Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pure Michigan PR

Renewed discussions on finding funds to resurrect our great state's Pure Michigan tourism campaign remind me of two reasons I believe so strongly in the power of PR (and advertising) to reposition Michigan.

On July 2, my husband and I sat on the back porch of the Mackinac Public Library in white Adirondack chairs taking in the spectacular Island water views. Striking up a conversation with the woman next to me (also lucky enough to be spending a sunny, 80+ degree day in such a breathtaking setting), she mentioned she was visiting Michigan - and staying at the Grand Hotel - as a result of seeing the Pure Michigan ads in her home state of Pennsylvania. Plus, she was there with husband, children and grandchildren in tow. That's a lot of potential fudge purchases! Not to mention more than a few nickels that were spent at the Grand Hotel and other Island hot spots.

After our stop at the library, we headed to lunch at the Iroquois Hotel. Yes folks, the address might say Mackinac Island but the feel is pure California and Maine rolled into one. With craggy rocks, a marina and endless blue on the waterfront menu, we had to pinch ourselves that we were really in Michigan - Pure Michigan. Following one of the most delightful al fresco lunches ever (yep, it even beats Santa Monica's famed Shutters on the Beach) we headed back to the main street where a couple on bikes asked if the Hotel was open for lunch. We assured them it was and that they were in for a wonderful experience. Turns out,they were from Florida and were spending a week in Northern Michigan. I neglected to ask them about the Pure Michigan ad, but they did mention they had no ties to our state whatsoever, they just selected Michigan for something new. They gushed about their vacation and how pleased they were with their decision.

We had a Pure Michigan summer, with visits to Saugatuck, Holland, Indian River (and a harrowing, i mean memorable, canoeing trip on the Sturgeon River) and even our local metro park. I've certainly done my part to spread the message about the leisure activities Michigan has to offer vacationers. Something tells me our Pennsylvania and Florida visitors will do the same. Still, following the adage that PR leads and advertising follows, we need to back up our word of mouth campaigns with some Pure Michigan dollars.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Press Conference Palooza

The secret to a successful press conference is to make sure it coincides with a planned visit by the Governor. Yes, Michigan Governor Granholm was in Auburn Hills today - and so were the majority of local media outlets. The event was threefold: the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new world headquarters of US Farathane, the rebirth of the 200+ acre Oakland Technology Park where US Farathane will soon be located, and the reminder to corporations near and far that Auburn Hills, the global business address - is open for business.

General Development purchased the land from Chrysler in early 2010 following the Chrysler bankruptcy. The land has been unavailable for development since 1995, but no longer. It's a new day in Auburn Hills. Using Auburn Hills fast track development approach, along with incentives at the state and local level, US Farathane broke ground in March on a project that first appeared before the Auburn Hills City Council in late January 2010.

As the 60+ attendees happily sweltered in today's 85 degree sun, the earth moved in Auburn Hills - with the assistance of about 10 earth movers. That's right folks, construction equipment was operational ( and not working on roads). Next up? Cranes in Auburn Hills. I'll alert the media.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Social Revolution at a Glance

I'm not new to blogging, tweeting, Linkedin or facebook, but I wasn't aware of all the statistics on users, purchases, marriages, etc. emanating from the use of social media. If you have four minutes to get up to date,click on the link below for a fast-paced, funky beat video that puts you in the know.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Celebrating Sisterhood: March 8th is International Women's Day

My friend and colleague, Anne Doyle, sends along a reminder that Monday, March 8th is International Women's Day. Learn more at http://www.internationalwomensday.com/

What a fitting introduction to congratulate two of my favorite women: attorneys and law partners Patricia Nemeth and Linda Burwell. These two legal powerhouses have helped create Michigan's largest, woman-owned management side labor and employment law firm, Nemeth Burwell, P.C. They were honored, along with seven other highly accomplished women, at the Michigan Business and Professionals Association 14th annual women and leadership conference on Thursday, March 4th. The accompanying picture was taken at the event. Linda is on the left and Pat is on the right.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Everyday PR Can Ward Off Crisis PR

According to an article in today's Wall Street Journal, Toyota has called in the big PR guns to manage its quality crisis (crisis is a powerful word but seems like an understatement here.) I contend that good public relations is everyday public relations. It's communicating with internal and external audiences regularly to maintain a positive, open and honest relationship.

When a company tells its story regularly, even when that means admitting to some hiccups along the way, significant good will is created. When goodwill among the public and stakeholders exists, the power to avert a crisis is strong. Again, as mentioned in previous posts, this requires immediate, full disclosure of any serious problem and a sincere desire and strategy to tackle the issue fully and with urgency. Hiding problems for months and years is sure to lead to a PR crisis. Practicing everyday PR can avert one.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Turnabout isn't Fair Play?

I was surprised to hear a well known automotive insider comment Friday that Ford and GM were being "predatory" in their attempts to take advantage of the massive Toyota recall in order to sell domestic cars. Why not? The quality issue - which the domestics have fought for years and sometimes rightly so - has been one of Toyota's key selling points. From a PR perspective, where timing is everything, why would any car company, regardless of country of origin, not step up to the plate and tout its products?

I feel a personal connection to this developing story because I was once the owner of a Lexus ES-350. I had three unexplained acceleration experiences, the scariest of which occurred on 1-75 north in the winter of 2008. I was driving my then 14 year-old daughter, Lucie, and her best friend skiing at Pine Knob. Suddenly, the car lurched past 70 to 85 and 90. I wish I could say I remained calm, but I'd be lying. I was screaming for the girls not to worry because I'd figure this out, but I had no idea what was happening. Did I hit the cruise control by mistake? How could I stop the car, given that using the brake was producing zero results? I think I must have jimmied the floor mat in my frenzy to try something, anything, to slow the car down. The car then resumed normal speed and we survived unscathed.

It deeply concerns me that this dangerous acceleration problem has been identified in 8 Toyota models, especially with one of my sisters driving an Avalon and another a brand new RAV 4. The problem needs to be resolved immediately. In the meantime, with car safety top of mind, manufacturers with cars with no known safety issues do need to tell their story loud and often. (By the way, I love my 2009 Lincoln MKZ.)

It's About TIME

A belated thank you to TIME magazine and its other national titles for focusing on Detroit and surrounding areas for an extended period. I heard TIME editor Ann S. Moore speak at an INFORUM event on January 15th and it was hard not to feel a sense of pride in Detroit, both from the success this region has historically known and the potential to innovate our way back to the top again.