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Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page

Our Auctioneers Go From Strength to Strength

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm

May 17, 2012.  It has been a banner week here in our boutique public relations office. I already reported that Jake Chait, Natural History Specialist, will appear, along with Billy Roland who we also do work for,  on “Final Offer,” premiering on Discovery Channel on May 31. Now, I am pleased to report that the New York Times will be doing a column on birdstones from the Townsend Collection that is being handled by  Dan Ripley’s  Antique Helper in Indianapolis.

From Jake’s casting call to air date took nine months.  From the time we first approached the media with Ripley’s birdstone and bannerstone sale to coverage took eight months.

The lesson to be learned is that high level visibility is a long term project. It rarely happens in less than three to six months.  And it always happens when the news is “newsworthy.”

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Smithsonian Birdstone coming up for auction at Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper.

What does that mean for you? Simply that you must plan ahead when working with a publicist.

Although we push out pre-sale and prices-realized press releases all the time because they are very important, these laundry lists rarely capture national media exposure. That’s why advanced houses like Heritage Auctions in Dallas push out news on individual items every chance they get.

So, how should you be approaching your monthly auction communications?

I’m a huge believer in the power of the Internet. This is where your items of exceptional quality can get immediate exposure.

Further, if you distribute through the right channels, your reach is increased. Case in point. If you have a premium package with LiveAuctioneers.com, you are entitled to a press release and slide show.  We have helped many get that press release in on time to optimize the package they are paying for.

Press releases handled well are effective in the trades as well. But how many laundry list press release can a reader plough through before he yawns? I would suggest taking only the top lot and two or three more to write about.

The trick about press releases is that they are teasers to get viewers to your site and not mini-catalogs.

Next Step: Re-evaluate your publicity strategy.

Bottom line: the advantages of using a publicity consultant VS an in-house communications person is that you are going to reap benefits of established contacts, out of the box strategies, and follow up.

And be patient. The impossible – in this case, high level visibility –  always takes longer than you think.

2 Clients Head to National TV Fame

In Auction Advertising on May 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I am thrilled to announce that a process that began last August has come to a fantastic conclusion. When the reality show “Final Offer” debuts on Thursday, May 31 on the Discovery Chanel it will feature my valued clients Bill Roland of Roland Auctions, New York, and Jake Chait, of I.M. Chait, Beverly Hills.

This is priceless publicity.

As contestants on the show offer items of value to four appraisers, they will be allowed to accept a monetary offer from just one.  From FremantleMedia, the production company behind American Idol, the show is bound to be a  cliff hanger and – even better – a flat out hit.

As so often happens in PR, success took months to realize.  But now that the veil of secrecy has been lifted, the story can be told.

It all began one hot August day in Rolands’ street level gallery. The buzz from a very overworked Bill Roland was that he was being tapped for a potential spot on a potential reality show.

As it turned out, the producer, FremantleMedia, was in the market for a few other good TV type appraisers.  I gave him the name of Jake Chait, a Natural History specialist, who also happens to be a very handsome young man with an Afro right out of the 70s and a swagger that doesn’t stop for red lights. I referred three more appraisers to the casting director: a Chinese paintings expert, a Southern arts specialist and a Russian art specialist. (Surely, I thought, there could be no other publicity person in the U.S. with such access.)

Through the magic of technology, Skype casting calls were set up. I scheduled the dates, even taught one person how to use Skype and assured another that he could do the interview from a car, while on a consignment call.   One dropped out of his own volition, another just didn’t have a TV-Q and the third was not camera friendly, although very knowledgeable.

We knew before 2011 ended that who was good to go. But with background checks, finances, etc. – there was a lot of red tape.  In the meantime, I kept on pumping out the pre-sale and post sale press releases (an important but thankless job if ever there was one.) And today, I learned by e-blast that Jake Chait was on the show.  And then I heard it again from Roland.

All in all, it was exceptional news that reached me today. I am proud that through all the ins and and outs of small-time and big-time publicity, two of my former clients are now about to become national brands. As their visibility soars, so will their auction houses gain recognition. I suspect their businesses will expand exponentially. And for that, I say, raise a toast to good men and raise another to publicity well handled.

Thank you, Izzy, Jake and Josh Chait and Bill and Bob Roland for allowing me to represent your fine companies during that critical time.

Woodmere Art Museum Receives Publicity Donation from Antiques Weeks Media, LLC

In Art and the American Way, Drive Website Traffic on April 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Philadelphia's Woodmere Art Museum

Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia has been selected as the recipient of a gift-in-kind by Antiques Weeks Media, the parent company of the travel website PhiladelphiaAntiquesWeek.com.  Philadelphia Antiques Week runs from April 27 – May 1.

