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.

Friday, July 13, 2018


Happy Friday the 13th! If you don’t have World Cup fever yet, hurry up because it’s almost over! If soccer (football) isn’t your jam, here are a few other happenings from this week you may want to check out:
  • Joyful Homecoming: Thailand and the rest of the world rejoiced this week when 12 boys and their soccer coach were rescued from a flooded cave. The rescue was an international effort including help from an Australian cave diving doctor, British rescue divers, U.S. air force pilots and Thai Navy SEALs. The story gets even better now that the heroic backstories of the survivors have become known, as many of them were refugees having fled Myanmar.
  • You’re a Lovely Shade of Pink…A recent study found people with pale skin and
    sensitive to the sun should use more than just typical sunscreen to avoid sunburn. As I, myself, am from the paler persuasion, I understand that a thick layer of SPF 100 doesn’t last long on a cloudless day. According to the researchers, fair-skinned people who only used sunscreen were more likely to burn than those who also wore a hat. The study recommends sun-sensitive people add additional protection such as long sleeves or SPF clothing on sunny days to prevent skin cancer, which affects roughly 1 in 5 people in their lifetime. No matter what SPF level you use, be sure to slather on the eco-friendly, 
    coral reef-safe sunscreen that has been approved by Hawaii! If you forget to cover up and get more than just a bit pink, grab some shaving cream to ease that burn.
  • Pink Before it was Pink: Groundbreaking research on the prehistoric world shares a small glimpse into what it might have been like on Earth way back when. Researchers discovered the oldest known colors produced by living things were shades of pink pigments dating back about 1.1 billion years! These colors were used in photosynthesis, becoming more vibrant in sunlight, and belonged to cyanobacteria in the sea before larger creatures evolved…such as the first giant dinosaur, whose fossils were recently discovered in Argentina! Though mostly likely not a shade of pink, the earliest-known giant dinosaur was a four-legged plant-eater with a medium-length neck and long tail named Ingentia which means “first giant.” *Insert Jurassic Park theme song*
  • Check Ancestry.com: Apparently ancient humans have a few surprises up their sleeves as well. Researchers in China excavated stone tools that were likely made by human ancestors about 2.12 million years ago – marking the earliest evidence of human lineage outside of Africa. In addition, another group of scientists found human ancestors were scattered throughout Africa more so than once thought, and kept apart by natural barriers. Each group thrived in a unique environment such as a desert or forest, resulting in a variety of human forms – which is why we all look so different!
  • Just Browsing…If you are done with Earth and all her unique populations and natural wonders, consider packing a bag and hopping a space shuttle to the exoplanet Ross 128B, the next up-and-coming planet for people! Thanks to some 20/20 vision and a pretty strong telescope in New Mexico, scientists believe the exoplanet is a safe enough distance from a nearby star to potentially be habitable by humans, taking urban sprawl to a whole new level. You might even run into some ghost particles from a galaxy far, far away, so keep your eyes peeled!
  • Catfish with Burgers! After teasing the world with a mystery name change, the global pancakers at IHOP switched their name to IHOB for no other reason than to promote their new burgers! Once that fun jaunt was over, they promptly switched back to IHOP proving the whole ordeal was a sham and leaving customers feeling a little used and confused.
  • Mr. Peanut’s on the No Fly List: Southwest Airlines has recently announced it will no longer serve peanuts to passengers on all of its flights in an effort to protect those with allergies from getting sick. If this means you will boycott air travel for the sake of your coveted PB&J, don’t forget to grab these motion sickness glasses for your next road or boat trip!

Have a great weekend! I hope you have as much fun as this horse!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Award Spotlight: Boise Paper “Dare 2 Compare” Campaign

The Boise Paper “Dare 2 Compare” campaign was created to help Boise Paper dispel the
myths surrounding the quality of recycled paper and educate business professionals on why they should be using a mix of recycled and non-recycled paper through a variety of social media and digital marketing tactics. Tactics included holding a video contest, generating influencer-based content, launching a LinkedIn quotes campaign, distributing press and MAT releases, engaging with social media content and more.

Prior to the campaign, secondary research showed that 46 percent of paper buyers believed that non-recycled paper had a higher-quality than recycled paper, and 52 percent of paper buyers said that appearance is a deciding factor when it comes to buying paper. In response to these findings, LCWA set out to prove that thanks to technological advances and rigorous production standards, todays recycled papers – like Boise ASPEN® – feature the same hardworking characteristics and brightness as paper made without recycled content. 

To accomplish our goal, LCWA kicked off the “Dare 2 Compare” campaign with a “Why
Recycled Paper?” Video Contest, where entrants were asked to create a short video explaining why they choose recycled paper over non-recycled paper, while encouraging others also to do so. In conjunction with the video contest, we worked with eight online workplace influencers to promote the premium qualities of Boise ASPEN® papers and conduct side-by-side tests of recycled and non-recycled varieties. Through the user-generated content from the video contest and influencer program, we strategically utilized third-party quotes throughout a three-month long LinkedIn campaign. The quotes were brought to life with bold visuals and attention-grabbing copy.

To broaden our reach even further, we delivered our messages through a targeted press and MAT release. The materials explained why small businesses should use a mix of recycled and non-recycled paper in their offices. Additionally, LCWA distributed a pair of e-blasts directed toward office decision makers. To drive sales, we deployed search/display
ads targeting office managers and small business owners.

Rounding out the “Dare 2 Compare” campaign, LCWA produced ongoing social media content, using #Dare2Compare. This social content continuously supported and communicated the “Dare 2 Compare” messages across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

In the end, the “Dare 2 Compare” campaign exceeded all of our objectives. We were able to boost total impressions and social engagements over 2016 metrics, achieve a high open rate for the e-blasts and surpass the industry standard average click through rate for the search/display ads. Ultimately, this campaign set Boise Paper apart from competitors and highlighted the high quality of today’s recycled paper!

The Boise Paper “Dare 2 Compare” social media campaign won a Golden Trumpet from the Publicity Club of Chicago in the category of Social Media and an Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America’s Skyline Awards in the category of Integrated Communications – Business to Business.  

Friday, July 6, 2018

From Birthdays and Books to Typos and Teasers – Highlights from Around the Web

This week Americans across the country gathered at firework shows, parades and barbecues to celebrate our county’s 242nd birthday.  While many took time to enjoy the holiday, the internet was filled with engaging content and hair raising brand news.

  • Ready for a road trip? Thanks to Good Housekeeping, we learned that there are 3
    3 places in the United States with the word “liberty” in their names.
      And, this was just one of 17 fun facts the magazine shared about Independence Day.  We’re glad their editorial staff knows how to spell independence, because Twitter proved that not everyone does. Oops, these folks need the LCWA team to proof their content.
  • Time to get reading. If you haven’t made a dent in your summer reading list, Inc. is giving us the inspiration to get started with its article on “Why Reading Books Makes You a Better Person, According to Science.” We’re all ears, or should we say eyes.
  • The internet just got a little fuzzier. Razor subscription service Billie says it will be the first women’s razor brand to show hair in its advertisements. Billie has launched #ProjectBodyHair in an effort to address the lack of female body hair on the internet. Guess there’s a cause for everything. 
  • iOS 12 preview. While Apple has made iOS 12 available as public beta, we’ll wait until fall when it officially comes out. Still, we were excited to learn from Mashable that the new software promises to speed up old devices, offers the ability to FaceTime with up to 32 people in a group video call and provides new Animoji and Memoji offerings – among other updates.    

Monday, July 2, 2018

Award Spotlight: AASM “Sleep Recharges You” Campaign Continues Success

After winning at the IABC Chicago Bronze Quill Awards last fall, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine “Sleep Recharges You” campaign continued successfully to promote the importance of healthy sleep among teenagers. The continued effort paid off, as the campaign was honored with a Silver Trumpet at the Publicity Club of Chicago for Advocacy, and a Skyline Award from PRSA Chicago for Public Service – Associations/NonProfits.

