Archive for Monday

Breakout 1C: Three Really Is The Magic Number. The Content, Process and Delivery of Successful Social Storytelling

By Whitney Ladwig (Northwest Florida Chapter)

What is the science behind successful storytelling?

Speaker Dan Farkas said it’s all a mind game. Look at the human eye. Your eye can see wide, medium, tight, really tight. Everything you shoot needs to be shot from all four of these aspects. You must accommodate the human eye in order to build engagement with your user. Do the work to get the best shot.

Three Major Tips for Creating an Effective Video

1) Play 3-D Four Square - Remember the Four Square game as a child at recess? You must capture your video from four vantage points. Farkas gave an example of a press conference. Sure, it seems like a boring, classroom style shot. Find four vantage points such as the speaker, the audience, the side stage and the media. Float between these vantage points and the shot variations mentioned above with the human eye.

2) Master BPM-Beats Per Minute - Every story has a baseline pace. You must understand your audience’s pace and cater to that. Through content and vantage points, you have seven seconds to engage your user. You must change the pace every seven seconds to keep the user engaged. When you pause the content, you actually speed up the pace through graphics, music or verbal content.

3) Become a Hoarder  - In one and a half days of shooting, there is enough content captured to generate 11 videos! Why? You take every single morsel of content shot on those days. Stretch your money and time across the board by getting a wide amount of content. Ensure that you own the raw footage. You never know how that content could come to life in a different video. When shooting, make sure you prepare for the following:

  • Mobile vs. desktop – Understand where your audience will be viewing the video. Mobile users do best with content that is shot tight or really tight.
  • Play the platform game – Upload every file into every format.
  • If you are working with Instagram, working with the 4×3 format is important, so plan ahead.
  • Remember B2B – How can you engage other businesses to get passionate about the content?
  • Use your content across the board! Be prepared to position the video for e-news, website or social media.

Saving $$$

Shot variation and BPM minimize the need for digital bells and whistles — which inflate your budget the most! The more movement through your video from shot to shot, the less revisions will be necessary, which saves your dollars! Time is money, right?

You lay the foundation. You are the creator of the storyboard with your vision for the client/company. The production team is just there to build from your foundation and bring your vision to life. You know your client and goals better than any outside company could. Videographers with news experience are valuable, as they know how to work on deadline and make things happen in a fast-paced environment. This is not a job for an intern. Would you let them write the press announcement?

Logistics tips:

  • Invest in a headphone jack.
  • Record audio and video together.
  • Invest in a wireless microphone and tripod.
  • iPhones are a side dish…and you need the main course!
  • Digital Juice (creative content library) is a great resource for stock footage, fonts, b-roll and more.



Dan Farkas
Instructor of Strategic Communications, E.W. Scipps School of Journalism at Ohio University

Dan Farkas is an Instructor of Strategic Communication at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Dan teaches writing, social media, content marketing, video, strategy, and campaign classes. Farkas also owns Dan Farkas Interactive, which does everything listed above along with podcasting and blogging.  Farkas spent more than a decade working as a reporter in Iowa, Michigan and Tennessee. His work on air and online earned nearly two dozen awards and appeared on CNN,, TVTalk and other forums.  He has also been quoted by the BBC, Mashable, Tech Republic, The Street and lives in Powell, Ohio with his wife Melanie, daughter Leah, and son Will. He hopes you will connect with him  @danfarkas on Twitter or through LinkedIn.

Past Presidents Passing of the Gavel




Past Presidents in Attendance at the 77th Annual Conference

Joe Curley, APR, CPRC – 1982 FPRA State President

Bob Gernert, APR, CPRC – 1985 FPRA State President

Marilyn Waters, APR, CPRC – 1993 FPRA State President

Jay Rayburn, PhD, APR, CPRC – 1994 FPRA State President

Frank Polito, APR, CPRC – 1997 FPRA State President

Lynn Schneider, APR, CPRC – 1999 FPRA State President

Rick Oppenheim, APR, CPRC – 2000 FPRA State President

Tricia Ridgway-Kapustka, APR, CPRC – 2002 FPRA State President

Carole Savage, APR, CPRC – 2004 FPRA State President

Leah Lauderdale, APR, CPRC – 2005 FPRA State President

Jessica Rye, APR, CPRC – 2007 FPRA State President

Suzanne Sparling, APR, CPRC – 2008 FPRA State President

Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC – 2009 FPRA State President

Sheridan Becht, APR, CPRC – 2010 FPRA State President

Jennifer Moss, APR, CPRC – 2011 FPRA State President

Melanie Mowry Etters, APR, CPRC – 2012 FPRA State President

Jeff Nall, APR, CPRC – 2013 FPRA State President

Chris Gent, APR, CPRC – 2014 FPRA State President

Breakout 2D: Bearing Down: 20 Tips for Writing Persuasive Content for the Web

By Mary Ann Horn (Orlando Area Chapter)

FPRA15_0407Declaring that: “The web is a battlefield,” Jeff Stevens urged PR professionals to be energetic in making their websites competitive for readers attention and to improve Web users experience online

Stevens, who manages web content for UF Health, cautions that people visit websites for many different reasons and with many different devices. Responsive web design, he said, not only scales content for mobile devices but is also a content strategy opportunity. Websites no longer break down into desktop and mobile, resulting in what he calls “content parity.”

