More Bang for Your Trade Show Dollars

24 03 2014

(Guest post by Kayla Brown, Intern)

When it comes time for your company to take part in a trade show or an event just showing up isn’t enough and it won’t guarantee the media coverage you are looking for. So this time around shake it up and try something new.KB Headshot

Trade shows offer prime opportunities to showcase your newest products, as well as opportunities to extend and amplify your messages to a broader audience.

Your company has already spent thousands of dollars on a booth, developing messaging and creating a unique experience for your customers and prospects. Why not enhance that by inviting and interacting with the media?

Engaging reporters with interviews and demonstrations will help reinforce your message by earning media coverage, which can add to your credibility and also reach thousands of customers and prospects who could not attend the show.

Best of all, this can be easily achieved. Here are some simple tips:

1. Reach out to media several weeks before the show. Let them know what you’ll be offering such as new products, demonstrations and who will be available for interviews;

2. Set up interviews or demonstration appointments a week or two before the show;

3. Prepare press materials and brief your spokespeople;

4. Have a PR expert handy during the show to engage and pitch reporters on the spot; and

5. Conduct follow-up with the media after the show to answer any questions and make sure they have all the materials they need (press kit / images / etc.).

Of course, social media is another great way to generate extra buzz before, during and after a trade show. Here’s how:


Create and promote a #hashtag for your show presence so users can find all related tweets. Also, tweet links that lead media and prospects to where they can find information, especially if they were unable to attend.


Post coverage and links on your company’s Facebook page and encourage attendees to “like” your page, so they can post replies, share feedback and learn more.


If you have any videos from the show or press conference, edit the footage into short, exciting segments then promote and link videos to your website and other social media sites.

Integrating traditional PR and social media with your trade show activities can maximize your reach, credibility and impact for enhanced marketing ROI.

12 Things to Expect from Your PR Agency – Reprise

29 05 2013

In an earlier post, we outlined a list of seven things a client can do to make its PR agency great – our thoughts on how a client can make its PR firm more effective and a better partner ( here’s the link:

Based on our firm’s 20-year history – and a few client relationships that have lasted more than 16 years – we’ve learned there are also a number of things an agency should do to make its relationships with clients mutually beneficial.

Of course, results are ultimately the most important thing in the client-agency relationship.

Generating solid results, however, is just the start of a great relationship, according to many of the clients we’ve talked with over the years.

If you’re a client, your peers think you should also be able to expect your PR firm team to:

1)      Be attentive – they should be responsive, accessible and pro-active, and they should feed the relationship

2)      Think long-term and strategic – not just about short-term activities or easy billings

3)      Offer ideas and opportunities that are good for your business – even if they are outside of the PR realm and don’t add any revenue or work for the agency

4)      Be a good steward of your budget – they are prompt and fair with billing and are thrifty with your money

5)      Keep you informed – they strive for transparency and no surprises

6)      Anticipate your needs – and they work hard to meet them before you’ve asked them to

7)      Provide a realistic view of what you can expect – honest, accurate, puffery-free predictions about cost, timing, impact and/or results

8)      Demonstrate that they are always thinking about you and looking out for your best interests

9)      Make you the hero – and not seek or take credit for a program’s successes

10)   Know, and cater to, your preferences and priorities – instead of forcing you to accept theirs

11)   Communicate with you candidly, honestly and frequently – better too much than too little

12)   Make it pleasant, friendly and fun for you to work with them – everyone does better in a positive environment.

I’ve always believed that if we, the PR agency team, take care of the client, the client will take care of us. So far, in the majority of cases, that has proven true. It can for you, too.

Clients: What other expectations do you have for your PR agency?

2011’s Business Buzzwords to be Banned

19 12 2011

The results  — of our 2011 unscientific survey for the business buzzwords you’d like to killare in.

Based on a couple of hundred responses from communicators, PR and marketing types from about a dozen LinkedIn groups, here are the 20 most hated business buzzphrases:

  1. At the end of the day*
  2. Social media expert
  3. It is what it is*
  4. Reach out*
  5. Metrics
  6. Moving / going forward*
  7. Solutions / solutioning*
  8. Out of the box thinking*
  9. Paradigm shift
  10. Right-sizing
  11. Icon/iconic
  12. Visionary
  13. View from X-thousand feet
  14. State-of-the-art
  15. Best practices
  16. Engagement*
  17. Leverage* (as a verb)
  18. Any synthetic verb made by adding -ize to a noun – such as calendarize
  19. Seamless
  20. Integrate

Those marked with an * were also on 2010’s top 20 list ( ).

 Thanks to all who participated!

Is your most-hated business buzzword included? Do you have any additions?

