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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

The Tribe Discovers the Importance of Giving Industry Talks

Last week, the Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) tribe discovered the importance of using ghostwritten trade articles to create good public relations for both fire companies and fire company leaders. This week, the tribe discusses another common PR strategy: Industry speeches by key business influencers. Remember, fire = print.

During lunchtime, Org approached Marka, who sat in FEI’s conference room working on the company’s public relations plan.

Looking up, Marka said, “It’s the future star of our industry’s public speaking circuit!”

“So that’s the idea—industry speeches,” Org replied. “You know, the Organization for Fire Service Professionals (OFSP) once asked me to give a talk to its membership. I didn’t think it was worth my time.”

“OFSP is where we should send our operations staff to build up FEI’s internal network of industry professionals,” Marka noted. “As far as sales growth, the smart approach is to target speaking appearances at organizations for businesses that have been known to use fire services: The Association for Cooked Food, for example. Or the Primitive Industrial Manufacturers Association. Public speaking appearances in front of these core fire-buying audiences could be strategic means by which to introduce new products, educate listeners about our company or tout our technical expertise.”

“Sign me up,” Org said simply. “When prospects hear engaging, informative speeches by people associated with our brand, they’ll come to realize that FEI is a knowledgeable and capable company.”

Over the next few months, Marka booked many speaking appearances for various members of the FEI sales growth team. Talks included:

• Keynote speeches for Org, Marka & Zoot
• After dinner talks
• Seminar talks
• Round table discussion leadership

As the weeks passed and FEI reps got more speeches under their belts, Zoot noticed something interesting: in addition to generating new revenue opportunities that made Numo happy, FEI’s new public image made it easier to find and hire quality sales reps. The company’s information-first, industry-leadership approach was attracting hard workers hungry for recognition and not afraid of public speaking.

At the next monthly sales meeting, it wasn’t just the grogaccino getting Org excited. “Look at these numbers!” Org cried. “Sales are up 18 percent in the last two months!”

Marka pretended to be surprised, but she’d known all along how effective an integrated PR presence could be. “We have five or six salespeople out there giving speeches every week. Combine that with the weekly press releases and articles, and FEI is everywhere.”

“Right now I’m happy with FEI’s strong hold on the industry,” Org said, “but I want consumers throughout not only Olympus but all of ancient—er, I mean, modern—Greece to think of FEI when they think of fire.”

“I know where you’re going,” Marka chimed in. “Mainstream media coverage for FEI.”

“Bingo,” Org said with a wink.    
Today’s FIRE! Point:
Giving speeches in front of customers and prospects can boost your industry image, provide you with new business contacts and even open the door to new sales and business opportunities. Speaking gigs aren’t just for CEOs anymore. Encourage salespeople and other employees to get on the speaking circuit as well. Soon customers will think of your business as staffed by charismatic, well-spoken, knowledgeable employees.

FIRE! in Action
NetGenesis Corp Uses Public Speaking to Drive Home PR Message

The e-business intelligence solutions provider implemented an integrated PR strategy, including talks by the company’s top executives in front of more than 15 analyst groups. As a result, NetGenesis secured $22 million in venture capital and was acquired by a much larger company in 2001.

Next week: A discussion on the importance of mainstream media coverage for a company’s public relations presence.

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