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Friday, May 28, 2004

Minnesota Moments

Central Minnesota has a new magazine called Minnesota Moments and is written primarily for the St. Cloud metro area.

According their web site, Minnesota Moments is written for Central Minnesotans who enjoy the country life, whether they live in a city, on a farm or somewhere in between.

Topics will include gardening, landscaping, home decorating, antiques, food, travel, style, and topics of general interest. In each issue we will include a feature story about a person or place or thing of interest. Minnesota Moments will also feature columnists who live and breathe in Central Minnesota. The magazine will work to establish a relationship with the readers and conduct an ongoing dialog with those readers through submission of photos, essays and letters.

The web site conveniently includes a section where you can submit story ideas. But before you submit an idea you should check out their editorial calendar here.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Carmichael Lynch merges interactive and relationship units

The Business Journal reported this afternoon that pr and advertising agency Carmichael Lynch has merged their interactive and relationship units.

According to the Journal the merger will reorganize the company Melody Lentsch, previously director of interactive at Carmichael Lynch, will head the new group. Bruce Marsh, who worked for EURO/RSCG in New York, will be creative director of CL Interactive.

Get the full story here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Subway drops Fallon

Subway has announced that they will end their $220-million relationship with advertising agency Fallon Worldwide. Under Fallon's direction, Subway has tried to transition over the past year from their ads featuring Jared. Fallon was and launch a campaign Its Okay I had Subway" during the Superbowl.

The Business Journal quoted Fallon president Rob White as saying, "We just never clicked. We started off with a terrific idea, but the work didn't end up as the client and the agency had hoped it would."

According to the Business Journal, Fallon is not planning any layoffs as a result of losing the Subway account. Subway will now use McCarthy Mambro Bertino for advertising.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Communication (good?) PR (bad?)

It always frustrates me when I tell someone that I practice PR and they say, "Oh so your a spin doctor?" Recently this has happened with increasing frequency so when I stumbled across this article I had to share it. The article, written by Merrie Spaeth, talks about how PR needs some PR.

It has been dubbed the "Sex in the City Effect" by and elite few.

Consider this excerpt from Spaeth's article:

The Globe & Mail's Simpson correctly identifies that all politicians like to make announcements which will make them visible to the voters, but says, "this illustrates the depths to which these politicians will descend to grab whatever tiny bit of the public-relations limelight they can find" and he says voters should "expect more cheap public-relations tricks." And, with one more slap at PR, he notes that elections force politicians to bring back "the little corruptions of petty public relations."

And this is the problem. He sees public relations as the practice of claiming undue credit, of hyping something and of being fundamentally deceitful. Actually, public relations is no more these things than the practice of law is inherently misleading juries or abusing the judicial system. There are lawyers who abuse the system, but we do not hold the legal system hopelessly tarnished by their behavior.

Now some may argue that Spaeth holds lawyers in too high esteem, but I think her point is well taken and it is why organizations like the have established a .

Friday, May 21, 2004

Blogging, RSS and ATOM the wave of Tomorrow

Last Friday I wrote discussing whether blogging should be considered a form of journalism or not. Well, it may or may not help my argument for blogs as a PR tool, but Microsoft CEO Bill Gates told executives gathered at Microsoft's headquarters for its annual CEO Summit that blogs are making it very easy for people to communicate.

Here is an excerpt from a Reuters article covering the annual Microsoft meeting:

Blogs, short for Weblogs, have been around for several years, serving as online journals for Web-savvy disseminators of information ranging from personal ramblings, product reviews, to social commentary.

The growth in the number of blogs, and those who read them, however, is attracting greater attention from businesses as a means to communicate more directly with their employees, partners and customers...

...The growth in the number of blogs, and those who read them, however, is attracting greater attention from businesses as a means to communicate more directly with their employees, partners and customers.

That's due in part to the way that blogging has driven the adoption of yet another technology, called Real Simple Syndication (RSS), which allows blog readers to track freshly posted information without having to browse through a long list of home pages. Instead, many subscribe to RSS feeds on blogs so that they can read them on desktops as they come in.

