Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Technically We Are On Vacation But . . . .

Today we've spent some time building our social media.  Technically we are working, but this is fun so it still feels like vacation.

On Facebook we have created a Stroll for Epilepsy page and we are looking for fans.  Please become a fan here.

On Facebook we also created a columbus imPRessions page.  We'd love to add to our fan base.  Click here to become a fan.

Exciting things are on the horizon for 2009.  We'll start the year with a profile feature on the Social Avenue Blog.  We'll let you know when the profile goes live.

Happy and Healthy New Year to Everyone!  2009 is going to be fine!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As the holidays approach and the year comes to an end, we reflect on what we accomplished in 2008. One year ago, we were working for a nationally recognized non-profit organization running a marketing and PR department. We would have never imagined our dream of owning our own business would come true.

Through changes not predicted, we turned our dream into a reality. Over the last six months we have met many people, gained many clients and more importantly many new friends.

Running a business, especially in this economy, can be a scary thing. But we end 2008 with confidence and enter 2009 with hope and promise.
We will be closing our office during the next two weeks to celebrate the holidays with our families and will return after the new year.

Wishing you and your family a very blessed Christmas and a new year filled with hope and joy. Thank you for following our posts and believing in our business. We look forward to exciting happenings in 2009!


Colleen and Michele - columbus imPRessions

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brand Extensions in 2008

Best and Worst Brand Extensions of 2008 (results determined through market research)

Best
1.  Coppertone Sunglasses - makes sense - suntan lotion and sunglasses are in brand balance with one another.
2. Mr. Clean Car Wash - cars as clean as floors.  Perfect marriage in our books.
3.  Campbell's V8 Soup - V8 juice has been the broth of my soups for years.  This one makes perfect sense.

Worst
1. BK underwear - have your boxers your way?  This one is just crazy.  No connection between burgers and boxers.
2. Kellogg's Hip Hop Street Wear - Tony the Tiger isn't that cool.  Can't image any rapper wearing these clothes.  
3.  Playboy Energy Drink - not touching this one.  Can't really see how the brand could extend here.

Best Cause Marketing Campaign
Girl Scout Thin Mint Blizzard supporting Children's Miracle Network. Even though this is full of fat, it's a good use of the brand/product for a great cause.  Not to mention it's delicious too!

Worst Cause Marketing Campaign
Pink Panther Pinkitude supporting Susan G. Kohman.  Not everything pink should support breast cancer.  When I see Pink Panther I think insulation.

Friday, December 19, 2008

To Michele the Social Networker (from Colleen)

Just wanted to take a moment to a) apologize for forgetting to post on the columbus imPRessions blog, not that anyone noticed.  and b) point out how amazing Michele (Scumleg as I call her) is at building our network online.  It takes a lot of work and maintenance from our facebook page, to twitter, to keeping this site interesting (besides posts, its music, blog catalogues, looking for Alaskans, etc). 

Anyway, cheers to Michele, I am so grateful to have you as a friend and business partner.  Looking forward to 2009! (In which I will be better about creating interesting posts and other online wizardry)  

1-800 Flowers Brand Expansion

The other night on TV I saw an ad for 1-800 Flowers introducing the newest brand partnership, the one with Martha Stewart.

Who would have ever thought a flower retail shop in New York would grow into not only a worldwide florist, but extend itself into a huge home decor, and gifts mega retailer.

A few year's back 1-800 Flowers included local company Cheryl&Co into their brand collection. Cheryl&Co has been providing delicious cookies and corporate gifts for years.  This made me wonder what the new partnership with Martha Stewart would do to the locally grown company. 

Like Cheryl&Co, Martha also offers cookies.  Could this become competitive between the two brands?  Time will tell but at least for right now 1-800 Flowers is leaning heavy on Martha. The relationship is new, and Martha is huge. So huge she is getting top billing, heavy promotion, even an individual navigation tab on the 1800 flowers web site.  Cheryl and Co. basically has an honorable mention link at the bottom (underneath the fold) of the web page.

