Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations

By: MJ Pedone

The terms marketing and public relations seem to always be confused and intertwined. While they do compliment each other, there certainly is a difference between the two.

Marketing

Marketing is the development of an image through collateral strategies such as your website, logo, ads, writing, social media, bio and a media kit. Experienced marketing and design professionals will assist with writing and developing your marketing materials, which will save you money in the long run. Marketing professionals will brand you the way you want and in a timely fashion.

Public Relations

Public Relations is the development and management of an image. This consists of media outreach which includes print, tv, radio, digital, social media, blogging, charity/non-profit outreach, obtaining endorsements and the distribution of press releases and media kits. The majority of people think that public relations is an area where they can save money and do the work themselves. Writing press releases and sending them to media outlets isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. The time involved in writing the releases and researching the correct contacts can take almost an entire day. Do you know the techniques involved in writing an eye-catching press release and how to obtain the correct contacts to submit your release to? Or how to “pitch” your story so that those reading it are eager to hear more and feature you? Editors today are overpitched and hit the delete button very quickly so you will need to make sure that you don’t fall into that category.

Here are some tips when you should hire a PR expert:

  • You have a solid marketing plan in place.
  • You want to utilize a professional who has existing relationships with the media.
  • You understand the value of hiring a team experienced in executing successful PR campaigns.
  • You realize that although you have experience in your industry, a PR professional will brings added value to the table.
  • You realize that you wont gain the earned media and awareness that you seek by just talking about it and need to hire someone who can.

The power of PR can catapult your brand instantly. Start with a solid marketing plan using experienced professionals and than launch your PR campaign with a public relations team who has the experience and contacts to do so. Let the publicist do what they do best while you tend to the day-to-day needs of your business.

Do you use a publicist to get the message out for your company? Is your campaign effective? As always, we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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The Branding of Planet Fitness

By: Gina Mason

The ever-growing fitness chain, Planet Fitness has established quite a brand for itself. With over 700 fitness centers across the US and its trademarked “judgment free zone,” Planet Fitness has successfully appealed to those who are looking to get healthy without having to deal with “gym-timidation.”

(gym-timidation: the gym behavior that makes everyday people feel uncomfortable).

Planet Fitness has truly built its brand around being the “anti-gym,” making it a place free of “lunks,” meatheads, grunting and fad fitness classes. Thanks to its extremely low membership rate and some very witty advertisements, its goal of targeting the 85% of the population who are NOT fitness enthusiasts is clearly working. According to CEO, Chris Rondeau, Planet Fitness has “over 5 million members and is now the fastest-growing gym chain in the U.S.”

As far as branding goes, Planet Fitness has done a great job establishing its individuality and differentiating itself from other gym chains. I personally love the idea behind the brand because I think is something that we can all relate to as most of us have experienced a sense of uneasiness at the gym at least once in our lives. However as of late, a few of Planet Fitness’ tactics have been inconsistent with its “no judgment” branding and have sent mixed messages to its audience.

Lunk Alarm

Planet Fitness has trademarked the “Lunk Alarm” where employees can set off a siren throughout the gym when someone drops their weights or appears to be breathing too hard. Although this may be slightly comical to some, publically calling out or embarrassing someone for appearing to be working out to hard is not exactly consistent with the “judgment free zone.”

Too Toned

Just this week, a woman in California was asked to leave the gym because she was “intimidating people with her toned body.” According to a report from KTVU.com, the woman was asked to put a shirt on to cover her string tank top and while waiting for the t-shirt, she was approached by another staff member in regard to her body being intimidating. She proceeded to get her money back and cancel her membership.  For a place that boasts that it a “judgment free zone” where, “members can relax, get in shape, and have fun without being subjected to the hard-core, look-at-me attitude that exists in too many gyms,” it appears that people are in fact being judge for based on their looks.

Pizza and Fitness?

According to a Business Insider article, Planet Fitness now offers pizza and bagel parties once a month for members. “Planet Fitness has mixed fitness with fun through its monthly pizza nights and a bagel breakfast on the second Tuesday of the Month.” Now, don’t get me wrong I LOVE pizza and like most, my motivation to workout is so that I can enjoy unhealthy foods without feeling guilty. However, for a place that is supposed to be a mecca for people to get healthy, it seems a little odd that they would promote unhealthy eating. Thinking about a person walking on a treadmill while eating pizza seems a little counterproductive.

Despite the branding and messaging issues, Planet Fitness has been able to appeal to a majority of Americans. However, I feel that they need to modify their branding strategy and ensure that employees are completely informed on how to stay within the “anti-gym” brand without discriminating against members.

What do you think of Planet Fitness’ recent tactics? Do you think their branding is brilliant or bogus? How do you think they will handle ironing out these branding and messaging issues?

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share

8 EASY WAYS TO UP YOUR TWITTER GAME

By: Jenifer Wetterau

Using social media to build brand awareness is the number one goal of most social media marketers and Twitter is a fantastic platform to establish yourself as an expert in your field, but only if used efficiently. It isn’t about the number of followers you have, but rather about building a community of engaged followers who are passionate about your industry and who hopefully become passionate about your brand. If you want people to follow you, you really have to make sure your profile is follow-worthy.

PROVIDE VALUE.

Populate your page with informative content that will set you apart as an expert and be beneficial to your community. Measure your value by monitoring retweets: if at least 1 in 5 of your tweets is not getting retweeted, you are not providing real value and need to revise your content strategy.

Before tweeting, ask yourself:

• Is it relevant to my target audience?

