Ketner Group is Hiring: Account Executive

Looking for a place to showcase your passion and talent for PR, writing and social media? Want to be a part of an amazing team dedicated to client success, but that always makes times for tacos and chocolate? Then we want to hear from you!

Ketner Group Communications is looking for a motivated and dynamic team member, with experience in managing client relationships, as well as successfully executing PR campaign strategies, tactics and reporting.


  • Assist Account Managers with staying on task for key accounts
  • Execute media relations activities, including developing media lists, press release distribution and pitching and editorial calendar research and management
  • Cultivate new media relationships in other verticals and top tier, national press
  • Write content pieces, including press releases, articles, case studies, e-books, etc.
  • Manage client monthly reporting
  • Serve as a key contact in client communications
  • Help to brainstorm fresh, new campaign ideas
  • Execute on social media tactics
  • Support the executive team on new business initiatives and proposals

Candidate Qualities:

  • Strong writing skills, be prepared to submit writing samples
  • Confidence in handling media relations, including pitching trade and national media contacts
  • Effective communications skills, including the ability to clearly articulate the status of PR program/campaign activities to clients in person, over the phone or via email
  • Excellent research skills in finding appropriate media contacts, collecting supporting data/information for copywriting, identifying client award and event opportunities and conducting client competitor research
  • Ability to be self-accountable, self-motivated and proactive in staying on task with daily activities

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, journalism or marketing
  • 2-4 years of PR experience in an agency, brand or corporation
  • Retail technology or brand PR experience a plus, but not required
  • B2B and/or B2C experience highly valued, but not required
  • Experience with executing on social media tactics
  • Experience with Vocus, Hootsuite, TrendKite, Cision/Vocus and Harvest a plus

Please send resume and cover letter, along with writing samples to Catherine Seeds at [email protected]

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


A Ketner Q&A with Steve Dennis, President of SageBerry Consulting

What technology trend do you see most impacting the field?

In the short-term, technologies that help create what I like to call a more “harmonious” experience will add the greatest value.  Brands need not only remove the friction of shopping cross-channels, but find a few things to do remarkably well.  Medium-term I look to artificial intelligence and machine learning to help retailers create smarter more personalized experiences. Longer-term, virtual reality has the potential to be transformative.

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

I read a lot of different newsletters, attend a few high impact conferences and follow a handful of industry leaders who have a great pulse on what’s going on in retail (like Scott Galloway as just one example) or more broadly on innovation and consumer behavior (like my friend and first business partner Seth Godin).

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

Accept the things you cannot change.

How did you get involved in the industry? 

I got laid off from a job and wanted to stay in Chicago. I focused on consumer oriented companies that were in need of innovation and a place where I could quickly advance my career. Though a series of event I ended up going to work for Sears way back in 1991. Aspects of that decision worked out better than others.

What are three things we wouldn’t guess to be true about you? 

Given how much I put myself out there in social media and speaking some folks are surprised that I’m really pretty introverted. Second, I hate to shop. Lastly, given my interest in Buddhist philosophy I struggle with how many brands often appeal to consumers ego in shallow or meaningless ways.

What do you think is the biggest change occurring in the retail industry? 

Most consumer journeys now start in a digital channel and many brands are utterly unprepared for that.

What do you do for fun?

My first love is travel, followed closely by a strong love for learning, which usually plays out through reading and seeking out new experiences that challenge my worldview.


About Steve Dennis

Steve is the President of SageBerry Consulting, a strategic advisory firm focused on innovation and growth strategy for retail, luxury and social impact brands. His perspectives on digital disruption and the reinvention of retail are shared through keynote speeches, in the press and as the author of one of the industry’s most popular blogs. Steve is also a retail contributor for Forbes and has been named a top retail influencer by multiple organizations. He has consulted and/or spoken on six continents and still holds out hope for doing a keynote in Antarctica.

Prior to founding SageBerry, Steve was SVP, Strategy & Multichannel Marketing for the Neiman Marcus Group where he drove major growth initiatives and led the company’s multi-channel integration, loyalty marketing and customer insight strategy. Earlier in his career he held senior leadership positions with Sears, including Chief Strategy Officer and VP of Multichannel Integration.

Steve is the immediate past Board Chair of Social Venture Partners Dallas and serves on the advisory boards of the United Way’s Ground Floor Initiative, Education Opens Doors and Invodo.

He received a BA in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.


#TexasStrong— Hurricane Harvey and The Texas Spirit

This past week, Hurricane Harvey brought historical havoc to the Texas Coast, making landfall right in Rockport, Texas and traveling all the way to Houston, where it proceeded to sit stationary for five days and dump the equivalent of what The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration compared to as “the biggest waterfall in Niagara Falls continuously pouring on Texas for nine months.”

Early estimates on Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the retail industry have come in at about $1 billion in losses. However, the entire impact is yet to be seen as the flood waters slowly subside and reveal the full impact of the devastation.

That is not to say that this natural disaster has only brought darkness and gloom. In the face of disaster, we have not only seen retailers step up to the plate to help out the victims of Harvey, but we have also seen technology and people play an important role in recovery and rescue efforts like never before.

Retailers give back to their consumers
While it is estimated that retailers will lose an enormous amount of money from Hurricane Harvey, that has not stopped retailers from stepping in to help with recovery efforts. This week alone, we saw retailers large and small pledge donations to aid hurricane victims. Notable retailers included Walmart, Amazon, Lowe’s and the Home Depot.

Technology aids first aid
As Hurricane Harvey pounded on Texas, emergency lines throughout the state became extremely saturated, leaving people waiting to be rescued. However, thanks to social media efforts, such as people reaching out for help on Facebook and a walkie talkie app called Zello, civilians were quickly able to mobilize alongside first respondents to aid in water rescue efforts.

The Texas Spirit
On a personal note, I had the privilege of calling Houston home from age six until age 20, when I moved away to college. My family and I immigrated to Houston, Texas from Guadalajara, Jalisco when I was in first grade and my immediate family still resides in Houston.

Growing up in Houston completely shaped the person I am today. It is the place where I met my best friends who are now more family to me than just friends. It is the place where I met my husband and extended my family. And it is the place that taught me you can find unity amongst diversity.

As an immigrant to the U.S., Houston provided a completely welcoming environment as I found myself in a melting pot with diverse cultures from all over the world. The mural in the heart of downtown Houston reads “Houston is Inspired,” which is a true testament to the heart of the city. Whatever culture you currently find yourself in the mood to explore, Houston provides it. From Greek to Chinese to Japanese to Latin, you name it and chances are, you will find a unique spot or festival that brings you closer to this culture within Houston. In the mood for a little space exploration? A little drive down toward the coast will get you there.

This week was extremely heartbreaking to watch as my family and friends were personally affected by Hurricane Harvey, losing things they have been working for their entire lives. Amid the heartbreak, however, it was also inspiring to see those friends and family come together alongside complete strangers from all over the U.S. to help with water rescues and volunteer at shelters to help victims feel safe and protected. Through it all, the friendly spirit that Texas is known for has demonstrated hope and resilience in the face of catastrophe.

We still have a long road to go as far as recovery goes, beginning with the beautiful coastal areas of Rockport, Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, all the way down to Houston and well into the state of Louisiana. However, if the efforts are anything like what we’ve already seen this week, then Texas is sure in for an amazing journey.

If you are interested in helping with recovery efforts, here is a good list of where to begin.

Ketner Group Moves to Dublin

Lebron James famously once said, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.”

But this isn’t about Miami. Or basketball. Or my next multi-million-dollar contract.

In fact, this post is about moving to another iconic place – a wonderful, scenic little island famous for its coastline, culture and pints of heavy black beer. And while there is no South Beach in the North Atlantic, I could not be more excited to be the lone Ketner Group team member calling Ireland home for the next 12 months.

Over the past few decades, Ireland has emerged as a cultural hot spot, benefitting from a booming tourism economy driven by golf, ancient castles and Guinness. Now economically humming once again, after a sharp crash in the recent global recession, Ireland is a destination not just for those seeking leisure on a grand soft day, but for the international technology firms that benefit from a highly educated workforce, low corporate tax rate, and welcoming population.

As an Irish-American armed with a passport from both nations and a background in retail technology, it’s fascinating to see how the country has changed from the first time I came here as a young child. Of course, sheep still create traffic jams on country roads the width of your driveway, but there is a buzz in the air of Dublin and Ireland’s other cities as its global potential starts to be recognized.

