Monday, June 29, 2015

Contigo Takes on the NYC Inspired Home Event

The IHA “Inspired Home” summer media event took place on Thursday, June 11, at the Metropolitan West, an open and chic event space in the Clinton neighborhood just outside of Midtown – and LCWA client Contigo was on the scene, ready to help editors create inspired commutes for busy families on the go. 

Contigo showed off a range of products from spill-proof kids cups and innovative water bottles to the latest design in its popular AUTOSEAL collection, America’s best-selling line of travel mug. Over the course of just a few hours, Contigo met with more than 20 media contacts to elevate brand awareness with top-tier influencers and generate buzz for upcoming gift guide stories. We had a great time showing off Contigo’s continuous innovation to NYC’s top influencers and we look forward to several great fall stories as a result!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Favorite Finds

Despite the inclement weather Chicago is having, summer perhaps is starting to find its way just in time for the end of June! Here are my favorite finds this week:
  • Instagram Update – The latest improvement includes updates on the Explore page, featuring curated sets of photos based on individual tops as well as dedicated pages for trending topics and places. Check out PR News’ recommendations for how to use Instagram hashtags in brand campaigns.
  • It’s a Match! – OkCupid, and Tinder have gotten together and decided they all want the same thing – to be one big happy family. As of later this year they will be listed on the public stock exchange as “The Match Group,” formerly acknowledging that the online dating industry is stronger than ever.
  • Wiki News – This week The New York Times reported that Sunshine Sachs—an agency specializing in celebrity PR and crisis communications—paid editors to alter clients’ Wikipedia pages – violating Wikipedia’s terms of service. The clients included Campbell, Mia Farrow and Sarah Brightman. PR News puts out the question about the effect this has on our industry.
  • Remember Clippy? – The Microsoft Office character which was so familiar to many – and greatly despised – might not have made it if Microsoft had listened to focus groups. The documentary Code: Debugging the Gender Gap uncovers how the women addressed Clippy’s overall “creepiness,” which was ignored back in 1996, as well as other diversity issues in the tech industry.
  • Google Cars Hit the Road – The Google Self-Driving Cars are now on the roads in California driving at a “neighborhood-safe” 25 mph. Google is even taking advantage of this to receive some feedback from other drivers on their website where you can learn more about these cute cars!
  • Poop Poop Platter? – Disney is gaining attention for their newest treat that you can buy when visiting the Animal Kingdom – chocolaty treats shaped like animal dung. It currently comes in four different species: giraffe, elephant, hippo and tamarin.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

UCAOA Tweets to Help Patients be #UrgentCareAware

As part of the Urgent Care Association of America’s (UCAOA) first National Urgent Care Awareness Month, we recently conducted a Twitter chat in partnership with popular mom/lifestyle blog Shibley Smiles. In addition to the lively discussion about when urgent care is appropriate and tips for finding the closest urgent care center (!), many participants tweeted their personal stories about their great experiences using urgent care. The chat informed participants about this affordable and convenient healthcare option for immediate but non-life threatening medical events, and generated more than 25 million Timeline deliveries and reached more than 630,000 Twitter users! We were thrilled to be a part of such a successful Twitter chat – and to help patients across the country be more #UrgentCareAware!  

Friday, June 19, 2015

Favorite Finds

From big weather to an even bigger victory, LCWA’s Chicago office was in the center of the action this week. As we head into the weekend, check out my favorite finds below!
  • Wild Weather: Strong storms caused widespread flooding and prompted tornado warnings across the Chicago area Monday, making for a soggy commute for many LCWAers.
  • Rise to Glory: #WeGotTheCup! More than 2 million Blackhawks fans celebrated the Stanley Cup’s return to Chicago this week. captured some great moments from Thursday’s parade and rally downtown.
  • Fall from Grace: NBC officially removed Brian Williams as anchor of its nightly news following its investigation into false claims the star anchor made on air. While he heads to MSNBC to report on breaking news (at a lower salary), Lester Holt takes the reins of NBC Nightly News – becoming the first solo African American anchor of a weekday evening newscast.
  • “Like it” or Not: Social media users can enjoy Facebook content without necessarily “liking” it. To account for these interactions, Facebook is developing a new algorithm that considers how long a user lingers on a post before scrolling on as an indication of their enjoyment.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sleep Experts Agree: Adults NEED at Least Seven Hours of Sleep Per Night

Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle – just like diet and exercise – but often goes overlooked by most. Not getting enough healthy sleep can cause myriad common, serious health problems and can lead to early death. To increase the awareness and urgency for Americans to prioritize sleep, experts from client the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) joined a panel of their colleagues in sleep medicine – the first of its kind – to evaluate the evidence about how much sleep the average adult needs. Out of these meetings came the first official expert consensus on sleep duration: adults need at least 7 hours of healthy sleep for optimal health. Another interesting aspect of the consensus is that too much sleep is not a culprit in disease. After learning of the announcement, the TODAY Show featured two panel members from the AASM on its website, which reaches nearly 10 million people each month. Make sure you’re scheduling enough time to get the recommended amount of sleep, and see a sleep specialist if you are at risk for sleep problems.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In the Mix...Houzz this for a Sweepstakes?