Gates described to his audience, which included Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell, Carly Fiorina, Barry Diller and other top business executives, how blogs worked and suggested that they could be used as a tool for businesses to communicate with customers.

"It's getting away from the drawbacks of e-mail and the drawbacks of a Web site,' Gates said, "We're progressively getting better and better at it..."

..., the No. 1 Web search company that has announced plans to go public, recently upgraded its service, which it bought in 2003, by adding features that allow users to publish content from any e-mail-enabled device, such as cell phones and handheld devices.

Instead of RSS, however, Google is also promoting a rival syndication standard called Atom.

As the debate rages on, its leaders are looking to the future of the Web with anticipation, are you?

Looking for a RSS/ATOM reader? Try RSSFeedEater.

Get my or my RSS Feed here.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Minnesota PRSA After 5! Next Tuesday

If you haven't heard by now, Minnesota PRSA has launched a new monthly networking event, PRSA After 5! All events are from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and include fun conversation, appetizers, and a cash bar. There is only a $5 fee and no pre-registration is required.

The next PRSA After 5! event will be held on Tuesday, May 25, at Starlite Lounge/Bobino, at 222 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

For future PRSA After 5! dates, times and locations, check the Minnesota PRSA events page.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Anything for a little time in the spotlight

Some people will do anything for a little time in the spotlight.

Weber Shandwick wins Sabre Award

The Twin Cities office of Weber Shandwick is in the news again, winning two Gold Sabre Awards at the annual dinner held on Wednesday, May 12th in New York.

The Sabre Awards, sponsored by The Holmes Group (publisher of a leading public relations industry publication), recognizes superior achievement in branding and reputation.

Weber Shandwick and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, received the best-in-class Gold Award in the Crisis Management category for the “Minimizing Impact: Reducing the Effect of a Crisis at Case” campaign. The award recognized Weber Shandwick’s and Case’s response and ability to manage communications and media relations following a shooting on campus last spring that resulted in the death of a student.

Weber Shandwick and Prairie Island Indian Community received the best-in-class Gold Award in the Public Affairs (State Local Government) category for “A Long Time Coming” campaign. The campaign positioned the Prairie Island Indian Community as a relevant voice in the debate over nuclear storage at Prairie Island. As a result of Weber Shandwick's efforts, the community was granted its rightful place at the negotiating table, and it earned a settlement worthy of its people’s needs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Minneapolis-Based PR Agency Among Nation's Fastest Growing

Fast Horse Inc., a Minneapolis-based consumer marketing public relations firm, was among the top-five fastest-growing agencies in the United States in a ranking of more than 200 firms compiled by industry journal .

Fast Horse, which grew 2003 revenue to $602,718, an 85 percent increase over 2002, ranked fourth nationally in top-line percentage growth among agencies listed in PRWeek’s 2003 rankings.

“From our inception, we’ve focused exclusively on consumer marketing public relations, allowing us to pour all available resources into building our expertise and offering our clients some of the most experienced and capable practitioners in our discipline,” said Jörg Pierach, president of Fast Horse Inc. “It’s also allowed us to compete effectively against virtually any local or national firm when given the opportunity.”

Shandwick promotes two to VP

The Twin Cities office of Weber Shandwick announced it has promoted Celeste Gervais and Aaron Pearson to vice presidents in the investor relations and technology group.

Gervais joined Weber Shandwick in 2000 as an account director. She specializes in providing strategic media relations and marketing communications services to clients including Honeywell and Pitney Bowes. She has managed worldwide product introductions, branding and global positioning campaigns, advertising, sales promotion, special events and trade shows.

"Celeste focuses on the outcome that clients want and delivers meaningful, measurable results," said Sara Gavin, president of Weber Shandwick's Twin Cities office. "She defines the meaning of teamwork and team leadership."

Pearson joined Weber Shandwick in 1997, bringing high-tech public relations experience in industries such as telecommunications, data storage and enterprise software. He specializes in industry analyst relations, marketing communications integration and global account management for clients including Lawson Software, Solectron and Siemens Information & Communication Mobile.

