Unlock the Power of Search for Brands and Executives

At 8.5 billion Google searches per day, you’re either branded or you’re labeled.

Free Virtual Event

Thursday, August 11, 1 pm ET

 

EVENT OVERVIEW

Harness and leverage the power of Google to build your brand and protect executive reputations. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to provide new value to clients by taking advantage of the scope and influence of Google search.

CommPRO.biz and Lightbox Search are bringing together the A-listers of the Communications industry to take a deep-dive into the search-centric approach agencies must take to serve their clients in 2022 and beyond.

 

 

Join us…

FIRESIDE CHAT

Raoul Davis, Founder & CEO, Ascendant Group Branding

Ascendant Group Branding is ranked #3 world-wide out of 11,400 branding agencies on Ad World Masters top agencies list and #1 ranked minority owned PR firm by Clutch and Manifest. The agency offers one of the most integrated models in the world including brand strategy, PR, literary representation, design, social media, video, photography, and strategic relationships.   In his tenure, both he and Ascendant have been recognized multiple times for their work including by the Philadelphia Titans 100 Executives, receiving invitations to small business forums at the U.S. Senate, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and The White House, and winning multiple awards for PR, design, and company culture.    

Davis is a Forbes contributor and author of the book Firestarters: How Innovators, Initiators and Instigators Can Inspire You to Ignite Your Own Life. 

He speaks regularly for Joseph Business School and has given talks for leading organizations such as UPENN, Young Entrepreneur Council, as well as various universities and Chambers of Commerce across the country.

His life philosophy, “paving the way for others” is inspired by the example of John The Baptist. He currently serves as the Chair for the Board of Directors for Life in Christ Cathedral of Faith.

Lewis Williams, EVP, Head of Brand Impact, Weber Shandwick

Recognized as one of Adweek’s 2018 Creative 100, and Ad Club of New York’s 2022 Icons, Rock Stars and Innovators Series. Lewis is a passionate, award-winning creative leader and storyteller with extensive experience in total and multicultural marketing. During his career he has created award-winning digital and traditional work for major brands such as Google, McDonald’s, Walmart, Toyota, Comcast, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Walt Disney World, Walmart, Allstate, Miller Lite and Comcast. 

After spending much of his successful career at iconic agencies Leo Burnett (SVP Creative Director) and Burrell Communications (EVP Chief Creative Officer) he is now EVP Head of Brand Impact at legendary PR agency Weber Shandwick. Partnering across client experience, creative and strategy teams he helps drive deeper impact and cultural relevance for the agency and its partners. 

Lewis mentors BIPOC students for the One Club For Creativity, One School, and is very active on the speaker circuit where he shares his perspective and experiences on diversity in the marketing and communications industry. He also has had the honor of serving on the jury of prestigious creative award shows as Cannes Lions, The International Andy Awards, The One Show, Effie’s, The Clios and Communication Arts Advertising Competition.

Lewis is a distinguished alumnus of The Kent State School of Design where he established the Lewis and Dona Williams Scholarship Fund. The funds are dedicated to those students in need of financial assistance.

FIRESIDE CHAT HOST

Laurence Moskowitz, Chief Executive Officer, Lightbox Search

Laurence Moskowitz, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lightbox Search, was named one of the 10 most influential public relations executives of the 20th Century by PR Week magazine. Regarded as an expert in crisis communications, issues management and strategic corporate communications, Larry founded Lumentus, a New York-based agency, in 2009 after recognizing that technology and client service needs were changing how public relations, marketing and advertising firms must operate. In 2018, Larry saw a need his technology could solve and created Lightbox Search.

A communications pioneer, Larry has leveraged emerging technologies throughout his career to provide business and professional communicators with more powerful and effective means of reaching their audiences. Prior to Lumentus, Larry founded Medialink, then the world’s largest provider of video-based media communications services to Fortune 500 companies.

As Chairman and CEO of Medialink, Larry forged strategic alliances with the Associated Press and Nielsen to create the first professional distribution network linking corporations and other organizations with television broadcasters nationwide. Medialink, which he took public, won hundreds of public relations industry awards, and was successfully merged into a successor company in 2009. Larry had previously founded a forerunner to PR Newswire and started his career as a reporter and editor.

Larry was honored with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for communications in 1999.

Larry holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University, where he was Kappa Tau Alpha in communications. He has lectured on public relations and online media at New York University, the BBC in London and Denmark Television in Copenhagen, NewsXchange in Barcelona and numerous professional groups around the world.

ROUNDTABLE  HOST

Jesse Jacobs, Chief Technology Officer, Lightbox Search

Jesse Jacobs serves as Chief Technology Officer of Lightbox Search where he drives product development. Jesse works closely with both the technical team and clients to ensure Lightbox meets evolving objectives.

During his decade with Lumentus, he has led cross-platform content creation as a creative strategist with expertise in search engine optimization (SEO), digital reputation management and brand building.

Jesse is passionate about technology and design and holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Arts and Entertainment and Strategic Communications from Elon University.

GUESTS

Brian Laird, Senior Vice President, Digital, Lippe Taylor

A 22-year veteran in advertising & marketing, Brian started his experience across traditional advertising mediums before pivoting to the digital world in 2005. He is best known for providing client partners with strategic and performance-driving 360-degree digital media experiences across social, programmatic, influencer, SEM, video, and mobile, while being able to be a valuable resource across traditional media and telling the full brand story for his partners.

Brian held senior leadership roles across digital publishers, programmatic partners, digital brand safety giants, and PR agencies throughout New York and Los Angeles. His ability to transform into any role his client partners require is his biggest asset to any client partner and he guides clients with a steady hand and thoughtful process as a true extension of their team.

Brian has been fortunate to be able to expand his knowledge and social expertise work across multiple verticals over the last two decades including CPG, retail, entertainment, corporate communications and most recently over the last 6 years in aesthetics, pharma and healthcare.

Brian has a BA in communications and marketing from University of Louisiana and is a published speaker for his alumni chapter and local chapters of AAF. He has also worked with the University of Alabama and University of Central Florida as mentor to students across digital and social careers.

Jennifer Levey, Director of Media Relations, Makovsky

Jennifer Levey has been a communications professional for over 25 years. She began her career in journalism working for non-profits, newspapers and magazine companies including Nielsen Media. Jennifer made her way into public relations first,  working  for TARA, Ink., a leading luxury public relations firm in Miami Beach, FL and now as Director of Media Relations at Makovsky.

 

 

 

Kyle Monson, Co-Founder, Codeword (A WE agency)

Kyle has worked in the tech industry for nearly 20 years, first as a journalist, then as a marketer for global tech brands and a wide range of startups. He co-founded Codeword 10 years ago, an agency devoted to fusing journalism and marketing. 

Kyle loves to dive deep into technology and develop marketing programs and stories that will resonate with tech fans. He believes brands and marketing budgets should be used to make the world and the internet more rewarding, rich, and delightful for people. And he’s spent more than a decade pushing for corporate transparency in PR and advertising.

When he’s not hunched over his laptop, Kyle enjoys making up strange D&D storylines with his kids, and watching snobby TV shows with his wife. 

John Patterson, EVP, Group Manager Digital Strategy, Ketchum

I’m here to act as a translator. To translate what your consumers want and need through a deep understanding developed through tailored research. At the intersection of data privacy and data driven decision making sits an inherent need to better understand what is important to our audiences. Now more than ever it’s important to be deeply connected to consumer wants and needs and use those to build authentic brand stories that put your brand in context for the lifestyle of your consumer.

Experience: Social Media Marketing for Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Samsung, E & J Gallo Wine, General Motors and leading consumer goods manufacturers. Client work in automotive, beauty, consumer goods, technology, and food and beverage verticals. College coursework in Marketing and Professional Sales.

Specialties: social media marketing, community management, social media strategy, content strategy, SEO, social search, blogging, copywriting, digital brand building, social campaign generation, print marketing, experiential marketing, purls marketing, online advertising. Facebook, Facebook Insights, Facebook Advertising, Twitter, Twitter Promoted Products, Google+, YouTube, Google Analytics, Omniture, Radian6, Oracle Social, Salesforce Social Studio, Sysomos, Hootsuite, Curalate, Expion, Sprinklr, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Foursquare.

