Announcing the Creative Catapult Program

Announcing the Creative Catapult Program

With every graduating class, there is a new pool of talent that enters into the workforce. At Bouvier Kelly, we recognize that new talent breeds innovative thinking and inspiration for the future. We also recognize that breaking into the workforce for the first time has its challenges.

This is especially true for industries like advertising and careers in creative/design. In a sea of sharks, creative/design careers are not for the faint of heart. While larger cities may be bustling with opportunity, it’s less so with smaller cities like Greensboro.

Bouvier Kelly’s commitment to the future and the expansion in the field of advertising in this area is what inspired us to develop a comprehensive apprenticeship program for those seeking to pursue a career in creative services and design.

The Creative Catapult Apprenticeship is a six-month program specifically designed to help shape the next generation of talent into marketable employees who will have a greater chance of being valuable assets to marketing departments and advertising agencies across the industry.

“Creativity is a vital element that can make or break any business. Our mission in developing this program is to assemble a pool of reputable talent by providing a springboard for new talent to develop, network and sharpen their skill sets in a real-world marketing environment,” says Phillip Yeary, Creative Director and Partner at Bouvier Kelly.

While working within real client scenarios, the program will highlight five core areas across digital and traditional media. These elements include development in:

  • Marketing Savviness
  • Critical Thinking
  • Conceptual Problem-solving
  • Graphic Design
  • Presentation

Each candidate will receive hourly compensation and will work 18 hours per week. We will be accepting one applicant at a time. Interested candidates can email their resume and letter of intent to creativecatapult@bouvierkelly.com and we will evaluate each candidate on a case-by-case basis.

When Social Media & Public Relations Collide: Reputation Management

When Social Media & Public Relations Collide: Reputation Management

There’s no denying social media’s vital role in most brands’ marketing strategies. When used effectively, it can be a valuable tactic to develop a company’s voice, grow awareness for their products and interact with customers. If you’ve already laid the groundwork for a “reputation management” PR program, then social media could provide a huge boost to those efforts. But how?

Keeping Your Finger on the Pulse

As we discussed in this post, a solid public relations strategy is vital to any brand’s well-being. How else are you going to shine a light on your company’s latest achievement or put out the fire that might threaten to harm the positive sentiment that took you years to build?

Having a course of action in place to capitalize on good news or stop the bleeding during a crisis can only benefit you in the long-run. But that’s not all that goes into forging your overall brand reputation. Those bigger moments might feel like the only defining characteristics, but the daily opinions and perceptions surrounding your company help form a more complete picture of your brand reputation.

So how can you be sure that you’re actively keeping your finger on the pulse of your community and remaining aware of both the good and the bad things being said about your brand?

Two words: Social media.

Including social media in your PR strategy is crucial to keeping your tactics up-to-date. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide real-time insights into how people actually feel about your brand.

Because of the widespread adoption of social media, every aspect of your brand has the opportunity to be talked about by a wide audience and can easily become part of your story or reputation. Whether it’s used as a way to offer kudos for the charitable event your company orchestrated, or as a way to make some noise about a negative customer service experience, social media doesn’t discriminate. That’s why it’s vital to take advantage of the positives and quickly squash the negatives.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Today’s social media landscape is one of endless opinions. Consumers are no longer hesitant to voice their grievances (or show their support) on their platform of choice. For example, when a family in Ohio found out that their dog, Cody, had cancer and only a few months to live, they immediately decided to treat him to a cheeseburger from Burger King for each of his remaining days. When the employees at their Burger King found out, they received approval from their manager to gift those cheeseburgers to Cody while he was still alive. The family’s decision to broadcast their generosity over Twitter lead to 976 retweets and 3,988 likes.

Similarly, brand problems can rise from a simple tweet—even for the most social savvy. In 2017, Wendy’s was riding high on a wave of social media glory, roasting naysayers and hecklers left and right, much to the delight of the general public. But what happened next shows just how quickly that positive brand sentiment can evaporate.

In response to a tweet asking if they had any memes to share, they tweeted a meme of “Pepe the Frog” dressed up as Wendy herself. While Pepe initially began life as an innocuous comic strip character, his association with the so-called “Alt Right” movement led to his being classified as an anti-Semitic hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League.

