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Tapping the Power of Straus
Fingers on the Pulse
Fresh Finds
Deeply Rooted

An Organic Conversation

Food Inc.

Eat Real
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Spring 2009
Dear Friends,

It is exciting, yet humbling, to share the stories of Straus clients who use the power of business to change the world for the better. This spring, we've been busy tapping the power of the media to advance their work. From Bon Appétit Management Company taking a leadership position on farm worker justice in Florida, to Equator Coffees boosting a young Zimbabwean woman named Chido out of poverty and into micro-entrepreneurship, to B Corporations revolutionizing business as usual - our clients inspire and energize us every day.

We've also participated in some of the most important events in the food and sustainable enterprise space, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. See Fingers on the Pulse below to hear about our most meaningful moments.

Of course, it hasn't all been a cakewalk. The Swine Flu scare, unrelenting recession, and the constant flux of the media landscape have made for a bumpy spring. As pragmatic optimists, the Straus team agrees with green jobs guru Van Jones that "you need a break down to reach a break through." Our clients are truly the leaders working on these important breakthroughs, and we are honored to dedicate our expertise, energy and passion to their work.

Warmest Regards,
Michael Straus, Haven Bourque and the Straus team

Equator Coffees & Teas

Equator might be the best kept secret in the coffee world - for nearly
15 years, this women-owned business has been working quietly at their roasting facility in San Rafael, CA, supplying both top Bay Area and national restaurants such as the French Laundry and Jardinière and popular casual establishments including Atlas Café and Arizmendi.

After years of quiet excellence - paying their farmers above market prices, driving biodiesel and hybrid vehicles, and roasting their coffee on a machine that is 80% more efficient than any other - in the past month, Equator has been causing quite a lot of buzz (pun intended).
Recently featured on the cover of the Marin IJ for their sustainable coffee farm in Panama and covered by ABC news for winning national business awards, Equator is about to introduce Chido's Blend with 100% of profits dedicated to helping tens of thousands of young women in conflict-torn regions to support themselves and their communities via micro-lending and innovative reuse of plant waste from coffee trees.

To learn more about the remarkable woman behind these efforts, Chido Govero, for whom the blend is named, her partnership with the Zeri Foundation, or to purchase this amazing coffee, visit Equator Coffees. We're thrilled Equator is emerging from their under-the-radar status and that our new morning brew is having such a positive impact.

Bon Appétit Management Company

Thanks to important coverage of the issue by reporters like Barry Estabrook of Gourmet Magazine, concerns about the horrific working conditions of tomato farm workers in Florida have come to the forefront. In light of these revelations, and true to their brand, Bon Appétit took immediate action. Fedele Bauccio and Maisie Greenawalt (CEO and VP) flew to Immokalee, FL to meet with laborers and their representatives at the Coalition for Immokalee Workers.
In short order, Bon Appétit reached a groundbreaking agreement that went far beyond any previous accord,  creating an official Code of Conduct that specifically addresses labor conditions and needs of  farm workers. Straus firmly believes that part of the power of our work is in connecting great journalists to the important stories that move the needle. As evidence, Jane Black of The Washington Post does excellent service to this issue in her article detailing Bon Appétit's efforts to bring social justice to those who work hard to feed us.
Tapping the Power of Straus:
 Services & Partnerships

Our FAQ: "What exactly is PR?"

We'd define it like this: Positive media coverage is a powerful vehicle for influencing behavior. Straus builds strong relationships with journalists who write about sustainability issues, acting as a resource to them and as a mouthpiece for our clients. In other words, we know a lot of writers, bloggers, editors, TV producers and reporters, and they trust us to deliver information that's worth reporting.

We tell our clients' stories by blending social media skills - Facebook, Twitter and other platforms critical to spreading the world - along with traditional agency tools, including strategic positioning and the time-honed skill of delivering the right message to the right people. The result is action for positive change.

As Seen on TV
In recent years, Hollywood has made a conscious effort to promote green and healthy lifestyles. Disney Studios has stopped all partnerships with fast food chains because of childhood obesity rates, and popular TV shows such as "Kath & Kim," Two and a Half Men," and "Desperate Housewives" are increasingly integrating healthy and eco-friendly products. We've partnered with Hollywood branding expert PopLab Marketing to identify opportunities including television and film placement, celebrity alliances, and partnerships with award shows and events. Is your product ready for prime time or the big screen?  Contact Anna for more information. 
Social Media + Business = Social Commerce   
Facebook is a fun way to dig up your old prom date. Increasingly it's becoming a marketplace, too. To help our clients make the most of it, we've partnered with milyon*i (pronounced million-eye) to pioneer the field of social commerce - allowing companies to sell their products directly from Facebook, MySpace and other social networking platforms. We're helping companies like Cowgirl Creamery in piloting this initiative. Soon, this revolutionary web 2.0 technology will be widely available to other companies. To learn more, Michael is ready to start leveraging your fans and followers for your bottom-line. 
On the Record & On Top of Your Game
Want to deliver a brilliant interview every time you talk to a journalist? Wish you could nail that spectacular quote and the perfect sound byte instead of tripping over your words? Ever been misquoted or left out of stories you were interviewed for?  We can help. Polish your messaging delivery, learn how to handle nerves, and volley back with strong answers to hardball questions, and keep bloggers coming back for more with Media Training.  A little tune up can go a long way for experts and brand representatives, and if you've never been a spokesperson before, this is your chance to learn. Straus has logged hundreds of hours teaching spokespersons to be interview-savvy and successful.  Contact Haven for more information.

Film Distribution 2.0

Traditionally, if an independent film wanted to successfully reach the masses the big driver was a theatrical release.  Now, an increasing number of renegade filmmakers realize that a home-brewed screening campaign, where real people all across the country sponsor viewings that range from 5 to 500 people, can be a stronger marketing force than the standard promotion playbook.
This spring, Wicked Delicate, with the help of the Straus team, launched successful grassroots campaigns for two critically-acclaimed, but under-the-radar films: A Sense of Wonder, profiling the life of the mother of the modern environmental movement Rachel Carson and The Greening of Southie, a film about the construction of the first residential green building in Boston, which was featured on Good Morning America and in The New Yorker.

This new distribution model can also open doors to conventional distribution outlets down the line: The Greening of Southie landed a theatrical distribution deal that will put the film on the big screen this summer, and A Sense of Wonder got two TV broadcast offers.

Independent films are crucial for helping us to reach the tipping point on key social and environmental issues. If you are interested in learning how to get more viewers, distributors and media coverage for your film, contact Michael for details.
Fingers on the Pulse

Just a few of the inspiring moments we witnessed this spring that have fueled our passion and our work: