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As co-chair of PRSA’s marketing committee for Accreditation in Public Relations, I receive many questions from peers about the credential: How does the APR make you a better communicator? How did the APR change the way you do your job?

I always answer these questions with conviction and enthusiasm as I reflect on my own path as a PR professional. To get people to trust me with their stories, I needed the confidence booster the APR could provide. I needed the framework of a third-party endorsement from a known commodity — with infinite reach, a solid reputation and a well-articulated Code of Ethics.

This was all available through the salient programming and the depth and breadth of PRSA’s committed volunteer colleagues (and the staff who support us) through our Chapters across the country.

A setback at work

My APR journey began when I didn’t receive a promotion. Working for a national telecommunications firm in Atlanta, I lost a seismic bump up the corporate ladder. I learned that it was because I could not articulate the communications objectives, strategies and tactics that brought the multibillion-dollar firm’s products to life in the eyes of the target audience.

I was an idea aficionado, a hard worker and an admired colleague in the executive ranks but, until I could effuse the business goals in terms of time-bound measurable benchmarks that influenced behavior change through strategic communications activities, I was stuck in a mid-level holding pattern.

With a precious baby girl and a husband on his own upward career trajectory, pursuing an advanced degree was not an option at this time. The Accreditation would be my salvation.

Or so I thought. I didn’t pass the Panel Presentation the first time because my command of the planning process was not second nature. I fought my way back, and realized that by putting the concepts to work every day, and demonstrating the skill in board rooms and idea sessions, my confidence increased.

My knowledge became more directive. My cadence is more sure-footed. Conducting multi-phased details of PR initiatives evolved with ease, and command of the ever-growing owned social media channels that debuted in the early 2000s became deft. The applied knowledge worked, and I passed the second panel and then the computer-based exam.

My employer was growing, and our C-suite leaders needed an easier way to swiftly understand communications initiatives. I devised a visually appealing communications plan on one page — an architecture that shows the goal, objectives, strategies, tactics and target audiences post research.

A new opportunity

A few years later, after the sale of the telecommunications firm, I decided to invest my retirement package from the firm — at age of 40 — in myself. With two colleagues in an LLC partnership and a dreamy vision for what we wanted to accomplish, we began growing our agency named for the goddess of dawn, Eos, whose purpose in Greek mythology was to bring Zeus a new day and a fresh perspective.

Following Eos’ mantra, this perspective was presented and sold to client after client via these APR-credentialed plans. Its simple architecture broke down complex communications problems, showing the art and the science of communications challenges and how they could be solved for clients’ business needs. It made our clients’ work easier, better and even financially safer — building loyal customers and repeat business.

People noticed us. With 16 colleagues now working for Eos, the ripple effect of the credential had manifested. With command of the nomenclature, we did not waste time debating the difference between a strategy and a tactic; thus, the speed of execution (and therefore profit) escalated.

Fueled by this, I volunteered to teach the APR process in the PRSA Georgia circles to anyone interested in achieving the mark of excellence. Within several months, the Georgia Chapter went from a very low number of Accredited professionals to one of the highest in the country.

We sold Eos to a regional marketing organization. At the end of my buyout period, I joined a client — the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Here, we applied the APR framework with the objective to increase donors and grants, thereby enabling our area to thrive.

Today, in the first half of 2021, my rearview mirror sees an amazing team of volunteer board leaders and phenomenal staff colleagues who are rolling up their sleeves to achieve monumental change. The Community Foundation moved from $880 million in assets with annual grant-making of $80 million, and no brand awareness, to $1.2 billion in assets with annual grant-making in 2020 of $177 million.

We are now considered a “regional anchor” institution across metro Atlanta. In 2020, our focus shifted to $30 million of the annual grant dollars specifically allocated to fight COVID-19 on the front lines for our region. We are now seen as Atlanta’s home for philanthropy.

The difference the APR credential had on my career made is apparent. I ask you to seriously consider pursuing your APR — because of the confidence it brings, the thorough understanding it provides, and the simple yet sophisticated, processes and practices that you will apply to your work every day.

Elyse Hammett, APR, is co-chair of PRSA’s Accreditation Marketing Committee. She earned her credential in 2001. She is vice president, marketing and communications, at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Email her at

 [Illustration credit: nwm] ]]> Tue, 13 Apr 2021 11:11:59 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Accreditation in Public Relations APR APR Month What Solo PR Pros Need to Know About Influencer Marketing and Maximizing Your Reach What comes to mind when you think about influencer marketing? 

If you take the word of mainstream media, you’ll likely believe influencers are Instagrammers with large followings, duck-lip selfies and unmeasurable content — but that’s far from the truth. 

Author, podcaster and digital marketing thought leader Jason Falls dove into the possibilities of influencer marketing in his third book, “Winfluence: Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand.” 

In this episode of That Solo Life: The Solo PR Pro Podcast, we led an enlightening discussion with Jason about how brands and solo PR pros can broaden their strategic approach to influencer marketing to yield desired results. 

The perspective of influencer marketing — and what it really is

Despite their characterization, Jason says a majority of influencers are brilliant content creators who’ve built communities and audiences that engage with their content and hang on their every word. And that could be anyone, because we all have a sphere of influence to drive results, regardless of online notoriety.

When we stick to the narrative framed by the portrayal of influencers, Jason says brands and solo PR pros miss out on the vast world of opportunity available to amplify marketing efforts. 

Plus, we take away “the strategic reason [of] the thing we're doing, which is influencing, and influence can happen in a lot of different ways through a lot of different channels.”

In his book, Jason breaks down the four main purposes of using influencer marketing to boost a campaign:

  1. Word of mouth. Influencers can persuade your customers to consider or buy your product. 
  2. Association. To align your brand with your vision, you can use influencers to help your audience associate your brand with a lifestyle or certain aesthetic.
  3. Validation. Influencer marketing can drive people to post ratings and reviews of your product or service, which helps with search engine optimization (SEO) and increases website traffic.
  4. Enthusiasm. Another component of word of mouth, influencers can drive enthusiasm around your brand.

“Winfluence” is a new approach to influencer marketing that improves your chances of success, because it shifts the perspective from the channel to the action.

For example, Jason argues that “most of the great word-of-mouth programs are influence marketing programs.” However, they may not be influence-r marketing programs, because they're not dedicated to the online space.

Dare to find influencer marketing outside the digital sphere

No matter your product or service, the goal of influencer marketing is to persuade your audience to take any action — but you need the right person’s influence to do this successfully. 

Have you ever considered they might not be online?

‘Influencer’ has become a general term for online influencers who create content and intend to persuade and build an audience. Yet, Jason says he wants to drop the ‘R’ so brands and solo PR pros can assess marketing goals from a broader perspective. 

That way, you’ll consider offline influence to answer these questions: Who influences the audience you’re trying to reach? Which channels impact them? What do you want the influence to accomplish?

If the channels your audience responds to most include LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram, that’s where you should aim your influencer marketing efforts. In fact, Jason says there are many industries where Instagrammers make the most sense, including beauty and fashion.

But depending on your geography, type of business and whether your audience frequents those online hubs, they might not be the right places to focus on — sometimes, local marketing is key.

In “Winfluence,” Jason shared a case study about the success he achieved by foregoing the digital landscape for his client, the University of Kentucky Healthcare. Rather than reach out to online influencers to lead his campaign, Falls targeted the community leaders who influence medical decision-makers in the central Kentucky area. 

“The mayor, CEO of the Urban League, local dentist — who's very popular — and music director at the Presbyterian church with a big congregation, these people have [an] impact on the direct community we're trying to reach,” explains Jason, and people respect their opinions. After combining their networks, he says, “It was a very successful campaign.”

Based on your goals, the best influencer could be the president of the local PTA or lobbyists to persuade the state legislator. Plus, they might even promote your brand for free or at discounted rates and create more authentic content. 

A community influencer may have less impact on the marketing campaign for a national brand that needs brand awareness, exposure, impressions and reach. 

In that case, Jason says there are tons of tools to use that’ll take your keywords and generate lists of influencers whose content incorporates them. But before you reach out to anyone, you have to vet each algorithm-produced result. 

“You've got to consume their content,” advises Jason. “Do they do sponsored content? Is it good? Is it persuasive? Does it look like their audience is actually going to take action?” 

If you want to ensure authentic content creation for a large campaign from an influencer with an engaged audience, don’t just chase a follower count, make sure their content is right for you and prioritize the channels your audience uses. 

How to succeed with influencers? Simple: Avoid these mistakes

Influencer marketing is a great way for brands and solo PR pros to show audiences how you can help them — as long as you avoid these three mistakes.

1. Chasing short-term reach

“The biggest mistake brands of all sizes make is they go after the reach,” warns Jason. While a larger following can sometimes be better, you always want to prioritize quality over quantity.

For example, an influencer with 25,000 engaged fans is much more worthwhile than one with 250,000 followers and light engagement.

Besides this, he says brands are also often too transactional with influencer marketing.

Rather than hire various influencers for one-off projects, Jason says it’s smarter and more beneficial to work with “10 or 12 really engaged, influential people” long-term that reach your audience. 

That way, you can build a relationship, take advantage of the consistency, align both your brands and achieve consistency with their audience. 

“If you do that over the long haul and build those relationships, you're going to get much more value out of each thing they do for you than you’d get out of paying them for a post and walking away,” he adds.

2. Overlooking built-in brand ambassadors

You have a wealth of influencers right in front of you, but you don’t tap into them: your employees.

The best part of engaging employees in your influencer marketing campaigns is they can share your brand with the audiences they’ve cultivated that are filled with people who listen to them. Plus, they can share an authentic perspective of being excited about their work and the brand they help support. 

Don’t make the mistake of hindering this avenue with restrictive rules and policies.

When you invest in your employees, “You can grow the footprint and the impact your employee base can have.” After all, if you take the employee, online and community influence and put it all together, Jason says, “Now you've got a campaign I would kitschily call a ‘Winfluence’ campaign.”

3. Only looking out for your ROI

With any influencer you hope to work with — whether they’re on or offline — you have to consider what's in it for them and their audience. 

“If you think of it in terms of, ‘I've got to do something for their audience,’” Jason says, “It takes you out of the corporate mindset of, ‘I have to sell stuff,’ and, ‘It's all about me.’”

By leading with a value exchange, you increase the quality of the pool of influencers available to you. Plus, it’s likely they’ll be more intentional about creating engagement around your brand in ways that produce desired outcomes. 

Without a focus on relationship-building, on the other hand, you risk hiring transactional influencers who create ineffective, fill-in-the-blank content — and people can always tell. 

Have you used an influencer to boost a marketing campaign? Share your results in the comments or on social media using #solopr! If you’re considering this, be sure to tell us why it intrigues you.

The post What Solo PR Pros Need to Know About Influencer Marketing and Maximizing Your Reach appeared first on Solo PR Pro.

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 09:15:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Living the Life Influencer Marketing Jason Falls Podcast Public Relations Solo Success
Finding the Inspiration to Pitch As arduous as 2020 was, it did provide some inspiring pitch examples you can learn from.

And if these could work during a pandemic and crazy election cycle, then you know they can help propel your results as we move into 2021.

The common thread among these examples is one thing that these savvy pitching pros did: They exercised their mere humanity and asked their media contacts a useful question, but only after they proved to be worthwhile sources.

So many pitches come across like a robot wrote them. Not only are they not personalized, but they’re also impersonal. Not these winners.

