Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In the Mix...The Bulls “Paint the Town” at Northbrook Court

Tipping off the 2011-2012 basketball season and a “BIG things are coming” campaign, the Chicago Bulls greeted fans last week at our client General Growth Properties’ Northbrook Court. The LCWA team was on hand to help media in attendance capture the Bulls’ players while they met fans, signed autographs and posed for pictures. Starting at 6 a.m., fans filled Northbrook Court with eager anticipation of the players’ arrival. With staff from Northbrook Court working overtime to make sure the crowds were under control, LCWA was available for media and helped to answer questions from fans throughout the day. If Wednesday was any indication, the Bulls are going to have a lot of support this season!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In the Mix…Electrolux Vacuum Featured on “The Nate Berkus Show"

As consumers rush around to find last minute holiday gifts, TV shows are providing their favorite finds for the season – and companies covet those national TV spotlights that have large audiences. We secured a segment on “The Nate Berkus Show” for the Electrolux Ergorapido Ion vacuum which ran yesterday. Gift segments are always exciting, from the unveiling of the product to the audience’s excitement when they learn they’re taking one home. For us, the most exciting part is seeing our client’s messages communicated to a captive audience of more than 1.6 million! Check out the segment now!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In the Mix…Vermont Castings and First Alert Help Consumers Deck the Halls, Safely

It’s the holiday season and we’re busy pitching our clients' great seasonal stories. This year, we paired up clients Vermont Castings, a leading hearth supplier, and First Alert, a leader in residential fire and CO detection devices, to provide tips on safe holiday decorating, including safe places to put trees and decorations and how to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. We secured an Associated Press story, “Ensure decorations aren't a fire hazard,” that recently ran in the Palm Beach Post. This dream team client combination is sure to be a great resource for future home safety stories. Along with our clients, we’re wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In the Mix...Oakbrook Center Shows Off Gifts for Mom

As the holidays near, one way our clients make headlines is through gift guide related stories. Luckily, our client General Growth Properties has three Chicago centers full of retailers with something for everyone’s holiday list – the perfect resource for a TV segment. Thanks to our outreach, this morning Suzanne Cook-Beres of Oakbrook Center showed off gift ideas for mom on FOX (WFLD-TV). From electronics to clothing and accessories (including another client, Tiffany & Co.) Suzanne’s advice will help many shoppers looking for a perfect gift for moms this season. Watch the segment here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Are Theater Subscriptions a Thing of the Past? Maybe. Maybe Not.

Theater Communications Group (TCG), the national trade association for the non-profit live theater industry, released sobering statistics last week including this show stopper:  subscription income at non-profit theaters nationwide declined by more than 15 percent between 2006 and 2010.

This presents a fundamental conundrum for theater marketers. Do we attribute the downturn to the tough economy, and continue allocating funds to marketing multi-play subscriptions, which lock in working capital and a guaranteed audience upfront?  Or do we muster the courage to back off selling subscriptions, and refocus our marketing budget to target the more elusive single ticket buyer?
This is not a new conversation.  And I’m not sure anyone has the answer, including me.  However, what I do know is that three LCWA clients are successfully bucking this downturn and attracting repeat audiences.

TimeLine Theatre:  Consistency and mission-connectivity keep ‘em coming back.  Contrary to TCG’s new stats, TimeLine Theatre has grown its subscription base beyond the 3,000 mark for the first time this season, a 30% jump over last year, and a 125% increase over the past three seasons.  Why is TimeLine’s subscription base growing? Consistency. High production values are the norm, and TimeLine’s shows always connect to the company’s history-based mission. What’s more, simplicity, convenience and flexibility are the hallmarks of TimeLine’s FlexPass subscription program, which keeps people coming back and recommending the company to others. 

Paramount Theatre:  Surpassing expectations for subscription success. Last January, the Paramount Theatre, a 1,888-seat Art Deco palace in west suburban Aurora, announced it was flipping its 80-year programming model on its head.  Instead of importing touring road shows, the Paramount would self-produce its own Broadway Subscription Series.  The introductory offer? Four popular musicals featuring Chicago’s A-list actors, directors and designers, and the same production values audiences are accustomed to downtown, all for as low as $70.  Fast forward to December, and in less than a year, Paramount has successfully racked up a jaw-dropping 12,500 subscribers for its inaugural Broadway series.  Why? Audiences were enticed by the promise of enjoying four top-quality musicals, right in their back yard, for the price of just one show downtown. As the Chicago Tribune noted in last month’s review of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, “the Paramount has knocked its second self-produced musical out of the park and halfway to Egypt.”

Theater Wit:  An all-you-can-eat theater buffet.  Unlike Paramount, Chicago’s Theater Wit is encouraging repeat visits by offering the city’s first Netflix-like, live theater membership program, recently hailed by Time Out Chicago as a “bold new venture.” With a Theater Wit membership, you can see as many plays as you want in any of the venue’s three theaters, year round, for the low monthly fee of $36 ($30 for students). Armed with your unique Theater Wit member ID, you can even bring a friend along for free, twice a year.
More than just a bold alternative to traditional subscriptions, Theater Wit memberships also make great holiday gifts.  ‘Tis the season!  Click here to learn more.

Monday, December 5, 2011

In the Mix…Shoveling up Twitter Followers for Snow Joe

The Snow Joe/LCWA team is on a mission to increase Snow Joe’s humble Twitter following to a large and interactive network of weather lovers and snow-plagued souls. To do this, the team implemented a 7 week “snow blower a week” sweepstakes on Twitter, asking followers to “twell” us why they need a powerful, electric snow blower using the hashtag #snowjoeplus for a chance to win. And it looks like our wintry mix of snow news, personalized outreach, contest promotion and follower engagement is just what the weatherman ordered. In just three weeks, Snow Joe’s followers have grown more than 300 percent – with a 20 percent jump in 24 hours – and Snow Joe posts are generating as many as 60 RT’s. Check out Snow Joe on Twitter to join in the fun!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In the Mix...First Alert Makes Front Page of USA Today!