Woodmere Art Museum is housed in an historic Victorian mansion in the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia. it was originally endowed by Charles Knox Smith  (1845-1916) whose intention it was “to awaken the spirit of, the appreciation of, and the knowledge of art… in the City of Philadelphia and surrounding territory.” Today, the Permanent Collection consists of more than 3,000 works of art, celebrating the art and artists of Philadelphia. And the museum school is still training artists. It’s perfect harmony between traditional and contemporary art.

Eric Miller, co-founder, along with Regina Kolbe, of Antiques Weeks Media, explained “the spirit in which Woodmere was founded align closely with the objectives of Antiques Weeks Media, whose goal it is to enrich the lives of people new to antiques and the appreciation of them. We do this by providing independent, inclusionary websites that define all aspects of specialty weeks like Philadelphia Antiques Week.”

Woodmere Art Museum will receive a year-long banner on the home page of PhiladelphiaAntiquesWeek.com, content, calendar listings and publicity on the PhiladelphaAntiquesWeek.com mobile app. Additionally, Woodmere will receive recognition in all PhiladelphiaAntiquesWeeks.com publicity.

Woodmere Art Museum’s core collection includes important paintings by such well known artists as as Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, Walter E. Schofield, Benjamin West, Frederic Edwin Church, Violet Oakley, Arthur B. Carles, and others whose works are integral to an understanding of the times in which they were created. Additionally, Woodmere provides art training for children and adults.

Miller elaborated on the gift-in-kind to Woodmere Art Museum, saying that visitors to Philadelphia Antiques Week, which is anchored by the Philadelphia Antiques Show and the 23rd Street Armory Show, will discover Woodmere a refreshing counterpart to the shopping experience. Here, they will have an opportunity to see similar items in situ.

It is the policy of Antiques Weeks Media, whose family of travel websites includes AmericanaWeek.com, AsiaWeekGuide.com, NashvilleAntiquesWeek.com, and the newly launched ModernVintageTimes.com, to support with publicity local art institutions whose collections embody the theme of each site. For instance,  in its launch year, Antiques Weeks Media has provided in-kind support for the American Folk Art Museum’s Pass the Hat campaign, whose collection is representative of AmericanWeek.com and The New York Chinese Scholars Garden at Snug Harbor in Staten Island, which blends with AsiaWeekGuide.com

“We feel,” Miller concluded, “that new collectors will find the appeal of historic items more compelling when they experience the social side of history, such as those provided by family-oriented outings to attractions such as Woodmere.”

PhiladelphiaAntiquesWeek.com carries the complete line up of shows, lectures and  loan exhibits – such as “Bucket Brigades,” an exhibit of historic fire fighting equipment at the 23rd Street Armory Show.

The site also offers an interactive map of local galleries, the Shows, museums and other Philadelphia attractions that make the  four day event, from April 27 – May 1 – an experience for collectors at all stages.

Travelers planning to visit Philadelphia Antiques Week are invited to visit www.PhiladelphiaAntiquesWeek.com

Philadelphia Antiques Week website

Philadelphia Antiques Week website

Modern Vintage Times Meets Demands of Stylish Young Collectors

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

DALLAS and NEW YORK -To meet with the high demand for a centralized resource that provides information on the growing market for modern and vintage items, Antiques Weeks Media, LLC announces the launch of  ModernVintageTimes.com.  The destination website is national in scope and profiles regional and virtual markets year round. Image

The publishers of the classic antiques weeks sites AmericanaWeek.com, PhiladelphiaAntiquesWeek.com and AsiaWeekGuide.com state that ModernVintageTimes.com has a youthful appeal.

“Modern and vintage shows attract a young audience,” says Eric Miller, co-founder, along with Regina Kolbe, of Antiques Weeks Media. LLC. “There is a huge appetite for items that span the better part of the 20th Century, from roughly the birth of Art Deco in the 1925 to vintage 1970s furniture, fashion and studio art of the 1980s. People want to know where to find their favorite items. ModernVintageTimes.com will is an independent, inclusionary resource that will keep them up to date on the specialized shows, galleries, e-commerce sites  and auctions.
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Miller says the vintage and modern vogue extends from America’s urban flea markets and vintage stores to small specialty shows, high-end modernism shows and e-commerce sites. Consequently, the new site is expected to exceed the parameters established by the company’s classic antiques weeks sites.

In addtion to providing shopping information, ModernVintageTimes.com offers regional destination information, such as places to stay, local attractions and events that fit into the contemporary aesthetic.

