Save-A-Suit | Help a Career

Yesterday afternoon, Tim and I had the opportunity to represent Image Marketing Consultants at the Save-a-Suit event at the University of Bridgeport. If you have not yet heard of this organization, take a minute to read on! This amazing non-profit organization collects suits and accessories for college students who cannot afford to buy them, in hopes to boost their confidence and better prepare them for their job search.

At Image Marketing we’ve recently begun a college coaching program to help students develop their “brand” and prepare for the “real world” by offering advice, tips and insight from the perspective of the employer. Everything from resume building, interview preparation and skills, how to make a lasting first impression, maintaining and monitoring social media sites, how to dress, and so much more. Save-a-Suit provided us with an excellent opportunity to reach more students and better develop our own program.

We met a variety of students from different backgrounds, nationalities, and races; all of them shared with us their major concerns about preparing to enter the work force. The majority of students have the same fears and questions, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to lend a helping hand, and steer some of these students it the right direction.
I actually grew up with the Chief Information Officer of Save-a-Suit, Jessica Ewud, she is such a doll and I’m so glad I was able to catch up, and learn more about what she’s been doing for the organization.

Check her out on FOX CT yesterday morning:

Working with Save-a-Suit seemed like a natural fit for us, and we hope to continue to work with them in the future. For more pictures from the event, visit our Facebook page!

You can get involved and learn more about  Save-A-Suit on their website www.saveasuit.org, their Facebook page“Save-a-Suit”, and on Twitter @SaveASuit.

 

For the book worms: “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR”

It’s always this time of the year when you want to snuggle up on the couch and read a good book. Yet, it seems so difficult lately to go out and find a good book to sink your teeth into! One book that I recently read is, “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR”.

 

This isn’t your typical novel because the book is a non-fiction story that gives real life examples of companies such as: Coca Cola, Altoids, Nike, and Heinz. Each company is given a brief background of where they started, and how they used PR to succeed, or failed by using just advertising. What I like is the book isn’t biased either, it does show examples of when PR failed, or when advertising succeeded in creating a company, but these cases are rare.

The book gets straight into the subject, “You can’t launch a new brand with advertising because advertising has no credibility. It’s the self-serving voice of a company anxious to make a sale. You can launch new brands only with publicity or public relations (PR). PR allows you to tell your story indirectly through third-party outlets, primarily the media. PR has credibility. Advertising does not. PR provides the positive perceptions that an advertising campaign, if properly directed, can exploit” (Ries & Ries, XI). There are five parts to this book, the first titled ‘The Fall of Advertising’ where it talks about how there is an overload of ads, with no credibility behind them. You could see an ad saying that a new car is the best on the road, but would everyone truly believe this car’s claim to be the best? A lot of advertising companies choose to use ads for entertainment purposes these days; this isn’t what advertising should be used for. Companies are making ads just to win awards, and not using it to connect brands with a concrete message about the product/service. Part two of the book is titled ‘The Rise of PR’ and shows readers how PR is a third party way to get a brand’s message across, which can be less biased than the company putting out their own ad. Of course they believe their product is the best and want their consumers to believe that too. Part three is about the new use for advertising: Brand maintenance. This is when a company has report, and is able to use ads to keep their company relevant in the consumer’s minds. Part four and five then further discuss the differences between advertising and PR.

This book was great insight into new techniques that can be useful in helping our clients. However, this read wasn’t just for professionals, it is so engaging that almost anyone would label it as a ‘good read’.

We want to know, what did you think of the book? Write a comment below with your own review!

 

The New Age of Public Relations

The world of public relations is an ever changing business and staying aware of new trends and technology is essential to stay on top. Currently, one of the fastest emerging trends in PR is the use of social media. It’s almost to the point where things like blogging, tweeting and Facebook posting are essential in a public relations campaign. Here, at Image Marketing Consultants we’ve taken this movement in stride and always stress the importance of social media on our clients.

Now, Facebook is not a new trend by any means, as it has become one of the most recognized brands in the marketplace, if you say the word “Facebook” people know exactly what you’re talking about. However, Facebook and various other social media outlets like Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn have now become valuable tools for business, especially in the realm of public relations and marketing.

