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.