2014 was a big one for LPR - one filled with great new clients, talented new faces and, of course, public relations results. Let's take a look at LPR's 2014 by the numbers:
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2014 was a big one for LPR - one filled with great new clients, talented new faces and, of course, public relations results. Let's take a look at LPR's 2014 by the numbers:
A recent Harvard Business Review article has been making the rounds in the marketing and communications circles, “Content Is Crap, and Other Rules for Marketers” by Greg Satell. We’ve all heard that content is king, so declaring that content is crap is a pretty strong statement to make. The point isn’t that content doesn’t matter. The point is you should want more than some flash-in-the-pan content—you should want a relationship with the consumer. The article explains, “Today, marketers need to build an ongoing relationship with consumers and that means holding attention, not just grabbing it. To get people to subscribe to a blog, YouTube channel, or social media feed, you need to offer more than a catchy slogan or a clever stunt. You need to offer real value, and offer it consistently.”
We like this idea. We see this as relationship building, and relationships are what drives engagement and results for businesses and organizations.
Thinking about this relationship-building and engagement-driven content, I wanted to highlight some organizations on our radar. These are just a few examples that have caught—and kept—our attention by keying in on the human experience.
General Electric– GE has been pumping out quality content since before Ronald Reagan was in politics. They are constantly innovating, and I, personally, am consistently impressed with its marketing efforts beyond the customary Facebook and Twitter channels. I have to admit I follow GE on Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat and even LinkedIn and Tumblr. It’s all different content, and it’s all done exceptionally well.
GE has come a long way since the days of General Electric Theater. If your team needs some inspiration in the digital space, check out how GE is and engaging the younger generations through #EmojiScience.
Southwest Airlines – You’d be hard-pressed to find a value airline that has more LUV for its customers than Southwest. Enter its new trademark: Transfarency, Southwest Airlines’ philosophy that means “low fares actually stay low — no unexpected bag fees, change fees or hidden fees.”
So our bags fly for free, and the in-flight hot chocolate always hits the spot. We’re on board, but what’s really caught our eye with Southwest lately is its Periscope channel. While most big brands have jumped on the Periscope band wagon, Southwest has definitely set itself apart from the noise. Building anticipation through Twitter, Southwest shows us different sneak peeks inside the company that aren’t stuffy or scripted, and the company engages with its viewers by listening and responding to comments. Viewers get an inside look at operations, company events and employee life, and back in August, Southwest put the Texas Rangers to work for a day! Southwest is definitely one to watch.
REI – This company is truly all about relationships. REI is a co-op and values its members heavily. They offer special events, discounted rates for its Outdoor School and a great return policy for members—not to mention the year-end rebate. REI promotes clean, crisp and wanderlust-evoking images and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that make you want to quit your day job…
If you haven’t heard yet, REI plans to #OptOutside on Black Friday and is closing all 143 of its stores for the day. This bold move, which includes delaying any online sales that day and paying its employees to enjoy the day outside, aligns with the company’s core values. While social is still reeling from this news, we’ve also noticed a coordinated effort for holiday shopping encouraging “no inside gifts.” People seem to like the idea to #OptOutside on Black Friday, and admittedly, it’s probably going to create much more consumer-created content for them. Overall, well-played.
With everything floating out on the internet, we’re impressed by what these brands are doing to grab our attention and keep us engaged. We’re on the lookout for what’s next, what works and what doesn’t, and we’re interested to hear what you think, too. What’s on your radar? Comment below and fill us in!
The LPR family is just that -- a family. We support each other professionally, but we also like to have fun. Yesterday, the team took an afternoon trip to Bowl and Barrel in Dallas to bowl, eat, drink and relax together. Scroll down to see how much fun we had and -- more importantly -- who won!
Jennifer, Christi and Ashley enjoyed cheering on their team members.
Our fearless leader, Blake, led off the first game.
Surprise! The outing also doubled as an early birthday celebration for Blake!
Despite an injured right hand, Jennifer bowled a strike on her first turn!
Work-life balance and team unity are valued at LPR. The team was thankful for some much-needed time away from the office!
(In case you were wondering, Blake and Christi each won a game!)
