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The Science of Spreading Ideas

spreading ideas through public relations

spreadingideas_newsSpreading Ideas 

Academia has a strong theory concerning the spread of ideas, concepts, and technology. Yes, math is involved, but thankfully, I am a writer who is averse to math. So, any trepidations you may have had should be quickly dissipating.

Diffusion Theory 

Everett Rogers formed his Diffusion of Innovation theory back in 1962. Over fifty years ago, the world learned how most ideas, not all of them, are brought from the drawing table to everyday use. Through the lens of this theory, we have the ability see how the latest and greatest products or ways of doing something spread organically.

The TED Radio Hour* recently devoted an entire hour to “How Things Spread.” I found that after listening to this show, I had more questions than answers, which is a good thing. I like a challenge, and if you do, too, then you might have the same reaction.

Who Should I Target? 

So, what’s all this have to do with advertising? Advertising is about getting your products into your customers’ hands, yet it’s the concepts within the products that make them attractive. For example, your phone is about connectivity and entertainment. As a writer for cell phones, I want to convey those ideas. But, who do I reach out to? As an advertiser, I know throwing any message into the wind will just float away. Advertising needs to be targeted and ROI driven. As an advertiser, I need to know the change agents and opinion leaders.

Who are these people—change agents and opinion leaders? Without getting into a lengthy discussion about what constitutes these roles within our society, I’ll use the quick and easy example of pharmaceuticals, one that we should generally know about already. Let’s say drug company P has completed trials of their drug and received FDA approval. Simple enough, they go to market.

Who do they approach first? Doctors, of course. Not just any doctor, but the ones that are in tune with the latest techniques in pharmacotherapy. These doctors are potential change agents, because they are aware of the benefits advanced techniques can offer their patients, as well as their colleagues.

Specialist are attractive targets for the latest and greatest drugs. These specialists incorporate the therapy into their practice, see if it works, then spread the word to other doctors, or speak at conferences. Once a sizeable percentage of doctors are familiar with the therapy, then the drug

company can target the consumer side of the population, having them “Ask your doctor to see if Drug P is right for you.”

It’s Science 

Back to the math, briefly, I promise. Diffusion theory shows a bell curve for adoption and uptake of ideas and products. This means that your product has a definite path through its sales lifecycle. Let’s look at the figure** below.

spreading ideas through advertising

Continuing with our example of new drugs, the specialists are the Early Adopters, who are at the far left of the graph. Of course, this is generalized, but you get the picture. During this early adoption phase, according to Rogers, the effects of the drugs, both good and bad are being disseminated throughout the medical field. The spread to general practitioners also happens during the early adoption phase. The general population appears in the early majority and late majority phases.

What I want you to focus on is the exponential growth during the early adopters and early majority phases. This is important, because if the word isn’t spreading about a product, then the growth isn’t happening. You might as well forget about the laggards. Rogers, in his 2003 edition of Diffusion of Innovation, called laggards in the medical field, conservative doctors that were averse to change and set in their ways. Why would any company want to spend money trying to convince someone that has no want or reason to change? Laggards adopt a product or idea through peer pressure and phasing out of outdated products.

Back to Basics 

We’ve heard of target marketing for years. Saw it in our text books. Listened to our mentors. There’s a mathematical and scientific reason why it works and produces higher return on your investment. In the future, when you want to create a campaign for your latest service or product, speak with an advertising professional that is well versed in targeted marketing, because it’s science.

About Michael Premo

Michael Premo is the founder and full-time writer for 613Creative, Inc., specializing in digital media content. He’s an avid reader, researcher, and advertising nerd.

*If you’re not familiar with the TED format or TED Radio, I highly suggest listening to the podcast to spark your own creative ideas or learn how to become a better listener to many that are circulating around you.

** Figure credit goes to and

Bobbie Shay Lee Speaks at University of Rhode Island

Bobbie Shay Lee presents at University of Rhode Island

Bobbie Shay Lee was selected as the 2016 University of Rhode Island Vangermeersch Lecturer to present “Profit or Purpose: Looking Beyond the Surface”.

In her address, the former NFL cheerleader told the stark truth about some cause-related marketing and how consumers can be well informed about purchasing products with ties to charitable organizations.

A breast cancer survivor, it was Lee’s quest for information about funding from the NFL’s “Crucial Catch” breast cancer campaign that led her to create the Center for Transparency. Through the Center, she has worked to provide clarity about the profits being made and details of exactly how much money is actually contributed to a company’s selected non-profit.

