Monday, April 29, 2013

The New Look of Public Relations

Advertising Stuart Elliott New York Times
An ad by FleishmanHillard to introduce Kräftig Lager and Kräftig Light beers.
A GIANT in public relations is spinning in a new direction, reshaping itself in significant ways that underscore how agencies of all kinds are being made over to better serve marketer clients in the 21st century.

FleishmanHillard's ad for its expansion from a public relations agency to an integrated marketing communications agency.                           

Fleishman-Hillard, which was founded in 1946 as Fleishman, Hillard & Associates, will rebrand itself this week as FleishmanHillard, with elements that include a new logo and a new slogan, “The power of true” — no relation, presumably, to “Truth well told,” the slogan of McCann Erickson Worldwide, or “Truth and design,” the slogan of MediaVest. Truth be told, the changes at FleishmanHillard — with worldwide revenue of more than $500 million and 2,500 employees — are meant to signal how it is striving to become an integrated marketing communications agency that offers services like advertising and social media marketing in addition to public relations.       
“ ‘True’ is the central concept we’re rebranding on, to deliver on our promises to be the trusted adviser to guide you through the maze of choices,” said Dave Senay, president and chief executive at FleishmanHillard in St. Louis, which since 1997 has been part of the Diversified Agency Services unit of the Omnicom Group, the second-largest agency holding company after WPP.
“It’s not that we’re going to become an ad agency,” Mr. Senay said, adding: “We’re moving into a different space. The vision is to be the most complete communications company in the world. Somebody’s got to be able to put it all together.”
FleishmanHillard will seek to be “channel agnostic,” Mr. Senay said, an industry term meaning to be objective about the various forms of communication, whether paid, owned, earned or shared, to reflect “how the public consumes media today.”
To that end, the agency is hiring a former longtime journalist, Pat Wechsler, as senior vice president and director for editorial and corporate content strategy, working in realms like content marketing, which provides consumers editorial and entertainment articles and video clips that marketers sponsor.
She was hired after the firm had brought in scores of the types of employees who are more typically found at consultancies, brand identity businesses or ad agencies, among them analytics specialists, planners, copywriters and art directors.
FleishmanHillard “wasn’t even on my radar,” said Nick Childs, an executive creative director in the agency’s New York office who arrived in 2011 after working at ad agencies like Grey.
“I had a chance to take a risk and do something unique at a big agency that could be a key partner to brands,” he added, “not just pushing out at an audience what a brand wants to say.”
Richard Dale, senior vice president, senior partner and global planning director, who also joined FleishmanHillard in New York in 2011, said that after working for ad agencies like Leo Burnett “I was looking for something different” and became intrigued by the concept of FleishmanHillard’s “transforming into a total communications resource.”
Although “the journey is just beginning at FleishmanHillard, and we still have a lot to do,” he added, “the firm is being given the tools, and it’s proving so game-changing.” Reflecting the broadening of the services offered by FleishmanHillard beyond public relations, the agency last year placed more than $1.2 billion worth of ads in paid media, compared with $250 million in 2011.
“A lot of things have changed in consumer product marketing, especially the multiplicity of channel options,” said Mike Brooks, executive director at the William K. Busch Brewing Company in St. Louis, which hired FleishmanHillard to create television, radio, outdoor, online, retail and social-media ads to introduce two beers, Kräftig Lager and Kräftig Light.
Asked to assess the work, Mr. Brooks paused to declare, “I’m not on a P.R. campaign for FH,” then said: “I am happy to report thumbs up in every regard. The creative and the messaging are well received. And we have one quarterback of all the disciplines, Tom Hudder, an executive creative director, ensuring everything is consistent.”
FleishmanHillard is, of course, not the only agency reassessing its operations in light of the profound changes in marketing and media. Large competitors like Edelman, part of Daniel J. Edelman Inc., and Weber Shandwick, a unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies, are also reworking their service offerings.
“It’s exciting if we look at it as different opportunities, new opportunities, to be creative,” said Mark O’Brien, president at the DDB North America division of DDB Worldwide, an Omnicom ad agency. “Persuasion is an art, not a science.”
Because of innovations like social media, the model has evolved from “trying to connect people with brands” to “trying to connect people with people to connect with brands,” he added. “Agencies that have made an effort to bring in fresh talent are getting hotter.”
Mr. Senay said rough patches are likely in the transition. Referring to the employees who have worked on public relations assignments at the agency, he said, “about a third are turned on by” the new vision, “about a third will go along with it and about a third will not get it.”
To promote its new identity, FleishmanHillard is introducing a quarterly digital magazine, FleishmanHillard True. And a television, print, outdoor and online ad campaign that is being created internally, with a budget estimated at $750,000, is to begin this week. “Be as you wish to be seen,” a 15-second commercial proclaims.