Bob PearsonBob Pearson, Chair, The Next Practices Group

Bob is Chair of The Next Practices Group, a network of founder-driven consulting firms that work together to advance innovation and develop the “next practice” in their respective fields to create an advantage for their clients.  The firms are centered in communications, marketing, public affairs and security.  All firms benefit from expertise in data science/analytics, PESO media, social purpose, intelligence, software and security solutions.  

Bob also serves as CEO of The Bliss Group, a leading communications firm and Chair of Next Solutions Group, a firm focused on cybersecurity and public affairs.  

He has played a key role in building two media firms that are ranked in the top 50 worldwide (GCI Health and Real Chemistry), he led the creation of the Fortune 500’s first global social media function at Dell and he has served as a global leader in communications at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi) and Novartis, as well as Dell. 

He has written four books based on his experience in the public and private sectors.  Two relate to digital media innovation (PreCommerce and Storytizing), one focuses on how to build powerful narratives (Crafting Persuasion) and the fourth reflects on how to combat bad actors (Countering Hate).  Bob is currently writing a new book centered on the world of consulting that will be available in 2023. 

Since teaching is often the best way to learn what’s next and reinforce what works today, Bob designs and teaches new classes as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas McCombs School (new digital media models, persuasive selling) and as a lecturer for the U.S. Government with a focus on combating disinformation and extremism.

He is an investor and advisor for media software and AI companies that are reinventing how we advertise, how we reach our audience and how we unlock content.  In his spare time, he helps lead a new music series in Austin called 70 Rock that features local artists throughout the year.      

Bob resides in Austin, Texas with his wife, Donna.  

Barry Reicherter, Managing Partner – Global Intelligence, Finn Partners

With more than 20 years of experience in the digital marketing field, Barry leads digital research and insights at Finn Partners. In this role, Barry works on an integrated, firm wide basis with each practice group at the firm to deliver results-driven marketing programs to the firm’s clients. Much of Barry’s body of work has been in the digital strategy and branding for clients such as Hyundai, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Steelcase, Rosetta Stone, HP, Nestlé, Pfizer, Chase, Procter and Gamble, Pearson, and Reed-Elsevier.  

Prior to joining Finn Partners, Barry led Porter Novelli’s digital group where he developed industry-leading programs for non-profits, industry groups, government agencies and well-known consumer brands. Under his leadership, the digital group built innovative online programs for Hewlett Packard, Crayola, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Food Guidance System), Georgia-Pacific, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Dietary Guidelines), Busch Entertainment Corporation’s Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and Discovery Cove, Penske, Capital One, and many more. 

Prior to joining Porter Novelli, Barry was operations director for Active.com, the leading registrar for recreational, team and league sports. He also managed cause marketing campaigns such as American Express Travel Related Services’ Charge Against Hunger campaign while at public relations agency M. Silver Associates, Inc. At AOL, Barry led the launch campaign for the company’s first e-commerce shopping cart, AOL QuickCheckout. Barry also led internet business strategy for Best Software (now part of Sage Software) and M.Y.O.B. Accounting software. 

Barry has been featured in industry publications and has appeared as a speaker and moderator at industry conferences and seminars in the U.S. and Europe. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Relations from the University of Denver and a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Southampton College. Barry is also an adjunct faculty member at the Kogod School of Business at American University. He can be found on Twitter at @barryreich and on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/barryreicherter/.

REGISTER




Communications and Marketing Agency FrazierHeiby Rebrands as Slide Nine New Leadership, Rapid Expansion Gives Way to Next Chapter for the Business

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Two and a half years and one global pandemic after an ownership transition, Columbus, Ohio-based communications and marketing agency, FrazierHeiby, has a new brand. As of today, the firm will be known as Slide Nine Agency, a name reflective of the company’s culture and inspired by direct client feedback. 

Industry News

Communications and Marketing Agency FrazierHeiby Rebrands as Slide Nine New Leadership

 

“During our creative exploration around the rebranding, I shared an anecdote with the team: I once asked a new client why he decided to hire us. Without hesitation, he said, ‘Slide nine of your proposal,’” said Slide Nine President and CEO Lauren Parker. “That particular section referred to our client experience model, specifically how we embrace trust, transparency and tenacity in delivering top-notch results. That concept so perfectly encapsulated what we wanted to convey to the world, it’s now our moniker. We’re proud to have a brand that truly reflects who we are and what we offer.” 

In January 2020, the agency returned to its roots as a 100% women-owned agency when Parker, Ann Mulvany (COO) and Whitney Somerville (CXO) took over the business founded by Sandy Cleary as Cleary Communications in 1983, and later known as FrazierHeiby Inc. Under current ownership, the agency has nearly tripled its employee headcount, increased year-over-year revenue by more than 35%, and widened its geographic footprint by adding new clients and employees in every U.S. time zone. 

Rooted in research and inspired by insight, Slide Nine creates tailored communications programming that drive business objectives by leveraging our experience and in-house capabilities. It offers the following core capabilities:  

  • Branding and Positioning

  • Public Relations / Earned Media 

  • Executive Thought Leadership 

  • Social Media (Paid and Organic) 

  • Crisis and Reputation Management 

  • Content Marketing 

  • Workforce Engagement 

  • Events and Trade Shows 

  • Creative Design 

  • Analytics and Measurement 

As Slide Nine continues to grow, its team of curious minds are as committed as ever to helping current and potential clients achieve their goals. For more information about Slide Nine’s story and vision, visit slidenine.com




Wells Fargo Names Amy Bonitatibus as Chief Communications and Brand Officer

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Amy Bonitatibus
(Photo: Wells Fargo)

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced today that Amy Bonitatibus has been named Chief Communications and Brand Officer, effective Sept. 12, 2022. Bonitatibus will report to Bill Daley, vice chairman of Public Affairs.

Bonitatibus joins Wells Fargo from Chase, the retail arm of JPMorgan Chase, where she served as Chief Communications Officer. In her role, Amy led all aspects of the company’s media relations, public affairs, internal communications, social media, and reputation management. She joined Chase in 2012 and has held a number of senior marketing and communications positions, including Chief Marketing Officer for the Home Lending business. Under her leadership, the business achieved record volume and brand consideration ratings.

“Amy brings a wealth of experience in financial services managing a large-scale communications organization as well as deep expertise in brand management,” said Daley. “We look forward to having her join the company in the fall to lead this important function within our Public Affairs team.”

Prior to joining Chase, Amy was a senior director at Fannie Mae, where she managed executive communications and media relations and led a grassroots media campaign for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Making Home Affordable program. She began her career as deputy press secretary to Senator Hillary Clinton, where she drafted and edited speeches, congressional testimony, press statements and op-eds for the senator. She also served as communications and policy director on a number of congressional campaigns.

Bonitatibus holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University and a Master of Policy Management from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.




SEO For Branding: How To Boost Branded Traffic?

Frank Hamilton, Blogger

Are you blundering to create a digital presence for your brand? Are you searching for routes to make your brand more visible on the internet? If so, then read on! Today’s search engines are more discerning than ever before. Even if you have a stellar product, it’s challenging to rank high in search results unless you invest in branded traffic. Read on to learn more about brand marketing and how branded SEO can help your company grow online. 

To excel at brand marketing, you need to understand its principles and dynamics. Discover how branding impacts your business and how it can be used as a source of inspiration. Keep reading to understand the fundamentals of branding and how branded SEO can improve your visibility online.

What is Brand Marketing?

Brand marketing is the process of promoting a brand and building awareness and recognition for it. When done well, it can help generate sales, build loyalty, and improve the reputation of a company.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when defining your brand awareness for SEO is that it’s not just a logo or slogan. A brand is made up of everything that people associate with your company: the way you look, the manner you talk, the mode you interact with customers, etc. In other words, it’s all the factors that impact how people view you and your products.

It’s crucial to make certain that your brand is cohesive across all platforms. For example, if your website looks nothing like your social media accounts, people are going to start getting confused and could even start forming negative impressions of your business.

