Meet the Expert
President, The CBW Group, Inc.
- 30 years of successful experience in public relations, public affairs, media relations, issue management, event management, women marketing strategies and non-profit development strategies.
- Media Strategist for numerous clients resulting in feature stories in New YorkTimes, forbes.com, ABC World News, CBS Morning Show, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post and numerous other digital channels.
- Senior management of the California Governor’s Conference for Women for three California Governors, a $4 million one-day event for 14,000 women.
- Senior management for three Governors’ Global Climate Summits, for world leaders from six continents.
- Event Producer for the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Collaborative featuring Governor Jerry Brown and 40 Fortune 500 companies, including 8 car companies.
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Developing and Executing Successful PR Strategies
President, The CBW Group, Inc.
- Companies turn to public relations strategies as last resort to address a problem, instead of making public relations strategies an integral part of doing business.
- Too many companies value PR at the bottom of the food chain. If you don't identify your audience or customers, you can't communicate with them. And if you're not communicating with your customers or audience, your chances of failure go way up.
The failure rate for startups is 85 to 90 percent and one of the common causes of failure is that the leadership views PR as a fix for a crisis. Too many businesses come to PR too late and without enough budget to do it right.
Executives who think about PR strategically and include it in the budget at the front end, have greater success and can avoid getting lost in the crowd.
- Companies rely too much on social media, and overlook the continuing importance of traditional media.
- Many companies rely exclusively on social media for PR. It is but one of the tools in the PR tool box. Many companies assume that a viral Twitter feed is all they need. Not including a plan to include all media in one's strategy is a big mistake.
Traditional media is evolving much more quickly to adapt to the changing social media landscape and they have the resources to bring in the best and the brightest. A well-placed story in national publications, all of which have enormous social media power as well, is still a solidly-recognized public relations practice. Relationships still matter greatly in PR practice, and maintaining relationships with prominent reporters is required for anyone serious about PR.
- Companies approach public relations for short-term goals, but neglect follow-up and a longterm strategy.
- A successful event or launch isn't enough. Every PR strategy has to have a plan: a lead-in, a launch and follow-up. You have to maintain a flow of information and relationships with opinion leaders and the media. If you don't have a plan to maintain a high media profile, your great event, press conference or launch can be quickly forgotten.
Don't lose the momentum; plan to keep it going and build on it. If you're not paying attention to your external profile on a monthly basis, you'll get lost. There is an on-going battle for attention in marketplace.
Done well, PR is an ongoing process. It should be a core part of any business plan. Every company or organization has to put some percentage of their budget into public relations. It's been the way the business world works since the beginning of time.
- No objectives, advance planning or homework? No way!
- Every project should have a goal and a strategy to achieve that goal, which requires homework and laying of groundwork. Creating, developing and sustaining relationships with opinion leaders, influencers and the media on an on-going basis will keep your information on new developments in the marketplace fresh. This process also allows the development of trust, which will be helpful upon execution of your strategy.
Anticipating barriers, obstacles, negative reaction and blow-back is crucial. Know the questions as well as the answers. Too often, there's no advance legwork or market research.
Always ask yourself: Have I done my homework? Have I laid out my case and anticipated positive and negative responses? Have I been honest and open so media trust me? All of these questions are important to address.
- A company's corporate branding and PR message are dissonant.
- Message effectiveness is the key to any PR effort. A public relations message should be clear, consistent, memorable and support or reinforce the corporate brand.
Build on the company's brand message and tailor it to specific campaigns. The PR message should always compliment the brand message. If it deviates, it causes problems.
- Media events are staged without a "local hook."
- A strategic public relations plan often includes events to focus attention on your organization, company or a product. Local media events should include a local "hook" – an angle that makes an event or product newsworthy to the local audience. If a company based in Texas goes to Chicago expecting to have local media cover their event or product, they will be disappointed. A local "hook" needs to be created, which is not that difficult, but this simple tactic is often overlooked, and disappointment results.
Even the largest markets require an angle which targets their viewers. It is often said that "all politics is local." This applies to local media as well!
Developing and Executing Successful PR Strategies: Common Problems