Article revised to reflect the following correction: Correction: April 29, 2013
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this column referred incorrectly on second reference to Pat Wechsler, newly hired at FleishmanHillard. Ms. Weschler is she, not he.
A version of this article appeared in print on April 29, 2013, on page B4 of the New York edition with the headline: The New Look of Public Relations.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Puzzle and the Presentable Presentation

“Death by PowerPoint” is an unfortunate phenomenon in large companies. It is a problem at some smaller companies and organizations as well . The topic was a recurring theme last night, among a group of executives invited to witness a presentation given by a sales coach and trainer. The trainer was not going to use any slides or presentation graphics except a few reveals on a dry erase board and a good old reliable flip chart.

The emergence of presentation templates and software alternatives like Keynote, Prezi and others are making all kinds of graphics, type treatments and motion available for incorporation into visual aids for business meetings. Creativity is unleashed in those interested in harnessing these tools. Our sales trainer was determined to show that an effective and compelling presentation could, in fact, happen without being compelled to have a new slide for every two minutes of dialogue. In fact, he proved it convincingly.
This audience, assembled in a state of the art meeting room with tiered seating and all the amenities of a university classroom, was treated to a polished presentation that did not require any technology to support it. No embedded videos. No colorful images. No bold graphic type.  No spreadsheet eye charts.  And nothing to divide the speakers attention from the task at hand. Instead, the speaker had material that was well prepared and found ways to paint visual pictures with story-telling. He engaged participants with sincerity. Feedback was noted and incorporated in real time, unless the topic risked going off on a tangent. (Even then he acknowledged the input and remembered to show gratitude with comments like, “Thank You for that. Great topic but I’m afraid we’ll have to come back to that one – if not in our allotted time, perhaps after-words.”

In sharing some of these observations with my friend Brackin, I noticed an eagerness to add to the another point of view. “Maybe the presentation software is overused and misused,” he said adding “I find myself using it as a way to organize my thinking. You see, the act of working through complex issues in the context of a presentation software helps me get a sort of clarity in thinking through a project or problem.”  Brackin suggested the metaphor of a jig-saw puzzle. By starting with strait edges you start to form a picture. That structure is helpful even if the ultimate goal is not a presentation to a large audience.
My net take away from the trainer talk and Brakin’s puzzle – a tool is a tool. If it adds clarity to your thought process great. If it is a crutch that diminishes your ability to communicate powerfully with your audience, not so great. What do you think?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

ExecLink St. Louis welcomes Q1 new members

ExecLink St Louis is a premiere membership networking organization offering executives an opportunity to meet and share ideas, questions and potential with peer executives – executives helping executives. The Membership committee approved eight new members in the first quarter of 2013. Please Welcome:

Beth Kastner – Beth is a CPA and financial executive with broad experience in all aspects of accounting, auditing, financial management, and strategic financial planning in a broad range of industries. Beth recently accepted a position as Controller for Clean Uniform in St. Louis and they are fortunate to have her on board. She is a hands-on leader and motivator of staff experienced in a high volume and fast paced environments. Beth expects to complete her MBA in the Executive MBA program at Washington University in St. Louis – Olin in 2013. She is a BS, Accounting graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mark Moyer - Mark is a sales and marketing leader who understands how to combine marketing strategy and sales tactics to achieve real-world sales results. He has been successful in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and the service industries, as well as in the C-Suite and with GPOs and IDNs. He is a dynamic communicator with the ability to train, teach and coach leaders, managers and representatives. Mark is a Saint Louis University B.S. Business, Marketing graduate.

Mike Hoffey – Mike is a Senior Marketing Executive with over 20 years’ experience creating business and consumer marketing solutions, leading sales teams, generating sales leads, developing websites, and building training curriculum in the telecom and financial services sectors. Mike is a graduate of the University of Iowa - Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies.

Mike Wylie – Mike is the CFO of Contegix, a leader in the cloud computing and hosting market. He is   an executive finance professional with nearly 20 yrs. experience leading financial and accounting functions of telecommunications and technology operations with over 5,000 employees and $1billion in sales. He is forward-looking, assertive, competitive and always considers the “Big Picture.” He has supervised up to 70 employees with responsibilities in all facets of finance and accounting. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Washington University in St. Louis – Olin Business School and a B.S. in Accountancy from the University of Missouri – Columbia.  

Jim Spellmeyer - In addition to being experienced in leading accounting and financial teams in entrepreneurial environments, Jim is a believer in continuous process improvement, having led many successful cost reduction initiatives. Other areas of expertise include mergers and acquisitions, system implementations and financial modeling / cash projections. Jim earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (with emphasis in Finance and Operations) and an Honors BS in Business from St. Louis University with a major in accounting. (He is also a CPA, a CGMA, and he graduated from SLUH.

John Spitznagel – John is an energetic and strategic IT leader. He is Experienced in working with executive leadership to develop and execute plans. He has Deep knowledge of IT and Data Center technologies and emerging trends. He is an experienced leader of large, diverse, and matrixed teams to achieve a shared vision while meeting audit, security, and reporting requirements of regulated industries.

Patricia Katzfey – Patricia was recently awarded the title of Master Career Counselor by the NCDA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Entrepreneur, and Business Consultant focused on transitional and exploratory counseling services. Specializing in work related womens’ issues, life transitions and conflict management.  Interested in academic teaching, specialized workshops and experiential training services that enhance the possibilities in the individual, family, and work team environments.  Patricial has a M.Ed, Community Counseling from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis and and MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and a B.S. in Marketing and Computer Science from Missouri State University.

Cynthia (Cyndi) Bowman - Cyndi is an Executive with the capability to create and effectively communicate an achievable vision for any organization. She believes vision becomes reality though strategic planning, continuous process improvement, personnel development/accountability and successful strategic execution. She has proven it with a demonstrated ability to coordinate entire supply chain to deliver superior services and financial results. Key accomplishments and qualifications include: Inspirational Leadership, P & L Accountability, Lean Manufacturing/Six Sigma, Creative Strategic Planning, Intuitive & Analytical, Resourceful Capital Implementation, Dynamic Personal Presence, Inclusive Team Builder, High Ethical Standards, Organizational Transformation, Entrepreneurial Attitude, Innovative Problem Solving. Cyndi has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri, Rolla and an MBA from Webster University.

John Williamson – John is senior operations leader experienced in rapid change/high growth environments. He is results-driven with proven P&L and human capital management qualifications; successfully identifying and capitalizing on opportunities to deliver accelerated revenue, profit and stakeholder value. John earned a B.S. from Miami University and an MBA from Washington University, St. Louis.

Lisa Sesti – Lisa is a Strategic Marketing and Business Development professional with multidisciplinary B2B and B2C marketing experience in healthcare, legal and franchise environments. She is an innovative problem-solver with a proven history of moving initiatives forward. She earned her B.A., Communications, Summa Cum Laude at UMSL.
Mark Palmero L’Boe – Mark is the founding member of a growing network of Realtors® known as the And Associates Network. Rising-star real estate agents join with the intent to open their own real estate agency through their participation in a unique training, coaching and branding program called Rainmaker’s Challenge – Path To Ownership™.  Contact Mark directly at (888) 432-SOLD, x 99.

Doug Klabzuba - Doug is President of Beaver Brand Hats. He is an analytical, committed operations executive with business acumen and experience in manufacturing and business administration. He has an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University, B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Tulsa (Cum Laude), and an Associate of Science degree, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics from Tulsa Junior College.

Bob Garavaglia – Bob joined Tubular Steel – Metalcraft Enterprises in 2011 and is General Manager of the fabricator of aluminum and steel tubing for use in agricultural, commercial, trucking, construction and military equipment. He has an extensive background in the management of manufacturing companies. He is creative, innovative and analytical.

