Archive for February 2011

23 Engineer’s Resource for Sustainable, Cost-effective Design

Posted on February 23, 2011 by John OReilly

In today’s competitive market of designing structures that offer greater energy efficiency on a budget, engineers need a one-stop resource to research and specify products and systems that will make their buildings great.

To help in their quest, Uponor recently launched, an online resource that provides everything an engineer needs to create desirable, sustainable, cost-effective designs for radiant heating and cooling and plumbing applications.

Click here to read more and download the press release and images.


When Bad PR Happens to Good Companies

Posted on February 23, 2011 by Nora DePalma

The Problem With Public Relations -  we read stories like this one on the NY Times small business blog and we don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

We laugh because we know we can do so much better at public relations.  We cry because we don’t get the chance after good companies have been burned by bad PR.

How to avoid this?

1. Established PR firms know what it takes to get the job done.  Once you’ve met and established objectives, your agency should be able to set success metrics.  And not fluffy ones, either.  You should be working against hard numbers: how many impressions does the agency estimate based on the scope of work?  How many leads are expected?  How many trade show interviews will there be?  How many people will attend your event? You should agree in advance on the success metrics and receive regular reports on progress.

2.  Check references, ideally from clients who have a similar business model or business challenges.  Building products companies need PR firms with a strong track record in durable goods that have complex stories, long-selling cycles and varied sales channels.   As this article shows, people are not shy about sharing a bad experience.  Luckily, we also know that people aren’t shy about sharing a good experience.

3. Avoid onerous contracts.  Don’t sign anything that holds you hostage to an agency.  For a project-based relationship, you should be able to move on at any time.  For an ongoing relationship, you should be able to break free in 30-45 days, depending on the volume of work and the length of relationship.

What are your tips to avoid bad PR happening to good companies?


What I Learned as a Social Media Fake: Part 3

Posted on February 11, 2011 by Nora DePalma

To thine own self be true is not only Shakespearean and Biblical wisdom, it is also true of social media.

It took just a few weeks as a social media fake to connect with the same social media universe as the real me.  One of my “real” friends even added the fake me to her coveted Twitter list of bloggers and writers, right alongside folks I’ve known for years in the building products industry.  I saw the real me being retweeted by friends of the fake me.

What I Learned as a Social Media Fake Part 1

What I Learned as a Social Media Fake Part 2

Why?  Two reasons:

1.    Outside of the tech and media industries—and celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Sarah Palin—the Twitter universe is pretty small.

2.    But mostly: I’m still me.  Still attracted to the same type of content, featuring information that is relevant to me and/or makes me laugh.  And the same people who are attracted to my content are going to find it.

The experience also taught me that it’s OK to mix it up a little (see caveat below).  Got into it on “Obamacare” with a blogger who was so much like me, I wanted to reach through the Internet and hug her sweet little misguided business-owner self.  She was so determined to blame Obama for her increased health care costs, she absolutely could not even try to find middle ground.  This went on for a good 48 hours. My Klout score soared. But my heart sank.  Seems like life is too short to live that angry.

Note that mixing it up does NOT apply to brands and business that are targets of endless litigation.  Even for us individuals, it makes sense to blog, walk, drive and breathe backed by a good umbrella personal liability policy. It’s how we roll in the US.

But be interesting. Even in today’s litigious culture, things like apologies and promises still work. Really.


My time as a social media fake began because I was concerned that my “personal brand” would suffer online if I showed too much personality.

Yet the  “real me” managed a pretty high ratio of fans to detractors offline for more than a half century of life.  It is the same personal brand that has helped O’Reilly/DePalma gain and retain clients who seek our expertise for marketing and public relations in the building and architectural industries.


Oh, and my stepson who had the bad accident?  That’s all better, too.  I’ll always be profoundly grateful to Twitter friends of the “real”  me for all your support and care when I most needed it:    @michaelanschel @jgandB, @hueberbreuer, @Paul_Anater, @susanserrackd, @damnedgoodesign @JTGoldberg @greenearthpr, @cbwhittemore , @catpoetry @alisonilg @brpgreenplumber @bethSEGreen @mododesigngroup @ktom17 @jmurphy42 @bobmader and LaurenHunter_HW.