• Is it informative?

• Does it position you as a resource?

LISTEN

It’s always in your best interest to pay attention to what your customers are tweeting about and to respond accordingly. Lead people to become emotionally invested through participation and strive for continuous, real-time engagement.

Ask questions and encourage your community to share opinions. This can help build an important bond between your brand and consumers, partially as a result of the Hawthorne Effect — the principle that people who are involved in research become more engaged because of the extra attention they receive.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Be a part of the flow of information. Join conversations to offer a more personalized appeal showing the human side of your brand. With greater importance placed on social media and content marketing (rather than TV advertising) than ever before, consumers are determining if they even see your brand’s messages. You need to create compelling campaigns to market with -rather than at – consumers.

DON’T BE PUSHY

Twitter is not for selling or blatant marketing. Don’t be a broken record repeatedly rattling off the company’s tagline. To best engage in the conversation, build awareness and keep in touch with your followers you should utilize the 4-1-1 rule:

The 4-1-1 rule for Twitter was popularized by Tippingpoint Labs and Joe Pulizzi, founder of Junta42 and the Content Marketing Institute. For every one self-serving tweet, you should retweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.

BE UNIQUE

Entertain to engage: promote interesting stories of the personalities behind your brand; start your own hashtag or meme; tweet links to culturally relevant photos, videos, podcasts, Infographics, etc. The point is to make a memorable, engaging topic spread faster and easier, mobilizing fans with emotion and inspiring them to become full-blown advocates.

LEARN TO LOVE THE HASHTAG

Find popular hashtags relating to your content and integrate them in your tweets. Research hashtags to find users with similar interests and help build your community.

BE FOUND

Optimize your tweets for search by incorporating keywords and key phrases.

Rather than just stating a fact or opinion, include links to where consumers can get the full picture.

Make sure your content is easy to share by leaving enough of the 140 character limit to include “RT” and “@” and “your user name character length”.

GIVE THANKS

Twitter is about building relationships; it is about reciprocity. Show appreciation for mentions. Follow back. Retweet. Favorite. Repeat.

With 645,750,000 users, 500+ million tweets per day, and 2.1 billion Twitter search engine queries per day, this social platform offers vast opportunity to showcase your thought leadership and build meaningful relationships.

Do you have tips you can share when using twitter?  Are you getting the number of followers and retweets that you are seeking? As always, we welcome and comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

 

Happy Tweeting!

And the Oscar Goes to…Samsung

By: Gina Mason

This year’s Oscars may go down as one of the most watched and talked about award shows in history. However in years to come, we won’t remember the dresses, the winners or the pizza delivery (well, maybe the pizza delivery). We will remember Ellen Degeneres’ selfie that catapulted Samsung into the spotlight. That star-studded photo generated an enormous amount of attention and the strategic placement of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 may be the most epic product placement ever.

Product placement is not a new concept, but finding new ways to highlight a product without being blatantly obvious can be difficult. We have all seen numerous examples of product placement in TV shows and movies (i.e Thomas Hanks’ best friend “Wilson” in Castaway) but the most successful product placements are subtle. Here are a few reasons why the Samsung selfie strategy was effective and successful.

1.   Nothing sells products like celebrities.

We live in a celebrity-obsessed society where people try to replicate what celebrities do, wear, etc. With that concept, Samsung strategically placed its product in the epicenter of the biggest celebrity gathering of the year. Associating the product with that kind of star power was brilliant and it is no wonder why it generated such “buzz.”. Although Ellen was caught using an iPhone backstage, she positioned the Galaxy Note 3 to be the star of the show with some  the biggest names in Hollywood behind it. Literally. In case you haven’t seen it, the star-studded selfie included DeGeneres, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Bradly Cooper, Peter Nyong’o Jr., Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Lupita Nyong’o and of course, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

2.     It utilized the power of social media

As many of you know, social media is the way of the world and having something go “viral” is the ultimate goal in advertising. Samsung did a very smart thing by leveraging Ellen DeGeneres’ 27.5 million Twitter followers to promote the photo and ultimately the product. According to a LA Times article, “DeGeneres’ tweet has received nearly 2.7 million retweets and nearly 1.4 million favorites. The previously most-retweeted Twitter post was by President Obama after winning his second term in 2012. That tweet got 778,000 retweets.” DeGeneres’ tweet literally “broke” Twitter’s operating system for a little over 20 minutes.

3.     It avoided the “hard sell” approach and made it seem natural

What made this placement so successful was that Samsung avoided a hard sell approach and opted for a more natural and seemingly spontaneous placement. The emphasis was not on the phone, it was on the photo. However, the white Galaxy Note 3 got its own 15 seconds of fame as the stars gathered around it. Also, what is more natural than selfies these days? Considering the word selfie was added to the dictionary last year, the act of taking “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website” is now an everyday practice.

4.     It complemented its advertising plan

Outside of the product placement, Samsung spent an additional $20 million dollars on ads that were aired during commercial breaks, according to The Wall Street Journal . The article goes on to say that, “as part of its sponsorship and ad pact for the Oscars with ABC, the TV network airing the show, Samsung and its media buying firm Starcom MediaVest negotiated to have its Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show.”

I thought the product placement was innovative and was a unique way to generate attention for the product. I am really interested to see if there is a major increase in Samsung’s sales after this selfie strategy.

What did you think of the selfie and Samsung’s product placement? Did it make you consider purchasing or learning more about the Galaxy Note 3?

I welcome your comments and as always, if you like what you read be social and share.