This campaign is part of a larger cooperative agreement of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, a joint group between the AASM and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A panel of sleep medicine experts concluded that teenagers 13 to 18 years older should sleep eight to 10 hours per night for optimal health. Our goal was to increase the number of teenagers sleeping the recommended number of hours per night.

LCWA and AASM created a tagline of “Sleep Recharges You” to focus on the positive effects of healthy sleep for teenagers. We targeted not only teens but also parents, school administrators, coaches and health counselors.

Our award-winning campaign built on previous successes including our aggressive media outreach about the official teen sleep duration recommendations. AASM released an official statement recommending high schools not start before 8:30 a.m., and LCWA created a downloadable template letter for parents to urge administrators to adopt these later start times. To signify the importance of this issue, we created several blog posts from AASM spokespeople.

LCWA created an online Bedtime Calculator for SleepEducation.org, allowing users to enter their age and needed wake time to determine their bedtime for optimal health and success. Unveiled during back-to-school season, the tool encouraged teens to set good habits for the coming year. It was supported with a press release, influencer partnerships and Reddit “Ask Me Anything” to drive awareness and clicks.

LCWA partnered with teen online influencers to spread awareness about the benefits of healthy sleep. A “Sleep Recharges You” video contest engaged teens by asking them to submit entries showing how to be motivated to prioritize sleep. Social ads targeting teens interested in health or filmmaking helped publicize the contest and increase submissions. A teen sleep advocate crafted several blog posts sharing the importance of healthy teen sleep.

An infographic and sharable “infosnacks” were developed, illustrating ways healthy sleep can recharge teenagers. LCWA shared content and conducted a social ad campaign, driving traffic to the “Sleep Recharges You” landing page. We also coordinated banner ads on websites geared toward teens such as TeenVogue.com, Seventeen.com and BroBible.com.

To reach educators, the AASM created an educator toolkit, with a full-sized poster, lesson plans and classroom activities on the importance of sleep to health, academic and athletic performance. The materials were available for download or mailed on request. Outreach to trade media publicized the educator toolkit and ways in which sleep benefits teens. Partnerships with associations generated an advertorial with the Society of Health and Physical Educators and an email blast to members of American School Health Association.

Overall, the campaign exceeded all objectives. Media outreach achieved more than 763 million impressions, with national placements including CBS This Morning, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, Teen Vogue and TODAY. Five social influencers generated more than 587,000 impressions, and social and digital ads reach 1.3 million impressions. The high school video contest tripled the prior year’s number of entries. As a result of the educator outreach, AASM received more than 1,400 poster requests.

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Good, the Bad, but Mostly, the Ugly

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this week has been particularly ugly. From pets to people, here are some hideous highlights from this past week:

  •  UGLY DOGS - A 9-year-old English bulldog named Zsa Zsa was named the winner of the 2018 World's Ugliest Dog contest last Saturday. The win earned owner Megan Brainard $1500 - but in a contest like that, are there really any winners?
  • UGLY DEFEAT - Playing in the World Cup means you are representing your country on a global stage, so it may hurt a little extra when things don't go as planned. With their loss to South Korea, Germany is officially out of the tournament, and German media is not happy about it. A Düsseldorf-based paper called the loss "Germany's downfall" and that is just the beginning. Check out how Germans are reacting to their surprisingly early defeat.
  • UGLY DE-FEET - Just like with those playing in the World Cup, being a new member of the royal family means all eyes are on you. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is known for her perfectly curated style, but some have noticed something strange about her shoes. Often looking particularly roomy, style experts are speculating wildly about why the new duchess is sizing up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Award Spotlight: Flooring Trade Media with Ecore

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking only the biggest budget, out-of-the-box campaigns can win awards – but that’s not always the case. Despite being a 147-year-old leading producer of performance commercial flooring, Ecore

had minimal visibility in industry trade publications – a vital conduit to its key audiences of facility and commercial design specifiers. Best-known in the athletic arena, the company sought to extend its reach and relevance into the healthcare and hospitality markets. In late 2016, Ecore retained LCWA to develop and execute a trade media relations program to boost the brand’s profile across each of its key markets with a focus on promoting its industry-leading advancements in three key performance areas – acoustics, ergonomics and safety.

