Sunday, August 31, 2008

columbus imPRessions PR

Sunday Columbus Dispatch - Business Section

Friday, August 29, 2008

Are You Ready For Some . . . .

"Live United" - thought I was going to say football?

With football season upon us, look for the NFL and many players to promote United Way's "Live United" Campaign. This is the 35th year of the partnership between United Way and the NFL. To mark this milestone, it is said that one player from each team will appear in this season's collection of TV PSA spots. Other than TV PSAs be on the watch for web banner ads, radio ads, outdoor and print in both English and Spanish.

"Live United" is a brand position statement. It is about soliciting an invitation to Americans to join United Way and become a part of a life change in education, health and income.

For more info and to see some of the PSAs click here. You can also show your support with a cool "Live United" t-shirt. For more info on the tee click here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

O - H . . . . DONATOS

This Saturday the "Shoe" will be filled with scarlet, gray and cheering Buckeye Fans. Yes, Buckeye football is back and this year is promising to be another great season!

During all homes games fans can enjoy Donatos Pizza because just this week a sponsorship agreement was signed for the exclusive vendor rights at the "shoe" - not only for this season but for the next SEVEN years!!

This year marks Donatos 45th birthday. That's right back in 1963 Jim Grote, a college sophomore at The Ohio State University, put down $1,300 to purchase his dream—a small pizzeria on Thurman Avenue in Columbus, Ohio.

It's nice to see this pizza story come full circle - from being a student at OSU to becoming the exclusive pizza not only at the Shoe but also the Schott (for the last 10 years). We think a great nostalgic advertising campaign would be extremely successful in this town. It's too great a story and we're not sure many people know it. Researching the site and learning the human interest history made us want to purchase our next pizza at Donatos to support a local Buckeye.

Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye and this Buckeye has done good - over 200 stores in five states!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


That is our new word for all-encompassing, innovative brilliance.  Google knows how to stay ahead of the game when it comes to everything from email to blogging to creating an intranet. There are a number of Google Applications that allow organizations, schools, businesses, and even your grandparents to create their own online identity and stay organized.  While you are stuck in the year 2000 using, your grandma could probably figure out how to create a crochet blog, add photos and a widget, and customize her email to

The strategy (no, actually that's wizardry) that seems to keep Google on top is it's simplicity and it's price... practically free. Maybe $10 to get a domain, but that's about it.  It seems to be the way of the online world so be careful what you are paying for, it might be free tomorrow.   Everything is so user-friendly and low cost these days, you almost hate to share the secret.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Political Time

Between now and November 4th we will get our fill of political talk, ads and images. Since the parties national conventions are happening within these next two weeks, we thought it would be interesting to look at the two brand images created for the national conventions.

The circular design features the silhouette of a triumphant elephant, a Party symbol dating back to 1874, along with the names of the host cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The design is said to highlight the spirit of the party. It will be seen on everything for the venue, to t-shirts and all souvenirs. was designed by New York City-based Creative Director Robert Matza.

Incorporating red, white and various hues of blue, the Democratic design reflects the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain West that is home to the 2008 Denver Convention. The majestic mountain skyline and star-filled horizon that are characteristic of Denver and the entire Rocky Mountain region are reflected in the logo to demonstrate that view. Student artists Stuart Confer and Nathan Zehr designed the logo.

What do you think? Any preferences? We'd love to hear your comments on these images.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Holidays . . . What?

We know summer is not quite over and the leaves haven't started falling off the trees.  So why the title of the post you ask?  After all, the holidays are easily three months away.

Well, for a non-profit organization the end of summer usually means holiday campaign.  Has your non-profit organization started creating strategies for your end of year ask?  If not, now would be a good time to start.  

Typically, the holiday season is the time of year that generates the most donations. After all, holidays are when people feel very generous focusing their attention on giving.  Plus, major gift donors tend to squeeze in one last gift before the tax season ends.

There are several ways to capitalize on this time of year but starting now is key.   How do you want to connect with your donors?  Is it a viral campaign, direct mail campaign, cause marketing campaign or end of year event?   Whatever way it is, now is the time to prepare. 

