Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Trust, but Verify

Small Business owners can take a lesson from "The Gipper".  When doing business with new clients our best advice in getting paid on time (or at all) is to trust the promises made by the client in the contract.  But verify that the new client has the ability to pay by verifying EVERYTHING that he says with reference checks.
Of course the better business bureau is a wonderful source, but an even better source would be people who have actually done business with new client.  

And most important of all - don't be afraid to get partial payments up front.  This guarantees that if you get stiffed, at least it won't be for the full contract.

In the two years, that we've been in business, we've only run into one client who dinned on our services and dashed without fulfilling the obligation of his contract.  We signed the contract based on the fancy talk of a big talker who pretended to be a well heeled financier. 

What a lesson!  After the contract went unpaid for almost six months, we did some investigating.  Friends who knew him personally and professionally said that he made a practice of skipping out on bills.  If we had done the due diligence before hand, we wouldn't have been left holding the bag.

TRUSTing is good VERIFYing is GREAT!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday

Today is Cyber Monday and while 99.999% of our customers/clients would never pay for our services by landing on our website and typing in their credit card info, I do feel kinda left out of the fun by not having the PayPal link on the CS Corporate website.

HOWEVER, if you would like to purchase personal assistant and concierge services from our sister company Chaos Solutions visit HTTP://WWW.YOURCHAOSSOLUTIONS.COM and shop away...


Monday, October 19, 2009

The Big Screen - Is "Where the Wild Things Are"

"Let the Wild Rumpus Start!!!"
Movie goers found Maurice Sendak's classic character Max and his Wild Things on the Big Screen this Weekend!
I'm eager to see the movie because I love the book which happens to be only 338 words.  But as commentaries have said all weekend, in those few words Sendak created two vivid worlds - Max's real life where a raucous, rambunctious kid gets sent to his room without dinner and Max's other real life where he is King of the Wild Things and wild rumpuses are perfectly acceptable.
Early returns say that director Spike Jonze nails it...If you've seen the film and know the book what do you think?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Remember the Pink Pig at Rich's In Atlanta?

Do any of you remember the Pink Pig at Rich's in Atlanta?  People (like my mom) still get nostalgic when you talk about the pink pig.  I'm not sure if it's still there.  I don't think the pig was the official logo or brand of Rich's, but it certainly became synonymous with chain.  

In my hometown Columbus, Georgia, "Kady the Cow," can stir up as much emotion as the Rich's Pink Pig.  As a child growing up Kady stood like a mystical guardian in front of the Kinnett Dairy building.  When Kinnett moved away, she remained a fixture in front of the newly built Best Buy store.  I don't know what the Best Buy owners thought of the gigantic Dairy Godmother standing quite literally in their front yard.  But their only choice was to keep her there.
Removing Kady from her spot overlooking the city would have caused outrage and protest and certainly would have lost the retail chain favor among Columbus residents. 

Shortly after the Best Buy store opened a calf mysteriously appeared next to Kady.  The calf was given the name Bebe (short for Best Buy). 

Now that's managing the brand and perfecting relations with your public at its best!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Significance of a Symbol

i love studying has a great crop of logos from the 2008 competition.  cs corporate's logo is a simple dragonfly encompassed in a circle.  our branding and logo is so important that we NEVER leave home without wearing a dragonfly necklace or broach.  (notice even at my nephew's pee wee football game, i'm wearing my dragonfly.)

we chose it because like the dragonfly, we are "butterflies with attitude..."  to learn more about the significance of our symbol check out our website and read the logo story.  

below are some of the wolda logos that i love for their complex SIMPLICITY.

"les films de la-bas" - a swiss film company - there current project focuses on african immigrants in france...

"the dream catchers"  - a company that shoots wedding videos

"Neo Tokyo" -  an exhibition of contemporary Japanese electronic art. The logo represents a fusion between technology, nature and the artists.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

God Bless Him for His Love of Country -The Passing of an American Brand

Today we mourn the passing of Ted Kennedy an unabashed liberal. Regardless of how you felt about his politics (which I admittedly often disagreed), you could never deny his great love of country and family. His goal and desire was always a better America.

In the video below, he eulogizes his slain brother Robert.

God Bless Ted Kennedy and May Flights of Angels Sing Him to His Rest.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

branding "lightly coagulated eggs..."

Happy Birthday Julia...And what exactly is a lightly coagulated egg?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Study in Crisis Communications

Alexandria, Virginia's Police Chief David P. Baker was arrested by Arlington, Virginia police officers for Driving Under the Influence on Saturday.  Today Baker announced that he would resign.  At a press conference, Alexandria city officials, expressed their sorrow over this extremely uncharacteristic behavior.  Baker's blood alcohol was more than twice the legal limit.

Baker has apparently served for almost twenty years with distinction and respect.  Unfortunately, it takes just one mistake to derail a career.  In Baker's case this is an admittedly HUGE mistake that could've cost lives.  

When asked if this was the end to Baker's career, Alexandria City Manager Jim Hartmann responded, "I'm not prepared to say that right now. We're looking at all the facts of the case. This is a very serious situation.”

