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Press Release Tips for Companies

Annex Communication was polled for press release tips in FitSmallBusiness.com

Click here to read the article. 

Consumer Engagement Initiatives Essential to Grocery Industry

 An article by Progessive Grocer explains why consumer engagement is so important to the retail and CPG Industries. 

Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line. 

 

Guide to User-Generated Content

Retail Integration Online posted an article on how user-generated content is becoming increasingly popular with brands. Click here to access the article. 
 
Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line.
 

We firmly believe that there is no “magic bullet” to achieving your communication goals. We utilize our industry expertise and experienced team to leverage relationships, create consistent messaging throughout all communication platforms, and creatively implement consumer engagement initiatives to build an effective communication strategy.  

Hispanics Can Drive Retail Beauty Market

Recent numbers in Progressive Grocer indicated that while 94% of U.S. households purchase beauty products, and the industry totaled $33.5 billion in sales in 2014, beauty products are not flying off store shelves like in the past.
 
Just as in other retail industries, online shopping is affecting the way beauty products are purchased. Instead of adding their favorite beauty items to the cart at the local grocery store, consumers are searching for better deals online, many of which include free shipping.  Since the recession, consumers are re-evaluating discretionary expenditures, and the beauty industry is not exempt.
 
That is why retailers should place increased emphasis on Hispanic consumers to reignite the beauty category.  From 2013 to 2014, non-Hispanics posted a decrease in cosmetic sales of 1.2 percent, while Hispanics displayed a 7.4 percent increase in sales.
 
Monica Gil, general manager and SVP, multicultural growth and strategy, Nielsen, told Progressive Grocer, "Beauty Care sales trends demonstrate powerful evidence of how Hispanic consumers act as the accelerators in growing categories while also serve as the brakes for declining ones. Marketers and retailers benefit from understanding the differences in Hispanic category consumption because it will help them identify where they spend substantially more than the rest of the population.” 
 
So why are Hispanics purchasing more beauty products than other demographic groups? The experts at Progressive Grocer listed several reasons, but we picked two for the purpose of this blog:
 
1.     Latino men purchase almost as many grooming products as Latino women. Additionally, from 2013 to 2014, Latino men had a           15.5 percent spike in fragrance purchases.
2.     While only accounting for 17% of the total U.S. population, Hispanics are responsible for 16.2% of all baby beauty purchases.             That includes items such as powders and lotions in addition to baby cologne, which is seldom used by non-Hispanics.

 It is clear that retailers be marketing their beauty products more towards Hispanics. We will see which retailers are following the numbers.

Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line.
  
We firmly believe that there is no “magic bullet” to achieving your communication goals. We utilize our industry expertise and experienced team to leverage relationships, create consistent messaging throughout all communication platforms, and creatively implement consumer engagement initiatives to build an effective communication strategy. 

  

Trends CPG Brands Must Accept for Millennials

 

Forbes.com posted an article regarding the differences in mentality with millennial consumers compared to previous generations. Since millennials will spend $65 billion on consumer packaged goods over the next 10 years, CPG brands must learn how to cater to these young people.

Forbes listed trends that will help make this connection. We have added our take on three of these them:

1. Visibly Sustainable
Millennials care far more than older generations about sustainability. CPG brands must care, or at least pretend to care, about the environmental impact they have. Finding more “green” ways to operate and distribute products will go a long way in building rapport with these consumers.
 
2. Food with Benefits
Adding nutrients to already packaged foods is increasingly important to millennials. The message on packaging must connect emotionally for these consumers. For example, if a brand is selling pancake mix, adding protein to the mix and creating messaging that consumers will stay full longer and have more energy for their day, would appeal to millennials.
 
3. Eat with Your Eyes
As most millennials spend a good portion of their time on social media, it is increasingly important to engage these consumers with visual illustrations on packaging and stimulate their sense of sight. How often do you see millennials post pictures of food online? We are assuming the answer is quite often. How often do you see them post pictures of unattractive food online?  The answer is probably much less frequently. If brands are visually appealing, they will have more millennial consumers. Bottom line.
Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line.
 
We firmly believe that there is no “magic bullet” to achieving your communication goals. We utilize our industry expertise and experienced team to leverage relationships, create consistent messaging throughout all communication platforms, and creatively implement consumer engagement initiatives to build an effective communication strategy. 

