Spring into PR

Five tips on success in the Public Relations industry this Spring. 

Collaborate Constantly

Within PR, the capacity for creativity when crafting media pitches for clients is spacious. However, creativity does not happen from individual isolation. Creativity stems ideas that evolve when collaborating with others over time. This will allow others to provide feedback and offer a different perspective on the media pitch.

Stay Organized

Organization is a key component to success, especially in the Public Relations industry. Invest in a planner to keep track of important dates and deadlines. This will ensure that everything you cognitively know you have to do is written out, just in case it happens to slip your memory. Staying organized helps cultivate responsibility, which will eventually catch the attention of your employer.

 Engage in Current Trends

Engaging in current trends will help reputation management. Consuming information from the media will help PR professionals reach a better understanding of consumer trends. Being active and aware on social media will not only further the success of yourself, but your company as well.

Be Detail Oriented

Always. Nothing tanks the credibility of a public relations professional like mediocre work. Double and triple check to guarantee silly mistakes are prevented. This tactic may seem insignificant now, but employers will eventually notice.

Respond Promptly

As the liaison between clients and the public, it is critical to be prompt when communicating with clients. Especially in today’s society, technology allows for multiple mediums of communication that can be accessed around the clock. Respond to voice-mails and e-mails as soon as possible, this will show your client that you value their time.

Love Your PR on Valentines Day

         It may be exceptionally cold outside but for most of us Valentine’s Day is near, and the only thing we feel in the air is love.  Love for ourselves, love for our family or love for others. As public relations employees, it is our job to create campaigns in light of the holiday and present them in creative and engaging ways. Some questions that we need to ask are: How do we stand out? How do we differentiate ourselves from the immense amount of competition out there? Rest assured that there is a solution. Here are 3 ways to best utilize public relations strategies for Valentine’s Day.


{C}1.       Don’t forget about the “single ladies” and gentlemen in campaigns


Often times, when the holiday draws closer, we forget about a big portion of the consumer market. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a lonely event. Instead of reducing a single women’s fate to staying at home with a romantic-comedy and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to cozy up to, give them something to do! Bring all the single men and women together in a common area where they can hinder the stigma of being alone on Valentine’s Day.  Who knows, maybe they could even find their own valentine in the process. Create events that encourage all the single men and women to celebrate their independence, give back to the community or spend time with family at your client’s special event. Highlight the positivity in the holiday by empowering the motto, “love you first”, as part of the campaign.


{C}2.       Stay timely and relevant when planning


When pitching for your client, be sure to stay in tune with what their schedule looks like. There could be something that directly correlates with your strategy. If so, pitch early and pitch efficiently. The sooner you connect the two, the more likely it is that your client’s brand will become embedded in the customer’s mind. When Valentine’s Days rolls around, they will know exactly who our client is and their intentions of receiving whatever it is that we are offering. The campaign must be memorable. Don’t let your idea become the needle in a haystack. If you are successful and your strategy sticks in the minds of others, you can carry-out the same theme for some years to come. This allows you to stay consistent while enabling differentiation and continuing on with new and improved adjustments.


{C}3.       Implement a Client Appreciation Day

The smallest gestures always make the biggest impacts, so make your client your valentine this year. Here is the perfect opportunity for you show a little appreciation. Relationship building is always essential, and it fits with the holiday theme, so make these relationships stronger while simultaneously creating new ones. This Valentine’s Day, show another side to you and your company. Don’t’ treat clients just as business partners, but be friendly and personable as well. Ask yourself, “What can I do for my client today that I have not done before”? With this, you build a stronger bond and develop a better reputation. As word of mouth travels about your company, the client will only have nice things to say, which leads to loyalty and potentially new clientele in the long-term.

In 2011, Hoboken Gold and Diamond Exchange had a very effective public relations campaign on Valentine’s Day.  The company hosted a scavenger hunt for hopeful couples looking to get engaged in New Jersey. Contestants had to pay a small fee in order to join the competition. All proceeds went towards an organization supporting women battling breast cancer, an issue that the owner’s wife herself went through. The winning couple took home an engagement ring worth $10,000. At the time, the Hoboken jewelry company was not very well-known but this event helped to increase brand awareness.

