Communication Strategy Group long-time client Lisa Dreher at Logicalis US was recently interviewed by MarketingSherpa to discuss how our brand storytelling campaign resulted in significant gains. It’s a good look into what makes a great campaign and why brand storytelling — telling the story of your brand in a way that is educational and informative — is so important.
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Communication Strategy Group article in Long Island Business News
The importance of taking it slow – and, when necessary, acting fast – with your social media marketing campaign, according to the Smithtown-based Communication Strategy Group:
- Slow and steady. If not carefully thought out, your social media marketing engagement strategy can quickly go sideways. As a business owner, you probably already recognize that you can’t control your social media exposure.
- Prepare, don’t procrastinate. Consider all possible problems that may occur and prepare your response in case they do. If you’re asking users to post their experiences with your brand, be prepared for responses that may not carry a “G” rating.
- Make policies, not excuses. Before you launch your large-scale social media campaign, develop – and post – a policy that specifies exactly what your brand will and will not allow insofar as responses and commentary.
- Reach out, don’t retreat. If you or an employee posts something irresponsible or offensive, remember that time is not on your side: You must own up to it immediately and reach out to consumers with a heartfelt apology and retraction. You should have standard text prepared for such cases.
- Respond, don’t react. You must respond well to a social media crisis. Don’t let things get personal. Don’t go into hiding. Don’t sulk. These poor reactions do not mitigate a social media faux pas; instead they make things worse by pouring gasoline on a firestorm.
Long Island Brand Storytelling Agency Becomes Marketing Resource to FuzeHub Network, Helps Improve Go-to-Market Process for New York State Manufacturers
Smithtown, NY – May 6, 2014 – Brand marketing and public relations agency Communication Strategy Group has been selected as a marketing resource partner for New York State manufacturers by FuzeHub, a new initiative created to connect New York State’s small and mid-sized manufacturing companies with the resources they need to thrive. As a new marketing resource to the FuzeHub network, Communication Strategy Group will connect with New York State manufacturers looking to establish or strengthen their branding, marketing, public relations and presentations. CSG joins an elite group of public partners and private sector resources that FuzeHub has selected for NYS manufacturers to help them in all areas of their business. An award-winning brand storytelling and content-marketing agency, Communication Strategy Group specializes in helping manufacturers, technology companies and professional services firms to “find and share their brand story” with prospects, customers and the media. For more information, New York State (NYS) manufacturers are encouraged to visit http://bit.ly/1gx364k
“New York State manufacturers are among the best in the world and we look forward to helping these companies develop and promote their brand marketing,” said Arthur Germain, Principal and Chief Brandteller for Communication Strategy Group. “Our association with FuzeHub demonstrates our commitment to serving these vital contributors to the New York State economy.”
“Communication Strategy Group is a welcome addition to the FuzeHub network. It brings a strong marketing perspective that includes brand storytelling, content marketing and public relations that are essential to the growth and innovation of NYS manufacturers,” said Laura Mann, Executive Director for FuzeHub.
FuzeHub is a new initiative that works to better connect New York’s small and mid-sized manufacturing companies to the resources, programs and expertise they need for technology commercialization, innovative solutions and business growth. FuzeHub unites and integrates a broad network of multi-disciplinary public and private sector technology, industry and commercialization services, experts and partners. We bridge the gap by providing fast access through a convenient, 24/7 online request service, numerous event opportunities for meeting with solution partners, and direct assistance from our Innovation Specialists team every step of the way. FuzeHub was initiated by the partnering of a state and federal program with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST MEP and Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR). For more information, please visit www.FuzeHub.com
About Communication Strategy Group
Communication Strategy Group, an award-winning brand storytelling agency, helps clients develop brand stories that are remembered, repeated and rewarded through a strategic Brandtelling® approach. We focus on building and supporting a strategic plan for client communications in order to create strong, consistent messages and presentations that have the greatest impact. The Communication Strategy Group team is comprised of senior-level communications professionals who work directly on client accounts to achieve results. Our clients include both Fortune 1000 and growing companies in technology, manufacturing, media and professional services industries. For more information, please call 1-866-997-2424 or visit us at www.communicationstrategygroup.com
Communication Strategy Group
Brand Storytelling Agency and Visual Design Firm Open New Long Island Location to Better Serve both Local and National Clients
Smithtown, NY – April 8, 2014 – Long-time collaborators Arthur Germain, principal and chief Brandteller of brand marketing and public relations agency Communication Strategy Group, and Michael Simbrom, president of visual design firm Simbrom Creative, have opened the doors to a new, shared agency location at 1020 West Jericho Turnpike, Suite 210, in Smithtown, NY, to better serve regional Long Island businesses while acting as a base of operations for national and international clients.
Germain and Simbrom, frequently collaborated from separate East Northport offices. The decision to forge a strategic partnership and open a new office together was an easy one. “We felt there was a strong connection between our brands with Communication Strategy Group providing brand strategy, public relations and content marketing and Simbrom Creative providing visual strategy and creative development,” says Germain. “We each bring a valuable perspective to client engagements, and those perspectives have created award-winning marketing programs for our respective clients.”
