Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year from Bernays Sauce


May your 2010 be better than 2009....shouldn't be too tough in many instances. Be sure to check back here throughout next year for PR news, tips and views, and feel free to comment.
Best wishes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Hollandaise from Bernays Sauce and EventPros


We hope it's been a banner year for you, and if it hasn't here's hoping things turn around in 2010.

In the meantime, being holiday time again, we're proud to present to you our favorite Béarnaise Sauce recipe, courtesy of John Short at EventPros, Inc.

The Best Béarnaise Sauce

Ingredients:
1 lb 4 oz butter 1/8 tsp peppercorns, crushed 1/8 tsp salt 3 Tbsp tarragon vinegar 2 Tbsp cold water 6 egg yolks 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon cayenne pepperlemon juice
Instructions:
Clarify the butter. Keep it warm but not hot.
Combine the peppercorns, salt, and vinegar in a saucepan. Reduce until dry.
Remove from the heat and add the cold water. Transfer the diluted reduction to a stainless steel bowl.
Add the egg yolks and beat well.
Hold the bowl over a hot-water bath and beat the yolks until they are thickened and creamy. Do not overcook them or they will curdle.
Remove the bowl from the heat. Using a ladle, slowly and gradually beat in the warm, clarified butter, adding it drop by drop at first. If it becomes too thick to beat before all the butter is added, beat in a little of the tarragon vinegar.
When all the butter has been added, beat in lemon juice to taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and cayenne. If necessary, thin the sauce with a few drops of warm water.

Variations:

For Hollandaise Sauce delete tarragon and tarragon vinegar - replace each with lemon juice
For Mousseline Sauce fold 1 cup whipped cream into basic Hollandaise Sauce
Other variations: Substitute each for tarragon/tarragon vinegar – Paloise Sauce (fresh mint); Maltaise Sauce (orange juice with orange zest); Mikado Sauce (tangerine juice with tangerine zest); Choron Sauce (1/2 cup diced Roma Tomatoes).

Be creative!


Happy holidays. Stay safe.

Friday, December 18, 2009

PR Trend Predictions for 2010

We tend to agree with these points from Communications Catalyst:

What does 2010 hold for PR pros?

I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a crystal ball – for that matter, I don’t even have a Magic 8 Ball – but there are a few trends I think we’ll see unfold over the next 12 months.

So to kick up some lively conversation about the immediate, short-term future of PR, here are four trends I think we’ll spot in 2010.

1. PR Pros Will Learn that Social Media isn’t a Three-Trick Pony. Okay, we get it. Corporate blogs and Facebook and Twitter. There’s nothing wrong with using them, but if you don’t think those three platforms are the beginning and end of many social media proposals these days, you’re kidding yourself.

PR people will begin getting past the shiny object syndrome of these three and realize that it’s a big digital world out there. They’ll start to better understand technology and the possibilities it unlocks online – or hire and/or partner with people who do.

Why?

Other than being a smart business decision, the next best reason is that many advertising and digital agencies DO understand technology and platforms, and how to leverage them to develop creative content and efforts online for clients. If PR people don’t get smarter about this in 2010 and look beyond “Tweeting 101” as a prominent example of the social media value they bring to the table, advertising shops are going to eat their lunch.


Read the rest here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December and All That...Larry King Rambling Style

Just a little end of the year housekeeping, Larry King style...you can find your humble editor on Twitter here, follow me for news, tips, personal junk and the outright banal...The Raspberry Dinosaur blog is in the running for funniest blog of the year...Poor Sooners had a rough one, hope Coach Stoops doesn't go to Notre Dame...EventPros has work all the way until Christmas, so not too shabby...we would love to help you plan your 2010 events and PR (we do more than special events, remember?!), just contact us...more soon...until then, have a great week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving is Upon Us


A great bit from Armada:

There are all kinds of holidays in the US. Some of them are pretty low key affairs that hardly require much planning. St. Patrick’s Day is all about finding the shamrock pin and getting some green on. The reaction to Mother’s day and Father’s day both require some attention to food but only in the sense that one requires attendance at a restaurant and the other involves grilling in some way. But then there is Thanksgiving and no holiday is so strategic in nature. It starts with the travel that is often required. This is the week that most of us learn just what a mess the airlines are in. I can only suggest my personal mantra at this stage – “if Southwest doesn’t go there – neither do I”. Some will drive and learn that the nation’s infrastructure still needs that stimulus money.

Analysis:
The real strategic comes when dealing with the family. This is the holiday when all those to whom we are related feel compelled to make an appearance – the time when we become painfully aware that we don’t choose our relatives. They will descend upon some hapless member of the clan who has been designated host but few of the guests will even make an attempt at being gracious. There will be all the food demands (I don’t eat this and can’t stand that and must have that). There will be the relatives who bear long standing grudges against one another and will have to be separated at some point. There will be examples of really lax child rearing and terrified pets to contend with. The US demonstrates solidarity with traditional Islam at this holiday as there is no point when there is more segregation by gender – men in thrall to the TV and women in the kitchen. But once the tryptophan kicks in, there is that wonderful moment when everybody is too stuffed to squabble and we all have a chance to acknowledge that our family is no more dysfunctional than the neighbor’s.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holiday Parties On A Budget Can Be As Simple As A Potluck With A Plan


Has the dreaded down economy put a damper on your company’s holiday cheer? No worries, with an eye on your budget and a little planning you can still turn the dreaded “office potluck” into something festive and hip.

“Lavish, chic corporate holiday parties are one of my favorite events to plan,” said Lisa Holst, a certified meeting planner with EventPros Inc., a Kansas City-based special event and communications services firm. “However, it can be just as fun to transform an office or someone’s home into a fabulous event space.”

“You don’t have to be extravagant to throw a holiday party,” Holst said. “Keeping it simple can be just as nice. Start with designating a planning committee. You will be surprised at who might volunteer and how creative a group of people can get.”

“A successful event, regardless of how much money you spend, should appeal to all five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing),” she said. “If you can master this it’s sure to be a great time.”

Tips from the EventPro:


What, When and Where
The options are endless. Consider turning that lunchtime potluck into an after work cocktail party or dinner in the office. Look for an associate willing to volunteer their home. Make it cocktails and appetizers, perhaps desserts only; or go big and plan for dinner. You can still do this on a small budget.


The Food

Have your planning committee design the menu by assigning who will bring what. It can still be a “potluck” it just needs to be a “potluck with a plan”. I’ve had great success doing this with friends. A more frugal approach is to work with your local grocery store or favorite restaurant in designing a menu. Don’t be afraid to ask for something different that’s not on their menu.

The Décor
“Keep it simple stupid” is a rule to live by. Simple is classy. There are so many hip, festive things you can do for little to no money. Have your planning committee designate an overall theme and try not to stray from it. Get into your personal décor inventory from home: if everyone has black table cloths, start there. I helped plan an event with friends and we were each responsible for designing our own tables of ten from china to centerpieces. Each table ended up with a different holiday theme from a collection of nutcrackers to a vintage collection of oil lamps as centerpieces, and what a great excuse to use grandma’s real silverware and the fine china that collects dust! Traditional florals such as poinsettias or fresh garland (smells good too) with votive candles or twinkle lights are always a classic. Your local farmers markets are a great place to find these seasonal plants.

