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Author: Cassidy Herrold

Meet Our Members: Uli Dendy

What’s your name, job, Twitter handle, etc.?
Ulrike Dendy, Uli for short, CEO of TrueLanguage LLC. @ulidendy

How long have you been an IABC Atlanta member?
TrueLanguage was invited to join IABC in 2012. I’ve gotten much more closely involved with the association in the last couple of years.

Why did you join and what has kept you with the association?
I joined because IABC’s vision and the vision of my company are in total alignment. IABC enables a global network of communicators working in diverse industries and disciplines to identify, share, and apply the world’s best communication practices. We facilitate communication across borders. As an active member, I value listening and learning from other communicators, and sharing our cultural and linguistic knowledge. We like to think we help emphasize the “I” in “IABC”!

What do you love most about communications?
Communication is never the same. The message is always different and every audience has different needs. How can we ensure that the message is understood? Should we use an eLearning environment, an infographic, a video component? What should it be for different cultures? Is it enough to offer the content in the local language or do we need to support the trainer with an interpreter? Every project is a dialogue – we communicate with the creator of the message, the linguist and the audience. Each new project that helps a client grow also lets us deepen our knowledge of various industries, and of how different cultures handle tricky language situations.

What do you see on the horizon for your line of work?
Technological solutions for collaboration and machine-assisted translation are enabling us to handle more content with faster turn-around times. However, the challenge of understanding the message and ensuring that it is localized without loss of meaning will remain the same. We’ll be able to think less about the logistics of translation, and give complete attention to perfecting the message in every language.

What is the strangest communication request you have ever received?
Atlanta’s growing status as a media/entertainment center has given us some cool projects with the video game and television fields. Our translators were really excited to work on material for tours of shooting locations for The Walking Dead! But the strangest? Once we were asked to verify that a certain word meant absolutely nothing… in every language. There are over 6000 living languages, so we had to scale it down quite a bit.

Tell us something your IABC colleagues might be surprised to learn about you?
They might be surprised to know that I was a dog obedience and agility trainer for 10 years and was very active in dog rescue. I don’t train dogs anymore, but I’m still supporting Georgia Jack Russell Rescue.

Books on your nightstand?
Right now, I’m re-reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I’ve got a cool personal connection with this book: it’s based on real people, and the doctor in the story is based on the brother of someone I know.

Favorite Atlanta spot?
Sope Creek Park in Marietta is one of my favorite places to go, for hiking and biking. I also love going to Actors Express whenever I can. My daughter is a professional actress, it’s a fun way to support the arts!

Minimize “Social” for a More Effective Intranet

In Case You Missed It…

About the Author: Suzanne O’Brien works with organizations seeking stronger customer relationships to increase satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. Visit evergreenc.com.

Social. Engagement. Collaboration. Transparency. Intranet.

Chances are, you associate these terms with a sense of MORE content created by MORE people. But is that best for a business? During May’s IABC/Atlanta luncheon, we learned how one company has seen intranet success by shutting down mass content creation and instead curating a communications ecosystem.

Michele Shauf, Ph.D. is director of corporate learning at eVestment. With years of experience in organizational development and designing learning programs, she spearheaded a new approach to content and engagement for eVestment’s recent intranet revamp.

Shauf and team began by challenging the vague and contradictory premises that “internal social” is always better, and that without “social” internal communication is always top down – but also, companies should feel flat and informal. Instead, they acknowledged these realities:

  • Without social, communication can come from the center out rather than top down.
  • Conversations don’t need to go on and on. They can end. And that’s good!
  • More content isn’t better. More content is just noise; it undermines efforts.
  • Just because someone can type, doesn’t mean they can create effective content.

At the same time, they defined business objectives for eVestment’s intranet. These likely apply to your organization, too:

An intranet should…

  • Equip employees to be strong collaborators.
  • Increase productivity by reducing information foraging and [re]production.
  • Shrink geographic differences and reduce travel costs – and globalize thinking.
  • Establish two-way communication with associates, but only where appropriate.
  • Embed micro-particle learning everywhere so that employees constantly absorb small pieces of information.

eVestment designed their intranet to be a communication platform of curated content: a beautiful, carefully tended and walled garden, not a jungle.

So how did they do it? First, they built the intranet inside every employee’s existing workspace. At eVestment, employees spend the most time working in their customer relationship management (CRM) software – so that’s where the intranet was built.

