After a Penn Railroad train ran off the rails, PR pioneer Ivy Lee gained the upper hand over reporters covering the story with a subtle account of the accident that minimized the reputational damage to his client.
Public Relations Born Spinning A Train Derailment
The modern era of managed information began with a succinct press release written by a former newsman on behalf of his industrial client, a northeastern railroad that had just suffered a derailment resulting in multiple deaths. To be sure, ten eyewitnesses if asked to describe the accident would have ten different accounts of the exact same facts. But the one that made it into the New York Times that day is the only one that counts.
The first press release of the modern era was crafted in 1906 by Ivy Lee, one of public relation’s original founders, for his client the Pennsylvania Railroad. Following a derailment that resulted in multiple deaths, Lee arranged for reporters to be transported to the accident scene – under his watchful eye – and at the same time released an account of what happened, complete with asides, misinformation, and human interest. Continue reading →
A swelteringly (and typical) Orlando, Florida evening greeted several hundred VIP guests as Ace Cafe London opened their first North American outpost celebrating legendary British food, bikes, and music just a few blocks up from Church Street Station.
Ace Cafe Orlando’s new home is a pair of century-old historic supply warehouses, the perfect environment for the fabled biker mecca that was born of industrial roots at the dawn of rock ‘n roll but couldn’t survive drowning in the soft rock and disco wave that followed.
Resurrection of An Iconic Brand
The original Ace was shuttered in 1969, a victim of changing times and tastes, before being resurrected in 2001 by Believer-In-Chief Mark Wilsmore and friends in the image of the golden era of British Twin dominance. From that rebirth the Ace has spread out internationally, now finally crossed the Atlantic to what some might think an improbable landing in Disney World’s back yard.
Although Orlando is already home to virtually every kind of entertainment concept and half-baked attraction imaginable, including Holy Land a few miles down I-4, Ace Cafe Orlando offers a distinctly different environment to a targeted community, beckoning bikers and hot rodders to get together and swap ideas over traditional British fare served in several restaurants and bars that surround the main stage and flank the museum and retail stores.
Anchoring the north edge of Orlando’s downtown redevelopment district and light years away from the homogenized banality of International Drive a few miles to the west, the Ace is a comfortable fit for this multi-ethnic Florida town that’s pulsing with energy.
While listing the usual suspects – controlled messaging, precise targeting, detailed facts and contact information – the article also makes the very good point that press releases are first and foremost an announcement, not to be confused with the offhanded SEO role far too many assign them.
SEO – Yes and No
Stuffing a press release with nothing but keywords – a practice Google has for some time now disavowed as effective, and in some cases of overuse even destructive when it comes to SERP rank – is attractive only if you’re a bot, as opposed to a real person looking for relevant info.
While many make the case for text only press releases, utilizing the same information as part of a properly prepared PDF can pay lasting dividends well into the future.
Knowing how to optimize a document as a PDF file is underappreciated and an enormously powerful part of SEO and SMM. When a press release is processed using Acrobat Pro, the amount of metadata a PDF is capable of storing is like getting free money at the bank.
The article concludes with the observation that traditional press releases should work with, and not be excluded from, a client’s social media marketing plan. I agree with this approach, as well as the opportunity it presents for a well-designed release to be launched strategically for years of lasting benefit.
In what can only be described as a Christmas miracle, perhaps the single most momentous event since Lazarus emerged intact, comes news of the acquisition of defunct trade pub label Dealernews by a midwest consortium, DN 2.0, headed up by Columbus, OH Harley-Davidson franchisee Bob Althoff.
“What we are doing is unprecedented in the powersports industry.”
“What we are doing is unprecedented in the powersports industry,” says the owner of three OEM dealerships. The plan for DN 2.0 is apparently to restore what was lost during the mid-2000’s heyday by recalling editorial staff and management from the brand inherited by UBM in 2015 when they purchased Advanstar and which was then abruptly shuttered.
Relaunch Has New Focus, Reach
The revived brand will ostensibly be guided by an advisory board made up from a number of well-known powersports single and multi-line dealer heads, industry consultants, and communications veterans. Will it make a difference? The field of national powersports trade publications has shrunk from five to two over the last decade as social media channels have proliferated and advertising options have multiplied. For many, that constitutes a trend.
They sure look like jeans. They sure fit like jeans. They sure wear like jeans. But they really perform like a cool breeze across a simmering swamp.
When Wrangler threw their hat in the powersports market, they took on a longstanding de facto preference for an iconic brand leader in the denim and leather category. Going up against Levi might seem a tall challenge, but not so much when you introduce some serious technology into the game. And decades of idling a Harley at a red light in the middle of a sweltering Florida summer meant I had a basis for comparison and the motivation to try something different.
In hot weather you’ll notice the difference immediately, and not by increments.
Rugged Construction, Technical Stay Dri Material
Florida’s climate can readily test that claim, but the real challenge lay about 700 miles west, where I’d spend a few days clearing timber and brush under an 85-degree Louisiana sun. I prepped my Cool Vantage Wranglers with Sawyer’s Permethrin to ward off mosquitoes and ticks, and to hopefully confuse any yellow jackets I might stumble into, before heading into the woods to see if their claim of cool comfort would hold up.
