Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Talking Shop (Photoshop That Is)

The lines between forms of communication are blurring, and design technology is more accessible than ever with programs like Canva and Photoshop. Consequently, PR and marketing professionals are finding design to become an increasingly necessary skill. Recently, members of our Chicago PR team attended a workshop held by the American Marketing Association which highlighted a few high-level design concepts.
Looking for a design refresher? Here are a few thoughts on design gleaned from the workshop that you can use in everything from digital ads to Facebook posts:
  1. You're Just My Type - The words you write can communicate more than what they say. For example, do you get a different feeling from the Coca-Cola logo than from the FedEx logo? The classic script from Coca-Cola echoes the company's heritage,  while the bold, sturdy FedEx type (along with the hidden arrow - if you don't know what I mean, check it out) shows reliability. Pick the typeface (a family such as Arial) and font (an individual such as Arial Bold Italic) to enhance the visual story you are telling. Pro tip: Less is always more. Two fonts, three at most. And every time you use Comic Sans on anything that is not a comic strip, a designer weeps.
  2. Showing Your True Colors - Why is a smiley face yellow but an angry face is red? Color psychology details the subconscious connections we all have between colors and our lives. Not only can choosing the right color tell your story, but it can also add new meaning to that color by connecting it with your brand. Without thinking about it, viewers can see your materials and identify the content with your brand based on the visual cues alone. To keep the Coke example goingCoca-Cola has their shade of red trademarked (Known as KU Crimson #F40009).
  3. Take Your Pix - Its not only what you share, but how you share it. Bitmap images are made of pixels and commonly see in digital photos, while vector images are composed of shapes and lines allowing them to be scaled up to any size. When working with bitmap images (as they are more common) make sure to only scale within the limits of your desired outputa.k.a. if you are looking to print, make sure you have at least 300 pixels per square inch, or 72 ppi for digital. 
Armed with this newfound design knowledge, go forth and create. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Week of Remembrance

 It has been a week of remembering the past while looking toward the future. People have come together in times of crisis, becoming stronger together. Here are a few stories from the past week:
  • Chicago Remembers 9/11 - 17 years after the tragic events in New York City, people around the country have been sharing memories of 9/11. Back in 2001, 500
    Chicagoans traveled to Ground Zero, and this week they recalled some powerful, personal stories. Check out this story about how our city helped our nation in need.
  • Lisa Brennan-Jobs Remembers Her Father, Steve Jobs - This week Apple launched two new phones and a new watch, but another story from Apple is making headlines too. Apple's founder Steve Jobs had a complicated relationship with his family, and his daughter's personal account of the relationship was detailed in her new memoir "Small Fry." Her stories have caused some controversy, with other family members questioning the portrayal of the man they knew.
  • Air BnB Helps Those in Crisis Today - Hurricane Florence continues to threaten the East Coast, but one brand is trying to do its part in helping those in trouble. By activating their "Open Homes" system that has been in place since 2012, Air BnB allows evacuees and relief workers to log in to an Air BnB account and book a new place to stay for free.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Passport to International PR

Even when you’re a household brand name like Trex, things can get lost in translation. Ove
r the past decade, the leading manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing has focused on expanding its global footprint. Today, Trex products are available in more than 40 countries. As the PR agency of record for Trex, the LCWA home PR team has been at the forefront of introducing and driving preference for the brand in these new markets through public relations, specifically by maximizing earned media coverage across priority markets including Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Successfully executing PR on an international level takes strategy, advanced planning and a little local insight. Through our involvement in the Public Relations Global Network, we have had the pleasure to partner with some of the finest independent firms in the world, who act as extensions of our LCWA account team. In essence, we are the central hub for Trex global public relations, providing strategic direction, developing core content, and ensuring brand consistency, while our agency partners serve as in-market experts, offering local insight and customization to ensure our approaches and materials reach and resonate with their intended audiences.

While we aim to promote and deliver one brand everywhere, we have learned that one size does not fit all when it comes to international PR. Here are a few tips and tricks for achieving PR success on a global scale:

1. Be Aware of Brand Awareness. 
In the U.S., Trex has been virtually synonymous with composite decking since the company first invented and introduced the concept back in 1996. While the brand has earned enviable brand awareness domestically, international awareness is a much different story. In fact, the whole idea of wood-plastic composites (WPC) is relatively new to international audiences – thus impacting the direction, tone and focus of our global outreach.

