My small, woman-owned public relations/marketing firm, Advice Unlimited, has been serving the Federal government marketplace for nearly 30 years to help companies with innovative technology get their solutions to the government. Every month, I’ll offer unlimited advice on how to work with this unique market. Please email me with questions or comments.

Advice Unlimited

Advice Unlimited

Monday, August 16, 2010

Paradigm shift: Use Consultants Surgically

We applaud Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ recent announcement of his proposed initiative to cut costs, as we also applaud the Office of Management and Budget’s move to halt IT modernization efforts that have consistently cost more and delivered less than promised. We see a paradigm shift in how government is working – instead of just talking about doing more with less, I believe government leaders are trying to actually do more by being more efficient, focused, and specific in what they need delivered. This is good news for smart government contractors as well as for the taxpayers and the government organizations themselves.

My organization, Advice Unlimited, provides strategic planning and communications outreach consulting services to the government. We offer our services surgically – in modules that clearly define the project that will be delivered, how long it takes and what it costs. The customer only pays for what they actually need at that time; they can then purchase additional modules when they’re ready, both financially and operationally, to implement that next project. We consistently deliver outstanding results, and part of our success is because realistic expectations are established up front, and everyone is clear about the scope of the project. There is minimal ‘scope creep’ because the project is short and focused.

I believe this surgical approach to delivering services to the government is the wave of the future – it delivers the services needed in a timely, cost-effective, agile manner, so that if something isn’t working, adjustments can be made and the process can be back on track very quickly, with minimal cost or time expended. We don’t place full time employees at customer sites; we provide experienced consultants to work with the customer – and the problem – for only the amount of time necessary to deliver the results the customer needs in support of their mission. We’re not doing more with less, we’re doing more with less fat and more focus. It saves time and money, and delivers better results.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How to Ensure Effective Outreach

When it comes to implementing effective outreach, it is crucial that every spokesperson for your organization is talking from the same page. How many officials from your organization are tasked with ‘spreading the word,’ and speaking with different constituents about your mission, the services and support you provide, or new programs that you are introducing?

We can all agree that the more spokespeople you have, the more chance there is that your message is getting garbled. While all of your spokespeople are probably outstanding, you must be sure that they are all delivering the same message and consistently highlighting the same top priorities.

Spokespeople, of course, are an essential part of every organization. They help to influence key decision makers and explain to the public exactly why and how your services support their needs. It can severely hurt your organization, however, if not every spokesperson is on the same page. How does it look to have conflicting information coming from people who are supposed to be working together? It is now more important than ever before to be certain that your spokespeople are saying the same things across the board. With the advent of social media, comments from a spokesperson can be published mere seconds after the words leave their mouths. These comments will then immediately be dissected, discussed and compared in the social media sphere. You cannot leave any room for inconsistency.

Don’t let this issue go unsolved! My team and I can assist you in your all-important mission of outreach consistency with our ‘Speaker’s Kit.’

This 3-ring binder enables an organization to have confidence that even if several people are serving as spokespersons on an important topic, they are all using the same language, the same messaging and the same presentation. Each spokesperson will have all the tools they need to effectively deliver the message of your organization.

The Speaker’s Kit that we provide is built around a PowerPoint presentation. It will include both a digital and hard copy of the PowerPoint – and in transparencies if desired. The Kit will also contain the talking points, a copy of a full speech, as well as background information. This Kit can be duplicated for as many people as needed to make the presentation, which ensures that everyone is using the same materials and the same messaging. It also affords a higher level of comfort and confidence to the spokespeople themselves, as they have everything they need in one binder to ensure an effective and successful presentation.

Simple? Very. Effective? Absolutely! Try it – your speakers will thank you!

Contact me at or 301-924-0330 for more information on public outreach efforts. My team and I would love to help you create and implement a successful Speaker’s Kit!