IABC St. Louis Blog

High on Communications

Let me preface this post by saying I am not aware of any illegal substances being used or shared at the world conference (nor is that the reason for the picture of me with the police officer – more on that later). But the IABC World Conference caused quite a high by providing a rush of synergy and a wealth of information which sparked more ideas than I could ever accomplish before the IABC Conference next year. While I would love to share my twelve pages of notes with you, I will try to provide you with some of the ideas and presentation highlights. Happy Employees = Happy Customers: Sure it sounds simple, but it’s not. After hearing a presentation about how only 33% of the US work force is truly engaged at work at any given time, it’s no wonder how we (communicators) are struggling with brand management overall. A positive experience for a customer does more for your brand than any other form of marketing. Likewise a negative experience can damage your brand beyond repair. Internal communications and employee engagement is the front line – all other brand communications is support. Extra training and creating a brand culture will help your employees believe in your brand, and it will show when they engage your customers. Be Conversational and Clear: Guess what? Customers hate jargon as much as we do! In fact, research has shown that the more jargon and complex terms used the less trust the customers have in you. Customers wonder “why don’t they just explain it to me so I can understand it? What are... read more

Member Spotlight: Mandy Manley

Our July Member of the Month is Mandy Manley. Employer: Reliv International Title: Marketing Communications Specialist Years in the profession: 10 years Favorite quote: You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe What made you choose a career in communications? Inquisitive by nature, I have always loved to ask questions and hear the stories of others. There are so many wonderful stories that have yet to be told! From the day I started on my middle school newspaper, I knew I wanted to write and share stories. How have you benefited from being an IABC St. Louis member? I’m not from St. Louis and this can be a tough town for outsiders. Through IABC, I’ve met some really great folks and carved out a little niche for myself in this town. I look forward to the monthly meetings because I love to meet new people and enjoy walking away with new contacts. You never know when you’ll be able to help someone in the future! What advice would you give to someone considering a career in communication? Hone your craft by learning to be a fantastic listener (with your two ears and one mouth). Be curious and ask questions. Don’t assume you know the reasons for something even if it seems obvious. Seek out people who have made careers in communications and ask them to share their mistakes and triumphs, and then learn from both. Carry a journal and jot down these lessons and ideas everywhere you go. What do you like... read more

Does Social Media Really Work? 5 Take-Aways from our June Luncheon

IABC St. Louis’ June luncheon drew professionals from a wide variety of industries and experience levels. One thing everyone had in common was the desire to understand whether Social Media really can make a difference. We’ve been inundated with articles lately proclaiming that social is broken. With titles like “There is no ROI” and “One in five companies say they’re losing money in social,” it’s no wonder people are starting to question its true merit. But as our guest speaker, Brian Cross, explained, it’s understandable. Brian is managing partner and co-founder of Elasticity, a digital communications firm here in St. Louis. He’s also Executive Director and co-founder of Rally St. Louis. It goes without saying that we were all tuned in for what he had to say about social media. The truth is there are issues with social: The Community Manager role has changed, there have been reach and engagement issues, ROI is hard to define, and it’s difficult to tie social directly to sales, among other things.  Brian had a great deal of info to share with us in just an hour’s time, so here are the top 5 take aways from our June luncheon: 1. The sales funnel is no longer linear, because the purchase process is no longer a linear one! Rather than an upside down triangle (awareness – familiarity – consideration – purchase – loyalty), social media has changed the look of the funnel. The new sales funnel is filled with twists and turns. The two most important pieces being purchase consideration (word of mouth, peer comments/recommendations and online social behavior) and post-purchase experience (complaint or delight,... read more

Member Spotlight: Gwen Lanzer

Gwen Lanzer is an internal communications consultant for SunEdison, Inc., a global leader in solar technology and energy distribution. In addition to her current role, Gwen’s career spans work in news media, public relations, corporate communications, and association management. She presently serves on the IABC St. Louis Chapter Board of Directors as VP of Membership. Gwen also is affiliated with the Washington University Skandalarius Center for Entrepreneurial Studies where she mentors student teams developing strategic marketing programs.   What made you choose a career in communications? In high school, I wanted to be a journalist. I was smitten by the excitement and frenzy of breaking news coverage, of meeting new people, and staying abreast of local, national, and international affairs. I’m a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and still love of the mix of hard news reporting and feature writing. In short, I’m a news junky. I worked for a time as a newspaper reporter, where I found that feature writing is my forte. I later transitioned my communication talents into business and corporate marketing. The most significant experience that shaped your career? I’m a very resilient person today, which I attribute to rejection early on in my career. The job market was abysmal when I graduated with my B.J. degree. It took me three months to find a job and less than two months to lose it. Management said I had no writing talent – something I could not, and would not, accept. I made it my mission to study compelling and varied writing styles, and to take on diverse assignments where I could... read more

