Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Holiday Prep

As we prepare to brine the turkey and bake pies this Thursday, it is a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the holidays – and the onslaught of retail media coverage. While I can’t wait for that slice of pie, here are a few of my favorite finds that make the week go a little faster to help get you to the long weekend:
  • Turkey Pardon – Turkey’s ‘Drumbone’ and ‘Wishstick’ were able to join previous White House turkeys at Virginia Tech’s “Gobbler’s Rest” exhibit after an official pardon. But not before spending some quality R&R at The Willard Intercontinental Hotel over the weekend, courtesy of the National Turkey Federation, who supplies the turkeys every year to the White House. 
  • Black Friday or Bust – While consumers prepare for the annual trip to early morning sales, a growing trend for Black Friday is actually spent away from the crowds. A new report from App Annie predicts that time spent doing mobile shopping via apps will grow 45 percent in the U.S. during this week, compared to the same time two years ago, and also expects apps to generate over six million hours of shopping on Black Friday on apps such as Amazon, Wish, Etsy and Zulily alone. Is this representing a shift away from the Black Friday in-store shopping craze?
  • Naughty or Nice? – Pinterest, in the spirit of the holidays, has launched “Pinterest Secret Santa,” allowing users to find friends or family on Pinterest and create custom boards based on ideas that those friends and families have been saving. Or, use the “Secret Santa” to select a persona and find a gift that will fit your family member – such as a pet person or a world traveler. If you want to get started on your gift giving, you can check out the concept for yourself here.
  • Social Media Video Watching – As attention spans continue to get shorter, it continues to get harder for brands to get customers attention, especially on social media. For example, Facebook users spend an average of 1.7 seconds with any piece of mobile content on the platform, compared to 2.5 seconds on desktop. Recent research from Nielsen has found that brand recall, awareness and purchase intent is much higher with video impressions that are only two-seconds. So perhaps that short-attention span isn’t such a bad thing? To help make the most of those two-seconds, Adweek offers some suggestions to break through the noise.

Monday, November 20, 2017

“SMART” Insights on Public Relations in Brazil

From a shrinking media landscape to increasing competition for journalists’ attention, public relations professionals across the globe face many of the same challenges. However, thanks to a recent visit from Ana Julia Castilho, an account manager with our Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) partner SMARTPR, the LCWA team got an inside look at the unique environment and role of the public relations industry in Brazil.

With clients such as Buzzfeed, Waze and Pinterest, SMARTPR specializes in technology and digital clients. While overall strategies and tactics for securing coverage may seem similar to our own practices, Ana pointed our several unique aspects that she and her colleagues must consider to maximize reach in Brazil:
  • Brazil is still recovering from a deep economic crisis, as well as several political corruption scandals. As a result, some journalists can be wary of intentions, and the public remains skeptical of news media in general – particularly news involving politicians or the government. 
  • Layoffs continue to plague the journalism industry. According to Ana, more than 5,000 journalists have lost their jobs since 2012. Many former editorial staffers now freelance for multiple outlets, which makes staying on top of appropriate editorial contacts particularly challenging. In addition, regional and local news receive little coverage, as outlets simply don’t have the staff to devote it. 
  • Another impact of the shrinking number of journalists is that many reporters no longer have a particular “beat” and instead cover a wide variety of topics. This is especially true for technology reporters. When it comes to securing coverage, one can't rely on job titles when determining the best contacts to pitch.
  • Social media in the United States features many popular influencers, but their popularity in Brazil is decreasing due to eroding trust. Several successful influencers have begun selling their own products, while others have been brought down by legal troubles for failing to disclose partnerships. 
Despite these challenges, the public relations industry in Brazil is booming. Global companies such as Skype, Avaya and Amazon Web Services (all SMARTPR clients) continue to enter the market and expand their presence – making SMARTPR’s work all the more important. We’re grateful we were able to host Ana and gain more global perspective from one of our newest PRGN partners!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Staying Hungry for Chicago Food Media

Here at LCWA, we are always seeking to do more for our clients, and to be ahead of industry trends. That is to say…we stay hungry. Recently, that hunger became a little more literal as LCWA food PR team members attended the Publicity Club of Chicago’s luncheon “Word Hard, Play Harder: Chicago’s Food and Lifestyle Scene.”