Another thing to keep in mind is that branding is an ongoing process. You don’t just launch a new logo and then call it a day. You have to keep nurturing and evolving your brand as time goes by. It is essential to buy powerful backlinks and boost your brand awareness.

Understanding the fundamentals of branding

SEO branding is the process of creating a unique identity for a company or product by means of SEO tools, including jjlyonsmarketing.com. A strong brand can help your business stand out from the competition and build trust with customers. A substantial brand identity can also help you build a loyal customer base.

There are three key components to every successful company:

  • First, a company must define its purpose. What is its mission? What value does it provide to customers? This is the foundation on which all other decisions will be made.
  • Second, the company must create an image that aligns with its purpose and communicates its value clearly to customers. You can use photo editing by Photza to make the picture more suitable for your goals. 
  • Third, it must implement a strategy for scaling the brand and communicating it to the world.

The process of creating a strong brand requires careful consideration and a lot of thought. But once you get it right, it will pay off in spades.

Branded SEO: A smart investment for your brand

The digital landscape is constantly changing. Consumers are increasingly turning to the web for information and entertainment, and businesses are taking notice. Not only does this mean that brands need to adapt their marketing strategies, but it also means that they need to invest in digital marketing or use free apps for SEO. Find more details here.  And one of the most effective practices to do this is SEO.

One of the biggest advantages of branded SEO is that it helps you reach out to potential customers in a manner that is tailored to your audience. By optimizing your service for search engines, you can ensure that potential customers can easily find you. And by creating compelling content that is applicable to your target audience, you can raise your chances of conversion.

Another advantage of branding and SEO is that it allows you to build credibility and trust with potential customers. By investing in SEO, you are showing potential customers that you are serious about building a long-term relationship with them.

How to use branded SEO to boost your visibility

There are two main approaches to branded SEO: 

Product listing optimization

A common pitfall for retailers is incorrect product information, which can be a problem for local businesses in particular because of inconsistent store data across platforms. Inaccurate product information will also negatively affect your search rankings because it could result in an unfavorable user experience. 

By regularly updating your product listings and ensuring that they’re accurate, you’ll avoid this pitfall and boost your visibility online. 

When to use it: For sellers with a large product range and many SKUs, a product listing optimization is a must-have tool. 

Ads

An ad strategy can help you reach customers at the right time and place, and can help to drive sales during the holiday season.

When to use it: As part of a larger ad strategy, ads are best used as a seasonal promotion or during periods of heavy traffic, such as holidays.

Wrapping up

Branded SEO is a technique that leverages the power of search engine optimization to promote your business. As search engines are increasingly favoring branded keywords over generic terms, this strategy has proven to be more effective than ever before. By optimizing your business name, logo, and other key elements of your brand identity, you can ensure that your brand is always visible to potential customers. With the right strategy in place, you can also increase awareness of your brand and drive targeted traffic to your website. So what are you waiting for? Start promoting your business today with branded SEO!


Frank HamiltonAbout the Author: Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator from Manchester. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.




How Brands Can Reach Generation Z (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

Born between the years 1995 and 2010, Generation Z numbers over 2 billion strong worldwide. 9 in 10 of Generation Z live in emerging markets, with India alone accounting for 1 in 5. By 2031, Gen Z’s collective income will reach over a quarter of the global income, or over $2 trillion in global earnings. 

At home in the US, Gen Z accounts for 40% of US consumers. Almost half of Gen Z is not white, more than any other generation. 20% identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, over twice as many as prior generations. On top of being the “diversity generation,” Gen Z are on track to be the best-educated generation in America. 57% of recent high school graduates have enrolled in post-secondary education.

Given their size, spending power, and influence, brands of all shapes and stripes should want to sell their goods to Generation Z. If they haven’t developed Gen Z-specific marketing strategies yet, they need to. Only 36% of Gen Zers today say they have a strong connection to any particular brand. Instead, Gen Z chooses where to shop based on the values they perceive a company to hold. As a group, Gen Z prefers products that promote sustainable/ethical business practices and inclusivity. Gen Z wants to see marketing as diverse as they are, but they won’t just stand for “rainbow-washing” or “greenwashing.” Most consumers in this age group also want to see diversity and inclusivity in senior leadership and company policy. They’re also willing to pay more for sustainable products, making it worth a company’s while to go the extra mile. 

Now that brands have an idea of what to include in their marketing, they also need to consider how they’ll get their message out to its target audience. In this area, companies ought to adopt a mobile-first marketing approach. Nearly half of American teens are online “almost constantly,” spending more than 10 hours a day on their mobile device. 

Social media is a good place to start for mobile marketing. Nearly half of Gen Zers get most of their information from social media. Yet as of 2020, younger audiences began to leave established social media platforms for smaller “digital campfires” like Fortnite, Roblox, and Twitch. A fifth of Gen Zers are spending over 5 hours a day on TikTok. The goal is for brands to meet people where they are and become relatable.

INFOGRAPHIC

How Gen Z Relates To Brands and How it Will Disrupt Global Markets


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




The 3 Ways To Build Brand Recognition On A Budget

CommPRO Editorial Staff

These days branding is so important that it is something that individuals should be doing for themselves and not just companies. Whether you are looking to do personal branding or are looking to make a name for your small business, it can get expensive. It is essential to find a way to budget for branding and outreach, however. 

Branding is a way for you to tell the story of your company and find a way to connect with your audience. It helps to create loyalty and recognition so you have a steady and growing customer base. In this article, we will go over how to build your brand while sticking to a budget.

1 – Be active on social media

Although social media managers can cost quite a bit of money these days, it is still inexpensive to use social media to build your brand. You could do it yourself when it comes to personal branding, for instance. To make sure that you aren’t overextending yourself you should stick to some of the tried and true platforms where your audience is hanging out.

This means that you shouldn’t be trying to have an active presence on every social media network since you would waste a lot of time and resources. Once you have figured out which platform to focus on then you need to make sure that you are treating it uniquely and making sure to optimize the content for the audience there. 

Not only do you need to resize image for Instagram, for example, but create the type of content that people are going to respond to on that network. 

2 – Become an authority

Although you want to have a narrow focus when it comes to not overextending yourself on social media, you do need to be working several media at the same time. This will help you create a name for yourself or your company and build brand recognition. 

This means that in addition to social media, you should also be building a following on YouTube or TikTok by making engaging and helpful videos. In addition, start a podcast so you can reach others in that medium. There will be people that aren’t watching videos but will listen to a podcast on their way to work, for example. 

Then start a blog and create content around topics that people are searching for that your company or brand is working within. For instance, if you company is a pest control service then you should create a lot of content around how to get rid of various pests at home for the blog. 

3 – Create your story

It costs nothing to brainstorm an idea about what your brand identity is. Your brand should have a story around it that your audience will connect with. Once you have the story worked out then you will craft your messaging around it throughout all of your efforts. 

Figure out what your brand is all about and everything else falls into place. 




How Helping Employees Commute to Work Enhances Your Employer Brand

How helping employees commute to work enhances your employer brand

Rising gas prices and inflation costs can make returning to the office much more expensive for employees who drive to work. You can help.

Emma Atkinson, Ragan Communications

For employees who are returning to the office, the rising cost of a commute to a physical workplace has become a growing concern.

Gasoline prices in the U.S. hit a record high last week, with the national average price for a gallon of regular gas climbing to $4.37. Inflation has skyrocketed to a near-40-year high.

These costs are adding up for commuters: Data from Clever Real Estate shows workers are spending 20% more time and 31% more money on their commutes now than they were before the pandemic. Additional Clever Real Estate research finds that the cost is even greater for Black Americans, who face a 58% higher cost of commuting when adjusting for income.

To combat many employees’ reluctance to return to in-person work, some organizations are offering new programs and resources to help workers commute more economically. In doing so, they’re also crafting messages that double as powerful employer branding initiatives.

Here are some approaches for communicating about your employee commute programs.

Continue reading here…




Native Video Advertising: How to Make Your Brand More Engaging

Native Video Advertising

Commentary…

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing 

When most people think of advertising, they think of TV commercials. But in today’s digital world, there are a variety of different ways to reach your target audience. 

