REVTECH Focuses on Retail Reinvention

One of my most rewarding experiences in 2017 is Ketner Group’s involvement with REVTECH, a Dallas-based venture accelerator and seed fund that works with early-stage retail and restaurant technology companies. Ketner Group became a REVTECH sponsor in 2016, I signed on as a mentor, and it’s been full-speed ahead ever since. We just completed our first year with REVTECH, and it’s been eventful, to say the least.

REVTECH hosted three Tech Trends events in Dallas, opened a 13,000 sq.ft. co-working space, announced its largest fund to date this year, participated in numerous retail industry events and grew exponentially in industry recognition. Ketner Group helped several REVTECH portfolio companies with PR launches, and we’ve worked to earn recognition for REVTECH as one of retail’s premiere growth accelerators.

David Matthews, REVTECH’s managing partner and a veteran retail tech investor, is an evangelist for retail technology role, and he’s become a good friend to Ketner Group. We share a similar passion for retail technology and a firmly held belief that technology is vital to retail’s continuing transformation. REVTECH’s portfolio companies are doing groundbreaking work in AI, machine learning, robotics, IoT, voice and other technologies that are helping retailers break away from the pack.

Last week REVTECH announced the winner of its first REVTECH Entrepreneur of the Year award. Carly Nance and Rachel Bentley were honored for co-founding The Citizenry, a socially conscious, ethical home décor retailer that sells goods from artisans around the world, donating 10% of their profits back to the artisans’ communities. In addition to its online business and brick-and-mortar showroom, The Citizenry launched a pop-up show in New York last week just in time for holiday shopping. It’s a great example of the kind of fresh retail concept that can thrive in today’s fast-changing retail world and a worthy recipient of REVTECH’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.

As we enter the final count-down for holiday 2017, retail sales are up, along with consumer confidence, and Cyber Monday set a record with $6.6B in sales, the largest online shopping day in history. The industry has reason to be upbeat about 2018, and organizations like REVTECH will play a big role in ensuring a bright future for the retail industry.

Special Edition of “Ask the Influencers” – Who Run the World? Girls! Part 2

In part two of our special edition of “Ask the Influencers” we talked to Janet and Nikki about how they stay up to date on retail trends, the best advice they’ve been given and what they are most looking forward to in 2018:

How do you most like to stay up to date on trends?

Janet:I keep up via Twitter, LinkedIn and events I participate in. I follow the industry magazines, retail experts and the retailers themselves. There is some great content out there if you look. I also maintain great relationships with our customers. They are a wealth of information. A lot of them participate in our annual user group conference where they are sharing a lot of information, specifically around what’s working, what’s not, and what they are seeing in the industry. That kind of information is invaluable.”

Nikki: “Well, RSR surveys a lot of retailers all year long, so looking at their answers to our questions helps a lot! I also read a lot, and I talk to people. I try to ask questions to everyone – retailers, tech providers, friends and family. Everybody shops. Everybody is a consumer. Therefore, everyone has an opinion about retail. The hard part is sifting through all that to get to directional trends. I do think there’s some art to that.”

What’s the best piece of personal or professional advice you’ve been given?

Janet: “The best advice I’ve been given was to ‘enjoy it.  Enjoy what you’re doing.  There will always be ups and down, but if you are enjoying the process, the people, the work, then it’s all worth it.”

Nikki: “The two biggest lessons I’ve learned – from advice given, then validated through personal experience – is one, always look to learn from everyone you interact with. Everyone has a lesson to be learned, whether they intended to teach that lesson or not. It’s way easier to learn from other people’s mistakes (or successes!) than from your own. Every mistake or bad outcome can be at least somewhat salvaged if you can ask yourself, ‘What should I learn from this?’. But you have to have a learning mindset to make that possible.”

“And two, everything – and I mean everything, I even count things like singing in this – really is 95% hard work and 5% innate talent. There probably are a million Beyonces out there, singing like angels in their showers. But it’s Beyonce who was willing to put in the hard work that got her to where she is. And yeah, lucky breaks play a part, but a lucky break comes to someone who is ready and able to take advantage of it when it comes their way. If you combine 1 and 2 – always have a learning mindset, and work hard at whatever it is you want to master – then you’ll go places.”

