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Internal Tools from PRSA Connect


Internal Tools from PRSA Connect

It’s rare that a PRSA national conference comes to our hometown, so when PRSA Connect announced its 2016 location in Dallas, I was in. (Not to mention, our awesome clients Topgolf and DFW Airport were presenting.) After nearly two days of presentations and networking, I’ll share a few key internal communications tools and learnings.


Blake’s Take: Keep the C-Suite Strategic


Blake’s Take: Keep the C-Suite Strategic

An interesting article recently came out at CIO Dashboard, entitled “Who’s in Charge of Digital?” The world often presents dramatic business changes that cause questions about C-suite roles and responsibilities. But I'd caution leaders to pay close attention when changes are proposed to executive designations.



On the Radar: Snapchat

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Snapchat. The mobile app has done some big things lately and is making strides toward becoming a relevant social platform and news source – so much so that The Wall Street Journal and the White House have jumped on the bandwagon. WSJ         

The Wall Street Journal is now publishing stories on Snapchat and it’s safe to say Snapchat has officially earned a seat at the social media VIP table. The pairing of an established and prestigious newspaper with an app primarily used by millennials is a win for both parties. For the Journal, it’s an avenue to reach and retain young readers. For Snapchat, whose users are mostly young people, the addition of the Journal may appeal to an older audience and attract new advertisers.

The White House

Yep, the White House joined Snapchat just in time for the President’s State of the Union address last month. This isn’t the first time the Obama administration has taken strides in the social media world – President Obama is the first sitting president to have his own Twitter account and Facebook page. Obama’s director of product management said the White House was joining Snapchat to reach the growing percentage of the population that uses the app to consume news and share with friends. I bet Snapchat was pretty pleased to hear the White House thinks the app is 1) big enough to reach the national audience and 2) a legit news outlet for something as prestigious as the SOTU.




Snapchat has offered geofilters – geographically restricted graphics that can be added to a user’s photo or video – for a while. However, it just introduced a new geofilter option that will allow anyone, even smaller companies, to submit temporary geofilters for a party or an event for a $5 fee. The company currently receives floods of “on-demand” geofilter submissions, but Snapchat hopes the fee will slow the pipeline to a more manageable number of submissions. As Snapchat continues to grow, this is a huge innovative step in terms of both revenue and user retention.

Whether you’re a fan of Snapchat or not, you can’t deny the company’s ingenuity and strategy. The app is constantly searching for ways to reach a broader target market AND create new channels of revenue.

Bravo, Snapchat, bravo.

(Featured photo: via Flickr; Geofilter photo: via Flickr)


The Best of Both Worlds

CC at Acumera

CC at Acumera

The past six months have been VERY busy here at LPR. My LPR travels have taken me down to Austin quite a bit lately to work with one of our clients, Acumera, a growing technology company that provides network connectivity, security and visibility for convenience stores. We’ve been working with Acumera since 2012, but they recently decided to up the ante with our relationship. They needed an internal marketing resource, but didn’t want to worry about the learning curve or overhead costs associated with adding a full-time team member. Since I’d been on the account for more than three years, I was able to jump in and fill the role, giving Acumera the benefits of having both an agency team and a dedicated “internal” resource to support Vice President of Sales and Marketing Tom Yemington.

We’ve accomplished a LOT in the past six months. In addition to managing traditional public relations activities, including news releases, thought leadership and media relations, I contributed to marketing strategy, message development and sales collateral development. We’re also about to launch a new Acumera website. (Stay tuned!)

The whole experience has reinforced our philosophy that the most successful agency-client relationships are those that truly integrate agency team members into the client’s culture and business. It’s the best of both worlds.

Here’s a quick video from Tom on why he decided to use a PR agency to support his marketing efforts.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Infomart Data Centers taps Lewis Public Relations as agency of record

Lewis Public Relations (LPR), a Dallas-based public relations and strategic communications agency, announced that Infomart Data Centers – one of the largest data center companies in the nation – has selected LPR as its agency of record. In October 2014, Fortune Data Centers merged with The Infomart to create Infomart Data Centers, now among the globe’s most connected, carrier-neutral data centers. Infomart Data Centers reached out to LPR to assist in establishing its post-merger brand identity and advancing the company’s next generation technology story.

Currently focused on four facilities across the country, including Dallas’ iconic Infomart building on Stemmons Freeway, Infomart Data Centers specializes in providing superior connectivity, unmatched performance and consistent reliability to its customers. In addition to Dallas, the company operates wholesale data centers in Portland and Silicon Valley, with a fourth location in Ashburn, Va., expected to come online next year.

