Monthly Archives: December 2012

Los Altos Town Crier – Carmel offers respite from holiday bustle


The weeks after Christmas and New Year’s Day offer revelers a chance to regain their strength from the rounds of holiday cooking and frolicking. It’s a good time to relax and get away for two or three days. Throughout the month of January, quaint Carmel quiets down, and a few more rooms become available at the inns.

Monta Potter, CEO of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce, boasts about the area’s mild climate – an average of 60 F in January. Point Lobos State Preserve offers coastside hiking and some of the most beautiful views in the region.

Even if it’s cold, there are plenty of alternatives to the beach. Carmel Wine Walk passports sell for $50 and allow holders to taste at seven local tasting rooms via self-guided tour and map. Stop by the Visitors’ Center between Fifth and Sixth streets downtown to buy one.

Los Altos Town Crier – Carmel offers respite from holiday bustle.

Former CASA Foster Child Donates over 300 Teddy Bears!

SALINAS, CA – DECEMBER 13, 2012 – Former CASA foster child Ryan Moses knows what is like to grow up under difficult circumstances. At six he found out his parents were addicted to drugs and alcohol and a week after his seventh birthday his father was in jail and his mother had abandoned him. In and out of foster homes and back with his father before another stint in jail Ryan almost gave up hope. By the end of sixth grade, he went from one foster home to another, until his CASA representative said, enough.

“After staying at the group home for a year the place was going to be shut down and I was going to be moved to yet another home,” says Ryan, “luckily my CASA sponsor caught wind of that and said this has to stop, he doesn’t deserve this anymore; he deserves a better life. So, she told my social worker that she would take me in and be my guardian. I knew that God was the one that did this. I would pray and pray that I could just go back home, but God had better plans for me. He wanted me to live a better life than what I have been living.”

Now Ryan, a successful sophomore at Palma School in Salinas, has decided to give back to the organization that has given him a new life and has raised over 300 teddy bears for donation to the kids that were just like him. Now they can be reminded that someone cares about them and that someone wants them to feel loved and supported.Image

“We are very proud of Ryan and the rest of the members of ‘The Know That You Matter Club’ here at Palma.” stated Brother Patrick Dunne, President, Palma School “We have an obligation to be there for these children. That’s why we do what we do.”

ABOUT PALMA SCHOOL: Founded in 1951 in the rich educational tradition of the Christian Brothers, Palma School is an all-boys, Catholic, college preparatory institution located in the heart of the Salinas Valley. or

ABOUT VOICES FOR CHILDREN CASA OF MONTEREY COUNTY: Voices for Children ensures that children placed in foster care receive the care and services they need to be safe and thrive, while also pursuing permanent homes for the children. Community volunteers, trained as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), provide practical support and rights-based advocacy for foster children.

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Photo opportunities available Friday, December 14, 2012

Media Contact:
Celeste White | white page communications

Communicators Invest Heavily in Content Marketing

Content Marketing Takes Off:Business-to-consumer (B2C) communicators are heavily using—and significantly investing in—content marketing, says a new study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs and sponsored by Pace.

According to the study, 86% of B2C organizations market with content—regardless of company size or industry.

Some of the nuggets from the study:

  • B2C organizations use an average of 12 tactics. The most popular tactics include social media (excluding blogs) (84%), articles on a company’s website (84%), e-newsletters (78%) and blogs (77%).
  • While these results are similar to the habits among B2B marketers, B2C marketers are using mobile content, mobile apps, print magazines and print newsletters more often than their B2B peers.
  • For B2C marketers, Facebook is the most popular platform by far, with 90% of respondents indicating they use this for content distribution. This differs from B2B, in which LinkedIn is the most popular platform, with 83% of respondents using this (compared with 51% of B2C marketers).
  • Akin to B2B companies, B2C communicators are investing heavily in content marketing. They now spend 28% of their marketing budgets on content marketing, and 55% of B2C marketers plan to increase their content marketing spend within the next year.

Source: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

Media Relations Pitching Tips

Today‘s Today’s media pros are dealing with brutal deadlines and severe budgetary constraints, and they need PR‘s content and your storytelling skills. However, they don’t need to be inundated with spammy or off-the-mark pitches that aren’t relevant to their beat or their audience. At PR News’ One-day Bootcamp for Emerging PR Stars, held on Nov. 29 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Nate Hindman, small business editor for the Huffington Post, provided 11 tips for PR pros to improve their pitching and relationships with the media.

