Behind-the-scenes stealer

Peel back the curtain on a product or service for great earned and owned media content.
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Fox 43's Kara Duffy took viewers behind the scenes of Valentine's Day by visiting Royer's Flowers.

Fox 43’s Kara Duffy showed viewers the inner workings of Valentine’s Day by visiting Royer’s Flowers.

I’ve had the good fortune to work with the team at Royer’s Flowers for more than a dozen years.

I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done for Royer’s, from news coverage and newsletters to blog posts and special events. Of course, you could do a whole lot worse than to tell a florist’s story. Roses and tulips and lilies are easy on the eyes, the nose and the heart.

But there has to be more to the story than that to sustain media interest across years. What’s more, there’s a great branding opportunity for a company willing to figuratively peel off the protective outer rose petals to reveal the beautiful flower within.

In Royer’s case, that has translated into a willingness to let reporters and, by extension, consumers, witness the inner workings of  a retail flower business, from the flower farm to the warehouse, from the design department to home and business deliveries.

Consider how this past Valentine’s Day played out for Royer’s on earned media and owned media:

Connect with customers

When I’m passionate about a product or service, I like to learn more about it, as evidenced by this 2014 post about public tours. Social media has made it easier than ever for companies to connect with their customers, many of whom are crying out for a deeper relationship.

I’m a longtime customer of Ebbets Field Flannels, whose vintage apparel appeals to my love of baseball and its place in history. I recently bought (heavily discounted) a made-to-order Seattle Rainiers jacket. Not only are they made in America, but every Ebbets product tells a story.

Learning those stories and Ebbets’ painstaking attention to detail and quality only enhance my connection to the company. There’s great added value in Ebbets sharing those stories with me as a customer, as this video does:

I got an iPad mini for Christmas and needed a good case for it. After spending an hour pondering the numerous, unsatisfying Chinese-made options at Staples, I vowed to find an American product. That’s how I arrived at the beautiful cases and bags made in San Francisco by WaterField Designs.

I felt an instant bond with the company while watching this video, starting with the cool space with the American flag hanging in it to founder Gary Waterfield, who describes meeting satisfied customers.

“I meet people who have our bags at airports or when I’m traveling,” he said. “What they mention to me is, ‘When I see someone else with a WaterField bag it’s like a connection, we want to talk to each other. It’s like we share this one thing in life.’

“And they always have a smile on their face when they say it,” Waterfield said, a smile crossing his own face.

To be sure, not every company is willing or able to spend the money for a well-produced video, and sometimes it’s better not to make a video if the quality isn’t there (consider this example from MeiGray, a purveyor of game-worn hockey jerseys of which I have been a satisfied customer).

But as I described above, there are other ways to take reporters and customers behind the scenes that aren’t costly and can pay big dividends.

It just takes a willingness to peel back the curtain — or the petals.

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