13,728 Pounds for the St. Louis Area Foodbank

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

13,728 Pounds for the St. Louis Area Foodbank

That sounds like quite a bit of food, yes? Last Friday, when we packed those 13,728 pounds and ultimately provided 11,207 meals for the hungry, it certainly seemed like a lot. But when the St. Louis Area Foodbank distributes more than 25 million pounds of food annually, it pales in comparison. Does that number surprise you as much as it did to the team at G/L? It should.

Since the organization began in 1975, the St. Louis Area Foodbank has seen significant growth. As a member of United Way of Greater St. Louis and Feeding America, they serve more than 500 partner agencies and over 25 counties in the St. Louis Metro East region. In 2006, they moved into their Bridgeton facility, complete with a 94,000 square foot warehouse. More than 90% of donations are spent on food distribution, primarily to pantries. Fuel costs for food distribution continue to roll well into the $200,000s.

While these figures are indeed alarming, their mission statement holds true and remains quite simple: feed hungry people by distributing food through our partner agencies and educate the public about the nature of and solutions to the problems of hunger. Over time, they have implemented multiple programs such as Mobile Markets, Food Fairs and the Commodity Supplement Food Program (CSFP).

photo 2Coverage and support of this magnitude is achieved by a selfless staff of just over than 30 and more than 15,000 individuals that volunteer each year. The need continues to exist and whether you’re a group of 2 or 20, there are ways to help.

For more information visit their website, Facebook or Twitter to keep up with their achievements and how to lend a hand.



Content Marketing? What Content?

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Content Marketing? What Content?

One of the topics that I am engaged in on a regular basis with my clients is “content.” What is it, how do we develop it and most importantly where do we put it once it’s created? This last question may be the easiest as I see content as “news” so it goes anyplace (almost) that a good old-fashioned story goes. And everyone needs content, whether you’re a giant global manufacturer or a local non-profit.

In the past, PR sometimes focused on pushing client information out to media that was focused on the client’s position, accomplishments, etc. We used press releases filled with messages about new products, new executives, anniversaries and awards. All great news, but does the audience really care about that?

Is this client-focused content more exciting to us than it is to our audience?

Now that everyone sees the importance of providing “solution oriented” content, we have to think about problems from the customer’s perspective, and whether what we’re pitching will really help the customer solve their problem. Content that is focused on solutions answer questions and provide options that customers NEED.

The media really hasn’t change all that much, just the outlets where your story appears. And, there is more space for pictures and video! More action. More engagement. But in my experience you have to pitch the value of a story (and its critical elements) and provide the media with what it needs to get the story covered.

One of the most impressive videos I recently ran across is the “Cat Ultimate Challenge” posted on Twitter by Caterpillar. I happen to love what heavy equipment can do and find it a symphony of motion to watch. I am always amazed at how a skilled operator can make a 12-hundred ton machine perform. Caterpillar makes very impressive equipment and this “game” was recorded using 12 “go-pro” cameras to demonstrate the equipment’s versatility.  This Jenga game between some of the most massive pieces of equipment is fun to watch and makes for great content.

Trade Shows: Hard On the Feet, Good for Business

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Trade Shows: Hard On the Feet, Good for Business

Sixty-nine percent of contractors recently surveyed said they learn about new products at trends by attending trade shows.

A few months ago, Geile/Leon conducted this survey among home improvement/remodeling professionals, the results of which were published in our white paper, A Special Report For Home Improvement Product Manufacturers: The Big Payoff Awaits Those Who Invest In Their Contractors’ Businesses.  


Our research concluded that manufacturers—at least those in the home improvement/remodeling sector — who invest time and resources in their customers’ (professional contractors) businesses through marketing assistance, can reap major benefits.

The survey of hundreds of home improvement professionals revealed several interesting trends. One noteworthy nugget came from the responses to our question, “How do you learn about new products or tools?”

That 69% response to the question was a bit of a surprise. After all, we are still doing business in a stagnant economy, and because of that you might think many companies could justify cutting trade show expenses.

Apparently not.

According to the Center for Exhibition Research, trade show attendance is growing and is expected to continue to do so through 2015.

Make no mistake: exhibiting at trade shows can be expensive. Staffing a booth is hard work, and walking the show floor is hard on your feet and back.

But from a strictly cost-benefit perspective, investing in a trade show booth still delivers benefits. Think about this: trade shows are the only marketing medium where people actually pay to come see you. And these face-to-face interactions offer tremendous opportunities to build relationships with customers and vendors, and to generate leads.  Trade shows are also a great place for PR folks like me to interact with industry media, eager to write about what’s new in the industry.

I can personally attest to the popularity of trade shows for both exhibitors and attendees.  In January, I attended the AHR Expo in New York City on behalf of a client. This show is billed as the World’s Largest HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) Marketplace.

But three hours before the expo floor was to open on day one, it began to snow — and snow hard. In fact, nearly a foot of snow fell that day, as temperatures plummeted and winds gusted to 40 mph. Again, this is Manhattan we’re talking about — the heart of the nation’s most populous city.

But despite the snow, wind, cold and general inconvenience of it all, more than 43,000 visitors and 18,000 exhibitor personnel flocked to the Javits Convention Center. This was the highest registered attendance in the history of the exposition.

Getting to the convention center was a challenge, and leaving was an even greater one.

But it didn’t matter to those who came to do business, and that includes the industry writers and editors who covered the show, several of whom I persuaded to come by our client’s booth for a peak at a new product, and a brief interview with the marketing staff.

Despite the weather, everyone who exhibited or attended this trade show realized the positive ROI from being there. This is WHY they made the effort and investment.

To learn more about how we can help you maximize ROI from trade shows, just give us a shout.