Wendy's Pepe the Frog

How the shrewd social media managers at Wendy’s managed to misread Pepe’s current associations is puzzling, but regardless of the original post’s intention, Twitter seized on this gaffe quickly and loudly. In order to try and manage their reputation, Wendy’s immediately did some damage control:

Listen & React

The first step in trying to prevent or solve these problems is by listening to your social media channels to see what the general conversation is. Keeping an ear to the ground gives you a chance to keep an eye out for mentions of your brand, but it can also tell you what your competitors are doing right (or wrong) and can help you be one step ahead of the game.

So once you’re listening, what comes next? It’s great to monitor channels so that you know what’s going on, but the only way to build real relationships is to actually respond and join those conversations.

A successful brand knows that it’s vital to be involved with any conversation surrounding your brand. Monitoring social media means that you’re checking your mentions and DMs or keeping track of a specific hashtag or phrase related to your company. If the moment feels right to offer your insights or commentary, it’s important to strike while the iron is hot. But also make sure you read the room: jumping in to a conversation uninvited—especially if you’re taking a sales-heavy angle—could backfire magnificently.

By monitoring your company’s social media platforms, you’ll be able to quickly see and respond to any questions, compliments or complaints that may arise. Using a service like Sprout Social or Hootsuite can help keep all those mentions, comments and more in one place, meaning you don’t have to jump around from platform-to-platform.

A service like Sprout Social can help you keep track of your mentions and conversations across platforms.

As much as your social media channels can act as a way for customers to voice compliments and concerns, they also function as a modern-day customer service avenue. Brands can no longer afford to ignore attempts by customers to track down the answers to questions or service requests over social media. While we sympathize with the extra effort required to keep up with those demands, it may do your brand more harm than you’re aware of to ignore them.

Social media can provide your brand endless opportunities to grow your relationship with your audience and tell your own story. It’s time to stop shying away from the massive influence that social media holds over a brand’s reputation and start using it to your advantage.

BKI Hot Takes: Bud Light’s “Masterful” Response

BKI Hot Takes: Bud Light’s “Masterful” Response

Every once in a while, a brand finds itself shoved into the spotlight—whether they asked for it or not. Sometimes it’s in a positive way: like when Wendy’s turned publicity into free marketing with #NuggsForCarter. Sometimes, not so much: remember Crockpot’s recent debacle after that heart wrenching episode of This Is Us?

But if there is one thing we know as marketing professionals, it’s that being prepared to face these surprises head on with a solid response is no longer just “helpful” for brands—it’s crucial.

Just ask Bud Light. After the catchphrase “Dilly Dilly!” from their latest Game of Thrones-esque marketing campaign went viral last fall, the Anheuser-Busch InBev brand found itself riding a wave of marketing bliss.

They took advantage of this newfound traction quickly by expanding their original commercial into more than a half dozen others that aired almost constantly during broadcasts for the NFL (including the Super Bowl), college football, and March Madness.

Within six months, the phrase was more like a household name than a silly saying, popping up everywhere from t-shirts to Vegas sportsbooks to the play calls of NFL Quarterbacks.

After so much positivity surrounding the campaign, it seemed like only a matter of time before something ended the saying’s reign (no pun intended). It was one of the four most prestigious annual tournaments in professional golf that almost did it. Almost.

On the eve of Master’s Week in early April, it was reported that Augusta National security had been given a sheet of phrases that, if shouted, would promptly result in an escorting off the premises.

One notable inclusion? “Dilly Dilly.”

Though these rumors were dismissed shortly after they surfaced, that didn’t stop Bud Light from crafting a noteworthy response from campaign star King John Barley IV that seemingly gained more traction than the supposed ban itself:

 

By playing on the popularity of their already highly successful campaign, Bud Light’s response quickly went viral, gaining the praises of thousands of people across various social media platforms along the way. King Barley’s proclamation even garnered national media attention.

But the beverage giant struck gold with this response for more than just some clever copy. By paying attention to the right conversation and capitalizing on the opportunity to join it, Bud Light put themselves in a prime position to take control of the narrative and turn the attention back to their brand. It also helped them develop the campaign’s themes and personalities outside of their original expensive 30-second commercial spot. While the situation may have been handed to them, Bud Light took full advantage of the opportunity.

The age of the Internet has shown us that virality does not discriminate. Any brand can get lucky and end up at the center of a positive publicity storm without meaning to, just as any brand faces the possibility of suddenly finding themselves fighting tooth and nail to defend their reputation.