Many users now have a smartphone as their only Web traffic device. About 50% of UF’s Web traffic is from mobile users, he said.

In managing Web content, Stevens said everyone on the team – designers, developers and content strategists must all work together for a better experience.

Stevens then offered his “20 Tips for Persuasive Web Content”

  1. Pare down. Cut content. Most people (79%) just scan Web pages and are not reading all the content on your site. Most organizations put too much content on the Web, and it’s redundant, outdated or trivial. Clearer paths and easier navigation make for better user experience and easier maintenance.
  2. Analyze content. Look for consistency of message, relevance, multiple access paths and information trails. Think from a “mobile first” perspective. Shrink data for at-a-glance reading.
  3. Target your efforts. Think about what will have the most impact and concentrate efforts there.
  4. Know the competition. Benchmark competitors’ writing styles, content and layouts. Study both top performers and less successful competitors. Then emulate what you think will work for you and move ahead of the competition by innovating. Remember that your competition on the Web is not only your direct competitors, but the rest of the Web also competes for readers’ attention.
  5. Do what you do best. What type of content do you excel at producing? Build from strengths.
  6. Find your tone. This is the way you want to come across on the Web. It means you have to understand your audiences and reframe as needed to reach different readers. At UF, Stevens said, there is technical and academic content that can be reframed for nontechnical readers in shorter and easier-to-understand terms.
  7. Discuss your narrative structure. This is not necessarily a story. It’s the pacing of your Web page, including how you highlight info on the page.
  8. Write better leads and headlines. These grab readers’ attention and result in more click-throughs. Bright headlines and thumbnail photos add interest. Odd numbers have more resonance with readers. (“29 Tricks for Losing Weight,” etc.) Using colons or asking questions also will attract readers.
  9. Look at benefits vs. features. Sometimes how the product or knowledge makes you feel is more important than the particulars.
  10. Avoid jargon. Think in terms of what readers will search for on the Web. Use words that are in common conversation, not just technical terms.
  11. Be brief. Be respectful of readers’ time. Pare down the text and go for something that will connect with the reader. Being succinct hooks the reader.
  12. Make sure content is scannable. Use headers and call-outs throughout the site. This helps both human readers and search engines pick out the content. Readers’ concentration is best at the top of the page. Break things up in chunks and lists and direct to more content.
  13. Be clear. Maintain honesty and be candid. Use testimonials and reviews, if appropriate. Be clear on product costs. Reviews can help organizations improve performance as well as build trust.
  14. No dead ends. Exploit attention gaps to keep readers on the site. Bottom and side rails can offer related content before a reader grows bored with the site. Some sites are using the “infinite scroll.”
  15. Call to action. This can be the most important thing on a page, because it urges the reader to do something. It should be placed well, so people see it clearly in the text.
  16. Learn to break the rules. Know when something is unique for you.
  17. Always be testing. Make sure things still work the way they did when you started them. Don’t make assumptions about what is reaching readers. Make small changes and observe the differences over 30-60 days. Google Experiments (A/B/N Testing tool in Google Analytics) allows you to make some variations in a page and send users to different versions and track the results to see what performs the best.
  18. Convey empathy. Put yourself in the user’s shoes. Ask — formally and informally — for opinions on your content. Users’ comments will go beyond the analytics.
  19. Fight for the users. Help make their Web experience better.
  20. Go do awesome.


Jeff Stevens_MCM_9340_smallJeff Stevens
Assistant Web Manager at UF Health

Jeff Stevens is assistant web manager for UF Health, the University of Florida Academic Health Center, where he consults on content and social media strategy, information architecture, and usability for the more than 600 academic and clinical websites associated with the Center. With his team, Stevens overhauled the web presence of UF Health with an innovative approach to aggregated content that led to a 300 percent increase in online appointments and a 30 percent increase in overall web traffic within nine months. Stevens is also Creative Director for Union Design & Photo, a creative services boutique that has worked with hundreds of small businesses in developing branding identities. With almost 15 years experience in higher education web design and digital content strategy, he has been a frequent speaker for the Higher Education Web Professionals Association, and has been a speaker at the Healthcare Experience Design Conference, the UF Summer Journalism Institute, the Responsive Web Design Summit, the Content Strategy Summit, and for the Florida Public Relations Association. Stevens has a master’s degree in mass communications with an emphasis in advertising from the University of Florida and lives a stone’s throw from Gainesville with his wife, two children, three cats, and a dog that thinks she’s a cat.

