Friday, June 28, 2019

Blending Traditional and New Media to Tell the PFF Story

While working with the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF), we have experimented with a variety of channels to raise awareness of pulmonary fibrosis and engage target populations with the PFF’s resources and research. These goals include reaching patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers, and demonstrating the value of the PFF to each group. As the array of media channels continues to grow, we have been able to tap into specific audiences through their preferred sources of information and entertainment – be it traditional publications or new media options.

Tried and True
For our traditional media program, the PFF team has been leveraging top national media outlets to share the personal stories of our PFF Ambassadors from across the country. By speaking about their individual experiences with pulmonary fibrosis, PFF Ambassadors help us promote disease awareness on behalf of the PFF, provide up-to-date information, and offer hope and inspiration to the PF community.

As part of this effort, our team recently secured a piece in Reader’s Digest to tell the story of PFF Ambassador Tom Frey, whose story is unlike any other. Tom, a retired NYPD detective, shares his personal journey from being a first responder during 9/11 to his diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis – which links back to his time spent at Ground Zero 18 years ago. This is a great example of leveraging a long-standing, influential publication to reach a broad consumer base that also coincides with the PFF’s target audience. You can read Tom’s inspirational story here.

Always Streaming
In terms of new media, we wanted to communicate the stories of a pulmonary fibrosis patient, caregiver and healthcare provider through a mobile-friendly channel where individual voices could shine. We worked with the RareShare Podcast, which is one component of a social hub run by the Rare Genomics Institute serving hundreds of rare disorder communities. The podcast works to share important information with patients, families, research organizations and healthcare professionals who are affected by rare disorders in an effort to improve both quality of life and treatment options.
PFF Ambassadors who represent both patient and his wife/caregiver, Jim and Karen Carns discussed how they learned about pulmonary fibrosis together and worked with the PFF to connect with support groups and tap into valuable resources. Dr. David Lederer, the PFF’s senior medical advisor, shared the latest research and innovations in care, bringing valuable insight for both patient and healthcare provider audiences.

The different perspectives flowed seamlessly together throughout the interview, resulting in a compelling episode that underscores the challenges that come with a pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis, the importance of finding the right support and resources, as well as the major strides the healthcare industry is making toward finding a cure. You can stream the episode here.

By integrating both traditional and new media in our PR strategy, the LCWA healthcare PR team gets the best of both worlds.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Five Keys to Working with a Team of Agencies

There a shift happening in the marketing world. As companies look to streamline every aspect of their businesses, they are turning to “one-stop shops” for all of their marketing needs. But, just as you wouldn’t trust one doctor to treat every aspect of your body, it’s highly unrealistic to expect one agency will be able to offer best-in-class service across the broad, varied and ever-evolving marketing spectrum.

With the complexity and choice of media channels today, there are a lot more moving parts and opportunities than ever before. It’s virtually impossible for any single agency – no matter the size – to be able to cover all marketing bases – let alone, do it well. Savvy companies understand this and, instead, are finding success working with integrated agency teams.

We have experienced this type of collaboration firsthand through our work with Trex Company, the inventor and undisputed market leader in composite decking – and for good reason. Trex understands the benefits of working with specialists and knows that two heads are better than one when it comes to promoting and elevating its world-class brand. In fact, LCWA is part of a team of five core marketing agencies working together to promote Trex. We also partner with four additional PR firms in key international markets to promote the brand globally.

As with any team, this type of collaboration requires commitment, authenticity and transparency. It requires putting egos on the shelf and focusing on what’s best for the client. It can be challenging at times – especially when there is overlap in capabilities between agencies. In my experience, however, a little flexibility and cooperation can go a long way toward delivering a whole that is, unquestionably, greater than the sum of its individual agency parts.

Having had the privilege of being part of an effective multi-agency team for the past decade, following are some lessons we’ve learned along the way for successful collaboration

1. Know your strengths
Understand that each agency was hired for a reason and brings a specific type of expertise to the party. While you may have capabilities in other areas, focus on what you have been hired to do and do it really well. Be at the ready if other capabilities are needed but, otherwise, stay in your lane and set yourself apart by delivering excellent work that exceeds expectations.

2. Clarify roles and responsibilities
Agencies are used to managing clients, creating workflows and leading client meetings and conference calls. With more than one agency in the picture, responsibilities can become muddled. A simple rule of thumb is, if it falls into your area of expertise, you’re the project lead. Likewise, know when to let someone else take the lead. If there are projects or assignments for which multiple agencies are qualified, have an open discussion at the outset to determine who will take the lead. Be reasonable, be fair and be clear so that the team – and the client - knows who’s in charge and how the work will be completed.

3. Foster open communications
Communication is crucial to effective integration and collaboration. Keep each other updated by scheduling regular all-agency calls or meetings to review projects, status updates, timelines, deliverables and next steps. Share research, background materials, insights and analyses that might be helpful to other agency team members. Use collaboration tools like WebEx and Google Docs to prepare integrated documents and presentations, and leverage project management sites, such as Basecamp, to house materials where they can be easily accessed at any time by all agency partners.

