Every executive is a spokesperson for their company and brand. Be sure your team is ready to meet with trade and business reporters by scheduling a CBD Media Training Workshop. With group sessions and one-on-one training, we help you align your most important messaging with what reporters and editors want to know.
Our coaching enhances knowledge and skills that you already have, while offering best practice tips to promote a unified voice for your company. From media interviews and webinars to panel discussions and video appearances at trade shows, we help you stay on message, and provide you with the tools necessary to influence any audience on behalf of your brand. Contact us for more information.
Many food and ingredients companies are still trying to figure out how to integrate social media into their marketing plan. CBD can help!
- Assess the social media landscape for your product category
- Show you “best practices” for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube
- Help you develop a strategy that’s right for your company
- Work with you to establish measurable goals and objectives for your brand across multiple platforms
- Set up those platforms and execute your social media program. . . if that’s what’s right for you
CBD works with top national and global brands on their social media strategy and execution. By taking the mystery out of social media, we show you how to align your business strategy with this powerful communications channel. Contact us to boost your brand and your influence in the social sphere. You can also download our Social Media Starter Kit here.
We’re so proud of CBD Marketing’s Public Relations (PR) & Social Media team for winning a Tower Award from the Business Marketing Association. Tower Awards are all about getting quantifiable results—the positive ROI we strive for. The client for whom we did the work – International Food Network – is a new product development firm with global CPG food and beverage company customers.
I mention this “win” only because the year-long initiative is a classic case study in leveraging high-level, “thought leadership” content across every appropriate channel to maximize its impact and the company’s investment. In other words, it’s a great example of taking an integrated approach.
Here’s what we set out to do, what worked and how you can use these same techniques to win for your company. Perhaps you’ll recognize some of your challenges in this story.
The situation: When we started working with this client, they were definitely an “under the radar” organization in terms of broadly-based recognition of their capabilities and strengths. Yes, they had great clients and some great relationships at select organizations. But from an industry standpoint, they needed to amp up their visibility with three main audiences: senior-level R&D leadership at larger food and beverage companies, brand management at the same companies and other consultancies and service providers who might act as intermediaries and recommenders. This organization has great “assets” and intellectual property—top-level scientists and a unique organizational approach.
Our objectives: We wanted to leverage those terrific assets to position the firm as a premier organization in their category and use multiple channels to tell their story—the integrated approach. We knew this would raise their awareness with our targeted audiences. Ideally, we wanted prospects to engage with them directly—i.e. become a sales lead.
What worked: First, we did a little bit of brand identity magic and gave them a design look that reflected the innate creativity of their work and played out in new materials and trade booth graphics. The bright, new branding was a huge hit—internally and for all of our external communications work.
We also had enthusiastic cooperation from this company’s R&D team, who authored technical articles and made themselves available as subject matter experts to a wide variety of food science and nutritionals media. Many articles, including cover stories, resulted. That content was also used for webinars and speeches and presentations. It also drove a new, quarterly e-newsletter that was linked to these articles, stories and presentations, further cementing a leadership position. Lastly, social media platforms were set up to begin engaging with clients and prospects who were beginning to use that channel.
The results: In just one year, scores of media placements resulted, including many bylined articles and a couple of cover stories in their top media. The newspaper in their HQ city featured the company in a large article about their work. Their representatives had speaking engagements at prestigious industry conferences. Their newsletter had a 32 percent open rate its first issue out of the box—an outstanding result. Social media platforms gave them the opportunity to engage in conversation in a channel. In total, over a half million media impressions resulted directly to their target audiences. All this with no paid advertising.
Every company can be a winning thought leader because every company has great people doing unique and important work. Look around, take stock and identify how you can tell your story to the people who can influence your business success using an integrated approach in multiple communications channels.
This is the last post in my three-part series on how to get great speaking gigs at business conferences where you will not be a sponsor (i.e. you have not “purchased” your speaker spot). Strategically chosen speaking engagements position you as an industry thought leader with prospects, clients and others who can positively impact your business. Importantly, you are identified as a key conference participant as you network and build contacts before and after your presentation. In short–speaking engagements deliver positive outcomes for you, personally, and for your company. They are well worth the time and effort it takes to get them.
