Thursday, July 20, 2017

Time Management Made Easy

No two days in the world of public relations are the same! That’s why our PRGN partner, Philly-based Buchanan PR, hosted a webinar to offer PR pros tips and tricks on how to efficiently complete tasks and stay ahead
of timelines. Here are a few key takeaways: 
  • Declutter – Organize your inbox, flagging priority items, and keep your desk clean.
  • Delegate – Don’t be afraid to ask for help if your plate is too full.
  • Designate Breaks – Unwind by checking your Facebook or chatting with a colleague only at a set break time or after a particular assignment is completed.
The biggest takeaway was that everyone needs to find organizational techniques and a time management system that works for them. Here are tips from the LCWA team that can help keep you on top of your game: 
  • Ditch the digital and use an old-fashioned pen and paper to write your to-do list. Just because a method is more technologically advanced doesn’t necessarily make it more effective.
  • Review and update your to-do list at the end of each day. It is refreshing to leave on a positive mental note about the day’s accomplishments and the plan to tackle tomorrow’s tasks.
  • To help stay on track, schedule blocks into your Outlook calendar to work on specific projects. The pop-up reminder is a great way to know when it’s time to switch gears.
  • Self-discipline! There will always be distractions – a personal email, an intriguing Facebook post, a cat video, etc. – that can cause you to lose focus. So hone in, concentrate and get it done.
  • Post-it notes are amazing. For visually-focused folks, arranging color-coded tasks (e.g. each color could represent a different client account) in order of priority near your computer screen, such as the wall or a bulletin board, allows you to visualize your progress.
  • Schedule time for interruptions. A client crisis or urgent media request can pull you away from the project at-hand. Give yourself a little leeway when establishing timelines to allow for disruptions.
If you are need of some more motivation when it comes to conquering time, we leave you with some inspirational quotes:
  • “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” – Golda Meir
  • “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” – Abraham Lincoln
Carpe diem!

Friday, July 14, 2017

TO-DO LIST: Take Pics, Watch Videos, Walk Around, Hug a Tree, LOL, Repeat

Happy July 14th! In celebration of the Storming of the Bastille, here are some things I found while staring at my computer this week.

  • The Eye Roll Seen ‘Round The World: Everyone’s favorite German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was less than intrigued with what Russian President Vladimir Putin had to say when they met at the G20 Summit this week – cue eye roll. The clip went viral, generating significant responses across social media and underscoring the power of visual messaging and body language. Proving the impact of a picture, new data from LendEDU shows 53% of Millennials’ purchases are influenced by Instagram posts, while 93% of Pinterest-ers use the site to plan purchases.
  • The New Generation of TV: Microsoft announced plans to harness unused channels between television broadcasts – known as white spaces – to get rural America online. The “white-space broadband” service is set to roll out in 12 states – including Arizona, Kansas, New York and Virginia – with the goal of connecting two million rural Americans with high-speed internet in the next five years! Facebook is also rethinking traditional use of TV and researched the difference in outcomes between TV ads and Facebook ads worldwide. The study found TV ads reach wider audiences, while Facebook ads generate more sales. When combined, Facebook and TV ad campaigns improved overall target audience reach. Not to be left out in the cold, Twitter is enhancing its live video offerings across multiple tech verticals – focusing on sports, news and entertainment.
  • Oh Go Take A Hike! No, really… According to a new study from Stanford University, the U.S. ranks 4th worst in physical activity inequality, reflecting the high rate of obesity and low walkability of many non-urban communities. Tracking daily steps using smartphone data, researchers looked at walking trends across the socioeconomic spectrum in 111 countries and the U.S. came up at the bottom of the barrel, while other countries like Sweden had a very small gap in physical activity between rich and poor. To learn more about obesity or other common medical terms, just Google it. An analysis of medical terms Googled by state shows Illinoisans are curious about “diabetes,” Alabamans are concerned about “itching” and Wyoming(ans) want more info on “diarrhea.”
  • It’s The End of The World, As We Know It: A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates Earth is entering its sixth mass extinction event, which would result in three-quarters of all species dying off in the next few centuries – mostly driven by the “biological annihilation” humans are inflicting on Mother Earth. Further proof: an iceberg the size of Delaware broke off from the Antarctic shelf – one of the largest ever recorded! But not all our decisions are bad: a human chain was created off the coast of Panama City Beach, Florida, to save nine swimmers who got trapped in the current! If that doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies inside, you can always hop a plane to China where a group of students are testing a self-sustaining space station for 200 days to determine if the base could be used on the moon or other planet besides Earth – which we are slowly destroying (see above).
  • Just Taking A Little ME Time: A popular story of a woman taking a day off to take care of her mental health (and her CEO’s lovely response) brought to focus the importance of mental health awareness and care. There are a variety of ways to unwind or reset mentally, including taking time during the day to goof off! To help you follow this advice, here is a kitten startling a dog, a story about “baby tooth” perfume, a conspiracy theory about the Friends show DVD cover and a Lego coffee mug. If you feel like sharing any of these distractions today, make sure you don’t forget to add your version of “haha” or “lol” – as these digital sayings have apparently evolved to represent much more than laughter.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Straight From The Top: UCAOA Taps Experts