In describing the typical modern and vintage collector, Miller said above all, in whatever they buy, they look for “good design.” He continued, “in this vein, design reigns over craft.” Consumer habits reflect the assessment. Buyers are as likely to purchase  decorative arts and applied arts as clothing, jewelry, music and mass produced consumer goods.

ModernVintageTimes.com will fuel the need for knowledge in this area by creating content on modern and vintage designers and objects. In coming weeks, ModernVintageTimes.com will respond to viewers comments and post content on the most popular items.

In addition, the marketing channels for ModernVintageTimes.com rely strong on social media and word of mouth. The relatively new VintageModernTimes Facebook page has already garnered hundreds of followers. “This is one area where the two-way dialog of the Internet will make a difference in the marketplace,” Miller concluded.  ModernVintageTimes.com is an advertiser’s dream. “Where else can you find good design at all levels? There just isn’t any other site as inclusive and accessible as ModernVintageTimes.com.

For details on ModernVintageTimes.com, please visit http://modernvintagetimes.com

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“Brevity is the soul of …

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm

“Brevity is the soul of content.”

In my position as co-founder of Antiques Weeks Media, LLC, I oversee –  and provide 90% of  – the content for our family of destination websites. The blogs we post cover everything from ancient Asian bronze vessels to modern art, as well as info on local attractions and museum exhibitions.

The challenge, as with all content providers, is how to give a complete picture in about 400 words. With  Twitter, as we all know,  it’s 140 characters.   While Facebook gives you more space, you’re not likely to post a novel here. A text must get is point across is 2.6 seconds.

The heart and soul of providing content is brevity.  That requires good writing, as Peter Shankman, founder of Help a Report Out (HARO), says so often.

Good writing like good design is sleek and meaningful.  For all of you who grapple with fitting the word puzzle together, here are few thoughts …

  1. Find out how your audiences want to be reached – communicate with them through that channel
  2. Do not learn write w/txt talk. Gather your thoughts, craft your sentences
  3. Keep it on message, keep it relevant
  4. Don’t get cute; humor is a hard play
  5.  For vintage and antiques dealers, don’t go overboard on the fine details of product. You might love history but most likely your audience loves the look and the style

There are two more words that I associate with effective writing. They are Factual and Useful.

Everyone is an expert in something, so Factual should be no problem.

Useful, however, is a different story. Your content won’t get read unless it helps someone do something. That could be as simple as finding a discount parking lot near the Philadelphia Antiques Show as we did on the Shows page.

It could be as complex as engaging a reader in the back story of design, as we do on ModernVintageTimes.com.  If you’re in the complex group, keep the 5 guidelines shown above by your computer.

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Launch of AsiaWeekNYC.com is Third Website for Cultural Travelers

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Art business, Chinese art on February 25, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I am happy to announce that we have  launched  AsiaWeekNYC.com, the third destination website from Antiques Weeks Media, LLC. AsiaWeekNYC.com will have special appeal for Chinese buyers and cultural travelers in New York, March 16 – 24, for the Asia Week auctions and exhibitions.

Billed as the “Gateway to New York’s Asia Week,”  the website provided details on the

  • Asian art auctions at Bonham’s, Christies, Doyle NY, Gianguan Auctions, I. M. Chait and Sotheby’s
  • Arts of Pacific Asia Show (60 dealers)  Stella’s Pier Antiques Shows (14  Asian art dealers), Japanese Art Dealers Association Show (five dealers), Asia Week New York’s 33 multi-venue exhibitions
  •  Asia-themed attractions such as the New York Scholars Garden on Staten Island
  • places to stay
  •  travel tips
  • Asian art news

A supporting mobile app gives visitors immediate access to events and participants.

Asia Week was branded in the 1990’s by the large international auction houses as a means of attracting a universe of buyers to its Asian art auctions.  Primarily  known for its commercial aspects,  Asia Week also has a strong educational component.  Cultural societies, including Asia Society, Japan Society and Tibet House, to name a few,  as well as  museums as focused as the Museum of Chinese in America and as well known at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, open their spring exhibits in time for the Asia Week travelers.

Additionally, a slate of lectures and seminars conducted by authorities on many aspects of Asian art is directed at collectors and museum curators. All are open to the public.  The dates and times are posted on AsiaWeekNYC.com, along with contact information for tickets.

AsiaWeekNYC.com also introduces art lovers with a passing interest in Chinese antiques and Asian works of art to regional resources. For instance, the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City is represented, as is the Walters Collection in Atlanta, GA.  Short postings of content further this introduction.

