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

 

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Public Relations

Em Robertson Makes her Mark with Mprint

Owner and Designer of Mprint, Em Robertson
Modeling the Mprint Honolulu Transit Pendant

New York City, Boston, California, Canada and Presque Isle are some of the places this week’s Monday Maine Maven has called home. Em Robertson is the owner and designer of Mprint jewelry, a Maine-based accessories company.

Robertson says her love for the world of design and fashion was cultivated at a young age. She says, “My mother was a retail fashion buyer and would tell me about her buying trips in New York City. That really opened the doors to the business side of the fashion industry to me.”

The Presque Isle native says that she is “extremely proud” that she grew up a country girl adding, “I think it is one of the main reasons I am so driven and hard-working. Yes, it is really far up north, freezing, and it isn’t filled with endless things to do, but it is a great community that is full of hard-working and supportive people.”

Em’s parents wanted their children to experience different cultures, so Em and her family would travel four to five times a year—trips that she credits for her development of “the travel itch” at a very young age.

However, when it came to making a career choice for herself, Em wasn’t quite sure that fashion was the perfect fit. She stayed local, attending the University of Maine at Orono to study business marketing. During her junior year, she interned in New York City with Macy’s corporate marketing division and she says, “It confirmed the idea that I wanted to continue my education in fashion.”

After graduating, Em spent her summer applying to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and moved to Los Angeles. She says, “I felt like it was a place I needed to conquer. Being involved in such a creative culture and community of talented people made the transition much easier.”

Robertson says, “I had a lot of learning experiences in Hollywood,” but ultimately, she decided to move back to Maine to launch her jewelry collection.

Just a sampling of the jewelry you can find at www.mprintjewelry.com

The launch of Mprint has been incredibly successful on local, national and international levels, with her jewelry being featured in online stores, magazines and various noteworthy fashion blogs. One of her necklaces even made an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America worn by correspondent Rachel Smith.

The success of the launch is credited to Em’s strong public relations background and the use of social media. She says, “I wrote everyone I knew to start spreading the word and tried to get as much information and product to top editors, stylists and boutique owners to build awareness of the brand.” She adds, “I think Facebook creates an unreal buzz for designers—people can express to their peers what they like, and it opens doors for other people to like the product. The accessibility to this kind of online marketing for a start-up company like Mprint is beyond beneficial.”

According to Em, social media, Instagram in particular, is a great tool for inspiration, too. Em says, “I definitely draw inspiration for my collection pieces by immersing myself in social media sites, but my go-to is Instagram. Maybe it’s because I’m a creative person, but I just feel like seeing an image speaks so much louder than words.” Other sources that inspire are local consignment shops, family heirlooms, street style and nature.

Em Robertson says that social media serves as a vital part of her branding strategy for Mprint.

What’s next for Mprint? Em says, “I’m constantly thinking about ways to expand Mprint, and to grow as a socially responsible brand.” This is why they will be introducing a new hair accessories collaboration in their Fall ’13 collection with a design-driven nonprofit social enterprise that supports women-owned businesses in Rwanda.

You will also find them at one of the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplace tradeshows, AccessoriesTheShow, in New York City next month.

To learn more about Em and Mprint you may check out her website, www.mprintjewelry.com, like them on Facebook, facebook.com/Mprintjewelry or follow @Mprintjewelry on Twitter.

Public Relations: It’s a Mindset, Not a One-Time Activity

Nancy Marshall, CEO of Nancy Marshall Communications

Three Tips to Generate PR on an Ongoing Basis

I frequently talk with clients who say that they want to do “a little bit of PR.” When I hear that, I sometimes have to bite my tongue so as not to say “there’s no such thing as a little bit of PR.”

Public relations is a mindset. It’s something you need to be thinking about all the time. Well, maybe you don’t need to think about it as much as I do, because I really do think about it all the time (just ask my husband).  But  if you are always thinking about your relationship with the public, and your targeted publics in particular, then you are more likely to experience success with building your brand.

