Posts tagged with ‘PR’

  • 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. 

     

  • Meet the Board: PRSA Boston Past President Dan Dent, APR

    In APR, Career, PRSA Member Feed on

    Blog-author_dent

    Who is Dan Dent?

    My story began in Chicago, where I grew up, enjoyed life as a Cubs-Bears-Bulls fan, married my lovely wife, Sarah, and then started my career in PR. Now I’m in Boston, with a family of five, loads of experience in B2B technology PR, including two stints on my own, and a great year ahead of me as president of PRSA Boston. When I’m not running the occasional half marathon, I ply my trade at Draper, surely one of the grandees of the technology and engineering industry in Cambridge, or anywhere.

    You’ve been a PRSA member since 1996 and a board member since 2010. What is your focus for 2017?

    PRSA is unlike any other professional organization in that we are all about the member experience at every stage, and that goes for college students through career professionals to retirees. Even well intentioned professional societies find themselves serving the large middle of their membership, and undeserving so many others. PRSA is different in that we see value in connecting people at every stage. My focus for 2017 will be along those lines: celebrating and enhancing the member experience.

    Why are you involved in PRSA and what has it meant for your career?

    In my career, I’ve had the privilege of working in PR agencies, corporations, non-profits and on my own. At every turn, PRSA was there when I needed a resource or smart colleague to help me set my course. At the end of the day, we are all in a client service business, and that means you need great ideas, great execution and great relationship building skills. I’ve learned all those things at PRSA.

    What is your recommendations for those considering PRSA membership?

    Start with meeting our members. There’s quite a variety, and a million reasons people join PRSA. Some come for the networking, others for professional development, and still others want to explore career options with a trusted community. Over the years, I’ve received job leads, new business leads, advice about client management and creative programs. You can attend a PRSA meeting even if you aren’t a member – that’s a great way to start.

    When you’re not involved with PRSA Boston or doing your full-time PR gig, what do you do?

    I’m a coach for girls lacrosse, a board member for our town lacrosse team, an active member and communications contributor at our church, and the go-to guy for all things related to our golden retriever, Maisy.

    Tell us something not many people know about you (Don’t worry, we’ll keep it a secret?)

    I once spent a season backpacking alone in Europe, where I discovered you can live on very little money, very few clothes and scant local knowledge as long as you can build rapport with strangers and make them your friends.

     

  • Cheryl Gale Client Messaging

    Fast 5: Q&A with March Communications’ Managing Director Cheryl Gale

    In Campaign, Marketing on
    1. What makes for an effective client message? How do you, or the client, know when it’s time to update it?

    It needs to stand out, it needs to be different and, most importantly, it needs to be simple. Too many companies try to cram in everything that they do, or they load it with too much jargon. That doesn’t work.

    As for when to update your message, I would say there are a few catalysts. I think the most important one is if people’s eyes gloss over when you give them your elevator pitch, and then they say, “oh that’s great,” and change the subject. Or, they ask you to explain it again and again. You want to make sure the message resonates with your target audience. Are you hitting their triggers or pain points? Do they want to hear more?

    There are many other catalysts though. Often a new CMO joins the company and they want to change up the message. Or maybe they’re refreshing their website. An acquisition is another big one.

    1. What are a couple examples of a message done right?

    One that we did for Relayware, a partner relationship management SaaS provider: “Companies that rely on their partner networks for revenue growth use Relayware. Our software and services provide valuable insights, bring you closer to your partners, provide visibility into their effectiveness, improve their training and empowers them to reach their potential.”

    This clearly outlines who the target audience is, identifies the needs of those audiences and positions Relayware as the one who can fulfill those needs – all without any kind of jargon (for instance, not one mention of partner relationship management solutions or PRM), and in just two sentences.

    1. Do you find that most clients are eager to revamp their messaging? Or do you think more need to be talked into doing it, and why?
      Most are very eager, but they also know the process isn’t easy. Our job is to help our clients reach a consensus and cut through to a clear message, and make it as painless as possible.