General Session B: Accelerant on the Flame of an Idea: Using Strategic Communications to Drive Social Change

By Melissa Link (Central West Coast Chapter)

FPRA15_0417Ann Searight Christiano, who holds the Frank and Betsy Karel Endowed Chair in Public Interest Communications and is a professor in the University of Florida department of public relations, explained major changes in society are not due to society itself changing but instead due to small thoughtful groups of people who understand the structure of social movement to drive change.

Some examples of Public Interest Communications driving change over the years:

  • The first social justice campaign was developed in the 1760’s by a group of 10 men in Europe who fought for more than 20 years to abolish slavery.
  • Drunk driving deaths have dropped more than 50% since the 1980′s.
  • 50% of Americans smoked at the height and now only 20% smoke.
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott – The mastermind behind the bus boycotts was actually Jo Ann Robinson, a professor at a College in Montgomery. She recognized the most significant ridership was the black people and they had all the power against the bus companies. She and her students printed 35,000 copies of the message and distributed them around the city when Rosa Parks was arrested. Because of her efforts the boycott was sustained for 381 days, leading to eventual desegregation. She knew the message, the audience and how to reach her targets; she waited for the right moment to distribute her call to action. She was so specific and strategic she was able to create lasting change.

We all want to use our skills as communicators for a greater good, achieving significant and sustained positive behavioral change. The key is not awareness but actual change. The other key is that it transcends a single person or organization.

Five Rules for Change Makers

1. Become strategically empathetic
Tell stories about people the way they would tell them. Empathize with your audience by identifying the values of the people whose behavior you are trying to change and see where your values and theirs intersect.

Example: Sport Club do Recife/Increase Organ Donors in Brazil

  • Extremely loyal fan base.
  • Started where their audience was, not as a worthy cause.
  • Created a reason for fans to donate organs to help others. You could be a fan eternally if you donated your organs.
  • Results: Over 51,000 fans signed up for a donor card; and the waiting list for heart transplants was eliminated!

2. Communicate in Pictures
According to a Princeton Study, word choice helps us better remember information. We don’t have language for emotion and our feelings are conveyed better through imagery.

Example: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

  • No PowerPoint, images or video then – his words still have a lasting impression today.
  • His speech is one of the most visual speeches ever written.

3. Use the full palette of emotions
You don’t always have to use the sad, pulling-at-the-heartstrings card to get your message across. Activate other emotions to access memories and inspire people to do new things.

Example – The Prostate Czech –

  • Funny narrative to help encourage checkups for early detection to help men beat one of the deadliest diseases.

4. Create a call to action that is actionable and advances your cause

  • You need to have a call to action – otherwise it’s a lost opportunity for change.
  • Example 1 : Montgomery Bus Boycot
    - Goal: Desegregation
    - Call to action – Don’t ride the bus
  • Example 2 :
    - Goal – Conserve Water
    - Call to action – Water – use two minutes less – you won’t even notice

5. Tell stories like you mean it.

  • Stories are the communication back bone.
  • “Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminates the Stories We Tell About Our Pasts,” states that stories are building blocks to our memory; our brains need stories to remember. If there is no story the brain creates one.
  • A recent Emory University study shows reading AND hearing a story causes change in our physiology that lasts for days.
  • Transportal narrative – we are transported into the heart and mind with the protagonist story – you empathize.

Storytelling Checklist

  • Use vivid characters – make your stories about real people.
  • Use visual details – visual thinking and relationship to emotion; create pictures with your word choices.
  • Follow Freytag’s ARC – if your story doesn’t include a problem and a resolution it’s not a story.

The change you want to create is the flame. Communications is the accelerant on your idea. Fire burns hotter and brighter with an accelerant. Imagine that power being applied to what you want to change. Unleash a new generation of change-makers.

Additional resources and information on the Frank Project:

Connect: @aechristiano


ChristianoAnn Searight Christiano
Frank and Betsy Karel Endowed Chair in Public Interest Communications, Professor – Department of Public Relations, University of Florida

Ann Searight Christiano is the Frank Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. She curates frank, an annual gathering of people who use strategic communications to drive change, and is building a curriculum in the discipline at UF. Christiano came to UF from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she developed strategies to support the foundation’s investment in reducing violence, promoting play and improving long-term care.

Breakout 1B: Global Analytics: Measuring What Matters Most

By Ginger Broslat (Ocala Chapter)

FPRA15_0267Louis Gray presented Google Analytics tools available to PR practitioners to better measure results to plan more effective communications plans.

Gray encouraged participants to think about how PR plays into the customers’ journeys on the site:

  1. Establish goals, metrics and targets.
  2. Measure what matters most.
  3. Provide content that drives traffic to your site.
  4. Tells stories with data.

What you measure will help you make better decisions and improve success. Google Analytics can develop reports to effectively retrieve and visualize data in a meaningful way to guide future efforts.

When measuring the results of a site, it is important to visualize the customers’ journey, or actually view it in real time, which Google Analytics provides. The view must look deeper than the amount of clicks. Example: A site with opening audio has an option to click to mute the sound–not valuable in interpreting customers’ experiences.

