Archive for the ‘Strategy’ category

Personal Invite to the 2012 PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Conference

November 1, 2012

Greetings!

I’d like to personally invite you to this conference on Thursday November 8 at the BWI Four Points Sheraton. You really should come. Why? Because!

(1) You need to keep your skills sharp – Learn the latest in PR/Communication’s best practices from other DC, MD, VA pros!

(2) You love to get the inside scoop on hot industry trends and techniques!

(3) You miss catching up with colleagues you haven’t seen in awhile – Don’t miss our Happy Hour Networking Event afterwards…enjoy cocktails, see what your colleagues have been up to, make new contacts!

NEW for this year, choose from three different tracks: (1) Social Media (2) Business/Leadership (3) PR Essentials. Mix and match. No matter what career level you are in, there is something for everyone at this conference!

And, just FYI, tickets are selling pretty fast this year because we’ve got such a great lineup of speakers and topics. Don’t let someone else take your spot! Space is limited.

Register Now: http://www.prsamd.org/news/events2012/nov12-program.htm

See you there!

Nneka Jenkins
2012 Mid-Atlantic District Chesapeake Conference
Planning Committee Chair

4 Reasons to Register for the 2012 PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Chesapeake Conference Today!

October 5, 2012

Wanna know why you should register now for the PRSA Mid-Atlantic District Chesapeake (#Chessie12) Conference?

4. Clear Your Schedule!

By registering early, you can block the day out on your calendar, eliminating the possibility that one of your colleagues will schedule an important meeting with you that day.

3. Get a Jumpstart on Your Networking!

Research the presenters and keynote speaker in advance so you know who you want to meet at the conference.  Gotta capitalize on that investment!

2. Formulate Your Plan of Attack!

Read over the agenda and figure out which sessions you’d like to attend.  You can choose to participate in all the sessions in one of the three tracks (PR Essentials, Social Media, and Strategic Business/Leadership) or mix and match from the 12 seminars.  Make sure to mark your calendar to arrive early at the conference for the networking breakfast and stay for the happy hour as well!

1. Save Some $$$ (and guarantee your spot)!

That’s right — the No. 1 reason to sign up today is to take advantage of the early bird discount and save, save, save!  Also, don’t let anyone take your spot because space is limited!

Integrate a “Smarter” Strategy into Your Campaign

October 20, 2011

According to Affinity Research, 42 percent of all adults own a smartphone, and 15 percent (or more than 34 million consumers) plan to purchase one in the next six months.  Of both sexes, slightly more men own these devices than women (54 percent versus 46 percent). 

“Millenials are the most likely generation to own these types of mobile devices – 28 percent are more likely to own a smartphone than the average American adult. 

• 54 percent – or more than 25 million Millennials – currently own a smartphone, and 18 percent plan to purchase one within the next six months.

• 63 percent of Millennials use their smartphones at work, while 95 percent report that they are the sole users of the device. 

• Millennials who have graduated college are 23 percent more likely to own a smartphone than others in their generation.” 

Smartphones are definitely the wave of the future.  More and more, consumers are using them to access the latest news, social media, shop, and take advantage of mobile marketing deals. 

Valerie Lambert of Bilou Enterprises will share her insights into the latest information and statistics with smartphone technology at the upcoming PRSA Mid-Atlantic Chesapeake Conference.  Join her on Nov. 3 at the Four Points by Sheraton BWI Airport as she engages session participants with real-time interaction to demonstrate the variety of ways PR pros can utilize smartphone technology.

It’s All About Strategizing Connectivity, Innovation, and Integration…

October 3, 2011

This year’s theme is The New Face of PR: Strategizing Connectivity, Innovation, and Integration.  We chose this theme because, with the advent of social media over the last several years, PR has changed a lot.  We are no longer concentrating on media relations and producing press kits and press releases.  There is a whole other world out there! 

Engagement with online communities is the key.  Rather than burying their heads in the sand and hoping it’s just a phase, the most successful PR pros have fully embraced this new way of communicating and have found new and interesting ways to integrate these mediums into their campaigns to achieve spectacular results. 

