KMB Welcomes the Season of Gratitude

KMB Gratitude

If you’re like us, your inbox and RSS feeds are filled with posts about gratitude. As we approach the official start of the holiday season, it is definitely time to give thanks for what we have.

No, the world (still) isn’t perfect. But if we look within to identify our blessings, we can certainly find good in our own little corner of the planet. We believe this is true no matter what your personal challenges may be.

For those of us who are also blessed with a strong support network, good friends, and thriving businesses, it is even more important to recognize and give thanks to those who have helped us on our journey.

And… let’s be honest. Sometimes it’s nice to be on the receiving end of a heartfelt “thank you,” as well.

Thank you card from OneVision Resources to KMB

No Thanks Needed… But Always Appreciated!
KMB client Joey Kolchinsky of OneVision Resources recently sent KMB’s Chief Strategist Katye (McGregor) Bennett a handwritten thank you note, thanking her for the guidance she’s provided over the last two years. This included helping to navigate a business model pivot, develop a content strategy, and write an interview for the Boston Voyager, a local lifestyle publication that shares stories of successful Bostonians.

During Azione Unlimited’s Fall Conference, panelists discussed the significant benefits they’ve seen from writing thank you cards to clients, partners, and employees. Panelists mentioned more motivated employees, more loyal clients, and better overall relationships as some of the advantages gained.

In this age of digital communications, taking time to write a handwritten thank you card shows you genuinely care. It’s more than just saying the words; it’s articulating and delivering a heartfelt message.

The little things matter. And that’s what we specialize in here at KMB. Our clients share this philosophy, as exemplified in Joey’s note.

In Praise of Cards and Cookies
Admittedly, at KMB Communications we are kind of crazy about cards. Katye typically sends a handwritten thank you inside a whimsical or timely greeting card each month. I look forward to these uplifting notes for a smile (and often a laugh) after closing out yet another intense month with the KMB team.

This month, I got home-baked cookies, too. And let me say: Cookies are also a pretty great way to say thank you. (My six-year-old son thought so, too.)

As we enter into one of the most stressful, intense times of the year, when work commitments, holiday shopping, gatherings, and parties all coincide, many of us will be rushing to write our annual holiday greeting cards. Just another must-do on our holiday to-do list.

But how many other times during the year do you reach out and let the people in your network know how much you really appreciate them?  Whether through a phone call, a handwritten card, or a small token of appreciation, it’s smart to share your gratitude in a more personal way.

It feels good. It makes others feel good. And now more than ever, people need just a little more happiness.

#OptOutside And Show Gratitude With Us
In past years, we’ve asked our social network, friends, clients and colleagues to consider skipping the Black Friday crowds, which take time away from family, friends, and loved ones during the holiday weekend. Instead, #OptOutside. An initiative launched several years ago by outdoor retailer REI, #OptOutside has gained momentum as new family traditions are formed. Members of the KMB  team will be outdoors hiking, picnicking, and even possibly snowboarding—but definitely relaxing this Black Friday. We hope you’ll join us. (If you do, please tag @KMB_Comm and share your photos using #OptOutside.)

Just one more thing (as Steve Jobs would say). We hope you will take the effort to share your appreciation for someone who means a lot to you. Perhaps it’s a mentor who helped you in your business. A friend who is always there with the perfect adult beverage and a shoulder to cry on. An employee who consistently gets it right.

Or maybe it’s your favorite AV manufacturer, making it easier for you to enjoy the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football, or your favorite holiday films with superior sound and image fidelity.

Who will you thank this week? Catch us on Twitter let us know using #KMBGratitude.

 

 

 

 

KMB Communications Celebrates Five Years of Success

KMB Communications, international PR and strategic communications firm dedicated to the pro, commercial, and custom AV integration markets, is proud to announce we are celebrating our five-year anniversary today, August 8, 2016. KMB 5 Year Anniversary-1650x1650

As small business owners, we’re all too familiar with dismal statistics that show the vast number of small businesses that fold within the first year. Not only has KMB bucked those odds, but we’re proud to say that, as we celebrate our fifth year in business, we’re stronger, larger, and more successful than we ever thought possible.