One such way is through native video advertising. Native video ads can be extremely engaging for your customers, and it can help you build a stronger relationship with them. 

In this blog post, we’ll explain what native video advertising is and how you can use it to improve your brand’s visibility and engagement.

What is Native Video Advertising?

Native Video Advertising is a form of online video advertising that is integrated into the design of a website or app. 

Unlike pre-roll or post-roll ads, native video ads are not intrusive and do not interrupt the user experience. Instead, they are contextually relevant and appear in a format that blends in with the surrounding content. 

Native video ads are often used to promote products or services within the content environment where they appear. 

For example, a native video ad for a new car might appear on a YouTube channel that specializes in car reviews. By appearing in a relevant and non-intrusive way, native video ads can be an effective way to reach potential customers.

How Does Native Video Advertising Differ from Traditional Online Video Advertising?

There are a number of key ways in which native video advertising differs from traditional online video advertising. 

Perhaps the most obvious difference is that native video ads are designed to blend in with the surrounding content, while online video ads are typically more obtrusive. This means that native video ads are less likely to be skipped or ignored by viewers. 

Another key difference is that native video ads are often delivered through social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, which have highly engaged user bases. This gives advertisers the opportunity to reach a large audience with their message. 

Finally, native video ads are typically shorter than other online video ads, making them more effective at holding viewers’ attention. Taken together, these factors make native video advertising a powerful tool for marketing campaigns.

Why Should You Consider Using Native Video Advertising as Part of Your Marketing Toolbox?

Video advertising is becoming an increasingly popular and effective marketing tool, and using native video ads is a great way to reach your target audience. Native ads are designed to blend in with the content of their surrounding environment, making them less disruptive and more likely to catch the attention of viewers. 

In addition, native ads leverage many of the same social media platforms that people already use every day, making it easier for them to connect with potential customers in an organic, conversational way. 

And because native ads are accompanied by interactive features such as transcripts or linkable landing pages, they can also help you gather important data and analytics about your target audience. 

In short, if you want to boost your marketing results, then adding native video advertising to your toolbox is a must! 

How Can You Create Engaging Native Video Ad Campaigns?

Here are some tips to get you started with native video advertising.

Keep It Short and Sweet

The attention span of most internet users is notoriously short, so you’ll need to hook them in quickly with an engaging opening. Brevity is key when it comes to native video ads.

Make It Relevant

Relevance is essential for all types of advertising, but it’s especially important for native video ads. Your ad should be carefully targeted to the audience you’re trying to reach, and it should offer something that they’re actually interested in seeing.

Use Attractive Visuals

Video is a highly visual medium, so it’s important to make sure that your ad is visually appealing. Use high-quality images and video footage, and consider using animation to add interest.

Tell a Story

A well-told story can be incredibly engaging, so try to incorporate one into your native video ad campaign. Your story doesn’t need to be complicated – it could be as simple as highlighting how your product or service has helped a customer achieve their goals. 

Use CTAs Sparingly

Video ads are not always well-received by viewers, as they can be intrusive and disruptive. One way to minimize this negative response is to use call-to-actions (CTAs) sparingly in native video ads. 

CTAs are typically used to encourage the viewer to take some kind of action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase. However, too many CTAs can be off-putting and may even cause the viewer to skip the ad entirely. When used judiciously, however, CTAs can help to guide the viewer towards taking the desired action. 

In native video ads, it is often best to use a single CTA at the end of the ad, rather than peppering them throughout the spot.

Best Practices for Creating and Publishing Effective Native Video Ads

When creating and publishing online video ads, there are a number of best practices that should be followed in order to ensure maximum impact. One key area is choosing the right platform for distribution. 

Since different video platforms cater to different audiences, it is important to choose one that is likely to resonate with your target demographic. Additionally, it is essential to optimize your ads for viewing on mobile devices, as this is where most consumers will be accessing them. 

Of course, you also need to make sure you develop a compelling narrative. That way, you can break through all the other noise in today’s overcrowded advertising landscape – and capture your viewer’s attention from the start. 

Native video advertising is a great way to make your brand more engaging and interesting to potential customers. By following the simple tips we’ve outlined in this blog post, you can create videos that are both creative and informative, driving more leads and sales through your website or landing page.


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




How a Rebrand Can Change Internal Behavior, According to This CCO

How a rebrand can change internal behavior, according to this CCO

 

Learn how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Michelle Russo used storytelling to spearhead the institution’s first major rebrand in half a century.

Justin Joffe, Ragan Communications

It’s hard to tell a successful story about your organization when audiences still have larger questions about your mission and purpose. At these junctures, a carefully considered rebrand can engage internal and external audiences alike around a narrative that says what you want it to.

Ahead of her session at Ragan’s Brand Storytelling Conference on April 13, we caught up with Michelle Russo, CCO at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to learn how she holistically guided the institution’s first major rebrand in 50 years by telling purposeful brand stories rooted in authenticity and credibility.

Ragan: What do you consider the most crucial elements of an effective brand story?

Russo: Start with your mission and purpose, and the stories about your brand will surface naturally from there.

This month, we are celebrating the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 110th anniversary with an origin story that includes the local chambers of commerce whose original leaders had the foresight to create the powerhouse organization we are today. Because the U.S. Chamber and state/local chambers sit at the intersection of business, government and citizens, our legacy of service to society spans America’s most challenging times — from World War II through the global pandemic we are recovering from now.

Continue reading here…




Who are the Best Brand Ambassadors for Your Company? The Answer Might Surprise You…

Julie Livingston, President, WantLeverage Communications

We tend to think that we can either advertise our way into people’s hearts and minds, or that high profile media appearances are the route to driving visibility and building a positive company reputation- which is partially true – but recent research shows otherwise.

It’s not as simple as putting key messages on banner ads. That’s too blatant, forced and just doesn’t work. What’s needed is to embed your core values and key messages into talking points so they are subtly communicated in every meeting, every conversation, every presentation. This way, they are omnipresent and therefore more memorable and meaningful. 

The Great Resignation has resulted in one of the most competitive talent markets in history, so companies that are seeking to increase or maintain their industry stature and attract new talent need to pay careful attention to how to present themselves publicly. And it turns out that the best way to convince an external audience to believe that your organization is one they’d like to work with, invest in, or buy from, is advocacy from your existing employees and customers.

This means that your company culture is your single biggest PR asset.

We can see the flipside of this in action further identified in a recent MIT Sloan research study analyzing 34 million online employee profiles to identify US workers who left their employer for any reason such as quitting, layoff or retiring. It is crystal clear that the primary reason talent leaves is due to toxic company cultures. Such dysfunctional organizations drain talent away – and those people who remain are disengaged, less productive than their happier peers and are more likely to suffer from serious health events such as heart attacks or strokes. No PR strategy can outweigh the effect of an unhappy workforce.

At this moment in history, toxic company culture is the one metric that dominates all others around employee attrition – and is ten times more likely to drive people to leave even than levels of compensation (which in itself is still in the top ten reasons people resign). The much-discussed factor of burnout is much less significant than company culture.

Consider this:

One important note, though. Before marketing your brand as a great-culture champion, take an honest look at how your organization fares in this area. Assess how your people, starting with the leaders, cultivate a positive workplace culture. Is leadership living the company’s core values or are they just words on a kitchen poster? 

Here’s what I advise my clients to think about when they’re assessing their company culture.

  • Re-evaluate the currency and resonance of your core values and key messages to make sure they are human-centric.  Are they authentic? Can leadership embody and role model them?
  • Align your core values with what matters most to today’s employees: flexibility, ability to carve out a career path, opportunities for learning and development and consistent, transparent communication. 
  • Streamline core values – the ideal number to have is three, and five should be the absolute maximum. Make them memorable and realistic. For instance, one of my clients has this great set of three core values: Have integrity, Care about the greater good, Get it done (referring to resourcefulness and collaboration).
  • Make certain that your business serves as an altruistic force for good in the community. Research shows that 52% of employees would likely quit their jobs if their company’s values did not align with their own (Blue Beyond Consulting).  

