What was the best campaign you saw in 2017?
Pat McCormick (PM) – Big brands and companies can afford amazing, creative campaigns. I’m always impressed by the small brands that remain true to themselves and prevail against the big guys. My favorite local example this year is Old Town Brewing’s defense of its trademarked logo – featuring the iconic leaping White Stag that people associate with Portland, against the onslaught of mega-brewing giant AB InBev trying to get rights to use that image through the City of Portland. The best gesture in the battle came from Rogue Ales – a much bigger Oregon craft brewing company. Rogue banned the Portland mayor, city lawyers and other “bureaucrats” from its pubs until the city abandoned its effort to license the image beer and alcohol giants. (P.S. Dan Keeney, a former colleague, is Old Town Brewing’s spokesman. He’s an exceptional PR strategist and a great friend of craft brewing.)
Allison McCormick (AM) – It’s a tie for me…
The Indivisible campaign has been awe inspiring to follow. The grassroots movement was started when former congressional staffers commiserated after the election of Donald Trump and decided to draft a guide they could share with all the progressives across the country that wanted to do something. Borrowing from the pages of the Tea Party playbook, The Google Doc guide laid out a roadmap for taking on Trump and the members of congress doing his bidding. It emphasizes starting locally and using focused advocacy tactics. Since the guide was first shared it has been downloaded more than two million times, at least 5,800 local groups have formed across the country and the energy sparked by the campaign is changing elections. Congrats, Doug Jones!
The #MeToo movement has been equally powerful in its swiftness and impact. Effecting every level of Hollywood and government, every industry, and interactions in every day life – young and old women alike are finding the courage through each other to stand up and stand together against harassment and misogyny. It makes me feel like I did when I first heard this song and saw this clip from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:
Karly Tarsia (KT) – I’m not sure if this classifies as a campaign but the #MeToo movement along with Time’s Silence Breakers. Watching that spark on social media was both incredibly heart wrenching but also incredibly powerful. This year there has been so much noise on social media and in general it’s hard to say if any campaign has stood out but if #MeToo qualifies as that I think it’s the one that was the loudest and had one of the biggest impacts in society.
What was your favorite accomplishment (personal or professional) from this year?
PM – Marking 51 years of marriage. The accomplishment is really Donna’s. She’s delivered our seven children, endured all these years with me and still laughs at my jokes, even ones she’s tired of hearing.
AM – Hiring Karly Tarsia.
KT – Personally, getting my own place postgrad and moving in with one of my best friends. Professionally, getting hired as an Account Coordinator at AM:PM PR last spring.
What trend do you think was overhyped in 2017?
PM – The most overused term in 2017 PR plans is “influencer” marketing. It’s a trending term, but the concept behind it isn’t really new. In marketing as well as in public policy advocacy, the importance of individuals and authorities who help shape people’s view on a product or an issue has been well understood. Digital tools have improved our ability to understand and reach those whose views influence others. At our old firm, we were charter members of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. For those interested in learning more about influencer marketing, here’s a link to the WOMMA guide – http://womma.org/free-womm-resources/
AM – Mom jeans.
KT – I feel like everything is beyond hyped now and is so in your face that it becomes overhyped very quickly. Doing makeup tutorials with unconventional products, foods that you can tell are just solely so you can post it on Instagram, unicorn-related everything. Everything feels so over the top you kind of wonder how it can catch on and then it spreads like wildfire and is everywhere.
What is your favorite memory from 2017?
PM – I have lots of great memories, but my trip to Orlando in October is likely most memorable. I got to spend five days at Disney World with Luca, my eighth grandchild to share a Disney adventure with me. Our trip coincided with the NWSL championship game and we got to watch the Portland Thorns, our amazing women’s professional soccer team, win the title in a tough-fought game. My next grandchild Disney adventure will be in May, going with Keeton to Disneyland. Another great memory coming soon.
AM – It’s a tough call between Michael Flynn’s guilty plea and the defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama.
KT – It’s hard to remember a specific moment that stood out for me in a year, but its all the small moments you don’t realize you loved until later. Being with my friends and laughing until we cry. Being with my family and watching my relationships evolve with them now that I’m an adult. Watching some of my best friends get married. Really realizing how lucky I am to live the life I do. I’m really trying to focus on that and be more grateful going into 2018.
Favorite 2017 guilty pleasure?
PM – Binge-watching The Crown.
AM – Flaunting my new lipstick and sharing more of them as gifts.