At the beginning of 2017, the LCWA B2B PR team rolled out a year-long program focused on reaching design influencers and decision-makers through consistent and meaningful coverage in trade media covering each of Ecore’s target industries. Our goal was to secure an average of three placements per month for the brand and deliver a YOY impressions increase of 100%.

To achieve this, LCWA focused on keeping the media pipeline filled with Ecore news. We…
·         Used problem/solution scenarios to educated around the performance benefits and effectiveness of Ecore flooring;
·         Leveraged success stories to elevate Ecore as a thought leader across key markets;
·         Promoted Ecore’s presence at key industry events.

Working with tried and true tactics, including case studies, bylined articles, a whitepaper,
product announcements and opportunistic pitching, creativity was key to cutting through the clutter and capturing media attention. LCWA built a campaign around the question: Can a Floor Do More? This served as the thematic thread that tied activities together across audiences, categories and outlets.
  • For Athletics, we showcased how “a floor can do more” by absorbing sound, cushioning equipment and reducing impact on athletes.
  • For Healthcare, we focused on how “a floor can do more” reducing noise, increasing ergonomics and improving safety.
  • For Hospitality, we highlighted how “a floor can do Eore” to enhance guest comfort and satisfaction.
Another cornerstone of our creative approach was incorporating clever headlines and copy to entice editors, such as: 
  • “Ecore Flooring Earns High Grades at USC Village Fitness Center"
  • "Johns Hopkins Hospital Provides a Prescription for Outstanding Healthcare Surfacing”
  • "Flooring Plays Featured Role in Fitness Center Facelift” (headline for Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center)
In the end, our program did not generate the desired three placements per month. Instead, our efforts resulted in an average of three placements PER WEEK between January and December 2017. A total of 178 placements were garnered (35 print and 143 online) generating more than 6 million impressions – a 750% increase over 2016. Furthermore, based on the estimated value of the media coverage generated, the program delivered a ROI nearly double Ecore’s investment.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Social Scoop: Instagram TV, Soccer Induced Earthquakes and High-Heel Marathoning

The mix of trending topics this week runs far and wide. The “official” first day of summer flew by in a rainy disguise, and national #SelfieDay came and went right along with it. Here’s the social scoop for the week: 
  • Instagram announced its newest app, IGTV, or Instagram TV. It’s only in the early stages of its launch, and many haven’t updated current apps with the new feature, so it’ll be interesting to see response to this new addition.
  • The World Cup is in full swing
    and it’s been a wild ride so far, to really say the least. It was reported that fans in Mexico City, as they celebrated their team's upset win over
    Germany and Mexico's Hirving Lozano’s game-clinching goal, sparked two small earthquakes. Though experts are now saying that World Cup fans did not trigger these quakes, it was just great timing. It’s also been reported that fans are drinking Moscow’s beer supply dry. 
  • The Trump administration’s immigration policy has taken extreme heat on social media all week, culminating in President Trump signing a new executive order that will keep far more families together at the border
  • It’s a big week for New Zealand as the country welcomed a new baby to its ranks - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern safely delivered a baby girl Thursday morning, making her just the second world leader to give birth while in office, and the first in 30 years. She’s also the first world leader to take maternity leave. 
  • Heels wouldn’t be our first choice for running, but don’t second guess Bryce Dallas Howard and her footwear when it comes to jungle and survival attire. That’s right, the heels are back for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” and it was all Howard’s idea. As she put it, “Of course she's going to wear heels to the office! She's a chick who can outrun a T-Rex in high heels. This is her happy place." While we’re on the topic of dinosaurs, a new study has revealed that most dinosaurs, including the T. Rex, could not stick out their tongues, upends many popular depictions of dinosaurs from the past 20 years.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Paths to Leadership: Transitioning to Supervisor Seminar

Recently, a few members of our Chicago PR team participated in a National Seminars

Training workshop called, “How to Successfully Make the Transition to Supervisor,” where we got an introduction on navigating the world of management. The day-long seminar offered great insight on how to build rapport with colleagues, encourage employees to take initiative and key habits that define every great manager.

