enlightening you with our bright ideas
Caution!! Blonde thinking! Welcome to Blah, Blah, Blonde -- the blog of PR Powerhouse and natural blonde, Carol A. Ientile, founder of C.I. Visions, Inc. the beauty, fashion and lifestyle public relations and marketing agency.
Our blog is designed to enlighten you with thoughts, words, actions and feelings that will inspire you while improving the quality of your life and how you live it! Be the change you want to see in the world!
Today is International Women’s Day, marking the 101st anniversary of the day men and women in Europe rallied for women’s rights to vote, work, and more. It’s a good opportunity to mark such progress with a look at women in the workplace and how we can be the best we can be as we celebrate ourselves.
More than 100 years ago, women began to fight for the freedoms we have today and we’re lucky to be able to have a seat at the proverbial table and move our way up the corporate ladders and in the business world. But there still are some things we can be doing to progress.
Be nice to one another. Women tend to be our own worst enemies. Rather than be catty, gossipy, and mean, work together, find common interests, and support one another.
Know the difference between business and personal. Men have this down yet we struggle with it. When things happen at work, they’re business. Don’t ever take it personally. Don’t show our weakness and emotions in the workplace – if you have a weak moment step outside, or to the bathroom.
Don’t be afraid to take calculated risk. Change while often hard – it good and necessity to stay relevant and keep yourself relevant and at the top of your game. Remember the gifts are to be honed in the journey – not the destination. Stay flexible attuned to each environment and ready to take a complete 180 if need be!
Stay the course. When a mountain appears in the path – climb it..its often in these unexpected roadblocks that the best course to take is revealed and the gift garnered.
Find Balance. As women, we need to step back, evaluate our priorities and decide what is really important from both a business and a personal perspective. Ask yourself at the beginning of each day what the five most important things are that you need to do that day and do those first. And make sure they are not all business focused. A well-balanced outlook and life tends to lead to a stronger and more successful business.
Accentuate your positives. Use the gifts you’ve been given. Be it your boundless enthusiasm, your tenacity, your quick fire wit, your zest for organization – use your gift as a starting point for making your mark.
Stop saying your sorry. Why do women always apologize for everything? Only say sorry when you have truly made a major mistake.
Become fearless. Let go of any fear of failure and jump! Your must go out on the limb if you want to taste the fruit! Instead of “why – think why not”. Be tough when you need to be but show compassion for people. Strike a balance, you will be appreciated for your strategic and critical thinking, and also for your ability to stay human and build great relationships with your employees and/or your peers.
Follow your passion. Work for a company or a cause or in a career that you believe in. Your must define and feel success for yourself. As women in the workforce we’ll come across those who’ll try to intimidate us simply by trying to show us how powerful they are, or how ‘successful’ they are. Do not, for one moment, let these people—men and women included—get you down or deter your from your passion.
Be true to yourself. Realize that just because someone looks successful or powerful, doesn’t mean they really are. As long as you are giving it your all, doing everything you can, truly, honestly, deeply, you will be successful. It might not be someone else’s definition of success, but you’ll be ‘the best that you can be. And that is pretty darn good.
Happy International Woman’s Day Goddesses!
Pop culture phenom Taylor Swift is practicing forgiveness and quietly leading by example to impressionable young fans her awesomeness! Who doesn’t remember Kanye West’s rude interruption of her acceptance speech at the 2009 Video Music Awards? It sparked an outrage and put Kanye on the music industries persona non grata list for some time.
Now Taylor has waved a white flag and without uttering a word from those stellar pipes made a statement – and a fashion one at that!
Shooting a magazine spread in Nashville for the April issue of Australia’s Harper’s Bazaar she was photographed wearing the rapper’s clothing line. In the issue the county singer sports a striped top by the rapper-turned-designer who showed a collection at Paris Fashion Week last season.
Pretty admirable actions in an celebrity world with its fair share of number #1 mega-hit sized egos and entitled behaviors, for someone not only exhibit a sign of forgiveness, but cast the spotlight and a great deal of publicity to the offending party. Way to go Taylor!
