Friday, December 23, 2016

Favorite Finds

This week on Twitter, the social media behemoth, Facebook, made headlines and hashtags nearly every day. Here are my favorite #Facebook finds:
  •  Radio Rises Again – Social media won’t kill the radio star. Facebook plans to introduce live broadcast streams in 2017. Once fully launched, any user can set up their own radio station on the platform, with access to a potential audience of 1.75 billion people.
  •  The Fake News Fix – The German government doesn’t think Facebook’s anti-fake news tools are enough. Amid fears that viral fake news stories could affect the country’s 2017 national elections, the government is planning a bill that will fine Facebook 500,000 euros ($522,000) per fake news post!
  •  Social Celebs – According to Vanity Fair, 2016 was the year that social media replaced celebrity public relations. In today’s cultural landscape, social platforms have become more valuable than tabloids and television. But, the author warns, not having a PR pro can be dangerous territory – causing celebs to lose control of a situation, which can outweigh what they gained in authenticity.
  •  Zuckerberg’s Acting Debut – Having revealed how he built his AI assistant, dubbed “Jarvis,” Mark Zuckerberg has now shared a video showcasing the virtual assistant in action. While Zuckerberg won’t be winning any Oscars, the video is pretty funny – and features Morgan Freeman as Jarvis!
  •  Facebook Live Tools – In accordance with the biggest social media trend in 2016, Facebook has released a set of new features to help manage its live video streaming. Venture Beat shares how celebrities and social media teams can better collaborate, edit and manage Facebook Live shares.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Favorite Finds

It is too cold to even move this weekend in Chicago, so here is some news to warm your mind, body, and spirit.
  • PR professionals know how important accurate reporting is for their clients. This past week, Facebook admitted that it has not been helping with that effort. In September, Facebook released that there was a miscalculation in the average viewing time for video ads the past two years, inflating those numbers greatly. In November, they admitted to a bug in their page insights reach numbers. Now there are errors with estimated reach numbers. Find more information on the bugs and what Facebook is doing to fix them.
  • Google Chrome released a web extension last week that may help find common ground in a highly divided America. The extension replaces all photos of Donald Trump in your browser with pictures of kittens. It seems like something many of us could use right about meow. 
  • As a part of his effort to support military families, self-titled “Rock the Troops”, Dwayne The Rock Johnson appeared on the Tonight Show late last week to coordinate a surprise for one of the show’s producers—reuniting her with her husband who had been deployed in the US Air Force. 
  • Finally, in some more festive news, today is National Christmas Jumper Day – a cause to support the organization Save the Children, as well as an excuse to wear you best/ugliest Christmas sweater.

Bundle up in that Christmas sweater and have a warm weekend!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Favorite Finds

Winter has finally reared its head here in Chicago, and as we put on our woolies, here are a few of my favorite finds that can keep at least your Internet browser warm:
  • Social Spending Fever – Advertising agency Zenith has predicted that by 2020, the amount of advertising spent on social media ad revenue will hit $50 billion, and account for 20 percent of internet revenue.
  • Instagram Updates – After Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have taken stronger
    stances on dangerous content,
    Instagram rolled out a hate speech update that allows users to remove comments completely and remove followers from private accounts.
  • Google Goes Emoji – Google is finally embracing emojis. Individuals can now tweet an emoji at the @Google handle, and receive nearby locations and searches relevant to the emoji you used.
  • Pokémon Frappe – Pokémon Go and Starbucks announced a partnership this week. Starbucks will be debuting a Pokémon Go Frappuccino – a frozen raspberry and blackberry-flavored frappe. The drink, which will be available for a limited time, will be featured only at store locations listed as PokéStops and Gyms.
  • Skimm Strategy – One of the most popular daily email newsletters, theSkimm, an off-beat wry approach that reaches millions every day. With headlines such as “What to Say to Your Friend Who Wants to Go Skydiving for Her Birthday,” it provides ample lessons for public relations and communications. Check them out from PR Daily here

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Trex Takes on the Big Apple

LCWA and client Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative composite decking, recently took the Big Apple by storm to meet with top-tier shelter, design and lifestyle magazines. During a whirlwind two-day media tour in New York City, we met with editors and staff writers from 14 different publications.

