With a focus on teaching students safe decision-making choices regarding drugs and alcohol, D.A.R.E. America, a non-profit organization, introduced a new, prevention curricula for grades K-12 classrooms, that confronts the opioid and prescription drug abuse crisis. In kicking off the curricula, the agency worked closely with individual D.A.R.E. officers, training them to become spokespeople for the program and working with them to become informed speakers as they interfaced with their local media. Additionally, they were tasked with publishing articles in trades, as well as OpEds in their local media, which always focused on the urgency of the problem and the need to educate on prevention. The agency created a national Public Service Announcement for television and radio, distributed to the many markets all over the country that were most impacted by the opioid crisis.
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.
When U.S. Digital Gaming (USDG), a technology platform that enables states and operators to manage every aspect of legally compliant online gaming, noted increased online gambling discussions taking place at the state and federal level, it sought out the agency to drive awareness of USDG as an industry expert. We positioned co-founder Richard Bronson as a thought leader, and USDG as leading the charge to legalize online gaming in the United States. We keyed into the news cycles and proactively developed relationships between USDG and its respective media audiences (consumer, business, technology, financial, governance, public policy, legal, gaming industry, etc.). Within the first 60 days, we secured an editorial briefing for Bronson and the Wall Street Journal, resulting in a full-length profile story.
Heart disease has become the #1 cause of death for women. It takes a village to raise awareness that early detection screenings can save lives. Everyone Has A Heart Foundation’s “village” included partnerships with a major health institution, a cardiologist spokesperson, health care networks, local community clinics, women’s groups, religious institutions, and the collaboration of civic, business and community leaders to spread the word within their own spheres of influence. We created a Women’s Heart Day Health Fair, which offered free screenings and educational seminars. Notably, we partnering with the LA Unified School District to distribute more than 450,000 Valentine cards for children to bring home to their mothers, urging them to get heart screened. Shortly after, LA Metro came on board as a marketing partner.
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 City of Santa Monica needed to better understand the community for more informed policies and community initiatives, but realized that it lacked the right type of data. So it set out to do something that had never been done before: integrate the science of wellbeing into the foundation of the local government. The core of the Wellbeing Project, the city’s winning entry in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor’s Challenge, is a comprehensive index of analysis developed in partnership with renowned research firm RAND Corporation and New Economics Foundation. The agency worked closely with the project to distill and communicate the data for public consumption, consulted on website development and to assist in strategically implementing change within the city based upon findings. The launch of the index solidified the city’s thought leadership platform in sustainability and health and wellness.
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.
“Portraits of Service”, a new book by photographers Robert Miller and Andrew Wakeford, presents images and vignettes of a cross-section of living war veterans that capture the fears, emotions and unique stories of service men and women across four generations. The publisher, The Patton Foundation, wanted to raise its visibility and identity through media relations, increase book sales and assist in building relationships with corporate sponsors and allied organizations. To differentiate our messaging from other veterans groups, the content focused on servicewomen, an oft-unrecognized segment of the veterans community. We also created alliances with the Gary Sinise Foundation and Final Salute, Inc.; celebrity spokesperson actress Erin Cummings; and developed a relationship with A&E Networks, that all contributed to significant increase in book sales.
Developing a corporate image program for Oversee.net, a marketing network company, presented two unique challenges. First, we needed to manage its reputation as it moved from small startup to the next level of expansion. Second, we needed to position the company as a leader in the emerging, yet little understood, domain industry. We developed an industry white paper that established Oversee as a thought leader and the company with which “domainers” want to do business. A media campaign targeted influencers, investors and customers, highlighting Oversee’s proprietary technology prowess and establishing it as a “go to” marketing tool to monetize sites. Oversee was named to the Inc. 500 and also named “Internet and New Media Company of the Year” by the Technology Council of Southern California.
When a breakthrough medical procedure has the potential to affect more than half a million women in the U.S. every year, the impact is daunting. miVIP Surgery Centers, a chain of outpatient surgery centers, recognized this when two gynecological surgeons were preparing to perform the first robotic hysterectomy on an outpatient basis at miVIP’s Beverly Hills location. miVIP looked to us for a media relations strategy to raise awareness of this procedure using the renowned da Vinci Surgical System®, a robotic surgery platform used for minimally invasive surgery. We produced a video that allowed broadcast media to utilize stock footage of the impressive equipment. On the day of the surgery, health reporters and other media were granted unprecedented access to shoot the procedure from only a few feet away in a separate room.
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.
Developing a media relations campaign for The Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy at USC came with unique challenges. Keston’s research and educational outreach activity was complex and far from palatable for mainstream media relations. We were tasked with positioning this non-partisan center as a thought leader in the advancement of knowledge, research and public policy advocacy for California and the nation’s public finance and infrastructure challenges. We identified timely and relevant infrastructure challenges and drew upon key learnings from the Institute’s forums, which often represented top players in state and municipal agencies, corporate executives and academic thought leaders. Keston has been featured on national broadcast news and public affairs radio shows across the country and become a much sought-after resource to local and state governments.