From Facebook to Google to Airbnb and Apple and so many more, Ireland has recruited some of the world’s most important technology companies to its shores. Of course, with Brexit leading to concerns about access to the European market, many more are expected to follow. The Irish-American business bond is catching up to the personal bond created by waves of Irish emigrants to American shores. The Irish culture of innovation is threatening to catch up to the rich culture of its history, a promising premise for the country, and for those who are lucky enough to call it home.

Of course, it’s only been my home for less than two weeks, but I can’t wait to play my small part in keeping that connection strong and growing.

A Ketner Q&A with David Matthews, Managing Director at REVTECH

What is REVTECH and why did you start it?
REVTECH is a seed fund and accelerator program for leading retail tech startups.  I believe that Dallas is a logical hub for retail tech innovation given the number of national retailers headquartered here, most of whom are struggling to adapt to the rapidly changing retail model.  I started REVTECH because most of my most interesting deal flow (as a VC in Dallas for the past 17 years) has been in this sector.

What technology trends do you see most impacting the field?
The tools today’s consumer has at their fingertips bring selection, comparison and convenience never before seen in human history.  Retailers with legacy systems and processes simply can’t keep up.

How do you most like to stay up to date on trends?
I stay current on trends by monitoring the activities of the coastal VC’s and accelerators – especially those that focus on retail tech. I also evaluate the driving forces of M&A activity in the industry.

What’s the best piece of personal or professional advice you’ve been given?
Best advice I’ve been given is to surround myself with people smarter than me – not a high bar!

How did you get involved in the industry?
My involvement in retail began as a low-wage employee in my youth; it accelerated when I landed JCPenney as a major customer (in my past life as an entrepreneur) when they moved from New York to Dallas.

What are three things we wouldn’t guess to be true about you?
1) I’m personally a low-tech guy, only high-tech with my investments. 2) I’m a drummer (not a singer!). 3) I’m a Buckeye!

What do you think is the biggest change occurring in the retail industry?
The consumer’s growing ability to fill needs effortlessly and to focus their shopping efforts on the wants and unknown needs.

What do you do for fun?
Walk the dog, hang out with my wife and kids and occasionally disappear to my cabin in the mountains.

About David Matthews
David is the managing director and founder of REVTECH. David founded REVTECH in 2011 as a seed capital fund and accelerator program focused on technology innovation for the retail industry. He has over 25 years of experience in building and developing companies and investing in software startups. REVTECH has funded 30 companies to date, half of which were able to attract seed funding of $250k or more, and four that have achieved $1 million in revenue annually. David has also helped these startups create over 200 new jobs. His most successful endeavors include selling Green Mountain Energy to NRG and selling Fiber Systems International to Amphenol. Matthews was raised in Oklahoma City and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Ohio State University in 1986.

48 Hours That Changed Retail Forever

The early morning hours of June 16 started like any ordinary Friday. Then came Amazon’s shot heard round the world, its boldest move yet in the retail revolution as the online giant announced its acquisition of Whole Foods Market. Journalists, retail analysts and PR teams shifted into hyper-drive to analyze the news before they’d even had a chance to finish their morning coffee.

The Whole Foods deal, however, was just one of a series of events, all in a 48-hour period, that will change retail forever. Here’s a quick recap:

On June 15, German discount grocer Lidl opened its first U.S. stores, as Lidl’s U.S. CEO told Supermarket News that Lidl intended “to beat the best prices in the market.” U.S. grocers, already under assault from Walmart, Amazon Fresh, Aldi, Kroger and a horde of other competitors, are feeling renewed pressure from Lidl’s appealing store design, innovative merchandising, high product quality and ultra-low prices (12 to 30 percent lower than competitors’ published promotions, according to Supermarket News.)

In any ordinary week, Lidl’s U.S. arrival would have been the week’s top retail story. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, however, was the biggest jolt to retail and grocery in several years – even more significant that Walmart’s acquisition of last year. At the end of the day, other grocery stocks plummeted as the financial markets grasped the strategic significance of the Amazon-Whole Foods deal.