By paying attention to the right conversation and capitalizing on the opportunity to join it, Bud Light put themselves in a prime position to take control of the narrative and turn the attention back to their brand.

And though you can’t always predict which side your brand may find itself, a thorough, tactical Public Relations strategy can help you make the best of the situation – even if it’s one you didn’t ask for.

Elevator Pitches: Public Relations [Part I]

Elevator Pitches: Public Relations [Part I]

Elevator Pitches is a new video blog (vlog) series that covers a range of subjects in the marketing world that can be a bit too complex to articulate on paper. These are short, straight-to-the-point videos that should bring you up to speed on some of the more complicated or nuanced tactics we offer at Bouvier Kelly.

Public Relations is one of the most important tactics we offer at Bouvier Kelly, but it’s also one of our most misunderstood.

When it comes to PR, we’ve heard all the excuses: “Can’t I just do it myself? Does my brand really even need PR? Can’t I just call up news stations myself?”

But when it comes down to it, do you really have the time and energy to build the relationships to make your earned media strategy worth it? Do you know how to talk with media when the sh** hits the fan? Do you know how to engage with your community in a way that generates goodwill without being overtly sales-y?

Luckily, our Public Relations Manager, Alon Vanterpool, is here to break it all down for us in our latest installment of Elevator Pitches.

Want to learn more about the subtle art of Public Relations? Download our Quick Look white paper below!

What is Public Relations (and How Can It Help My Business?)

What is Public Relations (and How Can It Help My Business?)

public relations

For better or for worse, every brand has a reputation. Sometimes those reputations swing from good to bad and back again; sometimes they are boringly neutral, in need of a little love. That’s where the business of public relations (PR) comes into the picture.

Think of it like this: Do you admire a particular brand, but have a tough time describing why? Or, are you so connected with a brand that you’re able to overlook occasional negative press? You can probably thank some very skilled PR professionals for that. Let’s explore the special kind of behind-the-scenes magic that is PR.

What is Public Relations?

In short, PR tactfully and proactively manages a person, company, or brand’s reputation. To that end, we promote people, products, and initiatives that help portray our client in the most positive light possible. For example, we help spread the word on important initiatives like the Get Back UP Today movement for Allard USA, which helps raise awareness of a common but often ignored condition called Foot Drop. While we don’t sell the Allard braces that help manage that condition, we’re working to drive awareness and foster goodwill for a community movement directly related to those braces.

In addition to promoting what the company is doing publicly, public relations highlights what the company is doing within their organization. Take a look, for example, at a recent story about local Triad McDonald’s employees graduating from the company’s English Under the Arches program. You’ll notice there’s no mention of the “bread and butter” of McDonald’s (e.g. their food) in the article. Nevertheless, it serves to reinforce their brand and presence in the local community.

Public relations tactfully and proactively manages a person, company, or brand’s reputation.

In the unfortunate event that your brand happens to falter in the public eye, we’re the first people on the scene to manage your damage control. Our job is literally to make clients look like rock stars, regardless of the situation. So not only are we proactive “cheerleaders,” we’re also firefighters when the situation calls for it.  

Another common source of confusion for people is the difference between public relations and advertising. The biggest distionction? All press, coverage, and attention generated by PR is earned, whereas advertising impressions are paid placements. There is a time and a place for both tactics, but we are more concerned with convincing others to spread the word on your behalf.

How does Public Relations work?

The foundations of public relations are built on one primary driver: the building and maintaining of relationships, both with the media and a client’s audience and community.

Because we are in the business of earned media, we have to rely on reporters, editors, producers, bloggers, and other members of the media to deliver our intended message. Sometimes messages can get lost in translation from pitch to press, but we nevertheless remain diligent to keep the message on-brand and factual. 

Our personal connections with these reporters and journalists don’t just help keep our brand messages sharper and more clearly reported. They also mean reporters are more likely to answer the phone each time we come calling. And when we’ve got a story to pitch, you’d better believe we’ll be spending a lot of time on the phone. 

And as social media has changed the way journalists and news outlets communicate to the world, so has it changed the way public relations professionals pitch their stories. While we’re building relationships with journalists over the phone or in-person, we’re also building relationships online. We’re using Twitter to connect with journalists hungry for a scoop; we’re using Facebook to connect with audiences in an intimate, 1:1 conversation.  