Leaders have to recognize that employees are in the driver’s seat and are in the position to demand accountability—among other things—from them. Companies should see this as an opportunity to dig deep and honestly evaluate who they are and what they believe in as an organization.

How well does your internal brand (the narrative your company tells your people) sit with your employees? How is the story reflected in the day-to-day grind at the workplace? How are the management and other stakeholders living out the company’s values in and outside the office? Answering these all-important questions will help you create meaning and connectedness.

Anthony Klotz, the professor who gave birth to the term “The Great Resignation,” explained that among the reasons why employees are quitting is because they experienced a pandemic epiphany. COVID has profoundly impacted how employees view work and what they want to get out of it and has brought purpose and meaning to the fore in new ways. 

Employees want to feel a greater sense of significance in investing their time and effort. This part is where leaders need to build purpose and transform the company’s core values into impacts. Employees who take pride in what they do are more engaged and productive – and therefore more likely to talk positively about their organization.  

Navigate “The Great Resignation” by giving your employees deeper reasons to brave through the uncertainties of the current times. Take advantage of your one-on-one interactions to help them understand their purpose and how their work matters to their customers, families, the community, the society, the environment, and other sectors outside your office’s walls, be it virtual or physical.  

The days of ‘I’m so lucky to have a job’ are over and it’s now a case of ‘WE are so lucky to have you on our team.’

Introduce Company Pillars every year. These articulate short term goals and allow management to zero in on very specific things such as: mental health; being more eco friendly; cultivating a growth mindset.

Review your company culture to make sure that the mission, core values and key messages align with what today’s talent is seeking: life balance, flexibility (opportunities for at least some work from home time or hybrid work arrangement), the ability to carve out an exciting career path; ongoing opportunities for learning and development; and transparent communication.

Putting your focus on developing a positive company culture doesn’t only lead to happier employees, it also affects the bottom line. Seventy percent of respondents to a survey of over a thousand knowledge workers said that a workplace with a more sustainable culture is better able to grow and innovate, and 71 percent said it affects how engaged employees are with their jobs. By contrast, 49 percent of workers who felt that their work environment was unsustainable said that they were planning to leave within the next year (Clockwise).

But what does all this have to do with your PR strategy?

Your best brand ambassadors are employees (past and present), vendors and customers – they know your company inside and out and they’re perfectly positioned to be brand champions because their words will be taken seriously by external audiences. So they are crucial groups with whom to communicate culture, values and key messages. Why? Because you want them to repeat these things in conversations with others. 

This support has to be heartfelt and authentic – otherwise it will ring hollow. It has to be the expression of people’s lived experience. This whole process is about building trust – between leadership and employees and between your organization and the outside world.

In other words, if you want your present and past employees, board members, vendors and customers to say positive things about your company such as: 

  • Company A is doing some innovative things; they are ahead of the curve because…
  • Our team did some incredible problem solving today
  • It was a great team effort because of X, Y, and Z
  • I appreciate how I am heard at work. I feel as if my manager is really listening to me and giving me constructive feedback
  • I admire how transparent and honest our CEO is with everyone on the team

Then your task is to make sure that management doesn’t merely talk about but actually embodies the culture and core values, so that they are true and authentic and fully experienced by staff, vendors and customers. 

Get this right and you won’t just have an excellent company reputation, you’ll also have an engaged and enthusiastic workforce, happy customers and a strong bottom line. That sounds like a win: win situation.


Julie LivingstonAbout the Author:  Julie Livingston, president, WantLeverage Communications specializes in helping “under the radar” companies and brands break through the clutter to increase their industry authority and public visibility. A three time board member of NY Women in Communications, she devised a reverse mentoring initiative featured on Fox News. She holds an MS in Communications Management from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.  

For more information, visit www.wantleverage.com

 




Working in PR for Metaverse Brands

Will the Metaverse be Meta-Worse - CommentaryMike Paffman, CEO, VIRGO PR

The metaverse is a place where the physical and digital worlds turn into one, and where people can work, socialize, and play in a brand new digital reality. A number of brands, such as Gucci, Meta, Warner Bros, Balenciaga, and more, have already expanded their reach into these virtual spaces through various strategies.

Partnerships

A great way for a number of companies to sustain their PR efforts and connect with the target audience in the metaverse is by creating partnerships with other businesses. However, it’s important to note that to keep the target audiences engaged in a partnership, brands have to create exclusive collections for those partnerships in the digital space. This will solve a lot of the problems of both the virtual and real roles in terms of catering to consumers. 

Reputation management

The metaverse is considered to be a very democratic version of the Internet, and the platform is going to give open access to both brands and users. That means companies have to maintain their reputation all the time in the Metaverse, which can be quite challenging . Companies will have to work with crisis communicators and PR agencies to manage all the different queries, feedback, and virtual criticism they’ll  receive in the new digital space. The metaverse might be similar to social media in terms of reputation management, where companies will need to keep track of all the conversations that people are having about them in order to get ahead of any potentially negative situations that might damage their reputation. 

Employee relations

As the metaverse becomes more popular and widely accepted, there’s bound to be a time in the future when employees start asking their employers to allow them to work from this new digital space. By allowing them to work in the metaverse, companies will have to keep their employees engaged through different engagement opportunities. That means businesses will need to have an in-depth understanding of virtual human resources, digital communications, and the latest technologies and tools within the metaverse. 

Storytelling

One of the biggest and most popular tools that public relations professionals have been using since the conception of PR is storytelling. With the metaverse being a new, less controlled product of the Internet, PR agencies and professionals will need to get a lot more creative. There are going to be plenty of storytelling opportunities regarding the  different ways that PR professionals can execute and create brand new out-of-the-box campaign ideas that weren’t possible in the real world.




Brands and the Metaverse

Mike Paffman, CEO, VIRGO PR

By now, practically everyone has heard about the Metaverse, since it’s not easy to avoid the news. In fact, in the last few months, there have been thousands of articles discussing it, while companies like Facebook, NVIDIA, Epic Games, Unity, and Fortnite have all joined in on the trend. Mark Zuckerberg is also planning the future of Facebook and Meta around the Metaverse, wanting consumers to see his corporation as a Metaverse company instead of a social media one. At the core, the Metaverse is simply a promise by some of the largest companies in the tech industry to take the next step in global connectivity, where large numbers of people can gather together to socialize, work, or play. However, it’s supposed to be different from the regular old internet, because the Metaverse is supposed to bring the digital experience that people have these days into the real world, and vice versa. 

Advanced Data and Analytics

Until now, all of the data that companies could collect from their consumers has been two-dimensional. However, with the introduction of a third dimension, also known as the Z-dimension, companies can also collect information from real-time heat maps from the behavior of their consumers. 

Virtual Stores

Virtual stores and showrooms will allow consumers to take a tour of any facility or space, as well as interact with different objects in them. Those objects range from small tools to industrial machines, and even to the engineering process itself. These stores can be used by customers to visualize and interact with any sort of retail product in 3D, such as apparel, jewelry, cars, and even NFT digital assets. 

Sales Training

Companies can also use the Metaverse for product demos or even sales training. One of the top benefits from this is that the virtual space can just be created once, and then used many times by an organization. A great example of a company that recently did that was Samsung Electronics America, which created an immersive metaverse experience that transports customers into the brand’s flagship store in New York City. Although the store is only open for a limited time, it offers consumers a virtual experience of the Samsung 837 building. 

Customization

With personalization and customization in marketing remaining popular, companies can utilize the Metaverse space to provide unique experiences to their consumers too. Plenty of big brands and corporations have joined in on the NFT space, which provides additional custom experiences to buyers. One of these brands has been Mercedes, which launched an NFT collection in a collaboration with Art2People, as a way to celebrate the brand’s signature vehicle, the G-Class. 

Gamification

Companies can improve their gamification efforts in their PR strategies by creating games that consumers can play in the Metaverse.  This improves the overall Metaverse customer experience. An example of this has been Balenciaga, which released the Fall 2021 collection in the form of a video game, where people could explore the latest apparel collection.