This year the First Alert/LCWA team was charged with raising awareness and educating Americans about the importance of carbon monoxide protection and the growing legislation, which requires consumers in many states to install carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. After several robust state-wide campaigns in 2011, the team took a national approach this month and as a result, piqued the interest of USA Today. The team’s efforts resulted in a front page story on the second-most circulated newspaper in the country! Read the story here!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Networking Know-How for Client Events

Our client Trex Company recently hosted its annual sales and distributor partner meeting in Las Vegas, and I was pleased to attend with another colleague. Not only are these yearly get-togethers a fantastic opportunity to learn about and interact with new products, but they also provide a chance to sharpen networking skills. Admittedly, walking into a room full of hundreds of new faces can be a little intimidating – so here are some tried and true networking tips that I regularly put to use at client events:

  • Perfect Your “Elevator Speech” – Unless they’re in the marketing field, most people truly don’t understand what a public relations executive does. Practice describing your job and – even more importantly – how it benefits your client. Keep it to 30 seconds maximum! Don't be afraid to share good news too. For instance, did your team land a strong placement in the New York Times or on "TODAY" in support of a new product? Keep a few successes in mind to illustrate your work and the value of PR.
  • Know the People – If possible, try to obtain the names of event attendees beforehand. Create a mental list of the five or 10 people who are most relevant to meet and check out LinkedIn profiles and business websites to prepare for your initial conversations. Consider asking your client to facilitate introductions.
  • Do Your Homework – Spend some extra time reading trade publications and brush up on industry terminology to make sure you can effectively speak to any topic that might be of importance to the people you meet. Remember that as a PR pro you may be asked for your opinion on topics ranging from crisis management to customer relations to social media strategy.
  • Cultivate Other Interests – Some of the most interesting conversations you'll have won’t be related to business. Keep up-to-date on current events, and don't be shy about discussing books and movies you've enjoyed recently or the upcoming vacation you've planned. The tried and true rule of always having three conversation starters in your back pocket is very effective at making small talk flow more smoothly.
  • Stay In Touch - Did you offer to send a new contact an article or to cooperate on a project? Take notes about your conversations on the back of business cards and then remember to follow through when you're back in the office. Even if there are no specific action items, a quick "nice to meet you" email goes a long way to building a lasting professional relationship.

With a little preparation – and a healthy dose of confidence – networking at client events can be both advantageous and enjoyable.

Monday, November 14, 2011

In the Mix…A Decked-Out Photo Shoot

Images, images, images! If there’s one thing we hear repeatedly from media, it’s the need for high-resolution, editorial-quality photography. That’s why we were excited to coordinate the photo shoot of the $20,000 rooftop deck makeover done for the winner of Trex’s recent Designer Deck Contest. The “urban oasis” created by home design expert Eddie Ross features beautiful, low-maintenance decking and railing from Trex. To capture high-quality photos, we selected the photographer, created an “urban chic” theme with a stylist, developed a shot list, coordinated props, furniture and accessories…and at one point, yours truly even stood in as a model – though I think it’s best if I keep my day job! The results are jaw-dropping, and these “ready-to-print” images will be perfect for outdoor living features this spring!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Closer Look at Internal Communication - Part 2

If you’re thinking about a research project to assess internal communication and identify unmet needs and opportunities, the first step is to pinpoint the objectives. An assessment can take several weeks or several months. Project scope and cost are heavily influenced by project objectives, organizational size and complexity, and whether the entire work force will be able to access a web-based survey.
Here’s quick rundown on typical components.
  • Qualitative research. Qualitative research can take many forms, but those most often useful are observations, interviews and focus groups. Most people are familiar with interviews and focus groups, but why do observations? I’m repeatedly amazed at the challenging environments and situations in which effective communication is expected to take place. The best way to internalize those circumstances is to see and feel them; structured observations of individuals and work groups can bring terrific insight into the organization’s communication realities.
  • Quantitative research. After analyzing information collected from the qualitative components, the researcher can identify common themes, trends and issues and craft effective questions for an employee survey. At LCWA, we start with the questions the comprise our proprietary Internal Communication Climate Index™. This tool will gather reliable information from the entire work force, or a sample of it. Though web-based internal communication surveys will do the job for most organizations, printed surveys are still needed by some. Quantitative data collection is followed by rigorous statistical analysis – that’s where important findings are identified and interrelated. Important insights will flow from these analyses, and the results can guide priorities for any changes and improvements that may be indicated by survey results. In addition, advanced analysis techniques can identify key drivers for accomplishing desired outcomes – such as more effective communications or more engaged employees.
  • Report and action planning. What matters in the end, of course, is not the research, but the changes and improvements that are made because of the information that’s collected and understood. Every assessment should include a formal reporting and action-planning component – a process focused on translating data into change in the organization. Plan to report results to all employees as quickly as possible. Failing to report the results and the changes that will be made because of them likely will fuel cynicism and mistrust. And of course if employees don’t see the results they’ll be less likely to participate in the next survey that comes along.
Quality research isn’t inexpensive, but it’s worth the investment. For many organizations, the communication assessment and needs identification becomes a watershed event. It’s an opportunity to move the importance and effectiveness of communication to a new level.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Closer Look at Internal Communication - Part 1

The research group at LCWA does a lot of research to assess the effectiveness of internal communication and to identify opportunities and unmet needs. Here’s a quick rundown on why they should be done and what’s involved.

I’ve found that while these assessments are enormously valuable, many communicators don’t know when they’re needed, how they’re done or what to do with the results. In fact, communicators who may in the end buy an assessment are more likely to call for help wrestling with core communication issues. But they’re asking certain questions that foreshadow an assessment:

  • “How can our communication vehicles be more focused on business objectives and more integrated?” or,
  • “How can we rework communication to help the company face increasing competition and improve customer service?” or,
  • “How can we know if our communication vehicles are doing the job?” or,
  • “How can we prove to senior management wants that what we’re doing makes a difference?” or,
  • “Do you think we’ll cause problems by discontinuing the newsletter and just doing it all online?”

It’s great that these questions being asked before changes are made. Too many communicators jump into retooling their internal communications system in the hope of improving their effectiveness but without any factual basis for assuming that will be the result. Effective change begins with understanding the organization and its employees. Important questions like those above are not likely to be adequately answered with canned responses. Some of the questions go right to the core of an organization’s culture and values. Actionable answers must come from the organization’s people and processes.

