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This is the biggest reason we leave our jobs (and one way to fix it)

communication awards, bias

Like many of you, I have had some great PR jobs, and some really terrible ones. Looking back, the career opportunities that drove me to perform at my best, demonstrate incredible loyalty to a company (like, willing to work for less even, just because I loved it so much) and become an advocate for that company (name-dropping on panels, helping to recruit new talent) all come down to two things: the quality of the leadership and opportunities for recognition.

My experience is consistent with the research. The Aon Hewitt, 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement study found that career opportunities, recognition, and organization reputation are consistently top engagement drivers. A Gallup poll conducted in 2016 found that it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored. And that experience increases turnover. Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.

Just like the marketing adage that its easier to keep a customer than go out and get a new one, it’s is often much better for business to keep a great employee than to have to scramble to fill an unexpected opening. Constantly hiring replacements is costly and keeps us all from being able to focus and complete the work in front of us. And yet the Aberdeen Group found that only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition.

So let me make it easy on you.

Recognition can happen through small, yet meaningful acts – giving credit where credit is due in a meeting, a Zappos gift card as thanks for a particularly harrowing networking event (I still smile when I think of that one), a hand-written thank you note. But those small acts are also a bit small time;  a bigger means to truly celebrate your team, one with lifetime career value, is through industry awards.

As BCA Judge Dara Elliott put it so eloquently, “We work so hard dreaming up incredible campaigns and bringing them to life. Oftentimes we’re moving so fast, we forget to step back and appreciate not only what we’ve built, but how far we’ve come as an industry!”

46% of senior managers view recognition programs as an investment rather than an expense, and we agree. But we also know a good deal when we see one.

I’d love for PR Couture to be a part of how you differentiate yourself from the rest, attract bigger and better opportunities and ensure long-term loyalty from employees and partners.

To celebrate the incredible minds that are part of your organization, consider applying for one of the following awards:

  • Agency of the Year or Startup Agency of the Year
  • Best Digital/Social Team
  • Work/Life/Balance/Culture
  • The Bloom Award – Top Communicator of the Year
  • The Blush Award – Emerging Communicator of the Year

Come check out the BCAs now!

Celebrate PR Couture’s 10-year anniversary (all Year Long)

Hello my lovely PR Couture reader,

I'm not sure if you noticed, but this week we went dark on the blog for the first time in TEN YEARS. As in, no posts published, at all.

While the decision was necessary for the team to gear up for some BIG announcements coming your way in the next few weeks, it gave me one of those "holy shit" moments.

As in, holy shit: I have been publishing articles on PR Couture, often five days a week, for TEN YEARS.

In December 2006 I spent a weekend teaching myself the basics of WordPress, enlisted a friend to help with a logo and published my first blog post.

It used to be that most of you knew our origin story. It used to be that my own name was synonymous with PR Couture.

That's changed.

So, please indulge me a bit as I take this opportunity to quickly share a bit about where we've been, where we are, and where we are headed.

 

PR Couture 2006-2016

I discovered public relations in graduate school and was immediately drawn to the intersection of business strategy, writing and creativity required. After combining this newfound discovery with a copywriting job that had quickly turned into running a PR and marketing department (along with a lifelong love of clothing and fashion), I wrote the very first academic thesis on the subject of fashion public relations.

After graduating, I started PR Couture as a means to both share what I had learned and as a platform to learn more.

Back then, fashion blogging was just getting started, most PR agencies had nothing more than a phone number on a splash page (if you were lucky). There was no Instagram (gasp!), there wasn't even Twitter. The whole Girl Boss/Boss Babe/Digital Entrepreneur "build your brand online" thing was years away.

As that all changed, my own career grew alongside PR Couture for years in a sort of symbiosis. PR Couture became the oh so necessary creative outlet for a girl who hadn't quite figured out that she was a Boss at heart.

 

PR Couture became the oh so necessary creative outlet for a girl who hadn't quite figured out that she was a Boss at heart.

Celebrating 10 years PR Couture

In 2013, PR Couture + consulting became my full-time gig. In 2016 I launched our most comprehensive redesign to-date, added two amazing women to help me out, taught two sections of JMS-0496 Fashion Public Relations at San Diego State University, one Fashion PR Confidential workshop in NYC and two live PRISM courses online (surrounded by palm trees in my San Diego backyard - heaven!). Oh, and had a baby. It was kind of a big year.

My goal has always been for PR Couture to be a shared platform and brand that facilitates community and a sense belonging that can be sorely lacking in our industry. I am proud that we focus on subjects relevant to those of us just starting out in the industry, like our Getting IN series, as well as those of us with several years of experience, like our PR Girls We Love series.

Today, PR Couture has evolved from a blog into your go-to industry sourcebook, and we are just getting started.

Before we head into a year's worth of anniversary celebrations, however, I invite you to join me in not simply reflecting on the evolution above, but on your own growth in the last decade. It's been amazing to participate alongside you as digital communications has altered our industry so significantly. How lucky we are to live in a time where incredible connections can be facilitated with the swipe of a finger, where an idea and an online presence can be the start of something huge.

I've been re-watching a lot of Parks & Rec lately. In addition to wishing Leslie Knope was my best friend (or business partner!), one quote from the show sticks out:

None of us achieves anything alone.

So thank you.

You keep me inspired, motivated and you help me to support my family. That is some serious stuff, kitten. More than myself however, you have indirectly helped your fellow readers find dream jobs, connected agencies with clients who are perfect for one another, helped women launch freelance careers, and so many others experience life-changing moments, friendships and opportunities.

Yup, you did that.

So thank you, thank you for being a part of my team.

Love,

 

 

 

PS: If you have a PR Couture-related memory I'd love to hear it! Email me using the envelope link in my bio below, or share on social media with the hashtag PRCx10

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How to Make Charitable Partners Part of Your PR Strategy

non profit PR, cause marketing brand partnerships charitable giving

Securing charity partnerships for brands opens up fosters goodwill and has the added benefit of providing a unique story angle that can lead media outreach. As you begin planning for next year, consider if a cause marketing approach should be part of your communication strategy and if yes, follow these steps to begin to explore opportunities.

