i4 Business Magazine
Change the World - Grow Your Business!
By Geo A. Ropert, APR
What is happening to businesses? A culture shift has put consumers and communities in charge of brands and how they operate and communicate. We are seeing the shift to the Citizen Brand. From the products you produce, to the values you espouse, your audiences are greatly influencing your organization and its future.
SpaceCoast Business / I-4 Business
Top Questions To Ask Your Prospective PR Firm
By Geo A. Ropert, APR
In the spirit of transparency, I share how we operate and what you should know when considering hiring a public relations firm.
Learn how we work, what we do for our clients and what questions you need answered to know if the firm you're considering is a good fit for your business.
SpaceCoast Business / i4 Business - July 2017
Hi-Tech Business Needs Hi-Touch PR/Marketing
By Geo A. Ropert, APR
Have you heard the booms lately? No, not the sonic booms of Space X rockets returning to land at Kennedy Space Center, though they’re a great sound and signal incredible advances in spaceflight. I’m talking about the booms of hi-tech businesses landing in Central Florida, the loud sounds of growth in industries that are turning our area into a dominant player in the tech sector and a desirable location to start and grow a business.
Our area is well known for tourism and retirement villages, but now we’re getting the reputation for building tech villages, clusters of entrepreneurial startups and established businesses bringing their research, development and products, along with skilled workers, to the 23-county region known as Florida’s High Tech Corridor.
To be successful, these businesses need public relations and integrated marketing strategies that are as advanced as they are but still able to make personal connections necessary for building strong customer relationships. So how do you blend hi-tech with “hi-touch?”
SpaceCoast Living - May 2016
PR and Marketing, and Chicken Legs
Geo A. Ropert, APR
Since I was in my early 20s, I’ve always had one thing that remained a constant: a gym membership. From an early age, I learned the value of being and staying in shape. Though that shape has changed somewhat over the years, and I’m having to train harder and smarter to maintain a healthy physique, I have always done so in a holistic manner in terms of keeping all of my muscle groups strong.
You’ve no doubt seen those guys who you can tell spend a lot of time in the gym building their upper bodies but unfortunately, don’t do a lot of work developing anything from the waist down. The result is called having “chicken legs.” They are thin and undefined, and not proportional to their torso. These guys look so top heavy, you wonder if they’d blow over in a slight breeze.
Not looking at your public relations and marketing efforts holistically can result in your business having chicken legs. Your upper body, the marketing of your products or services, may be strong but your hips, glutes and legs, the foundation that is your brand identity and who your customers perceive you are, formed through effective public relations, may barely be keeping you standing and you could fall over from the smallest customer complaints or crisis.
The businesses and organizations with whom we work have a product or service to sell, or a cause for which they need support; and they believe that if they market it enough, people are bound to buy or give to it. But it’s not enough to have a gang-buster marketing campaign if your target audience doesn’t know you, trust you and want to do business with or support you.
Today, consumers have access to information on almost every business, organization, product and service known, on a level never seen before. But they still base a large part of their buying decision on the brand. And they choose a brand based on how it fits with their perceptions and value system. Is the brand known for consistency and quality? Does it back up its products or services with warranties or guarantees? Is it socially responsible? Does it show genuine concern for its customers well-being? Does a purchase or contribution make the person who did so feel good about themselves?
In 2012, The Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment surveyed more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries. The results showed sixty percent of global consumers with Internet access prefer to buy new products from a familiar brand rather than switch to a new brand, and that brand familiarity is one of several key characteristics that resonate strongly with consumers worldwide.
Creating and sustaining your brand identity, and instilling in your audience that sense of loyalty is where quality public relations can make all the difference. PR tells the story of your brand that connects with customers. It creates the scene in which the audience can see themselves being a part of it. And it’s done through consistent messaging, communicated through myriad media including print, electronic and social.
When we speak of consistency, let’s revert to the gym analogy. To grow and remain strong, one has to work the muscles over and over again and they have to be worked from different angles, for varied durations and at multiple levels of resistance. The same holds true with a public relations campaign to build your brand. You have to do it consistently, through appropriate and diverse media, and with messaging that can tap into your audiences’ psyche on various levels.
Don’t think public relations is just about writing press releases and getting free mentions in the media. It in itself is holistic, using tools that include written communication, video testimonials, live interactions and acknowledgement for continued patronage. Good PR will demonstrate your value and worth: how the client saved time and money by using your product; the special service you provided at your resort that made a couple’s vacation memorable; or the program that changed the life path of a young adult who was destined for drug addiction, homelessness and possibly incarceration.
So tell your story! Tell it wherever and whenever you can. Tell people why you’re the one they should choose and show them, too. If your story is compelling, your brand is solid and your product is good, you’ll be in great shape from top to bottom.