Highlighting industry trends, influencers from across various media (including blogs HoneyAndBirch and AmongOther Things, ABC7, Ad Age, and Weber Shandwick) weighed in on Chicago’s view on the food industry. Here are a few highlights:
  • Balanced Diet, Balanced Coverage – Consumers are becoming more and more health conscious, while also possessing the inherent desire to indulge. Social content is dominated by restaurants that create specifically “instagrammable” dishes, but such restaurants rarely gain return customers. Indulgent content is a great hook (who doesn’t love to see flowing chocolate?), but in the end, people like to see media strike the same balance they seek to have in their own lives.
  • Easy Eating – People will buy whatever is most accessible. In the age of Amazon Prime, fast food is even faster when UberEats will let you open your front door to a McDonald’s delivery. In the grocery aisle, it feels like smaller companies are gaining a larger presence, but that accessibility doesn’t come without help. For example, Kellogg recently bought RXBar, so the same company owns your whole ingredients health bar as well as the Pop-Tarts on the other side of the aisle. 
  • Global Food, Local Sensibility – Globalization has allowed people to experience the cuisines of every culture without traveling. This continued theme of accessibility allows us here in Chicago to get Japanese food just around the corner from our favorite Mexican spot. However, this does not mean the culture of the cuisine comes with the food. Europeans sit and eat, or sit and drink their coffee. In the U.S., everyone feels they need to be busy and eat on the go. The speed of American consumption is influenced by the way we view food on TV, with cooking shows always centered around speed, challenge and competition.
So next time you get a meal (which we presume is right now, after reading this much about food), consider taking your time to eat and enjoy, or at least consider how the media has influenced the food in front of you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Insights from an Intern

Maggie McBrien recently completed her internship and will be joining LCWA as a full-time employee. I sat down with Maggie as she makes the transition from intern to assistant account executive to talk about her internship at LCWA. She had a
lot to say about what she learned and shared her thoughts with me on the most important takeaways from her internship. While it’s difficult to condense her whole experience into a single blog post, here are some key insights she shared on how to be successful early in one’s career.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. As an intern, it’s not expected that you already know it all. This is the time to ask questions and even make mistakes. Your coworkers are eager to help and want to see you succeed, so take the opportunity to pick their brains. Ask for clarity if you’re unsure about something and you’ll be surprised by how much you learn.
  • Become a master of time management. Maggie quickly realized that in this industry, no two days are the same. You can never fully prepare for what the day will bring, but by staying organized and on top of your assignments, you will be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way. To-do lists will become your best friend, so whether that’s in the form of pen and paper or your Microsoft Outlook calendar, find what works for you and stick to it.
  • Get creative. In order to succeed in PR, you have to constantly keep ideas fresh and discover new ways to do even the simplest of tasks. Think about different avenues to approach anything from crafting catchy email subject lines to discovering new angles for a product pitch or trying out alternative approaches to social media content. The more creative you can be, the better.
  • Step outside of your comfort zone: While being an intern can feel nerve-racking at times, use this opportunity to overcome any fears you may have and get outside of your comfort zone. With an office in the heart of downtown Chicago, it’s a waste to not make the most of your experience. Become familiar with your surroundings; grab a coffee from somewhere different instead of Starbucks, try new restaurants with coworkers for lunch, and go to industry events to network with other professionals. Put yourself out there, and your whole experience will become richer, more fulfilling and most importantly, fun! 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Future of Journalism in Chicago

