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Learning our clients’ businesses – one meal at a time

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We’ve been eating-and-learning a lot lately. We hosted our client Monetha Cobb, managing director of Franklin Street Real Estate Services, for breakfast. (She is pictured below with Wilbert account executive Savannah Duncan.) Over muffins and coffee, Monetha told us about her career, her industry and what trends she is seeing the marketplace. She specializes in retail tenant services throughout the Southeast, and is a trusted advisor for retailers such as PNC Bank, Dollar Tree Stores and Cabela’s.

 

We also hosted client Ron Pfohl, director of leasing for North American Properties, for lunch. Ron is the director of leasing for North American Properties and he walked us step-by-step through how he leases up a property such as Avalon.

 

Wilbert invests in developing everyone’s subject matter expertise – even interns. A lot of PR firms skimp on that investment. Our subject matter expertise helps us think strategically when we develop PR programs for our clients, and it helps us pitch compelling stories to the media. As a relatively new member of the real estate practice here, I have been thrilled with how well my colleagues know real estate and with the opportunities for me to learn from clients like Monetha and Ron.

 

Thanks Monetha and Ron for your time!

Monetha Cobb of 11Alive & Wilbert's Savannah Duncan

Monetha Cobb, managing director of Franklin Street Real Estate Services & Wilbert’s Savannah Duncan

 

Ed Baker leaves the Atlanta Business Chronicle; Part of his Legacy is a Great Alumni Network

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Big news today in the Atlanta newspaper world: Ed Baker is retiring as publisher of the Atlanta Business Chronicle after 30 years. Reading the news got me thinking about what a great alumni group the Chronicle has.

Ed Baker, Atlanta Business Chronicle

Ed Baker, Atlanta Business Chronicle

I worked at the Chronicle in the late 1990s as a reporter. Though my time there was brief (less than two years), it looms large in my mind. The Chronicle launched my business journalism career, I made a lot of friends and most importantly I met Tony Wilbert. Back then Tony was just the best beat reporter I had ever met. Now he is my husband, the father of my three children and my business partner at The Wilbert Group.

 

We worked with some great people at the Chronicle who are still close friends – like Erin Moriarty, now a freelance writer; Matt Gove, now Chief Consumer Officer at Piedmont Hospital; and Julie Bryant Fisher, now VP of marketing at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. (Julie and I still get to work together because I am lucky enough to be on the advisory board at ACFB.)

 

And I have also become friends with so many people through the years, who worked before me at the Chronicle. People like Anita Sharpe, who left the Chronicle for The Wall Street Journal and is now Bloomberg’s bureau chief in Atlanta; Jason Kelly, now bureau chief for Bloomberg in New York; and Kelly Greene, who spent many years at The Wall Street Journal and now works in content strategy for BlackRock.

 

And there were a lot of interesting people who came after me too, with whom I bonded over our mutual Chronicle-ness. I became friends with Kate Carter, who left the Chronicle to become a teacher and then an entrepreneur. And Mary Jane Credeur, who went to Bloomberg and now works at Transwestern.

 

Baker leaves behind good people at the Chronicle, as well as an alumni network doing super-cool things across Atlanta and the country.

 

I am not sure Ed ever forgave Tony and me for leaving the Chronicle for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but we are certainly grateful for our time there and especially for all the cool Chronics (current and former) we know.

 

Lots more great alumni to mention: Dean Anason, now at American Banker; Scott Trubey, now a reporter at the AJC; Walter Woods, now the Atlanta area director of marketing for Hyatt; Evelina Shmukler Burnett, now a reporter at Mississippi Public Broadcasting; Elizabeth Drachman, communications manger at DAI; Michael Wall at Georgia Organics; Marcy Frank, a communications VP at Credit Suisse in New York. I could go on and on. There are so many great friends and what a blessing to be part of this alumni group. Google has nothing on us!

Making News: Our Clients in the Headlines

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  1. Are you in the know about the TAMI (technology, advertising, media and information technology) sector? Brannan Moss, senior managing director, and Juliet Potter, vice president and director of research at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) showed their expertise in this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle. Detailing the growing demand for non-traditional, “creative” office workspaces in the Atlanta area, Moss said, “To be successful, these facilities need to be located in areas with amenities including good transportation infrastructure and vibrant retail opportunities.” Potter went on, “Demand for creative office space is following the fundamental shift in the ways companies desire to acquire and retain the best talent.”

