Friday, March 30, 2018

An Eggciting Week in Review

With Easter around the corner, we’ve been on the (Easter egg) hunt for some trending stories. Here’s a few to send you hopping into the weekend:


You Crack Me Up

Easter and April Fools Day land on the same day this year, so check out this list if you’re looking for a little egg-stra help with your pranks this year. Don’t miss the perfect opportunity to disguise grapes as Cadbury Crème Eggs, fill a chocolate bunny with broccoli or mustard, or super glue your plastic eggs shut.


It’s No Yolk

You may know comedian and television creator Donald Glover from his show Atlanta, his role in the TV hit Community, his recent cameo in the newest Spiderman, his upcoming role in Star Wars’ film Solo, his upcoming role in the live action Lion King remake, or many other items on his resume. This last week FX announced that they will no longer be producing an animated series about the Marvel superhero Deadpool that he was writing, due to “creative differences.” It has been theorized that they stopped production due to Glover’s busy schedule. In a fashion that mirrors his witty humor, Glover took to twitter posting script pages for the show, not only proving he wasn’t too busy for it, but also directly referencing the cancellation in the dialogue of the characters.


A Team with Mad Hops

Loyola Chicago plays in the Final Four this weekend, but their bookstore is already winning. Since the school made the "Sweet 16" only a week ago, sales at the campus bookstore skyrocketed 300 percent. LUC has opened a pop-up store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago to keep up with the demand from fans. Our team members Bill and Brian have everyone beat, though, as Loyola fans pre-bandwagon (and proud Loyola graduates).

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

AASM Promotes Sleep Apnea Hurts HEARTS Awareness to New Audiences

LCWA recently helped the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) raise awareness during American Heart Month about the dangers of obstructive sleep apnea on heart health as part of the ongoing “Sleep Apnea Hurts Hearts” campaign with the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project. Left untreated, this common and severe sleep disorder can be devastating to heart health – more than doubling your risk of dying from heart disease according to recent research.

Nearly 30 million Americans are afflicted with this disease and many are undiagnosed. LCWA took this into account and coordinated efforts for a radio media tour with AASM president Dr. Ilene Rosen to raise awareness about obstructive sleep apnea and its connection to heart health. Coverage included a live Q&A on SiriusXM “The Doctors,” an interview on NBC News Radio, two statewide interviews on Georgia News Network and Virginia News Network and eight local radio station interviews, reaching more than 2.4 million listeners about the dangers of sleep apnea.

To further spread awareness, LCWA also coordinated a national distribution of a Spanish release highlighting the impact of obstructive sleep apnea on heart health. The release has already reached more than 86 million impressions, including the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, San Francisco Chronicle and Seattle The release has reached the top five Spanish DMAs: Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Houston and Chicago.

The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project was initiated in 2013 to address the sleep health focus area of Health People 2020, which provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving American health. This is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through a cooperative agreement with the AASM. LCWA is proud to be a part of this project that also includes the Sleep Research Society (SRS) and other partners.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Puppies, Privacy and Upsets

It has been an emotional week. From feeling betrayed by Facebook to an unprecedented number of upsets in the NCAA tournament, we could all use some cheering up. #internationaldayofhappiness got us through! To recap:
  • Privacy shmivacy: While still avoiding questions about why its investigation into Cambridge Analytica was so delayed, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has shared a slate of actions the network is taking to better protect user privacy, including: blocking data to apps that haven’t been recently used, auditing old apps, reducing the amount of data apps can pull, and more. Some suspect there may be more to the scandal, the timeline will tell.
  • Upset Madness: Nine of the top 16 seeds have already been eliminated from the Sweet Sixteen. The University of Maryland Baltimore County became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 when it knocked off Virginia last Friday. Plus top picks like Arizona, North Carolina, Xavier, Michigan State and Cincinnati were all knocked off during the tournament’s opening weekend. My bracket is busted, how ‘bout yours?
  • “It’s ‘social media’ so be social:” These tips from the @SimonBooks marketing team are a great reminder for creating impactful organic and paid content. In short: make it a (manageable) part of your daily routine, interact, manage expectations, get recognized and have a voice.
  • Unicorns and rainbows: Celebs, brands and social media in general, went to their happy places on Tuesday, sharing positive messages and fun photos. Here’s to all the days being #internationaldayofhappiness.
"It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a very clear path to happiness."—Sheryl Sandberg 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

