The Salup Group is a brand development and strategic communications agency that innovates and orchestrates multi-channel branding, marketing,  and public relations campaigns across media platforms such as broadcast, mobile, online, print, social and video.

The agency represents clients in beauty, entertainment, fashion, fitness, food, health, hospitality, lifestyle, new media, publishing, real estate and technology.

The Salup Group works closely with clients to develop customized programs that meet their brand objectives.  The agency executes campaigns that include strategic brand analysis,  positioning and key content and message formulation , marketing and public relations outreach paradigm conception, literature  and implementation, programs for brand expansion and partnership curation, all of which leverage multiple channels of communication.

The agency was founded in 1998 by current CEO, Marni Salup, as a public relations and event marketing company and has evolved throughout the years to incorporate brand development, marketing and communications.

With a team of top tier executives who possess over 15 of experience in branding, marketing, and public relations, The Salup Group employs strategies and tactics that elevate awareness and position brands for success.

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The Evolution of Celebrity Endorsements: Introducing the Influencer Campaign!

As seen in Huffington Post

As Q1 of 2014 comes to a close, we are seeing a major shift in the way brands are marketing themselves across online and offline platforms. The move from traditional advertising and celebrity endorsements to more direct influencer campaigns is enabling brands to connect and engage with consumers on a whole new level.

Industry expert and LMS Agency, Founder/Partner, Denise Lamberston, who specializes in
forging celebrity and influencer partnerships for growth-stage and emerging brands, explains in an interview below.

You specialize in celebrity & influencer marketing. How has this shift affected these types
of campaigns?

Celebrity endorsements are an antiquated model left over from traditional advertising that focused on print and television campaigns. Marketing is much more transparent now due to the internet and social media. This couldn’t be more eloquently illustrated than with celebrity endorsements. As a celebrity, if you sign on to endorse a beverage, you better drink that beverage and none of its competitors. Because access to images of you carrying that drink, consuming that drink and buying that drink is photographed and available immediately on the internet, the consumer will call you out in a split second for not being authentic. Blogs & editorial follow suit, and quickly the story changes.

What is taking the place of endorsements? How are winning brands staying ahead?
For celebrities, we have seen a shift away from endorsements and licensing into brand partnerships. These partnerships create an authentic story that last longer than a traditional campaign. The marketing is woven into the celebrities’ content, plans and projects, as well as in traditional advertising for the brand.

Winning brands are staying ahead by looking not just at celebrities but at influencers who can deliver a message.

Define influencers and explain their place and relevance in entertainment marketing.
Influencers are experts or personalities with a more narrow reach and a deeper impact. More and more data shows that consumers trust their network for purchasing influence more than celebrities. But celebrities have the largest platform to deliver a message. With my clients, I encourage a two-tiered strategy of celebrity for amplification and influencer for conversion.

Give me some examples of brands that are using influencers as part of their marketing strategy.
My client Notorious is a mobile advice app and its whole business is built around consumers’ interest in experts and influencers. Notorious allows you to text experts privately with your questions about beauty, fashion, fitness, cooking and other categories. When it comes to these categories, the public wants to hear advice from people who have put the time in to create an expertise. They don’t want to get advice from a celebrity who is being paid by a brand to tell them to try this shampoo or protein shake. We expect and deserve honesty and we know we can get it from influencers.

What does your agency do exactly for businesses like Notorious?
LMS is an entertainment marketing agency for growth stage and emerging brands. We focus on celebrity & influencer marketing for businesses that are growing and want to use entertainment marketing to accelerate that growth. We build thoughtful strategies, broker relationships, create & activate campaigns, and product seeding.

Why do you focus on growth stage businesses? What is the difference between growth stage & start ups?
I love the creativity of small businesses. They are nimble and move fast. There is a lot of excitement and upside. Also, influencers and celebrities love the opportunity to have creative input. That is much easier and more valued in growing businesses.

The difference between start ups & growth stage businesses comes down to money. Start ups generally don’t have the kind of marketing budget yet to put towards this kind of marketing. They are focusing on product, product, product – which is exactly as it should be. Once they have a product in market that is gaining some traction, then we can start discussing exciting entertainment marketing. It’s less expensive than you think!

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LMS, founded by Denise Lamberston builds and executes entertainment and influencer marketing solutions for growth-stage and emerging businesses and brand extensions. By creating partnerships, campaigns, programming, strategies, and activations, LMS is able to offer a progressive approach to an otherwise intimidating niche of marketing for ascendant businesses.

Communicating Your Brand Message

PR Talk with Marni Salup
Pitching 101: Communicating Your Brand Message

As seen on Huffington Post 

With the abundance of channels and platforms populating today’s media landscape, from online and mobile to traditional print and broadcast, marketers can employ various methods to communicate their brand messages. The nuances of communicating effectively are more critical now than ever.

The key is understanding how all of these channels and platforms work. Particularly, who is the media’s audience and how do these journalists and producers prefer to be engaged? From there, you can shape your messages so that when you do communicate, it’s in a language they are receptive to. There are some core tenets of pitching that every brand marketer should follow, whether you are pitching traditionally or using social media to connect.

Not to date myself, BUT, when I first started, we mailed press kits and used the telephone for follow up! I still feel using the phone is a great way to connect with a person, but now, I always email first, even if I have a great relationship with the journalist or producer. It’s a nice way to initially reach out and let your contact know you might be calling. This way when you do talk, you’ll have their full attention.

Below are five essential tips to help you navigate the world of media and communicate your brand messages. These are formulated from my experience over the past 15 years at The Salup Group, where we are continuously pitching media and garnering successful stories and placements for clients in all industries.

