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CES 2018 and Beyond

CES 2018 Trade Show Collage

Images from GreenRoom and its clients during CES 2018 and the PGA Merchandise Show, both industry trade shows.

Each January brings the first of many industry trade shows in the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Brands across a wide spectrum of vertical markets participate, and many clients say that the show (and its allied events such as Pepcom) can be incredibly impactful to attract media attention, drive brand awareness, and develop relationships with partners and consumers for the year ahead.

Planning for industry trade shows and events such as these can be challenging; how to select which shows offer the best opportunities to execute communications strategy, budgeting for them successfully (both in terms of dollars allocated and internal resources dedicated), and building media calendars for public relations/ leveraging digital and social media content into success at the trade show itself.

One great example of this is utilizing an industry event or trade show to promote new partnerships. At the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, we aided our client Blast Motion in the announcement of an exclusive deal with golf giant TaylorMade. With all the biggest names in golf media attending the show, this provided a platform to amplify the news in the right place at the right time. The GreenRoom team has a strong track record in developing successful strategies for such industry events, and helping clients manage participation to maximum effect.

Following each event, leveraging media and industry contacts into high-profile coverage and dynamic relationships often overwhelms internal teams focused on a number of deliverables. Here, too, we find that having a team of professionals, such as a communications agency, at your command expands the amount of time and energy brands have to plan for future events on the calendar. This can drive media coverage and sales opportunities throughout the year, resulting in met or exceeded marketing goals, all while engaging consumers and building a community of brand ambassadors.

Sharpen Your Savvy: How to stay on top when working for a marketing or public relations company

If it’s true that marketing agencies’ last client on the totem pole is always the agency itself, it certainly follows that a marketer’s last priority is typically also themselves. However, it is imperative for continued personal and professional growth that marketing and PR professionals invest in themselves both inside and outside of the office to advance in the future and stay sharp to handle the challenges of right now.

How exactly do you do this when the client-related things on your checklist only seem to grow by the hour? Here are a few tips on how to make investing in yourself a habit and not another overwhelming item on your agenda.

Get Out

Some of the best business opportunities, learning experiences, and in-depth conversations I’ve had have occurred during chance meetings with total strangers at bars, business events, or sitting on airplanes. After an exhausting day of work, most of us are typically ready to zone out at home with the Netflix and a glass of wine. But what if you pushed yourself for one more hour and dropped by the coding seminar you’ve been thinking about attending, or that charity event your coworker invited you to? You never know who you might meet. It could be your next client, partner, or employee. If you never expand your social circle, you’re limiting the number of opportunities, perspectives and ideas you’ll come in contact with as well.

Read Up

As a marketer, especially if you work in PR, content marketing, or social media, a large portion of your day is devoted to reading: client emails, journalists’ stories, bylined articles, Tweets, and that’s just before lunch! Reading for pleasure is a concept most marketers will laugh out loud at. However, reading is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to expand your knowledge base. To make a habit out of this, try taking the first ten minutes of your day before you even open your email and reading one relevant article while you sip on your coffee. It will help you start your day feeling in-control and you’ll be brushing up on important skills. Some of my favorite reading material comes from AdEspresso, Social Media Examiner, Adweek, Business 2 Community, and KissMetrics. Bookmark your own favorites, or subscribe to newsletters so that you always have fresh material on hand.

Have a Hobby

For many in the agency world, we could proudly wear t-shirts that say “work is my hobby.” However, according to Inc. Magazine, the most successful people are committed to developing skills and hobbies ex-officio. Right now, I’m rehabilitating an abused dog—something I had no prior knowledge about. It has required reading, networking, and creative problem solving over and over again. All skills that are directly transferable to my work environment. Whether your hobby is cooking, skiing, or building model ships, doing something that you enjoy and that requires time and effort is like exercise for your brain. If you only ever work it out in one way, it can grow sluggish. Stretch your thinking and your skills at home with a new endeavor.

Find Time

One of the biggest obstacles to personal growth, as echoed in the tips above, is finding time. However, there are likely pockets of your day that are going unused—and those minutes when added up at the end of the week can turn into hours of personal development. Commute via train in the morning? Grab yesterday’s paper (they’re free) from Starbucks and read an article or two on the way to work. Commute via car? Listen to NPR or a podcast instead of bad morning talk radio. Like to scroll through your phone before you get out of bed in the morning? Download an app like Duolingo and learn another language instead. Waiting for your Uber? Check the news. Waiting in line at Chipotle? Talk to one new person. These little changes can get you outside of your personal bubble, keeping your knowledge and social skills sharp.