When I talk to communicators to clarify the issues they’re raising, potential objectives for an assessment begin to emerge. It’s these objectives that will determine the assessment’s scope. Objectives that flow from these discussions might include, for example:

  • Determine the effectiveness of the overall internal-communication process;
  • Determine how to leverage communicators in multiple divisions;
  • Determine relevance and usefulness of various communication vehicles;
  • Assess whether employee have received and understood key messages;
  • Develop an ongoing process for measuring effectiveness of communication;
  • Develop a fact-based, strategic internal communication plan.

With these objectives in hand, it’s time to move forward with an assessment. I’ll sketch the components of a typical internal communication assessment next time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

In the Mix...Snow Joe Warming!

As the temperatures fall and communities all over the country prepare for cold temperatures and snow, we’re helping our client Snow Joe to warm a few hearts. As a part of a seasonal campaign, Snow Joe is matching $1 to charity for every new fan it gets on its Facebook page. The goal is to raise $10,000 for the One Warm Coat® non-profit organization, which has a mission to provide any person in need with a warm coat, free of charge. Please join in as we put this philanthropic effort into action!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In the Mix...Daylight Saving Time Safety

Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend, so it's the perfect time to replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. In fact, Daylight Saving Time is a great time to remember these replacements, both when "falling back" and "springing forward." We're taking this message to Facebook on behalf of First Alert and in partnership with Duracell. For its quarter of a million Facebook fans, Duracell is offering the chance for 300 people to win a smoke alarm, a CO alarm and a 9-volt CopperTop battery four pack. Through strategic collaborations like this, we’re able to remind consumers to be safe by replacing batteries, and offer a truly useful package to contest winners. It’s a win-win!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In the Mix…A Media Launch Fit for “Extreme Performance”

Our client Pergo has pulled out all of the stops for the launch of its new collection, Pergo XP – and we’ve been hard at work launching this laminate line to media! To show that Pergo XP – which stands for “extreme performance”– can withstand just about anything, Pergo staged an extreme challenge on the Venice Beach boardwalk in California, complete with elephants, male wrestlers in women’s heels and breakdancers wearing steel wool. Photos from the fun demonstration were featured on the Los Angeles Times website. In addition, we coordinated a fall home improvement-focused broadcast segment that aired around the country; we’re creating a fun, interactive press kit to be mailed to our priority media contacts; and we’re working with bloggers on makeover and home renovation projects. As this product launch continues to gain momentum, we look forward to sharing more information about Pergo XP to media.

Friday, October 28, 2011

In the Mix…A Flurry of Media Outreach

With this week’s disruptive snowstorm in Denver and looming winter weather in the Northeast, it’s safe to say that the winter campaign for our client Snow Joe is off and running! We letting media in those areas know all about Snow Joe’s selection of snow throwers – and preparing to reach out to other top markets when winter weather inevitably spreads across the country. Based on recent weather predictions, it looks like we’ll have our hands full this year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In the Mix…Riding, Running with Honor

So appropriate. Just days after the announcement that all troops are leaving Iraq by year’s end, a number of combat veterans already back home participated in the Honor Ride and Run held in Barrington, Ill., sponsored by client UnitedHealthcare. The 30-mile bike ride and 10K/5K runs raised awareness and funds for two groups dedicated to helping wounded vets - Ride2Recovery and Operation Homefront. We further promoted the cause with media coverage on two Chicago TV stations and a half-page article in a large newspaper chain, the Daily Herald.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In the Mix…Caring Day from UnitedHealthcare

The wonderful season of giving is upon us and client UnitedHealthcare (UHC) of the River Valley (covering the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa) jump started the occasion with its annual “day of service” initiative. Thanks to an employee food drive and corporate support, the River Bend Foodbank in Moline, Ill., received $5,000 plus 1,000 pounds of food and other items. Our media relations efforts further spread the spirit of goodwill as three local TV stations and the Quad City Times covered the Oct. 18 presentation made by UHC employees. The food bank serves more than 300 charitable community organizations to support the hungry.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In the Mix...Eureka Blogger Program

This week we are working with some of the most influential consumer bloggers to give them a first look at two of Eureka’s latest vacuums – both launching at Walmart this month. In addition to testing and reviewing the vacuums, the blogs will run giveaways for their own readers. We’ll be tweeting about the blog reviews and sharing them on the Eureka Facebook page throughout the month, so stay tuned!

In the Mix...First Alert is Featured Facebook Campaign!

We are just a week into First Alert’s the month-long sweepstakes, “The Great Escape,” and already it is making an impact with increased page visits, interactions and fans! Today, the campaign was featured on “Inside Facebook” – an expert resource for many social media enthusiasts and a resource for successful case studies. Read all about it right here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

PR Lessons from Steve Jobs

This week, like everyone else, I was saddened by the untimely passing of Steve Jobs. And as I read all of the reactions, tweets and articles about him – from tech reporters and former colleagues as well as the Apple devotees among my own personal network – I was struck by the emotion created by the passing of this entrepreneur, CEO and businessman. There have been many chronicles of the lessons he left behind. But the sheer volume of devotion around him and his larger-than-life persona made me realize there also are many public relations lessons to be learned from this CEO. Here are a few that I’d like to pass on to other CEOs who hope to follow in his footsteps, however large they may be.
  • Grant Access. So many CEOs view the media as a nuisance at best, an enemy at worst. But Steve Jobs recognized that granting media access and working with them directly could help your company, products and public profile in ways that shutting them out never would. So many media stories about Jobs’ death, like this great one by Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, have led with anecdotes of meetings, interviews and personal moments shared with him. This access created a real respect by media, which impacted the devotion and emotional connection so many consumers feel for him today.
  •  Embrace the Drama. Steve Jobs was a great inventor, but also a master salesman. He treated every product launch like a five-star theatrical event and expected us to wait in line for hours to just get a glimpse of his latest innovation. And it worked – that flair for the dramatic reveal was contagious. Of course it helps if you have an innovation like the iPad behind the curtain!
  •  Go Out on a Limb. Steve Jobs was often right about the twists and turns taken by technology. But before that, he was often wrong. Media loved talking to him because he went out on a limb to make predictions about where our world was headed, and had bold, interesting ideas about the future. He was seen as a visionary in part because he was willing to take risks in expressing his thoughts. It takes courage in a world where CEOs are often uncomfortable discussing anything deeper than what the next quarter’s earnings might be.
  • Share Your Passion. The passion of Steve Jobs was evident every time I saw him speak or read an article about him. Yet so often, corporate spokespeople sound like … corporate spokespeople. The lesson here is obvious to me – be passionate about your business, products and people. And don’t let that passion be quelled by robotic talking points.  
  • Be Real. Which leads to my last point. Steve Jobs commanded respect for his ideas, his innovations and his contributions to technology. But his legend is revered because of his personality, his spirit and his heart. Underneath all of the business news and predictions, there was a real man. And he was willing to let media – and the public – get to know the real man.
As I continue to read the stories and quotes about the contributions of Steve Jobs, I’ll remember these and other lessons he left behind.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In the Mix...La-Z-Boy on "Made in America"

