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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.

Public Relations Agency’s Common Challenges and How to Avoid Them

Kicking off a Public Relations program with a new client is always an exciting time at an agency! We quickly start wrapping our heads around the ins and outs of the company and shortly after, get to tout their unique qualities to our media friends. Although this is an exciting time, it is also a crucial period to develop a relationship with your client that will pave the way to success. The first month of a working relationship can be the most challenging, so we’ve created a cheat sheet to minimize speed bumps and increase success during the ramp-up stage.

Amount of Review Samples

When working with tangible goods, more often than not, the media will request a sample unit to review to validate the attributes that make a product special. In an era of fly-by-night companies that do not deliver, it is more important than ever to substantiate the claims of a good or service. Journalists have been burned by writing about a product that never comes to market, so in order to best serve them, and especially their audiences, we provide them with the sample unit they need to complete their piece. If a company delays sending review units, they also run the risk of delaying the PR program and affecting the steady stream of press.

Not all consumer goods are created equal. Varying prices and manufacturing costs can affect the amount of samples allocated to a given program. For high-priced consumer goods or goods with limited quantities for the media, it’s important to utilize a Product Loan Agreement, a contractual obligation to send the review sample back to the company once the review is completed in the amount of time defined in the agreement. By circulating the review units, we are able to maximize the review opportunities.

Public Relations Messaging and Materials

A crucial element to the success of a Public Relations program is the translation of the brand’s identity into messaging used throughout press materials. The messaging used will be the first impression a media member has of the company, as well as what they will use to help them write their story. It is important to provide an agency with all the proper messaging, and work with them as it is being developed to ensure the best and most accurate information possible.

Concise and effective messaging and press materials will help set a company apart from competitors, especially when being compared directly to them. In order to ensure that we see the best possible results from a secured media opportunity, we provide the media with any and all press materials including press releases, custom quick-start guides and a spokesperson from the company to comment on any questions that may arise.

Published Press

Once the press materials are ready for public consumption, we can aggressively hit the ground running. As ongoing discussions continue, we often hear this question from the client, “When can we expect to see press coverage?” The answer to this question will largely depend on the publication and journalist. An outlet’s lead times, editorial calendars and a journalist’s editor all contribute to the timing of when a piece will publish. Another major factor to take into consideration is the piece’s timeliness in the news cycle as breaking news often impacts scheduled stories and secured opportunities.

Ensuring that coverage converts in a timely manner is the key to any successful program. Here are a few ways that we ensure press publishes:

  • Open Lines of Communication – By following up with the journalist to check in, your brand will be top-of-mind and we will stay up to date on the progress of the story. In addition, if the journalist is encountering any problems with our product or service, we can stay ahead of the issue by offering a quick solution.
  • Avoiding Industry Announcements – To ensure the success of a pitch or a slew of press during a product announcement, we will advise on industry announcements, tradeshows, and other major events that could affect the timeliness of our story.

A Symbiotic Relationship

A successful Public Relations program cannot exist without engagement from the client. A lack of communication between a Public Relations agency and company can be detrimental to the overall success of a program. With a proper relationship in place, we can pivot on the program as needed and stay in line with the priorities of the company and leverage all angles, including newsworthy opportunities that could get prime real estate in a media outlet that may have been previously overlooked.

Letter to Future Public Relations Practitioners

So you want to work in Public Relations? Great, but do you really know what that entails? As someone who has a few years under his belt, let me tell you.

Public Relations practitioners are tasked with much more than media relations or writing a speech for an executive. Clients hire PR practitioners not only to garner their company valuable media coverage but to also be a trusted advisor to their company.  That means at all days and hours you must be ready to help guide your client through any situation, good or bad.  All it takes is one bad news story, tweet, Instagram post, Facebook post, etc. to set off a chain of events that can ruin a company or person’s reputation.

A major key to success in the industry is that you have to know what your clients’ goals are. Without that, you cannot be successful.

Clients come from all over the world and that is one of the most exciting and challenging parts of the job. In this industry, I’ve interacted with people from every continent in the world (besides Antarctica), and each client has different goals for their company. For example, one client may be focused on broadcast coverage and featuring one company spokesperson whereas another may be a family run business that is more interested in being featured in business publications highlighting them as a family.

