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Kick Off the Year with a Plan for Better Balance

In Case You Missed It… An Overview of our January Networking Luncheon!

IABC Atlanta launched its 2018 monthly luncheon series with a seasonally-appropriate discussion on work-life balance and optimization.

Corporate leadership speaker, coach and author Tricia Molloy facilitated an inspirational exercise in identifying our motivations, values and natural gifts to help us prioritize the pursuit of our professional and personal goals.

To identify which aspirations are most important (and why), we began by creating our personal “balance lists” – quickly documenting our lives from such perspectives as work, family, home, relationships, health, finances and spirituality. Rating our level of satisfaction in each area helped us decide which we will focus on improving this year. “There’s no such thing as perfect balance,” coached Molloy. “We’re not looking for a 10 in all areas of life. We’re looking for satisfaction.”

Motivation + Values + Natural Gifts = My Purpose

The second half of the session focused on strategies for success in pursuing change in the areas we prioritized. Purpose is the foundation of everything we do and the decisions we make. “Each decision brings you closer or further away from your purpose,” said Molloy.

Other important strategies include managing our energy and creating the space by clearing out clutter. Citing her 2006 (updated 2012) book Working with Wisdom: 10 Universal Principles for Enlightened Entrepreneurs, she recommended the use of positive affirmations, along with mindfulness and authenticity.

Finally, Molloy armed us with a tool for documenting our balance commitments. “When you know why you want more balance—what you would do if you had more time, energy and other resources—then it’s easier to make changes, learn new skills and develop better habits,” she assured us. “Your ‘Why,’ like more time with your family, becoming healthier or advancing in your career, will keep you focused and motivated.” She sent us off with a final compelling story about the modern-day treasure hunter Mel Fisher and this question: “What treasure are you searching for?”

About the Speaker

Tricia Molloy is a corporate leadership speaker on work-life balance and achieving goals. She presents keynote talks and vision board workshops at conferences and for organizations like Marriott, the CDC and Kellogg. She also owns Molloy Communications, a public relations firm. For more information on her speaking and coaching programs, visit triciamolloy.com. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Author’s Note: Suzanne O’Brien works with businesses and organizations to design and execute informational, inspirational and educational initiatives that promote stakeholder experience and satisfaction. Her work is grounded in the conviction that collaborative and creative design yields effective and sustainable solutions.

New Year, New Face for IABC Atlanta

In January, IABC Atlanta launched our new and improved website. The clean design, slick integration with IABC Atlanta’s social media channels and easy user interface were the vision of incoming Co-VP of Communications, Cassidy Herrold. After the January luncheon, I sat down with Cassidy to learn more about her creative vision for the new face of IABC Atlanta.

What was your vision for the new IABC website?
Our website is a driving force in promoting our mission, which is to increase awareness that clear communications drive businesses. IABC Atlanta is the premier community for communications professionals, so our website needs to empower our site users to find event/networking information quickly and intuitively. The new site demonstrates our global impact by integrating the latest IABC brand guidelines to create a cohesive brand image. The new site provides robust communication resources and focuses on creating an engaging experience that connects individuals, organizations and influencers. We are really confident that the new IABC Atlanta website will position our chapter well as we work to extend our reach, support our community, and grow membership.

Tell us about some of the new features that you are most excited about on the new site?
Many of the changes were made with our end users in mind, to make the event registration process easier and more interactive. Below are some of the key new features:

  • EVENT CALENDAR – The new website features a detailed calendar with email integration for iCal and Google calendars. Each calendar event lists general information regarding date, location and time, as well as a map and social sharing icons to promote the event on all social channels.
  • LATEST NEWS/PRESS SECTION – The Latest News/Press section is an area to post photos/videos from past luncheons and highlight any notable press for IABC Atlanta.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS – With the increased focus on social media, the new site also streams IABC Atlanta’s tweets, posts and YouTube videos through a new social footer on the site. We also focused on integrating share icons on all blog posts, articles and event pages.

