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Article

Leap into Marketing Gold, Once Every Four Years

February 28, 2020
By Alyssa Garnick

Consumer Brands Have Turned Leap Day into the Ultimate PR Occasion 

This is no “common” year (the official name for a non-Leap Year year), it’s a Leap Year, and that means our Gregorian Calendar is playing catch-up with the astronomical calendar by adding one day, every four years. Feb. 29 has recently become a marketing gold mine with some brands capitalizing on this special calendar event.

Leap Day is unique because the very name of the holiday is a verb. It’s also closely connected with notions such as “take action” or “extra” or “solar calendar” and “numbers” – so brands that endeavor to activate need to find an authentic way to tie with Leap Day (and what consumers feel it stands for), to truly and more effectively promote a message or market a promotion.

In a review of brand activations from 2016, and in surveying a few from this week in 2020, here are three ways brands have activated on Leap Day:

LEAP INTO ACTION, or ACTIVISM

Brands are primarily using Feb. 29 to incentivize consumers to do something new, like try a new vegetarian burger or get a free item if that day is your birthday. Leveraging the active-verb aspect of the holiday is the most common way brands are advertising or using the power of PR to drive sales around Feb. 29. In 2016, one QSR brand ran a promotion to celebrate local heroes doing good and then used the 24 hours on Feb. 29 to celebrate those heroes and share their stories on the brand’s Twitter channel.

Another trend is using the day to support a cause. In 2016, waves of new stories emerged about Leap Day unfairly being a free workday for employees. This workplace issue has become a hard news item that reporters can report on around Leap Day. Some companies have advocated making it a national holiday, so salaried employees don’t have to work the day for free. This year, Leap Day is on a Saturday, but there are plenty of businesses that operate with millions of workers, even on the weekend. The national holiday petition is not really catching on (yet), but perhaps, companies can take the extra 24 hours on February 29 and offer it up for employees to use differently. If a retailer can reframe Black Friday from the traditional mega-shopping holiday to one that encourages going outside, then another company could own Leap Day and encourage and legitimately support its employees, and society, to leap into self-care, or leap into learning something new.

DOUBLE DOWN ON 29

Another popular trend we see is brands using the math and numbers themes — changing product prices to 29 cents. Some brands are offering pizza, sliders, pasta, fries, desserts and coffee for 29 cents on Feb. 29. To celebrate #LeapDay2020, a restaurant chain is offering four desserts to make up for lost birthdays if you dine there on Feb. 29 and a beer brand is going to offer a QR code via social for a free case of beer. This is the most straightforward way we have seen brands activate.

ANNOUNCE SOMETHING SPECIAL

Some of the best PR and marketing campaigns are born when company news and a calendar date collide. Especially, when a brand announcement can be intrinsically tied to a popular, calendar moment-in-time.  Our client, Krispy Kreme, announced they will start offering delivery of their doughnuts. The initiative is launching on Leap Day, so to kick it off they will be delivering free doughnuts to families with babies delivered on Leap Day 2020.

If you’re a brand that hasn’t worked on a Leap Year activation yet, well, get started now… you have four years to plan the next big idea.

Article

COVID-19 Communications tips

February 27, 2020

Despite differences in the rate and patterns of COVID-19 spread, nations and organizations seem to go through similar stages in their journey to cope with COVID-19. It is crucial for leaders to collaborate with stakeholders and to communicate with right messages at the right time at all stages. […]

The post COVID-19 Communications tips appeared first on Korea.

Article

FleishmanHillard Appoints Leah Katz Managing Director, Business Development for the Americas

February 26, 2020

Agency Strengthens Growth Function Driving Year-Over-Year Win Performance

ST. LOUIS, February 26, 2020 – FleishmanHillard today announced the appointment of Leah Katz to managing director, Business Development for the Americas. She will lead efforts and programs designed to drive new business and organic growth for the agency and its brands in the region.

Leah Katz

“We have a formidable Global Business Development team and Leah has been an integral leader, helping drive strong win results as well as key growth initiatives,” said Della Sweetman, chief business development officer, FleishmanHillard. “Her business problem-solving skills, cross-platform expertise and ability to inspire and drive teams to develop strategic and creative solutions for clients have been great assets to the function and the agency.”

In 2016, FleishmanHillard announced the formation of a dedicated Global Business Development function – a focused team designed to drive a culture of growth and winning – responsible for the disciplined application of data and intelligence, planning and strategy, earned creative and performance analytics, for new and organic client engagements. The function comprises global regional leadership, Business Development directors, Planning and Strategy, as well as Creative and Production talent and capabilities across the Americas, APAC and EMEA.