Our society is continuously inundated with information through an ever-growing field of tools and mediums. As a corporate or government leader, it can be hard to know which channels are most effective and how to get your message across. Customers, media and other key audiences are demanding direct access to corporate and government leaders, and communication from the top has become increasingly scrutinized. We’ve got examples of the best tools for executives to make sure you—and your brand—are understood.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great options for leaders and executives to directly engage with new, broader audiences. A recent a Public Relations Global Network Survey discovered that journalists regularly peruse a CEO’s social media presence—LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook—before an interview. Other studies have shown that CEO engagement on social media helps drive consumer spending and create brand loyalists. Executive presence on social media may be the last thing in the world a CEO has time for, but check out these examples before you write it off:
-President Obama generated more than 50,000 tweets last week with his #AskPOTUS Twitter chat. The initial response was so overwhelming that it took one hour before his first response.
-Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore used a selfie stick to give viewers an inside look of SXSW with Meerkat broadcasts.
-NASA and the United States Air Force used Periscope to interview Astronaut Terry Virtz upon his return from the International Space Station.
-Former Governor Perry previewed his 2016 campaign bid on Snapchat.
-Elon Musk teased out new Tesla product lines on Twitter and stocks jumped.
-Intel CEO Brian Krzanich opted for a Reddit AMA, but came under criticism for avoiding top two questions regarding the NSA.
-Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg brought tears to our eyes with a post about her late husband.
-DFW Airport has been hosting #AskDFWExec Twitter chats to connect AvGeeks everywhere with a sampling of their executive leadership. Watch for EVP Ken Buchanan on July 10.
Opinion editorials in local, business and trade media publications are a great way to put the leader or company’s message on the record. Strategically placed editorials can impact public opinion before an election or vote. It can also be a great way to highlight and raise awareness on different issues. See some of my favorite examples below:
-McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook’s Chicago Tribune Op-ed, “Why we're raising wages”
-Former first lady and founder of Taking Care of Texas Laura Bush’s column in The Dallas Morning News, “Conservation can start in your own garden”
-Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Charles Bergh Forbes Op-ed, “Do the world a favor n’ wash your jeans every 10 wears”
You can also consider speaking engagements or conferences where there will be industry leaders, rising experts and respected media. A speaking circuit of handpicked events can be an effective way to get your message heard and confer with influencers. Participating in these types of events also positions your executive or executive team as the trusted industry leader and expert.
Last month, the LPR team helped place ConocoPhillips’ Chief Technology Officer Ram Shenoy as a keynote at the University of Colorado-Denver’s Energy Moving Forward forum.
Clear and effective communication is crucial to the success of any leader. Much more goes into a CEO media orientation and preparation, but exploring these tools can help set your business leader apart from the crowds.
What are some techniques or stories you’ve seen or used when working with c-level clients?
Be sure to check back with us for Communications from the Top: Effective CEO Messaging.
Last Friday, two team members from Lewis Public Relations attended the PRSA Dallas Pitching Boot Camp with renowned speaker Michael Smart. While PRSA offers its members many options for professional development, we have to say this was one of the best so far. Michael Smart is a former journalist turned independent communications trainer. This wasn’t our team’s first interaction with Michael. While we choose to participate in a variety of professional development offerings, all of us have benefited from Michael's weekly emails, past conferences and webinars...and our latest encounter did not disappoint.
At the PRSA Dallas Pitching Boot Camp, participants ranged from university students studying public relations to seasoned media and high-level spokespeople from around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Michael talked through the pitching basics, nuances of pitching today’s influencers, bloggers and overworked journalists, and the breakdown of your story. Without giving away the recipe to his secret sauce, we’d like to share some of the tried and true tips even the most tenured PR gurus can find useful.
Newsworthiness of the Pitch – Consider all aspects of your pitch.
What makes it relevant? Why now? Who should know about this? What side of the story can you tell to connect to your audience?
Targeted Outreach – Using mail merge? Survey says, “Don’t!”
Don’t waste your time or your media contact’s time unless it’s the right fit. Think about it: Journalists want to feel special, just like you and your clients. You’re more likely to make contact if you put some thought into who and why you are pitching.
Follow-up – Don’t be discouraged.
If you know it’s a good story, do make timely, appropriate follow-ups. If you don’t push for the coverage, who else will? During the Pitching Boot Camp, Michael also cautioned not to discredit the value of a cold call.
Most professional organizations offer a plethora of development training options throughout the year. While we don’t recommend signing up for every opportunity out there, it would behoove you to take note of what is offered. Investing in yourself directly correlates to your professional growth and client successes. Other LPR team members have made notable investments, such as pursuing Accreditation in Public Relations and earning an executive M.B.A. from University of Texas McCombs School of Business.