In an effort to stay on top of emerging social media trends, the LCWA team recently coordinated a successful sweepstakes for Trex on the online design and d├ęcor community, Houzz. LCWA was able to help launch the Trex “Decked Out” Sweepstakes in a space where contests and giveaways are uncommon, and as a result, more than doubled the number of followers on Trex’s Houzz page.

Participants were asked to add selected images to their Ideabooks in order for a chance to win a piece of Trex Outdoor Furniture and were encouraged to share the sweepstakes with friends through multiple social platforms. The sweepstakes was heavily promoted across Trex’s other social media sites, such as Facebook and Pinterest, and ended up generating over 1,800 entries.

Monday, June 15, 2015

LCWA Garners Awards, Including a PCC “Best of the Best"

June has started off right at LCWA! We were honored to receive awards this month from prestigious local PR groups the Publicity Clubof Chicago (PCC), the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)Chicago and the International Association of Business Communicators(IABC) Chicago. We were very proud of all of our awards but one stands out among the rest: the PCC's Buell Patterson Technology Achievement Award for outstanding use of emerging technologies, including social media, in a communications program. The Technology Achievement Award is one of the five cumulative “best of the best" awards that the PCC bestows on the best work out of its Golden Trumpet award winners. 
We received the Technology Achievement Award for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine program, “Sleep Well, Be Well,” which is aimed at educating Americans about the extreme importance of sleep for overall health. In addition to national media results from CNN, the “Today Show,” USA Today and more, the program also featured many engaging Twitter chats, microsites and infographics, as well as an online pledge for patients vowing to “Stop the Snore" and seek treatment for sleep apnea. The AASM program also won an Award of Excellence at the PRSA Chicago ceremony.

The LCWA team for Electrolux also brought home awards for the “Choose Your Own Adventure" media event, which brought Electrolux, Eureka and Frigidaire Professional products to life for home and technology editors during a very engaging New York City press day. The creative and results-generating event won the PCC Silver Trumpet, PRSA Chicago Skyline Award and IABC Bronze Quill Award of Excellence.
Our Contigo team celebrated success when the “Best Refreshed" product launch took home both the PCC Silver Trumpet and IABC Bronze Quill Award of Excellence. This year-long campaign launched the newest version of the brand's best-selling travel mug, the West Loop, giving the product media exposure and word of mouth among bloggers, moms and urban commuters.

At LCWA, we measure success in many ways -- successful campaigns, sales increases and happy clients among them. But it's also very gratifying to receive the validation of our peers through these respected awards. Congrats to all of this year's winners!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Favorite Finds

This week showed even Nobel prize winners are capable of committing boneheaded PR mistakes, and it is also brought a slew of new
social news. Let’s get into it:
  • Big Timers: This week was PR awards season here in Chicago with both the Publicity Club of Chicago and PRSA Chicago annual awards. LCWA took home some sweet hardware. Check out the pictures on our Instagram account
  • The Non-Apology: A Nobel laureate made some unwise (and ignorant) comments in front of a room full of journalists, and then compounded that mistake by issuing a half-hearted written apology, saying “It was a very stupid thing to do in the presence of all those journalists.” PR Daily has a breakdown, or you could just watch this clip of Larry David in “Clear History.”
  • Breaking free of the DM character limit: Twitter announced, to the cheers of social media managers everywhere, that the company will remove the 140-character limit from its direct messages. Handling customer Twitter complaints just got much easier.
  • Pandora like 8 second videos: Instagram does 15 second video ads, and Vine does 6 second clips, but it sounds like Pandora is going to push its advertisers towards 8-seconds.
  • Reddit cracks down: Reddit, an Internet community known for having users who are very passionately anti-censorship, took some flack from those users after removing five subreddits for being offensive – the first time that has ever happened.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bringing Mohammed to the Mountain (a.k.a. Des Moines)

When you represent the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance composite decking, it can be difficult to showcase products to media. It’s not like we can easily ship out samples of finished decks. So, as the saying goes, we brought Mohammed – or Trex in this case – to the media mountain in the form of a dedicated product preview event hosted at Meredith Corporation’s headquarters in Des Moines – home to many of the country’s leading shelter and lifestyle publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, Country Home, Midwest Living and Traditional Home.