The agency has realized record new business win results since establishing the function. Judges for the PRWeek Awards U.S. in 2019 attributed the agency’s unprecedented win performance and expanded portfolio of marquee global and multinational clients as one reason for selecting FleishmanHillard as its Large Agency of the Year.

Katz relocated in late 2017 from FleishmanHillard Fishburn in London, where she ran operations, to FleishmanHillard in New York, where she joined the U.S. Business Development team with an initial focus on the Eastern region. She also served as Global Client Leader for one of the agency’s top 10 clients. Katz originally joined FleishmanHillard as part of the merger with Fishburn, where she was chief operations and client officer. She has led integrated campaigns and award-winning work for numerous leading global consumer, technology and entertainment brands.

About FleishmanHillard
FleishmanHillard specializes in public relations, reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy. FleishmanHillard was named 2019 PRWeek U.S. Outstanding Large Agency; 2019 Holmes Report North America Large Agency of the Year; ICCO Network of the Year – Americas 2017-2019; Agency of the Year at the 2017 and 2018 North American Excellence Awards; 2018 Large Consultancy of the Year by PRWeek UK; PR News’ Best Places to Work in PR 2016-2018; Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality for 2018-2020; PR Awards Asia 2017 Greater China Agency of the Year; and NAFE’s “Top Companies for Executive Women” for 2010-2019. The firm’s award-winning work is widely heralded, including at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. FleishmanHillard is part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, and has more than 80 offices in 30 countries, plus affiliates in 43 countries.​

About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,300 public relations professionals in more than 370 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and non-profits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.

Article

The Cannes Lions Health Learning and Insights Breakfast

February 25, 2020

When: March 4, 2020, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EST

Where: Ascential, 229 West 43rd Street, Floor 7, New York, NY, 10036

Register here

Anne de Schweinitz

The Cannes Lions Health Team will host a learning and insights breakfast to share best practices for winning the coveted Pharma Lions trophy at this year’s competition. The Pharma Lions celebrate communications efforts created for medical and pharmaceutical clients and services.

Anne de Schweinitz, FleishmanHillard’s global managing director, Healthcare, and 2020 Pharma Lions Jury President, will join Robin Shapiro, TBWA\WorldHealth’s global president, and 2019 Pharma Lions Jury President, to discuss the themes and trends from last year’s Pharma Lions and predictions for 2020. De Schweinitz and Shapiro, two Omnicom agency leaders, will also explain how to catch the attention of jury members with your entries.

Learn more about the event here.

Article

How to Make the Most of 2020 Influencer Marketing Trends

February 24, 2020
By Jessica Yah Lira

Influencers. Cliché tactic or effective strategy? Overdone or just getting started? Personal opinions aside, there’s no denying that brands are putting the pedal to the metal on influencer marketing. The industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022. Influencer marketing has continued to grow and expand in ways no one could have expected – here are four trends that the FleishmanHillard Social and Innovation team has noticed in the new decade.

Quality over Quantity

Traditionally, influencer partnerships focused on numbers alone. The number of followers directly reflected how many people would see the message. Ergo, the bigger, the better. However, as algorithms continue to change, discover pages gain popularity, and the pay-for-followers ploy persists, macro-influencers are losing their spot at the top. Audiences are looking for quality over quantity. Brands, especially B2B, should look to work with influencers who have small, highly engaged audiences.

Influencer Crossover

In addition to the quality of influencers, there will be a noticeable move toward influencer crossover. Brands will strategically choose influencers that may not seem like a clear-cut fit on the surface. For example, we’ve seen technology companies partner with fashion and beauty influencers because they’re attempting to build their reputation and make their products and services part of everyday conversation.

Data and analytics also play an important role in influencer identification. Using data tools can reveal other audience interests, and influencers can bridge a gap. When creating influencer strategies, brands should look past the obvious choice and experiment with new types of influencers – so long as the choices ultimately map back to business objectives.

Authenticity is Key

Though crossover is rising, authenticity is still a cornerstone. Influencer marketing works because social media was created to serve as a connector, not a megaphone. Users’ feeds are a blend of ‘real-life’ friends and influencers who feel like friends. The most successful influencers have a clear message, and their authenticity connects them to their audience by establishing a level of trust.

Brands and agencies need to customize influencer partnerships not only to fit their brand goals but also to fit the influencer’s brand. When working with an influencer, it’s essential to let them know the brand goal and then let them bring back their creative ideas. Remember, influencers know their audiences better than you ever will.

