PR Industry Trends

How to: overcome the challenge of talent acquisition (and retention)

HIre us. (2)Highly skilled employees are hard to find – and keep. That was the persistent theme I heard last week at the Middle-Market Forum 2014 in Minneapolis, sponsored by Twin Cities Business magazine. The panelists, all accomplished local CEOs/leaders, provided insights, solutions and advice on key issues facing middle-market companies (generally those with revenues between $100 million to $1 billion).

The forum featured:

  • Jeffrey Kiesel, CEO, Restaurant Technologies
  • David Martin, President and CEO, Cardiovascular Systems (CSI)
  • Chuck Mooty, President and CEO, Jostens
  • Cary Musech, Managing Principal, Tonka Bay Equity Partners
  • Dan Zdon, President and COO, Liberty Diversified International

Topics ranged from financing growth, acquisitions and divestitures and innovation, to succession planning, government-related challenges and making your company relevant to consumers.

But the subject that surfaced time and time again was talent acquisition and retention. According to Restaurant Technologies’ Kiesel, it’s his company’s “No. 1 strategic initiative.”

And it’s a major pain point for many other companies. Skilled workers are scarce in the market, despite our nation’s relatively high unemployment rate. Most truly talented and well-trained workers already have jobs, perhaps in other industries. Many may be simply unaware of…

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PR Industry Trends

Association Marketing – A conversation with two ASAE communicators

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is a good place to turn for insights into the association world. The organization calls more than 21,000 association leaders and industry partners members, and it represents 10,000+ organizations. ASAE provides its members with experiences, community and tools that allow them to lead their organization more successfully.

headshotsLast week I sat down with Robb Lee, chief marketing and communications officer, ASAE, and Sabrina Kidwai, senior PR manager, ASAE, for insights into the challenges and rewards of association marketing.

Why are associations important?

From plumbers and restaurant owners to lawyers and teachers to civil engineers and automotive parts distributers – there is an association for almost every profession. Associations set professional standards, surface important issues on topics that may otherwise be off the radar, and promote and position the products and services its members produce.

Beyond this important work, associations are also economic drivers. Their meetings can take over cities for days. They employ thousands of professionals (not just here in DC, but throughout the U.S.). And the professionals who work in this tight community tend to be as passionate about what…

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PR Industry Trends

And the Award Goes To: 5 Tips for Creating Winning Entries

Trophey TrolleyIt’s awards season again, and not just in Hollywood! Chances are you or your company has been spending the last few weeks and months submitting your stellar campaigns for various industry awards. Recently we’ve had everything from the PRSA Silver Anvils to the PR Daily Awards, and the competition is even fiercer than best picture at the Oscars! So, how do you ensure your entry stands out, like Lupita Nyong’o’s powder blue dress against the red carpet? Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way:


1. Have a great title. Nothing starts off an entry summary on the wrong foot like a 20-word title with no drama or mystery! Cue the “get-off-the-stage” music now. Your title should give the judges a taste of what’s to come but leave them wanting more. For example, we’ve been submitting our work with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU on their Holiday Cheer campaign for a variety of awards. A title like “Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU Spreads Holiday Cheer” probably wouldn’t even be in the running for Best Extra in a Short Film (yes I made that…

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PR Industry Trends

Stop Multitasking and Get Mindful

mind-fullStop everything you’re doing right now. Can you? If I had to guess, I’d say you’re doing at least two things right now, probably more. You’re checking email, reading a bit of this post, creating an outline for a plan you have to have done by the end of the day, eating your lunch and are maybe on a conference call on mute.

That’s a lot. And your salad dressing is probably all over your keyboard.

Are you really concentrating on any of it? When was the last time you took a deep breath?

The truth is that working in communications (and most industries, nowadays) has become a true frenzy. Things move incredibly quickly, and technology has us so connected to one another that we’re always on the hook for something. We spend so much time thinking about the past (“Did I remember to send out that file?”) or living in the future (“I can’t wait to be done with this project”) that we forget to be in the present. Sometimes we feel pressure to live and work in this harried state of being. Sometimes we’re even rewarded or esteemed for it. But…

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Digital Marketing

Blogger Beware, Google Might Be After Guest Posts

122399804Let’s face it, we love guest blogging. From a PR & SEO standpoint to the blog owner side it’s a win-win with a guest blog post. The blog owner gets free (hopefully good) content, the PR Pro gets some impressions and exposure for their client and the SEO (hopefully) gets a link back to the client’s website. Like I said, a seemingly good set up for all parties looking to benefit from a guest blog post.

However, with all good things on the web, guest blogging is supposedly coming to an end. When a few sites and spammers take advantage of the above exchange to an extreme level to influence search rankings Google might take notice. And they have. Last week, Matt Cutts, the head of web spam at Google reiterated his position and despise of guest blogging for SEO specific purposes. The synthesis of the article and the community is that guest blogging for SEO is quickly fading away. The practice is getting out of hand and spammy to the point that too many bloggers continue to publish poor quality content with questionable links that have been influencing Google rankings.