 What are you most looking forward to in 2018?

Janet: “I feel like we are positioned very well for 2018.  I think that retailers are realizing that the stores are still, and will continue to be a very important part of the consumers’ experience.  The Opterus solution is all about making sure that the store associates and the stores are ready for consumers to have a wonderful and consistent in-store experience. I think the problem we solve, operational excellence, communication, task management and overall compliance and accountability for the retailer, is key to making the stores something that customers will want to return to over and over again. So, I’m excited for what the year holds and how we can help retailers be more efficient and effective in managing the stores and creating something special.”

Nikki: “You know, at RSR, we never try to predict the future, because it’s just so uncertain. What I’m most hoping for in 2018 is to see a retailer who has figured out what the store really needs to be in a post-omnichannel world. I would really like to see that future brought to life. I would really like to see retailers start innovating again – innovating in a way that moves beyond just trying to find more ways to sell more stuff. 2018 could be the year! But, to be brutally honest, I thought 2017 could’ve been that year too, and it wasn’t!”

Nikki Baird is Managing Partner at Retail Systems Research focusing on trends impacting the consumer-retailer relationship, along with their supply chain and marketing implications. She brings perspective from all sides of the retail technology equation – having served in technology roles at both a large and a small retailer, and has provided advisory and consulting services for Fortune 500 retailers, distributors, and manufacturers.

Janet Hawkins has more than 20 years of experience in the retail market working for industry leaders such as NCR, Triversity and SAP. She has held a wide variety of positions with areas of responsibility including global strategic business partner relationships, third party technology partners, clients and resellers, business development, and project management. This has contributed to her strong relationship management, leadership and team building skills.


Special Edition of “Ask the Influencers” – Who Run the World? Girls! Part 1

I’d like to take a second to brag on my fellow “Wonder Women” out there: a recent Zenger Folkman study of 51,418 leaders in the U.S. and internationally found that women are considered more effective than male leaders. What’s more, former U.S. President Barack Obama said last month at an invitation-only event in Paris that more women need to be put in positions of power “because men seem to be having some problems these days.”

Seriously though, it’s been tough out there for women – and I’m not just talking about the past few months of daily horrific sexual harassment news stories. As the female cast members from Saturday Night Live recently sang about in the parody music video, “Oh, this been the dang world!”

But enough with the negative already. At Ketner Group, we believe in the positive stories, which is why we wanted to dedicate time to shine the spotlight on women executives who are leading the charge to make a difference. In this two-part blog, we speak with two very talented women entrepreneurs, Janet Hawkins, founder and president of Opterus, and Nikki Baird, co-founder and managing partner at Retail Systems Research. In this first blog, we ask Janet and Nikki about their thoughts on women working in retail and the biggest changes impacting the retail industry:

In your experience up to now, how have things changed for women working in the retail industry? What other changes would you like to see?

Janet: “The biggest change is that I see more women in more influential roles in the industry. I definitely think a women’s perspective was needed.  I also find that the women I’m connecting with are a group of strong, intelligent, driven people who are very interested in collaboration, sharing ideas and taking pleasure when others are achieving.  It wasn’t always that way. I’d love to see this be encouraged and to continue.”

Nikki: “You know, I think retail has been one of the more progressive industries in this regard. Not that retail has been a leader in tackling women in the workplace, but at least in my experience, it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I’ve seen in other industries, like tech or manufacturing or supply chain. In an industry where (much of) a consumer’s shopping money is discretionary, or at least has a lot of competition for those dollars, there has been a big focus on understanding the customer, and a lot of acknowledgement that an executive should not be using their personal experience as the basis for saying they “understand the customer.” I think that has forced more thinking about women’s lifestyles and women’s needs than you see in other industries, and some of it, I have to believe, seeps into the workplace.”

“That said, retail needs to do more. I still see too many women only in marketing or HR roles, and not in tech or supply chain or even store operations. And there’s a real ruckus being raised right now by tech circles about the lack of women in Artificial Intelligence – which retailers are increasingly looking to adopt in some form or another. If it’s a bunch of toxic bros teaching your customer service chatbot how to interact with other toxic bros, that’s going to lead to some real misses on the customer service side for a retailer primarily serving women.”

