During Black History Month (February), our team worked with McDonald’s of Kentuckiana to recognize outstanding students in the area. What our client got in return from this scholarship program was much more than media coverage and community goodwill. Through the program and the commitment of the owner operators of McDonald’s in the Kentuckiana area, we saw firsthand how giving back can change lives and make a difference.
For 15 years, McDonald’s Black History Makers of Tomorrow program has celebrated diversity and young leaders in Kentuckiana by awarding scholarships to local high school seniors who demonstrate exceptional leadership, character, scholarship and community service. This year, McDonald’s Restaurants of Kentuckiana awarded the largest group yet by giving a dozen students scholarships totaling $18,000. RPR was given the opportunity to coordinate a ceremony that honored the recipients and raised awareness for McDonald’s contributions within the local community.
The 2019 event was the most well attended by the organization and its employees to date and featured Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Reverend and President of Simmons College Kevin Cosby and Dawne Gee, news anchor with WAVE 3. Twelve young people from high schools throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana were awarded scholarships. Each of their entries was so outstanding that winners were separated by just tenths of a point.
From creating the scholarship entry and judging process to recruiting community leaders to speak and finalizing all event logistics and details, it became evident to our team that the future is bright for future generations in Kentuckiana.
RPR turns six this month.
I started to write an all too sappy and sentimental post thanking six people for six years in business. The thing is, though, I couldn’t narrow it down to six. Six years ago we didn’t exist and now we’ve worked with major brands like McDonald’s, Ford Motor
Company, Google, Bank of America, Orangetheory Fitness, O’Charley’s, Madame Tussauds and more. I clearly couldn’t have done that on my own, and there are just too many people who have graciously helped me along the way to name everyone in one blog post.
Instead, I took a late-night trip down memory lane (aka our company social media accounts and internal employee-only Facebook page) to narrow down some of my favorite moments over the last six years.
1.) I’m including this as proof that yes, at one time, men actually worked at RPR. Well, okay, one man. I’m not sure what happened (maybe it was the lavender wall in our lobby?), but let’s just say I certainly get my fill of girl talk these days with an all-female team. Jason, we miss you!!! All other male PR professionals, please feel free to apply.
2.) When I started this business, all I needed was a laptop and a good Internet connection. As the team grew, we started looking for office space and eventually found a spot to call home in Midtown. While signing the lease was a huge leap of faith (we’re locked in for at least five years?!), it was also one of the most exciting moments. During the build-out, we were stopping by every 2-3 days – ok, every day – until it was finished. Katie even risked traveling on a treacherous snow day to be here on furniture move-in day.
3.) When you move into your brand-new office space right before Cinco De Mayo, you obviously have a big party. And when you have a big party, you obviously have to rent a donkey and bring him into the new office to film the invitation. This basically describes the past decade of my and Katie’s relationship. I’ve always said I don’t want to go up against Katie in anything because she’s the grittiest person I know. We have these kooky moments of inspiration and by golly, she figures out how to make it work. Even if that means coaxing a 200-pound animal into our building’s elevator…
While the landlord didn’t love the party or the live farm animal in our office, it made for a great blog entry.
4.) Hannah Paramore was my first client and this is documentation of my disbelief that someone was actually paying me real, actual money to do PR on my own, without the name or backing of my previous agency. She believed in me when she had no business doing so because, goodness, there was so much that naïve but eager 29-year-old didn’t know. I thought I was just going to freelance until I “figured things out and got a real job” but Hannah was busy hooking me up with a banker, an accountant, potential clients and everything else I needed to start a business. She’s still a client today but also so much more. I know I can count on her to celebrate the highs of the business and to help me work though the lows. Even though Hannah is the client, I’ve learned so much from her and I’m forever grateful.
And while I don’t make my husband take pictures of me with every check that comes in the mail these days, six years later I do still feel immense gratitude for our clients with every single bank deposit.
5.) Nashville City Club. 2017. RPR Holiday Party. Some wine was consumed.
Hey, do y’all want to get tattoos?
No caption necessary.
6.) Clearly, we like to do backbends around here. When your team says they are too busy to go take a yoga class, you bring the yoga class to the office with a private yoga instructor. There’s something about synchronized breathing that brings you closer as a team… or it might just be a collective love for the lavender-scented towels you get at the end.
Prepare to see more baby pics and engagement announcements on your Facebook News Feed — the social media giant is changing the way it determines what users see first when they log in.
