Vitamin's employee bonus calls for media's attention

Vitamin, a Baltimore-based PR firm, has always believed in rewarding employees.

Vitamin, a Baltimore-based PR firm, has always believed in rewarding employees.

In an effort to recognize his staff for a job well done in the first two quarters of 2007, president and CEO Michael Karfakis (pictured) decided to supply everyone with a recently launched iPhone. He also saw this as a way to turn the spotlight on his firm.

Strategy
Karfakis had a small budget, but he realized that Apple had done most of the work by bringing a massive amount of attention to its product launch.

"Apple has completely flipped the script on how we interact with information," he explains. "Even now, the phone is the talk of the town. How better to piggyback a worldwide story and to reward our employees?"

Tactics
After surprising the team by hiding their iPhones in their file cabinets, the firm targeted national and regional business press. Among those titles on the list was business tech publication InformationWeek (IW), which ultimately wrote a story that included information about Vitamin's iPhone rewards.

Results
"That [IW story created a] whirlwind," says Amanda Karfakis, Vitamin's VP of communications. "We started getting online chatter in blogs and forums."

Vitamin has earned more than 10 million media impressions, including the Baltimore Examiner and Bloomberg.com. For about three weeks after the IW story, the firm also saw a 30% spike in resumes.

"We go to events, and people will reference the reward program," she adds. "It has created tremendous buzz and name recognition."

Future
Press outreach has ended, but the firm will continue its reward policy. It hasn't decided on the next bonus.

"It's hard to go bigger than iPhone," she admits.

PR Team: Vitamin (Baltimore)

Campaign: iPhone Mania

Duration: July-November 2007

Budget: $3,000 with $500 rebates from Apple

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