When we began planning our 30-year anniversary campaign we knew early on that we wanted to do something really special to celebrate digitally since we would not able to host a big, in-person soirée.
Of course, we wanted to incorporate all the elements of a good PR and marketing campaign, but it was equally important that we include our industry friends and family, who have been such a great support to the agency over the past 30 years.
Voila! I present to you the KG 30th Anniversary Video, which we think meets all these goals!
Sharing the video with Jeff was a treat
We surprised Jeff with the video a couple of weeks ago via Zoom, and it was so special to watch his reaction to all the fun memories shared and the wonderful accolades spoken from friends, peers, former co-workers and his family.
I wish we could have included all of those who have been a part of the KG team over the years, but you know who you are, and I am so thankful for each one of you. You are equally a part of our story!
A special thank you to those who shared a video
I’d like to thank the following for taking their time to send in their kind words for Jeff and, in the words of our good friend Dave Murphy, the entire Ketner Group dynasty.
Keep the anniversary celebrations going
If you have any pictures of your time at Ketner Group, we’d love you to share! Feel free to post and tag us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter!
We hope you enjoy the anniversary video, especially our motivational speech towards the end! In true Ketner Group fashion, we manage to inspire through laughter. Just the way we like it!
It’s been 30 years since Jeff Ketner founded Ketner Group Communications, and it’s been an absolutely incredible – and sometimes wild – journey. To help us celebrate, Jeff and I kicked back for a stroll down memory lane. Check out the full video below or read our summary to learn more about some of the highlights of the last 30 years!
How Ketner Group began: striking out on his own
Catherine: Tell me about the day you decided to strike out on your own. Did you have any memorable conversations with your family? Or friends or peers?
Jeff: It wasn’t planned that far in advance; it was pretty spontaneous. I was vice president at a technology PR firm here in Austin when one day the owner walked and said that she was retiring and shutting the whole place down.
At that time, I was very fortunate to have Texas Instruments as a client and a strong 5-plus-year relationship with them. So, after the owner of the firm said she was shutting it down, I told her I was going to talk with TI. “That’s fine,” she said. Literally the same day, I talked to TI and they told me not to worry. In just a few days, I was set up as a vendor.
I would like to say that it was planned out. I had wanted to set out for a while, but I was sort of thrust into it.
Catherine: There have been a lot of crazy, silly things that have happened to us over the years. What are some of your favorite moments from the past 30 years?
Jeff: I remember the time at NRF when we had a snowball fight with the team from Digby, now known as Phunware, at one or two in the morning. We were in New York City, it was cold, and we were all stranded because the airports were shut down. So, we had a snowball fight on the streets of New York!
Or another time at NRF’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Retail. Just being able to play guitar onstage with some fun people like Brian Kilcourse, Steve Rowen and Cathy Hotka. Just to be able to be onstage — and I used to be pretty good, but I hadn’t played in a long time — it gave me a chance to get the rust out and to have some fun and play with people that became my friends. Plus, I get to tell my grandkids that I was onstage at B.B. King Blues Club in New York.
The fun and silly things that happen around the office are amazing, too. People spontaneously breaking into song or just laughing and being together as a team. The things that make anyone feel special. Like the times when I come back from a day off for my birthday and my office is decorated to the max. Of course, there is Bosses Day – which I didn’t even know was a thing – during which people dressed up like me: flannels and blue jeans.
It just things like that that are fun and make you feel special. We do a lot of that as a team, just to really maintain a sense of caring for one another and trying to each other’s back and have fun together.
The lessons learned in 30 years
Catherine: What lessons have you learned as a founder and CEO of your own business?
Jeff: Well, there are a lot of them. The most important is to build a great team, give them a lot of freedom and just trust them. I think the people really make it work. We have a very collaborative team, and we work together well. That’s what I’m most comfortable with. It’s not really a top-down organization that’s driven by one, singular personality. We’ve worked to establish a culture of openness and trust and collaboration.
