Body Language: Telling Your Team How You Really Feel

Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D

Do you know that your team is constantly evaluating your emotions through cues in your body language – and that they can do so in a fraction of a second?

At the Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging at the University of Glasgow, researchers found that it takes only 200 miliseconds to read someone’s emotional state from their facial expression. So “putting on a happy face” isn’t only a pleasant thing to do, it sends a powerful signal to those who work with you.

During a major change, for example, your staff will be on high alert – constantly looking to you for clues on how to react. If you look upset or angry, that negativity can spread like a virus throughout the team, affecting attitudes and lowering energy. Conversely, if you come across as energized and positive, you’re likely to make your entire team feel upbeat and optimistic.

Of course, it’s not only facial expressions that send a message. Emotional signals come from other parts of your body – including your feet.

I was in the audience when the Chief Executive Officer of a financial institute was being interviewed, seated at the front of the stage, facing us. One of his staff sat across from him, reading a list of questions that had been submitted by attendees.

As the CEO responded to the first inquiries, he shared his philosophy of “relationship banking” and the importance of employees to the company’s brand. While doing so, his body language was open and relaxed. His posture, facial expressions and hand gestures signaled comfort and confidence.

Then came a series of questions about executive compensation. As the CEO answered these, his body language stayed constant – except for his feet: From a comfortable, loose leg cross, the executive suddenly locked his ankles tightly together, pulled them back under the chair, and began to make tiny kicks with both feet. He then re-crossed his ankles and kicked his feet again. And this behavior continued throughout the entire set of compensation questions.

If all the audience could have seen was the upper half of the executive’s body, we might have been convinced that he was still at ease, but his feet told a different story – one of anxiety and stress.

Another way that leaders show emotion is through their posture. Because the heart, brain, and nervous system are so closely interlocked, your staff can often tell if you are happy or depressed by simply observing how you hold your body. If you are in a great mood, you are most likely walking around with your shoulders back and your head held high, but if disappointed or depressed, your shoulders will begin to round forward and you’ll cave in slightly at the chest.

How you breathe is also telling. Holding our breath is a primitive instinct – a hardwired reaction (the freeze portion of the “flight, fight or freeze” response) when facing a threat. Today, even though threats are more likely to be psychological than physical, any anxiety can cause you to hold your breath or to breathe high in your chest is small, shallow breaths.

Leaning is an unconscious way your body indicates emotion – especially your feelings about various people on the team. Positive attitudes toward those you like and whose opinion you respect tend to be accompanied by leaning forward – especially when sitting down. Leaning backward usually signals feelings of dislike, dismissal, or negativity. It’s another hardwired response from the limbic brain; we subconsciously try to distance ourselves from anything unpleasant or dangerous.

People will also judge the closeness of your relationships by the amount of eye contact you display: the greater the eye contact, the closer the relationship. They’ll notice, too, when you begin to mirror someone’s gestures and facial expressions, because by doing so you send strong signals of liking or admiring that person.

When members of your staff are evaluating whether this is a good time to approach you, they will check to see if you look “open” or “closed.” In the ultimate closed body posture, arms are folded, legs are crossed and the torso or legs are turned away. In open and receptive body postures, legs are uncrossed, and arms are open with palms exposed or resting comfortably on the desk or conference table. If your arms are relaxed at the sides of your body while standing, this is also generally a sign of openness, accessibility, and an overall willingness to interact.

Imagine that you’ve just made an important announcement and your staff wants to know if you really meant what you said. Subconsciously they’ll check your “say-do” alignment. If your body language is congruent with your words, people will believe that what you are feeling is aligned what you’re saying, and you will be perceived as authentic. But if your words say one thing and your body language indicates the opposite, you will be evaluated as uncertain, indecisive, or deceptive.

Your voice also conveys subtle but powerful clues into feelings and meanings. Think, for example, how tone of voice can indicate sarcasm, concern, or confidence. Or how an increase in volume and intensity grabs attention because of the heightened emotion (passion, anger, assertiveness, certainty) it signals.

The effect of vocal prosody (how you say what you say) is so potent that it can make bad news actually sound palatable or, conversely, take all the joy out of a positive message. I’ve seen leaders give unflattering feedback while still exhibiting warm feelings through their tone of voice – and those who were being critiqued felt positively about the overall interaction. I’ve seen other leaders offer words of praise and appreciation in such a flat tone of voice that none of the recipients felt genuinely acknowledged or appreciated.

This is because the limbic brain, where emotions are processed, also plays the primary role in processing vocal cues. Researchers from the University of Geneva in Switzerland discovered that they could tell whether a subject had just heard words spoken in anger, joy, relief, or sadness by observing the pattern of activity in the listener’s brain.

Vocal cues are important in any conversation, but they are most crucial when your communication is limited to an auditory channel — as it is on a phone call, a teleconference, or a podcast.

As a leader, you convey emotions to your team through the content of your messages and your nonverbal communication – but you may be surprised to learn that the latter is more powerful than the former. The Human Dynamics Group in MIT’s Tech Media Lab and the research centers at Xerox found that people are more likely to be influenced not by the spoken word, but by the kinds of signals that you (like most leaders) may overlook – your vocal nuances and your body language.


About the Author: Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is a keynote speaker at business meetings and conferences in 25 countries. Her list of over 300 clients include firms such as Google, LinkedIn, Petroleos de Venezuela, Dairy Farm in Hong Kong, Petrofac in the UAE, SCA Hygiene in Germany, Women’s Leadership Conference, Trinidad. She is a leadership presence coach, the best selling author of twelve books, including “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help or Hurt How You Lead, and the creator of LinkedInLearning”s video course, “Body Language for Leaders.” Carol has served as adjunct faculty at John F. Kennedy University in the International MBA program and at the University of California in the Executive Education Department. She is a current faculty member for the Institute for Management Studies. Contact Carol by email: Carol@CarolKinseyGoman, through her website: CarolKinseyGoman.com, or call 1-510-526-1727.




Resume Rules

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

In today’s world, you should always have a resume ready even if you are not currently looking for a position.  Keeping your resume current allows you to see what you have accomplished each year and it can help prepare you for your annual review and, if something does come up, you don’t have to start from scratch.  With applicant tracking systems, social media sites and a hiring manager’s time, resumes have changed more in the last five years than the ten prior ones.  Customization, easy-to-read keyword specific resumes that can be read on varied screen sizes are essential.   You must remember that a recruiter scans a resume for approximately 6.25 seconds.  Eighty percent of those six seconds is spent looking at your name, current title and company, previous title and company, start and end dates for current and past positions and education.  The remaining time is spent looking for keywords that match the open position. 

Your resume must have:

1.  Just the pertinent information.

2.  It should be tailored to a particular position.

3. Be strategic with the content you include.

4.  Proof, proof and proof.

5.  Make sure it can be read easily.

6.  Include any metrics that you can.

7.  Take out any old, outdated material.

8.  Add specific keywords.

9.  Make sure your contact information is correct and that phone numbers are labelled home, mobile etc.  If you include your LinkedIn URL or online portfolio, check to insure the links work.

10.  Name your file with your name and date.

Your first step is to pick the format best for you.  There are basically four resume styles:

1)  Chronological: The body of this type of resume includes a listing of your work history, beginning with your most recent job. 

Use when:  

  • The length of time on each job can be seen as a strength.  
  • Your work experience is in line with your job objective.
  • Job titles or employers are impressive.
  • You want to highlight career advances.
  • THIS IS THE MOST COMMON RESUME FORMAT

 2)  Functional:  The body of this type of resume highlights your major skill areas.

 Use when:

  •  You want to change fields.
  •  You have the skills but not the work experience.
  • You have acquired skills through unpaid experience.
  • You have had many different work experiences not directly related to the position you are seeking.  (Note: Functional Resumes are not as common as they once were and many hiring managers believe that using a functional resume means you are hiding something.  If you choose this format, be very careful to include all pertinent information and dates.)

3)  Combination:  The body of this type of resume utilizes parts of both the  functional and chronological resumes.

Use when:

  • You have acquired a number of skills while progressing on one or several jobs and you want to highlight specific ones.

4)  Targeted:  A targeted resume focuses on specific abilities and duties that directly  relate to a specific job.

Use when: 

  • This type of resume is prepared specifically for one position and should show your qualifications against the job’s specified qualifications.

The Targeted resume is the most favored right now.   With Applicant Tracking Systems in use, targeting your resume for each and every ad you answer is essential.

A resume should be your personal marketing piece. It should tell enough about you so someone will want to meet you but not enough about you so that you can be eliminated from a search. Everyone has preferences as to resume format.  Make sure that you are comfortable with the one you are using and that it clearly shows all the information.

Don’t try to use a template.  Customize your resume so that your experience shows.  It should be very easy to read and not text-heavy.

Resume Fonts

The typeface you choose for your resume is very important.  Your resume needs to be as clear and concise as possible.  It also must be read on many types of devises from desktops to mobile phones.  Sans-serif typefaces are best for small screens and the easiest to read on all screens.  Make sure your resume is readable as research shows that hiring managers and recruiters only scan resumes for 6-8 seconds.  Typing in sans-serif fonts on your computer will give you a complete list, but here are some of the most common:

  • Arial
  • Arial Narrow
  • Book Antiqua
  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Didot
  • Garamond
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Times New Roman
  • Verdana

Resume Rules - 2018Resume Basics

Remember, it’s  not your autobiography. Your resume is your chance to call attention to you and what you’ve done as it pertains to the open job description. You must be careful to be specific, concise and to the point.  You want the hiring manager to want to learn more about you.  It is not a list of your current and past job descriptions.  It is a list of the things you have done that will get you to the position you want.  Using the right key words will increase your chances of making the first round.  

The most relevant information should be started at the top of every section to get the reader’s attention.

Bullets can set your resume apart and make it easier for a reader to scan.

Remember, headers/footers, graphs, color etc., may not be read on every computer and that resumes with these items may not get through an applicant tracking system (ATS).

Some Job Facts:  You should be getting 5 or 6 first interviews for every 100 targeted resumes you send out.  (Targeted resumes are written with the job description/ad in mind.) If you are not, you might be sending out resumes to every ad you see, whether the job fits or not. Also, have someone review your resume to make sure it’s clear as to what you are looking for and that it doesn’t contain a typo.

You should be getting one second interview for every 8 first interviews. If not, ask yourself whether you need to polish your interviewing skills. Are you coming across as desperate or unsure?

Have you ever been a finalist for more than 8 or 9 positions and not landed a job? If so, try to review what happened. If the companies hired from within, there isn’t anything you could have done. If the company decided not to hire anyone, there isn’t anything you could have done. But to get this far this many times and not have closed the deal suggests that something is wrong. For starters, you might want to review your references. Are you giving them enough information so that they can be helpful? Consider adding new ones to the list. Sometimes, the personality of the reference makes a big difference, too!

What Goes on Your Resume and What Doesn’t

To start the year off, do a basic review of what and what does not go on a resume. It may sound elementary but many resumes don’t follow the rules. If you have been in the workforce and not looking for your first job, here’s what should and should not go on your resume.

What to Put on Your Resume

  • Your name, address, telephone numbers and email address. Identify your phone numbers if you are putting more than one (cell, business, home, message etc.) If you are looking for a job out of town and want to be relocated, put your full address on the top, as usual. If you are looking for a position where you have a residence or a place to stay lined up, leave off your address or use the address at the location.  Also, remember to check the email and voice mail you list regularly.
  • In your description, put the company/agency name with a short explanation of the nature of the organization. Hiring managers might not be familiar with your employer or you may be working in a specific product unit of a large conglomerate.
  • If you are working for an agency, list your clients or expertise within a specific industry.
  • Under education, list the school, degree and dates. You might not want to put your graduation dates fearing ageism will come into play. However, not having any dates makes your resume “suspicious” and can make you look even older than you are.
  • If you are fluent in languages (s) or have knowledge of specific or technical computer programs, do list them.
  • Current Board/Committee memberships can show your interest in your field or in philanthropic areas. These should go on your resume.

What Not to Put on Your Resume 

  • Don’t list any personal information such as birthdays, marital status etc. While this is common practice outside of the U.S., it is not legal here.
  • Keep the names of your references on a separate sheet and give them out when asked. First, you don’t want to give out personal information or put it out online and, secondly, remember that you always want to speak with your references to tell them who will be calling and the nature of the job before they get the call.
  • Salary information does not belong on the resume. If a job ad is asking for salary history, it should go in your cover letter.
  • Don’t include any activities that are not relevant. Long lists of past Boards/Committees or sports that do not pertain to your job search should not be included.
  • Do not include the phrase, “References available on request.” The fact that an applicant has references is taken for granted.

Resume Objective/Summary

One of the most difficult parts of the resume seems to be the Objective or Summary. Here are some tips to help you decide which one to use and what to include.

Use an Objective if you are looking for a specific opportunity or an opportunity within a specific discipline.

Examples:

  •  A senior-level communications position within a global consumer company.
  • Social and digital media specialist position within a healthcare agency.
  • Interested in furthering my career with an agency that focuses on international direct marketing.

Summary paragraphs are better for experienced, multi-disciplined professionals.

Examples:

  • Extensive management experience in integrated marketing, including work with a global consumer products company and a major financial services company.
  • Over 10 years of experience in public relations with a special emphasis directing media relations, social media, crisis and issues management and financial communications.
  • Fifteen years experience in communications. Specialties include investor relations, public policy issues and crisis communications.

When writing your Objective/Summary Statement, remember:

  • It’s ok not to have one.
  • If using an Objective, it should be as specific as possible.
  • The objective of a resume is to find employment so don’t put this in your statement.

Summary statements should be brief and to-the-point. Ideally 2 to 3 sentences. Statements should contain the information you want the reader to see and cover the disciplines/keywords you want to highlight.

Remember to:

  • Eliminate the pronouns.  Resumes should not contain I, he/she.  They are written as if you are the subject.
  • Keep it short.
  • Eliminate buzz words.
  • Sell yourself.  Tailor your summary to the position.
  • Don’t include non-sequitur information.
  • Do not list specifics.
  • Use bullets when possible to make it easier to scan.
  • Avoid jargon.
  • Don’t exaggerate.
  • Do not include personal information.
  • If you feel your resume is too long, eliminate from the bottom.  You don’t really need to explain your first jobs.  So just list the title, company and dates.
  • If you decide to use an Objective or Summary statement, it will set the tone for what you highlight in the Experience Section of your resume. Think it through and be comfortable with it. You are selling yourself to someone who doesn’t know you. What do you want to highlight?

Words Not To Use On Your Resume

Unnecessary words, words that don’t add anything, describe anything or showcase your writing ability should be eliminated from your resume.  Buzz words are no longer accepted in communication resumes.  If you see any of the words below in your resume, delete them.  Ask yourself why they are in your resume and can you support their use.  You want to clear and concise.  Meaningful words only.

  • Extensive experience
  • Innovative
  • Motivated
  • Results-oriented
  • Dynamic
  • Team player
  • Fast-paced
  • Problem solver
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Liaison
  • Business-savvy
  • Interface with
  • Aptitude for
  • Works well with
  • Good communication skills
  • Measureable results
  • Good work ethic
  • Bottom-line oriented

Words To Add To Your Resume

  • Directed
  • Handled
  • Initiated
  • Achieved
  • Spearheaded
  • Maximized
  • Innovated
  • Increased
  • Implemented
  • Generated
  • Exceeded
  • Quantified
  • Negotiated
  • Organized
  • Pioneered
  • Presented
  • Reviewed
  • Strengthened
  • Trained
  • Collaborated

Applicant Tracking Systems

Today, most resumes go through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  When you answer an online ad or submit your resume online, resumes go through an ATS.  All applicant tracking systems work basically the same. They use a ‘parser’ to read the information in your resume.          

The parser will read the information it has been given by the company.  In most cases, this information consists of keywords pulled from the job description used. Unfortunately you don’t know the keywords or the parameters entered into the system. What this means is your resume submission must use the exact terminology in the ad or description or you risk the parser not forwarding your resume.

Yes, you read that correctly. Just because you submitted your resume and received notification that it was accepted, it doesn’t mean it will reach the hiring manager or HR. Unfortunately, unqualified candidates answer job ads so the applicant tracking system helps to sort out qualified resumes.       

It is important that you customize your resume to each job description. Your resume is scored for relevancy. Relevancy is based on the correlating matches between your resume and the job description’s keywords.

You must also read the disclaimers/information on the web site. You need to know how long a company keeps your resume, can you update it and can you apply for different positions or does one resume submission cover other jobs as they become available. This is important because one general resume for a media relations position may not fit the qualifications for a corporate communications position etc. Some companies post a new position and look at the resumes they receive for that position. They don’t go through the database to search for other candidates. You need to know how long it will be on file so you know when to resubmit it.

 If you have submitted a resume online, a recruiter cannot resubmit it.

When submitting your resume online “think keywords.” Computer software programs make matches by keywords. Read the ad, job description and any other materials so you can use the company’s words as your keywords.  If you are an experienced professional, you probably need 20+ keywords in your resume. Always remember to position yourself. If you are going to post your resume online, find the right sites. If you are a senior-level professional, look for sites that only handle your level or area of expertise.

Customizing Your Resume

Tailoring your resume so you get the interview is what you want to do.  You can’t please everyone with one resume.  Each hiring manager/recruiter could be looking for something different.  That’s why it is so important to customize your resume for each job.  It might sound tedious and time-consuming but with a few tips you can get it done easily.

When answering an ad or reviewing a job description:

Hunt for the keywords.  Watch for keywords like external relations, digital marketing etc. and also note how many times they were mentioned.  The more an ad or description mentions a specific keyword, the more important it is and you should make sure to add it more than once.

Look for job skills.  While keywords are usually the disciplines, the job skills will further define responsibilities such as managing, supervising, writing/editing.

Pick the most important keywords and see if you can add an accomplishment to it.

Lastly: Sending Your Resume

Knowing how to name your resume is extremely important.  It’s a digital world when it comes to job hunting.  It doesn’t matter if you are answering an ad online, emailing HR or a recruiter.  Sending your resume with a generic name can cause it to be overlooked or lost in the system.  Be professional and make sure you name it properly.  You want hiring managers to know it’s your resume and make it easier to track through their email system.

Use either a PDF or Microsoft Word Format

Personalize your file by adding your name – MarieRapertoResume.

Remember to be consistent and use the same style for the resume name, cover letter or sample documents.

You can capitalize words, use spaces or dashes.

Don’t use a version number.  You don’t want to give the impression that you keep changing your resume.  You can use your computer to keep track of different versions.

Test all the links included in your resume.

