516.286.3773 robyn@owl-pr.com

 

A HEART-STEALING BOSTON HOTEL

Anyone who’s traveled with me knows how I tend to scrutinize a hotel. I’ll politely call it a side effect of working in the travel industry for almost 15 years. I notice things that other guests probably don’t…I pay attention to the smallest of details. And it is those small details that won my heart over on a recent trip to Boston with my husband.

We decided on a whim to take advantage of a three-day holiday weekend and for the first time, would be traveling with our dog – a five pound maltipoo who is a total brat. Automatically that limited our options, but we went ahead and booked Boston’s Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge.

I had never stayed at a Kimpton property but was curious thanks mainly to a goldfish amenity I had read about years ago (kudos to their PR team!) Plus, the price was right and they offered a great pet program for Chloe – a win-win all around.

It wasn’t the nice room that got me, how the hotel stayed true to its branding with funky bathrobes or even the complimentary amenities for Chloe. It wasn’t even the genuine interest the staff took in my dog – although impressive – it was this:

Marlowe – Update

Now let me be clear. It wasn’t about the amenity (a bottle of wine and a bottle of spring water). It was about the note. A handwritten note to be precise – and one that addressed me by name, versus the typical ‘Dear Guest’ neatly typed out with the GM’s signature at the bottom. I wasn’t a regular customer, or someone who booked an expensive suite. On the contrary, I was in the most basic room category and paid a discounted rate. I was not a VIP by any means, but the hotel made me feel like one.

I have no idea who Besart is. I’m guessing he isn’t the general manager though…or any senior-level team member on property. You know what? It doesn’t matter. Because that meticulous attention to detail won over my loyalty. And while the hotel’s acquisition cost for that was nominal, the outcome was priceless.

Think wisely.

Robyn Lanci

THIS IS HOW CANDY BECAME A MARKETING HOME RUN

THIS IS HOW CANDY BECAME A MARKETING HOME RUN

Despite my passion for health and wellness, it all goes out the door when I see impressive-looking sweets. It’s like I become a 5-year-old again. So when I stumbled upon Robin’s Candy on a recent trip to Massachusetts, my eyes lit up. And since the store shared my name, I figured it would be just plain mean not to check it out. And so this is how candy became a marketing home run.

Robin’s Candy is not your average confection shop. There are displays filled with homemade chocolate concoctions that sound so odd you just HAVE to buy one…or two (I chose the dark chocolate, bacon, and potato chips one.) There’s also imported UK candy, countless jars of sweets by the pound, 60+ types of licorice that’s flown in from around the world, candy that you probably haven’t seen since the 80s…the list goes on.

But perhaps more impressive than the candy is Robin herself. She’s got a smile that’s infectious, an obvious passion for what she does, plus she’s one savvy marketer. Here’s why.

Embraces reality….Robin’s Candy acknowledges that its products aren’t healthy, but demonstrates an interest in the well-being of customers and a commitment to being memorable. How? By including a toothbrush with every purchase.

Engages shoppers…some of the chocolate creations have such unusual names that you just can’t help but wonder what the heck is in them. Don’t worry if you’ve got to wait your turn to inquire, because there are hashtags for almost everything in the display case. And they’re so interesting that not taking out your phone to search them is impossible.

Tugs at heartstrings…chances are, you’ll find something from your childhood. It’s like an instant connection that will make you feel like a kid all over again. I dare you to flag it with Robin. You’ll see her face light up with so much excitement that you’ll swear she stocked something just for you.

Demonstrates humility… her business card (perfectly branded with gummy bears, by the way) lists all of her responsibilities, right down to HR. It doesn’t just say, president or owner. That’s one humble lady.

And just in case all of that wasn’t enough to knock my socks off, the icing on the cake (pun intended) happened when she heard my name is Robyn too. I got free candy. She gives it to anyone who shares her name.

Sell wisely.

Robyn Lanci

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Copyright 2019 Owl PR

HOW TO SPOT A BAD PR PERSON

How To Spot A Bad PR Person

Whenever I’m speaking to a prospective client, I make a point to put myself in their shoes. PR is an investment, and with the wrong partner, your valuable marketing dollars can go to waste. On the flip side, with the right PR partner, your ROI has the potential to be limitless. So to ensure your time isn’t wasted when vetting out your PR rep, keep the following points in mind. And if your prospective partner ticks off any of these boxes, make sure to cross them off your list pronto.

Warning Sign #1: they guarantee a set number of media placements, and/or a specified date as to when you can expect to receive editorial coverage

It’s my job to try and convince a journalist to write about my client (and I’ve got a good track record for making it happen) but any good PR person will tell you that they don’t have control over how often, and by when, a client will see coverage. Good PR doesn’t happen overnight, and a consciousness rep will spend time crafting pitches that are targeted to the interests of each specific journalist. If your prospective rep promises to be in touch with say, 100 editors a week on your behalf, be assured they’re sending out mass email blasts. The media don’t care for the spray and pray strategy, so neither should you.

Warning Sign #2: they have you doing their job — or you question if something they want you to do should be their responsibility

A good PR rep should be an extension of your marketing team, and need minimal assistance from you once they’re up to speed on your account. So beyond answering questions, approving press materials, being available for interviews, and providing things like high-res images to support your rep’s PR efforts, you shouldn’t have much else to do. You’re paying good money for a professional to do it FOR you…and do it well. If you find your partner talking about having you do things like individual editor mailings yourself, it’s time to move on.

Warning Sign #3: they promise you a media placement in a specific outlet

A guaranteed placement in a specific newspaper or magazine is called advertising. Enough said. You don’t need a PR rep for that; you just need the publication’s rate card.

So before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to think wisely.

Robyn Lanci

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Copyright 2019 Owl PR

SKITTLES PROVES WHY PR PROFESSIONALS ARE INVALUABLE

SKITTLES PROVES WHY PR PROFESSIONALS ARE INVALUABLE

Here’s a situation that opened up a big ol’ can of PR worms this week: Trump Jr’s analogy using Skittles candy as a stand-in for Syrian refugees on Twitter. Now what? Surely there are no rainbows at the candy company’s office these days.


Immediately visions of meeting after meeting amongst Skittles’ PR and marketing team crossed my mind when I heard about this incident. There were so many ways the company could’ve played this, and no matter the response, I knew judgements would flood the internet regardless. But, experienced PR folks can minimize it. That’s why it’s important to have a team that’s savvy in both public relations and social media.

Here’s what the company’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs had to say about the matter:

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”

Four simple sentences seem easy enough, but my guess is that response took hours to draft. This is why: the company was challenged to craft a message that is (1) emotionless (2) factual (3) doesn’t demonstrate a political opinion and (4) could not be interpreted as defensive or self promotional. It takes a skilled PR professional to craft something that conveys several difficult points in one brief response, but Skittles achieved it. In fact, they could stand to teach other companies (even ones within the same industry) a thing or two.

So kudos to the PR department. We believe you think wisely.

Robyn Lanci

Get a free public relations & marketing consultation.

Copyright 2019 Owl PR

Get a free public relations & marketing consultation.

Copyright 2019 Owl PR