As much as anything, it’s about getting the right people in place and doing everything you can to hang on to them and make it an exciting place to work, but also give space for a work-life balance. At the end of the day, it’s the things everyone does outside of work that are going to stick with you for the rest of your life. What you do at work counts, but there is life beyond work, and we give our team the space to realize that.
Finding a niche in retail technology
Catherine: We’re known around town for specializing in retail technology, but what is it about retail tech that is so exciting to you?
Jeff: It’s fun! We’ve worked in semiconductors, we’ve worked in servers, we’ve worked in both the fun and the boring parts of technology. But everyone shops. Everyone eats. Retail touches every part of life and it changes so fast. Ten years ago, all the shopping was done in store, and that’s just totally flipped. Over the last three years, no one used to order groceries online and have them delivered or arrange curbside pickup.
It’s changed, and it’s changed really fast. I can’t think of any technology sector that is changing and that touches every facet of our lives like retail. To me, it’s the most fascinating, fast-paced industry to be in.
Overcoming current and future challenges
Catherine: I’d like you to share some advice on how you’ve overcome challenges.
Jeff: When you have a challenge that comes up you have to do a couple of things. First, face it honestly and straightforwardly. You can’t sweep it under the rug. If there is a tough conversation to be had with a client, it’s much, much better to pick up the phone than send an email. You also have to double down and work through it. Rely on your team. Be honest. Be transparent.
I know you didn’t want to bring up the “pandemic” word but working through this has been something I’m most proud of. The team came together even when clients were having issues and cutting budgets. There was a mass freak out throughout every sector of business. We’ve worked through it, we’ve focused on bringing on new clients, and we did everything we can to take care of our existing clients.
We worked our way through it and I’m grateful for that. The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for so many people and businesses. It’s really because of the team that we’ve overcome it.
Bad times will happen, there will always be unexpected things that come your way. Look to your team and rely on your instincts. Over time, you will develop a resilience that will allow you to get through things that are difficult.
When it came to the topic of remote work and how Ketner Group has addressed it over the years – I immediately thought of the 1981 hit country song, “I Was Country, When Country Wasn’t Cool,” sung by Barbara Mandrell.
In it, Mrs. Mandrell talks about how she listened to music from the Grand Ole Opry growing up while her friends were “digging on rock ‘n’ roll” and how everyone is now trying to be what she was back then.
When it comes to remote work at Ketner Group, this song seems spot on. We’ve been at this for quite some time – way before it was cool, and (now) necessary.
The way we were, and are: Ketner Group and our history of remote work
While I know that Ketner Group is not the only company to have instituted flexible work-from-home policies prior to the pandemic, our agency was founded with an emphasis on offering a good work-life balance for all employees.
That became very apparent to me in 2005 when my daughter was born. My two bosses at the time, Jeff Ketner and Terry Barnes, made it clear that my family was very important and that they were just fine with a work schedule that was best for me and my family.
This philosophy started even before my tenure at Ketner Group, when Jeff launched the agency in 1990. He was to be at home every night for dinner, and if he needed to work from home, he would lug home a big laptop to finish any client work after his kids had gone to bed.
Thus, the roots of Ketner Group’s flexible work standards started to grow, and we’ve never looked back.
Our attitude toward working from home has always been simple: plan accordingly, meet your deadlines, and communicate with your team and managers of your schedule. In normal times, we always encouraged the team to be in the office as much as possible, but life happens.
Whether it be a doctor appointment across town, picking up kids from school, or being at home for the cable guy – working from home to take care of things is sometimes just easier. There are also times when one needs to work from home to concentrate on a big writing or research project – we’ve always encouraged that, too.
We’ve been everywhere
In recent years, Ketner Group has continued to walk the walk and talk the talk when it came to working remote – a sentiment I talked about last November in the Austin Business Journal. One of the most important things we value at the agency is trust, and we have a very high level of trust with all of our employees.
For example, we have had employees take extended vacations to Europe and Asia (learn more about Mariana’s time in Bali here), where they worked remote for a period of time while they were overseas and then take an additional two weeks off for vacation. A few years ago, one of our employees spent a year working from Ireland, and it worked out beautifully.