Happy Resume Writing!




A Terrible Violation of Trust

Daniel Keeney, APR

In the 1980s, Don Henley had a big hit with the song, “Dirty Laundry,” which extolled the virtues of tabloid journalism from the perspective of a TV talking head.

I make my living off the evening news

Just give me something-something I can use

People love it when you lose,

They love dirty laundry

This is what crossed my mind as I read the Forbes account of pizza chain mogul John Schnatter’s scandalous use of the N-word. Not because the media reveled in the fiery crash of his image, which they did, but because the name of his former company’s now former ad agency is “Laundry Service.”

The irony meter only slightly jiggled when I heard that – more like coincidence. A firm named Laundry Service was representing a guy whose dirty laundry is out in the open for all to see.

But consider the circumstances of the Papa John’s founder’s immolation, and the irony meter goes off the charts. After all, how did Forbes staffer Noah Kirsch come into possession of a recording of a media training session? Is it possible that Laundry Service leaked John Schnatter’s dirty laundry?

To be fair, nobody has confirmed the source of the recording. Laundry Service refused comment (quite the opposite of what many media trainers would recommend) and our request for an opportunity to speak with Noah Kirsch at Forbes was politely declined. It is conceivable that someone with Papa John’s leaked the recording, since Schnatter was not universally appreciated within the organization. Schnatter himself calls it extortion and blames Laundry Service.

A lot of people (including my wife) would say the source of the revelation really doesn’t matter. There is no excuse for using such a horrible, hurtful word in any context and in any setting.

Does that apply to a training session that is expressly designed to test how people respond to challenging questions about difficult subjects so they can learn to respond sensitively and positively?

Common Fear

I can’t tell you the number of times a media training participant has nervously asked whether the recordings of our mock interviews would be deleted. It always made me laugh as I assured them all evidence of the training would be obliterated – except for their own improved performance.

I won’t laugh anymore. The trust between media trainer and training participant has been broken.

“Back when we shot with VHS, trainees used to take the tapes home with them,” said Jim Lukaszewski, a well-known author and crisis consultant, who calls the Schnatter story a cautionary tale. “People who hire media trainers should make it a condition that the training materials, including the recordings be kept confidential or destroyed following the training. It should be part of the contract.”

Here’s the dirty little (not so) secret about media training: a lot is said that should never be heard beyond the training. People routinely say things that they immediately regret. The questions and the behavior of the mock journalists are intended to poke and prod. If others are involved in the training, the responses might elicit gasps or laughter in the room.

That’s fine – it is supposed to be a safe place.

Media training participants say things that are just plain wrong and they know they are wrong but they don’t know what else to say. They freeze up, unable to cough up a single syllable. They use terms that are outdated and could be considered insensitive. They jumble thoughts together that are unintelligible and make them look ridiculous. And they sometimes use comparisons, analogies or tell stories that are downright offensive, could tarnish their reputation and cause considerable harm to the company they represent.

And you know what I call a media training when any of those things happens? It is a success.

Training Is Where Weaknesses Should be Discovered

Any media training that gets a spokesperson to say something awful is a success because it gives us an opportunity to understand what’s going on. It’s a success because the train wreck didn’t happen in an actual media interview – it was just training and we can fix it.

It’s similar to a pilot in a flight simulator. If they encounter a problem that leads to a catastrophic failure, you work to understand what led to their decisions. Realistic training scenarios are extremely powerful learning tools that are proven to prevent real-life disasters.

In media training, you might discover that a physical thing is a trigger – the spokesperson is made uncomfortable by the proximity of the microphone or the heat of the lights and loses concentration. Sometimes it’s a lack of preparation – the spokesperson is embarrassed that they don’t know the answer so they make something up. Sometimes a question strikes a nerve and the spokesperson gets angry or defensive.

Each is a learning opportunity. They provide the instructor a chance to peel back the onion and understand what makes the spokesperson tick. Where is he or she coming from? What’s in their background that led them to choose those words and phrases?

It’s not about being judgmental. It’s about being real and exploring what’s in the spokesperson’s head. That’s where personal growth can happen.

This is what gets me most upset about the Papa John’s fiasco. In response to a question in a media training session, Schnatter said backlash from his past statements related to the NFL were overblown – especially compared to another fast food chain whose founder (Schnatter claims without evidence) called blacks the N-word. Only Schnatter didn’t say “the N-word,” he said that actual word.

Okay, big personal growth opportunity!

What Should Happen

If I was conducting the media training, I would be tempted to jump on it and declare that the word must be eliminated from his vocabulary. Immediately. Never utter it again. It is radioactive.

However, it’s more important to understand why he used that word in the first place. Demanding that it never be used effectively censors the spokesperson, but it doesn’t achieve any real understanding. It’s hard to imagine that he doesn’t know using the word in an interview would be a horrendous disaster, right? So let’s talk about it. Why go there? How could that seem like a viable route to take?

Through this discussion, we can explore if the word carries any meaning to him – or is it just like any other word? How often does he say it? What does he think the N-word means to African Americans? What does he think people who hear him say the word will feel about him saying it? What is the likely backlash? We would explain the consequences suffered by others who used the word and work through other ways to respond to the question.

Following the training, we would caution Papa John’s of the dangers of allowing Schnatter to speak with media, since any interview would likely touch on matters related to race, due to his NFL statements. We would recommend further sensitivity training and encourage a review of potential needs for a broader deployment of sensitivity training.

These are all positive outcomes of discovering potential weaknesses through media training.

What we would never do is violate the confidentiality of the client. Confidentiality is a staple of our contractual agreements with clients. We would delete the audio and video files of the training as is our standard procedure. Aside from conversations with the client, we would never discuss the training.




When Personalization Backfires

Michael Smart

A while ago, an earnest, hardworking young PR pro asked me repeatedly during a phone consultation “what not to do.”

She already knows not to rely on generic pitches blasted to the same list. So I talked about how you can inadvertently take personalization too far.

When you’re crafting your pitch for your target journalist or blogger, you know it’s a best practice to prove in the first sentence that you’ve researched her and her audience. It’s usually best to keep this focused on her work. I say that because often you might also see something in her Twitter bio or an Instagram post that you could use to make more of a personal connection.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s great to make a personal connection. That’s the ultimate goal of great media relations — just not so soon. So save that thought.

Lead off with the professional reference, e.g.:

I’ve noticed your posts connecting millennials’ job-hunting preferences and big-company recruiting tactics tend to get shared most frequently on social …

And then get right into your pitch that propels that connection forward.

There’s been an evolution in the last few years among the influencers I interview for my Inner Circle (a “Today” show producer, an editor for The Washington Post, and writers for USA Today and The Wall Street Journal). When I show them pitches, they still register appreciation for personalization at the top, but now they get anxious and even frustrated if that personalization “drags on” into a second point of reference. They say, “I want to know what he’s offering here.”

So to recap — first professional personalization, then pitch, then call to action. But what about that great personal tidbit you saw that could open the door to a great connection?

Save it for your P.S.

That’s where you note that you’ve visited her alma mater to see your best friend from high school who also went there. Or your quick take on this season of the Netflix show she tweeted about binge-watching.

Just make sure it’s:

  • Sincere — because relationships only work when founded authentically.
  • Specific — because even if you really do LOVE that show she won’t believe you unless you prove it with some detail.
  • Not stalker-ish — no explanation necessary.

These influencers are so strained by all the pressures of their job that they deserve every effort on our part to make our outreach relevant and accessible on their terms. Helping them do their jobs is what helps us.


Michael Smart teaches PR professionals how to dramatically increase their positive media placements. He’s engaged regularly by organizations like General Motors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Georgia Tech to help their media relations teams reach new levels of success. Want to dive deeper into Michael’s tips for landing more media coverage? Register for his Secrets of Media Masters workshop: https://bit.ly/mrmasters

 




5 Tips to Improve the Quality of Your Content

high quality content tips

91 percent of B2B brands and 86 percent of B2C brands use content as part of their marketing efforts. (Source: Content Marketing Institute 2018) That’s a lot of content being dumped online every day.

Why are these brands so content focused? They know that content powers the customer journey.

Customers search for information when they’re considering purchasing an item, supporting a cause, making a decision, or working with or for a brand. As they progress along the journey they read a lot of content – 114 pieces on average, according to Forrester.

Nothing much has changed in the marketing mix –to gain a customer, donor or supporter you have to raise awareness of your brand and products, engender interest and desire, build trust and affinity, and be considered an authority on that subject.

What has changed is how you do it.

Consumers have access to a wealth of information. And more content is being posted every day. So how do you cut through the “noise” and reach your audience with messaging that stands out?

10X Content
Rand Fishkin coined the term 10X content to describe superior quality content that’s 10 times better than anything else available on that topic. This kind of content definitely rises above the flood of ‘content for content’s sake.’ And it gets the attention of search engines and the media.

The problem with creating excellent content is that it takes time, insight, and skill. You can’t hire just any intern or freelancer and ask them to produce a piece of 10X content.

How to Craft High-Quality Content

1.  Do your homework: Find out what is currently available on your topic, what angles have already been covered, and where you can fill a need or write about a new angle.

There is a ton of content about how bad palm oil production is. This article gives a different perspective and lays out facts not normally known. It shows, with statistics, that the beef industry is the number one cause of deforestation and that sustainable palm oil producers are leading the environmental conservation efforts. And the article was accompanied by an infographic.

palm oil article with statistics

 

2.  Listen to social media conversations about the topic: Look for gaps and areas of high interest.

A mortgage company discovered that young women who were first-time home buyers talked a lot about not understanding the mortgage process. This ties in with the figures from the US Financial Literacy Study. They realized that no-one had addressed this issue with this audience in a way that they could understand. It was an “Aha! moment” that led to an excellent series about first-time home buying and how mortgages and interest rates work.

 

3.  Use research: You can either use data from existing studies or preferably, do an original study on an aspect of your topic that hasn’t been done before.

HerRoom.com, an online lingerie company, tested all the sports bras they sell and made a series of videos of women running in each bra. Initially, this content did not make much of an impact. Research uncovered the fact that damage to unsupported breasts during exercise is, in fact, a medical issue and an expert at a UK University had done in-depth scientific research on the topic.

An interview with her posted on the page as a podcast raised this content from blah to important, and health bloggers and the mainstream media took notice.

 

research in content increases quality

 

4.  Find the differentiating brand story: Weave that story into all your content so it shows how your brand stands out.

Nichols Concrete Cutting is a small, independently-owned company in the San Francisco Bay area. They were very skeptical that there was such a thing as a brand story. After all, they cut holes in walls and structures. No story there, right?

However, talking to the companies that hired them, the one phrase we heard repeated was – “only he could do this, he’s an artist.”

He did the seismic retrofit on the original quad at Stanford Univerity so delicately you’d never know it had been done. He removed a concrete parapet from the balcony of a million-dollar penthouse on Russian Hill in San Francisco that no one else would touch. And there are many more projects like these. That’s his brand story and it certainly got the interest of both trade press and mainstream media.

Stanford quad for quality content

Image by Anna Fox, Flickr.  Creative Commons

5.  Use vibrant, original visuals that enhance and extend the story: A picture is worth a thousand words. So make sure the visuals you choose or create do just that. Don’t slap a stock image on a blog post just because you need an image. Think very carefully about the image you choose. It needs to give the viewer a better sense of the story – give them more insight, or an emotional connection to the story.

At the  City Creek Center Mall in Salt Lake City there is a fountain that combines water and fire. This had not been done before. There were many images of the opening, but a short video of the “Fire Fountain,” shot on a phone and posted immediately after the fountain was first turned on, got a lot of attention. It was picked up and used by sites like The Huffington Post and Gizmodo, resulting in more than 160,000 views.  The standard corporate video of the ribbon cutting and opening day got only 67 views!

Excellent quality content requires planning, skill, and attention to detail. It must be interesting, different, and creative. It’s easy to churn out content day-after-day when it’s mediocre content. But if you truly want to make an impact and get results, find those rare people who can create high-quality content.

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How Financial Leaders Conquer Their Communication

Susan Young, CEO, Get in Front Communications

The words you are using are costing you money.

Business author Donald Miller’s words at a recent conference on leadership, communication and innovation are a wake-up call to executives who struggle with messaging and storytelling.

Communication is forcing leaders—especially those in the financial sector—to reassess their verbal and non-verbal skills.

Are you willing to reach beyond the adage “numbers don’t lie?” Yes, data and statistics are critical to business growth and can bring clarity. Still, too many leaders are failing to get consensus and buy-in from critical stakeholders, influencers, employees and reporters because of weak and confusing:

  • Messaging and branding
  • Analyst interviews
  • Media interviews
  • Business storytelling
  • Interpersonal relationships

Your ability to convey a crisp and compelling message, sound bite, email or report is directly tied to revenue and future opportunities. Today’s attention-starved world demands that leaders fine-tune their wording—and personalities—and deliver messages that truly matter.

[Online Training: How to shine as a credible leader with storytelling that humanizes your brand]

Put simply: Charisma counts. A lot.

I’m hedging bets on leaders who are stepping up to improve their communication styles and engage with people—real human beings.

Here’s the bottom line: If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re educated and motivated. The old stories you’ve been playing on your unrelenting internal soundtrack that you’re an introvert, shy and reserved is not serving you well.

Technology demands that we communicate frequently with our communities and do so with clarity. Like it or not, sound bites rule. The substance can follow, but we must first capture the attention of our fellow humans.

Hiding behind a keyboard thinking the PR team will handle the blog is a recipe for disaster. Your clients, prospects and stakeholders need—and expect you—to step into the spotlight and share your personality.

What’s holding you back from weaving your personality and style so others can get to know you?

In a recent interview I did with marketing expert and author Seth Godin, he said there never was a B2B or B2C model of doing business. Behind every successful company, Godin said, is a human being who decides which vendors to use, when to schedule the company retreat and how to revise an HR policy.

How Financial Leaders Conquer Their Communication

Connecting with Emotions

Consider these two examples of organizations that are willing to be vulnerable and “get real” with the public.

  1. A TV commercial from electronics giant Samsung introducing its new QLED technology doesn’t focus on the details but rather the story of a young girl playing soccer against her father’s wishes. The Drum, an online newsletter for marketing and creative professionals, says Samsung is focusing on the emotional bonds that technology can facilitate. A company executive said: “We had to align with brand promise of delivering outstanding viewing experience. The simplicity of the thought has been crafted into a beautiful story making it heartwarming content.”

How Financial Leaders Conquer Their Communication

(Image via)

  1. An online campaign aimed at breaking down stigma’s around mental illness and communication is powerful. A two-minute video on “The Campaign to End Loneliness” or CTEL shows curious children striking up conversations with fellow patrons sitting alone in a coffee shop. The segment highlights what most of us understand cognitively: phones and devices pull us away from heartwarming real-life communication. When we fail to be fully present, our communication—and humanity—suffer. com reminds us to “celebrate the things we share” and bring people together.

How Financial Leaders Conquer Their Communication

(Image via)

These examples get to the heart of the matter: The emotions that bond and connect us as human beings are an integral part of all of our communication, including business.

As Godin said: “Today’s the best day to be a human.”

Take the summer to continue your professional and personal development with a focus on communication.

It will pay remarkable dividends.


About the Author: Susan Young is an award-winning PR entrepreneur, storyteller and speaker. Her company, Get in Front Communications, Inc., helps professionals craft stories and introductions that increase visibility and grow business. Susan is one of the ‘Top 75 Badass Women on Twitter.’  

INTRODUCING OUR NEW ONLINE VIDEO TRAINING COURSE: “Powerful Communication Strategies for Financial Leaders” IMAGINE you have that “special charm and style.” You move through analyst and news interviews with confidence — and just the right body language—making it look easy and enjoyable….all while telling your brand’s story and staying on message.   




Spokesperson Secrets to Build your Brand; Sheri Sword, Danielle Holly and Don Bush.

Spokesperson Secrets to Build your Brand, celebrates the inaugural SPOKEies® Award winners. You’ll learn how these honorees created exposure via social media, educated their public without selling, and how they created strong spokespeople.

Featuring: Sheri Sword, Vice President of Communications and SPOKEies® Award winner in the Non-Profit Membership Association category, from Danielle Holly, CEO at Common Impact the  SPOKEies® winner in the C-Suite Leader Non-Profit Association category, and Don Bush, Vice President of Marketing at Kount, the Honorable Mention in the Corporate Financial Services category.

 

D S Simon Media:

Get your leaders on television, reach large audiences through social media, create awareness for campaigns and initiatives and win the competition for attention at trade shows. D S Simon Media’s services include satellite media tours, video for news, live broadcast events and Social Media Live™.

 

Transcript:

DOUG: Welcome to Spokesperson’s Secrets to Build Your Brand. I’m Doug Simon and joining me for this panel are first Sheri Sword who is Vice President of Communications at the Better Business Bureau at Dayton and Miami Valley. And Sheri is the SPOKEies® Award winner in the Non-Profit Membership Association category. Sheri do you have a top tip to share to get us started?

SHERI: I think my top tips would be, be prepared. You have to be the expert. And so that means know what you’re going to say, know what sound bite you want to get across. It means practice practice practice, practice your body language, practice what you’re going to say, make sure what comes out of your head is actually coming out of your mouth and not all jumbled. So really be prepared.

DOUG: Awesome, seems like you were prepared for that question. Now we’ll turn to Danielle Holly. She’s one of the eight C-Suite executives joining us today. She’s CEO at Common impact and SPOKEies® winner in the C Suite leader Non-Profit Association category. Danielle thanks so much for joining us. What’s your top tip?

DANIELLE: I would say I’m less prepared than you, Sheri and I would say: talk about the moment that you became a believer in whatever your spokesperson about, particularly if you were converted. Right? If you were a skeptic and then became a believer. It helps your authenticity and gets people excited about what you’re selling.

DOUG: Awesome that’s great advice. Now there’s no limit to the technology that will employ here. So, joining us by telephone is Don Bush he’s Vice President of Marketing at Kount and was awarded Honorable Mention in the Corporate Financial Services category. Hey, Don what do you have for us and thanks for joining us.

DON: Thanks Doug. You know we’ve heard about practice but I would say start small. You know we have to communicate with other departments throughout our company all the time and start with them. Internally people will tell you more easily than external people where you’ve got problems, where you did something wrong, where you need to improve and then work into something next like you know moderate webinars. Something where you’re still talking to lots of people put it to the very controlled environment, and then go to the big time where you are on stage whether it’s at a corporate a or something like that. So kind of start small and work your way up, so your material is practiced your delivery is practiced and you’re ready for that stage.

