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A creative blog by Tracy Larrua on The Whole 9

Tracy (or Trace, as friends call her) Larrua lives and works between Hawaii and L.A. A seasoned pr/marcom specialist who has worked primarily in the hospitality and entertainment industries, she enjoys teaching her “Get The Word Out” pr workshops and volunteering her time with non-profits. When not glued to her sassy MacBook, you can find her relaxing at the beach, enjoying live theatre, or at a BBQ with friends.

“Because Sharing IS Caring”

So, it has been one of my life goals to teach and share the inside-inside tips of the making of a good pr professional, what it takes, what the skill set needs are, and all of that good stuff, because believe it or, it is an art form.  And not just anyone can do it.  Well, let me re-phrase that.  Many people can do it, but the ones that excel in the field are the ones who have an eye for detail, a sense of humor, some mad talent, and a passion to communicate.

Some call me a publicist, promoter, event planner, marketer, but in the end-  I’m just a girl in the world (taken from favorite Gwen Stefani lyric) who wants to help others to get their message across.  Call me crazy, but coming from an island state like Hawai’i, it is just sorta in my DNA to want to give some Aloha.  Aside from that fact, I come from a loving family with two parents who will, and have given the shirt and mu’u mu’u off their backs to help others.  No matter how hard I try, I’m just a girl who can’t say no (ok, another lyric taken from the musical, Oklahoma).

There are many marketers out there who don’t share the “knowledge” for fear that some new young buck will soon take their job.  Not share?  What?!!  I spit on you!! (that line said in cheesy French accent i.e. Inspector Clouseau).  I mean, seriously.  In my head, I’m saying, “Please some new young buck!!  Please learn this craft so that you can take over, make it better, and let me retire and go on to the next chapter of my life!”  With that, I have always been one to mentor, share, teach, even when I wasn’t aware that I was actually doing that.  First, I must warn you before I go on.  I’ve had many students and any one of them including Elijah, Joy, Gabe, Mimi, or Sarah will tell you that if you aren’t serious about really learning while in the “School of Poi,” then you need to run.

My approach is informal, yet formal.  Casual, yet corporate.  Serious and yet, serious fun (well, at least I’ve been told).  I’m not the kind of teacher or mentor that will have you run Xerox copies all day or file papers when in the learning mode.  I’m the kind of coach that will actually empower you to DO IT.  Yes, that means that you will run the event, you will handle the VIP list, you will take first stab at crafting the press release, and you will enjoy a nice glass of J Rosé bubbly at the end of the night to celebrate your success.  Those are some of the highlights.  Some of the other things students will experience while working with me also include stressful moments such as your celebrity guest(s) not showing up, dealing with sometimes fussy chefs, gate crashers to your private party, or trying not to kill your own sometimes clueless colleagues, whom you’re promoting, who are looking at you going, “What event is happening today?  Huh?  What are we doing?”  Arrrgggh.

I can go on and on, but instead of doing this here, why not join me at “Get The Word Out,” the pr workshop at The Whole 9.  The first workshop is on Saturday, March 21st with a second one on Saturday, May 9th.  Why?  Well, why not!  In these times, more and more folks are in the mindset of DIY PR (do-it-yourself PR) and needing to better grasp how to market their wares, especially because they are not in the position to hire a big firm.  So, bring your laptop or notebook and get ready to riiiide (aka wriiiiite).  I’ll be sharing…. four… straight… hours… worth… of learning the basics.  It’s probably a good idea to bring a snack too (I prefer wheat/free-gluten/free rice crackers…  just saying).

And like Steve McGarrett said with a steely eye from the TV series Hawai’i 5-0:

“BE THERE, ALOHA!”

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great blog. and it IS about paying attention to detail. and i sure did love that you mention being from an island, then quote from a musical named after our country’s most land-locked state.

I wish ! Good -luck…from the Canadian girl that lights up your life. http://www.shadesofnature.ca

I SO wish I could be there to attend this workshop. Could you send me a transcript? ;)

“Bloom Where You Land”

So, I’m participating in a wine tasting class in Honolulu and observe all of the interesting guests who are a mixture of tourist, wine aficionados, locals who want to learn about wine, and everything else in between.  Keep in mind that I am just doing what I do:  research.  And usually along the way, sooooomething happens.  In this particular case, I discovered that the featured winemaker is a young man originally from Hawai’i who now makes wine in Los Olivos.  What are the odds?  So, not only do I discover that the young man is gifted with the grapes and that his wines are simply brilliant?  But in just a local-to-local person conversation, find out that no one is handling his p.r.  We chat a bit more, exchange business cards, and we’ll hopefully meet soon to discuss future possibilities.  All this over the love of really good tasting wine.

