“Why are you here?”
This was a question I was asked a few times last week while attending the 2015 Society of Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) fall conference in Chicago.
These bi-annual events are attended by a who’s who of business journalists from the U.S. and Canada, as well up-and-coming journalism students from acclaimed universities such as Northwestern and Missouri. There aren’t many PR professionals running around, so it didn’t surprise me when there was curiosity and perhaps skepticism about my participating.
But the answer to this question is pretty simple: I’m there to learn just like everyone else. Attending SABEW provides a unique opportunity to hear what issues and challenges business journalists are facing in the industry and how they cover the news. It’s also an opportunity to network and gain a greater understanding of the best ways PR professionals can work with reporters. These lessons keep us one step ahead and help shape the integrated communications plans we create for our clients.
Now onto some of the highlights from the conference.
Posted in: Media
In a recent interview, Bloomberg’s Emily Chang showed not only why Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg deserve to be role models for all, regardless of gender, but she also put an exclamation point on key gender issues that drag down business.
While I encourage you to watch the entire piece on the “Balancing Act,” we’ve provided a Cliff Notes version of the top insights from the interview. And, just for fun, see if you can decide who said which quotes – Sheryl or Richard. (The answers are at the bottom of this story.)
Posted in: Business Thoughts
The idea that companies should always put the customer first seems like it should be a given for any service or product-oriented business. I’ve heard it said in a lot of mission statements – but are most brands really walking the walk?
Many marketers would probably admit that one or two of their customer-centric big ideas have been given the axe with responses like, “But that would require a shift in our operations” or “I just don’t see how we can implement that.” Sometimes that may be the reality, but it got me thinking about when, how and why companies should innovate and implement a major change in operations that ultimately benefits the customer.
Posted in: breakout brands
Decades ago, the Boomer generation took to the food industry like Godzilla took to Tokyo. Fast food chains like McDonald’s thrived and the microwavable burrito proved the most innovative thing since sliced bread (seriously, pre-sliced bread didn’t exist until the 1920s).
Now, these companies must adapt to the new generation – millennials.
Let me stop you there, it’s not what you think. In March, the rbb team decided to hold an office-wide speed dating event where junior employees sat with each senior-level employee to get to know them on a more personal level–no work-talk allowed. The stations were prepared and each team member was seated with their first match, and with a swift strike of the gong, we were ready to begin.
Last month I attended Hispanicize 2015, the country’s largest conference of U.S. Latino influencers and trendsetters. While I was there, I caught up with Latina Magazine Executive Editor, Shirley Velasquez.
Shirley, who formed part of a roundtable discussion made up of the nation’s most powerful Latina journalists, agreed to a quick Q&A on timely topics — from the power of the Latino vote to what brands need to know when speaking to them.
Pick up a copy of the March 20, 2015 edition of USA Today, and you’ll find a special section titled Race Together, which is full of stats, quotes and questions focused on race. Visit one of the 7,300 Starbucks stores in the U.S. and your coffee cup might say #RaceTogether on it.
These elements are all related to a new campaign designed to ignite conversations on race relations, and it’s the brainchild of Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz.
Schultz’s request was simple: He asked baristas at Starbucks stores to voluntarily write #RaceTogether on the cups of coffee they serve as a way to start a conversation with customers on race relations. Schultz, through Starbucks, has a history of tackling major social issues, so while this project isn’t completely out of left field, it has gotten plenty of feedback FAST.