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RE: [prbytes] Re: Do clients really go for this?

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  • Ned Barnett
    Ana I m not looking to pick a fight online (or anywhere else), but based on my own experience (and the experience of a number of colleagues and competitors), I
    Message 1 of 19 , Nov 14, 2008
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      I'm not looking to pick a fight online (or anywhere else), but based on my
      own experience (and the experience of a number of colleagues and
      competitors), I have to strenuously disagree with your central thesis, that
      PR agencies must specialize because, obviously, a generalist can't do good
      work, nor can any agency do good work outside of its specialty.

      I have yet to see that play out in terms of performance. There are many
      agencies (I used to own one, and I've been partner in several others) that
      choose to specialize - but for most of these, this is done as a
      branding/positioning/marketing move, and not an admission that they can't do
      good work outside of their narrow market niche. In fact, in two cases
      where I was owner or partner of a "focused" PR agency, we also maintained a
      dba with a separate brand that allowed us to accept outside-our-niche
      clients without tarnishing the exclusivity brand.

      In all of this, I've never seen one good reason to focus (except to give you
      a marketing advantage) - I have yet to encounter a PR client that any
      experienced PR pro couldn't handle; and if you can deliver at the high end
      of performance for one type of client, you can do the same with another kind
      of client. At the core, PR is PR - anybody who can do professional-level PR
      for any client should be able to provide professional-level PR for a wide
      range of different kinds of clients. The basic core strategies and tactics
      that work for one work for all - the only things that change are the colors
      on the aluminum siding.

      I'll offer myself as an example, but I can offer three other agencies off
      the top of my head that are doing exceptional work on an even greater
      variety of clients. Looking at the projects I'm currently working on (For

      . Three television programs slated for cable

      . An incredibly sophisticated high-end software developer who deals
      in records technology and Federal compliance issues

      . Three theatrical films

      . An SaaS firm offering per-transaction sales tax calculating
      services to online retailers and others who need real-time tax information

      . A special one-time event involving bringing a former rock star
      back from obscurity and returning him to the pinnacle of rock-and-roll fame

      . Two private companies which need PPMs to raise funds

      . A couple of books/authors

      . One public company gearing up for a push to raise $5 million in
      new investments to fund expansion of their business of providing services to

      . An annual Inventors' Expo

      . A South Beach New Years Eve blow-out (one of those "Party with the
      Celebrities" deals)

      . A start-up walk-in medical lab chain

      . A sophisticated (and niche-focused) business consultant, author
      and speaker

      . A start-up non-profit foundation

      . A start-up entertainment company

      . Six non-competing providers of workers comp insurance, focusing on
      the construction and agricultural trades

      . A business insurance company

      . A construction-industry trade magazine (I'm the editor of Nevada's
      Construction Zone - it's published by one of my clients)

      I seem to provide what my clients consider to be exceptional PR services -
      that's why they tend to stay with me and refer others to me. While there
      are few apparent similarities between promoting films/TV shows and seeking
      capital funding for start-up projects, I have yet to find any barriers to
      performing PR at the highest level for any of these clients.

      So, with all due respect, I just can't accept that notion that PR agencies
      need to be ghetto-ized (with us PR pros picking our favorite market "ghetto"
      and refusing to venture beyond the bounds of that ghetto) - and I can't
      accept that the market has become so Balkanized that they'll only work with
      ghetto-ized PR agencies. The marketplace doesn't work that way - if it did,
      I (and the like-minded allies and competitors I know personally) would be
      unable to have such a diverse group of clients.

      All the best


      Ned Barnett, APR

      Marketing/PR Fellow, American Hospital Association

      Barnett Marketing Communications

      420 N. Nellis Blvd. A3-276

      Las Vegas NV 89110

      702-696-1200 - ned@...


      From: prbytes@yahoogroups.com [mailto:prbytes@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      ana lydia ochoa
      Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 10:42 AM
      To: prbytes@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [prbytes] Re: Do clients really go for this?


      You hit it right on the nail with your comment "What sells booze and
      sneakers doesn't sell community hospitals
      or universities." And that is exactly the point that I was making in my
      previous email:

      There's an agency for everyone and everyone can do good work depending on
      what the client is looking for. And by young vs. old, it's an approach, not
      an age issue. And "older/traditional" approach works extremely well with
      clients with more traditional needs - not with consumer brands, spirits,
      fashion or entertainment (or at least not with those brands reaching to
      reach a younger consumer).