The Entertainment

The possibilities are endless. This is a great time for your coworkers to bring out their hidden talents. You never know-- you might have an “American Idol” amongst you or a DJ wanna-be. There are also many cool video games out there like Wii or Playstation. Recently I attended a party and the “Dancing with the Stars” Playstation game was a huge hit. The new “Band Hero” might stir up some excitement as well. Of course, the simple elegance of traditional holiday music from an iPod playing softly in the background also works.

“Holiday fun doesn’t have to be a budget breaker,” Holst said. “And of course, if you have some budget available, look into hiring a professional event planner. You might be surprised at how affordable and indispensable they can be. A planner also affords you the luxury of focusing on the fun instead of worrying about the details.”

For more information, contact Holst at EventPros, Inc. at 816-960-3400 or visit the website at www.EventProsInc.com or on Facebook.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mark Ragan: Getting Inside a Speaker's Head

As a former politician and speechwriter for a college president, I can affirm that these tips from Ragan PR are right on target. Click here to hear Chuck Toney, Policy Analyst and Speechwriter at the University of Georgia, tells us how he got inside UGA President Michael F. Adams' head and how this helped him write better speeches for Adams. Great stuff. Listen carefully--not only to this video, but the person for whom you are writing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

EventPros Partner Quoted in Kansas City Star, Grand Forks Herald Today


EventPros Partner John Short was quoted in not one, but two major metro newspapers today. The Kansas City Star's Business section sourced him in an article about cool places to hold your office holiday party:

“There are lots of really cool, fun places to have events in Kansas City,” said John Short, a partner at EventPros in Kansas City. “Sometimes it actually can be a little less expensive to go to an off-premises location rather than a hotel. Some locations are able to work with you in ways that hotels can’t.”

There's more from John and some great tips on planning your party in the article. Click here to read more.

Not satisfied to be in just one major publication, John's Op/Ed in the Grand Forks, ND Herald was also published today. If he gets published one more time, he's scored the hat trick. Wait a second, he's made Bernays Sauce, that counts for something, doesn't it? (He says yes.)

Check out an excerpt of John's Op/Ed here:
The Central Association of Physical Plant Administrators held their annual conference at the Alerus Center and Canad Inns in September. About 250 people attended the roughly four-day-long event.

We wanted to take a minute to praise Grand Forks and a few of the incredible people who represent it.

We could easily write volumes about the level of service we received from each of these groups, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll just mention their names along with a sincere thank you for the tremendous reception we received.

Read the entire piece here.

Congrats John, on preaching the gospel of good events!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

KC's Kramer Wins NOW Award


Woo hoo! Your humble editor digs Ms. Kramer's Twitter teachings and also enjoys her wry wit. Congrats Shelly--we'll buy your next martini.

From the press release:

Shelly DeMotte Kramer, co-founder of Kansas City-based V3 Integrated Marketing, was recently honored at the 140 Character Conference in Los Angeles as a winner of the NOW Award.

The conference was conceived and created by Jeff Pulver, one of the pioneers of the VoIP industry and a leader in the emerging TV on the Net industry. Pulver is a globally renowned thought leader, author and entrepreneur. He is the publisher of The Pulver Report and and creator of the industry standard Voice on the Net and is the co-founder of VoIP provider, Vonage.

Pulver’s purpose in creating the 140 Character Conference was to bring together people with many diverse backgrounds and levels of expertise, all of whom were actively engaged with and utilizing the microblogging platform of Twitter. The focus of the event was the State of NOW, and the impact of the real time Internet on business and industries. The 140 Conference events, which are held globally, are an opportunity for people who are passionate about Twitter as a platform as a language we speak today to get together and share community, exchange thoughts and together map out a future, exploring the effects of living in the real time Internet.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It Is Not Heroic to Show Up to Work Sick


Great commentary from the folks at Armada Corporate Intelligence, who write the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Daily Business Brief:

The End of “Typhoid Mary” at the Workplace?

In the panoply of things that have bugged me for years (and there are so many) is the determination of people to spread disease in the name of corporate gamesmanship. We all have these people in our midst. They struggle in to work hacking, coughing and sneezing. They can’t function at all as they are in the grips of the flu or some other malady but they think they are showing commitment and loyalty by
showing up to infect everybody else. They refuse to stay home and carry their illness like a badge of honor I am equally baffled by the company that doesn’t demand they take sick leave or at least encourage it. Have they not noticed that one afflicted person will soon ensure that the whole staff is falling apart. Things appear to have changed a little with H1N1flu.

Analysis: Now the reactions are different. People are aware that this strain is brutal and they don’t want it. I have now seen people who would be tolerated in the old days receive the kind of shunning that used to be worthy of a religious cult. One guy was attempting to board an aircraft in the grips of an explosive case of the flu and no less than three fellow passengers provided him with a face mask accompanied by threats that he had better keep it on or suffer bodily harm. I have seen offices issue strict orders that the sick stay home and well away from colleagues and there are far more hand washers in the public toilets than usual. It can only be hoped that this pattern continues once this year’s crisis passes. It is NOT heroic to show up sick. It is selfish and massively inconsiderate.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Excerpt: Stop the Social Media Madness

Logical Juice has the Sauce today...

Excerpt:


I speak to large and small companies on a daily basis and everyone seems to say the same thing: “We have to get in on social media marketing.” Some companies are taking the lead to do it themselves. They are establishing “social media” or “new media” or “digital media” departments that will head up the company’s social media initiatives. They are asking about tools that will monitor the social space and easy ways to distribute content. And of course, everyone wants to know about tracking and reporting. Some are going through a very rigorous exercise of shutting down renegade bloggers and using taskforces to establish guidelines and standards prior to foraying into the social space. And yes, there are still a small few who haven’t quite drunk the Kool-Aid®. For this article, I want to focus on the enthusiasts – companies that are eagerly entering the social media space.

To give you a sense of how many are doing just that, Facebook fan pages are being added at the rate of 24,000 per day. It’s clearly reached a critical mass, and most companies at this point are eager and enthusiastic to get going. Last year, companies exhibited a lack of urgency and interest in social media – this year, they are trying to more than make up for “lost time” and in some cases are forgetting their common marketing sense. For all the companies that are getting themselves “some of that social media,” I ask you to please take a deep breath and consider a few things before you drive yourselves – and your companies – down a wrong path.

First, do not establish a new silo in your company. If social media is leveraged correctly, it can influence and impact multiple organizational functions – not just marketing (advertising, direct, promotion and PR) but sales, operations, HR, customer service, product development and research. Social media should not be sanctioned to one department in a company.


Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Get the Scoop on Social Media (in Plain English)

Boost Your Festival Attendance


No strangers to festival production ourselves, we found this article from Special Events magazine worth a read for all you budding (or struggling) festival organizers out there.