Another L.A. story:  I have a dear friend who has an amazing skin care business.  Although she has concentrated on the East Coast mostly and has her products in only very high end retail stores, in a conversation one day over where I was (physically) and what I was doing, the subject came me up that she was now beginning to research ways into getting her amazing little items into the luxury resort hotel and spa market.  What was even more interesting was that many of the hotels she was dreaming about having her products in, were properties that I’ve worked at or have colleagues in.  I thought to myself, “How crazy is it that I actually understand the process on the hotel side and know exactly what she has to do in order to get them in there.”  And the only reason I would know that was because of my long and storied (and sometimes manic) history with high-end hotels.

On a work/play trip to San Francisco a few months ago, I was out having lunch with friend of mine who is a television producer with a prominent station there.  We got together to visit, eat, and get caught up since he had recently gotten married.  While we were walking and looking for an ideal spot to eat, we started talking about restaurants and what’s new in the city.  Then my friend started telling me about a restaurant that is being renovated and how they are looking for someone with a background in F&B (food and beverage to you non hotel and restaurant types), but that they aren’t looking for a firm, but rather a one-man shop and someone who understands how to work with a small business.  Hmmmm…..  I love food.  I can promote food.  Perhaps this could be something?  We exchange info and the next thing, phone calls are made and a meeting is in place.  

I started to see a pattern in something that works for me, and I’ve touched upon this a bit in a past blog, but I often wonder if the pattern could also work for other folks?  What I mean is, in these crazy economic times, aren’t we all looking at other ways to find good, interesting, meaningful work?  And especially work that can provide us some kind of income so that we can be upstanding citizens and pay our bills yet still stay inspired and creative?  So, if you work in pr and marketing but have skills in other areas, isn’t it time to use really use them?  For instance, I have a background in advertising, publishing, arts, photography, dance, choreography, theatre arts, am great with kids and babies, am very used to public speaking and have led many a pr/marketing workshops, and best of all-  I can type like a ‘mofo’ at 126 w.p.m.  Technically speaking, I should be able to find work in any of these related fields, no?  And still have fun, no? 

Hmmmmm…  by now, I’m sure you’re wondering to yourself, “What the heck has gotten Trace to think about all of the above???”  Well, its the economy for sure, but more so from something I read recently about adapting your skill set when one skill or related industry may be in a lull or in shift.  The sentence I read was something to the effect of “…Be like a seed that is blowing in the wind.  Bloom where you land…”  Just a simple line, but to me, very profound.

Now I keep that in mind, constantly.  I’m like a bad-ass ninja with Ugg boots, making my way through the city with my laptop in hand and my gig bag slung over my shoulder.  And, I repeat this mantra over and over and over to myself.  Whether I am working in my birth state of Hawai’i, or my adopted home of L.A., or on travels to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and…  not as sexy but, ok- Florida, I have put myself “out there” in order to find new opportunities.  They may be pr related, they may be marketing related, they may be sales related, etc.  But the point is that in these times, we no longer can just sit back and wait for the usual and favorite gigs to show up on the beloved work docket.  We have to go beyond our own comfort zones and find other modes of… finding ideal work, in an unusual time.  Now sit and make a list of all of your skills and you’ll be surprised what other new opportunities are out there waiting just for you, but in other areas of industry.  Go on, do it now.  And don’t make me say “I told you so.”

 

 

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a winemaker in los olivos? love that area. what is the name of the wine?

hey you! yes……. it is called “kaena wine” and it is beyond fabulous. the wine maker is mikael sigouin. check out http://www.kaenawine.com. i love the local-boy-does-good thing. and how’s the kydd?

You are so right! I think too many of us have gotten into very stiff, “should” places about what kind of work we do, or focus on. The more I delve into my passions and keep my mind/heart open the more opportunities click for me. The big budgets might few and far between right now, but some great projects are still available.

Out With The Old, In With The New!

Happy New Year all, or as we say in my native tongue, Hauoli (HOW-O-LEE) Makahiki (MAH-KAH-HEE-KEE) Hou (HO)!  Each year, I trek home to the motherland to visit my ohana (family) and spend the holidays with them.  Our family is not like any other family I know.  I mean, we gather and eat together like other families, but our family is….  sorta nuts.  And I mean that in a good way.

Our clan is a melting pot of primarily Hawaiian, Filipino, and Haole faces and we come from all areas of the world.  No matter what happens, we all know that during the year, we are subliminally getting ready for “Ohana-Palooza” by mid-December.   My ohana from New Jersey comes into town first and calls a luxury compound by the beach, “home” for several weeks.  It serves as headquarters for all of the activities, if you will.  That means cooking, swimming, bike riding, lounging, and for playing several rounds of board games from Scrabble (uhhh, no…  “Bave” and “Zowe” are not real words), Catch Phrase (do yourself a favor-don’t do the music version and if you are, then consume wine), and Pictionary (this is where we discover that some of us are cute, but can’t draw).

