Published on February 27, 2014
HOW TO BRAND YOUR INVESTIGATIVE AGENCY & YOURSELF PRESENTER CHIEF THOMAS P. SHAMSHAK (RET) WWW.SHAMSHAKPI.COM EAST COAST SUPERCONFERENCE TROPICANA RESORT & CASINO JUNE 26TH - 28TH , 2013
Thomas P. Shamshak Licensed Professional Investigator Former Law Enforcement Officer and Police Chief 35 years investigative experience Boston University PI Program Director and Instructor
Professional Highlights • • • • • Retired June 1999 Developed a Business Plan Licensed August 1999 & Setup Shop in Boston Joined LPDAM October 1999 (Value + Benefits) Attended March 2000 Atlantic City PI Superconference & Networked with the Stars in the PI Industry • Presenter at NALI 2001 Boston Conference • Past President – LPDAM (04-05) • 3rd Vice President of NCISS
Starting a Business • • • • • Confusing and time consuming Failure rate for new start up businesses is high Many long hours every week Normal for new businesses not to earn a profit Possess the entrepreneurial spirit
Critical Skills • Technical skill • Managing the Business • Growing the Business
Write a Business Plan What Is a Business Plan? – A written expression of your business idea – Describes the business, services, market, staffing, and financing needs
Purpose of a Business Plan • Convince potential investors • Test viability of idea before expending resources • Outline each area of business • Research market thoroughly • Determine financial needs • Attract talented personnel • Monitor business and financial needs
Find a Niche A niche or target market is a group of potential customers who share common characteristics, making customers especially receptive to your service.
Focus on One Area • Create your own identity in the marketplace. • Being focused increases the probability of getting more business. • Consumers prefer businesses that specialize.
How to Find Your Niche Ask yourself… • • • • • Who are you? Who is your competition? Is there an untapped market? What you offering? Who are your prospects?
How to Find Your Niche (cont.) Think about… • What are your best skills? • What is your passion? • Where would you fit in? Where would you not fit in? • Identify your competitors • List all the benefits for your services
How to Find Your Niche (cont.) Consider… • How you spend most of your waking hours? • What does your competitor do? right and wrong? • How will you fill a void in the marketplace • Can you reach and develop prospects? • Can your prospects pay for your services?
How to Find Your Niche (cont.) Double Check Your Choices! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Is this niche something you know how to do? Can you do it well? Is it something you like to do and would not mind doing day after day? Is it something with a broad enough appeal to sell on a steady basis? Can it be sold at a price that will cover all your expenses and overhead plus return a profit? Can you raise enough funds?
Top 20 Specialty Areas Missing persons Pre-employment checks Insurance fraud Countermeasures Surveillance Liability investigation Background checks Bail bond recovery Criminal defense Domestic investigations Asset investigation Sex crimes investigation Worker’s compensation Missing heirs Database/online search Adoptee/birth parents location Service of process Employee theft Bodyguard/executive protection Political background checks
BRAND THE AGENCY • The Brand called “YOU” • The Brand is your reputation! • Embody your Brand!
BRAND THE AGENCY CORPORATE IMAGE • Corporate identity is crucial to care + growth of your business • Corporate image refers to how a firm is perceived • It is a generally accepted image of what a company “stands for”
BRAND THE AGENCY CREATING AN IMAGE Creation of a corporate image is an exercise in perception management; it suggests a mental picture to the public A successful corporate image must be believable The image must accurately reflect the company’s product, services, values, and representatives A company name, logo, and tag line help establish + reinforce the image
BRAND THE AGENCY IDENTITY PACKAGE • Your corporate identity package defines the spacing, styles, colors, fonts, margins and images for: • The logo – a combo of alpha and graphic elements that present the business name • The tag line – a phrase or motto that further defines a market niche or benefit of the company
BRAND THE AGENCY IDENTITY PACKAGE • Protect your identity to maintain your position in the marketplace • Take time to set down rules about how, where, and when your logo and business appear • By setting standards you are assured that your brand collateral is always displayed correctly in any medium or communication tool
What’s In a Name? 1. What you can glean from an agency’s name? 2. What type of service do you think the agency provides? 3. What is your initial impression based solely on the name?
What’s in a Name? • • • • • • • • • • Accurate Information Consultants Active Investigation Blackhawk Investigation Central Investigative Services Corporate Integrity Services Jag & company Computer Forensics Merrimack Valley Guard Service NH Background Investigations Tactical Surveillance Investigations Tri State Investigations Agency
REINVENTING YOU AND YOUR AGENCY • Does your brand need to be changed? • Is a makeover necessary? • Are you happy with the trajectory of your business growth? • Do you have the right professional traction?
