You are currently browsing Jaclyn Deter, Public Relations Specialist’s articles.

Over the past few years, VantagePoint has been involved in a variety of community service projects in Greenville. From painting walls and installing baseboard at a Habitat for Humanity home to dressing up in costume and passing out Halloween candy at the Meyer Center for Special Children, our associates are always eager to help others.

It is with great pleasure that we can announce that 2011 marks a new year of service for the VantagePoint team. We have partnered with the SCDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program to be the official sponsor of a two-mile stretch of East North Street (from Pleasantburg Drive to Imperial Drive). Adopt-A-Highway began in South Carolina in 1988 and has since been one of the most successful programs to keep our highways litter free.

VantagePoint Adopt-A-Highway Project

VantagePoint associates collect trash on East North Street for Adopt-A-Highway

During the year, VantagePoint will participate in four SCDOT-scheduled clean dates. VantagePoint associates are strongly encouraged, but not required, to participate in at least two out of the four dates. So if you are driving along East North Street in the coming months, keep your eyes peeled for our green Adopt-A-Highway signs and our team. Who knows, you might just catch Craig O’Neal out there in a bright orange vest!

While picking up trash and wearing less-than-attractive orange vests probably isn’t at the very top of anyone’s fun list, it has definitely been a great team building activity for our associates here at VantagePoint. In fact, the first clean up of the year was held a little over a week ago, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. The team had a great time getting outside of the office and doing something together for the greater good of the community.

For more information about SCDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program, visit

I don’t know about you, but I get dozens of e-mails a day. Many are from colleagues, but several are from content-rich sources covering marketing and public relations topics. While I opt-in to these daily or weekly newsletters and blogs, I still find that I have limited time to really read through the entire e-mail. And I know that I am not unlike other professionals in other industries – we are all doing more with less and are strapped for time. That is why is it critical that you have the right message to capture your audience’s attention when you have just a second to do so.

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When I was younger, I “adopted” a manatee, the endangered species otherwise known as a sea cow. I don’t know why I loved these creatures so much, but I did. To this day, they fascinate me. I even had the pleasure of swimming with them, not once, but twice during the past two years. Similar to the manatee, the press release is threatened among its kind, yet it is a PR tool that I still care for.

With the rise of social media and real-time communication, it has been said that sending out a press release to generate news is a dying communications tool. In the B2B space, however, I still see the act of distributing a press release as a cost-efficient and effective method. Keep in mind, though, that the press release is changing and it must evolve to fit in with the web and social media outlets. Here is what you should be considering when sending out a press release: Read the rest of this entry »

Over the Christmas holiday, I took some time off to see my family in Atlanta. While I was there, I treated my dad to a day at the new World of Coca-Cola at Pemberton Place in Centennial Olympic Park. Having grown up in Atlanta, the headquarters of Coca-Cola, I’ve always preferred Coke over Pepsi. And after spending about two hours on the self-guided tour, I can say that I have a new admiration for the brand – a true marketing machine.

Entrance to World of Coca-ColaAlthough my favorite part of the tour was the 4-D theater, I really enjoying learning about the history of the brand and how Coca-Cola became a universal name through its marketing and advertising efforts. While Coca-Cola is a great product (with its secret formula) that can sell itself, it was the company’s marketing efforts that really helped drive sales in the beginning.

Coca-Cola is a consumer brand, but there are several B2B marketing lessons that can be taken from the soft drink giant:

World of Coca-Cola Tasting Room1. Use word-of-mouth marketing. It is often the best, most credible way to get the message about your product/service out to the public. Because “cola” was a new word when it was created, the makers of Coca-Cola had to educate the public. Initially, thousands of free drink coupons were distributed to help introduce the concept and spread the word.

2. Choose the right go-to-market strategy. For several years after it was created, Coca-Cola sold for just $.05 per bottle so that the average person could afford to try it. As a new concept, the beverage had to be priced right. Once the popularity and demand of the product increased, so did the price.

