Rebranding PR 3.0 – Introducing Speakeasy

We started a little informal gathering we dubbed “PR 3.0” back in 2009 as a way to stay up to date on the latest social networking trends. PR and communications were changing rapidly so we assigned staff members specific areas of study so they could educate the rest of the team at the weekly get-together. In the beginning we religiously monitored Facebook, Twitter, social apps like Four Square, SEO and video. We held our meetings every Thursday at 4pm over drinks in our office or at a cool spot with wi-fi. We started inviting peers and clients and anyone who was interested, and the gatherings evolved.

Four years in social network time is like 40 human years. Changes in social networks are happening daily and the list of social networks worth paying attention to has grown substantially. Our jobs as communicators are increasingly more complicated with so many challenges to take stock in, while traditional media outlets shrink, and catching the attention of overburdened reporters becomes an Olympic-sized challenge.

We recently realized the name for the group was dated when a 17-year-old high school student came to our office for an informational interview to learn more about PR. She asked what 3.0 referred to.  She had never heard of Web 2.0. The name hadn’t been cool for years. We must have looked like dinosaurs.

We decided then to give our PR 3.0 meetings a makeover. With the addition of new team members, new interests, new strategy, and tactics and technology making waves in our industry, we began the search for a name that fully encapsulates this wild industry (and sounds professional enough so that our colleagues from other companies can talk their bosses into attending). After several failed attempts at witticisms, a visitor named Brie Shea suggested the name “Speakeasy.” Perfect.

So, there you have it. We’ll be hosting Speakeasy gatherings twice a month.

Click here to join the Facebook Group to receive and share the latest news.

We’ll try once a month to have a special honored guest we think is extra smart about a topic. Kelli Matthews, University of Oregon’s most popular PR instructor, has already agreed to make a special trip up for one to talk about what she’s teaching the next generation of PR pros. Our next Speakeasy gathering is planned for September 19, 2013 in our office. We’ll have some adult beverages on hand to get your big thoughts flowing. Who knows what could be happening in communications three weeks from now? If you can predict it, you’ll win.

Pat McCormick with daughter Molly and granddaughter Meagan

AM:PM PR Public Relations Professionals Off The Clock: Pat McCormick

This is part 4/4 in our series sharing more information about our team of Portland-based public relations professionals. The last post is from our Ring Master, Pat McCormick.



Pat McCormick

Currently Reading:

 “Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, the Metal that Runs the World,” by Bill Carter. Mike Phillips shared the book with me before Bill came to speak at a special event in our office. I read about a third of the book and then left in the back seat of my car. I found it last week and I’m hoping to finish it soon.

Currently Listening To:

Les Misérables – Love the soundtrack as much as I love the story. I think “I Dreamed a Dream” is the saddest non-Irish song I’ve ever heard.

News Your Are Following:

New Apple products. I’m anxious that it seems so long since the last iPhone, iPad innovations. The new OS announcements are promising, but I need new toys. And a new Apple TV would do wonders to help my mood.

Plans for the Summer:

No big plans. I’ll be down in Florence in July for Granddaughter Kaylee’s Power of Florence day of community service. I’m also toying with the idea of getting a better bike so I can get back and forth to downtown more quickly.

Favorite Restaurant Experience In Recent Weeks:

Several weeks ago I took three grandchildren – Daniel, Ian and Meagan – to lunch at a Red Robin. The food and the place aren’t that special, but the experience was wonderful. Meagan and I were just a few weeks back from our Disneyland adventure. Ian and I had our Disneyland trip last September, and Daniel and I were there in September 2010. The purpose was for Meagan to share about her trip and compare notes with her cousins. We went through hundreds of pictures recalling the fun things each got to do there. It was amazing to listen to their recollections and realize I’d gotten to share those special times with each of them.


Allison McCormick with her family in Florence, OR

AM:PM PR Public Relations Professionals Off The Clock: Allison McCormick


This is post number four in our series, pulling back the curtain on the Portland public relations professionals working at AM:PM PR.



Allison McCormick

Role On-the-Clock:

Co-Founder, Partner, Fortune Teller

Role Off-the-Clock:

Mom (actually on and off-the-clock), adventurer, critic

Currently Reading:

Too many emails every day, Gawker as my go-to news source and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” at night with my daughter.