      I am glad this discussion is coming up. Just like I whole-heartedly admit
      our agency would never be of interest to an investment bank, etc. - nor
      could we do great work for them. Our approaches and strategies create great
      results for non-traditional, fashion, entertainment and other consumer

      Which brings me to this point - we have to specialize in an area of PR -
      have always thought so. If we can stick to our niche and not follow
      contracts, we can all do great work.

      Ana Lydia Ochoa
      padma media & marketing

      We are proud to announce that the Inc.com editorial team has advanced padma
      media & marketing to the next round of the 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year
      search! We welcome your comments on our official Inc.com site:


      From: kezia_jauron <kezia@... <mailto:kezia%40evolotuspr.com> >
      To: prbytes@yahoogroups.com <mailto:prbytes%40yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2008 8:15:31 PM
      Subject: [prbytes] Re: Do clients really go for this?

      Their FAQ says "At launch, our clients include Coca-Cola, the world's
      largest and most valuable brand, Omnicom's GSD&M. Additional clients
      will be announced shortly." (I see no further announcements. )

      The GSD&M link doesn't work, but the company is an advertising agency,
      leading me to think it's a partner as opposed to a client in the
      strict sense. The other links on the page go to their individual blogs
      and such.

      Back to what is and isn't fun, I think we're comparing apples and
      lemons. What sells booze and sneakers doesn't sell community hospitals
      or universities. As professionals, we ought to have the wisdom to know
      the difference.

      And now: I don't mind people getting drunk on their own kool-aid and
      babbling about their past successes, but I do mind people taking
      swipes at each other. So lay off the ageism. It isn't productive, and
      it doesn't make me inclined to learn from you older, more seasoned

      To the younger, less seasoned member, Ana, I find some of your posts
      to be needlessly antagonistic. I don't necessarily disagree with the
      content, but the presentation lacks some finesse.

      Thanks to all who contribute. I hope those who don't are paying


      --- In prbytes@yahoogroups .com, ana lydia ochoa <analydiaochoa@ ...> wrote:
      > Ned et all,
      > Yes - all your examples are G-rated PC fun - but when you are
      working with trailblazing and trend-setting clients, none of those
      examples will do.
      > As an example, when working for Nike, we launched the first
      Latino-themed sneaker named after an Aztec warrior, which was designed
      by -guess what- a Latino graffiti artist. We hosted a party at one of
      the hottest locations in town, top DJ's, VIP Latinos and other
      trend-setters, etc., etc. The event -que no se diga- it wasn't a
      cookie-making deal ;) No pun intended - it was a night in Aztec Land
      - no one in suits that night. Not a soul.
      > Every media outlet in the land - both national, international -
      covered the event. And, the covetted sneaker sold out everywhere and
      landed Nike amazing impressions, etc., etc.
      > A few other examples include spirits brands, (Don Julio), Heineken
      (I worked with the agency that lead the Latino launch), and I could go on.
      > The basic thing I am trying to state here is this - there are
      agencies for everyone and for every client. And besides a strong
      background and strategy experience, brands that are trying to reach a
      younger and more afluent crowd have to be creative and do things
      outside of the box. And, honestly, CMO's hire those that represent
      the brand well - that being said, an investment firm wouldn't care to
      look at my credentials - however impressive they are. But a fashion,
      entertainment, beauty company loves us and our work. We 'represent'
      those brands.
      > Case in point, we were organizing an international brand hired my
      previous agency (where I worked) to create a launch event for a
      'product.' The lead on the account couldn't even list the top
      restaurants or clubs in LA and he couldn't get anyone to call him
      back. I got on the phone, called a couple of people and BAM we had a
      rooftop event at a location that was booked a year in advance. Again,
      no suits - well, swimsuits a' plenty.
      > Going back to the agency in question - so they aren't perfect. But
      neither are we. There's an agency out there for every client
      > --
      > Ana Lydia Ochoa
      > padma media & marketing
      > o.310.598.5735
      > f.310.598.5734
      > c.310.403.5299
      > We are proud to announce that the Inc.com editorial team has
      advanced padma media & marketing to the next round of the 2007
      Entrepreneur of the Year search! We welcome your comments on our
      official Inc.com site:
      > http://www.inc com/entrepreneur /2007/profile/ index.php? ochoa205
      > ____________ _________ _________ __
      > From: Ned Barnett <ned@...>
      > To: prbytes@yahoogroups .com
      > Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 1:07:51 PM
      > Subject: RE: [prbytes] Do clients really go for this?
      > Ana
      > That may be as you said. However, having had the CMO position half
      a dozen
      > times (when the foolish desire for "apparent" security - and the
      need for a
      > regularized income - overcame my better judgment) and in each of
      those, I
      > targeted the younger, hipper crowd (assuming you consider South
      Beach the
      > home to one of those cool, hip, young targets). And as a CMO, I
      have hired
      > agencies on at least six different occasions. It was on that basis
      that I
      > dissed this agency for their poor presentation.
      > As for fun, I once staged a ground-breaking with a bbq buffet (6,600
      > were served in a town with a population of 5,800) and the ground was
      > with a guy (my boss) driving a bull-dozer (while in a thousand-dollar
      > business suit) and my son and my agency president's pre-teen daughters
      > served cokes. There were balloons and games and all kinds of stuff
      to do
      > (like a community carnival) and all had a great time. Another time,
      I used
      > a real shotgun to start a "shotgun" golf tournament (and dressed up the
      > Association' s Chairman with steel-pot combat helmet, bandoleer of
      > shells and my short-barreled home-defense pump gun for a publicity
      photo -
      > this guy got such a big kick out of this that when he needed a CMO
      about 30
      > months later, I was the only candidate - he was the same guy I put
      on the
      > dozer).
      > I could go further - the rattlesnake hunt in the trees around my
      > (this after I came out of the building to find what looked to be a
      > rattler - it was probably no more than 9 feet, but - whew) - I
      wanted them
      > gone (this was a college campus, we didn't need rattlers killing
      students .
      > though of course, faculty was fair game), so I decided to make a PR
      > out of it by staging a rattler-hunt. Great PR .
      > However, there's fun and then there's fun. I consulted with one
      > and met the PR director in the cafeteria - she was dressed up like a
      > (face makeup, etc.) with baggy pants owned by the hospital's rotund
      > engineer. Not surprisingly, she was seen by the hospital as a joke, and
      > taken about as seriously as a teacup poodle guard dog.
      > Anyway, I'm no stranger to "fun." But I didn't find this group echoing
      > anything other than arrogant incompetence.
      > AND, I doubt that the companies listed were actually clients - note
      > how few of those names link to anything.

