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How Publicity Helps Attorneys

By: Julie Price

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When a water main burst under a community playhouse, it nearly destroyed the structure, and it sparked a dispute over liability between the utility company and the two local brothers who owned the historic playhouse.

To the townsfolk, it was clear: The brothers deserved full compensation for the damage caused by the breach. The utility was offering a relatively modest settlement. Without the resources to fight in court, the brothers didn’t have much hope against the big utility … that is, until two local attorneys from a prestigious law firm in the area offered to help – which they did for three and a half years, until the brothers received full compensation.

The attorneys’ help was a boon to not only the brothers and the community but also their law firm, a client of ours that asked us to share the story publicly. With our assistance, the story – and the law firm – remained in the news throughout the long legal battle. As the playhouse got its second life, the law firm’s business and reputation grew.

Over the years, we have represented countless lawyers in a variety of interesting ways. With their expertise and eloquence, attorneys provide excellent opportunities for publicity. If it’s not a local-interest news story, it can be one of many other things. For example:

  • Speaking engagements: Attorneys are public speakers by their nature, and they also tend to have vital information of general interest. With that in mind, we often arrange to have our attorney clients go out and address civic groups. These engagements are a great, positive way to give back to the community and also to keep the law firms on top of people’s minds.

  • Press releases: When a lawyer gets a landmark case or an interesting decision or a special recognition or a promotion, it’s often newsworthy. A standard press release distributed widely to all relevant media outlets is the bread and butter of a solid marketing plan.

  • Op-ed pieces: Sometimes – and particularly on topics of some urgency – it makes more sense to have the attorneys tell the stories directly, in which case we help them write and distribute first-person opinion pieces for local, regional and/or national news media and bar association publications.

  • Awards: The Los Angeles Business Journal is among the regional publications that present awards to leaders in the legal community. We nominate worthy clients and often succeed in having them recognized; as they learn, these honors are timeless and priceless.

  • Share with client base: We try to distribute all publicity and published articles to the law firms’ clients, so they’re apprised of what their attorneys have accomplished.

  • Weekly marketing plan: Bottom line, whatever they do, attorneys should do something EVERY WEEK to market themselves and their firms. The regularity of publicity is the single greatest tool to its success.

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Public Relations: A Primer

By: Julie Price

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If you’re in business, you’re in public relations. By definition, anyone engaged in commerce must be relating to the public.

Ideally, though, you have a PR partner like The Goddard Company to help you maintain your public image and do your promotional heavy lifting; that’s because, while PR is a basic and vital function of business growth, it’s not nearly as simple as it might seem.

The nuances of knowing when, where, why and how to promote a person or company are generally beyond even the most masterful brand owners and best left to the PR professionals.

Still, if you’re in business, you should have at least a working understanding of public relations.

Here are a few fast facts and truisms to help you:

◊ Define ‘public relations’: The work may be complicated, but the PR concept is not. It’s pretty much just controlling the public conversation around you and your work. Google defines it as “the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.”

◊ As old as civilization: A clay tablet found in ancient Iraq that promoted more advanced agricultural techniques may be the first known example of public relations – proving that pretty much forever, where there’s been commerce, there’s been PR.

◊ Putting PR to use: In practice, public relations covers a vast spectrum of services, from the distribution of a single press release to the long-term promotion of a major project to the establishment and maintenance of an ongoing multiplatform marketing campaign.

◊ Advertising vs. PR: The differences are distinct: Advertising is when you pay directly for public space; public relations is when a story earns free media attention. Or, as business executive Jean-Louis Gassée put it: “Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.”

◊ Quote unquote: Simple memes like Gassée’s can be the best instructors. Here are some other pithy PR quotes, summing it up in under 20 words:

  • “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” – Richard Branson

  • “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” – Seth Godin

  • “If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling; it’s a brochure.” – Jay Baer

  • “Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.” – Jonah Sachs

  • “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker

  • “PR is performance recognition.” – Douglas Smith

  • “It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” – Donna Karan

  • “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

· And our personal favorite: “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” – Bill Gates

- Questions? The Goddard Company is as close as a call or an email.

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Market Your Business – Always

By: Julie Price

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When acclaimed marketing guru Arlene Dickinson advises businesspeople, “Don’t slash your marketing budget!” that’s not self-serving hyperbole.

The president and CEO of Calgary-based Venture Communications and a well-known Canadian TV personality, Dickinson uses this marketing mantra to express to businesspeople the fiscal wisdom, if not necessity, of creating a public brand message.

“No. 1 is, make sure your message is well expressed so that it’s easily understood,” she told a recent gathering of several hundred businesspeople. “No. 2 is, make sure you say it repetitively.”

