Stephen Kuhl, Co-founder and CEO at Burrow on Launching a Successful DTC Brand

Stephen Kuhl tells D S Simon Media CEO, Doug Simon, what inspired him and his co-founder, Kabeer Chopra, to start Burrow, a DTC furniture company. He also expands on the marketing and communications techniques that are key to the brand’s success, including the importance of using storytelling to enhance the company’s message and make it more personal.

 

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Satellite Media Tours Are Making a Comeback

Satellite media tours are making a comeback with a 21% increase on SMT spending in 2019. The reasons? While it’s harder than ever to get your story on cable or network news, our brand visibility report showed that there’s a greater opportunity to get your experts and spokespeople on local news. The average local TV news station will spend less than 25% of its newscasts on politics in 2020. A second reason, a 38% increase in use of internal spokespeople in satellite media tours as brands and non-profits look to get their leaders on television

Learn more about satellite media tours here.

 

Learn How to Choose the Right Spokesperson For Your Brand



Communication executives from leading brands, like Macy’s and Danone North America, discussed how to effectively use your brand spokespeople and shared tips on how to train internal experts and prepare for interviews.

Learn how to get your story on the news here.

Watch the full discussion here.

 

MODERATOR: 

Doug Simon, CEO, D S Simon Media

PANELISTS: 

Orlando Veras, Director of National Media Relations, Macy’s, Inc.

Michael Neuwirth, Senior Director, External Communications, Danone North America

Jeanne M. Salvatore, President, JMS Consulting and Former Chief Communications Officer of the Insurance Information Institute

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Doug Simon: How do you work with in-house spokespeople in past sometimes when they’re yourself?

Michael Neuwirth: One of the character traits that I look for in a good internal spokesperson is their ego. How important do they express themselves to be.

Doug Simon: So, is a big ego better or worse?

Michael Neuwirth: Big ego is a bad thing because you’re putting the cart before the horse. Yeah and we’ve got it we’ve got to drive home an understanding of why we’re doing this for the broader for the better for the bigger good if you will whether it’s to promote a brand or a company or program. It’s not about the person delivering the message. And so, avoiding that painful pitfall is really a character assessment that’s then. Then I’ll get to a skills assessment. So, I look for humility and someone who’s fundamentally in service to the brand the project the company overall.

Orlando Veras: First of all, we always try to find an internal spokesperson for any area of business that we cover. I think it’s really more important to have that authenticity of someone who does the workday to day but in sometimes with a scale of some of the elements and products that we have. You know that person still has to do their day to day job and so in some cases we have to step in and serve as that spokesperson as well. So, for us we just need to be kind of jack of all trades to be able to know as much as we can about different areas of business so that we’re able to speak intelligently about those problems.

Jeanne Salvatore: I just want to add that frequently subject matter experts build relationships with journalists and those journalists just feel more comfortable interviewing that person they know they’ve worked with them they know what they’re going to get especially with broadcast. So, and we would encourage that those relationships were very important.

Michael Neuwirth: One area I would add is that look in the dark corners for your internals experts the people who are not running to the front of the line raising their hands saying I want to be on camera I want my mom to see this. And you know that’s important because they will likely have the expertise, they are likely coachable as we all are, and their humility can become a huge strength for harnessing in the business.

Doug Simon: With that let’s move on to the preparation section. So, we’re talking about working with our in-house experts. How do you pick the right talent?

Orlando Veras: Yeah it starts, you know you do some interviews you do some internal interviews obviously you find out the kind of the area of business Who owns it and who may be in that realm. And then you just do some quick interviews to kind of get gauge their personality the you know how familiar are with the content. And then once you’ve decided that you know you may have one or two of these folks, we generally do an extensive media training to really go through every scenario possible. You know whether that person is never ever going to be on television because of the area of business that they have is just doesn’t lend itself to broadcast but we. That’s how we train them because like that’s the hardest thing to do.

Michael Neuwirth: It’s a practice it’s simulation simulation simulation and at different levels of difficult at different difficulty levels and we escalate until we realize that that person is a green and they’re ready to go. But before then we’re not going to let him out of the gate.

Jeanne Salvatore: You know somebody who does interviews a lot becomes oh this is easy. And that’s when problems start that’s when you say things that are off key. You become too comfortable with the journalist. So, you know I would always recommend that you have. It’s like you start fresh almost that you prepare for each interview as if you’ve never done one before.

 

Learn How to Get Your Story on the News



Communicators from leading brands, such as Macy’s and Danone North America, discussed how they earn more media coverage on broadcast outlets nationwide and shared tips on how to manage media coverage during the upcoming election year.

Learn how to choose the right spokesperson for your brand here.

Watch the full discussion here.

 

MODERATOR: 

Doug Simon, CEO, D S Simon Media

PANELISTS: 

Orlando Veras, Director of National Media Relations, Macy’s, Inc.

Michael Neuwirth, Senior Director, External Communications, Danone North America

Jeanne M. Salvatore, President, JMS Consulting and Former Chief Communications Officer of the Insurance Information Institute

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Doug Simon: So how do you figure out and craft what stories you’re going to get out there?

Jeanne Salvatore: If you seize on areas that people don’t understand. So, if there are problems consumer problems and then you have a solution to that that’s very effective way of making news.