Sites utilize analytics to implement remarketing campaigns to follow and provide more touch points with customers. Example: Searching a site for a product without purchasing, then seeing ads for those products on other sites.

The role of PR in the modern customer journey is to provide content that leads to return visits. In the past, site visits would have sharp peaks and valleys correlating with campaigns. Effective content should sustain that tracking to be more engaging, leading to a sustained increase in results.

Before launching a site, or making changes to better manage results, first, make a plan.

  1. Determine business objectives.
  2. Define business strategies.
  3. Identify key stakeholders.
  4. Identify and categorize channels.
  5. Set holistic key performance indicators (KPIs).

It’s important to align content with business goals and have the metrics and benchmarks ready to measure and adjust as needed. Remember, effort doesn’t always equal results. The amount of time spent trying to measure that which does not matter is not an effective use of time. Avoid “vanity” metrics such as likes, page views and clicks. Look for paths to progress — paths customers took that led to a return on investment.

It’s no longer enough to drive users to sites. Strategic communications professionals go to the users. Through Google Analytics, PR professionals can access four main reports to learn more about users and where to find them:

  1. Audience – Who are the visitors?
  2. Acquisition – Where are they from and how did they get to the site?
  3. Behavior – What did they do once they were there?
  4. Conversions – Did they convert and how?

Brain types:
Neocortex – Rational, decision-making
Limbric – Emotional
Reptilian – Instinctive

The goal of content – and the results measured – should engage all parts of the users’ brains. Facts tell – stories sell.

Once data is collected, Google tools can help portray the results visually. The Databoard lets you explore insights from Google research studies, share them with others and create your own custom infographics. Visit –

Learn more about analytics through the Google blog –

Become an analytics pro through Google’s free online course –

Follow analytics trends –



Louis Gray
Analytics Advocate, Google

Louis Gray is the analytics advocacy lead at Google and has been at Google for four years. He has 17 years experience working in Silicon Valley startup marketing, PR and consulting roles, and is a well known early adopter and technology blogger, with his outlet at the eponymous You can find all his work by searching Google or finding him on Google+ and Twitter.

Snapshot: Counselors’ Network Breakout 1

By Amelia Bell, APR, CPRC (Gainesville Chapter)


Following the first general session, “Full Throttle Leadership: Lessons Learned Looking Through the Turn,” Counselors’ Network members participated in a members-only roundtable discussion with Elise Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA.

CN members had the opportunity talk with Elise about her experience owning an agency.

Elise gave CN members five pieces of advice for deciding whether or not to take on a new opportunity.

  1. Is there a market for this?
  2. Would someone buy this from me?
  3. Am I seen as credible in this space?
  4. Can I offer this at the right price, with the right delivery and the right quality?
  5. Is this a natural extension of my core mission?

About the Counselors’ Network

FPRA’s Counselors’ Network offers senior-level public relations practitioners an opportunity for professional enrichment and continuing education. Along with networking opportunities, professional development and special events, CN offers one-on-one collaboration and provides a forum for senior members to give back through mentoring and the FPRA speakers’ bureau.

CN membership is open to any FPRA member in good standing who has earned the CPRC (Certified Public Relations Counselor) credential. Additionally, members must be actively engaged in providing counseling service and have been practicing public relations for at least 10 years, three of which have been in a counseling capacity.

Learn more about the Counselors’ Network and the CPRC Credential.

Breakout 2C: Branding: The Big Brand Wolf

By Chris Gent, APR, CPRC (Orlando Area Chapter)

FPRA15_0402Why is branding important? It tells a story that helps connect.


  • The word brand derived from the ancient Norse word “Brandr” which means “to burn.”
  • In A.D.950 it was used to refer to a burning piece of wood. By the 1300s it was used to describe a torch and by the 1500s the word referred to a mark burned on cattle to show ownership.
  • By the 1820s a rise in mass production and trade created a market for wider distribution so producers began burning their mark into crates and cases to separate themselves from their competition.
  • The brand eventually evolved into a symbol of quality. Higher quality products could command higher prices.


  • It’s more than a logo.
  • It’s every element that touches your audience.
  • Logo.
  • Tagline.
  • Colors.
  • Fonts/typefaces.
  • Advertising.
  • Collateral.
  • Social media.
  • Web.
  • Tone.
  • Environmental.
  • Customer service.
  • Dress/uniforms.


1. Develop a brand positioning statement

  • Define your target audience. Who are your core customers that most represent your services offered?
  • Define your category. This allows you to see who your competitors are.
  • Define your Benefit. Why would your target audience choose you over another brand?
  • Reasons to Believe. What reasons does your audience have to believe your brand delivers on its promises?

Brand positioning statement example – Amazon from 2001

For World Wide Web users who enjoy books, is a retail bookseller that provides instant access to over 1.1 million books. Unlike traditional book retailers, provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices and comprehensive selection.