     

    1. What do you think other PR pros need to know about client messaging in order to ensure they’re getting the most out of these sessions? What are some best practices that you think others might not be aware of?
      Get the right people in the room, but keep it small. Too many cooks in the kitchen means there’s less of a focus. The right people tend to represent the sales efforts/team (VP of Sales), the customer’s challenges and pain points (VP of Customer Success), the go-to-market strategy (CMO/VP of Marketing and/or Corporate Comms VP) and the product itself (CTO or other product-focused manager).The next step is to break it down into two half-day sessions. The first one is spent on brainstorming ideas, phrases and words in the context of specific questions around benefits and target markets. The second session should focus on testing the message(s).

    Make sure you test the message externally, too. Go to a few customer friendlies as well as industry analysts.

    And, finally, make sure that those involved have fun, are open minded and feel like they’re getting something of value out of the sessions.

     

    1. Do you have any unique tactics to help pick your clients’ brains in these message sessions? Something that helps get the ball rolling and the creative juices flowing?
      Start with a brain teaser, to get everyone relaxed and feeling open minded. Write down ideas onto sticky notes and post them on the walls – it’s a fun and interactive way of keeping everyone engaged. Ask the difficult questions and participate so they can know where your thoughts are going in terms of their message.

     

    About Cheryl Gale

    Cheryl started a 20-year, international career in PR and communications over on the other side of the pond, where she helped shepherd two agency transformations in the United Kingdom: the opening of The Weber Group’s (now Weber Shandwick) London offices and the creation of Band & Brown’s technology division. She cultivated an extensive background in international PR experience, but perhaps the ultimate takeaway from her time in the U.K. was the value of defining her own PR mission statement – and taking the reins herself in driving that forward.

    That’s why, when Cheryl relocated back to the U.S. 12 years ago, she co-founded March Communications on a simple but essential principle: helping innovative technology brands, both in the U.S. and abroad, to stay a step ahead of the curve by creating lasting momentum and aligned marketing communications programs. To do that, Cheryl has assembled an eclectic group of energetic, creative and intelligent people at March with a shared passion for pushing the envelope in how to effectively market U.S. and international tech brands, and leverage cutting-edge solutions for maximum exposure.

    In addition to her role as Managing Director at March, Cheryl also seeks out and embraces every mentor and advisory opportunity outside of the office. She currently serves as the President-Elect of the Publicity Club of New England, and sits on various PR panels at Boston University and Emerson College, where she shares her ideals of what makes for exciting PR to inspire a new generation of rising young professionals with their eye on the tech PR world.

    About FAST 5

    This is an interview 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. 

  • GE’s CCO DEIRDRE LATOUR TO KEYNOTE PRSA BOSTON’s ANNUAL MEETING

    First Speech in Boston Since GE Relocated

    GE's Deirdre LatourPRSA Boston chose the PRXNE16 Northeast District Conference to announce that GE’s Chief Communications Officer Deirdre Latour will be the keynote on Nov. 9, 2016 at the organization’s 66th Annual Meeting, themed ‘Communications for Innovation.’ The relocation of GE’s World Corporate Headquarters to Boston’s Seaport District is the year’s biggest business story for Massachusetts, with implications to public relations professionals from higher education, STEM and technology development, chamber and civic groups, infrastructure and commercial construction.

    “GE’s new leadership footprint is emblematic in how public relations advances the innovation economy, said PRSA Boston President Loring Barnes, APR. “To have the lead communications architect Deirdre Latour share how GE is collaborating with start-ups and stalwart brands will be both timely and insightful. This will be her first speech in Boston since GE relocated and we are thrilled.”

    Latour’s career journey from agency giant Edelman to GE underscores the range of professional opportunities that the corporate and agency duality allows. She is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and has been recognized by PR Week and PR News.

    “GE is grateful for the enthusiastic reception we’ve received from the Massachusetts business community and legislative delegation,” said Latour, who will be returning to her home state. “As we move our headquarters, we understand how essential communications is to connecting with the Boston community.”