Mackenzie Nestor, an agency pro in Indiana, was reaching out to a Wall Street Journal writer. She explained how some of her clients could fit into his particular coverage, and then asked what sources he was seeking for upcoming stories. It helps that Mackenzie also admitted how her life had been disrupted during COVID — this made her a real person.

The Journal reporter responded and respectfully demurred on the suggestions Mackenzie had made but honored her homework by explaining what he did in fact need that week. She dropped everything, found a client that fit, and hustled on all the leg work.

His final email back to her: “Huge thanks! You came through in such a big way on this one, providing a fantastic example.”

Mackenzie’s client was featured in the story’s two photos, including one that ran on the front of the Business section of the paper, in print and online.

A real appeal

Taryn Scher, an independent pro in South Carolina, was stuck with a roster full of travel clients during a time when no one was traveling. Her very real pitch acknowledged the dearth of travel but cited research she’d done that made her confident that the information she shared was “relevant and timely and hopefully helpful to you — maybe now, maybe later.” She even asked the journalists to put them on their lists of go-to travel sources and signed off with a link to a feel-good pick-me-up story she had been a part of.

The results? More than a dozen placements, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Essence and Travel + Leisure. Plus several of those writers did put her on their “go-to” lists, and she got inquiries that resulted in three other clients running in nine more stories, and counting.

Taryn won the Overall Best Pitch of the Year competition that I run for my group coaching program, and Mackenzie earned Runner-up status. Other entrants landed The New York Times, CNN, Inc., Fast Company, Bloomberg, Real Simple, People and many other valuable outlets.

Hopefully, the results of these contestants give you renewed hope for your own pitching efforts as the year continues.

Michael Smart teaches PR professionals how to 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. Get more media pitching knowledge from him here.

[Photo credit: g-rock studio] ]]>
Fri, 09 Apr 2021 11:11:25 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Media Relations Indiana Pr Wall Street Journal South Carolina Journal Pitching Georgia Tech MacKenzie Taryn Media Training Taryn Scher PR Training Michael Smart Media Pitching Mackenzie Nestor Wall Street Journal Forbes Essence New York Times CNN Inc Fast Company Bloomberg
Spotlight on a Solo PR Pro: Meet Bernadette Adams Davis Bernadette Adams Davis pretty much always knew she wanted to work in the media industry. 

She began her career as an aspiring newspaper reporter, securing an internship at the Atlanta Journal Constitution before becoming a daily reporter in Greenville, South Carolina, not far from her hometown. Bernadette went on to hold positions at print publications like the Orlando Business Journal and worked as a website producer at a TV news station before deciding to make the jump to PR.

Now a veteran of the industry for the better part of 25 years, Bernadette has held PR-focused roles in a variety of institutions, including the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Florida A&M University College of Law and Walt Disney World Resort.

Her job at Disney was the last traditional employment she had before moving to Texas with her family and started a new adventure as a solo PR pro.

This move would become the catalyst behind the forming of Bernadette Davis Communications, the boutique communications agency she currently owns and operates with the assistance of one other full-time employee and anywhere from eight to 12 contract workers depending on the client load.

We sat down with Bernadette to discuss how her background in journalism impacted her career in PR, how she struck out on her own as a solo PR pro (and grew both her client and employee roster) and how she’s using her PR skills to help prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion practices at her local PRSA chapter.

Pivoting from journalism to PR

When reflecting on her decision to transition from working in journalism to a career in PR, Bernadette explained it was more of a slow burn than a sudden “a-ha” moment. 

At the time, the PR profession was just starting to become more widely known. The more she read about the PR industry, the more opportunity she saw there.

“I knew that journalism was changing,” she said. “I thought that this career move would be an opportunity for me to branch out and do something different, and that there might be more opportunities than in the journalism industry.”

Her experience in journalism certainly helped propel her career in PR, though. 

Aside from having a passion for storytelling and a knack for journalistic writing, her time as a reporter trained her in key transferable skills, including the ability to stay agile. 

“One of the pieces of feedback I’ve gotten is that I can turn around messages fairly quickly,” she said. “A lot of that comes from my background as a reporter where often it's, okay I didn’t know about this an hour ago, but you want me to write about it? Sure, I can do that.

Despite some of the similarities between the two professions, Bernadette remarked that she was surprised by how different and vast the public relations industry really is. 

“People tend to think of PR as just one thing, but it’s so much more,” she said. “It’s doing a lot of different things in partnership with other functional areas and forms of communication, like marketing and advertising.” 

Starting as a solopreneur

When she first moved to Texas, Bernadette didn’t set out to create a PR agency right away. 

Bernadette Davis public relations professional

In fact, she was looking forward to an opportunity to take a pause from the traditional 9 to 5 lifestyle in favor of something with greater flexibility, so she could focus on caring for her family. 

“It was great to take a pause,” she said. “I really had been working probably more than 40 hours a week, and trying to manage my personal life at the same time, including caring for my children and an aging parent. I needed a breather, and I thought that freelancing would give me something to do while offering a little more control over my time.”

As she began her search for freelancing opportunities, she received an email from an old college classmate in need of some PR help for a startup he was working on. This former classmate would become Bernadette’s very first client. 

“They were the very first check I received,” Bernadette recalled. “I didn’t realize at first that they had written it to my business name, not my personal name. I hadn’t even opened a bank account yet! So I had to hurry up and open an account just to cash this check.”

Today, Bernadette Davis Communications is a boutique agency that helps clients to extend the capacity of their corporate communications team. Without adding additional employees to their roster, clients can receive senior level support for  multiple communications needs, including assistance in developing and maintaining their diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Today, the agency has clients from entertainment brands to senior living organizations to museums, but Bernadette has always been focused on slow and steady growth. 

In fact, she didn’t bring on her second full-time employee until October 2020, about six years after starting the business.

Aside from her experience in PR and journalism, she credits a lot of her success to her growing network of other solopreneurs. 

“I did a lot of asking around and using groups like Solo PR Pro, which I joined probably the first year after starting my business,” she said. “There was a lot of, ‘hey, how do you guys do this?’ and learning from their experiences.”

She also encourages other solo PR pros to spend time building those relationships, because you never know what they might lead to. 

“Relationships are so important to growing a solo PR agency, because we’re small,” she said. “The best situation, I think, is when we are brought in by people who already know us and can vouch for our work. If you have people who can get your foot in the door, that’s helpful.”

She encourages solo PR pros to start building their network as soon as possible, saying it will likely be the foundation of the future of their business.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within PRSA and beyond

Throughout the past year, protests over racial injustice in America have put a spotlight on the need for better diversity, equity and inclusion practices.

People within the PR and journalism industries in particular have been working diligently to foster open conversations and active storytelling about the experiences of different types of people, as well as increase diversity in positions of leadership.

Bernadette’s home PRSA chapter in Dallas has been hard at work on this topic as well over the past few years, and recently asked her to step into the role of vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, a position she was excited to accept.

“We have a very diverse board of directors already, because there were people before me who stepped up and did a lot of the work,” she explained. “I wanted to come in and build upon that.”

She’s already working with her committee on a new initiative to better understand Dallas area PR agencies and what they’ve been doing in the realm of DEI in the last year. The goal is to identify what additional needs they have and how her PRSA chapter can be a resource for them, whether they need assistance hiring more diverse candidates or figuring out their communications strategy.

As part of this effort, Bernadette is spending time talking to university relations contacts to get directly in touch with graduating students just entering the PR industry.

“That new generation wants to see what companies are doing, they want to talk about it in their interview,” she said. “And I want to know about that and take that back to these companies and say, ‘hey, we’re asking you these questions and so is your workforce pool.’”

The post Spotlight on a Solo PR Pro: Meet Bernadette Adams Davis appeared first on Solo PR Pro.

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 09:05:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Texas Disney America Pr Dallas Communications Atlanta Journal Constitution PRSA Bernadette Greenville South Carolina Solo Life Living the Life Orlando Business Journal Solo Pr Pros Bernadette Adams Davis Bernadette Davis
2021 Analyst Value Survey shows analysts’ growing value (4 updates) Looking at early data from the 2021 Analyst Value Survey, last year’s changes in analyst use are deepening. I gave a run-through of the Q1...

The post 2021 Analyst Value Survey shows analysts’ growing value (4 updates) appeared first on Influencer Relations.

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 05:57:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Pr Analyst Value Survey Analyst Firm Awards 2021AFAs
We Are Not Invisible On March 16, eight innocent lives were taken in violent shootings in Atlanta. On March 29, many saw a 65-year-old Filipina American woman be brutally assaulted as onlookers stood by and did nothing. Another assault was also captured on video on a New York City subway train as an Asian American man was assaulted to the point of unconsciousness. This occurred on a train with a number of other passengers, also doing nothing.

Seeing these acts against other members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community (AAPI), which I am a part of, both saddens and infuriates me.

Being invisible to fellow Americans and countrymen is a lonely feeling. While the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is rarely taught in our public education system, the rich contributions the AAPI community has made to our great country are endless. Yet, despite AAPIs being in America for several centuries, we are often seen as the “perpetual foreigner.”

I was born and raised in the Midwest to parents who came to America when the United States opened immigration for well-educated immigrants from diverse countries in Asia and Latin America. In my house, we grew up in both cultures, trying to assimilate and learn what it meant to be American, while maintaining cultural traditions from the Philippine Islands.

Growing up, kids would tease me and make fun of my nose because it wasn’t Anglo in shape or chant the playground rhyme, “Chinese, Japanese, look at these d*rty knees” and then pull their eyelids back. I didn’t understand why they thought this was funny. For one, I am Filipino American and yes, my great-grandfather was Fukien Chinese but growing up, I really only knew my Filipino background (cultural traditions, language, food, dance).

In high school, a teacher assumed I was slacking in algebra because “you’re Asian, you should be excellent in math.” I took Kumon and was tutored on the abacus by my Chinese uncle on Saturday mornings. I made sure to stay visible and even produced a Filipino cultural dance show for my high-school student body.

Later, I went out to California for college and to follow a dream of working in Hollywood. My college job was telemarketing sales for a bank. One day, a client came in (who I only interacted with via telephone) and with a surprised look said, “Wow, you speak really good English.” Again, I didn’t understand this because I was born in America, and grew up in a primarily white traditional Midwestern town, where ethnic diversity was defined as Black and white, with a few Latino, Middle Eastern and Asian Americans in the mix. (Back then, AAPIs were all clumped together as either Chinese or Japanese — no one really knew about other AAPI ethnicities.)

Throughout my career as a communications professional in media and entertainment, I have heard stereotypical jokes and other misperceptions in jest, what are now called microaggressions. And, while I would laugh it off, fake a smile and pretend it didn’t bother me, these “backhanded compliments” would actually sting. They would compound, and sometimes I would try to correct the situation or jokingly reply back why the comment wasn’t funny. Ultimately, I knew what I was trying to do wasn’t always effective. After awhile, I couldn’t stay quiet. I knew I had to use my voice and I needed to be visible about it. And, I did.

Using our voices

On March 16, I was proud to use my voice as the producer for the PRSA/PRSSA “Building Bridges: Standing & Speaking Up Against Anti-Asian Racism” virtual panel. I secured the guest speakers — all leaders whose voices I respect — plus, PRSSA student leader voices were included as the moderators. And then, only a few hours later, breaking news alerts of the tragic violence in Atlanta was out. Eight people were killed, six of whom were Asian American women, and one other person was wounded. I was crushed.