Michael Neuwirth: Journalists are always looking for what’s new and so a big established brand. Yes, they might be interested in what’s next for that brand, but they’re also really interested at least in the food space in what’s new and why is that new. What’s interesting. What are you creating that’s not there.

Orlando Veras: Part of the process as I’ve noticed especially with the proliferation of the media online is that there has to be video content that goes with it. There has to be a visual that goes with it. And so sometimes that might drive the pickup. And so, you might want to be able to tell the story first. That way in a visual medium that will then spur the added attention because if it gets cleverly posted on one publication and that’s what your target is then some other people will look at it and that’s how you can then build from it.

Doug Simon: There’s an election next year. You may have heard. So, it seems like that’s causing challenges to get on national TV to get on the cable networks because they’re wall to wall political coverage. We’ve got some stats on that which I’ll share in a moment. How do you navigate that?

Michael Neuwirth: It’s a reality and it’s an every four year reality so it’s not our first time at the rodeo at this table. But you’re absolutely right. It means that we probably we do have to turn our attention to places where we can get our stories told. And if one of the goals is to avoid the election cycle then that is a big limitation. But on the flip side it’s a huge opportunity if you are advocating for an issue.

Doug Simon: We asked local stations how much of their newscast they were going to devote to politics during 2020 and the difference between what we analyzed on the network side versus local was huge. Two thirds of local stations said they’re going to cover spending less than 25 percent of their time on politics. So just to make sure it’s right we checked after one of the recent Democratic debates and found local stations and top five markets spent only five and a half percent of their newscast on politics, when networks are spending thirty eight percent and it’s sort of logical when you think about it because if you’re a political junkie you’re not going to be watching. Good Morning Cincinnati or good morning whatever show because you’re going to watch the cable network aligning with your interests. So how important is going local and going to these local markets where there is significant opportunity?

Jeanne Salvatore: Well I think going local always makes sense because it does allow you to tailor your message very specifically to your audience in a way that you can’t do nationally so it should always be very important. And if it’s a really good interview there’s always the possibility that it could go national. If you’re providing something really interesting.

Orlando Veras: There’s opportunities. I think everyone thinks of primetime news as the thing you want to be on. But in some cases, the story that you have to tell might work best in a noon newscast. Where there’s less of that kind of hard news and more opportunity to do kind of a more lifestyle things. If that’s if that’s your area.

The Beyoncé of the Business World, Brandi Boatner, on How to become a Socially Thoughtful Brand and Face Tomorrow’s Challenges


 

Brandi Boatner, Social and Influencer Communications Lead for Global Markets at IBM corporate communications, spoke with Alexa Ambroseo from D S Simon Media, at the PRSA Tri-State Conference. In her keynote speech, The Bold Type: Bending the Brand Backbone is Risky Business, Boatner talked about how PR practioners can help a brand become socially thoughtful. She also stressed that ‘tomorrow’ is the biggest challenge facing PR professionals in this this day and age.

 

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Alessandra Simkin: What are the Similarities and Differences in PR Across Industries?


Alessandra Simkin, Senior Manager of External Communications at Danone North America, spoke with Eric Wright, Executive Vice President at D S Simon Media, at the PRSA Tri-State Conference. During the PR Pals Talk Shop panel, Simkin talked about the Evian Drip Drop campaign. Evian partnered with visionary designer, Virgil Abloh, to create the new Evian collectable limited-edition glass bottle. She also shared insights on the similarities and differences between working in pharma and consumer.

 

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Epizyme’s Erin Graves Talks about PR Pals Talk Shop and Shares Networking Tips


Erin Graves, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at Epizyme, a company focused on creating epigenetic medicines that are targeted at specific causes of cancer and other serious diseases, spoke with Alexa Ambroseo from D S Simon Media, at the PRSA Tri-State Conference. During the PR Pals Talk Shop panel, Graves shared insights on how to be creative and think outside the box in a regulated framework. She also shared some networking tips for young PR professionals.

 

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Brand Visibility 2020 Study


366 journalists were surveyed. The findings could make your brand more influential, visible, and authentic. The results are featured in the Brand Visibility 2020 report. Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media, shares highlights including opportunities during the 2020 election year to get your spokespeople on television. Download a free copy of the report here.

 

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Shalon Roth: Why Do In-House PR Teams and PR Agencies Need to Work Better Together?


Shalon Roth, Founder of PR-it, a global collective of communications and digital experts, spoke with Raz Abrahamyan from D S Simon Media, at the PRSA Tri-State Conference. Roth was the moderator of the PR Pals Talk Shop: Spinning Shoestrings into PR Gold panel, where she talked about the notion of ‘doing more with less resources.’ She also shared insights on the benefits of having in-house teams and agencies work together.

 

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Andrea Roley Talks About Transforming How Our Nation Addresses Addiction, Measurement Trends, and Navigating Stakeholders


Andrea Roley, Interim Director of Marketing and Communications at Center on Addiction, spoke with Alexa Ambroseo from D S Simon Media, at the PRSA Tri-State Conference. As a part of the PR Pals Talk Shop panel, Roley spoke about measurement, navigating in-house challenges, and how the nonprofit organization, Center on Addiction, is transforming how the nation addresses addiction.

 

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