Product Pitch – Flopping Fish

We have a wonderful, small client in the home decor space, Flopping Fish.  Their product and their story are both stylish and compelling.  However, the products they design are hard to define because they don’t fit neatly into a traditional home decor category.

Flopping Fish is a Seattle based design company that makes unique, artisan hardware accessories such as switch plates, door signs and home numbers.  It is not hardware, but many editors say “we don’t cover hardware,” while others seem to “get it” very quickly.

Following is the first creative pitch we developed to introduce the complete collections for their signature product line, switch plates.  Our goal is to create interest and garner placements by showing home editors and stylists that these “hardware accessories” are more than just hardware.

Enjoy getting and feedback or comments.  Let us know what you think.

Best,

Kimberly

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Switch Plates, Accent Pillows for Your Walls

You found the perfect paint color, added textured throw pillows and splurged on a fabulous new accent lamp.  Do you put those generic, white plastic switch plate covers back on your chic new walls?

Introducing 4 contemporary switch plate collections from Flopping Fish (www.floppingfish.com), a unique design company founded in 1994 by native New Yorker, Lisa Young.  Lisa is a graphic designer and illustrator who successfully transitioned her talents from the digital dimension to hands on design working with a range of earth-friendly, naturally recyclable metals such as copper, galvanized steel and white metals.

Not your mother’s switch plates. Flopping Fish switch plates are etched (a unique element of Flopping Fish switch plates) and hand tarnished to create a natural weathered patina.  The collections are all made from beautiful, high quality metals and manufactured in the US.  The result is a collection of decorative and ‘unique jewels’ to accent any space.

Following are a few of our picks from each collection.  For samples, high res images or additional information, please reply to this email or dial (Kimberly) 415.515.9414 or (Kat) 512.784.5340.

Signature Collection – etched copper with a handcrafted weathered patina which recreates the effects of time and the elements.  Available in over 11 original designs from Baroque to Romanesque.

(l-r Baroque, Fiddlehead, Romanesque, Pine)

Loft Collection – etched galvanized steel evoking an elegant and industrial look.  Each design is meticulously etched and clear coated by hand to ensure premium quality. Available in 3 chic designs:  striking Damask, Romanesque and Spirals.

(l-r Damask, Romanesque, Spirals)

Chroma Collection – silkscreened galvanized steel in bold patterns designed to accent a room with a stylish and original pov.  Available in Damask, Hipster and Spirals.

(l-r Damask, Hipster, Spirals)

Latte Collection – silkscreened white metal creates a subtle impact with patterns created in  ivory on white complementing both white and ivory switches.  Available in modern designs Damask, Romanesque and Spirals.

(l-r Damask, Romanesque, Spirals)

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Eco-Style Within Reach

As we execute on bambeco.com’s spring 2010 plans, we are looking at this year’s 40th Anniversary Earth Day celebration in April.  This Earth Day also marks the one year anniversary of bambeco.com’s launch.  We’ve been working with bambeco since June of 2009.  If you follow our facebook.com/kimberlystrenkpr page,  you know their stylish brand of eco-home furnishings and décor is amazing and continues to grow in breadth and reach every day.

Following is one successful element from our client’s spring PR outreach.  We sent this to lifestyle and design magazines for inclusion in their April issues:

As you plan your Earth Day stories, consider some of the following eco-friendly gadgets and entertaining product ideas from bambeco.com.  Bambeco is the home furnishings and décor company where your eco-conscious style, intersects with your home and lifestyle needs.  Launched on Earth Day 2009, bambeco has quickly won customers and a loyal devoted fan base of followers (www.bambeco.com or twitter.com/bambeco).  Now more than ever, bambeco makes it easy to be green.

Following are a few of our picks from the new spring collection.

Green Entertaining

Soleil Serving Trays.  These Soleil Servings Trays are bold and striking with bright colors and made from 100% recycled material.  The trays are finished with 100% biodegradable polyurethane, giving them the feel of leather covering and protection for added water proofing. reg. $39.00 – $82.00

Made from 100% recycled materials. Finished with 100% biodegradable polyurethane.

