Posts Tagged ‘PR To the Trade’

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.


Create Success by Association Now

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Art business, business, Chinese art, Media Planning, selliing antques, Young Collectors on August 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I read in the NY Times that $1 stores are the new haunt of the middle class. It’s  instant gratification  2011 style. But that’s not good news for antique dealers and auctioneers who want to encourage shoppers to spend.  There is a way out though.

It is called “aspirational marketing.”

You see it all the time on HGTV, where realtors and decorators have created formats that make people want to buy a home, and redecorate the one they have.

You see on American Pickers, where Mike Wolfe makes junk look good. And if you think he’s not following  up those marginal picks with merch – check out his website’s line of accessories. The  guy is making people aspire to be him!

And later this week, the Keno brothers will launch Buried Treasure and people will get turned on to their brand of knowledge.

What these shows have in common is that they  educate  consumers.

They also have a distribution format – national TV – that gets the word out to millions.

And what happens then? The educated in the distribution pipeline are not content with what they learn – they want to own something that reflects their new-found knowledge.

Or, success by association with a product.  Your product, be it antique chair, Chinese jade, contemporary art.

Aspirational marketing. It doesn’t preach to the choir or attempt to mine an already established audience. It reaches new audiences and turns those new audiences into buyers.

Why? Because human nature being what it is, people want to be close to the things they like. And if they impress a friend or  boss in the process-so much the better.

So, think about aspirational marketing and how it can boost your sales.

And if you need expert guidance, you know where to come. PRT3 has several aspirational campaigns going now. There is room for another.

Meet the New Art & Antiques Collectors.

In 1 on November 9, 2009 at 11:08 pm

An associate cornered me recently with, “Hey, Reggie, I’ve got some great gossip for your blog.”  Hands over ears, I let out a “Yikes.” I’m blogging to educate, I said. Let TMZ handle the gossip.

The whole purpose of this column is to show the antiques and arts niche we serve that public relations and marketing have morphed into a two-way conversation.

PR is a buyer driven now.

The 2-Way PR model.

The old rules don’t apply. The buyers are in the driver’s seat.  And just to keep things interesting,  there’s a new phase afoot.

It’s the rise of a burgeoning, curious,

well-informed class of cultural consumers

unlike any you have seen before.

They’re called the  RenGen, a term coined by Patricia Martin in her book “Renaissance Generation.”  These new buyers, who are going to be willing to spend on everything from decorative arts to the presentation arts, are informed by  the confluence of entertainment, culture and business.

Now, they don’t necessarily fit a generational chronology but they do share certain traits.  Chief among these is reading. (Yes! The RenGen reads.) They discuss. They  question and are eager for you to respond to their questions.

If this sounds like what you do on a retail, basis, it is.  The big difference is that you must take that same message, that same personable expertise that is your brand, to a broader – shall we say global – audience.

From a purely marketing POV, the best way to do this is to whip out the Mont Blanc, Etore’s red typewriter or your favorite laptop and start writing. The RenGen thrives on  information.

The marketing tools you will need to become skilled at are:

  • Article Marketing,
  • 2-way promotions that exceed social networks,
  • Websites that engage and invite comment,
  • Keyword rich content that doesn’t read like it was written for keywords.

Once you put your expertise out there, be ready to listen.

The new collector is vocal. Things that new collectors say on the Internet  go viral. When that happens,  you have more than a sale. You have a brand ambassador. Your business has a brighter future because you have met and been approved by the RenGen.

What Viewers Want: Experience Over Exhibition.

In 1 on November 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm
Grace Jones by  by David Corio. ©David Corio

Grace Jones, 1981, Drury Lane Theater. Photo by David Coro. ©David Corio

Here’s the photo link to “Who Shot Rock & Roll” that  I promised you several days ago.  (Sorry for the delay, but I was attending an intense but informative National Arts Marketing Conference in Providence.)

While the New York Times and a lot of other media concentrated on the book cover photo of Tina Turner and the picture of  Jimi Hendrix as Wilson Pickett’s side man (Jimi in process and tux!), no one caught the remarkable composition of line that is Grace Jones.

Even though we all rocked out in the hallowed halls of the Brooklyn Museum,  this show is seminal for a couple of reasons. Sure, it elevates rock photoraphy to art photography but it does something else.”Who Shot Rock & Roll” gives the public the kind of  high energy experience they want.

Brooklyn Museum by Julie VanDolen

Brooklyn Museum - not as staid as it looks. Photo courtesy of Julie Van Dolen, Latique.

Experience, not exhibition, is what people want these days.  And they don’t want their experiences  one at a time.  People want their experiences bundled.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look around the next time you’re in an elevator. Someone standing within inches of you is…

  1. Listening to their iPod,
  2. Texting, and
  3. Planning what they’ll do when the step off the elevator.

Simplistic as my example is, I’m pretty sure it counts as a bundled experience. So, when the Brooklyn Museum added Blondie to their mix at the opening gala, they were definitely giving people a bundled experience.

This concept is something that the Presentation Arts and the Art Show promoters across the country should chew on.