"Aaron has consistently brought both valued counsel and exceptional execution to his clients," said Gavin. "He has helped to drive considerable expansion of our work on one of our most significant accounts."

Pearson was recently recognized by the industry when he won PR Week's PR Innovation of the Year award for his work on adopting an account management tool that enables the office to better serve its clients.

Best Buy CEO Passes $7.5 to employees

In an uncharacteristically generous move by a corporate CEO, Best Buy's CEO Brad Anderson announced he will hand over 200,000 stock options, with a potential value of $7.5 million, to non-executive employees of Best Buy.

From this mornings Star Tribune:

The company declined to comment on Anderson's decision, but John Fossum, a professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management who monitors executive compensation trends, said such actions are rare.

"I've never heard of a situation like this before," Fossum said.

By giving away his options, Anderson is sending an important message to Best Buy investors and workers.

"He's saying, 'The CEO is not the only one who contributes to the success of the organization,'" Fossum said.

"What people do at a variety of different levels in the organization really helps out the organization and is ultimately going to drive the company's share price," Fossum said.

Nice to see a good PR move made by the CEO without direction from the company.

Monday, May 17, 2004

The Presidential Campaign and TV Ads

Since 1952, presidential campaigns have been, at least in part, decided by a candidate's television ads. A quote taken from The Living Room Candidate offers some insight into the phenomenon of television ads and the presidential race.

In 1968, presidential candidate Richard Nixon was sitting in the office of Roger Ailes, a producer on The Mike Douglas Show, before a taping of the program. Nixon remarked, "It's too bad a guy has to rely on a gimmick like television to get elected." Ailes responded, "Television is no gimmick, and nobody will ever be elected to major office again without presenting themselves well on it."

This year's presidential election is proving to be no different. According to this week's Business Journal the presidential campaign spots are "squeezing regular TV advertisers."

From the Business Journal:

Unexpectedly heavy placement of national political ads on Twin Cities television this spring is hogging airtime and raising prices. Limited spots and ad rates that have doubled or tripled are forcing some regular advertisers out of broadcast TV and onto cable TV and radio.

Get the full story here.

Friday, May 14, 2004

2004 "Forty under 40" List

The Business Journal announced its 2004 "Forty under 40" winners today. Past recipients of this annual award include Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota State Auditor Pat Anderson and entrepreneur Dan Carr.

Of significant note for us PR folk is Chris Werle, Executive Vice President, Consumer Marketing Practice for Weber Shandwick and Jorg Pierach, a former Weber employee and founder of Fast Horse Inc.

Check out this year's list here.

Is Blogging Journalism?

Public relations professionals generally look at bloggers in one of two ways, either they accept that targeting bloggers is important or they write them off as a fad that won't last.

Journalist and political analyst Bill Moyers said on NPR's Fresh Air (36:38) last night that "blogging is the closest we've come in a long time to the history of American Media in the beginning."

Others say blogging is not journalism. It is my belief blogging lands somewhere in the middle, where some bloggers act as journalist and others use blogging as a diary.

James Horton writes in his article that "there are hundreds of thousands of blogs now, most of which are not worth knowing about...on the other hand, some blogs generate news and influence events because their authors are respected as experts."

Journalism's primary definition on is "the collecting, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles in newspapers and magazines and in radio and television broadcasts." There is no mention of online journalism in this first definition, but the sixth definition describes journalism as "written material of current interest or wide popular appeal," which seems to leave room for blogging.

Is blogging journalism? I think the jury is still out. Does it make good PR sense to know what bloggers are saying about your company? Absolutely!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Massive Hires at PSB

Padilla Speer Beardsley Inc., has hired seven new employees to expand its consumer marketing, media relations, investor relations, manufacturing and technology, health care and agriculture practice areas.