Plan Charitable Partnerships Early

Developing a relationship with a non-profit takes time, so start by identifying the cause you’d like to align your brand with, how you would like to partner and when. Popular options for fashion and lifestyle brands include Breast Cancer Awareness month in April, and American Heart Month in February. Keep in mind that you not only need to have the specifics of your cause-based endeavor squared away to have time to effectively develop and promote the event or specific product but if you plan to secure any print media mentions, you’ll also need to factor in those deadlines. For a breast cancer tie-in, for example, editors generally begin sourcing products in June and July.

Don’t just partner with any charity

When evaluating different charitable opportunities, make sure there is an obvious connection between the brand and the non-profit.  For example, if you work with a beauty line that doesn’t use natural ingredients or sustainable production methods, an environmental charity might raise a few eyebrows and lead to more crisis management than cause marketing. On the other hand, if the founder of said beauty brand has an inspiring story as a woman in business, then an organization that offers grants to female-owned companies makes total sense.

The most successful partnerships are the ones where the brand truly believes in the cause of the charity, whether from personal experience or because it reflects brand values. Make sure you and your brand are well-versed in the concepts of pink-washing and greenwashing to avoid negative press.

Vet potential non-profit organizations

Make sure that the charity you are working with is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and actually gives back to where it says it does. Some great resources include Charity Navigator (which does in-depth analysis of charities and their allocation of money) as well as GuideStar or Charity Watch. Kayla Logan, Owner of Kayla Logan PR suggests that “when meeting with different organizations, ask to meet in their headquarters so that you get a feel for operations and always ask for examples of previous partnerships before agreeing to anything.”

Think beyond the “Percentage of Product” idea

Encourage your client to agree to something a bit more creative than the standard 10% of proceeds will be donated (this will go further toward media coverage as well).

When evaluating different charitable opportunities, make sure there is an obvious connection between the brand and the non-profit.

Maria Todaro, Territorial Corporate Relations Manager at The Salvation Army says, “when you are working to develop a meaningful campaign, think about how you can deepen relationships with customers, boost employee retention through engagement opportunities, and create a positive social impact story you can share and be proud of. These are some of the key components of a successful and sustainable cause marketing partnership.”

Discuss promotional language ahead of time

Draft a partnership agreement that outlines all of these specifics of the activation. This will help manage expectations and protect both parties. You’ll want to include some language around approvals for logo and name use. Pay special attention to language use; some give free reign while others are very specific on the terminology that can be used.  To avoid headaches down the line discuss language specifics, disclosure, and any confidentiality requirements, before reaching out to the media or speaking publically about the relationship.

Give generously

While it’s understandable that smaller brands cannot donate a large percentage of sales to charity, if the amount you’re giving is so small that it hardly benefits the charity it can appear to be self-serving. You don’t need to give away all of your profits, but make sure it’s enough to truly impact the nonprofit. Think beyond money as well and consider what expertise or services you might be able to provide.

Kayla often offers her own PR and social media expertise to smaller non-profits who struggle in this area. “Many charities don’t have a strong dedicated PR or marketing team to develop eye-catching creative or social media campaigns. As part of the partnership, I will develop social media templates and extend introductions to my own network to help them succeed beyond the specific client event.”

Charitable giving can boost brand perception and foster positive relationships among customers and media while having a measurable impact on a population in need.  There are many great ways to reach out to and work with charities when you choose the right organization that aligns with the values shared between a brand and its audiences.

 

BCA Profiles: Litzky PR, Traditional Campaign Award

Litzky Public Relations is a full-service boutique PR agency and winner of The Best Traditional PR Campaign award during the Bespoke Communication Awards earlier in the year, which hones in on the true art of storytelling and media relations.

The winning campaign celebrated Play-Doh’s 60th anniversary on World Play-Doh Day (WPDD), a “holiday” launched in 2006.  Given the challenge to double media exposure with half the budget, the Litzky PR team employed a highly targeted approach that capitalized on media and consumer trends. The campaign included kid-generated YouTube videos and invited parents via social to submit what their kids imagined life would look like 60 years into the future. These imaginings were then brought to life by an in-house sculptor to turned these predictions (including houses in the sky, unicorn pets, flying shoes, and more) into intricate Play-Doh sculpts. The creative process was recorded via timelapse, providing powerful creative assets to pitch to parenting press, general media, video, and social media editors.

Play-Doh 60th birthday media mailers included confetti poppers, Play-Doh party hats, Play-Doh compound and mini “photo opp” inserts for media to sculpt and socially share their creations. Mailers went out to 50 national media contacts, social media editors, and family bloggers (bloggers even threw their own Play-Doh 60th birthday parties). While confetti poppers and timelapse videos work for general and parenting press, Litzky took an entirely different approach with business media, pulling together Play-Doh facts, stats, vintage images, and figures.

The results? LPR’s small-but-scrappy three-person team knocked the lofty objectives out of the park with 622M impressions and 320 positive, engaging media stories in one day, a 119% and 416% increase from 2015, respectively.

We caught up with agency founder Michele Litzky to learn more about what’s going on behind the scenes as LPR gets ready to celebrate 30 years in business next year.

How does it feel to win Traditional PR Campaign? How is your team going to celebrate?

It’s incredibly gratifying to see our team’s hard work (and successes!) resonate not just with media, influencers and clients, but with top-tier PR industry experts. We celebrated with widespread recognition for the Play-Doh team during our monthly agency meeting, and have a team lunch on the books for July to continue the excitement.

What is your team most excited about right now?

Lately, we’ve been diving deep into influencer relations strategy over the past couple of years, and this year more than ever we’re uncovering new and smart ways to turn niche influencers into brand advocates. This is an especially exciting trend for the PR industry because influencers drive incredible results. Whether it’s successful activations at VidCon or targeted LPR-run influencer campaigns, we’ve been blown away by how well our team stays ahead of influencer trends.