When diving into complex topics, expertise can go a long way. And with trade media, bylined articles are a great way to demonstrate expertise. Our LCWA healthcare PR team recently coordinated two bylined articles for the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA). To educate healthcare providers on how urgent care centers and other on-demand options can serve as alternatives to costly emergency departments, UCAOA president Dr. Pamela Sullivan authored an article in Population Health News in May. Then, in June, UCAOA CEO Laurel Stoimenoff addressed the numerous clinical and economical benefits of including urgent care centers in payer networks with an article in Becker's ASC Review. We look forward to continuing to help position the Urgent Care Association of America as one of the preeminent experts in on-demand healthcare with more bylined articles in top healthcare trades.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fireworks, Foodies and Fans, Oh My!

From celebrating our nation to celebrating our city’s food, this week was filled with festivities, festivals and fans alike. Here are some of the highlights that caught our eye.
  • HBD USA: Ending the extended weekend on a high note, America celebrated her 241st birthday on Tuesday. Cities across the nation celebrated with extravagant fireworks displays, a tradition that started in 1777 on the nation’s first birthday. This list of the best fireworks displays in the nation will have you inspired to make it a tradition of your own to see fireworks in these cities.
  • Eat Your Heart Out: If all the cook-outs didn’t satiate your hunger on the fourth, Chicago’s annual Taste of Chicago is happening July 5-9 in Grant Park. In its 37th year, the festival will offer more than 60 food vendors, two stages of daily musical acts, 35 cooking demonstrations and a variety of arts acts. For more info on how to get your grub on check out The Chicago Tribune’s expert opinions of what can’t be missed at this year’s Taste.
  • Entitled with TIDAL: JAY-Z (not to be confused with Jay-Z or Jay Z), dropped his latest album this week. “4:44” debuted exclusively on the artist’s online streaming service, TIDAL. Many fans were upset about the limited release, as they previously used their free trial to listen to the artist’s “Life of Pablo” album. This limited release lead to fans, including Snoop Dogg, to pirate the music. However, the album is rumored to be more widely released on Apple Music this Sunday, July 9.
  • Love Across the Pond: The 2017 Wimbledon Championships kicked off on July 3 and will crown champions on July 15. On the men’s side, early favorites include Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, while Roger Federer looks for an 8th Wimbledon title. With reigning champ Serena Williams not competing due to her pregnancy, Johanna Konta and Angelique Kerber are two key players to keep an eye on this year. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Media Results in a “League” of their Own for LCWA’s Newest Client

League, a Canadian digital health and wellness start up, has major plans for U.S. expansion, and we’re pleased to welcome the company to the Windy City as both a neighbor and LCWA client!

Backed by a $25 million investment – one of the largest in Canadian start-up history – League is putting down roots in Chicago and has selected the growing River North tech corridor as the site of its U.S. headquarters.