Part of Taylor Swift’s enduring charm is that she really is the one behind the songs she writes. She takes her own life experiences, spins a believable story and sets each one with country sound and mass appeal. Having worked with Taylor’s fashion stylist and dressed her several times in our client’s clothing, I can attest to Taylor’s high voltage trend-setting and huge publicity value. Fans flock to mimic her style and if you are lucky enough to get her wearing your clients wares, their brands instantly garner international media mentions and fashion kudos worth millions. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with such a positive role model? Lucky Kanye!
Taylor is beautiful, enthusiastic and awesome. She is a legit hit maker with songwriting chops that I am sure will continue to amaze us for years. When you see her perform at concerts, she introduces each song with the story that inspired it. Will the Kanye story end here with this very poignant fashion statement, or will we see threads of the message in her next mega-hit? Only Taylor knows – but her ability to forgive in such a classy way is something millions will never forget.
The prefix Super has a basic meaning “above, beyond.” Words formed with super provide a sense of being placed above or over. The Super Bowl, Superman, Superhuman, Supermodel, Supernatural…Super Tuesday.
Referring to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to send to the national convention, Super Tuesday traditionally welcomes each party’s presidential nomination. More delegates can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other single day of the primary calendar, and, accordingly, candidates seeking the presidency traditionally must do well on this day to secure their party’s nomination. Today is that day! Tomorrow morning the news will be full of political pundits spinning the story and placing their bets on who will get the Republican Party’s nomination and face off against President Obama in the Fall.
I don’t personally know one die-hard republican who is feeling so Super about tonight – wishing instead for a Reaganish dark horse to steal the nomination and ride to victory against President Obama in the fall was the general consensus. Democrats I polled are sitting back humming the opening bars of Katie’s Perry SELF INFLICTED…
President Obama in his first 2012 news conference this afternoon discussed new housing policies, Iran, gasoline prices, the war in Afghanistan, the economic recovery, contraception and of course Super Tuesday. When asked by a reporter What would he like to say to Mr. Romney, who calls him the most “feckless” president since Jimmy Carter?
He replied, “Good luck tonight,” referring to the Super Tuesday primaries. “Really.” He got a good laugh. I can just hear Katy Perry now…”I can’t stop, Don’t care that I lose. these wounds are self inflicted…ohh I’m going out in flames…”
Good luck Mr. Romney, put the dog in the car on your next vacation…
WARNING! Today’s post requires viewer discretion and an open mind as we stray from my more subdued musings and talk about SEX, and not your “vanilla” variety but the kind that comes along with role play, hand cuffs, a secret red room and mind shattering orgasms – sorry I don’t have a SAFE word to use and I just had to let it out!
It all started last week in the office on the large flat screen positioned strategically like those in so many other public relations agencies that we use to view and tout our clients latest headline making publicity placements and which serves – in the C.I. Visions office anyway, as our 2012 version of the water fountain. I was reeled into (in daylight hours mind you) a news story with women sharing their intense passion for a erotic romance novel making headlines around the world called 50 Shades of Grey –a book so addicting that autographed copies signed by London-based author E.L. James were selling online for THOUSANDS for dollars! And I had not yet heard of it!
Hold the phone bat woman…an avid fiction reader and certainly an “in the know” publicist wading through hundreds of different media vehicles every week… and already their were millions of (my word in homage to title character Christian Grey) Grey-Hards lining up and meeting in public to discuss their new found feelings about mega-billionaires and bondage…what dark room had I been hiding out in, how could I have not been tied upin this new sexual awakening? I suddenly had a When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal/Meg Ryan, “I want what she’s having” mixed up with a Nine ½ Weeks Mickey Rourke/Kim Basinger moment! And I wanted in!
As luck would have it, the book, sold out at many booksellers (as well as the two others which are part of the XXX Trilogy) was available instantly on my IPAD. I downloaded and set to task to find out what these women were panting about…72 hours later mirroring the sleep deprived main characters (well over 1200 pages) I emerged with my sexual curiosity sated desiring even more of these tortured character’s love story.
