Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Weil-McLain Wins Top Product Design Award

One of the most effective marketing tools to rise above the competition is seeking out and winning awards in your industry. We recently helped client Weil-McLain do just that with their recent recognition for product design excellence and efficiency in the 18th annual Dealer Design Awards Program sponsored by The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Newsmagazine. The award entry, submitted by LCWA, was chosen by an independent panel of contractors out of 117 total entries.

The company’s ECO® Tec premium residential gas boiler was the silver winner in the HVAC High Efficiency Residential Equipment product category – the top award presented to any boiler manufacturer for 2021. The ACHR News is the leading trade magazine in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration industries.

The Dealer Design awards recognize the outstanding research and development efforts that go into many of the products serving the HVACR industry and the awards issue gives the publication's readers – an integral target audience for Weil-McLain – an opportunity to read about innovative installation and service solutions.

Winning entries in the Dealer Design Awards were featured in the July 26, 2021, issue of The ACHR News, which is distributed nationally to over 27,000 HVACR contractors, wholesalers and distributors, and other industry professionals. Our team is proud to have helped our client gain this important industry recognition with one of the most well-known magazines in the HVAC arena.

Monday, July 26, 2021

LCWA Wins Three “Awards of Excellence” at the PRSA Chicago Skyline Awards

Three very different and successful LCWA campaigns were honored by the PRSA’s Chicago Skyline Awards earlier this month, when work for Trex, First Alert and the AASM received “awards of excellence” from the esteemed organization.

Trex

Trex’s Brand Ambassadors Inspire Consumers to “Do It” campaign was awarded in the
Influencer Marketing category. The campaign drove awareness and engagement by partnering with two influencers. They reached fan bases focused on DIY (do it yourself) and DIFM (do it for me), helping those stuck at home to keep busy and focus on projects they may have been putting off in pre-pandemic times.

First Alert

First Alert’s Be Ready for the Unexpected campaign was awarded in the Integrated Communications – Consumer Products and Services category. With more people staying at home than ever before, First Alert’s campaign aimed to provide fire safety guidance and support to the 91% of consumer households that said their families’ safety was at the top of their priority lists.


AASM

AASM’s Student Sleep Health Week campaign was awarded in the Events and Observances category. Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial to students’ health and success, which is why this campaign virtually encouraged students, parents, coaches and teachers to have conversations about the importance of healthy sleep.

It’s an honor to earn recognition by the PRSA Chicago, and we thank you for your support of our work. Congratulations to all of the winners at the Skyline Awards!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

AASM Expert Interview Featured in The New York Times

 As a result of proactive media outreach for LCWA client the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), LCWA secured a timely interview opportunity with The New York Times surrounding the pandemic’s effect on America’s sleep. AASM board member and practicing sleep medicine physician, Dr. Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg was interviewed for the feature story, titled “The Pandemic Messed With Your Sleep. Here’s How to Feel Rested Again,” which published both online (June 8, 2021) and in print (June 15, 2021). In addition to the original article, The New York Times published an abridged version of the article online and also featured AASM COVID-somnia survey results in their weekly health quiz!

The story leads with the AASM’s 2021 COVID-somnia survey results, which found that more than half of Americans (56%) are experiencing an increase in sleep disturbances since the start of the pandemic. In addition to comments from Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg throughout, the article features guidance from a handful of experts and sources to present an in-depth look at the current state of America’s sleep. To bring the story full circle, Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg and other sleep experts answered direct questions from readers on how to achieve healthy sleep. This expert-backed guidance for readers was published in a separate story on The New York Timestop reader questions about sleep.

For readers who are experiencing sleep problems, the article concludes with a recommendation for readers to seek help by visiting the AASM’s consumer-facing website, SleepEducation.org. Here, patients can find sleep tips and enter their ZIP code to find a board-certified sleep physician at an AASM-Accredited Sleep Center in their area.

This is a good example of how meaningful conversations and timely media outreach can help drive success for client interviews and bring national media attention. In all, this one interview resulted in five separate articles, each bringing light to our client’s essential messaging on sleep health.

