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10 Tenets of Wilbert’s Wellness Program


A few years ago, I began down the complicated road of creating a wellness program for The Wilbert Group. Everybody loved the idea of a wellness program and it took us about five minutes to coin the name – Wilbert Wellness. Cute huh? We immediately envisioned #wilbertwellness under pictures of us wearing Fitbits or eating organic almonds.

Creating a program that was meaningful proved more difficult. I made the mistake of trying to copy other companies, as well as letting enthusiastic and well-meaning employees implement one-off ideas. We divided into teams and had a contest to see who took the stairs more. We invited in a nutrition expert and a yoga teacher for lunch and learns. One vice president on our team spoke about how to choose healthier snacks. We got juices delivered to a staff meeting. We replaced office candy with fruit. While none of these ideas were bad, we were just throwing out tactics without a clear objective. It felt forced and silly. People rolled their eyes. Sometimes I rolled my own eyes.

At the start of 2016, we took a step back. I started asking the bigger questions. Why should a company have a wellness program? What does wellness mean in the context of an office environment? How do you create a program that is truly meaningful for employees with diverse needs and wants? I continued to read books and case studies and ask questions to friends and mentors, but I stopped trying to copy what other companies were doing. I now wanted to create something uniquely suited for our firm.

My journey toward WilbertWellness 2.0 was in parallel with my own journey into meditation, mindfulness and yoga. I was trying to become the person I wanted to be, and create the company culture where I wanted to work, all at the same time. I have landed on some working answers to the big questions, some basic beliefs that are the foundation of our program. From there, we have together slowly started to implement policies and programs.

The basic tenets for Wilbert Wellness 2.0:

  1. A good wellness program should make people better at their jobs – more motivated, more focused, more creative, more willing to take risks and work hard.
  2. A wellness program is about helping people be their best whole selves at work, so it must have tentacles that stretch into physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness.
  3. People need breaks. People need breaks in the course of a day (e.g. a walk around the block at 3 p.m.) and they need breaks in the course of a year (i.e vacations). Nobody who has been staring at a computer underneath florescent light for 12 straight hours is going to be his or her most creative.
  4. Most people enjoy working hard, as long as there are opportunities to recharge and renew. People like to be challenged; a certain level of stress can feel good, as long as it isn’t overwhelming and relentless.
  5. People want others to notice when they do excellent work.
  6. People crave connection and an understanding of how their work contributes to the company’s larger goals.
  7. It is possible to be kind and empathetic, even when giving tough feedback.
  8. If people exercise, eat well, get enough sleep and take care of themselves physically they likely will be more energized and creative than if they do not do those things.
  9. Programs must be customized. A journey of wellness is going to be different for everyone. A company should support and encourage the journey but not dictate the path. (e.g. Just because I practice yoga doesn’t mean I should require the entire team to practice yoga together. That would be annoying.)
  10. You need buy-in at every level. That means the boss needs to walk the walk, and it means that employees at every level should have decision-making power in the wellness program.

What we have today:

  • A Wilbert Wellness stipend. All employees receive a $100 monthly stipend to spend on their own wellness journey. It can go to ClassPass or a membership at a Pilates studio or massages or Weight Watchers or a life coach coach or running shoes. Again, we encourage a journey but don’t dictate the path.
  • A refreshed office that includes new, creative spaces so people can get away from their desks, whether to be alone or to be together in a cozier, more informal way. We turned an office into a cool den with a sofa, chairs, rug, lamps and we added a large, inviting table to the kitchen.
  • Commitment to Excellence awards. We regularly hand out cash bonuses to employees who demonstrate their commitment to excellence by working together, building relationships, generating results and/or thinking big. Again, this is a way to acknowledge when people do a good job.
  • A culture that encourages balance. There is no way to guarantee a PR professional won’t have to work long hours occasionally or manage a crisis on a weekend. Our jobs are inherently busy, stressful and unpredictable. But we strive for a culture that strives for balance. Take breaks. Leave on time when you can.

