Time to start thinking holidays and gift giving...

It’s that time of year when long-lead editors are pulling together winter editions. November and December media are full of gift guides and lifestyle pieces that bring in readers and lots of prime placement.  And summer is when these writers are starting to work on their stories.  If you don’t have your hook handy, now
is the time to start planning your holiday PR.

Stay tuned for more ideas to keep your pitches hot over the holidays.

MOD Pizza opened its 9th store last week in Sunrise Village on South Hill in Puyallup.  We will admit that we don’t make it to Puyallup very often – short of
perhaps our annual trek to the Fair - so we found ourselves in awe of our beautiful Mt Rainier that nearly casts its shadow on the newest MOD location.   Another reminder of how much we love the Pacific Northwest.   
But before we get completely sidetracked….more exciting MOD news coming
in the next few months!

Cheese lovers line up!  
The founders of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese have just opened Beecher’s Loft above their flagship store in Pike Place Market. If you are looking for THE COOLEST and VERY BEST VIEW in Seattle then this is your spot!   
The Loft’s stunning floor to ceiling windows offer a bird’s eye view of Seattle’s celebrated Market, sparkling Puget Sound and the stunning Olympic Mountains beyond. Creature comforts include a king size Hypnos bed with sumptuous Sferra linens, cool rough hewn dining table for 14, state-of-the-art full-size kitchen and comfortable sitting room opening to a private balcony, all combined with the services and staff attentiveness of Seattle’s renowned Inn at the Market. So, if you’re looking for an amazing weekend getaway, or for a place to stash the
in-laws, you can book the Loft by contacting the Inn at the Market. 


Securing a great interview is only half the battle. You then need to
make sure you’re your company is represented how you want it to be. 
We like this advice from Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases. 

Speaking succinctly is important for a number of reasons. When you speak concisely, people are more likely to pay attention to what you’re saying and also to
remember your message. Furthermore, if you’re being interviewed for a story on a
news broadcast, editors will need to find short clips (sound bites) from your
interview that they can use for the story. If you’re rambling on and on, it’s going to be hard for them to find a good clip to use.

Topic-sentence styled sound bites are really functional. When they’re
self-contained that way, they are much easier to use for the video editor. Seems
to me that’s part of the strategic value – seems really foolish to spend a quantity of time doing an interview, and then have the folks trying to work with that material, have very few usable options. At that point you’ve wasted not only your own time, but theirs as well.

Sound bites are useful in a number of situations, including interviews, press releases, speeches, and press conferences. But make no mistake — speaking in sound bites is an art. The good news is it’s an art you can master.

All you need to do is follow these simple tips to successfully speak in sound bites.  
  • When being interviewed, include the original question in your answer — Repeating the reporter’s question in your answer creates a sound bite that stands on   its own. For example, if a reporter asks you: “What was your reason for creating this product?” you might start your answer, “The reason I created this product was because…”

This makes the sound clip come across as seamless. It’s like you’re speaking directly to the person watching or listening to the interview.
  • Make it interesting — Nobody remembers dry and boring. You have to find ways to make your sound bites stand out so people notice and remember what you say. How can you do this? Numerous ways: use metaphors, be witty, be folksy, include a personal story, show contrast (e.g. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”), ask a rhetorical question, rhyme…the options are limitless.
  • Know your message --
    What are you trying to say? What’s the one main point you want to get across? Break it down to its simplest form, and focus on delivering that
  • Rehearse — Great sound bites are rarely accidental. They are the result of careful crafting and plenty of practice. Try out different quotes to see what’s working and what needs to be improved. Keep rehearsing until you have your sound bites committed to memory and can deliver them in a natural way.
Perception is reality, and in today's digital landscape, a negative reputation can be the kiss of death for any business or brand. That's why online reputation management is such an increasingly important field. As online search inquiries and review sites come more and more to dictate a business' bottom line, it becomes imperative for companies to play a more active role in guarding their online reputation.

The question is - how can your company guard their online reputation as effectively and efficiently as possible? Manually Googling your business name day after day may be somewhat effective, but who has time for it? There are better strategies that companies can implement, such as the five listed below. 

1.     Automate your monitoring.  The first step is to ensure that your reputation monitoring is fully automated. The obvious solution here is to set up Google or Bing alerts for your brand name, as well as any branded products that you have, the names of your chief executives, and more. You'll receive updates in your email inbox whenever these terms are invoked on the Web, enabling you to keep an accurate and up-to-date assessment of your company's online portrayal. Google and Bing Alerts are effective, but not necessarily perfect or comprehensive—which leads to our next point. 