If you’re still not sold on the importance of integrating social media, just look at these quick facts:

  • 78% of consumers conduct product research online
  • 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook
  • Social sites are the #1 source for product information
  • 91% of e-mail users have opted out of company lists they previously subscribed to
  • 2/3 of the country is on the “Do NOT Call” list

— Integrating Social Media into Your Marketing Mix by Michael Brenner Sr. Director, Integrating Marketing SAP

Many of our session topics support the theme of integrating the traditional forms of media with the new forms of media in innovative ways.  Join us on Nov. 3 at the BWI Four Points Sheraton for this awesome regional conference!  Register now at prsamd.org!   Follow the conversation using hashtag #Chessie11.

Recap – August Event

August 22, 2011

Missed creative director of Warschawski Thomas Neuberger‘s presentation on Social Media & the Integrated Marketing Campaign? Here’s just a quick sampling of what he had to say…

  • Traditional and digital communications are all tools in your toolbox.  Social media is just one of these important tools. Be sure to keep this in perspective when planning your campaign.
  • The secret to using all your tools (traditional & digital) is brand clarity.
  • Brand, marketing and public relations opportunities all focus on your primary, secondary, and tertiary target audiences. As the cycle repeats itself, you continue to strengthen the power of your brand. This is integration in action!
  •  The text book definition of a brand is the “expectation of someone or something that delivers a certain feeling.” This expectation is created through communication and reinforced (or weakened) by the experience.  What Thomas wanted us to understand is that ultimately “Brand is about making a fundamental emotional connection with your audience.”
  • Seventy percent of all brand-based decisions are made at the emotional or subconscious level. Great branding inspires loyalty beyond reason. Examples: Dunkin Donuts coffee, McDonald’s coffee and Starbucks.
  • Brand is not about the logo, collateral material, packaging, tagline, advertising – these support the brand.
  • Main questions to ask: What does your company want to make people feel or think about themselves? How do you want to stand out? How do you want to be remembered?
  • Companies who have gotten it right – TOMS Shoes, Southwest and Levis. We also talked about one big “Uh-Oh” involving social media: the 2009 Skittles Twitter campaign. For a time, Skittles lost control of its brand when it turned its home page into a Twitter page resulting in tweets having nothing to do with the colorful candy  (If you’re unaware of the case, Google it.).
  • Some statistics: 43% of peer to news sharing comes from social media. 27% of frequent sharers generate 87% of all news shared online. It’s this 27% that can become your brand champions/ambassadors.
  • Most of all, social media isn’t a one-sided conversation. It is about developing a connection with your target audience.  Don’t use social media as just another platform. Use it to start a conversation.

The program ended with a great Q&A where we discussed other campaigns successes, as well as a few failures. Thanks again to Thomas Neuberger of Warschawski’s for sharing the morning with us.

Want to hear more about this and other relevant PR topics? Mark your calendars for the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Chesapeake Conference scheduled for November 3, 2011. This year’s event titled The New Face of PR will be co-hosted by the Maryland, National Capital, and Central Chesapeake Chapters. Registration & details coming soon at www.prsamd.org.

Be a part of the 34th Annual Mid-Atlantic Chesapeake (Chessie) Conference —literally!

May 10, 2011

This year, our theme is The New Face of PR: strategizing connectivity, innovation, and integration. 

This year’s event will include sessions that talk about how to strategize, innovate, and integrate social media tools to create a successful communications program that leverages the connectivity of social and traditional media. 

Help us create the image of the new face of PR!  Send us your social media profile photos (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, et al) to info@prsamd.org, and we will include them in a beautiful mosaic that will be on our “save the date” postcard as well as all other conference materials. 

How exciting would it be to pick out your profile photo in PRSA-MD conference materials?  Which one do you choose — Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook?  It’s your choice, but don’t delay — make sure you’re a part of the event!  Send your profile pic to info@prsamd.org by Friday May 27. 

Speakers: if you’d like to present on these topics (i.e. measurement, integration, the 24/7 news cycle, strategic planning, and more) at Chessie, we’d love to hear from you.  Send your profile pic and your RFP to info@prsamd.org by Friday May 27! 

Still to come: more exciting information about this year’s conference.  Stay tuned!