The Today Show, Fox TV, the Huffington Post, the NY Post, television affiliates nationwide, social media and of course the internet is suddenly catching Grey Fever – the PR machine has been “whipped” (I just can’t help myself) into a frenzy about this book and its sexually explicit (think Karma Sutra) romantic plot. The truth is – women are reading this book and wanting more. Is this book an example of great writing? About at much as the blockbuster Twilight series is – so why are smart, savvy, sophisticated women salivating for more? Why are twi-hards suddenly tossing Edward Cullen out with the bath water (who knew baths could be so exotic) and reigning in a new romantic hero – albeit one without paranormal vampires and werewolves hulking in the shadows. Shades of Grey is just an old-fashioned love story wrapped in a new 2012 version complete with an old school romance hero who is believable – and desirable by so many different types of women and age groups on so many different levels.
You are introduced to your hero, handsome main character Christian Grey, a breathlessly beautiful, chiseled fictional billionaire tormented by childhood demons and consumed by both his need to control and his desire for Anastasia Steele, a freshly college-graduated literature major with a bright mind, independent spirit, understated in her unwrapped beauty, and with plenty of pages to grow, define herself and taste from the tree of life (among other delicacies) It’s the power play between men and women brought to light in a very real and positive way. Women (and men) today are searching for a truly balanced, equal romantic relationship that trades off and shares the responsible for the giving and receiving, the nurturing, and yes, the control – and it all comes together perfectly here as readers explore preconceived and limited notions of good and evil, light and dark and the limits in which they are willing to go to get their needs and desires met as they open up and learn to communicate not just what they are thinking but what they are feeling.
The novels, like the Twilight saga are narrated from the female heroine’s first person point-of-view. Anastasia speaks and thinks deeply, just like real women do and comes from the heart as she reveals the raw, emotional parts of herself, including both her strong “inner goddess” as well as her own clearly admitted self-doubts. Whether you like them or not, accept their willingness to go out on the limb and test the boundaries of both pleasure and pain – these characters are believable! James takes you into their “secret” and powerful relationship with a series of email exchanges interspersed through the text, borrowing from our social media obsessed popular culture and providing a modern spin to the story.
You won’t have trouble finding the climax err, arch of this love story – there are several in every chapter!
After reading this trilogy the sleep masks I keep accruing on transatlantic flights, and the sight of a man’s simple grey tie will never again hold the same meaning for me! The power of communication – be it between two “bonded” lovers – or through the use of powerful PR – every thought, words, action and deed delivers exactly what we desire when we are willing…
Or a least 140 tweeted characters! Welcome to the world of Pinterest – the social networking website that is providing visual inspiration to double digit millions (11 million hits a week at last count) and growing. For those of you not already “pinned” in, Pinterest lets users “pin” digital photos and images they find on the web to virtual bulletin boards, then share their vision with the rest of the online world. Themes can be as simple and prosaic as decorating ideas and recipes to the esoteric where the images stretch as far and wide as the individual “pinning” them.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests and its a lot more interesting than some of the oversharing that passes for conversation on Facebook these days!
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
Pinterest is proving good for business too! Pinterest’s ease of use for visually bookmarking, organizing and sharing things has made it a hit among businesses whose online imaging “pinners” are using to create their pages and promote items they like.
Companies can add a Pinterest button to their websites to encourage visitors to pin and share their products. Pinterest provides several button choices available on their goodies page for a company to add this. Follow buttons are a great way to let users know you’re on Pinterest. One great way to speed the message is by asking fans of your brand to pin pictures of themselves with their favorite product of yours and tag you, then you can repin those photos onto a VIP board. “It’ll give a shout-out to these fans and show potential customers that your current users really like using your product.”
One thing is certain – Pinterest is growing and adding yet another element to Social Marketing and the way Companies and brands interact with their customers and potential customers… for more info check out this article…”
Many people think PR (Public Relations) and Product Publicity is free advertising. Its not! There is no “free advertising” — just like there is no ‘Free Lunch” because advertising by definition is paid for marketing and promotion. The most common link between PR and Advertising comes up when clients and their pr agents discuss the monetary value and brand awareness garnered from PR versus the higher costs and some believe — less valuable consumer credibility garnered with advertising. There is a matrix PR professionals use that is the closest measuring tool to weight the value of good PR and by nature positions PR against advertising – even thought it is indeed measuring apples against oranges – they both are marketing tools – but they are indeed different and should always be considered in your marketing program independently.