And friends of the “fake me” now my REAL friends: @Alexandrafunfit @craftycmc @PsiChic.

My stepson and I, December 2010


Uponor’s Eric Skare Appointed to NFSA Residential Committee

Posted on February 8, 2011 by John OReilly

Eric Skare, product manager, Fire Safety, at Uponor, was recently appointed to the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA) Residential Committee. In his role, Skare will provide expertise and guidance in the area of residential fire sprinkler systems.

A Certified Fire Protection Specialist, Skare has also been a volunteer firefighter for more than eight years and has a great passion for fire safety and the importance of residential fire sprinklers.
He started with Uponor in 2001 as a product engineer before moving into project management and is currently the product manager for AquaSAFE™, the company’s multipurpose residential plumbing and fire sprinkler system.

“With the recent IRC fire sprinkler mandate for new homes built after Jan. 1, 2011, the residential fire sprinkler market is opening up considerably,” says Skare. “It is important that residential fire sprinklers have the proper representation and visibility in the marketplace.”

Click here to read more and download the press release and a hi-res image of Eric Skare.


Uponor Offers First State-certified Water Authority Training Program for Residential Sprinklers

Posted on February 8, 2011 by John OReilly

With the Jan. 1, 2011 requirement to include fire sprinklers in all new homes, the state of Pennsylvania recently certified a training program for water authorities on residential fire sprinkler systems. The training program, provided by Uponor, a manufacturer and supplier of multipurpose plumbing and fire sprinkler systems as well as radiant heating and cooling systems, will also offer attendees continuing education units (CEUs).

According to Paul McCulloch, technical representative for Uponor Fire Safety, the course will follow the requirements of the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13D Standard for the installation of fire sprinkler systems in single- and two-family homes.

Click here to read more and download hi-res images.


What I Learned as a Social Media Fake: Part 2

Posted on February 7, 2011 by Nora DePalma

My life as a social media fake came crashing to an end when my stepson almost died in an accident riding home from work on October 21, 2010.  I couldn’t handle it in my own head, let alone deal with two different personalities on social media.  The “real” me didn’t know if it was a private matter or if I should “share it.”  I wondered about the protocol of asking nearly 2,000 people I’d never met on Twitter to share in my pain.  (Didn’t they have enough to do?)

Yet I needed to hear the wisdom and laughs from the many friends I’d met on Twitter and Facebook during those long eight days of uncertainty in the SICU.  The help and support I received from my social media friends was beyond my wildest imaginings.  At all hours, I was getting texts, Facebook posts, Tweets and emails from friends, clients, media contacts and many people I’d never even met in person.  I could wake up at 2 in the morning on the couch in the hospital, turn on my Blackberry and get a message of hope. It was mind-blowing, sustaining.

Then there was my fake social media presence with real friends, as wonderful as my real social media presence.  Yet crazy. They didn’t know who they were sustaining!  One dear friend of the fake me wasn’t too far from the real me while I lived in that SICU. It would have been great to reach out for coffee—she would have made me laugh.  But it was too much effort to explain how we knew each other.

I felt like a big-time fraud, and the person—not to mention personal brand-losing out was me.  Luckily, social media has been built to gently point this out.

To create a fake persona for the fairly benevolent reason of compartmentalizing your life is not very easy on social media sites.  Most social sites want a real email address and some want a real mobile phone number.  It’s hard to build community as fake. I could set up fake Gmail and Yahoo accounts, but was limited when it came to gadgets and add-ons. Basically, in exchange for knowing your every move online and offline, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, et. al. make it free and easy to build a community by being authentic.

But not a fake.

Read What I Learned as a Social Media Fake: Part 1

Next week, the series concludes.

National Kitchen and Bath Association Public Relations Society of America: Georgia Green Earth PR Network