Let's hope this will only bring new customers to one of our favorite cookie brands from Columbus and help it grow even bigger.  You can order delicious Cheryl&Co cookies and gift baskets here.  Help keep a local company and brand prosperous!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Alaska is on the Cluster Map

It didn't take too long.  With just a couple attempts we got our red dot on the state of Alaska. Scroll down to the bottom and see our Cluster Map.  

Thanks to our new friend in Anchorage!!

Top Holiday Ads

When money is tight retailers tug on the heart strings to get consumers into their doors. Emotional branding at its best.  But does this type of brand advertising really work?

It worked for Best Buy this year.  Their employee's sharing heartfelt stories of helping customers find the perfect gift spot moved them up in the ranks from last year.

According to an Ad Age article, of the consumer surveyed only 17.5% felt motivated by the spots to go shopping, 43.5% were not motivated by the spots, and 39% didn't care what the spot was because they already shop at these retailers.

Did you have a favorite holiday commercial?  Did it motivate you to shop at the store?  We'd love to hear your comments.

See the top ten comparison below.

Top Ten Holiday Ads: Consumers rank the retailer they think had the best holiday commercial.
2008 Rank2007 Rank
TargetTarget
Wal-MartWal-Mart
Best BuyMacy's
Macy'sBest Buy
Kohl'sSears
SearsKohl's
KmartKmart
JC PenneyJC Penney
Old NavyPublix
Toys R UsMeijer

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

La Jeune Mariee Bridal Boutique Sample Sale - Mark Your Calendar

We just sent out a mailer to central Ohio soon to be brides notifying them of our client's, La Jeune Mariee Bridal Boutique, Winter Sample Sale.  You are invited too.

Mark your calendar for January 9th and 10th 2009.  Appointments are needed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Money Tight? Feed the Pig.

It's an expensive time of the year on top of a tough economic time.  Feeling frustrated and not sure what to do.  Feed the Pig can help!

We found a great site sponsored by the AICPA (America Institute of Certified Public Accountants) that gives you great tips on saving money, provides financial resources, financial discussions and podcasts.  They even have a site to help tweens with money questions.

"Spokespig" Benjamin guides you through the site making it interactive.  You can also find your inner under saver and learn how you can slightly change your habits and save money.  Add the application to your Facebook (like we did) and keep track of your saving commitment through social networking.

Want a daily reminder text keyword "feed" to 83484 for free reminders to feed the pig.

Sponsored by the Ad Council this campaign is targeted to Americans 25-34 so they can take control of their finances by reducing debt and increasing savings.

Great resource at a time when it's really needed.  Go ahead, check out the site and feed the pig.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Did you Get Your Newsies Paper on Saturday?

Saturday morning, while stopping for a red light on Old 315 at the bottom of Worthington Hills, a man in a white jumpsuit came up to my car window.  Charity Newsies was again selling their special edition newspaper for charity.  I happily rolled down the window to give a donation for my paper.  

It wasn't until later that night that I actually had the opportunity to read the paper.  I was fascinated by the history and story of the organization.  I've lived in Columbus for over 20 years, bought many Charity Newsies papers but never really knew the story behind this 102 year old charity.

What is the story behind Charity Newsies?  

According to the paper, it was a cold day in December 1907 when a young newspaper carrier with ragged clothes was trying to sell papers on the corner of Broad and High.  Inside a restaurant three men came to his aid, taking him inside to warm up. The men then took the papers and sold them saying it was for charity.  They sold every paper and gave the money to the boy so he could buy himself some warm clothes.  From that, an idea was born.  That same year before Christmas 50 business men took to the streets with a special edition paper to sell for charity.  They raised about $700.00 (quite a bit back then) and used 100% to buy clothing for school children in need.

From that day forward and over 100 years later, Charity Newsies still takes it to the streets during the holiday season, every second Saturday in December, to give 100% of the proceeds to buy clothing for Franklin county school children in need.

I was fascinated by the history and very glad I gave, and will continue to give to such a wonderful organization.  Click here to learn more about Charity Newsies.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Did We Find a Friend From Alaska?

We still have yet to get our Cluster Map dot on Alaska.  But that might change soon.  We recently became Twitter followers with @Scribbit from Anchorage, Alaska.    She has a great blog site that we are now following Scribbit.

Let's see if we get that dot soon.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flight of the Conchords wants to know . . Are Your Lyrics Bottomless? Check this out!

Can you rap sync? Flight of the Conchords and HBO are holding a contest. Creating a lip sync to their new video - Hiphopopopotamus vs. Rhymeroceros - and you can win your spot on HBO. Contest ends 1/25/09. Check out the way cool site here for the video and details. 

Great way to use Internet and social networking. Seems to be all the buzz already. Just passing a good thing along! Have fun!

For Those About to Rock . . . Go To Walmart

Wal-mart has the exclusive rights to sell AC/DC's new album, Black Ice.  They did the same exclusive promotion with the Eagles, and Journey.  Bands that were good "back in my day" (now I sound like my parents) seem to be making a come back, and a successful one at that, with Wal-Mart.   

Wonder why?  Are they magic?

Probably not magic.  
  • Maybe it's because with the exclusive promotion customers receive a price much lower than the standard new release price.
  • Maybe it's because the bands see it as a good business decision and Wal-mart sees it as a smart business model - lucrative for both parties.
  • Maybe it's because the Wal-mart brand and the Classic Rock bands share the same target audience.  
  • Maybe it's because even though the bands are going with one exclusive retailer they are getting more marketing and promotion with Wal-mart than they would through a record label.
Whatever the reason it's proving to be a good formula.  Bands of my day are being revived and with the chart-topping results I can only bet more will be signing up with Wal-mart soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Alltop of the World

We were just notified by Alltop that our site has been selected in appear in two of their categories - marketing and non-profit.

What is Alltop?  Alltop is a site the neatly organizes and arranges "all the top" sites on the web. They like to think of themselves as a digital magazine rack because the display the headline and top 5 stories from each site.  Alltop helps drive visitors to your site.  Isn't social networking awesome!

How do you get on Alltop - Google search results, reviewing the site content and the recommendation of the Twitter community (gotta love that Twitter - that's how we found out about Alltop - thanks Chris Brogan).

We're proud to display our Alltop Banner (right column).  In fact, we're Alltop of the World!

Christmas Gift Idea- Pooch Portrait



A very talented and creative friend of mine has come up with a product that I just had to share.  Jennifer Beck is a photographer and graduate of Columbus College of Art & Design and she is selling these hilarious portraits of YOUR pet in the early 1900s.  For the best quality, she will come and photograph your dog and then magically transform them to antique photos.  (photoshop is like magic, right?)   On the left are a few of her pieces.  What a perfect gift- hurry she may be able to get a few orders in time for Christmas!  (Be sure to tell her Coley referred you)

For info and pricing, contact jbeck@go.ccad.edu  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Non-Profits Should Use US Census Suburban Reports

Non-profits should take some time to review the recently released American Community Survey reports, paying extra attention to the suburban portraits. These suburban portraits can be used as warm leads in finding major gift donor prospects.  

Take for example Franklin county.  Dublin and Upper Arlington are hot spots with the highest household income, housing value and bachelor's degrees. For more highlights on Franklin County click here.

Once you have researched, captured and analyzed the data, find a connection to your program that will directly affect those suburbs. Then put community engagement marketing into motion. Everyone wants to help their community to make it a better place.  Make a direct appeal to suburbs that can financially support your mission making a connection between your mission and their suburb.  Once you do that, you will soon see your number of major gift donors, and your revenues your growing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hilarious Holiday Commercial - Must See

You have to check this out.  Saatchi & Saatchi created "Beware of the Dog House" commercial and web site for JCPenny.

Visit the site to see the 3+ minute spot (worth it), put someone in the dog house, see who else is in the dog house, and learn how to get out of the dog house.  Hint, it sparkles, is beautiful and women love it!

You can also connect the site through Facebook.

Cleverly done and very entertaining!

On-line Fundraising Building a Kintera/Blackbaud Site

Our client, the Epilepsy Foundation of Central Ohio is finally live with their Stroll event on-line fundraising site!  

Because we were hired to do all marketing and PR for this event, we assisted the Foundation by working with Kintera/Blackbaud on creating the Stroll on-line fundraising site - providing key messaging, logos, sponsorship placement and consultation.  

Due to some restructuring within the organization, the site went live a little later than we suggested (in a perfect world on-line event sites, especially walks, should go live 3-6 months before the event). The important thing, however, is the site is now live and is ready to take on-line donations, sign up teams, and use the "friends asking friends" model Kintera/Blackbaud is known for.

Non-profits using on-line fundraising can sell this as inventory/benefits for corporate sponsorships.  Sponsors do see the benefit of having their brand on-line with a charitable organization.  Like us - check out our logo on the sponsor page.

Click here to check out the site. 


Monday, December 8, 2008

Great Holiday Event brings German Village Publicity!


The husband and I were experiencing the early stages of cabin fever yesterday and decided to get out and do something festive.  We ended up going back in time to Germany in the 18oos, where we walked down snowy cobblestone streets with glowing luminaries,  heard Christmas carolers, and stopped into some of the small businesses who offered warm cider, wine and cookies.  Seriously, who knew this kind of merriment still existed?!  Well, it did at the Annual "Village Lights...Shop, Dine & Stroll," which took place in German Village on Sunday December 7th. 

Although reading the cheesy description I just wrote almost made me nauseous, last night it was absolutely perfect.  Getting off the couch, away from the tv & newspaper where all you hear is "economy crisis, layoffs, and bailout plans" was just what we needed.   The recession was actually the perfect reason to attend this free event and spend a few bucks at these independently owned businesses.  So, way to go German Village business community! I know I will be back again soon for dinner, drinks and more shopping.  (And way to go Adam for taking your wife out for a romantic holiday evening.)  

Face on the Frito-Lay Bags

This weekend when grocery shopping I grabbed a bag of Doritos and placed it in my shopping cart. It wasn't until I placed the bag on the checkout counter that I noticed the face on the bag.  At first I thought it was another type of milk carton ad for missing children but when I looked closer I noticed it was a cause marketing partnership between Frito Lays and DoSomething.org.

Dorito bags will feature 17 "do good" stories of people under 25 years old who did something charitable to make a positive difference.  This type of marketing will engage the consumer with their brand at least that is what they are hoping.


It works.  Partnering with DoSomething.org is a wonderful organization.  They empower teenagers and help them come up with ways to make a positive difference.  Teenagers love Doritos.  What a great way to push product and create awareness for a great cause.  A win-win cause marketing partnership.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Spirit of Giving at Green Diamond Gallery

With the tough economy charitable giving is down this holiday season.  Yet, our newest client, Green Diamond Gallery, gave over $50,000 to four charities this holiday season.  Benefiting charities include, The Miracle League, Reds Community Fund, Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum and The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The donation was made possible because of its members.  Through membership and special events a portions of members payments are saved for charitable giving.  Members are a part of the Wright Society and share a fellowship through baseball and philanthropy.  A great way to enjoy your favorite past time and still give back.  Below is a "sneak peak" of the press release that will be distributed to Cincinnati media next week.


Ace Your Face Holiday Portrait

Another fun on-line holiday tool to draw people to a retailer site.