What do you think are the biggest changes (technology or otherwise) most impacting the retail industry?

Janet: “When Opterus first came to market, only a short time ago, cloud solutions weren’t common.  Back then, a lot of retailers we spoke with believed and asked to host our solution on premise. We stuck to our guns, knowing the future was in the cloud. We don’t have any on premise installations of our solution. In the early days, it was hard to say no at the risk of losing the deal, but we did. Today, we almost never get asked the question. There is much more confidence in technology now and an understanding of the cost savings, efficiencies and benefits embracing new technology can bring to the table.”

Nikki: “Oh, omnichannel by far. Everything that has happened in omnichannel up until now has been a prelude to the REAL change that has yet to happen. Retailers have made only surface-level changes so far, but we’re getting to the point where they can’t move forward without making substantial, structural changes. Look at stores – retailers are struggling to figure out where to wedge in storage for click and collect. Retailers are struggling to figure out where to put the pack & ship station for ship from store. They’re trying to figure out last mile delivery and inventory visibility and in-aisle purchases. And at the same time, they have all these cashier stands that just aren’t getting used. Fixing that means construction and remodel. Literally, rip and replace. None of that has happened yet – though I’m starting to see some signs of it. That’s where big bucks start getting committed, because if you’re going to rip out the front of your store to revamp it because of omnichannel, you might as well tackle the rest of it while you’re at it. And that’s just looking at stores. Supply chain, merchandising, even product design will all feel ripple effects as well as their own direct impacts. When it comes to omnichannel, the industry is just getting started.”

Please read part two of our blog where we talk to Janet and Nikki about how they stay up to date on retail trends, the best advice they’ve been given and what they are most looking forward to in 2018.

A Look Ahead: 2018 Retail and Ad Tech Predictions

At Ketner Group, we live and breathe retail, grocery, consumer and ad tech day in and day out. It’s what we love to do, and, more importantly, why our clients hire us! It is literally our job to stay “in the know” on what the latest trends are in those industries and use those hooks to create media coverage-worthy storylines for each of our clients.

This year has certainly seen plenty of breaking news stories (shocker, mostly about Amazon), trends that didn’t and did surprise us (chatbots will rule the world and digital platforms need to step up their game when it comes to brand safety), and enough shopping data to last us a lifetime (thank you Retail Systems Research and IHL Group!). Oh, and don’t forget the so-called “Retail Apocalypse” that dominated headlines.

As we begin to close out 2017, we look ahead to what lies in store for 2018. The Ketner Group team will be heading the NRF Big Show next month to get a first-hand look at the latest and greatest technology solutions and store implementations of that tech. We will hopefully, start to pinpoint the answers to things like “What will Amazon and Walmart do next?” and “When will Sears just die already?!”

There are plenty of predictions on 2018 trends, but we wanted to showcase just a few retail and ad tech trends.

Three Trends in Retail
According to Christopher Walton, an independent consultant and former VP of Target Store of the Future:

  • Amazon will announce H2Q location, and America will be happy. “Bet on Bezos locating HQ2 somewhere between Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and Atlanta (both are less than a day’s drive from Bentonville, AK) or within the Midwestern Triangle of Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Chicago”
  • Pop-up retail will be hot, but it won’t solve everything. “It will all make sense until the underlying business economics of retail change (i.e. until technology fuels more productivity gains and utilizes working capita differently). The same problem that plagues retail — namely traffic — will plague pop-up shops too. Bonobos was the first penguin in the water with their guideshop concept, and they had to bail out and sell to Walmart. The pop-up concept is not different enough. It is just another side of the same coin.”
  • The narrative will move from apocalypse to reformation. “Apocalypse is a silly word. It means complete destruction. People will always need to buy stuff.

Therefore, retail and physical stores will never go away. They will just look different.

The retail stores of the future are in front of us already. They will be one-part Amazon, one-part Starbucks, one-part Bonobos and one-part Ikea, shrouded in the customer-focused ethos of a casino.”

