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Posts tagged mark toro

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 1/13/17


1. newsEngin.17001262_121816-Avalon-Biz-01Mark Toro has a hard deadline to meet, and he knows it by heart. “April 13, 10 a.m.,” the managing partner of North American Properties said on a recent tour of construction for the second phase of Avalon, the company’s marquee Alpharetta development. That’s when Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Brooks Brothers and a number of other luxury retailers, restaurants and a new office tower are slated to open. A recent Atlanta Journal Constitution profile on the property more details regarding what’s coming for the development, which J. Scott Trubey says, “has set the bar for walkable urban centers… and for the gospel of ‘experiential retail.’”

2. It has been 13 years since Kurt Warner last played football for the St Louis Rams, but a part of his heart remains in the area. Last month, Kurt, wife Brenda and oldest son Zack presented fully-furnished new homes in north St. Louis County to a pair of single working mothers as part of the “Homes for the Holidays” program, in partnership with Aaron’s, Inc. and Habitat for Humanity. Read more about the companies’ donations in this St. Louis Dispatch article.

3. Temperatures are already warming in Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean winter is over quite yet. The seasonal celebration continues at Atlantic Station, which right now is hosting the city’s largest outdoor ice skating rink. In fact, Fox5’s Paul Milliken took to the ice himself this week on the 10,000-square-foot rink, which opened in November and will remain operational through February 19th. General admission to the rink is $13 and $10 for children under the age of 12.

4. Cass Hollis has returned to law, joining Fisher Phillips’ employee benefits practice as of counsel after taking an eight-year hiatus to raise her children. Hollis, 45, had practiced for a decade at Powell Goldstein (now Bryan Cave) before leaving in 2008 to become a full-time mom. She said she started thinking about returning to practice this summer as her three children, now aged 10 to 15, got ready for the new school year. Fisher Phillips’ Atlanta’s managing partner D. Albert Brannen told the Daily Report, “It’s an investment—but we think she’s the right person in the right area.”

5. Americans are likely to mention a good brand experience to an average of nine people. This means setting the experiential stage in a way that is relevant to a retailer’s best shoppers is critical for long-term loyalty. However, experiential marketing is fluid, requiring constant evolution to remain relevant. North American Properties’ Liz Gillespie spoke with Forbes’ Bryan Pearson regarding strategies her company has implemented to connect with consumers, including supporting free community yoga classes with complimentary yoga mats and water bottles.


Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines 2/16/16

  1. We hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day, just hopefully not too lovely in the workplace! Michelli Rivera, an attorney at Wilbert client Fisher & Phillips penned an op-ed for the Augusta Chronicle on the dangers of professing love in the workplace. Rivera wrote that there are numerous examples in case law of “situations in which cards and gifts from supervisors to subordinates such as flowers, cookies, and chocolates or sexually-explicit comments are used as evidence of unwanted sexual advances.”


  1. At a recent forecasting breakfast in Buckhead hosted by real estate services firm and Wilbert client JLL, the theme was the longevity of walkable urban suburban environments. Ben Breslau, managing director for research with JLL, spoke at the event and explained how converting car-centric suburbs and cities to more walkable and dense communities rank among the greatest challenges and opportunities in real estate. Breslau also cited Midtown with its MARTA access and street grid as one of the best submarkets for corporate interest and growing rents. Downtown, a historically under-performing submarket, he said, is one of the neighborhoods with the greatest upside potential. You can read more about the event in this Atlanta Journal Constitution article.


  1. An article in this month’s Shopping Center Business magazine described the changing face of outlet centers. CEO of Wilbert client Ben Carter Enterprises, Quito Anderson, described the shift by saying, “most of the outlets used to be in rural areas where you would have to go on a journey to get your discounts.” Anderson says, now, “those days are gone.” Additionally, Anderson cites expanded food offerings as a vital piece of expansion at the Tanger Outlets Savannah in Pooler, Georgia. He said, “outlets have really taken on an image of lifestyle centers – they’re becoming a place where people come to do things other than shopping.”


  1. This month Wilbert client Aaron’s, Inc. renovated it’s ninth Boys & Girls Club teen center, the Independence Unit just outside of Kansas City. Local paper the Kansas City Star featured a video of local Aaron’s volunteers painting and remodeling the facility. With input from the teen members, Aaron’s associates and club officials painted, decorated and furnished the club. Later, local Aaron’s associates and club officials unveiled the new center to the teen members, which is now equipped with new technology, furniture and fresh coats of paint.