    GE’s decision to centralize its global headquarters in the burgeoning Seaport District has turbocharged Boston’s-related building, public works and highway construction. Latour will speak about how ‘adaptive communications’ is essential for innovation industries to accelerate business plans.

    About GE (www.ge.com. @ge)

    GE (NYSE:GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the “GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry.

    About Deirdre Latour, CCO GE (@deirdrelatour)

    Latour leads the company’s global communications functions, shaping the company’s culture and supports its business growth worldwide. She has worked for GE for over twelve years, having made the shift from respected PR firm Edelman. She is an alumna of College of the Holy Cross and member of the Arthur W. Page Society, a community of senior and chief communications officers, PR agency CEOs and academics.

    About PRSA Boston (http://www.prsaboston.org, @prsaboston #prsabos)

    The 66-year Boston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (registered 501c6) connects members to the world’s largest association for public relations professionals. PRSA Boston offers year-round thought leadership, Accreditation certification (APR), educational content and networking programs, which this year included hosting the PRXNE16 Northeast District Conference. PRSA Boston will host the PRSA 2017 International Conference in October 2017.

  • 72Point

    Fast5: Q&A with 72Point.US’s Vice President of Strategy & Client Services Mindy Gibson

    In Media Relations, Social Media, Writing on

    Bill Gates was right. Content is king.

    It’s been 20 years since Bill Gates published his infamous “Content is King” essay on Microsoft’s website, accurately predicting “…content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” Today, content marketing firms like 72Point are engaging audiences, inspiring earned media and creating points of entry to businesses everywhere.

    We recently caught up with 72Point’s Vice President of Strategy & Client Services Mindy Gibson and asked her about the process of creating content and feeding the media beast.

    Why should infographics be a part of my strategy?

    It’s actually not about whether infographics should exclusively or specifically be included in your strategy. It’s about the broader category of visual assets – and the “why” is digital media demand. Each visual type – infographic, video, animation or interactive -contributes to digital news outlets’ success metrics, such as dwell time. Some outlets require stories be accompanied by videos because they enable pre-roll ad insertion.

    Visual assets help sell the content story of the story too, as it tells the story from multiple angles and can determine which outlets you’re pitching, and what your budget can support. We advise all our clients that integrating visuals increases the likelihood their story will get picked up, and the absence of visuals decreases their chances.

    How can a PR poll be used to increase brand awareness?

    A PR survey is first and foremost about news generation, with earned media as its primary goal. A survey-supported news story is therefore no different in its role increasing brand awareness than any other type of earned media initiative. The better the concept behind the story, the more media earned. Surveys have the advantage of being conversation starters. The more talk-ability, the more “legs” the story will have with other media outlets and, so importantly, as part of the social conversation.

     

    Are PR surveys only for earned media news generation or do they have paid media applications?

    While PR surveys have been traditionally used for earned media coverage, the basic principles can certainly be applied to creating paid media content.  The results of a compelling survey with reference to brand but not banging readers over the head with brand help branded content and other paid advertising feel less “branded” which is a good thing. One thing we’ve learned with the growth of paid media is that consumers do not want to be “sold to”.  They want to be informed, entertained and engaged but not sold. This is particularly true for younger consumers. Research is informative, and if done well, the results can be entertaining and engaging. We see our clients reaching to us more often for content to support paid media initiatives, and can track social media shares resulting directly from the story and assets and provide that information in our post-project coverage books but we don’t dissect it nor do we track the social media initiatives our clients control using the same content.

    Is email still relevant in the age of social media?

    At the risk of giving my age away, I am not a millennial and so grew up in business before social media had business applications and long before it had any life application at all.  Without intended reference to any current political story, in a business setting, email is absolutely relevant. Email is how I communicate regularly with colleagues and clients of ALL ages and generations. It is still the most efficient, effective and private method of business communication – if anything is actually really private. I do not foresee myself IM’ing business communications. That said, the use of email for social communication is already irrelevant to younger adults and future business applications of email may not be far behind – whether I like it or not.