Friday, June 18, 2021

LCWA Wins Top Technology Award from Publicity Club of Chicago

Getting the right amount of healthy sleep is important for students of all ages to be healthy
and successful. That’s the main message LCWA and client AASM conveyed via media, partner organizations and online during Student Sleep Health Week in 2020. The campaign, which leveraged influential students, parents, coaches and teachers online to drive conversation, was the winner of the Buell Patterson Technology Award – one of the cumulative, “best of the best” awards announced at the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) Golden Trumpet Awards on Thursday night. The campaign also was honored with a Golden Trumpet in the Healthcare Marketing category. This is the second time the combined LCWA and AASM team has won the coveted Buell Patterson Technology Award, having received it in 2015 for the “Sleep Well, Be Well” campaign that was part of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project in partnership with the CDC.   

LCWA also was awarded two Silver Trumpets during the PCC Awards. The First Alert team was honored for its “Be Ready for the Unexpected” campaign in the Integrated Marketing Communications category. And in the Business to Business and Business Services category, our Trex Commercial Products trade media program was honored.

Thank you to the PCC for your support of our programs, and congratulations to all of the winners!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Trex Joins Panel of Top Designers to Help Consumers Achieve their Dream Decks

Now, more than ever, outdoor living is in! The COVID-19 pandemic has prioritized how we view and use our homes, with consumers reimagining how to maximize and enjoy their exterior spaces. We leveraged this trend for our client Trex Company, the largest manufacturer of high-performance, low-maintenance, wood-alternative outdoor living products, by collaborating with Country Living and Good Housekeeping on the first-ever Makeover Takeover Renovation Summit, a virtual DIY home improvement event hosted by the magazines.

 
The livestreamed, interactive event served as a highly successful and engaging way to reach home-passionate consumers interested in outdoor renovations during a year when homeowners are expected to invest more time and money in their outdoor spaces. Trex’s Vice President of Marketing Leslie Adkins joined a panel discussion featuring high-profile design experts, including HGTV designer Brian Patrick Flynn along with Chris and Peyton Lambton, co-hosts of DIY Network’s “Yard Crashers,” to help attendees get their decks and yards ready for outdoor living season. From deck design considerations and materials to backyard trends, outdoor living accessories and doable DIY projects, the panelists covered a wide range of topics that allowed for an organic conversation about the benefits of Trex products. In fact, every panelist personally endorsed Trex as their go-to decking brand!

 

Nearly 1,000 consumers from around the world tuned in to the “Great Outdoor Spaces” session. Following that discussion, attendees were invited to connect directly with Leslie in a Zoom breakout room for a live Q&A session. More than 120 consumers joined to learn more about Trex outdoor living products. This was a highly engaged audience that came to ask questions specifically about Trex! Leslie answered questions fielded by moderator Lisa Bergamotto, style director for Good Housekeeping, while a team of “Trexperts” (including Trex and LCWA team members) responded to questions in the live chat. Throughout the breakout session, our client was able to directly connect with consumers about designing their dream decks and outdoor spaces with Trex products.

 

Looking for expert tips to spruce up your backyard? You can check out the virtual Trex panel discussion on the Good Housekeeping website!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

AASM “More than a Snore” Radio Media Tour Brings National Awareness to OSA

Many patients are delaying or avoiding medical care due to COVID-19 concerns, including delaying care for common, treatable sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). To help our client the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) drive awareness about the often-misunderstood signs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), we coordinated a radio media tour (RMT) which took place on April 29, 2021. To promote the tour, we developed a high-impact media alert, social media posts and schedule of local market details for each station to ensure messaging aligned with each audience.

The tour featured expert insights from AASM board member and practicing sleep medicine physician, Dr. Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg. Over the course of a morning, Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg completed 14 total interviews which aired online and on radio stations across the nation. RMT coverage included a total of 447 radio segment airings with over 17 million impressions.

