December 29, 2008

Mrs. Georgoulis!

Posted in Our News at 2:55 pm by R

This Saturday, CMSF contributor Allison Francis became Allison Georgoulis.

She was a GORGEOUS bride. She was a HAPPY bride. She was a bride whipped up in “Modern Marie Antoinette” perfection…plus an intact head 🙂

Allison as bride

Allison was my first friend when I moved to Phoenix. We’ve been through thick and thin, heartaches & breaks, good times & bad, great jobs & not so great ones. She helped me plan my wedding (she convinced me to wear a veil).  So it was with great joy that I got to share in Allison & Anthony’s wedding celebration and lend an event planning hand to help their dream wedding come to life.

These two have a love tested in fire. They are the living definition of patience and caring. I’m so happy for them and their son to now officially be one big, happy Georgoulis family.



December 23, 2008

What Matters in A Brand

Posted in A walk on the "dark side" at 9:09 am by R

Experience is ALL that matters in a brand.

Let me give you a holiday example: why are Old Navy’s flannel holiday pants superior to all others in my opinion? Because of a little PJ Christmas party my friends and I had several years back. I. LOVE. THOSE. PANTS.

Silly yes, but the experience I had bound me to that brand.

More brands need to work to communicate and brand the experience with a brand than they are communicating quality, value, etc. Why you ask?

Because if the experience is satisfactory and matches up to the brand promise, quality and perceived value are sure to follow.

I for one, will be looking to create direct links between my client’s products and the experience’s people have with them to communicate the brand promise…not just spouting off the characteristics in releases and pitches. Clearly, that means testimonials, which communicate not only the experience, but the quality as well.

In a time where dollars matter more than brand loyalty a strong positive experience is the only thing that will keep consumers purchasing, making investments and otherwise spending where they could easily make a cutback.


December 11, 2008

Community Media Biting the Dust

Posted in A walk on the "dark side", In the news, Media, Political Punditry at 4:41 pm by R

My mom called and left me a message this morning at o’dark thirty with the major Roswell Daily Record headlines.

KRQE TV in Albuquerque is closing down the KBIM TV station effective TOMORROW.

KBIM offers Roswell’s only local newscast. What’s more, this Southeastern New Mexico CBS station really served the whole SE corner of the state, which includes places you may or may not have heard of like Artesia, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Clovis and Portales.

In my still groggy state, my response was: “So what.”

But as I started to wake up and smell the repercussions of KBIM going off-line questions popped into my head like:

  • Where will the community news come from?
  • Can an Albuquerque-based station adequately cover the news SE New Mexicans have relied on from the talented Kim Stecklein for years?
  • How many other major-media-owned community stations are going to go the way of the dinosaur?

So what are Roswell’s options?

Well demographics-wise, the place skews old. Technology-wise, I was well out of high-school before Cable Internet took hold. News wise, well people want their news. Roswell citizens are really connected to their community. They still need and deserve local news. So how do they get it?

Given all of this, I think there are some options (mom, listen up):

  • The New Mexico Military Institute’s students could fill the news needs with a Vlog. Perhaps a news writing class is in order. (Yes, I will be a guest speaker, no you may not call me ‘Roberta’ in front of the class — that .50 a piece deal still holds up right?)
  • Community News Blog sponsored by KRQE — since they had to axe the broadcast, why not follow the lead of CNN and have an iReport function for news contributed by Roswell’s people? Accessible anytime on the Web, these stories can be used on TV to fill time during the 5:30 & 10:00 holes that have recently been created.
  • Record TV — the paper could become a multi-media by offering a newscast on their website.

I suspect this same scenario will be playing out all across the country as news conglomerates aim to shore up budgets by making strategic cutbacks. And I also suspect that the future of community news all news will be on line. Like it or not.

This will be a conundrum for the “media Goliaths” as fiercely local, grassroots “media Davids” crop up to fill the footprints the Belo’s, Meridith’s and Argyle holding companies leave behind. Where do you suspect the loyalty (read: advertising $$$) will go?

In the words of Jack Welsh: “Change before you have to.”


December 5, 2008

Call it like it is…

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:59 am by R

Lately the phrase “these economic times” has been getting more play than a new Britney Spears single. And to be honest it’s starting to grate on me.

The business news has been overwhelmingly negative and yet we refuse to use the word “recession.” Well, it’s here. And as a matter of fact it’s been here for an entire calendar year!

So can we please quit with the “these economic times?” Because these economic times are a recession.

