Lenz on Marketing

On the highest pollen count in two years, Lenz and WSB-TV were there

It was an incredibly busy pollen season for Atlanta Allergy & Asthma – both in terms of serving patients but also in terms of the practice’s presence in the media, highlighting its expertise as a leader in its space.

Perhaps no day demonstrated that better than April 9, when the pollen count hit 6,152 – the fifth-highest count on record since Atlanta Allergy began compiling them in 1991.

Fortuitously, WSB-TV meteorologist Katie Walls had reached out to Lenz nine days in advance of April 9 for an occasional science segment that she reports. She had expressed initial interest in doing such a segment at a previous visit to Atlanta Allergy’s East Cobb office in March for a story on the start of pollen season.

Walls and her cameraman met us at Atlanta Allergy’s Kennestone office at 5:10 a.m. The Atlanta Allergy pollen collectors showed how they perform the count and gave WSB great visual images of the pollen spores under the microscope, which the Atlanta Allergy team projected on a computer screen.

After several hours of reporting – and waiting for the count to be finalized while imbibing copious amounts of coffee – the team moved to Atlanta Allergy’s Northlake location to interview Dr. Lily Hwang. In setting up the piece, Walls had expressed her strong desire to speak to an allergy sufferer.

Lenz set her up with one of Hwang’s patients, 10-year-old Samantha Manasso, who also happens to be the daughter of Lenz media relations manager John Manasso.

The piece aired in the 5 p.m. hour that day. Atlanta Allergy ended up getting three separate media hits from it, as it also aired during the 11 p.m. hour and again early the following morning.

Previously, in March, the pollen count also kept Lenz and Atlanta Allergy on their collective toes. After several weeks of closely monitoring the pollen counts through the late winter months, the public relations staff arrived early on Monday, March 16, expecting to send our first alert of the spring to local media.

The pollen count reached 188 that morning – in the “high” range, as deemed by the National Allergy Bureau (NAB). It marked the seventh day of the month that the count was in the high range.

The Lenz team put previous weeks of planning – updated media lists and sample language for a media alert – to work and quickly sent out our email to the media. We received our first nibble that day, as WSB Radio’s Sabrina Gibbons requested an interview with AA&A’s Dr. Stanley Fineman, a past president of the prestigious American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The next day, we entered the office to see in our inbox that pollen count had essentially maintained itself at 187 and that the website of local television station CBS46 had requested permission to embed the AA&A website into its own for purposes of showing the pollen count. It’s important to note that AA&A is the only local provider of the pollen count as certified by the NAB.

Granting permission expanded Atlanta Allergy’s reach to more prospective patients. Web users can simply click on the link to make appointments directly with AA&A.

On Wednesday, the pollen count exploded. It soared to 1,793 into NAB’s “extreme” range, prompting Rachel Cushing wisely to decide we should send out another media alert. Using the language from Lenz’s email alert, AJC.com quoted John Manasso in Mike Morris’ 197-word story. A shorter version appeared in print.

The Gwinnett Daily Post called and we set them up with Dr. Judy Nam, who practices out of the county’s Hamilton Mill and Snellville’s offices.

The biggest news of the day came at 1:29 p.m. when we received an email from Carol Sbarge at WSB TV. She was hoping to set up an interview at one of Atlanta Allergy’s offices the next day for another reporter. After sorting out some schedules, we alighted upon a 10:30 a.m. interview at Dr. Fineman’s East Cobb office.

Before the day had ended, we received a call from Atlanta Allergy, informing us that 11Alive’s Keith Whitney had called one of the practice’s offices directly, based on a previous story he had done with one of the doctors there. He stopped by the Sandy Springs office and interviewed Dr. Kevin Schaffer.

On a rainy Thursday morning, we met WSB meteorologist Katie Walls at Dr. Fineman’s office on Johnson Ferry Road. She is an allergy sufferer herself and had a great deal of personal interest in the subject. She interviewed Dr. Fineman for what ended up being two stories, one that aired in the 4 p.m. hour and another in the 6 p.m. hour. She got a kick out at some plush toys hanging around the office that were in the form of dust mites.

Her cameraman shot footage of a sign in the office that indicated the extreme pollen count one day earlier and of a nurse preparing an injection for allergy therapy. He also shot footage of the numerous patients in the waiting room (taking care not to shoot anyone’s face without their permission; later, he asked for and received permission to shoot footage of a patient consulting with Dr. Fineman in his office).

Later, we supplied Katie with some historical pollen counts to provide her story with some context. This was the final product.