Those of us who have done website redesigns in our professional jobs know how much work is involved in a project like this. Was there any part of the design and build that was really challenging? Really fun?
The website redesign, development, and launch went very smoothly! When I started as a committee member, the website redesign was one of the first projects I wanted to tackle and it proved to be the best way to dive into IABC. We are the premiere communications association in Atlanta, and we wanted a website that really reflected the excellence we strive for as a chapter. From redefining the user flow to editing site content, the redesign was a great way to get to know the organization, our mission and our capabilities.

What has your involvement with IABC Atlanta as a committee member meant to you?
I joined because IABC’s mission really resonates with me. IABC empowers a global network of communicators working in diverse disciplines to identify, share, and apply the best communication practices. As a committee member, I value learning from experienced communicators and the vast professional growth opportunities that IABC Atlanta provides.

When you aren’t designing amazing websites, tell us what you do in your day job?
I’m an award-winning, multidisciplinary art director & designer at Mountain View Group with a love of smart ideas and an eye for pixel perfection. I have worked with a variety of clients (from Fortune 100 companies to small startups) with my core strengths in brand identity, interaction design, UI/UX, environmental design, film/photography, content creation and digital analytics. I design brand logos and identities for nationally recognized clients, and I have extensive experience creating brand guidelines/visual identity systems to ensure a consistent corporate identity. I develop, design, and launch interactive experiences, including multiple websites and mobile apps. Certified in both Google AdWords and Analytics, I also create strategic social media campaigns that exceed online traffic goals.

At IABC Atlanta, we know many of our members and volunteers have the support of their employers for their participation in our chapter’s work. Smart employers know that good communication drives business in the Atlanta community. Can you tell us more about Mountain View Group?
Mountain View Group is a creative agency specializing in corporate marketing, strategic communications, and culture transformation through storytelling, digital content, and design. For 30 years, Mountain View has worked with a diverse set of clients including GE, Raytheon, The Coca-Cola Company, Alcon, UPS, and CSM Bakery Solutions, among others. They help to build exceptional brand experiences and to bring clarity to communications that are crisp, compelling and authentic.

Special Thanks! IABC Atlanta would like to thank Whitney Parks of Parks Evolution Marketing, for her critical role in this project and and the members of the IABC Board who helped review and create content for the new website.

Written by: JoEllen Saeli-Lane, Co-VP of Communications, IABC Atlanta

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.

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.

In Case You Missed It…

Communicating Health in a Time of Dramatic Industry Shifts: Three Atlanta Practitioners Share Social Marketing Best Practices in Healthcare

By Anne Wainscott-Sargent, Special to IABC Atlanta

 

At the June luncheon, IABC Atlantans got an inside view of innovative social engagement in the rapidly changing world of healthcare. The lunch panel, featuring thought leaders from both the provider and service/creative agency sides of the industry, has never been timelier given the seismic shifts occurring in patient care and delivery today.

Setting the stage for the discussion was panel facilitator Lea Volpe, a Canadian native and the new VP of communications and brand for PruittHealth, a holistic nursing care provider serving patients throughout the Southeast. “Healthcare in the United States is facing the perfect storm at the moment. It is an extremely interesting, challenging, frustrating and exciting time for people who are providers of healthcare, are service providers to healthcare organizations, or are consumers of healthcare,” said Volpe in introductory remarks.

She noted that several external factors are driving the industry, many of which the healthcare industry has no control over, such as legislation, demographic shifts and changes in the population, changes in the way healthcare providers are reimbursed, and a shift in how technology is being used not only in provider organizations but also by consumers themselves.

The upheaval has led to more mergers and acquisitions, resulting in “a rapidly consolidating marketplace.”

In addition, healthcare providers are no longer being reimbursed based on volume; they are starting to be reimbursed based on quality and value of care. “I personally think the evolution to quality of care reimbursement is good for the consumer – it means over time you will have more assurance that you and your family will be taken care of in a better way,” Volpe said, adding that in the near term, it’s creating an extremely complicated environment, especially for professional communicators.