It’s no secret that the state of journalism has changed over the years. And as traditional news rooms evolve into multimedia companies, it seemed only fitting for the Publicity Club of Chicago to call on representatives from some of the city’s top publications to get their point of view and talk about what the future holds. LCWA attended in the organization’s November luncheon to join in the conversation and hear what they had to say.
Below are a few highlights from the panelists:
  • FACTS STILL RULE! Journalists at The Daily Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and The Chicago Tribune agree that maintaining professional journalism standards is nothing new. If anything, there is more pressure than ever to name sources and remain transparent. Staff size may be smaller, but journalists may still be willing to connect face-to-face (although all agree email is preferred!) for the right story and the facts.
  • REACHING YOUNGER READERS IS IMPERATIVE – Nearly all media are facing declining advertising revenues. The folding of outlets such as DNAInfo.com only further validates the need to develop niche products that attract new audiences. Media companies realize that the way consumers are consuming news is constantly changing and new ways to drive scale, such as with video or events, may be needed. 
  • THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE ENDLESS – Newsrooms are no longer filled with just editor desks or photography rooms. Mindsets are shifting, new ideas are brewing and perspectives are changing with new leadership and a blend of veteran and junior staff. However, John Lampinen, Senior Vice President and Editor of the Daily Herald, may have said it best when he stated that he hopes people will one day come back to printed newspapers, as they serve as a respite in today’s always-on, mobile society.
This writer and college journalism major couldn’t agree more. Here’s hoping professional journalism remains balanced and fair while it finds a happy medium between the digital and print worlds.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Business and Bonding in Beautiful Kyoto

The fall 2017 Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) meeting was one for the books! Taking place in Kyoto, Japan, it marked the longest trip we’ve ever taken to meet with our colleagues from around the globe. But with great business learnings, good friends and a beautiful landscape, it was more than worth the journey. Some highlights:
  • Celebrating 25 Years. This meeting marked the 25th anniversary celebration for PRGN. The group began as a consortium of independent firms around the U.S., working together to provide “arms and legs” in other regions. Now, the group is international with 53 partners from around the world, offering global insights on business reach and communications tactics that directly benefit all of our clients.
  • New Partners, New Friends. Three new agencies representing five countries were added to PRGN at the conference.  Another Company is the top independent PR and communications agency in Mexico with offices in Columbia and Panama, with clients

    including Waze, Hubspot, Calvin Klein, SAP, Tim Hortons, Adidas Group, Prada, Peninsula Hotels and others.
    Perspective Strategies, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a strategic communications and issue management firm with clients including key government agencies, public listed companies and multinational brands such as the East Coast Economic Region Development Council, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, PETRONAS and Durex, among others. Finally, SMARTPR of São Paulo, Brazil, offers communications, advertising, public relations, journalism and design. SMARTPR clients include Expedia, BuzzFeed, Waze, AWS – Amazon Web Services, Logitech, Pinterest, Level 3, among others.
  • Award Winning Case-Studies. An annual fall conference tradition, the PRGN Best Practices Awards are handed out to agencies based on peer-to-peer voting on the best work over the past year. LCWA was proud to win five awards, including a Gold, two Silver and two Bronze, for our work for AASMTrexUCAOA and Boise Paper.
  • An Amazing Cultural Experience. Beyond all of the great business sessions, it was a
    dream come true to explore Japan with friends from around the world. Our hosts from
    Integrate Communications, based in Tokyo, planned a once-in-a-lifetime series of activities including a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, sake tasting, performance by Maiko dancers, temple visits and unforgettable meals. For me, the highlight was a zen meditation experience, held at 6 a.m., in an 800-year-old Kyoto temple -- quiet and empty except for our group. The sound of raindrops on the wood roof as we learned meditation from a Japanese master was a bonding experience none of us will soon forget – and a great reminder that while the business side is important, the friends we make along the way are the real treat. 
    Enjoying time with PRGN partners from Denmark, Miami, Hong Kong, Dubai, Boston, Philadelphia, Ireland, Chile and Nashville.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Halloween Fun Sweetens a Dark Week

With the New York City terrorist attack and various scandals and indictments, there was a lot of serious talk on social media this week. We also saw a lighter side, with Halloween celebrating a sense of fun and bringing people together.