The Jailhouse Rocked at the 2014 IABC St. Louis Quill Awards

With a fun, slightly raucous new theme, the 2014 IABC St. Louis Quill Awards, presented by Towers Watson, brought with it a wave of new processes, tools and a party that really rocked the jail house. Nearly 50 glass awards were presented at Jail House Rock: A Celebration of Breakout Communications. In addition to the award presentations, attendees at the annual awards gala rocked out to Elvis Presley and other jail house tunes as they mixed and mingled at Mad Art Gallery, the old third district police station, in Soulard on May 29. A police sketch artist (caricaturist) was in attendance to document the “offenders.” Elvis himself was in the building and made for some great “selfies” that accompanied a social media contest hosted by Common Ground Public Relations. Speakers included IABC St. Louis President Shelley Lester, IABC St. Louis President-Elect John Twombly as well as Annie Rzepecki of Towers Watson, the 2014 presenting sponsor. Local companies Mercer and Monsanto were also recognized for their participation and recognition in the international Gold Quill competition. Those awards will be granted in Toronto at the IABC World Conference this week. From the 2013 competition to 2014 the number of St. Louis Quill entries increased 25%. This larger quantity of awards was more easily managed by both entrant and awards committee because of a new online submission and payment process. This same system was also used for the reciprocal judging with other IABC chapters. Entries were judged on their individual merit using the IABC 7-point scale of excellence, the global standard. Each entry was reviewed and scored by two communications professionals from... read more

A Letter From IABC St. Louis President, Shelley Lester

Hello IABC! I cannot believe it’s already June!  I look back to the start of my year as IABC President and am amazed how quickly time has flown. This year’s board has done an absolutely fantastic job creating meaningful opportunities for our members and communications professionals in our region. Your time is valuable so we want to make sure the time you spend with IABC outside of your offices is helpful. It’s hard to find the kind of professional development and networking with seasoned professionals all in one place that our chapter has created. Some of the highlights from the past year have been: A rocking Jail House Rock Quill Awards Ceremony recognizing some of the greatest communications work in St. Louis A full-day seminar filled with engaging dialogue and many great takeaways to incorporate in day-to-day corporate communications Learning from experts in their respective fields from companies including Mallinckrodt, Washington University, Weber Shandwick, Monsanto, Arch Coal Inc., The Doe Run Company, Lindenwood University, The Survey Institute, Mercy, St. Louis Area Foodbank, Standing Partnership, Obata Design, Webster University, Missouri Botanical Garden, Buck Consultants, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the author of “The Social Media Strategist.” Wow, that’s some serious brainpower from which we’ve had a chance to benefit! And not only have I taken away concrete lessons learned from each presentation, I’ve had an opportunity to get to know more about many of your organizations and your work. It’s the connections that I’ve made that have made this year so meaningful to me. As the board gears up for another year of engaging events, we welcome your feedback on topics... read more

June 26 – Does Social Media Work Anymore?

Social Media was the darling starlet of the marketing world, but as time and technology move on, people have begun to wonder if the luster has worn off.  CMOs have questioned its role in the marketing mix, ROI calculations still prove to be elusive, audiences continue to shift and the direct connection to incremental sales is just not there in many cases. Which leads us to ponder…has Social Media lost its way? Brian Cross from Elasticity and Rally Saint Louis will discuss new ways of looking at Social Media as part of the communications landscape and reset expectations of the medium as a valuable communications tool.  He will also go over new ways of collecting and analyzing data to help provide quantitative results to know that the time and energy put into Social Media are paying off. REGISTER NOW Thursday June 26, 2014 11:30 AM – 1:15 PM Meeting fees: $30 – Members $40 – Non-members $20 – Students ** No-shows will be billed their registration fee to reflect the per-person meeting costs. Location: Maggiano’s Little Italy#2 The Boulevard Saint Louis Richmond Heights, MO 63117-1122 Time: 11:30 a.m. – Registration and Networking 12-1:30 p.m. – Program About the Presenter Brian Cross: Brian is the Co-Founder, Managing Partner and Director of Rocket Science at Elasticity, a modern communications company based in Saint Louis.  Brian is also the co-founder of Rally Saint Louis—a non-profit focused on citizen-led crowdfunding and social sourcing of ideas for a better region. Prior to his role at Elasticity, Brian was Senior Vice President and Global Practice Group Leader of Fleishman-Hillard’s digital communications practice.  Brian has more than... read more

Does Social Media Work Anymore?

