Category: Public Relations

It’s been a busy summer for the Seed team, with exciting new branding assignments, video work, initiatives for the CDC Foundation and securing influential media coverage for our B2B and B2C clients. For some of our PR wins, we’ve flexed our best media muscles to secure earned media coverage, product placement and influential award listings for clients across multiple categories and industries. Included below are some of the highlights our PR team is proud to have been a part of:

Men’s Health (Influencer Reach: 1.8M) 

Men’s Health, the best-selling men’s magazine in the American market, highlighted Vibe Kayaks product in their May issue. The Element 45 Cooler was cited in the “Summer Gear” section, which recommended the unit as “The Upgrade” cooler to readers. The half-page feature includes beautiful product photography of the Vibe cooler holding drinks and ice.

The Profit (Influencer Reach: 500K)

As part of our product integration efforts for many of our clients, we successfully place brands in influential television shows and movie scenes, at no cost other than the product being donated. These placements have included Jurassic World, HGTV, Treehouse Masters, Save Our Shelter, and Cabin Fever, among others. Our latest placement is on the reality-TV show The Profit, a CNBC program about small businesses. The episode features a KNAACK JOBMASTER Chest in multiple shots, including the foreground of a scene.

Better Homes and Gardens (Influencer reach: 7.6M)

The July print issue of BH&G (a magazine that needs no introduction!) featured a summer “Tools and Tips” guide of the best products for DIYers. The guide included the Dual Purpose Ladder from our client, Werner Ladder, and included a great product shot for extra visibility!

New York Times (Influencer Reach: 30.1M)

The Times recently published an article in its travel series, What to Pack for a Trip to Boise, Idaho. This article recommended readers to plan a water adventure during their visit, and suggested that the Vibe Sea Ghost 130 is a comfortable and easy-to-paddle kayak to bring to Boise when planning a road trip.

Business Insider (Influencer Reach: 36.8M)

Business Insider’s gear review guide, “Insider Picks” is an industry leader in product reviews of all types. This summer they’ve covered two products for our client, Vibe Kayaks. The first review, The Best Kayaks You Can Buy, named Vibe’s Sea Ghost 110 and 130 kayaks as the best ocean sit-on-top kayaks:

“The Vibe Sea Ghost matches just about all the best designs from the best kayaks around but at somewhere around half the price. While it’s a bonafide fishing kayak, it maintains sleek lines, a luxurious and adjustable mesh seat, and accommodates most paddlers, along with most of their interests.”

The second review from Business Insider, The Best Coolers You Can Buy, includes Vibe’s Element 70 Cooler with Wheels- a part of the company’s own cooler line. The cooler is a recommended product in two market categories: “The Best Rolling Cooler” and “The Best Cooler for Long Term Use.”

Family Handyman (Influencer Reach: 1.2M)

This outlet is one of the most influential publications in the consumer DIY and home renovation industry. Its topics include best practices and tips for yard work, house repairs and organizational projects. In August, they included a review of the PACK RAT box, an organizational unit for trucks manufactured by our client, WEATHER GUARD:

The PACK RAT® works great to secure my tools, fishing gear, ratchet straps, tow straps and all sorts of other valuables.”

Inc. Magazine (Influencer Reach: 719K)

Inc. creates the notorious Inc. 5000 list every year, highlighting America’s fastest growing private companies in all market sectors. This year, Vibe Kayaks made the list at number 137! Their name was included in the print publication’s August issue.

Roofing Contractor (Influencer Reach: 25K)

In August, our client Atlas Roofing partnered with the non-profit Veteran’s Community Project to construct houses for homeless veterans. Roofing Contractor, a leading outlet in the roofing sphere, covered the event with a full-length article.

If you’d like to keep up with more of the awesome coverage that we are getting for our clients, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn!

