Rock Star Media Tour + LOHAS Events

Projects + Events

Just returned from a great week in NYC to help our client bambeco celebrate their 2-year anniversary by participating in a series of media and networking events.  After major events, as much as we want to move on or at least rest on our laurels (hah) for a bit, we absolutely do not.  As quickly as possible after these major initiatives, we provide clients with an executive summary.  This helps us to capture the important detail, but more importantly this provides a strategic document that can be used to evaluate success of future initiatives.  We work with so many start-up, fledgling and small companies; dollars and bandwidth are always in short supply.  We know that we have to advise our clients with ROI always at the forefront of our decision making process.  As long as goals and expectations are clear, we know our execution will be flawless or as near flawless as you can get time and again.

Our primary goal with the LOHAS NY events and media desk sides was to create a strong bambeco presence during Earth Day in NYC, the epicenter of national media.  Our goal was to further bambeco’s relationship with LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability); to reach new audiences with the bambeco story; and to grow the product placement outreach with key influential media outlets, primarily in the premium lifestyle and eco space.  While the editor desk sides were the clear win for this trip, all events contributed to a strong bambeco presence and new opportunities to tell the brand story in a meaningful and engaged manner.

Here are some pics from the LOHAS evening networking event at the Best Buy event space in SOHO.  bambeco staged a lovely vignette featuring summer collection along with iconic best sellers.  It provided a great opportunity for influencers to experience the brand in a meaningful way. Online shopping experience at bambeco is visually enticing and easy to navigate but nothing replaces a tactile experience, especially with a fashion-focused brand.  The first three images are from Liz Linder photography.  She was so fun to work with and clearly “got” bambeco’s look and feel.  Thanks Liz!

 

We also participated in an Earth Day media lunch at the amazing Rouge Tomate, the “greenest restaurant in NYC.”  Great media presence and amazing conversations around the latest in the eco space for industries from home décor to flooring and product innovations in packaged consumer goods.

Loved the place cards.  Will be stealing this idea for my next dinner party!

Beyond the media and influencers we met at the LOHAS events, we also had an amazing series of media desk sides for bambeco.  Several of our great media partners that we have romanced with the bambeco story over the last 2 years, such as Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Martha Stewart Living, The Daily Green all sat down with us to preview bambeco’s summer collection + core green essentials.  But we were even more thrilled to put bambeco in front of folks that have not been swayed (yet) by our storytelling!  Our meetings with All You, Bon Appetit, Health, House Beautiful, InStyle, and People were quite simply, some of the best desk sides I have attended.  bambeco did a great job sharing their eco vision, company and product story.

Hard to top such a rock star week, but you know we’ll try.  Now back to those follow-ups…

-Kimberly

One Year One Video

Projects + Events

We put this video recap together for our awesome client, bambeco. Last year (2010) was our first full year working with this emerging, powerhouse eco-retailer.  It is always a challenge summarizing your work in any format, but I think we did a good job capturing bambeco’s story in this short video.  Let us know what you think!

Call out to Vance Spicer, a NY based music and video producer for creating this with us.  Surrounding ourselves with smart + creative people always makes us look good.

Best,

Kimberly

RISE Logo

RISE Austin, PR for Small Business

Errant Musings, Projects + Events

Very often I am asked to share PR insights and best practices.  PR is such a misunderstood profession that I relish these opportunities to share, educate and inspire.  My goal is to break down PR myths, one presentation at a time.   Just this past week for example I had the chance to host a RISE (Relationship and Information Series for Entrepreneurs) session, “PR for Small Business.”

Although, PR should be such an integral part of any business, most business owners don’t approach PR with an understanding of how it fits into their overall business strategy.   My focus for the session was to provide a solid framework for thinking about a business-aligned communication strategy.  That is to say, to create guidelines for all external communications. Businesses need to have a proactive approach to PR as opposed to a reactive approach, i.e. they should actively seek PR opportunities that will move the needle on their business, not just respond to whatever might come their way. In order to create a true business communications strategy, PR should have a seat at the table when business goals are being mapped out.  If not, a true business aligned communications strategy is not a realistic goal.

When I launched my namesake firm almost 3 years ago, I began with a simple premise that has guided my business; I stick to what I know and love and the business will grow.  I was fortunate to have learned the craft and honed my skills while working with some of the most respected and beloved consumer brands, from Williams Sonoma to Nordstrom and many companies in between. An insider perspective is what is needed to create and sustain a brand that evokes a positive, loyal consumer response.  There is no magic bullet.  Understanding smart PR and being able to execute consistently in partnership with marketing is a powerful business driver.

Kimberly Strenk PR is a boutique lifestyle PR agency.  We focus on promising young companies in the premium brand space.  Premium is not about a price point.  In our lexicon, it means that a company delivers on their consumer promise.   Sound simple?  Companies have to do what they say they will do and offer up products and services that delights the consumer.   That is why we are successful delivering consistent and sometimes spectacular results; the story is real. That is when PR can be realized as a truly powerful and strategic asset.

With that, let’s jump right in:  Common (PR) Myths

Common Myths

  • You need a big budget. Social media and proliferation of specialized boutique agencies makes it easier to do PR on a smaller budget.
  • Editorial = Advertising. Editorial is not the same as advertising. Editorial is earned. Advertising is paid.  Talk about ROI!.
  • If I could just get on Oprah. A press hit like this is a gift, say thank you and move onto a sustainable + strategic plan.
  • It’s all about spin. Authenticity is the benchmark. Consumers have a voice because of social media.  Be real, be consistent and deliver on the consumer promise.  A company that relies on their PR agency to “spin” the story will not be sustainable in today’s environment of instant publication and connectivity.
  • Just do it. There is no short cut.Competitive analysis and smart planning BEFORE execution will always pay dividends.