Now, let’s just stop for a moment and say this. We know that statement above sounds pretty braggy – but if you know us you know that isn’t the point of the story, and definitely not our way. Instead, it is meant to say that it’s with sincere gratitude and pride we share these facts:

  • KMB Communications now reps two Academy Award-winning firms, both with rich histories in Hollywood sound and video.
  • We represent many esteemed brands, including multiple award winners from various organizations in a number of categories. Several of our clients (both technologists and manufacturers) have entered the CEDIA awards, and we are eagerly awaiting the results!
  • KMB has increased its staff to include more writers, a graphic designer, a social media manager, and a project manager to keep us all on track.
  • We have expanded our services to include blogging, website copy, and social media in addition to public relations, and will soon spin-off our photography and video production, which now includes projects from scripts and shooting to final production. CreatAV Productions will come online in Q3 2016 to support the growing needs of this part of our business.
  • We’ve partnered with UK-based Wildwood PR to further support the AV industry here in the states and across the world.

As we look back in our fifth year in the PR business, we couldn’t be more grateful for the industry that has given us these opportunities, and to our mentors, partners, friends, and peers that provided us the support and guidance that shaped our careers in the years preceding the launch of KMB Communications. Stay tuned for another post that shares stories and thanks all who have contributed to our success.

KMB Communications, The Year In Review

The past five years have been incredible and the past year has kept us busier than ever. We’ve been to Amsterdam and the UK, and our work has landed clients on the cover of CE Pro, with an in-depth feature story inside the magazine. (Thanks Jason and Julie!) We’ve spearheaded successful ISE, InfoComm, and CEDIA campaigns for clients, co-hosted a regular industry podcast, organized several product reviews for clients, and represented multi-award-winning  product manufacturers and integrators, while still finding time to assist in the launch of a new album and music video for rock band Stranded by Choice.

And that’s the short list! It could go on aBeautyLoveDond on. Frankly, it makes our heads spin a little. We’ve ramped up our social media efforts and now have several channels along with this blog so our partners, peers, and prospects can continue to learn more about our clients, their many successes, and how we elevate and amplify their messages to the world.

It’s All for Our Clients

We are blessed and honored to have amazing clients with product offerings that are changing, evolving, and even disrupting the industry. While it’s easy to promote brands when they have a compelling story to tell, it’s the job of the KMB team to hone in on that story, and then elevate and amplify it across all channels. Whether we are writing and distributing press releases, writing blog posts, creating and amplifying hashtags, editing white papers, shooting photos, creating videos, assisting at trade shows, or spending hours and hours on conference calls to connect our clients with top media outlets and influencers – we always have our clients’ stories at the top of our minds. We make sure those stories get told—in a compelling way that is consistent with the brand. BabcockNMilesWine

For what it’s worth,we’re loving every minute of it. All of us on the KMB team come to the company either as veterans of the AV industry or as professionals with a passion for music and movies. We’ll discuss these connections between the AV industry and the content creators—the musicians and movie-makers that provide a purpose for the entire AV industry —in the future. We’re even talking with some major organizations to bridge the gap between the technology and the content in very compelling, tangible ways.

We’re very fortunate that our success, to date, allows us these opportunities to reach farther, to take time out to think creatively, and to continue having so much fun together while serving our clients.

Although the KMB team works remotely in locations ranging from Red Lodge, Montana, to Denver, Colorado; Southern California; Long Island, New York, and parts in between, we really are a team that has as much fun working as we do brainstorming virtually over wine in the late evening hours or in the early mornings over coffee.

