Archive for April, 2010

It’s been an exciting week at Strategic Objectives:  hosting Canada’s favourite bachelorette, welcoming smart new teammates and earning three CPRS 2010 Toronto ACE Awards. 

TGIF – Happy Friday!  A big toast to our team and in case you’re interested, you can find our PR award brag sheet below.  That makes more than 150… but who’s counting? (our clients… and us too.) 

– Gold, The Body Shop

 

– Gold, Leon’s 100th Anniversary

– Silver, Cadbury, The Bicycle Factory 

(Read our co-founder Judy Lewis’ blog about this award winning program here)

Special thanks to our innovative clients for always providing support, insight and imagination.  Stay tuned to our blog for future case studies and PR insights.  

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Engaging Canadians to Make a Difference

The Cadbury Bicycle Factory

2010 IABC/Toronto Ovation Awards, Social Responsibility, Award of Excellence                

CPRS 2010 ACE Awards, Media Relations, Silver

Strategic Objectives co-founder Judy Lewis shares her insights about how the power of Public Relations effectively supports and drives participation in branded social responsibility programs.

Judy led our team on the multi-award-winning media relations program for The Cadbury Bicycle Factory: an innovative, integrated program that sent 5,000 life-changing bicycles to Ghana and generated positive news and social media awareness in Canada. 

Tell us about the program and the role of PR?

The Cadbury Bicycle Factory was an authentic promotion that engaged Canadians by giving them a simple way to support the cause of sending bicycles to children in Ghana, Africa.  For every Cadbury UPC code that was redeemed online at thebicyclefactory.ca, Cadbury donated a bicycle part to the cause.

For every 100 parts, a bicycle was built.  In the Fall of 2009, 5,000 bicycles were delivered to children in Ghana, Africa – to enable them to travel to and from school more easily and also transport water and other essentials.

It was our honour to be a part of Cadbury’s integrated marketing team, which included The Hive, to help spread the news about Cadbury’s caring and visionary program.  Our strategy was to highlight the positive change that could be inspired by a bicycle.  The media and blogger relations program was designed to leverage the effectiveness of PR in educating and building awareness, while enhancing credibility and trust.

Authenticity was critical to the success of the PR. We brought a spokesperson from Africa, Michael Linke, on-the-ground activist and founder of the Bicycling Empowerment Network, to Toronto.  Michael spoke at the media launch event and conducted a series of media and blogger interviews, sharing his first-hand stories about how bicycles are changing lives and advancing communities.  Members of the Canadian-Ghanian community attended the launch event to show their support for the The Cadbury Bicycle Factory.

The PR propelled the powerful message that by making a small purchase such as gum or chocolate and participating in The Cadbury Bicycle Factory, you could help give the gift of freedom and mobility to school-age children who previously had to walk miles and miles to get to school. Our media relations activities highlighted that Canadians could help make the world a better place, one bicycle at a time. This encouraged participation and engagement.

Was the media skeptical?

Not at all. Media and bloggers celebrated and congratulated Cadbury on its meaningful program and were very proactive in encouraging consumers to participate.  At the media launch event, guests were given the opportunity to be among the first to show their support by logging on to thebicyclefactory.ca, contributing a bike part and helping to make a difference.

Katherine Dorrell of Canadian Living Magazine joined the Cadbury team to be on-site in Ghana to witness the delivery of the bikes. Her memorable experience was documented in a full colour feature article in the May, 2010 issue of the magazine.

Why was the PR so engaging?

The social responsibility PR message was focused and authentic. Make it simple. Make it powerful.

What do you think made this media relations program an award winner?

Results. We achieved outstanding awareness levels, excellent media and blogger involvement and our strategic PR approach made a meaningful contribution to the overall program.

Tips for PR success:

  •  Integrate personal, emotional storytelling in all PR materials.
  •  Issue a simple, clear call-to-action that outlines how easy it is to help.
  •  Use PR to help promote online sharing of a video. The Cadbury Bicycle Factory benefitted from positive social media exposure through networking sites, Twitter, blogs and more.
  •  Make the media launch event for a social responsibility oriented program memorable and engaging, while linking the need/cause to the promotion, products and brand.

