Fort Worth PRSA Members Honored as Finalists in PR News’ Nonprofit PR Awards

PR News has recognized Gigi Westerman, APR, and Sandra Brodnicki, APR, as finalists in the annual PR News Nonprofit PR Awards for their work with Catholic Charities Fort Worth and United Way of Tarrant County on a financial education rebranding effort. The award salutes the top nonprofit public relations campaigns of the year, the smartest communications initiatives and the people behind them.

The entry, titled Money School, highlighted a successful branding and strategic communication effort designed to support a communitywide financial education initiative for individuals and families making less than $50,000 per year. It was named as a finalist in the Branding/Rebranding Campaign category.

“Financial education is an essential step to ending poverty, and the tools and techniques provided in this program teach individuals and families to manage their finances and make informed decisions,” said Christie Mosley-Eckler, Money School program manager for Catholic Charities Fort Worth. “Thanks to our new Money School brand and strategic communication plan, we’ve seen a significant increase in families seeking financial education. We are also capturing the hearts of community partners, which will help make this initiative even more successful.”

PR News is known across the public relations industry as a strategic resource and training tool, and the Nonprofit PR Award showcases the industry-leading campaigns and outstanding individual performance. The winners and honorable mentions will be celebrated at the Nonprofit PR Awards Luncheon on March 11, 2013 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Westerman is president of Strategic Image, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in branding, public relations, integrated communications and presentation training. Brodnicki is president of Brodnicki Public Relations, Inc., focusing on branding, key message development, strategic marketing communications and public relations strategy.

President’s Column – February 2013

Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President
csmithcommunications@gmail.com

ChrisSmithPortraitLRDon’t know about you, but my February schedule is already jam-packed (what happened to January?).

Last month I wrote about the necessity of always learning something new, and thanks to the planning efforts of our Vice President of Programs Michelle Clark and Professional Development Chair Brian Murnahan (with input from our new Digital Committee Chair Chip Hanna), our February half-day program has the potential to teach us all something we didn’t know beforehand.

Forging Social Media Success, http://fortworthprsa.org/2013/01/23/social-media-success-program, will include knowledge for the novice as well as the expert. Speakers will present case studies from RadioShack and Catholic Charities Fort Worth and encourage interaction during breakout sessions on audience engagement, content creation and metrics. It promises not to disappoint, so sign up soon.

Also, Activities Chair Lisa Albert has been busy planning evening events that might especially interest those who can’t make our mid-day monthly programs. The first one has already been confirmed, so mark your calendars for Feb. 19 when she brings in a speaker to give an overview on The Value of Networking http://fortworthprsa.org/2013/01/23/prsa-after-hours. (Lisa also shared her goal of hosting at least one evening event each quarter this year, so stay tuned.)

Have I left something out? Be sure to visit our website at http://fortworthprsa.org, kept current by our Website Chair Rebekah Moore.

Honestly, who could ever complain of boredom with such an active February agenda?

Setting Professional Development Goals in 2013

PRESIDENT’S COLUMN – Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA
If you aren’t constantly learning something new, you can lose your competitive advantage rather quickly in our fast-paced profession. So even if you don’t make New Year’s resolutions, you might consider at least setting some professional development goals in 2013.

Luckily, PRSA makes that easy. Each month except July, our Greater Fort Worth Chapter offers a luncheon program on a timely topic, including two half-day professional workshops planned this year. Already an expert on that topic? Go anyway. Members say they often get valuable tips simply from sharing a conversation at the table.

Can’t make a midday program? Try one of our evening mixers, primarily designed for networking but also to inform.

Senior-level practitioner? Go anyway. Giving back to your profession not only offers intrinsic rewards, but some senior members suddenly out of a job have learned the hard way that networking isn’t just something you do when you’re looking for work.

Feeling on the fringe? Get involved. With numerous chapter committees, there’s something for everyone to do. The important thing is to stay connected.

You can’t afford not to in 2013.

The Agency of the Future

by Margaret Ritsch, APR

What do the decades ahead hold for the Edelmans, Richards Groups, and other agencies of the world?

Four top agency CEOs shared their outlook at PRSA International Conference in San Francisco in October. Fred Cook, CEO and president of Golin Harris, completely overhauled his 700-employee global agency to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace.

“As our world evolves, so do the needs of our clients,” said Cook, according to the Holmes Report from June of last year when the 55-year-old agency unveiled its restructuring plan. “Clients look to us for one: insights; two, ideas; and three, engagement,” Cook explained last week to a packed audience at the Marriott Marquis. “We’ve reorganized the entire company around that.”

Golin Harris abolished the traditional agency hierarchy and replaced it with four communities of specialists: Connectors, Creators, Catalysts, and Strategists, he said. Connectors handle traditional and media engagement; creators create; catalysts lead accounts; strategists plan, conduct research, forward big ideas. The agency of the future will have a much broader suite of services and new skill sets are needed, he said.