Three Trends in Ad Tech
According to Kevin O’Reilly, CTO of TVSquared and Ketner Group client:

  • “TV is Dead” will be put to rest in 2018. “Yes, TV is changing – people consume media differently, via different channels, devices and times. While the total amount of TV viewing time has dropped in the last few years, TV is not dead … not even close. We hope that 2018 will see the end of this fearmongering and bring along realistic, fact-based TV talk.”
  • Brand Safety Means Reinvesting in TV. “Until digital assumes the responsibility and cost of brand safety – providing advertisers with more control, visibility and the assurance that they are being positioned appropriately – expect to see more and more brands come back to or increase investments in TV.”
  • New KPIs for TV. “The way in which advertisers measure TV will change significantly next year. We’re not going as far as to say measuring TV via ratings is dead, but advertisers are realizing that they can’t just rely on reach and frequency metrics. They are antiquated ways to gauge TV success. While things such as GRP, CPM and ratings certainly have a role to play in brand awareness, they don’t tell advertisers how spots drove response in the real world. In 2018, advertisers will increasingly measure TV through brand-specific, performance-based KPIs.”

If you ask anyone at Ketner Group, 2018 is poised to be a great year. Not only for the industries we serve, but for our agency as well. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements from Ketner Group in the next few months!

Not All Press Releases are Created Equal: Tips & Tricks for a Successful Press Release


In the world of public relations, the words “press release” are part of the daily vernacular in day-to-day communications. The bottom line is, everyone has a story to tell. Whether a company is launching a new product, issuing a breaking news alert, providing details on an upcoming event or highlighting the great work they’ve done, a press release is the best and most efficient way to deliver the news straight to the media and external audiences.

However, not all press releases are created equal. For a press release to be truly successful, companies need to strategically think about the press release content, the timing of the release and the publishing medium they plan to utilize among other top factors. Below are a few best practices to follow when issuing a press release:


For the most part, the content of your press release should be short and straight to the point. As a best practice, the headline should be concise –around five to seven words— while providing a perfect picture of the main point. If possible, use key words that are trending in your sector to expand your SEO reach. You can always use the subhead to provide a broader picture of key components, but the subhead should also be no more than a sentence.

Next, the body should provide the who, what, when, where and why within the first two paragraphs of the release to allow the media to quickly understand the importance of the news and decide if this is something they would like to cover or pass on to someone else.

If you have a quote from a customer or a third-party reference, make sure to position it close to the top or no lower than the middle of the page to ensure visibility. Additionally, include any graphics or short videos you have to accompany your release. Visuals not only help to quickly paint the full picture, but they can also provide additional collateral that media can utilize to tell your story in further detail.

As far as word count is concerned, a press release between 600-800 words should do the trick to not only get the media’s attention, but to also ensure they read the entire release.


The timing of a release is everything. Ideally, most press releases should go out early in the morning within the time zone you are trying to reach. This allows media publications to receive the news early enough to reach back out to you with any questions they may have for the story they are working on.

Additionally, if you are planning to publish your press release around a big event, ensure you are carving out a specific window of time where you press release can rise above the noise and garner the attention of your target audience. Don’t forget to take into consideration national and bank holidays such as Thanksgiving or Martin Luther King Day, and avoid sending press releases a few days before or after the holiday to prevent your press release going out while your audience’s attention is preoccupied elsewhere.

Publishing Medium

Once your content and timing are established, it’s time to decide how you will publish your press release. At this stage, you will need to answer the question of whether you will be sending out your release through a wire service, such as BusinessWire, PR Newswire, or Nasdaq GlobalNewswire, or directly posting it on your website.

Remember that not all press releases have to be distributed through a wire service. We recommend publishing a press release through a wire service only if your company is announcing a new funding round, product launch or a customer win so that it reaches audiences and media publications beyond your network and amplifies the overall reach of your announcement.

Press releases that discuss new company appointments or upcoming events and speaking engagements can forego the wire and be posted directly to your site. If you go this route, ensure you pitch the press release directly to your core media targets and network, as well as promote your news via your social channels to maximize reach.

Press releases are a great way to quickly and effectively get your company’s news out there. By creating a perfect combination of the right content, timing and publishing strategy, you can ensure your press release is a success for your company.

