Monday, April 30, 2018

A New Prince, the Crown, and a Crowning Moment for Macron -- Served Up with Vegan Water

Last week was quite a week! From commemorating the first-ever YouTube video upload and celebrating the birth of the fifth in line to the British crown to applauding French President Emmanuel Macron, it was a busy week in the news. (I’m focusing on the fun stuff! Enjoy!)

  • Turn back time to April 23, 2005 when the first-ever YouTube video was uploaded. “Me at the Zoo” started what for some may be endless hours on the platform. Thankfully other videos have proven to be more educational and engaging.
  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a little prince on Monday, and the Twitterverse went wild! Netflix did a nice job promoting Season 70 of the Crown, though I simply can’t wait for season 3!
  • Le Président de la République française Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech before a joint U.S. Congress. The ovations alone speak for themselves!
  • Do you like to shop? I mean, to go into a store? If you’re like me, maybe you’re excited that some international brands may be expanding their footprint in the U.S. market. This CNBC article explains.
Finally, a little humor. I saw this post and photo and just couldn’t help but chuckle. The reference to the haiku is priceless.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

How to Get Your Clients on the Morning News

A number of LCWA team members recently attended a PCC luncheon focused on effectively pitching local morning TV producers. With our client roster of local organizations, along with national brands and associations providing information and products of interest to a large market audience, this was a can’t-miss event!

The panel included Adina Klein, morning segment producer at Fox 32; Rudy Segovia, segment producer for “The Jam” on WCIU-TV; and Tyra Martin, producer for “People to People” on WGN. The experts provided insight on how to get their attention in a crowded pitching market and make the most out of a TV segment once a placement is secured. Here are some of the helpful tips we heard:

Crafting the Perfect Pitch
  • The top of the email should clearly state who, what, when, where and why; the reporter shouldn’t have to search for this information. 
  • Include examples – videos or photos to show why your story is unique.
  • Tailor your pitch to the specific station, producer and show.
  • Keep in mind the average viewer’s budget while pitching a product or service.
Set Up Your Client Experts for Success
  • Experts should have a variety of things they can do/talk about during a segment.
  • Experts should be able to be utilized for multiple segments on broader topics. 
  • If something in the breaking news pertains to your expert, contact the news station to let them know they could be available for a phone call right away; make this clear in the subject line.
  • Make sure the expert is camera-ready and media trained. 
  • If the expert can post to social media during or after the segment, let the reporter know. This is a win-win in today’s social media-driven environment.
How to Follow Up
  • For longer-lead news, follow up with a call about a week later and ask if they have five minutes to set aside for you; persistence will get you noticed.
  • Do not email/call to follow up from Friday afternoon to Monday morning.
  • Sending products will not help you get a placement, but if you are going to send something, let the reporter know ahead of time.
  • Overall, the panel provided many relevant, actionable tips to help exceed our clients’ expectations for media coverage. Here’s to many great TV segments as we execute spring and summer programs!

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Downpour of News this Week

If April showers bring May flowers, then April snowstorms ought to bring something pretty
epic. In the meantime, we can always count on social media and current events to distract us as we wait for spring to finally arrive. Here’s a round-up of stories and topics that kept our attention this week.
  • Frozen in Time – Winter-weary Chicagoans awoke to disbelief on Monday morning as snowfall descended on the region. While many of us did a double-take at our calendars, our neighbors in Wisconsin fared much worse – breaking records with 23 inches of snowfall in Green Bay. As one of the coldest Aprils on record, it may seem like we’re actually on the 110th day of January, but this weekend’s sunny forecast provides a bit of hope that spring may eventually come our way.
  • Starbucks Leaves a Bitter Taste – Starbucks went into full crisis mode after customers shared cellphone videos of two black men being arrested at a store in Philadelphia while waiting for a friend. The clips immediately went viral, sparking outrage and calls for boycotts across the country. In response, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson took to the airwaves to apologize and announced the company would be closing all U.S. stores on the afternoon of May 29 for bias training for its 175,000 U.S. employees. Reaction is split as to whether the bold move is enough, but addressing the situation head-on is an essential part of a crisis communications strategy. We’ll be watching this one closely.
  • Southwest Tragedy – Southwest Airlines experienced a crisis of its own when an engine failure on a flight from New York to Dallas sent shrapnel through the cabin of a plane, killing a passenger. With “nerves of steel,” pilot Tammie Jo Shults, who happens to be one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy, safely made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Amid the chaos, tragedy and confusion, Southwest leadership took to social media to provide updates in real time, and followed up with a heartfelt video statement from CEO Gary Kelly. The airline industry isn’t exactly known for communicating effectively (United, we’re looking at you), so this insight from Linda Rutherford, head of Southwest Airlines communications, makes for an interesting read.
  • Sad Farewells – Here in the U.S., Amercans mourned the loss of former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died at the age of 92 on Tuesday evening. The wife of the 41st president and the mother of the 43rd, Mrs. Bush was only the second woman in American history to have both a husband and son become president. (Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams, was the first.) Her obituary from @NYTimes provides a fascinating look at her life and many accomplishments.
  • Across the pond, Queen Elizabeth II had to say goodbye to her nearly 15-year-old corgi Willow – the last descendant in a line of corgis stemming back to her days as a princess. It’s the first time in nearly eight decades that a corgi hasn’t waddled its way through the halls of Buckingham Palace, truly marking an end of an era. For a look at Willow in happier days, revisit this video from the 2012 London Olympics, where Willow steals the show while sharing a scene with the Queen and Daniel Craig’s James Bond.
  • It’s in the Mail – In happier royal news, royal fiancée (and Northwestern University alum) Meghan Markle was spotted around Chicago this week. Since our invitation seems to be lost in the mail, we presume it’s to deliver it to us in person? Meghan, if you need an updated address, just let us know…

