Archive for November, 2010

What Does Your Font Say About You and Your Business?

I read a great article in The Australian Financial Review last Friday entitled “True to Type” from Simon Garfield’s book “Just My Type” that discussed the use of fonts in the corporate world, their history, development, meanings and associations – for a PR person like me, it’s fascinating stuff.

It occurred to me that some people place a lot of importance in choosing a font to represent them and/or their company – in the article it mentioned that President Obama uses “Gotham” font, which it describes as bold, new-age and strong, while Secretary of State Hilary Clinton uses a font that is predominantly used by the legal world, which makes sense as her background was in the legal fraternity.

It got me to thinking while the folks mentioned above clearly chose their fonts for strategic purposes, I wonder how much time and thought goes into the choice of fonts for most businesses for their websites, their letterhead, businesses and overall corporate ID.

When I first established Publicity Queen, for me I know this was an exciting and important decision.  Issues to consider are matters of style – do you want the traditional and old-school imprimatur of Bookman, or are you a funky and cutting-edge design firm who would be better represented by Impact, or are you all about retro/cool and more keen on Cooper Black?  Are you more of a serif (with hooks) than a sans-serif (without hooks) – meaning do you like clean and crisp looking letters, or those with loopy tails and flourishes?  These are important questions… no, really!

Rather than going with the same-old Arial or Times New Roman, it might be worth investing a little time in choosing a font that really represents you and your business and gives the right impression to your customers.  Think about going beyond the standards fonts offered in your existing IT setup and looking up all of the fonts that are available on the internet.

So be individual, and while I see the value in being innovative, it’s worthwhile not being TOO clever – I just made a new business contact who uses are very space-age futuristic font, but the problem was when I tried to add his details to my database, the font he used made it difficult for me to know if the name of his company ended with an ‘n’ or an ‘r’ – you just can’t afford these kinds of confusing issues… if you want to grow your business, that is.

As a starting point, perhaps consider looking up the websites of companies and individuals you admire, or those in your industry, either to emulate their style or to find a point of difference.  You might find the font that speaks to you, and in the end speaks FOR you, in a way that suits your business, your goals and what you want to achieve.

Publicity QueenYours in PR

Meeting Spencer Howson – Brilliance for Breakfast

My Royal Adviser and right hand girl, Libby Collett, has just returned from interviewing the Brisbane breakfast dynamo, Spencer Howson, who hosts the most listened-to breakfast segment in the local radio market, from 6-9am each morning on ABC Radio 612am.

It seems the key to Spencer’s success really comes down to a few key elements – his unwavering integrity (this man cannot be bought – not even with a cup of coffee!), his obsession with finding the local Brisbane aspect to all the content on his programme and his drive to make his show’s content relevant and useful for his listeners.

For those who may not know, Spencer is one part of a Brisbane media power couple, as his wife Nikki is a news producer at Channel 9 Brisbane, and you might imagine between the two of them, there is nothing going on in Brisbane that they don’t know about.

Keep your eyes peeled for the December/January bumper festive edition of Queentessentials to peek inside this news powerhouse and find out the secrets to his success.

Publicity Queen

Yours in PR

Client Relationships – Taking the Long View

I read recently a great article in BRW where Anthony Bell, founder of Bell Partners who at the tender age of 39 is the only accountant to make BRW’s Young Rich List, discussed his personalised and long-view approach to developing client relationships, and I was so inspired and impressed, I would like to share it with all of you.

When asked what makes a good accountant, and where other firms go wrong, he cited the need to develop a strong relationship with clients.  What was surprising was that Anthony has clearly invested a great deal of time and personal effort in building long-term relationships with clients and their families both on and off the clock.  For example, he is godfather to 16 children, 14 of whom are children of his clients.  Now that’s a serious commitment!  He says that when he talks to colleagues, he asks his managers how many of their clients got married this year and of those, how many wedding invitations they received, and from his perspective, ‘none’ is the wrong answer.

Now clearly this approach is not for everyone, and I do believe in the need for there to be some separation between work and personal life.  Blurring the two can mean that you never feel that the work day ends, but from my own experience, forging strong relationships with the members of my Advisory Board, my treasured Queens, the royal family (our clients) as well as other partners, I too have found that both my personal and work lives have been enriched.

What it all boils down to is the quality of relationships.  By working hard on developing meaningful relationships with clients, partners, suppliers, media contacts and all of the many people who help me to run Publicity Queen, it means that when I need a level of service above and beyond the normal, the strength of these relationships means I can call in a favour or two.

The flipside of that scenario is the need to be appreciative and thankful of the support we receive.  For example, when we work closely with a media contact and they give one of our clients a good run, such as the front covers we have scored in The Australian Financial Review, The Courier Mail, City News and mX, or like the national media coverage we will get for the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal on “Hey Hey It’s Saturday” this Saturday night, we thank them personally.  And when we receive outstanding support from our suppliers, we make sure they know they are appreciated by giving a gift to show our appreciation, as we did recently for our IT gurus at BizTopia who always go that extra mile to help us out.

As we approach the Christmas season, where we traditionally count our blessings and give thanks, let’s keep in mind all the people who help us to build and grow our businesses.  There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe it takes a village to grow a business too, so make sure all the people in your village know they are appreciated and valued.