Black Friday Forecasts

This blog was written by our intern, Jenna Jordan

For many Americans, Thanksgiving signals countless things: the beginning of the holiday season, spending time with family, reflecting on what you’re grateful for, or eating too much of your favorite homemade dishes. Sometimes it’s all of the above! But for more than 70% of Americans planning to holiday shop, Thanksgiving marks the “official” start of Black Friday. Even before the turkey-induced drowsiness wears off, many are already planning where to find the best discounts. This Black Friday however, discounts have already begun weeks in advance, both in brick-and-mortar stores and online.

The shopping triad gains momentum: Brick-and-mortar, e-commerce and mobile expected to break records

For many years, Black Friday was a historically brick-and-mortar sales holiday that eventually moved into the e-commerce world. But this year, it is estimated that shoppers will stray away from tradition and move to mobile on Black Friday – which is expected to be the biggest mobile shopping day ever in the U.S.

While Cyber Monday is still the largest e-commerce sales day, Chain Store Age predicts that e-commerce will see larger growth on Black Friday, just as it did in 2016. However, success in brick-and-mortar retail shouldn’t be ruled out this year, as 44% of Americans who will shop are planning to camp out for doorbusters. Overall, price is the most important factor related to shopping during the holiday season, so consumers are likely to do their research and plan ahead before making their purchases, whether in a physical store or online.

A shift to “Black November”

In a lot of ways, it feels as though Black Friday has already begun. eBay found in a new survey that 45% of Americans start holiday shopping well before Black Friday, and retailers are responding. On November 1, Amazon opened its Black Friday store. Other major retailers, including Kohl’s, Walmart and Sears, are also pushing promotions earlier. Target has made the decision to close its stores at midnight on Thanksgiving – but it’s not a sign of brick-and-mortar decline. More likely, Target is just taking a page out of REI’s #optoutside campaign playbook and focusing on the well-being of its employees as a means of differentiation instead. Additionally, their Black Friday discounts began on November 6, so there is no need to rush to the store Thanksgiving Day.

Steve Barr, U.S. Retail and Consumer Sector Leader at PwC, has taken to calling Black Friday “Black November” as the discounts continue to stretch out over the month. “Black Friday is still going to have a meaningful place on the retail calendar,” said Barr in a Retail TouchPoints interview. “It’s just not as significant as it used to be as a stand-alone date.”

According to Forbes, consumer spending over Black Friday weekend is forecast to grow by 47% year after year. Yet more retailers – an expected 70 to 80 stores, will be closing its doors on Thanksgiving in 2017. This isn’t a result of a brick-and-mortar decline, but simply a reflection of a discounting season lasting longer. As a result, consumers may be able to keep their Thanksgiving reserved for their families, and save their shopping for the rest of the month.

From Monster Mash to Holiday Dash

If you’re like us at the Ketner Group, you were probably on edge throughout the entire month of October, constantly looking over your shoulder for frights, fears, ghouls, etc. The good news is that Halloween is now over, so we can relax and enjoy our trick-or-treating spoils, including candy corn, candy apples and nickels from the elderly woman around the corner.

Yet, as the spookiest time of the year ends, the retail industry is approaching the scary unknown: the holiday season. The biggest shopping time of the year says a lot about the health of the industry. How is the holiday season shaping up? And what can this year’s Halloween spending tell us about what to expect for the holidays?

Halloween Spending

Starting with perhaps the most important aspect of Halloween, HIS Markit forecasted candy sales to rise 4.1% from last year, reaching a impressive $4.1 billion. Additionally, NRF’s annual Halloween survey expected total spending on Halloween this year to reach $9.1 billion during the same time period, up from $8.4 billion last year.

This is promising news – if consumers are spending more on Halloween, then we can expect increased spending during the holiday season. In fact, NRF expects holiday retail sales to increase by up to 4% in 2017, totaling $682 billion, compared to $655.8 billion last year.

What to Expect from Consumers

After all the tricks and treats, consumers are now gearing up for the holidays in a big way. The NPD Group found that shoppers will start their shopping early this year. In fact, it will potentially be the first time that more U.S. consumers start shopping in the middle of the season (around Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday) than later (early December).

In terms of shopping destinations, 2017 could also be the first time that Americans spend more money online than in-store, according to Deloitte. Meanwhile, a study by IFTTT states that about 57% of shoppers will do the majority of their holiday spending at a mass retailer like Walmart or Amazon. Overall, it’s clear that customers will be shopping in droves through both online and offline channels.