We don’t have all the answers but I certainly have learned from my mistakes. Our program is not a gimmick. Our beliefs about wellness provide a framework to make decisions, invest resources and manage employees. And I am committed to doing my best to create a program — and company— that truly helps people be successful at work in a sustainable way. I am grateful for the people who work here, profoundly grateful, and I want to keep them here as long as I can.

July Digital Updates



We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 You can now add URLs to Snaps.

This morning, Snapchat debuted the new Paperclip function, which lets users link to off-app websites through their snaps in yet another move to compete with rapidly-growing Instagram Stories, which has had the feature for a few months. This is big news for brands who use Snapchat and have a web traffic driving component to their PR and social media strategy, allowing them to link to their product, a blog post, a news article or simply their home page.

It remains to be seen how strict Snapchat will be about policing links from companies looking to make money, and how users will respond to this feature. One thing is clear: it’s a great opportunity for content creators and news outlets with Snapchat followings to nurture that audience and bring them off the app.

#2 LinkedIn unveils host of new features.

If you’re active on LinkedIn, you’ve probably noticed a litany of changes recently, both to the user interface and behind the scenes. Forbes describes the new home page as Facebook-like, and it’s easy to tell that LinkedIn is trying to be more social and less formal to compete with other platforms. Most interesting, though, are LinkedIn’s struggles with video. LinkedIn currently only allows video uploading through third-party providers like YouTube (except when adding video to your profile). Forbes is hopeful that live-streaming video and easier video sharing are coming soon — and so are we!

Other major changes to keep an eye out for are calendar integration and premium upgrades like access to Lynda, LinkedIn’s education platform.

#3 Grab your #squad for Facebook group video chats.

 Today, it seems like Facebook is all about video, video and more video. As anyone scrolling through the social network knows, it seems like the majority of your newsfeed is video clips thanks to Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm. The next step? Group video chat à la Houseparty, the highly-rated, steadily-growing video chat app popular with the coveted teen/early adopter demographic. Under the working name Bonfire, Facebook’s new app will allow large groups of friends to video chat together. It’s still in early development stages, but if Bonfire launches, it will be interesting to see if it catches on and overtakes Houseparty, or flounders like Facebook’s initial Snapchat competitors Slingshot and Bolt.

Economics of News Make Sharing Achievements Tougher



As I write, The Wilbert Group has four team members at the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) annual conference in Denver. It’s an opportunity for the journalists who cover real estate for a living to discuss their business, while also hearing from real estate industry experts talking about trends and outlooks.

NAREE journalists can add some expert sources to their contacts list and pick up some story ideas.

A journalism trend in progress for more than a decade is that the number of print journalists covering real estate and nearly every other topic is way down. The U.S. newspaper industry has shed about 60 percent of its newsroom jobs since 1990, a trend so unrelenting, the American Society of Newspaper Editors decided to stop tracking it last year.

Why is this important to the business community? News outlets supply information about trends in the marketplace, what competitors are up to, new government regulations, or the repeal of old ones. Fewer journalists reporting less news makes it more difficult for business people to stay as informed as they need to be.

The decline in the number of journalists covering business also makes it more challenging for companies to share information they want to get out to the public. Convincing busy reporters that your latest innovation, new deal or great hire is newsworthy wasn’t easy before. But, you can bet it’s about 60 percent tougher now.

A reporter at a metro newspaper earlier this year told me his publication stopped running items about promotions and new hires because of a lack of staff to compile that news. That’s why having skilled public relations advisers is more important than ever.

At The Wilbert Group, we spend a great deal of time reading about our clients’ industries. We routinely pass along items of interest we find. We pay attention to which journalists are writing about topics our clients are experts on and work to connect them. When our clients have news to share, we know which news outlets, and which journalists, will be interested, greatly increasing the chances of successfully getting that news out.

Sharing your company’s news in an environment when many fewer people are gathering and distributing that news is difficult, but PR pros have the expertise to help make sure it still gets done.

storytelling – blogger style.


