Paul Holmes 07 Jul 2001 // 11:00PM GMT
Like many PR firms, we have attracted “techie” business in the past couple of years, although our company’s core business is launching consumer products. However, we have positioned our firm as the company that adapts brand marketing tactics to publicizing even the most technological aspects of the Internet. A simple concept that was working well: Translate what the client’s product does and how it affects the consumer – or the, er “end user” - and deliver the message as simply and creatively as possible.
Girlzilla, Inc had us stumped.
We had won the business due to previous successes with work done for clients including Orbit Commerce and myGeek.co - companies Tina Miletich CEO of Girlzilla admired. We loved her company’s name and were sure that in itself would attract press attention. And we knew that what Girlzilla did – making websites user friendly - was important. We were elated.
Our elation turned to panic, when during our first planning section with Girlzilla to discuss initial press releases, I realized that neither I, nor my staff, could follow the technological prose that was being bandied around the room.
What we thought they did and how they were expressing what they did in “technolese” was bringing my staff to a catatonic state, bordering on mute hysteria. Note taking had given way to pencils poised in the air and glazed expressions. We couldn’t follow the conversation, how were we going to write a release, prepare accompanying materials!!!!!!
How were we going to get this message to the media, when we weren’t sure what the client was saying?. It wasn’t a written rule of our company, but I made a mental note to make knowing the meaning of the words used in a press release, mandatory.
What’s more, we were getting the distinct impression from the media that press releases that used phrases, anagrams, and idioms that only MIT graduates could understand were not going to be tolerated for much longer.
Both problems were solved when, in desperation really, we asked Tina if she was to illustrate what Girlzilla did, what would it show?
The very word “illustrate” began the process. Illustrate what Girlzilla did. Actually illustrate what they did. In a comic book.
With Girlzilla as the lead character. Tina had already developed a logo that included a figure of a feminine reptile. We added superhero status to her, by changing the “user friendly” aspect of their business into a super-human phrase - THE H-FACTOR!
Which is really what Girlzilla does – making the Internet easy for humans to use.
The client loved the idea. The techies at Girlzilla, (comic books fans all), immediately went to work to put the comic book together.
When we received it we were happy to confirm that we really did know what their company did. The reaction of the press has been positive too, helping us break the ice when we pitch stories. And Girlzilla uses it as a very unique selling tool.
The day – and the account – was saved!