What ARE the “20 worst jargon words” public relations people use according to journalists? A post on Ragan PR Daily by Gini Dietrich cited PR agency twelve thirty eight’s study of the offenders. However, we believe we are well-positioned to comment on their usage, by way of this faux-release (the all-too-often used terms are underlined):
First-Rate, Innovative Hot Body Products Revolutionizes Unique Market
Hot Body Products, a marquee distributor of this year’s hotly anticipated lotions for beach and bath, is reaching its end-users with samples and cents-off coupons, obviously utilizing the most cutting-edge techniques to reach vertical audiences and influencers in all potential markets.
The ongoing challenge to the company’s drive to capture this market, is to utilize the verbiage that will most compel customers to become evangelists themselves for spreading the word.
HBP recognizes that the paradigm has shifted with an astonishing 50 percent of all communication professionals optimizing phygital projects to reach the elite. The company stress using dynamic SoLoMo tools for our deliverables and promise clients will be rocketed to iconic status.
We thought the original list of words not to use in a press release was pretty entertaining, too:
1. Issues (problems)
2. Dynamic (likely not to be)
3. Paradigm (a “silk purse” word)
4. Elite (you wouldn’t normally get to attend)
5. Hotly anticipated (never heard of it)
6. End-user (customer)
7. Influencer (a person who probably doesn’t have influence)
8. Evangelist (a tendency to tweet with loads of hashtags)
9. Deliverables (tasks)
10. Icon/iconic (use before 01.01.01 or never)
11. Rocketed (made modest progress)
12. “An astonishing x per cent” (it rarely is astonishing)
13. Marquee event/marquee client (probably “very local”)
14. Going forward (in the future)
15. Ongoing (a bit behind schedule)
16. Optimized (changed by consultants then changed back)
17. Horizontal, vertical, etc. (two words in lieu of a strategy)
18. Phygital (easy to press or swipe, we guess) [JWC comment: bridges digital to physical to drive unique interactive experiences]
19. SoLoMo (no idea) [JWC comment: social+local+mobile]
20. Well-positioned (hopeful but a bit scared)
*Note: This post was a group effort, with contributions from the entire staff.
**This article originally appeared in the San Diego Daily Transcript on January 8, 2013.
Item: San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau changes its name to San Diego Tourism Authority.
Marketing minds ask, why?
In the last half-century, the bank currently known as Union Bank, has changed its name approximately a half-dozen times. From 1st National Bank of San Diego, to Southern California 1st National Bank, California 1st Bank, Union Bank, Union Bank of California — and just recently, back to Union Bank.
I’d like a nickel for every hour I’ve spent discussing the pros and cons of name changes with clients — and a dime for each that didn’t heed my advice. Because while there may be tremendous excitement and creativity around a potential new name, more often I find the rationales for doing so are avoidable — if not basically weak. Often, too, companies lack a corresponding commitment or know-how to effectively drive a new name home in the marketplace.
A Bloomberg News report noted an Anspach Grossman Enterprise survey that said the number of name changes among U.S. corporations recently broke long-time records. Of those changing their names, 52 percent changed because of mergers or acquisitions; about 44 percent wanted to better define themselves.
These may indeed be viable reasons to change. Others may include:
- A change of ownership (yet many still choose not to change names for this reason). However, consider the l00-plus-year-old law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps; new owners must constantly refer back to “Luce Forward …” in order to identify themselves.
- Declining business. Often, a fresh name and graphic look can jump-start a company — but not in and of itself. It must be accompanied by announced philosophical, directional, product (etc.) changes as well.
- Changing marketplace. When fried foods came to be regarded as unhealthful, Kentucky Fried Chicken changed to KFC. This enabled the company to re-define itself but still retain its fried product. (An extreme example of a product suffering from this, as well as the next point, you may remember, was the diet candy called “Ayds.” Uh-uh.)
- Tarnished name and reputation. A product recall, a crime, an accident — sometimes the only way out is to erase history is by re-inventing yourself altogether. However, the Tylenol tampering case of 1989 demonstrated that effective crisis management can actually strengthen the brand name. Tylenol has remained a strong brand.
- The name does not describe your company’s business. When Boston Chicken added other meats to its menu, it chose an easier path with a version of its existing name, to Boston Market.
While these may be compelling reasons to change, avoid it — if possible — for these reasons:
- You give up marketing equity. Most companies spend years driving recognition of their name, hoping to develop their brand or niche, and become strongly “top of mind” with their buyers and clients. If you have succeeded in this, changing your name will throw away all that you’ve achieved and force you to begin the process all over again.