The following year, Hoboken Gold and Diamond Exchange continued this scavenger hunt tradition and became widely recognized.

 For more information on their creative strategy, please visit: http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2011/02/10000_valentine.html



Tying the Cause to the Brand


Walking on the streets of New York City, it is easy to get trapped shopping for items that we may not necessarily need. One day, while I was shopping at MAC cosmetics, I came across their Viva Glam products and learned about MAC’s involvement with the HIV/AIDS programs. Each year MAC sets up a new campaign for their Viva Glam line where 100% of proceeds go to a HIV/AIDS programs. When companies partner with charitable organizations, it gives consumers the opportunity to become involved with that cause. MAC illustrates a strong connection with cause marketing and inspires consumers to take action.


In 1974, John Carr established The Foundation for Charitable Giving as a way of “giving back” by engaging charities and companies to support one another. Cause marketing is a facet of social media. The Foundation for Charitable Giving organization was prompted by John Carr’s focus on enlisting companies to give back referral fees on what they might normally pay for marketing and having that money redirected towards the charity or cause of the buyer’s choice. Over the past 40 years, cause marketing has redirected millions of dollars of revenue to various charities, and nonprofit organizations.


In 1994, MAC launched the Viva Glam campaign benefitting people who are affected with HIV/AIDS. Each year Viva Glam creates a limited edition lipstick where 100% of the proceeds go to the MAC AIDS fund. Since 1994, MAC has raised over $250 million dollars in lipstick sales to support their fund. By incorporating social media and celebrity spokespeople each year, MAC’s charitable efforts are a very effective example of cause marketing strategy. MAC continues to pioneer innovative cause marketing programs that connect companies with charities, allowing consumers to engage in a positive cause.


Many companies have come to recognize cause marketing as a catalyst for their brand. According to Cone Cause Evolution Survey, that measures consumer’s consumption, 87% of consumers would rather purchase from a brand who are associated with a good cause.[1] Associating a brand or product with a charitable cause can be seen throughout many companies who are developing social responsibility initiatives.


When a company teams up with a celebrity, it is important that the celebrity has strong ties with the cause. Each year Viva Glam asks a different celebrity that genuinely supports the Viva Glam cause. Celebrities such as RuPaul and Lady Gaga have been long time advocates for the gay community and donate their time to raise awareness and donations for the HIV/AIDS fund. As Nancy Mahon, senior vice president of MAC, said, “We as a company give more to AIDS than any other company in the world. Last year, we raised $38 million and gave that all away. We would be happy for more company, so we not only encourage customers to make a difference but also other companies. It’s a wonderful testament that you can do in the world and do good business.” The commitment to a cause allows the consumer to keep coming back for more MAC products. Year after year consumers are excited to see which celebrity will be the face for Viva Glam and purchase the limited edition lipstick. Cause marketing allows MAC to strengthen their brand’s reputation and create a deep connection with their consumers who become inspired to take action for a good cause.

When planning your own marketing campaign, here are 5 tips that can lead you to success:

1. Being Authentic: The key factor of cause marketing is authenticity, and consumers are able to detect whether or not a company or brand does or does not have an organic alignment with the charity. It is important to work with a cause that has personal relevance with your brand.


2. Charity Proceeds: It is important that a percentage of the proceeds go to your charity. Many companies operate their campaign for a specific period of time, or can serve as a permanent campaign. Creating a new product line specific to your campaign can build a compelling strategy.


3. Product Line: Creating items such as clothing or a specific product for your campaign can promote your campaign. By having an item with your campaign name on it will bring exposure and will allow your consumer to feel as part of the cause.


4. Events: Events allow you to gain focus on your campaign and can be conducted through many parts, such as parties, fairs, educational seminars, concerts and more. However, to create a successful event depends on the nature of your campaign.


5. Press Coverage: It is important to always have media coverage on your campaign to bring exposure and awareness. Marketing campaigns allows you to gain attention and create awareness to your consumers.


1. Cone Cause Evolution Survey

4 Simple Ways to Give Back This Thanksgiving

Everyone has a reason to give thanks, and while we should count our blessings every day, one of the traditions of Thanksgiving is to reflect on what we are thankful for. It is a day where family and friends unite, and perhaps one of the only times of the year where we come together around the table. Not only is it a time to think about all we have to be grateful for, but it is also a time to find ways to give back.