 

Blogging is another emerging trend, and one that is also important in the creation of a public relations campaign. Blogs offer PR professionals another outlet to pitch stories to. As more and more people look to blogs for news and information, this outlet becomes increasingly valuable.

Much like any other tool in public relations, the effective use of social media outlets and blogs is a learned skill. Sure, you can create a Twitter account for your business or write a blog, but you’re not maximizing your PR potential unless you’re interacting with the right people and posting the right things. The emergence of social media and blogging in the business world has given us an extremely valuable public relations tool, one that if used correctly can open doors that would be otherwise jammed shut.

 

Contact us today to find out how we have adapted to the new age of public relat

5 Tips to Make Your Annual Corporate Holiday Party the Best Yet!

At Image Marketing Consultants we’ve been busy planning, and managing upcoming holiday events, parties, and promotions for a number of different clients, as well as for ourselves. We wanted to take the time to share some of our tips for a fabulous 2011 corporate holiday party!

Long gone are the days where a corporate holiday party consists of frumpy co-workers huddling around a punch bowl counting down the minutes until an appropriate time to scoot on out. Companies are becoming more creative in their party planning efforts to ensure that their annual holiday bash is more of an event to look forward to than it is an uncomfortably anticipated one.

Read on for our Top 5 tips to consider for your company holiday party:

1)   Choose a unique location- away from the office! Consider mixing things up, it may be cold outside, but use that as inspiration. We proposed an outdoor event in December for a client. A heated, glass, clear or windowed tent is so gorgeous in the snow and will add a naturally beautiful element to the evening!

2)   Consider a theme! Whether you opt to partner with a charitable organization, or throw a masquerade ball- it is fun to engage guests in something other than another typical holiday themed event.

3)   Serve a signature cocktail! Get your employees involved in the planning for this- select 3-5 different specialty drinks and send a mass e-mail through the office with a poll that allows everyone to vote for their favorite drink! It’s nice when others feel like they have a say- and everyone will be excited to see which drink is the office fave!

4)   Avoid extra costs and awkward seating charts by opting out of a sit down dinner. Instead, have stationary and passed hors d’œuvres making their rounds all night (most of the time guests enjoy the hors d’œuvres more than the meals anyway)! Have a great dessert table; chocolate fountains, ice cream or gelato bars and candy bars are on a whole new level! These typically childish treats have re-entered the adult world to incorporate a fun, interactive, and delicious treat to serve at events! Consider having servers pass milk and cookies at the very end of the night as well.

5)   Book a photo booth or photographer to document the night. Everyone loves to see photos after an event they’ve attended. Use them on your blog, monthly newsletter, or Facebook page. Your employees are all professionals, but should a neck tie end up around the forehead of the director of marketing…consider keeping those images under wraps 😉

And a bonus tip: just have fun! Take this opportunity to engage with your co-workers, and their families. Make the most your night out. Social events are a great opportunity to interact with co-workers in a different atmosphere where they can relax, let loose a little bit and build new relationships that will only enhance the atmosphere in the office and increase overall moral.

While it is late in the season to begin planning holiday events, Image Marketing Consultants does have staff available to help you or your company with the planning, preparation, or coordination of your holiday party this season!

 

Happy Halloween…Snow in October?

On behalf of Image Marketing Consultants I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween! However, make sure to pay attention to the weather this weekend. It is predicted that there will be a significant winter storm in Connecticut on Saturday starting mid-day. The storm has the potential for 6 to 12 inches of snow accumulation in the Hartford area with 3 to 6 inches in New Haven.

According to NBC Connecticut the greatest October snow storm in the Hartford area in October was 1.7 inches on Oct 10, 1979. If the storm is as big as predicted it will be rewriting the record books!

Put-down the rakes and pick-up the shovels!

Halloween Party Tips

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and the perfect time to indulge in some creative, out of the ordinary, entertaining! While everyone is preparing for their frightful festivities this weekend we wanted to share some tricks and treats that will surely wow your guests and ensure a memorable event.

Nothing gets a party going like a tasty adult beverage! When playing host/hostess you want to spend as much time with your guests as possible- pre-mixing a large bowl of punch is the easiest way to ensure that you won’t be playing bartender all night. This punch recipe is super easy, and perfect for any Halloween bash!