Nissa French has joined the manufacturing and technology practice as assistant account executive. Since joining the firm she has garnered prominent trade media placements for clients such as Rockwell Automation, The Protomold Company and Fabcon. Previously, French was an intern in Padilla Speer Beardsley's manufacturing and technology practice, where she mainly worked with client Rockwell Automation. Prior to joining Padilla Speer Beardsley, French was marketing and communications intern at Hamline University, communications intern for Minnesota Women's Consortium, and market research intern for Market Research Associates. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Hamline University in St. Paul, and she is a member of the International Association of Business Communications (IABC).

Randy Fordice is an account executive in the manufacturing and technology practice. Fordice was previously communications account coordinator at Alliant Energy. Prior to working at Alliant, he was media relations manager at LawsComm Public Relations, public relations specialist at Forum21 Communications, and communications specialist at GO Media. His experience includes media relations, marketing communications, advertising and employee communications, and he has worked in several industries, in both corporate and agency capacities, including utilities, telecommunications, automotive, aviation, Internet services and e-commerce. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and he holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Sarah Stakston is an assistant account executive in the media relations practice. Stakston was previously an intern in Padilla Speer Beardsley's media relations and writing practice areas, where she worked with clients such as General Mills, Cub Foods, and TCF Holidazzle Parades. Since joining the firm, she has garnered national and local media placements and assisted with special events. She was a finalist for a PRSA Classics award and two Student Classics awards. Prior to joining the firm, she was marketing intern at Piper Jaffray, marketing intern at WCCO-TV, and intern at Allina Medical Clinic. She will graduate summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota, with a bachelor's degree in public relations and business management.

Shelley Ward joins the firm as a senior account executive in the consumer marketing practice. Ward most recently was a member of the technology practice at Waggener Edstrom Strategic Communications in Portland, where she worked with Microsoft. Previously, she was on the consumer public relations teams of GCI Group/Atlanta and JSH&A Public Relations in Chicago, where she conducted print and broadcast media relations, and planned events for Jim Beam's Small Batch Bourbon Collection, Einstein Bros. Bagels, DuPont STAINMASTER Carpet, EXPO Design Centers, Home Depot, Jiffy Lube, the American Cancer Society and others. She has garnered key media placements, such as USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, the Wall Street Journal and many others. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in journalism and sociology and a Spanish minor, and she is a PRSA Silver Anvil award winner.

Krista Ulatowski is an assistant account executive in the investor relations practice. She supports a variety of public and private companies in the automotive, education, health care, banking and technology industries. Ulatowski was previously was a legal assistant in corporate and litigation practices at various law firms in Minneapolis. Prior to that, she was manager of media and technology for advertising agency WorldWalk Media, where she worked on a national business-to-business advertising campaign for Infowave Software. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and also completed UW-Madison's business certificate program.

Shandra Wendorff is an assistant account executive in the health care and manufacturing and technology practices. Wendorff works with a variety of health care clients as well as BASF and Rockwell Automation. Previously, she was a marketing intern for a Broadway production company in New York City, communications intern for Best Buy, public relations coordinator for the Iowa State Daily newspaper, and public relations intern for Iowa's Story City Chamber of Commerce. She was also a staff writer for Ethos Magazine, the Iowa State Daily, and a freelance writer for Eden Prairie News. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication with an emphasis in public relations from Iowa State University.

Megan Fairchild Anderson is an account executive in the agriculture practice. Fairchild Anderson was previously an agri-business public relations associate at a Twin Cities agency. Prior to that she worked in marketing communications at Chromatic Concepts. She has also worked for Zeneca Ag Products and St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives. She holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture business from the University of Minnesota College of Agricultural, Food & Environmental Sciences (COAFES), and she is a board member and committee chair for the COAFES Alumni Association. She is currently pursuing a masters in business communication at the University of St. Thomas.

PSB Promotes Eva Keiser to Account Supervisor

Padilla Speer Beardsley Inc., has promoted Eva Keiser to account supervisor, manufacturing and technology.

Keiser joined Padilla Speer Beardsley in 1995, and works with the Rockwell Automation account team and other manufacturing and technology accounts. She is an expert in communications planning, research, trade show planning, trade media relations, and business-to-business marketing communication.