Then they developed a content strategy that promotes cross-functional, global thinking. Each publication has an angle that reflects business priorities and business progress, buffering strategic foundations and providing a sense of accomplishment. Also, content is oriented to how it could be discussed with clients and in public.

eVestment minimized distraction in the intranet by limiting employee profile fields to those that are relevant to work, and providing templates and a “controlled vocabulary” of suggested terms. They also configured out most social interaction options, leaving only content ratings and subscriptions.

Finally, they took communications beyond the intranet and developed a full internal communications ecosystem. Channels include monthly town halls, a learning management system (LMS) for information that changes infrequently, and internal marketing – signage, a TV channel in the company gym, and a daily internal email summarizing the most important messages.

eVestment teams still use other communication tools like Confluence and JIRA, Salesforce Chatter, SharePoint, Skype, and email. But that’s for team-based work only. For the intranet, employees are served a carefully designed and managed set of relevant, timely and succinct information.

Luncheon attendees were gifted a copy of How to Measure Your Communication Programs, a manual by Angela D. Sinickas, ABC of Sinickas Communications. Thank you for this valuable resource!

In Case You Missed It…

10 requirements for email marketing success

About the Author: Suzanne O’Brien works with organizations seeking stronger customer relationships to increase satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. Visit evergreenc.com.

April’s IABC/Atlanta luncheon kicked off with attention-grabbing facts about email:

  • 4.6 billion email accounts exist
  • 91% of consumers check email daily
  • 72% of consumers prefer email as their primary source of business communication
  • The return on investment for email is the highest among all forms of marketing tactics

First takeaway: as business communicators, exercising a strong email game is essential to effective marketing strategy and execution.

Then presenter Sharon Swendner of CRM Concepts opened the playbook, sharing ten Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing: concepts and tools to ensure that email is an integral and effective part of marketing communications strategies.


If the email doesn’t arrive, neither does your message. Learn your email service provider (ESP)’s definitions of deliverability vocabulary so that you can accurately evaluate the success of your email campaigns. Work with your ESP to implement strategies to increase deliverability, targeting 95% or higher.

Timing and Frequency

“People want to consume content if it’s good quality content,” said Swendner. Create a customer journey map of when your customers or target customers receive and interact with email. Send your communications at those times. Use customer data to target communications when it’s time to renew or re-purchase. Or ask the customer to tell you how often they want to hear from you, and segment your communications based on that preference.

Email Sign Up

Ask customers and website visitors “early and often” to opt in to your emails. Display the sign-up call to action prominently in your website. Make it easy – minimize the information you request, but be sure to ask for the first name so that you can personalize your emails.


The federal CAN-SPAM Act requires that commercial emails include an easy way to unsubscribe. Best practice is a link in each email that unsubscribes with one click.


Increase open rates by personalizing emails with recipient-specific content from the user database in your ESP. One study found that just putting the recipient’s name in the subject line increased campaign open rates increased by 29%. Get creative! Insert the date of their last purchase, product- or service-specific renewal reminders, or suggest a next purchase based on what the recipient has purchased before.

From Field

An email’s “from” section has two parts: the name and the email address. The CAN-SPAM Act requires that the domain name (company.com) and name are accurate to your organization and the group or person within your organization from which it’s being sent. For example, a sales email cannot come from support@company.com. Make the from name and email address short, personal, and specific.


Try out different scenarios of an email to determine which best support achievement of your goals. First determine which elements you want to test: for example, content, personalization, formatting, buttons, words, titles, colors, positioning. Establish baseline metrics based on past campaigns (or an initial test send), along with a testing calendar. Then send different versions to different groups of recipients. Learn which scenarios best support your goals.

Data Quality

Plan and document your email campaign data strategy. Carefully review the data fields in your ESP and audit them regularly. Gather results data on a set schedule.


As mentioned earlier, email must be integrated into your overall marketing campaign. How does email fit into the customer journey? How should we use email to send recipients to other places? Use integrated marketing tools to view email results across your marketing ecosystem.


Success is only a feeling unless it’s measured. Document baseline metrics as you’re identifying your current state. Build key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the campaign’s purpose and goals. Then measure relentlessly. Use the metrics you gather to analyze and predict activity and modify the campaign as it’s in progress to drive greater success.


The last point is simple but integral: email must be part of your marketing ecosystem, and it must be balanced with your social platforms. Incorporate the above points into your strategy as well, and reap the benefits of email marketing.


After sharing these points with plenty of detail and examples, Sharon brought it home by providing real-time feedback on several participants’ actual emails. CRM Concepts offers marketing strategy, digital marketing, CRM management, and more. Learn more at crm-concepts.com.