To elevate Trex as the ultimate outdoor living resource, we invited editors to join us for a fun and informative lunch-and-learn “picnic.” While our media guests enjoyed a catered lunch of picnic favorites, Adam Zambanini, senior vice president of marketing for Trex, shared the Trex story – from inventing the first composite deck boards to “engineering what’s next in outdoor living.

Editors were then invited to engage with Trex’s extensive portfolio of products and resources via a series of interactive displays. The mini-expo engaged editors and proved an ideal conversation starter for pitching and exploring future coverage opportunities.

Rather than using a “one-size-fits-all” press kit, we created customized packages for each of the attending editors. Contents included actual tear-sheets and screen shots from their respective print and digital publications customized with Trex images to show how the brand might fit into their content. Based on the feedback we received both on-site and since the event, editors were extremely impressed and appreciative of this thoughtful approach to our leave-behind materials.

The well-attended event attracted editors representing more than 20 top print and online properties. By bringing Mohammed to the mountain, we were able to reach more editors with a single visit and showcase Trex in an experiential and memorable way.

As far as results go, Trex effectively solidified relationships with known editors, established rapport with new editors, and laid the groundwork for future editorial coverage. Adam Zambanini was interviewed on-the-spot by the host of Living the Country Life radio, which reaches 1.9 million listeners. Additionally, as a direct outcome of this visit, Trex Outdoor Storage will be featured in an upcoming issue of Better Homes & Gardens Outdoor Spaces magazine. As we proactively follow up with all of the event attendees, we look forward to securing additional opportunities that move mountains for Trex.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Electrolux in America’s Most Read Newspaper

Recently, the LCWA home products PR team worked for months with a reporter at America’s highest circulation newspaper, The Wall Street Journal. But all of the effort, including an international conference call that included product designers in Sweden, a reporter in New York and staff, and our team, was worth it.  The article, on the best vacuum cleaners for every cleaning style, gave great exposure to the new Electrolux Ergorapido Lithium Ion vacuum cleaner.  Combined, the online article and publication in the weekend print edition reached almost seven million readers in the Electrolux audience – a great feat for the brand and for our team.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Favorite Finds

This week the Twitterverse offered lots of insight into who is on social media and how it’s affecting our behavior. Here are some of my favorite finds:
  • Streaming is Changing Cultural Consumption – Music-streaming services such as Pandora are getting users to check out other genres they may not otherwise have been exposed to. Spotify listeners, for example, are exposed to an average of one new artist each day. A recent New York Times article discusses how these services are blurring the boundaries between music genres. 
  • Chicago Cubs’ First-rate Fans – Beyond the baseball field, Chicago Cubs fans rank number one in cheering on their favorite team on Twitter and Instagram. 
  • The Social Numbers – A new report offers insight into how demographics effect social media habits. While we all know that younger generations dominate the digitalverse, you may be surprised at the number of Americans aged 55 and older using networks such as Facebook and Pinterest.
  • The Faces of Business Get Linked – The number of CEOs using social media (80 percent) has more than doubled since 2010 – and LinkedIn is their network of choice. Twenty-two percent of CEOs reported using LinkedIn, while none of them reported using Facebook.
  • Prepare Your Wallets, Shopaholics! – E-commerce gets another boost from social media. This week, Pinterest introduced “buyable pins,” which include a “Buy It” button next to the usual “Pin It” button, offering consumers less clicks to finalize their purchase. Now, more Pinterest users may actually complete all those DIY projects!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sun Joe Gives It Away on TODAY with Kathie Lee & Hoda

As summer unofficially kicked off with Memorial Day weekend, it was perfect timing for a lawn mower giveaway. The LCWA/Sun Joe PR team secured and coordinated a spot on the TODAY Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda “Give It Away” Sweepstakes to mark the beginning of warm temperatures. With 40 minutes of quiet run time and an instant start at the push of a button, the cordless Sun Joe iON Lawn Mower made a fabulous appearance on set, as both Kathie Lee and Hoda picked five viewers from more than 10,000 entries to receive the exciting lawn mower prize. It was a great day for Sun Joe with over 1.8 million viewers and five new Sun Joe iON Lawn Mower owners to advocate for the battery-powered technology!