  • How can you make your exhibition or show come to life?
  • How can you make it involve your viewers.

Take the blinders off and put the audio phones down. We’re suggesting you kick up involvement to another level.

And, I’m open to comments on this. Anything you as a presenter have done or would like to do to involve you audience – both in terms of creating anticipation and when they get to the on-site experience – deserves recognition. By sharing, we can start a social epidemic that might, just might, bring the experience to a breathless public.

BTW, you can click through Grace’s stance to see my  story on “Who Shot Rock & Roll” in Antiques and the Arts Weekly.

Who Shot Rock & Roll at Brooklyn Museum.

In 1 on October 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Sorry for the lack of blogs this week – there was so much going on that  all I could do was go with the flow.  But now have so much to tell you!

There’s  good news from show promoters who are going to start seeing their shows as Events

There’s good news from a company that is poised to change the way you sell antiques. (Really! More on this later.)

And, honestly, it has been one great party after another (it’s the Scorpios birthday week in addition to all else.) So we rolled from one live music venue to another. Otto’s Shrunken Head on Monday.  Brooklyn Museum’s R&R Bash last night

Last night’s party at the Brooklyn Museum was incredible.

First of all the show, “Who Shot Rock & Roll,” curated by Gail Buckland was about as good as it gets.  (While the Yankees were slugging  it out in Bronx, and Madison Square Garden was vibrating with a four-hour Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Show that featured everybody from Anthony & The Imperials to Art Garfunkel  and Springsteen, we were listening to Blondie in the vaulted hall at Brooklyn Museum.)

Can you believe it? Brooklyn Museum’s  house band is Blondie. LOL. Debbie Harry’s still got it (black wig, not withstanding) and the Hon. Chris Stein couldn’t be finer.

Thinkin’ about Blondie in the old days at CBGGs and then catchin’ up with them at the Museum, makes me nostalgic.  I mean, where are all of rock’s famed delinquents? I liked having them around.  They added interest.  Rock was real. Now its antiseptic.  At least Keith Richards hasn’t caved and Amy Winehouse is a beacon of grit in an overly antiseptic world.

But Thursday night —

  • Hearing Blondie live in a hall filled with Monets, Sisleys, Picassos and more ,
  • Mingling with the understated Brooklyn crowd,
  • Viewing the incredible rock photographs as the  “art photographs” that they are,
  • Eating hot dogs and pretzels in the museum…

It’s all  confirmation of  Buckland’s  POV: The photographers were handmaidens to rock. And rock was a revolution that  did change the way world sees itself.

BTW, it was great working with Gail and the entire Brooklyn Museum Staff on the show preview that hit web yesterday.

Stay tuned. I’m going to post pictures and photographic link to my story “Who Shot Rock & Roll,” in this week’s Bee. Click here to go straight to it.

Are Multi-Dealer Antique & Jewelry Shows Obsolete?

In 1 on October 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

To help art and antique dealers make money, I need to see first hand what’s going on in the industry.  So I spent the past few days on the road visiting high level multi-dealer antique and art shows.  From D.C. to New York,  one thing was clear: if antique shows, art shows and jewelry shows are to remain viable,  show promoters must change the way they promote.

At one show, where promoters had touted dealers on pre-show publicity in the $250,000 range, the number of actual attendees at the show on the afternoon I was there could be counted on fingers and toes.

Seasoned Collector.

Seasoned Collector-could be downsizing as easily as buying.

What’s more, they looked like seasoned browsers with little desire to make a new purchase unless it was a bargain.

Antique shows and art and jewelry shows come at too high a buy-in for dealers to have to deal with  show producers who are living in the dark ages of advertising, circa 1998 or even 2002.

For multi-dealer shows to be of any use to any one in the new economy, two things have to happen.

  1. Show promoters have got to reach new buyers.
  2. Show promoters have got to reach new buyers AND engage them.

Engaging an audience of new buyers means giving them something to talk about. It means giving them enough tantalizing information to stoke their imaginations. And, it means giving them opportunity to speak out in a community where they will be heard.

Look at it this way.  The folks in the picture are typical of new buyers.  They don’t have a lot history prior to 1982. They think antiques are something their parents owned. And they don’t necessarily understand why people buy expensive art.

New Collectors

New Collectors need to understand why antiques and art are hip, hot, fashionable.

New buyers will spend money, a lot of money, on your product as long as they are engaged in a conversation that gives them good reasons to purchase.

They will not, however, go on to build collections the way their parents did. They will not necessarily be “brand” loyal but they will be brand ambassadors.

Engaging new buyers means re-packaging your advertising. Talk to new collectors in terms they understand- through articles and photographs that reflect the way the live now.

Look at all the retail categories that have made the switch to a two-way conversation in order to remain objects of desire…

* Fashion  * Home Decor * Alcohol * Auto

* Package Goods * Publishers * Travel & Leisure *

When will Show Promoters join the party?   The time is now. To wait any longer is to render the entire antiques and arts industry moot.

Antique Dealers: RIP or ROI?