Forget Perfection

15 09 2011

Ever been paralyzed by being a perfectonista?

A recent post about “perfectionism” got me thinking about the difference between perfection and excellence. After spending years striving for, and being obsessed about, perfection at our PR firm, we have come to realize it’s usually better, more productive, more fulfilling and ultimately more appreciated by our clients – if we strive for excellence.

Here are seven reasons why:  

1. An obsession with Perfection causes procrastination because your work never seems good enough. A focus on Excellence gets things done with the time and resources you have.

2. An obsession with Perfection bogs you down in the details. A focus on Excellence propels you to keep moving forward.

3. An obsession with Perfection positions you to need the approval of others. A focus on Excellence wins you the approval of others.

4. An obsession with Perfection puts you in a constant state of stress. A focus on Excellence eliminates undue stress and inspires creativity because excellence is seen as within reach.

5. An obsession with Perfection prevents you from taking risks. A focus on Excellence helps you to see that risk generates rewards … and helps you to take appropriate risks boldly.

6. An obsession with Perfection kills teamwork, because others know you will find fault with anything they do. A focus on Excellence encourages teamwork and inspires teammates to do more than they thought possible.

7. An obsession with Perfection becomes a bottomless pit that’s difficult to climb out of. A focus on Excellence becomes a mountaintop that opens new vistas for you.

To paraphrase something said by one of America’s most heralded military strategists, General George S. Patton: An excellent plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.

So we suggest focusing on being excellent rather than obsessing about perfection … and don’t be surprised if you generate some simply perfect results.

How has being a perfectionista affected your work?

Creativity: The Magic Is In Your Head

22 03 2011

We’ve often heard entry-level or junior staffers in the PR or communications field ask: “Where did you get the idea for that program? I could never be that creative.”

Creativity is a by-product of hard work, as long-time columnist-commentator-curmudgeon Andy Rooney once said. He suggested that the best creative ideas are the result of the same slow, selective cognitive process that produces the sum of a column of figures.

So, perhaps, if you can add, you can be creative?

One way to describe creativity is the bringing together of two ideas that have never been connected in that way before. It’s doesn’t look so daunting under that definition. Even people who don’t think they are creative can do this, right?

The real key to success here, then, is to expose oneself to more ideas. The more ideas you expose yourself to, the more ideas you’ll be able to file away in your cranial database … and the more potential you’ll have to be able to marry two ideas in a new, useful way.

But just how do you do that? Here are my recommendations:

First, be a voracious consumer of news and information – from all kinds of media. Instead of reading the same newspaper every day, read different papers from different areas that offer different viewpoints. While driving in to the office, forego your cell phone, iPod or CD, and listen to a radio station you’ve never listened to before. Likewise, watch different TV channels, read different kinds of publications, and read books of all kinds – from staples like Shakespeare and The Bible to the latest non-fiction and novels. See different kinds of movies. Even take a different route to work when possible. Be curious, receptive and adventurous to seek out new places, new interests and new views.

Second, as the Japanese say, genchi genbutsu – go and see. Get out of the office and visit your client or customer, tour their plant or service center, talk with their customers, attend a trade show or a conference, and visit the editorial offices of a trade publication you deal with.

Third, ask a lot of questions. People in the PR and marcom business tend to spend too much time selling themselves and their companies, products and services, and not enough time listening. Seek to know and understand the trends and issues affecting your client and their customers/clients … and what’s important to them. You’ll gain a lot of knowledge and insight from their answers. That insight leads to ideas that lead to creativity. Bonus: The more questions you ask and the more you let others talk, the more people will comment about what a brilliant conversationalist you are!

Fourth, force yourself to be creative. You’re not going to be struck by a lightning bolt of creativity, so sitting around waiting for the strike isn’t going to be productive. You have to sit down and damn well decide to have an idea! You have to work at it.

Five, start crazy and then bring it back to Earth. When brainstorming, it’s good to start the session with an outrageous idea. For example, years ago, when brainstorming for client DuPont Automotive Products, a colleague suggested that the client host a “World Wrestling Federation Grudge Match under the Bexloy® Dome of Death,” an event idea that the client would never buy. But that outlandish idea helped to prime the pump, and ultimately sparked another idea that the client DID buy.

Plus, being a little outlandish – at least in the confines of your own cubicle or conference room – can be liberating and fun … and you will always do better work when you’re having fun

I’ve always been tempted to present a self-proclaimed uncreative staff person with a magician’s top hat and ask them to put the hat on. Then I would be able to say: “Now, you’re creative. You’ve got the magic in that hat … but only because your head is in the hat … and the magic is all in your head.”  

You CAN be creative. But first, you’ve got to convince yourself that you can.


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