An annual initiative designed to keep Trex top-of-mind with editorial influencers, these meetings provided the opportunity for us to reinforce the company’s position as the ultimate outdoor living resource by showcasing its extensive portfolio of Trex products and user-friendly online resources. We also were able to brainstorm story ideas with editors on the spot and discuss how Trex could fit into outdoor living coverage planned for 2017 and beyond.


So, come next spring and summer, don’t be surprised if you run across Trex as you’re flipping through the pages of your favorite magazine!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Favorite Finds

This past week kicked of the busy holiday shopping season and the Internet was abuzz with deals and steals. Here are my favorite finds from this week:
  • Shopping on the Sly – A survey of North American workers by staffing firm Robert Half Technology revealed that nearly half of employees (49%) shop at work on Cyber Monday but most (65%) try to hide it from their bosses.
  • Crowning Achievements – Whether you're just beginning your career or are a seasoned professional in need of a pep talk, here are some lessons inspired from “The Crown” Netflix series on how to be more confident at work
  • Perfecting Pitching – PR pros should consider these tips for successfully pitching reporters courtesy of Micah Warren, co-founder of Large Media. Among the tips, be authentic, think like a journalist and respect a journalist’s time.
  • Writing Wisdom A recent infographic from GrammarCheck.net highlights five of the most common bad writing habits and how to avoid them.
  • Holiday Sales Surge –The 2016 International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Thanksgiving/Black Friday Shopping Report shows that three quarters of Americans spent the same or more this year – a positive indicator for the holiday shopping season. And U.S. online sales gained momentum on Cyber Monday – surpassing initial expectations by hitting a record $3.39 billion as consumers snapped up deals on the busiest day of the year for Internet shopping.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Favorite Finds

It was a short week but one full of interesting reads. 

  • The Fake News Battle is On. Remember when The Onion and "Daily Show" were the only "fake news" outlets around? There has been a rise of fake news publications. Both Facebook and Google announced policies to restrict those outlets on their networks. 
  • Black Friday Madness. The holiday shopping season starts in earnest on Friday (or tomorrow, depending on who you ask.) While there are many bargains to be had - Patagonia is taking a different route to get attention. the company has pledged 100% of its Black Friday sales to environmental groups. So you can shop well and do good at the same time!
  • Showing Thanks. As we get ready to feast on Thanksgiving, this article ponders using thank you notes to enhance your communications career. 
  • Celebrating with Friends. How will you celebrate Turkey Day? Fabulous feast or quiet day at home? Family and football? Or fun run to start the day? If you find yourself in need of entertainment, this ranking of Friends Thanksgiving episodes will guide your holiday-themed Netflix pursuit. For me, Monica with a turkey on her head wins every time. 
As we head into Thanksgiving, we at LCWA are giving thanks for our great team, wonderful clients and the exciting projects we get to work on every day! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Keeping Outdoor Living “Hot” with Fall and Winter Trade Shows

As temperatures cool, the days of summer fun and enjoying outdoor living may be a fading memory for many – but not for attendees and exhibitors at the recent Remodeling Show and DeckExpo, held in Baltimore, Md., last month. This annual convention provides building and remodeling professionals with a look at what’s ahead for the coming spring, which is why LCWA helped client Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative composite decking, showcase its complete portfolio of outdoor living products – from decking and railing to substructure and spotlights – at this year’s show.

On behalf of Trex, LCWA coordinated a record number of media appointments with editors from high-profile industry trade outlets, sharing insights on the latest outdoor living trends and reinforcing 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 them all – the International Builders’ Show. And, with winter setting in here in Chicago, we’re looking forward to a January visit to Orlando!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Favorite Finds

In an effort to forget the recent election, the social world was busy staring at the moon, holding some serious poses and laughing at the lame ducks. Here are some random
goodies I found for you to gobble up before the holiday food flood:

  • Um who died? Last Friday afternoon, Facebook decided to kill many living users. These poor victims were temporarily memorialized on the social network, causing confusion for some and laughter for others.
  • Shake what your mama gave ya! A Golden State Warriors fan has found a way to decompress after the stressful election, and is now my hero.
  • Everybody freeze! The #MannequinChallenge is taking social media by storm. From celebs to athletes to major brands, everyone seems to be striking an awkward pose. Even LCWA!
  • And the winner is….Twitter! The social network announced the recipients of the first #TwitterAwards last week and is replaying the results for those unable to watch the event. The awards highlighted Twitter practices to boost marketing campaigns. Here are some other tips and insights on how to optimize your 140 characters.
  • World Diabetes Day: Monday was World Diabetes Day, designed to raise awareness of the disease, prevention, health tips and the latest research from across the globe. The #WorldDiabetesDay hashtag spurred individuals and organizations worldwide to share their stories, support and health information with others throughout the day!
  • It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s SUPERMOON! On Sunday and Monday night, the Supermoon appeared, providing a massive display of bold beauty above the clouds for all to enjoy. If you missed it, here are some amazing photos! And if giant moon pics aren’t doing it for ya, here is an image of Saturn that is out of this world! (dad joke, you’re welcome). Are you a client whisperer? Muck Rack decided to breakdown a typical PR team into 6 distinct personalities – including the “brainstormer” and the “wildcard.” Take a look and find out which one you are, or if you are a combination of more than one. 
  • Food for thought… Trending this week was #2016WasTheYearThatIFinally hoping to inspire people to reflect on the past year and pinpoint some specific achievements. As we approach the holidays, maybe take a break between delicious dishes to think about what you accomplished this year. You know, like this deep thought.
  • The Future of PR looks like… After you are done reminiscing on the year past, check out what some experts believe will be the future evolution of public relations.
  • Farewell to BROTUS! The election is over, a winner has been named. No matter which way you voted for, you will likely be missing the delightful bromance we saw blossom between Obama and Biden. Let the farewell memes commence!
  • Okay, one quick Cubs video… Sorry, I can’t help it! Here are the Cubs on Weekend Update singing Go Cubs Go!
Happy Friday! Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Boise Paper Demonstrates Teacher Appreciation

To celebrate the start of the school year and thank teachers for their dedication to students throughout the country, LCWA helped client Boise Paper develop a month-long, digital campaign that would thank teachers across America for their role in educating children.

The campaign consisted of three key components – a social media program, blogger partnerships and a sweepstakes. The month-long social media campaign consisted of engaging Facebook and Twitter posts that featured statistics on the benefits of paper in education. During the same time, we partnered with eight bloggers to discuss back-to-school shopping and the importance of quality paper, such as Boise POLARIS® Premium Multipurpose paper, when it comes to learning.

Finally, in order to help our social media fans thank their favorite teacher, we hosted a sweepstakes where entrants were asked to share who their favorite teacher was to be entered for the chance to win an Office Depot gift card for their back-to-school shopping and two cases of premium paper for their favorite teacher.

Overall the program successfully generated more than 1 million impressions and showed teachers across the country that Boise Paper appreciates all they do for students. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Favorite Finds

Wow! What a newsworthy and history making week for America, and if for some bizarre reason you hadn’t heard yet…
  • The results are in – No matter what whirlwind of emotions you’re feeling about the election results, the coverage of this year’s election had America on the edge of their seats. After a long night of results coming in and states being “too close to call”, Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th President of The United States. Winning 279 of the electoral votes, he was declared the winner during the very early hours of Wednesday morning.
  • In through your nose, out through your mouth – Still trying to calm down and understand what just happened? A new study was just released on the benefits of controlled breathing. Whether aiding in things like stress relief or depression, to energizing types of breath to help get you through the afternoon slump, mindful breathing tells the brain that everything is going to be OK!
  • Laugh it off – They say laughter is the best medicine and Saturday Night Live (SNL) is always there to provide some comic relief! This week, the World Series Champs along with Cubs superfan, Bill Murray, made an appearance on the late-night show’s Weekend Update to perform a rendition of “Go Cubs, Go.” Then on Monday, NBC showed a special compilation episode of SNL’s best skits from this election cycle. The special included skits mocking everything from the debates to the individual candidates, and included favorite guests like Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Larry David as Bernie Sanders.
  • Rethink that social media hiatus – The success of the Instagram Story has taken the social media landscape by storm. While many initially thought it was too similar to Snapchat, Instagram is a platform that generally allows more engagement between users, consumers and brands. Instagram just announced that users will now able to incorporate additional, new elements in their stories including: mentions, links, one finger zoom and incorporating its video app, Boomerang. 
  • But if you still want to flee the country – Your hopes of potentially marrying Prince Harry may have just been crushed, as Harry, 32, is officially, publicly dating actress Meghan Markle. On Tuesday morning, Kensington Palace released an official statement saying, “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.”