During the days and nights of this gathering, there are keikis (children) crying, little boys screaming in the swimming pool, adults consuming amazing amounts of tasty wine, young parents having minor disagreements, lots of driving back and forth into Kona-town for supplies, lots of picture taking, but always… lots and lots of laughter.  One of my most favorite things in life is the fact that when we are together during this very special time, we make all efforts to get our arses down to the beach in the afternoon in order to experience the sunset together.

What does this have to do with p.r. and marketing communications you ask?  Well, in my opinion, it has everything to do with it.  My entire career has always been about being on a deadline, turning in something on time, executing an event by a certain date, etc.  I have always been a prisoner of a calendar.  That’s what p.r. and marketing is…  working 3 to 6 months ahead of time in order to get that piece of news in the newspaper, magazine, webzine, radio, or TV.  What this time with my family does is help to keep me in check.  It reminds me that no matter what goes on in L.A. or whatever other city that I work in, that where I’m from, and who I am as a person, stems from the lava rock that is my home, my foundation.

You can’t continue to go forward until you stop, and sit, to reflect on the past.  To effectively stay creative to produce new work, you need to rest and recharge, or in our case, play under the Hawaiian sun.  The year 2008 was an amazing time of growth for me, both personally and professionally.  I can hardly wait to see what 2009 brings.

What have you learned in 2008 and what are you most looking forward to accomplishing in the New Year?

Aloha, Trace.

 

 

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Aloha Trace! This is an excellent recommendation, and a wonderful post, thank you so much! I am a died in the wool workaholic (from a family of workaholics) and it’s so very important to take time to reflect and just “be.” Namaste!

Bumping Into Work And Other Oddities

I have a few colleagues that say to me, “Trace…  I’m not like you.  I just am not good at going to events, parties, and putting myself out there, making conversation, talking, networking, getting business.”  Ok, I was born with the “gift of gab” as my Mom calls it, and have always been quite the social butterfly, so perhaps it might be a little easier for me than most.  However, that is not an excuse to be a wall flower.  The thing about getting business or finding new outlets of work is…  to not really look for it.  I know that might sound strange?  But the more you keep your mind open to other interests i.e. going to the gym, going for a walk, going to the networking meeting that at first, seems like too much effort; going to meet with old time friends, traveling solo, stopping in a pet store (especially you have no pets), trying new food, etc…  is when you DO bump into work.  It also has a lot to do with a shift in thinking of networking now, vs. the way we typically network.  

What does that mean?  Well, in the olden days (I’m talking circa 70’s/80’s) people networked at specific gatherings.  You know, which ones.  The ones that have been around for a hundred years?  One of the funniest things that still makes me giggle is seeing pr people, who go to a pr gathering, to meet more pr people, who are all looking for new business.  The thing is, when everyone goes right, I dance left.  And you should think about that too.  That means that I go to gatherings at places that have nothing to do with pr or marketing or communications.  That means that I attend events, functions, and parties that are a) sometimes just pure fun, and b) sometimes something that just gets me out of my comfort zone.  You see, when you are used to working in your comfort zone, you get- well…  uh, comfortable.  Then you begin to work that way ALL the freakin’ time….. and Becky, THAT’S NO GOOD.  Don’t make your life or work life, a template that you adhere to each time.  It’s time to shake it up!

So, I dare you.  I double dare you to try it.  Go on.  Attend a function that has nothing to do with what you do.  Accept that party invitation with the friend who has been trying to fix you up with their friend’s sister’s brother’s cousin, who sails boats for a living.  Go for a walk in a new neighborhood and stop into a store that you normally would not stop in.  Sit in a service that you typically would not sit in.  Finally sign up for French lessons and make new friends.  See live theatre with strangers.  When you do that, you may be surprised at what happens, who you meet, what type of conversation you might have, and then when you least expect it, all of that good, inquisitive energy may spin out into… a little project, that sometimes even leads into a bigger project. 

It’s the holiday season folks!  Eat, drink, and be merry…  and get out of your way and let yourself bump into work.   Mele Kalikimaka!! 

 

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Pet peeve: people who blog about their pet peeves!

Thanks! Mahalo! Grazi! Arigato! Merci!

Say it ain’t so Virginia!  Another Thanksgiving is here already?  Well, you know what that means.  No, it doesn’t mean let’s throw up the Christmas decorations already, overeat at Aunt Alice’s house, or to prepare to hit the road for the infamous shopping during Black Friday.  Yes, it means taking some time out to sit back, reflect, and give thanks to all of those folks who have been there for YOU.  That not only means being grateful and thankful for your friends and family, but also for your colleagues.  For me, I am grateful for many in my life, but when it comes to those who have helped me in my career, there are an extra special group of folks to thank.

