Archive for April, 2013

Public Relations vs. Advertising

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Public Relations and Advertising: What’s the difference?

by Tiffany Engleman

I’ve noticed that the practices of Public Relations and Advertising can become muddled. Indeed there are some similarities between the two fields. However, there are four unique differences that distinguish the two from one another.

  1. Public Relations incorporates a number of communication tools in their daily interactions with colleagues and clients; social media brochures, special events, speeches, news releases, and feature stories are just a few. Advertising operates almost solely through mass media outlets and for the most part does not utilize near as many channels as does Public Relations.
  2. Advertising directs messages to external audiences (predominantly consumers of goods and services).  Public Relations focuses on a specific external audience such as stockholders, vendors, community leaders, environmental groups, as well as internal audiences (employees).
  3. Advertising is primarily identified as a specialized communication function. Public Relations is much broader in scope. PR integrates policies and performances of entire organizations, from the interactions between employees to the procedure of answering phone calls.
  4. The primary goal of Public Relations is to become a liaison between a company and their customers. Public Relations creates and protects a positive image for organizations through any situation that can affect a company’s image, including but not limited to: economic, social, and political factors. The primary function of Advertising is to assist in promoting the sale of goods and services.

Although Public Relations and Advertising share some similar traits in the broad scheme of things, there are many aspects that do differentiate the two. At the end of the day, Advertising is selling a company’s goods or services and Public Relations is ensuring that a company has the ability to positively market goods and services to the public or a targeted audience.

Works Cited: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.

Media: Blunders, Bumbles and Bungles

Monday, April 29th, 2013

By Neil Kuvin

My perspective on the media comes from having spent more than 45 years working at major network affiliated TV stations in cities including New York, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit and Pittsburgh. So I don’t come by my extreme opinions by way of a back road.

These past few years we’ve all witnessed journalism, both broadcast and print, at its best and recently its worst. There’s a plenteous supply

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of muddling, blundering and just plain screwing up to make us all sick and ashamed. Examples of shoddy media coverage is not just the mis-reporting of international events. Agree or disagree with network International reporters, we’ve been witness to a growing demonization of the Syrian state by the media. I disagree with the matter-of-fact reaction to their mistakes. Like the purposeful, planned and terribly reported Benghazi incident. In 2011, many news organizations misreported that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had died. Recently, in Newtown, Conn., many news outlets wrongly identified the shooter.

I’m sick of the fabrications and then the palms-up denials. The fingerprint of the current cycle is the blisteringly inadequate, unprofessional and embarrassing coverage & then the rush to release incorrect information, painfully surrounding the terrible Boston Marathon tragedy.

It all actually started for me in the last election cycle when WCPO, the ABC affiliate up I-71 in Cincinnati on Oct.19, 2012 declared President Obama had won Ohio. Ummm – wasn’t the election still two weeks away?

Put aside the blunders for a moment and focus with me on the other truly unforgivable media activities; the despicable language and browbeating verbiage being routinely spat forth by print members of the fourth estate. For what? A competitive edge? Competing with whom? “Hustler?” “Playgirl?”

Consider a very recent “Media Matters” column: “Kelley (as in Megyn Kelley) is the most despicable whore among a cast of despicable whores on the Fox Lies news.”

Recently, this same laudable member of the print journalism fraternity, in defense of President Obama and Planned Parenthood and against Fox News, emitted their typical foul-mouthed venom at Kirsten Powers, Monica Crowley and Megyn Kelly, calling them “despicable whores” and other open-minded, free-thinking smears. Tolerance indeed. And “Media Matters” says they are “the nation’s premier progressive media watchdog, research and information center.” Rrrrright!!

How about a recent Washington Post article published the morning after the Boston Marathon bombs left behind their devastating marks. The reporter said two men had been arrested. Even published their pictures! Ratings the evil one here?

Before I go on too long, let’s bring up those three once-proud broadcasting letters; the news brainchild of Atlanta’s beloved media culture tycoon, Ted Turner. I know Mr. Turner quite well. Almost went to work for him. Did you hear about the CNN reporter who mistakenly told us that there had been an arrest in Boston? There had been none yet.

A wonderful, unrehearsed reply went to a reporter by former President George W. Bush who was asked by Diane Sawyer: “Do you miss all of us?” “W” responded: “Well, I miss you as a person. But I don’t miss your profession.”

And I’ll close this rambling thesis with the award for the most ridiculous blunder of the year so far. A CNN reporter, covering the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings was in the immediate area where the bombs exploded. She looked around. Turned back to the camera and reported. “Oh… it looks like a bomb went off here!”

The bottom line: We oughta be ashamed. We who are still part of the once-proud and dignified fourth estate, and the rest of the unknowing, unaware general public. The average Joe and Jane in our country get their news from fewer than two sources each day. That’s downright scary. Don’t take it from me. I just work here.

Innovation in Alcohol Marketing

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Heineken demonstrates unparalleled alcohol marketing strategies

By Andrea Donaldson

I don’t always praise beer companies for their alcohol marketing strategies. But when I do it’s Heineken.