Social Media was the darling starlet of the marketing world, but as time and technology move on, people have begun to wonder if the luster has worn off.  CMOs have questioned its role in the marketing mix, ROI calculations still prove to be elusive, audiences continue to shift and the direct connection to incremental sales is just not there in many cases. Which leads us to ponder…has Social Media lost its way? Brian Cross from Elasticity and Rally Saint Louis will discuss new ways of looking at Social Media as part of the communications landscape and reset expectations of the medium as a valuable communications tool.  He will also go over new ways of collecting and analyzing data to help provide quantitative results to know that the time and energy put into Social Media are paying off. REGISTER NOW Thursday June 26, 2014 11:30 AM – 1:15 PM Meeting fees: $30 – Members $40 – Non-members $20 – Students ** No-shows will be billed their registration fee to reflect the per-person meeting costs. Location: Maggiano’s Little Italy#2 The Boulevard Saint Louis Richmond Heights, MO 63117-1122 Time: 11:30 a.m. – Registration and Networking 12-1:30 p.m. – Program About the Presenter Brian Cross: Brian is the Co-Founder, Managing Partner and Director of Rocket Science at Elasticity, a modern communications company based in Saint Louis.  Brian is also the co-founder of Rally Saint Louis—a non-profit focused on citizen-led crowdfunding and social sourcing of ideas for a better region. Prior to his role at Elasticity, Brian was Senior Vice President and Global Practice Group Leader of Fleishman-Hillard’s digital communications practice.  Brian has more than... read more

Member Spotlight: Mackenzie McNamara

Employer: BJC HealthCare  Title: Coordinator for BJC School Outreach and Youth Development  Years in the profession: 2  Favorite quote: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten” – Anthony      Robbins  What I (want to) get out of IABC: Although I have only worked in the professional world for about two years, I have learned so much by simply networking and listening to others. I have met some very influential people over the past couple of years and have gained valuable knowledge that I may not have ever received if I didn’t put myself out there and ask questions. Through IABC, I am hoping to network and learn from others, and also to develop professional skills in order to become more valuable for my department and for my organization. What do you like most about your job? I love working for School Outreach and Youth Development because we teach K-12 youth how to live healthy lifestyles and how to prevent high-risk behaviors by educating them at a young age. We have come up with fun, interactive ways to educate students about their health, so they are learning, while also having fun. The testimonies that we receive from the students prove that our department really makes a difference in their lives. What does life’s next chapter hold for you? My fiancé and I got engaged in March, so the next step is a wedding! We are looking into a destination wedding, which means a vacation with family and friends, too! I will also be starting the MBA program through Webster University in June,... read more

Member Spotlight: Abby Richter

This month, we spotlight new member Abby Richter. Employer: Rising Above with John O’Leary Title: Marketing & Media Manager Social Media: Linked In – http://www.linkedin.com/in/abbyhughes What do you like most about your job? Working for an entrepreneurial company – growing from inspirational speaking into a lifestyle organization offering multi-day events, online coaching programs, books and more – is thrilling! The opportunities are endless, the energy is high and the hats I wear are many! But what I love MOST is our mission – which we live and breathe and share with every client, partner and community member we encounter: “take back your life, ignite your possibility and change your world.” For a girl who has been described her whole life as an “eternal optimist” – helping others find the silver lining and then thriving into their best life is absolutely where I am meant to be for the long haul. What piece of advice would you give to someone studying communication?  I have two tips. First, get as much diverse internship experience as you can! If you start internships early on in college, you will get to see what aspects of communication you like and which you don’t – which will really help you focus on the right opportunities when you begin your job search. You’ll also have made lots of professional connections, which are critical when looking for your first job. Finally – never underestimate the power of the informational interview! Know a company you’d like to work for? A person whose career you admire? Ask for an informational interview to learn more about the company / industry / his career path and... read more

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