Common Industrial Marketing Challenges

by Emma Jones, guest blogger From populating email lists to leveraging automation, discover the most common industrial marketing challenges and how to overcome them. As the pandemic slowly recedes and the marketing world takes a breath of relief, the manufacturing industry remains cautious. Perhaps rightly so; B2B salespeople have not been performing according to expectations, all things considered. In fact, just two days before this article was written, Deloitte released its 2022 manufacturing industry outlook corroborating this. It outlined surprising growth but found "optimism around revenue growth is held in check by caution from ongoing risks." For this reason, risk mitigation and "business agility” will substantially inform the industry’s future, one could safely argue. So, to help you do so, let us explore the most common industrial marketing challenges that may lie ahead. #1 Populating email lists Starting with the lead generation phase, email lists remain notoriously hard to populate. It's increasingly hard to populate them with meaningful, engaged leads. There are ample reasons for this, including diminishing audience trust, fragmented customer journeys, outdated business websites, etc. Simultaneously, the gradual eclipse of third-party cookies weighs on marketers of all industries, hampering audience data acquisition further. The manufacturing industry is no exception to this, and in many ways, it may have it worse. As some manufacturers remain resistant to digitization and the Industry 4.0 movement calls for its own attention from those who embrace it, the lead acquisition may suffer in turn. Solutions As a mainstay among industrial marketing challenges, there are a few different measures against this issue. Here, let us outline the three most substantive ones for text economy: Avoid purchased lists at all costs. Such lists rarely perform or pay off at all, as your email recipients have not opted into them. In addition, using such lists carries…read more >

Five Key Social Media Trends for 2022 – Part Five

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect In this five-part series, we are taking a look at the 2022 social trends from Hootsuite. The final macro trend for 2022 is the customer care trend. The Customer Care Trend Social marketers rescue their brands from the customer service apocalypse Spurred on by lockdowns and chaotic shifts in business operations, we’ve seen social marketers take on more responsibility for managing an influx of customer service inquiries. Social has become the front line of this crisis Consumers, fed up with waiting on hold, have discovered that service delivered via social is immediate, convenient, and effective. In a Nielsen survey commissioned by Facebook, 64% of people said they now prefer to message rather than call a business. The pressure on businesses to adapt to as many digital customer service channels as possible is sky high. According to Gartner, 60% of all customer service requests will be managed via digital channels by 2023. Consumer expectations are mounting. Demand for integrating customer care channels is increasing—and social is where that pressure is peaking. Most organizations are not ready to deliver customer care on social. Despite a rise in demand, many organizations aren’t well positioned to deliver effective customer care over social media…at least not yet. Our internal data from research conducted in July 2021 tells us that 71% of organizations have either not started investing in social customer care yet, or they don’t plan to invest in it at all. In 2022, business leaders will look to social marketers to take a greater role in customer care. Pioneering social marketers will break from their departmental silos to build deeper inroads with customer service teams and take more agency in delivering customer care. What do you think about these five trends and where does Social Media rank in your…read more >

Marketing Minute: Should Your Company Consider an Influencer Program?

Influencers are becoming increasingly popular among consumer brands, but have you thought about it for B2T (business-to-trades) companies? Join Matt Sonnhalter as he discusses the questions you should ask yourself before starting an influencer program. He outlines three things to consider – social media, products that are conducive to good influencer content and an e-commerce presence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6SuCkTQBwA   To view other videos from Sonnhalter, visit our YouTube channel here and let us know if there’s a B2T marketing topic you’d like us to cover.read more >

Five Key Social Media Trends for 2022 – Part Four

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect In this five-part series, we are taking a look at the 2022 social trends from Hootsuite. The fourth macro trend for 2022 is the social commerce trend. The Social Commerce Trend Social becomes the heart of the post-pandemic shopping experience Lockdowns shot ecommerce forward a decade—in three months. That all changed overnight when consumers went into lockdown and many looked to meet basic needs by buying online. Suddenly, 84% of consumers were shopping over the internet, according to Shopify. eMarketer reported a surge in ecommerce sales growth to 18%, the highest increase the firm had ever reported for this figure. And in what McKinsey dubbed “the quickening,” ecommerce penetration rocketed ahead more in the first 90 days of the pandemic than it had in the previous decade. This “temporary” boom in online shopping isn’t stopping Nearly two years since the beginning of the pandemic, this shift in consumer spending has shown no signs of slowing down. And with eMarketer projecting that double-digit annual growth will drive ecommerce sales from $792 billion in 2020 to $1.6 trillion in 2025, it’s clear that our new ecommerce habits aren’t just here to stay—they’re very much on the rise. This growth is particularly acute when it comes to social commerce. According to Hootsuite and We Are Social’s Digital 2021 report, the global social commerce industry is currently worth more than half a trillion US dollars. Simon Kemp, founder of strategic marketing consultancy Kepios, expects that number to grow. And it’s not just discovery that gives social commerce its business utility. Buyers are using social media to search, research and evaluate the brands they buy from, making social networks the second-most important channel for online brand research after search engines. What’s more, if we look at people aged 16 to…read more >

Five Key Social Media Trends for 2022 – Part Three

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect In this five-part series, we are taking a look at the 2022 social trends from Hootsuite. The third macro trend for 2022 is the ROI trend. The ROI Trend Social quietly matures out of the marketing department Respondents in our 2022 Social Trends survey—particularly larger businesses—indicated that they have become more confident in quantifying the return on investment (ROI) of their social media practices. The majority of marketers (83%) report that they are either somewhat, very, or extremely confident in quantifying the ROI of their social efforts, up from 68% last year. What can you learn from marketers who said they’re “extremely confident” in measuring the ROI of social media? 1) Social media has a priming effect on the rest of your marketing. 55% say their social ads strategy is completely integrated with other marketing activities. Meaning these marketers know that social works in conjunction with other marketing efforts to drive awareness and help with brand recall. 2) Social can help you gain valuable customer insights. 48% strongly agree that social listening has increased in value for their organization. Meaning these marketers are using social to learn more about what their customers want and need so that they can deliver exactly that. 3) Social is at its most powerful when paid and organic work together. 65% have completely integrated their paid and organic social media efforts. Meaning these marketers understand how to strategically use both to attract new customers while deepening relationships with existing ones. Bold businesses in 2022 will buff up their employee advocacy programs, get better at using social to gather consumer insights, and strive to deliver the kind of impact they’ve seen social have on their marketing elsewhere in their organizations.read more >