First up would be a big thank you to Uncle Tom Moffatt, a legendary concert promoter in Hawai’i who taught me that there is nothing that takes the place of communicating face-to-face.  Second and third would be Shannon Stewart, my first PR mentor, and Marty Schiller, my favorite advertising mentor.  Both of whom taught me to “go for the gusto or stay the f#(%k home,” and to “dream big,” respectively.  Other recent teachers that I must thank aren’t professionals or known in the industry, but are rather… my friend’s kids!  Yep.  Spending time with Taylor, Alex, and Koa, reminds me to approach life and work with a child’s view of the world and to not get stuck.  Watching them play and interact also reminds me to keep an open mind and to be open to things as if learning something for the first time, because you know as adults, we tend to get serious once we’ve grown up, thus losing that childlike quality.

But hey, being thankful shouldn’t only be done on one day like Thanksgiving Day, but should be done each and everyday.  It should be one of those things that kids are taught as one of the ‘golden rules’ in human interaction, that becomes a character trait in which they take on into adulthood.  Do you know that you can change someone’s day by simply smiling and saying “thank you?”  Try it as an experiment.  I dare you.  In fact, I double dog dare you.  After being inspired one day by reading an article about basic communication, I did this one day and wanted to see if this would really make a difference, and it did.  I smiled and said “thank you” to the woman at the post office, the cashier at Trader Joe’s (even though he was grouchy and wouldn’t smile back), the kid who gave me my cup of tea at Peets, and anyone who passed me and made eye contact with me.  Most people smiled back and returned the sentiment.  I could go on and on about common courtesy.  Here’s my simple analogy:  Smiling + Saying Thank You = Bringing a little more kindness and peace into the world.  And who can’t use a little more kindness and peace these days?

Happy Thanksgiving All!   

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Great post! I worked for a man named William Bruce and he always took the time to stop, look you in the eye, greet you and wait for your response. He did not do drive-by greetings where the greeters would be twenty feet apart by the time the mumbled, thoughtless exchange was completed. He was the VP and GM yet he took the time and made the effort to make each one of us feel like we mattered to him. He was a good model to follow and it’s something I try to do every day: stop, make eye contact, listen and complete the exchange before moving on.

Did I mention that we all worked like dogs for the man??? :-) )

I know right? Especially in this town, people are reticent to make actual eye contact. I remember when I first moved here from Hawaii? My friends were like, “stop saying HI to everyone!” which cracks me up now, because I would be that driver on the 405 waving people into the lane with a big goofy smile, while they just smirked back. Its ok tho- I decided to still put out good energy. I know that when I worked for people who were courteous and said thank you, etc., that I seemed to work harder for them. I think its because when folks are nice, you want to be nice back- and do your best, present your best work ya know? Anyway, thanks for your comments. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU!

Wonderful post, you’ve so hit the nail on the head. It’s amazing how even the angriest and grumpiest people will completely change in countenance when you take the initiative to smile first.

My Date With… A Polling Place

That’s right folks.  I write to you on the eve of the general election from my trusty laptop.  Like many, I have watched the television commercials, read various emails from family, friends, and colleagues, and perused through numerous leaflets, brochures, newspapers and magazines.  I think I’m good to go.  And to make sure I’m prepared for tomorrow, I’m doing what every red blooded American woman is doing (well, at least me):  getting ready to show up to the polling place way ahead of time, and in style.  I mean, come on!  Nov. 4, 2008 will probably be one of the most historical days in our history, so why not embrace the traffic, long line, possibly rain, and approach this day with a new sense of hope… and perhaps show up in something cute and really cute and comfortable shoes?  You never know who you’re going to meet.

I know this sounds crazy but I have been thinking about this day for a long time.  More than any other time in my adult life.  Being the “Mom” in the group of my friends, I have reminded my pals to make sure they were registered.  For those who split their work life between two places of, well, work and life (like myself), I’ve made sure to remind them to confirm their polling location because sometimes, addresses get mixed up.  Not only have I been thinking about this day for a long time, but I have also been thinking about how I wanted to greet the day.  For example, I downloaded some new music by Adele, Estelle, and John Legend, to keep me inspired while I drive to my polling place.  I’ve loaded up my handbag with magazines, trail mix, water, fruit, and an umbrella.  I’ve even decided to shave my legs and wear an outfit that would make me feel happy.  It might seem goofy but this is one of those days when you look back and go, “Wow.  I remember what that day felt like, what I wore, what I saw, and how it felt.”

November 4th is THE day to communicate.  This is the day you get to have your say.  So get out there with your shaved legs and cute outfits and let’s go vote America!  Who’s with me?

