Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Neiman Marcus Willow Bend will honor 10 Collin County women at an Aug. 20 luncheon benefiting the charities that nominated these community leaders for their contributions countywide.
Honorees are Jenny McCall, CITY House; Carolyn Speese, Collin County Children's Advocacy Center; Beth Webb, Plano ISD Foundation; Jean Newman, Arts of Collin County; Amy Davis, Frisco Family Services; Diane Chester, CASA of Collin County; Sherrie Varrichio, Plano Symphony Orchestra; Christina Andrea, Children's Medical Center Legacy; Rosanne Best, Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County; and Julie Karnes, Chamberlain Performing Arts.
Marcus Wyss will be welcomed as the Willow Bend store's new general manager. Plano Mayor Phil Dyer will recognize each honoree, and public relations manager Chuck Steelman will present a runway show of fall's Top 10 fashion trends.
Guest speaker Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes fame is said to be planning special surprise treats for everyone.
The honorees and a guest will be invited to a dinner party hosted by Wyss at Neiman's on the 19th, when Gittings president and CEO Barry Benton will unveil their portraits to be displayed in the store throughout the week.
The $150 tickets may be purchased from each of the 10 charities, which will benefit from proceeds. Call Steelman at 972-629-1706 for further information.
"Top Ten" will be an annual event in which each year's honorees will choose the 10 charities to be honored the following year.
Monday, July 20, 2009
How to sustain an audience in the new "Attention Economy" where everyone assumes a robust Experience for any choice they make. Given infinite choice and a rising complexity in figuring out what one wants, getting people to pay attention to what you have to offer is increasingly problematic.
So how do you implement an Attention Economy strategy? Here are five ideas:
1. Set up a ladder of involvement that rewards increased participation. Come to every performance and maybe you get a free ticket to give to a friend. Bring in a dozen friends and you get your name in the program. Organize a club around our programming and maybe you get an insider pass to see how next season's lineup is put together. We reward people who donate money; how about rewarding those who go out and bring in new recruits? Maybe membership on your board is one of those upper rungs of participation. The participation incentive ladder doesn't have to be formally structured like affiliate programs, but you get the idea...
2. Community isn't free. Every time someone decides to interact with you, you have to reward them in some way. Even clicking a mouse (believe it or not) requires a reward. Ninety-nine percent of web visitors are lurkers. That is, they come, they read, they say "Gee, that's interesting," and they move on. Same with those who come to performances. Why should I come to a post-concert chat? You have to do something to provoke me into a response. That response is worth something. That response must be rewarded in some way. Especially if it's a complaint.
3. These kinds of communities are extremely hierarchical. They don't want to be paid in money. They want status. Recognition. Validation. It can be as simple as identifying somebody as a friend of the organization. Reward them for answering other community members' questions. Cruise lines, for example, give repeat cruisers different color cabin key cards based on how many times they've come aboard. Those cards are status markers, and the community pays attention to them. Tech support in big online communities has largely become a community function. The community is better at solving its own problems, and people who log in with answers are accorded higher status by others in the community. This is a powerful driver of participation.
4. Twenty percent of your seats are unsold? What a waste. Create a club that gives members access to cheap surplus tickets with which they can bring others. Those companies (airlines, are you listening?) that throw up barriers to upgrades make members feel like the company doesn't want you to have a good experience. Be over-generous. Your community will feel like they owe you for it. And that generosity doesn't necessarily have to cost you anything.
5. Find ways to give people in your community opportunities to support you. I might not have enough money to give you a donation. But if you ask, I might bring a group of friends to the next concert. I might not have time to serve on your board, but I might know a good printer who could give you a break on programs. Public radio is available for free, but enough listeners value it so much that they're willing to give money to support it. We're not very creative about the ways we ask for support.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Whether you have PR pros on your team or you are doing it yourself, these great tips help you formulate a story worthy of the Wall Street Journal. As always, it takes a solid newsworthy topic, planning, dialogue and patience to get the pitch perfect!
article credit: Jim Bucci
If you think your company or brand may have a feature story worth pitching A-list media, then start by finding “the most compelling points of tension in a story and figuring out both what different players are doing surrounding that tension,” advises Ilan Brat, a food industry reporter at The Wall Street Journal. “That provides the plot,” he explains. Most important, say what this new trend, development or problem reveals about the world around us that is new or emerging, he suggests.
Brat’s offers these quick pointers for pitching or pegging ideas to feature stories:
• Introduce the problem—and then offer a solution.
• Include elements of good storytelling in pitches.
• Look for—and unearth—trends that may become mainstream.
This is an exceptional concept that many non-profit organizations have pondered. Do our neighbors that only live here 2-5 years really engage in the community? Do they make an investment in any community? This is not a question on these families as neighbors, students or taxpayers....it is a deeper question regarding the long-term commitment this profile makes in a community - especially related to charitable giving. It is completely understandable that these families have a lack of "roots" and their giving may be focused on alma maters, corporate driven causes, their children's organizations, etc. (most likely any discretionary income is spent on movers, decorating, kids sports uniforms and address labels!)
The question is....how do nonprofit organizations and civic groups engage this group of citizens that are highly educated, well traveled, affluent and most likely missing "roots?"
We welcome any ideas and feedback!
Thanks to Sam Hodges at The Dallas Morning News for bringing this book to light.