Life as a PR dude

Thoughts and experiences in a new media world

Macro-brewer going micro?

After reading “Brewing Up a Business” and doing my book report for MC 3031, I thought about how a macro brewpub, such as MillerCoors, could enter the micro scene.  There is quite a rift between micro and macro breweries, with micro owners and consumers feeling like the MillerCoors’ of the world only want to buy out micros and slap their name on it.  Essentially, this causes microbreweries to suffer because the money is going straight to the corporation and not back into the micro scene.  While this may be tru, I thought of a creative way for macro breweries to gain a more positive reputation among the micro breweries and to their consumers.

What if MillerCoors opened a brewpub in Chicago, a place where they have a large office and not far from Miller Headquarters in Milwaukee.  The brewpub would open near the lake shore, as if to have a beach house brewpub feel.  Miller would host a brewing festival where any brewmaster could bring his beer to compete for a chance to become head brewer at the new brewpub.  The best beer becomes the main attraction at the new brewpub.  This way, MillerCoors would have their own “Select” or “Premier” product line of beer, much like Community Coffee has for their “Reserve” line and distilleries have for their fine spirits.  The brewpub would also sell Miller Lite and other miller products to attract people who also enjoy macro beers, but would be an excellent way to show the micro scene that they aren’t looking to buy out the competition, but enter it.  They will also gain revenue from the beer festival which will likely attract thousands of brewers looking for  a dream opportunity to own their first brewpub.

Miller would gain respect throughout the microbrewery scene and gain revenue from a new audience, while still marketing towards their current audience through the offering of established products.


Subaru 200,000

This commercial is such a great ad for Subaru and follows their new campaign “Love. Subaru.” The storytelling ad starts at the end of the story and works backwards to highlight monumental life occasions and how the Subaru was there through it all. It is sentimental and shows the dependency of a Subaru.

One more week… Just one more week

One week until the big presentation!  It’s hard to believe that not only this semester is over, but my senior capstone class is also coming to an end.  What a four years and, more specifically, what a semester this has been.  Thank you, ISO, for making this an unforgettable experience.
Last time I blogged we were just about to have our event.  I’m happy to say, it went amazing.  We had an excellent turnout and everybody who attended has signed up for either the summer camp or the current baseball season.  What an accomplishment.  Through all our efforts during the summer and a last second campaign inside the church the same day as our event, we exceeded all our expectations.
While the event went well, we are far from being done with our campaign.  We are continuing to make final pushes to get ISO recognition on the radio and in the newspaper.  Our efforts have fallen short with both recently, but we made progress with both during the week.  Even if the article runs after our presentation or after graduation, we will do everything in our power to get them the exposure they deserve.
Another challenge we face is with the campaign book, which has been a work in progress since the beginning of the semester.  There are many things that are completed, including what I mentioned in earlier posts, and other writings including a feature story and a press release.  We also need to finalize presentation details and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! With the presentation weighing an equal amount, there is no reason to not get the maximum, or as close to maximum, amount of points possible.
In one week we will have the opportunity to share what we accomplished this year, and see what the other groups completed.  From what I’ve heard from the other groups, we seem to all have different campaign objectives and tactics.  It should be interesting to see what was accomplished.
As always, follow me on twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The BIG event is here

So much was accomplished in the past two weeks.  After feeling like we hadn’t accomplished much, I finally noticed all the hard work once it was placed in one document.  WOW!

First, we met with Dr. Moore for our midway evaluation.  Our report was heavily marked in red pen, but we were assured it was from her large handwriting.  Thanks for the reassurance, Dr. Moore.  Our report was very put together, and outlined our clear direction for the rest of the campaign, including the target audience, which needs to be clarified.  We did receive insight on where we can improve.  Overall, the meeting with Dr. Moore was positive and insightful.  The final campaign book will be awesome!

Next, we went to the YMCA for a summer camp fair to reach out to local families looking for summer camp enrollment options for their children… obviously.  At first I was hesitant to think this would help our cause, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Our group had an ISO kiosk with a bulletin board created by our very own Brannon Topey (follow her blog here).  As parents passed, we made it very clear about who we were and why our summer camp and overall recreational sports were distinguished from our competitors.  People appreciated the fact that ISO provided recreational sports where the stress is more on fundamentals and team work, than keeping score and winning.  The event attracted hundreds of people and many were very interested in ISO.  We will look at registration for the summer camp this week and next week to see if there was a spike in registration.

As we look ahead, we still have lots to complete and accomplish.  Our event is in three days… YIKES!! However, we are ready and will have a fantastic time.  ML wouldn’t have it any other way.  Hopefully people will show up, but I don’t for a second doubt they will.

Also, I want to give a shout-out to some of my classmates in the “Smoking Words” campaign (follow one of my fellow PR buddies, Nathan Montgomery, as he highlights their campaign).  Their appearance at LSU’s Health and Wellness Fair was an event that specifically targeted their audience, and the group strategically placed their table to address this audience.  I also entered their raffle and won a $10 gift card to Walk-On’s.  SWEET!


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Believing and developing ISO’s mission

As our campaign progresses, so too does our lengthy campaign book.  However, I couldn’t be happier that it is.  And neither could the Istrouma Sports Organization.  We finally have a plan that will allow for successful implementation of our campaign.  Targeting our audience was not only my job, but also one of the most important tasks we faced this year.

Dr. Moore sent out a link to a Hallmark campaign that clearly defined its audience and backed up their target audience through research outlined in the report.  This was extremely helpful as we defined our audience.  What we defined as our audience before had logical backing, but our report didn’t outline why we were specifically targeting them.  Now, we have the statistics to back it up.

I blogged about the target audience previously, so I won’t touch much on it.  But check out Champion Sports PR’s new Target Audience report.

It is already mid-March and the campaign is proving to be comprehensive.  Our research never stops, and that proved to be a great thing this week.  I was surfing the internet doing secondary research on our target audience, and I came across a national non-profit group that specifically trains coaches of non-competitive leagues.  Positive Coaching Alliance, or PCA, is widely known and receives endorsements from major league coaches and players, urging coaches to teach fundamentals and life-lessons rather than coaching competition.  I immediately reached out to them and told them about ISO.  One of their regional associates responded and was thrilled to help us out.

This week I will contact ML and talk to him about the opportunity of professionally training the coaches to teach life-lessons, and increasing the retention rate in organized sports.  According to PCA’s website, 70% of children in youth sports drop out by the age of 13.  Why?  They are burned out from the constant stress and competition.  Studies show that children should not compete in sports until they are at least 10-years-old.  Until that age, they do not fully understand competition or effort (Positive Coaching Alliance).

Using PCA and training our coaches will further cement ISO’s belief in “Doing sports a different way.”  Ideally, more parents will also understand why enrolling their children in ISO will be beneficial in the long run.  Professionally trained coaches will teach kids invaluable lessons and encourage children to continue playing organized sports.

Follow me on twitter: @JordanStageFacebook, and on LinkedIn.

When did March get here?

I can’t believe it is already March!  I feel like this campaign just started.  However, we are only one month away from our big event at ISO and then we will have our wonderful campaign book to finish.  How exciting!

Until April 1, we will move on and finish our survey, which will be passed out at the Baptist church this Sunday.  Ideally, more than 60% of our targeted audience will complete the survey (and you can, too!), but that may be difficult because of how we are forced to conduct the survey.  We will make an announcement before/after the service, telling the congregation about the link to the survey, which will also be listed in the program.

This week, our group completed objectives for the campaign.  Our main objectives focused on high impressions and raising awareness of the entire organization.  Unfortunately, measuring impressions can be somewhat ambiguous and we will have to do our best to not underestimate/overestimate the amount of impressions we receive.  I specifically remember a presentation I heard last semester when the group published an article in the Advocate and counted every newspaper printed as an impression.  While that is optimistic to believe everybody saw the article, it is highly unlikely.

This week we started learning and understanding issue we will face in the coming months, especially with the event.  When planning a date, we quickly found there was limited time slots open for our event.  April 8? Busy. April 15? Unlikely.  April 22? Too late.  We had to do it earlier than expected, and the same day as an event for college students, but we remain optimistic it will work out.  The fact that it is after church should garner more interest, seeing as they are already at the church.  When the congregation enters the church we will pass out a flyer to remind them of our event (it will also be advertised throughout the church in the weeks leading up), and then have booths set up after they are released from the sermon.  The more people we can personally interact with, the better our chances for participation.