From communication strategies to motivation techniques, we learned how to handle the unique challenges that come with making the jump to a supervisory role. Here are a few insights and tips we learned from the seminar:
  • Be a guide on the side - avoid micro-managing and allow colleagues enough space to tackle a project and learn from their experience.
  • Create connections, not commands - walk around the office without an agenda. Make conversation, don’t just check on assignments. This is essential to building strong working relationships.
  • Consult, don’t confront - always encourage employees to solve issues with other colleagues before seeking management for a solution. This insinuates that they should have an active role in finding a solution and resolving the problem. 
  • Seek input from others, maintain confidences and celebrate others’ success.
A interesting portion of the seminar discussed the most effective approaches for managing Millennials and Generation Z, who will soon be entering the workforce. For instance, Millennials want frequent feedback and are used to working in teams, preferring collaborative work, when possible. On the other hand, Generation Z are very entrepreneurial and have lived most of their lives on social media, and are likely more interested in working independently.
We participated in role-playing and small group discussions throughout the seminar and will put these expert strategies and proven skills to good use as we adapt to our roles as account supervisors at LCWA.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Media Game Changes & Critters

Major media announcements and adorable animals were trending Twitter topics this week.
Here are some highlights from around the internet last week:
  • Social Star – The social media sensation this week was a raccoon who scaled a 23-story building. If you lost sleep over #MPRraccoon, you can stop worrying; He’s been released back into the wild. After his brave urban adventure of perseverance, the Twitterverse is asking, “Could MPRraccoon be the next TIME person of the year?
  • Mass Media Moves – From mergers to bidding wars, the biggest players in media and communications are making deals, going to court and collecting millions. CNBC Tech breaks down how several potential deals could change the media landscape.
  • Dumbo Drop – Another classic remake! Disney released the teaser trailer for its Dumbo live-action remake in the middle of the night, causing a Twitter frenzy Wednesday morning. Get ready, this one is going to be a tear-jerker.
  • Twitter Time – Announced this week, Twitter is launching personalized news features, a more robust search, event notifications and more – all to make the platform even more in-the-moment. For PR pros and brands, this means that Twitter is becoming the go-to platform to maximize engagement during a live event.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Power of a Face-to-face Meeting

I recently had the pleasure of traveling to New York with clients from First Alert to showcase the company’s latest innovation, the Onelink Safe & Sound. It’s a product we announced at CES this January, but it’s hitting store shelves shortly!
As such, our formal launch plan is now underway, so we wanted to demonstrate the product’s many features and great sound quality first-hand.

In an intimate setting, this is possible – not to mention invaluable. The meetings we arranged – with leading tech websites like Tom’s Guide and Gizmodo and consumer magazines such as Parents and Good Housekeeping – will be memorable in ways that a quick conversation on the phone or via email may not be. PR is a fast-paced environment, but it need not be impersonal.

To be sure, we spoke about people’s homes, their knowledge of fire safety and how they protect themselves from the dangers of CO poisoning. Fire safety is a message that applies to all of us, and the Onelink Safe & Sound answers a vital consumer need while giving us the ability to enjoy the myriad capabilities of a virtual assistant and whatever music we want to play through Bluetooth or virtual assistant skills.