DOUG: That makes a lot of sense and that’s something we’ve experienced a lot of clients prospects will come to us say we want to be in the Wall Street Journal. We want to be on CNBC and like oh well where have they been? Well nowhere. So, it’s very difficult to start at that level. Now earlier Carolina mentioned that we want the audience participating in that discussion. So, we’ll start with our first polling question, where we ask you the audience to weigh in and get feedback from the experts. So, here’s the question, if we can put that up through the CommPRO.Biz portal: Please rate your level of success generating exposure with an in-house spokesperson and choose one of the answers. 1)Have you been extremely successful 2) Somewhat successful. 3)Has it been a challenge. 4)We’ve not yet worked with an in-house spokesperson and for those of you watching on your screen if you’re not part of ComPRO, you can just tweet at us at the SPOKEies® hash tag with question number one and the answer. If you are watching through CommPro you can just click the answer on the screen. We’ll be leaving the polls open for about 15 seconds more. And we also look forward to receiving your questions through that portal or via Twitter. Again, using the SPOKEies hashtag. So, Sheri let’s start with you what do you tell us a little bit about the campaign itself?

SHERI: The campaign itself involved our marketplace sites video and so what we wanted to do is we wanted to engage people more on social media and get to them to watch our videos. And so what we did is, we went through and did short one minute, one minute and a half videos featuring local business leaders the local influencers sharing those business tips. So, we went through and we did that. It was actually very successful. We had over the course of the year 25 percent of the videos that were watched on our social media were the marketplace insights videos. We were able to do it at very, very little cost actually none-except for staff time. So that was a plus for us. We were able to create some great exposure for our accredited businesses and our accredited charities. So that was a win and the other thing was- is that it promoted ethics which was the whole mission of the Better Business Bureau, and it featured those business leaders sharing best practices; helping others become the best that they can be.

DOUG: Great so you in effect created a platform and a forum for those that were doing good things to get their message out and really engage with the community.

SHERI: Absolutely letting them shine in at the same time providing a great resource for our constituents. Great and Danielle? What was your take in terms of some of your ongoing efforts. Maybe you can share a little bit about the mission of your organization is so powerful.

DANIELLE: Sure. Our campaign is essentially our mission which is to connect the professionals from companies to pro-bono nonprofit consulting gigs. Building the capacity of nonprofits and so what we’re doing is we’re essentially trying to create spokespeople out of everyone that engages in our programs and particularly with corporate professionals trying to connect them to the meaning that drives them. And so our campaign is and every single one of our staff members has to be a spokesperson for us. Our campaign is to get those corporate professionals to think about themselves outside of their specific roles and sectors and think about what drives them and what they’re passionate about so they can bring that back to their desks at their offices but also that they can contribute that in a meaningful way to nonprofits.

DOUG: Great. And let’s bring Don into the conversation and feel free to jump on each other especially interrupt me, above all else. So, Don take us through some of the goals and efforts of your campaign where and how you were able to achieve them.

DON: Sure. In our field were pretty technical type product and we worked in the financial industry. And so the products that we present have to appeal to a CFO a CIO and other managers throughout the line of business and so it’s very technical. So, we took the approach of thought leadership in education and so our spokes folks really need to educate without overtly selling, everybody knows what company we’re from. So, they obviously you know we’ve got something that we’d like to sell them, but that education will turn you into a consultative type company with experts at the top and less of a selling pushy organization. So that was our goal is to come across for leadership you can you can trust us you can ask us questions and we’ll give you what you need.

DOUG: Great. And we’ve already got the results back from the survey, about 60 percent of the group felt they’ve had success getting exposure for their in-house people. While 40 percent of them are struggling with it as a challenge. You’ve shared some tips I’ll throw this open generally to the panel and let one of you dive in. What are some of the tactics to overcome the struggles, in terms of planning preparation getting your in-house spokesperson ready? Danielle do you want to take a jump at that as we get started? What are some of the things to think about?

DANIELLE: Well I think this is answering your question, but one of the things that I’ve thought about as I resource and identify spokespeople is that there are folks that have skills on paper that make them good spokespeople and then there are folks that just have the energy and excitement about what they’re talking about. And so, figuring that out as you go along and really identifying and directing those energies appropriately is one of the things that I’ve learned in terms of creating strong spokespeople.

DON: Doug this is Don, I’ll jump in here. I couldn’t agree more. You’ve got to find the right space because really this is a face to your company at whatever event or campaign you’re running. And sometimes it’s not the CEO. Sometimes it’s a really good product manager that can speak well that can take questions on the fly. That doesn’t get flustered easily. They have a really good background on the industry and the technical nature of the product. So really looking for that person that can bring the energy and bring the face of your organization to the public is really what we would look for.

SHERI: Part of it is we want to be that resource for the media. So, it’s being sure that we’re available when they need us if we’re out, and about then we’ll meet them in a restaurant parking lot, to do those interviews. We did that two weeks ago or you know we’ll go to the station and instead of them coming to us, we’re flexible. If we don’t have the answers we’re not the source for that interview, we refer them to the right source. So, they really look to us as a go to, to do those interviews. In fact I’ve had a couple of reporters joke around saying that we’ve had more airtime than their own reporters. So I mean –

DOUG: Were they happy about that?

SHERI: Not so much. But you know we really do try to be that go-to resource for them and make life easy for them.

DON: I just want to quickly add, I think that’s a really good point. Throughout your organization, you can have different spokespeople on different topics. Is this disaster recovery, is this technical consumer, is this, you know, what is the topic and let’s put that right spokesperson there. Sometimes having your customers can be the best spokesperson for you and having some of those references available are, also really really powerful.

DOUG: And that works both B2C and B2B marketplace as well. So, Sheri this is a question that came up for you, was asked by Dick Napinski about measuring success of your campaign. How do you do it, is it additional membership, viewing stats, recognition of ethics, and their use or another method. And I think we can then let the rest of the panel jump in on measuring success.

SHERI: I think it depends on what you’re working on for instance with the marketplace insights. We had some measurable objectives when we set up the plan. So, in that case we wanted to see an increase in engagement and see the numbers of viewership go up. It is setting that how many constituents you want to be involved in it. So we wanted 80 percent of our accredited businesses & accredited charities to be featured ended up being 100 percent of them. We wanted to do it at no cost so that was another measurement for us and we were able to do that. We didn’t have any expenses. So I think it really just depends on what the program is and what you’re trying to accomplish. But it has to be measurable for you to be able to know that you succeeded.

DOUG: And to your point it sounds like you know what Don was saying, where you have to be particular about which spokesperson is representing each issue. You have to have specific goals for each effort and campaign and make sure that’s all in a line. Danielle it looked like you were ready to jump in there.

DANIELLE: So you know there are the measurement of marketing activities right, and now with social media channels and digital channels that becomes easier to see how people are engaging in and how much. For us, as Don shared earlier, our work is about education and thought-leadership and so inbound requests for information, additional education, partnership is how we really use our success metric.

DOUG: Cool and they’re telling me that we have another question let’s see if I’m looking at that. I see that same question it just seems to be the same ones I’m not going to ask you the same question again given the nature of this that we’re celebrating the honorees for the first ever SPOKEies® awards. Maybe I can get your take on both you know the feeling of recognition and also the importance of recognize those who are working inside organizations creating trust and authenticity with their key publics.

SHERI: It was a great honor to be recognized as a SPOKEies®. It was a surprise to me and my co-workers nominated me so that made it even more special. So, it was a great honor and I think that it only inspires us to continue to do better and to help wherever we can help others.

DANIELLE: I’d say exactly the same thing. It’s an honor and it provides a platform to talk about our work which I really appreciate.

DON: Sure. And you never put together campaigns or activities because you’re looking for awards, but it is always nice to be recognized for the quality of your work, the impact that you have. So we were pretty pleased to see that happen of the entire team here was pretty surprised, of course but honored just the same. It’s always great to be recognized by peers and folks in the industry.

DOUG: Also and as you know the viewers can tell this is just the start of it that we really have some top notch talent and successful, not only communicators but people who are actually living and breathing the work and making it happen which makes such a difference. We’re going to be moving on to our next panel shortly. I know it’s been quick but I’ll give you time for just a final wrap up thought advice you’ve got for people to take away to those watching what can they do. Put in place starting now to make their organizations better.

SHERI: You know I think it is just prepare; don’t go anything willy nilly. You need to go through and you need to do your research, when you’re being a spokesperson. So, you are talking at the Aspers is practicing if you’re putting together a campaign go through and do focus groups do whatever it is in that regard. You want to set those measurable objectives when you’re doing a story that you’re getting the points across that you want to get across and impacting your organization the way you want it to impact your organization and then evaluate to see how you do that the next time you learn from it and can only continue to do better.

DANIELLE: When you’re thinking about yourself as a spokesperson or you’re trying to cultivate that, and others think about what connects you to what you’re talking about and the topic issue product that you want to engage others in because there won’t always be time to prepare. Right. You want to be able to go off script and so understanding really what’s meaningful about it to you and your story is something that can ground to you in those situations.

DOUG: And that really ties in well to the mission of your organization. Because it’s about people leveraging their own skill sets that they’ve developed professionally for the benefit of organizations they care about. Which is really just a cool link and that applies across the board for this. And Don we’re going to let you wrap it up now with your final takeaway suggestion.

DON: I think you can’t force that people into this role. Title doesn’t really mean experience in doing this. And so find those people that do put on that good face, that can work on their feet, do have good experience because they really are for good or for bad they’re going to represent your company. It doesn’t matter if they’re a manager or a C-level. If they do it well that’s who you want to be the face and that’s who you want to get out front.

DOUG: Well it’s clear that you guys are all deserving award winners. I also want to give a special thanks because through Social Media LIVE™ a number of you are reaching out to the members of your organization. To your Facebook platform Sheri at Dayton BBB. Danielle through your Facebook at Common Impact1. One we don’t know what happened at Common Impact, We’ll investigate that. Your witter is at common impact. So that was really cool, we hope those people will stay on and stay tuned in because there’s a lot of great stuff to come.




W Magazine: Putting The Magic Back In Magazines

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Stefano Tonchi, Editor In Chief, W Magazine

W Magazine - Putting The Magic Back In Magazines“I think for the generation before our parents, receiving magazines was a joy. People could not wait to get it, to have it, to read it; to own it.” Stefano Tonchi…

“There was joy because it was their way of knowing what was going on. And it was this fantastic, magic object. So, let’s put back the magic in magazines.” Stefano Tonchi…

“Digital is not everything. Digital is not going to kill or be a substitute for magazines. But magazines have to find a different way to be perceived and distributed.” Stefano Tonchi…

There is no denying that W magazine is a magical thing. The photography is brilliant and the typography and oversized format draws it into that world of collectibles as easily as a Fabergé egg would entice a collector of Romanov family history. But with the latest redesign and new presentation efforts propelled forward by the magazine’s editor in chief, Stefano Tonchi, the publication has become fine art, with each issue its own unique thematic piece.

I spoke with Stefano recently for a charming conversation about all of the changes that have been implemented at W to give the magazine an even more “keep it forever” flavor. Stefano is a man as passionate about his brand as anyone I have ever talked to. From the collector’s box that was designed to hold all of 2018’s issues, to the iconic broadsheet print format that he resurrected for special moments throughout the year, such as the “Best Performances” edition that was distributed during Golden Globes week, W magazine is on the cutting edge of what print today needs to be to stay innovative, relevant and addictive in this digital age we live in.

And as Stefano said himself, “Digital is not everything. Digital is not going to kill or be a substitute for magazines. But magazines have to find a different way to be perceived and distributed.”

Mr. Magazine™ couldn’t have said it better himself.

And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Stefano Tonchi, editor in chief, W magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

W Magazine - Putting The Magic Back In Magazines - The Editor

Stefano Tonchi
Editor In Chief
W Magazine

On how W is making print printier: For print, we said let’s slow down and really go deeply into the idea of collectible. Making print collectible. So, we got a better paper stock, we went to 150 grams, which is quite an investment. And we changed the cover stock, I added this glossy finishing for the logo and part of the covers. And we redesigned the magazine completely, so you saw the two issues; they’re really like thematic. We call them volumes because we don’t want to be tied to the article calendar, because there is no reason anymore for that. I felt that when you do print, you don’t need any more to be monthly or bimonthly, or whatever is the frequency, you have to be out when you have an interesting point of view. And also you need an interesting size, because you don’t want to see this magazine as like a little pamphlet. (Laughs) It’s kind of like motivating the audience. You want something that is substantial. So, we went to this new schedule of eight volumes, so we’re trying, as I said, to act instead of react, so I didn’t look at it as a reduction in the frequency, but really as a change of strategy.

On commissioning a collector’s box for the volumes: The idea was finding out how we could make people understand that they should keep the magazine and collect it. So, we decided we should create a box, and every year we would create a different box with a different artist.

On the collector’s box being sold out: We only created so many in quantity and they went very fast. You know, I think print has not changed in so long that we really need to rethink print. What is a print product? What should it look like? And how do we deliver it to people? If we declare that we’re a premium, luxury product; it has to look like a luxury product. It has to be on nice paper, wrapped and presented in a certain way.

On W’s three D philosophy: discovery, diversity and disruption:Discovery is part of the DNA of the brand. We keep discovering new talent; we put the best and most talented people on our covers and give them their first exposure. Greta Gerwig was one of our first covers and she was so thankful that she collaborated with us doing the kind of movie-stills project we did. And diversity, again, that is something that we have pursued. Something W was doing even before my time here. I think I added maybe some layers to it. And also diversity has become such an important part of today’s conversation.

On a luxury product such as W magazine having diversity as one of its cornerstones: I think it’s a responsibility. You said luxury; I think luxury products more and more need to have an added value. You buy something because it means something, it’s not just an object. You’re buying also what that company stands for. And because your customers are educated, they do understand that. They like, say buying from a company that is behind a museum or a political statement or will spend that kind of money in promoting causes. It becomes part of really the idea of luxury, that sense of responsibility.

On the third D – disruption: Disruption is doing things like the collector’s box, the print; changing the frequency completely or the ideal frequency, I would call that disruption. (Laughs) And to kind of surprise and be very unconventional. Look at the way we’ve been treating the movie industry in our Golden Globe coverage. Last year, we had two women kissing, two guys embracing; we created all of these ideas of couples and it was all about embracing diversity, and they were more than just pretty pictures. There was always a bit of an agenda or some kind of disruption in celebrity photography or celebrity coverage, in a certain way I think.

On bringing back the broadsheet to W magazine:That was another idea, to go against the current, to take something that is so old and kind of forgotten and say the broadsheet, that’s how the magazine was how W actually started. Between 1971 and 1992, it was just a broadsheet, a supplement to WWD, the lifestyle premium of WWD. So, we felt like again, let’s do something that’s totally different and goes against the current. People are doing so much digital that we said let’s take this content and print it on a broadsheet, the oldest thing possible.

On whether all of the changes have been a walk in a rose garden for W: I think we are living in a very difficult time of transition. All publishing companies are suffering so much. And for some, change has come very fast and late. But I think everybody is going through what people used to call “growing pains,” but are now “changing pains,” because we know we need to change, but nobody knows exactly how.

On whether this is the best of times for him: This has been an interesting New Year, because I’m very proud of what W is now. When I arrived six years ago, maybe there were too many people and too much waste, but today we are really small, and it’s nice to work with a small group of people who really feel and love the product. I think we all feel like we love doing the W that we’re putting out. We’re proud of it and we feel like it is what we want it to be. We feel very lucky that we can put out a magazine that still represents our vision.

On anything he’d like to add: What I wish is that we will be able to really find a new way to distribute print magazines. I think we need to, altogether as an industry, understand that the world has changed, there are no more newsstands; a lot of the things cannot be measured the way that they used to be. At the same time, digital is not everything. Digital is not going to kill or be a substitute for magazines. But magazines have to find a different way to be perceived and distributed.

On what keeps him up at night: I sleep very good. I have had some difficult moments, because business is not easy, but I’m not worried about how to do the magazine; I’m more concerned with what to put in the magazine. How to find this new way to present the idea of magazines? I think it’s more of what is a magazine today; that’s the question we have to answer.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Stefano Tonchi, editor in chief, W magazine.

Samir Husni: First of all, congratulations on winning an Ellie award.

Stefano Tonchi: Thank you, that was a nice surprise.

Samir Husni: You and I have talked in the past about how W magazine is making print “printier.”

Stefano Tonchi: Yes, and what we talked about one year ago is what we are delivering. Last summer, I really thought a lot about how to make things happen, and the company really wanted a specific plan. And the plan became to act and not just react. So, with digital, we have to be faster, and we went with social first, and we’re doing so much with our Instagram. Instagram is really the language that W uses the most, because out of all the social media it is the one that’s most visual. And we’re a visual magazine and I think about Instagram as sort of our daily magazine.

We just put out something that’s very fun that I would love for you to look at; it’s like a horoscope. There are 12 of them, but very sophisticated. It’s a way to show fashion and beauty in a different way for a generation who gets their magazines basically straight from the phone.

We’re also launching something new called “Instazine” that is almost like an extension of Instagram stories, so it’s more about storytelling; more like creating content from the images, because what I find very shortcoming and frustrating, coming from print and making magazines, is that on digital you use and you leave images without the content around them. There is very little storytelling in a certain way. And that’s what we do with magazines, we tell stories and we put a story next to another story and that’s how you build your identity as a publication. A lot of what is on digital gets used as a single item and sometimes you don’t even know where it comes from or who paid for it.

So, with digital, it’s fast, fast, fast. And for print, we said let’s slow down and really go deeply into the idea of collectible. Making print collectible. So, we got a better paper stock, we went to 150 grams, which is quite an investment. And we changed the cover stock, I added this glossy finishing for the logo and part of the covers.

And we redesigned the magazine completely, so you saw the two issues; they’re really like thematic. We call them volumes because we don’t want to be tied to the article calendar, because there is no reason anymore for that. We are all kind of daily magazines, through Instagram, through the social media and the website. You are producing news every day. That’s what I think every magazine brand is today, a daily.

So, I felt that when you do print, you don’t need any more to be monthly or bimonthly, or whatever is the frequency, you have to be out when you have an interesting point of view. And also you need an interesting size, because you don’t want to see this magazine as like a little pamphlet. (Laughs) It’s kind of like motivating the audience. You want something that is substantial. So, we went to this new schedule of eight volumes, so we’re trying, as I said, to act instead of react, so I didn’t look at it as a reduction in the frequency, but really as a change of strategy.

Samir Husni: And you believe in this strategy so much that you’ve commissioned a collector’s box.

