Fast Five

  • Fast Five: Tweeting from the Train

    In Crisis, Events, Fast Five, News, Social Media on

    Lauren Armstrong has been a Public Information Officer at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority since June 2014. A passion for helping others motivates her to provide the best customer service to those who ride the T. Communicating via social media, managing mbta.com, and tracking operational performance data, is a glimpse into her day.   @MBTA

    We caught up with Lauren in advance of the Social Media Summit to talk about how the T uses social media and what she looks forward to most about the summit.

    Q. What role can social media play in a crisis?

    I think social media is one of the most powerful, and sometimes underestimated, communication tools available. It can be used to interact directly with stakeholders during a crisis, answer their questions/concerns and provide accurate and timely information.

    Q.How does the MBTA use social media to communicate with its audiences?

    Our use of social media is two-fold. Firstly, we use it to announce service delays/disruptions, news/updates, media stories and important reminders. Secondly, we use it as a tool to engage one-on-one with riders. We can answer their questions, resolve their complaints and pass along the much-appreciated operator shout-outs that we receive.

    Q.Can you give an example of how you may have effectively managed social media during a crisis in the past?

    Winter 2014/2015 was an opportunity to announce service schedules and updates to answer questions like, “What kind of service will be running tomorrow?” “Is my bus on snow route?” or “Will my commuter rail train be cancelled?” But it also gave us a few opportunities to highlight the work being done by MBTA employees to keep platforms and bus stops clear of snow and ice.

    Q. How can organizations use the vast amount of data available from social media and website traffic to spot and address potential crisis situations?

    Organizations can use data available to get ahead of a potential crisis. For example, when our web team spots a high increase in traffic to our winter service updates page, we make the decision to redirect our homepage right to our winter page. That way, customers get the exact information they’re looking for and don’t have to spend time looking around for it.

    Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    I’m excited to connect with other leaders in the social media industry, and am looking forward to sharing what we do at the MBTA.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

     

  • Fast 5: Q&A with Jane Dvorak, PRSA 2017 Chair

    In Career, Fast Five, ICON 2017 on

    PRSA Boston recently had the opportunity to chat with Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, and the national chair of the PRSA. She offered thoughts on how her life has changed since she was selected for this new position and how PRSA has helped her grow her business. While Jane may enjoy visiting New England to meet with PRSA members, her loyalty remains in Colorado as she is a passionate Denver Broncos fan. Wait…who won the Super Bowl earlier this year?

     Here are five questions that we asked Jane during our conversation.

    Q: Now that you are National Chair of PRSA, what’s changed in your world?

    A: I travel a LOT! And, I get to meet some amazing people on those journeys. It is quite heartwarming to see such passion for the profession and PRSA on so many levels and by practitioners at every point along the career continuum. I always leave a visit inspired, rejuvenated, and grateful to share in that passion and for the opportunity to lead at this level.

    Q: As you visit chapters around the U.S., what’s catching your attention? Any surprises?

    A: I’m encouraged that I hear PR pros talking more about the strategic side of our work than the tactical; that’s where we can really own the power of the work we do. When we are strategists we become invaluable to the businesses we work with. We can drive the conversation instead of reacting to it. That puts PR in a leadership role, which is where we need to be to really contribute to business success.

    Q: You are an independent practitioner. What does PRSA do for you?

    A: PRSA has built my business. In the 27 years I’ve been an independent, only three (yes, 3!) clients were retained that were not a direct link to a PRSA contact. This network is invaluable for the connections, the professional growth, and the leadership skills gained are second to none. This is one investment that has paid for itself ten fold, easily.

    Q: When PRSA’s annual conference comes to Boston in October, what are you looking forward to?

    A: ICON is always an energetic experience for me and I hope for all those who attend. I’m looking forward to delivering a program that will inspire and challenge practitioners to hone their leadership skills, explore industry trends, and provide an experience to expand their network of peers. I have always left ICON with new ideas, concepts and connections. It really demonstrates our mission to make our members smarter, better prepared and more connected. That’s what I’m looking forward to in Boston. Besides that, a dash of history and a lobster roll, naturally!