2. Know the Market. 
We learned quickly that expanding internationally would require much more than just expanding our media distribution lists. Each of Trex’s priority markets came with its own unique set of characteristics and challenges. Beyond the anticipated cultural and lingual differences, each market had distinctive distribution channels and product offerings, as well as differing levels of understanding of and receptiveness to WPC products. For example, German consumers are avid DIYers but need proof of product quality and performance, while French consumers value eco-friendly products and prefer to enlist professional contractors to build their decks. These insights influence the focus of our messaging when developing programming and materials for each market.

3. Master the Language. 
While in most of the markets we target for Trex, English is widely understood and used, differences in diction and nuances in enunciation play a key role in communicating and establishing Trex as culturally authentic. Our agency partners lend their local expertise by customizing materials to reflect local trends, expressions and colloquialisms. For instance, where we often compare Trex decking to wood in the U.S., our partners in the UK and Australia refer to “timber” instead. Additionally, a “garden” in the UK can refer to a deck or patio, not just a bed of flowers or vegetables. In Germany, “decking” translates to “outdoor flooring.” But our favorite phraseology by far is the reference to “secret fixings” in the UK when referring to the Trex Hideaway hidden fastening system. It sounds like something straight out of a Sherlock Holmes novel.

4. Appear Authentic. 
It’s not enough to use the right words – the right images are important as well. We learned early on in our international expansion process that pictures of elaborate, multi-tiered Trex decks with vast ocean views did not necessarily resonate with consumers in France, Germany and the UK where backyards are much more modest in size. Landscape, too, has to be considered. For instance, we can’t provide our Australian PR team with outdoor living images that have evergreens or maple trees in the background. This attention to detail allows our international teams to provide media with suitable images, increasing opportunities for coverage. In some cases, we have worked with our agency partners to source local photographers and coordinate market-specific photo shoots to capture imagery that is truly authentic and relatable.

A strong sense of brand combined with attention to cultural distinctions have been the driving forces behind our international expansion efforts for Trex. Through seamless collaboration with our agency partners, we have been able to successfully drive awareness and preference for Trex in all of its key markets. Vive le Trex!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Influence and Controversy

While the week was short, we still had plenty of trending news to keep us busy on social! Here are my top picks from this week:

·         Insta Shopping – Instagram is considering another new app – this time IG Shopping – that would let users browse goods that they would be able to purchase directly from the app. Currently, more than 25 million businesses already have Instagram accounts, and nearly two million advertise on the platform. Additionally, four out of five Instagram users follow at least one business. Instagram has declined to comment on any specifics thus far, but definitely something to watch!

·         Fowl Play – At the U.S. Open this week, a woman was caught dipping her chicken finger into her Coke. This has led to mass controversy on whether this is a “sin” toward the chicken finger or the soda, including some suggesting she should “go to jail” for such an offense. You can decide for yourself after watching the ESPN clip here.

·         College Influencers – The latest way to help with college tuition is by being a social media brand influencer. The New York Times found the number of college students who are also brand influencers is steadily increasing. Victoria Secret, for example, has ambassadors at more than 100 campuses, and Virginia Tech estimates more than 1,000 students are being paid to promote products on campus. That can certainly be a nice resume-builder!

·         Gone Viral – Lindsey Lohan is making waves this week – all the way in Mykonos, Greece. The actress shared a video that an onlooker posted of her dancing, saying #DotheLilo. This has since gone viral with people recreating her dance. Here’s to Lindsey jamming out in Greece, check the video out yourself or even recreate it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Shorter Name, Bigger Audience

Our client, the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) recently changed its name to the Urgent Care Association (UCA), and the organization is leveraging the rebranding as an opportunity to engage and expand its membership base. Just like its industry, the UCA is evolving, offering education, networking opportunities, advocacy, tools and connections for an ever-growing array of on-demand healthcare providers.

LCWA assisted the organization in communicating the new name and its tagline – “Your Gateway to Better” – by developing targeted key messages, creating thoughtful and innovative news materials, writing informative introductory email announcements and generating media coverage in major trade publications. Showcasing UCA as a nimble association evolving to meet industry needs while reaching new audiences, ongoing PR campaigns will help UCA engage new and existing members and continue positioning the association as the go-to expert for urgent health needs.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

While the first day of fall isn’t until September 22nd, the internet this week was all things fall, from upcoming movie premieres and the return of the PSL to odd fall fashion trends. Also, some fast-food chains are making noise in the news this week. Here are my favorite finds:

Welcome Back #PSL: It may not feel like fall just yet, but that won’t stop the return of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte at Starbucks. According to Vox, within a decade of its launch in 2003, the PSL became Starbucks’ top-selling drink, with more than 200 million of them sold. In 2015, Forbes estimated the PSL brought in around $100 million in revenue over a single season. And, now it’s a cultural phenomenon signifying summer is coming to an end. Cheers to fall!