Colleges and universities are turning out thousands of generalists every year and there are not enough jobs for them, said Rob Flaherty, APR, Ketchum’s CEO and president. He encourages students to specialize in an area such as research, media relations, video, digital or writing. His agency no longer hires generalists, but instead looks for new college graduates who already have specialized skills.

At Ketchum, new jobs and titles reflect the rapidly changing needs to the marketplace. Community and conversation manager is one example. “Storyteller” is another, he said.

Flaherty said the availability of so much consumer data augurs a sea change in how the agency advises its clients. “Big data allows us to market to the individual,” he said. “There are a huge wave of new jobs at Ketchum around this.” The employee of the future, Flaherty said at the conference, “understands the power of data, is a connector, digitally nimble, and believes in the power of community.”

One way the agency is tapping the boundless creativity of digital natives is Ketchum’s new crowd-sourcing idea site, MindFire. Originally envisioned as a tool to solicit creative ideas from college students for Ketchum’s clients, Mindfire has now become a talent recruitment site, he said.

Hill & Knowlton’s Jack Martin said his agency is investing heavily in research and digital. Measurement is very important – one of the most critical things in the business, he said.

The client of the future will unleash the power of big data, desire transparency, appreciate smart risk-taking, and be willing to turn over its brand to the community, Flaherty asserted.

The good news for our students is that public relations is one of the top 10 careers with a future, Flaherty said. “The most valuable media in the world is something you can’t buy: earned conversation, word-of-mouth, face-to-face,” he said.

Margaret Ritsch, APR is director of Roxo, TCU’s new student-driven agency for strategic communication. Formerly director of public relations at the Balcom Agency, then owner of her own firm, Perception, Ritsch joined the TCU faculty in January 2012. She and five Roxo interns traveled to San Francisco for the PRSA and PRSSA annual conferences.

PR lessons from ‘Kate’ and Tarrant Area Food Bank’s hunger campaign

The billboard asks a compelling question: What does hunger feel like? JustAskKate.org 

It strikes me that putting a (cartoon) face to hunger with a compelling narrative is a creative way to generate curiosity and hopefully leads to awareness, donations, volunteers, etc. The video component is simple but effective:

I reached out to Andrea Helms, Director of Communications for the Tarrant Area Food Bank and a Ft. Worth PRSA member for some insight into the campaign. I’m so thankful that she was wiling to share since I believe there are some interesting lessons and processes from this effort for PR and communication professionals:

Why did TAFB implement the ‘Kate’ concept campaign? 
Akron Canton Regional Food Bank in Ohio shared the Kate video concept with the Feeding America network of regional food banks, to which Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) belongs. TAFB decided to customize this video for the organization not only because of the impact of Kate’s message, but to also join in creating a sense of unity across the network.

What are some of the strategic objectives you hope to achieve?
AWARENESS. We would like Kate’s message to be shared all over our community, through our Partner Agencies, donors and volunteers, and the general public. As part of our annual awareness initiative, we hope the community learns that hunger and food insecurity exist right here in our own neighborhood and we, together, can do something about it.

Through various print ads, billboards, and social media, we seek to increase awareness about hunger and direct people to the Kate video. We hope the Kate video and her message goes viral. The more that people share the video with their networks, the bigger the awareness of hunger we can create within our community. The video not only educates the public about the face of hunger–for example, Kate could be your next door neighbor, a co-worker or friend–but it also educates them about Tarrant Area Food Bank’s role in fighting local hunger.

When did it start and how long will the campaign run? 
The campaign started mid-October and will run through December. We will do another flight of the campaign in the Spring of 2013. The Kate video will remain active on our website and on justaskkate.org and through social media when the campaign is not active.

How would you say your version of the campaign differs from the original version?
We are the first Feeding America food bank to launch a traditional marketing campaign around the video. Up until now, the Kate video has been used as a tool in food banks for educating volunteers and donors and has been used through social media and word of mouth.

What communication channels are you using to share Kate? 
Facebook and Twitter posts, Facebook ads, billboards, print ads in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Fort Worth Business Press, the Just Ask Kate web page, the TAFB website, YouTube, e-blasts, email signatures, volunteer training and exclusive showings at TAFB related events.

We also have several collateral pieces our staff use for various audiences, such as children’s activities and giveaways, including Kate as a fan with suggestions on the backside for taking action to build awareness about hunger.  Our life-sized Kate cut-out is being used for photo opportunities with key people in our community for posting on social media.

How will you determine the success of this campaign?
Because this is an awareness campaign, we are most interested in how viral the campaign becomes. The more video views, shares and likes we get from the Kate video, the more we know the word is being spread around our community. We have been using Facebook and Google analytics to track where our viewers are coming from and what actions they are taking after they view the video, such as visiting our website or liking our Facebook page.

What do you think? Is this a compelling campaign to help generate awareness for the food bank’s fight against local hunger? As always, the comments are yours.

The post is from the Next Communications blog.