Friday, October 30, 2015

Favorite Finds

October wrapped up with a festive Halloween week - from crowdsourced costume contests to music video parodies. Here are some stories that I found most interesting:
  • A Helping Hand for Halloween – Let's face it - there's nothing worse than meeting another person at a Halloween party with the exact same look. But never fear! Google is helping festive partygoers plan ahead this year after launching the Frightgeist - a crowdsourced statistics map of the most popular Halloween costumes by location. The tool has been a top trend all week, so expect some nice variation at your respective parties on Saturday! That being said...if you want to ditch that mummy outfit, you'd best get moving.
  • It's the Great Space Rock, Charlie Brown! – In more Halloween news, a giant asteroid (nearly 1,300 feet wide) will come zooming past the earth at 22 miles per second on the 31st. At 300,000 miles from Earth, it may be further away than the moon, but many people are rightfully wigging out. Happy Halloween, everyone!
  • Speaker Up! – In one of the biggest stories of the week, Rep. Paul Ryan was officially sworn in on Thursday as the 54th Speaker of the House after he got the votes of 236 House of Representatives members. The news comes alongside the rolling out of a new budget deal, which passed in the Senate on Friday morning and may make Ryan's job a bit easier.
  • Almighty Trees and Happy Accidents – In order to capitalize on the millions of Bob Ross fans across the globe, streaming platform Twitch began streaming all 403 episodes of the PBS cult hit at 5 p.m. on Thursday. That's over 200 hours, people. Make sure to tune in and watch magic hit the canvas.
  • Hotline Bling-ed – Even if you're not a fan of Drake, you've probably already seen some terrific parodies of his latest music video - Hotline Bling. My favorite? The Cosby Show.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

LCWA Goes to Yonkers

The LCWA team just coordinated another successful trip to Yonkers, N.Y., to connect clients with influential staffers at Consumer Reports magazine – our third such trip in the past two years. During these mutually-beneficial meetings, participants glean insights into each other’s testing practices, discuss the evolution of a specific categories and review the products and technologies that are driving the field forward today. This is a great relationship builder for clients and a practice that can also provide insight into our clients’ own product development and testing processes. Consumer Reports reaches 4 million readers per issue with trusted, independent product ratings and guides that help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Favorite Finds

This week LCWA made waves in media and Chicago PR circles, while blockbusters from 30+ years ago swept social media. Check out my favorites from the Twitterverse this week:
  • Big Screen Blasts from the Past Remember back in the early eighties when American culture went crazy for Yoda, Jedi knights, time-traveling cars and big haired girl rock bands? Oh wait, that was this week... It all started on Monday when the highly anticipated Star Wars #TheForceAwakens trailer released to the tune of 17,000 tweets per minute and 4.1 million views nearly overnight. Then we went #BacktotheFuture on Wednesday with major media outlets including “Today” and USA Today analyzing the movie’s predictions about our 2015 lifestyle (read here why it killed on social media). With all this buzz, it was easy to miss the crickets that welcomed the not-outrageous “Jem & the Holograms” remake. Tough week to be an 80’s remake flop.
  • Happy #HyrbidDay With all the pop-culture observances this week, we decided to throw our own into the mix. If you missed our team’s creative and crazy social blitz for the launch of client Snow Joe’s new hybrid gas and electric snow thrower, check out content highlights with Snow Bro here.
  • Selfies of the Future – 2016 could be the year selfies get a practical purpose. Mastercard is currently running a pilot program for “Selfie Pay” technology that would allow customers to authorize transactions using photos of themselves instead of passwords.
  • Duck Tails for Tots – Parents of young children this week may have noticed the PR push from Cartoonist Brian Gordon for his Fowl Language comics. Sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed posted rounds ups of his best depictions of life with young ducklings and, let’s be honest, it got real very fast for those of us with three year olds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Reflections on My Teenage Years

I recently celebrated a special work anniversary: 13 years with LCWA. As I enter my “teenage years,” I think about how PR has changed just since I’ve been working. We used to build media lists using the Bacon’s books, collected and sorted hard-copy press clippings, and faxed press releases. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter – not to mention Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram and even the iPhone – did not exist when I started my career. All industries evolve and adapt to contemporary ways of conducting business, but the changes have seemed particularly major in ours. We have conceived new program ideas, broadened our outreach to include bloggers, YouTubers and Instagram influencers. And throughout, I have been challenged to learn, grow, adapt and ultimately deliver results to a variety of clients in countless business disciplines and sectors.