We recommend keeping an open mind and watching for worthwhile opportunities coming up, whether that means pursuing additional education or participating in seminars and conferences, especially if Michael Smart is headed to your area soon. Reading the quality content from respected industry professionals’ blogs can sometimes function as a quick way to receive condensed advice or tips on the latest how-to. We’ve curated a list of the best blogs for public relations and marketing here.
Do you have any suggestions on quality training or professional organizations? Comment below or engage with us on Twitter at @LPRDallas.
For more information on joining a Public Relations Society of America chapter, look here. For more information about Michael Smart, we encourage you to visit his website and be on the watch for his upcoming blog.
Blogs have sprung open the gates traditionally guarded by reporters and editors, but it can be hard to wade through the clutter to find quality content. LPR has been generating our own content for the past five years, and we’re avid followers of other public relations thought leaders, too. In the billions pages of internet, we wanted to share some of our recommendations for the best public relations blogs out there.
Best PR pro blogs:
Brian Solis – Defining the impact of technology, culture and business
Peter Shankman – Founder of Help A Reporter Out
Michael Smart – Former journalist, independent communications trainer
- February 2015: “5 Ways to React to a Journalist on Twitter Beyond a Compliment”
Note: Michael Smart doesn’t have a blog, but his content is well worth signing up to receive his e-mail newsletters and to hear his insight in webinars and conferences.
Best industry blogs:
PR Daily – Daily news site that delivers news, advice and opinions on public relations, marketing, social media and media
- June 2015: “5 reasons PR and marketing pros should curate content”
Jounralistics – A nifty little blog about digital communications
- March 2015: “Periscope and Meerkat: The New ‘Twitter’ for Reporters”
Millennial Marketing – Insight and commentary on the latest millennial consumer and marketing trends
Spin Sucks – Professional Development for PR and Marketing Pros
- May 2015: “Five Tips for Effective Marketing Collateral”
Blogs from the Public Relations Global Network:
Reed Public Relations, based in Nashville, TN
The Fearey Group, based in Seattle, WA
Ground Floor Media, based in Denver, CO
Landis Communications, Inc., based in San Francisco, CA
Buchanan Public Relations, based in Philadelphia, PA
HMA Public Relations, based in Phoenix, AZ
For length’s sake, we know we left some great ones off this list. If you see one we missed or want us to check out your blog, please comment below with the link or tweet us at @LPRDallas!
(We hope you count our blog as one of your go-to sources for public relations news and insights. While you’re here, check out some of our recent blogs highlighting client success and public relations insight.)
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Peter Shankman’s Twitter feed; Jounralistcs; Public Relations Global Network
On May 21, Lewis Public Relations and our other Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) offices will be working to support Carrington College’s attempt to break the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ for most blood pressure checks within an eight hour period.
The American Heart Association calls high blood pressure a “silent killer” because it is typically symptom-free. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 of every 3 adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure, but only about half of those 70 million Americans have it under control.
To celebrate National High Blood Pressure Education Month, 17 campuses within the Carrington College network are partnering together to increase local communities’ knowledge about blood pressure and provide education about health risks associated with both pre-hypertension and hypertension.
Kicking off Carrington’s Mesquite campus blood pressure check, there will be a special guest from the American Heart Association, located here in Dallas. As this theme directly correlates to its mission, Carrington College is excited to partner with this great cause!
Come by to see us tomorrow between 1-9 p.m. at Carrington College, 3733 West Emporium Circle, Mesquite, Texas 75150.
You can follow along with Carrington’s tracker for the event at CarringtonBreaksRecords.com. Also, check out what's going on in other markets with our partner PRGN offices in Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle.
Will you help us break this world record? It may save your life!
Photo Credits: Carrington College
Today is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. While everyone generally agrees in doing their part to help protect the environment, sometimes only the big companies with entire departments devoted to sustainability get to show off their good deeds. Here at Lewis Public Relations, we do a lot of little things to help with our fair share. We’re glad to have companies on our client roster that share this commitment. We’re happier still to help celebrate their accomplishments in this area. McKinstry, a national firm specializing in consulting, construction, energy and facility services, celebrated a big win with the completion of their second environmental phase of the Corpus Christi Energy Efficiency Conservation Project. Through water conservation, lighting and other efficiency efforts in 76 different buildings, McKinstry was able to reduce Corpus Christi’s carbon emissions by an estimated 6.6 million pounds and almost 43,000 kWh annually. To put that in perspective, that's equal to 827 acres of trees being planted or 581 cars removed from the road.
