Category Archives: Strategic Communications

Top Presentation Tips From SXSW

It’s been just over a week since I returned from South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) where – in addition to learning about the latest in social media strategies – I had the opportunity to attend dozens of presentations in a variety of formats. I learned a few new presentation tips and enjoyed some effective presentations that inspired me to share some helpful pointers.

Stories Beat PowerPoints Every Time

The Science of Storytelling | Leo Widrich via Flickr

The Science of Storytelling | Leo Widrich via Flickr

In a panel focused on the power of storytelling, neuroscientist Shonté Taylor noted that storytelling engages the right side (aka, the more creative side) of the brain. Specifically, she described how the body releases reward hormones such as dopamine when the right side of the brain is positively engaged, as can happen when a person is enjoying a great story. She went on to describe those reward hormones as “lighting up” the brain in a positive way, and left me with the point that if you light up the brains of your colleagues and customers, they’re going to remember you.

Reflecting on the various presentations I attended during SXSWi, the most memorable really did include great storytelling elements. Speakers from National Geographic and Outdoor Afro shared compelling stories and – often – images that took me beyond bullets on the screen. One week later and I can describe in detail the stories they told and the lessons they shared in a way that I cannot for other speakers who didn’t weave personal stories, images or testimonials into their presentations. Read more after the jump…

In The Mood: Creating The Perfect Climate for Creativity

Whether it’s dreaming up the perfect copy for a social media post, crafting a pitch for a key reporter, or strategizing how to report metrics to executives – the daily life of a communications professional requires a lot of widely-varied creative ideas and solutions!Rethinking the Creative Process | GroundFloor Media

Some days the creativity flows like a river and other days the creative process takes a little longer to get going, which is why I read two recent articles with great interest!

Creativity Isn’t About Talent, It’s a Mood

If you’re a fan of Monty Python, you’re a fan of co-founder John Cleese who – it turns out – is obsessed with creativity. This recent article describes some of Cleese’s best tips for setting the right mood for creativity which include:

  • Creating a space/time oasis where you can get away from daily distractions and disturbances
  • Sticking with problems just a little longer than when the “easy way out” appears… the alternative is almost always more creative
  • My personal favorite: making mistakes because “while you’re being creative, nothing is wrong”
  • Embracing humor, because it’s essential to spontaneity and playfulness, two key ingredients to creativity
  • Keeping a light hold of the problem you’re pondering, as you’re likely to be rewarded with a creative solution when you least expect it

Read more after the jump…

Journalism and a Trump White House: What are the PR Takeaways?

Saturday Night Live Sean Spicer Press Conference SkitNo matter what side of the aisle your political beliefs fall, it’s hard not to watch the very public antagonistic relationship President Trump and his administration are having with the media.

While President Obama had his fair share of scuffles with the media, they didn’t get the kind of attention President Trump’s school-yard battles are getting now. After several decades during which the media has lost trust, credibility and interest among Americans, will the new President bring back the Fourth Estate to its former glory?

I recently came across a Politico article titled: Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again. According to the article, there’s always been a quid pro quo in Washington, where journalists groom sources, but sources also groom journalists. “There’s nothing inherently unethical about the back-scratching. When a reporter calls an administration source to confirm an embarrassing item, the source may agree to confirm as long as the reporter at the very least agrees to listen sympathetically to the administration’s context.”

Read more after the jump…

Media Relations Takeaways from Maternity Leave

Last week I returned to GFM after the second maternity leave of my tenure and have been eager to share observations and tips related to media relations that have been swirling in my PR-minded brain since we got home from the hospital.

We welcomed Anderson boy #2 on Oct. 23, 2016 and I was fortunate to be able to spend 13 wonderful weeks at home with our newest addition.

But, like many a PR pro will admit, “unplugging” is simply not in my nature.