Breakdown of Amazon brand positioning statement

  • They define their audience – World Wide Web users who enjoy reading.
  • They define their category – retail bookseller.
  • They define their benefit – instant access.
  • They define their reason to believe – extraordinary convenience, low prices and comprehensive selection.


  • What is your mission?
  • What are the benefits of your services?
  • What impressions do your customers already have about you?
  • What qualities do you want your customers to associate with your brand?

This is a self-discovery phase that every organization should go through. It will involve a little research, but in the end you will discover the needs and desires of your customers.


  • Examine your logo.
  • Have a concise brand positioning statement.
  • Evaluate every touch point of your brand to your audience.
  • Develop a clear voice.
  • Create a tagline.
  • Develop templates and a brand standards guide.
  • Deliver your brand promise.
  • Be consistent.


THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: A Brand 2000 Years in the Making

One of the most recognizable icons/logos in the world – the cross – why? It’s simple and it has a story that makes it connect to people.

They use icons and imagery that tell stories and make connections – saints and the madonna. They also do a great job at evolving and changing style depending on time and location. They have always evolved the brand imagery.

Dress – it doesn’t matter if you are in Rome or New Jersey – they have dress that is consistent. It creates ceremony that allows individuals to connect to the church and participate.

Location – just like Saks Fifth Avenue – in ancient times churches were put in key locations.

Maximize investment vs. exposure. This allowed them to create grand, awe inspiring structures that inspired people. As the saying goes – location, location, location.

The Vatican – the world’s greatest headquarters – an understatement. Apple (the largest company in the world) couldn’t even dream of having its own country as its main office.

Last but not least – the Bible – the greatest brand standards guide ever created. Every single participant in the brand can own it and become ambassadors – word-of-mouth has always been the most important promotion.

One thing to remember is at the end of the day the church isn’t selling a tangible product. I think it’s important to explore how they have been able to be successful over time.

Apple: A Brand Revolution

A company that’s less than 40 years old has had some amazing historic moments in its brand.

Exploration of logos over time

Started out as a simple computer kit for hobbyists. Apple I kit sold for $666 in 1976.

By 1976 Steve Jobs wanted to control the product so they created an all-in computer that was in a case and had a built-in keyboard – just plug it in to a monitor. The Apple II was born.

In 1983 Xerox was a piece of the company before it went public so they allowed the Apple team into its Palo Alto facility. They walked away with the ides for the graphic user interface – what almost all computers today use to interface with the user. That computer was paired with a mouse and became known as the Lisa and eventually became the Macintosh.

In 1984, Macintosh was going to be introduced to the public, but Steve Jobs had to market and brand it – it was know as “the computer for the rest of us.” From the beginning Jobs knew he had to separate himself from all of the other PCs. Macintosh did that with two simple plugs and you were up and running with your own keyboard and mouse.

To introduce Mac, Jobs created the infamous 1984 commercial that was aired during the 1984 Super Bowl. This started what we know today as Super Bowl commercials. The commercial was not approved by the board – they were horrified when they saw it but it was too late to pull. The commercial was aired and Mac became a huge success – the demand was so strong the price was changed from $1,995 to $2,495. Going behind the board’s back and creating the 1984 campaign eventually led to disagreements and Jobs was fired from Apple.

Apple plugged along with mild success of the Mac brand – but it was a niche for designers and producers. In the early 1990s signs of financial trouble where showing.

In 1997 Apple rehired Jobs – he inked an agreement with Microsoft that allowed them to drop a lawsuit and Microsoft would invest $150 million in non-voting share stock essentially saving Apple. Apple also agreed to use Internet Explorer as its default web browser.

In 2001 the Ipod was launched. It wasn’t a new idea, but as always Apple took the product and made it pretty and the user interface was easy to use. Most importantly they separated themselves with one simple thing – the color – they made the cables and device white. This allowed anyone who could see the device to know you were listening to an Ipod because of the white cables – it became cool, a status symbol. A simple brand device made millions of people want to buy the product for more than just usability.

The Ipod’s success created financial stability for Apple and allowed the company to take more control of its brand. Next up were retail outlets. Just like the churches in ancient times Apple picked central locations in large cities for maximum exposure. Apple created a grand retail experience that highlighted the brand and introduced the public to Apple geniuses – total control of brand experience in one location. Take the middle man out. Obviously now Apple stores are at every mall and Best Buy.

The success of the iPhone and iPad only cemented Apple’s success to become the largest company in the world based on market capitalization.

Where Apple goes from here is tough to tell.

JCPENNEY: An Epic Rebranding Failure

Exploration of JCPenney logo changes over the last five years.

In 2011 JCPenney made the move to start changing its brand. One movement in that direction was to highlight JCP, which was a move to simplify the name and embrace something their customers naturally did – think Federal Express in the 1990s eventually embracing customers shortening their name – they officially changed their name to FedEx in 2000.

In 2012 JCPenney hired Apple’s VP of retail operations, Ron Johnson. He actually invested millions of his own money in the company.

