SPECIAL REPORT | Feb. 12-18, 2016
By: Henry Dubroff
Like so many things in life today, our story begins with a blog post.
One day last winter, Marketing Director Jennifer Carusa walked into Publisher Linda le Brock’s office and told her that we needed a mascot. Her reason was that she had just read an article on a blog that was called: “How to Make Work Not Suck.” Having an office mascot was on the list.
We started a voting process with a number of animals that included a condor, a gorilla and a fox. The fox won. Cuteness was the main criterion for winning.
Around the same time, the publisher and Editor Henry Dubroff were invited to a meeting with execs from the Santa Barbara Zoo. Over ham sandwiches and giant cookies served in the boardroom, the Zoo brass explained that they wanted ideas on how to best connect to the business community.
We talked about a joint marketing project and we shared the story of our chosen and duly elected mascot. And they told us about Beau. Beau was a Channel Islands fox abandoned as a pup on San Clemente Island. Found by the Navy as a one-pound ball of fur, he was nursed back to health by the sailors.
But after a number of months of scrambling around and basically peeing on everything in sight, the Navy realized that Beau was a bit unruly to keep as a pet. We instantly liked the unruly part of Beau and there was a groundswell of support for bringing him on as our mascot.
It turns out, the Zoo had a Foster Feeder Program that, while successful in working with individual wealthy donors, could easily be extended to the corporate world for much more participation. We worked out a deal that gave us the exclusive right to take photos of Beau for our circulation and event marketing. We formally “adopted” Beau as part of the Foster Feeder Program.
We then got to have the whole Biz Times team come out to visit and meet Beau. We saw him scamper up and down in his leafy habitat and we met him in a secure feeding area. Timing was a bit tricky. The meeting had to be postponed a few times because it was mating season and the Zoo professional staff thought Beau might be too frisky for a visit.
We did finally did visit and our photographer, Nik Blaskovich, took some great shots. Still frisky, a few staff came away with stained trousers. But the cleaning bill was manageable.
Next up was the marketing push. We began with a subscription promotion. The Zoo offered $10 off a Zoo visit, plus four train tickets for anyone subscribing or renewing their subscription to the Business Times. We used the photos Nik took of Beau and created an e-blast and social media campaign to promote this special.
We sold a number of subscriptions but as Beau’s image went viral, the Zoo benefited too. Montecito Bank & Trust got in on the action and adopted through the Foster Feeder Program two baby penguins.
Then one day while we were waiting for the news department to finish proofing our weekly print edition, we were really bored and hanging out on LinkedIn. We thought it might be cool to create a page for Beau. He was signed on as “Field Representative” of the Business Times and, with a bit of creative wordsmithing, he had a pretty cool resume, a list of connections and a number of updates.
Beau continues to be marketing gold for the Business Times as Graphic Designer Cory Yniguez has found new ways to use his image to market our special reports and events as well as subscriptions.
Indeed, work does not suck.
• The Pacific Coast Business Times supports the Santa Barbara Zoo as a Channel Island Fox Foster Feeder. When you become a Foster Feeder you’ll be helping the Santa Barbara Zoo provide a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet for all of the animals! Click here to sponsor an animal today!