It’s with great pleasure that I announce Sahendy Estevez, a Latina graduate student from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, as the winner of the Robin Samora Inc. Scholarship to attend the Vocus Demand Success Conference in Washington, DC.

Sahendy’s goal is to work in the field of counterterrorism intelligence and make a unique contribution to the U.S. Security initiatives and diplomacy in the Middle East.

Her vision is to become a mentor and leader for women in the intelligence community and serve with distinction in the field of public service. She hopes her journey can serve as an example of motivation in order to shape the next generation of strong female leaders.

Originally from Lawrence, MA, Sahendy told me, “not a lot of women make it out there, especially without mentors – and I’ve been fortunate to have people believe in me.”

Those who know Sahendy forwarded her this scholarship opportunity which was posted primarily via the internet, media releases, news alerts, Twitter, Facebook and women’s groups. Information on the scholarship was also sent via personal emails to influential women in the PR and marketing community, educational fields, and colleagues of colleagues who want women to succeed, and ultimately make a difference.

Paying it forward is a decision each one of us can make.

How can you pay it forward?

Congratulations, Sahendy. Thanks for making a difference, and our world, a safer one.

Enjoy the Demand Success Conference!

When it comes to branding and lead generation, while new strategies and tactics emerge on what seems like a weekly (if not daily) basis, there’s one “old favorite” that continues to withstand the test of time, and re-establish itself as both a cost effective and results-based way to create valuable mind share and visibility – which, ultimately, boosts sales and profits. Of course, I’m referring to promotional products.

From upscale laptop and tablet bags to functional flash drives and everything in between, promotional products are trusted by business of all sizes – particularly solo, small and mid-size operations — to get and stay ahead of the competition. Indeed, a giveaway that’s of some value to a potential customer creates an opportunity for engagement – which is the gateway for the lead generation process. This is especially true when the service or product is more complicated to explain, or has a higher perceived value.

Of course, not all promotional products are created equal, and it’s important to choose the right item(s) that will make the strongest and longest impression. Here are five key things to keep in mind to help achieve this important goal:

  1. Use Your Promotional Product to Create Differentiation

    If you want to stand out from the crowd as a leader, then you need a promotional product that your audience will like, talk about, and appreciate.  Even if they choose not to keep the giveaway, chances are they will pass it on to someone who they care about – provided, of course, that they find it valuable.

  2. Choose a Promotional Product that’s Functional

    Align your promotional product to the season and/or event where they’ll be used more than once.  For example, my company has given away extremely well-received insulated cooler bags during the summer months, and branded wine openers at Wine Expos. When audiences perceive that a product is functional, they’re less likely to discard it (think of how many lanyards end up in the garbage can at the end of an event).

  3. Don’t Over-Spend on Promotional Products – but Don’t Cut Corners, Either

    Many companies are now giving less expensive promotional products to their audiences in a high traffic location in order to make an impact, while keeping costs under control. When done properly, this can be a successful strategy. Just ensure that you don’t give out ‘junk’ – it’s better not to give out anything at all, than to be associated with something that will diminish or damage your brand.

  4. Match your Promotional Product to your Audience

    Audiences with large buying power and who represent high potential value (as customers) will be expecting a promotional product that aligns with their position. Also keep in mind that big ticket audiences expect more — even if it’s free — especially if they’ve been loyal to the brand.

  5. Remember to Fully Brand your Promotional Products

    Promotional products can have a lifespan that lasts for years – often decades. We’ve all seen everything from memory sticks to stress balls pads that feature a company that we may never heard about or, at least, are not currently doing business with. As such, it’s essential that everything is fully branded with your name, logo, tagline and contact information. You never know who will see it, and how it may influence them to choose you vs. the competition.

Ultimately, and above all else, keep in mind that today’s customers have more marketing savvy than ever before – regardless of whether they’re buying farm tractors or the latest ultra thin smart phones – and, like all customers, they want to be appreciated. If you choose the right promotional products and distribute them in the right way, you’ll fulfill that expectation, and set your business apart.

 

 

Surf’s up big time in Puerto Rico, and if any of you are surfers, you know what a learning curve there is in the beginning, let a lone the paddle, paddle, paddle past the impact zone.