The reason should be obvious: “When you disappear from the marketplace,” Dickinson said, “you disappear from people’s minds.”

This is true always but particularly during economic downturns. According to Dickinson, companies that increased their marketing spending during the recession saw 5.1 percent higher increases in profitability during the recovery than those that decided to cut, and they also gained a higher increase in market share – almost three times higher than companies that cut their marketing budgets.

At The Goddard Company, we know these things absolutely if only anecdotally: Our clients with consistent marketing budgets virtually always outpace their competitors. In our many years of experience, we’ve watched company after company that marketed regularly and consistently outpace those that do little or no marketing – and the difference has been significant.

Define ‘marketing budget’

Depending on the industry, businesses generally earmark from their budgets anywhere from 4 percent (for energy companies) to 24 percent (for consumer packaged goods) for marketing, with the average in the 11.6 percent range, according to the Wall Street Journal.

These days, the bulk of marketing expenses tends to go to internet strategies in addition to personnel costs. With everything from social media to SEO (search engine optimization) dominating many marketing budgets, we also maintain that good old-fashioned publicity is both cost-effective and generally effective.

While we do help our clients with broad-based web services including blog posts, e-newsletters and social media marketing, we also encourage them to utilize the most basic marketing tools, such as making public appearances and offering newsworthy incentive programs, products and services.

With our help, keeping business names out there, we have found that all sizes of companies can save substantially on marketing costs and still maintain a strong market presence.

Contact us for personalized information and estimates.

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Go Make a Story

By: Julie Price

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In business, there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned good news

A local Realtor noted a pattern among several clients who were selling homes in nice neighborhoods after a family member had died or moved to assisted living. In each case, the empty home was in disrepair but the seller was in a Catch-22 situation, unable to afford the repairs that would allow the home to bring in anything close to what it was worth.

Moved by their dilemma, the Realtor realized that he could offer to fund the repairs and receive payment after the homes sold at or above fair market value, which they all did.

His plan created not only a win-win situation but a unique niche market – and a great story, which we helped him share through local media.

In other instances:

  • A family-owned architectural coatings firm funded an anti-graffiti mural program alongside a busy L.A. freeway, earning kudos from the mayor and making headlines across the country.

  • A small nonprofit group that helped the families of local children who were battling cancer let us share some of its heartwarming stories, shining a light on the group’s amazing work.

The businesses and their stories are diverse but the outcomes are the same: By doing something noteworthy, they made a name for themselves. In each case, their businesses thrived in the wake of the publicity.

In this era of social media and the many-tentacled beast that is public relations, there really is nothing like a good old-fashioned good-news story.

So, what have you got? Can you speak or share a presentation about your business at a civic group meeting? Can you find a way to give back to your community in some unique way? Or how about offering a free introductory service or leading a free introductory class? …

The options are endless, to do something that will make lives better in your community – and could also make headlines, online, in print, on radio and on TV.

With the help of a marketing or public relations firm, you can make a wonderful name for yourself, locally and sometimes beyond, simply by doing good work.

As noted, some of our greatest successes at The Goddard Company have sprung from something as simple as helping to share a story that shines a public light on what good companies do.

 

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Do Something Every Week …

By: Julie Price

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All successful businesses have one thing in common: relevance.

In a recent study from Accenture, a global management consulting and professional services firm, 65 percent of the 23,000 consumer respondents said that, when they switched company brands, it was to pursue more relevant offerings.

If you own a thriving business, it’s a fact: You have done something to keep your product or service pertinent to the world around you.

So, if you’re in business, how do you do that? How do you remain relevant?

In the long term, of course, you should keep up-to-date on general technologies affecting your work and you should stay on top of continuing education.

But let’s look at the short term: Each week, there’s some small thing you can do to make sure your brand is out there working for you.

Here are a few things you can and should do every week to stay at the top of your game:

* SEO: Search engine optimization is what gets you to the top of Google searches and other free, organic online searches. All new business plans should include SEO; to get you started, you can search online for the “Google keyword planner.”

* Blog: You know your business – and what you know could help others, including potential clients and customers. Share what’s new in your trade or some other knowledge you have that others might not. Maintaining a blog is a great way to give back through sharing; it’s also a natural way to keep your name current and to keep your website updated. An outdated website is a clear sign to the public that you are not keeping up.

* Networking: There’s no substitute for face-to-face connection with the world out there – and with your professional public. Join your local chamber of commerce. Explore service and professional groups in your area that are likely to connect you with new clients, customers and consumers. Attend community gatherings. Doing this even once or twice a month can do wonders for your professional visibility.

