Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

"I herd kids." -- Laddie

I herd kids.

I have a Collie. In his mind, all the kids in my backyard must stay together. When one wanders off he barks to herd them back together. He’s a herding dog by nature.

While my kids are used to Laddie, the neighbor kids don’t always appreciate being treated like wandering sheep.

Every year the kids beg to take Laddie to the Irish Fair of Minnesota to see if he can herd sheep as well as the professional dogs.

Every year I say, “No.” quickly followed by “Let’s go to the Irish Fair of Minnesota and watch the professional dogs.”

A Fair Favorite

We plan our visit to the Irish Fair of Minnesota to make sure we catch a bit of sheep herding. Luckily the sheep perform a few times during the fair because it’s a popular event for many families.

Escape Artists

Last year a few sheep escaped — it must have been a  new dog — but I couldn’t figure out how they got past the crowd of kids and families surrounding Croagh Park. Of course, if I had a wee sheep running toward me, I might move out of the way pretty quickly, too.  All six of the escape artists were quickly corralled with a little help from fairgoers.

 Sheep Herding is an Art

With only a few commands from a shepherd, a well-trained dog can easily manage a herd of sheep.









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Depending upon who you ask, St. Paul, MN is very Irish– about 7% today (per the Census Bureau) but the second most populous ethnic group in the 1850s. Regardless of the statistics, Irish culture plays a big part of the St. Paul culture:

But where do all these traditions meet?


The Celtic Junction, of course!

The Celtic Junction weaves the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language according to its website. Tucked a few blocks north of Menards (and University Avenue) on Prior Avenue, the Celtic Junction provides space for all these traditions:

The Celtic Junction was created to celebrate and nurture thriving Celtic Arts by supporting local artists and facilitating the education of those arts to the local community. The Twin Cities Metro Area has a great wealth of talented musicians and performers, mastering such arts as:

  • Irish Step Dance, Ceili Dance & Set Dance
  • Traditional Irish & Scottish Music
  • Gaelic Language, Literature and Studies
  • Visual Arts & Instrument Making

The Celtic Junction wishes to bring these (and many other) traditions together under one roof and to provide a home where our community can thrive and grow together.

Sponsoring the Irish Fair of Minnesota

The Celtic Junction and the Irish Fair of Minnesota are natural colleagues — the Irish Fair even offices in the Celtic Junction.  Sponsorship — when one brand sponsors another — give both of them wider exposure.

“Sponsorship is a mutually beneficial relationship between two organisations, a rights owner such as a sports club, and a fund provider — the business,” explains Jackie Fast, sponsorship manager and managing director at Slingshot Sponsorship.

“While the rights owner usually benefits from goods, services or funding provided by the business, the funder can benefit in myriad ways,” she adds. “The return on investment won’t always translate directly into pounds. But while measuring increased sales is important, benefits such as brand awareness, showcasing opportunities, customer loyalty, lead generation and goodwill, all need to be considered too.”

Sponsorship can generate substantial publicity for a relatively small investment. “It’s like using the strength, funds and audiences of two organizations to develop your product and build your brand awareness,” says Fast.

Source:  www.marketingdonut.co.uk

For every young girl and boy that becomes enamored with Irish Dancing or playing a fiddle at the Irish Fair of Minnesota each August; there is a parent wondering how to nurture that passion. The Celtic Junction is that resource for classes, shows, and general Irish cultural.

Find The Celtic Junction Online:



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What’s your favorite local event?

The Uptown Art Fair?

The Current Birthday Party?

Rock the Garden?

The Renaissance Festival?

Mine is the Irish Fair, held every August at on Harriet Island.

I go every year. I love the music, the dancing, the dogs, and now the new author’s table in the cultural pavilion. The people watching and food rank highly, too.

Have you noticed how social events have become?

Yes, everyday people post their pictures to Facebook and Instagram, share Vine videos etc., but the events we all attend have become more sophisticated, too.

Here’s what the Irish Fair of Minnesota does:

Instagram: irishfairmn – 23 posts so far and 26 followers

Facebook: IrishFairMN with 5,543 likes and 720 checkins and many posts to the page by others

Twitter: @IrishFairMN

Email Newsletter via Vertical Response

Website: IrishFair.com with social plugins for Twitter and Facebook

What could the Irish Fair do with social media?

