Friday, April 28, 2017

From ESPN to United, Another Big Social Media Week

Lately, it seems like getting on an airplane is a bad idea – whether you’re a giant bunny (really bad idea) or a stroller-toting mother of twins (leading to PR success for American Airlines). Get your popcorn (or pretzels) ready, turn off SportsCenter and get that arm loose because here are
some of the hottest trending topics from the past week:
  • Hey, you throw like a girl! NFL teams might need to add a new face to the draft board as WNBA number one pick Kelsey Plum took the internet by storm after her tremendous t-shirt throw at the Spurs game went viral
  • There are too many strollers on this plane (Samuel L. Jackson voice): American Airlines had its own phone-filmed customer service meltdown to deal with; see how they avoided making a bad PR situation way, way worse. Take notes, United (please)!
  • More like NO “Hare”: United’s PR team was surely hopping mad when they learned that a potentially world record-breaking giant rabbit died in the cargo hold on a flight from London to (yep, again) O’Hare, the scene of the previous incident.  
  • The Worldwide Leader in Mass Layoffs? ESPN made huge waves this week when it very publicly fired approximately 100 staff members, many of whom were recognizable on-air talent or reporters (and personally announced their own firings on social media) – causing a broader conversation about the future of the network and sports media in general.
  • Don’t get it twisted: Most were not salty about this delicious day, as brands, restaurants, celebs and everyone else on social media shared the pretzel pandemonium. But someone did have an issue…

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spring Cleaning for Social Channels and Other Interesting Finds

The ups and downs of springtime have nothing on the storms taking place in the media universe this week. Preferring calmer waters, I have identified some nice reads from the week in social media:
  • PR Newswire featured a post on its blog about creating viral content. The story is key, but the personality behind the story (or point of view) can have a strong impact on people’s desire to share the content. Of course, it’s imperative to find the proper medium, to know one’s audience and to hire the right people to get the job done well.
  • Fancy some spring cleaning? Spin Sucks posted some great thoughts on how to clean up your social media accounts for business and personal use during this typical time for tune ups. 
  • Face-to-face client and employee meetings aren’t always possible but are definitely desirable. This interesting article from Harvard Business Review suggests that in-person “asks” are more successful. How do you ask people to do things for you? 
  • Thanks to this article and photo gallery from DNA Chicago, I discovered an amazing Chicago photographer who photographs abandoned spaces in the city. I’ve long been drawn to such urban decay and invite you to take a look at the work

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Learning More at Ecore

One mantra at LCWA is total immersion in each client's
business. Such involvement is critical to successful PR programs.
That’s why I recently traveled to the Lancaster, Pa., headquarters of client Ecore, a leading producer of flooring performance surfaces for healthcare, hospital and fitness facilities, to participate in meetings with members of the Nursing Institute of Healthcare Design (NIHD). Ecore hosted the NIHD to glean valuable insights on healthcare facility design trends and the influence of nurses in the design of such environments.
In a freewheeling discussion hosted by Ecore executives, the NIHD group discussed several major trends. One such topic: the role of nurses in healthcare design. According to the NIHD, nurses are one of the most underutilized resources in the planning and design of clinical environments.
In addition to nurses’ role in healthcare design, our discussions covered challenges in designing the healthcare space. The group agreed that flooring is an important component, and that the latest philosophy in healthcare design utilizes evidence-based design strategies that link a hospital’s physical environment to healthcare outcomes.

We also received a tour of Ecore’s York, Pa., manufacturing plant, the only vertically integrated rubber recycling plant in the world. The facility produces many of Ecore’s flooring products including the Tru Collection specifically designed for healthcare.

The enlightening discussions and exciting plant tour provided compelling perspectives on healthcare design trends, and a firsthand look at the manufacturing process for Ecore’s innovative flooring products.