KT – Hands down memes. I know I should stop tagging my friends in them but I really can’t (sorry Lauren and Megan). Also podcasts, I can never get enough.
What was your favorite app you used in 2017?
PM – For the last couple of years, Sleep Cycle has been a favorite app. It tracks my sleep and offers a gentle wake-up when I’m easiest to wake in my sleep cycle. This year I added a companion app called Life Cycle. It tracks all my activities throughout the day. I’ve come to appreciate Apple’s efforts to track fitness and health using my watch and phone. It’s made me much more conscious of my good habits, and more sensitive about the bad ones.
AM – The Apple Podcast app. Hands down.
KT – It’s a toss up between Apple’s Podcast app and Snapchat. But if I have to choose I’ll say Apple Podcast.
We did a similar post last year for predictions in 2017, what was the most surprising thing you felt that happened this year?
PM – It’s tempting to talk about politics because I’ve never experienced such poisonous rhetoric and distortions of conventional mores in public life. For those troubled by the lack of civility in political discourse, I recommend reading my friend James Hoggan’s book, “I’m Right and You’re an Idiot,” published presciently at the beginning of the 2016 election year. In my real life, the most enjoyable surprise of 2017 was getting to watch our adventurous Grandson Haxton start walking, then running – and smiling a smile that melts your heart.
AM – It might be Roy Moore’s loss, but this year has made it hard to remember anything farther than a few days in the past.
KT – Allison and I have talked about this so much and really its everything. When we started answering these questions we both struggled because so much has happened in a year, it’s hard to digest what happened even a month ago. I had to go back and look through different huge events and be like, “Oh yeah that did happen”. Things that would historically define a year feel like they are happening weekly and it’s hard to keep up and remember everything, whether that be in pop culture or politics. Personally, and as a civilian, I feel that so much has happened I could have never predicted this is where we would be ending 2017. It is both hopeful and terifitiyng to see where we will be this time next year.
What are you looking forward to most in 2018?
PM – Besides my May trip to Disneyland with Keeton, I’m looking forward taking Donna back to Maui for some R&R. Allison and Juan gave her a gift certificate for a restaurant we like on Maui, so using it will require us to go there.
AM – Robert Muller’s investigation outcomes and a trip to Spain with my husband.
KT – Turning a quarter of a century old! Plus a few trips I’ve planned.
ISFJ. ENFP. ISTP. ESTJ. These may sound like acronyms for a secret club but actually they are personality types for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test. You may have seen some buzz as of late regarding the Myers-Briggs personality types and how less than one percent of the population is identifying as an INFJ. As I got sucked into taking this test to find out what I am (an INFJ shockingly enough) it got me to thinking, what personality types are best suited for the world of communications and public relations?
What is the Myers-Briggs test?
First, there are sixteen different personality types on the Myers-Briggs test. You will either lean more in the direction of introversion (I) vs. extroversion (E), sensing (S) vs. intuition (N), thinking (T) vs. feeling (F) and judging (J) vs. perceiving (P). These different traits make up your overall combination of what your personality type is. I highly suggest diving into this test and seeing what you are; from personal experience it is freaky accurate! The Myers-Briggs test helped shed a lot of insight into myself and what I am best suited for.
What types of personality types work well in communications?
This prompted me to wonder, what personality types are best suited for the communications industry? Are you suited for communications, or maybe another field? After looking into this I have concluded the best Myers-Briggs personality types to work in public relations are:
– INFP (Mediator): This personality type is known for their kind and altruistic nature. They are natural communicators who thrive in positions where they can help people. All the great traits you want in a public relations professional!
– INFJ (Advocate): This personality is known for being an idealist who inspires those around them. They are empathic and creative, which makes them great for PR due to their natural ability to read clients and deliver high-quality work they are proud of.
– ESTP (Entrepreneur): These personality types are known for their intelligence and natural leadership skills. While they often find themselves in high level leadership roles they also make a great communicators because of their ability to lead as well as their natural inclination to not have a day-to-day routine.
– ENTP (Debater): Those who identify as an ENTP are great at problem solving. With a strong mindset to analytical understandings they are perfectly suited for the world of public relations and love a challenge they can solve.
– ESTJ (Executive): This personality is an excellent one to manage people and are driven by results. While they can fit in any field seamlessly they would make great PR practitioners due to their logical and critical-thinking thought process.