* Traditional media: There’s also no substitute for positive press, for a good-news story. So, what have you got? Can you speak or share a presentation at a civic group meeting? Can you find a way to give back to your community in some unique way? Or how about offering a free introductory service or leading a free introductory class? … The options are pretty vast, to do something that will make the local news – online, in print, on radio and on TV. With the help of a marketing or public relations firm, you can make a wonderful name for yourself, locally and sometimes beyond, by simply doing something good. Some of our greatest success stories at The Goddard Company have revolved around media campaigns that have catapulted good businesses into the stratosphere, simply by shedding positive light on them in the public eye.

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What New Year’s Resolution?

By: Amanda Longstreth

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“Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Uh oh. ... Just hearing those words can spark a low-level anxiety – and not just because you still haven’t bought your sweetie a gift, or because you don’t have a sweetie (you’re not alone). What can be especially jarring about this particular holiday is that it means a full month and a half has already passed since the new year.

All those grand plans and resolutions you made to increase your social media and online marketing are starting to slide to the backburner and you’ve returned in large part to your position of accomplishing “just enough.”

But guess what? It’s not too late. Far from it. There are ways you can still hit all your marketing goals and accomplish what you set out to accomplish just six weeks ago.

First of all, keep your eye on the prize. Literally, pull out that list you wrote down with all your goals and commitments for this year and read them over again. Perhaps they’ll spark something different in you today. Some goals may no long seem necessary or realistic. Some may feel even more important now. Just taking the time to read over your resolutions may well light the fire you felt when you first wrote them down.

Ask for help. Reach out to your co-workers, employees, business associates or networking groups and find ways to collaborate. Check in with your marketing or publicity team and see how they can assist you in meeting your goals – and how you can help them in theirs. Just see how much a team can accomplish.

Take note of what HAS been done. Did you write a blog last month? Did you stick to your commitment to post on your social media more consistently? Give yourself credit for what you HAVE accomplished over the past six weeks and let that pride compel you.

Break it down. Instead of focusing on the whole year, take a realistic look at what you can do this month, this week or even this hour to keep the overall plan in motion.

Finally, think big picture. You may have called them New Year’s resolutions, but the business goals you set for yourself in January do not necessarily end in December. Don’t judge yourself by your actions each day; have the foresight and vision to see where your long-term goals can ultimately lead you and your business.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.” – Bill Gates

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Make and Meet Business Goals – 2019 One Month at a Time

By: Amanda Longstreth

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Every Dec. 31, an estimated 130 million Americans resolve to improve something about themselves in the coming year. By February, it’s estimated that 80 percent of them have already bailed on those goals. By the next Dec. 31, only 8 percent are estimated to have seen their New Year’s resolutions through.

The good news is that those folks who do meet their resolution goals tend to succeed in making lifelong changes for the better.

If any of your 2019 resolutions center on improving your business, we have some tried-and-true marketing and public relations tips to keep you on track … one month at a time.

By setting monthly goals, not only will you increase your odds of sticking to them but you also can address more areas that may need improvement.   

Here are 12 marketing and PR goals you can include in your business plan for 2019, one month at a time:

1. Plan: Do a mental review of the past year. What is one area that stands out as weak? Could you have organized your financial goals better? Improved your communication? Done more to market your business? Pick one primary area of weakness and resolve to improve it this year. 

2. Image/branding: Update business branding and graphics – from logos to website designs, from text to photos.

3. Media list: Create (or update) a list of print publications and TV and radio news outlets that you would like to have feature you and your business this year.

4. Press releases: Use your new media list to increase visibility and publicity for your business by sending out a press release, on a new product, service or event you’d like to promote.

5. Social media: Increase and maintain your company’s social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or LinkedIn, with regular tweets, photos, stories, videos and other posts.

6. Blogging: Create a blog – or commit to writing posts more regularly on an existing blog.

7. Speaking engagements: Get out there! Offer to speak (or have a partner or employee speak) on your professional area of expertise, at local/regional business and civic group meetings.

8. Networking groups: Contact your local chamber of commerce for information on joining or starting a local networking group. If possible, offer to host a mixer at your business.

9. Online marketing: Focus on your website – posting, engaging, collaborating – and online marketing tools such as search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword identification.

10. Socialize: Attend community events where you can connect with old clients or meet potential new ones.

11. TV/radio: Create valuable, timely talking points related to your company or business. Then reach out to local broadcast stations to set up informational appearances.

12. Seek support: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Seek out a marketing/public relations firm to help take some of the burden off achieving your new goals. At The Goddard Company, we take great pride in helping businesses that are resolving to better market themselves.

