Sunday, August 29, 2010

PR Icing on the Cake For Tom & Eddie's Debut

A great, busy week wrapping up for Inside Edge PR, with much of it revolving around Tom & Eddie's hugely successful Grand Opening on Friday at the Shops on Butterfield at Yorktown Center in Lombard.

For a PR sampling, simply type "Good Taste Guard" into Google and see what pops up first.

As of this moment, it's this news release on an unorthodox step that Tom & Eddie's took to secure an extraordinary "cheeseburger cake" created by La Petite Sweet of Westmont in conjunction with the Grand Opening.

You can also see learn more about the making of the cake in this Q & A that I conducted with La Petite Sweet's Diane Eenigenburg during Tom & Eddie's VIP Party. (That's me, in the photo below, standing on Friday in front of Tom & Eddie's.)

Clearly, not your run-of-the-mill restaurant debut.
Of course, it's all for naught if the food isn't any good.

Fortunately, what is plainly evident is that the food is fantastic, from a positive review by the Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel to rave remarks on Tom & Eddie's Facebook Fan Page.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Growing A Facebook Family With Tom & Eddie's

One of Inside Edge PR's favorite clients, Tom & Eddie's, is ramping up quickly toward its Grand Opening at the Yorktown Mall in Lombard, Ill. on Friday.

The past few weeks, in a complementary role to the outstanding lead work provided by Ginny Richardson Public Relations, one of my primary responsibilities has been posting content and providing updates to the restaurant's Facebook Fan Page.

An especially fun subplot the past few days has been spurring on comments via contests offering tickets to the Sneak Peek & Eats "soft opening" that began Monday and ends on Wednesday.

For example, in tonight's contest, we ask Fans to share another Tom & Eddie combination (other than Tom Dentice & Ed Rensi, the restaurant's co-founders, pictured below with business columnist and media personality Terry Savage).

Over the last three hours, from "Tom Brokaw and Eddie Van Halen" to "Tommy Tutone and Eddie Albert," there have been more than 15 responses. Meanwhile, the Facebook Fan base grows daily by more than a dozen individuals.

By the way, Sneak Peek & Eats is much more than fostering good will by providing free meals.

Akin to Major League pitchers and catchers being the first to report for Spring Training, it's a time for the entire restaurant team to begin working out some kinks and get ready for the public opening.

In much the same way, generating a lively, ongoing conversation on Facebook is not some frivolous exercise. Rather, it's an effective way to build community even as you are responsive to the views of those who choose to join that community.

When individuals feel that their voices are being heard, respected--and rewarded, on occasion--then they are much more likely to suggest their friends join in as well, and to talk favorably about a given brand or business in their day-to-day travels and interactions.

One last note: did you know you could win a weekly free burger meal for life when you come to Tom & Eddie's during its Grand Opening on Friday? And this prize isn't too shabby, either: a free weekly burger meal for a year--80 individuals will get that reward.

Check out this GR-PR news release for those and many other details.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home Insulation Tips Expand Comfort Zone

One of the cool things about working with a variety of clients is that it stretches me well beyond my comfort zone. Really, a more apt word than "comfort" might be "familiarity": it's not so much that I'm initially uncomfortable with a given industry, or topic within that industry, as I am largely clueless about it.

In the process of being thrust beyond my comfort, or familiarity, zone, I gradually expand what is comfortable, or familiar, to me.

A recent case in point: talking with Scott Grafft (pictured) of EnergyMen to gather enough raw material to write a news release about home insulation, on behalf of EnergyMen, the company that Scott and Gary Quateman operate.

The Chicago-based firm personifies its work as "Home Comfort Heroes" as EnergyMen helps homeowners transform their abodes into energy-efficient shape.

I am not handy around the house--I have trouble locating the toolbox, let alone figuring out why my wife is asking me to grab a wrench that some guy named Allen apparently left behind years ago.

But in time, through working with EnergyMen, I am confident that I'll at least be able to start talking a good house game. You can see the news release, "Home Insulation: 3 Keys to Energy Efficiency," at

Oh, and one last thing: Allen, if you're out there somewhere, drop me a line and we'll figure out a way to get this wrench back into your hands.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When's The Best Time To Send a News Release?

If it's Friday, then that must mean it's time to squeeze in that media outreach campaign before reporters, editors, producers and other news-disseminating decision-makers take their weekend break.


Generally speaking--and unless it's such an urgent matter that your piece of news positively, absolutely must get out pronto--you are better off holding off until the following Monday or Tuesday.

Why is that? For the answer, just click on my Tip of the Inside Edge video clip below.

For more from my video archive, click on the Inside Edge PR channel.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Partnering With J.C. Restoration & EnergyMen

It's been exceedingly hectic at Inside Edge PR the last month, so today's ditty will consist of a brief mention of two firms that have recently retained Inside Edge PR.

(Come to think of it, their addition has been a significant reason for the rapid pace of work.)

One is Rolling Meadows-based J.C. Restoration and the other is EnergyMen, with Chicago headquarters and clientele throughout the region.

More details of each firm in the time to come.

Meantime, check out this Warner Cruz profile, about J.C. Restoration's president being named Small Business Person of the Year for Illinois, and 2nd Runner-Up nationally.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Not Shy About Sharing My Parenting Column

Over the first three years of my twin children's lives, I blogged extensively for the Chicago Parent website.

One of those pieces related the rationale for my antipathy toward the potentially harmful (and often inaccurate) characterization of children as "shy." It was published recently as the "Family Guy" column in Broward Family Life, a parenting publication in Florida.

Editors aptly fashioned this headline: "Sticks and Stones: Words That Wound Are Not Always the Obvious Ones."

Broward Family Life also published a Father's Day tribute that I wrote about my dad in May 2008.

I realize the image of the page on which my recent column appears (above) is as decipherable as hyeroglyphics. If you want to read the piece, you can click here and scroll to page 39.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Entrepreneur Features My Blagojevich PR Stunt

Nearly a week after closing arguments in former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial, the jury is still out on whether he is bound for the slammer, a reality TV show, or somewhere in between.

But, at least, has weighed in with a verdict on a Blago-inspired PR stunt that Inside Edge PR concocted for a hair salon client, Charo's Hair Design and Day Spa of Elmwood Park, Ill.

The stunt, chronicled previously in this blog, came on the heels of Blago's arrest some 20 months ago.

In a piece that appeared online Tuesday, freelance writer Geoff Williams deemed the stunt to be a flop, though he did note some up-side as well. He also covered nine other PR stunts and teased out lessons from each, making it relevant material for anyone in the public relations and marketing fields.

I really don't mind the "flop" characterization.

As Williams rightly notes, "Blagojevich didn't take the salon up on the offer; he likely didn't see much of an upside to accepting. A smattering of local outlets reported on the gimmick, but the stunt went nowhere."

On the positive side, Williams wrote, "It's good practice to invent marketing stunts that won't cost you much if they don't go anywhere. Baron doesn't think Charo got a lot of business from the stunt, but she didn't lose any time or money, either. Try to avoid a marketing stunt that, if it fails, could cost you a lot of time and money that you can't afford to lose."

And here in August 2010, the hairy hijinks did get some more national publicity, with links to both the Inside Edge PR website and that of Charo's Hair Design.

How fortuitous, too, that it comes at a time when Blago is very much on the collective public's mind. Who knows? Maybe he will still take up Charo on her offer, which is good through January 2011.

If so, you can be sure that I'll appeal to to alter its "flop" verdict.