Creating strong messaging takes skill and experience. That said, the very basics of good messaging are so simple it’s surprising to me how many companies get them wrong. There are three primary things to focus on: clarity, consistency and repetition.
In my 25+year marketing communications career, I have worked with about 50 start-ups. Most have been in the technology industry and a few have been in the environmental sustainability and travel industries. There are a few things I always seem to have to emphasize at the outset and they are listed below.
Engage humanity. That is the tagline I came up with and I still love it. It was for an Australian company called Whispir that is in the communications space. I was working with them on a massive brand development project last year and worked directly with Jeromy Wells, the creative, smart and kind CEO of the company.
Conch fritters, and conch in numerous other culinary forms, can be bought at almost every restaurant in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Yet they are endangered. How can this be?I recently visited these islands and their stunningly gorgeous beaches to see firsthand what was happening with the coral reefs there. I had been there 10-15 years ago on a SCUBA diving trip and was interested in seeing if the reefs were surviving climate change, tourist bumping and the notorious lionfish infestation of the Caribbean. Instead I stumbled on the queen conch issue.
I have been interested in doing PR for robotics companies for many years. Just ask my friend Tandy Trower, former head of robotics at Microsoft and founder of Hoaloha Robotics, a company creating companion robots to enable seniors to live more active and independent lives. When I sent Tandy various media articles over the years, he delighted me with long email responses that helped educate me about the industry. I am grateful that he shared this knowledge and provided years of encouragement. In 2016, I have had the honor and privilege of working with three amazing robotics companies.
In this age of personalized media, I have often thought about the concept of each of our lives as a museum. What would yours look like? What rooms would it contain and what would be in each of those rooms? My rooms might be Exploration, Connection, Adventure, Laughter, Fun and Wisdom. It is an interesting and expansive exercise to define your life in collections like that. It also forces you to think about the things that really matter to you and all that you have done with your life.
Every marketing and public relations person, no matter how strong you are, should be watching the presidential race. Don’t get me wrong. There are many things I would rather do, like ride my bicycle or go sailing, than watch these folks duke it out. But it’s a feast of learning about what to do and not to do. These campaigns are run by some of the nation’s strongest campaign strategists, yet there are so many little mistakes and some downright major blunders. We also can spot some very smart positioning and maneuvering. Some of it so savvy and twisty it almost makes me cringe.
Our oceans are precious. And today, on World Oceans Day, we celebrate them. We all need to pause today and thank the oceans for the food that we eat; oxygen we breathe; medicines they provide (both discovered and undiscovered); the marvelous marine life that delights us; recreation in the form of surfing, diving and sailing; and their stunning, breathtaking beauty.
There is a lot marketing I do for client companies and organizations in addition to public relations. That said, below is some of the media coverage I have negotiated for clients recently with strong strategy and execution.
Seattle makes me proud. The people are top-notch, the scenery is breathtakingly spectacular and the businesses are stellar. Some of the most amazing, often world-changing, companies started here, including Microsoft Corporation, Boeing, Amazon, Expedia, Starbucks, Alaska Airlines and REI. I have used products and services from each of them, many times. Other impressive ones have, at some point, moved their headquarters here, such as Holland America Line. And new businesses are following in their footsteps—companies that focus on space, robotics, exploration and virtual reality.