La-Z-Boy recliners are an iconic American product – and we were thrilled to help the company secure a spot on the new Travel Channel show, “Made in America.” The show travels from city to city to find out how some of the most well-known American products are made. The process began last spring and continued through the summer as we worked with the show and La-Z-Boy team members around the country to coordinate shoots at the Siloam Springs, Ark., plant as well as the Emeryville, Calif., La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries store. All the work paid off last night, when the La-Z-Boy segment aired in one of the premiere episodes of the show. For more information on the La-Z-Boy episode of “Made in America,” click here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In the Mix...First Alert's "Great Escape"

Back for the second year, First Alert is again hosting a sweepstakes on Facebook in honor of October’s Fire Prevention Month – only this year it’s even hotter. This week the team is busy launching a sweltering sweepstakes. First Alert’s “The Great Escape” takes consumers through the ins and outs of an escape plan, tells everyone the benefits of a voice alarm and rewards one lucky entrant with a great way to escape... check out www.Facebook.com/FirstAlertSafety all this month to find out more!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In the Mix...Eureka Facebook Hits 10,000 Fans

When our client Eureka tasked us with driving more fans to their Facebook page, so they could have more one-on-one interactions with consumers, we decided to use a major giveaway to get attention. We ran two different sweepstakes during three months. Just last week, the Eureka Facebook page reached 10,000 fans, representing an increase of more than 1,000 percent since the beginning of the summer. We look forward to interacting with the very active new Eureka fan-base, and can’t wait to meet the next major milestone!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Getting Involved in Outside Organizations

As someone who thrives on a busy schedule, I have always looked to “extra-curricular” activities and organizations to help build my skill set. I currently sit on the board of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Chicago Chapter, as the chair of the Young Professionals Network, and have found the work extremely beneficial. Not only do I have the opportunity to attend helpful professional development events, but I also get to build skills that I can apply to my daily work at LCWA.

Here are three skills I have been able to polish thanks to my work with PRSA:
  • Account management – As I get more involved in PRSA, I view my responsibilities for the organization the same way I do for my clients – though PRSA requires more time in the off-hours. The Young Professionals Network has several new projects running at any one time. From workshops and socials to social media development, sponsorship and recruitment – our 15-person committee has a lot to manage. I’ve been able to polish my organizational skills to help our committee stay on track and provide quality programming for the young PR professionals of Chicago.
  • Leadership – Becoming involved as a committee chair, or even running a project with an outside organization, is a great way to brush up on leadership skills – especially for young professionals who don’t always have this opportunity at the office. Here I get to flex my strategic-thinking muscles, run meetings and make “executive” decisions. I have learned supervisory skills managing the committee and as a result feel very comfortable reporting progress up the chain at our monthly board meetings – all talents I now put into practice in my new position as account supervisor.
  • Networking – I attend several events each month and more often than not, I am put into a room or situation where I do not know anyone. Although it can be uncomfortable at first, this is one of my favorite parts of PRSA. Not only do I get to meet new people and build relationships, but I can talk to people in my industry about current trends and tools and in many cases, use my connections to help others. My golden rule of networking is to talk to at least three people I don’t know and make a considerable effort to follow-up with each person after the event. From my networking I’ve made several great friends and exchanged great PR ideas.
I hope you’ll take the opportunity to get involved and consider volunteering for a professional organization – not only will you benefit your own skill set, but you’ll have fun along the way meeting new people and giving back to the community.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In the Mix…LCWA Welcomes PRGN Partners from around the World

This week, we are proud to welcome our PRGN partners from around the world as we host the Fall PRGN Conference in Chicago. With more than 60 participants, the conference is sure to offer valuable insight and networking for all of our members. We will start off the meeting with visits to the LCWA office and a social media discussion today, then have two more days of idea sharing and discussion. We also will make plenty of time for Chicago fun – including many nice dinners, a boat tour along the Chicago River, and of course, some Chicago blues!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In the Mix…Paramount’s My Fair Lady “Ushers in a Thrilling Era for Aurora”

Congratulations to our client, the Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora, for last Friday night’s wildly successful opening night for My Fair Lady, the first production in the company’s bold new Broadway subscription series. Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones raved My Fair Lady is “a very auspicious debut for the Paramount…For those who live in this area and want to take their families to a fully professional and beautifully crafted rendition of a grand Broadway musical, it is hard to imagine that any reasonable expectations won't be far exceeded.” Click here for the full, 3-1/2 star review, and here for a fascinating behind-the-scenes photo essay in the Aurora Beacon News about the making of the Paramount’s first-ever, self produced musical in the company’s 80-year history.

Monday, September 12, 2011

In the Mix...Time to Get Organized

Following Labor Day, much of the country begins transitioning from summer to fall by storing bikes, lawnmowers and garden tools away for the season. To help homeowners clean out and organize their garages in a safe and functional way, our client The Lehigh Group, maker of Crawford -branded garage and home workshop organization products, proclaimed this Saturday, Sept. 10, as its third-annual “National Clean Out Your Garage Day.” By offering helpful organizing tips and intriguing statistics on the organizational habits of Americans, news spread in the Sacramento Bee, Tampa Tribune, and Detroit News nudging families across the country to start clearing the clutter!