It is important to support these remote work options because we want our team to live their best lives, see the world and have amazing experiences.
W.O.R.K in the USA
Since March, our remote work game has been in overdrive – along with the rest of the world.
In fact, a global survey conducted by Gartner, Inc. found that 88% of business organizations all over the world mandated or encouraged all their employees to work from home when the COVID-19 virus started to spread at exponential rates.
The move to full-time remote work for the Ketner Group team was seamless, and again demonstrated how much we value and trust each of our employees. Not only is everyone currently working from their respective homes, but we have a few employees that have hit the open road in RVs to fully experience remote work life!
It’s been an adventure for all of us so far.
Our team is spread out across five states, but our productivity and company culture remain strong. The pandemic has been hard on all of us – professionally and personally – but we remain a strong and dedicated team because of the processes and work policies we put in place 30 years ago.
I look forward to when we can all be in an office together again. Until then, we’ll be seeing you on a Zoom somewhere.
I love anniversaries. It gives one the opportunity to look back at where you’ve been, what you’ve gone through and all the good things that lay ahead.
This time last year, Kirsty Goodlett, our director of Nashville, and I, were putting the final touches on our soon to be Nashville launch. Our anniversary “week” in Nashville kicked off with an amazing launch party, complete with signature cocktails, food and a panel of brilliant, all-female storytellers.
We continued our launch activities by participating in and attending 36|86 Festival, the premier entrepreneur and start up event of the Southeast. As Kirsty said in her recap blog last year, it was truly nothing short of magic!
We were honored to kick off 36|86 with a panel featuring Kirsty, Ben Kurland and Lisa Roberts, chatting about how to win press and influence customers. Kirsty also did a podcast interview with our friend, Clark Bucker, for the 36|86 podcast, and we secured some wonderful media coverage for Ketner Group in Nashville and Austin.
Our launch was perfect, and was made possible against the wonderful backdrop of 36|86. Which is why, when asked if we wanted to participate in this year’s festival and manage media relations for 36|86, we responded with a resounding “YES!” to our friends at Launch Tennessee.
36|86 Festival goes global, interactive and virtual!
Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s 36|86 Festival will look a bit different, but will still include all of the amazing speakers, sessions, networking and that Nashville pizazz that attendees have come to expect from the event!
The fully interactive, online experience will take place over two weeks for a global audience from Aug. 17-28. 36|86 will offer human stories, real strategies, 1-on-1 networking opportunities and shared experiences in its most accessible form yet.
Eddie George, entrepreneur and former NFL running back
Van Jones, CNN host and political commentator and CEO of REFORM Alliance
Ian Rogers, Group Chief Digital Officer of LVMH
Dr. Stacey Edwards Dunn, founder and president of Fertility for Colored Girls, NFP
Ketner Group brings a bit of Austin to Nashville
Our team is so proud to again participate in this year’s festival, bringing our love of PR and entrepreneurial innovation to the 36|86 stage. And this year, Kirsty and I are bringing a few more of the KG team along for the fun!
Right after the session, Jeff and Mariana will be available for a live “ask the experts” session for festival attendees.
Kirsty and I are also back in full swing at 36|86 this year, judging two pitch competitions with some new and old friends from Nashville! Startup companies and student groups are competing for bragging rights as well as cash prizes. Don’t miss this opportunity to see some of the brightest and most innovative minds in Tennessee!
If that hasn’t been exciting enough, we have also been managing media relations for this year’s festival. It’s been wonderful taking them on as a client and telling the most amazing entrepreneurship stories.
Building community across the global startup ecosystem
Right now, a year after our official launch in Nashville, Ketner Group and the entire world find ourselves in a unique situation. Our lives have become disrupted and turned upside down, but, we’ve all become closer and more connected than ever, and that’s exciting! Think of all the possibilities!
36|86 has embodied what it means for events, right now, to make timely, engaging and entertaining content available to anyone around the world. The show must go on, and the Ketner Group team is thrilled to again share the stage with an amazing collection of game-changers, disrupters and future-seekers!