2.     Use an array of reputation-monitoring tools. There are plenty of other online tools, most of them free, that you can use to monitor your company's online reputation. 
3.     Offer your customers chances to vent. No matter how vigorously you monitor your online reputation, there may come a day on which your company is hit with a negative review. That can prove disastrous to your online reputation and your
bottom line. One way to avoid this is to provide your customers with more constructive ways to vent. Tech support forums and easily-accessible contact
forms through which your customers can submit their inquiries or their concerns
may help funnel some of their frustrations or their dissatisfaction away from
sites like Yelp. 

4.     Encourage positive reviews.   Another approach is to be proactive in asking clients to leave reviews on your online review profiles, such as Yelp, Urban Spoon, or whatever else. You can't really stop negative reviews from cropping up, but you can suppress them and minimize their impact by surrounding yourself with positive reviews. Reach out to your best, most loyal customers and ask them to give their two cents. 
5.     Respond to negatives.  What happens when your online reputation monitoring endeavors reveal a negative comment or review? The first thing to do is to take a deep breath and compose yourself. Never respond in anger or in haste. From there, offer a humble and sincere response to anyone who has a legitimate beef with your business and offer to make things right for that customer. If the negative review is the work of a cyber-bully and is simply defamatory, however, you may be better off simply ignoring it. Any response you offer is only going to fan the flames and make things worse.

A version of this article originally appeared on 
hTe Walker Sands blog. Mike Zammuto is the president and COO of Brand.com

Hopefully, you already have a crisis response plan in place so you know you will respond should your company face a crisis. Ideally, you know who the members of your crisis response team are, who the company spokesperson is, how you will gather information about the crisis and what channels you will use to respond.

But having a plan and executing it are two totally different things. Unfortunately, if a crisis does strike, you will probably feel a little out of sorts. You might panic and forget your crisis response plan altogether. Or you might get paralyzed with fear and not do anything at all.

The latter is especially dangerous. You have to do something. You can’t bury your head in the sand and hope the problem goes away. Usually, it won’t. So, take a deep breath, collect yourself, follow your plan, and respond quickly. If you don’t take control of the conversation, someone else will, and chances are that you won’t much like what they have to say.

Even if you don’t have a complete handle on the situation, you should at least release a statement letting everyone know that you’re aware of the situation and that as you will provide more information as things develop.  And remember - only comment on those things that you are absolutely certain about.

When we started working with glassybaby five years ago, founder Lee Rhodes knew that she wanted to give back in a big and meaningful way. At that time, glassybaby was just starting to refine their giving philosophy. Lee has one of the biggest hearts of
anyone we know – and we were busy trying to convince the world of that.  For glassybaby, giving back was not about “cause marketing” but because of Lee’s first-hand experiences during her
cancer treatments. Fast forward to 2012, and glassybaby has donated over ONE MILLION DOLLARS to various charities, most cancer related. And they're not planning to stop now.

Cheers to you Lee, for not only believing it could happen, but to
making it happen.  Here’s to One Million More!


We will not claim to be the most “techy” individuals in this techy town of ours,
but we are just like the hundred of millions of people who spend  A LOT of time on their smart phones. We’re doing business, we’re looking for nearby companies, and we’re giving feedback about our experiences as consumers. 

So, when we met our client Venuelabs, a light bulb went off.  All of this information is floating around out there, some easily accessible, some more difficult to uncover.  We knew that many of our clients are missing some very critical feedback about their stores – and the chance to connect with those giving the feedback. 

Venuelabs aggregates all this chatter that is taking place 24/7 on mobile devices, and provides customers a way to review it, respond to it, and easily monitor it.    Restaurants, hotels, big brand retailers –and anyone else that have multiple locations now has an EASY way to monitor the conversation surrounding their brand.   
Yep, we think these guys are really techy, and really smart.

September is going to be another exciting month for MOD Pizza!  Two new stores opened today  - one in Redmond, located in the Bella Bottego shopping center and the other in Sammamish, in the Sammamish Highlands Shopping Center.  Thanks to Mayor Odell for coming out to help us open the Sammamish store. 


We’re not sure who is more excited about our new client Strideline – the two of us – or our boys.

If you spend any time around the 10-20 year old set, you’ve probably seen these
socks in a variety of colors, and - soon to be - new cities.  

Started by two local college students in 2009, while they were still in high school, the company is growing by leaps and bounds with a lot of really exciting things on
the horizon. As the founders work toward their degrees at the University of Washington, they are fulfilling their dream of starting and running a business
together – and doing it very successfully.   In the next couple of months,
they will be launching into six new markets – New York, Chicago, Portland, Los
Angeles, St. Louis and San Francisco.  

Every time we’re out on the streets of Seattle, we see more and more people sporting these stylish, functional socks.