The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

PLEASE NOTE: This blog has been discontinued.
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Some Changes on the Maine PR Maven Blog

Today marks a new era on the Maine PR Maven Blog. We will no longer have our regular Monday, Wednesday and Friday posts. Instead, I will be posting less regularly and only when I have something worthwhile to share. I hope to continue to profile interesting people, places and events taking place in my beloved home state of Maine.

When I attend conferences or workshops, I will share what I learn and the people I meet on the blog.  If I see you, let me know you are a reader of the blog and I’ll take your photo and you’ll appear right here!

I also plan to share Maine recipes since I enjoy cooking and entertaining.  I enjoy visiting restaurants around the state, and plan to post photos and menus from various restaurants that I visit.

Finally, I will feature books from Maine authors as well as interesting books on public relations and marketing, because I’m a real fan of both categories.

Please visit often and feel free to share your thoughts and comments.  Let me know what you like and what you don’t like.

Thanks!

Nancy Marshall

 

Melanie Randall: Inspiring Others to Live and Dance Strong

Founder of Live and Dance Strong, and Owner of Dancewear House, Melanie Randall.

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with a loss, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Melanie Randall, decided to take one of the most difficult times in her life, and turn it into something beautiful as a way to process her grief.

Five years ago, Melanie’s father, Richard J. Randall, passed away and she set out to start an event that would help in her healing process. The result was Live and Dance Strong, a fundraiser that serves as a wonderful opportunity for choreographers and dancers alike to come together and deliver a unique dance experience.

Randall says, “Each year the show is different, and we have begun to touch on other people’s pain and grieving process. Cancer has affected so many people. I never dreamed that by starting Live and Dance Strong I would bring hope and empowerment to so many other young women who have lost someone—it’s been very special.”

This year, the event brought their total donations to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care to more than $30,000 since its inception and for the first time, they paid a special tribute to cancer survivors.

Planning for Live and Dance Strong starts in early winter, and around March Melanie begins to send letters to local businesses, requesting sponsorships and donations for the show. In May, she sends out choreographer applications to studios in the area.

They recently added a concert element to the planning process, by hosting a concert at their home on the lake in an effort to raise awareness and funding within the community. Melanie adds that social media has also made the event easier to put together, saying, “Facebook has made it easy for us to have an online presence, enabling us to connect with choreographers and sponsors we may not have met any other way.”

Even after growing up dancing for Keltie Collins, Andrei Bossov and Genie O’Brien, she never imagined that she would have a career in dance. It wasn’t until she was getting ready to graduate with a degree in English that she considered buying Dancewear House in Hallowell, but after six and a half years, it was clearly the right choice. She says, “I wasn’t really sure that an English degree would prepare me for running a business, but my years in college certainly did.”

Melanie (center) with her Mom, Mary Elizabeth Randall (left), and her fiancé, Scott Lowery (right) following this year’s Live and Dance Strong event.

Most days, you will find Melanie helping young girls find their way on a similar career path. She says, “I spend most of my days with dancers’ feet in my face,” as the primary person that handles Pointe shoe fittings.

So what is her secret to happiness and success?

Randall says, “Follow your dreams—find something in life that you’re passionate about, and keep it close to you, especially when life gets hard. We all have the ability to take a negative situation and make it into a positive one, so don’t ever give up! One person has all of the potential in the world to touch someone’s life and change their own.”

To learn how you can get involved with Live and Dance Strong, please visit, liveanddancestrong.org, or like the Dancewear House on Facebook.

Great Success for Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls

Today marks the conclusion of the 2nd annual Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls. The 10-day camp ran June 17-21 and 24-28 on Maranacook Lake in Readfield, Maine. The camp is designed for girls 8-12 as a place to develop self confidence and a healthy lifestyle.

Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls’ campers (red) and staff (blue) on opening day.

Each year, the curriculum for the camp is designed by Olympian Julia Clukey and KV YMCA camp director, Johanna King. The camp features a wide range of activities including swimming, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, nature walks, field sports, arts and crafts, theater and music.