If personalization in the form of deskside meetings or exhibiting at editor events is not in your program budget, there are nonetheless ways to ensure your approach is personal and resonant with your target media. Do your research and identify the right contacts. Then, review past coverage to learn how they frame a story. Follow people in their careers and reach out to be a resource as appropriate. Getting to know the right targets may take time, but accurate research and a customized approach may make your pitch as memorable as if you were sitting face-to-face.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A Wacky Week of Crises and Cheese

The word of the week is “oops,” even if one brand did it on purpose. From an NBA story that’s nearly overshadowing the Finals to a breakfast announcement deserving of a double-take, social media provided some un- Brie-lievable stories this week.

Bizarre B-Ball: In one of the weirdest stories in NBA history, Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations and general manager Bryan Colangelo (son of basketball royalty Jerry) has resigned from the team after an investigation determined he and his wife were involved in operating numerous anonymous Twitter handles that criticized 76ers players and league executives, and shared sensitive info on the team.

Fixer Downer: Chip and Joanna Gaines of the uber-popular “Fixer Upper” are in crisis mode after the EPA found more than 30 homes from the show were not compliant with lead paint regulations. In addition to a $40,000 fine, the couple is making a move to produce a series of lead paint-awareness bonus content.

“Slam” Dunk Stunt?: To promote a new Super Slam value meal, Denny’s purposely sent out a press release loaded with tracked changes and comments – with such edits as more exclamation points needed and additional food added. While the media ate it up, it’s unclear if PR creativity will cause Waffle House loyalists to switch sides.

[Enter Cheese Pun Here]: Monday was #NationalCheeseDay, which trended harder than a chunk of Alma Vorarlberger Bergkäse. This is what gifs and short Twitter videos were made for. 

Don’t Make Your Client Fake News: While your clients’ products and services may be innovative and game-changing, steer away from unfounded claims – maybe even if they’re tongue-in-cheek. These six brands learned the hard way that fake doesn’t pay.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Maximizing Social Media to Reach Patients

Last month, I was honored to present at the Urgent Care Association’s Convention along with Kish Pisani, digital media specialist for the UCA, at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. Kish and I educated attendees on the “must use” social media channels to develop relationships with patients and community members. Our session included examples of highly engaging content in the areas of news, health tips and people. We also discussed best practices for each of the steps to building a social presence, including:

  • Think through your audience – Knowing just who your reaching is key to understanding when, where and how to communicate.
  • Identify your channels – There are many ways to engage patients but only a finite amount of time. Once you have identified your key audiences, you can prioritize the channels that will help reach the most people.
  • Build a content calendar – Having a strategic plan of attack for the week, month or quarter is much better than tackling content “on the fly.” Laying out a calendar to ensure you spread out messages and hit key timeframes will help your content work harder.
  • “Boost” and microtarget for more reach – Speaking of working harder, social media offers amazingly detailed opportunities to reach extremely targeted audiences by demographic, geography, job title or interest. Spending a few dollars to “boost” posts can grow your audiences in the right way.
  • Monitor and respond to negative feedback – Engagement is a two-way street. Taking the time to review the comments and reviews or customers, and respond to them appropriately, will pay dividends in building relationships.
  • Analyze and adjust – The world of social is ever changing. It’s essential to have an understanding of goals and keep a close eye on progress, so that you know when you are successful, and when you need to change course.
The Urgent Care Association has been a healthcare PR client of LCWA for four years, and it was nice to be able to translate our efforts and digital marketing expertise into actionable lessons for urgent care centers around the world.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Social Media Controversies Came in Hot after the Holiday Weekend