Stefano Tonchi: Yes, because the idea was finding out how we could make people understand that they should keep the magazine and collect it. So, we decided we should create a box, and every year we would create a different box with a different artist. The first person who came to mind was Barbara Kruger and she didn’t have time then, but she will do it later, because I love Barbara. She did my first cover here at W, one of the first covers, the one with Kim Kardashian; the all about “me” cover, before the selfie. She was ahead of the times.

So, when Barbara couldn’t do it, we asked Ugo Rondinone and he did this beautiful box, and we’re trying to make the same eight stripes of his target painting.

Samir Husni: But the box is sold out, I understand.

Stefano Tonchi: Yes, because we only created so many in quantity and they went very fast. You know, I think print has not changed in so long that we really need to rethink print. What is a print product? What should it look like? And how do we deliver it to people? If we declare that we’re a premium, luxury product; it has to look like a luxury product. It has to be on nice paper, wrapped and presented in a certain way.

What would you think if you got home and on your doorstep there was this skinny, cheap-papered, in a plastic bag magazine? How could you call that a luxury product? I think magazines should become more expensive when you want them and also be delivered the way they do with the Net-A-Porter product. I think for the generation before our parents, receiving magazines was a joy. People could not wait to get it, to have it, to read it; to own it.

Samir Husni: You’ve built your entire W philosophy now around the three D’s: discovery, diversity and disruption.

Stefano Tonchi: Exactly.

W Magazine - Putting The Magic Back In Magazines Samir Husni: Can we talk about those three D’s?

Stefano Tonchi: Sure. Discovery is part of the DNA of the brand. We keep discovering new talent; we put the best and most talented people on our covers and give them their first exposure. Greta Gerwig was one of our first covers and she was so thankful that she collaborated with us doing the kind of movie-stills project we did.

We also discover talented photographers. We have an issue, Volume Three, that is, basically, cover to cover, all about discovery. A lot of new photographers; Ethan James Green, we were the first time that he shot covers, he did a man and a woman for the cover, just a lot of new people. And really discovering stories, that’s part of what we do.

And I’m lucky enough that the magazine can take many more risks than other publications, because it is our audience who expects to be surprised somehow. And they can deal with surprises; they come to W for discoveries. I think if you’re more of a mainstream publication, it’s more difficult.

And diversity, again, that is something that we have pursued. Something W was doing even before my time here. I think I added maybe some layers to it. And also diversity has become such an important part of today’s conversation. And the next issue, Volume Three, it’s all about it, because it’s our dual-gender issue. This year in particular, it’s all about life gender fluidity and bringing this new idea of gender without stereotypes to the forefront, that’s what it is. It’s not even about sexual orientation; it’s really about taking down stereotypes.

Samir Husni: When people hear the word luxury, it’s rare that the word diversity comes next. It’s intriguing enough that a luxury magazine such as W has diversity as one of its cornerstones.

Stefano Tonchi: I think it’s a responsibility. You said luxury; I think luxury products more and more need to have an added value. You buy something because it means something, it’s not just an object. You’re buying also what that company stands for. And because your customers are educated, they do understand that. They like, say buying from a company that is behind a museum or a political statement or will spend that kind of money in promoting causes. It becomes part of really the idea of luxury, that sense of responsibility.

And the customers look for that and they notice it. When you’re there and you’re trying to decide whether to buy this bag or that bag and both are luxury products, I think people take into consideration whether the company is actively responsible or not, or goes along with their principals about a subject, such as sustainability. Or their principals on gender equality or the company has been investing so much in women’s rights. Or the company is behind great artistic commitments, in terms of what they’re associated with. So, then what you buy is associated with those causes. With a magazine, you kind of have to take a position, because your readers want to associate with the causes that you’re behind.

Samir Husni: And you’re third D, disruption?

Stefano Tonchi: Disruption is doing things like the collector’s box, the print; changing the frequency completely or the ideal frequency, I would call that disruption. (Laughs) And to kind of surprise and be very unconventional. Look at the way we’ve been treating the movie industry in our Golden Globe coverage. Last year, we had two women kissing, two guys embracing; we created all of these ideas of couples and it was all about embracing diversity, and they were more than just pretty pictures. There was always a bit of an agenda or some kind of disruption in celebrity photography or celebrity coverage, in a certain way I think.

When you call in some film director to work with, to create some fashion portfolios, it’s innovation; it is rapture, I think. When you ask an artist to do a cover or to collaborate with a celebrity to make something special. To me, that’s disruption, because it breaks the way things have been done so far.

Samir Husni: Also, part of that disruption, this year at the Golden Globes, you brought back the broadsheet W.

Stefano Tonchi: That was another idea, to go against the current, to take something that is so old and kind of forgotten and say the broadsheet, that’s how the magazine was how W actually started. Between 1971 and 1992, it was just a broadsheet, a supplement to WWD, the lifestyle premium of WWD. So, we felt like again, let’s do something that’s totally different and goes against the current. People are doing so much digital that we said let’s take this content and print it on a broadsheet, the oldest thing possible.

Samir Husni: Has all of this been a walk in a rose garden for you? Everything you’re telling me, I can tell you are very passionate about.

Stefano Tonchi: I think we are living in a very difficult time of transition. All publishing companies are suffering so much. And for some, change has come very fast and late. But I think everybody is going through what people used to call “growing pains,” but are now “changing pains,” because we know we need to change, but nobody knows exactly how.

I have gotten a lot of support from the executives here at Condé Nast, like Bob (Sauerberg), and Anna (Wintour) have been very supportive. I think they were very impressed because we try and deliver what we talk about. We deliver it financially, that’s important, but we also deliver it as a product. Each issue should have some reason to be collected, every issue so far has its own specific graphic and photography identity, and there’s a common idea that runs through the issue. So, they’re unique products in that sense. And that’s what makes them collectible.

The first issue was about the movie industry in a certain way and about fashion. And there was also this idea of handcraft, all of the typography in the well was handwritten. So, there was this real touchy and feely aspect. Like the touch of a human hand, it was really a message that I wanted to put in that issue.

The second issue had this idea of collaboration, where we were inspired by movie posters and the three covers became like three movie posters. Every single story had an opening that was a movie poster.

Volume Three is about identity and we were inspired very much by ID cards, but the design and the graphic design of the issue is about the idea of ID tags. Almost like stickers that you wear to say who you are, because it is about gender identity.

We think about the issues almost like books, in a certain way. And we try to tell stories that have a little bit more of a reason to be preserved and told. They don’t have an expiration date.

Samir Husni: Between the Instazine and W, Instagram and all of your travels, is this the best of times for Stefano?

Stefano Tonchi: This has been an interesting New Year, because I’m very proud of what W is now. When I arrived six years ago, maybe there were too many people and too much waste, but today we are really small, and it’s nice to work with a small group of people who really feel and love the product. I think we all feel like we love doing the W that we’re putting out. We’re proud of it and we feel like it is what we want it to be. We feel very lucky that we can put out a magazine that still represents our vision.

Samir Husni: And it’s well-executed and gorgeous.

Stefano Tonchi: Thank you. I know you see a lot of them. And you read a lot of them. We don’t pretend to be The New Yorker or anything else, but I think we do well with our own mission.

Samir Husni: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Stefano Tonchi: What I wish is that we will be able to really find a new way to distribute print magazines. I think we need to, altogether as an industry, understand that the world has changed, there are no more newsstands; a lot of the things cannot be measured the way that they used to be. At the same time, digital is not everything. Digital is not going to kill or be a substitute for magazines. But magazines have to find a different way to be perceived and distributed. And we have to help. The box is kind of a way to say, let’s produce things that can go into the box. Let’s produce things that you want to keep. That’s the idea.

Samir Husni: And as you said earlier, when our parents would receive magazines in the mail, it was a joy and there was value.

Stefano Tonchi: Yes, there was joy because it was their way of knowing what was going on. And it was this fantastic, magic object. So, let’s put back the magic in magazines.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Stefano Tonchi: I sleep very good. I have had some difficult moments, because business is not easy, but I’m not worried about how to do the magazine; I’m more concerned with what to put in the magazine. How to find this new way to present the idea of magazines? I think it’s more of what is a magazine today; that’s the question we have to answer.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 




Martha Boudreau of AARP on How Nimble is the New Norm

Doug Simon, CEO and Founder of D S Simon Media had the chance to speak with Martha Boudreau, Executive Vice President & Chief Communications and Marketing Officer of AARP at the Capitol Communicator PR Summit DC. Martha and Doug both have a BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/h4fExgDzVvU

Martha Boudreau’s VlogViews: 
‘The most effective organizations at creating one brand voice are those that blend communications and marketing under on organizational structure so that the priorities can be set and channels can be synchronized in a way that speaks across all those channels to the audience.”“It’s all about mobile devices… People want to interact with brands and other organizations that matter in their lives on their mobile device and that’s not just getting information, that’s buying things, that’s voting on things, that’s joining, that’s weighing-in so a mobile first strategy is crucial for every brand and every organization in this day and age.”

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

DOUG SIMON: Hi, I’m Doug Simon of D S Simon Media, here with fellow University of Michigan graduate and political science, Martha Boudreau. Thanks so much for being here.

MARTHA BOURDREAU: A pleasure, go blue.

DOUG SIMON: Great. Now, Martha just presented at the PR Summit DC talking about the need to be nimble and four key changes we’ve got to be looking out for. The first is integration of the silos. Can you explain?

MARTHA BOURDREAU: Yeah, lots of organizations have communications and marketing separated. And the fact is, there’s only one key set of audiences. So the most effective organizations at creating one brand voice are those that blend communications and marketing under one organizational structure so that the priorities can be set and the channels can be synchronized in a way that speaks across all of those channels to the audiences.

DOUG SIMON: And your title speaks to that, as Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, which may be unusual now. But if what you say is true, it’ll probably be more normal. Now, a second key part is changes and expectations of the customer experience.

MARTHA BOURDREAU: Absolutely. Customer experience is a burgeoning practice on the corporate side of things. And I think that there are lessons to be learned, regardless of what sector you’re in. If you’re in trade associations, if you work for the government, it doesn’t matter. Because you and I have expectations as consumers based on our interactions with some of the leading brands like Amazon, like American Express, and Zappos, and Nordstrom’s.

And what we want is a seamless experience across all of our devices. Right? We want to be heard and we want these brands to speak to us in a way that makes sense for us. So that customer experience is really viewed by CEOs as the next key point of differentiation for brands around the world.

DOUG SIMON: And you point out data and analytics, obviously, are growing a big topic and they’re playing up the value and importance of video.

MARTHA BOURDREAU: Yeah. Well, data and analytics are critical. And we’re now, more than ever before, able to pull that data together from a lot of different listening poses, right? We have our use of mobile, we’ve got internet activity, we’ve got video views, all of those different things. So when we roll it all together, we get a good picture of who our audience is. And then we know how to speak to them in a more relevant way.

But organizations have to both collect the data and then extract the insights from it that can be operationalized from a communications standpoint.

DOUG SIMON: And then finally, mobile first. And that can affect people of all different generations, which you deal with is your key publics of your organization.

MARTHA BOURDREAU: Yeah, absolutely. It’s all about mobile devices. All over the world, people have jumped past the desktop and onto their mobile device. You know, our phones and most part it’s phones not just tablets, our phones are with us almost 24 hours a day. It’s the first thing we look at in the morning. And people want to interact with brands and other organizations that matter in their lives on their mobile device.

And that’s not just getting information, right? That’s buying things, that voting on things, that’s joining, that’s weighing in, sharing opinion. So a mobile first strategy is crucial for every brand and every organization in this day and age.

DOUG SIMON: Well, congratulations on your great leadership, and thanks so much for spending a few minutes with us.

MARTHA BOURDREAU: Thanks very much.




SPOKEies®Award Winners

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SPOKEies® 2018 Winners

 

Todd Kaplan

Todd Kaplan

Category: Under 40

Vice President, Water Portfolio –
PepsiCo North America Beverages

“It’s important to be genuine and passionate. Always listen and respond accordingly in order to make a meaningful connection with your audience – whether it’s a with a media outlet or directly to a key stakeholder.”

Mike McCormick

Mike McCormick

Category: Non-Profit Trade Association

Executive Director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association

“Truly knowing and understanding the issues and the industry makes all the difference. As part of the leadership of a trade association, remaining engaged with our members and understanding their wants and needs allows me to be an effective voice on their behalf.”

Danielle Holly

Danielle Holly

Category: C-Suite Leader Non-Profit Association

CEO at Common Impact 

“Find, for yourself, a simple but powerful connection between your core values and what you’re representing.  When you’re grounded in that, it’s impossible to sound inauthentic. If that connection doesn’t exist, you shouldn’t be the spokesperson. Period.”

Patrick Riccards

Patrick Riccards

Category: Non-Profit Education

Chief Communications Officer at the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation

“Find your voice … and find it quickly. As a spokesperson, you are representing an organization, a company, a political campaign, or an individual. To be effective, and to break through all of the media white noise, you have to find a voice that embodies the best of what you are speaking on behalf of, and that stands up to the criticisms and attacks that come from those standing in opposition. A successful spokesperson is not just speaking for him or herself. It is the voice of a movement.”

Steve Kerber

Steve Kerber

Category: Nonprofit Advocacy/Cause Marketing

Director of UL Firefigher Safety Research Institute

“As a spokesperson for an organization, it is important to remember that being “the voice” is not about you. Everything you do and say as the voice of the organization should revolve around advancing the mission. Remember that you alone cannot advance the mission and there is an entire team behind the scenes doing the work. Surround yourself with strategic partnerships, always ask why, and be open to change. Although we have opportunities beyond previous generations, no amount of technology is going to replace the need for you to know your profession.”

Greg Rosica

Greg Rosica

Category: Corporate Financial Services

Contributing Author and Spokesperson to the EY Tax Guide

“Assess the audiences’ familiarity with the topic and speak in a clear context that is at their level of understanding so as not to confuse or speak below their knowledge of the material.  Speak with humility and clarity to be their trusted resource on the topic.”

Luke Margolis

Luke Margolis

Category: Non-Profit Health

Corporate Communications Manager at Atlantic Health System

”Successful communication comes from connecting with your audience through understanding and respect; it’s not about you, it’s about how you can help them.”

Sheri Sword

Sheri Sword

Category: Non-Profit Membership Association

Vice President of Communications at Better Business Bureau at Dayton & Miami Valley

Success as a spokesperson is three-fold:

1) Be prepared whether you’re representing your organization or your helping someone else with an interview. Be the expert and know what your key points should be and have that note-able quote ready to share. Don’t be above practicing what you want to say.

2) Be someone people can count on. If you say you’re going to forward additional information, then follow through and do it. If it’s something you can’t do, own it and provide an alternative option whenever possible.

3) Make everyone’s life easy. Create talking points for everyone involved. Develop fact sheets. Have anticipated resources ready and available.

Meredith Maskara

Meridith Maskara

Category: Non-Profit Youth

CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater New York

“Girl Scouts is ‘by girls, for girls’ and it is my role to speak to—and for—girls.  So I know I am most effective when I spend time with the girls themselves; they keep me focused on what is important to them.  And whenever I have the chance, I hand the microphone to one of our incredible Girl Scouts and invite her to speak about our mission in her own words.”

Michael A Smith

Michael A. Smith

Category: Corporate Health/ Pharma

Senior Health Scientist for Life Extension

“Know your audience. What are their expectations, their goals, their knowledge and base. Delivering the right information to a particular audience is key for success.”

Donna Lavoie

Donna LaVoie

Category: Corporate Emerging Growth / Startups

President and CEO of LaVoie Health Science

“If I had to give on piece of advice about what is most important about being an effective, authentic spokesperson, I would say: know your audience.  Helping highly educated and skilled audiences tell stories rather than providing too many details, facts and data points is of the utmost importance in our field of health and science communications.”

Gabe Saglie 210x210

Gabe Saglie

Category: Media

Senior Editor for Travelzoo

“Don’t forget your audience! Believe in the company you’re representing and be enthused by the work they do — be your company’s biggest fan and consumer, not just a mouthpiece since that will ensure that what you say feels genuine and true and natural. But, perhaps even more importantly, make sure your message is relevant to your audience — that’s what will make your messaging impactful. It has to be information they can use and information that makes their lives better.”

Kristin Bradley

Kristin Bradley

Category: Corporate Food + Beverage

PR Manager at B&G Foods

Marc Goldman

Marc Goldman

Category: Corporate Sports

Marketing/Sponsorship Manager of the Marine Corps Marathon

“Start with the audience in mind. Being authentic and effective as a spokesperson begins by hearing your audience before you speak so that the message received is prioritized over the message delivered. To do this, you must become the subject matter expert, possessing a depth of understanding that affords the confidence to be creative, expressive and complete.”

Roy Taylor

Roy Taylor

Category: Corporate Technology

Founder Chief Revenue Officer MR.Studio
Previous Corporate Vice President and Worldwide Head of AMD Studios

“Consider and establish who is in the audience.  Put yourself in their shoes and ask what is it that will be most useful for them to learn or to listen to.  Literally find out if you can the names ,job titles, etc. of who you are presenting to. Then add to each point you want to make …and this makes sense/is valuable/is an insight for your industry/interest/business because,….  Once you have established a report with the audience the presentation becomes a conversation.”

Daniel Durazo

Daniel Durazo

Category: Corporate Travel

Director of Communications at Allianz Global Assistance 

“… know your audience and tailor your remarks to what they care about most.”

Donna Lavoie

Donna LaVoie

Category: C-Suite Leader Corporate

President and CEO of LaVoie Health Science

“If I had to give on piece of advice about what is most important about being an effective, authentic spokesperson, I would say: know your audience.  Helping highly educated and skilled audiences tell stories rather than providing too many details, facts and data points is of the utmost importance in our field of health and science communications.”

Sam Fay

Sam Fay

Category:  Most Authentic Corporate

Senior Vice President of Global Brand Strategy at Guinness World Records

Honorable Mentions

 

Kristy Wallace

Kristy Wallace

Category: Under 40

CEO of Ellevate Network

“If I had to give one piece of advice about what is most important about being an effective, authentic spokesperson, I would say: passion.  Believe in what you are representing.  Care about the topic and contribution that your company is making.  A good spokesperson doesn’t just say the words, they embody them.”

Mark Hill

Mark Hill

Category: Non-Profit Trade Association

President & Chief Executive Officer at Association For Creative Industries

“There are two parts of being an effective spokesperson. The first part is listening, and the second part is being genuine and transparent in your response. You need to understand your audience’s wants, needs, and pain points to effectively engage them in a conversation about your company, whether that conversation is proactive or reactive. The more you can personalize your outreach to an individual or business in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany or any country in our global society, the more likely your words will be heard, remembered, valued, and have the impact you intended them to have.”