While the sadness of the rise in anti-Asian hate during the pandemic has been emotionally trying, this unbelievably horrific violent act made me feel helpless; it made me feel like all the work I do to build coalition and to build unity doesn’t mean anything. I cried and then I became angry. I knew I could not allow this hate to deter me in doing what I know is right. I knew I had to keep using my voice and I needed to keep staying visible, for myself and the community.

As a member of the PRSA National Diversity & Inclusion Committee and a 20-year member of PRSA, via PRSSA, I am reminded every day that we cannot be shy in using our voices. We must stay visible for the PR, communications and marketing profession; we must stay visible for the veterans who paved the way before us; and we must stay visible for those rising behind us.

We are not invisible. Our voices and our stories must be heard and seen. Until we can unite as one, can we truly fight what divides us?

I have always been an advocate for diversity and inclusion, for making sure our voices and our stories from marginalized and underrepresented communities are heard and seen, especially in media and entertainment; and as communicators, we’re also a part of that storytelling. Our profession helps to shape perceptions. These perceptions are often the reality for many. And, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are being as authentic as possible in telling our stories. I say “our,” for all communities of color, for the LGBTQ+ community, for the disability community, for the Muslim community, for the Jewish community, for ALL of us — we must continue to build coalition, to build unity, to build solidarity — because it will take our collective power to fight the hate, racism, xenophobia and the prejudice. It will take our visibility and our voices to overcome.

Finally, as an AAPI community leader, I invite you to join us in standing up and speaking out against anti-Asian racism. It’s time to go beyond the hashtags, as my fellow PRSA Orange County Chapter leader Ted Nguyen said during the Anti-Asian Hate March in Koreatown in Los Angeles on March 27, “[T]he moment of silence is over; it’s a movement of action. We need action today to save lives. Because when Asians can not be protected in America, no group is protected in America.”

Learn more at Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Plus, here are helpful tools on what to do when you see anti-Asian harassment.

Laarni Rosca Dacanay is a nationally recognized communications professional in media and entertainment. Her background includes NBCUniversal Corporate Diversity, Focus Features and NBC. She serves on the PBS SoCal Community Advisory Board, is co-producer of the Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience and is an active member of the Television Academy, Asian American Journalists Association and PRSA. Based in Southern California, you can follow her at @laarnid1 on Twitter.

[Photo credit: ringo chiu/] ]]>
Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:11:54 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Asia Hollywood Nbc California New York City America Los Angeles Atlanta Diversity Pr United States Latin America Thought Leadership Southern California Midwest Pacific Islanders Koreatown Pacific Islander Philippine Islands PRSSA Kumon Diversity and Inclusion Laarni Rosca Dacanay Ted Nguyen PRSA National Diversity Inclusion Committee Anti-asian Racism Stop Asian Hate PR diversity Fukien Chinese PRSA Orange County Chapter NBCUniversal Corporate Diversity Focus Features PBS SoCal Community Advisory Board PRSA Based
Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Visit to read the rest of this article. ]]> Tue, 06 Apr 2021 09:38:09 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Pr Beauty Shampoo and Conditioner Foamie 5 Solo PR Pros Share The Top Tools They Use on a Daily Basis Just because you’re a solo PR pro doesn’t mean you’re in this alone. There’s a whole community of like minded people you can lean on.

In this monthly series, we ask five Solo PR Pro members to share their best tips, tricks and resources for managing their solo business.

5 solo PR pros share their most-used tools

This month, we asked our panel of solo PR pros to share the top tools they use on a daily basis.

Read on for their helpful tips.

1. Nicole Marshall, Curated Communications

I've been operating as a solo for more than five years now, and have always struggled with tracking my time spent on various accounts. For some clients, the hourly ones, this has been a particularly big challenge when it comes invoice time. But also, for those retainer clients, where I have not been charging enough for my work, I haven't been able to show the backup I should in order to ask for a fee increase. I got started with using Toggl this year, and I have finally turned the corner on this. Thanks to the Toggl Track desktop app, I can easily pivot my time tracker in and out of various client accounts as I bounce from assignment to assignment. I believe they offer planning and hiring tools as well, but so far, the Toggl Track tool has been the one changing the game for me in terms of my organization and management this year. 

Runners up also go to Canva, Cision, the Adobe Suite, and Quickbooks! Definitely couldn't get through the work week without at least a little support from these guys, too. 

2. Laura Frnka-Davis, APR, Principal, LFD Communications

As a solo public relations professional, there are several tools I can’t live without! A reliable media database (Cision) is key and probably one of the most often used PR tools in my toolbox. A file sharing mechanism (DropBox) to share large files like photos and videos is a must and a proofreading tool like Grammarly also comes in handy on a daily basis. A media monitoring system (CustomScoop) and good ole fashioned Google alerts are also in my list of go-tos. As a solo PR professional without a ton to spend on fancy bells and whistles, I’m always looking for the most cost-effective solution to get the job done.

3. Lynn Harris Medcalf, MA, APR, Lynn Harris Medcalf PR Consulting

I am on Microsoft Teams all day. It has really replaced the need to text and sometimes even email for quick answers to questions. It has sped up response time to pending issues considerably. I have the app on my phone and can customize notifications, make calls and even join meetings, although the interface for mobile isn't as user-friendly as the web app. (Microsoft: Get on that). It's much more than video conferencing, it's really a suite of communication and productivity tools all bundled together. Two of my clients use it, so I don’t have to front the cost, which is also a bonus.

4. Michael Ares, MDA Corporate Marketing, LLC

I spend the bulk of my time identifying potential storylines and Op-Ed opportunities in specific market sectors where my clients' thought leadership and subject matter expertise can be brought to bear. That means staying extremely close to the news and following those reporters writing about key trends on an hourly basis throughout the day.

Two “tools” I use constantly in these efforts are LinkedIn and various “as it happens” Google News Alerts.

  • I use LinkedIn because I find that site to be a treasure trove of what’s being discussed and by whom. By following leading experts in a given field – including my clients’ competitors and partners – I get access to a running discourse that provides opportunities for my clients to weigh in. I’ve also found that reporters use LinkedIn in much the same manner, multiplying the value of engagement opportunities by expanding my media list of active reporters.
  •  I use Google News Alerts simply because if it doesn’t register as news on Google, most of my clients’ target audience won’t see it. Yes, it means my in-box is constantly clogged up with a lot of random articles that are of little importance, but deleting them is a small price to pay for those gems that offer a unique opportunity for engagement.
5. Bill Threlkeld, Threlkeld Communications, Inc.

While I still use many of the standard PR tools such as Cision and Muck Rack, I am gravitating more and more towards AI- and SEO-based digital PR tools.


  • SEMRush & Moz — For understanding the market dynamics (ie keywords, content themes) that are trending around my clients’ core products and services.
  • MarketMuse — An AI-based content development service that optimizes the process of content creation to match up against competitive content such as blogs and thought leadership articles.
  • Google Data Studio — A free Google service for building dynamic dashboards and metrics.
  • BuzzSumo — a clip and competitive landscape research tool.

We want to hear from you! What are your favorite tools? Leave your response in the comments section below or tag us on social media using #solopr.

Photo credit: Copyright: 123rf

The post 5 Solo PR Pros Share The Top Tools They Use on a Daily Basis appeared first on Solo PR Pro.

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 09:15:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Google Microsoft Pr Grammarly Tech Tools Productivity Tools Google Data Studio Maximizing Efficiencies Solo Pr Pros Pr Tools Laura Frnka Davis APR Principal LFD Communications Image Creation Tools Nicole Marshall Curated Communications CustomScoop Lynn Harris Medcalf MA APR Lynn Harris Medcalf Michael Ares MDA Corporate Marketing LLC Bill Threlkeld Threlkeld Communications Inc
Report: Companies Face a New Era of Scrutiny on Political Activity Companies are facing ever-greater scrutiny of their political activities, with some of America’s biggest businesses still grappling with a response to January’s Capitol riot. As companies reevaluate their role in the political sphere, a new report by The Conference Board highlights considerations and best practices regarding corporate political activity.

While companies have long engaged in politics, a new era of stakeholder scrutiny, social media and political polarization has propelled corporate political activity — and the risks that come with it — into the spotlight. Political activity can pose increasingly significant risks for companies, including the perception that political contributions — and other forms of activity — are at odds with core company values. In this new era, careful preparation, close coordination, and effective communication both internally and externally are key.

The report’s insights stem primarily from a roundtable discussion featuring executives from more than 30 major U.S. companies, hosted by The Conference Board ESG Center in the wake of the 2020 U.S. election. Insights are also from the Center’s recent survey of 84 large public and private firms on how companies and their employee-funded PACs responded to the Capitol riot and objections to the election certification.

Recommendations and insights for what’s ahead on corporate political activity include:

Prepare for backlash.

  • When it comes to taking a stand on political and social issues, a small number of companies are opting out entirely. That is not realistic, however, for many companies.
  • Have a clear set of standards and guidelines that you can use in making and defending any positions you take.

Align political activity with corporate values.

  • Companies should consider how lobbying and political activities align with their stated values.
  • Simplify political activity. The more complex it is, the more difficult it can be to manage reputational and other risks.
  • Thoroughly vet third-party organizations to which you donate money.
  • Consider involving the corporate social responsibility function in reviewing political activity, to ensure that public policy positions align with broader corporate citizenship positions.

Engage and educate stakeholders.

  • Educate employees and the public about your company’s activity, as well as the distinction between this activity and that of an affiliated Political Action Committee (PAC), which is separately governed and funded by employee contributions, not corporate funds.
  • Consider engaging employees in meetings with policymakers, which can improve the effectiveness of those discussions and help educate employees about the process.

Increase coordination internally and with third parties.

  • Ensure the ways your company engages in political activity are coordinated — and consistent — throughout all levels of the organization.
  • Coordination with respect to lobbying is particularly important as new state and local regulations are forcing more and faster disclosures about lobbying activities.

 Enhance governance and reassess the company’s role in the political arena.

  • Provide your board with a comprehensive overview of the firm’s and PAC’s political activity and consider the role the board should play, including expanding oversight from financial contributions to include lobbying.
  • Update the criteria and processes for PAC giving, including addressing the issues arising from the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“The environment for corporate political activity is becoming exponentially more complex,” said Paul Washington, report co-author and executive director of The Conference Board ESG Center. “Companies are being asked to engage on more issues, through more mechanisms, and at more levels of government than ever before. Every action is being scrutinized in a polarized environment. This may be a time for companies to streamline their political activity as much as possible, focusing on what truly matters and reducing their risk profile.”

[Photo credit: nicole glass photography] ]]>
Mon, 05 Apr 2021 11:02:41 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs America Crisis Communications Crisis Management Pr PAC Thought Leadership Capitol Conference Board Paul Washington Political Action Committee PAC Conference Board ESG Center
Amazon says it supports expanding voting rights but it gave $500,000 to lawmakers who oppose those efforts Amazon funds candidates who support policies that have made it harder for Americans - particularly African Americans - to vote.

Jon Cherry/Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • Amazon said in a statement Tuesday that it supports efforts to "protect and expand" voting rights.
  • But the company spent more than $500,000 last election cycle funding politicians who oppose those efforts.
  • It also gave money to the Texas GOP, which has been passing restrictive voting laws for years.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Earlier this week, voting rights activists called for boycotts of Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, and Home Depot, blasting the Georgia-based companies for not doing enough to oppose a controversial new state law that they condemned as voter suppression.

