When Mitchell International, Inc., a leading provider of technology, connectivity and information solutions to the property & casualty claims and collision repair industries, planned the debut of its newly developed solutions at its Program Freedom Experience, in Palm Springs, we did advance work to build enthusiasm for the demonstrations (including this dedicated site) and were on hand to make sure influencers got the full experience. The key message: Mitchell’s cloud-based imaging, estimating, scanning and repair solutions are based on openly shared data—in sharp contrast to its competition, which was charging fees for joining its closed network as well as for each packet of data exchanged. The attendees included top trade press and customers, who all came away understanding that Mitchell’s solutions benefit the industry at large. The result: the competition was forced to change its game and try to catch up.
Data and analytics company Helios and Matheson Analytics purchased a majority share in Netflix co-founder Mitch Rowe’s company MoviePass, allowing the subscription service to drop its fee to $9.95 monthly for unlimited movie theater viewings. The explosive news disrupted the industry as the agency worked with HMNY CEO Ted Farnsworth and MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe on a week-long New York City media tour and blitz, ranging from top tier national broadcast outlets such as CNN to national movie trade outlets such as Variety. The MoviePass news escalated further when AMC Theaters publicly denounced the service, enabling the agency to prolong coverage and take both companies into another editorial cycle in national and local news nationwide.
The Writer consultancy enjoyed a heavy media presence in the UK, but had no brand visibility stateside. With its first US office opening in New York, the mission was to establish thought leadership in brand language writing and training as well as generate media coverage. Tying The Writer’s services to the current conversation about impactful content marketing, we targeted influencers in key industry silos in need of a content makeover. Our media outreach campaign aimed to shift “content” to “conversation” marketing to showcase The Writer’s unique value proposition that focused on the importance of a differentiated “brand voice.” We also secured a webinar with PR Daily and a session at the Advanced Learning Institute’s 2015 Strategic Internal Communications Conference that opened up additional speaking platforms.
The opportunity to work closely with a new business to develop all of their brand communications and marketing materials from scratch was an exciting one, but certainly not without its challenges. While the top executives at The Sage Group, an investment bank, were all highly successful in their previous positions, the new company was still a virtual unknown. The agency was tasked with positioning the company as a niche leader for middle market investment banks and a “go-to” source in a variety of markets for transactions ranging from $50-$500 million — right in the middle of one of the weakest merger and acquisition markets in history. Through proactive media relations, Sage has been featured nationally as a thought leader and continues to be successful.
With media reporting frequently on the economic impact of retail and real estate, RKF, the nation’s largest independent retail real estate firm, wanted to increase its presence in the media. They needed a PR agency with an excellent track record of media relations in a variety of industries, especially in hyper-competitive urban markets that are notoriously cynical about food, fashion and retail positioning in emerging submarkets. We positioned the firm’s senior leadership and national brokers as experts in their industry who can speak to “big picture” topics impacting the nation and local markets. We worked closely with them to determine long-term trends in key urban retail markets, and developed specific relationships with major trade publications in real estate, luxury/lifestyle, fashion, food, technology and business. As a result, RKF has significantly increased its presence in national mainstream news and trade media.
Before the global water scarcity and drought crisis reached its present fever pitch, the 75-year-old irrigation manufacturer understood that it faced a potential environmental crisis perception — simply for being an irrigation company, which carried an implication of wasting water. The agency positioned the company as a thought leader in water conservation as it relates to the lawn and garden industry, and created a new campaign coined “The Intelligent Use of Water.” We developed a roadmap for a sustainable, multi-pronged program with multiple touch points that included industry white papers, bi-annual Intelligent Use of Water global summits, film competitions, awards programs, partnerships, grade school curriculums, Tournament of Roses Parade participation and more. Its position as an industry leader in landscape water conservation insights, was solidified.
Punto 2012, a Mexico City-based company with years of experience in online marketing and SEO for restaurants, quickly realized that the .com space was too crowded; the search for restaurants was too difficult if they had long, complicated domain names. They saw a need for food-related businesses to form their own Internet “neighborhood” and from there, bought the .REST and .BAR domain names; .REST is the abbreviation for “restaurant” in more than 30 languages and more than 50 countries. We developed and executed an aggressive media relations strategy and thought leadership platform, coordinated with the agency’s Worldcom partners in six countries. Additionally, all partner agencies sought strategic partnerships with influencers, such as food bloggers and TV hosts, and restaurant associations across the United States.
