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Walking the Floor: 3 Observations from the National Restaurant Association 2019 Show

May 30, 2019
By Mike Sacks

At any industry trade show, there is usually a focus on the future. What’s next, what’s coming, what consumers will want on the horizon. And the show floor is a great place to see that; as the wise person once said, the future is here, it’s just not yet evenly distributed. So, it was at the National Restaurant Association 2019 show in Chicago, drawing tens of thousands of visitors and exhibitors from all over the world to see the latest and greatest in the restaurant business.

There was a lot to see and taste, but I offer three things worth noting from my walk around the show floor while supporting a client:

1. Plant Protein is here. Flexitarians, vegetarians and those just wanting to eat less meat when dining out…rejoice. Protein alternatives were big and bold this year, and plant-based proteins were some of the unexpected showstoppers. I couldn’t get a slider at the Impossible Foods booth amidst the hungry and curious hoard.

2. Restaurant Tech (might) be here. We’re all increasingly familiar with Uber Eats (their booth was jumpin’) and Resy and other customer-facing technologies meant to enhance the restaurant experience. But running a restaurant – the operations diners don’t see – is really hard, and while technology solutions abound, adoption hasn’t caught up. That might be changing. A lot of exhibitors showing off the latest tools and services emphasized ease of implementation and have more of a consumer technology feel that operators may already be comfortable with. It’s progressed from clunky b2b software to more sophisticated, easy offerings that save operators money and time. Adoption trends over the next 12-18 months will be telling.

3. Experience is (still) here. Perhaps the unofficial theme of the conference, the diner experience was everywhere you looked. Cutlery or front of house staff uniforms? Pitched as important to diner experience. More global ingredients to incorporate in familiar ways? The experience diners want. Sustainable to-go boxes and silverware? Part of the experience. And it’s no wonder. In a hyper-competitive business where people’s stomachs are only so big, differentiating on experience is the real battleground.

A bonus observation: People will be eating french fries forever, no matter what else comes along. And who could blame us?

The communications lesson? Oh, I dunno. It may be as simple as giving decision makers and buyers the right balance of practical and ambitious. The right balance of now and next. Making it about them, not you. Or better yet, make it about their end customer. That’s how you sell out of sliders.


FleishmanHillard Wins Big at 2019 Telly Awards

May 28, 2019

ST. LOUIS, May 28, 2019 – FleishmanHillard brought home multiple awards at the 2019 Telly Awards. The global public relations agency earned recognition for its winning “PRWeek Large Agency of the Year” submission video, as well as 10 other awards for work on behalf of clients, including Merck & Co. and Rawlings. The Telly Awards honor excellence in video and television across all mediums.

Now in its 40th year, Telly Awards winners are chosen by the Telly Awards Judging Council, which is composed of more than 200 working industry leaders who have previously won Telly Awards. Together, they honor the standout campaigns and firms of the current year. Winners were announced May 21, 2019.

See all the winning campaigns here.


Statement from John Saunders, President and CEO of FleishmanHillard

By John Saunders

Over the past two weeks, work we have done regarding a stakeholder outreach project in Europe has become the subject of attention. The focus has been on planning documents we were asked to develop to prepare for outreach to stakeholders.  While we are open to critical discourse, a lot of the recent attention has mischaracterized our work.  It is important that you know what kind of work we do, and what we do not do.

Corporations, NGOs and other clients rightfully expect our firm to help them understand diverse perspectives before they engage. To do so, we and every other professional communications agency gather relevant information from publicly available sources. Those planning documents are fundamental to outreach efforts.  They help our clients best engage in the dialogue relevant to their business and societal objectives.

We realize and accept that some will never agree with our clients’ points of view. That is both normal and healthy.  Diversity of opinion through discussion and debate is the bedrock of a well-functioning democracy. It would be a disservice to society and to the policy-making process to stifle important information just because it may not be popular.

As we have said since this situation began, we work at the direction of our clients. We do so ethically and in good faith. Our employees are instructed to report any behavior they deem to be unethical. They are also encouraged to opt out of working with clients if they have personal objections to the work. If we find a client behaving unethically, we will walk away from the business.

We have been, and continue to be, a leading voice in developing codes of conduct for our industry through relevant professional associations. Every FleishmanHillard employee is required to complete ethics training when they are hired.