Read more about her lecture in the University of Rhode Island student newspaper.

Bobbie Shay Lee, 2016 Vangermeersch Lecturer

Bobbie Shay Lee, 2016 Vangermeersch Lecturer

Bobbie Shay Lee, 2016 Vangermeersch Lecturer

Pinstripe Closes on New Web Site for Southern Roots Realty

real estate web site wolfnet integration

After years of working with big commercial firms, it was a special treat to work on a decidedly prettier real estate web site. And with a legacy that spans generations, it was a pleasure to design the Southern Roots Realty site to reflect their love and commitment to St. Petersburg.

real estate web site WolfNet integrationThe Southern Roots site highlights the home listings visitors expect from real estate sites, and through the custom integration with WolfNet, it also features robust search functionality and lead generation tools for the agency. What makes Southern Roots unique is their deep knowledge of and affinity for St. Petersburg’s diverse neighborhoods, so the Pinstripe team incorporated that into the site design. The agents regularly post insights about the most popular areas of the city, illustrating why buyers and sellers need the Southern Roots team in their corner.

Have a real estate firm looking for a new web site? Contact our team and let’s get to work!


The Importance of a Trademark Search

Florida trademark lawyer, intellectual property

Guest contributor: Monica Mason, Trenam Law

A trademark is a name, word or logo used to indicate the source of a product or service. While a “trademark” technically refers to a brand used on goods and products (e.g., coffee, sneakers, jewelry), a “service mark” refers to a brand used in connection with services (e.g., restaurant services, insurance services, accounting services). Almost every company imaginable has a trademark or service mark – either the name of the company advertised to the public or the name of its product.

Prior to using or advertising a new brand in connection with a business or product, it is critical to have a trademark attorney conduct thorough trademark searches to clear the potential trademark for use and registration. It is necessary for a business owner to know whether there are risks to the company’s use and registration of the proposed trademark. When first selecting a trademark, a business owner should conduct an Internet search or use the free search engine located on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website – Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) – to discern whether the proposed mark is unique or widely used.

Generally, there are two levels of trademark searches recommended: first, a preliminary “knock-out” search is conducted to determine if an identical mark has already been applied for or registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office or with any state trademark office. This first and very important step helps determine the potential availability and registrability of a proposed trademark, and can easily determine whether a proposed mark is worth pursuing or should be eliminated from consideration due to conflicting marks. The preliminary search, however, is limited in scope as many companies do not register their trademarks; thus, there could be additional and extensive use of the same or similar marks at common law.

If no conflicts are found in the preliminary search, the next step is to conduct a more thorough, due diligence trademark search. A comprehensive trademark search helps determine any further risks associated with the use and registration of the mark, including possible infringement risks, and reviews the extent of non-registered use of the mark around the country. This second level of searching involves a trademark attorney ordering and analyzing a detailed report from a specialized commercial search firm. The comprehensive search gathers information from a variety of sources including federal trademark/service mark applications and registrations in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, available state registrations, and also searches an extensive database of trade names, trade directories, corporate filings, international filings, registered domain names, Internet usage, telephone books, and other non-registration sources. These searches can also search design and logo components, phonetic equivalents, and other variations of a proposed trademark. Although a comprehensive trademark search offers a more thorough discovery of potential conflicts and risks involved with the use and registration of the potential trademark, it is not exhaustive.

Once the trademark has been cleared, a trademark owner should protect its trademark by filing an application to register the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, with state trademark offices (e.g., Florida), and/or foreign countries, as appropriate.

Although U.S. trademark law does not require that trademark searches be conducted prior to using and/or applying to register a trademark, trademark searches are important because courts have held that the failure to conduct a trademark search prior to adopting a mark can constitute evidence of bad faith and/or willful infringement. Conducting a thorough trademark search and using a trademark attorney can help negate a charge of bad faith in a trademark infringement lawsuit.

While conducting trademark searches is not mandatory under trademark law, the searches can uncover substantial risks of which a business owner would otherwise be unaware, and save the company substantial expense, time, and headaches down the road.