Knowing what media outlets can move the needle for your clients, what their sales goals are and what messaging they want conveyed to the public are all examples of goals that both the client and PR practitioner need to align on.

In today’s data driven age, having a free flowing information channel with your client can help to refine your PR program to yield better results. Sharing statistics and analytics with your client helps track sales and other trends. For example, I worked with a client that makes a fitness product. They found out from their sales and social media analytics that the majority of consumers purchasing the product were female. That information is crucial as a practitioner. You can use that to pivot your marketing strategy and target more of a female demographic.

Being a PR practitioner can be challenging and stressful because you have to expect the unexpected. If it was easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Now I hope I didn’t scare you away. Anything can happen at any time but that is also part of the fun! In first couple of years in the industry, I’ve been able to do some amazing things.

Here are a few of the highlights for me:

  • CES 2016-This January, I worked at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas or as I’d prefer to call it, “The Super Bowl of Tech.” Spending a week out there with a variety of clients was an extremely beneficial experience. The show had almost 200,000 in attendance and was even more massive in person. I was able to learn a lot and have fun (it is Las Vegas after all!)
  • Media Training Athletes-During my time at Florida State University as an intern with a sports-focused agency, I had the privilege of helping media train NCAA athletes from multiple Division 1 schools. Like I said before in today’s digital and social age, this is HUGE for any university.
  • New York Media Tour-I’m getting ready to go to New York to do a media tour on behalf of multiple different clients of the agency. I’ll be meeting with influential journalists from publications including The Wall Street Journal, CNET, Sports Illustrated, SELF and Golf Digest and talking about their editorial calendars and how I can be of help.

Public Relations is an evolving landscape and an integral part of any successful business. To be a successful PR practitioner, it takes a good personality, motivation, passion, patience and skill. If this sounds like something you are up for, go for it with all you’ve got because anything’s possible!

Air-Popped Productivity

We’re potluck fanatics and go crazy over a good productivity tip, so these “5 Wacky Things You Can Eat to Boost Productivity” piece from Inc.com is right up our alley.

Article below and here. Credit: Inc.com

5 Wacky Things You Can Eat to Boost Productivity
Think yogurt, eggs, bananas, spinach, and walnuts are top notch? They sure are, but add these 5 ingredients to your daily menu and you might boost productivity even more!
BY JANINE POPICK
CMO, Dasheroo; founder, VerticalResponse

GreenRoom Agency Productivity
IMAGE: Getty Images

As an entrepreneur, you know that there’s no time for a break. It’s go-go-go all the time. Those who achieve the greatest success know what it takes to remain productive.

There are are a ton of ways to boost productivity, from a morning workout to a diet change. It’s hard for some to believe, but what you eat will have a positive or negative affect on your productivity.

With a direct impact on cognitive performance, the food choices you make at breakfast or lunch will either propel you to great heights or hold you back for the rest of the day.

You may be familiar with “common” foods that boost productivity, such as eggs, yogurt, bananas, spinach, and walnuts. But did you know there are some things you can eat you might not associate with being super productive? Here are some ideas:

1. Air-popped Popcorn
It may not be wacky in the sense that you have never heard of it, but most people don’t associate popcorn with productivity.

When compared to chips, popcorn is a better pick thanks to its energy boosting capabilities and health benefits (fewer calories). As long as you avoid loads of butter and salt, this makes for a great pick-me-up snack. Put some sriracha on it to spice it up. Added health benefit? Sriracha is made from chili peppers, they boost endorphins which helps make you happier. Bonus #2, chili peppers also spike serotonin, a mood and memory enhancer.

Plus it just makes your environment smell yummy!

2. Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is defined as “a species of the goosefoot genus, a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.”

What the heck does that mean? If you don’t know anything about quinoa, here is your opportunity to learn more. With a solid eight grams of protein per cup, this is a top snack for those times when you need more energy. Here are some quinoa recipes to experiment with.

Grab a quinoa salad for lunch and see how the rest of the day works for you.

3. Sweet Potato Smoothie
Say what? Stick with me for a second.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of collagen which is essential to helping us cope with stress. They taste sweet but they have natural sugars that help give a balanced and regular source of energy.

And although it might not sound as appealing when compared to a sweet berry alternative, this type of smoothie could be just what you need.