- You often create confusion — not clarity — in the marketplace. I recall some old saying about how difficult it is to become memorable. The task: get people to remember you; then, get them to remember why they remember you; get them to care why, etc. Even if you’ve achieved parts one and two of this; you can lose it fast when you insist they remember something new altogether.
- Re-marketing your company name is expensive. Unless you are prepared to underwrite the re-design and printing of collaterals (logo, cards, letterhead, brochures, etc.), plus, implement outreach such as direct mail (name change announcements), advertising, and media and web publicity (to explain the rationale, which may be of interest), the change may take a long time to solidify.
If you decide to change
Your choice of a new name is another — and exhaustive — subject altogether. But, evaluate for yourself the decisions that led to the following changes — and I guarantee that the decisions cost countless hours and dollars. The merger of Coopers & Lybrand with Price Waterhouse became PricewaterhouseCoopers (check out lack of spacing and sudden caps). In San Diego, the Centre City Development Corp. proposed changing The Embarcadero to the Waterfront (yawn). (This idea miraculously — and sensibly — evaporated.) Some changes may have substantive rationale, but to the consumer are gratuitous and unintelligible — Datsun to Nissan, Lidak Pharmaceuticals to Avanir Pharmaceuticals. Radio Shack, which pops easily into our consciousness, was reportedly considering changing its name to “The Shack.” Years of marketing would have tumbled down the tube, and the only rationale to imagine is that it’s a “shorter” name, or that they imagined the word “radio” to be passé. Well, better minds prevailed.
ResearchWorks (a San Diego-based company), whose president Dr. Moshe Engelberg developed an Identity Touchstone System to help organizations capitalize on the marketing equity in their names, says, “Ideally, a name should distinctively position an organization, product or service based on what makes it most unique to its target audience.”
Engelberg advises clients that “if you can’t fix it, feature it,” as Smucker’s has successfully done with its tag line, “With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good!” Most important, he says, don’t risk guessing or acting on what you think internally. Undertake research to understand the perceived value of your name.
- The reasons you wish to change. Can your problem with your current name be solved through re-marketing? If so, you will have only image to change, and not both name and image.
- Is the name you’ve chosen available? Your attorney’s search can answer this, or you can find help and resources through the Patent and Trademark Office website: http://www.uspto.gov.
- Is the name memorable? Test this rigorously with representatives of your various target markets. Test both internally and externally.
- Can the name be presented graphically, in an attractive, clear and interesting way? Can it be reproduced in both color and black and white? (It may be too expensive to print all your collaterals — such as order forms, etc. — in color.)
- How does the name work in a sentence? As a possessive?
- How does the name stack up against its competitors? Is it easily distinguished? Does it convey your unique message?
The process of deciding not to change may also be exhausting, but in most cases, it is reinforcing, inspires marketing creativity — and, at least from here, comes highly recommended.
And the change of Union Bank of California to Union Bank? Union Bank now has branches in numerous other states. I’ll buy that change.
We are honored to have received four Edward L. Bernays Awards from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter.
Laura Walcher of JWC also received The Eva Irving Community Service Award.
PRSA SD/IC’s annual awards program recognizes the industry’s best public relations tactics, campaigns and professionals.
The JWC team received two Silver Mark of Excellence awards for “Events & Observances Seven Days or Fewer” and “Community Relations” and two Bronze Mark of Merit awards for “Editorials/Op-Ed Columns” and “Feature Stories”:
Silver Bernays Award Mark of Excellence: Marriott International’s Downtown Los Angeles Launch Event
For real estate development clients, Williams & Dame Associates and American Life, JWC produced a “launch” event for the dual-construction of two Marriott hotels (Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott) in downtown L.A.
Silver Bernays Award Mark of Excellence: SD County Childhood Obesity Initiative’s “5-2-1-0 Every Day!” Messaging Campaign
Planned and implemented the Childhood Obesity Initiative’s “5-2-1-0 Every Day!: Healthy Habits for Healthy Communities” messaging campaign that included community outreach, video design and production, event coordination, outreach materials, and messaging.
Bronze Bernays Award Mark of Merit: Tapestry Resorts’ Club Cala de Palmas
Secured a feature story in Developments magazine, a trade publication targeting the timeshare/hospitality industry, positioning Tapestry Resorts and its executives as experts in the vacation ownership industry, with a strong track record of success in turning highly undesirable properties into thriving ones.
