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Go Tell It on the Mountain

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Wilbert clients have great stories to tell, and the reason is they are doing exciting things.

Bayer Properties is opening new food halls this year in Birmingham, Alabama and Lexington, Kentucky, bringing exciting new dining and retail experiences to those cities. The Atlanta Braves will open the 2017 season in a month at their new stadium, SunTrust Park, and New South Construction is part of the joint venture behind construction and Pollack Shores figures prominently in the development of The Battery, the mixed-use component of that project. And, there are dozens of impressive things our clients are up to that there’s not time or space to list here, because today we’re talking about telling stories.

Brand storytelling master Robert McKee says businesses are learning to raise their profiles, enhance their reputations and market themselves by increasingly shifting from traditional tactics to communicating with audiences with compelling stories.

“In other words, what marketers have discovered is that the mind is a story-making and taking-in machine. The natural way in which people think is to storify their experiences,” McKee said in an interview with Skyword.

McKee says traditional advertising – particularly broadcast commercials – interrupts what people are doing, so that a company can brag at them and make them promises they don’t believe. Compelling stories that show how businesses deliver on their mission are far more effective.

At The Wilbert Group, we love to help clients deliver their stories to the people they want and need to reach. We do this through media relations, working to get their projects, products, expertise and success stories out to the audiences they need to reach from the media outlets they trust.

We also help clients by working with them to develop and then place thought leadership articles. They are experts and their thoughts and experiences are helpful to others who are in the same business, or need the guidance or help of someone with their expertise.

While we’re helping clients share their stories and expertise in traditional, print, broadcast and digital channels, we’re also helping them build effective social media communications. We’re also helping them bring high-quality video into their communication toolboxes.

It’s an exciting time to be a communicator, and we have some of the best client stories to tell. That means we get to come to work and have fun every day, while making our clients’ lives a little easier.

The Wilbert Group Hosts First Social Media Breakfast

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0N5A5301 copyThe Wilbert Group Hosts First Social Media Breakfast

The Wilbert Group this week hosted our clients and friends at our office for breakfast and a discussion about the benefits of paid social programs. The wide-ranging discussion was led by our firm’s president Caroline Wilbert and our digital strategist Sabrina Harvey. Below is a glance at some of the highlights from our discussion including why organic is no longer enough, what platforms make sense for which brands, examples of successful campaigns Wilbert has executed for clients, and best practices for creating compelling content.

So, why is organic no longer enough?

Organic reach on social platforms has continually decreased over the past several years. For example, Facebook organic posts only reach two to six percent of the audience that already likes your page. Companies need to leverage paid social options to heighten engagement with compelling content, which consumers still find valuable, and eventually “convert” by clicking links.

For a more detailed explanation, see the video below:

Which platform is right for my company?

This all depends on your audience. Consumer-facing brands should be focused on developing strong Facebook, Twitter, and potentially Instagram (for brands with strong visuals) audiences to engage with people who could potentially interact with your brand and purchase what you’re selling. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is the obvious platform to focus on. Users there are expecting to see business content, so they’re much more prone to be interested in news and data concerning your industry and company.

The good news here is that these platforms allow for highly targeted demographics and psychographics within advertisements, including differentiation within income, location, age, interest, behaviors and more. Facebook allows you to upload excel spreadsheets with “warm” contacts so advertisements will be sure to reach them.

BN7A3467 copyWhat kind of content will perform best?

The big picture here is your paid campaigns should revolve around your strategic business goals. Are you trying to get people to show up for an event? Or are you building your social audience and establishing your brand? This will also vary depending on industry and whether your business is B2B or B2C.

But in general, you want to find the value propositions that bring your audience something that makes them consider you. Instead of posting a 100-page white paper, it’s probably better to pull a graphic with some statistics for your audience to quickly digest and pique their interest. Visuals are also very important for social media; video drives 24 times more engagement than other content.

Ok, so where’s the proof this is worth it?

Wilbert ran a highly successful campaign to reach prospects of a high-end luxury residential brand in Buckhead. The team leveraged the company’s robust email database to reach over 330,000 qualified luxury buyers and encouraged them to contact the sales team. This resulted in about 13,000 conversions, all in eight weeks’ time with a small budget.

This goes to show that with a high level of detail and focused strategy, companies can reach a large number of people that have similar interests to your company with a relatively small amount of money. 