Five Key Social Media Trends for 2022 – Part Two

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect In this five-part series, we are taking a look at the 2022 social trends from Hootsuite. The second macro trend for 2022 is the social advertising trend. The Social Advertising Trend Marketers get creative as consumers wise up to social ads But another more likely reason—and a bigger takeaway for marketers when it comes to advertising anywhere on social—is the fact that these networks encourage advertisers to make content that fits organically into the platforms. Brands that advertise successfully on these networks understand that audience mindset is key. Simply put, no one wants their experience on any social network interrupted by ads from brands that are as boring as they are self- Consumers, wise to the sameness of social advertising, are holding brands to a higher standard when it comes to creativity—but they’re also rewarding those that get it right. Brands that want to stand out in 2022 will have to work harder to create ads that mirror and enrich the distinct experience offered by each social network. Despite historically low budgets, marketers are spending more on social ads This year, marketing budgets relative to revenue are the lowest they have ever been, according to Gartner’s annual CMO Spend Survey. However, more than half (51.4%) of the marketers that we surveyed said they plan to increase their paid social spend in 2022. Where do they plan to spend that money? Last year, most of the marketers we spoke to disproportionately pointed at Instagram. This year, investment in Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn has caught up. The largest increases in spend relative to last year are going toward TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat. Marketers are shifting their resources to where they can make the most impact—and, increasingly, that’s on networks that typically haven’t been a priority in the social…read more >

Top Content Marketing Ideas for Manufacturing Companies

For many digital marketers, the ongoing pandemic acted as an accelerant for digitization. Most famously embraced by the World Economic Forum, this view holds that it didn’t disrupt per se; it pushed forward. Content marketers across industries, seeing increasingly fragmented customer journeys, agreed – and ones in the manufacturing industry corroborated it. As customers exhibited online event fatigue, they too needed to face this change along with the industry’s inherent ones. However, content marketing ideas for manufacturing companies don’t come easily in such a demanding market, let alone effective ones. Content marketing challenges for manufacturing companies As an introductory note, here we may first highlight said challenges. The manufacturing industry does face distinct ones of its own, which inexperienced or broader-scope content marketers may miss or underestimate. In turn, it becomes nigh impossible to produce effective content for it, let alone beat the competition with it. To consolidate them, the primary ones include: Offer complexity. A manufacturing company typically does not sell simple products accessible to a wide market. Framing such specialized offers properly for their niche audiences requires considerable industry expertise. Decision-makers’ scrutiny. Moreover, manufacturing content marketers need to entice decision-makers who seek expertise and offer tangible value. As with B2C marketing, eliciting emotional responses will very rarely bear results with this audience. A less visually exciting industry. Finally, the manufacturing industry offers comparatively fewer thrills for compelling visual content to thrive on. This has been changing in recent years, however. In addition, the typical customer’s purchase decision process spans a much longer journey. Strategyn breaks down the individual steps into 6; need, research, design, evaluation, shortlist, and purchase. A chart of the industrial buyer’s buying process by Strategyn. Source: https://blog.thomasnet.com/hs-fs/hubfs/1MARCOMM/Blog/2018/February/workflow2.png?width=808&name=workflow2.png Evidently, then, content marketers cannot afford to overlook this unique set of factors. The industrial buyer is cautious…read more >

Battle of Nostalgia vs The Future

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect This year’s Super Bowl ads were dominated by “future” themed ads from the multiple crypto currency ones, the metaverse and what seemed like an electric vehicle ad during every commercial break! But my favorite commercials brought back a little nostalgia. Here were my top 4 commercials from the big day: 1. Chevy’s Silverado all-electric Sopranos homage was ingenious. As soon as you hear that initial beat and the “woke up this morning” music by Alabama 3, you are instantly taken back to the Sopranos series. Then of course the shots of New York skyline, the New Jersey turnpike and glimpses of a woman driving…which makes you start wondering who’s driving the truck. The entire commercial did a great job at building anticipation…with no voiceover until :50 seconds into the minute-long commercial to then payoff the tagline “whole new truck for a whole new generation”. By far, my favorite commercial of the day. 2. Rocket Homes & Rocket Mortgage Dream House with Anna Kendrick and Barbie. Such a clever way to work in finding and financing your dream house with Rocket. I loved their “competitive bid” buyer characters like Better Offer Betty, House Flipper Skipper and my favorite Ca$h Offer Carl! And then the special guest appearances by He-Man and Skeletor for the “fixer-upper” castle at the end. 3. GM Electric Vehicle line with the Austin Powers cast. How can one go wrong with Dr. Evil and his infamous pinkie finger?!?! Combined with Scott Evil, Number 2, Frau Farbissina and then a special appearance of Baby-Me instead of Mini-Me. And then having classic lines from Dr. Evil like “Help save the world first, then take over the world”! 4. Irish Spring Body Wash. As soon as you hear that Irish music you are taken back to…read more >

Five Key Social Media Trends for 2022 – Part One

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect I think we would all agree that social media is here to stay, and this recent stat confirms it: 77% of people surveyed for a joint report by Facebook and NYU’s Governance Lab indicated that the most important group they are part of operates online (where social media plays a major part). Hootsuite released their 2022 Social Trends report and in this five-part series, we will discuss each trend. The Brand Strategy Trend Brands finally get community right (with the help of creators) In 2022, the key to unlocking online communities (no matter the size of your business) is in the hands of digital creators. Instead of trying to build a community from the ground up, the smartest brands in 2022 will tap into existing creator communities to learn more about their customers, simplify content creation, and build brand awareness and affinity. Stop thinking about your followers as your community A lot of small and midsized businesses make the mistake of thinking that all they need to do when it comes to online community building is to get people to follow them. Assuming that a passive following is equal to an engaged, thriving, and loyal community does the power of social media a disservice. And it can cloud your judgment of your product’s real value. Instead, seek out online communities that are active and engaged around interests relevant to your product category. If you make dishware, talk to home cooks. If you service cars, find auto clubs. If you manufacture welding equipment, find welders. By using creators to tap into these circles where you’re not well known and adding value there, you’ll reach new audiences, build cultural relevance, and learn more about your customers. Support the growth of content creators in earnest Not only should…read more >