We recently helped a client open The Summit at Fritz Farm, a mixed-use development in Lexington, Kentucky. This new property is significant to the local community as nearly 60 percent of the brands are either new to Kentucky or the exclusive location in Lexington. We designed and executed an integrated communications program that included media relations, social media, popup events and a blogger/influencer program.

Today we want to focus on the blogger program, which among the four partners generated a combined reach of nearly 400,000 and earned over 450,000 impressions on Instagram alone. Most importantly, it drove excitement with the right consumers for The Summit at Fritz Farm.

Here are five key tips for your own blogger program:

  1. Media kits are your starting point – Similar to print publications, bloggers also compile media kits that include information such as website descriptions, number of social followers, active social platforms, past partnerships and cost(s). We used these to help compare and contrast our options and ultimately pinpoint the representatives to best tell The Summit at Fritz Farm story.
  2. Evaluate past engagements – Once we had picked our top partnership choices, we began pairing retailers with bloggers. By scrolling through feeds and holding short telephone conversations, we were easily able to identify brands that aligned with the influencers’ personalities.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask – More than likely, your brands will be willing to provide items in exchange for promotion from the right influencers. One of our bloggers is based in Lexington yet has a social following of 57,000+ across the country. Think about it. That’s a significant amount of people seeing a brand through an influencer’s perspective on top of coverage in traditional media outlets.
  4. Blogs are more than just product descriptions – It’s about the experience. We worked with each blogger to tailor interactive experiences. The influencer behind blog Love, Lexington partnered with The FRYE Company to highlight the brand’s boots and accessories during a brunch at Keeneland Racecourse. And the Kentucky Gent partnered with Bonobos and Marine Layer for an in-store fitting and shopping spree. All of our partnerships included social media posts across several platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, that accompanied each full blog post.
  5. Extra, extra, extra – These partnerships are about creating lasting relationships. By taking our time in crafting these experiences, we added to our client’s list of influencer relationships. We formed a synergy between all parties that will continue to flourish as time passes. Not to mention, treating bloggers with respect will likely gain you a few added bonuses – like extra photos and promotions at no additional cost!

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Three of our blogger partners during the First Look influencer brunch at Honeywood.

 L to R: Love, Lexington; Glitter & Gingham; HerKentucky.

Three Nights in Vegas at ICSC RECon


Last weekend, Caroline Wilbert and I along with 37,000 others made our way to Las Vegas for the world’s largest retail real estate convention, ICSC RECon. Over the last few months, we worked with our team to research the latest trends, strategize PR plans, develop digital/social media content and pitch our clients as thought leaders to the 35+ journalists attending the conference and looking for stories. To say the least, we were excited to get our boots on the ground.

We kicked off ICSC RECon on Sunday at the MAXI Awards Ceremony. MAXI Awards recognize the highest caliber of marketing, community outreach, sales promotion and new media efforts within the U.S. retail real estate industry. Between our work with North American Properties, Avalon, Colony Square, Hines and Atlantic Station, we helped our clients bring home eight MAXI awards, including one for innovative PR efforts at Colony Square.

Liana Liz Carla

Liana Moran, Liz Gillespie and Carla Toro pose with six winning MAXI Awards.

After the MAXI Awards Ceremony, we joined the Hartman Simons team for a kick-off party at the Paris Hotel. Here we saw many movers and shakers, including our client Joel Murphy with New Market Properties and Daniel Easton who leads marketing at Atlantic Station.


Liana Moran, Daniel Easton and Caroline Wilbert celebrate the first night of ICSC RECon at the Hartman Simons party.

On Monday morning we visited various client booths and walked the aisles of the convention. At North American Properties’ booth, the team unveiled its modern new brand and met with the Wall Street Journal to discuss its winning approach to experiential retail.


North American Properties’ booth features its new purpose-driven brand.

We finished the afternoon with an intriguing panel about the future of food halls – a concept many of our clients are exploring/have recently rolled out, including Bayer Properties’ project The Pzitz.