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a new algorithm that will prioritize updates from family and friends over posts from businesses, brands and media companies. This is great for keeping up with your great aunt’s trip to Belize, but what does it mean for your company’s social media strategy?
(Wait, you do have a social media strategy, right? If not, let’s fix that first.)
Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small business, the new algorithm is sure to impact how you reach and interact with consumers. Here’s what to know and how to prepare for the shift to keep audiences engaged:
Micro-influencers are even more important.
As social media as a whole has changed over the past few years, our strategies have adapted to include partnerships with micro-influencers — individuals with between 1,000 to 10,000 followers who aren’t quite celebrities or media contributors but create quality content and have significant pull with their niche audiences. Their followers trust their opinions and have a genuine investment in what they are up to day-to-day. Because many of these micro-influencers are not considered media or individual brands, they will be key to reaching consumers in coming months. The way we select and work with them may change, but they will be essential to a successful social media campaign nonetheless.
Your ad budget may need an increase.
Facebook says the new algorithm will not affect paid posts on the platform , but it remains to be seen how the changes will affect ad pricing and the bidding process. Posts from brands will not be completely shut out, but they will be ranked as lower priority — unless you’re prepared to pay — and we can infer that fewer chances to reach consumers likely means a higher price tag. Being strategic with your social media ad dollars is crucial. Run multiple campaigns, track results, and if at all possible, hire an expert to manage the process for you.
A traditional PR strategy is still necessary.
A well-rounded campaign should incorporate social media, not rely on it completely. If you already have a traditional PR strategy in place, it will lessen the blow from the Facebook drawbacks. Take the first few weeks of 2018 to get your PR plan in order, including a media and social media strategy, crisis communications plan, community partnerships and involvement in any local or industry events. Ensure you are reaching your audiences in multiple ways and that messaging is consistent across all platforms.
Our Vice President Tori Ross recently joined PR pros from around the country in sharing their best trade secrets with Fit Small Business. What stellar advice did she have to help brands extend their reach to their target audiences? Understand how social media influencers work before dishing out big bucks to the first person with a large following. Tori says:
When it comes to working with influencers such as bloggers, celebrities and other social media personalities to promote your small business, sometimes less is more in terms of followers. You can easily spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a single sponsored post from big-name influencers. However, studies show that as an influencer’s number of followers increases, their audience engagement decreases.
Individuals with between 1,000 to 10,000 followers – known as micro-influencers – actually hold more power in today’s digital world. These micro-influencers tend to have a more engaged, loyal following. They are more likely to be seen as a trustworthy source of information and recommendations than influencers with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. They are also usually more open to sharing posts in exchange for goods and services rather than monetary exchanges so they can be a cost-effective in that way as well.
At the start of any relationship—whether it be with a client, a vendor or even a significant other—discovering the best communication method for that person is crucial. It’s what ensures a healthy relationship for both parties and builds trust for the duration of that relationship.
When it comes to our clients, we want them to feel valued and taken care of. That’s why we always respond to emails, calls or text messages in a timely manner. In fact, we have an internal client services policy that requires us to respond within 2-4 business hours. We never want our clients to have to follow up with us or wonder what we are doing to further their business. Our goal is to provide them with as much information as they need about our tactics and strategies before they have the chance to ask.
Before we are too quick to reply, though, we always strive to answer the following questions:
Are we answering their needs?
We aim to be strategic with each response. Our communications should be productive, beneficial and efficient. We understand clients don’t have time to waste during the workday.
Are we strategizing for the future?
The client’s best interests are always at the forefront of our minds. Rather than thinking only on the present matter at hand, we think about results and future opportunities when assisting the client.
Are we going the extra mile to avoid additional work on the client’s end?
We’re always going to provide the client with all of the necessary information needed for their reference or review. For example, rather than asking them to refer to an email I sent two weeks ago, we simply remind them of our past conversation so they are not forced to dig through their old emails. The last thing we want to do is ask our clients to go the extra mile – that’s what we’re here for!
At the end of the day, we want nothing more than to make our clients happy and their jobs a little less stressful. We love that we have developed strong, long-standing relationships with our clients as a result of our clear, quick communication methods and we will continue to do our best to keep them coming back.
A new season brings a new intern here to RPR, and this one’s definitely got gusto.