On Tuesday, the City of Corpus Christi was presented a refund check for $87,071.20 for its continued commitment to energy efficiency with the help of McKinstry’s work. Through the Energy Efficiency Conservation Project, Corpus Christi was eligible to participate in AEP’s Texas CitySmart Program, which helps municipalities save energy and money by providing no-cost facility improvement recommendations, and implemented through CLEAResult.
We’re glad to support clients that positively impact local communities, producing big results while also supporting green initiatives in the state and across the country. This was a big win for the City of Corpus Christi and a big win for McKinstry!
You can see coverage - pitched by the LPR team - of the check presentation from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times here: http://bit.ly/1OFZ36o and from the Nueces County Record Star here: http://bit.ly/1HgKSWu.
More information on McKinstry's other projects in Texas may be found here: http://bit.ly/1OC30uE.
(Photos credits: American Museum of Natural History and City of Corpus Christi)
As Tax Day comes and goes this year, there are certain lessons we should hold on to. These lessons, while seemingly apparent, are checks and balances that can be applied to our daily lives, especially in public relations agencies. 1. Organize your resources. Do your homework and be prepared. Make sure you are listening to what your client wants and what its customers or audience wants. Research, plan and be amenable to change. Strategies can evolve, but regardless, you’ll want a solid plan as a starting point. You wouldn’t cold call a reporter to without refreshing yourself on the pitch, would you?
2. Stick to a timeline. Just like April 15, deadlines can sneak up on you. When you’re working on a big launch for your client or your agency, map it all out with a timeline. This is especially important if you’re coordinating with multiple team members, other agencies or a client’s internal approval process. Everyone needs to know the details of the timeline. This will help make ensure your team gets you the information or approval you need in a timely manner.
3. Audit yourself. Close the loop, and do what you said you were going to do. Did you answer all of your clients concerns? Did you promise a media outlet inclusion of post-release coverage or photo from an event? Follow through on everything from big deliverables to smaller details. This will help you build trust with your clients and media contacts.
It’s all basic but important to remember. So, did you start the year with new goals for yourself or your clients? Have any ambitious media plans? Setting up new pitches? We’re already well into to 2015, but there’s no reason not to make it one of the best yet and finish strong—follow these three steps, and stay your course.
This week was fun week for us here at Lewis Public Relations. As a part of our relationship with Prolanthropy, we get to work with professional athletes who give back to North Texas communities. On Monday, we generated great media turnout at Cook Children’s Medical Center for a donation from the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation. Former TCU, now-Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton and his wife, Jordan, work through their Foundation during the off-season to raise money to provide the children and families with video games and iPads. As they “pass it forward,” their hope is that the kids will find a distraction in these and have a fun way to pass the time during treatments and hospital stays. It was great to see Andy and Jordan bring smiles to these kids and their families.
Before the donation of “Andy & Jordan’s Hub,” we worked to promote ticket sales and coverage of the Foundation’s fundraiser, “Fiesta & Goal,” through earned media. On Wednesday night at Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth, the Foundation hosted 225 guests and media at the event.
Andy and Jordan are doing great things here in the DFW community, as well as back home in Cincinnati. We were glad to partner with them to help make these events a success.
Check out some of our favorite coverage from WFAA’s Joe Trahan here: http://bit.ly/1HheOhS. Also, a big thanks to Mac Engel with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for spreading the word about the event: http://bit.ly/1Hzv3dl.
Photos courtesy of the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation.
With today’s big event for the new Apple Watch, it’s time to highlight a new angle of connecting with customers through wearable technology. Consumers have increased their focus on health and fitness, and smart companies will find ways to serve the market’s needs. At Goldman Sachs’ Technology and Internet Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook timely declared, “Sitting is the new cancer.” The idea that sitting leads to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease like smoking does with cancer resonates with all of us. Most of us lead a fairly sedentary work life, but through technology innovation we can stay more active. Whether or not you should invest in a standing desk is up to you, but there are cheaper and possibly more effective ways to get moving and stay engaged.
With wearable technology and now-standard health apps on smart phones, we can all track our activity on a regular basis – from steps to sleep cycle. The new Apple Watch, like the JawboneUP series, will vibrate when the wearer is inactive for too long.