Fall Movie Season is Here: From Awards bait to reboots, it’s time to map out what to watch and what to skip this fall. Harry Potter fans can rejoice because the most anticipated movie goes to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. For Lady Gaga admirers, get ready for the reboot of A Star is Born, also starring and directed by Bradley Cooper. And, cue the Halloween theme song… Michael Myers is back in the new installment of Halloween, returning Jamie Lee Curtis. Click links for trailers and read more via Deadline.  

Fall Fashion Trend Alert: Fashion brand Balenciaga this week announced a $9,000 (yes, $9,000) layered, oversized parka, which is literally seven jackets sewn together. The Internet was quick to catch on that the look is very reminiscent of a scene from Friends when Joey wears all of Chandler’s clothes at once. “Could I be wearing anymore clothes?”

KFC’s Latest Marketing Stunt: KFC announced on Wednesday that it will give away $11,000 toward a college education to the first baby named Harland on September 9. Harland is the first name of the fast-food company’s founder, Colonel Sanders, who was born on September 9th, reports The Atlantic. Beginning on that day, parents can submit the name, date and time of their baby Harland’s birth. How far will you go for your kid’s college tuition?

Pizza Wars: In response to a letter Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter issued earlier this week, a special committee of the company's board of directors released an open letter accusing Schnatter of disobeying the board and undermining CEO Steve Ritchie, according to CNN. This is the latest in an increasingly heated exchange between Schnatter and Papa John's current leadership. Food fight!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Bloggers Take on Speed Cleaning With the Rejuvenate Click n Clean

With so many home products on the market, consumers continue to turn to bloggers to find the best products. During the past couple of months, the Rejuvenate home PR team worked with bloggers to coordinate a campaign to show how the Rejuvenate Click n Clean can clean any floor surface in the home – and fast.

To reach our target audience of parents, homeowners and savvy spenders, we searched for lifestyle bloggers who often incorporated cleaning or home content into their posts. All of the bloggers we chose to test the Click n Clean generated positive content. Many highlighted how they could clean their floors with ease, especially when compared to using a mop and bucket!

Tile, laminate, wood and even grout were put to the test and the Click n Clean had the ability to clean them all. The bloggers provided readers with great content from unboxing photos to before and after shots! The grout cleaner stood out to many of the bloggers, who noted how simple it made cleaning those hard to reach spots. Overall the blogger program crushed our goal of 20 placements and 300,000 impressions, ending with 64 blog and social media placements and 1,206,356 total impressions! This campaign was a clean sweep! 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Socially-inspired Brand Evolutions

In the era of digital dominance and social influence, brands that don’t redefine their core values or re-strategize PR and marketing efforts will fall behind. Here are my favorite finds this week of how some brands are reinventing themselves:

Wild Animals Roam Free – After 116 years of imprisonment, the iconic Barnum’s Animals uncaged its animal crackers – and it’s a huge hit on social media. After pressure from the animal rights organization PETA, the classic Nabisco snack rolled out a redesign of its packaging that historically featured animals behind bars. Now, the box shows the animals asserting their freedom on the savannah!

Death of the Department Store – Nordstrom continues to innovate by becoming not just a brick-and-mortar, but a digital, engagement-focused company. In its latest venture, Nordstrom has brought several Instagram-famous brands, most recently Lively, to its stores with pop-up shops and mini stores. Business Insider thinks Nordstrom could survive the retail war against e-commerce.

Social Travel – When it comes to vacation, more than one-third of millennials say that posting great vaca pics is just as important as the actual experience. Even more, 37% say the ability to post beautiful images and videos influences their travel destination and 43% won’t go on holiday with being able to check in on Facebook. Millennials are living the Insta-life!

Guide to Identifying Influencers – With the fast-growing number of social influencers, every company is navigating how to make influencer marketing work for their brand – and ensure they are getting the bang for their buck. Forbes offers tips to help vet social influencers and determine their actual social clout before signing on the dotted line.