It doesn’t matter if you’re learning to surf or experimenting with new business strategies, the secret is getting through the impact zone “a series of crashing waves or obstacles” that meet you along the way, and overcoming them, challenge by challenge.

As a newbie surfer, and seasoned entrepreneur, I couldn’t help but notice:

5 Ways Surfing “the Waves” is Like Business

  • You have to do it, to know it. You’ll never know what it’s like to start a business unless you’ve been there. You can read 100 books, take a class or brave it solo, but there’s no manual telling you what to do.Similarly, there’s no one way to surf the waves, just different techniques. Business and surfing can be scary, exciting and exhausting all at the same time, but attitude and perseverance will save you from drowning.
  • Be prepared to paddle, even if you’re exhausted. It takes time to paddle past head-high waves, but the sooner you’re able to break through, the faster you’ll get to a resting spot. In business, you’ll paddle through and pick up speed depending on the urgency at hand.Since the ocean and business often show no mercy, learn to push when you need to and guard your valuable energy.
  • Be ready on a dime. When you see a perfect wave, you have to be ready: in position, in the right direction, watching other surfers and yielding to those in the line up.When it’s your turn, you paddle like there’s no tomorrow, and hopefully, lift off. It can be a thrilling ride, even though it may be a short one.

    In business, being prepared for action is critical for success. Confidence comes from preparation and knowing what to do — even if you hit a wave.

  • Maintain your cool. It can be frustrating to learn how to surf, let alone face multiple challenges in the water. Waves are relentless. You’re never learning fast enough. You fail often.Although surfing and business can be tense, you have to learn how to breathe through the tough times, then relax. An uptight body in the water sinks faster. An uptight body in life gets stressed out and gets sick. Keeping cool under pressure is a learned art, and can save your life (and business).
  • Respect the powers that be. My surf instructor told me the ocean is a mighty force and my surf board is not my friend — and I had to learn to deal with both. Being swept to shore with a board and leash tied to your ankle can be humbling. In business, it’s humbling to make mistakes and take a hit.If you’re lucky, mistakes will become learning opportunities to move you to the next level. Respect knowledge, ability and experience, but don’t forget to respect your own power. You hold the key.

As an expert in your industry or professional with a wealth of knowledge, you’ve got the skinny on what’s going on in your business and more than likely, can teach a thing or two (and more) to someone who’s looking to learn. Don’t be a miser of information. Give your time – even if it’s just in a small way – to someone or a group who is interested to know what you know. It’s an opportunity to share, to promote your services, and get additional visibility for your brand. Tell the world who you are and what you do.

Robin Samora Inc., a Massachusetts-based communications company, has expanded its services to help its growing roster of expert-turned-author clients place their books in front of people who matter and make decisions.

Communications company Robin Samora Inc. has expanded in order to provide expert authors the same cost-effective, results-based PR, marketing and coaching services that it has successfully delivered to Fortune 500 businesses for decades.

“In a crowded marketplace, experts of all stripes – from financial gurus to health specialists and everyone in between – are discovering that handing out a business card is basically an invitation to be forgotten,” commented Robin Samora, principal of Robin Samora Inc. “And even having a great website and glowing testimonials just isn’t enough to stay on the radar screen. Having a book changes everything. It doesn’t just open doors – it knocks down walls. Our new, expanded services allow us to place our clients and their books in front of people who matter and make decisions.”

Some of the expanded services that Robin Samora Inc. is now offering its roster of expert-turned-author clients, such as Business Relationship Specialist Shari Harley and Legal Business Development and Marketing Expert Julie Fleming, include:

* Public Relations/Promotions
* Event and Promotions Strategy and Execution
* Brand Training and Development
* Assessment and Evaluation
* Editorial Timing and Planning
* Media Kit Review and Creation
* Press Release writing and distribution
* Signature Speech Development
* Public Relations Campaigns
* Visibility Strategies

Clients can also connect directly with Robin Samora for VIP Coaching that provides them with the strategies, tactics, tools and methods they need to get noticed, generate results, and create a platform that brings more of their ideal clients to their door.

