A blog by Campbell Consulting Group, based in Bend, Oregon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PR Professionals Should Think Like Immigrants, Too

When I was a kid, I was taught that people must work to earn their living—doesn’t matter if the job feels “beneath you” or involves manual labor. Working rather than hanging out in your backyard waiting for opportunity to find you, was honorable. It’s a philosophy I’ve seen reflected in immigrant families and first generation Americans. So Glenn Llopis’ blog post in Forbes last week, “How to Survive in 2011: Think Like an Immigrant” immediately caught my attention.

Though his writing can sometimes feel overwrought with excitement, Llopis makes some great points about the kind of attitude that can bring you what he calls “earned serendipity.” The idea is, instead of taking the usual plodding path ahead in life, you seek out new opportunities, seize your chance and leap forward. Yes, it does sound a bit like a Dickensonian plot twist, but in today’s constant twitter feed of gloomy economic snapshots, it’s an encouraging perspective.

Here’s what Llopis says about the immigrant’s mindset, which leads to that earned serendipity, “The immigrant trusts that great opportunities are all around him, in both obvious and not-so-obvious places.” And he lists these ways they find these opportunities:
  • Common, menial tasks
  • Requests for help
  • Small acts of kindness or sacrifice
  • New relationships
  • Everyday conversations
  • Simple transactions
In my opinion, it’s also a philosophy that can inspire PR professionals. In any job, it’s easy to follow a formulaic pattern and justify this inertial by saying it’s “traditional.” As in, “I just focus on traditional media.” In other words, you just send press releases to newspapers and magazines, leave a voice message and then wonder why your client received limited coverage.

A better way to approach public relations is to think of new ways to build relationships. Common, menial tasks? Assist in your community’s local park clean up—you might be surprised who you meet. Requests for help? Actively pursue learning opportunities in areas you know you can improve. Everyday conversations? When you’re open to casually talking to new, different people (and I don’t mean just at a networking event) you’ll be surprised what interesting projects, businesses and opportunities you’ll learn about. Injecting your work philosophy with a bit of the elbow grease that makes immigrants succeed in America could lead to some amazing results, at work and in life.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oyster Races Gain TV Exposure with Zany Stunts!

One of Campbell Consulting’s newest clients, Merrell Oyster Adventures Races, has given us a fun, rollercoaster of events this summer!

On June 25, The Merrell Oyster Racing Series introduced the Oyster Off Road Adventure Race to Bend. This one-of-a-kind, mountain town race combined pure athleticism with thought-provoking strategy, requiring each team of 2-4 to run, bike, paddle, climb and perform other crazy athletic stunts while answering clues and completing tasks.

If that sounds like fun to you, register for the Portland Oyster Urban Adventure Race, the last of the three Northwest races, to be held in Portland, Oregon August 20.

To help promote all three Northwest races, I wrote an article for Race Center Northwest that’s been circulated on their homepage since May. Oregon Lakes and Rivers also featured the event, along with dozens of other online calendars. The event also made The Source Weekly’s top picks list. The Source also ran a Facebook contest promoting the Bend Oyster.

In the world of radio, 92.9 became the official media sponsor of the Bend Oyster and ran a Find the Oyster contest, in which a giant oyster was hidden in two local restaurants. The person who found the oyster won $100 in Merrell gift certificates. Other fun schwag was given out to radio listeners to create excitement about the event.

Julia Gray of KBND 1110 a.m. also interviewed Jason Ornstein, executive director of adventure for the Merrell Oyster Racing Series, on the radio.

During the Bend Oyster, KTVZ 21 covered the event and interviewed Emily Salberg, race organizer. The local newspaper, the Bend Bulletin published an article about the event and the race results.

Christie Johnson prepares guacamole challenge
I wasn’t able to be at the Bend Oyster, but I did get to travel up to Seattle to help coordinate media at the Seattle Oyster Urban Adventure Race. Jason, Emily and I set up challenges for King 5 reporter Christie Johnson to complete during half a dozen live TV spots, including making guacamole with her arms tied to two participants and eating a cupcake with a clue hidden in the middle without using her hands. I also chatted with the Seattle Times media team, who participated in the race and shared information about it on Facebook.

One interesting aspect of the race I noticed was that participants could take it as seriously – or as casually – as they wanted. Some teams were obviously there to win, but others were more interested in just having a fun time than pushing themselves to their physical limits.

Teams also designed matching t-shirts that usually reflected some aspect of the race or a Seattle theme (think rain). Each participant gets a cowbell on a lanyard when they complete the race, and one team called themselves “More Cowbell.”

I think everyone who finished the race would agree with Christopher Walken when he said, “I got to have more cowbell!”