I hope to see ya’ll there!
Click here to register for 36|86, which kicks off in just a few days!
As part of our new webinar series, KG Connects, we recently
invited Jeffrey Henning and Tony Cheevers of Researchscape to give attendees an
overview of the types of PR surveys and custom research they have
been working on during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as their best practices for
conducting newsworthy surveys.
As PR practitioners, we know that some of the best media coverage
is powered by data that can tell a unique story. In other words, it’s a PR
goldmine if you can find those one-of-a-kind nuggets of data that will generate
the publicity you are looking for.
According to the Researchscape team – and PR people all over
the world – stories that can place a company in the larger context of
sweeping changes, backed by recent data, will resonate best with journalists.
There is never a bad time to field a PR survey. In fact,
Researchscape has conducted 21,000 surveys since March 1. Three out of
four research surveys today have a COVID-19 angle.
But, how can you ensure that you are putting the right
information from a survey into your press release or proactive pitch? Better
yet, what are the best practices for setting up your survey for long-term
According to Researchscape, focusing on the following five
processes will set you on the right track:
As with any PR
and communications campaign, setting a goal focuses your efforts and saves time
and budget that might have gone to extraneous details.
develop long term goals such as building brand awareness, generating leads or
developing content for a content marketing strategy. Executing a PR survey
should also have short term goals such as providing support for a product
launch or leveraging a holiday or trending story/event for coverage.
critical first step or risk losing the overall vision of your campaign.
Design and Field the Survey
Now that you have
your goals set, the next step is to brainstorm possible headlines that you
would love to see – kind of an “in a perfect world” exercise with your team! Researchscape
suggests you “let your team’s imagination go wild, envisioning the results that
would best drive coverage.”
Once you come up
with your dream headlines, now is the time to come up with the questions. This
is where academic discipline and a little bit of art in surveys comes to play. According to Researchscape, the main problems that
lead to inaccurate survey results and will reduce credibility with
reporters are asking leading questions or encouraging acquiescence bias.
A good rule of
thumb: a well-designed questionnaire can provide material for two or three news
releases. As outlined in a Researchscape whitepaper,
the average survey news release typically reports the findings from five
questions (not including demographic questions).
A 15- to
20-question survey can easily provide content for three or four news releases.
Most survey news
releases simply include a summary of key findings of the survey, without commentary
or context. But, with additional effort and detail, you can get far better
How to get survey
results covered by media:
Exhibits: These include high-quality charts and graphs that can be used by reporters. Don’t forget to put your company’s name in the graphic!
Topline Results: These should accompany the press release and include the full list of complete questions and the answers selected for each question. As one reporter says, “I want to see what the questions are and what order they are asked in.”
Methodology FAQ: Don’t push the methodology summary to the last paragraph of the release. Create a methodology document or section in the release that answers the questions that journalists are trained to look for in surveys.
Write the News
Once you develop campaign
assets, it’s time to write your killer press release(s) and make your push to
Rule of thumb: Journalists
prefer timely content. Announce your findings as soon as you can.
When writing your
survey press releases, pay attention to these common mistakes as reported by
Claiming a margin
of sampling error
questions with too few respondents
disclose the basics
Not linking to
Adapt and Re-Use
You’ve drafted a strong press release, pitched it to your key
media targets and have secured press all while building brand awareness and
generating leads – now what?
Do it all again next year, of course!
At Ketner Group, we have had clients conduct the same survey
for consecutive years with great success. It allows us to do year-over-year
comparisons so we can give reporters “trend reports” that provide more than
just a snapshot in time. This is one of the best ways to become a go-to expert
and thought leader on a given topic.
For more information about the process of creating newsworthy PR surveys, I encourage you to read the Best Practices for Newsmaker Surveys whitepaper from Researchscape that analyzes more than 3,000 surveys done over seven years.
Your Ideas in Motion
If you need help designing or getting the most out of your
next PR survey project, connect with me at [email protected] to set up a free 30-minute consultation.