 

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Aaaww, it’s too darn cold to shave my legs and wear my cute shorts! :-)

I’m with you sister. I woke up this morning feeling better than I’ve felt in a long damn time. Change is coming and I am going to be part of it.

I knew that there would be a better day…and it is today. Tomorrow. And every day after that.

Hallelujah!

15-Minutes of Fame: The Celebrity Challenge

I have had my share of celebrity experiences in my career working with everyone from singers, to actors, to world-class chefs.  The most memorable one was killing time backstage with Sammy Davis, Jr.  We pitched pennies against the wall while we waited for the show, “The Ultimate Event” featuring himself, Liza Minelli (standing in for a sick Dean Martin) and Frank Sinatra, to begin.  A man like that who is bigger than life and such a legend, well…  it was awe-inspiring.  It was amazing to me just how nice he was to everyone.  

Another experience would be with George Clooney at 7:00 a.m. in the ballroom of a hotel where I snuck him in to do press interviews a few years ago when he was nominated for an Oscar.  Not only did he arrive in a typical black SUV (this was funny to me because while George acted like a normal person, all of the entertainment show reporters behaved like stars, rolling up in limos…  including Pat O’Brien), but he also arrived in what looked like a mis-matched sweatsuit.  He smiled at everyone and tried not to look like he just stepped out of bed, but he did.  I remember the front of his hair looking great?  But the back was sticking up in the air just like everyone else’s does when they wake up.  As the interviews went on, he noticed that one young jr. reporter was left outside.  As the interviews wined down, he motioned to his manager, then me, to let the young jr. reporter in so that she could conduct her interview with him.  He knew that her getting this interview meant that she could go back to her boss and say that she had done her job.  Wow…  George-  what a class act.

But recently, my most interesting celebrity encounter was with uber star Chef, Wolfgang Puck.  Now, to my family back in Hawai’i, Puck is the guy who is on the front of a frozen pizza box in the freezer section of Foodland Supermarket vs. a real, living, breathing man.  Why was I with the Chef?  Well, I was touring an Austrian journalist who was researching an article on Puck.  So, I did my job and attemped to line up an interview like any good publicist would.  Typically when these are arranged, you are lucky if the interview subject even gives you 15-minutes of their time.  So, imagine my face when I receive an email from Puck’s assistant saying that the star Chef had planned a “whole day” for us.   Yes, I had to pick my jaw off the floor.  Now, keep in mind that I had just bumped into Puck at the HBO Emmy after party (he asked me how my Paella was) and then at the American Wine & Food Festival, so I’m sure by now, he probably thought I was stalking him.

Our day started at 7:00 a.m. or what I refer to as the crack-a-arse.  I picked up the journalist and we drive to Spago where we were to park our car, meet up with Puck, jump into his SUV, and then head to the fish market downtown to see how he selects seafood for his restaurants.  Sounds simple until you are actually riding in his car, at 80 m.p.h. down Pico Blvd.  Yes folks, he drives fast.  When I tell him that he drives like a maniac?  He looks at me with the big “Huh?” eyes as if everyone drives down Pico Blvd. at that time of the morning, at that same speed.  The rest of the day becomes surreal.  The Austrian journalist and I are at the fish market, picking out fish, scallops, and lobster, and…..  I am desperately trying not to get fish guts on my slippers (I KNEW I should’ve worn sneakers), and by this point, I have switched to my secret mouth breathing technique to stay alive.   Next, we head to his new bistro near the downtown library and get to participate in his new Winter menu tasting.  We feast on short ribs, tomato soup, winter salad, and about eight other little dishes.  When that’s done, we head back to Spago but along the way, take a tour of Puck’s version of the L.A. sights… and I am truly impressed.  

Puck drives us by Disney Hall, MOMA, the Mayor’s home, (ok, he also points out a few celebrity homes too, and by this time, I’m in the backseat giggling because I feel like I am on Star Tours), and LACMA, all the while giving the tour in his native language and interjecting English words here and there.  He even makes a pit stop at his house to drop off mac-n-cheese for his kids, then finally back to Spago.  Once we get there, I thought for sure we would simply thank him and be on our merry way, but wait- there’s more!  We are instructed to sit in the restaurant as Puck is now going to make us lunch.  This is crazy.  By this time, I say to myself, “Wolfgang Puck has kidnapped us.  He is now going to make us lunch.  This is lovely, but weird.”  The Austrian journalist and I decide to embrace the light and just go with the flow.  So, we sit for another two hours or so and eat some more.  We eat our way through another tasting menu, topped off by two huge desserts by the pastry chef; one being a Baked Alaskan which was almost the size of my head.  As we are finishing up, Puck sits with us and chats a bit.  As we wave the white flag (in this case, a white clothed napkin), he gives us both an autographed copy of his newest book.  We finally get up and waddle out of the restaurant.  All I can say is thank god for A-line dresses.