The face of advertising fundamentally shifted with the success of native advertising, but not without kickback from the industry. Native advertising pioneer, MGID, although globally successful, needed better access to the competitive US marketplace. MGID had to first deliver the message that it drives authentic traffic to websites, ethically. The agency introduced them to the trade group IAB, where they worked with industry leaders on developing ethical and technical standards for native advertising. Subsequently, we placed op-eds and articles in high profile advertising trades, to persistently combat negative stigma as well as position MGID as an expert on profitable advertising. We also leveraged MGID published data and survey results that keyed into entertainment trends for placements in that industry trades. MGID has grown to be a force of influence in the advertising marketplace and a thought leader on native advertising for advertisers, publishers, and consumers
Every Holiday Season, the retail space is littered with circulars, web ads, commercials and sponsored content, all claiming to have door busters, bundles and the ‘best deals’ of the season. Market Track, the leading provider of market intelligence solutions, had a wealth of untapped data that was able to determine how these competing retailers, products and brands were being advertised, priced and promoted both in-store and online. The agency was able to leverage Market Track’s data and expert commentary to position them as a thought-leader and expert source in the retail space both during the holiday shopping season and during other key retail events such as back-to-school, Halloween and Amazon's Prime Day. As a result, the agency was able to secure coverage in Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Associated Press, as well as trade coverage in eMarketer Magazine, Advertising Age, Retail TouchPoints, just to name a few.
Recognizing that in today’s marketplace, a global reach in sales, marketing and distribution is essential for any property’s success and growth. L.E. Hotels, a hospitality brand that represents a “limited edition” collection of independently owned and operated properties, reached out to the agency to create a program that would link all of its properties across 18 countries through a global marketing program, and support each individual property’s particular needs and challenges. The program included quarterly regional promotions, trade and local media relations, blogs, newsletters brimming with company and member news and travel/tourism trade shows, as well as social media and native advertising. We also sought out Millennial-focused media outlets and scheduled editorial desk side briefings as a way of maximizing the individual property’s visibility.
Transforming an unknown brand into a marketplace leader is always a challenge, and even more so in a commoditized service industry. InclusionINC, founded by CEO Shirley Engelmeier, focused on a highly fatigued subject: diversity training. Our main task was to raise market awareness and mindshare, so we tied into the news cycle on the corporate world’s rising interest and need for managing diversity in the workplace, and positioned the topic of inclusion as a fresh business advantage. We inserted Engelmeier into relevant big-picture conversations and focused on educating the media about the sensibilities of the emerging millennial generation in the workplace. The launch of her book, “Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage”, catapulted Engelmeier as a thought leader.
For an upcoming trade show in Las Vegas, America’s Incentive Business Travel and Meetings (AIBTM) expo needed to create compelling brand content and generate market interest to ensure its stakeholders would also attend its show in Chicago. Tying into a trend of mining the voice of the customer, we executed a strategy to engage stakeholders to actually become a part of the show rather than just attend. Using crowdsourcing as the show’s value promise, we developed a buzzworthy theme, “Defining the Future of Meetings…Together” to generate attendee enthusiasm. A conference keynote speaker focused on audience response technology to gather real-time input on the future of the industry. The results: a 165 percent increase in corporate buyers, a 33 percent increase in hosted buyer acceptance and a 51 percent spike in new attendance at the renamed IBTM.
Guidon Performance Solutions (now Peppers & Rogers Group) tasked us with raising the brand’s mind and market share by leading the conversation around the insights that healthcare payers and providers needed in order to survive the tsunami of challenges from The Affordable Care Act. Our campaign positioned CEO Ron Wince as one of the foremost healthcare thought leaders on the patient-provider relationship, organizational change and agility. We targeted healthcare influencer media to create educational articles that could be leveraged on social media, and with clients and prospects. Wince was featured in USA Today, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The media coverage and ensuing speaking opportunities led to new business leads and the market perception of category leadership.
When the nation’s leading supplier of massage chairs looked to us for a strategy to showcase the company’s newly re-branded consumer product division, we started by maximizing visibility of Human Touch and its award-winning HT-7450 Zero-Gravity Massage Chair at key technology and design trade shows that focused on wellness, design and technology. At CES and Las Vegas Market, we played into the weariness of trade show participants and attending media, and engaged national broadcast media outlets to take a moment to “experience” the H-7450 massage chair themselves. Our national public relations campaign completely re-focused media perception of the product category itself — massage chairs — from just “simple comfort/luxury indulgence” to essential lifestyle,health and wellness.
In an era where small main street banks had fallen into the shadows, one family bank, Farmers and Merchant’s Bank (F&M) with 23 branches in Southern California, passionately preserved its traditional focus on community values and conservative approaches. However, F&M recognized its need for greater external exposure to retain its leadership position in the communities it serves. It tapped the agency to garner media attention for its community sponsored events, as well as to position its executives as thought leaders on subjects such as lending and regional banking. The stories that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, American Banker and the Los Angeles Business Journal, supported the bank’s goal of reaching deep into the communities and being recognized as banking leaders upon which the communities could continue to depend.
