Last week, our client Miller Time Pub & Grill celebrated its grand reopening with a block party, live music, food and beer. To help introduce the new brand to the media and get the word out about the event, we worked with the team at Miller Time Pub & Grill to create a unique, branded press kit.

To set us apart from the hundreds of emails media receive daily, we decided to hand-deliver each press kit to a variety of outlets–from TV and radio to magazines and newspaper. For an important announcement like the introduction of a new brand, an email just isn’t enough to break through the clutter.

The press kit contained an invite to the grand reopening event, cover letter, news release, and the restaurant’s new menu, all tucked inside a Miller Time Pub & Grill branded beer glass. We placed the glass in a clear box and filled it in with some barley (not only because it looks cool, but also because we needed something to hold the glass place). We also included a USB drive with all written contents, along with photos of the renovated space.

We think the press kit turned out pretty darn great! And the media liked them, too. We placed numerous articles as a result of them—and even secured an appearance for our client on Fox 6 WakeUp.

May 24, 2013 · Posted by in branding  

Like many of you, I woke up this morning and turned on the TV to see what looked like a low-budget action movie being shown on my local news station. Swat teams everywhere, the focus was on a white home. Officers had guns aimed at the house and were shuffling residents down the stairs. A possible apprehension was taking place right before my eyes, and I was shockingly close to the action. I couldn’t believe it was happening in real life and in real time.

The shot switched from the live view to a photo that had been Tweeted by a resident (@samanthae0) in lockdown near the scene. (I still can’t get over the fact that she took the time to add a filter.)

The media coverage this morning of the ‘Boston Bombings Manhunt’ was unlike any I have ever seen. Between the proximity of the cameras to the scene and the images from social media sites, I felt as if I were there.

Over the past few years, we’ve been seeing news media using content from social media outlets more and more. Every other day I see a dancing dog from YouTube on my local station. But it’s being used for actual news, too. Earlier this week, we saw that Texas fertilizer plant explode before our eyes via a YouTube video.

While social media can serve as an amazing tool for providing instantaneous news and reports, it can also act as an impactful source to perpetuate false information, like we saw with some of the early reporting on the Boston suspects. Now, I’m not knocking social media. I just want to point out that because it is often used as a source for traditional media, we need to make sure the correct messages are going out.

Earlier this week, Cedar wrote a post that gave companies some social media tips to follow when a big national tragedy occurs. But what if a crisis arises—be it large or small—that directly relates to your company? How do you control the messages that might eventually end up in the news media via social media? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1)      Everyone’s a reporter. Social media makes anyone on the street a source. Always watch who you and your employees are talking to and what you say.

2)     Monitor social media. Of course, as a brand you should always be monitoring social media to learn what the public is saying about you. But in a crisis situation, this is especially important. You need to be able to address inaccurate information in a timely manner to help set the record straight.

3)    Prepare statements. In any crisis, one of the first things you should do is prepare an official statement and get that out to all of your company’s representatives. Anyone who interacts with the public should know exactly what to say to keep your messaging accurate and consistent.

4)    Create a social media policy. It goes without saying that having a solid social media policy in place is one of the best ways to ensure others on social media are hearing your message. (Refer back to Cedar’s post for more on this.)

As the line between traditional media and social media continues to get thinner and thinner, be sure the right messages are getting out to everyone, be it news reporter or man on the street.

(See also, a previous blog post I wrote on crisis communications.)

April 19, 2013 · Posted by in pr, social media  

Introducing the newest member of the Z2 team: Public Relations & Social Media Specialist Cedar Brown!

Experienced in sales, marketing, and social media strategy and execution, Cedar will lead our social media efforts both internally and for our clients, in addition to supporting the public relations team. Active in Milwaukee’s social media community, Cedar is an emerging thought leader in the industry. Our clients will appreciate his broad knowledge of and passion for social media.

Previously working as a freelance social media specialist, Cedar has helped craft his clients’ social media strategies, create social media platforms, execute plans, and track and report the results. Before going freelance, he worked at Shopko’s corporate headquarters where he played an integral role in creating the company’s social media strategies. He’s a graduate of University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh.

Cedar just recently moved to Waukesha, previously living in Appleton, Milwaukee and Madison over the past year. In his free time, he enjoys attending local community events, sporting events and concerts, and finding new food spots. His hobbies include cooking, exercising and playing guitar (mostly air guitar). On the weekends, you might find him wearing a cowboy hat at a country music concert. If you see him out and about, be sure to say hi and welcome him to the community.

Follow Cedar on Twitter (@CedarBrown).

March 25, 2013 · Posted by in z2 news  

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of visiting Washington, DC, to celebrate a really great project we’ve worked on for the past couple years with our client, InterContinental Milwaukee. The hotel was named a finalist in PR News’ Corporate Social Responsibility awards in the category of Corporate-Community Partnership for its Pink Room, a program in which a portion of the proceeds from each guest’s stay in one of the pink-clad rooms is donated to a local breast cancer support organization, ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

The awards luncheon took place at the National Press Club, just about two blocks from the White House and one of the most famous conference facilities in the country, known for hosting global leaders in government, politics, and business.

While the Pink Room didn’t come out on top in its category, it received an honorable mention award—which truly is an honor when listed among companies like Toys R Us (category winner), Craftsman, and WWE.

Prior to the awards luncheon, I participated in the PR News’ PR Writing Workshop led by Michael Long, Director of Writing at Georgetown University. During the three-hour class, we got back to the basics of good PR writing. After you’ve been in the industry awhile, you start to get swayed by what clients want (even though they might not have any experience in PR) and can sometimes lose sight of how things should actually be done to get results. The class was a great refresher course, reminding me of simple principles that can be forgotten in the hustle of the workday. Some examples:

  • Think before you write
  • Keep your goal in mind
  • One sentence equals one idea
  • Adopt the perspective of others

Sunday afternoon, I also had the opportunity to do some exploring. The weather was beautiful as I took in the sites.

 

 

A big congratulations to the Pink Room team and everyone who has worked to make the program a success! I’m honored to be a part of it.

February 14, 2013 · Posted by in event, pr  

We’ve added another great talent to our growing team! With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Joe Lazo has joined Z2 as senior copywriter.

Before Z2, Joe was freelancing and living in Plover, Wisconsin, a small town just south of Stevens Point that is probably best known for its potato growing. During his career at both agencies and on the corporate side, he’s worked with companies like Renaissance Learning, Mercury Marine, WD-40, and the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park. He attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and Portfolio Center in Atlanta.

Joe made the move from Plover to Pewaukee with his 10-year-old son Jonah, and their dog Chico, a Corgi/Jack Russell terrier mix and “the happiest, friendliest dog in the world.” In his free time, Joe enjoys bicycling, playing guitar, and cross-country skiing. He’s also an aspiring vegan, a self-proclaimed recovering eBay junkie, and an aficionado of finding killer deals at yard sales and thrift stores. Also, he feels no shame when admitting he still doesn’t own a smartphone.

Welcome to the team, Joe!

January 25, 2013 · Posted by in misc  

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