The Wilbert Group Blog

Posts tagged media relations

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines Part 1

Share

by Alyssa Wenger

As always, The Wilbert Group team worked hard this week to land our clients in the news. Here is a sampling of the coverage they received:

#1. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered Aaron’s National Manager’s Meeting in New Orleans and the company’s efforts to refurbish the city.

#2. Charlotte-based client Crescent Communities was featured in The Charlotte Observer in a story about its expansion into more urban developments.

#3. American Banker published a story about Equifax’s partnership with Zoot to launch a new app increasing the number of accounts opened on mobile devices.

American Banker article

 

#4. An exciting event at Atlantic Station, the 6th annual Beer Carnival, was highlighted in a photo gallery from WSB-TV’s website.

#5. In a recent article speaking to the increased use of predictive analyticsby cruise lines, Cruise Industry News featured a subject matter expert from Revenue Analytics.

But wait – there’s more to come! We have been so busy this week that we need more than just one post to share all our client coverage… check back tomorrow for even more hits we have landed!

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

Share

by Alyssa Wenger

Curious about hits The Wilbert Group has secured for clients lately? Check out recent coverage:

#1. For its story on issues facing the University of Oklahoma after a recent racist act by students, The Wall Street Journal quoted expert source Scott Schneider, a partner at Fisher & Phillips

#2. Trey Loughran of Equifax was quoted in a USA Today article about how credit card offers are signaling a stronger economy.

#3. Two chefs from Camana Bay on Grand Cayman, Michael Schwartz and Thomas Tennant, were referenced in Smarter Travel’s article on the hottest food trends of 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 2.05.31 PM

 

#4. We placed a story for Fisher & Phillips in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on the risks of in-office March Madness betting.

#5. Alpharetta/Roswell Revue & News wrote a story on Avalon’s “Perfect Year” program.

Award Winning Clients

Share

by Adina Kalish

Clients at The Wilbert Group don’t just get treated to a white-glove public relations experience that gets them featured in the press, they win awards! Our team of professionals is highly skilled at researching the right industry awards that highlight the extraordinary work being done in all areas of our clients’ businesses. Whether it’s securing a spot on a featured panel, crafting an engaging story of a new opening, details of a successful business transaction, or operations behind a special event, The Wilbert Group finds the perfect award to fit the project.

For the past several years, The Wilbert Group has worked on submissions for our client, North American Properties (NAP) on the prestigious MAXI Awards, presented each year at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) meeting. And we’re pleased to say that in 2014 NAP was the recipient of four MAXIs.

How? By being strategic. Want to do the same? Follow our top five tips for writing award entries that win!

1. Start with the story. Every award entry must captivate a reader from the first sentence. Set the scene. Create the visuals. Grab the reader and assume he/she knows nothing!

2. Set up the situation. Be clear with why you’re submitting an entry for this category by succinctly stating the scenario, the challenge or the goal of the intended award.

3. Be specific. When getting to the meat of your submission, make sure you detail exactly how you achieved your results step by step and which key players were involved.

4. Get accurate figures to support your results. Back up your entry with precise figures. Whether it’s numbers of people at an event, dollar amounts spent on a campaign, or statistics that support your story, numbers are impressive.

5. Celebrate the PR hits. Did the word get out to the right influencers? Print? TV? Bloggers? Make sure you keep track of all the fantastic press you got for your client so you can highlight this in the entry.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headline

Share

by Alyssa Wenger

The Wilbert Group clients are always snagging headlines, and February has hardly been an exception. Check out five recent hits for our clients:

#1 The Orlando Sentinel published Equifax data in a front-page story, which showed the delinquency rate of Orlandoans.

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 1.30.17 PM

#2 Cooper Carry was quoted in a Huff Post article on the way Millennials are re-shaping the hotel industry.

 

#3 The Examiner featured a recipe for “a fresh and seasonal salad provided by James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink at Camana Bay on Grand Cayman.”

 
#4 In an op-ed article for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Howard Mavity of Fisher and Phillips, LLP discussed concerns related to measles cases in Georgia.

 

#5 Lori Kilberg of Hartman Simons was quoted in a GlobeSt. article about the importance of women networking in order to achieve success.

 

#6 Aaron’s was mentioned in an News 4 San Antonio article that speaks about its generous efforts to remodel a Boys and Girls Club Teen Center in Texas.

The Top Public Relations Mistakes of 2014, Part 3

Share

by Mark Braykovich

No year would be complete without revisiting the biggest PR debacles, and 2014 was kind enough to supply several examples of companies doing and/or saying the wrong thing. No industry was immune to PR miscues, as our list is a Who’s Who of famous companies that includes an automaker, a big box retailer, a disease-fighter, a disease reporter, two technology giants and one city you probably never heard of until 2014 rolled around.

And in a show of digital awareness and inclusiveness, we’ve also included a few hashtags from hell.