Contempo Dinnerware Collection.  Available in 3 spring colors:  turquoise, ivory and lime.  Ceramic dinnerware made from natural clay and sealed with a food safe and earth friendly glaze.  All of the paints and dyes used in the coloring process are milk based.  Each piece is strong and durable for a long lasting dinnerware collection.  reg. $8.95 – $162.95

Ceramic dinnerware made from natural clay and sealed with a food safe and earth friendly glaze

Mosaic, Gate and Woodblock Collection.  Available in two colors:  Lake and Java.  A fresh take for the modern table, this geometric pattern mimics the intricate glass work of artisans.  Made from linen and cotton with low impact dyes.  $15.00 – $24.00

Made from 100% linen. Available in two colors: Java and Lake

made from 100% recycled bike chain parts

GREEN ENERGY

Aurora Glow String Lights.  Totally sustainable, hang beautiful Aurora Glow string lights once and enjoy their artisan glow every night!  Illuminate your outdoor spaces with beautiful and festive solar powered hand-blown glass string lights. Six lights crafted from colored and clear hand-blown glass and luminescent details adorn a clear wire and come complete with six high powered LED lights and copper hanging hooks. Aurora Glow string lights are powered by the sun, with a solar panel located nearly 15 feet away from the first glass globe. Plant or mount the solar collector away from the lights and enjoy the glow at night while collecting the maximum amount of sunlight during the day. reg $57.00

  

Solar powered, hand-blown glass string lights. Available in four colors: Sea Glass, Clear with Amber, Clear with White, Purple Sea Anemone

 

 

Seasonal Outreach

The Four Seasons Hotel Logo

Much of my PR life has followed the rhythm of the seasons.  Living in the world of premium consumer products, we are always working one or two seasons ahead.  Christmas 2009 has already happened for us and we still have Halloween candy unwrapped!

Currently we are deep in the throes of spring 2010.  It’s always exciting to get a preview of what’s to come.

Right now we are looking at bambeco’s spring collection of eco-chic home furnishings and decor.  Initial products show a strong story developing in tabletop and beddings.   Now we begin examining the trends in design, such as shape, color and materials, then we begin tying it together in terms of themes.  At the same time we are thinking about what audiences might be interested in what stories.  Having lived in fashion and home furnishings world,  it’s interesting to note that trends in textiles and furniture tend to follow fashion by several seasons sometimes longer.  Clearly not all fashion trends make sense for the home, but even over the last couple years, design editorial has been looking and sounding more and more fashionable with an emphasis on seasonal updates and makeovers.  This is only a benefit for the consumer – who wants to look at the same home decor every season?  Even if you don’t want to change your look, it’s always inspirational to see what’s new.

Searching for End Points

Searching for Endpoints

“A career is a journey not an end point,” Lee Caraher.  Friend and trusted colleague said this to me a few years back during a particularly frustrating moment.  These simple words provided me such clarity and solace. It’s not a race to some mythical stopping point, title or salary.  It is a journey to be welcomed head on, for all its momentary triumphs and crushing in-the-moment disappointments.

My original purpose for blogging was to share best PR practices and provide insights based on work we do for clients.  But I have found it difficult at times to get motivated to write these entries. I am so in the day-to-day of client work that I feel less interested in delineating and writing about the specifics.  However, I realize that although the information may seem less compelling to us, since we live it,  we hear from our non-PR friends, that they enjoy the insights. 

As a compromise, the posts will still be about some of the creative work as well as the overall experiences, challenges,  and lessons learned from running a business.

Social Media – Results Now Please

Exclamation Point

A year ago, new clients did not mention or even ask about social media.  Today, it’s invariably the second question I get asked.  I tell clients not to get overwhelmed by this hugely influential, but unwieldy new medium.  Social media from a PR perspective doesn’t really change how we approach the business of telling a company story.  What has changed, has been the acceleration of time.  None of us want to wait for quarterly or monthly recaps, demographic reports, analysis and trend studies or for the 3-5 month lead time required by most consumer lifestyle magazines.  We want feedback and results on a daily basis.  Luckily,  this just makes my job more exciting and certainly interesting!

Social media platforms provide more opportunities to not only reach out direct to consumers and influencers, they allow us to target our information so that it’s more closely aligned by consumer’s specific interests.  Sounds simple, but there are now hundreds and thousands of potential consumers and influencers out there.  Where do we start?