Thank you to IABC/Atlanta member Swift Incentives for sponsoring the luncheon.

In Case You Missed It…

Define a Company’s Cause to Build a Powerful Pitch

About the Author: Suzanne O’Brien works with organizations seeking stronger customer relationships to increase satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. Visit evergreenc.com.

Corporations face significant challenges in communicating their message: verbose complexity, lack of differentiation, and mixed messages. But distilling an entire company’s offerings into a succinct message is challenging.

Enter Ben Reed, Partner and Co-Founder at PitchMaps. At IABC/Atlanta’s monthly luncheon on March 28, Ben presented Find Your Message: How To Drive Growth With Better Sales & Marketing Messaging. Or in short, “how to get the words right” for your business – words that resonate with existing and prospective customers on a gut and emotional level.

So often, complicated problems are most easily solved by applying a simple but sound framework. A PitchMaps solution derives from an excellent example: the “Company/Cause Framework” in which you “know your ‘Cause’” to “create your pitch.”

First, identify the company’s Cause: the rally cry, purpose, stake in the ground that describes why the company exists. Drill down in discussions with the full range of relevant stakeholders: employees, customers, prospective (and even lost) customers, and vendor partners. Look at competitors’ offerings and conversely, industry whitespace.

Determine the key challenge that the company is addressing in an inspirational way.

Then build a creative yet direct company tagline or themeline that reflects the Cause. Think “Just Do It” from Nike: authentic, inspirational, and enduring but also informational.

Finally, build the company pitch around the Cause. It starts with a simple, jargon-free definition of what the company does. Then comes an eye-opener: a startling, memorable piece of information about what’s going on in the customer’s world. Follow with the solution pillars: the company’s key differentiators, framed from a customer, solution-focused perspective. Give a reason to believe: proof that company can deliver on its promise. Close by suggesting a next step to continue the conversation.

PitchMaps has found the process of carefully determining a company’s Cause and incorporating it into its messaging creates a powerful, effective pitch. To learn more, visit pitchmaps.com.

Thank you to IABC/Atlanta member TrueLanguage business translation services for sponsoring the luncheon.

Meet Our Members

60 SECONDS…with Margaret Perry Daniel

What’s your name, job, Twitter handle, etc.?
Margaret Daniel, Independent Writing and Editing Professional, MPD Communications

How long have you been an IABC Atlanta member?
Since 1988!

Why did you join and what has kept you with the association?
I joined when I was Publications Manager at Scottish Rite (now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite) because IABC offers excellent professional development for internal communications. Through IABC I’ve made contacts for great freelance projects; learned, by preparing and judging award entries, a tremendous amount about measuring results and documenting them, which is invaluable in the grant writing I do now for nonprofits; and made terrific friends. I am proud of IABC for recently circulating a petition stressing, in this age of “alternative facts,” the importance of truthful and ethical communications.

What do you love most about communications?
In grant writing, the best thing, of course, is when you get the grant, especially when it’s from a new funder. For my more creative work, like profiles, I love it when I’m told I really captured the essence of a person, or demonstrated why a program is so critical.

What do you see on the horizon for your line of work?
Most, although not all, of my clients are nonprofit, and I see more mergers on the horizon. Literacy Action, where I worked part-time for six years (a job I got through an IABC connection!) merged with Literacy Volunteers after I left, and Genesis, whose Board I served on for seven years, merged with Our House.

What is the strangest communication request you have ever received?
This was actually something I offered, but I helped a friend prepare an ad for Atlanta Singles magazine when she and I were both single.

Tell us something your IABC colleagues might be surprised to learn about you?
Most people who know me realize I’m not athletic and would be surprised to know I raised about $3,500 by participating in the 2016 Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer (10-miles on Sunday morning portion). Because I’m a soon-to-be three-year breast cancer survivor, this was a particularly happy and gratifying experience.

Books on your nightstand?
Franklin and Winston:- a “warts and all” portrait of these two men and their friendship, arguably the most important among 20th century world leaders. I love revisiting their words, which brought courage and hope to their citizens in the darkest days of World War II.

Favorite Atlanta spot?
I’d have to say our home, which has woods, a creek and 2 dogs that my husband and I have enjoyed for many years.

Meet Our Members

60 SECONDS…with Bill Nicholson

What’s your name, job, Twitter handle, etc.?
I’m Bill Nicholson and I have the privilege of leading the Atlanta office of PRM, a consultancy with broad and deep experience in human resources and internal communication. I avoid social media like the plague but am considering updating my LinkedIn profile during 2017.