Only 1 in 5 marketers claim to be using marketing automation tools to their fullest potential…

By: Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician  According to the latest survey from Ascend2 and its research partners, when they investigated the state of marketing automation, they learned that only 1 in 5 marketers are using automation tools to the fullest potential. But, why is that the case? Well, marketers have different reasons for implementing marketing automation--like 35% use it for streamlining marketing and sale efforts, 34% for improving customer engagement or even 34% of improving customer experience. Although marketing automation seems simple, marketing professionals are often faced with barriers that stop them from using marketing automation to the fullest potential. Here are the Top 5 Barriers to full use of Marketing Automation Tools: Lack of training/resources/knowledgebase Lack of resources to manage Lack of budget to maintain Complicated setup Slow onboarding process Not only are there barriers to marketing automation, but only 39% of automation tools are somewhat integrated. With the inability to have integrated marketing and with companies facing barriers, it presents a challenge to marketers. These above barriers help reinforce that implementing a marketing automation tool is more than a one-time cost and needs to have an on-going commitment to resources and dollars in order to ensure success. Within marketing there will be barriers, but look on the bright side of what marketing automation tools can do! Marketing automation is top beneficial for email marketing at 40%, social media management at 39% and paid ads at 32%. Using marketing automation tools, it allows you to be more efficient on multiple channels, strengthen your marketing and better align your marketing goals. What have been your company’s barriers to fully maximizing your Marketing Automation platform?read more >

What Are B2B Salespeople Doing Well – and Badly – When Selling Virtually?

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect When it comes to selling it’s important to keep your buyer in mind. Although it can be hard to please your buyer, sellers need to approach buyers, differentiate themselves from the competition, and demonstrate their value. In their 2021 Buyer Preference Study, Korn Ferry answers these questions and more. Here are some of the key findings that I found interesting: 1) Seller performance continues to decline – with the key to this decline being that buyers have continued to change faster than sellers, and sales organizations haven’t kept up. 2) Only 33% of salespeople are effective at selling in a “virtual” environment – the challenges of selling virtually, combined with longer buying cycles and changes in the buying process, mean that sellers have a more difficult path than ever to making the sale. 3) Buyers don’t view sellers as a valuable resource – respondents ranked sellers next to last out of 10 preferred resources used to solve business problems. Buyers are finding more value in using their past experiences with vendors, social networks and trade media or colleagues. 4) Buyers continue to engage sellers later and later in the sales process – over 79% wait until after they have full defined needs; over half (57%) identify solutions first. The earlier that sellers can be involved with the buyers then they have more time to influence the buyer’s decisions. 5) Factors influencing large purchase decisions – Features/Benefits, Ease of Use and Solution Value are listed as the Top 3, while “pricing” is seen as a secondary issue. Decision-making has many factors and depends on the buyer and for 27% they use analytical thinking and facts to make their decisions. How has your sales team performed selling virtually?read more >

Marketing Budget’s Share of Company Revenues Almost Cut in Half From 2020

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect  Entering 2021, companies anticipated to have budget growth of more than 5% as they expected to have a swift recovery. A recent report from Gartner reveals that the share of company revenues allocated to marketing expense budgets has fallen drastically this year. The survey of 400 marketing leaders across 5 global markets found that marketing budgets as a portion of revenue have fallen to 6.4% this year. The previous lowest year was 10.2% back in 2014. From the results we can see five trends happening. Trend Number One: The first trend that reflects this decrease is from the downward pressure on marketing spend induced by the pandemic. When budgets are getting cut, marketing budgets are usually the first ones to be on the chopping block. Trend Number Two: All nine industries analyzed had cuts in budget as a portion of revenue. Manufacturing experienced the biggest percentage-point drop in revenue allocated to marketing…12.7% in 2020, but only 5.8% for 2021! With the digital enterprise accelerating investments, spending priorities began to shift. Trend Number Three: With digital commerce dominating, marketing budgets started to spread across all different channels. 72.2% of investments were split between marketing channels like websites, digital ads and social channels. Trend Number Four: A lot of external agency capabilities are now moving to in-house strategic tactics. The three that have moved focus are brand strategy, innovation and technology and marketing strategy development. Trend Number Five: Lastly, with the shift to digital commerce that meant companies needed to change their spending on analytics. With having to invest in online programs to fuel digital success, this ended up taking 12.3% of the total budget. I know manufacturers across the board are struggling with supply chain, labor shortages and other issues, but hard to believe marketing spending…read more >

12th Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive Raises $26,500 Worth of Donations for Habitat for Humanity

CLEVELAND –September 2021 – Sonnhalter, a communications firm marketing to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, partnered with Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity for a 12th year during its annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive, which ran the entire month of August and collected $26,500 worth of donations of tools and building materials. Since Sonnhalter began its efforts in 2010, it has collected $336,500 in donations. Organizations, businesses and residents were encouraged to donate new and gently used tools, as well as building materials, furniture and appliances, to Sonnhalter to help benefit Habitat for Humanity’s cause of eliminating substandard housing and homelessness. “Every year, we at Sonnhalter are inspired and uplifted by the generosity of our great community in its efforts to help those in need with donated tools and building materials,” said Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect at Sonnhalter. “We would like to thank our clients, partners and community members for their continued support in helping Sonnhalter raise nearly $336,500 for this great cause.” “Sonnhalter’s Tool Drive is like Christmas in August! Instead of Santa’s sleigh, they bring a large truck full of tools for us and that’s the gift that keeps on giving all year around,” said John Habat, president/CEO of the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. “Sonnhalter’s Tool Drive helps to bring awareness to areas we have no access to and provides us tools to work on our houses, in our tool shop and to be sold to the general public.” Community participants in the 12th Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive included, Berea Recreation Center, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Berea Branch, Fear’s Confections, Frangos Group, Rising Star Coffee Roasters, St. Mary of the Falls, Skidmark Garage, The Wine Spot and many individuals living in the community. Trade industry participants in the 12th Annual Sonnhalter Tool Drive included…read more >

