The News Chair
  1. The Coles Team Gets a Taste of “Hero Marketing”

    January 5, 2018 by Adam Woerz

    The Setup

    The time frame: Early December 2017. The occasion: the Coles Marketing holiday outing. At noon, everyone packed up for the week and headed out to a magical place — The Escape Room USA, located in Fishers, Indiana.

    For the uninitiated, The Escape Room USA is an hour-long puzzle-based challenge. A group of people enter a room and are presented with a story and an idea of what the objective is to escape the room in which they’ve been locked. With an hour to play the game, the team members begin to look for clues inside the room that will lead to their freedom. Once the final door opens, the team emerges victorious.

    The Plot           

    The group I was fortunate enough to be part of worked together in some amazing ways. While some of us worked on getting locks open, others worked on logic puzzles and math-related problems. The best part was that we could see our opponents in the room next door. This meant we could distract, taunt and tease the other team as we went along. This also led to some hilarious moments, such as when Brian came up with the idea to yell and cheer to throw off the other team. It worked wonderfully. As we looked over at the other team, they had no idea what we had just done. We hadn’t really done anything, but it bought us time and made for a good laugh. It even made the staff member in the room laugh.

    Speaking of which, there was a staff member of The Escape Room USA in the room with us; I’ll refer to him as the room guide. He was mostly there to tell us if we were touching something we shouldn’t have been touching and he could provide us with hints — sometimes at a price. The team could get one hint for free if everyone agreed to use that hint at the same time. But we could also “earn” an additional hint if need be. Well, there was a need, and earn it we did. The room guide told us that for us to earn the hint, we needed to act like monkeys fighting. It couldn’t just be a couple of us acting that way — it had to be the entire group! A couple of us, namely Kevin and myself, were eager to goof off and act silly. Some of us not so much. However, it was quite comical to see members of the team let down their guard just a little bit to join in the humiliation.

    At the end of the day, both teams got out of their respective rooms. Our team lost by a narrow margin as we just missed a puzzle that could have clenched the victory minutes sooner. But no matter who won or lost, we walked away laughing and talking about the great adventure we had just experienced.

    Hero Marketing

    What makes The Escape Room USA such an enjoyable experience? To us at Coles, we readily recognize the story-driven “hero marketing” tactic it employs. This business places the customer in the driver’s seat, allowing them to be the hero of the story presented to them. The customer drives the experience however they want as they whisk around the room finding the clues to push forward. Along the way, the customer may need to look for guidance and at that time, there sits the room guide to help them along like a wise sage. The scenario is an easy sell — let the customer be the hero and they will buy into the vision you have put in front of them. The Escape Room USA does this in such a wondrous way that everyone walks away smiling and talking about the adventure. The team here at Coles will certainly not forget this wonderful experience.

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  2. Looking Back, Moving Forward

    October 13, 2016 by Tiffany Whisner

    Ever since I started working at Coles Marketing — almost a decade ago (yikes!) — my coworker, Chris Mercier, has been a wonderful mentor and friend.

    dsc_0098And at the end of this month, she’s retiring. I can’t imagine the workplace without her, so I thought a spotlight on her for this blog seemed quite fitting.

    Q&A with Chris Mercier (it rhymes!)

    Q: How did you get started with Coles? Why have you stayed so many years?

    A: I joined the company when it was known as Coles & Morrison. I met Candy Morrison first through a non-profit. Working part-time at the non-profit was my first job going back to work after staying home with my two children. In 1998, Candy introduced me to Barb, and I joined the company.

    d20_1669Q: Describe Coles Marketing in one word.

    A: Family

    Q: How has the PR/marketing/communications industry changed over the years?

    A: When I first joined the company, six of us shared one email account. We sent news releases through the mail (snail mail). Social media wasn’t even on the horizon. Advertising was limited to print or broadcast. Clients have many more opportunities today to tell their stories.

    img_2037Q: What qualities do you think are required of a leader for success?

    A: I think a leadership role requires you to think on your feet. Develop honest relationships. Listen to your client to formulate a strategy to help them accomplish their goals. I enjoy the critical thinking it takes to come up with workable strategies for each challenge.

    Q: What kind of impression or impact do you hope to leave on Coles Marketing and its employees?

    A: I hope people remember that I was a hard worker with a sense of humor.

    Q: Offer a piece of advice for up-and-coming PR and marketing executives.

    A: My advice to future execs is to be a supportive and contributing member to the team. Always stay one step ahead by staying organized. Don’t be afraid to take on more responsibility, and embrace change.

    mercier_5inQ: What’s ahead for you?

    A: My husband and I look forward to spending more time in Scottsdale with our daughter, two grandchildren, Jim’s mom and dad and extended family of close to 50. We will also be closer to our son in Portland and hope to travel the western U.S. in the next few years.

     

    Chris, we will miss you. You can never be replaced, and we will always remember you as a hard worker with a sense of humor … and so much more!

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  3. Will Leo Finally Win His Oscar? And Does it Matter?

    February 12, 2016 by Tiffany Whisner

    Leonardo_DiCaprio_Popular_American_Film_Actor_WallpaperAs I started to think about what I wanted to write for this blog, I looked back at some previous PR-related posts on the PR Daily website. And one of them had a photo of Leonardo DiCaprio. After staring at his photo for awhile, I confirmed how enamored I am with Leo. Always have been — and I’m quite sure I always will be.

    This year, he’s in the running for an Academy Award for his work in “The Revenant,” a movie I have yet to see but am looking forward to enjoying. It doesn’t really matter to me that he gets attacked by a bear or eats a bison liver — it’s two-plus hours of Leo, and I’m okay with that.

    There are many articles to choose from focused on whether Leo will or won’t win the Oscar — it would be his first, shockingly. Why has he been snubbed before? Why might this be the first win? Will it affect his chances going forward? And why is this being covered so much in the media?

    And then I started to research how much news and media really influences us as a public. Are the Academy members reading all these articles about whether Leo should or should not win? Does that affect them and their decision? One article I read noted the following:

    • Mass media frame the details of the story.
    • Mass media communicate the social desirability of certain ideas.
    • Mass media sets the news agenda, which shapes the public’s views on what is newsworthy and important.

    I’m sure we have all seen how much what the media says can affect your opinion on a particular issue. I used to work in the media and know how you frame a story can indeed have both a positive and negative effect with viewers. Another article says: “News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether.”

    I’m not too sure I agree with that, but it’s an interesting thought.

    Somehow my train of thought went from PR to Leo to news coverage to media’s affect on the public to — Does anyone really care hundreds of articles have probably been written about Leo and the elusive Oscar? Someone cares, or the articles wouldn’t have been written. Or would they?

     

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