  • Winning Halloween: While some folks might throw on some fake cat ears or put on a pumpkin sweater, others go all out – really all out. From spoofing memes to honoring favorite TV shows, the range of options for tweet-worthy costumes has never been greater. Some personal favs: a green army man on the subway, dad bod Leonardo DiCaprio and the DMV sloth from Zootopia. 
  • “Meat” Me in the Middle? Other than fruitcake and politics, few things are more polarizing than candy corn. No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, it’s worth wondering what gives these kernels of contention their, uh, unique taste and texture. If you guessed the cartilage and bones of animals, you are…right? But before you get too grossed out, remember that gelatin is in a ton of other things that we all eat, so enjoy!
  • Crisis Costume-ications: The next time a current or prospective client asks you to describe your PR crisis strategy, tell them you always take a creative approach and will represent them especially well on Oct. 31. Whether it’s Kendall Jenner with a can of Pepsi or Warren Beatty telling millions that “La La Land” won Best Picture, dressing up as your favorite crisis on Halloween will allow everyone to take a step back and wonder, again: “How did they let that happen?”
  • IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: There were some great entries, but we SQUASHed the competition in our building’s pumpkin contest! Our Pumpkin Spice Latte brewed up a win for Most Original Pumpkin! Quite the Happy Halloween, indeed.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Frightful Finds to Spook-Up Your Weekend

The world can be a weird place sometimes, and the week leading up to Halloween is no exception. Whether your fears are real or fake, here are some of my strangest finds from the past week. 

  • Who ya gonna call?  – According to a recent survey, 30 percent of people believe their house is haunted, 45 percent believe in ghosts and 65 percent believe in spirits or the supernatural. So whether it’s Casper the friendly ghost or the belief in reincarnation, the existence of the supernatural adds an enticing thrill during this spooky month.
  • Leave the fakeness to the costumes – Halloween is a time for tricks and treats, but more and more candy is being manufactured with strange chemical ingredients. A treat here or there won’t do too much harm, but look out for things like growth hormones, vanillin, artificial colors and BHT, a preservative linked to cancer.
  • Windex in the Windy City – More than 2,000 people have RSVP’d yes to the Facebook event “Windex the Bean”, with another 20,000 interested users. Posts on the page spark everything from possible t-shirt suggestions to people debating Windex’s effect on the environment. Currently, the only known details are the date, Nov. 15, and the brief description of, “The Bean is dirty.”
  • Not so safe and sound – Notice anything strange on your bank statement lately? If you’ve recently used an ATM machine at a Walgreens in Chicago, you may want to check. More than a dozen skimming devices have been found throughout the city, with seven of these being at Walgreens locations. Experts say best practices include inspecting machines and covering keypads while using ATM machines.
  • What to do in-between Halloween plans… – Today, the wait is finally over and Stranger Things Season 2 is on Netflix. But with a packed Hallo-weekend what’s the best way to fit in watching this addicting series? The Hollywood Reporter published a cheat sheet on the most efficient way to watch the new season so you’ll be all caught up Monday morning at the office. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Fun Facts: Under the Sea and Outer Space Edition

