Cat and Mouse Strategy – How it applies to PR

Why does the cat always catch the mouse? When you think of how agile and quick a mouse can be, it should easily outmaneuver the cat. Yet, most of the time, the cat will catch the mouse.

That’s not just a fun question. It’s actually a way of thinking that applies to PR and business.

First off, I’m not an expert on mice or cats. I’m allergic to cats and I hate mice. But as a person who lives in Brooklyn, and every New Yorker will tell you – “if you have mice, get a cat and the problem will go away.”

I got to thinking about that concept when watching of all things – Tom and Jerry – with my son. It got me thinking of the relationship between cat and mice, and the reporter and publicist. Here’s a closer look at what the classic cat and mouse game can teach us about media strategy.

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Value Working with Boutique PR Agencies

I read this confessional last night from a publicist who described the state of the public relations industry. It’s a candid look at how large PR agencies are lowering their standards and putting the dollar above relationships. The writer also lays out an argument for boutique PR agencies, and why they have a larger advantage.

To paraphrase the article, “There’s a lot of desperation. Not only to keep the lights on, but to keep people, to keep employees.

And what are the challenges? She writes, “[B2B tech brands] don’t often have stories. They’re unable to talk about themselves outside of product features and benefits. There’s zero or very little value based messaging. And too many PR firms will take them on as clients. The reason why they take on these clients is to keep the lights on.

The article got me thinking about MACIAS PR and the value we bring as a boutique PR agency.

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Case Study – Media Campaign for Nutrition App

When MACIAS PR started working with Lifesum in the summer of 2019, the nutrition app was nowhere on the national radar. Their US office in Los Angeles had only 3 people – and no one was in PR or marketing. 

This lean US operation enabled us to run as a PR firm, especially as their leadership team in Sweden gave us the green light to pursue creative ideas.

Our first media placement for the nutrition app was on Channel 11 in New York City. The TV segment compared the price and offerings of Lifesum versus their bigger, more expensive competitors. It was an objective look at what the various health apps offer and which provided the best value. Lifesum scored at the top of this analysis. Our TV segment also featured a Lifesum user who talked about how she lost weight and got healthier with the app.

Bringing more exposure to this story, MACIAS PR worked to get this story syndicated with the Tribune network. It’s an insider strategy we used based on our founder’s experience with the NBC, ABC and CBS affiliate feeds. The TV segment introduced Lifesum to a national audience.

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Client Case Study – Health Tech Wearable

In September 2018, the founder of a Korean-based health tech startup approached MACIAS PR for help promoting his smart belt wearable.

The founder had hired a different PR agency earlier in the year to promote their wearable at CES 2018 but didn’t get any traction. He was hoping our agency could promote the exact same wearable at CES 2019. He heard about our agency from another Korean entrepreneur who had worked with us.

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Client Case Study – Media Campaign for Physicians

MACIAS PR has run media campaigns for many hospital and health care organizations, including Columbia University Medical Center, Burke Rehabilitation Center, and Meru Health.

But we’ve also run targeted media campaigns for practicing physicians too. I never realized this before working with Columbia University Medical Center, but physicians and hospital groups need to develop new business too.

In July 2021, a physician reached out to MACIAS PR, asking for help promoting his medical practice built around the microbiome. He explained to me over the phone how the gut has healthy and bad bacteria, which has a direct impact on how we feel, and our health.

I hadn’t really heard of the gut microbiome movement before our conversation, but I quickly realized this was an area of practice that was going to spread to the larger population quickly. When I asked the physician why I hadn’t heard of it, he was very candid.

“No one is talking about how the gut impacts our health but it’s real.”

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PR Tips – Avoid the Sales Pitch with Reporters

As an entrepreneur, it’s in our nature to always be selling. But when it comes to speaking with reporters, you don’t want to turn your interview into a sales pitch. That’s one of the quickest ways to get your story killed.

Here’s why. Experienced journalists are trained to hear a sales pitch or commercial. They know their job is not to sell products but to sell stories to their editors. If you have a product or service, reporters want to hear the story behind it.

I wrote a story that goes more in-depth on this approach for Entrepreneur Magazine. You can read that article here. If you’re short on time, here’s a summary of how you can better close the “sales” interview with the journalist.

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Client PR Case Study – Accounting Tech Firm

Industry: Accounting Firm

MACIAS PR led the PR & media campaign for MBS & Accounting Technology & Advisory firm in 2017. The accounting firm approached us for help in growing their business, generating new leads and promoting their annual tech conference. The Senior VP of MBSATA said our media and digital marketing campaigns had a direct impact on their business growth.

Challenge: Accounting is not an interesting topic to reporters. It’s perceived as being systematically boring with few fresh angles. It’s also in a vaguely defined market that includes bookkeeping and accounting. Our PR team had to find interesting, creative and timely topics to position this accounting firm in the news. 

Solution: MACIAS PR developed targeted and timely stories that appealed to their targeted business base: nonprofit and tech startups. We simplified the message and communicated the story to reporters in a way reporters would understand. In addition to our thought leadership ideas, our PR team also ghost-wrote editorials on the CEO’s name, including several prominent pieces that were published in Forbes and ValueWalk – one of the most prominent tech publications that reaches young entrepreneurs. Our messaging was designed to drive new business.

The article in Forbes was also picked by their editors under their “Editor’s Choice” section, bringing even more exposure to the story. The article was titled, “5 Red Flags That Inexperienced Entrepreneurs Must Avoid To Attract Investors.”

