Posts Tagged by writing

Welcome to the Harriscom Blog

Anita Harris photoHi, and welcome to HarrisCom blog–a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.
We’re an award-winning strategic communications firm specializing in integrated public relations, marketing communications and thought leadership for companies and organizations  in health, science, technology and energy fields.
The Harris Communications Group blog covers traditional and digital communications issues;  events;  cool companies, and  news of our clients.
We hope you’ll join the conversation through guest blogs or comments–and that you’ll subscribe and share our material with anyone you think would like to have it.
Anita Harris, President
Harris Communications Group
Cambridge, MA

Dick Pirozzolo on “Next Level PR”

Dick Pirozzolo

Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Mark Zuckerberg are among the savvy CEOs who get better and more powerful press coverage.

It’s because they use Next Level PR principles that rely on these factors to generate news: controversy, humor story, consistency and simplicity  – the same principles you can use to promote and grow your company.

For details log onto my latest artricle on Next Level PR strategies in First America Startup or read excerpts below.

If Your Company Wants to Make Big News Use ‘Next Level PR’

Controversy – A colleague just told me that medical PR was tough now because of all the controversy over The Affordable Care Act.

What! Now is the time to jump in with two feet and take full advantage of the controversy over the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare to generate news for those who want to become leaders.

More than anything, journalists love controversy. We recently got a cover story in The PCB Magazine on how manufacturers of printed circuit boards for medical devices and an automated medication monitoring system will benefit from the Affordable Care Act with supporting comments by the nation’s leading medical ethicist Dr. Zeke Emanuel.

Funny –

There are times when funny will get you a lot more positive exposure than deadpan. Think New Jersey Governor Chris Christie eating a donut in front of David Letterman or Michelle Obama getting her groove with Jimmy Fallon.
Washington Post humorist and syndicated columnist Gene Weingarten once interviewed our client Hilla Ovil-Brenner, founder of WhiteSmoke, a turbo-charged spellchecker.

Weingarten quipped that Ovil-Brenner probably didn’t like it when people learned to spell because it would hurt her business.
She quipped back, “If I sold plus-size fashions, that would not mean I want women to be fat, it means I want them to feel good, look good and be successful in their lives. Just like WhiteSmoke helps people….”

The interview was hilarious and got picked up by newspapers nationwide. Product sales soared.

Story – 

Too often organizations forget that their CEO is a real-life character whose heart, skills, challenges, obstacles and conflicts make for far more interesting reading than canned quotes about how, “Delighted we are to announce Jean as the new VP engineering at Techno Pants Corp.”

Stop sanitizing CEOs. Let them be human, let them talk about how they resolve conflicts with the board of directors, investors or the government and their personal and business relationships. Make them come alive. We love knowing about Ben and Jerry, Jobs and Wosniak, Bill and Melinda and Richard Branson because we see them as real people.

Quick, who knows the CEO of Dell or American Airlines?

Consistency – 

While representing institutional investment managers, a journalist once mused, “How come 75% of all money managers are in the top quartile when it comes to their performance news releases?” That’s because the poor performers hide in the weeds when their numbers are down and emerge only when their numbers are up.

Want to win the respect of journalists, build credibility and generate positive press over the long haul? Be accessible when the news is bad. Get it out, get it over with and move on. When it’s time to deliver good news, you will be far more credible and will have a bond of trust with the editors and reporters that results in positive press.

Simplicity – 

Keep it simple. How many times do we use jargon like OEM, Forex or Q4 without thinking that the journalist who makes the first cut on our news release might be new to manufacturing or finance to say nothing of the reader. Journalism critics note that The Wall Street Journal, whose readers are supposed to be mostly business types, explains every term that is likely to be unfamiliar to the layperson.

Kim Wallace of the market research firm Wallace & Washburn in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and author of “Why People Don’t Buy Things,” puts it this way. “Liken new concepts to what we already know. Let’s say you want to reach customers who had never seen snow tires before and wanted to explain their benefit. If you say, ‘They are like snowshoes for your car,’ everyone will get it instantly.

Consider these news-making tactics when it comes to creating the kind of awareness that establishes your company as an influential leader and building greater awareness and brand equity.

That’s Next Level PR!

Dick Pirozzolo is Managing Director of Pirozzolo Company Public Relations in Boston, founded in 1980, and a Media Bistro Teacher. His firm figured prominently in promoting startup companies that have become publicly held or been acquired by major public corporations. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts and Nantucket.