Strategic Objectives PR co-founder Judy Lewis is an award-winning strategist and celebrated international branding expert and speaker.  Judy will lead a panel of marketing and PR experts at the IABC 2010 World Conference, June 6-9, 2010 in Toronto.  Learn more about her session — It’s A Brand New Day — at www.iabc.com/wc.

My last post covered what we call the “Agency IQ”, the qualities we look for when hiring interns here at Strategic Objectives

This post offers tips on how to make the grade and boost your chances of landing one of our coveted Summer intern placements.

Research, strategy and creativity make for successful PR programs.  And, they also make for a successful job search.  So what can you do to set yourself apart in your quest for a great internship?

Here are some hints and tips to break through the clutter and make an impact on our @SO_pr team:

  • Be prepared to explain WHY you want to work in marketing PR
    • (Tip: Please don’t say it’s because you like working with the public…)

 

 

  • Research the team members you are meeting with – this is your opportunity to learn and ask insightful questions

 

  • Know the media landscape, both social and traditional. 
    • You can be sure we’ll ask you for your thoughts on the breaking news of the day, and how it’s being covere

 

  • Prepare a memorable portfolio that demonstrates your creativity, ability to generate results, smart ideas and great writing. 
    • Bonus points for leave-behind copies of your resume & writing sample

 

  • Thoughtfully explain how your academic, industry and life successes would make you a good fit for Strategic Objectives

 

  • And one last tip…  please follow-up to say thank you.  It’s just polite and shows you have PR style.

P.S. we’re currently interviewing interns so if you’ve got the “Agency IQ” then please submit your résume and cover letter to shelleyowen@strategicobjectives.com.    

Michael Shipticki is vice president of Strategic Objectives, a leading Toronto-based PR firm focused on brand building Marketing Public Relations. Follow us @SO_pr.

Members of the @SO_pr team at the Alice in Wonderland sneak preview.

 

I love working in marketing PR and I love working in an agency environment even more.  Now, one of the great perks of my job is being asked to speak with young PR students about our amazing industry and all the opportunity it provides.  Recently, I was asked to meet with students of the Humber PR program to share some of my experiences and insights into traditional PR and the emerging social media world which we are all fast-embracing.        

At the end of my session a Q&A followed and I was blown away by the students’ enthusiasm in learning more about agency life specifically.  Why agency? was the question of the day.       

My quick and emphatic answer – it’s NEVER, EVER dull!!      

We spoke at length about the exciting pace; the opportunity to constantly grow your skill-set; work on unique and memorable brand-building campaigns; and become a “pseudo-expert” in so many markets and categories.      

This speaking engagement has inspired me to share my thoughts on what it takes to make it in agency so young professionals have the necessary tools and information to make solid and successful choices for their PR career path.      

While I am certainly biased towards agency, it may not be for everyone.  So I encourage all students; those early in their career; and even those that have been in the marketing industry for a few years to really look deep within themselves to determine if agency is right for them.      

Ask yourself, are you…      

  • A multi-tasker who works at a fast pace?
  • Energized by ideas and learning?
  • Challenge hungry?
  • Results-oriented?
  • A self-motivator?
  • A true team player?
  • Social?
  • Innovative?

Do you possess…      

  • A can-do attitude?
  • An interest in knowledge of current media, events and pop culture?
  • Attention to detail?
  • Creativity?
  • A belief that anything is possible?

So do you think you’ve got what it takes to make it in agency?  If so, check out my next blog which will offer some hints and tips on landing your dream internship in PR.  In the meantime, we’re interviewing interns so submit your résume and cover letter to shelleyowen@strategicobjectives.com.      

Michael Shipticki is vice president of Strategic Objectives, a leading Toronto-based PR firm focused on brand building Marketing Public Relations.

What’s in a name? Everything, when it’s your personal brand; and perception is reality in the virtual world.

