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November 19, 2009
Tiny Houses, Big Vision

Jay Shafer, the visionary head of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, does wonderful PR in this video of his 96-square-foot home in Sebastopol, CA, and his Web site. You would think Shafer has a hard sell promoting expensive (for their size) houses no bigger than house trailers. (Houses of this size are illegal in most communities in the U.S. and therefore have to be built on wheels and classed as trailers.)

What Shafer does with great elan in his videos is explain and show why his tiny houses aren't shacks. He gives Thoreau's cabin a modern update and sets his products in the context of promoting a sustainable environment and simple living. Tiny houses, obviously, aren't for most people but watching Shafer's video can be enjoyed by anyone, and it might stir one's curiosity.

Shafer displays the elements of great PR: Have a well-designed, enticing product; explain it  with candor and enthusiasm; and identify it with wider societal concerns. Without these elements, Shafer's small houses wouldn't have a chance; with them, he's got a (no doubt small) movement. Vision truly matters.  



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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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