As we get closer to our event, anxiety grows.  Will people attend?  Will we get local media attention?  If we do, will it do any good?  These are all questions that will be answered in time.  I just hope they are the right answers.

‘Til next time,

The PR dude

**A side note about professional experience**

Currently I am working for a heavy-industrial construction corporation.  For the past few years we have followed a trend of decreasing skilled craft/factory workers and are combating it with a campaign targeting potential craft/factory workers.  You may have noticed Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs and advocate for factory workers, addressing Congress a few years about the need for more factory workers.  Our efforts are in its beginning stages, but our industry finally got some love from CNN Money with an article that ran on Yahoo!’s front page.  While it was not from our company, it is something we will utilize in our campaign efforts.

Pretty cool stuff when what you learn in a classroom is seen in the real-world.

Piecing together a campaign

After our first meeting with sports director ML Woodruff and the rest of Istrouma Sports Organization, or ISO, we all left overwhelmed.  While small in size, their marketing and public relations department has the financial capability to reach its target audience.  However, their campaign doesn’t focus on the right communication channels to reach their target audience.  After doing a SWOT analysis and secondary research, we concluded the best way to reach their target audience is by informing their church congregation and partnering with local churches without a sports program.  This will greatly increase awareness and attendance, because most their congregation is unaware of ISO and other churches are looking for sport involvement.

During our research we found seven churches that didn’t have a sports organization, which are opportunities for potential expansion.  However, there are concerns about doing this.  Will we upset other church members by asking them to participate with another church?  Will a church’s pastor be upset by another local church reaching out to its congregation?  Will Istrouma Baptist Church be mad for stepping on other church’s toes?  Fortunately, we thought of these questions before asking ML and addressed the issue in a professional manner.  We had proper research to assume this wouldn’t be too much of an issue (we noticed it had been done by other churches and knew some Baton Rouge churches already participated in other church’s events).  When we asked ML, he approved!

This point brings me back to something the “Voice of the Tigers” said one time: You never know an answer until you ask.  It seems so simple, yet we start thinking about either how ridiculous it sounds or that we already know the answer, and we never ask.  When I asked ML, he thought it was a great idea to reach out to other churches.  Even if he had said no, nothing would have changed.  But now, we have a defined audience and a clearer plan for our campaign.  All because we asked.

To find out more about our research and prospective on the ISO campaign, check out our first research paper.  Also, follow me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

’til next time,

The PR dude

Istrouma Sports Organization

When ML spoke to the class during the second week, I knew immediately I wanted to work with him and the organization.  The Istrouma Sports Organization, or ISO, brands itself as “doing sports a different way.”  Essentially, as ML explained, we don’t have grown men living vicariously through their 5-year-old child, yelling at him because his batting average wasn’t above .300.  Their limited competitive ideals concerned me at first.  However, as he explained their theory and the science to back it up in a book that described practice as the most important aspect at a young age, not competition.  Then I started doing my own research.  North Carolina State University found that competition is merely fun and games between the ages of six and eight.  Children don’t fully understand competition until at least nine (  I have to admit, two days ago I would have laughed about not letting kids compete.  They need to learn that competition is inevitable.  “Not at five-years-old,” ML would retort.  I suppose I can agree with that.

As the meeting progressed, we discussed ISO’s current communication plan and ways to expand it.  I learned quickly that their brand, both as  church and a sports organization, is largely recognizable among Baton Rouge citizens.  Between 500-1,000 people attend an ISO event per week, not to mention the church’s outreach.  Fortunately, they built their church brand the right way.  Stayed true to their message, through all ministries.  Their physical logos share the same font and look similar in nature.  However, as they branched out and offered new ministries, their logos became somewhat lost from their central theme, as can be seen here.  I don’t know if changing their logo is possible, but it’s definitely something we should look in to.

After our first meeting as a group, I knew we had the members to make something big happen for ISO.  Then when we met with ML and their Senior Pastor, Jeff Ginn, I knew that we could make something BIGGER happen.  They have the resources to accommodate and sustain growth.  Also, their staff is readily available to help us as we expand ISO’s outreach, with the ability to assist in design, video-editing and music.

I cannot wait to begin this project and learn the value of service-learning.  The opportunity to help a non-profit organization with limited funding and grow it into something that impacts and entire community is beyond exciting.  With so much to do, we better get to work, and I think I know where to start.

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