Sesame Street Social Cred – In a viral YouTube video, Bert and Ernie parody The Fresh Prince of Bel-air theme song to tell the story of how they became best friends and roommates – and it’s fantastic! Sesame Street residents are certainly putting a new spin on the much-loved children’s show. The clip comes after Oscar the Grouch fired back at Big Bird on Twitter last month.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

UnitedHealthcare Helps Seniors Battle Hunger with Meal Pack Challenge

Across the country and here in Illinois, many older adults face the challenges of hunger for a variety of reasons: poverty, disability and lack of social support or transportation.

According to a report from longtime client UnitedHealthcare, approximately 15 percent of
U.S. adults aged 60 or older — about 10 million people — are food insecure, meaning they eat less or their eating patterns are disrupted because of a lack of resources. The numbers in Illinois are slightly worse and trending in the wrong direction. In the past five years, the rate of food insecurity in our state increased from 12.5 percent to 15.3 percent. This means nearly 1 in 6 Illinois seniors often go without and Illinois ranks below average nationally at No. 33.

Research shows food insecurity is a strong predictor of health problems such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, pulmonary disease, depression and diabetes. As 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, this is an issue we cannot ignore.

By ensuring older adults in Illinois have access to food — especially healthy, nutritious foods — we can help them live longer, healthier and happier lives. Businesses, nonprofits, community groups and individuals in Illinois must work together to fight hunger among our older citizens.

In an effort to meet this growing need, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) partnered with AARP to help provide one-million meals to be distributed to in-need seniors throughout the Chicago-area.  UHC volunteers, along with volunteers from other supporting companies such as Chase, worked diligently on a Saturday, rapidly filling and packing bags and boxes full of ingredients that would make for a nutritional and filling meal. 

LCWA did its part by not only participating in the filling and packing, but by securing interviews for UHC’s Rick Dunlop, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement in Illinois, on both WGN radio and WGN-TV. In addition, the LCWA team provided a continual stream of on-site photos for use on UHC’s social channels.

By all measures, the event was a success and UHC and AARP plan on holding a similar event in Washington D.C. in September as part of the “Summer of Service for Seniors” initiative with the goal of providing 2.5 million meals this year to those in-need.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Weekly Roundup – Robots, Movies and More!

Yet again, the Internet was abuzz with political news, scientific innovations and social media chatter. Here are a few of my favorite finds:

Say What? We all know how cryptic IKEA instruction booklets can be. Six-plus hours later
and perhaps even a threat to a friendship or relationship, your furniture might be fully assembled. But behold, there may be hope in your future. Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a system of two robotic arms that are capable of assembling IKEA chairs in 20 minutes. Who knows if they’ll make it to the states anytime soon or what the likelihood is for them to assist with your project, but one can dream.

Talk about Crazy Hype
– Curious about the hype behind Crazy Rich Asians? Here’s a quick rundown. 1) It’s based on the 2013 best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan; 2) It’s the first Hollywood film in 25 years to star an all-Asian cast; and 3) It’s about an Asian-American woman who visits Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time only to discover he’s basically the Prince William of Asia. The film scored 100% on movie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes before it even hit theatres! According to the director, it’s more than a movie. It’s a movement to shift the way Asian actors are viewed in Hollywood.

Moving Soon? If you’re looking for a place that offers top-notch healthcare, stability and a great environment, check out the latest list of the world’s most liveable cities. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Vienna has ended Melbourne’s seven-year reign as the top city, scoring a near perfect score of 99.1 out of 100 in the index. Cities in Australia and Canada took six of the 10 spots with the United States again missing out. (Are you surprised?!)

Just Out of Curiosity – The art of selling a product is more than creating a compelling sales presentation or having the perfect elevator pitch. While those tactics certainly help, forging a meaningful conversation with a customer or media partner is also key. To eventually sell something, you must keep a conversation going to 1) learn enough about the prospect and 2) propose a deal that makes sense to that prospect. According to Geoffrey James, contributing editor for Inc.com, the most important four words to keep the conversation are: “Just out of curiosity…” It’s a response to show you’re not discounting the prospect, but simply want to educate yourself about their decision. Read more about how these four little words can turn a “no” into a “yes.”

