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Monday, December 22, 2008

Twitter Means Business: How Microblogging Can Help or Hurt Your Company

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guest Speaker: Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press technology reporter and columnist

Join us to hear Julio Ojeda-Zapata speak about his new book that offers dozens of business-world case studies on how Twitter has proven vital for customer service, market research, worker collaboration and more. As the author himself wrote: “Twitter might seem like the last place on the Internet any self-respecting company would want to do business…” “…It can be a trivial and childish realm, filled with blather about bodily functions, pet excrement and what users had for breakfast, lunch or dinner. “Yet… the companies come. The reason: Twitter is on fire. Its users are a remarkably vocal, energetic crowd. More and more businesses want this energy to rub off on them, and seek to generate some fireworks of their own as they discover their inner tweeters.”

What are the communications and marketing implications of using Twitter? How can it help your company, and how could it hurt you? Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out.

Details & Registration: 
Time: 7:30 a.m. Registration & Breakfast
8:00–9:30 a.m. Program
Location: University of St. Thomas (Minneapolis campus)
» Maps and directions
Parking is available in a number of nearby ramps as well as parking meters.
PRSA Member
Walk-ins will be charged an additional $5.
Registration: Register online or contact the PRSA office by noon January 19th.

Friday, December 19, 2008

ARAcontent Responds to Industry Trend Toward Shorter Newspaper Articles with Quick Read Program

The trend toward quicker-to-read articles is spilling over from online news sources to hard-copy newspapers. Web-friendly features such as shorter articles, easier-to-scan layouts and increased use of bulleted lists are finding their way into print. According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s “The State of the News Media 2008” report, more than half of newspapers say that their average story length decreased in the past three years. The previous year’s report found that the number-one reason people cited for not reading the newspaper was lack of time.

To respond to the trend toward shorter, easier-to-scan articles, ARAcontent offers its Quick Read program, which combines writing and distributing a full-length feature article with a second condensed version. The full-length article is designed to appeal to editors at the nation’s largest daily and weekly newspapers, while the Quick Read article of up to 250 words caters to newspapers and Web sites that don’t have space for full-length articles. ARAcontent, a division of ARAnet, writes, distributes and promotes feature article releases to more than 12,000 editors of daily and weekly newspapers and Web sites.

In addition to giving editors more options to choose from, the Quick Read program provides ARAcontent clients with increased value by reaching more editors, publications, Web sites and consumers with two articles for the price of one. “It’s no secret that the economy is forcing companies across the country to tighten their belts, and scrutinize the return that each marketing tactic generates,” says Scott Severson, president of ARAnet. “We’re always looking for ways to deliver more value for our clients by helping them deliver their messages to consumers, and we’re confident that our upgraded two-track approach will help marketers generate increased – and more cost-effective -- results.”

In addition to the two articles, the Quick Read program includes distribution of two high-resolution photos; online access to reports detailing placement, impression and advertising dollar equivalency; plus hard-copy and electronic clippings. Articles cost less than $5,000, with quantity discounts available for multiple releases. For more information on ARAcontent’s Quick Read program, contact Jeff Bialek at or .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Job - UnitedHealth Group - Communications Director - Issues Management

Monday, December 15, 2008

Give5Now - a new way of raising funds

To help deliver critically needed services, especially food, to people in the nine-county metro area this holiday season, Greater Twin Cities United Way is experimenting with a new way of raising funds: going viral and asking a lot of people to give a little -- just $5 -- instead of relying on fewer people to give more.

Using social networking to spread the word, the organization is launching a Web-based “Give5Now” campaign this holiday season. It centers around a one-minute video that lets people know how their small contribution can have a big impact on their neighbors and their community. To learn more, to donate, or to download the Give5Now video, visit

Because of the shaky economy, many Minnesota social service organizations are reporting flat donations at a time of year when individuals and corporations ordinarily ramp up their giving. And United Way is adjusting to a change in the way people like to give. "Giving trends show that young people, in particular, are more likely to give small donations online that respond to immediate causes," says Randi Yoder, senior vice president of donor relations for the Greater Twin Cities United Way.