While all three issued generic statements in support of voting rights, critics accused the multibillion-dollar corporations, which have massive influence in national- and state-level politics, of failing to back up those words with actions - or their pocketbooks.

As Republican-led legislatures advance similar bills in Texas and other states, some companies have tried to get ahead of the backlash by issuing statements condemning efforts to restrict voting rights.

But many have a poor track record when it comes to supporting the lawmakers behind those efforts.

Read more: How Black Americans still face disproportionate barriers to the ballot box in 2020

More than 70 Black business leaders, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Microsoft, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon all came out with statements opposing bills like the one Georgia passed, as did Amazon.

"It has been fifty-six years since the Voting Rights Act became law, yet efforts to disenfranchise Black people and other minorities continue to this day. The ability to vote is one of the most prized fundamental rights in our American democracy, and Amazon supports policies that protect and expand those rights," Amazon PR and public policy chief Jay Carney said in a statement on Twitter.

Carney, who previously worked as President Barack Obama's press secretary, praised efforts to expand voting rights in Virginia, where Amazon has a major presence and therefore plenty of reasons to stay in the good graces of its Democratic governor and state legislature.

"We oppose efforts in other states aimed at restricting the ability of Americans to vote," Carney added.

But that's not quite accurate, at least in terms of which politicians Amazon has supported. (Amazon did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story).

Amazon spent $18.7 million on lobbying last year, an increase of 30% since 2018, making it the biggest spender in the US other than Facebook. Those expenditures help Amazon convince current members of Congress to pass laws that will benefit its business, like tax cuts and subsidies or bigger budgets for the government agencies it contracts with.

The company also gives money to congressional members and candidates to try to keep friendlier lawmakers in power or force unfriendly ones out. Amazon does that through its corporate Political Action Committee, which spent $1.9 million during the 2019-2020 election cycle alone, according to Insider's analysis of Federal Election Commission data via Open Secrets.

Of the $1.3 million that Amazon's PAC gave to individuals, $471,000 went to lawmakers who voted against the For the People Act, which would expand access to the ballot box, voter registration opportunities, and mail-in and early voting, as well as creating increased transparency in the US' campaign finance system.

And many of those lawmakers have a long history of opposing efforts to expand voting rights, both at the federal and state level.

Of the 186 Republican House members who voted in 2019 against restoring key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which would have made it harder for states like Georgia to pass voter suppression laws, Amazon supported 143 members, giving them a total of $510,000.

Just last May, California Rep. Darrell Issa sued the state for sending mail-in ballots to residents so they could vote safely during the pandemic. Amazon gave Issa $5,000 last election cycle.

According to data from the Texas Ethics Commission, Amazon also gave $15,000 last year to Republican lawmakers in the state, despite years of the party passing notoriously restrictive and discriminatory voter ID laws.

Voting rights have been a hyperpartisan issue for years, with Republicans arguing that restrictive voting rules are needed to prevent widespread fraud. But independent experts within and outside of the US have proved dozens of times that fraud is extremely rare and has never affected the outcome of an election and that bills restricting voting rights disproportionately impact people of color.

Yet Amazon has continued to support GOP lawmakers who even opposed Congress' last successful bipartisan voting rights law in 2002, the Help America Vote Act. Amazon gave a combined $53,500 to 12 of the members who fought that effort and are still in Congress over the past two years.

Following the attempted insurrection on January 6, civil rights activists and consumers pressured companies to stop financially supporting the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted against certifying states' Electoral College results.

Dozens did, including Amazon, which had given $253,500 to 76 of those members, though it only promised to "suspend" those contributions, leaving the door open for the company to potentially resume its support closer to the 2022 congressional races.

Whether Amazon stands by its promise to oppose efforts "aimed at restricting the ability of Americans to vote" remains to be seen. But its spending record so far shows that it has often supported the lawmakers behind those exact efforts.

Read more: AT&T and Cigna are funding Republican groups led by election objectors they had promised to stop supporting

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Tyler Sonnemaker)]

Sat, 03 Apr 2021 13:11:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Amazon Home Depot Politics Texas Congress California Virginia US Barack Obama Trends Georgia Pr Gop House Cigna Tim Cook Money In Politics Carney Jeff Bezos Republican Darrell Issa Jamie Dimon Voting Rights Jpmorgan Federal Election Commission Electoral College Issa Jay Carney Texas GOP Political Action Committee Tech Insider HQ2 Facebook Those Tyler Sonnemaker Corporate PAC Spending 2021 Georgia voting bill Coca Cola Delta Airlines American Airlines Southwest Airlines Microsoft Twitter Carney Texas Ethics Commission Amazon
Painting a Picture of the U.S. Military: Lessons From Public Affairs Officers This blog is based on an  in the Public Relations Journal, a peer-reviewed academic publication presented by the Institute for Public Relations and PRSA.

Disclaimer: The conclusions and opinions expressed in this study represent the views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, Department of the Navy or the Department of Homeland Security.

Have you ever flown in the cockpit of a military jet on some super-secret military mission? Seen a sunset from the deck of an aircraft carrier at some undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean?

Considering that less than 0.05 percent of Americans are on active duty in the U.S. military right now, chances are slim you’ve done any of this.

And yet, when you read that first line, I’m willing to bet you painted a picture in your head of the scenes described. Pull up that picture in your mind’s eye again — flying in a military jet or transiting through the ocean.

What shaped that image? MoviesPhotographsArt.

Beyond their primary role as conduits between the American public and the military, military public affairs officers often want to build relationships with entertainment stakeholders.

Working with public affairs officers who (at the time) were earning their master’s degrees from San Diego State University, I conducted an experiment to measure the media effects of entertainment public relations. We narrowed our target to examine the impact that the military-entertainment complex of military-approved projects receiving technical support from the U.S. Department of Defense had on viewers’ perceptions of their relationship with the U.S. Navy.

The experiment used real-world Hollywood productions with U.S. Navy plots as stimuli:

  • We randomly assigned 80 subjects to view an extended clip of “The Last Ship,” a show that received technical assistance through entertainment PR efforts from the U.S. Navy and had access to real Navy ships and bases. The Navy reviewed scripts and provided feedback to increase accuracy in portraying the sea service, but the production ultimately made all decisions.
  • Another 84 subjects viewed an extended clip of “The Last Resort,” a show that did not have any interaction with the U.S. Navy nor had access to U.S. Navy resources and was produced independently.
  • A control group of 76 participants received an unrelated clip to watch, having been randomly assigned to this condition.

Looking at viewers’ relationship with the U.S. Navy, our data gives an early indication that some relational factors can be affected by exposure to entertainment PR efforts. While we hesitate to say entertainment PR (such as providing technical support to Hollywood) can strengthen a relationship, we do see that independently-produced portrayals fail to improve relationships with the U.S. Navy.

Examining what leads to the relationship in the first place, we conducted regressions to predict the two relationship factors. The public’s assessment of an organization’s reputation predicts Communicated Relational Commitment or a commitment to maintaining a relationship with the organization. Authenticity and credibility predicted Responsiveness and Conversational Voice (categorized as enjoyable, honest and/or positive communication) as an indicator of the relationship viewers perceived with the U.S. Navy.

This experiment shows that practitioners can positively influence relationships when they engage in entertainment PR efforts, but we aren’t willing to put all of our PR efforts on that ship just yet.

Practitioners who support Hollywood portrayals of their organization do shape the accuracy and quality of their organizations. However, technical support doesn’t turn a Hollywood project into a documentary or propaganda piece. Even with technical support, characters and experiences are dramatized for the screen.

Next time you see a movie about the military, put on your PR practitioner’s hat during intermission. Do you think public affairs officers provided technical support? Did it result in a favorable view of the service or make you feel more connected to the military?

Kaye Sweetser, Ph.D., APR+M, Fellow PRSA, is a professor of public relations at San Diego State University and the coordinator of their School of Journalism & Media Studies Military PAO Graduate Program. Follow her on LinkedIn or JMS on Twitter.

[Photo credit: kraft74] ]]>
Fri, 02 Apr 2021 11:11:53 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Hollywood Navy Pr Military Indian Ocean Thought Leadership Jms U S Department of Defense U S Navy San Diego State University PRSA U S Military Institute for Public Relations Public Relations Journal Kaye Sweetser Military Public Affairs PR Journal U S Government Department of Defense Department Department of Homeland Security Have School of Journalism Media Studies Military PAO
A leaked Amazon document reveals what its army of warehouse workers are and aren't allowed to say on social media

Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

  • Amazon's army of warehouse employees trained to defend the company on Twitter is at it again.
  • The employee accounts follow a standard format, and tend to resurface amid negative press coverage.
  • A newly leaked Amazon document reveals what the workers are and aren't allowed to discuss.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Amazon's army of warehouse workers paid to be on Twitter is notorious for showing up in conversations with the intent of defending Amazon.

The workers are also notorious for having eerily robotic speech patterns.

"I can assure you that I'm a real account," a recent response from one such worker said. "I'm part of a program that lets me come on here & have conversations about what working for Amazon has been like for me. I'd like to know why you feel we are treated/paid bad. I've been so happy here & the pay/benefits are great."

There's a good reason for those speech patterns, according to a leaked Amazon document obtained by The Intercept. Amazon has a set of guidelines for what those employees can and cannot say, and even offers examples of how to respond.

First and foremost is that "FCAs," or "Fulfillment Center Ambassadors," cannot respond to anything regarding unionization, according to the document.

That's particularly notable given this week's unionization vote at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. If it passes, it would be the first major union of Amazon workers.

Additionally, they can't respond to direct media requests without approval from Amazon's public relations department. They are also barred from responding to "compound" criticisms, or a tweet that also contains a topic that Amazon PR has not approved the FCAs to comment on.

The document offers an example of a tweet that FCAs should not respond to based on such criteria: "@Amazon why are you still advertising on breitbart?! Between that and barely paying your employees, I'm ready to quit shopping with you," the example said.

Similarly enlightening, the document offers a variety of examples of the type of social media posts that FC Ambassadors should interact with - and the kind of responses the company finds appropriate.

The first example directly addresses the during shifts to save time: "Example: 'Daily Sun: Amazon employees forced to urinate in bottles during their shift'."

Amazon driver thumb pee bottle An Amazon driver shared this photo with Insider of a bottle of pee inside a delivery van last week.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The example response in the document reads almost exactly like some of the responses from FC Ambassadors.

"No, that's not right," the example says. "I worked in an Amazon FC for over four years and never saw anyone urinate in a bottle. There are easily accessible bathrooms in every one of our buildings I've ever been in."

Amazon's FC Ambassador program isn't new.

Back in 2018, Amazon admitted to paying a small army of employees to tweet positive things about the company. The document obtained by The Intercept is from 2018, when the program was formed under the code name "Veritas" (Latin for "truth).

It established the foundation of the program, and its purpose: "To address speculation and false assertions in social media and online forums about the quality of the FC associate experience, we are creating a new social team staffed with active, tenured FC employees, who will be empowered to respond in polite - but blunt - ways to every untruth," the document says.

FC Ambassadors are paid the same hourly rate they get for their warehouse work, Amazon says, and it's an "entirely voluntary" program.

Since the program started in 2018, a variety of accounts originally associated with it have been deactivated. And in the last few weeks, a handful of new FC accounts have sprung up as reports surfaced once again of employees having to urinate in bottles to preserve work time. The vast majority of FC Ambassador replies on social media specifically address these reports.