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When a PR Crisis Occurs, It Pays to Have a Plan

By: Julie Price

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In 1982, seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol capsules laced with poison. It was headline news for weeks.

In response, Tylenol’s parent company, Johnson & Johnson, directed by its public relations team, immediately pulled more than 30 million bottles of Tylenol, stopped all production and cooperated fully with law enforcement. When the crisis had subsided, the company reintroduced Tylenol in then-new and highly innovative tamper-resistant bottles, along with $2.50-off coupons. The company is widely credited with leading the way in unsafe packaging reform.

This landmark case presents a perfect example of how to manage a PR crisis. Proof is in the fact that Tylenol exists today as one of our nation’s primary pain-relief products.

We may not be at the level of Johnson & Johnson, but let’s face it, in all of our lives and businesses, crises will occur. How we respond to crisis can be the difference between a tragic ending and a happy ending.

Over the years, our company has navigated our clients to good outcomes in the face of a wide variety of emergencies. Some common examples of PR crises are:

·         Public legal battles

·         Bad publicity surrounding a product or service

·         A public controversy involving an employee or associate

·         Criminal activity connected with a company or associate

·         The unexpected death of a prominent person

Each crisis is unique – connected only by the common element of surprise – and so is each resolution plan, but when any crisis occurs, the need to respond and communicate is immediate; the method of response is critical; and the existence of a crisis communication plan is vital.

If you don’t have one, you should create one or connect with a public relations firm that can help.

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What is Free Media...Really?

By: Stephanie Soldo

About two years ago, we defined what free media is here, but now we’d like to dive deep into what free media really, REALLY means.

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Free media. How many business owners out there have wanted to promote their companies but could not decide between advertising or publicity – aka free media?

The best way to describe free media is to compare it to its counterpart – advertising, which involves a person or company paying a newspaper (or radio station or cable TV channel) to have an awesome product or service put on display for the world to see (or hear). Of course, there’s nothing wrong with advertising, and it can be an effective way establish “name recognition.” But there is an unattractive connotation with the idea. Think about it: When we see an ad on Instagram, we swipe quickly past, and when a jingle for dog food comes on the radio, we groan and change the channel.

Free media is different. There is no payment for a spot in a magazine, only persuasion for one. Our job as public relations agents is to convince journalists and editors why our stories matter, so when our articles are published, they are endorsed by the print media, not paid to be there.

This third-party validation is everything. If Fred the Barber pays for an ad in the newspaper, he doesn’t cut it out, frame it and show all his customers. But if Fred the Barber is nominated and wins Barber of the Year in the Los Angeles Times, you can bet that recognition will be on his wall.

As a result, publicity is usually more “bang for your buck.” Not only is the press that’s generated by PR agents free (meaning no one pays publications for it to appear) but it is meaningful. So, turn down that radio ad and swipe away on Instagram and, the next time you’re faced with the age-old marketing dilemma of “To Advertise or Not to Advertise,” consider free media as a more effective way to boost your company’s presence.

Interested in speaking with free media experts? Call us and we will answer any of your PR questions.

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Lighting the Way out of Poverty and Darkness

Client Guest Blog

By Renee Grubb, owner of Village Properties

(Image from www.unitetolight.org)

(Image from www.unitetolight.org)

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make life easier for people and lift us up. Here in the United States, we take for granted that little light switch on the wall. When you flick that switch, light immediately comes on in the room.

What if you flicked that switch – and nothing happened? You’d be in the dark from dusk to dawn unless you had candles or a flashlight on hand. Without electric lights it would be a challenge to do everyday things we enjoy after hours, from reading and studying to cooking and crafting.

The development of solar energy to provide light for those who don’t have ready access to electricity is a brilliant concept and one that is helping people in poor and developing nations immensely. In an effort to support this movement using solar lights, Village Properties is supporting a wonderful non-profit organization based in Santa Barbara called Unite to Light, which sells and donates small, renewable, solar-powered lamps called Luke Lights to those in need worldwide.

The lamps, developed at UCSB, come with a charger and have helped many people around the world. In countries where electricity is lacking, school children use these lightweight lights so they can read and do schoolwork at night, leading to an increase in education levels in places where education is so important. In the United States, homeless children living in their cars use them to do their homework at night. They also have been distributed to victims of natural disasters including Puerto Ricans left without power after Hurricane Maria.

Globally, the lack of electricity is a major problem and it especially hurts students who lack light to study at night. Unite to Light says that over 1 billion people live without electricity. The Luke Lights solve a big problem with a low cost so people who have to burn kerosene lamps or use candles. The Luke Light is $20 and the charger is $50. For every set purchased, Unite to Light donates a set to someone in need.