The week would not have been complete without one more hit. On Thursday afternoon, Mark Woolsey of the Georgia News Network (radio) called. He interviewed Dr. Fineman late on Thursdayfor a segment that aired on Friday.

By Thursday, the weather turned cool and rainy, dampening the pollen counts. But now allergy sufferers are now “primed” for April, when the pollen could hit its full bloom.

When it does, the media will know were to find Atlanta Allergy and Lenz.

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Lenz is currently seeking a full-time Media Coordinator

Job Title: Media Coordinator

Role:

Lenz is currently seeking a full-time Media Coordinator. The ideal candidate has:

  1. An understanding of and passion for digital/social media marketing and public relations.
  2. Experience with online and social media monitoring, reporting, media material development and/or media outreach.
  3. Experience with photo and/or video-editing software is necessary.
  4. In addition to being a strong writer and verbal communicator, Lenz needs an individual who is very organized, very productive, strong working on teams, and comfortable and flexible in a fast-paced, business environment.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Craft social media content across various social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) and schedule posts via third-party software
  • Assist in monitoring client digital reputations via social platforms, review sites, and general media
  • Compile monthly social, reputation, and media reports
  • Determine topics and write blogs posts for various Lenz clients
  • Assist with advertising research, monitoring, and reporting
  • Assist with public relations research and planning
  • Assist with promoting client events via event listings, blog posts, and other media
  • Assist with miscellaneous projects/activities with other departments, outside agencies, or other organizations as needed

Minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Media, Communications, Public Relations, or closely related field
  • Writing samples will be required

Required skills and attributes:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Understanding of differences between and best practices for traditional, digital, and social media platforms
  • Knowledge of communications/journalism principles and practices
  • Familiarity of AP style writing is a plus
  • Solid organizational skills and ability to multi-task
  • Detail-oriented
  • Ability to work on a deadline
  • Ability to work well both individually and within a team setting
  • Positive, enthusiastic, and hard-working attitude
  • Willingness to continually learn and hone your craft
  • Software skills and experience with editing, spreadsheet, and graphics programs

To apply:

Please send your cover letter, resume, and three writing samples to Rachel Cushing along with your salary and benefits requirements. Ideally, writing samples should reflect a range of topics and formats. If available, consider providing samples related to healthcare, nonprofit, and/or small business.

Thank you for your interest in Lenz!

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Lenz and Atlanta Allergy and Asthma launch new visual brand and website

Lenz recently partnered with Atlanta Allergy and Asthma to develop a new practice logo, visual identity, and website.

Founded in 1973, the AAA is the largest Allergy group in Atlanta with 18 locations and 18 board-certified physicians—and is the only National Allergy Bureau certified pollen counting station in the Atlanta area.

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Thoughts on branding, via Renée Zellweger

I hope everyone enjoyed the Academy Awards last week—I know I did.

If nothing else, the Oscars signal that spring is just around the corner. For me, it’s also an opportunity to guess which stars had work done since I last saw them.

Of course the biggest cosmetic surgery headlines of last year belonged to Renée Zellweger, who made news by emerging as a version of herself that many people thought looked…well, nothing like herself.

It’s unclear whether Ms. Zellweger had cosmetic surgery or not. And if she’s happy, I’m happy—it was the reaction to her new appearance that really resonated with me.

Naturally, I thought about business and branding! I can’t help it.

Companies re-brand all the time, and that’s a good thing. Organizations age, styles change, and cultural expectations evolve.

We tend to like it when our favorite brands take a hard look in the mirror, recognize that there are opportunities to improve their product and image, and take action—as long as they continue to remind us why we loved them in the first place.

That brings us back to Renée Zellweger. Plenty of Hollywood stars have had work done. Usually, they look a little younger, or thinner, or perkier, etc.

In Ms. Zellweger’s case, however, the Internet ruled that she had changed the essence of her brand. Her formerly hooded eyelids, which helped make her endearing and relatable to so many, were suddenly gone. Some felt like they didn’t know her any more.

Branding is an interesting thing. Coke can change their tagline every five years—if it still stands for happiness. And McDonalds can start offering healthy alternatives to the Big Mac—as long as they don’t get rid of the golden arches.

So, brand managers and Hollywood stars, take note: A nip here, a tuck there…no problem. But don’t change who you are.

—Richard J. Lenz

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Lenz Launches New Website for the Atlanta Center for Medical Research

The Atlanta Center for Medical Research (ACMR) is a national leader in conducting medical research studies since 1980.

Lenz is proud to partner with ACMR to refine the organization’s brand image, launch a new web site, and promote the Center through a PR and advertising campaign.