Steve Gould – Steve is a veteran of sales, management and marketing with a great understanding of the business. He tackles projects with passion and attention to detail and focuses on producing beyond budgeted goals through quality presentations, honesty and by strengthening relationships. He attended St. Ambrose University.

Members enjoy an extensive list of benefits beginning with access to the resources of seasoned executive leaders with a shared-vision of professional grown and development. ExecLink members can strengthen their network, improve skills, learn, develop, explore career opportunities and obtain valuable referrals. Gain valuable insights from talented professionals with proven expertise.
ExecLink membership is your key to access information in all aspects of executive leadership. Membership is limited to director-level or above and requires a nominal annual financial membership fee and personal
04-04-2013 rev 4-14-2013



Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Space Between Scott and Plessy


Springtime is slowly emerging and a new season of art begins with a show that celebrates the Mississippi River and a connection between New Orleans and St. Louis. The collaboration between Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans) and Laumeier Sculpture Park (St. Louis) features artists and works that will once again spark dialogue not only about about art and design but also history, society and social issues. One dramatic example is the work of Ken Lum, The Space Between Scott and Plessy.

Two columns, respectively marked Scott, St. Louis and Plessy, New Orleans are erected with ¾ bronze busts atop each. Dred Scott and Homer Plessy, loom large in the history of Civil Rights in the U.S. and Ken Lum challenges us to consider the shared history and context of our two cities. We are connected by a River and so much more. The busts face each other with room for a spectator to stand between them and perhaps ponder the struggle and bravery of civil disobedience and challenging status quo.         

“The work I made for The River Between Us is in part a commemoration. It employs historical reconstruction by calling up two figures from the past that are perhaps under-regarded or appreciated peripherally,” Says Artist Ken Lum in a show-catalogue published interview with Curator of Exibitions, Dana Turkovic. (The River Between Us catalogue) 

Ken Lum brilliantly calls attention to a timeline and historic perspective between two figures. Dred Scott (1795-1858) a slave and social activist who sued for his freedom and Homer Plessy (1862-1925), the plaintiff in the Plessy v. Ferguson landmark court case that challenged segregation. I find myself considering the space between these two lives, the space between our two cities and the space between these historic cases and human rights struggles in our time.

Kenneth Robert Lum (born 1956) is a Canadian artist born in Vancouver, Canada. He is of Chinese heritage. He works in painting, sculpture and photography. His art is conceptually oriented, and generally concerned with issues of identity in relation to the categories of language and portraiture. It was a pleasure to meet him and be among the first to see his bronze portraits in place at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Thank you, Ken.

Artist Ken Lum (shown above presenting the piece at Laumeier Sculpture Park). Scott and Plessy lived their entire lives with no overlap (between 1795-1927) and yet they are profound connectors between New Orleans, St. Louis and our own U.S. History.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What I do, When I'm Not Getting Paid

Time is money. Lately, I have been investing heavily. I’m not completely convinced that I am always spending my time wisely. Then again, I feel pretty strongly about the things I do invest in. Here’s a partial list of activities over the last 6 months.  