What does a “traditional PR campaign” really mean to you in a digital age?

While it’s easy to get sidetracked by the shiny new social media platforms, we never lose sight of those tried-and-true media relations strategies that drive top-notch coverage. Our award-winning World Play-Doh Day campaign was a great example; while we had digital components like YouTube speed sculpting challenges and celebrity social posts, we led with a strong, traditional media strategy (think creative physical mailers and custom Play-Doh sculpts) that led to the most successful World Play-Doh Day yet.

Whether it’s successful activations at VidCon or targeted LPR-run influencer campaigns, we’ve been blown away by how well our team stays ahead of influencer trends.

How does your team plan to tackle the rest of 2017? 

Since the agency specializes in lifestyle brands that engage kids and families, the second half of our year gets particularly busy with holiday pitching. The teams have already started their long-lead outreach for our toy, game, and fashion clients, with short-lead holiday pitching on the horizon. In terms of our agency’s internal focus, LPR has a major milestone coming up in 2018 – the big 3-0! – so we’re spending the rest of the year setting ourselves up for a full year of success and celebrations!

If we looked inside your purse/work bag right now, what would we find?

Well, I just returned from a client trip to VidCon, so my purse is in “event mode.” That means business cards, a look book, antibacterial, cough drops, vitamin C, tape, pens, receipts, receipt organizers, nail polish, mints, portable charger … you get the picture. I could survive on a desert island for at least one week when my purse gets in event mode.

How you anticipate the industry shifting in 2018?

As mentioned above, influencers are becoming more and more important in 2017, and in 2018, we anticipate niche, micro influencers – the ones who truly connect with (and ultimately persuade) their audiences – will be a major focus. We’ve already had great traction with micro influencers in spring 2017, and given those accomplishments, we’re brainstorming unique ways to include them further in plans for fall 2017 into 2018.


We’re in planning mode for the 2018 BCAs! Want to get in involved as a sponsor, judge or volunteer? Email info@thebespokeawards.com

Grow Agency Business with the Power of Referrals

Your agency has a roster of “rock stars.” You have shelves upon shelves lined with awards. Your website shows the agency’s experience – and success – knocking top-tier campaigns out of the park.

But, despite your amazing “wins,” the anticipated new business opportunities just aren’t clicking.

What gives?

After 30 years leading Litzky PR’s new business efforts, here’s what I’ve learned:

Referrals are without a doubt the number one way to land new clients. As PR professionals, we rely on word of mouth and ‘buzz’ to keep our clients in the mainstream.  Why not bring the same energy to your new biz effort?

Yes, awards, amazing employees and incredible work can help you sell in your services, but at the end of the day, companies would prefer to invest in partners they trust.

But how do you get those referrals?

Here are 6 of our tried-and-true ways.

Prioritize local community involvement

From purchasing produce at a local farmers market to investing in neighborhood business, people love to “go local” and you can capitalize on this trend for your agency! Establish yourself in the community by attending local business events, volunteering with a neighborhood group, etc. The more you network with local residents authentically – authentic being key here – the more likely you are to come to mind when a company needs PR. Your Chamber of Commerce or Rotary are a great place to start.

Attend Events Outside of Your Industry

Joining PR networks is always a great idea, but it’s smart to extend your reach to local marketing or creative groups because those members may actually have the power to move the needle. Most attendees at PR events work at PR agencies, and while they are absolutely worth networking with, they may not lead to new business since they offer similar services.

Promote your wins on social

If you hate networking – or feel you don’t have the time – here’s an extra easy opportunity: Leverage your social networks! Now, I’m not saying go spam your Facebook friends with new business pitches. (No one wants that.) But, if your team worked on a really exciting project or recently won an award, share that with the masses! This is an authentic, non-spammy way to remind your friends what you do, that your agency is impressive, and you may just be open for business! 

Schedule “getting to know you” meetings

Whether it’s coffee, lunch or just a walking meeting, find a time that is mutually convenient for you and your prospect to meet up. Treat this opportunity as you would if invited by a friend or someone you want to know.  New business, just like media relations, is all about relationships, so start with a soft sell.  Spend time getting to know them and, equally important, they need to get to know you. Trust needs to be built and it makes for a strong foundation moving forward.

Be a Strategic Joiner

We are all pressed for time. How often have you felt there are not enough hours in a day to do what you need to do and still maintain your work/life balance?  When you opt to get more involved in volunteer work or are looking for ways to expand your circle of business contacts, don’t just jump at any opportunity. Be thoughtful. If you’re taking time out of an already full schedule, make sure you’re passionate about what extra-curricular activities you undertake.

Be Persistent but Not a Pest

You’ve made the connection and you’re finally in front of a potential new client through a referral. Now what? Honestly, it may take some time to land the business. Your job now is to be persistent and deliver on any promises you have made.

But how persistent should you be? These negotiations take time and there may be a lot going on behind the scenes with your decision maker. So tread lightly, but keep treading. I’ve found you need approximately five touchpoints – opportunities that you make to reengage – with options including a phone call, an email, sending an appropriate article that addresses an issue you’ve discussed.

New business strategy is an ongoing process that relies on consistent outreach, relationship-building and staying top of mind.

PRGirl is Ready to Binge, Generation Z for Marketers, & Overcoming PR Obstacles

 Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

...for the week of October 9, 2017

 

The Hills heads to Chicago...sort of. The first 5 episodes of PRGirl are here! Watch episode 1 below!

