Posts Tagged ‘success’

Cleared Hot and Engaged: Lessons From a Flygirl

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Vernice Flygirl Armour PRSA 2013 BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasWhen Vernice “Flygirl” Armour asked for permission to shoot her weapons in the middle of combat, she was waiting to hear the words “Cleared Hot.” And as the first female African American Marine Corps combat pilot, Armour has conquered her share of challenges and obstacles, and she herself is definitely cleared hot. On day two of the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia, she shared a bit of her energy and motivational insights in her keynote speech, “Zero to Breakthrough: How a Breakthrough Mentality Creates Breakthrough Results!”

I attended Armour’s speech, in which she acknowledged that as a minority, as a female, and as a female in the Marines, she’s overcome a number of obstacles herself, but that we all have obstacles in our work and personal lives. “The key is to acknowledge the obstacles,” she advised. “Don’t give them power.”

The content of Armour’s speech wasn’t revelatory; instead, it laid bare the obstacles we put in front of ourselves. It might be we want to quit or disengage when we get frustrated, but throughout her speech, Armour reminded us that we have permission to engage – with our colleagues, with our clients, but most importantly, with ourselves. “At what point do you give yourself permission to engage?” she asked. “And if you don’t, who will?” Only we can tell ourselves we are cleared hot.

Engaging with ourselves and our community is basic to the PR profession, but it’s easy to get trapped in the small tasks of keeping our heads above water day to day. “What’s the bold breakthrough move you need to take to put yourself back on course to break out of the mediocre and mundane?” she asked us to ask ourselves.

As a newcomer to the PR industry (I was a journalist in Beijing until August), Armour’s speech was timely in its motivation factor – time to determine how I define success in my position and life – but unfortunately vague in ways to get started. But that’s perhaps the most positive thing about Armour’s speech: she’s not telling anyone how to define success or get on their path; that’s not her MO. I think this independent, inward approach will be a beneficial aspect of personal success and my impact at Burrellesuce.

It was refreshing to hear Armour ask us to turn inward to help ourselves get ahead personally and professionally. When it comes to work, it’s mostly about what we can do for our organization, not for ourselves. But the way we engage with ourselves and how we choose to meet our challenges can immediately affect our professional success, and thereby have a positive effect on our organization. My colleague recently competed in a Tough Mudder challenge, and in challenging herself personally, she gained a lot of insights applicable to her professional life. As Armour puts it, “We’re asking folks to engage when we’re not willing to engage most of the time.” We must engage ourselves to begin engaging with others.

Armour doesn’t have answers for how to engage, but again, it’s not something she can dictate. All she can do is share her experiences, lend some motivation, and remind us that “Positive thought creates positive action” and “A breakthrough mentality creates the reality.”

2010 PR News Media Relations Conference: Mark Phillips, USO, interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PR News Media Relations Conference. I’m joined by Mark.

Mark, will you please introduce yourself?

MARK PHILLIPS: Hi, I’m Mark Phillips. I’m the vice president of communications for the USO.

BURKE: Mark, I know that you have a great campaign and a great effort of tying your business results to your PR efforts. Can you share some of the secrets of that?

PHILLIPS: Well, you know, anybody who works in this business knows that it is both an art and a science. The science is getting better, but there’s still a lot of art to it, as well. Some of the things that we try to do to capitalize on the science part are being very rigorous about clearly identifying what our goals are, our communication goals as well as our operational goals, making sure that there is a logical connection between the two, that one supports the other, and then making sure that we dedicate the resources to accurate research before we plan, good planning, execution, and then good follow-up research to determine whether or not we were successful both achieving our operational goals and our communication goals.

BURKE: That sounds like a great plan and a good practice for all of us to follow. Mark, where can people find you on Twitter?

PHILLIPS: Easiest way to find me on Twitter is @mark_phillips, P-H-I-L-L-I-P-S.

BURKE: Great, thanks so much.

PHILLIPS: My pleasure.

Paid Content vs. Free Content, Apple vs. Google, Web Browsers vs. Apps…as we enter a new phase of digital media who will emerge victorious?

Monday, September 13th, 2010


In March 2009 I wrote my first blog post, here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas, about how emerging technologies and platforms were changing the way we consume news – supported by input I gathered from a media summit I had attended that featured panelists such as Joe Scarborough from MSNBC’s Morning Joe and BBC’s Rome Hartman.

I wrote, “And with the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ and this ‘Pro-Am’ partnership that is developing with media, the panel agreed that consumers will have a stronger need for trusted brands, filtering, and editing to help navigate the media.” A year and a half later, the cream seems to be rising to the top in this fragmented media universe.

