Social Responsibility – Share Words of Your Kind Deeds

During this time of year, people often give of themselves more than they do during other parts of the year. Much the same, business needs to be human and give of itself throughout the year and during the holidays. Many businesses do so much for the community, but fail to make sure the key stakeholders know what they are up to.I have worked with some good businesses over the years and would like to highlight some of the good things that each have done.

  • First DFW International Airport, a government entity of all things actually holds an Aviation Career Expo each year in early December to bring in upwards of 4,000 local students to learn about aviation. American Airlines hosts the group with dozens of local businesses that are in the aviation sector from Tarrant County College to what looks to be a flying museum of older planes that are open for inspection.
  • If you ever get stuck at an airport, like DFW, and you need help, you should pick up that scary “white” service phone and ask that person for what you need. DFW has been known to give out diapers, formula, blankets, cots and so much more for those impacted by an unfortunate weather.
  • Chesapeake Energy gave thousands of bottles of water to local charities in 2011 during the 70 plus long streak of blistering heat here in Texas. Not only that, they actually loaded a case (1,700 or so bottles of water) in the back of a pickup and took it to the fire fighters working to extinguish the Parker County wildfires.
  • Then just last week, Epic Helicopters looking to do something to celebrate the holidays, reached out to the Ronald McDonald House to offer a holiday lights tour to one of their residents. Three weeks later 5-year-old Zachary McBride was given the sleigh ride of a life-time with his mom riding right behind him. Zachary’s story as seen on CBSDFW – 11.

If your business does good things out of the goodness of its heart, then be sure that you are also telling your customers, business partners or potential clients so that they know what doing business with you is really like.While each of these examples earned mass media coverage, the outreach did not stop there. There was outreach to city councils, county judges, law enforcement, boards of directors and so much more to ensure that the good business was recognized for their good citizenship.

Originally posted on Murnahan Public Relations, Inc’s blog.

Brian Murnahan, President of Murnahan Public Relations, brings more than 15 years of corporate communications experience in multiple different business sectors, including aviation, oil & gas, privacy, transportation and public policy. Murnahan specializes in media relations, crisis communications, public affairs, community / stakeholder relations, international outreach and media training.

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? 

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 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.

New Opportunity for Masters and Nupros

GFW PRSA will host a networking event for Masters and NuPros titled “Mastering a Brave New World” on Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Brownstone (840 Currie Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107). During the event, you’ll hear from a panel of experts about making the transition into the field of public relations from another profession or after time away in another role, position or industry.

The cost is $10 per person, payable by cash or check at the door. This includes payment for your first drink and appetizers. RSVP by Monday, Nov. 12 to Masters Chair Kim Speairs at or NuPros Chair Cindy Vasquez at


  •  Carroll Burney: Carroll took a hiatus from the world of public relations and marketing to pursue her love of cooking. She went back to school, received her degree in culinary arts and began working in the kitchen of a fine dining restaurant. Later, she began promoting a local chef. After several years in the business, Carroll decided to hang up her chef coat and go back to her passion – public relations. Today, she is vice president of Marketing and Development for Girls Inc. of Tarrant County, where she has been for four years.
  • Jeff Rodriguez: Formerly a journalist with the Star-Telegram, the Cincinnati Enquirer and other papers, Jeff left the news world to pursue opportunities in non-profit work, including Big Brothers and Sisters. In January 2012, Jeff became a communications specialist with Texas Health Resources, and he now handles both public relations and internal communications for Texas Health Southwest hospital and for the Texas Health outpatient center in Burleson.
  • Susan Schoolfield, APR: A PRSA Past President and Masters member, Susan worked for a local ad and PR agency and as a public relations consultant before joining the marketing and public relations department for Cook Children’s Health Care System. She stepped slightly away from PR for four years to work in sales for Dowden Custom Media. She returned to her PR and agency roots in 2011, when she joined the Balcom Agency as an account director.

2013 Slate of Officers

The 2013 PRSA slate of officers includes the following:

  • Vice President of Membership/President-Elect: Richie Escovedo
  • Vice President of Programs: Michelle Clark
  • Treasurer: Liz Heck
  • Treasurer-Elect: Pam Tate
  • Secretary: Megan Murphey
  • Director: Jahnae Stout (3-year term)
  • Assembly Delegate: Gigi Westerman, APR (3-year term)

Those approved will join incoming President Chris Smith, Directors Margaret Ritsch, APR and Joe Stout, Assembly Delegate Holly Ellman, and Immediate Past President Allyson Cross.

This slate will be voted on at the PRSA Luncheon & Annual Meeting on Nov. 14 at 11:30 a.m. at Colonial Country Club. For more information about the luncheon, click here.