Hello?

February 8, 2017

by Vianka McConville

If you’re looking for whistleblowers in the era of email hacking, why not list a phone number?

The New York Times has a system to receive confidential news tips which includes messaging apps, encrypted emails and snail mail, but omits a phone number.  Unless the line was bugged, I would think a phone call would be the safest way to share confidential information.

As someone who has tried to call reporters at the Times, I assume direct phone numbers are nowhere to be found due to the volume of calls the publication receives on a daily basis.  The phone system is a fortress.  But that can be a blessing and a curse; reporters may avoid the world’s worst story ideas, but also could miss out on the next big tip.

Is it an attempt to thwart a deluge of unrelated calls or have people become too comfortable behind screens and encrypted messages to actually talk to folks?


A Different Holiday Card

January 10, 2017

by Vianka McConville

The Chronicle of Higher Education received a different holiday greeting in the newsroom this year – baseball cards.

The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sent reporters information on its researchers in the form of baseball cards, including a photo, stats and signature.  It was well received.

whitehead-institute

Friday’s eNewsletter roundup to Chronicle subscribers included a quick story about the surprise, demonstrating the effectiveness of the cards. Even though the Whitehead Institute stated the cards weren’t meant to promote experts available to the media, but rather varied personalities and research, I’m sure Chronicle reporters will be reaching for the deck during an upcoming assignment.

When it comes to strategic thinking, the Whitehead Institute knocked this one out of the park.


Content vs. Stories

December 27, 2016

by Vianka McConville

I don’t like the word ‘content.’  To me, it’s in the same category as ‘moist’ for some or how others detest ‘networking.’

I don’t like categorizing writing as content because it demotes story.

My job is to tell stories – stories that are relevant and reach people in a positive manner.  I have learned that in order to be good at my job, everything I write needs a human element, whether it’s a media pitch, copy for a website, or a speech.  Content does not always make that connection.

To drive home the point, take a look at two versions of the same hypothetical lead:

Firefighter saves 46-year-old woman from burning house.  All of her belongings are gone except for the clothes on her back.

Sarah Carpenter is thankful to have the clothes on her back after her home was burned to the ground.

Telling a story is simply more powerful.


For The Win

September 2, 2016

by Vianka McConville

While the ultimate measure of success in public relations is meeting and exceeding client goals, it’s nice to receive recognition from your peers as well.  I’m proud to say our team was recognized for several exciting public relations programs and projects at the recent Florida Public Relations Association Golden Image Awards Gala, giving us more trophies and plaques to decorate the halls and walls of our office.

C&P took “home the gold” (the gala was Olympics themed) with the top scores in each category for the following programs and projects:

  • The Corridor’s annual magazine as a tool to tell the story of a growing high tech region and of the pioneers who push innovation forward locally.  The magazine served to introduce media to the region, earning coverage and exceeded circulation by 1,000 copies over the previous year.
  • Promotion of The Corridor’s 20th anniversary, divided between an industry luncheon and support from Florida Trend to feature the region. These efforts recognized long-time partners and further shared The Corridor’s message beyond the 23-county region.
  • National Airlines’ launch into commercial flights through media events and outreach which exceeded objectives for media coverage by 300 percent, and was planned and implemented in only three weeks.

Additionally, we received an Award of Distinction for C&P’s For The Win digital magazine, celebrating our firm’s 30th year in the business.  The magazine achieved an impressive 49 percent email open rate and increased social media engagement on the firm’s Facebook page.

It’s an honor to be part of a team that is ready, willing and able to go above and beyond for our clients.  These awards are just a small glimpse into our work.

FPRA 1 FPRA 3 FPRA 2


Storytelling

August 5, 2016

by Vianka McConville

Inspired by the book, I, Robot, Brian Nave grew up to work and play with robots every day.  He owns Ormond Beach’s LOGICOM Logic Systems and has competed on “Battle Bots” several times.  His team controls Captain Shrederator.

Nave’s story is just one of many in the 23-county region known as the Florida High Tech Corridor.  For more than 15 years, Curley & Pynn has been digging up stories like Nave’s to showcase the people, research, innovation and pioneering work in the central part of the state that has helped support a growing tech hub.  Those stories are curated to produce award-winning content and shared through The Corridor’s annual magazine, which was recently updated with a new digital version online.

The magazine serves as a tool for partners in economic development to further demonstrate what high tech industry looks like in Florida.  Read the cover story to learn more about Nave’s fascination with robots and other stories on interesting things you may not know are happening right under your nose.

How do you share client stories?


The Tech Generation

July 27, 2016

by Vianka McConville

Categorizing a whole generation can be tough, but marketers and communicators – and a range of other professionals – do it often to millennials.  One box must fit all.  It doesn’t.

Fast facts debunking common millennial misconceptions:

These values look familiar.

The only difference between the millennial generation and others before it is technology.  Millennials grew up with it and use it to their advantage.

As communicators, we have the power to change perception or feed into the negative.  We need to take the time to understand the makings of each generation or group we wish to target or represent and do so accurately.

The real game changer is technology not altered values.


On Managing a Crisis: Chipotle

February 8, 2016

by Vianka McConville

Is my Chipotle burrito safe to eat?

After many months, I’ve decided that, for me, the answer is yes.

Since August 2015, Chipotle has battled food safety concerns from outbreaks of norovirus, Salmonella and E. coli in numerous states.  I will admit I was one of those people who stayed away from the chain for the past six months due to a fear of getting sick.  However, I’ve changed my tune and can’t wait to devour a burrito in the near future.

Here’s why I’ve decided to give Chipotle another try:

Communication about the incidents has been transparent and readily available, information is thorough, and apologies feel heartfelt and honest.

The level of effort that Chipotle has put into communicating to me that the chain has taken every possible step to ensure my safety earned back my trust.

That’s good public relations.

The battle is far from over for the Mexican chain.  The good fight continues today with a company-wide meeting on food safety that shuts all restaurant doors until 3 p.m., but invites everyone in on the conversation by live-tweeting the event.  As a competing Mexican grill, Moe’s ran a full-page ad in USA Today touting its restaurants would be open all day.

There’s a long road ahead, but Chipotle has a great compass in hand.


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