Sears Continues to Struggle, Is PR Their Savior?

As we learned that mcgarrybowen, a Dentsu-owned advertising agency, has quit the Sears Holding account, the struggles of the former retail titan continue to mount. 

As MediaPost mentions, Sears spends 500-600 million annually on advertisements. For an agency to reject that type of money, the circumstances must be even worse than we considered. The article states, “As part of the review, Sears has reached out to the major ad holding companies to put together proposals for an all-encompassing marketing assignment. Dentsu is said to be participating, but mcgarrybowen has also withdrawn from that pitch. It wasn’t immediately clear which agency would replace it.”
 
While a comprehensive marketing plan makes sense for Sears, at this juncture, their money is much better spent on public relations.  Investors are not taking well to Eddie Lampert’s new vision for the company, and the situation is dire.  While getting customers through the door is essential, maintaining investment dollars is equally important. We would advise Sears to develop a public relations campaign that highlights their big future tech push. They have to outline the changes the company is making and separate themselves from the empty shelves and limited customer base that has been recently associated with Sears.
 
It is important to remember that advertising is what you say about yourself and public relations is what others say about you. At this point, Sears is in a position where positive press might be the only thing that breathes a pulse back into this dying brand.
 
Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line.
 
We firmly believe that there is no “magic bullet” to achieving your communication goals. We utilize our industry expertise and experienced team to leverage relationships, create consistent messaging throughout all communication platforms, and creatively implement consumer engagement initiatives to build an effective communication strategy. 

 

Balanced Consumer/Retailer Relationship a Positive for Both Sides

Retail Customer Experience posted an insightful article on the changes in the consumer/retail relationship, and how retailers would be smart to embrace the changes rather than challenge them.
 
Consumers that have been around awhile remember the days when they would go to a brick-and-mortar store and the only product data obtainable was from a sales associate at the store. The balance of power was undisputedly in the hands of the retailer. Consumers had very little, if any, ability to conduct a price comparison, find customer reviews, or obtain third-party product information.
 
Fast-forward to the current day and that balance of power has drastically shifted. In fact, many would say the majority of power in now in the consumers favor. However, rather than saying that, let’s call it what it is- any even playing field.
 
First, with the rise of the Internet, and now with the emergence of mobile technology, consumers have a wealth of information readily available  to them at any time. Retailers should acknowledge and embrace this fact, as the accessibility of information can be advantageous to them as well. Not all retailers will survive this new relationship with the consumer. Notable companies such as Sears continue to crumble. However, retailers that utilize technology to enhance the customer experience, think in-terms of all sales being equal (not in-store vs. online), and dedicate resources to maximizing the quality of information they provide to consumers, will thrive in this new environment.
 
Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line.
 
We firmly believe that there is no “magic bullet” to achieving your communication goals. We utilize our industry expertise and experienced team to leverage relationships, create consistent messaging throughout all communication platforms, and creatively implement consumer engagement initiatives to build an effective communication strategy. 

CPG Industry Struggling to Reduce Environmental Impact

Environmental groups Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and As You Sow have expressed their concerns regarding the lack of recyclable packaging in the CPG industry, and some of the facts are surprising.

While plastic becomes the main form of packaging in the United States, mostly due to the amount of fast food and consumer beverages sold, only 14 percent of it is recycled. This is a major reason why there is an overall waste of $11.4 billion in potential recycling revenue every year.
 
The NRDC and As You Sow also identified companies that are succeeding in environmental sustainability. In the fast food/QSR industry, Starbucks and McDonald's were mentioned for "Better Practices." Dunkin' Brands, Subway, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Panera Bread, and Yum! Brands were classified as "Needs Improvement." Arby's, Quizno's, Burger King, Wendy's, Jack in the Box, Dairy Queen, Domino's Pizza, and Papa John's Pizza were recognized as "Poor" for not displaying any packaging sustainability leadership.
 
In the beverage industry, New Belgium Brewing, Coca-Cola, Nestlé Waters NA, and PepsiCo were mentioned for "Better Practices." Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Diageo, and Anheuser Busch were classified as "Needs Improvement." Heineken, MillerCoors, Boston Beer, and Red Bull were recognized as "Poor" for not displaying any packaging sustainability leadership.
 
As environmental issues become more important to consumers, it is clear the CPG industry has work to do in terms of reducing their environmental impact. It will be interesting to see what changes are made in the next few years.
 
Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line.
 
We firmly believe that there is no “magic bullet” to achieving your communication goals. We utilize our industry expertise and experienced team to leverage relationships, create consistent messaging throughout all communication platforms, and creatively implement consumer engagement initiatives to build an effective communication strategy.
 

Why Consumer Behavior Changes the Way Retailer Have to Think

The Washington Post published a good news, bad news article for retailers, describing a new shopper behavior in the retail industry.
 
First, the good news; the so-called “showrooming” issue many big box retailers had feared has not come to fruition in the way many experts expected.  The main concern was that after Amazon and eBay exploded, consumers would go to the big box store to preview and test an item, then go home and make their purchase online.
 
However, consumers actually did the opposite, as “webrooming” has become more commonplace. People are conducting their research online and then going into the store to make purchases.
 
This is positive, however, consumer research has also become an issue for retailers. Potential customers can literally find any piece of information on a product online. They can compare prices, competing products, and read user reviews, among other things. In reality, many consumers know more about a retailer’s products than their own employees.
 
Also, online research has significantly reduced the amount of impulse purchasing made. Instead of impulsively buying a product on the spot, especially in the consumer electronics space, consumers will leave the store and go on the Internet to learn more.
 
This is where great product demonstrations come into play. If a retailer notices that a certain product is drawing customer attention, but not converting to sales, they should consider using a demonstration to push customers towards a purchase. It gives people an opportunity to test and review the product, giving them the incentive to purchase on the spot, as opposed to going home to research and possibly going elsewhere to buy.
 
Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line.
 
We firmly believe that there is no “magic bullet” to achieving your communication goals. We utilize our industry expertise and experienced team to leverage relationships, create consistent messaging throughout all communication platforms, and creatively implement consumer engagement initiatives to build an effective communication strategy. 

A Health-Conscious America Is a CPG Company's Worst Nightmare

 With the recent news that Kraft Foods profits fell an astonishing 62 percent last year, CPG companies are scrambling to recover lost profits and win back consumers. Brands will be placing an increased emphasis on offering healthy selections, and eliminating sugary, artificially flavored treats.Americans eat on the go more than ever, which is a good sign for CPG companies, however, they are much more inclined to grab a yogurt or granola bar as opposed to a bag of chips or a candy bar.

 
That means as brands create new products, consumers will want to try before they buy. Therefore, a great sampling program will be essential to the future success of struggling CPG companies. Combining the sampling program with a PR campaign detailing the importance of offering healthy options and a digital marketing strategy that streamlines the messaging through online advertising and social media channels would be the most effective way to reach target consumers, and help make 2015 a more profitable year in the CPG industry.
 
Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line.
 
We firmly believe that there is no “magic bullet” to achieving your communication goals. We utilize our industry expertise and experienced team to leverage relationships, create consistent messaging throughout all communication platforms, and creatively implement consumer engagement initiatives to build an effective communication strategy.

Do the New England Patriots Need Help with Crisis Communication?

recent article posed this question and we thought we would take this opportunity to offer our opinion.
 
As the “Deflate-gate” investigation begins to unravel for the NFL, many people still question the culpability of the New England Patriots and their star Coach/Quarterback duo Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.  This leads us to ask why it seems like the public is always skeptical of the Patriots? This can be answered with one word- silence.
 
The New England Patriots live by a code of silence and rarely offer sound bites to the media. This is understandable when there’s no negative PR for the team. However, when every sports outlet in the country is questioning your credibility, silence can be a killer.
 
When a team, company, or person is being accused of something they haven’t done, while it’s not encouraged to speak off the cuff, it would be beneficial to create a strategy that targets specific key media and offers an explanation of innocence. Unfortunately in society, pleading the fifth is often just as bad as an admission of guilt.
 
So, for the Patriots, we would advise them to be a bit more transparents when facing crises, and perhaps the viewpoint of the public will begin to shift more favorably.  
 

More Emphasis Needs to be Placed on Consumer Engagement as Retail Spending is Not Improving

According to a recent Reuters article, U.S. households continued to cut back on the purchase of retail goods in January; and this disturbing trend should be cause for concern for brands nationally. 

As American consumers continue to spend less, the importance of customer engagement continues to grow. Brands need to stand out in retail space full of alternative options. The best way to build brand awareness and really engage customers with a brand is to have a consistent calendar of product sampling and demonstration initiatives that keeps the brand front of mind for customers.
 