With Thanksgiving around the corner how about showing your appreciation in a more meaningful way? By volunteering, donating, and spreading kindness, you can make a difference.

Thousands of New Yorkers will be spending their Thanksgiving holiday in search of a warm meal. So this year, take some time out of your hectic life, to give to others who may not share the same luxuries.

While a full belly at the end of your celebration will certainly be satisfying, it will be nothing compared to how full your heart will feel if you take on a few of these projects this year.

Here are 4 simple ways that may inspire you to give back: 

1.      Consider a charity allowance

Beginning at a young age, it is important for parents to instill the value of giving back to others in their kids. Having kids collect weekly allowances that will then go directly to a charity of their choice is a great way to teach kids about gratitude. 

2.      Read up on local charitable opportunities

These are just a few local charity organizations in New York,

The Yorkville Common Pantry, located on 8th East 109 Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, has been helping hungry New Yorkers for more than three decades. This Thanksgiving, the Yorkville Common Pantry, that usually serves dinner to over 350 people, will be serving healthy, home-cooked meals.

For more information:  http://www.nycommonpantry.org/

Citymeals on Wheels provides a continuous lifeline of nutritious food and human company to elderly New Yorkers in need. This charity funds 33 community-based agencies, and help elderly New Yorkers who can no longer shop or cook for themselves. With just a little of your time you can help nourish an elderly person with a wholesome meal and the joy of your presence. 

For more information: http://www.citymeals.org/

God’s Love We Deliver is a charity that transports baskets of food to more than 1,500 home bound New Yorkers. The baskets include snacks, drinks, sweets, and even three-course meals. All you need is a car and some knowledge of the New York City streets in order to help.

For more information: https://www.glwd.org/

New York Cares is a charity that provides New Yorkers with an abundance of different programs. For instance, they provide food to local New York senior citizen centers; the charity also helps by bagging and distributing food to local community centers.

For more information: http://www.newyorkcares.org/

3.      Find ways to support our troops

Choose an organization that sends care packages filled with cards from caring Americans across the United States. Letters and drawings are often displayed and shared proudly by troops stationed abroad, far away from their own families. During the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, showing troops recognition, love, and appreciation for what they do mean a lot for many of them.

4.      Embrace “Giving Tuesdays”

After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, small business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, take Tuesday off from your looming holiday to-do list, and help raise funds and awareness for a charitable cause dear to your heart. Whether it is donating money to a non-profit organization, volunteering at a local charity, or spreading awareness via social media, your efforts can embrace the true spirit of the holiday. 


October is Autism Awareness Month

October is a month often dedicated to changing leaves, apple picking, and crisp weather, but most people don’t recognize the symbolic blue puzzle piece that signifies October as Autism Awareness Month. The original blue puzzle piece is often seen in different sizes and colors, representing the diversity of individuals and their families living and dealing with autism. The use of colorful puzzle pieces is used to signify hope- hope that through increased awareness of autism, people diagnosed with autism will lead fuller, more successful lives.

Every October, The Autism Speaks Organization supports National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year’s theme for NDEAM is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task”. The organization recognizes that those with autism may be just as good at a particular job as people who are not categorized on the spectrum.

Many individuals with autism have unique characteristics and the ability to function in a workplace. Some documented qualities that autistic individuals can bring to the work place are their attention to detail, honesty, straightforward directness, fierce loyalty, and solid performance on complex repetitive tasks.[1] Some mainstream businesses support hiring programmers with autism including SAP, a German business software company. SAP recognizes that some individuals with autism have the potential score high on intelligence tests and that they have attributes that contribute to the companies overall innovation and standard practices. SAP is one of the top Enterprise Resource Planning software companies in the world. So far SAP has hired six people with autism in its Bangalore office in India and by 2020, SAP’s goal is for 1% of its 65,000 strong workforce to be people with autism.

