Friday, July 28, 2017

Stormtroopers, Shoes & Slime?!

And just like that July nears an end and clocks start the 150-day countdown to Christmas. This month’s headlines may have been filled with presidential updates, antics and political banter, but we’ve found our fair share of news nuggets, pop culture trends and PR industry happenings. Let’s round out the month with just a few of this week’s favorite finds.
  • How Do You Watch TV? Nielsen knows that people aren’t watching TV like they used to, and is working on ways to provide its clients, both advertisers and traditional TV networks, the most accurate view of who’s consuming content and how. A recent AdWeek article noted that it’s still too early to tell what Nielsen’s new live TV viewing analysis of streaming services such as Hulu and YouTube TV will show, but this writer sure is intrigued.
  • Choo-Choo the Deals Rolling In! On Tuesday, Michael Kors Holdings said it had agreed to buy the shoe company Jimmy Choo for roughly $1.2 billion. While some experts were surprised considering recent slow profits from Kors or a decline in mall traffic, others say the strategy to build a luxury group focused on international fashion brands is smart. Time will tell if Jimmy Choo will take a step (pun intended!) into more accessible footwear or perhaps even categories such as fragrances or sunglasses.
  • Summer of Slime Who’s to blame for the latest slime summer fad? The unicorns, perhaps? If slime recipes and videos haven’t crossed your social news feeds yet, consider yourself lucky. The modern-day Silly Putty is captivating teens and tweens as they scourer their parent’s cabinets for glue, Bora­­x, baking soda or glitter. And brands like Elmer’s are taking notice by actively sharing child-safe recipes that have received nearly 200,000 social media mentions since March 1. It doesn’t appear that this fad is dying, so be sure to experience the satisfyingly stretchy goo for yourself by searching “slime recipe on your favorite social channel and see what rainbow project pops up.
  • Listen to This – When it comes to product design, inspiration comes from many different places. In fact, you’d probably be surprised where some of the most iconic designs originated. According to a recent TechCrunch story, Apple’s instantly recognizable white plastic earbuds were in part influenced by Star Wars Stormtroopers. Can you see it? And, Coca-Cola’s glass bottle? Well, the curvy shape was crafted by the Root Glass Company in Indiana who entered a contest in 1915, submitting a design inspired by the cocoa pod simply because it had an appealing shape. More than 100 years later the company’s winning design still stands on store shelves.

Here’s looking at you August!

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.