League is represented nationally and in Seattle by The Fearey Group, a fellow member of the Public Relations Global Network. For the Chicago launch, The Fearey Group and League team tapped into LCWA for a tailored launch strategy that would capture the attention of the city’s top media outlets and potential League customers.

The announcement led to a flurry of media interest and interview requests within a matter of days – resulting in stories published in the Chicago Tribune and top technology blogs such as Built in Chicago, Technori and ChicagoInno. In addition, League’s founder, Michael Serbinis, was a featured guest on WGN’s “The Startup Showcase” program.

While goodie baskets are nice, we are excited to see Chicago welcome our new neighbors with a “basket” of media coverage! We look forward to working with League as the company grows in Chicago and beyond.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Selfies, Surprises and Social Media Strategies

This past week officially kicked off the summer season and the Internet was abuzz with hot topics. Here are my favorite finds from this week:
  • Improve Your Selfie Game – In honor or National Selfie Day this week, a new study revealed people respond more favorably to selfie images where the subjects had adopted one specific pose. Namely, they had tilted their head at a 15 degree angle and to the right. Apparently, it’s all about the angles.
  • A Surprise Gift For You! – Now that I have your attention, did you know that nearly half of recipients (47 percent) open an email based purely on the subject line? It’s just as important as the actual content, acting as its own mini-marketing campaign. Here are 9 tips for better email headlines.
  • Rebrand Refresh – A brand update isn’t just a marketing initiative—it’s a company-wide effort that should involve every department from HR to engineering to finance. PR Daily offers these strategies for successful rebranding campaigns.
  • Instagram Success – Successful Instagram marketing is more than just posting a perfect shot. Here are four power tips that can launch your efforts on the visual app.
  • Lead Generation – Looking to market to a specific generation on social media? An infographic from Webpage FX explains where Generation Z, millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers spend their time online.
  • Writing Wisdom – Writing is a key component of a successful public relations campaign. PR Daily offers these seven tips to help improve your copy.

Friday, June 16, 2017

LCWA Wins Two PRSA Skyline Awards

Our team celebrated once again last night, when we picked up two awards at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Skyline event. The annual PRSA event was a chance to hear about the great work being done in the Chicago PR community, and an opportunity to connect with old friends.

LCWA won the Skyline Award in the category of Marketing – Consumer Services – Healthcare Services for our work with the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA). The award honors last year’s “Urgency or Emergency?” Campaign, which you can read about in an “Award Spotlight” blog post. 

We also won the Skyline Award for our work with Weil-McLain, in the category of Media Relations – Business to Business – Products. The “Making the Case for Weil-McLain Boilers” campaign case study is highlighted here.

Congratulations to our LCWA team members, as well as to our client partners at UCAOA and Weil-McLain, for these honors!

Golden State Gets the Gold, Twitter Underwhelms

This week was full of exciting news and moments. We crowned a new NBA champion, planned a meaningful tribute to a loveable TV superhero, entered for a chance to play dodgeball against celebrities, and even saw a much awaited (but not really) update from our friends at Twitter. Here are my favorite finds!

Golden State brings home the gold!
Unfortunately for teams outside of Oakland and Cleveland, the Warriors and Cavaliers played in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year. Think fans got tired of seeing these two basketball titans compete? Think again! More than 24 million people tuned in to watch the series’ fifth game, the most for a game 5 since Bill Clinton was in the White House. 

Remembering Adam West – aka TV Batman
On June 15, the city of Los Angeles celebrated the life of Adam West, who’s starred as Batman in 1906s TV series, by shining the famed bat signal at the city’s village hall. With fans attending
the ceremony dressed in appropriate Batman garb, this was truly a tribute made for a superhero.

Dodgeball 101 – dodge, duck, dip, dive, dodge
Want to relive the world’s greatest dodgeball match between Team Globo Gym and Average Joe’s? Ben Stiller, everyone’s favorite ageless celebrity, is making your dream a reality! Fans of the movie, or anyone who wants to throw on their spandex and hit the dodgeball court (is this really a thing?), can enter to win the ultimate dodgeball prize package – complete with a pizza party. Proceeds benefit the Stiller Foundation, which helps provide educational opportunities for children around the world.  