The new Smithtown offices include a reception area, private executive offices, a large customer collaboration room, as well as a smaller conference room for private meetings. “It’s in a central location for Hauppauge Industrial Park and other Long Island-based clients, and is a convenient location, accessible by plane, train or car for our NYC and other national clientele,” says Simbrom.
In addition to the new offices, Communication Strategy Group is expanding its staff, adding two new employees to its growing roster of contributing writers, media relations experts, content marketers and demand generation specialists.
Lisa Hazen joins the team as a Client Account Manager responsible for establishing and implementing strategic and tactical communications plans for agency clients. She brings more than a dozen years of B2B and B2C marketing experience in industries that include software, security and lifestyle goods and services.
Valerie Zeman joins the agency as Administrative Marketing Assistant responsible for assisting with executive, agency and office operations. Zeman brings insight from her experience managing daily operations at large non-profits and professional services firms.
About Simbrom Creative
Simbrom Creative is a visual design studio run by creative director and branding professional Michael Simbrom. The studio has an extensive record of boosting market penetration and brand awareness for high-profile clients by designing exceptional campaigns and delivering measurable results. Simbrom is an award-winning creative director who assembles and motivates cross-functional teams to build successful branding and marketing strategies for an array of commercial product lines. For more information, visit msimbrom.com
About Communication Strategy Group
Communication Strategy Group, a brand storytelling agency, helps clients develop brand stories that are remembered, repeated and rewarded through a strategic Brandtelling® approach. We focus on building and supporting a strategic plan for client communications in order to create strong, consistent messages and presentations that have the greatest impact. The Communication Strategy Group team is comprised of senior-level communications professionals who work directly on client accounts to achieve results. Our clients include both Fortune 1000 and growing companies in technology, media and professional services industries. For more information, please call 1-866-997-2424 or visit us at www.communicationstrategygroup.com
Communication Strategy Group
Communication Strategy Group is proud to announce that it has recently expanded its operations and relocated to new offices at 1020 West Jericho Turnpike, Suite 210, Smithtown, NY 11787.
Arthur Germain, CSG Principal & Chief Brandteller, recently discussed how to locate and link with industry influencers using social media and good, old-fashioned email. According to Germain, before reaching out to an influencer, get to know what he or she likes. Start by following the influencers you want to reach on social media.
Subscribe to their blog or newsletter; ask a question or make a comment on their blog or even send them an email. When Germain started his business in 2005, he emailed social media guru Chris Brogan asking if he had any recommendations for people Germain should follow on Twitter. Brogan responded instantly, he says.
Germain says he’s used LinkedIn Today to find influencers. The tool is free; based on your profile, it shows you posts and news from thought leaders that may be of interest to you, he explains.
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[A note from Arthur: Freelance writer Jeff Vance has contributed feature articles and editorials to publications including Forbes.com, Network World, CIO,Datamation, Wi-Fi Planet, Cloudbook and many others. Jeff blogs at Sandstorm Media. Recently Jeff interviewed me about our agency and our Brandtelling approach. I asked Jeff's permission to share the interview with our site visitors.]
Q & A with Arthur Germain – Part I
By Jeff Vance
I recently had the chance to talk with Arthur Germain, Principal & Chief Brandteller at Communication Strategy Group. Arthur originally ended up on my radar because account execs at CSG consistently send me good pitches. Later, a few CSG-generated press releases caught my eye. They didn’t read like press releases. Rather, they read like stories. I wanted to find out what they were doing differently that made them stand out from other PR agencies.
In our recent conversation we talked about the disappearance of media tours, what’s replaced them, how brand marketing differs from traditional PR and plenty more.
JV: How do you think PR-press relations have changed in the past 10 years or so?
AG: Many traditional PR practices have disappeared or are disappearing. For instance, in 2000 it was common for us to take clients on media tours. That meant the client came to town (I’m in New York), and we’d go to Business Week, Time and the New York Times. We’d set them up “desk side.” We just don’t do that anymore.
JV: Definitely. In the early 2000’s I lived in Boston, where I edited a couple high-tech magazines. I could have spent pretty much all day, every day on media tours or dinners with vendors. Today, I live in L.A., and while L.A. isn’t as much on the tech circuit as Boston, it’s not far off, especially with Silicon Valley so close, yet I rarely get the kind of in-person meeting requests I used to get pretty much every day.
With so many journalists, editors and analysts working either remotely or as freelancers, a media tour would have to log a heck of a lot more miles to have the kind of reach you used to get from just visiting a few major cities.
AG: Right, and then there are bloggers outside of major cities and just overall media fragmentation. So, today the media tour is replaced by phone interviews or web conferences. What that means is we have to work with clients to train them to speak with media on the phone. We have to teach them not to give “yes” or “no” answers. We have to remind them not to start reading bullet points. These are mistakes they’d be less likely to make in person. Over the phone, though, visual cues are all lost, and that can be a tough transition for executives who thrive on those face-to-face interactions.