And now that we’ve established that, can we turn to telling the stories that will inspire confidence?

I’ve got at least three clients whose national-caliber news has gone completely ignored because it’s not negative enough. Er, rather, “Not really the story angle we’re interested in telling.”


December 4, 2008

A Moment of Gratitude

Posted in A walk on the "dark side" at 10:20 pm by R

For whatever reason, on a completely unremarkable day, I feel so grateful for what I do and the people I get to work with.

In a world of rampant layoffs, frightening news reports, depressing economic news and other gloomy goings-on, I get to do what  I love — write and communicate — and it helps people continue to do their business and do what they love.

During this moment of joyful enlightenment, I’d like to propose that we all do what we love, enjoy what we do each day and try to be grateful for everything that we have in our lives, even though times present challenges that make it SO easy to be glum.

Maybe it’s the holidays, the Christmas cheer seeping into me, but I’d like to envoke a lyric from the brilliant philosophers of Monty Python:

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best…

And…always look on the bright side of life… (whistles)
Always look on the light side of life…

If life seems jolly rotten
There’s something you’ve forgotten
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you’re feeling in the dumps
Don’t be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing.

Always look on the light side of life… (whistles)

And…always look on the bright side of life… (whistles)

And if it’s all just a little too much to take, you just can’t stomach another negative news story, another curmudgeon client, visit Elf Yourself. (Brilliant viral marketing too!)

It’ll make you look on the bright side of life real quick.


December 2, 2008

What I’m Reading Today

Posted in In the news tagged at 4:17 pm by R

Lots of really juicy articles came to my attention today on a couple of really interesting fronts.

  1. Journalism’s Evolution
  2. Being Lux is Bad PR

The first article from PBS Mediashift’s Mark Glaser is a really interesting look at an experiment happening in Journalism — crowdfunding. Three thoughts:

  • This structure would put journalists in PR shoes.
  • Won’t it be terrifying to see what people want covered…
  • Which publications will glom on to this trend and buy the rights?

The second from Newsweek. I couldn’t help but feel a little upset reading this one. Wealth has been so atrociously flamboyant! And now people are paying the price for their exorbitant indulgences — Fuld and his near-stoning at the congressional hearing… Three thoughts:

  • Will the world’s wealthiest start investing in and shopping at Target?
  • How will publicists protect their well-off clients and justify purchases that seem outlandish to the rest of us plebeians?
  • 2008 word of the year: Green, 2009 word of the year: GREED


December 1, 2008

Fighting Santa & The Economy

Posted in A walk on the "dark side" tagged , at 4:26 pm by R

It’s that time of year…the one where it becomes near impossible to place any news that isn’t wrapped in fancy paper and tied up with a velvet bow — the holidays!

Don’t get me wrong…I’m a total nut about Christmas. The carols are blaring at my office (a new 2009 mix courtesy of moi), I have big plans to decorate the house this weekend and I can’t WAIT until my sister-in-law comes home from Gonzaga so that we can make a gingerbread house while watching Love Actually…our tradition.


But on the professional side, it’s tough. Especially now that we’ve had the earth shattering announcement that the US economy is in a recession and has been for an entire year. We are fighting Santa and economic news…Bah Humbug!

So how do we get around this double-blow for the next 25 days (with Christmas…who knows with the economy)?

  1. Acknowledge the challenge — let your clients know what you are up against to get them in the news. And remember, it’s a short month so a lot of our colleagues in the media will be taking well-deserved breaks for the holidays too.
  2. Work with what you’ve got — beyond being a challenge, the holidays and the economy are trends. Ask how you can play into those trends to create meaningful news hits.
  3. Look to the New Year — go beyond Santa if you can’t fight him. Many journalists are already lining up stories for the new year. With the economy in particular trend reports in various vertical businesses will be juicy fodder after 1/1/09
  4. Give for a good reason — companies tend to give just for the press of it. And while people still benefit in these instances, a compelling story is much more touching. Does your company have a  heart for animals? Has your company served a family in need? Do your employees work with a great organization who needs help this year? The personal stories and community impact are the real pay off. Do good to inspire others to do good. That’s real news.
  5. Concentrate on long lead publications — Magazines and industry publications are well on their way to Valentine’s Day and beyond, start locking in hits through the first quarter.

Be of good cheer (and creativity) there are still plenty of stories to tell! Don’t let the Jolly Fat Man or Wall Street get in your way.