Here’s the thing:  Everyone seems to get their 15-minutes of fame at some point in their lives, but what I’ve noticed and admired is that the celebs that go beyond the 15-minute time limit and become real stars, are the ones that still somehow manage to act like normal people and have been able to keep their manners in tact.  Ahhhh… Hollywood.  Later when I tell my friends what I did in my day, and that I am sooooo full from eating all of this gourmet food, they say “Wait…  let me get this straight.  You got paid to hang out with Wolfgang Puck all day and eat?”  My response is, “Well, yea… But it’s my job.  Somebody’s gotta do it.  It might as well be me.”

Question:  If you had the chance to spend the day with a celebrity, who would it be and why?

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Up until his recent demise, I would have said Paul Newman. Now I would say Barck Obama because I think he is one of the most interesting people in the world today.

Oh yes, I totally agree. Obama is a good example of someone who interests people. Like many say, he offers “hope.” Many hold him up in great esteem and refer to him now with celebrity status. Then you have the total opposite end of the stick with a Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, who don’t have any legit skills to be termed talented and are only popular due to their name or their family affiliation, yet the public is somewhat fascinated by them that they term folks like those as “celebrities.” If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then is celebrity the same? I’m old fashioned. To me, you’re considered a celebrity if you’ve earned the title with real talent and skill. Not just simply for walking and breathing.

When thinking about celebrities (those people in show business, not politicians and the like), my choices would be as follows: 1) Oprah Winfrey 2) Meryl Streep 3) George Clooney 4) Seth Myers from SNL 5) Taye Diggs 6) Steven Spielberg. I wonder if any of these wonderful people would be available to meet with me next week? (lol). I would want to meet Oprah to have conversations about business in relation to her successes and her processes in making it all work for her. Meryl Streep would be just fascinating to hear discuss her choices of her roles, and I would ask her to do all her accents. George Clooney would be fun to have discussions with about politics and the environment (and I could just sit close to him hopefully) and maybe watch him at work. I would want to give some ideas to Seth Myers for SNL, as many of the skits so far this season are falling short, in my opinion. Taye Diggs would be just nice to stare at, discuss Broadway versus television and movies, and maybe catch a pro football or baseball game with. Steven Spielberg and I could discuss the role of movies as a means to expose the general public to history. Plus I would discuss the Holocaust with him, as I am the daughter of a survivor. Maybe one day I will have the opportunity – never say never!!!!

Ditto on Seth Meyers!!! I recently met him at the HBO Emmy after party and he is soooo sweet.

Definitely Obama. Always wanted to meet the antiChrist in person…

Tough Times Mean Tougher PR

Yes, everyone (and I mean, EVERYONE) is tightening their belts these days with the economy going more South than folks would like.  But if there is one thing that drives me absolutely bananas, it’s the fact that when things get tough out there, the first thing that many companies do is get rid of their pr and/or marketing dept.  People!  Are ya nuts?  That’s the one thing that you DON’T let go of, and Auntie Tracy is here to tell you why.  The answer is simply this:  In tough times, you still need to keep your profile up and believe it or not, this is the most ideal time to do pr and promote you, your wares, and your service.  Trust me.  The last thing you want is to fall off the radar because perception is everything, especially in this town.

In times of crisis, companies are thinking “cut the budget back.”  Sure, I understand that paying a big retainer to an agency of five people working on your account might be considered overkill right now, but instead of getting rid of the entire agency, why not cut the staff back to two people (or to one, like me?).  And, with pr, you can get verrrrrrrrrry creative in promoting your business in ways that traditional advertising simply cannot.  PR is about relationship.  It is emotional.  It is a feeling thing.  It is about connecting.  Even in a crisis, a smart publicist can still do a lot for a client by simply being out and about, attending events, and soft-pitching their clients info in a social setting.  You never know who you will connect with and what it will lead to.

So when the going gets rough, think out of the box.  Waaaaaaaaay out of the box, and maybe, even into the triangle or circle.  Cut back on ordering office supplies, recycle note paper (a company I worked for actually did this in tough times and guess what-  it was a great lesson for everyone in being green), cancel “Bagel Friday’s” and brown bag to meetings, and don’t forget to book the company holiday party at one of the CEO’s homes vs. spending a fortune in a high-end venue space.  With the saved $$, invest in the pr of your company and when everything washes out (as it always does), you’ll be 10 steps ahead of the competition and ready to go!

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It’s surprising how tough times or a problem situation will often put us into running in scared mode. When we default to scared mode, we operate on a safety first approach instead of calculated-risk mode. We lose our proven good instincts, our confidence, ambition and momentum.