How Retailers are Preparing

Big brands like Walmart and Amazon are already announcing their holiday sales (and even in-store parties) which means it’s officially time for retailers to prepare for the holidays. We’re seeing plenty of stores hire seasonal employees– an expected every year. However, are retailers investing in new technology to prepare for the mass influx of customers?

According to a survey conducted by Brightpearl, about 58% of retailer and wholesaler decision makers currently invest in technology to manage sales spikes. 35% of those surveyed are ‘very likely’ to adopt a new solution to help effectively streamline back-office and inventory processes. While these are promising strides, Brightpearl also estimates that poor technology decisions leading into the holidays could cost retailers more than $300,000 in lost profit. Brands need to be prepared with adequate technology that won’t fail during the holiday rush.

It appears that this holiday season could be a cheerful one for the retail industry. As such, it’s essential that brands are prepared to meet customer demands with efficient technology to stay ahead of the competition. Without doing so, the real frights will come in the form of lost customers and profits – a reality that is far spookier than any Halloween lore.

*Disclaimer: I don’t actually like candy corn

Did Amazon Find the Key to Shoppers’ Happiness?

Leave it to Amazon to keep things interesting. Now, in addition to same-day delivery of just about anything, Amazon can walk your dog, clean your house, install and set up your new refrigerator, let selected neighbors in, leave your packages securely inside your home, and who knows what else.

I’m talking, of course, about Amazon Key. Like everything else they do these days, Amazon’s announcement is big news for the retail industry. Available exclusively for Prime members, Amazon Key includes an in-home kit with a cloud-enabled indoor security camera and compatible smart lock for $249.

According to an Amazon press release, “Amazon Key allows customers to have their packages securely delivered inside their home without having to be there…each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process. Once this process is successfully completed, Amazon Cloud Cam starts recording and the door is then unlocked. No access codes or keys are ever provided to delivery drivers. And, for added peace of mind, in-home delivery is backed by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee.”

Will it Work?

An audacious value proposition? Of course. Will it work? Who knows. My guess is that a thin slice of time-starved, upper-income, tech-savvy, trusting, heavy Prime users will turn to Amazon Key.

I don’t think Amazon will hit a home run with this across all Prime demographics, though. Unprecedented technology and privacy failures have burned consumers too many times, with Equifax being the #1 culprit in recent months. Security issues with unprotected webcams offer a real concern. Making consumers comfortable with the idea of perfect strangers entering their home is another huge barrier, even with the measures that Amazon has in place. And will Amazon’s delivery people need your alarm code? The list goes on and on.

Much of the initial consumer reaction to Amazon Key was skeptical. As Huffington Post observed, “The Amazon key is designed to aid package delivery. What could go wrong?” The answer, according to the article, is summed up in one word: plenty.

What Does Amazon Key Mean for Amazon?

However, success or failure really isn’t the point. Amazon floats more audacious ideas than any other retailer, and as a result they raise the bar for the rest of the industry. Amazon Key is a clear signal that Amazon wants to take the consumer experience directly into its customers’ homes. As a result, other retailers must rethink what it means to truly serve their customers. Once again, Amazon is rapidly reinventing the norm in today’s retail industry.

Even if it’s a modest hit, Amazon Key offers consumers a basic, all-in-one home security cam and smart lock for $249, regardless of whether consumers use the service. And if Amazon wants to drive large-scale adoption, they can take it a step further. Amazon could consider not only delivering shoppers’ same day Whole Foods order, but putting a home-cooked dinner on the table. Now, that would take customer service to another level!

Ketner Group is Seeking an Intern for Spring 2018 Semester

Ketner Group is currently seeking a proactive and diligent intern for the Spring 2018 Semester to support our team, with the possibility of being invited to stay on for the summer term. The paid internship would begin in January 2018 with a flexible schedule of 15-20 hours per week. The intern will have the opportunity to work alongside our fun-loving, collaborative group while gaining real-world agency experience supporting B2B clients.