SAP isn’t the only company that feels autistic individuals don’t get enough recognition. "People with disabilities have a lot more potential than people give them credit for," says Deb Russell, Manager of Outreach Employment Services at Walgreens. The drugstore-chain giant, based in Deerfield, Illinois, was an early adopter of workers with autism. During the interview process, both SAP and Walgreens do not specifically ask potential employees about their disability. Although companies such as these have demonstrated hiring an autistic individual can be successful, some other organizations are still hesitant to hire candidates with a disability.

Workforce Management Magazine interviewed Anthony Wilk, a 34 year old autistic man who began working as a landscaper at Bader Mountain in 2009. Since taking the job, Wilk was able to purchase a car and has high hopes of getting an apartment of his own. "It has given me self-confidence and helps me grow. It does help me with my self-esteem”, he says. [2]

Making a difference and impacting the lives of the people who have autism can be very simple. The companies that have demonstrated being open-minded to hiring autistic individuals is a step in the right direction but more positive change is still needed. With so many families facing the challenges of autism, there are a lot of people who need our help and support. Making an impact is as easy as participating in a marathon, fundraising for the cause, or hiring a dedicated, determined person with autism.

[1] http://autismmclean.org/forAdults/hireSomeoneWithAutism

[2] http://www.workforce.com/articles/companies-find-fruitful-results-when-hiring-autistic-workers

Support National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

 Did you know September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? Most people “go pink” in October to support breast cancer awareness, but few people know about going “gold” to support Childhood Cancer Awareness. Many individuals do not understand the challenges that pediatric researchers, doctors, and patients are facing. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death for children ages 15 and younger. Childhood Cancers are often caused by a change in the child’s DNA, which happens very early in life, even in some cases before the child is born.  In 2013, approximately 11,600 children ages 15 and younger will be diagnosed with cancer, and 1,300 children are expected to die of this disease this year alone – as cancer is the second leading cause of death in children after accidents. 

          Unfortunately, childhood cancer research does not receive the amount of funding necessary to help doctors treat patients and help researchers find a cure.  The National Cancer Institute allots 4.9 billion on average during the fiscal year, but critics say that more funding is necessary to put towards childhood cancer.  Recently, President Barack Obama proclaimed September 2013 as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As a result, many foundations such as CURE, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), The American Childhood Cancer Organization, and the Pediatric Cancer Foundation have each been able to share their passion for raising awareness about childhood cancer. Although each of these foundations raises funds differently, all are still being acknowledged throughout media. CURE Childhood Cancer Foundation, has been recognized for its start of “Bank for a Cure,” a partnership with Affinity Bank, which will make a quarterly donation to CURE, based on the cumulative balance of all clients. The Pediatric Cancer Foundation has started “Cut for a Cure,” which so far has raised approximately $450,000 for the organization and other local and nonprofit foundations.  

          During the month of September, many childhood cancer organizations have been acknowledged by different sources in the media. These efforts have given much-needed visibility to the reality of childhood cancer, and the need for more funding.  It is important for people to continue to “Join the Fight,” against pediatric cancer, not only by creating awareness for this cause, but by also making an effort to help. So spread the word, and help change the future for the next generation of children diagnosed with pediatric cancer.






Tic-Toc: Tourette Syndrome Still Misunderstood

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder which becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence before the age of 18 years. Tourette syndrome is defined by multiple motor and vocal tics lasting for more than one year. The first symptoms usually are involuntary movements (tics) of the face, arms, limbs or trunk. These tics are frequent, repetitive and rapid. The most common first symptom is a facial tic (eye blink, nose twitch, grimace), and is replaced or added to by other tics of the neck, trunk, and limbs. 

These involuntary (outside a person’s control) tics may also be complicated, involving the entire body, such as kicking and stamping. Many persons report what are described as premonitory urges -- the urge to perform a motor activity. Other symptoms such as touching, repetitive thoughts and movements and compulsions can occur. 

There are also verbal tics. These verbal tics usually occur with the movements. These vocalizations include grunting, throat clearing, shouting and barking. The verbal tics may also be expressed as coprolalia (the involuntary use of obscene words or socially inappropriate words and phrases) or copropraxia (obscene gestures). Despite widespread publicity, coprolalia/copropraxia is uncommon with tic disorders.*

Some studies have estimated the rate of TS at 6 per 1,000 children.**

I was one of those children.

