On Friday, February 4, Lori Merricks, an account director at Luckie & Co., came to Samford and spoke to our PR 492 “Principles of Public Relations” class. A Samford grad originally from Virginia, she is currently one of 122 employees at Luckie, and is beginning her 11th year with the company.
Luckie & Co. was started in 1953 by Robert “Ace” Luckie and is the fifth-ranked AD agency-owned PR operation in the United States. A few of Luckie’s clients include: Regions Bank, AT&T, McKee Foods (the parent company of Little Debbie), Express Oil, Kirkland’s and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. It is still family-owned and operated.
Timing is Key:
Merricks stressed the importance of appropriate timing. A good public relations person should know when to release and when not to release important information. To illustrate her point, she said that a person should never pitch anything on a Friday, particularly to a weekly paper, because the issue for the week will already be completed and no one will take the time to add your pitch to the paper.
This is one reason that many AD agencies and PR firms look to hire journalists because they have a keen sense of timing and know when it is best and worst to contact people and/or pitch ideas. This concept stuck out to me because I realized the benefits of learning all areas of journalism, mass media, and public relations at Samford.
The Three “Brands”:
Merricks also explained to the class about Brand Marketing, Brand Alliance, and Brand Protection. All three are different, but they are all intertwined.
-Brand Marketing: delivers a message clearly, confirms a product/company’s credibility, connects target prospects emotionally, motivates the buyer, and concretes user loyalty.
-Brand Alliance: 3 types
-CoBrands use two or more brands on one product (i.e. Tide laundry detergent with Downy)
-Brand License (i.e. a McDonald’s Happy Meal that includes an action figure from a new children’s movie)
-Cross Marketing is when two compatible and often associated brands market together (i.e. Band-Aid and Neosporin)
-Brand Protection: 2 types
-Internet Reputation Management
You are what you Tweet:
Merricks spoke on the importance of monitoring what is seen and read about you on the Internet. While it is beneficial to have personal social media sites open to the public for career opportunities, it is vital to know what people are saying about you and what you are putting out there to be read by potential employers and clients.
Merricks said, “It is not about ‘not being found’, it’s about knowing what is said about you.”
Get Your Nose Out of a Book and Research:
Merricks stressed the importance of constantly researching and knowing current trends, news, and what is going on around you. Research today does not consist of going to the library and pulling out a resource book. She said that research means watching the news, reading the paper, knowing the ins and outs of your client’s product, knowing trends, and being an expert on what other people are saying about that product. It is about knowing facts and knowing opinions.
She ended with William Strunk, Jr.’s quote:
“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”
To visit Luckie & Co.’s website, Click Here.