ACMR is beginning a new phase in its already storied history by opening a new, state-of-the art research center that is truly the first of its kind.

The new Atlanta Center for Medical Research is a $25 million relocation project from its initial design phase to its fully realized completion this month. The Center, located at the site of the former Southwest Atlanta Hospital Building, was entirely renovated and redesigned based on ACMR’s forward-thinking vision. It is 150,000 square feet in all and features a revolutionary open-source structure, which adapts ACMR’s existing model to improve the overall quality of medical research across the industry.

In this model, other researchers have open access to the Center’s state-of-the-art equipment and highly-trained, expert staff for their own pharmaceutical research studies. ACMR recognized the sheer size of the new Center as an opportunity to allow researchers without the infrastructure or proficiency in administering clinical trials to develop additional medications beyond what ACMR has the capacity for. This kind of progressive outlook reflects ACMR’s passion for medical research and his confidence in its potential to serve a greater societal purpose.

Posted in Branding and Design, Healthcare | Leave a comment

How Do You Market Healthcare?

We get this question a lot, and our answer is that you should market healthcare much like you market anything—by telling stories that change or reinforce your audience’s behavior.

Sure, that’s easier said than done. But, remember, patients aren’t just patients. They are fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters—in other words the same people who buy Coca Cola and vote in elections.

For many years, Lenz has practiced the philosophy that healthcare decisions are made much like other buying decisions, and that the best marketing practices should be directed towards prospective patients.

Our clients appeared on billboards, TV ads, and social media networks long before their competitors—because patients (and even doctors) consume and are influenced by media too!

Hopefully, this perspective has positioned us and our clients especially well for the increased consumerism in healthcare that we know today.

So, marketing healthcare is a lot like marketing other products. Some key points related to our philosophy include:

  • Lead with the goal, then develop the strategy; only then consider tactics and execution.
  • Invest in market research; do not assume that what you think you know is correct.
  • Marketing works best when it is fully integrated; each marketing channel and program should be strategically oriented and complement the others.
  • Tell stories.
  • Track, measure, report, and analyze results against the stated goals and objectives.
  • Remember, patients are consumers. They have the information and access they need to make healthcare choices. Your marketing strategy should reflect their individualized needs, wants, and preferences.

If you want to work with Lenz, please let us know. We’ve got a great team that is eager to help quality healthcare businesses reach their goals.

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I’m not losing it here. Maybe I’m finding it.

As I get older — and hopefully wiser! — I have found to my own surprise that my emotional life has grown more intense. Instead rushing to every possible opportunity, meeting, event, and experience while stressing over every last detail of what I am doing and what is happening to me, I am finding myself pausing — for a moment — to take everything in.

While I am maybe not “sweating” the small stuff like I used to, I am enjoying and appreciating the little moments much, much more. Even the experiences that in the past would have been negative or anxiety provoking, I’m finding enriching.

Whether it is the smell of a newborn baby, or the warmth of my wife’s hand, or my daughters singing raucously around the piano, or my brother’s bad jokes, or the voice of my father who at 83 still wants me to know he’s the boss … I’m finding it all increasingly more poignant and moving.

Ok, I’m not losing it here. Maybe I’m finding it.

Looking back, it feels like the news this past year has been singularly awful. The recent barbaric massacre of 145 innocent school children and teachers by religious zealots in Pakistan is appalling, despicable, ignorant, and frankly beyond words to describe. Insane.

Closer to home, we had a totally senseless murder of a beautiful woman who was meeting friends for a nice night out in downtown Decatur, only to be gunned down by a sick individual who also was killing random homeless men with his 45-caliber handgun.

Maybe in this crazy world, we need to stop more frequently and take some time to appreciate each other. And make sure we soak up the gift that we have been given of the natural world, which we are part of despite our efforts to dominate, exploit, and separate ourselves from it.

When was the last time you smelled the pine-scented woods on a cold morning? Heard the wind whisper through the autumn trrees? Or felt the warmth of the low, winter sun on your face?

How many sunrises or sunsets have you seen this year? And how many will you see next year?

It is the “holiday” season, when the calendar forces us to stop and give thanks, celebrate our religious beliefs, and show appreciation to each other. Which makes it a beautiful time of year, and needed. Despite our lists and rush to make others happy, everyone seems a little warmer, nicer, and happier.

So, though I feel this way all year, I want to thank all of our great clients, many of whom are true friends, who have believed in Lenz and supported us, as we have worked very hard to support you.