As a part of the support for the camp, the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association, and organization that has partnered with Julia Clukey as their responsibility spokesperson, donates scholarships each year to provide the opportunity for underprivileged girls to attend summer. In total, the association has donated $7,000 in scholarships for the camp.

For more information, visit www.clukeyluge.com/camp.

 

Your Website is the Centerpiece of Your Marketing Program

When you are setting a table for a formal dinner party, you place something beautiful in the center of the table like candles, flowers or a bowl of colorful fruit. This centerpiece ties everything on the table together.

This infographic comes from our good friends at the Caliber Group in Arizona. Both our agencies are members of the Alliance of Marketing Communications Agencies. Thanks to the Caliber Group for sharing! www.calibergroup.com

Your website is the centerpiece of your marketing program. It helps you connect with your targeted audiences and ties all of your marketing efforts together. It contains all the information about your product, service, place, organization or brand that people need in order to connect with you or do business with you. Visitors come to your site to get more information, to evaluate your products and services and to assess your brand. By looking at your site, they decide whether they want to connect with your brand….or not.

Your website is the focal point of your brand, and the foundation of your marketing program. Every aspect of your marketing should point back to your website, including press releases, ads, business cards, brochures, flyers, rack cards, banners, direct mail and social media.

Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

When people go to your website, they will immediately get a sense of your brand. If your website looks amateurish, people will think your business is amateurish.  If it is beautiful and full of useful information that draws people in and keeps them there for a while, then your website will build your brand and convey an image of professionalism.

It’s important to be sure that the centerpiece on your table and the centerpiece of your marketing program are consistent with the image you want to convey to your guests, whether they are coming for dinner at your home or coming to learn more about your organization online.

The Art of Brand Communication

Portland Museum of Art Brand Strategy Coordinator, Caitlin Brooke

When you think of a museum, what comes to mind? Do you envision a forward-thinking, branding machine that brings art to life on your phone, through an artist-inspired cocktail, or by offering Free Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.? That’s the exact image Portland Museum of Art (PMA) Brand Strategy Coordinator, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Caitlin Brooke, hopes to conjure when you think of PMA.

After graduating from Cony High School, Caitlin attended the University of New Hampshire where she received  dual undergraduate degrees in art history and communication, and an MBA in marketing. A summer internship with PMA’s PR department was her first taste of the career path she would choose, but not before spending three years in Boston working as an associate for an investment firm.

Brooke says, “I absolutely loved developing my professional identity in Boston and being thrown into the fast-paced and demanding world of corporate finance. My role evolved from investor relations to marketing, and I began to take the reins in redesigning the firm’s marketing materials and communications plan.”

At the PMA’s Winter Bash Brooke’s job was to sit and draw the guests as they enjoyed the evening.

By 2010 Brooke decided to leave Boston and do some soul-searching saying, “I wanted to eventually establish myself in Maine, so I took a break and traveled the country before beginning my search for jobs in Portland.” Why Maine? Her reason is simple stating, “The cultural vitality of the city had always enticed me and it’s the perfect location—access to the water for surfing and the mountains for skiing!”

This vital culture of Portland is the driving force behind the success of Brooke’s work with PMA. She says, “It’s about being in the know; having relationships with every department and PMA staffer so they think to call me when something cool is happening in the galleries, on TV, or across the street; it’s about embracing social media as a part of our roles.”

In 2012, the institution officially began to integrate social media into staffers’ professional roles. With this change came the need to create a social media policy and social media team who create content, take photos, Tweet and post on behalf of the museum covering all facets of the institution, and giving dynamic perspectives of what is happening on the PMA campus.

Stop by the PMA Café for an artist inspired cocktail created byAurora Provisions.

This new branding initiative plays a major role in Brooke’s daily routine. She starts her day by scrolling through social media feeds and emailing herself potentially relevant content. She adds, “I need to scope the scene and see what people are talking about. A big part of my job is connecting PMA’s exhibitions, programs and collections to what’s happening in the ‘real’ world, which in my opinion helps pull together the bigger picture of why art matters.”