    Q: New England Patriots or Denver Broncos?

    A: Why, the Broncos, of course!

     

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands, and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

     

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and

    pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Fast 3: Q&A with Eduardo Crespo, Founder and CEO of Hispanic Market Solution

    PRSA Boston Q&A with Eduardo Crespo, CEO, Hispanic Market Solution

    Why do some communities thrive while others become ghost towns? Building an audience is already tricky, but establishing a true community in today’s global marketplace is even harder.

    PRSA Boston took some time recently to speak with Eduardo Crespo, CEO, Hispanic Market Solution to learn more about his take on diversity in the workplace. Eduardo will be one of the featured experts at the Community Building Workshop on Thursday, March 16, at The NonProfit Center of Boston. You can get your ticket here.

    The Hispanic market is growing rapidly in the next 25 years – One in four U.S. residents will be Hispanic in 2050. What are the two most critical issues facing companies planning to enter or expand in the U.S. Hispanic market?

    The two most important issues are dealing with cultural issues and linguistic considerations. Companies must be proactive in understanding, reaching and servicing the U.S. Hispanic community.

    Recently, the “white ceiling” for people of color has replaced the “glass ceiling” that limited life choices for women 20 years ago. How can companies engage and mentor a diverse workforce to achieve competitive advantage?

    Being genuinely interested in responding to the major change in demographics happening in the U.S. by hiring, retaining and promoting Hispanics at all levels of the organization is one way. It has been proven that Hispanic cultural values can become a major asset in progressive companies.

    What three strategies can small- and medium-size companies use to foster a respectful and inclusive workplace?

    1. Welcoming and recognizing Hispanics as an integral, high-value asset of a company’s workforce.
    2. Offering Diversity and Inclusion training to all employees to create a friendly, employee-centric workforce that recognize its differences and works in unison to achieve the company’s goals.
    3. Hiring and promoting Hispanics to leadership and executive positions while encouraging them to become mentors and company spokespeople.

    Crespo is a bilingual/bicultural professional with more than 20 years of regional and national U.S. Hispanic and Latin American marketing and recruitment experience. Increasing awareness about these markets and providing strategic thinking, generating new business and creating “out of the box” solutions are his core strengths.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand. But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

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  • Fast 5: Q&A with Sharon Barbano, head of Public Relations, Saucony

    In Career, Chapter Events, Fast Five on

    Sharon Barbano

    PRSA Boston was thrilled to sit down with Sharon Barbano, Saucony’s head of public relations, to discuss sports PR, marketing to women, and what were the best and worst PR/marketing experiences that she has faced during her career. Sharon will be PRSA Boston’s featured speaker in January as she talks about “Find Your Strong: The PR Athlete” on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Wolverine Worldwide headquarters in Boston.  To get your ticket, visit eventbrite HERE.

    Here are five questions that we asked Sharon during our conversation.

    Q1: What does it take to be a winning PR Athlete?

    A: Two runners stand at the starting line of the Boston Marathon. Both have similar body types, training programs, and personal bests. Who crosses the finish line first?  The one who expected to win finishes first.

    Winning is an action. But first, you need the mindset to be a winner. Just like that runner, a winning mindset is the key to becoming a successful PR pro. But you can’t develop a winning mindset until you program your mind to be a winner. That’s where the hard work comes in. Discovering your life’s purpose, exploring your possibilities, and establishing your presence in the world are part of the groundwork. Next comes goal setting, planning, and visualization.  Of course, all of this is futile without the passion to win. You’ve got to love what you do.

    Q2: You’ve always been passionate about marketing to women and even ran your own agency−the Women’s Sports Marketing Group−which tapped into the power of women’s sports to help high-growth brands gain female market share. What’s the secret to winning this majority consumer?

