Monday, November 29, 2010

Creating a Wonderland for your customers: Simplicity and Creativity

The (so far) hit musical "Wonderland" is coming to Broadway in the spring. The modern take on the classic Alice in Wonderland is beginning to brand itself, not only with its regular website, but also with a simple, enjoyable, interactive story book that allows viewers to flip through a few pages that tell the basic premise of the show and that give viewers a preview of the show in pictures.

The show has also come up with a clever tag line: "A New Alice. A New Musical."

The story book certainly has my attention, and I look forward to seeing how the show markets itself in the future. The musical is one of the first Alice in Wonderland musicals, but Alice in Wonderland has been rehashed in film many times, so it should be interesting to see how this takes on.

Monday, November 22, 2010

How To... Play on Words

When you have an interesting title, it can be fun to do a play on words in your marketing material. The upcoming Broadway show, "How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying" has mastered this technique. They make the revival interested, not only by hiring Daniel Radcliffe to play the lead, but by using the "How To" part of the musical's title to sell the show.

The show's website features several "How To's." Viewers can learn "How To... Get Tickets," "How To... Get to the Theatre" and "How To... Tell Your Friends." Not only is this creative, but it allows users to interact with the site through social media and ticketing services. It attracts attention.

The website also features a recently released commercial for the show with "How To Succeed on Broadway."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The New Mr. Peanut: Finding Ways to Rebrand Yourself Successfully Part 1

Obviously, your brand can't stay new forever. All businesses have to change their slogan or brand at some point, even if it merely means adding something simple to it. In all cases, however, audience research is important. If you don't know what your audience wants, you won't succeed. If you don't test your new product or slogan or whatever it is on your audience, you have less of a chance of succeeding.

Research doesn't always work, as evidenced by Coca Cola's change in flavor, which tested well but didn't make it on the market. I'll write more about Coke in another post. You can't always completely depend on your research, either. Planters peanuts asked consumers what they'd like to see added to their Mr. Peanut mascot, and the number one answer was that no addition was needed. Some times the old still works. People like classics.

Planters went ahead with a major change, however, adding more clothes and a new voice to the character, as well as turning him into a computer-animated character. The voice, provided by Robert Downey Jr., may attract Downey's fans, but it doesn't fit the upper-class English accent associated with the character. The new commercial, itself, is funny, but you have to wonder how it will go over with the public. Personally, I like it, but we'll have to wait and see if it succeeds or not. and E! have more on the switch.

I'll be writing more on the successes and failures of Coca Cola and Mattel's Barbie movies in Part 2 and Part 3 of the "Rebranding Yourself" series.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Adapting to the Changing Times: Becoming like Proteus

According to a blog post by Jayblock Companies, the god Proteus was known for two things:

  1. "He was able to foretell / predict the future and…

  2. He was able to change, adapt, and acclimate himself to successfully meet and thrive in the future that he envisioned."

While the blog post focused on the application of this to the job market, I find that this has equal application to public relations and marketing. Far too many companies are reluctant to change with the times. Newspapers have gone under because of their leadership's unwillingness to adapt and use modern technology.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tis the Season: Add a Little Charity, Gain a Little Customer Loyalty

It's the holiday season, which puts customers in a cheery mood. People always love to see and hear feel good stories like those of Extreme Home Makeover, but they love these stories of charity, hope and love even more during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. And the holiday decorations give you the chance to make your little bit of charity even more unique.

For example, Disney has given one family a special treat and posted photos of it on their blog. The blog reads:
...this year we teamed up with Sylvania andCHOC Children’s to take the magic of the holiday season from the Resort to the home of one special little girl and her family. Adela Jauregui, 8, a patient at CHOC Children’s, and her family watched as their home lit up with more than 6,200 lights and Disney-themed d├ęcor.

What a great way to bless others and bring attention to yourself at the same time. The real challenge is to find a way to do this all year in unique ways that please and bring in customers.

How have you used special causes to promote your company?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Catering Your Press Release to the Receiver

A recent blog post I read by e-releases talked about things you should check before sending out a press releases (facts, links, etc). The issue that came up in comments replying to the article, however, was over whether or not a press release should be tight, newsworthy and catered to the average reporter.

The tips e-releases provided are still good for news releases sent to newspapers, but not necessarily for other outlets. Of course, any press release sent to a customer or put online for the public could be reclassified as something else entirely. In any case, it depends on who your reader is and what you want them to do with the press release. A blogger might be looking for something different in a press release than a reporter. That's why it's important to cater the release to the receiver. You should NEVER send the same release out to every media outlet, just like you should never send the same resume to every employer you apply for a job with.

What are some necessary elements of a news release for you? How do changing audiences affect how you write your press releases?

To read some sample press releases, click here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Interacting with Your Public: Disney Memories and User-Generated Content on Facebook

Many news outlets have made themselves more successful by pursuing and allowing citizen journalism. It seems Disney Resorts has had a similar idea. The company has created a Facebook page design specially for Disney fans to share their Disney parks memories in the form of text, photos and videos.

Called "Disney Memories," the application gives the average everyday person the opportunity to feel in charge, to feel special, to feel, as Mickey Mouse would put it, like they're in the "happiest place on earth."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Matt Prince on Marketing

Last Thursday, Matt Prince spoke at my college's PRSSA meeting. Prince, who is the manager of executive communications at Disneyland Resort, spoke specifically on advice for college students and recent graduates, but many of his points can apply to a wider audience. I won't borrow all of his points, but here are a few of the main pointers he gave:
  1. Things change, so be flexible and learn to adapt as your audiences, society and technology change.

  2. Network. Meet people in your profession and learn from them through informational interviews.

  3. Take some time out for yourself. Prince keeps a blog on dating, a topic that has nothing to do with his job.

  4. Be patient, but don't wait. It's good to look for jobs that you'll enjoy, so don't jump at the first job that comes around if you don't think you'll be able to enjoy it. But don't expect to get your dream job or a job that pays well right of the bat. Follow your instincts. If you think it'll work well, start your own company and work for friends and other connections on the side in addition to your regular job. Prince started his own marketing company: Prince Marketing.

  5. Brainstorm. It's essential that you think about where people need to be, what they need to be doing, who they need to be meeting with, etc. Prince said he keeps a white board in his office for brainstorming sessions. Of course, if he ever needs a quick break or needs to clear his mind, he goes for a quick ride on Space Mountain.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Web's Growing Importance in Public Relations

For a recent class assignment, I had to write a short reflection on why web is essential in any PR campaign, any marketing plan or any effective communications strategy. Unfortunately, there are many who would rather reject new technology than take advantage of it. Fortunately, I'm not one of them.

Hardly anything exists outside of the internet these days. There are very few people who don’t use email or some internet website or application to communicate with others. In such an online oriented world, it’s pretty much impossible to work in public relations without using the internet as one of your major tools. Public relations is all about communication, as is the internet. It’s only natural that the two would go together.

Due to the similar goals of public relations and the internet, it becomes essential that the public relations department of an organization play a major role in that organization’s social media strategy. Social media is about communicating with a public, about managing a company’s reputation, which is the job of public relations. In order for social media to be effective, an organization must know its public well enough to reach out to that public and interact with that public, also parts of a public relations job description. Who knows an organization’s public better than the public relations department that has researched the organization’s public and based company decisions on that public?