Resolve to Get Great Media Coverage in 2019

Resolve to Get Great Media Coverage in 2019

 

2018 was a great year for our clients. Their unique and wonderful stories were featured prominently across multiple media channels throughout the year. We at IVY were happy to leverage our close media relations to help them get such great coverage!

 2019 stands to be an even better year. Contact us and tell us about your special community, service or organization. Great content marketing is all about storytelling, and that’s our specialty! Please enjoy our video above, and resolve to let our team of experts help you share your story with the world!

IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.

The Many Blessings of Ethical PR

The Many Blessings of Ethical PR

The holidays is a natural time to take stock of our relationships. While horror stories and jokes abound regarding tension and awkwardness around the extended family table, by and large this is a time for counting our blessings—people first among them.

Consider, for example, the release of the movie “Wonder,” starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, on November 17, a week before Thanksgiving. The film highlights human compassion and acceptance and is already proving to be a great cinematic choice for the entire family.

Good relationships are popular themes this time of year, when good will is at the forefront of our minds and hearts. Good relationships are also a lot like good public relations.

While the practice of public relations has significantly evolved since its emergence in the early 1900s, its basic principles remain the same. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) holds its members to these core values:

  • Advocacy: acting as responsible advocates for the people and organizations PR professionals represent
  • Honesty: adhering to the highest standards of accuracy and truth
  • Expertise: continuing professional development, research and education
  • Independence: providing objective counsel to those represented, while being accountable for one’s actions
  • Loyalty: being faithful to those represented
  • Fairness: respecting all opinions and supporting the right of free expression

We don’t have to look too hard to see that each of these values closely parallels the attributes of healthy personal relationships.

Good friends and family will always go to bat for loved ones, and true friends will tell us the truth, whether we like it or not (family seems to be especially good at it!).

On the surface, expertise is not immediately relateable to human relationships, but consider how parents are continually studying up on how best to raise their children; spouses sometimes go to marriage counseling or on couples’ retreats, and if someone we care for has a problem or concern, we often find ourselves on the Internet looking for information and answers to help them out.

Providing objective counsel to friends and, particularly, family can be difficult, as so much of ourselves is invested in these relationships. But there is tremendous value in stepping back and taking one’s self out of the equation. When this isn’t possible, the best approach can be to encourage a loved one to seek neutral counsel from an outside party or offer to search reputable resources or advice on their behalf.

Loyalty is a no-brainer in maintaining healthy personal relationships, as are fairness and support of our friends’ and family’s feelings and opinions.

Let’s also consider this statement from the website of the Museum of Public Relations in New York City: “Words cannot be unsaid.” No truer words were ever written. The site’s blurb is referring to William Henry Vanderbilt, who infamously said “The public be damned” to a reporter who confronted Vanderbilt with the people’s resentment of his railroad monopoly. Oops.

Few of us haven’t said something we wish we could shove back into our mouths, never to have been uttered. How many relationships have been damaged by such words? And what amount of effort and energy has been expended in repairing the damage? Sometimes, the effort isn’t made, or not properly made, and the relationship crumbles for good.

This, too, can happen in public relations, if not carefully and ethically implemented.

Not long after Vanderbilt’s verbal offense, public relations expert and “The Father of Modern Public Relations” Ivy Lee declared to city newspaper editors that “The public shall be informed.” Lee also helped John D. Rockefeller’s public image change from a “vilified oil baron” to a beloved philanthropist. Ah, the power of good PR.

Today, PR is primarily about engaging audiences, rather than simply informing them. Again, the parallels to human relationships are unmistakable. No real relationship can be sustained without engagement from all involved. It’s interesting to note here that the word “engagement” is most commonly used to convey a couple’s intention to spend the rest of their lives together.

The more public relations professionals look at relationships with their audiences or clients like treasured friends and family, the more all parties will gain from the interpersonal connections.

Let our team of experts show you how combining the values of ethical PR with the hallmarks of good personal relationships amounts to meaningful communications worth knowing about and engaging in.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.

 

 

 

 

The Silver Lining for PR In the Age of Fake News

The Silver Lining for PR In the Age of Fake News

If ever there was a time when trust in the media has eroded, it is now. “Fake news” is everywhere, and people are more aware than ever that what they’re reading or hearing may not actually be true. According to a September 2016 Gallup poll, Americans’ trust in mass media’s ability to accurately report the news has dropped to its lowest level in history.

So, where does that leave PR, the industry charged with creating positive public image?

According to media expert Sarah Clark, PR is “becoming more effective than it’s ever been. What most people fail to understand is that the internet has opened new ways for organizations to engage with people authentically and directly.”

Has it ever. PR professionals have multiple channels and means through which to establish and maintain brand and reputation: websites, content marketing, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), white papers, case studies, email campaigns, blog posts, slide shows, videos, infographics, interactive marketing, data analysis, and the list goes on.