Meet Megan Heiner. Megan is finishing up her PR degree at Belmont University this fall, but she’s already accrued real-world experience and several awards including Best Series from the Dallas Morning News High School Paper Competition, #1 Graphic Design and #2 Feature Story from Press Women of Texas and Best Daughter Award from her parents – a truly grueling competition when you have two brothers.
She spends her spare time pining over puppies on the Nashville Humane Association and Great Pyrenees Rescue websites, but she’s waiting until after graduation to adopt one because she’s a responsible person. Here are a few more fun facts about Megan.
One of the coolest aspects of working for a PR agency is coming up with creative and unique ideas that set your clients apart, then witnessing these ideas come to life through various campaigns, initiatives and events.
Our team did just that during the month of September with our client, Orangetheory Fitness—Midtown. Because September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we coordinated a partnership with Orangetheory Fitness—Midtown and local Nashville elementary school, Eakin Elementary, to educate local Nashville kids on the importance of exercise. Throughout the month, an Orangetheory Fitness trainer took over the 3rd and 4th grade P.E. classes to teach kids various exercise moves and show them just how fun it can be to stay active.
In conjunction, we coordinated a second partner to provide some direction on the need of a healthy and nutritious diet, something at the core of this national wellness initiative. A nutritionist from popular juicer and health foods restaurant, The Juice Bar, was able to make smoothies for the students and show them just how delicious and nutritious smoothies can be! The kids were even given a smoothie recipe to take home for their parents to make them.
Our team secured an opportunity with Nashville’s NewsChannel5 weekly School Patrol segment that highlights local school’s events and initiatives making a difference in the community. Check out the clip below that reached nearly 75,000 viewers in the Nashville area.
While childhood obesity is a national epidemic that cannot be solved in just one month, intentional efforts can be made to combat the issue one step at a time – and we were excited to be a part of the process on behalf of our client. This effort was a great step in the right direction and Orangetheory Fitness is looking forward to a long-lasting relationship with Eakin Elementary.
It’s no secret that here at RPR, we genuinely love non-profit work. Our projects with organizations like Blood:Water, HOPE International, The Phoenix Club of Nashville, REBOOT Combat Recovery and so many others are some of the most rewarding and awe-inspiring projects we have.
These organizations are one of the reasons we launched our Be The Good travel grant program in 2015 and a division dedicated solely to Cause Marketing in 2016. They do more than turn a profit – they enrich and improve the lives of others – and it is an honor for our agency to be able to help them do that.
In 2015 as part of Be The Good, we donated a portion of our company’s profits to build a classroom for incarcerated mothers and their children in El Salvador. The organization behind the project, Christ for the City International, provides English classes for these women and their children, who also live in the prison until the age of five with no place to play or learn. The prison had finally identified a space for a classroom and they just needed money for the materials, which we were happy to provide.
Due to restrictions at the prison, that classroom was never built. Shortly after the donation was made, the local government closed down all visits to the prisons due to issues with gangs. No visitation was allowed by family, friends, churches or anyone else.
But the money didn’t go unused. This year, Christ for the City International took the donation from RPR and built a home for a wonderful family in need on La Calzada Island. The island is community of about 1,600 people that is isolated from the mainland by a maze of waterways through mangroves. Most of the people there live in extreme poverty, only a few have formal employment and no one on the island has ever received a university degree. Many people live in extreme poverty making $1-2 per day and survive off the land.
Our team is ecstatic to see that our hard work and amazing clients have given a family in El Salvador a safe place to stay with the construction of this new cinder block home. Thank you to everyone who has helped us Be The Good in Nashville and around the world.
Imagine this: You get an unexpected call in the middle of the day. Your company’s network has experienced a data breach and information for thousands of customers is now susceptible to hackers. You don’t know all the details yet, but the local news has gotten wind of the story and they are planning to run a story in the evening newscast. To make matters worse, chatter from worried customers has already started on social media after an employee overheard the news.
What do you do? Are you prepared to field questions from media, your employees and your other stakeholders? How will this affect your company’s reputation and how will you take action to right the situation?
Of all the exciting aspects of public relations and marketing, crisis management can be one of the most challenging and most uncomfortable areas to address – but it is also one of the most critical.
Big or small, for profit or not-for-profit, all organizations should have a well-rounded crisis management plan in place. A good crisis plan will serve as a guidebook to navigating all matter of complex situations that could affect the profitability, integrity or reputation of your organization. This includes serious crises such as workplace crime or violence to less dire situations such as your computer networks crashing.