Introducing the Guru Program®

Herd_of_Sheep_311px For more than two decades, Gable PR worked to develop and hone an innovative and patented process called the Guru Program® to help every client, from startup to Fortune 500, rise above the competitive clutter, and grow image and reputation in support of long-range client plans.

The concept is to position any organization – its people, vision, mission, technology, science, proprietary systems, experts and success stories – in a manner that clearly differentiates it from the competition and creates a steady flow of evidence to help its key people rise toward guru status.

Today, the Guru Program has been successfully integrated into client programs at Nuffer, Smith, Tucker PR, since the Gable PR/NST merger earlier this year. New combinations of strategic and creative thinking are now providing extra value to our clients at every level.

Get Creative in Positioning for Guru Status
Think about building image for the long-term as an essential part of organizational strategy. How do you want to be known in one year? Two? Three? What positioning and core messages can be supported throughout the year and beyond by a steady flow of positive evidence to help tell the organization’s story to different target audiences?

For starters, NST employs Compass, a proprietary planning process that incorporates extensive research and strategic thinking as a foundation for the positioning and planning necessary to create a program to differentiate clients from its competitors. Then, we roll out the Guru Program, providing ongoing evidence to support the desired position.

The program can have multiple benefits. Studies over almost three decades by Charles Fombrun of The Reputation Institute and author of the landmark book, “Reputation,” show that intangible assets such as reputation may well provide companies with a more enduring source of competitive advantage than its patents and technologies. His studies show that a strong image and positive reputation have a positive impact on growth versus peers in profit margin, employee morale, community goodwill, investor support, relationships with vendors and suppliers and overall organizational pride. Publicly traded companies enjoy higher price earnings multiples than their competitors are also buttressed by reputation on the downside based on trust and respect developed over time.

But it’s not hype or spin. Clients can’t simply claim leadership or the top ranking in quality, technology, community commitment or other attribute. Achieving the desired position and enduring reputation requires investing in building an image strategically over time and providing ongoing proof of principle – walking the talk. The approach has worked for clients of all sizes, from startup virtual companies with great technology and no offices, to professional service organizations, to a research division of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

Drive Media Relations on Multiple Levels
The media will have the most significant (and cost-effective!) impact on building image, awareness and understanding for any organization because of the numbers of people reached, the quality of the audiences and the third-party credibility of the messages. Studies by Columbia University and, more recently, Al Ries in his book “The Fall of Advertising (and the Rise of PR)” demonstrate clearly that media coverage has 10 times more positive impact than advertising. Thus, the most important strategy in building a brand image is media relations. To quote Ries, “every brand that gets to the top got there by favorable publicity.”

You have undoubtedly noticed that the same people get quoted time after time in the media. The media are creatures of habit and go back to good sources rather than seek new ones. In my previous journalism career, I had my top two or three candidates in each niche – gurus – based on trust, quality of their information they provided over time, reputation as thought leaders and how fast they would typically respond.

Proactive media relations helps ramp up awareness and coverage so our gurus become increasingly trusted sources with the media. They start getting on the A-lists to call for quotes and additional news on trends in the field. Trend spotting can lead to additional hooks for pitching speaking engagements on bigger issues that go beyond the company. We’ve had startup clients adept at trend spotting get quoted in major national media and be asked to speak as trusted experts and visionaries at national conferences alongside Fortune 1000 companies.

Develop White Papers, Commentaries, Bylined Articles
News media of all sizes are looking for strong contributed content given shortened news cycles, reduced staffs and increased responsibilities.

Our media relations teams identify special focus editions, six to nine months in advance and beyond, and pitch editors and writers on including our clients in news roundups. Agency and client teams often work together to plan a series of seminars, blogs and white papers that demonstrate the bright thinking and sharp visions that differentiate our client, its technology or services, and its key people.

For one client, we identified a leading national trade journal looking for contributed content. We are now placing well-researched commentaries every other month under client bylines to help raise awareness of the quality of the organization and its people as it seeks to expand nationally through acquisition.

The Guru Program can also gain enhanced momentum through the strategic and coordinated use of social media and its integration with a content-rich website.

When approached on a consistent, continuous basis, a Guru Program creates image momentum. The amount of coverage tends to grow geometrically for a company based on driving coverage in daily, weekly and monthly media – traditional and online; consumer, trade or technical. Through the consistent Guru Program, one story becomes two, two becomes four, four becomes eight. Reprints, and video and audio clips multiply exponentially through media kits, email, YouTube, Facebook and other distribution channels.

At Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, we aim to help you achieve guru status through media relations and other integrated strategic programs. Please email me directly (tg@nstpr.com) if you would be interested in learning more about our Guru Program and successful case histories for clients of all sizes and industries.