Need some assistance?  Not sure what to do?  columbus imPRessions can help.  We have years of experience with holiday giving campaigns. For a free consultation, email us at for more information.  Let us put our experience to work for you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Convincing Your Board That Marketing Is Important

Times are tough but sometimes persuading your board can be even tougher.  Boards and administrators can be hesitant when it comes to spending time or money on marketing.  But, in order for non-profits to survive and make their difference in the world they need funding.  In order to achieve lucrative funding, they need marketing.  Our equation for non-profit success is:

Development + Marketing = Successful Program

Maybe these five points will help make your board think a little differently about their non-profit survival needs:

  1. Change perception - perception is reality so get them thinking marketing is their friend.  After all, marketing makes a bigger difference because you are able to reach a greater number of people.  Marketing makes you stand out above the rest and, when marketing smart you become strategic not reactive.
  2. Be Efficient - you can create incredible looking pieces without breaking the bank.  Be smart about your material choices like paper stocks, colors, folds.  Streamline your message.  You don't have to say much to leave an imPRession.
  3. Realize Needs - Create materials for what is really needed.  You don't have to create pieces for everything.  Maybe you have a milestone celebration coming up, focus your strategy around that and create supporting pieces for this call to action.  Or maybe you need more volunteers so create a piece that will pop and create interest attracting more volunteers. 
  4. Be Flexible - It's smart marketing to stay focused on initiatives but it's also smart marketing to be flexible.  If after a few quarters if something is not working it might be time to change strategy - not necessarily the materials - but the strategy.
  5. Measure and Communicate - Track your results quarterly and share them with the board.  When there is forward movement and progress they will begin to see the fruits of your labor and you will get buy-in. 
Not sure where to start, columbus imPRessions can help you create your marketing strategies, marketing campaign or materials.  Contact us at or call 614.725.2561.

Playing Paula Abdul at the Ruby Awards

This week I was asked to be a judge for the Ohio Travel Association's Ruby Awards.   Ruby stands for Recognizing Uncommon Brilliance, and is a way for Ohio's Travel Association to honor those who have found the most innovative ways to market their destination or services through marketing and advertising.

Five of us spent an entire day looking through hundreds of marketing pieces throughout the 12 categories.  Some categories were brochure, newsletter, annual report, print advertisement, radio advertisement, web site, marketing campaign and electronic media.

Some of the places who submitted work were:  Cedar Point, Cincinnati USA, Ashtabula County, Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, Youngstown, Northern Cincinnati Convention & Visitors Bureau, Toledo Zoo and Clinton County Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

I'm not sure who the winners will be; those will be announced at the annual conference in October. But looking through all of those marketing pieces there certainly are quite a few strong contenders.

Playing Paula Abdul, minus the crazy part, was actually quite fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Email Address!

Just wanted to let everyone know that columbus imPRessions has a new email address:  

Please drop us a note and let us know your thoughts on our blog, our posts, our business.   We'd love to hear from you.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hamptons Moving in to the Old Estradas

After months of stalking my old King Ave stomping grounds trying to figure out what was going to happen to the Estrada's property, the mystery has been solved.... Hampton's on King. B. Hampton's, formerly located a few blocks away on 3rd Avenue, will now reap the benefits of the old Estrada's patio.

For me personally, this is a bittersweet change. I was the longest employed worker at Estrada's through college and afterward, and will always cherish the 8 years I spent learning from and having a blast with my other dad, Ray Estrada. Ray passed away in March of 2007 after a disastrous house fire. The strange part of this story (well actually there are many strange parts) is that a few years ago Ray asked me to help him spruce up the place to increase the winter-time business. We walked down to B. Hamptons to have a few beers and take notes on the scene; clearly Hampton's was doing something right. The next day we painted the dining room mahogany, hung up art and did our best to create a bar atmosphere. It looked great but still maintained the hole-in-the-wall feel that people loved (and many hated).

I came very close to taking over the restaurant after it became too much for his son to handle, so it's hard to see it become someone else's. But at the same time, Hamptons on King seems to fit well.

Now, if only they hired columbus imPRessions to help get some exposure- the ideas are already flying .. a VIP opening for neighbors, a grand opening, a story in the local papers, advertising, internet marketing... this is a project that I could really be passionate about. It would be such a story-book ending to my Estradas days, that I would be compelled to actually write a book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sunday Paper Could Get A Little Lighter

All of you who love to get the Sunday paper to see the circular ads and find out what is going to be on sale for the week might end up feeling a little disappointed.

This week retailers JC Penny and Kohl's announced they are evaluating their newspaper insert circulation strategy.  With advertising budgets tighter than ever retailers are looking to cheaper on-line programs and more measurable, targeted direct mail strategies.  Print insertion will begin to decline which could make the Sunday paper a bit lighter.

However, Walmart, who is sporting a new logo and is focusing their messaging on value, is spending more on circular advertising than last year.  They seem to be successful.

Maybe it's more about the messaging than the circular.  In tough economic times people want to know their money is going toward a good value.  The moral of today's post - messaging is key!

columbus imPRessions knows the importance of strategic messaging.  Contact us if you'd like help crafting key messages for your business or organization.