Generation Z thinks far differently than any other generation so far. Here's what progressive marketers should expect! (via Retail DIVE)

Online fashion startup develops groundbreaking technology (via Quartz)

4 PR obstacles and how to overcome them like a pro (via PR Daily)

What Apple's CEO has to say about augmented reality in the fashion industry (via Vogue UK)

How "the glitch" is paving the future for designers (via Ad Week)

5 ways you can support gender equality & women around the globe (via Elle)

Instagram's new feature can benefit your brand more than you may think (via Social Media Today)

Kate Spade said to launch a book featuring the lives of women throughout history (via Fashion Network)

Influencers continue to disclose what brands pay them for featured content (via WWD)

You might want to think twice before posting on the internet (via Mashable)

Exclusive Behind the Scenes with PRGirl Star Alex Moresco

first 5 episodes ready to binge at prgirlseries.com

Today is a big day - after a summer of filming and editing, the brand new, original reality web series PRGirl has debuted its first five episodes!

While you are sure get to know show star Alex Moresco across the season as she wraps up a semester at graduate school, plans a huge fundraising gala for the Global Lyme Alliance, parties with her squad Bachelor/Bachelorette style and plenty more, we wanted to dig in a bit further to Alex's background and experience shooting the show.

Let's start with the basics. Alexandra (Alex) Moresco is a 24-year old entertainment publicist based in Chicago. She runs her own firm, A Moresco PR, helping to drive attention to and build the influence of her clients across digital and traditional media channels. In addition to her PR clients, Alex is pursing her Master's Degree in Communication and an active supporter of the Global Lyme Alliance (Alex was diagnosed in 2016).

While firmly part of the millennial generation, Alex displays a Hepburn-esque charm and grace, combined with a savvy business mind and off-the-charts ability to execute and advocate for the individuals and causes that are important to her.

Signing on for a reality show - was it an instant YES or did it take some convincing?

If we are going to be completely honest here, I always said that I would never do reality TV. I’d been approached for other shows before- House of DVF, dating shows…you name it! I'm not sure why - I don't consider myself a dramatic person. In fact, I actively stay away from drama so I never felt I was the right fit for what Reality TV is typically all about. 

When I was first approached by show creator Farissa Knox, I had a lot of internal debate as to whether I should do it or not- putting your life out there is a big decision!

I liked the concept of PRGirl but I didn't think that it was the right time because I had just been diagnosed with Lyme disease. But Farissa explained that the vision for PRGirl was all about women empowering other women and showcasing the true ups and downs in life.  That perspective helped me to decide that actually, I HAD to be a part of it!

Have you always been comfortable being on camera?

Oh my gosh- no! I am a publicist by trade and work with TV stars and am so used to being behind the scenes. Having a camera in my face was a foreign concept. Luckily for me everyone was so easy going - I forgot cameras were there most of the time.

there anything that was completely off limits for you during filming?

Not much was completely off-limits-really just my family. Viewers get a glimpse of my husband and wedding but other than that I mostly kept my family out of PR Girl; I signed up to have my life broadcast but they did not.

 

the vision for PRGirl was all about women empowering other women and showcasing the true ups and downs in life...I HAD to be a part of it!

How did you prepare for the show?

I have been behind the scenes on so many sets and projects - and I think that experience really helped me to prepare. That prior knowledge of the aspects of filming that many don’t know about- like production and editing - gave me a good understanding of the whole process and what to expect. In prepping clients for TV interviews I'd learned know to explain things so they make sense to the viewer, so I was clear about the purpose of the talking head parts of the show.

I wound up having a lot of fun, Watching each episode is such a cool experience - I get to relive my summer and see everything I did with my best friends!

So you've watched the show? What was that like?

It is very odd seeing yourself on TV- I can admit that! I have watched the series- and I love it. I hope that others in creative industries or students in college take away at least one lesson from PRGirl and enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed filming it!

In the first episode you interview  a woman about diversity in the workplace as part of a final project in grad school, can you share a bit more about that?

For one of my class finals (I am getting my Masters in PR/AD at DePaul University in Chicago) we we were paired with a Chicago CEO and had to produce a video interview. It was one of my favorite class projects I have ever had to do.

I was lucky enough to be paired with Anne Pramaggiore, the CEO of ComEd. She is a fascinating woman and you can read my full interview with her HERE. She is a true advocate for having diverse voices in her workplace and really having them be heard. She is the true definition of women empowering other women and getting to speak to and personally learn from someone like that was an amazing opportunity.

I mostly kept my family out of PR Girl; I signed up to have my life broadcast but they did not.

PR is regularly listed as one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. With Lyme you run the very real risk of simply running out of energy, how do you mitigate this?

PR is incredibly stressful- I agree with you on that! I love my career and eventually had to come to the decision that I could not work the way I used to with 10 clients at any given time. I would up evaluating what was most important to me and stuck with a few clients that I absolutely adore and now work with Global Lyme Alliance to raise money and create awareness for an invisible illness that more than 300,000 people suffer from in the US alone.

Lyme disease is a tricky illness that many are not aware of- it essentially invades every aspect of your body. Personally, I suffer from severe memory loss, chronic pain and chronic fatigue amongst many other things on a daily basis. It took me two years to get diagnosed so I have been sick for a lot longer than many people know.

Chronic illness or not, it is important to have a balance in your life so you do not burn out. Personally, my phone goes off at 7:00pm every night and I do not have email on my phone. If someone is in dire need of me, they can call my cellphone.  

Speaking of balance, what does that look like for you?

This sounds so simple, but: listen to your body! If you are tired, go to bed early. We often ignore what our bodies are trying to tell us and that runs us down.

Set boundaries: stop checking email after a certain time once you leave work and try to do one thing for YOURSELF a day even if it’s as simple as taking a bath or going for a walk at night. If you set boundaries for yourself I can guarantee that you will be a lot less stressed out!

Learn when to say no: I’m not sure if this is considered a self-care tip but learning how to say no to things has been crucial to me saving my personal sanity. It’s okay to say no and not try to do 100 things at once. Try to focus on what matters most to you and really take some time to think about opportunities before committing to them.

I guess this is a bonus self-care tip? Ha! I truly believe that a good blowout fixes everything and makes you feel like a million bucks. I work with Jordan Pouponneau in Chicago but also love DryBar for an easy, stress free blowout for only $35.00.