To recap my six prior tips:
1) Speaking at a top venue is a business-building investment. Allocate resources accordingly. 2) Make a conference hit list and go for the gold. 3) Stop talking to yourself. Talk to your customers. 4) Dig deep into conference research. 5) Identify the program decision-makers and be really, really nice to them. 6) Play by the conference rules. Adhere to the proposal submission schedule and use the forms provided.
Now I’ll get to the heart of any speaking engagement–presentation content and how you deliver it.
In Part I of this blog series, I provided three tips on developing a plan for obtaining speaking engagements at high-level business conferences when you know you can’t be a paid sponsor. To recap:
Secret No. 1: Speaking at a top venue is a business-building investment. Allocate resources accordingly.
Secret No. 2: Make a conference hit list and go for the gold.
Secret No.3: Stop talking to yourself. Talk to your clients. Target the vertical industry conferences frequented by the purchase decision-makers for your company’s products and services.
Those first three tips are your foundation. This post provides three more tips on dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on your way to speaker stardom.
Secret No. 4: Dig deep into conference research. Once you have your conference hit list, dig deeper through search. Find the most recent year’s conference online–even a year-old site will likely still be up–and review the speakers and topics. Be sure you’ll fit in.You may think you’d like to talk about topics A, B and C, but when you look at a previous agenda, you may need to shift tactics and speak about X, Y and Z. The point is–be sure your organization, speakers and potential content are truly a fit with the conference’s interests and will be relevant to the audience that attends. Once you’ve established a fit, it’s time to identify the decision makers and get into the cycle.
While big conferences will have their own websites, many conferences are an extension of a larger venture–like a media publishing company, a trade organization or association. If you know the association or group that sponsors the conference, you can usually find the sites via the parent organization as well.
Secret No. 5: Identify the program decision-makers and be really, really nice to them. Most big conferences have staff members with titles like Education Manager, Program Manager or Speaker Coordinators who are the main contacts and gatekeepers for speaker proposals. Sometimes you’ll deal directly with the Conference Manager. Find out who at the conference is the point person for proposals and keep them on your outreach list. Most are happy to answer questions about their process or their audience, but aren’t forthcoming with “insider” tips on getting on the podium. As a newbie, you might want to send an e-mail and introduce yourself, indicate your enthusiasm for the conference and let them know that you plan to send along a proposal or two for consideration. Be polite, be respectful, be professional. There is nothing more annoying to a busy conference staffer than a person who seems to assume a speaking engagement, or who clearly has not done enough research about the group, the conference, or the audience.
Secret No. 6: Play by their rules. Adhere to the proposal submission schedule and use the forms provided. Most big conferences have a strict schedule for submitting proposals, and their own forms for how they want you to do it. Many are asking for proposals a year ahead–right after one conference closes, the new proposal cycle begins. Since you want the favor of a speaking engagement and you do not plan to be a sponsor, you need to be aware of their schedules and stick to them. Use the forms provided on the site, or the format requested. If it’s a science or education-based conference, proposals are often in the form of an abstract. Other conferences want to know the top three things their attendees will learn. Others want you to detail your unique content. Each one is different. Play by the rules, do what is requested and be thorough and complete in what you submit.
In my next and last post in this series, I’ll cover speech content (not only is content King, when its proprietary content, it’s the Emperor); what your presentation looks like and, last but not least, the importance of developing your “speaker style.”
For many execs, speaking in front of peers and prospects at a top national business conference is dreaming the impossible dream. We all know these are great opportunities for building awareness, relationships and sales. But the common wisdom holds that speaker spots are saved for sponsors who pay for the privilege or keynoters with big reputations. That’s only partially correct.
At Colman Brohan Davis, we’ve made speaking at top conferences a priority for ourselves and our clients. Our policy is not to ante up the sponsorship dollars to guarantee a place at the podium. Yet our principals criss-cross the country–and the globe– speaking to executive audiences in our targeted industries. Many of our incoming leads and new accounts in our key practice areas are the result of contacts made initially from speeches given at A-list conferences by our Co-CEOs. Our clients have reported similar successes. In this three-part series of blog posts, we’ll tell you what we’ve learned and how your team can begin building their speaker credentials.
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