Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Favorite Finds

It’s a short work week for the Thanksgiving holiday, but there was no shortage of news stories. Here are some of the headlines, tips and tales that caught our attention:

  • Smell-o-Vision is here! Rumored to be in development for years (literally…. years) the untapped potential for smell-technology is starting to become a reality. Debuting at London’s Heathrow airport is the “Scent Globe” that lets travelers smell the world. What marketing implications will this new technology has as it becomes more widespread? What it in action here.
  • Twitter now saves you money…Twitter is now letting marketers run promotions in the Twitter newsfeed that users can redeem via their credit card. If a Twitter Offer pops up in your timeline, now you can add the Offer to your credit card or debit card for the future purchase. This holiday season will kick off the new feature, but read more about here.
  • Marriott and Hilton Introduce Cancellation Fees… Both Hilton and Marriot recently announced plans to boost revenue through cancellation fees and as a result, stirred up a negative social media frenzy. Is this a terrible PR move, or standard business practice? Learn more about here.
  • The #Hashtag is here to stay The hashtag may have once been an up-and-comer trend, but it with its own USB keyboard link, and it’s ever increasing presence in our culture, it looks like it’s here to stay. Check out the latest gadget for the hashtag here.      

First Alert Gives Gift of Safety in Time for Holidays

This week – just in time for the holidays – the First Alert team at LCWA was thrilled to help support First Alert and its work with the CBS Chicago Cares telethon, benefiting
 the American Red Cross - Greater Chicago Region.

First Alert played a prominent role in the day, including presenting the Red Cross with a $48,000 check for its Team Fire Stopper program! I also was privileged to attend a donation event at a Bronzeville fire station, where team members handed out more than 300 combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms, 100 10-year smoke alarms and 300 Tundra fire extinguishing sprays to members of the community to help protect them and their families this holiday season and beyond! In addition, CBS Chicago filmed a live segment from the station to remind viewers about the donation event and the importance of having working smoke and CO alarms. It was a wonderful experience, and helping so many people to stay safe was the perfect way for First Alert and LCWA to kick off the holiday season!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Oakbrook Center Debuts Exclusive, High-Tech Holiday Cottage

Last week, LCWA was on hand to help our client, Oakbrook Center, with the grand opening of DreamWorks Animation’s Adventure to Santa—a state-of-the-art, high-tech holiday cottage that allows visitors to embark on a virtual journey to the North Pole. Guests at the event enjoyed a spectacular light show, photographs with Shrek, food from several restaurants at Oakbrook Center and the opportunity to be some of the first to travel by sleigh to the North Pole.

As one of only eight locations throughout the country to host this magical DreamWorks Animation experience, Oakbrook Center gathered great attendance for this event on a cold and snowy evening. The event received coverage on ABC 7 Chicago and Fox 32 Chicago, as well as several online outlets, and was a great way for Oakbrook Center to kick-off the holiday season. 

Favorite Finds

There was a bitter wind blowing through Chicago, but hot stories continued to burn up our social media feed. Here are some of the headlines, tips and tales that caught our attention: 

  • Facebook Cracks Down... Facebook announced that overly promotional content on brand pages – meaning posts that solely push people to buy a product or enter promotions/sweepstakes – will receive lower priority in news feeds in 2015. Whether you think the announcement is a public service to the Facebook community or a fatal blow to corporate Facebook pages, it's clear that change is in the forecast for brands actively marketing via Facebook.
  • Twitter Opens up…Twitter – the platform for real time news and commentary – is ready to let users get nostalgic. Twitter announced that you can now search for any tweet ever sent. Interested to see who has shared love for your brand, topic or competitor in the eight years since Twitter started? Click here to give the new advanced search option a try.
  • #Cringeworthy Marketing Made Us Squirm…Every week comes with a new set of social blunders, and this time Dave & Busters and Barbie made headlines for how not to market a brand. Dave & Busters’ racist #TacoTuesday tweet and poorly edited apology made consumers wonder who runs the national brand's social pages, while a bumbling computer engineer Barbie traded girl power for unflattering female stereotypes.
  • And the "Best of 2014" Began! With December just around the corner, the pull to recap 2014 has proven too strong for some of our journalist friends. Two of our favorite “best of 2014” proclamations thus far? We loved Mashable’s 20 most shared ads of 2014 and our inner word-geek closely followed the heated debate for #WordoftheYear that transpired between Vape and Exposure.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Decked Out at DeckExpo