1. Build a Media Outreach Strategy
Map out a plan of action for core messaging, target audience, key media, time of product launch, and follow up.

2. Consider Your Audience
You may have a message you want to communicate but WAIT, here are a few things you should think about:
Consumer Audience
• Break out the audiences: perceived, existing, desired.
• Who are you targeting?
• What do they read and watch?
Media Audience
• What media outlets and editors are you reaching out to?
• How do they prefer to be engaged?
• ALWAYS consider the media outlet you are pitching and who their readers and viewers are.

3. Develop a Media Outreach Protocol
Again, consider your audience! Not every writer or producer likes to be contacted or approached the same way.
Media Analysis
• Mine the media landscape and research individual media contacts, look at their past stories, topics, or segments, and review their profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, approach accordingly.
• If you have the resources, subscribe to a media service like Cision or MyMediaInfo that provide some of the information mentioned above.

Mode of Contact
• Phone-usually seasoned media and very old school approach. I am a huge fan of the phone call but you must really know your media contact and your product. Do not leave messages asking them to call you back.
• Email- Email is great if you have a good subject title and can capture media’s attention but it can take 2-3 strategic follow up messages.
• Social Media
Twitter is a great way to reach out when pitching media. Some journalists actually welcome and prefer this method of outreach. However, Twitter pitching requires skill and finesse in the world of communication.
• Build a relationship with the media contact.
• Be a resource and offer information related to the topics they report on.
• Follow their tweets and pay attention to the topics they tweet about.
• Establish interactions around these tweets and build credibility as a resource on the topic.
• Don’t ask them to direct message you. You can DM them for contact info but not immediately.
Facebook is strictly a social hub for friends, sorry.
If you are friends with an editor/producer/writer on Facebook, you can ask them for their work email and let them know you are sending a pitch but don’t do it on Facebook.

As for Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Google Plus, these are terrific channels to learn what your media contacts are talking about and covering but unless they ask to be “pinged” here, stick to email or their preferred method of contact.

4. Create Savvy and Interesting Brand Messaging
Design your messages for each platform i.e Twitter -140 characters; TV producers typically want a visual paired with actionable tips and advice their viewers can easily follow and do at home.
• Engage media, relate to topics they cover, identify how your brand fits into the mix.
• Don’t just tell them about your product. How can you or your product be valuable to their audience? Offer several broad/macro ideas focused beyond your product or brand.
• Start your pitch letter with a question and immediately engage media as opposed to telling them about your brand.

5. Timing & Launch
Cross reference your outreach and launch time with each outlets media calendar unless you have breaking news.

• Understand the lead time of content published on each media platform from real time twitter feeds to long lead magazines and match your campaign outreach and messaging to meet these time frames.

• Use Your Time Wisely
Don’t ask an online media outlet to write about your product if the launch is six months away, their readers won’t be able to buy your product now and it will be a challenge to remind them six months later. Your time is better spent working on pitching a magazine or national television show. Of course it’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself to the online editor and ask them to “keep you under consideration” and offer to reach out at a later date.

Social Media’s Modern Day Role in PR & Marketing Campaigns: Highlights & Thoughts/Pro’s & Con’s

After many inquiries, much analysis, and thought, I thought I would highlight a few recurring points that keep resurging amongst friends and clients when asked about social media and the role it is now playing in our public relations and marketing campaigns.

Three Great Ways To Leverage Social Media for Your PR Campaign

  • “Socialize” your publicity coverage! Social Media provides brands with a platform to further their publicity results and media coverage by empowering them with a promotional platform to continue generating buzz beyond the actual television segment, radio interview, or print coverage.  Upload links to your media coverage onto your fb and twitter-It expands the “shelf life” of the actual coverage and allows for direct customer engagement and response. When monitored, this can prove useful for charting campaign success, recognition, and value.
  • Media platforms that generate daily content are always looking for interesting people and products to feature. Facebook and Twitter are a great example-Social Media is an excellent platform for brands to leverage for derivative or additional content: Q&A’s, product announcements, FAQs. All brands should be reaching out to the social media manager for key outlets and brands as a contact to pitch a topic idea or a Q&A.
  • Our agency uses social media platforms similar to the way we leverage print, television, online and broadcast. There is real value when a media outlet or like-minded brand posts a link on Facebook or Twitter about your client/brand.

Three Fun Ways to use Social Media for Marketing and Business Development

  • Brands/Experts should approach the social media team for similar brands or media outlets and offer promotions, giveaways, interviews, and product announcements on those brands’ Facebook/Twitter pages.
  • Instead of writing a column in a magazine, why not have your client ( brand or individual) spend a day on the media outlets Facebook or Twitter page answering reader questions? Having a celeb or client or brand spend a day tweeting for a brand can be so much more fun and engaging for the audience.
  • Create savvy content & programs that engage consumers online and offline simultaneously, so that your presence is felt beyond social media.

Social Media’s Potential Drawbacks

  • To successfully engage and maintain a strong social media presence, brand’s must have a strongly articulated message and the resources to communicate it.
  • Creating a strategy you can implement with realistic goals based upon your brand resources takes work. Most social media marketing campaigns require serious commitments in time and money to continuously update with engaging content and targeted advertising.
  • Once a community has been developed, it is important to understand how to best monetize this relationship in terms of converting social media fans into paying consumers.

Conclusion

  • Social media cannot exist on its own; without using it alongside other PR tactics you will be unable to build on your community and reap the potential benefits of fan-building.
  • Social Media should be used in conjunction with traditional PR outreach strategies, to help print, broadcast and online media campaigns gain traction, and vice versa.
  • There must be a give and take relationship between traditional marketing tools and social media, so that each is used to strengthen the reach of the other to help transmit strong brand messaging and consumer engagement.