Twitter’s underwhelming update

King of the 140 character news flash, Twitter announced this week that they’ve considered users’ ideas and have taken feedback to heart. However, some people were not so enthused when the update consisted of only redesigned look-and-feel. At least now we have circular profile photos!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Facebook Live to a McFlurry Surprise

The testimony of former FBI Director James Comey before Congress was certainly the hottest topic in the news this week, but there also was no shortage of marketing and pop culture news. Here are some stories that caught our eye.
  • Facebook Live Checklist – This week PR News reminded us that, “just because you can go live with nothing but an iPhone and an idea doesn’t mean you should.” The reputable industry news outlet shared IBM’s best practices for a successful Facebook Live event. Top tips include: Focus on interaction, how-to videos resonate, let the audience dictate the length and build a small crew.
  • Pretty, but Not So Tasty Popsicles – Thanks to our client Culligan International, we appreciate the importance of clean water, which is probably why a story on sewage popsicles from Mashable Social grabbed our attention. Students from the National Taiwan University of Arts, collected sewage runoff from 100 locations in Taiwan to make popsicles and create a social campaign that would emphasize the importance of clean water. In this case, we’ll look but not taste.
  • Welcome Ella and Alexander! – Hollywood welcomed two new members this week with the birth of Ella and Alexander Clooney.  Proud parents George and Amal released this statement following the twins’ birth, “This morning Amal and George welcomed Ella and Alexander Clooney into their lives. Ella, Alexander and Amal are all healthy, happy and doing fine. George is sedated and should recover in a few days.” Let’s hope George has recuperated by now.
  • McFlurry Sandwich Goes Viral – Created by a fan of McDonald’s, the McFlurry sandwich is a sweet combination of two items on the fast food giant’s menu – cookies and the Oreo McFlurry. The tasty sensation has gone viral with 18,000 retweets and 58,000 likes. We’ll take two!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Award Spotlight: “Making the Case for Weil-McLain Boilers”

What can a landmark Wisconsin church, a vintage, luxury apartment in Washington, D.C. and a leading Chicago medical facility possibly have in common?

Each uses heating systems fueled by boilers from Weil-McLain and each served as dramatic illustrations of the products’ benefits in a high-profile case study editorial media initiative that won a Trumpet award from the Publicity Club of Chicago.  

Some background: Weil-McLain, although a leading North American manufacturer of hydronic boilers, historically had minimal visibility in industry trade publications, a vital conduit to customers.

In addition to launching an ongoing editorial coverage campaign, LCWA recommended the sales force would benefit most from publication of case study articles that showcased how Weil-McLain boilers solve an array of heating challenges. 

However, case study articles are submitted to media every day with editorial space in print editions at a premium; even publications’ online versions do not use every article submitted. That’s why LCWA determined it critical to feature facilities that were decidedly distinctive to pique editor interest, such as:  
  • The Zion Episcopal Church, a Wisconsin landmark founded in 1846 by the Rt.
    Reverend Jackson Kemper, the first missionary Episcopal Bishop
  • The Mendota, Washington, D.C.’s oldest intact luxury apartment built in 1901
  • The Weyhill Guest House, a former farm house now used as an historic boutique bed and breakfast
  • A medical facility operated by a leading health care provider, Presence Health

The articles also needed to:
  • Focus on end-users’ unique challenges
  • Portray how Weil-McLain boilers responded to these challenges with high-tech, innovative features
  • Include strong customer endorsements

Another key tactic: development by LCWA of well-written, clever copy. A small sampling:
  • “Historic Church Sings Praises of New High Efficiency Condensing Boilers” (headline from Zion Church article)
  • “Pennsylvania Country Club Gets Guest House in Order with New Boilers” (headline for Weyhill Guest House article)
  • “A medical center in Chicago required a quick, efficient remedy to nurse its aging and failing boiler heating system back to good health” (lead to Presence Health article)
  • Advanced System ‘Harbors’ Efficient Heat for Chicago Condo Building” (headline for Belmont Harbor article)

Six in-depth case studies were researched, written and published in leading HVAC and engineering journals.

