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.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Superheroes, Skyscrapers and Sounds

This week a mystery sound took over social media, Batman came out of retirement and Chicago’s
skyline is slated to get some work done. Get the social scoop here:

  • Do you hear what I hear? At LCWA, about 25 percent of our office heard Yanny, while most (75 percent) heard Laurel in the recent internet sound-off. It all started with a sound clip posted to Reddit by  Roland Szabo, an 18-year-old high school student in Lawrenceville, Ga. He said he was working on a school project and recorded the voice from a vocabulary website (which was from the page for “laurel” some will be pleased to find out) playing through the speakers on his computer. People in the room disagreed about what they were hearing, so he posted it to extend the conversation. Then the sound-off really took-off when self-described YouTube “influencer” Cloe Feldman, tweeted it earlier this week. Read more.
  • 400 Lake Shore Drive to re-inSpire site. Chicago’s skyline is slated to get two new additions. On Tuesday, developer Related Midwest unveiled a bold plan for the waterfront site formerly slated for Garrett Kelleher’s Chicago Spire. Designed by One World Trade Center architect David Childs, the new plans for the 2.2-acre site along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan include a south 1,100-foot south tower and a 850-foot north tower featuring residential, retail, event and hotel space. The still-ambitious project is slated to be complete by 2023.  Read more.
  • Two words. Sometimes that’s all you need to make a memorable statement. Michael Keaton made headlines this week for his closing words—I’m Batman—at his Kent State commencement speech. Allegedly he also imparted inspirational words for the students as they head into the real world to start their careers. But who will remember anything, but this closing line?  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Rejuvenate Takes to the Airwaves and Maximizes 1:1 Time with New York Media

Spring cleaning is in full swing at L.C. Williams as our media relations team hit the ground running to promote the new Rejuvenate Click n Clean Multi-Surface Spray Mop System.
Building on the momentum gained with a strategically timed product giveaway on the “Megyn Kelly Today” show, our team leveraged a series of tactics to generate media interest and coverage in print, online and broadcast outlets.

A satellite media tour reached core consumers across the country with news of the latest floor-cleaning tool that helps speed clean across every flooring surface in your home. The 17-station media tour not only opened the door for Click n Clean commentary direct from the brand CEO and founder Joe McDonnell, but it also helped foster the brand’s relationship with retail partner The Home Depot via on-air mentions. The team further drove product awareness with its presence at one of New York’s premier “Great Finds” new products media expos. More than 40 editors and producers from outlets such as “Good Morning America,” Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and BuzzFeed, experienced the mop’s cleaning power first-hand and spoke with our team about editorial opportunities and product reviews.

A comprehensive influencer engagement campaign will supplement the team’s traditional media efforts. Stay tuned as buzz builds for the Click n Clean!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Launch and Release

The Twittersphere was busy with news from the fashion, tech, and social media industries. Here are my top picks from this week:
  • Met Gala – The Met Gala was held this week, and the theme of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” left quite a stir. Rihanna stole the show with an outfit fit for the pope.  Zendaya and Jared Leto also rocked the theme, wearing Catholic-inspired outfits from Versace and Gucci respectively. You can check out the rest of the best dressed here.
  • Google Can Do It – At the annual Google I/O conference this year, several new updates were announced for the Google Assistant. Notably, the Assistant can now make appointments and reservations for you by calling the restaurant, hairdresser, doctor’s office – you name it. The demo proved not only can the Assistant handle the appointment, it sounds remarkably human – even down to the mmm-hmms. 
  • SpaceX – SpaceX is launching its newest version of the reusable rocket, the Falcon 9 Block 5, which is designed for 10 or more flights with very limited refurbishment. This makes the rocket much more cost effective than previous spaceships. This is the final design of Falcon 9, and will be eventually human certified.
  • End of Klout – The end of an era for social influencers, Klout, a startup that provided how important you are on social media, has announced that it is closing its doors on May 25. While Klout may not live on, the impact of Klout on the Influencer landscape will.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Leveraging History to Build a Brand

Every brand has a heritage. Some are a bit deeper and richer than others, some a bit more
colorful, but every company has a history they should be proud of and be willing to share. A company’s heritage is what sets it apart and makes it unique.

As communicators, we have a responsibility to understand, appreciate and recognize this uniqueness then convey it to relevant audiences.

Longtime client Jim Beam offers a terrific example of a company that touts its heritage. Founded more than 200 years ago, and featuring seven generations of distillers, their story is certainly special. And, over the years, Beam has done a great job of telling it in a variety of ways: books, videos, seminars, photos, all creatively capturing and communicating the essence of the brand.