The daily news feeds are not exactly uplifting, as of late. So I wanted to share some pretty interesting tidbits about stuff happening below the surface and beyond the cloud. 
  • Picking Up On Some Kilonova Vibes: In case you missed it, space is back! In
    August, scientists were able to witness (for the first time ever) a
    kilonova – when the cores of two collapsed stars smashed into each other and exploded gamma rays throughout the universe. The event, which occurred some 130 million years ago, is the first cosmic event to be witnessed with telescopes and gravitational wave detectors – utilizing resources and researchers at more than 70 laboratories across all continents. Don’t worry, they took pics. Now enter the era of multi-messenger astrophysics!
  • So Where Is The Cheese? If those Kilonova images got you all fired up, you are going to love what Google Maps is offering – a digital glimpse of more than a dozen planets and moons throughout space! Using half a million images from the Cassini probe and other spacecrafts, Google Maps can now transport viewers to the surfaces of Pluto, Venus and several moons all with a few clicks! Or just watch an astronaut play with a fidget spinner in space. Not a fan of technology? You can still sneak a peek at the wonders above this Sunday when the Orionid meteor shower – considered to be “the most beautiful” – will occur. Just hop a ride on Trainy McTrainface to a prime lookout and enjoy the show.
  • Fly Me To The Moon: Holding out for the real thing? Not to worry! Why experience space through pictures, when you could cruise through the Milky Way on your very own inflatable space yacht?!?! (Oprah voice) Come 2022, all the cool kids will be chilling on the expandable space habitat working for big lunar businesses or the local moon government. No big deal.
  • This Space Is Filthy! The outer limits are not all exploding stars, emo-looking moons and floating astronauts. There is a lot of junk in space, apparently. And all that exploring and leaving our garbage behind has accumulated some 100 million pieces of science trash orbiting Mother Earth at 17,500 mph. Check out Adrift, a film investigating the potential hazard the floating junk poses to our satellites and future spacecrafts. Clean up in aisle space.
  • What Goes Up...After we frolic through space, what’s the return flight like? China’s first space laboratory launched in 2011 is on a literal crash course back to Earth after officials confirmed they lost control of it last September. The 8.5 ton laboratory, named Heavenly Palace, is expected to hurtle back to Earth sometime in 2017, with no strong guesses on where it might land. So, keep an eye out for that piece of space junk, in particular.
  • Making Waves: When that space lab crashes, I am sure there will be quite a splash. But it won’t be anything compared to the loudest underwater sound ever that was recorded in 1997 off the coast of Chile. The Bloop examines this scientific mystery that was detected by hydrophones 5,000 miles apart, lasted for one minute and has never been heard again!
  • Go Ask Flipper: Apparently humans aren’t that special. A study of dolphin, whale and porpoise species found those with bigger brains tend to live human-like lives. So those showboating Orcas at Sea World may just be the underwater version of the Kardashians, you never know! In other food chain news, scientists have reported a rise of alligator attacks on sharks. That’s right, in the battle of Lake Placid vs. Jaws, alligators are flipping the script and coming out on top in certain rivers and estuaries.
  • Vintage Genes…Some evolutionary advancements seem fast, while other undersea wonders have ancient roots. Paleontologists examined the hatchling of a sea turtle from the Eocene epoch and discovered it had a pigment-based survival trait common to modern sea turtles. The 54-million-year-old turtle hatchling had the same color patterns as current turtles – dark back with light edges – that provides protection against UV radiation from the sun. The dark skin increases their body temps so they grow faster and boosts survival rates – a phenomenon called adaptive melanism that has been preserved for millions of years. Slow and steady wins the race!  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Award Spotlight: American Academy of Sleep Medicine “Sleep Recharges You” Campaign

LCWA recently won three IABC Chicago Bronze Quill Awards for our programs for Trex and Boise Paper, as well as our American Academy of Sleep Medicine “Sleep Recharges You” campaign, which was designed to promote the importance of healthy sleep among teenagers. 

The #SleepRechargesYou campaign was driven by a 2016 study by the CDC showing that more than two-thirds of high school students are currently failing to get enough sleep. Our program goal was to increase the number of teenagers sleeping the recommended number of hours per night.

Research has found that sleepy teens may fare worse in school than their well-rested peers, as teens who are sleep deprived may be more easily distracted and recall information more slowly. Sleeping fewer than the recommended hours also is associated with attention, behavior and learning problems. Additionally, lack of sleep may also impact teens’ athletic performance. When teens sleep, hormones are released that help them grow taller and develop muscles. Sleep also helps restore energy to the brain and body.

The impact of sleep deprivation on teens, as well as key interests of teens, were taken into account when developing our program messages. We chose to communicate to teenagers about four areas in which sleep can improve daily life: beauty, sports, learning and health. Additionally, LCWA determined that the target audiences were not only teens themselves,  but also their parents and the school administrators, coaches and health counselors who influence teen behavior.

LCWA reached teenagers through their peers, working with teen influencers on social media
to convey to teens the importance of healthy sleep. Additionally, a we worked with a teen to advocate to her peers with several blog posts highlighting the importance of sleep. LCWA and AASM also collaborated to promote the “Sleep Recharges You” campaign via digital and social media advertising, promoting the benefits of healthy sleep directly via Facebook and Instagram. Banner ads also appeared on websites geared toward teens, such as TeenVogue.com, Seventeen.com and BroBible.com.