 

Ok back to PR! What do want viewers to understand about running your own PR business?

PRGirl is not only meant to be fun but also educational. I think that young women's perception of PR or any communication industry job is that you are living this glamorous life and whooping it up all the time- and yes, that is about 10% of the job. But the other 90% is schlepping stuff around and taking client calls at 10pm. You work just as hard in PR as any other job. Particularly, working in PR means you are never done learning - you are constantly working to understand and harness new technologies and methods of communication, and keeping up and ahead to maintain your value for clients.  

I'm also hopefully that viewers will better understand Lyme through my constant battle with the disease. Even if someone looks good on the outside- it doesn’t mean they are well internally.

I hope that the reminds viewers that everyone is dealing with something and to be a little kinder to people in your everyday life!

What's changed for you as a result of being a part of the show?

I don’t know if I have necessarily changed from filming but I absolutely learned a lot, in particular about how to stay clear and "on message" when filming. This has given me a new appreciation for how hard my clients work!

I also think the process of filming made me less afraid to share the negative parts of my life as well as the positive. Life isn’t perfect and it’s okay to let people see that!

The process of filming made me less afraid to share the negative parts of my life as well as the positive. Life isn’t perfect and it’s okay to let people see that!

What's next?

That is a great question! I am currently working with Chris Jones on a sizeable project that I can’t talk about yet- but PR Couture will be the first site I fill in when I can!

I am continuing to work with Global Lyme Alliance to raise awareness and funds for Lyme disease research and just started hosting a podcast for them with my best friend Sarah Aiken (pictured left) called “In The Lymelight.” We are talking with everyone from doctors to celebrities and hope to bring a little bit of comedic relief to an otherwise somber topic.

You can keep up to date with all of the things I am working on, here!

 

For more information on the “PRGirl” series, visit www.prgirlseries.com. To become a sponsor, advertiser or partner, email sponsors@prgirlseries.com

Snapchat’s Virtual 3D Art, Tips to Boost Your Blog & Jo Malone’s Secrets to Success

 Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

...for the week of October 2, 2017

Condé Nast is thrilled to announce the launch of Them, an LGBTQ-focused media platform (via Fashionista)

Who's the brains behind the blows of the relentless IG account known for calling out designers? (via WWD)

Boost your blog and rebound from writer's block! (via PR Daily)

Struggling with anxiety? Check out what people have to say about the latest "cure" (via The New Yorker)

Jo Malone shares her secrets to a successful business (via Marketing Week)

Captivate your audience & embrace your niche with these tips from Allure and Teen Vogue (via Adweek)

Snapchat's virtual 3D art feature may just be the next big thing (via Social Media Today)

The 7 ugly truths about iPhones that no one ever tells you (via Huffington Post)

The holiday season is just around the corner! These fun advent calendars will have beauty lovers jumping for joy (via Elle)

The 2013 breach of 3 billion accounts on Yahoo! continues to effect the web provider to this day (via The New York Times)

Campaigns We Love: The Chez Away Pop-up Hotel in Paris

Who: Away

What: For Paris Fashion Week, Away partnered with Amastan Paris to create the perfect pop-up hotel for seasoned travelers and design lovers traveling through the city. The event aligns with a limited-edition suitcase with the hotel’s signature print lining the interior and the launch of shipping to France.

Key Ingredients: 

  • Beauty essentials from Glossier, Dr. Jart+, and more curated by Violet Grey
  • Daily private and group meditation sessions from MNDFL
  • House bikes provided by Tokyobike
  • On-call manicurists (from Paintbox), and even an in-house piercing and tattoo artist
  • Co-working courtyard for the perfect mix of commingling and commiseration
  • Mega-bars provided by Grey Goose in every room
  • Nylon X Outnet Dinner
  • Haim Party
  • DJ sets and acoustic performances
  • Talks and dinners hosted by models, editors, and designers
  • A full calendar of wellness programming with Nike, Sky Ting, and more (curated by CONDITION)

Why: We love a good experiential marketing effort, and what gets to the core human experience more than home, or more appropriately, creating a home away from home that is basically one big party with the option of partying with Haim and getting some fresh ink? And speaking of the pop-ups, this new venture comes just 19 months since Away first launched with one suitcase and marks just one of many brand expansions; Away has a publication, Here Magazine, and podcast Airplane Mode. Get outta town!

 

At Shop.org The Future is still (mostly) human

Shop.org, produced by the National Retail Federation, integrated its educational and inspirational programming within the traditional vendor-filled, caffeine-fueled, show floor. Designed to serve a wide-range of retailer needs, this years’ theme was simply, “This is Digital.” And while there was certainly a wide variety of software solutions and new technology aiming to solve for various online business challenges, as well as new tools to engage and solve for various online consumer challenges, there was a subdued tone coming from notable leaders in this space. Many seemed to be coming back down from a “all digital everything” high and instead, settling into the idea that fundamentally, business success comes from human connection, no matter how fancy the facilitation of that relationship might be. This shift speaks to the overall maturity of the landscape, there is now no threat or division between offline and online, there is instead a clarity that all customer touch-points have value and are ripe for refinement.

At a tactical level, companies are redefining the idea and role of “the store,” and removing both internal and external barriers across departments and channels. The result is a more fully integrated model than seen previously. At Disney, this means, in part, live-steaming theme park parades in-store. At DSW, a virtual experience that brings the store into the shopper’s own environment. Even businesses built on digital with a core millenial audience are finding value in getting out from behind the screen. Fabletics increased overall brand performance with retail stores, and Dormify’s whose popup shops with interior designers and NYC showroom have proven a powerful branding and sales strategy.

