Faith’s Farewell

August 18, 2017

by Kacie Escobar 

Curley & Pynn was fortunate to be joined this summer by intern, Faith Fogarty, a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi who “wowed” us with her positive attitude and work ethic.  Read on for Faith’s account of her internship experience.

I had interned at several other places before joining the team at Curley & Pynn.  As I prepared for my first day, I woke up and found the most comfortable shoes I owned.  I was ready to run errands, clean and do other “intern work.”  Little did I know, my experience at Curley & Pynn was going to be so much more.

I was assigned a writing project right off the bat.

“Woah,” I said to myself.  “No one needs coffee or anything from Office Depot???”

On top of providing public relations counsel and marketing communications to several clients, Curley & Pynn puts in plenty of valuable time helping others succeed and grow in this profession.

Being an intern can be overwhelming, especially in an agency where something new is always happening.

One of the most important things I learned this summer was to simply ask questions.  Ask once, ask twice or as many times as you’d like, but don’t be afraid to just ask questions.  I’m sure there were times when I asked a million follow-up questions, but the team never hesitated to answer them.  I was a sponge, soaking up all the information I possibly could.

I learned another important aspect of “adulting” as well:  time management.  I give a great deal of credit to the team at Curley & Pynn because, as I quickly learned, working in an agency environment, having good time-management skills is the key to being successful.  Bouncing from one project to another on completely different subjects and with multiple clients, you must be able to manage time effectively.  Learning this hasn’t only helped me in the PR field, but in everyday life as well. To-do lists are my new best friend.

I strongly recommend the internship program at Curley & Pynn to every college student or recent graduate looking for more experience in the PR industry.  The Curley & Pynn internship program isn’t like most and that’s what I loved about it.

I could write a novel about the valuable experience, connections and knowledge I gained these past couple of months, but I know the work samples I’ve assembled prove it best.  I couldn’t be more grateful for the time and effort this team puts in to creating better PR professionals.


Charlie Needs PR People … Not Salespeople

August 9, 2017

by Kacie Escobar

Today, I received an email encouraging me to apply for a role with the Charlie team in Chicago as a key salesperson for the company’s new product.  Seemingly innocent, everything about this email rubbed me the wrong way.

Having just returned from the 2017 FPRA Annual Conference, PR:  It’s Personal, the power of personalized communication was fresh in my mind.  And this email was anything but personal.

Ironically, Charlie’s success is built on technology that “finds information from 100,000’s of sources” to build one-page profiles about your professional contacts, helping you get to know them without doing all the work.

Perhaps Charlie should have put its technology to the test.

I once researched the Charlie app, but never used it.  In fact, I had not received any previous emails from Charlie since the day I signed up nearly one year ago.  Simple research would have uncovered my lack of engagement and unfamiliarity with the company, along with my lack of experience (or interest) for a senior account executive role in sales.

The advertised position has enough responsibility that it reports directly to the CEO, yet Charlie clearly used an email distribution service to spam everyone on its list without any knowledge of the recipients’ qualifications.  The kicker:  it was sent to the inbox of the email address where I currently work, which, for others, might have sparked an awkward office conversation.

While Charlie’s tactic may eventually achieve the desired outcome, the company could have taken a far more effective approach.  A little research would have gone a long way to personalize this outreach and, as a result, reach the right target audience with the right message in the right place at the right time.

Before it can recruit the right salespeople, Charlie may want to consider recruiting someone to drive a more personalized approach to its PR.


Timing is Everything

February 9, 2017

by Kacie Escobar

Chili’s just lifted its permanent ban on Pam Beesly Halpert … and fans of NBC’s “The Office” are eating it up.

In a memorable episode, Pam (played by Jenna Fischer) is banned from the restaurant for causing a disturbance during a company party.  Asking fans whether she should go inside, the actress recently tweeted a selfie in front of a Chili’s, triggering nearly 500,000 combined retweets, likes and comments.

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Chili’s was quick to reply and “officially” lift the ban on Fischer’s character.