Cool Vantage Transforms Into Athletic Sportswear
I’m familiar with the performance of athletic sportswear, as well as the misery of conventional jeans, especially after they’re soaked with sweat that dams up underneath the waistband before spilling over to slowly trickle down my legs.
Along with a relaxed fit stretch model, Wrangler’s Cool Vantage dry fit material delivers the same level of advanced sports technology usually associated with brands like Under Armour and Nike, while maintaining the style and appearance of traditional denim.
At least they’d be no worse than my drawer full of regular denim. At best? That was what I was anxious to find out.
Wrangler did their homework when they figured out how to combine the dri-fit characteristics of athletic sportswear with the ruggedness of traditional denim jeans.
After strapping on my chainsaw chaps (further increasing the insulation factor), I picked up my Stihl and lumbered off into the woods. There, after a few hours of tromping up and down the ravines while maneuvering over and around the felled logs, I realized that what would have had sweat pouring into my boots was instead, apparently, wicking to the surface and evaporating. Not only was I noticeably cooler, I was measurably more comfortable as well.
I had one more test, wherein I donned a 4-gallon backpack sprayer filled with herbicide. Being able to shed my chaps meant a lot more freedom of movement, offset by the weight of the contents on my back. Adding another 40 pounds or so to a weigh-in north of 235 when clothing and footwear are included gave my legs a workout, and the jeans another challenge. The legs quit long before my Wranglers.
Here’s the verdict. They work just fine as everyday wear, and in cool weather nothing’s lost. But in hot weather you’ll notice the difference immediately, and not by increments. It’s night and day, while still retaining the sturdy work characteristics and working style of traditional denim wear. Cool Vantage is just that — cooler to work in, with the look and feel of what you’re accustomed to wearing.
WeeGo CEO Gerard Toscani thinks everyone should have emergency power handy. Don’t wish you had.
My first question to WeeGo CEO Gerard Toscani, left, was about the name. His answer, simply enough, was that the product, one of any number of lithium battery emergency power sources, was small, and it would get you going a lot faster than rubbing two sticks together and praying for fire.
Their feature-laden lineup of ergonomically pleasing hi-vis orange charging and emergency starting power begins with a candy bar sized phone/watch/fitness tracker charger and tops out with their top-of-the-line WeeGo 66.
The latter packs a huge amount of amperage in a very compact package, capable of starting a 747 that’s stalled on the runway or lighting a stadium in case of a blackout.
Well, maybe not so much. But the new for 2017 portable power pack delivers up to 600 cranking amps, enough for gas engines up to 10L, and diesels up to 5L. Remember, this is something you can hold in one hand.
Advanced Technology Prevents Screwups
But without the right technology, cranking power alone only gets you so far. Just ask Samsung.
What else? USB charging for all your portable power hogs, plus 12V and 19V outputs to power accessories and laptops. And even though you say you’ll never need one, they claim their 600 lumen dual LED flashlight will operate in strobe mode for 18 hours, and can signal an SOS for up to 36 hours.
Capable of starting a 747 that’s stalled on the runway or lighting a stadium in case of a blackout.
Pack recharge is fast, and claimed standby power is up to 3-years. Built-in protection against power surge, overheating, polarity screwups, and even an anti-spark feature in case you’re operating in an inflammable environment.
WeeGo power packs come in a range of sizes and capacities. The 22, shown, is well suited for powersports, including offroad and on the water.
There’s not a lot of price spread between the emergency starter models. The middle of the road 44 retails for $149, the 22 (recommended for powersports, can start a V-8 if needed) a little less. All come packed in a signature orange housing that packs easily and is impervious to most of the environmental challenges of riding, boating, and off-roading.
Note: the optional Powersports Tether accessory is a nifty solution for hooking up hidden batteries that are hard to access in the garage, and impossible when stuck by the side of the road in the middle of the night. This modest add-on works for both charging and starting, and would have saved my back on more than one occasion in the days of having to kick-start a dead-as-a-doornail Shovelhead. Today, when kick starters on street bikes are only found in museums, emergency battery power should be considered an essential.
All WeeGo products are warranteed for 18 months. These are good products from a talented, progressive American company.
As I grow increasingly comfortable with online shopping as an alternative to chasing hard to find items in brick and mortar storefronts, rationalizing clik to add to shopping cart becomes easier and easier as the cost of shipping tumbles. Then came Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime is by all indications a very effective loss leader in the effort to tether consumers to mega-site Amazon for all their internet purchases. Patterned after the big box membership warehouse experience, Prime, for a modest annual fee, delivers not only free 2-day shipping on most items, but includes a bunch of other perks as well.
The price is right – for as long as it can last.
The included music feed is perfectly acceptable, eliminating having to subscribe to Pandora, Spotify, or Radio for a premium listening experience. Ditto access to online t.v. content, books, and a number of other features that save time and/or money.
