Posts tagged with “Story-Telling”


The ‘Zoolander 2’ Announcement is So Hot Right Now

By Megan Burton

It’s 2015, and the PR industry is certainly changing. No, the press release still isn’t dead, but as our audiences’ news consumption habits and preferences evolve, brands must continue to explore fresh, creative ways to announce new products and share newsworthy content outside of the typical AP Style, inverted-pyramid structured press release of days past.

One such example comes from an unexpected source (which is kind of key, right?): actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. In case you missed it, Stiller and Wilson hit the runway during Paris Fashion Week to announce the sequel of their 2001 film Zoolander:

Dressed as characters Derek Zoolander and Hansel, the actors strutted down the runway during the Valentino show, confirming the long-rumored and highly anticipated sequel. Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the upcoming film, further confirmed on Twitter. Absent from Paramount’s announcement? You guessed it: A press release. Instead, Paramount relied on Derek and Hansel to tell the story, with the help of social media, of course. The results have been unbelievable; a Google News search shows more than 6 million clips of the story in less than two days.

You may not have access to really, really, ridiculously good-looking celebrities or a high fashion runway, but you can be successful in sharing your unique message by thinking outside of the traditional-PR box, finding fresh ways to connect with your audience, and embracing social media. Don’t know where to start? We can help.

And no, Derek Zoolander still can’t turn left.

social media experts are storytellers
At JDPR, we are storytellers.

One of my favorite questions to ask a client is, “What sets you apart?”

It’s the basis of any good story. And especially if you’re targeting earned media (our forte here), you’re going to need a good – no, a great – answer to that question.

So it is with marketing agencies. In an era when everyone’s an “expert” on social media, how is a brand manager expected to know exactly who to turn to?

The truth is social media is nothing more than a new platform for us to tell and shape our stories. Facebook, being the social media powerhouse that it is, gives us little more than a shiny new interface with which to tell the narratives of our lives – often, these days, from inception to death. In fact, “92 percent of youngsters under age 2 already have a digital footprint, meaning identifiable photos and other personal information has been posted of them online,” according to Huffington Post.

Between photos of the college roommate’s newest dog and best friend’s first baby, how do brands cut through the clutter? Isn’t that what everyone is asking?

The answer is simple, and Facebook has upheld this rule time and time again, with each minute change or shift in its algorithm: Enhance the lives and the digital experiences of your target audience – with stories.

Instagram is a visual storytelling, and Twitter, while becoming increasingly visual, is a short-form storytelling. Facebook is a community storytelling, and Pinterest is a project-based storytelling. I could go on, but the point is, obviously, these sites are simply avenues for stories. Harness your brand’s stories and the stories of your consumers – and leverage social media’s tools to do it.

“I promise you, [the companies] who don’t learn how to tell these stories on today’s platforms are the ones who will go out of business,” said the king of social media, bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk.

With more than 25 years of award-winning storytelling experience, the JDPR team is uniquely poised to take the social media world by storm on behalf of our clients. That’s our differentiating factor.

Want to learn more about our unique social media strategy? Contact us today.

It's About Relationships: Why PR Agencies Succeed in the World of Social Media

By Megan Grubbs

its about relationships

Ten years ago, Facebook had just been launched in a Harvard dorm room. Today, it has more than one billion active users. Twitter emerged two years later, and now has more than 250 million users, sending 500 million tweets each day.

This exponential explosion of what we now refer to as “social media” has left brands scrambling to participate, but not all can effectively manage social media internally, whether that’s due to time or expertise or a myriad of other reasons. So who should handle your social media if you’re not able to? Your PR agency can, and here’s why:

• We have a deep and wide understanding of your brand. We are educated on the ins and outs of your products and services. On the other hand, we know your audience, what they want, and what they respond to. We’ll provide your audience with the information they’ll want to connect with while effectively sharing your brand’s narrative. 

• We’re skilled at sharing your brand’s story. We’re already telling it on a day-to-day basis, writing news releases, pitching it to the media, doing what we do. Social media is just another storytelling component to add to the mix. Appointing your PR agency to manage your social media ensures a cohesive, uniform message reaches your audience from all media, whether traditional or social. 