Claim some hashtags and encourage their use on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine…


#MenInKiltsStPaul (Just Google #MenInKilts and you’ll see why the StPaul is needed!)

#MyIrishName (It’s Sorcha, pronounced SUR a kha if you were curious)



Social Contests

They’ve got a raffle, what about best photo contests of dogs, dancing, sheep, and sport? Or simply more social messages about the baking contest? Although honestly, I’m not sure daily photos of warm, buttery scones would be good for me, personally. See now I’ve you you thinking about baking some, don’t I?

Quick, Specialized Branded Videos

Dancing children, frolicking dogs, authors reading, mini golf for kids, Irish name badges, fish and chips frying, social dancing, and of course a perfectly poured Guinness?

Did I forget something? How about 25+ hours of amazing Celtic music

What a perfect daily inspiration for the 3 weeks leading up to the fair!

Feature Vendor and Talent Social Media

I’m pretty sure everyone performing or sharing their knowledge at the Irish Fair has some kind of digital presence, why not list them? The music headliners have a page, but what about all the other acts and artisans? Maybe create a digital badge they could use on their home page that of course, links back to the Irish Fair website.

Here are just a few of the amazing people at the fair:


Final Thoughts

Maybe I should volunteer!

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In follow-up to Friday’s lecture on storytelling, my guest speaker, Erik Hare, wrote about one of MLK’s less mentioned talents:  his gift of oratory. In Cadence, Erik writes:

The craft of Dr. King’s life came equally from the homilies of sermons and the bubbling reaction of the crowds who came to listen.  There was much more to him than the careful cadence of measured speech, the poetry of language set on fire in the hearts of those around him – yet it was essential to the movement.

(Source:  http://erikhare.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/cadence/)

Since Friday’s class, I’ve noted a number of random, wonderful stories–human, warm, engaging, believable, and persuasive. Enjoy!

Read:  Marilyn Carlson Nelson’s The marriage amendment, from all angles; Will Minnesota ‘right the culture’ or part with valued workers, citizens, friends?  The multiple stories embedded in this op-ed bring a controversial subject to the level of sidewalk conversation–conversations that anyone might have with their neighbor. No one benefits from anonymous rants online or spewed from a car window. We learn, we accept, we tolerate because of the stories we share with one another.

And it was a very different culture that greeted me as a female in the early ’60s — just out of college with an honors degree in economics and no place to use it. I quickly found that job opportunities for women were heavily skewed to teaching, nursing and secretarial work.

Fortunately, Paine Webber took a chance on me, and I became the first female securities analyst in the state. On one condition: I would sign my recommendations “MC Nelson.”

(Source:  http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/137316283.html)

Read or does one Experience Facebook? Primp’s description of their deeply discounted dress. I can imagine myself wearing it to the summer baby shower I know I’ll be attending or dinner around town with my husband. My point? The dress is plain, stylish, yes, but still plain. The story, the occasions–they have power.

What is there not to love about this camel dress? Not only can it be worn throughout winter with black tights, pumps and a blazer… it’s the perfect combination of conservative and chic for summer weddings! The best part? Currently marked down from $90 to $45!

Read:  St. Paul author, Claire Bischoff’s recent blog posts about her vocation to study theology. Regardless of your beliefs, read it to appreciate her gift of language, cadence, and organization.

But that is not how it works for vocation. There are no better or worse callings from God. There are simply callings that match our gifts and talents and others that do not. I do not burn with a love of the sciences, thus I would have floundered trying to get through science courses on the way to medical school. There are other people called to do that work.

(Source:  http://spirit4teens.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/being-called-part-2/)

Watch:  MPORA’s and local media coverage of Redbull’s Crashed Ice races in St. Paul. There’s nothing like being there, but seeing a race from start to finish is amazing.

Somehow I “lost” my favorite video from Saturday night. I thought I watched it on MPR on my iPhone, but no Google search will provide it. If anyone finds a 2:46 long video showcasing the final race and the entire race track pulsing with light, send me the link.

This video comes a close second. Claudio Caluori explains his racing technique and highlights the course’s challenges.

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Everywhere I turn, places are named.

My local hockey arena, thanks Xcel.

My baseball stadium, thanks Target.

Corporate support can add a lot to a community. Does it make me feel warm and fuzzy about the corporation? Not really. Does it better position the corporation in my mind’s eye? Not usually. Do I understand what they do because of who they sponsor? Rarely. Do I know the sponsor better? Almost never.

