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Agencies in Minneapolis, NYC, Hong Kong join PRGN

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Agencies in Minneapolis, NYC, Hong Kong join PRGN

Three top-notch communications firms, two in the U.S. and one in China, were welcomed as full members of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) at the spring conference of the one of the world’s largest networks of public relations agencies on Thursday, April 29, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

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Welcome, The Hoyt Organization, to PRGN

Today, we're pleased to announce that Los Angeles-based The Hoyt Organization has joined the Public Relations Global Network, our collaboration of international public relations and marketing partners. Hoyt was officially invited to join PRGN today during the network's fall meeting in Dubai. Hoyt is a full-service, strategic public relations agency with capabilities in crisis communications, media relations, online marketing and brand development. With the addition of Hoyt, Lewis Public Relations and the other 48 PRGN agencies have added in-market expertise and resources in Los Angeles.

Please join us in welcoming The Hoyt Organization to PRGN.

 

The Hoyt Organization Los Angeles joins Lewis Public Relations in Public Relations Global Network

The Hoyt Organization at PRGN Fall 2015

Lewis Public Relations adds Los Angeles public relations partner as part of its Public Relations Global Network. Featured in picture (left to right): Leeza Hoyt, APR, founder and owner of The Hoyt Organization; and Kent Barrett, vice president of The Hoyt Organization

Lewis Public Relations and its 46 member Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) announced it has selected The Hoyt Organization, Inc., a Los Angeles-area based full- service public relations agency, as its newest affiliate. The induction into the global consortium was made during PRGN’s twice-yearly meeting, which just concluded in Dubai.

Adding The Hoyt Organization to our network means we now have an added ability to offer on-the-ground services in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1986, The Hoyt Organization (www.hoytorg.com) is a public relations agency based in Torrance, California, in the county of Los Angeles.  As a full-service strategic communications firm that provides complete public relations counseling and crisis communication services, The Hoyt Organization specializes in developing public relations programs for business to business and business to consumer-based companies that focus on the real estate, financial and professional services, retail, legal, technology and healthcare industries. The Hoyt Organization has created and executed programs encompassing all phases of PR, including communications, corporate image enhancement, media relations and digital and earned media services. Current clients include Auction.com, Sotheby’s International Realty, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, Westwood Financial Corp., Genton Property Group for the Four Seasons Private Residence, Los Angeles, among others.

“Today’s business climate is global and it’s critical that we be able to serve companies in that capacity,” said Leeza Hoyt, APR, founder and CEO of The Hoyt Organization. “Joining PRGN is a logical extension of our ongoing efforts to grow our business in Southern California and around the country. It extends our reach into the world’s most significant global marketplaces where we now have the ability to provide on-the-ground coverage.”

The PRGN partners meet twice a year in cities around the world. The next meeting will be held in April 2016 in Washington, D.C. At each meeting, the firm’s leadership discuss ways the network and its client base can collaborate in local markets around the world.

Agency members are independent, local, owner-operated public relations and communications agencies that share expertise and resources, while providing broad-based comprehensive communications strategies to clients worldwide. If a company or organization is interested in the services of PRGN’s local agency network, go to www.PRGN.com for more information.

PRGN is actively recruiting PR members in China, Africa, Belgium, Vancouver and New York. If a PR agency is interested in joining the network, visit the PRGN website’s member recruitment section for more information or email its membership chair, C.L. Conroy, at CL@conroymartinez.com.

Clients across six continents depend on the combined resources of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) to deliver targeted public relations campaigns in markets around the world.  With revenues of more than $110 million (U.S.D.), PRGN is one of the world’s largest international public relations networks.  PRGN harnesses the resources of approx. 50 independent public relations firms and more than 900 communications professionals to connect international companies and organizations with individual and culturally diverse markets globally.

Visit PRGN online at www.prgn.com or on twitter at @PRGN.

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Email Overload: How to Manage 24/7 Access

Did you notice this gif roaming Twitter and Facebook? I saw it a few weeks ago, and the truth made me laugh and cringe at the same time. As a communicator, 24/7 access through email (and text) can lead to a never-ending, overwhelming and all-consuming inbox. So which camp do you claim?

Until recently, I sat on the right. My husband and friends have made several comments. “How do you keep up?” they ask. “Who are all those from?” they wonder. It was time to move to a better email policy.