Heineken, now the world’s third largest brewer, has spent the last decade innovating their way to the top of the beer industry. The company is now the world’s first and only truly global beer brand. Their extensive portfolio includes huge import brands Newcastle, Amstel, and Dos Equis. But, even more impressive is their brand availability in more than 178 countries. Although the company has made major business moves by acquiring brands and joint partnering with big names like Kingfisher, it is their alcohol marketing strategies that have had the most impact on customers. Their top three have increased Heineken revenues the world over.

1. Guerilla Marketing: Heineken has always been a company that thinks out of the box. In 2011, at a music festival in Poland, Heineken established a sponsored tent that allowed festival attendees to make their own QR codes. Attendees wrote a sentence about themselves and Heineken printed a sticker that other festival participants could scan with their smart phones to access the personalized statement written by

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the wearer. The campaign was an instant hit as it served as an ice breaker to meet other music lovers.

2. Packaging: Heineken’s traditional green bottle has become iconic. However, that doesn’t stop the company from constantly gussying up their bottles. Heineken has experimented with a square bottle design that was introduced to save space in coolers and refrigerators. They have also released bottles that have hidden designs that can only be seen under black light. But, my personal favorite was showcased this week at the Milan Design show. Heineken’s newest bottle innovation, “Ignite,” features LED lights that brighten up social drinking. Experience a flash of light through

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the bottle whenever you take a sip or cheer a friend. The LED lights can also be programmed by a DJ to light up to the beat of a song.

3. Social Media: Heineken has utilized social media to stay current and on the minds of their customers. The company constantly updates in order to drive conversation; the most popular social media conversation for the company being The Most Interesting Man in the World posts. Unless you have been living under a pile of rocks, you have seen the Dos Equis advertisement featuring “The Most Interesting Man in the World” living adventurously and enjoying a Dos Equis. The slogan, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis” has even sparked an internet meme that features individual’s customized slogans, like my very own featured above.

Although Heineken has been criticized for constantly switching alcohol marketing firms, it is clear they are doing something right. Heineken has experienced 14 percent growth and Dos Equis is up an astounding 33 percent in sales this past year.

So, what’s next for the unstoppable beer giant? Heineken international released intentions to take on the senior market. But, that’s an article for a different day.

Alcohol Sales: The Regulation Debate

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Indiana liquor store owners hope legislation allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays won’t pass?

By Andrea Donaldson

In many states individuals don’t think twice about picking up a 6-pack to enjoy while watching Sunday Night Football. But in Indiana, alcohol sales on Sunday is more like a pipe dream. Currently, Indiana is the last state to uphold prohibition laws that ban the sale of beer, liquor, and wine on Sundays. In an effort to promote tourism some exceptions do apply for restaurants and microbreweries.  But don’t count on walking in to a liquor store to grab extra vodka for your Bloody Mary brunch.

In a time when most individuals feel this law is outdated, it is surprisingly the liquor store owners who are fighting to keep it.

Liquor store owners feel the abolition of the state’s prohibition laws will eventually lead to the closing of many small town liquor stores. The owners argue that people know to stock up on Saturday.  Therefore, if they were open Sunday their sales would not see a significant increase.  It is their perception that sales are likely to become distributed over the entire weekend, instead of condensed on Saturday evenings and afternoons.  This leaves smaller stores in a bad position. They may not have the funds to pay for the extra employee hours and other operating costs to be open for another day in the week.

However, stores considering their doors remaining shut on Sundays will be presented with another problem.  In Indiana, unlike some states, it is legal to sell wine and spirits at grocery stores. Big corporate chains like Walmart and Kroger could wind up stealing business from liquor stores who cannot afford to stay open the extra day of the week.

The president of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, John Livengood, agrees.  In an article, Sunday Booze Restrictions Remain Stringent in Indiana, published in January, 2013, by USA Today. Livengood writes that new legislation allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays will likely lead to the closing of at least 250 liquor stores and over 1,000 lost jobs in the state of Indiana.

Hoosiers that are just plain tired of the inconvenience of not being able to buy alcohol when they please will continue to push for the discontinuation of the ban.  However, they are sure to face heavy opposition from those lobbying to keep the liquor store owners’ best interests in the law books.

5 Key Abilities for Success in Public Relations

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

You need 5 essential abilities for a successful career in Public Relations

by Tiffany Engleman

A career in Public Relations requires a specific skill set. Public Relations professionals must be able to communicate proficiently to every type of audience. As Neil Kuvin stated previously in his article, “Are You Listening?,” ‘Listening is critical to creating dialogue.’ Public Relations is a field that embraces communication and the ability to effectively listen to people. Interchanging ideas clearly in a dialogue is crucial.

There are 5 essential abilities for a successful career in Public Relations.