  • Podcasts included Business Radio X – “The Mark Bishop Show” (Listen here!)
  • Nationally Syndicated Airings included:
    • Global American Broadcasting Network – “Bill Martinez Live”
    • Transformation Talk Radio Network – “The Dr. Pat Show”  (Listen here!)
    • Wilkins Radio Network – “Let’s Just Talk”
    • Radio America – “The Passport Mommy” 
  • Local Airings included radio stations in Bluefield, WV; La Crosse, WI; Roanoke, VA; Pittsburgh, PA; Tampa Bay, FL; Seattle, WA; New York, NY; Baltimore, MD; Charlotte, NC; and Providence, RI.

The RMT helped drive awareness to the symptoms and treatment options for OSA, and familiarized patients with what to expect when visiting a sleep center. With such a wide national reach, I feel confident that we were able to enact positive action in many listeners lives.

If you think you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, visit SleepEducation.org to find a board-certified sleep physician at an American Academy of Sleep Medicine Accredited Sleep Center near you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Trex Recycling Efforts Capture High-Profile Media Attention for Earth Day

Did you know that LCWA client Trex Company’s world-famous composite decking is made from 95% recycled materials? To amplify the company’s “green” story in conjunction with Earth Day (April 22, 2021), we pitched key media with the goal of pointing eco-minded consumers in the right direction for turning their trash into treasure in the form of Trex decking. We found success in our pitch strategy by offering media a turnkey Earth Day package, including Trex stats and facts, along with educational images and videos. We also provided local angles to consider and offered interviews with corporate and local Trex spokespeople.

Our proactive outreach resulted in a number of media placements, including a broadcast TV segment with CBS Dallas-Ft. Worth (KTVT-TV). The two-minute feature aired on the station’s 6 p.m. newscast on Earth Day and focused on the NexTrex recycling program as a way to responsibly dispose of plastic bags and film. The segment featured an interview with Dave Heglas, senior director of materials management for Trex, who discussed Trex’s green values and noted the types of plastic materials that can be recycled into Trex decking.

For a local angle, we coordinated an on-site b-roll shoot at a local participating NexTrex retail recycling location, where residents can dispose of their plastic waste. Additionally, we shipped Trex decking samples to the producer to show on camera and visually bring the story full circle from recycling to finished product.

The CBS segment can be viewed on the station’s website, here. Other high-profile coverage garnered for Trex on Earth Day included The Detroit News, which featured a list of accepted plastics for recycling into Trex composite decking and linked to a list of participating retail locations.

Bonus Trex “Green” Fun Facts:

  • Trex uses more than 1.5 billion plastic bags each year to make its eco-friendly outdoor living products.
  • Trex has never cut down a single tree to make its products.
  • An average 500-square-foot composite Trex deck may contain approximately 140,000 recycled plastic bags.
  • A standard 16-foot Trex composite deck board contains recycled material from approximately 2,250 plastic bags.

LCWA looks forward to continuing to grow awareness of Trex’s green story, sustainable values, and recycling programs as we work with the company to celebrate Earth Day, every day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Rethinking Internal Communications After COVID

The way companies are communicating with employees has changed tremendously over the past year because of COVID-19. Almost overnight, companies were forced to adopt new communication tools and strategies in order to reach their people with vital and up-to-date information. With so many employees continuing to work from home, the main function of internal communications – to engage employees, share information, create culture and impart purpose – has never been more important.

Consistency is Key
To ensure effectiveness, internal communication channels must reach all employees at the right time and with the right message and content. In today's setting, employees want to know when and where they will be receiving communications and so it’s imperative to create a regular cadence of communications and adhere to that timetable.

Employees also seek a sense of connection to replace the
face-to-face contact we were so used to experiencing before the pandemic. Thus, business leaders must find ways to create a virtual watercooler that supports social connection. One way to do so is through the adoption of new digital collaboration and communications tools and methods of professional growth training.

Effective Audits Drive Discussion

An effective method to gauge employee satisfaction is by conducting a communications audit that surveys employees about how they are handling work in the current environment and if they require any additional tools. Other communications tactics to further engagement and collaboration include training or wellness webinars, mobile employee apps, instant messaging tools, podcasts, video messages, weekly digital newsletters, lunch conferences, virtual coffee meetings, online games, contests or challenges, gamification for remote onboarding and employee rewards.