Please take a look at Unite to Light’s website, www.unitetolight.org, and support this great program. Buy one to take camping, buy some for a charity project, purchase a few for your emergency kit, or donate some for a community service project. Please join Village Properties in lighting the way out of poverty and bringing a bright idea to those who need it the most.

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How Publicity Works; Using Our Information Reservoir

By Stephanie Soldo

For anyone grappling with the grey matter that is free-press exposure, we’re here to explain how publicity works. 

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To do that, we first need to explain media. Media is the medium we use to generate publicity. Imagine this: you hear sirens and raised voices at 3:00 a.m. but have no idea what is going on, and the commotion is too far to walk to in your pjs. So the following morning you consult your local media. Because without newspapers or television, you’d have to knock on doors, call neighbors, or badger the local police station to know all goings-on of the neighborhood. To save ourselves the trouble, our society designed something called media to be our “one-stop-shop” for community or world information.

Now, if media is the vessel bringing us our daily info, publicity is the cargo on that ship. Something we’ve heard from (typically) younger clients is: I don’t read the newspaper, or I have Hulu and Netflix – I don’t watch TV. Why would I want stuff about my business published there? To these clients we say – think big picture. Just because you personally might not read the newspaper (or watch TV, or listen to the radio) doesn’t mean all of our information isn’t still funneled through those mediums. Did a friend tell you about the upcoming lemon festival this weekend? Did they learn about it from a post on Facebook? Chances were that post came from someone reading about the event in the media. Saying you don’t read the newspaper is like saying you’ve never visited the reservoir your water comes from; you don’t have to physically see the source to still drink H2O coming from your tap.

Newspapers, magazines, TV and the radio are our information reservoir. By employing publicity efforts, you are filling society’s “press-basin” with importation news about your business, and from that EVERYONE will drink.

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Use Social Media Regularly to Boost Your Business

By Stephanie Soldo

“Social media” is a term often used in conjunction with “millennials” and “memes.” The connotation surrounding it has largely been a juvenile one, from the time when college students posted goofy photos of their friends and wrote inside jokes on walls. But in the last five or six years, things have changed. Businesses began to see the potential of this medium, and today millions of companies are on social media, from the local grocery store to the manufacturer of your dog’s flea medication. But not all businesses post regularly.

Here are three reasons why not posting to social media could be a missed opportunity for your business:

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  1. Lack of presence: You will not be seen if you do not provide something to see! Yes, we get it: it’s hard to self-promote (unless you’re a Kardashian). There is a knee-jerk reaction when someone suggests posting five or six times a week. “Isn’t that too much?” people ask. “Won’t my friends unfollow me if I spam their feed?” And while there is a balance between too much and too little (i.e. posting every hour will likely cost your business a few connections), posting once every workday keeps people engaged without clobbering them with a barrage of information.

  2. Not showing you’re active: Seeing your posts not only reminds your friends and work connections of your business, it lets people know you’re active in it. Was there an award you won recently? Have you been promoted from associate to partner? Let the world know! In the era of selfies and glamor-shots, narcissism runs high, and you might not want to publicly pat yourself on the back. But in the business world, clients want to work with those who are dynamic and growing, and it is your job to show them.

  3. Limiting new connections: Posting regularly opens the door for new connections. The more you post, the more chances you have to be shared, liked, and followed by potential clients outside your current reach. It is a matter of statistics – people cannot connect with content they do not see. Just remember to keep your subject matter relevant and professional. Avoid posting about politics and fluffy personal stuff. Your fellow colleagues do not care how many new tricks your kitten can do.

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Reinventing State Street: Developing a Plan for the Future

By Amy Bentley on behalf of our client, World Business Academy

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On June 28, the World Business Academy hosted our second panel discussion about revitalizing State Street and Downtown Santa Barbara and the meeting yielded some very good news: Amy Cooper, owner of the Plum Goods store on State Street, announced she will head a new Santa Barbara Retail Task Force to help lead the revitalization effort. The World Business Academy remains dedicated to giving leadership and help with this effort. But let’s be clear: this is a COMMUNITY issue and the community needs to be a part of the solution!

Our latest meeting at the Belmond El Encanto resort, which was attended by over 100 people and covered heavily in the local media, was the second time in recent months that we have gathered retail representatives, thought leaders and city development experts to discuss how to stop State Street from dying on the vine.

No one in Santa Barbara can deny that something has to be done to breathe new life into the retail sector in Santa Barbara and particularly State Street. The State Street retail community has been hammered by recent local natural disasters, compounding the impact of e-commerce, neighborhood vacancies, difficult local regulations, aggressive panhandlers and high rents.