2012 was a major year of rebranding for PMA, when they gathered national and international traction for their exhibition Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine. Brooke says, “Homer was an American artistic genius, and also a hermit with a fantastic moustache and a studio on Prouts Neck in Scarborough.”

PMA used this attention as an opportunity to launch their new logo and to overhaul their brand identity. Brooke says, “Prior to 2012, the museum had an undefined strategy for social media. It was almost a marketing afterthought, but because of all the media attention, we were able to really throw our new look out into the public arena and have a lot of people see it.”

A lot of people have been seeing a new side of PMA, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is having fun. Caitlin says, “There is no other form of communication that can convey the energy of an organization like social media, so don’t take yourself too seriously!” While social media is a part of business, Brooke says that it is a part of building relationships, too, adding, “People like to see the behind-the-scenes, real parts of an organization. If something makes you and your coworkers laugh, more than likely other people will see the humor in it too.”

To learn more about the Portland Museum of Art, visit www.portlandmuseum.org, or like them on Facebook to keep up with their latest events and exhibits.

The Value of a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan

Marketing can be expensive, especially if you have no idea where it’s taking you or what you are getting in return for your investment.

I’ve seen way too many companies and organizations flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to their marketing. They tend to do the same things they’ve always done, like advertise in the Yellow Pages or sponsor the local Little League team, in the hopes that these things will get them the results they’re after.

You’ve heard the definition of insanity, right?  It’s doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result. Does your company’s marketing program fit this definition? I hope not.

When it comes to nailing down specific, measurable goals that will direct a marketing effort, most organizations don’t even know what kind of results they want. Just hoping to create more business is not specific enough. For the past 14 years, my agency has been developing strategic marketing communications plans, branded The Marshall Plan™, to help our clients develop attainable marketing goals and the tools needed to successfully achieve them. Over the years, we have developed plans for many different industry sectors, including non-profit, information technology, banking, government, legal, tourism, academia, economic development, and more.

We’ve witnessed some amazing results with these plans for numerous reasons, namely:

  • The three-month process brings together the key stakeholders of an organization (management team, board of directors, front-line staff people) to work together with NMC to carefully define their goals, determine their realistic marketing budget and decide what resources can be allocated to achieving the goals. For many organizations, having an outside agency impose this process is exactly what they need to make crucial decisions that will guide the organization into the future.
  • The process starts with a three-hour Discovery Meeting during which the NMC team guides stakeholders through a thoughtful discussion about goals, strategy, tactics and resources.
  • Having goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely is just plain SMART.  The Marshall Plan™ process includes SMART goal setting.
  • The process also includes a thorough competitive analysis, SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), and analysis of what has and has not worked in the past.
  • A detailed list of tactics (social media, website restructuring, media relations, marketing, advertising, public outreach, sales, and more) designed to reach specific goals is created and vetted by the group during a mid-term review meeting.
  • During the final four to six weeks of the process, NMC finalizes the tactics based on feedback received at the mid-term meeting and develops a timeline, budget, measurement dashboards and a variety of marketing tools such as media lists, press release templates, and stakeholder contact lists that will enable our client to hit the ground running when it comes to implementation.
  • The final meeting is a time to review the plan, celebrate the accomplishments and make some big decisions about next steps. Every plan is designed so it can be either implemented by NMC, the organization itself, or another agency.

 

Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

The Marshall Plan™ ensures your marketing dollars will be well invested rather than just spent. It serves as a highly detailed road map toward successful growth for any business or nonprofit.  In the 14 years we’ve been creating Marshall Plans™, we have seen organizations totally embrace the process and the opportunity to improve their marketing and communications.

It is extremely rewarding for me as an agency owner to work with a client on one of these plans which, if fully utilized, offer guaranteed success in helping an organization grow and prosper.

NMC Participates in Unveiling of New Brand for America’s Newest City: Sanford

On Tuesday, May 7th, Nancy Marshall and Renée Black participated in the launch celebration for the new branding developed for America’s newest city, the city of Sanford, Maine.

