For PR grads: Learning the media-tier system from a toilet night light company

It was 3:00 a.m. when the call of mother nature rumbled in the stomach of Wendy Hale.

This call wasn’t an unusual occurrence. It normally happened at least once a night. As she got out of bed, she began the sluggish journey across the room and into the bathroom. She moved through the door, reached for the light and [cue the gasp and squinty eyes] the bright lights!

Night after night, she wished that there was a better way to take care of business without turning on the light… and then it happened.

Into her mind came an image of a product that she had seen on ABC’s Shark Tank just eight hours earlier.

She rushed into the other room, got on the computer and searched in the Google Search bar: “toilet night light, shark tank.”

The right PR strategy can lead consumers to remember your brand when they need something. (Photo Credit: ABC Shark Tank)

The right PR strategy can lead consumers to remember your brand when they need something. (Photo Credit: ABC Shark Tank)

The results pulled up a new and emerging company: Illumibowl.

Illumibowl began in 2015 and within just six months had accrued more than 1 million in sales. Now, that’s a hefty sum. But how does a small company get such attention in such a short amount of time?

The answer has largely to do with the strategy of its PR/Marketing director, Josh Jamias.

When Jamias started working for the company, they gave him one month to prove his worth.

“I have to do anything that will increase sales,” he said to himself. “That’s all that will matter.”

He worked like crazy to understand who he was trying to influence and how he was going to influence them. After a few weeks, he had discovered how the media-tier system worked and put all he had into it.

“There are three basic tiers of media,” Jamias shared. “Pitching to the lower tier includes the blogs and social media, the middle tier lands sites like ‘The Chive’ and ‘BuzzFeed’ and the top tier includes bigger news publications and sites such as Forbes and ABC’s Shark Tank.”

Illumibowl has a motion activated light that changes colors every few seconds. (PC: Illumibowl)

Illumibowl has a motion activated light that changes colors every few seconds. (PC: Illumibowl)

Jamias discovered that the best way to get up to the top tier, was to start at the bottom and let the editors and brand lovers take your product to the top organically. And that is exactly what happened for their company. It is this kind of PR strategy that can create quick growth and awareness that will stick in the minds of customers.

That is what happened to Mrs. Hale. Minutes after remembering the product, she went right to the computer, got on the company’s website and ordered five units; one for each bathroom in the house.

So, in short, targeting the right media channels can lead to your company moving up the media tiers and really sticking in the minds of tens of thousands of consumers like Mrs. Hale. Just make sure that you know who you are targeting and how you can reach them and just like that, they will be online looking for your brand.

Hudson McKay is a student at Brigham Young University and currently serves on the PRSSA board as vice president of member services. When he’s not writing online marketing campaigns or blog posts, you can find him climbing up mountains, being with friends, and crunching on as much flavored ice that he can get his hands on.
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