After a relaxing Memorial Day Weekend, social media news came in hot on Tuesday. From a reality TV star paying a visit to the White House to Facebook being far from cool, social media was in full swing.
  • Watch what you Tweet… The hit sitcom “Roseanne” returned to screens in March after being
    off-air for two-decades. However, the reboot was abruptly cancelled this week by ABC due to a
    racist tweet from Roseanne Barr about Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama. Barr has apologized, but it was too late and has since stated that her tweet was a mistake due to Ambien.
  • Is Facebook Losing its Cool? Facebook is rapidly losing teens ages 13 to 17 to other internet and social media platforms. In 2014 Facebook was leading other social networks, with 71 percent of teens using the platform, but now teen users have fallen to 51 percent. Instead, their eyes are now glued to YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.
  • And the Final Rose Goes to…  Season 14 of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” started on Monday and already there is controversy around suitor Garret Yrigoyen, who caught bachelorette Becca Kufrin’s eye on the first night. After he was given the first impression rose, Twitter began circulating screenshots of Yrigoyen’s Instagram account, where he had liked offensive posts, including memes mocking the Parkland shooting, undocumented immigrants, and trans and genderqueer children. Since the show was shot prior to these findings, it will be interesting to see how ABC and Kufrin handle the situation.
  • Kim Kardashian Breaks into Politics: Kim Kardashian West stopped by the White House to talk prison reform with President Trump in support of Alice Johnson, a 62-year-old woman sentenced to life for a nonviolent drug offense. Though she doesn’t have any personal experiences with prison, Kardashian West believes that this is an important topic and thought her meeting would help will keep the conversation going.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

LCWA Wins Five PRSA Skyline Awards

Last night was another banner evening for LCWA, as we took home five trophies at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Chicago Skyline Awards. We were honored to win two Skyline Awards and three Awards of Excellence at the annual industry celebration. Winners included:

  • Skyline Award for First Alert — Events and Observances (More than Seven Days); Business-Products
  • Skyline Award for AASM — Public Service; Associations/Nonprofit Organizations
  • Award of Excellence for First Alert — Marketing Consumer Products; Packaged Goods
  • Award of Excellence for Boise Paper — Integrated Communications; Business to Business
  • Award of Excellence for Ecore — Media Relations-Consumer Services; Business to Business
 Congratulations and thanks to our client partners for these award-winning programs!

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Week in the Windy City – Our PRGN Instagram Takeover

Being part of the Public Relations Global Network means we are connected to a network of 50 hand-selected PR firms servicing key markets around the world. This allows us to offer the “boots-on-the-ground” savvy of a local PR agency but on a global scale. This week, those boots landed on the ground in Chicago, as LCWA hosted a “PRGN Takeover”—leveraging the PRGN Instagram account as a lens into the world of PR in Chicago. We showcased famous landmarks (many of which are just a stone’s throw from our office), highlighted ongoing client work, took a hyper lapse tour of our offices and even won a few awards along the way, garnering over 4000+ impressions for PRGN’s account in one week.

Now as we are posting our farewell photo of our week of content, here are a few tips we picked up along the way for showing off your capabilities, your agency, your team and even your city:
  • Be Your Own Client: In public relations, we often take the back seat and let our clients shine…but when given the opportunity to put your own agency in the public arena, be your own client and showcase your capabilities. For example, if you create social content for your clients, one great way to show what you can do is by creating high-quality social content for your own accounts. With the PRGN Takeover as a stage, we were able to show our agency capabilities not only through the messages we shared, but by how we shared them as well!
  • Develop Content with Goals in Mind: The goals of the takeover were simple—to increase awareness of the PRGN as a brand, as well as increase awareness of LCWA as an agency partner. With that in mind, we prepared content across multiple types of media in an effort to be as engaging as possible, sharing across our own channels and strategically using hashtags that would expand our reach. One great example of a tactic used to increase engagement was our use of the Instagram-story feature. Every morning as our first new post of the day was about to go live, we created an Instagram story that highlighted a Chicago landmark, while also working in the #PRGNTakeover to remind our audience, at the top of their feed, to check out any updates they may have missed.
  • Get Creative: Who knows your city better than you do? When showcasing Chicago to our global audience, we wanted to make sure to include a wide array of city information to please the armchair travelers and the native Chicagoans alike! If you find yourself showing someone around your home—be a tourist in your own city (or even your own office) and give a tour looking through a visitor’s eyes. You might be amazed at what you’ve been missing.