While this may be the end of Baker's time as Alexandria's Top Cop, I believe that because of the way he handled this crisis, it's certainly not the end END for him.  

He admitted that he was wrong and violated the public trust.  He did the only honorable thing. by stepping down.  In my view, the worst way to communicate in the midst of a crisis is to lie and pretend that 1) the bad deed did not happen or 2) you had nothing to do with the bad deed.

Despite Hartman's uncertainty, Baker will survive this tragedy and will very likely rebuild his career.  

Friday, June 26, 2009

Paying Tribute to Two of America's Most Profound Brands

We offer this tribute to Farrah Fawcett...
What an absolute beauty she was.  
How many of you have taken a photo in the Charlie's Angel pose?

And of course...the King of Pop will not be forgotten.  
We remember the good years.  
When the Thriller video came on television, we watched it with our Mom and Dad like we were watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon....It was really just Michael moon walking on earth...which was of course out of this world!
The thriller album quite literally became the sound track of our childhood.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day Old Man

Please pardon the personal nature of this blog.  It has absolutely nothing to do with PR or Branding.  Just a note to say Happy Father's Day to our Daddy, Jerry Bass.  He passed on February 14, 2009.  So this is our first Father's Day without him.

Our Daddy was without a doubt the coolest, hippest cat in town.  At 60 when he passed, he thought he was 19.  

Our Daddy was a God-fearing Hell Raiser!  He loved GOOD MOVIES like Papillon, The Outlaw Josie Wales, Alfie (the original) and Cool Hand Luke.  He loved a cold bear on a hot Georgia Day.  He loved schooling his young nieces and nephews in backyard games of golf.  He loved cooking Heaven knows what greasy fried dish for his identical twin brother "Uncle James." He loved his grandchildren Dorian and Daylynn.  He loved our Mama his ex-wife and faithful friend.  And we have it on good authority that he adored his two girls.  

This is a picture of Daddy and Mama on Easter Sunday circa 1978 in Talbotton, Georgia.  This is Deana's favorite picture in the whole wide world.

We love you Old Man.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

TV DAD’s – Branding Gone Negative

Over the last 50 years, the Dad Brand has taken a licking.  We’ve quite literally gone from Father Knows Best to Raising Dad. If you think I’m being a bit over the top, just analyze the family structure of your top five favorite situation comedies or dramas.  I’m sure that four out of five have a less than positive image of Dad.  Dad is a clueless, inept, and bumbling idiot at best and cheating, beating, boozer at worst. 

Gone are the days when TV Dad’s provided for the needs of their family, coached the little league team and dispensed sound advice.  I know that Dads in real life were never the perfect models of our TV Dad’s, but it at least it gave them something for which to strive.  

As we celebrate Father's Day Weekend, I'd like to salute the brands of some perfect and perfectly imperfect dads.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Branded by the Community

PR Tips to Keep Your Small Business Recession Free

How does a place like Ben's Chili Bowl become a hunger haven for tourists and townies.  Winning the admiration of Bill Cosby certainly helps.  And occasional drop ins by entertainers, sports figures and "The One" President Barack Obama can only add to your business' celebrity.  But even before this local hot spot became a star Mecca, it won the hearts of regular plain folks in its neighborhood.

CS Corporate believes that in the current economic climate, local Mom and Pop establishments must re-turn to doing the thing that they do best.

  • Brand yourself in the community. Sponsor or coach a youth sports team. Find a local church or YMCA to volunteer at in exchange for ad or billboard space.
  • Have promotional days. Make one small item free, especially with food. People gravitate toward free things and then end up spending money on a meal anyway.
  • Set up a presence on the Web! We can’t stress this enough. Have printable coupons on your Web site. Give the consumer a reason to visit the site. Make ordering over the Web easier (and cheaper!).

These few tips will drive traffic to your in-store and online avenues.  Each of these bullets are critical and will be covered in detail in upcoming blogs.

In the meantime, tell us how you are keeping the doors open with positive inexpensive PR.

Brett Hertel

CS Corporate

Communications Manag

Friday, May 8, 2009

The way to a customer's heart is through her stomach

This week, I joined the tens of thousands of Americans downloading a KFC coupon offering a free meal courtesy of Media Maven Oprah Winfrey. The line in my Northern Virginia KFC was long, but nothing like the long riot producing lines reported in major cities like NYC.

Oprah is the queen of the media give-away. From her Big Car Give-away to her lasted KFC lunch, Oprah knows that we love free stuff. And boy do we love free lunch - free dinner and breakfast for that matter.

The PR Sidebar is to take a tip from the Queen of the Media. If you are peddling a product or service, we recommend you wrap it in a free meal. Here are some suggestions of events around free food that we have used in the last year, to win loyal customers for our clients.

1. Host a tea and product display. Put a unique twist on the traditional tea by serving something other than the standard tea fare. Serve cupcakes!
2. Bake a tray of toll house cookies and deliver them with business cards and a handwritten note to potential clients.
3. For those of you whose business is still a side hustle and not yet your main source of income, host a snack break. Invite co-workers to the conference room to share your product or service over chips and coke.