Friday, September 9, 2011

In the Mix...Electrolux Design Lab

One of our favorite projects each year is promoting the Electrolux Design Lab competition. This year's theme, "Intelligent Mobility," challenged design students from around the world to create home appliance concepts that could conceivably exist with current technology. Yesterday, the top winners were revealed and the U.S. finalist, Matthew Schwartz from Long Beach, Calif., won the People's Choice Award (taken by an online vote). The LCWA team helped drive voters to the site earlier this summer, and now we are excited to spread the news about Matthew's Onda Portable Microwave concept even further!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Role of Focus Group Moderators

Moderating a focus group is no easy task – it takes a lot of training, preparation and skills practice. Focus group moderators are charged with gathering opinions, feedback and thoughts from people in order to help understand a specific issue or topic. Here are some essentials for leading a successful focus group.

  • Create a comfortable environment. Moderators must create an environment that helps facilitate a conversation among a small group of people, and make them feel confident enough to voice their thoughts.
  • Ensure a good mix of perspectives. Seasoned moderators will confirm that each focus group introduces people with a variety of opinions, perspectives and personalities. There are participants who try to take-over the conversation, others who are extremely shy, some who love to crack jokes and people who talk about everything and anything.
  • Be a jack of all trades. Moderators may have to play a number of roles to keep the conversation flowing in a focused discussion – a behavioral manager, a conversation facilitator, a rapport-builder, and especially, a listener. By juggling these roles during focus groups, moderators can celebrate a number of positive outcomes.

Successful focus groups moderators can glean data to help organizations, associations, and companies understand the perspectives and thoughts of key audiences and help generate hypotheses, find out the “why” and “how,” identify important factors for key outcomes, and shape effective questions for a quantitative survey.

Friday, September 2, 2011

In the Mix...Remembering 9/11

Today, Oakbrook Center paid a special tribute to the New York City Fire Department Ladder 3 Battalion 6, which lost 12 firefighters in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Long-time Oak Brook resident Ed Donnelly spoke of his brother, Lieutenant Kevin W. Donnelly, who perished that day. In honor of Lt. Donnelly and others, Oakbrook Center donated $5,000 to the Ladder 3 Memorial Fund, which benefits families of the victims. Local dignitaries also attended the brief ceremony to hear Donnelly’s story, which received broadcast and print media coverage thanks to outreach from the LCWA team. Donnelly and his family will travel to New York to participate in 10th anniversary events.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In the Mix…Lighting Up Local Media with The Bacon Brothers

LCWA has gone Hollywood! To support Aurora’s Paramount Theatre and drum up publicity for tonight’s concert with The Bacon Brothers (comprised of popular actor Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael), we helped local media get one degree closer to Kevin Bacon by setting up interviews. Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Herald and Kane County Chronicle all ran stories in anticipation of the show, which is sure to please movie and music fans alike.

Monday, August 29, 2011

In the Mix...A Timely Article in Wake of Hurricane Irene

With buildings flooded this week up and down the East Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, we hope facility managers are reading this four-page article we placed for client Polygon published in the current issue of Building Services Management. The topic: how to restore critical documents damaged by water. It’s bylined by Summer Street, document sector head with Polygon, formerly a division of Munters and a leader in water damage restoration and remediation. The story stresses the need to act fast and use an expert provider that offers the latest technologies.

Monday, August 22, 2011

In the Mix…Manufacturing Camp Makes Front Page of NY Times

Persistence paid off when we landed a front page story in Friday’s New York Times for client Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. (FMA). We worked with reporter Motoko Rich for more than a year to gain her interest in FMA’s Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs summer manufacturing camp program, which introduces kids to the joys of working with their hands and promotes careers in the trades. Motoko traveled to Chicago to attend the all-girls Gadget camp at Triton College for three days to interview students, instructors and manufacturers. She cited FMA’s role to sponsor camps around the country to help address the industry’s need to find young, skilled workers.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In the Mix...Back to School Trends

This time of year, parents wear multiple hats. They are professional organizers, backpack packers, lunch makers, schedule consultants and trend watchers. To help them stay on top of “what’s hot” for their kids this back-to-school season, we’re working with our client General Growth Properties, which manages Northbrook Court, Oakbrook Center and Water Tower Place, to share the latest on what kids can wear to be cool in school. Today General Growth’s hottest fashions for both elementary and middle school kids appeared on WGN-TV and in the Chicago Sun-Times, respectively. Check them out to help your kids look their best on their first day of school.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In the Mix...Grills Gone Wild

Our Vermont Castings team has been pitching a “hot” topic all summer – the latest and greatest in gas grills. With options like a full rotisserie burner, a side burner for stove-top cooking, a griddle accessory to serve up breakfast and an infrared sear burner that cooks multiple foods at different temperatures, today’s grills produce far more than just burgers and brats. We’ve seen coverage of the Vermont Castings grills across the country this summer, most notably in this story from the Today Show. One great thing about today’s multi-functional grills? Summer may be drawing to a close, but grilling season can go on all year!

Monday, August 1, 2011

In the Mix...Eureka Facebook Sweepstakes

As a part of our strategy to help increase Eureka’s fanbase on Facebook, we are implementing four fan-gated sweepstakes in 2011. The first Facebook sweepstakes ended last week with rousing success! After just seven weeks, LCWA helped Eureka increase its fans by 682%, generating nearly 5,000 new “likes” and increasing traffic and engagement on the Facebook page. To help maintain momentum, we’re already in the midst of the second sweepstakes. Check it out at www.Facebook.com/Eureka and click on the “sweepstakes” tab!

Friday, July 29, 2011

In the Mix...Camp Red Kite Coverage

Camp is now in session at Chicago Children’s Theatre. Camp Red Kite that is, a summer theater camp tailored to meet the special needs of children on the autism spectrum. LCWA finds it particularly gratifying to help Chicago’s #1 children’s theater build awareness for the many programs that are part of Red Kite Project, a one-of-a-kind initiative which serves as a model for other arts institutions both nationally and internationally. Tune in to ABC7's recent report on Camp Red Kite by disabilities reporter Karen Meyer, and if you know any parents with children on the autism spectrum, please forward them this post. They’ll be glad you did. And so will you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weathering a TV Shoot

As storms rolled through the south last month, I rolled into Arkansas, prepared to weather an HGTV show taping with a client. Taped television segments come with their own set of benefits and challenges – there is the added control of being able to say “let’s take that again,” but also the added nerves that come with presenting the same information five different ways to find the most “natural” sound bite.

