PR Niblets

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

JumpStarting a Second Business

Last year, at the height of the recession while jobs were being shed and the PR industry was contracting, we launched Feintuch Communications.

Many friends and colleagues questioned our timing; others offered their congratulations for our bold timing and going against the tide. The truth is it was both a scary period while at the same time liberating, exciting and empowering. Imagine -- the chance to build a new, ethically run business focused on the needs of our clients with little corporate baggage getting in the way.

Despite the worst recession in generations and a healthy share of unplanned start-up business challenges, our fledgling firm has grown. We added clients, many of whom expanded their programs with us; launched a healthcare and life sciences practice; expanded our corporate identity, marketing services and digital media offerings; and developed a joint venture investor relations practice.

That kept us busy through TODAY when we launched our sister company -- JumpStart Global Advisors (http://www.jumpstartglobal.com/). This newest venture had a slightly longer gestation period than the six weeks it took to conceive of and launch Feintuch Communications.

The back story: About eight years ago, I was staffing a Supercomm trade show booth in Atlanta for Celvibe, a now defunct Israeli wireless infrastructure company. A young attorney approached me, and believing that I was part of the Celvibe management team, began to pitch me on establishing a U.S. base of operations for "our" company.


Scott Gordon explained that his company, Gordon Global Associates (http://www.gordonglobal.com/), based in Lynbrook, N.Y., actively supported "international companies" seeking to establish a footprint in North America. His services ranged from establishment of the business, to legal, accounting, finance and back office support. I asked him about the obviously missing marketing component before I explained to Scott that I was a fellow New Yorker and a partner in a public relations firm.

We met up in New York and developed a friendship and informal referral network. Prospects liked the concept but its casual nature was a difficult sell. And my former agency business colleagues didn't understand how a venture of this sort would help our firm.

Last year, Scott and Gordon Global helped launch Feintuch Communications with a modified set of services that the company provided to overseas entities. It worked like a charm. So we restarted collaboration talks and decided that if we were to marry our businesses, we needed to provide additional critical services including recruiting/staffing solutions to help overseas companies to internationalize here.

Enter Don Zinn.

Don, another of my former clients and a friend, is a serial entrepreneur with more than 30years of sales, management and hiring experience. He has built and run many of his own high tech businesses and is now an executive vice president at Starpoint Solutions (http://www.starpointsolutions.com/), a leading solutions, staffing and executive search firm headquartered in New York City. Scott and I approached Don with our business concept; Don signed right on and we jumped in to begin business planning.

During the second half of 2009, and through 2010, we continued to meet to decide how our organization would work, what it would be called, how we would render services and how we would promote it. We developed our corporate identity, slowly built our Web site, began calling on prospects and today issued our launch press release (www.jumpstartglobal.com/newsroom).

We've already enjoyed success in attracting world-class partners to the JumpStart Global Advisors umbrella (announcements to follow) and have now been invited by IE Singapore to host a "Doing Business in the U.S." seminar
(www.iesingapore.eventshub.sg/Default.aspx?CalID=1&EventID=135) in Singapore starting May 25.

So 16 months into being an entrepreneur, the score is two companies and growing. The only scary part of it now is what happens when the economy improves?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coming Clean

Dear God,

I am writing this apology note because I feel I owe you an explanation for my failed attempt to give something up for Lent. While I tried to not log onto Facebook for 40 days and 40 nights, it seems the task proved to be too difficult. I am an addict and a bit of a stalker and for this I apologize. I have finally recognized that I have a problem.

If I had only checked the site once or twice I don’t think I would feel as guilty, but we both know that is not the case. I will point out however that I did not post any pictures or status updates and limited my time spent to four short minutes only every few hours. I think we can both acknowledge this is quite an improvement over my non-Lent habits.

With so many conversations I am having with friends and family starting with, “Did you see on Facebook….,” it is hard to not be on it. For those first three days that I didn’t log onto the site I was out of touch and my friends and family were forced to recap highlights – what a waste of time for them!

I think you would agree that if Facebook existed just a few years ago it would have drastically improved your marketing efforts as well as your relationship with your son Jesus. Think about it, you would have known where he drifted off to in his twenties as you could have seen the photos he uploaded of him and his new friends the Buddhists. You could have finally gotten some real insight into his connection to Mary Magdalene. His profile may have read “In a Relationship” or even “Married.”

While I was not able to give up Facebook for the full Lent season I did learn a valuable lesson about the importance of social media. You really do work in mysterious ways. I won’t be giving up Facebook again anytime soon and I have you to thank for showing me the way – lesson learned.


All the Best,

Jeannine

Monday, April 12, 2010

Booth Babes to Bearchive

I’ve definitely come across some interesting information and requests working in PR. What follows is one of those times, when I was encountered with not one, but two bizarre and funny events from two very different clients in one week.

A couple of weeks ago, we were ramping up and preparing for one of our clients to attend a trade show, here in New York. We were helping with a lot of the logistical elements of attending the show in addition to conducting media outreach. In the middle of all this preparation, I received an email asking me to hire two “models” dubbed “booth babes” in the office for good reason, to pass out fliers at the conference. Not only was I to contact a modeling agency to hire the two girls, but our client had specific characteristics he wanted each of the girls to have.

He wanted a blonde and a brunette.

Initially, I thought this seemed slightly silly and fully expected to get laughed at on the phone when I called the modeling agency. I also was highly skeptical that there was even a modeling agency for "flier girls." Turns out I was wrong; seriously wrong. Apparently this is common at trade shows. The couple of modeling agencies I contacted all sent me portfolios of girls they had available and didn’t bat an eyelash when I asked for a blonde and brunette. The portfolios were real modeling pictures – pictures of the girls' swimsuits as well as other garb. Of course, they didn’t wear swimsuits to the conference, although that definitely would have attracted more attention to our booth.

The second hilarity of the week came from another client who is in the process of launching a new product. They have been laboring over choosing a product name, often asking us for advice and feedback on various candidates. We received an email that they had finally decided on one – Bearchive. We were all ecstatic as the launch is only a few weeks away. However, on our weekly call, the same week of booking the booth babes, our client informed us they are no longer going with Bearchive. When pressed as to why, our client shyly told us to check out bearchive.com. The site can only be described as soft porn featuring girls with enhanced (seriously retouched)big boobs. Laughter ensued followed by nods of the head concurring that another name was in order.

Needless to say, it was an interesting and stressful week, although one filled with lots of laughter. Just goes to show that you never know what to expect in the world of PR and sometimes all you can do is shrug your shoulders and laugh.