When reached for comment, Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski said: "FC Ambassadors are employees who work in our fulfillment centers and choose to share their personal experience - the FC ambassador program helps show what it's actually like inside our fulfillment centers, along with the public tours we provide. We encourage anyone who wants to see for themselves to sign up for a tour at"

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (, or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: (Ben Gilbert)]

Thu, 01 Apr 2021 09:52:08 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Amazon Twitter Marketing Trends Social Media Public Relations Pr Retail Warehouse Veritas Fc Ben Gilbert Tech Insider Bessemer Alabama GETTY IMAGES Amazon Intercept Amazon Fulfillment Center Amazon Fulfillment Center Amazon FC FC Ambassadors Smith Collection Gado Getty Lisa Levandowski INA FASSBENDER AFP
Eleven early nominees announced for 2021 Analyst Firm Awards Eleven lucky analyst firms can make space on the shelf. Although the Analyst Value Survey remains open, our analysis of hundreds of early responses...

The post Eleven early nominees announced for 2021 Analyst Firm Awards appeared first on Influencer Relations.

Wed, 31 Mar 2021 14:30:02 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Pr Analyst Value Survey Analyst Firm Awards 2021AFAs
Why DE&I Needs to Be More Than an HR Initiative We are living in an interesting point in history, a turning point really, where you would be hard-pressed to find an organization that isn’t focusing efforts and resources, at least to some degree, on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).

Research proves that DE&I is critical to the success, profitability, employee retention, client satisfaction and overall longevity of any organization, and companies everywhere are establishing best practices that go well beyond an EEO statement on a job description.

Remember that diversity goes beyond race and ethnicity — it includes gender identity, orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ability, religious beliefs and more. DE&I is hugely important to an organization’s internal culture too, and those in leadership positions are becoming staunch advocates for diversity.

Within the PR space, more clients are demanding to see diversity within the ranks of their service provider teams.

Despite the gravity and importance of DE&I work, the bulk of this work tends to fall on the shoulders of none other than — you guessed it — human resources teams. More so, women and minorities get tapped disproportionately to spearhead these initiatives.

Even with the dawn of the chief diversity officer role in many organizations, it must be stressed that DE&I needs to be more than another HR initiative, a check-box program or a lofty “nice to have.”

If anything, everyone should be responsible for championing diversity and inclusion to some degree, with full executive-level support and dedicated teams, all working in conjunction with human resources and talent acquisition — a horizontal effort, in other words, not only a vertical one. In any industry, we all need to play a role in creating more equitable organizations.

In public relations, the communicator plays a role of ever-increasing prominence in DE&I. When you look at the PR landscape, however, there is a significant lack of diversity. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the PR profession in the United States is predominantly white at just over 80 percent, less than 9 percent Black or African American, less than 13 percent Hispanic or Latino, and less than 7 percent Asian American.

Considering how the country is becoming more multicultural at a rapid pace, this is both interesting and problematic. We should be thinking about who PR professionals serve, and furthermore, we should look to see if their teams are diverse and representative of those they serve.

When looking at these daunting figures, how can we begin to go about impacting needed change? You have to look at leadership and restructure as needed. You have to invest in education. You have to actively recruit with diversity top of mind. And, you have to provide meaningful opportunities and recognition, while celebrating and encouraging diversity of thought.

Words matter, and so does the team. Think about it: How many failed campaigns have you seen recently that were completely tone-deaf, ill-timed and simply ended up creating a serious reputational crisis for a company? Had the team responsible been more diverse, perhaps the error could have been avoided entirely. It’s not enough to have good intentions.

Consumers today expect the most from brands, and it is your responsibility, dear communicator, to help guide these organizations in the moment, using the right language to deliver a message both relevant and empathetic, to reach increasingly diverse and discerning audiences.

An opportunity — and responsibility 

PR professionals have a unique opportunity — a responsibility, frankly — to steer massive impact to an organization’s DE&I efforts, both internally and externally. Instead of picking and choosing DE&I elements to include in your messaging, put DE&I at the forefront of your strategic planning. Take a look around the table and learn to truly listen, adapt to the market and widen the narrative.

Impacting change is indeed a challenge, but this is an exciting moment to get involved. It is time to check your biases at the door (unconscious or otherwise). If you don’t know where to start, then seek an external vendor for guidance. There is an incredible wealth of service providers and educators out there to get your team off on the right foot concerning everything about DE&I in the workplace.

What it comes down to is this: The world is watching, and our children are paying attention. The PR profession must set a higher bar, embrace diversity in their teams and the societies they serve, and work to actively address inequities.

It’s never too late to integrate the principles and values of DE&I into your work, to enhance both your organization’s cultural competencies and those of your clients and constituents.

Christina Stokes is the vice president and director of talent acquisition at Rubenstein. She is passionate about refining and enhancing employee engagement, company culture, and diversity and inclusion efforts. She is the “Hire & Seek” columnist for Strategies & Tactics. Connect with her on Twitter: @NewYorkRoses.

[Illustration credit: lebendigger] ]]>
Wed, 31 Mar 2021 11:04:16 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Diversity Pr United States EEO U S Bureau of Labor Statistics Diversity and Inclusion Diversity in Public Relations Rubenstein She DE I Research Christina Stokes
How Solo PR Professionals Can Use 2021’s Most Buzzed About App, Clubhouse Clubhouse is a fairly new social app that's taken the world by storm. Part podcast, part TED Talk, the high-profile app can be a great resource for PR professionals. 

Clubhouse is in its early days, but adoption has been fast and furious and, in my experience thus far, it’s proving to be an interesting and fruitful tool for PR professionals. Whether you are choosing to moderate a discussion or simply listen in (there is no obligation to talk), it can be valuable. I’ve found it to be super addicting, and many evenings I pop in my earbuds and listen to conversations for hours on end, when I should be asleep (oops!).

3 reasons PR pros should join Clubhouse

Three main drivers are behind my A+ rating for Clubhouse for PR professionals: media insight, networking and business development. 

Let’s dig in. 

1. Refine pitches and discover media nuggets

There are so many rooms available in Clubhouse, so it’s only natural that many rooms (and many topics within rooms) will gravitate toward current events. As a PR professional, hearing multiple perspectives on relevant news is incredibly helpful when identifying important happenings in the news cycle. 

I’ve been in a few rooms where conversation around events has even allowed me the opportunity to workshop a pitch in real-time with other PR pros. This is valuable insight you may not normally receive, especially if you’re a freelancer. The ability to talk through your pitch and have other professionals give you relevant and timely feedback based on their recent experiences with the media or their take on relevant news hooks is gold. 

Additionally, Clubhouse is a great forum to talk about media outlets and topics that specific journalists are covering. If you have 50 PR professionals in a Clubhouse room, chances are they are working with a variety of different industries and types of news. With the different focus areas, this often leads to a lot of discussion about which publications reporters are currently at, what they’re covering and what they’re interested in, which can only help in building your media list. Reporter left an outlet? Somebody is bound to mention it. NYT hired a new reporter? Somebody probably recently worked with them. And if not, you can ask!

Which leads me to my next point…

2. Rub virtual elbows with some of the best in the business

Whether it’s with a reporter, other PR professionals or potential clients or partners, Clubhouse is a great place to build and nurture relationships without a formal discussion or process. Because of the free flowing conversations that often take place, Cubhouse is a great tool to find other business leaders for potential partnerships and collaboration. For instance, there may be a complimentary contact in one of your rooms that would benefit from a joint engagement with one of your executives. Or, you may discover a counterpart PR professional that doesn’t compete directly in your industry, but that you can partner with and network together. 

Why does networking seem so easy on Clubhouse versus other channels? 

My take is that because of the laid back nature of the “conversation” versus the “organized, planned briefing”, there is less pressure and lower stakes. While Clubhouse can be used for the sole purpose of networking, many go on to partake in casual conversation about topics important to them, so there is less stress and obligation tied to conversations. 

3. Drum up new business

If you’re a PR pro look for additional clients, there is a ton of opportunity for the taking on Clubhouse. For instance, if you’re focused on startup PR, head into the “Startups” rooms, search your niche, and simply join the conversations. I’ve met some intriguing startup founders — some I might work with, some I might not, but it’s been fruitful in identifying potential pipeline.

In my first week on Clubhouse, I popped in a room relevant to the client base I serve and  scored a new client. Somebody was looking at the room attendee bios, saw mine, googled me and my business, and reached out via email. I simply listened to the conversation; I never even spoke and here I was capturing interest. Before you dabble in conversation, make sure your profile is very clear on who you are, what you do and how people can contact you. 

Another fun way to capture potential business is to moderate a room with another PR professional about a topic you’re passionate about. Ping others in the room to join the chat and use this spotlight as the opportunity to show your credibility. Consider using Clubhouse for your own research purposes as well and pose questions to things you don’t know the answer to, knowing full well you have a room of people willing to chime in.

Don’t overthink Clubhouse 

The best part about Clubhouse is the casual atmosphere, so go in with no expectations and enjoy the conversation. Clubhouse is invite-only, but you can get on the waiting list by downloading the app (at the moment, it's only available for iOS) and submitting your phone number. If you’re eager to dive-in, you may want to post on social media that you’re looking for an invite; many Clubhouse members are eager to invite others to join in, so you’ll get added quickly.

A 15 year industry veteran, Andrea Holland’s latest venture has been helping PR professionals find remote work with A venture started in 2018, the list continues to grow exponentially month over month, as PR professionals search for remote work in the middle of a global pandemic. Aside from jobs, thousands of PR professionals follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn to follow her advice, blog posts and content around PR. She’s also the leading PR author and instructor for LinkedIn Learning – her courses have been viewed by more than 100K entrepreneurs, PR professionals, and students worldwide. Follow her on Twitter at @andreaholland and @remoteprjobs.

The post How Solo PR Professionals Can Use 2021’s Most Buzzed About App, Clubhouse appeared first on Solo PR Pro.

Tue, 30 Mar 2021 09:15:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Social Media Pr Clubhouse Business Apps Ping Solo Pr Pros Andrea Holland PR Updates
The useful idiot phenomenon How the useful idiot phenomenon might be fueling online hate.

For the last three years, I’ve cultivated a weird online pastime.

Whenever I see something in the feed that I reckon could be perceived as offensive to some random cultural identity group, I go straight for the comments. While strangers arguing might be entertaining, there’s a rather strange communicative phenomenon that I’ve been focusing on.

For instance, in one of my social feeds, I might find a Gary Larson comic strip that depicts God in front of a bunch of animals while declaring, “Well, now I guess I’d better make some things to eat you guys.” 1

Useful Idiot Phenomenon | Behavioral Psychology | Doctor Spin Comic strip by Gary Larson.

Not surprisingly, there will be a few critical comments made by the occasional offended Christian creationist, or whatever the identity group may be in any given instance. However, my first reaction is often that there are a lot fewer of these types of comments than I would’ve guessed beforehand.

Sometimes, and not counting obvious bot- or troll accounts, I even have to scroll through hundreds of comments just to find one single commenter who seems to be truly offended.

In a sense, this could be indicative of something positive about social media. Maybe the popular concept of “everyone on the internet is being offended by everything on the internet” is acutely over-estimated and simply blown out of proportion?

Still, the comments, however many or however few, made by real persons being truly offended aren’t what interests me here.