LCWA and AASM targeted parents by announcing recommended sleep duration broken down by age group. These recommendations generated media stories in more than 1,000 outlets. We also distributed several releases highlighting the importance of sleep for teens and proactively pitched media with timely angles throughout the year. A mat release about the importance of teen sleep was disseminated to reach parents on a local level. To further convey the importance of this issue, we created blog posts from AASM spokespeople for HuffPost, Thrive Global and Sharecare.

To reach educators, the AASM created an educator toolkit, offering lesson plans and a full-sized poster for classrooms on the importance of sleep. This was distributed in classrooms widely throughout the country, and LCWA helped generate awareness for the kit through outreach to associations and trade outlets.

Overall, this well-rounded campaign garnered more than 763 million impressions and a media value of $3.5 million. There were more than 1.3 million impressions as a result of the digital and social media advertising campaigns, and the AASM received more than 1,400 poster requests from high schools throughout the country and Canada.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Don’t Let Paraskevidekatriaphobia Ruin Your Week

It’s Friday the 13th! A day of mystery and superstition. To kick of this week’s recap, here are some weird facts you may not know about this legendary day courtesy of USA Today. For instance, did you know that people with a fear of Friday the 13th are said to have paraskevidekatriaphobia? Try saying that five times fast. Actually, if you can say it once we’d be impressed!

In other news this week…
  • He Said, She SaidThe Boy Scouts of America announced on Wednesday that they would open their ranks to girls, allowing female scouts to achieve the group’s highest honor: Eagle Scout. While the Boy Scouts say they’re working to better serve families, the Girl Scouts claim their male counterparts are making a desperate play to bolster membership. As this battle of the sexes continues to heat up, PR Daily offers some interesting takeaways for communicators. Our favorite – “No one is reading the footnotes.”
  • Clever, Indeed! – Big news this week for those of us working in the home décor arena. The editorial team behind industry icon AD: Architectural Digest launched a spin-off e-zine called CLEVER. The new digital destination draws its name and inspiration from small-space, residential design with content that caters to the 18-to-34 crowd.
  • In the Cards – In a significant shift for the app, Snapchat announced this week the introduction of Context Cards, which add contextual information to geotagged photos and images shared in public stories. This new addition to the Snap process will provide information about locations and events with a simple swipe. But that’s not all. Context Cards also provide a way to take simple actions like calling for a ride with Uber or reserving a table through OpenTable. Coupled with the recently released Snap Maps, Snapchat continues to engrain itself as the place to be for today’s younger social media users.
  • The Write Stuff In an age when introducing yourself as a reporter might lose you even more friends than in the past, MuckRack.com contributor Kristin Long argues that a journalism degree may be the most powerful education for today’s young writers. Her “6 Reasons You Won’t Regret Getting a Journalism Degree” are enough to make any undergrad switch majors. We’ll be looking for your resumes!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ecore Flooring Forms Foundation for New Fitness Suites

LCWA recently helped client Ecore promote its selection as the exclusive provider of state-of-the-art ergonomic flooring for Hilton Hotels’ new revolutionary “Five Feet to Fitness” suites, a new wellness concept that brings more than 11 different fitness equipment and accessory options into the hotel room.

Hilton’s Five Feet to Fitness concept aims to provide health and wellness-minded guests
with the amenities of a fitness center in the privacy of their own rooms – making it more convenient than ever to maintain health routines when traveling.

Each of the Hilton fitness rooms feature a workout section covered in Ecore’s Forest rx flooring, a highly versatile surfacing solution designed to provide good ergonomics, comfort, acoustic benefits, and superior performance characteristics. The Forest rx flooring provides cushioning to absorb impact on athletes’ joints, increases sound control so as not to disturb neighboring guests during workouts, and offers anti-fatigue capabilities for a variety of workouts ranging from high-intensity interval training and plyometric exercises to yoga and meditation.

Our outreach to industry trade media to announce the partnership with Hilton has generated extensive coverage including nearly 15 placements to date in prominent athletics, hospitality and flooring publications such as Athletic Business, Building Design & Construction, Floor Covering Weekly, Floor Trends, Hotel Business and Hotel Management. And, several other publications are planning future coverage.

We look forward to generating more great coverage for this innovative product installation and trendy new fitness concept.