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Creating the Next Generation of Sleep Dentists

LCWA recently launched a campaign to help the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) reach dental students in order to educate them about dental sleep medicine and encourage them to enter the field. Nearly 30 million U.S. adults suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially life-threatening disorder, and there is a growing need for oral appliance therapy – a treatment option provided by dentists.

To build a platform for the campaign, we created key messages and a landing page on to engage students about the benefits of incorporating dental sleep medicine into their education, as well as taking advantage of free AADSM student membership.

Through an advertorial partnership with the American Student Dental Association (ASDA), the largest and most prominent student-run organization which serves 92 percent of current dental students, the AADSM published a post on the ASDA “Mouthing Off” blog and placed an advertisement on the homepage. As a result, the AADSM drove significant traffic to its student webpage and reached thousands of dental students across the country, raising awareness about why and how students should prepare to provide oral appliance therapy.

In addition, we compiled a targeted list of priority dental schools that included the top colleges for dentistry, universities that offer dental sleep medicine residency programs and the alma maters of leaders in the field. For these dental departments, we designed a promotional flyer about the advantages of dental sleep medicine and AADSM educational resources. The flyer is intended to be shared with students through dental department newsletters and message boards in order to promote the benefits of AADSM student membership and encourage enrollment.

Ultimately, the AADSM student outreach initiative is spreading the word among dental students about the importance of dental sleep medicine services and how they can make positive medical impacts with oral appliance therapy. As students move from dental school to establishing a practice, the AADSM campaign will help ensure there is enough dental sleep medicine practitioners to help sleep apnea patients find successful treatment and put them on the path to better sleep and better health.

Friday, April 13, 2018

What’s Next for Zuckerberg and the Royal Family? Among Other Things...

I must admit that some news went unnoticed by this writer this week as I tuned in to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress. And while I may not have heard all 10 hours of questioning from the almost 100 lawmakers, one thing was clear: both sides have a lot of homework left to do when it comes to privacy, safety and democracy. The
commentary seen across social channels and news outlets spoke volumes this week as Americans leaned in to talk about the role the Internet plays in the world today and questioned what level of government regulation is necessary.

As for other headlines, here are a few other stories that piqued my interest.
  • It’s Here … The Final Star Wars Trailer – For those not tuned in to politics and the Zuckerberg testimony, another video popped up this week – the trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. As expected, the trailer is of course a point of debate for loyal fans. Director Ron Howard jumped in to complete the project after directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were taken off the project. The movie is set for release late May.
  • International Walk to Work Day – April 6 has come and gone, but it is never too late to get your daily steps in. Recently Hearst Magazine’s Digital Media (HMDM) partnered with FitFlop to encourage its readers to participate. The social media campaign aimed not only to raise awareness of the day, but also to provide support for FitFlop wearers from the feet up so that they may focus their attention on the worthwhile things in life, not foot pain. It was interesting to see how HMDM’s influencer network latched on to the concept, sharing lifestyle imagery and unique content centered on their walk to work.
  • Royal Watch – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle continue to rock the headlines as their May nuptials approach. From Markle’s former psychic advisor reporting his earlier prediction of her royal future to her estranged sister’s furious tweets about the lack of Markle family members invited to the bash, reports of the “Hollywood” couple are many. What’s more, Markle’s continued impact on the fashion industry – similar to that of Duchess Kate Middleton – is not going unnoticed. Scottish leather goods brand Strathberry recently saw a 5,000% increase in sales of its midi tote, which Markle wore during a recent stroll. I too almost jumped on the bandwagon to grab the tote until I saw the $675 price tag (and its sold out status)! Oh, and let us not forget to keep watch for the pending birth announcement of the fifth in line to the throne. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s third baby is due this month. Bets as to whether they’ll have a boy or a girl?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