In 1 on October 5, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Bad news is no way to start a blog, but today there is no choice. Conde Nast just closed four magazines. As if that weren’t bad enough, the next news to come over the web is that Royal Street, New Orleans’ bastion of 4th (maybe 5th) generation antique dealers, is losing dealers.

Picture 2

Robinson on Royal Street. Photo credit: New Orleans City Business

The latest casualty, according to New Orleans City Business‘ Emilie Bahr, is Chuck Robinson’s lavish shop. Robinson’s Antiques actually fell sometime in September, at what should have been the start of the New Orleans Convention Season.

If some of Royal Street’s best can’t compete, how can you?

From now until late December, Antique Shows are playing to gates that traditionally bring in 5,000 to 7,000 or more well-heeled buyers that might otherwise be seeking out your shop or your website.

If you can’t afford the face time, review your marketing strategy.  Ask yourself:

  • What am I doing differently now than I did in the past?
  • Am I pinning too much on a website and/or a directory listing.
  • Am I actively harnessing the power of the Internet?
  • Are readers clicking through my broadcast emails?

If you use your press releases right, you will reach the journalists and opinion makers.

If you put your expertise into articles, you will strengthen your current community of buyers and attract new buyers.

If you work the social networks, you will build a strong community.

If you send benefit-laden emails, you will get click-throughs.

There are plenty of DIY publicity tactics you can carry out yourself or with a staff.

And if you don’t have the time or the staff to get aggressive, call us. You will find our fees in line with your budget.

On this day of RIPs, it’s clear that a strong  ROI is the better alternative.

Sell More Antiques this Fall.

In 1 on September 30, 2009 at 7:12 pm

In an antique buyers’ market,  how can you increase sales?  Hint: PR is one of your most important tools.

Whether you’re keeping the shop open later, organizing events or cocktail evenings in your store, doing the Show circuit or advertising more, PR is going to…

  1. Turn shoppers into buyers faster
  2. Reach new business prospects across the globe
  3. Get your name out to the media
  4. Set your shop or website above  the competition

Now that you’ve got it, you’re probably asking: What makes a good PR program?

A well-crafted PR strategy includes  press releases, article marketing, viral marketing.

Now, I’m going to toot our own horn. As good as you are at selling antiques, that’s how good PR To the Trade is in handling PR for antique dealers.  While we completely appreciate the inherent beauty of your product, we know that ultimately the story the media wants…the story the buyers want …is about you.

We are selling you, your image, your expertise. Just the way you do in your own shop. Difference is, we utilize the tools that  reach a universe (literally) of people who will never in a thousand years see you ads in the newspaper, trade papers or glossies. They are buyers who may never pay to get into a Show. These are the buyers who are will make Fall ’09 successful.

So, if you’re serious about making the 4th quarter great, consider the benefits of PR. Together we can turn shoppers into buyers for you.

PR.To the Trade(nophone#)

Who’s Regina Kolbe and Why Should You Care?

In 1 on September 9, 2009 at 3:06 pm

kolbegoodscreenshotNow that I’m over the ego-crushing hurdle of realizing that you might not know who I am or what fine arts marketing is about – after all, as a dealer or gallerist, you’re a pretty good marketer yourself – let me introduce myself.

I’m Regina Kolbe (you can call me Reggie). You have probably read my cover stories in Antiques & the Arts Weekly. This week I cover  “Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea”, opening at the Museum of Fine  Arts, Houston.  Or, perhaps we have talked at one of  the Armory shows that I frequent.

My company, PR To the Trade, is the only publicity firm that specializes in promotions for auctioneers, dealers, appraisers, show promoters, museums.

PR To the Trade is small and we offer very personalized promotion services. I steer the boat with the help of a great crew.

  • Harvey Gamm, a one-in-a-million sales guy, provides input on new business development,
  • Joshua Gatcke, a web designer with creativity and energy to spare, is an intuitive marketer who, to paraphrase what deKooning said about Gorky, understands from the inside out what I have spent years learning.
  • Walt Borton, who you probably know as the point person on the Casky-Lees shows, is a senior marketing associate.
  • Anna Karlssen has just joined the team as a Jr. PR person. Anna is eager and dedicated. She’s great at getting ink too.
  • In the office, Jill Holtzman,  is the voice on the other end of the phone. She also handles the bookkeeping.

After a substantial career in consumer and direct marketing for Fortune 500 companies that led to consulting to Sotheby’s, I realized the need for professional marketing advice to the trade.  Today, as the arts and antiques business changes rapidly, our promotion strategies are helping clients stay a step ahead.

What PR To the Trade does is help acquaint you with the opportunities available and suggest and implement strategies such as inbound link marketing and media opportunities that help you convert browsers to buyers.

PR is not just about editorial coverage  or

hits; it’s about generating new business.

In coming blogs, I’ll tell more about how PR To the Trade can deliver new collectors and new buyers. Even share with  you some DIY techniques. Because in a world where people no longer build collections the way they used to, there are strategies that will bring new buyers into the fold.

The best route to helping you is to hear from you. Please use the comment section to offer ways this blog can be of service.