“The Infomart is a Dallas landmark, symbolizing our city’s vision to be a major hub for technology and innovation in the United States,” said LPR Principal Blake Lewis, APR, Fellow PRSA. “The newly formed Infomart Data Centers organization brings major technology investment to the North Texas region, and we’re proud to apply LPR’s industry expertise and connections to amplify the brand in Dallas and across the U.S.”

Infomart Dallas

LPR will provide strategic messaging, media relations, industry analyst outreach and stakeholder engagement for the national Infomart Data Centers brand.

“Because of the public relations and strategic marketing work we are already performing within the technology space and LPR’s relationships in the Dallas/Fort Worth media market, we’re the right match for Infomart Data Centers as they begin to define and tell their brand story,” Lewis added.


About Infomart Data Centers Founded in 2006, Infomart Data Centers (formerly Fortune Data Centers) is an award-winning, industry leader in building, owning and operating highly efficient, cost-effective wholesale data centers. Each of its national facilities meet or exceed the toughest industry standards for data centers in all operational categories of availability, security, connectivity and physical resilience. Recognized for its consistent excellence, Infomart Data Centers is committed to maintaining its reputation of reliability and responsible, best-in-class management and operations. For more information, please visit or connect with Infomart on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Lewis Public Relations Lewis Public Relations is a Dallas-based public relations and strategic communications agency that applies strategic thinking and get-it-done capabilities to a broad range of client challenges and opportunities. Focusing on business-to-business communications, the team combines the knowledge and experience of a large, multinational agency with the agility and value of an entrepreneurial boutique firm. Visit to learn more, or find us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.


Photo courtesy of Mark Atwood via Flickr

Beating Google's Mobilegeddon

If you stop in to the Lewis Public Relations website from time to time, you may have noticed a few changes. (Ok, so maybe a whole new site...) We've been working over the past several weeks to launch a fresh, new website design to give our clients, colleagues and prospects a better feel for our brand and results. A side benefit, though, is optimizing our site for mobile and beating the now infamous Mobilegeddon deadline. For those outside the PR world, Google announced that its mobile page rank algorithm would take a website's mobile-friendly design into account, starting today. Web designers said "Finally!" PR pros said "Oh, cr@p!" A lot of companies and agencies went back to the drawing board to make sure their sites were ready.

PR agencies are experts at counseling on digital best practices, but we often put our own brands aside to focus on our clients. At LPR, we're working to give attention to both - starting with this new site. In the coming weeks, look for more frequent updates on client wins, news hits and meaningful results. Our team scores big all the time. We want to use this site to share those successes with you.

With all this Mobilegeddon talk online, I read an interesting point about chasing the Google algorithm (see also Facebook, etc.) versus stepping out in front of what the algorithm wants. As experts, it's our job to stay in front, and LPR wants to lead the pack.

Want to know if your website is optimized for mobile? Take a second and check out Google's mobile-friendly test.

Active Connecting through Wearable Tech

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.


Photo by Mark Mathosian


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.

Photo Credit: Mark Mathosian

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”.

No Place for Neutrality in Net Neutrality Battle

Photo credit: Dennis Skley Imagine your water company telling you what brand, make and model of washing machine you had to use at home?  Your electric company specifying the style of lamp on your desk?  The telephone company saying what you could talk about on your phone?

Crazy as it sounds, your Internet service provider (ISP) may be considering just such a move regarding your use of the World Wide Web – in the office, at home or on the go.

On Dec. 31, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that ISPs had to be transparent about their “network management practices, performance and commercial terms of their broadband services”; could not “block lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices”; and could not “unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service.”

In short, much legal lingo to say the Internet is an open pipe, to be used for anything as long as the content is not illegal or a connected device is physically dangerous.  The FCC refers to it, simply enough, as “The Open Internet.”

Recently, a federal appeals court in Washington overruled the Commission’s position, stating that the FCC’s flagship law – the Communications Act of 1934 – prohibits government regulation of what ISPs do with respect to content.  In other words, ISPs can speed up, slow down or block content for whatever reason they see fit.

Aside from all the common sense reasons why this is bad, an online opinion from Wired spells out dangers of this action, from disenfranchising a portion of our population who can benefit the most from an open Internet to shifting the power of information from individuals to government and a small number of corporations.

At a time when we’re focused on whether or not the guy in seat 17B should be able to make a phone call from 32,000 feet or what the National Security Administration can or should track and store for or about people in the U.S., it sometimes is the quieter, nerdier topic that gets abandoned in the fray. This is one that needs to become and stay visible until open Internet described by the FCC is reaffirmed.


Silence the Phone & Support Real Relationships

On my way to the office this morning, I heard a story on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” about how celebrities are starting to require party guests to leave their phones in a basket at the door upon arrival.