2 gallons orange-flavored drink

2 (46 fluid ounce) cans fruit punch

4 quarts pink lemonade

4 quarts pineapple and orange juice blend

4 (750 milliliter) bottles vodka

2 (750 milliliter) bottles white rum

Mix all ingredients together, pour into a large punch bowl and add some fun and spooky ice cubes…

Consider adding dry ice for special effect! (See video below on how to properly use)

With a delicious glass of punch in hand, your guests will be ready to eat! The number of Halloween inspired treats is endless, when choosing what to make, be sure to build a well rounded selection of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. I’ve come across so many  cute and creepy, but still easy to make Halloween snacks- check them out below!

Parmesan Breadstick Broomsticks

Chocolate Covered Maraschino Mice

Pumpkin Patch Puffs

Mini-Mummy Hot-Dogs

Bat Bites

One of the most important aspects to consider when planning a themed event is the atmosphere. I believe it is truly impossible to over-decorate for Halloween; the spookier the better! Cobwebs, pumpkins, and skeletons should all be on site; try to avoid turning on any overhead lights, surround the room with dozens of candles. Check out these easy to make bloody candles!

A successful party is all about good food, good friends, and good fun! Halloween is the one night of the year where anything goes! Show up in an outrageous costume, consume ridiculous amounts of chocolate and be sure to celebrate with all of your favorite people.

Be safe & have fun- Happy Halloween everyone!

La Petite France Bakery- Fall Open House Recap

Fall is officially in full swing and while most of us have overdosed on all things apple (Lord knows I have….

…it’s safe to say I’ve indulged in all of the above) those who attended the Fall Open House at La Petite France Bakery this past Thursday had the opportunity to step away from the fall foods and enjoy some authentic French delicacies!

We helped Alexandra Litor, the owner of La Petite France coordinate an open house for her regular customers as well as residents unfamiliar with the bakery. With a little PR, and local newspapers and bloggers spreading the word, we had an incredible turn out.

Early guests were lucky enough to snag samples of a variety of authentic French pastries ranging from mini-éclairs to croissant sandwiches, to raspberry tartlets. In addition to the regular menu items, there were sample sheets of cake and icing combinations, courtesy of the new in-house cake baker- Katie Gray.

It is safe to say that all in attendance had a good time, nothing better than a little event marketing and free food!

Visit the La Petite France Facebook page to see tons of photos from the event.

 

La Petite France has a wonderful reputation in the West Hartford community; however, many people don’t know that they offer catering platters- customers can create their very own trays of breakfast pastries, lunch sandwiches, or traditional desserts. Their tasty platters are perfect for nearly any occasion- especially the holidays.

With that said, La Petite has an incredible Thanksgiving offer right now- they are taking 20% off your entire Thanksgiving purchase! That includes pies, pastries, and platters! You can contact the bakery directly for more information 860-231-9255.

*And a heads up for crepe lovers…the weekend of November 12th and 13th, La Petite France will be celebrating their two-year anniversary with a Crepe Weekend! Visit their website or Facebook page to find more details about that.

 

La Petite France Bakery is located at 967 Farmington Avenue

in West Hartford Center.

 

Advertising Tips

WCCC sponsored bringing Jeff Hedquist to Hartford this past week.   Hedquist is a nationally renowned consultant improving the impact of businesses commercials through better copywriting and overall production.   Jeff Hedquist has helped hundreds of businesses by writing, tweaking, and recording commercials for more response and results.   Thanks to those of you who were able to make the one hour seminar.   For those of you who couldn’t join us here are some highlights from Jeff Hedquist to make your commercials a lot more impactful 1.       People have “advertising Attention Defecit Disorder” so remember commercials that sound like commercials do not work!

2.       “Call to actions” are essential on your copy, but don’t give a “Call to action” until you have given a reason for people to frequent that business

3.       Emotion is the key to success in commercials.  Most of us have heard radio is “The theatre of the mind,” but it really is “The theatre of the gut.”