Currently Listening To: 

NPR, my favorite weekly NPR podcasts – Snap Judgement and This American Life, my stream on Soundcloud.

News You Are Following:

Marriage equality and gay rights, the recovery of the Boston bombing victims, #FloridaMan and, of course, everything to do with our clients.

Plans for the Summer:

Adventures with the kids at the beach, crabbing, going to the Mt. Hood Adventure Park, camping and lots of paella, sangria and gazpacho.

Favorite Restaurant Experiences in Recent Weeks:

Sanborns on SE 13th, one block off Powell. The service was somewhat slow, but the food was remarkable. Tennessee Red’s on SE 11th was also pretty amazing and I don’t normally choose BBQ fare. You can also never go wrong with Double Dragon. I love the Ramen, but Juan always gets the Bahn Mi. Both are fantastic.


Public Relations Professionals Off The Clock: Alexis Dane

For part three in our campaign to introduce you to the Portland public relations professionals working at AM:PM PR, we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Dane.

2013-06-08 11.19.47Name: Alexis Dane

Currently Reading: I just finished a beautifully written memoir by a Seattle-based author called “Clearly Now the Rain: A Memoir of Love & Other Trips,” and am restarting Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84.

Currently Listening To: The Dictators. My love for this band was reignited last week when I met the lead singer at his NYC bar, Manitoba’s.

News You Are Following: The protests in Turkey.

Plans for the Summer: Though I just got back from a week visiting a friend in NYC, I’m afraid I may spend most of the rest of summer working. I’ll be sure to get some weekend hikes and beach trips in, though.

Favorite Restaurant Experience In Recent Weeks: I adore SE Division’s Portobello Vegan Trattoria.


AM:PM PR Public Relations Professionals Off The Clock: Mike Phillips


At AM:PM PR we take our work seriously – but ourselves – not so much. When we’re not working, we’re people with personalities, or so we believe. We thought it might be fun to take a step back from our public relations work to share a little more about ourselves: what we’re reading, what we’re listening to, the news we’re following, how we’re preparing to enjoy the summer, and we wouldn’t be using social media properly if we didn’t talk about what we’ve been eating!

This is the first blog in our five part profile series.

Name: Mike Phillips

Currently Reading: Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges & Joe Sacco. I became a big fan of both of these individuals after seeing their appearances on Moyers & Co. and Democracy Now! but I haven’t found time to read their actual work. This book allows me to kill two birds with one stone!


mike in the columbia gorge

During a recent trip to the gorge

Currently Listening To: Thanks to Pandora, I rediscovered David Bazan from 90’s Seattle-based group “Pedro the Lion.” He’s continuing to produce music, and I’m finding some of it to be quite interesting. This is a particularly great track.

News You Are Following: I’ve been following the so-called Baby Revolution in Bosnia. No, babies aren’t taking to the streets. In a nutshell, babies born after February 2013 have been denied I.D. numbers due to partisan political gridlock, so their parents cannot travel with them outside of Bosnia. This came to a head earlier this month when a Bosnian couple was unable to travel to Germany to seek medical treatment for their infant. The root of the cause is that vapid Bosnian Serb lawmakers from the predominantly Bosnian Serb part of the country (Republika Srpska) are demanding that Bosnian Serbs have separate I.D.’s from their fellow Bosnian and Croatian countrymen. This gridlock, despite being driven from disappointing political partisanship, has inspired a positive and optimistic display of post-war unity in a country that has been politically deadlocked along ethnic divisions for far too many years. Hopefully this is now changing!

Plans for the Summer: Enjoying the bounty of the Pacific Northwest, and planning a trip to Macinac Island later this summer.

Favorite Restaurant Experience In Recent Weeks: The other day I went to Olé Olé off 21st and East Burnside. It was a refreshingly un-pretentious restaurant experience with friendly staff and the most affordable prices in town. Shockingly affordable.

* * *

We invite you to share your stories too! What we need from you:

Currently Reading
Currently Listening To
News You Are Following
Plans for the Summer
Favorite Restaurant Experience In Recent Weeks

Destination Branding For Small Cities

A review of Bill Baker’s latest book

At AM:PM PR we like to keep a pulse on trends and thought leadership related to the public relations industry, especially in subjects that we find interesting. To this end we hold weekly meetings we call “PR 3.0” where we invite PR professionals, job seekers and business executives to join us to talk about the latest developments in social media technologies.