  • Must be entering or in their senior year of undergraduate studies
  • Possess strong writing and communication skills
  • Willingness to work independently in a fast-paced environment
  • Organized and detail-oriented
  • Previous public relations and/or communications internship experience is a plus, preferably with an agency
  • Ability to learn quickly and adapt to our team’s work culture

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Researching media and analysts
  • Editing and/or writing client press releases and marketing materials
  • Managing editorial opportunities
  • Compiling award and speaking calendar
  • Building media lists
  • Crafting blog content for clients and internal use
  • Developing social media posts for client and internal use
  • Participating in staff meetings
  • Assisting with other duties as assigned

Application instructions: Please send resume and cover letter, along with writing samples to Adrienne Newcomb at [email protected]; no phone calls, please.

A Twitter-Sized Recap of the 2017 PRSA International Conference

It’s been over a week since I returned from Boston, having attended the 2017 PRSA International Conference, and my mind is still blown – in a good way of course! After spending three days with my PR peers from all over the world in more than a dozen professional development sessions, I’ve come back energized, inspired and full of ideas! It’s been 18 years since I last attended the PRSA International Conference. I was a senior at Texas Tech University, president of my PRSSA chapter and ready to take on the world! (Funny story, that year the conference actually took place in Boston! Annnnd, it’s possible that I might have had a little too much fun at Cheers with some of my new PRSSA friends from the conference!)

Thinking through all of the information-rich sessions I attended last week, compared to those I attended 18 years prior – I am reminded how much has changed and how far we have come as a profession. In 1999, we were certainly not talking about digital marketing strategies, big data and the science behind PR, viral media strategies or how to write content for mobile. I also know that we were not talking about the new ideas of diversity and inclusion – one of the bigger themes at this year’s conference. For those of us not in the millennial generation, diversity and inclusion has historically meant adopting best practices in our industry that supports racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and gender differences. This theme, however, has evolved to include diverse skill sets, mindsets and cultures at all levels of the organization.

Moreover, this year’s conference gave me pause to think about what it means to be a PR professional. As a student attendee in 1999, I was eager to learn how to best make my way successfully in this profession. Now, in 2017, so much has changed – we now have more (and much better) tools, technologies and channels to help us do the job we are hired to do. Then, most PR professionals weren’t given a second glance by the C-suite. Now, we have the power to make our place at the executive table.

Long story short – I have way too much information to include in just one blog! So, below are a few of my tweets (and some from attendees I connected with via Twitter) from the conference for a brief overview of the sessions I attended. I plan to write more session specific blogs at a later date, but for now, enjoy this “Twitter-sized” recap:

• “Now is the best time in history to be a storyteller” says @MorganSpurlock #PRSAICON
• Great session on data-driven strategies to manage millennial PR prof., focus on diversity and inclusion. @PRSA #prsaicon
• “If you want to rule the world, you have to dominate public relations!” @JKDJane #PRSSANC #PRSAICON
• Learning about the #BeAnAstronaut campaign from @NASA at #prsaicon. Brilliant! Raised over 18K applicants!
• Year in Space campaign showed how @NASA could work as a single unit with focused objectives. #prgoals #PRSAICON
• Real-time pitch session with @BeaArthurLMHC at #prsaicon. Great feedback on improving PR pitches. Tighten your pitches, know your hook!
• Performance based PR teams don’t wait until the end of the campaign, they look at data points every day. @IrisPRSoftware #thenewpr
• PR is exploding! More options for impressions: earned, shared, owned, paid. We all need raises! @AirPR
• Unleash brand’s superpower w/imagination. Don’t limit brainstorms to people by level. Be inclusive and find the winning idea! @KeithTweets
• Work backwards f/the headline you want to see. These guys were not afraid of endless creativity. @KeithTweets @Reebok @danmazei #prsaicon
• “When you do something truly creative, there is no template for it,” @danmazei #PRSAICON #dedication
• Tell me a fact & I’ll listen, tell me a truth & I’ll believe, tell me a story & it will be with me forever. @PRSA @PRSAOrlando #prsaicon
• Superpower tip: Validation. “The flood was the event, Noah is the story,” @danmazei -find real people to tell your story!#PRSAICON
• Getting “seat at the table” in strategy & change planning is easier when viewed as business leader with comms skills, not reverse. #prsaicon
• “PR, social media, editorial content – every idea we have integrates all 3 – no one thing can work in a silo…” @danmazei @Reebok #prsaicon