Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Final Call for Nominations for the World’s Top Personal Trainers!

We’re in the final days of the nominations phase for our client Life Fitness’ Personal Trainers to Watch competition! Fitness professionals around the globe have until tomorrow, July 31, to be nominated or nominate themselves for the Personal Trainers to Watch program at The 10 finalists will be invited to participate in a live global competition in New York City at DavidBartonGym on October 17, where they will be judged based on popular training techniques using Life Fitness equipment and show our judges why they deserve to be named the 2014 Personal Trainer to Watch. Check out this message from Deb McConnell, global master trainer for Life Fitness, announcing the live judging event location and encouraging exercisers and personal trainers alike to nominate. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

First Alert Bark Genie Launch Gains National Attention

Excessive barking is a huge problem for America’s 83.3 million dog owners – not to mention their neighbors. In fact, with 30-40% of dogs barking excessively, this issue can lead to strained relationships – and is the third most likely reason dogs end up in shelters. Enter LCWA client First Alert for Pets, and its new Bark Genie tools (Automatic and Handheld), which help deter barking by emitting an ultrasonic noise that is inaudible to humans and harmless to dogs. This trusted line of safe pet training tools is leading to more happy pets and happy owners – and happy neighborhoods.

To spread the word out about this essential solution, LCWA conducted aggressive outreach to national consumer and pet-focused media to expose the problem of excessive barking and offer readers a way to stay friendly with man’s best friend. As a result, the Bark Genie products were featured in (plus Gannett syndication), Pet AgeSan Jose Mercury News, Modern Dog, About.comPet Life Radio and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, among others. First Alert for Pets was also featured in an AP article about barking that ran in hundreds of newspapers around the country.

For more information on how you can put an end to excessive barking, visit

Friday, July 25, 2014

Favorite Finds

Another week of fluctuating Chicago summer weather brings a week of new digital campaigns and tech upgrades. Here’s what made the top spots this week:

  •  Google could be submitting a proposal to the NY Department of IT to convert all NYC pay phones into free Wi-Fi hotspots. Google along with other tech companies such as IBM, Samsung and Sisco were in attendance at a meeting to discuss NYC internet connectivity and free city-wide Wi-Fi options.
  • With the launch of Amazon’s Fire phone on the horizon, a new app quietly rolled out this week called Amazon Wallet. Customers won’t be able to make purchases on the app, but it will act as a vault to store rewards and gift cards by entering them manually or scanning with the device’s camera.
  •  Foursquare announced a major brand redesign and app change this week. Foursquare is moving towards more of a Yelp-esque platform, allowing users to post reviews of places directly from their phones. The check-in component of Foursquare now resides on a new app called Swarm.
  • Applebee’s is putting its Instagram account into the hands of its customers. To participate, users must opt-in via a microsite that gives Applebee’s permission to post content to its account. From there, anything that customers post using the hashtag #Applebees or the campaign hashtag #Fantographer is fair game for Applebee’s to post to their account. Each shared image will get a branded border and will be pushed through to Applebee’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bringing a Local Angle to a National Brand

When reaching out to a media outlet in a small or regional market, it’s important to consider why its audience cares about the story you’re telling – it’s important to communicate, “what’s in it for them?” With this in mind, LCWA recently launched a regional outreach program on behalf of client Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance wood-alternative decking and railing. We began by identifying certified TrexPros – highly skilled deck builders and contractors – in key markets across the country to serve as media spokespeople on behalf of the brand. We then leveraged their market experience and industry expertise to secure local media coverage for the Trex brand.

Through pitches focused on regional outdoor living trends, deck design ideas and planning tips, along with photography showcasing local homes and projects, we are able to demonstrate the benefits of Trex outdoor living products while highlighting the expertise of our TrexPros and bringing knowledge and value to homeowners across the country looking to elevate their outdoor living spaces. Early results include a contractor byline on the Plainfield page of the Chicago Tribune online and an upcoming article in Building Products Digest. Be on the lookout for tips and trends from local TrexPros in your area!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Favorite Finds

Another polar vortex hit Chicago this week, bringing very un-July-like highs in the 60s. But we’re not completely opposed to a mid-summer cool-down – here’s what else blew through our windy city this week:

  • Grammar Matters – Weird Al Yankovic parodied Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” to create the best educational music video since Schoolhouse Rocks!, in which he addresses some of my personal pet peeves of language use.
  • What’s Your Story? We know the value of good storytelling, and this week, Facebook revealed the results of its study demonstrating how far your story can take your online content. The study showed that there was an 87 percent increase in landing page visits for social posts that told the brand story before it asked users to buy anything. 
  • Word(s) to the Wise – We love this infographic on words to use – and those to avoid – when aiming to drive engagement on social channels.
  • ‘90s Nostalgia – There’s a lot to be learned from my favorite decade, including these 13 public speaking lessons from hit songs of the 1990s.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Search is on for the World’s Top Personal Trainers!

