Wednesday, August 25, 2010

And the Winner is….PayDay Plus! Paycheck Stuffers Done Right

Next in a Series on Award Winning Programs from the 2010 PRSA Del Oro Awards
Award Recipient of an El Bronce Award of Excellence

Can the humble paycheck stuffer be an award-winning communications tool? Absolutely. Case in point is CPS Energy’s Payday Plus. The one-sheet publication received an El Bronce award of excellence at PRSA’s Del Oro competition in May.

The local utility company produces the internal newsletter twice a month and mails it to employees’ homes along with their pay statements. Home delivery is one of the keys to success, says Scott Wudel, the publication’s editor. He explains that while the company maintains many electronic communication outlets, the printed newsletter is the most convenient way for employees who work in the field and their families to receive information.

Along the same lines, Wudell stresses that the newsletter’s content must be valuable and relevant to its approximately 3,600 readers. As the website and intranet editor at CPS, Wudel receives news tips from across the organization. He filters them from the vantage point of the employee and crafts short digestible articles that are useful and interesting to readers. Typical Payday Plus stories focus on health benefits, rebates, personnel changes, volunteer and family events and hot topics in the company.

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of good graphic design for a routine, internal publication. Payday Plus avoids this pitfall and entices its readers with fresh, full-color layouts that mix the right amounts of white space, images and text. The company’s in-house graphic artist Barbara Burris is responsible for the look of the newsletters.

Employees appreciate CPS’ efforts to keep them informed, and the newsletter has proven a valuable tactic for aligning a diverse workforce.

By Abbey Forney, PRSA board member and Communications Director at Urology San Antonio

Monday, August 23, 2010

And the winner is…Bromley Communications for “¡Sí! Western Union Helps Make Dreams Come True”

Next in a Series on Award Winning Programs from the 2010 PRSA Del Oro Awards
Award Recipient of La Plata Award of Excellence – Marketing Consumer Services
Award Recipient of La Plata Award of Excellence – Multicultural Communications Campaign

Public relations professional Deborah Charnes of Bromley Communications is a well known name in the Del Oro circle. Every year, she’s the first to submit her entries, which arrive long before the competition’s deadlines. And, her entries always win the coveted Award of Excellence.

This year, her “¡Sí! Western Union Helps Make Dreams Come True” campaign was the competition’s highest scoring entry with 98.5 out of 100 possible points.

How does she do it?

“You can have stellar execution, but if there are no quantifiable results to meet or surpass the communications objectives, then you’ve missed the mark,” says Charnes.

For more than 12 years, Bromley communicators have worked with Western Union to produce a number of extremely successful campaigns.

As the 2009 banking and real estate collapse was top of mind among consumers in the U.S. and abroad, Western Union set out to depict the tremendous power and impact money transfers have in the lives of people around the world. In collaboration with Bromley, the global money transfer giant partnered with a popular Hispanic TV personality, Ana Maria Canseco, to tour the country and capture human interest Western Union testimonials, reality-style.

Across six cities, in six weekends, brand ambassadors completed 800 consumer intercepts and Canseco conducted 33 media interviews, which generated 59.41 million impressions via 707 placements.

In NYC alone, Bromley and Canseco conducted 10 interviews in one half-day period, generating 30 placements. The agency obtained 22 video testimonials, 11 Mother’s Day testimonials and 165 contest entries in the Bronx and Queens.

In Los Angeles, Bromley and Canseco completed nine interviews in one half-day session, resulting in more than 40 placements. In addition, it recorded 14 consumer stories at retail venues, part of the campaign’s objectives.

“Western Union has very unique needs which make for more challenging campaign development. At the same time, the company understands that PR is not just about publicity,” says Charnes. “We have to connect with the consumer, in and around where the consumer interacts, and in a manner that is relevant and appropriate to the consumer.”

The next time you evaluate your Del Oro entry, ask yourself if your write-up includes results that show you met your goals. If so, you probably have a winner. After all, the proof is in the pudding.

By Christi Fish, a PRSA San Antonio Board Member and a Public Affairs Specialist at The University of Texas at San Antonio

PR News RoundUp ~ August 23, 2010

From The Business Insider, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
Promotion with the Gap creates a $4 million day for Groupon
Do you subscribe to Groupon? It’s a Web-based coupon service that’s creating huge revenue for itself and the companies it partners with. On Thursday, it offered a coupon that cost $25 that could be redeemed for $50 worth of merchandise at the Gap. By dinner time, Groupon had already sold more than 300,000 coupons. That equates to a banner day for the Gap — and $4 million in revenue for Groupon. — Claire Celsi Read story.

By Arik Hanson, via Ragan’s Daily Headlines
5 recent Facebook changes you really should know about
Updated features, tools and functions might alter the way you employ the site. Read story.

From The Telegraph, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
New entries to Oxford dictionary include ‘tweetup’
More than 2,000 new words have been added to the Oxford dictionary. Tweetup is one of them. So are cheeseball, turducken, bromance, wardrobe malfunction, frenemy, and vuvuzela. Read story.

ExactTarget (press release) , via Ragan’s Daily Headlines
Study: Twitter users three times more likely to impact your brand
A new survey by ExactTarget and CoTweet insists that “consumers active on Twitter are clearly the most influential online.” That’s a bold statement. What do you think? Here are some results from the study: 72 percent publish blog posts at least monthly; 70 percent comment on blogs; 61 percent write at least one product review monthly; and 61 percent comment on news sites. Read story.

From Convince and Convert, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
PR firms are asking 8 questions about social media — and they’re all wrong!
Here’s one, from social media consultant Jay Baer: “How can we find a social media guru to add to our team?” Baer says a better question is, “How can we distribute social media knowledge across the entire firm, including ongoing training and knowledge sharing?” Check out the other seven questions.

From, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
25 brilliant examples of Facebook brand pages
Standing out from the crowd on Facebook is one of the big challenges facing communicators. Everyone recognizes how important the platform is, but is that reflected in the creative output of the brand pages we want consumers to connect with? This great selection of best practice design examples from the eConsultancy blog is one way of getting those creative juices flowing. — Adam Vincenzini Read story.

From Inc. Technology, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
5 secrets of highly effective Twitter users
What’s the best day of the week to spend time on Twitter? Why are retweets so important? These are just two of the questions that journalist Minda Zetlin answers to help us maximize our Twitter activities. Here’s how to get the biggest marketing bang for your tweet. — Susan Young Read story.

From SAS, via Ragan’s PR Daily Newsfeed
8 practical tips for social media measurement
How are you measuring your social media efforts? Whether you're just getting started or have spent years fine tuning your goals and measurments for social media, you'll learn something below from industry pros Katie Paine, CEO KDPaine & Partners, and Mark Chaves, Director of Media Intelligence, Customer Intelligence Product Marketing at SAS… Read story.

From Mashable, via PRSA Issues & Trends
A Field Guide to Using Facebook Places
Facebook has just announced Places, the long-awaited feature that brings location-based functionality to the most popular social network in the world. (Includes section on privacy). Read story.

From PC World Business Center, via PRSA Issues & Trends
Three Ways Business Can Take Advantage of Facebook Places
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new Facebook Places location-based check-in service at a press event yesterday. Following in the footsteps of services like Foursquare and Gowalla, the Facebook Places service provides businesses with a platform for marketing and promotion, and provides an opportunity to build customer loyalty. Read story.

Friday, August 06, 2010

San Antonio Corporate and Community Leaders Elevate Public Relations

Jaime Castillo, Office of the Mayor talks as(pictured left to right), Mike Bennett of the American Red Cross, and Dan Decker, SeaWorld San Antonio look on during in a social media discussion at the PRSA-San Antonio August luncheon at the Bright Shawl.

· SeaWorld San Antonio saved $2.6 in advertising costs when it opened

its 100-foot tall Journey To Atlantis rollercoaster several years ago.

· The American Red Cross raised $38 million dollars in donations by using a text

message campaign to help the Haitian earthquake victims.

· The Mayor of San Antonio invites a video blogger from the San Antonio Express-News

and documents his first day in office.

These three examples are indicative of the major shift social media is leveraging among San Antonio’s corporations, non-profits and government.

At the August PRSA luncheon titled, “Empowering Communicators,” Jaime Castillo, Senior Policy Analyst for Mayor Julian Castro, Dan Decker, SeaWorld of San Antonio President, and Mike Bennett, American Red Cross, San Antonio Chapter, CEO, discussed how social media tactics are crucial to their organizational success.

SeaWorld’s Decker said his bottom line is to sell more tickets. SeaWorld’s communications team is using Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and bringing in more people. Castillo says the Mayor’s Facebook page , with 4400 friends, is an integral part of their public relations tactics. “We know reporters are monitoring it,” he said.

“Exposure is good but what we want is a move to action. We get that when people send in checks to help or call in to volunteer,” said Bennett of the American Red Cross.

Randy Escamilla serves as Vice President of Public Relations for the San Antonio PRSA Chapter. He is the new Director of Communications for the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. You can reach randy by email at

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Make Your Plans Now to Attend the PRSA 2010 International Conference

I've registered for the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress (October 16–19, Washington, D.C.). Have you? The description below is from the PRSA national web site.

The value of public relations has never been more critical than it is today. If you are responsible for your organization’s communication outcomes, learn how public relations can enable you to reach your goals.

Today’s “information environment” is the new business environment, and you must learn how to navigate this terrain or risk being left behind. Innovative technologies and trends have extended the communications playing field and changed the game. There are new channels and new opportunities around every corner. The lines are blurring between communication disciplines, due to economic need and audiences’ insatiable thirst for information.

Now is the time to extend your skills and leverage the power of communications. Join thousands of communications professionals in Washington, D.C., the epicenter of thought leadership, for the PRSA 2010 International Conference, Oct. 16–19.

This year’s conference features keynote presentations from some of the most influential and respected thought leaders in the areas of social technology emergence, online research, branding, crisis communication, and public affairs, including: Bettina Luescher, chief spokesperson, United Nations World Food Programme; Bill Tancer, author of “Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters — Unexpected Insights for Business and Life”; Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of “The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing?”; Charlene Li, author of “Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, and co-author of “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies”; and Shaping the Debate: Public Affairs Strategies and the Health Care Reform Bill public affairs panel.

Take part in more than 80 sessions within four tracks focusing on innovative strategies, effective tactics and techniques, specialization and practice areas, and the Business Case for Public Relations. The conference also features additional emphasis on the latest strategies in social media and public affairs.

This is the one event that covers all aspects of public relations and communications for the price of registration. Plus, if you aren’t already a PRSA member, you will receive a free one-year PRSA National membership with your paid PRSA 2010 International Conference Package 1 registration**. Be a part of a vibrant community of public relations practitioners who count on PRSA for their professional needs. As a member of our community, you will engage with experts, learn new public relations and communications strategies, shape your career, and have opportunities to participate in networking and leadership at the local and national levels.

It’s all here at the PRSA 2010 International Conference in Washington, D.C. You should be here too.

Register by Aug. 27 and save $200*.

See the Interactive Brochure

Registration Bonus: *The first 750 Package 1 registrants will receive a free copy of Li’s new book, “Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead,” which you will receive during conference check-in.

Conference Schedule at a Glance

** This offer applies to Package 1 Conference registrants only and is valid for PRSA National membership. Chapter and Professional Interest Section dues are additional.