Through a strategic process, NMC worked with the Economic Growth Council of Sanford, as well as residents and business leaders to develop a brand that would help fuel economic growth. Nancy and Renee are pictured below with the new Sanford logo on the side of one of Sanford’s fire trucks.

NMC Principal Nancy Marshall and NMC Account Executive Renée Black.

The artwork signifies forward movement, energy and the shape of the Mousam River that runs through the city. The tagline, “Explore. Create. Grow.” signifies the depth of natural, human, and historical resources available to explore in Sanford, as well as the opportunities that can be explored for the future. The word ‘Create’ signifies all that can be created through economic development, education, the arts and recreation. ‘Grow’ signifies the growth potential while living, working and playing in Sanford.

Sanford’s Director of Economic Development Jim Nimon and Commissioner of Economic and Community Development George Gervais are pictured below with Nancy, as they celebrated the successful launch of the new brand. Commissioner Gervais congratulated Sanford for taking the initiative to brand itself and said he will encourage other municipalities statewide to undergo the same process. He said that branding will help with the important process of marketing municipalities for economic growth.

NMC Principal Nancy Marshall with Sanford Director of Economic Development Jim Nimon and Commissioner of Economic and Community Development George Gervais.

The energy and sense of shared purpose was felt throughout the festive celebration, as nearly 100 residents, students, business leaders and municipal employees joined together to celebrate the new branding created for the city by NMC.
It was truly a great day!

Empowering Young Women at 18 Years Young

Founder of Girls Above Society, Lauren Galley

The quest for perfection is one that young people face each and every day. We all went through middle school and know about the pressures that come with growing into your own skin. This week’s Monday Maine Maven Lauren Galley, at 18 years young, has developed a successful career as a working model/actress, radio show host, blogger and, most importantly, a mentor for young women through the nonprofit she founded, Girls Above Society.

Girls Above Society provides mentorship and awareness surrounding the pressures girls face on a daily basis, and works to promote strong leadership skills. Lauren says she was inspired by her own experiences in middle school and high school to start the organization. She adds, “I want to empower girls to accept who they are—to be their best, be healthy, and have the confidence to go after their dreams!”

Lauren has pursued her dream as an actress and model. She grew up in theater with her mother working as a director, and transitioned into film beginning as an extra. Since then, she has been on ABC Family’s “The Lying Game,” and NBC’s “CHASE” as well as national commercials such as Fox Sports and Jarritos. Currently, she has two films in post-production, “Matt Mercury Movie” directed by Bill Hughes and “The Making of a Serial Killer” directed by Russell Miller.

An additional creative outlet for Lauren has been writing. After founding Girls Above Society, she realized that being present and available was important. She created Twitter and Facebook accounts, along with a blog. She adds, “Blogging is a new thing for me, but when I feel inspired I also feel the need to write. I focus on creating images with motivating quotes, since that’s what teens like and enjoy sharing.”

Girls Above Society is a nonprofit that focuses on empowering young women.

It is appropriate that Lauren would choose to focus on teenagers since that’s when she was inspired to create her nonprofit.  She says there was a lot of pressure to conform and she realized that she was incredibly lucky to have the support system she did, but she also realized that wasn’t true for everyone saying, “I would see so many girls and friends trying to live up to the unrealistic expectations created by the media—magazine covers, reality TV shows and celebrities.”

During that time, Galley had the opportunity to live in Waterford, Maine, and she says, “Having lived in the big city my whole life, I found it so beautiful and really loved the small town feeling. I found it surreal that everyone knows each other—there are literally no strangers!” That sense of community is something that has stayed with her even though she no longer calls Maine home.

The Maine experience impacted Lauren and she is currently partnering with Camp Waziyatah in Waterford, as a part of the Empower a Girl campaign. The camp is known as the location of Disney Channel’s hit reality camp series, “Bug Juice.” Waziyatah shares many of the same values as Girls Above Society—they teach kids to respect themselves with the hope that they will build a healthy image of themselves.