It Was a Good Ride…

July 6, 2010

We had an exciting time this year at the 2010 Chessie Conference #chessie10.  This year’s theme was 2010: Launching a New Decade of Excellence.  We had excellent speakers this year who willingly shared their insights into some of the most pressing and relevant topics in PR today.  

We’d like to thank all our speakers for dedicating their time and expertise for our collective benefit for one day.  We’d also like to thank our morning keynote speaker, technology entrepreneur Dave Troy, as well as our luncheon keynote speaker, Lisa A Shenkle, President of Verb! Communications.  They both gave very enlightening presentations on their creative efforts to publicize the City of Baltimore and make the case for doing business here. 

During the event, Stockfield Photography took lots of photos while we were learning, sharing, and having fun at the happy hour.  If you’d like to order high res versions, you can contact him directly

Didn’t take copious notes during the conference?  The 2010 Chessie session handouts are still available for you to view on our website.

Creating a Winning Awards Entry

April 7, 2010

So you have a great success story. Now you’re wondering if its award-winning material. Only one way to find out – submit it for one of the industry’s prestigious awards like the PRSA Silver Anvil or PRSA MD’s Best in Maryland. (Note the 2010 Best In Maryland entries are due May 7 with a discount on fees for entries received by April 23!).

Before you finalize that submission, did you know that at least 25% of entries get pushed aside not because they aren’t creative, effective and successful, but because the entry wasn’t – as in wasn’t creative, effective, well-presented.

Here a few tips from some pros – pro’s at winning and at judging – that may help you create an entry that is as successful at your program.

Peter Stanton, APR, Stanton Communications:

Keep in mind that the awards are as much about what you did that’s new and innovative as what you did well.  While the judges may be impressed that you scored a major hit in the national media, it’s far more interesting to know how you did that.  Did your overall program incorporate some new approach or some new tactic that galvanized media attention?  Was there something in your program that could be instructive for the rest of the profession?  If
so, flag it.

Judges may be called upon to review dozens of entries.  If you are hoping they discern the key element of your creativity, they may miss it.   If you are hoping they will be awed by very traditional tactics and outcomes, you may be disappointed.  Demonstrate innovation and prove that it accomplished your goals and not just achieved a nice news piece.  That’s the way to win.

Chuck Fitzgibbon, APR, Weber Shandwick

Two thoughts:

Judges value outcomes more than output.  Behavioral change is seen as more valuable than volume of messaging, impressions, material distribution, etc.  Smaller, local programs that moved the needle and affected real change often receive higher scores than massive national programs that had a lot of output, but didn’t demonstrate real change.

Organization is key.  If your entry isn’t organized as specified in the guidelines, judges may overlook critical information in your entry, or may assume that either you’re not paying attention, or just resubmitting an entry from another competition.

Paul Eagle, APR, Imre

Winning entries go far above and beyond typical campaigns …

  • Results must match objectives
  • Campaigns are too focused on media placements – especially “integrated campaigns”
  • Pay close attention to the categories you enter – I judged three last week that were simply in the wrong category
  • Backup is critical – if you say you wrote a plan, include it…or at least parts of it so we know it exists
  • Research is more than “we conducted an informal poll at our agency”

Jody Aud, APR, MedImmune

Make sure what you are entering is really a “campaign.”. So often I see entries that are really a single tactic. – such as the launch of a  newsletter or an Intranet and the entry focuses on just the tactic and why it was selected, audience reach and so on. That’s the kind of thing you enter in a Bronze Anvil. For me, an entry that’s primary importance on the research, planning and evaluation – and secondary importance on the tactics is usually one that will stand out from the rest.

Lisa Miles, APR, Miles Public Relations

My biggest frustration when judging entries (both Silver Anvils and other chapters) is that MEDIA RELATIONS IS NOT A MEASURABLE OBJECTIVE!  It’s a tactic used to reach your target audience.  Start asking yourself the question of “why” each time you write an objective and if you can get to something measurable and timely, THEN you have an objective.  Also make sure your objectives match up with the rest of the program, particularly the results.  I heard a great quote from another judge when we were at the Silver Anvil judging this year – it’s the Alpha and Omega that we look at first – the beginning and end.