And while we recognize it’s Monday, tradition dictates we will all pour a glass tonight in celebration of five years of success—ours and our clients— with great anticipation of what the next five years will bring – and many more after that. Please join us on Twitter or Facebook, share your libation of choice (even if it’s a cool sparkling water), and your plans, goals, and dreams for the next five years!

And, hey, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer. Want your story articulated, elevated, and amplified? We’re here to help, and rest assured, we’ll have a ton of fun along the way.

Network & Connect at the SoCal Technology & Business Summit

Network & Connect at the SoCal Technology & Business Summit

KMB Communications attends SoCal Technology & Business Summits with clients.

Show of hands, please. How many of you are attending the SoCal Technology and Business Summits May 3 in Los Angeles or May 5 in Orange County, California?

This free show, which includes breakfast and lunch networking opportunities, seminars worth CEDIA CEU credits, and the chance to visitSoCal-Technology with a long list of top manufacturers as well as their rep partners, is now in its eighth year and going strong.

The Summit is organized and managed by industry veteran Mark Cichowski and sponsored by independent manufacturer rep firms in Southern California: AV Partners, ByDesign Vision & Sound, Calwest Marketing, Chris Dixon Company, I Rep Green, Morris Tait Associates, Paul Collins Group, ProWest Sales, and Studio Decor.

Here at KMB, we are biased about the value of regional rep trade shows on a number of levels:

  • Our chief strategist, Katye (McGregor) Bennett, used to run a rep and distributor-based regional trade show in Dallas
  • Most of KMB’s clients are participating in the Tech & Business Summits
  • Summit founder Mark Cichowski has invited and commissioned KMB Communications to shoot video at the event

Keeping all this in mind, we firmly believe – and always have – that regional trade shows provide a tremendous opportunity for small-to-mid-size technology professionals to break through the noise of national and international shows and learn so much about the brands they carry. These shows offer the time, space, and place to understand the products, partners, and technology that make custom integrators successful, and to develop close working relationships with your rep partners and peers.

CEDIA also recognizes the value and fully supports these shows, which brings manufacturers’ reps and distributors together with their direct customers in a laidback setting where they can share ideas, ask and answer questions, and network. (And did we mention technology professionals can earn CEU credits?)

What You Can Do at a Regional Show

As much as the larger trade shows have incredible value, it’s challenging for smaller technology professionals to get an audience with larger manufacturers. You’ll get your badge scanned and receive a product overview from the sales team, but rarely will you gain a real understanding of the product’s benefits and applications. Regional shows can provide in-depth understanding of how to sell and integrate the newest technology, and also afford you the chance to really get to know the people you do business with.

If you have ideas to bring to the table, your regional rep has the time to listen and pass your feedback directly on to the manufacturer. You may even have the opportunity to share your ideas directly with your favorite manufacturers. But – as with any trade shows – it’s about much more than just what happens on the show floor.

SoCal Technology

John and Katye get ready for another trip!

The breakfast and lunch networking events offer multiple opportunities to strengthen relationships. Or maybe you can hang out in the hotel bar after the show closes for the day and grab a drink with the marketing manager for a company whose products you respect, but have had a few small issues with in recent times. Maybe you have suggestions to improve these products. A regional show gives you the chance to have your voice heard and fast-track relationships to be more productive back in the office.

As the Summit’s official press releases states: “The intimate venue and focused displays encourage an interactive environment where dealers truly get to talk with the exhibitors as opposed to doing a ‘fly-by.’”

Think about it as you make your travel plans: How can you be an active participant in the industry with your local rep show as the catalyst?

KMB Connects

With many of our clients, including Stewart Filmscreen, Ihiji, Quantum Media Systems, Datasat, and Torus Power (represented by AV Partners) products on display, KMB will be onhand to support our clients, helping elevate and amplifying their messaging to media, bloggers, and podcasters in attendance.

We have also been commissioned to shoot video for the Summit, capturing not just the new products and the technology, but the essence of this regional show.