Top Deal Killers for B2B Buyers

by Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect Virtual selling will continue to be around after COVID-19. Over the past year, there has been a shift of moving things to be done virtually or remote. In a recent report, State of Sales, LinkedIn looked at the top deal killers for B2B buyers. When looking at the report, some of these concepts seem so obvious, but if they made the list, then they must be happening out there. Here are the Top 3 B2B seller behavior deal killers for buyers:  Delivering misleading information about a product, its price, etc. – taking the top spot at 48%, I guess my question is why 52% of B2B buyers would buy from a vendor that gives them inaccurate info about the product and its price! Tell the truth; representing a trusted brand can make outreach more successful and gain you customers.  Not understanding my company and its needs – this seems like “Sales 101,” but it’s amazing how many salespeople are too focused on their own product/service and not the customer. A sales professional needs to be focused on the consumer’s need rather than pushing a product. Not understanding their own product or service – with the amount of information on the internet and the amount of time buyers spend researching prior to reaching out to the company, shouldn’t be a surprise they sometimes know more than the salesperson. Sales professionals are taking note of these deal killers and trying to improve. Knowing and identifying deal killers is important when targeting your audience, so you can adjust your outreach and effectively build trust. Looking into the future, how will you change as a sales professional?read more >

Shorter is Not Always Better…At Least When it Comes to Video Lengths in 2020.

by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician With being stuck inside for the past year, 2020 became the year of videos, making some businesses embrace a digital approach and adopt new methods of marketing. From this, we can look at the key shifts for video that happened last year. The latest report from Vidyard looks at 2020 video completion rates and other benchmarks. Here are the key findings: The average length of business-related videos increased from 4 minutes in 2019 to just over 6 minutes in 2020. That said, the majority (60%) of videos produced for business purposes (such as to support sales, marketing and communication efforts) are 2 minutes or less, with 37.3% being up to one minute long and another 23% being 1-2 minutes long. Vidyard reports that with the cancellations of a majority of in-person events, videos over 20 minutes long saw an increase of 66% over 2019. It also pointed out that videos between 2 and 10 minutes have also increased, presumably “leaning on the trend of frictionless, self-service buying experiences to provide educational content to prospective customers upfront.” With video content increasing, we need to keep in mind people’s attention spans. If you’re producing long-form videos, consider making simple cuts to keep your audience engaged or trim the video down. Video is a powerful medium and adds value to your business. Did video length for your company’s videos increase last year?read more >

How to Improve Your Company’s Blog

’by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician In the manufacturing arena where competition is fierce, some companies have turned to blogs as a way to increase brand awareness, become a thought leader in their space, increase their web traffic and generate leads. In a recent post from ThomasNet called, “16 Ways to Improve Your Manufacturing Blog,” it helps businesses to recognize ways to improve within blog platforms. Here are the key highlights: Write With Your Buyer Personas In Mind - When creating blog content, remember who your audience is. By establishing your audience, you can make customized content towards them. Use Images & Visual Elements - Enhance your story by using pictures to help break up text and keep readers engaged. Images can play an important part in increasing the reading time on your blog. Link To External Sources, And Your Own Content! - Help your readers through the story by providing credibility. This helps with your brand’s trust and can drive readers to conversion pages, which can boost SEO. Establish A Frequency To Posting Your Blogs - Make sure you’re committing to the blog by frequently posting. One way to keep up with posting is to create a content calendar and lay out all the blogs you’re doing in a month. Ensure Your Blogs Have A Strong Word Count - Posts under 300 words are not recommended for SEO, and when your SEO isn’t strong, consumers can’t find you online. At the same time, don’t post a blog with 2,500 words of “awful” as people will not read it. Blogs can help to achieve your business goals and build trust between you and the consumer. Follow the rules above and check out the rest in their article to learn how to improve your blog. How will you improve your blog posts?read more >

Kylie Stanley Joins Sonnhalter as New Public Relations Technician

CLEVELAND – June 2021 – Sonnhalter, a marketing communications firm to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, names Kylie Stanley the new public relations technician. In this role, Stanley will develop content for social media, write copy and represent Sonnhalter and its clients. Stanley attended The University of Akron, where she studied Public Relations and Media Studies. While in school, Stanley produced the university’s web-series, "Class Cancelled," that showcased activities students could do in the Akron area. From her video experience, she was awarded a Lower Great Lakes Emmy in the Arts and Entertainment college category. Along with her video experience, Stanley has worked with social media and was a media relations intern at a Columbus marketing agency. “We are excited to have Kylie join the Sonnhalter team,” said Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect at Sonnhalter. “Kylie is a talented young professional and we look forward to seeing her grow here.” Stanley is currently a member of the central Ohio chapter of PRSA. About Sonnhalter Established in 1976, Sonnhalter is the leading B2T marketing communications firm to companies that target professional tradesmen in construction, industrial and MRO markets. Sonnhalter is located in the historic Brownell Building in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Sonnhalter’s brand identity highlights its expertise in marketing to the professional tradesmen. Its tagline, “Not Afraid To Get Our Hands Dirty,” promotes the employees’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and dig deep into clients’ businesses, also, it refers to the market it targets: the tradesmen who work with – and dirty – their hands every day. Sonnhalter developed the acronym “B2T,” which stands for “business-to-tradesmen” to capture the essence of its specialty. For more information, visit the company website at Sonnhalter.com. #    #    #read more >

What Are the Top Drivers of Brand Trust Among Global Consumers?

by Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect Fewer than one-quarter of consumers in the U.S. feel they are more in control of their data than they were a year ago Today, trust can make or break a brand’s reputation. 74% of people drive their brand trust on “respects and protects customer’s data, privacy and security.” This is according to a recent survey from Morning Consult, which analyzed the important elements of brand trust. The survey looked into 15,000 global consumers in 15 markets in March 2021 and shows us what drives trust among global consumers. The main drivers of trust come from: Functional Experiential Social Emotional Here are some key highlights from their survey: Based on the survey, we can see that at the top we have emotional drivers like, “protects my personal data.” While on the other end, the other top drivers for brand trust are more product-related such as: Good value for the price High quality Products or services that work as advertised It’s clear that experience and customer service contribute to one’s brand trust. How does your brand/company perform against these Top 10 drivers?read more >