– ENFJ (Protagonist): These personality types are best known for their ability to captivate an audience when speaking. They are incredibly charismatic with strong values for bettering human-kind. ENFJ’s love working with people and enjoy making a positive difference in those lives, making them excellent in the field of communications.
– ENTJ (Commander): One way or another mentality is what the ENTJ is best known for. They are very goal-oriented and organized and are often very career-driven. With their “can do” attitude they are well suited for the world of communications.
Whatever your personality type is, even if it doesn’t fall into the category of what would be a good fit in the public relations field, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t make a great communicator! The Myers-Briggs test can highlight a lot of strengths you can take to any job you choose. The world is your oyster!
Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. Instagram. Pinterest. Facebook. Snapchat… This is the endless cycle I find myself repeating for hours every day. At 24 I am CONSUMED by media. If I’m not on my phone looking something up then I’m on my laptop scrolling through endless content. I can’t escape cyberspace. More often than not social media is flooded with either horribly painful news that makes me question the state of humanity or doctored up photos that makes me question what I’m doing with my life and how I look. It’s exhausting and draining to be consumed by such a beast, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
“To remove social media from my life would be like cutting off a appendage that is poisoning me, I know I should do it, but I can’t bring myself to.”
I grew up in the early 90’s, which means as I emerged into adolescence and adulthood so did the monster of the internet and the boom of social media. At this point for me and my generation, social media is an extension of us and our personal brands. To remove social media from my life would be like cutting off an appendage that is poisoning me, I know I should do it, but I can’t bring myself to.
So how do you not let the internet consume your life? You detox from it.
It would be foolish to tell you to completely cut yourself off from your phone. But detoxing can be another solution. Like we detox toxins from our bodies we also need to digitally detox and clear our minds from the constant stream of information. Why? The average person spends four hours a day on their phones. Along with that shocking statistic another is that the average American checks their phone over 150 TIMES A DAY unconsciously! As someone who works in media and loves to be in the know detoxing seems like a near impossible task for me. It led me to wonder, how do you start to consciously unwind yourself from the constant need to know what is going on while still maintaining your online presence?
Some ways I try to detox social media from my life:
- Delete negative people. Like spring cleaning your house, cleaning out your social media gives you a chance to take into stock what you really want to see and eliminate accounts that cause negative feelings.
- Put your phone on airplane mode. By doing this your phone is still on but the need to check your notification disappears by not allowing any notifications to pop-up until you turn this mode off. This takes away the sometimes constant nagging need people have to check their phones.
- Turn your phone off for an hour a day. By turning off your phone it becomes more of a hassle to turn it back on and check social media than to just scroll through your notifications with it on. Try doing this a few times a week and see if it makes a difference for you.
By the end of your digital detox you should be feeling refreshed and a little more at ease!
Marvin Strombo was 19-years-old when he fought as a Marine in Saipan during World War II. Earlier this summer, and at age 93, Strombo performed one final mission of reconciliation – personally returning the lost heirloom he acquired while serving as a Marine to the awaiting family of Sadao Yasue, a Japanese Lance Corporal killed in action in Saipan in late June of 1944. When Strombo and fellow Marines came across Yasue’s body they found his Yosegaki Hinomaru.
Referred to as a “good luck flag” by American soldiers, the Japanese Hinomaru was often taken as a war souvenir from the fallen. The flag features the familiar white background and Rising Sun in the center and surrounded by Japanese characters. These flags were traditionally presented to a man prior to his deployment in the Japanese armed forces. Relatives, neighbors and friends would write their names along with good luck messages on the field of the flag.
Strombo’s experience traveling to Japan to return the flag garnered national and international media attention, and the story has helped more families and veterans to connect with Obon Society to return lost artifacts.
Here is the story as it was covered by PBS News Hour:
Author Emil DeAndreis will join us next week to discuss “Hard To Grip” – a memoir about his experience finding new meaning in life after his promising professional baseball career was derailed by rheumatoid arthritis. We interviewed Emil to learn more about his experience marketing and promoting his books.
Emil will be at AM:PM PR on Wednesday, August 9th at 6 p.m. (2006 SE Clinton Street). You can RSVP at: email@example.com
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How did your baseball experience prepare you for your author experience?
In general as a baseball player you experience plenty of rejection. From that rejection, you learn that if you don’t push through, the world will keep spinning without you. So there is a level of resilience and tenacity learned as a baseball player that has helped me as an author. You don’t become an author without being rejected hundreds of times.
Is this your first time marketing yourself as an author?