Ah, tradeshows! Those giant beasts that take over our lives for at least six months, if not longer. We know B2B tradeshows are often a major line-item in a company’s yearly budget, and as such, should be treated with care. We often see a lot of time and focus on the first two, but it’s critical you know what to do after NRF to keep the momentum going.
As we have many clients, prospects and industry
peers that attend the BIG
Show each year, aka NRF (National Retail
Federation), our goal for this blog is to provide recommendations for retail
technology vendors to make note of in their post-NRF plans. After all, Ketner
Group has been faithfully making the trip to New York every January since 1999.
That’s 20+ years of learning from our clients
on what works and what doesn’t!
Now that the Expo Hall is officially closed, below is a quick checklist of things from the Ketner Group team to keep in mind as the dust settles from the Big Apple:
(As a general caveat, the best practices
called out in this blog can really be applied to any B2B tradeshow.)
Post Show Emails to New Leads – Get Them Out, STAT!
We can’t reiterate this enough:
post-show emails to the leads you generated at NRF MUST happen, and fast! Retailers
have made a point to attend NRF to see what technologies they want to implement
in 2020 – this is your chance to keep those conversations going.
Make sure to send personalized “thank you” emails to each person you meet; i.e., if a salesperson meets a prospect, he or she should take the lead on the follow-up. The email should contain a variety of helpful, unique information, and focus on the products they cared about specifically to give the email a more personal touch.
If you were not able to connect at
the show, send “sorry we missed you” emails to the rest of your list. Their
inbox will be less hectic, and there’s no pressure for them to work you into a
packed schedule. This can also be a great time to get in front of someone who was
underwhelmed by other vendors they may have met with on site.
If time is of the essence, you can also send out a general, visual email to everyone that was met at NRF.
Media and Analysts – Keep Those Conversations and Relationships Going
Sales leads are important at NRF, no doubt, but so are the face-to-face meetings with key media and analysts. You’ve likely executed on a successful communications/PR plan at NRF that has landed you targeted media briefings, an interview with Retail Touchpoints TV and/or inclusion in RIS News’ Top Ten Takeaways article – all hopefully with our help! – but what should you do next?
Media and Analysts You Met With
This is critical: follow up on every media and analyst request and conversation after NRF. This can be done by you and via a PR partner like Ketner Group. Conversations at NRF invariably lead to post-NRF follow-up, so it’s important to follow through on all the details. A simple thank you is helpful, but even better is following up with specific deliverables, like a demo, more insight into a customer you discussed, or a new pitch angle that might have come up, etc.
Media and Analysts You Did Not Meet With
Don’t forget to follow up with key
media and analysts that you didn’t get to meet with or that were unable to
Lastly, we’ve seen way too many
cases where retail tech companies make all their announcements at NRF and then
have a drought of several months when they make no announcements at all. In the
past, media have been receptive to story pitches several weeks after NRF, when
so much of the noise from the Big Show has died down.
If you have the luxury of multiple
press releases around NRF, especially a retail customer announcement, hold one
back for early February.
Content – The More Unique, The Better!
If done right, post-NRF content
can help motivate prospects to continue having fruitful conversations with you.
Content, which includes press releases you send out after NRF, is the best way
to you top of mind with prospects AND media/analysts.
Publish a Recap Blog
Do a recap blog on your key themes
from NRF, or the major topics that seemed to come up in every conversation you
had, then share them on social media. Focus on adding as much unique content as
you can – including images, videos, podcasts, quotes, stories – to make your
content stand out. As well, include a call to action for demos of products that
address those topics.
As part of your pre-NRF preparation, consider creating an ebook (we recommend interactive or image-driven that is easy to read) that you can also send to prospects that showcases how your solution can help solve their challenges. This can be effective for both pre- and post-NRF marketing.
Most of us have little time to
read these days, let alone retailers. Make sure any content you send is easily
digestible as well as informative.
Promote it prominently on your
website, including alongside your recap blog, and push via email and social to
capitalize on the power of each channel.