Mike PauffmanAbout the Author: Mike Paffmann is CEO of Virgo PR, a leading PR agency.




Cream Cheese Crisis Becomes An Opportunity For Kraft’s Philadelphia Brand

Seems I’m Not The Only Consumer Who Can’t Live Without Philadelphia Cream Cheese Schmeared By Availability Issues

Cream Cheese Crisis Becomes An Opportunity For Kraft's Philadelphia Brand

 Credit: Kraft Heinz

Tom Madden,  Founder & CEO, TransMedia Group

As a PR and marketing aficionado, I have to salute Kraft Heinz for not letting a cream cheese crisis go to waste.  

I applaud Kraft Heinz for its “Spread the Feeling” campaign as a response to the nationwide schmear shortage caused by a home baking and breakfast boom, then exacerbated by a cyberattack.

Together they sidelined a major ingredient supplier, which made my beloved white blocks an endangered species on empty shelves at my Publix supermarket.

And to make matters worse, the shortage comes during cream cheese’s high selling season, when consumers are busy making cheesecakes (sorry I’m on a diet) and other desserts (ditto) for which cream cheese is a major ingredient. 

Seeing an opportunity to make something out of nothing, my City of Brotherly Love Brand responded with a message of empathy for disappointed shoppers like me and my wife Rita by promising to make things right.  Once I was a news reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer, hardly a cheesy newspaper in that lovable city.   

The good news is the brand will reimburse shoppers up to $20 for buying alternatives to cream-cheese desserts. Here’s the voiceover on the 45-second TV spot from agency GUT’s Miami Office reported by Jon Springer in Ad Age

“Having a hard time finding cream cheese on shelves means having a hard time putting cheesecakes on tables, and we get that . . . so let’s do this. Turn that famous cheesecake into those famous brownies. End your meal with a family fight over the last holiday cupcake. Share some cookies—anything that will make you feel anything in that cheesecake-shaped hole in your holiday heart.”  

The spot goes on to introduce a website, www.spreadthefeeling.com, where consumers can exchange a receipt for an alternative dessert for a limited number of $20 digital gift cards.  

Kraft’s generous offer comes with a potential reward for the brand in the form of rich first-party consumer data. Shoppers’ names—and thanks to the receipts, what they buy.  

According to Ad Age, cream cheese consumption skyrocketed with the onset of the pandemic in 2020, when hunkered down consumers like me ate more meals at home. Kraft Heinz said consumption soared by 18% in 2020 and has remained at elevated levels with the return of demand in the foodservice channel. 

Among the issues facing cream cheese availability in the U.S. was a cyberattack affecting Schreiber Foods, a Wisconsin-based dairy processor (It wasn’t clear if Kraft Heinz and Schreiber do business together). 

The incident sidelined production and distribution in October, and its effects unfortunately have reverberated throughout the food world. 


Thomas MaddenAbout the Author: Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available in January on Amazon.  He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for America’s largest companies and organizations.

 

 




Reputations In Crisis with Mike Paul, The Rep Doc: Top 10 Reputations & Brands In Crisis In 2021 (VIDEO)

Top 10 Reputations & Brands In Crisis In 2021. Each year, The Reputation Doctor® develops a yearly Top 10 list of reputations and brands in crisis seen globally by top news media, decision makers and influencers. After 29 years of developing the list in print, this is the first year, the popular top 10 list is in video form. If you, your organization or an issue make the list, you know its brand and reputation had a very challenging year. Please watch this video and share. This top 10 list is developed and owned by Reputation Doctor® Productions, a division of Reputation Doctor® LLC.

 




Marc Roberts On Building a Community Around a Brand

 

With the evolving expectations in terms of customer experience from brands by consumers, companies have to look into developing deeper and more meaningful relationships with their target audience. Some of the main decision-making factors in the last year that were even more popularized by the pandemic were social justice, inclusion, diversity, and sustainability. Now, consumers are looking for brands that share similar values to their own. 

The most successful companies are able to communicate their values through their decision-making actions as well as through the communities they’ve built up on various social platforms. These days, it’s not enough for consumers to get a great product or service and a seamless transactional experience, as they’re also looking to support purpose-driven companies that share the consumers’ own values. 

To be able to build a rich, effective, and authentic brand community, companies need to have a consumer-centric growth strategy, and should  nurture the emotional connection that consumers have to a brand. One of the biggest driving factors in customer retention is brand loyalty, which can be further boosted by a brand’s community. Aside from all that, companies can benefit from brand communities with user-generated content, customer-driven feedback, product ideas, and improved SEO efforts. 

Mission and Values

The first thing that companies that are trying to build loyal communities around themselves have to do is define their brand’s mission and values. These two elements, along with a brand’s general personality, provide a strong foundation for a brand community, because at the core of the community is going to be the brand itself. That’s why companies have to invest time and effort into making sure that a brand’s values and mission are going to be effectively communicated with the consumers through their buying journey. 

Specific Focus

After a company’s mission and values have been established and well-defined, it should avoid diluting its own brand message by promoting causes that fall outside of the scope of the company’s mission. For example, a company that champions healthy living and constantly promotes eco-friendly efforts and products shouldn’t align itself with values outside of those scopes, such as with initiatives on saving stray animals, as that will detract from the company’s core message. 

Content and Content Hub

Learning more about a company’s consumers will benefit that company in many ways, including learning about the types of content that the customers really enjoy. That information can then be used to create and distribute similar types of content, and encourage the consumers to participate in the content and to create more of their own. Additionally, the content can be shared in a centralized space where all of the members of that communication can convene and share information or experiences. Creating content that’s valuable for the consumers, as well as a space where all of them can find interesting and helpful content that appeals to them emotionally, means those consumers are going to keep coming back to the business.


About the Author: Marc Roberts is a Miami based entrepreneur.




Miami’s Marc Roberts on Ways To Create Newsworthy Content for Brands

How Housewares Brands Stand Out in a Crowded Market

 

When it comes to creating newsworthy content for brands, there are five different elements. Incorporating each one into a story results in any brand being able to create newsworthy content that’s going to get media coverage, whether from local or national outlets. 

Story Impact

The first element of newsworthy pieces of content is the impact the piece is going to have on the lives of the readers, and the reasons they should care about reading it. This element should be incorporated into the piece as early as possible because in today’s fast news cycle, companies need to grab the attention of the audience in the first couple of sentences. 

Timing

Another important element in newsworthy content is how the piece matters to readers currently. Plenty of readers are already familiar with older information, which means there’s no point in including anything that’s old news in a piece. That’s why each piece of content should be timely and relevant to current events or trending topics. 

Topical

Similar to the last point, all newsworthy content is either trendy or topical – it centers around a current trend or topic. For example, once the holiday season rolls around, companies should be creating stories that center around different holidays throughout the season. 

Conflict

Most people enjoy reading stories that have some sort of conflict in them, and watching how those  stories unravel. That means companies that are able to present two different or opposing arguments in a piece are able to create newsworthy content that’s well-rounded and ready for publishing. 

Human Interest

Finally, everyone loves reading stories about other people, which is why social media platforms are so popular:  they feature content and stories from other people – such as when we have been among the first to accept cryptocurrency deposits on real estate.

This is another important element that companies should keep in mind when looking to create newsworthy content that will  receive media coverage and interest from the public. There are plenty of stories from people everywhere, and it’s relatively easy for companies to find a unique human interest story that’s relevant to their target audiences, that they haven’t heard before, and that they will be happy to learn about.


About the Author: Marc Roberts is a Miami based entrepreneur.




Evins Communications Rebrands And Launches Innovative Evins PR+ Paradigm

Evins PR+

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Evins Communications (“Evins”), a distinguished, award-winning marketing communications and public relations firm unveiled Evins PR+, a new business-focused public relations model which is the centerpiece of the Agency’s rebranding and repositioning. Evins PR+ provides a competitive advantage for clients by using insight-driven marketing communications strategies focused on achieving tangible and measurable business goals. Making a consequential impact for clients by transforming market data and intelligence into actionable insights and strategic programming represents  Evins’ vision of the future of public relations.  Evins PR+ encompasses  a full range of integrated services within the Agency’s specialized practice areas: Brand Essence & Content Strategy, Food, Wine & Spirits, Health & Wellness, Luxe Living, and Travel & Hospitality. The announcement was made jointly by Mathew L. Evins, Chairman, and Louise Evins, CEO.