• Finally, it’s about relationships. Social media is just that: social. Effective communication, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, you name it, isn’t about blasting out information promoting your company. Social media isn’t the free version of billboards. Your audience won’t engage with that type of content—but don’t be disheartened, they do want to interact with you. We’ll show them you’re listening to what they listen to, watching what they watch, doing what they do. We’ll share content that makes their lives easier, funnier or better. Once these strong relationships have been built, you can pitch your product to them and they will gladly receive it. 

And that’s what we’ll do for you. After all, public relations has always been about developing relationships between your brand and your audience. Social media is just another method of cultivating those connections.

Photo Credit: mkhmarketing via Flickr cc


Lessons from a News Release…About an Ad Campaign…with a Social Media Call to Action (#Seriously?)

By Tiffany Deluccia

I recently saw a respected, up-and-coming technology company use a news release distributed via PRNewswire to announce its new TV ad campaign, which featured social media calls to action…



I laughed out loud as I read the self-promoting introductory paragraph riddled with the clichés the PR industry has made journalists loathe.

I would love to know the thought process behind this “strategy.”

The news release clearly wasn’t intended for pick up by the news media: If you have a TV ad, they’d generally prefer you pay them for airtime. Nor was it intended for the general consumer, who doesn’t subscribe to news wires. My only guess is that the goal was loosely based on SEO goals. The only trouble is, Google doesn’t index press releases in Google News, and even if it did, the release wasn’t written with any particularly strong keyword appeal.

Were they trying to drive people to watch the ads on YouTube? Seems like social sharing has more intrigue than four paragraphs telling me why I should watch this video about the company that makes this product.

As I racked my brain to figure out why some Marketing or PR leader approved this release, I jotted down these three takeaways:

1. If your TV ad campaign isn’t compelling enough to get people buzzing, perhaps you have the wrong campaign idea.

2. If social buzz is your goal, invest your energy in social strategies rather than trying to add social on to your traditional methods.

3. Limit your use of news releases to when you have actual news.

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Antífama via Compfight cc | (Note: Hashtag added)


TEDxGreenville 2014: Unzipped

By Tiffany Deluccia

A couple of us from JDPR attended the fourth annual TEDxGreenville conference a few weeks ago at the Kroc Center downtown. As per usual, it was a stimulating event. A few presentations got my mind working in ways that stood out above the rest. Here are my key takeaways from the Unzipped experience.

1) People respond in delight when you interrupt their everyday with something that reminds them to dream.

Jody Servon’s “art” is called Dreams for Free. For this project, Appalachian State art professor Jody offered passers-by on streets across the U.S. lottery tickets in exchange for their taking a moment to write down what they’d do if the ticket turned out to be a jackpot winner. The answers range from heartfelt to hilarious. (My personal favorite: “Make my brother (Stewart) my personal servant with a descent [sic] salary.”)Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 2.44.57 PM

The most inspiring thing? Jody’s conviction as she talked about the light she saw fill strangers’ eyes when they realized she simply wanted to ask them about their dreams. In everything we do, from business to play, we can cause people to dream simply by interrupting our routines enough to ask the questions no one else is asking.

2) There’s a journalistic sense of civic responsibility missing from the Web.

Eli Pariser’s TED talk “Beware Online Filter Bubbles” will really get you thinking. I encourage you to watch it, but it basically boils down to this:

We all thought the Internet age was tearing down the walls and freeing us from the gatekeepers who told us what to think about, but the truth is, search engine algorithms have become the new gatekeepers by showing us only the news it thinks we want to consume. For news junkies like us, this trend is a big one to watch.

3) Conflict leads to thinking. Most organizations don’t think because the people that comprise them are afraid of conflict.

Margaret Heffernan’s Dare to Disagree talk is one of my all-time favorites for professional communicators and idea people. Margaret preaches that openness alone does not drive change or good ideas of any kind. We must have constructive conflict and seek out people who are different from ourselves. Only through constructive conflict do we think well together and create ideas that advance our purposes.