 

The coronavirus crisis is far from over and meeting the unique challenges it poses will require companies to plan new strategies for internal communications. While the pandemic has changed the way we interact and engage, efforts aimed at uniting an organization and fostering company culture can go a long way in improving employee morale and engagement.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Influencers: The New Age of Marketing

It’s no secret that influencer marketing is on the rise. In 2019 alone, brands spent a whopping $8 billion on influencers by way of sponsored posts, long-term partnerships and commission. Whether you frequent YouTube and Facebook or prefer Instagram and TikTok, you’ll surely find yourself as a target of influencer marketing and may not even know it. However, as PR professionals, when it comes down to actually working with influencers as opposed to being influenced by them, brands have a
few things they should keep in mind before launching a campaign. First being, not all influencers are equal. Ranging from the top tier influencers down to the little guys, each has their own benefits:  

Mega influencers are usually celebrities with an explosive reach. However, their large audiences may be misleading and do not always equate to high engagement.

  • Macro influencers tend to be professional social media personalities with a niche focus. They are adept at brand partnerships and sponsored content comes across as organic and conversational.
  • Mid-Tier influencers are professionals and subject matter experts. They are often most effective because they are big enough to be considered influential but small enough to still engage with their audience.
  • Micro influencers are highly relevant, trusted and more relatable individuals that garner higher engagement than larger tiers of influencers.
  • Nano influencers are the smallest of the bunch, but still powerful when used correctly. Passionate brand advocates in niche spaces. Often have the highest rate of engagement of all influencer tiers.

Before choosing which type of influencer to work with, be sure to clearly define the goals and budget of your campaign. This will help you to decide which type of influencer will be the best fit. Mega and Macro influencers are best equipped to drive awareness to a campaign while Mid-Tier, Micro and Nano influencers will get their audience clicking through to links, existing relationships and doing more research.

Once you know which type will best meet your needs and you have a few influencers in mind, be sure to vet them prior to making the partnership final. Following the below criteria can help to ensure your campaign gets you the most bang for your buck:

  • Check the influencer’s metrics to see how many followers or subscribers they have and to check that their followers are genuine.
  • See if their content aligns with your messaging.
  • Take a look at their last few months of content to see if their audience interacts with the content.
  • Check to see if their content seems authentic.
  • Consider the cost of the influencer partnership to ensure it is within budget and will add value.

Once you’ve vetted the influencers and have picked who you want to work with, be sure to clearly define and communicate your goals and expectations with them. The best way to ensure all parties know what is expected from them is to create a contract with all of the campaign details, expectations, key messaging and price. Sharing a key messaging document is essential so the influencer is clear on what main talking points to hit on and is aware of any verbiage or topics to avoid.

Overall, working with influencers is a great way to maximize exposure for a campaign. Once the influencer posts the content, your work isn’t done. Be sure to check and see how well the post performed and keep the metrics in mind for the future. And, always leave the door open for future collaboration. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Starts 2021 with Massive Media Month

We helped our client the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) bring awareness to the devastating lung disease affecting more than 200,000 Americans with a total of over 92.6 million impressions garnered in January. Below are a few stories and highlights from coverage secured throughout the month using a multifaced media approach. 

Feature Stories Drive Awareness
A byline article by Dr. Sonye Danoff, Senior Medical Advisor for the PFF Care Center Network, shared advice on how patients can pinpoint pulmonary fibrosis (PF) symptoms and talk to their doctors in the new year. The byline article was published via HubPages and the pitch was distributed via Newswise and to national consumer health media. Outlets including Health News Digest and News Break published stories on the guidance. In a SiriusXM Doctor Radio interview, Dr. Danoff discussed PF signs and symptoms, with emphasis on how a chronic cough can be a sign of something serious like PF.
Later in the month, a story idea highlighting smoking as a PF risk factor and leveraging the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Smoking Cessation was distributed and pitched to national health media. The pitch generated extensive coverage from outlets including U.S. News & World Report, Medical Xpress, HealthDay, The HealthCast, Health News Digest and MedicineNet.