Social Media – It’s All About the Hashtag
Speaking of social, your social media platforms are the perfect way to amplify the successes you achieved, promote post-show content and of course to further develop the relationships from NRF. It’s your branding megaphone, take advantage of it post-show!
If you haven’t already, follow all media and analysts you engaged with at the show to keep the conversation going. Share their NRF recap thoughts and have your leadership engage with their content, especially if you earn coverage with them.
Social Engagement Is a Full-Time Job
Note: beyond any NRF coverage, as
part of your relationship building, we always recommend commenting on published
articles throughout the year, even if they do not include your company. This
goes a long way, especially with journalists.
And remember, the hashtag doesn’t end when the show does. Make sure to use any key hashtags, especially #NRF2020, to share any follow-up content you post.
Website – Your Branding Homebase
for All Things NRF
Your website is your North Star, so
make sure it has everything prospects and industry playmakers might need to get
any information about your company after the BIG show.
We always recommend taking down your NRF 2020 promo branding as soon as the show ends. However, you may want to consider leaving a spot on the homepage for the “Missed Us At NRF?” crowd. Bring them to the recap blog and highlight the demos/calls to action.
As you prepare for 2020, get ready
for the next show early! Wherever you’ll have a presence, promote it
prominently on the site. NRF might be the biggest retail technology show, but
there’s a ton of value in other shows like EuroCIS and Shoptalk coming right
up. It’s never too early to get ready.
Lastly, make sure your details for
2020 are on your website. It’s best to have an events page that lists all of
the events you attend in a given year.
NRF – The Gift That Keeps on Giving
We know that you put in a ton of time preparing for NRF and working overtime during the show to execute on that planning. Just don’t forget that the show isn’t over once the booth is broken down. The people you meet and relationships you build continue on for years.
Need PR and Marketing Support?
If you are looking for a retail partner for 2020, we’d love to speak with you. Drop us a line at [email protected]!
Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a HUGE Walt Disney fan. I try to sneak in a Disney-themed Easter egg from time to time in my blogs – mostly for my own enjoyment! Without a doubt, he is one of my all-time heroes. Big shoes to aspire after, I know, but the global entertainment empire Disney created is a marvel. Above all, he was a storyteller at heart. He never stopped dreaming, never stopped creating and always pushed the limits of what was possible in order to make us (his audience) feel that Disney magic.
One of Disney’s most famous quotes, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths,” has been one of my mantras here at Ketner Group. It was my guiding light when we opened our New York office this past January. And it currently plays over and over in my mind as we officially mark the opening of our new digs in Nashville today!
A City On The Move
We’ve known for some time that Nashville is a force to be reckoned with, and when the perfect opportunity came along to create a presence there (read Kirsty’s Q&A), we knew that it was the right move for Ketner Group. Consider this:
Nashville is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and has added 200,000 jobs since 2014.
It was recently ranked as a top city for young professionals
It is also ranked as the top city in the U.S. for business conventions, and one of the best cities to buy a house.
In addition, multiple national and start-up companies have launched their regional headquarters in the city including Amazon, Mitsubishi, Clover Health, Pilot.com and many, many more.
The list of Nashville’s accolades goes on and on, with more to come!
Just Keep Growing, Just Keep Changing
In any business, growing, changing and evolving is the key to long-term success. Walt Disney knew that, and so does the team here at Ketner Group Communications. Expanding into both New York and now Nashville is an exciting and strategic next step in the life of our agency.
Nashville and New York allow us to continue opening more doors and creating new ways to tell our clients’ stories. We are thrilled to join the ranks of growing companies in the greater Nashville area.
As we said in our press release, “Ketner Group is committed to being a part of the growth, and we’re excited to play a role in telling the compelling stories coming out of these innovative businesses.”
The first exciting moment in our launch week took place on Monday night, when we hosted our official launch party in our WeWork office in East Nashville with a great group of female communicators offering super tips on how to tell stories that build your brand. Read our recap to learn more!