Instead, what I often find are massive volumes of commenters complaining about those who complain. In relation to each other, it’s interesting that they are so many and that the ones that they’re complaining about are so few. And while some are just politely pointing out that taking offense might be an over-reaction, there’s typically also a lot of ridicule, ad hominem — and hate.

I often find posts with hundreds of comments from people who are furious about other people taking offense where none should be taken, when there’s no actual comments from anyone who has made any claims at all of being offended.

The phenomenon seems to be a version of the Bandwagon Effect:

A rather significant percentage of the type of people who comment on posts made by people or organizations they don’t know personally, they get triggered by merely seeing a post that they believe are offensive to a cultural identity group that they stereotypically think of as being overly sensitive or morally deplorable. Being triggered, they preemptively rush to the comments to aggressively condemn the anticipated behavior of the identity group — often times without even seeing any actual such reactions from other people.

It could be non-Christians expressing their hate against Creationists for not having any sense of humor, it could be angry males attacking feminists for being vengeful and mean, but it could be almost anything related to anything related to identity politics.

The useful idiot phenomenon, if it is indeed a real phenomenon, can have serious consequences. It could be a social media post linking to a news story about the first person born in Africa to win a gold medal in a Scandinavian winter sport. While there might not be many real racist comments to be found, there might be hundreds and hundreds of comments brimming of hate aimed at racist comments they have only imagined. Then, in the next news cycle, the story transforms into a story of how the gold-medalist’s accomplishment resulted in racist attacks.

Aside from partly ruining a triumphant moment for the athlete in the above scenario, a media situation is manufactured where, in this case, real-life racists might feel empowered by a disproportionate amount of attention that sits way above their numeral significance in society. In conjunction with the conversion theory, cultural groups could be effectively pitted against each other literally while literally drenched in hatred — without that hatred being represented accurately.

As this moral war animosity potentially sparks higher engagement, it becomes a compelling proposition for news organizations and social media algorithms to favor news stories that fuels this phenomenon.

Also, the useful idiot phenomenon might result in fertile breeding grounds for targeted attacks perpetrated by destabilizing interests using various destructive social engineering tactics.

There’s a risk that many of us, at least those of us who are actively commenting and engaging with people outside our personal circles, are acting like accelerants for polarisation — despite good intentions. By overcompensating to signal our personal moral value, we might be acting like useful idiots for those who doesn’t support our side in the moral war.

Still, this is only an anecdotal observation at this point. 2 I cannot stress that enough. I could be wrong for many reasons and we need academic studies to determine whether or not this is an actual phenomenon. Good news is that it should be a testable hypothesis, I believe.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer.

Mon, 29 Mar 2021 16:00:29 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Africa Pr Identity politics Behavioral Psychology Gary Larson Behavioural Psychology Hostile Media Effect Bandwagon Effect Hyper-Realistic Media Media Science Moral War
The useful idiot syndrome How the useful idiot syndrome might be fueling online hate.

For the last three years, I’ve cultivated a weird online pastime.

Whenever I see something in the feed that I reckon could be perceived as offensive to some random cultural identity group, I go straight for the comments. While strangers arguing might be entertaining, there’s a rather strange communicative phenomenon that I’ve been focusing on.

For instance, in one of my social feeds, I might find a Gary Larson comic strip that depicts God in front of a bunch of animals while declaring, “Well, now I guess I’d better make some things to eat you guys.” 1

Useful Idiot Syndrome | Behavioral Psychology | Doctor Spin Comic strip by Gary Larson.

Not surprisingly, there will be a few critical comments made by the occasional offended Christian creationist, or whatever the identity group may be in any given instance. However, my first reaction is often that there are a lot fewer of these types of comments than I would’ve guessed beforehand.

Sometimes, and not counting obvious bot- or troll accounts, I even have to scroll through hundreds of comments just to find one single commenter who seems to be truly offended.

In a sense, this could be indicative of something positive about social media. Maybe the popular concept of “everyone on the internet is being offended by everything on the internet” is acutely over-estimated and simply blown out of proportion?

Still, the comments, however many or however few, made by real persons being truly offended aren’t what interests me here.

Instead, what I often find are massive volumes of commenters complaining about those who complain. In relation to each other, it’s interesting that they are so many and that the ones that they’re complaining about are so few. And while some are just politely pointing out that taking offense might be an over-reaction, there’s typically also a lot of ridicule, ad hominem — and hate.

I often find posts with hundreds of comments from people who are furious about other people taking offense where none should be taken, when there’s no actual comments from anyone who has made any claims at all of being offended.

The phenomenon seems to be a version of the Bandwagon Effect:

A rather significant percentage of the type of people who comment on posts made by people or organizations they don’t know personally, they get triggered by merely seeing a post that they believe are offensive to a cultural identity group that they stereotypically think of as being overly sensitive or morally deplorable. Being triggered, they preemptively rush to the comments to aggressively condemn the anticipated behavior of the identity group — often times without even seeing any actual such reactions from other people.

It could be non-Christians expressing their hate against Creationists for not having any sense of humor, it could be angry males attacking feminists for being vengeful and mean, but it could be almost anything related to anything related to identity politics.

The useful idiot syndrome, if it is indeed a real phenomenon, can have serious consequences. It could be a social media post linking to a news story about the first person born in Africa to win a gold medal in a Scandinavian winter sport. While there might not be many real racist comments to be found, there might be hundreds and hundreds of comments brimming of hate aimed at racist comments they have only imagined. Then, in the next news cycle, the story transforms into a story of how the gold-medalist’s accomplishment resulted in racist attacks.

Aside from partly ruining a triumphant moment for the athlete in the above scenario, a media situation is manufactured where, in this case, real-life racists might feel empowered by a disproportionate amount of attention that sits way above their numeral significance in society. In conjunction with the conversion theory, cultural groups could be effectively pitted against each other literally while literally drenched in hatred — without that hatred being represented accurately.

As this moral war animosity potentially sparks higher engagement, it becomes a compelling proposition for news organizations and social media algorithms to favor news stories that fuels this phenomenon.

Also, the useful idiot syndrome might result in fertile breeding grounds for targeted attacks perpetrated by destabilizing interests using various destructive social engineering tactics.

There’s a risk that many of us, at least those of us who are actively commenting and engaging with people outside our personal circles, are acting like accelerants for polarisation — despite good intentions. By overcompensating to signal our personal moral value, we might be acting like useful idiots for those who doesn’t support our side in the moral war.

Still, this is only an anecdotal observation at this point. 2 I cannot stress that enough. I could be wrong for many reasons and we need academic studies to determine whether or not this is an actual phenomenon. Good news is that it should be a testable hypothesis, I believe.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer.

Mon, 29 Mar 2021 16:00:29 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Africa Pr Identity politics Behavioral Psychology Gary Larson Behavioural Psychology Hostile Media Effect Bandwagon Effect Hyper-Realistic Media Media Science Moral War
Media Training Lessons From Oprah Winfrey’s Interview With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Oprah Winfrey’s prime-time television interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on March 7 provided a reminder of the principles PR professionals should follow to prepare clients for media interviews that create positive coverage and help manage crises.

Winfrey has said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not given the interview questions in advance. But the couple undoubtedly underwent extensive media training beforehand, which likely included on-camera rehearsals and being grilled by their PR team on the toughest questions they might face.

For Meghan and Harry, the primary goal of the interview was apparently to position themselves in opposition to other members of the British royal family (sometimes called by their nickname, “The Firm”), to explain why they left it and to build their own brand.

As the interview unfolded, the couple reinforced their family values and described milestones in their journey from Buckingham Palace to Montecito, Calif. They attempted to draw a contrast between themselves (Meghan as naive, truth-seeking, sincere, concerned about their son Archie, hurt by tabloid attacks and alleged racial innuendoes) and a royal family which they described as giving them little support.

During the widely seen interview, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle avoided personal attacks on individual members of the royal family, referring instead to what they portrayed as an intransigent institution. They didn’t provide details on controversial issues and instead gave short answers and transitioned to themes such as heart-warming anecdotes about the Queen Mother and Archie.

Critics in social media, the British press and elsewhere were quick to question the self-professed naivete of Markle — a worldly woman who was previously married to a film producer — and Prince Harry, who has had his own share of worldly experiences. But according to polls conducted on both sides of the Atlantic, the couple moved public opinion in their desired direction.

Research reporters, anticipate questions

Best practices in media training start with PR professionals researching the journalist. Analyze a year or two of the reporter’s work to discern his or her approach to interviews. Will it likely be friendly or combative?

Brainstorm questions that the reporter might ask your client and then develop short, compelling answers that will make good quotes. Stick to three or four key points in the responses. What insights might be relevant to the reporter’s audience? Provide examples and help the journalist tell a good story. Use metaphors to paint pictures.

Decide in advance what your goal for the interview will be. Perhaps the client seeks to change public opinions, perceptions or behavior; to create or reposition a brand; to counter previous bad press or to correct factual errors.

To help reach your desired outcome for the interview, envision the perfect headline and develop a strategy to see it in print (e.g., “Alleging Bullying and Racism, Prince Harry, Wife Megan Markle Leave Royal Family, Exile to California”). Plan to divulge news in the interview that will benefit the journalist, such as Markle revealing the sex of her new baby.

When training clients for media interviews, we can help them avoid landmines by reminding them not to speculate or make predictions in their responses to reporters’ questions. Counsel them to watch for potential traps such as the “he said/she said” line of questioning that is intended to reveal contradictions and can lead to unfavorable headlines.

Among other best practices for media training, rehearse the interview two or three times. Record those sessions and then critique them. Doing so provides an opportunity to smooth out rough answers and improve the best ones by adding anecdotes and supporting evidence. Rehearsing the interview also helps ensure the client will seem natural, credible and even likable.

When preparing clients for media interviews, we should remind them they are not under subpoena. If a journalist probes for proprietary information, then the client should acknowledge as much and transition to a new topic.

Media training also requires instructing clients to never go “off the record” with reporters or to discuss their own competitors. Clients should assume the tape is always rolling (including the one inside the journalist’s head). Anything a client says could appear in a future article or news segment. Remind them to steer conversations with reporters back to their own strengths and positive attributes, and to always keep working toward that perfect headline.

In summary, Oprah’s sit-down with Harry and Meghan provided a timely reminder of how to prepare for any interview, from the local news, to a major trade interview, to broadcast television or streaming news, by following these eight essential steps:

  1. Determine the desired outcome (change opinion, perception, behavior; brand/rebrand; position/reposition; correct factual errors; counter bad coverage, etc.).
  2. Conduct research on the media outlet and interviewer.
  3. Conduct internal and external research to understand the issues and potential landmines.
  4. Determine the goals of the interview and the position to be achieved; write your headline; develop major themes (sound bites) for focusing the discussion.
  5. Prepare a briefing book with the facts, supporting evidence and FAQs.
  6. Grill the subject with the worst possible questions; prepare short answers and transitions; compile anecdotes and short stories to connect with the audiences.
  7. Rehearse on camera, revise, rehearse and revise.
  8. Celebrate when the piece runs.

Tom Gable, APR and Fellow PRSA, is vice chair of Nuffer, Smith Tucker, San Diego’s oldest public relations firm. He has been a regular contributor to national business. PR and marketing media on best practices and emerging trends in public relations and crisis communications, including in his PR Client Service Manual and two international books on crisis PR.

