Businesses aim to build brand with gifts, but ROI is sometimes sour
To promote its grand opening earlier this month, L'Auberge Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel deployed several public relations strategies, including social media, traditional news releases and a dramatic use of tchotchke. The company, working with Wright Feigley Communications, sent a succession of fancy giveaways to media members in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, including teddy bears, plush towels, chocolate sculptures and barware. Each item was meant to plant a different story idea about the $368 million casino complex, says Wright Feigley partner Jeff Wright. "There was a specific reasoning behind this," he says. "We were trying to get reporters to understand that there are multiple stories to tell." Wright says Pinnacle, the gaming company that developed and owns L'Auberge, didn't hesitate to invest in the knickknack strategy. They'd successfully used a similar tactic in another market. "Not all media will take it, but we felt it was a successful way of showing what we have," he says. Giveaways are among the oldest tricks in the public relations arsenal. But they have to be used strategically to garner return on investment and build a brand, says Jensen Moore-Copple, assistant professor of strategic communication at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. "We're starting to see a little more targeted use of tchotchke than we used to," she says. "You might see an icepack at a road race, rather than a T-shirt. You really want someone to connect with the item." Journalists can be a dicey bunch to shower with tchotchke, she says. Read the full story by Maggie Heyn Richardson in the current issue of Business Report here.
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