Friday, November 4, 2016

Favorite Finds

This week saw the greatest thing to ever happen to the city of Chicago – a Cubs World Series Championship. But we’re also in for another whirlw
ind week as the 2016 election nears and the media landscape continues to shift. Here, then, are my favorite finds of the week.
  •  The goat is dead – Fans celebrated across the world last night as the Cubs broke their 108-year losing streak to beat the Indians and take the World Series. What can I say about the Cubs win that you don’t already know? How about that a Chicago bar hosted the real MVPs of the game, or that Bill Murray said Mayor Emmanuel should cancel school for the rest of the week so kids can celebrate. There’s also this really cool scorecard that you can download and frame to help commemorate the event. Yay Cubs! Yay Chicago!
  • Newspapers feel the squeeze – again – This week brought even more dire news for newspapers. On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that print ad dollars were down 19 percent from last year, and Gannett, McClatchy and Tronc also reported dismal ad revenue as businesses move their dollars to Facebook and Google. What’s more, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian and Gannett are once again cutting staff. This led Poynter to ask how these cuts will impact the fate of investigative reporters – and what that ultimately means for citizens.
  • Not so fast, Santa – Esquire kicked off this year’s War on Christmas coverage by dissecting Starbucks’ newest holiday-themed cup, which depicts a number of hand-drawn individuals on a green cup with a white circle. Launched on Tuesday, the cup has already drawn criticism for not featuring the word “Jesus” or the color red. No word yet on what Esquire’s next target will be. 
  • Springsteen from your couch – Soon you will be able to enjoy your favorite concerts without the hassle of lengthy security lines, eardrum-shattering sound systems, and drunk concert-goers ruining the best part of your favorite song. At least that’s what Boiler Room is hoping. Last week the music company announced its partnership with VR hub Inception to build a virtual reality music venue, which they say is the world’s first. The collaboration, which underscores the growing movement toward VR events and communities, is set to launch next year, when viewers will be able to watch special music events with their VR headsets at home.
  • Election woes – As if we haven’t endured enough anxiety during this election cycle, The New York Times reported this week on five possible hacks to worry about before election day. Among their list: hackers interfering with voter registration rolls, which could lead to long lines and accusations of poll “rigging,” and an attack on internet connections that could disrupt voters’ ability to find their polling place on election day. My advice? Make sure you know where your polling place is ahead of Tuesday, research your ballot before heading to the polls, and keep a close eye (pun intended) on this blind kitten’s predictions.



Friday, October 28, 2016

Favorite Finds

Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs…

Oh. I’m sorry. My bad. I was just reminded I’m supposed to recap this week’s Favorite Finds. You know. To demonstrate how LCWA is constantly on top of what’s hot. What’s trending.
 
So here goes:

Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs…

What? Oh. Yeah. I’m back.

Apparently Twitter shut down the 6-second video app Vine yesterday.  I guess that means we’ll all have to look to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for fun, short videos about the Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs…

Oops.  Sorry.  I got distracted there for a second. Where was I? 

Right. Video. Well, here’s this week’s #1 top trender. It shows a bunch of mean, burly baseball players teasing their teammate about an old video that surfaced showing his pitch perfect dance moves in high school choir.  Isn’t it ASCHWARBABLE!?

Separately, World Series weekend is certainly no time to binge on podcasts. But on the off chance you’re not enduring Joe Buck’s play by play - or enjoying Pat’s and Ron’s - I suppose this list of top ranked podcasts might be of some interest. To somebody. Somewhere.

Unless of course you’re a “Superfan.” Or a “Collector.” Or a “Partier.”  No, that’s not a list of the types of people you’ll find at Wrigley Field (yes it is.) Rather, those are just three of the 15 types of people you’ll find at a business conference.

See? I’m keepin’ it all business here.

Speaking of which, lcWa (get it?) placed a friendly wager with Stevens Strategic, our PRGN (Public Relations Global Network) partner in Cleveland. When the Cubs win, we get Cleveland’s signature Malley’s Chocolates.  If the Indians win, we’ve agreed to ship them Chicago-style Lou Malnati’s pizza.

Fair warning Mr. Stevens – lcWa likes our chocolate. When placing your order, I’d say an
108-count box should just do the trick.