Her work has received national recognition including two Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Bronze Anvils, two Business Marketing Association ProComm awards, and a Crystal Clarion award from the Association for Women in Communication.

She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University and a master's degree in mass communication from the University of North Dakota. She is an accredited member of PRSA and has received Minnesota PRSA's PROs award for her volunteer and pro-bono work.

An Affordable Way to Do PR

Maybe you think "affordable PR" is an oxymoron, or maybe you have found a cheap PR firm but have been dissatisfied with the results, or maybe you have decided to launch your own PR campaign and you are looking for some advice. Whatever you situation is you need to from .

Here is an example of some of the helpful hints offered:

...the real question is what you will get for your money and how effective the campaign will be. It's true that the more you pay, the more you get. But getting the most publicity/PR exposure doesn't mean you have to get most expensive PR agency or specialist.

A good rule of thumb is to align yourself with a PR business that best reflects your business size. Most of the time their rates will be in line with your prospective PR budget. If you are a small business owner with two employees, you need not hire a high-dollar PR agency with dozens of employees. Find a PR business whose office size and capabilities closely resemble your business.

...One caveat when it comes to choosing a professional PR agency or individual to work with: signing up for a higher priced campaign doesn't necessarily mean you will get better results than a cheaper campaign. And the inverse is true as well. Over the past year or so, many "low-cost PR/publicity services" have begun to pop up all over the Internet. Ones that promise to write and launch a press release for as low as $99. They are low in cost because, frankly, many are low in quality. Bigger is not necessarily better, and cheap does not always mean a good bargain.

So now you know and knowing is half the battle.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Martin|Williams to Market New Line of Paint

The Business Journal reported this afternoon that Martin|Williams has been selected by ICI Paints to market their new line of paints.

According to the article, the new line of paints will be sold under the This Old House brand, an offshoot of the Public Television house-restoration series.

Get the story rest of story here.

More Jobs On the Horizon?

Recent news seems to indicate that the Minnesota economy is headed in the right direction. Employment was up in March by 4.7 % and good news is expected again next week when Minnesota releases April's full employment report.

According to today's Star Tribune, college grads are having an easier time finding jobs this year too. Here is an excerpt:

Stepping into this job market that is just perking up means spring graduates must do everything they can to get an edge over their competition. That makes internships more important than ever, employers say. The competition also makes early and aggressive job searches crucial -- including networking, a la Otto's connections.

Get the full story here.

Get PR-specific resume tips here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Minnesota PRSA Monthly Meeting

The Minnesota Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) will hold its monthly lunch program on Thursday, May 20, 2004, at 12 p.m. at the Metropolitan Ballroom, ., Minneapolis.

“Community Giving and Business Reputation” will focus on how and why Minnesota businesses give back to their communities. Presenter Marina Munoz Lyon will discuss how charitable giving not only strengthens the community but also can have a measurable impact on an organization, its reputation and the organization’s bottom line.

Munoz Lyon is vice president and director of the Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Foundation and oversees ’ community giving. Munoz Lyon has directed the Minnesota Twins Community Fund and Minnesota Twins Community Giving programs. She previously was director of public affairs at Piper Jaffray Companies, a program officer at the McKnight Foundation and prior to that was a policy researcher at the Citizens League. In addition to working in community and government relations, she is an active volunteer.

To sign up for this event click here.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Risdall Advertising Agency buys PR firm nasseff, ellwood & day

The Business Journal reported today that Minnesota-based Risdall Advertising has purchased PR Firm nasseff, ellwood & day.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Get the full story here.

Extreme Makeover for PR

These days, it seems that even plastic surgeons are looking to public relations to draw in new business. In a story from Sunday's Palm Beach Post reporter Susan T. Port outlines how several doctors have used pr to help increase awareness of there business. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Dr. Jeffrey Ganeles was watching an episode of the reality show Extreme Makeover when he took exception to the treatment a cosmetic dentist offered for a patient.

So the 46-year-old periodontist from Boca Raton called the ABC-TV show and suggested that the producers give him a chance. That move landed him the first of two appearances on the show, but the resulting media attention -- "phone calls and e-mails from around the country and worldwide"...

