Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Theory of Evolution

The times, they are a changin’. Of course they are. Change is the only constant, even though it’s not always welcome. Texas adopted new cringe-worthy license plates… Vampires and cougars have taken over the world… Jim and Pam are getting married… And in PR-relevant news, major magazine publisher Conde Nast has shut down four of its magazines. Who’s next? Vogue? Glamour? After their four-issue expose on Bernie Madoff this summer, my vote goes to Vanity Fair.* (He ripped a bunch of people off in a giant Ponzi scheme…and he had a wife and a family. It’s a multi-faceted story. We got it. )

This is certainly not the first media giant we’ve seen fall – and fall hard – as of late, and as I’m sure my fellow PR peers can attest, it won’t be the last. So what does this mean for us? And what does it mean for our clients’ exposure? Well, we’ll have to be more adaptable and more ingenious than ever if we’re going to be successful. Smart businesses will look to new guidance in firms and agencies that aren’t afraid to try new approaches, and it will take just as much effort to publicize their companies as it will to gain their confidence. If your firm hasn’t opened its eyes to new ideas, odds are you’re about to get blindsided. Some things to look out for…

1. Social media. This one gets a big, fat DUH. We’ve talked about it before, and we’ll say it again, if you’re not doin’ it, and doin’ it and doing it WELL (whatever happened to LL Cool J? Oh right, NCIS.), you’re missing out. ‘Nuff said. [AND, be sure to sign up for Twitter Training THIS month.]

2. Personal connections. Sure, we proselytize Internet marketing and it’s benefits, but nothing can match real, personal interaction and customized strategy. For instance,  just last week, Black Sheep made significant progress targeting one of our most prized potential clients by sending our key contact personalized videos (no, not THAT kind of video) and 25 small, but unique hand-delivered packages. And you know what? We’re having lunch with him on Thursday… just wait ‘till he finds out how effing cute we are. This kind of practice definitely translates to our existing clients and their PR approach, and it’s that kind of thinking that these tough times require. Forget the process and the press releases – get creative.

3. Media strategy. This goes hand-in-hand with the advice above. Now, more than ever, editors and journalists are stretched so thin they don’t have the time or space to weed through formally written press releases about your company’s 27th hire in the past 6 months. They need REAL stories, so find out what they’re into and send strong pitches… do it on Twitter or Facebook in a few short sentences, and give them an angle that makes it interesting.

It’s all about being smart with your practices and staying cognizant of your surroundings. Darwin said evolution was survival of the fittest, but in marketing, it’s survival of the relationships – be it online, in person or with media. At Black Sheep, we’d LOVE to get to know YOU and bring your company into the future of marketing. We’re knowledgeable, we’re hip to what’s going on, and we’re happy to get you on the right track. Socialize with the Sheep by following us at @aimeewoodall and @lindsaybosslet on Twitter.

*In all honesty, I enjoy Vanity Fair quite a bit, and I’d hate to see it go. I just think spending too much time learning about greedy people is a waste. 

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