At times, this in-person element is baked into the business itself, as though Beautycounter’s decision to activate an independent consultant selling model, believing that their mission to both educate women on harmful ingredients, personalize their product recommendations, and build a movement of passionate brand ambassadors would come through one-on-one, in-person interaction. Other times it comes organically from the customer base itself. The Skimm’s Skimbassador program and No Excuses voter registration campaign as well as Peleton’s 45k strong, customer-led Facebook group and charity rides are further examples of how brands can move into advocacy roles, boosting reach, influence and impact when working in concert with brand ambassadors.

This shift speaks to the overall maturity of the landscape, there is now no threat or division between offline and online, there is instead a clarity that all customer touch-points have value and are ripe for refinement.

Many of the conversations explored how companies can stay competitive in a world increasingly dominated by Amazon. For many, hope remains due to what is seen as Amazon’s cold-hearted approach to customer communication, which leaves plenty of opportunity to build loyalty elsewhere. Startups like children’s clothing subscription box company Rockets of Awesome, are coming in with the antithesis of this type of relationship, leading with with brand language that is “care-taking,” and problem-solving, as opposed to simply transactional. For Harper Wilde, regularly working with undergraduate students for insights as well as the confidence to use irreverent humor in a way that instantly puts the brand on its customers side has been key to yielding fast growth for the young company.

For communication professionals on the public relations side (raises hand), it is heartening to have numbers reinforce the value of companies that put relationship-building and mutually-beneficial branded experience at the center of promotional activities. For high-end consignment marketplace Tradesy, CEO Tracy Dinunzio admitted that while she first approached success from a purely single-sale standpoint, believing brand value too difficult to measure, she now looks at LTV, or lifetime customer value, as a much more powerful marker for success.

An outlier presentation in the mindset of all the very cool, but sometimes dizzyingly complex discussions and solutions for attribution models, analytics, machine-learning, cart abandonment and 3-d modeling for customized clothing and drag and drop decorating (so cool!), came from the CEO of Ashley Stewart, whose emotional retelling of his own experience moving from venture capitalist to CEO of the failing company, including giving $10,000 away to a women’s shelter on the say when there was no money left, brought all the metrics down to a reminder that retail companies facilitate meaning among customers. James Rhee certainly had the numbers (Ashley Stewart is tracking toward $200 million in revenue this year), but it was his missive to “go about things in a generous way,” and to redefine for ourselves as business owners and individuals, “what is success, what has value,” that solidified the value of attending Shop.org as an official correspondent for me.

During a conversation about the rise of the Chief Digital Officer role within organizations, Fred Argir, Chief Digital Officer at Barnes & Noble, Nook, referenced an African concept, paraphrasing “people need people to be people.” After all, what fun is exploring immersive tech-driven experiences and new brand discovery without someone to share it with?

The Shelf

Position: Account Manager
Company: The Shelf
Location: NYC
Learn More

8 Ecommerce Trends Brands Need to Incorporate to Ensure Customer Loyalty

Written by Ofer Fryman, CEO &Co-Founder of Syte AI

Artificial intelligence, machine-learning, mobile and cognitive technologies and emerged in response to our increasing expectations as customers for instant gratification and an elevated online shopping experience. 

Now is the time for fashion and lifestyle brands evaluate their current website against current and emerging trends, Not evolving owned media channels opens brands up to risk, as competitors that do will grab market share with a digital presence that better solves for the features, functionalities, and processes that customers expect.

1. Personalized Experiences

Today's customers are not only sharing incredible amounts of information on their multiple devices, but they expect retailers to leverage that information to create a unique and personalized shopping experience - just for them.

Therefore, it has become the responsibility of retailers to give their customers personalized interactions and recommendations to ensure they get what they want, where they want it and when they want it.

2. Sensory Search

2017 marked the beginning of a revolution in panoptic search (also known as visual search), thanks to the popularity of visual social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. Panoptic search and voice search are becoming increasingly popular in eCommerce. Retailers and publishers around the world, such as Erdbeerlounge and Intu, are going the extra mile and amplifying their websites with visual search capabilities powered by third-party companies such as Syte Al. Visual search is quickly becoming the standard.

In the case of voice search, people are getting increasingly comfortable speaking into their phones to ask questions, search and shop. Is your site ready to adapt to sensory search?

3. Simplicity for the Customer

This may sound like a no-brainer to many, but you will be surprised. In order to provide a more seamless user experience, you must look into new tools, systems, and technologies such as machine learning to help with all the heavy-lifting. Therefore, it is important to make use of 'one-click' solutions. You will find that in reducing customer effort, you will reduce time and energy spent on trivial matters on the backend.

4. Mobile Commerce

By 2020, smartphones and tablets will account for more than 3/4 of online commercial transactions on a global scale. It's quickly becoming essential to supplement eCommerce with mobile commerce (now commonly known as eCommerce) and doing so will only open new opportunities for retailers, such as mobile payments, on-demand services, app-based services, new marketplaces, and more. If you find a white-label solution that can get you in on mobile commerce - get all over that!

5. Al for the Back Office

It's a jungle out there, and we totally get how time-consuming it becomes to keep tabs on adjustments that need to be made in order to compete. Luckily, we are in the midst of times where that no longer needs to be an issue. Seek technology that uses machine-learning and predictive analysis that will assist with real-time optimizations of merchandising, pricing, sourcing, and more.

6. Digital Assistance

Messaging apps led to the rapid rise of chatbots, which numerous brands are embracing. There are over 100k chatbots on Facebook Messenger alone, and they are being used to handle basic orders, customer service inquiries, even personal shopping assistance such as that offered by Syte Inspire. We strongly recommend you get on board the chatbot train, as the perks are plentiful.

7. Real-Time Customer Assistance

Customer support needs to be top-notch in terms of speed and quality. In addition to chattiest, look into live chat, and self-service portals for customers. The latter isn't anything particularly new, but it is important, and many retailers fail to provide these levels of support. Stop customer frustration before it starts!