Years before the “cloud” was even conceived, an ambitious entrepreneurial duo came up with a then-new online file sharing system and, in the process, practically launched the category. drop.io needed us to get word out in the marketplace — that online sharing was not only possible but that it would catapult change in the business landscape.
We sought out partnerships, business development and earned media opportunities that would fast track drop.io’s executive leadership team as industry thought leaders. The focus of our national media campaign was on trends in online file sharing and privacy issues. The ultimate indicator of the company’s success was when drop.io announced in October 2010 that it had been acquired by Facebook.
Shopping for healthy food products at the grocery store can be challenging, due to the overwhelming choices and often conflicting nutritional information. With the introduction of Eaturna’s chef-created, prepared food products, the agency was challenged to cut through the clutter of the competition, and create rapid brand awareness for Eaturna foods in one neighborhood as a trial. The “Eaturnalize your Neighborhood” experiential product launch focused on word-of-mouth marketing, signed pledges committing to healthy eating habits, “Partnership for Healthy Neighborhoods” street teams driving consumer trial, family-focused community events and partnerships where Eaturna food got tasted. Within 60 days, the entire neighborhood had been reached one-on-one and pledged to eating healthy.
Setting their sights on redefining backyard water fun, a category that had become mostly stale in regards to innovation, Bestway North America’s new H2OGO! brand of backyard water slides was poised to transform the industry. Their slides, equipped with an inflatable speed ramp that propelled riders on an 18-foot track ending in a super soaking in the splash zone and could also eliminate the “bellyflop ouch,” were the perfect trigger to generate the desired media campaign buzz. Targeting mom bloggers, national print, and broadcast media, as well social media influencers, the agency bombarded all with imaginative and inventive story angles and contests. The campaign triggered TV broadcast airings and radio segments, and increased engagement on social media properties and print and blog stories — generating over 104, 268, 341 media impressions in a period of 4 months.
When Bel Air Investment Advisors, an industry leader in providing investment advice exclusively to high net worth individuals, families and foundations first came to the agency, their major concern was about controlling PR messages. A thought leadership platform was established that would allow for Bel Air Advisors to be viewed as a media resource. As such, through quotes, there would be more consideration for controlled coverage. The challenge was to identify what was the particular “own-able” expertise of each portfolio manager and match it with targeted media sectors; and then leverage it to the financial and business news cycle, building in the process, a base for long-term media relationships. The strategy worked. As breaking news in Bel Air’s sector’s crossed the wire and we were able to leverage Bel Air’s media reputation to present them as “the expert you want to quote.”
When Altra Biofuels, an ethanol and biofuel startup, began operating in this crowded sector, its founders and backers knew that it had to gain credibility and build a positive reputation quickly to secure a leadership position in this space. We focused on Altra’s senior executives, positioning them as credible sources for commentary and predictions about the alternative energy sector—as well as about legislative news that affected the industry. We targeted national media outlets to drive coverage of Altra’s achievements, including its acquisition of existing biofuel production facilities, ground-breaking at new facilities, expanded production for energy plants, and the achievement of other notable benchmarks. Altra has been prominently featured in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg and Business Week, among others.
To broaden Al & Ed’s, California’s largest mobile electronic retailer, past that of a specialty retailer, we sought out cooperative brand partnerships that offered a new distribution channel for visibility. We designed multi-channel marketing programs that would reach audiences of both entities, and focused on raising awareness for high profile vehicle customization to support both new franchisees and customers. We secured a 2-year “Back-up to School Safely” program, where Ralphs shoppers who purchased 7UP products were automatically entered to win one of 50 Back-up Safety Cameras. As part of the promotion, Al & Ed’s ran safety clinics and displayed vehicles at prominent Ralphs locations. We also partnered with the California Highway Patrol, FREE-FM’s Adam Carolla Show, Santa Monica Subaru, Raging Waters and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Crucial.com, a division of Micron Consumer Products and a leading online retailer specializing in computer memory upgrades, needed to increase awareness of their do-it-yourself memory upgrade as an easy solution for computer problems that plague consumers on a daily basis. In Phase 1, we utilized consumer survey research, satellite and ground media tours, media mailers, infographics and aggressive media relations strategies, to speak to the computer-induced frustration and stress that results from an underperforming computer, with the easy solution, of course, offered by Crucial.com. In Phase 2, the agency commanded audience attention through creative campaigns such as “Love Your Computer”, “Get Tough on Your Computer”, and the nationwide search for the “Official, Unofficial Office Computer Go-to Superstar” – and resulted in over 100 million media impressions.