As a PR professional, I look at these new audiences in terms of market segments.  My clients are lifestyle – food, fashion and home.  So for instance, my home clients, the market is centered on interior design.  Great, now we know we want to target interior design bloggers.  We can’t track them all, so let’s approach this in segments – let’s only monitor and engage the top bloggers in this space.  How do we do this? What qualifications are we looking  for?  Traditional media relies on demographic info, circulation and in the premium consumer lifestyle space, overall wow factor – how well a magazine stands out for visual artistry and influence.

In the social media world the metrics have changed.  For interior design space, we’ve found Technorati to have the best search for this particular industry.  For our food clients we are using other SM search tools, but that’s for another post.

My amazing intern, Jen pulled together the following information on Technorati.  Check it out and let us know if it works for you.

What is Technorati?: Technorati was founded as the first ever blog search engine. It generates comprehensive information on the blogosphere by indexing millions of blog posts and sorting them by tags, keywords and topic. Technorati also releases a “State of the Blogosphere Report” every year to analyze the trends and themes of blogging.

The new age of media: This is an important step for PR because people now look to bloggers for their expertise on trends, products and ideas. As the blogosphere continues to grow, the lines between blogs and mainstream media sites are becoming less clear.

How to do searches: Most people use Technorati for its blog search capability. You can search blogs or blog posts by keyword, tag or URL. You can also search the blog directory for blogs in certain categories (e.g. fashion/lifestyle blogs, business and finance blogs etc.).  Technorati also lets you browse top videos, photos and news articles to see what people are blogging about at that moment. Additionally, if you set up a profile, you can monitor your favorite blogs and specific topics.

What is Authority?: One way Technorati tracks the influence of a blog is through its Authority. Authority simply counts the number of blogs linking to a website within the last six months. The higher the number, the more people are linked to your blog and the higher the authority-It’s the who and what is most popular in the blogosphere. This approach also eliminates spammers looking to profit off traffic from keyword searches.

What’s new?: You can now claim your Twitter profile on Technorati. By doing this, you can use Technorati services to help make your Twitter more visible.

But What Do You Do?

Stereotypical PR Girl - Samantha Jones

I love meeting new people.  It’s always interesting to hear not only “what they do” but how they talk about what they do.  Lately I seem to have been out more than normal and have consequently had lots of opportunities to answer this question.  I’ve encountered many politely interested, but completely blank stares.  You can’t just say “I’m in public relations” and expect anyone to know what you’re talking about.  Thanks to Hollywood, apparently I plan parties ( I do of course, but that’s another post).

So, there are many ways to explain public relations but I will keep it somewhat generic and straight forward.  According to Wikipedia, public relations is “the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics.[1] Public relations gains an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment.[2] Because public relations places exposure in credible third-party outlets, it offers a third-party legitimacy that advertising does not have.

I like this definition because it reinforces the heart of PR – legitimacy.  Because the review, the coverage, the placement or story must be EARNED, each and every time – it maintains a credibility that advertising can never claim.  Don’t get me started on the ROI of PR versus traditional marketing and advertising.  There are so few hard costs associated with PR.  It really is about understanding your product/company/service, creating a great story and delivering it to the right audience(s).  Sounds simple of course, but it’s in the execution (a bit of luck and timing never hurts) that differentiates a successful campaign from a merely forgettable one.

So, next time you’re at a party and someone tells you they are in public relations, you can impress them with your thorough understanding of earned coverage versus paid placements.

Musings on PR

Welcome Mat

Welcome to my first official blog on my first official blog entry.  A brief explanation to the obvious – why blog?

I hope to use this as a forum to share best practices and open the proverbial kimono a bit more, share the process, thinking, and tactical execution that goes into the things we do for our clients.  Initially, I was worried that I might give away ”proprietary intellectual capital” but have come to realize that someone may be inspired or borrow some of the tactics or ideas, but no one can execute and deliver in the same way.  Social media has really moved the needle and opened up the floodgates to information that we have never been able to access.  In the spirit of sharing and connecting, I hope to contribute as well.

Some background.  I feel very lucky to have a “job” that I love.  The difference between owning my own agency and working in-house or at a big firm?  I feel truly vested and responsible to my clients at a whole new level.  It is a very one-to-one relationship.  I also get to choose the people I work with and qualify the products and services I represent.  This keeps my”pitch” honest and real.

Feel free to comment, share and visit.  I will try to keep the content relevant and fresh.  Enjoy,  Kimberly