How New Media, Digital Channels and Social Strategy Are Changing the PR Landscape

Last week, members of the LCWA team attended the Publicity Club of Chicago’s monthly luncheon that focused on the topic of how digital media and social channels are changing public relations. An expert panel, including representatives for LinkedIn and CBS 2 Chicago, led the discussion on how brands can be effective in this changing landscape.  Here are some of the key takeaways from the session:
  • Facebook is the best platform for a combination of business and personal, but the panel predicted that that LinkedIn will see growth due to Facebook’s shrinking focus on news and publishers. Some panel members also find that Reddit AMA’s are helpful for reporters, and Facebook and Instagram were noted as having the best ad capabilities.
  • The panelists agreed that pitching media may shift even more to social channels in coming years. Reporters appreciate targeted (and relevant) info or video that’s sent via Twitter, and may more readily interact with a Tweet than a phone call or e-mail. No matter what the channel, it’s advised to tell a story to media contacts instead of simply pitching.
  • Influencer marketing is already a new face of media, and will continue to present huge opportunities for brands. 
  • In the future, the panel predicts that print and traditional TV as we know them will be gone, with an even bigger shift to shareable and consumable content. Journalism will continue its evolution but maintain a hold at the local level, and newspapers will shift more content online and continue to operate under subscription services.
  • Digital media pet peeves of the panelists include content that isn't customized for the platform, content masked as news, and poor-quality video.  

Overall, this panel focused on the shift of traditional media to digital media and how brands can stay on top of this evolution. The panelists encouraged constant learning about these digital channels as they always have updates and changes, and stressed that as PR professionals, we need to stay ahead of the curve, not on it.     

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

AASM Brings Together Experts to Show How #SleepWorks4You

LCWA and client the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recently launched the Sleep Works 4 You campaign to educate employees and employers on the dangers of workplace fatigue, including tips on getting enough sleep to stay safe and remain productive.

As part of the campaign, we held a Twitter chat last Monday – one day after daylight saving time, when employees are very likely to be especially fatigued due to the time change. In addition to AASM (@AASMOrg), participants included experts from the CDC (@CDCChronic), National Safety Council (@NSCsafety), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (@NIOSH) and Sleep Research Society (@ResearchSleep). Leading the discussion was moderator @AnitaBruzzese, an award-winning journalist, author and blogger specializing in career/workplace issues. 

Followers of #SleepWorks4You received tips and information on the overall importance of sleeping seven or more hours, negative impacts of insufficient sleep on safety and productivity, tips for shift workers and discussion of the dangers of drowsy driving.

With an esteemed moderator and experts from multiple prestigious organizations at the helm, the #SleepWorks4You chat was a success, reaching 1.6 million with 3.2 million impressions. In addition, the chat engaged with numerous participants, leading #SleepWorks4You to become a trending topic during and after the chat.

LCWA is proud to be a part of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, which was initiated in 2013 and is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a cooperative agreement with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The project involves collaboration with the Sleep Research Society and other partners to address the sleep health focus area of Healthy People 2020, which provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Big Social Players Make Moves, Money & March Madness

Here are some of the things that caught my attention this week in the Twitterverse:

Block, Report & Delete – That's been the Twitterverse tactic to rid the platform of tweetdecking – the practice of selling retweets and stealing content. Twitter doubled down by suspending several popular accounts. No one was sad to see them go, with tons of posts this week celebrating #TweetDeckIsOverParty!

SXSW 2018 Tackles Social Responsibility – South by Southwest examined the darker side of social media this week, with questions about the unintended consequences of social networks and how to address them. Several social media execs weighed in, mostly with assertions that tech would prevail with new, innovative ways to combat hate speech, misinformation and spam.

It’s all about the Benjamins – The cost to work with social influencers continues to rise. Don’t expect to pay less than $500 for a popular Instagrammer to provide a decent return on views and engagement. For clients with big money to spend, here are the top social influencers in 2018, according to CBS News.