Today the “trusted brands,” such as The New York Times, are beginning to abandon the old business model of offering free content in exchange for paid advertisements. They are instead looking to generate additional revenue by putting their text, audio, and video behind pay walls or by offering their content as an app for a small fee. “I think we should have done it years ago,” said David Firestone, a deputy national news editor commenting on the NYT’s decision to put some of their content behind paywalls beginning in 2011. “As painful as it will be at the beginning, we have to get rid of the notion that high-quality news comes free.”

The Times Co. Chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. added, “This is a bet, to a certain degree, on where we think the Web is going…This is not going to be something that is going to change the financial dynamics overnight.”

In fact, no one is sure where the web is going; this undeniable shift away from free content will certainly make life more difficult for the Googles of the world who rely on free content to fuel their search engine. Consumers may turn to company’s like Apple for their media, who adopted the “paid content” model early on by making content available for small fees through iTunes and more recently showing consumers how convenient it is to access a magazine or newspaper digitally for a small fee on their iPad.

 Fox News this week launched its new iPhone political app, available through iTunes for 99 cents. “The idea is that this is your essential guide to daily political news,” says Chris Stirewalt, Fox News digital politics editor, “to put power into peoples’ hands to give them the opportunity in this history making, nation shaping election, to have the tools at hand so that they can really understand and add to the depth of their experience.”

With more people opting to have their media pushed to their smart phones and iPads rather than retrieving information over the Internet it will be interesting to see how this affects web browser traffic. As free content slowly disappears, news websites and aggregators such as the Drudge Report and the Daily Beast may have a tougher time filling their sites with the hyperlinks that contain the raw material that drives much of their sites traffic. Instead the eyeballs will be looking in other directions – with more people willing to pay for content this may ultimately prove to be the antidote that saves a hemorrhaging newspaper industry.

It appears we are on the verge of coming full circle on how we get our news. We’ve gone from relying on newsstands and subscriptions to searching and accessing free content online, only to return to paying the publishers directly once again for their content through app fees and online subscriptions.

Paperboys and newsstand operators may be on the verge of extinction; however, content providers like newspapers, network, and cable TV and movie studios may have the final say in how their product is consumed after all.

As public relations and marketing professionals, how are you getting your news? How do you think the evolving media landscape will affect your ability to successfully conduct media relations and assess the value of your efforts?

Sales + Everyone = Success

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Valerie Simon

How do you get everyone – from your maintenance team to your CEO – participating in the sales process? During a special Twitter chat last Wednesday evening, Heather Whaling and Justin Goldsborough, co-moderators of Twitter’s #PR20Chat, and Beth Harte and Anna Barcelos, leaders of #imcchat asked this question to more than 100 participants. 

Here are a few takeaways every business should consider.Teamwork

Top down and bottom up, goals must be aligned.

AdamSuffolkU:  First step, make sure goals are aligned and input is asked/received from all-bottom on up

SuperDu:  It starts w/ CEO creating top-line strategic plan. ALL divisional plans & emp. objectives feed into that one plan

 jeffespo:  It should be the trickle up effect. Everyone knows the brand and wants to sell it and make more money.

Create a customer-centric team environment

BethHarte: If all employees understand the customer is #1, they will all work to make sure they work hard from top to bottom

LoisMarketing:  Communicate successes and celebrate at all levels. Make all staff aware of “wins,” new clients. Sincere appreciation. 

Transform employees into evangelists

kimbrater:  It’s more than the sales process, everyone has to internalize +evangelize the brand in order to sell it.

CASUDI:  everyone has to be in love with, believe in the product ~ everyone will have the desire to sell

IABCDetroit: Engage employees thru educational, relevant communications so they’re empowered to relay company message, align w/ company goals

Everyone can have an impact on sales

BethHarte: Sales starts the minute someone walks through the front door. Better hope the receptionist isn’t cranky/mean

rpulvino:  Everyone in the company is involved in sales in some way. Employees are the most important spokespeople for an organization.

And my respond: ValerieSimon: Education. When you take pride in, and understand your organizations strengths, you’re compelled to share the story!

Beyond 140 characters, I’d also emphasize that a strong and positive corporate culture is an investment that will not only pay off in increased productivity but sales. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a firm believer that everyone in an organization, regardless of title or department, should consider themselves a part of the sales team. Here are some ways organization can provides the training and follow-through to make the most of this extended sales force:

  • Make certain that ALL employees are educated on your products or services and the benefits of these services to your clients and customers.
  • Keep employees updated with a daily report of news for and about your organization, the competitors and the marketplace.
  • Create a simple process whereby all employees can easily submit referrals through to the sales team to close.
  • Share success stories. Recognize and reward those who are referring business, as well as the teamwork with sales that helped to win the new business.

Do you consider yourself a part of your organization’s sales efforts? What does your company do to harness the sales power of all your employees? Please share your thought with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.