Excerpt:

The economy may be in a slump, but that doesn't mean you have to lower expectations for your event. Sometimes it simply takes a good hard marketing push to pull in the crowds. Three festival experts show us how they use everything from uber-popular Facebook to still-relevant direct mail to do just that.

MUSIC PEOPLE

THE PULL: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival brings in 400,000 attendees annually to the legendary city for a celebration of Louisiana music and culture. The seven-day end-of-April affair offers 12 stages of musical options ranging from jazz, gospel, rock, and rhythm and blues to Latin and African music. Headliners Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker and the Dave Matthews Band have graced the stage of the event, which dates back to 1970.

THE PUSH: “The festival's Web site is the most aggressive Internet-based marketing tool,” notes Louis Edwards, associate producer of promotions. But he stresses it's mainly a source of information. “With an event the size and scope of Jazz Fest, it's difficult to get too cute without being confusing,” he says. “We strive for clarity.”

Beyond the Internet, the festival's organizers rely on good, old-fashioned print and radio advertising, both locally and in major metropolitan cities across the U.S. In fact, paid advertising has “proven extraordinary,” according to Edwards.


Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Water's Promo Uses Power of Positive Drinking


One of the pardners at the ranch here is managing an event in California, and he needed to track down some bottled water for the client. He stumbled across this one, which we Midwesterners found delightfully...er, um...well, I guess the only word we could come up with is "Californian."

H2Om water is billed as "water with intention." Now, my first impulse is "Hey, that's great, but I don't want my water to have any other intention than to hydrate me." H2Om explains further:
H2Om is the world’s first interactive water. While you drink, use the words on the label as the driving force in creating your own intention. Visualize great, extraordinary, vivid, mental creations. For the good of you, for the good of mankind, for the good of the planet. Drink in the thoughts as you absorb the crystal clear vibrationally charged spring water, then resonate the positive energy throughout your day.
They also say that "scientific studies have shown that water is directly effected by the words, sounds and thoughts it is exposed to."

Prepositionally awkward sentence structure aside, that sounds kind of unlikely to me. But I'm not here to bury H2Om (or drink it, for that matter. I avoid bottled water for environmental reasons). My intent is merely to share the interesting marketing strategy, which includes celebrity endorsements (Jim J Bullock drinks it!) and sharing the power of positive drinking. The company also contributes to many eco-friendly causes, which is of course a good thing.

The real appeal may best be summed up by Sandy Fox, H2Om co-founder: "People feel good about purchasing H2Om because they know they are contributing to a cause larger than themselves. That's why I believe we are so popular with Hollywood's celebrity role models."

It appears to be working for the water with intent. Even though there are critics, such as the Gallery of Water-related Pseudoscience ("Emoto-style nonsense creates a water"), this California aqua seems to be selling. Their press describes it as "hot in Hollywood," and their website has plenty of photos of celeb role models (!) posing with plastic (Ed Begley, Jr., shame on you!) bottles of liquid intent. It is also available in some Whole Foods locations.

The Sauce

Good for them on tapping into the celebrity/activist pool to push their product. However, their initial press release announcing the water in 2006 had this one drop of info I find conflicting:

Newly released statistics by Beverage Marketing Corporation show U.S. bottled water sales and consumption continuing to rise as consumers increasingly choose bottled water over other commercial beverages. This upward trend was reflected in 2003 category volume of nearly 6.4 billion gallons, a 7.5 percent increase over 2002, and a 2003 bottled water consumption level of 22.6 gallons-per-capita, compared to 21.2 gallons per capita the previous year. These statistics demonstrate continued consumer demand and appreciation for the convenience and good taste of bottled water brands consumed on-the-go, during exercise, at restaurants or meetings, and at home or the office.

If they are an eco-friendly brand, how do they get around the damage plastic water bottles do to the environment? I know that's not their intent, but it has to be a public relations consideration. They deftly "answer" the question on their website by talking up the non-toxic qualities of the bottle.

Intentionally or not, landfills are not discussed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Small Biz Missing the Boat on Social Media

Small business is ignoring one of the most cost-effective, targeted means of reaching new customers and keeping current clients: social media.

Take a look at this excerpt from a story posted by Reuters:

Few U.S. small businesses have adopted social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter for business uses, according to research released Thursday.

Three-quarters of small businesses say they have not found sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn helpful for generating business leads or expanding business in the past year, according to a survey conducted for Citibank Small Business of 500 U.S. businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Also, 86 percent said they have not used social networking sites for information or business advice. Ten percent said they have sought business advice and information on expert blogs.

The low number of small businesses using such sites for business purposes was unexpected, particularly as social media use has grown overall, said Maria Veltre, executive vice president of Citi's Small Business segment. Citibank is part of Citigroup Inc.

"We were very surprised we did not see more use of some of the social media outlets, even if just for advice," she said.

"What this survey indicates to us is small businesses are very, very focused on running their business and on generating sales and managing their cash flow and doing the things that are really important, especially in these economic times," Veltre said. "I don't think quite yet the social media piece of it has proven to be as significant."

The survey found 42 percent of small businesses have made greater use of their company websites to generate business leads and sales.
The Sauce

Small businesspersons ignore social media at their peril...

Not a lot of analysis needed here. Small business is missing out on some heavy artillery by ignoring social media such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

As a small businessperson, I get it that people are very focused on the nuts and bolts of running the business and keeping afloat. But social media--with a relatively small investment in time--can be a major boon to stabilizing or even increasing business.

It's all part of the religion we preach about being proactive in an economic downturn. If you're not using every tool available to reach new customers and keep current customers you may "save" some funds and effort now, but I assure you, you're going to pay later.

Join EventPros on Facebook

Come on, become a fan!

Click here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ad/PR Agencies More Likely to See Clients Cut Spending

A mixed bag from AdWeek...excerpted:


While detecting greater client optimism than they'd encountered earlier in the year, CEOs of privately held advertising and public relations agencies are still more likely to see their clients cutting than fattening budgets during the rest of 2009. That's among the key findings, at any rate, of a global survey of such CEOs, released yesterday by Worldwide Partners Inc. and ECCO International Communications Network.

Just 22 percent of the ad/PR agency CEOs said they expect client budgets to increase during the rest of this year, vs. 34 percent anticipating further cutbacks. Already, 76 percent of those polled said clients had reduced their 2009 spending through September.

This pattern of austerities comes despite 78 percent of respondents saying "their clients were 'more optimistic' about the business climate in their region than at the beginning of the year." One dreads to think what would be happening to budgets if clients were not becoming more optimistic.

The survey also found a trend away from "budgetary commitments" on the part of clients. "When asked if clients had stopped making annual budgetary commitments due to economic pressures in 2009, 76 percent of the CEOs globally responding said 'yes,'" according to the report.