A Fountain of Youth – Imagine a world where some of us could live longer, maybe even indefinitely. A team of scientists at a British university says its latest experiments have revealed “exciting” progress on the road to “reverse aging.” At the risk of overselling, the scientists conceded that a real life anti-aging pill is still far in the future, but they’ve made noteworthy progress by developing the ability to “reverse the aging of human cells,” which could provide the basis for future anti-degeneration drugs.
WOW! First robots that can build IKEA furniture and now the possibility of immortality?! This writer needs a break from what once was only part of science-fiction films.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CNN Showcases 200 Years of Beam Family Bourbon

Recently, LCWA worked with CNN International to profile the storied history of JimBeam in a segment for the station’s “100 Club” program. Featuring brands rich in history with legacies dating back more than 100 years, the “100 Club” segment was a perfect chann
el to seed key brand messages and further position Jim Beam as the world’s No. 1 selling bourbon.

To help tell this story, LCWA arranged one-on-one interviews for CNN producers at the historic Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Ky. with Seventh Generation Master Distiller Fred Noe and his son Eighth Generation Distiller Freddie Noe. Together, they spoke about the family’s history, sharing tales of the generations before them, and the bright future of both the brand and bourbon category.

 The segment also shared moments of Beam’s faithful fans touring the Jim Beam American Stillhouse – the first stop along the infamous Kentucky Bourbon Trail – and highlights from Fred and Freddie’s interactions with them as they tasted the history found in all of Jim Beam’s fine bourbons.

LCWA supplemented the interview with drone footage of the distillery, behind-the-scenes b-roll, and never-before-seen post-Prohibition footage from the Beam family archives featuring Jim Beam. The added visuals helped bring the story to life.

The segment aired globally across CNN.com and quickly sparked attention from bourbon fans as far as Singapore. Cheers!

Friday, August 10, 2018

You Can’t Hide From Beyoncé, the Brady’s and Bachelor Nation

This week we watched as the Bachelor finale stirred a mix of reactions, the iconic Brady Bunch house balanced a bidding war and Beyoncé graced the world with her historic Vogue cover. Read along for some of my favorite finds:
  • Beyoncé Slays, Again – The September issue of Vogue, the most important issue of the year, hit shelves this week with Beyoncé gracing the cover. Fans bowe
    d down all over Twitter, and not just to the Queen herself, but to her history making photograph Tyler Mitchell. He’s the first African American to shoot a Vogue cover in the magazines 126 year history.
  • Try My Bowls” – Jack in the Box is in the hot seat this week. Their latest ad brings sexual innuendos into the workplace with Jack trying to spread the word about his new teriyaki bowls. But in the #metoo era, many are questioning if this was the best creative angle for the team to take.
  • Intentional Facebooking – Facebook and Instagram announced they will soon be releasing new “Time Management” tools so you can see just how much time you’re spending everyday mindlessly scrolling through your feeds. We can’t imagine what those numbers will look like for those of us actually working in the social media world.
  • Wanted: to BORROW an Orange Cat – Yes borrow, not buy, and just for a quick 24-48 hours. The interesting headline of an ad that went viral on Reddit this week was posted by an “an increasingly desperate (but not crazy) mom” who just wanted to help her two young kids have a lasagna dinner with Garfield. No word yet on if she was able to find an orange cat but stay tuned, she promised Mashable an update…
  • Bachelorette Mayhem - Bachelorette Becca Kufrin picked her winner, uh I mean fiancé, Monday night in the season 14 finale – and fans were not happy. The internet reacted poorly to her picking Garrett Yrigoyen, though he does have a way with words coining the new phrase "You give me like...eagles" to express his feelings. A new season of Bachelor in Paradise kicked off this week too, so there’s no shortage of drama for Bachelor-franchise fans to decipher these days.
  • A Very Brady House Sale – “Here’s a story of a shady Brady,” Instagrammed Lance Bass this week when he found out he, in fact, did not place the winning bid for the iconic Brady Bunch house. Though he showed no hard feels a day later when he found out the winning bidder was actually HGTV who promised to restore the house to its 1970s glory.
  • Deep Dish vs. NY Style Pizza – New Yorkers did not take the news very well when it was announced this week the U.S. Pizza Museum would be popping up in Chicago and not New York. They’re arguing the museum belongs with their thin-crust slices, many even saying the location made as much sense as a Museum of Snow in Miami. Don’t worry about us though, we’re just over here enjoying our Giordano’s and watching this age-old debate play out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Talking Trends with HGTV’s Kate Campbell

TV Celebrity carpenter Kate Campbell is defying stereotypes as one of the stars of HGTV home improvement shows “Decked Out,” “Disaster Decks” and “Holmes on Homes.” She’s found her calling and encourages other women to make their way into a field overwhelmingly dominated by men. Recently, she also tackled her own home renovation – proving that even the most intimidating DIY projects are within reach!