Pageantry, Press Releases and Praises

The Royal Wedding, another Star Wars movie and award-winning PR programs from LCWA…all in all, another exciting week! Here are some of my favorite finds:

  • Just Smashing!: Simplicity and informality joined hands with pomp and circumstance when Meghan Markle married Prince Harry Saturday in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The world witnessed a transformative moment for the Royal House of Windsor, but will the couple’s wedding affect bridal trends to come? Here are a few ways it might.
  • Don’t Laugh. It works: B2B marketers can cut through the growing clutter online and
    connect more closely with customers and prospects through the use of humor in campaigns. Brand managers should keep these
    tips in mind to utilize humor as a successful marketing tool.
  • Sound the Trumpets: This week we celebrated award-winning client work as LCWA took home Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) Trumpet trophies for outstanding work in four highly competitive categories. Members from throughout the Chicagoland PR community gathered at the historic Palmer House Hilton to honor the best of the best in public relations from the past year. Learn more about our winning programs on the LCWA blog.
  • Star Wars Movies Ranked: With the release of Solo today, Lucasfilm marks another milestone: the 11th Star Wars movie released in theaters. Here are all 11 ranked, including Solo. Do you agree with the rankings?
  • Press Release POV: The press release isn’t dead, but its traditional format may need a change. Muck Rack and Zeno Group surveyed more than 500 journalists around the world and nearly half of reporters said they’d more likely pay attention to a release if it contained an infographic, and 13 percent said they would pay more attention if a video was included.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Trumpets and Tributes: Highlights from the 2018 PCC Awards

Spring in Chicago means flowers in bloom along Michigan Avenue, boats returning to the harbors, Northside and Southside baseball in full swing, and PR awards season – which kicked off last night with the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Golden Trumpet Awards. Members from throughout the Chicagoland PR community gathered at the historic Palmer House Hilton to honor the best of the best in public relations from the past year. It’s always one of my favorite events, and this year was no exception.

I would like to thank PCC for dedicating a moment of silence during the ceremony to our dear founder, Lou Williams, who passed away in December. It was a special and meaningful moment for our team and for the many people in the room who had the privilege to know and work with Lou.

Of course, my favorite part of the evening was celebrating our award-winning client work. This year, LCWA took home PCC Trumpet trophies for outstanding work in four highly competitive categories. Our winning campaigns included:
  • Boise Paper “Dare 2 Compare” Campaign – Golden Trumpet in Social Media
    • This campaign effectively leveraged social and digital marketing tactics to help dispel the myths surrounding the quality of recycled paper and educate business professionals on why they should use a mix of recycled and non-recycled paper.
  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) “#Sleep Recharges You” Campaign – Silver Trumpet Award in Advocacy
    • Designed to educate teens and their parents about the importance of sleep, this advocacy-focused campaign combined teen-to-teen dialogue, media outreach targeting parents, educator tools and in-school conversations to drive awareness around four ways sleep can improve daily life: beauty, sports, learning and health.
  • Ecore “Flooring Trade Media with Ecore” Campaign – Silver Trumpet in General Media Relations
    • To drive awareness, credibility and sales leads for Ecore as a premier provider of commercial flooring, LCWA garnered high-profile media coverage for the brand in key industry outlets. Consistent and strategic outreach over the course of the year resulted in an average of three media placements per week for the brand and a 750% YOY increase in impressions.
  • First Alert “The Super Prepared Family” Campaign – Silver Trumpet in Marketing
    • In conjunction with National Fire Prevention Month, our First Alert team executed a robust campaign to raise awareness about the importance of practicing fire safety and installing/maintaining working smoke alarms. Key safety and product messages were conveyed through a combination of engaging campaign graphics and videos, targeted media outreach, influencer partnerships, social and digital advertising and community outreach.
As always, we appreciate this recognition from our peers, and congratulate all of the PCC Golden Trumpet Award winners! Be sure to visit our blog next week for more details about each of our award-winning campaigns.