Monday, August 18, 2008

America's Newest Sports Brand

Move over Tiger Woods America has a new sports icon and his name is Michael Phelps. With Phelps winning 8 gold medals and shattering world records it only makes sense that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps will become the new "it" man and brand.
He has the super cool logo. Soon he will be receiving endorsement deals from all over and his face will be plastered on everything. He has already made an estimated $5 million in endorsements, including a $1 million bonus from swimsuit maker Speedo for winning the eight gold medals. In fact right after his win in the 200-meter butterfly Visa Gold aired the "Congratulations Phelps" spot.
This is just the beginning. Be prepared to see Michael Phelps all over everything! His brand is sure to be one of the strongest and most recognized brands around.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

World's Largest Oreo Cookie Dunk

Grabbing people's attention, especially with outdoor advertising is becoming more like a publicity stunt.  To get customers attention creative measures are being pushed to the extreme. 

For example, in London Right Guard Deodorant recently launched a gorilla marketing campaign sending a team of people onto subway trains with tiny video screens in the armpits of their shirts. Whenever one of them reached up to hold on a commercial for Right Guard would play in someone's face - they called it "pitvertising." Jolly clever ole' chap!

We like the giant Oreo dunking into a glass of milk.  A giant Oreo was placed on the side of a glass elevator in Manhattan.  A large glass of milk was placed on the bottom of the elevator shaft.  Every time the elevator went down it dunked into a glass of milk.  Clever, and as you can see from the Youtube video it caught quite a bit of attention.   This could have been a great situation for a fusion marketing campaign - "got milk" and "Oreo".  Even though this campaign ran for one day it continues to rung strong capturing views on the Internet.

Has anyone seen any interesting outdoor campaigns in Columbus?  Comment on one of your favorites.

Special shout-out and thanks to Patrick for sending this posting tip!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cleveland Still Rock and Roll Capitol of the World?

Yesterday it was announced that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cleveland, will open an annex in New York City in November.
The Annex will showcase selected artifacts from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s vast collection. The Annex will also extend the Museum’s mission to honor key cities that have helped shape the history of rock and roll and will include experiences through a hall of fame, theatre, and New York Rocks - an ongoing homage to a city so integral in music history.

Apparently the annex was part of a strategy to increase its visibility over all and drive tourist traffic to Cleveland. But will that really work? The Big Apple is the one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. Could this mean people will no longer travel to Cleveland to see the exhibit because they will get their "fix" in NYC? Time will tell. Could be interesting.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex NYC is sponsored by Best Buy, Diesel for Bloomingdales, Citi and Gibson. Additional partners include Sony, Sennheiser, Klein + Hummel, Kohler and Brocade Home.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Olympic Athletic Brand

The Olympics are in full swing and the USA is collecting medals!!

Watching the games got me wondering what Athletic Brand was the most popular among the athletes.  A little viewing and a little research led me to the answer. . . .

Over 3,000 athletes, 16 national Olympic committees, 214 national Olympic associations, over 100,000 volunteers, officials, employees, and all of the torch-bearers around the globe are wearing Adidas sports gear.  43 different types of shoes are being produced just for the games.

German company Adidas started its Olympic tradition back in 1928 with founder Adi Dassler manufactured shoes for the Amsterdam Olympic games.

Fun fact . . . in the last summer Olympic games (Athens 2004) every second gold medal went to athletes wearing Adidas.  It's no wonder they are the brand of the Olympics.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

4 What = How

No, this is not a new math problem.  It's just the formula for successfully marketing your non profit's latest campaign or development program.   By answering some important "what" questions you will learn "how" to be a fundraising winner.  

For example, you are getting ready to launch your new school fundraising program.  In order to report success to your board of directions you need to map out the answers to the following questions:
  1. What is your objective? (you want to create a successful school program in your chapter area with the ability to raise funds and create awareness in the community)
  2. What is your goal? (to raise XXX funds through a school program having to spend XXX to do so)
  3. What is your strategy? (set criteria - research and define what regions, cities, communities, districts - "who" you are targeting.  Sometimes you can't reach everyone so you need to focus on your primary target for the best rate of return.  Determine how you are going to reach them (direct mail, email, face-to-face visits).  Focus on the needs of your primary target (can you teach students the importance of philanthropy, can you incorporate some fundraising techniques into the school curriculum, can you share stories of your mission to get the students to understand, can you make the project fun) 
  4. What are your measuring tools? (how many schools do you want involved, how many direct mail letters or emails are you going to send, how many schools can you visit to make the face-to-face connection, how many media stories do you want to run in the community)
How are you going to win? 
Connect the students to your mission, make them feel they are making a difference, reach the parents to create an entirely new target of potential supporters, make personal visits to the school, stay focused on the criteria, create community awareness in the local media, personally follow-up, show supporters where there money went, thank them for their support.  Then you will retain these supporters for years to come. You, your supporters and your mission will all be winners!