"Give5Now" encourages people to give $5, then help spread the word by emailing the video to at least five friends, family members and colleagues, and posting it on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The campaign, which is currently underway, runs through Dec. 31.

According to Yoder, looking for new ways to raise awareness and funds is more important than ever. "The economy has delivered a one-two punch to nonprofits," she says. "Because of the economic downturn -- and increases in layoffs, foreclosures, hunger and homelessness -- more people than ever are turning to safety-net services, including food shelves and short-term housing, for help. Give5Now is a unique way to make it easier for more people to lend a hand, even in these challenging times."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Job - UnitedHealth Group - Communications Director - Issues Management

Saturday, December 13, 2008


announced today that Steve Arndt has been named chief financial officer of the Minneapolis-based agency. Arndt is a seven-year veteran of Campbell Mithun and was most recently director of finance and operations.

Arndt’s role as chief financial officer will include the leadership of Campbell Mithun’s human resources, information technology, office services and finance departments.

”We are excited about, and congratulate Steve on this well-deserved promotion,” said Steve Wehrenberg, chief executive officer of Campbell Mithun. “In his seven years at Campbell Mithun, Steve has distinguished himself by exemplifying one of our key core values of “In Deep”; mastering both how our agency operates and how our clients run their businesses in order to drive growth for both. We look forward to him providing not only his financial and operations knowledge to our business, but also his innovation and leadership skills. Steve will be a key member of our top management team, helping to give us the resources to continually improve our culture, our Pioneering Ideas and our ability to grow.”

Prior to joining Campbell Mithun, Arndt worked for ten years at KPMG Minneapolis, one of the country’s largest accounting firms.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More from the 2008 PRSA Professional Practices Conference

For those of you, like me, that missed this years PRSA Profession Practices Conference here are some highlights of Peter Shankman's keynote address.
Peter Shankman’s lunch keynote at the Minnesota PRSA Professional Practices Conference (PPC) was full of thought-provoking statements.   Here are a few of the more interesting ones that are most relevant to our industry:
·        “Good viral [marketing] is not meant to be viral. It’s meant to be good.”
·        “Companies no longer have the time to craft messages and disseminate news the way they want to. Press releases we know today will be dead within 36 months, and the concept is already dead.”
·        “There is no such thing as privacy anymore – we were all photographed 150 times driving to work today.”
·        “There is no difference anymore between a professional and a personal profile online.”
·        “Transparency.  Relevance.  Brevity.  These are going to be the basis for the next 100 years of PR and your personal life.”
·        “Press releases are dead, so what will your voice be?  It’s better to tell your story yourself than to have others do it for you.”
·        “We’ve never had it so easy to get people to do our PR for us.”
For more on Shankman’s speech and the rest of the PPC, visit the Minnesota PRSA Web site.

Job -- ARAnet, Inc. - Marketing Writer

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Social Media Takes Center Stage at 2008 Professional Practices Conference

A strong contingent of PR professionals from across the state converged on The Metropolitan in Golden Valley for the 2008 Minnesota PRSA Professional Practices Conference, but it was a few “outsiders” – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – that dominated the day’s discussion.