Any last thoughts? 

  • All boosted/paid content should be proprietary content
  • Range of social advertising spend from Wilbert clients is $500-$2,500 per month
  • Social media is a balance of art and science. In order to be successful, companies need to trust their social media team to run test ads and use the data to make informed decisions on what ads will be best to reach the right people in the right place at the right time.

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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 3/14/17

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  1. 17021416_1767730463252565_373011565381298796_nSt. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and Colony Square had reports that a leprechaun known as “Colin” was on the loose! It had been spotted at different areas around the Square leading up to last Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. To learn more, head over to CBS46, which featured an interview with Colony Square’s marketing director Carla Toro about all of Colony Square’s shamrock festivities.
  1. Hip-hop icon Common helped teens and Chicago police build better relationships earlier this month at the Boys & Girls Club of America’s annual Keystone Conference presented by Aaron’s, Inc. This CBS Chicago clip details Common’s speech to about 2,500 teens from all over the world. These teens came together with Common to discuss bridging relationships between teens and police, building trust, and not relying on stereotypes. Also standing on stage was Chicago Police Deputy Chief of Community Policing Eric Washington.
  1. Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.34.26 AMAccording to a recent Eater Atlanta article, Alpharetta’s Avalon development will unveil a slew of new restaurants next month. North American Properties announced that seven new projects will come online April 13 as the development officially unveils its Boulevard East expansion. The openings include Barleygarden Kitchen & Craft Bar, Brine Seafood Shack, MF Bar and much more.
  1. There’s lots of talk about what the United States can expect from President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. But how will this justice, if confirmed, affect employers across the country? Albert Brannen, managing partner of the Atlanta office of Fisher Phillips, penned a recent op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution describing how Gorsuch would treat workplace law cases.
  1. Are you thinking about freshening up your home this Spring? Whether you’re preparing to sell your home or just want an overhaul, a recent Atlanta Journal Constitution article has three ways to upgrade your home’s walls, featuring advice from Megan Harris, director of design at Edward Andrews Homes. Harris recommends using wallpaper with bold prints in areas like the foyer, a guest bathroom, a media room, or even as a focal point behind the bed.

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Atlanta – A city on the upswing of innovative architectural design

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Over the next 10 years, the population of Atlanta is projected to grow by 2.5 million. The influx of people and companies relocating to the city continues to bring more opportunity for commercial real estate development. And with the rise in commercial development follows the rise in storytelling from The Wilbert Group.

Many of the clients we work with are in the commercial real estate industry and part of the development boom that we are currently experiencing in the Atlanta market. From multifamily housing  to mixed-use destinations to stadiums, developers are becoming more innovative with every lift of the crane. Surely people across the country are puzzled by the same question: what makes Atlanta so attractive?

To start, our job market is extremely diverse. Let’s look at the film industry. Atlanta has become a highly sought-after location for shooting motion pictures and television shows which boosted its ranking to third in the nation at the end of the 2016 fiscal year.

Our city is also home to four prominent medical institutions, Atlanta Medical Center, Piedmont Healthcare, Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory Healthcare, just inside of the perimeter with several more expanding across metro Atlanta. We also boast two of the best global educational institutions – Georgia Tech and Emory University. According to a recent ranking by Times Higher Education, Atlanta is tied globally for fourth place on the list of best university cities where the top 100 colleges are located around the world.

Back to the developments. Intown Atlanta has seen drastic changes over the past few years thanks to the rise of the urban lifestyle. At the end of 2016, Midtown earned the title of “development capital of Atlanta” with a total of 22 cranes spotted in the small one-mile radius. Make no mistake though; Buckhead is in hot pursuit to take that title with a total of 33 projects currently underway or recently proposed, one of those being Wilbert client Emerson Buckhead.

Inspired by our clients, we have been experiencing a season of growth ourselves with the hiring of five new employees since the beginning of the year. This growth has allowed us to extend our reach and continue sharing the passion behind each of our client’s projects.

Last week, Wilbert client Randolph Williamson sat down with Craig Lucie of WSB-TV to discuss the shortage in the workforce as a direct result of the major development rise. Another Wilbert client, Cooper Carry, was also recently recognized in the Atlanta Business Chronicle for the design of one the many company relocations that incorporates a connection to MARTA.