Our firm bears the names of two of the most principled and ethical leaders in the field of communications.  Al Fleishman and Bob Hillard spent their careers helping clients and communities address important issues through dialog and debate.  They were committed to ending racism, providing opportunities to people of all backgrounds and lifestyles, and ensuring fairness and equality in society. Their approach was cutting edge at the time, and more than 70 years later, their values-based approach remains at the core of our business philosophy.

FleishmanHillard is proud to support robust societal dialogues and informed debate on important issues. We will always do so based on the highest standard of ethics.  That is how our firm began more than 70 years ago and it will continue to define us.


FleishmanHillard Brings Home Wins at 2019 SABRE Awards EMEA

May 23, 2019

ST. LOUIS, May 23, 2019 — FleishmanHillard Fishburn won UK Consultancy of the Year honors at this year’s EMEA SABRE Awards, presented by The Holmes Report. The winning agency is decided by an exhaustive research process involving more than 200 PR and marketing firms across the UK, a face-to-face meeting with agency leaders and Paul Holmes, as well as a traditional submission and video.

The global public relations agency’s London-based office earned recognition for its significant business growth, outstanding client work, stellar thought leadership and renewed focus on culture in talent.

In addition to winning UK Consultancy of the year, the firm earned recognition for work on behalf of client, Aeroflot Airlines, in the Transportation and Logistics category.

The FleishmanHillard Fishburn team wins UK Consultancy of the Year at the 2019 Holmes Report SABRE Awards EMEA.
The FleishmanHillard team wins at the 2019 Holmes Report SABRE Awards EMEA.
  • FleishmanHillard Fishburn (Winner, UK Consultancy of the Year)
  • FleishmanHillard Vanguard with client Aeroflot Airlines, “Aeroflot’s Sulimov Dogs as Special Children’s Guardian Angels” (Business-to-Business, Transportation & Logistics)
  • Airlines, “My Special Aflac Duck” (Winner, Trade Show)

Winners were announced at the 2019 Holmes SABRE Awards EMEA ceremony in London on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Read more about the UK Consultancy of the Year win here.


FleishmanHillard’s Lynne Anne Davis and Candace Peterson Selected to 2019 Cannes Lions Juries

May 17, 2019

ST. LOUIS, May 17, 2019 — Lynne Anne Davis, regional president and senior partner, and Candace Peterson, global managing director, brand marketing, have been selected to serve on the Titanium Lions and PR Lions juries, respectively, at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. This marks the eleventh straight year that FleishmanHillard has been represented on the PR jury.

Lynne Anne Davis, FleishmanHillard regional president & senior partner
Lynne Anne Davis

Davis oversees FleishmanHillard’s Asia Pacific (APAC) region. Since Davis assumed regional responsibilities in 2001, the firm’s APAC business has expanded exponentially. A sought-after speaker and commentator on industry issues, she previously served as PR Jury President in the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Candace Peterson, global managing director, brand marketing
Candace Peterson

Peterson leads the agency’s global brand marketing practice. Her marketing experience spans many industries, including technology, consumer packaged goods, telecommunications and gaming. In a career of more than 20 years, Peterson’s experience gives her unique insight into how brands and companies can creatively and deeply connect to consumers to unlock the power of brand loyalty. This is her first year serving on the PR jury.

The Cannes Lions are the most established and coveted awards for the creative and marketing communications industry. For over 60 years, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has been bringing the creative communications industry together every year at its one-of-a-kind event in Cannes to learn, network and celebrate. The awards will take place in Cannes, France, from June 17-21, 2019.

View the final 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity jury announcement here.


Marketing to Mom at Mother’s Day

May 10, 2019
By Liz Hawks

Mother’s Day is upon us and it’s a big deal not just for moms, but brands as well. In fact, consumers spend $8B more at Mother’s Day than Father’s Day. But, if Mom is supposed to be queen of the day lavished with attention and gifts, why is Mom herself the recipient of so many Mother’s Day marketing messages? Here are five reasons:

1. Moms are the family relationship managers. Research shows that Mom is usually responsible for maintaining the family’s relationships, thus recognizing with some form of card or gift not only her own mother, but her mother-in-law, step-mothers on any side, grandmothers on all sides, her sister(s) and/or sister(s)-in-law who are mothers, her friends who are mothers, and anyone else who is like a mother to any person on behalf of the family. Mom’s basket size, as they say in retail, is much larger when it comes to potential Mother’s Day purchases than the one of the person doing the purchasing for her.