Those were my big three from TEDxGreenville 2014, the ones that will stick with me and impact how I approach work and life. The brilliant thing about TED is its ability to keep your mind moving while giving you time to process what you’re hearing. (Many of the more poignant talks are followed by musical acts or breaks.) If you haven’t been, I recommend checking out next year’s event!


Why Hire a PR Agency?

By Megan Grubbs

As a young professional in the world of PR, I’m constantly faced with questions from my friends and family. Most often, these come in the form of, “What exactly is PR? Why is it important?”

The Public Relations Society of America offers a simple explanation: “public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Easy enough, right? But what does it really mean?

Today’s consumers are constantly plugged in, either watching national broadcast news, thumbing through a local paper, or checking for social media updates from their favorite brands. If someone isn’t out there communicating your message to your desired consumers, your message isn’t being heard.

So why hire a PR agency? Here’s what one can bring to the plate:

Focus: DIY PR probably seems manageable. Posting a few tweets can be effective in reaching your followers, but your company probably has dozens of ongoing projects at once and proactive PR can often fall by the wayside. Having a dedicated crew, whether a team of one or one hundred, ensures that someone is always communicating with your audience.

Expertise: When it comes to contacting the media, DIY PR just doesn’t cut it. The execs at your PR agency, though, know the ins and outs of journalism—in fact, many PR pros have a journalism background. We know when, why, and how reporters want to be contacted. Securing that connection is a surefire way to earn media placements and reach your audience in impactful ways.

Various industry insights: As opposed to the DIY PR approach or utilizing an in-house PR staff, those with experience in an agency culture bring insights to various industries from diverse clients. But even more than that, we’re constantly scanning the marketplace, listening for new trends, ideas and opportunities. It can be easy to fall into routines and run out of in-house ideas; with an agency behind you, your organization can tap into countless ideas, whether you’re simply looking to keep things fresh or even reposition your company as a whole.

Creativity: PR is a field of creative people. We’re idea people with communication know-how. Because we’re not as involved in the day-to-day processes of your company, we are able to look at the big picture, allowing us to see the major ideas your audience wants and needs to hear. Bringing in our outside opinions ensures you receive the objectivity and originality you need to best communicate your message.

For these reasons and many more, I can assure you that hiring a PR agency is one of the best investments you can make for your organization.


Why Brands Matter

Some rights reserved by Phillie Casablanca

By Matt Lochel

You’ve likely said a very powerful word today. In fact, you’ve probably said it multiple times. Don’t worry, this word wouldn’t garner even the slightest blush from your mother.

Used by itself, it’s innocuous, but wars have been fought over it, and in reality, it’s likely caused most of them.

No matter your profession, you probably use this word hundreds of times each month.

Laws have been enacted to preserve the right to say it. It can be used to vocalize cynicism, or it can ferret out information to improve the public’s safety. It can express shock or innocence as easily as it can prove a valuable rhetorical and agenda-driven tool.

It’s crumbled monarchies. It’s motivated inventions that generations-past never could have imagined.

I even decided it deserved to be in this post’s headline.

The word is why.

Having cut my professional teeth in a newsroom, I recall watching seasoned colleagues elicit unexpected responses by artfully crafting their whys to not appear as questions at all.

And as PR Pros, we find ourselves strategizing ways to preempt this word from being asked. By connecting the dots for the reporters we pitch, we explain why our client’s newest product matters to their readers, viewers or listeners.

After all, every brand has a story that’s bigger than any single product launch, and as PR Pros we help discover the story that lives within the brands we represent.

Brands seek to answer the whys we all ask— brands exist to solve problems.

Take the evolution of coast-to-coast transportation:

Transcontinental railroads resulted from someone asking “why does it take two years to travel from New York to San Francisco on horseback?”

Commercial air travel resulted from someone asking “why does it take three days to travel from New York to San Francisco by train?”

Video teleconferencing capabilities and lightning fast mobile networks resulted from someone asking “why should I be inconvenienced by a five hour flight from New York to San Francisco to talk to someone face-to-face?”

Brands matter because people matter, but in order to connect with the public, brands must tell their story and show why they are relevant for solving today’s problems.

Let’s never forget the power of this little word.