PR Lessons Translated For Product Marketers

Errant Musings

Know Your Audience and Tailor the Offering

Just read a great story “Biting Off the High End of the Market,” an interview with the founder of Jax & Bones, a made in the USA manufacturer of high-end pet products (Disclaimer, I am also a customer of their tres chic doggy beds courtesy of our nap-loving little Doxie, Stella!).

Having been on the inside at some of the coveted retailers that many of these brands are vying to get in front of, I can tell you that founder and CEO Nguyen’s insights ring true. These retailers understand that part of their allure and longevity rest with their ability to constantly delight and offer new “finds” along with the tried and true quality products their loyal customers expect. But at the same time, these retailers don’t want to offer up the same packaged consumer products that can be found at competing retailers.

What’s a young consumer brand to do? To begin the conversation, you must have a great quality product – period. If you control the manufacturing, even better. You are the master of your domain; you can more easily customize the offering, control the quality, and move quickly to meet changes in the market.

Leverage your strengths and market to each retailer in a unique way that speaks to their brand and to their customer. It’s a premium to these top-tier retail brand’s customers to “discover” new brands from their favorite stores versus an offering that is generic, “XYZ” retailer brand.

I am not just the founder of a premium brand building PR agency; I am also a shopper. I joke that I’m a ‘marketer’s dream.’ I’m very loyal, but always happy to try something new. I’m discerning and demanding but I always spread the word when I find something truly good. Love my fave retail brands from Neiman’s to Williams Sonoma and online, everyone from Amazon (Prime – hello!) to One Kings Lane to Minted, but I am loyal and shop these brands because I trust they curate the best in their respective categories. There ‘s a trust and implicit endorsement with every product they offer. “If a retailer I love offers a new product brand, I know that it’s good unless proven otherwise.”

Back to why I liked this Inc. Insights story. Founder and CEO Nguyen’s advice gleaned from working with the likes of Pottery Barn and Barney’s New York rings true for those of us in the retail, brand-building PR world, “We pay attention to their brand and match our design to their aesthetics.” Amen. Know your target (audience) and tailor your message. Could not have said it better myself.

Here’s to another year of growth, discovery and fun!

xo,

Kimberly

Lessons From Third Grade

Errant Musings
This is me with my daughters and the third graders.
This is me with my daughters and the third graders.

Recently my children’s grade school asked for parent volunteers to speak at Career Day. It wasn’t until my husband suggested that I should do it that I gave it a second look. As a “working mother” of three school age daughters I realized my responsibility to participate. Beyond the obvious reasons, my motivation was more personal and specific. I live in a really wonderful community (some might call it a bit of a ‘bubble’) with well educated, caring and very involved families. We moved to Austin to raise our kids in just this kind of atmosphere.  However, one interesting casualty is that my daughters have very few examples of career women.

In this community, the base line expectation of the families (primarily the moms) is to be present and available 24/7 for our kids, their activities and their schools. My girls often complain to me that “other moms” come to every school event, every performance, and every activity and even eat lunch with their kids at school on a regular basis. How can a ‘working mom’ ever compare to that? Do not get me wrong, I think it is an amazing choice to stay home and be a full-time mom. It’s not a choice I have made, but I totally respect that it is the right choice for many women (and a few men).

Back to motivation. As a minority, aka career mom, once I decided to commit the effort and time, I was looking forward to speaking up and showing my daughters and their classmates that women can be both – good moms and successful career people.

The presentation was for a couple classes of 3rd graders. All my girls were able to attend as well.  It was fun. I love presenting and the kids were very engaged. My biggest challenge was to tailor the information for a Minecraft-obsessed, eight and nine-year-old crowd.

Lessons From Third Grade is attached but here are the main talking points and slides from my presentation at Career Day:

“I have a PR agency here in town called Kimberly Strenk PR. But most of you here know me as Elke’s mom, Katha’s mom or Taschi’s mom – right? Well, outside the neighborhood, from as far away as London, England to California and New York, people know me as the owner of a PR agency.

What is Public Relations?

What is PR? PR is a profession that helps companies, organizations or individuals communicate with the outside world.  Now why would it be important to do this? (Use a retail store as an example)

  • Grow Brands

My company specializes in launching and growing brands. Does anyone know what a brand is? Show 4 brand images. What do you think of when you see this? What are some of your favorite brands? Why do you like them?

Examples of recognizable brand logos.

Blog Pics
  • Create Stories

Another thing we do is we create stories for our clients. Has anyone here written a story recently that got a great grade or that you are really proud of? When you wrote the story, did you think about who you were writing it for? What did you want to say? How were you able to communicate that message? We do the same things, we create stories that are relatable, and hopefully interesting so that lots of people will want to learn, buy or engage with our client’s brands.

  • Build Relationships

In PR, it’s also very important to build relationships. Does anyone know what a relationship is? How do you start a relationship? Well we do the same thing on behalf of our clients.

I chose PR because:

  • Career vs. job
  • Builder
  • Writer
  • Listener
  • Problem solver
  • Social
  • I always wanted to be the boss

Education and Training:

  1. BA in Literature and Language
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Critical Thinking
  • Imagination
  • Present your best self
  • Do great work
  • Learn from mistakes
  • Move on
  • A positive attitude

 Lessons from Third Grade:

  • To listen
  • To ask questions
  • It’s ok to make mistakes
  • Be a good friend

Important Skills to Develop as a Third Grader:

—  Grammar + Spelling

—  Reading + Analytics

—  Creativity + Building

—  Relationships + Reputation

—  Find a role model

How did it go? Could not have been better.  We actually took a video. One of these days when we have time to edit it down, will certainly share.  A library room full of kids, sitting crisscross applesauce for 30 minutes? They fully engaged, contributed and brought me tons of energy. Feedback from my kids? My first grader has already requested me for her class’ career day next year.