Our 2012 Public Relations Resolutions

As we enter a new year, it’s a great time to evaluate 2011 and set goals for the year ahead. With that in mind, the 451 Marketing public relations team put together a list of their resolutions for 2012.


Say “No” More Often

In a job that’s all about client service it’s extremely difficult to tell clients “no,” even in a nice way, when they ask the team to take on tasks that don’t map directly to their program’s goals. In 2012, I resolve to challenge clients more often to allow my team to stay focused on the actions that produce the results we are measured on. I love my clients and get excited along with them about new opportunities, so this resolution is a tough one for me!

– Karyn Martin, Senior Account Director, @karynmartin


Always Do My Homework 

Who can forget the PR blunder that was “Qwikster”? As Jason Gilbert of the Huffington Post wrote, “It should certainly be a first ballot entrant into the Bad Decision Hall of Fame, enshrined next to New Coke, Prohibition and that time Garth Brooks dyed his hair black and played rock music under the name Chris Gaines.” After a disastrous price hike in July 2011, Netflix went on to announce a way to offer users more convenient way to “Qwickly” receive DVD’s by mail while keeping the “Netflix” name strictly for streaming. Judgments about business decisions aside, the launch of their new Qwikster service may not have been such a PR fail if they’d taken the time to actually do their homework. Even a simple Google search (a seemingly no-brainer move) to see if the term was already in use would have done the trick. Luckily, we in PR squealed with delight as we realized before Netflix did that the @Qwikster handle was owned not by Netflix, but by a marijuana-loving high school student; and thus, hilarity ensued. Although I wound up canceling my Netflix service along with  800,000 fellow subscribers, this PR blunder turned out to be a great reminder for us all and something I’ll take with me into 2012.

– Laura Christo, Account Executive,@LauraChristo


Keep Up With National Trends

My New Year’s resolution is to pay closer attention to national trends in food and hospitality before they hit Boston so that I can help our clients introduce these new ideas to our market. It can be tough to take a step back during our busy day-to-day, so I resolve to make time for this in 2012.

-Nicole Russo, Executive Vice President Public Relations, @NicoleRusso


Help Clients Understand the True Definition of PR

In 2012 I resolve to help clearly define what PR is with our current, new and prospective clients, especially in the beginning of a new project. The term “PR” gets thrown around so loosely (“Charlie Sheen is one big PR disaster!” “Ashton Kutcher’s PR team is now Tweeting for him.” “The BP oil spill was a case of bad PR.”) that I think sometimes the true definition as well as the various components of PR get muddled for those not embedded in the industry. Additionally, I want to help clients understand how the different facets of PR apply to them – every client is different, so each campaign is going to be different, too.

– Meredith D’Agostino, Account Executive, @ladymusic


Pick Up the Phone More Often.

It has become very easy to handle communication with clients and reporters via email, SMS text, and even an occasional direct message on Twitter. While an electronic message is often more efficient, it’s also much less personal. In a business where relationships are paramount, nothing is better for building and strengthening a relationship than a personal conversation. While a face to face conversation is always best, it’s not always possible, so a phone conversation is the next best thing.

-Tom Lee, Partner, @TomLee451


Do you have any PR resolutions for 2012? Share them with us in the comments section below!



Boston Business Journal Top 100 Women-led Businesses Breakfast

Thursday morning, a few of the 451 Marketing ladies and I attended the annual Top 100 #BBJWomenLedBiz breakfast at the Westin Copley, presented by The Boston Business Journal and The Commonwealth Institute. It was an inspiring morning to say the least with almost 300 attendees, networking, panel discussions, awards and more. We were pleased to be there to witness the fabulous roster of women leaders to be recognized.

What I found to be the most interesting part of the morning was the panel discussion, newly added this year. The panel was moderated by Andrea Cohen, CEO of Houseworks (@house_works) and speaking was Kip Hollister (@kiphollister), founder and CEO of Hollister (@HollisterBoston), Laura Sen, president and chief executive officer, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. (@BJsWholesale), and Shirley Singleton, president of Edgewater.  The panel discussed how to be an authentic leader vs. how to be deliberate in your leadership – a topic I was eager to hear about. The general consensus of the panel was that the key was to make sure that you stick it out when times get tough; “you don’t cave,” said Laura Sen. “When times get tough, you just don’t cave.” Kip Hollister echoed Laura’s sentiment. “Go right through the pain – don’t go around it,” she stressed. “It will make you stronger as a leader.”

The panel also discussed the importance of maintaining office culture as a leader, especially when it comes to retaining talent whose goals align with yours and that of your business to strengthen your mission. Laura Sen stated simply “Leadership is surrounding yourself with the right people.” Kip agreed, saying “Be deliberate in your office culture. Say it out loud. And if people don’t want to get on board, get rid of them.”