She cited her own company as an example. “In Pruitt we have thousands of nurses working in care facilities all across the Southeastern U.S. Imagine trying to keep those people engaged and excited about their job when the challenges are getting fierce on a daily basis…On every level, whether it’s employee engagement, engagement of patients or communities or marketing communities to providers, it’s a really an interesting time to work in this industry.”

Lea_Shelly_CarolinaPorter Novelli: Changing Behavior at the Population Level

Kicking off the panel was Shelly Spoeth, senior VP and practice lead, health and social impact for the Atlanta office of Porter Novelli, a 40-year-old social marketing and PR agency. Spoeth shared how her agency is leveraging social marketing to help change health behavior at the population level.

A self-professed “public health nerd,” Spoeth worked on the agency side for both pharma and biotech firms before working in public health communications. Porter Novelli’s health practice’s clients include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as a variety of non-profit organizations.

When tackling the challenge of changing health behavior, Spoeth said her colleagues have to think differently about communications and marketing than communicators in commercial firms. “This approach takes into account psychology and looks at theory,” she said. “How do we help the 40-year-old smoker who has been smoking since they were very young – how do we help them stop? We are motivated by different things and there are different barriers.”

In-Case-You-Missed-It_PorterNovelliPorter Novelli’s planning effort begins with a campaign’s target audience as a focal point. “They should always be at the center of our discussions…at the center of our decisions,” she said, explaining that her agency interviews a lot of people to find out what keeps them from stopping or starting a particular behavior. She emphasized that in population health, it’s about voluntary behavior change. “You can’t force people to do anything.”

Sometimes policy changes can affect behavior – such as when smoking was no longer permitted in office buildings or on airplanes.

She shared several other examples of how to leverage research to reach populations with health messages. When working with CDC on a campaign to get more mothers to immunize their children, Spoeth and her colleagues had to decide which target audience would be best to reach – moms who were against vaccinating, moms who were on the fence or moms who were more supportive of vaccinations.

Another campaign, “Take Charge, Take the Test,” was rolled out by CDC to women to encourage voluntary HIV testing. The planning process included talking with more than 400 women around the country and the campaign endured for nearly a decade in large part because of what was heard over and over again in focus groups. That insight was that women felt that they knew they didn’t have HIV, but they may not know about their partner. “We took that insight and used it in a way that was not negative, but tapped into that concern. It was piloted and then rolled out nationally to 10 different health departments,” recalled Spoeth.

A final CDC campaign, Learn the Signs. Act Early. focused on autism, but the word is never used in the campaign. “We knew [from our research] that parents were scared. If you say the word, autism, they will turn around and walk away,” said Spoeth. “We designed a whole book series and in that series we teach parents about milestones [like] reading and other things in life. This is another program that shows the importance of the audience insight and frameworks.”

Spoeth acknowledged that sometimes in today’s environment there isn’t always time to do a lot of consumer research, “so we are finding new ways using technology to get those insights as fast as we can and turn the results around.”

“In summary it’s really about understanding your consumer and making sure you’re really getting to the bottom line of behavior,” she concluded.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta: Getting Georgia’s Children ‘Strong4Life’

The final panelist, Carolina Cruxent, director of Wellness Marketing for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, shared highlights on Children’s phenomenally successful wellness movement, Strong4Life, which began in 2008 as the employee wellness program but which became their wellness brand for parents in 2011.

She said that in 2010, Children’s looked at the biggest health crisis confronting Georgia’s children: the escalating epidemic of childhood obesity.

“Our mission compelled us to make sure that we were doing things – communicating and impacting parents, reminding them there were things they need to do today and every day to change their child’s future,” recalled Cruxent. The goal was to keep children with preventable diseases out of the hospital. “We were treating children with illnesses that were only supposed to be seen in adults.”

Cruxent showed an alarming slide that showed how much illness contributes to healthcare costs. “What people don’t realize is that in the state of Georgia, if we bring down BMI just by 5%, we would save $22.7 billion in healthcare costs over the next 20 years. That gave us yet another reason to act.”

