Thursday, April 1, 2010

Collaborate to Reach Your Publicity Goals

When Anthropologie opened its first store in New York State outside the greater New York City area at Eastview Mall near Rochester, N.Y. earlier this year, its low-key publicity staff let the mall's marketing director take the lead with the local media.

The results were outstanding. It was, after all, big news not only for the upscale mall, but for area Anthropologie fans, who have long asked the mall to deliver their favorite store. Shopper enthusiasm for the store's quirky interior and unusual merchandise bubbled over to the local press, which gave the grand opening impressive -- and priceless -- air time and exposure.

While the retailer's corporate publicity department established parameters, it allowed the mall's marketing director to act as its liaison with the press. The marketing director made the "pitch" to her media contacts, coordinating telephone interviews with the chain's corporate staff.

What smart collaboration! In many cases, when multiple entities are involved, each puts a lot of energy into trying to control and influence communication with the press. In this case, Anthropologie provided the framework while leveraging the media relations expertise and contacts of someone in the market who works with these journalists continually. The local liaison absorbed the chain's positioning and messages and executed the publicity portion of the grand opening in a way that respected Anthropologie's preferences.

This is a case where, as Aristotle said, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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