Have a great weekend and GO CUBS!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Favorite Finds

Another fast-paced week of internet news and reactions. Here are some of my favorites. 
  • Not TODAY– Blow back from the released audio from the Access Hollywood RV in 2005 cost Billy Bush his job. Soon after the tape was released, NBC put Bush, currently a host of TODAY’s 9 a.m. hour, on suspension. However, on Monday, NBC made it official by releasing Bush completely from his post at TODAY. Bush has released a statement saying “I am deeply grateful for the conversations I've had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends and colleagues. I look forward to what lies ahead."
  • We can all use a bear hug – The beloved black bear who became internet-famous by walking on his hind legs, has been killed. Pedals, hailing from New Jersey, was confirmed dead on Monday by the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection, and since then, America has gone into mourning. Since 2014, an American Black Bear named Pedals has been seen roaming through suburban New Jersey – on his hind legs no less – all caught on camera. Fans smitten with the adorable Pedals have even started a Facebook page to mourn his death. Head there to add your dearest sympathies.
  • So long Snoopy – Major insurance company, MetLife, has decided to part ways with its longtime branding partner of over three decades, Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. Snoopy and the Peanuts gang was first brought on to MetLife 30 years ago to make insurance more “approachable” and “friendly,” two things rarely associated with “boring” insurance companies. “Snoopy helped drive our business and served an important role at the time,” said CMO, Ester Lee. Now, the insurance giant is taking a new branding approach, with bright blue and green colors coming together to create the M in MetLife. This branding effort will be rolled out throughout 2017. Only time will tell if blue and green can measure up to Snoopy and the Peanuts gang.
  • Mr. Oscar – Yes, it’s that time of year already! Time to start gearing up for some great movies worthy of Oscar attention. Save some room for extra popcorn because this season is looking up to be pretty great! The list included La La Land, starring adorable on-screen couple Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Silence, directed by Martin Scorsese starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Adam Driver, Jackie, about America’s beloved Jackie-O starring Natalie Portman, and so many more! Is it awards season yet?
  • The final debate – The last presidential candidate debate took place on Wednesday night. Here’s everything you need to know. The one big takeaway from the debate is that no matter which side you stand for, it’s important to go vote! Don’t forget to head to the polls on November 8.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Favorite Finds

With temperatures in the 50s and 60s this week, sweater-weather is officially here in Chicago – but sweater-mania has hit the internet. Cozy up to this week’s Favorite Finds…
 

  • Bone-afied Star – Whether you’re a Trump or Clinton supporter, the undisputed victor of this week’s presidential debate was undecided voter Ken Bone, whose bright red sweater, huggable demeanor and disposable camera secured him instant viral status. @BuzzFeed captured some of our favorite tweets on the man, the myth and the legend. With Halloween around the corner, it’s no surprise that his now famous frock is reportedly sold out.
  • Fall Fashion Cat-ure – One of the tiniest survivors of Hurricane Matthew is also one of the most stylish. This newborn kitten was rescued from the torrential downpour and taken to a Raleigh, N.C. PetSmart, where employees fashioned a sweater for her out of a tube sock. A shopper’s tweet captured the adorable images, which have received 128,000 likes and 72,000 retweets, as well as coverage by @ABC News and @HuffingtonPost. Best of all, the tiny kitten has already been adopted.
  • Fly the W – In non-sweater related news, our hometown @Cubs staged their greatest postseason comeback in 106 years Tuesday night, knocking out the San Francisco Giants and winning the National League Division Series. @Chicagoist captured some great images of the celebration.
  • Keep Calm And… – Plagued with issues since first launching in August, Samsung's Note 7 is officially recalled by the company yet again, but the complete damage caused to the brand is yet to be determined. @PRWeekUS examines the five things the company must do to salvage its reputation, while @PRDaily offers these tips for navigating a crisis.
 Have a great weekend!
 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Favorite Finds

This week has had its fill of news! From Paris jewelry theft and the Google Pixel announcement to the vice presidential debate and the onslaught of Hurricane Matthew, social media gurus have been busy. I tried to weed through to find some useful communications tips among the latest breaking news updates:
  • This blog post gives some thoughtful advice on leveraging the growing presence of Snapchat. The statistics on this booming user base are pretty compelling, too!
  • PR Newswire tweeted a link to this article about earned media and its importance in a content marketing strategy. This is a particularly good read for PR novices, who will nod their heads as they read this.
  • Have you ever struggled with starting a script for a presentation? PR Daily offered up some useful ways to make a better impact and advice on what not to do.
  • Human brains “process images 60,000 times faster than text”! Read about some visuals that help attract social shares, courtesy of jeffbullas.com.