Tuesday morning began at Franklin Street’s booth, where we met Cary Beale, new Senior Vice President at Franklin Street.


Cary Beale and Monetha Cobb of Franklin Street.

From there, we met with Jeffrey Bayer of Bayer Properties and the Wall Street Journal to discuss the shrinking middle class and its effects on retail. Both Bayer’s project The Summit at Fritz Farm and North American Properties’ project Avalon were featured in the May issue of Shopping Center Business, which was distributed at the conference.


Caroline Wilbert and Jeffrey Bayer after talking with the Wall Street Journal.

We then made our way to Ben Carter Enterprises’ booth, where we met Quito Anderson and Bennett Rudder, who are leasing projects in Savannah including The Broughton Street Collection. To tell the story of Broughton Street’s history and recent resurgence, we launched a SlideShare, which has already garnered 11,000 views. The team was also excited to share our recent hit in USA Today, naming Broughton Street one of the top ten best American shopping streets.


Bennett Rudder, Liana Moran and Quito Anderson at the Ben Carter Enterprises’ booth.

Afterwards we enjoyed a keynote presentation by Barbara Corcoran, who credited PR and the media for playing a major role in the success of her company and brand. Before the keynote began, we caught up with veteran CRE journalist, Ben Johnson.


Caroline Wilbert and Ben Johnson catch up on the latest CRE news.

We kicked off Tuesday evening with our friends at Imbibe for dinner followed by Franklin Street’s happy hour at Goose Island Pub. We capped the evening off at the Charlie Hendon party, where Caroline convinced me to get a tattoo (don’t worry, it rubbed off the next day).


Liana Moran and Caroline Wilbert…. No caption needed. 😉

Before flying home Wednesday morning, the GlobeSt article we secured for Joel Murphy and New Market Properties ran, citing “the only thing static about retail is change.”

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And, as a result of a press release we pitched at the convention, Southeast Real Estate Business and Shopping Center Business covered Peachtree Center’s upcoming renovation.

The only client we did not see at the convention was Cooper Carry (their schedules were jam packed with exciting meetings)! But, stay tuned for a provocative SlideShare about eight creative uses for department store shells left behind by sweeping closures across the U.S.

Until next time, Vegas!


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A Review of Q1’s Worst PR Performances



The old Clint Eastwood movie was whirling through my brain as I recalled some of the first quarter’s biggest public relations crises – and analyzed how they were handled. Instead of a buried cache of Confederate gold (that’s what Clint was after in the 1966 film), I found mostly disappointment in how companies and organizations responded during a big crisis.

But let me start with the good – as in good PR response – before unloading my guns on the bad and the ugly.

The Good

General Mills: The maker of Cheerios recently illustrated what happens when you do a good thing that gets criticized, then do another good thing by responding in the best manner possible. The first good thing was the company’s novel marketing campaign for Honey Nut Cheerios to save the honey bee population by (1) removing the famous mascot BuzzBee from its boxes and (2) distributing 1.5 billion wildflower seeds to people across the U.S.

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What could be wrong with that? Well, a lot, according to some ecologists. They contended the seeds could cause harm if planted outside their native regions. Criticism came from everywhere, such as this comment on “. . . they are sending free packets of wildflower seeds to people all over the country – and some of the flowers included are invasive species that, in some areas, you should probably not plant.”

The second good thing was General Mills’ response on social media. Taking to Twitter and Facebook, where much of the criticism was being leveled, the company pointed out repeatedly – but calmly – that the seed varieties in the mix “are not considered invasive,” were selected for their flowers which produce nectar and pollen that are attractive to bees and other pollinators, and are the same as those consumers will find in seed racks at major national home store chains.

At last, the crisis subsided. And the Cheerios-inspired flowers blossomed.

The Bad

United Airlines: What happens when you prevent two teenagers from boarding a flight because they’re wearing leggings? A huge blowback on traditional and social media – and an unnecessary PR crisis.

