Archive | April 2013

Small Business Symposium – May 15

CompetitionThinking of starting a business?
Looking to grow an existing business?

If you live in Northeast Ohio and want to network with today’s business leaders then you must attend the upcoming 2013 Small Business Symposium: Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at Lakeland Community College.

The half-day ( to 12:30 p.m.) event program includes sessions covering the following topics:

  • Marketing
  • Finance & Operations
  • Technology

I will be the first morning presenter for the Marketing Track, check it out.

Included in the 2013 symposium will be an exhibit hall, Best Practices in Business Roundtable, and an Access to Capital panel discussion. Your $25 registration fee will include all materials, continental breakfast and snack..

The program is presented in partnership with Lakeland Community College’s Entrepreneurship and Ohio Small Business Development Center, Lake County Port Authority, the Small Business Administration of Cleveland, the Council of Small Enterprises (COSE), the Mentor Economic Assistance Corporation, and Lake Communicators.


PR Tips for Event Promotion and Success

1254520_teamwork__1As spring gets us all outside again, it puts us in the spirit of summer gatherings and starts the season of corporate events.

PR News recently shared 6 Tips for PR Success with Your Events from Diane Gage Lofgren, chief communications officer and senior VP, brand communication, at Kaiser Permanente.

1. Evaluate Your Event for a Strategic Fit: Events need to be consistent with the organization’s brand, meshing with business goals, objectives and outcomes. The event must match your company’s values and business priorities.

2. Secure Leadership Buy In: Identify key executive sponsors of the event and schedule briefings with them. “Be ready to demonstrate your event’s value to them with a business case,” says Gage Lofgren.

3. Pre-Plan and Promote the Heck Out of Your Event: Promote speakers ahead of time to your contacts through emails, blogs, and social media. Pitch to media in advance and amplify presence onsite through the display of artwork, demonstrations and videos. Have trained PR team members onsite to staff interviews and followup with media and stakeholders.

4. Make Events Interactive and Memorable: During conferences and meetings minimize the use of PowerPoint. Also, shake up the event with something unexpected (a surprise guest speaker or a flash mob gathering, for example). Build in unique activities and events that make your event stand out.

5. Extend the Event: Invite key journalists and bloggers and offer previews to a few select reporters. Facilitate an expert meet-and-greet to attract media PR and attendees. Create an event-specific mobile game for attendees and offer added-value items at the event.

6. Share Your Event Results: Offer event surveys to participants that are fun and interactive. Send a recap to all stakeholders sharing survey findings and other metrics. And be sure to highlight how PR contributed to the bottom line via your event.

What strategies do you find most successful when promoting your event to the public and the media?

Pepsi Bringing New Style to Can Design

PepsiCo has been very busy reconnecting with its customers through its new Pepsi bottle shape and now limited-edition Diet Pepsi 7.5-ounce cans designed by HGTV star Vern Yip – who I totally loved on Trading Spaces at the start of the   interior design craze years ago…

When asked about the new design in a recent AdWeek article:
“This Vern Yip-designed can is perfect to inspire our consumers and give them a bubbly time-out,” explained Amy Spiridakis, director of marketing for Diet Pepsi. “As we are in the spring timeframe, where people are really thinking about entertaining and going to gatherings, it seems like the perfect package.”

Amy continues explaining how packaging is a critical touch point for the Pepsi brand. It really is the consumer’s experience – holding the product.

Why a peacock?
It does a great job of representing confidence, vibrancy, positivity, energy and strength, which are all attributes of our Diet Pepsi consumer. We think it really fits in well with her lifestyle.

Outside of female, can you describe the rest of the demographic for this can design and the larger “Love Every Sip” effort?
It’s targeted at females who love home design. It’s not so pinpointed around a demo but more a mindset that focuses on enjoying being around others. The home is their anchor point. In May, Target will actually run an exclusive program where consumers who buy Diet Pepsi will get a set of six coasters that have the Vern Yip design printed on them.

Overall, I think the new bottle shape is great and the limited edition can design looks fabulous. These new marketing strategies for PepsiCo will prove to benefit the brand with consumers.

Facebook Social Impact with Shares or Likes?

Mark ZuckerbergEveryone wants their customers to join the social media craze and LIKE them on Facebook… but what does this mean to marketers. Where is the value in a LIKE?

Ad Week’s Christopher Heine, found that Brands favor social shares over likes. In his article, brands are realizing the value of SHARES over LIKES when measuring their social media efforts.

While Facebook and other social channels are a good tool for communicating with your customers, the real value is in their endorsement of your brand in a direct comment to their friends  – sharing. It’s becoming the “digital word of mouth” engagement companies seek from their most valued followers.

Mike and Ike are among some of the recent brands to add the share button to their Facebook ads. Entertainment brand in particular are focusing on shares. An Eventbrite study found that Facebook shares are worth $4.15 apiece when it comes to event ticket sales—more than twice as much as a retweet ($1.85) and four times greater than a LinkedIn share (92 cents).

Other marketers say they, too, put a high value on social sharing. “Whether people are sharing our content is an indicator we use to understand if we are going in the right direction,” said Catherine Schenquerman, digital ad manager at JetBlue.

With brands adapting their goals and strategies to the changing face of social media, do you agree that share are the more valuable return for marketing?


Have you heard about the new Ad Tax in Ohio? Well if you haven’t yet, it’s in the process of becoming law so if you are concerned that you may now have to pay a new tax you better start reading…

According to the Ohio Advertising Tax Coalition article, comprised of local AAF Chapters, the State of Ohio’s Governor John Kasich is proposing a new tax on  advertising services as part of his broad expansion of Ohio’s sales and use tax.

Of the concerns raised in the article some include:

  • An ad creates an unfair “double tax” or tax “Pyramiding”
  • Sends an anti-business signal and gives unfair advantage to out-of-state competitors
  • Creates a burden on businesses and state governments to account for billions of dollars spend on ads in a variety of mediums
  • Potentially a sales tax on advertising would result in the loss of 48,911 marketing jobs in Ohio (Source: LR Klein & IHS Global Insight, 2010).
  • Attempts to tax advertising in other states has failed

Advertising is the most economically efficient means of marketing its products and services to consumers. It’s estimated that the new ad tax would decrease sales in Ohio by $12.1 billion. Meaning less dollars for companies to invest in advertising and new regulations for agencies and media outlets.

As the Northeast Ohio Communications Advocates (NOCA) group explains, marketing communications is a significant part of the Cleveland economy and Ohio tax base. Through its impact studies it has accounted for 3,034 businesses and 44,611 professionals and nearly $5 billion to the Northeast Ohio economy.

So as this new ad tax is considered, ask yourself… should I sit back or do I call my local state representative and say – no ad tax!