B-ball Chatter – With the start of the tournament, it instantly dominated online conversations.Here's an interesting read about how social media has changed college basketball. And here is the most hilarious tweet thus far from the Lawrence, KS Police Department

Happy St. Patrick's Day! – However you plan to celebrate the holiday this weekend, may your troubles be less, and your blessings be more. And nothing but happiness come through your door! 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Distilling History with Jim Beam Bourbon

This week marked a major milestone for our client Jim Beam® Bourbon, filling its 15 millionth barrel of bourbon since the end of Prohibition. The milestone barrel — a first for Kentucky distilleries — was personally filled and sealed by Seventh Generation Master Distiller Fred Noe and his son Freddie Noe, Eighth Generation Beam Distiller, at the brand’s flagship distillery in Clermont, Ky. The historic barrel, filled less than two years after the filling of Jim Beam’s 14 millionth barrel, will join the nearly 2.3 million barrels of bourbon currently aging in Jim Beam’s rackhouses.

With some help from LCWA, the historic milestone generated both local and national media attention, touting Jim Beam’s heritage and further positioning the brand as a category leader. FOX, ABC and NBC news crews covered the event in person while stations across Kentucky pulled b-roll that included interviews with Seventh Generation Jim Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe, footage of the final barrel fill and bourbon fans toasting the occasion. Furthermore, the story was picked up by a number of target daily newspapers, bourbon trades and  the Associated Press (driving an additional 650+ placements and eventually landing right back on our desks in the Chicago Tribune).

The success of the event is a testament to the continued popularity of the bourbon industry, and a little elbow grease from us here in Chicago. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rejuvenate Puts Cleaning to the Test at IHHS

Click, clean and go! That was the mantra echoed by one of the nation’s leading floor care innovators, Rejuvenate, during the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.

LCWA helped client Rejuvenate debut its Click n Clean™ Multi-Surface Spray Mop System to both media and show attendees. Unlike ordinary mops, the new Click n Clean combines the proven cleaning technology of Rejuvenate's floor cleaners with a revolutionary mop that transitions from dusting to scrubbing and cleaning with ease. From hardwood and laminate to tile, grout and even carpet, the Click n Clean mop system offers the ultimate flexibility for cleaning tailored not only to your home's floors, but to your cleaning style.

LCWA arranged on-site product demonstrations and touted key product attributes to more than 15 attending media and bloggers. The effort was the first of a multi-faceted media relations campaign focused on driving brand awareness and trial leading up to the product’s on-shelf debut at The Home Depot in May.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

You Always Need a Plan

Recently we attended the Public Relations Society of America Chicago (PRSA) monthly
luncheon about crisis communications. The panel of seasoned professionals provided many tips and insights from personal experience about surviving and navigating a crisis, and was a great reminder to dust off the crisis plan and be prepared for the next time you need it.

Have a Plan
The most important reminder for every company is to have a crisis communications plan. One panelist shared her stories of evacuating more than 2,000 individuals to safety during Hurricanes Irma and Maria, where she noted a plan is “a valuable starting point,” and an important roadmap to know and determine who does what.

Not having a plan in place “only adds to the crisis,” mentioned one panelist who was called on to help with crisis communications following the Manchester Arena tragedy last summer.

We counsel clients to have a detailed plan that includes employee procedures and protocols. This should be in place before a crisis occurs, so everyone knows his or her role. As with any plan, it is also important to remember to remain nimble. Plans change in the day-to-day, and this is extremely true during a crisis. Remaining calm under pressure is a feat – but can be invaluable.

The third panelist, who also worked with the students during the hurricanes, shared how her team remained flexible and how that was beneficial in managing communications. “We brought members on the team who might not have been on there otherwise,” she said.

Social is Your Friend
While social media can sometimes seem like a deadly trap for negative news to go viral, it is a perfect platform for providing a quick response when you are ready to spread the word.

All the panelists highlighted Twitter and Facebook for news sharing, and the importance of being active where the conversation was taking place. Following the hurricanes, it was especially important to find the individual private class year Facebook groups to reach the students.

 Social media is important for sharing news, and monitoring for updates – including from those affected directly by the crisis. It can also be a great tool to share a brief statement so media can easily find it, as was the case for those leading efforts after the Manchester arena tragedy.

Be Engaged and Accurate
In the event of a crisis, the media will ask for a statement. While a speedy response may feel imperative, it is invaluable to provide accurate information. Trust yourselves, and the organization, to find the correct information before sharing something that might be inaccurate.