We are once again helping our client Life Fitness, the global leader in fitness equipment manufacturing, search for the world’s top personal trainers! Fitness professionals around the globe can be nominated – or nominate themselves – through July 31 for the Personal Trainers to Watch program at in its fourth year, the program recognizes and rewards elite trainers around the world who embody the same passion and commitment to the profession as Life Fitness. This fall, 10 finalists will be invited to participate in a live global competition where they will be exposed to popular training techniques incorporating the Synrgy360 functional training system and show our judges why they deserve to be named the 2014 Personal Trainer to Watch. Stay tuned for announcements on the top 10 finalists, the live global competition and the ultimate naming of the 2014 top Personal Trainer to Watch later this fall!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Favorite Finds

Here are some of our favorite reads from this week:
  • Navigating Facebook Changes: The changes to Facebook's algorithm's caused huge declines for business page impressions. This infographic shows what the changes mean for brands.
  • The Journal at 125: Lots of great stuff from the Wall  Street Journal as it celebrated its 125th anniversary this week, including this look back at it's first front page.
  • Get Followed: Back to basics with many of these tips, but it's good to remember that there are no better ways to gain Twitter followers than to provide great content and engage with those who interest you.
  • Stress Busters: PR can be one of the most stressful jobs around. But if you get tempted to cut back on sleep to deal with it -- don't!
  • Best of the Taste: As locals with an office view of the festival, we are ready to try the best the Taste of Chicago has to offer. So a little research was in order for the weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Loaves & Fishes Celebrates 30th Anniversary

In conjunction with National Hunger Awareness Month in June, LCWA worked with our new client, Loaves & Fishes Community Services, to spread the word about the organization’s 30-year history of providing food assistance and empowerment services to families in need throughout Chicago’s western suburbs.

To commemorate Loaves & Fishes’ 30th anniversary, we helped to coordinate a press conference to kick off the organization’s annual “Day Without Hunger” event held at its headquarters and distribution facility in Naperville, Ill. Dignitaries from every branch of government attended along with media from throughout Chicagoland.

In addition to honoring its past, Loaves & Fishes unveiled major plans for its future including a $6 million “Power of Community” fundraising campaign focused on creating a sustainable solution to suburban hunger, as well as plans to establish Loaves & Fishes as a replicable model for anti-poverty and hunger-relief efforts nationwide.

With the goal of gaining media coverage for the organization beyond its core Naperville following, the team successfully pitched and secured placements for Loaves & Fishes in such regional outlets as The Beacon News, Chicago Parent and West Suburban Living, along with high-profile exposure on CBS2-TV, which featured Loaves & Fishes’ President and CEO Charles McLimans as the focus of one of reporter Harry Porterfield’s well-known “Someone You Should Know” segments. In addition to expanding and elevating awareness for the organization, Loaves & Fishes reported a spike in calls and inquiries from potential new clients and donors as a direct results of this coverage.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Favorite Finds

Here are some of my favorite finds from this holiday week:

  • After heartbreak, comes work!: Where were you during Team USA’s loss to Belgium?  According to some reports, you most likely were not at work. Yahoo Finance estimates that 14 million tuned into the heartbreak, losing US companies well over $680 million.  Ouch!
  • And speaking of work…:Apparently now that we have plenty of time on our hands, we can dive into some research. Check out this list Top 10 Social Media Research Studies for Public Relations Professionals by the Institute for Public Relations.
  • Happy Second of July?: Did you know that Americans began celebrating Independence Day as early as 1777 but it didn’t become an official holiday until 1870? Also, the Declaration of Independence wasn’t declared on July 4th but rather it’s the day that it was published.  The Continental Congress voted for independence on July 2nd.  It took nearly 2 months to get all 56 signatures on the dotted line.
  • And nothing says celebration quite like Hot dogs and beer: That’s right, did you know that Americans consume more beer (24 million cases) and more hot dogs (155 million) on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. If you prefer something more on the sweet side, you can celebrate with Nabisco’s latest offering – an Oreo Creme Filled Chewy Chips Ahoy Cookies.
  • Some other interesting finds: Girls Rule because…they never stop working…they travel in packs and they are poised to take over the world!...Selfies are all the craze but you may want to think twice before posting online because…well we all had all a Myspace account...How the O.J. Simpson murder trial 20 years ago changed the media landscape.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

LCWA Empowers Dentists to Market Their Skills

LCWA has the pleasure of working with several health-focused associations and recently we met personally with the members of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) to advise this growing group of dentists on strategies for marketing their practices locally. Most sleep apnea patients don’t know that dentists can offer a comfortable and effective treatment for sleep apnea, called oral appliance therapy. This lack of awareness makes it essential for AADSM members to not only be expert practitioners but also savvy marketers. In an hour-long session at the AADSM Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, LCWA provided AADSM members with practical, actionable advice for building awareness of their local practice and increasing demand for oral appliance therapy within their communities. From traditional media relations tips to social media advice, event-based networking suggestions and physician-focused relationship building tools, LCWA empowered AADSM members with the insights they need to develop and execute a successful marketing plan and increase their bottom line.