Prominent editorial coverage was gained in a major way. In just a 10-month period, a remarkable 56 print and online placements were attained (17 print and 39 online). That’s more than one per week! And, these were not just mere product mentions. Coverage ranged from two to four pages with large color photos.

Even more valuable, these articles vividly illustrated how Weil-McLain boilers solved major heating challenges and featured comments from customers that delivered impactful testimonials. Some examples:
  • Weil-McLain products restored this historic guest house to its former heating glory.”  
  • “These new boilers are more energy efficient, feature low-range pressure controls and have the ability to modulate.”
  • “We didn’t have a single service call through all of last year’s heating season, which says it all for the quality of the units.”
  • “It really is a phenomenal, efficient system and the energy savings have been fantastic.” 

These powerful, third-party endorsements conveyed through yet another influential third-party (the editorial media) boosted the Weil-McLain brand and provided the sales force with compelling information to present to sales prospects.

The "Making the Case for Weil-McLain Boilers" Campaign won a Silver Trumpet from the Publicity Club of Chicago in the category of Media Relations - Business to Business.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Award Spotlight: UCAOA “Urgency or Emergency?” Campaign

When unexpected health mishaps arise, many people’s first reaction is to head to an emergency room. But when those illnesses and injuries aren’t true emergencies, not knowing the best option for care – or, in the case of emerging freestanding emergency rooms, not understanding the types of facilities at which they’re seeking treatment – can end up costing patients both time and money.

Helping consumers nationwide, The Urgent Care Association of America’s (UCAOA) “Urgency or Emergency?” campaign educated patients about healthcare options, including urgent care centers and emerging free-standing emergency departments, to help select the best option for their needs.

To start, LCWA conducted a consumer survey to ascertain the level of awareness and understanding about urgent care services and drive audience selection and messaging. The survey found that the vast majority of patients understood urgent care offerings, and it also provided insights into how patients choose their healthcare options. LCWA also worked with UCAOA to mine the data from its annual benchmarking report to determine trends, including overall growth of centers, which services were most utilized and diagnoses seen most often, and insurance and payment data for comparison to other healthcare destinations.

Through additional secondary research, we learned that 27 percent of all ER visits could take place at an urgent care center or retail clinic, generating potential costs savings of approximately $4.4 billion annually, and that 98 percent of patients who visit urgent care centers are in the appropriate care setting.

With these findings in hand, we aimed outreach to the general public to inform them about the growing segment of free-standing emergency departments in the country, narrowing our target audiences from general consumers to millennial moms, who were shown to be more confused about health care choices, and to value the convenience and affordability offered by urgent care. The program’s objectives were:

  • Educating patients about the role of urgent care as a high-quality, affordable and convenient medical option for immediate but non-emergency, non-life threatening situations
  • Increasing public knowledge of free-standing emergency departments to decrease consumer confusion
  • Driving consumers to UCAOA social channels and web pages, including the custom landing page to locate the closest urgent care center,
To meet these objectives, we executed several components designed to educate patients about how urgent care is a better option than ERs – both traditional and free-standing – for illnesses and injuries that are not life- or limb-threatening, including gathering an expert panel of media spokespeople, a wide-scale national media launch with a full suite of press materials, an #UrgencyorEmergency social media blitz complete with an engaging infographic and Twitter chat, along with reactive outreach to industry trends and a seasonal pitch calendar to always stay top-of-mind with priority media.

For the busy back-to-school period, LCWA narrowed our focus to millennial moms, to educate young parents that urgent care is the best option for children’s illnesses and injuries during the school year. We reached this key audience through a back-to-school press release, collaboration with top mommy bloggers and an #UrgentCarePrepared hashtag contest.

The program garnered high-level results, such as 585 million media impressions with a media value of nearly $3 million, in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, NPR and Bloomberg, all with at least one key program message included in the article. On the social media and blogger side, program activities achieved nearly 45 million impressions.

