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Celebrating Women's History Month: Women in PR

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As a Minority/Women Owned Business, we’re pleased to see the many ways Women’s History Month is being observed. One celebration has particular relevance for us: The role of women in the PR business is the focus of a new exhibition at the Museum of Public Relations and Library. The opening of the show was marked by a panel discussion of the contributions women have made to the industry over the years; participants included Karen Russell, University of Georgia; Meg Lamme, University of Alabama; Karla Gower, University of Alabama and director of the Plank Center; Muriel Fox, co-founder and PR director for the National Organization for Women; and Anne Bernays, novelist, teacher, and daughter of PR pioneer Doris Fleischman Bernays.

Open by appointment, the museum is home to the world’s largest collection of historic public relations materials and artifacts. Books, journals, letters, posters, audio tapes, and films chronicle the evolution of the field and the innovative women—and men—who help shape the way we see the world.

Hausman Clients in the Press: February 2017

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We’re thrilled to be continuing our streak of great press for Hausman clients in 2017! Here’s a select list of editorial coverage culled from the month of February.

Engineering News-Record looks at Arup‘s visionary work in the transportation sector

Three major projects by Behnisch Architekten are featured in Arch20: WIPO Conference Hall, Harvard University’s Science and Engineering Complex in Allston, and Santa Monica Parking Structure #6

The AIA New York chapter notes the opening of the innovative Upstate Cord Blood Bank by Francis Cauffman. The project is also covered in Eagle News and NewsWise

Medical Construction & Design talks to Francis Cauffman about best practices in ER design

Francis Cauffman‘s design for New York law firm Fox Rothchild is profiled in Office Snapshots

Real Estate Weekly recognizes staff promotions at Francis Cauffman

Donna Wilson interviews Deryl McKissack of McKissack & McKissack in a three-part series for Bloomberg Radio

The Jobsite turns to Julian Anderson of Rider Levett Bucknall for construction business insight

John Jozwick of Rider Levett Bucknall advises on avoiding drive-by ADA lawsuits in Building Design + Construction

Truth, Facts, and PR

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[Illustration from “Facts are Sacred” by Simon Rogers]

On January 24, 2017, the Public Relations Society of America issued a brief statement that we’d like to share:

PRSA Statement on “Alternative Facts”

Truth is the foundation of all effective communications. By being truthful, we build and maintain trust with the media and our customers, clients and employees. As professional communicators, we take very seriously our responsibility to communicate with honesty and accuracy.

The Public Relations Society of America, the nation’s largest communications association, sets the standard of ethical behavior for [our] 22,000 members through our Code of Ethics. Encouraging and perpetuating the use of alternative facts by a high-profile spokesperson reflects poorly on all communications professionals.

PRSA strongly objects to any effort to deliberately misrepresent information. Honest, ethical professionals never spin, mislead, or alter facts. We applaud our colleagues and professional journalists who work hard to find and report the truth.

—Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, Chair of the Society for 2017

Truth and integrity are at the heart of our practice at Hausman. We’re proud that for nearly a decade we have earned the trust of both our clients and journalists by delivering information and ideas that are fact-checked and objective.

Tips to Strengthen Professional Relationships

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Do you want to be top-of-mind not only with people that you want to do business with, but also with those who can help build your influence? The secret is to get personal. Here are four tips to help build your professional relationships and get larger returns as a result.

1. Reach out IRL. In this world of e-mails, texts, and tweets, the value of a phone call is often underestimated. Take time every so often to pick up the phone to touch base with a prospective client or colleague. You can also stop by a client’s office to say hello or drop off a small token of appreciation you’ve picked up during a recent trip. Gestures like these let people know you’re thinking about them, and that they are important to you.

2. Perfect your timing. Reaching out is key, but don’t forget to factor in when it’s appropriate to do so. Don’t just get in touch with journalists when you want them to write about you or cover your project. Instead, suggest meeting for a coffee—your treat—to talk about the stories they are working on now and down the road. Make a friendly introduction to a third party that shares common interests with your writer friend. Send a thank you note and connect on social media by sending a LinkedIn invitation within a day or two after your meeting.

3. Socialize on social media. Social media is an essential tool for successful marketing. You can share your work and ideas in real time, while simultaneously making connections with other design pros. Maintain active Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and open up communication channels with writers, peers, and potential clients. Connect with, or ask for an introduction to, those folks you want to know. Familiarize yourself with journalists’ Twitter handles and say hi once in awhile. (Of course, don’t forget to mention your latest project!)

4. Really get to know people. If you take the time to find out what’s important to the individuals you want to connect with, your chances of establishing professional relationships with them will increase. Make a list of personal as well as professional details about each person, ranging from their alma mater to their extra-curricular accomplishments to what non-work-related subjects in which he or she is interested. If you demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about a person’s life outside of work, it shows you’re interested in building a mutually beneficial relationship.