For interviews and all other media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or visit RobinSamoraInc.com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

We never know where the day will lead us, or the leads that will take us down the path of meeting new people and creating opportunities that may impact our lives, and our business.

As a member of ProfNet, a PR Newswire service, I get press leads that I respond to by reporters nationwide.  I respond to these leads for my two businesses, www.PartnerPromotionsInc.com and www.LetsMakeYouShine.com.  Both promote visibility in the marketplace; the first for Fortune 500 companies that want a big bold presence with Brand Ambassadors and Brand Educators, and the latter for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to get noticed, with traditional and non-traditional PR and promotions strategies.

One (of many) WWW Surprise(s) came when I found a hot lead for an Etiquette Expert and was unable to retrieve my database. I asked my best business buddy, Google for some help, and reached out on the great WWW to share an opportunity.  What would Google show me?

The answer was clear. Jodi Smith, from www.Mannersmith.com showed up with high rankings, and we corresponded by email over the course of a few months. As life would have it, she also lived in the same seaside town I would eventually move to.  When we met for coffee, I was not only blown away by her accomplishments and expert status, but we also shared a sense of entrepreneurial comradery.

As a fellowpreneur and great marketer, Jodi gave me a list of people who I should meet. She made a virtual introduction to the Director of PR and Communications at Salem State University, and shortly thereafter we met for breakfast.   That in turn lead me to new connections of interns and social media assistants, as well as an upcoming visit to the Enterprise Center, an incubator for new businesses that are growing stronger every day.

Taking a risk, making a phone call, breaking patterns, and just having conversations – it’s all about connections that may lead to surprises – in person, on the web, at networking events, on the street, or at an upcoming holiday party you may be attending.

Oh, there are great surprises out there. I’ve always loved the power of possibility.

How ‘bout you?

I started Let’s Make You Shine helping folks as a life coach, and believe without a doubt that how you live your life is how you lead your business. In fact, You Are Your Business. You personify the image of your company, and ultimately the direction it will take.

My own business transformed into PR and visibility strategy because my natural inclination is to help people be the best they can be in life and in their work – whether a budding entrepreneur, small business owner, or expert  in the marketplace.

Each of us has a gift to share that lights us up when we’re engaged and ultimately serves a greater purpose – though we don’t often see it immediately.  But when we do, kazam! All the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together.

Getting press is fun for me, and I love helping others do the same.  There are so many hungry reporters looking for people like you and me to share their stories, insight and wisdom about every subject imaginable. I am reminded of the definition of an expert from one of my mentors;

An expert is someone who knows more than ten (10) people on the street.

Here’s a story I contributed to for Women & Co at Citibank.com. It’s about How to Hire a Life Coach: it directly relates to You Are Your Business!

‘Getting out there’ means expanding your horizons and making new connections.

Make the quantum leap from behind your computer into the spotlight. I’m happy to hold space for you.

 

It’s been a whirlwind of a month, with two of my family – three if you count a waggy tail, moving. Change and new beginnings come for many of us in September –sometimes like the wind. I remind myself and my clients, that the Chinese symbol for challenge and opportunity is the same. Perhaps fear and excitement may be opposite sides of the same coin as well. I prefer to be excited, rather than fearful, and to expect the unexpected!

With the recent change, I’ve been lucky to be spending more time at my lake house, and enjoying uninterrupted time here on the island with the freedom and flexibility I so cherish, helping clients with their business and PR strategy, visibility (and profitability) in the marketplace. It’s also been the busiest month of the year with my promotions business, www.partnerpromotionsinc.com, with over 80 street team events in 21 days for a Fortune 100 client.

I’ve been writing more as well, and have been featured on a few different marketing blogs and articles – one of which is here, an interview with MO.com – “You are your business, so rock it”.

There will be more changes to come, as we also combine the Let’s Make You Shine and Partner Promotions brands this Fall. It’s an especially exciting project, as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary in the promotions business.  We’re now working with entrepreneurs and small businesses – as well as bigger brands like Xfinity and Blue Man Group to expand their brands. It’s very clear that the same promotion principles of marketing apply; execution and fulfillment may just be different.

