Why Use a Boutique PR Agency?
….and, By the Way, Just What IS a Boutique PR Agency?
The public relations industry in the United States is increasingly dominated by several large national and multinational firms, companies that have spent years buying up smaller PR businesses in cities across the country. These giant firms say their national reach and synergies are good for clients.
Well, at Elizabeth Christian Public Relations, we beg to differ.
Although some campaigns may need the manpower of a thousand-person PR agency based in New York or Paris, our clients have long found that a 17-person, Austin-born, Austin-bred firm that has operated for two decades in our hometown is what does the trick.
Does that make us a boutique agency? We suppose it does, in all the best meanings of the word. When you engage Elizabeth Christian Public Relations, you work with senior staff, including founder and president Elizabeth Christian. Clients are never shuffled off to the junior staff of a distant outpost. We don’t have any “distant outposts,” come to think of it.
ECPR treats every client and every campaign as top priority. We’ve had numerous clients over the years tease us that we must not have any other clients because we handle their accounts so spectacularly.
Does this mean we only handle Austin projects? Far from it. Many of our clients have issues throughout Texas and across the nation. We routinely work in all of Texas’ media markets (which include four of the country’s 15 largest cities), and we also manage national accounts with issues in communities ranging from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, from Chicago to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
So if you want a boutique public relations agency—a PR firm that is locally owned but that has national reach and repute—you want Elizabeth Christian Public Relations.
Measurable Media Relations
Media Relations: Garnering an abundance of local, statewide and national publicity that motivates the public to act; skilled in crisis management and media training
In the not-so-distant past, media relations used to mean one thing: Getting stories placed in newspapers and on broadcast television.
While traditional media are still important to virtually every public relations campaign, the evolution of what public relations professionals call “media relations” has been breathtakingly fast.
FULL SPECTRUM OF TRADITIONAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA RELATIONS
Because the spectrum of media is so vast now, it may be instructive to think of media relations as a megaphone–a tool used to spread a message far and wide…and to spread it to the audiences that matter. Elizabeth Christian Public Relations employs every imaginable form of media–from Twitter to the nightly TV news, from Pinterest to 100-year-old newspapers–to ensure that our clients’ stories get told. No two people get their information in the exact same way, so ECPR’s job is to tell a story so compellingly–and to use a big megaphone–so that we don’t miss a single important pair of eyes.
EFFECTIVE MEDIA RELATIONS REQUIRES CAREFUL PLANNING, EXCELLENT TOOLS
Elizabeth Christian Public Relations does not launch a media relations randomly. Instead, we plan every step of the way, and we measure our progress as we go, to ensure that our media relations work is achieving our clients’ goals.
Bottom line: At the end of the day, if all we’ve done is create a pretty scrapbook of media clippings, we haven’t done our job. Instead, if our work with media relations has measurably helped build our clients’ business, we have succeeded.
Strategic Public Relations
Strategy and Messaging: Overseeing opinion polling and research; developing campaign strategy and messaging that is key to success
Creative: Crafting print, video and audio collateral material
Media Placement: Media planning and buying that fits with the strategy of a larger campaign
Public relations is both an art and a science.
The science of public relations takes years to master and encompasses everything from a solid foundation in business principles to knowing how to think and write like journalists to the ability to shape PR campaigns that bring results. The art may take even longer to perfect and includes creativity, client service and teamwork.
The professionals at Elizabeth Christian Public Relations are superb at both halves of this complex equation. We have the backgrounds, the training and the experience that make us a great public relations agency.
Companies come to Elizabeth Christian Public Relations with a variety of opportunities that need to be capitalized upon or problems that need solving—they may have a new service line that needs to be promoted; they may be announcing a major expansion in Austin; they may need ongoing public relations to build their bottom lines; they may face a PR crisis that has brought media to their front steps. Whatever the PR challenge, Elizabeth Christian Public Relations can help.
Our first step is determining what our clients’ goals are and ascertaining how to measure success—in other words, we need to know when we have a win. Then we craft messaging that will motivate people do to what our clients need them to do—buy a product, go to an event, use a service.
With goals, metrics and messaging in place, we have what we need to execute flawless, measurable, effective public relations campaigns. We strive to bring our clients attention in the public arena by using communication tools that make sense for each client, including traditional media relations, social media, video production and dissemination, graphic design, strategic events and so much more.
Comprehensive Legislative Consulting and Media Strategies
Public Affairs: Providing legislative and political media relations consulting; strategic partnership/alliance development; grassroots coalition building
When a client needs to pass a good bill in the Texas Legislature–or defeat an onerous one–they typically do two things: hire a lobbyist to work with elected officials inside the Capitol, and engage Elizabeth Christian Public Relations to handle media relations and build coalitions outside the Capitol.