A Quick PR Quiz for AEC Professionals

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To help you perfect your communications strategy in 2017, we’ve put together a pop PR quiz highlighting some common misconceptions about public relations. How do you think you’ll score?

True or False: Use as many social media platforms as possible to promote your projects

FALSE. It may be tempting to set up as many profiles as possible in the hopes of reaching the widest audience, but it’s more effective to selectively choose the channels that will reach your target audiences. For example, image-centric Instagram is ideal for showing your firm’s creativity through photographs; more text-heavy postings on LinkedIn will connect with executives. Remember “Less is more”: It’s the way you use your social media platforms that matters, not how many you use.

True or False: Designing a great building means your firm will get noticed immediately

FALSE. Your latest project may be the best work your firm has ever done, but that doesn’t guarantee that you will get top press coverage overnight. Quality editorial requires solid strategy. Developing an effective PR campaign for your firm and projects takes time. Getting the word out about your work should start long before the project is finished, so it is helpful to establish a schedule for all press related activities. Update your social media regularly with photos of the project to alert the press to construction milestones.

True or False: If an editor doesn’t answer your follow up about a project, it’s helpful to reach out again

TRUE. If an editor hasn’t responded to your follow up about your latest project, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re not interested. The key to grabbing an editor’s attention is to find new ways of pitching your project; don’t just repeat the content of your last email. Tip: Keep your emails concise. Make the most important information easy to find by putting it in the first few sentences, or use bullet points to call out key ideas.

True or False: Social media is impersonal and time consuming

FALSE. Social media offers a great advantage in showcasing your firm’s personality by providing a “behind the scenes” look at your firm and its work. You can offer brief, personable updates that don’t need to follow the formalities of press releases. Updating your accounts daily or a few times a week takes only a couple minutes, and can help keep your firm’s name top-of-mind with clients and target audiences.

True or False: Developing relationships with the media is not as important as sending out lots of press releases

FALSE. To create meaningful exposure for your projects, quality content is essential, not the number of press releases you send out. It’s important to keep in mind that while reporters might not cover a story the first time you pitch to them, maintaining regular contact with them can help lead to an exclusive story down the line. That’s why building a professional network of media contacts is critical. By establishing a solid rapport with an editor, it will increase the odds that he or she will remember you the next time they’re looking for a story on a specific type of project.

Public Relations: A Resolution for 2017

 

public relations pr hausmanHiring a public relations agency is a positive, proactive step in building your brand and reaching the right audiences with your message. While most searches will start with the internet, don’t forget other sources for recommendations: professional organizations, colleagues, and even competitors will be able to offer suggestions on who to consider (and just as importantly, who to avoid). Once you’ve identified some potential PR firms to hire, it’s time to take a closer look at their qualifications:

People and practices. In a large part, you’ll be entrusting your business’ reputation to a public relations agency, so it’s key to have good chemistry with—and confidence in—its management and staff. Do some sleuthing, and check out their LinkedIn profiles and professional bios. Follow up with a face-to-face meeting, and find out who will work on your account and in what capacity.

Corporate culture. Will you be best served by working with a large PR firm, with a traditional organizational structure and resources? Or would you find a small, specialized shop that’s an upstart in the industry more in keeping with your own business style? Think about whether you want to be challenged—or complemented—by your public relations team.

Results. As with any hire, you’ll need to get and vet references for every public relations agency you are seriously considering. There are two sides to this: feedback from the firm’s current and former clients, and recognition by the PR industry. Ambitions are all well and good, but achievements are what counts.

Four Resolutions for PR Professionals

PR for the New Year

Here we are: At the eve of a new year, ready for a new perspective and new business opportunities. We’d like to share are a few thoughts to help PR pros stay at the top of their game in 2017:

Become a better listener. While taking the lead in discussions and meetings with clients is often expected, if you don’t listen carefully to what your clients say, you run the risk of missing a valuable chance to help them achieve their goals. Listening is the ultimate act of caring and the key component in effective communications.

Do your homework. Before contacting a potential client, compile research about their achievements, challenges, ambitions, and pain points. Then use this information to tailor a strategic plan for ways your firm can constructively work with them.

Remember long-term relationships. Pursuing new business is an exciting and time-intensive effort, but make sure that you don’t inadvertently shortchange your existing clients. Making an extra effort to nurture established relationships can pay off in unexpected ways.

Get out in the field. It’s important to stay in touch with your target industries and know what’s shaping them. Attending or exhibiting at a trade show can be an efficient way to do that, and offers the bonus of meeting motivated and qualified prospects in one location.