Sometimes…Sponsorships work AND makes sense.

The manufacturing plant at my children’s museum is sponsored by 3M. This little plaque is seen by hundreds of parents every day as they play warehouse with their kids — moving blocks on hand-turned conveyor belts, moving blocks to the shipping center, shouting orders from floor to floor.

Who is 3M? Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing.

They’re big, they’re local, they’re philanthropic. They make stuff and ship it around the world–just like my little people in the Warehouse at the Minnesota Children’s Museum.

More importantly do I know them better because of this? do I like them more? do I think they’re pretty shrewd marketers?

What do you think?

Do sponsorships work for you?

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W.A. FrostGorgeous Patio, Port + Chocolate, Awesome Mussels, Thoughtful Beer List

That’s what comes to mind when I think of W.A. Frost.

Yesterday, we celebrated our anniversary on the patio with a garlicky, spicy, delicious lunch of mussels and Muscadet. Mmmmm, except only the manager had the keys to the cellar and our server couldn’t find him.

We waited. And waited. And waited.

Then the wrong glasses (a hint) followed by the wrong wine were brought to the table. When the manager and our too warm bottle of Muscadet were located, my husband had to gently remind the server to exchange our wine glasses from big Seghesio-style glassware to a more Muscadet friendly glass. (This is View #1).

System Failure.

Never emphasize something with your marketing that you can’t deliver.

Monday’s wine special? Half off all bottles of wine priced $40-200 and publicized on the menu. We opted for a less expensive wine, but I’m wondering if anyone else on the patio had to wait for their bottle.

Tuesday’s special? It’s a free glass of 99 Vines Pinot Noir via Frost’s Posterous site, which I read on their Twitter feed.

What a great idea (this is view 2) to bring customers in on typically slow day of the week with a smartphone-friendly web coupon.

Let’s hope they can find it.

Okay, that was snarky, but pretty funny, too.

The morals:

  1. Promote what you have and do well.
  2. Don’t irritate a former professional wine geek celebrating her anniversary.

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I noticed another change the other day. My toothpaste now comes in plastic tubes.

Stop the Presses!

Yes, I know that if you use Crest or Colgate, this is nothing new. But for years, Tom’s of Maine packaged their paste in recyclable aluminum.

The problem? While it might have been a good idea at its inception in the 1970s, in the 2010s things have changed:

  • Consumers complained about leaking tubes.
  • Recycling companies wouldn’t accept the tubes for recycling
  • Non-deposit aluminum recycling opportunities have decreased.

Why do I know this? I read the Tom’s of Maine Blog, which says:

In 2011 Tom’s of Maine began packaging its toothpaste in plastic “laminate” tubes rather than the aluminum tubes that were part of the brand for many years.

We made the decision to switch after giving the subject lengthy, holistic consideration which included taking into account current practices of manufacturing and recycling and, most importantly, your overwhelming feedback. (Source:  Tom’s of Maine)

Not only do they reference their decision process they make an environmental appeal for the change:

In 2007 Tom’s of Maine began the in-depth process to assess options for a better package alternative for our toothpaste.

In our evaluations we made sure to consider both the feedback you provided on tube usability and product waste as well as the values based Stewardship Model that has guided our decisions for many years and continues to do so today.

The results of our investigation, including consumer home-use testing among current Tom’s of Maine users like you as well as a critical review of our packaging and its projected sustainability and environmental impact, indicate:

  • Plastic Laminate tubes outperform aluminum tubes in both ease of use and our Stewardship Model beliefs;
  • Current Tom’s of Maine toothpaste users — and potential users — participating in testing significantly preferred plastic laminate tubes over aluminum tubes;
  • The lighter plastic laminate material reduced tube weight by nearly half — which saves energy when shipping tubes.
  • Manufacturing plastic laminate tubes requires less energy than the manufacture of aluminum tubes. (Source:  Tom’s of Maine)

Why Does This Matter?

It’s 2011:  if you have an opinion about a company you broadcast it on Twitter or ask them on their Facebook page.

Tom’s of Maine was smart. As they introduced the change they explained it in all their media. Why? They know their customers.

There’s a key to marketing.

What other consumer product changes have you seen?

Were they well-managed? As a consumer are you happy with the change, or at the very least does it make sense to you?

Tell me about it!

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