KEY PARTNER ON GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS TEAMS
It’s a powerful one-two punch–with ECPR garnering editorial support throughout Texas, ensuring that grassroots support is maximized and creating superb printed materials and websites, lobbyists find that their jobs in persuading legislators is far more effective.
Elizabeth Christian Public Relations has worked on legislative issues ranging from transportation to education to healthcare. We have built comprehensive grassroots coalitions statewide and have executed numerous media campaigns that have played key roles in legislative success.
EFFECTIVE, MEASURABLE PUBLIC RELATIONS
Just some of the PR tools deployed by Elizabeth Christian Public Relations to run legislative media campaigns include:
Message development, logo creation and branding
Media training spokespeople
Campaign plan development
Creation of strategic collateral materials, including media information, brochures for use by lobbyists, direct mail, e-newsletters, websites, etc.
Creation of videos for use on websites and at speaking engagements
Managing statewide media campaigns, including securing editorial board meetings at Texas newspapers and authoring impactful op-eds for our clients
Grassroots coalition building, including creation of prestigious steering committees to enhance coalitions’ impact
Creation and execution of strategic, measurable social media campaigns to underpin the entire campaign
Sophisticated Social Media Planning, Implementation and Analytics
Digital Strategy and Content Development: Creating integrated and measurable 21st Century web strategies with the right mix of social media and business applications.
If your online friends, fans and followers make up your online community, think of Elizabeth Christian Public Relations (ECPR) as your community manager. At the intersection of social media, traditional media and interactive content, that person works to ensure a consistent message across all platforms.
ECPR serves as community manager for many of our clients in a range of industries, providing digital strategy, digital content development and execution across social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Vine and Instagram, as well as on websites and blogs.
ECPR differentiates itself from others in the social media space because we show clients how social media fits into their larger marketing and communications strategy, including paid media, earned media and owned media.
ECPR’s social media capabilities include:
Digital media strategy (Social media strategy)
Digital media content development (Social media content development)
Digital media execution (Social media execution)
Digital media crisis management (Social media crisis management)
Social media reporting and analytics
Today, social media is much more than simply being social. Managed effectively, it provides an opportunity to build your brand and your business. ECPR helps companies of all sizes take their social media efforts to the next level so that they can measure the return on their investment in the social media space. We would welcome the opportunity to be your community manager.
Full-Service Event Planning
Event Management: Developing strategic events from concept to execution
Turnkey Event Planning a Hallmark of Elizabeth Christian Public Relations
There comes a time in virtually every public relations campaign when an event of some magnitude becomes strategically important. From urgent media conferences to massive, multi-day conventions, Elizabeth Christian Public Relations is the firm clients trust to execute flawless events.
PR Events Are Not Just Parties
Elizabeth Christian Public Relations handles events that fit into our clients’ overall strategies and that achieve goals. Most events we coordinate have substantial media components–they give us reasons to go to both traditional and new media and spread the good word about our clients.
From booking venues to managing caterers to scripting programs to creating videos and overseeing audio/visual, ECPR can provide turnkey event coordination. We create guest lists guaranteed to produce turnout, we handle all aspects of invitation production and mailing, and we manage RSVPs. We are skilled at “day of” oversight, including running nametag tables, shepherding the program and speakers and ensuring that our guests are properly seated and comfortable.
Events Are Part of an Overall Public Relations Strategy
When we represent commercial real estate and hospitality clients, VIP groundbreakings and topping-out ceremonies are important. For health care clients, we frequently put together news conferences to make major announcements, including unveiling of huge capital investments and important physician news. Many of our clients’ campaigns benefit from community open houses at which people can voice concerns. Over the years, we have also managed all media relations, presentations and collateral materials for huge annual conventions for a variety of associations and groups.
Elizabeth Christian Public Relations works to make events stress-free for our clients, delightful for our guests and newsy for the media.
Reputation Management: Tracking coverage and mentions of your brand in the media and online.
Turning Attacks on Reputation Into Opportunities to Build a Brand
“Reputation management” has become as murky a phrase as “branding” sometimes can be. Everyone says it, no two people mean the exact same thing. At Elizabeth Christian Public Relations, we have a simple definition: Reputation management means maximizing the public’s trust in our clients.
Enhancing the Positives, Repairing the Negatives
ECPR works both sides of the reputation management equation–essentially, everything we do in the fields of public relations, media relations and social media campaigns works to build the positive.