At a time when many homeowners are looking for ideas on how to spruce up their backyards, we took Kate’s message of empowerment to potential DIYers across the country by coordinating a television and radio satellite media tour with Kate for our client Trex Company. Broadcasting from her very own Trex deck at her home outside of Toronto, Kate offered viewers tips on the latest trends in outdoor living – from using low-maintenance materials like composite decking to incorporating design trends such as “hygge”(pronounced hoo-gah), a Scandinavian term that means “comfy and cozy.

In addition, she also took away the “fear factor” by educating viewers on a variety of DIY projects – such as deck resurfacing or installing a pergola – for any skill level.

It’s a message that was well received by media – a record 27 separate media outlets booked interview time slots with Kate, resulting in placements in markets across the county during the hot summer season!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Avocados, Birthdays and Viral Videos Take Over Twitter This Week

Social media was full of interesting trends this week – from bankruptcies to birthdays, here are my favorite finds:
  • Every Millennial's Favorite Holiday – National Avocado Day on Tuesday inspired many people to share their love for avocados (and Antoni Porowski), through memes and videos on social media. However, National Avocado Day didn’t go as planned for Chipotle… customers who ordered a side of guacamole via the Chipotle App or on its website, could use a coupon code and get a free side guac. Unfortunately, the online orders resulted in an unprecedented increase in new digital customers – which crashed their app and in turn, customers could not get their free guacamole.
  • Speaking of Avocados… – Bachelor and bachelorette parties might be the new avocado toast. A study from Zillow shows that many members of wedding parties are spending too much money on pre-wedding parties. This may be a new reason why millennials are finding buying a home to be difficult.
  • Happee Birthdae, Harry Potter – Harry Potter fans celebrated his 38th birthday, many using the coined “Happee Birthdae” from the kind, but illiterate, Hagrid on July 31st. Tributes to Potter were all over twitter as were tweets to J.K. Rowling, whose birthday was also Tuesday.
  • All Good Things Must Come to an End… – Virgin America has merged with Alaska Airlines which means the end of Virgin America’s legendary safety film. In honor of the video being retired, one flight attendant decided to put on a show for his passengers, dancing along to the video. I’m sure he was viral before the flight even landed.
  • Including Brookstone – Shoppers will have to look elsewhere for massage chairs and headphones. Brookstone filed for bankruptcy, and will be closing all of their mall stores. The chain is hoping to keep 35 of its remaining airport stores open. With the loss of Brookstone, how will people waste time at malls?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Catapulting Content to Consumers: DAP RapidFuse Out with the Old, In with the Glue Campaign

A broken coffee cup. A loose earring stone. Or even a thrift store upcycling project. These
are just a few examples of how DAP’s RapidFuseAll Purpose Adhesive can bond nearly everything to anything, for both fixing broken items and creating special projects. In order to communicate this functionality to consumers, the LCWA home PR team designed the Out with the Old, In with the Glue campaign to inspire and educate them on ways to use this handy adhesive with real-life project examples.

First, we tapped DIY influencer and creative upcycler Dinah Wulf of the popular blog DIY Inspired to develop the content--relatable, shareable RapidFuse project ideas. Dinah developed two blogs posts and videos to demonstrate “fix” and “create” uses: 
Next, a multi-pronged distribution plan amplified the content to consumers:
  • On Social Channels: Dinah and DAP shared all content across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus Dinah hosted a Facebook Live during which
    she conducted live project demonstrations and engaged participants;
  • Through editorial content with a DIY-focused MAT release (that earned above-average placements) touting the easy DIY projects and a 3-project editor mailing that delivered quick and easy projects for editors to test the product;
  • And across digital platforms with paid content discovery, extending the reach of the content even further.   
Overall, the Out with the Old, In with the Glue campaign delivered 138MM+ impressions and 10k+ engagements across traditional and digital platforms. The right influencer partnership can be an efficient spend when leveraged in multiple ways to creatively deliver brand key messages, project ideas and usage tips with high quality photos and video.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Here Come the Dog Days