Simple Truths

  • Be real. Avoid hyperbole.  Are you really the only, the fastest, the first and the best?
  • Keep it simple. No jargon or trendy catchphrases, please.
  • Focus is your friend. Prioritize.  None of us can do it all, all of the time.
  • Let the story unfold. As your business grows and captures important milestones, always communicate the vision and let the facts speak for themselves.
  • Share. So busy moving forward and executing day to day, don’t forget to communicate your successes.

Now that we have some basic ground rules, how do we get started?

Getting Started: Internal

  • Who are you. What’s your story.  How did you get here?
  • What makes you special. Understand what makes you stand out from the crowd.  Be able to articulate this.
  • Identify key influencers.  Who are the people in your industry, in your marketplace and in your social circle who can impact your business?  Identify these influencers and prepare to reach out to these folks.
  • Build your network.  You can’t do this alone.  From employees, to vendors and contractors, surround yourself with talented and smart people that can become trusted advisers beyond their individual contributor role.

You’ve done your homework, let’s start communicating.

Getting Started: External

  • Feedback. AKA “friendly bullet proofing” is the first stop.  Ask people in your network to listen to your story and have them tell you what they think.  Do people outside your industry understand your story?  Are you compelling?  If not, why not?
  • Prioritize your battles. Again, remember to focus and prioritize.  Don’t get discouraged and feel overwhelmed.  There’s a lot you could do.   What can you do today? And what can be pushed out?
  • Be consistent across all touch points. Your brand should look and feel the same everywhere. Think about how adults process and learn, as espoused by “Consciousness of Competence” theory.  Basically, an adult has to see a message/new idea four different times to really process and learn it.   This theory of adult learning can be applied to branding as well. Logos, business cards, web sites, FB, twitter and messages all need the same look and feel.  Create an identity kit and share it with all your contractors and business partners who work on your behalf.  Everyone should speak with the same voice.
  • Low hanging fruit. Long-term goals are essential to your business, but short-term goals will serve to give you momentum and open up immediate opportunities. Local based business?  Reach out to your local editor who covers your industry and book a meeting.  These folks are tasked to cover their beat in their local market.  They are always looking for great new products and services to share with their readers. Don’t make all your wins long term: you need some achievable wins in the short term, too.

The participants generated some great dialogue and discussion points.  I encourage them and you to post questions on our FB wall facebook.com/kimberlystrenkpr.

Here’s link to the PPT preso I used:  Austin RISE 2011, PR for Small Business.  Was this helpful?  Do you have other tips or best practices that worked for your business?

Best,

Kimberly

Bambeco Summer Preview

Projects + Events

Warm weather months bring the promise of al fresco entertaining and leisurely summer dining. Today’s modern hostess favors colorful summer styles that are safe for the family and the environment.  At the same time our hostess does not want to pay more to live her green values.

At bambeco, their eco-chic décor and home furnishings celebrate the planet’s most renewable and versatile resource: bamboo. All-natural, organic and recyclable, these innovative products are both stylish and sustainable, striking a perfect harmony for this season’s outdoor festivities.

Whether for hosting backyard bashes, intimate dinners or weekend guests, bambeco offers a green alternative for every occasion.  Check out the Summer look book top picks that we can’t stop raving about.

Eco Picnic Basket

MakuTeak Lounge chairs

Laminated Square Coasters

For the complete bambeco summer look book, click the bambeco summer look book.

 

Bambeco Reel

Sizzle Reel

Projects + Events

I’ve always been a big fan of video to tell a brand story.  A great video can create excitement and interest in a way that other communication tools such as press releases, power points, brochures, e-kits and static images cannot.

During my early Nordstrom days, I had the opportunity to see first-hand how corporate videos were produced and distributed amongst internal employee audiences to communicate events, changes and just get employees excited and proud to be at the company.  Over the years, as a PR manager/director at numerous companies, I helped produce many sizzle videos to be  shown at all-hands meetings, marketing retreats, brand conferences and the like.  Having been involved in so many video projects, it always surprised me how positive and enthusiastic the response was to even the most basic PR brand sizzle reels.  This clearly cemented my belief that a well planned and produced video was a powerful communication tool for any company to make a connection with its audience.

When contemplating a professional video project keep in mind that the time from ideation to filming, editing, sound mixing, music, production and numerous rounds of editing can be time consuming and costly.  The major cost factors depend on the type of video you need and the elements needed to make it happen (for instance, on location filming and professional talent call all increase the cost).

We just finished a video project for our eco furnishings client, bambeco.  We were able to stay on budget, keep the costs low and deliver a finished project in less than a month by spending the time up front planning, script writing and laying out and gathering all the assets before sending everything to video production.   We worked with Lava Studios in Austin, Texas.  They were a great partner, shared our urgency and very professional.  A great resource for photography was istockphoto.com.  Easy to search and purchase a variety of images.

The end result of much creativity, focus, and detailed work is a beautifully produced 3 minute sizzle reel that tells the bambeco story and communicates the essence of the brand to a broad audience.  We show a young brand that is visionary, exciting, energetic,  intelligent and design driven.   A well planned and executed video enables audiences to experience a brand without being told “this is what the brand is.”

From the initial script, shot sheet development, image selections, music choice, voice actor, and all the other elements involved, our goal was to create a compelling story and emotional connection to the brand.  Hope you enjoy it.  Please tell us what you think.