PR professionals say the reality shows, coupled with the growing acceptance across all strata of American society for plastic surgery procedures, are leading more cosmetic surgeons to hire PR help.

Get the full story here.

While some may be buying into cosmetic surgery as an option, there are sites like this one that remind us of all the bad plastic surgery mistakes celebs make.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

New MNPR Blog RSS Feed

Thanks to the help of this site, I now have an RSS feed for this site again. After BlogMatrix died I have been having a hard time finding a reliable service to translate Blogger's into an RSS feed. This is a very handy tool!

Looking to find out what RSS is? Click here, but remember once you learn about RSS, my new feed is:

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

15 Tips to Make Your Press Release Pop! contributing writer Julia Hyde has put together a fantastic list of 15 ways to make your press releases more effective. My favorites include:

#1) Don’t waste the reporters’ time submitting something that isn’t news.

#6) If possible include one or two quotes from reliable or expert sources.

#12) If you’re sending your release via email, avoid sending file attachments.

There are plenty of other good tips, but you can check them out for yourself here.

Padilla Speer Beardsley Inc., has promoted Burnham and Kucharski to SVPs.

Padilla Speer Beardsley Inc., has promoted Kathy Burnham and Matt Kucharski to senior vice presidents.

For 20 years, Burnham has helped build PSB's manufacturing practice, working with clients Rockwell Automation, Oshkosh Truck Corporation, Donaldson Company and several other manufacturers.

Kucharski has been a key member of the technology practice and several business-to-business teams for 15 years. His experience includes public relations counsel for a wide range of clients, including Rockwell Automation, RSA Security, IBM, 3M and an assortment of other hi-tech firms.

Kucharski also serves on the boards of directors of the Lumin Collaborative, an intellectual collaborative dedicated to developing next-generation communications solutions and Worldcom Public Relations Group, the world's largest network of independent PR firms.

"Kathy and Matt have become expert communicators and leaders," said Lynn Casey, chairman and CEO, Padilla Speer Beardsley. "Their practices are among the most well-respected manufacturing and technology practices in the region. It's a rare pleasure to have employees for 15 or 20 years who develop into strong leaders. I'm pleased to have them continue their leadership as senior vice presidents."

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

City Pages "Blog of the Day"

Minnesota Public Relations Blog is "blog of the day" today on City Pages' weblog Babelogue.

PR Jobs/Internships

Are you looking for PR job or an intership in Minnesota? If so, you may be feeling overwhelmed. There are so many places to look for jobs/interships, where does a person begin? Well, a few good places to start include the Association for Women in Communications, Minnesota PRSA, , and IABC job boards.

But you could spend all day submitting your resume to companies and never receive a phone call or even an e-mail. Now you have another option. You can get employers to come to you by posting your resume here for free. It is as easy as . Check it out!

Monday, May 03, 2004

IABC's State Conference and Silent Auction

The Minnesota chapter of International Association of Business Communicators is hosting their State Conference and Silent Auction Tuesday, May 18 at the Minnesota Children's Museum. The keynote address, Market Trends in Communications, will be presented by Marlys Tamte of The Prosper Group.

For more details on this event visit IABC's website, but hurry registration is discounted if you register before May 5, 2004.

In Defense of Polaris

Minnesota-based Polaris Industries Inc. is hyping their new ATV specially modified for the U.S. military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ATVs are modifications of the Polaris Sportsman 700 and are designed to be dropped from a C-130 cargo plane.

According to a Business Journal article on the new ATV, some of the ground breaking "military only" technologies include: infrared lights that allow soldiers to use night-vision goggles, reinforced tires and special racks that will carry twice the cargo as the consumer-built model. Unfortunately, these special features are not available to the average consumer.

Maccabee Group Hiring

As a follow-up to Friday's post on the Maccabee group, I talked with company president Paul Maccabee and he gave me a little more information.

He told me that all six of the clients mentioned are new clients, which represents a growth of about 20% in the agency's revenues and that the agency is currently hiring.

The Maccabee Group has a position posted on
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