Highlights from our Summer PR Successes

If you Google “content strategy”, you’ll find more than 23,000 page results. It’s undoubtedly been a hot topic over the past few years and if you have a marketing role, you are probably asked continuously about the best content strategy and approach. For PR professionals, content strategy isn’t new, but instead another term for planning and executing a brand’s narrative.

There’s a lot of research and compelling reasons why content marketing is essential to the success of your marketing efforts. These benefits should help you understand the importance of a strong content marketing strategy, especially as you plan for 2018.

  1. Build Once, Use Multiple Times: As internal teams get stretched and budgets tighten, marketing departments are constantly being asked to do more with less resources. With a strong content marketing strategy, you can build content that will not only live on your main point of communications (your website as an example), but can also be cross-promoted through other key marketing channels. For example, our kayak manufacturing client recently introduced a product that was cross-promoted using multiple touch points, utilizing consistent visuals and messaging: PR to secure editorial coverage, digital advertising, search, social, print and email marketing.Vibe Kayak Yellowfin 130T Content
  2. Ensures Consistency: By simply going through the motions of content planning, you’ll begin to ensure consistency in your communications. What I’ve found helpful is when my agency develops a master calendar that highlights the content strategy, social calendar, product introductions, and initiatives all in one central location. For this master document, we also highlight the overarching message and proof points that ensure consistency in these marketing activations.
  3. Helps with SEO: A strong content marketing strategy goes hand in hand with improving SEO. After a company has developed positioning that defines what the brand stands for, what its unique differentiator is, what it wants to be known for and what its key messages are, a similar process can be taken with SEO. Identify the language (keywords, or more appropriately key phrases) that people use to research your company’s category, industry, products, services or competitors and then write content relevant to these. The more often you use these keywords on your site, the higher it’ll rank for SEO purposes. Google ranks sites with consistent keywords and fresh keyword content as more relevant sites for their users. Start mapping out your content strategy for the year and drive people to your site, based on these keywords.
  4. Keeps the Discussion Going: Similar to the monthly approach we take to build content calendars for our brands’ social channels, we also broadly map times of year for specific topics to develop content around. If you manage a consumer brand, you can use seasonal moments in time to connect with audiences in relevant ways. If your company is B2B focused, map out the industry and customer events you’ll be participating in and drive the narrative to time with these key events. Remember, the content should be relevant and timely to engage consumers in a way that is appropriate to their current interests or needs.
  5. Helps Target your Audience: In any given week, your team may be talking to a host of different stakeholders and influencers for your organization or brand. From customers to partners to media influencers and brand ambassadors, it’s important to tailor the message and tone to the appropriate person. A targeted content marketing strategy will help that approach and ensure you aren’t leaving anyone out of the conversations.
  6. Builds Credibility and Influence: This may seem like the most obvious reason but it’s worth stating. When a company and/or brand shares their POV on applicable and timely topics, the larger following and credibility they will build. For B2B, focusing on quality, educationally driven content will help position your company as a thought leader or expert in the respective category. For example, we work with the largest ladder manufacturer in the world and we partner with them to consistently build a narrative around our agreed upon key message. From contributed articles to in-person training sessions to national initiatives, this key message is at the beginning, middle and end of every discussion. What makes us successful is the credibility this company has built in their industry and how they keep the conversation going. It’s become an ownable platform they want to be known for and that key attribute comes through in the messaging for the majority of their news coverage.

 

Six Benefits of a Content Marketing Strategy

Navicent-Health-moments-of-kindnes-1

Helping build a brand based on a powerful insight is our favorite type of work we do here at the agency. We had the opportunity to partner with Navicent Health to build a new, simple, understandable brand. Developing a branding campaign around a central truth is a tactic that all marketers can leverage within their health care organization. To read more about this campaign, please see the AMA article here.

Branding Emotion

NYT_Werner Ladder

We’ve had the opportunity to work with Werner Co. for more than three years now and today received news that a recent campaign won the FIRST place prize in Ragan’s 2015 PR Daily Awards for best Product Launch. Exciting news!

