Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Make Your PR Resolution for 2011

By: Cole Buergi, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

When setting your New Year’s resolutions for 2011, be sure to include developing a PR / Marketing plan for your business. Many businesses owners don’t take the time to establish a formal plan to promote their business which can result in missed opportunities to reach consumers, directly translating into lost revenue.

It can take a little effort but now is a great time of year to determine how you want to accomplish your business goals. Many businesses tend to be slow between Christmas and the New Year so why not take this time to plan for next year.

When developing your plan, consider the following:

• What are the goals you want to accomplish?

• What do you know about my industry and what research can you do to learn more?

• What tools are available to accomplish these goals?

• How do you successfully incorporate social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, etc…) into your efforts?

• Who will implement the tactics and track their success?

Don’t forget to get your employees involved in the planning process. It helps build support and buy-in and broadens the process for generating new strategies and tactics.

Also, make it fun for everyone. This is a time for creativity and the free exchange of ideas. Some of the most off-the-wall ideas can lead to an idea that works perfectly.

So for the coming year, add creating a PR / Marketing plan to your promises for 2011. And, just like your resolution to exercise more or quit a bad habit, if you stick to it, you will be rewarded.

What are some of your business resolutions? How are you getting your employees involved?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cookie Cutter PR…Is There Such a Thing?

By: Angela Raleigh, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

To make a long answer short, no. There are numerous reasons why the answer to the question in the title is no, but the main reason is that not all companies are the same. In the fast paced PR industry, things are constantly changing and we have to accommodate those changes in our daily work.

In order to develop a successful PR plan, you must tailor it to your client, the client’s target market and the client’s goals. So how do you go about doing so?

First, do your research. This is a vital step in PR planning because it plays a role in the planning process that affects future success. Understand your client’s goals and then research ways to achieve those goals.

Second, develop strategies and tactics to meet your client’s goals and incorporate them into a PR plan. It’s important to be realistic in developing a list of activities that will lead to the desired result so that you are setting out to achieve what can be accomplished. The PR plan will help everyone understand what is to be accomplished and who will be responsible for each activity.

Lastly, keep things fresh and be flexible. As we all know, the PR industry, target markets, and the economy can all change causing a need for adjustments. Therefore, there is no guarantee that strategies and tactics that were successful in the past will be in the present or future. Additionally, plans that work for one client may not work for another. Be sure to create a workable PR plan that can be tailored depending on the current market conditions in order to achieve the desired result.

The important thing to remember is that there is no magic in PR. It’s about being consistent and persistent in following a plan and knowing how to reach the target market so information can be communicated in a timely manner.

What other elements do you believe are important in developing a successful PR plan for your clients? What unique aspects have you built into PR plans?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do you Remember to Say “Please” and “Thank You?”

By: Scott Stein, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

It’s been a few weeks since Thanksgiving when many of us think about all we have to be thankful for. And during the month of December, the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce is meeting with all of its members just to say thank you. Those two items and a personal observation that fewer people today seem to use the words “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” prompted me to think about civility.

What I found is that a lot of other people are thinking about the same thing, some even pondering…“Is civility dead?”

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines civility as civilized conduct; courtesy; politeness. Most probably just think of it as good manners.

Temple University professor Frank Farley says there have been a number of factors – the economy, the Internet among them – that have led to a decline in civility. Farley says the anonymity of the Internet is an important factor; as people let things all hang out (just take a look at some of the reader responses after a news story posted online). The economy also has many people frustrated about their own situation or how others are affected leading to more people willing to speak out forcefully.

Not everybody is just sitting by on this subject and wondering where things will lead. Tom Changnon, superintendent of the Stanislaus County School District in California, just recently launched a “Choose Civility” campaign.

Changnon told the Modesto Bee…“Quality life depends in great part on how community members treat each other. This initiative will promote the importance of civility in a world becoming increasingly less civil and encourage community members to choose positive and respectful behaviors in their personal and work lives.”

The newspaper also cites surveys that indicate that two-thirds of Americans believe that our society has become less civil, and seven out of 10 believe the problem has gotten worse in recent years.

So what can we do to be more civil? P.M. Forni, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and author of “Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct” offers a few suggestions…

• Lower your voice when it may bother others

• Welcome a new neighbor

• Respect those different than us

• Properly dispose of trash left by someone else

• Acknowledge mistakes

• Don’t participate in malicious gossip

• Don’t run red lights

• Disagree with poise

• Say “please” and “thank you”

And the list goes on.