Few workplaces could give a person the growth and learning opportunities that I have enjoyed. Nor could many put me in front of top-tier business media, the latest generation of YouTube influencers and legislative aides to local and state lawmakers within the span of an hour.  LCWA does. My “childhood” has been rich and fulfilling. Bring on the teenage years! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Favorite Finds

Politics and sports have kept us all on our toes this week! Below is a round-up of some of the most interesting stories of the week - including a few that don't relate to Presidential debates, or the Cubs:
  • #DemDebate - This year's first Democratic Presidential Debate was held this week, and of course it was a hot topic on social media. With live tweeting from the Donald, massive boosts in followings for Bernie Sanders and a hot Instagram pic from Hillary, the debate was clearly on people's minds.
  • YouTube Star - Speaking of Hillary, according to a recent report, she leads the pack of candidates (in both parties) in views of videos on YouTube.
  • Girl Power - The powerful essay from superstar Jennifer Lawrence - who weighed in on gender double-standards in Hollywood - hit a nerve, and got people talking.
  • For the Love of Gum - A romantic video from Extra Gum went viral because of its unexpected sweet story.
  • Change is in the Air - From more videos on Facebook to updates to place pins on Pinterest, our favorite social channels keep us on our toes - even as young people may be changing how they use social.
  • ...Last but not Least - Chicago is abuzz after the Cubs' NLDS victory - and so is social media. Here are some of the best reactions to this week's historic wins.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

InMovement Gets a “Standing” Ovation

How much of the day do we spend sitting at work? That’s the question being posed by our client InMovement, and the answer isn’t pretty. In fact, Americans are sedentary for at least 21 hours a day.

As a PR firm with experience in promoting health initiatives, we recently began work with InMovement to help spread the word on a healthier work lifestyle, and to help launch their brand new line of standing desks – more specifically, standing desktops, which are able to be integrated with an existing office setup.  After sharing the message of a non-sedentary working environment and the benefits of standing desks, featured the new products and brought the message to more than 2 million readers!

We look forward to seeing more people get on their feet in the coming weeks!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Double the Fun with a “Two-Screen Sweepstakes”

Our client Snow Joe + Sun Joe regularly appears on day-long QVC segments to sling super-hot deals on their high-quality, innovative, and affordable outdoor tools. This presents the perfect opportunity to promote these “Snow + Sun Joe Days” with our highly-engaged Facebook fan base. Giving away products on Facebook at the exact same time that fans can watch the products live on TV – a two-screen sweepstakes – is an excellent way to rev up fan enthusiasm and gain new fans for weeks to come. Here are some tips on pulling it off.
  • Be a tease: Give your fans just enough information in the days leading up to the TV event. You want them to have a basic idea about what’s to come, but also want them to be checking back regularly for more details.
  • Make a splash: The goal is to create a fun day. Fans should know exactly when and where they can see your client on TV, what they can win on Facebook and why they should make sure to stay “glued to both screens.” Make sure you have custom graphics, theme and hashtag ready to go. Encourage fans to share and interact for further reach.
  • Double the pleasure: Whenever your client is on TV, you need to be active on social media. Remind the fans that your client is back on both screens and that they should both watch (for the great deal) and enter to win. Consider running multiple individual sweepstakes that only last as long as the segment will be on TV – this concentrated push yields intense fan interaction.
  • Do it live: Give your fans a total experience. Take screenshots of the TV segment, post quotes and screenshots from the segment as they are happening, ask for feedback and comments about what is being seen on TV, and reiterate the main messages and product benefits as they are presented. This gives the fans a feeling that they are special to you and that you appreciate them (which you do, right?).
Most importantly, have fun, engage constantly and be loose! Being on TV is a large commitment, and your “two-screen sweepstakes” social media plan should be epic and thorough.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Favorite Finds