In today’s digital age, traditional marketing techniques are frequently underrated. With CMOs committing budgets against social media campaigns, other marketing tactics often fade into the background. Keller Fay Group, a marketing research and consulting company, tasked the agency with renewing market interest in its proprietary Word Of Mouth (WOM) marketing. To legitimize Keller Fay’s research findings and connect with its stakeholders, the agency established partnerships with the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and automotive retail data site Edmunds.com, who assisted in gathering appropriate high-profile Fortune 500 marketing executives for presentations about the company’s insights around supercharging sales results. Through word of mouth, of course, Keller Fay was able to net direct business and thought leadership opportunities.
Making a film for a green cause requires an imagination…and talent. Long before it became common practice to crowdsource for talent online, we tapped social media to invite filmmakers around the world to enter Rain Bird’s Intelligent Use Of Water competition for the best short films that would portray the urgency of the global water scarcity issue. The experiential campaign included a microsite and digital communications to engage Millennials on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. We tapped into online forums for filmmakers. Grassroots efforts included street teams sent to 40 schools nationally to promote the competition to students, film professors, and with the American Film Institute and American Cinema Foundation. We received 87 film entries in three months, showed finalist films at a guest-only LA event and awarded monetary prizes for top winners.
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.
The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the USC Marshall School of Business is comprised of international scholars and experts that had remained largely un-recognized or unknown outside academia. In order for Greif to raise its visibility among major business schools’ rankings and list position, we needed to bring the attention to its stellar faculty. We launched a media outreach campaign to re-introduce Greif through its faculty’s accomplishments. We targeted individual judges who influence national university rankings and a developed a comprehensive informational campaign to reach them, and placed bylined op-eds in major local and national business publications. After garnering national coverage, Greif was ranked by Success Magazine as the number one program for entrepreneurial studies in the country.
Actor Gary Sinise is perhaps best known for his role as Lt. Dan Taylor in the iconic movie “Forrest Gump” but also spends significant time serving and honoring our nation’s defenders, veterans and their families through his non-profit organization, the Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF). Operating in a highly competitive arena of supporting veterans and their families, our goal was to raise awareness of the GSF brand and generate market visibility. The focus was on the highly emotional topic of the widening care gap for returning war veterans. A media and thought leadership campaign propelled GSF into being a leading voice in providing tangible solutions to address this issue. A summit was held in partnership with the University of Southern California, resulting in concrete recommendations for solutions, sent to government, business and academic influencers, nationally.
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.
When the agency was tasked with introducing an already two-year-old patented Vitamin C product into the market, we created a strategy to tie in with public health and wellness issues and build on existing controversies. Ester-C, a Vitamin C supplement, entered the public consciousness through a PR campaign that included media relations, a large trade show presence and a thought leadership program. We enlisted independent expert spokespeople, such as a biochemist with 25 years of vitamin research experience and a nutritionist/author who advocates a vitamin-rich lifestyle to the “rich and famous.” The agency also booked a national radio campaign to promote vitamin benefits and educate consumers on public health concerns, such as toxicity levels.
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.
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.
With more than 2.5 million men and women serving in the armed forces and more than 4 million family members, the troops and their families depend upon the USO for critical programs and support. While the USO thrives through donations from major corporations and strategic partners, the agency, as their agency of record, saw an opportunity to tap an under-represented source of income through grassroots individual fundraising. Events such as Barbecue for the Troops, (leveraging the quintessential summer backyard barbecue), and Dance for the Troops, targeting school dances and New Year’s galas, were designed to mobilize individuals into throwing fundraisers in their local communities. Each campaign was supported with media relations, strategic partnerships, and organizational outreach.
Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Greater Los Angeles (MAWLA) needed to reconnect with its community and foster new marketing relationships and asked the agency for new concepts. We launched a 60-day campaign, entitled A Season of Wishes™, with experiential and visual elements, called “Wish It Blue,” (the Foundation’s signature color). We did a city-wide alert of the “blue” with a flip of a “virtual” switch turning major Los Angeles landmarks “blue”, including the famed Pacific Ferris Wheel, the Santa Monica Pier, the Queen Mary and the Vincent Thomas Bridge. We created an “influencers” group, the Circle of Wishes, to expand the campaign. MAWLA’s individual heart-wrenching kid-wish stories were spread across the media, with reporters interacting with the children and their families, capturing the stories live on local broadcasting.
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.
Digital marketing expert and customer service guru, Jay Baer, tapped the agency for media exposure and thought leadership strategies to increase coverage of his new book Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers. Written as a response to the rise in online complaints, Hug Your Haters argues that the mindset to “pick and choose” when to respond to criticism is an incredibly costly mistake for many businesses. By leveraging the breaking news cycle of high-profile business blunders together with available data points from Jay’s research, we created a whirlwind of interest, which led to byline opportunities and the positioning of Baer as a sought-after resource to the media through his ongoing expert commentary on specific statistics within the food, hospitality, travel, retail, and airline industries.