Ace Hardware.  Yes, I would have never thought to visit Ace Hardware but when I came across Ace Your Face, I couldn't resist.  Build your portrait from one of eight different holiday scenes.  Then email your portrait to as many family members and friends you want (or post the link on your blog site).  Smart way for ACE to create brand awareness, increase their unique visitors and possibly get some new on-line customers too.

Check out the columbus imPRessions holiday portrait.  I'm a sucker for these things.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mail a Holiday Card To the Troops

Thanks to the American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes you can send a holiday card to our American service men and women though the Holiday Mail for Heroes program.  Don't have a card.  You can download one for free on the site. 

What a great way to let them know we are thinking of them during the season of giving and we are wishing them well and a safe trip home.  Here's the address:


Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456


We checked this out with Snopes.com and it's true.  Unlike the Recovering American Solider one - that is false.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

MonaVie- thoughts?


Do any of our readers out there have an opinion on the popular and intriguing juice product, MonaVie? We just don't know what to think with some claiming it's a scam and others raving about the benefits of acai.  

What I have noticed, is that the simple bottle design, availability through individual distributors, and expensive price seem to be working well for the product.  When my husband's "dealer" (: moved away, I was thrilled to find out over thanksgiving that a relative was selling it.   I do like the taste although I just don't know how much I believe the hype.  

Here is why it works for me personally:  I start with a shot in the morning and experience that satisfaction of starting the day off right.  I take a little bit of a longer walk in the morning and try to make healthy choices the rest of the day.  So, essentially, that expensive drink of MonaVie somehow keeps me conscious of my choices, and in the end, I truly do feel better.   But is it the drink or the rest of the choices?  

Any thoughts, opinions, experiences?...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

PepsiMax Controversial Ads

Not quite sure what Pepsi is trying to do with its new print ad campaign created by BBDO Dusseldorf, but WOW!  I have to admit, I'm taken aback by these ads and I consider myself to be pretty open to all types of advertising.  

Not too sure about the one calorie character committing suicide though. And people thought the Motrin baby commercial was bad. I'd much rather take that one over the PepsiMax ad any day. We won't post the photos but you can read the article and see the ads here.

Let us know your thoughts - did PepsiMax take this campaign a bit too far?

From the remarks on various message boards I think Pepsi might need to do some damage control on this one.  Maybe a little crisis communication. Although if they wanted people talking they sure got their wish.

I say bring back the head bobbing "What is Love" commercial - yes it works best for TV but at this point, I think it would work better in print than the new direction they are going.

Virtual Holiday Card

We sent out our holiday cards yesterday and today.  
Here is our virtual holiday card for all our social networking friends.  


Wishing you a holiday season

filled with vigor, fervor, and long-lasting imPRessions.


Michele Savoldi and Colleen Fischer

columbus imPRessions


Stroll for Epilepsy Facebook Application

The Epilepsy Foundation of Central Ohio needs your help!  Next month is the Stroll for Epilepsy at Polaris Fashion Place on January 31, 2009.

To help create awareness we created at Facebook application.   If you're on Facebook become a fan and help us spread awareness for the event.

Over 100,000 people in central Ohio were touched by epilepsy this year and the Foundation was there to help.  In order to continue their mission of helping prevent, control and cure epilepsy as well as help people with epilepsy through services, education, advocacy and research, they need community support.

Consider forming a walk team, donating to the event or becoming a fan and spread awareness of this neurological condition through this event.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Regifting

Regifting - the art of pawning an unwanted gift onto someone else.  Have you ever regifted or receive a present you just knew was someones regift?  Have you ever virtually regifted?  

Because many holiday traditions are becoming viral (check out our Elf Yourself we did a couple weeks back) now is your opportunity.

UPS is using their brand to draw attention and go viral with their UPS Regifter site.  Here you can upload a photo of a gift you'd like to virtually regift or select some items from the UPS gallery.  Email your regift to anyone you'd like.  You can also regift via Facebook.  We added the UPS Regifter registry to our profile and sent a couple regift ourselves.

Regifting has never been so fun, easy and acceptable.