Johnson approached his job of recreating JCPenney completely wrong. He brought in his own team and dismantled current management. He created an environment where people were afraid of losing their jobs, when he should have been involving the experienced professionals to examine what was truly wrong with JCPenney’s model. Johnson didn’t really care what the customers thought – he thought he knew best and started making changes to the brand.

The first order in his rebranding was to change the name to only JCP. He simplified the look and feel of all of the marketing collateral and advertising.

At the same time he started renovating stores. But instead of staying with the traditional department store model, he envisioned several little boutiques inside of a larger store so it had a feel of a market. Johnson thought if he created cool “boutiques” people would want to come and hang out – just like an Apple Store. He pictured staff walking around with a tablet or mobile device who would check you out anywhere in the store – no need for a checkout – similar to Apple.

Ron Johnson also instituted a huge change in JCP pricing – no more sales and no more coupons. He introduced fair-and-square pricing which was the low price that was printed on the price tag. He imagined a store where you’d walk in and know that the price on those clothes was going to be the same today as it would be next week – he thought it would make things easier for customers. The truth is Johnson didn’t bother to understand his audience – customers loved looking for sales and loved using coupons – they felt like they were getting the best deal regardless if that were true.

At the end of the day Johnson didn’t bother to connect with the staff or the customers of JCP. He kept himself disconnected – he even continued to live in California and only flew to Texas when necessary. Ron Johnson would never shop at his stores and that makes it tough for him to truly have a passion for what he was trying to create. His ability to take JCP to the next level was doomed from his first step. Hopefully this example can teach organizations how to avoid a similar situation in the future.

MTV: The Future of Branding???

Remember MTV from the 1980s? It was the original music TV channel that created a revolution. MTV created the “I Want My MTV” campaign targeted to the young generation of the time. MTV asked them to get involved, be part of the movement and tell all your cable providers that “I Want My MTV.” It was genius and created a form of ownership for that generation.

MTV transformed cable television – more that just by creating music television, but it also accidentally transformed the medium completely by creating reality television. It could even be argued that without MTV social media might look a lot different today.

Jump forward to today and MTV is losing viewers. It is competing with more than the other hundreds of channels, but is also competing with the internet. Millenials are consistently cutting the cord or many of them haven’t watched a television in years.

How can MTV keep its audience? It has to change its approach to give control of the channel – and the brand – to its audience. MTV is asking viewers to create content and hashtag it MTVBUMP, and they could end up on the air in as little as two hours. So basically it’s user-created content.

This could backfire greatly. How much time are Millenials and Generation Z going to really spend to try and get on the air? If they put effort into what they think is cool and MTV constantly rejects them, they can put it out on other channels themselves – Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, etc. They don’t need MTV to reach millions of viewers. They can reach them by themselves and also have the potential to get famous and make money at the same time.

Examples of MTV’s new branding direction.

MTV’s idea is new and fresh, but will it work? Will user-controlled branding be a “thing” in the future?


Processed with VSCOcam with a10 presetChris Jones
President, Popcorn Initiative

Chris Jones is a creative with a sense for business. After graduating from college with a degree in Graphic Design in 1993, he co-founded Backbone Design. Over the following seven years, Jones worked on accounts such as Walt Disney World Food and Beverage and helped develop the identity and collateral for NBA’s national theme restaurant, NBA City. In 2001, Jones founded Popcorn Initiative. Under Jones’ direction the company’s client list quickly grew to include: Florida Hospital, Sea World, Epcot, Disney Vacation Club, Rollins College, UCF, National Watermelon Promotion Board, Kissimmee Utility Authority, and Metroplan Orlando. With the belief that a strong concept and design are required on all projects, Popcorn Initiative strives for nothing less than their clients’ ultimate success. Jones’ concentration on providing his clients with highly effective work and excellent service has won him nothing but accolades from his clients. Jones’ work has won several design awards and has also been published in a number of national publications, including Print and How magazines, and has been featured in numerous books showcasing top design firms. Recently, Jones’ work on annual reports was recognized in Blackbook’s AR100, which features the best 100 annual reports in the world annually.

Breakout 2A: Networking is People Looking for People Looking for People

By Kim Polacek, APR (Tampa Bay Chapter)

FPRA15_0394Networking… we’ve all heard the term and know how important it is for business. For some of us, this essential task comes easy. For the rest of us, help is necessary. Author, humorist and life coach Beth M. Ramsay shared some valuable advice and a few laughs during her breakout session, Power Networking.

First and foremost, Ramsay shared that networking is not flinging and fleeing – giving your business card to someone and dashing. It is not about the quantity of people you meet at an event. It is about quality of the connections you make. You need to be strategic and meet the people you need to know!

She provided a worksheet for attendees with some helpful tips about how to set up your networking strategy. Networking is about being authentic, building trust and relationships. She added that networking is a team sport. If you’re doing it solo, it’s called selling. No one wants to be pitched during a networking event.