Galley’s mission in establishing self love is evident in her choice to be an ambassador for Free2Luv, hosting their Web segment, Free2BeYOU. Free2Luv’s motto is, “Take a stand to spread love and to end bullying.” In her Free2BeYOU segment, Lauren will be hosting Q&A sessions with tips for dealing with bullies and peer pressure, as well as hosting contests and giveaways to encourage participation. Galley says, “I hope to share, inspire and make a difference.”

To learn more about Lauren and how you can get involved, check out her website at http://www.girlsabovesociety.org/.

Using Google AdWords to Attract Customers to Your Business

Hi, Erika here!

You’re bored on a Friday night and looking for something to do when a friend suggests that you guys grab a bite to eat and go see a movie. You say, “Sure, but I want try something new.” You both agree on pizza, so you Google search local pizza place Augusta Maine and you get this:

Local businesses Whipper’s, College Carryout and Pizza Stone make up the top results of the search. Where would your business be?

Chances are, you’re going to pick one of the places on this page—and there is an even better chance that it will be one of the first three or four listings.

So, how do you make sure that your business is near the top?

A search engine marketing system, such as Google AdWords, certainly helps!

NMC Interactive Marketing Manager Matt Rideout has recently received his AdWords Certification through Google’s AdWords Certification Program. The certification required training in complex marketing systems along with multiple tests, and Rideout says, “The certification lets our customers know that we are fully taking advantage of everything the AdWords marketing channel has to offer. Ultimately, it shows our dedication to ensuring our clients receive the best online advertising possible from NMC.”

NMC Principal Nancy Marshall adds, “Matt’s Google AdWords Certification adds one more area of expertise we can offer to our clients that will help them connect their marketing messages with their target audiences.”

So how does Google AdWords work?

  • Keywords are the key to a successful campaign. Think like a potential customer—if they had never been to your business how might they find you?
    • Pizza place:  thin crust pizza Augusta Maine, pizza delivery Augusta Maine, pizza places in Augusta Maine open late, etc.
    • Gym:  gym open late in Augusta Maine, Augusta Maine gym with tanning, Augusta Maine trial gym membership, etc.
  • You decide how much you spend by setting a daily budget that is comfortable for you, and you can change it at any time—you are never locked into a contract.
  • You only pay for results (cost-per-click), which means that you never pay for your ad to be displayed, but only when someone actually clicks on your ad and is redirected to your site and/or landing page.
  • Relevance means more business—the more relevant your ads and keywords are to the demographic, the higher your Quality Score. The higher your Quality Score, the higher up your position will be on a Google search.

NMC Interactive Marketing Manager Matt Rideout, who recently received his Google AdWords Certification.

As mentioned earlier in this article, the higher your position on the search results page, the more likely you are to be chosen. The more people click on your ads, the lower your cost-per-click will be!

The team here at NMC sets up cost-per-click systems that allow us to measure return on investment (ROI) so that our customers know they are generating a profit with their campaigns.

Contact us today to see how the NMC team can help your business reach the coveted #1 search result spot with $100 in free AdWords advertising.

Summit Natural Gas of Maine Hosts Successful Job Fair

On Wednesday, our client Summit Natural Gas of Maine hosted a job fair at the Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta.

The goal was to fill over 40 job openings in their new Augusta office, and the turnout was incredible! More than 400 people showed up, resumes in hand, to meet with recruiters. The media was also present and the success was captured by The Kennebec JournalThe Morning Sentinel and WGME 13.

Hundreds of people turned out for the Summit Natural Gas of Maine job fair earlier this week at The Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta.

Director of business development, Mike Duguay, was on site to meet with candidates and to further discuss the company’s $350 million investment in the Kennebec Valley project. The project will generate 400 heavy construction jobs and more than $100 million in work for local plumbing, electrical and heating professionals over the next five years.

Keep your eyes open for upcoming job fairs conducted by the contractors to fill the heavy construction opportunities in the near future.