  • Do not call journalists to pitch—ever: “We’re usually up against one of many deadlines, and these calls throw us off track,” said Hindman. “I’d strongly suggest to always e-mail pitches. Twitter also works for pitching, but Facebook is too personal.”
  • Use their name—don’t send pitches with “Dear Blogger” or “Dear Journalist”:  Journalists are narcissists—we didn’t get into this business to make money, we did it to see our name in a byline,” said Hindman. “If you send out blanketed pitches to journalists and don’t use their names, you’re doing yourself a disservice.”
  • Use flattery: Go to his or her media site’s archive page and find a story written by the targeted journalist who relates to your client. “Consider opening the e-mail with, ‘I loved your story on this, it changed my way of thinking on this issue…'” said Hindman. “Then say, ‘by the way, this is my client and I think this will…'”
  • Consider pitching journalists after hours and in the evening: “There’s a lot less incoming e-mail traffic and you likely won’t get them at peak work hours of writing,” said Hindman.
  • Do the work for them: Many journalists are hesitant to write about a specific company, but they will write about a trend. “Don’t just tell me the existence about your client, or that he’s in town. Tell me what they’re doing to unseat or kill off a corporate giant (especially in the small-business space). You can even attempt, in the e-mail, to write the story—give me what you think my lead should be,” said Hindman.
  • Keep it short: Never have a pitch be longer than two paragraphs. “I rarely ever read anything longer than that,” said Hindman.
  • Tell the journalist who you are: Unless your company or client is really well known, don’t assume that journalists know them, said Hindman. “Remember, you’re trying to craft a headline and draw them in as a reader of the e-mail, just as reporters do with their stories,” he said.
  • Following up is okay: “You can follow up once, but don’t follow up 30 times on an e-mail,” said Hindman.
  • Develop real relationships first: It’s great to be able to keep up with people through social media, but hard to start a real relationship. “The best relationships I’ve had with PR pros have been developed face to face. Any chance you have to get a beer or a coffee with a journalist is very valuable,” said Hindman.
  • Don’t promise what you can’t deliver: “Don’t make empty promises and say you can get us something when you can’t,” said Hindman. “Don’t promise statements from sources or supporting data that you’re not going to get.”
  • Follow up and share: Tell a journalist how good you thought their piece was and that you’ll be sharing it on your own social networks. “This makes them feel honored and important, and makes them more likely to work with you in the future,” said Hindman.


Brand Audits: Three Powerful Rings

When conducting a brand audit, the simplest models often work the best – BCG’sGrowth-Share matrix, a SWOT analysis, an organizational chart. These models work because they distill tons of information, identify what’s important and are easy to grasp. – From Branding Strategy Insider:Our favorite model for identifying brand strengths and weaknesses – the 3-Circle Model – is stunningly simple, too. It involves just three overlapping circles representing the brand, customers and competitors. Mapping the intersections of customer desires, brand capabilities and competitive strengths allows strategists to classify and prioritize different types of ‘value’.

Brand Strategy Brand Audit

Why it Works

The 3-Circle analysis is powerful in three ways:

1. Broader look at potential differentiators

A typical brand analysis appropriately focuses most attention on points of difference as potential sources of competitive advantage. In addition to identifying points of difference, a 3-Circle Analysis highlights potentially leverageable points of parity as well as unaddressed customer needs. If these are important to customers and if no one else is talking about them, or if your brand can talk about or deliver them uniquely, they may be more relevant and potentially more differentiating than so-called ‘points of difference.’ Countless brands have achieved success by focusing on category benefits (Raid Kills Bugs Dead, Lysol Kills 99.9% of germs, Foster Farms chickens California-grown) or creating a point of difference that lies outside of the product (Keebler Cookies are the only ones made by elves in a hollow tree, a gecko assures Geico customers they will save money).

2. Keeps customer needs in focus
The 3-Circle Model also provides a “final resting place” (pun intended) for a brand’s areas of ‘non-value’ –features that may be differentiating or important to keeping up with competitors but that are simply unimportant to customers. The average supermarket now carries over 38,000 items, many of which are minor flavor or size variations. In the technology category, the features arms race continues unabated. According to Harvard professor, Youngme Moon, “There comes a point beyond which we are hard to impress…beyond which additional improvement ceases to add value.” At that point, it’s time to take a closer look at what customers truly value.

3. Forces clear thinking about competitive differences
Finally, the 3-Circle Model ensures a close look at potential points of vulnerability. The competitive landscape is dynamic, meaning today’s advantage can be leapfrogged at any moment. Competitive intelligence is not the same as competitive insight. Brands need to keep a keen eye on competitors’ points of difference as well as their own, lest they find themselves in the position of Kodak or Blockbuster, outflanked by companies with a better sense of what customers truly want.

Putting the Model to the Test

Marketing Professor Joe Urbany and former Professor James H. Davis, both of University of Notre Dame Mendoza School of Business, developed the 3-Circle Model. It has been the foundation of the Mendoza MBA marketing curriculum for over 10 years. The resulting map looks simple, but it incorporates hours of digging, discussion and debate.

To learn more about the 3-Circle Analysis and how it can be applied to brands, check out these resources:

The Brand Audit Category of Branding Strategy Insider.

How to Conduct a Brand Audit – First in a series of ‘How-To’ Whitepapers by Brand Amplitude, it describes step by step where to find the information needed to populate the 3-Circle map.

Grow by Focusing on What Matters: Strategy in 3-Circles by Joel E. Urbany and James H. Davis

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Carol Phillips and Judy Hopelain of Brand Amplitude