40% of Georgia’s kids are overweight or obese, yet 81% of all Georgia children cannot do sit-ups, pushups and can’t reach average aerobic capacity. “What does that say about our future workforce.. or our military?”

Children’s didn’t just target parents of overweight or obese kids. “It became a conversation with all parents – the parents of 81% of kids who can’t pass basic fitness assessments. It is not a conversation about weight. It’s a conversation about unhealthy habits,” she said.

Strong4Life was born to do two things – first, to prevent unhealthy habits from taking hold in the life of a child, and second, to intervene and treat those children who are already in crisis.

“The first part of our strategy is to arm parents – who are the #1 influencers in the life of a child. We arm them with tricks, tips, resources, facts they didn’t know, education – everything they need to create healthier lifestyles in the home environment. Second, we need to impact the environments outside the home because our children live and learn and play in many other places when they are not at home.”

Cruxent said Strong4Life is involved in school cafeteria and healthcare provider training to help those providers have better conversations with parents, and in community organizations such as parks and recs, Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCAs.CHOA_YouTubeVideo

From a communications perspective, to change behavior, “we had to start with awareness,” said Cruxent.

In 2011, Children’s started its first campaign to build awareness in Atlanta, and over the next few years rolled out a number of promotions, including movie theater advertising and grocery store ads reminding parents that everything they put in their shopping cart was going to go into their children, as well as takeovers on major websites citywide, and ad bags in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The healthcare leader also ran TV and radio spots and one video, “Rewind the Future,” of a 32-year-old heart attack victim being rushed into an ER operating room, was shot using the first person POV approach with a body-mounted camera. Cruxent said it went viral – with almost 19 million views worldwide.

Children’s then researched how to evolve their communications for the greatest impact on behavior change. “We talked to thousands of parents and we’ve uncovered insights on what makes parents tick, what their barriers are and what their motivators are,” Cruxent recalled.

One insight came as no surprise to the wellness team: “Every parent wants their child to be as healthy as they can be,” said Cruxent, who noted that it was more difficult to grasp that half of these parents “didn’t think there was a problem to deal with.” “They didn’t see unhealthy habits in their own home.”

How does one communicate to a group of people who don’t see a problem but who are also at various stages of awareness and readiness to change? That’s what faced the communications pros at Children’s. “Understanding those barriers helped us create an approach that was not one size fits all, but also wasn’t going to be as costly as having different ad campaigns to impact parents at different stages of readiness,” Cruxent noted, explaining that her team recognized how “seriously overwhelmed” parents were.

“We had to find the one thing that all these parents would respond to – a need for convenience.”

Children’s created content that was relevant to every parenting challenge – content that it called “stealth health.”

“Stealth health for us was all about ensuring that we could give the parent an immediate return on investment for time spent on content that was relevant to them today,” she said.

Cruxent said it was also critical for the program to offer parents “meaningful mobile moments.” “If our content can’t be delivered to a parent’s mobile device where they need it, when they need it, in context and in a way that delivers an immediate benefit to them, we can’t make a meaningful impact on these parents,” said Cruxent, describing content delivered via mobile as “snackable nuggets.”

According to Cruxent, the team has generated 1,650 pieces of original digital content over the last three years. Examples include “The Healthy Eats Hoax” – which shed light that some of the processed foods brought into the house have ingredients parents don’t realize is in the food — and ”Six Surprising Supermarket Secrets” – about the areas of the store to avoid if one wants to stay healthy.

A sign that the Children’s wellness team is hitting the mark is that compared to 2011 and 2015, the number of visits to the website has grown from 10,000 to 700,000 annually, and from 38% of parents saying they were ready today to make a change to 53% saying they are ready to make healthy changes in the home.

Cruxent credited the hard work of her team, which has grown from two members to eight full-time staff since the program launched.

PruittHealth: Making Dreams Come to True

Volpe concluded the panel sharing how PruittHealth helped ensure that its’ loving, giving and caring culture “is instilled and inspired regularly into the hearts and minds of our employees, while at the same time, creating unique experiences for their patients as they face the end of their life.