Monday, October 9, 2017

LCWA Helps Boise Paper Dispel Misconceptions of Recycled Paper

Recycled paper has long had a reputation for being dingy, dull and low-quality. However, with recent advancements in technology, these stigmas no longer hold true.

Recently, Boise Paper asked us to help build awareness for the quality and performance of today’s recycled paper with a four month-long comparison campaign. The #Dare2Compare campaign showed the similarities between Boise® X-9® Multi-Use Copy paper and Boise® ASPEN® Multi-Use Recycled Copy paper – proving that recycled paper performs just as well as the non-recycled line of paper.

We kicked off the campaign in April with a video contest that allowed us to collect user-generated content for use throughout the campaign. To enter the contest, participants were asked to create a video telling us why they choose to use recycled paper. Entrants had the chance to win prizes and have their content featured in future Boise Paper marketing materials.

We also worked with online office experts to compare Boise Paper’s recycled and non-recycled copy paper to prove that there’s no difference in quality. Then, we used quotes from all of our advocates to raise awareness and change perception with a sponsored post campaign on LinkedIn. Other social content utilized statistics about paper buying preferences and perceptions, and challenged social media followers to take the #Dare2Compare challenge by testing the two papers side by side.

We also supplemented our organic activities by reaching out to small business decision-makers directly. We developed two direct e-mails to tell our story, and also used search/display ads to drive the purchases of Boise ASPEN. In all, the multifaceted campaign generated more than 81.6 million impressions and successfully helped to educate our audience that recycled paper has the same high-quality as non-recycled paper.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Shifting Focus – Astronauts, Santa and Augmented Reality

Below are a few interesting finds to help lift your spirits during a week filled with tragedy and continuous political banter. I hope they spark your curiosity … Enjoy!
  • SURPRISE…The Holidays Are Coming – I don’t mean to cause alarm, but it was noted during a conference call this week that there were only 79 more days until Christmas. It’s just a matter of time that holiday must-have lists will be announced and reservations for the Polar Express will be booked. What’s more, the Elf on the Shelf will be making appearances and watching our every move (creepy or fun, you decide!). And when it comes to social media marketing, brands will be focused on ways to convert holiday cheer into sales. Check out what Twitter has to say about becoming a “happening brand” this season.
  • Are You Seeing This? It’s no surprise that Snapchat and Instagram continue to vie for influencers’ attention. And for the most part, it seems like Facebook is succeeding. In fact, a recent Bloomberg article suggested that platform influencers are switching from Snap to Instagram due to increased reach and opportunity. But I must say that the idea of Snap’s “Spectacles v2.0” has me intrigued. The opportunity to allow my friends to see what I can see through my glasses is something once only experienced in the movies. 
  • To Infinity and Beyond – In my humble opinion, space exploration is important not
    only to satisfy human curiosity of the great unknown, but it is also important for the future of earth and all of us living on it. October 5, 2017 marked
    the first meeting of the National Space Council. A statement from NASA noted that, “…NASA has been directed to develop a plan for an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, returning humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.”
  • Time to Set Your DVR – The average American watches five hours of television a day. According to the director of the Institute of Communications at Indiana University, the television experience grabs and holds your brain’s attention like a perfectly addictive drug. Our brains are hard wired to pay attention to anything that’s new in our environment. So, if you happen to hit the pause button tonight, take a look at what happens to your brain when watching the tube.

With that being said, let’s gear up for another great Chicago sports weekend. After all, there’s nothing better than a great marathon, post-season CUBS baseball and hockey.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Celebrate IN GOOD TASTE This October

LCWA client and local Chicago non-profit the Lynn Sage Foundation is raising awareness this October for breast cancer research as it celebrates the 10th anniversary of the IN GOOD TASTE Campaign.

The Lynn Sage Foundation’s IN GOOD TASTE campaign brings together more than 170 of Chicago’s top restaurants and bars to raise awareness and support for local breast cancer research during the month of October. From Oct. 1-31, participating eateries will donate proceeds from select dishes, desserts and drinks to help find a cure for breast cancer. Patrons can also participate by adding a donation directly to their bill.