Under the circumstances, it's hardly surprising that the ad/PR firms have been reducing their own staffs. Forty-two percent of the survey's global respondents (including 47 percent in North America) said they've reduced the full-time head count this year. Looking to the rest of the year, though, 65 percent of global respondents said they expect staff levels to hold steady, and 24 percent think staffing will increase. In North America, 71 percent said they expect the head count to hold steady through the rest of 2009, and 29 percent think it will rise.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Congrats to EventPros

We've done it again, this time scoring a rare honor from a noted educational association:
EventPros, Inc. was honored with the President’s Award at the recent Central Physical Plant Administrators (CAPPA) annual conference in Grand Forks, N.D.

The honor was bestowed for EventPros’ years of exceptional work in producing the regional conference. This marks the first time in CAPPA history that the honor has been conferred upon a conference planner.
Of course, when you have great clients like CAPPA, it makes it all the more flattering!
Read the rest here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Brand Lessons from Starbucks to Star Trek


My column in the October, 2009 issue of KC Small Business is on making your employees into brand ambassadors. As an unapologetic fan of both, I thought Starbucks and Star Trek were good examples. So, here's a taste. Click on the link below the excerpt to beam over to the entire article.

Excerpt:

The heart of your repeat business model is the mechanism that perpetuates the best aspects of your company: your employees. Some of the best companies in the world foster a culture that makes employees into brand ambassadors. The company trains and empowers employees to embody the company’s brand message.

At Starbucks, everyone from the barista to the CEO is on message about the company’s environmentally friendly, pro-trade policies and giving customers the “coffee shop experience” with every cup. Even better, Starbucks has been successful in making their customers into brand ambassadors. It speaks volumes that in today’s challenging economy, you still see brand-loyal people start their day with the iconic, premium-priced Starbucks cup in hand.

[...]

So how do you make your employees into brand ambassadors? Start with your “elevator speech.” If you were on an elevator and someone asked you what your company does, could you explain it in a coherent, appealing way in less than a minute?

[...]

Let’s take a page from the summer blockbuster movie Star Trek. You don’t have to be a Trek fanatic to know the mission statement of the starship Enterprise: “To seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” In All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek, Dave Marinaccio aptly points out that every crewmember—from the lowly (and generally short-lived) red-shirted crewman to the elite bridge officers—knows the ship’s mission and “brand.”


Read the entire article here.

Of course, hailing frequencies are open (the comments section) for your thoughts, mind-melds, or favorite barista joke.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Trade Show Exhibitors Use Social Media to Promo Presence

From Meetings.net:

Forty percent of exhibitors use online social media to promote their exhibits, according to a new study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.

Personal social networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, are the most popular online tools among exhibitors. Roughly 41 percent of survey respondents say they use these networks for promotional purposes, while 36 percent use videos, and 34 percent use blogs, according to the paper, entitled “Effective Methods of Visitor Promotion, Part II: Exhibitors.” The use of these three tools is expected to rise in the next three years, especially the use of blogs. In three years, 44 percent of the 218 exhibitor respondents anticipate using blogs to promote exhibits.

Approximately 26 percent of respondents use virtual events, while 23 percent use microblogs, like Twitter. These percentages are anticipated to rise to 31 percent and 30 percent, respectively, in three years.

Read more here.

Pizza The Hut Strikes Back

Word on the street is that Pizza Hut is looking to fire advertising agency BBDO.

Looks like declining revenues may be tied to a confused brand identity, which of course points back to the Ad firm responsible for brand awareness.

As we said before, BBDO needs to avoid antagonizing intergalactic pepperoni crime boss Pizza the Hutt, who has bigger things to worry about than his own brand status changing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Twitter Worm Spreading via Direct Messages

From Mashable:

We have received multiple reports that a new, convincing, and dangerous worm and phishing scam is making the rounds on Twitter. Hacked accounts are sending DMs to users and stealing their login information. In fact, one of our own has received one of these direct messages.

Unsuspecting users are receiving DMs with the following text:


If you get this DM, DO NOT VISIT THE LINK. It takes you to a replica of the Twitter (Twitter) login page where the hackers will steal your account and use it to send out more infected DMs to your friends.

If you’re one of the unlucky ones to be fooled by this worm, make sure you change your password. Also delete any tweets or DMs that have the link. If you can’t log into your account, reset the password and contact Twitter Support.

This is not the first worm to hit Twitter, but this one is especially dangerous because the login page is convincing and it is spreading via DMs from friends you trust.

When we have more information, we’ll update you with it.

Update: We contacted Twitter and they quickly got back to us. They are aware of the threat and are on the case.


We have not received this worm at the Bernays Sauce Twitter page, but we're hoping to get the chance to ignore it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Go Inside Brookside



Great new Brookside/Waldo (Kansas City neighborhoods) blog here.

It's about things to do, see and experience in our little slice of heaven. The blog had me at:

I am not a dog lover. I am not a pet lover at all..I can’t even fake petting a dog with enthusiasm. But I can understand the whole ‘my pet is part of the family’ emotion. Lots of my friends have dogs and love ‘em like a child. I get it.

However, I have followed with great interest WOOF’s (Well Organized Off Lease Friends) three year quest to get an off leash dog park established in Sunnyside Park at 84th and Summit. Earlier this week the KC Parks and Rec Department once again ruined WOOF’s diligent efforts to get the OK for the park.

Read the rest of My Bark About the Dog Park here.

Anyway, the blog is pithy, fun and worth your time.

Disclosure: I have advised the blog's owner on some PR matters in the past, but not on this blog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Execs Say F2F Meetings Best


From Corporate Meetings & Incentives:

When the goals of a meeting include persuasion, leadership, engagement, inspiration, decision-making, accountability, or candor, U.S. business executives overwhelmingly believe that holding a face-to-face gathering is the only way to go.

In a June 2009 survey of 760 executives from businesses of all sizes, Forbes Insights found that 84 percent of them prefer in-person, face-to-face business meetings, citing those as more effective than webconferences, videoconferences, or teleconferences for reaching a dozen goals, including those listed above.
[...]

However, technology-enabled meetings have their place as well. The respondents deemed virtual meetings best for “information dissemination” and “data presentation.”

The 16 percent of executives who preferred virtual meetings overall cited a savings of time and money as the top two reasons for their preference, followed closely by “flexibility in location and timing.” Their fourth reason for preferring virtual meetings—“allows me to multitask”—is one of the reasons other executives worry that virtual meetings do not meet business goals as well as face-to-face meetings. (And in fact, more than half the respondents said they surf the Web, check e-mail, or do unrelated work while “attending” virtual meetings.)

More here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Local Flavor: Kansas City’s Best View of Tour of Missouri is Berkley Park


Port Authority of Kansas City Hosts Picnic Watch Party

The best view of the Tour of Missouri Cycling Race is right on the River at Kansas City’s Richard L Berkley Riverfront Park. The Port Authority of Kansas City and Friends of the River--KC invite the public to a picnic watch party on Sunday, September 13 as the final stage of the 600-mile bicycle race heads through Berkley Park.