How long have you been an IABC Atlanta member?
Since 1993, and before that I was involved in IABC chapters in Dallas and Denver.

Why did you join and what has kept you with the association?
I joined to network but great programming provides the ‘stickiness’ that keeps me renewing.

What do you love most about communications?
We never experience the same day twice.

What do you see on the horizon for your line of work?
Change. The topics we communicate – especially healthcare benefits – are constantly changing and of course the channels we use are very dynamic as well.

What is the strangest communication request you have ever received?
When I worked in the Dallas bureau of CBS News, people would call asking for directions to J.R. Ewing’s ranch (a setting in the fictional but very dramatic Dallas television series on CBS).

Tell us something your IABC colleagues might be surprised to learn about you?
This might be a record: I’ve won Gold Quills more than 30 years apart. In 2016, we had a great team on a medical plan enrollment that earned a Gold Quill, and my first one was in something like 1982. I think that was shortly after Guttenberg invented movable type. Communication has come a long way and it’s remarkable how IABC has been there to support and advance our profession at every turn.

Books on your nightstand?
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. It’s about coming to terms with what really matters. Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague. It’s a children’s book. Or is it?

Favorite Atlanta spot?
Hartsfield-Jackson before a morning flight – just like Grand Central Station at rush hour is my favorite spot in New York City – because the vitality is palpable.

In Case You Missed It…

Atlanta Career Coach Dana Maggi Shares Best Practices at IABC Luncheon

By Anne Wainscott-Sargent, Special to IABC Atlanta

With more than 450 million members, LinkedIn continues to be the social channel of choice for today’s working professionals. IABC Atlanta’s September luncheon focused on ways to leverage the online channel to accelerate career success.

Presented by Dana Maggi, a 20-year career coach and owner of Career Pain Relief, the session included cutting-edge strategies for how to brand effectively on LinkedIn. Maggi demonstrated tips using her own profile and those of the audience. She began her talk explaining that LinkedIn’s tagline is “relationships matter,” noting, “Relationship are the single most important way to manage your career.”

Event sponsors at the meeting included Hire Profile, a recruiting firm specializing in placing Atlanta’s marketing, communications and design professionals into permanent and temporary jobs, and Blue Fetch, a builder of mobile applications dedicated to helping enterprise clients solve business problems using mobility.

Nancy Gamble, president of Hire Profile, states that she and her recruiting staff are power users of LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is the number one tool any job seeker can use, and the first stop we go to after seeing a candidate resume to not only validate what the resume says but also to dig deeper into more personal traits and into our shared network,“ she said. “People need to make sure that their profile is always up to date and very engaging.”

Maggi, an advanced LinkedIn trainer, noted that communications professionals spend so much time promoting their companies and clients’ businesses, that they often don’t take time investing

Nancy Gamble (L) and Leslie Curl (R) of Hire Profile with  IABC Atlanta luncheon speaker Dana Maggi (center)

Nancy Gamble (L) and Leslie Curl (R) of Hire Profile with IABC Atlanta luncheon speaker Dana Maggi (center)

in their own online brand.

14-tips“This is a social forum and people will stick around and will typically stay a little longer if you tell a story or if they have something visual to look at,” Maggi says.

Communication pros often have a lot of content to post “that really represents your work, your brand, your ability to write really fantastic content.”

14 Tips for Leveraging LinkedIn

Here are 14 takeaways from Maggi’s presentation that LinkedIn users should employ to make the most of this networking and career management tool:

  1. Write a really strong headline and summary: “Think about how to describe your value and core competencies – both in your summary and your headline.”
  2. Think visual: add a background image that is visually interesting to your profile; use symbols to enhance your brand; select a photo that reflects your brand (Maggi’s informal photo reflects her brand to be approachable).
  3. Post content that showcases your work –photos, videos, links to other content.
  4. In the Experience field, avoid simply copying and pasting your resume and instead, tell a story that showcases what makes your experiences and you unique.
  5. Strengthen your profile with fields that allow you to add more details – such as fluency in multiple languages, certifications, coursework, volunteer experience, honors and awards, etc.
  6. Use LinkedIn’s blogging platform to establish credibility and perspective on what you are passionate about (LinkedIn’s blog interface allows you to tweet it simultaneously. Adding your post to Facebook is also easy).
  7. Ask to be recommended and give recommendations unsolicited.
  8. If you are changing career direction, begin to brand yourself by highlighting work experiences of roles that you would like to have moving forward.
  9. Make sure that skills and endorsements reflect your brand (you can prioritize which skills are highlighted first): “Make sure the top 10 things that show up are really relevant to what you do now.”
  10. Notify your network when you make an update: “That’s how people know you are out there.”
  11. Make sure people know how to contact you. Include an email or phone number on the “Advice for Contacting” and “contact info” fields.
  12. Check out how your profile compares with your competition—what key words do other professionals in your field use? How do they brand themselves?
  13. Follow groups and influencers that are most relevant to your brand and participate in discussions/ posts.
  14. Invest in your network: spend five minutes a day keeping up with your connections: “LinkedIn tells you what’s going in the networks of people you care about. You may see folks who have changed jobs, had a work anniversary or a birthday. It’s the perfect opportunity to reach out. Don’t just like an update or comment on it — send a message to that individual recognizing that unique event in their lives and start a dialogue.”