Colony Square in Midtown is planning to celebrate its groundbreaking redevelopment project later this year and The Wilbert Group has been helping to reimagine the property. Keeping on the topic of innovation, Wilbert client Pollack Shores is developing three luxury apartment communities adjacent to the new Braves stadium and recently discussed the strong leasing momentum for Home at The Battery Atlanta with 11Alive.

One last Wilbert client shoutout goes to Franklin Street who not only revitalized a previously troubled asset, but also sold it for $5.65 million, setting the new record for highest sale price of a 1960s multifamily complex.

We could brag about our clients all day – but we won’t. Instead, continue watching them make history.

Rise Up for Smart PR

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The first thing I do in the morning after pouring myself a cup of hot coffee is turn on the news. I watch the news every morning because being in PR means it is crucial to know what’s happening in the world, the country and locally.

And just in case you were sleeping under a rock, what’s happening in Atlanta is that the Falcons are playing in the Super Bowl. Smart PR professionals identify ways to take advantage of a trending news topic to generate excitement for clients. We are supporting

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Natalie Fultz with Fox 5 interviews Mike Gomes, senior vice president of the Atlanta Falcons, at Atlantic Station’s  Rise Up Rally.

our clients as they “rise up” with Falcons-themed social media campaigns, events and PR programs.

 

  • Our client Atlantic Station is this year’s host of the Official Atlanta Falcons Rise Up Rally. The first event, before the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, was a huge success between media turnout and the incredible number of dirty bird fans who attended. With the Super Bowl nearly upon us, Atlantic Station is hosting another Rise Up Rally on Jan. 29 and we can’t wait to help host journalists and fans on the big day.

 

  • We also launched a successful social media campaign for client Peachtree Center, Rise Up Fridays, where fans can either post a selfie in their game attire on Instagram or go to Guest Services at Peachtree Center and be entered to win a Matt Ryan Jersey. So go show your Falcons pride!

 

  • Fisher Phillips partner Terri Stewart appeared on 11Alive this morning to discuss some of the workplace do’s and don’ts for employers and Atlanta Falcons fans leading up to Super Bowl LI. Watch her discuss calling in sick, office gambling and dress code policy for fans wearing Falcons apparel.

 

Of course, we have some of our own Dirty Birds right here in the office! The Wilbert Group is hosting Falcons Spirit Day next Friday; we’ll be decked out in black and red and may even have some hot wings. Follow us on our Instagram to see our pics.

Go Falcons!

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 7/7/16

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  1. Wilbertblogphoto(1)How did you celebrate Independence Day? In Atlanta, CRE pros displayed their patriotism by participating in the city’s many events, as reported in this Bisnow article by Jarred Schenke. Wilbert client North American Properties’ Liz Gillespie donned red, white and blue during the firm’s first annual 4th on the Square event at Colony Square in Midtown. The event took place Monday with music, food and a place for spectators to watch the Peachtree Road Race participants.
  1. In the June issue of Real Estate Forum, the magazine profiled “CRE’s Best Bosses.” Coming in at number one is Andrew Wright, Franklin Street CEO and Wilbert client. Wright won based on a poll by Real Estate Forum’s readers, totaling nearly 4,000 votes. The young CEO was 26 when he established the company in 2006. Since then, he has grown the full-service CRE firm from four people to 200 staffers in six offices in major markets throughout the Southeast, all focused on delivering value-added solutions to CRE owners and occupiers nationwide.
  1. WIlbertblogphoto(2)Mickey Mouse toothbrushes. Minnie Mouse watches. Toys, t-shirts and trinkets. Is there a brand or product that simply shouldn’t be Disneyfied? Incredibly, the answer might be no. Disney recently joined with clothing and accessories brand Coach on a collection that includes a $250 wristlet with oversize Mickey Mouse ears, a $1,995 leather motorcycle jacket with a studded Mickey Mouse silhouette on the back, and $245 Mickey Mouse sneakers. Wilbert client Revenue Analytics’ Jared Wiesel detailed his opinion of the matter in this MarketWatch article, saying, “If executed correctly, this unique offering should be relatively insulated from direct competitive threats and create a reason for new and existing customers to engage with the Coach brand.”
  1. Last month, Breakthrough Atlanta, in partnership with the Atlanta chapter of the National Basketball Retired Players Association and Wilbert client Aaron’s, hosted its second Celebrity Basketball Game at The Lovett School’s Wallace Gymnasium. The game featured a friendly competition between Team Dale Ellis and Team Dikembe Mutombo, along with several of their fellow NBA legends. Breakthrough Atlanta’s programs help middle and high school students develop the academic skills and study habits to enroll and succeed in college – and, ultimately, in life.
  1. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s J. Scott Trubey Wilbert clients Colony Square and Peachtree Center were “mixed-use before mixed-use was cool.” Now these Atlanta landmarks are gearing up for major overhauls that their owners say will open the developments to their surroundings. In December, North American Properties and equity partner Lionstone Investments acquired the two office towers and mall and announced plans to turn Colony Square into Midtown’s “living room.” For Peachtree Center, the basic design won’t change, but there are plans to add restaurants and shops in the outdoor plaza to make the complex more inviting.