Susan Miller

Susann Miller

Category: Non-Profit Education

Director of Communication and Consumer Affairs of Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona

“Be succinct, be relatable, be approachable and stick to the facts by doing your research before an interview. If possible, find one unique, powerful element of interest that engages the audience and creates an AHA moment.”

Neil Vineberg

Neil Vineberg

Category: Non-Profit Advocacy/ Cause Marketing

Program Director at 2-Minute Mind Check

“Tell your story in short, clear sound bites that are printable and shareable.”

Don Bush (1)

Don Bush

Category: Corporate Financial Services

Vice President of Marketing at Kount

AARP (1)

AARP’s Health Spokesperson Team

Category: Non-Profit Health

AARP’s Health Spokesperson Team

Justin Dejong

Justin DeJong

Category: Non-Profit Health

Vice President of Editorial and Channel Strategy at the American Medical Association

Finalists

 

Andrew Tropeano

Andrew Tropeano

Category: Under 40

VP, Host, and Executive Producer at NewsWatch

“Perspective.  Taking the time to understand your client’s perspective then translating that knowledge to be consumable from the audience’s perspective is what separates a good campaign from a great campaign.  Anyone can regurgitate information across mediums, but being able to truly relate across audiences is the sign of an expert spokesman.”

Suzanne Robotti

Suzanne Robotti

Category: Non-profit Health

President and Lead Spokesperson for Medshadow Foundation

“As an effective spokesperson, you need to be truly passionate and let that energy and feeling show, in your words as well as your facial expression, if you are on camera. Passion is much more important in persuading people than are facts and figures. People can spot a paid spokesperson and will reject their appeal as false.”

© 2017 D S Simon Media. All rights reserved

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B.L. Ochman On The Power of Social Media LIVE™

B.L. Ochman, President of  Whatsnextonline.com, joins Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media and President-Elect of PRSA-NY, to talk about how live stream is transforming the communications industry and how D S Simon Media is contributing to the ever-changing world of marketing with Social Media LIVE™.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

 

DOUG: Hi I’m Doug Simon from D S Simon Media and I’m here with B. L. Ochman she’s from What’s Next Online, among other things, a real expert in helping organizations with their social media campaigns. Thanks so much for joining us. So one of the things I’d love to start off talking about is the growing power of live video streaming and how large organizations and small organizations are increasingly using that as part of their marketing communications.

 

BL OCHMAN: Well I think the reason for this growth is the fact that there are so many touch points for our attention now and video is easy for people to in-take. And organizations have a lot of problems, in my experience, with the technical side of things and particularly with the ability to broadcast in other channels beside them when they record on which is why I’m excited about your new opportunity.

 

DOUG: Yeah and that’s how we connected when you caught wind of our new Social Media LIVE ™ service just as a quick backgrounder. What’s interesting about it is we are doing a lot of Facebook Live Events for clients and I’ve sort of frustrated that we were sort of limited to just the one channel as powerful and effective as it was, and started to think is there a way to do it more and you know now there is, just Social Media LIVE™ actually you can go broadcast quality but across 30 channels simultaneously whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube and of course YouTube’s can be embedded on multiple websites so it’s really a limitless way to multiply the power of a single event.

 

BL OCHMAN: Can you explain to me a little bit more about how it works?

 

DOUG: Sure, there really are three components of it. The first is, what’s the original production? So let’s say we’re doing a campaign in a couple weeks at the Auto Show here in New York. So are you capturing it with three cameras, is it one person talking, is that multiple people having a conversation? Is it someone off site via Skype like yourself who’s coming in who’s being brought into the conversation? First is let’s get the content together. Second is how do you transmit it, so it’s available to go to the Internet to be streamed on all these channels. And one of the things that was a catalyst for that is the improvement in transmission technology. For example at the auto show event we’re doing a year ago, we would have needed a satellite truck outside we would have needed to hire union electricians that belonged to Javitz to run the cable from there to the location. So, it’s a very expensive process. Now there are smaller devices like the size of a suitcase that can be used to actually transmit wirelessly. We’re using this for a travel campaign, so we can go inside hotel eliminating the need for the satellite truck which is dramatically reducing that transmission piece to get the content either to satellite for a broadcast or to the Internet. So then you can distribute. The third part is then getting that signal transmitted to these multiple sites. And it’s actually fairly easy. You don’t have to give up the authority and control of your own social channels to allow to do that. Basically, it’s providing a link to us that we know takes about five minutes to walk the person through them once we have that link. What we do is send that link to the site. It can be sent to multiple channels.

 

BL OCHMAN: So in other words, what I hear you saying is that the technology has caught up to the need. And you know a couple of years ago, a couple of months ago, that was not possible and it was really a big deal. So this is really a breakthrough. I’m excited.

 

DOUG: Thank you. Yeah we’re really excited about it because there’s so many things that people are doing whether you’re at a trade show, a meeting for internal communications, that you’ve wanted to get out and get that signal distributed. And sure there are some-and this time I remembered my first proper actually, now my director did make me put my phone away, but if I were holding it up, you can take your phone up there and shoot and grab some. And that works, like “hey we’re behind the scenes at this event and here’s a look” that’s perfect for that. But if you’re say trying to leverage the influence or network that so many communications have built up on behalf of their client and actually communicate across all of their channels and get them engaged in quality programming, you couldn’t do that. Now you can.

 

BL OCHMAN: I have a couple of questions, given that for example, you need to broadcast horizontally on Instagram and you know that there are different needs for different channels. How does your software handle that?

 

DOUG: Sure. And thank you, for bringing up the one area that’s not fully developed yet. Instagram does use a different protocol for its video for the moment. That’s different from many of the other systems, so for Instagram you have to go through a phone currently the way to actually cheat ,if you will, do an Instagram, and I don’t say a cheat is something illegal just sort of a creative workaround, would be you would set up a video monitor and speakers in a quiet space of your event and put a camera on a tripod feeding your Instagram channel showing the screen of the program. Currently that’s the way you’d have to bring Instagram into the picture. But I would say give it three to six months. That could be changing dynamically. What’s fascinating to me is Facebook Live started less than two years ago. We’re coming up on the two year anniversary, in that short time. There is now three times the amount of video consumed on Facebook Live versus recorded video, when it didn’t even exist two years ago.

 

BL OCHMAN: Right. Which is really a remarkable turn of events and I think it has a lot to do with why companies are investigating live streaming because they need to know how to take advantage of the technology. But the other question I have, is in many of the forums you can have comments as you broadcast. So, if you’re simultaneously on several how do you handle that?

 

DOUG: Sure. So ideally because the channels you’re on, it’s not a surprise to the people that were on those channels. They’re actually engaged, so we would encourage them to be monitoring their own site for channels. If you’re looking at an event where you want to get audience participation questions, those can be submitted using a hashtag is very common way to accomplish that. So all of the comments and questions that are being asked can then be brought to the attention of the moderator or the people who are participating. There’s also opportunity to follow up after the fact with specific responses. But to your point, what’s so great about it. Instead of limiting engagement to one channel you’re now creating engagement across 20 channels and each of the organizations that have a vested interest in those audiences consuming content on their channels, can be engaging with them. So that’s really exciting, and those questions can then be fed and centrally. There are couple of different ways to do it. And I appreciate you really digging into the weeds. One is you can use the hash tag like I say. The other is you can have the channel Managers feeding in, even e-mail is simply the questions that they’ve got that are good that can then be fed to the monitor through the system and they can say oh great we have a question from X Y Z who is watching on this stream.

 

BL OCHMAN: Exactly that’s what I was wondering about. Well there was a point at which hangouts had live interaction and then Google took that away. So, you know being able to do that on other channels is in my opinion important. And you know I look forward to trying this. And we do our own social media show on YouTube and then upload the audio to various iTunes and so on. And we’re on the ALexa now. You can say on “Alexa play on social media show” which I find hilarious and I’ll do that. But you know we would love to be able to broadcast that same time on Facebook and on Twitter. So you know I’m excited about this. I’m looking forward to trying it for my show and I’m for clients.

 

DOUG: Sure. And you know perhaps if you want to engage me as part of the show maybe this way we can figure out to do some multi streaming with the program that we’re doing. Thank you so much for your time and great questions. Awesome information congrats on your success and you know hope everything goes smoothly for you. Thank you.




In Stormy Daniels, Donald J. Trump Meets a Formidable Match

Andrew Ricci - In Stormy Daniels, Donald J. Trump Meets a Formidable MatchAndrew S. Ricci, Principal, Riccon Strategic Communications

Let’s face it: the President’s record with women has not been, to put it lightly, very good. He faced significant questions and accusers long before the infamous Access Hollywood tape came to light on October 7, 2016, just weeks before the presidential election. And since then, he’s had more accusers come forward, seen two of his staff members resign amid domestic abuse allegations, and had to face crisis after crisis resulting from his own alleged bad behavior. And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of comments he’s made on women’s looks, their bodies, and a host of other areas. 

The latest chapter in this seemingly neverending saga comes by way of Stormy Daniels, a porn star, screenwriter, and director. In January, the Wall Street Journal broke news that Ms. Daniels was paid $130,000 in October 2016 in exchange for her silence about an affair she alleges she had with the President in 2006. Had this story come out in the immediate wake of the Access Hollywood fiasco, it would have been devastating. 

However, where others could be silenced or had their allegations denied until they receded from the public eye, it seems that in Stormy Daniels, President Trump has met his match. 

Where Trump’s team was able to roundly deny the other cases, making it a case of their word versus his, in the Stormy Daniels saga, there exists a whole arsenal of smoking guns. In addition to the fact that Ms. Daniels told multiple witnesses about the affair shortly after it happened – and they have corroborated her story – she also gave an in-depth interview on the record to In Touch, which appeared after the Wall Street Journal broke the story. This interview happened before the hush money and corresponding non-disclosure agreements. 

Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, who facilitated the hush money payment, confirmed the existence of the payment itself. The legal documents have been released as part of a lawsuit Ms. Daniels has filed to get a court to overturn the original agreement. And the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, let it slip that arbitration had taken place, which ultimately led to the release of a restraining order that Mr. Cohen had secretly obtained last week against Ms. Daniels. 

In Stormy Daniels, Donald J. Trump Meets a Formidable MatchNothing to see here? I don’t think so. The Trump team seems to be going to extraordinary lengths to sweep something they allege never happened under the rug. 

Oh, and Ms. Daniels says she has an archive of texts and photos. And she kept the gold dress that she wore to the illicit meeting and is going to get it tested for DNA. Uh-oh. 

We are truly in uncharted waters here, and it’s hard to imagine any other administration weathering this, no pun intended, storm. 

Further compounding the issue, Ms. Daniels, as a result of her occupation, cannot be shamed into silence. Where others have faced public pressure and thus eventually shied away from the limelight, she appears to be relishing this. It might be the best PR she’s ever had – and she’s won multiple industry awards and been nominated into several professional Halls of Fame! 

Through all his many scandals, President Trump has masterfully used the media to gain an advantage. He’s developed a megaphone bigger than most and has used it as a cudgel to shout down opponents and beat them into submission, getting stories over with quickly and changing the conversation to something else. 

That simply won’t work here. The megaphone, no matter how it is used, just adds fuel to the fire and enhances Stormy’s brand. As long as she’s profiting from the attention and affiliation – and she is surely profiting handsomely – she’s going to do everything she can to keep this in the public eye. She’s the ultimate example of a media-savvy businesswoman, and it seems that she may know the art of the deal better than her one-time paramour. That spells trouble, and it won’t be going away any time soon.

 

About the Author: Andrew S. Ricci is the Principal of Riccon Strategic Communications, a media, messaging, crisis, and public affairs firm. An experienced media relations expert, content-creation specialist, and public affairs strategist, Andrew has worked on Capitol Hill, political campaigns, and the private sector. In addition to his political experience, Andrew counsels a wide range of clients navigating reputational challenges in the public eye. 




Storyhunters Discuss Being Filmmakers of Color in America

Jad-Evangelo Nasser, Storyhunter 

In honor of Black History Month, we interviewed three inspirational filmmakers of color about their experiences as creatives in America. Storyhunters Serginho Roosblad, Gregory Dukes, and Maria Simone told us about their journeys, challenges, achievements, and what has shaped them into the filmmakers they are today.

Storyhunter: How did you get started in documentary filmmaking?

Gregory Dukes: I’ve always loved documentaries. I got hooked on VICE News docs and really wanted to challenge myself to create one of my own. A Storyhunter referred me to the community, and I’ve been rocking and rolling with a few publications a couple times a year since then.

Maria Simone: My introduction to documentary filmmaking was through an internship I had in high school with the city of Greensboro, North Carolina. We were asked to focus on an issue facing our city and present it in the form of media or a play. I decided to do a short documentary on gang violence and its impact on the youth in the city.

The positive response from the community to my amateur doc effort really made an impression on me. It wasn’t about having fancy equipment. It was the story of the youth in my community that was most important. From that point on my passion for documentaries and other forms of filmmaking grew.

Serginho with his camera. Photo Credit: Steve Saldivar.

Serginho Roosblad: I was working as a journalist for a couple years and slowly transitioned from radio into video. There was a radio show I was working on, and one day my editor wondered if it would translate into video. I tried it with a colleague and we succeeded. The video series became a hit and, more importantly, I got hooked on visual storytelling.

After doing the video series for a while, I moved to Uganda where I worked as a freelance journalist making mostly news videos for a number of international outlets. That was a great way to start practicing the basics of visual storytelling. It’s one thing to learn how a camera works and shoot nice pictures, and it’s another thing to have content that makes sense on both a story level and a visual level. Thus, news was the perfect way for me to start doing this.

Storyhunter: We know the film industry has a lot of inequalities and we appreciate you speaking candidly about your experiences. Could you tell us about some of the challenges you have faced or are still facing as a Black filmmaker in America?

GD: One of the biggest challenges is having to balance playing the game and staying true to oneself.

MS: I think we’re in the midst of a cultural renaissance in regards to Black filmmakers and I love that more of our stories are being told. However, one of the challenges I’ve come across is bringing recognition to stories that are on the margins, even within the Black community. It seems like the industry is only interested in broad segments of our stories and less focus is put on the texture of Black lives.

Maria in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Photo Credit: Rachel Palumbo.

SR: Convincing news outlets and editors that the stories from and about Black communities, on a global level, are important to be told. Not to just a Black audience, but to everyone. Too often when I pitched stories from Uganda, for example, I was told that they had another ‘African piece’ about a country thousands of miles away a week before.

In other cases, it’s fighting for the characters in my piece. I’ve had cases where Black characters’ experiences were not seen as believable so editors suggested adding an expert in the piece to ‘give it more context’ — as if the voice and story of the Black character cannot stand on its own and needs some validation. And because I’ve seen this happen too often, I see a pattern when it comes to how important the voices of Black people are seen.

Storyhunter: As a filmmaker, what do you hope to achieve with your work?

GD: Ultimately, I hope to change lives, perspectives, and entertain the world with my creations, whether documentaries or full-feature films.

MS: My goal is to be a part of the evolution of our stories in film and TV, both niche and broad. It’s important for everybody to feel represented on screen. As a Black woman, I want to be able to see all aspects of our stories portrayed in TV and film. I think we’re making headway, but we still have a way to go.

I have a specific interest in music documentaries, so one of my goals is to shine light on artists that have had an impact on the culture and their genres respectively. There are so many stories out there that haven’t been told.

SR: Aside from being a filmmaker, I’m also still a journalist, and as such, I hope that whatever I produce will help people understand some part of the world around them that they didn’t know before. Even if it’s just the tiniest fact, it’s part of a larger story.

Storyhunter: Do you have any advice for current and upcoming filmmakers of color in America or around the world?

GD: Don’t compromise your integrity, and always follow your intuition.

Gregory Dukes with his camera. Photo Credit: Summer Jo Studios.

MS: Technology wise, don’t overthink it. There have been amazing films made on phones and inexpensive equipment. Your voice is everything. You have an unique experience no one else can duplicate, so stay true to that.

SR: Whether it’s fiction, such as Marvel’s ‘Black Panther,’ or documentaries, such as ‘13th,’ ‘Whose Streets,’ ‘I’m Not Your Negro,’ ‘Strong Island,’ or ‘O.J.: Made in America,’ they all show that stories told by filmmakers of color, in this case Black, are not only profitable, but can also generate much-needed conversations around race and race relations. Whether that’s in media or in our everyday life.

And it seems like we’re gaining some sort of momentum now. So, my advice would actually be more of a call to my fellow filmmakers of color to keep on bringing the walls down that have kept us from sharing our stories and perspectives for so long.

Storyhunter: Thank you all so much taking the time to talk about your work and careers.




The Roadmap To Magazine Success – Wired Magazine’s Editor In Chief, Nick Thompson, To Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview…

“There’s something about the print magazine that’s special. It’s got the front cover, which is a way to really make a statement. It has a back cover that advertisers love. It has the capacity to package things, because the Internet breaks everything up, so the capacity to keep things together is really valuable. And advertisers see that too.” Nick Thompson…

The Roadmap To Magazine SuccessThis year, Wired Magazine will celebrate 25 years of publishing some of the best content in the world of technology. And this year, the brand will also inaugurate its editor in chief’s latest edition to the business model: a paywall. For over six years, Nick Thompson was an editor for newyorker.com and learned the art of the paywall; and the benefits. Bringing that knowledge to Wired, where he has ran the tech-ship for just over a year, he has constructed a new revenue source that he’s hoping will prove that people are willing to pay for quality content, for something they value and that adds value to their lives.

On a recent trip to New York, I spoke with Nick about the changes he’s implemented, such as the paywall. For a tech-savvy man, Nick is a rare breed, because he also believes in the power of print. So, Print Proud Digital Smart is just common sense to him, and Mr. Magazine™ would have to agree. And Mr. Magazine™ also believes in the value of content, just as Nick does. So, the paywall, while tried and failed by many before him, seems possible with the determination and vision that Nick possesses. Not only possible; probable, but also success-able.

From an email to Wired subscribers, and in Nick’s own words, he had this to say about the paywall: “As you may have seen in the press, we’re launching a paywall on WIRED.com—an important and exciting step that will allow us to continue our great work for the next quarter-century and beyond.” Indeed, if the next 25 is anything like the first 25, everyone will be willing to “pixel-up.” And now the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Nick Thompson, editor in chief, Wired. Enjoy!