Building on the Agency’s legacy of work with prominent iconic brands as well as industry innovators and disruptive start-ups, Evins PR+ encompasses the Agency’s renowned business acumen with its brand essence and content strategies, to develop relevancy-building, engaging and resonant communications programs that transcend and go far beyond traditional public relations. Highlighted by a dynamic new website and compelling visual assets, Evins PR+ epitomizes the purposeful shift towards bringing the experience and expertise of the Agency together with the personalities and passion of its teams. Redesigned from the ground up, Evins’ new branding features bright, bold imagery reflective of the culture and ideals that the Agency is known for, and the diversity and commitment to positive evolution to which it is committed. Since its founding, Evins has developed and implemented innovative strategies and tactics based upon the philosophy of subliminal seeded organic self-discovery, which is the antitheses of traditional public relations and reflects the many channels of business, communication and influence the Agency leverages for its clients.

“The Evins PR+ rebranding and repositioning champions and more compellingly illustrates our philosophy and the work that we do for our clients, as well as the Agency’s decades of experience, core values and our vision of the future of public relations,” said Mr. Evins.  “Our commitment to evolution, innovation and consequential results has been a mainstay for the last 35 years, but by embracing advances in analytics, culture, psychographics and technology we’ve been able to consistently provide clients with creative and impactful, results driven marketing communications strategies and tactics.”

Accompanying the rebrand and website is the launch of a library of new content, including podcasts, video interviews and thought leadership insights from Evins’ senior management. The Agency’s social media platforms and newsletter have also been redesigned, both in terms of aesthetics and content, to reflect the Evins PR+ branding and positioning. Evins PR+ also encompasses a new approach to measuring and merchandising what the Agency does for its clients in order to better quantify and qualify business consequence and impact. Developed using streamlined metrics, in-depth data and comprehensive analytics, the redefined reporting methodology enumerates and illustrates the correlation between initiative and impact. As a result, the Agency can better demonstrate consequence, efficacy and ROI for its clients, as well as provide in-depth, actionable insights.

Mrs. Evins added, “Over the last 35 years, our clients have come to know and appreciate what we stand for, what we do and what they can expect, which is why we have been able to build long-term client relationships, with an average of more than eight years and with several in excess of 25 years. But as we embark upon the next chapter in our storied legacy, we decided the time had come to put the Agency through the same process we utilize for our clients. We empowered our leadership team and account professionals, as well as brought in the best external specialist partners, to re-envision and redefine our brand and our positioning, our relevance and differentiation. We couldn’t be more excited with the outcome.”

Evins tapped renowned New York City-based creative agency BrandFire to lead the brand redesign and creative process. With a strategic branding pedigree, immense advertising expertise and acclaim for original creative content, BrandFire’s work has contributed to the growth and success of recognizable brands such as David Goggins, Jägermeister, JOAH, ScreenShop and TB12.

For more information, please visit www.evins.com.




A Few Proven But Simple Marketing Tips for Not-Safe-for-Dinner-Table Brands Who Need Help Creating Exposure

Frances Tang, CEO of Awkward Essentials

Marketing a brand that’s “not safe for work” can be a little tricky. When you have to be mindful of the audiences your products are exposed to, you may not get the attention or respect that other brands command. 

Fortunately, you can market your products effectively if you get a little creative. 

Get an In-Depth Understanding of Your Target Audience

The first step of marketing is knowing who you’re marketing to – no matter what your product is. Customer personas are an important part of this and offer a profile of the people that define the segments within your target audience. 

Think of customer personas as semi-fictional archetypes that represent the key components of a big segment of your audience, based on the data you’ve collected from research and analytics. Once you know who you’re talking to, you can create content that resonates with them.

Create a BIG Personality – and Stick with It

Every brand has a unique personality – just like people – that offers something for customers to relate to. Think of these traits as adjectives like innovative, family-oriented, edgy, humorous, or controversial. 

When you have a firm handle on your brand personality, you can make sure your messaging is tailored to that personality and reflects your brand accurately. 

Here are some pointers to creating a brand personality:

  • Know your brand, inside and out. Create a clear set of brand traits and values. 
  • Determine what you want your target audience to feel when they learn about your company and use your messaging to engage those emotions.
  • Think big and bold. Your brand is controversial, so you have an opportunity to use some boldness, playfulness, humor, and edge to get the point across.

Consumers also appreciate openness and authenticity, which comes naturally to NSFW brands. If audience is looking for wit and sass, let it shine.

Embrace Humor

Humor is a great way to break the ice and release the tension with awkward topics. It also makes a brand more relatable, especially if your brand or products are related to topics that most people are uncomfortable talking about.

You’ve already seen this in action with commercials for adult toys or hemorrhoid creams. Most likely, those brands did something to make you laugh and relax a bit.

Humor matters, but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Comedy is suggestive. What’s hilarious to some can be offensive or hurtful to someone else. This is why it’s vital to understand your target audience. 
  • If you have a brick-and-mortar location, you can use humor to make customer visits more fun. Humor can break down awkward barriers and bring people into your store, even if they find it embarrassing. For example, someone may visit the adult bookstore as a “joke,” but if they feel comfortable, they’ll stick around and maybe make return visits.

Get creative with humor in your marketing. Here’s some inspiration:

  • Use self-deprecating humor about yourself or your brand
  • Create shareable content, like memes or infographics, that have humorous content. People like to share funny things, so you’ll get plenty of exposure for your brand. 
  • Create a marketing video that showcases your brand’s comedy.
  • Surprise your customers with unexpected products, like small branded items, when they subscribe or attend events.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ruffle Feathers (You Will!)

NSFW brands are controversial because they don’t, and can’t, appeal to everyone. If you attempt to please everyone, you’re bound to fail. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to embrace the lovers and the haters. This is true of every brand, but controversial brands are more likely to encounter some friction.

With the right marketing, you can attract your ideal customers, even if you make everyone else mad. But no matter what, remember that you can’t make everyone happy and plan for criticism. 

Keep these points in mind:

  • Show sensitivity to the feelings of others, but don’t be a doormat.
  • Use discretion when deciding what content is good for your brand.
  • Include a warning before showing content that may be offensive to some, such as “Parental Advisory” or “NSFW.” Even someone who loves your brand in private may not want it on blast while they’re at work.

You can gauge your audience’s reaction by testing out different content and messaging. 

Test Everything, Again and Again

With any brand, it’s vital to test marketing efforts and use data to refine messaging. Traditional marketing channels may not work for NSFW brands, but you may find plenty of new channels with an audience. For example, OnlyFans is a great place for a controversial brand, but Facebook and Twitter can be restrictive with content.

When testing, think about:

  • How are customers reacting to content? Focus on the successes instead of the failures.
  • How are your competitors reacting? Have they changed their messaging?
  • Are you gaining new customers? Losing customers?
  • Does the marketing cover each stage of the buyer’s journey, from early awareness to customers ready to make a decision?

Testing is a lot of work, but it pays off with your marketing efforts.

Market Your NSFW Brand

Marketing a controversial brand can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. You just have to be a little more creative than the average brand and find new and innovative ways to promote your products. Show your bold, daring, and humorous brand personality and you’re sure to increase your exposure.


About the Author: Frances Tang is the founder/Captain Awkward/CEO of Awkward Essentials, a company that makes products that address the unspoken parts of hygiene. She is also the inventor of the dripstick — an after sex cleanup sponge. Frances Tang never intended to build a company around a post-sex cleanup tool, but the Awkward Essentials founder saw a need — and an opportunity — for an entrepreneur willing to go there. Now, Frances is leading a revolution for female founders, showing that fearlessness is a founder’s most important value.

 




Intrado Digital Media Announces Rebrand to Notified

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Intrado Corporation (“Intrado”), a global leader in technology-enabled services, announced today it is rebranding its Digital Media business to Notified®. The rebrand will provide Digital Media with a unique market identity, representative of its full solution suite.