4.       Tell stories in your commercials, preferably about your customers since people buy emotionally not logically

5.       Point out a flaw that isn’t detrimental in your copy to make the rest of the message more believable and then reinforce key positive things about your business

6.       When you give your web address give people a reason to go there (which can be a “Call to action”)

7.       The 4 principles of an effective commercials are: a)      Voiceb) Music c) Sound Effx d) Silence (very powerful)

8.       Remember the first few seconds of your commercial are “An ad for the ad” so open big Drew Wilder

 

Special thanks to Jeff  Hedquist and Drew Wilder for the interesting tips!

Event Marketing

 

Event marketing involves a promotional activity that allows a company’s products and services to have heightened public exposure. The best part about event marketing is that professional event planners strive to make events worth attending. For example, an event can have special prices, free giveaways, and food while promoting a fun social environment. Event marketing is not about making people feel like they are attending a live commercial where a company’s products and services are pushed upon those in attendance. Conversely, event marketing is about creating a fun event that people genuinely want to attend. Events allow organizations and companies to have direct personal contact with their customers and clients, which is where traditional marketing tactics fall short. However, event marketing is not only about the event itself. Event marketing professionals execute public relations and marketing campaigns surrounding their event to insure the public knows about the event and it is well-attended. Typical events include holiday parties, charity events, open houses, and grand openings. Here at Image Marketing Consultants we specialize in event planning. Our most recent event marketing clients include Puerto Vallarta and EasySeat.

For Puerto Vallarta, a Mexican restaurant, we planned a grand opening event at their new location in Orange, CT. Before the actual event we carried out a marketing and PR campaign. Our major marketing tactics included social media, press releases, and a segment with the owner of the restaurant on NBC Connecticut. For the event itself 99.1 PLR agreed to host their mostly Wig Out at the new Puerto Vallarta location. This was definitely a highlight as Mike Lapitino and the Wigmaster have quite the cult following in the area. We felt that having 99.1 PLR at the event drew a significant crowd while providing a fun social environment for guests. Additionally, Puerto Vallarta had free food as well as $3 margaritas and $2 draft beers. However, most importantly the Puerto Vallarta team was able to interact with their community and extend their network of customers. For pictures of the event click here!

 

 

For EasySeat, a third-party ticket vendor, we designed an event surrounding the UConn home football games. We have a street team of “EasySeat Girls” that interact with tailgaters and hand out EasySeat promotional items and flyers. This is a non-traditional event marketing campaign that enables the public to connect a company with a face. Like the Puerto Vallarta event the EasySeat campaign did not only involve the event itself. The campaign as a whole involved strategic radio buying as well as a concentrated advertising scheme. For pictures of the EasySeat girls be sure to check out their facebook page!

If you have an interest in using event marketing for your own company please contact Tim at Tim@imagemarketingconsultants.com or call (203) 404-4868

 

Grand Opening of Puerto Vallarta in Orange, CT

Hola Amigos!

Boy, did we have a crazy-busy weekend! We had two events that went phenomenally, but one in particular we wanted to share with you all.

We have been working very closely with Puerto Vallarta, the Connecticut Mexican restaurant chain for the past few months on the grand opening of their fifth location in Orange, CT. All of our hard work came together on Friday for what I can only describe as the ultimate fiesta!

We did a lot of PR and marketing for this opening. Some personal highlights included working with the Puerto Vallarta social media accounts; I hope everyone got a chance to visit their Twitter page (@PVallartaUSA)! We also teamed up with Barrett Outdoor Communications to create a phenomenal billboard that can be seen on I-95S at exit 41.

In addition, we booked a segment for the owner of Puerto Vallarta to share his famous guacamole recipe with Shirley Chan on NBC Connecticut over Labor Day weekend!

That was only leading up to the official grand opening party; during the event on Friday, the Orange Chamber of Commerce was there to orchestrate an official ribbon cutting ceremony with First Selectman, James Zeoli before things got crazy!

99.1 WPLR agreed to host their monthly  “Wig Out” at Puerto Vallarta that evening. Hundreds of people showed up, the margaritas were flowing and the food was incredible!  Mike “Lappy” Lapitino and the Wigmaster himself were broadcasting live all night from inside the restaurant. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet those guys and witness a live “Wig Out”- what a riot!

I could go on forever about the event, but I’ll let the picture’s do the rest of the talking. (Please visit our Facebook page to see a complete album).

The Image Marketing team had a wonderful time. Thank you again to everyone who came out, it was a huge success!