As the program concluded, results showed that LCWA was able to educate patients on emerging healthcare options, drive interest in industry growth based on regional expansion, and keep UCAOA top-of-mind with key audiences while strengthening thought leadership. 

The Urgent Care Association of America won a Gold Trumpet from the Publicity Club of Chicago in the category of Marketing - Healthcare.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Award Spotlight: “Trex Makes It Easy”

Building a deck can be overwhelming but, in 2016, Trex set out to make things easier by introducing online tools to guide users through the deck planning process. L.C. Williams & Associates led PR and social efforts to engage consumers and drive them to key resources on the Trex website. The “Trex Makes It Easy” campaign combined proven PR methods executed in fresh ways with strategic influencer partnerships to deliver a record number of media and social impressions. Most important to Trex, the campaign contributed to a 30% YOY increase in traffic to, and a 99% increase in engagement with pages that deliver strong conversion and customer leads.

“Make It Easy” served as the thematic foundation for our award-winning program, which focused on elevating Trex as the undisputed leader in the composite decking category and positioning as a destination for expert help.

To elevate Trex as the undisputed leader in the composite decking category, we:
  • Issued an outdoor living forecast predicting trends from the experts at Trex with links to key resources on
  • Developed and placed bylined articles on behalf of Trex experts in priority trade journals
  • Maintained a consistent presence in influential consumer and trade media outlets
  • Maximized Trex’s presence and demonstrated new online tools at trade shows

To position Trex/ as a destination for expert help and resources, we:
  • Enlisted deck building experts and HGTV personalities Paul Lafrance and Kate Campbell to serve as campaign spokespeople (a.k.a. “Trexperts”)
  • Partnered with Houzz to conduct a trends presentation featuring the Trexperts during the International Builders Show (IBS)
  • Promoted Trex resources in a series of “how-to”-focused pitches and press releases, a Trex-exclusive satellite media tour (SMT), and social content – all strategically linked to purchase indicators on
  • Engaged influential home/shelter/design media with the online tools during interactive meetings with editorial decision makers from top print and digital titles based in NYC
  • Coordinated deck builds with influencers requiring use and promotion of the new online tools
  • Planned and executed seasonal social sweepstakes that drove entrants to online resources

As a result of this campaign, media impressions for Trex hit an all-time high of 1.4 billion in 2016, generating 120M+ additional impressions over 2015 and equaling more than $14.4 million in advertising value. Trex secured the most media placements in the decking industry with nearly 1,000 more hits than its closest competitor. From a messaging standpoint, more than 90% of the editorial coverage generated in 2016 can be tied to “Make It Easy” outreach.

Socially, Trex maintained the largest and most engaged brand community in the industry across channels managed by LCWA. The brand dominated social engagement among its key competitors in 9 out of 12 months and retained its position as the industry leader in fans and share of voice. Most notably, social efforts drove more than 43,000 clicks to

The "Trex Makes it Easy" Campaign won a Gold Trumpet from the Publicity Club of Chicago in the category of Marketing - Consumer.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Award Spotlight: Boise Paper “Office Life” Campaign

The Boise Paper “Office Life” social media and digital marketing campaign was designed to help Boise Paper foster awareness and engagement across its social media channels and develop advocates among professionals and consumers. Our approach consisted of rotating monthly business themes driven by social media content, online events and influencer partnerships.

Prior to launching the campaign, LCWA conducted a detailed online marketing analysis of Boise Paper and its primary competitors to determine the scope, strategy and expected outcomes of the digital marketing initiative. We also completed a search engine optimization test to test the efficacy of various keywords. Based on our findings, we developed key program objectives and sought to establish Boise Paper as an “office expert” and resource for the small business and consumer audiences.

To launch the campaign, we worked with Boise Paper to create, which highlights ongoing thought-leadership on office topics, product info and tips from an internal Boise Paper “Office Life” expert. We got creative with monthly themes like #WorkWithPurpose, which focused on tips – from gathering groups of volunteers to fundraising to donating gently used items – for “doing good” at work; #DeskForSuccess, where we presented practical organization tips for professionals; and #PaperPreparedness, which educated audiences about all different types of office paper, terms and features.