Your nonprofit doesn't have a school fundraising and marketing program.  columbus imPRessions has experience in school program fundraising.   We can help. Email us at or call 614.725.2561.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Brands That Give Back

We think it is important to support brands that give back. Every so often we'd like to draw attention to some great brands that give back to nonprofit organizations.

Today we'd like to give a "shout out" to a few hometown hero brands!

Limited Brands: With strong values and a commitment to social responsibility Limited Brands have helped numerous community organizations over the years. To see this impressive list click here.

Bob Evans: With a focus on families and children, Bob Evans has assisted in improving the quality of organizations like 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Children's Hospital. If your nonprofit serves children or families you can fill out an on-line corporate giving proposal here.

Columbia Gas of Ohio: With a focus on improving the quality of life in the communities it serves, Columbia Gas of Ohio created The Environmental Challenge Fund which provides support for local natural resource and wildlife enhancement projects.

We're proud to have these great companies in our Columbus community!

Monday, August 11, 2008

National Health Center Week

Did you know that August 10 - 17 is National Health Center Week?  This is is a special time to celebrate Health Center success and the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers is doing just that through events all week and their new Health Center Hero Award program!  Free health fairs, open houses and events involving public officials and community leaders are going on throughout the state.  The Health Center Hero Award program gives Community Health Centers the opportunity to nominate staff members and colleagues for the award.  The winners are to be announced online and through local media on Monday, August 11th.  Also this week, a national report is being released that shows that there are not enough doctors and nurses in the places that need them most.  Look for National Health Center Week information in your local news!  Email or comment and let us know what you see.  

About the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers

The Ohio Association of Community Health Centers (OACHC) is a not-for-profit professional trade association representing Ohio's Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs, or Community Health Centers). OACHC's Mission is to ensure access to high-quality affordable health care for all Ohioans through the growth and development of Ohio's Community Health Centers.  For more information, visit  

Friday, August 8, 2008

Four Reasons Why You Must Market Your Non-Profit

There are four simple, straight-to-the-point reasons why you must market your nonprofit organization:
  1. Build Awareness
  2. Drive Traffic
  3. Drive Sales
  4. Create Community
Wait a minute, these words sound like they should be used for running a business. Well, a nonprofit may have a big heart, but in order to have the matching wallet it must think and act like a business. So, in order to wrap your arms around this concept, think of a donor as a customer and a donation as a sale.
  • By building awareness you get customers to know about you. This can be done through advertising, publicity, word of mouth, etc.
  • By driving traffic existing and potential customers are lured to your organization. Get them to see it in action or have them experience the action.
  • By driving sales, new customers will give money and existing customers will give more
  • By creating community you build relationships with your customers. This will build retention and loyalty.
Create marketing strategies using these four points and your organization will come up a winner every time.

For assistance on creating your organization's marketing strategy columbus imPRessions can help. columbus imPRessions has created various successful marketing strategies for a number of nonprofit organization over the last 10 years. Email us at or call 614.725.2561.

Back to School

If you are a parent, teacher, school administrator, or a human being, then you are well aware that it's back to school time!  The news media loves this stuff to death every August.  Saving on school supplies, back to school wardrobe shopping, first day back stress, immunizations... the headlines go on & on.  So what do you do when the news seems focused on one subject? Make your story fit in!  A few examples:

  • Whole Foods Market helping shoppers prepare for back to school season.  Attention grabbing statistic:   "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold alone. Strengthening the immune system and good nutrition are essential at this time of year when kids are headed back to the classroom."  
..... Mom & Dad better pack organic lunches or kids will be missing millions of lessons!

  • Credit Unions Reach Out to Ohio Schools:  800 letters were recently sent from the Ohio Credit Union League to guidance counselors throughout Ohio to remind them of an impending financial education mandate and introduce them to the free educational web portal  
...... Teachers better educate the kids about good financial habits with this free resource!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Looks like DQ is a popular topic this week, earlier we posted about DQ and the Girl Scouts cause-marketing campaign.  Today DQ is teaming up with Children's Miracle Network.

Today only all DQ's across the county are running a promotion called - Miracle Treat Day.  Buy any blizzard today and the proceeds will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network.  Spots to promote this day have been running on various TV stations to create awareness of this partnership.  