I marketed myself for my first book, Beyond Folly. The book was smaller in all aspects, from page number to print run to publisher. So I had a bit of experience crafting emails to reviewers in hopes of generating buzz, preparing elevator-pitch-like synopses of the book to show why it was worth someone’s time. I wouldn’t say I enjoy marketing myself, but I do take solace in the fact that this is an essential part of being an author. How else will people learn about the book, the story, if I don’t push the information into their lap?
What’s it like marketing a book in 2017?
There is a lot of sitting on the couch, sending emails, gently nudging people with reminders, asking somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody to introduce us via email. I’m always looking for people who might be interested in the book. People on widely followed podcasts, people on social media with audiences relevant to the topic of my book.
What are some marketing tactics that have worked well for you?
A lot of people, especially journalists and authors in the sports world have been really generous with their time, and their connections. They’ve also been very complimentary about the book for its authenticity to the game of baseball. I’ve been very fortunate to be put in touch with prominent figures in the baseball world and have wound up with some great blurbs that have helped legitimize the book and put it on the map.
What marketing tactics have fallen flat?
I’ve found it to be really hard to get big book reviewers (or just any book reviewers, for that matter) to review a book from an indie press. It’s no knock on the book reviews; hundreds of books come out a week and there isn’t enough time to read them all. Books from the big 5 publishing houses get more attention, and so even if you have a great book, or a book that is regionally pertinent to a certain book review, there’s a good chance it will be left unread.
What role has social media played in promoting your book?
It’s been really helpful. I am by no means a social media guru, and I’m sure there is a lot more I could be doing on it, but being able to reach big time names in the sports world has helped my book reach wider audiences. Hashtags have also helped me penetrate markets that would otherwise have a hard time reaching.
What role did your publisher play in promoting the book?
My publisher has been very committed to this project since the beginning. I was set up with a marketing team as well as a radio agent, which took some of the weight off of me. It’s nice to have people behind you whose job it is to get your book in people’s hands. My publisher has been in the business a long time and has some good connections that have helped open doors. He is persistent and committed but patient.
What have you learned from this experience that you will apply to the next book release?
I want to investigate those authors who’ve marketed themselves into selling hundreds of thousands of copies of their books on their own. I’m sure there is a more efficient way for me to use my time when marketing my book, and I’d love to encounter it.
After your book is no longer “new” and conceivably newsworthy, how do you plan to continue marketing your book?
There are still markets and people to tap who are more interested in the story than the newness. One year (which seems to be the unofficial shelf life of a book) isn’t long enough to contact everyone–journalists, radio hosts, podcasts, ex-athletes, popular doctors, etc– who might be interested in your book, and sharing it to their audience.
What advice would you offer someone preparing to market their book for the first time?
So many people will say no. Don’ take it personally, as challenging as that may be. Be very thankful to those who say yes.
Last month the Oregonian reported that the Oregon Department of Justice reached a settlement with Portland-based Coolest Cooler project over complaints the company hasn’t delivered its crowdfunding rewards to expectant backers in a timely manner. The project is currently three years behind schedule and has failed to ship over 21,000 of its $200 coolers. The new ruling suggests backers may be entitled to a $20 refund from Coolest Cooler, or 10% of their original investment.
If it sounds crazy, at least it’s sanctioned crazy. After numerous highly publicized projects have failed to deliver on time, many backers now know what they’re getting into when supporting a crowdfunding project – but that doesn’t mean backers won’t become angry when a project fails to meet their expectations. If expectations aren’t managed properly, this may create a potential crisis for an entrepreneur hoping to leverage their project into a business.
Here’s my question – shouldn’t a crowdfunding project work hard to ensure its potential evangelists (i.e., ‘backers’) are treated fairly and compassionately? I dare say, they should be coddled. Most communication professionals would nod in agreement (with the possible exception of the ‘coddled’ part), but most crowdfunding project creators are not communication professionals and I’ve observed that they do a lot of funny things to avoid confrontation.
My recently completed grad school terminal project explored communication practices in rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns. I chose to study crowdfunding because the lifecycle of its business model is like a regular business on hyper-drive. In the span of a few months you can observe a business evolve from the fruition of an idea to the delivery of its product, and all of its communication efforts (or lack thereof) are recorded on the crowdfunding platform, on its social media platforms, in media stories and within forums.
In the coming weeks I’ll share some of what I’ve learned on the AM:PM PR blog. I believe this information will be of interest to communication professionals and may help to inform effective business communication practices.