We are also thrilled to have launched Ketner Group Nashville during the 36/86 Entrepreneurship Festival. Kirsty Goodlett, our director of Nashville, was joined by Lisa Roberts, seasoned executive marketer and Ben Kurland, co-founder, BillFixers, to speak on a panel to provide PR, marketing and storytelling best practices to startups and entrepreneurs. Our recap of that event will fill you in on all the goodness that took place!
As we “take the stage” in Nashville, I’m reminded Walt Disney once said that Disneyland would never be completed, that it would grow as long as there is imagination left in the world. I feel the same way. Ketner Group’s mission is to tell great stories. I’m excited to plan where we will go next! After all, there are still plenty of stories left to tell.
My husband and I recently introduced our 9-year old son to the classic Will Smith song – Summertime. Even though this jam dropped way back in 1993, it still has a coolness factor to it, according to my son! The song talks about summer being a time where you can sit back and unwind.
Well, the KG team knows a few things about that!
Team Road Trip: Dallas!
Of course, we stay just as busy during the
summer as we do the rest of the year, but we are big believers in taking time
for vacations and exciting summer adventures! In fact, I’m proud to announce
that many of us just returned from a fun weekend in Dallas to celebrate our
sweet Stacy’s wedding! There was much merriment and dancing – the perfect way
to kick off the summer at KG. (We are only slightly jealous of Stacy’s current honeymoon
vacation in Hawaii!) I was so glad that our crazy crew was there to celebrate
Stacy and Alvin’s nuptials.
KG Vacation: Holiday Road!
But it doesn’t stop there. As a matter of fact, The KG team has many more fun vacations in store for Summertime 2019. Kirsty just back from a wonderful week by the seaside in Florida. Meanwhile, Mikaela is traversing Europe for an amazing 2-week vacation. I’ll be hitting up the Texas coast twice this summer, Mariana will be wining in Sonoma, Jenna will be camping at the Frio and Greg will be hanging in Montreal. Whew. As well, I believe there are also other trips planned to Seattle and Boston, too! Point is, our team knows the importance of getting away and taking the time to mentally relax. In our business, it is a must.
In addition to personal vacations, I’ll also
be traveling to our offices in New York and Nashville this summer for some very
exciting industry events! Stay tuned for future blogs on that in July and
Soak Up The Summer Sun, and the Adventures
To sum up, Team Ketner Group just loves the summer. Above all, we love spending time with our friends and loved ones and sharing all of our adventures (and amazing pictures) with each other. From our team to yours, we hope you have an amazing summer full of fun, sun and memories!
Please excuse the musical reference in my headline, but it just seems to fit! The Ketner Group team is still on a high after wrapping up another successful NRF Big Show. We also saw the musical “Chicago” (starring Cuba Gooding Jr.) on Broadway. In the musical, the song “Razzle Dazzle” is about a lawyer who wins all of his cases by putting on a good show in the courtroom. He always stretches the truth since most of his clients are actually guilty! The “razzle dazzle” I’m referring to, however, is the hundreds of new retail technologies that were on display last week at the Javits Center.
I think Joe Skorupa, editorial director of RIS News, summed it up best: “The 2019 NRF Big Show was big, big, big! As usual, frenzied herds of attendees funneled into sessions and booths that were often too crowded to accommodate them. But this year’s NRF took bigness to a new level. Aisles were clogged with attendees, innovative exhibitors were jam packed and traditional exhibitors were jam packed. The lower level of the Javits Center, usually an outpost for the forlorn and lonely, was a hotbed of engaging technology and crowded activity.”
Razzle Dazzle ‘Em, Give ‘Em A Show That’s So Splendiferous
This year, NRF exhibitors and sponsors truly outdid themselves. The renewed interest in the brick and mortar store is everywhere, and the excitement is brewing. The industry “talked the talk” about the store in 2018, but at NRF, everyone seemed to really “walk the walk” when it comes to store investments! Even Target CEO Brian Cornell acknowledged the value of his stores. According to Cornell, Target stores fulfilled 3 out of every 4 orders. This included items picked up in the store, delivered to customers in the parking lot, or picked and packed by store associates and shipped to customers. Cornell considers his stores his single biggest competitive advantage.
