Thursday, September 3, 2009


We talk a lot here at Dynabrand about the concept of relevancy. In fact, relevance – along with distinction and focus – are the three key elements to building a strong brand image and form the foundation for the PR programs we develop for our clients. I saw a humorous case of overlooking that reality the other day as I was driving to a meeting on yet another scorching-hot summer day. As my fellow Austinites know, we are experiencing the hottest summer on record with nearly 70 days of 100-plus degree temperatures. At the entrance to a local shopping center was an employee of Schlotzky’s, the national deli chain that, incidentally, makes delicious sandwiches, holding up a large promotional sign that read: “GET TOASTY! TRY OUR OVEN-TOASTED SANDWICHES!” “Get Toasty?” On a 102-degree day at the tail-end of a summer-long heat wave that has left us all yearning to do anything but? Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE Schlotzky's! They're a great, Austin-based company and I want them to earn bread in addition to toasting it! Schlotzky's certainly could have leveraged their differentiated "toasty" positioning to build the brand during the summer time. For example, they could have done a fun Schlotzky's lifestyle survey (with the results sent to the media) about how people nationwide enjoy and stay cool during the toasty temperatures of summer. Or they could have leveraged the news the Austin heat wave has been generating and focused the survey on how Austinites are staying cool during these toasty times. That would have generated some fun, relevant and strategic media coverage for the brand. To motivate your target consumers to action, always make sure that your communications are as relevant as possible.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


PR people can often get so wrapped up in executing their approved PR plans for clients that they forget how important it is to stay nimble and jump immediately on opportunistic news events. Frankly, this is why all of our media people are broadcast, print and online news junkies. You can’t leverage opportunities if you don’t see them. For example, when a story broke recently on MSNBC about an antibiotic-resistant strain of acne, we jumped on it, recognizing the strategic opportunity it presented for our client, Zeno, which makes a terrific, over-the-counter device that gets rid of pimples within 24 hours for 90% of people. Within hours, we had secured a story on FOX News validating Zeno’s position as an effective option for those suffering from blemishes. Thus far, the segment has run on more than 30 FOX television stations nationwide, including affiliates in seven of the top 10 markets: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Houston. In all, we were able to reach more than 30 million viewers with Zeno’s efficacy message, while the company’s competitors were nowhere in sight. So, when you’re watching TV or reading the news, think about how that story might be relevant to your company or product and flock to it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Although we’ve worked with numerous celebrities over the years on behalf of clients, we’ve chosen never to represent celebrities directly. But, it certainly would make sense. Celebrities are consumer brands as much as any packaged good is and, like an automobile brand, for example, they need to maintain a relevant point of distinction or ‘why to buy’ over time. (Above is a photo of me with Olympian Michael Phelps, who trains with PureSport, the most scientific sports drink on the market and one of our clients. It was taken after we took Phelps to MTV to do an interview that we secured for him to discuss PureSport.)

This is why the new Denise Richards “fun bags” video that’s been making the rounds (so to speak) on the Internet made me cringe. Already suffering from a severe case of irrelevancy in today’s entertainment market (and all who follow the Dynabranding principles or marketing know we are all about relevancy), Richards has decided to release a silly, five-minute, double-entendre video to (I am guessing?) display her skills as a comedic actress and try to get some acting work. Instead, the video comes off as a desperate and irresponsible (since kids are involved in the prank) attempt to make herself relevant again. It might have been a good strategy if Richards were trying to interest Playboy in featuring her fun bags, but she's already posed for the magazine. So, unless this was a stunt designed to prime the market for a new line of Denise Richards bras, whoever counseled her to do this video was, well, a boob.

While I’m on the topic of celebrity branding, can someone please help Jennifer Aniston? Sadly, she is well on her way to becoming the celebrity brand synonymous with ‘victim.’ A modern-day Debbie Reynolds. I just can’t understand why—given the Brangelina situation, which she has allowed to define her—anyone would advise Aniston to star, over and over again, in victim-themed movies like “The Break Up, “The Baster” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Who in the world is advising this poor woman? Unless this is part of a larger strategy designed to help Aniston own all of Hollywood's woe-is-me roles, these are ill-advised career choices. Aniston is lovely and talented and has the potential to be one of our most beloved comedic actresses but she needs to focus on reshaping and rebuilding her brand. My advice? First, she needs to determine what the Jennifer Aniston brand represents. The girl next door? The quintessential best friend? Second, she needs to start choosing relevant movie roles. Third, like all true brand leaders, she needs to stop talking about the competition--no more interviews about Brangelina.

Friday, April 24, 2009


As the founder and president of a PR firm that specializes in consumer lifestyle products, and a sometime style blogger and contributing style editor, I live in the world of magazines—reading them, tabbing them, ripping pages from them, referencing them and pitching story ideas to them. To me, thumbing page by glorious page through a glossy magazine is one of life’s great and inexpensive pleasures, offering a smorgasbord of visual and intellectual candy.

Sadly, the magazine world is in a state of complete distress, yet another casualty of our grim economy. Domino? Gone. The New York Times’ T magazine? Scaled back. Allure? Rumored to be shuttering. What’s next? I shudder to think.

That’s why I found it so utterly encouraging to see the latest issue of Brilliant, a Texas lifestyle magazine—with its completely new look—on the newsstand. So strong and confident. So fresh and optimistic. So brave and courageous. So, well, Texan.

With its bold new cover look (finally, the masthead gets the capital B it has long deserved), Brilliant beckoned to me like it hasn’t before and I just had to get my hands on it. And I did. I was struck immediately by the reader-friendly new layouts and the enhanced graphics and print quality and, before long, I was reading and tabbing and ripping with abandon and delight.

As I closed the magazine and put it down, I remembered what I’d read about Spring’s accessories on the vastly improved Editor’s Pick page. I ran to my closet and plucked out of hiding a Jennifer Ouellette ostrich feather headband that I bought several months ago but haven’t had the nerve to wear and put it on. To the Brilliant editorial team: congratulations, April's issue is a true feather in your cap.