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The News Chair

Adiós Old Office: Coles Marketing Getting a Massive Facelift

We had a good run, but I think it’s time we go our separate ways. It’s not you. It’s me.

Take a look at the new digs! It’s a work in progress, but will be moving in to our newly renovated space very soon (fingers crossed). A color palette to DIE for, an open concept (no walls), an enormous conference room. It’s going to look super fresh. The perfect space to harness our creativity, brainstorm, and turn out ideas for our clients. We’re pumped.

Here are a few snaps of the organized chaos currently underway. We’ll let you know when construction is wrapped up, so you can stop by, talk shop and have a cup of coffee with us.

 

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Looking Back, Moving Forward

Ever since I started working at Coles Marketing — almost a decade ago (yikes!) — my coworker, Chris Mercier, has been a wonderful mentor and friend.

dsc_0098And at the end of this month, she’s retiring. I can’t imagine the workplace without her, so I thought a spotlight on her for this blog seemed quite fitting.

Q&A with Chris Mercier (it rhymes!)

Q: How did you get started with Coles? Why have you stayed so many years?

A: I joined the company when it was known as Coles & Morrison. I met Candy Morrison first through a non-profit. Working part-time at the non-profit was my first job going back to work after staying home with my two children. In 1998, Candy introduced me to Barb, and I joined the company.

d20_1669Q: Describe Coles Marketing in one word.

A: Family

Q: How has the PR/marketing/communications industry changed over the years?

A: When I first joined the company, six of us shared one email account. We sent news releases through the mail (snail mail). Social media wasn’t even on the horizon. Advertising was limited to print or broadcast. Clients have many more opportunities today to tell their stories.

img_2037Q: What qualities do you think are required of a leader for success?

A: I think a leadership role requires you to think on your feet. Develop honest relationships. Listen to your client to formulate a strategy to help them accomplish their goals. I enjoy the critical thinking it takes to come up with workable strategies for each challenge.

Q: What kind of impression or impact do you hope to leave on Coles Marketing and its employees?

A: I hope people remember that I was a hard worker with a sense of humor.

Q: Offer a piece of advice for up-and-coming PR and marketing executives.

A: My advice to future execs is to be a supportive and contributing member to the team. Always stay one step ahead by staying organized. Don’t be afraid to take on more responsibility, and embrace change.

mercier_5inQ: What’s ahead for you?

A: My husband and I look forward to spending more time in Scottsdale with our daughter, two grandchildren, Jim’s mom and dad and extended family of close to 50. We will also be closer to our son in Portland and hope to travel the western U.S. in the next few years.

 

Chris, we will miss you. You can never be replaced, and we will always remember you as a hard worker with a sense of humor … and so much more!

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Thirty Years of Bringing the Relationship Home

homeshow2015LG

Earlier this month, Coles Marketing wrapped up work on the 2015 Indianapolis Home Show. It was another year of runaway success, marked by massive attendance and remarkable media coverage. And believe it or not, it was the 31st year Coles has been the public relations agency for the Home Show. It was one of the first clients landed by President Barbara Coles after she started the business.

Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

 

So how does Coles maintain such an impressively long relationship with the Home Show? And how do we keep getting the media to show up in impressive numbers and give the same annual event big play, year in and year out?

 

The answer is simple: relationships, prodigious planning and pure hustle.

 

Start early

“The work begins many months before the actual 10-day show,” says Coles Account Manager/Social Media Strategist Tiffany Whisner, one of the firm’s primary point persons on the Indy Home

Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

Show. “We keep track of the trending celebrities, both nationally and locally, and begin to brainstorm ideas for certain features and celebrities. We are always trying to think outside the box.”

 

Stay in touch

Coles touches base with local media throughout the calendar year with important news, such as high-profile celebrities who have been booked to appear at the show or the revelation of the builder and plans for next year’s Centerpiece Home.

 

Do your homework

As the event date approaches, the Coles team starts pitching a variety of interviewees, features and highlights to the media outlets to provide them the opportunity to cover many different aspects of the show. That way, each newspaper, TV station or other media feels like they can get their own distinct bite on coverage without treading the same ground.

 

Chris Mercier

Chris Mercier

“Many members of our staff have worked in the media themselves, so we all have extensive contacts. But most of all, we do our homework, and we treat our media relations colleagues with respect,” said Chris Mercier, Vice President, Public Relations.

 

Be prepared

Right before the show opens, Coles sends out an exhaustive media briefing kit filled with information and interviews on dozens of notable vendors and individuals. This is always accompanied by complimentary tickets for key journalists – plus creative gifts that keep the Home Show top of mind for on-air coverage. (You can never go wrong with flowers or food!)

 

Create attention

“We attempt to grab the media’s attention from the start of the show with the opening day ribbon cutting ceremony and then continue that momentum throughout the 10-day event, with live and taped TV and radio coverage and stories in the local newspapers,” Whisner said. “We tie that into a strong social media presence on several different platforms — making sure media, show vendors and attendees all know the daily happenings at the Home Show.”

 

Capture and capitalize the buzz

In dealing with big celebrities, such as Kathy Ireland or Ty Pennington, it’s important to make them feel comfortable and protected, make sure their transportation arrangements are seamless and they have enough downtime to enjoy the city while they’re here.

 

And then, once the Home Show has closed in early February – do it all over again!

 

“With a long-term client partnership, a success for them is a success for us,” Whisner said. “We want our clients to be successful as a result of all our efforts, and this is especially true for the Home Show.”

 

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see a company grow as a result of our collaboration and efforts,” Mercier said. “These clients trust us to make the best decisions to help them stand out and succeed.”

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Categories: 2015 February Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,