Archive for January, 2010

This thought might give you some paws: What do people compare you to?

Hamlet, always loyal and loving, is never far from us.

We spent Sunday afternoon at a cat show and I came away with two thoughts. 

The show was our first TICA cat show, and we kept running into breeds we hadn’t seen at CFA cat shows. My first thought was that we were pretty impressed with Bengals,   Cymric and Toyger, some of the breeds we hadn’t seen before and that you don’t see at CFA shows.  As beautiful as those cats were, Hamlet, our beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat, still takes best of breed, show and everything else in our book, even if he “non-show quality.” 

The second thing that impressed me — negatively — is how many breeders and alleged experts extolled the virtues of their cats and their breeds and summarized those traits by saying their cats were “just like a dog.”  

 I don’t think Hamlet would take kindly to being compared to a dog. And for those trying to impress me with their breeds, I say this: If I wanted a dog, I wouldn’t be at a cat show. 

 It makes me think about how we compare our brands. It also makes me wonder what people use to describe the brand that I represent.

I can’t control what others say, but I can certainly make sure that I don’t distract from my message with a distracting metaphor. It’s bad enough to say a product is the “Rolls Royce” or the “Cadillac” (for this post, should I spell it Cat-illac?) of its category. Used in writing, these expressions are trite, and I can imagine some customer thinking, “If I wanted a car, I’d go to the car dealer.” 

Granted, Rolls Royce and Cattie (I couldn’t resist) have earned their spot in our lexicon to mean best of breed. But I can’t help but feel that if we really want to extol the virtues of the products we are writing about and elicit the appropriate emotional response, we’ll take a little extra time, invest a little extra thought and choose to say what we mean without resorting to clichés or  muddy, disconcerting comparisons.

 While failing to do so certainly wouldn’t be a cat-astrophy, it’s in the cat-alog of things I hope to do better this year!

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January 11, 2010 at 1:08 am 2 comments

Legislative Affairs On My Own

For years, part of my job has been to deal with legislative and regulatory affairs. Always, there have been large lobbying or legal firms and lots of other people more knowledgeable and better connected than I am involved.

Some of you know that I’ve struck out on my own with an issue near and dear to me and I convinced the legislators from the 24th district to introduce bills that would bring emergency vehicles under the protection of the Lemon Law. No back up, except enthusiatic support from other emergency vehicle operators. And the power, smart lobbying firms were on the other side of the table. But…!

Great news today: The NJ Senate passed the bill. Now it goes back to the Assembly so they approve the changes to their version and then off the Gov. Corzine. Very exciting! Read more on my other blog: www.njemergencylemons.wordpress.com.

January 8, 2010 at 12:07 am

AntiSocial Media

Interesting conversation with my bosses today. They are perplexed because competitors are coming  up higher in organic search engine results than we are. And I’m supposed to be able to magically fix that.

We talked about optimization, the number of items we’re putting on the Web and other factors.  I, for one, am still trying to figure out the best way to get my news releases and other items to the best writers, be they reporters, bloggers or whatever, as well as picked up by search engines. It’s so frustrating.

I’m trying PitchEngine. Check this out: http://pitch.pe/40400  Let me know what you think. And, no, they didn’t pay me to say this. They didn’t even return my phone calls and there’s very little in the way of help on the site, although it’s pretty straightforward. So, we’ll see about this… Not an answer, but maybe a stepping stone.

Without violating state secrets, how are you dealing with the realities of SEO releases?

The biggest problem, of course, is budgets and resources. I have no agency working for me and can’t afford to keep using wire services to distribute. I’ve read lots of articles and attended lots of seminars, but this is reality. Anybody have any ideas? Let’s share them!

January 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm 3 comments


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