8. Digital Promotions

As the eCommerce gets larger, it will only get more difficult for brands to stand out from the giants. This increased the importance of frequent *strategic* paid social media promotions and email marketing efforts.  You may want to consider automated and personalized solutions if you're really looking to scale on that front, to help drive outside traffic across all relevant social channels. On that note, educate yourself on SEO (to attract visitors to your site,) PPC (to get more customers,) and conversation rate optimization (to increase sales.)

9. Adoption of Sales Funnels

This is typically used in Internet marketing, and is a really good one to implement for increasing marketplace sales. Sales funnels help control the customer journey based on their behavior to increase conversation rates. For example, you can use a Facebook ad to drive traffic to a landing page, which will guide customers to your store on Amazon.

These are amongst the leading features, functionalities, and processes that will help give your business the edge it needs to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world eCommerce. We have sure come a long way from just slapping products onto a database and hoping for transactions. The market is fierce, and you cannot afford to fall behind during this turning point!

Go get 'em, and make 2018 your year!

About Ofer Fryman, 

For over 18 years, Ofer developed scalable real-time, artificial self-developing software systems. Several of his products are currently being used by 60% of the Fortune 1000 companies. Ofer previously held management positions for Jungo, (acquired by NDS followed by Intel); Microsoft; HP; and Shunra (acquired by HP). As the CEO and Co-Founder of Syte, Ofer combines his technical and sales background to lead Syte AI as the front-runner in panoptic search, which is quickly becoming the standard in eCommerce.

A Teen Vogue Tell All, Fashion’s Pollution Problem & AirBnb’s Really Good Emails

 Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

...for the week of September 25, 2017

RewardStyle, a platform for content creators, hits $1 billion in sales and continues to expand worldwide (via CNBC)

Is the future of magazines not as bright as we had hoped? (via The New York Times)

Unicorns, rainbows, and mermaids are dominating the runway! Who would have guessed? (via BBC)

Grow your brand on Instagram with these tips from fashion & beauty icons (via Adweek)

The Fashion Industry contributes more to global pollution that you can imagine (via Fashionista)

A new tell-all on how Teen Vogue turned it around (via BoF)

Secrets to really good marketing emails from the team at AirBnB (via Really Good Emails)

The age of 3D printing is upon us! (via Huffington Post)

Thinking about starting a Podcast? Then you'll love this comprehensive resource (via ConvertKit)

Is Amazon working on smart spectacles powered by "Alexa"? (via Marketing Land)

PR Mavens We Love: Stacey Heuser, Principal, The Narrative Group

Just last week, we learned that The Narrative Group had been acquired by Citizen Relations, a global integrated creative communications agency and owned by BlueFocus International.

The Narrative Group will continue to be led by co-founders Jackie Lann Brockman and Stacey Heuser, with a flexible partnership structure in support of concurrent US-based plans for growth. The new partnership will foster growth for Narrative and cultivate opportunity for Citizen through Narrative’s specialized skill set in lifestyle, influencer, and entertainment public relations and experiential marketing.

Jackie and Stacey built the Narrative Group from the ground up, shaping it into what it is today: a bi-coastal team of ambitious media & marketing specialists. Founded in 2009, The Narrative Group has worked with clients like LinkedIn, McDonald's, Sony, Pernod Ricard, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Barry's Bootcamp, the NFL Homegating collection, Bai Beverages and Laurel & Wolf. 

In the midst of the the excitement, we caught up with Stacey Heuser to learn a bit more about The Narrative Group, the acquisition and the ever-evolving state of media & experiential marketing.

Name: Stacey Heuser 
Title: Principal
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Education:
FIDM, Merchandise Marketing
Company: The Narrative Group
Instagram:
@staceyheuser

Congratulations! Give us the inside scoop on how this happened and what comes next!

Thank you! Well, we were not seeking an acquisition, we had been approached in the past and had always declined. However, culturally, Citizen Relations are one of the most dynamic and people-focused teams I have ever worked with.  That really resonated with us, as we have a similar outlook on the way to treat employees, clients and agency partners.  We also have very complimentary capabilities, so that sealed the deal for us. Moving forward, we will maintain our vision and work together on clients and projects that make sense.  We also bring a bit more of a trend driven lens that will hopefully resonate with their current and future roster of clients.

What are some of the big benefits?

The acquisition allows us to offer better, more robust careers to our employees as well as best in class HR and benefits.  This is a struggle for a small boutique agency, so we are grateful to bring this opportunity to our team. On the client side, we are expanding our offering and will be able to access more in depth data and analytics that will provide enormous value when conceptualizing campaigns and activations.

What was the impetus to start TNG?

I felt there was something missing in the boutique agency space and wanted to work with smart people who wanted to make magic!

How are you structured?

We have three departments consisting of media relations, influencer marketing and experiencial. These three areas of expertise have dynamic synergy and overlap, but are led and run by seperate teams.

What is the mood in the office? What are you working on?

Positive, fun and fast paced. My main responsibilities are overseeing media relations and big picture client strategy, but currently I am ensuring the transition post acquisition goes smoothly.

I think we all have a responsibility to stay super current and remain hyper aware of what is happening socially, economically, and politically.

 

Aside from the acquisition, what is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?

We executed a global pop culture program for McDonalds that was a huge success.

PR can be stressful and is often full of rejection - how do you deal?

I have been mediating since I was a young child, as my mom was a mediatation teacher. I feel that habit is responsible for my ability to manage stress and multi-task well.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

I really do not focus much energy on other people's perception of myself or my job. I think by being good to my employees and clients, the right people will understand our mission as an agency and hopefully that will shape their view.

What apps are essential in your life?

Instacart, Uber and GlamSquad help me move through being a busy working mom with assistance.

 

What Industry Trends are you excited about?

I am excited to explore the data and analytics aspect of earned media and influencer. I am optimistic about the many easily accesible tools and software that are allowing our industry impact to be rooted in facts. Most of these facts we (communicators) already knew, but were unable to explain to the client with 100% certainty.

What is the biggest challenge facing our space?