Friday, April 14, 2017

When United Skies Get A Little Less Friendly and You Can’t Drink Pepsi Anymore…

The sun came out (for a minute) and the colorful Easter eggs will be popping up soon…so it must be baseball season! Oh and SPRING! To put a (Easter) bunny hop in your step, here are some chocolate nuggets of happenings I stumbled upon this week:
  • PR Emergency! Every weary traveler sympathized with the physician (and ex-felon) who was dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight after refusing to give up his seat, and a leaked United staff memo addressing the incident only made things worse. This comes after United was scrutinized for kicking off female passengers wearing leggings (aka LeggingsGate) a few weeks earlier. Speaking of PR nightmares, maybe Pepsi and Sean Spicer can help them out! Probably not…
  • Calling All Bookworms! The internet was abuzz with content celebrating National Library Week, as book fanatics across the country shared their favorite tidbits about the quiet reading sanctuaries of knowledge. Here are 5 must-read picks for communication pros!
  • Spider Man, Meet Your Match! Speaking of worms, a newfound species of marine worm snails is making news. The marine snails are able to sling nets of mucus similar to Peter Parker himself. Similarly, tiny plankton also have a weapon up their sleeves, able to shoot out nematocysts that pierce prey and drag them back to be eaten! These discoveries have made sharks everywhere very jealous, causing some of these master predators to find new (less effective) ways to hunt prey!
  • All Eyes on April! April the Giraffe, that is. The lovely mother-to-be has still not given birth, much to the chagrin of the tens of millions eagerly watching her every move. Once the baby is born there will be a naming contest held at the zoo. My vote is for Freckles.
  • Excuse Me, There’s a Bat in my Human Food…Dead bat in bagged salad? Sounds like a diet-breaker. But it may still be a better option than the nutrient-lacking “people meat.” Studies suggest early humans demonstrated cannibalistic behavior at times for social or cultural motivations, not because humans were a good source of protein. With creatures like mammoths around, people were not considered a delicacy.
  • When Life Gives You Lemons, Build a Hyperloop! In response to President Trump’s call for design bids for the proposed wall along the US-Mexico border, one organization submitted a $1 trillion hyperloop transportation network. Rather than construct a barrier between the two countries, the hyperloop would create a shared nation along the border called Otra Nation, with an independent local government and nonvoting representatives in the US and Mexican legislatures. This is one of many hyperloop proposals, including one that could get people from Chicago to Pittsburgh in 47 minutes flat!
  • Forget the jelly beans! In London, egg cartons are being filled with something significantly more delicious than just colorful Easter eggs right now…meet the Dhan waffles! These doughnut, cake and waffle hybrid morsels come in a variety of flavors (even carrot cake) and look ridiculously scrumptious! Egg hunts would be way more fun if these were involved…
Have a great weekend! For those celebrating Easter, don’t forget the true history of the holiday! ;)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

User-Generated Content Soars in with Boise Paper’s Paper Airplane Contest

No matter where you are in your career, office boredom is bound to creep up on you at some point – especially during the doldrums of winter. To help office workers across the country alleviate their boredom at work, Boise Paper engaged its social media fans by asking to tap into their childhood skills and show off their best paper airplane for the chance to win a grand prize of $500.

Entrants in the #ByeByeOfficeBoredom Paper Airplane Contest were asked to use multipurpose paper or copy paper to build their airplane and then submit a photo or video of their creation. The airplanes were judged based on creativity and flight ability, and entrants were awarded a bonus point if they showed a ream of Boise paper in their photo or mentioned Boise Paper in their video. The contest generated 190 entries and allowed us to obtain several pieces of user-generated content that were used in social posts on Boise Paper’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Check out some of the entries below!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tapping a Market Within a Market

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) launched the telemedicine platform SleepTM to expand the reach, convenience and efficiency of sleep medicine across the country. As telemedicine continues to grow in the field of sleep medicine, AASM realized the virtual conferencing platform could also be useful to the durable medical equipment (DME) and home medical equipment (HME) providers who already have a presence in sleep medicine as providers of vital tools such as CPAP machines for sleep apnea.