What do you think? Is civility dying? Is the Midwest more civil than elsewhere?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

L&F Receives 16 Awards from PRSA-NEW

L&F are very honored to have recently received sixteen "Premier Awards" from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) - Northeast Wisconsin Chapter.  We recieved the awards for our work in six categories, including: integrated communications, issue communication, media relations, press kits, newsletters and special events.
Our awards included:

• Three “PRemier Entry in Category Awards” for:

- LibertasTreatment Centers (media relations)

- Bellin Health’s Advance Care Planning (integrated communications)

- TransCanada’s Bison Pipeline Project (issue communication)

• Three “PRemier Awards of Excellence” for:

- Burger Fest (media relations)

- Sanimax Community Outreach (issue communication)

- School Name & Logo Issue (issue communication)

• 10 “PRemier Awards of Merit” for:

- Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary (media relations)

- Bellin Health’s Make the Right Call Campaign (integrated communications)

- California Association of Business Brokers (media relations)

- Green Bay Converting’s Ever-Green™ and Spray & Dry™ Product Rollout (media relations)

- Fox River Cleanup Project (issue communications)

- Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field Atrium (media relations)

- Leonard & Finco’s PRactical PR (newsletter)

- LZ Lambeau Media Kit (media relations / press kits)

- Pioneer Credit Union (integrated communications)

- The Salvation Army – Season of Hope (special events)

PRSA-NEW’s “PRemier Awards” recognize the exceptional practice of public relations by professionals throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Award submissions were judged by the Madison, WI chapter of PRSA. Entries were evaluated against an established standard based on the primary tenants of public relations, as well as creativity and efficient use of budget.

We extend our congratulations to other award winners, including the Grand Award entry from Schneider National and winning entries from Integrys Energy Group, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, Write Image, LCC and ThedaCare.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What’s the Fuss All About?

By Cole Buergi, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Unless you’ve unplugged yourself from the media in the past few weeks, I’m sure you’ve heard about the complaints from airline travelers about the new Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) protocol on scanning and pat downs. Some travelers feel the new full body scanning machine is too intrusive and takes too detailed a scan of the human body. Their fear is that the scans will end up on the Internet. The option of having a body pat down isn’t any better. Some say the pat down search is intrusive and a violation of their personal rights.

To those individuals who oppose these security measures, I say find an alternative way to travel. I travel frequently and, although I’m not a big fan of the pat down or the body scan, the safety of myself, my fellow passengers and the potential targets on the ground, far outweighs the few moments of an uncomfortable search by TSA. In addition, the pat downs I’ve personally experienced, and witnessed other passengers experience, are very respectful and professional.

In chatting with TSA agents, they’ve explained that they are just as uncomfortable as the traveler with having to perform a pat down. I actually feel bad for the harassment the agents have to go through by travelers who freely choose to fly yet are against the pat down and raise a stink when they experience it.

From my perspective, what TSA gets a failing grade on is not informing the public in advance about the new security measures before implementing them. I believe that’s why people were so upset about it; they had no idea it was going to happen until they were standing in the line. Next time, give the traveler forewarning. Then they can make an informed choice. If they don’t want a scan or pat down, then they can choose not to fly and seek some alternative form of transportation.

For me, security isn’t a problem. I’m usually more worried about whether or not my bag will make it to my destination at the same time I do!

What are your feelings towards the body scan or pat down? What alternative solutions do you think would work as well yet be less intrusive?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

5 Things that Make A Great Client

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

We were having a discussion the other day about favorite clients. You know, the ones you’ll jump through hoops for, drop everything for and will generally go to war with? OK, OK, I know that as an agency leader I should say that ALL clients are favorite clients. The reality is…some are better than others and I’m not talking about how much a client is spending with us. So what makes a client, a great client? Here are my top five:

5.) They set realistic deadlines. If you want our best work, we can’t give you a full blown social media proposal overnight. It’s important we understand what you’re hoping to accomplish, who your target markets are, etc. Yes, we can do things quickly and will gladly do so when it’s important but everything shouldn’t be a crisis.

4.) They pay on time. Everyone likes getting a paycheck. It’s tough to meet payroll if your clients aren’t paying in a timely manner.

3.) They’re upbeat. Let’s face it, we all prefer working with people who are genuinely nice. There’s never a need to be nasty, snarky or downright abusive toward the agency people you work with. If you think your agency is that bad, then maybe you need a new agency!

2.) They’re responsive. It’s pretty hard to get anything accomplished if a client isn’t giving you feedback or signing off on work.

1.) They view our relationship as a partnership.  Success doesn’t occur in a vacuum.  If a client is involved from start to finish, without being overbearing, it’s much easier to be successful.  We are respectful of our clients’ expertise, and hope they are respectful of what we do as well.  That’s why a partnership approach works best.

What other things make a client, a GREAT client? And, while you’re thinking, what things make an agency GREAT to work with? Love to hear your feedback.