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Perfecting Your Pitches: Tips from The Wilbert Group Pros

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As a recent college grad, I came into the working world excited to use the skills I had acquired in school. However, I also was fully aware I still had a lot to learn when it came to the PR industry. Thankfully, at The Wilbert Group I have the opportunity to work alongside industry experts and former journalists who have years of experience building relationships with reporters and successfully placing stories. My colleagues have provided me with tactics to improve my pitching strategy. So for all those who are looking to sharpen your skills, here are some pitching tips from The Wilbert Group pros:

Don’t be afraid to put in extra work: Journalists are always looking for trends, so next time you are pitching, think about the bigger story. Instead of solely focusing on your client, do some research for the journalist and roundup some additional sources or examples of companies participating in the trend as well. Sure, it may be more time consuming, but the payoff will be worth it! Reporters will be more likely to run the story, and they will see you as a valuable insider. Plus, it is a great way to foster partnerships with others in the industry.

Offer reporters a digital tie-in: As people are changing the way they consume media, publications are looking for ways to adapt. Many news outlets have embraced social media platforms (event Snapchat!) to reach their audiences. Know what platforms the publication uses, and personalize your pitches. Many reporters are looking for ways to increase their social media presence, so provide images for Instagram or recommend creating a Snapchat story. By doing this, you can amplify your media hits and help your client reach a broader audience.

Make it personalBlog: Reporters receive hundreds of emails each day, so as PR pros, it is our job to help our client’s news stand out. Often times, that can be accomplished through a well-researched and personal pitch. Go beyond reporters’ beats- find out what they are personally passionate about and spark their interest. Read through their previous work and make sure to tailor your pitch to fit their writing styles. Not only does this method produce better media results, it also allows for more creativity and fun.

Of course, our industry is always changing, so it is crucial we stay on top of the latest pitching strategies. There will always be room to grow, but here at The Wilbert Group, we see it as an exciting challenge.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 6/3/16

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  1. 031416_weekend_roundup_jp01Have you gone down Peachtree in Midtown recently? We’re guessing yes, and we’re guessing you’ve noticed the giant MIDTOWN letters sitting at the corner of 15th Street and Peachtree, standing eight feet tall and spanning a total of forty feet. While these may seem like a tourist trap, Jill Vejnoska at the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote that a funny thing happened outside of Wilbert client Colony Square: “People started liking them. A lot.” Jill wrote a great feature in the AJC, saying, “Almost as soon as the letters appeared, people began taking selfies with them, sometimes posting them on social media with the hashtag #IAmMidtown. In just two months, they’ve become a staging spot for all sorts of public events, from jazz concerts and a “Bike to Work Day” promotion to an Earth Day celebration.” Welcome to the new hottest spot in Midtown!
  1. The laws of supply and demand have become more complicated at Orlando’s big theme parks as they make shifts in pricing strategies. Recently, Disney has aggressively raised prices. In October, the company revamped its annual-pass system to make it much more expensive for people to visit during Christmas and spring break. Then in February, it announced tiered one-day ticket prices. The Magic Kingdom costs up to $124 on the busiest days. According to Matt Busch at Wilbert client Revenue Analytics, “The right pricing strategy can benefit both the company and the customer — that idea of…. managing demand so you don’t have these crazy crowds that can’t be served well.”
  1. UnknownLooking for an estate near Athens? Wilbert client Beaver Dam Farms, the 973-acre estate formerly owned by country singer Kenny Rogers, is heading to auction on July 9. The estate is centered around a 12,000-square-foot mansion and includes three private spring-fed lakes, five guest houses and a clubhouse and a lake clubhouse. Also on the property is an equestrian arena that includes 44 stalls and two swimming pools, as well as two clay tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course. The owners said they will sell the property to the highest bidder “at or above $3.5 million fully furnished.” You can get more details from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and, a Wilbert first, TMZ!
  1. Jeffrey Bayer, president and CEO of Birmingham-based Wilbert client Bayer Properties, has been named to the board of trustees for International Council of Shopping Centers. Bayer is a part of the select group of international leaders in the retail industry that serve on the board. “It is a privilege to join the international leadership of ICSC,” Bayer said in a statement. “ICSC is the most influential organization in our industry and represents thought leadership and innovation. I am truly honored to sit on its Board of Trustees.”
  2. Atlanta-based national labor and employment firm and Wilbert client Fisher & Phillips has ditched the ampersand and rebranded as Fisher Phillips. The firm unveiled a new logo, tagline and website to go with the streamlined name as part of the campaign to update its brand. “Fisher Phillips is a strong, modern firm that can take on the toughest cases for the most discerning clients. Our brand will now reflect that,” said its chairman, Roger Quillen, in an announcement from the 350-lawyer firm.