I took to my inbox and set a goal to get down to each day. Here’s how I got from 2,000+ emails to under 100 – my new daily goal.

  • Start with the low-hanging fruit. Unsubscribe from unnecessary lists that don’t add daily value to your work. Sort by name and delete in mass groups. (Unroll.me is a great tool to do this automatically.)
  • Next, tackle emails by person. In an agency, this makes it easy to address one client at a time. You can either work down the inbox alphabetically, or search for certain people on the same account. Respond to and file all of “Client A-related emails,” then move on to “Client B,” etc.
  • Create a killer filing system. Folders in Outlook keep me sane. I have two major sections: clients and agency. Each client has its own folder. Large projects get subfolders. Emails for agency business get their own section.
  • Make it a daily priority. After a week of setting daily goals and moving my way through my inbox, I’m now making it a priority to spend 15 minutes a day to keep my email house in order. I feel organized, on top of requests and less stressed. Totally worth it.

As I started putting this post together, I reached out to our PRGN network and asked for their email best practices. Here are a few tips that they shared:

  • Use your inbox for immediate response and folders for archiving. “The only items in my inbox are the ones that need attention, all others get moved immediately after they're handled.” – Nicole Lasorda, Buchanan Public Relations in Philadelphia
  • Take care of requests immediately. “I have an ‘InBox Zero’ policy and ask staffers to follow that rule. I've learned it's better to take care of things quickly rather than let them build up.” – David Landis, Landis Communications in San Francisco
  • Follow the rules. “My best practice is creating folders and rules in Outlook—so emails automatically move. Of course, that means I need to actually look in the folders!” – Abbie Fink, HMA Public Relations in Phoenix
  • Find the built-in tools. “I live by the task function that you can use in either Outlook or Gmail. If an e-mail requires a response but I can't get to it immediately, I mark it as a task so it shows up on my to-do list.” – Lauren Reed, Reed Public Relations in Nashville
  • Turn off tools that are distracting. “I turned off the pop-up Outlook notifications so, when I am focused on a task, I am not distracted by a random email coming in.” Alexis Anderson, GroundFloor Media in Denver

What tips to you have for keeping your inbox in check? Comment below and help a fellow pro out!

Gif via @EliLanger on Twitter

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Periscope: Making the world smaller, one tweet at a time

In a world that is more connected than ever, it’s hard to imagine something could increase global connectivity, particularly on a social media level. Cue free live-streaming and connect it to Twitter.

For those who don’t know, Periscope is an app that lets a user film in real-time what’s happening around them on their phone. Other users can then log in either on Twitter or on Periscope to watch the live stream. Since Periscope is integrated with Twitter, a user’s Twitter followers instantly become a part of their Periscope audience.

DMN Periscope Tweet

There are no time or memory limitations, because the video is not saved to the phone. Users have 24 hours after filming to view the stream, which means Periscope combines the exclusivity of Snapchat, the relevancy of a news site and the brevity and immediacy of Twitter.

So, more than just being a cool, new trend,  what does Periscope mean for businesses?

Just as the name implies, Periscope allows a user to look up and out, seeing and experiencing things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Events

Periscope significantly increases audience engagement. Users can experience an event even when they cannot physically attend. Thanks to Periscope’s live-commenting feature, audiences also can engage real-time with the person filming and others who are watching.

Crowdsourcing

Similarly, a company can ask customers and communities what they think of an idea or product and expect real-time responses. Research doesn’t get much easier than that.

Announcements

A business could make an announcement via Periscope, using the anticipation factor to the company’s advantage while also giving viewers a sense of inclusivity.

Behind-the-Scenes

For a change of pace, a company can use the app for more casual streaming, like offering behind-the-scenes looks at the office and team members. Candid streams here and there can make a business more relatable to customers and clients.

Data

Another draw for companies and brands to use Periscope is the ability to track metrics on its streams. Periscope provides data, such as viewers, time watched and duration.

 

Live-streaming as a social media platform is gaining traction. Periscope can become a powerful tool for engagement once social media users – both businesses and individuals – find their Periscope niche and utilize its potential.

If you haven’t streamed a video on Periscope, try it out. You’ll find traveling the world on your lunch break is not so absurd after all.

 

Some of our favorite Periscope users:

The Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) -- Local events and news coverage.

Jimmy Fallon (@jimmyfallon) -- Always a laugh.

Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) -- Where else can you watch him practice his back hand?