However, we take this interest to all aspects of our work and last week I purchased a book by local Portland author Bill Baker titled “Destination Branding for Small Cities.” In this book Mr. Baker draws upon over 30 years experience working in over 25 countries helping communities with their branding and marketing. His book illustrates the case for the destination branding and marketing of small cities and towns.

Interestingly, the book arrived into my possession around the same time The Oregonian published an article saying Bicycling contributes $400 million to Oregon tourism. Do you think this isn’t destination branding? If anything, it’s a warning shot to all bike-related businesses in the region, telling them that they’d better rope themselves into the branding language if they want to take advantage of this large portion of the local economy.

The bike piece comes after a piece from CNN that says Portland is America’s top beer town. Then in the Huffington Post, Portland was cited in a study by Intuit as a top city for female entrepreneurs.

This could all be crazy coincidence, but in reality it’s the result of a successful destination branding campaign that has consciously (and sometimes, subconsciously) been part of the collective marketing efforts of cities and businesses in the region during the past decade. Bike lanes, pet friendly hotels, famous bands, beer tours, distillery row and words like “artisan”, “craft”, “eco” and even our food carts are all under the umbrella of a successful destination branding campaign. It’s successful because the campaign comes from the top down and is adopted by other businesses and organizations looking to take advantage of the media limelight. Further, our regional campaign is based upon an authenticity that builds when families move to the area seeking a quality of life that we foster and encourage in Portland.

I found the book to be thought-provoking and a must read for anyone sitting on the board of a chamber of commerce or related tourism organization – even if you aren’t directly involved in the marketing, public relations or branding committee. It’s important for people to have a better understanding of the principles presented in this book so they act as a resource, team player, or in the case of small businesses – identify the greater destination branding at play, and use it to their advantage.

For more: “Destination Branding for Small Cities.”

Clinton Street Roundup – Part One

We’re all nestled in to our new home at the Cyrk Building. While we’ll miss our lovely neighbors in the Buckman neighborhood, we’re excited to be starting our new life as part of vibrant SE Clinton Street.

In typical AM:PM PR fashion we’ve already busied ourselves trying the various cafes and restaurants in the area. Since we were without a home for over a month, we had ample opportunity to meet as a team at many of these fine establishments to discuss business and taste the food and drink the neighborhood has to offer.

We’ll continue to update the Be My Neighbor section of the website with posts detailing our favorite spots as we discover them. For now, here’s a roundup of our current crushes.


K&F Coffee

K & F roasts its own coffee (it’s delicious, by the way) and they offer a pretty impressive variety of baked goods to nibble while you sip your beverage of choice. It was the site of our first offsite meeting and it’s a classic Portland coffeehouse that I’m sure we’ll continue to regularly frequent.


Dot's Cafe

Clinton St. staple, Dot’s Cafe, has been around for more than 20 years. It’s one of our favorite lunch spots on a cold winter day due to its signature coziness and velvet-painting-festooned walls. They serve up classic, high quality bar food and stiff drinks, what more could one want?


St. Jack Portland

We’re lucky to be just down the block from St. Jack – both the restaurant and the patisserie. The patisserie has drawn us in several times over the last month with its perfectly crafted traditional french pastries like buttery croissants, canelés and macarons. We’ll have to be careful to resist the urge to swing by daily since swimsuit season is just around the corner.


Compote Cafe

Compote has been serving the Clinton St. neighborhood delectable breakfast and lunch items made from scratch with wholesome ingredients for over two years. Located just two doors down from our space it will be difficult to resist a daily stop for a homemade treat.


Night Light Lounge

What neighborhood would be complete without the perfect after work hang out? Night Light Lounge boasts one of the best happy hours in town (trust me, I’m an expert) and even serves brunch on the weekends. I can foresee many PR 3.0 meetings continuing after hours at this classic SE spot.

Those are among our current favorites. Stay tuned to the Be My Neighbor blog for additions. Are there any places you love that we didn’t mention? If so, please share share with us in the comments section.

The Cyrk

Movin’ on up, to (a new part of) the East Side & Joining The Cyrk

As much as we’ve loved our time in the Buckman Neighborhood – rubbing shoulders with the mad scientists of Distillery Row, descending like locusts upon local eateries such as Robo Taco and Vivo, and working with neighbors Bremik, Tapalaya, Po’Boy Art and more – it’s the dawn of a new year and a new era for AM:PM PR.