  1. Writing Skills: First and foremost, possessing the ability to convey information in written documents is imperative in a Public Relations role. The majority of the work performed in this field incorporates extensive amounts of written work.
  2. Research Ability: Arguments must be reinforced by facts rather than generalizations. Initiative and persistence are important in having proper research ability. An individual must have the initiative to utilize a variety of sources to find the information that is needed and also persist to retrieve information when the research becomes difficult.
  3. Planning Expertise: Organization is a fundamental aspect of planning expertise. An individual must be a good planner and extremely organized to ensure that an event will run smoothly. This person must be positive that materials are distributed in a timely manner and that budgets are not exceeded.
  4. Problem-Solving Ability: Original ideas and new approaches to solving complex problems that can occur on a daily basis in the workplace can result in higher earnings and more frequent promotions. This is no exception in the field of Public Relations.
  5. Business/Economics Competence: It is essential that Public Relations professionals have a background and extensive understanding of business and economics. Students should consider taking as many college courses as possible in economics, marketing, and management. This prior knowledge will be extremely beneficial throughout your career.

The act of communication is vital in a Public Relation’s role. A career in Public Relations can be vastly promising if an individual possesses and practices these 5 essential abilities. Someone aspiring to be a PR professional should begin sharpening these skills at the college-level and be on the path to a successful PR career by graduation.

Source: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.

5 Rules for Liquor Sales

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

How to impress brand liquor distributors and increase sales

By Andrea Donaldson

The liquor industry in America operates on a three-tier system of alcohol distribution. The producers create products. The distributors purchase products from producers and sell to retailers. And, retailers sell products to consumers. It is the job of liquor representatives to work between the distributor and the retailer. The representative explains to the retailers the profits that can be made by carrying a producer’s product. Below is a list of five important tips that can offer an increased profit for liquor representatives.

1. Network, network, and network: This is the most important aspect of being a liquor representative. It is all about who you know. Develop relationships with all of the retail establishments that you frequent. Join a city network group for business professionals. And, always carry a business card and be prepared to meet a potential client.

2. Have a daily objective: Create daily goals for yourself to gain outside prospects. More products moved in more places will result in more profits. By maintaining a continuous motivation to meet with potential prospects, you are sure to secure more sales. When setting objectives make sure you have an idea of how you can measure results during the week.

3. Know your market: Every retailer has their own specific audience. Knowing which products will resonate with a retailer’s audience will help you make the sale. Analyze sales information often and draw conclusions on how to better market your products.

4. Heighten industry knowledge: It is critical to know as much information as possible about the brands you represent. The more you know about a product, the better you can sell it. Also consider becoming a brand ambassador. A brand ambassador focuses specific attention on becoming an expert on one particular brand within a company’s portfolio. It is also important to become familiar with all legal regulations that can affect your sales or promotions.

5. Emphasize value over cost: As a liquor representative, you must be able to show the value of your brands to the retailer, not the cost. It is also advantageous to establish a sense of value in yourself, as their liquor representative. Maintaining a positive relationship with your retailers can keep them from dropping your representation if prices are ever raised.

Following these five tips will ensure an impressed brand distributor and an increase in company profits.

Are You Listening?

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Listening is critical to creating dialogue

By Neil Kuvin

What’s so important about gaining more perceptive listening skills? When you listen attentively for real content of the discussion and then focus your specific follow-up questions to concentrate on the things that really, really matter, you find yourself in a respectful, intelligent and especially responsive conversation.

Unfortunately, each side in the discussion often is so anxious to get their perspective heard, they both

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don’t wait before they interrupt or their point is muddy because they may have gone down a side, dirt road. No matter what, if you really want a conversation (which usually means everyone is heard and allowed to speak) begin your comments by crediting the others with “sensitive, thoughtful, critical points. However, I have a slightly different perspective.” It’s critical at this point to assure him/her that you understand their opinion. Assure the other person that they were understood. Probe. Ask for further confirmation of facts.

Remember, rarely does any one of us have the best, right answer. Be prepared to be convinced that other positions have benefits and rewards too. That’s where your patience, listening skills, and understanding come in. I think that’s called an “open mind.” The advantages are in “them” knowing that you heard it correctly — that you are listening to them. First, you will please the others in this conversation that you appear to truly sense and get the picture they maybe couldn’t get others to understand, or at the very least, acknowledge; Second, there is a motivation for them to listen a little more closely to your ideas and perhaps accept some of them on the way to finding a solution to the “problem” that satisfies many in the discussion.

Wow. Imagine that. Actually crossing the aisle and without “politics,” finding satisfactory solutions.

Ivan Seidenberg was the former and original chair and CEO of Verizon Communications Inc. He also headed several communications’ companies during his career. At one of those companies, he knew expenses needed to be slashed to survive. Well

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surprise! He ran into stubborn opposition from defiant division heads relentless in their objections to his ideas. Seidenberg, while listening to and acknowledging the differing perspectives, knew that the cuts couldn’t be accomplished without cooperation and some measure of acceptance. Bottom line is he succeeded in getting the opposing sides to accept some compromising on certain issues like hours, overtime, vacations and sick leave, while still reducing work force by a substantial number that got him a lot closer to proposed budget cuts. Genius? Not really. Just patient, intelligent, respectful dialogue, with everybody having their listening ears on.

It appears to me that there are four basic elements required for true, honest conversation to take place. Courage, respect and most importantly, recognition (not necessarily acceptance) of another point of view. And lastly, patience to steer the conversation to a destination that satisfies (almost) everyone in the conversation.