News Garners Coverage
A press release announcing United Therapeutics’ sponsorship of the PFF Registry was distributed via PR Newswire and Newswise, as well as directly to national health trade media. The announcement was shared by multiple outlets, including BioSpace, Patient Worthy, Clinical Hearts, Pulmonary Hypertension News and the American Association for Respiratory Care.

An additional press release about the first patient enrollment in the PRECISIONS study was distributed via PR Newswire, Newswise and directly to national health trade media. Stories on the announcement were published by RT Magazine, Ritz Herald, Psychiatry Intel and Stem Cell Science News, among others. Dr. Kevin Flaherty, Steering Committee Chairman for the PFF Care Center Network and PFF Registry, also completed a video interview with ACRPtv, where he discussed the role precision medicine played in developing the clinical trial.
We were thrilled to kick off 2021 with a fantastic month of media coverage for the PFF, and look forward to another successful year of driving awareness of this serious disease
.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Adapting to Virtual Events

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many physical spaces have been replaced by virtual ones. Thousands of companies have reinvented their in-person trade shows, meetings and conferences as virtual programs this year. According to recent survey data, the number of organizations planning a virtual event doubled in 2020, and 81% of event organizers said they plan to shift to digital events in the future.


This dramatic shift has had a significant impact on PR professionals who typically rely on large in-person events, such as trade shows, to generate buzz for new products or corporate announcements and to build important media relationships that will result in ongoing press coverage.

Here are some events that will continue to be virtual in 2021 and beyond, with tips for how we can adapt as PR pros:

  • Trade Shows – Most trade shows took place virtually in 2020 and early in 2021. In the absence of physically greeting and guiding reporters on-site, we can adapt by creating a curated agenda based on their beat and interests that can be shared with them virtually. This can include key spokesperson meetings, speaking sessions and virtual booth activity links for them to tune in and experience in real time.
  • Product Launches – The pandemic may have largely cancelled in-person events for the time being, but many companies are finding that virtual product launches and social media events offer additional benefits by allowing them to connect to a larger audience at a fraction of the cost – at a time when people are hungry for new products and an escape from the news. A virtual launch event can introduce your product to a global audience – a huge advantage over physical events – and can then increase prospective customers, while also allowing you to obtain measurable insights about the attendees and enable you to conduct the event with low overhead. 
  • Press Conferences – Hosting a virtual press conference allows information to be distributed and questions to be asked in a remote setting, all while maintaining a face-to-face relationship with key stakeholders and journalists. It also doesn’t require that media travel, which can make it more likely that they attend, and virtual break-out rooms provide the opportunity for private one-on-one follow-ups with executives and members of the media in a far more manageable way than it would be in-person.

While virtual events present new challenges, they also offer new benefits. A 2020 survey found that 86% of the people who attended virtual events reported higher or equal levels of engagement compared to in-person events, and 50% of virtual events attendees engage using social media, compared to just 16% at in-person events. With so many events occurring virtually, it’s essential that communicators evolve our strategies to match the changing events landscape.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Trex Leverages Influencer Dream Deck to Garner Consumer Coverage Amidst COVID-19

We work with our client, Trex Company, to fill the media pipeline with relevant and inspiring outdoor living content throughout the year. Keeping the brand top-of-mind among homeowners, while reinforcing the brand’s position as a leader among trade professionals, our PR program equips media with outdoor living ideas, approachable DIY tips and aspirational imagery.

An integral component of our program is partnering with established influencers, entrusting them to confidently amplify and adapt Trex’s brand messaging into approachable content for their followers. One such influencer, Evette Rios, has provided unparalleled value to our program. A proud Latina, TV personality, DIYer and lifestyle expert, her public persona and relationship with home and lifestyle media directly aligned with Trex’s consumer initiatives.