We survived an overinflated panic surrounding a misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar, and we figured why not treat ourselves to a new space. Not to toot our own horns (TOOT!), but it’s a doozie.

At the beginning of February, we’ll take up residence in the Cyrk Building on southeast 20th and Clinton. For those of you who’ve yet to cast your eyes on this miracle of modern building techniques, feel free to drive by and check it out. It’s a gorgeous space that we’ll share both with our brothers in arms at 7/Apps and our clients EE Northwest. The latter owns the building and was kind enough to approve our tenant application. We’ll try to keep the noise level down.

AM:PM PR joins the Cyrk-us

For those of you who understand how calendars work and are wondering about the omission of a little thing called January, well done. That was a test, and it’s nice to see that you were paying attention. As construction is finished up on our new space, we’ll be going back to our roots.

Just as in the early days of AM:PM, we’ll be a bit like the French Resistance, except with public relations instead of freedom fighting, and minus the Gauloises. We’ll meet at a variety of our favorite coffee shops, restaurants and watering holes, keeping the client work that’s our bread and butter firmly intact. You likely won’t notice much difference unless you meet us face-to-face, in which case the password is “Le Coq Sportif.” Also, feel free to give us suggestions for great coffee shops that can accommodate large groups of mostly serious professionals.

During the next month, we’ll keep you updated on our activities and the construction’s progress via the usual channels: our blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. We’ll also be getting to know our new neighbors. We’ve already visited St. Jacks, Compote, The Night Light Lounge and more, and look forward to getting to know them and their tasty offerings even better.

When we get moved into the new space, we don’t expect you’ll miss it. We’ll have a hard time not crowing from pride about our new digs, and of course there will be office-warming festivities to attend to. Keep an eye out for something occurring around St. Patrick’s Day.

We’ll also be working on new job titles and a high-flying new concept for the website that will highlight the subtle circus theme of our new digs. Prepare yourself for the greatest communications show on Earth, or at least in Portland. In the meantime, Happy New Year. We hope you’ve got as much to look forward as we do.


Gen Y - brand agnostics and savvy

Credit unions need to keep it real to woo Gen Y from banks

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) recently invited me to present tips on reaching Gen Y. Like most organizations, they want to know how to attract the largest consumer group in history. With Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day leading the news, there’s never been a better time for credit unions to be heard.

The first step in building relationships with this generation is knowing everything about who Gen Y’ers are and what drives them.

Meet the Gen Y’ers:

  • Believe they can be and do anything.
  • Believe miracles are possible.
  • Want to live first and work second.
  • Care about servicing their community.
  • Don’t like to be told what to do or what’s cool.
  • Want to experience the world for themselves to develop their own judgement.
  • Don’t want to be marketed to.

Gen Y respects authenticity. If you want to be listened to, be real. This generation can see through B.S.

Gen Y socialize on smart phones

Where are they? On their phones. They are more than half of mobile users in the US. Also nicknamed the Connecteds and Net Generation, they’re almost all socially networked. They do everything online, including research before buying.

When purchasing a product or service they look for:
  • Low cost
  • Good quality
  • Fast service
  • An “experience”

Living in an era when information is everywhere and everyone is constantly connected, how can NWCUA members and your organization reach Millennials? Relate to what’s important. Know that they listen to their friends. They care about their community and they care about living life well.

Give them what they want and:
  • Differentiate credit unions from banks. Seize the 99%.
  • Offer tools for living well that Gen Y will want to use. Financial literacy hasn’t been taught to them in schools. Make money management “an experience” with an app that helps them manage their money and reach their goals of buying a house or traveling the world.
  • Communicate credit unions’ community involvement. Offer an online program teaching financial literacy and curriculum for teachers.
  • Engage them on social networks. Let them lead on Facebook, and be a real resource for them on Twitter.