I’m on island time till October 1 – so feel free to call or email me if you have a marketing or PR question, or want to discuss an idea.

I just love September, you?

PS – Please click here and listen to Annette Naif, my Guest Expert on the Let’s Make You Shine Interview series.  Annette is a premier Event Planner, and Founder and Co-Chairman of the Event Planners Association for the New York City Chapter.   She produces upscale, seamless events nationwide, and the scope of her work include conferences, retreats, tours, incentive programs, sales meetings, galas, as well as parties – for a fun crowd.

Annette’s upbeat energy and bold passion for her work is her legendary trademark recognized by many of her clients throughout her career; Sebastian International, Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Lakeshore Entertainment, Loeb & Loeb, Tamares Real Estate, MetLife and many others.

As seen at M.O. What’s Yours

MO: What influenced your decision to use your expertise in specifically helping entrepreneurs?

Robin: I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a little girl, selling potholders on my bike and Girl Scout cookies door to door. Both of my parents were also entrepreneurs, so it was natural for me to think about business, and we talked about it all the time. I didn’t realize how much I could help the small business owner until I looked at my own experience helping major Fortune 500 corporations expand their brands, to get attention. I realized the ideas and principles were the same, only on a smaller scale. I love the fact that the entrepreneur has a dream, a vision, and passion to make it happen. This excited me because I could use my experience and creativity to help them succeed, and feel the impact personally.

MO: What are some tips for a new business looking to expand their brand and increase visibility in a crowded marketplace?

Robin: This could be a half day seminar – but here are some thoughts! First, above all — you are your brand. Let people know who you are, and get out in the marketplace. Get out from your computer. Be comfortable with promoting yourself, everywhere you go. Attend networking events, have a non-traditional approach to meeting people, and be open to try new strategies for connecting. Engage in social media just 30 minutes a day. Make HARO.com (Help a Reporter Out) your best friend to get press mentions. Write articles for industry journals, and a blog to increase your SEO. Get a feature story in your local paper, set up open office hours at a coffee shop and use a laptop ad to promote your business. Show your expertise any way you can and don’t be embarrassed to promote yourself. Your main business should be getting your name out there in business, and in your community. This will give you a competitive advantage. Be consistent, make the time to expand your brand, and be true to who you are. Love yourself, love your business!

MO: Can you provide some advice that entrepreneurs can gain credibility and PR as an expert in their field?

Robin: My advice to gain credibility as an expert is to be proactive and seek out opportunities to get press, and be featured as an expert. The internet is your oyster. Be a guest blogger, be interviewed on Blog Talk radio, answer questions in business journals, get speaking gigs about your expert topic — even if you’re speaking to a small audience. Lead a panel, share the platform on a webinar, be a guest on a teleseminar series, post on other people’s blogs as an expert. Teach a class. Take all of your press mentions, and everything you’ve done and include it on your website, and link it to your social media accounts. The bigger your footprint, the more you will be recognized. The added bonus is that you become more confident, and believe in yourself as the expert you really are.

MO: What inspired you to create the, Let’s Make You Shine Fund, which empowers young women with a gift, to further their education? What kind of impact have you seen the fund make so far?

Robin: This is my inaugural year with the Let’s Make You Shine Fund. I’ve always believed that we all have gifts, and when you give back and share, you get so much. My first recipient will be using her scholarship to attend Holy Cross College. She was an exceptional candidate, and her plans are to study medicine. My only request is that she, and all others who are recipients, pay it forward at some point in their lives. If each one of us shares their gifts and pays it forward what a better world this will be.

MO: What are some examples that you help your clients be big and bold for getting the best results? Not sure I understand this – but here goes

Robin: I like to co-create opportunity and visibility plans with my clients and listen to their hopes and dreams for their business. We look at where they are, where they want to go, and where they’d like to be noticed. We’re all so busy in our own world that we sometimes can’t see the forest through the trees. My passion is to take my client’s vision, show them a path and ideas on how to meet their goals and objectives. Then it’s all about inspired action to get results.

MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Robin: I’m working now on developing a plan to help entrepreneurs get more media coverage. It’s exciting , and a great opportunity to build my own brand. Everyone deserves to shine.