But first the sound-bites:

On why he thinks it took the industry so long to change from a welfare information society where everything digital was given away freely to one that charges for its online content: I think business was really good in the old model for a long time. We made a lot of money from advertising and it took a while for the industry to realize the problems with that. And it took a long time for the industry to realize that digital advertising wouldn’t replace it.
I believe we came to those realizations too slowly.

On the secret of Wired’s longevity: That’s an interesting question. It’s always been really good, that’s the first thing. When it had rough patches, it figured its way out of them. It never found any of the traps of some of the other tech publications. It had Condé Nast supporting it as well. And because it had been relatively early, it had a lot of loyal supporters and backers. So, it’s always had a really good and strong fan base, and it’s always had a great group of writers.

On Condé Nast’s handling of Wired over the years, and the fact that when most bigger companies buy small, entrepreneurial publications, they end of folding them, but not in the case of Wired: I wonder about that. I think that reflects very well on Condé Nast. They changed editors; they did all of the things that usually happen when a rogue publication is bought by a big company. They changed editors; they changed philosophy, but I think they kept a hands-off approach. A lot of people stayed through; the magazine stayed in San Francisco, and I think Condé Nast realized the independent spirit that Wired had, and managed it well.

On how he would define content today: That’s a good question. You have to think about all of the different places where we publish unique content. There’s the print magazine; the website; the Snapchat channel; the Instagram feed; there are all kinds of things. There are videos that we’re making for Facebook live; YouTube videos that we’re creating. So, it’s all Wired content; it’s all Wired “stuff” and my involvement in it ranges from the print, where there’s a lot, to social where there’s less. And then I’m participating in a lot of it. I’ll do some of the Facebook lives or some of the discussions.

On whether he feels he’s more of a curator today than a creator:No, more of a creator, but the curation is part of it too, because part of what you do is figure out how things should be promoted; what should go in the newsletter; how the newsletter should be structured. I write my own newsletter; I do my own Tweets; I do Facebook; so, there’s that part of the curation element. But most of what I’m doing is writing and editing.

On the biggest stumbling block he’s had to face, or whether it has it all been a walk in a rose garden: You need to do three things when you’re in my job: you need to create the right stories; you need to get them out to people in all the right ways; and you need to build a business model around that. And I feel like we’re creating the right stories and that we’ve built a business model, but I’m not sure that we’ve optimized getting ourselves out there in all the right ways. So, the biggest challenge is how do you get people to read your content on a mobile device? Some people will go to your website on a mobile device, but mostly they’ll go to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or they’ll come in through an app.

On the iPad and how Wired was one of the first Condé Nast titles to jump onboard: And it was awesome. My predecessor, Scott Dadich, he designed that, and did a killer job. The issue is, back then we all thought the iPad was the future of magazine reading, right? And that people would have iPads and they would download all of the magazines. But as it turned out, the iPad wasn’t; it turned out to be the phone. The question is, can you take the iPad version and make it work on the phone, that’s something that we need to do here, because we have a great iPad app, but we don’t have an iPhone app.

On how he decides what content goes where and if dissecting that content is getting easier or harder: In the old days, content was created for print and dissected for the other platforms, and here it’s more that we try to come up with content that works on all of the platforms, starting from an idea. The Free Speech package was definitely something we came up with for the print medium, because the idea on how to do it was a big structured thing around it, and that still works when you have the excuse of a print magazine that gets mailed to 850,000 people, and that has a cover and a set number of pages. So, we decided to do that and spread it out on all of the other platforms.

On why he still believes in print: There are a couple of reasons. Number one, because I spend a lot of time on tech, I realize its limitations. You can put out a Tweet and you can look and say that you have 10 million Twitter followers; that Tweet is going to reach 10 million people, but actually it’s not. A thousand people are going to click on it, or 200 people are going to click on it. So, there are real distribution issues on all platforms. When you think about it that way, it helps you remember that the U.S. Postal Service that will deliver 850,000 copies of these to people’s doors, or whatever the exact number is right now, is a pretty good distribution mechanism.

On how he edits the magazine to cater to the geeks and the intellectuals simultaneously: That’s the whole challenge of this job. It’s to cater to both of them and even to people who are coming to technology for the first time. And that’s a challenge with our web content and that’s a challenge with Snapchat content; that’s a challenge with everything we do. That’s less of a print challenge than it is an overall Wired challenge. And there, we try to think of ourselves as a magazine about change, not as a magazine about tech. We think about the way technology is changing our lives; changing our world and the way that we relate to each other. Find the most interesting questions and answer them in the smartest way that we can, in whatever form is appropriate for whatever medium we’re writing for.

On how his job as a magazine editor, especially of Wired, is different today than it was some years ago: The first difference is that, obviously, we’re publishing in more different ways. And the world only gets more complicated; the job only gets more complicated; and your time only gets more disbursed, because you’re not doing a print magazine, you’re doing a print magazine and a website and all of these social platforms. So, that’s different.

On one moment he can reflect on since he’s been editor where he thought the magazine was at the exact place he wanted it to be: This month has been amazing, because I think our Free Speech issue conveys exactly what I want to do with the magazine. It has five essays, all of which are awesome; they read really well together. I think it’s one of the smartest packages put together on free speech.

On whether he thinks it will be smooth sailing from now on:(Laughs) I don’t think any editor in this business would think it’s smooth sailing from now on. We have to think about what comes next, so we have to make the paywall work. We’re just days in and it looks good so far, but that’s nothing. We need to make sure that we optimize and that we figure out the right ways to promote it; that we reduce friction in the subscription process; that we improve re-circulation; that we assign the right content; and that is really hard. Then we also need to figure out how to continue to diversify our revenue streams.

On whether he feels like in his job now he has to hop on and off the train without it ever stopping: (Laughs) No, I feel like the train still stops. Maybe in two years the train won’t stop and I’ll be jumping out the window. Right now it’s okay. It’s funny, because I don’t think the job of editor in chief of Wired will ever get less complicated, because you have to be in the middle of the way technology is reshaping the world, and the nature of technology is that it accelerates, because when you invent something it helps you invent the next thing.

On why he thinks the whole media world is suddenly watching Wired and its new paywall to see if it succeeds or fails: I think the fact that it’s Wired and we’re considered to be at the forefront of technology makes a big difference. I think to some people it’s surprising. You may think that Wired would always make its information free. Though, since the very beginning Wired has talked about the value of content and whether it’s important to make people pay. And there’s a huge debate among the early Wired founders. I’m glad people are paying attention. The more attention, the better.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home: You’ll find me reading magazine stories on my phone, if I’ve finished my work. I tend to go home and work; I work here, then I go home and put my kids to sleep, and I tend to go back to work, in part, because I work with a lot of people in San Francisco, so my 10:00 p.m. is their 7:00 p.m., so we’re synced up pretty well. And I tend to work until 11:00 or 11:0 p.m. And if I finish and have some time, I like to read magazine stories in other publications. And I like to play guitar.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him: That I actually really care about my job. I care about Wired because I think it’s really important for society to have these conversations about technology, such as free speech and technology. And I feel like Wired plays a really important civic role. So, I want them to realize that what excites me about this job and what I do isn’t just because it’s a cool job and I work in media. It’s because there’s real civic value in having this thing work and to do it well. And that’s why I try.

On what keeps him up at night: I don’t think any editor in chief of any publication sleeps well, with the business changes over the last few years. I worry a lot that we get stories right and I worry a lot about what comes next for us. What are the product, engineering and business choices we need to make to be sure that we can continue to produce really great journalism. So, that keeps me up at night.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Nick Thompson, editor in chief, Wired.

Samir Husni: You’ve been in the news a lot lately for doing what I’ve always called a common sense thing; if you have good content, people will pay for it. Why do you think the industry waited so long to change from a welfare information society where we give everything away for free to finally charging for content?

Nick Thompson: I think business was really good in the old model for a long time. We made a lot of money from advertising and it took a while for the industry to realize the problems with that. And it took a long time for the industry to realize that digital advertising wouldn’t replace it.
I believe we came to those realizations too slowly.

Samir Husni: Specifically with Wired, as you approach your 25th anniversary; a lot of tech magazines have started up and folded during that same period, all trying to captivate the future of technology and humanizing technology. What’s the secret of Wired’s longevity?

Nick Thompson: That’s an interesting question. It’s always been really good, that’s the first thing. When it had rough patches, it figured its way out of them. It never found any of the traps of some of the other tech publications. It had Condé Nast supporting it as well. And because it had been relatively early, it had a lot of loyal supporters and backers. So, it’s always had a really good and strong fan base, and it’s always had a great group of writers.

I don’t know, I feel like it never even came close to going away. It’s been a good publication with lots of supporters the whole way through, lots of advertisers; a good subscription base. It’s been healthy and strong and it’s managed to never completely screw things up.

Samir Husni: From an historical point of view, when I study all of the magazines that were started by entrepreneurs and sold to big companies, the bigger companies managed to mess them up and fold them. That’s not the case with Wired.

Nick Thompson: I think that reflects very well on Condé Nast. They changed editors; they did all of the things that usually happen when a rogue publication is bought by a big company. They changed editors; they changed philosophy, but I think they kept a hands-off approach. A lot of people stayed through; the magazine stayed in San Francisco, and I think Condé Nast realized the independent spirit that Wired had, and managed it well.

So, I think it reflects well on Condé Nast and I think it reflects well on the Wired team and it reflects well on Katrina Heron, who took it over after the transaction, and then Chris Anderson, who succeeded her.

Samir Husni: As you are moving Wired toward the next quarter of a century, you started by adding a paywall; you’ve been quoted as saying print is not going away, that you still believe in it. So, as an editor today, how do you define content?

Nick Thompson: That’s a good question. You have to think about all of the different places where we publish unique content. There’s the print magazine; the website; the Snapchat channel; the Instagram feed; there are all kinds of things. There are videos that we’re making for Facebook live; YouTube videos that we’re creating.

So, if you were to look at my to-do list for today, I have to read some of the drafts for the next issue of the print magazine; I’ve got to read a bunch of web posts that have gone live, make sure they’re good and figure out how to promote them and how to help the writers improve, or how to work with the writers. I have to think about all of the social media platforms. So, it’s all Wired content; it’s all Wired “stuff” and my involvement in it ranges from the print, where there’s a lot, to social where there’s less. And then I’m participating in a lot of it. I’ll do some of the Facebook lives or some of the discussions.

There’s way too much content for any single human to be involved in, so I just have to figure out how to allocate my time in a way that is most effective, both for specific editing and the more general sense of conveying my view of what a Wired story is. And then the general coaching, managing and cheerleading the staff and all of the stories.

Samir Husni: Do you feel you’re more of a curator today, rather than a creator?

Nick Thompson: No, more of a creator, but the curation is part of it too, because part of what you do is figure out how things should be promoted; what should go in the newsletter; how the newsletter should be structured. I write my own newsletter; I do my own Tweets; I do Facebook; so, there’s that part of the curation element. But most of what I’m doing is writing and editing.

There are 100 different things that could be a part of my job and I try to think about all of them. And I try to weigh whether I can actually be helpful with #96 on the list of things, and if I can, I’ll spend some time on it and if I can’t, I’ll let it be.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve had to face since you took over the editorship and how did you overcome it? Or has it been a walk in a rose garden?

Nick Thompson: I’ve been really happy with the print magazine for the last few months. I feel like we’ve gotten a really strong feature well, and we’ve gotten really good covers. If you look at our next cover, which I shouldn’t talk about, but I think it will be exciting. And our free speech cover; the cover about China; the cover on our issue now. We’ve done really good issues. And when I started, it wasn’t like they were bad, they were still good.

But I feel like there has been steady improvement in making sure that the feature well, in particular, has grown and become really close to what I wanted it to be when I started this job. So, that’s good, but it was also really hard, so maybe that’s the answer.

The other thing that’s hard is obviously, you need to do three things when you’re in my job: you need to create the right stories; you need to get them out to people in all the right ways; and you need to build a business model around that. And I feel like we’re creating the right stories and that we’ve built a business model, but I’m not sure that we’ve optimized getting ourselves out there in all the right ways. So, the biggest challenge is how do you get people to read your content on a mobile device? Some people will go to your website on a mobile device, but mostly they’ll go to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or they’ll come in through an app.

We don’t yet have a custom IOS app. We have read platforms or a progressive web app, which makes our Android reading experience much better, but we were a little late to optimize ourselves on mobile devices. So, that’s something that we’re working hard on, but we haven’t completely solved yet.

In my ideal world, there would be a fantastic, beautifully-designed way to read Wired through Flipboard, Apple News, Facebook Instant, an IOS app, an Android app, and a progressive web app, but we don’t have that whole suite of things yet. We have some of them, but they require design, product, engineering and business, and so they’re really complicated to get right.

Samir Husni: I remember when the iPad first came into being back in the dark ages of 2009, Wired was a forerunner. I think it was the first Condé Nast magazine to jump onboard.

Nick Thompson: And it was awesome. My predecessor, Scott Dadich, he designed that, and did a killer job. The issue is, back then we all thought the iPad was the future of magazine reading, right? And that people would have iPads and they would download all of the magazines. But as it turned out, the iPad wasn’t; it turned out to be the phone. The question is, can you take the iPad version and make it work on the phone, that’s something that we need to do here, because we have a great iPad app, but we don’t have an iPhone app.

Samir Husni: With your role, and the many hats that you wear, how do you decide what content goes where? From print to digital, and now with the paywall; is dissecting the content getting easier or harder?

Nick Thompson: In the old days, content was created for print and dissected for the other platforms, and here it’s more that we try to come up with content that works on all of the platforms, starting from an idea. The Free Speech package was definitely something we came up with for the print medium, because the idea on how to do it was a big structured thing around it, and that still works when you have the excuse of a print magazine that gets mailed to 850,000 people, and that has a cover and a set number of pages. So, we decided to do that and spread it out on all of the other platforms.

But there are elements of Wired taking on the issue of free speech that have been native to other platforms, like Facebook Instant conversations and Reddit AMA’s. There have been all kinds of interesting elements and add-ons that doesn’t feel as though we’re cutting a piece of meat off of the bone of the big animal. We feel like we actually made a meal for that particular platform.

Samir Husni: You’re one of the few editors of a tech magazine who still believes in print. Why?

Nick Thompson: There are a couple of reasons. Number one, because I spend a lot of time on tech, I realize its limitations. You can put out a Tweet and you can look and say that you have 10 million Twitter followers; that Tweet is going to reach 10 million people, but actually it’s not. A thousand people are going to click on it, or 200 people are going to click on it. So, there are real distribution issues on all platforms. When you think about it that way, it helps you remember that the U.S. Postal Service that will deliver 850,000 copies of these to people’s doors, or whatever the exact number is right now, is a pretty good distribution mechanism. The U.S. Postal system and the whole method of people subscribing, they get 12 issues per year, that’s really great. So, that’s one reason.

Number two is there’s something about the print magazine that’s special. It’s got the front cover, which is a way to really make a statement. It has a back cover that advertisers love. It has the capacity to package things, because the Internet breaks everything up, so the capacity to keep things together is really valuable. And advertisers see that too.

And then there’s something about the discipline of putting together a print magazine which is a useful exercise to go through for content. So, having strict limitations on the number of words that you can put in a story is actually good for the story often. Sometimes it’s nice to have unlimited words, but sometimes not having constraints leads to softness in the way you edit it or the way you think about it. Print magazines still do some really good things. My hope would be that we’ll continue to run the print magazine as long as I’m in this job, and that even if the advertising goes down in print, we’ll be able to make up for it in subscription revenue. Right now, it’s a profitable product and I think a really good product.

Samir Husni: How do you manage to create this curated, well-packaged issue, month after month, that caters to the geeks of technology and to the intellectuals of technology simultaneously?

Nick Thompson: That’s the whole challenge of this job. It’s to cater to both of them and even to people who are coming to technology for the first time. And that’s a challenge with our web content and that’s a challenge with Snapchat content; that’s a challenge with everything we do. That’s less of a print challenge than it is an overall Wired challenge. And there, we try to think of ourselves as a magazine about change, not as a magazine about tech. We think about the way technology is changing our lives; changing our world and the way that we relate to each other. Find the most interesting questions and answer them in the smartest way that we can, in whatever form is appropriate for whatever medium we’re writing for.

On the web, you want to write about things that are happening in the present; you want to write about things that are current. In print, you need to write about it in a format that will be relevant two weeks after the story closes or five weeks after the story closes, because that’s when the person actually picks up the pile of mail at the apartment they’ve been traveling from.

You have the same challenge; how do you make the story interesting for all of these different readers? And then you just have different constraints and different kinds of form based on where you’re publishing it.

Samir Husni: How would you describe the job of a magazine editor today, especially Wired? And how is it different from some years ago?

Nick Thompson: The first difference is that, obviously, we’re publishing in more different ways. And the world only gets more complicated; the job only gets more complicated; and your time only gets more disbursed, because you’re not doing a print magazine, you’re doing a print magazine and a website and all of these social platforms. So, that’s different.

But the core is kind of the same. Your job as the editor in chief is to help set a vision with your team; it’s to hire the right people, who do all of the right jobs; it’s to help people grow as writers and editors, to the extent that you can. It’s to be an ambassador, so that’s why you go to different places, like Davos, which I just returned from, to meet people; and it’s also to find really good stories, which is another reason to go to a place like Davos.

Part of my job is to sit at my desk and help move copy along and to read things and to help edit them. And then part of my job is to go out into the world and be a public face for Wired and talk to people about Wired and learn about the kind of issues we should write about. So, you have to just balance your time.

There are different kinds of editors. David Remnick, who I obviously observe very closely, spent a ton of time writing stories, editing stories, and also a ton of time promoting them, like on The New Yorker Radio Hour and on television and radio. Other people focus more on one element, like Adam Moss, who is an absolute genius at how he puts together New York magazine, but he’s not as much out there talking on television or on the radio. He’s just kind of in his office making the thing amazing. So, there are different roles. And the way I’ve chosen to do it is to do lots of things, maybe for good or for ill.

Samir Husni: During this short period since you’ve been editing Wired, can you reflect on one moment where you said to yourself, wow, this is the Wired I want?

Nick Thompson: This month has been amazing, because I think our Free Speech issue conveys exactly what I want to do with the magazine. It has five essays, all of which are awesome; they read really well together. I think it’s one of the smartest packages put together on free speech.

And free speech is something that I really don’t have a handle on. I know that the view on free speech in the tech industry has massively changed. I know that it’s complicated, but I came to it not thinking that “we need to stand up and really fight against the way the tech companies are now censoring.” Or “I really think that debate about free speech is going in the right direction.” I was very conflicted when we started this package. I felt really good that we put together an issue that had these five essays; the cover worked and the whole issue felt right. So, I felt great about that.