At the recent Remodeling Show and DeckExpo in Baltimore, LCWA helped client Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative composite decking, showcase its total outdoor living package – from substructure to spotlights – including Trex Elevations Steel Deck Framing System, Trex Transcend decking and railing, and Trex Outdoor Lighting.

DeckExpo provides building and remodeling professionals with a vibrant exhibit hall, filled with hundreds of the industry's top manufacturers, hands-on training and business education. On behalf of Trex, LCWA coordinated media appointments with editors from high-profile industry trade outlets to share insights into 2015 trends and reinforce the company’s position as the leading resource for high-performance outdoor living solutions.

Now that DeckExpo is behind us, we’re gearing up for the biggest building products trade show of the year – the International Builders’ Show. And, with winter setting in here in Chicago, we’re looking forward to a January visit to Las Vegas

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Promoting Popularity of PopUps

Can you guess what’s popping up in larger-than-usual numbers right about now?  That’s right, it’s pop-ups – those temporary stores such as seasonal shops, farmers markets, flea markets and arts and crafts fairs. LCWA is helping client PopUp Republic, a new Chicago-based social media marketing firm servicing the pop-up category, promote its multi-faceted services and the burgeoning pop-up industry.

Just last week, LCWA garnered two high-profile stories. VentureBeat, which receives 7.5 million unique monthly visitors, featured PopUp Republic’s founding by CEO Jeremy Baras and the firm’s new online marketplace for pop-ups called “PopUps Across America,” an industry first.  And, a Chicago Business Journal story showcased the company’s national survey conducted by LCWA Research Group of 1,200 Americans about pop-up stores. The poll asked Americans their top reasons for shopping at a pop-up. Ranked first? “Finding seasonal products,” cited by 61%. Other reasons for patronizing pop-ups cited included finding new and unique products (39 percent), shopping locally (36 percent) and getting attractive pricing (34 percent.)  LCWA will continue to promote PopUp Republic throughout the busy holiday pop-up season.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Favorite Finds

We found some interesting headlines this week in the social media realm. Following are some of the stories and tips that caught our attention: 
  • Cosmic Connections: As scientists cheer and the media celebrate, brand managers may consider the best way to get in on the action of the Philae comet landing. PR News Writer Matthew Schwartz suggests not getting too cosmic with the brand connection.
  • Apple of My Eye: A new “brand intimacy rankings” survey of Americans by MLBM revealed that Apple is the winner by a landslide, with intimacy rankings more than eight times as high as the runner-up. Rounding out the top five are Sony, Nike, Dell and Starbucks.
  • Famous Alex: It’s only been about a week and a half since the first #AlexFromTarget tweet was sent. Since then, Alex Lee has made an appearance on Ellen and his fan base has grown to 733,000 Twitter followers. A New York Times article revealed both the perks and the pitfalls of Alex’s new Internet fame.
  •  In Facebook We (Don’t) Trust: Facebook and other social networks did not fare well in a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, as 81 percent of respondents said they felt “not very” or “not at all secure” using social media sites when sharing private information with other trusted people or organizations.
  • Pitch Perfect: Communications officer Tracy Schario, a presenter at PR News' Dec. 11 Media Relations Next Practices Conference in Washington, D.C., offers 11 tips to help PR pros connect with the journalists who matter.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Contigo Gets “Real” on New National TV Show

LCWA secured a placement on Fox’s hottest new afternoon talk show “The Real,” and reached more than 1.1 million viewers nationwide! The segment focused on “Essentials for Your Next Trip to the Gym” and included an on-air product demonstration of the Contigo Kangaroo water bottle, which features a built-in compartment, so users can carry keys, an ID, money, a gym pass and more when on the go. An audience giveaway and online article were also a part of this great placement, which aired last week. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Urgent Care’s Response to the Ebola Scare

Last month, as news of the Ebola virus in America spread, everyone – including media – was wondering: how is our healthcare system preparing for this threat? And part of that -- what if someone with Ebola symptoms walked into their neighborhood urgent care center? Luckily, the Urgent Care Association of America was there to provide guidance to its members and ensure that clinics around the country were prepared – and, we were able to help UCAOA reach the general public by coordinating interviews for the association’s spokespeople with top media outlets.