When preparing to network with others, you need to have focused goals and objectives. Know what people you want to meet and why. Then zero in on making quality connections with those folks. You want to find the “connector” in your community or industry. This is the person who knows everyone. You want him or her to help facilitate introductions with the people on your list. If you don’t know a “connector,” no problem; your local Chamber of Commerce is a great resource to meet the key players in your community.

So who are these key players you need to meet? Well that is up to you. It can be leaders in your industry you are seeking mentorship from, or someone in your community who can help you further your work goals. This is why planning and formulating a networking strategy is essential. As Ramsay told the packed room, networking without a purpose is useless.

Now that you have your list and you’re ready to meet and mingle, what do you do? Networking is all about the introduction. You want to be able to articulate what you’re looking for and how you can help the person you’re meeting. Again, this is about making a valuable connection, not about giving your best elevator pitch. Ramsay gave an example of how to achieve this – “Hi, I’m Beth Ramsay. I need to meet you. Can I get your card and give you a call on Thursday?” Once the connection is made, be sure to follow up with the person promptly.

Another important point made during her discussion is that your networking interactions should be enjoyable, not just for the person you’re meeting, but for you as well. Keep your body language in mind. You want to make sure your posture is open and inviting. Also be sure to avoid what Ramsay called “clumping” – only hanging out with those you know at a networking event. Socializing with friends is fun, but not networking.

The Networker’s Tool Kit:

  • Business cards (bring more than you think you need)
  • Name tag (make sure you can clearly read your name, not too flashy)
  • Positive first impression
  • Good, firm handshake
  • Open attitude and a smile (be sure to make direct eye contact)
  • Really listen

Other important pointers from Ramsay: Wear your name tag on your right side. This will allow those you meet to read your name as you shake his or her hand. Also, keep your drink in your left hand. This will help you avoid wet handshakes.

Whether you like to do it or not, networking is a part of business. Make the most of it so that you become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas and names of other people. This keeps you visible and relevant.


BRamsayBeth Ramsay
Author, Humorist, Life Coach

Beth Ramsay totally gets what it takes to run a successful business and manage a productive team. Her unique ability to leverage your strengths with her common sense, back-to-basics approach produces results and opens up paths of thinking that you may not have had before. Ramsay does not get manipulated off track, can spot BS a mile away and keeps you focused on moving forward to get what you want. Ramsay’s specialty is seeing the big picture. Where you are now to where you want to go can feel unclear and chaotic. Ramsay will make you think. Ramsay might make you feel uncomfortable and she will definitely offer solutions that cannot be argued. Ramsay has a systematic, entertaining and engaging approach to harness those winning strategies for personal and leadership goals. She has extensive experience in the psychological reasons why people do what they do. It’s pretty simple really. Ramsay shows you how to make sense out of challenging environments that don’t make sense. And you’ll laugh along the way!

Breakout 2B: Upgrade Your Digital PR Campaigns With Facebook Ads: Secret Strategies for Success

By Brandi Welk (Pensacola Chapter)

FPRA15_0399To say that Jennifer Spivak is a Facebook genius is truly an understatement. The room was amazed by her wealth of knowledge and could have listened for an hour more. Spivak jumped right in with her first tip: NEVER USE “BOOST POST” ON FACEBOOK! Using the “boost” option on Facebook is really just for folks that are not knowledgeable in Facebook ads. Don’t let them fool you!

So Why Facebook Ads?

  • Cheap/Variable Cost.
  • Easy to measure results & track ROI in real time.
  • Unbeatable targeting.
  • Testing/real-time feedback.

Use Objective-Based Campaigns

  • Gives you the right people, and auto-optimizes for the action you want.
  • Please stop boosting posts – This is for people who really don’t know how to use Facebook ads. Get the most for your money!
  • Please don’t run a “likes” campaign – You pay twice. You pay once for the “like” and pay a second time to reach them.

The Power of Conversion Optimization

  • USE IT! Even if promoting a media mention or piece of content…. because is the end goal ever really just a click?
  • Pixel your pages if you don’t use conversion tracking to target them again later.

What is pixeling a page? A pixel is a line of HTML code. If you go on Facebook on the “Audience” tab, you can get a specific code generated and place it on your website. Once someone clicks through to your page promoted via your ad, you will now have those people stored as a unique audience. This audience can be targeted later!

Always, always, always TEST ADS!

Ad Testing Process

  • GOAL = Find ideal pairings or “winning” combinations.
  • RESULT = Decreased cost per action + copy/creative feedback.
  • Brainstorm, Test Pictures, Test Headlines, Test Audiences.
  • You would start and create three different ads with three different photos and test them against each other – Pick the winner!
  • Next test with winning photo and test the copy – Pick the winner!
  • Now test the audience – You now have a winning ad!
  • On average, you should spend $300 for ad testing.
  • TIP: Use a colorful image to catch people’s attention on Facebook.

Find the stuff that really works with reliable results and use it! Throughout the process, you are able to learn what types of messages work best with your audience.