PruittHealth’s Committed to Caring Program (C2C) enables both by asking elderly patients what their lifelong dream was, and trying to make that happen for them, explained Volpe, describing C2C as a Make a Wish Foundation program for older people.

PruittHealth_SecondWindDreams2“Every year we have internal competition for all the nursing care centers to find candidates for this program and execute their dreams, make it real, videotape it and submit it for an internal companywide contest. The facilities get prize money.”

Volpe shared a video highlighting some of these experiences, showcasing how one resident was able to fly a plane, another got to be a firefighter, and still another become deputized as a sheriff (as his father was years earlier).

In an audience Q&A following the presentation, the presenters were asked what they found most gratifying about healthcare communications.

“For me it’s impacting our children’s future,” said Cruxent. “As a mother I have often woken up and said, ‘how lucky am I to work in a place that does such incredible things for children. How lucky am I to find a role that actually deals with preventable disease.”

Spoeth agreed, “I think the campaigns I worked on that have been the most rewarding were the ones I got to really know that target audience and walk in their shoes and understand how much what we were doing was needed and how it could impact a much broader group. I feel lucky that I can get up every day and make an impact and can work on different topic areas. That has kept me fresh and excited what I get today every day.”

Volpe “What has really struck me is that some of the award winners (on the video) passed away after getting to do that. There are some stories like that. Imagine bringing that kind of joy to someone at the end of their life. This is also a part of society (the elderly) who is largely forgotten in some families.”

IABC Members React to Panel

“I think it’s one of the best presentations all year. For the work I’m in, at CDC it was just incredibly applicable, hearing some real cases studies and how they overcame challenges was really useful.” –JoEllen Saei-Lane, Senior Communications Specialist, Karna/CDC

It’s always good to see communicators share real-world stories so you can see how skills get applied in different industries. Not being in the healthcare space, I found it pretty intriguing how each presenter met different challenges and applied their strategic thinking to communication solutions. In particular, some of the information shared from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was interesting in that they had to discover what the barriers were that prevent people from adopting healthy behaviors and how they can change their communication tactics to overcome those barriers and ultimately change those behaviors.” – Lawson Cox, Senior Vice President, EventStreams

“I saw internal communications become external communications and I’ve seen that twice. They developed these internal campaigns that were so good that they became external. I think that was interesting. I love this group (IABC) because you get so much information in just an hour to an hour and a half. I sat next to someone who just started at 3M in the healthcare group and she said, ‘I just got four ideas, sitting here.’” – Quinn Brack, 15+ Year Marketing Veteran


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.

In Case You Missed It…

Going for the Gold: Three IABC Golden Flame Winners Share Tips for Award-winning Entries

By Anne Wainscott-Sargent, Special to IABC Atlanta

February2016_LuncheonSpeakers

Kristi Burris, Amec Foster Wheeler; Eric Berrios, Realm; and Michelle Thernes, IHG

What do a “day-in-the-life” employee video series, an engineering technical summit and an aluminum can sustainability campaign all have in common?

They were 2015 winners of IABC Atlanta’s Golden Flame Awards. The professional communicators, Michelle Thernes with IHG, Kristi Burris with Amec Foster Wheeler, and Eric Berrios with Realm Advertising, each presented thoughtful and inspiring highlights of their gold-worthy communications programs during the February IABC Atlanta luncheon.

The timing has never been better to talk about the Atlanta chapter’s biggest awards event, given that that the Golden Flames will now be held in the fall to coincide with the IABC Southern Region Conference coming to Atlanta in October. That means communications pros will need to begin to plan their applications this spring to meet the summer submission deadline.

IHG: Bringing the Brand to Life through the Day-in-the-Life of Employees

Thernes started things out by discussing IHG’s Day in the Life video series launched in 2013 to support the company’s People Priorities – helping promote employee pride and engagement by celebrating front-line colleagues and their stories in each of IHG’s branded hotels. The hotel company of more than 350,000 employees worldwide has 1,600 employees in just its Americas headquarters office in Atlanta, Thernes said, adding, “We wanted to show real-life examples of outstanding team members to inspire those within our hotels, as well as our corporate colleagues, who are often disconnected from our front-line teams.”