2. Moms are a marketing channel. Even if they don’t realize they’re doing it, research shows that once a woman becomes a mom, she talks about brands with her friends eight times more in often per week than she did before she had kids. So, moms are not only a great target consumer for brands, they’re actually helping brands spread key messages. And moms are most motivated by peer recommendations. When moms are so emotionally compelled by a Mother’s Day themed online video created by a florist that they click to share said video with Facebook friends, they are co-marketing with the florist. Dads don’t communicate with each other in the same way. Smart marketers give moms compelling reasons to carry their messages forward, and that typically starts with social video conveying some kind of emotion, whether pulling on her heart-strings or eliciting a laugh.

3. Moms are pro hinters. My own mother-in-law has been known to purchase and even wrap the Christmas gift she really wanted, put it under the tree and label it as from my father-in-law. This is admittedly a level beyond hinting. But Moms are master communicators. They know how to hint for what they’d really like, and retailers want us to put them at the top of that wish (or treat-yourself) list. (Confession: I may or may not have forwarded an email promotion I just received from my favorite jeweler to my husband.)

4. Purchase data encourages us to keep Mom in the bullseye. Yes, dads matter! But while some marketers are attempting to evolve marketing-to-moms to “marketing-to-parents,” data shows that even though today’s dad is not his father’s father, he still isn’t the chief household purchaser. His hands-on household behaviors don’t correlate to product preferences and transactions. The talk about “de-gendering” mom marketing continues to persist, but remember marketing to everyone is marketing to no one. I’ve heard major consumer packaged goods leaders and “boy toy” brand marketers explain why they maintain focus on moms (hint: sales results), even though dads are quick to point out they care for the kids, too (and thank goodness for that!). Yes, there are more stay-at-home dads today, but there are still 37 times more stay-at-home moms. Don’t fall into the “parent” trap. It’s not gender-biased – it’s data-based.

5. Millennial mania persists. Marketers are continually on the quest to acquire and retain the large and lucrative millennial mom market. But millennial moms are not the “newbies” anymore. Based on the average age of a first-time mother and the age of today’s millennials, their kids are likely turning anywhere up to age 13 this year. Conversation remains very much focused on this mom, and at Mother’s Day we’ve noticed brands are attempting to appeal to their desire for me-time, like Kraft offering reimbursement for babysitting expenses. Next year, we should expect to see marketers start to shift focus to new Gen Z moms, currently in their early 20s. How will they continue to shape their version of motherhood and brand expectations?

Marketing to moms on Mother's Day is just important on the other 364 days of the year. FleishmanHillard's Liz Hawks explains why.


Inspiring Today’s Youth to Share their Stories, One Podcast at a Time

May 8, 2019
By FH4Inclusion

This spring, FleishmanHillard’s San Francisco office partnered with 826 Valencia, a nonprofit created by author Dave Eggers that helps under-resourced students with their writing and storytelling skills. The organization is founded on the belief that when students are confident in and proud of their writing skills, they can unlock new opportunities. As they feel empowered to share their thoughts and celebrate their cultures, they help make the world a more inclusive place.

Our FH4Inclusion volunteers helped middle-school students tap into their creativity and amplify their voices by working with them to write and produce their own podcast episodes. The students were asked to write poems about their names or their identities, giving them a chance to explore and share more information about themselves. As the day progressed, they developed a podcast, recorded it in a professional-quality sound booth, and chose sound effects for their shows. The episodes were then uploaded to 826 Valencia’s podcast page, Message in a Bottle. With 29,000 listens last school year alone, the podcasting program provides students with an incredible opportunity to share their diverse perspectives with a wide audience.

San Francisco FH4Inclusion team supports 826 Valencia.
San Francisco FH4Inclusion team supports 826 Valencia.

Many of the students we worked with were apprehensive when they first began the writing exercise. Vulnerability is a necessary and powerful tool for writers, as stories packed with emotion tend to leave a lasting impression. However, for most middle-schoolers, vulnerability does not come easy. One of the students feared being criticized by his peers, making it hard for him to think outside of the box. After working through the provided toolkit exercises, the student was having enough fun to forget about his initial fears. He smiled through minor bumps, including slight writer’s block and feeling afraid to recite his poem in the audio booth. Once he and his tutor worked on techniques to overcome the fear, including the art of inflection and smiling while speaking, he truly shone. Encouraging these students to find the confidence for self-expression made for an extremely rewarding and inspiring experience for our volunteers.

826 Valencia’s podcasting program teaches students the importance of details and description, presentation skills and the basics of podcasting and sound editing – many of the same talents we use to help our clients tell compelling stories. We’re thankful that as communicators, our own skills and experiences could impact 30+ students in our local community, helping them make great strides in their storytelling and creative writing abilities, and setting them up for future success.