That is the lesson United Airlines has learned from its March decision to thwart the legging-clad girls who were traveling on employee passes. Turns out their wardrobe violated United’s passenger dress code.

Twitter did not agree with the decision or policy. Celebrities, feminists and others roundly criticized United, many using the new #LeggingsGate hashtag. Delta Air Lines seized the opportunity to mock its rival, tweeting: “Flying Delta means comfort. (That means you can wear your leggings.)”


The airline’s initial response was speedy but burdened by too much explanation, going on and on about what travelers on buddy passes are expected to wear. As PR pros often say, when you’re explaining, you’re probably losing. Instead, it’s typically much better to investigate, fix the problem, then explain yourself.

Even the company’s global communications director said the carrier should have taken a more thoughtful approach to responding to the dress-code controversy. And it would probably be wise for United to reevaluate what seems like an outdated dress code.

PricewaterhouseCoopers: Never have the Oscars had this much drama. The wrong winner for best film was announced – sorry La La Land, the real winner is Moonlight – and the accounting firm PwC suddenly was an international laughingstock.

The London-based firm did swiftly apologize and promise to investigate the error, stating, “We sincerely apologise to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture.”

Some might argue that short of not making the mistake, there isn’t much PwC could do to mitigate the harm. I’m probably alone on this, but I think infusing some humor in a subsequent response might be useful. I don’t equate handing Warren Beatty the wrong envelope with auditing knee-deep corporate financial records, so why not poke a little fun at yourself?

Regardless, it seems PwC will survive. Last week, the Academy Awards announced it was keeping its accounting firm of 84 years.

Samsung: It doesn’t get much worse than one of your signature products’ batteries catching fire and your next leader getting swept up in a government scandal that brings down the nation’s president. But that has been the Samsung story thus far in 2017.

It was heartening to see the company apologize for the Galaxy Note 7 battery problems at a January press conference, where the company took responsibility for its “failure to ultimately identify and verify the issues” with its batteries. But when you have to issue a second apology a couple months later – as Samsung did in late March – it undermines the first apology.

The second apology, from Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun to shareholders, again referenced the Note 7 debacle as well as the company’ involvement in scandals that led to the ouster of South Korea’s president. In fact, Jay Lee, next in line to run Samsung, remains jailed on embezzlement and bribery charges – never good for your corporate reputation.

My advice to Samsung: Stop doing stupid things so you don’t have to issue any more apologies. And get back to reminding us of the innovation that made you a global tech leader.

The Ugly

Uber: The grand disrupter of the taxi industry steered its way into oncoming PR crises at almost every turn in the first quarter. In no particular order, the company (1) was accused of sexual harassment and discrimination, (2) came under attack from a #deleteuber movement in response to CEO Travis Kalanick’s role on an advisory panel to President Donald Trump in the wake of Trump’s travel ban, (3) watched in horror a video published by Bloomberg of Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver who had complained about pay and (4) picked a fight with Google.

How do you deal with these rolling crises? Well, (1) Kalanick issued a heartfelt apology – at times with tears in his eyes, according to one report – for the company’s lack of diversity and promised to do better, (2) Uber released a statement criticizing President Trump’s travel ban, and shortly after Kalanick resigned from the advisory panel (3) Kalanick apologized, again, for venting on the taxi driver and stated he needed to change as leader and “grow up” and (4) the fight with Google is ongoing over whether the head of Uber’s self-driving unit stole trade secrets from Google.

The most promising response has been Kalanick admitting he needs to grow as a leader and get C-Suite help at Uber. Additionally, Ariana Huffington, Uber’s only female board member, has taken on a larger role at the company. Young, entrepreneurial companies often face growing pains and bouts of immaturity. But Uber also needs to clamp down on its CEO and try to keep him out of the news for the rest of the year, if possible.

USA Gymnastics: When a news article starts like this, you’ve got a full-blown PR crisis on your hands.

“Top executives at one of America’s most prominent Olympic organizations failed to alert authorities to many allegations of sexual abuse by coaches — relying on a policy that enabled predators to abuse gymnasts long after USA Gymnastics had received warnings.”