Bronze Bernays Award Mark of Merit: San Diego Breath of Hope Lung Cancer Walk (Lung Cancer Alliance)
To build awareness of lung cancer – an oft forgotten/“invisible” cancer that has the highest mortality rate – JWC secured a placement on the editorial page of San Diego’s only major daily newspaper, U-T San Diego, prior to the San Diego Breath of Hope Lung Cancer Walk.
The Eva Irving Community Service Award, presented to Laura Walcher, is given to a public relations professional whose volunteer efforts for nonprofit, philanthropic or public service organizations embody the traditions of volunteerism.
Walcher started her own one-woman public relations agency in 1974, at a time when San Diego could claim only a handful of PR firms. Her dedicated service to longtime clients such as Bazaar del Mundo, the architectural firm of Homer Delawie and the Chicago Bros. enterprises brought continued success to her agency. In 1989, Walcher merged with The Capener Company, forming one of San Diego’s largest and most diversified public relations and advertising agencies, before retiring from partnership and principal in 1997.
Walcher has shown great dedication to the community through her probono work with nonprofits, including the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), the San Diego Council on Literacy, the Burn Institute, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce. She is past-president of the San Diego Press Club and currently sits on its board of directors.
Her efforts were also recognized in 2002 when she received both PRSA SD/IC’s Otto Bos Lifetime Achievement Award and the San Diego Press Club’s Andy Mace Award for outstanding contributions in public relations.
Today, she continues her work as principal public relations counsel at JWC.
The debate continues. Will traditional print media drown as the reign of web alternatives wash away ink smudges that depreciate our clothes and coffee sleeves?
As journalists, we hope not. And in fact, recent news concludes that print publications aren’t disappearing, just changing, and new ones seem to be popping up all over the place.
Modern Luxury just introduced their premiere issue of Brides California, a thick 168-page booklet of stunning design and colorful photography made for the newly engaged (or romantically delusional) reader planning the biggest day of her life. We can only speculate why a flashy magazine would be unveiled amid what some call “the end of the printed age,” but it’ll probably do just fine because it successfully does two things: 1) targets a very specific audience and 2) covers a trending topic.
Business publication SD Metro published an article on Paras Newsstand, who says they receive a list of new titles every few weeks. The article says, “While the traditional print-reader is aging, new trends are attracting the younger digital generation to print.”
Did you catch that? Hitting trends is important. And in the case of Brides California, the wedding-fever generated from popular social media site Pinterest probably doesn’t hurt – but more on that in this post.
Former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld has birthed her namesake upscale fashion magazine, CR Fashion Book, which is on sale starting this month. Another debuting title is Du Jour Magazine, the product of esteemed Elle and InStyle editors Keith Pollock and Nicole Vecchiarelli. Like CR, Du Jour is a compilation of fashion and luxury content meant for one very specific reader – the rich one. This New York Times article writes that even to receive Du Jour, you must have an average net worth of at least $5 million. Hm, let us check our coin purses…
The print consumer has not disappeared. He/She is the reader of trend news. And we’re glad. Truth be told, we don’t mind the occasional ink smudge on our blouses, as long as it’s telling people that we are among the loyal group still consuming print media.
Co-written by Ashley Shafer and Stephanie Breneman
Whether it’s small or big business, increasing online visibility through search engine optimization (SEO) is key to a company’s growth and future success. SEO improves the visibility of a website by ranking high in search engine results (e.g. Google, Yahoo! or Bing). The earlier your company name shows up in search results, the more visitors and traffic your site will get.
How can you improve your SEO? Below are four quick tips:
- Emphasize Keywords (search engines must find and “read” keywords on your website pages so they can properly classify or “index” your site)
- Come up with several keywords that you think your customers are using when they search online and integrate these into pages of unique web content
- Search for relevant keywords with Google AdWords – a tool that gives the most common search terms related to a word or phrase that you provide
- Have two to three individual keywords that appear in the first 100 to 200 words per page
- Include Site Navigation
- A sitemap tells search engines where every page is on your site, how it’s laid out and what pages have been updated
- Add your navigation to the footer of the homepage
- Update Your Website
- Search engines reward sites that have relevant, frequently updated content
- Publish keyword-rich original content
- Integrate a blog into the website
- Manage Your SEO!
- Review your website traffic on a regular basis
- Use Google Analytics to review the number of visitors to your page, length of time visitors are on pages, ranking of keywords, bounce rate, etc.