Each theme included a variety of activities, from creative content, infographics and videos, to Twitter chats and blogger partnerships. We also distributed customer emails and relied on banner ads to extend reach and drive clicks to the site.

Ultimately, the “Office Life” campaign proved to be extremely successful. We doubled social media impressions and engagements over 2015 levels, increased follower bases and drove massive clicks to our destination websites.

The Boise Paper 2016 "Office Life" Campaign won a Gold Trumpet from the Publicity Club of Chicago in the category of Online - Social Media Campaigns.

Friday, June 2, 2017

LCWA Celebrates Four Awards from PCC

Last night, I attended one of our agency’s favorite events – the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Golden Trumpet Awards dinner, held at the historic Palmer House Hilton. I enjoyed connecting with our industry peers and hearing a great speech from keynote speaker and Lifetime Achievement Award winner, David Axelrod.  And of course, it’s always great to celebrate award-winning client work, as we had four client campaigns honored by the PCC.

LCWA took home three Gold Trumpets and a Silver Trumpet in categories that were packed with great national brands and the top agencies in Chicago. Winners included:
  • Urgent Care Association of America, “Urgency or Emergency? Campaign,” Gold Trumpet in Marketing – Health category
  • Trex, “Trex Makes it Easy,” Gold Trumpet in Marketing – Consumer category
  • Boise Paper, “Office Life," Gold Trumpet in Online – Social Media Campaigns category
  • Weil-McLain, “Making the Case for Weil-McLain Boilers,” Silver Trumpet in Media Relations – Business-to-Business category
We appreciate this recognition from our peers, and congratulate all the winners at the PCC Golden Trumpet Awards! Visit the blog next week to read “Awards Spotlight” descriptions of each of our winning campaigns. 

Nutella and Rosé Pineapples

As the rain clouds have turned into sunshine around the Windy City, summer seems to finally be on the horizon. With the temperatures finally hitting in the 70s, here are some other hot finds from this week:
  • New AP Stylebook – The AP Stylebook released the revised 2017 version this week, which included nearly 200 new or revised entries. One of the most important revised entries for PR, is the endorsement of using “they” as a singular pronoun. According to AP, this was done for two reasons, the “recognition that the spoken language uses they as singular, and we also recognize the need for a pronoun for people who don’t identify as a he or a she.”
  • Nutella Cafe – The world’s first Nutella café opened not only in Chicago this week, but across the street from our office! The lines this week maintained a steady stream outside, aided by the sunny weather. Patrons enter through a door shaped like a Nutella jar, which also includes pendants shaped like hazelnut flowers and a ceiling designed to remind customers of Nutella waves.
  • Internet Trends Report – Mary Meeker, a tech industry analyst since the 1980s, has released her annual trends report which highlights changes on social media and on the web. Some of the key insights include that internet ad spend will surpass TV within the next six months, the influence of the growing image and voice search and the value of customer service on social media.
  • National Spelling Bee – The national spelling bee is this week, and in honor of such a prestigious event, Google has taken us all down a peg by sharing what the most popular misspelled word is from each state. For us Illinoisans, it is “appreciate,” however our lovely friends up north have trouble spelling their own state – Wisconsin. Check out the full list and map here.
  • Rosé Pineapples – If you are looking for the inflatable swans of 2017, look no further. A new pineapple genetically engineered to be pink on the inside will soon be filling up Instagram for those “oh so lovely” summer photos. Learn all about this trendy fruit here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Knowing When to Chill on the Netflix Marathon

Recently, the CEO of Netflix claimed the only competition the company faces is sleep. That was disturbing to the sleep experts and physicians at our client, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Already, people put too little priority on sleep and many do not get the seven or more hours per night needed for optimal health. We worked with the AASM to create a statement and tips on how to “binge-watch responsibly,” and distributed them on Tuesday – the same day as the highly-anticipated release of the newest season of “House of Cards.”