I just discovered that a number of familiar, favorite, and free periodicals are available as well, viewable online or as downloaded Kindle content. Which is how I came across Cycle World, Bonnier’s flagship pub in their motorcycle group stable of powersports publications, as a free read on Amazon.
I’m not sure how the business model for offering up your vanguard bike magazine for free reading moves the bottom line needle. It’s not an option you’d expect to find in a typical subscription pitch; “12 Whole Issues For One Year’s Worth of Reading Only Zero Dollars and Zero Cents!”
Since consolidating the spectrum of motorcycle pubs several years ago by purchasing those niche assets from Hearst first, then Source Interlink, the overall health of print continues to circle the drain, excepting a few standouts like Garden & Gun. The price is right – for as long as it can last.
That news hadn’t even completed the first lap when it was announced right before Thursday’s show opening that Columbus was a one and done, and that Las Vegas would welcome dealers in 2018 to a Mandalay Bay event, also in October.
A few select exhibitors hadn’t even finished their chorus of reliable quotes on why Columbus’ “500-mile radius” was key to attracting dealers in order to grow the event (it isn’t, given Peoples Exhibit A, DealerExpo) when the Vegas jump came out of the blue. If there was any question that MIC’s OEMs were wielding their muscle, this relocation eliminated any doubts.
Why It Matters
Why this matters involves pure marketing decisions by the show’s owners, and, like every realtor says, it’s about location, location, location. Powersports (read aftermarket) expos have been tried in Vegas before, and they’ve died in Vegas, even during the red-hot 2000s. OEM dealer meetings, on the other hand, thrive in the desert.
The move has all the earmarks of a purely strategic decision by Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki to consolidate their dealer programs closer to home and away from the proximate distraction of Daytona’s Biketoberfest.
I can’t say I’m not disappointed. Orlando remains a major international destination, and both venue and weather remain well suited to the outdoor activities which can’t be offered in a resort hotel facility.
Still, H-D was never a participant, and Kawasaki was a big hole in the lineup this year, after drawing plenty of attention with last year’s massive booth. Ducati was another no-show. Ditto BMW. And so it went.
This year’s swan song seemed almost a little melancholy, like the guy who came alone to the dance and stayed too late. Compared to the previous decade, many of the booths looked like they traveled as overhead luggage.
Warn, Pirelli, S&S, and Avon, among others, didn’t bring the A game of years previous. And speaking of others, Western Powersports, Parts Unlimited, Chrome Specialties, Tucker-Rocky, and Drag Specialties were among the major distributors whose absence, in favor of their own one-off shows for the past several years, severely hurts in the buzz building.
The Magic 8-Ball Says
It could be that the appeal of an aftermarket accessories driven trade show has passed its sell by date. Without support from manufacturers, dealers aren’t likely to make the investment in time and money to visit when much of what they’re selling is already on offer at the afore mentioned distributor sponsored shows. And without dealer support, manufacturers can’t be expected to continue their investment without a decent ROI. And this year’s announced dealer registration figure of just over 2,000 falls, to me, far short of fulfilling that expectation.
AIMExpo will in the future become a new model year bike show by the major manufacturers with some slots occupied by non-OEMs who either lack a distributor hookup, are doing okay with their own dealer direct and consumer direct programs, or just don’t want one.
Nostalgia for the way things were is notable, but unsupportable. Columbus ’17 looks to be the last real expression of the independent powersports aftermarket event.
In the 1920’s Bernays took on the Beech-Nut Packing Company as a client, tasked to salvage their tanking bacon sales as Americans switched their eating preferences in favor of Kellogg’s heavily promoted (as healthier, and more convenient) dry breakfast cereals, toast, and juice.
Cue Homer Simpson.
Bernays was a nephew of Sigmund Freud, and his remarkable marketing insight, gained in large part by studying his uncle’s ground-breaking methodology, allowed him to successfully pitch cigarette smoking to American women as their patriotic duty.
Later, at the height of the Cold War, his campaign on behalf of the CIA influenced United Fruit Company’s banana empire led to the overthrow of the democratically elected Guatemalan government. By then the innovative marketing techniques he’d developed promoting bacon for breakfast were an irresistible force, once that consumers to this day are powerless to resist.
In a modern consumer driven economy, free will isn’t as long as there are marketeers willing and capable of opinion shifting strategies. Pass the pork.
Designer, CEO Team Up to Deliver A Powerful Political Statement to Nation
In today’s hypercharged political atmosphere there’s a lot of talk, often uninformed, about the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and what the First Amendment means, depending on the point being conveyed.
One citizen’s bold response to the Republican’s damaged nominee for President.
This is an example of civics and citizenship that combines freedom of speech and freedom of the press in an elegantly crafted statement regarding the Republican party’s 2016 nominee for President of the United States. An important component in the process was the cleanly Spartan design of the full page advertorial.
Agree or not, this private citizen took the time, and wrote a very sizeable check, to participate in a thoughtful, non-commercial attempt to influence public opinion.