Make Time

Besides working professional development around your normal schedule—sometimes it’s important to stop and work it into your normal schedule. Talk to your boss about what her expectations are in terms of your development, what your own goals are, and what you think is the most valuable use of your time in order to achieve those goals. If there is a webinar or meetup that happens during work hours that you find extremely beneficial, ask if you can take an hour or so to set aside work and focus exclusively on your skill development. Many companies offer compensation for continuing educational opportunities, or networking opportunities. It is an investment that will not only pay off in your career, but could immediately pay off if you meet a new client or are able to solve an existing client’s problems based on the connections and knowledge you gained.

With any of these habits, it’s important to connect them mentally to specific goals, personally and professionally. You can also choose to focus all these habits on one particular goal or area if you’re looking to see immediate progress. For instance, maybe your goal for the year is to learn Spanish, become a wake board instructor, sign one new client, or meet someone who can teach you Photoshop. If your goal is to learn Spanish, spend all the extra time you find on just that; listen to podcasts in Spanish; do your morning reading in Spanish. By setting goals, you’ll never feel guilty about giving time and effort to these things, because you know they are helping you get where you need to go.

Facebook: An Emotional Wreck

93% of our daily communication is nonverbal, leaving only 7% for words. So how can social media be a reliable communication channel when it only conveys 7% of our message?

Lets take a step back and divide the 93% of nonverbal communication into specific elements, 38% of nonverbal communication is sound (tonality, attitude, pitch, volume) and 55% is body language (gestures, hand movements, facial expressions).

On social media, email or even texting, vocal elements have been substituted with hashtags and case changes. For example, if you’re trying to be sarcastic, simply end your post with #sarcasm. Throwing some shade? Add #JKNotReally. And if you think you’re not being heard scream your thoughts out LOUD by using capital cases and add as many exclamation marks as YOU CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gestures? That’s what emoticons are for. Not enough? Well, you have over 150 sets of stickers to choose from, including our personal favorite, the Power Rangers set. To make your life easier, you can filter them through the different emotions you’d like to express.
Facebook Stickers Facebook, Communication, Digital Media, Public Relations, Strategy

Conversations are being limited to 140 characters; you can technically have a full conversation using emoticons and hashtags, try it. You can even tweet your pizza order to Domino’s with a pizza emoticon.
Dominos Pizza Meme

Not all conversations have diminished, we still write comments when the like button is not enough… oh wait, Facebook, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? Facebook just rolled out ‘reactions’ so you don’t even have to type.
Facebook Emotions

So what does this mean for brands who use social media as an engagement tool? Social media is one of the leading consumer research tools and brands that listen to their customers and adapt their products and businesses through their customers’ feedback have seen great success. Can brands adapt their strategies to follow the nonverbal movement? Only future software updates can tell us that.

Lights, Camera, Preparation: 3 Things You Need to Nail a TV Appearance

Lights, Camera, Preparation-

While the online media has completely exploded in recent years and video has become much more prevalent, television is still a coveted medium. The awe-inducing factor of seeing either a product or yourself on TV hasn’t gone away despite the YouTube stars who, in some, cases have more fans than Hollywood stars – but I digress.

TV can have a major impact on a brand, and it’s important that each appearance is met with meticulous preparation and rehearsal. There are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you’re appearing on national TV:

  • Questions! There will be a lot of them from the production team, and you should be asking many more yourself. Most national shows have rounds of production meetings, and you’ll need to provide a litany of press materials, bios, collateral and video links so be prepared. TV production can often move quickly, so be ready with these things as soon as they’re asked.

 

  • Messaging: While any speaker should always feel comfortable on camera, it’s important to make sure that person has a rock-solid knowledge of their topic. The best interviews are ones that are conversations and not static Q&As. While the speaker should be very well-versed, they should also make sure the delivery is very natural and doesn’t feel robotic. The quickest way to either be cut from a segment or not asked to return is by being cold and sterile. Communicating effectively on camera is a skill that takes practice, even if it’s with your smartphone’s camera.

 

  • Details: Everything from transportation, timing, contacts (and their cell numbers), location, body language and even attire needs to be considered. While most production teams will have a lot of this information ready, it’s critical to ask even the smallest questions. Knowing that your client won’t blend in with the green screen and be a floating head (yes, we’ve seen it happen to other people!) will undoubtedly make sure you sleep better the night before. Don’t forget to crack a  smile – you’re on TV!