4. Make time to meet without the client
While time with the client is always valuable, it is equally essential for agency partners to meet autonomously. For Trex, our agency team schedules all-agency calls and meetings to brainstorm, strategize, evaluate and assess various projects. These agency-only events allow us to speak openly and freely about challenges and concerns. We also are able to brainstorm together without worrying about positioning or polish. In my opinion, this is when the magic happens. Ideas are sparked and built upon, bonds are formed, and the collaboration is organic.

5. Pitch integrated programs as a team
When a client invests in a multi-agency marketing team, it is important to deliver against that vision by approaching every call and meeting with the client as a united front. Focus on delivering holistic, integrated solutions – rather than pitching tactical recommendations by discipline. Support and amplify each other’s ideas and highlight opportunities where assets can be leveraged and maximized across channels. This not only reinforces the collaboration between agencies but also demonstrates how the team is realizing time and cost efficiencies that positively impact the client’s bottom line.

As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. When agencies collaborate, they create a rising tide that lifts all of the boats in the marketing mix, and the client gets the best of everything.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Prints Checklist for At-Risk Readers

LCWA worked with the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) to increase awareness about pulmonary fibrosis as part of our “Not Everyone Breathes Easy” campaign. This included securing and designing print advertisements to raise awareness about pulmonary fibrosis and the campaign with individuals who are at risk for the disease.

To foster a cohesive look for the campaign, we designed a printed checklist that could be torn and carried into the doctor’s office. This created a clear call-to-action and made it easy for readers to understand what may be putting them – or a loved one – at risk for pulmonary fibrosis. Additionally, it tied to the “Not Everyone Breathes Easy” microsite, where a downloadable Risk List is available on the website.

With the checklist in place, it was important that each advertisement utilize strategic imagery and messaging based on the specific target audience.
  • A Chicago Tribune advertisement ran in November 2018, and featured an image of Gary, a PFF ambassador and patient. We also worked with the Chicago Tribune on an e-blast and online content in its “Primetime” section, which is targeted to Baby Boomers.
  • Another ad ran in the January issue of WebMD Magazine, during the height of flu season. As the most read magazine at the doctor’s office, the ad copy suggested to readers that the cough they may be currently waiting to see their doctor for might not be the flu – but something more serious.
  • An advertisement in the annual Garden Guide Magazine was used to reach senior females. This also included two e-newsletter placements to drive further awareness of the disease among Garden Guide readers.
  • A full-page advertisement in VFW Magazine, which reaches veterans of foreign wars, ran in the May issue. With an average age of 66, it reaches the prime audience for those at risk of pulmonary fibrosis.
Overall, the traditional advertising program secured four print advertisements and reached more than 19.3 million impressions, increasing awareness of the disease nationwide to those at-risk and encouraging readers to advocate for their health.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

How to Maximize Influencer Content

Influencer partnerships have become a staple of many public relations campaigns, providing an effective way to promote product, increase brand awareness and generate authentic, engaging content. In fact, influencer-generated content (IGC) has proven to drive consumer engagement and sales. Here are just a few statistics that demonstrate why your brand needs to make the most of its IGC:
Collaborations with bloggers, YouTubers, celebrities and other influences can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, so naturally you want to get as much mileage as possible out of your investment. Savvy PR pros are leveraging influencer campaigns to generate high-performing content that can be recycled on their websites, social platforms and other owned channels – ensuring that they maximize the ROI of each piece of content.

Get more out of your influencer partnerships by re-purposing IGC with these five tips:
  1. Share all IGC in real time. This one may seem obvious, but it can often be overlooked. Be sure to repost all of the branded content on your owned channels, as well as “like” and comment on the influencer’s pages. It’s an easy way to show the influencer support, give your loyal followers the opportunity to check out the post and amplify audience reach.
  2. Promote, promote, promote. I can’t state this enough! In addition to sharing the content, create your own social posts that tag or link to the influencer’s channels. Share the content with your customers via an e-blast. Publish a blog post on your website that links to the IGC. Just be sure to add more meat to the post to make it an original piece of content.
  3. Turn quotes into graphics or videos into GIFs. Bring new life to IGC when re-purposing it for your own channels. Use free graphic design tools to make fun, colorful images that feature the influencer's quote or trim down videos that will prove more attention-grabbing on Instagram. 
  4. Use images in ads and marketing materials. Spell out usage rights from the beginning to ensure that you have permission to use the content commercially. When planning the campaign, feel free to prepare some content examples, such as an inspirational mood board, to provide the influencer with an idea of the brand identity you want to portray.
  5. Secure a testimonial. Influencer testimonials carry more weight than those written by consumers. One way to compile the testimonial is to simply use a photo of the influencer along with an excerpt from their original piece of content. Sometimes influencers prefer to write a separate endorsement for the brand’s website, so be sure to check.
Re-purposing IGC in clever and creative ways can definitely stretch the PR dollar long after a campaign has run its course, as well as help your brand reach a larger audience and boost traffic. Remember, it pays to recycle!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Establishing Boise Paper as a Go-To Source for Office Life Tips