Keynote Sessions
Peter Shankman – founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc. and founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO) – candidly tackled social media and its role in PR, business and society.  He argued there are three primary trends that will be the basis for PR, business in general and everyone’s personal lives over the next century:
·         Transparency – We’re moving toward a completely transparent world, and audiences prefer now to get their information directly from the source.  As social media become more mainstream, this will only increase.
·         Relevance – Are you in the places where people get their information, and is your information current?
·         Brevity – The attention span of today’s kids: 140 characters.  And soon they will be adults, target consumers for just about any kind of business out there.
For more, .
Paula Prahl, senior vice president of communications, public affairs and corporate responsibility at Best Buy, gave the morning keynote.  She relayed six tips for effective communications today:
1.       Know Yourself
2.       Don’t Believe Your Own Hype
3.       Know Who Cares About You
4.       The Era of the Campaign is Dead
5.       Stories Have to be Really Real
6.       Patience is a Virtue – building familiarity will take time
Breakout Session – Agency Panel
Several area agency leaders discussed how they approach social media and counsel their clients about it.  thinks of pitching social media in terms of degrees of separation, “One person can reach millions of people through four to six degrees of separation, so being targeted about your influencers can have a huge impact.” 
Matt Kucharski of Padilla Speer Beardsley thinks of social media as another way to build relationships.  “Ultimately we’re all in the relationship business, and social media is just another way to build those relationships.”
Also, the subject of unfavorable social media posts was discussed by the panel.  As Lisa Hannum of Beehive PR said, “The first step in resolving negative blogs is listening…if you hear a factual error, then you respond in the correct way with the best information.  If it’s unkind/unfavorable, then listen to it and learn from it.  We don’t get to control the message anymore, and the sooner we can help convince executives of that, the better off we are.”
Other panelists were Keith Negrin of Morsekode and Maria Reitan of Carmichael Lynch Spong. 
Breakout Session – Media Panel
Three of the Twin Cities’ top news minds assembled for a panel on how to work with the media today, and the status of the media in today’s economy.  Surprise, surprise…social media factored into this discussion as well.  Among the musings:
Mike Caputa, WCCO-TV: “Three-quarters of all TVs on in the market at 10 p.m. are watching local news, so we still have to do a good job of covering the news.”
Joel Kramer, “One of the things I’m most worried about is the future of local/state investigative journalism.”
J. Keith Moyer, formerly of the Star Tribune: “Don’t just contact a reporter when you want something.  Build a bank of goodwill.”
For more photos and attendee video interviews from the Professional Practices Conference, visit the Minnesota PRSA Web site

Job - Fleishman-Hillard Seeks Intern

Monday, December 08, 2008

Turn brand monitoring into a marketing strategy

The following post is courtesy of: online at:

Your reputation is everything.  What you say and what is said about you is more important than ever with the growth of the social media landscape.  It’s a double edged sword.  While social media makes it easy to build brand awareness online, negative publicity can quickly spiral out of control.

Online marketing companies now offer brand monitoring services to help you keep track of both your company’s and your competitors’ online brand mentions.  However, brand monitoring should be more than a report.  Successful brand monitoring is about turning intelligence into marketing strategy. 

Here are some brand monitoring tools that can be leveraged for marketing purposes.

Use this tool to search for tweets containing your company name, competitors or keyword phrases.  Respond to tweets where appropriate to establish yourself in the Twitter community and build brand recognition.  You can also use to receive email alerts when certain keyword phrases are mentioned on Twitter.

Find forums in your industry by searching for keyword phrases.  Join the top forums and actively participate in conversations.  Build brand awareness by leaving your name and URL at the end of each post.

Search for blog posts and bloggers that write about your industry/expertise.  Leave well-thought-out comments on relevant blog posts and develop relationships with key bloggers in your space.  You can also use and Blog Pulse.

Use this tool to aggregate all social media activity for a particular person.  You can keep an eye on what competitors are saying and find social media opportunities that you too can leverage.

Search for competitors or keyword phrases to receive a summary of social media buzz surrounding them.  Use this data to find social media opportunities for you and your company.  You can also use Serph for the same purpose.

There is a lot to be learned from what others are doing online.  Leveraging these tools will help you gain this intelligence and use it to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Friday, December 05, 2008


The Minneapolis-St. Paul office of Weber Shandwick today announced the promotions of seven employees in the consumer, technology and health care practices.