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and market development firm specializing in PR, marketing, content and thought leadership for clients in healthcare,  science,  biotech, technoilogy and energy. Located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting ideas, products and technologies, anywhere.

Social Media, Scientists and…Sales?

Was privileged to attend Hubspot’s recent Inbound Conference in Boston…One  highlight was a presentation by Sonya Pelia,       Director of Social Media at ThermoFisher Scientific,  on  “Selling to Scientists, the Most Skeptical Audience in the World.”

I’m not a scientist–but, before the talk,  I  was skeptical–finding it hard to imagine  the scientists I’ve worked with tweeting and friending one another about new products.  But, after learning that two years into its social media program,  Thermo Fisher, which offers a variety of scientific instruments and tests,  now gets 30 percent of its qualified sales leads  from social media links  to its Website and that Pelia herself  now has more than 90 thousand twitter followers @chromsolutions,  I’m reconsidering.

How does she Pelia do  it?  She posts five 400-word  blog posts a week at  . Each post includes 2-3 links to the ThermoFisher Web site and is summarized, with links,  on twitter, Facebook,  You-tube , Pinterest, Linked-in and various bookmarking sites.  Some of the posts are original; many repurpose news garnered from other sites.  Within two years, the blog had 3200 subscribers.  The majority of useful leads come from Linked-in,  Pelia said.

But other sites are, evidently, tremendously appealing to scientists and others interested in scientific fields. According to Pelia,  a Facebook page  called  “The earth story”  has half a million “likes.”  Another,   with the delightful title   ” I f-ing love science” has 8 million.

I still believe that social media efforts  strategies should depend on whom you want to reach and why–  but these numbers are impressive.  Clearly,  for anyone seeking to reach scientists, social media is not to be ignored.

Anita Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group
HarrisCom is a PR and market development agency providing media relations, content, and social media services to companies and organizations in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide. 


Tree-huggers go corporate: minds meet at the bottom line

Last week at the British Consulate,  three sustainability experts advised companies that energy and environmental issues extend well  beyond the  “tree hugger”  movement–and that “green”  concerns increasingly  impact the bottom line.

Nick Masci of architect/engineering/construction firm Dacon Corporation,  described the  efforts of  a client, Perkins Supply, to improve  energy efficiency in its Taunton, MA warehouse .

The company spent $300,000 on  an energy management system after the CEO noticed that his employees often got up to get sweaters if they were too cold or water if they were too warm.  The new system both  made employees  more comfortable and enhanced their productivity by reducing the time they spent away from their desks.

According to Perkins’ Web site,  the company also converted 1200 light fixtures to high-efficiency fixtures with motion sensors–saving 383 KW hours per year–enough to power 383 homes  for a year and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 3641544 pounds a year–equal to that produced annual by 316 passenger cars.

Perkins  also  installed a white roof on its warehouse, reducing by energy consumption by reflecting heat outward, and a VRTx water treatment system,  saving 540 gallons per year.

Rimi Chakraborty,  a self-described tree hugger who is vice president at T3, a tenant advisory firm, demonstrated a model her company uses to help its clients measure various factors involved in deciding where to locate–such as access to public transportation, shuttle services and carpooling and energy costs.   She also cited studies showing that many job applicants  now consider a company’s commitment to sustainability in deciding whether to accept a position.

Erin Rae Hoffer, an architect and industry strategist with Autodesk, inc., which develops 3D design software for manufacturing, building, and construction,  outlined various stages her own company went through in order to  add to and manage its own “sustainable” building.

Hoffer pointed out that nations and communities are increasingly instituting guidelines, incentives and regulations to encourage or ensure  attention to buildings’ environmental and energy impact.

China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, is developing a long-term strategy to maintain the security of overseas oil-and-gas supplies, rationalize pricing and taxation policies, boost nuclear and renewables and cut greenhouse gas emissions,  Reuters reports.

UK policy  focuses  reforming the electricity market, rolling out smart meters and improving the energy efficiency of the UK building stock through the Green Deal, according to Wikipedia.

In the US, national activity is limited, but many communities voluntarily adhere to international standards, Hoffer said.  Some cities and states  offer tax incentives for green building or energy enhancing home improvements;  others make public a building’s energy footprint–which could impact its price when an owner decides to sell.

The panel, held on April 19, 2012, was sponsored by the British American Business Council of New England.

–Anita M. Harris

Anita Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR  firm  specializing in media relations, content strategy and thought leadership for companies and organizations in health, science, technology and energy.