Outside of these human-to-human connections, a public relations professional makes sure that any new initiative, event, or message, is heard loud and clear by influencers within your community. Tactically speaking, we can deliver that result in a few ways:

  • Craft and pitch a press release to targeted media and influencer groups
  • Provide enhanced media training to company spokespersons
  • Connect brands with their community through engaging events
  • Utilize social media as a distribution channel and awareness generator

Our strategy will use these tactics in various combinations depending on each campaign we approach, because public relations is an extremely agile art. But no matter what our methodology may be, we work diligently to keep your brand’s image both positive and top-of-mind for the right media players and members of your community.

 

Meet the members of the Get Back UP Today community

What can Public Relations do for me?

So by now you might be thinking to yourself, “How does this help me? I can pick up the phone and call a few reporters, right?”

Wrong!

Public relations isn’t just about knowing who to reach out to, but how to reach out to them. Are you on a first-name basis with your local news anchors? Do you know how to pacify an angry customer when they’ve turned against your brand? Can you make any story shine, no matter how straightforward it might be? (For that matter, do you have several hours a day to dedicate to the pitching process? We thought not!)

Public relations may be more time consuming than paying for an advertising placement, but it offers a special kind of value. It gives your delivered message added credibility through validation from a neutral third party. Rather than using all of your budget to tell the world how great your brand is, we get other people to do the preaching on your behalf.

And because the spread of “fake news” is on everyone’s mind, we can’t overstate how valuable a dedicated public relations team can be when dealing with a story about your brand that is grossly exaggerated, or worse: completely false. In fact, a recent study by a professor at Elon University found that fear of fake news stories is a significant concern among brands today.

Public relations gives your delivered message added credibility through validation from a neutral third party.

Above all else, the greatest gift a dedicated public relations team can give you is peace of mind. While you’re busy with the day-to-day tasks of running your business, we’re keeping a finger on the pulse of your community. We’re making sure that you’re being talked about (and talked about in the right ways). We bring the good stories to life, and we make the bad stories go away.

Want to learn more about what it’s like with a few more cheerleaders on your team?

Don’t Bore Me: The Evolution of the Press Release

Don’t Bore Me: The Evolution of the Press Release

In the time it takes you to read this sentence, dozens of news articles, advertisements, and press releases are going to have popped up in your email, social media feeds, and favorite websites. Blink a few times, and you’ll miss one or two of them. Everything goes a mile a minute these days, but the good news is you can keep up the pace and stick out from the crowd if you present your message the right way.

Case in point – the press release. We’ve all read a press release in its most basic form, which, let’s be honest, often comes across quite boring. Halfway through a typical press release and you might find yourself wishing you’d gotten that extra shot of espresso in your morning latte. Suffice to say, it’s not exactly going to stick out and inspire readership in the noisy landscape we face today. Thankfully, it’s an art form that is evolving. It’s like someone, somewhere finally said “enough!” and began the trend towards a fresher, more compelling presentation of the press release that is now the norm.

What does this mean for you and your message? It’s all about universal readability. You certainly want your audience to take the time to read your release, but your audience isn’t going to be the first eyes to see it. Those eyes belong to the media outlets you are submitting it to. And if you think you see a lot of releases during the day, imagine how they feel. They’re likely three jolts of caffeine ahead of you at any given moment.

You have to motivate every reader that comes across your release. That’s what it all boils down to. If that media representative likes your piece, is truly enthralled with it and stops their busy day to give it a good read, the simple fact is that they are going to be more motivated to get it out quickly. This equates to both a timely release and a broader release from multiple outlets. And if it caught their eye, it’s certain to catch the eyes of your audience.

The way you do this is the best part – write a story. Create a narrative or a framework that gives your press release meaning and resonance. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely a lot more fun than just presenting a set of facts and calling it a day. This is exactly what we are passionate about. We love telling a story, and love figuring out what that story is even more. We’re narrative explorers, traversing the message of our clients, getting to know their brand and digging deeper to make it shine. You might as well call our PR team the Lewis and Clark team, because they go above and beyond to understand your story so that it can be told in an attractive, factual, and effective way.

There is still great value to the right press release. If you’re a veteran in the PR world like we are, you know that it’s a strong strategic vehicle for building awareness and driving preference. It’s not going extinct any time soon. But like most things that stick around for long enough, it’s gotten an update to keep it current. We’re happy to help you figure out how to give your next press release a power up. (In fact, we can barely contain ourselves!) Contact us today, and let’s make something truly compelling for your message.

 

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