To launch our partnership, we collaborated with Evette to build the deck of her dreams – a modern addition to her vacation home in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Complete with an outdoor kitchen, firepit, swim spa and dining area, Evette envisioned a space where she and her family could make the most of an extended outdoor living season, from early spring to late fall. Partnering with TrexPro Garloff Carpentry, Evette detailed the design and build process on her YouTube, social media and blog, providing her followers with candid insights (and plenty of laughs!) along the way.

The completion of Evette’s deck coincided with the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, as people reimaged how they spend time and interact with their outdoor living spaces. Given her deck’s expansive spaces for relaxing, cooking and socializing, we pitched Evette’s deck to consumer media as the ultimate COVID-19 oasis, perfect for an outdoor office (featured on TODAY), recess for her sons, and al fresco cooking and dining for her family.

In addition to TODAY, proactive media outreach garnered the attention of other national media outlets, including HouseBeautiful.com, which called her deck renovation, “the ultimate quarantine project,” highlighted Trex decking and Trex Outdoor Kitchens and reinforced Evette’s synergy with the brand as being based in a passion for sustainability – a critical message for Trex and eco-conscious consumers. Most recently, Evette’s deck was featured in an 8-page spread in the Winter/Spring 2021 issue of Rachael Ray in Season (available now in print). Showcasing the deck as an elevated, “treehouse” space, Evette positioned Trex decking as a weather-resistant, low-maintenance “game-changer,” while humorously noting that her indoor wooden floors are often more problematic than her composite deck.

Our partnership with Evette has delivered a considerable ROI for Trex, having secured print, digital, social and television placements throughout the build process – from design to completion. We look forward to cultivating relationships with more influencers, both domestically and internationally, to expose Trex to a wider audience and further solidify the brand as the undisputed leader in high performance, low maintenance outdoor living products.

Friday, February 12, 2021

PR + Podcasts – A New Media Frontier

According to a 2020 survey conducted by Statista, 55% of Americans state that they have listened to a podcast. Furthermore, 15% of Americans actively listen to one or more podcasts a month. Clearly, the platform of podcasts has become the auditory medium of choice for many. Able to be accessed on-the-go, podcasts offer the same value proposition as many streaming serv
ices and, in most cases, are free. As consumers choose what, when, where and how they listen, the podcast medium provides unsurpassed engagement and listener loyalty – as PR professionals, we’re taking note.

The medium of podcasts was invented by Dave Winer in 2004. Dubbing it, “RSS-to-iPod internet radio,” users could download episodes of his blog to their devices for later listening. Noticing the platform’s pickup, Apple launched a “Podcasts” portal in iTunes in 2005, becoming the dominant distributor of podcasts – a title it keeps to this day. Today, Spotify, Apple and Stitcher have evolved to become the “Big Three” distributors of over 34 million podcast episodes in over 100 languages.

There’s no doubt about it - podcasts are doing something right. The success of the podcast platform is centered around integration. Podcasts integrate sponsorship segments into the natural flow of the episode:

  • The host of the podcast often delivers the sponsored segment, without a jarring transition to a commercial break (think radio, TV)
  • The host vets the products to ensure that they are relevant to listeners
  • Ads are sold in quick-hit :30 and :60 second timeslots

Podcast integration with music streaming services provide many touchpoints, conducive to listenership loyalty:

  • Phone notification
  • E-mail notification
  • Lock screen notification
  • In-app notification

The numbers speak for themselves. According to eMarketer, listeners report greater trust in podcast advertisements (18%) than radio (10%), higher brand and message recall in podcasts (18%) than radio (11%) and greater enjoyment in podcasts (20%) than radio (11%).

Furthermore, podcasts are able to provide potential sponsors with vast listenership data, making possible a new frontier of niche content. For example, consider welding. A pitch for a radio show based on welding would not be successful – why would welding-specific advertisers back a show on FM radio? On the other hand, a welding podcast can approach prospective sponsors with concrete listenership and demographic numbers, demonstrating measurable ROI while providing relevant content to the welding community.

Podcasts continually seek thought leadership from both for-profit companies and non-profit organizations to fuel content creation. While it can be hard to source podcast opportunities, we’ve enjoyed exploring PodcastClout, a Cision-like software that’s perfect to start outlining a podcast PR strategy. In addition, Facebook Groups, long known to be an influencer-sourcing platform, are now abuzz with podcast opportunities, both seeking guests and looking to be placed.