Google hasn’t…

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Digital Marketing

3 Must-See Infographics If You Work in Wine

By the end of January, I’ve usually read my fair share of trend reports and PR guidelines for the upcoming year. While the amount of forecasts is daunting, really good predictions are rare gems. Since we reigned in the New Year 22 days ago, I’ve seen a handful of infographics that are actually worth saving to your desktop, especially if you work in the wine industry.Here are my top three:

1. Food Matters

Food Matters
Eating and drinking go hand in hand. What’s on my plate will influence what’s in my glass, this year and in years to come. This infographic by thefoodpeople, a British agency specialized in global food trendspotting, is the most comprehensive one I’ve seen on the web. I like their approach of observing the entire lifecycle of trends, looking at emerging trends up to the year 2020.

Full infographic

2. Millenials Decoded

While Baby Boomers still drink the most wine, Millenials are catching up fast. Even though this infographic by the market research expert scarborough is already six…

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Digital Marketing

If Teens are Bailing on Facebook, Where are They Going?

I have a niece, who’s a college freshman this year. While she was still in high school, I could keep up with her school activities and day-to-day musings through Facebook. But a few months ago, I noticed that she was posting a lot less on Facebook. We were able to catch up in person during the Christmas holiday, since I live in Virginia, and she lives and attends college in South Carolina. I peppered her with the usual questions you ask a newly minted college student.

How’s college going? Are you getting along with your roommates? Did you enjoy your first semester of classes? And finally, I asked her, “How come you’re not posting much on Facebook anymore?”

She explained that she was spending much more time on other social sites like Twitter and Instagram. She then asked me, “Are you on Instagram?” My reply, “I mostly stick to Facebook and Twitter.”

It’s official. Teens — at least in the U.S. — don’t want to hang with their parents and grandparents on Facebook, or in my case, with their uncle. In October, during its 2013 fourth quarter…

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PR Industry Trends

Ron Burgundy: Unwrapping Paramount’s Marketing Brilliance

As PR professionals, we all know how difficult it is to make noise in the media, especially during the holiday season. So when we see a campaign that makes a public splash in all the right ways during this busy season, we pay attention and take note.

The holidays are a time to be merry, and without question, nothing in recent times has made me merrier than Paramount Pictures’ PR blitz and marketing campaign promoting the Anchorman sequel, starring Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy.

The Ron Burgundy campaign is a creative and memorable advertising initiative that has not only led to a measurable increase in consumer sales, but has resonated deeply with its target audience.

Unless your television has been off since Labor Day, you’ve undoubtedly seen the ads Will Ferrell has been starring in for Dodge Durango.  And I’m willing to bet whether watching in a group or alone, they made you chuckle or, at the very least, grin.  What I bet you didn’t guess is that the ads have successfully encouraged consumers to go out and actually buy the SUV.

The Ron Burgundy spots debuted at…

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PR Industry Trends

5 Tips to Ensure Your Organization is Crisis-Ready

By: Guest Blogger, Sabrina Kidwai, APR

Over the past few years, we’ve seen several crises take place: Susan G. Komen, Penn State, and more recently with the mayor of Toronto to the players situation with the Miami Dolphins.

Some organizations believe that a crisis won’t ever happen to them, but it’s important to realize that everyone will experience a crisis. For example, it can include: embezzlement; board member misconduct; controversial speaker, program, ad, or product; weather-related cancellation; or a crisis during a meeting.

When a crisis hits, it’s essential for your organization/client to be prepared. Here are some simple steps:

1. Build a Team

  • Create a list of people who will be part of your crisis communication team. It should include: your CEO/President, board chair, Communication Director/Manager, and other key people from inside your organization.
  • Assign specific roles to your team members such as designating one person to speak to external publics, another person to handle internal communication, and another monitoring social media.
  • Train and retrain the spokespersons and emphasize the importance of working with others during a crisis (officials, agencies, other groups involved in the crisis).

2. Create a Plan

  • Monitor your environment and identify your organization…
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PR Industry Trends

6 Ways to Maximize Your Trade Show Investment

Trade Show BadgeDespite the growing trend toward incorporating more social and digital media into the marketing mix, trade shows remain a fundamental part of marketing strategy. There’s just something about meeting face-to-face that accelerates business. Trade shows are also a place to source quality leads, a venue to nurture existing partner relationships and an opportunity to connect with industry influencers – all under one roof. Following are six tried-and-true tips to help maximize your company’s trade show investment:

1. Tell your prospects, customers and the media that you’re exhibiting.

Make it simple for them to find you. Announce the fact that you’ll be at the show via email and your social media sites and be sure to include your booth number. Trade shows are also chock full of news for the media. Ask the show for a list of pre-registered reporters and schedule one-on-one appointments to introduce the company or talk about what’s new. If you can, announce something at the show so that the media has a reason to meet (and then write about) you!

2. Consider hosting a hospitality event for prospects and partners.


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