Read more after the jump…

Into the Future: Thinking about Gen Z

Millennials are a prized demographic for communicators – they’ve been analyzed and overanalyzed as companies adjust to millennials having more purchasing power than before or simply joining their workforce. But, it’s time to think about the next generation as they could be even more influential in changing the face of marketing communications.

Read more after the jump…

Biggest PR Disasters of 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, we take time to reflect on the year’s biggest PR disasters:

lochteRYAN LOCHTE … An Olympic swimmer perpetually overshadowed by Michael Phelps finally finds the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Ryan Lochte is an accomplished Olympian who in almost any era would be recognized as one of the greatest swimmers of all time. Unfortunately for Lochte, though, he swims in the Michael Phelps era. That frustration may have contributed to his decision to “over-exaggerate” – his term ­– the details of an alleged armed robbery at the Olympics in Brazil. After video emerged of Lochte and other U.S. swimmers appearing to vandalize a gas station bathroom, the armed robbery started looking more like a request for restitution. Lochte apologized, but the consequences were swift: sponsors Speedo and Polo Ralph Lauren dropped him immediately, and he solidified his spot as an Olympic punch line for generations to come.

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SAMSUNG … What do the global electronics giant’s mobile phones and washing machines have in common? They both explode.

It was a tough year for Samsung, who twice found itself at the top of the list of the year’s biggest safety recalls. First, it was the company’s flagship mobile phone, the Galaxy 7, some of which were spontaneously exploding. It got so bad that the Department of Transportation eventually banned the phones from all U.S. airline flights. And then Samsung was forced to recall 2.8 million washing machines because they could explode. That caused a viral sensation because no one could really wrap their heads around how a washing machine could explode. But YouTube videos gave us our answer, much to Samsung’s dismay.

Read more after the jump…

The Importance of Patagonia’s Black Friday Campaign

This year, Patagonia announced that it would donate all Black Friday proceeds to grassroots environmental groups fighting to protect natural resources like water, oil and soil. The company expected to rake in about $2 million across its 80 global stores and Patagonia.com. In reality, Patagonia recorded $10 million in revenue – five times what the company expected – and is still promising to donate 100 percent of that revenue to the environmental groups.

Read more after the jump…

First Things First

blogpic_firstthingsfirstThanksgiving has come and gone (hard to believe!), but I still feel compelled to dedicate this blog post to it as it happens to be my favorite holiday. Unfortunately, however, it tends to get short-shrifted every year as people tend to jump right from Halloween to Christmas. No sooner does Halloween end, then stores start putting out their holiday decorations (if they haven’t already done so), we are inundated with holiday catalogs, and radio stations start playing holiday music. To which I say – FIRST THINGS FIRST! Thanksgiving comes before the December holidays, and we should absolutely honor that. Goodness knows we should never overlook an opportunity to slow down and be thankful.
Read more after the jump…

Want to Bring Your Brand to Life? Start with Messaging.

messagingThe GroundFloor Media team has worked with many organizations that have struggled to tell their story in a way that engages and resonates with target audiences. Building a strong brand starts with messaging. And delivering the right message at the right time is critical to an organization’s success.

I recently read an article, “Why and how you should integrate messaging into branding” by Carolyn McMaster, that talked about how messaging is now considered “verbal branding.” In the article, McMaster said, “if employees don’t understand an organization’s vision, they can’t convey it to their customers, so the organization will miss advocacy opportunities on its two most important fronts.”

Read more after the jump…

Tips for Working In House with Clients

Source: Freepik

Source: Freepik

At GroundFloor Media, we often have team members work in house with clients to support crisis situations, provide interim solutions between new hires or to help cover maternity leaves. Sometimes it is just one day per week and other times it has been three plus days per week. I’ve had the opportunity to work in house for several clients over the years and what I like about being in house is not only learning about the products and services at a deeper level, but celebrating success on both sides. In addition, I believe it makes our agency team more aware and empathetic as to how to navigate the internal challenges our client contacts face everyday.

Read more after the jump…