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.