Cerion LLC Selects P2R Associates

Cerion_logo_finalLIVONIA, Mich., June 1, 2009 – P2R Associates announced that it has been selected as agency of record for Cerion, LLC of Plymouth, Michigan.

P2R will provide Cerion with a range of integrated communications, corporate positioning and strategic public relations services in support of the company’s business development and marketing initiatives.

Cerion is a privately-held American manufacturing company focused on acquiring and operating small and medium-sized precision component manufacturing operations to serve automotive and other manufacturing industries in the U.S.

“We are delighted to add Cerion to our roster of clients,” said Gordon Cole, president of P2R Associates. “Cerion is quickly building a manufacturing-oriented business focused on providing customers with world-class products and services; we share this vision and are excited to become part of their team.”
Cerion was established in late 2008 with the acquisition of Metavation, and is growing rapidly through strategic acquisitions; the company recently acquired MPI International. Cerion serves a diverse customer base in the automotive, transportation, industrial, energy, consumer and medical markets. More information will soon be available at http://www.cerionllc.com.

About P2R Associates
P2R Associates is an award-winning, strategic public relations and brand communications firm serving a diverse mix of international, national and local companies in a range of industries. Headquartered in Livonia, Mich., P2R provides clients with strategy-driven tactics, superior service and measurable results. For more information, visit http://www.p2rassociates.com.

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Ten Reasons to Hire a Public Relations Firm Now More than Ever

 1. Ready and On-Deck – an extension of a your communication staff, ever ready to provide services that achieve agreed-upon goals, public relations firms provide a critical perspective for clients, keeping them abreast of issues and advising them on the best ways to respond.

2. Objective Expertise – integral and trusted partners, public relations firms provide critical outside perspective and strategic counsel across a full spectrum of communications programs.

3. Stakeholder Engagement and Influence – managing the diplomacy of interaction, public relations firms improve a client’s ability to engage stakeholders such as employees, customers, media, online influencers, community leaders, shareholders and public officials.

4. Voice of the Customer – the ability to persuade through clear explanation, public relations firms help client’s research data and garner third party credibility from targeted media.

5. Messages and Conduits – figuring out the most appropriate message to present to media. The public relations mindset is your natural integrator for developing a comprehensive communications strategy and identifying the best conduits to use. Public relations firms continually fine-tune outreach activities to enhance the relevance of every marketing effort, public relations campaign, and public affairs initiative and/or crisis response.

6. Digital Know-How – because they adapt readily and integrate different communications activities, public relations firms maximize social media platforms and corresponding networks. Public relations firms serve as a combination of communications counselor, navigator and interpreter.

7. Speed to Market – Public relations firms are poised for action, built for speed and conditioned to work in the 24/7 information age. They are results-oriented and focused. By comparison, internal staffs are often bogged down by executive “pet projects” and other internal issues.

8. Fiscally Responsible – hiring a public relations firm can be extremely cost effective relative to the cost of direct employees. Public relations firms can provide peak-load capacity, which can scale up or down as programs ebb and flow. In addition, there are value-added services the firm might subscribe to that greatly enhance any communications programs but would be both costly and problematic for many staffs.

9. Paralysis by Analysis – doing nothing during tough times is not an option for any serious business operation. Public relations firms work with the highest level of corporate executive down to the critical tactical work in the trenches, always making sure clients are prepared and visible and with a higher focus on ROI than many, a firm is better positioned to keep things moving.

10. Cross-Pollination – typically, public relations firms work across multiple industries, geographies and cultures, enabling them to cross-pollinate ideas, providing clients with more robust strategic thinking and more effective marketing communications offerings.

For Business, Public Relations is Becoming an Increasingly Vital Tool

How can we, as public relations practitioners, get a message across to our clients, and potential clients, that speed-to-market, reach, market intelligence stakeholder engagement and objective expertise are the essence of our DNA and more importantly, essential for business success? 

Interestingly, in January Advertising Age magazine predicted that public relations/crisis communications would be among the bright spots in 2009.  B2B magazine also claimed that business-to-business marketers were increasingly turning to public relations for support even as overall budgets are being reduced.  Without seeing the data – we think this makes sense.

 

In 2005, Proctor & Gamble conducted a landmark study involving a marketing mix model for six of their brands over a one to three year period.  P&G found the following:

 

§      PR drives sales, often on a par with advertising

§      PR delivers stellar ROI (275%), much greater than advertising

§      PR provides a halo effect over other marketing tactics

 

These findings coincide with P2R’s experience, especially with respect to public relations delivering a better return on investment and providing a halo effect.  Our guess is that public relations’ greater credibility is the reason.  For consumers and an ever-more news hungry population, credibility seems increasingly to be the tool-of-choice for breaking through what has become a cacophony of marketing messages.  Research bears this out in yet another example.

 

A 2006 survey of marketers conducted by The Association of National Advertisers (ANA), ranked public relations number one in terms of its overall value to the enterprise.  Additionally, The Economist magazine stated, “For business, public relations is an increasingly vital marketing tool – especially as traditional forms of advertising struggle to catch consumers’ attention.” 

 

At P2R Associates – we’re delighted to see that what many have known for a long time is becoming a growing awareness.  Three major industry publications and a marketing giant all believe that public relations holds the key to helping businesses compete and succeed in these trying economic times. 