 It was a great week in Chicago! Here were my favorite trending topics:
  • #FlyTheW: There was huge build-up for the Cubbies’ convincing victory over the Bucs in the Wild Card Game – plus a cool hashtag emoji. Meet me in St. Louis.
  • Holy PR: The #CoolPope’s historic visit to the states led to a nice PR boost for the Catholic Church.
  • How About Them Cowboys: Domestic violence idiot Greg Hardy returned to the Cowboys after serving a suspension and immediately said some dumb things without even apologizing or showing remorse.
  • Book Club: Check out these five fall reads for PR pros.
  •  Grab Some Bench: Uber-confident and historically-great Cubs ace Jake Arrieta shut Pirates' fans down on Twitter leading up to the Wild Card Game, then backed up the smack talk with a complete game shutout. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

In the Mix…AASM Snaps with Millennials

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) often is a resource on the topic of sleep for top media outlets across the country. We recently worked with on a story about pulling all-nighters (which is not recommended by the AASM, for the record!). The story appeared as part of a back-to-school special report on CNN’s Snapchat Discover channel, a Snapchat news resource that was launched earlier this year.The story was live for two days, which is consistent with the platform’s fast-moving nature, and reached more than one million people. It was a great way to get out our AASM messages out to younger audiences and educate them on the importance of sleep!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Favorite Finds

What a week! Despite the seemingly non-stop coverage of the Supermoon Eclipse, the Pope’s U.S. visit, and the tracking of Hurricane Joaquin, there were a few other stories and events that made headlines this week. Here are a couple that caught our attention:

  • Another Facebook Hoax: Don’t believe the latest wave of status updates. By copying and pasting a short post in legalese about your privacy settings on Facebook, it turns out you will not, in fact, make the photos and videos you’ve posted more private.
  • Polo Power Play: Fashion icon Ralph Lauren announced this week that he will be stepping down as CEO of his company, handing the executive reins over to Stefan Larsson, who was previously the global president of Old Navy.
  •  Trump vs. Fox: The ongoing tiff between GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and Fox News escalated this week with a series of on-again, off-again interview confirmations and cancellations that rivaled a Hollywood romance. Time will tell if they kiss and make up.
  • Quenching A Social Media Thirst: The University of Florida spent the week toasting the golden anniversary of Gatorade, with its observance spilling over into the social media world. Here are just a few samplings, with more to come in the run-up to tomorrow night’s Florida-Ole Miss game at The Swamp.
  • Successful Separation: shared some heartwarming images of previously conjoined twins Maria Clara Oliveira Santana and Maria Eduarda Oliveira Santana who were successfully separated in Brazil earlier this month. Something sweet to end the week!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

In the Mix…Buzzing for Gel Bee

At LCWA we like our clients to “bee” the center of attention, and last month we helped our client Gel Bee do just that. Through Pinterest content curation, a Pinterest sweepstakes and promoted posts we helped Gel Bee increase its brand awareness and gain new followers.

The Gel Bee team seeded gel pens and collected user-generated content (UGC) throughout the summer to post on the brand’s new Pinterest page. The result is a personal peek into the possibilities with the pens.
In addition to creating and cultivating content, the LCWA team conducted a Pinterest promotion. The Gel Bee “Bee Colorful” Sweepstakes proved to be a great way to launch Gel Bee in the social arena while building awareness for the brand among qualified and engaged consumers. During the four week promotion, with a mix of organic and promotional pins, we increased Pinterest followers by 23 times, generated more than 100,000 direct impressions and stimulated social sharing. 

Also, to continue inspiring new content, we sent each winner a “Gel Bee Colorful” Coloring Book and encouraged them to color a page with their new Gel Bee pens and send it back to us for posting.

We look forward to more buzzworthy activity in the coming weeks!