    A: There is an old journalism adage: “Follow the money, follow the women or follow both.”  I’m suggesting that marketers do the same. Women drive an estimated 85 percent of consumer spending with their purchasing power and influence, yet women still say that marketers don’t understand them. Here’s my Eight-C Chicklist ™; it was developed based on the principles I learned and continue to follow while working with the majority consumer:

    • Connection: A woman’s purchasing decision is based on how a certain service or product will improve her life.
    • Communication: Understanding the difference between listening and hearing are crucial in the communication process between a brand and its female customers. Once you’ve listened, respond. Only then will she know that she’s really been heard.
    • Choice: According to research, the average 30-year-old woman has nearly 24 pairs of shoes in her closet. Why so many? She wants a choice: she works at the office and works out at the gym; she runs errands on Saturday and 5K’s on Sunday; she meets her friends in the city and her kids’ teachers at PTC. Her 360-degree lifestyle demands options.
    • Customization: And while we’re on shoes, if the shoe fits, she’ll wear it; but only if it fits her really well. They need to feel and perform to her personal needs. Today’s female consumer expects products created just for her.
    • Consistency: Defection comes easy. Let her down once, and she’s off into the arms of another brand. It’s not fickleness; its unmet expectations.
    • Cause-Related: According to a recent AOL study, 54 percent of millennial women switched brands because it supported a cause they cared about. What does that mean? More cause marketing, of course.
    • Convenience: Millennials crave convenience stores with women now shopping at them as much or more than men. It demonstrates how valuable time is for today’s multi-dimensional woman. By streamlining her life with apps and ease of accessibility, a brand can become part of her solution, and she becomes part of the brand.
    • Credibility: Millennial women are digitally-savvy people. They know what’s fake and what’s not. They crave authenticity. Female shoppers respond strongly to content shared by other women, transforming everyday consumers into influential brand advocates.

    Q3: What is your worst PR/marketing experience and what did you learn from it?

    A: During the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in NYC’s Central Park, Saucony athlete and friend Ryan Shay collapsed and died at the 5-mile mark from a sudden cardiac event. Ryan’s family, the Saucony family, and the entire running community were devastated. A month later, we established a memorial bench at the site in Central Park where Ryan collapsed and held a memorial event there with Ryan’s family, the media, and the whole Saucony team attending.

    Each year since then, the day before the NYC Marathon, the whole Saucony team runs together before dawn to Ryan’s bench, leaving behind a pair of running shoes in his honor. This experience continues to underline the importance of always having a crisis communications plan ready to execute. Because of our plan, we were ready and able to do the right thing in the midst of tragedy, not only to manage the media but also to grieve with Ryan’s family and the running community as a whole.

    Q4: What was your best PR/marketing experience and what did you learn from it?

    A: I was given the opportunity to launch the PR function at Saucony 15 years ago and have continued to successfully oversee the brand’s communication strategy single-handedly. While it would have been easy to use the excuse that we didn’t have an agency to support my individual efforts and thus accept self-mediocrity, I took it as a challenge. I now know from experience that nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Wishing will not. Talent will not. Bigger teams will not. Persistence is a powerful force.

    Q5: Can you describe yourself in one word?

    A: Passionate.

    ______________________________

    Sharon Barbano, head of Public Relations for Saucony, is an industry leader in strategic communications and sports marketing with more than 25 years of experience in entrepreneurial and corporate leadership positions. At Saucony, Sharon has applied her passion as a former world-class runner to communicate the brand’s award-winning performance running technologies while inspiring others to experience the transformational power of running.  Prior to joining Saucony 15 years ago, Sharon was Reebok’s Group Director for Women’s Global Marketing.  Sharon is the race analyst for many of the nation’s top running events; her on-air commentary has included television and radio coverage of the Boston, Chicago, LA, and New York City Marathons.  Sharon was named a 2015 Achilles Hero by the Achilles Foundation for her work in the encouragement of disabled people to participate in mainstream running events. She was presented with the Women’s Trailblazer Award by Running USA and is a recipient of the Woman of Distinction Award from the National Association of Women in Education.

     

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

     

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and

    pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization.