THINKING OUTSIDE THE WHITE BOARD.
Cascadian Farm’s family farm in the Upper Skagit Valley of Washington State provided the perfect backdrop for the company’s first major press event. We were charged with tagging 10 A-list media, inviting them to a weekend of Washington State food and fun, but also priming the pump to generate publicity for Cascadian Farm and its philosophy of promoting “farm to table.” We chose a gorgeous weekend at the end of July, when sunshine is typically plentiful and crops abound. Media attendees included Bon Appetit, Sunset, Hemispheres, Cooking Light, Vegetarian Times and several more. We coordinated non-company excursions with a local tour agent, and these media, heralding from as far east as New York and Alabama, were treated to the best that the Seattle area had to offer. The culminating event was a “farm to table” luncheon, al fresco on the Cascadian Farm grounds north of Sedro Woolley, featuring not only fresh produce from the farm but a selection of Cascadian Farm products for sale in grocery stores. Renowned Chefs Jesse Cool of the Bay Area, and Stan Frankenthaler of Salamander in Boston, both members of the Chef’s Collaborative and proponents of sustainable food production, prepared lunch for about 30 people. The event was a huge success, with most media attending producing some editorial coverage of Cascadian Farm within the ensuing year. We also came in almost $3000 below our $50K budget.
Aura Cacia Aromatherapy
Our primary goal in developing the Aura Cacia spa media event was to create a showcase event to introduce the major women's media to Aura Cacia.
The event was held over two afternoons in October at a well-known New York City spa, which we thought would entice the media to come, and would provide an opportunity for each guest to experience aromatherapy in a spa session, either a manicure, facial, massage or body wrap. We had a short presentation by our spokesperson providing an educational session about the benefits of 100 percent pure essential oils, followed by a therapy for each guest, using Aura Cacia essential oil products. We arranged to have the event at the Anushka Day Spa, the oldest spa in the city, located in a very chic area of the East Side. The spa provided an "intimate" arena for the presentation. The spa owner, Anushka, and her staff, were very accommodating and helped us facilitate a successful event with very few snafus.
We invited 20 total media -- 10 beauty editors and 10 health editors. Each media person received an invitation announcing the event, inviting them to enjoy a pre-assigned therapy using Aura Cacia products. Each media person also received an embroidered velvet "goody-bag" with samples of Aura Cacia product, including the new eye pillows, lamp rings and sampler cards. In addition, each received a press kit with highlights from Mindy's presentation, and one of Mindy's books. Fourteen media actually attended, however each of these 20 media produced some editorial featuring Aura Cacia in the 18 months following the event. The company noted a sales increase of over 20% over the following year.
Blue Sky Natural Sodas
How A couple of good PR Hits Put A Company on the Map
Blue Sky Natural Sodas had always had an excellent reputation for “basic” sodas that provided a natural alternative to the mainstream Coke and Pepsi products. In the late 90s, the company decided to take a risk and launch a line of sodas containing the wildly popular herbs ginseng and ginkgo. It was a public relations risk – we would either be ridiculed for being a little too “out there”, or the perfect storm would ensue: a great idea and perfect timing. To the company’s good fortune, it was indeed the perfect time. The product tasted great AND provided that extra added value that consumers were looking for. We landed publicity both on The Today Show and in PARADE magazine in a two-month period. Due to these two placements alone, the company opened up distribution on the entire East Coast. Company sales soared and new products were put in the development phase. Blue Sky Sodas eventually sold to Hansen’s Natural Beverages.
Blue Diamond Growers
Media Spokesperson Tour
Blue Diamond Growers, a multi-million dollar cooperative of almond growers, decided to jump on the natural foods bandwagon and launch a line of non-dairy almond-based beverages. We were hired to help introduce Almond Breeze to both the natural foods consumer as well as the mainstream grocery store shopper. After laying groundwork for almost two years, generating solid publicity in a number of core trade and consumer print media, the company wanted to take it to the next level and drill down to regionally-targeted campaigns that might also glean some television coverage.
We hired a well-known chef and television personality, Regina Campbell, host of the PBS series “Regina’s Vegetarian Kitchen.” We targeted the California market – San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego – as our first wave in the roll out. Working with Regina, whose corporate spokesperson experience and on-air panache was a tremendous benefit to the program, gave Blue Diamond the professional launchpad into these markets. Regina developed a number of recipes incorporating the Breeze products, and we were able to generate several print, television and radio interviews in all three markets. To this date, Almond Breeze has become a hugely successful brand for the company and is a leading non-dairy seller.
Basic Media Relations Bridges to the Big Time
Theo Chocolate engaged our services when they were an unknown brand with very little distribution. They had no budget for special programs or events. We created a compelling story combining quality, great taste and a commitment to the chocolate industry through its founder Joe Whinney. We developed special mailings for key mainstream media, holiday gift campaigns, Valentine’s Day campaigns and more, all using simply well-written PR materials and a vibrant sampling campaign. Over the course of two years, we generated publicity in many national media including New York Times, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Oprah, Martha Stewart Living, TODAY Show and more. Ultimately the company engaged investors and has since grown the brand to the point where it has been able to engage Ben Affleck as a spokesperson.
Bringing Science Validation to Public Awareness
AIDP, Inc., a privately-owned manufacturer and marketer of functional ingredients for food, beverage and supplement makers, was a relatively unknown commodity until it engaged in a vibrant communications campaign. Essenza provided a combination of social media support with traditional trade press to promote several of AIDP’s key ingredients. Focusing on science validation, and leveraging decades long relationships with national health media, industry press and key influencers in health and wellness, Essenza Communications has garnered millions of impressions for AIDP ingredients.
CHOICE ORGANIC TEAS
What a Long Term Commitment Can Accomplish
Essenza was brought on board by the venerable organic and fair trade tea maker in 2007. Since then, with a mere “basic media relations” budget, Essenza has generated many millions of media and consumer impressions on behalf of Choice Organic Teas, ranging from national magazines such as Women’s Day to industry favorites like Yoga Journal and Clean Eating, to a wide range of trade press. Essenza has garnered local TV coverage, helped organize a ribbon cutting at the new factory with the Seattle mayor, and hosted branding exercises at the clients offices.
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