 Have a safe weekend! 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Favorite Finds

The new fall wind blew in news from entertainment to politics and more this past week! Check out some of our favorite finds:
  • Social media continues to create new opportunities to share your point-of-view… now more literally than ever. Snapchat, now under the umbrella of Snap Inc., unveiled their first ever hardware product last week—Snapchat Spectacles. Made to look more like regular sunglasses (in comparison to the futuristic look of the Google Glass), this new supplement to the app records video through a 115-degree-angle lens located next to the lenses of the glasses themselves that more closely matches the eyes' natural field of vision. Wearable technology continues to get more user-friendly every day.
  • Everybody loves the show Friends, and that includes the cast. Last week stars Courtney Cox (Monica) and Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) appeared on the show Celebrity Name Game, on which Cox is a producer, and played a game of Friends trivia. They did not disappoint.
  • After directing Disney’s most recent live-action reboot involving talking animals (The Jungle Book), Jon Favreau hasn’t had enough. On Wednesday, Disney announced a live action reboot of The Lion King with Favreau at the helm. Fans everywhere are “roaring” with excitement.
  • Did you catch the catch the first presidential debate on Monday? Seems like not everything that was said was 100% true (shocking, huh?). Check out this article with an annotated transcript of the debate that will keep both sides of the aisle honest.
  • Do you think the whole debate seems like it might be a joke? Well the internet is making it one. Here are the best memes from the debate from all over the World Wide Web.
  • Thursday was National Coffee Day, but it seems that our international friends may have been celebrating a little more than we were. While 3.1 kg of coffee per capita is consumed in America, that only puts us as the 25th highest coffee drinkers. Finland, the #1 spot, drinks over three times as much coffee with 9.9 kg of coffee per capita per year! Check out some more coffee facts next time you pick up a cup!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Favorite Finds

It was another big week of news and trending topics! Some of my favorite stories of the week are below.
  • It’s over!Brangelina, one of Hollywood’s most talked-about and high-profile celebrity couples, is calling it quits. The story broke after Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from husband of two years, Brad Pitt, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Although the marriage only lasted two years, Jolie and Pitt have been romantically linked since 2005, when the couple’s film, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, debuted. Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston at the time, but soon after Pitt and Aniston divorced, Brangelina started soaking up the spotlight. New reports have begun to surface stating that an investigation is underway looking into child abuse claims against Pitt.
  • Humanity knows no age – A six-year-old boy, Alex of New York state, wrote a handwritten letter to President Barak Obama, asking him to please bring Omran Daqneesh, a young Syrian boy who is well-known for his viral photo, to the US to live with him and be his brother. President Obama was so touched by Alex’s letter of genuine, heartfelt emotion and care that he shared the letter at the Leaders Summit on Refugees.
  • Fall is officially back – With the official first day of Fall comes the release of many new TV seasons and series. This week, to name a few, Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Law & Order: SVU, The Voice and many more are back and better than ever. Also making headlines are some new series sure to get you hooked on the small-screen. Designated Survivor, Speechless and This Is Us are some of the big networks new shows – hoping to make it past the first season.
  • Not-so-happy hacking – Yahoo, the website you might have an old email address with, second in line to Google and multi-media platform, announced on Thursday that a hacker – possibly working for a foreign government – stole as many as 500 million users account information in 2014. This hack includes email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, passwords and other security information. Yahoo has since updated its security FAQ page to include response tactics and a security email to affected users. So, if you haven’t gotten a READ ME NOW email, you are probably in the clear, but it wouldn’t hurt to change that three-year old password anyway.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

MAVEA Takes TV by Storm

As a leader of innovative and stylish water filtration products, our client MAVEA recently launched industry-first water filtration technology to the United States and Canada. The brand-new MicroDisc filter is smaller than a drink coaster and filters 50% more than leading water filtration brands.

To launch the MicroDisc – which fits into the pitcher, carafe and water bottle interchangeably – LCWA established a strong presence throughout traditional media, social media and online influencers. LCWA coordinated a Satellite Media Tour (SMT) with lifestyle expert, Terra Wellington to help spread the word about the MicroDisc on television and radio.