As the media continue to ask for information through the duration of the crisis, it is valuable to stay in communication with them. Even if there are no new updates, keeping in touch can be a crucial tactic to maintain the lines of communication with reporters.



Friday, March 9, 2018

“Holiday” Celebrations and New Words for Your Conversations

The web was certainly poppin’ this week with Popcorn Lover’s Day taking place yesterday and people sharing their thoughts on the newest words to be recognized in the English
language. Here’s a roundup of all my favorite things from the week: 
  • Food lovers rejoiced as we celebrated National Oreo Day on Tuesday, National Cereal Day on Wednesday and Popcorn Lover’s Day on Thursday. In celebration, brands jumped on these silly holidays left and right. Oreo gave away one million candy bars to fans who filled out a form online and Kellogg’s partnered with actress Hailee Steinfeld and hosted a party at their café in New York City.
  • International Women’s Day was celebrated on Thursday, and Barbie took part by launching its“Inspiring Women” collection. Featuring female role models Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo and Katherine Johnson, the brand struck the right cord with many by celebrating these women’s contributions to society. However, judging from reaction on social media, a brand that seemed to miss the mark was McDonald’s. The company flipped its iconic golden arches upside down to create a “W” at a location in California, and many criticized this move saying that it was a cheap PR stunt.
  • If Facebook’s new Voice Clip status update tests go well, we might all have the option to record our own mini-podcasts soon. The social media giant is testing a new feature in India that would allow users to record a short audio snippet that could be used as a status update.
  • A group of 850 words were officially added to the online Merriam Webster Dictionary this week, including glamping, cryptocurrency and mansplaining, but the internet seemed to take the most to dumpster fire, which now means “an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence.”
  • Could robots be taking over the world? Some Amazon Alexa users certainly are starting to think so after they reported hearing unprompted laughter from Alexa-enabled devices this week. Amazon has said that they are working on fix to this creepy situation.   

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

DIY Bloggers Show How to Keep a “Fresh Home Happening”

Influencer programs can be very effective at reaching specialized audiences if your strategy is on-point when choosing partners and platforms. In order to reach client Filtrete’s target audience of hardware store customers and other DIY enthusiasts, LCWA secured partnerships with three expert YouTube influencers to produce step-by-step video tutorials on replacing Filtrete vacuum bags, filters and belts to optimize performance.

Through the YouTube partners – Page Danielle, The Handyman and Keep Calm and Clean – the program successfully tapped into DIY-ers’ desire to learn new tasks visually and directly from experts. Also included in the video was the promotion of Filtrete products’ leading benefits for a fresh and healthy home, and information on retail availability.

With 34,000 views and counting, the highly credible video content produced in this program will help DIY-ers nationwide keep their vacuum running at peak performance and their Fresh Home Happening with Filtrete. We are looking forward to continuing this momentum with exciting consumer programs as 2018 revs up.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Social Soirees

As Chicago jumped through forecasts from spring, fall and winter temperatures this week, the social sphere was busy with trending topics. Here are just a few of my favorite finds from this week:

  • Ladies’ Night – Johnny Walker has rolled out a limited edition of its iconic scotch, “Jane Walker,” in an attempt to help reach more women who can be “particularly intimidated” by scotch. The bottle will be available in March for Women’s History Month, if you feel ladies need their own scotch, such as the recent female-oriented Doritos.
  • Bookmark for Later – In an increasing move of social media as a news source, Twitter launched a new feature this week, “Bookmarks,” allowing users to save content to read later. This new feature also allows users to save items in a private function, whereas likes and favorites are in the public domain. To use the new feature, simply click on the new “share” icon found to the right of the favorite button.
  • Powerful Influence – Influencers are a powerful tool on social media. For our clients, that can be a wonderful tool, however it also comes with enormous responsibility. After a recent Snapchat update which confused many, one tweet from star Kylie Jenner dismissing the app from her daily use had the Snap Inc. stock plummeting. Great case study on the true value of celebrity prowess. 
  • Ad Free Social Media – A new platform, Vero, is promising a platform to users that will have no ads. Founder and billionaire Aymnan Hariri says he was frustrated by the privacy options on current networks and wanted a place he could be comfortable with his friends and family. Vero is currently free but will eventually have a small subscription fee. All new users currently will be given a “free for life offer,” so check it out here.