Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2012 Olympic Apps

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Only 30 days until the summer Olympics in London and I can’t wait. I love the Olympics. I love the sports, the pageantry, the tradition and all of the athlete back stories. It’s just an amazing two weeks – and I’m just watching it on T.V – imagine if you were lucky enough to be there! Well, with the help of two pretty cool mobile apps for the Olympics you can feel like you are.

Join In app: The official app of the 2012 games. This app, provides up-to-date event listings, includes searchable venue maps and provides live updates and news including a real-time view of the torch relay. As the games begin, you will also be able to get up-to-the minute results. If you’re lucky enough to be heading to London, you can create a customized schedule to help plan your experience. And as an added benefit, the app is also fully integrated with Facebook, Twitter and Four Square.

2012 Team USA app: This is another great app to stay connected to Team USA even before the games start. It provides live updates on who makes the team, includes athlete bios and photos and even has a “cheer” button where I can send my own message to an athlete’s Twitter feed, congratulating time for making the team.

A word of caution however; these apps, while great at keeping you connected, can also spoil your experience by giving you real-time results before you get the chance to watch it on TV, so use them wisely!

I’m really excited about what these apps can offer to enhance my Olympic watching experience. Traditionally, when the Olympics come around (summer and winter) my family watches the opening ceremonies while eating a dinner that is typical to the host country (bring on the fish and chips!). But this year, I’ll be even more connected - my phone lighting up like the Olympic torch!

Do you immerse yourself in all things Olympics? How will you watch the games this summer? Let me know!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bird Brained Idea or Brilliant Publicity Stunt?

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

If you were watching the U.S. Open trophy ceremony on Sunday night, you saw the bird man (or “Jungle Bird” as he calls himself) disrupt the ceremony by jumping in front of the camera and making bird sounds.  He was quickly grabbed by a security guard and ushered off stage.  I have to admit, my husband and I initially broke out laughing when it happened.  It was just so goofy.

But, as a PR professional, I quickly changed hats and thought: How in the world did he even get up on stage in the first place?  Where was security?  And…how sad for the tournament and the winner to have what should have been a joyous occasion momentarily marred by this jokester.

The Jungle Bird claims that although he had a few beers before his five seconds of fame (Really? What a shock!), he had actually planned out this stunt well in advance (was it beer number three or four that had him thinking this was a good idea?).  He wanted to raise awareness about global deforestation and says he plans to do it again at other public venues.  

I guess if you’re a fan of extreme publicity stunts, it worked.  (Although somehow I don’t think the audience for this event got that message.) To me, it’s disturbing to think that someone believes it’s OK to disrupt an event, activity or ceremony with this kind of behavior.  And yes, I know it happens in other venues and activities, and I feel the same about it.   

There is also a lesson to be learned for all of us in the PR business.  You can never plan enough. You can never let down your guard during this type of event.  You have to be able to anticipate what might happen and be prepared.  It’s easy for me to say the bird man should have never reached the stage in the first place, but I know the reality is, in PR, anything can happen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Once in a lifetime experience…..

By: Cole Buergi, VP Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Thanks to my employer Susan Finco who nominated me, I recently experienced one of the greatest moments in my career by participating in the Army War College National Security Seminar (NSS). It was an opportunity to spend four days interacting and discussing national and global events with our military’s best and brightest. 

The Army War College is among our nation’s top military colleges and is designed to educate our best military officers to prepare them for new roles as strategic leaders of the military. Although it is called the Army War College with many of the students serving in the Army, all five branches of our military are represented as well as military officers from allied countries throughout the world.

The NSS is a capstone event and a culmination of 10 months of Master’s and doctorate level courses designed to prepare the students for their next military assignments. Upon graduation, many of them will be assigned to the Pentagon or strategic bases of command throughout the world helping to protect America’s national interests. The international students will return to their respective countries to help lead their militaries. This cooperative learning helps strengthen ties among our allies and opens doors to long lasting peace. Equally important, the students are learning how to become strategic thinkers, broadening their skills to evaluate issues from all sides and make informed decisions.