Throw a medium baked sweet potato into a blender, along with banana and a teaspoon (or two) of cocoa powder. Add a few ice cubes to cool it down and start your blender. Within seconds, you will have a smoothie that keeps you running at max efficiency all day. Best yet, it tastes good too!

4. Dry-Roasted Edamame
A healthy snack considered wacky by many, dry-roasted edamame contains plenty of fiber, protein, and antioxidants.

The nice thing about this snack is that it can be popped into your mouth on the go. A piece of chocolate or chips may sound more appealing, but that’s only because you have yet to try a handful of dry-roasted edamame.

5. Pepitas
There is more to these green pumpkin seed kernels than a cool name.

Known as one of the world’s healthiest foods, pepitas are packed full of protein, iron, and magnesium. When you combine the health benefits with the delicious taste, you have a snack that will call your name all day long.

By adding these five wacky foods to your diet, you can boost productivity while lessening the likelihood ofmissing valuable time due to an illness, or snacking on unhealthy foods. A true win-win!

PUBLISHED ON: MAR 3, 2016

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.

Why Everyone Wants to Go Viral

Viral

In an era of Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope, images, links and videos spread like wildfire in the blink of an eye. While many of those images and videos we’re bombarded with are world and regional news and live events, every now and again we’ll see an interesting product, meme or cat video.

Grumpy cat

The most viewed YouTube video of all time is Gangnam Style with more than 2.4 billion views (we warned you, it’s catchy) followed by Charlie Bit My Finger (so cute) and a slew of other music videos and Grumpy Cat memes. As PR pros, we dream about 2.4 billion views and we lose sleep over unique monthly visitors and comparative advertising values, but is there a magic formula to obtain this type of traction and what do we do with it once it’s happened?

Gangnam Style

The quick answer is no and yes. While there’s no specific algorithm that equates to billions of eyes on a product and millions of dollars sold, it’s our job as PR pros to determine the unique qualities of a brand and bring those qualities to light for consumers. We are storytellers at heart; we do all we can to unearth messages that will resonate across the board to a wide variety of audiences. From there, we leverage our relationships and place those stories in outlets and on platforms that we know will generate traction.

Happy Endings

So what do we do with this momentum once we’ve obtained it? Quite honestly, we run like hell with it by continuing to tout those achievements on even MORE outlets and propel the brand into selling heaven. As with all cycles that ebb and flow, there’s always a point when the virality of a message ends. So we look for new stories from a brand, and whether it’s a new products, service or milestone, and we begin again.

Run

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 PR Practitioners Want on Amazon Dash

What PR Practitioners Want on Amazon

By now, you’ve likely heard of Amazon’s latest “a-ha” moment, Amazon Dash. What looks to be no larger than a pack of gum, adorning your favorite brand’s logo, attaches to devices and allows users to order regular household items with the push of a button.  Genius, right? It got us thinking; wouldn’t it be incredible if there was a button for EVERYTHING, even business services? And no, we’re not talking about that Staples Easy Button.

 

By now, you’ve likely heard of Amazon’s latest “a-ha” moment, Amazon Dash. What looks to be no larger than a pack of gum, adorning your favorite brand’s logo, attaches to devices and allows users to order regular household items with the push of a button.  Genius, right? It got us thinking; wouldn’t it be incredible if there was a button for EVERYTHING, even business services? And no, we’re not talking about that Staples Easy Button.

 

These are our top five wish list items for Amazon Dash – Amazon, feel free to connect if you need additional details.

 

  1. Public Relations – Obviously. In a perfect world, the push of a button would execute a finely-tuned PR program for your business or product instantly generated thousands of positive media impressions.Tina-Fey-giving-herself-high-five
  2. Publix Cookies – Publix, a local grocer sells the world’s most delicious cookies. If we could have those on “speed dial”, we would.cookie mon
  3. Libations – PR folks work long hours. One should relax with a tasty beverage when nearing a 12 or 14 hour day.                                                                                                                                        mad men
  4. Mute – Be honest, who hasn’t wished for a mute button every now and again?                                                                                                                                                                                                                         shhh
  5. Banking Services – How often have you found yourself without cash and no ATM in sight?  We’d love a cash delivery service for  those inopportune moments.

free money

 

These are a few of our favorites. Let us know your Amazon Dash wish list on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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.