The Wilbert Group’s Crisis PR and Issues Management team takes no joy in chronicling these mishaps throughout the year, of course. We simply track them and try to learn from them so that we and our clients don’t repeat them.

We’ve been counting down these mistakes all this week and will continue over the next few days. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

That City You Never Heard of Until 2014

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. Photo: New York Times.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. Photo: New York Times.

Ferguson’s Belated Apology. More than six weeks after the shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked violent protests and a national debate about race relations, the city’s police chief publicly apologized. “I’m truly sorry for the loss of your son,” Chief Thomas Jackson said in a prepared statement. Attorneys for the victim, Michael Brown, described the apology as too little too late. “We feel that the apology comes at a time when the trust and the confidence in the chief has already reached an all-time and irreversible low,” said one attorney. “Dynamite, much less an apology, will do little to move anyone off their opinions at this point.” The videotaped apology also had an unprofessional look, with the chief holding the prepared statement in his hands, frequently referring to it, robbing the moment of much-needed sincerity.

Ferguson’s PR Firm Becomes the Story. After the tragic death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, after the public protests and horrible daily images from Ferguson as its police force reacted poorly and violently, and after the media invasion and non-stop footage and articles about reporters being arrested, pushed around by the cops, and stripped of their cameras and notebooks, Ferguson wised up and hired a PR firm. Only it made matters worse. The PR firm became the story when journalists began reporting that Common Ground PR employed no African-Americans. So the PR firm responded, which made matters even worse. The PR firm’s nine-paragraph statement began poorly by equating a PR firm’s response to an EMT responding to a 911 call. CEO Denise Bentele then claimed to be “dismayed at the negative reaction” to the fact that her firm was hired despite its lack of diversity.

The Top Public Relations Mistakes of 2014, Part Deux

Share

by Mark Braykovich

No year would be complete without revisiting the biggest PR debacles, and 2014 was kind enough to supply several examples of companies doing and/or saying the wrong thing. No industry was immune to PR miscues, as our list is a Who’s Who of famous companies that includes an automaker, a big box retailer, a disease-fighter, a disease reporter, two technology giants and one city you probably never heard of until 2014 rolled around.

And in a show of digital awareness and inclusiveness, we’ve also included a few hashtags from hell.

The Wilbert Group’s Crisis PR and Issues Management team takes no joy in chronicling these mishaps throughout the year, of course. We simply track them and try to learn from them so that we and our clients don’t repeat them.

We started counting down these mistakes yesterday and will continue for the next few days. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

 

The Disease-Fighter and Reporter

The CDC’s Anthrax Response. The Atlanta-based agency charged with helping Americans avoid disease became newsmaker when it was reported in early summer that dozens of its employees may have been exposed to anthrax. Just as troubling was that the CDC, an agency accustomed to crises, seemed ill-prepared to respond to one involving itself. Many of the initial news reports in mid-June carried only a brief statement from the CDC, when a disclosure of such significance and seriousness clearly called for their leader to be front and center. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden steered clear of the media for several days, even when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a front-page article stating that the incident “is the latest in a series of safety problems” at the CDC in recent years. Frieden got better as time went on – and later starred during the Ebola crisis – but the agency still sustained some avoidable reputational damage.

 

NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Photo: AP.

NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Photo: AP.

NBC’s Ebola Embarrassment. Amid America’s panicked response to Ebola, NBC medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman did the unthinkable: After returning from Liberia, learning that her cameraman had contracted Ebola, and being placed in 21-day voluntary isolation, Snyderman decided she just had to have some carryout food. So she and a couple of team members broke quarantine to curb their appetites. Her apology – about a week later – came in the form of a weakly worded message read on-air by anchor Brian Williams. “As a health professional I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public, but I am deeply sorry for the concerns this episode caused.”

 

The Technology Giants

Facebook’s Failed Experiment. A couple years ago, Facebook notified 689,000 of its users that it was locking them out of the social network because they were either robots or had used fake names. The users had to prove they were real to gain back their access. Turns out it was merely an experiment. Facebook knew all along most of the users were legit; the real purpose of the tests was to determine if users’ emotions could be affected. Regardless of the business and/or ethical merits of this experiment, Facebook’s PR response when this came to light recently left much to be desired. Rather than issue an apology – which seems prudent when you have 1.3 billion users – Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said only that the experiment was “poorly communicated.” Sandberg, the now-famous author of “Lean In,” leaned away from an apology along the lines of “we’re sorry we did this.” Instead, she only apologized for the way users found out about it.

 

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photo: Pinar Ozger.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photo: Pinar Ozger.

Microsoft CEO’s Sexist Sentiments. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella came under fire in mid-October following his remarks at a women’s forum in which, in response to a question, he said women don’t need to ask for raises and instead should have “faith that the system” will take care of them. Microsoft Director Maria Klawe, who posed the question, immediately disagreed with Nadella, stating, “If you don’t ask, you generally don’t get.” Nadella was widely criticized on social media following his remarks, and even a Twitter apology in which he described his remarks as “inarticulate” attracted continued bashing.

 

Microsoft’s “Not So Soft” Layoff Letters. Microsoft showed how heartless a company can be when delivering bad news to employees. Just a week before Microsoft announced the largest layoff in its 39-year history – 18,000 employees, about 15 percent of its workforce – CEO Nadella wrote a sweeping, 3,000-word email to employees that made no mention of potential reductions. On July 17 came the real news, via separate emails from Nadella and Microsoft EVP Stephen Elop. Elop’s email is a classic: It begins with “Hello there” and doesn’t get to the point – the massive layoffs – until the 11th paragraph.

Writing with Style — AP Style, That Is

Share

by Savannah Duncan

The AP Stylebook, a guide for writing and editing that covers spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style, is a journalist’s bible. It is used in every newsroom throughout the country to insure a succinct, common style of writing and editing. AP Style isn’t just for reporters and editors though; it’s also important for PR pros to learn and follow as well. Here are the top reasons why:

#1 It shows journalists that you get it. When your client is asked to write a bylined piece or blog, turning in a draft that already adheres to AP style will save the reporter and editor time. They are more likely to call on your clients in the future if they know they are going to get a clean, mostly finished product from you.

#2 It creates consistency. The more PR pros can think like a journalist, the better. If this is what the major newsrooms in the U.S. are using, you should too. It also creates one style for your company to use instead of each employee picking his own, which can create mistakes and confusion.

#3 It improves your odds of getting your press release picked up. Journalists are often cramped for time, and the easier you make it to copy and paste your news, the better. A happy journalist equals a happy client!

To order an AP Stylebook or sign up for the online version, check out there website here.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

Share

by Shannan Jordan

#1 Camana Bay restaurant Michael’s Genuine was featured on Examiner.com for its recent unveiling of a new fall salad.

#2 Zagat shared a list of new restaurants to visit in and around Atlanta. See what Avalon restaurant was mentioned here.

#3 Multifamily Executive looked to Jake Reid of Franklin Street for his insight on the Class C real estate market.

#4 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shared the news about Riverwalk Village, a mixed-use development slated for to Roswell.

A PR Product Line for Clients That Want to Start Small

Share

by Caroline Wilbert

Not every firm is ready for an ongoing PR retainer.  We get that. At The Wilbert Group, we love working with entrepreneurs and start-up companies even if their budgets are small. We too are a young company after all! We also realize large firms may just have one specific need, such as media training, at the moment.

So we’ve started a series of “products” that allow a client to begin with a relatively small commitment. Here’s a closer look at our product library:

Tony Wilbert leading a media training session with Cortland Partners.

CRE Accelerate: For startups in real estate or targeting the commercial real estate industry, we launched CRE Accelerate about a year ago. We have more expertise in real estate than any other PR firm in the country, which means we hit the ground running.

We offer young companies with limited budgets a “PR shot in the arm” during a 60-day period. Clients receive:

•  “What’s the Story?” session

• 1 press release and related media outreach

• Boilerplate/elevator pitch

• 1 byliner (we ghost-write it and place it in a media outlet)

• Social media audit and recommendations

• Final report

 

Media Training: We refined our media training program and re-launched in July. Most of our team members have journalism backgrounds, enabling Wilbert to offer a unique product. Wilbert VP Mark Braykovich, a longtime journalist and former business editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, leads media training.

Our interactive program, which includes mock interviews both for broadcast and print, covers topics such as: what to do when a reporter calls unexpectedly, how to prepare for a scheduled interview, dos and don’ts during the interview, what “off the record” means and when to use it and how to create and stick to your messages without alienating the journalist.

 

Social Audit & Toolbox: This is great for companies that want to execute their own social programs long-term. Often a relatively junior person inside a company is put in charge of social; we arm that team member with strategy and practical tools.

The program includes:

• A deep-dive audit. This looks into everything from which employees should improve their LinkedIn profiles to whether the company’s Twitter content is speaking to the target audiences.

• High-level strategic recommendations.

• Social Toolbox, with a custom stakeholder map, a list of most effective hashtags for that client and more.

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

Share

by Shannan Jordan

#1 Robert Simons and Leslie Booking of Hartman Simons gave their insight on fast-casual restaurant leases in the October issue of Sopping Center Business Magazine.

#2 Read what The Washington Post had to say about Cooper Carry taking office buildings and turning them into schools in Northern Virginia.

#3 Atlanta magazine shared 10 facts about Alpharetta’s Avalon to get you ready for its grand opening on Oct. 30.

#4 Gary Saykaly joined Franklin Street as a senior director. GlobeSt.com reported on the new hire here.

#5 Camana Bay isn’t short on great food, but if you can’t make it there check out this Lionfish slider recipe from Caribbean Journal.