 

What Mad Men Taught Us About Life, Cocktails and Love(ing your career)

madmen_1_long_image

It truly was the end of an era. Seven seasons of perfectly timed mental breakdowns, escapades, weeklong binders and expertly crafted messaging that grew our love for Sterling Cooper (and all variations of the company) to the mega-agency McCann Erickson. What was part fiction, with expertly woven historical events tied neatly into a world of fantasy, was every PR person’s TV addiction. We tuned in weekly to see Don’s antics, only to realize there was always a method to his madness – much like that of our own supervisors. Mad Men is now a gravestone in the history of excellent TV scripting, but we’ll always remember the lessons we learned.

 

  1. Love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life (Stan Rizzo – he lived for being an illustrator)
  2. Culture is important. While maybe not at 11am, an Old Fashioned is always appropriate (Don Draper, especially at 11am)
  3. You can’t buy talent or passion (Pete Campbell – although he never stopped trying)
  4. Own and refine your personal brand – even if it’s a façade (Don Draper aka Richard “Dick” Whitman)
  5. Men and women belong in the boardroom. Talent is talent, who it comes from is irrelevant (Joan Holloway and Peggy Olson)
  6. Believe in the underdog (Peggy.Olson.)
  7. Education is important and you’re never too old for school (Betty Draper – kudos for attempting college despite your fateful demise from lung cancer)
  8.  Understanding client demands (Ken Cosgrove’s run-in with a bullet that led to a slick eye patch for half the series)
  9. Never forget the human side of the business. Technology does not solve all problems. In fact, it creates many. (Michael Ginsberg, RIP right nipple)
  10. Inspiration strikes at any time, don’t ignore it (cue: #MadMenFinale or Hershey Bar episode)

Tap That App: 5 Must Haves for PR Pros

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Working in public relations means you need to actively monitor the media landscape, and stay abreast of the latest and greatest – which usually requires us to be constantly plugged in. However, when used correctly, our smartphones can become one our greatest assets when it comes to productivity.

 

Here are our top five must-have smartphone apps for PR pros:

 

  1. Pocket: Probably our favorite of the bunch. As PR professionals it’s important that we’re up to speed with the news cycle. However, sometimes we simply don’t have time to read every article the web has to offer. Pocket allows you to scan and save articles for easy offline reading.

 

  1. Twitter: Keeping tabs on social media conversations is an integral part of the job. Thankfully, the Twitter app makes it easy to keep track of what’s trending, and what consumers are saying about the brands we represent – as well as their competitors.

 

  1. Flipboard: Visually appealing, Flipboard is a news aggregator that makes that feels like flipping through a magazine. Flipboard curates content based on your selected interests allowing you to browse handpicked articles, but also build your own personal magazines. You can even add your own social network feeds including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

  1. Dropbox: A great app to have in your arsenal. Makes it easy to access, share and edit files from wherever you are. Also syncs to all your devices.

 

  1. Umano: A new find, Unamo picks the best stories the web has to offer and hires professional voice actors to read them to you. It’s a great way to catch the latest news on your morning commute.

 

What apps are you favorite and make you most productive on and off the clock?

Patrick’s “Workspiration” Corner: 10 Minutes to Success

snowflake

In this business, you’re constantly conducting outreach to journalists, fielding incoming requests, offering clients counsel, drafting press materials and planning for upcoming launches and initiatives. All of those things can happen before lunch, and that’s just on the PR side of the house. Social media is a constant flurry of content creation, engagement, community management and in some cases, fielding customer service inquiries.

While most PR and social media practitioners could easily double in a Ringling production thanks to our juggling prowess, it’s always good to switch up the routine and try something new.

Many of us have been employing the 10-minute method, and finding great success! The principles are pretty simple. Break up any task into 10 minute increments to maximize your productivity. Anything that takes longer should be broken up into smaller tasks.

While not a completely foolproof solution in this industry, it’s a great hack that will make you more productive throughout the day!

 

To Infinity & Beyond: The Evolving World of PR

Infinity and Beyond- The Evolving World

As an industry, public relations has had to adapt to a variety of changes. From the way in which the media landscape has evolved to how audiences receive information, the industry has had to learn new ways to engage the public.

The following are three ways we’ve seen the industry evolve to address this new landscape:

1.)    Targeting New Influencers and Outlets – With the term “media outlets” becoming more loose with the rise of sites like Buzzfeed, this allows brands to attract new audiences.  PR pros now need to treat all outlets with equal importance and think outside the box when it comes to working with different platforms and journalists.