We are holding these meetings to give our community a vision and pathway for the Santa Barbara of tomorrow and to inspire citizens to participate in the shaping of their city and home. Our June 28 meeting was a follow-up to the World Business Academy’s Global Citizens Club meeting held on March 21, entitled, “Reviving Retail in Santa Barbara,” which started this important, ongoing conversation about revitalizing State Street and the Downtown retail picture, and making a visit to State Street an “experience.”

At the recent meeting, the infusion of fresh ideas from Jerry Ogburn, a downtown development advisor for the city of Palm Springs, provided wholesome food for thought. Ogburn shared his experiences in Palm Springs, which has successfully reinvented itself in recent years and is no longer seen as a city just for the elderly (“God’s waiting room”). Ogburn noted that more millennials, new downtown housing, additional street lighting, added outdoor dining and a vibrant gay community have all given Palm Springs new life; maybe they would help Santa Barbara’s Downtown, too. A Downtown park would be nice also, Ogburn added.

He said Palm Springs attracts thousands of locals, millennials, families and tourists alike with its lively weekly Village Fest held on Thursday nights, where live entertainment, craft booths, shopping and food bring the community to the downtown for a night of fun for everyone. Why isn’t Santa Barbara doing something like this?

Rinaldo S. Brutoco led the June 28 discussion that also included Amy Cooper; former Santa Barbara Mayor Hal Conklin, now president of USA Green Communities; and Ron Fox, a board member for People Assisting the Homeless. Fox rightfully noted that the solution to moving homeless folks off of State Street is finding them somewhere to live, and while that’s difficult, at least the homeless problem Downtown could be mitigated.

If Santa Barbarans want to rescue Downtown from becoming obsolete and help remake the area into a destination where locals and tourists flock, then we all have to join the effort. Read our blog and watch for our news in the local media as this effort and the workings of the new task force move forward. We hope everyone in the community pays attention and joins this important effort to make our city a vibrant destination that everyone can enjoy.

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How Tex-Cote Used Graffiti-Guard® To Protect The Hollywood Sign

By Jennifer Goddard Combs

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Textured Coatings of America’s products have covered some of the largest structures on Earth ─ from massive bridges to towering buildings ─ but it was its coverage of a simple sign on a hill that truly put the company on the map.

It didn’t hurt that the sign says “HOLLYWOOD” and is one of the most photographed and iconic symbols in the country.

The Hollywood sign may be a relatively small surface, but this was a big job.

The decision to cover it – for free – came from TCA President/CEO Stuart Haines, whose multinational, world-class company has its roots in Los Angeles, where it was founded in 1961. In the mid-1980s, Haines decided to repay his hometown with a unique, generous and much-appreciated gift to the city.

Working with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Haines arranged for TCA to donate the supplies and the labor force – including reformed L.A. gang members – to repaint the Hollywood sign’s 50-foot-high letters and coat them with TCA’s patented TEX•COTE Graffiti-Guard®, to protect the iconic landmark from vandalism. The project cost TCA more than $25,000 and took a week to complete.

The immediate accolades came straight from City Hall. In response and in gratitude, then-L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley proclaimed Aug. 1, 1985, to be TEX•COTE Day in L.A.; Bradley further created The Mayor’s Committee for Graffiti Removal and named Haines to chair the committee.

TCA’s generous gift also generated a media storm that included widespread public and broadcast recognition and countless articles in publications across the country and around the globe.

The now-57-year-old company may already have been on track for long-term success, but the creation of that inspiring, indelible moment of random kindness catapulted it. From that moment on, TCA could rightly present itself as a celebrated, world-renowned corporation.

The moral of TCA’s sign story is classic Hollywood: A simple kind act can reap invaluable rewards.

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Tips for Maintaining Healthy Business Relationships

By Mia Hays

We exercise, eat right and visit the doctor to keep ourselves healthy, and we spend time with our family and friends to keep ourselves happy. But what about our business relationships?

Without proper maintenance, our work alliances can grow feeble like any other relationship. Without care, they can become unhappy – and unsuccessful. But there are simple steps you can take to keep your professional bonds healthy and thriving.

1. Communicate. As it is in other life relationships, communication is vital in a business partnership. And like in any strong relationship, the best communication is honest and transparent. Be truthful always. It might be scary to let a client or other work partner know exactly how you feel (for example, if a certain deadline might not work for you), but it is far better than faking it and then potentially letting a person down. Be honest from the start. When you prepare a work outline, make sure your plans are clear and concise.

In PR specifically, running all publications by your client before any media distribution is an absolute must. Your work together is a collaborative effort. If your client doesn’t approve, you don’t publish.