This week, millennials say “buh buy” to work, Facebook gets worked and that $27 you spent on a bottle of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “… protective mist designed to shield you from negative energy and safeguard your aura” probably isn’t working. Luckily, Michael Scott and some partyin’ pups are here for the nightshift. 
  • Beats the Break Room: While the LCWA office is far more functional than the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin (trust us), starting today Replay Lincoln Park is hosting a “The Office”- themed pop-up bar. Replay says there will be “… themed drinks, photo ops, and hidden Easter eggs to find.”
  • Network Disconnect: The Cambridge Analytica scandal (among others) appears to be catching up to Facebook’s bottom line. With executives warning that profit margins will decrease for years due to costs infringed by improving privacy and implementing other safeguards, shares lost as much as 25 percent of their value this week.
  • Goop-Oops: From bee-sting therapy and lymph flow-slowing brushes, to salt shampoo and $80 rose quartz water to give you “positive energy,” Gwyneth Paltrow’s often criticized – and extremely profitable – wellness company Goop has hired a fact-checker after its products’ health claims continue to be denounced as modern-day snake oil.
  • Raise the WOOF: Help your “Hound Dog” get ready for the weekend with this pooch-packed Spotify playlist, courtesy of Mashable. If your party turns into a “Three Dog Night,” you may be inclined to ask your neighbors “Who Let the Dogs Out?”
  • It was just sooo awkward”: Millennialls (sorry) are at it again! “Ghosting” – an act usually reserved for a bad Tinder date, has now moved into the workplace. From not showing up on the first day of a new job, missing interviews with no notice and even just disappearing from a current role, things are getting spooky – potentially forcing changes in hiring processes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Dashes for Early Detection

LCWA recently helped our client the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation raise awareness for its annual DASH for Detection 5K walk/run to help fight for an early detection test for pancreatic cancer, which is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., with the lowest survival rate.

Early detection of pancreatic cancer can significantly improve survival rates for this deadly disease. While survival rates for other major cancers have significantly increased thanks to early detection research, basic research grants for pancreatic cancer are lacking. Funds raised during the DASH for Detection help advance the development of early detection.  

To reach our target Chicagoland audience, LCWA launched a three month media outreach and social media campaign. We identified two local spokespeople with impactful personal stories involving pancreatic cancer and the Rolfe Foundation to highlight in pitching and participate in interviews. Through outreach to top Chicago media, we secured multiple interviews, feature stories and roundups leading up to the event.

LCWA also supported the DASH on social media, including targeted Facebook content and ads that led to high engagement and hundreds of clicks directly to the event’s registration page. We also tapped one of our spokespeople to share her story and promote the DASH during an encouraging Facebook Live chat.

The 2018 DASH for Detection on the beautiful Chicago lakefront was a big success for our client. It was attended by families who have lost loved ones to pancreatic cancer, those currently fighting the disease and supporters. We’re proud to play a role in driving awareness for this emotional and high-energy gathering of those passionate about funding early detection research for pancreatic cancer. Stay tuned for more Rolfe Foundation events and programs and learn how to get involved in this vital cause here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Set, Goal, Home Run – This Week in Sports!