Sadly, before and after the Indianapolis Star’s December report that revealed that more than 368 gymnasts had alleged abuse by coaches and other authority figures over two decades, USA Gymnastics did not respond appropriately. Instead, what response there has been has been slow, less than transparent, and without an apology.

USA Gymnastics logo

The only positive step was the forced resignation of Steve Penny, the organization’s longtime president. But that came months – if not years – too late.

Following the Star’s revelations came additional reporting by the likes of 60 Minutes, hearings before Congress (although USA Gymnastics declined to send anyone to testify before the Senate – not wise), new allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of coaches and doctors, and withering criticism, including from Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu, who called for Penny’s resignation and an apology from the board.

Yet USA Gymnastics has continued to rely on canned, cold video and written statements to defend itself. It also has battled over the past year to block the release of court documents regarding sexual misconduct. And its attempts at an apology have been weakly worded and severely lacking.

In the end, the organization leaves the impression it cares more about its reputation and legal defenses than the welfare of its athletes.


The Wilbert Group at PR News’ Video Workshop in Washington, D.C.



On Facebook people spend five times longer engaging with video content than they do with static images, stated by eye-tracking research conducted by Facebook. While a great picture is still worth a thousand words, a great video may be worth five thousand.

And it’s not just Facebook. Seventy-four percent of all web traffic will be video-driven this year, according to data from Syndacast.

That’s why we’re focusing big-time on video at The Wilbert Group this year, investing in people, equipment and training to help our clients tell their stories. Recently, my colleague Nick Banaszak (a former broadcast journalist who has brought his considerable video storytelling skills to The Wilbert Group) and I traveled to Washington, DC, to attend PR News’ Video Workshop at the National Press Building.

We got great tips on production, post-production, audience engagement and how to go live on various platforms. We discussed best practices for video, platform by platform. Here’s a quick look at what works well on each:


  • Up to 85 percent of all video watched on Facebook is watched without sound, so what your video looks like is much more important than what it sounds like.
  • Regular uploaded videos can be up to 45 minutes long and live video can be up to 90 minutes (not we recommend that).
  • The most successful videos on Facebook either have an emotional hook or they teach people something, such as how to cook a meal.


  • For most people, the maximum length is 140 seconds. Some influencers can post longer video.
  • Shareable, short videos that provoke a conversation do well on Twitter.


  • The length must be between four and 60 seconds.
  • File formats: .mp4 or .mov only
  • The content should be aesthetically pleasing and trendy


  • Videos can be 10 seconds maximum.
  • Even as a brand, you want to be humorous on Snapchat and make video feel as though you are documenting your day

And when we weren’t brainstorming about how to most effectively use video on our clients’ social channels, we managed to find time to post on our own. You can’t go to Washington, D.C., without taking (and sharing) a picture in front of The White House after all!

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Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 3/29/17


online-retail1. Retail is a fickle industry. With a mix of eCommerce stores versus brick-and-mortar locations, it’s important to understand what consumers want year to year to ensure your business continues to succeed. Jennifer Post recently published an article in Business News Daily with the top four upcoming trends to watch in retail. Revenue Analytics’ retail expert Jared Wiesel said in the piece, “Retailers should connect on the individual customer’s terms. They need to be included in the process, and whether they want emails, texts or alerts through an app, companies should adhere to those preferences.”

2. Mark Toro is a hugely successful businessman who founded the Atlanta office of North American Properties. But how did he get there? 11 Alive’s “Executive Profiles” shined the spotlight on Toro last week, with an in-depth video detailing his journey to the founder of the Atlanta office of NAP. Some highlights include: Toro coming from a family of builders, his studies at Rutgers University, his instrumental role in the development of several high profile real estate projects across metro Atlanta such as Avalon in Alpharetta and his role repositioning Atlantic Station as a premier destination in Atlanta.