2. Meet deadlines. Always create manageable deadlines, and strictly adhere to them. Big or small, influential or fledgling, every client and co-worker deserves that respect. Every one is your No. 1 priority. Treat them like it. Present your best work in the agreed-upon time frame.

3. Don’t over-promise. It’s common for people to zealously oversell themselves in business situations and make promises they cannot keep. We’re all eager to land proposals, and sometimes our default is to offer more than we can reasonably do or give. But the foundation for a happy business partnership is setting attainable goals and creating realistic expectations.

4. Never stop learning. You don’t need to be an expert in every field, but you should be familiar with your clients and associates and with their milieus and markets.

In PR, for example, if you’re helping a widget-maker sell his new Widget 2.0, you’ll want to bone up on the widget industry and then figure out what makes this new version stand out. Also, of course, know your audience. What’s your client’s target demographic? What’s the geographical market? The more you can put things in human terms, the greater your chance of success.

5. Ask for feedback. Are your clients happy with your services? Could you improve in one area or another? Some clients might hesitate to mention something until the question is brought to them. The answers might not always be fun, but they can strengthen your relationship as well as your business. Not only does this help you know your areas of growth, it demonstrates to your clients that you value their opinions.

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Longevity of Radio Then & Now

By Mia Hays

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65.2 million people in the United States alone listen to the radio each day. Why is it then, lately, the attitude toward radio is that it’s a thing of the past? Too many people view the radio like a pager or VHS player, both having been replaced by newer, more advanced technologies. Looking at the statistics, however, one will find it is in fact the leading reach platform.

For people around the world, radio is available. Despite location or socioeconomic status, countries that go without Internet or cable are more likely to have radio. Amid disaster, radio is often the only line of communication and source of updates on the status of a situation when all phone lines, cable and electricity are gone. Moreover, online radio or podcasts have also brought traditional radio to an even larger demographic, increasing from 12% of Americans listening to 53% over the course of the past five years. One can tune it at anytime to find out what he or she has missed.

While watching TV, one can fast forward or pause, going straight to his or her desired viewing. The difference with radio is that many will turn on the radio to discover something new whether it be a song or a quick happening on the news. On the radio, people may hear a news update or a blerp of a talk show and get hooked! In a matter of minutes, they have learned about a new world or local event or company that they must further investigate! Moreover, radio is on in cars, buses, and offices, each place becoming a marketing opportunity.

In PR, radio is essential to spreading awareness about a client’s news. Much of the time we will work to find an available time slot for our clients to share about their accomplishments or new product. This is a prime opportunity for them to share their skills with the community and ultimately attract more business!

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The Power of Referrals

By Mia Hays

The other night I met with friends for dinner and one of the women would not stop gushing about how much she loved her new face scrub. It made her face so soft and her skin was never going to be the same and the website she ordered from was so easy to use and even sent samples of other products for free! What did I do the second I walked through my door? I went to my computer and ordered it. Referrals are key to promoting any business.

It’s all about the client experience.

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If location permits, get to know your client over coffee. A face-to-face meeting is much more personable and shows the client you are available and care.

Then, make it a point to answer their calls and personally return them if missed. If you can, have direct interactions between you and your client rather than handing them off to your assistant or secretary.

When you haven’t heard from the client in some time, send a summary email of your recent work for them and perhaps some ideas for future projects.

Meet new people and make connections.

Join groups and attend events! Get involved in the Rotary Club in your area or join ProVisors. Become an asset to your community. The more people you meet, the more referrals!

You have the referral. Now what?

Make sure to follow up. They’ve already heard about how wonderful you are. It’s why they reached out! Now give them their first taste of your talent by being a step ahead of the game. Send them a sample of your work before your first meeting. After your meeting, take the time to write an email to them thanking them for meeting with you and reminding them you are happy to answer any lingering questions. This also provides a great opportunity to lock down the next time you are going to meet or speak with them.

Spread the joy!

If your client is looking for a service outside of your area of expertise and you know the perfect person or company for the job, refer them! This not only adds to your credibility but also strengthens the relationship between you and your connection/source. Perhaps somewhere down the line your connection will return the favor, especially if you make sure to thank them. This can be done with a phone call and then later by following up with a handwritten thank you note.

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Speak with Confidence

By Mia Hays

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How do you feel about public speaking? Great? Fine? It’s not your favorite? If you can bear it, do it!

Public speaking engagements are an opportunity for you to share your expertise and allow potential clients to experience you and what you have to offer on a more personal level. For more persuasion, read our previous blog titled, “How Will a Speaking Engagement Benefit You?”