  1. Leading the latest effort in bringing Atlanta into the future, Mark Toro and Advance Atlanta have been organizing a movement to expand MARTA and bring some much needed relief to this congested city. Toro, CEO of Wilbert client North American Properties, spoke at a news conference this month regarding the benefits of their plan. You can see an excerpt of the Atlanta Journal Constitution article here.

Making News: Five Ways Our Clients Are Creating Waves


by Caroline Wilbert

The Wilbert Group clients have been serious headline makers as of late. Here are five worth checking out:

#1 Marketing consulting firm Sparks Grove planted trees on the first day of spring as a community service project and team-building exercise — and generated loads of press along the way. Here’s the 11 Alive story.

Sparks Grove’s Minsoo Pak and Rob Sherrell on Fox 5 Atlanta.

#2 Cortland Partners’ Mike Altman penned a byliner for National Real Estate Investor about how high student debt is translating to low apartment occupancy.

#3 WSB’s John Bachman interviewed North American Properties’ Mark Toro about Avalon, Georgia’s first fiberhood.

#4 Emory University’s alumnae publication profiled Rosalind Rubens Newell, chief legal counsel of Invest Atlanta.

#5 Infinite Legroom shared the news that Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is opening The Brice in Savannah this summer. IL called Kimpton “one of our favorite boutique brands.”

Five Best Practices of a Video Series Campaign


by Hadley Creekmuir

If you own a computer and live in the modern world, chances are you’ve watched an online video. It’s also likely that you’ve clicked on a video to a) consume your daily news or b) watch your friend’s dog or cat show off a funny trick or c) learn to dance Gangnam Style.

Videos are everywhere. So as PR professionals, how can we harness the power of video to disseminate key messages and make an emotional connection with our target stakeholders? By definition, a video series is serialization of online video content that keeps audiences coming back by promising more. It’s a way to help our clients’ establish credibility almost immediately – the first step on the path to being recognized as an industry expert.

If you’re like me and have zero video-editing skills, then creating a video series campaign might seem daunting. Fear not. These five basic tips should help guide you on your merry way:

#1 Can you afford it?  While smartphones enable all of us to be videographers and photographers, creating a valuable video series campaign takes skill and funds. No need to hire the most expensive videographer, but do set aside a percentage of your PR / marketing budget to be used for video and content creation.  The video production phase is the most expensive part of a web video project, and videos that are produced and packaged professionally will keep viewers coming back for more. A cost-saving tip is to plan in advance a time where you can film a range of videos at once.

#2 Don’t Wing it. Think of this in the same way you would a press release schedule. First, determine the thematic concept of the series. Second, identify your partner (i.e. videographer). Third, figure out the frequency and the number of videos you want in the series and work backwards to create a schedule. It’s best to know who will be a part of each video before you begin. Finally, if the subject of each video is going to change, communicate the theme and goals with that person in advance. Taking a script with you to the shoot is advisable.

#3 Be Consistent. Create a schedule and stick to it. In other words, if you introduce the concept to your audience and tell them to “tune back in next Wednesday for the second installment,” you better have that video packaged and ready to air by Tuesday night.

#4 Maximize Search Engine Optimization. YouTube is the second largest search engine, second only to Google (its parent company). Therefore, for a video campaign to be successful it needs to be searchable. Just think, 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute; how can yours be seen? Start by figuring out what one to three search words you want to associate with your video (these words should actually be spoken in the video). Next, create a “.txt file” that is an exact transcript of the video and upload the file under captions. YouTube has instructions here. The reason to do this is so YouTube can index all of the text, making it searchable.

Finally, when uploading your video, include search word(s) in your title. Your description should begin with your website’s URL and include a short description of the video.

#5 Use Social Media. Leverage the video everywhere to increase visibility. It’s critical to maximize exposure by hosting the video on either YouTube or Vimeo, or both. Create a landing page on your website to house the videos, and promote via Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc.  Also, find cheerleaders at other organizations that relate to your video content and ask them to share the video on their social sites.

See a video from our “Inside Avalon” series below.