From a purely practical point of view, AsiaWeekNYC.com makes it easy for travelers to get access to the auction schedules and find the more than ninety galleries opening their doors during Asia Week.  It also provides information on Asian-themed attractions in a fast, one-stop format.

As is the policy of Antiques Weeks Media, LLC when launching new sites, a donation in kind has been given to a worthy organization. The recipient of the AsiaWeekNYC.com donation is the New York Scholar’s Garden at the Staten Island Botanical Garden.

Supporting advertisers of AsiaWeekNYC.com include the Arts of Pacific Asia Show,  Gianguan Auctions, NYC, Stella Show Mgmt. Co., and New Focus On.com, the online magazine.

AsiaWeekNYC.com invites exploration by art collectors and cultural travelers. For more information, please visit http://www.AsiaWeekNYC.com.

About Antiques Weeks Media
Antiques Week Media, LLC is the publisher of category-specific destination web sites for America’s popular antiques weeks. Sites include AmericanaWeek.com, NashvilleAntiquesWeek.com, AsiaWeekNYC.com and PhiladelphiaAntiquesWeek.com.

Google Creative Lab’s Robert Wong Talks Design Empathy

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, business on February 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

From these ancient walls, the best in contemporary design thought

I had an opportunity to spend an hour and a half last night with Robert Wong, of Google’s Creative Lab.  Google Creative Lab is responsible for marketing everything from Android and Chrome to Google Docs and the Nexus One.

This emissary from the Temple of the Future expressed the Google brand in one sentence: The best searches turn up, not on the web, but in life.

Notably, a young woman stood up and thanked Google search for leading to her birth mother, in Paraguay.  A series of Google search ads – then stressed the empathetic thrust of Google’s ad campaigns. You’ve seen them on TV. A father begins writing emails to an unborn daughter and the video follows the thread through age five. At the end, the final email says, “I hope to be able to share these (emails and videos) with you someday.

Life as it is. Ad design takes the remoteness out of the message and lays it in your hands.

Similarly, the Google doodles – dare anyone other than the big G. tweak its logo? – are among the most notable things about the search site.  The Les Paul doodle, for instance, on You Tube has generated gazillions of views.

Who thinks of these things? The design team does. It makes you think the Google design team exists in a world of unfettered creativity.  Yes, they are the best, the most creative. But the designs are there as solutions to marketing challenges and marketing goals.

When you take these standards and apply them to the arts and antiques trade, they don’t fade into a haze of non-relevance. They become more relevant because they demonstrate the empathy that goes into creating a need.

How often do I see ads for vintage designs and antiques that are simply unstoried photos of beautiful items. These images sit like on a page, uninviting of human contact.

The point is that to create the tipping point you need to regain a position of leadership in design – and that is what, ultimately, we are selling, whether it’s a small Tiffany dialing implement for a rotary phone or a chest of drawers – to create that position, your ads need to show empathy for people’s needs and lifestyles.

Editor’s Note: The Wong talk was part of a series called Bill’s Design Talks, moderated by the Cooper-Hewitt’s Director, Bill Moggridge.

Crowdsourcing, LinkedIn & The Market for Antiques

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Tyler Goldman has nothing to do with the antiques and art world. He has everything to do with one of BuzzMedia, one of the most influential publishing sites on the Internet.  A guy like Goldman has more to do than than fool around with Linkedin, except that he is interested in crowdsourcing.

As members of the vintage and antiques world, crowdsourcing is an interesting concept that could create the social epidemic everyone is looking for.

Because I’m always touting the potential of social media, provided your objective is clear and you have the resources to meet it, here are some important excerpts. You can view the entire Bloomberg Businessweek article by clicking here.

According to Tyler Goldman…

  • Ninety-seven percent of people use LinkedIn purely as a static reference or recruiting tool, but there is so much more that it can enable users to explore. I became fascinated by the group functionality and crowdsourcing.
  • I started by becoming immensely active in an Eagle Scouts group, immersing myself in the discussion threads and adding news. I had never been an Eagle Scout myself, but I wanted to see how LinkedIn could leverage the potential and passion of their audiences, so I stimulated a conversation about the lack of transparency in the award of merit badges. The Scouts ignored all of my suggestions about improving their badge-nominating process, but their nuanced discussion made me realize what a platform the site could be for passion and interests, and I wanted to see how deep I could go.
  • I wanted to see how deep I could go on topics that never make the front page of the New York Times but that I believed a lot of people felt passionate about—air conditioning units or Econo Lodge Platinum Club membership. Where else can I learn about all of them and liquefied petroleum tankers? On LinkedIn there are a lot of people who take that very seriously.
  • Crowdsourcing and targeting. I spend a lot of time on the site asking questions because I believe crowdsourcing works when you start with a huge pool of candidates, which LinkedIn has. I witnessed that through my participation in a Meat Innovation group when I nominated a legendary Texan cattle rancher for the Meat [Industry] Hall of Fame. A wild, wide-ranging debate resulted, which made me realize that successful crowdsourcing occurs when you engage multiple layers of perspective and expertise in a single context. In a funny way, the techniques I honed on meat innovation informed my work with Kim Kardashian.