[Photo credit: getty images/handout]


Mon, 29 Mar 2021 11:11:20 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs California Media Relations Pr Atlantic Mother Buckingham Palace Harry Oprah Winfrey Oprah Duke Sussex Thought Leadership Meghan Winfrey Archie Markle PRSA APR MEGHAN MARKLE Media Training Montecito Calif Tom Gable Harry Wife Megan Markle Nuffer Smith Tucker San Diego
How to use the nine basic stances of analyst relations There are nine basic stances of analyst relations programmes, reflecting how far companies make two choices: first, whether they drive analysts perceptions of their...

The post How to use the nine basic stances of analyst relations appeared first on Influencer Relations.

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How DE&I Is Changing the Future for Women in Public Relations The PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Committee spoke with Nathalie Santa Maria, APR, owner and chief communications officer at Sunnyside Communications, to discuss how diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) work is impacting women in public relations and potentially opening more doors for honest dialogue.

Santa Maria, who holds a Master of Science in Family, Youth and Community Sciences from the University of Florida, also serves as the executive director for Leaves from Stella, a nonprofit she founded in honor of her late mother, Estela, that provides scholarships and a pen-friends program for young adults who have lost a parent or sibling. She is also a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Carolinas and a PRSSA PRoud Mentor.

Nathalie Santa Maria, APR

Why is DE&I integral to the work you do?

Understanding how different parts of my identity left me out of conversations and scenarios helps me understand the necessity for diverse voices at the table. In essence, it comes back to the basis of intersectionality: a theoretical framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities combine to create unique modes of discrimination or privilege.

My ethnicity as a Cuban American, my acute anxiety mental health diagnosis, my gender, growing up one paycheck away from potentially losing our home, being a first-generation scholar and being orphaned at 23 years old influences how I work.

While stories like mine are abundant, we do not talk about them openly or as often as we should. Making an effort to understand the advantages and disadvantages that people feel due to a combination of intersectional factors when writing messages for different audiences is a skill I focus on, trying to continue to learn as I go.

What challenges did you face when first entering PR and marketing?

I had a career identity crisis before I even started! I graduated from college at the start of the great recession in 2008; finding a job was tough. Also, my parents were critically ill, and I realized that my dream of being a public information officer for the county/national hurricane center would be detrimental to my mental health.

I also felt the push and pull of living a hyphenated ethnicity: Am I too American for my Cuban family, or am I too Cubanita for my non-Hispanic friends and colleagues in the United States? And then the added guilt of knowing everything my parents sacrificed to immigrate here to give me and my sister better opportunities. Am I making them proud? Am I doing enough?

Over time, learning the value of introspection helped me understand the tensions within my own identity and how that could be an asset in my communications work.

What advice would you give younger women of color trying to break into the PR space? Do you think the increased push for diverse voices will provide more opportunities?

I sure hope so. There is something powerful and encouraging in representation. My advice to young women would be never to forget the value they bring to organizations and teams. Repeat it, embrace it and make it a mantra.

We often receive external messages about how we have to be more “this” or more “that” with a traditionally white, non-immigrant, and heterosexual benchmark. Consequently, we feel we have to dress a certain way or articulate ideas in a particular manner while trying not to come off as angry or emotional.

I would also add that while ambition is essential, beware of the hustle mentality and culture. Internalizing messages that we have to do more and make more leads to burnout and hurts our creativity.

Build and nurture your network over time, not overnight. Mentors and supervisors I’ve had over the years have helped me find new jobs are now even my clients. These people built the ladders that the people behind them can climb, and I aim to pay it forward by doing the same for others.

Have you seen any positive shifts in public relations — do you think the profession is more inclusive of women and marginalized people?

I have seen positive shifts, but we still have a long way to go. I think including more diverse voices is a great start, but we need to consider becoming more action-oriented. We need to consider if our discussions about race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, income disparities, health-care access and immigration status have a significant impact. How we talk and write about human experiences can lead directly to harm reduction.

Take the unpaid internships discussion in our industry, for example. Have we considered that this leaves out many people who do not have others providing for them? How do we change this expectation that people graduating must have a cumulative experience via free work to measure aptitude? If we are serious about DE&I, then we need to consider how we can make public relations a more accessible and equitable space.

DE&I should also not fall on one person or one department. Public relations and communications is one piece of DE&I that should be working alongside research and development teams, human resource teams and customer service teams to improve experiences and messages.

You can join Santa Maria and other PRSA experts for a presentation on May 13. Humanizing Communications: How to Create Thoughtful and Inclusive Narratives. The webinar is free for PRSA members.

Kristie Colón is a member of the PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She is the communications director of the College at the University of Kentucky. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

[Illustration credit: angelina Bbambina] ]]>
Fri, 26 Mar 2021 11:11:37 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Diversity Pr United States University of Florida Stella Thought Leadership University of Kentucky Santa Maria PRSA Women's History Month Diversity and Inclusion Central Carolinas Estela PRSA Diversity Inclusion Committee Celebrating Diversity PRSA Diversity and Inclusion Committee Nathalie Santa Maria APR Sunnyside Communications Cubanita Kristie Colón Bbambina
Davos Communications Awards celebrate excellent global PR

The Davos Communications Awards recognise exceptional professional work by public relations and communications professionals from around the globe. I’m honoured to be the chair of …

© Stuart Bruce - Davos Communications Awards celebrate excellent global PR was first published on Stuart Bruce's PR Futurist by Stuart Bruce - Modernising public relations and communications for the digital age

Tue, 23 Mar 2021 10:56:25 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Awards Public Relations Pr Stuart Bruce Stuart Bruce Modernising Davos Communications Awards Stuart Bruce Davos
How a World-Class Convention Center Became a Beacon of Hope During the Pandemic In March 2020, as New York City became an epicenter of COVID-19 infections, its Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was transformed from a top trade-show destination into a FEMA-operated medical facility — in just one week. Today, it’s a vaccination site.

As part of the PRSA Storytellers series, Tony Sclafani, the Javits Center’s senior vice president and chief communications officer, spoke to PRSA Publications Director John Elsasser.

Sclafani recounted how the Javits Center, home to the International Auto Show and New York Comic Con, worked with 20 different local, state and federal agencies to convert the 2.1-million-square-foot convention center into a field hospital with 2,000 patient units. What follows is an edited transcript of Sclafani’s remarks.

On the timeline leading up to the conversion:

The Javits Center is the busiest conference center in the country, with nearly 2.3 million people coming through its doors each year. On Friday, March 13, 2020, we sent our staff to work from home. The following week, calls started to come in about how we were going to be set up as a field hospital.

More than 20 city, state and federal agencies were involved. Five-hundred-plus employees worked to put the hospital together. We worked with FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as others.

The Javits Center has 4,000-5,000 construction workers. It usually held 175 events a year, and suddenly, we had to pivot and build a hospital. We treated it like an event build-out — a high-stakes one, but similar.

Convention centers have expertise in logistics and people-flow. The difference this time was, “Are we putting our lives at risk, and what are we doing to protect ourselves?” Throughout the building, we installed new, enhanced air filters like those you would find at a hospital.

We brought in specialized cleaners to disinfect the areas that needed disinfecting. Temperature checks at the doors restricted access to certain areas. By doing those protocols, it was a safe environment, despite the circumstances.

On coordinating with the military and other agencies and stakeholders:

Everyone worked very well together. You’re dealing with the top professionals in the city, state and country.

This is unprecedented — so everyone brought their expertise to the table. We had 2,000 patient units, 50 mobile bathrooms and showers, a pharmacy, a nurses’ station and a doctors’ station.

Originally, the hospital was meant to be for non-COVID patients to relieve the burden on the hospitals, but it became a COVID hospital, which meant new restrictions.

On concerns keeping him up at night:

[T]he crisis at the time was so much of an unknown. That was the scariest part. All of us were thinking we could bring the crisis home to our families, right? When I go home at the end of the day, can I kiss my children? What do I do with my clothes? That was probably one of the greatest challenges — at least for me in my career — on how to deal with that.

My wife is a nurse practitioner. She suggested that I would have two sets of clothes. I would have a set of clothes for Monday that I’d wear, come home, wash them, put them aside, and then wear the second set of clothes, and then alternate. And at the end of all of that, we ended up throwing out those clothes.

It sounds a little crazy but, in essence, you needed to do that at that point. So that was just an extra level of stress that I dealt with, but certainly others did too.

On emergencies and crisis planning:

The Javits Center was a staging area for first responders after 9/11. It served as the main collection point for Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

We view the building as a New York City community partner. We have shown the value of having a big, open space indoors, available to the city and state as needed when times get tough. It just makes sense — as a convention center — to have this role.

On the communications function:

One of my goals was to facilitate communications with our employees who are not here. I started a daily email wrap-up of everything happening around the city, around the country, around the world and in the building. It was meant to keep us connected.

I’ve been writing it every workday, and I’m still doing it a year later. It gets forwarded to our stakeholders and vendors and contractors, everyone wanting to know what’s going on. Employees have been thanking me, saying, “I knew what was happening because of the emails.”

I was giving everyone talking points every day for the past year, so we’re all saying the same thing. And as other executives and employees are contacted by their alumni networks or their friends, they’ve come to me to ask, “What should I say? Should I use what’s in the email?” “Absolutely,” I told them, because everything I put in those emails is designed for the public to consume.

In terms of external communications, it’s fielding requests from “60 Minutes” to local news channels, giving [reporters] as much access as we can. The stakes are high and everyone’s got pressure on themselves. So helping [journalists] in that moment lends itself to stronger relationships down the road.

I only had two people under me, one of whom was furloughed. Without events taking place in the building, our budget has been devastated. We’ve taken pay cuts. I have a number of external vendors, such as a photography team, a videography team and a graphic design team.

But in those initial stages, I struggled to get a photographer and a videographer to the building. The people I worked with on a regular basis were too afraid to come. When the hospital came up, I wanted to record everything for historical purposes. It was a struggle. I managed to get some content for social media and our reports.

On working with the media and getting messages out:

During any crisis, you will never be able to give everyone everything. But you’ve got to give them something. There are different levels… and you cannot overpromise. But you must promise to give them something. We’re all human and all have jobs and want to go home at the end of the day.

Reporters, elected officials — when all are willing to work together, you end up with a better product. You can say, “I can’t offer you that but I can offer you this…” Sometimes we would record onsite and distribute it to media asking for something.

On the expansion of the convention center:

Other convention centers also were hospitals and are now vaccine sites. This reinforces the importance of these types of buildings. There are not many of them and they are unique. We’re proud of what we’ve done. We also built a 30,000 square-foot broadcast studio to hold events in the fall, which was successful, and then we transitioned into a vaccination site in 2021.

There is also a new project build-out. We were four city blocks and now we will be six city blocks with the expansion project.

If people always think of us as a hospital, that could be difficult for us. It shows our versatility and much more.

We will have a rooftop garden with fruits and veggies to use in the kitchen. We’re adding new space to social distance and already have a robust sustainability program. We’re in a good position, and this will all be over soon.

We will gather again because it’s human nature.

On lessons learned from this experience:

One thing that hit home for me from the beginning [of the pandemic is that, in PR, we tend to be] focused on a press release — on one particular story we’re going to get published. You tend to think that’s all you need to do: Write the press release and send it out. It gets picked up and you’ve done your job. But the press release is just the beginning. The story’s the most important thing. We remember stories. We don’t remember press releases.