If you have a taped television opportunity on the horizon, below are some key lessons from my recent experience to help guarantee the best possible segment – for both your client and your media contact.

  • Think Visuals First – and Second, and Last! Cover the basics first: the dress code for anyone who will be near the camera, the preferred background for the shoot and the recommended b-roll visuals. If the shoot is on location, go over pictures of the “set” with the client to make sure everyone is on the same page. You’ll want to have these conversations when you still have time to ship in new product, rearrange accessories or choose a new location. Finally, the day of the shoot, be critical to remove distractions. If you can see debris on the floor, have someone sweep it. If a shirt looks wrinkled, iron it!
  • Put Your Preparations on Paper. Get organized with a master planning document, including key messages, talking points, dress code and emergency contact. Spokespeople tend to forget details when they are nervous and a camera can be very intimidating. Create a book to keep all of the essential information in one place and make a copy for your spokesperson to reference as often as needed.
  • Let Confidence Rule. Taped segments invite feedback and retakes, requiring your active engagement and ongoing counsel. Discuss your role with the producer beforehand to establish a rhythm for your relationship. If something said on camera is incorrect, should you interject or wait until the take ends? Keep in mind that if you won’t have any input in the editing room, you’ll want to be especially careful about what is captured on camera. On the client side, now is the time for confident counsel. Take each spokesperson aside several minutes before filming to prepare for the questions ahead and review key messages. And don’t be afraid to give constructive criticism between takes. “Speak louder,” “smile more,” “talk slower,” and “we’ll have to redo that, it’s incorrect” are all things I said recently to clients. And all feedback that led to a better overall segment.
  • Record it. Since you have paper handy, you might as well take notes! Record the takes you liked best and the time they filmed. Also note bad quotes, incorrect statements and awkward scenes. You can share your notes with the producer afterward as helpful input for the editing desk – just be careful not to overstep your role. You also can use your notes to help your spokesperson prepare for future interviews and to give feedback on his or her performance.

Stormy weather aside, our recent TV shoot was a big success, and I attribute that success to the full preparations our team took to develop messages, coordinate visuals and find the best faces to bring energy and life to our story. It’s something I’m sure will shine through on screen, despite the cloudy skies in the frame.

Monday, July 25, 2011

In the Mix...Raising Awareness for Hepatitis C Treatment and Prevention

Last week, we worked with Congressman Danny Davis and Dr. Nancy Reau of the University of Chicago to educate the public about a “silent epidemic” – hepatitis C, and a breakthrough new treatment from Vertex Pharmaceuticals. With interviews on four local radio stations and announcements on Chicago’s online media, we alerted citizens to this past weekend’s Health Summit, co-sponsored by Congressman Davis, where they can get tested for hepatitis C.

Friday, July 22, 2011

In the Mix...La-Z-Boy Helping Hands Event

Our helping hands came together to give the first La-Z-Boy “Helping Hand” award to a delivery driver at an event at the La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries store in San Diego today. During a routine delivery of a La-Z-Boy chair, Hugo Peña noticed his customer’s neighbor, Ed Ross, collapsed on his front porch. Peña acted quickly to call 911, alert Ross’ family and wait for assisting paramedics to arrive. The humble delivery driver then went on to make 17 more deliveries that day. Thanks to Peña’s quick thinking, Ross, who suffered heart failure, is now recovering at home. We worked with La-Z-Boy to plan the event honoring Peña, which was attended by local fire departments, the safety commission chairperson and representatives for local public officials, as well as KUSI-TV. Peña also received a “thank you” in the form of a La-Z-Boy “Carlyle” chair, and Ross was presented with a La-Z-Boy “Woodmont” recliner to help him enjoy a comfortable recovery.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In the Mix…Social Media with a Social Conscience

To help our client First Alert spread the word about a new California carbon monoxide (CO) law, we enlisted regional mommy bloggers to promote CO safety and the use of carbon monoxide alarms to their followers. The response has been fantastic. Thanks to posts like these from A Mom Less Ordinary and East Sacramento Mom, parents throughout the state are educated, compliant and protecting what matters most -- their families.

Friday, July 15, 2011

In the Mix...Everest College Opening in Bedford Park, Illinois

This week, we worked with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (third from right) to attend the grand opening event for Everest College's Bedford Park campus. ABC affiliate WLS-TV covered the ribbon cutting, which was attended by students and other dignitaries. Fun was had by all, and then it was back to class!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer's Must-See Movie

As is often the case, the trailer duped me. I expected Andrew Rossi’s documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times to be about the paper’s juggling its traditional role as the gold standard of U.S. print media in the face of increasing use of social media. The film touches on the issue, but it is so much more and fosters myriad debates.

For PR practitioners, the film is essential viewing. It doesn’t necessarily surface new themes, but it is a fascinating look at media of all types. Here’s a snapshot of some of Page One’s key elements:

  • Changing Media Landscape. We’re all aware of the ever-changing media landscape. The film opened on a particularly troubling time in 2008, when talking heads reported the demise of papers like the Rocky Mountain News. The cause? Ostensibly, lack of ad revenue and shrinking circulation. The traditional media revenue model is enough for its own documentary. But Page One leveraged this as a launch pad to introduce viewers to a handful of reporters and editors on the New York Times’ media desk. Through them and other sources, we also hear about:
  • Print vs. Social Media. The Times employees are better than any actors, and seeing their working style and peeking inside the newspaper editors’ meetings fascinate for a few minutes. In the midst, we follow David Carr, whom some professional movie critics accurately describe as “salty but brilliant,” to conferences where the place of newspapers in an increasingly social and interconnected media landscape is debated. Carr, a major advocate of print media who once wrote in the New York Times about caving in and setting up a Twitter account (at age 52), provides one of the most compelling and visual arguments for traditional media. On a panel with Michael Wolff, founder of media aggregate Newser, Carr asks what content would be featured in a world without traditional media. He displays Newser’s homepage in which he’s cut out all links sourced from traditional media. The Swiss cheese’d paper is telling.
  • Credible Sources. Journalistic sources could be another subject of an extended piece of prose or film, but Page One tries to scratch this surface, too. We meet Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. Was WikiLeaks a publisher of content in cooperation with the New York Times, or was it a source? The film asks this question and gives viewers a brief glimpse at the internal debate and the aftermath of this cooperation. It’s an interesting thought that also overflows into another debate that the film brings to the surface: who and what are the sources of reputable news? Is it only traditional newspapers? Do bloggers count?
  • Who follows whom? The film even calls into question, perhaps unfairly, television news, but seems to suggest that both TV and radio are in the same category as newspapers. Thanks to some historic footage, Page One shows that TV news, even in the age of Walter Cronkite, followed print.
  • Facebook vs. Other Media? Facebook was mentioned only once, by Carr, but blogs (including the 80+ published by the New York Times) were included in this maelstrom of ideas, and viewers were treated to a who’s who of major bloggers. I would have enjoyed hearing more what Carr had to say about Facebook.