Past graduates include such great military leaders as General Omar Bradley, Admiral William Halsey, General George Patton and President Dwight Eisenhower.   

Only about 150 civilians are accepted to take part in the NSS each year and the goal is to embed us into the individual classroom setting and large group seminars to provide a broad perspective of what civilians in the United States are thinking, particularly on items of national security and global events. The civilian guests included men and women from all walks of life, who have achieved success in their career paths.

Our task was to challenge the students thinking by asking them questions they may not get from subordinates within the military. Equally, the officers were tasked with challenging us to think differently by challenging our assumptions and asking us to consider alternative solutions to truly evaluate problems from all sides.

The give and take was remarkable and the one-on-one interaction with my sponsor (i.e. student chaperone) was amazing. I will cherish those memories and I want to congratulate the college for having insight to allow civilians to participate. It’s a genius way of allowing military leaders to gain exposure to a broad spectrum of ideas.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

DD Shoe Fiasco

By: Angela Raleigh, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Everyone in Packer Nation knows #80. But, who knew he was so popular?

With thousands of fans in attendance at his charity softball game this past Sunday, Donald Driver tossed some of his gear to the crowd following the game. But one adult Packers fanatic wasn’t in the most charitable mood. DD tossed one of his cleats to a 12-year-old boy, only to have an adult woman literally rip the shoe right out of the boy’s hands. Didn’t get to witness the scene firsthand? Well, I am sure many Packers fans were outraged by this shoe saga as they watched the national attention grabbing video on the Internet.

Just imagine being surrounded by hundreds of Packers fans, everyone’s excited and thrilled to be part of a charity event, hosted by a Super Bowl Champion and not to mention a Dancing With the Stars Champion and DD decides to toss you his cleat, but it gets wrestled away from you. I’m sure you’d be crushed.

But, thanks to the power of social media, Twitter and Facebook allowed Driver to quickly connect with the boy and his family, arrange to meet him and give him plenty of Packers memorabilia, including a pair of cleats.

It’s clear that social media is and will continue to change the way in which we communicate. Social media played a huge role in this video going viral, prompting outrage and a man-hunt in Packer Nation to find the boy and supply him with what was meant for him in the first place. DD truly handled the situation like a champ and social media allowed him to easily connect with the family. Driver is a fan favorite and this incident shows his passion and appreciation for the fans. I think it was a classy gesture….what are your thoughts on the entire situation?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Are we seeing a New Normal?

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

I recently came across the results of a new poll that concluded that, since the economic downturn in 2008, Americans are redefining what success looks like.

The survey found that eight of 10 Americans indicate that the recession has forced them to change the way they look at life. “Economic status and all the creature comforts it brings are less important in the New Normal,” said Ashley McCown, president of Solomon McCown & Company, which conducted the survey with Anderson Robbins Research.

The survey results also show that 24 percent of the respondents reported that their household had “mostly recovered” from the impact of the recession; 41 percent said they “still have a ways to go;” and 14 percent thought they “might not ever fully recover.”

It should be obvious that everyone looks at success in different ways. Given the salaries and contracts we hear about for professional athletes and others in the entertainment field, it’s easy to equate success with monetary wealth. But monetary wealth is certainly just one way to look at success.

The McCown survey found that 74 percent of the respondents feel they have achieved or are on the way to reaching the American Dream. 83 percent say a happy marriage is part of the equation, while 77 percent cite a long and healthy retirement. 67 percent in the survey say that helping through volunteering or charity is part of achieving the American Dream, with the same percentage saying that owning a home is a factor.

There are probably many people who think like I do that work and family are the key ingredients. Even without all of the creature comforts I’d like, having a tremendous family and being respected in my field of work are the measures of success most dear to me.

What do you think? Has the way you measure success changed with the recent economy?