Here are three tips that will help you think like a PR professional:

1. Share helpful information with your targeted publics

Leverage social media—post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter on how to accomplish something in your field of work.

Give a speech to the local Rotary explaining the latest trends in your industry.

Host an informational workshop for your clients and friends at a local community center in your area of business.

2. Watch the news of the day to see how you might be able to offer expertise.

Recently there was a train crash and oil explosion in Lac Megantic, Quebec, right over the border from Maine. Anyone with experience in how trains work, or the way oil is prone to burn uncontrollably, could speak with authority to the news about this tragedy. Or an expert in psychotherapy could talk about how you should talk to your children about tragic events.  Figuring out ways to adapt a national news story and leverage it for your own PR is called “newsjacking,” and it’s an amazingly effective public relations technique.

3. Look for opportunities to share the news of your business.

Have you hired a new employee?  Send out a press release with his or her head shot. Have you taken on a new client or customer? That’s a good reason for a press release, as well. How about an award or a published article? That’s newsworthy. A new invention, patent, or trademark? Yes, that’s also a reason to reach out to the news media. 

 

A little bit of PR will do just that:  get you a little bit of PR. But if you are always thinking about how to get your news out there to your targeted audiences and raise your profile with the public, then you are more likely to benefit from increased awareness in the marketplace.

Friday Fab Foto Contest Winner: Mary Howes

This week’s Friday Fab Foto comes from Mary Howes. She says, “I took this picture a couple of years ago at the old granite quarry in North Jay. I love this place and recommend that everyone take a hike to this spot.”

The quarry at North Jay White Granite Park.

I just might have to take her up on that!

To check out the beautiful scene for yourself, bundle up and visit North Jay White Granite Park today.

Do YOU have a great picture of Maine you want to share?

Submit your picture today by uploading it to the NMC Facebook page or emailing it to ebush@marshallpr.com.

 

Bangor Humane Society Goes Social

Stacey Coventry, public relations manager for The Bangor Humane Society, poses with Anna, a resident pitbull.

Cue Sarah McLachlan and add in some big-eyed, adorable furry friends. Yes, most of you know which advertisement I am referring to and we all know how hard it can be to either; a. change the channel even though you desperately want to; or b. to change the channel fast enough because it makes us sad just to think about those fuzzy little fluff balls.

This week’s Monday Maine Maven, Stacey Coventry, can relate as the public relations manager for the Bangor Humane Society (BHS). She has always had an affinity for animals and two years ago she found her very own big-eyed, furry calling in an advertisement for an event and volunteer coordinator. She applied, and with her experience in journalism, sociology and nonprofit management, she was hired.

Coventry credits her previous experience and skills, coupled with her drive to meet the needs of the Bangor Humane Society, for her current role as the public relations manager. Her responsibilities include managing a Facebook page and website, writing and distributing press releases and newsletters, and educating the public on pet adoption.

When it comes to social media, Coventry says you should post daily about anything that might interest your audience adding, “We found people want to be in the ‘BHS adoption loop’ and we find the more we involve and communicate with them, both online and through our newsletter, about our success stories and how we are utilizing resources, the more support we receive.” She goes on to tell stories of how they have been in desperate need for supplies and after a post on Facebook the supplies were on their doorstep by the end of the day.

Stacey and two of her very own rescues, Nala (L) and Koda (R).

Another program that Coventry says contributed to the growing resources of the Bangor Humane Society was their partnership with the ASPCA Rachel Ray $100K Challenge. The contest was between 50 shelters across the country competing to break their own records in rescuing more dogs, cats, puppies and kittens between August and October than the previous year. Although they didn’t win the competition Coventry says, “Our adoptions continue to be up by 25% post-challenge and I receive 20 volunteer applications a week versus the 20 to 30 I used to receive in a month.”