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    • Pat Roche
      This entire debate was certainly interesting to read...and so I decided to check out this website. I m not sure why everyone s getting so fired up. First,
      Message 2 of 19 , Nov 17, 2008
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        This entire debate was certainly interesting to read...and so I decided to
        check out this website. I'm not sure why everyone's getting so fired up.

        First, this "successful" marketing company only has two active links to
        outside companies -- and even though we are assuming they are clients, it
        doesn't say that. So for all we know, they have no client list. These
        could just be links to companies they admire. After all, they are doing
        some odd things on their website. It wouldn't surprise me if they linked to
        random companies. LOL!

        If you note, one of the founders lists Coca-Cola in his bio as a former
        client. And since they don't mention PR specifically, we have no idea what
        they did for Coca Cola or Oovoo. They could have written a couple of pages
        of copy or helped them with a minor project.

        The other links go to their own blogs.

        Other than that, the website doesn't say much. And no one I know has ever
        heard of them.
        In fact, they haven't updated their website since mid-2007. So maybe they
        aren't even around!

        So I'm led to believe that this is a "virtual" firm with a creative website.
        And they are taking on whatever "marketing" jobs will bring in the cash.

        Just a thought....


        Patricia A. Roche'
        The Media & Marketing Group
        (650) 963-9884
        (650) 906-1956 (cell)

        -----Original Message-----
        From: prbytes@yahoogroups.com [mailto:prbytes@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
        Kirkpatrick, Lois M.
        Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 11:56 AM
        To: prbytes@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [prbytes] Do clients really go for this?

        These people have an impressive client list and are obviously way
        successful. But my eyes started to roll about 200 words in. How about you?

        http://www.crayonville.com/press/ <http://www.crayonville.com/press/>

        (Disclaimer: I found them through clicking on a series of links. Never heard
        of them before, have nothing personal against them. My apologies in advance
        if you wrote this or are friends/family of the principals.)

        Lois Kirkpatrick, Manager
        Marketing & Strategic Analysis
        Office for Children
        Fairfax County Dept. of Family Services


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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