The communication process for retail brands is really a three-pronged approach. Public relations, digital marketing, and customer engagement all go hand-in-hand to create a successful retail communication campaign. Without the customer engagement element, the PR and digital marketing strategies will suffer, as there is no opportunity to build trust and customer loyalty. 
 
With no increase in customer spending in the early forecast,  it is time for brands to smarten up and take their customer engagement to the next level.
 
Annex Communication is the authority in retail, CPG, and healthcare communication. We devise customized, integrated communication strategies that your increase ROI and affect your bottom-line.
 
We firmly believe that there is no “magic bullet” to achieving your communication goals. We utilize our industry expertise and experienced team to leverage relationships, create consistent messaging throughout all communication platforms, and creatively implement consumer engagement initiatives to build an effective communication strategy. 

What to do with Brian Williams?

 
The apparently affable newsman, whom millions of Americans have given their trust to over the past decade, is now in the midst of a fabrication scandal like we haven’t seen in a long time.
 
What started out as a seemingly simple slip of the tongue while recounting an RPG attack on a helicopter in Iraq 12 years ago has turned into allegations of stolen valor and gross exaggeration of other experiences, including his accounts covering Hurricane Katrina.
 
So the question is, what does Williams do now?
 
Is his current hiatus from Nightly News enough? Should he be formally reprimanded by NBC and allowed return? Or, should he simply crawl under a rock and hide for the remainder of his life?
 
We believe the answer still depends on the information that emerges in the coming days. As it stands now, Williams could avoid the reaper if he owns up to his mistakes, apologizes, and asks the nation for forgiveness. It is already an uphill battle due to sensitivity over his inflated war stories, but if he is contrite and honest, the possibility remains that he could return to the Nightly News anchor desk.   
 
However, the ice is paper-thin right now and the temperature continues to rise. Any new allegations could be the final nail in Williams’ coffin -which is tragic, because this whole situation is entirely unnecessary and self-inflicted.   

The Do's and Don'ts of Pitching Journalists

 
 
As the PR world expands and newsrooms shrink, pitching journalists has become more challenging than ever. Journalists are being tasked with more responsibility and their time is becoming more precious. 
 
Therefore, we have devised a list of do’s and don’ts for pitching journalists in the current communication world:
 
DO research a reporter’s beat and recent articles they have written. The fastest way to being “spammed” by a reporter is sending them an off-topic pitch or a pitch on a story they recently covered without offering a new angle.
DO send relevant follow up information on a client they covered when applicable. Journalists don’t have as much time to dig for content so the benefits of sending them a follow up angle are twofold; get your client more coverage while cultivating a working relationship with a reporter. 
DO send all pertinent information to a reporter after they agree to cover your story. A fact sheet, bio on the subject, headshot, and a company logo are all examples of things that should be included in your confirmation email to a reporter. 
DO send an interview confirmation sheet to the reporter. Sending a confirmation sheet, with talking points included, ensure the proper of time and place for the interview are correct while also allowing you to control the story. 
DON’T distribute a press release for the sake of doing so. If a client wants a press release crafted and distributed inappropriately, it is the publicist’s job to properly explain why that is the case. Explain how distributing a press release without a compelling story is counterproductive and can get you blacklisted by certain reporters if done on multiple occasions.
DON’T send a “did you receive my email?” follow up to a reporter within 36 hours of your original email. Surprisingly, journalists are not sitting in front of their computers waiting for your email to enter their inboxes. Give them two business days to respond to your inquiry unless it is very time sensitive and you have specified that in your email. 
DON’T pitch a reporter with whom you do not already have an established relationship via social media. It is in bad taste to do so. Remember, who is asking the favor of whom? 
DON’T pitch a reporter an advertisement. Be clever enough to come up with a newsworthy angle or don’t send an inquiry.
 
These are the basic do’s and don’ts for pitching journalists. If Annex Communication can assist in your PR initiatives, feel free to contact us by phone, (954) 332-3688 or email
 

 

Tips for SEO Improvement

  

Ragan’s PR Daily posted an article on SEO tricks to improve you web rankings. These tips are not for beginners, but provide someone with a working knowledge of SEO some recommendations for improvement.

 
Click here to read the full article.
 

 

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