Business Cards Your business card will be kept by: • • • • • Clients Prospective clients Your peers Lawyers Other professionals
Business Cards (cont.) Make sure your card is: • • • • • Professional Printed on high quality paper Accurately represents your business Provides contact information Displays appropriate credentials Always carry your business cards. Everywhere!
Develop a Marketing Plan Marketing plan basics include: • • • • • • • Gathering market research Analyzing the competition Strategizing about a campaign Focusing on the prospective client Identifying a plan of action Providing supporting objectives Defining a budget
What Is a Marketing Plan? A marketing plan helps answer: • • • • • • Who are your clients? What are you selling? What specific market will you target? How are your clients segmented? Is your market steady, growing, or declining? How will you promote your business to your clients? • What pricing strategy will you implement?
Components of a Marketing Plan • • • • • Define the business Define the clients Define the advertising plan Define the advertising budget Determine the overall promotional objectives
Advertising Without…advertising, information...would take years to reach all of us who might benefit by it and progress would be delayed. Harry S. Truman
Target Advertising • Create a communication strategy • Determine a budget – – – – – – Website Networking Public relations Social awareness Print media Radio/television • Track response
Website Impact • Website Development – – – – Domain registration Content development Underlying structure Design elements – Consult with Jimmie Mesis!
Networking • Plan it – What do you want to achieve? – Who would benefit from by business? – Where could I meet prospects? – How do I establish my image? • Target your audience • Event etiquette • Meeting tips
Public Relations If you’ve done it, it ain’t braggin. Dizzy Dean, baseball player The following all contribute to your public relations: • Press releases • Self promotion • Employees’ manner, attire, attitude • Kudos file • Publicity
Social Awareness Become active in an organization or association that interests you. The benefits include: – – – – – Feel good about yourself Meet additional people Gain more exposure Enhance your reputation Build credentials
MOLLY BISH FOUNDATION • MOLLY BISH CASE – 2004 – PARTNERSHIP OF MOLLY BISH FOUNDATION & PIS (MA, NH, ME, RI) – COLD CASE TRAINING FOR PIS (2004 & 2005) – PRO BONO INVESTIGATIVE ASSISTANCE FOR COLD CASES Unsolved Murders Unresolved Missing Persons
Molly Ann Bish
NCMEC RESOURCES: INVESTIGATIVE ASSISTANCE PROJECT ALERT SERVICES PROVIDED: • • • • IMMEDIATE ONSITE ASSISTANCE LONG TERM CASE REVIEW SURVEILLANCE STATE TO STATE FOLLOW-UP ON LEADS • WITNESS INTERVIEW ASSISTANCE • PUBLIC SPEAKERS AND ROLL CALL TRAINERS
Become an Expert Free speech can translate into free advertising. Write an Article 1. Define your audience 2. Select your magazine 3. Prepare your queries 4. Write the article 5. Recycle the content
Purpose of Print Advertising • • • • • • Attract attention Appeal to reader’s self interest Announce news Communicate unique advantage Prove an advantage Motivate the reader to take action
Types of Print Advertising • • • • • • • Newspapers Magazines Brochures Newsletters Flyers Circulars Postcards
Promote your Brand with an Online Presence • • • • • • Blog Linkedin Facebook (Friend local & national reporters) Twitter (Follow & be followed by media) Google Page (Generate business leads) Yodel (New ad platform for phones & iPads)
If you don’t TOOT your own horn, don’t complain that there is no music!
PARTNERING WITH THE MEDIA • Cultivate a relationship with reporters – print, television, and radio… • Invite reporters to speak at your state PI association meeting • Seek opportunities to be a guest on radio, local cable access, main stream TV news, national cable news shows, and reality shows • Be proactive not reactive • Tweet with ideas, thoughts, and suggestions
Pitch your cases to local media for tips, leads, and resolution
Local Cases Go National
Local Cases Go National – 20/20, 48 HOURS, DATELINE, CNN HLN NANCY GRACE, JANE VELEZ-MITHCELL, FOX NEWS – GERALDO RIVERA, GRETA VAN SUSTEREN
Media Exposure = $ Brand Enhancement & Recognition Free Advertising!
GUIDELINES FOR DEALING WITH REPORTERS • RULE # 1 – Don’t Get Burned! • Know who you are dealing with (rookie vs a pro) • “Off the record” statements/disclosures • Don’t let them put words in your mouth, or jeopardize your standing in the community (i.e. no bad mouthing cops, politicians, celebrities, etc.) Control the message
Day in the Life of a Media Conscious PI • Breaking news….local and national incidents such as campus and workplace shootings, high profile missing persons cases, murders • Boston Fox 25, CBS/WBZ, Boston Herald, Boston Globe • HLN • CNN • Tweet • Studio vs. phoner
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