Video in All Aspects

Over the past year, there has been a significant shift in the type of content that influencers are creating. At one point, holding up a product with a big smile and adding a bottled caption could pass – but audiences are savvier than ever. They demand to be entertained, taught and intrigued. Because of this, influencers must create highly engaging visual content to help consumers feel a sense of closeness.

When brands realize that video can do this job, it opens the door for highly rewarding partnerships with influencers in 2020. We will also continue to see social platforms accommodate the growing popularity of videos. We’ve already seen this with Snapchat, Twitch, and IGTV. Brands should look to provide resources to influencers to help them create the highly visual content that their audiences want to see.

Article

Helping Students in the Carolinas Achieve More

February 23, 2020
By Elizabeth Comtois and Katelyn Suiter

Young people are hungry for success but often can’t find the opportunities they need to help them get there – this is the challenge Junior Achievement aims to address. And through our FH4Inclusion program in Charlotte, we aim to support.

Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas impacts nearly 6,000 students with hands-on curriculum programs surrounding preparation for the workforce, personal finance and entrepreneurship for K-12 students. It’s backed by the support of 5,000 annual volunteers and 350 corporate and community partners. While the organization seeks to serve all students across its 53-county service area, it puts a significant emphasis on supporting students who don’t have access to as many opportunities.

Today, mentors and volunteers are provided curriculum program kits based on the student’s grade level. These kits are originally purchased from the Junior Achievement headquarters and cost $120 to make and ship. To help offset these expenses, the local FleishmanHillard team volunteered to rebuild kits for students in first and second grade, repurposing the materials from old, returned kits, and rebuilding new kits from remaining materials for future student mentors. Our efforts saved the organization a total of $2,050 in kit costs that can now be allocated elsewhere for the benefit of local students.

The FleishmanHillard Charlotte FH4Inclusion team works together to rebuild curriculum program kits from repurposed materials.

“A child’s socio-economic status should never impact their ability to receive a quality education or learn about what the future has in store for them,” said Alex Portugal, a member of FleishmanHillard Charlotte’s Social and Innovation team. “So many children in the Charlotte community benefit from the work completed at Junior Achievement, and our helping hands truly support their mission.”

Our Charlotte team is excited to support Junior Achievement in its future endeavors, continuing to empower students and provide them with the tools they need to strive for success.

Our Charlotte FH4Inclusion team is all smiles after supporting Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas.

Katelyn Suiter supports our social and digital innovation team, and Elizabeth Comtois supports our media relations and corporate reputation groups. Both drive FleishmanHillard Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts in our North Carolina offices, with Katelyn sitting in Charlotte and Elizabeth sitting in Raleigh.

Article

How a Day Celebrating One of America’s Favorite Cocktails Can Open the Door to an Entire Industry

February 21, 2020
By Alex Roberts

When was the first time you experienced tequila? Let me guess — a shot on your 21st birthday? And what was your experience? Perhaps a burning sensation, followed quickly by the taste of salt and a lime. A notorious first experience that for many Americans is inherently bad, it’s no surprise that it could deter you from ever trying tequila again. Because of this, the tequila industry has a unique challenge with Americans — one that much of Mexico, and the entire tequila industry, would like to change. Luckily, in as fast a moving world as we live, old is new, ugly is cool and second chances are a bound for many consumers. And when given a second chance, how can tequila companies capitalize on a moment that reintroduces them into a category? Three words. National Margarita Day!

How can you change perceptions?

We’re often hired to help stakeholders see companies differently. Whether it’s overcoming reputational challenges or asking an audience to challenge their long-held views, consider the triggers that may get an audience to rethink your offering.

Will sharing a piece of unknown information convince your audience to question their established beliefs? Maybe it’s focusing on specific barriers, and how a client can be the solution to overcome them. Or perhaps it’s finding a unique way of getting an audience to retry a product, under different circumstances, in a new environment. You don’t enjoy shooting or sipping tequila? Great, try it in a margarita or a paloma. Cultural moments, such as National Margarita Day, provide an easy entry (or reentry) point for consumers, whether it be for newcomers, or those with long-held beliefs looking to experience something new.

Understand your audience, and who they trust.

Sometimes, it’s less about a product, and more about who is delivering the message. Take tequila … in an exploding category where audiences are finally receptive to retrying an old college favorite, a spirits snob who is looking to discover each aspect of the drink — the agave, the natural sugars, the yeast — may engage differently than a tequila novice looking to discover a better margarita. Who will your audience be more receptive to — a tequila buff whose family may have worked the Agave fields for generations, or a bartender at your favorite trendy cocktail bar? Often the product takes a back seat to the person delivering the message. And a moment in time provides a platform for a spokesperson to reach a captive audience.

Experience something firsthand.