Children Miracle Network was founded in 1983 by Marie Osmond and Dukes of Hazards star, John Schneider.  It started as a small television fundraiser that has grown into helping 17 million children for every disease and injury imaginable. There are 170 children's hospitals affiliated with Children's Miracle Network - Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus is one of them.

DQ seems so philanthropic.  Maybe because the American Dairy Queen is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway - a company of Warren Buffett.  Buffett, one of the largest philanthropists in the world announced in 2006 that he planned to give away his fortune to charity.

Looks like part of the fortune is to give back - one blizzard at a time.  It's summer, it's hot, why not get a cool tasty blizzard treat  . . . go ahead and splurge, it's for the kids after all - at least for today.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Doggyspace - seriously

Yes, I am serious, it's social networking for dogs. While some may think this is ridiculous, (non dog- lovers), we think it is wizardry. Pet owners love to show off photos, talk about their dogs, act like their dogs have 'friends', and what not. The intelligent dog that came up with this concept knew that selling web banners and advertisements would be easy since he would be capturing dog owners who would do practically anything for their pooch. Petsmart and SPCA are a few brands you see at first glance among the tons of ADORABLE wittle guys!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cause marketing partnerships

What is cause marketing?

Cause-related marketing is a partnership between a for-profit and a nonprofit where each has something to offer the other, and both realize a benefit. Selecting the right partner can result in added revenue, media exposure and great PR. American Express' campaign for the Statue of Liberty restoration project in the early 1980's was the first major cause marketing effort.

Partners should have a natural affinity with each other. But are all cause marketing partnerships a good thing? According to a July 24th CSPI newsroom web site article they don't think so. Girl Scouts of America's partnership with Dairy Queen is under heavy attack. While a thin mint blizzard sounds like a good idea, and delicious too, the facts about the product and what Girl Scouts stand for don't really match.

The large sized Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard from Dairy Queen weighs more than a pound, has more than 1,000 calories, 31 teaspoons of sugars, and provides more than a day’s saturated fat. Yikes!

Girl Scouts may be reaching a new audience but at what price. CSPI thinks the partnership doesn't match with the Girl Scouts’ mission, and this product and its marketing campaign deliver a very unhealthful message to young girls and others. If others feel this way, this might not be a great cause marketing partnership after all.

Some examples of good cause marketing partnerships:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Awareness Must Be Strong in Tough Economic Times

No doubt about it, the economy is tough.  Just last week the city of Columbus announced they will be laying off workers and freezing other positions.  The same thing is happening at Cardinal Health and many other corporations across central Ohio.

Now more than ever you need to find ways to create strong awareness.  Competition is fierce during this unsettling financial time leaving little money to spend.  So then, how can you accomplish this? 

columbus imPRessions can help.  By hiring brand and awareness experts we can drum up the attention and interest you need and save you money in the process.  Just think about it, columbus imPRessions provides focused professional talent without the long-term cost and commitment of a full-time employee.  columbus imPRessions will work with you on either a special project, a special package of projects or on a monthly retainer.  We will work within your budget and needs.  We can help you get the attention you deserve.

Contact columbus imPRessions at 614.725.2561 or email us at  

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Be on the Lookout for the 7-foot Brutus

Before you know it, we will all be yelling O-H to stop and wait for someone to yell back I-O (which doesn't take very long). In just four quick weeks all of Columbus will be wearing scarlet and gray cheering for our Buckeyes along side the cheerleaders and Brutus.

Brutus, the beloved Buckeye mascot sure knows how to get the crowd all fired up. He is one of the great Ohio State University brands. Over the years Brutus' look has changed quite a bit. To see some of his past looks click here.

Now Brutus is taking on another different look - that of a seven foot tall concrete statue. The Brutus on Parade project is a fundraiser for the campus library and a scholarship for future cheerleaders.

The concept:
To commission out blank cement Brutus statues that local artists personalize and donors purchase at a price tag of $10,000 - $20,000, depending on whether they want to keep the statue at the end of the parade or not.

The goal:
Create 250 statues to raise $1 million dollars.

The parade:
Start in early August 2008 with Brutus statues displayed all throughout Columbus.

The reality:
Due to a tough economy only about 40 statues have been commissioned and only $100,000 is expected to be raised. Nonetheless, some money and awareness has been raised. Plus, these cool pieces of art give Columbus something unique to display in the city.

Some of the Brutus statues include Christopher Columbus, Jim Tressel and as you can see below, Woody Hayes and E. Gordon Gee.

Go Bucks!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Funny Friday - Compliments of Zone Perfect

A picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks Zone Perfect Bar!