LCWA leveraged the timing of back-to-school in association with the MAVEA MicroDisc water bottles, positioning it as the perfect item for on-the-go hydration for kids of all ages. The segments walked through each unique and important feature of the MAVEA MicroDisc products – showing what sets it apart from the competition. We garnered more than 11 million impressions to date, both through digital and broadcast outlets in markets such as Charleston, Columbus, Roanoke and Ft. Myers.

Check out the clip from Fox 4 News Now below to discover more about the MAVEA MicroDisc system and its benefit to a healthy lifestyle. http://www.fox4now.com/the-morning-blend/back-to-school-nutrition-72916

Favorite Finds

With fall just around the corner, this week was full of companies rolling out new products and updates. Here are some of my favorite finds from around the web this week. 
  • On the heels of Apple’s new product announcement, The Fruit’s newest operating system rolled out this week, to both praise and criticism alike. The update revealed a slew of new features, including the ability to delete default apps, send reactions and effects with text messages and updated emojis. 
  • The newest crop of words have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, and it’s evident that this update was heavily influenced by a younger generation. Words such as YOLO and yogalates are now officially part of the English language. 
  • It’s amazing what people can do when they come together for a good cause – including helping Nelly pay off his debt. After it was revealed that the rapper owes the IRS a large amount of money, a superfan discovered that if Spotify users stream his most popular hits more than 287 million times, the celeb can collect the money he needs. Thousands of fans have since committed to silently play his music overnight.
  • Earlier this year Twitter announced that they would be rolling out an update where links, photos, videos and handles are no longer included in the platform’s 140 character limit. This week they announced that the new changes will go into effect beginning on September 19. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Favorite Finds

Fall has unofficially started with the passing of Labor Day and the beginning of school for many – including Chicago students. However, the humidity and 90+ degree days that have been hitting Chicagoland seem to be feeling the summer fever. Despite the swelter, here are my favorite finds:
  • Death to the jack: Apple’s fall event did not disappoint, and was full of luster with new products and software – including the new iPhone 7 – which, to the disappointment of many (and celebrated by some), will do away with the headphone jack. Instead, Apple will be including an adapter for older headphones, and has launched new wireless earbuds, AirPods, which have been mocked on Twitter – don’t forget the reaction to the Apple Pencil.
  • No more newspaper? This week, the Newspaper Association of America, a trade group that has represented major newspapers since 1887, dropped the word that defined it: newspaper. The group will now be known as the News Media Alliance. As the media world continues to change, the news arena continues to evolve to keep up.
  • #Zoom in: Instagram has launched a new feature – now individuals have the ability to zoom in on photos and videos by pinching the screen. Check out how some brands are already utilizing this to up their ‘gram game.
  • Are you an upstander? This week, Starbucks unveiled its first content series, “Upstanders,” which is available via written stories, videos and podcasts. The series is designed to highlight 10 positive and inspiring tales from across the country. Rather than creating branded content to promote Starbucks, this is storytelling for the public interest from a Fortune 500 company.
  •  Measuring Connections: LinkedIn announced this week a new feature for conversion tracking for marketers’ text ads and sponsored content, offering tools to track the number of sign-ups, content downloads, leads and purchases from campaigns.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Favorite Finds

With Labor Day around the corner, let’s take a quick look back at this week in social media!  Here are a few of my favorite recent reads:
  • This insightful article from Maximize Social Business reminds us all that engagement in all its forms is key, not the number of “likes” or page views a brand receives. It’s sometimes too easy to focus on big numbers and metrics that may not be as meaningful to the brand or company.
  • We have worked with a number of entrepreneurs over the years. This MOMeo story succinctly outlines some essential skills a successful entrepreneur must have – or at least foster – to be successful.
  • Few people would describe me as outdoorsy, but I do enjoy time out-of-doors in the city with friends and family, including my nephew. This thoughtful post from The Stir may give you some fresh ideas for outdoor urban living! 
  • Crain’s Chicago Business published a wonderful fall cultural calendar for Chicagoans and visitors to the Windy City. There’s something here for everyone!
  • One of our client Trex’s “Trexperts,” Kate Campbell, whom you may know from HGTV, posted this beautiful photo reminiscent of fall.

Enjoy the long weekend and the start of fall, just around the corner.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Going the Extra Mile(s) for MAVEA

Pictures are nice, but seeing is believing – which is why the LCWA team spent this spring and summer crossing the country to introduce influential editors, bloggers and tastemakers to the next generation of water filtration products from our client MAVEA.

