Why We Aren’t ‘Dripping in Saltwater’

While on a call this week with a potential new client that works in the marine and boating industry, I was asked why our website isn’t “dripping in saltwater.” Ah, an interesting metaphor for all the public relations work we are doing these days in the boating industry.

My answer was so well received that I think it moved our firm to the top of the list for being chosen as their agency of record.

While boating, fishing and, especially, saltwater fishing, are all passions of mine and we have started to make a strong name for ourselves in the industry, but our firm’s book of business is much broader than marine.

You might be telling yourself that a firm which “specializes” in the boating industry brings more knowledge, experience and contacts to the industry and, because of that, they are better. Many people think that, but is it true? I proposed to the individuals of the company we were talking to that when our firm represents clients in multiple industries – such as healthcare, automotive, professional services, financial services, nonprofits, and more – we think of and see diverse strategies and tactics that could be applied to any industry. In a sense, the idea well doesn’t run dry because we’re seeing new things all the time and figuring out how to apply them to different industries we represent.

Here’s an example I gave to this person: Challenged to come up with some type of news story for a client in the healthcare field when no new announcements or company happenings were available, we dove in with some research and uncovered that one of the company’s employees helps train service dogs. While traveling to Florida on business, this employee had arranged to see the dog she trained over a year ago in Virginia and meet its now-owner, who is blind. The reunion was filled with excitement, fun, tears and a story that needed to be told.

Marine and Boating Public RelationsFast forward two years later when our marine client Sea Tow wanted to promote its Wrightsville Beach, N.C. franchise, but had no new news or breaking news. After some phone calls, we discovered that one of the captains takes his brown lab on his boat almost every single day. Known as Charlie Brown, the pup helps to bring calm to what are typically stressful situations, such as when a family is stranded on the water because their boat broke down.

We pitched Charlie Brown’s story to The Wilmington Star News and secured a very unique feature story about the dog, his owner and, of course, Sea Tow. The effort resulted in a broader awareness of the local company, but also led to an uptick in memberships for the franchise.

The lesson learned here is that a strategy we used for a healthcare client was just as effective when used for a marine client. Certainly, PR firms that focus solely on the marine industry have a lot to offer. I just believe that our team at Commonwealth PR can bring more diverse strategies and ideas to the table because of the diversity of our clients.

To put a plug in for some of the marine clients we have had the privilege and honor to work with over the years, they include Sea Tow, the Sea Tow Foundation, the American Sportfishing Association, Barker Boatworks, the Personal Watercraft Industry Association (an affiliate of the National Marine Manufacturers Association) and many other smaller marine projects for companies in the industry.

For now, we won’t be changing our name or website so it’s ‘dripping in saltwater.’ As much as I’d love to have a few more pictures of me holding fish on the internet, I’m not sure that’s the best approach to growing a well-rounded team and PR firm that can meet the needs of clients in any industry.

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