And, like the integrators in attendance, we plan to use this show to connect more deeply with our clients and meet face-to-face with peers and prospects. KMB Communications recognizes we are not a “big fish” either, but a highly personalized, specialized, boutique PR firm in the industry. The “small pond” of the SoCal Technology and Business Summit gives us a chance to shine in an intimate setting and form synergistic relationships with companies whose products and services complement our existing client base.

We are looking forward to this event for so many reasons… and we hope to see you there. So mark your calendars (oh, wait, the show is already on THE AV Industry Calendar, an online resource brought to you by the founder of the Summit, Mark Cichowski) for the SoCal Tech & Business Summit.

KMB Communications Celebrates Earth Day 2016

KMB Communications Celebrates Earth Day 2016

Will you join us in our efforts to reduce, re-use, and recycle?

It’s Earth Day! The audio visual industry is not, by any means, what some people would consider “green.” The products manufactured and the systems built all require electricity and some contribution to the world’s carbon footprint.

By the same token, technologies designed and installed by those in the industry — videoconferencing, telepresence, and remote network monitoring and management, to name just a few – can help organizations substantially reduce their carbon footprint on an enterprise level.

To put it another way: Working, as we do, in the technology field, gives us many opportunities to reduce our own carbon footprint and look for ways to reduce, re-use, and recycle.

International Collaboration, Low Carbon Footprint

For the last four years, KMB Communications has run a virtual office from the founders’ home in Red Lodge, Montana. As the company expands, this virtual office format has enabled us to work with partners across the country and across the globe. With team members in Southern California, Denver, and New York, as well as our partnership with UK-based PR firm Wildwood Communications, KMB is truly a global company, yet with a minimal carbon footprint that includes energy efficient computer systems and our eyes on additional ways to conserve energy.

We did the math, and discovered that the KMB team saves an estimated, collective 80 gallons of gasoline per week by working from home instead of commuting daily to the nearest cities. It’s kind of mind-boggling.

A More Sustainable Lifestyle

“Our location in the mountains gives us the opportunity to practice a more sustainable lifestyle,” notes KMB Chief Strategist Katye (McGregor) Bennett.

For instance, the Bennetts are able to forego daily home mail delivery and, instead, pick their mail up a few days a week from the local post office. They frequently enjoy farm-to-table dining at a number of local establishments.

And, on Earth Day, the entire KMB team, from Red Lodge to New York, has considered ways they can help the environment by reducing, re-using, and recycling.

Taking Action on Earth Day

The KMB Communications team is:eWaste

– Taking 305lbs. of e-waste to the local recycling facility
– Safely disposing of 7 lbs. of batteries
– Returning 223 plastic and glass bottles for recycling
– Donating five bags of clothing to local charity groups
– Donating 18 books to the local library

 

How Our Clients Help Save the Earth

Many of our clients are green, too. For instance, implementing Ihiji solutions helps integrators and technology professionals reduce truck rolls and carbon emissions with remote networking monitoring and management of client systems. D-Tools helps integrators streamline office processes with a paperless system. And telepresence and video conferencing systems that reduce travel for corporations often use screens by Stewart Filmscreen. Paired with an energy-efficient laser or hybrid projector, such systems not only show a tangible monetary return-on-investment over time, but they also reduce an organization’s carbon footprint by reducing travel and enabling daily telecommuting for employees.

How are YOU “living green” this Earth Day? Let’s continue the digital dialogue on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

5 Steps to Using Content Marketing in the AV Industry

5 Steps to Using Content Marketing in the AV Industry

Increase visibility, build trust, and drive leads through strategic communications.

As a public relations and strategic communications firm, we’ve noticed the content marketing trend has been growing in the AV industry. In the past several weeks, we’ve had new clients and existing clients, alike, sign on for assistance with their inbound marketing strategy and content creation to supplement their PR program through KMB Communications.