Harry Bosk, APR, Bosk Communications

Make sure when you say that you want to increase awareness that you state with whom, why and by what measurement.  Otherwise, it’s not a measurable objective.

Have your own tips and ideas? Add them. Have questions for the “pros”? Ask away here or send an email to PR Awards Pros at info[at]prsamd[dot]org.

How Would You Handle Toyota’s Crisis Communications?

January 30, 2010

“Quality was [Toyota’s] differentiator and now it’s their Achilles heel,” says Brenda Wrigley, chair of the public relations department at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Her comments appeared in a Forbes article this week, which draws a partial comparison between Toyota’s handling of the current PR crisis involving faulty accelerator pedals to Johnson & Johnson’s text-book handling of their 1982 PR crisis involving Tylenol bottles that were tampered with and poisoned. (J&J immediately recalled 20 million bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol from store shelves and replaced them with new product in tamper-proof packaging, sending a clear message to the public that it values consumer safety over profits.)

Over the past two weeks, Toyota has issued recalls on millions of cars, stopped production of eight of its models at plants across the globe, and ordered dealers to pull cars off their showroom floors. The problem with the accelerators isn’t entirely new, but it has rapidly escalated into a crisis. Some critics say that Toyota, in its aim to be the world’s top car manufacturer, has outgrown its quality control measures, thus undermining the essence of its brand.

What do you think? Are Toyota’s current crisis management efforts sufficient to maintain consumer confidence in a brand that has been synonymous with quality? What message is the current recall and halt on production sending to consumers? Is Toyota’s handling of the problem comparable to J&J’s handling of the Tylenol crisis? How would you handle the current crisis?

Visit Toyota’s Web site for official information about the recall.

Tips for Dealing with the Changing PR Landscape

January 22, 2010

Planning for PR programs in 2010 will be more difficult than in past years because of the dynamic and continually changing PR landscape.

frankstrong

Choose one: (a) strongly disagree, (b) disagree, (c) unsure, (d) agree, (e) strongly agree. Fifty percent of public relations professionals surveyed chose (e) agree, according to Frank Strong, public relations director for Vocus. Strong addressed PRSA-MD members Thursday morning at the University of Baltimore (left), where he discussed some of the factors that make PR planning increasingly difficult, and what you can do about it. Here are a few of my takeaways.

Maintain your media relationships. Last year 293 newspapers folded, 1,226 magazines disappeared, 10,000 radio employees were cut, and 100 TV stations were affected by Chapter 11. In short, massive job loss. Where are all these editors and reporters going? Some of them are getting into PR, but many are going to online publications. Wherever they move, they’ll land somewhere and may continue to be relevant contacts. So don’t let your relationships go. You never know where a sacked reporter might resurface.

Master SEO and other new media tools. Attention is the new deficit, and social media can help break the threshold. Increasingly, PR professionals are giving testimonials about how their blog or tweet or discussion board made a difference for their organization or a client. It’s not just about the message anymore. We need to think beyond text, giving more consideration to  posting videos, engaging readers in conversation, tagging and, above all, SEO. Figure out which social media tools are appropriate for your organization—and learn how to use them. (Note: SEO is a must for every professional communicator’s toolbox!)

Learn crisis communications. You’ll need it. Up until now, the prevailing wisdom has been that crisis communications should be left to specialists. While this may still hold true for major crises, it’s also true that social media leaves everyone exposed to previously nonexistent dangers. Know how to respond when a customer or employee launches a withering attack at your organization or its leadership. You may not be able to control it, but you need to know how to deal with it, or better yet—prevent it.

Integrate your communications. Social media’s rejection of commercialization makes PR central to an organization’s communications efforts. Users can sniff out marketing copy, but a good PR professional knows how to connect to people with authenticity—in other words, without selling. Okay, so does a good marketer, but relationships are the essence of PR. It’s not worth considering which of these two functions is more important. They’re both important for many organizations. A better question to ask is, How can PR and marketing work together?

For more information on this topic, check out Frank Strong’s whitepaper, Meeting Change: Public Relations Planning in 2010.