As the world’s only communications cloud for events, public relations, and investor relations, Intrado Digital Media’s platforms enable organizations of all sizes to engage, influence, and inform their most important audiences – employees, customers, investors, and the media.

Concurrent with the rebranding to Notified, the business’ unique solutions will be renamed Event Cloud, Public Relations (“PR”) Cloud, and Investor Relations (“IR”) Cloud.

  • Notified Event Cloud enables event planners, marketers, and communications professionals to acquire and retain customers through virtual, in person, and hybrid events, conferences, trade shows, town halls, and product launches. Clients can easily connect global audiences with Notified’s highly interactive platform and leverage integrated analytics to maximize ROI. With the recent acquisition of Hubb, Notified offers the most comprehensive end-to-end event technology and related services to power the creation and management of events across in-person and digital channels.
  • Notified PR Cloud enables public relations professionals to reach global audiences, monitor brand sentiment, send press releases via GlobeNewswire®, measure success, and drive earned media. Users are able to navigate the media landscape and tap into real-time analytics from an integrated, intelligent, and easy-to-use platform.
  • Notified IR Cloud enables investor relations professionals to manage communications – earnings calls, regulatory filings, press releases, investor days, and IR websites – to maximize shareholder value from one platform.

“Given the recent acquisition of Hubb and following a year of incredible growth for our organization, it is the perfect time to rebrand Intrado Digital Media to Notified; Notified represents the full spectrum of what we do, and rebranding is another meaningful milestone that will further strengthen our business as we meet the rapidly evolving needs of our customers,” said Ben Chodor, President of Intrado Digital Media.

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Who Says Totalitarian States Are Evil? (Certainly Not The IOC, U.S. Olympic Officials, NBA,and Sports Marketing Brands)

Arthur Solomon 

As SportsBusinessJournal (SBJ) wrote in its October 14-20, 2019, issue, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) China crisis was not the first time an American sports entity had to apologize for comments backing a totalitarian regime’s laws, instead of standing up for American values.

The lede of the article recalled that “Scott Blackmum, then CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said U.S. athletes should ‘comply’ with Russia’s anti-LGBT propaganda law as Team USA prepared for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.” Of course a clarifying statement was issued a few days later. 

The “I didn’t express my self correctly” script was followed by NBA’s Commissioner Adam Silver, after his initial comment expressing remorse for a tweet by Daryl Morey, then the general manager of the Houston Rockets, backing freedom for Hong Kong. Silver  had to “clarify” his statement because of condemnation in the U.S. (Because of negative media and political reaction Silver eventually spoke out strongly about the league’s commitment to freedom of expression, but like a shot that would  win a game after  the buzzer sounds, it was a little too late. As followers of the political situation know, many people are cynical about “walking back” statements, as they should be).

The SBJ article questioned where the line should be drawn between sports figures offering political statements about situations in the U.S. and commenting on foreign matters.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s the wrong question. The question, as I see it, should be: Should international sporting events be given to totalitarian governments providing them with a word-wide propaganda spectacle? 

The next world mega sporting event to be held in a totalitarian country, the Winter Olympics, will be held in Beijing in February 2022, a city controlled by China’s totalitarian national government. The International Olympic Committee, (IOC) the organization that decides where their games will be played, see nothing wrong about that.  But political and human rights protests about the game have been on-going for more than a year, with the crescendo still to come.

For years the IOC’s story line has been that sports can bring people together. The NBA has said the same thing. But the history of international sporting events shows the opposite, despite what the moguls of sports say. 

A few examples:

  • “The 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City were the most politically charged Olympics since the 1936 Games in Berlin. Ten days before the Games were to open, students protesting the Mexican government’s use of funds for the Olympics rather than for social programs were surrounded in the Plaza of Three Cultures by the army and fired upon. More than 200 protesters were killed and over a thousand injured.” (Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica.) 
  • The IOC’s brand of apoliticism is, in fact, deeply political — the IOC needs a walk-in closet for all of its political skeletons. It staged the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin with full awareness about Adolph  Hitler and the Nazis policies and ignored its “Aryans-only” policy within German sports organizations. It allowed an all-white apartheid South African team to compete until it grudgingly banned the country in the 1960s in the face of worldwide pressure. For two decades, the IOC’s president was Juan Antonio Samaranch, an unrepentant functionary for the Franco regime in Spain. The list goes on. (Source: Jules Boykoff, author of “Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics.”)
  • Athletes from Arab countries have refused to compete against Israelis several times without the IOC taking disciplinary action.

    Despite the IOC’s insistence that politics has no place in the Olympics, political boycotts have been a frequent event of the games. Political disputes led to various countries boycotting the games in 1936, 1956, 1965, 1976, 1980, 1984 and1988. And many U.S. politicians and social rights groups asked for the U.S. to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

    As the world knows, the Olympics has always been the source of political controversies because of the IOC’s awarding its games to totalitarian governments, most recently to China and Russia, which uses them as propaganda vehicles.

    It’s not that I’m against having an event like the Olympics that invites athletes from every nation that wants to compete. In fact, I think the Olympics is the most important sports event ever. But having it used as a propaganda tool by undemocratic countries that enslave people and prohibit the freedom of expression troubles me.

    As was evident during the recently concluded Tokyo Olympic Games, even though the IOC says their games are free of politics, countries who are awarded the games or who have athletes participating in them think otherwise.

    Despite Russia being  caught in a state-run doping scandal dating back to the Sochi Winter Olympic games in 2014, the IOC permitted Russian athletes to compete in Tokyo as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) but said it’s athletes could not use identifying markers like a flag or stand on the podium after a victory while the Russian national anthem was being played, saying in fact that Russia isn’t officially competing in Tokyo as a country, but fooling no one as was evident when journalists referred to winning ROC athletes as representing Russia and Russian athletes wore Russia’s national colors, even though they weren’t permitted to have “Russia” on their uniforms. 

    But as William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” because, as reported in the Wall Street Journal on July 25, Russia’s sports minister Oleg Matytsin agreed with the Bard, saying that the uniform “beyond doubt is associated with our country.” 

    “I am sure that all spectators of the (Tokyo) Games will understand that these are representatives of Russia,” Mr. Matytsin said. 

    And now, surprisingly, the Taliban take-over of Afghanistan has become a sports story. The Afghan men’s cricket team’s tour Australia this fall might be cancelled by Australian cricket officials as a protest against the Taliban’s treatment of women. 

    Not everyone feels that way. In the September 14 Wall Street Journal, an essay by Tunku Varadarajan, a Journal contributor, who  is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and at New York University Law School’s Classical Liberal Institute, writes that “Afghan cricketers play for Afghanistan, not for the Taliban. If they are barred from world cricket, the people of Afghanistan will lose their last source of pleasure, their last shred of joy. Let us keep them on the field of play.”

    But if the Afghan cricket teams tours Australia, the distinction between the players and the Taliban government will be minimal, just as teams from Russia, China, and Nazi Germany were and are perceived as representatives of totalitarian regimes.

    It would be great if international sporting events could be separated from politics. Maybe some day a way to do that will be invented. But for the present, international sporting events and politics are entwined.

    As for me, I agree with what Shaquille O’Neal, the former NBA star, who is now an NBA basketball analyst, who unlike other NBAers who kept quiet during the NBA-Hong Kong controversy said,” Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say, ‘That’s not right.’” 

    And I disagree with Mr. Varadarajan’s opinion regarding the Afghan cricket team’s tour of Australia and with NBA star LeBron James, who had a different take than O’Neil regarding the Hong Kong situation, saying “We all talk about this freedom of speech. Yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, and you’re only thinking about yourself. I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically. Emotionally.  Spiritually.” (According to Forbes, James makes $60-million a year from sports marketing sponsors, some Olympic sponsors that “just follow the sport,” even though they are played in anti-American and totalitarian countries.)

    If more athletes would have as much courage as O’Neil and Morey, future Olympic games and other international sporting events would be played in cities where people have the right to protest their government’s actions without fear of reprisals.


    The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and nonsports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.