All this works, too. We’ve started to take the stairs down for that afternoon latte run. We challenge our co-workers and FitBit friends to a “Workweek Hustle.” We've downloaded the Couch to 5K app to gear up for that Corporate Challenge race next month. We all double-tapped when we saw Beyoncé’s #GimmeFive Instagram engaging with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lets Move! Initiative.
As life imitates art, we begin to capitalize through what I’d like to call “active connecting.” In the past, some of our favorite assignments have been helping clients connect through race sponsorships, like the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. Social media coupled with wearable technology gives us a new way to connect. We helped DFW Airport give away new FitBits to customers through social media engagement and highlighted the Airport’s LiveWell Walking Path. Later this month, we’re excited to utilize Twitter to give away a 10K entry to GE’s Irving Marathon. Living well is important to all of us. Why not incorporate it into our corporate and brand culture?
Thanks to wearable technology, connecting with customers to get active and encouraging them to live healthy is a big win. So will the Apple Watch be a big flop? Time will tell, but active connecting through digital engagement is here to stay.
Lewis Public Relations (LPR), a full-service Dallas-based public relations and strategic communications firm, today announced Ashley Brazell has joined the firm as an associate to accommodate new clients and continued growth.
LPR is growing! This installment of "Meet LPR" features our newest associate, Ashley Brazell, who came on board just last week. We're excited to welcome Ashley to the team and look forward to sharing her skills and experience with our clients. Name: Ashley Brazell Joined LPR: February 2, 2015 Clients: Carrington College, McKinstry, ConocoPhillips
1. Why did you decide to leave the political sector and join a PR firm? I loved working in the political arena, but I didn't love the partisanship inside the beltway. When I moved to Washington, D.C., I was bright-eyed and very idealistic, and like many of my millennial cohorts, I wanted to affect some sort of change in our world. Initially, I wanted to accomplish my goals through the lens of public policy, but while on the Hill, I began to understand how important media, in all forms, dictates the status quo. I worked with some really great people, learned how to craft strategic messaging and just sort of never looked back.
2. What’s the best professional advice you've ever received from a mentor or colleague? It’s better to apologize later than waiting to ask for permission. I’ve had some really great mentors in my professional life. I’ve always been encouraged to take initiative and speak up and I think because of that, I have been afforded opportunities that others in my position may not have had—career or otherwise.
3. Ice Cream – Chocolate or Vanilla? Neither. My go to is Mediterranean Mint from Talenti.
4. What’s your favorite Dallas spot on the weekends? My husband has a knack for finding really great places, but I don’t think we have a favorite spot just yet. It all depends on what we’re in the mood for! We really like Ascension for a laid back brunch or well-made coffee. The masters at Parliament are really impressive if you want an artisan cocktail. Oak is fabulous. We really like the cinema, so we also frequent Alamo Drafthouse and the Angelika.
5. What is the most interesting place you've traveled (either for work or leisure)? My family is all really well-traveled and I've been really blessed to have traveled quite a bit from a really young age. I’ve been to Asia, Australia, Europe and South America. My closest sister is actually traveling all over the world right now and I’m really jealous seeing all her Instagram posts! So far, my oldest sister has the most stamps in her passport of the three of us and is currently working in Antarctica, which I would love to visit! Last year, I was able to see Ban Ki-moon speak at the United Nations; so I think technically speaking…I’ve “been” to more countries than either of them.
6. We understand that you've lived all over the U.S. How does Dallas stack up to everywhere else? Dallas is great, except the drivers. I’m a big proponent of both hands-free laws and public transportation. I do miss being near New York’s performing arts scene, although there are some worthwhile-looking venues in the area I plan to check out. As far as a metropolitan area, Dallas has quite a bit to offer. More importantly, the best part about being back in Texas, Dallas in particular, is being closer to my family.
When asked one word (or phrase) to describe Ashley, here’s what her LPR teammates said:
Precise – “I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Ashley is one of the most detail-oriented team members at LPR. Given all the Type As around here, that is saying a LOT.”
Quick Learner – “Ashley hit the ground running and has picked up on things very quickly. That’s a huge asset not only for us as a team, but for our clients, as well!”
Cooperative and eager – “On the occasions that I've worked with Ashley, she dove in headfirst to new tasks and was willing to ask questions in order to better understand new situations.”
Strategic – “She is a very quick learner and is able to look at her work from different aspects in order to get the job done.”
Self-starter – "Ashley shows initiative in attending to client and agency demands."
Intuitive - "Ashley has a knack for anticipating what needs to be done and keeping a few steps ahead. She's great at thinking on her feet."