How Public Relations Can Benefit Your Business

by Kylie Stanley, Public Relations Technician Are you looking for new customers or want to increase business? Well-developed public relations can be an effective tool to boost your business and help reach your desired audience. You will be able to establish an emotional connection to your audience through your brand's marketing. There are many ways that public relations can benefit you, but today we will be focusing on four methods. Michelle Garrett analyzed these four methods in a post she wrote for Thomas, “Why Public Relations Matters to Manufacturers.” Educates – Public relations helps to teach your audience about who you are and why your company should matter to them. It also provides the information to your market about your products and services. Image and Reputation – Public relations can aid in building trust and to establish your brand in the industry. By creating a strong reputation, it can lead to credibility and provide you with lifelong customers. If your customers know what your brand stands for, they will be more likely to engage with your business. Awareness and Visibility – Potential customers will know that your brand exists, and campaigns can spread awareness of the work that your company is doing. With awareness efforts, you can change public opinions and promote your brand's value. Interest – From awareness we can create interest for your brand and products. Interest helps to pull customers in and make them want to learn more about your brand or be involved. No matter how big or small a story is, it can help to elevate your brand and increase business. Let’s take some notes by looking at some examples of past public relations stories that have created visibility. Associated General Contractors Associated General Contractors of California partnered up with BuildOUT California, the world’s first…read more >

Sonnhalter Honored with Multiple PRSA Rocks Awards

Marketing firm wins gold award in “Brand and Reputation” category on behalf of Kapro Tools and bronze award in “Media Relations: Trade” category on behalf of Weldcote. CLEVELAND – December 2019 – Sonnhalter, a communications firm marketing to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, received a gold award in the “Brand and Reputation” category and bronze award in the “Media Relations: Trade” category at the 17th Annual Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Cleveland Rocks Awards competition. Sonnhalter received the gold award in “Brand and Reputation Management” for the U.S. influencer program it launched for Kapro Tools, a manufacturer of spirit levels, laser levels, and layout tools, marking and measuring tools. Sonnhalter worked strategically in finding and pitching woodworking, DIY and contractor influencers in the U.S. and Canada who would be willing to use Kapro products on upcoming builds and give honest opinions on the product’s features. Sonnhalter drafted personalized letters to accompany each package of Kapro product samples. Within the first year of Sonnhalter fully implementing Kapro’s influencer program, the number of Kapro’s Instagram followers has more than tripled. Without ever paying more than the costs of shipping free products, Kapro has greatly increased its presence and credibility across many crucial online communities. Sonnhalter received the bronze award in the “Media Relations: Trade” for its trade industry media presentation at FABTECH 2018 for Weldcote, a welding products manufacturer. Weldcote was exhibiting for the first time at FABTECH, a large, industry trade show, so Sonnhalter developed a plan four months before FABTECH 2018, identifying the tactics, messaging and budget and presented it to Weldcote. Sonnhalter invited trade media attending the show that cover the welding/fabricating industry to a media event arranged at Weldcote’s booth after show hours. Weldcote received immediate product coverage in industry trade publications…read more >

The Scary Side of Public Relations

By Rosemarie Ascherl-Lenhard, Public Relations Foreman It's that spooky time of the year -- so it seems like a good time to rehash some of the aspects of public relations that can be the scariest to clients. We find the realm of public relations to be fun, exciting and consistently fresh, but some areas of our field can be scary to our clients. Here are the top five fears people have about public relations, and why you shouldn’t be spooked by them. 1. You can’t control what the media does with a story once you’ve given it to them. “Earned media” is highly credible because readers know that you didn’t purchase the space to promote your company. Public relations and media relations professionals cultivate positive relationships with media, we work with these folks on behalf of multiple clients most of the time so we’ve built the foundation for positive coverage before they even get your story. In B2T public relations, we’re working with trade publications primarily and their goal is to be a source of helpful information for their readers. It can be scary not to see the actual article before it’s published, but with long lead times of trade media, it can be a sweet surprise to see your words in print.   2. Negative comments on blogs and social media.  Your responses to negative comments offer an excellent opportunity to show off your wonderful customer service. Negative comments happen, and if they happen on your social media, you can control the outcome with your response and the community response from your other fans. It’s actually scarier to hide your head in the sand or cover your ears when it comes to social media. 14043read more >

Rosemarie Ascherl-Lenhard Rejoins Sonnhalter as Public Relations Foreman

CLEVELAND – June 2018 – Sonnhalter, a communications firm marketing to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, recently announced Rosemarie Ascherl-Lenhard is rejoining the firm as public relations foreman. In the role of public relations foreman, Ascherl-Lenhard will oversee developing clients’ public relations strategies, as well as planning and implementing B2T (business-to-tradesmen) public relations programs and initiatives for the Sonnhalter client base. Prior to rejoining Sonnhalter, Ascherl-Lenhard was senior communications strategist at NMV Strategies. Ascherl-Lenhard previously held the position of public relations foreman from 1998 to 2015 at Sonnhalter. In the past she also held public relations positions at Magic American Corporation and Saifman Richards Communications. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio. “We are excited to have Rosemarie rejoin our team. Her background and experience in our niche of marketing to the professional tradesmen will be an asset to our clients,” said Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect at Sonnhalter. “I am extremely thrilled to be back at Sonnhalter, serving clients in an industry segment I’m especially passionate and knowledgeable about,” added Ascherl-Lenhard. About Sonnhalter Established in 1976, Sonnhalter is the leading B2T marketing communications firm to companies that target professional tradesmen in construction, industrial and MRO markets. Sonnhalter is located in the historic Brownell Building in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Sonnhalter’s brand identity highlights its expertise in marketing to the professional tradesmen. Its tagline, “Not Afraid To Get Our Hands Dirty,” promotes the employees’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and dig deep into clients’ businesses, also, it refers to the market it targets: the tradesmen who work with – and dirty – their hands every day. Sonnhalter developed the acronym “B2T,” which stands for “business-to-tradesmen” to capture the essence of its specialty. For more information, visit the company website…read more >

3 Ways PR Can Contribute to Your SEO Strategy

By Andrew Poulsen, PR Technician, Sonnhalter You can have the most beautiful website to ever exist, or have a smooth e-commerce system that buyers will love, but if they don’t find you, is it worth it? First and foremost, make sure you’ve got your site setup with SEO in mind. Create the appropriate tags and optimize your other settings... especially make sure your site is turned ON for search engine indexing. After that, strengthen your SEO with content and PR. At Sonnhalter, PR encompasses traditional public relations and media relations, as well as social media and content strategy and development. Generally speaking, PR elevates your brand. When your brand is elevated, your search engine rankings benefit. Here are just three ways that PR can contribute to your SEO strategy: 13728read more >

9 Tips for Using Public Relations to Further Your Message and Marketing

Public relations should be a part of any size company’s marketing plan. Effective communication with your current and prospective customers, industry trade publications, electronic media and the general public is not only essential to your company’s success, but a cost effective way to get your brand and products exposure. In our latest Tip Sheet, we’ve laid out 9 strategies for making sure you’re integrating PR into your marketing efforts and how to re-use the content you produce. You can sign up to download it here. Interested in setting up a PR program? Give us a call or email. And check out our other Tip Sheets here. SaveSaveSaveSaveread more >

Incorporating Awards into Your Communications Initiatives

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter It feels good to win an award. But beyond being able to bask in the glow of recognition, can awards help you reach your marketing goals? Entering for awards is one tactic we work into the public relations mix for our clients. Winning an award, or even being nominated for one, can go a long way to boosting brand recognition and can act as an endorsement for your product/service/organization. 5 Questions to Ask Before Entering 12797read more >

Making a Thought Leader

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter “Free advertising,” who doesn’t want that? One of the best side effects of the boom in content marketing is the growth of brand-neutral trade magazine articles. Pay-for-play has been relegated to the back burner as more and more publications see the benefit of offering knowledge-based problem solving articles. That’s also an offshoot of the lack of skilled workers, as more and more knowledge retires, there’s an increased need to transfer that knowledge. With less opportunity for direct, apprentice-based, transfer, white papers, problem solving articles and general knowledge pieces gain added importance. So, how can your company benefit? Create thought leaders. A bragging title most people would reject, it can still help you promote your business and create a knowledge warehouse. How to Create Thought Leaders 11927read more >

Sonnhalter’s Rachel Kerstetter Awarded “Rising Star Award” by Greater Cleveland Public Relations Society of America Chapter

CLEVELAND – December 2016 – Rachel Kerstetter, public relations architect at Sonnhalter, was honored with the inaugural “Rising Star Award” at this year’s annual Cleveland Rocks Awards, presented by the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Greater Cleveland Chapter. This year marked the 14th year in which the PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter honored the area’s best in marketing and communications with more than 50 awards across more than 30 categories. The first recipient of the Rising Star Award, Kerstetter was recognized as an outstanding public relations professional with seven or fewer years of experience. At the ceremony, Kerstetter was honored for her high level of professionalism, proven abilities in aligning PR strategy and execution with client goals. “In a short amount of time, Rachel has become an invaluable asset to not only the PR objectives of our clients, but also to the many inner workings necessary to make our agency thrive in our respective niche,” said Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect at Sonnhalter. “Sonnhalter is proud to see a well-deserving candidate such as Rachel be the first to receive this award. With a long career ahead of her, we look forward to watching her grow as an accomplished young professional and seeing how it will move our public relations efforts forward.” Kerstetter joined Sonnhalter in 2011 and served as public relations engineer prior to her promotion to public relations architect in 2015. Kerstetter is an active member of the PRSA, serving on the board of directors, and is vice president of membership of the Greater Cleveland chapter. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Mount Union, located in Alliance, Ohio. About the PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter The PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter is the professional organization that brings together public relations, communications and marketing practitioners throughout Northeast Ohio.…read more >

Take the Interview

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter It’s time when we start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Which means we’re making plans to improve ourselves over the coming year, as well as improve our marketing efforts. Here’s a PR resolution for your organization this year: Take Every Interview. Every time you have an interview request from your local media or trade outlets, take it. One of the biggest frustrations for a public relations practitioner is turning down editorial opportunities. An editor of a trade publication that we work with regularly at Sonnhalter told me this week that one of his biggest struggles is getting companies to take advantage of editorial opportunities with the magazine. 11729read more >

Get Your Message Across in an Ad-Blocked World

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter A recent report shared that 32% of global page views are impacted by the use of ad block and mobile sees three times the rate of ad block use than desktop. Did you know that even some people who work in advertising block ads? Let’s face it, website ads are mostly annoying. If you’ve ever opened a webpage and had an ad start talking to you that you couldn’t turn off, you know what I mean. Although digital advertising has a solid place in integrated marketing programs, accompanying it with other tactics can get your message to audiences that wouldn’t be reached otherwise – those who use ad blockers. How do you get your marketing messages past ad blockers? 10247read more >

Are You Ready to Talk to the Media?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter We're officially in trade show season, which means planning booths, putting together promotions, connecting with customers and preparing your staff for the show. One often overlooked aspect of trade show participation is the media. When you exhibit at a trade show, you can trust in the quality and relevancy of the attendees as potential customers. You can also trust that the media that is most important to your ideal customer will be at the show, so make sure you prepare to talk with them as well. I once supported a company at their biggest industry show. I'd set up meetings with media at the show and spent a lot of time in their booth. During a lull when I didn't have anything scheduled, I decided to go eat lunch. When I returned, the sales rep in the booth handed me an editor's card and told me he'd stopped to see you. I asked about the interaction with the editors, what had been shown to him and so on, just to find out that they had given him my card and sent him on his way. Throughout the show, the booth staff was so laser focused on getting leads that every time they encountered the media, they said two words, "See her" and pointed them to me. It's important to treat the media personnel at a show as if they are just as important as a customer ... if not more. Trade media have a huge audience of hundreds or thousands of the people who you want to reach. 10317read more >

Anyone Can Write a Press Release

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Given the appropriate details, anyone can write a press release, however, not everyone should write a press release. Too often when companies try to DIY their press releases rather than have a public relations professional write it, their message gets lost. Here are the most common mistakes that we see with DIY press releases: It isn’t actually news. If you’re going to ask for the media’s attention, you need to actually give them something, that something is news. If you inundate an editor with press releases that don’t contain news, you’ll do more to damage the relationship than build it. It isn’t written in a useable format. Press releases need to be written in AP Style; it makes them incredibly simple for the media to use. It’s a sales pitch. Sales pitches are not press releases. It puts the important information last. When was the last time you actually read to the end of an article? It assumes the reader knows anything about you upfront. A press release came across my desk once that was announcing a new tool and relied so heavily on the tool’s brand name, it never actually told me what the tool is used for. Press releases are a valuable public relations program basic that when done well can earn you media coverage and help build relationships. Don’t assume that just anyone can write a release well. Press releases have changed over time, here's a quick look at the Modern Press Release. https://youtu.be/rW9rISgnt5Uread more >

Learn My Name!