I focused on making sure [the Javits Center was] seen as a good community partner because that’s going to last way beyond COVID. That goodwill that people have when they think of us is going to translate into business down the road when we can host events again. The story is the most important thing — not necessarily just the press release, but also social media, word-of-mouth, flyers, your website, etc.

On a message of hope:

The vaccination center is a much better story than a hospital. It’s a more positive story because we’re giving people hope. In the emails, in our social media posts, we’ve emphasized the concept of not giving up. Don’t give up on New York. Don’t give up on this building. Don’t give up on each other. It’s a message that people want to hear.

There’s also a wall of thanks on-site, where people leave messages to help reenergize the community.

Being a hospital and a vaccine site has created a tremendous amount of goodwill. I think it will make people want to have their events here in the future. We will have live events as soon as it’s safe to do so. It’s a process.

[Photo via @JavitsCenter] ]]>
Tue, 23 Mar 2021 10:10:42 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs New York New York City Crisis Communications Crisis Management Pr Fema Puerto Rico Thought Leadership Javits Center Army Corps Of Engineers Jacob K Javits Convention Center Sclafani Internal Communication COVID-19 PRSA Storytellers Tony Sclafani PRSA Publications John Elsasser Sclafani International Auto Show and New York Comic Con
Swedish health care company created fake Communications Officer profile Vårdinnovation, a controversial Swedish health care company, created a fake Communications Officer because management didn’t want to be personally exposed in media. The company recently went bankrupt because of an alleged bribe scandal, created the profile Sara Johansson on LinkedIn with more than 500 contacts, for a press spokesperson that did not exist.

“Sara Johansson” only responded to media requests by email and has been quoted in several Swedish media in recent months. But she does not exist. Her profile picture on LinkedIn is most certainly created by an AI software like the one behind the site which creates realistic photos that look like a real person, but is not.

In an interview with SVT Skåne, Eliot Higgins, CEO at Bellingcat, a site for investigative journalism says that the image is most probably computer generated. The white background, the hair cut and the fact that she only has one earring are signs that the image is fake. A reverse Google image search produces no results. In a preliminary police investigation, Vårdinnovation’s CEO Damon Tojjar confirms that Sara Johansson “is a joint communication account that Vårdinnovation has so that they do not have to be exposed in the media themselves”.

Synthetic media and deep fakes

Synthetic media, or artificially produced media, will become more and more common, but this is the first instance we know of in Sweden where a spokesperson for a company simply was completely fake.

If you are interested in deep fakes and synthetic media, I strongly recommend these two podcasts:

Making Sense – The information apocalypse. Sam Harris meets author and journalist Nina Schick who writes a lot about AI.

Brave New Planet – Deep fakes and the future of truth. Podcast with Dr. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

The post Swedish health care company created fake Communications Officer profile first appeared on Media Culpa.

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Tue, 23 Mar 2021 08:57:35 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Google Sweden Pr Harvard Broad Institute of MIT Bellingcat Eric Lander Sam Harris Nina Schick Eliot Higgins Kinsey Wolanski Sara Johansson Damon Tojjar Vårdinnovation
Speaking Up Against Anti-Asian Racism According to Stop AAPI Hate, reports of discrimination against Asian-Americans and American Pacific Islander communities have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coalition of community-based organizations, activists and researchers at San Francisco State University says that, since March 19, 2020, it has received at least 3,795 firsthand complaints of racial incidents against Asian-American and American Pacific Islander communities — the latter of which includes people whose origins are in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia.

As reports, the majority of the complaints — about 68 percent — have involved verbal harassment. Approximately 20 percent have reported “shunning or avoidance” and about 11 percent have reported physical assaults, according to Stop AAPI Hate.

In recent months, a series of hate crimes against Asian-Americans have occurred in California and New York. On March 16, shootings at three Atlanta-area spas left eight people dead, six of whom were women of Asian descent, according to initial reports. The shootings prompted calls for the suspect to be charged with hate crimes. In the days that followed, participants in rallies and vigils around the country called for an end to violence against Asian-Americans.

“What we’re really asking for in this moment is racial justice, for our lives to be valued, to not have to live in fear,” said Cady Lang, a New York-based staff writer at TIME, during PRSA’s March 16 webinar, “Building Bridges: Standing & Speaking Up Against Anti-Asian Racism.”

Anti-Asian webinar

Lang recommends that PR students and professionals ask themselves: “How can I help people in these communities and amplify their voices?”

Panelist Grace Meng, who represents the borough of Queens in the Sixth Congressional District of New York, said, “Telling our stories isn’t something that necessarily comes naturally to the Asian-American community.” In her own family, she said, “we were always encouraged to stay silent.” But today, immigrants “have to speak up, not just for themselves, but to prevent these things from happening to other people.”

Meng is one of two Democratic lawmakers who have reintroduced legislation in the House and Senate calling for expedited reviews of hate crimes related to the pandemic. Despite the attention on the issue in recent weeks, however, “hate and discrimination against Asian-Americans is nothing new,” she said.

“We have an incredible opportunity right now to build relationships and to strengthen coalitions with other communities,” Meng said. “And as we’re talking about racism against Asian-Americans, it’s also a good time to talk about racism that might exist within our own communities, as well.”

Panelist Bill Imada, chairman and chief connectivity officer at IW Group, a Los Angeles-based marketing and communications agency that specializes in multicultural markets, said he would like people to “lean-in to all of the potential allies that we have in our community,” and to “volunteer to participate in the dialogue around public safety. One person in your agency can make a tremendous difference.”

Co-moderator Carolyn Lok, PRSSA president and a senior studying public relations at the University of Florida, asked Imada how young generations can help stop discrimination against Asian-Americans.

Young people should “listen to understand, and [listen] to show some empathy,” said Imada, who blames older generations for racism. “I don’t want to leave the country in the shape that it’s been in as a result of the inability of boomers to fix things.”

Meng defended the baby boomers, “who marched during the civil rights movement in this country,” she said. “We can work together. Don’t underestimate the boomer generation. They had so many successes, and are a large part of how we live the comfortable life that so many in my generation have.” She recommended that people not “point fingers or target each other.”

Haniya Shariff, the webinar’s co-moderator, is vice president of diversity & inclusion for PRSSA and a student of news writing and media relations at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“We hope that we will all learn more empathy and understanding,” she said, “so that we can all be better allies and advocates for each other.”

Greg Beaubien is a frequent contributor to PRSA publications.

 [Photo credit: shutterstock]

Mon, 22 Mar 2021 11:03:50 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs New York California Senate Los Angeles Atlanta Diversity Pr Cnn House Queens Philadelphia University of Florida Thought Leadership Temple University Democratic LANG San Francisco State University PRSA Imada Meng Grace Meng Greg Beaubien Diversity and Inclusion Cady Lang Anti-asian Racism American Pacific Islander Polynesia Micronesia Sixth Congressional District of New York Panelist Bill Imada IW Group Carolyn Lok PRSSA Haniya Shariff
Cerave Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 Visit to read the rest of this article. ]]> Sat, 20 Mar 2021 15:09:11 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Pr Beauty Sunscreen Cerave Moisturizer SPF Affiliate Link Unsolicited advice A friend, who also happened to be a poor writer, was about to apply for a new job and I, being a PR professional, offered to write a resume and a cover letter for him. He only had to say yes, and he did, so I went ahead and wrote them for him.

The resume and cover letter wasn’t at all what he had expected. He expected something more standardized and what I wrote for him wasn’t at all your typical resume and cover letter.

My friend politely thanked me for my effort and took the matter into his own hands instead. He didn’t get to an interview for reasons that are unbeknownst to me, but when I asked him about it, he made sure to clarify that he would’ve stood an even lesser chance had he used my proposed resume and cover letter.

Another friend of both of us, who was a fairly strong writer himself, learnt about my effort and asked for my help to land a job interview, too. So I did the same thing; I wrote a resume and a cover letter to capture my friend’s essence and combined it with a memorable and irresistible value proposition.

I have no idea what part the resume and the cover letter ended up playing in the end, but our friend quickly landed the job. And he was extremely grateful to me for lending him a hand.

After nearly two decades of consulting, I’ve learnt that it’s a bad idea to splash valuable advice far and wide. Be patient and wait for your advice to become need-to-have rather than nice-to-have.

Sat, 20 Mar 2021 08:40:39 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Pr Daily Insights
The Consequences of Misinformation More than 250 years ago, people stood on tree stumps and wooden crates to express their ideas in the streets of the 13 English colonies that would soon form the United States. Those listening could ask questions, discuss the topics with others in the crowd and develop their own opinions.

As public-square speakers were eventually replaced by newspapers, and then radio and television, a set of journalistic ethics would lay the foundation for news gathering and reporting. Standards used to verify information and establish the independence and objectivity of news professionals became central to the process of informing the American public.

Then came the internet and citizen journalism. Without any significant economic barriers to entry, ordinary people began going online to express their own takes on the news. Yet, amateur writers are often unaware, uninterested in or even opposed to the journalistic standards of checking facts and verifying data and sources. Combine this trend with the increasing competition to break news first, and facts are often forced out of communications.

In today’s media environment, as facts seemingly become less important than beliefs, how do we rescue a democracy built in part upon honest, verified information?

PRSA members are obligated to follow its Code of Ethics, which includes honesty, accuracy and truth, and the free flow of information that helps people make informed decisions. In my view, professional communicators also have a moral obligation to follow these three, fundamental tenets:

Set the example.

One can’t begin to count the number of times that educated, capable communicators are seen sharing stories on social media that don’t pass the fact-check test. Communications professionals must first root out misinformation and disinformation in what we share on our screens, in our conversations and, most important, in our actions. We must place verified facts and civility at the heart of the messages we deliver.

Guide and coach others.

Today’s overcharged, divided political climate must be replaced by a return to civil conversations. We might disagree about a given topic or situation but, to constructively advance democracy, we need facts and the ability to discuss issues openly and respectfully, over an extended period of time if necessary.

Take a stance for truth.

The rapid rise of misinformation and disinformation demands that communications professionals go beyond offering counsel and take a strong, consistent stance against the untruthful messages that some members of the public call “spin.” When audiences question a message’s validity, it increases the likelihood that all messages will be questioned. PRSA’s new initiative, Voices4Everyone, aims to spotlight this issue and recommends approaches to combating disingenuous communications.

It will take a significant effort to reduce the misinformation and disinformation that intentionally or otherwise is destabilizing American society. Doing so will help deliver American’s constitutional promise of a more perfect union.

Blake D. Lewis III, APR, Fellow PRSA, is a member of the PRSA Advocacy Committee. Based in Dallas, he is a former member of the PRSA Board of Directors.

[Photo credit: raw pixel] ]]>
Fri, 19 Mar 2021 10:10:51 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Pr United States Dallas Respect Civility Thought Leadership Misinformation PRSA Civic Engagement Disinformation PRSA Board of Directors Voices4Everyone Blake D Lewis III APR Fellow PRSA PRSA Advocacy Committee Based
Registration open for CCgroup analyst relations webinar series I’m hosting a series of CCgroup webinars on a range of topics for professionals in the analyst relations community. I am delighted to offer you the chance to sign up for the webinars you feel will be most...

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How will Blockchain Technology Mold the Shape of FinTech Industry in 2020? The blockchain technology market is expected to rise from $1.2 billion to over $57.5 billion in the space of 2018 to 2025, which is a compound...

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Investment firm Apollo wants to spin off PR software firm Notified Good morning and welcome to Insider Advertising for March 18. I'm senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here's what's going on:

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