It’s certain that we’ll continue to evolve with the times, as will our sources of news, forever debated. For a PR guy, Page One made for a fascinating 96 minutes… One final thought from the film: Carr said that when he says he’s calling from the New York Times, that often scares people. Mr. Carr, rest assured that when the New York Times calls, PR people jump to it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

With Media Training, the Mission is Still the Message

In this day of smart phones streaming video, bloggers with flip cams and 24/7 cable news shows, have we become such savvy consumers of media that we respond instinctively with a good sound bite when given the chance? Not necessarily.

From the media training sessions we conduct regularly at LCWA, it’s clear that the ability to deliver the right message with confidence and conviction is what makes an outstanding spokesperson. As the length of a typical broadcast news story gets shorter and shorter – now at 90 seconds or less on average – reducing that message to compelling sound bite is essential.

What makes a good sound bite? Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Keep it short and simple: Resist the impulse to overcomplicate your message. Pare down your thoughts to the most essential three or four points. Then pare down again. Ideally, you will have just one or two key thoughts to communicate each time you do an interview.
  • Make it memorable, but not glib: The best spokespersons have the knack of presenting the same information over and over – and making it sound fresh every time. It’s a skill that can be learned and honed through practice. Don’t try to memorize your answer. Rather, internalize the key thought and try new ways to tell your story each time.
  • Add color to your messages: Statistics can add meat to any message, but choose wisely. One pithy stat is better than a slew of numbers that will leave your listener more dazed than dazzled. Examples and analogies make your message come alive. Third-party endorsements will bolster the credibility of your claims. Even personal testimonials, which might not work well in other interview situations, can be surprisingly effective in sound bites.
  • Stay on message: In the end, the most quotable sound bite doesn’t accomplish your objective unless it reinforces the messages you want to convey about your product or your organization. You can answer every question a reporter throws at you and still not “ace” the interview unless you get your message across.

At LCWA, we believe that the message is still the mission with media training. That’s why our approach focuses on helping spokespersons to craft and then “own” memorable messages, support them with facts and examples, and deliver them in sound bites that capture attention.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fruitful Lessons on Hosting Events in the Big Apple

New York, New York! A great place to visit and an even better place to host an event – especially when your audience is shelter media. As one of the top PR agencies specializing in home products, we know the importance of getting our clients in front of these influential media to keep them top-of-mind for projects and stories.
Thus the impetus behind our annual LCWA Homemakers Media Preview – a proprietary co-op event dedicated to showcasing the latest offerings from our extensive roster of home-focused clients. Now going on more than a decade of hosting these events, and having personally attended the majority of them – most recently last week! – I have learned my share of lessons along the way. Here are a few that ring true year after year.
  • Location, Location, Location – Just as in real estate, location is key when it comes to throwing a successful event – especially when dealing with overbooked, time-stretched New York media. Over the years, I have learned to abide by the following mantra when it comes to choosing locations…make it memorable or make it convenient – ideally both! This year’s choice of The Bryant Park Hotel proved an ideal combination offering walk-ability for most of our Midtown-based editors and breathtaking views of the city and beautiful Bryant Park from the penthouse floor where our event was held.
  • Follow the ABCs of Media Contact – Over the years, we have learned that a “yes” from an editor is never a guarantee that they will show up at your event. Thus we have developed a three-step system to secure the best possible media turnout. A – Alert media well in advance of your event. Whether you use a formal invitation, a save-the-date card or a simple e-pitch, get on editors’ radar screens and calendars as early as possible. B – Book appointments. We have found that we get the best results when we schedule appointments with media at specific times. This helps to give media a sense of exclusivity and provides you and your clients with a rough idea of how the event will flow. C – Confirm, confirm, confirm. A quick round of phone calls just prior to the event can make a huge difference in how many media end up attending your event. A friendly reminder not only brings your event top-of-mind but significantly lessens the chances of no-shows.
  • Make Milkshakes out of Mishaps – Anyone who has ever planned an event knows that even the best laid plans can go awry. The key is to adapt quickly and to learn from your mistakes. Following each LCWA event, we regroup to go over the highs and lows and jot down “key learnings” to keep in mind for the future. Thanks to 10+ years of hard-earned wisdom, our 2011 HomeMakers event went off nearly without a hitch. Our big key learnings for next year…bring nail clippers to handle the inevitable unpacking manicure damage and schedule more time to enjoy the Big Apple!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Power of the Mommy Blogger

Mommy bloggers are one of the most influential groups online. Thanks to social media and an unprecedented level of peer influence, these moms are some of the best sources for marketing success.  Mom bloggers will uphold what they value most, making them so much more effective than traditional advertising. They provide genuine, honest voices whose words and opinions influence brand perception.

According to BSM Media, moms spend $2.1 trillion a year, and today’s mom doesn’t just buy diapers and cleaning supplies, but makes purchasing decisions on everything from cars to electronics. According to Mom Central Consulting, 96 percent of moms value the recommendations they find on mom blogs.

To reach mom consumers requires integrating relevant social media strategies and tactics into overall marketing, branding and public relations campaigns. It’s a strategy we use often with many of our LCWA clients. This approach is designed to build trust and personal relationships with millions of moms that might not be reached using traditional communication methods.