There’s a woman that I know from a local professional organization. We’ve been “formally” introduced multiple times. After the first time we met, I knew her name, her face, we traded cards and connected on LinkedIn.read more >

Doing the Right Thing, and Not Patting Ourselves on the Back

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter As human beings, and companies made up of human beings, sometimes it’s important to do the right thing and not talk about it. This may be a little strange coming from a PR person, but there’s a point where the “R” in “PR” (remember PR= Performance then Recognition) goes away and we simply need to perform like human beings. A good communicator recognizes that point and smart companies rely on the counsel of good communicators. In the wake of crisis situations such as natural disasters or community safety crisis like what we’re seeing with Flint Michigan, we simply need to do the right thing and not seek praise for being human and helpful. By stepping up but not shouting out, we do the right thing, no one questions our motives and the real heroes get the credit. For example in Flint, the plumbers who spent a weekend installing new faucets and water filters for residences for free deserve the credit. The organizations who donated the supplies and food for their efforts aren’t pounding their own drum and saying, “look at us, we did something good.” No, they’re working together with their competitors to directly help people who need it. If your organization’s values are in the right place and your actions align with them, there’s no need to pat yourself on the back.read more >

Don’t Get Lazy

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Sonnhalter has used several services for a very long time… as in decades. I’m not sure how we started working with these services, but  I had to assume there was a reason. However when I took over the contracts with these services, no one seemed eager to provide the most important service of all… customer service. Coming into my new role, I wanted to understand our various contracts so I reached out to the most recent person assigned to us. No answer. I reached out to the company referencing our account number. No answer. I attended a conference and visited the service provider’s table, and immediately got attention because they thought I was a new customer. The sales person apologized up and down and said our rep would be in contact with me. He was able to look up answers to some of my questions. More than a week after the conference, I had no contact. When it comes to your customers, it’s crucial not to become lazy. Don’t expect your relationship to maintain itself just because you’ve been with them for years. Don’t focus all of your time and attention trying to win new business that you forget your current business. As I learned in Marketing 101 in college, it’s cheaper to maintain an existing customer relationship than to build a new one. When you ignore, forget or don’t serve your current customers the way that you should, you are in danger of losing them. At the conference I met with several competing service providers who would be happy to have me as a customer, what makes our current providers think we’ll stick with them if there’s someone else who isn’t lazy? In your personal life, if you were to call your mechanic…read more >

How to Define “PR” in 2016

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Sometimes I get scared that others in the industry don’t know what PR actually is or stands for. The textbook definition of PR is simply put as Public Relations, the way that you communicate (relate) with your audiences (publics). For 2016, I challenge you to think of PR differently than ever before. Banish words like “spin” or “promote” and instead think about PR as Performance, then Recognition. Meaning, your organization needs to perform, do something, before seeking recognition or media coverage. The articles that practitioners like myself get for your company is called earned media, the “earned” part is very important. PR Pros can help you identify recognition-worthy aspects of your company, but we can’t create it for you out of thin air. As you go about your business this year think about the cool things your company does, such as launching a product, breaking a world record or being the first to provide a service that adds value, and recognize that these are opportunities to communicate with your audiences. PR is more than just getting headlines, it’s telling the stories of your company. Make 2016 a year of action stories for your public relations team to tell. Doing this will help you build your organization’s credibility in 2016.read more >

Online News and the Press Release

I’ve been reading the book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator,” by Ryan Holiday at the recommendation of a colleague. It’s full of interesting, and damning, tidbits of information about today’s online publishing world.read more >

Takeaways from 2014 PRSA International Conference

Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the 2014 PRSA International Conference in Washington D.C. For three days I was exposed to an incredible amount of expertise, knowledge and thought-provoking ideas, that left me motivated and energized when I returned to my office.read more >

Choose Your Words

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter I spend about 90% of my time in the office writing something - news releases, feature articles, testimonial stories, ad copy, social media updates, blog posts, emails, etc. When you’re writing anything from a formal proposal to a memo or a social media posting, the best advice to keep in mind is: Choose Your Words. When choosing your words, make sure that your message is clear and concise. Why would you write 50 words when you could write 5? Keep it short and clear. Make your point and let your busy audience move on.read more >

Is work fun? (Fun At Work Day)

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter Today is Fun At Work Day! Is your work fun? Do you have fun on the job? Too often, we hear that work isn’t supposed to be fun, but a valuable part of internal communication is to help your staff enjoy their jobs and working environments. One way to infuse a little fun into work is with internal events. Whether you do something semi-annually, quarterly or monthly, I recommend looking beyond a yearly holiday party. Here are some ideas of employee events: Have a picnic or barbeque during lunch. Who wouldn’t want to have their bosses grill them a burger or serve them baked beans? Host internal competitions. Whether it’s a health initiative that includes counting steps or a simple tree decorating or pumpkin carving competition that lets your crew get creative. Every year, Sonnhalter has a summer photo contest and we submit photos from our summers that are judged by our Idea Builder for their composition and adherence to the theme. (You can see some of the winning photos in our Facebook album.) Celebrate strange holidays.  At Sonnhalter, we celebrate National Tradesmen Day, World Toilet Day, Fire Prevention Day and many other trade holidays. Other companies celebrate the more obscure holidays like National Pi Day or Squirrel Appreciation Day. Go to sporting events. Build your team by cheering on a baseball, football, soccer, hockey, basketball or other sports team. Make something together. We like to get our hands dirty at Sonnhalter, so most of our events follow that theme including making our own pasta, painting pottery and glass blowing. Serve your community together. 2014 is the 5th year that Sonnhalter will hold an August Tool Drive to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Our team comes together for a good cause and we have a…read more >

Perspectives from 2013 International PRSA Conference

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend a motivational week of education and networking at the 2013 PRSA International Conference. The entire three days of the conference I was bombarded with incredible amounts of expertise and thought-provoking ideas, but several of the impressions stood out.read more >