 

Mike Ferrer, broker in charge of Lincoln Harris’ Charleston office

Mike Ferrer, broker in charge of Lincoln Harris’ Charleston office

  1. Mike Ferrer, broker in charge of Lincoln Harris’ Charleston office, recently sat down with Globe St. to discuss the booming commercial real estate industry in Charleston. Ferrer says that the statistics back up his claims, with the office market vacancy falling from 11 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 7.8 percent in the second quarter of 2015. Increasing demand has also pushed up gross asking rents to $19.49 per square foot in the first quarter this year. In tandem, the population of Charleston has seen a recent boom, with a 50 percent increase in the last decade. Clearly Ferrer is being quite modest when he says, “…the market is producing a favorable environment for commercial real estate growth.”

 

  1. Fisher & Phillips’ managing partner Bert Brannen recently had an op-ed published in the Daily Report concerning the this week’s latest “Defaltegate” scandal. The latest development: a judge overturned Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four game suspension by the NFL, and Brannen realized this was a potential lesson for employers in Georgia. In fact, he has four different lessons including ensuring that employees fully understand company rules and that the punishment fits the crime.

 

  1. Globe St. published an article this week investigating just why the Atlanta Beltline is so popular. Tim Schrager, board chairman of the Atlanta Apartment Association, gave his opinion, “People want to be able to travel between hot neighborhoods like Midtown and Inman Park without fighting Atlanta traffic, and the BeltLine makes that possible,” Schrager says. “That’s an attractive benefit to young professionals, families and retirees alike.” The Beltline is among the most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs currently underway in the United States. It is a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other.

 

Mark Toro, managing partner and chairman of North American Properties

Mark Toro, managing partner and chairman of North American Properties

  1. Mark Toro, managing partner and chairman of North American Properties, was recently interviewed by none other than the New York Times. Toro details his company’s culture of “Who will do what by when?” which means that, “If somebody says during a meeting, ‘We’ve got to get this lease signed,’ everybody knows what the follow-up question is going to be.” Toro then went on to give some advice on how to handle the people you work with, “There are only two types of people in the world: people who do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do it, and people who don’t do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do it.”

A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

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Media relations is often the bread and butter of PR. Everyday, we work with journalists to tell our client news and position them as thought leaders. And once we secure that media hit, we amplify the story across a multitude of digital channels to reach a broader audience.

 

For example, we set up an interview with New York Times Corner Office columnist Adam Bryant and our client Mark Toro, managing partner of North American Properties. The story ran on page two of The New York Times Sunday Business section last week. To further share this story beyond NYT circulation, we pulled quotes and created images to share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

 

Mark Toro, managing partner at NAP Atlanta

Mark Toro, managing partner at NAP Atlanta

Picture your Twitter feed – text heavy, right? Including an image in a tweet draws the user’s eye when scrolling through the news feed. Pulling out compelling quotes and making them visually appealing is a great way to repackage a traditional media hit on social media channels.

Ultimately, the link was shared 531 times on LinkedIn, 397 times on Twitter and 489 times on Facebook. A single tweet with The New York Times graphic generated 650 impressions alone.

Digital Updates: Tech News To Know

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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 Facebook is testing a new floating video feature.

A new feature in which videos stream as you scroll is available on some Facebook accounts, allowing users to watch videos as they scroll through their friends’ status updates. This multi-tasking update lets users click and drag the video anywhere on Facebook’s homepage. The idea is that it will increase viewership on videos and please marketers who want their videos to be streamed for longer than ten seconds. Similar concepts have previously been used on Samsung’s Galaxy S3 phone, YouTube’s app for Android, and Tumblr, and will be included on Apple’s iOS9 for iPad.

 

#2 You can now hashtag emojis on Instagram.

In a recent update, Instagram introduced hashtag-able emojis, opening up a new channel for social media branding. Emojis come in many shapes and sizes, including animals, food, buildings, and technology, so by combining one to three emojis, PR practitioners can create a unique hashtag for their clients, or use them for events. For example, a horse emoji and a rose emoji hashtagged together can represent the Kentucky Derby.

 

#3 Microsoft’s new app Tossup makes casual event planning simple.

Long group texts arguing about where to go to dinner may be a thing of the past with Microsoft’s new app Tossup, designed to poll your friends and streamline planning for everything from vacations to brunch. Simply ask a question – i.e. “where should we go for lunch?” and select polling options from Yelp or write in your own, and you’re on your way to an easy group outing. Friends can discuss the decisions in a group chat, or simply add options to the poll. The app, which can be used for any type of polling in addition to event planning, emerged from Microsoft Garage, which allows the company’s employees to turn their own ideas into real-world projects such as apps.