What began in 2008 with 40 restaurants has grown into something much bigger. This year’s partners include Barrio, Big Star, Coda Di Vopa, Eli’s Cheesecake, Francesca’s, Gibson’s, Le Colonial, Little Goat Diner, Porter Kitchen, Piccolo Sogno, Ramen-san and many more.

All proceeds from IN GOOD TASTE will benefit The Lynn Sage Scholars program which funds some of the country’s most promising researchers in the field of breast cancer. To date, The Lynn Sage Foundation has contributed more than $1.3 million to support pioneering, young researchers at Northwestern University and Rush University. In 2017, The Lynn Sage Scholars program will simultaneously fund three Scholars for the first time.  

As we kick off this month long campaign, LCWA has helped with coverage in The Local Tourist and The Daily Herald. Our PR push will continue throughout the month to raise awareness and drive donations throughout Chicago.

To support the IN GOOD TASTE Campaign and find a special that sounds delectable to you, visit www.lynnsagefoundation.org/in-good-taste/

Friday, September 29, 2017

Twitterverse Hodgepodge: From Playboy to Poetry

Tons of new stories, social updates and haikus were being discussed, shared and retweeted this week! Here are my favorite finds:
  • End of Iconic Media Empire – One of the most popular hashtags this week was #RIPHefner, in honor of the Playboy founder. Hugh Hefner built his bunny-branded entertainment giant from the ground up. Even if your clients are a far cry from playmates, there are still valuable branding lessons to be learned from Hef.
  • Smart Fashion – Forget watches, bracelets and rings. Levi & Google released a smart jacket this week! The Commuter Truck jacket, targeted to those who travel by bicycle, has touch-sensitive fabric, allowing users to swipe or tab the sleeve to trigger commands that are sent to the connected phone. 
  • TV isn’t Just for the AirwaysBig social media players announced TV collaborations this week that’ll cater to our love of video. Facebook will be streaming NFL highlights and Twitter will be streaming 16 lives shows, giving brands access to TV-type advertising as viewer consumption shifts to online providers.
  • Social Surveillance – Starting on Oct. 18, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to collect social and internet search data on U.S. immigrants, including naturalized citizens and those with a green card. As BuzzFeed points out, there isn’t any proof yet that social media screenings are effective, fueling an online debate about whether or not the feds monitoring social profiles does more harm than good.
  • Celebration of Poems – Thursday was National Poetry Day and the Twitterverse was abound with haikus. Here’s one dedicated to PR:

Public relations
Plan. Write. Pitch. Stalk Journalists.
Media headlines.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

AASM Offers Online Bedtime Calculator to Help Families #MakeTime2Sleep

LCWA is a proud partner in the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, along with client the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the CDC, Sleep Research Society and others. One of the project’s goals is to increase the amount of people getting the recommended hours of sleep for their age. That was the objective behind this summer’s #MakeTime2Sleep campaign, which promoted resetting family bedtimes for the back-to-school season.
The #MakeTime2Sleep campaign kicked off with a webpage featuring an interactive, online Bedtime Calculator, allowing users to set their customized bedtimes based on age and the time they need to wake up. We drove families to try the Bedtime Calculator with media outreach, including stories in Good Housekeeping, Southern Living, MSN.com and in newspapers around the country. In addition, we worked with mom bloggers to get the word out to other parents about how to set the right bedtimes for the upcoming school year. Coverage in Raising Three Savvy Ladies and Hip Mama’s Place pushed parents to the Bedtime Calculator and talked about the benefits of healthy sleep.
To further engage target audiences, we conducted a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA), providing opportunities for consumers to ask AASM spokesperson, Dr. Nate Watson, a wide variety of questions about sleep and bedtimes. The AMA trended across Reddit, including being a lead topic in the “parenting” sub-reddit, and even led to additional media coverage.
Finally, eye-catching social media graphics and a very successful Facebook ad campaign drove more clicks to the Bedtime Calculator, with the ad campaign reaching more than 175,000 users and leading to more than 4,000 website clicks.
We continue to work with the AASM to persuade people to #MakeTimeToSleep, and look forward to additional activities this fall.