Starting in Des Moines, Iowa – home of media conglomerate Meredith Corporation and its flagship title, Better Homes and Gardens – the team spoke one-on-one with editorial staff and influencers, offering demonstrations of the new MAVEA MicroDisc water filter and positioning MAVEA as a buzz-worthy player in the water filtration industry.

From there, we headed to the media capital of the world – New York City – for back-to-back media events focused on holiday gift guide opportunities. Our interactive display offered attendees a first look at the MicroDisc and its corresponding products – the Water Filter Pitcher, Carafe and Water Bottle. All attendees were eager to try the products for themselves – providing us with an ideal opportunity to follow up and secure future media coverage.


The key to long-term PR success for our clients is establishing real relationships with media – and in this digital era of media relations, events such as these are even more valuable for solidifying relationships with veteran editors and establishing rapport with new ones. With introductions complete and follow-up underway, we look forward to converting these leads into placements! 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Favorite Finds

This week the Twitterverse witnessed the rise and fall of social influencers on the media battleground. Here are my favorite trending hashtags from the week:
  • #LochMess – While the buzz about the Olympics may be over, Ryan Lochte is still making headlines and tre
    nding on social media. Four sponsors have dropped the medal-winning swimmer since his infamous night out in Rio. The incident can serve as a valuable lesson for PR pros who work with #influencers.
  • #DogsofInstagram – The newest online influencers are four-legged and furry! Dogs are now major social media stars, posing for photo shoots and bringing in the big Hollywood bucks. Meet Toast, a puppy mill rescue who earns $3,500 - $5,000 per sponsored Instagram post on his site #ToastMeetsWorld.
  • #Snapchat – From the recently launched Promoted Video on Pinterest to Instagram Stories, the battle of messaging apps intensifies as challengers try to compete with Snapchat. Adweek gives a breakdown of how Snapchat’s competitors stack up.
  • #Gawker – The shutdown of Gawker, the controversial website with an unapologetic brand of journalism, reignited heated discussion about privacy and freedoms of speech. Founder Nick Denton published a lengthy obituary to the website, further fueling the online debate. 
  •  #SocialJournalism – A new study offers insight on how to reach more journalists on social media. More than half of the surveyed journalists said they use three or more social sites for sourcing, but their habits and preferences differ by age, beat and geographic location.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Favorite Finds

While the games of the 31st Olympiad continued to dominate world news and social media this week, there were a few other stories that caught our attention. Following are just a handful of our favorite non-Olympic happenings – and mishaps:
  • Something New on the Political Menu – Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a new campaign cooking. The Democratic nominee has launched Chefs for Hillary, a food-focused initiative in which celebrity chefs share recipes they’ve developed for her campaign. The first round of patriotic-inspired eats, which are available on Pinterest, include dishes from the country’s top chefs including Mario Batali‘s signature grilled swordfish; Dominique Ansel‘s democratic (blue)berry cookies, and Katie Lee‘s patriotic penne pie. The campaign also encourages voters to show “Team Hillary” pride by sharing their own recipes using #ChefsForHillary.
  • This Just Pin…er…InImage-first platform Pinterest has made a big move into video. On Wednesday, the company launched Promoted Video, allowing users to access full auto-play video with sound, and brands to display up to six Buyable Pins beneath each video as it plays. According to Pinterest, video will now be a "core part" of the user experience.
  • On No She Didn’t! – When writing social content/graphics, it’s probably a good idea to first ask, “is there any possibility someone could be offended by this?” This week, TV personality Ellen DeGeneres uncharacteristically found herself at the center of racial backlash when she tweeted a Photoshopped meme of herself piggybacking on Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt with the caption, "This is how I'm running errands from now on."
  • Stick ‘Em Up! – Following the June launch of its new ‘Stickers’ tool, which enables users to attach customizable, emoji-like pictures to their photos, Twitter announced Monday the introduction of Promoted Stickers. This expansion allows brands to create and promote custom stickers as a way to engage with fans. Pepsi will be the launch partner for Promoted Stickers, sharing some 50 custom stickers across 10 markets as part of its “PepsiMoji” campaign.
  • Pikachu Piques (Even) More Interest – As the Pokemon GO craze continues, an increasing number of city leaders want in on the action. Since the game entices users outside to engage in their community, it could prove an ideal medium to encourage even more civic interactions – everything from promoting local landmarks to reporting graffiti or broken street lights.