Understanding that Beam’s story is unique – not many places have been around for two centuries nor have had a variety of colorful family characters leading it – any company, regardless of the industry, can borrow a page from them when it comes to their telling their heritage story.

 Here are just a few thought-starters:
  • Milestones. This is an obvious and certainly time-worn idea, but one that works. Is it the 50th anniversary of your company? The tenth? The second? Did your company just produce its one-millionth widget, or land its one-millionth customer? Regardless of the reason, milestones, grounded in history and achievement, can serve as an effective “hook” for telling your story. So dust off the record books and see what’s coming your way. Then plan an event, engage your customers in a promotion and get the word out via traditional and social channels. Just don’t let the milestone pass unnoticed. You’ve earned some attention.
  • People. People make a company and, for the most part, people are interesting, especially the people (or person) who founded the company. So do some research and bring those visionaries out of the shadows. Discover what made them tick, where they lived and what their favorite dessert was. Whether through a book or video, a professional story teller or display, bring them to life in a way your audience can relate to and understand.  Remind your customers that your company wasn’t formed by accident, but instead was the idea of a living and breathing person – a person worth knowing.
  • Old stuff. That old filing cabinet or dusty storage room in the basement might be a treasure chest of historical materials that should be preserved if not cherished. That letter from the founder to his father asking for a loan, that photo of the first day in business, that sign with the original logo, those funny old ads, are all gold. Take them out of storage and get them in front of customers. People love to see and touch history. It makes them feel like they too are part of the story.
For ideas or thoughts on developing your own Heritage Program, contact our heritage PR team today!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Warm Weather, Hot News

The warm Chicago weather has us all itching for summer, but we’re not quite there yet. This week has shown that the news has no boundaries, from gigantic movie premiers to the crumbling of one of the biggest data firms; it’s been a busy week. Enjoy!

An Opening With a Bang – Move over Star Wars, the biggest opening weekend in movie history now belongs to the new film Avengers: Infinity War.  In North America alone, Infinity War opened with a total gross of $250 million, beating out Star Wars: The Force Awakens by more than $2 million. Even more impressive was the splash Infinity War made in foreign markets, adding more than $380 million, totaling $630 million globally. Marvel continues to be a powerhouse in the box office and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down, with more and more films (Deadpool 2, Ant Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel, to name a few) hitting theaters in 2018.

Starbucks Resolution – Following the explosive story about two men who were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks last month seemingly without cause, it’s been reported that they have reached a settlement with Starbucks and both men will receive free tuition to Arizona State University. Additionally, the two men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, have reached an agreement with the city of Philadelphia in which they will receive a symbolic $1 from the city. Philadelphia has also agreed to spend $200,000 on young entrepreneurs. In efforts to make sure an incident like this does not repeat itself, Starbucks will close its doors nationally on May 29 so employees can go through racial bias training.

Succumbing to Scandal – Everyone knows that Facebook has had its issues as of late, and it’s now apparent just how big that impact can be. Cambridge Analytica announced that they will immediately shut down all operations. Its misuse of Facebook user data, the downfall in clients and tacked on legal fees and issues have caused the data giant to close the curtain. Known for working on Donald’s Trump’s 2016 campaign and then misusing as many as 80 million users’ data, the data firm has been under fire for a while and many people see this as a “well finally” moment.

Belt it Out – Two of the most recognizable voices, Celine Dion and Christina Aguilera, both dropped new singles and music videos Thursday morning. Dion’s new power ballad called Ashes seems fairly run of the mill at first, but then you notice it’s paired with the upcoming release of Deadpool 2. The unexpected combination of the legendary vocalist and Marvel bad mouth is sure to be an interesting pairing. Aguilera on the other had released Accelerate, a single that is sure to be at the top of the billboard charts in no time. The Kanye West produced song is rooted in hip-hop with a strong “club vibe” and is giving everyone old X-Tina vibes.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Speed Cleaning with the Rejuvenate Click n Clean on Megyn Kelly TODAY

Let’s be honest, no one loves cleaning their floors. But, what if you could use a mop that takes the hassle out of traditional floor care? The Rejuvenate Click n Clean Multi-Surface Spray Mop System does just that by allowing you to move from surface to surface with ease and speed clean virtually any room in your home. The LCWA home PR team was tasked with launching this amazing product and getting people excited about the latest floor cleaner to hit store shelves.

To build excitement prior to the product’s May 1 availability, we worked with the "Megyn Kelly TODAY" show on a giveaway segment. The segment aired as part of the show’s “Club MK” promotion, which surprises the entire studio audience with useful and attention-grabbing products. The segment reached more than 2 million viewers and helped ignite immediate brand awareness. You can check out the segment online and get a Click n Clean unit of your own at