Your name in the socially-networked universe defines your brand — your essence, what you stand for, your reputation and your three second BLINK, all in 140 characters or less!

So, how do you differentiate and elevate your personal brand, your on-line identity, in a social world teeming with thousands, no millions, of individuals calling out to be heard?

For proof of the bottom-line importance of asserting your personal brand you need look no further than:

  • A recent poll of 2600 North American Hiring Managers that revealed 45% of those surveyed use social media background checks to vet prospective employees; and
  • 35% of respondents said they’d found something social that caused them NOT to hire the candidate.

It’s little wonder then that Humber College PR, where I serve as a marketing mentor, recently devoted an entire afternoon to teaching its post-graduate PR Certificate students how to create and manage their social brand at Personal Brand Camp Two, #PBCamp2.

Organized by @MichaelCayley and starring a diverse team of Toronto’s top Social Media and Marketing experts; our mission was to help Canada’s communicators of tomorrow explore the fine art and science of brand-positioning through a subject near and dear to their hearts — themselves.

Strategy Key to Social Brand Building

My first post in this series, The Strategy and Tactics of Social Brand Building, dealt with the importance of setting one’s goal and creating a strategy as the crucial first step in defining one’s online persona.

Your Goal:

  • What does your brand stand for
  • How do you want to be perceived
  • What result do you want/expect

Strategy defines your:

  • Objectives – key messages and measures that will accomplish your goal
  • Tactics – the activities, tools and timeline for implementing your plan
  • Evaluation – the constant monitoring of results to meet challenges; maximize opportunities; and the impetus to revise/rethink your tactics.

The 5 Ws of Strategy: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How To Define

Your Social Brand

I was gobsmacked, as I procrastinated writing this blog installment, to stumble upon Chris Brogan’s pithy tweet du jour “Who are you today?”

Great minds think alike? Perhaps, but Who, is only one of the 5 Ws journalists, like my former self, use to guide our brand-building narrative and craft stories meant to be retold. Fill in the following formula and you will have all the essential elements needed to tell your personal brand story:

Who? (are you):

  • What is your persona
  • How do you define yourself
  • Who is your target audience
  • How do you want to appear in other people’s eyes

What? (Is your brand):

  • Are the key messages (the 15 second sound bites), you will use consistent throughout your social and real-world outlets
  • What is your focus
  • What is your opinion
  • What do you have to offer that’s unique and different, your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
  • What qualities will appeal to your target consumer/audience
  • What is/are the best ways to share your info

When? (Will I do this):

  • There’s no time like the present to start
  • Timing is everything and consistency is key
  • Twitter prime time is 5 and 9AM, 1PM, 3-6PM and 11PM-1AM; with weekends drawing the most traffic
  • It’s always the right time to blog but will you do it daily, three times a week, weekly, even monthly to nurture and sustain your social presence?

Where? (Can I build my brand):

  • My blog/guest blog
  • Website
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twellow.com
  • Flavor.me
  • Flickr
  • Traditional Media
  • And the list goes on and on

Why? (Build my Brand):

  • See strategy, what’s your goal?
  • Self-esteem
  • Get recognized for your unique qualities/abilities
  • Get a job, a raise, a promotion
  • Meet people, make friends
  • Build a strong foundation of positive awareness
  • It’s good marketing!

How? (Will I be effective):

  • Maintain consistent messaging through all communication
  • Engage target audiences
  • Stay/be relevant, readable, honest and authentic
  • Measure results

Strategy without tactics is a long road to success. Tactics bring your Personal Brand Strategy to life and present a welcome dose of reality in the virtual world of big ideas and aspirations.

Tactics should incorporate your social media outlets; SEO and SMO; and your real world interface with people, products and ideas.

Tactics, along with my 10 Golden Rules of Social Brand Building are the subject of my third and final installment in this series on Social Brand Building. Stay tuned!

Deborah Weinstein,  @DebWeinstein, is the President of Strategic Objectives, a leading Toronto-based PR firm focused on brand building, Marketing and Public Relations. Follow the SO team @SO_pr.