It’s been a big sports week for even the most hesitant sports fans – from crowning the new king of soccer to upsets in the most historic tennis tournament – because it’s hard not to find joy in watching athletes at the top of their game doing what they do best. The outcome isn’t always what fans anticipate, but that’s what makes it exciting. Sports are also a welcome distraction to other things going on around the world, so I’m taking this post to talk about the incredible sports stories of this week.
  • Wimble-DONE – The Championships, Wimbledon came to an end this past weekend. The tournament was an exciting one from start to finish. On the women’s side, all top ten ladies were out of the competition by the quarterfinals, leavin
    g the field wide open for just about anyone. Serena Williams made an impressive run, just eight months after her complicated delivery of her daughter, making it all the way to the finals. In the end, German Angelique Kerber took home the trophy. I wouldn’t worry though, Serena is
    just getting started again. The men’s side was filled with excitement on every level. From tense five-set matches to rivals facing off, it sure was enjoyable as a fan. Novak Djokovic, who has struggled with personal issues the last couple of years, is back on top winning the championship match against South African Kevin Anderson. Fun fact, since 2002, only four men have hoisted the championship trophy – Novak Djokovic, Raphael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
  • France Has Done It Again – As the world knows, France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Sunday. It was an electric game, ending with four goals for France and two for their opponent, Croatia. This World Cup, held in Russia, turned out to be quite a successful tournament, drawing in fans from near and far to cheer on their home countries. France was a team stacked with young players, such as Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Antione Griezmann, to name a few. Neither team was given much of a chance at the start of the tournament, especially Croatia, who was given only a 3% change to win it all at the beginning of the tournament. As much fun as this year’s World Cup was, let’s hope that the United States will be represented in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. In the meantime, you can watch out for the women’s World Cup in Paris in 2019.
  • Hey Now, You’re an All-Star – This week Washington, D.C. hosted the MLB All-Star week. The best players from around the country were brought together to play in various events throughout the week. Most notably, Washington National Bryce Harper won the Home Run Derby. Harper came from behind Cubs player Kyle Schwarber to take home the title. As far as the All-Star Game goes, the American League was victorious, beating the National League 8-6.
  • Standing Strong – The ESPY’s took place on Wednesday night and a couple of moments stood out from the rest. In a touching gesture, the Best Coach award was given to three high school sports coaches who died in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL. Former high school athletes and students honored the coaches during the awards show, expressing how much their coaches impacted their lives. To end the show, more than 140 ‘sister survivors’ of former sports doctor Larry Nassar took the stage to stand in solidarity and accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The moment was extremely moving and inspiring for everyone, especially victims of abuse. Multiple survivors spoke, ending with Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, who bravely spoke out against Nassar and the people who allowed the abuse to go on for so long.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Award Spotlight: First Alert “Super Prepared Family” Campaign

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), three out of every five home fire deaths result from fires in homes without smoke alarms or without working alarms. Conversely, when a home does have working smoke alarms, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half.

To maximize consumer awareness during Fire Prevention Month last October, LCWA
worked with First Alert to develop an educational advocacy campaign infused with fun. Built around the idea of the “Super Prepared Family,” the campaign aimed to help people understand the importance of practicing fire safety and involving their whole families in the process.

The overall goal of the “Super Prepared Family” campaign was to increase awareness about whole-home safety, and specifically about the benefits of installing 10-year smoke alarms during Fire Prevention Month. Our specific objectives for this campaign included driving views to the “Super Prepared Family” website content; garnering at least 150 million media impressions; securing at least 20 blog partners for a minimum of 5.5 million impressions; generating 150,000 impressions through social and digital advertising and donating a minimum of 2,000 alarms through grassroots efforts.

First Alert created graphics, videos and a microsite dedicated to the “Super Prepared Family” initiative. Content provided insight into what each member of the family can do to be prepared and help keep their home and family safe.

LCWA utilized these materials in a multi-media press release to launch the “Super Prepared Family” campaign, allowing these materials to be viewed, shared and downloaded. LCWA also shared fire safety tips from the campaign with TV and radio audiences via a satellite media tour.

Influential mom bloggers were enlisted to further amplify the “Super Prepared Family” messages. LCWA prepared and provided targeted bloggers with customized Fire Prevention Kits that included two 10-year smoke alarms, a 10-year smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm, 10-year CO alarm and a Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray – to  help protect their home. Bloggers were encouraged to install the First Alert products and share fire prevention and safety tips from the campaign with their followers in an effort to create more “super prepared” families.

To spread the word about our resources with fire departments, LCWA coordinated social and digital advertising for First Alert with Firehouse, the largest fire safety trade publication. LCWA also shared graphics and content from the campaign with a proprietary list of fire service organizations.

Throughout Fire Prevention Month, LCWA coordinated a variety of community outreach activities with local fire departments and advocacy organizations. First Alert and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) announced a training course collaboration for volunteer fire departments on smoke alarm installations, as well as a nationwide smoke alarm donation program.

Overall, the “Super Prepared Family” campaign exceeded all objectives. LCWA secured more than 356 million media impressions and more than 526,000 impressions from social and digital advertising. 40 bloggers shared content about Fire Prevention Month and shared “Super Prepared Family” graphics. In total, the “Super Prepared Family” content was viewed more than 95,400 times, and First Alert donated nearly 4,000 alarms in October.

Additionally, this campaign earned LCWA and First Alert a Silver Trumpet Award from the Publicity Club of Chicago in the Marketing category, and both a Skyline Award in the Events and Observances (more than seven days) and an Award of Excellence in Marketing Consumer Products, Packaged Goods from PRSA Chicago.