Archive for March, 2010

Knowledge Breeds Success

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 25, 2010 by innovativemediapr

I had the pleasure this week of being the guest speaker at the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC) Senior Advisory Committee luncheon. My firm, iMedia Public Relations, has been working with the ANJC for the past year to raise awareness for chiropractic care. The Advisory Group consists of nine chiropractors that meet on a quarterly basis to discuss issues affecting chiropractic care in New Jersey. The group has a combined 400 years of experience. Two of the members, Dr. Al Powers and Dr. Bill Shipley, have been in the industry for 58 years.

As I outlined activities that we have undertaken to promote chiropractic over the past year, and discussed plans for new marketing initiatives, I was struck, not only by the interest that these esteemed practitioners showed in the presentation, but by the challenging questions they posed and advice they offered. I realized I was engaged in a dialogue with the Encyclopedia Britannica of Chiropractic knowledge. What a blessing.

These were individuals that are now treating a third generation of family members. I realized that I not only had a worthy audience, but I now had a focus group to bounce ideas off of in regards to publicizing chiropractic care. I was a novice tapping into an unlimited depth of knowledge.  For that, I thank Dr. Mark Magos for inviting me to speak and for all of the committee members for sharing their experiences with me. Thanks to Dr. Fred Pine, Dr. Powers, Dr. Ripley, Dr. Michael Sherman, Dr. Jay Gilden, Dr. Frank Zaccaria, Dr. Frank Stiso and Dr. Sig Miller, ANJC Executive Director.

This dialogue  made me realize that we often take our own knowledge and experience and that of our colleagues and clients too lightly.

When positioning my firm to a prospective new client, one of my selling points is my 23 years of public relations experience. Clients are told their program will have hands-on supervision by me. This is a strong point to make, but experience doesn’t always guarantee winning the business or success with the program. There still needs to be proper execution. What also leads to success is the ability to listen and learn.

I’ve always valued the lessons I was taught in this profession by those that paved the path before me and tried to instill lessons onto the ranks of young talent I’ve tried to nurture over the years. However, one of the most important aspects to success in the communications field is the ability to gain insight from others.
By keeping your ears to the ground and communicating with clients at all times, you can deflect or correct any potential problems that come up while strengthening the relationship. By listening to your employees and staying connected with them, you can see what problems they are facing, what solutions you can offer, or make sure that needed corrections in behavior or work practices are made before they become major headaches for you.

No matter what, continue to use the knowledge resources at hand. Whether they are your mentors in the industry, trusted members of your networking groups, clients, colleagues or a group of veteran chiropractors, don’t be afraid to listen to them. You’ll realize that their counsel will only make you better. And, by sharing your own knowledge, you’ll impact others as well.

Tom Cosentino

Why March Madness is Good for Business

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 18, 2010 by innovativemediapr

Since the early 1980’s when CBS began televising the NCAA Tournament, March Madness has taken on a life of its own. Today, in offices across America, there will be long lunch breaks as employees gather to watch the opening round games. All week, offices have been inundated with everyone filling out their brackets. The online options are enormous and thanks to technology, the games themselves can all be viewed right on the desktop.

Many feel that March Madness is a distraction and hampers productivity. That may be true for the first two days, but in the long run, I believe that businesses benefit from the enthusiasm and interest generated from the NCAA Tournament.

While an event like the Super Bowl transcends sports and creates the largest television audience in the country, it still is just one game and one event. What makes the NCAA Tournament so special is that it brings employees at all levels of the corporate ladder and at respective businesses together with a common interest in who will win the office pool. The CEO graduate from Syracuse can bond with the Villanova account executive as they pull for the Big East while the secretary from Kansas can relish in her Jayhawks beating Lehigh in the opening round. Even President Obama has chimed in by picking Kansas to win it all.
What business can learn from March Madness is the following:

Teamwork – all businesses try to foster good teamwork but it’s not always easy. The NCAA Tournament allows all employees, regardless of their position, to bond and become involved in a common cause. This can be incorporated throughout the year, not just with March Madness. Keep all your employees involved, whether it’s with fostering ideas, developing new business pitches or conducting research. They don’t have to sit in on a planning meeting but their opinions should be solicited. Making them feel part of the team at all times, and not just for a special occasion or an off-site mandatory group session, will go a long way towards improving productivity and teamwork.

Make it Fun – Filling out the brackets and tracking your progress against your co-workers is a lot of fun. It gets employees talking to each other. Why can’t work environments be fun year-round? I’m not propagating watching television, signing up for pools and ignoring work on a daily basis. What business need to do is capture some of the goodwill created by events like March Madness and have them extend into the way they conduct business. There should be regular events scheduled whereby employees can get together and talk about subjects other than what they need to do to service a client. Schedule ideation sessions where interns, secretaries and junior staff can join in and offer ideas for new business proposals or for existing business challenges. If you’re a private business or store owner do something creative and fun for your customers. Make them feel special. Let them win a chance to be an employee of the day with your company or hold your own Madness promotion. The more you involve them, the stronger their loyalty will be to your company.