But recruiting mothers to blog about your brand offering is not as simple as asking them to encourage their followers to “buy this product.” There are several steps to consider when reaching out to mom bloggers:
  • Do the research. There are so many niches within the mom target market. Find the moms who will be interested in your products, read their blogs, get to know them and connect with their passions. One place where you can find mom bloggers is BlogHer. This online site is the largest community of women bloggers and has a strong base of social media moms.
  • Offer product samples. Mommy bloggers will want to review your product firsthand so they can provide an honest review.  Don’t expect a product review without sending them a product to try.
  • Tell them about your brand. Engage mommy bloggers by telling them about your brand and engaging them in the discussion.
  • Sponsor a blogger. Offer one of your target bloggers a unique experience or sponsor one to attend a blogging conference. Even consider going to the conference with her. This is a great way to build a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.
When a mommy blogger has a positive experience with your brand, they will promote your brand and become loyal spokespersons for life. Marketers must consider the importance of this key stakeholder group and their ever-increasing influence and voice in the social media realm.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

PR and the Legislative Process: Navigating the Washington Web

My first career experience in public relations brought me to Washington, D.C., where it’s hard not to notice the presence of government all around you. From office views of the Washington Monument to Congressional aides rushing by, government is simply a part of everyday life – including client work and, in many cases, the clients themselves. However, as you move “beyond the Beltway,” it’s easy to overlook the effect of government and legislation. Nonetheless, there’s hardly an industry that isn’t somehow impacted by government regulation. Working in public relations means being the eyes and ears of your clients, and legislative monitoring and government outreach can provide a key service.

Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several of our clients on a range of legislative matters. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way to help navigate Washington’s complex web of agencies, organizations and officials.
  • Be aware of the players: A host of players – from lawmakers, federal, state and local agencies, and even community associations – all play a role in how legislation is crafted, adopted and implemented. Prior to any outreach or communication, take inventory of all the different parties involved, what role they play and what impact their actions could have on your client. Then, because each may have vastly different objectives or repercussions, craft specific key messages and materials for each audience. In doing so, you’ll not only gain a better picture of what’s at stake, but your messages are more likely to resonate with each audience.
  • Read between the lines: Oftentimes, legislation is purposely left vague so that the office or official responsible for implementing it has the ability to interpret and develop policies and regulations as needed. By the time the law is codified, it may look vastly different from the original bill. In these cases, the best source of information may not be the lawmaker who crafted the bill, but the parties responsible for its implementation. Go beyond the legislative text and reach out to these sources to find out many of the key details – the who, what, where and when – for how a particular law may impact your client.
  • Consider your resources: Keep in mind that many of the everyday tools and services used to track coverage, trends and other news for clients will not uncover movement in pending legislation if it hasn’t been covered by the media. Furthermore, you can’t assume that a state or municipality website is always accurate or up-to-date. Consider using a service like StateNet, which has local representatives tracking legislation at all levels of government, to supplement your efforts. While they may alert you to a particular item of interest, always follow up with your own research and outreach in order to provide the most accurate information to your client.
  • Persistence pays: It’s no secret that the legislative process can move slowly, especially when compared to the field of public relations. Many of the key sources of information may not have answers to your inquiries right away. Furthermore, it may take a while to not just find an appropriate source – but also one who’s willing to help. When you do, try to establish a relationship and make it a habit to check in on a regular basis – eventually your persistence will pay off!
Certainly, legislative monitoring and government outreach can be quite an undertaking – the number of players and the carefully worded “legalese” is bound to be a challenge at some point. But the value for clients in uncovering key pieces of information that can impact their public relations plans – and their bottom line – is incalculable.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The White Paper Lives!

Development of a white paper as a communications vehicle may sound like a primitive, archaic tool in today’s digital age, wistfully proposed only by older, veteran PR types such as yours truly.
However, white papers remain extremely effective tactics for organizations to creatively convey a position or philosophy, or provide depth to a business problem or solution.
This is particularly true in B2B communications. For example, in a recent survey of business marketers, 84 percent said white papers were moderately to extremely influential in making final purchasing decisions.
Another indication of the interest in white papers: I was one of more than 200 executives attending a webinar last month on white paper lead generation conducted by The White Paper Company. One obvious takeaway – we now have even more distribution outlets for such think pieces, thanks to websites and other social media outlets.
What are some keys to ensure your white paper resonates with audience targets?
  • Educate. Be informative, enlighten, address issues that are new, surprising and/or intrigue the reader. Remain objective and cite credible, outside sources to prove message points
  • Provide specifics and depth. This is particularly critical when covering technical details or new technologies. The white paper offers the rare opportunity to deliver such vital information in a comprehensive manner.
  • Capture attention with clever title. Don’t underestimate the value of a catchy headline, one that lures the reader and highlights the issue. Also, consider adding an executive summary before copy begins to further pique interest…and to make it easier for executives to decide if they should forward the paper to others.
  • Enlist skilled writers. The white paper requires prose significantly different and more sophisticated than copy written for news releases, brochures and ads. Be sure the writer is top-notch.
LCWA client Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA) is a huge white paper advocate. Two recent white papers we’ve written for FMA include “America’s Most Wanted: Skilled Workers," and “The Manufacturing Predicament: Sector Primed to Surge, Yet Skilled Labor Shortage an Obstacle.” Hopefully, those titles will spark enough attention for some of you to request copies here!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

An Award-Winning Friday

We always look forward to catching up with old friends at the annual Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) Golden Trumpet Luncheon, and yesterday's event was no exception. Adding to this year's fun: receiving three awards for our great work!
  • The Eureka team earned a Golden Trumpet in the Marketing category for its “Eureka Creates Clean Pet Homes” program, which supported the launch of two innovative pet-focused vacuum cleaners. The introduction of Pet Expert and Pet Pal included visual mailers to media, outreach to influential bloggers and several interactive online contests for pet owners.
  • The First Alert team received a Golden Trumpet in Issues Management for the “Get Alarmed” campaign conducted for October’s Fire Prevention Month. We used proprietary “alarming” statistics, aggressive media outreach and an interactive social media contest to support awareness of the need for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and other life-saving fire safety messages.
  • The Trex team won a Silver Trumpet in the Marketing category for its “Elevate Outdoor Living” campaign. This visual and interactive program supported the launch of Trex Transcend™, a new high-performance decking product, with trade show outreach, targeted mailers, one-on-one editorial meetings and a nationwide online contest featuring celebrity designers.
It's an honor to be recognized for our work. Congratulations to the hard-working account teams, and to all the winners at the PCC event.