In addition to the four companies on the panel, 96 other women-led businesses were recognized in a presentation at the end of the event. Rounding out the top three were the soon-to-be retired Trudy Sullivan, president and CEO of Talbots (@Talbots), Laura Sen of BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Carol Meyrowitz, president and CEO of TJX Co. (@TJXCO).

It was so refreshing to learn just how many businesses in the state are women-led. You can find photos and the full list here.  I can’t wait to see who makes the list in 2012.

Were you at the event? What were some of your favorite quotes from the panel?  Who were you especially inspired by?


451 Marketing Art Party Featuring the Photographs of Ilene Perlman

A few times every year, the 451 Marketing office in Boston undergoes a major change  – we welcome a new, local artist to our large, white walls.  On Thursday evening, 451 Marketing hosted an Art Party showcasing the works of Boston photographer Ilene Perlman at our headquarters in Boston.

“This was a great opportunity for us to network, have some fun, and enjoy Ilene’s beautiful work,” said AJ Gerritson, 451 Marketing Founding Partner. “Ilene’s photographs have definitely boosted the energy in our office and we really enjoyed sharing it with colleagues and friends.”

Boston photojournalist Ilene Perlman has been photographing people and travel for clients in the editorial, educational, and corporate world for over 20 years. With wide-ranging experience working for magazines, international organizations, travel companies, and corporate/foundation clients, her photojournalistic style brings a fresh eye to every assignment.

Ilene’s photos will also be featured on 451 Marketing’s new website launching  in the new year, so stay tuned for more beautiful photagraphy!


We’ll be back in the spring featuring a new artist – until then, enjoy more of Ilene’s work at www.ileneperlman.com/ .

Creative PR Pitches Are Both The Means & The End With New Media

Seth Godin, one of my personal marketing Sherpas, opined in one of his recent blog posts on “The difference between PR and publicity”. As with most of his insights, the post elicited plenty of views and comments as he decided to characterize the distinction between publicity as merely end-game media coverage and PR as the comprehensive story crafting and scene setting about a particular company, product, or trend. The oft-badmouthed PR, in effect, is actually more of a science than it’s given credit for being.


Godin, as usual, is spot-on. Gaining publicity, especially in today’s cluttered media environment, can be experiment in futility. On the other hand, everybody (and every client) has a story to craft, develop and share regardless of who ultimately publicizes it. Some of these stories are hundreds of times more interesting than others and some might be a lot more controversial than others, but everybody’s got something to add to a conversation. As Godin writes, almost everyone has a PR problem – a problem conveying that story effectively enough to get attention (or the right attention).  


The distinction that Godin draws creates an even greater justification for the merits of inbound marketing. With every effective inbound marketing campaign comes a hefty dose of creative, responsible and engaging storytelling and content creation – whether in the form of blogs, online videos, or social media profiles. Ultimately, marketers now have additional outlets for their stories besides the traditional media.


PR pro’s can focus on their storytelling by creating content that is engaging enough to stand on its own (without gatekeepers) and virally spread to the right audiences and potential prospects. Does a little outbound, traditional PR pitching help the cause? Absolutely, but any PR pro worth his or her salt knows that now, more than ever, companies can be well served by having a creative story (or customer, product, employee or event) that ultimately sells itself through new media channels, with little interruption or traditional media communication.  

Using Social Media To Weather The Recession

One of the most adverse domino effects of our current economic situation has to be the distressing troubles currently afflicting the advertising and marketing industries. Because of companies’ fiscal obligations and their deteriorating bottom lines, executives have shown little restraint in slashing their ad budgets and downsizing any of their prior plans for monumental, traditional campaigns.


The situation is incredibly dreary for most marketing professionals, who are now left with the difficult tasks of justifying their worth to their clients by developing, or pitching, campaigns that are explicitly responsible and cost-effective. 


So…how should marketers weather the recession? 


The answer is quite clear; move the pivotal focus of your campaign onto the web and harness the power of social media.  Social media, particularly over the past year, has proven to be an inexpensive, but lucrative tool for online lead generation, providing a positive return on your client’s investments. Amidst the current market, and with marketing budgets slimming to a shoe string, social media presents a more personal and engaging option that can correctly target the proper demographics and audiences in a word-of-mouth fashion.


Tools such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs allow users to connect and share and publish their most personal ideas, thoughts and opinions with old friends or even perfect strangers. The beauty of these interactions lies in the implicitness of the information to appear creditable because of its word-of-mouth nature. Social media users recognize the messages they receive to be more relevant and natural, and not stretched or warped by the stigma of paid advertisements.


But social media users still need to gain the trusts of their peers. Once this goal is attained, the passing along of communications becomes socially accepted as useful, helpful and credible.


The power to share information on these sites can help to bolster a company’s profile, if it is accomplished in a responsible and trustful way. By managing many of the social media channels that they have at their disposal by dedicating the right resources and employees, corporations will recognize the ability of social media to serve as a next-generational inbound marketing tool. Over time, connections made, like in the real world, can generate new leads, clients, and revenue without any of the costs of more traditional business lead generation methods.