Of course presentation is everything...So be mindful of invitations, display and follow-up.

Remember, one of the best ways to a customer's heart is through her stomach

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Monk....16 Episodes Remaining

OK...We know it's been awhile since, we blogged and this blog doesn't have to do with PR per se.  It actually has everything to do with how we completely escape when we have overloaded in a week and want to do nothing more than veg out with an interesting character...WE WATCH MONK.

Both Dee Dee and I have tried to analyze why we attempt to carve out a space for Monk in our Friday (Or the reprise on Saturday if Friday was impossible).  We have come to the conclusion that Monk takes us back to shows from our childhood - like Murder She Wrote, Simon and Simon,  Scarecrow and Mrs. Kane.  Granted the show usually starts with a weird and gruesome murder, but after the introductory murder, it's all a clever and rather wholesome who done it.  It's such a refreshing break from the onslaught of decapitated babies found floating in the river that seem to be such common fare for the Law and Order and CSI franchises which we admittedly watch. 

In June, Monk prepares to launch its last season.  If you've missed the last 7 or 8 seasons, we recommend you spend the next month renting the DVDs to catch up.  Our bet (HOPE) is that during this season, Monk the OCD Super Detective will finally get his man.  You see, he has been able to solve every crime except the most important one - the murder of his wife Trudy.

We are wringing our wrists that this is the last season!!!

Next Blog will be back to PR Sidebars...thanks for putting up with the mini tribute to what amounts to our weekly break from the world of PR.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Quote of the Week

Boorstin Said..

"Some are born great.  Some achieve greatness.  Some hire public relations officers."

We of course understand Boorstin's sentiment.  However, we take a slightly different view.  We recognize that in business there are many David's in this world of Goliath's.  Sometimes David is a little too humble to tell his story well.  That is what CS Corporate and countless other boutique PR firms do.  We share the greatness of the humble with the world.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Recession Era Public Relations (RPR!)

Have you noticed how commercials are using the fact that you're flat broke as a way to encourage you to spend what little money you have left.  Some of the ads are subtle - Sprint CEO Dan Hesse tells you that their plan is "right for these times."  Others clobber you over the head with a sledge hammer - Dominos Pizza CEO Dave Brandon dawns a pizza delivery uniform and delivers "bail out deals."
The interesting point about this new recession genre of PR (We'll call it RPR) is that it's encouraging the big boys to do what small business owners have done since the dawn of the bube tube.

The Chief Executive Officer is front and center asking for the trust of customers and potential customers.

Think about it.  The small businesses in your region that are successful  more than likely have the owner as spokesperson.  Car dealers, carpet retailers, mom & pop restaurant owners, the commercials tend to be rather cheesy but they get you in the store because ultimately, you do trust them.

The PR Sidebar: Don't be afraid to put your name out there.  If it's your product - if  it's your service, putting your mug on the label or your name on the dotted line may not be such a bad marketing move.

If You Don't Share Your Success Who Will?

if you  gather anything from reading this blog, i hope it's that you must be prepared to tell your story anytime all the time.  whatever you product or service, you can't be shy about sharing it with the world...or at the very least your friends and neighbors.

and because a picture is worth a thousand words, it's rather critical  to invest in a digital camera.  I always carry my little Nikon Coolpix.  It's inexpensive and captures descent shots.

As much as I really prefer being behind the camera, I realize it's important to show potential customers my success.  So I grin and bear it!

  • if you're meeting with a new client, take a picture.
  • if you have a company retreat, take a picture.
  • if you launch a new product, take a picture.

What you do with these photos is key.  A monthly or quarterly newsletter emailed or snail mailed to customers and potential customers is PR101.  

While CS Corporate would be delighted to create such documents for you, honestly 
you could do it yourself with a Mac and Pages which is a part of the iwork software.

The P.R. Sidebar: There is no event too big or small to share in a well designed newsletter with clients and potential clients.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Trust Me...Not Just Another Blog

No... Not Just Another Blog.

No...Not another pundit waxing about that which she knows nothing.

P.R. Sidebars is a weekly comment from, well, me, Deana Bass.  I'm the President of CS Corporate a Washington, DC based public relations firm.  

Public Relations for Small Businesses is the thing that gets me going...I don't know how this came to be.  I've had some pretty interesting jobs a press secretary on capital hill, executive director of a small DC based think tank.  I even worked as an extras casting agent.  (Yeah, I didn't know they actually cast those random people walking down the street behind the stars either).

Out of every job that I've ever had, the thing that I enjoy most is owning my own business.  And my business is to get you and your company noticed.  I LOVE DOING THAT!  

Owning your own business is terrifying and exciting in one breath!

I hope to help take a bit of the terror out of the endeavor by giving small business owners tips on earning FREE PRESS and winning the loyalty of a whole crop of new customers!

Once a week (maybe more, but never less) I will share the latest, coolest ideas in public relations tools to help small business owners nab their piece of the proverbial pie.