Razzle Dazzle ‘Em, And They’ll Beg You For More!
You’ve heard the phrase “location, location, location,” but it seems in 2019, the chant for retailers will be “the store, the store, the store!” Just take a look at some of the store-focused announcements from Ketner Group clients:
California Closets demonstrated their use of Elo’s smart table technology, which incorporates use of endless aisle/endless design app on the Elo touchscreen platform.
C-store retailer Pilot Flying J announced that it is deploying a new store architecture solution with NCR Software Defined Store, enabled by Zynstra. The architecture creates an agile infrastructure across the entire store, reducing costs and optimizing operations for faster innovation.
Theatro announced the launch of its new data analytics suite, a proprietary method to track, aggregate, and analyze in-store employee key performance indicators.
These and many other new store technology deployments tell us two things. First, retailers want to do all they can to make the store a destination for fun, in-store shopper engagement. Second, they can (and should) utilize the store to power their omnichannel efforts. Note: I have a feeling that we will have another word to replace omnichannel in 2019. Stay tuned on that!
Razzle Dazzle ‘Em, And They’ll Make You A Star!
The Ketner Group team believes the old “razzle dazzle” has new meaning for the retail industry in 2019. Gone are the days of trying to impress retailers with a three-ring circus of ineffective and expensive technologies. Solutions demonstrated at NRF 2019 have invigorated the industry with a breath of fresh air. The Ketner Group team is excited to play our part to push that momentum forward in 2019.
As notable author and speaker Steve Dennis recently tweeted, “Physical retail isn’t dead. Boring retail is.”
I always tell people it’s the little things that make me happy – a good hair day, catching all the green lights on the way home, or finding that lost $10 bill in my pocket. That’s why today, the official launch of our new and improved Ketner Group website, I am grinning ear to ear remembering all of the (several dozen) little things that happened during the journey of creating this latest version of KetnerGroup.com.
For starters, before the painstaking, yet satisfying process of developing the new website began – Jeff Ketner and I made the bold decision to change the name of the agency to Ketner Group Communications, leaving behind Ketner Group PR + Marketing. As an agency, we have grown in so many ways over the past few years, not only in our ranks, but also in expanding our scope of services to offer social media management and digital content marketing to clients. We felt that the word “communications” better described where we are now and where we are headed in the years to come. We think it fits us quite nicely, and we hope you like it!
So, a new name meant a new logo, with a new color palette, to go along with a new website! Enter our new and amazing friends from Mixtape Marketing (bless their hearts) who have hung in there with us since November 2017 and have been the best marketing and design partners we could ever ask for! No one ever said creating a new website was easy, but the Mixtape team made the nearly year-long process of getting this sucker off the ground a fun and enjoyable experience. Our hats off to them.
As part of the new Ketnergroup.com site, we wanted the content, design, tone and imagery to better reflect who we are as a group and our philosophy as an agency. As the homepage says, we are “obsessed with exceeding client expectations” and we love showcasing our can-do culture. It’s at the heart of who we are. We are a fun group of taco and latte-loving “strategists, writers, talkers, listeners, tweeters, readers, music nerds and goofballs” who love nothing more than to see our clients win big. We think that sentiment is perfectly reflected in the new website.
While we hoped to have launched the site sooner, we had a few worthwhile roadblocks come up this past year that needed our attention – like the six new clients we brought on in 2018, which led us to hire three new employees, bringing our current KG full-time employee count to 10. We were nominated as a finalist in “company culture” for the 2018 Greater Austin Business awards, and have been busy finalizing the details to open a New York office in 2019. Oh, and we bought new chairs for our conference room – they are so nice and comfy! Like I said, it’s the little things.
I suppose you can consider this blog the digital version of a “ribbon cutting” ceremony for the new Ketnergroup.com! To make it KG official though, we celebrated with some Torchy’s chips and queso, a big chocolate cake and champagne. It’s how we roll.
Welcome to Ketner Group Communications – our door is always open!
3737 Executive Center Drive
Austin, TX 78731