The tips for maximizing sleep while still getting caught up on your favorite show included:
  • Set an episode limit each night before you begin watching
  • Take a break between each episode to get out of the “auto-play” loop
  • Download episodes on your smartphone to control how many you watch at once
  • Schedule time on the weekend to catch up on your favorite shows
  • Use an app to filter blue light after sunset to minimize the alerting effects of brightly lit screens at night,
  • Stream videos to your TV instead of your mobile device at night to reduce exposure to brightly lit, handheld screens
  • Avoid using mobile devices while in bed
  • Turn off all screens at least a half-hour before bedtime
Many reporters have embraced the warning to not lose sleep in favor of your favorite shows, with stories appearing on, Vanity,, Market, Pop, and Digital Hopefully Netflix subscribers – and those watching Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Prime and every other streaming service – consider their health the next time they decide to watch “just one more” episode of their favorite show!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

AASM Partners with Teens to Teach #SleepRechargesYou

Teens need eight to 10 hours of sleep per night to promote optimal health, and when well rested, teens are more likely to be healthy, energetic and have a positive attitude toward life in general, helping them to be their best and do their best. Unfortunately, more than two-thirds of high school students in the U.S. are failing to get enough sleep on school nights, and research shows that 69 percent high school students in grades nine to 12 reported sleeping less than eight hours on an average school night. Insufficient sleep in teens can impact everything from grades, athletic performance and driving safety.

To help combat this serious health issue and spread that message that #SleepRechargesYou, LCWA and client American Academy of Sleep Medicine worked with teen influencers to effectively reach their peers where they “live” – on social media – and encourage their large teen followings to make sleep a priority.

These influencers all had numerous teen followers and focused on varied lifestyle interests such as sports or beauty. Each was provided with key messages about the importance of sleep, and encouraged to create Instagram posts and Tweets describing their personal challenges and victories in the battle to achieve healthy sleep. The content was met with high levels of engagement, including numerous comments from followers sharing how sleep affects their lifestyles.

The program, which can be viewed in its entirety here, reached more than 600,000 social media users and garnered 17,500 engagements on the subject of #SleepRechargesYou.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Rise of the Avolatte and the Fall of Network TV

As we head into Memorial Day weekend to kick off the much-awaited unofficial start of summer, stories from around the web were all over the place this week. Here are a few that caught my eye: 
  • Avolatte, Please – First the coffee world was taken by storm with the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino. Now it’s the avocado latte – better known as an avolatte. What was first created as a joke by a coffee shop in response to Australian millionaire Tim Gurner’s claim that young adults are unable to own homes because they blow their money on avocado toast and fancy lattes has now taken off down under. While both items are delicious on their own, I have a hard time imagining that this combination would be tasty.
  • Hashtag Fail – Mexican gubernatorial candidate Javier Zapata attempted to stand out from his competition and promote his candidacy via rented billboards and a quite literal custom campaign hashtag. What hashtag did he decide to use, you ask? #Hashtagcampaña, which quite literally translates to “campaign hashtag.” While
    this certainly got people talking, the jury’s still out on whether this was planned or not.
  • Down in the Dumps – With the official end of the 2016-17 television season taking place on Wednesday, network TV ratings continued to take a huge hit. Several shows attracted audiences of fewer than 700,000 viewers in live-plus-same-day viewings, and the lowest-rated network show finale came in with an average audience of 548,000. While networks are quick to attribute declining viewership to outdated measuring techniques, it’s evident that streaming services are continuing to take a larger and larger slice of pie.
  • Mind-blowing – Facebook revealed that it is hard at work on its new neuroscience center called the Center for Marketing Science Innovation. This space will be a place for the social network to conduct research that will help marketers and advertisers better understand what type of content resonates across platforms and devices. The lab will study users in a variety of situations (such as living rooms or conference rooms) meant to simulate viewing content in various settings, including on a desktop computer, mobile device or big-screen television.
  • By the Numbers – In celebration of the long weekend, WalletHub released an infographic about Memorial Day, including everything from the number of men and women who have served our country in war time to how many hot dogs are consumed every second between Memorial Day and Labor Day.