One of the benefits to using a single firm to manage PR and content marketing (and possibly even social media management, too) is to ensure consistency of messaging and adherence to your company’s overall marketing strategy.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing, sometimes called inbound marketing, uses high-quality content to build trust and establish your company as an information resource for your customers. Content marketing helps:

    Drive traffic to your site
    Establish your brand as a trusted industry resource
    Build relationships
    Place your website on or near the top page in Google’s organic search results
    Create conversions to increase ROI

When you put a strong content marketing plan together with a strategic PR plan, you’ll see the benefits of increased visibility across all channels – print media, online media, social media, and search. Whether you hire an outside firm or opt to manage your content marketing campaigns yourself, these five steps can help drive your success.

1. Determine the components of your content program.

Content marketing includes blog posts, guest posts placed on other sites, editorial features written for magazines, videos, and even social media posts written to promote it all. (Although this last point often falls into a separate realm of “social media strategy.”)

Decide on the length, frequency, and format of your content. Are you creating weekly, mid-length posts? Weekly posts and some long-form content like case studies or white papers monthly? Do you want to blog daily, providing short news bytes of information with meatier posts presented weekly? Are you producing videos? How often?

Remember, a larger budget allocation allows your company to push out more content and see results faster.

Don’t forget to incorporate photos, videos, and infographics into your overall plan. When information is paired with a relevant graphic, people remember 65 percent of the information three days later, and content with an image gets 94 percent more views than content without a graphic, according to a report by Hubspot. We understand that finding the perfect graphic or creating videos can be a drain on resources — but a full-scale communications agency is here to make content marketing easier for you.

Visuals are important. Get the picture? Image credit: HubSpot / CMO Council

Visuals are important. Get the picture?
Image credit: HubSpot / CMO Council

2. Outline Topics

Before you launch a content marketing initiative consider your overall communications strategy. To ensure consistent messaging, your blog, along with case studies, editorial features, and guest blog posts should be in alignment with your other marketing initiatives.

Build your content around events like trade shows and new product launches to ensure a steady pipeline of newsworthy material.

Ask your sales team what questions their prospects ask most frequently. You’ll find tons of post ideas in their responses. After a few brainstorming sessions between your content writers and your sales team, you should have enough ideas to fill an Excel sheet.

Be open to course corrections based on industry news and trends or posts that did extremely well and may deserve a follow-up post to capitalize on the buzz and keep the Web traffic rolling in.

Since marketing campaigns, strategies, and tactics in many companies change weekly (if not daily or even hourly!) your outline should be an ever-evolving document.


3. Begin publishing content and track your results.

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Many professional bloggers use Google Analytics for tracking their traffic but there are plenty of ways to measure your hits and, of course, conversions that you can follow back to content creation. Whatever method you use, follow it closely, tracking results weekly.

4. Keep going when the going is good.

There comes a time in the life cycle of inbound marketing when those involved forget what has created such tremendous results. We may get spoiled by the number of leads pouring in and the new business the website generates, and we think we can pull back. The business owner may think, “We’re getting such good traffic, we don’t need to promote anymore.”

Which is, of course, the exact opposite of what they should be thinking, which is: “Wow, look at the results! I wonder how much more the business would grow if we expanded the budget and doubled our efforts?!”

5. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Regular, high-quality content and community interaction generates leads. When you’re in the beginning stages, you may not get much feedback. Keep going. And when it’s going well, consider ramping up those efforts to push out more content and generate even more leads.

Revisit your strategy quarterly (at least) in order to continue creating more of the kinds of content that generates the best results.

A strategic communications firm that knows the ropes and has years of experience with multiple aspects of inbound marketing, along with traditional PR outreach and marketing strategy, can help you make the necessary course corrections and keep you on track to help your business grow through the power of content marketing.

Are you ready to experience the power of content marketing as part of your company’s overall PR and communications strategy? KMB Communications can help.

KMB Communications Branches Out with New Clients

KMB Communications Branches Out with New Clients

OneVision Resources, Multimedia Resource Group, and Datasat Digital Entertainment sign KMB for PR & Communications Strategy.