The golden age of podcasts is here – and we can further fuel it. As public relations professionals, it is critical that we be the bridge between our clients and such opportunities, and further integrate podcasts into the larger PR strategy. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Celebrities Give the Gift of Outdoor Living to Deserving Friends

It’s never too early to begin planning for outdoor living season and our client, Trex Company, is on the radar of many after being featured in two star-studded episodes of HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU.” Fans of the Property Brothers, actor Justin Hartley of “This is Us,” and Rainn Wilson, better known as Dwight Schrute from “The Office,” tuned in recently to see their favorite stars renovate homes for their loved ones, complete with outdoor oases.

By providing their famous low-maintenance, high-performance composite decking for the episodes, Trex was able to gain major exposure on multiple media platforms, which is crucial at a time when outdoor living is skyrocketing. Both episodes had a combined audience of more than 6.2 million people who learned about the benefits of composite decking and saw the beauty it can add to an outdoor space.

But Trex’s exposure wasn’t done there. For the viewer’s convenience, “Celeb IOU” publishes a Resource Guide on the Property Brothers’ website which includes product details for each episode, making it easy for viewers to replicate the beautiful spaces in their own homes. The Trex decking used in both the Justin Hartley and Rainn Wilson episodes was featured in the respective Resource Guides, giving the brand some extra love for supplying the decking.

The cherries on top of this partnership were two social media posts (see here & here) that appeared on the Property Brothers’ Instagram page, reaching an additional 1.8 million people!

Overall, this high-profile collaboration delivered tremendous ROI by  garnering valuable third-party endorsements and helping Trex to reach new audiences. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Benefits of Social Listening Tools

As you’ve likely observed, social listening is a growing trend. And, it’s here to stay. Why? Because we’re capable of learning more than ever by tracking consumers’ behavior online. By listening to the online universe, brands can obtain insights from consumer conversations and collect data on themes, trends and behaviors to accomplish a number of objectives.

“Social listening” is the practice of tracking for online mentions of your brand and topics important to your brand (via campaign hashtags or industry keywords, for example), and then analyzing those comments and conversations for insights to identify opportunities to act.

 

To help with this process, there are a number of social listening tools that have been introduced to the market. The biggest advantage of using these tools is their ability to capture posts and comments that mention a brand without directly tagging it. According to Brandwatch, 96% of conversations about brands happen outside official brand channels and without tagging the brand in question. Without tagging, these kinds of mentions will not be identified by standard monitoring tools.

Here are a few other key reasons you should consider employing social listening tools:

Brand Sentiment

Social listening tools collate online chatter and provide an analysis – sometimes called opinion mining – by digging into word choice and context, primarily through algorithms or filters. Most tools group the search results into positive, negative or neutral categories, and many will go further by providing audience segmentation. 

As you monitor online conversations over time, such as investigating spikes in positive or negative sentiment, you will gain insights into how your messaging can influence the way followers feel about and interact with the brand or product.

Let’s say, for example, that you track overall positive social sentiment about the technical specifications of a new product, but users often share negative comments in feeds about the look of the product. This insight can be shared with R&D to help revamp the design. Social listening can even help you understand how moves you’re making offline are resonating in the social media sphere. For instance, consumers may respond on Twitter to a TV ad (especially during big events like the Super Bowl or Oscars), or post on Facebook about customer service received at a brick-and-mortar location.

Competitor Analysis

Beyond consumers, you can also learn what your competitors are up to in real-time. Creating alerts to monitor competitors allows you to measure sentiment for them the same way you would measure for your own brand(s). You can, for example, keep an eye out for positive mentions to find inspiration and negative mentions to generate sales leads.

This is an area where different social listening tools can really stand out depending on what your goals are. Are you focused on particular platforms? Are you more concerned with social share of voice or who has better SEO? Is your priority product development? Do you want to track advertising campaigns?

