First, Get Noticed

"Made You Look" isn't just a schoolyard game anymore, it's become a business survival tactic.  The above image, for example, has nothing to do with building products, but a great deal to do with the concept of getting someone's attention.

Publicity is the business of getting attention via existing channels of "news" communication.

Each year as World of Concrete approaches, editors get deluged with emails from exhibitors who are holding press conferences.  The goal of these press conferences is to get editorial coverage (magazine, web, Better Homes & Gardens network, etc.) of your product, so you can get some public or trade attention to it.  But first, you have to get the editor's attention, and get him or her to the press conference.

We have a client holding a press conference at WOC, and wanted to invite editors.  The question was, how to make it stand out from all the other emails inviting editors to press conferences.

We decided a) to be different.  All the others seemed emphasize the company's name and reputation, but give very little info, in fairly small type, about what would be discussed at the press conference.  By contrast, we decided to talk to editors about what they care about: the story.  To an editor, the gift they seek is not the Company, it's the news.  Our invitation screamed that there was news, from the subject line on downwards.  It didn't tell all the news, but it told enough that an editor could be sure there was a solid story to come and collect.  It also mentioned the company bringing this news, the giver of the gift.

We decided b) to be colorful.  In most of the other emails, the only color was the company's logo.  That may be a big ego boost for the company, but it left the rest of the email, including the "news," looking kind of drab.  We stuck in honkin' bright pictures of products and results, not a lot of them, but a selection that was standing-up-and-cheering with color.  Colorful pictures get anyone's attention, but especially an editor who needs colorful pictures to put in the magazine.

Two hours and four minutes after the email went out, we received a response, apologizing for having to miss the press conference, but asking to set up an interview instead.  Ahhhhhhhh!

Today's communication environment is extraordinarily competitive.  It's an invitation to be creative.  Of course, you shouldn't do irrelevant stuff - such as the above image - when you could just as well offer up your real story in a creative way that gets attention, and proves that your story is attention-worthy.  And it's fun to play Made You Look.