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Complete with a quote from the company president, the announcement extended the life of the social media event across two days.  It even prompted some of Fischer’s co-stars to join the fun, enabling the brand to reach thousands of additional followers:

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Because of its timely response, Chili’s is now on a growing list of brands that have successfully capitalized on popular culture to boost social media engagement.  These brands understand that the timing of your communication is just as important as the message.


Pump the Brakes on Digital

September 15, 2016

by Kacie Escobar

“Not so fast,” implies a recent Pew Research Center report, which pumps the brakes on the communications industry’s rapid migration to digital.

Despite what industry outlooks might lead us to believe about the internet as the most popular pathway to news, nearly 60 percent of Americans turn to TV most often.  Online platforms, including social media, websites and mobile apps, lag behind by nearly 20 percentage points.

As we’ve shared before, “Connecting with the audiences that are important to your success is the essence of good public relations.

There’s no doubt online news is “reshaping Americans’ news habits,” as the study suggests.  Put all your eggs in one basket, however, and you could fail to reach key audiences.


Time for Good News

June 23, 2016

by Kacie Escobar

It’s been almost two weeks since the tragedy in Orlando and the volume of related coverage has been overwhelming.

We initially refocused our media relations strategy, postponing news release distributions and working with reporters to table several stories in the works.  Call it an approach to avoid appearing tone deaf.  But, frankly, any other “news” just didn’t seem newsworthy in light of recent headlines.

No one can escape the sadness of stories about such events – certainly not the journalists who write them.  That’s why an email I received yesterday stood out.  An editor inquired about one of our clients.  He said the paper is desperate for uplifting news.

Although we will never forget, the email made clear that our community is beginning to overcome this difficult time.  As the healing process continues, local headlines will become a more positive reflection of The City Beautiful and PR pros are vital to advancing that transition.

It may be counterintuitive to seek publicity during this dark time, but your good news could be just what the media needs.


What’s Your Brand Worth?

August 20, 2015

by Kacie Boniberger

Would you change your brand for $20 million?  That’s the question facing upstate New York’s Paul Smith’s College.  According to The New York Times, a generous gift from 20-year board of trustees member and benefactor, Joan Weill, would help reverse Paul Smith’s College’s financial troubles – but only if the school changes its name to Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College.

The board of trustees is behind the change, and by the looks of Paul Smith’s home page, already planning how to spend the $20 million:

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Considering the overall impact of changing brand elements like a name or tagline, however, Weill’s gift might not be worth the price.  Paul Smith was founded under a family name synonymous with the best of the Adirondacks – a family known for humble beginnings and a pioneering spirit.  In contrast, Joan Weill and her late husband are known for transforming financial services and being billionaire philanthropists.  Two totally different ideals.  And, combining them would force the college to assume a new identity to accommodate both.

A court decision yesterday was supposed to determine whether the school would officially accept its new name, but the judge deferred ruling until more information could be presented.  At the hearing were about 15 people in opposition; they are joined by more than 3,000 alumni and community members in this Facebook group, and by more than 3,200 who have signed a Change.org petition.

I can’t lie … I would agree to change my name in a second if it meant a few million dollars in my bank account.  Although, in this case, rebranding should be an alternative, not “Option A.”  By acquiescing to Weill’s demand, not only is the board of trustees alienating thousands of alumni who have publicly voiced their opposition online, but it’s ignoring a responsibility to maintain the college’s integrity.

Plus, isn’t the meaning of philanthropy to show altruistic concern?  If Weill’s sincere motive is to help Paul Smith’s College maintain a brand promise to its students, alumni and community, her gift should come with much different stipulations – especially considering two buildings on campus already have her name.

A rebranding initiative shouldn’t be the result of a paycheck.  Special care should be taken to evaluate the effectiveness of your current brand elements, the opinions of your key stakeholders and the potential positive and negative impacts of a change.

What do you think?  Is $20 million worth sacrificing your brand?


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