 

Photo by Anthony Quintano via Flickr

Golf, Greens & Giveaways

Despite the record-breaking rainfall in North Texas, the 2015 AT&T Byron Nelson drew thousands of golf lovers to the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas Golf Course in Irving, Texas, for the four-day tournament last week. Spectators were eager to enjoy some beautiful weather (even though the sun only came out on Thursday and Sunday), see the classic "red pant guys" from the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and watch their favorite golfers, including 2015 Master's Champion Jordan Spieth. The Byron Nelson golf tournament provides an excellent Dallas venue for companies to rent villas or suites and invite clients and potential customers to enjoy food, drinks and golf. Our client, Infomart Data Centers, took advantage of the opportunity to entertain their clients by renting villa space between the No. 1 and No. 18 holes -- a prime spot on the golf course. I attended as event coordinator, making sure logistical aspects ran smoothly and coordinating merchandise giveaways to Infomart's clients.

Infomart Tables
Infomart Tables
Jordan Spieth on hole 18
Jordan Spieth on hole 18
View of the 18th hole
View of the 18th hole
Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth golf ball
Jordan Spieth golf ball
Jordan Spieth conference
Jordan Spieth conference

My hope is that the strategic public relations role -- which included big and small tasks -- I played for Infomart this weekend will positively impact the company's future business, partnerships and relationships.

Plus, attending the Byron Nelson was not a bad way to begin my time as an associate at Lewis Public Relations.

Tax Day Checks and Balances for PR Agencies

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.

Photo by eFile989 via Flickr

My First Celebrity Event – What REALLY happens behind the scenes

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CWN 5

Before my internship with LPR, I’ve only ever attended an event as a guest. In the few charity events I’ve been to (or, really, seen on TV), everything seemed so coordinated and effortless. People smiled for cameras, guests of honor spoke without nerves and everyone was focused on the benefiting charity.

After working my first charity event, the DeMarco Murray Foundation’s Celebrity Waiter Night, I’ve come to realize that all of those things do happen – but not without a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Here are my two big takeaways: how an event like that is put on, and why we did it.

The “How”

My role leading up to Celebrity Waiter Night was pitching the event to Dallas-area bloggers, where I gained firsthand experience inviting them to attend and following up for both participation and coverage.

On the day of the event, I staffed the celebrity room. (Pretty cool for this sports-loving Dallas girl!) Some things were out of our control, like DeMarco Murray being stuck in traffic when CBS needed to film their live shot. A lot of things, however, were in our control, like maintaining consistent communication between the media and celebrity rooms about when the next item on the agenda was happening.

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CWN 3

But the biggest challenge of the evening, I realized, was finding the balance between accommodating the players, guests and media.

The players – the celebrities of the evening – needed time to eat before they began serving the guests and wanted to enjoy the night with their dates just as much as the guests of the event. Meanwhile, the media wanted every possible photo op and detail of what happened, which is why they were invited.

It was important for me and the rest of the team to remain sensitive to everyone’s wants and to try and cater to those wants as best we could.

Although a few portions of the evening didn’t flow as smoothly as we’d hoped, we had to keep two things in mind: the players and media arepeople, too, and there was a cause behind every hectic moment.

The “Why”

When the timing of things didn’t happen the way we wanted, it was important to keep sight of the vision and purpose behind what we were doing.

The planning, arranging, organizing, scheduling, inviting, publicizing, calling, emailing, set-up and implementation of weeks of preparing was all for one group of people: the Dallas-area youth who would receive educational help and resources thanks to DeMarco’s foundation.

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CWN 4 a

Professional athletes, especially football players, haven’t had the best publicity the past few months. This event came at a crucial time for the NFL’s reputation. Thanks to the media who attended the event, members of the Dallas community had the opportunity to see the players they cheered for, sometimes even idolized, doing good for their hometown.

And, no matter the size of my role, I was a part of helping them do good. To me, that makes my first celebrity event a success.

Probono is Worth the Investment

I started to title this post “Free Time is Worth the Investment,” but no one seems to have much “free time” these days—myself included. But, our company culture allows time for select special projects and organizations that we believe make important contributions to our community and our profession.