LCWA and AASM created an educational campaign to demonstrate the benefits of telehealth for interactions between DME/HME providers and patients. LCWA targeted outlets dedicated to the DME/HME industry with a press release introducing the new platform, securing:
  • An interview with HME Business discussing how AASM developed the product and its many benefits to the DME/HME industry, reaching about 10,000 decision makers online and 18,000+ in print
  • A product/service listing in the March issue of HME Business reaching 18,000+ industry decision makers
  • An advertorial placement in HomeCare magazine that was seen by 30,000+ DME/HME industry decision makers. LCWA strategically selected the February issue of HomeCare for the placement due to its distribution at the Medtrade industry trade show.
The outreach ensured AASM messaging reached this very specific audience to generate DME/HME sales leads and grow use of the SleepTM platform.

Friday, April 7, 2017

From Measurement to Merriment

We had a very exciting week at LCWA! From measurement tips to learning from a consumer brand crisis and even a recommended reading list, there were some great tips and reads out there this week.
  • Upping the Measurement Game: Measurement - it's a constant struggle for PR firms, but one of the most important things we do. To brush up our skills, we had a great training on in the office on Tuesday, and also enjoyed these tips from PR Daily on signs you might need to enhance your measurement services. 
  • A New Pepsi Challenge: Public reaction to the latest Pepsi commercial was swift and severe. The company reacted just as quickly, pulling the ad and apologizing for any offence caused, and leaving lessons for marketers in its wake. 
  • Beyond Book Club: I finished up "A Gentleman in Moscow" and "Murder on the Orient Express" for my personal book clubs this month, so now it's time for some professional reading. Luckily, Ragan published its recommendations of 10 books every leader should read to point me in the right direction!
  • A Growing Team: The week started with a celebration as LCWA welcomed new team members and clients after acquiring PR firm JSH&A. I've already loved getting to know my new colleagues and am excited to see all of the great work our new joint team will be doing in the future!

Monday, April 3, 2017


I am thrilled to share this news! 

CHICAGO – April 3, 2017 – L.C. Williams & Associates (LCWA) has acquired the business of JSH&A, an Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., public relations firm. 
JSH&A brings food and beverage expertise and a long history of work with major brands and household names.  It will complement LCWA’s current roster of clients in the home and housewares, healthcare, and business-to-business sectors.  LCWA and JSH&A each have been in business for more than 30 years in the Chicago area.

“We are a perfect match for both our clients and teams because JSH&A and LCWA share similar values and a commitment to delivering outstanding client service,” said Kim Blazek Dahlborn, president and CEO of LCWA.  “Our teams provide clients with the best of both worlds: big agency thinking with the dedication typically found in a smaller firm.  We always have respected the high quality, award-winning work of JSH&A.”
Jonni Hegenderfer founded JSH&A in 1989.  The firm soon became known for its strong marketing expertise, especially for food and beverage clients.  Teams at JSH&A have helped leading consumer packaged goods brands drive consumer awareness, engagement and advocacy through traditional and social media programs.  The agency’s trademarked LIF™style approach helped the agency earn numerous industry awards, including Consumer Marketing Agency of the Year by Bulldog Reporter
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our combined teams and the great clients they serve, offering an expanded roster of highly talented professionals and resources,” said Hegenderfer.  “LCWA is known for its commitment to client service with a focus on delivering impact and bottom-line results.  It will be exciting to watch the creative programming that develops in the future.”

JSH&A staff relocated to LCWA’s office in downtown Chicago.  Clients of the combined firm include First Alert, Beam Suntory, Trex, Conagra Brands, Electrolux, DAP, Culligan International and Boise Paper. 

Providing full-service public relations and communications services, LCWA is one of the top 10 independent firms in Chicago.  The company is ranked in the top three agencies specializing in home products and in the top 45 agencies working in healthcare and in professional services, according Jack O’Dwyer’s list of national, independent PR firms.  More information on the firm is available at

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