3. Select the right partners, distribution channel. To become a national player, Coca-Cola knew that it had to increase production and distribution. To do so, Coca-Cola partnered with independent Coca-Cola bottling companies around the world. Additionally, Coca-Cola realized early on that what it did best was to create the recipe and market the drink. Therefore, they left the majority of bottling up to licensed Coca-Cola bottlers.

Coca-Cola and Norman Rockwell Painting4. Get some publicity with the right crowd. From Norman Rockwell paintings to a slew of celebrities, Coca-Cola has appeared almost everywhere. From the beginning, Frank Robinson, the bookkeeper turned marketing genius, was the main proponent for advertising at Coca-Cola. He had the idea to put the Coca-Cola logo on everyday items. By doing so, the brand quickly became a household name, and the promotional product industry has never been the same. (You can see a bottle of Coke placed at the bottom of the lady’s dress and on the table in the upper right portion of the painting.)

Coca-Cola marketing signage5. Integrate your message. As you can see in these pictures, all of the Coca-Cola branding is integrated. The Coca-Cola script logo, originally penned by bookkeeper Frank Robinson, has helped make the brand unique and stand out from other beverages. That script is internationally known and has appeared on countless promotional materials and advertisements.

Have you been to the new World of Coca-Cola? If so, what was your favorite part? If not, I definitely recommend checking it out the next time you are in Atlanta.

Despite the internet and wide use of e-mail, direct mail is still one of the leading marketing tools used by businesses. In a recent survey by the CMO Council, eighty-four percent of respondents produce print collateral. Fifty-seven percent of those respondents specified that they use direct mail as a marketing tool.

From personal experience, I know that I still receive a ton of direct mail both at work and at home every week – if not daily. Because there are so many communication channels and ways to reach consumers and business professionals, it is critical that if you choose to use direct mail that the message stands out.

One of the newer technologies that we are seeing a lot of promise in is adding two-dimensional bar codes to direct mail. These are also known as QR or quick response codes. Not only are they appearing in a variety of print outlets, but they are also appearing on billboards in Times Square and in television commercials. These QR codes started out in very consumer-driven advertisements, but there is great potential in using these in B2B applications.

Here’s a generic example: Company X is going to its biggest trade show of the year and is introducing its new product for the first time. This event is the best place to not only meet with existing customers, but to connect with prospective customers, too. However, the show floor has limited hours and it is filled with hundreds of vendor booths for attendees to visit. How do you capture the attention of this audience to get them to stop by the booth? You contact them before the show.

This can happen in several ways, but let’s assume direct mail is one of the chosen elements. Direct mail response rates are traditionally low, as the address can be incorrect or the piece may get tossed before it is even really looked at. Furthermore, if you are using a postcard or other smaller piece, the space for conveying your message is limited. That is where the QR codes come in. Anyone who has a smartphone (I am willing to bet the majority of executive-level business professionals do) can easily scan a QR code, which will instantly take them to a website that has more details or even an engaging video message.

QR codes, as seen here, still have an eye-catching factor. This will help grab the audience’s attention before it is tossed in the trash. Additionally, they give you the ability to tell a deeper message than what can be said on a 5 x 7 postcard. QR codes are not the best tool for every audience, so it is important to know the demographics of those you are trying to reach. If you have questions about QR codes or a success story to share, let me know!

It is a common debate in the PR profession. Are clip books useless, or do they still hold value? I think the answer could go either way. On one hand, clip books and impressions are a thing of the past because they cannot be tied directly to sales. On the other hand, clip books can visually show placement success and increased coverage year-over-year.

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Social media is only for consumers and young kids, right? Wrong. Social media is for everyone, including B2B companies. In fact, in a resent research study from BizReport, “86% of B2B firms are using social media, compared to 82% of B2C outfits.”  While B2B companies may be using social media more in general terms, B2C companies are far more involved and advanced at managing the tools and measuring success.