Fixing Data Breach PR

Today's LPR blog contribution is a guest post from David Fuscus, CEO of Xenophon Strategies in Washington, D.C. Along with LPR, Xenophon is a member of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN). Read the original post here. “Year of the Retailer Breach” was how Verizon recently described 2013 in their annual Data Breach Report, saying that it “was a year of transition… to large scale attacks on payment card systems”.

LPR Goes Global with PRGN

Lewis Public Relations has been accepted into the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), an organization of nearly 50 smart, strategic and capable public relations agencies located throughout the world.

LPR Expands with New Hire, Promotion

Lewis Public Relations (LPR), a full-service Dallas public relations agency, today announced that Amanda Lewis Hill, MBA, APR, has joined the team as director of strategic development, and Christi Chesner has been promoted to director of account service.

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Marine Recovery Fund Created to Support Military Families

Our client, Alon Brands, the Dallas-based supplier and marketer of fuels and largest licensee of 7-Eleven in North America, this week announced its support of the new Marine Recovery Fund (MRF). This fund exists to support service personnel seriously injured while in service in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. U.S. armed forces are being deployed every day in some of the most dangerous settings in the world, facing the potential of serious injury as a result of their service. In situations where this potential becomes a reality, these injured soldiers often face life-changing situations that call for substantial levels of support.

The MRF started as a venture of several individuals and organizations located across Texas, looking to support the family of a Marine explosive ordnance disposal technician from Odessa who had been seriously injured while serving with a multi-national force in Afghanistan. However, broader interest in the unique needs of family members of service men and women seriously injured in active duty gained the attention of Alon Brands, amongst others, resulting in the individual fund being expanded into the MRF.

One program supporting the MRF was developed by MillerCoors through a contribution of 50 cents for each case of Miller Lite 18-pack of cans/bottles or a 9-pack of aluminum pints sold at any participating retail outlets in West Texas and New Mexico through July 31. As the lead retail outlet in this campaign, 302 ALON and FINA/7-Eleven stores are supporting this initiative.

The new MRF is being administered by the Boot Campaign, a grassroots initiative started by five Texas women known as the Boot Girls. The Boot Campaign provides an easy and tangible way for Americans to show appreciation - both past and present - cultivate awareness of the challenges they face upon return and raise funds that assist in meeting these physical and emotional needs.

The experience and capabilities of the Boot Campaign enable the new MRF to benefit from a capable and experienced Boot Campaign team as the fund creates it future.

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Instilling Communications Leadership for the Future

By Blake D. Lewis III, APR, Fellow PRSA Earlier this month, I had an opportunity to spend time with a group of students in Baylor University’s Public Relations Agency course.  As an elective for juniors and seniors in the Journalism, Public Relations & New Media department, the class focuses on both the creative and administrative work that occurs in an agency setting.

During our time together, teams of aspiring public relations consultants shared their experiences with what is best termed their “Meet the Client” session.  One team was particularly challenged by their client and assignment.

I listened as members of the group described their business to business PR assignment with a Waco-based organization.  With a mixture of responsible concern and uncertainty, characteristic of soon-to-be new professionals entering the world of business public relations, I heard two distinct observations from the team:

“The client knows what they want as an end product – a website – but doesn’t know what the actual site will focus on or say.”

“When we went to our first meeting, our client left us with tons of information.”

After providing encouragement about the process, we talked about what the group had taken away from the meeting, literally and figuratively:

  • That the deep supply of background information provided them with both the raw materials and the license to draft some initial straw poll content
  • That the straw poll content likely would serve as a means of moving the process forward, with a likely result of either confirming a direction for the website or additional guidance toward the ultimate direction of the project

As they described their experience, I realized that they hadn’t yet learned one of the core competencies of public relations advisors – using an expertise in forensic communications to shape public relations strategies and tactics.

When facing a communications opportunity or challenge, business leaders generally know what they want to accomplish for their organization or broader industry.  Where they often have uncertainty – and why they engage a public, media and community relations professional or team – is in their need to secure the how.

Fact is, the students were concerned about something that experienced professionals experience regularly.  We often serve as the sketch pad on which leaders create and formalize their organizational persona.

Moving from the conceptual to the concrete in creating, enhancing and sustaining public perception requires a skilled, experienced and trusted advisor who also can function as a positioning and messaging sherpa.

This is a great lesson for these students, and a great reminder for others engaged in shaping the direction of our nation’s institutions, big and small.

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Is Public Relations REALLY the Seventh Most Stressful Job in America?