Contemporary crowdfunding platforms enable entrepreneurs to bring their dreams into fruition in a manner that was unthinkable 10 years ago. If an entrepreneur can connect to the internet, they can communicate with nearly a billion English speakers. Additionally, new technology enables entrepreneurs to reach potential consumers that would otherwise be impossible for anyone outside of large population centers. Today, an entrepreneur living in rural America could conceive a business idea and launch a crowdfunding campaign using free technology available on the internet to promote and fund it.
The entrepreneur may choose from a range of crowdfunding and social media platforms to tell their unique story, combining narrative with photos, videos and written testimonials. Social media and search engine optimization offered by crowdfunding websites, combined with desktop or mobile friendly browsing allows easy access for potential consumers. Communication-centric technology enables project creators to post updates and share links to these updates on separate social platforms to reach new networks; users can, in turn, share with their additional networks, expanding the reach of the project. Interested consumers pledge directly using safe financial technologies offering the secure transfer of funds.
In rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns, entrepreneurs include deliverables to encourage investors to pledge varying levels of funds to support the effort. In the event the project is successfully funded, the entrepreneur can post messages of appreciation to everyone that came together to support their campaign. The entrepreneur, in turn, uses those funds and begins to work toward actualizing their vision and to fulfill pledges to backers. However, challenges arise when the project creator is unable to fulfill campaign promises in a direct, timely manner – and responds to these challenges with inconsistent, combative or unclear communication – or, in the worst case, no communication at all. This lack of communication creates a communication crisis that threatens brand and reputation and is entirely avoidable with strategic communication planning.
To be continued…
On Tuesday, July 11th we’re meeting at AM:PM PR at 6 p.m. to discuss “The Immortal Irishman” by Timothy Egan. The book details the life and times of Thomas Francis Meagher, who squeezed more life into his 43-years of life than most families cobble together in three generations.
The next title in my summer bookclub is Hard To Grip, by Emil DeAndreis. Emil will actually be visiting AM:PM PR to discuss his book and to answer questions. If you’d like to purchase in advance of the signing you can do so at Powell’s Books (or wherever books are sold).
Emil recently published a popular essay titled, “How RA Alters Your Young Adult Years.”
Please join us Wednesday, August 9 at 6 p.m. to meet Emil and to learn more about his book and his life experience.
About Hard to Grip by Emil DeAndreis
In 2008, after a record-breaking career as a D1 college baseball player, Emil DeAndreis’ life seemed set: He was twenty-three, in great shape, and had just been offered a contract to pitch professionally in Europe. Then his body fell apart. It started with elbow stiffness, then swelling in his wrist. Soon, his fingers were too bloated to grip a baseball. He had Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease that causes swelling and eventual deterioration of the joints, mostly targeting old people and women. Hard To Grip tells the story of a young man’s body giving out when he needs it most. It chronicles an ascending sports career, the ups and downs of life in the NCAA, and the challenges of letting go of pro baseball due to a dehumanizing condition. In a series of humorous anecdotes, Emil takes the reader on his bittersweet journey of a young man’s having to grapple with an “old woman’s disease.” From striking out future major leaguer All Stars, to sitting in support groups; from breaking university records, to barely making it up the stairs; from language barriers with Chinese healers to figuring out how to be employed as a vegetable, this book unveils the disease with humor and fearless honesty through the eyes of an unlikely victim. This memoir is an honest, rueful and at times hilarious story about learning to come to terms with a new reality, and an inspiring account of how Emil learned to run with the disease and not from it.
Our September title is: Eve of a Hundred Midnights by Bill Lascher
Eve of a Hundred Midnights is the unforgettable true story of two married journalists on an island-hopping run for their lives across the Pacific after the Fall of Manila during World War II—a saga of love, adventure, and danger. On New Year’s Eve, 1941, just three weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese were bombing the Philippine capital of Manila, where journalists Mel and Annalee Jacoby had married just a month earlier. The couple had worked in China as members of a tight community of foreign correspondents with close ties to Chinese leaders; if captured by invading Japanese troops, they were certain to be executed. Racing to the docks just before midnight, they barely escaped on a freighter—the beginning of a tumultuous journey that would take them from one island outpost to another. While keeping ahead of the approaching Japanese, Mel and Annalee covered the harrowing war in the Pacific Theater—two of only a handful of valiant and dedicated journalists reporting from the region.
Bill Lascher is a local Portland author and irregular Speakeasy attendee. He’ll join us during the second week of September. More details to come!