR results

I like to study left brain/right brain issues because when you build your business you need people with complementary strengths from each side of the brain to make it work well.

The left side of the brain is generally regarded as more logical; the right more creative.

Most creative firms have long been dominated by right-brainers with creative orientations, not left-brain people. But that is changing fast.

I’ve noticed a trend to left-brain thinking in marketing because managers want to measure results of their PR and marketing campaigns to determine return on investment.

Deliverables are being sought and metrics are being applied to see who is reading information and what they are doing about it.

This left-brain movement is bringing some science into PR and marketing to help measure results.

Posted by Larry

Marketing &Media &Public Relations Tools &Technology PR Insights 10 Aug 2007 02:12 pm

And the strategic PR tactic of the year is: the award

Awards are great PR tactics because they build credibility and visibility. Pursuing award opportunities can enhance industry leadership and build your company’s market recognition. Furthermore, awards serve a third-party endorsement of the quality products or services you offer (i.e. America’s Most Respected Companies, Best Places to Live America’s Favorite Cookie, etc.). That credibility accomplishes more than any advertising campaign.

Given the power of awards, it’s also important to understand where to look for them and how to pursue them for your organization. The diverse array of awards available might be daunting at first, but that’s a good thing. Different awards allow you to highlight different aspects of your business. Here’s a quick overview of some of the major award types and how they help you:

Industry awards recognize your company’s excellence within its primary area of expertise. You can apply for these awards for reasons including recent innovation, new product or company growth. Depending on the size of your business, you might be the best darn software development firm in the country, you might fall into the top 50 or 100, or you might fit a more specialized industry award, like “best developer of public transit tracking software” or “best manufacturer of polyester shoelaces” rather than best footwear manufacturer overall. Look to your trade publications and national industry organizations to find these opportunities.

Local media awards allow your company to showcase a strong suit other than its industry expertise. You might be the industry’s best developer of public transit tracking software, but you might also be one of your region’s “coolest places to work,” “best and brightest,” “fastest growing private companies,” etc. Check local business publications for announcements of these awards.

Professional organization membership awards acknowledge your contribution to the community of colleagues in related professions. Detroit’s Automation Alley, for example, has an annual awards gala to recognize the best member individuals and companies. Your member newsletters or the organizations’ websites are a great place to find out more about the awards they offer.

Awards for individuals within your company highlight employee excellence. Often, top-level executives are submitted for these awards based on significant victories, contributions or characteristics. Crain’s 40 under 40, for example, showcases one member of your team, but brings a measure of clout to the business as a whole. Not only that, these awards are often a morale booster; they show you recognize your employees’ contributions. Available on local, national and industry-wide levels, these opportunities can be found through professional organizations and it many trade and business news publications.

Awards for specific activities, generally given by professional organizations, recognize very specific areas of excellence. PRSA’s Silver Anvil Award for Crisis Communications, for example, awards member agencies based on documented strategic development and execution of one specific project. Consider pursuing awards for your web site, a successful ad campaign, company newsletter, new product design, etc.

Awards from clients, like “supplier of the year” and “certified partner,” allow you to demonstrate trends of excellent service—a plus when seeking new business—and help build your company’s recognition through association with other, often high-profile, clients. Explore these opportunities among clients with whom you have a positive, long-term relationship.

If none of these works for you, you can create your own award. This technique brings recognition to companies or individuals you think are doing something good, and it brings you recognition through association. Not only that, you’re also showing your company appreciates the contributions of others; something leaders at all levels do regularly. Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award is a great example of successful award creation. NuStep, Inc., an Ann Arbor-based maker of recumbent cross-training machines, gives its Pinnacle Award to exemplary health and wellness centers each year.

With all these options, the question becomes “where do I begin?” As with all successful PR tactics, some strategic planning with bring you closer to success. Establishing an award pursuit strategy involves three key actions:

  1. Set goals! The pursuit of awards should support a defined purpose and work hand-in-hand with your business goals. Decide what you’d like your business to be known for and among whom and only pursue awards that will allow you to meet those goals. If you’re a baker, you might decide you want your bakery to be known locally for its great food and ambiance, and within the industry for its inventive recipes. You would apply for “top restaurant” or “best of” awards in local publications and “croissant recipe of the year” in trade publications. You wouldn’t apply for an unrelated award, like “best campfire sing-along leader,” even if you’re the undisputed champion, because it doesn’t further your business goals. Choosing award opportunities that suit your business makes you more likely to win.
  2. Create an award database! Once you’ve defined your goals and audiences, it’s time to do some research. Find out about relevant award opportunities—application processes, deadlines, contact information, etc.—and keep all of that information in one central document. Try building an annual database so you’re aware of future opportunities and you can easily search within your master document for upcoming deadlines and other information. This saves you time in the long run; any additional research will supplement your master document, but you wont have to re-create it until next year. Your opportunity database should be comprehensive enough to allow for more than one award application in a defined period.
  3. Apply consistently! You might decide you want to pursue one award per quarter, per year, etc. Whichever time frame you choose, make sure you are consistently applying for, and winning, relevant awards. If you decide to adopt award pursuit as a PR strategy, you should commit to it; make awards as much a priority as any of your other tactics and don’t wait for the opportunity to come to you. This will ensure your business is consistently recognized as excellent, not just a flash in the pan.

Posted by Nicole