Earlier today, CareerCast released the results of their annual survey of most stressful jobs in the United States, with public relations executive listed as the seventh most stressful job: 1. Enlisted military soldier

2. Firefighter

3. Airline pilot

4. Military general

5. Police officer

6. Event coordinator

7. Public relations executive

8. Corporate executive (CEO)

9. Photojournalist

10. Taxi driver

Looking at this list, I refuse to view the public relations profession as a truly high-stress calling.

Chalk this up as another case of making a mountain out of a molehill.

Throughout a career that’s spanned more than 30 years, it seems that the public relations profession as a whole – if it’s even possible to apply such a sweeping label -- has been good at creating causes. Early in my career, it was “PR for PR”, probably best referred to as “The Shoemaker’s Kids Syndrome.” As time progressed, the campaign shifted to “getting a seat at the executive table.”

Today, it’s about how our work is going to shorten our longevity and unduly deprive professional communicators of an ultimate quality of life, however that might be defined.

Aside from our professional cousins – the “event coordinators” who actually reduced our stress-out factor a bit by taking the number six slot – I feel a bit like a guy wearing wing-tips to a reunion of the Village People. Soldiers, public safety personnel and pilots all make sense to me, as well as taxi drivers… though, by extension, that should include those who ride with taxi drivers.

Prior to visible events, such as the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl while on assignment in the Middle East, I might have questioned photojournalist, but no more.

But, public relations professionals?

We do not cure cancer. We don’t routinely rescue babies from burning buildings. We do not make decisions in an operating room at 3 a.m. Our job is to support those who make these sorts of decisions… and thousands of less significant ones… every day.

I believe that most of us prepare for our career with solid textbook teaching, and then build on this core with strong life-lesson ‘continuing education’. We are called upon to take actions that have real implications for our employers or, in the case of LPR, clients. For example:

 Yesterday, we announced a change in media relations practices on behalf of one of our clients -- a decision aimed at improving their business by reducing noise and focusing on what’s important in their business.

 For another client, I helped revise messaging on a major policy change that previously had not been well received by the company’s most important audience.

 “Off the clock,” I recently tag-teamed with my public relations professional/daughter in helping very close family friends manage communications in the murder of their daughter, a case that continues to be under investigation by authorities.

In each case, our job was to make things better. It’s what we’re paid to do.

A word to the students who read the article in either extreme horror as to their career choice or thinking they had just signed up to be a modern day mercenary. Our job is to work our way up into the role of trusted advisor to one or more organizations, where we take steps every day to manage and mitigate the issues that otherwise put us in front of a global microphone at times of challenge or disaster. While prudence says we should prepare as if an organization’s very existence depends on us, practice says we should surround and be surrounded by colleagues in a wide range of disciplines and areas of subject matter expertise.

Dismissing the silliness of ranking our jobs at the same stress level as others on this list, the one aspect of the article I appreciate is the opportunity to thank those who truly risk their lives for the safety of us all. They deserve all the appreciation for a well-earned label of stressful career.

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Electrical Improvements Providing Pump Stations with Enhanced Dependability

December 5 Update This week, Irving Flood Control District Section III continues work on preliminary site improvements involving electrical service at the District’s Valley Ranch pump station.

Recognizing the appropriateness of conducting a thorough evaluation of equipment and facilities that were developed more than 25 years ago, the District engaged engineering firm Freese and Nichols, Inc. last year to assess the existing electrical system at the pump station at the Southeast corner of Valley Ranch. Given the age of the equipment and changing electrical codes and best practices, Freese and Nichols recommended replacement and installation of new Oncor-supplied transformers, as well as replacement of switching equipment used to control the large pumps. The firm also recommended several associated civil and electrical engineering improvements at the station.

“This is a major capital improvement initiative for our District, creating greater redundancy in sources of power for operating pumps and other equipment, while paving the way for installation of a back-up generation system for the pump station,” said Kim Andres, Irving Flood Control District Section III president. “While many maintenance and management projects conducted by IFCD 3 are visible to the community – such ascanal maintenance to manage water levels throughout the system – others are less evident. Updating power systems for the pump station certainly is one of those unseen initiatives of great importance to individual and business residents of Valley Ranch.”

A final upgrade to the pump station as recommended by the District’s engineers is the installation of a back-up electrical generator to provide further level of electrical system redundancy. Several options are being considered for this project, which is currently planned for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

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