Over the last several years, the LCWA digital marketing team has worked closely with our
client, Boise Paper, to successfully position the company as a go-to expert on office topics via social media content. Our team creates “Office Life” campaigns, which are focused on sharing tips and advice on various work-related topics, for Boise Paper’s business professional audience. The latest campaign utilized #BusinessTripTricks to share tips and tricks to help make business trips a breeze.
  • Social Media Content: Do you know your way around airline and hotel loyalty programs? What about how to fast-track your way through an airport, benefits of a rental car versus rideshares or the best personal safety devices? Content created for Boise Paper’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds provided these tips and more.
  • Facebook Live: Our Boise Paper Office Expert Sarah Yedlick took to Facebook Live with two videos on the business travel topic. Tips on packing like a pro, and how to make health-conscious choices while on the road, provided a personal some personal advice to viewers. Give them a watch here.
  • LinkedIn Vlog: Business travel is hectic with jam-packed schedules and not a lot of free time. Boise Paper’s LinkedIn followers learned how to best prepare to be productive throughout a trip, plus a good breakdown on how to make managing business travel expenses simple. Watch our office expert share these tips here.  
  • Blog Posts: Blog posts on Boise Paper’s blog, BePaperSmart, expanded on social media content and rounded out the #BusinessTripTricks campaign. Give the blog a visit if you’re looking for tips on how to keep your business expenses organized, how to fit a workout into a tight schedule or how things like body language and attire vary around the world.
The Office Life content is regularly among our highest performing material across social platforms each month. Past campaign topics have included office technology tips, how to work smarter and work-life balance insights. What office life topic would you like to see Boise Paper tackle next?

Friday, June 14, 2019

LCWA Takes Home Five PRSA Chicago Skylines

We added some more "bling" to our office, thanks to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Chicago. The organization awarded LCWA with five Skyline Awards at its reception last night. It was an honor to celebrate these awards and a great year of innovation and creativity with our Chicago industry peers. 

The First Alert team won three awards last night, in the categories of Marketing for Consumer Product Goods, Events and Observances and Most Effective Corporate Responsibility Campaign. Our Boise Paper digital marketing team won the Integrated Communications - B2B category. And our healthcare PR team won with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in the Integrated Communications - Associations/Government/Nonprofit Organizations category. 

Congratulations to all of our winning teams and clients!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Strategically Reaching Younger Audiences via YouTube

As part of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, we worked with our partner the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to reach young adults ages 18-24 years old with information about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Knowing this demographic was highly mobile and known to engage in late-night binge-watching activities, LCWA initiated a digital advertising campaign that strategically seeded content across YouTube channels during the overnight hours of 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. The campaign included a dynamic :20 video featuring a combination of motion graphics, animation and kinetic typography, uniquely designed to capture viewers’ attention and resonate with the target demographic. Messaging directed viewers to, a specially designed landing page on the website that features the AASM’s bedtime calculator and sleep tips.

The strategy proved successful with a stellar 59% completed video view rate, far exceeding the U.S. benchmark of 25%.

Friday, June 7, 2019

LCWA Wins Seven PCC Awards

It was a banner night for several LCWA teams as we were honored with seven awards from the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) on Thursday. We were especially proud of the wide variety of clients and programs represented, as we won awards for work in healthcare PR, home and housewares marketing and B2B communications. Our award-winning campaigns included:
  • First Alert's “Onelink Safe & Sound Launch” was honored with a Golden Trumpet in the Marketing category. The company's “60 Years of Firsts,” won a Silver Trumpet in the Special Events category, and the “Town/Gown Community Service Project” also won a Silver Trumpet in the Corporate Social Responsibility category. 
  • The Boise Paper “Procurement Education” campaign won a Silver Trumpet in the Integrated Marketing Communications category. 
  • "Trex Decks Out the World" won a Silver Trumpet in the International Campaigns category. 
Thank you to our clients for their ongoing trust and partnership -- and for their help in implementing these campaigns. And congrats to all winners at the PCC Golden Trumpet awards last evening!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

LCWA’s Global Reach Expands with New Partners

During the recent Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) meeting in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, the PRGN selected two new agency members from Helsinki (Finland) and New York (USA), adding to the global reach and local expertise we can provide to our clients.
  • hasan communications, a communications and public relations agency based in Helsinki, Finland, is led by Managing Director Päivi Holmqvist. The agency helps organizations to grow their visibility and brand awareness supporting them with innovative thinking, carefully targeted communications, engaging storytelling and effective marketing.
  • New York-based Southard Communications was established 25 years ago by Bill Southard, a communications professional with more than 35 years of experience, who has counseled some of the U.S.’s leading Fortune 500 firms.
Founded in 1992 by a group of visionary public relations leaders, PRGN is one of the world’s largest international networks of independent public relations and communications agencies with more than $85 million in revenues and approximately 1,000 professionals in 54 offices of 50 member agencies throughout the globe.

We are happy to welcome these new members into our network and look forward to working with them in the future.