As evidenced by the 690,000 people who dumped their banks in a single month around Bank Transfer Day, Gen Y will like what credit unions offer. Be easy to find, easy to use and make their decision to switch easy.

am:pm pr tips

As for any other organization? Anticipate what members of Gen Y will want from you and what they’ll look for on your website. Don’t add fluff. Make sure to give them something that they can recommend to their friends without sacrificing their authenticity.

grimm poster header

Grimm tidings to you, Sam and Dean

by Jake Ten Pas

Portland has been all a-Twitter about NBC’s new supernatural/fairy-tale-based thriller Grimm filming in town, and with good reason. Given Oregon’s abyss of joblessness, we’ll take any employment we can get. Secondly, for those of us who are tired of unimaginative reality TV, the recent slew of horror, fantasy and sci-fi themed options is like a breath of fresh air straight from an alternate dimension. Whether it’s “American Horror Story,” “Walking Dead” or “A Game of Thrones,” I’ll take it.

Grimm crime scene

But here’s the thing. Whoever scheduled “Grimm” at NBC pulled one of the classic jerk moves in the history of TV programming. He, she, they or it put “Grimm” on at the same time as two of my favorite network shows of the past five years, “Supernatural” and “Fringe.” Obviously, this is no accident. NBC wants to cannibalize the other two, steal their fans and leave the shows to die by the side of the road like zombie victims. If this theory of TV scheduling was, at one time, effective, I sincerely hope it won’t be anymore. I wish this not because I don’t want to see “Grimm” succeed, but rather because I think the notion of trying to kill off other shows that share a common fan base is an outdated, unnecessary, and just plain unwise way of going about the business of ca

rving out a viewer niche.

grimm show
In an era when more people are watching TV at a time of their choosing via DVRs, the Internet and DVDs, why is it necessary to try to gouge out your opponent’s eyes? As a proud geek, I can say that I make time in my week for a multitude of shows, and all you have to do is not A) Make it more difficult to watch your show than it has to be, or B) Piss me off by taking on one of the shows I’m already loyal to. Sadly, the NBC execs have done both. By scheduling “Grimm” at the same time as two of my favorite shows, they’ve shown their total ignorance of the way DVRs work.

While some DVRs will allow you to record three shows simultaneously, most standard ones issued by cable companies will not. With my DVR, we can record two shows and watch a third, but because these shows are on Friday night, I’m never at home to do so. Thus “Grimm” gets the boot, and the only way to watch it later is to hunker down in front of our tiny computer screen and watch it on Hulu. The week that the pilot of “Grimm” aired, NBC did something really smart by rebroadcasting it on SyFy. This not only exposed the show to a wider audience, but it also found a loophole in the DVR dilemma by allowing another time slot at which my DVR could find it and record it. Why they quit this strategy after week one is anybody’s guess.

After watching the first two episodes, I can say that the show potentially deserves better. While it owes a big debt to institutions such as “Supernatural,” I was instantly intrigued and wanted to watch more. Which leads me to wonder why NBC doesn’t try to incorporate some truly social elements into its marketing campaign for “Grimm”? Sure, it already has a Twitter account, but the account basically does nothing but promote itself all day long. Instead, why not subtly court fans of “Supernatural” and “Fringe” by putting your show on right before, or on an entirely different night, and then tout the similarities between them?

A truly social presence means giving props (or recognition) to others while saying what you have to say. It isn’t just about riffing on how rad you are. And in case you think that I’m saying “Supernatural” is doing any better of a job on Twitter, I’m not. That show’s Twitter account is full of the same self-aggrandizing nonsense, which is totally opposed to the self-effacing humor the show specializes in.

This is a new age for TV, in which people can watch what they want when they want. Your petty little network ploys and bickering can only get in the way of our enjoyment and support of an array of shows. With the advent of Apple TV – and who knows how many other technologies coming down the pipeline – it’s time to play nice and cultivate an audience of fans hungry for great stories that you can all draw from.

Quickly, before I leave this rant be, my coworker informs me that he can watch any show directly from NBC’s website via his iPhone used in conjunction with his Apple TV. Even if I simply had a newer model of TV, I could hook my computer up to it and watch “Grimm” on the big screen despite NBC’s attempts to make it as difficult as possible for me to do so. Perhaps this issue is indicative of technological growing pains we’re going through as a culture, particularly as they relate to TV. No matter how specific you want to get as to whose fault it is, I fall back to the basic position that it’s a network’s job to get its programming to me, perhaps more than it ever has been before.

So, if you’re reading, NBC, I’m here, I’m weird, and I’m ready to watch “Grimm.” Can you help a geek out?