Closer Look at Media Coverage

Results: MACIAS PR helped raise the profile of MBSATA in the nonprofit and tech space. We also helped sell tickets to their annual tech summit, bringing in the largest number of attendees in the history of their organized event. Our coverage helped drive more than 1500 people to their event in Manhattan.

Our PR team secured prominent and targeted news stories that positioned the firm as a leader in accounting technology. We conceptualized campaigns and executed media campaigns that introduced the firm to their ideal client base: nonprofits, tech startups and accountants. Our media coverage included stories with Forbes, Accounting Today, Asea, Valuewalk, Nonprofit Information, NonProfitPro, Bitcoin.com, MedCityNews, CoinDesk, YoungUpStarts and BizEdge.

You can see more of this media coverage on our document below the client testimonial.

In addition to securing these news stories, MACIAS PR also promoted their annual tech summit, MBS CalculTech with the local tech community. If you are looking for a PR firm to help you with your B2B campaign, we encourage you to contact us. We would be happy to discuss your needs and provide you with a free consultation.

Client Testimonial

“MACIAS PR promoted our business and annual tech event in 2017. I couldn’t be happier with the media coverage and online publicity they secured for our firm. Their PR strategy had a direct relationship to our business growth. Mark is also easy to work with and comes up with his own angles that get coverage. Highly recommend MACIAS PR.”

~ Michael Jones, Senior VP of Sales and Partnerships

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Finance Monthly and ACQ5 5 – an international industry award – named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with Entrepreneur and Forbes, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.

Branding Advice – What Not to Do with your Brand

Most of us have similar thoughts on Musk renaming Twitter to X: It’s a self-inflicted mortal wound that tosses a globally recognized name and verb (tweet) out the window. There’s absolutely no long-term value in altering a name, logo and trademark that nearly everyone with a smartphone recognizes. It’s a short-sighted move and a lesson in what not to do with your brand.

Luckily you can’t destroy your brand like Twitter if you’re a startup. That’s because no one has heard of your company. But, there are missteps that can make your branding path more difficult. Over the years, I’ve heard many CEOs, entrepreneurs and CMOs turn down media opportunities because they thought the news organization was too small. In some cases, they criticized the news website design.

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Case Study – Noom Media & Branding Campaign

Back in 2016, the weight loss program Noom had little national name recognition despite being popular with consumers. However, the media tide shifted when MACIAS PR took over their publicity after their previous PR agency failed to deliver.

This case study delves into how MACIAS PR successfully elevated Noom’s presence in the media as a digital health coach.

From the start, our team faced challenges, including the need to differentiate Noom in a crowded weight loss market. Mark Macias, the founder, devised a comprehensive strategy outlining the stories to be told and the media outlets to target.

Within the first month of collaboration, MACIAS PR secured a story with CBS News, highlighting how Noom’s mobile app helped pre-diabetics and diabetics manage their conditions. Over the next three years, this success was followed by hundreds of stories appearing on various major platforms, including NBC Today Show, People Magazine, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, CNBC, PIX 11 in NYC, CNN, Fortune, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur, New York Post, and more.

MACIAS PR also helped expand Noom’s reach with Spanish consumers by placing stories with Telemundo and Univision.

B2B and B2C Media Campaign

Besides the B2C focus, Noom also had a B2B service targeting HR and providers. MACIAS PR developed a tailored B2B strategy that secured features in outlets like MobiHealthNews, The American Journal of Managed Care, Fierce Biotech, FW Pharma, Med City News, among others. All of these stories emphasized how Noom as an employee benefit was saving the companies money from a health care spend perspective.

Measurable Results from Media and Branding Campaign

In 2018 and 2019, Google named Noom one of the top-trending diet terms in their annual “Year in Search Report.” This increased search exposure was a direct result of our media coverage.

Fast Company Magazine also recognized Noom as one of the Interbrand Breakthrough Brands in 2017. Most notable, Noom did not have a Chief Marketing Officer during the entire time we worked together. Our media and branding strategy came from our time working directly with the founders.

Media Exposure Helps with Fundraising

Our media campaign also helped support Noom’s fundraising goals. MACIAS PR conceptualized angles that resonated with reporters and investors, showcasing the digital health company as a top disruptor in health tech.

Despite the challenges of obtaining media coverage for investment rounds, MACIAS PR successfully navigated and ensured Noom received extensive and positive exposure. Our PR team secured media coverage for Noom’s $58 million investment round with outlets like TechCrunch, Fortune, Entrepreneur, and AlleyWatch in 2019.

Media Trained Founders and Spokespeople

Throughout the partnership, Mark Macias media trained the C-suite for all media interviews.

For a more detailed case study, please reach out to us. We can share a more in-depth case study that reveals even more successes from our 3+ year relationship with Noom. You can also get a PR estimate by clicking here.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Finance Monthly and ACQ5 5 – an international industry award – named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with Entrepreneur and Forbes, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.

When Smaller News Organizations are Better for Publicity

Every brand wants to be in the New York Times or on Good Morning America but sometimes those aren’t the best news outlets for your targeted exposure.

I wrote an article for Entrepreneur recently that explores when smaller news outlets might bring more targeted exposure. You can read that story here.

Many times, clients will suggest we turn down a smaller publication because they have their hearts set on these larger news organizations. If you’re a startup, you should be accepting all media opportunities — big and small. Your story hasn’t been told as a startup and every media opportunity is a chance to scale your brand. These news stories also help your website with SEO.

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