Editor’s Note: Given the animated exchange on such Groups as Antiques are Green, etc. these excerpts should be taken to heart. Actually, the entire article from Bloomberg Businessweek should become the Bible for ‘our crowd’.

Your Relationship With Your Publicist

In antiques online, Auction Advertising, Auctions, business, selliing antques on February 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

It’s  Valentine’s Day, a good time to talk about relationships between client and publicist. The best ones are where roles are clearly defined and both sides of the table understand and respect the other’s role.

The spin cycle takes time.

The Spin Cycle Takes Time

When the dialog gets muddled, weird things happen. Clients don’t see immediate results in mass media. Perhaps, they are so busy – particularly in the case of auctioneers mounting monthly sales – they don’t see the results and, worse, don’t read the end-of-month metric reports. That can lead to a breakdown in communication.

We have talked about the two types of media: short lead and long lead media. The short lead media tend to be trade papers, industry blogs, social media. The coverage is immediate and targeted. Long lead media are your consumer magazines, big newspaper, sometimes even broadcast.  When the long leads hit, their impact is huge.

But the waiting can be hard. If it’s difficult for you to see immediate results, you’re not looking closely enough. Publicity grows, slowly at first and then exponentially.  So, if you hire a publicist, be ready to wait.

Case in point.  Last summer I planted a story for a client with a national publication. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. And then, six months later, in January, the time was right for the story.

By then, the client had grown weary. The daily demands of the auction business consumed the young company. It got to the point they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. They called me around month five of the process and said, “We want to hold off on publicity.”  I advised against it but the client already had his mind made up. So, with kisses all around, we went our separate ways.

Four weeks later, the arts journalist from the national publication called. She was ready to run with the story and was on a deadline. What happened? There was no time to reach out to the ex-client. I had to tell the journalist to call the contact direct. She did. Her name was not recognized. The contact did not take the call. And since I had been asked to “hold off,” was off the case.

The day the story hit, I read it and all of my ex-client’s competitor’s wer named. The only company that went without coverage in that article was the ex-client. Yesterday, I received an email from one of the competitors and – guess what – they included a link to the article.

The ex-client was livid. How could this have happened, they asked when they called.  I explained they had “fired” my firm and then, when I had provided contact information, they had not taken the call.

Moral of the story: When you engage a publicist,

  • Have a clearly defined goal
  • Know the spin cycle takes time
  • Read the monthly metrics reports to know where your name appeared
  • Trust your publicist

The client-publicist relationship is as important as any other relationship you maintain.

 

Clocking Success

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Art business, business on February 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm

It has been a while since I checked into this blog, although I’ve been posting regularly on AmericanaWeek.com … NashvilleAntiquesWeek.com and AsiaWeekNYC.com – our new destination websites.

Antiques Weeks Media, LLC, is the steward of destination websites for the named antiques week.  The sites are gateways the myriad shows, auctions, events that revolved around themed weeks.

Happy to report that AmericanaWeek.com was a huge success, given its launch was only three months prior to Americana Week.  We had good traffic, and gates at shows were up. Notably, the Shows that advertised on the destination site reported increases.

NashvilleAntiquesWeek.com, which reflected a smaller venue, held strong in its traffic too. Our co-founder was able to make the trip to Nashville and brought back some super info. The shows in Nashville feature more rustic American items. If you’d like an update, check out NashvilleAntiquesWeek.com

Now, we are populating the AsiaWeekNYC.com site. This is an International week, with a huge affluent audience. The acutions are competitive and scheduled to keep bidders hopping into cabs and chasing across town in time to watch their items of interest go off – and hopefully, into their possession.

AsiaWeekNYC.com has given a donation-in-kind to the Chinese Scholars Garden at Snug Harbor in Staten Island. This beautiful site is one of New York’s best kept secrets. It is home to an authentic classical Chinese garde, the first in the U.S. It’s situated on 80 acres of gardens, lawns and ponds.

As we grow the destination websites, I’ll be posting info here. Come back for a visit – or visit one of the sites themselves.