You have to introduce a whole new set of skills in media training now. If I have three bullet points I want to get across to you, I have to state up front: “okay, Jeff, I have three things I want to talk about. The first is this; the second is this; the third is this.” Talking in person, I could tap my fingers on the desk, or when I say “my second point is,” I could reinforce that by holding up two fingers. The gestures and body language that we all rely on in face-to-face interactions are useless over the phone, so you have to find ways to replace them, and those replacements should sound natural to listeners.
JV: Judging from my discussions with PR pros and other journalists, the press-PR status quo isn’t really working for anyone. Ideally, how do you see the role of PR evolving and how can PR better work with the press – or is it better to lessen the emphasis on the press in favor of speaking directly to potential customers?
AG: It’s true that PR is changing greatly. However, I classify CSG more as a brand marketing agency than a PR firm.
JV: What’s the difference?
AG: We’re as likely to get tapped to write a feature article or a case study as a news release. This changes how we approach things. Even when we end up writing a more traditional news release, we ask, “What’s the call to action?” We’re always looking for ways to get customers and the media engaged. So, we’ll do things like offer editors slideshows, rather than just bombarding them with pitches and press releases.
JV: So, is the press release dead?
AG: The printed press release certainly is. I remember when I was a journalist I used to have press releases and press packets piled up around the office. That’s not the case anymore.
JV: Even at trade shows, smart companies don’t leave stacks of packets and folders in the press room. No one wants to lug them around. The smart ones leave USB drives, which will disappear quickly.
AG: Sure, and you can reuse them.
JV: Whether the info stored on them is ever looked at or just deleted is another matter . . .
AG: Another thing to consider is the rise of search and inbound marketing, both of which deemphasize traditional press releases. Inbound marketing targets content to customers and potential customers, not journalists. That’s part of why we think of our releases as “news” releases, not “press” releases. There has to be some real news within, and it’s not necessarily targeted only to the press.
This approach also gives us an opportunity to do something that press releases don’t usually do. We use our releases as thought-leadership tools. That is where we feel that we’ve really made a difference. It’s changed how we think of ourselves.
Today, we help companies tell brand stories. And we offer some PR services as well.
JV: Besides writing “news” releases and not “press” releases, what’s the difference between traditional PR and brand storytelling? The cynic in me would say that it sounds like a nifty euphemism. Is there more to it? Does your emphasis on stories mean that you’ll pass on potential clients who really don’t have compelling stories? As you know, all PR agents have experienced a few of those clients in their careers, the ones who just don’t have anything interesting to say, and what they do have to say is in no way newsworthy.
AG: Good question. Let’s look again at press releases. We focus on two categories of news release: the first is a “milestone and momentum release”. For instance, we’ll put out a release if our client just achieved some sort of Cisco certification. Or we’ll write something up if our client has a new customer in the financial services industry.
These are important because they make a statement to your customer base. We’re out there getting key certifications and we have customers. This news validates what the company is doing. It’s hard to make a sale these days if you haven’t done it before, so it makes sense to publicize those milestones.
On the other hand, if our client wants us to publicize something that we can’t classify, we’ll push back. We won’t distribute a press release for some small local event. We may alert local press, but why would you distribute that release globally?
JV: Yet, you see plenty of those releases out there.
AG: Right, or you see releases that say “we have a new version of our software under development.” Who cares? Is it available? Why are you telling me this?
JV: Half of my communication with PR is spent saying “that’s not news,” or “there is no story here.”
AG: Now, some of those releases are news, but to a very specific audience. If you’ve moved your offices, that matters on a local level, but not to a wider audience. Rather than using a shotgun approach of distributing a press release for that kind of news, we set our sights on the right audience for the news.
The second category of news release, and the one we prefer, is the “thought leadership release.” This type of release allows our clients to really showcase what makes them special, their approach or process.
Click Here to read part 2 of this interview, Arthur discusses surprising ways to package content for specific publications, how services like HARO are changing press-PR interactions and what he believes is the number-one challenge for PR.
On Thursday, September 12, 2013 at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY, Communication Strategy Group was among the sponsors for one of Long Island’s largest annual business recognition events. Hosted by HIA-LI, the recognized voice for business on Long Island, the event recognized five organizations as recipients of its prestigious HIA-LI 19th Annual Business Achievement Awards competition. The award recipients represent a diverse group of outstanding organizations from five different business categories: large businesses, small businesses, rookie of the year, non-profits and industry partnership. Representatives from each of the winning organizations received a plaque bearing the HIA-LI logo during a gala luncheon event held at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY. This gala event included business leaders from all across Long Island making it one of the best places to conduct business and build relationships. Chintu Patel, CEO of Amneal Pharmaceuticals, provided the keynote address on economic initiatives and what it takes to be a great company on Long Island.