That acquisition almost drowned out another key event on Retail’s Freaky Friday – Walmart’s $310 million acquisition of trendy menswear retailer Bonobos. Walmart has been on a major spending spree on digital brands as it squares off against Amazon, and its latest purchase follows on the heels of its acquisitions of innovative retail startups, Moosejaw,, Modcloth and Shoebuy.

Taken together, these events mark a watershed moment in retail, particularly in the grocery and apparel segments. And while most of the retail media coverage this year has focused on the so-called “retail apocalypse” marked by thousands of store closings, the real story in retail is far more complex and exciting. The retail industry is undergoing an intense time of transformation and reinvention, and the news from Lidl, Amazon and Walmart underscores the fast-paced disruption of established retail models.

Is retail becoming simply Amazon, Walmart and everyone else? I don’t think so – for one thing, disruptors such as Warby Parker, Pirch, Paul Evans, Outdoor Voices, TOMS, Shinola, Lidl and hundreds more are enjoying solid growth and can quickly build a passionate, loyal fan base. Fashion incubators are springing up from New York to San Francisco and beyond. Yes, some of these companies will get acquired by a Walmart or Amazon – but many more will grow into strong, mature companies that will keep an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s no accident that so much technology innovation today is focused on the retail industry. According to IHL Group’s research, Amazon spent more than $15.1 billion on innovation in 2016, more than the top 20 U.S. retailers combined. IHL calls this the TIGIR (Technology Innovation Gap in Retail) and says retailers must dramatically increase their technology spending to compete. The industry is making strides. Zappos, Walmart, Neiman-Marcus, Lowes and many other retailers have their own innovation labs, Kwolia’s Retail Innovation Lounge was a hit at SXSW and, and technology accelerators such as REVTECH are nurturing early stage tech startups in retail, grocery and restaurants (Ketner Group is a proud sponsor of both).

It’s an exciting, disruptive time in retail. Our team at Ketner Group is fortunate to work with many of the technology companies that are enabling retailers to compete against the Amazon-Walmart juggernaut, giving retailers, grocers and other businesses the technologies they need to drive sales, profits and customer engagement. As the events of June 15 and 16 demonstrated, retail is changing forever – but the story is far from over. Stay tuned; it’s going to be a wild ride.

IRCE 2017: The Focal Point of eCommerce Innovation

If you know the history of Chicago, you already know that the city proudly holds the title of the first skyscraper in the U.S. Similar to the innovation that took place to bring about one of the most transformative structures of our times, the annual Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) at the beginning of June, united the best and boldest technology vendors and retailers in the industry, all at the center of one of the founding cities for merchant activity —Chicago.

Whether attendees were looking for the next big technology invention on the show floor or sharing their best practices on the main stage, the conference was a clear indicator that technology continues to permeate into all aspects of the retail industry and that it will continue to evolve.

Here are four interesting takeaways from this year’s show:

  • The availability of technology – if you happened to find yourself wandering the show floor during the conference, one thing is for sure, if there was a specific technology you were in search of for your retail business, you were sure to find it as well as an additional buffet of technology offerings to serve your needs. Looking at the retail industry within the past decade, it’s amazing to see how retail technology has continued to advance. This is both a transformative and exciting time to be a retailer, and the caliber of technology solutions on the show floor demonstrated that there is a proper tech solution for all retailers’ needs.
  • B2C expectations in the B2B space – One thing our regular consumer lives has taught us is to expect a great customer experience no matter what. To achieve this, many retailers have implemented personalization technologies and techniques and these expectations have inevitably transferred into our business lives. Several workshops during IRCE, such as’s presentation with Kibo, offered key insights into how to overcome B2C challenges in the B2B space. A key lesson from this session was to analyze your B2B customer set across the board and implement key personalization techniques for three main groups; new online prospects, the ready buyer and return customers.
  • The Importance of Security – Today’s consumers expect their shopping journey to be one seamless experience, yet secure. We were impressed this year to see an increased and wide variety of security and fraud prevention technologies readily available on the show floor.
  • Grocery – The grocery space has undergone one of the biggest transformations of all within the past few years with the rise of grocery delivery services such as Instacart and AmazonFresh. Throughout the show we attended several discussions and outside events focusing on the future of grocery and were pleased to find the grocery space is currently one of the biggest verticals pioneering a mobile-first and omnichannel environment. One of the reoccurring themes throughout our discussions was the continuous blend of the brick-and-mortar store with the digital channel, and the push to continue making the grocery environment an experience-driven process for consumers.