Are you convinced but the thought of speaking in front of people still makes you nervous? You’ll do great! Just follow these tips to become a more confident, effective public speaker.

  1. Prepare. This may sound obvious, but I cannot stress this enough. Know your presentation backwards and forwards. To help strengthen your muscle memory, do extra research and look over diagrams. Or, the next time you are speaking to a colleague, bring up your topics in conversation to grow more familiar. Feel like you have it down? Practice again! When the adrenaline kicks in you cannot be too familiar with your presentation.

  2. Watch and listen to yourself. Look in the mirror. Do you look anxious? Do you look like you’re thinking too hard about what you’re saying? Smooth out those thinking lines on your forehead and add a smile. It will go a long way. Then, record yourself. By listening to yourself ahead of time you can correct your verbal short comings. Practice that long awkward word and industry vocabulary. Make sure you vary the inflection in your voice and avoid maintaining the same vocal rhythm or tone or you will be sure to lose your audience’s attention.

  3. Remember to KISS. As the old but valuable cliché goes: Keep It Simple Stupid! Some in your audiences will not have a college degree and/or lifetime experience in the field. Therefore, they do not need, want or care about the intricate details of how your business works. You will put them to sleep or overwhelm them, causing them to absorb next to nothing. Rather, share the big picture and interesting, select statistics to convey your main points and demonstrate how invaluable you are.

  4. Connect with your audience. Make sure your listeners are engaged. Scan the room from time to time, making eye contact with different members of your audience. In addition, look for people nodding, smiling, or taking notes. If everyone looks like they’re dozing off or texting, it’s time to switch up your approach! Personal anecdotes can also make your message more memorable and enjoyable and make you more relatable.

Now, go out there with confidence and show society that you a valuable community member with worthwhile skills to share!

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Be Your Best This 2018

By Mia Hays

In 2018, I am going to work out five times a week and never eat chocolate and read a recreational book every night before bed . . . If only! 

How often do we make these New Year’s resolutions and watch them slip away within days or, if we’re lucky, months? While much of the time these resolutions are farfetched, these following six tips are 100 percent doable and will set your business up for a more profitable new year. 

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  1. Write and send press releases. Keep your business in the public’s eye. The more press releases you write the more you will be published. The more publicity your company receives the more business you will have. Who doesn’t want that?!

  2. Schedule public speaking engagements. Showcase your vast knowledge about your field, or speak about one of your hobbies, connecting with audiences on a personal level.

  3. Attend events. These are networking opportunities! Make connections with other people in your field and potential clients.

  4. Organize your office. A cleaner work area is more inviting to others and promotes clear thinking.

  5. Blog. What better way is there to display your wealth of knowledge? Give people a taste of what you can do, and they are sure to come running!

  6. Cleanup your social media image. New year, new you. Or at least new image. Delete poorly written articles on your company website, update your expansive bio and refocus on your target clients.

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Be the PR Star on the Top of the Christmas Tree

By Mia Hays

During the holidays, our time overflows with gift buying and wrapping, holiday parties, family and friends and the revolving door of welcome and not so welcome guests. Our time and focus are split. Therefore, many competitors are “gone skiing,” so to speak, while potential clients are accessing the same material and sites as the rest of the year. This presents you with the perfect opportunity to end your year with a bang. Follow these tips and you’re sure to find more success and cheer this holiday season.

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  1. Don’t stop. The media is scavenging for stories, and now is the time when you may get a story published that may have been normally overlooked. Write an end of the year summary. Review the year with your bookkeeper and a few clients about the year. How did you do financially? How did your clients feel about your performance this past year? Type it up and send it off to an industry trade publication.

  2. If you can’t beat them, join them. Our holidays are flooded with festivities. You can’t avoid them, and if you try, you’re either ignored or deemed a scrooge. Think about it. When you pass a shop front, what grabs your attention? Is it the everyday display sets or those with holiday decorations and lights? The same is true for your business. Create articles, images or blogs that embrace the season. Potential clients and the media will take notice and remember.

  3. Use social media. Always. Everyone wants some vacation time over the holidays, us PR people included. However, that does not mean that we can stop with our social media presence. Plan your posts, pictures and captions in advance, freeing up some time at the peak of the merriment. If you don’t want to be doing the posting manually, then schedule the release by investing in an app like Hootsuite or Spoutsocial that will do it automatically while you are making merry!

  4. Expect to have to follow up with people. Both clients and the media have untraditional schedules and other distractions due to different vacations or abnormal time away from the phone or computer. An extra phone call or reminder email will often help.

  5. Send out New Year’s cards from your business. This not only sets your card apart from the flood of Christmas cards but also reminds people that you are still there when they are looking to start the new year strong.

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