Have you joined my incredibly non-annoying, once-in-a-while email newsletter?
If you run your own shop, or even if you’re just in the PR, marketing or advertising industry, how many times a week do you get calls from companies that are too small for your services, (i.e., they don’t need a full scale PR plan, they just need a logo, a corporate identity, and a mission statement) or a call from a “friend,” asking for “advice?”
I get it pretty much weekly, if not more. And I usually offer my advice for free, because, well, I’m nice.
Problem is, I never know where to send these people. None of my friends would work on a $400-$800 (total) account, and there’s no point in sending them to a big agency, right? I mean, retainers of $5-10k a month aren’t big enough for the big agencies, how would they handle it if someone called and said “I run a dry cleaning service, I need a marketing strategy?”
Unfortunately, 93% of small businesses in the United States are just that, and don’t fall under the “we’re big enough for Edelman,” umbrella. Heck, they don’t even fall under the “I’m big enough for Peter” umbrella.
So what to do?
I was introduced to a company a few months ago by a former client – This gentleman ran the largest franchise of stores around the country that allowed you to bypass the “$600 per hour lawyer” route when all you needed was a simple will or a basic incorporation. He’d heard of another business that was similar to his first one, but for the marketing and advertising world.
It was called PRstore.
He immediately got involved. When he called me and asked if I’d be willing to handle PRstore’s PR, my first thought was of that far side cartoon, where the Cow is grilling a steak, and his cow-friends are looking at him in horror and disgust. Why would I want to rep a company designed to take business away from me?
Then, after asking some friends, it became pretty obvious that, well, they did nothing of the sort.
Rather, PRstore gives small businesses who couldn’t afford me, Edelman, Crispin Porter, or anyone in between, the opportunity to work with professionals in the advertising and marketing world. It gives them access to a stable of designers via DesignCentral, a process by which all the PRstores around the country tap into the design abilities of an incredibly talented design pool.
What laundromat or bakery do you know who has immediate access to 50 freelance designers, copywriters, layout artists, and marketing gurus?
They’re a rapidly growing franchise, and based on preliminary discussions I’ve had with a few business reporters, they’re the kind of “a-ha” idea that would garner some good press from some major publications.
Remember life before Kinko’s? You had to go to a printing store and hope that your little 30-piece order wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. PRstore is the same thing, taken up a few notches. And, despite the name, PR accounts for maybe 2% of their business. They’re not out pitching the New York Times or Washington Post. Rather, they’re helping small businesses figure out what their story is, and the best way to tell it.
And honestly – what small business doesn’t need that?
Anyhow, I’m curious as to your thoughts – I know some of the best and brightest minds in the PR world read my blog – I’d be curious to hear what you think of the newest planet in my client galaxy.
The release is below. Happy Thursday, everyone.
PRstore Taps Geek Factory PR as Agency of Record
Marketing Superstore chooses NYC Boutique PR/Marketing Firm to handle communications during period of massive growth.
New York, NY (PRWEB) August 9, 2007 — The Geek Factory, a PR and marketing agency founded by PR Veteran Peter Shankman, today announced that PRstore, a national marketing and advertising franchise, is the newest addition to their client roster.
Currently, 93% of all businesses in the United States are small businesses, and the majority of those can’t afford a traditional marketing agency. PRstore steps in to fill that void, offering easily accessible, one-stop shopping for all the marketing needs of a business, be it a corporate identity, creative copy, advertising, branding, or even a logo.
The irony of a franchise system like PRstore hiring a public relations agency isn’t lost, on the company, either.
“We realized that while our customers don’t necessarily need to hire a full-scale public relations or marketing agency to get their message across, we do, to reach a much broader audience. We’re thrilled to be working with the creative minds at The Geek Factory,” said PRstore CEO Daniel S. Fragen.
Currently in 20 states and at 40 stores, PRstore went through an exhaustive search process before choosing The Geek Factory as their agency of record.
“I think any PR or marketing agency in the world can see that there are small business that simply do not need the services of a full-scale agency, and it would be unethical of any agency in the industry to try and convince them otherwise,” said Peter Shankman, CEO of The Geek Factory. “To finally have a place where these businesses can go and get exactly what they need without breaking the bank is what excited us most about the possibility of working with PRstore,” he said.
PRstore is a full-service marketing store offering expert advice and creative services to help small business owners establish and communicate their message and increase their sales. PRstore serves small businesses and organizations whose budgets are too small for more traditional marketing and public relations agencies. A fast-growing national retail franchise, PRstore has 40 stores in 20 states and operates under the corporate name of PRS Franchise Systems, LLC. It is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.
About the Geek Factory, Inc.
Recognized as a leader in “non-traditional” public relations campaigns, The Geek Factory is a New York City based agency with clients worldwide. The Geek Factory’s disciplines circumnavigate the marketing globe, with practices in PR, events, consumer, business to business, celebrity, and crisis management. More information may be found at http://www.geekfactory.com