And then we went to the paywall and we actually hit our deadlines and the early returns are great. So, January and the first couple of days of February have been fantastic for Wired. I feel like we put out a great issue and we created a new business model, which is something I talked about my first day on the job. And it came to fruition.

Samir Husni: Is it smooth sailing then from now on?

Nick Thompson: (Laughs) I don’t think any editor in this business would think it’s smooth sailing from now on. We have to think about what comes next, so we have to make the paywall work. We’re just days in and it looks good so far, but that’s nothing. We need to make sure that we optimize and that we figure out the right ways to promote it; that we reduce friction in the subscription process; that we improve re-circulation; that we assign the right content; and that is really hard. Then we also need to figure out how to continue to diversify our revenue streams.

What we’ve done this year is try to grow advertising as much as possible. I’ve worked very carefully with our business side to understand what we do in advertising and what works. And what we can do more of; where are there opportunities for growth. But at the same time, trying to diversify. So, we started an affiliate revenue stream, where we massively expanded our efforts. If you read a review on the best headphones at Myer and you click on one and buy it, we get a small cut. And that’s useful.

Now we have three really good revenue streams, but the question is a year from now we’ll want to have diversified even more. We’ll want to have done better in all the things we do, but we’ll also want to have other revenue streams. So, what will those be? Wired has very limited audio efforts; should we go hard in that? There are a couple of other things that we’re looking at; a relatively limited conference business. We do one big event, but other publications that are similar to us do lots of events; should we do that? It’s competitive, but we could do more of that.
And then there are a whole bunch of other things that we’re thinking and talking about.

One of my big questions for next year is what’s next? From the product and engineering side of my job, we’ve had two big products. First, we moved our CMS’s (Content Management Systems) to the corporate CMS’s “Copilot,” which was a huge project and that was really the first six months of my job. Then the next six months was the paywall. So, now the product and engineering roadmap is complicated and the business roadmap is complicated.

Meanwhile, you can’t let your foot off the gas and spend so much time thinking about these things, or have your team spend so much time thinking about them, that you let the other stuff slide, and you have days where the website isn’t interesting or the magazine isn’t good. You don’t ever want that. So, that’s the challenge. It’s not like the old days where you just hire 100 new people or something. You have to do evermore within constraints, real constraints.

Samir Husni: Do you feel in your job now that you have to hop on the train and hop off the train without the train ever stopping?

Nick Thompson: (Laughs) No, I feel like the train still stops. Maybe in two years the train won’t stop and I’ll be jumping out the window.

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Nick Thompson: Right now it’s okay. It’s funny, because I don’t think the job of editor in chief of Wired will ever get less complicated, because you have to be in the middle of the way technology is reshaping the world, and the nature of technology is that it accelerates, because when you invent something it helps you invent the next thing. And so technology will constantly be creating, so the train only moves faster and the job only gets harder. So, ask me that in three years. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: Do you feel that you are living in a glass house now, because everybody is watching you. With all of the other entities that tried paywalls and other things like that, they weren’t talked about as much as Wired. Is it specifically because it’s Wired or because it’s Condé Nast? Why do you think that the entire media world is watching you to see if you’re going to succeed in this experiment or fail?

Nick Thompson: I don’t know. Maybe because I talk about it a lot. (Laughs) I’ve given lots of interviews about paywalls; I talk about it all of the time and I care about it a lot. I felt like my experience at The New Yorker was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done, so I speak about it a lot and I feel good about what we did at The New Yorker. So, that probably helps a little bit.

I think the fact that it’s Wired and we’re considered to be at the forefront of technology makes a big difference. I think to some people it’s surprising. You may think that Wired would always make its information free. Though, since the very beginning Wired has talked about the value of content and whether it’s important to make people pay. And there’s a huge debate among the early Wired founders. I’m glad people are paying attention. The more attention, the better. And I hope that people subscribe. We’ll see. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but it’s already worked. We’ve already gotten tons of new subscribers and we’re just days into it.

Samir Husni: When Wired was started it had a massive subscription price and you couldn’t even get it billed; you had to pay before you received the magazine.

Nick Thompson: When I launched the paywall, I got a note from the guy who founded the magazine saying that people should be willing to pay for the stuff that they spend their time with and value. You’re adding value to people’s lives and they should be willing to pay for it.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; watching TV; or something else?

Nick Thompson: You’ll find me reading magazine stories on my phone, if I’ve finished my work. I tend to go home and work; I work here, then I go home and put my kids to sleep, and I tend to go back to work, in part, because I work with a lot of people in San Francisco, so my 10:00 p.m. is their 7:00 p.m., so we’re synced up pretty well. And I tend to work until 11:00 or 11:0 p.m. And if I finish and have some time, I like to read magazine stories in other publications. And I like to play guitar.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Nick Thompson: That I actually really care about my job. I care about Wired because I think it’s really important for society to have these conversations about technology, such as free speech and technology. And I feel like Wired plays a really important civic role. So, I want them to realize that what excites me about this job and what I do isn’t just because it’s a cool job and I work in media. It’s because there’s real civic value in having this thing work and to do it well. And that’s why I try.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Nick Thompson: I don’t think any editor in chief of any publication sleeps well, with the business changes over the last few years. I worry a lot that we get stories right and I worry a lot about what comes next for us. What are the product, engineering and business choices we need to make to be sure that we can continue to produce really great journalism. So, that keeps me up at night.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 




2015 Silver and Bronze Anvils Award Winner Case Study: UDOT’s Walking School Bus App Campaign: Increasing Safe Walking and Biking to School One Download at a Time

PRSA

Nationwide, the number of students walking to school has significantly decreased, resulting in an increased number of cars around schools. To address this safety concern, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) created the Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP)™, a comprehensive effort to encourage safe walking and biking to school. 

SNAP initially developed software and tools to assist in developing and distributing an annual safe walking map, mandated by Utah law. The program’s second phase included programs targeting students, such as curriculum materials, a musical assembly and an annual safe walking and biking to school competition.

While the various efforts experienced strong participation (80% of Utah schools use SNAP Software as of 2015), the team faced two challenges. First, through surveys and in-depth individual interviews, it was determined parents have the greatest influence on whether or not their children walk to school, yet they weren’t being directly targeted. Second, measuring the effectiveness of the campaign by determining numbers of students walking or biking to school was problematic.

In the development of a new parent program, it was determined the No. 1 reason parents do not allow their children to walk and bike to school is fear of stranger abduction, despite the fact that only 115 such kidnappings occur annually in the U.S. They cited having a parent accompany their child or having kids walk together in groups as key.

Walking School Bus appThe team was familiar with a program called a Walking School Bus (WSB), which involves a group of children accompanied by an adult walking or biking to school (‘a carpool without the car’), and honed in on the concept. In analyzing WSB efforts around the U.S., the team learned that while the concept was sound, its application was difficult, and as a result, there were no successful large-scale programs.

 The biggest challenges surrounded complications in bringing together neighbors to organize and execute a WSB and then in communicating schedule changes (e.g., being late or sick). The team initially created a WSB model from best practices and worked with a pilot group of parents to help test it, resulting in a more streamlined program. Despite the effort, the initial launch of UDOT’s WSB program in 2013 was largely unsuccessful, garnering approximately 20 downloads of a “how to” guide and only a handful of walking groups.

From the research and experience with the static WSB, the primary objective of the effort was to engage parents by creating a method/tool to make a WSB program simpler, one that would provide greater peace of mind and could also provide a form of measurement.

The team determined that technology was the key to overcoming the limitation and challenges of the static WSB program and worked with a group of developers, parents and principals to create the first dedicated WSB smartphone app (a tactic contributing to the Bronze Anvil win). Features included allowing parents to search by elementary school for existing walking groups, to create new walking groups and invite neighbors to join, to plan walks to and from school, and to assign parent leaders to walk with students.

The primary target audience was parents of K-6 children, and key strategies included introducing the app through earned and paid media; directing outreach to school principals; incorporating the app into existing programs; and outreach to state and local PTA leaders.

In spring 2014, groups at two schools with very different demographics helped test and refine the beta version of the WSB app. During the beta testing process, the team also worked to capture footage of parents and kids using the app to walk and bike to school. This was imperative to provide a visual component of walking and biking since the app would officially launch during the summer when school wasn’t in session. A two-minute video was produced and used to announce and demonstrate the WSB app at the state PTA conference in early summer.

Additionally, the team personally contacted and distributed materials about the WSB app to principals at key schools throughout July and August. Two weeks before the start of school, a press event was staged in the front yard of one of the parents who had tested the WSB app. With the cameras rolling, she and her neighbors gathered to download the app and create the state’s first digital WSB group. The press event featured parents encouraging other parents to forgo creating a carpool and to instead download and use the app to help their children safely walk and bike to school.

A PSA was created and aired as part of a moderate paid campaign that complemented the earned media, primarily on morning news programs. Geo-targeted ads were placed on Pandora and mobile sites (for searches of elementary schools and back-to-school stories), PSAs ran in targeted movie theaters, and parents were also reached through social media.

Finally, the WSB app was cross-promoted in media and outreach efforts for SNAP’s annual Walk More In Four competition in September. 

The program exceeded all expectations:

  • The app achieved more than 1,100 downloads exceeding the objective by 450%
  • More than 240 active walking groups were created, exceeding the objective by 588%
  • More than 35 TV, print and radio stories and segments, including a front page Salt Lake Tribune feature, were secured
  • 4) The effort had a reach of more than 2 million impressions, exceeding the objective by 300%

During its first 120 days, the WSB app resulted in Utah students and their parents walking and biking more than 20,000 miles to and from school. More than 25,000 car trips were reduced, 8.5 million CO2 emissions were saved, and app users burned more than 2 million calories. Additionally, three states and two countries, New Jersey, California, Nevada and Alberta, Canada and Naples, Italy, contacted UDOT expressing their interest in adapting and implementing the WSB app.

For more information, click here: https://bit.ly/2018anvils.




2017 Silver and Bronze Anvils Award Winner Highlight: Cutting through the Clutter – Elevating Bank of America to the Industry Fintech Leader

PRSA 

To stay ahead of changing demands as more consumers turned to digital platforms for their banking needs, Bank of America (BofA)’s focus has been on providing customers an unmatched mobile banking platform. But, by not proactively sharing news about its product pipeline, it began to fall behind its competitors in positive coverage of its technology.

As a result, at the end of 2015 BofA and Burson-Marsteller developed a plan to tell the bank’s story and establish BofA as the industry leader in financial technology (fintech).

The team conducted an in-depth media audit, focusing on digital banking coverage, fellow financial institutions and a broader look at the tech industry.

A key takeaway was the need to ‘preview’ technologies. BofA executives needed to be more vocal about their plans and discuss the details of solutions in development. This would differentiate BofA from competitors, allow it to be part of larger tech trend pieces and extend the news over time.

Another key piece of the audit was the need to garner competitive intelligence. Overlaying these insights with BofA’s product pipeline gave the team anticipatory targets of which features and announcements they felt confident the institution would lead the industry in, and thus could support with robust amplification tactics to demonstrate the brand’s leadership.

The team also conducted a focus group as primary research to help craft the program narrative. This helped to understand which media targets and messaging would resonate with the key audiences.

BOABANKOFAMERICASILVERANVILThrough this qualitative research, the team discovered one of BofA’s biggest differentiators: Instead of investing the majority of their budget in large innovation labs and R&D testing, BofA’s customer-first approach – connecting with customers in financial centers and ideating solutions with their input at the forefront – was an untapped, external stance in the industry.

The ultimate goal was to establish BofA as a digital thought leader through a yearlong integrated marketing campaign, targeting existing BofA customers, notable media and prominent industry influencers, with the following objectives:

  • Lead industry share of voice and increase overall media placements by 50% YOY
  • Position BofA executives and partner organizations as leaders in the digital banking space
  • Increase innovation message penetration by 50% YOYGenerate new stakeholder attention to drive greater awareness of BofA digital offerings 

Strategies included differentiating content, developing partnerships and identifying influencers. This involved flooding the marketplace with pipeline previews, leadership messaging and executive interviews, and engaging key partnerships and relationships to drive the story and continue momentum through the year and beyond.

The first phase focused on media relations. During the first week of the year, key digital/payments executives participated in top-tier, national interviews previewing BofA’s 2016 digital roadmap.

To sustain coverage, expansive media networks were targeted including CBS News, the Associated Press and the Dow Jones Network. This resulted in nearly 100 regional CBS broadcast segments, more than 30 top-tier online placements and prompted Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch coverage.

The BofA/Burson team implemented an amplification strategy to continue momentum, announcing first-to-market offerings throughout the year, including an emphasis on cardless ATM technologies, real-time payments and Messenger bots integration. These were announced through the partnerships with well-known names such as Facebook, Google and Samsung.

Social media also played an integral part in the campaign, providing platforms for BofA executives to actively engage in industry conversations and exclusively announce product updates through BofA accounts.

The team also revamped and launched the third annual BofA Trends in Consumer Mobility Report, examining broad mobile behaviors and smartphone trends. While fellow financial institutions were focused on mobile banking research, BofA’s broader look at consumers’ mobile usage and tech trends garnered coverage in hard-to-reach lifestyle outlets and influential tech and financial media.

The campaign was successful not only in winning Silver and Bronze Anvil Awards, through results including:

  • BofA led media share of voice, accounting for 55% of digital banking mentions, with its next closest competitor sitting at 20%
  • Media placements grew 300% YOY and impressions doubled, totaling over 2.7 billion
  • Executives were featured in more than one-third of campaign media coverage
  • Executive commentary increased 400% YOY, and interview opportunities increased 60% 
  • Industry rankings from Forrester, Javelin and Celent named BofA the top mobile leader
  • Social activity increased 150%, resulting in 6K engagements and 100K impressions
  • Mobile user growth increased by 2.5 million, more than 20% year-over-year

For more information, click here: https://bit.ly/2018anvils.




2016 Silver and Bronze Anvils Winner Highlight: H&R Block Budget Challenge Earns Major Dividends

PRSA

Young Americans are facing record levels of student loan and consumer debt, but often lack the financial literacy needed to handle these and other hardships.

To address this issue, H&R Block engaged Spong to expand and elevate its Dollars & Sense program, created in 2009. Through a campaign that empowered teachers across America to help students “road test” real-world money skills — without real-world consequences — H&R Block set nearly 100,000 teens on course for a strong financial future.

The campaign objectives were to:

  • Reach 500,000 high school educators across all 50 states
  • Provide 2,500 high school educators with free resources
  • Incentivize 100,000 high school students to learn real world money management skills
  • Raise awareness for the free program by generating 300 million impressions among educators, teenagers and parents
  • Leverage the success of the Dollars & Sense program to reinforce the H&R Block brand.

Scholarship recipients celebrate in front of a home game crowd at the H&R Block Budget Challenge Guntersville Presentation of awards on Friday, January 16, 2014 in Guntersville, Ala. (Photo by Jeff White/Invision for H&R Block/AP Images)

Scholarship recipients celebrate in front of a home game crowd at the H&R Block Budget Challenge Guntersville Presentation of awards on Friday, January 16, 2014 in Guntersville, Ala. (Photo by Jeff White/Invision for H&R Block/AP Images)

H&R Block decided to implement a learn-by-doing educational approach that would replicate real world personal finance decision-making, enabling teens to make mistakes and face potential pitfalls from the safety of their classroom.

The semester long “H&R Block Budget Challenge” simulation replicated money management by simulating financial life as an adult. By getting a virtual paycheck, paying bills and managing student loans, students were given a personal finance “road test,” without facing real world consequences.

The program was driven by three core strategies: create a comprehensive lesson plan; Incentivize students to take the program seriously by offering $3 million in classroom grants and scholarships; activate PESO channels to drive broad awareness.

A partnership with WeAreTeachers helped reach millions of teachers through e-newsletters, web ads, physical kits, social posts and phone calls. H&R Block successfully petitioned its leadership to triple the program’s funding, and the top-scoring student won a $120,000 scholarship.

The campaign launched on Good Morning America, followed by a desk-side media tour with outlets like USA Weekend and Wall Street Journal Live. Dozens of teacher-blogger posts ran, 24 students were available for interviews, and the launch included a: 30 TV spot, digital ads and social promotions. A second GMA segment aired in December, showing the program in schools. The campaign also included local media events.

Campaign results exceeded expectations. Overall, 93,980 students across every state participated in the Budget Challenge; $2.76 million in scholarships were awarded; and 88 percent of participants reported feeling more confident about managing money. The WeAreTeachers partnership resulted in 6.5 million teacher-targeted impressions, and more than 484 million earned media impressions. And seventy-five percent of consumers surveyed by H&R Block reported the program increased their favorability of H&R Block as a brand.

 For more information, click here: https://bit.ly/2018anvils.




How This PR Pro is Creating a More Joyful Planet

Spector Lives Her Purpose by Using PR as a Force for Good

Patrice Tanaka, Founder & Chief Joy Officer of Joyful Planet LLC, interviews people who are actively living their purpose and leveraging their greatest talent, expertise and passion to help create a more joyful planet. This interview spotlights Shelley Spector, President of Spector Corporate Communications.

PT:  Shelley, what I love and admire about you is how you’re fully living your purpose in both your personal and professional life. You are an amazing force of nature: wife and business partner with your husband Barry Spector, devoted mother, successful entrepreneur, brilliant PR practitioner, beloved professor, author, preserver and protector of PR history and nurturer of next-generation PR professionals.

Shelley, will you share your life purpose with our readers please? Most people, including leaders, have not determined their life purpose and/or cannot distill it down to a succinct, concrete statement. You’re among the less than 20 percent of leaders who can.

SJS:  My purpose in life is to invent new ideas to make the world a better place and awaken developing, young minds to grow and think big. I love inventing new ideas to help my clients grow. I also love discovering new ways to strengthen our profession’s role in the world. Most important, I love inspiring young people about using PR as a force for good in society.

PT:  How did you arrive at your life purpose, which we both agree leverages our greatest talent, expertise and passion in service of people and planet?

SJS:  Ever since I was a kid, I loved inventing new ways of doing things, mostly in response to problems affecting people around me. While many of those, looking back, were just whims that would never see the light of day — such as a restaurant chain for picky eaters, serving pizza, Frosted Flakes, Chow Mein and hot dogs – they were all attempts to solve real-world problems. When I was nine, in response to a growing rivalry between the two fourth grade classes, I started a newsletter to help reconnect all the kids again. I invited kids from both classes to submit articles or illustrations. It was so popular it lasted into the fifth grade. (This is when I also learned how to touch-type.)