Leverage Search Capabilities

One of the more powerful illustrations Maggi gave was showing LinkedIn’s advanced search capabilities, including the ability to search for first and second connections by company, geography and even by college attended (Under My Network, click on “Find Alumni”). All these search results and a person’s connections can be downloaded into an Excel or PDF file.

“I recommend that you assign a number to your top connections – say 25 people in your network and create a strategy for keeping in contact with them,” Maggi said.
Speaking to the communicators in the room, Maggi emphasized that “there is no right way to do this. Find a way to engage your reader.”

IABCer Calls Session ‘Fantastic’

Following the meeting, audience member Chip Bush, manager with Global Asset Protection in Strategic Security in The Coca-Cola Company, reacted positively to the presentation. “I thought the session was fantastic primarily because I learned some new things about LinkedIn I didn’t know before that I can employ with my own LinkedIn profile,” he said, adding, “I love the search functionality and being able to find people who not only work at a certain company but who also went to school with you, so you have some connections you can leverage with that company.”

LinkedIn Fast Facts:

  • +450 million members in 200 countries
  • More than 2 new members sign up every second
  • Fastest-growing demographic are students and recent college grads – 40 million of them use LinkedIn
  • Adding photo makes you 36 times more likely to receive a message (DMR)
  • Listing skills in your profile increases 13-fold the number of profile views (DMR)


ABOUT THE AUTHORAnneWainscott-SargentHS

Anne Wainscott-Sargent is an Atlanta-based communications strategist, storyteller and author. Find her online at http://annewainscott.com/writing-consulting-services/ or on Twitter @annewainscott.

How Effective Social Media Strategy Helps Shape the City of Atlanta’s Online Brand

An interview with Elizabeth Baskin, Founder of Tribe, an internal communications consultancy in advance of her presentation to IABC Atlanta’s monthly luncheon chapter.

Silos occur in every organization, from the small start-up to large, global corporations.

“You read a lot about vertical silos in companies, meaning the disconnect between employees in different departments, business units or geographic locations,” explained Elizabeth Baskin, CEO and executive creative director for Tribe, Inc., an internal communications and branding agency focused entirely on developing internal brands.

“In Tribe’s national research on functional silos, employees often talked about what we call the horizontal silo, the chasm between the top company management and everybody else.”

According to Baskin, these silos are very common in companies with a large number of non-desk employees, and “manufacturing and retail, have a harder time with this because it’s more difficult to create communication channels between corporate and those employees without dedicated computers,” she said.

Atlanta_withStateCapitolHowever, it can be just as big of a divide within companies with “deskbound” employees, too. “The culture of the company also is a factor, as well as the communication style of the leadership,” Baskin added.

And if bridging the gap between the C-suite and the rest of the company were an easy task, communications professionals would not be having this conversation.

“It is a daunting task, but that doesn’t make a very good excuse for not doing it,” Baskin added. “Tribe recommends spending some time in the actual work environment of those front-line employees to identify possible touch points, like where are they physically when they’re working? Is it noisy? Are they sitting or standing? Are they outside? Driving a truck? Where do they go when they take their breaks?”

“You have to be creative in thinking of communication channels for this group,” she said.




ElizabethBaskinMore about Elizabeth and Tribe

Elizabeth Baskin founded Tribe in 2002, an internal communications agency focused in developing strategic plans to build employee engagement and the internal brand. She founded Tribe in 2002 as a branding boutique and quickly grew the business to a $5 million company. In 2009, she launched Starter Cards LLC, a division of Tribe, to create content such as the Start Your Own Company iPhone application and the Social Media for Old Folks webinars.