Ichicoro-Birmingham-Pizitz-Food-Hall-Door-Signage-1600x20003. High-end European-style food halls, which bear only passing resemblance to their Americanized shopping-mall cousins, are cropping up all over the South. The establishments, like St. Roch Market in New Orleans and Krog Street Market in Atlanta, act as hatcheries for emerging local culinary talent by combining dozens of small-kitchen operations that feature everything from raw bars to ramen, burgers to bakeries—all built around communal seating banks. Just opened: Pizitz Food Hall in Birmingham, Alabama, which was profiled in Garden & Gun magazine, detailing the 18 food stalls and 30,000-square-foot space.

4. President Donald Trump hasn’t yet made clear how his administration will deal with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — which is tasked with making sure American employers are creating safe workplaces for their employees. Construction Dive’s Kim Slowey interviewed Fisher Phillips partner Ed Foulke this month to discuss what he expects out of a Trump OSHA, with Foulke saying the organization “will likely focus on a lighter approach and help employers comply with regulations rather than hitting them with stiff penalties and several citations.”

TheMain-2026a15. Last Friday, the main event in the city of Norfolk, Virginia was The Main, the city’s newest downtown hotel and conference center. Dancers danced, champagne flowed and the governor of Virginia anointed The Main as a transformative property that will help reposition not only the port city, but also the state, as a prime tourism and conference destination. This article covered the event and new hotel, quoting Rob Uhrin, a principal with Cooper Carry, who said the hotel was designed to actively engage the community with plenty of public spaces, including outside patios off the beer garden and a small outdoor park off the building’s main first-floor seafood restaurant, Saltine.

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



  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.


Digital Updates | February


Snapchat Discover

We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:

#1 Super Bowl posts on social media are up from last year, but didn’t top 2015’s record numbers.

Super Bowl LI may have made history as the first NFL championship to go into overtime (which in turn made for a somber morning here at The Wilbert Group), but it wasn’t the most socially engaged Big Game. 2015 still holds that title, though numbers are up from last year. Twitter reported over 27.6 million Tweets using #SB51, and 64 million people posted on Facebook. What is notable about this year is the role mobile and video played. Over 90 percent of Facebook’s interactions took place on mobile, and Super Bowl-related videos were viewed over 262 million times. This was bolstered by big players like NFL and major sponsors using Facebook Live and video content to bring viewers closer to the action and give users a chance to replay their favorite ads. Also interesting were three surges in Tweet counts during the game: One during the Patriot’s game-winning touchdown, one at the end of Lady Gaga’s spectacular halftime performance, and one when Danny Amendola tied the game. I was too busy pouring another glass of wine to tweet during that milestone. #RiseUp?

#2 The New York Times has eight people working on its Snapchat channel.

When fun, filter-heavy Snapchat first hit smartphones everywhere, who would have guessed it would become a popular platform for news media? It turns out the app’s millennial base loves the visually-pleasing, easily digestible news stories from outlets like CNN, Vice, Cosmopolitan, ESPN and Food Network. The New York Times recently announced the launch of their own Snapchat Discover channel based on the newspaper’s Morning Briefing. They currently have about eight people working on the channel, which will provide visuals from the newsroom along with animation and a distinctive design framework in the hope of reaching a younger audience and experimenting with digital storytelling.

#3 Brands should be using emojis on Instagram.

To emoji or not to emoji? For social media managers, the decision to introduce emojis into business Instagram strategy – especially if there is B2B aspect of the brand’s PR strategy – has been a tough call. There hasn’t been much research on the subject, and emojis tend to have a bad reputation with those unfamiliar with them as they can appear childish or unprofessional. However, according to a recently-released report from Quintly, over half of all Instagram posts use emojis, and use of the quirky miniature graphics can lead to better post engagement. Posts without emojis had an interaction rate of 1.77 percent, and posts with them had 2.07 percent. Luckily for us, the emoji library is rapidly expanding, allowing for brands to find and use the emojis that align with their key messages, whether its Domino’s taking full advantage of the pizza emoji or Starbucks using different colored hearts to launch a new product line.