 

Wilbert Goes to Vegas for ICSC RECon 2016

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RECon, hosted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), is the top global convention for the shopping center industry and provides networking, deal making and educational opportunities for retail real estate professionals from around the world. An estimated 36,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors attend the conference each year.

With eight of Wilbert’s clients in attendance this year, Wilbert HQ sent Liana Moran to Las Vegas to show support and represent The Wilbert Group. Here are some of the stats from the last few days:

RECon by the numbers

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 5/12/16

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  1. MW-EM519_macys__20160511141748_ZHMacy’s is in real trouble. The retailer, whose shares were down some 14 percent at one point Wednesday, is facing headwinds from a “second consecutive year of double-digit spending reductions by international visitors in major tourist markets where Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are key destinations,” said Chief Executive Terry Lundgren in a statement. However, Jared Wiesel, partner at Wilbert client Revenue Analytics, told MarketWatch that, “there’s no doubt the softer global economy and the strength of the dollar is having an impact, but to say that sales dropped seven percent and say that that’s the major driver, I’m a little skeptical.” Wiesel advises the retailer to invest in better analytics and promotions practices.

 

  1. It’s not all bad news for retailers. Leon Stafford at the Atlanta Journal Constitution recently wrote about phase II of Wilbert client Avalon, which has landed some shopping heavy hitters, including Brooks Brothers, Levi’s and Urban Outfitters. The 86-acre mixed-use project, set to open next spring, also has leased space to Lucky Brand, The Boardroom Salon for Men, Hop City, Rumi’s Kitchen and Brine Fish House. Phase I of the project — which includes a Whole Foods store, movie theater and high-end apartments — opened in September 2014.

 

  1. Dave Williams at the Atlanta Business Chronicle recently reported on the latest National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) “quickie” elections figures, supplied by Wilbert client Fisher & Phillips. It turns out, the quicker the “quickie” union election is held, the more likely is a union victory. The firm looked at union certification elections across the country since last April, when the NLRB adopted rules allowing unions seeking to organize workers to hold elections within 11 days of filing a petition. While Fisher & Phillips found the victory rate for unions since the rules took effect has remained unchanged at 66 percent, union wins jumped to 85 percent in elections held within two weeks of a petition filing.

 

  1. web-toddler-Atantic-Station-600-x-400Need to know what to do with your toddler this summer? Look no further: Wilbert client Atlantic Station’s Central Park becomes a playground on Tuesdays, with games, storytelling, toys, music and special guests appearances. It’s available for toddlers younger than age five through September, and the best part: it’s free! You can check out other toddler activities in and around Atlanta here, which also includes Avalon’s Plaza, with face painters, storytellers, magicians, zoo animals and more.

 

  1. The Atlanta Jazz Festival lights up Piedmont Park at the end of the month, but metro music lovers don’t have to wait until then to get their groove on. The “31 Days of Jazz” is in full swing, with tunes on tap throughout the city. Workers taking a lunch break at Wilbert client Midtown’s Colony Square can hear music on the outdoor plaza on Thursdays from noon until 1 p.m., while those in (another Wilbert client) Peachtree Center will be entertained in the food court on Fridays.

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