For years, we’ve been talking about how our industry is constantly evolving and how the lines are blurring between marketing, PR and advertising. During that time, we’ve experienced a rapid transformation at GFM with the evolution of digital communications. In fact, we’ve been working in this digital space for more than a decade – before Facebook was even available to the general public.
And that’s why we’re excited to share the news that GFM launched our sister agency – CenterTable. Our clients consistently express the need to engage with their audiences in authentic and meaningful ways. With our sister agencies, we will continue to do so through an integrated and impactful approach.
I’m not off cloud nine yet, but I do want to take a minute to reflect on GroundFloor Media’s recent honor of being named the best place to work in the United States by Outside magazine while the joy and appreciation are fresh in my mind. Many friends and colleagues have asked how we achieved this, wanting to emulate “it” in their own work environments. I tried to break “it” down into three key things…
1. You have to apply to win. If your company or a team member is doing something worth recognizing, find a relevant award and apply for it. It may sound like I’m oversimplifying things, but – like most things in life – you can’t win if you don’t play!
I can answer the question, “what one thing would you take with you in a fire,” with certainty. About a year ago my husband and I were staying at a hotel when the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night. We leaped out of bed and prepared to join the other guests streaming down the hall to the exits. But before we left the room I rummaged through my purse and grabbed my iPhone.
Yes, my iPhone. I didn’t bother with my wallet, ID or anything else. In a fire we now know that I would take my iPhone. Frightening? Maybe, but my husband wasn’t surprised in the least.
So I decided to have some Friday fun with the GFM employees as well and sent out an internal survey to learn a little more about everyone’s social media and mobile device usage habits. Our secrets are exposed below.
It’s March and meteorologically, we’ve officially changed seasons – yeah Spring! It seems a fitting time to announce some of our own changes here at GroundFloor Media. Today, Ramonna Robinson officially steps up as our President after joining the agency in 2005 and working as vice president and managing partner since 2008.
In her new role, Ramonna will be responsible for the daily operations of the company and will continue to spearhead new business efforts and the growth of agency’s service lines. Laura Love, GFM’s founder and previous president, now assumes the role of chief cultural officer, a newly created position. Laura will continue to provide vision and leadership for our agency however, she will step away from the day-to-day operations, allowing her to spend more time focusing on GFM’s team members and client partners. This shift will also enable her to become even more involved in the community.
We are all very excited to have Ramonna take the reins as we enter our twelfth year of business. In fact, as her first act as President, she required us to leave work early last Friday in honor of National Employee Appreciation Day!
This is going to be fun! Thanks again Ro, for agreeing to lead our team! We look forward to all that is ahead!
If you know anything about GroundFloor Media, you know how passionate each of the staff members is about the organizations we support, either by volunteering as mentors, serving on boards, or making regular donations of goods or money. Last weekend, a handful of GFM team members got together in support of the Youth Opportunity Foundation’s annual Big Bowl event to benefit Colorado Youth at Risk and Byrne Urban Scholars. While there is little concern about any of us running off to join the Professional Bowlers Association, a good time was had by all and team spirit was running high – particularly with our very own Jim Licko whose bowling team won their fourth straight Spirit Award by dressing up as the members of music group Devo. Nice…
Even in these uncertain economic times, participants and supporters of the Big Bowl event dug deep and raised more than $16,000 (compared to just over $10,000 in 2009) to benefit the deserving youth from Colorado Youth at Risk and Byrne Urban Scholars. Youth Opportunity Foundation founder Tom Kimball drove the importance of the event and giving back home when he reminded all attendees that while we were cheering on bowlers in the grand finale “horse race,” enjoying drinks, food and good times, young people across Denver might not be so lucky – enduring the pressure of gangs, challenging home situations and struggling to help their families make ends meet.
Community giving and involvement is at the cornerstone of GroundFloor Media’s beliefs, and inspired by the events we attend and organizations we serve, the staff recently launched the Get Giving program. Through this new effort, each month we’ll select a new nonprofit organization that’s close to our hearts and collect needed items and donations for the organization in a collection box at the front of our office. Friends, family, colleagues, clients and vendors are welcome to donate items on the designated organization’s wish list – which will be prominently posted with the collection box each month.
In April, a generous basket of items was collected for Platte Forum, an organization for which Amanda Brannum sits on the board. This month, we’re collecting items for SafeHouse Denver, which recently welcomed Ramonna Tooley to its board. If you are interested in joining the GroundFloor Media team to Get Giving in the coming months, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to relay the latest Get Giving beneficiary and provide you with a wish list for that organization. By way of an example, SafeHouse Denver is requesting items as varied as mascara or dishwasher detergent to paper plates and coloring books – all of which would greatly benefit its residents. Thanks, in advance, for joining us in staying motivated to give back to the community that gives us so much!
Clearly the media landscape is changing as traditional vehicles like newspapers, which a handful of publishers filed earlier this year for Chapter 11 including the Tribune Co. and the Sun-Times Media Group, are reeling from a significantly declining advertising revenues. In turn, this has opened the door for hyperlocal sites – which allows news and information to be delivered down to the city and neighborhood level – and it is quickly emerging as the reincarnation of media.
Last week, GroundFloor Media announced that we have been retained by Examiner.com. Launched in April 2008, Examiner.com has grown more than 200 percent since the beginning of this year and now has more than 21,000 Examiners in 177 major markets across the United States and Canada providing in-depth local news and information to consumers hungry for hyperlocal information.