Be Awesome at Targeting

  • Even if you know EXACTLY who your audience is, there are so many different ways to reach them!
  • Start broad; overlay with additional parameters.
  • Target by address during conference or events.
  • Use Google Trends to find top locations.
  • to target by magazines people read.
  • A note on B2B targeting (Facebook v. LinkedIn).

Tweetable Tidbits

Facebook knows where you are all the time!

Instagram ads through the Facebook platform is coming.

Find the stuff that really works with reliable results and use it!

Follow Jennifer on:
Twitter: @jennifer_spivak


SpivakJ-42015Jennifer Spivak
Digital Marketing Entrepreneur

Jennifer Spivak is a digital marketing specialist with more than seven years of experience driving digital campaigns for brands and individuals looking to sell products and services online. An entrepreneur at heart, Spivak’s passion lies in helping startups cost – efficiently market their business online – reducing their cost of acquisition by an average of 75 percent. She is a marketing instructor and curriculum architect at the Startup Institute in Boston, and has been recognized by PR News’ Digital PR Awards and PR Daily’s Social Media Awards. Merging her background in PR and love of analytics, Spivak specializes in creating engaging, on-brand Facebook Advertising campaigns that drive cost-efficient results and positive ROI.

Breakout 1D: Recipe for Results: Tijuana Flat’s Unique Approach to Employee Relations, Customer Communication and Brand Management

By Brandi Welk (Pensacola Chapter)

FPRA15_0277Everyone is down for a good meal, but what makes it better is great food and and even better service. To find a restaurant chain that values its employees and the community is a rarity. Tijuana Flats does all of these things and more. Maintaining a unique brand and providing care for customers and employees has proven to be successful.


Said best by presenter Monique Yeager, “If there isn’t a smiling face at the front door, then we have a problem.” People are our most important resource and paramount for our brand.

Guidelines for Marketing

  • Tijuana Flats is an original – its marketing reflects the same.
  • Nothing should feel “canned” or “too predictable.”
  • Tijuana Flats is the “unchain” chain.

Unlike most brands, Tijuana Flats does not use an outside agency. They have seven people on their marketing team and most are millennials.

“Inherent in our brand is our community,” Yeager said. “We give back to the community because of our employees and what they want.”

Tijuana Flats established a Just in Queso Foundation to support children and the military. Since 2007, the foundation has distributed more than $3 million to local communities.

They rely heavily on grassroots marketing with community events, Pandora ads and emails–especially when opening new locations.

Three-Month Plan When Opening a New Location

  • 3 months – Visit every nearby business and drop off menus.
  • 2 months – Billboards up.
  • 1 month – Facebook advertising.
  • 1 week – Share mail.
  • 6 weeks after opening – Direct mail.

From social media to sales, Tijuana Flats’ results increase every month because of loyalty to the brand. They are among the top 100 social media brands online.


Interesting Tidbits

  • Every single song in the restaurants is hand chosen and listened to.
  • There are no microwaves or a single can opener in any restaurant.

Contact Monique Yeager:

Connect with Tijuana Flats




Monique Head Shot.2011

Monique Yeager
Vice President of Marketing, Tijuana Flats

Monique Yeager has over 20 years of marketing and public relations experience. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing Tijuana Flats’ systemwide public relations and marketing efforts including strategic alliances, brand positioning, promotional campaigns, advertising, social media, local store marketing, and external communication strategies. Yeager has a strong commitment to the community and serves in several leadership roles including the boards of directors of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) and Chair of the FRLA Marketing Council. She serves as the Vice President of Events for the Executive Board of Directors for the Central Florida Boy Scouts of America and Chair of the Auction for the last three years raising more than $200,000 for at-risk scouting programs. She is also the Past President of the board of directors for MicheLee Puppets and March of Dimes. Most recently, she participated in a local “Dancing with the Stars” event and was the second highest fundraiser for Community Based Care of Central Florida. In 2006, Yeager was selected as the Most Influential Business Woman in the Orlando Business Journal’s “40 Under 40 Awards.” In 2007, she received the March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement and in 2010, she received the Board Member of the Year from MicheLee Puppets.Prior to joining Tijuana Flats, Yeager was the Director of Marketing for Tony Roma’s Steakhouse Restaurant, where she was responsible for chain-wide marketing initiatives, both domestically and internationally in more than 30 countries. Additionally, she was also with Sonny’s Franchise Company and Hooters Restaurants of America. During her tenure at Sonny’s Franchise Company, he developed an award-winning cause-related marketing effort, Baby Backs for Babies, to benefit the March of Dimes. In 2010, the program was recognized both locally and nationally, receiving the American Marketing Association’s Critics Choice Award and the National Restaurant Association’s Neighborhood Finalist Award. Yeager graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications and with a minor in French. To this day she remains a diehard Auburn football fan and attended the National Championship games in 2010 and 2014 – 2010 had the better outcome.