InterContinental_Hotels_Group logo“We took a strategic approach to show each employee as a whole person and show how each brand is unique. We followed the employee through key moments of their day,” she said, noting that every video had a direct alignment to IHG’s business priorities and “winning metrics.” IABC members then watched one of the videos featuring Fred Flood, maintenance engineer for the Staybridge Suites in Fargo, North Dakota.

Thernes said a key to the success of the campaign was “creating a series that would have multiple uses within IHG, from inspiration to training and recruiting.”

Amec Foster Wheeler: Inspiring Collaboration & Innovation through a Tech SummitAmecFosterWheeler_logo

Burris next shared the process she went through in organizing a highly engaging summit for employees in her engineering consulting firm’s Environment & Infrastructure business based in the Americas. “We wanted to provide a hands-on experience and learning of best practices to increase engagement, collaboration and knowledge among our employees,” recalled Burris, who led the planning of the two-day event that attracted 250 employees the second week of November 2014.

At the meeting, 15 “rising stars” gave 15-minute presentations. A hands-on Innovation Expo highlighted several of the company’s patented technologies. She believes the cross-teaming that came from the meeting helped fuel first quarter 2015 results that showed a 22% increase in average project size and sales growth exceeding 110% of targets.

Realm: Starting a Sustainability Movement, One Beer Can at a Time

Berrios with Realm Integrated Marketing then shared his firm’s “big guy versus big guy campaign” to introduce a new and much more environmentally friendly aluminum can to beer makers. The product, marketed as evercan™ by client Novelis, the world’s largest recycler of aluminum cans, is made from 90% certified recycled materials while average cans today use only 30 to 40% recycled content.

Evercan_Beer-Direct-Mail_RealmThe product, Berrios explained, would disrupt the market for aluminum cans and “should be the best thing ever introduced to the beverage industry.” The company first pitched major canners but they weren’t interested in a disrupting the current supply chain, and refused to share evercan with major beverage brands. That’s when Realm took the can to a specialty market – craft beer makers, who are very sustainability focused.

Over the one-year campaign, from 2014 to 2015, Realm Advertising strived to build brand awareness and “plant the seeds of a movement.” It piloted the program first with Red Hare Brewing Company in Marietta, Georgia.

“We educated the market through billboards, at tradeshows and direct mail – even sending a direct mail beer,” recalled Berrios, who admitted that this was his favorite campaign of his career. The goal was to build understanding and get people to engage in the conversation. The results were promising: four times’ the industry click throughs for ads related to evercan and four craft breweries chose to adopt the product.

Following their presentations, the speakers then shared these tips for creating a winning IABC Golden Flame entry:

  • Understand and explain your target audience
  • Set measurable goals and objectives
  • Use the entry to tell your story in a way that is easy to follow and maintains interest
  • Paint a compelling picture of the need and opportunity
  • Share your outcomes /metrics – cite proof points of success
  • Ensure your outcomes align with your goals and objectives
  • Include strong visuals and/or work samples
  • Conduct a peer-review of your entry

To learn more about IABC Atlanta and the annual Golden Flame Awards, visit the chapter website at http://atlanta.iabc.com/.


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.

In Case You Missed It…

Video as Story: Mountain View Group Shares Best Practices in Digital & Video Communications at IABC Atlanta’s First Meeting of 2016

By Anne Wainscott-Sargent, Special to IABC Atlanta

Mountain View Group, an award-winning Atlanta-based creative communications agency founded in 1981 by a documentary filmmaker, wowed professional communicators this week with their insights on the power of video storytelling.

“Story is ultimately about affecting change – it could be change in what someone knows…it could be change in what someone believes…and it could be change in what one does,” Thom Gonyeau, Mountain View Group’s principal and founder told IABC Atlantans during the organization’s first meeting of 2016. “Story is the means, and change is the end.”