Consider a time when something sounded so awful, but once you buckled down and experienced it, your life (and perspective) changed forever. Maybe it was sushi, maybe it was skydiving, maybe it was tequila. As PR practitioners, we’re always telling people what they should do, how they should feel, information they need in their lives – but are we getting in front of them and putting product in hand? Experiences do matter. And whether it’s taking a group of editors down to the tequila region of Mexico to celebrate National Margarita Day, or a laundry class with a well-known celebrity homemaker trialing a new fabric softener, the experience can build a brand loyalist for life.

Do me a favor. This National Margarita Day (February 22), take your time, find a quality tequila, and give it another chance.

Article

Don’t Make It Personal, CEOs

February 18, 2020
By Diane Poelker

Consumers and stakeholders want to know organizations are doing more than turning out new and shiny products for sale.

It’s part of the new job description for CEOs — they must address the ways real-world issues and the seemingly endless cycle of disruption can create an opportunity to innovate with purpose and improve practices and performance when there’s risk.

According to FleishmanHillard’s latest Authenticity Gap study, three out of four consumers don’t care about a CEO’s personal beliefs but instead want the CEO to take a stand on issues that impact the company’s customers, products and services, and employees.

So, how can inclusion positively affect the talent gap? Where can the escalating climate crisis spur science for good? Can artificial intelligence and human ingenuity come together to ensure a better future for employees?

But don’t confuse a socially in-tune business strategy with business activism. CEOs might be inspired to lead by personal passion or a deep calling to create systemic change, but their common ground with consumers, customers, partners and employees is the societal value the organization can create, with or without today’s leadership team. To not only cut through but also authentically connect, the big picture values we all share should be front and center in the CEO story.

This can take a variety of shapes, depending on the CEO. She could play a visible – and vocal – role in advancing the company’s work, alone or with partners, to tackle an important issue. He might become a public face and voice for employees’ local volunteer efforts … or publically join with community leaders to promote solutions to any number of societal challenges. The key is to focus on issues connected to your business. That’s where you can make the most meaningful difference for both the company and the communities it serves.

Download FleishmanHillard’s Authenticity Gap Report here.

Article

Lessons in (and from) Black History

February 17, 2020
By Jon Bennett Gray

Like many kids, my mom put me through what felt like countless hours of flash card drills. Math, grammar, spelling, you name it.

But for all the flash cards I’ve forgotten, there’s one set I think of often: Famous Black People in American History. Not long ago, I decided to see if it was still around, and sure enough, it was right where I’d left it a couple of decades ago (at mom’s house). (A little more worn and tattered than I remembered, but not terribly surprising considering all the time we spent with them.)

Famous Black People in American History flash cards

You see, one of the many lessons my mom instilled in me was that our history was worth celebrating for more than just 28 days of the year. And with her experiences during and after the Civil Rights era, it was her mission to reinforce to me that no matter what the world may say or do, my heritage means something. I mean something. And “Black history” means much more than just the familiar (yet meaningful) phrases of Dr. King.

Each person in my flash card set faced some sort of struggle to take their rightful place in history, and with that struggle comes the resolve and courage to take a stand…something that’s part-and-parcel with the Black experience in America. But thinking about all of this through the lens of our profession and our responsibilities as client counselors raises the question: how can brands effectively recognize Black History Month, while also considering pressures from consumers and stakeholders to “take a stand” on societal issues that surface throughout the year?

To answer the first part of the question, I think brands can take a lesson from my mom: recognizing the contributions of Blacks and African Americans shouldn’t be solely reserved for February. As brands consider internal and external communications strategies, doing so with an eye toward diversity, equity and inclusion can help elevate a diverse set of voices and experiences on a consistent basis. Formulating an effective approach will take time – and multiple voices at the table – to ensure authenticity and the right tone. But that effort will turn any Black History Month content strategy into a natural extension of a year-round commitment.

Answering the second part of the question is more challenging, as it ventures into a realm where some decision-makers may feel uncomfortable due to potential reputational challenges. No one wants to be accused of co-opting a mission or movement for “points” or profit (and no one wants to face the wrath of the opposition). Finding the right answer for your company requires a thoughtful and deliberate approach, but there are lessons to be learned from the historical figures in my flash cards: follow your core values, lean on others to gain an understanding of what you may not inherently know, let authentic voices drive the conversation and more than anything, be firm in your convictions.