    Mindy Gibson is a Boston University grad, and a strategic and creative media executive with domestic, multicultural and global content and communications experience in charge of strategy and client relations at 72Point.US.

    About Fast5:

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in
    demand, 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 Fast5 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. 

  • Guinness World Records logo

    FAST 5: Five Things to Know About Guinness World Records and Why They Teamed Up With PRSA

    In Campaign, PRXNE16, Sponsorship on

    Keith Green, APR (@KeithsTweets) is relatively new to his job as VP of Marketing & Commercial Sales at Guinness World Records (@GWR) but that hasn’t stopped him from directing the company’s efforts to jump in feet-first and become involved with PRSA.

    Keith Green PhotoHis background in entertainment and events seems to be a perfect match working for one of the world’s most fun and recognizable brands. He spent six years in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers, nine years in the NASCAR field as the Director of Public Relations for two different racetracks and eight years for Synergy, an award-winning events agency in New Jersey. Keith’s experience also includes several adjunct faculty positions, where he’s shared his sports marketing and PR experience with undergraduate and graduate students.

    We caught up with Keith in advance of PRXNE16, PRSA Northeast District Conference, where Guinness World Records will the Platinum Sponsor.

    Q: Your involvement with PRSA has spanned quite a few years. Tell us about your experience with the organization.

    I’m a big believer in PRSA.  Membership is a great way to interact with like-minded people and learn from the best in the PR business. My career has advanced and my network has grown because of the local chapter events and the international conferences I’ve attended over the years. While it’s like most anything else- you get what you give- (Keith served on the PRSA-NY board for three years and received his APR certification four years ago) PRSA is a terrific organization and I’m bullish on its growth.

    Q: Most everyone knows Guinness World Records through the book. What can you share about your role?

    A: For our U.S. office (headquarters are in London, with offices in Japan, China and Dubai) I oversee our book marketing initiatives, as well as our commercial sales efforts. Our book, which is still a best-seller, launches every September (although it will be August 30 this year), and our marketing efforts are geared toward the readers (the kids) and those who buy it for them or influence them-teachers, moms and grandmothers. Although the 2017 book will be our 61st edition, the commercial side of our business is relatively new. Companies of all types work with us to have a judge oversee a record attempt and use our logo to pre-promote the attempt, post-event if the attempt is successful, as well as in promotional videos. Although our business is more than six decades old, we continue to evolve, which is extremely exciting.

    Q: You started at Guinness World Records about seven months ago. Why do you think it’s a good fit to be involved with PRSA and why are you doing it so quickly?

    A:   Relationships are important to me. I know the organization and people well, so that’s critical. Because of those factors, I know that when we attend and activate at a conference that we will have the opportunity to show our creativity and add value for the attendees.  Working with PRSA also gives us the opportunity to connect with our various target audiences-those PR and marketing pros who work at agencies, brands, non-profits and educational institutions. That’s the beauty of record breaking- it works for just about any kind of business.

    Q: How do your marketing and PR teams work together?

    A: Nearly every day, a cool record is being broken somewhere across the globe. Since our PR team oversees our digital efforts, it’s critical that we communicate about what’s happening and how we can leverage some of those record attempts in a timely fashion from a marketing perspective. A great, recent example is Dude Perfect, which broke a series of amazing basketball records last month. The content and resulting video were amazing, and it helps us tell a story to an audience we might not reach as easily.

    We also work together on two major events throughout the year- our Book Launch event in the late summer (August 30 this year) and Guinness World Records Day-where we encourage people all over the world to break records- on November 10.

    Q: You’ve taught marketing and PR at a few universities. What would you tell someone graduating from college or a recent grad about breaking into the PR field?

    A: I always tell my students, “If you can write well, you are ahead of 90% of the people in the workforce.”  It doesn’t matter if you are writing an email to a client, a speech for the president of your company, a blog post or a concise Tweet, writing is still a fundamental skill that many people lack. I believe social media and texting have further eroded that skill for many of us, not just the younger generations.

    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 on the fly! 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.