Berkley Park features one of the longest straightaways in the 72.3 mile Kansas City circuit and a dramatic view as the cyclists crest the Grand Avenue viaduct. Beginning at 1 p.m., the park will offer food, drinks and entertainment for all ages. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own picnic lunch. The watch party continues until 4 p.m.

It will include inflatable moonwalks for kids, food and beverages and beer on sale from the largest American-owned brewery in Missouri, Boulevard Brewing Company. Indie folk duo Truckstop Honeymoon will perform throughout the afternoon. Park guests can also check on the Chiefs game on big screen TV.

Richard L Berkley Park is located just off I-35 at Front Street. Park at the Isle of Capri or in the River Market and take the Town of Kansas Pedestrian Bridge to the Riverfront Heritage Trail - just a short walk to Berkley Park. The event is sponsored by the Port Authority of Kansas City, Isle of Capri Casino, Boulevard, Kissick Construction and Friends of the River—Kansas City.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Do You Need An Ad Agency?

Sean X. Cummings says that agencies need clients more than clients need agencies.

Agencies over the last 20 years have morphed into advanced communication production shops.
[...]
But agencies used to be so much more than that. They were the creative powerhouses. The ideation shops. The meme creators for their brands across society. Some still are, but is meme creation needed anymore?

The explosion of communication methods to reach the consumer has had a natural dilution effect. As the playing field got wider, it gave something to consumers they didn't have before: instantaneous access to desire fulfillment and an ability to access information about a product, not just from the company and the agency's perceived lens, but through other consumers and competitors. There have been three profound effects on the technological expansion of media: a wider communication platform for all, the persistence of data on that platform, and a plethora of spawned agency models.

So how is this all related to no longer needing an ad agency? SEM, SEO, interactive, offline, online, media, social media -- the breadth of these elements has made clients' heads spin, and the rapid pace has left many core agencies scrambling.

No longer does the client feel that one shop can handle all their needs, because in reality, no single shop can. But there is something being lost by all of the expansion: message and brand cohesion. Since your "main" agency is no longer the idea shop, and since that message has inherent problems cascading throughout so many communication channels, why have one?

I am about to commit sacrilege.
[...]
Most corporate websites are painful reflections of their internal structure. They spend millions on revamping and solving problems, but in reality, they do not address the core issue. The agency model preys on this behavior. It is as if you built a shack that has had room after room bolted onto it -- kitchens, dining facilities, bathrooms, showers, etc. It may appear to be somewhat cohesive on the front end, but at what cost? This is not an agency problem but the client's unwillingness to make substantive decisions for their external web presence.

When you decide to redesign that shack, all of the extra detritus comes along for the ride. You may discard items here and there, but feature-creep somehow always results in another monstrosity being built, and you end up building an Edsel.


The Sauce

Cummings makes some very provocative points (focus groups as CYA, the practice of moving a top performer in an agency to a new venture altogether in hopes of replicating performance) which may give agency honchos and their clients pause.

The current mantra of "adapt or die" brought on by the economy, social media and the rapidly evolving internet will make this a watershed decade. Agencies will have to make a true commitment to the online age--not just slap a new website up and call themselves experts in new media, charging the same fat fees.

Watch for more mergers, big accounts getting pulled and a lot of hand-wringing...

The comments section is open for your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where Are They Now? Bush PR Staff Score New Gigs



















Life after power? Looks like it...and lucrative, too.

From Politico:

They represented a controversial president during a time of an unpopular war and a major economic crisis. And now, the former members of George W. Bush's communications staff are ready for anything. In the six months since Bush left office, ex-White House flacks have landed well — in the corporate world and the athletic world. And yes, the political world too.

Read more here.

The Sauce

No matter where you stand on the political map, I submit it's hard to argue that these folks earned their pay. Even the least eventful presidencies have a tendency to chew staff up and spit them out relatively quickly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PR and Advertising At a Crossroads?

``This is business Darwinism right now,'' says Sissy DeMaria, president of Coral Gables public relations firm Kreps DeMaria. ``You're going to see a lot of consolidation in the industry, and only the strongest will survive.''
[...]
``Public relations and advertising are blending much more than they did in the past,'' says Jeff Steinhour, director of content management at Coconut Grove-based advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. ``They used to be separate worlds -- like church and state. Now you're seeing them at the same meetings at the same time.''


Check out the entire article.

The Sauce

I've been seeing more and more of the "blending" the past few years; where I used to be apprehensive, now I accept it as the way of things. Advertising and PR, properly synced, can bring hugely successful results. Also being a small shop, more and more of my clients want me to advise them on ad buys as well as PR plans.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Twitter Attacked

I guess it goes without saying that nobody could Tweet about it.

From CNN:

An attack on the social networking site Twitter shut the site down for about two hours on Thursday morning, causing headaches in the online community and glitches in other Web sites like Facebook.

In an e-mail to CNN.com, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said the site was hit with a "denial of service attack," or an attempt to shut the site down by overwhelming it with traffic.

"There's no indication that this attack is related to any previous activities. We are currently the target of a denial of service attack," Stone said in the e-mail.

"Attacks such as this are malicious efforts orchestrated to disrupt and make unavailable services such as online banks, credit card payment gateways, and in this case, Twitter for intended customers or users. We are defending against this attack now and will continue to update our status blog as we defend and later investigate."

Twitter's site went down around 9:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. A message posted on Twitter's status blog said the site was active again by 11:30 a.m., but that the site remained under attack.

"We are continuing to defend against and recover from this attack," the message says.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Sauce: TV Beats Internet as Source of Economic News


Whoa...I never saw this coming:

Television Beats Internet as Source of Economic News, Pew Says

By Nikolaj Gammeltoft
July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Television, radio and newspapers beat the Internet as sources of economic news in the U.S. as people sought information about the recession, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center.

The survey, conducted in March and April and released today, shows that 84 percent of those who answered watched TV or listened to the radio for general economic news, 64 percent checked newspapers, magazines and books, and 48 percent went online.

The results may bolster broadcasters and publishers such as Gannett Co. and New York Times Co., hurt by an advertising slump as more marketers move to the Web. In the season through April, CBS Corp., Walt Disney Co.’s ABC and General Electric Co.’s NBC increased their nightly newscasts audiences by 5.9 percent from a year earlier, according to Nielsen Co. data.

“We have consistently seen that traditional media and particular TV is still the number one way most Americans get political news and information,” said Lee Rainie, a project director at the Washington-based non-profit organization Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Among Internet users who have high-speed access, the Web is the most important source for information about personal finance, the poll shows.

“It’s an information-intensive environment and people are using multiple sources for their different needs as they try to make meaning out of what’s going on as well as make personal decisions,” Rainie said in an interview.

Pew surveyed 2,253 adults by phone between March 26 and April 19. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points, it said.


There's life in the old gal still.

Hat tip: Stephanie G.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back Again

Your humble editor is back from a much-needed vacation on the heels of a very successful KCRiverFest. No pot of fresh sauce today, I'm afraid, but hopefully you'll forgive a little recycling of our piece on marketing in a recession, posted on eHow.

Now, as we endure the dog days of summer there are signs the economy is picking up. Good news, to be sure, but it will still be a long time before employment levels and consumer confidence returns to even a faint semblance of the pre-recession period.

My colleagues in the PR biz say business is picking up here and there, but they are very cautious about buying that cheap summer home just yet.

How's it going for you? How do you feel about the economy? The comments section is open for you predictions, observations, rants, etc.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bad Branding Hits Sci Fi, Er, I Mean Sy Fy


RLM PR CEO Richard Laermer takes apart the Sci Fi channel's hideous new monster: it's own rebranding to "Sy Fy":

On Tuesday morning, the Sci Fi channel became Sy Fy, which you can be assured will be back as Sci Fi not long after that. Just about everyone who has heard about this wondered "What branding company is sleeping with who over there?" You cannot pretend to like this moniker. There are reasons for this change--and none make sense. I don't know why they did it, but as one who's watched thousands of companies make change for no reason, here are some guesses:

[...]
4. A branding company sauntered in and told the suits it's time to grow with the times. That happens a lot, and quite needlessly. Slick branders speak a hi-toned language to make Senior VPs, all of whom are worried about their jobs, go "Man we gotta do this now!" I harken back to truTV, which has fared horribly since the change. You don't know this because no one watches it--tru is a trailer trash version of reality TV. Or, as they pointed out: it's "Not Reality. It's Actuality." Both of these networks think its audience is the lowest of common denominators. And oh yeah, the former Court TV laid off over 150 people last week. That, my friends, is tru(e).

5. Sy Sims is funding the rebrand. That explains Sy. As for the Fy suffix, one of the Sci Fi chiefs was in the military and doesn't know how to spell Semper Fi. That's all I got.

I told my closest pal about Sy Fy and he said he wished he could have been in the room when the decision was made. Since he's not in marketing, I wondered why. "So I could have seen the look on the faces of people who heard the top person say 'Great idea'."
Just because someone wants to do something 'different' or 'greater than' what existed before, you could in fact be the sane person at your company and step in with the loudest voice on record and suggest that aybe we should reconsider. Or better yet: "Do we need to change this much?" Even if the business isn't skyrocketing this second, there is that one reality: a brand that's known the world over!

Or remind the doofuses how far orange icon Tropicana fell after tossing a well-loved carton design away early this year, after which it lost valuable market share. When asked why 2009 was a downer, a spokesperson pointed to the change of carton: "Draw a line from there."

Once again, it doesn't take anyone's help to make you look stupid.
Hard to argue with him. I rather liked the old "Saturn" logo. It reminds me I've always been amazed at how many executives value "activity" over achievement:

'Look busy, dude, or you're outta here!'

'But I just won two Clio awards!'

'Then slap a coat of paint on 'em!'

Of course, your Bernays Sauce editor thought Sci Fi lost it when they canceled "Farscape."

United Airlines Broke This Guy's Guitar

Nice little PR problem for United Airlines...shame the airline isn't savvy enough to head these things off at the pass...or departure gate.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is YouTube Hemorrhaging Millions? Is the King of Pop Ruling the News Cycle?


An interesting article in The Independent posits the financial viability of Internet video behemoth YouTube:

YouTube's lack of profitability other than as part of a colossal global multinational may signal the end of a dream that has somehow managed to extend past the bursting of the dotcom bubble back in 2001, and the options for new online ventures seem to be as follows: either produce something that people are willing to pay for, or come up with an idea for a free service that's so ingenious that a benevolent multinational is willing to take it off your hands. But remember: that trick of making a home video of yourself in front of a few elephants has already been done.

We shall see....

In other news, Michael Jackson's final act is staking out what seems to be about 90% of the news media real estate. Bernays Sauce wonders if two wars, a serious economic recession and a health care debate should be out of the headlines for two weeks (and counting) while they examine the minutiae of the singer's last will and testament. Your thoughts are welcome in the comments section.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pizza Hut to Remain PIZZA Hut

AgencySpy reports that rumors of Pizza Hut changing its brand i.d. to the hip, trendy "The Hut" are unfounded:

Despite several reports over the past two weeks that Pizza Hut is slicing out the word "Pizza" and rebranding itself as "The Hut", the stalwart Yum Brands chain finally issued a statement to the contrary on Friday.

While our sister blog PRNewser offers a full report including the press release, we managed to snag a quick explanation regarding the rumors from Pizza Hut spokesman Chris Fuller, who says:

"We just started using [The Hut] more and more in our marketing. And with text and mobile ordering, it's just easier to type in 'The Hut'. From there, we went for a cleaner, more contemporary look to put on our pizza boxes, but there is no name change."

Bernays Sauce believes this is an immense relief to intergalactic pepperoni crime boss Pizza the Hutt, who now doesn't have to worry about his own brand status changing.



And yes, AgencySpy guys, I did pile on with a lame 'Spaceballs' joke. So sue me.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Is Facebook Hurting High School Reunions?

Facebook and other social networking sites are proving themselves an invaluable tool in keeping people connected or finding long-lost friends, but apparently there is a downside...

Excerpt:

But such self-organization is hurting businesses devoted to reunions, says Jonathan Miller, co-owner of Reunited Inc, a 20-year-old company that has helped planned more than 1,000 high school reunions. "It's definitely affected our business," Miller says. "Classes can now easily say to me, 'Jonathan, we have 150 people in our Facebook group right now, and we really don't need your services.'"

College alumni associations are dealing with the same issues. "Students now are all connected through Facebook and MySpace and other sites, so they leave college with their own network completely intact," says Deborah Dietzler, executive director of alumni relations at the University of Georgia. "This is not like 20 years ago where, if you wanted to get in touch with someone, you kind of needed to call the alumni office."
Of course, the flip side to that argument is that people still want to see who got fat, who is bald and who is rich in person:
Marc Dizon was a class officer for Virginia's West Springfield High class of 1999. Nine or so years later, dozens of former classmates began to e-mail him through Facebook to ask if a reunion was going to happen. The interest was there. "I don't think reunions are redundant on account of social media," he says. "You're always going to want to see people face to face. And those who don't go are probably those who wouldn't have gone even if there was no Facebook."

Your humble editor found his ten year reunion quite sufficient in satisfying his curiosity. I skipped the 20.

(And if I get another virtual "gift" from an old high school classmate on FB, I am going to return it at the virtual store for a virtual gift card.)
The comments section is open for your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to Pitch To A Business Reporter

Mopwater PR has a great interview with Jennifer Nycz-Conner of the Washington Business Journal on pitching to a biz reporter here.

excerpt:
What’s the worst pitch you’ve gotten recently and why?

JNC: Looooong releases. Oh, no, worse – I received an e-mail pitching a story on cosmetic surgery procedures. In New York. Not about business. Not local. Please, please, please read our paper before pitching us. If I have any strong pieces of advice, that’s one of the best I have.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Saucy Fun: Plan Your July 4th in Kansas City!


Tired of the same old, same old July 4th? Then you owe it to yourself to pack up the friends and family and come out to KCRiverFest!

Presented by KCTV/myKSMO TV, the annual KCRiverFest at Richard Berkley Riverfront Park is recognized as the place in Downtown Kansas City to celebrate July 3-4!

Astounding bands (including Julia Othmer, Dan Coyle, The Air Force Shades of Blue Band and many many more,) fantastic food, family activities and breathtaking fireworks make KCRiverFest the natural choice for Independence Day fun.

Sponsored by Friends of the River—Kansas City, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and protection of the Riverfront, KCRiverFest has drawn international recognition as a finalist for Best Fair/Festival by Special Events Magazine.

KCRiverFest hours are Friday July 3: 3-11 p.m.; Saturday July 4: 1-11 p.m. Ticket Info: $6 for adults, Children 5 and under FREE. Advance discount tickets are available online--click here!

KCRiverFest is a celebration of our culture, heritage, nation and all the elements that combine to make America great. Visit www.KCRiverFest.com for details.

Click here for a quick video of last year's festival.

Come on out and join us in KC--July 4 done right!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Three Day Weekend (BBQ) Sauce


Okay, I just have to ask: how can CNN write about America's best barbecue without even mentioning Kansas City? Come on--no mention of Arthur Bryant's legendary ribs? The renowned Gates BBQ--or the sublime Oklahoma Joe's?

Now, I'm a transplant to Kansas City and I grew up in a decent but far-from-legendary BBQ state (though the best BBQ sandwich I ever had is the Smokestack from Oklahoma City's own Earl's BBQ.); I've had Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and even British BBQ (don't ask)--and I know you just cannot argue with KC BBQ.

So boo to CNN's lack of foresight on this issue. They deserve any ribbing they get.

Many say the secret is in the sauce. I agree. So, licking my fingers and wishing you a great weekend...see you next week.

Tell Your Friends--The Facebook Deathwatch Has Begun


Mark Lazen thinks Facebook is on its way out.

excerpt:

There are a number of reasons to believe that FB is bound for a mind-blowingly profitable death. And the interface is a symptom, not a cause.

The reason it's impossible to figure out where to go and what to do with that interface is because FB is trying to be all things to all people. It's a photo gallery. It's a meeting place. It's an email system. It's a game arcade. It's a shopping mall and gift exchange.

Aside: If one more person gives me a "gift" of any kind on FB, I will flip out. It's not a gift. It's a picture of a gift. Or not even. And what you've actually done is steal a minute of my precious time, the time it took to log on and realize FB is crying wolf again.

And what is it with you and your gifts anyway? Do you not have enough to do?

But onward: Scoble seems to think that becoming all things to all people will represent the company's culminating "Phase 7": World domination.

I am of a more cynical mindset. I believe that when you're everything, you are actually nothing.

FB's impossible challenge--one they've unconsciously embraced--is to compete to be the best at everything. Yes, people love to post pictures at FB. But can FB compete with Flickr, a company focused only on providing that one service? Can FB compete with dedicated gaming companies? And while FB is busy trying to secure its far flung borders, it faces a threat to its core "status update" business from a tunnel-visioned competitor called Twitter.

The Sauce

He has a point. Facebook has so much going on--it's like a costume party at your high school reuniuon held in a busy casino.

Your thoughts? Be a friend and let me know what you think. The comment section is open.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

AIG Effect Still Hampering Meetings Industry

According to this article, the dreaded "AIG Effect" is still with us...

excerpt:

AIG’s spending spree at a St. Regis resort last September, just days after receiving federal bailout money, continues to send aftershocks throughout the resort and luxury segments of the industry. The opening session of the virtual Resort Conference—a webinar titled “The Voice of Customers”—gave resort owners and operators a chance to hear from meeting planners (corporate, incentive, etc.) earlier this week.

Moderator and HSMAI President and CEO Bob Gilbert called the current landscape “dismal” and talked about the media firestorm and the “collateral damage” still being felt after AIG’s junket. Some of the damage: $1 billion in U.S. company cancelled bookings in the first quarter because of outrage over AIG; 56 percent of corporate planners reported canceling at least one meeting or incentive trip; 40 percent less group business at Starwood during the first quarter; a $50 million estimated statewide loss for Hawaii. A bit of irony: The Resort Conference went online because of lack of attendance due to travel costs and cutbacks.

Read the rest here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Béarnaise Sauce Update


John Short of EventPros figures we could all use some simplicity these days, so why not offer an easier, no-hassle Béarnaise Sauce recipe? Thanks John!

Okay, who has time these days to throw together such a challenging sauce? (It’s just a sauce – you still have to prepare something to put it on!) For those of you with lives to live (or hopefully not searching for new or better employment), here is an easier, simpler, and every bit as gratifying way to produce this classic enhancement to many recipes.

Ingredients:
½ cup sliced shallots (as thinly as possible)
1 Tbls. DRY white wine
1 Tbls. white wine vinegar
Juice from ½ fresh squeezed lemon
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1/2 cup sour cream (no light or fat free substitutes)
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne (cayenne optional) to taste

Directions:
Combine the shallots, wine, vinegar, lemon, tarragon, salt, pepper, and cayenne (if desired) in a small heavy saucepan. Slowly cook to a simmer – do not allow to boil. Add sour cream and heat for approximately two minutes over low heat stirring frequently. Serve (great on asparagus, oven roasted potatoes, and even pork or chicken).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

MoveOn's Healthcare Ad Misses Mark with Misspelling

MoveOn.org sent out a funding appeal for this somewhat clever spot, asking supporters to pony up so the spot can air in response to the "right wing" which has "just launched a million-dollar attack on President Obama's health care plan."

Your humble editor doesn't talk politics on this blog, (and certainly has no problem with reforming healthcare) but I do like to talk about ads and their effectiveness. So, politics aside, I say MoveOn might want to hire a good proofreader before running this spot--unless they really do want you to support one candy bar over another.



Just sayin'.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Millennials: Spoiled Brats or Unfairly Maligned?

CW has a fair take on the much maligned (and they say misunderstood) creature known as the Millennial. Your humble editor has worked with both incredibly good and incredibly bad examples of this generation and feels that like any generation, they have their good and not-so-good attributes.

Excerpt:

The complaints about the younger generation are cliché and include concerns about their alleged unwillingness to work hard and pay their dues, along with their unrealistic expectations about career progression, work environment and work-life balance. These are the same universal complaints that every generation of elders shares about the up-and-coming crop of young workers. Given time, the concerns fade for a few years until the generations shift once again.

The news reports certainly feed the stereotypes of the younger generation, with scenes of office partying, endless texting, and interviews with young workers expressing their expectations of running departments, divisions and companies sooner rather than later.

While there are elements of truth in some descriptions of the behaviors and expectations of the Millennials, concentrating on these points will blind leaders to their true potential.