Sara Gong supports our corporate reputation practice and Christine Gatterman works for our healthcare team. Both are based out of our San Francisco office.


FleishmanHillard Wins at 2019 SABRE Awards North America

ST. LOUIS, May 8, 2019 — FleishmanHillard earned Large Agency of the Year recognition at this year’s North American SABRE Awards, presented by The Holmes Report. The winning agency is decided by a report card grading scale conducted by Holmes Report editors, a face-to-face meeting with agency leaders and Paul Holmes, as well as a traditional submission and video.

The firm earned this honor due to its global client leadership program advancements and consolidation of the Global Practice under the leadership of Janise Murphy, stellar new business performance, investments in employee training and development, high client satisfaction scores, launch of FH Perspectives and award-winning work on behalf of clients such as Alibaba and Levi Strauss & Co.

In addition to winning Large Agency of the Year, the firm brought home award wins for work on behalf of clients, Emerson and Aflac, in the Corporate Reputation and Experiential categories respectively.

The FleishmanHillard team wins Large Agency of the Year at the 2019 Holmes Report SABRE Awards North America.
The FleishmanHillard team wins Large Agency of the Year at the 2019 SABRE Awards North America.
  • FleishmanHillard (Winner, Large Agency of the Year)
  • Aflac with Marina Maher Communications, “My Special Aflac Duck” (Winner, Trade Show)
  • Emerson, “Creating Online Ambassadors to Share Emerson’s Story with the World” (Winner, Employer Branding)
  • TogoRun (Specialty Brand) with Pure Earth, “Educating About the Impact of Disease-Causing Pollution” (Winner, PR Agency Citizenship)

Winners were announced at the 2019 Holmes SABRE Awards North America ceremony in New York City on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.


Meet the Challenge of World Password Day

May 2, 2019

The best and most expensive cybersecurity tools all have the same weakness: a password. If the password stays known only to its user, it works well to protect information and systems.

Unfortunately, users make a lot of mistakes with passwords that can create devastating consequences for organizations. When hackers destroy and steal because of user ignorance, the organization will still carry the blame publicly. While it may seem unfair, this reality is grounded in consumer expectations.

Raising awareness and increasing education today with World Password Day is an important piece of the security puzzle, but organizations must put actions behind words to protect their reputation. We learned in FleishmanHillard’s latest Authenticity Gap Study that consumers want to see companies take a stand and demand action on data privacy and security issues.

The various recommended actions for World Password Day mostly focus on actions users can take. These actions don’t fully reflect the responsibility users and organizations share in fighting hackers. Organizations trust users to be good stewards of their system access by setting unique passwords and not clicking strange links. More importantly, users expect organizations to have advanced security policies and programs to protect them.

Organizations that fail to understand and meet stakeholder expectations on data privacy and security will be doomed to maintain confidence in the case of a crisis. Here are some ways organizations can put World Password Day best practices to work to close the authenticity gap.

  • Strong Password: Going through a database to scrub all the “password123” might seems simple, but strong security means not allowing that information to be visible to employees. Instead, think about extending the required length and complexity of a new password to stop hackers from using computer programs to guess what it is. Also, strong passwords can be stolen when users visit unsecure sites, open suspicious emails or don’t keep their antivirus software updated. By monitoring your network for computer programs that are making high volumes of login attempts or expiring old passwords, your organization can go a long way to improve security.
  • Opt-in to Multi-Factor Authentication: Identities are difficult to determine virtually but having an additional layer of verification beyond a password can help. At the rate passwords are stolen, multi-factor authentication should be required for higher risk interactions or transactions. When you look at sites like Two Factor Auth, there appears to be room for organizations to improve here. The challenging part is two-factor authentication may not be enough to stop hackers.
  • Password Party: While hanging out with your friends to talk about passwords is the definition of a good time, what’s cooler is when organizations audit and test how they verify identities to see how they match up to peers. The review should also include partners that have access to your information or network. This exercise will help fix weakness that can be exploited by hackers and written about by reporters.

Cost and inconvenience are the biggest challenges to justifying these types of security improvements. These barriers to better security may be impossible to overcome unless leaders in your organization can clearly and simply communicate the need internally. Organizations that regularly communicate on privacy and security are better shielded from reputational risks and can make the business case to invest in better security.

Use World Password Day as an opportunity to start a conversation in your organization and help it live up to the expectations of your key stakeholders each day.