American Marketing Association – as a chapter leader I attend monthly board meetings. As VP of programming I orchestrated countless details around programs such as hosting Phil Smith from Prairie Dog Marketing. Phil’s company in Kansas City helps hospitals and healthcare organizations with strategic and smart advertising/marketing. He talks about taping into the unconscious mind (October); Jim Woodcock offered an open ended discussion on Fleishman Hillard’s sports business (November); a special networking event and screening of SKYFALL 007 at Wehrenberg’s Five Star Lounge; Stephen Reynolds of Ameristar (January 2013) and Elizabeth Frantz, Social Media Editor at Better Homes and Gardens (March 2013). The Remarkable Leadership Conference (February) included speakers from Mizzou, Mercy, Pixel Farm (of Minneapolis) and the best-selling author Kevin Eikenberry. In addition, I helped facilitate company tours of Manifest Digital, Drive, Stealth Creative and LockerDome. So with committee time, speaker interface, attending and participating in these events and planning for future events in April and May, and July (the annual golf outing) I invested 85 hours.
Blogging – Contributing regularly to UPworld on average 2-4 blogs per month. Blogs for Morgan Studio/East, Bunker Mentality and Good Brands Better, New Brands Known. I’ve invested 75 hours. (Maybe more.)
Morgan Studio/East – My mission is to help companies plan/design/execute sustainable marketing communications programs. It might be, in part, due to the diffusion of my focus, but I have yet to hit a stride with regular repeat customers. Greatest hits (modest success) since opening in 2010: Roha video/print advertising/planning around IFT trade show; ARCO healthcare direct marketing campaign; RehabCare corporate identification; Bright Futures case study/interviews; creative concepts pitch for Switzer’s, Tim Gaskill professional fisherman promotion/kit, a series of radio spots for Scott at E.G. Radio. My time investment in the last six months has been mostly in networking activity (but not always focused or productive). I invested maybe 50 hours.
ExecLink – In January I joined the board of this professional association for senior level business executives. Board meetings in January, February, March and April, Sales & Marketing sub group meetings, Marketing committee, Securing speakers Bill Ellis and Mark Moyer, writing web site copy/press releases/new member welcome copy. I invested: 40 hours.
Laumeier Sculpture Park – As a docent and member of the PR/Marketing committee, Docent Meetings, Tours, events such as LOVEmeier, fundraising at Kirkwood Theater, Lee Rosenbaum lecture at Contemporary Art Museum. I invested: 40 hours.
Professional Development/Networking - UMSL digital marketing conference, Biz Library webinar, Paraquad Radio recording, AMA video production, coffee/networking with Felicia Marks, Allen Fox, Mary Beck, CityPlace III (every other Wednesday), James Webb, Tom Pandolfo, Mark Brackin, Scott Dieckgraefe, Katy Kruse of Lumivid. Caroline Kennedy poetry book/event at library. I invested  40 hours.  
Job Anxiety – Healthcare, regular/predictable income, and a desire to be more fully engaged in ongoing efforts (instead of projects) has kept me in the explorer mode for a full time position. I am a senior guy however, and I am convinced that pursuing a part-time strategy that is overly weighted on internet job boards won’t get it done. That being said, with varying degrees of success I have pursued opportunities Parkway West School District, ABC Contracting, Essex Industries, Cartvertising (shopping cart advertising), Josh Levey, GroupCast, Icon Marketing, Top Consultants and Laumeier Sculpture Park. I invested 40 hours.   
Kirkwood Des Peres Chamber – Marketing Mondays, Luncheons etc. I’ve invested maybe 25 hours.
Leaderboard Volunteer for Senior PGA championship – The event is next month at Bellerive Country Club. Not a huge commitment but with reviewing details, uniform pick-up and training (so far) I’ve invested 6 hours.
Assuming full time work of 40 hours per week, I should have productive activity of 1,000 hours in a six month period. This conservative accounting covers more than 40% of that available focused time. The puzzle, I think, is to find meaningful ways leverage activity toward meaningful income. (Or change the mix of activity.) Something to ponder.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Waiting in Line to See Caroline

The last shall be first, just as I thought.
Friends with reservations;
“Will she autograph the book I bought?”
The rumbling of conversations,

From cars filling the library parking lot.
A cool day on its way to a twilight night
Of poetry and remembering Camelot.
A crowding at the entrance, out of sight.

Catch a glimpse or a glance,
Of words, wisdom and legacy,
Tickets are not sold in advance,
For a smile or a memory.

Can you recall, at all by chance,
The time when you were not afraid to dance?
When it all started, a time of romance?
A young man juggling knives,

Earns a giggle, now and again.
Caroline demonstrates the arc of our lives,
Of so many children, women and men.
Tragedy or comedy, poetry marks time,

With overdue books and folks on the mend.
Now it seems like nothing, waiting in line,
Remembering profiles in courage, and those we defend.
Parents are beaming as high schoolers,

Young champions, unafraid, proud.
This generation will actually fool us,
As they dramatically, expertly recite poetry out loud.
We share the hopes and dreams we taught.

Oh my goodness, this is not just for naught;
The future, our future, not at all just for naught.
The last shall be first, just as I thought.
Just as I thought.