Hmm, I can understand and respect the idea of not totally cutting PR, but in small business when every dollar counts (and now more than ever!) would you as a PR person ever decrease your fees to accommodate the business and to actually have more clients?

I think it is a two-way street these days and let’s face it, PR ain’t cheap.

Aloha and thanks for your comments! To gottanikoncamera: Yep, you’re right. That’s the mode that most folks or companies in times like these, will operate from- panic mode. I’ve seen it time and time again. I admire the companies or individuals who stop, think, and then get creative with a plan of some sort vs. just deleting a pr or marketing program. In the end, they continue to thrive because there is consistency. And to theredhead: Oh absolutely! Most pr peeps do trade services-for-pr work at one time or another. I’ve done trade for services with companies in the beauty industry and web development industry. Currently, I am doing similar with a health care provider. It is a two-way street for sure and we can help each other out.

thereadhead has a point that pr people often don’t come cheap, but trace you are so right that it is often the pr people who think out of the box, and move forward the creative and connected thinking that make so many businesses actually successful.

Some small businesses and entrepreneurs are born knowing how to think like a pr person, but many many aren’t – too many small companies (and even large ones) have no coherent cohesive beguiling message, and they have no clue that it’s their own job to reach out to the press. My own thoughts right now are to look at cutting advertising budgets over pr because so many of the old forms of advertising just aren’t working anymore. Interesting, creative events (which you are masterful at) still bring energy and connections and business right now – that same old ad might now.

frightening times indeed, and this is an awesome blog, calling people to be brave and bold, and i think you drift a bit into the blogosphere of johnny appleseed…

Palin PR Stunt (and not the good kind)

Well, the Full Frontal Disclosure blog on Palin certainly encouraged lots of comments which was awesome! Nothing like interaction, I say. This is now part two.

Seems like a lot more info is surfacing about Palin and most recently, the racist comment she made about Obama, after he beat Hilary (see “Alaskans Speak (In A Frightened Whisper): Palin Is Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, and Mean”). Other items reaching daylight are the rumors that her down syndrome child may be in fact, her daughter’s child, and not hers. Some even say the info about her pregnant daughter was purposely leaked a little later to cause controversy, to paint Palin in an empathetic light in an attempt to make her look more human, and perhaps so that the public (especially women), would come to her aid and feel something for her. Instead, it seems to be doing the opposite. All this info coming out now makes people question her intention and the authenticity of her character. If her pr camp wasn’t busy before, they are now. If her camp thought a pr stunt (the initial announcement of her pregnant daughter) would help boost her image, it has- but it not in a positive way. This is not the profile you want.

What do you think now?

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As my mom always said to me as a child, “what’s in darkness soon comes to light.”

When McCain first announced his VP candidate, up until now… all I’ve done is sat back and waited. Patience… patience…

I think it’s the negative energy that practically emanates from the woman’s eyes that has me gagging a bit… *lol*

i hear idiotic reasons from snowed people on why they aren’t voting for obama, and the comments all are about palin. ’she’s genuine.’ ’she’s authentic.’ ’she’s a real person.’ attention to all you misled and clueless; OBAMA’S COUNTERPART IS MCCAIN! PALIN IS THE VP CANDIDATE! THE ELECTION IS ABOUT WHO WE WANT TO BE PRESIDENT! jesus, the ineptitude and stubbornness of you voters who kept bush in there is just stunning. and why you feel that now you are magically qualified to chose in this election is baffling.

FULL FRONTAL DISCLOSURE

With most clients that I work with, there is rarely a need to go in-depth with them in regards to their personal life, and how it may affect their profile and/or their company/product in the media.  In fact, the closest I have gotten was with a music producer client many many years ago.  He was fun, somewhat flamboyant, had big ideas, and always seemed to have the endless budget.  Looking back now, I guess I should have raised an eyebrow to a few things that he had done, but I just chalked it up to him being so enthusiastic.  It wasn’t until much later that I learned that the client had a terrible drug problem.  By the time the news surfaced, I was no longer representing him (thank my lucky stars) and he and his business were long gone, so there was never a need to be in pr crisis mode and deal with any media.  Phew!

For me in that particular situation, I was luckier than most because I typically take on clients or projects that fall into the lifestyle, luxury goods, artistic, or food/beverage arenas.  But for some, especially for those pr and marketing colleagues who work with and represent high profile corporate or political clients, it is not smooth sailing all the time.  Why?  Well, stuff happens.  And in general, news moves much faster these days with email, websites, blogs, YouTube, and the like.  The pr colleagues with those types of clients need to know just about everything that is going on with their client so that they can be prepared at all times and not be caught off guard…  if something should go wrong.