Publicity QueenYours in PR,

Publicity Queen Gets $500,000 in PR for Property Pursuit

In just 14 months we have be able to generate more than half-a-million dollars worth of coverage for Brisbane buyers agents, Property Pursuit – that averages about $36,000 per month!

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Tracey McMullan, who has worked hard to generate such fantastic results by creating high-value content and story angles for the media.

And I want to congratulate Meighan and Jason Hetherington of Property Pursuit whose industry expertise and business savvy has drawn the attention of the media and the market.  Well done to you both!

Rather than resting on our regal laurels, we are further inspired by our results and will be continuing to work hard with Property Pursuit so that they continue to be called upon as experts in their field.

Publicity QueenYours in PR

Overcoming Brand Damage – Turning Crisis into Opportunity

It occurred to me that there have been many text book examples in recent weeks of major international and Australian companies that have suffered some serious damage to their brand, image and corporate reputation.  In each case, the companies concerned have been called upon to respond to these challenges, which in public relations terms can be amongst the most difficult to overcome.

From an observational viewpoint, it seems the greatest crises tend to cluster around issues of health (James Hardie), ethics (David Jones), environmental damage (BP), safety (Qantas) and perceived corporate greed (Commonwealth Bank).

Each of these crises have given us real-life cautionary tales on how to (and how not to) mount a campaign to overcome an all-out assault on your brand, be it from within or without.  I’ve distilled my observations of how these and other companies have handled brand damage and assembled a list of ‘Dos’ in case you are ever in a similar situation (heaven forfend!)

1. Get on the front foot.  In the aftermath of a crisis, there will be a myriad of requests for interviews, and although it is important to allocate the appropriate time and resources to plan your communications approach, it is also crucial to face-up promptly and answer those questions with due honesty and respect.  Don’t avoid these opportunities, embrace them.  The timeliness of these appearances is important, too… if you take 48 hours to develop your ‘key messages’, by then the media can exacerbate the issue and your opportunity to tell your side of the story may have been negated or lost.

2. Humanise the company.  It is easy for your critics to see a company, particularly a larger one, as a faceless corporate monolith.  Choose a spokesperson who comes across as warm and sincere – it is more difficult to be critical when a company is represented by someone who comes across as concerned, empathetic and approachable.

3. Accept responsibility and express remorse.  Of course it’s important to receive legal advice, and to follow it, particularly in relation to admissions of liability, but if it is recognised that mistakes were made it’s important to own them, and if possible to express regret or to apologise.  These few words mean a lot, and can mean for those adversely affected by the crisis that they can begin their own process of recovery.

5. Be outcomes focused, and solution-oriented. Rather than get bogged down in the mechanics of the problem, try to switch the focus towards the active steps that are being taken to assess and address the problem.  Here it is worthwhile to refer to safety and planning procedures, and measures that are being put in place to ensure that whatever went wrong doesn’t happen again.  That is the reassurance that everyone is really looking for.

So let’s hope that if you or your company are ever called upon to defend your brand, you take a long-term view, and realise that a crisis is indeed an opportunity to renew the public’s relationship with your brand; and that if deftly handed, can actually WIN you new customers, partners and supporters.

Publicity QueenYours in PR

LinkedIn Now Harnesses the Power of Brands

Here at Publicity Queen we keep a keen eye open on the latest in social networks as they effect business, and were intrigued by the latest offering from our friends at LinkedIn, who recently launched ‘Company Pages’.

This new feature encourages the site’s 80 million-plus members worldwide to search for and find brands they know and use, and has the potential to enlist a whole army of brand ambassadors, posting product reviews and services on their profiles.  They keyword here is ‘credibility’ – if you receive an endorsement of a brand and its product or service through a trusted network colleague, this is a powerful advertisement indeed.

The existing features of LinkedIn can be used to good effect, such as making recommendations, posting reviews, members can recommend brands to their existing network of contacts.  By searching for and finding a business, you are also able to view which LinkedIn professionals work for that company, and if you want an introduction, it is a more strategic entree than just cold-calling. 

So, it might be worthwhile spending the time to invest in your business’ Company Page on Linked In, to go beyond just contact info and details of your employees, to list what services and products you offer, and invite reviews and endorsements.  You never know what opportunities it might unlock for your business!

Publicity QueenYours in PR,

Queentessentials Re-Launched for November 2010

Queentessentials November 2010

It’s a momentous day – it’s the 150th Melbourne Cup today as well as the official ‘relaunch’ of Publicity Queen’s Queentessentials newsletter – who could ask for more!

So here’s our royal tip for the Melbourne Cup – ‘So You Think’ trained by the amazing Bart Cummings. Another tip… in the entire history of the Melbourne Cup, the horse that’s drawn barrier 18 has never won so be wary when backing Master O’Reilly!

We also have a winning field in the Queentessentials line-up being led by Sean Ryan, the entrepreneurial brains behind Brisbane’s Nova 106.9FM, Sir Richard Branson, the best book on sales (ever!) Competitive Selling by Landy Chase, a website that can create your own online newspaper and heaps more…!

So enjoy the Melbourne Cup today and stay tuned for the Queentessentials festive Christmas edition.

Publicity QueenYours in PR

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