Relevant Social Media and SEO

Today we have a guest post from Rachel Kerstetter, our PR Engineer, about the evolution of social media and SEO. In our B2T niche, as well as in the general B2B market, we use the word “relevant” frequently. When it comes to B2T social media, quantity does not equal quality. Quality social media engagement can’t be measured in simple number of followers or likes. The relevance of those follows and likes is where we find the quality. It can be hard to keep up with current SEO tactics that will land you on the first page of Google search results since the algorithms change every day, but as social media continues to grow, SEO is getting easier because it’s no longer optimizing for search engines that will land you on page one of Google. Social engagement is becoming the new SEO. One of the many benefits of being involved in social media that I explain when we create social strategies is improving search visibility. I was reading, “6 Reasons Social Media is Critical to Your SEO” on Social Media Today and Stephanie Frasco explained the concept so well when she wrote about the old SEO strategy of link building, “Think about it - why did Google ever allow links to determine which websites ranked above all the others? The answer is simple: links were like "votes" for your website. The more votes you get, the better off you are. So SEO companies started building links (aka "votes") manually[…]The idea behind links as a ranking factor is a very good idea, but since it's become so easy to manipulate, Google has been forced to turn to social media channels which do the same thing but are much harder to manipulate. Link building was always about social proofing.” The shift toward social…read more >

The Scary Side of Public Relations

Today Rosemarie and Rachel from our PR department are sharing some of the aspects of public relations that can be the scariest to clients. We find the realm of public relations to be fun, exciting and consistently fresh, but some areas of our field can be scary to our clients. Here are the top five fears people have about public relations, and why you shouldn’t be spooked by them. 1. You can’t control what the media does with a story once you’ve given it to them. “Earned media” is highly credible because readers know that you didn’t purchase the space to promote your company. Public relations and media relations professionals cultivate positive relationships with media, we work with these folks on behalf of multiple clients most of the time so we’ve built the foundation for positive coverage before they even get your story. In B2T public relations, we’re working with trade publications primarily and their goal is to be a source of helpful information for their readers. It can be scary not to see the actual article before it’s published, but with long lead times of trade media, it can be a sweet surprise to see your words in print. 2. Negative comments on blogs and social media. Your responses to negative comments offer an excellent opportunity to show off your wonderful customer service. Negative comments happen, and if they happen on your social media, you can control the outcome with your response and the community response from your other fans. It’s actually scarier to hide your head in the sand or cover your ears when it comes to social media. 3. Giving interviews is intimidating. When we set up interviews with trade publications, they often send some sample questions ahead of time to help you prepare. Knowing how you…read more >

Your Most Important Audience

Today we have a post from Rachel Kerstetter, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer. I have noticed in some companies that internal communication is not made a priority. External communication in the form of advertising and marketing seem to be pretty important though. Here’s the problem: Within a company, if you can’t communicate internally enough to get everyone on the same page, how exactly do you expect to communicate with anyone else? One of my mentors once told me that internal communications is definitely “public relations,” because a company’s employees are its most important audience. Think about it: Would you want to hear news about your company from a source outside of your company? If a friend comes to you and says, “Hey, I heard your company just started Initiative X,” but you have no idea what they're talking about, it's embarrassing to you and your company. Internal communication is really very simple, talk to each other. Clue your employees in and let them know what you're doing. Word-of-mouth recommendations are incredibly valuable and have to be earned through solid communication. We live in an age where we look at online reviews before purchasing a pair of flip flops, so if your staff knows what your company is doing, they can be an excellent resource for recommendations. I know that my answer to the question: How’s work going? is a lot more interesting when I know about new things happening at Sonnhalter. Internal communication is also important if you’re hiring outside help... for example, an agency. There’s a reason for a reporting structure, even for outside help. It saves you not only hassle, but also money, if everyone on your team is on the same page, because your outside help won’t have to decipher what your messages and goals are.read more >

Evolution of a Press Release

Today we have a guest blog post from Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman at Sonnhalter, discussing the evolution of the press release. Yes, it still is a legitimate marketing communications tool.   Perhaps this will date me, but I remember the days when issuing a press release on behalf of one of my clients meant printing copies, stapling and affixing 4x5-inch prints or slides, folding, stuffing in envelopes and metering for postage. Whew! Eventually, many media outlets requested that the press release be faxed. The press release of today, while no longer issued on paper, still bears some similarities to press releases of yesterday. It should be well written, factual, using A.P. Style [which updates its guidelines each year]. Same as always, it shouldn’t present information in an opinionated or sale-sy style. But, today’s press release must be written with digital in mind. It will appear online first, that is, if it is properly optimized. To be effective, it should be clear and very concise. This is not the time for long-winded sentences filled with industry jargon. The headline, with proper key words for search, is key, and adding a subhead helps by adding more searchable key words near the top. It should include logos, photos, charts and videos to convey information. It should also contain two or more key links, directing readers to more information. Because of digital, the modern press release is getting to its audience faster and with even less filtering than in the past. Now, press releases are often published as-is on blogs, websites and e-newsletters. At Sonnhalter, when we issue a press release on behalf of our clients, within minutes, the press release shows up on trade publication websites. Occasionally, the debate will surface that the press release has run its course, and is no longer…read more >

A Powerful Story

Today we have a post from Rachel Kerstetter, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer. Working in public relations gives me the opportunity to tell stories. I get to tell stories about company histories, professional successes, how products came into being, etc. Stories are a powerful tool in getting messages across. I’ve been thinking about safety since June is National Safety Month and one powerful story stood out to me. Here’s the headline: Laborer Dies in Trench Collapse and Lives to Tell the Tale It compelled me to read further and it brought me to a more in-depth account of Eric Giguere’s story about how not focusing on safety cost him his life and the tough decisions that those around him had to make, which ultimately brought him back. That article is here. Basically his team had been working in an unsupported trench without incident for quite some time, then it unexpectedly collapsed and buried him. The people around him had to make tough decisions about how to dig him out and then administered CPR. One of Eric’s statements about safety stuck with me: “I’m a guy who got comfortable doing things the wrong way.” By not taking the proper safety precautions, they were saving time on the project. But the cost was great. Eric’s story is powerful and carries more weight than statistics can. It’s not a horror story to scare people into following the rules rather, it’s a lesson in consequences for taking short cuts and an example of tough decisions, made quickly in a time of crisis.read more >

Awards: When Are They Worth It?

Awards competitions can sometimes be valuable, but they can also be a waste of time and money in some situations. Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer Rachel Kerstetter is with us today to talk about when awards are worth it and when they aren’t.read more >