Look at the current situation with the announcement of Senator John McCain’s vice presidential candidate, Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin; and the announcement of her 17-year old unmarried daughter’s pregnancy.  There are two things that could have happened.  Either a publicist in her camp is running around there, going “Ok… is that it Sarah?  Is there anything else I need to know?  If not, now is the time!” Or perhaps Palin’s publicist knew about the pregnancy info and their camp simply decided not to announce it.  For me, this is the one area where I go against my “less is more” theory.  In this case, “more is more,” and the more information a client shares with their publicist, the better.

Everyone has some sort of baggage.  And for some individuals who are considered more high profile than others, it is smarter to disclose any and all skeletons, or scenarios, with their publicist so that they can be prepared for the media. 

So let me hear from you.  Do you think John McCain and his camp even had a clue about Sarah Palin’s un-married daughter’s pregnancy?

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Too bad we will never know the answer to this burning question. I mean, McCain’s team isn’t going to say that they didn’t know and come off looking like total incompetent A-Holes. But can you really see McCain and Palin covering this topic in the fifteen minute conversation they had before he asked her to join him on the ticket?

“Hey John, by the way, my 17 year old daughter is pregnant. But she’s going to have it AND marry the father so, no worries. ”

I mean, seriously…

I’m pretty sure they did know and they’ve decided that she will appeal to those in our society who feel the left speaks down to them and their “hick” values – now in retrospect I think she was a sly plow to use physical beauty, youth and emotions (which the right feels Obama is doing) to make the campaign about emotions and not what’s really going on in the country.

What I find personally dealing with clients is getting them to understand “less is more” so many want to share share share the moment they get the ear of the press!

I think it’s interesting how an unmarried pregnant 17 year old is typically something to be shamed by the Republicans. I wonder how they’ll deal with the backlash from their own brood.

To answer the question though… I doubt they knew. I doubt many people in Palin’s circle knew.

- Araya Diaz
http://www.ArayaPhoto.com

You said you would take care of those transvestites, I had nothing to worry about!!! Wait, is this a public forum!?!?!

But seriously, the presidential nominee picks a running mate that will do one thing for them… help them win! So, with McCain’s pick it would seem that the view on the right is that Americans are too dumb to see through the smoke and mirrors. Do they think because they chose a woman they are going to sway some previous Hillary voters to their camp???

I don’t have a problem with someone adhering to their own faith (Although, I always welcome a philosophical/theological debate), but I don’t believe that religion should play a role in government. Don’t force your morality on anyone else if you can’t enforce it on your own daughter.

Glenn Alan

Oh come on now, folks. What’s the big deal? Sara Palin’s daughter is about to become an unwed mother right along with the other 33% of women under 21 in America that face it. Liberals say that Sara Palin isn’t an attentive mother and that’s why this happened. Well, I guess 33% of American moms don’t raise their girls properly either.
Every mother has a right to sit down with her pregnant daughter to discuss the issue and how they will proceed from there. Since Susan B. Anthony, women of all walks of life have fought for the right to choose the life that’s right for every single one of them as individuals in a free country. The feminist army, in the last 40 years, has seen monumental progress in this area, and they continue to strive for the goal of total equality every day.
So why all the hoopla and twisted panties over Bristol and Sara Palin? Seems to me they exercised their unalienable rights as women to choose. Feminists have long cried out, “We CAN have it all – parenthood and career. Just give us the chance.”
But now that one powerful woman in the US government, along with her 17 year old daughter, face scorn and backlash for stepping up to the right that all women should have, and have had since the success of the feminist revolution; the right to CHOOSE. Millions of women face the challenge of becoming single parents in America each year. Why is Bristol and her mother any different? Stuff happens and we keep plugging along.
Sara Palin has shown that she can step up to any plate given to her from counsel-person to mayor to two-time governor of Alaska where she took away a lot of bacon from the pork barrel, blew the whistle on certain officials she felt were stealing from her constituents, to being much of the brain in keeping the Alaskan pipeline safe. She balanced the budget with a surplus she passed along, in part, to the citizens of Alaska and much more. And she has stepped up to a life challenge with her down’s syndrome baby and now a pregnant teenage daughter. Her grown sons have also stepped up to the plate and are fighting soldiers in Iraq. She must have done something right.
Whether the McCain camp knew or didn’t know about Bristol is impossible to answer, but also of no importance. She wasn’t caught while in a car on a dark road somewhere with some guy she barely knew, or on a street corner. She and Levi have also stepped up and are going to marry, a decision that honors their priorities as parents-to-be and the family values learned at the knees of loving parents.
The Palin women have made a choice that affects only their family. I embrace the decisions for Bristol, the baby, and her fiance with all the gratitude I would have for anyone who lives in this age of having the freedom to make such choices.
Open your eyes, liberals. The Palins’ are the poster children for the progress and successes of the Women’s Movement since 1848.