As background, Werner introduced an entirely new type of ladder to the market and through a collaboration with their team, ours and other partners, we kicked off an endeavor to introduce this new product through a multi-channel marketing approach. We were tasked with creating brand awareness and product preference with consumer home enthusiasts/DIYers. We also needed to demonstrate a clear product benefit in a simple, memorable way that provides an entertaining connection.

The huge success of this product launch has led to a product line expansion and the creation of a new ladder category. If you missed the link above that summarizes the elements of the campaign, click here.

Werner Co. Wins PR Daily Award!

The past 48 hours have been very telling for the Germanwings Flight 9525 crisis. While horrified by the tragedy, I would like to compliment the speed and transparency of which the information is being delivered to families and the public. With loss of life, especially of this magnitude, there is nothing more critical than to identify the facts and deliver what is appropriate in a timely and transparent fashion. At Seed Factory, we applaud Brice Robin, the Marseille Public Prosecutor for the delivery of the latest information—which is the co-pilots deliberate attempt to destroy aircraft—in a direct, honest and transparent approach out of respect for the families. He comes across as very sincere and credible about the latest findings. When you compare this to airplane tragedies in recent years—namely Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 —it is a stark contrast to what the public is accustomed to.

While we don’t believe Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is doing as good of a job, there are many learnings for corporations and executives on how to respond, when to respond and the information that should be shared. While no one wants to be in this particular situation and communicating this unfathomable level of detail, it’s imperative to be prepared. We take our lessons from leading Microsoft’s Y2K initiative and other crisis communications programs as we’ve prepared our clients and teams for a variety of unique scenarios. The following actions will help prepare a communications team and other key stakeholders if a crisis scenario hits.

  1. Define Your Crisis Team & Infrastructure: Along with the corporate communications team, identify the key leads from each of the business units and operations team to prepare for every possible crisis. Meet on a monthly or quarterly basis to review processes, protocols and actions.
  2. Build Your Crisis Plan and Be Prepared for a Variety of Scenarios: Don’t wait for a crisis to happen to begin thinking of a plan. You should have a variety of scenarios developed, based on the industry, and specifically the process of how to respond for each. Examples of scenarios, in order of importance, may include: loss of life, employee injury, manufacturer recall, corporate layoffs, quarterly losses or major corporate announcements. Develop a crisis plan and checklist, while aligning the actions to every particular scenario, role of each team member, messaging architecture and both internal and external responses.
  3. Identify & Prep Your Spokesperson: This is one of the most important steps any organization can take. Who will be the face and voice of the crisis communications that will be delivered? This spokesperson is ideally the most senior level executive at the organization that is authoritative, confident, articulate and accessible during the crisis. He or she will also take responsibility and accountability when needed. This needs to come across as sincere and not defensive.
  4. Prepare Your Content: Because possible scenarios have been identified, the company should be prepared from a messaging structure on how this critical information will be delivered. Questions and answers should have already been developed from the corporate and legal teams and reviewed by corporate executives. Only use confirmed facts and don’t speculate until you are 100% confident in the information that is being released. You don’t want to create a crisis around your corporate crisis.
  5. Be Accessible: This is critical and we’ve seen this part of the equation fall apart too many times. When a crisis happens, the spokesperson immediately needs to go to the location, share information as it’s uncovered, showcase transparency and be available to customers and media at any time they are needed. Set up a command center, have an 800-number established and staffed for the particular crisis, communicate these details through media alerts, host a press conference, respond to questions on social media, etc. It’s critical that the company has a presence at all times, is accessible and transparent.