Go for the Long-shot – It’s easy to go with what’s always worked. Just like picking the top four seeds in the Tournament, many companies, managers and small business owners are afraid of going out of their comfort zone. My opinion is that it pays to “think big.” Be creative in fostering ideas for your business and don’t be afraid to go with the long-shot type idea. That out-of-the box idea may net you a new client, help you land new customers or retain existing ones. San Diego State may not make the Final Four, but that big promotion or viral concept may create the “Madness” that sets you apart from your competition.

Tom Cosentino

5 Tips For PR Success

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 10, 2010 by innovativemediapr

Yesterday I turned 48 and the reality hit me that over half of my life has been spent in public relations. While age has never been relevant to me, the passage of time certainly is. It gave me repose to consider the many events and activities I’ve been involved in as well as the trying times. What it also did was make me realize that while the profession has changed as the years have passed, and the tactics and strategies altered by the changing technology, the tenants of a good communications program remain constant. That was the focus then and it must remain now.

For those venturing into the public relations field I offer these five essential tips for building a successful public relations career:
1. It’s about being a communicator – if you are uncomfortable communicating with others, whether it be over the phone, in written word or in public settings, then this is not the profession for you. Learn how to listen to others, especially your clients or superiors. They will value your input but don’t want to be force fed. You gain greater respect if you develop a program for them which reflect their needs and concerns. Keeping the lines of communication open with them at all times allows for a give-and-take process that can allow you to become an integral part of your client’s business or your internal team. But first, open your ears and listen!

2. Relationships matter – you are nowhere in this industry if you do not work on creating and maintaining relationships with key media, colleagues and clients. The only way you maintain this is to treat everyone fair and with respect. You may not always agree with everything a reporter writes about your company or client but if you have a good relationship with that reporter, you can better communicate your displeasure. It should not come down to a screaming match. You also never want to burn bridges. You never know when that difficult boss or client can become an ally in the future. This industry is very small and if you say something negative or in this age, tweet or blog about it, be sure that it will get back to that individual.

3. Be responsible – the quickest way to burn a bridge is to blame others for something you were responsible. If you make a mistake, and we all do, own up to it. Whether it’s with an internal staff or as part of an account team, there needs to be accountability. If a process is in place and there is a proper outline for each team member’s roles and responsibilities, there is no way for someone to blame others. Be honest with those around you and with your clients. They will respect you more.

4. Go the extra mile – Too often, especially on the agency side, the scope of work negotiated with a client for an account is the gospel and nothing beyond that is offered up. Sure, that is important from a business perspective in not overstaffing and over-servicing a client program. However, public relations professionals that stand out are those that are indeed willing to go the extra mile for a client or to get the job done.

5. Make the most of your network – It is vital for a public relations communicator to establish and build upon their network of contacts throughout their career. While I’m still dealing with media representatives and client contacts that I first came into contact with back in the 1980’s, I’ve also met and continue to network with a myriad of new contacts, many of whom I’ve never met in person but communicate with online. These contacts are now referring business to iMedia Public Relations. Start networking from your inception into this industry, but don’t make it about you. Share information, use groups and contacts as learning tools and always provide value.

Tom Cosentino

Keep Your Radar Tuned for Falsehoods on Internet

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2010 by innovativemediapr

There was a breaking news report by Radar this afternoon that Chief Justice John Roberts planned to announce his immediate resignation from the U.S. Supreme Court due to personal reasons. The report originated from the gossip website Radar online and was quickly linked on DrudgeReport, Huffington Post and Village Voice among others. When the claim was denied, Radar took down the story and the other sites did so as well.
For Radar, it gave them some instant credibility with mainstream media and got the denizens of the internet humming with speculation. As Medialite pointed out, the move by Radar gave them their 15 minutes of fame.

It’s an interesting move on the part of Radar, one that gave them, literally, their 15 minutes of fame. And it was completely successful: write an “exclusive,” completely false piece on something the blog has no expertise on and watch the links and hits roll in. Since no one goes to Radar expecting factual coverage of the Supreme Court, the fact that they are completely unreliable when it comes to their political coverage is irrelevant. Sure, next time they publish a political bombshell exclusive, no one will take them seriously, but their bread-and-butter stories on Brangelina and Tiger Woods remain unscathed.

What this teaches is that false rumors, innuendo and wrongful information can harm a brand, company or individual instantaneously on the internet. A failure to actively monitor what’s being said about your brand, company, self or client can cause undue harm in a rapid way.

Keep your “radar” tuned at all times.

Tom Cosentino