Interestingly, many still argue the hyperlocal model isn’t viable, as advertisers have yet to flock to hyperlocal sites. According to Borrell Associates, the online local-advertising market is projected to grow 5.4% in 2009 to $13.3 billion. I tell you, it is just a matter of time before businesses make the shift from traditional offline, local venues like the Yellow Pages to hyperlocal sites like Examiner.com, as hyperlocal sites deliver a highly targeted and interactive audience.
Need proof that this trend is catching on? In late August, National Public Radio aired a story about how Nike and other shoe manufacturers are focusing more on hyperlocal marketing activities rather than big, expensive national marketing campaigns. Read about it here.
While companies look to creative ways to partner with the hyperlocal sites, from a traditional PR perspective, many of my cohorts, myself included, have worked, and will continue to work, with Examiners (Examiner.com’s expert writers) to tell our clients’ stories. It’s refreshing that we now have the opportunity to share why hyperlocal content is here to stay and the unique marketing and PR opportunities it will offer. I am excited to be on this account team and to work with the team at Examiner.com to create greater brand awareness and help them achieve their aggressive expansion plans.
Last night was the 2009 PRSA Colorado Awards celebration. This year’s event was a little different than recent years (kudos to CSU PR students for a super creative auction and to Andrew Hudson and Bruce Goldberg for adding their unique humor to the emcee honors), but the purpose was still the same – recognizing amazing PR campaigns and the people who execute them.
At GroundFloor Media, we were honored for five our clients’ campaigns to be selected as Gold and Silver Pick winners. Here’s a snapshot of the awards breakdown:
Gold Picks 2009 Events and Observances (7 days or fewer) – Association/Nonprofit Organizations “The Children’s Hospital Makes 111 Miracles Happen” GroundFloor Media and the Children’s Hospital
2009 Media Relations – Associations/Nonprofit Organizations “Celebrating 20 Years of Financial Education” GroundFloor Media and Young Americans Center for Financial Education
Silver Picks 2009 Reputation/Brand Management – Business Qdoba Builds Brand Through Creative Q-dentity Profiles and Taste Bud Politics GroundFloor Media and Qdoba Mexican Grill
2009 Media Relations – Business-to-Business CH2M Hill Sheds Light on Solar in 25 American Cities GroundFloor Media and CH2M Hill
2009 Blogger Campaign Leveraging the Influence of Top Consumers Technology Bloggers to Launch Fuser.com GroundFloor Media and Fuser
Our heartfelt congratulations to our clients and to every one of last night’s winners. We feel very blessed to work in a city that is home to so many smart and creative PR professionals.
I have to take a minute to brag… We were recently awarded the 2008 Grand Gold Leaf Award and 2008 Nonprofit Project of the Year Award from the Colorado Healthcare Communicators for work conducted on behalf of our clients, The Children’s Hospital and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, respectively. I was on the Colorado Healthcare Communicators board for five years and never even saw a Grand Gold Leaf. As one of our clients put it, “The strength and quality of our partnership was on full display at the ceremony with the wonderful acknowledgement by our peer professionals.”
Not only did GroundFloor Media and The Children’s Hospital receive the Grand Gold Leaf Award for the campaign, “The Children’s Hospital Makes 111 Miracles Happen,” but this campaign also received a Gold Leaf Award in the media relations category. This campaign consisted of an aggressive, proactive local and regional media relations strategy during The Children’s Hospital’s move to its new state-of-the-art facility at I-225 and Colfax in September 2007.
For the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Division, we received the Nonprofit Project of the Year Award and a Gold Leaf Award in the new media category for the What If? Colorado social media campaign, which was comprised of both traditional and non-traditional public relations components, including a reality competition.
I’m extremely proud of our team members at GroundFloor Media and have to commend them publicly for continually generating fresh, strategic ideas to help our clients meet their marketing and business objectives!
And now a special post from our own Ramonna Tooley who is attending the Olympics in Bejing…
You probably won’t be surprised when I tell you that the little Spanish I know does me absolutely no good in China. That said, I keep resorting to it when trying to communicate because it’s the only foreign language I know. Here in Beijing, however, there is nothing about the language that is familiar to English or Spanish – or anything else I can conjure up for that matter. Regardless, everyone here tries very hard to communicate beyond the “hello” and “thank you” that I’ve learned in Mandarin. The volunteers at the venues are very good at saying, “Nice to meet you” and “Please turn around” (as they wand you in security) and “This way, please.”
My favorite recent example of communication is the sweet cab driver who pulled out a book that listed several countries and pointed to United States of America, to which I nodded enthusiastically. He then did the breaststroke in the air to ask if I’d gone to see swimming at the Olympic venue. I had really gone to see gymnastics, but I didn’t know how to motion that in the air in the cab, so, I said that I had seen swimming.
Upon exiting the cab, I provided my new friend with a USA Basketball Olympic pin, which he seemed to really appreciate. He waved the whole way as I walked through security to go into the hotel. One more good thing on the first sunny day I’ve spent in China and the day I saw the Americans win gold and silver medals at the women’s gymnastics all-around competition!
PS – When I went to Blogger to post this, the Web site was in Mandarin and wouldn’t let me log in. That’s why I asked Ashley to post this for me. So much for communication!