Can it really be our 20th Anniversary?

April 13th, 2014 by

We started Communicators International, Inc. in January of 1994. It seems like yesterday.

Business Beginnings in Venice, 1989. L-R: The late great Dave-o King; Mustachioed Ron Treister; Randy Stertmeyer, navigating as always.

Business Beginnings in Venice, 1989. L-R: The late great Dave-o King; Mustachioed Ron Treister; Randy Stertmeyer, navigating as always.

Our very first client was Creative Edge, the Fairfield, Iowa-based company which has grown to be the world’s leading waterjet design and fabrication firm. They’re still with us, and the relationship has never been stronger. It’s still a lot of fun working with Jim Belilove, Harri Aalto and key members of their great team. Another core account from way-back-when was Rover North America, the stateside subsidiary of Italy’s then-premier manufacturer of agglomerated marble slabs and tiles. The President/Managing Director of that firm was Randy Stertmeyer, who today is our COO. Randy worked for four other companies which became our clients since that time, one being Creative Edge, for which he was VP/Sales & Marketing.

It’s all about good people helping good people…and, not forgetting each other.

I hired Terri Sparks in 1990 to work as my assistant at Treister Incorporated in Chicago; I think it was just after she had graduated from college. She stayed with me when we sold that firm to another ad agency, and then joined up with the ex-client for whom we both worked a short period of time. Moving forward, she became the marketing director of a very large stone company about the same time I started this company. In 2003, Terri came back as an account exec, doing great stuff (as always) until she left four years later, taking on an even more important job: being mother to her twins. Now that her kids are in school, she’s back with us on a part-time basis.

It’s never been easy. It’s never been dull. Overall though, it’s always been rewarding. Thanks to everybody who has worked with Communicators International, Inc. over the last two decades!

5 Signs You’re Addicted to Social Media

December 10th, 2012 by

Screen-Shot-2012-12-11-at-9.20.04-AM-300x157Since 2006, the amount of time that the average person spent on social-networking sites has more than doubled, from 2.7 hours to 6.9 hours per month. Two of the fastest-growing groups on social media are males and people over the age of 55. Go figure.

So how much time is too much? Here are some signs you are addicted to social media:

1) You Have Social Media For Breakfast. If you’re checking your streams, posts, messages and tweets before that first cup of coffee or the morning workout, you’re on very shaky ground. Get some of your own thoughts and your own game plan going first before you start reading about everyone else.

2) You Like Your Own Posts. Do you post a comment on Facebook that you find particularly witty and then “like” it, too? Don’t do that. It makes you look like you’re obsessed with yourself. No one likes a narcissist.

3) You share big news online before you call your mom. New job, new baby, new house. If your first inclination is to blast it over Facebook or Twitter instead of calling your friends or loved ones, you might be a tad obsessed.

4) Your mood depends on how many online responses you get. If you’re basing your self esteem on how many of your friends liked or retweeted your picture or witty comment, please don’t. It’s probably a sign that you need to spend some more time with yourself.

5) Your phone buzzes every time there’s a new message or post waiting for you. There’s no sense in being notified every time someone retweets or comments on something you said. It keeps you from being in the moment and focusing on the task at hand.

Do Your Marketing Materials Sound American?

September 21st, 2012 by

There once was a stigma among Europeans that Americans were a bit vulgar and had no style. That’s what my mom said, anyway. Growing up as a German-American, I would hear my mother go on for hours about how plain American women used to be. “They look dowdy,” she said. “They have no table manners.” “They don’t know how to use what they have to get what they want.”

by Tanja Kern

by Tanja Kern

Those comments made me cringe. After all, I am an American (albeit a dual-passport-holding one). But those comments also made me pay close attention to first impressions and fitting in. The impression mom wanted to project in the 1970s was that she was the sexy, yet classy, Bond woman who could teach American women a thing or two. In contrast, our American neighbors thought my mother was a bit of a stuck-up maneater. (In reality, she was all bark…no bite).

As you can probably imagine, mom still has a very strong German accent, and she is proud of it. Over the years, however, that accent caused some miscommunication. “I love my husband’s muh-stard,” she would say (when she meant mustache, for example). Everything dramatic was always “tur-ble” (ie “terrible). There was also the little issue of German words that just don’t translate into English. Take fremdgeschämt, for example, which means “to be ashamed for someone else.” You can only imagine how often that word was tossed around in our house.

First impressions are based on your own cultural perspective. What’s acceptable and considered “good” in one country might not be correct for the next. Language is a big part of that.

As a U.S.-based communications and marketing firm, Communicators International speaks English fluently. We also write in English, we joke in English, and we know what images and ideas appeal to the American market. We’ve gotten around the world enough to fully appreciate the nuances of world cultures and how products researched and developed abroad can be repackaged to appeal to American consumers. That’s not to say that European companies shouldn’t play up the sex appeal of Paris or the style of Milan, but they should say it in a way that is clear to their target audience and with the words that will inspire consumers to spring into action.

5 Simple Ways to Drum Up PR

August 10th, 2012 by

Ever wonder how some companies seem to get press all the time, and it’s not because they’re a public company or in a secret Bunco club with an editor? It’s because they are constantly creating news and letting the media know about it. What might seem to be a hum-drum piece of your everyday can make a noteworthy news story. It’s all about putting on your PR goggles and asking yourself “What have we done that’s interesting?” Need some inspiration? Try these tactics:

1) Show Growth. In this slow-to-recover economy, any good news is news that people want to hear about. But the media will only take note if you tell them about it. Some of the topics that are worth a press release include:

  • Launching a new product line
  • Expanding territories or new countries
  • Hiring new employees
  • Posting excellent quarterly and year-end results
  • New partnerships and marketing ventures

2) Brag About a Success Story. Did you launch an ad campaign or a new initiative that did really well? How about a beautiful design project? Tell what you did and how you did it. News outlets are always looking for stories that inspire others to create.

3) Do Some Good for the Community. No, we’re not saying to adopt a cause just for the sake of good PR, but adopting a cause certainly doesn’t hurt. Donate product, organize a charity event, volunteer time at a local not-for-profit, and when you do, be sure to inform the local press every step of the way. Not only will you create some buzz, but your employees will also feel good about reaching out and doing some good that reaches beyond the bottom line.

4) Survey Your Customers. The media is hungry for statistics and infographics, so give them the fodder they need to create short, snappy stories. You can use SurveyMoney to create a online survey that discusses product trends, opinions about upcoming shows or the current market, what areas of the industry show the most promise for growth…you get the idea. Conduct the survey, summarize the results and send them in a press release to your trade and consumer media outlets. Voila!

5) Play Up Dogs and Babies. One of our staffers at Communicators International used to work for a major magazine publisher who consistently sold more magazines on the newsstand when a dog was featured on the cover. The fact is, people have soft spots for dogs and babies, so how do you maximize this? Host a Facebook contest that encourages parents to post their favorite dog or kid pic with your product. A flooring manufacturer could also host a model call for dogs or kids that encourages people to talk up product durability. The winners become the face of your new fall ad campaign.


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Communicators International, Inc.

Headquartered in Jupiter, FL with satellite offices throughout the nation

Call: 561 203 2981


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