Gonyeau, a creative storyteller for over 20 years, was joined by principal Stephen Pruitt, as they shared the keys to engaging people’s hearts and minds in today’s video age.

Noting that “a very high value is placed on video content,” Gonyeau cited a statistic from B2B Marketer that over 80% of B2B marketers now rely on video content in their annual communication plans, posting video via corporate websites, YouTube, video blogs and even six-second Vines. ChiefMarketer.org, reports an even higher percentage of video usage at around 96%. “In the B2C space, you are talking about 100%,” he added.

Gonyeau called the “holy grail’ of video storytelling is when companies take a long-term approach to their video strategy rather than doing one-off videos.

“One thing we’ve learned is that no one really needs a video. What you need is a solution to a business problem,” said Pruitt, explaining that is how his firm always starts conversations with new clients. “If you start to think that way about your video content or any creative content, you start to think more strategically about your message and what you need that content to do for you.”

Pruitt explained that video isn’t always the best communication tool if one needs to present a lot of detailed information. But it’s a great medium to excite, engage and emotionally connect with people. “Video can stir the imagination – it’s a great vehicle to showcase people, places…it’s also a great way to motivate people to want to learn more,” he said.

One thing is clear, Mountain View Group knows its stuff. Pruitt said the team tackles an average of 150 projects a year, from corporate videos, animation and commercials to graphic design, communications strategy planning to social media. Last year at the IABC Atlanta’s annual Golden Flame Awards, the Inman Park creative firm won eight Golden Flames for their work.

Gonyeau said there are three ideal times for a video story: at the birth of a new company, when a company is going through major change, and when it is facing real challenges. In the case of change, video can “bring some certainty to the chaos.” During times of challenge there’s “an incredible opportunity to use story in an authentic and purposeful way to get your message out there,” he said.

MVGPrincipalsMountain View’s team of 15 full-time creatives takes a process-driven approach to helping their clients strategically think about their video project. They start with the “Creative Brief” – a consensus-building tool that enables client and agency to jointly define the project deliverables and the purpose and objectives, including audience and key messages.

Gonyeau considers the purpose and objectives “the real meat” of the brief. It’s where he asks clients, “Why this?” “Why now?” “What’s changed?” It’s also when the agency helps the clients define the creative challenge of “What do you want the audience to think, feel and do?”

From the Project Brief, Mountain View’s team defines their client’s story. A storytelling worksheet helps the process along – it embraces the classic three-act screenplay structure, including the concept of a hero.

An important detail is distribution of the video, leveraging a company’s internal and external social media, video and PR channels. “Too many people leave this as an afterthought,” said Pruitt. “When you tell stories with video, you are making an investment and you want to make sure you are getting the most out of that investment. Creating a multi-channel distribution plan is the way to do that.”

He advised, “Look at what the core communication channels are to reach the target audience, whether it’s internal, external, corporate marketing, PR, social media. You can figure out which ones to take the most advantage of and which ones you didn’t think of to get this message out. Then, once you have the distribution plan mapped out, promote it.”

Mountain View’s principals then shared examples of their agency’s video work from clients such as Coca-Cola, Raytheon and GE. Check out videos showcasing:

The two presenters summed up their talk by sharing a quote by Seth Godin: “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Following the presentation, communication pros shared their impressions:

  • “I loved the talk and the Creative Brief leave-behind in how to construct a story. Very worthwhile!” – Scott Dixon, President, CATMEDIA
  • “The most valuable takeaway from the talk was the necessity of doing a Creative Brief and to know the one key message you’re going to give. In my experience working as freelancer for corporate clients, we sometimes forget to ask, ‘What is your objective?’ ‘Why do you need a video?’”- Elisabeth Holmes, The Writing Studio
  • “The point that no one needs a video; what they need is a solution to a problem, really stood out for me because it brings everything back to the business and keeps us focused, allowing us to drive the business forward. “ – Uzo Amajor, Internal Communications Manager

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.