2.)    Drafting Content for Audiences on New Platforms – Turning on the radio, picking up a newspaper or watching TV all face stiff competition from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat. Photos, videos, GIFs and shareable content have allowed users new ways to receive their news and information. Content creation goes beyond a standard pitch and follow up but to how creative and compelling is the brand message to the audience.

3.)    A Block of Text Almost Guarantees It Will Not Be Read or Shred – Any information needs to be able to be clearly communicated in 140 characters. Brands need to be able to clearly communicate to ensure their message is appropriate for a targeted platform.

 

There will always be a need for strong, competitive communicators willing to go the extra mile for their clients. As long as new and exciting opportunities develop for brands to share their message, the public relations industry will continue to adapt.

Falling In Love with an Open Dog Policy

 

sending all The love (1)

Working in public relations isn’t typically conducive to having a pet. PR Professionals work tireless hours, have chaotic schedules, require intense concentration during the majority of their days and rarely find time to even grab a lunch away from their desks. So what prompted me to get a 12-week old puppy? An Open Dog Policy!

 

After spending the good part of a decade wanting a dog, the opportunity presented itself as a three pound Chorkie, whom I’ve named Penelope “Foxy” Brown. She’s a dynamic member of the GRS team and is grateful for the Open Dog Policy. Well, in hindsight, I guess I forced the Open Dog Policy on my office, but I believe we pawed the road for a very successful business and interoffice-enhancing policy update.

 

Pet policy in the workplace is a hot topic, and the benefits of pet ownership are well supported in numerous scholarly journals. From stress relief to companionship and even the effects of therapy dogs in patients with dementia. In 2010, Central Michigan University conducted a study and found that the presence of a dog in the office helped employees work more effectively together. While Penny generally sleeps most of the day, she is already our catalyst for change at GreenRoom. We occasionally pause to play or engage with her which activates our creative minds and give us lots of laughs making the workplace more enjoyable through difficult tasks. PR requires multitasking and juggling many complicated problem-solving tasks at once, it’s amazing what a quick 10 minute walk and mental break with a pup will do to reopen the mind and reinvigorate those puzzle-solving tactics.

 

While one might think having a pet in the workplace is a distraction from daily activities, this couldn’t be further from the truth. From a work-life balance perspective, with poochie at the office employees aren’t worried about the welfare of the four-leggers as they sit home all day. Plus, they can care to their canine’s welfare at the office without missing important late-night meetings or after hour events.

 

It’s evident that the vibe of GreenRoom has shifted. In the past two weeks since Penny has been on campus, we’ve laughed more often, been more active and generally more pleasant. We’ve also enjoyed working through tasks together as a team more than before. We’re a strong team of rockstar PR pros, but Penny is a constant comedic relief in our daily routines that helps reduce our workday stress and keeps us active.

4 Steps to Beating Writer’s Block

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A huge part of PR is writing about diverse clients, products and use case to the media. If you’re as fortunate as we are to have an incredibly interesting roster, that process is generally not too difficult. However, there are times when you’re just struggling to come up with something that persuasively articulates your point in the most effective way.  When that happens, it’s important to take a step back and regroup. Following are a few of our favorite ways to beat writer’s block:

  • 10-minute writing prompt – To help clear your mind, spend 10 minutes writing about something completely unrelated to your work. Start with a sentence like “The brick crashed through the window” and see where your mind takes you for the next ten minutes. Other starter sentences include
    • “I can’t believe it,” she said.
    • He opened the check made out in his name, and it said $1 million.
    • She hadn’t laughed that hard in months.

** A twist on this is to step away from the computer and pick up a pen and get old school with it!

  • Plug in – If your office is anything like ours, there can be a lot of noise between phone calls with journalists and clients, lively brainstorming sessions in the conference room and water cooler discussions about Jimmy Kimmel’s latest viral video. Getting out the headphones and either putting on your favorite music or just blocking out the noise can be the remedy for writing a dazzling pitch or press release.
  • Clean – The life of a PR pro often means that there are slide decks, spreadsheets, fact sheets, notes and a sea of post-it notes on your desk. Your inbox is also probably full of client and journalist correspondence, competitor’s newsletters and Google Alerts. Take a few minutes to file the physical papers and the emails you don’t need anymore. The literal and figurative “clean house” will also let you approach your writing with a clear mind.
  • Chew gum. Yep, it’s science.

Happy writing!