 

It is important that agencies trust their judgment, get back to the basics, focus on their strengths, then identify what works and move forward.  We need to communicate results and show both existing and prospective clients how public relations impacts business and contributes to bottom line success – however difficult it might appear to be to do so.

Marketing Communications in a Down Economy; Evaluate, Engage & Empower

Down economy? Declining sales? Layoffs on the horizon? Hunker down and wait it out? Never! Any company that intentionally pulls itself from the radar screens of potential and existing customers will find itself on a slippery road to the scrap heap and seriously behind more forward-thinking competitors when things turn around.

Smart companies exploit an economic downturn by identifying and meeting customer needs that their competitors cannot. Needs that often customers don’t even see. The market is changing, the world is changing. Companies can’t just stay on the sidelines and wait for the playing field to level out. Customers need new and innovative products and services. These are things your company has the brainpower to design, develop and bring to market. Unfortunately, this outlook is counter-intuitive in many traditional-thinking firms.

Faced with economic hard times, many companies look to eliminate communications and marketing budgets as a way to reduce costs. However, the actual effect is to reduce revenues, and the medium- and long-term consequences are often worse than the illusory short-term benefits.

In this era of near-instant communication and media saturation, an opportunity lost is not easily won back and the being “quick to market” generates momentum that becomes a hurdle to competitors. Conversely, absence from the marketplace sends the wrong message to customers, suppliers, potential investors, employees and bold competitors. For these reasons, it is vital to maintain a presence, engage the marketplace, and be visible – with the right message – to all stakeholders.

Communicating during a recession is not business as usual. A recession should shake up the creative juices of a company. The phrase – “but we’ve always done it that way,” should be banished from a company’s vocabulary and replaced with “what can we do that is different?” “How can we be of greater value?” A recession creates the opportunity and motivation for a shift in thinking and opportunities for success.

If your marketing and communications activities have been operating in their own little world, now is the time to evaluate, engage and empower – partnering inward focus with outward success. This is the heart of what we call our  P2R e³ Process™.

Evaluate – review and audit perceptions and programs. This can be done by interviewing company executives, managers, sales force, admins, customers and suppliers, industry and media, and assessing company marketing materials and brands. This method produces some surprises, but in the end almost always leads to a stronger company with a more thorough understanding of its strengths, market and opportunities for growth.

Engage – with the information garnered from the evaluation stage, create a road map for communications, utilizing all the elements and attributes of your business and marketing plan – both informal and formal. Leave no constituency unattended. Now is the time to be creative. This approach paves the way through the clutter and helps companies reach customers, investors and other key audiences with a clear, unified message.

Empower – give employees a role in creating and strategically executing the new marketing communications plan – one fully aligned with business objectives, and launched through integrated communications activities aimed at employees, customers, suppliers and all other critical stakeholders. Leave no stone unturned. Now is the time to innovate. Build on your strengths, radiate optimism, seize the marketing initiative.

Many companies think the job is done when the communications program has been launched. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Companies need to constantly monitor communications programs, assess progress, re-evaluate and adjust where necessary, re-engage audiences and track success. Get rid of what doesn’t work, refine and hone what does. Reach out to customers, employees and all other stakeholders. Question assumptions, encourage adventure and reward smart thinkers.

This continuous improvement cycle brings a focus on objectives and a freshness to the effort. It maintains a “front-of-mind” presence with your stakeholders through the positive messages you create, making you – not competitors or external forces – the manager of your reputation and the keeper of your brand. Success should be measured against pre-determined metrics established during evaluate and engage activities.

Developing and maintaining a consistent cadence of information to the marketplace is crucial to communication, marketing and branding success. The idea is to keep your message constant and your voice clear.

Wise CEOs refuse to let other priorities cloud a steadfast focus on their marketing, brand communications and public relations. Instead, they work to build and leverage their brand reputation through integrated communications activities directed to all stakeholders.

In a recent American Marketing Association survey, 63 percent of respondents said companies investing in brand building activities during an economic downturn can lessen its effect – and history supports their view. Companies that maintain or even increase marketing spending benefit from the silence of others. In fact, a recent study by the World Advertising Research Center concluded “that brands with sustained advertising expenditure through recessions have a competitive advantage.”

Another study by International Survey Research underscored the importance of employee communications. It found dramatically better financial performance in companies with highly engaged employees compared to those with low employer engagement. While the competition mindlessly cuts costs, fully engaged and empowered firms were better positioned to both increase market share and maximize revenue.

Even McKinsey makes the point. In a 2002 study of best and worst performers, researchers found that one of the most significant differences between winners and losers was with respect to their spending on marketing and advertising during a recession. The best performers actually increased spending in these areas – not just relative to their competitors, but compared to their own spending in better times. Interestingly, a 2005 study conducted by the International Journal of Research in Marketing reached the very same conclusions.

During a recession, many companies grow. After a recession, some companies grow faster than the competition. This is more likely if they have: new products and services that fit customer needs better; engaged, enthusiastic people who creatively collaborate; an absence of assumptions and an aligned and streamlined business that continues to execute its strategic vision. Focused communications across the spectrum of the business environment is the means through which these things are achieved.

While communication is an often-overlooked, misunderstood and underutilized business tool; in reality it is a vital, integrated “force-multiplier” for a business as critical to success as cash management. Indeed – an effective and sustained integrated brand communications effort is a fundamental driver of cash-flow, stability and long-term success.