Though as an adult I have learned to cope with Tourette, I am still plagued by widespread stigma around the disorder. I take medication to reduce my symptoms, though pharmaceuticals are not the only treatment for TS. I have built confidence and self-esteem where there was once a void because of mistreatment and bullying I received as a teenager. I don’t want that to happen to other children, teens, or adults with TS!

TSA banner image.JPG

Tourette is still misunderstood and stigmatized partially due to Hollywood and other media misrepresentations. Negative representations in the media reinforce negative public attitudes about individuals with TS and wrong information about the disorder

Take a look at this blog post regarding both negative and positive portrayals of Tourette syndrome in the media. The blogger provides a lot of insight of how media plays a role in maintaining and reinforcing the idea that having Tourette syndrome is not okay.

For the month of August, the Tourette Syndrome Association has a display in EHE International’s window at 10 Rockefeller Plaza. Take time to go and see it, log onto TSA’s website and get the facts.


*Source: Tourette Syndrome Association - http://tsa-usa.org

**From the study, “Prevalence of Diagnosed Tourette Syndrome in Children in the United States, 2007” [Read article]

Looking Ahead: Predictions for the Future of PR

In recent years public relations has become somewhat of a “trendy” profession, as an influx of undergrads and twenty-somethings pursue majors and careers in the communications industry. Despite its sudden increase in popularity, the practice of PR actually dates back to ancient times. In 50 B.C., the legendary Julius Caesar published an account of his military successes to convince the public that he would be a noble leader for the Roman Empire. Revolutionary-era activist Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet entitled “The Crisis,” which persuaded thousands of George Washington’s soldiers to uphold their military duties during a hellish winter. “Modern” PR was born in 1914 when Ivy Lee began advising the Rockefeller family regarding publicity strategies for their infamous Standard Oil Company. Lee later championed for accuracy and transparency in PR, a sharp break from his predecessors’ notoriously unscrupulous tactics.

Future of PR Image.JPG

The enduring nature of PR throughout history affirms its importance as a method of disseminating messages from clients and corporations to the public. However, new developments in trends and technology will continue to change the nature of PR in the years to come. Below are a few predictions for the future of PR as innovations in reaching targeted publics emerge.

1. Data revolution

The words “data analytics” might elicit nightmares in the minds of creatives and communications professionals. Their currency has always been words and ideas, not numbers and statistics. But the new generation of PR practitioners would do well to immerse themselves in the language of data and fully embrace its potential to drive well-researched campaigns. With the power of data-gathering programs such as Radian6, Google Analytics, and SimplyMeasured, precise metrics can provide hard evidence to inform strategic campaign planning.

Of course, quantitative information is only part of a well-rounded approach to public relations. Human-powered creativity and strong written and verbal communication will remain the powerhouse behind any successful campaign. As Paul Holmes writes in his popular media blog The Holmes Report, “Great data alone will not ensure great PR programming. But better data will lead to better insights. And insights will lead to more creative public relations ideas.”

2. Top influencers drive dialogue

Social media is old hat by now. Most companies—large and small—have established some sort of presence on Twitter and Facebook. However, too many brands get caught up in the race to accrue the most followers or “likes,” when instead they should focus on the quality of connections and content. A key tactic for brands and PR reps in the pursuit of gaining online traction is identifying top “influencers” in their industries—followers with exceptional expertise, authority, or popularity who therefore have considerable power to sway the opinions of people in their own networks. These influencers can drive more “organic” dialogue about companies they interact with.

Online tools including Traackr and mPact were developed specifically to help brands search for influencers. But to fully leverage influencers on social media, brands must also build relationships with those generating the most buzz. Interacting with influencers on social media and regularly sharing influencers’ relevant content demonstrates genuine interest and facilitates lasting connections.

3. ‘Holistic engagement’

As new technologies and a constant stream of content drive 24/7 buzz, the lines between different media platforms are beginning to blur. A perfect example: Facebook’s innovative use of advertising. The company integrated its marketing and social offerings, allowing brands to post updates and promotions on the timelines of users who have “liked” their pages. Users can then share and comment on these “social ads,” which then appear on their friends’ timelines. 

