PR Niblets

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Innovating Our Way Out of Recession

The news media seems to be reporting many economic indices and anecdotal findings supporting the fact that the U.S. may already be out of its 2008-09 recession. The pace of job losses has stemmed; consumers are slowly beginning to spend (albeit with the help of taxpayer-funded clunker cash and other stimulus funds); the stock market has stopped its free-fall and has risen significantly since the beginning of the year; and even real estate housing starts are on the rebound. Consumer confidence is slowly on the rise.

The public relations and advertising industry also offer an interesting albeit unscientific indication of the direction in which the economy is headed. In the fourth quater of '08 and early into this year, many companies were restricting their budgets or cutting their "discretionary" marketing spend. New business opportunities were few and far between and those that surfaced were prepared to spend a fraction of typical marketing budgets.

But today in the third quarter, there is a renewed flurry of activity -- verified by reports from colleagues at small- to mid-sized firms throughout the country. Start-up enterprises hunting for marketing support are calling again and new business meetings are being planned. Most exciting are the various innovative companies and products that are coming forward. A few examples we've seen in the last few months:

Electric Bikes*- A company soon to market a new line of upscale electric bicycles for consumers hoping to park their cars and get some exercise (with power assist as needed).

DVD Vending Machines- A new brand of DVD and video game rental machines returning the excitement of discovery and impulse shopping as convenient and accessible as visiting your favorite local store.

Blood Pre-treatment to Spot Disease*- A company that has developed a pre-treatment for blood samples that can help close the undiagnosed "window period" for HIV and Hepatitis C.

Clean Coal (really)*- A process for liquifying and gassifying coal without the release of carbon dioxide or the need to capture and sequester it.

Making Static Media Interactive*- A company that has developed a closed circuit system for taking traditional media and making it fully interactive in order to better compete with the Internet.

Our young firm is managing a lead queue approaching three dozen organizations, many of which are innovative and offer disruptive solutions to the markets they are seeking to enter. Microsoft was born during a recession as were many other of today's successful companies. Which of the companies edging their way to market launch will be tomorrow's Google and potentially change our world, our environment and our lives?

We appear to be on the edge of an exciting turnaround as companies begin nudging each other aside as they innovate their way out of recession.

* Companies are currently fundraising; contact us if you have interest in learning more.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Guest Post: Marketing Basics to Grow During a Recession

Original Post by Leigh George, Ph.D, Director of Strategy, Moiré Marketing Partners

We all know that it's smart to market during a recession and that firms that do market are better positioned when the economy turns around. If we all know this, why aren't firms flexing their marketing muscle now? Here are tips on how firms can position themselves for growth in the post-recession economy that bear repeating. They're not earth-shattering. But they are marketing basics that you can't afford to ignore.

  1. Incorporate social media into your business development efforts. Your clients, prospects and their suppliers are using it; you should strategically use it too. Leverage tools including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to connect with prospective clients and other professionals to build your network and demonstrate your expertise.
  2. Be a brand ambassador. Remember, you are the face of your company's brand. Use your interactions to communicate your firm's brand promise and support that continuously in your efforts.
  3. Network. Relationships matter. Social media is a great way to start a conversation with a client or prospect - but don't let it stop there. Offer to meet new and old colleagues at an upcoming industry or bar association meeting, civic event, non-profit activity or social mixer - or host your own hospitality function at your firm.
  4. Seize the podium. Apply to be a speaker at upcoming events. If you aren't accepted, attend anyway to get a better handle on what topics are creating buzz.
  5. Learn from other professionals. Invest in consultants to sharpen your brand. An outside perspective can help you assess the effectiveness of your business development efforts and offer insight into what strategies would work best for your personality type.
  6. Be active in your home and business communities. Dust off those memberships in the local chamber of commerce and non-profit organization. Get involved in industry related activities and slowly increase your profile.