Strict regulations, required compliance and data security concerns have kept financial services technology in the stone age, for innovation is very risky and costly. Docupace’s turn-key Straight-Through Processing product eliminates those challenges. The company needed to raise awareness with a very niche audience and tapped the agency to develop a long-term comprehensive public relations and digital marketing strategy that would rebrand it as a cyber secure and compliant financial tech firm. We redesigned and implemented a new website, coordinated an advertising campaign, built content marketing, including strategic native advertising, and launched a thought leadership platform — all targeting the C-suite of financial services. Docupace entered the marketplace en force and saw strong growth in the marketplace. Docupace became a trusted FinTech leader for financial services firms.
Fiesta Parade Floats (FPF), a 35 year-old builder of parade floats for the annual New Year’s Day Rose Parade, had kept a relatively low profile despite having assembled a team of world-renowned design and floral technology experts. We leveraged every opportunity to maximize media exposure by expanding the focus beyond the parade itself and on to the development of the floats from the float design and construction process through the final pre-parade flower decorating. Over five years of working with the local, regional and national media — the last week of the year, working from 4 am to almost midnight, daily — FPF was catapulted into the limelight by an enchanted media.
When iconic toymaker WHAM-O, inventor of the “Hula-Hoop” and “Frisbee,” saw that it was losing customers to video games and technology, it enlisted the agency to find creative ways to re-capture the age-old excitement for its new outdoor summer and winter product lineups. To attract parents, the agency banked on triggering positive memories of their own childhood toys, which in turn, could translate into purchases for their children. In countering kids’ increasingly sedentary lifestyles, a summer multi-media campaign “Get The Kids Outdoors” and a winter one targeting “winter” states was pitched to the top 100 U.S. media markets. In just four months, WHAM-O generated more than 260 million print impressions and appeared on The Today Show, GMA, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, PBS and CNN.
The challenge for Luxe Hotels was to design an experiential and lifestyle synchronized communications platform that was workable for both Luxe Hotels (branded properties) and L.E. Hotels, a collection of premier independent hotel properties worldwide, across 31 countries. Multi-channel digital communications streams had to work in concert with each other regarding overall positioning and messaging, and needed to be dynamic by design, addressing different audiences from various angles. The programming was designed to be foundational and sustainable, as the brand expanded. We implemented an overarching brand platform and specific programming per business unit, that included a Brand Share of Voice and Consumer Engagement as well as Partnerships and Quarterly Engagement, Influencer Marketing and Special Promotion programming that would be tied to seasonal happenings, news cycle or opportunistic events.
Carrington Holding Companies, a B2B real estate and mortgage company, asked the agency for help in transforming their business model in order to reach an underserved market of home buyers — namely, those with credit challenges. We first created perception surveys to gain a greater pulse on this market segment. Based on reaped results, we broadened their Internet storefront to meet the needs of this new customer, which included instant prequalification, affordable payment methodology, engaging digital communications and a chat room for local insights and advice. Tapping their rich database of facts and figures, we developed an infographic that honed in on trends affecting the real estate and mortgage markets. Following a multi-media campaign in which Carrington was positioned as a thought leader for this market, the company achieved wide penetration into the underserved market.
The company that first introduced drip irrigation technology to the world over 50 years ago, needed to expand its presence in both traditional and new crop markets as farmers were increasingly faced with drought conditions and decreased access to water. Netafim looked to the agency not only to bolster its media relations and marketing programs, but also to pave the way for a transformation of the way the company positions itself and its product offerings. The agency has been instrumental in helping Netafim restructure its dealer incentive and marketing program, forge relationships with key agricultural and environmental influentials and academics, develop sales and marketing tools, as well as conceptualize and execute marketing and advertising campaigns for the landscape and agriculture divisions.
Bob Evans Farms Inc., a leading producer and distributor of refrigerated and frozen convenience food items, was exploring ways of showing support for military members and their families while also strengthening its ties to the local community it serves. We were retained for the Bob Evans “Our Farm Salutes” program to partner with a military not-for-profit organization to further the brand’s goals of providing meals and donations to programs that support the military active duty, veterans and their families. We conceived the idea to paint its barn – an iconic symbol in Rio Grande, Ohio – purple, representing the color of all branches of the military. We also secured a partnership with The Gary Sinise Foundation and produced PSAs that featured the actor and director of the Foundation, as well as a campaign video. The purple barn visual attracted significant media attention with regional news and military media trade outlets. Results from data surveys clearly indicated an uptick in favorability perceptions for the Bob Evans brand.