Fred Cook, President and CEO of Golin Harris, explains PR’s predicted trajectory: “I think we’re going to move from public relations to something called ‘holistic engagement’”—in essence, integration that involves connecting PR, advertising, social media, and journalism professionals to develop a multi-pronged messaging and outreach approach.

Overall outlook

Although it is impossible to fully predict the impact of new technology and trends within communications, a broad view of current developments hints at the limitless potential of harnessing data, engaging influencers, and integrating media platforms. And despite the fast-paced culture of the industry, PR professionals must always bear in mind those best-practice principles—transparency, originality, and outreach — that have proven most effective throughout the decades. Technology and data are nothing without a foundation of creative and intelligent people working to merge information with innovation.

Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

pen name.jpg

It was revealed earlier this week that “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling created the alias Robert Galbraith, who wrote “The Cuckoo’s Calling” — a story about a war veteran turned private investigator to probe the mysterious death of a model. The mystery novel is receiving rave reviews – in stark contrast to Rowling’s last adult, mixed-reviewed narrative entitled “The Causal Vacancy.”

With the Rowling reveal on July 14, “The Cuckoo’s Calling” went from thousands of copies sold nationwide to a rapid climb on Amazon's best-selling list and was in high demand at major bookstores. A publicity stunt? Perhaps.

This situation begs the question: Is all press good press? And even if the results are successful by our industry’s standards, can it still cause reputational harm if a PR campaign seems disingenuous or a totally manufactured act?  

The whirlwind of press surrounding Rowling and her pseudonym-penned novel has resulted in an increase in her visibility and profitability — a successful PR campaign according to PR industry measurements and evaluation (stocks, sales, impressions).

One can argue that Rowling simply got one over to garner more interest in buying the book rather than having a genuine concern about keeping her identity a secret in order to write liberally and produce new work without judgment based on her prior work of adult fiction. This is a concern many journalists, poets, writers, authors, and others share when trying to craft quality creative content and sharpen their writing ability.

The reveal of Rowling as Galbraith was a PR success because the books are now flying off the shelves. But, good writing is good writing, let the book sell itself and publicity will happen organically.

Under the Influence

Whereas Americans celebrate the birth of their nation on Independence Day, the French wear their drinking hats on Bastille Day, the day their country was conceived. Bastille Day, or “La Fête Nationale” (The National Celebration), celebrates the storming of the Bastille prison, an event that catalyzed the French Revolution. The Bastille was a medieval fortress that symbolized the oppressive monarchy as it imprisoned those who voiced their opposition against the royal government. And so on July 14, 1789, the common people took matters into their own hands, stormed the Bastille, and voila – the French Republic was on the path to existence.

The first Bastille Day celebration was held on July 14, 1790 a year after the fortress succumbed to the people’s insurrection. A giant four-day feast was held; imagine gastronomical pleasures ranging from Bordeaux wine to Brie cheese and perhaps as Marie Antoinette wished for her people, tons and tons of cake. Fireworks and naked-runs through the streets of Paris were also part of the celebration – with freedom in their grasp, the French people did not hold back on their festivities. In 1878, after nearly a hundred years of unofficial revelry and celebrations were widespread throughout France, Parisian government officers organized a celebration to honor the French Republic. The scene is immortalized in a Monet painting titled Rue Montorgueil.  Finally in 1880, Bastille Day was mandated as a national holiday. The Bastille Day Military Parade also started from this year and continues to be held on the Champ Elysees to this day.


Bastille Day celebrations across the US are just one of many ways Americans pay homage to our French connections. From croissants to haute couture, many aspects of French culture permeate our everyday lives. Perhaps the most renowned symbol of the French-American camaraderie is the Statue of Liberty, the 151-foot copper and wrought-iron statue who presides majestically over the Hudson River. Designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, she was dedicated in 1886 as a symbol of a lasting alliance and mutual dedication to freedom for all. The Statue of Liberty was a welcoming symbol for millions of people who emigrated through Ellis Island in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and she remains an instantly recognizable national icon.

As New Yorkers glance at Lady Liberty on the horizon of the Hudson and East Rivers, and take part in Bastille Day celebrations, we channel the collective Francophile in all of us.