Florida intellectual property lawyerMonica Mason is Senior Counsel at Trenam Law, one of Tampa Bay’s largest law firms. Monica practices in the firm’s Business Transaction Practice Group, focusing primarily on intellectual property law including trademarks, copyrights and domain names. Monica has vast experience with all aspects of trademark law, including trademark clearance and prosecution, cease and desist matters, and licensing. She represents clients in connection with sales and acquisition of trademarks, unfair competition, brand strategy, trademark watching and policing, and managing large trademark portfolios. She also assists clients in connection with copyright and domain name matters. Monica was recognized as the Tampa Trademark Law Lawyer of the Year in 2014 by The Best Lawyers in America.® 



Tampa Bay public relations

How to Leave an Effective Voicemail Message

How to leave an effective voice mail message
When trying to reach someone, having to leave a voicemail (VM) message can be very frustrating. The exercise is especially tiresome if you’re in sales—leaving message after message with little hope of a callback. Pessimistically you go through the motions; repeating words you’ve said countless times before.

Whether your goal is the exchange of goods or services for cash, pitching a PR story, trying to line up investors or hoping for a job interview, a defeatist attitude isn’t going to help you make the most of your opportunity. Realize—in a cold-call situation—this is your one shot at making a good first impression. And even if you’re performing a ‘follow-up call,’ the fact that VM seems like a hurdle means you obviously haven’t established much of a relationship. You want to sound like someone the person hearing your VM will want to know!

Focus on the Purpose of Your Call

One of the first things anyone who receives an unexpected phone call wonders is “Why is this person calling me?” We quickly want to know if it’s good news, bad news, something important, a conversation to be enjoyed … or a waste of time. And since we’ve all answered thousands of phone calls during our lifetimes, we become efficient at quickly categorizing a caller’s purpose. If it’s painfully apparent you’re leaving a VM only because you’re trying to sell something—or worse, just because it’s your job (and you hate it)—a bad vibe will come through.

Your purpose needs to be letting the VM recipient know how you can improve his or her situation or provide a valuable benefit. Mentally set aside your sales quotas, or the fact that you just lost your biggest client and you desperately need a replacement. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What could a salesperson in your line of work do for you that would lead you to return his or her call? Once you have a tangible mission of doing something good for a fellow human, you’re ready to think about what you’ll actually say.

Organizing Your Message

Your voicemail composition should contain these elements, more or less in this order:

  • Identify yourself – Who’s calling is the first thing that people want to know, so don’t frustrate them by not immediately saying who you are and what organization you represent. (Delayed identification may also seem a little shady—as though you have something to hide.) Example: “Hello, contact name, my name is John Smith and I’m with Acme Roadrunner Control.” If you’re calling on behalf of yourself, such as seeking employment, go ahead and make that a part of your introduction. “Hello, contact name, I’m Jane Jones. I’m calling as a follow up to the resume I sent you.”
  • Give your phone number – There are a couple of reasons to go ahead and leave your phone number here. First, you create a sense of urgency that calling back is important. Of greater importance, however, it’s more convenient for contacts not to have to listen to your entire message again if they need to “rewind” in order to write your number down.
  • Mention the benefit you’ll provide and how you’ll provide it – Remember our earlier exercise of having a purpose for calling? This is where that comes into play, but be brief. Imagine you’re cold calling for a lawn care company. You might say, “We’re in the business of turning lawns into showcases for homes, and right now, we’re offering a special bi-weekly maintenance discount. (If it’s not a discount or special offer, try referencing the specific product or service that’s applicable.)
  • Say why you’re calling this person specifically – One example would be, “I’m calling because you recently indicated an interest in our services/products and the benefits we provide,” as in they filled out a business reply postcard or completed an online survey. If your call is completely out of the blue as far as your contact is concerned, you could explain, “We’re reaching out to you as someone our research has shown often benefits from our services/products.” Even better is dropping the name of a mutual connection who made a referral (I always return those calls.) The point is to establish legitimacy for your call.
  • Sum up and close – Thank your contact for listening to your message, then invite them to call you back. Leave your phone number again for emphasis and in case your first recitation was hard to understand. Your conversational exit might be: “Thank you for taking the time to listen to my message. I look forward to speaking to you, in person, at your earliest convenience, so my number again is … Have a great day!”

Sound upbeat, yet natural when you leave your message. (Remember, you’re trying to do something good for this person!) Be as brief as possible but don’t rush. Taking time to speak clearly lets your contact know what you’re saying is important and worth hearing. Finally, never forget that there will be a real human being listening to your call, and no matter how many times a day you leave a voicemail, each of those individuals will only hear one, so make it good!

Tampa Bay public relations

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