Here’s how it goes…When you receive a publicity mention – lets say your product was featured on a page of Glamour magazine alongside three other products. You take the ad rate (cost) to purchase a one-time 1/4 page advertisement and multiple it four times and you have the value of what the same size “editorial” or PR placement would have cost you could you have purchased it – which of course you can’t – because its pr – not advertising! There are indeed many other factors that don’t necessary level an ad against a pr placement so clearly – the media vehicle itself, its circulation, etc. Cost for cost, PR is often valued between 3 and 5 times more than advertising, with a greater value placed on PR because it offers one thing that advertising cannot — a perception, endorsement, opinion (hopefully positive) by consumers of your brand or product being touted by a third party (blogger, editor, producer, celebrity, writer, reporter) — rather than an advertisement created and paid for by the Company making it and of course considered by the viewer as often sometimes less than truthful. Think about it doesn’t it always feel better to hear someone else tooting your horn, singing your praises rather than you doing it yourself!
While this is an acceptable industry matrix when I am speaking with a potential or new client about the Publicity Process I feel a better, more measurable approach is to partner together with each client to set clear objectives and a strategy for achieving those objectives, as well as developing the editorial messages (pitch direction) to get there together — this provides a clear matrix in which we can see exactly where and how we met our goals.
In our world today consumers are so media savvy and want to become brand ambassadors themselves – hence the power of the blogger. Users of our products and services want/need others to like what they like (thank reality tv for this level of self importance!). The expansion of the word wide web – and social media outlets like Facebook and twitter provides access instantly to so much more information with just the click of a mouse — making PR and third party endorsement even more coveted, valued and accessible. The credibility of having an unbiased third party tell your story within an editorial context can create instant brand awareness that no splashy advertising campaign can! While an ad can present the facts just as you want them presented…the medium of advertising suffers from the simple fact that the medium carrying the message is paid to do so. PR on the other hand is convincing the medium’s discerning and often skeptical editorial journalists/producers that your story or product or message is just about the coolest most interesting thing they’ve ever heard about …and their audience (readers, viewers, followers) need this information…and need it now. No media payment is involved…just thoughtful education, presentation and salesmanship, killer media contacts…and sometimes a little luck. The result is a client mention or story that can compliment or replace expensive ads with absolute credibility…
Is this coverage free…no. Clients pay us for our skill and experience to deliver this third party credibility. It’s called good PR not “free advertising.” Just thinking…
Manners. A lost artform? Yes according to Henry Alford author of WOULD IT KILL YOU TO STOP DOING THAT? A MODERN GUIDE TO MANNERS. Day to day we see examples of bad manners and especially so in our daily business life. Take under consideration your e-mail tone. I am a horrible typer and many times accidentally hit the caps lock key resulting in an email message that is read by the recipient as YELLING at them. Sorry, about that! Establishing a affable tone in both email and text messaging is a business communications must. Alford notes in his book, “the two main impediments to good online manners are the medium’s incredible ease and its blankness of tone.”
How about R.S.V.P.-ing? Alford says we should R.S.V.P. even if we are not planning on attending. Events are often kept to a particular number of guests and by not R.S.V.P.-ing we may actually keep another person from being invited. (I like this one especially since it makes me feel like I can be part of the giving)
How about the the hierarchy in which we respond to phone calls, emails, texts and social networking – yes there is one! Alford believes we want to match the level of the incoming communication or move up in hierarchy – not down…”Answering a phone call with an e-mail can look like you’re trying to avoid something or someone.”
What happened to the simple responses “you’re welcome”, or “my pleasure”? Alford says, “No problem” is not a good substitute. It’s probably only valid in situations where they may actually be a problem.”
Cell phones going off in the middle of a staff meeting. Having to endear private snippets of a co-workers private life during a business commute, a potential client reading and god forbid answering a text during your stellar presentation…How is it that people have such blatant disregard for others? Where have all the manners gone? Are we so self-absorbed that we can not see how rude we have become? According to Alford “The essence of good manners is not exclusivity, nor exclusion of any kind, but sensitivity. To practice good manners is to confer upon others not just consideration but esteem – respect. One of my most highly valued commodities is R-E-S-P-E-C-T-!!! Having regard for other’s feeling is highly valued by all and costs us nothing to practice in our everyday lives –business and personal….
Ugh…designer Karl Lagerfeld leaves a bad taste in my mouth! He was asked in an interview this week about singer Lana Del Rey and the Chanel visionary said, “I prefer Adele and Florence Welch to Lana Del Rey, but as a modern singer she is not bad,” Lagerfeld said. “The thing at the moment is Adele. She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice. Del Rey is not bad at all. She looks very much like a modern-time singer. In her photos she is beautiful. Is she a construct with all her implants? She’s not alone with implants.” Once again proving that the people held up as high arbiters of fashion are many times tasteless..and exhibit more than their far share of bad taste… Today Lagerfeld backpedaled saying “I’d like to say to Adele that I am your biggest admirer. Sometimes when you take a sentence out of the article it changes the meaning of the thought. What I said was in relation to Lana Del Rey and the sentence has since been taken out of context from how it was originally published. I actually prefer Adele, she is my favorite singer and I am a great admirer of her. I lost over 30 kilos over 10 years ago and have kept it off. I know how it feels when the press is mean to you in regards to your appearance. Adele is a beautiful girl. She is the best. And I can’t wait for her next CD.” Once again proving he is totally disconnected from reality – Karl if you know and have felt the meanness of the press in regard to your own weight why would you in turn ever comment about others? Karl –Walk your talk…be the change you want to see in the world…Adele I am weighting in…you rock!
F-Commerce is the new “f” word tracking in social media. As Facebook prepares for its $5 billion initial public offering a new way to shop for our retail and commutable goods is exploding across the world wide web via our Facebook page. Facebook commerce or F-Commerce is hot because like Facebook, its success is rooted in friends sharing offers on Facebook with other friends and driving in a big way social like and dislikes and social branding and commerce. As the new Facebook platform includes “timelines” where ultimately favorite brands and products will link themselves into our personal timeline and hence influence our friends and followers. Each of us becomes a valuable brand advocate for our fave products and brands sharing with our friends and hence our friends sharing, passing along, liking, and buying those products. On our agency Facebook page I can’t tell you how many fans have liked the products that our clients promote and even shared how they were motivated to buy the product, use it and make it their favorite. On Facebook the data shows that 90% of the shopping is “advocacy” shopping meaning that it was brought and liked because a friend recommended it. While the trend of making our shopping decision via our Facebook page and being a significant revenue builder is still in its infancy, one thing is for sure — fans are engaging daily through their Facebook pages, building valuable brand awareness for products and companies and driving revenue possibilities directly to a Company’s website and e-commerce portals. F-Commerce, F-Tailing, whatever — its F-ing amazing!
Dear Potential New Client:
Recharging yourself and understanding where your brand fits into your overall communications is one step towards clearly envisioning your goals and deciding just how PR will fit into your marketing plan. Here are 5 steps towards making your strategy a success.
1. LEARN from your consumer. By using your social media vehicles to gather information about your consumer, you can fast track the evolution of your brand, keeping it current and top-of-mind. Make sure you have a dedicated team working social media.
2. PARTICIPATE in the conversation. The communications mix has shifted from static to participatory. By engaging with your consumers on all levels in an authentic and transparent manner, you seamlessly integrate your brand into their lifestyle. Be real – engage, ask for help, opinions, these are your best brand ambassadors.
3. RETURN to your roots. Take a look at your original mission and vision statements and see if you are on track. Sometimes reinventing yourself is less important than taking your brand essence and framing it in a modern fresh way that resonates with consumers today.
4. SHOWCASE your brand where your consumer can see it. While traditional advertising previously was the mainstay of reaching your consumer, brands now need to be innovative to drive their message. Using creative delivery systems such as product integration and viral guerrilla marketing can breathe new life into your brand and engage the consumer in new ways. Product publicity and public relations strategies are more valuable and important than ever before. Layer activities to meet each specific audience.
5. REVIEW current chatter. Instead of being a silo, stay aware of trends and inflection points so that your brand can adapt to the changing landscape. By identifying emerging shifts, competitor positioning and consumer variations, you can have your brand fluidly respond the market, while remaining true to its core.