Article

Players or Payers: Who Will Win the Fight for Footballing Rights — A View from the UK

February 13, 2020
By Alastair Lyon

Last weekend, we experienced a sporting first: The Premier League had its inaugural ‘winter break’.  The interlude gives each club a minimum of 13-days’ rest between top-flight matches – allowing players a dose of increasingly rare R&R. It is also structured in a way that ensures just as many games will be televised over the fortnight as there would be on a normal week. From a commercial and content perspective at least, normal service resumes, and so everyone wins, right?

Not quite – the extended break has led the Premier League’s calendar to clash with the UK’s Football Association (FA) and, more specifically, a round of replays for its ever-questioned, but highly revered, FA Cup. The calendar clash resulted in Liverpool’s effervescent manager Jurgen Klopp, who had been led to believe he and his players would get a full fortnight off, to send a youth team with an average age of just 19 to play against lower-league Shrewsbury last Wednesday – and not even attend the match himself.

Klopp’s absence prompted plenty of headlines, most of them negative. But beyond the immediate resentment shown by the media, his decision has catalysed much wider public debate on, and scrutiny of, what has been a longstanding issue of contention in modern football: player protection (of which many clubs, national teams and – least surprisingly of all – managers and current players are major advocates) versus the quenchless appetite of fans, broadcasters and international governing bodies alike, for a relentless supply of elite football.

We all know football pays. And to gain the rights to reap some of the sport’s financial rewards, broadcasters part with vast sums of money. They will, therefore, do their utmost to ensure there are as many games played at exposure-topping times as possible – and rationally so. This demand, the broadcasters argue, is all driven by the fans. And in wanting to broadcast so many games, not least over the hallowed (dreaded) period over Christmas and the New Year, they are – or so they would have you believe – providing a public service.

However, this year’s ‘festive season’ in particular exemplified why a break has been long demanded by managers and players; each team played four games in just 12 days. While it is indisputably brilliant for vested interests in the media and fans alike, such a busy schedule resulted in no fewer than 74 injuries.

If the Premier League & FA had heeded Klopp, Pep Guardiola (Manchester City’s manager) and Jose Mourinho’s (Tottenham Hotspur’s head coach) almost weekly appeals, and ring-fenced a winter break that I was sacrosanct in its care for the players, the majority of these injuries would have been prevented. But would bottom lines therefore be dented?

As is so often the case, there is a serious commercial argument to be made for a supposedly purposeful move, as well as an ethical one – even with fallow weeks! In the modern-day, fans’ loyalties increasingly lie with players, rather than clubs. Consequently, should a star player leave to another team or, more pertinent here, pick up a long-term injury, clubs could lose out on a season-defining amount or revenue, creating a compelling financial as well as ethical case for a break.

Factoring this rising influence of player power on the game, the fact that the most impassioned protests for the time off came from managers of the so-called ‘big six’, of which Klopp is one, is therefore no surprise. After all, it is they who have of a large number of players who have garnered a ‘cult’ following from fans. They also play the most games: they tend to go the furthest in knockout tournaments and have the major commitment of European football to contend with. Last season, Liverpool played an astonishing 53 competitive matches. Contrast that with bottom of the league Huddersfield, who played a relatively meagre 40 – and the root of complaints from Klopp et al. becomes plain for all to see.

However, if one scratches below Klopp’s no-shows or Guardiola and Mourinho’s press conference complaints, could it be that, conversely, elite clubs are the beneficiaries of the modern, jampacked game? And that those losing out are, in fact, the country’s lesser clubs?

Whereas Liverpool’s Premier League matches were televised 29 times in 2018/19 (earning them £33.5m), just eight of Huddersfield’s games graced our screens (perhaps mercifully so given some of the football they played!) – remunerating them with a ‘meagre’ £12.3m. Then factor in Liverpool’s Champions League win, and all the royalties it will have brought, and the elite clubs’ busy schedules start to look like more of a blessing than a curse. High-achieving clubs with Champions League football are given the financial means to develop and rotate their squads sufficiently, which makes phenomenon like Liverpool’s current unbeaten run, one of the longest in English footballing history, possible. Instead, it is the smaller clubs with oft-depleted squads and fewer resources, constantly playing catch up.

Even though Klopp’s decision to watch Liverpool’s teenagers beat Shrewsbury from the comfort of his own home was, by all intents and purposes, a political stunt, behind it lay a serious statement about the changes he wants to see made to professional football. Counterintuitively, he – and his ‘superclub’ contemporaries – should be careful what they wish for given how the status quo treats them. Instead, it is the Premier League and broadcasters’ whose previous reluctance to embrace the break, may transpire to be misplaced. In resting and protecting the increasingly important players – the League’s ‘means of production’, – fans will see them more consistently, be happier with the product they’re consuming and, consequently, keep the commercial beast that is football, churning along nicely.