But we must be oh-so-careful. While there is much room for growth in public relations, there is infinite room for doubt. Social media algorithms allow today’s consumers to self-select which news will best support their views. They can also read hundreds of reviews from real people willing and able to share their opinions. Even the casual browser can smell a spin from a mile away – and perpetuate one just as easily.

In whom can we trust? While that question is daunting, there is a silver lining for PR. What better time is there than now to stand out as ambassadors of truth amidst the clatter and clutter of fake news? The current atmosphere is rife with opportunity. We must take it!

But how? While it may seem easy – just tell the truth – getting people to recognize the truth is a lot more complicated these days. Here are some tips to help your PR shine above the muddy waters of fake news:

  • Believe yourself. Let’s start with the seemingly obvious notion that marketers should believe their own messages. If you don’t wholeheartedly have faith, 100 percent in your soul, in what you’re telling others, nor will anyone else. Duh, you say? Consider the case of a popular cell phone’s claim that its next version was twice as fast and half the price, an assertion that even the company knew was inaccurate and, ultimately, landed them in court.
  • Micro-target your audience. Complicated algorithms easily allow consumers to self-choose which messages they’re exposed to, creating a climate of “tribal persuasion.” It is more essential than ever to know your audience and speak to them directly and individually, sometimes creating several different messages for different groups. Your marketing team can help you leverage consumer data and demographics to identify like-minded people and create truthful messages that will resonate with them, based on their core values and frames of reference. You’re not “buying in” to their belief systems; you’re tapping in to them to reach and engage them more meaningfully.
  • Know your audience, literally. Take every opportunity possible to personally meet and get to know the members of your community and their families. The more you know your current customer base, the more you can predict the needs and wants of clients in the future and how to communicate with them authentically and authoritatively. If possible, task your marketing team with face-to-face meetings, outings and interviews with the residents and staff of your community. These primary sources will add immeasurable credibility to your public relations.
  • Don’t perpetuate fake news. Monitor your social media to make sure fake news is not making the rounds on your platforms, and inform your clients or associates of any bogus postings you suspect on theirs. Never allow open commenting on your platforms without administrative clearance, and block troublesome commenters or trolls.
  • Check and cross check your facts and sources. Repeat. This is a fundamental principle of PR and journalism (a field which relies increasingly on PR amidst job cuts), but one that has gone woefully by the wayside in the haste to dash out “news” as quick as a click. When primary sources are not available, use reliable fact checking sites for secondary and tertiary stories or sources, or employ your marketing team to do the legwork for you.

Despite the damaging effects of fake news, PR is being consistently reinvigorated with new outlets and technology to communicate your brand and messages with dignity and truth. Your marketing team can help you explore all the possibilities.

Ivy Marketing. Come Grow With Us.

 

 

 

Measuring Public Relations

There used to be a stigma attached to PR that professionals in this arena simply “create buzz” and while that is true it’s not the sole existence of successful firms.  In the past Public Relations used to be about big events, celebrity endorsements and reporter relationships.  Now, it’s shifting to basing those strategic decisions on data.  It was often compared with Advertising, but with its quick evolution, Ivy Marketing Group suggests that Public Relations has a major influence on many things from awareness, reputation and brand behavior, employee satisfaction, and (perhaps most importantly) driving the bottom line and building loyalty.

But how do we prove such a statement?

Measuring PR is more common in today’s business with various tracking tools for the following:

  • Press Placement – Often thought of as the true ROI of Public Relations, every press placement has the ability to educate consumers and gain new sales.  The impressions often result in web site visits and social media shares.
  • Online Chatter – Does the company have great reviews on Yelp?  Join the conversation and thank those reviewers.  Are people commenting and sharing facebook posts?  Be sure to actively engage and enlighten.
  • Advertising Value Equivalency – These metrics help measure success and the value of a placement. It’s great for comparison purposes to show a public relations professional has covered the cost of the service and provided positive results
  • Sales Leads – Did you host a great event that brought in new leads?  Are the phones busy ringing the morning an article in the paper drops?  On a site tour, does the potential client mention they first heard about you from a great word of mouth friend reference?
  • Influencer Campaigns – Connect with industry influencers and reach out to them, in hopes of turning into brand loyalists. With these campaigns, monitor also how the influencers interact with competitors.

 

It’s important to utilize these to their fullest and provide results that speak to the brand’s strategic communications plans.  It’s our daily mission to make Public Relations a strong force of all organizations.

 

It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!

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IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.

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As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.

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All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.

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It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.

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Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!

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Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!

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Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.

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I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.

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My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!

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I could not be more thrilled to work alongside the IVY team.

For over 25 years, I have been employed in top executive positions across the Chicago area and have consistently built profitable businesses, generated sales, and developed and launched new product lines.

Strategically positioning companies and commodities for growth is a strong suit I’m eager to bring to ResponderHub™, IVY’s new crisis communications solution. I’m also excited to help expand IVY’s reach in the senior marketing industry.

I believe people are more open than ever to thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to reach their customer base, while at the same time reducing their cost of sale. The senior industry is exploding, and IVY is perfectly positioned to respond to the need for innovative, quality content marketing services and effective crisis communications.

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