 

At Seed Factory, we believe your company can be prepared and ready for any type of scenario, no matter how large or small it may be. Starting the discussions early leads to a prepared team that can confidently navigate a crisis and ensure the company’s reputation stays in tact. If you are interested in learning more about our crisis communications work and how we may help, please contact us at 404-996-4041 or angie@seedatl.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transparency in a Crisis is Crucial

We’ve had a busy fall at our Atlanta ad agency with a couple of new business pitches. We won one, and didn’t win the other. We’re really excited about the business we won because it is in the outdoor industry and the company has huge potential to become a major brand, but we can’t talk about it yet.

The one we didn’t win was Zoo Atlanta. Even though we won’t be partnering with them, we still wouldn’t change the opportunity of being involved in the RFP process. Our teams’ really enjoyed coming up with several creative campaigns for the non-profit and liked the concepts we presented.

Maybe more than our feelings about our proposal, we felt proud of the fact that we made it to the final round, and were one of the three agencies that presented to Zoo Atlanta. We’re a boutique agency and had a feeling we might have been “punching above our weight”, but it was fun and we concepted some very creative, strategic ideas. Maybe if you are the marketing director of a zoo or an applicable brand, you’ll take a look at our work and give us a call.

Look for great new work in the outdoor category coming from our Atlanta ad agency and Public Relations firm in the next few months.

Komodo  Frog-jump-closeSnakePhotoOpp Atlanta Zoo pitch Ad

A peak at a few of the experiential ideas we wanted to produce for the Zoo’s new Spring exhibit.

Ad Agency New Business for Outdoor and Non-Profit Clients

After nine months of planning, 900 names, 30+ logos and taglines, more than 20 teaser ads and over 300 press event participants, our team was thrilled to officially launch Navicent Health.

The healthcare system, formerly known as Central Georgia Health System, has the second largest hospital in the state of Georgia (second to Emory), but was a virtually unknown entity outside outside of its core counties. Made up of more than 6,000 employees and 30+ facilities and service lines, we had the opportunity to rebrand the entire healthcare system. A new name, logo, tagline, brand standards, website, a brand essence video, press event and other content items are just many of the ways we’ve partnered with Navicent Health to unveil their new brand and mission. For more information, see our case study.

 

Healthcare Brand Launch

The Seed Factory crew was recently invited to a Nike ID party, where each person picks and customizes their own shoes.  It was a small event hosted by a trade magazine and every attention to detail was thought through by the brand. We left the store being a bigger fan than before. (Disclaimer: We do not work for the shoe manufacturer).

The experience was a good reminder just how important each touch point is for a brand. From the personalized card that shows a picture of the finished product to the miniature Nike shoebox the custom card comes in—every detail reinforced the importance of the brand elements and how they are experienced by the consumer.

As companies view the full customer experience—from the first print or digital ad encountered to the experience online or at the retail store, all of these brand touch points make a difference.

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to ensure your brand is sending a consistent message:

  • Are the hang tags a similar look and feel as the product packaging?
  • Does the print ad campaign match the visuals and tone of your website?
  • Do the product or brand videos showcase the emotional connection with the consumer?
  • Are you promoting these brand videos? A small investment can make a significant difference in who sees the video you invested in.
  • Is your brands voice consistent across all of your channels?
  • Is your product packaged well? When it is shipped to the consumer, is the first impression a positive one?
  • Can you clearly differentiate your product or service from the competitors?
  • Are your internal and external teams aligned—is everyone communicating the same product/service benefits? From the product platform position to the supporting points?

Nike had the insight to bring a customized experience to life and it was executed very well. These are all good reminders for marketing directors to think through the entire experience the consumer has with your brand, ensuring integration and consistency throughout.

 

Every Touch Point Counts—From the first experience to delivery of the product or service

We are firm believers that there’s never a bad time for coffee. And lucky for us, our agency just happens to be located close to some of Atlanta’s best coffee shops. Here is a list of some of our favorite local spots to get you through the day.

