Allison Bliss And The Art of Strategic Communication
by Robert Bernardo, Port of Oakland
Alameda Business
November 2003

Allison Bliss understands that promoting companies is both a business and an art.

Her company, Allison Bliss Consulting advises Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and solo entrepreneurs, in marketing and communication strategies, innovative assessment techniques, publicity and promotional campaigns in all media. Her credentials are impressive and vast, having worked with industry experts in film, television, photography, design, music, media, journalism, and market research for more than fifteen years. Bliss was former producer of the California/Hawaii Emmy Awards and founder of the Commercials Committee for the Directors Guild of America.

She worked at KGO-TV for many years, and is a contributing writer for the Oakland Business Review and the Alameda Business Journal. Bliss is also the Outreach Chair for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business. She has been a guest lecturer for the International Association of Business Communicators, the Career Action Center, San Francisco State University, and Golden Gate University.

“My goal was to understand how to build audience reaction and how to tell a story--both verbally and visually,” said Bliss. “I recall moments when we filmed underwater scenes in Tahiti, struggled up mountains with hiking gear, and created stunt scenes in Chinatown just to evoke a certain reaction from an audience. In fact, marketing communication must evoke this same response if a company wants to gain the interest of their market, the purpose is just different—you want the audience to buy, not to laugh or cry.” Bliss explains that each media from television to brochures or websites requires an entirely different style of communication to work properly.

Today, Bliss takes what she has learned in her film and television career, and combines that experience with her business management background. She has been managing businesses since the age of fourteen and believes her responsibility for bottom line management gives her clients a huge advantage when she customizes strategy just for their business and industry. Recent client, TBS Couriers, Inc. comments; “We’d never done any marketing before, and we were overwhelmed by the campaign proposed to us by a top ad agency. The advice we got from Allison Bliss Consulting was so good – she provided strategies that were ready-to-implement without a high dollar price tag. We‘re now able to expand our services into the South in the months ahead.”

Allison Bliss Consulting is comprised of an expert team of writers, researchers and designers, including seasoned professionals from the fields of advertising, promotional design, copywriting, competitive analysis, and special event and television production.

Her company tagline represents her role as a business advisor; “Knowledge is Bliss”.
“After spending the first half of my career helping corporations make fortunes, I wanted to take that knowledge and apply what I learned to help smaller business,” said Bliss. One of her local clients, The Alameda Marketplace required a new marketing plan to help attract other business owners who would share the Marketplace’s vision of a “green” marketplace -- where the best environmentally-friendly products and organic foods could be sold under one roof.

The developers brought in Allison Bliss Consulting to create a viable and profitable marketing plan that would address concerns of prospective tenants to assure them of the feasibility of the Marketplace’s plans. Allison began by conducting in-depth market research on projected sales in the city of Alameda. She focused on revenues that were lost from shoppers who went “off-island” for purchases. Then, Bliss combined this with projected spending growth, proposed city planning in the region, and a one year strategic plan that would introduce the Marketplace to the community. The owner’s (Donna Layburn) vision speaks for itself, and the plan has already proven fruitful (organic pun intended) in the company’s success!

One of the ways Bliss gives back to her community is by volunteering for the Alameda Chamber of Commerce as a “Chamber Ambassador. She assists with planning meetings, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, business mixers, and news writing for the Chamber.

“My first acquaintance at the Alameda Chamber was former President Moira Fossum who called and welcomed me to Alameda when I moved from San Francisco two years ago,” said Bliss. “Moira was the first person to ask about my business and encourage me to meet the wealth of talent at Chamber mixers.”

“I’ve made many friends and found great resources for my clients at the Chamber,” said Bliss. “I have come to know and trust my colleagues who have services from graphic & web design, record storage, estate planning, to transformational coaching, to name but a few. Bliss discovered her optometrist, Dr. Britt, at a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony. She also uses the services of a fellow Chamber member, Uniglobe Travel.

“Unlike some larger cities where I’ve been a Chamber member, I find Alameda to be a bit more insular so it is critical to get to know the local business community so they’ll trust you and know your work,” said Bliss. “From my market research, Alameda is still growing and is primed for business growth for those who actively network in this community now.”

In her spare time, Bliss plays the flute, and she is an avid biker and hiker. After years on the back-breaking hills in San Francisco, she especially enjoys riding her bike along the Alameda flatlands with scenic bay views.

Allison Bliss is the head of Allison Bliss Consulting, which provides strategic marketing, writing, promotions and publicity at 510-864-8500.

For more information, read the Oakland Business Review, the Chamber’s monthly business newspaper
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