With most tools, you can analyze competitors’ profiles on social platforms via metrics such as engagement, growth of fans, interactions, popular hashtags and more. Downloadable, and sometimes customizable, reports provide detailed charts and graphs to compare performance. From an SEO standpoint, there are even tools that allow you to determine competitors’ website referral traffic, backlinks and targeted keywords.

User-generated Content

Leveraging user-generated content (UGC) is an affordable and effective approach that could mean less money spent on stock photos or asset creation, and more budget for PR and marketing tactics. One key benefit of social listening tools is that they make it easier to find customer photos, videos and testimonials.

Several tools allow you to easily invite your customers to share their experiences with your products and brands, display that UGC on your website and social channels, and even track performance metrics across all channels. If you are seeking assets for use beyond the web in perpetuity, some tools will auto-generate direct messages to request usage rights and notify you when the content creator confirms.

Even more, some social listening tools have advanced image recognition technology, offering the ability to identify brand logos or other visual cues. Up to 80% of images don’t mention the brand in captions or other text, so these AI capabilities provide a great way to capture posted photos you may have otherwise missed. Keep in mind that your product must have a strong visual component, such as a brand logo that is front and center, like on a Starbucks cup. While these features come with a bigger price tag, it can be worth the investment if amassing quality visuals is important for your brand initiatives.

Influencer Engagement

Social listening tools can help identify the users with clout and audience followings in a given topic area and provide engagement features to help turn them into brand ambassadors.

But note, social listening tools are best for finding nano- and micro-influencers. If you are looking for professional social media personalities with a niche focus, there are alternative tools that focus specifically on influencer vetting and management. When it comes to social media listening, you are looking for brand mentions (tagged or untagged), and it’s rare to find professional influencers mentioning a brand without a sponsorship.

What you will find via social listening tools are organic brand advocates – i.e. people who already love your brand and are saying great things about you on social media. Basically, social listening tools allow you to accelerate native searches. By setting up filters in advance, hashtag search results are better organized and scalable to allow you to spend more time on influencer engagement instead of searching.

These four benefits only scratch the surface on the many advantages that social listening tools can bring to a PR or marketing campaign. The best tool for your brand ultimately depends on your goals. Once you define your key objectives, you can determine the best tool for the job.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

AASM Outlines the Impact of the Night Cap

Find yourself pouring a nightcap to help you fall asleep? You’re not alone – in fact, a recent
survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) found that 68% of Americans have lost sleep due to drinking alcohol past bedtime.

As the holidays tend to be a time when alcohol consumption rises, LCWA helped the AASM drive attention to this timely statistic in a pitch which outlined the consequences of alcohol consumption upon sleep, which include:

  • The triggering of new sleep disorders or exacerbation of existing ones, including insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
  • Excessive relaxation of the muscles in the head, neck and throat, which may interfere with normal breathing during sleep
  • Frequent need to get up and go to the bathroom, especially disruptive during the second half of the night
  • Increased risk for parasomnias including sleep walking and sleep eating

To support these findings and encourage the public to kick off the New Year right, the pitch also included tips to minimize alcohol’s effect on sleep:

  • Allow three to four hours between drinking and bedtime: If you have a nightcap right before bed, you may not sleep very deeply because as alcohol starts to metabolize, the sedative effect wears off.
  • Stay hydrated and drink water: Try and drink two glasses of water for every alcoholic drink. This will help your system flush out the alcohol.
  • Avoid bubbly drinks: Bubbles can cause bloating and gas, so consider avoiding fizzy and carbonated drinks.
  • Eat a light snack before bed: Food delays how quickly you absorb alcohol, which can help lower your blood alcohol content (BAC).

LCWA distributed the pitch via Newswise and pitched directly to national consumer and health media. As a result of our outreach, coverage garnered over 22 million impressions with notable placements in Doctor’s Lounge, Medical Xpress, HealthNewsDigest, U.S. News & World Report, HealthDay and The Empire-Tribune. These results, compounded with alcohol’s increased usage amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, suggest that alcohol’s relationship with sleep is a topic of interest for the media and American public.