I think it was Jack Canfield who said that you can find your life purpose by identifying what it is that gives you the most joy in life. So inventing new ways to solve old problems was what has given me the most joy. And then teaching younger professionals how to harness their own creativity and invent their own ideas, compounded this joy for me many times over.

PT:  Once you determined your purpose how did you begin to (more) actively live it? What did you do?

SJS:  It takes just a moment to have an idea. But to put it into action involves an enormous dedication of time, resources and unwavering commitment to getting it done. You make a lot of personal sacrifices; you live in a state of exhaustion; you get challenged by powerful people. You get rejected; calls go unreturned. But you push through it all because you believe in your idea with all your heart and soul. You will sacrifice what you must in order to bring your idea to life.

Such was the case after 9/11, when thousands of people were trapped inside their buildings with no access to information or instructions about what to do. The traditional way of getting notified about such emergencies was through the Emergency Alert System, over radio and TV. But what happens when the electricity gets knocked out?  And land line phones go dead. The only device that could have worked were cell phones. But that morning, they couldn’t be used because the overwhelming number of voice calls blocked the whole cell system. It’s estimated that more than 1500 lives could have been saved had they had the proper information that day. That’s half the number of victims.

The idea for a solution came to me a few days later, seeing for the first time my own children typing into their cell phones. This was the early days of texting, and only teenagers seemed to be doing it. What if there was a way to broadcast text messages to hundreds, even thousands of people at once? Since texts — otherwise known as short message service, or SMS — had a much, much narrower bandwidth than voice, then conceivably, all these alerts could get through instantly to the people affected. I worked with my husband, Barry, and a software developer, to develop a prototype of the mass SMS broadcast system. We called it WirelessWarning. We designed a logo and set up a web site. The lawyer insisted we apply for a patent. Then we started presenting it to the Office of Emergency management, the Mayor’s office and eventually even set up a meeting at the White House.

I dedicated most of my time back then to getting buy-in for the system. I was even giving it away to the government at no cost. It was still a hard sell. But if my purpose in life was to see to it that good ideas get put into action then this is what I had to do.

Over the years, I got three patents for WirelessWarning. But more important, mass text messaging is being used around the U.S for all kinds of emergencies, from hurricanes to school shootings.

PT:  Did knowing your purpose in life change what you do in your professional life in any way? Or, in your personal life?

SJS:  As I incorporated my purpose into all aspects of my life, I became increasingly confident in my ability to recognize a good idea when I had one.

Long story short: When our children were two and three years old, we felt it was high time we went on our first family vacation. We chose the Embassy Suites hotel in Palm Beach, believing we’d have a well-deserved quiet and relaxing week around the pool.

We were proved wrong the first moment we got into our hotel suite.

The kids immediately took the room apart. My son popped out the glass from the coffee table. My daughter filled up a glass with water and popped that into the microwave. Barry and I spent the first hour of our vacation pulling objects away from the children, removing all glass and knives, and concocting a way to keep the microwave door locked.

Once the kids fell exhaustedly to sleep, Barry turned to me and said, “Maybe there’s a marketing opportunity here.” Indeed there was! By morning, we had created an outline for a PR campaign that would make Embassy Suites the first childproofed hotel chain in the country. I presented the idea to the hotel manager. His reaction was, “When can we have the press conference?”

A year and a half later, the FamilyFriendly program would win the Gold Creativity in Public Relations Award.

From my earliest days in the PR field, I knew that PR could be practiced with stronger, deeper and meaningful ideas. The field was far more than counting clips or analyzing clicks, or “getting good PR.”  I felt that if more and more people practiced PR strategically and developed big, bold new ideas for their clients, we could help raise the stature of a field terribly misunderstood and unappreciated.

Edward Bernays taught that PR was an “applied social science,” and he had the case studies to prove it. After meeting him in the mid-eighties, my husband, Barry and I, started videotaping him at his home outside Boston over the next 10 years of his life. He recounted on tape the campaigns that made him famous — we call them “Eddie’s Greatest Hits.” He explained in a very intellectual way the derivation and practice of his ‘two-way street” philosophy.

I began taking these tapes on the road, showing them to corporations, classes and seminars. The response I would typically get would be, “Wow. I never knew PR could be practiced like this.” These videos became the underpinning of the classes I would eventually teach at NYU and Baruch College.

One day, when he was 101, Eddie asked if Barry and I would set up a museum dedicated to preserving the history of public relations. He would give us artifacts, posters and books, everything that the Library of Congress didn’t want. We immediately jumped at the opportunity, without hesitation, (although in retrospect, we should have taken more time to discuss how we’d go about doing such a thing. After all, what did we know about building and curating museums? Nothing.) How could we not say ‘yes’? After all, this is the Father of Public Relations giving us a very important — and, potentially — life-changing mission for us, and something we felt could be vitally important to our industry.

Along the way, as we grew the collection, we expanded the mission from documenting the growth of the PR profession to also demonstrating the use of PR in changing history, especially when it came to its use in social movements. That has led to an extraordinary series of events honoring the black, Latino and female PR pioneers who have been left on the sidelines of history.

And what if this new way of thinking about PR could help raise the industry’s stature in the world?  And what if it could at the same time, help make “heroes” out of client companies and the students that I taught?

Thus “public relations for the public good” was born: using our talents, skills and instincts as PR practitioners to make the world better (not just get more publicity). I want companies to know that they can use public relations to bring about social change in their communities, to make stronger, more authentic connections with their employees and customers. And they can do so without calling it “CSR” or framing it as “sustainability.” They can do so just because it’s the right thing to do. And if they invent a new way of achieving this — a program that is not self-serving or promoted just to make them “look good” — then it can make news, and be heralded by customers. Let the program be discovered naturally by the internal and external communities. You are doing this for the public good, and not for the promotional value.

I want students to know that the skills they’re acquiring now can be used to promote causes they’re passionate about, and think about creating PR campaigns that can help change the world for the better. It gives them a new perspective on PR, and provides them with a deeper, more meaningful purpose. And society could benefit as a result.

In one class at Baruch, I had the students all write chapters about the underlying public relations strategies that were used in various social causes, from civil rights to anti-smoking campaigns to labor rights — historical subjects that they were passionate about. We turned this into a book, published in 2015, called “Public Relations for the Public Good.”

It presents to all of us in PR the possibility that we can make a difference in the world, to improve the causes we’re passionate about.

PT:  What is the result of knowing and actively living your life’s purpose? Is there a power that comes from being informed by your life’s purpose so that you can more actively live it?

SJS:  Keeping that purpose in front of me will help get me through even the most disheartening of times, in and out of the office. I often write it up on a Post It and attach it to my monitor.

Although it’s hard to do, I try to reframe bad experiences as learning opportunities. If I look back at my life, I see that the greatest periods of growth happened while trying to get through crises. But keeping your eye on the prize — aka, fulfilling your purpose — you are much more likely to turn these crises into opportunities to learn. And believe me, I’ve had my share of such opportunities.

PT:  What are your greatest hopes and dreams for the life purpose you have chosen?

SJS:  I hope to inspire more young professionals to discover their own life purpose, and then choosing to live it as best they can at work and in their personal lives. They need to take charge of their lives, find fulfillment in the work they do, and feel joy using their own gifts and skills to the max.

PT:  What do you think you would be doing now if you hadn’t determined and then actively begun to live your purpose?

SJS:  If I didn’t have a purpose I wouldn’t have felt empowered to take risks, battle the naysayers and take the easier path. My purpose has given me the courage to take the “road not taken” and not the “path of least resistance.”

PT:  How important do you think it is for individuals to discover their life’s purpose? And, do you think businesses would be wise to help employees discover their purpose because purpose-driven employees certainly help to drive purpose-driven organizations?

SJS:  As much as every person on the planet should have a life purpose guiding them, so too, should every company, a higher purpose than just making this or that or providing such and such service. It shouldn’t be the “typical” high falutin’ corporate mission or vision statement either, but something much more authentic, and proven with action and behavior.

It would also serve companies well to invest in supporting their own employees to discover, and live, their purpose. I think that, after health insurance, this could be the best benefit a company can provide employees.

PT:  What advice would you give others about discovering their life’s purpose?

SJS: Take the time to sit down with a professional coach. Don’t go it alone. Discovering your true purpose in this life is far too important.


About the Author: Patrice Tanaka is a serial entrepreneur, having co-founded three award-winning, PR & marketing firms and, most recently, Joyful Planet, a Business & Life Strategy Consultancy. “Through Joyful Planet, I am doing what I love and do best, leveraging my creative, problem-solving talent to help individuals and organizations discover and actively live their purpose to unleash greater success, fulfillment and joy in their lives, in their businesses and in their communities,” says Patrice. This is the subject of Patrice’s new best-selling book, Beat the Curve, co-authored with world renowned management consultant and coach, Brian Tracy, and other business leaders. Her chapter is entitled, “Live Your Life’s Purpose and Unleash Your Joy.” Connect with Patrice@JoyfulPlanet.com and via LinkedIn/Patrice Tanaka and Twitter/Patrice Tanaka.   




Office Rules For 2018: How To Behave and What To Wear

marie-rapertoMarie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Office etiquette can be exasperating.  With more relaxed working environments and telecommuting, some rules are being written while some are staying the same.  The old adage about watching what was done is harder since we are not all together in one office anymore.  Technologies are changing daily and our workforce is more multicultural and global.  The following is an update on what’s ok in today’s working world.

1.    Social Media:  Unless it’s part of your job, stay off of it during working hours and be careful what you post.  Nothing is ‘personal and confidential’ any longer.  Never post anything negative about your company or colleagues.  Remember, the company has a right to watch what you have been doing on their equipment and on their time.  More and more firms are checking on employees throughout their employment, not just as part of the hiring process.

2.   Telephone Calls:  Turn your cell phone off during any meetings.  If your cell phone rings at work and you must answer it, think about where you are.  If people are nearby, move to an area where you won’t be overheard or bother other workers nearby.  There is an unofficial 10 foot rule – if you must take a call in a meeting, excuse yourself and move to at least 10 feet away.  Find a place to take the call, don’t roam the hallways.  Remember to keep your voice down.  If you can’t hear each other, call back another time.  Get rid of the ‘fun’ ringtone, it’s not professional.  Do not take personal calls in the reception area or cafeteria.

3.     Email:  Your work email should be formal in nature.  These are office correspondence and should be written as if you were writing on company letterhead.  Your work email should contain your information such as name, title, phone etc.  Remember, email is taking the place of letters so the same information should be there.

4.     Headphones:  Wearing headphones all day (unless it is part of your job) can seem antisocial. If you are playing music to help you concentrate and the office allows it, use your headphones but limit the time spent plugged in.

5.     Cubicles:  The new open offices provide a very informal atmosphere.  Wandering over to visit a colleague can be rude.  Always check first.  No matter how small or how open, it’s someone’s personal space.  Respect it.

6.      Germs:  Germs spread quicker in open environments so, if you are sick, stay home.  Your coughing fit not only affects your productivity, it affects everyone in an open office.

7.      Smells:  Aromas of perfumes and foods take over an open environment.  Keep your lunches in the kitchen areas and your personal fragrances to a minimum.  Someone with an allergy could avoid your office but they will not be spared in an open environment.

8.      Dress:  With different industries adopting different dress rules, it’s best to “dress like the rest.” For career advancement, dress like management.  For interviewing, it’s a corporate look.  If you are visiting a client’s office, dress in your corporate best. It’s a show of respect to your client.

9.      Computer use:  Security is a big issue for many companies and most have computer use policies.  Follow the rules and keep your job search activities to your home/personal computer. The same goes for those last-minute gifts.  If your mobile phone is company property, computer use rules apply.

10.   Multicultural:  If you don’t know how to address someone or pronounce their names, ask. If you are working in a global environment, etiquette will differ from country to country.  Global associates might run late for meetings, not want to discuss anything personal or prefer to be called by a professional title.  Watch, listen and ask.

11.   Gender:  Working with a transgender person and wondering what pronoun to use?  Use the pronoun that reflects what the person is wearing or ask.   It’s up to what a person prefers. When in doubt, ASK.

12.   Getting Back:  We are a 24/7 world.  While we all deserve some time off, it is important to get back to someone within 24 hours.

Office-Etiquette1Making a good first impression on a job interview is a must. 

Dressing the part is the first step. It doesn’t matter if everyone working in the company wears jeans, unless you are specifically told to dress a certain way, follow these rules:

Men:  Wear a dark, solid suit.  A white or coordinated long-sleeve shirt.  A belt, a tie, dark socks and conservative, polished shoes.  Have a haircut before your interview and a manicure if possible. Carry a briefcase or portfolio.  If your office is business casual, make sure you tell the recruiter so they can let the hiring manager know.  Business casual does not mean jeans and a tee shirt.

Women:  Wear a conservative suit.  If you wear a dress or skirt,  make sure it’s long enough so that you don’t have to tug at it.  Wear a coordinated blouse and conservative polished shoes.   Limit your jewelry (nothing that makes noise or bracelets that can hit a desk). Go with neat hair, light makeup, very light or no perfume and manicured nails.  Carry a portfolio or briefcase.

Don’ts:  Do not wear anything that might be considered controversial.  Do not have your resume and samples dumped into a tote or shopping bag.  Do not leave your cell phone on. Do not have wrinkled or stained clothes.

Do’s:  Do give your shoes a quick dust off.  Do check your hair before entering the building. Do have a breath mint or candy before the interview.  Do bring a small bottle of water in case your throat gets dry.  Do ask to use the restroom before the receptionist announces you.

True Blue or Aggressive  Red. How color can help your interview.

Since over 80% of communication is nonverbal, color might just be one more item to consider. Color won’t make up for an inappropriate background but it might help send the positive vibes you want.  Here is a list of colors and what they convey according to the article:

Blue.  Darker shades of blue, especially navy, will help you project an image  of someone in control. From the interviewer’s point of view, the color blue  conjures up calm, stability, trust, truth, confidence and security.

Gray.  This is the second most popular color to wear for an interview. It’s not a distracting color to the interviewer so they will be more focused on you. Gray denotes sophistication.

Black.  This is a commanding color and represents authority. Black can also connote drama so use it carefully – perhaps as an accent

Red.    An extremely powerful color, it’s so strong you should only use it as an accent color.  Reds are associated with energy, passion, desire, power  and aggression.

White. White shirts and skirts are a safe bet.  White sends the message of  simplicity, cleanliness, precision and goodness.

In a competitive job market, it pays to take advantage of every opportunity to improve.   Choosing the right color might also make you feel more confident.




Q&A: How to Handle a PR Crisis

Liz Burke, Vice President of PR/Account Services, Didit

Q: What should be your first move after your company has experienced a PR crisis?

A: The ideal scenario is having a crisis plan in place before a crisis occurs, even if the possibility of a crisis is highly unlikely. The plan should include, but not be limited to: identifying the main types of crises that could occur; establishing guidelines for communication, logistics and behavior in a crisis by company executives and staff at all levels; designation of a chain of command for approvals and decision-making; advanced decision on primary company spokesperson and a back-up spokesperson.

If there is no crisis plan in place when one hits, I recommend that the first move be gathering and vetting all of the information about the crisis and assembling key individuals to form a response team. This should be done before any communication or information is distributed to company employees or external parties.

Q: Should you appoint a response team? Why or why not? Who should be on a response team?

A: Yes. A response team is a vital piece of a crisis plan because a crisis management requires collaboration between executives, managers, and other key staffers. Also, a response team allows for more effective and seamless communication, which should lessen the chance of a minor issue becoming bigger. The response team process should include, but not be limited to: appointing an internal crisis team that would be charged with all key decision-making in a crisis; designating a chain of command for approvals and decision-making; assigning specific roles and responsibilities for each member of the crisis team. In most cases, the crisis team should include company owners, senior executives, managers, and attorney and public relations representative and/or communications staff members. Never try to handle a crisis alone.

Q: What websites and places should you monitor during a PR crisis?

A: News outlets, all social media channels, online review sites and chat forums

Q: When, how and who should create a message in response to the crisis?

A: Ideally, messages and reactive statements should be created ahead of time, according to different types of crises that could occur. It should consist of the development of templates for news releases and statements that can be quickly tailored for any crisis situation. The purpose of this step in a crisis plan is to facilitate rapid communication to ensure that a focused message is shared among internal and external parties. The messaging should be clear and succinct, and not create any level of confusion. Avoid any usage of complicated and technical terms. For some crises, there will be a need to incorporate sympathy into the statement, providing a message of concern for what has happened. In other cases, there will be a need to include a mention of public safety being a top priority. Also, it is critical to double check all facts before releasing any press materials.

Q: When/how should you send out a press release? And to who?

A: Once all of the information related to a crisis is vetted and the facts are double checked, in most cases, it is best to issue a press “statement” rather than a full press release, particularly in the first phase of a crisis. The purpose is inform members of the press in a timely manner about the basic incident facts and express that the company or entity is actively addressing the situation. In this case, less is more.

Q: What should you do once the crisis is “handled?”

A: Once the crisis is handled, it is critical to hold a follow-up meeting with your response team to recap the chain of events and identify weaknesses and/or missteps, and things that could have been done differently. Once these observations are shared and chronicled, update your crisis plan to reflect these changes. Another recommendation is to assign key members of the response team to review the crisis plan and its elements several times throughout the year and update it, as needed. The more prepared, the better equipped a company is to handle a crisis with as few issues as possible.

Q: What’s the worst things to do during a crisis?

A: Avoid the following:

•Answering an inbound press call. Let the reporter leave a voicemail first, in order to determine what he/she is looking for; then you can collect your thoughts, review the facts and plan your messaging for a press statement or interview with the press.
•Saying “no comment” to the press, which in most cases, gives the impression that you are hiding something. The press will continue digging to create a story and you do not want the story to be one-sided.
•Saying “off the record.”
•Using complicated or technical jargon.
•Expressing anger through words or expressions.
•Being deceptive or misleading audiences.
•Hiding from the media’s emails and phone calls; issuing a concise statement will provide them with a critical piece of their story, and allow you to focus on the crisis at hand.

About the Author: Liz Burke is a trusted communications professional with experience across a host of industries, including travel, law, health care, pharmaceutical, non-profit, retail, automotive and public safety. She is responsible for effectively communicating her clients’ brand, vision and news to internal and external parties to generate positive results as well as nurture leads. Liz’s specialties include traditional and digital public relations and marketing, content marketing, media training, strategic communications, writing, storytelling, blogging, crisis management, account management and client services.