West Side

Revelator – This is our in-house coffee-connoisseur’s go to shop. He swears the pourover brew is the best in the city. The absolutely gorgeous interior, paired with great coffee, keeps us going back.

revelator

Brash – Located across the street from the Revelator and housed in an overhauled shipping container, Brash brews up some mean espresso drinks. The small shop is perfect for a quick stop-in and the atmosphere provides a great backdrop to hang out and sip your brew.

brash

Chattahoochee Coffee Company –  Another Westside shop with delicious espresso is Chattahoochee. Along with great coffee drinks, it has an awesome view of the skyline from west midtown.

Octane – One doesn’t talk coffee in Atlanta without mentioning Octane. They’ve been keeping Atlanta caffeinated (with good coffee) for more than 12 years now.

octane

Star Provisions – This awesome little shop is tucked away and serves the Atlanta roasted Batdorf and Bronson coffee, and have an incredible selection of house-made pastries. Make sure to grab one of the coffee cakes too, they’re huge!

 

Other Locations

Chrome Yellow Trading Co. – Located on Edgewood, they brew delicious coffee in a gorgeous, well lit space. There’s also a trendy shop full of clothing and other goods in the back.

Taproom – Kirkwood’s hybrid coffee bar, Taproom serves fine coffee drinks and beers. They even feature a hop infused nitro cold brew they call the “beerspresso”.

Spiller Park – Spiller Park is located in the center of Ponce City Market. They have an awesome list of coffees for various roasters across the globe, and the selection is always changing. Go here for one of the best pourovers you’ve ever had and grab a Sublime donut while there.

Condesa – Another hybrid coffee bar, Condesa has been around for a while. With a location in downtown and one in Old Fourth Ward, they make great pour-overs and have a nice, chill atmosphere for getting work done.

Dancing Goats – Another shop serving Batdorf and Bronson coffee, Dancing Goats on North Avenue, is situated right behind Ponce City Market. What we love most is their killer patio – seriously, you could spend an entire afternoon there. They’re definitely a favorite for hanging out on nice spring days.

 

Top 10 Best Coffee Shops in Atlanta

What a week in Salt Lake City at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market! (It’s a trade show for the Outdoor Recreation industry). We had the opportunity to attend several thought-provoking sessions from leaders in the industry as well as see a ton of new products and proven brands. It’s been fun because we, as an agency, have a passion for the outdoors and extreme sports. We also have met so many nice people this week that we know some great clients and relationships could come out of our work in this area.

Walking the trade show floor and the new product pavilion, we really start to see the need for companies to distinguish themselves through branding. So many companies are fighting for attention by highlighting all of their product features versus focusing on one unique product benefit. While it’s okay to focus on one or two unique product features, it’s important to translate those into clear benefits for the consumer. A consumer wants to know what’s in it for them. How does it make their life better? What’s the brand or product story? Why should the consumer trust the company? What does being a member of this brand tribe say about them?

Don’t assume a consumer or buyer is going to be able to translate your feature into their benefit on his/her own. First find a single, unique brand position that you can own in the marketplace. Who is your customer? What do they really care about? Why? Now focus on communicating it clearly and very simply. The best branding drives home one message clearly in everything it does, and not a million features that the consumer can’t digest.

When you are one of 30 new SUP brands fighting for retailer attention, it’s more important than ever to stand out. What can distinguish you? Is it your ethos? Is it something at the core of what got you into this business? Is it the lifestyle you stand for? And then visually, how do you stand out as a brand? How do you look different from the company in the booth next to you?

Never underestimate the power of simplification, especially when it comes to your visual identification. Find a visual style you can own and stick to that. Don’t use more than 2-3 colors on anything you do. Think about how you can visually zig when everyone else is zagging. Mediocre photography makes your brand mediocre when people want to belong to the tribe of special brands. We walk through the trade show and think about how much money it must cost to get to where so many of these companies are, but then they stop short of investing in smart brand building that will give them a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace. And boy was it crowded with wonderful retailers and manufacturers who made up the sea of people walking the aisles.

Outdoor Retailer 2013–The View from an Ad Agency