Consider these three major advantages that this generation has over others:

1. This is a technologically savvy generation, in an era when technology is the tool of competition and technological drivers are constantly reshaping how and where we do just about everything.
2. The Millennial generation grew up with texting and instant messaging, and ubiquitous use of the Web at a point in time when businesses are just discovering and beginning to harness the power of social networks.
3. Those of us who came of age while the world was truly becoming a global marketplace still relate to a style of conducting and running businesses that will never return. This new generation grew up and developed socialization and communication skills with tools and technologies that the more experienced among us still find remarkable and even a bit frightening.

Read the rest here.

The comments section is open.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sauce Tasting: Stuff We Tasted Today


Check out this piece on Google's "PR Campaign," an attempt to blunt criticism of the internet behemoth.

Whither Twitter? As we prepare our own post (coming soon!) on the hip, happening new microblogging app, others are questioning its reach and longevity.

Bottom Line Communications takes the Kansas City Star to the woodshed over its new StarTV guide policy.

Anything saucy you'd care to share? The comments section is open.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Harlem Gospel Choir Coming to KC


Hey Kansas City-area readers: want to hear some great music and support a great organization? Well, you're in luck.

The world-renowned harmonies of the Harlem Gospel Choir will headline an evening of music, food and fun benefiting the Front Porch Alliance (FPA--an organization supported by your humble Bernays Sauce editor) May 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the historic Gem Theater in Kansas City.

Besides the music of the Harlem Gospel Choir, there will be a live auction, food and fun activities. All proceeds benefit Front Porch's youth programs, which strengthen youths' academic achievement, provides entrepreneurial education, enhances leadership skills and helps secure a future full of hope and opportunity.

Sponsorship levels for every budget are available. For more information about the event, tickets and sponsorships, contact Patsy Shawver at 816-921-8812 or visit the FPA website.

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dominos Pizza Crisis: A Booger of a Problem

When a couple of dimwits working at Dominos Pizza with a video camera and a nasal fixation decided to share their stupidity with the world, a booger of a corporate PR crisis was born:

“We got blindsided by two idiots with a video camera and an awful idea,” said a Domino’s spokesman, Tim McIntyre, who added that the company was preparing a civil lawsuit. “Even people who’ve been with us as loyal customers for 10, 15, 20 years, people are second-guessing their relationship with Domino’s, and that’s not fair.”

In just a few days, Domino’s reputation was damaged. The perception of its quality among consumers went from positive to negative since Monday, according to the research firm YouGov, which holds online surveys of about 1,000 consumers every day regarding hundreds of brands.

“It’s graphic enough in the video, and it’s created enough of a stir, that it gives people a little bit of pause,” said Ted Marzilli, global managing director for YouGov’s BrandIndex.

The Domino’s experience “is a nightmare,” said Paul Gallagher, managing director and a head of the United States crisis practice at the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. “It’s the toughest situation for a company to face in terms of a digital crisis.”
[...]
In the most popular video, a woman who identifies herself as Kristy films a co-worker, Michael, preparing the unsanitary sandwiches.

“In about five minutes it’ll be sent out on delivery where somebody will be eating these, yes, eating them, and little did they know that cheese was in his nose and that there was some lethal gas that ended up on their salami,” Kristy said. “Now that’s how we roll at Domino’s.”
[...]
As the company learned about the video on Tuesday, Mr. McIntyre said, executives decided not to respond aggressively, hoping the controversy would quiet down. “What we missed was the perpetual mushroom effect of viral sensations,” he said.

In social media, “if you think it’s not going to spread, that’s when it gets bigger,” said Scott Hoffman, the chief marketing officer of the social-media marketing firm Lotame. “We realized that when many of the comments and questions in Twitter were, ‘What is Domino’s doing about it’ ” Mr. McIntyre said. “Well, we were doing and saying things, but they weren’t being covered in Twitter.”


The response from Dominos was slow at first, but they have become more aggressive. Patrick Doyle, President, Domino's U.S.A., responds (a tad stiltedly, but nonetheless):




Is it enough?

The (Pizza) Sauce

Your humble editor worked in fast food as a high school student (oh Chik-Fil-A, how I miss coming home from a shift smelling like a boneless breast of chicken!), and though jokes about such actions were common, I never saw it happen. If it did happen back in those simpler days, there was no internet in which to prove it. Idiots like the pair from Dominos would have had to videotape or photograph themselves doing the dirty deeds and pass it around to all their friends "manually"...obviously not even close to the power of the internet.

Time will tell if it significantly hurts sales or if it's a blip. One thing's for sure--ignoring this type of thing and hoping it will go away is no longer an option.

Dominos is trying to get ahead of the story, but is it enough--or too little too late?

The comments section is open for your remarks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Bad News for Newspapers?

As the former proprietor of a political news aggregator site and avid browser of aggregator sites like Huffington Post, I can attest to their popularity. Unfortunately, this trend in the next generation of news consumers may be another nail in the coffin of newspapers.

Excerpt:

The bad news comes from a new study for the Newspaper Association of America by Northwestern University’s Media Management Center. It found that teens, who were raised on free internet content, can’t imagine a situation in which they’d have to pay for their news.

Even loyalty to a brand won’t sway this generation. Today’s teens value a news site’s usability and depth of content more than the brand name associated with it. What they want is convenience and compactness, thus the allure of aggregators.


Your comments welcome.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Sauce: Hoppy Easter and All That


In keeping with our culinary moniker, please enjoy this excellent recipe for Mediterranean-style lamb--just the thing for your holiday celebrations.






Source & Photo: Washington Post

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday Quickie: Is Your Company Drinking the Kool-Aid?

Thought-provoking stuff on marketing and brand management from BlueBird Public Relations in Dallas:
All the “branding” in the world can’t change those simple equations, which is why the concept of “brand marketing” is intellectually bankrupt."

This absolutely reminds me of the old maxim: "Great PR makes bad products fail fast."

An agency or internal public relations and marketing extraordinaires can create all the buzz, find the perfect product position in the market, launch relevant campaigns to build a brand and demand the attention from target markets, but (surprise!) this will not change a bad product or service.

You can't hide behind fabulous marketing, at least not for long.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

KC Event Planners Talk About the State of the Industry


Bernays Saunce mothership EventPros, Inc.'s owners are featured in an interview in Special Events Magazine, where they discuss the state of the Special Events industry and the birth of EventPros, Inc. They also touch on marketing and public relations firms doing special events:
In 2008, for instance, while other event business owners were wringing their hands about tightened budgets, canceled events and the prospect of more bad news to come, Svoboda and Short debuted a communications services department. As Short explains, the duo created the new department to compete directly with marketing and public relations firms that were cutting into EventPros' market share.

“These companies were handling events, but they didn't even like doing it — they were just doing it because their clients needed it,” Short says. “Because they weren't making any extra money on events, they weren't hiring us to do them. They were just doing the events themselves, and not doing a very good job.”

With its new division, EventPros is able not only to sell clients on the strength of its event-production capabilities but to add value by offering marketing and communication services such as Web development, scriptwriting and video production. Short adds, “It speaks to our fiscal responsibility that we were able to bring in-house a lot of services we were farming out.”

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