The $100K challenge has inspired Stacey to start similar programs on a local level to increase awareness and adoptions for the Bangor Humane Society. They have a special ongoing adoption program for seniors 65+ and veterans, in which all adult dogs and cats are 50% off with a valid ID. Also, throughout the month of February, they will be running a Valentine’s promotion. All adult cats are $25 and adult dogs are between 10% and 50% off, depending on what Valentine card is on their kennel. Check out the video below to see some of the available dogs:

For those of you that are debating whether to adopt or buy from a breeder, Stacey says to consider that there are six to eight million abandoned and homeless pets brought into shelters each year and that they aren’t bad pets; they are victims of unfortunate circumstances. Coventry says, “I have two dogs and a cat that I rescued and I swear they know they’ve been rescued! They are the most loyal companions.”  Coventry adds that the benefits go beyond connection. Shelter pets are all vaccinated, behavior evaluated and spayed/neutered—not to mention that all money spent to adopt your new best friend goes toward rescuing another homeless pet. Coventry says, “Visit your local shelter and see which furry face adopts YOU—you won’t regret it.”

If you aren’t ready to adopt, but would still like to get involved you may mail your donation to:

693 Mt. Hope Avenue
Bangor, Maine 04401

Or you may donate by going online to www.bangorhumane.org , where you can also enroll in their kennel sponsor program or review the shelter wish list. To contact Stacey, you can email her at Stacey@bangorhumane.org or call her at 207-947-8902, ext. 103.

Gratitude

bread

 

 This Thanksgiving, I am truly grateful. Here’s a list of ten things  I’m grateful for:

1. My family: husband Jay, two wonderful sons, mother “Oma,” two brothers, sisters in law, brother in law, nieces, in-laws, many cousins, aunts and uncles.

2. My business: I started Nancy Marshall Communications in 1991….it will be 20 years old in 2011. I feel like it’s my third child, and I am as proud of my business as I am of my children. I have great clients that I love working for, and I have great employees who work hard to keep the business strong and growing. Thanks to the employees and the clients, we are bucking the national trend of businesses that are shrinking in this bad economy. Continue reading “Gratitude” »

More On the Shoemaker’s Children

If you’ve been following this Maine PR Maven blog for any period of time, you have read about the process we have been going through to develop a new Web site for our own agency.

And you may know the saying “The Shoemaker’s Children Have No Shoes.” I understand why the shoemaker struggled to keep his own children in shoes. I feel his pain. When you have customers who want your products, you always feel that taking care of their needs is more important than taking care of your own. Continue reading “More On the Shoemaker’s Children” »

E-newsletters versus Blogs for new business and relationship building

We publish a monthly e-newsletter called The NMC Report that focuses on the intersection between public relations and the Web. Since my agency was founded in 1991 purely as a public relations firm, and has grown from there into a full-service Web site development, Marketing Communications and Internet Marketing agency, we use our e-newsletter to share our knowledge and expertise with our readers. Continue reading “E-newsletters versus Blogs for new business and relationship building” »

Does Social Media Belong to PR or Marketing?

I just read a great post on AdRants about whether Social Media should fall under the domain of the PR people or the Marketing people. The  more I learn about Social Media, the more I believe it is totally a logical extension of the PR function. Continue reading “Does Social Media Belong to PR or Marketing?” »

Speaking about Branding and PR to Maine Women’s Network

Tonight I had the pleasure of speaking to a lively and energized group of women at the monthly meeting of the Maine Women’s Network at the Weathervane Seafood Restaurant in South Portland.

As promised, here is my list of ten tips on Branding and Public Relations. I encourage the women who were in the audience to leave comments with their own thoughts on branding and experiences in the realm of public relations and marketing.

Also check out my White Paper on “How to Build a Stronger Brand Image Through Publc Relations,” or my white paper on “Harnessing the Power of Conversational Marketing.” Continue reading “Speaking about Branding and PR to Maine Women’s Network” »