Framescape eyewear: brand positioning and public relations

The team of Framescape Eyewear came on board with great energy and passion. As the former owner of Maui Jim, Chris Mailing is very passionate about his new-to-market, hassle-free, stylish line of eyeglass frames.

The RIOT PR team’s initial task was to create awareness about Framescape frames and its associated brand positioning and to seed the market for future awareness building programs. We accomplished this by identifying key features and differentiating factors, identifying and prioritizing our target audience, and developing key messages for each audience. Our next tasks were to design a company logo and all of the media and sales materials including the product catalog, and design and create their website.

With other competitors out there providing screw-less frames, Framescape was positioned as being “hassle-free” frames that are Beautifully Simple™ and Simply Beautiful™. The team launched an on-going media tour beginning with the top ten optometric publications and landed a story in Vision Monday and a number of product demonstrations with top editors.

Creative arts furniture: Boosting visibility and ongoing publicity program

The husband and wife owners of their 30-year namesake customer furniture maker company sought to increase sales revenue by building awareness for their distinctive, made-to-order handcrafted reproductions made with reclaimed antique woods.

To engender confidence in online or long-distance orders, RIOT PR needed to build a library of authenticating press coverage. To catch the attention of home furnishing and home decor editors who are interested in only the most unique products, we created a flow of clever one-time and evergreen stories appropriate for home décor and design, woodworking, business, and consumer interest publications.

The cumulative impact of stories in The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, The Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Business Journal, Cape Cod Magazine, Custom Woodworking Business Magazine, Woodcraft Magazine, Country Sampler combined with regional and syndicated television placements have created and filled the Staples’ order pipeline for six months to a year. Our total rebranding effort achieved with new collateral, a user-friendly website and targeted media relations has exceeded their sales goals.

McDonald’s: workforce recruitment and retention campaign

The fast-food giant was beset with bad karma that was adversely impacting the quality and volume of its applicant pool across the Northeast. The tragic event of the San Ysidro shooting had plunged the brand into a quiet period to manage that crisis at the time when it needed to make noise to draw out recruits while retaining its existing workforce.

A targeted “McSuccess” media relations campaign which highlighted alumni achievers from diverse ethnic and subsequent career destinations helped to boost applicants and reduced employee churn at a time when US Labor statistics were showing a dwindling pool of employment candidates. Stories that were placed in all of the targeted New England states were reinforced by restaurant placements (tray liners) depicting the career path and benefits offered by McDonald’s. Applications were up by 20% over the year previous and retention aided by communicating and demonstrating an upward career path to existing employees, was improved by 17% for the same timeframe.

National pool & spa institute: Making a family activity out of “Luvin’ the tub”

The non-profit National Spa & Pool Institute approached the RIOT PR team with the following question: Despite a booming economy, hot tub sales have been declining at a rate of 3 percent per year. How can we boost sales and raise public awareness of the health benefits of spas? We interviewed 100 spa owners about the health and relationship benefits of owning a spa (hot tub).

Based on the results, which included improving face-to-face time for families, we created the $350M nine-city NSPI North American Cross Country Road Tour-Luvin’ the Tub. Themed as a “family fun” luxury item that improved both relationships as well as sleep, energy levels, heart rate, back pain and overall health, the road tour stopped in Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia and New York, with fantastic events and interviews at major radio, television and print outlets in each city. Story lines included statistics and themes: “Hot tub as a marriage counselor,” “On vacation? There’s no place like home,” and “Making family life more fun: the news on hot tubs” and helped put the campaign coverage over the top.

An outreach effort to the top 25 major DMAs landed hits in every major media outlet including radio, television, and newspapers from the Boston Globe, New York Times, Denver Post, LA Times, Houston Chronicle, Orange County Register, to The Arizona Republic. Campaign hits totaled 85 million and overall industry sales grew 5%.

tea forte: product launch

RIOT PR’s national product launch and holiday gift guide promotion for this completely unknown but unique triangular gourmet tea line product was so successful that our client was challenged to keep pace with customer demand. Eye-popping holiday gift packages sought to capture both the attention and imagination of besieged holiday gift guide editors at the highest circulation general interest and women’s magazines in the U.S. With our clever use of elegant gift-wrap, tissue paper, tea fragments, and fragrance, editors were immediately introduced to this uniquely elegant product and the results exceeded all expectations.

Coverage in: In Style, Ladies Home Journal, Newsweek, O Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, The Robb Report, Country Home, Bride’s Magazine, and twenty other general interest publications lead to Tea Forte’s invitation to contribute products for the Golden Globe Awards gift bag, the Sag Awards, and the Sundance Film Festival. With several national contracts landed with Origins and the Steve Winn-owned casinos, Tea Forte is on its way to becoming America’s ‘Godiva of Tea’.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute/Global Project Center: Positioning Program

In a market of swelling college applicants, tension around global travel and intense competition by regional engineering academic institutions, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) sought to elevate local brand awareness and respect for its Science & Engineering College of 100-years. The post 9/11 tensions associated with travel and international accord provided a contrasting backdrop to promote WPI’s unique overseas educational projects program, through which students work inside various global settings as ‘living laboratories.’

A series of features in such local market media as: Mass High Tech, the Boston Globe, ASEE Prism, and International Educator, as well as a profile on New England Cable News, today has WPI faculty sought for insights on issues related to International Education. For the first time, the Spring 2003 educational guide published by the National Association of International Educators (NAFSA) included a profile of WPI’s International Education alongside an impressive list of Ivy League and top-tier international studies programs.

Enlightened Power:  Book Launch & Leadership Training Prospecting

This hefty 500-page tome published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley is a compilation of 30 philosophical and practical chapters offered by 40 highly accomplished executive and academic author contributors (most either previously published, well-known in their own right, or both) on various anecdotal and actionable insights about the transformative organizational impact of women in roles of organizational leadership. The book’s girth and the unknown lead editors were inhibitors to getting thoughtful attention by book reviewers. Despite their publishing inexperience, the editors held grand ambitions to create sustainable dialog around the book’s unifying theme, using Enlightened Power as a catalyst for public discussion and awareness.

More than 20 million media impressions (NPR Marketplace, MSNBC, helped to propel it to #2 on Amazon’s Leadership List. RIOT PR aligned the book with a fantastic corporate brand and rolled out a series of book signing receptions entitled: ‘An Evening of Enlightened Power at Eileen Fisher’ (an author contributor). These receptions took the book around the country into other than bookstore retail venues, and out of a well-received bylined column on will be a monthly leadership guest column in the name of one of its co-editors (Linda Coughlin, former CAO at Cendant Corp.) for (reaching 8 million readers).

Enlightened Power was successfully launched into the public consciousness and, with many exciting new possibilities on the horizon, including speaking, conference and additional publishing opportunities.