It’s been a busy first quarter for KMB Communications. Truth be told, it feels like we haven’t stopped since CEDIA 2015, when we first began building the relationships that resulted in signing three new clients for 2016, with several others in the works.

(Shameless self-promotion: The KMB team is busy, but we’re continuing to strategically grow, work even more efficiently, and add services to accommodate our expanding client list. If you’re interested in seeing how a strategic PR and communications plan can help your company, reach out today.)

We’re going to be honest.

This post is hard to write. As public relations professionals, we’re very used to touting our clients’ vast accomplishments. But talking about ourselves? We don’t find that quite as easy. So, instead, we’re going to do what we do best and talk about our clients, why they are such a good fit for the KMB family and most importantly, how they can help members of the press with news leads, interesting perspectives on timely topics, and observations on industry trends.

OneVision Resources

Talk about starting big. Our first placement for Boston, Massachusetts-based OneVision Resources is a cover story in the April 2016 issue of CE Pro Magazine. A huge thank you goes to editor-in-chief Jason Knott for his care, attention and great reporting on OneVision-Coverthis piece!

OneVision is, perhaps, one of our most unique clients to date, and one of our first forays out of the manufacturing side. A former custom integrator that pivoted its business model to focus on providing service in a white-label capacity to other home technology professionals, getting the story out about OVR required careful consideration, hours of phone calls, and endless drafts of copy. We want to make sure the OVR mission, vision, and service offerings are crystal clear to those in the industry. We see how so many integrators could benefit from it because we’ve worked with Ihiji in this space for seven years.

With his background as an integrator and his entrepreneurial business sense, OneVision Founder Joey Kolchinsky provides a unique perspective on a number of technology topics, from smart home integration to earning recurring monthly revenue through service contracts. We’re sure the industry will be hearing more from Joey in a variety of outlets in the months to come.

Datasat Digital Entertainment

A leader in the field of professional cinema technology (much like long-time client Stewart Filmscreen), Datasat Digital Entertainment is planning strategic growth in the high-end, luxury custom electronics field. The company’s RS20i recently received rave reviews in Secrets of Home Theater and Hifi, and Datasat called on KMB Communications to help keep the buzz alive, while elevating the brand’s profile as a leader in luxury home electronics.

Datasat is often teamed with Stewart Filmscreen technology and Torus Power toroidal isolation transformers in ultra-high-end home theaters. The synergy between the brands, along with KMB’s connections in that arena, made Datasat a logical fit within the KMB family. We look forward to sharing their new product news, dealer case studies, and more as we continue to build a digital dialogue around the brand and elevate and amplify their messaging in print, on the Web, and through social channels.

Multimedia Resource Group

Custom home theaterSpeaking of synergy between brands, we recently signed Torus Power, Datasat and Stewart Filmscreen dealer Multimedia Resource Group. Based in Chappaqua, NY, this luxury home theater designer, installer, and custom integrator has many exciting stories to share with KMB’s audience, end-users, and the AV world at large.

KMB Communications is excited and proud to assist Multimedia Resource Group owner David Kepke with his public relations and end-user facing inbound marketing strategy and content creation efforts. The addition of both David and OneVision’s Kolchinsky to our client list helps us provide even more diverse resources to the media.

If you’re looking for a source to discuss trends in home theater and smart home design, or a veteran integrator’s perspective on the industry, David is ready, willing, and able to assist as a subject matter expert.

How Can We Help You?

KMB’s role as a publicist is two-fold: to elevate and amplify our clients’ messaging and to act as a resource for the media. By expanding our client base, we are better equipped to assist in this regard, with a wide range of personalities, and perspectives to reflect on AV industry trends. Stay tuned, as there’s more to come, as well.

Would you like to hear more about our new clients, or perhaps join the ever-growing KMB family? Reach out here.