Icoffef someone had shown me the business plan for Starbucks and asked me to be an early investor I would have said, “Are you nuts? Ya think anyone will plunk down $5 for a coffee you can’t even pronounce?”

And that’s why I still have a piggy bank vs. a robust portfolio of ever growing stocks and bonds.

I go to Starbucks every day and they’re so used to my “grande skinny decaf no whip two-pump mocha” order that they start making it the minute I walk through the door. This is the Starbucks on MacArthur Blvd. in DC as opposed to the Starbucks on G Street, M Street, Wisconsin Ave. and about 78 other DC locations.

You would think they’d start to cannibalize each other, but there seems to be a very steady stream of coffee-loving consumers who drag themselves out of bed each morning just to get their venti latte, caffe misto or pumpkin-spiced frattacino (just made that one up but it might go over well with college guys). There is also, in fact, a big cardboard box o’ coffee you can take home for parties. That kinda reminds me of the jug o’ wine thing from my college days (a whole other blog).

And as for the folks I see every day? It’s everyone from realtors with laptops grabbing tables and moms with strollers to docs in scrubs (hopefully not in the middle of a colon resection) and retirees with a stack of newspapers and magazines dating back 12 years. Heck – it’s everyone! Some of us want to fuel up and go (like me) and the rest want to hibernate for the winter or lock themselves in the 200 sq. ft. bathroom for a quick wash.

But there’s more than coffee and donuts and some odd looking sandwiches coming our way. Now that they’ve got us hooked on some opiate in the coffee, they’re going to start getting our hearts to beat just a bit faster with tea. Starbucks just picked up the Teavana chain for a cool $620 million. That’s in addition to buying Evolution Fresh juices and Bay Bread for munchies (to replace all the sawdust and twine “bread” they now serve).

And if that’s not enough for Starbucks to take on, guess is their new at-home Verismo coffee and espresso will grab a slice of the single-serve pie that Green Mountain has savored to date.

As for me, I’ll stick with my unpronounceable order, test out the new bread and juice, and wish I was with Starbucks Chief Howard Schultz that fateful morning when he woke up, went to the diner, ordered coffee and had his AHA moment. That’s what I call grande thinking.

How can I optimize my Satellite Media Tour?

"You’ve heard all the noise about the FCC crackdown on SMTs – and it’s true,” acknowledges JoAnn Mangione, vice president of zcomm, Bethesda-based broadcast PR firm.  “However, a little tweaking of our approach to SMT planning can still reap the big audience numbers.”

First, put your money where your mouth is – invest in a well-known spokesperson and stick with health, entertainment, topical issues and non-profits.  Topics related to special observances such as American Diabetes Month, are helpful as are charity tie-ins.  Full disclosure is very important; so build trust with producers by telling them up front who is sponsoring the SMT.

Use your studio time wisely, don’t forget to incorporate radio bookings between TV interviews to pump up audience numbers and think about extending the length of the tour to increase station participation.  Finally, repurpose the interviews by creating a series of videopodcasts and/or audio podcasts.  Consider streaming part or all of the interviews on your website, and on related or partner websites and make use of viral marketing.

“An SMT is still a smart media tactic,” say Mangione.  “Let stations know your awareness of the FCC’s regulations and give them what they need to be comfortable airing your client’s message.”

How to use the news?

It’s not always easy to develop a news angle that resonates with editors and producers, but there are simple ways to increase the odds.

Risë Birnbaum, Founder of zcomm in Bethesda, MD and former ABC Network Correspondent, says be a news hound.  “Have the TV on and check online news sites whenever possible for stories that relate to your clients,” suggests Birnbaum.  “If you can leverage breaking news with a client story, you’ve got a better chance of placing your story.”

One example Birnbaum gave was the recent breaking news of Kanye West’s mother dying after plastic surgery.  “We have plastic surgeons as clients and immediately pitched them to health producers.  Because they were so good, the TV producers asked if we could provide them as regular guests.”

Another way to “work” the news is to customize it for your clients.  “If there’s a study on heart disease and you’ve got a heart drug client, try to pitch the story with local statistics on heart disease because radio and TV outlets love local news,” says Birnbaum.

“If it’s a slow news time, then suggest some client-sponsored surveys, developing offbeat questions and answers which tend appeal to the media.”

And keep sending clients relevant news stories.  You’re doing them a favor by keeping them updated at all times.

Why are spanish language radio stations more receptive to broadcast PR?

Hispanic households will soar to over 13 million by 2010, controlling almost $700 billion in personal income by that time.

As the Hispanic market continues to rapidly expand, more clients are looking for effective ways to tap into this affluent community.

zcomm founder and CEO Risë Birnbaum says radio stations are more receptive to broadcast PR tactics than general market stations.

“The reason,” says Birnbaum, “is that Spanish language stations are still not getting the volume of pitches that general market stations receive, and if you pitch a topic or issue that’s important to Hispanics, they’re definitely willing to listen.”

For example, finance, housing, immigration, pharmaceuticals, cars and food and beverage and consumer products are all of interest to Hispanics.

“But to reach them effectively to book an interview, radio news release or PSA, you have to be on the same wavelength,” adds zcomm’s Birnbaum, “and that means using a PR professional who not only knows Spanish but also understands different dialects.”

Another way to reach the exploding Hispanic market is to use bi-lingual spokespeople and book them on both popular Spanish language and general market stations in markets with large Hispanic populations such as Miami, Los Angeles and Dallas.