Here are some more stats from BizReport:

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The August issue of Tactics, PRSA’s professional journal, focuses on creativity. As many PR practitioners know, it can often be a challenge to write a press release that is creative and breaks through the clutter. Furthermore, it can be a struggle to develop a release that minimizes the use of industry jargon. Research has shown (thanks to PR blogger Adam Sherk) that some of the most overused words in news releases are: leader, leading provider, best, top, unique, award-winning, premier, and exclusive. It is easy to sprinkle in a couple of these words in releases, but there is a solution to finding creativity.

In this issue of Tactics, Tom Gable,  APR, contributed the article “Escape from Jargon Land: Creative tactics for providing solutions.” This article provides three solid recommendations to help escape the norm.

1. Write the perfect headline.

2. Write the perfect testimonial.

3. Write the ultimate 60-second pitch.

To summarize Tom’s article, he makes the point that using evidence and numbers for the company mentioned in the release will build credibility. When making claims about a company, product or service, it needs to be backed up with factual evidence, not empty, vague words. I think Tom is absolutely correct. Customers and potential customers don’t care about the “leading” company’s “exclusive” or “premier” solutions. They do care, however, about how company A delivered a product/service that helped company B increase sales by X% over a given period of time.  It comes down to real results and benefits.

To be creative in press releases, I also think that it is important to remember the following:

1. Know the audience and what interests them.

2. Follow the news outlet the release is targeting, and know what has already been said.

3. Serve up more than just text by using images, videos and other social elements.

For more articles on creativity in PR, check out the digital version of Tactics.

When I moved to Greenville in 2008, I didn’t realize how much the Upstate had to offer. Not only are there wonderful restaurants that rival the Charleston and Atlanta foodie scene, but there are large international companies, such as Milliken, Michelin, Fluor, and BMW, headquartered here. We are fortunate to work with some of those companies and many more around the Southeast.

At VantagePoint, we occasionally help our clients plan events and other outings for a variety of occasions. We have helped pull together campaign launches, sales meetings, trade shows, plant tours, open houses, and more. When planning a large event, it can sometimes be hard to select the best venue, create a catchy theme, order a meal that pleases the masses, schedule activities that are fun for everyone, etc. For those who are looking to host a corporate event in the Upstate, here are some different venue ideas that are sure to please:

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Last week, Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford Motor Company, posted a blog titled “Social Network: The Movie.” In a nutshell, Scott mentioned 10 social media professionals, including Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, Mark Ragan, and Brian Solis, and listed what celebrity would play them if they were in a movie. Also known as their “Hollywood doppelganger,” Scott did a great job finding celebrities to match these individuals.

Well, there was already a Vantage Point movie (released in 2008), but Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox graced the silver screen instead of our team here in Greenville, SC. But if there were a movie on VantagePoint Marketing, who would play our team?

Note: I picked only a few from the VantagePoint team to highlight – it’s hard coming up with actors!

Craig O’Neal – President and CEO / George Clooney

(Similarities: successful, a genuinely nice guy, and well dressed)

Dave McQuaid – Vice President, Creative and Digital / Jim Carrey

(Similarities: creative, funny and sometimes out there, but in a good way!)

Kristin Ambory – Vice President, Client Services / Nicole Kidman

(Similarities: polished, professional and great attention to detail)

Mitch Mahoney – Summer Intern / John Francis Daley

(Similarities: it’s all in the hair and face)

Me – PR Specialist / Mena Suvari

(I’d rather be played by Rachel McAdams from “The Notebook” or Jennifer Anniston, but I’ve been told I look like Mena Suvari.)

What do you think? Did I represent our people well? I would love to hear what you think, or if you have any other recommendations.

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About VantagePoint

VantagePoint's integrated approach to b-to-b marketing combines keen insight with bright ideas to strengthen your brand's market impact, no matter what the economy. Let us help you get a fresh perspective.

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