Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

The Most Important Committees for Non Profits

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Nominating/Membership and Marketing/Communications/PR Rule the Roost

By Joseph John

I recently conducted a workshop for a group of State Coordinators at the Sister Cities International Annual Conference.  During my two hour workshop, my topics always found their way back to a major premise I have always held for non profit organizations — yes, I did use the workshop as my soapbox. I have always believed that the two most important committees are 1) the Nominating/Membership Committee and 2) the Marketing/Communications/PR committee.

All forward-thinking non profit organizations find the best-of-the-best to sit on the board of directors, as well as finding the “critical mass” needed to build the membership base required to keep the organization vibrant, exciting, and growing. Plus, those forward-thinking non profit organizations require a committee that understands the mechanics and nuances of communication and marketing. Theoretically, if you’re communicating properly then you’re marketing the organization. The inverse of that statement is de facto. As your board members embark on fund raising campaigns, volunteer for special events and speak at public gatherings, they are communicating AND marketing.

For this article, however, allow me to focus on the “front door” approach for bringing quality people into your boardroom — and that begins with the nominating committee. That committee is charged with finding qualified people (and those with passion) to add to your board.

I’ve mentioned in other articles the necessity of turning on one of the most famous radio stations in the world: WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). Your nominating committee must take many of the questions that a potential board member should be asking him/herself and then craft those questions into screening questions for the prospective board member:

Question: Do you want recognition, or do you really want to serve and give back to the community? (egoism versus altruism).

If you can move past that question, then you must ask some even more direct and thought-provoking questions. Those additional questions include:

1) CAN you/WILL you grow as a board member and add value to the board?

2) CAN you/WILL you become a valuable asset to the community?

3) CAN you/WILL you learn to “play nice” and become a team player with a group of people who also are contributing their free time to serve?

4) CAN you/WILL you articulate your belief in the organization and be credible out in public?

Those questions can be rewritten so that your nominating committee may use them as part of the interviewing process for potential candidates. Of course, there are many, many more tough love and necessary questions you and your committee should ask.

Your non profit board needs to be comprised of people, of all ages—Boomers, Gen Xer’s and Yer’s — who are both donors and doers. The board member must be willing to donate financially to the organization while doing projects for the betterment of the organization. Remember that many boards don’t have many people to delegate to, so board members must be willing to roll up their sleeves and become doers.

Your nominating committee should create a checklist of personality traits that can be used in the interviewing process. Just some of those traits would include:

  • Accountability — it’s not a dirty word.
  • Accessibility — answer the phone, your emails, and be ready to serve.
  • Personal commitment — sign up, then be ready to serve.
  • People-oriented and outgoing
  • Leadership and Listening skills
  • Responsiveness and Reliability

And the list continues.

The nominating committee should always be searching for the ideal candidate — it’s not a temporary committee assignment — rather, it’s an active committee assignment. The committee must always comb the community to find the best people to become board members. And why? Simply because there will always be board member attrition. And that’s why the committee must be proactive in in order to build a strong bench. My manager used to say “recruit or die.” And that’s what can happen to a non profit board if the nominating committee isn’t out looking for candidates all the time. Believe me, by being proactive your organization will eliminate knee-jerk and “desperation mode” board member appointments.

I think you’ll agree that if you have a nominating committee that is always searching for talented, energetic people to sit on your board, you’ll have a non profit organization that will be defined as dynamic and capable of achieving lofty goals.

Public Relations and the Rise of SXSW

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

By Tiffany Engleman

Professionals in the field of public relations have been creating positive buzz about organizations for years. The music festival South by Southwest (SXSW) has been held in Austin, Texas since 1986, but until recently, was relatively unknown to the rest of the United States. Through news releases and first-rate press materials, SXSW’s public relations team along with Porter Novelli (an Austin-based public relations firm) began to expand the festival into something much greater than just music. SXSW was then able to create brand recognition as well as brand recall across the country.

  • To begin spreading the word about SXSW, these public relations professionals constructed a campaign to widely advertise an exciting and new aspect of the event. In August 2008, a news release was published revealing the introduction of the “Panel Picker” to help create a preliminary buzz for the March 2009 event. The “Panel Picker” was an interactive online voting application that attendees would be able to access and vote prior to the festival.
  • Porter Novelli also constructed an assortment of first-rate press materials. The press kit included a concise schedule, “hot” picks for panel and evening activities, industry contact information, and personalized event information. Toolkits were also provided that included press release templates, wire distribution options, and PR advice for the conference.

Through the tactics of news releases and press kits, South by Southwest has been able to join the SXSW Film Conference and SXSW Interactive Festival and expand their identity across the country to attract a significant number of new people to the conference. public relations professionals knew they had reached new heights when the Guardian of London reported, “SXSW Interactive spans gaming, web content, web design, development, academia, social media, mobile…but what it does more than any other event is a special mix of the arts and digital culture with technology. There are no suits, no boring product pitches, — SXSW is about ideas and trends in new digital tools and technologies.

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

 

International Public Relations

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Representing U.S. Organizations Abroad: Four Chief Public Relations Obstacles of Globalization

By Tiffany Engleman

Globalization is a prominent force in today’s world. There is a large number of United States-based global giants participating in this prosperous market worldwide at this very moment. Having a prominent company presence abroad can be extremely lucrative for businesses from the United States. Some major U.S. companies that are currently reaping the benefits of a global market are as follows: ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, Chevron, Ford Motor Company, and General Electric. Though there are immense benefits to globalizing a company, there are also four chief public relations obstacles that an organization will face when introducing a brand to the rest of the world.

  1. Competition: There will always be competing organizations, regardless of the market. Maintaining the competitive advantage is a withstanding obstacle amongst the global market as well. Always stressing the benefits of a brand and ensuring that these benefits are relevant to consumers will remain key in jumping this hurdle.
  2. Sustainable Development: Sustainable development is a crucial initiative of any large corporation as

    they enter the global realm. Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the resources of the future is imperative of large corporations. Public image overseas will rest greatly on how businesses can hone their skills/products to preserve resources.

  3. Boycotts: It comes as no surprise that many countries do not agree with U.S. foreign policy. As a result, a number of overseas organizations and citizens will not wish

    to conduct business with U.S.-based companies. Creating a strategy to alter these negative perceptions and become an accepted company abroad is one of the largest barriers to break when taking a company overseas.

  4. Moral Corporate Citizenship (Local/National Levels): David Drobis, a former senior partner and chair of public relations firm Ketchum, stated, “Companies must take into consideration a broad group of stakeholders as they pursue their business goals globally. And by doing so, there are tangible and intangible business benefits. In this way, good corporate citizenship is not a cost of doing business, but rather a driver of business success. What’s good for the soul is also good for business.”

Handling any of these four obstacles would be very difficult without a sound public relations team representing an organization. These global obstacles are no small task for companies to face, and the manner in which they are addressed

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can either positively or negatively affect a corporation within the global market. Yet, if a company is positively accepted into the global market, the opportunities for increases in revenue and further expansion will be just two of the major benefits for an organization. Source: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.

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.

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 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.