What's the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now? I think we all have a responsibility to stay super current and remain hyper aware of what is happening socially, economically, and politically. I think fashion and lifestyle communicators can appear a bit tone deaf when pitching and ideating events. It is essential we do our best to communicate in a smart and sensitive way.

I am optimistic about the many easily accessible tools and software that are allowing our industry impact to be rooted in facts. 

What advice do you have for boutique agencies open to acquisition?

Pick a partner that has a similar culture and outlook on the industry, but identify a place that you can add value. Highlight what makes you unique and write down your goals.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Dont spend any energy on things that do not help you get closer to your ultimate goal and do not spend a minute caring what others think.

Anything else we should know?

We are always looking for fantastic interns.
jobs@narrativemediagroup.com

Thanks Stacy!

Making the Case for Press Coverage with Custom Video Pitches

Written by Beth Feldman, Beyond PR. 

As an entertainment and lifestyle publicist with more than 20 years of experience, I have amassed hundreds of media contacts and been able to successfully land major placements in newspapers, popular daytime and late nights talk shows, evening news shows and influential blogs.

For years I could say, “You name it, I’ve pitched it, and I’ve landed it too,” but over the last year it has become increasingly difficult to capture my media contact’s attention through my regular channels – phone, email, even on social media. The sheer amount of information coming at editors constantly combined with a shrinking staff at mainstream media outlets, it has made it increasingly difficult to reach the media and land a booking. The moment I have a face to face conversation with a reporter or producer, I can usually convince them to book one of my clients, but I have struggled to figure out a way to cut through the noise to simply grab the attention of the media. And that’s when it hit me.

Instead of relying on outdated voicemails (that no one listens to anymore), I now create customized videos wherein I pitch directly to a reporter or television producer. The moment they click on the link, they’re caught off guard because I’m speaking directly to them!

I launched The Pitch Minute earlier this month and so far I’ve gotten great feedback from reporters and producers and publicists, experts and authors are responding positively as well.

The moment I have a face to face conversation with a reporter or producer, I can usually convince them to book one of my clients, but I have struggled to figure out a way to cut through the noise to simply grab the attention of the media.

So what do you need to do so you too can shake up your pitching routine with a video pitch?

Make sure you look camera ready and draft talking points you’re going to want to address in the pitch. Use your phone as a timer and then record your video directly from your computer. I prefer Quicktime video that I can then trim and share on Facebook or upload to Youtube. In your one minute pitch, share a compelling store, tie it into a timely news story and weave in appropriate talking points you would share during the segment. If you have a new book or product, hold it up or make sure it’s prominently displayed in the video frame.

Not everyone is going to love being pitched through video – you have to know your audience, but more often than not, you’ll find reporters with a sense of humor open to receiving a video greeting and a quick pitch that can ultimately lead to a media placement.

I’ve since have launched The Pitch Minute website so that media can reach out with queries for potential expert sources while publicists, authors and experts can pitch themselves to be considered for media bookings. The Pitch Minute offers a simple way for publicists to connect with media and a great way for media to cut through the clutter and get right to the point by watching pitches instead of being forced to delete hundreds of emails that are too long, too boring and sometimes go to spam. Take a look at some of our most recent video pitches and feel free to reach out at info@thepitchminute.com

About Beth

Beth Feldman is Co-Founder of BeyondPR Group, a full-service public relations consulting firm founded by leading experts in the parenting, consumer, lifestyle and entertainment PR industry. A pioneer in the mom blog community, Beth is also the founder of RoleMommy, a parenting blog network, and a nationally recognized parenting expert frequently interviewed by national and regional news media.

Previously, she served as Vice President for the CBS Communications Group where she spearheaded campaigns on behalf of the entertainment, marketing and consumer products divisions. Feldman is currently an adjunct professor in the Mass Communications department at Iona College.

5 Reasons Forward-Thinking PR Professionals Should Pay Attention to #Shoporg17

As communication professionals, we are constantly tasked with staying ahead of the curve. These days the curve is beyond simply the major shift in effort and approach as a the result of digital; now we need to see into the future, not only for out clients’ sakes, but to ensure our own professional longevity.

The important conversations, the critical innovations and guidance on how to navigate retail in the years to come are all happening at the National Retail Federation’s annual Shop.org conference, starting Monday in Los Angeles.

As a special correspondent for the show, I’ll be sharing a ton of valuable information, discoveries and thoughts through our social channels (as well as a Twitter takeover of the @NRF account on Wednesday). Here is what is on my can’t miss list:

They Want it All – the Empowered Consumer

A chance to learn how West Elm and Target are changing shopping? Yes please.

Not just mini-millennials: What makes Gen Z unique

At a certain point, you stop being the youth and start having them for interns! As such, I’m very interested in learning more about the digital native – straight from Ypulse (have been a fan since college) and the other panelists.

Women rule: Entrepreneurial inspiration

I’m all about brands who stand for something bigger, and can’t wait to learn more about BeautyCounter’s approach to growing a movement.

Dominating Youtube, The Launch of Girlboss Media & MFW Goes Green

 Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

...for the week of September 18, 2017

Beautycon focuses on Millenials, the largest share of the cosmetics industry (via The New Yorker)

Apple struggles to make the Apple Watch a necessity for every consumer (via Quartz)

Outrank your competitors and dominate Youtube search with these quick tips (via Marketing Land)

Standard clothing sizes fail to accommodate most women's bodies (via Racked)

Nasty Gal's Sophia Amoruso launches Girlboss Media, a publisher for women looking to start their own companies (via Ad Week)

Get a sneak peak into how Buzzfeed's content gets a lot of buzz on various platforms (via Nieman Lab)

Cindy Riccio shares how to continuously attract great talent and clients as a small agency (via Agility PR)

Milan Fashion Week goes green as Italy leads sustainability in fashion (via Fashion Network)

Stay ahead of future trends even as a full-time PR pro (via PR Daily)

To go private or to go public? Here's some red flags many employers look for on social media (via Huffington Post)