Change is in the Air: PR Today and Tomorrow

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To say that this past week has been a time of change is quite the understatement. While not as roiled as the current political arena, the PR industry is evolving, too. Following up on last week’s post, here’s more insight from the latest Global Communications Report, compiled by the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations.

Most of the PR executives surveyed for the report anticipate change in the structure of their agencies and departments to better address changes in the communications landscape over the next five years, primarily driven by the adoption of new technologies and increased demand for content delivery across more channels. There is universal agreement that over the next five years, executives will be expected to deliver more strategy, more creativity and more measurement.

Relationships also are shifting. Corporate communications clients acknowledge that they value agencies more for their strategy and creative prowess than for their “arms and legs.” Meanwhile, agencies disclose that about 30% of the time they report into marketing or brand management, versus 34% into corporate communications.

By 2020, agency leaders expect to see their revenue streams shift away from earned media, but it will still be the dominant revenue driver at 36%. Meanwhile, all of the other media categories will grow—owned to 24.6%, shared to 24.2% and paid to 12.9%. In total, PR executives predict 63% of all media outlets will offer paid placement opportunities in five years. Ironically, only 8% rank media-buying skills as an important staff skill for the future.

“The pace of change in public relations has never been faster than it is today, but at the same time, it will likely never be this slow again,” added Paul Holmes, editor of The Holmes Report, which partnered on the research. “Both agencies and their clients recognize that change is occurring, but it is not clear that they appreciate the extent, when it comes to finding non-traditional talent or developing non-traditional services, particularly outside of earned media channels.”

Looking to the future, it is clear that PR as a profession is changing. All survey respondents agree that in five years their jobs will become more complex, challenging, and strategic. Only 27% of agency leaders believe by the year 2020 the term “public relations” will clearly and adequately describe the work they do.

PR: An Industry Snapshot

 

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To best serve our clients in the architecture and engineering fields, we keep on top of the evolving state of the PR industry. The 2016 Global Communications Report, a comprehensive survey of senior public relations executives by the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations, predicts the worldwide PR agency business will grow from its current estimated size of $14 billion to $19.3 billion over the next five years. To accommodate this growth, agency leaders anticipate their headcount will increase over the same period by about 26%.

Industry leaders, both in agencies and in-house, believe future growth will be driven by content creation and social media, as well as more traditional activities such as brand reputation, followed by measurement and evaluation. Earned media still ranks relatively high for both corporate and agency leaders. Paid media ranked last of 18 possible growth drivers.

“Overall, we are sensing a continued optimism about the direction the industry is headed, which is good news for people entering the field,” said Fred Cook, Director of the USC Center for Public Relations. “But questions remain about the industry’s ability to attract the right talent, adapt to new technologies, and increase the level of investment required to capitalize on these opportunities.”

Both agency and corporate executives strongly agree that the ability to attract and retain the right talent is their greatest challenge, and the majority of both groups believe the PR industry is not good at sourcing talent from outside its ranks, citing salary levels as the major obstacle.

Traditional expertise still tops the list of skills communications departments and PR firms view as key to success over the next five years. Written communications is the skill ranked most important by client and agency respondents. When asked what personal traits they felt were critical for the future, industry leaders ranked traditional values of teamwork and hard work near the top—but they also believe their teams are already strong in these areas. They say more horsepower is needed in curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking.

When asked about diversity, only 45% of agency heads and 44% of corporate executives believe their ranks are as diverse as their clients’ customers or stakeholders. Both groups cite lack of access to diverse talent at senior and entry levels as the primary challenge.

“It’s clear that finding the right talent is by far the most critical factor in the PR industry’s future growth,” said Cook. “The more complicated question is what skills should this talent possess. Industry leaders still value traditional communications skills but are searching for more strategy, creativity and diversity.”

In a follow-up post, we’ll take a more detailed look at what’s in store for public relations pros.

Welcome Back

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Back to school, back to work—September is the time we begin to reconnect with the various responsibilities of our lives, after (hopefully) enjoying the less-demanding pace of the mid-year. Before we completely surrender summer, here’s a selective list of coverage Hausman clients received in August. Next week, we’ll delve into educational opportunities offered by architecture and design schools.

Architectural Digest reports on Torre Reforma, Arup‘s new project in Mexico City

A rule-breaking home by Dillon Kyle Architects is toured by Houzz

YIMBY New York checks on the progress of Francis Cauffman‘s healthcare center in Brooklyn

Museo Picasso Málaga by Gluckman Tang is cited by Metropolis as one of the best interiors of the 21st century

Visual Merchandising and Store Design visits the Panama City branch of luxury retailer Felix by Kevin Kennon Architects

W Architecture and Landscape Architecture‘s dynamic St. Patrick’s Island is profiled by Parks and Rec Business

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