Jonathan Mason has been promoted to account group manager in the consumer marketing practice. During his tenure, Mason has contributed to helping a broad range of clients increase brand awareness among key consumer groups through media relations and strategic planning initiatives. For the past two years, Mason has managed the FedEx Racing program and has brought his considerable NASCAR experience to many clients, including ExxonMobil, Sharpie, Unilever and Polaroid. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick in 2003, Mason worked on the communications staff of former City of Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton. The University of Minnesota graduate holds a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Brianna Gallett has been promoted to senior account executive in the consumer marketing practice. Gallett has helped with brand-building, national media relations, product launches, event planning and contest management for her clients, including Verizon, Cargill, The Allstate Foundation and the U.S. Army. She graduated magna cum laude from Winona State University with a bachelor's degree in public relations and a minor in marketing. Gallett joined Weber Shandwick as an account executive in March of 2008 after working at a St. Paul-based communications firm.

Jennifer Kramer has been promoted to senior account executive in the consumer marketing practice. Since joining the agency in 2006, Kramer has brought her experience in media and client relations, writing, new product launches and event planning to several consumer clients. Kramer currently leads the Alpine Lace program for Land O’Lakes and serves as project manager for the 2010 Census team. She joined Weber Shandwick as an intern in February of 2006 after working as a project manager at Cardozo Fine Art and interning with the American Heart Association. A 2005 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, Kramer holds bachelor’s degrees in international management and Spanish.

Anne Torkelson has been promoted to account executive in the technology practice. Torkelson joined Weber Shandwick in October of 2007, and has supported a variety of clients, including Honeywell, Microsoft and Personnel Decisions International. Prior to joining the agency, Torkelson held internships at Wells Fargo Business Credit, Minneapolis’ Downtown Journal and Southwest Journal, Milkweed Editions, City Pages and Fairview Press. A 2007 cum laude graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., Torkelson holds a bachelor’s degree in English and religion with a media studies concentration.

Sarah Stakston, APR, has been promoted to account supervisor in the health care practice. Since joining Weber Shandwick, she has developed campaign plans, conducted national and trade media outreach and developed Web content for a range of health care clients, including the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Intervention and Beckman Coulter. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Sarah worked in the health care and media relations practices of a Twin Cities-based public relations agency. Sarah graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and business management. She is currently pursuing her MBA at the Carlson School of Management.

Lisa Shepherd has been promoted to account supervisor in the health care practice. Her public relations experience includes health care and financial services media relations for a broad range of clients, including the American College of Surgeons (ACS), Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the IRS and the U.S. Mint. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick in 2005, Lisa was a senior associate at a global real estate services and money management firm in Chicago. Shepherd received a bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio in Speech Communications and Spanish and is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Rachel Lonsdale has been promoted to senior account executive in the health care practice. Since joining the agency in 2006, Lonsdale has helped plan and execute media relations and strategic activities for several health care clients including Boston Scientific and the National Brain Aneurysm Center, located at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. She also serves on the communications task force at Portico Healthnet. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Lonsdale was an intern at WKOW-TV and a legislative intern in Madison, Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and Political Science.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Follow today's 2008 PRSA Professional Practices Conference LIVE on Twitter

The 2008 Minnesota PRSA Professional Practices Conference is today. At the conference they will discuss PR’s Changing Relationships, PR Today & Tomorrow and hear from PR experts like Paula Prahl, senior vice president communications, public affairs and corporate responsibility, Best Buy and Peter Shankman, founder of Help A Reporter Out.

Follow updates live on Twitter at

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


The Minneapolis-St. Paul office of Weber Shandwick today announced five new hires in the consumer marketing, interactive and emerging media, financial services and technology practices.

Heather Schwartz, APR, joined the consumer marketing practice as an account supervisor. Prior to Weber Shandwick, Schwartz served as brand public relations director at a local firm where she oversaw the marketing strategy, campaign development and execution for all consumer brand and health care accounts. Originally from Oakdale, Minn., Schwartz graduated from Augsburg College with a bachelor's degree in communications with a public relations emphasis. Schwartz is also an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and is the founder and co-chair of the Alphabet Bash, Minnesota’s marketing, communications, public relations and advertising communities’ premier networking event.

After completing her internship, Rachael Lybeck joined the interactive and emerging media practice as a junior graphic designer. A native of New Richmond, Wis., Lybeck graduated from University of Minnesota, Duluth with a bachelor's degree in graphic design.

Jessica Hannon also joined the interactive and emerging media practice as a graphic designer. Prior to Weber Shandwick, Hannon designed and produced newspaper advertisements, posters, billboards and direct mail for the Native American gaming industry. Hannon earned her bachelor's degree in graphic design from The Art Institutes International of Minnesota.

Courtney Finn joined the financial services practice as a senior account executive. Prior to Weber Shandwick, Finn worked on business-to-business and consumer accounts at a Las Vegas public relations firm. A native of Edina, Minn., Finn earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Vermont.

JoDee George joined the technology practice as an account group manager. Prior to Weber Shandwick, George was the director of issues management for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) where she balanced industry response to three of the largest ground beef recalls in history with the launch of proactive consumer campaigns on topics such as sustainability and food safety. Previously, George worked for PR firms in Kansas City, Mo., and Portland, Ore., where her clients covered food, beverage, agribusiness, technology and energy sectors. She recently joined the local North Central chapter of National Agri-Marketing Association’s board of directors and has been an active member of the Northwestern Alumni Club and Admissions Council and Junior League. George is originally from southern Wisconsin and graduated from Northwestern University with a political science degree.

AdFed - Transition from Agency-Life to Corporate-Life: Is The Grass Always Greener?

At some point in our career we may get to a point where we are presented with an opportunity to move ahead. Or, we may feel the need to change companies, switch careers or move to a new location all together. Sometimes we may hesitate to make a decision. We may see some of our own colleagues, friends and even family make the leap from the agency side to the client (corporate) side and vice versa, but sometimes we don't understand the reasons why they made the change.

What are the "perks" of corporate versus agency life? Is the pay better? Would the corporate culture be a better fit? Would work hours be better? Or, is it that in our ever-changing work culture, we just need more of that - change?

Find out at the 's (Ad Fed) breakfast meeting on Friday, December 12, when SUPERVALU's Shawne Murphy Johnson, vice president of marketing brand management and advertising, and Shelly Nelson, director of strategic media services for brand management and advertising, talk about their leap to the client side after a combined 35 years on the agency side. They will discuss the pros and cons of the corporate and agency worlds from their point-of-view.

Before joining SUPERVALU in 2007, Murphy Johnson spent 21 years at advertising agency Campbell Mithun. She was named one of the 50 "Top Women in Grocery" by Progressive Grocer in 2008. Prior to joining SUPERVALU in 2008, Nelson spent 12 years at Campbell Mithun. In 2005, she was named "Working Mother of the Year in Advertising" by Working Mother magazine and the Advertising Women of New York.

Shawne Murphy Johnson
Vice President of Marketing Brand Management and Advertising

Shelly Nelson
Director of Strategic Media Services for Brand Management and Advertising
Friday, December 12, 2008
8:00-8:30 am - Registration/Networking
8:30-9:30am - Breakfast and Speaker (including Q & A)
Members - $20
Nonmembers - $25
Students - $20
Location: The Grand Hotel
5th floor Ballroom I

Minneapolis, MN

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mix and Mingle with Minnesota’s BtoB Marketing Community on 12/3

Join your fellow Business-to-Business marketers on December 3, as we celebrate the launch of the Minnesota chapter of the Business Marketing Association (BMA).

From 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm, meet new and prospective BMA members for a night of free sushi and fresh conversation at the Twin Cities' coolest lounge, Seven, above the historic Pantages Theatre on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.

Brought together to address the unmet needs of BtoB marketers in the region, BMA-Minnesota was formally established in September 2008. BMA-Minnesota is the only professional association in Minnesota dedicated exclusively to address the unique needs of Minnesota’s robust BtoB marketing community.

Event Details
Date: December 3, 2008
Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Seven Sushi Ultralounge
700 Hennepin Avenue
Price: Free
Walk-ins welcome.
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