But we also know how to handle the negative when it happens–perhaps a competitor launches a negative SEO attack on a client’s website. Or a disgruntled customer writes scathing reviews on Facebook or Yelp. Or–more traditionally–angry people on the other side of an issue from our client begin a letter-to-the-editor campaign in a local newspaper. The range of attacks on reputation is as broad as human imagination, and Elizabeth Christian Public Relations is experienced in handling the full spectrum.
Reputation Management, Handled Well, Can Turn a Bad Situation Into a Good One
The more quickly, thoroughly and systematically a problem is handled, the faster it tends to abate. Everyone wishes that public relations were all about the good stuff. When it’s not, and when things turn ugly, ECPR can help.
Branding and Graphic Design
Branding and Graphic Design Services: The creative foundation of a PR campaign.
Branding and Graphic Design Are the Creative Foundations of PR Campaigns
Branding–the creation of logos, slogans and a consistent look and feel for a company–is a key underpinning of marketing and public relations. Without a knockout logo, a website that tells a story beautifully and corporate collateral that is both gorgeous and compelling, a company will find itself at a critical disadvantage.
And behind every brand is a cohesive message about a company–all good brands grow from the creation and constant evolution of sold messaging: What does a company do? Who are its customers? What sets it apart from its competitors?
Full Spectrum of Branding and Graphic Design Services
Elizabeth Christian Public Relations offers a full range of branding and graphic design services, including:
Creation of style manuals to ensure brand consistency
Copywriting, design and production of collateral materials, including brochures, push cards, annual reports, letterhead, business cards and PowerPoint presentations.
Superior Graphic Design Experience as Part of the ECPR Team
Nothing we create is done in a vacuum–it is all reflective of the overall public relations campaign goals. Jen Liljegren, our award-winning in-house graphic designer, brings years of experience to the table and can create an aesthetic for our clients that is second to none. If our clients come to us with a graphic designer already in place, we work seamlessly to maximize the investment in that artist.
Branding. It’s a simple way of saying that everything that a company does ought to help it tell its story–and it ought to do it in a beautiful, meaningful, compelling way.
Communication Audits: The difference between public relations success and failure.
Just as any responsible company works with an accountant to audit financial records on a regular basis, businesses can also greatly benefit from a communications audit. Typically, Elizabeth Christian Public Relations finds that conducting an audit of everything a client has done in the field of communications early in our relationship with that client can maximize the investment in public relations.
With a communications audit, Elizabeth Christian Public Relations scours everything available in writing, on video or in pixels about a client. We scrub websites, we look at years of brochures, annual reports, press releases, news coverage, PowerPoints and corporate communications to assess what’s been done right, and what could have been handled better. We then make specific recommendations about changes that need to be made in the full spectrum of communications vehicles needed by most clients.
If needed, we write or rewrite websites. We restructure media materials so that they are as effective as possible. We create any and all needed social media verbiage, brochures, information kits, speech handouts and other collateral to make sure all necessary tools are in place.
And all of that is done with a solid audit in place, so we know what the foundation looks like.
Nothing random. No time wasted. Maximizing investment in collateral materials. Those are all the results of a communications audit by Elizabeth Christian Public Relations.
Crisis Communications: Preparing for crises we hope never occur.
Over the past two decades, we have counseled clients on a number of notable crisis situations.
Our recommendation is always that a client’s response to crises should be guided by their overall company values and handled with honesty and transparency. Specifically, all involved should be treated with integrity, and all messaging should reflect the company’s mission.
Whenever possible, the quick and candid release of information is in the best interest of the company and the community. Rumors and inaccuracies can spread quickly and the media demands attention. In a crisis situation, we work closely with senior management to rapidly develop and implement a crisis communications response to any given situation while ensuring effective message delivery, promoting calm, preserving brand equity and maintaining public confidence.
Elizabeth Christian Public Relation’s crisis communications capabilities include:
Media training, including tips for broadcast, print and online
Proactive crisis communications plan development
Creation of all communication materials, including media statements, press releases, social media posts, and other documents for internal and external distribution
Onsite crisis communication management
Spokesperson duties (if needed)
Elizabeth Christian Public Relations frequently manages sensitive projects and often signs confidentiality agreements. We handle each client’s communication needs with the utmost discretion.
Video Production: Creating strategic video to showcase your brand and better tell its story.
How we communicate with our various publics is always evolving. With changes in social and traditional media, it is becoming increasingly important to serve as a source for rich content. Elizabeth Christian Public Relations (ECPR) helps clients do just that through high-quality video production. ECPR’s video strategist is equipped with a diverse team of videographers and the latest tools to tell your story. To learn more about Video Production click here.