You Always Need a Plan

Last week 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, April 6, 2018

Time for Spring(ish) Cleaning

Spring has not yet fully sprung in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a little cleaning out. Here is a hodge-podge, or perhaps a junk drawer, of interesting stories I
collected this week to share with you. Enjoy!
  • Let’s Get Down To Business: First some industry updates – a recent survey of top communication professionals revealed which issues, strategies and trends are in bloom or starting to wilt right now. The data showed striving to meet higher expectations while working with lower budgets is requiring some extra creativity to get the job done efficiently. The “hot” PR trends and tactics include storytelling, content marketing and thought leadership as more alignment is expected between PR, marketing, influencers, social media and executive speaking engagements this year.
  • Not all Communication is Verbal: According this lovely infographic from Custom Writing, body language speaks volumes! So whether someone is trying to replace speech, reinforce speech or mirror a mood, you can get a better idea of what they are trying to say in your next meeting using these physical cues. *raises eyebrows*
  • Then There are the Digital Comms: Hashtags are everywhere, you can’t avoid them. But some have done a much better job at engaging audiences than others. Here are some top contenders for best “pound-sign + text” campaigns and why they seemed to resonate with audiences. #Hashtag.
  • Did you wash your hands? Apparently, some antibacterial soap doesn’t always do the trick. The CDC recently discovered more than 200 cases of unusual resistance genes in “nightmare bacteria” that can cause difficult-to-treat or potentially untreatable infections in hospitals and nursing homes. Maybe scientists can take a page from this magic toilet to address the antibiotic resistance problem.   
  • Space Updates! Good news! A newly found star marks the most distance ever observed in space, opening the door for further discoveries in the great wide open! Unfortunately, some Debbie Downers think our chances of experiencing a real-life E.T. encounter are slim due to a lack of phosphorous. In fact, while some physicists say the universe could end in a big bang that consumes the known universe and others are worried the Milky Way has a black holes problem, a few are baffled by some mysterious, unexplained flashes and still more are struggling to explain how the universe exists at all! Talk about a hot mess. I am personally jazzed about a new plan to send bumblebee-sized robots to Mars to scope out the scene. #MarsBees
  • Problem Solving 101: In case those robo-bees find something worth exploring, scientists in Antarctica have harvested their first crop of vegetables growth without soil, daylight or pesticides in an effort to help astronauts cultivate fresh food on other planets! Seeing as they won’t have to go the Matt Damon route to grow potatoes, scientists felt confident building a magic toilet to address sanitation problems in space. Here on Earth, architects worldwide are exploring “vertical land” and how to build up to provide affordable homes in crowded communities and combat homelessness. Unfortunately, not all problems are being solved as we speak. For example, people keep going to Alaska and never come back…so let’s add that to the To-Do list.
  • Burnout Round: And here are some leftover findings that don’t have a category but are pretty fun nonetheless! Saucony created Dunkin Donut Sneakers, Tiger Woods is back but Dr. Evil got fired, dogs are more than best friends – they are therapists,  raccoon zombies aren’t playing around, too much food can now come in glitter, Chicago loves shuffleboard, and the Bill and Ted 3 movie has been confirmed (for those of us old enough to know what that means)!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Make It Rain All Year Long: Healthcare Data and Expertise is Industry Gold

Ever wonder where the majority of urgent care centers are located in the U.S.? Or want to to know what percentage of urgent care patients are typically transferred to local emergency departments?

Image featured in Urgent Care Industry White Paper 2018:
The Essential Role of the Urgent Care Center in Population Health
by Stoinmenoff and Newman
To answer these and many other questions healthcare decision makers may have on the current and future state of on-demand care, the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) compiled a comprehensive industry white paper to share their expertise and research with key stakeholders in the industry.know what percentage of urgent care patients are typically transferred to local emergency departments? If so, we have the expert industry outlook for you!

Filled to the brim with statistics, industry trends and growth projections, the white paper offers healthcare leaders valuable insight into a rapidly-evolving sector of the industry. With the abundance of important data points and expert analysis available in the white paper, it was important for our team to identify the most significant findings and takeaways from the research to draw in interest from trade media.

After several reviews of the white paper and analysis of industry activity, we narrowed down 
our top statistics and messages for media outreach. We concentrated on sharing the white paper data and insights with media outlets that focus on industry changes and updates, providing them with solid research to support their ongoing coverage.

Image featured in Urgent Care Industry White Paper 2018:
The Essential Role of the Urgent Care Center in Population Health
by Stoinmenoff and Newman
The goal of our outreach was to showcase UCAOA as a leading source of industry information and expertise now and in the future, not just announce the release of the white paper. By extracting the most intriguing figures and tying them to recent news or announcements in the industry, we successfully engaged with key media targets – including Modern Healthcare and Forbes – and strengthened the position of UCAOA as a thought leader in the industry.