During height of media interest in Ebola, we coordinated media interviews for the UCAOA with the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Modern Healthcare, The Dallas Morning News and KDRV-TV in Denver, and provided written statements for many other local inquiries. The AP story alone was featured on numerous high-profile news websites and was picked up by more than 150 outlets in total. UCAOA experts used these opportunities to show how urgent care was extremely prepared to handle potential Ebola cases – and to encourage citizens who believed they had symptoms to call 911 to limit potential exposure to others.

The hype and hyperbole of the Ebola threat has subsided, but thanks to UCAOA’s quick response to the situation and readiness to speak with interested media, we were able to help offer reassurance at the height of the scare – and establish UCAOA as a well-prepared, informative resource for health-related stories.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Favorite Finds

Mid-term elections took Chicago by storm this week, with some surprise outcomes along with big sports announcements and tech news:
  • In a press conference Monday, the Chicago Cubs officially announced that Joe Maddon is taking over as manager.
  • Google unveiled a brand new Android version of the Google Calendar App. New updates include more seamless email integration, real time event updates and a new layout.
  • Republican candidate, Bruce Rauner, defeated Democrat Pat Quinn in the race for Governor of Illinois. Along with a win for Republicans in the President’s home state, the Republicans now control a majority of the U.S. Senate.
  • Tech site CNET announced bold plans to launch a print magazine in the final quarter of 2014.
  • Facebook is rolling out three initiatives to raise awareness and money to fight the spread of Ebola. A message at the top of user’s timelines will give them the option to donate to three nonprofits; International Medical Corps, the Red Cross and Save The Children. Facebook is collaborating with UNICEF to get information on Ebola prevention, symptoms and treatment to people in affected regions. Additionally, Facebook is working with NetHope to boost communications for medical and aid workers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In the Mix…Get Your Garage Ready for Winter!

To find out just how Americans utilize (or under-utilize) their garage spaces, the LCWA Research Group executed research on behalf of client The Lehigh Group, makers of Crawford-brand garage organization products. The findings? Seventy percent of Americans use the garage to store potentially dangerous equipment, while nearly 60 percent store flammable liquids as well as other dangerous chemicals in their garage space. Considering that only 27 percent of Americans report feeling confident that their garages are "very organized," this can spell safety hazards. LCWA pitched these findings to priority media, as part of the annual National Clean Out Your Garage Day program, which has gained significant media coverage – including a story about winter garage prep with syndicated Philadelphia Inquirer writer Alan Heavens. The story garnered significant print pickup, including placements in the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Florida Times-Union, South Bend Tribune and numerous other daily newspapers – reaching more than 3.7 million readers around the country who now look to The Lehigh Group and Crawford for their garage organization needs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In the Mix...Life Fitness Names the 2014 Top Personal Trainer!

We recently traveled to New York City to assist our client Life Fitness in naming the top personal trainer for 2014 at their annual Personal Trainers to Watch competition. The 10 elite finalists spanned the globe, representing five continents and six countries and competed in a live global competition on Friday, Oct. 17 at DavidBartonGym. The finalists were judged on their training skills using Life Fitness equipment and their passion for fitness – and one trainer emerged the winner: Cristiano Arthur S. Parente, of São Paulo, Brazil! Cristiano, personal trainer and CEO of Koatch, demonstrated a unique approach to personal training and an impressive level of dedication to the industry – Congrats, Cristiano!

Check out the winner announcement video or learn more about the other finalists at