Aside from the rich and delectable deep-dish pizza and the historic architecture found in every corner and crevice of Chicago, IRCE 2017 proved to be the focal point for retailers and vendors to share insights on the latest and greatest technology trends happening in the world of eCommerce. We are excited to see what the future holds for eComm and can’t wait to see what IRCE 2018 brings!

Get to Know Our New Account Executive: Greg Earl

Hey everyone—my name is Greg Earl and I’m the new Account Executive at Ketner Group.

Prior to working with the fine people of Ketner Group, I was an Account Coordinator at Lois Paul and Partners (LPP) a technology and healthcare PR agency in Austin. There, I honed my skills in content development and social media for large clients like Kodak and Philips Healthcare, as well as smaller startups. Before that, I was an intern at Edelman where I focused on technology clients in the software and analytic spaces.

Originally from New Jersey, I came to Austin to attend the University of Texas, where I graduated in 2015 with a degree in public relations. While in school I held various PR internships, including one at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport where I fulfilled my dream of holding a giant pair of ribbon-cutting scissors.

Since my move to Austin, I’ve loved nearly every aspect of the city and state. However, sometimes I can’t help but get upset thinking about the toughest parts of the move: the lack of good pizza, White Castle, pork roll and bagels. However, I’m still glad to be an Austinite and I think I’m well-adjusted to the lifestyle. Despite my initial best efforts, I’ve fully accepted “y’all” into my vernacular (it’s too efficient not to use) and no matter how strong the urge is to GTL and Beat that Beat Up with DJ Pauly D at the Jersey Shore, I do my best to remain calm and go to a record store instead.

Outside of the office I spend my time enjoying the food, drinks, music and activities that Austin has to offer. I love visiting the breweries around town and responsibly trying every sour beer or stout possible. Eating is also an important extracurricular activity for me— when I’m not eating Cane’s, I’m hunting down the city’s best food and Austin’s greatest mozzarella sticks. I used to be proud to say that I’ve tried nearly every BBQ spot in the Austin area but with the recent release of the updated Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ Joints list, I realize I still have many more pilgrimages on the horizon.

Getting to know the team and the clients here at Ketner Group has already been extremely fun and rewarding. I’m looking forward to continuing the exciting work that has me ready to go to work each day with this great group of people.

Meet Our New Account Coordinator: Stacy Lan

Hi everyone! My name is Stacy Lan and I’m excited to announce that I am the new Account Coordinator for Ketner Group. I recently graduated with a public relations degree from the University of Texas at Austin, which means it is time to drop my textbooks and enter real “adulthood.” This will be my first full-time job and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to learn and grow with.

Throughout college, I was lucky to have five different public relations internships. I look at each of those experiences as stepping stones to get to the place I am today. My freshmen year, I started off by learning to pitch to media through a remote internship. I then became a social media marketing intern for a startup company called Hooked. During the summer of my junior year, I was a corporate communications intern for Children’s Health in Dallas, channeling my love for writing by contributing to their daily newsletter. A year later, I interned for Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm, working with clients ranging from consumer to technology. It was through this internship that I discovered my love for telling each client’s stories and sharing their brand in a unique and influential way. Finally, I ended my college internship career at Hahn Public Communications, where I gained more skills and experience working with clients.

So what do I enjoy besides writing news releases and pitching to media? I love to travel the world and take in whatever sounds, sights and smells (okay…maybe not all smells) that come my way. I also love taking my camera with me to capture these moments to remember. Other than traveling, I like to explore home in the great city of Austin. To me, the best part about Austin is that after you eat all the delicious tacos and barbecue, you can hike it all off at the most beautiful trails and lakes. I also volunteer in East Austin, mentoring children and teaching them bible stories with an organization called Mission: Possible!

When I met the team at Ketner Group, I could tell that each person is valued and everyone is treated like family. With a group like that, powerful storytelling and incredible results can be achieved. I’m thrilled to be a part of this team and can’t wait to see where this new chapter takes me!