Your resources given to Lenz don’t go to our off-shore bank accounts; they go to the wonderful individuals and families here at Lenz and have a major positive impact. Not only do you sustain us with food and shelter, which should not be taken for granted, but you also help us to provide healthcare and education, and support the hopes and dreams of many. So thank you today and every day!

Happy Holidays to everyone and Peace on Earth.

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You Should Know Eric J. Riesenberg

Eric J. RiesenbergHave you ever wondered how we ensure that the medicine we take, and that we give our children and loved ones, is safe and effective?

That’s Eric Riesenberg’s job, and it’s an important one. Eric is Director of Operations for the Atlanta Center for Medical Research (ACMR), a national leader in conducting medical research studies since 1980.

Under Eric’s leadership, ACMR is beginning a new phase in its already storied history by opening a new, state-of-the art research center that is truly the first of its kind. In the process, he may well change the face of pharmaceutical research forever.

Not bad for a 32-year-old.

Lenz is proud to partner with Eric and ACMR to refine the organization’s brand image, launch a new web site, and promote the Center through a PR and advertising campaign.

The new Atlanta Center for Medical Research is a $25 million relocation project from its initial design phase to its fully realized completion this month. The Center, located at the site of the former Southwest Atlanta Hospital Building, was entirely renovated and redesigned based on Eric’s forward-thinking vision. It is 150,000 square feet in all and features a revolutionary open-source structure, which adapts ACMR’s existing model to improve the overall quality of medical research across the industry.

In this model, other researchers have open access to the Center’s state-of-the-art equipment and highly-trained, expert staff for their own pharmaceutical research studies. Eric recognized the sheer size of the new Center as an opportunity to allow researchers without the infrastructure or proficiency in administering clinical trials to develop additional medications beyond what ACMR has the capacity for. This kind of progressive outlook reflects Eric’s passion for medical research and his confidence in ACMR’s potential to serve a greater societal purpose.

Additionally, Eric plans for ACMR’s new Center to be a revitalizing force in the Southwest, Atlanta neighborhood in which it is located. The Center will create an estimated 300 jobs by 2015, and he foresees that the community will be the primary source for filling these new jobs.

Now you know Eric J. Riesenberg.

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Join Me Saturday Night at Eddie’s Attic for the Album Release of “Eliot Bronson”

There’s a music happening this Saturday night at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur—and I hope to see you there!

Eliot Bronson—an Atlanta-based singer songwriter and great friend—is releasing his self-titled album, and it’s going to be an incredible show.

As some of you know, music has been a foundational element of Lenz since our inception. It inspires us, teaches us, and provides an escape whenever the daily grind threatens to wear us down. Over the last few years, Lenz has developed a more formal relationship with music by throwing and supporting fundraisers, promoting artists, and even performing!

Lenz’s newest and most significant music project to date is Saturn 5 Records, a music label we are launching with the release Eliot’s new album. The record came out yesterday and has been receiving national and international attention even before it has been released to the public. Tracks have been getting added to playlists at radio stations and Eliot can be heard on Sirius Radio.

The album has already received acclaim and attention from Paste magazine, Country Music Television (CMT), People magazine, Acoustic Guitar World, No Depression magazine, and many more. It’s even No. 1 in Belgium!

It can be purchased as a CD or Limited Edition Vinyl here or downloaded here.

“Eliot Bronson” was recorded live in Nashville earlier this year and produced by Dave Cobb, who is the hottest producer today in the category known as Americana (think Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams).

Cobb also produced Jason Isbell’s Southeastern, the best-selling album of the past year, which won Album of the Year at last month’s Americana Honors and Awards show, and Isbell won Artist of the Year.

Also, Cobb’s work on Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music helped him win Emerging Artist of the Year. He’s been profiled in Rolling Stone magazine and by The Wall Street Journal.

As for Eliot, I’ve been listening to music for a very long time, and he’s as talented as they get. I’m not alone: Eliot a few weeks ago won Creative Loafing Best Songwriter in Atlanta. The record is a masterpiece. Everyone who’s heard it agrees. I know you will too.

See you Saturday. Here are the details, and hurry, because it is going to be a sellout.

Eliot Bronson Record Release Party

Eddie’s Attic in Decatur

Saturday, October 25 at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets at EddiesAttic.com

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Lenz TV Commercial Wins Davey Award

Lenz’s 30-second “It Happens” TV commercial, developed in early 2013, recently won Silver in the 2013 Davey Awards. The Davey Awards is an international creative award focused exclusively on honoring outstanding creative work from the best small firms worldwide.

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